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It started out with small stuff at first, but Katsuki was pretty sure no one else had noticed. Probably because they were too fucking dumb to see the obvious.

It was obvious - Kirishima's grins were slower to start, quicker to vanish, and growing dimmer and dimmer every day since some time last week. There was a slight slump in his shoulders, and when he was relaxing he wasn't relaxing really. He jumped at loud sounds, sometimes. Something was eating away at the idiot, but it was something he was trying to hide. It wasn't any of Katsuki's business. If Kirishima didn't want to share then Katsuki didn't want to know. Still, his brain moved fast and sometimes it ran in the wrong direction so he couldn't help but wonder what was happening.

The rest of the class, unobservant morons the whole lot of them, only really began picking up on something when Kirishima snapped at Stupid-Face on Tuesday before lessons began. The electrical imbecile was gabbling away about what game they were gonna play that night and ignoring the prominent tic under Kirishima's eye. Katsuki only happened to see it because he was doing some in-chair stretches, of course, but Stupid-Face was looking right at the redhead. Katsuki caught sight of the moment when Kirishima's expression morphed into a scowl.

"Leave me the fuck alone, Kaminari," Kirishima said said, loudly enough for half the class to hear it and turn around in their seats. The sound of turning bodies alerted the other half. Stupid-Face held up his hands in a placating gesture, eyes widened in alarm, and then Kirishima noticed their audience. He flushed, but the scowl didn't leave his face as he turned back down to the scrawl of notes he was making while they waited for Aizawa to show up. "I don't want to go, so stop fucking asking."

"Dude," Stupid-Face said, raising one of his eyebrows. He leaned back over to mutter something else that Katsuki couldn't catch from where he sat. Not that he wanted to. Still, if there was nothing else to do while nothing was happening...

Kirishima looked up to glare at Stupid-Face. "Look, I'm serious man. Drop it."

"Alright, alright," Stupid-Face said. "But you gotta come next week."

Kirishima grumbled something back, and Katsuki turned to face the front of the classroom. The rest of the class seemed more subdued all of a sudden, and Katsuki wondered if they were also thinking about reasons why the redhead was so grumpy. Kirishima was normally so fucking bright and bouncy, lifting everyone up with his endless high-spirits. Sure, he'd been down a few times that Katsuki remembered. The redhead could get fucking mopey about not living up to his own expectations or something like that, but he always bounced back from it.

From what Katsuki had noticed this time, however - whether he had wanted to or not - was that Kirishima only seemed to be getting worse.


Nothing seemed to improve Kirishima's mood, Katsuki noted, as they moved along the week. Kirishima had skipped out on the class game night, much to Stupid-Face and the rest of that gang's chagrin. Katsuki almost never went, of course, because he actually wanted to spend his time on studying, so he only caught the tail-end of the second argument about it. He had heard Kirishima snarl at what sounded like Black-Eyes in the hallway and slam his door. Black-Eyes had whined a bit, but Katsuki didn't hear any response from Kirishima and eventually the girl left again with only her own footsteps as company.

Katsuki had stared hard at the wall for a while after that before getting back to his homework.


Wednesday was quieter. So was Kirishima. There were dark streaks under his eyes and his hair hadn't been spiked properly. He looked fucking awful, but he sent crabby looks towards anyone who thought about approaching him so Katsuki didn't bother. Knowing himself, if he was feeling as rough as Kirishima looked, he wouldn't even want anyone breathing near him. Still, Katsuki was alarmed to feel the itching of curiosity climbing around in his brain. Fuck, was this the stupid friendship thing again?

The redheaded idiot went straight to his room when everyone got back to the dorms. He didn't even say his usual 'goodnight, man' to Katsuki which was pretty fucking rude considering they rode up in the elevator together. He'd just shot out through the doors as soon as they had opened without a single word.

Katsuki had stood outside Kirishima's loudly closed door and entertained the thought of blasting it down, seizing Kirishima by the shoulders and shaking the other boy until he told him what was wrong. Katsuki wanted to blow something up. He felt a little sick with the sudden flood of rage and pulled his hand back from a knock. He bit his lip, wavered - wavered like a fucking coward - and then he marched himself into his own room instead.

Fuck, this wasn't his problem.

Katsuki had other things to worry about, like not falling behind on his own workload. He began to pull today's homework out of his bag, but when he dropped it onto his desk it just sat there and looked like stupid paper. Just sheets of fucking paper, and Kirishima was in the next room over being upset or something. Katsuki ground his teeth together and stared at the wall.

Fuck, but Kirishima was his friend, wasn't he? The stupid shitty-haired bastard was always saying weird sentimental stuff about it. Katsuki groaned and ran his hands through his hair. What was he supposed to do?


Thursday, and Kirishima usually came for a tutoring session after classes. Katsuki was feeling jittery all through the lessons that morning. Fucking anticipation was doing, like, a jig on his nerves or some shit, and he really really wanted to blow something the fuck up. His palms crackled, and at one point Present Mic raised an eyebrow and cleared his throat at him from behind his stupid glasses. Katsuki pretended not to notice and scribbled down his English answers. He wondered if Kirishima would actually turn up or not. It wasn't like he liked giving up an evening of his precious time to beat some sense into the moron every week, but it had become routine. Just like Tuesdays were game night for everyone else. Just like the game night Kirishima had skipped.

At lunch Kirishima disappeared somewhere, so Katsuki was stuck sitting with Stupid-Face and Black-Eyes and Elbows. It wasn't the worst group to sit with, really, especially given the existence of fucking Deku and his friends; Four-Eyes, Round-Face, Frog-Girl and the Half-and-Half-Bastard. Katsuki did not want to sit with any of them if he could help it. The rest of the class was out, too. Katsuki wouldn't be caught dead sitting with the Grape-Bastard, and the others... He didn't really know them much.
Bird-Brain seemed okay, but he tended to sit with Octopus, who was kind of creepy. There was also Tails, Sparkles, the fucking Disney-Princess guy, and whoever the fuck it was who ate sugar for his powers to work, but fuck, he knew almost nothing about them. Aside from the boys were the three other girls in the class - Ponytail, Headphones and the invisible one. Katsuki felt even less like sitting with them. What did girls talk about when they were talking to other girls? Clothes? Stabbing people? Boys? It wasn't like Katsuki didn't have any opinions about those things, but girls expected people to share their opinions and that was just... Fuck no.

Katsuki wrenched his thoughts away from anything like that. At least this group was predictably dumb and could be relied upon not to pester him too much in the wrong way. Stupid-Face pushed it sometimes but he was probably trying to copy Kirishima's example - relentlessly apply friendship until it stuck. It wasn't going to work. Kirishima was Kirishima and nobody could copy him. Besides, if Katsuki had a friend he didn't really need any more of them, did he?

The group during this particular lunch period was chattering away about something stupid, probably. Katsuki was too busy staring at his plate and definitely not thinking about where the fuck Kirishima was anyway to pay much attention. Then a name caught his attention, and he looked up.

"...where Kirishima is?" Elbows was asking, moving his eyes around the room as if he'd only just realised the redhead wasn't there.

Black-Eyes grimaced. "With Recovery Girl, I think. That's what he said when I asked where he was going."

Recovery Girl? Wait, what the fuck? Was Kirishima sick or something? Katsuki recalled his friend's roughly-styled hair and tired-looking eyes. It made sense. Fuck, fuck, he couldn't do anything if it was an illness. He couldn't blow up the shitty germs, he couldn't do any fucking thing. Fuck. He found himself grinding his teeth.

"He's ill?" Elbows asked, alarmed, as he fucking well should be. "He didn't say anything about it. He would've mentioned if it was something serious, right?"

"Probably?" Black-Eyes gave him an awkward shrug. "I mean, maybe he just stubbed his toe or scratched himself with his Quirk earlier."

"Or maybe he's being all noble and stuff," Stupid-Face said with a wry grin. What kind of expression was that? "He's got some mysterious disease called manly-itus and he doesn't want anyone to know he's dying."

"Shut your fucking stupid mouth," Katsuki stood and slammed his hands down on the table before he could stop himself. "Don't even fucking joke about that sort of fucking thing, fucking bastard! Fuck!"

"Whoa, man! Calm down," Stupid-Face yelped. He repeated the same hands-up placating gesture he'd given Kirishima on Tuesday, and Katsuki felt his anger spike further. "Jeez, you don't need to set fire to the table."

The table was smoking under Katsuki's hands. He pulled them up and glared at them. Damn, where the fuck had his composure gone? Anger was pulsing through him, carried through his arteries and veins like fire. With it, for fuck's sake, was an undercurrent of worry for his redheaded friend. Katsuki turned his glare on the other kids. Especially Stupid-Face, whose expression had gone curious instead of apologetic. What the fuck was he looking at?

Stupid-Face tilted his head. "Bakubro-"

"Don't call me that," Katsuki snapped. "Die."

"You need to get some new material," The bastard rolled his his eyes. Actually fucking rolled his eyes. "And you need to chill out."

"Oh fuck off," Katsuki growled, and he turned to leave. He was going to go back to their classroom and stew and try not to let this stupid fucking worry feeling bubble up any more.

"Hey, wait," Elbows called. "You didn't finish your lunch!"

"Fuck that," Katsuki called back over his shoulder. He left the lunch hall and stormed along the corridors to get back to 1A's classroom. The door was open, and Katsuki stepped inside.

Katsuki had been expecting the class to be empty. Instead, Kirishima was there, hunched over his desk with his face buried in his arms. Katsuki felt a jolt of something in his stomach. What the fuck was Kirishima doing? Had he really been to the nurse's office? Questions swarmed around in Katsuki 's head, but he batted them away. Kirishima stirred as Katsuki stepped forwards again.

The redhead tilted his head enough for one bleary eye to see Katsuki , who froze at the movement, and then he lifted it up to frown. "Oh hey. What are you doing here, bro?"

"Fuckers at lunch were annoying me," Katsuki said. Well it was true. Kirishima groaned.

"Big fucking mood, dude," he said, rubbing at his forehead. Katsuki raised an eyebrow. Kirishima usually wasn't so liberal with his swearing. "I don't think I'm gonna make tutoring tonight."

Oh. Well. Something in Katsuki 's gut plummeted. "What? You sick or something, Shitty-Hair?"

"Or something," Kirishima grumbled. Huh? What was that supposed to mean? "I don't want to talk about it."

Katsuki shrugged as if that answer was just fine. Fucking peachy. "'Kay. Don't fall behind, hair-for-brains."

Kirishima grunted and put his head back down on his arms. He voice came out muffled. "Yeah, yeah."

Katsuki stared at the top of Kirishima's's unkempt head for a few moments. Was he trying to take a nap or something? Then all the signs clicked into place. Kirishima's worn appearance, the bags under his eyes and his fucking terrible attitude. His skipping of activities to go straight to his room. His going to see Recovery Girl, maybe, but not rejoining his friends afterwards in favour of this. Katsuki felt a wave of relief. Kirishima wasn't sick.

Kirishima wasn't sleeping.

Katsuki made his way towards his desk, trying his best not to give in to his usual stomp. Well that answered what was happening, but not why. The relief fizzled out. There were any number of reasons that might explain why someone couldn't sleep. Fucking insomnia was a bitch, and Katsuki had courted it a couple of times himself. Maybe it was something else. Was Kirishima stressed? Was he keeping himself up on purpose for something? Maybe Kirishima really was sick and lack of sleep was a symptom? What was the point of all these questions if Katsuki wasn't going to go and fucking ask them?

Well, Kirishima didn't want him prodding so he wasn't going to prod. It was as simple as that, so he should stop thinking about it.

Katsuki glanced back at Kirishima as he sat down in his seat, and felt himself pouting, but he didn't really fucking care. No one was there to see him anyway. Something cold and heavy was sitting in his chest. It felt like the time that fucking slime bastard had nearly suffocated him before UA. It was-
Ugh, he hated to even admit it to himself but... Katsuki was fucking helpless. The most likely thing was that Kirishima was going through some sort of emotional shit. Katsuki couldn't explode emotions, no matter how hard he tried.

The rest of the day dragged along like a plough through sandpaper. There was a sparring session in the gym. Katsuki found most of his attention caught up dueling with Headphones - she was using the sound of his own explosions to power her attacks, which was annoyingly effective. The few glimpses he got of Kirishima trying to deal with Four-Eyes, though... Kirishima's movements were jerky, and the guy looked totally spaced. Four-Eyes was literally running rings around him.

It pissed Katsuki off. He won his match, of course, and grunted an acknowledgement when Headphones complimented his fighting style. She hadn't been half-bad herself, and they were both startled when he said so out loud. He scowled, and stomped away to one of the benches at the side of the room for some warm-down exercises. If Katsuki happened to be watching Kirishima struggle against Four-Eyes whilst he stretched then, well, fuck. He was concerned.

That night, when Kirishima should have been sitting at Katsuki's desk and pulling stupid faces over algebra and English plurals, Katsuki found himself lying in his bed and staring at the ceiling. It was stupid. He should be fucking doing his homework or whatever now that he was free of distraction. He wasn't. He turned his head and scowled at the wall, wondering if Kirishima would feel the weight of his displeasure if he concentrated hard enough.

Chapter Text

Kirishima dodged lunch again on Friday, and the doors of the elevator were closing on him before Katsuki had even taken three steps into the common room after classes. Okay, that was the last fucking straw. Katsuki seethed while he waited for the compartment to return, he seethed all the way up, and he seethed at Kirishima's closed door. He rapped on it with one barely-not-exploding fist, heard a muffled curse, and then Kirishima's scowling face appeared in the flung-open doorway.

"Fucking what?" he spat, and then he saw it was Katsuki. His face morphed into confusion as Katsuki glared at him, but instead of falling back into his typical laugh it just looked like Kirishima was bracing for something. That pissed Katsuki off.

"Fucking what yourself, hair-for brains," Katsuki said, planting his feet. "Whatever the hell is wrong with you needs to fucking stop."

"Just stop, huh? Excellent plan," Kirishima said, folding his arms and leaning against the doorframe. Was that fucking sarcasm? "Wish I'd thought of it."

It fucking was. Augh.

"Look," Katsuki said, gritting his teeth. "I don't- I don't-. Ugh. You're stronger than whatever it is bothering you. If you can just-"

"You know what? I think I've finally figured out your problem, bro," Kirishima interrupted, and what the fuck, Katsuki didn't like the look on the redhead's face at all. There was something fucking mean about it, and that look was just so alien for Kirishima that Katsuki wondered for a moment if his friend had been replaced by that freaky stabby shapeshifter bitch from the Villain Alliance. He was so taken-aback that he almost missed Kirishima's next sentence.

"You think your Quirk is a substitute for a fucking personality."

Katsuki couldn't help it. He gaped at Kirishima like a fucking fish. Kirishima nodded to himself.

"Yep, that's right. Everyone thought you were so cool as a kid, huh? Must've been a blast, eh, Blasty?" Kirishima continued. His eyes were bloodshot, and Katsuki wasn't sure if all the red on red on red was interfering with his vision or if that was just the rage building up. "Midoriya mentioned it before. All your 'friends' went on and on and on about how cool your explosions were. What a flashy ability. You're destined for greatness. All of that shit."

Now Kirishima lurched from the doorway, swaying more than a little, and jabbed at Katsuki's chest. It was almost like he was drunk. "But none of them ever said you were cool, huh? Just your fucking Quirk, so that's all you fucking became. Boom, whatever. That's Bakugou. He explodes stuff! He yells a lot! That's it! So that's all you think other people are! Their Quirks! If their Quirks aren't strong you don't give a flying fuck. I can harden my skin so everything about me's gotta be tough right? Quirks don't fucking solve everything and you don't know what the hell is- Ugh. Just fuck off, man."

Kirishima looked about ready to pass out. Good. Let him. Let him fucking hit the floor. Katsuki spun around and made for his own door. He heard Kirishima let out a groan and mumble something after him, but the blood was roaring in Katsuki's ears and he didn't fucking care, because what the fuck. He practically ripped his door off its hinges as he entered his room, and then he slammed it with a window-rattling thud. His chest was squeezing him, crushing him, and his vision was fucking swimming as he flung himself at his bed. Katsuki rubbed at his traitorous eyes with his knuckles. He had known this whole stupid friendship bullshit wasn't going to last, but he'd gone along with it all the same.

Katsuki tried to tell himself he didn't fucking need friends, anyway.

It didn't fucking work.


The atmosphere in the class during the lessons on Saturday was palpable. It was oppressive, like a summer storm was building up. Everyone looked uneasy, and even the most dense of the class now seemed to be aware of Kirishima's even fouler mood. A few had braved Kirishima's aura of fuck-off to ask him if he was okay, but he shrugged off most of the questions and fended the rest off with curses.

As for Katsuki, well, he was telling himself he wasn't feeling lonely and maybe part of him was starting to believe it. Augh, one fucking morning into an argument and he was pathetic. It felt like he was losing at something, at some sort of game where he didn't know all the rules and had only just realised people had been playing all their lives. Fuck friendship. Katsuki didn't care any more.

Kirishima's other friends - was Katsuki even in that group of people any more? The fuck? What did he even care at this point - complained about Kirishima's drastic downswing in mood at lunch.

"Did Kirishima find Bakugou's stock of being-a-total-ass juice or something?" Stupid-Face grouched. Kirishima was not there, obviously, and Katsuki didn't fucking care. He glared at Stupid-Face over his food.

"Nah," said Black-Eyes, jerking her thumb at Katsuki . "Or he'd be a bit more mellow himself."

"Fuck off," Katsuki said, quiet but with feeling. "I'll kill you."

Black-Eyes just laughed. "See?"

"Do you know what's up with him, Bakugou?" Elbows asked. Oh great.

Katsuki glared. "Why the fuck would I know?"

Elbows shrugged. "Figured out of anyone here he might have told his best friend what was bothering him."

Best friend? Best fucking friend? Where did Elbows get off thinking that? But the others were nodding, and Katsuki felt like he'd been hit with vertigo because the room was spinning just a little bit. Sure, maybe Kirishima was Katsuki's only friend, but best friend on Kirishima's end? Is that what people thought? Well, fuck. Not like it mattered after their spat last night, when he'd found out how Kirishima actually felt. Katsuki didn't have a personality, apparently. So fuck Kirishima. Who cared.

"No," he said in a flat voice. "He hasn't told me anything."

The fuckers all looked so disappointed. Okay, clearly they cared. Katsuki huffed, rolled his eyes, and spoke again. "He's not sleeping."

"Hey, you just said he didn't te-" Stupid-Face began, indignant. Katsuki held up a hand to cut him off.

"He didn't tell me, dumbass, but I fucking have eyes. He's been-" Katsuki stopped. Should he mention that Kirishima had started napping in the classroom at lunch? Probably not, the others would just pile in and disturb him, and then he'd just find somewhere else to go. Then Katsuki wouldn't know where he was. Fuck, he did still care. Friendship was the worst thing ever. "Just watch him, alright."

The others agreed, and then the topic drifted away into something stupid he couldn't be bothered to listen to. Wait, wasn't that exactly what Kirishima had said? That Katsuki didn't care about stuff unless it was about Quirks? Time to show him, Katsuki thought, tuning back into the conversation.

"-but what do we even need to know the difference between transform, conversion, diversion for, anyway," Black-Eyes was saying. Katsuki took a moment to work out the context. Geography? "The earth moves, whatever, let her do it in peace."

"We live in Japan," Elbows deadpanned. "It's kind of important to know how and why earthquakes happen. Plate boundaries aren't that bad, Mina."

"Yeah but like, they've got stupid names," Black-Eyes said. Stupid-Face nodded.

"You got the names wrong anyway, Black-Eyes," Katsuki said, surprising all four of them. "It's convergent and divergent, not conversion and diversion. Idiot."

"There's no difference, though," Black-Eyes whined. Katsuki felt one of his eyes twitch.

"Yes there fucking is," he said. Katsuki was going to show her, damn it. He held up his hands. "Look, convergent means that two continental plates are smashing into each other, right?"

He hit his hands together for a visual effect. Then he moved his hands so the fingertips were touching. "So when they meet up like that, two things happen. Either you get a big fucking mountain range where the plates just..."

Katsuki pushed his hands together until his fingers were steepled. Black-Eyes nodded slowly.

"Like the fucking Himalayas, right? Or you get where one of the plates goes under the other and is fucking destroyed, and you get volcanoes on the plate that's winning," he continued. He moved his hands again, sliding the left one over the right. "Japan is like that, we're on the winning plate, and the plate that the ocean is sitting on is fucking losing. Continent plates usually win over ocean plates 'cause the ocean plates are fucking denser than you, and they sink. It's sometimes called a destructive boundary 'cause the lower plate dies."

"Alright," said Ashido, mimicking Katsuki's hand movements. "So like, the other types do what?"

Katsuki moved his hands apart. "Divergent means the plates are fucking running away from each other like cowards or some shit. They leave a gap and lava comes up and makes new rock. Also called constructive 'cause I guess it makes new plate material."

Black-Eyes moved her hands and hummed to herself. "Running away from each other. Right."

"Transform boundaries are like bumping into someone going the opposite direction," Katsuki continued, sliding his right hand forwards against the left he was pulling back. "Fucking annoying and grating as hell but not heading directly at or away from each other. Sometimes they're going the same way at different speeds instead. Get it now, moron?"

"Oh, yeah I do, actually," Black-Eyes said. "It makes sense."

"It always fucking did," Katsuki grumbled.

"Dude, you got Mina to learn something about geography," Sero said, faking a gasp. There was awe in his voice which Katsuki felt strangely pleased to hear. "I didn't know that was possible."

"Hey, shut up," the pink girl shoved at Sero. She looked back at Katsuki. "Looks like Kirishima's claims about your tutoring skills are legit. Probably could have done without the cursing, but I guess it's kinda more memorable that way."

Ashido grinned at him. He didn't return the smile, but he didn't try to tune out the next subject that was brought up. Or the next. Or even the one after that.

Lunch ended, time slowed to a crawl again, and everyone bundled into the classroom and tried to brace against the mood that Kirishima was exuding. The thunderstorm feeling was back. Or maybe Katsuki was just imagining the whole thing because most of the storm was directed at him.

It sort of felt like Kirishima had one of those cartoon rainclouds over him. Normally the redhead would be one of the ones chasing away someone else's bad energy, but it clearly wasn't something he could do for himself. This was something stubborn, persistent with a threatening undertone. Kirishima caught his eye, and they glared at each other. Katsuki turned back to the front, but it looked like Kaminari had caught the look. Fucking fantastic, there were going to be questions about that later.


Sure fucking enough, Kaminari grabbed him by the arm and hauled him off to one of the couches in the common room as soon as they all got back to the dorms. Sero and Ashido raised their eyebrows but trotted along behind without protest. It felt like he was being arrested or some shit. Katsuki sat down, but the rest of the group just milled there, shooting each other glances.

Kirishima, of course, spared no one a glance and made directly for the elevator. Not that Katsuki tried to watch or anything. The movement just happened to catch his eye.

"Are you fighting with Kirishima?" Kaminari hissed, and fuck, he'd seen where Katsuki was looking, hadn't he? Katsuki said nothing. "You are. Why? What happened?"

"I tried asking him what was wrong last night and he flipped out," Katsuki growled. Ugh, why was he even answering? "He told me to fuck off so I did."

Kaminari flopped down next to Katsuki on the couch. "Dude."

Sero sat next to Kaminari, and Ashido perched on the arm of the couch next to Katsuki. He folded his arms over his chest and stared at his shoes.

"Alright," Sero said, leaning over Kaminari. "So did you ask in like, a normal way or in a Bakugou way?"

Katsuki's palms crackled. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

Sero shrugged. "I mean you suck at people, pal. If Kirishima's cranky 'cause he's not sleeping then your usual, like, everything probably doesn't help."

Katsuki was about to issue a scathing rebuttal, but he bit his tongue to stop himself. As much as he fucking hated to admit it, Sero was right. Sero was. Wait. Wait? What? He sat up straighter. Looked around at Sero, and Ashido, and Kaminari. When the fuck had his brain switched over to their names? They were looking at him with fucking concern, as if they were like, his friends or some shit.



Friendship was fucking contagious.

"Damn it," he said. He rubbed at one of his temples. Fine, okay. Friends. So he could talk to friends. That was how it worked. "Yeah, I'm fucking awful at people."

The group of friends - his friends, the fuck - all looked so surprised at his admittance that he might have laughed if he was in a better mood. He hesitated before his next words. Hesitated, shit. He had to force them out of his mouth like he was spitting shards of glass. "But the stuff he said was kinda... Fuck."

"Ohhhh," Ashido said, tapping one finger on her chin. "Cranky-rishima said something that hurt your feelings."

"Fucking," said Katsuki . The girl had cut straight to the heart of things. Fucking moron when it came to geography but somehow she fucking understood this? He could feel a vein throbbing in his forehead. "Fuck."

"Bakugou has feelings?" Kaminari chirped. Katsuki growled. Sero jabbed Kaminari in the side with one of his weird elbows. "Ow. Ooh, but what did he say?"

Katsuki glared at him. "Go die."

"Oh, he really has found your being-an-ass juice," Kaminari said with a sage nod. Then he grinned. "Okay but like, seriously man, you gotta find a new way to threaten someone. There's only so many times you can yell 'die' before the effect wears off."

Katsuki thought about that. He offered a counterargument. "Go eviscerate yourself with a cactus?"

"Ooh. Vivid," Kaminari winced. He prodded Katsuki's shoulder. "That's fair. It's okay if you don't wanna share, man. Some people are afraid of opening up, I guess."

Afraid? Katsuki scoffed. The obvious attempt at goading him into replying was not going to work. It wasn't. It definitely w- "He said that I fucking, fucking based my entire personality on my Quirk and there isn't... There isn't anything other than that. And that's how I think of other people."

Fuck. Katsuki curled his arms tighter around himself, pouted - fuck if anyone saw - and refused to meet the others' eyes. They were probably all looking at him with fucking pity and he didn't want to see that because he'd have to fucking explode their stupid faces and there was a part of him that no longer wanted to do that. So he didn't look.

Ashido whistled. "Man, talk about evisceration."

Katsuki shrugged. The laces on his shoes were a little worn, he should probably replace them soon.

"Kirishima said that? Not like, an evil clone?" Kaminari asked. Katsuki shrugged again. "Man, that guy goes intense on everything he does, even roasting his friends."

"He's got a bit of a point," Ashido said. Katsuki looked up at her sharply. "I mean, that was definitely you at the beginning of the year."

"I fucking know that," Katsuki said. "Fuck, that's why- Shit. Fuck. Damn."

"Oh, I see, Bakugou has feelings but he's allergic to them," Kaminari said, nodding sagely. "Only instead of breaking out in hives or suffocating to death he just runs out of words that aren't curses."

"Fuck you," Katsuki said. Kaminari just grinned.

Sero's face turned thoughtful. "I wonder what's causing it. Kirishima not sleeping, I mean, not Bakugou's emotional problems."

"That's what we gotta find out," Kaminari said. He raised his fist. "Bakugou can't help until he makes up with Kirishima, but the rest of us might be able to pry something out of him."

"The fuck I can't help," Katsuki growled. He looked up now, meeting Kaminari's eyes with a fierce, burning glare. Kaminari just hit him on the shoulder.

"No offence, dude," said Kaminari, about to say something offensive. "But you have like, negative three tact points. What are you gonna do? Go apologise? You?"

Apologise? Katsuki stood up. Well fuck, fine then. He could fucking do that. Watch him.

"Whoa, you are?" Kaminari asked. Bakugou grunted an affirmative and stalked away. There was a chorus of noises behind him, some small cheers, others groans of foreseen failure. Well fuck them, Katsuki was going to give Kirishima the best fucking apology ever.

Chapter Text

Katsuki knocked on Kirishima's door. At once there was a groan, and then stomping, and the door was wrenched open. Kirishima was scowling again. His face was pale and grey, which was a horrible combination with his hair. Katsuki's worry rose up again in full force, but he kept his features as neutral as he could.

"Oh, it's you," Kirishima said. His scowl deepened at he put one hand against the doorframe. Katsuki's eyes flicked towards the movement and then back to Kirishima's really fucking unhealthy-looking face. "What do you want, Bakugou?"

"To say sorry," Katsuki said. That had been simple enough, right? There was probably something more to say. As Katsuki struggled with the words, Kirishima blinked, and his scowl fell away. "You... I shouldn't have- Ugh. I can be abrasive, I guess. So-"

"Abrasive?" Kirishima repeated. He snorted. He sighed. "No, there's nothing you have to apologise for, Bakugou. Fuck, yesterday... you were actually trying to reach out and I said some ugly shit I didn't mean 'cause I've been-. It wasn't very manly of me. I'm sorry."

"Oh," Katsuki said. Well, Kirishima had turned that right around on him. Was that it? Just like that? Katsuki didn't know whether to be relieved or disappointed. He had expected more yelling, maybe, but now they were just staring at each other in awkward silence. Were they friends again? Should Katsuki ask? "You weren't... wrong. About what you said."

Kirishima sighed. "Yeah, I was. I was tired and angry. I still kind of am tired and angry but I shouldn't've been a dick about it."

"That doesn't mean it wasn't fucking true," Katsuki said. Kirishima's mouth pulled down into a grimace. Katsuki didn't know what he should say next. Fuck friendship, feelings were so goddamn weird. He didn't want to rile Kirishima up again but he still wanted to know what the fuck was wrong.

"People are worried about you, Kirishima," he tried instead, trying to keep his volume low and his tone even. It sort of felt like Kirishima was a wild animal that might flee or perhaps gore him to death at the slightest wrong movement. "You're not sleeping much, are you?"

Kirishima shrugged, but his face gave nothing away. "Nope."

"Is there a reason for that?" Katsuki asked, sticking his hands in his pockets and feeling weirdly self-conscious.

Kirishima's expression clouded over again. "I'm dealing with it."

Clearly fucking not, Katsuki thought, and it must have been written all over his face too because Kirishima frowned at him. There were a few more moments where Katsuki just looked at Kirishima and Kirishima looked at Katsuki. Was this a battle of wills or were the both of them just confused? Katsuki felt confused. Fuck.

"Look, bro... Not yet, okay?" Kirishima said. He ran a hand through his hair and tugged some of the crumpled spikes down. It was a ridiculous look, but something in Katsuki's gut felt warm at the sight of it. "Not yet."

Not yet, huh? Well that was much, much better than a never.

"Yeah, alright," Katsuki said. "Not yet."

"Thanks, Bakugou," Kirishima tugged more hair down across his face and yawned. "I'll try to not be such a grumpy bastard to everyone in class tomorrow."

"Good," said Katsuki, pulling his hands from his pockets and crossing his arms. "'Cause there's only room for one of those in 1A."

"And you've got that position cornered, huh?" Kirishima gave the most genuine grin Katsuki had seen from him in days. It was a little frayed at the edges, but it was Kirishima's smile back where it belonged. On his face, right there, with his pointy teeth. Katsuki felt like his insides were fizzing. He wasn't about to lose his friend. His best friend? Shit, feelings were weird but they were kind of okay sometimes too.

"Fucking exactly," said Katsuki. He worked his face into a smirk. "Night, Shitty-Hair."

"Goodnight, man."

Kirishima closed the door with a weird little wave, and Katsuki took a few moments to marvel at how much lighter he felt. Kirishima did have a problem, but he would explain what it was when he was ready. Katsuki just had to wait. He could do that.

Speaking of waiting, the others in the common room were probably waiting to see if he had blown everything into fucking pieces again. He had better go make sure they weren't planning on anything ridiculous to get Kirishima's answers out of him. He turned back for the elevator.

The gang looked up when he approached them. So did some of the others in the room, but Katsuki wasn't concerned with them. He stopped beside the couch and nodded at their questioning expressions. Three relieved grins broke out.

"Holy crap, it worked?" Kaminari exclaimed. Katsuki scowled at him.

"Of course it fucking did," Katsuki said. He left out the part where most of the apologising had come from Kirishima instead. "I tried asking what was wrong again."

"Did you find out what was bothering him?" Ashido asked.

Katsuki shook his head. "Not yet. His words."

Katsuki sat himself back down into the corner of the couch he had occupied before.

"Not yet... but soon?" Sero asked.

Katsuki shrugged. "Fucking hope so."



Sure enough, Kirishima kept to his word about being less snappish. On Sunday, he stayed in his room all morning and presumably tried to sleep his way through the day. He emerged for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and was back to smiles and jokes with everyone. His eyes were still shadowed, though, his hair un-gelled, and he slumped his shoulders every time he thought no one was watching him.

Katsuki took notice, though. He was on lookout for red hair and sharp teeth. He felt jittery whenever he couldn't see Kirishima, wondering if the other boy had gone back up to bed without mentioning anything. If Katsuki really was Kirishima's best friend, then Katsuki was going to be the best damn best friend that anyone had ever fucking seen. He needed to be aware of where Kirishima was at all times, just in case the other boy looked up and met his eyes and motioned or something that he was ready to spill his problem.

It wasn't too hard to spot him when they were mashed in with the rest of their friends on the couch. The others were revelling in Kirishima's seeming return to normality, even if they all knew the root cause hadn't been addressed yet. Kirishima was sat right in the middle of the couch between Ashido and Kaminari. Sero and Katsuki bookended the group.

Katsuki felt a weird prickle of annoyance about not sitting next to Kirishima himself. He'd been the one to actually talk to Kirishima, after all, and, well, best friend had to count for something? Right? Katsuki should be sitting next to Kirishima. He leaned back in the seat and frowned. Was he being possessive? Weird. His friendship centres or whatever must be working on fucking overdrive, probably to make up for lost time for how long he'd been neglecting them. He decided to ignore the feeling and focus on the conversation.

"Uraraka's getting mean in her fighting style, y'know," Kaminari said. He rubbed at his face. "Did you see that rock she threw at me on Thursday with her antigravity? Nearly knocked my frickin' head off."

"Oh, that would have been an improvement on your aesthetic," Sero said. Ashido and Kirishima nodded.

Kaminari grumbled something about traitors and pushed at Kirishima's shoulder, being the closest one in reach. Katsuki rolled his eyes.

"I know what you mean though," Sero said, leaning around Ashido. "I fought her last week and I don't think I've ever come so close to death. Whatever she's learning from her internship is working for her, and now I live in abject fear."

Kaminari nodded. "If she wanted to kill us all we'd be doomed. One touch, blip, and she could send us out into the cold dark void of space, never to return."

"Stop being so fucking dramatic," Katsuki said. He didn't try to put much venom in his words.

"Dude," Kaminari eyed him. "Coming from Lord Drama-splosion himself."

Kirishima snorted with laughter, and Katsuki's gaze flicked towards him briefly before he geared up for his response.

"Well what are you gonna do next time, Drooly?" Katsuki asked. "Let her launch you into fucking space? Or find a way to fight back?"

"Everything's just progress progress progress with you, huh Bakubro?" Ashido said. Katsuki narrowed his eyes.

"Call me that again and I'll kill you," Katsuki said. Ashido sighed.

"Honestly," she said. "Kaminari's right, you're going stale on the insult front."

Everyone laughed, and Katsuki grumbled, but actually? He found he didn't mind too much. It was weird. Back when he'd first joined Yuuei, he'd have taken the laughter personally and exploded - literally and metaphorically. Now, though... it was a different kind of personal. A personal that he found he actually liked, which was fucking bizarre. Fucking friendship.

He glanced across the room, over at Deku and his gang. That was a mess he probably couldn't un-fuck, even if he wanted to. Katsuki had refused to admit it to himself but he'd been a fucking dick for so fucking long. He still was. It was something he was going to have to try to fix if he ever wanted to be a true hero. Deku laughed at something the Frog-Girl said. Not now, though.

He had a vague concept in his head that he needed to become better at people before he could deal with Deku, because otherwise things would just go to shit again like they always did. There was no path back to friendship that Katsuki could see there, but a tolerance that wasn't grudging would be so much easier, not just on him, not just on Deku, but on everyone. Katsuki didn't do dealings in pity, and he'd always thought Deku pitied him for... something. Always fucking reaching out when Katsuki didn't fucking need the help, but maybe he'd been wrong about the other kid's motivations and ruined a whole lot... Fuck. Kirishima had hit the nail on the head when he'd called Katsuki out in his sleep-drunken ire. Quirks before anything else, huh? If Deku had never been given his Quirk, would Katsuki ever have even acknowledged him as a person after he'd joined Yuuei? Fuck, Katsuki had been veering off towards some dangerous fucking ground.

"Hey, Bakubro," Kaminari poked him. "You're spacing out. Were you thinking up new ways to threaten us?"

"Don't call me that," Katsuki said, his mind eager to switch back to more familiar violent thoughts. "Go stick your arm in a fucking woodchipper."

"That's more like it," Kaminari said, pumping his fist. "I'm gonna have that mental image in my head for days."

"I don't think you have anything in your head at all," Katsuki retorted. The group ooohed and began prodding Kaminari.

"He's got you there," said Sero. Kaminari pulled an exaggerated pouting face.

"That's why Uraraka was aiming for your head!" Ashido crowed. She began to giggle.

"Nothing there that you'd miss!" Kirishima finished, while the pink girl doubled over in her seat.

"You're all bullying me," Kaminari said, pouting even harder. The effect was ruined somewhat by his shaking shoulders as he tried not to laugh.

Katsuki gave a snort of laughter himself.

"Alright, well," Kirishima said, stretching up with his arms and getting to his feet. "I'm going to head back to my room."

There was a chorus of sad noises that Katsuki did not get involved in. Kirishima held up his hands.

"I know, I know, but I'm exhausted from... stuff," he said. Katsuki wished he knew what the fuck the 'stuff' was.

"Aw, but we were gonna dig out Monopoly later," Ashido whined. "You can be the dog, Kirishima? That's your favourite!"

Kirishima hesitated, clearly tempted, then he grimaced. "Maybe some other time, guys."

Katsuki waited for the disappointed protests to simmer down before speaking. "Get some fucking sleep, Shitty-Hair."

Kirishima gave a bark of laughter. "See, Bakubro gets it. Night guys."

"Night," said Sero. After a moment, Ashido echoed him, but Kaminari held up one finger.

"Hold on, just a moment," Kaminari said. He pointed at Katsuki . "How come you get to call him Bakubro without having to report him for attempted murder?"

"Best friend privileges," Kirishima shot back without a moment's pause. Oh, Kirishima actually said that out loud. Huh. Alright. Huh. Cool. Definitely. Kirishima held out a fist to Katsuki. "Right?"

Katsuki bumped it with his own. "Fuck yeah. Now go fucking lie down."

Kirishima gave him a ragged grin and sauntered away. Kirishima didn't saunter very often. Actually, Katsuki couldn't recall seeing him do it before; Kirishima wasn't exactly a sauntering guy. This sleep deprivation shit was really messing with him or something.

Kaminari stroked his chin, and Katsuki saw him lock eyes with Ashido for a second. She raised one eyebrow. He shrugged. Then the moment was gone and they launched into discussing how scared they were of Uraraka again.


The next few days passed with very little change. Kirishima was a little grumpier than normal, and he still looked like crap, but the status quo was balancing and he was trying to tone his reactions down. He was no longer snapping at people, but he was still skipping lunch breaks to nap in the classroom and grumbling under his breath about things.

Every morning, Katsuki's friends - which was still a little weird to think about - would ask him if Kirishima had said anything new. He had not. Every evening after classes, Kirishima paused only long enough to say goodnight before going up to his room again. He missed game night again, and Katsuki had had to listen to Kaminari's moaning about it all evening while Katsuki obliterated everyone at card games.

Things had stabilised into the beginning of a routine, but Katsuki had the suspicion that something was going to break, and soon.

He was right.

Chapter Text

Wednesday evening and Katsuki found himself up and working on his homework much later than he usually did. It wasn't that he was struggling with it - quite the opposite really. He had hit his stride on an essay and he wasn't going to stop until the burst of inspiration cooled and blew away.

At least, that had been the plan. At about one am, Katsuki heard a loud thump from the next room and a cry of pain. He froze, and the rest of the sentence he had been writing evaporated. There was another sound, a low groan, and then footfalls pacing up and down. Whatever was happening to Kirishima was happening now. Katsuki stood up, laying the pen down, and stopped to listen again. Kirishima was still pacing.

Had this been going on every night? Katsuki must have been a heavier sleeper than he thought he was. He looked at the wall. He made for the door.

As much as most of him wanted to blast Kirishima's door in, Katsuki was able to restrain himself to a light knock. He cast a glance towards Octopus' room - had he heard anything about this whole thing? He had those creepy ear things, so maybe, maybe not.
The sound of pacing stopped, and Katsuki heard a muffled 'fuck' from inside Kirishima's room. Then the footfalls came towards the door, and there was Kirishima.

Kirishima was as pale as a sheet, and clammy-looking, except around his eyes. He looked like a fucking panda with how dark the circles under his eyes were. The red of his tangled hair might have been exacerbating the effect, and his pyjama shirt seemed soaked in sweat as if he'd been running. His vision was glassy, and he stared at Katsuki for several moments before seeming to recognise him.

"Hey," Kirishima said, voice croaky. "Shit, sorry, did I wake you up?"

"I was working on homework," Katsuki said, tilting his head. "What's with you?"

"Oh, I just fell out of bed," Kirishima said, almost airily. He put one hand to the back of his neck. "But I'm good."

Katsuki squinted at him. "No you're not."

Kirishima's expression fell, and he looked down at the hand not on his neck. His fingers were trembling and he closed his hand up into a fist. "No, I'm not. Fuck it."

He jerked his head towards his room and went inside. Katsuki followed. Kirishima sat cross-legged on his bed, his hands on his knees and a grimace on his face. He looked up at Katsuki, looked away, and then patted the bed beside him. Katsuki sat and waited.

"So, I haven't been getting much sleep for the past couple of weeks," Kirishima said. His voice was subdued. "But I guess you figured that out already."

Katsuki nodded, but Kirishima still wasn't looking at him so he settled for a grunt of agreement.

"So... Ugh, this is kind of embarassing and I don't know if you'll-" Kirishima moved his hands around, looking for the right words. "If you'll get it, I guess? So. Uh."

Now he turned to Katsuki and grimaced. "Recovery Girl says I've developed something called Nightmare Disorder."

Nightmares? What the fuck? Nightmares? Katsuki's fists clenched. Fuck, nightmares weren't explodable.

"I get reoccuring nightmares most nights. It's uh, really vivid stuff," Kirishima said. "This thing just.... It wakes you up and you remember all of it. There's no like fuck-where-am-I feeling or anything you just like, you know you're awake immediately and you know they were nightmares but they won't fucking go away and they're all in your head just spinning around and around with all the fucking details and- ugh."

"Fuck," said Katsuki . He didn't really know what the hell he was supposed to say.. "How do you stop it?"

"I fucking can't," Kirishima said. He lay back and threw an arm over his face. "Sleeping tablets don't work - I can get to sleep just fine but they don't stop the nightmares from waking me up. Then I get too fucking stressed over what the nightmares were to fall asleep again. I try but like, my heart just races and won't slow down and I can't relax again, so. Yeah. This is me done for the night until tomorrow, probably."

Katsuki stared down at his hands. Fuck, well he probably wouldn't be getting much sleep tonight either. "What happens?"

Kirishima moved his arm off his face and gave Katsuki a puzzled look. "What?"

"What happens?" he asked again. "In the fucking nightmares, I mean."

"Oh," said Kirishima. His face screwed up and then relaxed again. "There's like, three main ones. Sometimes they mix together. First one is here at Yuuei. I'm walking through the hallways and it's all empty, and I hear a noise behind me but I can't turn around to see what it is. I start moving faster and the sound keeps following me. I don't know what it is, I just know I have to keep running or it'll get me, and my Quirk won't work so I can't fight back, and sometimes I get glimpses into the classrooms as I go past and- They're full of people. Students having lessons, teachers, and none of them can see me or hear me and I can't get into the classrooms. I just have to keep running down the stupid fucking empty hallways."

"Shit," said Katsuki. Kirishima nodded.

"The second one is, um. It's Kamino," Kirishima said. Katsuki's hands flexed, and he frowned, but he nodded at Kirishima to continue. "When that- When All For One appeared it was like... Maybe it was his Quirk, but, his presence made all of us there see ourselves... dead. We were behind a wall, so he didn't spot us, but in the nightmare he notices us and- I move out of the way, just enough, but the others don't and they- It- They're all on the ground, covered in blood just like the vision showed. And then you appear out of that teleporting slime stuff, only..."

Kirishima swallowed. "Only you're already dead, and then... All For One wins over All Might and everything goes to shit."

Well fuck. Katsuki didn't have time to respond before Kirishima launched into the description of the third nightmare.

"The other one is sort of... the Sport's Festival, but the arena is where we took the hero license exam. The audience is silent, and I'm standing in the middle of the arena, and then someone announces my opponent. It's normally Rappa. He's uh, I don't really know if I'm allowed to talk about it yet but he's the villain I fought when we were recovering Eri during the internship."

"The one that put you in hospital?" Katsuki asked. Kirishima nodded. Katsuki clenched his jaw.

"In the nightmare, when we start fighting, the audience starts making noise at last, but it's like a rushing, roaring noise. And there's jeering, and everyone's rooting for Rappa and not me," Kirishima said. He rubbed his jaw. "The sound of the crowd is worse than the fight, actually. There's one distinct voice. It's like a whisper but it's so loud. The voice feels like, I don't know, pressure or something. Like I'm being crushed by it, and it's grating like nails on a chalkboard. I don't even know whose voice it is but it's malicious, and what it says is... Ugh. I usually wake up from that one feeling sick."

"I see," said Katsuki. Kirishima shifted.

"Sorry, bro, I guess I must seem pretty weak right now," Kirishima said with a humourless laugh. "Laid low by some fucking mental images. How manly."

"You're not weak, Kirishima," Katsuki said. He scowled. Kirishima was fucking strong, and he kept fucking forgetting it. It was so damn annoying. "What did Recovery Girl say?"

"Well, it's still not been enough time to tell what the underlying cause of this is, apparently," Kirishima said. He gave a little huff. "It's stress or... PTSD, or something. If it's PTSD then there actually might be some sort of medication but if it's not then the meds would do more harm than good. I don't want to be on meds, anyway. Not for this."

Kirishima paused. His mouth pulled down. "Aside from that the only thing you can really do is like, visualisation stuff. Like, play through the nightmares in your head while you're awake and try to change the ending. Then hopefully the nightmare follows the nice version next time you have it. Hasn't worked yet, so, fuck."

"Hm," said Katsuki. Fuck, he was at a loss for what to say. What a hell of a friend he was, huh? "That fucking sucks."

"Yeah," Kirishima agreed. He was looking a little less pale now. Maybe talking had helped? Katsuki hoped it had helped, because there was fuck-all else he could do. "So that's what my problem is. Sorry if it wasn't like, dramatic. Hope it delivered or whatever."

Uh oh, that sounded like Cranky-rishima was edging back into his voice. Katsuki stifled a yawn, and Kirishima frowned at him.

"Right, so, you can go back to your room now you've heard everything, I guess," said the redhead. His voice had gone brittle and he scooted back on his bed until his back was up against the wall. "Don't let me keep you up any longer."

"Fuck that," said Katsuki. "You think I'd get any fucking sleep after this? Fuck no."

Kirishima's scowl returned. "I don't- You shouldn't have to lose any sleep over this too, man."

"Well I fucking will anyway, idiot," Katsuki shot back. "You're not fucking okay and that makes me not fucking okay, so, fuck."

"Oh wow," Kirishima said in a flat voice. "The great Bakugou Katsuki has learned how empathy works. Now you can join the real human beings club."

"Oh, fuck you," Katsuki said, standing up and clenching his fists and staring at the wall and gritting his teeth and trying really really hard not to explode anything. Goddamn, why had that made him so angry? He wasn't angry at Kirishima, but the words were just cutting too close for him to shrug them off. He chanced a glance at the other boy, whose face had fallen.

"Sorry-" began the redhead, but Katsuki held up his hand.

"Stop fucking apologising, Shitty-Hair," he said, and sat back down on the bed with a heavy whump. He moved back to bump shoulders with Kirishima. "You're such a moron."

"And you're a dick," Kirishima grumbled, but it was without any heat. "So what, you're just gonna sit here with me all night?"

"Yeah," Katsuki said. Kirishima opened his mouth, closed it again, and gave Katsuki an inscrutible look that made something in Katsuki's gut shiver. He pointed at Kirishima's desk. "You got any assignments you need to work on?"

"Eh? A midnight tutoring session?" Kirishima squinted at him. "I don't think my brain's in the right place for that."

"Your idiot brain's never in the right place for it," Katsuki said, reaching over and flicking Kirishima's temple. Kirishima gave him a small grin and pushed his hand away. "You tried any alarms to wake you up before you start fucking dreaming?"

Kirishima hmmed in thought. "No, actually. You think that could work?"

Katsuki shrugged. "Can't have shitty nightmares if you never get to REM sleep. Probably not that fucking great in the long-term though."

"Neither is not sleeping at all after one of the fuckers happens," Kirishima countered. "It's something to try at least. Thanks, man."

"Whatever," said Katsuki, but his insides were glowing from being able to offer something to his friend.

"Guess I should probably let the others know what's happening too, at some point," Kirishima said. Katsuki felt a weird pang of what, jealousy? That this sort-of-secret between them would be spread around? Well fuck that. If Kirishima needed to tell more people about it then he needed to tell more people about it. What the fuck, feelings? "It's just, ugh, so unmanly."

"Your brain is fucking with you and you're fighting it," Katsuki said. "Isn't that manly or whatever?"

"I guess," Kirishima said with a shrug. He really needed to stop with the whole kicked-puppy look he was going with right now or Katsuki was going to have to do... something.

Katsuki growled. "If they laugh at you I'll fucking murder them."

Kirishima looked up at that, and then beamed at him. Properly. It was the first actual, fully-fledged full-toothed smile that Katsuki had seen the other boy make for weeks. His stomach somersaulted. Something glimmered in the back of his mind and he wasn't sure if he wanted to look at it yet, so he pushed it aside.
Fuck, but Kirishima's mood was swinging up and down like a fucking pendulum now, wasn't it?

"Thanks, Bakugou," Kirishima said. He leaned his head back on the wall. "Wanna watch a movie?"

"You don't want to wake Octopus up," Katsuki said, nodding at the wall.

"Oh," said Kirishima. "We could watch it quietly?"

Katsuki rolled his eyes. "Which movie?"

"How about Mad Max: Fury Road? The old classic?" Kirishima asked, turning pleading eyes upon Katsuki. They weren't necessary. Fury Road was full of some pretty good explosions for its time-period.

"Fine," said Katsuki. Kirishima pumped his fist and went to set it up. "But you know you're gonna fucking fall asleep while you're watching it."

Kirishima froze, as though he'd forgotten his normal habit of conking out half-way through anything he watched with the others. Whenever a movie night was called, he'd be there, and by the end of it he'd be sprawled across several people and snoring gently.

"Maybe that's a good thing," Kirishima said as he spun the DVD in his hands a couple of times. "I guess you'll have to be my alarm clock for tonight, yeah? Or, I mean, you don't have to. Um."

"Fine," said Katsuki again. His toes felt tingly. Maybe he'd been sitting weirdly. "Just get this fucking thing on already, hair-for-brains."

Kirishima opened the videoplayer and brought his laptop back over to the bed. There was a bit of shuffling, and then they were sitting next to each other against the headboard, with pillows piled against it. Kirishima was by the wall with the duvet over his legs, while Katsuki sat on top of the duvet. The movie began.

Kirishima was awake for most of it, to his credit. Katsuki pointed out the stunts that he thought were pretty cool, given that this had been filmed back before Quirks had ever shown up. Kirishima gushed over how manly Max and Furiosa were every time they were onscreen.

Then at one point he mumbled something about how both of them were unfairly attractive, and then he flushed and shot a worried glance at Katsuki as if he'd forgotten he was there. And he'd just sort of maybe admitted that he wasn't completely straight.

Katsuki felt his ears burning. Fuck. Fuck. Okay. It wasn't like Katsuki was, either, but he'd never really talked about it with... anyone. Fuck.

"Yeah," he said, not looking at Kirishima. "The guy who plays Max was kinda hot, I guess."

There were a few moments of silence where neither of them were looking at anything in particular. Katsuki wondered if Kirishima was going to ask him questions, and if he ought to have any questions prepared back. Then something exploded on the screen and Kirishima commented on enjoying the special effects in a wary voice, and they were just back to chatting about how cool it was that all the vehicle stuff had been real. Katsuki had quite a few opinions about the explosions, it turned out. Katsuki was glad. The glimmering in the back of his mind was trying even harder to jump from subconscious to concious, but he hit it in the face - or whatever equivalent of a face an abstract mental construct had - and told it to fuck off because he really, really wasn't fucking ready to look at it yet.

If the occasional brush of their shoulders from then on tingled just a bit, Katsuki definitely didn't notice.

Kirishima managed to maintain his reputation for sleeping through movies in the end, and he was snoring by the time Furiosa's triumphant, bloody ascension rolled around. Did Kirishima do this at the theatre, or was it a thing reserved only for home-movies? What a weirdo. Katsuki resisted the urge to prod the other boy's face to wake him up and ask.

The credits started rolling, and Katsuki wasn't entirely sure what to do because fuck, Kirishima might have another fucking nightmare soon and it would be a dick move to just leave him to it. Katsuki didn't want that to happen, but he also didn't want to just sit on Kirishima's bed while the other boy drooled into his pillow and fucking watch him all night or some shit. That would be weird and creepy. Katsuki looked at Kirishima's laptop. It would be less creepy to use the laptop and find another movie to watch, right? It wasn't as if he wanted to snoop through Kirishima's files, although now the thought had occurred to him... But no.

He pulled up Kirishma's internet browser - fucking default one, fucking really - and immediately set about downloading one that was far fuckin superior. Then he typed 'Netflix' into the search bar. He logged into his own account and scrolled through some of the recommended movies. Ugh. Ugh. Nope. Nuh-uh. Fuck that one. Whatever algorithm Netflix used it wasn't fucking good enough, and they'd had over a century to work on it. He shook his head and pulled up his list of previously approved stuff, deliberated for a few moments, and then settled on another old, pre-Quirk movie that was a gorey action-comedy about a British police officer being sent to a tiny town and solving a string of gruesome murders that no one believed were murders. It was funny, there was blood and death, and there was a big explosion in the middle of it. And there was also a friendship between the two leads that Katsuki was growing to appreciate more and more.

At about the point where the explosion was being set up, Katsuki felt Kirishima twitch beside him. He paused the movie and looked down at Kirishima. His eyes were twitching under his eyelids, and his eyebrows contracted and relaxed every few seconds. Kirishima whimpered. Fuck! Katsuki grabbed Kirishima's shoulder and shook the other boy hard.

"Oi, Kirishima," Katsuki hissed. Kirishima blinked awake, gasping in a short breath, and then he was pushing himself up to sit and rub at his forehead.

"You're still here? Is Fury Road still on?" Kirishima mumbled. He squinted at the laptop screen. "Oh. It finished. How long was I asleep?"

"About an hour," Katsuki said. "Little more maybe. Nightmare?"

"Just the start of the Yuuei corridor one," Kirishima said. He was already laying himself back down and clamping his eyes shut again. "But it... didn't..."

Kirishima trailed off and went back to sleep within moments. Katsuki took a few moments to assure himself that Kirishima really had gone back to sleep and started the movie again. It was going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

Katsuki ended up prodding Kirishima awake several more times over the course of the night. Well, early morning would probably be more accurate. At about six, Kirishima told him to go back to his room and take a nap himself. He did so. Or at least, he tried to sleep, but his brain was filled with too many thoughts.

Fucking Nightmare Disorder needed to die. It was trying to steal his friend away from him, and that was not fucking okay.

Then there was the fact that Katsuki and Kirishima had implied their sexualities at each other and hadn't immediately died of embarrassment. Okay, that was fine. Best friends told each other stuff like that, right? It didn't have to feel weird, right? They were just two guys who liked guys. It wasn't weird. It didn't matter at all. It was kind of a relief, anyway, an extra layer of camraderie for them to share or whatever, another layer of trust over their well-lacquered friendship. That was all

Katsuki's realisation of how awful he'd been to Deku was mixed up in his thoughts too. Katsuki's memories of Kamino. The epiphanies he'd had with the little twerps in his second license exam. Playing as part of the band during the festival. Kirishima's scalding words from the other day, Kirishima's self-depreciation about his nightmares. All of things occupied his thoughts and swirled about in his head and tried to compete for his attention until his alarm went off and he prepared for class.

It had only been a few hours of sitting on Kirishima's bed binging movies, but Katsuki felt like he'd been hit with a fucking train-summoning Quirk. Then again, he hadn't slept the rest of the evening before the incident. Katsuki didn't like missing out on sleep, but given how much healthier Kirishima was looking in the classroom after just a few more hours to himself made it worth it. Next time, Katsuki would just have to sleep for a bit before and-
Next time? Brain, what?

Katsuki studied his pencil. Next time. Maybe. If he heard Kirishima throught the wall again, sure, but it wasn't like he was going to go out of his way to- fuck it. Yeah, there was probably going to have to be a next time, wasn't there? He wasn't about to half-ass this friendship.

And thinking of friendships... Kirishima napped at lunch again while Katsuki took up his seat with the others in the lunch hall. They were all looking at him, expectant, but he made a show of eating some of his lunch first and stared them all down.

"Did you have a breakthrough?" Ashido asked, at length. "Kirishima looks a little better this morning."

"I guess," Katsuki nodded. "He told me what was wrong at least. I suggested some stuff."

"Well?" Kaminari asked, leaning across the table. Katsuki took another mouthful and shook his head.

"S'private," Katsuki said. He rather enjoyed the mixture of outrage and disappointment that crumpled the other blond's face. He snickered.

Kaminari slumped, almost into his lunch. "Ughhh, that's not fair, dude. Best friend privileges are wack."

"He's going to talk to all you morons soon," Katsuki said. "But I'm not a fucking messenger so you've gotta ask him about it. Got it, dumbasses?"

"Would be nice if we could find him during the day," Sero whined. "But he like, he's gone at lunch now. To who the hell knows where. Is he even eating anything? 'Cause he doesn't come down for breakfast or dinner much either."

Katsuki blinked. Huh. That wasn't something he had thought about. Fuck. He considered revealing that Kirishima was in the classroom again, but the risk of dogpiling was even greater now.

"Fuck, I don't know," Katsuki said. He frowned. "Fucking hell, he's an idiot if he is skipping meals."

Great, now he was worried again. Fuck. It was Thursday, though, so maybe Kirishima would actually come to be tutored this evening and Katsuki could confront him about it then. Ugh.


That evening the redhead actually showed up, much to Katsuki's surprise, but his attention span had gone from appalling to sub-atomic. Katsuki hadn't had the chance to ask the other boy if he was eating because he needed to find a way to inject it into the conversation in a way that didn't come across like Katsuki was some sort of fucking mother hen type. Kirishima wasn't helping, he kept coming up with stranger and stranger things to talk about.

Did Katsuki think aliens existed? Fucking maybe, but if they ever came to Earth looking for a fight then they were gonna be pulverised. Had Katsuki ever had nightmares himself? A few but not as fucking bad as Kirishima was having them. Had Katsuki ever tasted Finnish salmiakki? What the fuck was that? And so on.

"So..." said Kirishima, leaning back in the desk chair, swinging his legs and not focusing on his maths homework like Katsuki had already told him dozens of times. "What kind of guys do you like? Like, your type?"

Katsuki blinked. His own work was strewn haphazardly around him on the bed, rather resembling the contents of his brain at that exact moment. What the fuck. The words had been nonchalant, and the meaning of them took a few moments to filter through. He felt himself redden slightly under Kirishima's curious stare. What the fuck. Why did Kirishima want to know that? The hell?

"None of your business," he grunted. Kirishima pouted and Katsuki felt a wave of nausea-that-wasn't-actually-nausea hit him.

"Aw, but I wanna know, Bakubro! Hey, how's about I go first?" Kirishima asked. He brought his fists up together. "I like people who show manly virtues! People who live life without regrets! Oh, and muscles. Muscles are great."

"I don't need to know any of this," Katsuki said. He absolutely did not think about maybe spending some more time training for any reason. He needed to push the conversation back where it belonged, to safe areas. "What question are you on?"

Kirishima glanced back at his worksheet. "Uh, five, I think."

"Get a fucking move on with it then," Katsuki growled. He brandished a textbook and Kirishima snapped around to hunch over the paper. He scribbled away for a few minutes, but then he was turning back again.

"Alright but, like, I don't have anyone else to talk about this stuff with. I'm pretty sure Kaminari and Sero are both straight. Mina probably knows about me but it'd be weird to bring it up with her because she's like, too nosy," Kirishima said. Katsuki groaned. "Yeah okay, okay, you don't have to talk. But you're good at listening, so..."

Kirishima shrugged. Katsuki narrowed his eyes.

"You're good at fucking procrastinating," Katsuki said. He sighed. "Get to question ten, and if you've got it all correct then I'll consider not ignoring you."

"Sweet!" Kirishima said. He went back to the worksheet. Katsuki tried to look at his own work, but instead found himself studying the back of Kirishima's head with a scowl on his face. Kirishima said Ashido was nosy. Fuck. Why was Kirishima so goddamn augh? Why were all of his friends so goddamn annoying? One of Kirishima's spikes of hair was askew and that was annoying too. He looked away from it, down at his History homework, and wrote down a couple of answers.

A triumphant ha made him look up, and Kirishima presented him with the maths worksheet. Katsuki gave it a quick once-over. Kirishima's handwriting was messy as ever, but Katsuki had long since learned to read it and the actual answers seemed to be correct. Katsuki nodded, handing the paper back. "Not terrible, idiot."

Kirishima beamed as he put the paper back down on the desk, and then he was moving the chair around to face Katsuki. His expression was a mix of wariness and curiosity and something else that Katsuki can't quite put his finger on, which frustrates him. "Alright, so, you got any crushes on anyone you wanna mention?"

Katsuki 's palms gave off a couple of small explosions. He felt a sudden rush of fucking panic. What the fuck?

"No? Cool, that's cool," Kirishima said. He stroked his chin with one hand. "It's pretty much the opposite for me. You know how many heroes show manly attributes? You know how many heroes are frickin' ripped as hell? Every day I live in agony."

Oh. They were talking about hero crushes. Acceptable. Wait, what the fuck had he been thinking about then? Katsuki shook his head and scoffed. "Drama queen."

"Thank you," Kirishima said, then his expression went as devious as Kirishima could get. "Hey, Bakugou... Did you ever have a crush on... All Might?"

Katsuki spluttered with incoherent rage as he leapt from the bed and brought his flashing palms down on Kirishima's readily-hardened and cackling face.

"Fucking die, Shitty-Hair!" he roared, pulling Kirishima out of the chair. Kirishima was laughing, the bastard, and moving his arms in a weak attempt to block Katsuki's blows. There wasn't really enough space in the room to have a proper fight, and Kirishima wasn't even trying, so he settled for another couple of explosions on Kirishima's face for good measure before he sat back down on his bed again. Some of the papers fluttered to the floor.

"You can't fucking say stuff like that," Katsuki said, palms still smoking. He knew he'd gone red, damn it, and Kirishima looked awfully pleased with himself. Fuck. The fucking nerve. "That's- argh!"

"I knew it," Kirishima said, a note of victory in his voice. Fuck. He laughed again. "Don't worry bro, I'm in the same boat with Crimson Riot. He was like... Whoa. So I mean. Yep."

Now Kirishima had gone a little red. Red face, red hair, red eyes. Lots of red. Katsuki needed to stop thinking about the colour because he was only getting redder himself.

"You should tell the others," Katsuki said, trying to change the subject. Kirishima looked puzzled. "You know? Sero, Ashido, Kaminari. Our friends? They're fucking bugging me."

"I should tell them I'm not straight?" Kirishima asked, perplexed. Katsuki groaned.

"No, hair-for-brains, or I mean, whatever about that if you want," Katsuki said. "I meant about the fucking nightmares."

"Oh those. Right," Kirishima said. He hummed to himself. "I'll tell them at lunch tomorrow. In the classroom."

Oh right. Lunch. Ah, now this was a good chance to ask.

"You are eating, aren't you Kirishima?" Katsuki asked. Kirishima frowned.

"Huh? Oh, yeah dude, I haven't been skipping meals," Kirishima said. He looked a little shifty, so Katsuki scowled at him. "I mean, not really. I haven't really had the energy to head to the lunch hall or anything recently, but I spoke to Recovery Girl about it 'cause I don't want to starve myself."

He pointed at the wall beyond which his room lay. "I've got like, a frick-ton of nutrient bars and nutrient drinks and all of that stuff I've been having in my room. It's not exciting or all that tasty, but it's something."

"Alright," Katsuki nodded, satisfied. "Now, stop slacking off, moron! Do your fucking maths!"

Kirishima did finish his maths work, and eventually he migrated back to his own room. He said he was going to try the alarm clock thing and wake himself up every hour or so. Katsuki had been pretty sure that he would drift right off after that but he ended up staring at his ceiling.

Honestly. Fucking Kirishima asking about his type. What was that about? Katsuki liked guys, sure. He didn't really care what people thought about that, but he wasn't about to go start fucking singing about it from the rooftops any time soon. His life goals left room for a relationship to happen at some point along the line if he met the right person, that was it and he didn't think anything else about it. His fucking type. The fuck. Katsuki scoffed into the empty room. He didn't really have one, did he, because all he'd fucking thought about for all his life was 'needs strong quirk'. Shit.

There must be other stuff that Katsuki had been too stubborn to think about because there were people like that guy in Fury Road he found attractive without Quirks being involved. Ah, hell. Well he was thinking about it now. Kirishima had mentioned muscles... Yeah, alright. Katsuki could definitely understand that. What else did people usually talk about when they were describing people they liked? Hair? Eyes? Faces in general? Humour? Mouths of sharp teeth?

Wait. Wait a fucking second. Katsuki ran through it again. Hair, eyes, face, humour, sharp teeth. Yeah. Yeah that last one wasn't fucking normal what the fuck, why would he even think that? Sharp teeth? Sharp teeth? Who even had sharp- oh fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fucking hell. Shit. Fuck. Katsuki sat bolt upright. His palms crackled. Fuck. No no no no no, fuck!

Kirishima's face faded into view - it hadn't really ever left his mind now, had it? -  and Katsuki thought of wide red eyes, the scratch of a scar above the right, and the way they crinkled up when he grinned, and that blinding fucking grin he wore that revealed all of his sharp, pointed teeth, and that stupid fucking battle-stance he did to psyche himself up for stuff, and his weird spikes of styled up hair, and how soft it looked when it was down, and-

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Chapter Text

Fuck, it was bad. Seeing Kirishima in the common room as people prepared for school on Friday morning sent plumes of liquid fire through Katsuki's guts. He felt dazed, like someone had hit him over the head with a skyscraper, and he turned on his heel and went straight back to the hall until he regained control over his breathing.

His heart refused to slow down, though, the traitor. He straightened up from where he had been leaning on the wall, steeled his nerves, and walked back into the room. Hopefully no one had noticed him, and hopefully they didn't notice the way all his joints locked up when Kirishima caught his eye and waved him over. He was sitting with Ashido and Headphones, with no sign of Sero or Kaminari yet, but it was still early-ish and the two nearly always left things to the last minute so that wasn't too unexpected. Katsuki managed to get his limbs back under conscious control before he looked too conspicious, and trudged over to the couch.

"Morning, Bakugou!" Kirishima chirped. Fucking chirped. Katsuki peered down at him for a moment before sitting. Far less pale, and the bags under his eyes weren't quite as dark. "The alarms worked, I think."

Katsuki glanced at Ashido and Headphones, who looked puzzled. "Good."

It was about the only word he could manage at that point, because holy fuck, Kirishima was right there sitting next to him, grinning at him with those sharp teeth, and their shoulders were brushing together. Katsuki became hyperaware of the contact and tried not to look at Kirishima's face because he knew he'd end up fucking staring or some shit. Fuck this, honestly.

"Alarms?" Ashido asked, voice wary.

"Lunch, Mina," Kirishima said. Damn, the earnest tone in his voice was making Katsuki's stomach do flips. This was so unfair. "Have everyone get their food and then meet me in the classroom."

"And you're gonna explain what the hell your problem's been?" Ashido raised one eyebrow. Headphones looked between all of them, a little perplexed.

"What problem?" she asked. Katsuki scoffed, just a small one. If she really hadn't noticed what a fucking mess Kirishima had been over that past few weeks then she was a lost cause.

"Oh, didn't you see Cranky-rishima over here acting like Bakugou recently?" Ashido said. Katsuki bristled at the comparison. It was kind of true but Ashido didn't need to say it, for fuck's sake. "He's been doing us a big concern, and not sleeping for mysterious Kirishima reasons that he hasn't told anyone except Bakugou."

"Oh," said Headphones. She squinted at Kirishima. "Yeah, I remember you snapped at a couple of people. You feeling better now?"

"I mean the thing that- it's uh. It's not stopped," Kirishima rubbed at the back of his neck and gave Jirou a sheepish grin. "But I've figured something out that's helping me sleep a little better. I feel like me again."

"Well, that's good to hear," Jirou sat back in her seat with a contemplative expression.

"Why are you being so cryptic, dude?" Ashido aimed a couple of friendly punches at Kirishima's shoulder. "Is it something embarassing and unmanly?"

"Yeah?" Kirishima said, batting Ashido's hands away, and the way he turned bumped his leg into Katsuki's, and shit, every millimetre of contact sent tingles up Katsuki's spine. Katsuki swallowed. "It is, kind of. Actually."

"Alarms, not sleeping and something embarrassing? Oh, Kirishima, are you having nightmares, or something?" Jirou asked, and Kirishima froze. His Quirk activated bodily all at once and Ashido scooted back with alarm.

"Shit," Katsuki muttered, as Kirishima blinked at his hardened and shaking hands. "Fuck."

"Yeah," Kirishima agreed. He deactivated his Quirk and stood up very suddenly. "I need- See you in class."

Then he was striding with great purpose towards the elevators before any of them could stop him. Katsuki sent a glare at Jirou and stood up himself. Fuck.

"Why would you just ask that?" he snarled at her.

"Oh my god, um," she said, taking one of her weird ear things into her hand and pulling at it. Her eyes were wide. "I didn't- Uh- It just seemed like the most likely- Fuck."

"Yeah, fuck," Katsuki snapped. He began to move.

"Wait, where are you going?" Ashido called.

"Where do you fucking think, idiot?" he called back. Then he was across the room. Fucking fuck.

Katsuki found Kirishima sitting up against his room's door, knees at his chest and his arms wrapped around them. The redhead saw Katsuki and pressed his head down onto his knees.

"I'm a fucking baby," he said, muffled through his legs. "Jirou says the word nightmare when I'm not expecting it and I nearly have a fucking panic-attack. This stuff is bullshit."

"What do you need?" Katsuki asked, because he had no fucking clue. Kirishima looked up at him. Katsuki didn't know what the fuck people were on about when they talked about butterflies in the stomach, because these were definitely fucking scorpions. All scuttle-y and sting-y and chittering. He shooed them away, because now was not the fucking time. Katsuki held out a hand before he could stop himself. Kirishima blinked, and then he reached out hauled himself up. He let go all too quickly for Katsuki.

"Shit, I don't know, I..." Kirishima looked his feet and shuffled them. "I hate to ask 'cause I know what you're like about this stuff, man, but I think I need a hug."

Oh. Part of him was immediately yelling hell fucking yeah, another was wondering if hugging Kirishima right now would count as taking advantage of his emotional state, but mostly he was thinking about foul gunk clogging his nose and a hand around his throat and shackles and muzzles and all the synonyms of confinement and smothering he could think of, because hugs? Hugs were... Hugs were meant to be comforting, but Katsuki wasn't so sure. They were something he'd been avoiding from his parents recently. He had to be able to trust that someone would let go, and... Well. He trusted Kirishima, didn't he? The other boy slung his arm around Katsuki's shoulders every now and then and that never really felt much like strangulation. If there was nothing else that Katsuki could do, then, fuck it. A hug it was. He had no idea how to initiate one without feeling slightly off. Arms did a thing, right?

He half-raised his arms, and Kirishima tilted his head. "Huh?"

"Do you want a fucking hug or not, hair-for brains?" Katsuki grouched. Kirishima's eyes widened, and his mouth dropped into an adorable 'o' of surprise. Katsuki began to lower his arms, because he was feeling all weird and fluttery and Kirishima was staring at him as if he'd grown a second head.

Then Kirishima lurched into Katsuki and wrapped his arms around his chest. Oh fuck. Kirishima's jaw was on his shoulder, and he was squeezing Katsuki with desperation. Katsuki brought his own arms around Kirishima's shoulders, patting in an awkward fashion, and Kirishima clutched at him even tighter. He wished he could see Kirishima's face. Oh fuck, this was actually kind of nice. Scratch that, it was really nice. It kind of felt like... back at Kamino. The one good part of it. The relief and the joy and the electrical contact of their hands during the not-rescue-just-a-route-out, except this time it was Katsuki's entire torso. He wanted to press tighter, to wrap himself and Kirishima together, to twine their limbs and-

Ugh, this was not the time to be thinking about this stuff. Katsuki felt a sliver of guilt creep its way into his guts and lodge itself there. He kept his end of the hug light. The two of them remained that way for several moments, and then Kirishima pulled away. The air seemed to barge in out of nowhere and left Katsuki feeling cold and dizzy. Kirishima wiped at his eyes with his slightly tattered sleeve.

"Uh, thanks," he said. He wouldn't meet Katsuki's gaze, which was probably a good thing because Katsuki had no idea what expression his face was showing right that moment and it was probably embarrassing. "Okay. We should head to class."

"Yeah," Katsuki grunted and put his hands in his pockets. Neither of them moved from where they were standing, still in each other's space.

Kirishima's brow creased. Katsuki wanted to smooth it out with his thumbs, so he kept his hands very much inside his pockets and sent a belt of mental curses at them to make sure they stayed put. Not the fucking time. Kirishima played with one of his cuffs - the slihtly damaged one - and Katsuki's eyes were drawn to the movement.

"I guess it's just, ah," Kirishima said. He looked like the words weren't working for him. Katsuki could relate. "The nightmares don't belong out here, you know? Just. Just in my room. Mentioning them anywhere else is just, like, it's weird. Like they exist in the real world and I just I don't know.."

Kirishima huffed, his fingers curling and uncurling. "Am I gonna be able to talk about them to the others later?"

"Of course you are, Kirishima," Katsuki said. He didn't know what else he could add so instead he pulled one of his hands from his pocket and gave Kirishima's shoulder a slug. "Now get a move on! You don't want to be late to class 'cause you're moping up here!"

Kirishima blinked at him, startled, and then he laughed. Katsuki hoped he wasn't blushing because, for fuck's sake, Kirishima really didn't have to look like that while he was laughing. All sharp teeth and crinkled eyes. It was fucking rude. Katsuki scoffed and began walking back towards the elevator. He felt more than saw Kirishima fall into step beside him.

"How come you always know how to cheer me up, bro?" Kirishima mused, almost to himself. Katsuki drew in a breath through his teeth. He did, huh?

Katsuki glanced back at him and made a show of rolling his eyes. "Whatever."

Kirishima just smiled some more and Katsuki had to turn to face where he was going before his eyes dipped too far.

Back in the common room, and Ashido and Jirou had been joined by Sero. Still no Kaminari, but whatever. The Half-and-Half Bastard was sitting on one of the other couches now, chatting with Ponytail and Sparkles. Kirishima kept smiling, but he also completely blanked everyone and continued on past Katsuki to the door like he couldn't hear Ashido calling him over. Fucking hell, he was probably still out of sorts. Katsuki caught the bewildered glances of his friends over on the couch - fuck, Jirou was one of those now, too? - and gave them an angry shrug, but he wasn't about to go traipsing over to them to report about what had happened like some sort of fucking Kirishima notification system. Besides, if he started talking more about Kirishima, who knew what he'd end up saying. Something ridiculous, probably.

He followed the redhead instead. It looked like they were going to be early to class even after all of that. Kirishima was now walking ahead of him, and much to Katsuki's chagrin he found himself appreciating Kirishima's shoulders. He didn't appreciate the slightly tense set to them, however, so his face twisted up into a scowl.


Kirishima was pacing between the desks as Katsuki watched from where he was leaning on the doorway. The others had gone to get their lunches, but their group in particular would be back soon. Katsuki had elected to stay behind and make sure no one else from their class bothered Kirishima until they were all assembled. That was definitely the only reason he hadn't gone to lunch with the others. Probably.

Okay, maybe a little bit of his decision had been made by the part of him that just wanted to stare at Kirishima all day. It was hard to do when Kirishima's seat was further back in the room so he had to grab any other opportunities he was given. Maybe it was also a little bit because of the fucking nervous nausea that had been building up in him all day. Kirishima was going to be sharing his secret - which was why he was pacing like a fucking cat in a cage - and some of Katsuki's nerves were strained for his friend.

Mostly, though, he was feeling... worried? Concerned? Anxious? That someone was going to notice him and his newfound fucking attraction, because Katsuki found it incredibly fucking difficult to feel anything on a level that could be described as subtle. That was piled up on top of guilt that he was feeling so preoccupied with his fucking crush and not more so for Kirishima's predicament. Guilt that he was doing something wrong by enjoying the other boy's company whilst said predicament existed. Ugh. Fuck.

It just fucking had to have been Kirishima, didn't it? The guy was just so persistently there all the time that he hadn't given Katsuki the chance to not develop some slightly not-so-platonic feelings for him. Ugh. Friendship had been quite enough to deal with, but this? Fuck. Katsuki needed a plan. Plans weren't his favourite thing in the world - he preferred to think on the fly, to react to a crisis without hesitation - but this was something that probably needed some forethought if he wasn't going to completely fuck it up.

No time for plans now, however, because there were the other- four? Jirou had joined in. Fucking whatever. There they were, walking up the corridor. He straightened, standing up properly instead of leaning on the doorframe, and he cleared his throat to alert Kirishima. Kirishima's head whipped up, almost comically fast, and he sat down heavily on the nearest desk. He stared at the doorway, playing with his ripped sleeve again, and Katsuki pushed himself away from the door to sit on the next desk over.

He kicked Kirishima's leg. Kirishima looked at him and Katsuki gave him a nod. Kirishima's expression - verging on panic - morphed into determination. Adorable. How dare he.

The group bundled into the room and Kirishima waved at them.

"Hey, man," Kaminari said to Katsuki. Then at Kirishima he pointed a single fingergun. "We're here for the lowdown, Kiri."

Four kids took seats on various desks, and Kirishima flushed. Damn it, that was cute. Fucking cute? Really brain?

"Alright, uh. This probably isn't going to live up to the anticipation," Kirishima said. Fuck, his confident expression was fading fast. "It's not actually that big of a-"

Katsuki aimed another kick at Kirishima's leg.

"Ow!" he yelped, turning to Katsuki with a scowl. "What was that for?"

Katsuki rolled his eyes. "You're stalling. Just say it."

Kirishima growled something unintelligible and turned back to the others. "I've been having, fucking, nightmares. Bad ones."

Jirou and Ashido, who already knew this, glanced at each other. Sero frowned, and Kaminari leant forwards to look more closely at Kirishima.

"Wait, really? Nightmares?" Kaminari sounded a little skeptical. Before Katsuki could murder him, he grimaced and continued. "Sorry, I mean, it must be pretty nasty stuff for you to have lost so much sleep. Nightmares. Damn."

"The past couple of nights have been a bit better," Kirishima said. "But that's 'cause I'm using my alarm to wake me up before I start dreaming. It's not exactly a long-term solution."

"Crap," said Sero. "Do the teachers know?"

Kirishima shrugged. "If Recovery Girl told them."

"Are there any meds you could take?" Jirou asked. Kirishima shook his head.

"Only if there's something else causing the nightmares," he said. Katsuki recalled Kirishima saying something about PTSD when he had explained it to him. "Otherwise there's nothing I can do."

Hm. Well that wasn't strictly true now, was it?

"There's that visualisation shit, dumbass," Katsuki muttered. Kirishima blinked. "If you actually try it more."

"Oh, right," Kirishima said. He grimaced. "Maybe."

"The what?" Kaminari asked.

"If I like, rehearse the nightmares with better endings then they might go away," Kirishima said. He frowned at the floor. "It's not really been working."

"Oh, you mean like if you pictured all of us turning up in your dream and taking out the monster, yeah?" Kaminari asked, throwing a few air punches.

Kirishima grinned. "Ah, something like that." His grin faded.

"It's not really monsters to fight, though," he said. "See, I get three main nightmares..."

As Kirishima described them to the others, Katsuki took a few moments to sort through his thoughts. Kaminari had the right sort of idea. If he could turn up in Kirishima's nightmare and punch the fuck out of whatever it was chasing him through the hallways? Absolutely. He would add a dissenting voice to what the arena was calling out, and as for the Kamino nightmare... They'd all lived in real life, so all Katsuki would need to do was remind Kirishima of that.

Too bad no one here had a dream-manipulating Quirk. Katsuki had a faint recollection that there might have been an obscure hero in Australia who dealt in giving nightmares to people, and there was that sleep clinic in Belgium, but none of that was helpful to think about for Kirishima right now.

"It's a dream, Kirishima," Ashido was saying as Katsuki refocused on the conversation. "It doesn't have to make sense, you just have to win! Imagine like, a dragon or something crashing through the wall of the school! You met the dragon hero, right? Something like her!"

"Or become a dragon yourself," Kaminari added. "That'd be awesome, right?"

"You guys have some imagination, huh?" Kirishima said. Katsuki saw that he was smiling, and there was a sparkle of hope in his eyes. Oh, good.

"Dragons turning up would totally solve all your nightmare problems," Sero agreed. "Thing following you and nobody's noticing? Dragon. Kinda draws attention. All For One spotting you? Dragon slams down on his creepy potato face. Done. Crowd booing you? Dragon eats them."

They continued on for several more minutes, describing ways in which putting a dragon into the nightmare could solve it, making Kirishima look like he was practically glowing with happiness. Katsuki felt an odd sense of pride that his friends had managed to make such a positive impact on the redhead. They hadn't peppered him with too many invasive questions, or laughed at him, or done any of the things that Kirishima's weird anxiety thing had made him worried about.

Lunch came to a close, the other students began to filter in, and everyone took to their seats. At last it felt like the clouds over the class had blown away. Kirishima still went up to his room straight after classes, but this time he turned to wave at everyone first, shooting them all a blinding grin. It almost hurt to look at, really. What the fuck was Katsuki going to do?

He excused himself soon afterwards so that he could brood alone in his room.

Chapter Text

Katsuki really had to decide what he was going to do about this stupid crush, because he found himself staring at the ceiling that night with his thoughts racing far too fast for sleep.

Katsuki and Kirishima had a pretty good friendship going, at least in Katsuki's admittedly limited opinion. They were best friends by Kirishima's own admission, and that counted for something kind of big, didn't it? Was following an infatuation really worth potentially jeopardising their relationship?

The idea of having his feelings rejected stung a bit. Katsuki knew that Kirishima was too fucking nice to be rude about the whole thing, though. It would be all apologies and nervous glances for a while. It would feel like losing, but honestly? It wouldn't be the worst outcome. Katsuki knew he'd be able to move on, and Kirishima would tease him about it once the sting had faded, and it would be fine.

No, the real danger would be in an acceptance, a commitment, and then some sort of suddenly-glaring incompatibility that would ruin fucking everything. Something that might have been avoided in a friendship, but couldn't be sidestepped if they were involved more intimately and would forever leave a sour note between them. Katsuki couldn't think of anything that that might be right now - maybe his own fucking attitude - but that didn't mean there wasn't anything that could be a stumbling block. Maybe their goals would be different. Maybe they'd move to different places. Augh.

Katsuki rolled over and glared at the wall where Kirishima was. He wanted to blow it up, or maybe build it ten feet thicker so he wouldn't be tempted to do so.

Ever since Kamino, Katsuki's plans for his future had contained just a little more red. His friendship with Kirishima wasn't the kind that just evaporated after high school ended. He had known from then on that wherever Katsuki ended up living, he would have to endure Kirishima rocking up to bother him at regular intervals. Katsuki just knew that Kirishima would drag him out to go meet up with people, or sprawl on his couch and steal from his fridge with no invitation. And he had known that he wouldn't mind.

Fragments of thoughts assaulted him. The compatibility of their Quirks and the ease at which they worked well together. Katsuki's fierce desire to become the Number One Hero and the realisation that is was going to be harder than he had ever imagined, especially given the calibre of his competition. Hero teams becoming more common. Katsuki not only wanted the Number One title, he wanted to be historical. It was all conglomerating together and pointing towards one outcome - one he'd never considered before Yuuei or before meeting a boy with red hair and red eyes and a sharp-toothed grin.

The idea of establishing a partnership with another hero had always been down on his 'abso-fucking-lutely not' list, until suddenly it was no longer off the table. Katsuki drove the bases of his palms into his eyes and groaned.

It was just that they covered each other's weaknesses in and outside of fighting, now that Katsuki was admitting to himself that he had some of those. Katsuki's Quirk was powerful and flashy and people noticed him. Kirishima's was powerful too, but flashy? He turned into a fucking rock. It was cool as hell but it wasn't the type of Quirk that caught people's eyes and held it there all by itself. On the flipside of that, Katsuki knew he would never have Kirishima's raw charisma or ease with people. Kirishima was going to be popular, but only if he could get noticed. Between the two of them, they pretty much had all bases covered. They were already a pretty good team. There was a chance that they could be a fucking fantastic team one day.

There had never been Hero Partners both holding the top two spots in the hero rankings at the same time before, and attaining that would certainly put their names in with the greats.

Having the awkwardness and pain of a break-up between them would wipe that future away from all possibilities.

Katsuki flipped over, facing the opposite side of the bed, and scowled. Caution was all well and good, but he was Bakugou Fucking Katsuki, and the idea of just waiting out the crush without a word rankled at him. Nothing could be accomplished without taking a little risk here and there. As much as there was a chance for things to go horribly wrong, there was also the chance that thins would go right. He made the decision that he was going to do something about liking Kirishima, just maybe not while the other boy was in the throes of this whole nightm-

A strangled yell made its way through the wall and Katsuki was on his feet in moments.

Kirishima had opened his door by the time Katsuki had scrambled out of his room. The redhead was standing just inside, all hunched in on himself. Katsuki took one look at the boy's whole-body tremors and unfocused stare, and then he was closing the door, striding over to Kirishima and pulling him into the second hug of the day. Kirishima let out a strangled sob, and then he was bawling into Katsuki's shoulder.

Katsuki let him cry there for a few minutes, and then he slowly pushed Kirishima away until he was holding him at arm's length. Kirishima hiccuped.


"Don't you dare fucking apologise," Katsuki said with a warning note in his voice. Kirishima shook his head, and Katsuki let go of his shoulders. He sat down on Kirishima's bed and waited. Kirishima sat next to him. He was still shivering. Katsuki wanted to put his arm around Kirishima, but he didn't know if it was to comfort him or because he knew that Kirishima would lean into it. Fucking feelings.

"It was all of them," Kirishima said at last, before Katsuki made his mind up. His voice was hoarse. "All of the nightmares mashed into one. It was the neverending maze of corridors and classrooms, but every one I looked into was-"

Kirishima paused, gripping at the duvet either side of his legs. "Everyone was dead. And the voice was taunting me as the- as it hunted me down. The voice was shrieking and laughing. And it just kept getting closer and closer and I couldn't turn around."

Kirishima shut his eyes and shook his head. He opened his eyes again. "I tried to change it, but it just. It didn't work. I'm supposed to be unbreakable."

"Try again," said Katsuki. Kirishima lifted his hands and dropped them again.

"I don't know if-"

"Get your fucking laptop out and pick a movie, hair-for-brains," Katsuki said. He pushed Kirishima off the bed. The other boy stumbled into a half crouch and shot Katsuki an incredulous look. "You're gonna go back to sleep and you're gonna fucking beat this."

Kirishima blinked, and then his face set. "Right."

Kirishima shuffled through his stacks of action movies. Being told to do something seemed to have galvanised him. He was making little contemplative noises as he peered at the titles, and Katsuki felt his pulse speed up just a touch. Fuck.

"So I've got, uh, this?" Kirishima held up a few boxes. Katsuki shrugged, he wasn't familiar with the name. "An American movie series from the first Quirk generation, really manly fight scenes where they were just figuring out how to incorporate people's powers into stories and stuff. I think Huáng Jin even cameos in the second one? As herself, of course."

"Why are all your movies so old," Katsuki grumbled, but he was internally intrigued by the idea of the person with the first-known Quirk - glowing skin - being involved.

"Hey, don't think I missed you watching more pre-Quirk stuff the other night after Fury Road," Kirishima said. He cracked open the first of the set and inserted the disk into his laptop. "Also, you never logged out of Netflix, so I know all about your movie preferences now, dude. You watch so much pre-Quirk era stuff."

Nothing had ever chilled Katsuki to the core so quickly. "What- What the fuck?"

Kirishima pointed at him, face pulling into that same sly grin he'd used when asking if Katsuki had had a crush on All Might. Fuck. "I never would have put you down as a Legally Blonde guy, but-"

Fuck fuck fuck. Katsuki's palms began to crackle, this time out of rage.

"I highly approve of it," Kirishima said in a rush, trying to stave off impending doom. "I mean, Elle's dedication to her education and her friends? Totally manly. And then there's that UPS guy, am I right?"

Kirishima waggled his eyebrows.

"Shut the fuck-" Katsuki spluttered. He could feel himself turning red, because fuck. How in the fuck had Kirishima swtched back to this version of himself so quickly? Minutes ago he'd been a shaking mess. The fuck. Not that Katsuki wanted his friend to be a shaking mess, of course. He was only marginally glad that he could blame his blush on the mention of the movie and the UPS guy. Kirishima's eyebrows and devious expression were doing something to his insides and the scorpions were back with a vengeance, scuttling around in his stomach like they owned the place. Fuckers. "Shut up, Kirishima! I'll kill you!"

Kirishima just grinned at him. There was an air of smug on the redhead's face and Katsuki wanted to explode it away and maybe also kiss him. Katsuki scowled instead. Kirishima carried the laptop over to the bed and prodded at Katsuki until he was sitting up against the headboard again - this time he was next to the wall - and plonked himself down on the bed next to him. Kirishima handed the laptop over to Katsuki, motioning to keep it in the air, and then he pulled the duvet over both of their legs.

Kirishima took the laptop back, set it down on his lap, and pulled up the videoplayer. He sat back as the first chimes of some cheesy music began to signal the opening scene. They were shoulder to shoulder as the first character began to narrate the setting. There had better be explosions in this thing later.  

"Hey Bakugou," Kirishima said as the title flashed up on the screen. "So when I start twitching, you're not gonna wake me up?"

"Nah," said Katsuki. He sounded a lot more nonchalant than he felt. "You're gonna fucking deal."

Kirishima nodded. "Thanks."

Katsuki grunted an acknowledgement, and then the movie began in earnest. He tried to pay attention, but his eyes slipped off the screen and onto his friend. Fuck.


Cons of being on nightmare watch:
- Kirishima was asleep.
- Katsuki also wanted to be asleep but that would be fucking weird.
-The movies weren't even that good. Not enough explosions. Huáng Jin's cameo in the second one had been interesting, because most of the time you just saw photographs of her in the history books, but the rest of it? Mostly half-heartedly choreographed hand-to-hand combat and unecessary romantic subplots.

Pros of being on nightmare watch:
+ He could look at Kirishima sleeping for as long as he wanted. Okay, maybe that was a bit creepy?
++++ Holy shit, at one point a very sleepy Kirishima had slung his arm over Katsuki's stomach and buried his face in Katsuki's side and he was 87% sure that Kirishima was drooling into his t-shirt a little but he didn't give a flying fuck.

It felt like his brain was full of exclamation marks.

Not the fucking time, he growled at it. His brain ignored him, instead informing him that he was stuck between a rock (Kirishima) and a hard place (the wall) and wasn't that fucking hilarious? Katsuki loaded up the third movie in the set - the laptop was on his legs now - and scowled at the opening music. This stuff was really fucking corny but they were the only DVDs in reach. Netflix didn't feel like an option because fuck, Legally Blonde was a good movie, fuck you, that he wanted to watch again now and Katsuki didn't want to deal with Kirishima laughing at him. There was Octopus in the next room over to think about too. Fuck.

Just as the videoplayer began to load, Katsuki felt Kirishima shift slightly. He paused the movie and looked down. Kirishima's brow was furrowed against Katsuki's side, his eyes were going batshit under his eyelids again, and one of his legs kicked out and caught Katsuki on the knee.

"Please..." Kirishima mumbled. Katsuki felt frozen to the spot. He lifted one hand, remembered that he wasn't supposed to wake the other boy, and brought his hand back to rest on the laptop.

Kirishima grimaced, and his breathing was speeding up. Fuck. Fuck! Kirishima kicked again. He let out a low groan that buzzed through the mattress, and the fingers of the arm Kirishima had over Katsuki's stomach twitched and clutched at his t-shirt.

"Bakugou," Kirishima muttered. Katsuki felt a thrill of something jolt through him. Kirishima's arm spasmed, and he then was gripping to Katsuki with a fucking activated Quirk. "No!"

Kirishima's arm was kind of sharp, but Katsuki didn't try to dislodge it because that might wake the redhead up. Kirishima's breathing was coming in ragged gasps now, and he was twitching and flinching and his Quirk was flickering on and off. Then all at once, Kirishima's eyes sprang open.

"Fuck," he said, breathing heavily. He was still gripping Katsuki's shirt. "That was different."

"What?" Katsuki asked. Kirishima sat up. He let go of Katsuki's shirt, but he kept his hand right fucking there next to Katsuki's waist as he moved until he was basically leaning over Katsuki's chest. His lungs squeezed. Kirishima was close. So fucking close.

"It was..." Kirishima began, and Katsuki could feel the other boy's breath on his face and see the little scar over his eye and the distraught expression twisting his features. His eyes were darting all over Katsuki's features. Ohhhh fuck. "A new nightmare. About you."

"Hah?" Katsuki responded. He'd figured as much, what with Kirishima calling for him. The other boy was still right there, inches away. Fuck, it would be so easy to just lean forwards and- Fucking not the fucking time, fuck!

Kirishima's eyes widened as he seemed to realise how close together they were, and he pulled away. Katsuki remembered how to breathe. "Uh, you died. That's about the gist of it."

"Well I fucking didn't really, did I?" Katsuki frowned. "So tell that nightmare to fuck off."

"Easy for you to say," Kirishima huffed and turned away.

"You bet it fucking is, hair-for-brains," Katsuki growled. "I'm fucking here right now, and I don't plan on leaving any time soon."

Kirishima turned back to him. He tilted his head. His voice was quiet. "You mean my room? Or metaphorically?"

Katsuki crossed his arms. Fuck. He didn't even know, so he just scowled at Kirishima for making him say stupid fucking sentimental stuff. He wanted to say more, so much more, and Katsuki didn't do sentimental. Kirishima was messing with his head so badly and he didn't even know it. Kirishima smiled at him.

"Hey, thanks for being here, Bakubro," Kirishima nudged at him with his shoulder. "You can probably head back to your room if you want some sleep, now."

"Just said I didn't plan on leaving didn't I? Dumbass," Katsuki grumbled. He retrieved the laptop and pressed play. He didn't plan on leaving Kirishima ever.

 He just had to find time to say that out loud.

Chapter Text

An alarm beeped.

Fucking Kirishima's arm had snaked its way back over Katsuki's stomach, was Katsuki's first thought upon waking.

The second thought was that he was waking. Waking up, as in, from sleeping. His eyes cracked open. Gaudy decor and a poster of Crimson Riot met his eyes. Sleeping in Kirishima's room, half-sitting against the headboard of Kirishima's bed no less. Huh. Fuck. There was the weight of Kirishima's arm over his stomach to deal with, and another weight on his chest. Katsuki's insides squirmed, and he looked down to find Kirishima's head there. Oh fuck. The redhead was fucking fast asleep, the visible half of his face was relaxed, and Katsuki spent a few moments staring at the scar over Kirishima's eye. Kirishima's mouth was open, his big sharp teeth visible. Ugh, he was probably drooling again - onto Katsuki's fucking t-shirt, too - but the half-snores he was making were fucking cute enough to offset that.

The alarm was still beeping. Fuck. Classes.

Conflicting parts of Katsuki's brain offered advice on what to do. He discounted 'explode Kirishima away' almost immediately. 'Stare at him forever' was considered for a while but eventually discarded as well. Katsuki tried to unpeel Kirishima's arm from around him, but the redhead clamped down around Katsuki's waist and scowled in his sleep. It was fucking adorable. It was also fucking inconvenient, and Katsuki's teeth gnashed as he thought about how he was going to get out of this with his dignity intact. Maybe he should just wake Kirishima up.

He prodded at the other boy's temple. "Oi. Idiot. The alarm."

Kirishima's eyes began to flutter open. "Nngrhfnn."

"You're drooling on me," Katsuki said. He prodded again.

"Znnorfffnglrbl," Kirishima replied, and then he sat up so fucking fast he would have toppled off of the bed if Katsuki hadn't caught ahold of his wrist. "Hgah!?"

"What are you doing?" Katsuki asked, letting go once Kirishima had balanced himself. "Fucking moron."

Kirishima stared at him. "You're still here?"

"Fucking obviously," Katsuki said. He stretched his arms up into the air, trying to work out the kinks. Thanks to fucking Kirishima he'd slept in a weird position and his shoulders were threatening to ache later.

"Huh," said Kirishima, watching Bakugou's arms, swallowing and going slightly pink. Wait, what? Kirishima turned quickly to silence the alarm, leading Katsuki to wonder if he'd been seeing things. Wishful thinking or something. Fuck.

"Did you have any more nightmares?" Katsuki asked before he could dwell on Kirishima's reaction any longer and risk his own blush. If Kirishima had blushed at all.

"Uh, not that I remember, actually." The redhead shook his head. Then his eyes widened almost comically. "Holy shit I slept. I slept well!"

Katsuki scoffed, although he was feeling elated for his friend. "You better have after drooling on me all night."

"Oh, um," Kirishima was definitely blushing now. Ohhhh fuck. The scorpions in Katsuki's stomach were tapdancing. "Sorry, dude."

Kirishima gave a short peal of nervous laughter. Katsuki was so fucked. He had to get out. Right now.

"Whatever," Katsuki shrugged, as calmly as he could manage. "Now move, I have to go get ready for class."

"Class, right, yes," Kirishima said. He stood up, leaving room for Katsuki to shuffle forwards on the bed and plant his feet on the floor. Katsuki stood and rolled his shoulders a couple of times, attempting to ignore the way Kirishima was trying not to watch him as he did so. He was half-tempted to start stretching or something to see how far he could push it, but he really did have to get ready for class, so he left the room instead.

Katsuki closed Kirishima's door behind him, turned and- Oh fuck! Octopus was just leaving his room. The two of them froze and stared at each other.

"Morning, Bakugou," Octopus said at last. He looked at Kirishima's door and raised an eyebrow.

"The fuck you looking at," Katsuki bristled. Wait, fuck, that was way too defensive. Fuck.

Octopus considered him for a moment. Then the guy shrugged and walked towards the elevator.

"Tch," Katsuki said into the empty air. He stomped back into his room. What the fuck did Octopus know? Fucking calimari bastard. Ugh. Fuck, but he might have heard anything because of his creepy Quirk.

As Katsuki got dressed, his thoughts meandered back to Kirishima. He hoped that the nightmares had reached a turning point for the other boy, and maybe part of that hope was anticipation for acting on this stupid crush without being too insensitive or whatever. The guilt gave him a jab for being selfish. Fuck that, maybe he was selfish, but he was growing increasingly irritated with not expressing his feelings and it had only been like, a day since he'd realised what they were. He wasn't going to last much longer. Patience was fucking fine and all, but Katsuki had precious little of it to spare.

Fuck the entire concept of pining.

And what had all that blushing been about, anyway? Kirishima was so weird.


Katsuki was down in the common room before Kirishima was, and almost anybody, really. Octopus must be in the kitchen or hanging out with one of his friends somewhere. Ashido and Kaminari were up though, and they waved him over to where they were sitting. It was weird seeing Kaminari awake already. What was even weirder, and perhaps slightly alarming, was the expression on his face. Somewhere between anxiety and excitement, maybe? Katsuki didn't trust it. Not one bit.

Ashido's face was exactly the same, and Katsuki narrowed his eyes at the two of them. He didn't sit down, not yet.

"Hey, Bakugou, please don't kill me," Kaminari said, which immediately put Katsuki on edge. Ashido bit her lip. What the fuck did the little punk think he was going to say? "But I just have to ask. Are you straight? Or not?"

Katsuki stared at the two of them. Oh. That was what they were worried about?

"I'm gay," he grunted. Their eyes bugged. "But whatever fucking scheme you're thinking of-"

"No, no!" Kaminari waved his hands to keep the peace. "No scheme - I mean, Sero owes me money now - but-"

"Fuck you guys," Katsuki growled.

"I'm flattered, man, but you're not my type," Kaminari said, probably before he could stop his stupid mouth from running. Ashido choked back laughter. Katsuki raised his own hands, except they were full of explosions, not peace. "Ah! Ah! I'll give you a cut of my winnings!"

"Fifty-fifty and you can live. Now spit out what you want, Electabuzz," Katsuki snapped, lowering his hands.

"Well, I didn't expect that just like, asking you would work, give us a moment," Kaminari frowned. "And Electabuzz? But I'd totally be Pikachu."

"No fucking way. You're not cute enough," Katsuki retorted. Ashido cackled. Kaminari's face became outrage and anguish.

"That told you, Kami," Ashido spluttered. "Oh my god."

Katsuki's palms crackled. "Just fucking get on with it."

"Okay, look, I mean... Me and Mina were talking the other day about Kirishima," Kaminari began. Fuck?

"And we just wanted to make sure you wouldn't murder him," Ashido continued. "But if you're gay you're probably not gonna be as murdery towards him, so that's good."

"Why the fuck would I do that?" Katsuki snapped. Fuck! "What the fuck are you two even on about?"

"I mean, we think he has a crush on you? For a while now," Kaminari said. Katsuki felt his face go blank with surprise. Well fuck. Kirishima had a crush on him? Really? That would explain the blushing earlier.... "And if he says something about it when you're not prepared, you know, you're like, allergic to affection."

"So like, blow up at us about it, not him," Ashido said. "Work it out of your system, 'cause I don't think that boy will be able to handle a Bakugou-style rejection. Try to be nice about it."

Katsuki's brain steepled its fingers, nodded to itself, stood up, packed everything into a briefcase, and left for a better life. Perhaps it would meet up with Kaminari's brain in the wilderness somewhere, although it had probably died of exposure years ago. Mina's brain on the other hand would probably be some crazy hermit in a cave. Alive but utterly batshit.

"Hey Bakugou?" Kaminari said. "You still here?"

Katsuki had closed his eyes. He was making a Herculean effort to keep his breathing even. These morons.

"Did we break him?" Ashido asked. "Is he- Is he imploding right now?"

"Fuck," Katsuki groaned. He sat down on the couch between the others. Now they were surprised. He rubbed at his temples. He wanted to believe them, but they could be real idiots sometimes. "What the fuck exactly makes you think he has a crush on me?"

"Oh, that?" Kaminari frowned. "Its- I dunno man just... vibes."

"Vibes," Katsuki repeated. "Fucking useless."

"Okay, okay, more than just vibes," Kaminari said. "He stares at you a lot when you're not looking? And I'm pretty sure I heard him muttering about your 'incredibly distracting eyelashes' last month. So."

Oh. Huh. Shit. Katsuki frowned. "But he hasn't told you for sure."

"I mean, he doesn't really talk about who he's into much, like, ever. I think he thinks nobody can tell he's hella bi or pan or something for quote unquote manliness," Ashido said. Kaminari's eyes were widening. "He never did say anything to anyone at our old school either, but there were a few times that he-"

"Wait! Holy crap," Kaminari stared at Katsuki. Oh no. He began to point and jumped up and down in his seat. Oh no. "Wait, wait, wait! You! You! Fuck!"

"Say another fucking word, Kaminari," Katsuki growled. "And they will never find your body."

"Mina," Kaminari whispered, staring his demise in the face and fucking ignoring it. "Mina he's digging. He's using us for information."

"Informati-Oh! Ohhh!" Ashido pointed at Katsuki now. "Oh! You like Kirishima?!"

"Shut the fuck up! Leave it the fuck alone!" Katsuki hissed. He took in their excessively curious and gleeful expressions. Oh fuck they weren't going to leave it alone. "You get three fucking questions between you. No more."

Ashido sprang up from the couch, pulling Kaminari with her. "Strategy meeting!"

"Fuck's sake," Katsuki muttered. Maybe Kirishima had been right about Ashido's nosiness.

Ashido and Kaminari whispered together in frantic tones and Katsuki half-wished someone would come and interrupt them. Knowing Ashido and Kaminari, however, they'd just end up roping whoever the fuck into their plots and Katsuki would never know privacy ever again.

"Okay," Ashido said. She and Kaminari turned. "Question one: for how long have you been crushing on Sharkboy?"

Katsuki squinted at them. "Fuck, I don't know. Thursday."

"Only Thursday... or you might have meant that's when you realised it," Ashido tapped her chin.

Katsuki shrugged. "Is that your next question?"

"Hm. Nope. Alright. Question two."

"You gonna ask him out?" Kaminari took over.

Katsuki shrugged again.

"Dude, that's not an answer," Kaminari whined.

"I never said I'd answer the questions, Electabuzz," Katsuki replied. "So fuck you."

"Again with Electabuzz? But he's weird and lanky! I'm not weird and lanky," Kaminari complained. "And that's not fair, man."

Katsuki rolled his eyes. "I'm not ignoring this, if that'll get you off my back."

"Huh. In that case, question three: you want any help with wooing our boy Kiri?" Kaminari said.

"I don't need any fucking help, moron," Katsuki snapped.

"Sure, sure," Ashido agreed, without much sincerity. "But wanting versus needing? Different things, buddy."

"Fuck off," Katsuki growled. "I don't want help either. Just say nothing to Kirishima or you'll fucking mess everything up."

A flash of red appearing in the room behind the two idiots caught Katsuki's eyes and he stiffened slightly. Shit, Kirishima was here. Shit. Fuck.

"Hey guys!" he said in a cheerful voice. He took in Katsuki's slightly flustered expression and Ashido and Kaminari standing over him. His face tightened. "Uh, so what's going on here...?"

"These bastards," Katsuki said before either of them could panic and destroy his life. "Are grilling me about being gay."

"Oh," Kirishima said. Relief coloured his features. Then he paled again. He cleared his throat. "Huh."

"Hey," Ashido turned to Kirishima. "You don't seem surprised."

Kirishima shrugged but his ears were turning red. "I knew? We've talked about it?"

Kaminari threw his hands up into the air. "Best friend privileges strike again."

Ashido turned back to Katsuki . "How did that conversation come up? Kirishima mention one of his manly crushes?"

"Hah? Hey now-" Kirishima began.

 "He was thirsting over the protagonists in Mad Max and forgot I was there," Katsuki said. He shot a wicked grin at Kirishima. "Dork. Alright taste though, I guess."

Kirishima went red. It reall was a fucking excellent look on him. "Bro, why do you have to be like this."

"Be like what?" came a new voice. Jirou had woken up, apparently. There was still no sign of anyone else.

"Oh, morning, Jirou!" Kaminari waved a hand. "Today we are learning many things. Bakugou is gay and Kirishima is bi...?"

Kirishima nodded.

"And Mina is a lesbian," Ashido added. Kaminari and Kirishima both gaped at her. She shrugged at them. "It's an impromptu coming-out party."

"Oh, sweet," Jirou said. She held out a fist to Kirishima. "Solidarity."

"Nice," Kirishima bumped her fist with his own.

Then all of a sudden, a clump of other students arrived. Sparkles, Octopus and Bird-Face were chatting amicably, Round-Face and Frog-Girl giggled together over something, and the Grape Bastard was bugging the Sugar-Guy and Disney-Princess, probably about girls. Little creepy twerp. Sero bounded over, giving the group a once-over for how they were stood in a circle around the couch where Katsuki was sitting like they were holding a meeting.

"Hey," said Sero to everyone. He turned to the redhead. "Kirishima, how'd things go last night?"

Kirishima turned to him. He blinked. He went red again and Katsuki found himself focusing in on it. Why the fuck was Kirishima blushing at that? "Uh?"

"With your nightmares?" Sero raised an eyebrow. "Why, did somethi-"

"Nope!" Kirishima yelped. What was Kirishima trying to cover up? Katsuki ran his mind over last night. Oh. There was the fact that he could do that. Right. Oh. Fuck. "I mean, I had a couple of bad ones, and then nothing for like, six hours straight."

"Dude, that's great!" Sero exclaimed.

Kirishima beamed, though he still looked a little sheepish. Katsuki basked in that grin even from where he was sitting. Fuck the knowing looks on Kaminari and Ashido's faces. Well, the last few minutes had blown any sort of doubt out of the fucking water - Kirishima had a crush on him. He felt like laughing. Katsuki wasn't sure if he was going to survive the day, but he was a fucking hero and heroes walked into danger all the time. He just needed to corner Kirishima somewhere quiet and private and ask him out and maybe kiss him a few times. Maybe many times.

He could do this.

Chapter Text

Katsuki was no stranger to emotional turmoil, all things considered. Turmoil was probably his primary emotion, in fact. The mixture of... the fear and the anger and the hurt and betrayal and joy and relief and exultancy and disappointment and all of that shit from the past couple of years hit him all at once sometimes. While nightmares hadn't been his particular bugbear, he knew that he had not come out of everything that had happened so far without a few emotional scars, and sometimes those scars fucking hurt.

This was not like that, however. This was draining and difficult in a different way. Kirishima was sitting only a short way away behind him and he wasn't allowed to look. It was agonising, but it was accompanied by the dancing of the scorpions in his gut and a heady buzzing that permeated his entire being, so it was a good kind of agonising. He liked Kirishima - really liked - and he knew Kirishima liked him back. There was no longer any uncertainty there on Katsuki's part.

The battleground was set, the opponents were on the field, and now he just had to find the time to set up his ambush.

Katsuki was going to obliterate Kirishima with... with... Fuck. Emotions, probably? He was sure that he would find a way to pour his heart out to the other boy, even if that sounded painful. He had to pick his weapons - carefully. He didn't want to land too hard of a hit when Kirishima wasn't braced for it. He definitely wasn't about to open with 'hey fuckface you wanna be Hero Partners when we leave Yuuei and also date me forever?' because that was way too much. He'd leave himself way too open. He had to start with something smaller.

Don't start with 'hey fuckface' at all, his brain told him.

Fuck off, he told it back, but it was probably right. He should use Kirishima's name. Kirishima. Kirishima Eijirou. It was a really fucking great name. Should Katsuki compliment it? No, fuck, that would be really fucking weird. However, that was a good start - compliments. He should compliment Kirishima. He was gonna give the best fucking compliments anyone had ever fucking seen. Or, heard, really. Unless he texted. Hm.

How did compliments transition into asking someone out, though? Hey fuckface I like your hair let's go on a date. Would it be as easy as that?

The fuckface part is fucking unnecessary, his brain chided. But we're going in the right direction.

What the fuck did his brain know, anyway?

"Young Bakugou?" A voice filtered through the haze of red-coloured thoughts.

"Hah?"  Katsuki realised that he had just been fucking daydreaming in the middle of an All Might class. In front of fucking All Might, who was looking at him with concern from his sunken blue eyes. All Might who had just asked him a question. Fuck.

"Ah, I was asking if you knew the date that the first official pro-hero agency was established?" All Might said. Katsuki could hear some of his classmates snickering. He was going to have his work cut out for him later, digging all of their graves.

"Twenty-fifty-seven," Katsuki answered - correct of course - and then tried his very best to not look like he was sulking for the rest of the class. He wasn't sulking, anyway, he was just fucking mortified. Katsuki didn't daydream, except now he knew that he did. Fuck. This was all Kirishima's fault so being so goddamn nice. For having all those different smiles and his trust that people were inherently good and all it would take was the right words of encouragement to help them see that. It was something that Katsuki never wanted to see him lose but knew he probably should if he wanted to avoid being taken advantage of. Oh, fuck, Katsuki was thinking back in tangents now, he needed to focus on the lesson. He tried to pay attention to what All Might was saying but the ex-hero's voice seemed to be travelling towards him too slowly, as if it was underwater. Fuck.

The sooner he could talk to Kirishima and fix all this, the better. Lunch was coming up, and he would get the opportunity to be alone with him then. Katsuki was going to have to work up his courage- the fuck, he had fuck-tonnes of courage. He didn't need to work up any more. And Kirishima liked him already so he definitely wasn't panicking at all! He just had to find the right fucking words, and say them. Fucking easy enough, right?




The English-speaking countries had a phrase, didn't they? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. It meant that whatever you fucking decided to do, the universe itself would sometimes spin on its axis, reach out a cosmic finger and fuck it all up for shits and giggles.

Kirishima did not decide to hang back in the classroom and nap, instead bounding after their group of friends and shouting about finally stuffing a hot meal into his stomach. On the one hand, it was great that Kirishima was feeling energised enough to do that. On the other hand, if Katsuki wanted to talk to Kirishima alone he'd have to ask, and Kaminari and Ashido would Know.

"What happened in class earlier, man?" Kirishima asked as they all settled down to eat. Kirishima. At lunch! Oh fuck, another question. That question.

Katsuki took a huge bite of his food and shrugged. "Thinkin' 'bout stuff."

"Stuff, yeah-huh," Ashido muttered. Katsuki kicked her leg and she muffled her yelp with her own huge mouthful of rice.

"It must've been pretty important for you to ignore All Might," Kirishima continued. He was looking slightly concerned now from his spot on Katsuki's left. Concerned! As if he hadn't been the one worrying them all for weeks.

"It is," Katsuki grumbled, watching the redheaded boy chow down on his own food. Good, Kirishima shouldn't have to survive on nutrient bars for the rest of fucking forever. Maybe Katsuki should cook something for him. That could be romantic, right? Was that the kind of stuff Kirishima liked?

Kirishima raised an eyebrow. Katsuki shook his head.

"Later," Katsuki muttered. Kirishima perked up like a fucking puppy, it wasn't fair. He could see Kaminari on the verge of laughter. What was so fucking funny?

"Oh man," Kirishima said, staring at his empty tray. "That was good. I'm going back for more."

Katsuki watched Kirishima spring to his feet and grab the tray. Katsuki turned in his seat to watch the other boy pelt away to rejoin the line for food. He did his best to ignore the silent shaking of Kaminari's shoulders.

"Oh my god, Bakugou," Kaminari wheezed, once Kirishima was out of earshot. "You're so obvious."

"I'm going to bury you alive with only a tin of Surströmming for sustenance," Katsuki said in a deadpan. "Don't fucking try me."

Kaminari hiccuped with laughter.

"What's going on?" Jirou asked. "Besides the usual threats of murder?"

"Bakugou," Ashido said, lowering her voice. "Has a huge gay crush on Kirishima."

"You're gay?" Sero groaned. "Oh dude, I owe Kaminari money now."

"I know, he owes me half of it. And all of you can go die," Katsuki grumbled. He tore into his meal, and shot them all glares.

"The best part is," Ashido continued her explanation of the situation far beyond what a normal person who understood the concept of minding one's fucking business would. That is to say: she continued at all. "Kirishima is also totally crushing on Bakugou, and they're being dweebs about it."

"Fuck off, Raccoon-Eyes," Katsuki growled.

"Oh, is that right?" Jirou turned to scrutinise Katsuki. He glowered at her. Why the fuck was everyone all up in his business? "I thought Kirishima had a thing for you. I had a crush on him a couple of months back and-"

"What?" Kaminari and Ashido asked, aghast. Katsuki battled with a flare of jealousy that didn't even make any sense. Of course other people liked Kirishima. He was Kirishima.

"You never said anything about that," Ashido said, accusatory. "That's like, a girls' night betrayal."

"That's 'cause I dropped it pretty quickly," Jirou snorted. "I tried to ask him out once but he didn't actually notice? He was too busy trying to pester Bakugou here into hanging out and I just figured... Yeah. Lost cause."

"Fine, I guess," Ashido began to giggle. "Oh man, that's hilarious though. He's so dense."

"Hey, fuck off," Katsuki grumbled. The jealousy had morphed into a weird sense of smugness. Fuck.

"So, Bakugou knows that Kirishima likes him," Sero said, in his thoughtful musings voice. "And Kirishima doesn't know Bakugou likes him?"

"I don't think so," Ashido said. For fuck's sake why was this so interesting for them all? His life wasn't a fucking play. Goddamn.

"It's just so, so obvious now," Kaminari said. "Like, goddamn. It was Kiri who had you distracted earlier, right Bakugou?"

Katsuki scowled. He looked around at all of them. Their expressions were all... somewhere between amusement, fuck that, and? Fondness? What? The fuck? There was a strong radiation of support through the air at the table. What the fuck?

"Shut up," he grumbled. He wasn't about to start elaborating for them any time soon, because Kirishima would be bounding back with his second helping of lunch at any moment and Katsuki didn't want him overhearing anything. Of course he wanted Kirishima to know how he felt because he'd been working up to exactly fucking that all day, but he figured that he wanted it to be more like, organic or some shit. Face to face. Private. Finding out something like this from overhearing things was just. Ugh. What kind of story would that be for the inevitable interviews further down the line?

'Hey, Number One Hero, Number Two Hero, how did you two get together?' the faceless reporter asked. Kirishima slung his arm over Katsuki and held them tightly together, side-by-side. He beamed at the reporter.

'I heard Katsuki say to our friends that he had a crush on me at lunch this one time! So he had to ask me out right then and there! It was so manly and I was so surprised, because I had had a crush on him. And of course I said yes! The rest is history.'

Actually, fuck, Kirishima could probably make any story sound fucking fantastic. At least in Katsuki's head he could. Fuck. Especially if he was saying Katsuki's name like that...

"-gone again, I think," Kaminari said. He was prodding Katsuki's shoulder. Katsuki turned his head slowly and shot the electrical idiot the iciest glare he could muster.

"Oh, he's back!" Kaminari crowed.

"Who's back?"

Ah fuck, Kirishima was there, and now the group would all be watching them. Scrutinising everything. Fuckers.

"Well you are now, bro," Kaminari chirped. "But Bakugou was spacing again."

"Again?" Kirishima asked, sitting back down next to Katsuki at the end of the table and setting down his tray. He peered at Katsuki's face. "Hey dude, you're looking a little flushed. You coming down with something?"

Then to Katsuki's... horror? Delight? Kirishima reached out and grabbed Katsuki's face. One hand on his jaw to hold him in place, and the other on his forehead to test his temperature. Kirishima's face was a mask of concentration. Oh shit. The others had gone silent and Katsuki could practically feel the stunned disbelief emanating from them.

"You're a little bit hot there, Bakugou," he said. Their eyes met for a moment, and then Kirishima took his hands away all too quickly. "So, uh, I mean-"

"I'm fine, it's just my Quirk," Katsuki muttered. He could feel his neck flushing now. Kirishima had focused all of his attention onto his food instead. Was... Had that been flirting? How the fuck was Katsuki supposed to respond to it? Fuck.

"Oh my god," he heard Ashido say under her breath.

He kicked her again, for good measure.



Tomorrow was Sunday, Katsuki thought idly, as the six of them piled into one of the couches in the common room after classes. Katsuki was at the edge again, but it was fine because it was Kirishima sitting next to him with an arm casually slung over his shoulder. There was an unbroken line of connection between them from shoulder to knee, and if Katsuki was maybe leaning more into Kirishima than usual then fucking sue him.

The scorpions rustled in his stomach at each tiny motion.

Ashido and Kaminari were chanting. "Movie night! Movie night! Movie night!"

This got attention from more people milling around the room. Sero got up to fiddle around with the television, and now the couches were filling up. Deku and his pack were piling into the couch opposite Katsuki's friends, and the third couch was taking on most of the others. Tokoyami and Octopus both declined and wandered off, and no one let the Grape Bastard onto a couch so he had to go find a chair and sit by himself.

"Any suggestions?" Sero asked the class.

Katsuki surprised himself by calling out first. "Something fucking less than a hundred years old!"

"We have one vote for recent movies," Sero acknowledged. "Any other opinions?"

The Grape Bastard opened his mouth.

"No," said Sero, before the perverted pipsqueak could say anything. "Next?"

"A musical!" said the invisble one. Several people cheered, including Kirishima.

Huh. Movie night. Kirishima. Kirishima with his arm around Bakugou and his habit of clinging while asleep. Kirishima who had a habit of falling asleep during movie nights. Kirishima and his nightmares.

"Hey, Kirishima," he muttered, low so no one else could hear.

Kirishima turned to face him, one eyebrow quirked and a smile on his face. "Yeah?"

"Is this going to be alright for you?" Katsuki asked. More people were calling out to Sero, but he'd stopped listening.

"Huh?" Kirishima tilted his head. Then his eyes widened as he realised what Katsuki meant. "Oh. Oh right. I'm... I don't know, actually."

Kirishima bit his lip and looked around the room. Katsuki felt the scorpions crawling around. Kirishima's teeth were so sharp-looking. What would they feel like against his lips and tongue? Katsuki scolded his brain. Holy shit. Where had that come from?

"I think I'll be okay," Kirishima said, turning back. He gave Katsuki's shoulders a squeeze. "If something does happen-"

"I will murder anyone who says anything," Katsuki said. Kirishima grinned.

"That's what I thought you'd say," Kirishima said. Katsuki could feel himself blushing just a little. Was Kirishima flirting again?

The lights suddenly flicked off, and Katsuki felt Kirishima jolt. It seemed like the decision on the movie had been made while they had been talking to each other in hushed voices. Sero eased his way back into the tangle of their group on the couch, and Kirishima was pushed up closer to Katsuki. Their faces were suddenly very close and Kirishima was staring at Katsuki with wide eyes. His arm was still around Katsuki's shoulder and his other hand had flown up to brace against Katsuki's chest. Fuck. Everyone was still chatting as they waited for the movie to load up. If anyone had noticed what was happening between them, Katsuki didn't care.

"Got somethin' on my face, hair-for-brains?" Katsuki asked. His own voice sounded kind of weird in his ears. It felt like blood was rushing to his head, like he was flipped upside-down. Fuck, was he flirting now? Kirishima turned visibly red even in the darkened room.

"Um," he said, unblinking. "Uh?"

Katsuki revelled in the reaction.

Music blared out from the screen, and everyone hushed. Kirishima looked away and the moment was over. Kirishima twisted, taking his arm away so he could wedge himself in against the back of the couch. Katsuki was just beginning his inner lament about it when Kirishima rested his head on Katsuki's shoulder instead. His eyes were shiny as he looked up at the screen. A smile played at Kirishima's lips, something small and without teeth. Light lanced out as the first scene of whatever the fuck this movie was and washed over Kirishima's spiked hair, painting the red over in gold. Fuck, but he looked good.

The redhead started mouthing along to the opening words, so this was obviously something he'd already seen before. Now there were flashes of those wonderful, awful teeth to spot. Katsuki didn't recognise the song himself, but he wasn't making much of an effort to view the screen. He had something way fucking better to look at.




Despite the exuberance that Kirishima had displayed during some of the numbers, he dropped about half an hour before the end. Kirishima's head had migrated from Katsuki's shoulder across to the fucking armrest, his torso was mostly on Katsuki's lap and his legs had been thrown over the others. One of Kirishima's arms was dangling over the edge of the couch, and the other... his hand was gripping onto the hem of Katsuki's shirt. Katsuki had one of his arms propping his head up on the back of the couch, while his other hand was playing with Kirishima's hair. He didn't think anyone else had noticed in the dark.

He didn't think it would matter if they did, anyway. His friends already knew how they both felt, which meant it was only a matter of time before the rest of the class did too. The morons meant well, but they were morons, and they were loud and chatty.

Kirishima's hair felt weird. It was soft at the roots, but there was another sort of crunchy texture to it that he suspected was the styling gel. He was probably messing up Kirishima's spikes, running his hands through them. Oh well, worth it.

"Having fun there?" Ashido leant over to whisper to Katsuki. He frowned. She pointed to where Katsuki's fingers were now tracing circles on Kirishima's scalp.

He was too relaxed to shoot much of a glare at her, but he did his best. "Fuck off."

She laughed and turned back to the movie. It had reached the climax - the two leads professing their undying love at last and preparing to out-sing the villain or something. Katsuki still wasn't paying that much attention. Sometimes his eyes flicked up to the colours on the screen, but mostly they were focused on Kirishima. His face looked so relaxed while he was sleeping. He looked younger, more vulnerable. Katsuki supposed most people did when they slept, but he didn't want to look at anyone else.

The movie wound to a close. A second was picked, some sort of cheesy romcom. Kirishima kept sleeping.

Then, half-way through the romcom, he began to twitch. Kirishima's eyeballs flickered, his breathing went rapid and shallow, and his knee came up, catching Sero a glancing blow on the jaw. Fuck.

"Hey, what th-"

"It's the fucking thing, idiot," Katsuki hissed. Kirishima's grip on his shirt tightened. Sero rubbed at his jaw, and the whole group on the couch stared on, aghast. They hadn't seen this before, so Katsuki didn't blame them.

"I'd almost- I forgot," Ashido muttered. "Fuck."

"Nnnoo," Kirishima groaned, loudly, over the movie. Eyes began to change direction. "Please!"

Kirishima began to sob in his sleep, which, fuck. "Don't- Please don't- Not-"

Someone paused the movie. Fuck.


"Shut up," Katsuki spat in the direction of Four-Eyes. "Just-"

Kirishima's Quirk activated on his arms and he flailed out. "Don't!"

Then he was sitting up, his Quirk deactivating, reaching for Katsuki and sobbing into his shoulder. Katsuki sent glares across at everyone staring at them, silently promising pain for anyone who dared comment even as he crushed Kirishima into a hug.

"Kirishima?" he asked, once the boy's sobs had subsided. "You good?"

"Fuck this," Kirishima spat in a shaky voice, clinging to Katsuki. "Why won't it just stop?"

"Are we allowed to ask what is happening yet?" A bland voice spoke. Katsuki glared at the Half-and-Half bastard as Kirishima froze, a mortified expression appearing on his face.

"Oh fuck," Kirishima whispered. Katsuki didn't let him wriggle away when he tried.

"No," Bakugou told the Half-and-Half Bastard. "Fuck off."

"Bakugou, there is no need for that kind of language, we are just as concerned about-" Four-Eyes said. Katsuki ignored him, focusing in on Kirishima instead.

"You want to go?" he asked. He wouldn't have been able to fucking stand the thought of everyone here knowing what that stuff looked like.

Kirishima shook his head. "I think I owe them all an explanation."

Of course he thought that. Kirishima didn't owe the others in the class shit, but, well. He was Kirishima. Katsuki relaxed his hold enough for Kirishima slide back to the seat next to Katsuki he had begun in. He kept one arm over Kirishima's shoulders, a reversal of how they had started that evening.

"Hi, everyone," Kirishima said, brushing red hair out of his reddened red eyes. He paused, holding a couple of the loose strands and looking confused. Oh fuck, that was Katsuki's fault. Kirishima shook his head, braced himself, and spoke. "Uh, I have horrible nightmares every night. Surprise?"

A chorus of concerned questions began to assault from all corners.

"When did-"

"How long has-"

"What kind of-"

Their friends were silent, but then they had known about what was happening. Fucking Deku stood up for some fucking reason, and then the couch seats were emptying and everyone was rushing in and Katsuki held up one hand because fuck that.

He set off a light explosion to keep the small surge of people away. "Keep your fucking distance!"

Everyone who had moved backed up. Katsuki kept his smoking hand up, his other arm still over the slightly startled Kirishima's shoulders.

"You don't fucking rush someone like that, idiots!" Katsuki continued. He turned to Kirishima again. Then he looked at the others on the couch, who all looked rather alarmed. "Kirishima, you're going to bed."

"What? No, I-"

 Katsuki squinted around at everyone. "You can all ask Kaminari, Ashido, Sero or Jirou about it if you're that fucking curious."

"Bakugou," Kirishima tried as Katsuki dragged him to his feet. "Wait-"

"Bed," Katsuki grunted, hauling Kirishima by his wrist across the room. He pushed through everyone who had stood up, ignoring any protests.

Katsuki only let go once they were moving in the elevator. Kirishima glared at him from one corner, arms folded. Katsuki glared back. Why were they glaring at each other?

"You do not need to fucking baby me, Bakugou," Kirishima grumbled. What?

"I'm not fucking babying you, Kirishima," Katsuki replied. He gestured to the door. "Those fuckers were getting ready to jump down your throat."

"Those 'fuckers' are my friends," Kirishima said. He scowled. "You ever fucking heard of those?"

"Some kinda fucking friends, crowding in like that," Katsuki grouched. "They gotta learn about fucking personal space."

"Ah, that's fucking rich," Kirishima said, stomping through the doors as the elevator came to a stop. "Coming from you."

Katsuki paused to stare after Kirishima. What? Why were they arguing? Over what?

"Fucking what is that supposed to mean? Coming from me? Coming from you!" Katsuki snapped, following him.

"It means- augh! I don't know!" Kirishima reached his door and whirled to face Katsuki. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that you're always fucking all over me," Katsuki snarled. Fuck, was Octopus in his room? He'd be hearing all of this. He threw his hands up in the air, trying not to let his palms crackle. "And then all the other fuckers think it's okay, too! Fuck!"

Kirishima rolled his eyes. "Oh fuck, fine, whatever, I'll stay away from you and your precious personal space from now on, happy?"

Fuck, everything was going wrong. "No!"

Kirishima looked taken aback. "What?"

"Fuck, I, no. Don't stay away," Katsuki said. His voice dropped. "It's- I meant that you're the only one I want in my space."

Kirishima's scowl disappeared completely, replaced by cautious shock. "You... huh?"

Fuck, Katsuki was panicking and this was utterly the wrong moment for this and he had to deflect and he had to deflect now. "What was your nightmare about this time?"

He was a coward, fuck.

"My- Oh, that," Kirishima's frown returned, but not directed at Katsuki. "Bad stuff."

"No shit," Katsuki replied.

Silence took over. It was dark and heavy and charged. Oppressive, Katsuki thought. The stormcloud was back.

"I overreacted," he said, at last. Kirishima raised an eyebrow at him. "I can't do anything to stop your nightmares. I feel fucking helpless. But I overreacted when everyone started crowding. I did something wrong, right?"

"Bakugou-" Kirishima began. Katsuki held up his hands.

"I'm not done. I feel like shit about this, but you?" Katsuki met Kirishima's eyes. "You're the one who's actually having to deal with this shitshow. Whatever I'm whining about is nothing. If you need to yell at me about stuff, I get it. I'm sorry."

"I shouldn't yell at you, though," Kirishima said. "It's not a manly thing to do. You're trying to help."

"Obviously not in the right way," Katsuki growled.

"Yeah but I'm yelling at you instead of telling you how to help," Kirishima retorted. "And you do help, Bakugou."

"Now you're trying to cheer me up when I'm the one who- ugh," Katsuki groaned. "Fuck. Stop being so goddamn nice."

Kirishima gave him a lop-sided smile. "Coming from you."

"Hah?" Katsuki blinked. What was Kirishima on about now? "I'm not nice."

"Sure you are, dude," Kirishima said. He looked Katsuki up and down, slowly, which sent the scorpions in his gut wild. "You were trying to stop me getting overwhelmed. I guess it was kinda sweet?"

Sweet? Katsuki? Sweet? Fuck?

"I thought you didn't- Augh, make up your mind, Kirishima," Katsuki growled. Was Kirishima mad at being rushed away or not?

"I appreciate the effort, Bakugou," Kirishima said. "I think- You're an introvert so the thought of people asking stuff stresses you out, so you thought getting out was the best idea 'cause it's what you would have wanted."

Katsuki stared at Kirishima. That wasn't exactly wrong.

"I've got some self-esteem issues," Kirishima continued. "But I'm an extrovert! I thrive on people and it was nice to see how concerned everyone was, y'know? I kind of wanted to bask in it. The nightmares are... embarrassing, but I've just gotta get thicker metaphorical skin to match my Quirk, right?"

Oh. Well fuck. Now Katsuki felt like an idiot. "Do you... want to go back?"

Kirishima shrugged. "Nah. I should probably try to get some more sleep."

"Right," said Katsuki. Okay then. Augh. He began to turn towards his own door. "Night then, I gue-"

"Bakugou," Kirishima's tone had changed. It was thin and strained. Katsuki whipped back around to face him. "I don't want to go back down, but I don't want to be alone. Can- can I stay with you?"

Katsuki studied Kirishima's pale face, the beads of sweat at his brow. The set of his shoulders, and the shaking he had been hiding this whole conversation, ever since he'd woken up. Katsuki swallowed, and did the only thing he could think of.

Katsuki held out his hand.

Kirishima took it.

Chapter Text

Katsuki had expected things to be awkward as they settled around each other in his bed, but it wasn't. Kirishima pressed his head against Katsuki's chest, Katsuki held him around his shoulders and twined their legs together, and that was that. He was too worried and Kirishima was too exhausted for either of them to be flustered by the contact. They probably would be when they woke up, but... The morning seemed like an eternity away, not something to think about yet.

Katsuki shut his eyes, feeling drowsy and warm. Kirishima had asked for this, so he was allowed to enjoy it, right?

"It was about you," Kirishima mumbled, just as Katsuki reached the border of sleep.

He floundered back from the fog. "Huh?"

"The nightmare tonight. It was like yesterday, new one. I mean, same one as the new one but, ugh, worse," Kirishima said in a muffled voice. "We were captured by a villain. Not a real villain, just, dream stuff. Y'know. A villain. We were tied up and the villain wanted to know something, but neither of us knew the answer so he grabbed you and-"

Kirishima choked on the words. "He began to- to torture you. It was so fucking real."

Oh fuck.

"Hey," Katsuki said, fixing the top of Kirishima's head with a hard stare. "Hey, it wasn't real."

"I know," Kirishima said. "But-"

"This is real," Katsuki moved his arm to run his hand through Kirishima's hair. "I'm real. I'm here."

"Yeah," Kirishima agreed. He leant into Katsuki's touch. "You're here."

"I'll be here as long as you want me here," Katsuki said. He didn't know where the words were coming from, but they felt like the right ones.

"Thanks, Bakubro," Kirishima sighed. "I'm sorry I keep snapping at you."

"I can take it, Kirishima. I know you don't fucking mean it half the time," Katsuki growled. He gave Kirishima a fierce squeeze with the one arm still around him. "Better me than one of the sensitive fuckers."

"Dude," Kirishima sounded like he was rolling his eyes. "You're like, so sensitive."

"I fucking am not," Katsuki said, sharply. Where the fuck did Kirishima get that from? He gave Kirishima's scalp a tap. "What the fuck makes you think that?"

"You're reacting like that when I'm calling you sensitive, bro," Kirishima said. He giggled into Katsuki's chest. Giggled! Not fair! Not fucking fair!

"Guess you're feeling fucking better now," Katsuki grumbled. Giggling! That was appalling behaviour and Katsuki's mind was racing, trying to figure out ways to make it happen again.

"Yeah. I feel kinda lighter when you're around. It's harder to think about the bad stuff," Kirishima said. Oh. "Weird, huh?"

"Not really," Katsuki let the words sink into the air, and pulled some of Kirishima's remaining hair spikes apart. "Your hair's weird though."

Kirishima gave a soft snort of laughter, his breath pluming hotly against Katsuki's chest. "So it was you who messed up my hair earlier? Bastard."

Katsuki grinned into the darkness of the room. "Yeah. Now go the fuck to sleep."

Kirishima grunted something affirmative and pressed himself further into Katsuki's chest. Katsuki let his hand fall from Kirishima's hair and circle Kirishima's shoulders. He could get used to this.

Katsuki shut his eyes.



Katsuki wanted to wake up like this forever. It didn't matter that he was only sixteen. He had found exactly what he wanted from life - to be the Number One Hero, and to wake up with Kirishima Eijirou wrapped around his chest every morning. This was more than an infatuation, more than just a crush, and the strength of the emotions swirling through his insides brought him out from the haze of of sleep like he had been slapped with a waterfall.
The thoughts he was having were so fucking sappy he nearly gasped. What the fuck, he was Bakugou Fucking Katsuki and he did not mix well with fucking sappy.

Then Kirishima stretched, his arms brushing against Katsuki's sides. Katsuki's eyes opened.

"Mornin' bro," Kirishima slurred.

Fuck, Katsuki was going to be the sappiest fucker there had ever been. Kirishima moved his head back away from where it had been on Katsuki's chest all night to look up at him. Holy shit did Kirishima look good right then, all messy hair and half-open eyes and soft fucking smiles. Had Kirishima been awake already?

"Morning," Katsuki replied. He marvelled at how fucking casual he sounded, as if he woke up with his arms around the boy he liked every day. He wanted it to be every day, damn it. "Did you have any more nightmares?"

"Nope," Kirishima said in a quiet voice. He was still smiling. "Just that one."

Katsuki stared at the colour in Kirishima's eyes. Rich red, bright and clear. Would Kirishima ever have picked red as his colour if his eyes had been different, Katsuki wondered. He tried to picture Kirishima with blue, or green, or orange, and none of the colours fit. Blue Riot didn't really suit him. Red Riot absolutely did.

"Is this really okay?" Kirishima asked. Katsuki could feel his heartbeat picking up.

"Is what okay?" Katsuki asked. He had a bit of an idea.

"Asking you for this. To be- The comfort isn't the only thing I've been getting out of this and I feel kind of selfish?" Kirishima admitted, all in a rush. Was that a confession? It probably would have been if Katsuki didn't already know.

Katsuki felt a surge of boldness course through him as the scorpions cheered him on. He pulled one of his arms from around Kirishima, then reached with his hand to trace one finger down Kirishima's jaw. Kirishima took in a sharp breath as Katsuki reached his chin and tilted his head to just there.

"You're not the selfish one here," Katsuki whispered. He leant forwards and-

A furious pounding against the door cut right through the moment. Kirishima sat bolt upright with a strangled yelp, while Katsuki closed his eyes and tried to count to ten. No committing murder today. No committing murder today. He couldn't have murder on his permanent record. Not even with such a justified cause.

The knocking continued. "Hey! Hey Bakugou! I can't find Kirishima anywhere! Is he in there with you?"

"Fuck off, Kaminari!" Kirishima yelled, red-faced. Katsuki grabbed one of his pillows and covered his own face with it.

The next sound was the door bursting open. "Oh you are here! Satou's making American-style panc- Oh."

Katsuki couldn't see through the pillow, but he could imagine the expression on Kaminari's face as he took in the scene. Katsuki covered by his pillow. Kirishima sitting up in Katsuki's bed, blushing furiously. Their legs still tangled together under the covers. Fuck.

"Did I interrupt something?" Kaminari asked, unable to keep the glee from his voice.

"Yes!" Kirishima shouted. "Get out!"

Kaminari cackled, but he shut the door all the same. Kirishima let out a frustrated groan and flopped back onto the bed. "Fuck."

There were a few minutes of nothing, and then the mattress shifted. Katsuki felt the pillow being tugged away, and then all of a sudden Kirishima was there instead. He tossed the pillow aside, and Katsuki heard it fall to the floor with a whump.  

"Hey," Kirishima said, moving one hand onto Katsuki's shoulder. "You were trying to kiss me, right?"

Katsuki's face was probably the same colour as Kirishima's hair as he nodded. He didn't fucking trust his voice at that moment. Kirishima moved his hand to Katsuki's other shoulder, slowly across Katsuki's chest, until Kirishima was leaning over him. The damn scorpions were having a party.

"Can you try again?" Kirishima whispered. Holy shit.

Katsuki swallowed. Fuck yeah he could try again. He sat up, grabbed Kirishima by the collar, drew him closer and then-

The door crashed open again. Katsuki's palms popped, singing Kirishima's shirt. Why the fuck was his room suddenly free real estate? Kirishima himself was pulling away from his grip and leaping to his feet.

"Kaminari said you two were making out, is that true?!" Ashido crowed. Then she noticed Kirishima flying at her. "Oh fuck!"

"Mina!" Kirishima snarled. He stopped just short of crashing into her and began pushing her out of the room. "Why the fuck would you come in here if you thought we were making out?"

"Lack of forward thinking on my part, admittedly, but-" Ashido peered around Kirishima and waved at Katsuki. He sent her a stony glare. "You mean you weren't? Why?"

Kirishima's jaw worked soundlessly for a moment. His whole body went red. "I- I can't just- It would- Hhh. Mina we haven't even talked about anything yet."

Katsuki felt himself go redder too. Ohhhhh fuck.

"Uhhm, right," Ashido had the grace to look abashed. "I was actually- Everyone's kind of concerned about you, Kirishima, after the whole nightmare thing. I think that's why Satou's making the pancakes? Kaminari was supposed to ask if you wanted us all - the class - to give you some space, or...?"

"Oh," Kirishima said. "I mean. Space would be nice, but. Not. Not for the nightmare thing. Um. People can ask about that if they want. Uh."

"Gotcha, no questions about you and Bakugou," Ashido said. Then she fucking winked. "You go on and discuss things. I'll stop anyone else coming to bother you."

"You'd better," Katsuki growled, pushing himself up off the bed to loom at her menacingly behind Kirishima. "Or I'll-"

"Kill me, yeah yeah, got it," Ashido chirped, and walked herself into the hallway. "You boys have fun now! But not too much fun!"

Kirishima closed the door.

"I love our friends, I really do," he said, through gritted teeth. "But... Damn."

Kirishima turned, his eyes widening when he saw that Katsuki had approached him. Katsuki let his eyes wander all over Kirishima's face. Kirishima was doing the same to him, and it was wonderful.

"So, uh, those pancakes sound good, right?" Kirishima said, his voice just a little higher than usual. "I have no idea what I'm saying."

Katsuki took the crispy parts of Kirishima's shirt in his hands again and finally - fucking finally - closed the distance between them.

It was a short kiss, but no less sweet for it, and when Katsuki felt Kirishima smile against him he felt like he could fly into the stratosphere. He wouldn't, though, because that would take him too far away from Kirishima and Kirishima's weirdly soft lips.

"I really fucking like you," Katsuki said, as soon as they moved apart. He had to tell Kirishima now. There was a grin on his face that he wouldn't have been able to wipe off even if he had wanted to.

Kirishima laughed, matching his grin. "I hope so, man, 'cause I really like you too."

Katsuki moved a hand into Kirishima's hair and pulled him in for another kiss.

"I really like your weird-ass teeth," Katsuki said. "And your shitty hair, and your fucking eyes."

Kirishima's arms slid over his shoulders. "I like your eyes too, and your growly voice, and just like, your whole face. You're really manly, dude."

Kirishima moved in for the next kiss. Neither of them were trying to deepen anything beyond the brushing of their lips, and that was fine. They stood there, trading small, light kisses until Kirishima pulled back. His eyes were sparkling.

"Date me, Bakugou?" Damn, he'd beaten Katsuki to the final punch. Fucker.

"Use my name, dumbass," Katsuki said. He fiddled with a lock of Kirishima's hair.

"Date me, Katsuki?" Kirishima asked. He sounded almost shy. Katsuki kissed him.

"Fuck yeah," Katsuki mumbled against his lips. "Can I use your name?"

"You'd better," Eijirou said, pulling back to plant a kiss on Katsuki's cheek. "We're dating."

Warmth bubbled up through Katsuki's chest and spilled out of him into a laugh. This was the best fucking feeling he had ever had. Eijirou pulled him in again for another soft kiss, and then pushed him away. Not too far, though, and he hooked their hands together.

"Oh man," Eijirou said. Eijirou said it. Eijirou, Eijirou, Eijirou. "I'm dating Bakugou Katsuki."

"You're saying that like there could have fucking been anyone else, Eijirou," Katsuki admonished. Eijirou! He tugged on Eijirou's hands to bring him closer again and buried his head in the crook of Eijirou's neck. "I like you so fucking much."

 "You know, I've been feeling kinda guilty lately, Katsuki," Eijirou said, rubbing circles into Katsuki's palms with his thumbs. "I've liked you for like, ages and when you started helping me with the nightmare stuff it sort of felt like I was using it as an excuse to get closer to you?"

"Fuck," Katsuki said into Eijirou's neck. "I- Same thing? I wanted, still want, you to feel better but then I wasn't sure, if my motives were, ugh- If I wanted to help you for the right reasons or if I was just being. Yeah."

Eijirou laced their fingers together. "Let's just say we're even, huh, Katsuki?" 

Katsuki squeezed his hands. "Yeah. Okay, Eijirou."

Maybe he was pushing the name thing a little too far, but he just wanted to say it again and again and again. He pulled away from the sort-of-half-hug and Eijirou didn't look like he minded all that much. Katsuki leaned in again but Eijirou disengaged one of his hands and held up a finger in front of Katsuki's mouth. Not fair! He pouted, slightly embarrassed by how fucking obvious he must have looked and slightly not caring because it was Eijirou, who could read him anyway.

"Okay, so while this is like, wow, I really do want to go for the pancakes before they're all gone, if they were made for me," Eijirou grinned. It was like he was grinning with his entire being, and Katsuki was convinced he'd never seen anything as good as this. "You coming with?"

Katsuki thought about kisses sweetened by syrup. "Abso-fucking-lutely."

Chapter Text

Four months later...



"Hey, when was your last nightmare, Ei?" Katsuki asked, sprawled across his bed. Eijirou was working on translating something for English that Katsuki was already done with. The redhead didn't need help, but he seemed to work better when Katsuki was in the room. Katsuki wasn't about to complain.

"Hm?" Eijirou half-turned his head without looking up from the paper. "Oh like, two weeks ago? Progress!"

It wasn't like dating Katsuki had magically solved all of Eijirou's problems. The nightmares had continued on like usual for a few more weeks, until an actual solution of sorts had been presented by Recovery Girl. There was a new school therapist who had been brought in to deal with all of the angsty teenagers living there. She'd been talking through the nightmares with Eijirou. Turned out that most of them were feeding off of Eijirou's fucking insecurites rather than post-traumatic stress, so addressing them was helping. Katsuki liked to think he had played a part in crushing some of Eijirou's fucking brain-gremlins, but he knew he wasn't the only one.

Eijirou was mostly succeeding all by himself, anyway.

Eijirou turned back to his work. Katsuki pouted because he wanted more attention, but Eijirou really did need to finish this stuff off.

"I can hear your expression," Eijirou said, mildly. "You've got your I-wanna-kiss-my-fucking-boyfriend-but-he's-been-a-dumbass-and-has-to-work-instead face on. You're so needy."

Katsuki scowled. "If you'd done this yesterday instead of challenging Kaminari to see who could fit more fucking spoons in your mouths then you'd be hearing my I'm-kissing-my-fucking-boyfriend face, but no."

"I won, didn't I?" Eijirou turned just enough to shoot a wink at Katsuki. Katsuki rolled his eyes. "Aw, Kats, I'll kiss you later."

Katsuki grabbed one of his pillows and kneaded it between his hands. Fuck, he still blushed at the stuff Eijirou came out with sometimes. He pursed his lips. This required revenge.

He shot a sly look over at the back of Eijirou's spiky red hair, stuffed the pillow under his head and hummed to himself. Well, there was that one thing...

"Red Raze? Razing? Red Revolt?" Katsuki mused while Eijirou wrangled the English adverbs. "No..."

Eijirou turned his head, distracted again, heh. "Huh?"

"I still haven't picked a fucking hero name, have I?" Katsuki said. "I'm thinking out loud."

It was sort of true. The part about his hero name definitely was, but the rest of it... Katsuki had been thinking about this for a while now, and he still wasn't exactly sure how to fucking address it.

If you open with 'hey fuckface' at this point, we're going to literally die, his brain warned him. So fucking melodramatic.

Eijirou leaned back in his seat - Katsuki's desk chair, really, but Eijirou probably used it just as much as he did these days - and squinted at him. He could tell something was up.

"Why do they begin with Red, though? Like, that's my thing," Eijirou said, a slight note of suspicion in his voice. "I mean, I know my naming skills are amazing and the manliest, but...?"

Katsuki stared right at him. His heart began to race. He just needed to fucking bite the bullet and say it out loud. "Team up with me, Ei."

Eijirou blinked. "Huh?"

Katsuki sat up. He reached out to snatch up one of Eijirou's hands. "Let's be Hero Partners and blow everyone else the fuck away."

"Whoa, whoa, you mean when we leave Yuuei?" Eijirou was staring at him, incredulous, so Katsuki leaned over and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Like, like actually- Like real Hero Partners? For real? You and me? In real life?"

"Fuck yeah! I figure we should like, match or some shit, and you've already got all your name stuff locked down," Katsuki continued. He was feeling all shivery and hot at the same time because if Eijirou didn't like this idea, he was screwed big time. So he rambled instead, not quite looking at his boyfriend in case the wrong answer was written on his face. "You got a fucking theme going. So I should probably be Red something, right? I'm not dyeing my hair like you fucking do, but I've got the right coloured eyes and I can change the colours of my costume from orange so it won't be a big stretch. If I can find a good name that alliterates like yours then it'll fit your logo and shit and we'll be more recognisable to-"

Eijirou tugged his hand free, standing abruptly, and then grabbing Katsuki by the shoulders, pushing him back into the mattress and delivering the fieriest kiss they'd ever had. Eijirou introduced his fucking teeth for the first time ever, scraping them against Katsuki's lower lip. Katsuki was so startled that he barely had the time to gain his bearings and respond before Eijirou broke it off, panting heavily. What? The fuck? That was not fucking fair. Katsuki whined and tried to follow with his mouth, but Eijirou was still pinning his shoulders. Katsuki wanted those teeth back, damn it. Wait, did this mean Eijirou was saying yes?

"Red Rampage?" Eijirou suggested. Fuck, he was saying yes. Eijirou scowled at him. "Also holy shit Katsuki, don't just drop something like that on me with no warning."

"Red Rampage sounds badass," Katsuki agreed, ignoring the second part. He stared unabashedly at Eijirou's mouth. "Now either go back to studying or kiss me like that again."

Eijirou flushed, and to Katsuki's utter disappointment he unwrapped himself from Katsuki and returned to his seat. Eijirou still got so flustered when Katsuki flirted with him sometimes. It was so adorable that it was almost unbearable. Sure, Katsuki was just the same when the tables were turned, but that was neither here nor there right now. Those teeth needed to come back or Katsuki was going to fucking die. Fuck, Eijirou was right. He was fucking needy. He let Eijirou continue for a while, watching from where he'd been pushed down and quite happy to stay there. Eijirou had agreed to partner up with Katsuki when they started their hero careers. His stomach was doing somersaults and the scorpions were doing a conga-line through his intestines. Katsuki's mind wandered briefly over to another kind of yes he wanted to hear, one day. Fuck. He liked Eijirou so fucking much.

It wasn't just like though, was it?

"Hey, Ei," Katsuki said with a sly grin, because he was still Lord Explosion Murder in his heart and could never drop just one fucking bomb at a time. "I love you."

Not many more adverbs were translated that evening.