Ayame Shionoya was sure she'd broken the record of how fast one could develop nerves of steel in the workplace.
Her resume was nothing impressive; average grades in school, a degree in Social Education, a long trail of retail jobs since age fourteen and an unimpressive but practical quirk that allowed her to transfer words into paper with a thought; perfect for a writing job if she ever got the creativity for it.
She had been working her third year as an assistant in a local preschool when she came upon the job offer online. The job listed asked for a secretary slash assistant for an up-and-coming hero agency, and the only requirement was the ability to work under pressure! No especial studies or experience needed.
Ayame had been thinking of finding a new job where she could put in practice her education in more adult social situations, but with her lack of experience in the area she had to stay put at the taxing job of chasing after babies day after day, most already experimenting with their brand new, dangerous quirks.
So when she got a call back for an interview for the secretary position, she jumped in front of the mirror and practiced answers for every possible question over and over again. The job offer didn't go into much detail as to what agency it was or who she would be working for, but she was willing to put any sketchy feelings behind her for the chance.
Being called in by pro-hero Red Riot himself in gym clothes had been an experience.
“Shionoya-san? Thank you so much for coming!” He greeted her with that big shark-toothed smile of his, the same one he gave his fans after punching his way through a collapsed building to rescue a trapped old lady. “Ah, sorry about my clothes, we're actually very casual here so you don't need to worry!”
She could only nod, gaping dumbfounded at him as he just laughed and motioned for her to follow. He walked her through the first floor of the building, passing by the kitchen--where she was absolutely sure she saw hero Chargebolt napping on the floor—and into a little office that was clearly usually empty, if the hastily placed and mismatched table and chairs were any indication.
Red Riot took a seat on the farthest chair and motioned for Ayame to sit across from him. He leaned forward, arms resting on his knees as he shuffled through the papers strewn over the table.
“Why can't Mina just set these things down in a stack” He mumbled with a small frown, finally pulling out a sheet with an exaggerated flourish of his hand. “There we go. Now, I'm no HR guy, but we started this agency really recently and we've had some, uh, trouble getting staff” He cleared his throat. “So I'll be conducting your interview. I'm sorry if it's not what you expected” He said, a sheepish grin on his face as he scratched the back of his neck. God how did he expect anyone to ever be mad at him.
“N-No! It's alright, don't worry” She said. “I just wasn't expecting Red Riot himself to meet me for this...”
The hero smiled even brighter somehow. “Please, call me Kirishima”
The interview went unexpectedly well for something that was obviously arranged last minute. He read over her resume and asked her what experience she felt each of her jobs had given her and how it could help her in this position, how did she feel about the hectic pro-hero schedules she would be subjected to, her salary expectations and other basic questions Kirishima had most likely looked up online.
The surprise came at the very end.
“So tell me, what are you working on right now?”
“Well, I'm an assistant at a preschool” She answered, hunching slightly. It wasn't an answer she liked giving, but it was necessary to be honest. “Been for the past three years, almost”
Something interesting happened then. Kirishima had pinned his eyes on her faster than she thought was physically possible, and his friendly demeanor changed into a serious expression that felt terribly unnatural on his usually smiling face. He straightened up and set her resume back on the table, bringing his hands up to cover his mouth in thought. For a few seconds that felt like years, he just stared at her.
“How many of those kids have quirks?” He finally asked, shocking Ayame with how unexpected it was.
“Uh, around two thirds of them? They're still pretty young”
Kirishima hummed. “And would you say their quirks are dangerous without control?”
She thought for a moment. “Well, one of them can summon storms. Every time she sneezes there's a clap of thunder, and sometimes during nap time she'll accidentally summon black clouds” She rubbed her arm at remembering it. “She's zapped most of the staff on accident already. We make the kids wear rubber boots to prevent harm”
Surprisingly, that made Kirishima recover his smile. “Great! I think we're done with the interview” He quickly stood up, Ayame scrambling to follow him as he opened the door for her. He walked next to her as he brought her back to the entrance. They passed by the kitchen again—Chargebolt was nowhere to be found, instead Cellophane was too busy riffling through the fridge to notice them—and finally they stopped just short of the main doors. “Thank you so much for coming. I'll just go through my notes and we'll contact you soon, okay?”
Ayame nodded a bit more enthusiastically than she usually would. “Yes! Of course, I'll be waiting to hear from you, Red Ri—Kirishima-san” She quickly corrected herself, bowing slightly as he chuckled.
With how weird that meeting had gone, she didn't know what to expect. His reaction at her current job was what worried her the most; had she already lost her chance? But then again those questions he made at the end...
It all came to a halt a week later, when she receiver a call from an unknown number, an enthusiastic female voice asking her when she could start. It took a few tries and a voice in the background of the caller to realize she was telling Ayame she'd gotten the job.
And so she submitted her two weeks notice and promptly started her new job as the shining new secretary and assistant to the most promising group of rookie heroes of the year.
It was also in her first day where she understood Red Riot's questions in the interview.
“And who the hell are you?”
She jumped on her seat and quickly turned to the angry voice of the blond man who had just walked through into the building. Of course she'd recognize the messy hair and deep frown even without the mask.
“G-Ground Zero, sir. Good morning” She stood up and bowed deeply, almost hitting her head on the desk. “I'm Shionoya Ayame, today's my first day he--”
“Yeah, yeah” He waved her off, fixing his bag strap on his shoulder. “Ground rules: Don't bother me unless it's an emergency. If I'm out on duty don't call me unless it's an emergency. Don't be late to your shift. Keep your workplace clean and all that shit. And don't wake up Chargebolt unless you're wearing an electric insulator; there's rubber gloves under the sink for that” He pointed each tip with a finger, always maintaining direct eye contact. “Follow those and we won't have problems, got it?”
“Yes sir” She nodded, valiantly managing to control her shaking legs. To be such a prominent hero, Bakugou Katsuki sure knew how to plant the fear of God into people.
Kirishima had wanted to know about her experience dealing with children and their dangerous, uncontrollable quirks because that's what basically Ground Zero was to him.
During her first week of work she'd managed to follow all the set rules without problem, and learned fast enough that Ground Zero's yelling more often than not had no reason behind it and it was just how he communicated on the daily. She'd grown used to it by the third day, and by Friday she knew to place her hand on top of her coffee cup by instinct alone exactly at 4:55 pm when Bakugou would start making the building tremble with explosions and shouts about how bored he was and how he wanted to clock out already.
The five heroes making the agency—Ground Zero, Red Riot, Chargebolt, Pinky and Cellophane—were, as a group, incredibly charming to the point their collective fanbase far outweighed that of more seasoned heroes such as Present Mic or Kamui Woods. It was no surprise to have hordes of their fans storming into the lobby, trying to get autographs or wanting to deliver gifts to them. They still were in the middle of finding security for the gate so there wasn't much Ayame could do more than ask them to form a line and either receive the gifts or hand out pre-signed autographs to keep them at bay while the heroes were busy or resting. Some of the more rabid fans tried to straight up sneak past her using their quirks to get directly to the heroes. Ayame had to channel all her old preschool authority energy to make them step back, and she suddenly understood Bakugou's attitude a bit more.
After the first month things had calmed down considerably as their Rising Heroes status mellowed out and people got more used to them. They still haven't managed to hire a permanent guard but it was hardly ever necessary anymore; which was why the solitary young man that made his way inside the building an ordinary day wasn't a surprise for her.
In this society where superpowers were the norm, the dark green hair and freckles of the man in front of her were incredibly plain to the point she actually found it outstanding.
“Good morning” He said, sweet and polite. “I'm looking for Ground Zero?”
Aaand there we go.
“I'm sorry, he's not available for the public right now” She said, professional as could be.
He looked a bit dejected, but kept his smile nonetheless. “Oh, is he out on patrol?”
Ayame's lips straightened in a line. “I'm not at liberty to disclose his schedule”
“Oh! Of course, sorry” He scratched the back of his head, sheepish, and it was then she noticed the plastic bag hanging from his wrist. Great. “I'm actually here to drop something off for him”
She had to fight the urge to rub the bridge of her nose. It was fairly common to have fans try to deliver sweets or homemade bentos to their favorite heroes, but the agency had a very strict No Edible Gifts policy, considering you never knew what an, ah, 'overenthusiastic' fan might put in the food, or if one of them was actually a villain in disguise trying to poison them. This man looked fairly harmless but then again, so did the girl who sent Kaminari the cake filled with actual, honest to god sand mixed in the dough—actually a fan of Pinky who thought the electric hero was stealing too much attention from her, for some reason.
“I have instructions of not accepting edible packages” She explained, hoping it would get him to go away. If it turned major she would usually just call someone for help but today all five heroes were out on patrol.
The man nodded. “I know, I thought he might've been here to receive it personally” He smiled, and it made Ayame's mood even more sour. God, Bakugou's personality was rubbing on her.
It didn't seem he was getting the message, and she refused to be rude least she got a complaint and a write up, so she decided to just take the peaceful route. “Alright, I could hold it for you and tell him once he's available. Would that work?”
He beamed at her, and his smile was somehow brighter than All Might's himself. “Yeah! Thank you so much. I have so much to get done today and I wasn't sure if I could get here on time and I actually wanted to arrive before he left but the hero life is so hectic you know, you never know what's going to happen so I must've taken that into consideration but he's usually so strict about his schedule I was so sure I would've found him here--” He'd started muttering.
Clearing her throat was all it took to get him to snap out of it, apologizing as he slid the bag across the desk and accepted the stick-it note and pen to write his name on it. True to his word as soon as it was done he left in a hurry, once again thanking her and apologizing for the bother.
It almost made Ayame feel bad when she threw the bag away. She would not be incurring in the wrath of Ground Zero for giving him a potentially adulterated package from an unknown person. Not again.
Two hours later, when all heroes returned covered in dust and bruises from a fight against a wannabe villain, she reported the occurrences of the day and distributed the mail for them as she always did before leaving for lunch.
“Hey, Froot Loop” Bakugou called her, the nickname she'd been designated with as per his custom because of her naturally multicolored hair. “Is my food here?”
She blinked at him, looking through her emails to see if she'd missed any of his messages. “Ah, I wasn't aware you ordered something. Do you want me to check it out?”
“I didn't order shit. I forgot it at home and my husband was gonna bring it earlier” He said, and Ayame felt her stomach sink to her knees.
“Your...your husband, sir?”
He regarded her with wary eyes, deciding if her tone was of genuine curiosity or something worse he didn't want to deal with. He must've decided on the former, as his shoulders dropped a fraction and he nodded. “Yeah, husband. Short, green hair and eyes, freckles. Plainest-faced motherfucker to ever walk the Earth”
Oh she was so fired.
She bit her lip, looking at her feet. “Oh...uh, hmm I, there was, you see I--”
“Fucking speak properly, goddammit” Bakugou said. “I don't have time to see you relearn all the stupid alphabet”
“I threw it away, sir!” She exclaimed, standing up from her chair to bow deeply in front of him. “I didn't know he was your husband and the policy of edible gifts and, and I know you don't like when I accept fans' gifts for you when you're not here but I should've asked you anyway I'm so sorry!”
The single breath it took to get all those words out left Bakugou blinking at her, his head lolling slightly from side to side as he got rid of the cricks in his neck. His arm moved and she flinched, hoping the blast would at least not burn her hair, but the explosion never came and she only heard him snorting.
She opened her eyes and saw him reaching into the concealed zipper on his suit for his wallet (“Practically invisible, doesn't hinder the hero job and the pocket can withstand the power of three Ground Zero's!” or so the commercial by Mei Hatsume said). He pulled out a couple of bills and held them in her direction.
“Go to the place around the corner and get me something for lunch; tell them it's for me and they'll know what I like. Leave the change as tip or whatever”
Ayame still hadn't gotten used to the fact her heart was still beating. “S-Sir?”
“Am I speaking Russian here? Go!” He growled, setting the money down before walking away into the building to change.
She made sure to turn off her computer and lock the doors behind her before hurrying to the little restaurant—thank god she wasn't required to wear heels—and grimacing at the knowing look the waiter gave her when she mentioned who the order was for; seemed it wasn't unusual for Bakugou to send the others in his place when he just didn't want to deal with social interaction. It was ready soon enough that she could go back before anyone needed to go in while she wasn't at her place.
Bakugou was waiting there, leaning back against the desk as he scrolled through his phone, clean civilian clothes catching the drops of water falling from his still damp hair from the shower. He stood up straight when she arrived and accepted the bag she handed him, muttering out a small 'thanks' and letting her walk around back to her chair.
He didn't leave immediately, instead resting the bag on the desk and tapping away at his phone. He turned it around and showed her what he'd pulled up.
A photo of the same young man that had come before with the bento—Bakugou's husband. He was sitting on a booth, staring down intensely at a banana split with his spoon raised as if he was developing a whole tactical plan on where to start eating it. The picture was obviously a candid and it was unexpectedly cute of Bakugou to have taken something like that.
“This is him. His name's Izuku but everyone here calls him Deku. He knows I don't accept visitors at work unless it's an emergency so he won't push but he is allowed to drop off stuff for me” He listed off.
She nodded, knowing she wouldn't forget his face but putting an extra show of looking at the picture in detail because, for some reason, she felt like Bakugou was showing off.
He picked up the bag and made for the kitchen, nearly making it all the way to the door when Ayame spoke.
“Sir!” She called out. “I, um, I was wondering why...am I not fired?” She flinched. Maybe that wasn't the best way to word the question.
Bakugou tilted his head at her, and it was way cuter than it had any right to be. “Why would you be?”
“I...threw away the lunch your husband brought you?” God was she ever going to be able to speak to him without turning every sentence into a question?
To her surprise, he snorted and rolled his eyes. “So? You did your job. I told you not to accept anything for me if I wasn't here, and to not call me when I'm out on patrol” He scratched the back of his head. “Also I neglected telling you about him, so that's on me. Besides It's not like Deku is as good as cooking as me so no big loss” He said, but she could detect the slightest hint of a pout on his lips. Ah, so he was disappointed he didn't get to eat his husband's homemade food. Adorable.
She smiled. “Understood sir. I'll leave you to your lunch now” He nodded at her and walked off, plastic bag rustling at his side.
During the lulls of the day when there was no work and the other heroes gathered around her desk to chat she took the chance to ask them about Bakugou's husband, since he was the only one who refused to take breaks (“The sooner I finish this fucking paperwork the earlier I can leave!” he'd say). They all seemed really excited to talk about him, and dished out all the info they had of him. He and Bakugou had met when they were just babies and had been together all the way to middle school, since Deku was quirkless and had gone to other high school while Bakugou went to UA. The name “Deku” came from Bakugou misreading the kanji in his name and had gained track when his quirk never presented. At first Bakugou tried to push Deku away when he was diagnosed quirkless but a well placed punch to Bakugou's face had made him back down and accept his best friend was not so completely useless, but the nickname had stuck.
Deku had gone to a prestigious high school because of his grades and since he was let out earlier he'd go wait for Bakugou outside UA every evening, which was when the rest of them met him. They'd actually started dating on the second year of high school, a week after Bakugou had been weirdly quiet and culminated in him marching towards Deku after class and just pulling him in for a kiss without warning. Apparently they'd had something going on but none of them knew where it was going and Bakugou decided to just take the wheel and hope it'd go well. It did. They got married a year ago and they all agreed Bakugou's mood had never been better since.
Deku was a quirk analyst, a hobby he'd had since school that he'd managed to turn into a profession. He'd regularly go to schools and take appointments with kids who didn't know what to do with their quirks, and Deku would tell them all the practical applications it could have, whether in heroics or more regular jobs; he'd even gotten calls from UA to help when students didn't know how to squeeze every drop from their quirks. They'd even noticed the percentage of villains had steadily been going down since he started, since he was so good at showing kids that even the scariest or 'ugliest' of quirks were amazing on their own, where before they'd usually be shunned and ended up turning to villainy out of spite.
The next time she saw him was when she was coming back from her lunch break, but this time Bakugou was there as well.
He had one arm wrapped around Deku's waist, holding him flush against him as he played with a green curl with the other hand, Deku chattering his ear off about something as he played with the strings of Bakugou's hoodie. Bakugou had a soft smile on his face as his husband went on and on and Ayame made the wise decision of turning around and walking back into the kitchen. She'd avoided getting fired for throwing his—now quite clear—beloved husband's food away; she wasn't about to risk it just because he saw the one time her boss was showing vulnerability.
When they crossed each other in the hallway a few minutes later, a plastic bag was hanging from his wrist and he was quick to erase the smile from his face as she came into view.
He forgot to get rid of the skip on his step, but she wasn't going to mention that.