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The indelicacies of nitroglycerin

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“Don’t you think Bakugou is pretty?”

Todoroki looked up, after having apparently caused the untimely deaths of his three friends. Uraraka was doubled over, clutching her throat as bits of food sprayed from her wheezing mouth, Iida had somehow mini-Recipro Bursted his way through the floorboards and was struggling to get back out of the crater, and Midoriya… Midoriya looked like he needed an ambulance. Or an immediate blood transfusion at least, his face was so white.

Todoroki glanced across the cafeteria, eyes drawn as they always were to the abomination of a human being that was currently screaming bloody murder at his classmates. On default, probably. Seeing Bakugou’s lips stretched back so far into a murderous snarl Todoroki could count every single one of his (perfectly straight, white) teeth - so, a very common expression - he guessed he couldn’t blame his friends for their overblown shock at his comment.

Todoroki looked back down at his food as the telltale crackle of mini explosions went off on his far right, and a strangled, spluttering sound emitted from his left as Midoriya appeared to slowly drag his soul back into his body. Forcibly.

Todoroki cut a small piece of meat and rose it to his mouth to muffle his quiet mumble.

“Just me?”

~

Bakugou Katsuki made one hell of a first impression, on possibly everyone that had ever seen him. Even in the rare moments when Todoroki hadn’t seen the trademark scowl on his face - usually when nobody was breathing in his direction to piss him off - just his spiky shock of blond hair and sharp, blood-red eyes were enough to draw attention. And, of course, usually he was either blowing someone’s face up, threatening very loudly to do so, or stomping around, probably pissed that he wasn’t currently wiping the floor with someone’s obliterated remains.

Okay, Bakugou hadn’t actually killed anyone before, and despite the amount of times Todoroki had heard him very explicitly tell Midoriya to die, Todoroki knew Bakugou never would. But, you kinda got the feeling that the guy liked to bathe in kittens’ blood every time he opened that foul, unnecessarily loud mouth.

So yeah, out of all possible words any sane person would use to describe Bakugou Katsuki, “pretty” wasn’t a popular choice.

Todoroki couldn’t help it, though. It was Bakugou’s fault. And his own awful tastes, apparently. He wished he could say it was when he saw Bakugou smile rather than smirk for the first time or something, or- or seeing his face soften after saving a puppy from drowning… or something that made sense. Unfortunately, he still had yet to see the aggressive boy smile, let alone save people or animals without yelling at them.

It was actually when he was brushing his teeth one morning in the boys’ bathroom. Bakugou walked in with a huge yawn and sleepy dust crusting his bleary, squinty eyes, looking like a sleepy, angry mess instead of just the standard angry mess… and Todoroki suddenly lost all his brain cells and wanted to kiss him.

And then Bakugou shot him a murderous glare and told him to keep his damn creepy eyes to himself.

(Todoroki knew he sometimes came across as creepy, because when he was interested by something he would stare at it indefinitely. It still made him a little dejected to hear it from Bakugou though, and he glanced away with a quiet “oh”.

That must have pissed the guy off more because Bakugou then proceeded to choke and swear and blow up a chunk of the sink. Todoroki didn’t look directly at him for a while after that.)

Todoroki had thought about Bakugou before that, sure. How could you possibly not spare a passing thought or two for the literally explosive, brilliant, powerful ball of pure assholery that came first in the entrance exam, first in the Sports Festival, and scored closely behind Iida and Yaoyorozu to place third in the class for academic grades despite looking like a brainless delinquent. And that was just in their first year.

But up until recently Todoroki had been preoccupied with his own less than pleasant issues that he still hadn’t fully shaken off, though he liked to think he was a bit more at peace with himself and the world in general now. Plus, he was self-aware enough to acknowledge that he was a bit of an asshole as well. Frankly, he hadn’t cared much about other people before Midoriya entered his life. His passing thoughts about Bakugou had remained just that, added with a dash of disdain for his brash, rude behaviour.

But now that he actually slowed down and took his time to notice other people around him, and try to “come out of his shell” a little, as Uraraka had put it… well. Apparently he’d had to sacrifice his sight and general sanity in exchange for the positivity in his life.

Well, objectively speaking, Bakugou wasn’t bad looking. In fact, when he was only moderately frowning, he was a pretty attractive guy.

The questionable thing was that Todoroki found even his crazed, bloodthirsty grins in battle as he screamed at some poor soul to go to hell, attractive.

Todoroki generally thought himself to be a rational, reasonable guy. He didn’t place much importance on other people’s opinions of him, but he knew most people would describe him as coolheaded. There was probably a pun in there somewhere that Todoroki couldn’t be bothered acknowledging, but the point was, he and other people were clearly under a misconception that his brain was functioning normally.

“Todoroki-kun, are you thinking about Bakugou-kun again?” Uraraka sounded apprehensive, her wobbly, half concerned, half hesitantly supportive smile mirroring Midoriya’s. They both tended to look at him like that a lot, whenever he spaced out and it was all too obvious what was on his mind. Like they weren’t sure exactly how to tell Todoroki that the object of his affections was practically a fire breathing monster. Well, thankfully for him, fire was on his side. Though explosions weren’t too far off from fire, he mused.

“What do you think it’d be like to hold his hand? It’d probably be sweaty. His Quirk activates from his sweat after all, so to be able to use it at will like he does…” Todoroki wondered aloud, half to himself, and artfully ignored Iida choking on thin air beside him. It was a common reaction whenever any sentence concerning Bakugou left Todoroki’s mouth.

“T-Todoroki-kun, you uh… you think about holding… Kacchan’s… hand?” Midoriya sounded like he was confirming whether Todoroki liked sticking thorns into his own eyeball. Todoroki looked down at his own outstretched hand, and imagined warm, strong fingers wrapped around it. In reality, those warm, strong fingers would sooner break his hand in half than hold it, but fantasies came unbidden anyway.

“I think about it a concerning amount of time every day, yeah. Maybe… Maybe I should try it and see. So I stop thinking about it.” Todoroki replied pensively, and again ignored Iida’s choke.

Uraraka and Midoriya stared at him for a very long time in silence, and Todoroki could hear them trying to decide whether or not to point out to him that attempting to hold Bakugou Katsuki’s hand was a surefire way to lose an entire limb.

Uraraka eventually said, “At least you know it’s concerning.”

~

In Todoroki’s (weak) defence, he was just curious  about a lot of things to do with Bakugou. He was curious about holding Bakugou’s hand, just as he was curious to see what his face would look like when laughing in genuine amusement. He was curious about Bakugou’s obsession with winning, he was curious about Bakugou’s grudge against Midoriya, he was curious about Bakugou’s purposefully unlikable, unapproachable demeanour, he was curious about the strange but definitely substantial bond between Bakugou and Kirishima… he was curious about so many things.

Over time, he’d spiralled from thinking “shit, he’s pretty” as Bakugou scowled at the mirror while casually obliterating his teeth with his toothbrush, to being unable to keep thoughts of the aggressive fireball out of his head whenever he wasn’t focused on training.

He’d actually only first voiced aloud any thoughts about Bakugou (and his very subjective prettiness) recently, though the thoughts had been plaguing his mind for a good several months or so. When he first started thinking about him he’d thought he’d finally gone and lost it and hadn’t wanted to infect Midoriya and his other friends with whatever illness had clearly struck him, but it just slipped out a few weeks ago, and, well… Though the reactions had been comical and in all ways negative, none of them had teased him for it. And now, it was like the proverbial dam had been broken. He wasn’t known for being a very chatty person at all, but now in comparison to his usual aloof self, he just wouldn’t shut up about Bakugou.

The sad thing was, with all his time spent thinking about him, Todoroki hadn’t actually spoken to Bakugou himself at all. That was hardly surprising, they were barely friends. Bakugou had simmered down quite a bit in their third year now as compared to when they first entered U.A. Todoroki liked to think Bakugou viewed him as a classmate and rival now, rather than another nameless enemy he had to bulldoze through on his way to reaching his goal of greatest hero. But both of them were fantastically horrible at social interactions - well, Bakugou chose to be - and their respective friends had surrounded them of their own will.

In all honesty, he really didn’t know why he wanted to be Bakugou’s friend in the first place. He couldn’t imagine it was a very easy or healthy job. He had no idea what it’d be like to talk to him or to hang out with him, since he only knew the trash talk Bakugou would spit down at him whenever they sparred for training in class. He only knew the sense of exhilaration, adrenaline, and challenge rushing through his veins whenever he fought him, his toughest, most evenly matched opponent, and let a wide, teeth-baring grin of his own slip onto his face when he forced a gleam of respect and cautiousness into those blazing red eyes with his own power.

Other than that, he and Bakugou had exchanged only a handful of words before, usually just pointless, snarky remarks at each other. (Although the snark definitely weighed more prominently on Bakugou’s end, it wasn’t to say just because Todoroki didn’t talk much meant he wasn’t a fan of sharp-tongued banter. Plus, it was always funny pissing him off.)

Maybe it was just that addicting rush that spurred him to take the initiative, and commence mission impossible.

He had no idea how to begin expressing that he wanted to be friends to Bakugou of all people, who only barely tolerated Kirishima on some days and only put up with the rest of the “Bakusquad” because their persistence tired him out, it appeared. (Okay no, he knew that Bakugou actually did care about his friends, but... that was the general vibe)

Todoroki had neither the bubbliness nor the energy that group shared enabling them to plaster themselves at Bakugou’s side without being sent to the hospital, but persistence and tenacity was something he had in droves. Determination, as well.

 

“Bakugou, can we be friends?”

“Hah?!”

Okay, yeah, that’s exactly what Todoroki had expected. He kept his face neutral, not that he had to try, watching Bakugou’s blood pressure visibly skyrocket. He’d expected this from the guy that genuinely wanted to call himself King Explosion Murder, so he wasn’t upset or taken aback at all as Bakugou cursed and spat at him as if Todoroki just insulted his family.

“The fuck’re you playing at, Halfie?!” Bakugou yelled, demonstrating the impressive maximum volume his voice was capable of making as per usual. Todoroki wasn’t sure which part Bakugou was the angriest at, that Todoroki presumed to want to be friends, that Todoroki was implying Bakugou deigned to even have friends, that Todoroki had asked him so bluntly, or… maybe just at Todoroki himself.

“I’m not… playing at anything. I just want to be your friend.” Todoroki replied evenly and Bakugou stared at him like he’d grown a second head. In hindsight, Todoroki was glad he’d chosen to stop Bakugou on their way back to the dorms, standing off to the side of the path lit up by the setting sun, rather than subject his classmates to Bakugou’s rage inside the dorms as well as everywhere else.

“Fucking why?” The question was as aggressive as everything else, not a shred of insecurity or self deprecation in his aggravated tone. He was really just confused in that Bakugou way of ever present anger, as to why Todoroki wanted to be friends. It reassured him, for some bizarre reason.

“Beats me.” Todoroki let out a barely there snort, and Bakugou looked like he was less than a second away from blowing himself up out of sheer irritation.

“Are you fucking around with me, Candy Cane?! You just here to waste my time? Thought you actually had something important to say, never thought you’d joke around for no reason. Don’t fuckin’ speak to me, get lost.” Bakugou yelled, snarled and growled all at once in that spectacular Bakugou fashion, and at that, Todoroki couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. Not that he’d expected anything better.

“So, that’s a no?” Todoroki asked quietly, putting in a bit more effort to maintain his blank expression. But something must’ve slipped through, as Bakugou stiffened, and his slanted red eyes narrowed. For a tense moment, they just stared at each other, and Todoroki watched the piercing light of the golden sun catch in equally piercing red irises. Though a little upset at the rejection and uncomfortable by the way Bakugou scrutinised him, Todoroki didn’t let his gaze waver, not backing down from the unspoken challenge for a second.

Then Bakugou must’ve come to some conclusion and let out a long-suffering sigh, curling his lip and messing with his hair irritatedly.

“The fuck’s wrong with you, waltzing up all of a sudden and asking me to be fucking friends with that stupid empty expression- what was I supposed to…” Bakugou pinched the bridge of his nose, surprisingly the least violent action Todoroki had ever seen associated with Bakugou’s anger, and he paused to just look at Todoroki for a second more. Then he said in a quick, angry little mutter, the calmest Todoroki had ever heard that voice speak to him before,

“We’re not… not  friends, alright? Fucking Half and Half bastard. Stop looking at me like that. Jesus.”

Then he turned and stomped his way to the dorms, shoulders hunched, posture terrible as always. Todoroki was left standing there feeling like the very ground just got pulled out from under him.

He almost swooned, but he didn’t, because he’s Todoroki Shouto, and he’d done enough embarrassing things today already that didn’t fit with his usual demeanour.

~

“We’re not… not… friends?” Midoriya echoed slowly and Todoroki nodded.

A second of silence ticked by, and Midoriya leant back on his palms, breath escaping him in a rush.

“Wow. That’s… That’s pretty much a love confession, coming from Kacchan.” Midoriya spoke dryly, making Todoroki choke despite himself. Love conf-?

“Don’t put it that way, it’s bad for me.” Todoroki muttered, and Midoriya shot him a sympathetic look with just a slight edge of hysteria.

“So what exactly do you want to… um… do about Kacchan? Are you… You like him, right?” Midoriya asked hesitantly and Todoroki blanked. He guessed Midoriya meant that in a non platonic sense.

He liked him, right? There was no other reason to think about what it’d be like to kiss him, after all. No other reason to wonder what Bakugou would be like if he were dating someone, wondering (maybe hoping) whether he’d be a little softer with them.

But really… all he knew about Bakugou was that he yelled at everyone and acted like he hated the world in general. How could he like someone like that? Todoroki was not an impulsive person, and he definitely didn’t fall for people easily. In fact, he’d never thought about anyone like this before, so why Mr Blasty Explodo-Kill Nutcase?

“Oh God, he’s such a terrible person.” Todoroki buried his head in his hands and groaned in defeat, the more he thought about Bakugou’s personality. That was admission enough, he guessed. Great, he liked the amazingly rude, arrogant asshole. For no reason. What was he even drawn to?

“Kacchan is overly aggressive and angry and proud, and quite cruel with his words to other people sometimes, sure… But do you really think he’s a terrible person?” Midoriya asked, his voice suddenly taking on a knowing, perceptive lilt. Todoroki looked up at that and frowned, shaking his head even though Midoriya’s soft smile made it feel like he’d been baited.

“No… no. He’s not a bad person. He has his own morals and ideals and he sticks to them without allowing anyone or anything to change him. He tries just as hard as you and me to become the strongest hero, and he tries harder than anyone else to be the best he can be at… everything else. And it’s not for shallow things like compliments or recognition, he doesn’t care what other people think of him, he only does it to reach his own impossible standards of himself. He’s been compared to villains by pretty much everyone before but even when he was given the opportunity to become one he never considered it even for a second. He’s so honest and straightforward, he’d never do anything behind our backs, or resort to dirty tricks in battle. He yells at everyone, sure, but he’s improved a lot now. He actually cares about Kirishima, and gets along with his group in his own way. I’m sure he cares about us too. Whenever he fights alongside other people he takes care to alter his attacks so they don’t get hurt. He’s so sure of himself and puts his all into his goals and dreams…” Todoroki trailed off, his monotonous rant probably sounding a lot like Midoriya’s usual mumblings. Shit, that was the most he’d spoken in longer than he could remember, and… oh.

“Oh. I like him, don’t I?” Todoroki finished a little lamely, and Midoriya just gave him a nod and an even softer smile.

~

Other than Midoriya, Iida and Uraraka, the group he usually hung out with, Todoroki was also very good friends with Yaoyorozu in a very casual, low maintenance sort of way. She wasn’t a part of their circle, but he’d gotten really close with her ever since they were paired together against Aizawa in their first year. She was actually the only person outside of his family that called him by his first name (other than in his hero name’s context). He still called her Yaoyorozu just because it was more comfortable for him, just like how he still called Midoriya by his last name.

Even though his class had gotten so close he was almost certain some would open hero agencies together once they graduated, a lot of them were like that. Probably only Kaminari and Kirishima, Kaminari and Ashido, Midoriya and Bakugou (sort of), Bakugou and Ashido, Todoroki and Yaoyorozu, and then all the girls, were on first name basis.

“I thought you had to tutor Jirou and Sero right now.” Todoroki handed Yaoyorozu a vanilla éclair he picked up on the way back to the dorms from the hospital, and Yaoyorozu smiled her thanks. They were always buying each other their favourite snacks, not that Todoroki (or Yaoyorozu he was sure) did it on purpose, he would just tend to always pass some café or bakery and see something she’d like. In their second year, apparently half of the class had been convinced that they were actually dating, but really, she was more like a sister.

“Well, mid-terms are still a while away after all, and Kyouka and Sero-san have never been the most motivated… They went out with Mina’s group to an arcade. I am worried though, Kyouka was really struggling with English.” Yaoyorozu sighed and peeled open the wrapper. Todoroki hummed at that, sticking his straw into his matcha milk tea. He put a hand in his pocket and leaned against the wall, wondering if he should ask Yaoyorozu for help with English too. He’d probably be fine on his own since academic tests had never been a problem for him, but it couldn’t hurt seeing as English wasn’t his strong point, and he knew Yaoyorozu loved teaching others.

“It’s okay. They’ll start panicking in about a week and come crying to you as always.” Todoroki spoke around his straw, giving her a dry, sympathetic look. Yaoyorozu returned it with a raised eyebrow.

“That’s exactly what I was trying to avoid by scheduling a study session earlier rather than later.” Yaoyorozu sighed, moving to lean against the wall beside him. Todoroki paused and watched her for a second as she took a bite of her éclair. Yaoyorozu wasn’t the type to get hurt just because she got cancelled on, but he knew how excited she got about these study sessions.

“Are you upset?” Todoroki asked softly, just to make sure. Yaoyorozu flashed him an understanding smile.

“No, not really. It wasn’t set in stone and besides, Kyouka apologised so much just before that I had to shoo her out the door.” Yaoyorozu laughed and shook her head fondly. “What about you, are you studying with anyone for midterms?”

“I’m supposed to help Uraraka, Asui and Tokoyami with maths tomorrow after school.” Todoroki replied, internally wincing as he’d completely forgotten about that till she mentioned it just now.

“Oh, Mina said she and Kaminari-san are studying maths after school tomorrow with Bakugou-san. Why don’t you two teach everyone at the same time?” Yaoyorozu suggested, and Todoroki immediately foresaw yelling, injuries, and Bakugou picking unnecessary fights with him. They’d never seen eye to eye with anything involving a method after all, i.e. battle strategies or even how best to load the dishwasher.

“Ah… I’ve seen Bakugou tutoring Kirishima before. It was pretty violent, so I think I’ll pass.” Todoroki muttered dryly, and Yaoyorozu laughed again, shrugging.

“That is a fair point.”

Todoroki drank his milk tea in silence for a few moments, thinking it over again. He and Bakugou had reached an unspoken agreement ages ago to avoid working together as much as possible. It just wasn’t efficient and annoyed the both of them, after all. Even if Todoroki’s attitude towards Bakugou had changed, he still hadn’t reached out to try any sort of teamwork with him since maybe the start of their second year. Would it be different now? Would Bakugou be willing to listen a little and cooperate more now?

He knew Bakugou was able to successfully lead a team, his keen battle sense let him make on the spot decisions to utilise his abilities and everyone around him to achieve impressive results, just like Todoroki’s intellect allowed him to do so. But he and Bakugou had been terribly incompatible as allies back then unless they were in a life or death situation against villain attacks, and even then it’d been bumpy at best. And their thoughts and very natures clashed on everyday mundane things involving living together at the dorm. He’d just accepted that and barely gave it any more thought. As long as they were able to fight alongside each other as heroes if need be, nothing else really mattered.

But it was different now. As Bakugou had said, they weren’t not friends. Todoroki wanted to be more amicable towards him now. Would Bakugou also attempt at better communication?

Todoroki chewed on his straw, slowly.

“Say… hypothetically, how would I know if I liked someone?” Todoroki asked, staring straight ahead absently. Yaoyorozu almost jumped at the question and turned to him in surprise.

“Shouto, you like  someone?” Yaoyorozu gasped, and Todoroki slid her a flat look.

“Hypothetically.” Todoroki repeated firmly, as if it were actually true. Yaoyorozu lifted a hand and rested her bent finger against her chin in thought.

“Oh, well… I’m not too sure. I’ve never had a crush on anyone before, but I’m assuming you would think about them a lot, and you’d want to spend time with them. When you see them it probably feels different than seeing everyone else….?” Yaoyorozu offered uncertainly, looking like she desperately wanted to ask why Todoroki was suddenly curious about this, but was resisting. Todoroki twitched at the word “crush”, but…

“Shit.” Todoroki mumbled as he realised he did indeed think about Bakugou a lot, more than he should. And he did want to spend time with him and get to know him, that’s why he reached out and asked to be friends. And yeah… whenever he saw that telltale spiky mess of blond hair it certainly didn’t feel the same as when he would see Midoriya or any of his friends. Yaoyorozu paused, staring at his expression wide eyed.

“Shouto, you do like someone, don’t you?” Yaoyorozu asked a little quieter, and Todoroki bit the inside of his cheek, letting his gaze drift away.

“I’m… figuring it out.” Todoroki muttered, kicking aimlessly at the ground. Yaoyorozu looked positively floored, but she didn’t push it, leaning back against the wall again.

“It’s okay, you don’t have to tell me unless you want to.” Yaoyorozu spoke reassuringly, and Todoroki shot her a grateful smile. He would tell her, eventually, just not now. Yaoyorozu seemed to understand that, as she returned the smile and spoke again. “In any case, I can’t imagine you having a crush on anyone. It’s not really part of your image, is it?”

Todoroki raised an eyebrow. His image…? What was his image even? “...Is that a bad thing?”

“No, of course not. I’m just wondering how sweet and lovely whoever it is must be, to have caught your eye.” Yaoyorozu sighed, sounding a little in awe, and Todoroki dryly wondered for the briefest moment exactly how she saw him, before he violently choked on his milk tea.

“Shouto?!” Yaoyorozu turned to him in concern and Todoroki just wiped his mouth and waved his hand, trying to suppress his coughing.

“Sweet and lovely”? Bakugou couldn’t be further if he tried.

~

Todoroki was pretty socially inept, and blunt in a way that sometimes came off as awkward, sometimes arrogant. But he wasn’t by any means shy, so when he saw his… “crush” (it was still strange to use that word) peacefully lying on a grassy bank by the classroom, arms folded behind his head, he walked up to him and sat himself down beside him.

Needless to say, Bakugou wasn’t very peaceful anymore after that.

He opened one baleful red eye into a slit as if Todoroki’s mere presence had offended him, and that scowl stretched his lips as always.

“Are you fucking lost?” Bakugou growled irritably, and Todoroki decided to ignore the clear “piss off”.

“No. I deliberately chose to sit here.” Todoroki replied as monotonously as he could manage, knowing it’d piss the guy off more. What could he say, it was just fun to purposefully get on Bakugou’s nerves. And he was one of the only people who were brave enough to.

“Hah?  You looking for a fight, Icyhot?” Bakugou curved his fingers and let off a few warning blasts in his open palm. It was so typical Todoroki found himself smothering a smile.

“That’d be you.”

“Ha-a-ah?!”

So eloquent. Todoroki wondered why Bakugou sometimes chose to speak exclusively with various grunts and swear words like a typical brainless brute, when he knew the guy was sharp and brilliant, practically a genius. Todoroki merely shrugged, straightening his fingers in Bakugou’s direction and casually freezing the budding explosion in the centre of Bakugou’s hand.

“...What the fuck, you can do that?!”  Bakugou almost screeched after a dumbstruck second of staring at the frozen sphere of light that hovered over his palm, before dissipating and falling back onto his hand in little frozen droplets of nitroglycerin. Todoroki savoured the shocked, if infuriated expression on his face. It wasn’t often that he could catch Bakugou off guard with his Quirk nowadays, seeing as they sparred together so often.

“Only because your hand is nearby, and you’re not focused.” Todoroki shrugged again, and Bakugou looked speechless. It was an unexpected victory that Todoroki was practically singing over, but he restrained himself just to a small, smug smile. Bakugou continued staring at him, mouth ajar, red eyes wide and searching, and Todoroki had to consciously cool his face down with his Quirk.

“You’re- I… Fuck. Why are you here anyway? Is there a reason you’re sitting so close to me you can freeze my fucking sweat?” Bakugou growled agitatedly and Todoroki looked at the distance between them mildly. This could hardly be called close. There was about half a metre between them, Todoroki sat closer even to Uraraka. But then again, the radius of Bakugou’s personal space bubble was on average ten metres or so.

“Because… we’re friends?” Todoroki tried for a calm, non-provocative tone, but of course Bakugou took it as a challenge anyway.

“Who in the hell is your friend, Ice Prince?” Bakugou sneered, and Todoroki paused, trying not to show any sign of hurt. Did Bakugou forget what he’d said a couple of days ago? Sure, it was the most half-assed confirmation that they were in fact not enemies Todoroki could’ve received, but he would’ve thought it wasn’t just a careless comment thrown out, Bakugou being as inclined to shun all other human beings as he was.

“‘We’re friends’ is easier to say than ‘we aren’t not friends’.” Todoroki pointed out neutrally instead of second guessing himself, subtly reminding Bakugou in case he really had forgotten. Or maybe that had just been Bakugou’s instinctive response to the distasteful notion of friends. That was more likely. Bakugou tensed a little at that, and he didn’t reply for a second.

“Ah, whatever. You’re so fucking weird, just don’t talk to me, alright? I can feel my IQ dropping.” Bakugou grumbled and turned over onto his side to face away, head resting against the crook of his elbow. But he didn’t tell Todoroki to go away. Todoroki smiled and entertained the thought of running his fingers through that spiky hair as he sat there beside Bakugou on the grassy bank quietly, letting him nap in peace.

~

That night, Todoroki couldn’t get to sleep.

It was a pretty common occurrence, something he’d grown up used to dealing with, but the bouts of insomnia hadn’t plagued him for a while now. It was around 3am but he decided to go downstairs and walk around a bit, instead of trying to force sleep to come.

He paused as he got to the kitchen and saw the light was on.

“Oh. Hey.” Todoroki called quietly from the doorframe and Bakugou looked up from his cereal bowl like he’d been caught while committing a murder. His eyes rested on Todoroki and narrowed slightly, before tension left his hunched over frame. Todoroki was a simple guy, pleased by very small, simple things, such as Bakugou relaxing a little when he saw him.

“Why’re you down here at ass o’clock in the morning?” Bakugou asked, and wow, apparently he did have an inside voice. It was nice and smooth. Todoroki took a seat at the other end of the short counter, feeling slanted eyes boring into him.

“Why are you? Who eats cereal at 3am?” Todoroki fired back with a small smile and Bakugou flipped him off, though he didn’t shout at him like he might’ve during the day.

“I do, shitface.” Bakugou scowled and shovelled a spoonful into his mouth as if to prove a point.

“Do you always?” Todoroki asked curiously, and Bakugou shot him a flat, “why are you still breathing” look.

“I get hungry a lot around this time yeah, because I eat and go to sleep early. What’s it to you, Japanese Flag?” Bakugou glared challengingly and Todoroki blinked in surprise, before accidentally letting a quiet laugh slip out. “Japanese Flag”? Because it was red and white? That was a new one. His laugh must have irritated Bakugou, who turned his attention back to his cereal with an exponential increase in intensity.

“Maybe you shouldn’t eat and sleep so early, then.” Todoroki suggested mildly, and Bakugou barely spared him a glance.

“Maybe you should go to hell.”

Todoroki couldn’t help it, he laughed a little again, quickly bringing his fist up to his mouth to try to suppress the giggle. God, it was just so typical.  And he liked it, for some reason. He really did.

Bakugou was staring at him like one might regard a dead insect, and he suddenly burst out, in much greater and Bakugou-esque volume, with “The fuck’s wrong with you?”

“Other than my stupid empty face and my stupid split hair and my stupid braindead attitude?” Todoroki was almost grinning as he spoke, quoting the things Bakugou had insulted him about before. His response seemed to fuel the exasperation, disbelief and annoyance clashing in Bakugou’s contorted expression.

“Why don’t you get pissed off when I talk shit to your dumbass face? Why do you find it funny, and not in the way Mina and Kaminari and shit do?” Bakugou sounded nothing short of mystified, and maybe a little horrified, which just amused him all the more. Todoroki just smiled at him, and Bakugou seemed to glitch a little, a million expressions jerking across his face before he settled on the usual put-upon irritation, face a little red from… frustration maybe? He groaned and dragged a large hand over his face as he muttered, seemingly to himself, “Jesus Christ, you’re like Kirishima but on a whole new level of stupid.”

“Thank you?” Todoroki replied, honestly feeling a little flattered, but the incredulous stare Bakugou gave him indicated that it probably wasn’t intended as praise. Todoroki shrugged, explaining with a simple, “You like Kirishima, so.”

Bakugou sat there motionlessly for a few seconds as the implications of that sunk in. Then the cereal bowl exploded in his hands in a milky, flaky mess across the counter.

“First of all I don’t like- And what the fuck do you- What, you mean, what, so it’s a compliment  to you if I liked you? Don’t just say weird ass shit like that, God,  why can’t you just be normal for a few goddamn seconds-“ Bakugou hollered at full volume as usual, half rising out of his chair as he practically hissed and spat in outrage. Todoroki frowned as he glanced at the mess of the cereal bowl, and was about to tell Bakugou to keep it down when there was a loud groan echoing from upstairs.

“Bakugou, please, for the love of God shut up when we’re trying to sleep!” It sounded like Kaminari’s desperate cry cracking with sleep, and Bakugou responded, as expected, with an aggressive shout.

“Eat my fuckin’ ass, Sparky!”

“Gross!”  Came Ashido’s muffled voice, and Todoroki rested his face in his hand for a moment, silently apologising to his classmates for instigating the disruption to everyone’s peaceful night. Bakugou was just… so fucking loud.

Bakugou blew air out of flared nostrils like an enraged horse, and sat himself back down in his chair with a thump. Then, like nothing had happened, he narrowed his eyes at Todoroki contemplatively.

“Okay, say I actually like Shitty Hair… Which isn’t fucking true because he has molasses for brains, but. You sounded awfully happy to be compared to him because of that. Why do you want me to like you?” Bakugou asked bluntly, so bluntly Todoroki almost felt winded, and he wondered if this was what other people felt when Todoroki spoke his mind. And Jesus, yelling aside, Bakugou was just so… so sharp. Todoroki stared at him silently for a few moments, feeling pinned to the spot with those piercing red eyes.

“The milk’s dripping onto your pants.” Was not what Todoroki meant to say, but it gave him a few seconds of Bakugou looking down and cursing to steel himself to reply to his question. “Of course I want you to like me. Because we’re friends.”

A beat of complete silence passed. Todoroki fidgeted a little, unable to bite back a quiet, much less certain “Aren’t we?”

Bakugou stared at him for a few more wordless moments, though his expression looked infinitely calmer.

Then he sighed, running a hand through his unruly hair.

“Look, I didn’t think it’d fuck you up like this, but I probably… should’ve been, I dunno, clearer… or nicer about it before, and today as well, or some shit. I don’t fucking know. My bad, okay? We are friends, alright? So stop looking at me with that stupid kicked puppy face.” Bakugou grumbled impatiently, swatting at the air like Todoroki brought upon him the same irritation a buzzing fly might.

Todoroki on the other hand, was over the moon.

“Ah, I see.” Todoroki replied softly, unable to push down a small smile. Bakugou made a strangled noise and punched the table, cheeks a little pinker than usual.

“Stop that face too.” Bakugou demanded unreasonably, and Todoroki couldn’t help but snort.

“Then what do you want me to do with my face? Blank isn’t okay, supposedly kicked isn’t okay, smiling isn’t okay…” Todoroki replied dryly, a little teasingly, and Bakugou sneered at him again, all bared teeth and pointy eyes and yet Todoroki felt his heart thump.

“Well, fix your ugly mug then.” Bakugou spoke with probably the most condescending tone he could saddle his voice with, and Todoroki raised his eyebrows, taking no offence.

“I don’t want to hear you of all people telling me to fix my face. Your default expression makes children cry.” Todoroki pointed out, which, while being a jab, was also one hundred percent true.

“Fuck you.” Bakugou replied with no real heat behind it, even flashing Todoroki a lazy smirk. Ah, was he proud of it? Wasn’t a stretch to imagine.

Todoroki internally rolled his eyes and got up to start carefully picking up the broken shards of the ceramic bowl.

“The fuck are you doing, Halfie? Keep your pristine young master hands to yourself, I don’t need you to clean up my mess.” Bakugou growled unnecessarily as he swiped a piece away from Todoroki’s reach. It reminded Todoroki exactly why Bakugou was so very difficult and hard to like, as he bit his tongue to stop himself from replying with “I’m just helping like any other person would”. “Helping” was probably the greatest insult one could give Bakugou. But if he couldn’t handle Bakugou grouching over normal, inoffensive things, how could he possibly hope to survive being his friend?

“I don’t want anyone accidentally cutting themselves on these, so I’m clearing it away.” Todoroki replied with his flattest deadpan voice, and Bakugou just scoffed in disbelief but turned his attention to cleaning up the mess.

“Ever the fuckin’ hero.” Bakugou muttered, then paused as he seemed to realise what he said, and Todoroki laughed. He was laughing a lot around Bakugou, he realised.

“I sure damn hope so.” Todoroki replied blithely and Bakugou snorted, but when Todoroki snuck a look at him, his lips were twitching upwards. It filled Todoroki’s chest with something warm.

They cleaned up in silence for a while, Todoroki stepping outside to safely deposit the broken shards into the bin as Bakugou wiped the milk and cereal off the counter and floor. Todoroki paused as he came back to the counter to see it positively sparkling under the kitchen lights. Ah yeah, it came as no surprise that Bakugou’s strive for perfection in everything extended to mundane chores like cleaning as well. Still fascinating, though.

“Oi, Todoroki. Why are you so obsessed with being my friend anyway? What’s with the sudden interest in me, Ice Prince? Thought you were marginally less idiotic than Kirishima and the others.” Bakugou suddenly spoke, voice much smoother and calmer than usual. It was more thoughtful than anything else, and Todoroki stared up at him in surprise at the lack of any challenge in his tone. He was a little distracted by the intent look in Bakugou’s eyes, that would only appear when he was giving something one hundred percent of his attention and focus. There were so many reasons, so much Todoroki could probably bore Bakugou to death with… but he just offered a resigned laugh, shrugging.

“Because you’re so… unapologetically you. I like it.”

Bakugou stared at him with a strange look on his face, something open, and miles more relaxed than his standard scowl, yet completely unreadable. Todoroki just stared back impassively, and Bakugou laughed, this low, barely audible sound.

“Y’know, I’ve been praised my whole life. For my Quirk, my talents, my brain, my body even. And still… that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.” Bakugou grinned, and it was still more of a sharp smirk than a genuine smile, but it was the least evil grin Todoroki had ever seen on his face. He felt his breath stutter.

Bakugou snorted at Todoroki’s expression, turning to walk towards the stairs.

“You’re a real dumbass. Night, Frosty.”

And Todoroki went back to bed with a smile on his face, disproportionately happy for someone that just got called a dumbass. He’d never have imagined  interacting with Bakugou would be anything close to positive, let alone leave him feeling a little floaty and dazed as he was, in a nice warm, drowsy way.

Then all signs of drowsiness and hopes for a good night’s sleep were unceremoniously shoved aside as he suddenly realised that Bakugou had called him by his actual name for the first time tonight.

~

Chapter Text

Todoroki felt like he’d finally actively gone and done something right in his life, as since that night, Bakugou had started being…. nice, to him. In Bakugou’s own way. It wasn’t anything big or special, barely even noticeable to an outsider, but Todoroki was equally bewildered and happy at the subtle differences in Bakugou’s treatment of and attitude towards him.

Overall it was just… softer.

When they bumped into each other Bakugou would greet him with “hey” and some casual, mild insult, rather than “the fuck you lookin’ at, half-assed popsicle”, which was already nothing short of a miracle. He didn’t swear in most sentences anymore, and what was more bizarre was that there were a lot of sentences now. He actually talked to Todoroki now. Well, generally Todoroki would initiate conversation, but Bakugou would actually respond and carry on the conversation like a normal person, rather than immediately tell him to go die and leave his sight as quickly as possible. He let Todoroki sit beside him while he was napping in the shade beside the classrooms without any argument now, and didn’t question it when Todoroki would occasionally walk beside him to class, or to the cafeteria, or back to the dorms.

He scowled much less when it was them alone, talking late at night when Todoroki couldn’t sleep and Bakugou got hungry. Or in the library when they were studying together in silence after Bakugou firmly told Sero and the rest to “fuck the fuck off, I’ll tutor your empty excuses for brains later”, or sitting on the couch with Shouji and Koda in the communal area of the dorms while everyone else was playing games. Bakugou’s neutral frown resting on his face for so long was still quite a jarring sight to see, and Todoroki had caught himself staring at those unusually calm features in a daze far more often than he’d admit.

He was convinced he was right, now, and it wasn’t just his eyes playing tricks on him. Bakugou was pretty.

Todoroki liked to think Bakugou’s voice had changed a little as well, when talking to him. It was a little quieter, much more like a normal person’s inside voice, and a bit smoother too, lacking that biting edge his crude words were so well known for.

Todoroki was glad to find that Bakugou’s almost overwhelming competitive spirit and sense of rivalry hadn’t diminished in the slightest, though. He’d still spar with Todoroki with everything he had, pushing himself to the very limits of his power with that crazed grin on his face, fighting like a blaze of wildfire. Oh, and the pregame, mid-battle and recovery trash talk still remained, riling up Todoroki’s own sense of competition and challenge as always. But he would sneer down at Todoroki’s abilities less now.

Their relationship hadn’t changed much when in the presence of other people, though. Todoroki didn’t think there was a particular reason, they just belonged to different friend circles after all, which didn’t interact too much in general. So he was very surprised when Kirishima suddenly pulled him off to the side one day, eyes gleaming in that pure, straightforward, Kirishima-typical excitement.

“Yo Todoroki, what’s your secret man?” Kirishima grinned as if he actually expected Todoroki to know what he was talking about. Todoroki blinked, doing his best not to make his usual deadened expression too off putting as he tried to figure out the context.

Kirishima was a cool guy, cheerful, very down to earth, and pretty strong. He reminded Todoroki of a big puppy in some ways, that was always happy to see you and would tolerate all of your bullshit, but in such an unconditionally loving and supportive way that he made you feel bad for being an ass. Todoroki could definitely see how Kirishima had marched his way into Bakugou’s thorn wall of a heart. Kirishima somehow just made Todoroki want to be friendly to him, and it was a natural quality about him that he’d been quietly in awe over for quite some time. He often wondered what it’d be like being friends with the guy.

But coming back to the present, Todoroki had no clue what Kirishima was talking about.

“Um,” Todoroki replied intelligently, and Kirishima flashed an even wider grin as he slung an arm comfortably around Todoroki’s shoulders. Todoroki twitched in surprise at the sudden overly friendly contact, but decided he didn’t really mind.

“I’m talking about Bakugou, dude. How’d you tame him? He’s so nice to you! He must like you a lot.” Kirishima exclaimed with so much genuine excitement and positivity Todoroki felt a little overwhelmed. He hadn’t even known Kirishima had realised he and Bakugou were closer now.

“I… just.” Todoroki paused, quickly having to cool his cheeks down with his Quirk as Kirishima’s words registered. Bakugou’s best friend, arguably the person that knew him the best, thought Bakugou liked him a lot?

“Ah, maybe it’s just ‘cause you’re not annoying to him like the rest of us. It’s not too surprising, he’s always respected you because you’re strong as hell. But why suddenly? Did you say something? Help a guy out here, I wanna learn how to start avoiding bodily harm around him too.” Kirishima grinned brightly and Todoroki felt like he had to hold up a hand to call for time out. Too many things were being shoved onto him at once. He wasn’t annoying to Bakugou? There was such thing as a person existing that didn’t annoy Bakugou? (Asides from maybe All Might, but that was still a distant goal to pursue). And… Bakugou had always respected him? The Bakugou who’d gone out of his way to call people he didn’t know “extras” and let them know he only thought of them as nameless stepping stones?

“I…” Todoroki sounded a little faint to himself, though he doubted many other people would be able to pick it up. Kirishima just stared curiously at him and Todoroki dipped his head and laughed a little helplessly, a short, quiet sound.

“He doesn’t hit you, Kirishima. He’s nice to you as well.” Todoroki pointed out with a small smile and Kirishima conceded that point with a smaller smile of his own, eyes softening a little.

“Yeah. I know old Blasty’s got a heart in there somewhere. Taken me ages to graduate from “dumbass” to “Kirishima”... well, he still likes calling me “Shitty Hair” every now and then. Oh but, now that I think about it, he calls you by your name a lot too now, doesn’t he? It’s pretty amazing.” Kirishima whistled, and Todoroki shrugged, as if his heart didn’t skip a beat every time he heard “Todoroki” spat out gruffly like Bakugou was making up for the lack of insult with the distasteful tone of his voice.

“All I did was ask him to be friends. He yelled at me for that, but then said we’re not not friends. And then later confirmed that we are actually friends, and called me dumb. And… now he tolerates my presence.” Todoroki explained offhandedly, but Kirishima stared at him in awe as if he just told him Bakugou had gotten down on one knee for him.

“He verbally said you were friends? Aw man, even Denki, Sero and Ashido have never heard him admit to being their friend! And I had to basically pull the words out of his mouth this one time he was super out of it after staying up all night studying.” Kirishima was staring at Todoroki with visible newfound respect, and Todoroki suppressed a laugh.

Something warm settled in his chest at hearing that, and he couldn’t help but smile a little, gazing down at the floor.

“I, uh.” Todoroki started a little hesitantly, but Kirishima’s bright, open stare and that warm, happy feeling drove him to speak his mind. “I like Bakugou.”

“Hm? Me too, man. He’s got an awful personality sometimes, but he’s pretty great, isn’t he? He’s got so much ambition and confidence and insane strength that you can’t help but admire him.” Kirishima nodded firmly, a half fond, half reverent tone to his voice as he folded his arms over his chest. Todoroki glanced at him and away again, kicking aimlessly at the floor once.

“No I mean, I… like him.” Todoroki spoke steadily, but refused to make eye contact. Kirishima didn’t respond immediately, but Todoroki could see him stiffen in a way that had nothing to do with his Quirk. Todoroki continued to stare straight ahead at nothing, a little… well, yeah, a little embarrassed. It was one thing admitting it to Midoriya, but Kirishima whom he’d spoken to only a handful of times before… He doubted Kirishima would be mean about it, but still.

“Like… as in,” Kirishima paused, seeming to be floundering for words, eyes big and round, and Todoroki looked up at him, glad for once that he had a naturally blank face and a deadpan voice. God help him if he actually showed his embarrassment. Even in saying that, he could feel his cheeks warm up despite his instinctive body temperature control.

“As in, I’ve thought about what his lips feel like way too much.” Todoroki replied flatly, probably unnecessarily honest with that statement, but bluntness was a prominent part of his nature after all. Kirishima had a funny look on his face, like he’d swallowed something down the wrong pipe, and Todoroki immediately regretted saying it. He looked away again, as casually as he could manage, though he could definitely feel his face heating up some more. “My bad. You don’t have to say anything, I just thought I’d tell you, because you’re close with him and all…”

“Aw nah man, don’t get shy on me now! Admitting that you have feelings for someone is manly as hell.” Kirishima rested a heavy hand on his shoulder and gave him a thumbs up. Todoroki relaxed a little as he saw the excitement and lack of any judgement in Kirishima’s clear, supportive gaze.

“Ah, yeah, I just… Well, yeah. I like him. And I don’t know what to do about it because Bakugou’s not exactly the romantic, hand holding type.” Todoroki muttered wryly and Kirishima offered a sympathetic smile at that.

“You sure got that right. Oh and, for the record, his lips are chapped as all hell. Once we all passed out in Sero’s room and his face was on my knee, so.” Kirishima chirped, making Todoroki snort.

“Unsurprising.”

“But in any case, wow. You like Bakugou. Someone actually… likes Bakugou, and it’s you of all people. That’s like, poetic, dude.” Kirishima’s voice was filled with wonder, and Todoroki blinked.

“Me of all people…?” Todoroki echoed, not sure if he should be offended or not.

“Ah, not in a bad way, of course! You’re like the coolest guy I know - no pun intended. Which is why it’s like, already unexpected to think that you like anyone in our class, and it happens to be Bakugou.” Kirishima explained with a somewhat sheepish grin, and Todoroki snorted again.

“Trust me, I didn’t expect it either.”

“I’m super happy you’re comfortable telling me, by the way. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about it, not even Denki. It’s a promise between men.” Kirishima grinned and hit his own chest with his fist. Todoroki let out a silent breath of relief that Kirishima had picked up on that without him needing to ask.

“Yeah… I don’t really want it to be publicised… and also Bakugou would probably murder me first then everyone else in the class if it spread around.” Todoroki replied dryly, not really wanting to imagine that guaranteed massacre. Kirishima sighed, shrugging in a “what can you do” way.

“Yeah, no kidding. Man, he’s such a handful. You got some strange tastes, dude.” Kirishima laughed at him, but it wasn’t unkind. Todoroki hid a smile.

“Says the guy that stuck to him 24/7 till he gave in and allowed another human into his life.” Todoroki kept his rebuttal light, and Kirishima just flashed him a (literally) sharp grin.

“So, what’s the situation between you two right now? You’re friends… but not that close yet, right? You want me to help in any way?” Kirishima offered brightly, and Todoroki immediately waved his hand.

“Oh, no you don’t have to go out of your way…-”

“Nah man, it’s cool! I’ll just get our group to come sit with you guys at lunch sometimes or something. Not all the time, don’t worry, and I don’t think Midoriya and them would mind. And I doubt you need much help at all since you’re like, ranked number one in our school by the girls, but. It might just give you guys more chances to talk, since Bakugou’s antisocial as fuck. He acts like he hates it, but he does open up more around us.” Kirishima winked and Todoroki blinked, words stumbling on the tip of his tongue. Kirishima… was such a good guy. Also… ranked number one in the school by the girls? Maybe it was little mean, but Todoroki thought those girls should probably get out more. Fuyumi had compared his personality to wet cardboard before.

“Oh, uh, that sounds good then, yeah. Thank you.” Todoroki smiled, hating that he couldn’t make himself sound more sincere, since he really was thankful, but Kirishima seemed to get it anyway.

“You don’t have to thank me for anything, man. Go on, go tame the Baku-beast for us all.” Kirishima slapped Todoroki’s shoulder goodnaturedly, and Todoroki couldn’t help but begin to laugh a little, when there was an all too familiar growl behind them.

“Go do what to who now?” Bakugou’s voice trembling with fraying edges of restraint was just about the most threatening Todoroki had ever heard it, and Kirishima glanced at Todoroki, uttering a pleasant “fuck”.

Todoroki stepped back a little at the ensuing attempt at cold-blooded murder, marvelling at how Kirishima didn’t get a scratch on his Quirk hardened body from Bakugou’s violent explosions. He prepared to bring up a wall of ice to defend himself, but Bakugou didn’t try to kill him even once in his burst of rage. It was almost unsettling.

A few moments later, as Kirishima lay on the floor in a winded but thankfully alive heap, Bakugou turned his scowl onto Todoroki who steeled himself for questions. And probably a trip to the intensive care unit of a hospital if he slipped up. But Bakugou just stomped past him and Todoroki guessed that meant the only thing he’d heard was Kirishima’s last comment out of context.

“Oi, you coming or what? Class is gonna start, Elsa.” Bakugou threw the irritated words over his shoulder and Todoroki blinked, looking back at Kirishima in concern, wondering if he should offer some help. Kirishima just raised a shaky thumbs up, looking comically similar to Kaminari in “idiot mode”. He suppressed a smile and turned to follow Bakugou.

“Since when were you all buddy buddy with Kirishima?” Bakugou slid him a narrow eyed, almost sulky look as they walked towards their classroom, which Todoroki was beginning to recognise as an angry cover up for curiosity.

“He’s a good guy. Really good for you.” Todoroki couldn’t keep the little smirk off his face, and Bakugou, predictably, blew up.

“Hah- the fuck’s that supposed to mean, half-assed fuck?!” Bakugou yelled in his face, tensed fingers looking more like talons as he detonated a series of small bursts in his palms. Todoroki just rolled his eyes.

“Don’t take everything I say as a challenge, Bakugou. I just mean he’s a good friend. But especially for you. Like a kindergarten teacher with all the patience in the world is, to a bratty toddler.” Todoroki continued with his usual flat expression, knowing Bakugou knew he was doing it on purpose, and inwardly snickering at the veins sticking out in his temples. But instead of yelling at him some more, Bakugou just let out an irritated growl and shoved his hands back in his pockets, scowling at Todoroki’s faked innocent face.

“You’re a real ass, you know that?” Bakugou griped, but there was no bite to it, and Todoroki just shrugged, not denying it.

“It means the world to me, hearing that from… you.” Todoroki drawled in monotone, and Bakugou… Bakugou laughed.

It was a short burst of laughter and quite loud, like he’d been caught off guard. But that unguarded second was enough to make Todoroki jolt and almost trip over himself.

“And they say you don’t have a sense of humour, Icy. Annoying little shit.” Bakugou smirked, voice rough and aggressive as always but for Bakugou’s standards it was almost… fond. Todoroki felt his heart stop for a beat, as cliché as it was. His feet stopped as well, involuntarily, and it took Bakugou a few steps before he realised Todoroki had fallen back a little. He turned back to raise an eyebrow at Todoroki and his eyes widened, mouth falling slightly open with a weird jittery movement.

“What the f- Stop smiling creepily at me, fuckoff go-to-hell die.” Bakugou hissed in one breath, punctuating the sentence with an explosion in his palm. Todoroki quickly straightened out his expression, trying his best not to let his lips twitch as he noticed the tiny gleam of panic in Bakugou’s angry eyes that he was starting to identify as not necessarily a negative thing.

“Why is your default response to everything “die”?” Todoroki let his flat eyes flick over to Bakugou mildly, eyebrows slightly raised. He’d found that that pissed Bakugou off more than rolling his eyes. Bakugou turned and kept walking as Todoroki caught up to him again, throwing out a loud “tch” with feeling.

“Don’t ask stupid questions, stupid.” Bakugou scowled predictably, and Todoroki couldn’t help but smile again, ducking his head down in an effort to hide it. Bakugou made a frustrated noise.

“What?”

“Nothing… I’m just happy.” Todoroki murmured softly, feeling Bakugou’s incredulous stare boring into the side of his head. It was nice.

Bakugou cursed under his breath, something Todoroki didn’t even know he was capable of doing, and he looked up at him curiously. Bakugou met his stare and quickly glanced away, running an agitated hand through his hair. His face was red, and his words came out as a mumble.

“...Fuck. You’re weird, Todoroki.”

~

True to his word, Kirishima brought his group over for lunch the next day.

Todoroki had honestly forgotten about it, sitting down with Uraraka and waiting for Iida and Midoriya to get their food and come, when Kirishima called out to them.

“Yo, Todoroki, Uraraka! Mind if we sit with you guys today?” Kirishima walked up to them with a bright grin and Uraraka glanced at Todoroki in surprise. Todoroki said nothing, leaving it up to Kirishima to not make this weird. Sero, Kaminari, Ashido and (a clearly reluctantly dragged over) Bakugou didn’t seem bothered by this not so usual occurrence, but then again Class 3-A’s Bakusquad was always spontaneous and (most of them) easygoing, after all.

“Oh, yeah, of course we don’t mind. Mina, what’s up?” Uraraka looked to Ashido for an explanation curiously as she shifted over to make room, and Todoroki did the same, trying not to look like he noticed when Kirishima casually pushed Bakugou down to sit beside him. It was pretty unnecessary, this whole thing, and he did his best not to let dry amusement slip onto his face. But at the same time it felt sort of nice, having someone help him. Even if he didn’t need it.

“Ah I dunno, Kirishima just suggested we sit with some other people today. I think it’s great, the more the merrier as they say!” Ashido replied sunnily and the group sat themselves down comfortably. Their class had always been pretty close with each other even if there were distinct groups, so it wasn’t awkward as they chattered away. Todoroki took a glance at Bakugou viciously (and fruitlessly) stabbing his rice with chopsticks and snorted, eating his own food in silence and letting Bakugou vent whatever stress was bothering him now onto his rice. It was nice just having him sit there, really. Then Midoriya and Iida arrived and Bakugou’s head snapped up like he’d scented prey.

“Hold up, no one said I had to eat with fucking Deku.” Bakugou growled immediately and Midoriya flinched, stiff smile twitching on his face in that visibly on edge way.

“Oh hey, you guys! H-Hey Kacchan…” Midoriya greeted awkwardly, sending Todoroki a lightning fast glance. Todoroki offered his sympathies with a slightly warmer than usual blank stare, and Midoriya bit his lip. Midoriya and Bakugou weren’t on actual bad terms anymore, they’d more or less come to an understanding a while ago when they’d had a rumoured, long overdue confrontation. He knew Midoriya didn’t mind being around Bakugou, but Bakugou still treated him the same, like his responses were on autopilot out of familiarity. So on the surface, everything was the same as in their first year, minus the genuine fear from Midoriya’s side. But this situation was somewhat Todoroki’s fault, so he spoke up quietly, glad the rest of the group were still chatting and not paying him any attention.

“Don’t cause a scene, Bakugou. We’re just having lunch, he’s not doing anything to you. Try be nice for once, who knows, you might like it.” Todoroki drawled the last bit, calmly eating his food as he knew his apparent indifference would get more of a rise out of him. Bakugou shot up from his seat and sparked a rapidfire series of warning blasts in his palms.

“Oh? Since when were you my mother, Halfie?” Bakugou growled through gritted teeth, lips stretched back in that usual threatening smirk-snarl. He opened his mouth to issue some sort of challenge as always, probably, and Todoroki just picked up a large piece of steamed potato with his chopsticks and roughly jammed it into his mouth to shut him up.

“What the fuck-”

Todoroki ignored Bakugou’s indignant screech as he choked on potato to gesture to Midoriya.

“Sit down while he’s distracted.” Todoroki spoke as if he was talking about a rabid wild animal, purposefully loud enough for Bakugou to hear. Midoriya stifled a giggle behind his hand and sat down with Iida, who (bless his good, kind soul) asked Bakugou if he was alright with genuine concern. Bakugou just hissed and spat incoherently at him.

“You find it funny, shitty nerd?” Bakugou snarled, banging his fist, sparking with the beginnings of explosions, down on the table, and Todoroki thought both the table and Midoriya didn’t deserve the destruction that was sure to come. He tugged at Bakugou’s sleeve to pull his hand off the table and stared back calmly at the blazing eyes that snapped over to him.

“Can you be a little nicer to Midoriya?” Todoroki asked very, very quietly so not to draw attention from others, wanting to keep it discreet and lowkey seeing as it was still somewhat a sensitive subject. Bakugou however, was the living antithesis of discreet and lowkey.

“Hah?! Your head broken, Iceberg? Why in the ever loving fuck would I be nicer to Deku?” Bakugou spat unnecessarily viciously, and Midoriya was frantically waving his hands at Todoroki as if to tell him to drop it, but this had been weighing on Todoroki’s mind for a while now. He wasn’t scared of confronting Bakugou about his shittier qualities. He very nearly wasn’t able to hold back his instinctive response of “because you’re better than this and you should really graduate from your complete garbage person status by now”, but he didn’t want to have this conversation, which would surely escalate, in front of everyone.

Instead, he went with a calm “Because he’s my friend? I don’t like you being mean to him.” Which was also true.

“That doesn’t mean jackshit to me.” Bakugou sneered coldly, ripping his arm away from Todoroki’s grip on his sleeve. Todoroki paused.

Well, he wasn’t presumptuous enough to think Bakugou cared about his opinions just because they were a little closer now, but hearing him say it straight out like that… it still stung a little. He blinked, fingers twitching.

The silence was getting a little bit longer than was natural and he was trying to figure out what to say to pass this off, but Bakugou gave a frustrated growl, the conflicted scowl on his face looking… almost looking as if he regretted saying it.

“Fine, fine, I got it, I’ll just ignore his fucking existence, alright? Don’t look at me like that.” Bakugou grumbled and slumped back in his seat, lip curled in ever present irritation. But he subtly nudged Todoroki’s arm with the back of his hand, and Todoroki recognised the awkward, jerky movement as a clumsy apology. Todoroki almost cooed and melted at his feet at the endearing gesture. How many people on this planet could say they’d received an apology from Bakugou Katsuki? And this was the second time as well… And, both times had been because he’d noticed his words made Todoroki a little upset.

He couldn’t resist a small, soft smile.

“Scratch that, don’t look at me in general. This fucking pattern is getting familiar, Halfie.” Bakugou growled with clear warning ringing in his tone, but Todoroki couldn’t help but smile a little wider at the slight spot of colour in his cheeks.

Midoriya, Iida and Uraraka focused on their food with overly intense concentration, and the Bakusquad minus Bakugou exchanged glances with eyes that gleamed like they’d accidentally stumbled upon some unexpected treasure, but no one said a word.

~

Bakugou had pretty much invited himself into Todoroki’s room to study, claiming that his group wouldn’t shut up or leave his, and the library was too far. Todoroki didn’t mind of course, but he’d had to consciously stop himself from teasing him by saying “if you wanted to study with me, you could just say so”. As fun as messing with Bakugou was, he’d found that pushing too far, and making him embarrassed about wanting to spend time with him in particular would make the guy back away immediately (not without an explosive, condescending stream of curses to him and his family, of course) and make him seemingly wary of interacting with Todoroki for the next day or so. He really was like a wild animal, one that Todoroki had to be careful not to corner or pressure, in order to win his trust. Of course, Todoroki never pointed that out to anyone. Even Bakugou had his vulnerable parts, and he knew his pride would never be able to take it if Todoroki poked at it.

So he just let him inside without a word, and snorted when Bakugou did a double take and stared at his very traditional Japanese room in the same exact way his other classmates had in their first year. It made him wonder what Bakugou’s room looked like. Because of the “Room King Competition” when they’d first moved into the dorms, Todoroki knew what everyone’s rooms looked like except Bakugou and Asui’s. And he’d never had a reason to go to either of their rooms before, so it still remained a mystery to him.

They’d already studied together before, and Todoroki had been taken aback at how seriously Bakugou took it. Well, he hadn’t expected any half-assed effort seeing as this was Bakugou, who put his all and then some into everything he did to try and be the best at it. But he was a consistent top spot contender in the class in terms of academics, scoring even higher than Todoroki for three years in a row. Todoroki didn’t necessarily think of himself as outstandingly smart, but he relied not only on the brute strength of his Quirk in battle, but his intelligence to strategise and be able to utilise his Quirk to its best effect - which he objectively knew in itself was formidable.

And so, he’d always kind of just assumed Bakugou was just naturally impressively smart and good at… everything. He was sharp and quick-witted, that was true, but in terms of academics, Todoroki only realised after seeing him study that the most likely reason for his consistent top grades was because of the insane amount of effort he put in to learning everything he possibly could.

He’d seen it before already, but it was still fascinating, see the loud, literally explosive delinquent sit there barely moving, one hundred and ten percent focused in his studies. And so Todoroki was a little distracted, his pen having gone loose in his grip for a while now as he just stared in silence at Bakugou studying.

It didn’t slip Bakugou’s notice apparently, although Todoroki couldn’t tell when he’d realised, seeing as he didn’t so much as twitch away from his books.

“You got something to say? Quit staring at me and concentrate on your own shit. Or go do something else.” Bakugou suddenly spoke up, voice as rough and challenging as always, but it was quiet. He didn’t look up as he turned a page and Todoroki coughed a little awkwardly, flicking his pen around his fingers.

“My bad.” Todoroki muttered, switching his attention back to the book in front of him and trying to read it for a good few seconds before realising it was upside down somehow. He coughed again and quickly turned it the right way up. Bakugou glanced up then and gave him a flat look.

“You’re distracted. Is watching me study really that interesting, Frosty?” Bakugou raised a judgmental eyebrow and Todoroki cleared his throat, so, so tempted to tell him that he was pretty when he was focused. That he was pretty all the time.

“You study so hard. It is interesting.” Todoroki said instead, which wasn’t a lie. Bakugou’s eyebrow arched higher and that usual scowl stretched his lips again.

“Not everyone’s a natural-born genius like you, some of us gotta work for it.” Bakugou grouched, somehow managing to make the compliment sound like an insult. Todoroki blinked, taken aback anyway.

“...I’m not a genius.” Todoroki replied slowly and Bakugou scoffed, eye twitching with what looked like impatience.

“Yeah sure, you might not be on the same crazy level as the class presidents but you’re naturally smart, okay? Everyone knows that. You don’t have to do anything and you’re already head and shoulders above other people - it gets on my damn nerves.” Bakugou drawled with equal parts of genuine annoyance and dry resignation. Todoroki couldn’t reply for a moment, still unsure whether to feel insulted or praised.

“I do work hard on my studies, you know. Just not as hard as you do.” Todoroki pointed out in a carefully neutral tone, not wanting to start a fight just yet. Bakugou huffed.

“Yeah, you better not. If you worked as hard as I do you’d beat me in the next exams for sure, since you’ve got the brains for it.” Bakugou threw the words out carelessly, but Todoroki was floored. Bakugou… just verbally suggested he could be beaten? He’d actually acknowledged the possibility? It was just academics, nowhere near as important to either of them as their hero studies, but still…

It didn’t give him a sense of pride or superiority, seeing as Todoroki didn’t share that view, and even if he did he wouldn’t care about it. But it did make him feel warm, hearing Bakugou say it of his own accord. He knew no one else in their class had ever heard Bakugou admit to or accept the fact that he couldn’t win some things. That he allowed himself to say something that went so against his very nature to Todoroki…

Todoroki smiled softly. “It’s damn near impossible to work as hard as you do, Bakugou.”

“I know. I don’t do anything in halves.” Bakugou answered, his immediate response sounding unexpectedly more objective than cocky. Todoroki had to bite back a “that’s why I like you” from escaping past his lips. Bakugou regarded him with a strange expression, slanted eyes relaxed and thoughtful. “You work as hard as me when it comes to hero training, though.”

“I do. Becoming the strongest hero I can be matters to me.” Todoroki spoke both as confirmation and as a brief explanation, and Bakugou’s lips twitched in amusement. Todoroki itched to take a picture.

“And grades don’t?”

“Not so much that I’d put as much effort in. Do they… matter to you?” Todoroki asked curiously and Bakugou shrugged, leaning back on his hands.

“No. Grades don’t mean shit in the hero business - as long as they’re decent you’re fine. It’s more of the… principle, I guess. Like I said, I don’t do anything in halves. Especially for something that’s ranked. I can’t stand not one hundred percent seriously trying to take the top spot. Even though logically speaking I know I can’t beat Yaoyorozu, I ain’t accepting that till I’ve given my all in trying to crush her anyway. Call it pride or whatever.” Bakugou drawled, glancing up at the ceiling with flat, but calm eyes. Todoroki swallowed, stomach feeling a little floaty. He wasn’t sure why, maybe it was the continued calm, easy admission that Todoroki just knew even Kirishima would never be allowed to hear, because yeah, Bakugou had the most pride out of anyone he’d ever met. Or maybe it was the relatively smooth tone of his inside voice melting over his ears as usual. Or maybe it was Bakugou’s words, reaffirming why Todoroki respected him so much.

Fuck. Todoroki was so head over heels it was stupid.

Bakugou lowered his head and fixed Todoroki with an even flatter stare, surprisingly still lacking any fire behind it.

“Halfie, you gotta stop with the faces, come on. How am I meant to say anything without worrying about whether I just broke your dumbass brain?” Bakugou sounded more exasperated than angry, but Todoroki could see the telltale twitch beneath his eye that gave away the fact that he was a little, dare he think it, flustered. Todoroki didn’t bother to change his soft expression.

“I just think you’re really admirable, in that way. Maybe not… the “crushing people” part, but wanting to win and doing everything you can in an honest effort to do so… I really like that part of you.” Todoroki laughed a little, quietly at Bakugou’s strangled expression. His cheeks were a little pink.

“What the hell- People usually hate that I’m so obsessive about winning, the fuck’s wrong with you? I wasn’t fishing for a compliment, alright? I try to win for me, not to impress anyone.” Bakugou growled almost defensively, and Todoroki honestly didn’t know why he was feeling defensive, since that was exactly his point.

“I know. That’s why I like it.” Todoroki spoke simply with a smile, to which Bakugou slapped a hand over his face and gave a long suffering groan.

“Someone get this idiot out of my face… why’re you always like this?” Bakugou dragged his hand down his face with a pained mutter, and Todoroki just tilted his head.

“Like what?”

“You… You just say these super embarrassing things without being embarrassed at all. You freak of nature.” Bakugou grumbled, scowling at him like the sight of his face was an insult. His cheeks were steadily darkening. Todoroki blinked, not really sure he deserved to be called a freak of nature just because of that. But this was Bakugou after all.

“I only say the truth. I don’t think it’s embarrassing.” Todoroki replied, though it quickly dawned on him that this was yet another one of his overly blunt moments. Right.

“That’s exactly what I mean.” Bakugou squinted at him and Todoroki just stared at him for a moment. Then he ducked his head down and laughed, not sure what he found funny, but just enjoying and savouring that light, warm feeling in his chest that Bakugou was so good at causing without even trying. He propped his elbow up on his low table and rested his cheek against his palm, not bothering to hide the small smile that still danced on his lips.

“Alright, my bad. I’ll keep quiet, go back to studying.” Todoroki addressed his book nonchalantly as he flipped through to some more relevant pages and picked up his pen.

He was aware of Bakugou’s eyes still fixed on him after a while of actually studying, realising that Bakugou hadn’t moved an inch. He lifted his gaze questioningly, and Bakugou didn’t even blink, staring at him with this… this look. Todoroki lifted his cheek from his palm and straightened a little, a bit confused.

“Bakugou?”

Bakugou seemed to snap out of some sort of daze, coughing loudly and grabbing his pen unnecessarily violently.

“Don’t talk, Frosty, it’s not good for my brain.” Bakugou deadpanned, refusing to look at him, and Todoroki just stifled a laugh and nodded.

~

“Guys, breaking fucking news.” Kaminari announced with a flourish, slamming his hand down on the table in the dorm living room. The group lounging around at 9pm after a tough day of training consisted of Ashido, Asui, Satou, Jirou, Sero, Uraraka and Midoriya, and there were greatly varying levels of interest in the gazes directed Kaminari’s way.

“Did you finally learn how to use your Quirk?”

“Did you finally get a girlfriend?”

“Did you sort out the weird rash down there?”

“Fuck you guys- what rash, Mina?” Kaminari glared at Ashido, Sero and Jirou, to which Ashido just winked. Kaminari shook his head dramatically, flinging out a hand. “No, it’s much more monumental than any of us could imagine.”

“I mean, you getting a girlfriend is already beyond the realms of imagination…”

“I will punch your dick, Sero. No, I saw Bakugou smiling. As in, a real, normal sane human’s smile, not his usual “I eat babies” smile. It was pretty fuckin’ soft as well, I got goosebumps.” Kaminari emphasised that with a full body shiver, and everyone stared at him for a motionless beat, again with varying levels of surprise on their faces.

“Bakugou can smile?”

“You’re not shitting us, right?”

“K-Kacchan did…?”

“Come on, tell us more, why was he smiling!”

“What could possibly make Lord Explosion Murder smile of all things…”

Shouji passed the group discussing this mundane development with awestruck, hushed tones as if Bakugou smiling was the equivalent to someone becoming a serial killer overnight, and thought to himself, U.A.’s budding heroes really needed to go find a hobby.

“I think we all can guess by this point the only person on earth who can make Bakugou-chan smile, other than All Might.” Asui pointed out helpfully, and everyone exchanged lightning fast glances.

“Was he with Todoroki? Kaminari come on, he was with Todoroki, right?”

Kaminari paused for effect, glancing around at his adoring audience solemnly, before nodding. “Yes.”

“Give us details, you shit!” At Ashido’s war cry as she lunged herself at Kaminari and shook him by the collar, Kaminari explained, again with theatrical flair.

“It was something out of a teen romance movie. Believe me when I say I was disgusted and scarred for life.” Kaminari gave a dramatic sigh as he pressed a hand to his chest. “I was on my way back here when I saw them sitting beside each other on the grass. It was already dark, and Todoroki was talking quietly, while pointing at a star. And Bakugou just looked at him like he couldn’t really focus on what Todoroki was saying, and smiled. Like, I’m talking motherfucking heart eyes. Never before has such a calm, soft expression appeared on Bakugou Katsuki’s face, I’ll tell you that.”

The ensuing shrieks and squeals were enough to rouse the sleeping lion upstairs, the man, the monster himself, and Bakugou hollered down at them loud enough to shake the building.

“Shut the fuck up B-rate trash I’m trying to fucking sleep!”

“Oh grow up Softie! Who the hell goes to bed at eight o’clock anyway?” Ashido yelled cheerfully back, and Midoriya looked fully ready to pass out in fear.

“Sof-?!” The resounding boom of a violent explosion echoed its way down and Ashido screamed, half the group scrambling around with her to prepare to evacuate and run for their lives when another yell sounded upstairs.

“The fuck you want, Half and Half Bastard?!”

It was comical, the way everyone immediately shut up and stopped in their tracks, eyes gleaming as they stared fixedly at the ceiling. They (expectedly) couldn’t hear Todoroki’s quiet response, and Bakugou just swore overly loudly again and slammed a door shut, but… he didn’t come down to commence a mass genocide.

The looks on Ashido, Kaminari and Sero’s faces were undeniably predatory, as they took in what just happened.

“So. Todoroki now has the power to calm the beast and shut him up.” The grin on Kaminari’s face was similar to the look he had whenever he and Mineta would get together and form the worst combo of perverted trash, at this new discovery. Sero and Ashido had scarily similar expressions.

“Blasty. Is. Fucking. In. Love.” Sero looked just about ready to sing with glee, and Ashido was trembling from head to toe.

“Finally…” She muttered, fists clenched before her. “Finally, we have some heckin’ romance in this class!”

Her grin was almost blinding, and Midoriya just sighed and smiled, looking up to the ceiling as his classmates excitedly discussed how often they’d see Bakugou and Todoroki together now, and how Bakugou had undeniably gotten calmer and safer since he started hanging out with Todoroki. Though Midoriya still had his instinctive worries for Todoroki’s health (not that the guy couldn’t protect himself, it was just… Bakugou was just a walking hazard by nature), he was ultimately happy for his friend.

Isn’t that great, Todoroki-kun?

Midoriya must’ve accidentally summoned the guy down, as Todoroki appeared at the foot of the stairs, casually walking to the kitchen.

 

Todoroki paused as he caught sight of his classmates staring at him with identical Cheshire Cat grins. Except for Midoriya, who was sending him a weak, apologetic smile. What?

“Is… something wrong? Is there something on my face?” Todoroki asked blankly, and Kaminari shook his head, not changing his expression or even blinking for a second.

“Oh no, you’re doing amazing, Todoroki. Keep up the good work, you saviour of 3-A, you.” There was something sinister about Kaminari’s encouraging thumbs up, and Todoroki just stared at his frozen, grinning classmates for a few moments. Then he gave a small nod, beyond confused, continuing to the kitchen for a glass of milk with eight pairs of eyes tracking his every move. Was it something he’d said today…?

~

“What’s your favourite food?” Todoroki asked as he and Bakugou left the classroom at the end of school. Bakugou arched an eyebrow at him.

“What’s this, 21 questions?”

“You know, sometimes when people ask you harmless questions, you can assume they don’t have ulterior motives and genuinely want to know, and just answer them like a normal person.” Todoroki pointed out helpfully and tried not to smirk as he dodged an uncomfortably close explosion.

“I like eating anything spicy. Happy now, you obnoxious fuck?” Bakugou grinded out between clenched teeth, and Todoroki snorted.

“Jesus, that’s so typical.”

“Hah?! As if you and your cold soba can talk, Mr Traditional-Japanese-Ice-Cube-Room.” Bakugou sneered mockingly but Todoroki paused, raising an eyebrow.

“How do you know what my favourite food is?”

“Because you and that wind fucker were yelling about it, my apologies for not blocking my damn ears.” Bakugou growled irritably and Todoroki took a long moment to process that. Wind fucker… Yoarashi from Shiketsu High? When did… Oh, back in their first year when they were at the provisional license courses? Damn, he’d completely forgotten about whatever the overwhelmingly energetic, enthusiastic guy had talked to him about… and Bakugou hadn’t?

“Wow… You actually listen?” Todoroki didn’t mean to say it out loud, but Bakugou’s reaction was funny anyway.

“If you wanted me to beat your dumbass face in you should’ve just said so, Halfie.” Bakugou growled around a pissed off, contorted smirk, veins ticking in his neck and temple as he released a flurry of blasts from his palms. Todoroki gracefully ignored him, humming in thought.

“Both of our favourite foods are so typical… Do you like sweets? Let’s go to a dessert place instead.” Todoroki suggested not unreasonably, he thought, but Bakugou looked at him as if he’d just asked him to go jump into a volcano.

“‘Instead’- Since when was I fucking going anywhere with you, Candy Cane? And don’t just assume I’m free, inconsiderate bastard.” Bakugou griped and Todoroki just gave him a look.

“Are you not?”

“Die.”

With that decided, Todoroki turned to head towards a dessert place nearby. Bakugou grumbled and groaned as usual but he ended up following him anyway, making Todoroki hide a smug smirk.

They both ordered drinks and sat down at a table by the window. It was almost like magic, the area around them immediately cleared as Bakugou stomped over to his seat, expression a storm. Todoroki wondered if he was mad at the place or the company, then decided it was a waste of time to ever try figure out why Bakugou was angry.

Instead he just started talking to him about nothing in particular, purposely pushing every single one of Bakugou’s trigger happy buttons and getting called every insulting name under the sun. So, a normal conversation between the two, really.

The drinks took an awfully long time to come, a fact that Bakugou growled about every few seconds as if he was worried Todoroki would forget, but Todoroki found that he didn’t mind at all. Honestly, just sitting here at a cozy little dessert place with Bakugou after school, just talking and bantering and watching those murderous glares lose a bit of fire one by one, in tiny, barely noticeable increments…

Todoroki could hardly believe it, but it was comfortable. So comfortable. This must be what a high feels like.

Their drinks did come, eventually, and Todoroki had to kick Bakugou’s shin to distract him from growling irritably at the waiter, which earned him another round of aggressive threats - which, in all their violent glory, were empty, and they both knew it.

Bakugou glanced at Todoroki’s iced green tea and snorted, almost rolling his eyes out of his head.

“Can’t you at least try and surprise me?” Bakugou fixed his drink with an unnecessarily condescending, judgmental look, and Todoroki just took a sip. Yeah, yeah, cold and Japanese, boring, boring, bla bla. He looked at what Bakugou had ordered and now that was unexpected. Bakugou was the type of guy that seemed like the only thing he drunk was the blood of his enemies, but he’d gotten himself a strawberry smoothie. It was very pink and very sweet looking, and Todoroki continued to drink without saying a word, though he kept staring at it, eyebrow raising slowly. Bakugou noticed, and promptly flipped him off.

“Did you get that in order to surprise me, then?” Todoroki asked neutrally, knowing the answer was no, but unable to resist having a go at it anyway. Bakugou just gave him a look and Todoroki returned it evenly. “Well done, if so, I’m genuinely surprised you allow your body to consume sugar.”

“There are so many things packed into that one sentence that you’re asking for a beating for, it’s almost impressive.” Bakugou growled around that nasty, threatening grin, and Todoroki took it as a compliment.

“What’s more impressive is the amount of self control you’re showing recently. You didn’t even try to kill me just then.” Todoroki pointed out, voice dully raised like a teacher soullessly praising a little kid for a shitty drawing. Bakugou slammed his hand down on the table, palm facing upwards, fingers curved at the ready.

“Don’t test it, asshat.” Bakugou’s snarl of a grin stretched back even further to show more of his tightly gritted teeth. Todoroki just hid a smile behind his cup before putting it down and raising his hands in casual surrender.

He glanced at his cup, deciding it wasn’t cold enough. He produced a few ice cubes from his palm and dropped them in, something he did sometimes without really thinking about it, but Bakugou was staring at him like he’d done something unusual. Or offensive, it was hard to tell based on the look on Bakugou’s face.

“What?”

“Nothing, just thinking that your Quirk is, unsurprisingly, stupidly convenient.” Bakugou snorted and lifted his own cup to take a sip. Todoroki regarded him for a second, then casually reached over and touched the cup with a fingertip of his left hand, warming the entire drink up. Bakugou immediately gagged on what must be disgustingly lukewarm strawberry smoothie and ripped the cup away, shooting him a murderous glare. Todoroki held a laugh in.

“Yes, very.” Todoroki replied mildly and Bakugou scowled at him then at his cup, clearly not knowing what to do with it anymore. Todoroki was amazed that Bakugou still hadn't tried to kill him for messing with him. And he would feel a little bad if he’d ruined Bakugou’s drink for him for no reason, so he gestured at it.

“Here.”

Bakugou looked sceptical but handed it over anyway, and Todoroki cooled it back down with his right hand. Bakugou arched an eyebrow and swiped it back as soon as the frost dissipated.

“Don’t fuck with me and let me drink in peace, Halfie.” Bakugou griped and paused, looking at his drink for a moment. He muttered almost inaudibly, “...Convenient.”

And for some reason that made Todoroki laugh, lowering his head and hiding his face with his drink as he snickered at the split second of fascination slackening Bakugou’s features.

“The fuck’re you laughing at, Aircon?!”

Aircon?

Todoroki revisited a thought he hadn’t had in a while, that his brain must have shortcuited at some point because that was somehow hilarious to him. He could safely say that no one had ever thought to call him “Aircon” before. It made sense, though. He could warm up or cool down the air surrounding him at will, and sometimes subconsciously as well. Sticky summers and frigid winters had never been an issue for him.

But in any case, Todoroki had to duck his head down into his chest to hold back his laughter, shoulders shaking with the effort. Fuck. He was laughing so much around Bakugou recently. It was nice.

Bakugou didn’t take it well, unsurprisingly, seeming to have finally reached his rage limit, and promptly blew up half of their table.

“Don’t you fucking laugh at me, shit for brains I’ll fucking kill you-” Todoroki ignored Bakugou’s near incoherent bellow to quickly send the alarmed civilians around them apologetic looks, though he was in too good of a mood to care much right now.

“Oh no, what’s that guy’s deal? He seems dangerous…”

“U.A…? That uniform, they’re U.A. students, aren’t they?”

“So… So he’s not a villain, right? He just blew up the table- Are- are we safe?”

“Oh! Those are the semi-pro heroes Shouto and-”

And Todoroki thought to himself again, being Bakugou’s friend was definitely no easy task.

They were going to get an earful from Aizawa once he heard they’d been out in public - in their school uniforms no less - destroying other people’s property. Todoroki calmly took out enough cash (from Bakugou’s wallet while he was distracted by rage) to cover the damage and placed it on the still intact part of the table, before standing up to wordlessly bow to the shocked cashier to apologise on Bakugou’s behalf. God knows Bakugou wasn’t going to do it.

Too bad for Todoroki and his pride and usually clear moral compass that he liked the messy asshole so much that he didn’t even care in that moment, that he had to clean up after his public ragings.

He just grabbed Bakugou’s wrist and tugged him out of the store, a smile twitching at the corners of his lips the whole time as he fended off violent attacks with casual flicks of ice. Bakugou of course fought him every step of the way but… in the end he still let Todoroki drag him away. Which he wouldn’t normally let anyone else do. Todoroki’s entire body tingled with warmth.

Once they’d reached a quieter street leading past a riverbank and Bakugou finally stopped literally hissing and spitting, Todoroki let go of his wrist. He hummed a little, still smiling ever so slightly at the late afternoon sun, feeling lighter than fucking air.

It was so stupid, Bakugou literally hadn’t done anything but scowl and yell at him as usual but Todoroki felt elated, something so bizarrely foreign he wondered if he’d been hit on the head, or something. Just spending the afternoon with him, doing nothing of importance… It shouldn’t make Todoroki feel this ridiculously light and happy but it did.

“Jesus Christ, you’re practically skipping. Why are you looking like you’re having the time of your damn life, Icicle?” Bakugou growled in annoyance, every word grating through gritted teeth, but what was new.

“I don’t skip. I’m walking normally, as I always do.” Todoroki pointed out mildly just to piss him off some more, though it was true. He knew other than a tiny little smile he was barely showing that he was happy on the outside but Bakugou could just tell, couldn’t he? It made him want to start skipping. He cut off Bakugou’s incoming indignant or infuriating reply with a small shrug. “And well, I am having the time of my life.”

Bakugou threw him a look that suggested he wanted to cut open Todoroki’s head to check if there was a brain inside.

“Halfie, I know you’re the most boring person to ever exist on this planet but. We got. A cheap drink each. We didn’t even finish it before I broke a table and you dragged me out of the store. And we’re currently. Walking. We’ve done absolutely nothing that should make you feel anything close to that, we’ve barely done anything at all, are you broken?” Bakugou asked in his most seriously “trying to demean and degrade for optimum devastating results of opponent crushed entirely” condescending tone. Todoroki just hummed some more at that, considering his words. Bakugou gave an exasperated scoff.

“Hm. Maybe.” Todoroki replied simply, tilting his head back and riding the waves of his current floaty high to give Bakugou a proper, unreserved smile for the first time.

Bakugou’s body jerked like an electric shock had just run up his spine. It was kind of funny, the slack, stunned expression on his face, but… The look in his relaxed eyes glowing brilliantly red in the sunlight was similar to how he’d stared at him in a daze that one time they’d been studying in his room. And Todoroki felt like he understood what that look meant a little more now.

Todoroki coughed, suddenly feeling a little- not shy, just… not a hundred percent as confident as he was a second ago. He averted his gaze to look ahead instead, using his Quirk to cool his face down, though he was struggling with it a little and almost produced frost across his skin.

Bakugou gave a loud, frustrated growl.

“Why do you fucking look like that?” Bakugou muttered like a curse, but it sounded like he was mostly talking to himself. Todoroki blinked, briefly translating that from Bakugou-speak in his mind. Was that a compliment?

“Like what?” Todoroki asked carefully, chancing a quick look at him. Bakugou’s irritable scowl was more aggressive than ever, but he refused to meet Todoroki’s eyes, glaring a hole in the footpath before him, hunched over with his hands shoved deep in his pockets.

Ah. He was a little embarrassed.

“Like… Like shit, you ugly fucker.” Bakugou further confirmed that by stuttering a little, the insult he spat out sounding feeble and unconvincing, and Todoroki really, really wanted to kiss him.

Instead, Todoroki just suppressed a smile and continued walking beside him as the sun began to set, content to take it easy and not read too much into things for now.

~

The girls were scary when they were drunk, Todoroki found. Even though Japan as a whole was pretty lax on the whole underage drinking thing, it still wasn’t a good idea for underage heroes-in-training to drink. It was terrible publicity. So U.A. did stress some rules against alcohol in the dorms, but by their third year Aizawa had pretty much told them “fuck it, do whatever you want as long as you don’t damage school property or put anything online.”

And so, Class 3-A would drink and party sometimes in the dorms. Todoroki wasn’t too much of a drinker, since he didn’t particularly like any alcohol. He wasn’t a lightweight, but he couldn’t hold a candle to the bottomless vats that were Bakugou, Tokoyami, Shouji, and unexpectedly, Aoyama. The rest of the class’s alcohol tolerance reflected their personalities pretty accurately, Todoroki thought. Mineta, Midoriya, Hagakure, Uraraka, Koda and Kaminari were terrible lightweights. Ashido, Sero, Kirishima and Jirou were okay at holding their alcohol, but drank the most and got the drunkest and rowdiest. Asui, Iida, Ojiro, Satou and Yaoyorozu drank a moderate (responsible) amount and got moderately drunk. Todoroki belonged to this category, he supposed. He just didn’t actually ever get drunk, tipsy at most.

But in any case, the girls were scary when they were drunk. He loved and respected all his classmates, and knew all the girls were strong and confident and sensible, but well… when they were drunk they all seemed to turn into stereotypical little girls. Especially when they chose a target, and that target was usually a cornered boy. Today, apparently that boy was Todoroki.

He didn’t really mind their drunken behaviour or the overbearing attention, he just quietly went with whatever they wanted, generally. As long as they were having fun, he didn’t really care.

“Todoroki-kun, you have to let us put makeup on you.” Hagakure was insisting, an alcohol flush hovering in what seemed like empty air where her cheeks supposedly were. It was always a strange sight.

Todoroki looked around. Not everyone was drinking tonight, it seemed like only the girls and Kaminari had taken some shots, and half of the class were upstairs in their rooms still. Other than Todoroki, Asui, Ashido, Jirou, Hagakure, Yaoyorozu and Uraraka, there was Kaminari, Sero and Kirishima, playing (what looked to be very violent) card games on the floor a few metres away. He’d sat himself on the couch with a cookie, and the girls had somehow all ended up sitting beside him or hovering around, once they’d gotten a few drinks in.

He was surrounded, so he supposed it couldn’t be helped. He just blinked his consent and Ashido, Uraraka and Hagakure cheered in excitement. He didn’t exactly know what the appeal was, it was probably just funny to them, so he just sat still and allowed them to have their way. He was sleepy…

Yaoyorozu materialised some… things, and they got to work, giggling all the while. Fuyumi had never worn makeup, so Todoroki had no idea what anything they were holding were. His eye was poked once, but otherwise the girls seemed comically intense in their focus despite their drunken swaying and tittering.

“Oh my fucking God.” Jirou burst out laughing after taking one look at Todoroki once they were done. The rest of the girls admired their masterpiece with badly held in laughter as well, tilting Todoroki’s head this way and that. Kirishima looked up at them and immediately howled with laughter, banging his fist on the carpet. Todoroki vaguely remembered his face looking similar when Bakugou had come back from his internship with Best Jeanist with a hilariously out of place, brushed down side part.

“T-Todoroki-” Kaminari seemed about ready to choke with laughter, and Todoroki held in a sigh. His classmates… But really, he didn’t mind.

“Y-You have to see yourself.” Sero chortled and Todoroki resigned himself to his fate, casually producing a flat shard of ice from his palm and looking at his reflection. Well… it was clear none of the girls were experts. Neither was he, but he was sure the lipstick was meant to be… on his lips. There was blush on his jaw, and some shiny white stuff on his forehead. Funnily enough, the makeup around his eyes actually looked pretty normal, pretty well done. He assumed it’d been Yaoyorozu’s handiwork. It was just… well, even normal winged eyeliner just didn’t look normal on his face.

“It’s beautiful.” Todoroki spoke in his flattest monotone, and everyone cracked up even harder. He wordlessly poured himself a shot and tossed it back. Yeah, there was no way he was staying sober for this.

“Oh God, you have to go terrorise someone like this. Who’s an assho-” Uraraka gasped between giggles and she was cut off with an immediate chorus of “Mineta!”

Oh dear. Todoroki silently prayed for himself. The girls liked bullying Mineta sometimes when they were drunk, and honestly, no one in the class cared because Mineta deserved way more than playground insults. But it looked like he was the messenger tonight, terrifying makeup and all.

“Okay, okay, I’ve got it.” Jirou announced, slamming her hands down on the couch cushion and leaning forward with a leering grin. “Todoroki, go knock on his door and profess your undying love for him.”

“Oh my Go-o-od!”

“Oh my God, yes, you have to, we have to watch this! He’d shit his pants!”

“Oh my goodness…”

“Hell yeah!”

“Rest in peace, Todoroki-chan.”

Todoroki reconsidered his earlier thought that he didn’t mind as long as the girls were having fun.

“Oh my God, we have to write you a script. Feel free to adlib, though. You can take the makeup off as soon as you’re done. The goal of tonight is to make Mineta cry!” The resounding cheer that met those words made Todoroki down another three shots in a row. Yeah, he definitely could not be sober for this shit tonight.

He glanced at the girls literally writing a script for him, and wondered if he was allowed to voice objections. But his conscience won out.

“Um, it’s not nice to confess to someone as a joke. It might hurt their feelings.” Todoroki pointed out quietly, knowing he’d hate it if someone did that to him. The girls all turned their heads to stare owlishly at him, a predatory gleam to their eyes.

“It’s Mineta. Who gives a shit. He deserves way worse, he should feel flattered you’re even talking to him.” Jirou responded coldly and Todoroki almost wanted to hold up his hands in surrender at the look in her eyes. Okay, he knew the girls actually did care about Mineta as a fellow classmate when push came to shove, but damn, when they were drunk the frustrations of Mineta’s daily harassment and comments turned them ruthless.

“Yeah, plus he’s the straightest thing to exist since rulers were invented. He’d be appalled to have a guy confess to him, that little piece of shit. Don’t you worry about hurting his paper-thin fragile feelings, actually, please do if you can.” Ashido added cheerfully and Todoroki thought about it for a moment, and decided he agreed with their sentiments. He wasn’t above helping the girls vent some of their usual stress caused by Mineta’s vexingly inappropriate behaviour.

“Mm. Yeah, fuck it. Let me see that script.” Todoroki tossed back another shot and briefly thought that he was drinking a bit recklessly, taking shot after shot like this, but he knew his body’s tolerance. The girls all whooped.

“Oh hell ye-eah, fuck it up Todoroki!” Ashido practically screeched in victory, and he couldn’t help a smile of his own as he read the ridiculous lines the girls had written for him. Someone had clearly been reading too many romance novels. On normal days he’d feel like throwing up saying these lines to anyone, let alone Mineta.

Oh no, he could feel the telltale buzzing in his head indicating that he’d drunk a bit too much already. Well, he hadn’t eaten yet and he did just have five shots in under two minutes, after all. This couldn’t bode well. But hell, even Todoroki wanted to have fun sometimes. He stood up decisively, taking one more shot he was probably going to regret, lines more or less memorised.

“Oh, fuck me.” Todoroki immediately muttered as the room swayed a little, and his classmates, immature as they were, immediately started squealing and wolf whistling.

“I’m sure everyone here would love to, my handsome dude, but none of our health insurances can cover the damages of trespassing on Bakugou’s territory, ‘m afraid.” Kaminari’s drunken drawl came from somewhere on the ground and Todoroki felt the room lurch, confusion spiking in his already hazy head. Huh? Why’d Bakugou’s name come up?

“Kaminari, you absolute egg! Shut up! Let them figure it out themselves!” Ashido shrieked and launched herself over to him to slap a hand over his mouth. Todoroki was confused, brain not working as fast as it normally did. He looked around at his classmates for an explanation, but found himself being shoved and ushered towards the stairs to carry out his mission.

“Never you mind that Todoroki-kun, let’s go make Mineta-kun uncomfortable!” Hagakure tugged at him enthusiastically and Todoroki internally shrugged, pushing that to the back of his mind.

He tripped once going up the stairs to the second floor which was already a bad sign, but the haze in his mind was numbing him to his usual caution in all things. His classmates all huddled in the stairwell, pretty badly hidden, but Todoroki just snorted and turned to walk towards Mineta’s room.

“Hey Frosty.” Todoroki jumped as Bakugou appeared at the foot of the stairs leading down from the upper floors. He turned to greet Bakugou, movements a little sloppier than he’d like, and Bakugou’s eyes popped when he caught sight of Todoroki’s face.

“Not that it matters, but this wasn’t my choic-” Todoroki explained calmly but Bakugou just burst out laughing, clutching at his stomach. It wasn’t a kind laugh, but it was a friendly type of mockery, the same as his other classmates.

“The fuck’s on your face?! Jesus Christ you look even dumber than usual. Are the girls drunk again?” Bakugou lifted a condescending eyebrow, eyes flickering over to the group tittering in the stairwell.

“Yeah.”

“Looking pretty, Ice Queen.” Bakugou smirked and Todoroki just gave him a lopsided smile and waved his fingers, casually releasing a little puff of tiny specks of ice imitating snowflakes. Bakugou arched his eyebrow almost up into his hairline, peering at him. “Holy shit, you’re drunk too. What are you doing here anyway?”

Todoroki just gave him a more secretive smile and held a finger up to his lips, feeling giddy as both alcohol and the mystified look on Bakugou’s face drove his feet confidently to Mineta’s door. He knocked and heard loud shushing and badly suppressed giggles behind him.

The door opened a crack and Todoroki had to look all the way down to try and see Mineta’s eye peeking out, feeling like he was about to topple forward. Jesus, the guy was so short. Mineta opened the door fully to point up at Todoroki’s face and laugh, a reaction Todoroki was now fully accustomed to.

“What the fuck, Todoroki?!”

Todoroki kindly resisted telling him that it was the result of the girls touching his face, he had a feeling Mineta might have an aneurism out of jealousy.

“Mineta, I need you to listen to me carefully.” Todoroki started in his usual deadpan voice and Mineta immediately tensed and drew back a step.

“...What? You’re creeping me out.” Mineta’ self preservation instincts seemed to kick in as Todoroki swayed a little closer, and Todoroki thought of the little notes the girls had written on the paper and dramatically dropped to his knees. Fuck, he had zero coordination right now and the swift slam hurt like a bitch. But it was worth it, seeing Mineta’s eyes go almost fully white in horror.

Also it was sadly hilarious to him that he was still taller than Mineta while kneeling.

“All my life, I’ve dreamt of you.” Todoroki stated tonelessly, but he discovered the deadened, seemingly serious voice, adding to his unblinking deadpan stare seemed to be getting to Mineta more. Nice.

“What the fucking shit?!” Mineta shrieked and immediately tried to back into his room to slam the door shut. Todoroki lunged forward and gripped the door to keep Mineta from closing it, arm shaking just a little with the effort. The guy really… wasn’t very strong, after all. And Todoroki was. He slowly bore down on him, pushing the door back bit by bit and leering his deathly blank face closer and closer into the shadow of his room. He probably looked like something out of a horror movie right now.

His classmates sounded like they were choking on air behind him so he took that as a signal to keep going. The stupid script came surprisingly easily to his foggy mind.

“Run away with me. Swear you’ll be true to me, and I’ll devote my all to you. I’ll make you happy-” Todoroki reached forward to… grab at him? He wasn’t sure what his end plan was but Mineta punched his hand away with all his might (and, wow, that actually kinda hurt).

“Is your head broken?!” Mineta screeched in equal parts of terror, disbelief and rage, and refocused all his efforts onto trying to shut the door on him. Todoroki wasn’t done yet, so he shifted his foot and promptly froze the entire door and doorframe in place.

“Plus Ultra.” Todoroki murmured dramatically, holding out his right hand and producing what he tried to make look like a crude bouquet of ice flowers. Mineta looked ready to faint.

“Plus-” Ashido almost screamed from the stairwell at his added touch and Todoroki patted himself on the back, unceremoniously dumping the flowers at Mineta’s feet. He swayed forward ever more and flung out his hands theatrically, still maintaining the same expression.

“Day in day out, I think about you always. Give me a chance, Mi- Minor… what was your name again?” Todoroki scrunched up his face in a genuine effort to try and remember the guy’s first name. Yikes, he was a terrible classmate.

“You’re fucking wasted!” Mineta screamed, throwing a flurry of those sticky things from his head at him in a desperate attempt at self defence. Todoroki froze them in a sheet of ice like a shield and tossed it away to clasp his hands together before him.

“Yes. Wasting my life away without you.” Todoroki punctuated the bland, sorrowful words by hanging his head down, going completely off the script now. Damn, he should have gone into theatre. Was it too late to think about a career change?

“Oh my G-” Someone was shrieking behind him and the rest of them sounded barely able to keep it together, and Todoroki just grinned. The grin must’ve been sudden and lopsided and scary and Mineta almost jumped out of his skin, screaming bloody murder as Todoroki grabbed his arm and casually tugged him out of his room, freezing the gap between the door and the frame to cut off his escape route.

This was stupid. But it was fun, so Todoroki couldn’t give two shits about how he was going to regret this in the morning.

“Someone help! Todoroki’s gone crazy! Holy- Get the fuck away from me!” Mineta was full on crying and Todoroki just continued to adlib as encouraged to, because it was fun.

“Crazy in love with you, that I am.” Todoroki replied gravely and he was sure Mineta was going to start bleeding from sheer force of terror soon.

“Leave me alone! I’m not gay!” Mineta hollered as if that needed to be confirmed, and Todoroki just took it in his stride and leaned his face in uncomfortably close.

“But I am.” Todoroki murmured, keeping his eyes flat and one hundred percent serious, because… well, he was. He ignored the tiny voice in his head that reminded him he just came out in front of everyone and continued with his act, playing the gay card to bland completion with a soulless snap of his fingers and a flat wink.

“Begone!” Mineta all but roared, and before he could try attack again Todoroki scooped him up and froze him securely to the top of his doorframe by the back of his collar.

“Look, everyone. The love of my life. Behold.” Todoroki declared with the same monotone, turning around and sweeping an arm up to gesture at Mineta hanging from the doorframe, ignoring his yells of protest. Everyone was doubled over and wheezing, tumbling out of their hiding spot to come over to him. Bakugou was on the floor, rolling around in an uncontrollable fit of loud, raucous laughter. He looked like a child, and Todoroki couldn’t help but smile like an idiot, a million cliché butterflies setting off in his stomach as he saw that he’d made Bakugou laugh like that.

“Holy shit Todoroki, what happened to you?” Kirishima crowed, slapping him on the shoulder, hard. Todoroki stared pensively off into the distance.

“Love makes you a fool.”

That was it for Kaminari and Ashido, who joined Bakugou on the floor, choking on cackles. Yaoyorozu was still having trouble composing herself as she produced what looked like a tissue from her arm.

“Here. You can-” Yaoyorozu cut herself off with another giggle and held it out to him. “You can use this makeup wipe.”

“Honoured.” Todoroki replied and that set her off into another peal of laughter. He smiled anyway, happy to see Yaoyorozu laugh so openly like this. He really was very happy to see all of his classmates like this, knowing he’d somehow been the cause. Making people laugh wasn’t something he’d ever been in the centre of attention for before. It was nice. He guessed it was okay getting drunk and acting like an idiot every once in a while.

He took the makeup wipe and walked a little off to the side, his job done for the night. He almost stumbled into the wall, still dizzy and uncoordinated, but quickly righted himself, hoping no one had seen as he rubbed his face vigorously with the wipe. Of course someone had, though, who let him know with an obnoxious drawl.

“You alright there, Princess?” Bakugou called and Todoroki wiped at his face a little harder, hiding his face for a few more seconds.

“Peachy.” Todoroki surfaced to deadpan, and Bakugou just snorted, gesturing him over.

“C’mere.” It was just a short, casual word, but Todoroki felt his heart shoot up into his throat. He tried his best not to trip in the metre and a half he had to travel over to him, and was a little ashamed to find how hard that was. He made it there in one piece and Bakugou snorted again, taking the wipe from his loose grip (loose mainly because his hands were so annoyingly numb right now, shit). Oh fuck, Todoroki must’ve miscalculated and over shot the distance, because he realised that he was standing really, really close to Bakugou, and his face, his pretty, obnoxious face was just right. There. His relaxed red eyes were bright with amusement, and Todoroki could see how long his eyelashes were.

Todoroki was in no state of mind to control the blush that rose to his cheeks, but he hoped he could brush it off as the alcohol. Bakugou just stared at him for a moment, an unnamed something dancing in his sharp eyes, and Todoroki swayed.

“Bakugou, what-” Todoroki mumbled and Bakugou seemed to snap out of it, shaking his head a little.

“You missed a spot.” Bakugou replied and it was quiet, it was so quiet and soft, like he meant to say something else far more important, like he only wanted Todoroki to hear. Todoroki’s heart thudded at the unbelievable softness of his voice, feeling his world tip upside down - although that may also be because of the alcohol. Fuck. What? Bakugou could speak like that? He wanted to hear more.

Bakugou raised the wipe up to his face and Todoroki made a confused sound but held still as Bakugou gently (gently? Bakugou? What was going on?) swiped at the corner of his mouth. His face was so close… Todoroki couldn’t focus on anything Bakugou was doing, dazedly staring at his unusually calm eyes directed downwards.

Wow… pretty.

Bakugou lifted the wipe up more and paused, hovering near Todoroki’s left eye. Todoroki felt a different type of intoxication, drunk in a way that had nothing to do with alcohol, blinking slowly at him. Why was there a sudden flash of hesitation in his eyes? Todoroki trusted him. What was wrong?

“Your scar… does it hurt? Can I touch it?” Bakugou murmured, so softly Todoroki felt his head spin. He was half convinced he was dead, or had been transported to some parallel universe. Or maybe he was so drunk he was hallucinating. But God did it make him giddy, and he just nodded, a little shyly. What the fuck. He didn’t get shy. What was going on? But that careful, searching look in Bakugou’s eyes… it was clearly messing with Todoroki’s alcohol-ridden brain.

“It doesn’t hurt, Bakugou.” Todoroki replied equally softly, and Bakugou flattened his lips a little, pausing for a second longer. Then he pressed the wipe ever so carefully against his scar right beneath his eye, and dabbed at his mottled, hardened skin like it was made of glass. Todoroki giggled as he saw how intensely focused Bakugou was for something so dumb, but he still felt a dizzying rush travel up his body as Bakugou stared intently at his closed eye. Bakugou faltered, looking caught off guard, expression open and relaxed and…

“You’re pretty.” The words tumbled out of Todoroki’s mouth in a rush, accompanied by another giddy laugh he couldn’t hold back if he tried. Ah, he finally said it. It felt good. Bakugou looked like he’d just been punched in the stomach. He gaped soundlessly at him for a few moments, the makeup wipe dropping from his frozen hand.

“Y-You need your eyes checked, stupid shit.” Bakugou seemed to try for his usual scowl, but it was clearly forced. His cheeks were pink, his eyebrow twitched, and he had this fight or flight look about him. Todoroki just laughed again, a little louder, a little more openly. Bakugou visibly swallowed. When he spoke again his voice was rough, like something was caught in his throat. “...Who’s the real pretty one here?”

Huh?

Todoroki blinked at him, waiting for the words to settle and click properly. Huh. Oh.

“Are you calling me pretty, Bakugou?” Todoroki almost grinned, aiming to lean closer just a bit but ending up lurching forward, and Bakugou quickly caught him by the arms before he smashed their heads together.

“Jesus Christ, you are so fucking drunk. Go sleep it off already.” Bakugou grumbled, cheeks even pinker than before, and if Todoroki was a brighter person he would’ve cooed. As it was, he just smiled some more (tonight was truly a breakthrough, his facial muscles had never had this much exercise) and decided Bakugou’s suggestion sounded like a really good one.

“Mm. Yeah.” Todoroki mumbled before he let his eyes slip shut and his body collapse.

A bit further down the corridor, their classmates watched the whole scene in rapt awe, no one making a sound, even as Todoroki suddenly passed out and Bakugou quickly held him upright with a loud, startled curse.

“What… are… we… watching.” Sero whispered, as if afraid to break some sort of spell. Ashido was trembling so hard she looked like an impending explosion, Kirishima was wiping tears away with the back of his hand and the rest all had their jaws on the floor.

“Did you see that. Did you fucking see that!” Ashido whisper-shouted, excitement practically burning off of her body as steam. “Did you see how motherfucking gently Bakugou was touching him?!”

“Forget that, he was speaking and we couldn’t hear it. Who the heck knew Bakugou had a quiet voice too?!” Uraraka sounded like she was about to pass out.

“Bakugou went out of his way to do something as sweet as help Todoroki clean his face… Bakugou was helping- oh, God, I can’t.” Kirishima sounded on the verge of full out sobbing, and Kaminari just patted his shoulder solemnly, letting him grab onto him for support.

“Todoroki-kun was smiling and laughing all over the place… Todoroki-kun was smiling and laughing- oh my God, I feel like we should’ve taken pictures.” Hagakure squealed and Ashido and Jirou immediately groaned.

“We should’ve taken pictures!”

“We would’ve made bank. Half the girls in this school would pay good money to get a shot of Todoroki smiling.”

“Shouto looked so happy…” Yaoyorozu pressed a hand to her chest, a little teary eyed as she stared at the normally self sufficient, aloof boy, asleep and leaning his entire weight against Bakugou, fully trusting and comfortable.

“They both did. Bakugou-chan and Todoroki-chan were fully immersed in their own quiet little world. I’ll bet both of them completely forgot about us.” Asui’s observant ribbit was as fond as it had ever been.

“Uh, can you let me down now?” Mineta’s distressed voice interrupted the oohing and aahing, and Jirou shot him an uninterested glance.

“It’ll melt. Probably.”

“So you’re just gonna leave me up here till it does?! Get Todoroki to m- Actually, no, I don’t want Todoroki anywhere near me, that creep.” Mineta shuddered, and Ashido rolled her eyes, about to reply to that when an aggressive voice cut in.

“You actually think Todoroki would be genuinely interested in you for a second, B-rate trash? Quit your whining and grow the fuck up, purple shit.” Bakugou sneered coldly and let off a small, controlled explosion that shot out from his hand and shattered the frame of ice. Mineta dropped to the ground and gaped and waved his hands around, but wisely didn’t talk back.

“Wow, I agree with Bakugou for once. Amazing.”

“You wanna fucking die, Earlobe Freak?!”

“This is such a beautiful moment.” Ashido sniffled, and Uraraka shot her a wary, disbelieving look.

“You mean… Bakugou-kun threatening to kill one of us as usual…?”

“No silly, look at him! Look at how he’s carrying Todoroki!” Ashido practically yelled, clearly still pretty drunk, though some of the others were sobering up a little and getting sleepy one after the other.

And it was a sight, Bakugou carrying the taller boy bridal style in his arms. Actually, it was a sight seeing Bakugou carry anyone. Of his own accord as well.

“And what fucking of it, Mina?! Halfie’s out cold, he sure ain’t walking downstairs himself. Useless sh-” Bakugou shouted in that usual burst of irritation but immediately cut himself off when Todoroki gave a sleepy mumble and turned his head to press his face against the crook of his neck, white hair plastered against his skin a little messily. The girls could barely decide whether to squeal over Todoroki’s slightly squished sleeping face or the immediate colour in Bakugou’s cheeks.

“I would just like to thank the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for allowing me to live to see this day. Oh, the blessings we’ve received tonight.” Ashido slapped her hands together in a crude prayer, and Bakugou gave a vicious growl only tempered by the blush that had yet to disappear from his face.

“Fucking- you’re all a bunch of crazy dumbasses. I can’t deal with you, I’m going back to bed. Take Icyhot, and… and fuckin’ look after him, alright? Stupid bastard’s had way too much to drink… He probably needs to lie down on the couch. He always locks his room when he’s not in there.” Bakugou grumbled and griped and unceremoniously dumped Todoroki onto Kirishima. Nobody said anything for a beat.

“Oh my God, Bakugou actually cares about another human being.” Jirou whispered, and the others immediately burst into squeals and laughter again.

“Hah? You really got a death wish tonight, Discount Present Mic?!” Bakugou shouted and Kaminari fell over backwards at the new nickname, but quickly surfaced to fix Bakugou with a sly look.

“Why’d you give him to us? Why don’t you go and lie him down somewhere?” Kaminari asked a little challengingly and Bakugou practically seethed at him.

“Because I just fucking told you, fried-brain idiot, he locks his room-” Bakugou spat through gritted teeth (no one was even going to touch the fact that he knew what Todoroki did with his room when he was out or whatever else).

“Then why don’t you take him to your room? You have a bed, no?” Kaminari’s voice was continuing to rise in pitch with a less than appropriate lilt, a sharp smirk splitting his face. A few of the students groaned at him while Bakugou didn’t seem to realise what he meant, preoccupied with yelling at him.

“The fuck- why would I take him to my room for fuck’s s-”

“Only because you desperately want to, Blasty!” Kaminari crowed with a downright salacious grin, and Bakugou looked like he’d just been frozen to the spot, though their resident ice-maker was (thankfully) still out cold.

“This conversation suddenly turned inappropriate.” Asui commented calmly as Bakugou (literally) exploded into incoherent screams and enraged blasts.

“It’s true though, have you seen him gawking and drooling when he watches Todoroki train? It’s disgusting, and what’s more disgusting is that he hasn’t done anything about it yet.” Kaminari continued to dig his grave deeper and the others were split between whooping and cheering him on with equally nasty grins, and struggling to slap their hands over Kaminari’s mouth before Bakugou committed murder tonight.

“God, shut the fuck up, Mineta 2.0!”

(It was an extremely close call, but when Kirishima stood in front of Kaminari as a hardened human shield and Bakugou caught sight of Todoroki still sleeping on his shoulder, he seemed to collect what was left of his sanity and stormed his way up to his room. But not without threatening them all with a fate worse than death if they didn’t properly make sure Todoroki was alright.

Ashido repeatedly sobbed that it was the best day of her life.)

 

Todoroki woke up what felt like seconds later, with his head on Yaoyorozu’s lap, back on the couch downstairs. He tried blinking his swirling surroundings into focus and yep - he was still drunk.

“Yaoyorozu… how’d I get here?” Todoroki rasped, and Yaoyorozu jumped in surprise at his sudden question.

“Oh, you’re awake? Ah, that,” Yaoyorozu suddenly giggled, brushing a lock of his hair out of his eyes. “Bakugou was adamant that you lie down here properly and rest. He made absolutely sure we would take care of you, and disappeared back to his room after all the teasing annoyed him.”

“He what…?” Todoroki mumbled, eyes widening in shock. Yaoyorozu had a knowing lilt in her voice, and Todoroki was too out of it to care about appearances at this point. He just allowed himself a small grin and turned over on to his side to hide his face in Yaoyorozu’s hip. His mumble turned quieter, happier. “He really can care, can’t he? Yaoyorozu, I… Damn. I really like him.”

“Yeah? He’s the one you like, then?” Yaoyorozu’s confirmed softly as she ran her hand through his hair, and Todoroki nodded, grin widening a little.

“Yeah. I was going to tell you sooner or later. But you probably picked up on that ages ago. But ah, I just… really, really like him.” Todoroki sighed, touching his scar lightly where Bakugou’s fingers had brushed so carefully. Jeez. Drunk him was really mouthy.

“And he makes you happy.” Yaoyorozu’s voice was full of affection, and Todoroki just could not stop smiling like an idiot tonight.

“Yeah. He makes me so happy.” Todoroki echoed quietly, warmth filling him from head to toe as he imagined a cranky Bakugou telling his classmates to look after him.

“It looks like you make him happy, too. At least, no one else can make him look that way.” Yaoyorozu murmured and Todoroki laughed, more a puff of breath than anything else.

“You think? I think so too. I hope so.”

Todoroki fell asleep on the couch with his head pillowed on Yaoyorozu’s lap, satisfied to the brim with every bizarre, pleasantly surprising thing that had happened tonight. Sometimes, he concluded, it was nice to get drunk.

~

Todoroki woke up with the worst headache of his life. It was no surprise. He hadn’t had a drop of water since before he got shit-faced drunk last night.

Oh, last night…

He struggled to sit up, feeling the world slip and slide as he did. He was still on the couch, with Ashido, Kaminari, Uraraka, Jirou and Kirishima passed out around him, some half on top of a couch, some fully on the floor. Todoroki just blinked blearily at them for a few dazed seconds, wondering what time it was. It was bright in the room, too bright and hurting his dry, throbbing eyes, so probably midday. Thankfully it was a Sunday.

He felt something solid and plastic hit the back of his shoulder and he felt a huge, uncharacteristic surge of irritation at the dull pain. Hungover him clearly wasn’t the most pleasant or patient. He turned (with difficulty, everything was spinning slowly) to shoot a glare over his shoulder but froze when he saw Bakugou giving him a half amused, half mocking grin.

“Awake, Princess? Drink that, you look like complete shit.” Bakugou informed him kindly as always, and Todoroki glanced down at the water bottle beside his lap. Ah. He pushed down a smile. How thoughtful. He had no time to be embarrassingly smitten first thing in the morning though. As soon as he downed half the bottle, feeling his parched, sandpaper throat begin to feel like it belonged inside his body again, he felt his stomach churn.

“Shit.” Todoroki uttered calmly, before sprinting to the bathroom. He could hear Bakugou’s laughter drift after him. 

Drinking, Todoroki decided as he crouched beside the toilet bowl after throwing up for about fifteen minutes, was a terrible idea and he should never do it again. 

What even happened last night? 

He vividly remembered the girls drunk and laughing around him on the couch, remembered feeling sleepy as they put makeup on him… and then what? There was just this huge blank. He remembered so clearly that he wasn’t going to drink, having planned to have an early night’s sleep. But clearly, judging from his emptied stomach contents, he’d not only drunk but had far too much. 

Todoroki didn’t like not being in control of himself, and not knowing what he’d done.

He rinsed out his mouth at the sink and splashed water over his face, wincing as a spike of pain shot through his head. 

He wandered back into the living room, pressing his right hand to his head like a makeshift ice pack (his Quirk really did have its perks). Bakugou was nudging Kirishima with his foot, clicking his tongue in annoyance and crouching down. Todoroki watched, a little mesmerised and a little worried for Kirishima’s safety, as Bakugou roughly slapped him awake. Kirishima mumbled something groggily and Bakugou just snorted and maneuvered his head upright carelessly. He popped a pill into Kirishima’s mouth as it was open mid sentence with the air of someone who had done this way too many times, casually tossing some water from the bottle in with it and clamping Kirishima’s mouth shut.

Todoroki briefly entertained the thought that Bakugou had finally snapped and was poisoning him, as he watched Kirishima choke and swat Bakugou’s hands away while trying to swallow it.

“Kirishima, should I call an ambulance?” Todoroki spoke up just in case, and Bakugou slid him a flat, unimpressed look, obviously knowing exactly what Todoroki was implying.

“It’s a fuckin’ painkiller. I have to do this shit every time these useless losers get smashed.” Bakugou drawled irritably as usual, getting up with a casual kick to Kaminari’s stomach. Kaminari groaned and mumbled something in his sleep. He glanced up at Todoroki again for a second. “Want one, Halfie? I’ve got a lifetime supply at this point.”

Todoroki surveyed the scene, observing the sheet of pills held in Bakugou’s hand, the water bottle in the other, a bucket that hadn’t been there before he went to the bathroom, a few ice packs and more water bottles laid out on the coffee table. 

“Bakugou… are you the mum friend?” Todoroki asked fully seriously, but Kirishima, who’d just seemed to have recovered, immediately choked again. 

“The fuck does that mean, Snowflake?!” Bakugou almost crushed the pills in his hand and Todoroki just gestured around. 

“You’ve got a lifetime supply of painkillers to take care of your hungover friends with, as you said. And you’re… clearly very used to taking care of them.” Todoroki pointed out reasonably, he thought, but Bakugou still seemed to take offence. Todoroki didn’t mean it in an offensive way, though.

“Just because I don’t leave these dumbasses to die because their pea sized brains don’t ever fucking learn-”

“Ah shut up Blasty, just accept it! You’re the mum friend of the Bakusquad and we owe our lives to you, mother.” Kirishima crooned from where he still lay half propped up against the couch and Bakugou delivered a swift punch to the back of his head. Kirishima howled in pain. “Bakugou! My head already kills! Have mercy!” 

Bakugou easily ignored him and glanced around at the others still out cold. “Mina, Kaminari and Jirou’ll wanna wake up later… dunno about Round Face. She probably won’t like waking up to my face. Whatever. I put the water there already, she can sort herself out once she’s awake.” 

Todoroki hid a smile behind his fist. He doubted Bakugou even realised, but he really could be quite sweet sometimes. 

“Oi Todoroki, you want hangover soup?” Bakugou called over his shoulder as he made his way over to the kitchen, tossing the water bottle back at a still groggy Kirishima. Todoroki blinked in surprise, trailing after him a little slower. Ah fuck, his head still felt like it was about to split open. Hangover soup sounded like a dream.

“You can make hangover soup…?” Todoroki confirmed as he took a seat at the counter, half surprised, half hopeful.

“I can make amazing hangover soup, you useless, spoilt young master.” Bakugou shot back at him with a note of challenge ringing in his voice, and Todoroki just took his word for it. Bakugou was really good at cooking after all, among everything else.

“I’d like some, please.” Todoroki replied, ignoring the “young master” jab. Out of all of Bakugou’s insults, that was probably the one he liked the least. But it wouldn’t do to be rude to the guy that could cure your hangover.

“Coming right up, young master.” Bakugou’s voice sang with disdainful mockery, and Todoroki rolled his eyes (and immediately regretted it as it set off another spark of pain in his aching head). Bakugou just had to go and be annoying on purpose. 

“Thank you.” Todoroki decided to keep being polite anyway, more than accustomed to Bakugou’s allergies to civil interactions by now. He spotted a pot already sitting on the stove, with some cut up vegetables and pieces of meat set to the side on a cutting board. Bakugou must be preparing it to be ready for whenever the others woke up. Todoroki couldn’t suppress his smile for the life of him. And people thought Bakugou had no emotions other than anger. He couldn’t believe he’d never gotten up early enough after drinking to see the ridiculously domestic sight of Bakugou cooking breakfast soup for his classmates. He just stared for a few moments or maybe a hundred, at Bakugou’s back as he went about cooking the soup, feeling warmth settle low in his chest.

The pounding in his skull only seemed to worsen, and Todoroki winced. He pressed a hand to his head and carefully froze the entire surface of his hair in what he knew was a ridiculous looking helmet of ice, but whatever. As long as it worked. And oh… sweet relief. 

“Pfft. Holy shit, you look dumb as hell. You must be even more of a hungover wreck than I thought.” Bakugou had turned with a loud, surprised burst of laughter at the sight of him, and Todoroki just lazily opened one eye to regard him blankly.

“It’s good to prioritise health and survival over appearances, Bakugou.” Todoroki explained with a quiet drawl, and Bakugou snorted, turning back to the stove.

“Sure, goldfish bowl.”

Is that what it looked like? Todoroki hummed to himself, closing his eyes again and hunching forward to rest his cheek against the counter. He couldn’t leave his head covered in ice for long, so he reluctantly melted it with his other hand, raising the temperature almost painfully high to make it evaporate immediately, rather than drench his face and neck. Ah… He was sleepy still. 

What felt like a second later, Todoroki felt a warm hand nudge his shoulder, and he slowly blinked open his eyes. He must have dozed off. 

“Eat.”

Todoroki’s eyes focused on the gently steaming bowl of soup beside his face. He pushed himself up with a grimace, throbbing head not keen on giving him a break for a second, it seemed. Bakugou was standing opposite him on the other side of the counter, arms folded with that endearing pout-scowl on his face that meant he was waiting for Todoroki to do something. Todoroki stared at him blankly for a few seconds, not comprehending, then it clicked and he quickly tried some of the soup.

“It’s good.” Todoroki spoke simply and Bakugou’s scowl deepened, irritation flashing across his features.

“Oh, don’t give me your famous obnoxiously unimpressed attitude. You think you could do better, Half and Half Bastard?” Bakugou growled, clearly a bit seriously ticked off, which he wasn’t usually around Todoroki nowadays. Todoroki just sighed, shaking his head. Typical Bakugou, looking for a fight even when it wasn’t there.

“I couldn’t. I’m saying it’s good because it is good. Thank you for letting me have some. But… you can’t expect me to give you some huge reaction because it’s not surprising. Everything you make is really good, you’re really good at cooking.” Todoroki elaborated casually, taking another sip. Bakugou looked like he was struggling to find words. He scratched agitatedly at the back of his neck, and Todoroki wordlessly took it as an embarrassed thank you.

“You- Well- Yeah, I fuckin’ am, but you… Jeez, when you enjoy something and are grateful for it you could fucking show it on your stupid pissy face.” Bakugou grumbled, shoving his hand in his pocket and lifting a coffee mug up to his mouth. Todoroki raised his eyebrows slightly. He didn’t know Bakugou drunk coffee. Very fittingly, it looked like a straight shot of espresso with no milk or sugar in sight.

“You’re very literally the last person I want to hear that from.” Todoroki deadpanned, and Bakugou just snorted, setting his mug down with a slightly louder thud than necessary, just because he was Bakugou.

“Drunk you is a fuckin’ ray of sunshine compared to normal you. I should’ve treasured it while it lasted, before you got your shitty snark back.” Bakugou clicked his tongue, lip curled a little, but there was no real malice in his sneer. Todoroki was about to retort that Bakugou had no business talking to anyone else about snark, but he paused.

“What… What was drunk me like?” Todoroki tried to sound offhanded about it like he didn’t care either way, but Bakugou’s eyes snapped open wide.

“You don’t remember any of it?”

“I…” Todoroki refused to pout, but it was a close thing. He didn’t remember any of it and he really, really hated it. He hoped he hadn’t done anything stupid… But surely he wouldn’t have. He wasn’t exactly a very impulsive person. He had some more soup and glanced back up Bakugou, who was regarding him with a strange expression. “Fill me in?”

“Uh… Fucking hell. Well, I wasn’t downstairs when you guys started drinking so I dunno about then, I only saw you when you were on the second floor. You were already wasted.” Bakugou took a leisurely sip of his coffee and Todoroki frowned, digging through his foggy brain to try and connect the dots. 

“What was I doing on the second floor…?”

“I didn’t know either, you just had a shit ton of terrible makeup on, those other drunk dumbasses were watching from the stairs and you clearly knew what you were doing while it was happening, because you signalled me to be quiet and went up to Ball-head’s door.” Bakugou raised an eyebrow, a flicker of amusement dancing in his eyes as he clearly replayed something in his mind. Todoroki blinked, fragments of the memory slowly coming back to him.

“Ah. The girls told me to profess my undying love for Mineta.” Todoroki recalled abruptly, and Bakugou snorted. 

“Figured.”

“That’s why my head hurts like shit. I took six shots in a row.” Todoroki muttered half to himself, and Bakugou scoffed, raising a judgmental eyebrow.

“No wonder you were so shitfaced. For the record, dunno if you remember but you were fucking hilarious when you were actually talking to Purple Trashcan. Never laughed that hard in my life.” Bakugou smirked into his coffee and Todoroki just stared at him for a moment, trying to figure out if Bakugou was joking.

“Are you… making fun of me?” Todoroki asked blankly, frustration mounting as he desperately tried to remember what he’d apparently done. And… Bakugou apparently laughing. Bakugou raised his eyebrows.

“Surprisingly, no. I’d say you were the one making fun of yourself with that performance. Oh, and you came out in front of everyone and froze Mineta to the top of his doorframe.” Bakugou added casually like it didn’t matter, and Todoroki almost balked.

Wh- He… What.

“The-” Todoroki immediately stopped, not trusting himself to speak. Should he be more concerned about the fact that he’d accidentally declared his sexuality (how would that even have come up?) or the fact that he’d spontaneously decided to freeze his classmate to a door? Or maybe the fact that these two events apparently coincided. He knew his classmates wouldn’t really care (about both), but he’d rather have made a logical, conscious decision to do either of those actions.

There was an uncomfortably long pause as Todoroki quietly reflected on his life choices, and Bakugou coughed, scratching his head.

“Well, yeah. Didn’t know you were gay, Halfie.” Bakugou sounded like he was trying for casual, and Todoroki just looked at him slowly.

“Really?” Todoroki asked in monotone, and Bakugou held his flat stare for a second before snorting.

“No.” 

Todoroki rolled his eyes, taking another sip of soup. Bakugou might’ve been trying to be considerate about it or whatever, but Todoroki was well aware that his classmates already knew. It wasn’t too hard to guess.

“Did anything else happen?”

“You passed out in the middle of the corridor… and then I went back to my room and they took you back downstairs and these halfwits apparently carried on drinking because they don’t value their lives. Yaoyorozu and them went up to bed though.” Bakugou explained carelessly, raising his coffee back up to his mouth. Todoroki blinked, wondering why Bakugou wasn’t meeting his eyes.

Somewhere in his foggy memory, he thought… He thought something else had happened. Didn’t it? He remembered seeing Bakugou’s face really, really close… He remembered feeling a rush of giddiness, of warmth that filled him from head to toe. Was that just his imagination? Fuck, why couldn’t he remember?

“When I was drunk. Did…” Todoroki started hesitantly, stopping as Bakugou looked at him. Did… what? Did you stand really close to me? Did we talk at all? Did you make me laugh? Or did I dream that or something? Any way of verbalising this question was embarrassing as hell, not to mention that the terribly blurry images in his head were most likely yeah, just his infatuated imagination. Todoroki coughed a little awkwardly and looked down, trying to will away the slight colour in his cheeks as he braced himself to ask, hearing Bakugou’s… soft…? Voice in his head. He hated how small his own voice was as he forced himself to speak. “Did you call me pretty?”

Fuck. That was not the question he’d meant to ask. Fuck. Out of all the- Fuck. Embarrassing. Holy shit. No. Please don’t let him have heard that, by some miracle.

Bakugou looked at him stiffly, and Todoroki immediately regretted his entire life. He waved a hand a little frantically in dismissal, coughing awkwardly some more. Holy shit, who even actually asked their crush if their own fantasy about them happened? Was he an idiot?

“I…” Bakugou sounded a little strangled and Todoroki sucked in a sharp breath and waved his hands a little more desperately, struggling to maintain his usual composed expression.

“Oh, Jesus, don’t take me too seriously, sorry. I was. Just, well, I was really drunk, and my mind’s a little confused, just, never mind.” Todoroki had never once stuttered or rambled in his life and it did not feel good to start now. Bakugou was still staring at him strangely and Todoroki could barely breathe, feeling like he was steaming with embarrassment. He fished around for something to say, quickly remembering what they’d been talking about before his disastrous mouth ran off with itself. Right, yes, be normal.

“Well… is he… still there? Mineta, I mean. On the doorframe. Shit, I should apologise.” Todoroki winced thinking about it. He usually didn’t purposely mess with or antagonise any of his classmates, or anyone really, so he felt pretty bad. Also, if his ice was strong enough to keep someone in place - or in this case stick someone to a surface - it would not melt unless he consciously melted it, or he himself suffered physical damage. So it was most likely still there. Bakugou just remained tense for a few moments of silence, before something flickered in his eyes and he relaxed again.

“No, the purple fucker’s not still there, calm down, Strawberry Shortcake.” Bakugou rolled his eyes derisively and Todoroki looked at him in question. He looked a little annoyed (well, he always did, but this seemed to be specific annoyance). “It was tempting to just leave him there but I knew your stupid noble conscience would make you feel bad in the morning, so I broke the ice and freed him. And don’t apologise to him.”

Todoroki blinked in surprise. It was just something small, and something that anyone should’ve done anyway, but Bakugou had done that of his own accord just so Todoroki wouldn’t feel bad…?

Jeez. Why did Bakugou always make it so damn hard for him to hold back a smile? 

But Bakugou also looked a little genuinely pissed at something, his tone a little more aggressive than normal, and Todoroki tilted his head. “What do you mean, don’t apologise? And… do you hate Mineta or something?”

“I hate everyone.” Bakugou announced firmly and Todoroki had to suppress a giggle at the immediate flat, typical response. Bakugou’s eyes narrowed as he looked off to the side, flat and sharp and dangerous. “But well, I don’t give a shit about him more than anyone else normally, but he was grossed out by you after you played that prank on him. He thought it was real or some shit, and was damn rude about it. Fucker should’ve felt flattered if anything. So fuck him, you don’t need to apologise to that piece of shit.”

Todoroki had no words. He just stared at him mutely, lips parted in surprise.

What could he even focus on first? Bakugou saying that Mineta should have felt flattered…? The anger sparking in his eyes as he spoke, as if Mineta being possibly a little rude to Todoroki really mattered?

Todoroki jumped when he suddenly heard Kirishima’s voice right beside his ear. “You look dumbfounded and so am I, but let me help you out here, Todoroki. Bakugou’s feeling protective of you.”

Todoroki turned to stare at him in surprise instead (he’d forgotten he was even here), and Kirishima barely got a wink in before Bakugou chased him up the stairs in a fit of explosive fury.

Todoroki sat there blankly, listening to the screams and explosions echoing from the floor above.

Protective?

Oh my God. It hadn’t been a dream, had it? His brain suddenly cleared for a blessed moment, allowing Todoroki to remember Bakugou speaking to him so softly, looking at him so closely, touching him so carefully, awkwardly telling him he was pretty…

Oh my God. Todoroki’s brain shortcuited for a moment.

“Hm... wha...? What’s that smell… oh my God- Fire! Holy shit, fire in the kitchen! Todoroki set the place on fire!”

“Oh- shit, sorry-”

~

Todoroki never brought it up in case Bakugou wanted to save face (he’d really been acting so out of character, after all, he was probably embarrassed thinking about it. And Todoroki was okay with that, because the most important thing was that he knew Bakugou wouldn’t regret it, like he didn’t regret doing anything). Todoroki just quietly cherished the memory in his head, but it certainly made him bolder, over the next few days.

“Bakugou, can I try something?” Todoroki asked less for permission, more as a warning to let Bakugou know he was about to do something so try not to instinctively blow him up, please. Bakugou lifted his arm from his eyes, fixing him with a wary look. He looked a little sleepy still from his peaceful dozing, spiky hair shadowing his eyes as he stared up at Todoroki with his arm still hovering in the air.

Todoroki silently prayed Bakugou wouldn’t still try to make his surroundings explode, but it was infinitely better that they were outside right now at Bakugou’s favourite napping spot, on the usual grassy bank by the classroom, rather than inside a building. 

He reached out and gently grabbed Bakugou’s hand, intertwining their fingers and holding on firmly. Bakugou’s entire body stiffened, hand spasming in Todoroki’s hold.

Neither of them said anything for several long moments, and Bakugou didn’t hold Todoroki’s hand properly, fingers still open and loose, but he didn’t pull away or get angry either. That spoke volumes, and Todoroki couldn’t help his soft, happy smile.

“I was right, it is sweaty.” Todoroki mumbled to himself and that made Bakugou rip his hand away, scowling in disbelief as he sat up.

“Well my fuckin’ apologies for having sweaty- Wait, you’ve fucking thought about my hands being sweaty before?” Bakugou sounded about two seconds away from murdering him, and Todoroki just gave him a soft, imploring look, effectively freezing him (not literally) in place.

“I’m not complaining, I just mean… I’ve thought about it before, yeah. Your Quirk activates from your nitroglycerin-like sweat, and you can form explosions whenever you want, so the logical conclusion is that your hands would be at least a little clammy all the time.” Todoroki explained placatingly, though it just looked like it weirded Bakugou out.

“I mean… yeah.” Bakugou continued to stare at Todoroki like he was some new, unidentified lifeform. “Well… what, so you just wanted to test if you were right? Why are you fucking thinking about me and the dumb side effect of my Quirk, anyway?”

“No, I’ve just… thought about holding your hand before. And what it’d be like.” Todoroki replied quietly, staring down at his own hand. Bakugou’s breath hitched, and Todoroki was a little afraid to look up to see what look was on his face. He was being way too blunt and forward this time, wasn’t he? The implication of that was practically a confession as well… Todoroki hadn’t thought about what it might be like getting rejected… because he hadn’t ever really thought about confessing before. He was just going with the flow, doing whatever he felt like, saying whatever he felt like, just spending time with Bakugou and getting to know him, and that had been enough. So now, he’d just held Bakugou’s hand because he wanted to as usual, but this was different.

Maybe his original curiosities had let him get ahead of himself and possibly spoil what he had right now. He swallowed and squeezed his eyes shut for a second, not wanting to even think about that.

Then slowly, like he was fighting himself, Bakugou reached out and took his hand, linking their fingers again. Todoroki almost flinched, snapping his head up and staring at him with what he could feel was a stupidly obvious, vulnerable expression, and Bakugou stared back without saying a word, his gaze filled with, with something.

Then his eyes relaxed like Todoroki had never seen before, angry lines smoothening away, a soft gleam warming those usually fierce red irises. 

Todoroki could feel himself melt.

He stared at their clasped hands and smiled again, feeling a warm, happy haze settle down over him as he memorised the shape and feel of Bakugou’s calloused hand. His fingers were a little shorter than his own, but the frame was broader, and Todoroki didn’t by any definition have small hands but they felt small just then. He could feel the whisper of destructive power lying just beneath those fingertips that pressed against his skin, yet he’d never felt safer.

Bakugou’s hand wasn’t actually really sweaty or anything, it was just slightly noticeable, especially compared to the constantly cool skin of his own right hand. But it was definitely clammier now than a minute ago, and Todoroki thought perhaps he was a little nervous. It was weird, entertaining the thought that Bakugou could be nervous of all things, but he squeezed his hand gently, hoping for the gesture to come off as supportive. He activated his Quirk through his right arm and carefully lowered the temperature of his hand, precisely so he didn’t accidentally freeze Bakugou. Bakugou clearly noticed, hand twitching, narrowing his eyes just a fraction.

“You’re doing that on purpose.” Bakugou’s voice was startlingly quiet, and Todoroki’s temperature fluctuated sharply for a second despite himself. Bakugou raised an eyebrow and Todoroki felt his cheeks flush, hurriedly balancing it out again.

“To cool your hand down, yeah. Why, is it uncomfortable…?” Todoroki murmured, maintaining the temperature now as he felt Bakugou’s palm begin to cool and dry to match his own skin. Bakugou didn’t say anything for a few moments, staring down at their hands with an unreadable expression.

“...Looks like holding your hand is dangerous for me.” Bakugou eventually muttered, the tiniest hint of a dry laugh in his tone. Todoroki blinked.

“What?”

“I can’t use my Quirk now, can I?” Bakugou slowly untangled their fingers and drew his hand away just a little, curving his fingers in his usual preparatory hold to detonate blasts in his palm. But only one tiny little spark went off, and it dawned on Todoroki that Bakugou’s weakness was cold temperatures, wasn’t it? He remembered from Bakugou’s stats in class that he got stronger the more he fought and the more he sweated, and so the opposite meant that he was unable to fight if he couldn’t sweat much, i.e. when he was cold.

“Oh…” Todoroki mumbled, looking down and feeling… guilty? For whatever bizarre reason he felt a little guilty for trying that just then, and more than a little disappointed that his Quirk was potentially dangerous, or a weakness to Bakugou. Even if he hadn’t been doing it consciously just then, he knew just the air around him and his skin in general tended to be much cooler than other people.

“Ah, shut up, loser. Stop looking so pathetic, did I blame you for it?” Bakugou scoffed, but it was quiet, and he reached out to wrap his fingers around Todoroki’s hand again, purposefully reaching for his right rather than his left. It was so unlike Bakugou, who was unexpectedly cautious during a fight against an opponent he knew the abilities of (though it never looked like it), to push aside the clear danger to and weakening of his Quirk when he usually did everything he strategically could to not place himself at a disadvantage. And yet, it was also so like Bakugou at the same time, to face any adversities head on, bold and confident even in the face of a weakness, that he could overcome any obstacles and come out victorious.

Todoroki was no coward either, so he listened to the happy buzz in his chest and scooted right over to Bakugou to press himself lightly against his side. Bakugou didn’t push him away or even say anything, as Todoroki rested his head against his shoulder with a content smile.

~

Then, one day as Todoroki was stacking dishes in the dishwasher, he heard hushed voices in the living room.

 “Did you hear? Apparently, Bakugou kissed Ashido.”

~

Chapter Text

 

“Apparently, Bakugou kissed Ashido.”

Apparently, Bakugou kissed Ashido.

Bakugou kissed Ashido.

Todoroki gritted his teeth and threw a heavy hand forward, releasing a huge torrent of fire that blew apart the massive boulder he was practising on. He immediately stamped his right foot down and froze the pieces in the air with the thinnest ice wall he could manage to hold them in place with, first. Then he crouched lower and kept shooting out ice, layers and layers rushing endlessly across the surface until he could feel frost forming across his cheek and cold settling into his bones. Then the frozen shower of broken boulder bits shattered into a million fragments of ice, that he quickly enveloped in a wide burst of fire to melt into a stream of water, in case the scattered shards hit any of his classmates training nearby. He could have just shattered the boulder with a simple shot of fire or ice and left it at that, but he was working on control, keeping it where he wanted, breaking it apart and further breaking it still how he wanted, with use of both sides of his Quirk.

He was… a little upset.

He let out a controlled breath that frosted in the air, flames still licking at his left arm and the left side of his hair.

He was more than a little upset, and he could tell it was showing on his usually impassive face. He hated that more.

At first, when he heard Jirou and Kaminari talking about it quietly as he stood out of their view in the kitchen, he’d been surprised, but he hadn’t thought it was true. Rumours tended to get over exaggerated and out of hand when it came to his gossip-loving classmates. Bakugou and Ashido were close, sure, even on first name basis, but he didn’t think it was anything like that. And there was that tiny, annoying little voice in his head saying Bakugou wouldn’t do that… right? He… He knew how Todoroki felt now, surely, and he… seemed to reciprocate those feelings to some degree.

But then he kept listening to their conversation.

“What? Bakugou- Ashido? Dude, no way, we’re all platonic as hell in our circle - well, except when we’re drunk but even then he never joins in. Plus, Bakugou’s got Todoroki, remember? Where’d you hear that from, Jirou?”

“I heard it from Ojiro and Tooru. Neither of them are the type to lie, and y’know Ojiro especially doesn’t over exaggerate things.”

“Well shit… What happened?”

“It was a couple nights ago, you know when we got drunk with Kirishima, Momo, Sero, Bakugou and Ashido, remember? We all passed out but Ojiro and Tooru apparently came down to the living room later, and saw them making out on the couch.”

“Blegh. Gross. Just- Blasty making out with someone- ugh. Anyway, Ashido was pretty wasted from what I can remember, but shit, Bakugou was like, stone cold sober, wasn’t he?”

“Yeah, Tooru said that he seemed pretty sober. Also, he leaned in first, apparently.”

“Ugh stop, you’re giving me goosebumps, I don’t wanna fuckin’ imagine it.”

“Oh get outta here, I know your gossip loving ass wants to know all the gross details.”

“You’re a hundred percent right, shoot.”

“Well you’re in luck because Tooru explained that shit in too much detail, ugh. For my own sanity I’ll keep it simple, basically they were just sitting next to each other and talking, then they went silent for a bit, and Bakugou just… kissed her, I guess. And then they just kept making out and Bakugou pushed her down on the couch-”

“Holy fuck, he fucking wh- Did they end up-?!”

“No, fuck, no! I mean, I dunno! We don’t know! But no, they didn’t right then and there on that couch, at least. Jesus Christ I do not need that mental image, I wanna go bleach my brain now.”

“So, what…?”

“Well, Ojiro said he and Tooru didn’t know what to do and didn’t move or make a sound because neither of those two seemed to realise they were standing there. And then Bakugou lifted his head and looked at Ashido for a second, and said something that was too quiet for them to hear, then he rested his head on her shoulder. And Ashido just laughed and said “I know”, apparently. Then Ojiro and Tooru left.”

“Ho...ly shit. That is so gross, and yet I fuckin’ wish it’d been you listening, you would’ve been able to use your Quirk and hear what he said for sure.”

“There’s a fucking thing called privacy, shithead. Whatever he said must’ve been like a confession, right?”

“I mean… yeah. Can’t imagine what else it’d be, since he kissed her right before, and she said I know and everything. Damn, did not see that one coming. I thought he was interested in Todoroki for sure.”

“We all did, yeah.”

Me too, Todoroki had murmured inaudibly to himself, and immediately felt pathetic as all hell. Wow, he’d really thought Bakugou had actually thought of him in that way, how embarrassing. How narcissistic. Todoroki wasn’t an overly prideful or vain person, he definitely didn’t think he was anyone’s first pick, but he thought… he thought Bakugou’s gradually softer, more intimate behaviour with him, and those looks he would sometimes give him… he thought he knew more or less what that had meant. He’d hoped, anyway. But clearly, he’d gotten way ahead of himself after all. Bakugou must have just been treating him differently because they were friends now, and Todoroki had spun it out of proportion in his own head because of his silly little crush.

Which was why it made no sense for him to feel betrayed about it.

It wasn’t like they were a couple - they weren’t even anything. It wasn’t like Bakugou had cheated on him or something, but it felt like it. And that just pissed him off more because he knew he was being grossly unfair and irrational. Bakugou didn’t belong to him, he hadn’t even had the balls to confess or anything. Bakugou could kiss anyone he liked, and it wasn’t any of Todoroki’s business.

And so he tried to just suck it up and act like everything was normal, but Bakugou had started avoiding him immediately after that.

That was what really pissed him off. It wasn’t like Todoroki had resented or berated him for it, so why was Bakugou suddenly acting as if Todoroki had wronged him? It’d been a week now. Todoroki had tried greeting him a few times as usual and Bakugou just brushed him off and hurriedly walked away as if he couldn’t stand to be in his presence. He wouldn’t look in his direction or speak to him once in class, and Todoroki could never catch him napping on the grassy bank or on the living room couch anymore. He’d also started getting to class unusually early, probably just to make sure Todoroki couldn’t walk with him, Todoroki thought bitterly. He hadn’t done anything wrong, so why was he getting this treatment?

It hurt. Feelings aside, it hurt because Todoroki thought they were friends now.

One ugly little thought had popped up earlier - maybe Ashido and Bakugou were a thing now… and she’d told Bakugou to stop talking to him? He heard sometimes people in relationships did dumb things like that out of jealousy. But he’d immediately felt terrible thinking it. Ashido was a really great person, open minded and warm to everyone, she wasn’t spiteful like that.

Thinking about this hurt his head.

Todoroki turned and moved to a nearby sheer, rocky cliff face in the training grounds, little flares of flame still swirling around his left side. When he was upset he had much less control over his fire, and he needed to work on that.

He thought about the recent times he and Bakugou had trained together after school. Todoroki had wanted to ask for Bakugou’s advice on training his weaker left side to catch up to his relatively effortless use of ice, seeing as Bakugou’s Quirk was the most similar to fire in his class. Bakugou had been surprisingly cooperative and even understanding about it, in an “okay whatever” way.

Because neither of them took training lightly, and Todoroki knew getting coached by Bakugou was never going to be a safe, easy experience, he wasn’t surprised when part of his costume, the temperature sensor around his neck actually broke the last time from overexertion. It was there for a reason, to help his costume regulate his body temperature to ensure his Quirk didn’t damage his body, and Bakugou had been unusually serious and calm when he’d told Todoroki to go get it fixed. That was just over a week ago now and Todoroki had meant to, but then Bakugou went and started avoiding him like the plague and fucking with his brain and Todoroki kept forgetting about it now.

He could hear Bakugou’s advice on control and imagery of direction in his head now and gritted his teeth harder.

Bakugou… Bakugou was right and he’d been helpful, and even now he hadn’t done anything wrong in giving him tips, but hearing his words echo in Todoroki’s head as he struggled to douse the flames streaking over his arm were like irritating little jabs. He decided to ignore it.

There was a move he’d been thinking of perfecting ever since he first started using his fire to fight as well. Sadly enough, he made the most progress with it whenever he was upset or his mind was in chaotic turmoil like it was now. In the past, it’d been his own deep rooted personal issues and trauma needing a frustrated outlet that had enabled him to improve it greatly. Now, it was a much dumber reason. But no matter. He held both his outstretched hands together, aiming at the mountain before him, using his anger to fuel the move he’d been working on for months on end now. The mountain was huge, tall as it was wide and thick, taking up about a quarter of the training grounds. If successful, Todoroki hoped to be able to pierce through the centre with this move.

He stopped trying to control it and instead let both his fire and ice run wild, to build up the energy to pull off the move, a bright burst of flame enveloping his left side and billowing out like it had when he fought Midoriya in the first year Sports Festival. Ice coated his right side and spread across the floor in a thick, jagged pool of icicles, and he heard what sounded like Ojiro’s surprised cry as he must’ve gotten his feet stuck in it. He ignored that for now, the temperature and volume wasn’t too great for it to be damaging if he took care of this quickly.

He could hear various shouts of surprise as his classmates caught sight of Todoroki engulfed in a giant, bicoloured nebula wrapped in swirling streaks of ice and fire. He drew his lips back, teeth clenched painfully as his body shook with the pressure of containing both sides of his Quirk and continuously building up power.

Then, with a red and white explosion in the centre of his hands reminding him of Bakugou, he released a huge cannon of ice wrapped in a swirling column of fire. The sound was tremendous, the force was so great Todoroki was pushed back several metres, heels digging through the dirt, but he held on, arms shaking like they might be blown off. The entire mountain exploded.

It finally worked. And it was more powerful than he could have ever imagined. Despite his anger Todoroki took a second just to stare in awe, pride and a rush of happiness at the completely obliterated mountain, the size of a small stadium.

He immediately regretted it as his hero instincts kicked in and he saw the force of his attack sent a million rocks shooting in all directions towards his surrounding classmates. He stamped his foot through the ground and quickly brought up a Giant Ice Wall, one of his already perfected Super Moves that he’d first used against Sero in the Sports Festival. It successfully froze most of the meteorite shower looking rock pieces in place, but still several huge boulders cascaded down.

He turned with a cry of “look out” on his lips, but his classmates weren’t helpless, after all. Everyone used their own moves against the falling rocks and protected themselves with relative ease. He let out a shaky breath of relief, when he saw no one was hurt. Fuck. He knew his classmates were strong and more than capable of defending themselves, but it was the principle, that a hero shouldn’t put others in harm’s way, that he shouldn’t have put his classmates in danger in the first place…

He was expecting at the very least a stern talking to from Aizawa, most likely much worse. Sure, accidental dangers like this from their training was pretty much an everyday routine, but never had it been on this large of a scale, and done on purpose as well. He wasn’t a novice anymore, he was a semi-pro, he should know better. This put Bakugou’s penchant for destroying his surroundings while fighting to shame.

He was about to apologise to everyone when he was suddenly bombarded by his classmates’ enthusiasm and excitement.

“Woah, what was that, Todoroki?”

“Holy shit, are you a monster? What’s up with that power?”

“That’s fucking crazy… I’m almost scared of you, man.”

“You just blew up a whole mountain, what the hell!”

“I swear, aren’t you on a pro’s level now?”

“No, in terms of pure power and battle prowess, Todoroki is far above an average pro’s level now. He was head and shoulders above average students even in your first year, but now he could be on par with some top ranked heroes as well.” Aizawa walked up with his usual quiet, serious drawl, but Todoroki had never received such praise from his stoic teacher before, and just stared in shock. Aizawa glanced towards the shattered mountain frozen by the Giant Ice Wall and continued. “Especially that display just now, though it’s not a move recommended for a hero seeing as its field of damage is so big, it just shows how much power Todoroki’s built his Quirk up to contain. Learn how to control or rework that move better, and you could really stand a serious chance for a top spot among pros in the future.”

Todoroki just stared with his mouth slightly ajar, and nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Aizawa never gave out praise like this. And he’d been expecting a serious lecture. But he could see that glint in Aizawa’s flattened eyes that meant that he knew Todoroki already knew what he had to say about the danger just then, and he dipped his head down, silently apologising. Aizawa nodded and turned away.

His more lively classmates pretty much pounced on him, congratulating him excitedly as they all knew how much those words meant coming from Aizawa. Todoroki forgot everything else for a second and just basked in the happiness of the moment, smiling as his classmates whooped and cheered.

“As expected of our class’s most capable student!” Yaoyorozu had a hand over her mouth, seemingly emotional, and Todoroki gave a quiet laugh, thanking her with a look he knew she would understand.

“Wow… I didn’t really think you could get much stronger, Todoroki-kun. You were always crazy powerful but this…” Midoriya spoke to him with a hushed tone of awe, eyes shining with respect as they always had, and he never really felt he deserved the full extent of… until, maybe, maybe now. A little.

“I train just as hard as anyone else here. If I didn’t keep improving I’d be letting myself down.” Todoroki replied but not unkindly, giving Midoriya a softer smile.

His classmates went back to their own training, a few of the louder ones seemingly fired up to train even harder now after seeing Todoroki’s new move. It was a really, really nice feeling.

And he hated himself for thinking of it, but his thoughts drifted back to Bakugou, as he realised neither Bakugou nor Ashido had come over with their other classmates. Ashido would usually be in the middle of any sort of huddle, the loudest and most excited, and Bakugou… wouldn’t, but he’d gotten so close with Todoroki recently after all… At least, Todoroki had thought so.

A sharp stone settled in the pit of his stomach.

It was so stupid. This was about him, and him being proud of himself, and being happy that his classmates were proud of him, and seeing the result of his constant hard work and training… yet he couldn’t help but wish Bakugou had said something, too. He wanted to share his happy, proud moments with his friends, and Bakugou was his friend too… well, even more important to him than a friend.

He looked up despite himself, searching around for that shock of spiky blond hair. Bakugou was standing a few metres away, looking frozen to the spot. Todoroki immediately locked eyes with him as soon as he spotted him, as Bakugou had been staring at him, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, like he’d been staring for a while already. His expression was unreadable, an unfamiliar, intense something flickering in his eyes as they darted away and travelled over the Giant Ice Wall taking up the space where the mountain had been minutes before.

Todoroki held his breath, wondering if Bakugou would say anything. He didn’t need Bakugou’s recognition or approval or any shit like that, he was confident in his own ability and knew objectively that the move he just pulled off was impressive. But it… it would still be nice to hear.

Bakugou swallowed, looking a little trapped.

“...You finally learned how to use fire and ice together, Frosty?” Bakugou called after a few moments, but it was stilted and unsure and all wrong, and Todoroki paused, not knowing how to respond. Then there was a bright flash of blue in the form of a laser beam right beside them, and Ashido jumped back to avoid Aoyama’s attack, landing right between Bakugou and Todoroki. Todoroki would’ve raised an eyebrow, if he wasn’t upset. Great timing, God. Ashido looked up at him and stiffened, her smile looking a little forced. He registered dimly that Ashido hadn’t looked him in the eye since… then.

“Oh- Todoroki! Super cool move before! You’re really… really great.” Ashido sounded a little nervous, the enthusiasm in her voice falling flat. Todoroki eyed her for a moment and concluded that she looked a little bit guilty. Well, he wasn’t really sure why. It wasn’t like she’d done anything wrong. He couldn’t even resent her for anything. Neither of them, really. But he felt a little uncharacteristically petty. He gave Bakugou a flat look, and just turned and walked away from the two, not responding to either of them.

“Fuck, he knows.” He heard Ashido mutter, and he walked a little faster, not wanting to hear Bakugou’s response.

~

“Todoroki-kun, is everything okay with you and Kacchan?” Midoriya asked with that soft, concerned voice that always made Todoroki feel like spilling out every thought in his mind. He poked at the lettuce on his plate, taking his time to answer.

“You two haven’t spoken to each other in over a week now, and Bakugou-kun’s been unusually quiet… did you have a falling out?” Iida added not so sensitively, but he was still genuinely concerned for him in that straightforward Iida way. Todoroki chewed a small piece of lettuce slowly. As far as he knew, only Jirou, Kaminari, Ojiro, Hagakure and most likely Kirishima knew about Bakugou and Ashido. Todoroki didn’t want to spread it around, it wasn’t anyone’s business, after all. So he left that part out. It wasn’t important anyway, Todoroki was just feeling betrayed when he had no right to be.

“I don’t know. Bakugou started avoiding me all of a sudden.” Todoroki explained simply, and that part, wasn’t his fault. He still didn’t know why Bakugou had started doing everything he could to not breathe in the same space as him. He could only guess that it was something that he’d said or done. But Bakugou wasn’t the type to avoid his problems, or things that upset or irked him. He would’ve confronted Todoroki about it.

“It’s not like him, is it?” Uraraka sighed, staring at Bakugou’s group’s table across the cafeteria with wide, puzzled eyes. Todoroki continued eating, although his appetite had diminished considerably once the topic had been brought up. Yeah. It wasn’t like him.

“I would talk to Kacchan about it for you, but uh… I think me saying anything about it to him would only make things worse for you…” Midoriya gave a helpless shrug and Todoroki shook his head, giving a small, wry smile. Bakugou really needed to just grow up and get over his grudge on the poor guy already.

“It’s fine, Midoriya. Thank you. It’s just some new version of Bakugou’s bullshit, we’ll sort it out, or we won’t.” Todoroki replied flippantly like he didn’t care, but the look in Midoriya’s eyes told him he didn’t buy it.

“It’s okay to be upset about it, Todoroki-kun.” Midoriya murmured, and Todoroki bit his lip. He didn’t want to be upset about it. Being upset about it meant he had to think more about it, and make an already stupidly, overly important dumb thing in his head become even more important. He held his breath for a moment, then let it out slowly.

“I just… Things were going really well.” Todoroki mumbled, shoulders sagging in defeat.

“We could all tell, yeah. You definitely got special treatment from him - you became special to him, there’s no denying that.” Uraraka spoke softly, and the way she put it made Todoroki’s chest twinge.

“...I don’t know. There’s not much to say, I was just really happy. Spending time with him made me happy. And now he’s doing his very best to avoid me, so all I can think is that I did something wrong.” Todoroki muttered, and he hated the tone of resentment slipping into his voice, baring his ugly, petty thoughts for all to see.

“I’m sure you didn’t do anything wrong.” Midoriya’s voice was encouraging, and Todoroki didn’t like it, though he knew Midoriya was just trying to comfort him.

“Bakugou-kun’s handling this in such an immature, thoughtless way. Clearly this is hurting you, and he won’t come up front and discuss the issue with you!” Iida was making his usual sharp, quick gestures with tensed hands, and Todoroki was grateful for his friends’ support but really, there wasn’t much to say about it.

“It’s fine.” Todoroki repeated, offering a small, tired smile. He glanced over at Bakugou’s table, and Bakugou was snapping at Kirishima as usual. He wondered what Kirishima thought or knew about the whole thing, but really, this was his and Bakugou’s problem. He wouldn’t waste other people’s time with Bakugou’s sudden childish aversion to Todoroki’s existence.

Todoroki stabbed a carrot with perhaps more force than necessary. Jesus, it was time to stop thinking about him already. It wasn’t like Bakugou was the only thing in his life. It wasn’t as if he was dependent on the guy, and he was just some brainless, clingy, lovesick idiot that trailed after him all the time.

Maybe he’d throw himself into training this week, focus on things that actually mattered.

~

Todoroki couldn’t focus. He was sparring against Satou, and no offence to him, the guy was no pushover especially after three years of training, but Satou objectively just wasn’t on the same level as him. And yet Todoroki had taken several heavy hits, and his every move was sluggish, uncoordinated, and a beat late. Satou was starting to seem seriously concerned about him.

“Oi Todoroki, are you sure you’re okay?” Satou asked again and Todoroki gritted his teeth, a hiss of icy air escaping through the cracks. He was fine. He was just tired and aching all over because of how hard he’d been training by himself every single day, pushing himself to his very limits and putting all his frustration and anger toward something useful. But he was fine. He was busy, focusing on himself, improving, and most importantly distracted. He could handle a little exhaustion.

He responded by scraping together his concentration long enough to launch a stream of fire at Satou. But it was graceless and clumsy, and while it was still a huge, wild flare, Satou easily jumped to avoid it. Meanwhile just releasing the fire made Todoroki pant even harder, crouching down lower to try and support his heavy, aching body a little better. Shit, his head spun… He clenched his jaw painfully tight and ignored the exhaustion in his bones and the cloudiness in his head. He’d been training to get better, not perform so poorly his opponent was barely breaking a sweat and had time to worry about him.

He shot much more controlled spears of fire from his palm and stamped his foot down immediately after, successfully trapping Satou’s lower body in ice anchored to the ground as he ducked to avoid the flames. But his limbs were trembling and his ice was weak, and Satou tensed and fought against it and with a cry of effort, broke free within ten seconds. The world spun faster, Todoroki’s vision was blurring a little and he couldn’t quite get enough air, but fuck, did his own pathetic display right now piss him off.

“Todoroki, I really think you should take a break-”

“Shut up.” Todoroki forced out through gritted teeth and Satou’s eyes widened at his uncharacteristic response. Todoroki didn’t give him time to dwell on it, slamming his right hand down on the ground and freezing the entire dirt surface within a fifty metre radius in a flare of anger. Huge stalagmites of ice burst indiscriminately through the ground and Todoroki couldn’t control it, hearing some classmates shout in surprise as it clearly affected their training areas as well. But God, he couldn’t think right now. His stomach churned, black spots were appearing in his vision and he was panting so hard his throat felt rough and raw.

His teeth were starting to chatter as well, as he registered bone-deep cold beginning to frost over his nerve endings. Heat rolled off his left side in waves but he couldn’t focus enough to control it and warm his other half up, instead he burned on one side and internally froze on the other. He felt his eyes roll back for a second as he staggered, and he struggled to make himself alert again.

“Todoroki, I’m serious man, you look like you’re about to-” Satou tried again, almost pleading with him. Todoroki was about to hiss at him when a shout split the air.

“Watch out!”

Todoroki looked up, head lolling back a little at the effort, and saw a hazy shadow blocking out the light right above him.

It looked like a slab of concrete. It was huge. It was falling. Every thought was coming one at a time, and Todoroki could barely register that he was probably about to die if he didn’t get out of the way. He tried to bring up a protective wall of ice but it was slow, too slow, his body lagging behind his already hazy mind, his ice barely having enough force to rise.

Fuck, he thought.

“Todoroki!” There was an ear splitting scream, and Todoroki could see Midoriya, Iida, Tokoyami and a few others sprinting over to him, but everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.

Then with a huge, resounding boom, the block of concrete was hit by a gigantic explosion and burst apart midair. Todoroki struggled to keep himself conscious, black seeping into his vision and blinding him with every breath, dimly aware that he still had to get out of the way of the smaller pieces raining down now.

“Get out the way, for fuck’s sake!” Was all he heard before he felt rough hands grab him and yank him aside. Another violent explosion blew the rocks away in the opposite direction, and Todoroki just breathed, unsure of what just happened.

Bakugou grabbed his upper arms in a painful, vice-like grip, shaking in… anger? Probably.

“What the fuck were you doing, you could’ve gotten hit! Are you fucking suicidal, Half and Half Bastard?!” Bakugou shouted at him, louder than Todoroki had ever heard him, angrier than Todoroki had ever seen him. His wide, livid eyes were unnaturally bright, and it took Todoroki a slow, sluggish moment to recognise the unnerving gleam as fear.

“I just…” Todoroki heard himself say, but he couldn’t feel his hands and feet anymore, there was a roaring in his ears and his world just kept on spinning. His sudden violent shivering and cold pants of breath crystallising in the air seemed to startle Bakugou into loosening his grip.

“Oi Halfie, what’s wrong?” Bakugou demanded, panic alight in his voice, hands hovering indecisively. Todoroki swallowed and tried to take in a breath to say he was fine. But then his knees buckled and his eyes rolled back as blackness finally took over.

“Todoroki-kun!” Midoriya cried as Todoroki fell heavily to the ground, rushing over with his other classmates.

“What happened?”

“Is he okay?”

“Why didn’t he dodge just before…?”

Bakugou crouched down and pulled Todoroki’s upper body upright, quickly pressing his head to rest against his shoulder when it lolled back. No one commented on the fact that his hands were trembling and his face was pale as he clutched Todoroki’s limp body.

“Todoroki, Todoroki.” Bakugou hissed, pressing a hand to his cheek and shaking his head back and forth a little, shifting his grip to hold him up steadier. “Wake the fuck up, what happened to you…?”

“Kacchan…” Midoriya gasped, pointing at the frost that started spreading from Todoroki’s body across Bakugou’s chest and shoulder. Bakugou twitched in shock, like he hadn’t even noticed it, and he just stared at Todoroki’s unconscious face for a mute second, something painfully raw in his gaze.

“He still hasn’t fixed his costume.” Bakugou spoke numbly, almost faintly as he clearly realised something, fingers moving to press a little clumsily at the temperature sensitive device around Todoroki’s neck. He spoke again, dazed, seemingly to himself. “His costume… it’s supposed to regulate his body temperature… it got broken a while ago and he still hasn’t gotten it fixed, it’s not working.”

“Shit, what? I didn’t know that… Wait, why didn’t he get it fixed?”

“Should we warm him up?”

“Wait but, he’s burning up on the other side…”

“Hurry up and get him to the nurse’s office.” Aizawa’s terse voice cut through the worried murmurs as he strode over. He activated his Quirk and Todoroki’s ice stopped spreading, shattering off his and Bakugou’s bodies. Bakugou stared up at him, and Aizawa thought to himself, this was probably one of only three times he’d seen Bakugou look lost before. He could more or less understand what was making his brash, often reckless and impatient student freeze up - he had eyes after all - but it was more important to get Todoroki looked at first. He hardened his voice. “Bakugou. Get him to Recovery Girl.”

Bakugou snapped out of it and swore under his breath, unfastening his gauntlets. He quickly picked Todoroki up and Aizawa was about to instinctively remind the aggressive boy to carry him carefully, as he had many times before in rescue operation simulations, but he paused as Bakugou shifted his grip so Todoroki slumped against his body more securely. There was no need, he thought, watching Bakugou head off to the nurse’s office. He’d never seen him touch anything that gently before.

~

Bakugou slouched in his chair, elbows resting on his knees, head buried in his hands. It was the only way he could anchor his restless body and keep himself still in the infirmary as Recovery Girl looked over Todoroki’s state.

“Tell me again - slower, this time - what happened.”

Bakugou took in a breath, keeping his head down. “We were just training. I didn’t see much. Jirou and Kirishima were training higher up on top of a building, and this huge piece of the wall broke off. Frosty- I mean, Todoroki was right under it, and normally he… Normally…”

Bakugou bit the inside of his cheek, remembering that surge of fear that spiked through his body in the split second that he saw Todoroki standing motionless under the falling concrete, and realised he wasn’t going to be able to dodge. He’d definitely felt fear before, contrary to popular belief, but never like that for someone else. He dug his fingers into his scalp and shoved that aside, forcing himself to continue.

“Normally, he would’ve been able to dodge easily, or break it apart. I mean, you know as well, everyone does, he’s one strong fucker. But he looked like he couldn’t react properly and his ice was slow and weak… and he just stood there… Some of the others were running towards him to pull him out of the way, and I blew up the concrete… so he didn’t get hit. I asked him what the hell he’d been doing and he just… fuck, he just looked like shit.” Bakugou gritted his teeth until he could hear them grind, seeing Todoroki’s dazed, disoriented eyes struggling to focus in his memory. His chest felt suffocatingly tight as he remembered how unsteady Todoroki had been, each ragged breath looking painful and exhausting. “He was shivering all over, his breathing was all frosted, and his face was white as shit. He was panting really heavily, and his eyes rolled back and he just passed out.”

Recovery Girl hummed in acknowledgement and Bakugou looked up, biting his cheek harder as he stared at Todoroki laid out on an infirmary bed, still and quiet. Recovery Girl seemed to have finished inspecting his wounds and fiddled around with the parts of Todoroki’s costume that usually would have heated up or cooled down to balance his body temperature.

“He seemed to have overused his ice by much more than his body can handle in this state… These aren’t working, are they?” Recovery Girl directed her question at Bakugou who could only nod.

“Yeah. He broke the temperature sensor a while back…”

“And put off repairing it… Not something the usually responsible Todoroki-kun would do.” Recovery Girl observed, shaking her head. “His temperature is still unbalanced, but Eraserhead erased his Quirk in time for it not to be an issue right now. It’ll settle soon.”

“Recovery Girl, what’s wrong with him?” Bakugou asked uncharacteristically quietly, wondering why she didn’t just do that gross kiss thing like she did to all other students that got hurt during training.

“I can’t find any injuries that could’ve caused him to faint, and no signs of any lasting effects of a Quirk. His breathing and vitals are all fine now. And these are all just the usual scratches from training. My guess is that he overworked himself, and fainted out of exhaustion and overuse of his Quirk. According to our records, his stats show that his body can withstand a tremendous output of fire and ice now compared to his first year, and he has always had great stamina… Most likely he’s been training continuously and recklessly by himself outside of class as well for at least a few days now. There’s nothing I can do to help that, his body just needs time to rest and recover.” Recovery Girl replied but not unkindly, and Bakugou just stared at Todoroki for a beat. He hadn’t… He hadn’t been around Todoroki recently. He hadn’t been paying attention on purpose, so he had no idea Todoroki had been pushing himself recklessly…

“He overworked himself?” Bakugou muttered, feeling his chest tighten even more. Why had Todoroki been training till he literally dropped from exhaustion? What had he been thinking? Bakugou gritted his teeth harder and ran a rough hand through his hair. “That idiot.”

“I’m not sure when he’ll wake up. He’ll be fine, but I’ll keep him here so I can keep an eye on him.” Recovery Girl turned to start typing on her computer, and Bakugou would never admit it, but he let out a long breath of relief at hearing that. He glanced towards the closed door where his classmates were waiting for news on the other side. Recovery Girl had told them to stay outside while she checked if Todoroki’s condition was serious, as they had all been loud and worried as hell. She’d let Bakugou in though, to ask what had happened, but there’d been a look in her eye that made him fidget uncomfortably. Jesus Christ. Even the teachers knew.

He got up and walked over to Todoroki, taking a moment before his classmates flooded in to just stand beside him, watching.

He knew Todoroki had been confused and possibly hurt when he’d started avoiding him. As for Bakugou…

He slowly reached out to grab Todoroki’s hand, like he’d been thinking about since Todoroki had reached out to hold his two weeks ago. Todoroki’s cold fingers were limp in his grasp, and Bakugou just stood there quietly, absently rubbing circles over the back of his hand with his thumb like his mother had done to him when he’d gotten sick as a kid.

“You can stay and look after him if you want. Just don’t go making a mess in my office. And don’t cause a ruckus, either. If you blow something up you pay for damages.” Recovery Girl suddenly spoke and Bakugou twitched in surprise despite himself. There was an underlying knowing tone in her voice, and Bakugou struggled to keep his irritation under wraps. It was never a good idea to be rude to the nurse. But what did she know? It wasn’t like he and Halfie had the type of relationship where he’d dote on the guy just because he was a little sick. She said Todoroki was fine anyway, stupid shit just needed to sleep.

He wanted to fucking dote on him despite that though, and his own thoughts gave him the creeps.

“I’m not gonna blow anything up.” Bakugou muttered irritably in lieu of a proper answer, and Recovery Girl just hummed. He huffed and dropped Todoroki’s hand, stomping over to the door. He pushed it open and almost slammed Deku in the face. He immediately clicked his tongue in annoyance at seeing him and shouldered his way out roughly. “Icyhot’s fine. Just tired, apparently.”

At his curt words his classmates piled in, chattering annoyingly loudly as expected. Since no one had known what happened and whether it was serious or not, his entire class had gathered. Now that they’d heard he was okay, half of them nodded in relief and walked off, letting those closer to him fuss over him. Bakugou shoved his hands in his pockets and waited until the corridor was clear, and leant back against the wall beside the door.

As for Bakugou…

He raised his hand that had just been holding Todoroki’s and stared down at it. Fuck. That unprecedented, white-hot flare of panic he’d felt when he saw Todoroki about to get hurt… the tightness in his chest as he watched him lie unconscious on the infirmary bed… Well, he had his answer now.

Ashido came out alone, and she didn’t seem surprised to see Bakugou standing right outside still.

“Bakugou.” Ashido’s voice was unusually serious, and Bakugou sighed, scowling at the ground.

“I know, Mina.”

Ashido broke into her usual bright grin and shoved him. “Come on. You’re sure now, right? Man up and tell him already.”

“Shut up, E.T.” Bakugou grumbled and swatted at her halfheartedly. Ashido just grinned wider and Bakugou sighed, scratching his head violently before forcing out a grouchy mumble. “Thanks.”

He was thanking her for a lot of things that he didn’t put into words, but she seemed to get it anyway and laughed before walking off. Such as… being so understanding and (Bakugou grudgingly admitted) helpful after he kissed her.

He knew Todoroki knew something had happened between him and Ashido, the look he gave the both of them a week ago during training confirmed that. But he didn’t know how much he knew. And… what he thought about it.

The door opened again and Midoriya slipped out this time, looking a weird mix of relieved and instinctively on edge to see him standing there. Bakugou immediately tried to burn a hole through his skull with his eyes. Yes, yes, he’d grown up a little since their first year and he very begrudgingly acknowledged Deku as an insanely strong rival and well, yeah, a good fucking person, but old habits die hard. He’d still rather not interact with him.

“Ah Kacchan, you’re still here-”

“And you’re still wasting the earth’s oxygen, Shitty Nerd.” Bakugou automatically growled, and Midoriya’s eyebrow twitched as he held his hands up in slightly fearful surrender.

“Are you okay?” Deku asked in that stupid, genuinely concerned voice, and Bakugou itched to blow up the entire building. He knew the annoying little shit was talking about Todoroki, but he refused to acknowledge it.

“I have not sunk low enough in my life to need you asking me if I’m okay, Deku you fuck.” Bakugou spat on reflex, fingers twitching and letting off erratic little sparks. Midoriya just glanced back into the room with those stupid pure, honest wide eyes, and shut the door.

“Recovery Girl said since Todoroki-kun needs peace and quiet, we should leave him alone to rest up. But you can still come here and check on him, Kacchan. She told me to remind you.” Midoriya spoke quietly, in what Bakugou guessed was meant to be an encouraging tone. As if he needed encouragement from Deku of all people.

“And why the fuck would I want to do that? Halfie went and tired himself out on his own, why would I waste my time looking after him?” Bakugou sneered as usual but he couldn’t muster up any real force behind it, and he could tell Midoriya could tell. Fuck. Fuck everything. He clenched his fists and hissed, turning his head away sharply. “Stupid bastard shouldn’t have gotten himself hurt in the first place. Why… Why should I…”

“Because you care about him.” Midoriya spoke firmly, with that sudden burst of calm confidence he would sometimes get that Bakugou hated so much. Bakugou attempted to stab him with his wide eyed, dangerous stare.

“I do not. Care about Icyhot.” Bakugou kept his voice cold and even, eyes promising a slow, painful death. Despite that Midoriya remained undeterred, still irritatingly confident and serious for some fucking reason.

“Caring about other people isn’t a crime, Kacchan. It doesn’t hurt you, it doesn’t make you weak.” Midoriya spoke as if it needed to be said, as if Bakugou was some five year old with no common sense.

Even so, Bakugou felt a little twinge at his words, and they echoed in his mind.

“Are you looking for a fucking fight, you piece of trash? If I wanted a fucking lecture from your useless ass I would have asked for it.”  Bakugou snarled viciously instead of focusing on what the words meant, letting off a sharp, booming explosion in his open palm. Midoriya looked a little frustrated, and wow, wasn’t that just neat, that made two of them.

“Kacchan. Why did you start avoiding Todoroki-kun? He was really hurt, you know.” Midoriya asked him with big, imploring eyes, and here it was, the real reason he’d reached out to Bakugou and started killing off his brain cells.

“It’s none of your goddamn business.” Bakugou hissed, because really, it fucking wasn’t.

“It is when my close friend is this upset because of it. I’m sure you were a factor in why Todoroki-kun is currently lying in the nurse’s office.” Midoriya gestured a little, and Bakugou paused, stiffening. What?

“What…? You… mean-” Oh, how Bakugou hated how uncertain he sounded, how his voice lacked his usual bite, and how Midoriya’s expression softened a little.

“I’m not one to blame anyone for anything, especially since training so recklessly and pushing himself so hard was clearly Todoroki-kun’s own choice, but that’s how I see it. He might’ve done so anyway, he might’ve just been wanting to get stronger, but I think wanting a distraction from thinking about why you suddenly stopped being his friend would have been part of the reason. If you care about him, you need to fix this.” Midoriya explained sensibly and Bakugou hated how right he sounded. God, the day had come when he needed to take advice from Deku. He might as well prematurely retire and give up his hopes and dreams.

Okay, he wasn’t going to be that dramatic, but it just instinctively grinded his gears that he had to listen and agree to this little shit. And agree he did.

Because Todoroki was a little more important to him than his pride, he realised. It was a shell shocking realisation to have, seeing as there was little on this earth that could rival the size of Bakugou’s fucking pride, which in itself was something he took pride in, probably for the wrong reasons. But he could put that aside for a little bit, for Todoroki.

Oh God. He was in too deep. Getting punched senseless sounded appealing right about now.

But he had to focus back in on the conversation so fucking Deku wouldn’t see his sudden crisis.

“I… Fuck. I was just…” Bakugou trailed off and swore with feeling, throwing his head to the side with all the disdain he could muster. “I was just figuring some shit out. I’m not about to explain myself to you.”

“That’s fair. But you should explain yourself to him when he wakes up.” Midoriya paused, giving a small, soft smile. “He’d really appreciate it, Kacchan.”

“And I’d really appreciate you leaving my presence.” Bakugou growled but, but… he felt a little… thankful. What a disgusting, foreign feeling associated with Midoriya, and how gross that he wasn’t that grossed out by it, not really. What the fuck was he even thankful for? That Midoriya wasted time out of his day telling him to do something he was already gonna do? Telling him to do anything?

But he was a little, tiny bit, infinitesimally thankful that Midoriya had talked to him about this, and Midoriya’s stupid knowing expression had him gritting his teeth hard enough for his jaw to ache.

Fuck this, he was going to go train by himself for a bit, train all the idiocy out from his brain. But not stupidly like Todoroki, he wasn’t about to have any of the losers around him take care of him.

~

It was Saturday the next day, and after going for his usual morning run and taking a quick shower Bakugou found himself back at the nurse’s office. Kirishima often tailed him on these runs and even afterwards like some damn lost puppy, and he did so today as well, following him into the room.

“Shit, he’s still knocked out.” Kirishima spoke, a little hushed and worried, as if Bakugou didn’t have eyes of his own. Bakugou said nothing and walked over to take a seat beside Todoroki’s sleeping form.

Todoroki’s lips were parted a little to draw quiet, even breaths, small and soft looking, and Bakugou had to pinch his thigh and remember that Kirishima was in the room. Also, he had no right to think about that anyway.

“How does Todoroki somehow still look amazing even after passing out for over twenty hours or something?” Kirishima whistled, and Bakugou snapped his head around so fast to shoot him a dangerous look he felt a twinge of whiplash. God. His traitorous body and it’s too-quick reactions couldn’t be more obvious if it tried. Kirishima burst out laughing then, holding up his hands in peace. “At ease, you beast. He’s all yours - I’m just sayin’. Good looking dude.”

Saying that,pointing out Bakugou’s… interest was worse and Kirishima fucking knew it, and Bakugou half rose from his chair with threatening blasts sparking off his palm. Kirishima just sniggered, but took a smart step back.

“He’s no one’s property, you shit. Least of all mine. Even, even if I did wanna go after him or some shit, that’s entirely his choice what he wants to do about that, it doesn’t automatically make him “mine”.” Bakugou growled irritably, and Kirishima nodded, conceding that point.

“Yeah. My bad, should’ve worded that better. But why don’t you be honest already about how you feel about him?” Kirishima rested a hand on his hip, all easy smiles and warm, supportive gazes. Bakugou just spat out a “tch” with feeling and turned his head away, trying not to feel like he was backing down.

“We are not ever gonna start discussing my love life, Shitty Hair. Or yours, I don’t give a fuck about that kinda bullshit.” Bakugou addressed a spot on the wall darkly, aggressively, and Kirishima just sighed in a way that made Bakugou itch to commit murder.

“I mean… the entire class already knows that you’re so stupid in love you probably dream about him every night. There are basically hearts flying around your head whenever he talks to you.” Kirishima drawled, the biggest, most obnoxious grin crossing his stupid, annoying face. Bakugou let out a huge, controlled breath.

“Kirishima, the only reason you’re still alive is because I promised Recovery Girl not to blow anything up in this room.” Bakugou spoke very slowly and evenly, voice strained with the painful amount of control he was exercising.

“Roger that, good call, no doubt, no doubt.” Kirishima immediately held up his hands in surrender, inching away a little again. He tilted his head, something like awe, or perhaps fascination crossing his face. “But anyway, I still can’t believe you beat Iida in speed, when you saved Todoroki from that falling piece of the building. We were all panicking but you were on a different level, huh?”

“Maybe I just wanted to rescue someone like a hero should do.” Bakugou grinded out between clenched teeth, not liking where this was going.

“I’m not saying you wouldn’t have tried to save the rest of us if we’d switched places with him. But you definitely wouldn’t have gotten there first, I mean… Iida. I know you’re fast but we all are. Even Tokoyami’s Dark Shadow technically should’ve been faster, you were like ten metres away.” Kirishima sounded far too smug for his own safety, and Bakugou rewarded him with the most acidic glare he was able to produce.

Yeah, he was right though. Bakugou had been so far away, and everyone in their class, especially Midoriya, Iida and Tokoyami who were nearby were fast enough that he should never have been able to get there before they did. But somehow his brain just shut off for a second, when he saw the shadow fall over Todoroki’s slow, staggering form, and his body moved before he had time to think. He’d heard from somewhere that that was the marking of a true hero, or some shit like that. It was probably true, but he also knew it had definitely been because of who he’d desperately wanted to save.

Emotions were disgusting and Bakugou never wanted to deal with them again in his life.

“Yes, yes, I happened to not want him fucking dead, yeah, now drop it.” Bakugou growled menacingly, and Kirishima just nodded, backing off from it but not without that annoying fucking smile.

“What went wrong, though? Why’d you suddenly start avoiding him?” Kirishima crossed his arms and tilted his head in question, and scratch that, Bakugou would rather have the previous conversation topic back.

“Why does everyone have nothing better to do with their fucking lives than question me about this?” Bakugou imagined tearing something, preferably Kirishima’s head, to shreds with his bare hands to make himself a little happier. Kirishima frowned, expression suddenly taking on a serious edge, and he dropped his arms to his side.

“Bro, I just want you to be happy. You didn’t seem happy for the past two weeks, and it’s because you guys aren’t talking anymore, isn’t it?” Kirishima asked with genuine concern, and Bakugou gnashed his teeth, feeling itchy all over. “I just want you to be happy” - was he not fucking embarrassed saying shit like that?

Bakugou definitely did not feel a little flare of warmth at hearing that. Never.

“And what if it is?” Bakugou replied defiantly, because clearly Kirishima was not going to let up on psychoanalysing Bakugou’s every move to relate somehow to Todoroki. Even if he was right on the money.

“Maybe you should talk to him about it, man. I think he deserves that too.” Kirishima’s voice was soft, and would everyone stop talking to him like he was a fragile little child already? Never mind the fact that they were all right. And he didn’t like people telling him to do this and that in the first place, especially not shit like this that was private, and no one else’s business. If he decided to make anything about this situation public, that was his own choice, he hated this feeling of everyone around him being privy to his own shit, the more sensitive, vulnerable shit as well. He sure as hell wasn’t reporting back to any of the nosy fuckers around him, and they’d better not expect him to.

“I will, since when did you become my mother, shithead?” Bakugou hissed, sparking a few warning blasts from his palm out of irritation, and Kirishima just stared at him for a moment.

“You don’t have to tell me how it goes. You can tell me as much or as little as you want. I just want you to be happy.” Kirishima spoke easily, warmly, and Bakugou hated that he’d picked up on exactly what was bothering him.

“Get out already.” Bakugou grumbled, swiping an irritated hand through the air. Kirishima just flashed him a bright grin and left without another word.

~

Bakugou had been very, very sober that night, and still made dumb decisions.

“We’re getting shitfaced tonight!” Ashido yelled and everyone cheered, raising their RTDs and shot glasses alike. Bakugou rolled his eyes. It was the second time this month, these dumbasses never learned. Yaoyorozu aside, he knew he’d end up having to make sure the rest actually woke up tomorrow morning instead of slipping into an alcohol induced coma for the rest of their lives. Sero, Kirishima, Jirou, Ashido and Kaminari all had zero self control when it came to drinking.

“Hey, hey, let’s try get Bakugou drunk tonight.” Kaminari grinned a little nastily and Bakugou just shot him a look that made him tense.

“Why? Bakugou’s never gotten drunk before. It’s like he’s physically unable to. He can drink everyone in the class under the table.”

“Exactly because we’ve never seen him drunk before! It’d be funny!”

“Funny? Dude, Blasty would be an angry - even angrier drunk and you know it! That shit’d be like releasing Godzilla into our respectable neighbourhood.”

“Hah?! You wanna die, Shitty Hair?!”

“See? Like that.”

Bakugou scoffed and downed the rest of his beer, not really mad at all, honestly speaking. It was more of a habit. Those idiots could try get him drunk, but Bakugou had inherited his alcohol tolerance similar to an endless black hole from his mother, so good luck to them.

As expected, two hours later Bakugou sat with his feet up on the coffee table, something like his tenth drink in hand, boredly glancing around at his wasted classmates.

“Fuck’s sake-” Kaminari slurred, falling heavily against his side on the couch. Bakugou mercilessly shoved him off, watching his head hit the cushion. “You drink so much- You… So much, I swear, you’re a- a submarine.”

Bakugou looked at him. “Your metaphors need a lot of work, Pikachu.”

“Remind… Remind me ‘gain what a metaphor is?”

“Oh Jesus, shut up, your idiot is showing.” Bakugou smacked his head dismissively and Kaminari just groaned pitifully, rolling off the couch onto the floor. Bakugou stuck his foot out to catch the stupid idiot’s chin before it smacked against the edge of the coffee table. Babysitting. He was fucking babysitting.

“Lovely girls and ugly fellas! Let’s play truth or dare.” Kirishima announced grandly and Bakugou took a moment to pat himself on the back for the amount of self control he was exercising today, to successfully keep quiet and act like he didn’t want to murder the lot of them every time someone opened their mouth. Every time they played truth or dare it was a disaster. Last time they’d spent the whole morning cleaning up the mess of smashed eggs along the pavement outside the dorm (Bakugou had firmly told them if anyone asked him to help with their mess he would rip their head off), the time before that every guy in the class had ended up on the roof at midnight in nothing but their boxers while the girls hung their clothes up in the teacher’s office (Aizawa had almost expelled them the next day), the time before that Class 3-B had filed an official complaint against them after several students had received prank calls “nothing short of vulgar”, apparently… the list went on.

Both the truth questions and the dares that involved the people in the room also always got progressively more private or disgusting in general as the nights wore on. And it always turned super gay, for some reason. It wasn’t like Bakugou had a problem with that, he was pretty sure his own sexuality and shit like that were pretty vague, he’d just never bothered to figure it out because it wasn’t important. It was just weird, because he’d seen the guys giving each other shitty lap dances far more times than he’d ever care to see, and, in Ashido’s words, everyone in their class was so platonic with each other it hurt.

But no one else seemed to give a shit that truth or dare was always the worst decision they could collectively make, and so the game began.

“Kaminari, truth or dare.” Jirou’s eyes gleamed as she prodded Kaminari’s head with an earphone jack.

“Hoh… ‘M so fucked I don’ think I can stand up, so truth.” Kaminari squinted at her and clumsily swiped at her earlobe as she snickered.

“Bo-oring.” Ashido sang and Kaminari held up his middle finger.

“I will not give in to- to peer pressure, Ashido. Shun me if you will, ya sons of bitches.”

“Fine, let’s all do a round of truths. Tell us something you’ve never told anyone before.” Sero nudged Kaminari’s back with his foot and Kaminari placed his finger against his chin, humming in thought.

“Hm… Something I’ve never… told anyone before. Oh, got a pretty big one.” Kaminari lurched to his feet and stumbled a little, pausing to dazedly peer at everyone in the circle. He took in a deep breath and said, “I’m gay.”

No one said anything for a moment, then Jirou took one for the team and replied. “We know.”

“E-e-e-eh?! You guys already knew?” Kaminari cried in bewilderment and everyone groaned.

“Of course we fuckin’ knew, you dumbass, you gave Kirishima a hickey last time we drank! And it wasn’t even a dare! Actually, you’ve done stupidly gay things even for our standards, every single time we’ve drunk, when nobody asked you to!” Jirou slapped Kaminari upside the head and Kaminari just blushed, having the audacity to look bashful.

“I mean… C’mon. Kirishima’s a good lookin’ dude, man.”

“Aw shucks, stop it, man.”

“Bro…”

Bakugou wordlessly grabbed Ashido’s drink out of her hand and gave a serious attempt to down the whole bottle in one go.

“Oh? What’cha doin’ all sulky and silent over here?” Ashido just grinned as she hopped up onto the couch and made herself comfortable leaning against him. Bakugou allowed it, unlike with Kaminari.

“Trying to fucking drown myself.” Bakugou growled, only half exaggerating as he watched Kaminari and Kirishima continue to dreamily call each other every variation of “dude” and “bro” there was. He knew for a fact that Kirishima didn’t think of Kaminari as anything but a close friend, but it sure as hell didn’t look like it right now. Fucking drunk idiots. Ashido just laughed and snatched her drink back.

Bakugou zoned out as the rest of the group played. He wasn’t in the best mood to socialise right now, not that he ever was. He was a little… troubled recently. It was a word he never thought he’d associate with himself. He usually just smashed through his problems with his fists (or more accurately, his explosions), but this particular problem…

...He couldn’t very well blow up Todoroki Shouto, no matter how many times he’d threatened the blank-faced asshole that he would do so.

Todoroki had reached out to him a few months ago asking to be friends. Bakugou immediately thought he was playing some stupid joke on him, or someone had punched him silly and he was still suffering the after effects. They’d just… never been close at all, after all. Todoroki clearly hadn’t liked him, and Bakugou didn’t like anyone, so their relationship remained like that till their third year. But when he realised that for some bizarre reason Todoroki genuinely wanted to be friends and greatly valued his opinion… Even Bakugou wasn’t capable of pushing him away. In all honesty, he’d stopped disliking the guy a long, long time ago. He’d even go so far as to say that Todoroki greatly interested him as a powerful rival, and was nowhere near as annoying as most of his class.

Bakugou had always liked people that were focused, knew exactly what they wanted, and didn’t give a damn what others thought - in other words people who could stand up to him, but Todoroki had that edge over everyone else in that he was so cool headed about it. He didn’t show off any false bravado, he barely showed that he cared, but he was dead set on his goals to achieve them for himself, in a somehow non arrogant way. Just quietly focused and hardworking, with jaw dropping results that were anything but quiet and contained.

So yeah, he’d been more than okay with becoming friends with the guy, once he got over his initial disbelief and instinctive rage at social interaction.

But he was only human. And he wasn’t blind.

Todoroki was an infuriating guy. He was powerful as all hell, had an amazing, awestriking Quirk, he was intelligent, inherently kind in a calm, natural way despite his cold appearance, cool and confident in that way that had girls falling at his oblivious feet (he even made his obliviousness to his own attractiveness work for him, annoying asshole) and he was a classic swoon-worthy pretty boy. He was like a fantasy manga protagonist, so perfect it was gross. And he just had this small, endearing little smile that made Bakugou almost lose his damn mind when he first saw it. Even his bluntness and slightly awkward behaviour in social interactions somehow worked. It softened his personality and made him… kind of cute. Bakugou remembered wanting to rinse his brain with bleach the first time that word had consciously popped into his brain, as the stupid bastard straight up told him he was happy, in that dumb, uncharacteristically gentle voice.

It’d taken maybe three times of Todoroki smiling that small, soft smile at him for Bakugou to realise he was in deep shit.

He’d panicked, a little, but did his best to ignore it and just be friends with the guy. As long as Todoroki didn’t look at him with that soft gleam in his eyes, he was fine. He actually enjoyed his company, something he could only say the same of for maybe two other people in his life. He hadn’t expected it, Todoroki was so different from Kirishima and Ashido, after all. He was quiet, for one. And he was calm, and pretty boring when he didn’t try. Even when he did speak, sometimes it’d be about the most mundane shit, like how the cat he’d seen yesterday had different coloured eyes just like him, or how a new soba restaurant opened nearby, or shit about school. The guy could definitely be funny and sharp witted, sure, but he’d have to start an argument first.

But Bakugou found that even when Todoroki was talking about the weather with that bland, monotonous voice like a fucking news report, at some point, his subconscious had decided it was nice. He liked listening to him talk. Bakugou Katsuki, liked hearing someone talk, of all things.

He liked bickering with him, he liked the fact that Todoroki wasn’t afraid to shit talk him right back in that slightly annoying, condescending way, and he really, really liked fighting and training with him. The guy was basically everything Bakugou wanted in a companion, plus just the right amount of snark to keep things interesting.

He was not immune to feelings, contrary to popular belief. He had them, and they’d manifested, and when Todoroki rested his head against his shoulder with a happy little smile and Bakugou was suddenly smacked stupid with the urge to kiss him, he became very concerned about them.

Okay, he was terrified.

Bakugou had been attracted to people before, sure. He was eighteen, he wasn’t anything close to shy, and he knew he was hot. He’d fooled around with some less annoying students from other classes before. But he’d never given a damn about it, he had more important things to focus on, like his goals and training. He’d never paid attention to someone long enough for surface attraction to become anything more. He had absolutely no idea what to do with himself, and his newfound predicament of his brain and all rational thought processes melting whenever he saw Todoroki smile at him.

He’d definitely never wanted to hold anyone’s hand before.

What was he supposed to do? He couldn’t figure out what was going on with him. Was he just touch starved? Was it because Todoroki was admittedly the most attractive guy in their school? Was it because they’d suddenly gotten so close and Bakugou… well, Bakugou didn’t have many close friends?

Maybe he was just. A little touch starved. He hadn’t played around with anyone in months, after all.

Maybe that was all it was? A part of him hoped it was. Bakugou was great (fucking amazing) at many things, but being emotionally present and available was not one of them. He had no idea where to begin figuring out what exactly it was he felt about Todoroki. And he had even less of clue as to what to do about it if it wasn’t just base attraction.

Ashido nudging him brought him back to the present.

“Bakugou’s turn!”

“Eh, Bakugou’s still here?”

“Start a fight you can actually win, Tape Shit.”

“I love when you sweet talk me, Explodo-kill. Wait fuck, don’t actually blow me up-  Aha-a, anyway, still truths, right?”

“Yep. Your turn to ask, Sero.”

“Uh… can’t think of much that won’t get me punched, so let’s go with something tame. If you had to choose out of everyone sittin’ here, who would you kiss?” Sero flashed him that typical idiot-smile, and Bakugou gave him his most withering look. Were they middle schoolers? What kind of stupid question…

“Mina, duh.” Bakugou humoured them by actually answering, fixing Sero with a flat, unimpressed stare.

Everyone stared at him for a moment.

“Wait, wait, wait, hold up. What do you mean “duh”?!” Kirishima’s eyes bulged and Bakugou just grabbed another beer bottle off the table. Idiocy, idiocy everywhere.

“Holy shit, there was no hesitation just then, whatsoever. You actually wanna kiss Ashido?” Kaminari swayed upright, teetering a little dangerously, looking shellshocked.

“Well yeah, why the fuck not? I have eyes. Mina’s hot. And it’s a hell of lot fucking better than kissing you, Short Circuit.” Bakugou sneered, and Ashido whooped, laughing as she shoved Bakugou goodnaturedly.

“Damn, Blasty! I gotta say in all honesty, I’m flattered. But right back at ya. You wanna go at it right here, hot stuff?” Ashido winked and Bakugou snorted, pressing a finger to her forehead and pushing it back roughly.

“You’re so fucking drunk.”

“Hol’ up, Bakugou, have you… by any chance… actually- actually kissed another human being before? You- You know how to do somethin’ to a person other than violently beating them up?” Kaminari genuinely sounded dumbfounded at this discovery and while it ticked Bakugou off, it was kind of funny as well, not that he’d ever admit it. And… well. He was in need of a distraction from his thoughts, and stupid, confusing feelings… and everyone here (even Yaoyorozu) was so fucked after trying to get him drunk he knew no one would remember any of this shit tomorrow morning.

So he did something he would usually never even waste time considering, seeing as it involved Kaminari.

“Ah shut the hell up, you fucking virgin. Come here.” Bakugou growled, and Kaminari quickly muttered “if I die, tell my mum I love her” to Kirishima before cautiously stumbling his way over. Bakugou just rolled his eyes and grabbed Kaminari’s wrist as he neared, yanking him down into his lap. He ignored the immediate shrieks and squeals that erupted around him and just grabbed the back of Kaminari’s neck and silenced his scream of terror by crushing their lips together.

The scandalised screeches and rowdy cheering around him were downright deafening and Bakugou felt an instinctive blinding urge for violence, but he shoved it aside, focusing on proving his damn point. These fuckers thought he was fucking inexperienced?

He’d very unfortunately heard Kaminari moan last time they were drunk, when Kirishima accidentally pressed this one place on his neck. God, this dumbass was such a mess… 90% of the time he was such a terribly huge turn off without even trying it was kind of sad, but Bakugou had his pride to defend right now, and Kaminari… well all in all, he looked pretty decent, he guessed.

So Bakugou slid his hand up the back of his neck now and dug his thumb right into that spot beneath his jaw and Kaminari jolted in his lap, lips falling open with a strained gasp. Bakugou took the chance to lick his way into his mouth, forceful and demanding and not giving Kaminari a second to catch his breath.

He tasted like beer and spirits and the way he shifted and squirmed on Bakugou’s lap wasn’t bad, he guessed. Maybe because Bakugou was so in the moment, focusing all his energy on giving the stupid shit the best, most mind-numbing kiss of his damn life, but the little sounds Kaminari made in the back of his throat weren’t too bad either.

But… well… yeah. Whatever Bakugou had been chasing wasn’t there. He didn’t feel it. It wasn’t enough to distract him like he’d hoped. He accidentally bit Kaminari’s lip a little too hard (not that the guy seemed to mind, he moaned embarrassingly loudly into Bakugou’s mouth) as he suddenly realised he wished the person clutching the front of his shirt was Todoroki.

Oh-h-h-h fuck.

He grabbed a fistful of Kaminari’s hair and tugged his head back, needing to clear his mind from the sudden suspiciously red and white haze that had settled over it. No, nope, he was not thinking about that in public.

Kaminari’s choked, distressed sounding groan brought him back to reality and Bakugou released his hair, smirking as Kaminari slowly blinked dazed, unfocused eyes at him, a bright red blush high on his cheeks. He cupped Kaminari’s jaw, pulling his face in close again to rasp his next words against his lips.

“I’ve done way more than just kissing, Sparky.”

Bakugou emphasised his point by roughly squeezing Kaminari’s hip, making him flinch. Kaminari slowly slid off his lap onto the floor, mumbling a weak “I believe it”.

“What. The. Fuck. Did we just see.” Jirou looked a mix between grossed out, mindblown, and gleeful in that Class 3-A typical “we’ve got gossip ammo” way. Everyone else was still either yelling in horror or cackling and cheering.

“Bakugou what the fuck, that was hot! But gross, ‘cause it’s Kaminari! But it was still hot! Fuck!” Ashido sounded beyond herself with glee, slapping Bakugou’s shoulder, hard. Bakugou just let her, even though he would normally growl and threaten to rip off her arm.

“Man down! Man down! Oh God, Denki’s gone to a better place. Bakugou, you have no mercy.” Kirishima cackled as he pushed Kaminari’s face this way and that.

“Oh my goodness…” Yaoyorozu was beet red, hands daintily covering her mouth in shock. Bakugou glanced at her and she blushed even harder, immediately looking away like it was now embarrassing to make eye contact after seeing Bakugou like that. Well, he hadn’t expected anything else from the prim and proper rich girl. She was laughing along with them though, so that was a surprise. What was even more of a surprise was her quiet mumble that seemed directed at no one in particular.

“Oh, Shouto…”

What. What, why, what, Shouto, what about him, why?

Before Bakugou could actually voice his ridiculously intent urge to hear more and embarrass his entire existence for the rest of his life, Kaminari spoke up with a feeble mutter from the ground.

“I… can’t believe Bakugou’s a good kisser.” Kaminari sounded faint, and Bakugou just scoffed, arching a disdainful eyebrow down at him.

“I’m a fucking amazing kisser, Pikachu. But I clearly haven’t done my job properly if you can still think straight enough to talk, so do you wanna come up here for round two?” Bakugou offered more like a threat, stretching his lips back in a dangerous smirk. Kaminari wisely shook his head no, holding his hands up in surrender.

“As tempting as tha’ honestly sounds, I need… I needa keep my dignity together. What’s the word… intact. Yeah. What’s left of it.” Kaminari mumbled, passing out with his head on Kirishima’s lap a second later. Bakugou snorted. Another easy victory, he supposed.

“I am so glad we’re fucking smashed right now because I don’t ever wanna think about what just happened again in my life. There’s just some gross things that shouldn’t be seen, in this world. People’s internet histories, mutilated corpses, Bakugou making things sexual in our wholesome, respectable little circle, etc.” Sero shook his head with a sigh and a shudder, and Bakugou aimed an explosion contained against his palm in that little shit’s direction as a warning. Sero just snickered, through he edged away discreetly.

“Let’s continue, continue!” Ashido cheered and the group quickly forgot about Kaminari to keep playing the game.

Bakugou just quietly contemplated violent, gory homicide as he sat there unable to stop thinking about what it might be like to kiss Todoroki. What would his lips feel like? What would he taste like? Would he be good at it? Would he want to take the lead, or would he follow Bakugou’s pace? Bakugou couldn’t pull him around like Kaminari, that was for sure. For one thing he didn’t want to (unless… of course… Todoroki happened to be into that… but that was a different story), and for another thing Todoroki was more than capable of landing him in hospital if Bakugou tried anything he didn’t like.

But… would he allow Bakugou to pull him onto his lap? Would he react to teasing touches or rough ones? Would he reach up to grip Bakugou’s shoulders for support and close his pretty, mismatched eyes for the ride, or would he push Bakugou down to take control?

Bakugou had to remember to pull the beer bottle away from his mouth to swallow and breathe, and stop pouring liquid into his throat till he drowned.

“Bakugou, why on earth do you have a boner right now?” Sero paused the game to ask him very tactfully, and Bakugou barely even spared him a glance.

“Morning wood.” Bakugou replied carelessly, eyeing his crotch distastefully and wondering if he could punch it into submission, whether that’d be a good idea.

“It’s eleven at night.” Kirishima pointed out helpfully and Bakugou gave them all a look.

“I promise you halfwits that there are more interesting things in life than reasons why my dick decides to stand up.” Bakugou deadpanned as if he didn’t know there was little that was more interesting to these idiots than anything involving him and Todoroki. He just didn’t say it.

“What is wrong with you today.” Sero groaned and Bakugou just shot him a look, that had him immediately giving him that idiot-smile again and holding up his hands in surrender.

“Just keep drinking, idiot.” Bakugou gave him a smile that was treading the fine line between pleasant and a psychopath mapping out his next cold blooded murder, and Sero immediately returned his attention to the game.

An hour later, everyone except Ashido was knocked out. At least they kept all their dumbass shit within the room this time, Bakugou almost felt like clapping.

“Haha-a, I’m gonna give Kirishima so much shit tomorrow.” Ashido laughed gleefully over whatever embarrassing thing out of a hundred the idiot had done tonight. She was also well and truly drunk, but still somehow conscious and coherent tonight, good for her. She flopped back on the couch with a content sigh, leaning comfortably against Bakugou’s side and hugging her knees loosely to her chest.

“If you remember any of this shit at all.” Bakugou rolled his eyes and Ashido just turned her head to give him a big, wide grin.

“That’s my secret, champ. I remember everything. There’s no escaping me. Out of the kindness of my heart I won’t tell anyone else here, but boy am I gonna be reminding you that you willingly made out with Kaminari for the rest of your life.” Ashido flashed him a wink and Bakugou just flipped her off. All that alcohol was finally kicking in a bit, and it made him feel drowsy, pleasant and lazy.

“I can safely say that was the lowest moment of my life.” Bakugou replied dryly, then gave her a sly look. “But, between you and me, I could stand by it. Objectively speaking, Kaminari doesn’t look half bad.”

“Oh shit, Bakugou. What the rest of the class wouldn’t give to hear that.” Ashido covered her mouth with her hands with an immature “ooh”ing sound, and Bakugou just shoved her lightly.

“You didn’t hear it from me. But am I wrong? For the record, I could tell just in that minute he was on my lap… the guy’s such a sub, holy shit.” Bakugou grimaced a little, just for appearances, really, and Ashido almost screamed, cackling in glee. Bakugou couldn’t help but grin as well, the atmosphere between them comfortable and easy.

“The Kaminari that tries - and fails - to pick up pretty girls left and right?”

“Well, we all knew he just did it for show anyway. He’s so fucking gay. And well… I mean. If he wasn’t a whole fucking idiot and I was actually attracted to him, I’d say it was pretty hot, though.” Bakugou grinned wickedly and Ashido giggled, elbowing him in the ribs and laughing bright and high pitched when Bakugou retaliated.

“Oh Blasty, you’re into obedient, subby little boys, aren’t you? How on brand.” Ashido’s voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper, and Bakugou just flashed her a smirk.

“Yeah, I like boys that’ll listen to me and girls that won’t.” Bakugou shrugged lazily, and Ashido gave another high pitched, trilling “ooh”ing sound.

“Hot.” Ashido winked, and Bakugou snorted, but something shifted a little, in the atmosphere. Nothing drastic, it was still a light and easy mood but…

Ashido seemed to sense it as well, and she looked up at him with a smile still, but her eyes were a little sharper.

“I don’t fit into either of those categories, though.” Ashido spoke still brightly and pleasantly, but it was a little quieter, her gaze a little warmer, and Bakugou found himself leaning closer to her.

He couldn’t say he’d ever thought about it before, but it was true, Ashido was attractive. And she smelt nice right now, her body was warm where she was lightly pressed up against him, and Bakugou suddenly realised he could test right now, if the red and white haze that had draped over his vision before had just been him being confused.

“Yeah? Sometimes I like having some fun with it too.” Bakugou murmured, unintentionally letting his voice rasp low. Suddenly Ashido’s face was just right there, warm breaths hitting his lips, and he just thought “fuck it” and grabbed the back of her neck to seal their lips together.

It’d been a while since he’d kissed a girl, and he’d kinda missed it, he realised. The small sounds he coaxed from her with his tongue were cute, and she tasted as sweet as she smelt, her body soft as he followed his body’s instincts and lightly pushed her down on the couch without really thinking about it.

Ashido went with it, kissing him back slow and soft and unrushed, and it was all nice and easy… but Bakugou was suddenly hit with the realisation that he wasn’t really thinking about her, not really. He registered how she felt, how she tasted, but in that moment, all she was to him was some soft, pretty girl he was kissing.

And he was still thinking about very specific pretty boy instead. How he would feel lying beneath him instead, how he might sound, how his hands might rest on Bakugou’s shoulders or waist, how his pretty, heterochromatic eyes would flutter closed if Bakugou did something he liked.

Fuck, this wasn’t it.

Bakugou immediately broke off the kiss, pushing himself up. What was he doing? Why was he making out with someone while thinking of someone else? Why was he using Ashido to figure out his own shit? Why had he even kissed her?

Why was Todoroki looking sad and hurt all he could see in his mind’s eye, making him feel sick to the stomach, when realistically, the guy probably couldn’t give two shits about who Bakugou fucked around with?

“Fuck. What am I doing.” Bakugou muttered, a little hoarse, but Ashido didn’t look surprised in the slightest, in fact her gaze became warmer. Only this time it was a clear, calm and platonic warmth, lacking the confused flare of fire that had simmered a minute ago. She understood completely, and was silently offering her support. Bakugou felt a little weak in the arms, and he slumped in defeat, leaning back down to rest his head on her shoulder and hide himself away for a little bit. His voice was smaller than he would’ve liked. “I’m sorry, Mina. I didn’t mean that.”

Ashido’s shoulder shook a little as she laughed, replying with a simple “I know.”

Bakugou gave in to his weakness for a few moments longer, burying his confusions, frustrations and fears in his friend’s patient, soothing warmth. He was a little dizzy. He must be finally, finally getting a little tipsy. Still not enough to justify what he’d just done, but it wasn’t helping right now.

“Why’re you here fucking around with me and Kaminari tonight? Why don’t you go kiss the person you actually want to kiss?” Ashido asked him, and so unlike her usual bright self, it was quiet and undemanding, and Bakugou didn’t bother denying anything.

“I just… I don’t know. It’s freaking me out.” Bakugou mumbled into her shoulder, refusing to lift his head and have to look her in the eye just yet.

“Because it’s different, isn’t it? Thinking about kissing him isn’t the same as anyone else, it’s not light and easy and experimental.” Ashido put his thoughts into words, and Bakugou stiffened.

“Shit, how do you…”

“I can tell when one of my best friends is in love and scared because of it.” There was a slight laugh in her tone, and Bakugou pushed himself up with an irritated scowl.

“I’m not fucking scared of that dumbass-” Bakugou began aggressively but Ashido cut him off with a wry smile.

“Not of him, maybe, but of what he could do to you, here.” Ashido’s eyes were serious as she tapped Bakugou’s chest with a finger, right above his heart. Bakugou stared at her for a second, thought about her words for a second. He pushed himself upright and sat back against the couch with a huge sigh.

“Fuck.” Bakugou uttered, and Ashido laughed again, sitting up as well and running a hand through her hair. He shot her a quick look, hoping she caught in that split second that he was unspeakably glad that this hadn’t made things weird between them. She just smiled, a little mischievously.

“Figure it out quickly, alright? Don’t keep him waiting. You know he likes you a lot.” Ashido shoved him goodnaturedly, and Bakugou just grumbled for show.

“Do I?” Bakugou glared with flat, sullen eyes at the coffee table, and Ashido snorted without bothering to reply to that. She flopped back against the couch with a loud, theatrical sigh.

“Ugh, it’s gonna be so weird seeing Todoroki after tonight. I feel like a slutty side chick. A home wrecker. A mistress.” Ashido whined dramatically, and Bakugou snapped his glare over to her instead.

“Shut the fuck up, don’t make me feel even more like I just cheated on him when we’re not even fucking dating or anything.” Bakugou muttered mutinously, and Ashido sniffed, pointing an accusing finger in his face.

“Good, keep feeling it. At least I won’t be alone in being guilty about it. I’ve been rooting for you guys for months, this drunk bla bla moment better not fuck things up. Go get your man.” Ashido broke into a wide, sunny grin, and Bakugou just halfheartedly swatted at her.

Bakugou stared down at Todoroki now, both hoping he would wake up soon, and sort of dreading it and the talk he’d have to have. Todoroki would be angry, right? Todoroki took friendships very seriously after all… Bakugou had been told by Midoriya already but he couldn’t imagine Todoroki being completely okay with and accepting of Bakugou’s sudden avoidance of him anyway.

Oh well. The most important thing was that he was okay, and woke up soon.

~

Chapter Text

 

Todoroki stirred, sensing sunlight pricking at his closed eyes.

“Todoroki?”

Todoroki stiffened, eyes still closed, at the unexpected, familiar gravelly voice.

“Oi Halfie, you awake? Do you need water?” Bakugou’s voice was quiet, a little on edge but stupidly comforting, and Todoroki decided everything else could come after he got some water into his system.

“Yes.” Todoroki rasped, throat a little hoarse, blinking his eyes open blearily. He caught the tips of Bakugou’s spiky hair disappearing from his vision.

A sweeping glance told him he was in the nurse’s office, and it was probably morning, judging by the sun shining high through the window. Morning… The last thing he remembered was training in the afternoon class, sparring against Satou… and Bakugou yelling at him. It was morning now…?

“Nnh.” At Bakugou’s ever-typical rough grunt in lieu of an actual word, Todoroki sat up and accepted the glass of water. His head hurt and his entire body ached and his throat felt scratched and awful, but… he had some other things to focus on. Like Bakugou sitting stiffly by the bed, fists resting on his knees, staring at him uncomfortably as Todoroki drunk his water. Todoroki wanted to scoff. He was the one that was feeling uncomfortable. He drank his water slowly, staring at the wall opposite him.

Water consumed, he lowered the glass onto his lap and didn’t move for a long, awkward second of silence. Great, now… talking? What was he supposed to do right now? Act like nothing had happened and he and Bakugou hadn’t apparently been at at a silent war for the past two weeks?

He should probably first figure out what had actually happened to him since he felt like he’d been run over by a truck. He supposed he’d go find Recovery Girl and sort all this shit out later. He wanted to get up and leave but he knew if Bakugou wanted to talk to him he was fully capable of physically dragging Todoroki back, and Todoroki was in no state to fight or even move much right now, really. His body was so heavy all he wanted to do was sleep for another day.

“Thanks for the water. You can go now.” Todoroki spoke coolly, not making any move to turn towards Bakugou or even look at him. He could see him tense in the corner of his eye.

“Oi are you…” Bakugou cleared his throat, looking more and more uncomfortable and more and more stiff as he blurted out the next words in a rush. “Are you like, alright?”

Todoroki turned to look at him then. Bakugou just asked another human being if he was alright? That thought must’ve conveyed in his expression, as Bakugou coughed and scratched the back of his neck, a twitchy frown tensing his features. His eyes were shadowed, murky and unreadable.

“You like… slept for a whole day because you overworked yourself into fucking passing out. The fuck were you trying to do?” The angry scowl gradually made its way back onto his face, familiar to both of them if the slight tinge of relief in Bakugou’s angry eyes was any indication. Anger was something he was used to working with, after all, Todoroki dimly noted to himself. And ah, so nothing was really wrong with him. He’d just passed out from exhaustion. Whatever, then.

“I was training.” Todoroki replied simply, and Bakugou growled, digging his fingers into his knees.

“Yeah, recklessly like a fucking idiot. What the hell were you thinking? You could’ve gotten- like… like seriously hurt.” Bakugou’s voice lost most of its fire and certainty by the end of it, that uncomfortable look twisting his face again, and Todoroki just felt a spike of irritation. He was most of the reason for why Todoroki had been doing anything recklessly in the first place, and here he was lecturing Todoroki? Besides, Bakugou had made it pretty clear he didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore, so it wasn’t any of his damn business what Todoroki did or didn’t do.

“Well, I didn’t. I was training, it’s no one else’s business, and I don’t remember you being in charge of what I choose to do.” Todoroki replied icily, and Bakugou’s eyes sharpened and flared with anger again at that.

“No one else’s business? Why do you think you didn’t end up hurt, asshole? Because I blew up the concrete that was about to crush you into the fucking ground and dragged your sorry ass out of the way. And if it wasn’t me, someone else would’ve had to have done it.” Bakugou growled, slamming a hand down on the edge of the bed in agitation. He looked genuinely upset. Todoroki just stared at him for a moment, staring at the tiny, barely noticeable flicker of fear in those bright, angry eyes.

“What?” Todoroki’s voice came out a lot smaller than he would’ve liked, especially since he was still upset with him. Bakugou let out a frustrated groan and roughly scratched at his hair.

“Yeah, idiot, you were half conscious in class because you were so tired and almost got hit. Deku and them were sprinting to you but I got there first.” Bakugou hissed and Todoroki chewed the inside of his cheek, frustrated. Fuck… He was shaken that that had happened. He was aiming to be a pro hero, he shouldn’t have to be saved by anyone… but he remembered now, what happened. He wasn’t an ungrateful person, he was thankful to Bakugou for saving him but, but…

“Then you should’ve let them get to me first.” Todoroki replied tersely, hating that he was being childish, but unable to help himself. Bakugou stared at him in disbelief.

“I didn’t do it for a thank you but wow, I guess I should apologise for not letting your stupid ass die in a fucking class training session then!” Bakugou’s eyes blazed and Todoroki felt all his pent up hurt, confusion and anger for the past couple of weeks surge up at once.

“Oh, I wasn’t aware that you actually cared!” Todoroki snapped, immediately regretting actually saying it out loud. He wasn’t a petty person and didn’t usually say biting things like this… He knew Bakugou wasn’t an uncaring person, he really did.

“I do-” Bakugou cut off his angry shout and froze for a moment, mouth still half open. Todoroki stiffened at the admission that had clearly involuntarily slipped out, and Bakugou blinked rapidly, glancing away and cursing under his breath. He visibly gritted his teeth and burned holes into the floor with his eyes as he seemed to force his quieter words out. “That’s not- the point, you should’ve been more careful so you don’t put yourself in danger and make other people have to look out for you.”

Todoroki didn’t breathe for a second, processing that. He was so confused now. For Bakugou to actually almost say that he cared out loud to another person was testament to how much he truly did seem to, but… then what was going on? He refused to enjoy the instinctive little flicker of warmth in his chest, stamping it down immediately. He was angry, for God’s sake. And Bakugou had to go and make him even more confused about everything.

“Well, sorry that I was a burden and made you have to look out for me. Trust me, it won’t happen again, next time I’ll faint where you can’t see me.” Todoroki spoke coldly, itching to just get up and leave, but something told him he should see this conversation through to the end, if not to sort this shit out, then to avoid having to talk about it again.

“That’s not what I meant- And fuck, don’t joke around about that, it’s not that fucking hard, seriously just take care of-” Bakugou cut himself off with a frustrated yell, tugging at his hair violently. “I fucking- I know I’m terrible at this, just- I’m trying to-”

“Trying to what? I’m not an ungrateful idiot, I’m glad that you helped me, thank you. But I’m upset with you right now, why the fuck are you yelling at me? How is what I do any of your concern?” Todoroki fired back with an icy glare and Bakugou’s eyes snapped to lock with his, burning with stress, anger, and everything in between.

“Because I care about you and I don’t want you to get hurt, you stupid asshole! And I… Fuck, do you have to make me say it out loud, make me spell it out for you while we’re fucking arguing? I want to say it properly, shithead! Aren’t you smart enough to realise what I’m thinking already anyway?!” Bakugou shouted aggressively, the hand still clutching the edge of the bed threatening to ignite with bright sparks.

Todoroki didn’t move for a while, all the fire resting on his tongue dying away.

That meant…

So Bakugou… did he…?

“But…”

Todoroki curled his fingers against each other in his lap, fidgeting a little. Bakugou’s clear frustration didn’t ease from his angry expression as he stared at Todoroki impatiently, though there was just a tiny hint of colour in his cheeks. Todoroki forced himself to uncurl his fingers and try to keep his composure.

“But you and Ashido…” Todoroki said eventually, wanting to punch himself in the face at his uncertain, pathetic mumble. Bakugou’s eyes widened at that.

“You know about that? Fuck, Mina was right… That’s. It’s not…” Bakugou stopped, scratching at the back of his neck and sighing, looking severely uncomfortable. “Look, I’m not gonna make excuses for it and say it’s not like that - I did kiss her, and I did on purpose. But it’s not… not what I want. I realised, after, well, doing it. And I’m sorry, I messed up. It clearly hurt you, and I… I never meant to hurt you. And I don’t want to again.”

Bakugou… apologising properly? Saying that he didn’t want to hurt him with such a sincere, quiet tone?

This was unfair. What were Todoroki’s stupid human emotions supposed to do other than feel a little stab of surprise and happiness at those words from the guy that he liked? Even though he was still mad and confused, for fuck’s sake.

“I… What do you mean?” Todoroki asked quietly, heart sinking a little nonetheless at the confirmation from the guy himself that it’d been true after all. Bakugou coughed, rubbing his neck uncomfortably some more.

“Mina and I… There’s nothing there. Just… I mean, I kissed her just to try it. I’m not planning on ever doing it again. I was feeling a bit all over the place that night and I just thought… maybe I just needed to fuck it out of my system.” Bakugou ended his vague explanation extremely bluntly, and Todoroki blushed involuntarily, entire body tensing. O-Oh… Okay, so, there was much more going on than kissing then… Bakugou saw his expression and quickly shook his head, clicking his tongue in frustration. “No, not that I was going to or wanted to with… with her, I mean, I was… feeling things, things about you, and I couldn’t tell if that shit was just me needing to get laid, or something else, and I just tried making out with her to see if I just wanted to play around with someone. But well… no. It was- is, something else.”

Todoroki blinked, a little stunned. He wasn’t sure if Bakugou was more of an idiot for needing to deal with it that way to figure out his feelings… or whether Todoroki and the others that knew about it were, for reading so much into a simple experimental kiss. He swallowed, heart beating a little faster. “What is… that something else?”

“You know… surely.” Bakugou replied a little quietly, a little slowly, intent eyes steadily holding his gaze, and Todoroki opened his mouth, then closed it again. That look… it was that look again. The one that made his skin tingle and filled his chest with warmth.

But…

“But why were you avoiding me? I thought… thought I did something, or some shit. Or that you suddenly hated me.” Todoroki asked a little sharply, still not entirely accepting this, and Bakugou actually winced.

“That’s… Okay, yeah, I could’ve handled that a million times better. I’m sorry.” Bakugou spoke firmly but quietly, and Todoroki did a double take. Another proper, honest to goodness apology without a scowl in sight? What the fuck was going on. Bakugou must’ve been lying and Todoroki actually had been hit on the head and was now delirious.

“Y-You’re-” Todoroki’s voice cracked and he immediately stopped to cough and compose himself, cheeks burning a little with embarrassment. “But well, why then, if it wasn’t me?”

“It was you. Just… not something you did. I’m not like, I’m not fucking proud of it, it’s actually probably the only thing I’ve done in my life that I’m not proud of. I was just… running… away.” Bakugou’s words turned into an angry, mortified sounding little mutter at the end, and Todoroki could only imagine the toll it was taking on Bakugou’s usual pride and mentality to actually verbally admit to that.

Okay yeah, Todoroki probably really had been hit on the head and died and this was his sad, unsatisfying version of heaven.

“From… me?” Todoroki had never sounded dumbfounded in his life before, but he guessed there was a first for everything. Bakugou scowled (ah, there it was again finally) and curled his lip.

“Yes, don’t make me fucking repeat it. I just… I kissed Mina and it felt disgusting mentally, like I was doing something wrong. Like I was going behind your back or something, which is fucking stupid because we aren’t- aren’t well, like that.” Bakugou was intently addressing his loosely clasped hands with elbows resting on his knees, cheeks visibly getting darker. Todoroki felt his heart actually fucking flutter at that. So they’d both felt that. Even though it’d been stupid, because he was right, they weren’t like that, so it shouldn’t make any sense. But maybe… things were starting to make sense now. Bakugou continued before Todoroki could get a word in, which was probably a good idea because his brain was slowly turning to mush as it began to catch up with what was happening right now.

“While I’m being honest here, I even made out with Kaminari that night too, did you know that?” Bakugou looked up then, smirking slightly even though his tone suggested he regretted his entire life because of it. Todoroki’s eyes popped. No, he did not know that, what.

“You… on purpose?” Todoroki asked delicately, not to be mean, as Kaminari was a pretty good looking guy but Bakugou regularly threatened to violently kill him probably the most out of anyone in the class.

“Yeah.” Bakugou snorted, shaking his head a little, then the slight dash of laughter in his (pretty) eyes faded as he got back to whatever his point was. “Thing is, I didn’t kiss that little shit for any reason other than to prove a point, but while I was… I realised the only person I wanted to kiss was you.”

Todoroki made a small, strangled sound. Okay this, this, must be what death felt like. His body must be in a hospital bed somewhere and his heart monitor must have just run flat with a beep.

Bakugou seemed to be just fine carrying on while the gears Todoroki’s mind had completely ground to a stop at the almost casually thrown out words.

“I was fucking shocked but I didn’t know if it was legit, plus I’ve never felt that before for anyone, so I just didn’t think about it and I ended up kissing Mina later to try figure out whether I was just confused and sexually frustrated or something.” Bakugou muttered, and Todoroki took a long moment to try and work that out. So… Bakugou had thought maybe he wanted to kiss Todoroki because he just found him, well…?

“Are you saying you’re sexually attracted to me?” Todoroki struggled to say that with a straight face and a steady tone, the blush in his cheeks a lost cause now. Bakugou gave him a look.

“Okay seriously, in our class at this age… who isn’t?” Bakugou asked completely seriously, and Todoroki could only make another strangled noise. He could barely catch his breath but Bakugou just kept going. Out of all the times the usually antisocial guy chose to be talkative why was it now? Though… Todoroki did appreciate hearing the whole thing out in full. And… hearing Bakugou talk about anything a lot, really.

He was still pissed that Bakugou did shit like that to figure out if Todoroki was just some sort of confusion to him… But… it was frustrating, and it hurt, still, but logically speaking, what Bakugou chose to do with other people was none of his business. They weren’t dating or anything. He had to keep reminding himself of this. But that didn’t excuse or explain why Bakugou had suddenly removed himself entirely from his life without an explanation.

“But well… yeah. So I realised that it was probably real, whatever I was feeling, and it was specific to you and I just- didn’t know how to deal with it. It doesn’t take a genius to know I don’t fuck with emotions. I don’t care about them, and the less shits I give about other people the happier I am. So… I was feeling this really fucking… new, intense something and I just didn’t know what to do. But every time I see you, for a while before that night already - I get that feeling.” Bakugou started addressing his hands again, voice dropping away a little at the end. Todoroki could feel his lips part in surprise. Every time he saw him?

Todoroki’s chest was throbbing with something, and he almost wanted to cover his mouth with his hand as he took this all in, feeling raw and vulnerable and hesitant and confused all at once.

Bakugou still wasn’t finished.

“And now that I’d guessed what it could be I just freaked out, I guess. I wanted to figure it out properly. I wanted to figure out how I’m meant to deal with it, what I’m meant to do with it. And I just, couldn’t… around you ‘cause whenever I see you I just stop thinking at all. I’m too busy just looking at you. Hearing you talk. I don’t focus on anything else. And that scared the shit out of me. I know I shouldn’t have run away because of it and hurt you even more, you didn’t deserve that. Yeah… I’m sorry.” Bakugou continued even quieter, and Todoroki felt the urge to cry, for some reason.

I’m too busy just looking at you.

Every single person in Class 3-A was wrong, Bakugou Katsuki was a fucking romantic.

“Bakugou, I feel like I’m about to pass out again.” Todoroki informed him abruptly, and Bakugou half rose from his seat, a little frantic.

“Shit, what- Do you want me to get Recovery Girl?” Bakugou looked panicky, hands hovering indecisively. Todoroki quickly, impulsively grabbed his wrist, tugging him back down. He didn’t let go of it immediately, though. Bakugou stared at his fingers wrapped around his wrist with wide eyes.

“No, I just…” Todoroki trailed off as Bakugou’s gaze snapped back up to meet his eyes, and he continued in a quiet mutter. “You saying all this, acting like this… You have to realise how strange this is, for me.”

“Yeah… you and me both.” Bakugou agreed and it was soft, so, so quiet and soft. Todoroki swallowed, slowly, awkwardly letting go of his wrist.

And so… in other words… the reason Bakugou had been avoiding him hadn’t been because he hated him… but because he liked him?

It didn’t make sense but at the same time it did, and Todoroki really, really wanted to cry.

“I… Well, have you… figured it out?” Todoroki asked in the smallest voice he’d ever heard from himself, terrified of getting this damn far and then still facing the prospect of rejection. It was stupid after hearing all this, but anything involving Bakugou was complicated and confusing, so really, the ball was in his court, and anything went right now.

But then Bakugou reached out and grabbed his hand, clasping it tightly yet somehow almost tenderly in both of his, and Todoroki heard his answer loud and clear.

“After I saw you about to get hit and almost lost my shit… yeah. I figured it out.” Bakugou murmured, pain and raw emotion flickering in his eyes briefly, and the way he gripped Todoroki’s hand, the way he stared at him, achingly soft but intense at the same time… that said it all. His hand tightened around Todoroki’s almost a little desperately, and that was Bakugou soundlessly whispering I want this.

Todoroki bit the inside of his cheek, sharply, to stay in control of himself. To stay still and be normal, as if his heart wasn’t soaring. Bakugou was watching him carefully, and suddenly it didn’t matter if he saw, and what he saw. Todoroki offered him a crooked, somewhat tired smile.

“Well, you already know how I feel, don’t you?” Todoroki asked a little wryly, but Bakugou surprised him by pausing, eyes narrowing just a little in thought.

“...No. I can’t say for sure. I think I’m better at reading you now, but… not that good yet.” Bakugou replied, sounding completely genuine and honest, and well, fuck, was he dense? How could he not tell? Or maybe… he was just being cautious, the little flicker in his eyes told Todoroki. This type of thing must be extremely foreign and serious to Bakugou, after all.

Slowly, Bakugou leaned forward and lifted Todoroki’s hand, still grasped in his own, up to his mouth and brushed his lips lightly over Todoroki’s fingertips. Todoroki’s heart thumped, painfully hard. There was a look of resolve, perhaps determination burning in his eyes now, as he swallowed and spoke again. “I want… I want a chance to get better at it. At knowing and reading you.”

Todoroki blinked. He took his time translating in his mind from Bakugou-speak to the normal Japanese language, and blinked again, a small, amused smile tugging at his lips even as his heart fluttered and his cheeks warmed.

“Are you asking me out?” Todoroki tried not to sound like he was laughing, but amazingly, instead of scowling at him Bakugou just ducked his head a little and gave him an almost embarrassed, lopsided grin.

“Depends on your answer.” Bakugou chose to be difficult till the end, and Todoroki just stared at him for a moment, chest swelling with all the warmth and emotion the stupid, pretty boy before him had ever caused. Then he wriggled his hand out of Bakugou’s grasp, reached forward, and grabbed the collar of his shirt with both hands.

“I’ve been very obviously in love with you for months now, you fucking idiot.” Todoroki breathed, tugging Bakugou forward and finally, after thinking about it every day for so long, kissing him.

It wasn’t a magical first kiss, not that he’d expected anything better of them. It was a little clumsy as Bakugou lurched forward at the sudden move and had to grab onto the headboard and the edge of the bed for support, and Todoroki himself had no experience with kissing at all. Their noses bumped and their teeth clicked and it was overall not amazing, and Todoroki was about to pull back to try again when he felt Bakugou’s hand against the side of his face, holding it steady. Todoroki twitched in surprise, eyes fluttering open a fraction at the feeling of that big, strong, callused hand cupping his cheek so carefully.

Bakugou rested his knee against the edge of the bed and shifted to get a better angle, and the position still wasn’t ideal, but he seemed to take that in his stride. He pulled back just a little to kiss him again properly, tilting his head just so, and…

Oh.

Todoroki squeezed his eyes shut, lips parting in a silent gasp.

Kirishima had been right, Bakugou’s lips were a little dry and chapped. But he kissed him so softly, slotting their mouths together like a caress, and Todoroki felt his brain evaporate.

His hands remained fisted in Bakugou’s shirt uselessly, entire body feeling a little numb as Bakugou moved his lips against his slowly, gently, like he had all the time in the world for this, just for him. The warm hand holding his face, the thumb stroking his cheek a little coaxed him to tentatively return the kiss, clumsily trying to match Bakugou’s pace and… mouth movements. Fuck, he really had no idea what he was doing.

He could feel Bakugou’s lips curve in amusement as he felt Todoroki attempt to reciprocate in all his inexperienced glory, and felt his face burn. Jeez, was Bakugou choosing this moment to make fun of him? He didn’t know what to do with his mouth, yeah, but he was trying. He went to push him away to give him an earful about it, but Bakugou didn’t budge, not even moving back an inch. He did break off the kiss however, laughing quietly, a little breathily against his lips. Todoroki tried not to squirm at the feeling of the hot puffs of air fanning over his skin.

“Don’t think too much. It’s just a kiss, dumbass. You’re tensed up like you’re going to war.” Bakugou was indeed choosing to mock him, but his tone was low and quiet and raspy, warm with amusement in an incredibly intimate way that made a shiver run up Todoroki’s spine.

“Sorry I’m not naturally gifted at this shit.” Todoroki muttered a little petulantly, and Bakugou just laughed again, barely even audible, and moved his hand to the back of his neck, still gentle. Todoroki’s mind was hazy, senses all tingling and numb and useless at the soft touches, and he almost wished Bakugou was being rough as usual, just so Todoroki could find his footing again. But this was nice. So, so nice.

“Mm, you’re fine. Like I said, don’t think too much. Just focus on me.” Bakugou murmured, voice smooth and velvety when it had no business to be and Todoroki was convinced his brain was going to melt straight out of his ears soon.

Then Bakugou kissed him again, soft and brief, before nipping at his bottom lip.

Todoroki made a small, terribly suggestive sound that he was not proud of.

The lazy spark of heat at the base of his spine lingered even after Bakugou twitched back a little in surprise, and Todoroki squeezed his eyes shut even tighter.

“Sensitive?” Bakugou breathed, teeth replaced by the pad of a finger brushing over his lip and making him shiver all over again.

“Fuck you?” Todoroki had no idea why it came out as a question, and Bakugou just laughed again, a little dry and breathless.

“Wouldn’t have thought you’d be sensitive at all. That’s hot.” Bakugou hummed appreciatively, and Todoroki felt like his face was on fire. (It was not, a quick check that his Quirk was under control confirmed)

“I… I’m just…” Todoroki felt and sounded a little helpless, and Bakugou gave a quiet, soft groan.

“Why do I feel like a forty year old pervert all of a sudden.” Bakugou pulled back and muttered seemingly to himself, and Todoroki cracked open an eye to give him a look. The sudden dry comment thankfully cleared Todoroki’s head and let him regain his footing a little.

“My virgin ass gets you excited, old man?” Todoroki deadpanned with the flattest expression he could manage, and Bakugou wrinkled his nose.

“That’s disgusting, stop that.” Bakugou replied flatly and Todoroki shrugged. Yeah, it was, but he walked right into that.

“You’re the one getting allegedly perverted thoughts from a bit of kissing. I’m pure. An innocent virgin. Keep your grimy predator hands away from me.” Todoroki spoke in monotone and Bakugou groaned in defeat as Todoroki snickered a little at his suffering.

“Good job you repulsive shit, you completely killed my boner. Dunno if I ever wanna kiss you again.” Bakugou stated bluntly and Todoroki found himself immediately tightening his grip on his shirt, knowing he wasn’t being serious but panicking a little anyway.

“No, don’t say that. I want more. Kiss me again.” Todoroki demanded quietly but firmly, and Bakugou just laughed… really, laughed.

It was bright and genuinely amused, not that nasty, sneering laugh Bakugou reserved for enemies and general trash talking, and Todoroki felt himself fall in love all over again. He wanted to hear that again. He wanted to make him laugh more.

“You just pouted, Ice Prince. What happened to your tough guy image?” Bakugou drawled, casually flicking Todoroki’s lower lip with a finger and making him fight down the urge to squirm again.

“What is this cold image of mine you guys talk about, I don’t get it. I literally just don’t talk much.” Todoroki muttered a little frustratedly, not that it really bothered him but, come on. There were better things to do than talking right now.

Bakugou just grinned at him, eyes softening just a little. Todoroki felt it like a punch to the stomach.

“You’re the first and last thing I will ever admit to finding cute on this planet.” Bakugou actually ruffled his hair as he spoke, eyes warm with affection even as his smirk turned condescending. Todoroki felt his face redden enough to rival the left side of his hair, and he halfheartedly swatted Bakugou’s hand away, feeling his head spin.

“So… you’d find like, aliens cute then, potentially?” Todoroki fished for the first thing he could piece together to say coherently, and Bakugou just gave him the flattest, most unimpressed look.

“First of all, that was so dry even for you, secondly, you just proved me wrong about being cute, you unromantic piece of shit.” Bakugou sat back in his chair with a decisive scoff, and Todoroki just raised an eyebrow, though he knew Bakugou wasn’t seriously annoyed.

“Are you being purposefully romantic right now, then?” Todoroki asked, genuinely curious if this was Bakugou’s version of romance. If he was actually trying, which would be incredibly cute but also really funny, not that Todoroki could say that if he wanted to stay alive.

“No. Just being honest. And honestly speaking, you’re pretty shit at this.” Bakugou drawled and Todoroki found himself smothering a grin anyway. Fuck, what was it about Bakugou that made him want to smile even when he wasn’t saying anything funny?

“Hm. Do you want me to start calling you darling and writing poetry for you?” Todoroki presented him a bland look, and Bakugou shot him a narrow eyed glare, obviously abhorred by the mere idea. Which just made Todoroki snicker, because yeah, of course he would be, and of course Todoroki would never make himself do that shit for anyone.

“Do that and I’ll snap your fucking neck, I don’t care if you’re my boyfriend or not.” Bakugou growled with a serious hint of a threat in his tone, and Todoroki would’ve laughed some more except he paused, and looked at him.

Bakugou stared back, lips tightening as his eyes slowly dawned with horror.

“Did you just call me your boyfriend?” Todoroki asked, and Bakugou gave a high pitched, strangled noise.

“No? Fuck off? No, you, fuck- shut up and go to hell.” Bakugou seemed to be choking on mortification as he scowled his deepest, most aggressive scowl, and he sprung up from his chair to leave. Ever the drama queen. Todoroki just rolled his eyes and reached forward to grab ahold of his wrist again, tight and unrelenting, so he couldn’t run away just because he was a little embarrassed. How could Bakugou sometimes magically turn on the charm and make Todoroki blush all kinds of unflattering shades, but also sometimes make him feel like he was babysitting a particularly difficult problem child? Duality, Todoroki mused.

“Fine, will you be mine then?” Todoroki asked bluntly, and Bakugou froze, as if this was what made him shy, as if they hadn’t just confessed and kissed each other a minute ago. Todoroki almost laughed. Why were they both messes…

Bakugou slowly sat back down, tugging his wrist out of Todoroki’s grip to grab his hand again, intertwining their fingers a little hesitantly. The scowl on his face was definitely embarrassed now, and his cheeks were a little pink as Todoroki tightened his fingers.

“...Yes you shithead, alright, we’re dating, hurray. Don’t make this weird.” Bakugou muttered quickly, awkwardly, and Todoroki wanted to coo at him. Instead he scooted over on the bed and patted the spot beside him. Bakugou stared at him blankly and Todoroki held back a sigh.

“I’m a tired patient. I’m allowed to stay in bed and I wanna go back to sleep. Keep me company for a bit longer.” Todoroki patted the bed again patiently, and Bakugou blinked, mouth opening a little and a small strangled sound coming out.

“Are you- Do you want- Are you telling me to fucking cuddle you?” Bakugou’s voice definitely cracked as he forced the words out, and Todoroki almost snorted at the mild panic in his eyes, and the way he’d half risen from his seat but remained hovering midair, like he didn’t know what to do with himself.

“If you don’t want to that’s fine…” Todoroki could barely suppress his laughter, to which Bakugou flipped him off and climbed onto the bed with a scowl. Ah, he was so cute. Todoroki lifted an amused eyebrow. “Not that I can say much, but I’m guessing you’ve never cuddled anyone before, Mr Allergic To Human Contact? Here, let me teach you what a hug is, you take your arms, and you put them arou- oof.”

Todoroki blinked, having suddenly been yanked down to lie against Bakugou’s chest, with warm, strong arms wrapped around him snugly. Oh.

“...Mm, looks like you’ve got it. Good job.” Todoroki mumbled, hiding his silly grin into Bakugou’s shirt. Forget butterflies, there were caged birds flapping away in his stomach as he shifted to get comfortable, feeling Bakugou’s warmth surrounding his body and his erratic heartbeat beneath his palm.

“Shut the fuck up and go to sleep already.” Bakugou huffed and Todoroki could somehow hear his blush. Bakugou tightened his grip just a little to hold him more securely and Todoroki’s heart skipped that proverbial beat. He could melt, he really could. Fuck, he was so stupidly happy right now he could barely believe it.

He shifted and pushed himself up a little to stare at Bakugou, face hovering close, close enough to count his eyelashes and feel his breath fanning over his cheek.

“Don’t you dare kiss other people anymore.” Todoroki warned, keeping his voice light but his gaze hard, and Bakugou didn’t even pause for a moment before replying.

“Of course. I’m not gonna think about doing anything with other people now that I’m with you. I may be a messy dickhead but I’m not gonna stoop that low.” Bakugou’s voice was quiet, and so was the steady look in his pretty eyes, and Todoroki discovered it was the most reassuring, comforting thing he could possibly ask for.

He fought off the biggest, stupidest grin when Bakugou hesitated, eyes darting between his, before a light hand stroked his head. It was a little clumsy and awkward, but it felt nice as Bakugou’s fingers tangled a little in his hair and his expression relaxed a bit, and Todoroki closed his eyes with a soft smile. He scooted upwards and lay back down beside him, resting an arm comfortably across Bakugou’s waist, cheek pressed against his shoulder. He honestly hadn’t been that tired before, but Bakugou’s warmth, his rare quiet stillness, and the careful hand cradling his head was drawing him towards sleep. When he spoke again Todoroki had almost dozed off.

“So I’m the only one that gets to see those smiles?” Bakugou asked quietly, a little rushed, as if he’d been meaning to ask the question for a while now, and Todoroki shifted to rest his cheek a little better, eyes still closed.

“Hm…?” Todoroki’s hum was lazy and drowsy, and Bakugou began stroking his hair again, with light, barely there brushes of his fingertips.

“I mean… I’m not stupid, I had some inkling that you might’ve liked me a bit pretty early back, but I wasn’t sure this whole time I guess… because I didn’t know if anyone else could make you smile like that. I… hoped no one else could.” Bakugou almost trailed off into a mumble at the end, coughing a little and immediately taking his hand away to preserve whatever pride was acting up now. Todoroki glanced at him in surprise, though, at those words. Had Bakugou been thinking about his smile for a long time now…? Bakugou met his gaze and quickly flicked his eyes away, clearing his throat and scowling a little. But his cheeks were dusted pink and Todoroki felt his heart sing. He lowered his head again and smiled into his shirt, admittedly feeling a little shy, that Bakugou apparently liked seeing his smile.

“They can’t. Only you and your loud, vulgar mouth can.” Todoroki confirmed with a little laugh, and Bakugou snorted.

“Why do you even like me?” Bakugou asked dryly, and Todoroki paused. It sounded like a joke… but also a bit like Bakugou genuinely wanted to hear his answer, in a bit of a cautious way.

“It’s not like you to doubt yourself.” Todoroki murmured, drumming his fingers lightly against Bakugou’s side.

“I’m not. But I know objectively I’m not an appealing romantic option. I don’t try to be. And you’re a rational person.” Bakugou pointed out, and Todoroki considered this for a moment. He could tell Bakugou every little thing that he liked about him… but sometimes it was best to keep things simple with Bakugou. As long as he said the important things now, he’d have many chances to say the rest later.

“You know, honestly I asked myself the same thing in the beginning. Genuinely questioned that rationality of mine. But… I guess… you’re just you. And you’re proud and unashamed of it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Todoroki replied softly, and paused to laugh quietly to himself, letting out a small, contented sigh. “And you just make me happy, fuck. You just somehow make me want to smile and laugh all the time, and even though you’re an asshole I can’t help but adore every part of you.”

Bakugou didn’t say anything for a while, and when he did speak his voice was a little rough, like something was stuck in his throat.

“God, you’re like… fucking perfect for me, aren’t you. Fucking perfect already anyway.” Bakugou muttered gruffly and Todoroki squeezed his eyes shut tight in slight embarrassment at that, heart fluttering as he clutched Bakugou’s shirt in his fist.

“I’m not… but… but I like hearing that from you.” Todoroki mumbled, knowing he was sporting pink on his cheeks as Bakugou nudged him and got him to open his eyes and look at him again.

“Yeah? I’ll say it more often then.” Bakugou’s voice had a bit of a teasing edge even as his own blush remained, and he leaned in close to cup Todoroki’s face and press a quick kiss to his nose. He dropped down to a conspiratorial whisper, and Todoroki felt his heart thud violently at the hint of an unfamiliar, charmingly playful smile resting on his lips as he spoke. “That you’re perfect to me.”

Todoroki hit Bakugou’s chest, a little harder than perhaps necessary as his cheeks flamed, and frowned at Bakugou’s amused smirk. His relaxed, pretty red eyes sparkled. They fucking sparkled. Todoroki was sure he was going insane. “Shut up. I did not sign up for you being good at this shit. Go back to yelling at me.”

“Oh, I will. But not right now, not in the mood.” Bakugou gave a lazy shrug and casually pulled Todoroki closer into his body. Todoroki squirmed a little but wrapped his arms around him tightly, burying his face into his neck.

“You actually have moods when you don’t wanna yell at me?” Todoroki muttered, voice a little muffled, and Bakugou snorted, pressing a light kiss to his hair.

“Apparently. You’re making it pretty hard to get upset, like this.” Bakugou pointed out, somehow sounding equal parts shy and smug as he poked Todoroki’s shoulder to gesture at the way Todoroki was currently clinging onto him, he guessed.

“Aw, you’re a cuddler.” Todoroki drawled a little mockingly, just to get back at him. Bakugou gave a disgruntled hiss and hit his shoulder sharply, making him laugh.

“I take everything the fuck back.”

~

They didn’t really tell anyone about it, and they hadn’t changed much at all in public. They weren’t purposefully keeping it a secret from their classmates, but neither of them were into PDA and it was just comfortable like this.

Midoriya had tentatively asked Todoroki if everything was alright again when Bakugou and Todoroki were on speaking terms again and went back to hanging out like before. Todoroki had only nodded and gave a little smile, but Midoriya seemed to immediately get it. He didn’t say anything, but gave Todoroki’s shoulder a supportive squeeze.

Not much had changed, he and Bakugou still studied together, talked late at night in the dorm kitchen, and sat together while Bakugou napped on the grass. Todoroki still found any opportunity to annoy him and Bakugou would still threaten him a violent death with creative and then not so creative insults every time.

But at the same time, everything had changed. Bakugou would speak to him sometimes in that soft, quiet voice when they were alone, his gaze would linger on him when he left the room and now Todoroki would look back at him and catch that stare. It was totally unexpected but Bakugou was completely fine with physical human contact (at least from Todoroki… he still saw him attempt to blow Kaminari’s arm off for resting it around his shoulders in class once etc). He never complained when Todoroki leant against his side and made himself comfortable, he would rest his head in Todoroki’s lap when they were studying sometimes, and he would sometimes randomly reach out and grab Todoroki’s hand, just to hold it.

It was amazing. Todoroki could just look and touch whenever he wanted to, now.

And Bakugou would stop and just give him that look so much more often now, more openly and with a tiny whisper of a happy, appreciative little smile resting on his lips. Todoroki couldn’t put into words what that look did to him, how much he loved the way it made him feel.

And Bakugou also really liked giving him those soft little kisses. He wouldn’t have expected it in a million years, he would’ve thought kissing Bakugou Katsuki was sure to be an aggressive, blood-drawing, messy affair, but Bakugou must’ve picked up that Todoroki wasn’t necessarily ready for much more right now. And so he would plant these little kisses on his lips, his cheek, his hair, the back of his neck, his shoulder, chaste and undemanding, just purely affectionate. God, it was just so strange associating the words affectionate and touchy with Bakugou, but he really was.

And he would give Todoroki things sometimes, just little things like snacks, or a new pair of socks because Todoroki’s were wearing through, and once he got him a simple black bracelet out of the blue, carelessly tossing it at him and saying he just bought it for no reason. But there was an identical one on his own wrist.

It took Todoroki a couple of hours after receiving it to realise it’d been exactly a month since they started dating, so he guessed that counted as the first and last anniversary gift he could expect to receive from him. He didn’t say anything to Bakugou because he clearly wanted to keep it lowkey and casual, but the sentiment was there. And he never took the bracelet off, from that day on. These little, thoughtful or romantic things Bakugou would do and pass off with a sneer or a scowl kept surprising him, and it was all Todoroki could do to keep himself from giving him a sweet kiss in thanks whenever they were in public and he was thrown something or another.

Verbally Bakugou still tore Todoroki a new one in every other sentence and offered to rearrange his facial features every day. Since his confession, he hadn’t said anything affectionate or intimate to him again. But it was fine, that wasn’t how they communicated anyway. And how could he not be reassured of Bakugou’s feelings when the guy would practically start petting him if they were alone and sitting beside each other?

He loved every second of it.

He’d told Kirishima before once, that he didn’t know what to do about his feelings for Bakugou because he wasn’t the romantic, hand holding type. How wonderful it felt to be proven wrong everyday.

Affection wasn’t the only thing that was introduced into Todoroki’s life. Bakugou was surprisingly prone to catching colds, and even more surprisingly, was very needy during them. They were never serious, it would just last a few days or so, and in public you could barely even tell, since Bakugou would usually rather die than show weakness. Apparently a third of the time he’d spent with Todoroki had been while he was sick, and Todoroki could just never tell until Bakugou allowed himself to show it, and then became endearingly clingy and dependent in private whenever he was sick now.

Another surprising discovery was that Bakugou had a very, unexpectedly, cute sneeze. It was nothing like what he would automatically imagine, loud and aggressive and awful like Bakugou’s normal speaking voice. No, it was small and quiet, and his head would sharply shake a little bit as he sneezed as if from recoil, reminding Todoroki of various videos of kittens on the Internet, and sometimes he would actually make a little squeaking noise, somehow.

Todoroki had never been happier to welcome enraged attempts on his life whenever he would coo at and fawn over Bakugou when that adorable little sneeze came out.

By the third time in two months Todoroki had put up with (who was he kidding, he adored it) Bakugou sleepily asking him for things like a hoodie or more water every hour or so in the dorms, and waking up to Bakugou burrowing into his chest and making him hold him snugly and stroke his hair until he fell asleep every night until he got better, Todoroki was sure this wasn’t normal, and asked him about it.

Bakugou had just pressed himself closer to Todoroki who warmed his entire body up, forcing the heat from his left side to transfer over to his right side too, as much as possible. He’d mumbled with closed eyes and a sniffly nose against Todoroki’s chest, that because his sweat was different than other people, and his day to day training relied on making himself sweat a lot, he would fluctuate between being very hot and very cold all day. Kind of inadvertently similar to Todoroki, but Todoroki could control it. And so Bakugou had been getting these minor colds regularly since he was four, apparently. It was a very unexpected little drawback to his seemingly perfect, powerful, invincible Quirk.

It made Todoroki feel a little protective, and he didn’t tell anyone about it of course, since he knew Bakugou wouldn’t like that, and he quietly put extra care and effort into taking care of him whenever he got sick.

And it was little things like these that Todoroki cherished, like looking out for each other, taking care of each other, helping each other improve in all aspects, and spending time in each other’s presence even when they had nothing to talk about. Some things, even though Bakugou didn’t say them out loud, Todoroki heard through their daily bickering and the quiet way Bakugou would rest his head against Todoroki’s shoulder at night.

Just as Todoroki wasn’t ready for any physical developments in their relationship, he could tell Bakugou was perhaps hesitating a little with expressing his emotions using words since that talk, on the day they started dating. It would be nice to hear sometime, but honestly, it was all fine.

~

They were sitting with their classmates for lunch today, Kirishima having called together the entire class at a few dragged together tables. Just for fun, apparently. Todoroki didn’t question and just went along with it. He was feeling much more at ease and relaxed with… everything, nowadays. Bakugou just scowled and swore as usual but Todoroki subtly squeezed his hand and he acquiesced to join them with a sigh. It was really, very nice.

He didn’t even remember what his classmates had said, but he was in such a good mood he actually laughed out loud properly along with the rest of the group at some silly joke or another. He caught Bakugou staring at him out of the corner of his eye, having gone still beside him.

He glanced at him curiously and oh… that look. But it was so much more intense than usual, so much brighter and fiercer yet softer and warmer at the same time… Todoroki guessed this was the first time Bakugou had seen him laugh fully and properly before. And… he seemed to like it.

Todoroki just turned to him and smiled, big and bright with closed eyes and bared teeth. He was just so, so happy and at peace with everything right now. He was surrounded by his friends and classmates and enjoying their wild, energetic conversations, he had his perpetually angry but nonetheless lovely boyfriend beside him… There was no reason not to smile, really.

He felt a hand against the side of his neck and his smile dropped as he opened his eyes in surprise, just in time to see Bakugou leaning in and kissing him firmly on the lips.

In front of everyone.

Todoroki’s eyes widened and his cheeks reddened immediately as he just sat there frozen at the sudden bold move, and his classmates shrieked. The sound was deafening and drew the entire cafeteria’s attention to their class.

“Holy fucking shit!”

“It happened, it happened! It finally-”

“Oh my God, Bakugou!”

“Fuck! My entire life is complete now! Fuck!”

“Kacchan… Todoroki-kun…”

“Jeez Blasty, take it to your room!”

“Oh my goodness, Shouto…”

“Bakugou, my man! I can’t believe-”

Bakugou ignored all of them, pulling away to give Todoroki that look still, soft and intimate and - he thought he could put a name to it now - adoring.

“Katsuki, we’re in the middle of the cafeteria…” Todoroki mumbled, not that he was really embarrassed, just severely taken by surprise. And, well… that look always made him a little shy, and it just seemed too personal for anyone else to see. Which was currently, basically everyone.

He saw Ashido grab Kaminari violently and practically bang their heads together.

“He. Called. Him. Katsuki. Do you know what that means?! They fuckin’!”

“Hate to agree with you but yeah, they fuckin’.”

Todoroki blushed harder at that, fidgeting a little. They weren’t, but still. He stared at Bakugou a little imploringly. “Seriously, stop looking at me like that, say something-”

“I love you.” Bakugou cut him off quietly, and anything Todoroki might’ve said died on his tongue.

Fuck.

Todoroki swallowed, feeling tears threaten to prick at his eyes. Fuck, he never cried, yet Bakugou had made him want to out of sheer intensity of emotion twice now, this was stupid.

That was the first time Bakugou had said that to him. And he knew how heavy those words were to him, how serious they must be for him to have said it out loud at all. Todoroki had been quietly waiting for them, a little, after the first time he’d said them to Bakugou himself a couple of months ago, but they still came as a shock.

“You do?” Todoroki asked weakly anyway, and Bakugou just snorted, lightly flicking his forehead.

“Yeah. But you already knew.” Bakugou shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal, but both of them, and probably everyone else in their entire school as well, knew it was. Todoroki bit his lip, barely able to contain the happiness and emotion swelling in his body and feeling ready to burst.

“We’re still. In the cafeteria, you know. You could’ve picked a more romantic time to say it.” Todoroki muttered, not that he was complaining for real. No, this was perfect, mild embarrassment and all.

“Okay first, I don’t want to hear shit about that. You know for a fact I’m the romantic one in this relationship because you’re fucking inept so shut your trap. And… Shouto, I really don’t give a shit about other people here, I only see you right now. You looked so beautiful laughing just then… so I just wanted to say it.” Bakugou spoke with such brazen confidence and bluntness, eyes not wavering from his for a second, and Todoroki felt like he could die on the spot. As apparently, could his classmates, who were falling all over themselves at that line.

Bakugou was still staring steadily at him, as he growled at Jirou and Kaminari, “But I will blow up your fucking phones so you better stop recording right the fuck now and delete it before I delete you.”

Phones were hastily put away but Todoroki could barely focus on anything else, reaching forward for Bakugou’s hand and intertwining their fingers together. He felt a little overwhelmed, but in the best possible way.

“I love you too.” Todoroki replied simply, a pleasant lump in his throat, and the entire cafeteria went nuts. Jesus. Everyone really, really needed a hobby. But it was kind of funny, and kind of nice, and Todoroki found himself grinning despite himself, staring at his pretty, angry, amazing boyfriend throughout the whole commotion.

~