Bakugou tears through the apartment building and up into the stairwell, his feet carrying him quickly behind Ochako’s moving form. His chest heaves with the effort, metal bat clutched tightly in his fist as a horde of Infected thunders onto the stairs behind them.
“Shit!,” he swears, glancing down over the railing and counting ten Infected on their tail. “Faster, ‘Chako!”
They round the corner to a landing and Ochako bursts through the door and onto the floor. They head for separate apartments; Ochako darting to the end of the hall, Bakugou whipping into the first open apartment he sees. He slams the door behind himself and locks it, a twin slam echoing down the hall. There’s a heartbeat of silence, a split second where Bakugou hears nothing—then the hallway is filled with noise as zombies rush onto their floor, shrieking and banging at the doors with an obscene amount of force.
Bakugou pulls a walkie from his belt and flips the switch, back shoved up against the thudding door, his voice a strained growl as he speaks.
“Where the fuck are you, Half’N’Half?”
The response that comes is too relaxed for Bakugou’s liking. “Calm down, I’m almost there. What floor are you on?”
Ochako’s voice filters through the static before he can answer. “Three, Todoroki.”
Bakugou grunts in agreement, dropping his hand and counting Mississippi-seconds in his head. One Mississippi, two Mississippi—he scans the room for supplies, something to blockade the door--three Mississip—he doesn’t even finish the word before the elevator in the hall dings, signalling its and Todoroki’s arrival. ‘Bout time, Bakugou thinks as the banging on the door halts, and then the hallway is filled with the roaring sound of Todoroki’s flamethrower, and the screeching cries of the zombies who’d interrupted their raid. He waits for the signal, a quick ‘all clear’ over the walkie before he finally pushes himself off the door, hauling it open and peering down the hall towards the charred corpses at Todoroki’s feet. Whatever else there is, he’s just glad Infected burn differently and that Todoroki is good with his ‘thrower; that doesn’t negate that fact that he took his sweet ass time getting to them.
“Took you long enough. The fuck were you doing? Jacking--ow!” Bakugou rubs at the back of his head as Ochako passes him, making her way over the bodies and around to Todoroki.
“Be nice, Bakugou,” she says, scolding, then her face splits into a quick smile. “Thank you, Todoroki.”
He gives her a slight smile in return. “You’re welcome. If you two want to take a look around, I’ll be on lookout. Momo’s in the truck already so we’ll head back when you’re done.” With a nod, Bakugou and Ochako scatter to do a quick sweep of the floor.
They leave a few minutes later, Ochako carrying the few supplies they could find in her arms and backpack. It’s nothing much: a few ace bandages, some rolls of toilet paper, a couple bottles of expired meds and three boxes of mac and cheese. It’ll help, but they’re running low and the town’s not offering much anymore by way of supplies. Depending on what Todoroki and Momo found, they might get a few more weeks out of their compound before they have to move, but Bakugou has a feeling they’ll need to start packing sooner rather than later.
The trip back to the truck is quiet. Any noise and they’ll have another group of zombies on their ass; so they move quietly towards their ride, knowing Momo’s got the keys ready for Bakugou to get them the hell out of there. The three of them study the area as they move, listening diligently for the sounds of more Infected. They’ve been steadily wiping the groups that pop up in the area, sticking to the smaller towns because they’re quieter and reasonably untouched, but in the city things are different. There are zombies nearly everywhere, littering the area and making it irritatingly dangerous. Their group has only visited here one other time--when they first turned up, inexperienced and desperate for supplies. They’d been unprepared for the ravaging attacks from the uncontrolled hordes and in the end, they’d lost one of their own and Bakugou had ended up scarred and delirious from blood loss.
So they take it slowly this time around, steady from building to building until the truck is in sight. Todoroki goes first, his flamethrower at the ready in case any zombies come running from the shadows. He makes it to the truck, hopping up on the bed to keep watch as Ochako shifts quietly into the open. She’s light on her feet, as usual, steps silent across the pavement and rubble towards their friends. Bakugou scans the area before he goes. There’s a distant clang, the sound of a metal door banging, but it’s not on top of them. He’ll just have to move quickly and pay attention, nothing new. Ahead of him, Momo pushes open the back door, grabbing supplies from Ochako’s arms so she can toss her bag inside and haul herself up into the car. She peeks her head out of the window, glancing from side to side before giving Bakugou a thumbs up. Then her head whips to face behind her, Todoroki’s following suit, their attention trained on something on the other side of the car.
Fuck, Bakugou thinks. He doesn’t know what it is or how many, but it’s got him on edge immediately. They need to move, need to get out now before they lose another friend to this bullshit city and this fucking plague. Then Momo is yelling and he moves before he can think, taking off at a sprint to get to the truck—and then he’s falling, knocked flat on his back with a zombie shrieking above him.
He hears the burst of Todoroki’s flames; Ochako yelling too as he presses his bat into the zombie’s neck, its peeling grey skin tinged with dried blood. Its teeth snap at his face, straining to get a bite of him as it thrashes. He doesn’t wait for help, knows they’d cover his ass if they could, and heaves the grotesque thing off of him. Panting, his eyes dart to the truck and he counts five moving bodies. He curses out loud, no point in being quiet now, and raises his bat to beat the shit out of the zombie that’s managed to get itself upright. His momentary distraction keeps him from seeing the second zombie approach, and as he’s fighting the first, it leaps onto his back, teeth snapping an inch away from his ear. He throws himself to the ground immediately, crushing the zombie underneath him as he rolls and dodges away. His movement puts him too close to the other, too close to avoid being caught off guard and he ends up on his back again, his bat skidding off so that he has to hold back the zombie’s face with his hands.
“Get off me, you gross fuck.” It claws at him, frenzied, knocking his arm away and Bakugou thinks this is it, this is how he goes, to a dumb fuck zombie in a pair of Bermuda shorts. He closes his eyes and waits for the bite, the pain he’s sure will follow, but nothing comes. Instead the zombie is further away, its frantic movement slowing as it looks around with wild, hungry eyes. He catches sight of the arrow in its chest a second later, the flared point of it barbed and jutting out of the Infected’s chest towards him, frozen mid flight.
From around the zombie, a mass of green curls and set of bright green eyes appear. There’s a determined fire in them, brows furrowed in concentration as the person they’re attached to sets his jaw and pulls hard. Bakugou wordlessly follows his movement, pushing the zombie as it tilts back and the arrow tears backwards through its flesh. It cries out, flailing pathetically as it tries to right itself, but it doesn’t even have a chance, because Bakugou is up on his feet, his bat gripped tight between his hands and raised over his head. He yells out, swinging the bat in a high arc and bashing the zombie’s skull, once, twice and again, breathing hard as things get particularly messy.
He looks around for the other Infected, but it’s already taken care of, laying sprawled and motionless on the ground with a hole right between the eyes. It’s jagged and Bakugou realizes that his mystery savior is responsible for that too. The person moves fast, hopping back from Bakugou and glancing quickly around them to see if any Infected are there. Bakugou looks too, to see how his friends are doing separate from them--if they’re still alive.
They are, and Bakugou lets out a tiny satisfied ‘hmph’ to himself at that. He turns to the guy, a crossbow held tightly in his hands as a small smile spreads across his face. “Who the fuck are you?”
The smile drops for a second, then returns, weary this time.
“My name’s Izuku.” He quirks his head, like a bird, eyes concerned. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine.” Bakugou rubs at the back of his head. “Uh, I guess I should say—,”
“Deku!” A young voice calls out, interrupting him. Bakugou whips his head around looking for the source. He follows Izuku’s gaze to the cluster of trees nearby, and it takes him a second to notice the little body making its way down a trunk. He keeps his eye out as they head over, running as fast as their little legs will carry them.
“Yeah, it’s her—oof,” he grunts as the kid smashes into him. “Hi Eri,” he says smiling, and drops down to his knee, holding her hand. “You okay?”
“I’m fine! That was so cool, Deku!” Her voice is loud, too loud for comfort and Bakugou wants to tell her to shut it, keep it down before she summons all the damn zombies in the area, but she keeps on going, talking a mile a minute. “You saved his life!” She gushes at him, her free hand waving wildly in the air, then turns to Bakugou. “He saved your life! Did you even say thank you? Papa says you should always say thank you.”
Bakugou sputters. This little shit. But she’s right, Izuku—Deku, whatever, did save his life, and he’s not stupid enough to ignore that.
Deku looks over at him, his face a mix of apologetic and expectant. “Eri.”
Bakugou shakes his head, leaning on his bat. “She’s right, I didn’t. Thanks.”
“It’s no problem,” Deku responds, smiling.
“Okay well, we’re gonna head out.” He swings his bat up onto his shoulder and nods his head. “Good luck.” He turns to walk away, meeting Ochako’s eyes as he does.
“Bakugou,” she hisses, “are you just going to leave them? She’s only a kid.” He groans, his head dropping back on his shoulders. They’re already strapped for supplies, already have enough people to worry about keeping alive, now they want to add another and a kid? It’s too dangerous. She’s unpredictable, could make a mess out of everything and get them killed. He’s known these two for all of three minutes and he can already see how important they are to one another. If Deku were to get distracted, if Eri were in trouble and Deku knew it--he’d pick her over one of Bakugou’s own. Bakugou wouldn’t blame him, he’d do the same thing. So he’s not sure what to do, even if that makes him an asshole. His friends don’t seem to have that problem.
Todoroki’s voice is annoyingly matter of fact when he speaks. “Now she’s right.” Bakugou shoots him a glare, an insult on the tip of his tongue. Then Momo pops her head over the roof of the truck, bracing herself on the metal and quirking her eyebrow at him.
“I know what you’re thinking, but don’t. We can handle this.” She gives him an understanding smile. “Just ask Bakugou.” He rolls his eyes, but he knows it’s the right thing to do. He’d be dumb to turn away someone with Deku’s skill, and heartless to leave a kid without more protection in a bullshit wasteland.
So he goes against his fear and just like that, their little group grows by two.
The ride back to the bunker is different with their two additions--louder than usual. Normally they keep quiet, keeping an ear out for other cars, for zombies throwing themselves towards the rumble of an engine, lining themselves up like human bowling pins. Today though--today there’s conversation instead of quiet comments, an air of excitement Bakugou’s sure comes directly from the kid. She and Deku sit in the back seat, the mop of green hair taking up his whole rearview mirror. Deku talks quietly with Momo, answering questions with a calm demeanor. And even though it’s last thing Bakugou should be worrying about--it’s hard to ignore how hot Deku is when he has a prime view, and he almost lets himself get distracted, fixating on freckled skin and a strong jawline, the tips of just visible thick shoulders instead of focusing like he should. He shakes his head, flaring his nostrils with an exhale and gluing his eyes to the road, annoyed with himself for letting a hot rando pull his attention. He doesn’t even know the guy and it’s a very real possibility he might not know him much longer--better to keep his distance. He’s got enough people to worry about after all.
He’s able to keep his eyes on the road after that, scanning it and listening to Eri talk animatedly with Ochako and Todoroki; more so Ochako who answers her happily, because Todoroki just gives her an amused smile, nodding his head at her enthusiastic questioning. It’s almost easy to forget what they’re going through like that. With a car full of people relatively at ease, he can imagine that they’re going somewhere fun, like the beach or an amusement park, instead of trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. It’s almost easy.
But it’s not, because Eri’s loud “look out” pulls him immediately back, alerting him to a pair of Infected that have come barreling out of the tree line and are heading straight for them. This is their new normal, and Bakugou smiles to himself, revving the engine.
“Don’t worry, kid. Watch this.” He winks at her in the mirror as he angles the truck and accelerates.
Todoroki’s voice carries over the engine as he tells Eri, “It’s okay, Bakugou’s a very good driver. Just hold on.” And then they’re slamming into the Infected, the plow at the front of the truck sending the pair flying ahead of them and under the tires. “See?” Todoroki says once they’ve passed the bodies, “all good.”
Bakugou grins to himself as Ochako punches him in the arm, muttering about how ridiculous he is, an exasperated smile pulling at her mouth.
Deku’s voice is amused as he speaks, meeting Bakugou’s eyes in the rearview mirror. “Well that’s one way to do it.” And if Bakugou likes the way Deku looks at him, he doesn’t say anything, willing the feeling away.
They manage to avoid any encounters for the rest of the trip, making it back to the compound all in one piece. Bakugou helps Momo unpack while Ochako and Todoroki bring Deku and Eri into the house, introducing them to Kirishima and Mina, the other two in their small group.
It takes them only a few moments to get the organizing done. Their surplus is running low, the nearby go-tos picked as clean as they could. He shares a knowing look with Momo as they leave the pantry. They’ll have to leave this place soon, find a new home near someplace with more supplies that they can keep safe. A meeting will have to be called.
When they head into the main house, it’s to Eri playing video games with Kirishima, the two of them shouting at the screen. Bakugou exhales a laugh. Of course Kiri would be fast friends with the kid.
“Bakugou, get your ass in here and help with lunch.” Rolling his eyes, he heads for the kitchen to answer Mina’s call. She’s leaning against the counter next to Deku, her hand in a bag of flamin’ hot Cheetos as she talks to him. She smiles when she sees Bakugou, jerking her head towards Deku. “He could give you a run for your money, dude. This PB & J looks gourmet.”
“Bullshit,” he laughs, sitting down at the table, “how are you feeling?”
“‘M fine,” she says through a mouth full of Cheetos, “starving, but fine.”
“And baby girl?”
Mina grins, patting her round stomach. “Kicking the shit out of me. She wants out, and a delicious PB & J.”
“Almost done,” Deku says softly in concentration. “Want one, Bakugou?”
Bakugou tries to ignore the way Deku’s tongue peeks out of the corner of his mouth as he works, clearing his throat and meeting Mina’s curious gaze.
“Uh, yeah. Thanks.”
Bakugou’s not sure how he does it or what the fuck could possibly be different, but this PB & J is somehow the best thing he’s ever had, to the point where he moans embarrassingly after his first bite, despite it being the most simple food. His face grows hot, and Mina looks at him with amused, knowing eyes.
“Enjoying yourself, Bakugou?”
She barks out a laugh as he glares at her, and his eyes flick towards Deku, widening in surprise when he realizes that his cheeks are red too. Deku smiles at him, but ignores Mina, excusing himself to go sit with Eri.
The rest of the day goes by without incident. Eri and Deku settle in quickly, and Bakugou tries hard not to stare at Deku, though he gets caught one too many times and his face is red more often than not. Deku doesn’t mention it, and Bakugou is simultaneously annoyed at being caught and grateful Deku has the smarts not to bring it up.
Deku’s very appreciative of their taking them in, and he makes that immediately known, offering to help out any way that he can. He understands that his and Eri’s addition means less supplies and more risks in the long term, and he’s not stupid enough to just sit and be useless. He does what he can to help around the house, doesn’t take more than a fair share for himself or Eri during dinner, makes sure not to waste the water when he showers; little shit that shouldn’t have to matter but does, and Bakugou respects him for it.
He regrets assuming that they’ll be problematic, especially when there’s an extra set of hands, and Eri raises the mood in the house. Deku even volunteers to join guard shift that night, keeping Momo company and making sure they don’t get their shit rocked in their sleep.
That night, Bakugou helps the kid get settled in with Ochako, and when she passes out the second her head hits the pillow, snoring loudly, he snickers at Ochako’s pained look and decides that Eri is his new favorite.
When he heads out of her room and to the kitchen to grab a drink, Mina is perched on the counter with Kirishima standing between her legs. He talks to her belly as she spreads frosting on animal crackers and pops them in her mouth. She catches sight of Bakugou over Kiri’s shoulder, and gives him a tired smile. “Hey B, what’s going on?”
Kirishima turns and flashes him a grin, reaching a fist out in his direction. “‘Sup, man?”
“Thirsty,” Bakugou says, bumping his fist with his own. He grabs a drink from the fridge and Mina waits until he’s mid sip to open her mouth.
“For soda and Deku, yeah?”
He almost chokes on his drink, smacking the can on the counter and flipping her off as he coughs.
Kirishima’s eyes go wide and he looks between the two of them. “Wait, what?”
“Are you blind, Kiri? Did you not see Bakugou drooling over Deku today?”
“Shove it, Mina.”
Kiri looks surprised, “Well I was getting my game on with Eri and then dinner happened…” he trails off, his expression surprised, then nods his head as he considers the idea. “Nice dude! Get it if you want it.”
“I don’t—shut up. I hate you both.” Mina cackles, pointing a frosting covered finger at him.
“You’re so full of shit,” she pauses and they all turn to see Todoroki enter the room. God damnit. Her eyes light up. “Todoroki, tell Bakugou he’s full of shit.”
Their friend’s eyebrow quirks up, but he does as commanded. “Bakugou, you know you’re full of it.”
“Fuck you, Todoroki,” Bakugou mutters, crossing his arms.
Todoroki smirks. “What’d he do now?”
“It’s not what, it’s who and he hasn’t done them. Yet.” Mina wiggles her eyebrows and pops an animal cracker into her mouth. With a laugh, Kiri kisses her cheek and plops himself down at the table as Bakugou huffs and leans back against the sink. Todoroki looks confused for a moment, then his mouth forms an ‘o’ as he realizes who she means.
“Oh, Deku?” He scratches the side of his face and nods. “Mm, I thought you might be interested in him.”
“I am not interested in him.”
Kiri bites his lip, his eyes sparkling. “Baku dude, your face is so fucking red right now.”
“You’re supposed to be on my side, you goddamn traitor,” Bakugou scolds, and whips a balled up dish towel at Kiri’s head.
Mina snorts as Todoroki settles next to her and quietly snags an animal cracker. Bakugou shakes his head at Kirishima.
“Honestly, the fuck do we keep you for? Can you be serious for five fucking minutes? We need to talk.” Kirishima feigns heartache, but responds sincerely.
“Sure dude, shoot.”
Bakugou eyes the other two and when he’s sure they’re on the same page, starts the conversation.
“I think we should move soon.” The room is quiet for a few moments. Kirishima looks surprised, his eyes wide and mouth hanging slightly open. Behind him, Mina’s eyebrows knit together, but she stays silent. Todoroki doesn’t speak either, but Bakugou can tell from the look on his face that he’s been thinking about this too.
Kirishima shakes his head. “This place is so good, man.” Bakugou watches his gaze travel to Mina, to the hand absentmindedly stroking her stomach.
She looks frustrated, but somehow...resigned. “Is it really that bad?”
He nods silently. “I know,” he says, “I know what a fucking pain in the ass this is, but we’ve basically exhausted the resources around here.” He doesn’t blame Kirishima or Mina for being resistant, knows Ochako will probably feel just like them when they talk to her. This compound is like a gold mine; situated at the center of a well supplied radius, powered, and easy to defend thanks to the high walls around it. It has enough space for all of them, or had, before Deku and Eri joined them. And Mina could safely deliver the baby in the space. It could be risky to move her, with her due date only a few weeks away. If something were to happen…
Even if it was truly safe to move her, they couldn’t yet. Their second car is still on the mend. Ochako and Todoroki aren’t finished fixing it up yet and they’d all agreed a while ago that moving was something they’d wait for until they absolutely had to. But Bakugou figures they have a week or two, maybe three if they really stretch it out. In his mind, this is heading quickly towards an absolute.
It’d be better for them to get the car fixed up ASAP and move while Mina still has time. They could pack up all their shit and just drive until they find something, anything where their chances of survival are decent. It’s not like the risk will ever go away.
It’s Todoroki who breaks the silence in the kitchen, his voice even. “I agree with Bakugou. Supply runs are turning up less and less, and we’re gone too long when we do head out. Going out further would separate us for too much time, and it might not even be worth it.” He nods at Bakugou, who crosses his arms and clears his throat.
“Exactly. It’s more beneficial to us to pack up and move out together at this point. I know that’s what Momo is thinking, too.” He wants to push this, knows it’s what’s best for the group, but one look at Mina’s unreadable expression and that urge takes a step back. “I’m not saying we need to make a decision right now, I just wanted to bring it up. Sleep on it, and we can talk about it tomorrow, yeah?”
Kirishima’s smile is small but genuine when he stands up. “Yeah dude, of course. We know you’re just looking out for us,” He heads over to Mina, holding out his hands to her. “Come on, babe, time for sneep.” Mina’s expression slowly shifts and she laughs tiredly, passing the can of frosting off to Todoroki and placing her hands in Kirishima’s. She nudges Bakugou as they leave, tossing a quick ‘goodnight’ over her shoulder.
Bakugou lets out an audible ‘hmph’ and snags his drink from the counter. He glances at Todoroki, feeling like he should say something. “Uh, thanks for backing me up with that.”
“Not a problem.” He goes quiet after that, turning and smearing frosting on the headless body of a giraffe cookie. Bakugou leaves him to it, heading off to bed himself.
In the morning, he wakes to the smell of pancakes wafting through the house, delicious and so reminiscent of his dad’s that in his half awake state, Bakugou thinks he must be dead—until the sound of small feet thunders down the hall, into his room, and smack onto his bed, followed by an excited, far-too-fucking-loud shriek. “Morning Bakugou,” Eri says cheerfully, “there’s pancakes, so you should wake up, okay?”
Nope, not dead. He groans and flips over, covering his head with his blanket. Eri doesn’t take that as the dismissal he intends, and a second later he feels her small fist knock against his head. “Hey! I said there were pancakes, did you hear me?” She tugs at his blanket and he lets her pull it slowly away so she won’t fall, scowling half-heartedly when she beams down at him in victory. Little shit.
A voice calls out from the direction of the kitchen. “Eri, everyone can hear you, leave Bakugou alone and come eat.” It’s Deku, and Bakugou feels his cheeks go traitorously red. Eri either doesn’t realize it or doesn’t call him on it, and leaps from his bed instead, running off towards breakfast with another enthusiastic shout.
When he makes it to the kitchen a few minutes later, Mina and Kiri are huddled together, her legs up on Kiri’s lap as she balances a plate of pancakes on her belly and talks with Eri about their favorite animals. Ochako helps Deku at the stove, holding out a plate to collect the fresh cakes with a smile. They talk softly as Bakugou plops himself next to Eri and yawns deep. Todoroki is missing, but Deku’s early presence gives him a pretty good idea of where Half’N’Half is, and he makes a mental note to save him and Momo some pancakes before everyone steals them all.
It turns out that Deku is stupidly amazing at making pancakes. They’re fluffy and light, and even though he can’t drown them in syrup like he would have at one point--rationing is Bakugou’s least favorite necessity--they’re still a welcome treat. He tries not to stare too much at Deku during the meal, pointedly ignoring the way his mouth stretches into bright smiles as he talks with Ochako, and the small laugh he does as Mina and Eri make ridiculous faces at one another. A few times, Kirishima catches his eye and nods his head towards Deku, like Bakugou should be trying to talk to him or something, but he can’t even get himself to look at him fully now without blushing, let alone speak to him. And Bakugou wants to smack himself for it, because how fucking ridiculous is it that they’re in the middle of a zombie outbreak and he’s got a distracting, childish crush?
Except it’s not so ridiculous, is it? They are in the middle of the end of the world, and why should he feel bad for being attracted to someone, especially when they could die any moment? Bakugou knows he’s hot, and Deku is unfairly gorgeous--with his broccoli hair and freckles and muscles--and the way he licks the syrup off his lip, the pink tip of his tongue running against plump skin...Bakugou drops his fork with a clatter and excuses himself to hide the growing tent in his pants, catching Deku’s curious gaze as he leaves. He hears Kiri laugh, and then he’s shutting the bathroom door tight behind him and rubbing a hand over the bulge in his pants. His eyes flick to the shower. He’s gotta take one anyway, and the sounds of the water will give him cover…
Fuck it, he thinks, and locks the door. He turns on the tap, the shower starting up as he tears his clothes off and kicks them towards the hamper. His cock smacks against his stomach as he slips into the stall, hard and waiting to be touched. The water runs over him and he takes a deep breath, enjoying the feel before he sighs and drops his head against the tile, screwing his eyes shut. He opens one a second later, peeking down at his erection and letting out a frustrated sound. “Fucking Deku,” he mutters, and wraps his hand around his cock. He braces himself, forearm resting against the wall as he starts to stroke. Bakugou imagines himself underneath Deku, legs wrapped around him and whispering filthy things in his ear as Deku fucks him fast and hard with a wild blush on his cheeks; imagines Deku on all fours in front of him, ass up and begging for Bakugou to fill him. A few more strokes and he’s spilling over his fist, bursts of cum coating his hand and splattering against the tile in front of him.
“Goddamn,” he exhales, catching his breath. He really, really needs to get laid.
The group of them convene a few hours later, settling on the deck as Kirishima takes Momo’s spot on guard with Todoroki. The last few days have been relatively quiet, so they agree it’s alright for Eri to spend a little time outside with them. For a few moments, it’s like they’re a normal group of friends, hanging out in the sun and enjoying each other’s company; Momo quietly filling Ochako in on their dilemma, while Mina and Deku discuss potential names for the baby. Eri understands how important it is to be quiet outside here, which is a blessing, and she launches herself into the grass, doing silent somersaults and spinning in circles until she collapses in dizzy, soundless laughs. It’s almost okay, but Bakugou can’t stop himself from scanning the perimeter for threats or his fingers flexing with the urge to reach for his bat. He notices Deku doing the same as he listens to Mina speak, his gaze shifting from Eri to the fence at the edge of the yard and back. Bakugou sighs and clears his throat. He wants to know what they’re doing and get them back inside as soon as possible.
He leans forward, lacing his fingers and resting his elbows on the table. “So. Let’s talk.” Four sets of eyes settle on him, but it’s Ochako who talks first, saying out loud what everyone is thinking.
“I’m worried that we won’t find a place as good as this one. We were so lucky when we stumbled on it--I know it’s the resources that are the problem, and we should do what we need to--but god, I’m not sure we’ll ever find somewhere as perfect as here.” Bakugou nods. He gets what she’s saying, knows that she’s probably right and they might not get so lucky again, but she didn’t say no, and so he counts that as an affirmative in his head.
He looks at Mina and watches as her fingers tap at the arm of her chair. She purses her lips, glances at Eri where she lays sprawled out in the grass. “I want more time,” she says, smiling softly at the little girl. “I don’t want to deliver on the road. And I want to know we’ll have what we we need.”
He expects as much. He doesn’t bother asking about Kirishima; they probably discussed it last night and he’ll agree with whatever keeps Mina and the rest safe. The compound is that, at the very least.
Momo’s voice is kind as she calls out to Deku across the table. “What about you, Izuku? What do you think we should do?”
Deku’s eyes widen in surprise and something like gratitude. “I--I’m not sure. Honestly, I’m just so appreciative that you’ve taken us in. Eri and I will go along with whatever you decide.” Bakugou rolls his eyes.
“Don’t be stupid,” he says, leaning back in his chair and knocking his knuckles on the table. “You’re a part of the family now, of course you’ve got a fucking vote.” He means it too. He’s not about to force someone into doing what they don’t want to do. There’s something in Deku’s eyes when he looks at him, something that makes Bakugou’s heart beat a little bit faster, and he averts his gaze, listening to Deku’s more confident words, but too flustered for direct eye contact. How the fuck does he do that?
“Well, I think moving might be the best option. We need to be closer to resources and we need to be together. Separating for longer periods is...not a good idea. So the sooner, the better.” They all agree, though Mina and Ochako look more concerned than anything. They don’t want to move so soon.
“I think,” Momo supplies after a moment, “that it’s alright if we wait a little longer. We can do a few more runs and make sure we get everything we can, scout the area a little more and maybe we can make the move in a week or two. We just have to be vigilant, like we have been, okay? We know what Todoroki and Kirishima will say, so is everyone here agreed?”
Bakugou begrudgingly nods his assent, and they head off to do what they need to, their tentative plan in place.
A full week passes; seven days of supply runs where they double check every building they’ve already gone through, making sure they’ve got gas, medication, food, all the necessities they can find and carry back with them. Things stay relatively stable, but all in all, it only makes them more sure that they’re exhausting the opportunities around them. It’s not so bad though, because nobody dies during runs and no one is hurt. Except the zombies that they come across, and who are trickling in, trying to break through the barrier at the compound and making everyone frustratingly aware and tired.
They’re eating dinner on the eighth day out from their talk when the radio crackles to life and an uncertain voice startles the group.
“Hello? Hello? Fuck...I don’t even know if this thing is working but, my name is Tetsutetsu. We don’t know how many are still alive, god, I can’t believe I even have to say that, but if there is anyone out there…” there’s static, a break in the relay before the voice continues. “We’ve got a place for you. The USJ up at Washington State University, you know the university’s research biodome? Well it’s...it’s a fucking miracle, man. Heavily fortified, huge supply of provisions. If you can get here, anyone is welcome.”
It’s a moment before anyone moves, let alone speaks. Bakugou gets it. It sounds too good to be true, and it’s far, farther than even he considered moving at the moment. But everyday they spend with dwindling supplies sets an aggravating itch under his skin. He wants to move, wants to get everyone safe as quick as he can, and this, this could be something. He doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, but this could be the type of thing that saves what's left of humanity. If they could get there, build up their forces and just fucking, survive...it’d be a life of fighting but they could buy time. Mina and Kirishima could raise their daughter...Todoroki and Momo could stop acting like they’re doing anything but fucking...and Bakugou glances at Deku, wonders if maybe…
As far as he’s concerned, the move is worth it.
Todoroki startles the group of them out of their thoughts with the drag of his chair on the floor. He crosses the room quickly, sliding the back door open to call for Momo. Ochako follows suit, catching Kirishima’s attention out the front. Bakugou’s eyes drift to Mina as she sets down her plate and makes a fist. Her face is a mix of things he doesn’t want her to have to deal with—frustration, fear, a defeated acceptance that makes him so, so mad that they even have to ask this of her. When his gaze shifts to Deku, settled next to Eri on the couch, he’s already looking at Bakugou, his head quirked and his bottom lip caught between his teeth. He nods his head toward the kitchen, but Bakugou shakes his head, mouthing the word ‘later’ to him as Todoroki slips back inside.
“Momo’s for it. She says there’s an old military fort up near there where we could grab more weapons, and if these people are right, the USJ is probably the best hope we have for survival.” He says it like it’s nothing, like it isn’t fucking ridiculous that survival is a necessity at all. But more weapons is good, and Momo is right regardless. Bakugou inhales deeply, feels their agenda start to shift and a plan begin to form. Todoroki clears his throat. “I think it’s for the best. We have no direction otherwise. Moving is necessary, but it makes more sense to have a destination before we do.”
The front door clicks shut and it’s a second before Ochako joins them. She looks at Bakugou, her lips pursed as she rests her arms on the back of Mina’s chair.
“Kirishima just wants what’s best for everyone. If this is what we want,” she reaches down to brush her fingers through Mina’s hair, “he’ll do whatever we need him to.” Bakugou expects as much. He closes his eyes, releases a breath he didn’t really know he’d been holding.
“And what do you think, ‘Chako?”
“I think...I think this feels like a sign,” Ochako says. She looks concerned, but her words are earnest. Bakugou watches the rest of them nod their agreement, even Todoroki. Eri’s hopeful face peers over at him, and Deku--Deku’s eyes have a fire in them, a fierce determination to fight and survive and do what he can, and relief floods through Bakugou.
“B?” Mina’s tired voice grabs his attention. “What do you want to do?”
He bites at his cheek, meeting each of their eyes.
“It’s worth a shot, and if it’s fucked when we get there, we go somewhere else, try to bunker down, keep doing what we’re doing and hope for the best.”
And like that, their destination is chosen.
Bakugou catches Deku’s attention a little while later and jerks his head towards the kitchen. He slips away, Deku trailing behind him and away from the others.
He grabs two glasses from the cabinet, fills them with water from the fridge and slides one down the counter to Deku, who takes a sip and clears his throat.
“Do you really think this is a good idea?” The look on his face is troubled and Bakugou’s mouth settles into a thin line as he swallows his own water.
“I think it’s the only idea.” He sets his glass down and leans back against the counter, his hands gripping at the edge on either side of him. “If we keep going as we are, we’d be okay, sure, but eventually it’d catch up with us. We can only outrun this shit for so long before something gives and we fuck up.”
“That’s a little pessimistic, don’t you think?” But even as he says it, Bakugou can tell from his expression that Deku understands.
“Come on, it’s realistic. Look,” he says, “you’ve done alright for you and the kid so far, yeah? You kept her alive the last couple of months and that’s great—but look at you,” he gestures at Deku, at the dark circles under his eyes and the weariness pulling at his features. “You’re fucking tired. You’re pushing, and you probably could have made it a while longer, yeah, but can you tell me you’re not relieved you found us?”
Deku purses his lips, stares at his water as he taps his fingers against the sides of the glass.
“No, you’re right. It’s,” he smiles, meeting Bakugou’s eyes, “much better having a family to make a go of it with.” Bakugou doesn’t miss the way Deku adopts his use of the word, and a part of him is stupidly satisfied that he feels so comfortable with them. He nods at him and hums, wanting to say something more personal, but stopping himself.
“Exactly, so it’s good that you found us.” He rubs at the back of his neck, rolls his shoulders out as Deku empties his glass. “Everyone is happy to have you around.” I’m happy to have you around.
The look that flashes across Deku’s face is unreadable, and for a moment Bakugou is scared that he said that out loud. Then Deku is staring at him, the corner of his mouth curved up in the hint of a smile.
“Everyone includes you, right Bakugou?”
Bakugou’s glad he wasn’t mid sip, because he’d have made a mess of himself. His heart does a flip in his chest and his palms feel suddenly sweaty. He’s not sure if he should go with it, if Deku actually wants him to press this, or if he’s just innocently checking in with him. He tries to keep the spark of uncertainty off his face, deliberately quirking an eyebrow and giving Deku what he hopes is a pointed look.
“I didn’t say that.”
At that, Deku’s mouth spreads into a full on smile and he turns to set his empty glass in the sink. He shrugs his shoulders and starts to back away, a playful look in his eyes like the cat that got the fucking canary.
“You didn’t really have to.”
With that he disappears, and Bakugou lets out a strangled noise.
Oh my god.
It’s decided that they’ll leave two days from then.
They spend the time in between taking stock of what they have, what can fit where, and what they’ll need to forego in order to make the trip. Bakugou and Deku work together to fill the truck with necessities, playing a game of Tetris to get what they can in the space they have. Their arms brush more than once while they work, bodies pressing against each other when someone needs to lift or shove. Each time makes Bakugou’s stomach flip, and he almost doesn’t recognize himself because of it. How can this random guy make him act like he’s fourteen again? But he can’t deny that he likes it, those brushes and the flex of Deku’s arms as he lifts, the way his ass looks in the jeans he wears, perfectly in view as he leans into the back of the truck…
Deku clears his throat, and Bakugou’s eyes shoot up. The look on Deku’s face is amused, his eyebrow arched and a smile pulling at his lips. Bakugou doesn’t miss the slight tinge of pink on his cheeks. That gives him hope, but he still feels like an idiot for getting caught.
He rubs at the back of his head, wiping any hint of excitement from his face. “Shit, sorry.” He needs to get his head out of his ass, needs to focus on the job instead of this fucking crush.
“It’s okay,” Deku murmurs and turns back to the trunk. Bakugou sighs and looks up at the sky. He hears someone try to cover a laugh, and whips his head down to lock eyes with Todoroki and Ochako as they lean around the open car hood. He gives them the finger, rolls his eyes as Ochako stifles another giggle and Todoroki smirks and shakes his head.
“Fuckers,” Bakugou mumbles under his breath, and moves to help finish the packing. When they head inside, Momo and Mina are huddled on the couch, Mina settled between Momo’s legs as she twists small pink braids through her hair. Kirishima sits on the floor at Mina’s feet, shuffling a deck of cards while Eri dashes out of the kitchen, the jar of animal crackers in her hands.
“Bakugou!” She scrambles over to him, tossing the jar to Kirishima who catches it with a startled smile, and launches herself up and onto Bakugou’s back.
His hands fly to her legs, instinctively supporting her as she shifts and wraps her arms around his neck. “Hey kid,” he says over his shoulder, “whatcha up to?”
“Playing cards with Kiri, but I always beat him! He’s so bad, and then Mina got hungry and Momo promised to braid my hair next so we’re done for now!”
Kirishima passes Mina the crackers and nods, defeated. “I wasn’t even letting her win. I don’t know who taught you to play cards Eri, but you’re really good.”
Bakugou’s not sure what to do when he feels her face bury into his shoulder, the normally exuberant girl completely silent. He turns to Deku, his eyebrow raised in question. Deku’s eyes are soft and sad as he makes the few steps towards them, his hand reached out to rub soothing circles on Eri’s back.
“Her dads taught her. They’re really great at cards too, aren’t they Eri?”
Bakugou feels something wet land on his neck, hears Eri’s small sniffle as she nods against his skin. The room is quiet, sad as understanding settles in and their hearts break for the little girl’s unknown. Bakugou wishes she didn’t have to experience this, that they could go back in time and she’d be home again, rather than stuck here in the middle of all this, surviving on distraction where she can find it. Thankfully, distraction is something they can provide.
“Hey Eri,” Momo calls, trying her best to sound cheerful, “Mina’s all done. Do you still want me to braid your hair? Maybe you can help pick a name for the baby while I do.”
Bakugou feels Eri stir, and her voice, still sad but the slightest bit brighter, both breaks his heart and sends a wave of relief through him.
“Yes, please. And could I really do that?”
Mina sends her a warm smile. “Of course, Sweetheart,” she shifts, hauling herself to the end of the couch and patting the spot next to her.
“Alright, you ready to get down?” Bakugou watches her nod out of the corner of his eye, her little fist clenched around a necklace he hadn’t noticed before.
“Mhmm, thank you Bakugou.” He feels her lift away, turns to see Deku set her down with a squeeze to her shoulder.
“I’m going to take a shower while you hang out, okay Eri?”
“Okay, Deku.” She climbs over the back of the couch and the little group around her laughs, caught up in conversation as Eri starts to feel better. Deku heads off to the bathroom after that, leaving Bakugou to do what he wants.
He goes to his room instead of hanging around, tired from an overnight guard shift with Ochako and moving shit all morning. Normally, he’d have been in bed already, his head buried beneath pillows and dead to the world. But Deku had volunteered to help pack, and Bakugou couldn’t stop the offer of help from tumbling out of his mouth. They’d bickered over positioning, about what should go where and things that should be most accessible, and truthfully Bakugou had wanted to walk away more than once, but he liked the bickering, and the moments of comfortable silence, even the hint of a vibe that had him thinking maybe Deku liked it too.
But Bakugou’s too fucking tired to process any of that right now, so he strips down to a t-shirt and boxer briefs and slides into bed; if he’s lucky, he’ll pass out before he knows it.
He’s not lucky.
He tosses and turns on his bed until he’s annoyed and pouting and five seconds away from going outside to run until he knocks out from exhaustion. He settles instead on his stomach, wrapping his arms around his pillow and bunching it under his cheek. His room is comfortable, so he can’t really put his finger on the reason, though he’s pretty sure if he had to, worry would have something to do with it.
He stays like that for another half hour, staring frustrated at the wall until a knock on his door breaks the silence.
“Come in,” he calls out, not bothering to get up. It’s a second before the door opens. He waits for someone to speak, counts out ten seconds until the silence convinces him there’s something wrong and he forces himself to turn his head.
He’s not sure what he expects to see; Kirishima maybe, if the stress of everything is getting to him and he needs to talk, or Ochako, who sometimes sleeps in his bed because the idea of being alone in the dark is too much for her to handle.
It’s actually Deku who hovers in his doorway, a towel wrapped around his hips and his hair a mass of wet waves. Bakugou tries not to stare, but he’s never seen Deku shirtless--let alone this close to naked--and his eyes glue like magnets to the lines of Deku’s body; his fingers itching to reach out and trace the path of green that trails down his stomach and disappears beneath the towel. Instead, he shakes his head, his mouth dry and his cock half hard against his thigh as Deku steps in and hesitantly closes the door.
“Jesus, you’re just out now? Did you waste all the hot water?” Bakugou says, tiredness making his voice rough as he sits up. He catches himself lingering on the defined ‘v’ at Deku’s hips, and forces himself to look up.
Deku’s face is pink, and Bakugou’s not sure if that’s from the shower or something else, but a part of him perks up, interested.
“I wasn’t...I had to take care of something first.” Bakugou doesn’t miss the way Deku’s cheeks flush deeper, or the way his green eyes settle momentarily on where his blanket has bunched around his hips.
It’s things like this that Bakugou is grateful for; moments that give him some kind of fucking confirmation, that let him know that even though he gets flustered like an idiot when he even thinks about how he feels for Deku, he’s not blind. There’s something there, and it makes the knot of uncertainty, the one that settled in his chest the day they brought Deku and Eri home, unravel just a little. He feels the slightest bit more confident now, like he’s found footing. It dawns on him how awkward he’s felt the last few days, acting like a teenager with no idea what the fuck to do when a person they like shows them the slightest bit of attention. He knows it’s because he’s never felt such an instant attraction before, like something’s pulling him towards Deku, and he wonders vaguely if its because he knows he could die any day, or if it’s a genuine feeling. The thought bothers him, but then he sees Deku’s embarrassed expression, the blush that won’t seem to leave his cheeks, and the shift of his body as he grips uncertain at his upper arm. It’s stupidly endearing and Bakugou figures he must be feeling awkward too. For some reason, that makes him feel significantly better.
He smirks a little bit, feels himself loosen up as he leans back on his arms, his torso shifting to highlight the muscles there. He knows he looks good, and now he knows Deku thinks so too.
“You had to take care of something, yeah?” His expression is playful and Deku looks anywhere but at him.
“Bakugou,” the scolding tone of his voice disagreeing with the slight smile on his face.
“What?” Bakugou says, feigning innocence. Deku shakes his head, the red on his cheeks fading to pink.
“I’m here because I was wondering if I could borrow a change of clothes? Momo forgot to run the dryer again, so all I’ve got is a pair of socks.” Bakugou tries not to imagine Deku sliding around the house in nothing but a pair of socks, his body on full display, but it’s just too easy.
He clears his throat, desperately ignoring the flare of pleasure that hits him at the idea of Deku wearing his clothes. “Uh, yeah. Yeah, top drawer. There’s sweats and a shirt you can grab.”
It takes him a second, which Bakugou finds weird because he could just grab anything, but he roots around until he finds something he likes. Bakugou suppresses a smile and says the first thing that comes to mind.
“Todoroki’s shit would probably fit you better.” It’s the truth, Todoroki is slimmer than him and Deku would fit much better in his clothes than Bakugou’s.
But the corner of Deku’s mouth curves up. “I know.”
Bakugou doesn’t know what to say to that, but he sure as fuck likes it. He watches Deku slip his sweats on--silently notes the fact that he didn’t bother grabbing anything for underneath--and toss the shirt over his head. He looks a little fucking ridiculous, but some part of Bakugou is so inherently satisfied by the sight it makes his heart pound and skip a beat at the same time.
It’s silent for a moment while Deku rubs at his head with the towel, then looks up at him, his voice quiet as he speaks. “Thank you.”
“For the clothes. For being kind to Eri. Letting her throw herself at you, and eat your food, and play your games. For protecting her, and me.”
Bakugou shakes his head and lays back against his pillow, staring up at the ceiling. “It’s nothing. She’s just a kid. She shouldn’t have to deal with this. And you,” he closes his eyes, tucking an arm under his head, “it’s better not to be alone.”
“It’s not nothing.” There’s that silence again, thick between them and Bakugou lets it hang for a moment before he asks a question he’s been thinking all night.
“What happened to her family?” He hears a sharp inhale, but an answer doesn’t come like he expects it to. He opens his eyes, shifting up on one elbow to see Deku’s fist clench, his other rubbing at his arm in self-soothing strokes.
“Oh fuck, I didn’t think--” he sits up fully now, reaching out without thinking. “I’m sorry.”
Deku’s smile is the saddest Bakugou’s ever seen it. “It’s alright, just...not tonight, okay?”
Bakugou nods, his mouth a hardpressed line as Deku heads to his door.
“We’ve got guard in the morning, so I’m going to get to bed.”
“Yeah, okay. Get some sleep.”
“You too, Bakugou.” And then he’s gone, and Bakugou drops back onto his bed with a sigh.
“I think we need to double check Oxon Hill before we go.”
Mina stares at him like he’s got four heads. Momo’s eyes narrow. Even Todoroki, who normally agrees with him, looks taken aback.
“No.” It’s Kirishima who speaks, his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes darker than usual. He glares at Bakugou for a moment, then heads around the corner of the house to do a quick sweep.
Bakugou expects it--the resistance, but it doesn’t eliminate the fact that it’s good idea, and a valuable resource.
“We’ll be in and out--”
“Bakugou, no.” This time it’s Mina, whose expression is stressed. “It’s not safe.”
Deku clears his throat, the confusion written on his face. “Why isn’t it safe?”
Bakugou keeps his eyes trained on Mina in front of him as he grits his teeth and speaks. “The last time we went there, I got injured--”
“--and nearly died! It was horrible,” Ochako’s strained voice comes from behind him, and he turns to see her standing in the front door way. He can see Eri on the couch, her head swinging back and forth as she sings something he can’t hear. Ochako taps her knuckles against the door. “You’re fine now, sure, but it’s not worth it, Bakugou. We don’t want you or anyone else getting hurt.”
“I understand that,” he says, unable to stop the frustrated sigh from leaving him, “but we don’t have to if we’re careful. I can--”
Todoroki stops him from finishing his sentence, again, shaking his head but looking Bakugou right in the eye. “You’re going to do what you think is best whether we agree or not, aren’t you?” Bakugou huffs.
Mina’s voice is slightly panicked when she speaks. “Todoroki, are you saying we should do this?”
“I’m saying he’s set on doing it. He wouldn’t have brought it up if he wasn’t, and would you rather he sneak off trying to do something for all of us, or know what the plan is and keep in touch?”
Bakugou isn’t sure he likes how predictable Todoroki makes him seem, but fuck if it doesn’t work out in his favor.
Momo glares at Todoroki, shaking her head. Ochako lets out a disgruntled noise, and throws her hands up as Mina’s eyes grow angry.
“Why are you okay with this?” Her face is red as she looks around at the group, and she heaves herself up out of her chair, jabbing a finger in Bakugou’s direction. “And why are you so dead set on it? We have enough supplies now to get us through, don’t we?”
It’s Momo who answers, not Bakugou, though the words are on the tip of his tongue. “We do, Mina, but we could use more meds, and if he can find anything for the baby…the trip is dangerous, and as much as I don’t want to encourage this,” she looks at Bakugou, her eyes understanding but still frustrated, “there’s reason for it.”
Deku catches his eye, takes advantage of the silence to ask a question of his own. “What’s your plan, Bakugou?”
“I think we keep it small, two go instead of the group. Last time, we went in with everything we had and all it did was attract every fucking Infected in the place. If we go stealth, we can keep quiet, get what we need and get out before shit hits the fan.” He runs a hand through his hair, looks pointedly at Deku. “I think you should come with me. Your bow is perfect for this.”
He watches Deku look at Eri, then green eyes settle on him and Deku’s voice is wary, but agreeing. “In and out, right?”
Saying goodbye to the compound is harder than it should be. Bakugou’s not even that much of a sentimental person, and the thought of leaving still hurts. Practically, of course, because who the hell knows whether they’ll find another place like this if the USJ doesn’t work; but also in other ways, because they survived there, things were good there and leaving the comfort of it in such an uncertain world is terrifying in a way he doesn’t like to admit.
But it’s what needs to be done, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get his family through this.
It’s decided that Bakugou and Deku will take his car, and the rest of the group, Eri included, will take the other truck to their rendezvous point. The plan is simple like Bakugou wanted, has he and Deku moving like ghosts. It’s possible that other survivors have already had the same idea, but Bakugou’s counting on their plan, in and out before the horde knows they were even there, to get them something at the very least.
Deku gives Eri a long hug before they go, his eyes shining, and hers very serious. Bakugou tries not to eavesdrop, but he can’t help hearing her tell him to stay safe, to protect himself and ‘take care of Baku’--to make sure he comes back. He wants to tell her it will be fine, that Deku will come back before she knows it, but the idea of leaving her on a promise, especially one he can’t keep; that could so easily turn to a lie despite his confidence, makes him nearly sick to his stomach. He’s caught off guard by her launching herself at him, lightning fast to wrap her arms around his leg so she can look up at him with the most intense expression he’s ever seen on her.
“Please don’t get hurt, and please make sure Deku is okay.” She’s solemn in a way a little kid shouldn’t be, but all he can do is nod and ruffle her hair.
“I’ll take care of Deku, kid. You just be good, okay?”
She gives him a small smile in return, then runs off to take Momo’s waiting hand. Deku taps on his shoulder and Bakugou turns to see his expression soft, despite the concern still present there. “I don’t like leaving her, but she’ll be okay.”
“Yeah, if anything happens and we get separated, she’ll be just fine. We’ll be right back anyway, alright? Nothing to worry about.”
“I--oh, heads up,” Deku says, his mouth splitting into an amused smile as Bakugou turns to see Kirishima, walking towards with his arms outstretched. Bakugou backs up, holding his hand up to ward him off.
“No, dude. Everything is gonna be fine, you stop it.”
“Bakugou, come on.” Kirishima’s grin is wide, and he laughs as Bakugou dodges him.
“Kiri, no. We’ll be right back, so you can get that dumb fucking grin off your face.”
“Just give me a hug, dude!”
And then Bakugou is trapped, Kirishima’s hold stupidly strong around him. He gives his friend a second, then says: “Are you done now? Can we go?”
“Fine, but be careful, asshole.” He lets go, and punches Bakugou’s shoulder.
Bakugou flips him off, and waves at the rest of the group before heading to his truck. He watches Deku help Eri into the other, gets her situated next to Mina in the middle seat. “See you soon,” he calls, then shuts the door and jogs over to join Bakugou.
“You ready?” Bakugou says, starting the car as Deku buckles himself in and settles his bow between his knees.
His expression is more confident now, determination outweighing concern. “Let’s do it.”
The city is smaller than Bakugou remembers. He figures it has something to do with how fresh the outbreak had been when they first came, how new and unpredictable everything was--that made things seem much bigger and ominous than they are now.
They leave the car on the outskirts and head in, weapons in hand and backpacks slung over their shoulders. Their destination isn’t far--a cluster of buildings with varying stores that will get them well supplied so long as no one else has raided it. It’s the same place where he almost died--which should give him more pause for concern, but he hasn’t told Deku, and Bakugou’s never been one for avoiding things anyway (he has, but if you ask him he’ll deny it with his last breath). So long as things don’t go to shit, they’ll be in and out, and then it won’t even matter where they were.
Deku doesn’t know the area, and so he sticks close as they weave through cars and along buildings. They can hear crashing in the distance, far enough that they’re not in immediate danger, but close enough that if they make one wrong move, every single zombie in the area will come hurtling towards them for a fresh meal. So they keep quiet and head on.
Their destination comes into view a few moments later, and they pause to scan the area before they move forward. Unlike the rest of the city, this spot is exactly as Bakugou remembers. The intersection is cluttered with crashed cars and bodies, human and zombie mixed with debris--but it doesn’t look like there’s any threat. It doesn’t sound like there’s one either, and after a few moments Bakugou turns slightly to give Deku the go ahead to move, only to find himself alone.
His heart slams to a stop in his chest, and he turns fully now, eyes darting to catch sight of green hair in the cluttered space. He’s about to call out his name, about to risk it because there’s no fucking way he’s letting Deku go like that, but then he hears a muted ‘thwip’ from his right, and he zeroes in on Deku, settled between two cars, his crossbow raised to his chest and another arrow at the ready. Bakugou releases a breath, tension melting from him at the sight of Deku safe and sound. He watches him through the car windows, his sure fingers settled on the trigger and his left eye closed in concentration. Bakugou follows the line of his aim and sees what he did not before: an Infected splayed on the pavement, an arrow between its eyes and three other zombies in a cluster nearby.
He sees the red on their mouths, fresh blood painting their already grotesque appearances that much more gruesome. He averts his eyes from the mess on the ground, focuses instead on the way their heads snap this way and that as they try to find the origin of the arrow. It’s only a second before they do, and Bakugou’s chest tightens as they lock onto Deku’s position and scramble towards him. Another arrow flies, taking out the closest zombie before it’s even halfway to Deku. But the one in the back is fast, much faster than it’s companion, and it launches itself towards the car with a shriek and flailing arms that clip the edge of Deku’s crossbow and have him dropping backwards and losing his grip on the weapon.
And then Bakugou is moving before he even fully plans to. Quick feet carry him across the street, his eyes trained on the second zombie as it closes in on Deku and the other. He bounds onto the top of one of the cars, uses his momentum to jump up, raising his bat and bringing it down hard onto the zombie’s head, its skull reverberating with a sickening ‘crack’. It falls and doesn’t move again. He whips around and finds Deku pinned to the ground, his hands pushing at the zombie’s head to hold back its gnashing teeth. The situation is identical to the one he was in when he and Deku first met, and Bakugou would laugh at that fact if the sight of Deku in danger didn’t make him simultaneously sick to his stomach and furious. He shouts to pull the Infected’s attention.
“Hey, you disgusting fuck! Over here!” It turns faster than he anticipates, swinging wildly at him with filthy hands and hungry, bloodshot eyes. He’s able to dodge just barely, and he watches as it stumbles with its momentum. Deku’s up and pulling him back in an instant, and he pushes Bakugou away, snagging Bakugou’s bat as he does. He moves like lightning in front of him, green eyes focused intently on the shift of the zombie’s body. It wheels on them, righted now, and Deku has enough time to swing the bat with one hand. Together, they watch the body fall, the head landing a few feet away.
Breathing hard, Deku looks at him and the corner of his mouth quirks up. “You okay?”
But Bakugou’s kicking himself, because in the midst of how stressful a fight is and everything that Deku being in danger makes him feel, he can’t help but think about how hot Deku is when he fights.
“That was hot.” He didn’t think he said it out loud, but the look on Deku’s face has him sure that he, in fact, did. He drops his gaze to the ground, ignores the way Deku’s face flushes that stupidly adorable pink that makes his freckles pop. Fuck. He takes his bat back from Deku and turns quickly, their destination no more than fifty feet away. “Come on, we’re almost there.” Deku doesn’t argue, just throws his crossbow over his shoulder and nods.
The first two stores are flops, nothing but empty shelves picked clean. The third store, a supermarket, is less promising than Bakugou thought it would be. They didn’t get a chance to check it last time, and while Bakugou knows they’re not the only survivors out there; not the only ones capable of fighting their way through this, he’d have thought there’d be more supplies than there are. As it is, the only thing they’ve got to choose from is a couple of shelves in several different aisles. Some toilet paper, a couple boxes of gauze and some recently expired aspirin are what they grab first. From there, they scan the aisles quietly, only ever letting one aisle separate them from each other.
There’s bodies around them, some old, some more recent, and they have to step around them to move from place to place. Bakugou tries to hold his breath, moves as quickly as he can through his section to scavenge. He winces when he hears Deku gasp, and he moves faster through the aisle to round the corner. He spots his green hair immediately at the other end of the shelves, next to a display of binkies and small stuffed animals. He holds up a box, waves it gently with a bright smile on his face. Bakugou has to squint to see, but as he walks closer he realizes that it’s formula, and that’s a jackpot find if there ever was one.
“Good find,” he says, voice low, stopping right next to Deku, who flips the box over to point at something small.
Deku’s voice is an excited whisper. “And it’s not expired! We can have it for Mina when she needs it!”
Bakugou smiles and nods. “Yeah she’ll be—” He stops, ears catching ‘pops’ in the distance. Deku stands slowly, deft fingers tossing his find in his bag and grabbing his crossbow.
“Did you hear that?”
Bakugou hikes his backpack up further, tightens his grip on his bat as he prepares himself just in case. “Mhmm. We should get moving.” He helps Deku get his bag on, watches his face shift from excited to alert. “You good to go?”
Deku nods, and together they weave through the store, out into the street with wide eyes and sure feet.
The ‘pops’ are closer now, shrieks and shouts joining them. Without thought, Bakugou grabs Deku’s hand and takes off faster, running for his car. He keeps them quiet, follows the route back as quickly as he can in their now silent section of the city. He can see the tail end of the car, and Bakugou groans to himself in relief. All they have to do is get there, get in, and they can go meet up with--
Bakugou slams to halt as the rest of the car comes into view around the corner; Deku smacking into his side and gripping tight at his arm to keep them both upright.
“Well, well, well, look what we have here.” The voice is drawling; drifting towards them with an ease that mirrors the way its owner relaxes against Bakugou’s car, and is equally as infuriating as the sight. The man is tall, dark hair spiking in different directions, blood and whatever the fuck else splattered on his clothing. He lifts a hand, gesturing with a thumb to the truck. “This baby yours?” He says it with an expression that tells Bakugou he already knows the answer, glancing toward a woman that’s settled herself on the car’s hood.
As it is, Bakugou grunts and steps closer to the car. “Yeah, it is. Care to step the fuck away from it?” Deku’s hand is still on his arm and Bakugou feels it tighten; a reassuring squeeze that does little to alleviate his increasing irritation, but it disappears a second later and he sees the crossbow shift slightly out of the corner of his eye.
The man pushes off the car, his hands raised. “Hey, no need to be rude. I’m just asking.”
“Yeah well, you can ask it away from my goddamn car.” Bakugou grips his bat tighter as he closes the distance between them, wary of a pistol tucked at the man’s hip.
“Alright, alright,” he lowers his hands, and Bakugou raises his eyebrow in question. The guy gestures to the girl on the hood, who’s been oddly quiet so far. “My girl’s injured and our car is busted. Think we can hitch a ride?”
Bakugou’s expression turns suspicious and he casts a glance at Deku, whose eyes are far more sympathetic than Bakugou expects them to be. “Why not try for another car? You’re in a city. It’s not like there’s a shortage of options to try.”
The man nods. “We did try, but every car within a ten block radius is either dead, fucked to hell, or missing the keys.”
“Hotwire one?” Bakugou suggests, looking over at the girl. He doesn’t believe she’s hurt. He’s been around Infected long enough that he knows the look of their insides when they’re splattered all over, and the mess on her isn’t it. These two are just trying to play them.
He watches the guy shake his head with an expression that Bakugou thinks is some kind of attempt at regret, but it just looks fake. “Don’t know how.”
“Bakugou!” For the first time in minutes, Deku speaks, and shoots a scolding look at him. He tugs Bakugou back a little, speaking low. “Don’t be rude. They need help.” His voice is disapproving. Bakugou is frustrated.
“What? This doesn’t sound like total bullshit to you? You don’t just randomly stay alive in a zombie apocalypse. You work with others or you take from them, and these two seem like the kind to take everything you’ve got and not look back.” He throws up a hand, dismissive. There’s no Momo here to talk him into anything, no kid to tip the scale. “Besides,” he says, “who the fuck doesn’t know how to hotwire a car?”
“I don’t,” Deku says, and what is Bakugou supposed to say now? He’s got a feeling, but he doesn’t want Deku pissed off at him this whole trip. Maybe they could help them a little, drop them off at the next city and get away from them. Deku eyes him with an expression that’s somehow annoyed and hopeful. He sighs, lets his head fall back and stares up at the clouds.
“Fine,” he mutters, not looking at the pair. “We’ll bring you to the next city over. After that, you’re on your own.” He looks at his phone. They’ve got five minutes to meet the group before they take off without them. If he floors it, they’ll make it just in time. The man sticks his hand out toward Bakugou, an easy smile spread across his face.
“Cool. The name’s Dabi,” he turns toward the girl behind him, “and this here is Toga. Wh--”
“I don’t really care,” Bakugou cuts him off. To Deku he says, “Come on, I want this over and done with.” He and Deku set the supplies in the trunk, keeping their weapons with them. They slide into the front seat, Dabi and Toga already settling themselves in the back. He shoots Ochako a quick text that they’re on their way, and starts up the car. There’s a loud ‘crack’ next to him, and he watches in shock as Deku’s head smashes against the window, and then everything goes black.
When Bakugou wakes, it’s with ringing in his right ear and a throbbing pain at the side of his head. His vision is blurry and he tries in vain to clear it, blinking hard as he drags himself into a sitting position. His body aches and he nearly falls over from the pain in his head. He drops his face to his hands, rubs at the blurriness and the ache. It fades, his vision clearing slowly and allowing him to see his surroundings. He doesn’t remember anything after getting in the car, which is nowhere to be seen. He’s alone on the road, still in the city. Then he remembers Deku was with him and panic flares in his chest because he can’t see the guy anywhere. But there’s a groan to his left on the other side of a busted up sedan. He can see beat up red sneakers jutting out from below the bumper, and even though it hurts, Bakugou hauls himself off the asphalt and stumbles towards Deku. He’s got a gash on his forehead, red blood matting his curls to his forehead. He needs stitches, but the car is gone and their supplies with it.
Deku groans and winces, but doesn’t open his eyes. Bakugou lays a hand on his shoulder and shakes him lightly. “Hey, you alright?”
“Yeah, Deku, it’s just me. Let’s get you up.” He places a hand under Deku’s shoulders, lifts him gently to avoid hurting him further, while keeping an eye out for danger.
“What happened?” Deku asks, and Bakugou grits his teeth.
“They fucked us, that’s what happened.” Deku’s eyes go wide, and his body goes rigid under Bakugou’s hands. He can practically feel Deku’s stress, and it does nothing to soothe his own.
“The car?” Bakugou shakes his head. “Our supplies? Our bags? The phones?” Deku is frantic, his eyes flashing here and there for the items. It’s difficult for Bakugou to not respond aggressively, but he manages to resist the urge to yell. He’s just trying to get through this, and if they keep their heads on, they will.
“I can’t believe they did this,” Deku says, and that’s what makes Bakugou snap. He rips his hands away from Deku, who stumbles a bit without the support. His face is confused as Bakugou balls up his hands and stares at him with furious eyes.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” He’s loud, louder than he should be if he wants to stay alive, and so he lowers his voice to a harsh murmur. “You’re really surprised?” He turns in a circle, tramples that instinctive urge to lash out, but slips and whips around, stabbing a finger in Deku’s direction. “I told you this was a bad idea; that it was a crock of shit, but no! You wanted to be nice. You did this!” Deku’s mouth slams shut and with that, Bakugou stalks away.
He doesn’t make it more than a few steps before Deku’s ready for more. “It’s my fault? You said it’d be okay if we separated! You said we’d be right back. ‘Don’t worry Deku, we’ll be quick. Don’t get your shit in a twist.’”
“I know, but don’t you fucking yell at me! I’m not the one who invited…” he pauses, “why are you so--” he trails off, realizes what’s got Deku so frantic; and it makes stop. He can be pissed, but it’s not worth being so mad he forgets everything important, and Deku shouldn’t get even more upset with his head injury. He takes a small look around. By the grace of whatever the hell force is out there, there’s no zombies in sight, and so he steps up to Deku and squeezes his shoulder. “Eri will be fine, okay? She’s with the group. She’s not alone. They’ll protect her with everything they’ve got.”
Deku nods, and takes a deep breath. “You’re right. She’ll be fine.” Bakugou gives him a small smile and Deku’s eyes are soft and apologetic. “I’m sorry about the car. I was just trying to be kind.”
“I know,” Bakugou says. “It’s fine, it’s done.” He can’t afford to stay mad, doesn’t really want to even if he could, and he turns to look out at the cars around them. “Now help me find a car and a map. We need to get to the others.”
They find an old Dodge Charger that Bakugou decides will work. Unlike the nearby cars, the worst its got is a missing bumper and dented hood, plus the missing keys. But Bakugou can smell gas in the tank and that’s good enough for him, so he teaches Deku to hotwire the car. It takes an extra minute, and he can hear the shriek of Infected in the distance, but he’s got fast hands and Deku’s a quick learner; truthfully, he’ll be damned if he doesn’t give Deku more tools to keep himself alive. When the spark catches and the car finally starts, Bakugou breathes a sigh of relief. They’re one step closer to getting back with the others.
He rummages around the car trying to find a map, but he doesn’t need to, because Deku, one car over, is walking back with his arms full.
“Look what I found,” Deku says, gesturing to the things in his arms, and the corner of Bakugou’s mouth curves up as he spots the old map.
“Nice.” Deku’s also got a flashlight, a blanket, a half empty bottle of water and a couple of full ones, and something that looks like chapstick but turns out to be a vial of painkillers. He hands that over to Bakugou once they’re in the car, along with the water. Bakugou pops two and offers the rest to Deku, who takes them wordlessly. Then a loud bang sounds from the back of the car and it rocks forward with the momentum.
He doesn’t have to see them, the growling is enough to make him slam the car into reverse and back over the scrambling, bloodthirsty bodies. He whips the car around quickly, avoiding the other cars and backing toward the exit he needs to take to get the fuck out of there.
He doesn’t bother looking when something crushes beneath the tire, just moves away from the steadily increasing number of bodies that spill onto the street. He laughs out loud at the thrill of it, moving fast and escaping the hoarde. Deku looks at him like he’s a little crazy, but when the car pulls smoothly around and he throws it into drive, tearing through Infected that have clustered at the noise and are fighting each other to get to them, Deku lets out an excited ‘yeah!’ that makes Bakugou smirk.
“Take that you bastards!” Bakugou yells, and then they’re on the highway, flying down the road and away from death.
Deku’s got the map open before he can even say anything, tracing the line of a route with his finger and his brow furrowed. His expression shifts to something victorious, an excited smile and determined eyes locking onto Bakugou, and Bakugou can’t deny that Deku’s mood is infectious.
“I know exactly where we have to go. Stay on this road. I’ll tell you what to do next.” Bakugou nods and says, “Alright, let’s go find the family.” He turns on the radio, and CDs shuffle in the player until it settles on one and a song starts blasting through the speakers. Just like that, they’re off.
It’s four hours before Bakugou gives into the rumbling of his stomach and pulls off the highway for food. Deku doesn’t say anything, but the look on his face is grateful. He points to a cluster of stores a mile up the road, one of those travel centers with everything you need right there. It’s a tentative heaven, but Bakugou can tell the outbreak has had its effect here too. Most of the windows are busted along with cars crashed here and there, and bodies prone on the ground. Bakugou pulls up to the door closest to the mini mart, and sets the brake. He can see Infected mulling around a few stores down, but Deku is fast and he’s unbuckling his seatbelt before Bakugou can even make a suggestion of a plan.
“I’ve got probably three minutes before they get tired over there and come find us. I’m going to go in, grab what I can, and I’ll be back.” He says it with a directness that Bakugou finds hot, but not enough to distract from the grumbling of his stomach, and so he nods, gesturing towards the store.
“Go, I’ll keep watch.”
Deku opens the door, and they both hesitate as it lets out a loud squeak, releasing a breath when no Infected makes its way over. Bakugou lowers his voice. “Be fast, and grab me some peanut butter cups if you can.” The corner of Deku’s mouth quirks up, and then he’s gone, leaving Bakugou alone in the car.
Deku’s got about thirty seconds left on his three minute prediction when there’s a crash from inside the building, and Bakugou promptly freaks out. He hears a shriek, a commotion, and it catches the attention of the zombies ahead, who they almost completely avoided. Bakugou taps his foot, his eyes darting between the doorway and the cluster. He raps his fingers on the wheel. Deku should be out in a few seconds.
But the Infected tear toward the car, gunning for the noise and the fresh meat their one track minds tell them is probably there. Bakugou can see their teeth gnashing as they stumble and sprint; his eyes darting between them and the open door where Deku should be but still isn’t. His heart beats off kilter, an arrhythmia as he tries to decide what to do. Does he slam the car in drive, risk leaving Deku open to attack to mow down the oncoming danger? Or does he let them come and hope to the All Mighty that Deku gets his ass out before they get there? Is he already dead? His grip on the steering wheel tightens and maybe, maybe if he’s lucky he won’t have to leave here without the one person who’s made him feel alive and normal. But the Infected are getting closer and Bakugou squeezes his eyes shut, before settling his foot on the gas and he’ll just have to hope Deku makes it out because his foot is pressing down and--
--the door next to him slams shut, the crinkling of bags underlining Deku’s frantic ‘Go!’ before Bakugou puts pedal to the metal and launches the car toward the zombies. They’re not far off, and the violent thud of their bodies crashing is unexpectedly jarring and majorly satisfying. They peal out of the parking lot, and when Bakugou finds a way to look over at Deku, his heart beating a heavy bass in his chest, he’s relieved to see Deku without a single new injury. His green eyes are bright with excitement and unexpected, disbelieving grin spreads across Bakugou’s face.
“You’re something, you know that?” Deku looks at him and laughs, rummaging in the pile at his feet. He tosses a bright orange package at Bakugou and goddamn if Bakugou doesn’t fall in love with him right there.
He lets Deku drive a little while after that. They see Infected, none that can keep up, and two cars that zip away as they finally make it out of Pennsylvania. Bakugou is exhausted, his head still aches and he’s not exactly comfortable, even after grabbing a ratty old blanket from the back of the truck, but he manages to knock out for a few hours, waking up after Deku’s already crossed the border into Ohio, and midday has shifted to late afternoon. He feels the car slow, the shift of tires over bumps and his head knocks lightly against the window. He hears a low laugh, a small exhale of amusement that has him opening his eyes to see Deku glancing back toward the road, trying not to smile.
“What?” Bakugou asks, voice rough from sleep and stretching lightly.
“You’ve uh,” Deku pauses, pursing his lips to hinder the smile. “You’ve got a little something there.” He gestures to his mouth and Bakugou flushes, wiping quickly at the drool he’s now all too aware of. He ignores it deliberately, clearing his throat and looking out the window to hide the slight pink on his cheeks.
“How’s it been?” There’s an old rock song playing off one of the CDs, low and comfortable between them as they cruise down the highway.
“Quiet. If there’s any Infected around, they’re closer to the cities, not wandering the highway.” As Deku says it, he guides the truck around a pile of bodies, dodges a busted up car and weaves back into a clear lane. Bakugou nods. It’s a little unsettling how quiet it is, truth be told. Sometimes Bakugou would rather have a bit of chaos, something raw and real to focus on instead of the uncertain future they’re looking at. Deku’s unhappy hum pulls Bakugou’s attention, and he looks over to see Deku peering down at the dashboard, his lips pursed.
“What is it?”
“We’re gonna need gas as soon as possible.” Not having gas, while unarmed? That would not be a good idea, but lucky for them there’s a sign up ahead with a beautiful little gas symbol indicating there’s a station down the highway.
When they pull in, it looks almost like a normal station--or it would--if it weren’t for the flashing, broken lights and the bodies of the station attendants and some customers all over the ground. There’s an SUV parked at one of the pumps, a few others too full of blood and debris to get to, so Deku pulls up opposite the SUV. Bakugou hops out quickly, checking for any unwanted company, and gets the nozzle into the car. He counts to three before he smacks the button, and when no gas filters through, he yanks the nozzle away and kicks at one of the tires before dropping into a crouch. He runs his hands through his hair, stressed. “Fuck.”
Deku appears from around the front and crouches next to him. the look on his face a mix of frustration and worry. “Maybe one of the other cars?”
Bakugou can’t stop the barb from slipping out. “If we had my truck we wouldn’t be in this mess.” It’s a hiss and Deku recoils slightly, his face falling. Bakugou immediately regrets it. “Sorry.”
Deku’s nod is slight, and he rises to his feet. “I’m going to see if there’s some food still in the mini-mart.” Bakugou sighs. He knew the truck wasn’t going to last them forever, but with a little gas it should have gotten them at least a little further. If one of the other cars doesn’t work, then they’ll have to risk traveling on foot with no protection.
He goes through four different cars before he gets to the SUV, which he’d been saving for last and secretly hoping would be the one they got to take. It’s a giant Chevrolet Suburban--a newer one--and the thing looks like a fucking tank compared to the truck they were driving. He climbs in to the front seat. It’s in decent condition, and Bakugou thinks it might have been another survivor's car at some point, or maybe just some unfortunate family’s. He’d feel a little worse if the car wasn’t important to their survival, but the relief he experiences when he feels the keys in the ignition outweighs any of that.
He calls for Deku, then turns the key, expecting the engine to roar to life. It doesn’t, only gives a feeble effort as it tries and fails to turn over. “Come on.” He tries again, glances at the mini-mart but doesn’t see Deku just yet. The engine does the same thing, and Bakugou smacks at the wheel sitting back in the seat. He shouts Deku’s name again, and exhales, annoyed, directing his next words at the car. “One more try, you fuck, and you better start.”
He turns the key, presses the pedal down to give it some gas--and the engine finally turns over. The gas tank is blessedly half-full, more than enough to get them to another station that might still have some fuel. He catches movement out of the corner of his eye, sees Deku jogging over to him from the mini-mart, his arms full of small bags of pretzels, granola bars, and sports drinks. He opens the back door to the SUV and tosses his haul on the seat, then Bakugou feels a tap on his arm.
“Did you see this?” When Bakugou turns, Deku’s pointing to a duffle bag on the floor of the back seat. He hadn’t seen it, but as Deku pushes the edge of it to the side and shows him what’s in it, Bakugou lets out an excited ‘fuck yeah!’. There’s 3 pistols, a shotgun, and some loose rounds for each. In their situation, that’s like hitting the fucking lottery.
Once they’ve got all their stuff moved into the Suburban, Deku hops back in the driver’s seat, Bakugou settling next to him as they pull back onto the highway, one step closer to meeting up with the others.
Bakugou tries to sleep--he really does--so that when it’s his turn to drive, he’ll be coherent enough to not crash them into a tree. But something (someone) is keeping him (unintentionally) awake, and his mind wanders as they make time towards Illinois.
He tries putting the things he knows about Deku in perspective, and through all of it, one think sticks in his mind: that Deku is strong, he does what he has to. It’s how he kept Eri and himself alive this whole time, without extra protection or a solid place to live, and it’s something that Bakugou admires in him. He wonders if there were more people with them at some point; he knows Eri’s parents were around, but he isn’t sure when it became just the two of them. He’s been thinking about asking, but he doesn’t want to be an asshole.
Next to him, Deku’s face is illuminated by the dashboard, a red glow ghosting his features in the dark of the evening. Bakugou watches his expression shift, his mouth moving as he sings along to the song. His gaze travels down the length of his arm to where Deku’s hands grip the wheel. He’s wearing Bakugou’s jacket, and the sleeves are a touch too long, covering his knuckles and letting only his fingers show. It’s adorable; Bakugou should be sleeping instead of focusing on that fact, but he can’t stop his thoughts from settling on all things Deku. He has this annoying, unwavering urge to get to know him, and Bakugou’s never had that before in his life. It’s driving him crazy, the instinctive way his entire being drifts to the guy, and he pulls the ratty blanket tighter around himself and sighs, pressing the back of his head against the cold window for relief.
The volume of the music lowers, and Deku’s voice is low and curious in its place. “Bakugou?”
“What?” he asks tiredly. There’s a beat of silence before Deku speaks, and they watch a pair of headlights fly by on the other side of the highway. They wait until it disappears from sight before either speaks again. “So?” Bakugou says, a little impatient. He’s annoyed that even the mere act of Deku speaking has his heart doing flips.
“Were you always with the others, you know, from the beginning?”
Bakugou exhales a laugh at the fact that he’s not the only curious asshole in the car. He doesn’t feel so bad now. “Yeah. We’ve been together from the start.”
“How many of there were you, if you don’t mind me asking.”
He’s glad Deku’s made the first move, and he clears his throat before he answers. “There were three more of us, friends of ours. They didn’t make it past the first couple of weeks.” He pauses a moment before he continues, answering a question Deku hasn’t even bothered asking. “We went to high school together, and my parents died when I was young, so the group—they’ve always been my family. Sticking with them was a no brainer.”
Deku nods, his smile gentle as he continues to drive. He doesn’t ask anything else, and Bakugou decides that now is as good a time as any to ask his own question. “So,” he clears his throat, makes his voice curious and as non-pushy as possible. “What about you? You said Eri’s dads were around?”
He can see the way Deku hesitates, and Bakugou almost regrets asking. But then Deku starts speaking, and his worry dissipates.
“Yes. When the outbreak started near us, I was home with my mom. I had just gotten off a long day of classes and uh,” his voice dips, in embarrassment or disappointment—Bakugou guesses, before he continues. “The only thing I could think about was sleep. By the time I first heard something off—they had already dragged my mom from the house. Half the neighborhood was turned, so I ran to Eri’s house as fast as I could. She and her older brother, Mirio, were adopted by my neighbors, Aizawa and Toshinori. Since it was just me and my mom, they became like an extended family, treated me like I was their son, too. Mirio--,” Bakugou doesn’t miss the way Deku’s voice breaks on the name, “he was my best friend, and he died fighting to keep us safe. He was so brave, he didn’t even hesitate. Toshinori and Aizawa, they told us to get away; told me to take Eri and run, while Mirio was—,” Bakugou watches a tear drip down the the side of Deku’s face, and he reaches up to wipe it away without a thought. Deku’s smile of thanks is the saddest thing he’s ever seen, and Bakugou’s heart aches for his loss as his companion finishes. “So that’s what I did. Now here I am, with their daughter, and I have no idea if they’re alive or dead.”
The car is silent then, save for the comfortable sound of tires on road. Bakugou lets Deku breathe, watches him wipe at the corner of his eye and sniffle lightly. He understands what’s going through Deku’s head--that he’s lost, that he feels like he’s failed; Bakugou feels like he should say something--but he’s not really good at this. He bites at his lip, taps his fingers on his knees and says what he himself would hope to hear if he were in Deku’s shoes; what he’s pretty sure is the truth anyway.
“They’re proud of you, you know, grateful too.” He watches Deku’s expression shift at the words, his jaw tightening and nostrils flaring to stop more tears from spilling. He stares, even though Deku can’t meet his gaze, Bakugou’s sure he would if he could and the pain written there would break his heart. Deku lets him gently pull one of his hands from the steering wheel, and Bakugou laces their fingers together. “Whether they’re out there trying to get back to you, or looking down on you from wherever--you kept their daughter safe, you kept their son safe. You’re crazy if you think you’ve failed somehow.”
Deku sniffles again, tightening his grip on Bakugou’s hand with a small, appreciative smile. “I hope you’re right.”
Bakugou huffs out a laugh, leaning back against his seat, their hands still laced over the center console between them. “I’m always right,” he mumbles, and as Deku focuses on getting them into Iowa safely, Bakugou finally feels the pull of sleep take him.
It’s cool enough to have the windows down, the summer heat dissipating to warmth, and pairing well with the breeze that floods through the car. They sit in comfortable silence after changing shifts, Bakugou driving and singing along to the music, and Deku curled up in the passenger seat, his arms around his knees as the car flies down the highway. Nothing comes for them, no other survivors on the road. It’s another one of those moments that make their current situation feel like a far off dream. The inbetween that lets Bakugou imagine they’re doing nothing but road tripping, just the two of them somewhere. He’s resigned himself a bit more now to those feelings that have crept in, that have shifted Deku in his mind from a hot fuck with undeniable skill to something, someone more.
He tells himself it’s no good, that their lives now are far too dangerous to let shit like this go any further, to let himself care for Deku in a way that makes his heart ache and his stomach turn at the thought of Deku not being there. But he knows there’s not really a point to fighting. His heart no longer belongs to him.
And he scolds himself for it, for something that feels like he had no control of it in the first place. He doesn’t even know how Deku really feels. Though there are things that give him hope, little things that have him thinking maybe there could be something beyond the occasional flirting. There’s these looks that Deku gives him when he thinks he can’t see, glances at him like the one Deku’s giving him now, that Bakugou can see out of the corner of his eye, when he should be focusing on the road. Fuck, he’s so far gone for this guy, and he can’t even work up the balls to do anything about it. He clears his throat and sings a little louder to the song, eyes straining to focus on anything but the man next to him.
It works for a little while, enough for him to cross the border into South Dakota before the hours of driving finally catch up with him and he has to look at something, anything but road. He spots a mega store up ahead with a parking lot that’s huge and spotted here and there with cars in varying states.
He avoids driving over bodies as best as he can, and pulls into a spot near a cluster of other cars to give them some cover. Once he decides his vantage point is good, he relaxes into his seat with a sigh. Deku’s voice breaks the quiet.
“Do you want to sleep?” Bakugou looks at him, sees the tiredness in Deku’s eyes and the way his body slumps against the seat. He huffs out a laugh, a slightly amused smile pulling at his lips. He’s anything but tired. His problem right now is that without the driving to focus on, he can’t help but stare at Deku. He should be on watch, looking out for Infected or survivors with no fucking morals, you know, the things that keep you alive when the world is falling apart, but instead all he can pay attention to is the way Deku bites his lip, the way his hair is everywhere at once and the smooth line of his neck that would be so soft under Bakugou’s fingers. He clears his throat, peers into the soft green of Deku’s eyes and says “‘m fine. You’ve been awake as long as me. Get some sleep and we can switch off when you wake up. This place is quiet for now.”
“Alright.” A few moments pass, the only sounds in the car the low murmur of the music and their soft breathing. Bakugou can feel Deku’s eyes on him and he tries not to squirm, deflecting it with sarcasm and calling him out.
“You know, that’s not really how sleeping works. Your eyes are supposed to be closed.”
“I know,” Deku says softly. He bites his lip again, and there’s a hint of something on his face that suggests he’s got something else he wants to be doing.
“So what’s your problem?”
“Really?” Something shifts in Deku’s expression.
But Bakugou’s heart is pounding in his chest. That felt like it was going to be something, and he doesn’t want to let it go. “Deku, what?”
“It’s nothing, it’s stupid.” Bakugou gives him a pointed look, ignoring the fact that Deku is stupidly cute when he’s nervous.
“Just say it, you stubborn asshole.” Thankfully Deku’s mouth slips into a reluctantly amused smile.
“You’re such a jerk, Bakugou,” Bakugou keeps quiet, and Deku takes it as a sign to continue. “I wanna kiss you.” Bakugou’s heart does this stupid stop start pounding thing, that fucking arrhythmia again because the reciprocation is both a relief and terrifying.
He can’t make his stupid mouth form words, can’t stop the pause that settles over him. When Deku’s eyes go wide after a moment of silence, fear and regret coloring his features, Bakugou immediately wants to do something--to say yes this is perfect please kiss me, I’d kiss you every single day if I could--but he doesn’t want to spook him. He treats him like some kind of scared animal when the cards are finally starting to fall into place. Then he realizes it’s not Deku who’s the scared one. It’s him. He’s scared of slipping, and caring so much it kills him. But Deku is already sitting up and opening the door, quick ‘sorrys’ falling from his lips as he does. He shuts the door quietly behind himself and Bakugou looks at his reflection in the rearview mirror. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
He runs a hand through his hair, dropping his head against the headrest. Deku paces at the back of the car, a worried expression on his face as he clearly avoids looking back in at Bakugou. Eventually he stops pacing, and it’s a second before the back passenger door opens and Deku snags a flashlight from their found duffle bag of supplies. The door shuts again, and Bakugou watches Deku busy himself by searching the old Honda next to them. Bakugou knows he should do something, but he needs a moment--and he thinks Deku might too.
It’s quiet as he searches, but he finds a jumble of things he must find useful, because a few minutes later he’s popping the trunk, and Bakugou hears him set the supplies down. He doesn’t say a word, just hops up to sit in the trunk, facing out towards the shopping center around them like he doesn’t want to bother Bakugou again.
“Shit,” he whispers under his breath, the last thing he wants Deku to think is that he’s been wrong about Bakugou’s feelings the whole time. And even though it makes him feel like he’s leaping off a cliff, Bakugou smacks the steering wheel and swallows his fear, opening the door to look Deku face to face.
He comes to stand right in front of Deku, who peers at him with uncertain--almost apologetic--eyes. Then Bakugou is moving, ignoring the slight apprehension in his gut to surge forward and press his lips to Deku’s. He reaches up, wraps his hand around the back of Deku’s neck and pulls him closer into the kiss, ignoring everything but the feel of soft lips against his own. Deku makes a surprised sound, and Bakugou pulls back with a low laugh. When he opens his eyes, Deku’s go wide.
“What was that for?”
Bakugou groans, dropping his forehead against Deku’s shoulder. Of course, he wants an explanation; but the first thing that comes out of Bakugou’s mouth is an instinctive response that he immediately regrets. “We’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, gotta get it while you can, yeah?” He sounds like an asshole, and as Deku goes to speak, Bakugou cuts him off with a hurried, apologetic kiss. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. I uh...fuck.” He closes his eyes, drops his hands from Deku’s face and rubs at his temples with a distressed grunt. Then the words spill out before he can stop them.
“You make me crazy, you know that? Since I met you, it’s like I have--it’s like I have whiplash. I was just trying to keep everyone going, stay alive and get through this fucking chaos. And then you,” he stabs a finger in Deku’s chest, “you come along and it’s like I want you, yeah? I want you with every damn fiber of my being but I don’t know what to do because we could die. Any day. Any moment I could lose you and if I let myself really give a damn about you and then that happens?” He turns around, shakes his head and looks back at Deku. “I’ll break, and I can’t handle that. I’ve only known you for a few weeks, but you’ve got me so fucked up, I don’t know what to do with myself.” He gestures wildly, throws his arms up in the air as the words stop coming and his chest heaves with exhilaration of confession.
They stare are at each other, and then a smirk slowly slips across Deku’s face. “You like me?”
Bakugou cocks an eyebrow, his stress shifting and a reluctant smile forming at Deku’s teasing tone. “Just because you drive me crazy that doesn’t mean I don’t know you’re hot as fuck. When you cook, when you fight, all the goddamn time.” Deku glances up at him, his expression a mix of happiness and deep-seated satisfaction as he reaches up to dig his fingers into Bakugou’s hair. He tugs to bring him closer and Bakugou lets him, dropping his forehead against Deku’s, his voice a low mumble. “Yes, I like you, okay? I think I might even love you, and I’m not sure what the fuck to do about that.”
“I think I do,” Deku says and he leans back, pulling Bakugou with him and slamming the button to bring the trunk door closed behind them. With the third row seat down, the Suburban’s trunk is huge, and Bakugou easily crawls on top of Deku as they kiss. Their lips meet over and over in quiet, soft presses--until Bakugou remembers something and pulls back.
“You just let me say all that shit, pour my fucking heart out, and you don’t say anything?” He’s teasing just a little, but Bakugou really, really needs to hear Deku say the words back.
In the middle of an apocalypse, in the quiet of the car, the second it takes for Deku to respond feels like forever. He brushes a piece of hair out of Bakugou’s eyes and smiles up at him. “Bakugou, I think I love you too.” And those words set Bakugou’s whole system off. He surges forward to capture Deku’s mouth in a hard kiss, pressing their bodies together as he does. Deku grinds his hips up into him, and Bakugou feels the hard line of his cock against his own.
“Katsuki, call me Katsuki,” he mumbles, lips drifting from Deku’s mouth to his jaw.
Deku hums, mouths the name to himself before he says it out loud. “Katsuki.”
Things move...faster from there.
They tug one of the old blankets from the front seat and lay it out haphazardly underneath them, laughing as they help each other with their clothes and the rumpled pile forms their makeshift bed. When they’ve finally settled, it’s Deku who’s on top, his thighs straddling Bakugou’s hips. The soft pads of his fingertips ghost across Bakugou’s skin, tracing his collarbones, his chest, and down across the muscles of his stomach and the discolored, puckered skin there from the wound that nearly killed him. It’s the first time he’s seen it, Bakugou realizes, and Deku can’t stop his fingers from grazing the scar. Bakugou waits for a comment about how bad it is, about how he could have died--but none comes.
Instead, Deku leans down to kiss him and gives a light roll of his hips. “What do you want, Katsuki?”
“I wish I could fuck you,” he says, almost embarrassingly fast, but he’s been dreaming about this from first time he saw Deku. “I don’t have anything though.” He doesn’t want to hurt him, and if he’s honest, he’ll be happy with whatever they do, even if it’s just holding hands.
Deku bites his lip and reaches above Bakugou’s head, searching for something until he sits back with a victorious smile on his face. In his hands are a condom--an intact and non-expired condom from the looks of it, and a small, travel-sized bottle of lube. Bakugou barks out a very surprised laugh.
“Where the fuck did you find those?”
Deku gestures to the Honda next door. “It must have belonged to a student or something, there’s nothing but ramen cups and empty Red Bull cans in there. I found these in the glove compartment.” He pops the cap on the lube, dropping the condom onto Bakugou’s chest.
“Do you want some help?” Bakugou pushes himself up onto his elbows as he offers, but Deku makes him lie back.
“I can do it.” He’s got this adorable determined look on his face, so Bakugou tucks his arms under his head, relaxes back and watches as Deku coats his fingers in the liquid. He holds his breath when Deku’s arm disappears and the wet sound of prep follows it. Deku licks at his lips as he fingers himself open, his breath hitching at the stretch and making Bakugou’s cock twitch between them.
Without the parking lot lights, it’s only moonlight that they have to see by. It cuts a swath across Deku’s body, over his stomach and down across his thighs, where his cock sits hard next to Bakugou’s. It’s a stolen moment, and all Bakugou cares about, all he can do, is focus on the way Deku whimpers and squirms on top of him, little rocks of his hips as he spreads himself open.
When he’s ready, he covers Bakugou’s cock in lube and shifts forward, kissing him hard. “Ready, Kacchan?” He whispers in his ear, dragging his nails lightly over Bakugou’s chest.
Bakugou wants to respond, but he can’t when his brain in short circuiting from a nickname he doesn’t expect and the just-right feel of Deku’s hand on his cock as he rolls on the condom.
A second later, as Deku is sinking down onto him until he’s buried to the hilt, Bakugou’s brain rapidly reboots; every nerve is his body lit up and his perspective narrows to focus entirely on Deku.
There’s no Infected, no outbreak or survival, no rush weighing on them; only the feel of their bodies moving together. Bakugou runs his hands across every inch of Deku’s skin that he can reach. He’s not sure--in that moment at least--why he ever waited to say something, to make a move. This thing between them, that makes his heart skip a beat in a way it never has, is worth every second of fear and worry and bullshit anxiety he might experience along the way. Deku gives him a look, so fond and satisfied that Bakugou can’t stop himself from grinning.
“Kacchan, I want more.”
Bakugou responds without words, welcoming the invitation. He rolls them over, Deku’s legs spreading to make room. He pulls Bakugou into a kiss and teases him with tongue as Bakugou begins to pump his hips. He fucks Deku hard and fast, sucking a bruise along the freckled skin of his neck. There’s a pull low in his stomach, and he knows that his orgasm isn’t far off. He meets Deku’s eyes, wondering if he can tell from the way his hips stutter lightly and his thrusts slow. He thinks--from the tight squeeze around his cock and the smirk settling on Deku’s face--that he absolutely can, and that he likes how fast Bakugou is going to finish for him.
He wraps a hand around his cock and starts to stroke, moaning as Bakugou pushes his legs up towards his chest to fuck deeper inside him. He tries a few angles, thrusting until he grazes a spot inside Deku that makes his eyes roll back and a low ‘Kacchan’ fall from his lips. His hand works faster, moving in rapid strokes and the sight of Deku like that--ready and open and just about to come--has Bakugou hurtling over the edge before he even knows it’s happening. His heart pounds in his chest as his cock twitches, filling the condom. He vaguely registers Deku’s orgasm, sees the spurts of cum that coat his chest and stomach, and the little bit that lands on his neck. Bakugou reaches out, thoughtlessly thumbing at the drop there and pulling it back to taste.
Together they catch their breath, and after a few minutes, Bakugou mournfully pulls out, tying off the condom and tucking it off to the side. Something in the back of his mind tells him to check their perimeter, that even though his priorities have shifted for the moment, survival is still an imperative. When he’s sure there’s no threat, he snags the other blanket from the middle seat and covers them both with it.
They settle facing one another, their fingers laced between them. Deku’s eyes search Bakugou’s, his expression anticipating, like he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop, like he expects Bakugou to regret what they just did. And Bakugou laughs out loud, because the same thing had been running through his head.
“What?” Deku asks, with a little nervous laugh of his own.
“Get that worried look off your face. I don’t regret this, and I hope to god you don’t either.”
“How did you even…?”
“You think I’m not scared you’re going to take back everything you just said and did?”
Deku’s reaction is immediate. His whole body sags with relief and he places his hands on both sides of Bakugou’s face, kissing his forehead. “I’m not taking any of it back,” he says, dipping to kiss Bakugou on the lips too, “but I am tired now.”
Bakugou lets out a tired laugh of his own. “You’re a shit.” The air in the car is cooler now, so he pulls the blanket up to his chin and ducks down, tucking his head under Deku’s chin and moving closer for warmth.
He hears Deku’s contented hum and a quiet ‘sleep well, Kacchan,’ before comfort kicks in and sleep takes over.
Bakugou wakes before his body is fully ready, early morning light streaming through the truck’s windows and dragging him into consciousness. He’d be pissed, if he wasn’t so damn comfortable; sleep is a precious commodity that Bakugou highly values. In the back of his mind, he tells himself to remember to thank Deku for letting him get a few more hours in.
Last night is fresh in his mind, and he aches for the opportunity to do it again; maybe when they finally get to the USJ, they’ll be able to without a shred of worry.
More awake now, he calls Deku’s name, but gets no response--calls it again, still nothing. The car is still in the same place, and he can’t see him in any of the cars surrounding them. He’s not dead on the ground, thank god, but he’s not asleep in the front seat either, and as Bakugou shoves his legs into his jeans and starts lacing up his boots, he tells himself to relax, that Deku is just as capable at fighting as he is, and they’ve got weapons now, things to defend themselves. There’s no fucking way Deku is out there unarmed. But the bag they found is missing, some of the firearms along with it, and Bakugou’s mind races because what if Deku left him, what if he was completely wrong about this kid and Bakugou’s thoughts are suddenly erratic and terrified and he’s working himself up--until he sees Deku pop out of a store in the distance, a shotgun in his hand and the bag over his shoulder.
“What are you doing?” Bakugou asks out loud, expecting no answer, but finding that the universe wants to give him one anyway, because Deku whips around and lines up a shot, aiming for an Infected that’s barrelling out of the store he just came from. Bakugou can’t see any more, but something has Deku scrambling after the zombie drops in front of him, and he takes off at a sprint into the mega store without a single glance at their truck. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Bakugou throws on his shirt, grabs a pistol from the bag and shoves it in his back pocket, another one remaining in hand and flings the door next to him open, dashing for the store after Deku. He spots the Infected before he hears them, and Bakugou thinks, while he’s lifting his pistol and taking aim, that South Dakota zombies are creepy fuckers; silent and fast, though he still manages to drop the thing before it’s even five feet away, a bullet square between its eyes.
“Jesus,” Bakugou mutters, if it hadn’t been for the crunch of gravel, he wouldn’t have even known the damn thing was coming. He shakes it off, tears into the store, hiding behind a ransacked display of basketballs. He hears nothing in the distance, not even the smack of feet where Deku might be. What he can tell is that this place is a gold mine, even after being picked through by previous visitors. He can see equipment bags and backpacks, bikes and boots and clothes strewn about. And in the dim sunlight store, he can just make out the baseball section in the back. He smiles to himself, shoving his pistol in his boot and jogging off toward it. He stops short when he catches sight of another interesting department to the far right wall; hunting equipment. He spots the row of bows immediately, some spots empty, others tipped and damaged, and immediately thinks of Deku’s crossbow, off somewhere with his car and everything they had. He changes course, heading for the bows in the hopes he might be able to find Deku an adequate replacement.
At first, Bakugou sees nothing like the crossbow that Deku had. The department is a wreck, making it difficult to see much of anything that he thinks could work; clearly someone had the same idea and raided the area as thoroughly (and quickly, he guesses because of the mess) as they could. So it takes a little searching, and he tries to stay as quiet as he can while he does, before he finds what he’s looking for. The bow is buried under a stack of fallen boxes. He shifts each one quietly, careful not to drop them and draw attention to himself as he slides the bow out. He sends up some thanks to the universe when it comes out clean, the frame intact and a light scrape on the stock the worst of the damage.
He moves quick to the shelves behind the counter, looking for arrows to go with his find. He sees a plethora, but none are exactly what he needs and he curses to himself, annoyed. But then he’s stumbling over a box, kicking it lightly and sending it skittering into the wall ahead of him. He tenses, waits for a response to the noise. When nothing happens, he releases a heavy breath, eyes darting to glare at the offensive item. A small, incredulous smirk pulls at his lips as he gets a good look at the box, and he shakes his head. Of course, the very thing he needs is the thing that nearly gets him killed. “You little…” he mumbles to himself, picking up the box and settling it against his shoulder. The crossbow is held tight in his other hand, and he does a quick visual sweep of the area before he makes a move. “Okay,” he says once he’s confirmed he’s in the clear, then heads for the sporting goods. He keeps an eye out for Deku. Bakugou knows he’s in the store, and hopes that his silence just means he’s hiding, rather than half-dead under some freakishly quiet zombie.
Bakugou is excited to show him the bow. It might be a little thing, but he hopes Deku appreciates the gesture at the very least. A moment later, Bakugou spots the sign for baseball, and takes a sharp left turn. The section hasn’t fared much better, with spilled buckets of balls and scattered helmets, and one overturned pitching machine blocking him from getting directly to the bats against the back wall. He shimmies himself passed it, more bats spread to the right. He stops when he sees Deku a little ways down, a bag stuffed with clothes at his feet and a bat held in each hand. He raises each one a little, testing the weight.
Bakugou smirks, then quickly hides the bow behind his back and clears his throat. Deku jumps a little, and Bakugou wants to kiss away the sheepish look that crosses his face.
“I—,” Deku blushes, “I was looking for a new bat for you. I know you lost yours because of me, and it’s what you like to use.” He leans a little to look around Bakugou, noticing the bow behind his back. Deku’s embarrassed smile turns to one of pleasant surprise. “And what do you have there?”
Lifting the bow and giving the box in his arms a little shake, Bakugou says, “Looks like we had the same idea,” then, a little cheeky, “guess we’re perfect for each other.”
“Guess so,” Deku responds, and sticks his tongue out like a child.
Bakugou spends the next few minutes selecting a bat as Deku evaluates the crossbow. He decides it’ll work for him, and the appreciative look on Deku’s face makes Bakugou preen. Once he finds the bat he likes the best, they grab the goods and head quietly for the entrance. They pick up some fallen water bottles near the registers, tossing some squished protein bars in the bag too. Bakugou’s one step out of the door when he hears Deku’s frantic ‘Bakugou, look out!’ and something collides with him, the bag slipping from his arms and his new bat skittering off.
His attacker scrambles to hold him, and Bakugou can instantly tell it’s an Infected. One look in his periphery confirms it’s the one he got away from earlier, a big guy whose control is eerily intact. It pushes Bakugou’s head to the side, wrestles him so that his neck is exposed. Bakugou tries to fight but being caught off guard like that has him struggling to push the Infected away and he hears its rapid breath, its teeth gnashing and going in for the bite--
--and then Deku shouts and the thing just fucking...stops. It still has Bakugou in its grip, but it focuses on Deku, who’s got his crossbow loaded and his eyes trained.
“Kacchan, I can’t get a clear headshot.” But Bakugou already knows, and he knows exactly what needs to happen if he doesn’t want to die. He feels the Infected start to shift again, whatever force that compelled it to respond slipping away as its hold tightens further.
“Izuku,” he says, gritting his teeth. “Shoot through me.”
“I could kill you.”
Bakugou shakes his head. “You can do this.” Then teeth press against the skin of his neck and Deku doesn’t have time respond. He pulls the trigger and the next thing Bakugou feels is not a bite, but the piercing of his right shoulder as Deku’s arrow goes through him. It hurts like hell, but the Infected shrieks and it’s hold loosens. Bakugou wraps his hands around the arrow and pushes it further into his shoulder, twisting it until the zombie’s arms drop completely and he slides away, thudding to the ground.
Deku is on him in a second, grabbing the bag and the bat and hauling Bakugou up to run with him, across the parking lot and into the car. Bakugou pants as pain surpasses the adrenaline he feels and he drops his head back against the seat. Deku throws their things in the back slams the door shut, locking it and focusing finally on Bakugou. Blood blooms on his shirt, and Deku winces as he reaches out, gripping tight at the arrow.
“I’m gonna pull it out. Try not to move.” The tearing of the arrow back through his flesh is the worst pain that he’s felt in a long time, and he blacks out for a moment, waking up as Deku pushes him back against the seat. He presses a wet bundle of cloth against his now naked shoulder, the fluid stinging and making Bakugou hiss.
“I’ve got the wound on your back covered,” Deku says hurriedly, shifting the car into drive and stepping on the pedal. “Do not move that gauze. I’m getting us the hell out of here.”
And even though it sucks, he keeps the wound covered, focusing on the sting and the pain to keep him awake as Deku hits the gas and they dart blessedly away.
He can hear both the relief and stress in Deku’s voice as he speaks. “Do me a favor and don’t ever do that again.”
“Do what? Get blindsided by a zombie?”
“Yes, that. Don’t do that.”
Bakugou huffs out a pained laugh. “Love you too.”
“You’re ridiculous,” Deku responds with a disbelieving smile, and takes the next exit for Montana.
They’re halfway through Montana, two hours into Bakugou’s turn at the wheel when Deku smacks at his bad arm and points out the window at something through the trees. Bakugou winces, shooting him a pain look. “Sorry! Kacchan, look.” He slows the truck and does as commanded. Against the backdrop of dusk, Bakugou can make out the clusters of lights, a variety of colors and designs, and it takes him a moment to realize that what he’s looking at is an amusement park. A functioning amusement park. His first instinct is to scoff at it and get the hell away because what kind of idiot drives right into what amounts to be a giant ‘come eat me’ sign? But then he’s looking at Deku, and there’s something in his expression that jumpstarts Bakugou’s heart. He’s the idiot, he realizes, who’s so soft over this guy that when he sees the sign for ‘Insert name here’, he pulls off the highway to what might be their death, just to see the fucker smile.
“Really?” Deku asks, surprised.
And even though it goes against his every instinct, he clears his throat and nods. He just can’t say no to Deku when he’s looking at him with those damn eyes, soft and big and excited. He’ll give him this one. “But only for a little, yeah? I don’t trust it.” And anyway, Bakugou would be lying if he said he wasn’t a little excited. He loves rides, and there’s something ridiculous and normal about what they are about to do: another arrhythmic moment in their post-outbreak lives. That feeling continues when they pull off the exit, and the rides come into unobstructed view. Without Infected or other survivors nearby, it’s just them, the lights, the bright colors and rides as they get closer and closer to the entrance, and it’s to Bakugou’s amusement that they’re basically on a date in the middle of an apocalypse.
He takes stock of the park as they weave through the entrance to the parking lot. Like everywhere else they go, the ground is littered with bodies, some whole, some not, and they make for a minefield of sorts as Bakugou tries (and fails, in some cases) to avoid them. There’s cars strewn about, a couple crashed here and there and left haphazardly. A bunch though, are still parked in the confines of spaces, left in the same place they were when their owners arrived for a day of fun. And that’s what makes Bakugou uneasy. He knows the virus is fast moving through bites and saliva, that it turns people fast and spreads even faster. He wonders how many people were inside when it started here, how many escaped or were killed immediately; how many Infected were trapped within the enclosure of the park. He looks at the rundown buildings and figures it must have been on its way to closing before the outbreak even began. But there’s still some life in it; a few rides he can see moving, and lights that flicker but still somehow hold on. He’s reminded of what a weird space they exist in, where cell towers still work and where some cities still have power. It’s like humanity is disappearing before its creations even have time to catch up. But it’s their life now, and even though it’s not smart, he puts the car into park right near the entrance and looks pointedly into Deku’s eyes. “I can give you twenty, maybe thirty minutes before my paranoia really kicks in and I throw you over my shoulder and leave.”
Deku laughs and takes Bakugou’s face in his hands, kissing him square on the mouth. He pulls back, his hands still on either side of Bakugou’s face. “You’re riding the ferris wheel with me.” And Bakugou groans dramatically, a small smile pulling at his lips because Deku is probably one of three people he’d actually get on a giant spinning death wheel for. He grabs his new bat, tucks a pistol in his boot for good measure, and throws open the door.
Deku’s waiting for him, hand outstretched and Bakugou doesn’t think twice about taking it, lacing their fingers. He takes a step, moving toward the gates, but Deku doesn’t move with him. When Bakugou turns to see what’s up, Deku’s crossbow hangs limply at his side, his mouth open as he stares at something behind Bakugou. “That’s their truck.”
Bakugou’s expression shifts, confused. “What?”
“That’s the truck,” Deku says, louder now. “Our truck!” The smile that spreads across his face is crazy with relief, and has Bakugou spinning around in an instant. If Deku is right…
He is, and Bakugou’s whole body relaxes as if he’d been holding a full body breath since the moment they were separated. “Holy shit, Deku--” he means to say something positive, some acknowledgment of their shared relief, but Deku is already gone, racing to the gate, his bow clutched in both hands. All Bakugou can do is take off after him, hope flaring in his chest alongside the uncertain fear.
They keep silent as they enter the park, their only sound the thud of their feet as they search. They don’t want to risk calling out, risk bringing attention to themselves, or worse--risk not getting a response in return. But if Bakugou were being honest, he’s not sure it’d make a difference with music filtering from the rides. If there’s any Infected nearby, they’re already there.
By the looks of it though--the bodies dropped here and there, freshly fallen--his family has already taken care of the threat.
Bakugou and Deku spot them before the others notice they’ve arrived. Mina and Momo lean against a railing as Eri and Todoroki, with Kirishima and Ochako behind them, go whipping by on a children’s roller coaster. They wait until the ride stops, and the group comes filtering out the gate to meet back with Momo and Mina.The look on Deku’s face when he sees that Eri’s okay, that she’s safe and sound with them, makes Bakugou’s heart melt. He pushes gently at Deku’s shoulder, smiling. “What are you waiting for? Get over there.”
Deku grins and without waiting another moment, launches himself towards the group, calling for Eri. He scoops her up in a hug, spinning around and startling the others. They smile wide when they see Bakugou walking towards them too. Mina bursts into tears, muttering something about ‘bullshit hormones’ as she gets to him first. He squeezes her, drops a kiss to her forehead and looks down at her stomach. “Jesus, am I glad she’s still in there.”
Mina wipes at her eyes, “Me too. Looks like we’ll make it there before, after all.” He goes to ask her another question, but he’s blindsided by Kiri and Eri, who traps his legs as Kiri squeezes at his shoulders.
“Careful!” Bakugou shouts. “My shoulder’s fucked up.”
Kiri pulls back, apologetic. “Sorry! We’re just so happy to see you, dude.”
“We really, really, really are!” Eri agrees. She grabs his hand, tugs him down to her level to whisper in his ear. “Thank you for keeping Deku safe, Baku. When we get to the safe place, I hope he gives you a big kiss to say thanks.” She follows with a peck to his cheek, then runs back to Deku. Bakugou stands up straight and shakes his head, blushing. This little girl is completely ridiculous.
As she tugs Deku towards the tilt-a-whirl with Kiri in tow, he greets the others and fills them in on what happened. He learns that their trip has been much easier than his and Deku’s, and for that, he can only been grateful. With so many people to drive and a full car of supplies, he expected nothing less, but it’s a relief to hear anyway, and a part of him that was wound tight with stress finally relaxes.
So even though he’s on high alert for a more immediate reason, he lets the group drag him off to do something fun. They need this, and it’s only for a little while after all.
For twenty minutes, they let go of survival. They ride the little roller coaster over and over, hop on something called a Himalaya that makes Todoroki turn green, and let Eri call the shots. No Infected come for them, and for a moment, they breathe.
Until Mina cries out and all hell breaks loose.
There’s a puddle at her feet, and her hands hold her stomach as her face contorts in pain. “Kiri?”
Kirishima rushes to her side. “Oh god, Mina. Momo, what do we do?”
“Get her to the car,” she says, calmly, “It’ll be okay, Mina. Kiri’s going to carry you there, and we have all the supplies we need, okay?”
She nods, glancing at Bakugou with a smile that’s more of a cringe than anything. “Shit,” he swears, but he’s got no time to worry, because Kirishima is scooping her up and carrying her away, back in the direction of the cars. The group follows after, watching for Infected and making sure their path is clear.
Bakugou pops the trunk on the Suburban as they get closer. “The back is clear, put her there.” Kirishima does, settling Mina on the blanket there so she can lean against the back of the middle seat.
“Did you guys fuck in here?” She asks, her eyebrow arching as she holds up the small bottle of lube.
“Uh--,” Bakugou turns towards the voice, smirking as Deku’s freckled cheeks turn red.
“Alright, we’re gonna need some bleach in here!” Kirishima calls out, the look on his face obnoxiously amused. Bakugou glances at Deku and at Eri in his arms with a confused expression.
“What are they saying, Deku?”
He rubs at the back of his neck, shifting from foot to foot as he tries not to lie completely to the little girl. “They’re making fun of me and acting like Bakugou and I made a mess in the car, when we were very careful not to.”
“Well that’s not nice!”
Bakugou snorts. “You tell ‘em, Eri.”
Mina laughs, then winces, the sound shifting to a cry. A contraction, Bakugou guesses. Ochako brushes passed him, towels in her arms and Momo right behind her.
In the dim light of the car, he can see the veil of sweat on Mina’s forehead. “Jesus.”
“It’s a little crazy, right?” Deku’s voice is low as he and Eri come to stand next to Bakugou. He nods, and frowns as his friend cries out again.
“It’s a good thing Momo’s got medical training. I don’t know what the fuck we’d do if--”
He’s cut off by the rumbling of an approaching engine; an engine whose sound he knows like the back of his hand. His car comes whipping into view, and stops just shy of the Suburban’s front bumper. A second car pulls up next to it. The door to Bakugou’s car opens, and out pops the piece of shit who left Bakugou and Deku for dead, his girlfriend appearing out of the other car. Bakugou’s is dented--scratched to hell--and it takes exactly five seconds for Bakugou’s anger to boil over.
“Well look what we have here.” Dabi, Bakugou remembers now, takes a few lazy steps towards them, a smirk on his face as his girlfriend--Toga--sidles up next to him.
“You assholes,” Bakugou spits, “you’ve got some fucking nerve.” Toga laughs, and Bakugou notices a gun in Dabi’s belt.
“Who? Us? Nah.” He shakes his head flippantly, and looks down at Toga. “We’re just playing the game, right baby?”
“Uh huh! Just doing what we gotta!”
Dabi nods. “We saw the lights, figured there had to be some people nearby to keep it going. Thought we could get in on the action.”
“You mean you thought you could leave another group of people defenseless and make off with all their shit.”
“Eh, same difference.”
Bakugou moves to do something, to grab his bat and get these fucks far away from the others, but he stops when he hears Todoroki speak.
A smile spreads across Dabi’s face, and it’s so fake it makes Bakugou sick.
“Shouto? That you?” He spreads his arms wide. “Come give your big brother a hug.”
“Big brother?” Bakugou asks, but there’s no answer--because Todoroki is charging by him, throwing a punch that has Dabi stumbling back and falling flat on his ass. He rubs at his jaw, and grits out a pained ‘fuck’.
Mina calls out to them, panting as another contraction hits her. “Who...the hell...are they?”
“They’re the people who left us alone in Oxon Hill,” Deku answers. Momo’s worried voice follows after.
“Big brother? Shouto, what’s going on?”
Todoroki shakes out his hand, turning to face Momo. “Yes. He’s my brother, unfortunately.” Bakugou doesn’t know what to say, but somehow it’s fitting that the universe dumps this shit in their laps on top of everything else. Todoroki continues a second later. “And he’s not welcome here.”
Toga helps Dabi up, and he looks between Bakugou and Deku. “Ah yes, perfect little Shouto. Gonna tell them what I did?”
Now Bakugou is curious. He glances at Todoroki, eyes questioning as the group listens in and Mina whimpers her way through oncoming contractions.
“As you know, I was still with my family when the outbreak began. My father, sister and brother were already dead, but my mother and Dabi--they were alive. Mom got us out of the house, told us to go wait by the car, that she would be right behind us.” He takes a breath, glaring at Dabi. “She was attacked as we were leaving. I was fighting an Infected, couldn’t get to her. Dabi though--he could, and instead of helping her, he hopped into the car and drove away. She died in my arms.”
Bakugou doesn’t miss the way Todoroki’s story mirrors Deku’s, and he quietly wonders how many people share that unfortunate story.
“Shouto,” Momo’s voice is soft and sad, but she doesn’t finish saying what she wants to. A chorus of loud, raving shrieks calls their attention, accompanied by dozens of approaching footsteps.
“No, no, no, no, no,” Bakugou shouts, eyes darting from the zombies to Mina and the others. He rushes to the Suburban, grabs a pistol to go with his bat and watches as Deku tucks Eri on the floor of the middle seat.
“I need you to be really quiet, okay?” The little girl nods and Deku covers her with the spare blanket. His eyes meet Bakugou’s, and then they’re moving, racing back to protect Mina, Momo, and Kirishima. Todoroki joins them, his flamethrower at the ready. Bakugou sees Dabi scrambling back, hopping into Toga’s car as they take off like cowards. They’ve left Bakugou’s behind, which is great, but they’ve got no time to focus on that. There’s twelve zombies in front of them that need attention, and Bakugou can see more coming their way from the far end of the lot.
Falling into a fight with them is easy. Todoroki’s flames take out the first that reach them, and Deku works to kill the ones closer to the back with his crossbow. The fight gives Bakugou the opportunity to confirm that his bat choice was right. Its weight makes it easy to knock zombies faster and farther, disorienting them and giving Ochako time to move around them, feather light to pick off the ones that try and fail to get back up.
It takes them a few minutes, but they manage to neutralize the immediate threat, agreeing that the best option is to leave before the rest of the horde reaches them. As they go to separate, Mina shouts at Momo to duck, and Bakugou just notices the shotgun in her hands before she’s pulling the trigger and blowing the brains out of a zombie they didn’t see get back up. Each of them stare at her, and Bakugou can’t help but say the first thing that comes to mind.
“Holy shit, Mina. That was badass.”
“Thanks,” she says. “Now get me the fuck out of here.” And what can they do but listen? Todoroki gets behind the wheel of the old truck, while Bakugou tosses Ochako the keys to the Suburban. “We’re gonna take my car. Eri’s with you.”
She nods, and tosses him her phone. “We’ll let you know what happens. Stick close.” Bakugou gives Mina one last, encouraging smile before Kirishima pulls the trunk closed behind them. Then he and Deku are running, slamming the doors of Bakugou’s car closed behind them and gunning it away from the rest of the Infected just as they arrive.
Hours later, just as they cross the border into Washington state and night shifts to dawn, Bakugou and Deku get a call. In the background, they hear the cry of Mina and Kirishima’s newborn daughter. She doesn’t have a name yet--they can’t settle on one--but her safe and healthy cry is just about the most beautiful thing that Bakugou’s ever heard. He does not tear up, but if does (he, in fact, does), he’s glad Deku is the one he gets to share the moment with. Kirishima tells him that Mina is okay, that they’re going to keep going without stopping. They say goodbye, and Bakugou looks quickly over at Deku who smiles and goes to speak.
“We must be close, I wonder--,”
Deku pauses mid-sentence and takes a sharp look out the passenger side window, then hauls himself up to sit on the door frame, his upper body entirely out of the car. Bakugou goes immediately on red alert, scanning the surrounding area and getting ready to move if he needs to haul Deku’s reckless ass back into the car. His field of vision is wide enough to see that there’s no direct threat, a car way off ahead of them, but nothing that’s cause for alarm. He hears Deku yell something, but the rumble of the engine blocks him out, so Bakugou leans over to tug at the waist of his jeans. It takes a second for Deku to slip back inside and when he does, he frantically brushes his windswept hair out of his eyes.
“What did you say?” Bakugou asks once Deku’s gotten the window closed.
Deku leans forward, one hand braced on the dashboard as he points to something up ahead. “I said there’s someone in that car.”
“Shit,” he says, squinting his eyes to get a better look, but they’re still too far away for him to see yet. He glances in the rearview mirror, trying to gauge Todoroki’s reaction. All he can see is minor confusion. He glances quickly at Deku, at the way his fingers flex around the stock of his crossbow. “Any infected?”
“I think so,” Deku murmurs as their speed carries them closer, “yes, there are. Four maybe, trying to break in. It looks like someone is dead in the front.”
They’re much closer now and something rings a bell in the back of Bakugou’s head. Then his eyes are focusing and he realizes what it is. He immediately slows down.
“I know that car.”
“What do you mean you know that car?”
“Todoroki’s piece of shit brother took off in that car.”
“Yeah,” then after a few seconds, “is he alive or…?”
“Yeah. Yeah, he’s alive.” Bakugou doesn’t want to hear that. Could really not care less if the bastard lived or not, especially after hearing Todoroki’s story...but at the same time, Todoroki is his friend, and if letting Dabi die would fuck him up, well Bakugou doesn’t want that either. He slips his phone out of his back pocket and tosses it to Deku.
“Call Todoroki, then put it on speaker.”
He does it quickly, the phone ringing once before he answers, the other car slowed and a little ways back from their own.
“What’s going on?”
When Bakugou speaks, his voice is even, an attempt at support. “Todoroki? You see that car up ahead?”
“That’s the car your brother took off in.”
It’s quiet for a moment, then: “Is there someone inside?”
Bakugou grunts, clears his throat. “Yeah,” he pauses, his eyes shifting quickly to the four mutilated bodies he can now see throwing themselves at the car. “And there’s four Infected trying very hard to get to him.”
He hears Todoroki curse. “It’s up to you. We can keep driving or pull over.” There’s no argument from the rest of the group, and Bakugou’s grateful for it. In any other situation, his reaction might be different, but now it’s about survival--and that changes things. Deku catches his eye, his mouth set in a grim line though he gives a slight nod of his head.
There’s a smack on the other end of the line. “Damnit. Pull over, Bakugou.”
Bakugou doesn’t answer, just pulls the car over and takes the phone from Deku, ending the call. He drops it in between them, not looking over as he pushes his door open and says, “I’ll be right back.”
Todoroki’s face is hard as he drops out of the truck, a hand on his hip, the other threaded through his hair.
Bakugou skips asking if he’s alright. He knows damn well he’s not. “What do you want to do?”
“Not have to deal with this at all.” He shakes his head, throws his arm in the air. “If one of them distracts the group, we should be able to sneak around and grab him before they do too much damage.”
Bakugou nods. “Deku could go up ahead. Pull their attention and we’ll head up along the road, quiet, and catch them off guard.”
“I’ll let Momo know.” He turns to call her, and Bakugou does the same, heading back to Deku. He leans down into the car, reaches for his bat and looks Deku in the eye.
“I need you to distract those fucks. Hit the gas when we’re clear and swing back around once you get a little ways down. We’ll grab him and toss him in the back.”
It goes smoothly enough. When they’re off and out of sight, Deku slips into the driver’s seat and slams his foot on the gas. The squeal of tires is loud, distracting, and perfect for what they need; pulling the Infecteds’ attention so that Bakugou and Todoroki can weave quickly through the treeline to Dabi.
They watch Ochako pick up speed, catching up to them to keep pace as they move; Momo huddled next to her with concerned etched on her features. They’re about ten feet away when one of the zombies breaks through the passenger window and throws itself into the jagged opening. It catches the attention of the others, whose dead eyes are trained on Bakugou’s car as Deku whips around in a quick u-turn. They lurch back to their original goal, not stopping even as a blast goes off in the car and one of their own flips back, a hole through its eyes and black blood splattering the area. Dabi’s weapon is visible through rear window, the barrel pointed up and out towards the thrashing Infected. For a moment, Bakugou thinks they might not even need to do anything. Dabi is Todoroki’s brother after all, and if Half’N’Half is good at anything, it’s killing zombies. But the weapon shifts in Dabi’s hands, ripped away and tossed to the side by an Infected, who thrusts its arms into the car to reach haphazardly for the warm body there. Before Bakugou can say anything, Todoroki is tearing towards the car, his flamethrower blaring to life and lighting up the zombie that’s nearly got its hands on Dabi.
“Fucking hell,” Bakugou shouts, and launches out after him, throwing himself at another zombie that shrieks and heads immediately for Todoroki. He bashes the back of its skull, knocking it to the ground and delivering heavy blows until black blood blooms around it and its cries have stopped altogether. The last infected scrambles towards him, five feet away and more agile than he expects it to be. He doesn’t have time to react, but he doesn’t have to. Todoroki’s fire catches the Infected mid step and it rears back, giving Bakugou the time to swing at its legs, knocking it over so that it rolls pathetically on the ground. They don’t bother putting it out of its misery. It’ll die soon enough anyway.
Todoroki is the first one to the car, and he hauls Dabi out by his foot, dragging him out of the car and onto the gravel below with little regard. He sprawls gracelessly, smacking his head against the rocks and scowling up at Todoroki. “Hey! Fuck, easy! What’s your problem?”
And Bakugou can’t hold his tongue because what a fucking schmuck. He eyes Toga’s body in the front seat, then shoulders his bat and stares down at Dabi, incredulous. “You’re lucky he came to get you. I would’ve left you to the Infected, but he couldn’t do that.”
“Aw, Shouto, you still love your big brother.”
“Fuck you, Dabi.” He jabs a finger in his direction, his expression a mixture of fury and resignation. “Mom would never forgive me if I just let that happen, and that is the only reason you’re not dead right now.”
Dabi’s mouth curls at the edges, a “resigned” smile bright red with blood. He spits to the side, and Bakugou notices how pale he is.
“He looks like he’s gonna knock the fuck out.”
“Good,” Todoroki says, and pulls the corded rope over his neck, handing it to Bakugou. “Bind him. I don’t trust him not to fuck with you.”
Bakugou grunts and once he’s finished, they haul him over to where Deku has the car running and the back door open. Dabi’s not entirely coherent, so they lay him down in the back. The look on Todoroki’s face is something Bakugou’s never seen before, so he claps a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, dude, we can handle him. If he really fucks up, I’ll just have Deku throw him out the fucking window. Let’s get back on the road.”
Momo figures they’re a half hour or so away by the time they get going again.
The trip is relatively easy. The roads clear and the area free from threat, despite the fact that it’s a city they’re heading towards. He wonders if that’s because the USJ is close, and they’ve taken out most of the Infected nearby.
They see the USJ before they even get there, the clear dome of it sticking high above the buildings around it. They pull up to the gated entrance, and it gives Bakugou the weirdest sense of coming home, of safety and relief. Some of the USJ’s guards come through to meet them and after a few introductions, the gate opens and their little caravan files through. Another guard directs them up into the safety of the facility's garages. He knew in the back of his head that the building would need to be big to house them all, but he didn’t really register how massive it would be.
The medical staff greets them when they get out, and Bakugou watches Mina, Kirishima and the baby disappear to be examined.
In the corner, Todoroki and Momo talk to a guard. Todoroki gestures to the back of Bakugou’s car, where Dabi still lies motionless.
“Bakugou!” Eri runs towards him and he picks her up, kissing her cheek.
“Hey you, I’m happy to see you.” Deku appears next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder.
“We did it, Deku! We made it.” Bakugou smiles at her and holds out his fist for a bump. She laughs as she responds, smacking his fist with her own little one.
“We’re gonna be okay now,” he says, and Deku beams at him.
It’s a few minutes before someone shows them where they can go, and when they do, it brings a surprise that they did not expect.
Eri, Deku, and he filter into the atrium to meet the others, forty more survivors that have made their way there from across the United States. They aren’t in the room for more than twenty seconds before Eri tears her hands away from them and she’s zipping towards someone near the atrium’s artificial pond.
Bakugou doesn’t know what’s happening, but then Deku is running too, dragging him along through groups of people. When Eri comes into view, she’s in the arms of one of the biggest men that Bakugou has ever seen.
“Deku, my boy!” The man calls out, and Deku immediately bursts into tears. The man sets Eri down, and she launches herself into the embrace of another man with long, black hair and dark bags under his eyes. Deku wraps his arms around the large man’s torso, sobbing into his shirt.
Realization settles over Bakugou as he figures out what’s happening. This is Toshinori and Aizawa. These are Eri’s dads--Deku’s dads.
“Toshi, don’t suffocate him.” Aizawa, Bakugou assumes, chides. Deku laughs and wipes at his nose, stepping over to hug Aizawa as well. “Thank you for protecting her, Izuku. Thank you for staying alive.”
Toshinori ruffles Deku’s hair and plants and kiss to the top of Eri’s head. “We want to hear all about your travels when you’ve settled in.” Bakugou’s caught off guard by Toshinori’s booming voice as it’s directed at him next. “Now who’s this, Deku? You dragged the poor boy over here like a ragdoll.”
“That’s Bakugou!” Eri supplies, a bright smile on her face. “He kept Deku alive when we got separated. He’s the best.”
“Is he now?” Toshinori asks. Deku laughs at them and moves to bring Bakugou closer.
“He did and he is. Kacchan, this is Toshinori Yagi and Shouta Aizawa. They’re Eri’s dads, and the closest thing I have to a family.” He gestures back at the three of them. “Guys, this is Kacchan--Katsuki, he’s my--” Deku trails off, looking back at him, unsure.
Bakugou smirks, knowing exactly how to answer. “I’m his,” he says simply, and even though it’s goofy and more romantic than he ever really is, the expression on Deku’s face is worth it. “It’s nice to meet you.” Aizawa shoots him an appraising look, then nods once he’s satisfied.
“Nice to meet you, too.”
“Will you excuse us?” Deku asks, and pulls Bakugou away before they can answer. He doesn’t stop until they’re alone, and when they are, Deku turns quickly, surprising him with a kiss. “That was very sweet, you know.”
“Well, I meant it. If you still wanna, that is.” Being here finally, with safety and the closest thing to living normally staring them in the face, he doesn’t want to assume anything. He knows what he wants, knows that he’ll spend every day of his future with Deku if he can.
“Katsuki Bakugou, I don’t know why the heck you can’t get this through your head but you’re mine, zombie outbreak or no. And you better get used to it, because--”
Bakugou shuts him up with a kiss, pulling back only when he’s satisfied Deku has stopped. “You talk too much, did I ever tell you that?” Deku, stares at him, shakes his head and purses his lips.
“Screw you, Kacchan.”
Their lips meet again, and Bakugou forgets about anything else.