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Affairs of the Heart

Chapter Text

 

Tap, tap, tap, tap. Your heels clicked on the tiled floor as you walked to your apartment. It was late, so the hallway was mostly deserted, the only other person in sight being an inebriated young man stumbling out of a room. You nodded to him as you passed, but he ignored you. That was to be expected, no one in the building was particularly friendly – it was a city thing – and that characteristic just became more pronounced at night. No harm done.

Your suitcase rolled along the floor behind you, clicking as it caught on the edges of the tiles every now and again. You’d been gone for almost two weeks, sent to the United States to attend a conference for your company. It was a nightmare. It had been dominated by arrogant men all convinced that they knew more than you about topics you were researching. So, when the opportunity arose to leave early, you grabbed it. Nothing sounded better than going home and spend some much-needed time relaxing with your boyfriend. You had opted not to tell him you were coming, wanting to leave it a surprise.

Once you found yourself in front of your apartment, you fumbled around in your purse, trying to find your keys. They jingled faintly, taunting you as they lay just out of reach.

“There we go,” you muttered to yourself as you freed your keychain from the purse, the metal clinking together. Unlocking the door and throwing it open, your lips pulled back into a bright grin as you prepared to greet Bakugou.

Except, he wasn’t in the living room. You wheeled the suitcase ahead of you, letting the heavy door fall closed. He might be asleep. As much as he liked to get any and all work done the night before, he also liked to get his beauty rest.

Prying off your heels, so as not to disturb Bakugou, you tiptoed toward the bedroom. You expected complete silence – Bakugou was a heavy sleeper after all and didn’t snore – but to your surprise, could hear some heavy breathing. Was he okay?

“Hah… Mmm… Bakugou-san…” An unfamiliar voice. An unfamiliar female voice. An unfamiliar female voice making sex noises.

You threw open the door and hit the light switch. In the instant before the lights came on, you prayed that it wasn’t what you feared it was, that you had somehow misunderstood the situation, that there was another explanation. Bakugou wasn’t the type. He wasn’t.

But you must not have known him as well as you thought you did because with the lights on and the moment of hopefulness passed, you found yourself staring at a stranger’s naked back while she rode your boyfriend. For a moment, you found yourself unable to move, simply transfixed on the horrific repetitive movement, each thrust sending another brick crumbling down from your perfect life. You were disgusted. You just wanted to be gone, anywhere but there. Maybe even back to that god-forsaken conference.

“[Y/N]?!” The voice snapped you out of your daze. Bakugou had pushed the woman away from him and was fumbling to cover himself with anything within arm’s reach.

“Don’t bother,” you spat. “It’s not like it’s anything I haven’t seen before.” He threw the blanket over himself anyway. The stranger was fumbling around on the ground for her clothes, sheet draped haphazardly around her torso. “And you.” She scrambled to look back at you, mortification painted across her face. “Get the fuck out of my house.”

“Um, I- just a mome-” She fumbled about with the clothes, struggling to get anything on while still keeping herself a little bit covered.

“Just take the fucking sheet with you. God knows I’m going to have to burn the thing anyway.” The woman looked over at Bakugou, terrified and seeking any sort of assistance, but he was too focused on you. “I said get the fuck out of my house.” Your teeth were clenched, jaw growing sore from the pressure. “Now.

“Um, yes, right.” She scooped up an armful of her clothes – possibly getting some of Bakugou’s in the process – and rushed to the door, accidentally bumping into you on the way out. “I’m- I’m so sorry.” You didn’t acknowledge her.

Once you heard the front door slam shut and were sure she was gone, you turned to your boyfriend – well, soon to be ex-boyfriend – ready to yell your lungs out. Bakugou was stumbling around in his underwear, trying to find more clothes to put on, but he froze when he noticed you looking at him.

“What the actual fuck were you thinking?” you practically screamed. “Please enlighten me because this is not the kind of shit that I thought you would stoop to.”

“I can explain.”

“Oh, can you now? Please do.” He stopped tripping around for clothes and stood up with perfect posture, pausing to choose his words carefully.

“I didn’t go out with the intention of sleeping with someone else.”

“Well, that makes me feel loads better.”

“Don’t interrupt me.”

“You don’t get to be making demands in this situation.” You gave him a blank, hardened stare and he furrowed his brow in response, but didn’t protest.

“I didn’t go out with the intention of sleeping with someone else,” he repeated. “I just wanted to go drink at a bar by myself for a while, so I went out to our usual place. But, after about an hour there, that chick recognized me.” He motioned to the door, as if it were unclear what “chick” he was referring to. “She kept pestering me, asking for autographs and to drink with her. It was fucking annoying, but I don’t know…” He rubbed at the back of his neck. “She kinda looked like you and you’d be gone for a long time, I was fucking- I was fucking lonely.” He was being more sentimental than usual, up-front about his feelings. Probably because he realized that was the only way he had a chance of getting you to listen. “So, I agreed to drink with her for a bit, but I’d already had a lot to drink and I started to lose track of time. The bartender gave last call and I don’t fucking know… She asked to come here, I don’t know why I said okay.”

“You knew what would happen if you invited her over.”

“Maybe some part of me did, but I didn’t think about it.”

“Not thinking about it is just as bad,” you snapped. He didn’t respond, so you prompted him. “Explain how it happened.”

“I don’t think…”

Explain how it happened.

“We came here once the bar closed and we drank some more. She just helped herself to some of our wine and I didn’t stop her. After a while, she started coming onto me.” He paused to read your expression, but continued when he came up with nothing. “I should have refused. God, I should have fucking refused, but her kisses were warm and I was drunk and I stopped thinking and just accepted it.”

“You don’t seem super drunk now, how long ago was this?”

He bit his lip, looking to the ground.

“Oh my god,” you breathed, realization washing over you. “How many times did you do it?”

He didn’t answer.

“Four? Five?”

Still no answer.

“What the fuck? Six? Seven? Jesus Christ, Katsuki, you and I haven’t done it that many times in a row.”

“It wasn’t fucking seven times,” he retorted. Bakugou was growing more and more heated the longer you two argued and from your perspective, that was just hurting his case. It did make yelling a little easier, though.

“Well, then, how many?”

“[Y/N], can we not focus on that? I’m sorry.” To his credit, he did sound genuinely upset and regretful, but the didn’t necessarily make a difference in this scenario.

“Just tell me.”

“I don’t thin-”

“Tell me.”

“Five.”

You didn’t know what to do with that information. Maybe you shouldn’t have asked, all it did was hurt more and you were hurting enough as-is. You stood silent.

“Wow,” you managed. “That’s a lot, huh?” You chuckled to yourself. Your anger was fading, leaving a heavy, growing pain in your chest that refused to back down. Something about the situation felt like a sick joke. “She must’ve been good.”

“[Y/N], I told you, it’s not like that.”

“No, no, really. Was she good? Was she better than me?” You didn’t want to know the answer to that. Why did you ask that? “I bet she got down on her knees and sucked your dick for you, let you fuck her into the mattress, let you throw her around. Made you feel like the goddamn king of the fucking world. Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted? Huh, King Explosion Murder.” You said the fake hero name tauntingly, enunciating each word separately. Bakugou opened his mouth to protest, but you cut him off before he could answer. “Sorry, sorry, it’s Ground Zero, isn’t it? Ground Zero the great, amazing top-ten hero that every girl out there wants to fuck.”

“You know, this wouldn’t have happened if you weren't gone so fucking much!”

“Oh, this is my fault? I walk in here to find you cheating on me and you have the gall to blame me for it?” You felt your eyes starting to sting, but fought off the incoming tears. “What’s it like being an arrogant bastard?”

“I’m not being arrogant, you’re not fucking listening to me!”

“Well, I was listening earlier when you were panting for her like a fucking dog.”

“Good because maybe then you could learn a thing or two from her technique.” You froze.

“Get out of my home.” You threw an arm out, pointing to the open bedroom door. Words weren’t coming easily anymore and you could feel yourself approaching a full-blown meltdown, but you refused for Bakugou to be around when that happened.

“Wait, no, [Y/N], I didn’t mean that.”

“I don’t care. Get out.” You yelled internally, urging yourself not to cry. Now is not the time. Don’t cry. “Go to Kirishima’s house or a hotel or your office or anywhere but here, I don’t fucking care. Just leave.” Don’t cry. The words were getting caught in your throat as you crept closer and closer to sobbing. “Tomorrow morning, you can come pack up your stuff.” Don’t cry. God dammit, [Y/N], do not cry.

“[Y/N], I wasn’t trying to hurt you, I swear.”

“I don’t care that you weren’t trying to.” Your voice cracked halfway through the sentence. Oh no, here come the tears. “You still did.” Once the dam broke, you couldn’t stop the waterfall of tears that went streaming down your face. “Sometimes intentions don’t matter, Katsuki. You may not have been trying to hurt me, but I’m still standing here with my heart on the floor and your boot-prints all over it.” You pressed the heel of one hand against your eye in a vain attempt to stop crying. Your voice when quiet, weak. “Please, just go.”

“[Y/N]…” He took a step toward you. You took a step back.

Please.” The word was tiny and broken, the spoken epitome of everything you felt at the time, everything you were.

Bakugou didn’t respond, instead pulling on a pair of pants and the nearest shirt as well as grabbing his keys on the dresser. You closed your eyes and drew in a sharp breath. Once he’d gathered his things, he stepped next to you, ready to leave on your order.

“I still love you,” he whispered. You gasped out a puff of air, resisting the urge to hug him, and turned your head down away from him. He sighed. “I’m sorry.” Two dozen paces and the door’s click. He was gone.

Chapter Text

“With the most recent rankings coming in, the explosion hero Ground Zero has moved up to the second seed, barely edging out winged hero Hawks who has held the position for many years now.” You stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, gazing up at the jumbotron where a news anchor was covering the Hero Billboard Chart that happened the night prior. To his left were small pictures of Bakugou and Hawks, each sporting their hero costumes. “The number one position remains held by hero Deku who assumed the position after flame hero Endeavor’s forced retirement. When asked about rival Ground Zero’s promotion, Deku gave this statement.” The screen cut to a recording of Deku.

“I think it’s great for Kacch- I mean Ground Zero. He’s always had more natural talent than I did.” He chuckled to himself, rubbing at the back of his neck shyly before clenching his fist in front of him. “But I’m not letting go of the number one spot!” You smiled to yourself a bit. You and Deku had never met before, but you had heard Bakugou grumble about him a thousand times over. Bakugou’s depiction of him and his media presence never seemed to align, however, what with Bakugou’s insistence that he was useless and annoying. Maybe being with him had been clouding your judgement.

A passerby smacked into your shoulder, barreling past and not bothering to apologize.

“Get out of the way!” they yelled. Ignoring it, you simply stepped back under a building awning so you weren’t in the middle of the sidewalk where anyone could come running into you.

“Ground Zero failed to attend the Hero Billboard Chart last night,” the newscaster continued, turning to his co-anchor. “Ground Zero’s media presence has always been small, but he hasn’t participated in any interviews for the past three months now. The public has been debating about what could be wrong. What is your take on the matter, Matsuno-san?”

“Well, Edano-san, one of the most popular theories going around right now is that there may be some trouble in his love life.” Letting out an audible sigh, you shook your head. It took the media a lot less time to figure out than you had anticipated. For the majority of your relationship, you had managed to remain unknown, but around a year ago, a photographer managed to get pictures of you and Bakugou out on a date. Your face wasn’t shown, but it had still caused a massive uproar. Because of that, more and more photos of the two of you together were eventually leaked. While the public didn’t know exactly who you were, it became common knowledge that Ground Zero had a long-term girlfriend. A picture of you two flashed up on the screen.

“The woman photographed, who is widely believed to be Ground Zero’s partner, has not been seen with the hero recently. The public has speculated that the couple may have broken up and one source even claims that she was caught cheating on him.”

“Oh, you have got to be kidding me,” you muttered to yourself. For the most part, you didn’t mind the false news stories that went around, but that was so blatantly backwards that it hurt to hear.

“They really got it wrong on that one, huh?” a deep voice stated behind you. Surprised by the sudden comment, you spun on a heel to find yourself face-to-face with a tall, broad-chested redhead. Well, more like face-to-chest given the height difference.

“Kirishima? What are you doing here?”

“You stopped in front of my agency.” He pointed up. Wrinkling your brows, you stepped out from underneath the awning to look up. Lo and behold, there it was, a giant, bright red sign reading “Riot Heroes” across the top of the building. You felt a blush rise in your cheeks.

“Sorry, I was just passing by and stopped to watch the news,” you explained, gesturing back toward the screen, which had since moved onto more news about Deku.

“Of course, don’t apologize. Do you want to stop in for a cup of tea?”

“Oh, no, that’s okay.” Waving your hands in front of you, you took a couple steps backwards, out onto the sidewalk again. You had been headed home from work and you wanted to get going anyway. “I don’t want to bother you. Weren’t you just leaving?”

“It’s not a bother!” he insisted, flashing one of his massive smiles at you. “I was leaving, but what’s a few more minutes? Please, come in, come in.” He grabbed your arm with a surprisingly strong grip, pulling you along behind him, back into the building. As much as you loathed the idea of spending time exchanging pleasantries with your ex’s closest friend, Kirishima was a nice person and easy to talk to. You stopped trying to wrench your arm free and let him drag you.

Inside the building, large groups of heroes, sidekicks, and administrative staff were bustling about the lobby, everyone preoccupied with their own particular tasks.

“Wow, what’s with all the activity?”

“We’re partnering with Deku and Uravity for a few weeks to take down a villain that’s been active a lot recently.” He released your arm, walking a few paces into the chaos and turning back to ensure you were following. You hurried after him.

“Oh, woah, that’s a strong group you’ve set up.”

“Yeah, well, we all went to school together, so we like to team up whenever we can. I asked Bakugou as well, but he refused.” Instinctively, your heart skipped a beat at the mention of Bakugou. Your discomfort at the mention of his name must have shown on your face because Kirishima immediately went into apology mode. “Oh, God, I’m sorry. You don’t want me talking about him. Of course, you don’t.”

“No, it’s fine.” The two of you pushed out of the masses, finding yourselves in front of the elevators. Kirishima reached for the button. “How has he been? Bakugou, I mean.”

“In all honesty, pretty terribly.” A sense of pride swelled within you, overwhelming you with the satisfaction that he was at least feeling an ounce of the regret you hoped he was. The two of you stepped into the elevator. “He’s barely sleeping; we have to constantly remind him to eat regular meals; he’s increasingly irritable – and not irritable the way he usually is either, I saw him yell at an intern a week ago because they tripped and dropped some papers. It’s kind of hard to watch.”

“Good,” was all you said.

Ding! The elevator doors slid open on the top floor, giving way to the large room lined with floor to ceiling windows. The office was elegantly designed with sleek furniture and minimalistic design, but the ambiance was thrown off by the collection of training equipment in one corner and the occasional “manly” object scattered about. Deku and Uravity were already seated in the lounge area, Deku sitting properly in an armchair, while Uravity was sprawled about the couch.

“Kirishima-kun? Back already?” Deku asked, standing up. He was shorter than you imagined the top-hero to be, but from the looks of it, was pure muscle. His arms were probably the width of your thighs and his thighs looked like they were trying to rip free of his khakis, they were so big. He was definitely built for fighting villains.

“I caught this one outside the office.” Kirishima slapped you on the back, pushing you forward toward the other two. “Figured we could have some tea for a bit.” You walked with him up to Deku and Uravity, but felt yourself clamming up in their presence. You had spent plenty of time around Bakugou and Kirishima, so you were used to them, but Deku and Uravity felt too much like heroes in comparison. You idolized them so much, they barely felt like real people. “This is [Y/L/N] [Y/F/N].”

“Um, hello.” Wow, real eloquent.

“[Y/L/N]-san, why do I recognize that name?” Uravity mumbled to herself, sitting up from the sofa. She squinted her eyes at you for a moment before widening them suddenly. “Are you Bakugou-kun’s girlfriend?” You stiffened – as did Kirishima next to you. Uravity looked between the two of you, confused, but then pressed her lips together. “Oh, right, I heard about…um, yeah. Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” you said stiffly, shaking your head.

“Well, I don’t think we’ve ever been properly introduced.” It was an awfully awkward transition, but she was trying to stray from an uncomfortable topic and you couldn’t help but appreciate it. “I’m Uraraka Ochako.” She held out her hand. Next to her, Deku stepped forward and held out his as well.

“I’m Midoriya Izuku.”

“I know who both of you are of course, but it’s nice to meet you.” You shook each of their hands in succession. Both of them had hero’s hands – a thing you noticed on both Bakugou and Kirishima as well – their palms rough and coated in callouses from years of rescuing others. Uraraka’s was small, but she had a firm handshake and Midoriya was exactly the opposite, a wide palm with a gentle grip.

Ding! Everyone turned at the sound of the elevator doors opening again.

“Alright, I changed my fucking mind,” a voice called. Oh no.

Bakugou walked into the office and directly made eye-contact with you, freezing just beyond the elevator doors. He looked exactly as Kirishima described him, weak, sleep-deprived, skinnier. His eyes were red and puffy from lack of sleep and the dark purple bags under them were no help. His t-shirt, which was usually completely tight, hung loose around his torso and the sleeves pulled away from his arms. Even just the way he carried himself seemed entirely unlike him, hunched and small, feeble in every sense of the word.

“[Y/N].” The name was soft, barely audible across the large room. He looked at you like you were a ghost and you could only imagine how you were probably looking at him.

“Bakugou, what do you mean you changed your mind?” Kirishima cut into the tension, releasing both you and Bakugou from the trance you’d entered as soon as you saw one another. Bakugou blinked a few times then walked up to join the group. You took a step back so you were standing between Midoriya and Uraraka. Something about being surrounded by those two was comforting, you weren’t sure if it was due to them being heroes or just the vibes they gave off in general, but something. They both glanced at you, but said nothing.

“I wanna join your ‘task force’ or whatever you fucking called it.”

“That’s great.” Kirishima glanced back at you. “How about you come back and we can talk about it then?”

“I’m not fucking leaving,” Bakugou retorted.

“Bakugou…”

“It’s okay, Kirishima,” you interjected. “I’ll just leave and you two can talk about it.”

“[Y/L/N], that’s not necessa-”

“Please don’t go.” To your surprise, Bakugou cut off Kirishima for one of the rawest displays of emotion you’d ever seen from him. Even after years of dating, you had never really since Bakugou expose himself in such a heartfelt manner until now. It was jarring. Midoriya and Uraraka shifted uncomfortably next to you. “I haven’t seen you in so long, let’s just… I don’t know, let’s fucking talk.” The last time you two had met was when he came to move his stuff out of the apartment. Unfortunately for you, you saw his face at the top of every other news story. You were plagued by his presence every day of your life, no matter how much you wanted to never see him again.

“There’s nothing to talk about, Katsuki.” And it was true, you had nothing to say to him. You weren’t even sure you were really angry anymore, disappointed and a little sad, maybe, but not angry. You were spent, no energy left to waste on tiring emotions that only wound up hurting you more.

“Please, just give me ten minutes,” he insisted.

“There’s nothing to discuss. All that would come out of us talking is you feeling better about yourself, that your actions are somehow justified.” You stepped out and past him. “I’ve said all I need to say.” Turning toward the others, you bowed briefly as you headed back to the elevator. “Thank you for inviting me, Kirishima. Maybe we can have tea another time. And Uraraka-san and Deku-san, it was a pleasure to meet you.” Pressing the down arrow, you stepped into the elevator. As the door slid shut, you made eye-contact with Bakugou for a brief instant to see the longing in his eyes, but the next moment the doors were closed and you were gone.

Chapter Text

“I’m standing there with one villain slung over my shoulder and my foot on the other, when out of nowhere, a third one shows up and clubs me over the back of the head with a baseball bat.” Kirishima gesticulated emphatically as he spoke, accenting every few words with a motion. The two of you were seated in his office, you on the sofa and him on the adjacent chair. A teapot and two teacups lay on the coffee table in front of you, the tea growing cold as you became enthralled in his stories, not pausing to take any sips. It had been about two months since you were initially invited for tea by Kirishima and had since been to his office a few times just to chat. It was starting to become a regular event.

It was late afternoon, the sun streaming through the windows and painting the office in golden hues. One beam of light in particular shone into one of Kirishima’s eyes and lit up their vibrant crimson color.

“Please tell me you had your quirk activated.”

“Oh yeah,” he answered. He took a quick sip of his tea, but made a face at the lukewarm temperature. “I don’t know what this guy expected to happen, but the bat just broke and splintered into a few pieces. But, remember, the first villain had a combustion quirk.” Your eyes widened as you started to realize where this story was going. “So, he was able to light the splintered wood on fire and it catch my hero costume as well. I managed to keep all three of them in check, but by the time the police arrived, I may as well have been naked.”

“Oh my god,” you practically yelled, bursts of laughter cutting between each word. “You’re kidding!”

“Nope, not at all.” Standing, he picked up a pillow to demonstrate. “I had to hold one of the villains in front of me so I wasn’t arrested for public indecency. Needless to say, fireproof is on the list of things to change for when I get a new costume.” You were practically crying from laughter. Picturing Kirishima standing as he was now, only with a human in front of him instead of a pillow and completely naked to boot, you couldn’t help laughing.

Ding!

The pair of you turned to the elevator. You had grown used to people constantly coming in and out of Kirishima’s office. Apparently, 6 people had the key to get to his penthouse office besides Kirishima – Bakugou, Midoriya, Uraraka, as well as the heroes Cellophane, Chargebolt, and Pinky, whom you had met once each. It was kind of interesting to see who would be coming in each time you were there.

“Kirishima-kun, we have a problem!” Uraraka announced, charging into the room. “Intel says that they’re going to be – oh, hey [Y/L/N]-san – on the move later tonight.”

“And that’s my cue to leave,” you said, standing to leave them to their work. Before you could get a few paces away, Kirishima grabbed your arm.

“If you ever need anything, just call me,” he said, dropping his volume so Uraraka couldn’t hear. “Seriously, anything.” You nodded up at him, giving a small smile.

“Thanks, Kirishima. I will, I promise.”

 

Late that night, you found yourself sprawled across your living room couch, half-eaten bag of chips and a pack of cookies in front of you, two seasons deep into a mediocre murder-mystery TV show. Work had been a nightmare for the past few weeks, so when you finally had the night to just chill out and not stress, you jumped all over it. You were still getting used to having a large apartment to yourself, but the more time progressed, the more you enjoyed the opportunity to be noisy in the middle of the night. Fortunately, the walls you shared with neighboring apartments were fairly thick.

“It’s obviously the sister!” you yelled at the TV, jokingly irritated by the predictable plotline. The previous season had been just as bad, but you couldn’t help yourself at this point. You were in too deep.

Knock, knock, knock.

Three short, rapid knocks on the front door echoed through the room. It was the knock of someone in a high-energy state, either nervous or impatient. Did I order food? You wondered to yourself as you meandered your way to answer it.

Knock, knock, knock.

Another set of knocks. Whoever was there was clearly not in the mood to wait.

“I’m coming! Just one moment!” you called out, running your fingers through your hair in a vain attempt to make yourself presentable. After a few good run-throughs and a quick check in the entryway mirror, you twisted the handle and threw the heavy wood door open.

And found yourself facing an empty hallway.

“Hello?” Poking your torso out the door, swiveled your head for signs of another person that may have been looking for you. No one to your left. But, to your right, a few paces down the hall, stood a petite woman with a terrified look on her face and a small basket in her hands. She looked vaguely familiar, but not enough to spark a memory. Her body was turned away, but she had her head twisted back toward you. She had clearly been leaving from your door. “Sorry, were you the one knocking on my door? Can I help you?”

“Oh, um, yes that was me,” she sputtered, the words falling out of her mouth in a rushed, garbled mess. She turned from her awkward twisted position to face you fully, but did not move to stand any closer. You felt nervous just looking at her. Bouncing on the balls of her feet, she picked at the basket, keeping her eyes shifted down, avoiding eye-contact. “I wasn’t sure if this was still the right place and I’m not sure what I was hoping to get out of this and maybe this was a stupid idea, but I just felt I needed to do something about it. I’ve just been seeing all those news stories about Ground Zero and I thought it was all my fault.” The whole sentence ran together, the syllables falling over one another as she tried to get them all out in one breath. You couldn’t even catch wait she said, much less craft a response to it.

“Wait, slow down, slow down.” Wedging a doorstop under the gap in the door, you stepped out into the hallway so you could speak more directly with her. “I’m sorry, have we met before? And what do you mean ‘it was your fault’?” You wrinkled your brows at her, trying to place the familiarity in her features, but came up short. Your brain was basically running on fumes and you weren’t equipped to decipher her rapid-fire apology. It was approaching midnight and, while many of the tenants her still up at this hour, you could feel that the longer she stayed outside your place – on the brink of tears, no less – the more your neighbors would grow angry with you. “Would you like to come in? The hallway isn’t the best place to talk.” Probably not the wisest idea, but you felt bad just leaving her to stand out there.

She nodded meekly and followed you back into your apartment. Closing the door behind her, you rushed back into the living room to clean up some of the mess, before patting a couch cushion to urge her to sit. She complied, but continued to perch herself on the very edge, as if to run at a moment’s notice. You sat in the loveseat across from her.

“So, can you start over? And slowly this time, please.”

“Um, [Y/L/N]-san,” she started tentatively. “You really don’t remember me?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t. Did I meet you at one of Katsuki’s events? I’ve met a lot of people that he’s worked with and I have such a hard time remembering everyone.”

“Um, no, that’s…” She trailed off. You tipped your head and raised an eyebrow in curiosity, but she had her eyes trained on her thighs, as if the denim pulled taut across them was mesmerizing. After a brief pause though, she whipped her head up with new-found confidence. “I’m sorry!” She dipped her entire torso forward, so her head was close to touching her knees.

“For what?” you asked, surprised.

“I’m sorry for sleeping with your boyfriend.” Oh. Oh. That’s why you recognized her. That’s what she was talking about outside the apartment. You though she had mentioned something about the recent news about Bakugou and it being her fault.

With the realization came the memory of that night and it rushed in, hitting you faster than a bullet train, a wash of negative emotions and uncomfortable images. As you registered her features, everything clicked back into place. The twitch of her eyes in distress, the inflection of her apologies, and the rhythm of her nervous steps about your apartment. All of it brought back memories you’d though you were finally over.

“Is that what you came here for?” you asked. Somehow, you felt detached from your body, the words leaving your mouth without the command from your mind. “You already apologized that night and in all honest, I don’t want your apologies.”

“I just couldn’t stop thinking about this and I’m sure I would keep feeling guilty if I didn’t say anything to you or Ground Zero ever again.”
“Then continue to feel guilty. I don’t care.”

“[Y/L/N]-san, I’m so sorry, really. I had no idea that he was even dating anybody. A lot of heroes are very openly single, so I assumed he was the same. I swear I never would have done it, had I known.”

“Cool, good for you. Can you please leave now?”

“Wait, no, I still have more I want to say.”

You sighed, rubbing your hand against your forehead and closing your eyes in exasperation.

“Look, I’m sure you are doing this all with good intentions, but I really don’t want or need to hear anything else from you. It’s pretty late and I would like for you to leave.” Boosting yourself up from the chair, you walked to the door and opened it with a click. “If you want to apologize so badly, go talk to Katsuki.”

“I already tried going to his office, but I kept getting turned away at the door.” She followed after you, leaving the basket she had brought on the coffee table.

“Then do to Red Riot’s office. He’ll probably try to help you out.” Holding the door open with your foot, you again motioned for her to go. “This is neither the time nor the place – nor the company for that matter – to have this conversation. It’s been months and I don’t want to think about it anymore.” From the corner of your eye, you spotted the basket perched in the living room still. Pointing to it, you continued. “Oh, and you forgot whatever that is.”

“Um, I didn’t forget it,” she mumbled, glancing back at it and then at you. “It’s a small apology gift. Please keep it.”

“No, take it with you.”

“Please, I really want you-”

“Take it back with you.”

Her wide eyes grew in fear, but she nodded and darted to grab the gift before turning to run out the door. On her way out, you managed to catch the beginnings of another apology, but you shut the door behind her before she had the chance to finish it.

With the girl gone, your apartment suddenly became cold, silent, and lonely again. You no longer appreciated the ability to make noise without the complaints of another person and now all you wanted was someone else there to complain. Someone else to occupy the vast, empty space.

Sinking back into the sofa, you pulled out your phone, dialing it and holding it to your ear.

Ring, ring, ring.

“Hello? [Y/L/N]?” Kirishima’s voice crackled though the speaker.

“Hi, Kirishima,” you mumbled in response, out of energy to speak at full volume.

“Is something wrong?”

“Um, so, you know how you said to call if there was anything I need?”

“Yeah?”

“Well, um, I know it’s late and you’re probably still working, but do you think you could come over?”

A long pause. In the background, you were pretty sure you could hear the mutterings of other conversation.

“Sorry, you know what? Never mind, you’re busy. Sorry to bother you.”

“No, no, no! I’m just switching shifts with someone so I can come over. Can you wait another thirty minutes or so? Or do you need me to be there right now?” For some reason, his words caused a knot in your chest to come undone and you had to hold back some choked sobs in order to respond.

“Th-thirty minutes is, um, is fine.”

“Okay, I will see you then. Stay put and in the meantime get yourself some herbal tea.”

You nodded – not like he could see you – and gave a small grunt of acceptance in response. After ending the call, you sat there for a moment, considering the situation.

Maybe you hadn’t made the best decision in calling Kirishima.

Chapter Text

Milling about the room, turning the TV off and then on again, brewing a pot of tea, snacking on whatever you could find in the fridge, none of it seemed to relieve any of your stress while you waited for Kirishima to arrive. Every few minutes, your mind wandered back to that night, back to Bakugou’s soft call of your name before he left, back to the terrified looks of shock they both wore when you’d caught them, back to the repetitive motion of her…

No, you thought, shaking your head. No, stop thinking about it. God fucking dammit, stop thinking about it. Your fingers ran through your hair, pushing it back into an uneven part as your nails scraped your scalp. You needed something to take the edge off. Anything to make you stop thinking about it.

Wine. Wine would help.

Stumbling into the kitchen, you made your way to the drink fridge. Across the counter, the tea kettle whistled loudly, demanding its boiling contents be used to brew a more helpful drink in this situation, but you simply ignored it. Fumbling among the half-empty bottles of seltzer and juices, you finally managed to yank free an unopened bottle of rosé. It had been pushed to the back, which either meant it was the cheapest bottle you owned and you had never wanted to drink it or it was the most expensive bottle you owned and you had never had an excuse to drink it. You didn’t even bother to check the label to figure out which it was. Instead, you slammed it on the counter – anymore force may have broken it – and pulled a corkscrew a neighboring drawer. You haphazardly uncorked it.

Knock, knock. Two heavy raps on the door. Kirishima.

Eyes darting around the room at the mess you’d created in your attempt to fight off a meltdown, you debated whether or not to do a rushed clean-up to make it more presentable. Who were you kidding, though? You had practically cried over the phone to him, it shouldn’t matter if he saw the catastrophe that was your apartment. It wasn’t a good look, but you didn’t have half a mind to care.

So, you shuffled to the door, tugging it open to find the familiar sharp teeth, crimson hair, and slanted eyes. He didn’t say anything when he saw you. His eyes only shifted across your form, likely taking in your disaster of an appearance. Why had you called him? Why had you bothered him? It was a weekend and he was supposed to be out on patrol! You were depriving the city of a top hero just because you couldn’t get in control of your emotions, for God’s sake!

“Hey,” you mumbled. “Sorry I called you, I’m sure you’re busy. You know, I’m actually fine. You can go back to whatever you need to do.”

“Liar.” Kirishima stepped forward, reaching out and pulling you into his chest in one motion, giving you no choice but to accept the warm embrace. You struggled for a moment, trying to pull free of his grip, but it was fruitless, his arms too strong and your will too weak to accomplish anything. After a moment, you fell still.

It was actually a nice sensation, a warm hug with no ulterior motive behind it, just comfort. Sighing into his chest, you thought back to the last time you had received a hug like that. It had at least been a few months. Since you and Bakugou broke up, for sure. God, you had missed it.

And then, something in you just broke. You weren’t even sure what caused it, but with a comfortable presence holding you safe, the anxiety and frustration and anger and maybe even grief just came spiraling back in one massive surge of emotion, washing over you before you could stop it. Wrapping your arms around his back, you clutched at his sweatshirt and sobbed into his chest.

“I’m – sniff – really…really sorry.” You struggled to get the words out. Once the tears started, you lost all ability to control them. You were crying louder and harder than you had on the day that it all happened in the first place, wailing like a dying seagull and probably coating Kirishima will plenty of nasty substances. “I-I swear this isn’t – hic – normal for me.” You buried your face further into his chest, too embarrassed to make eye-contact.

“Don’t apologize, but could you let go for just a second? So, I can at least close the door?” His grip loosened.

You pulled away in embarrassment, scrubbing at your tear-stained cheeks and eyes with the back of your hand. It was pathetic how easily you had lost control of your emotions and you were dead-set on not doing the same thing again, now that you were free of his grasp. You watched as Kirishima shut the door with a soft click, sliding his shoes off just next to it in the entryway.

Ringing your hands, you shuffled back into the kitchen, not wanting to look at him. You were starting to regain composure and that left you with an inability to look him in the eye, mortified over the unnecessary drama you had just caused. Instead, you started to pickup the clutter you had left across your countertop. The kettle was screaming for attention, a plume of steam whizzing out of it, and ten different types of snacks lay out, most of which only had a bite or two taken out of them.

“What’s all the food for?” Kirishima asked, nearly making you jump out of your skin. Standing right behind you, he glanced about the room, getting a lay of the land. He had been in your apartment plenty of times back when Bakugou still lived with you. He practically lived there himself when the two were working on some big villain bust together, the two of them falling asleep on the couch after obsessively researching the villains or planning their method of attack. But that had all gone away as soon as Bakugou was out. There was something different about having Kirishima in the apartment now. It was your apartment now, not a shared one, so Kirishima being there meant he was there for you and you alone, a fact that still felt out of place. Just hearing his voice in that context made you anticipate Bakugou’s voice calling out from the living room, armed with a sarcastic comment in response.

But no such response came. Practically all traces of your ex-boyfriend had disappeared from the apartment long ago. All that you had left of your time with Bakugou were a few straw mugs he had probably assumed were yours, an old lamp so ugly that you weren’t even sure why Bakugou bought it in the first place, and a large, empty dresser in the bedroom that had been too heavy for him to lug out on his own. You could count the traces of Bakugou on one hand. Well, two hands if you included the added bonus that was standing right behind you.

“Oh, um, I was just craving different things.” You darted to the food, shoving it back into the fridge randomly, not bothering to organize the shelves. You’d deal with it later.

“Uh-huh.” He was unconvinced. Striding past you, he pulled the tea kettle off the stove and set it on the granite, letting it cool down to stop whistling. “And the kettle that’s been continuously whistling?”

“I was going to make some tea, like you said to.”

“Mmm,” was his only response. He glanced around. “And the freshly opened bottle of wine?”

“Um.” You didn’t have an answer for that one.

“[Y/L/N], what happened?” He turned around to look at you, eyes soft and full of worry. Kirishima probably had a good 8-10 inches on you, plus a boatload of muscle mass – he was, in general, a big guy – so just meeting his gaze, you felt puny. But his gaze was gentle still. It left you with that same warm, calm sensation that his tight hug had before. This man was clearly made to be a hero with the build to easily fight of villains, but the demeanor to soothe the victims.

“That girl came here.”

“What girl?”

“The one that…um…with Katsuki…” You didn’t finish your thought, but based on the understanding that washed across Kirishima’s face, he seemed to have filled in the blanks.

“What did she want?”

“She said she wanted to apologize, but I really didn’t want to hear it. I kicked her out before she really had the chance to say anything.” You paused, wrinkling your brows in thought. “It wasn’t really that bad, I guess. I don’t know… Seeing her face just made me think about all of it again.” Resting your elbows against the countertop, you let your head fall down into your hands. “God, I’m sorry I called you. It was so stupid.”

A pair of hands pulled your face back up. Squishing your cheeks together, he stared directly down at you, forcing you to maintain eye-contact that you had no been prepared to hold.

“Please, stop apologizing,” he said, pulling you forward so you were almost nose-to-nose. “I came here because I wanted to help you. It was entirely my choice and you don’t need to stress about bothering me because you aren’t.” You could feel your cheeks going warm in his grip and you couldn’t quite tell if it was the temperature of his palms or the proximity to his face that was the perpetrator.

“Okay, thank you,” you mumbled, the syllables strung together due to your pinched lips. At your response, his grip loosened, but didn’t fall away from face, instead they just shifted to gently cupped. His thumb slid across the smooth texture of your cheek.

Okay, the heat in your skin had absolutely nothing to do with how warm his hands were. An attractive man was cradling your face an inch away from his own and now his was stroking your goddamn cheeks. You had to free yourself or you’d find yourself diving headfirst into a very morally-grey area.

You took a couple steps back, pulling your head from his grip.

“So, you want some tea or wine?” you asked awkwardly. You gestured back to the kettle and bottle, as if it weren’t already obvious that the two options were out and available. The silence from Kirishima after your question was deafening, the only sound being the low murmur of voices from the TV in the living room, and it felt like you had said or done something wrong. He just looked at you with an undecipherable expression. It could have meant anything from pity to confusion to nervousness to a whole host of other emotions, none of which you could place. “Kirishima?”

“[Y/L/N], what actually happened that night?” All your muscles tensed at once.

“What?”

“Bakugou refuses to tell me anything about that night. All he ever says is ‘I fucked up.’” Kirishima’s eyes were set, perfectly serious. You couldn’t stand to maintain eye-contact with them, so you averted your gaze. “So, what actually happened?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I’d really like to know your side of it.”

“Please, Kirishima, I don’t want to.” You made the mistake of looking back up at him. His eyes were wide and innocent, like a puppy begging for treats. God dammit, that was unfair.

“Please?”

“Ugh.” You sucked in a large breath of air, held it for a moment, then released it in a quick burst. “Fine, but we’re sitting in the living room for this.” You guided Kirishima out of the kitchen to the living room, where you shifted a bag of chips off the couch to sit down. Gesturing to an armchair, you indicated for him to sit down as well. For some reason, however, he opted to sit alongside you at the couch, staring at you with expectant eyes. “I came home early from a conference and it was pretty late at night. I came in, expecting Katsuki to be awake in the living room, but he wasn’t there so I went looking in the bedroom. I got there and I could hear two voices, one of which was obviously Katsuki, the other was the chick.” Kirishima raised his brows at you, as if indicating for you to use more detail. “God, I don’t fucking know. I guess I hoped for a second that my ears had deceived me, but I opened the door and turned on the lights and there they were. Fucking. Clear as day.” You rested your head on the back of the cushions. “I got so mad that I kinda just hit this point of calm anger. I told the girl to leave, but I didn’t yell at her. I guess I swore, but I didn’t yell. At least not until it was just Katsuki and me. God, Kirishima, I was so fucking pissed.”

“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I had no idea. That’s horrible.”

“You’re goddamn right it’s horrible!” You sat straight up. “And she said that she didn’t know he was dating anyone, but there’s no way that’s true. It was in the news all the time for a while; there’s no way she didn’t know!” You were really getting going now. “Jesus Christ, Katsuki really just went with the first chick that’d have him after I left. You know what? Fuck him! Katsuki can just go to hell! Why fuck should I be left with all this goddamn emotional baggage, while he’s off being a hero like nothing fucking happened! And I get his side chick coming in begging to apologize to me – and we all known that’s just a ploy to make herself feel better – who is all nervous and upset and basically on the verge of crying.” There were tears streaming down your face and your voice had risen to a full-on yell. “Well, fuck her too! She doesn’t get to cry in this situation! I’m the one that really wants to cry! Fuck her and fuck Katsuki and goddamn fucking dammit.” You slammed your fist into Kirishima’s chest. But, when the last words left your mouth, somehow you felt relieved. The anxiety and frustration and anger and maybe even grief had dissolved as soon as they’d arrived. You looked up at him with red eyes.

“Feel better?” he asked with a soft smile and quirked brow.

“Yes, I fucking do.”

And it seemed like the restrain you had been showing earlier dissolved with your emotions because you reached up, draping your arms around his neck and pulled him down into a hard kiss.

Chapter Text

About two seconds into the kiss, you found yourself coming back to your senses, realizing that oh my god, you were kissing your ex’s best friend. Shocked at your behavior, you jerked your head and arms back. Kirishima was left with a startled look on his face, his hand drifting up to brush at his lips as he tried to decipher what had just happened.

“Oh God, I am so sorry, Kirishima,” you spluttered. Face burning in embarrassment, you searched for a way to bail yourself out of the uncomfortable situation. You were absolutely mortified. “I-I don’t know what came over me.” You looked up at him, scooting yourself further down the couch just in case you were tempted to do the same thing again.

“No, it’s okay,” he responded, chuckling and rubbing at the back of his neck. “I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought or dreamt about it.” The comment made you freeze, eyes wide.

“…What?” Kirishima’s face went scarlet as he realized declaration he had just made. He said it so matter-of-factly, like it was just a simple statement to make, like it didn’t have an undercutting importance behind it. Granted, in a less tense situation, you may have brushed it off, jokingly said the same thing back – even if you weren’t really joking. But in this situation, it all felt too real. Kirishima had seriously admitted to thinking – and dreaming? – about kissing his friend’s ex-girlfriend – had admitted to a pretty big breach of friendship law. Had he thought about anything else?

“Wow, I, um, that was…that was super inappropriate.” He struggled to find his bearings, stumbling over his words. You chuckled to yourself.

“I mean, I was definitely significantly more inappropriate, so I think we’re even. Chalk it up to a weird mood and forget about it?” Kirishima laughed along with you and nodded, accepting your bailout of the awkward situation. Even still, the mood felt different than before. A hidden apprehension hung in the air.           

“So, um, would you like any tea or wine now?” You pushed yourself off the couch. You really didn’t want him to leave yet – you weren’t sure if you were alright to be alone – but you needed to do something else to get your mind off what had just happened. “I might also have some beer if you’d prefer.” 

“A glass of wine would be great,” he said.

You made your way back to the kitchen, glancing over your shoulder to look back at the man, catching his eye. He smiled at you happily, the corners of his sharp eyes crinkling gently.

As you pulled a pair of wine glasses from a cabinet, you took a moment to catch your breath and get a handle on your emotions again. You really didn’t know what had come over you. Some impulsive part had just taken over and led you to make a less than ideal decision.

The thin glasses clinked against the granite softly as you set them down. Your hands were shaky as you poured the rosé into them, a few drops of the pink liquid spilling onto the counter and streaming over the side.

“So, anything interesting happen since I left you this afternoon?” you called out, hoping to diffuse the weird energy that still lingered. Setting the bottle back down and wiping up the stray drops with a quick swipe of a paper towel, you picked up a glass in each hand to carry back to the living room.

“Actually, Sero and I were called out to deal with a building collapse in midtown about an hour after you left.” You outstretched one of the glasses to him and he accepted it with a nod. “Thank you.” He took a generous sip before continuing. “They suspected that a villain may have planted a bomb or something, but when we got on site, they told us that a large water heater had exploded and caused the collapse. It wasn’t villain-related, but it was still fulfilling anyway.”

“How so?” You settled back into your seat.

“We managed to get everyone out of building without any deaths. Some people had to be rushed to the hospital because of broken limbs and head wounds, but there weren’t any casualties.” He paused, brushing his finger around the rim of his glass. “Something about it just made me glad I became a hero all over again.”

Nodding, you hummed in response, taking a sip of the wine – it was definitely one of the expensive bottles, nothing cheap tasted that good.

“What about you? Anything interesting happen working as a…” He stopped; his brows furrowed. “I’m sorry, I know you’ve told me a hundred times, but I still don’t think I fully get it.”

“For the sake of time, you can just say I’m a consultant.”

“Right, yeah, that’s the word.”

“And not much really happened today. I’ve finally had some down time that I haven’t gotten the past few weeks.”

“That’s great!” Kirishima said enthusiastically. Not quite the response you expected for such a bland comment on your part. “You said that you’ve been stressed, so it must be nice to have some down time.”

“Yeah, for sure.”

The next hour and a half progressed in a similar fashion, with the two of you swapping stories about your days, which morphed into a conversation about how you decided on your jobs, to your goals for the future, to full-on existential conversation that for a while you hadn’t thought Kirishima would be apt to participate in. As the night wore on, though, you started to feel guilty for keeping him at such a late hour.

“Sorry it’s so late now,” you said, looking up at the clock. “I really shouldn’t have called you in the middle of the night.” He smiled and just shook his head in response.

“I already told you it’s fine, but if you want me to leave, I will.”

“No!” you burst out, a little too emphatically. “No, I, uh, that’s not what I meant.”

“Oh? It’s not?” His right eyebrow raised just enough to be teasing. His brief response left you at a loss for words, unsure of how to explain yourself and the warmth of incoming blush crept up your face. Suddenly, you found yourself back in the awkward mood from earlier, where tension hung in the air like a ripe fruit and nervous energy pulsed through your veins as liquid electricity, urging you to stand, move, do anything but sit there. You fought it off, instead twirling the last sip of rosé before downing it.

“No, it isn’t,” you mumbled. “I just didn’t know if you had to work early tomorrow or something.”

“I have to run patrol tomorrow night because, you know, I switched shifts with someone, but besides that I don’t have to work.”

“Oh, okay. You can stay if you want.”

The clock ticked faintly in the background as the two of you sat silent once the conversation had died out. Your heart seemed to drum in your chest at the exact same pace, one beat per second, loud and heavy, and your breathing was slow, deliberate. Setting your now-empty glass on the coffee table, you twiddled your thumbs and searched for another way to occupy your hands. A soft click sounded next to you. Looking over, you saw Kirishima also doing away with his finished drink. You made brief eye-contact but you quickly broke it.

The cushions to your left sunk under Kirishima’s shifting weight as he slid closer to you on the couch. As his thigh pressed up against yours, you looked down to where they touched and then back up to his bright, captivating eyes. He looked at you with crimson irises that seemed to burn through everything you were. The room seemed to shrink. All you could see was the man right before you, his eyes boring into yours as he tried to search for something – what, you didn’t know.

His hand rested against your cheek, large and warm. Slowly, he pulled you forward into a kiss and this time, you were not planning to pull away. Leaning into it, you threaded the fingers of one hand in the baby hairs at the nape of his neck and twisted the fingers of your other hand into the back of his t-shirt, stretching the cotton. His free arm wound around your waist. With a swift yank, he closed the gap between the two of you and his muscled arm kept you snug against his broad chest. You savored the warmth.

Gradually, you were pushed backwards until your back was on the couch. Kirishima’s hands unwound and he tugged at the bottom of your shirt, urging you to remove it

“Mmm, wait, wait,” you mumbled against his lips, pushing at his eager hands. Kirishima released his hold and pulled back from your lips, concern painted across his face. “I’m not telling you to stop,” you continued with a chuckle. “Just, not here.” You stood, taking his hand so he would follow you. Grinning and standing up as well, he poked you in the side, just under your ribcage, causing you to squeal in surprise. “Hey!”

“What? I didn’t do anything.” His hands lifted to either side of his head in defense, his eyes looking up and away from you.

“Oh, ha ha.” You turned back around to continue guiding him, but the minute your back was to him, he poked you again. “Stop it!” Giggling, you whipped around to find Kirishima’s hands at-the-ready for another round of jabs. “No, no, no!” You darted off toward the bedroom, shrieking with laughter as he chased after you. Just past the door, he managed to catch you, wrapping his arms around your waist and lifting you up off the ground.

“No one escapes me!” he declared, throwing you forward onto the bed. He pinned your hands on either side of you, narrowing his eyes at you until your giggles petered out, leaving only a comfortable silence. Leaning down, you kissed you once again.

It was faster, more heated than before, needier. He tugged at your clothes and you happily complied, clumsily yanking off whatever you could grab hold off, all while trying to maintain the makeout session. It was inelegant and awkward, all pointed elbows and bony knees knocking into one another, but it didn’t matter. Everything felt right, dorky as it was.

Kirishima leaned back to pry off his own clothes, his shirt getting swept away in one smooth motion while you struggled to unbuckle his belt. The cool metal clicked in your hands, taunting you as you failed to pull it from his hips in your blind pursuit. Kirishima laughed heartily, placing his hands over yours to guide the motions. Once undone, you ripped it from the loops, tossing it over the side of the bed. His pants followed close behind.

“[Y/N].” You froze, surprised by the use of your first name. Kirishima perched himself on his elbows, hovering above you, before he continued. “I need to know that you actually want to do this. I know it might make stuff complicated and-”

You yanked him back down, pressing your lips against his. Like hell you were letting him stop now.

 

You awoke the next morning to first light streaming through your windows. Damn, must have forgotten to close the blackout curtains again, you thought, rolling over and rubbing at your eyes. What time is it? Turning to the left, you reached out for your phone on the nightstand. Except, your arm smacked straight into a naked chest. Bolting upright, you whipped your head over to find Kirishima sleeping next to you, red hair pressed flat in some places from sleep and dye rubbing off onto your freshly-washed white pillowcases.

Right. That had actually happened. You were expecting it to have been a weird sex dream that would result in you not being able to look Kirishima in the eye for a week.

The redhead stirred, grunting as he opened his eyes blearily. Noticing you sitting upright and probably looking down at him with a panicked expression, he shifted, laying his head on his hands, and smiled up at you. Yanking the sheets up to cover your chest in an attempt to maintain some sense of decency, you gave him a small smile back.

“G’morning.” His voice was deeper than normal, raspy from sleep, and the way he murmured the words brought you back to the previous night, making your face flush.

“Good morning.” Out of fear that he didn’t feel the same way you did about yesterday, you waited for him to completely wake up before you said anything more. No need to incriminate yourself until you’d confirmed that Kirishima didn’t think it was a mistake. Slowly, he pushed himself into a seated position, bumping shoulders with you.

“Last night was fun,” he said, nudging you as a massive grin spread across his face. You felt yourself mirroring it instinctively.

“Yeah? You don’t regret it?”

“Mmm.” He paused to think, sliding his hands through his hair to get it into a more manageable shape. With the leftover hair gel still in it from the night before, the strands had taken to forming a crunching bird’s nest, refusing to be tamed. “No, I don’t. I may have to do some explaining to Bakugou, but I don’t regret it.” He swung his legs over the side of the bed, standing to retrieve his boxers. Automatically, you averted your gaze, not feeling as bold as you had a few hours ago. You heard the sound of fabric being slid up skin and you managed to turn back to see him now somewhat modest.

Kirishima lifted his crumpled clothes from the floor, holding his shirt up before him with outstretched arms. It had wrinkles everywhere and had somehow acquired a mysterious stain since he’d lost it the night before, a small patch of rusty orange spread near the collar.

“Here, let me see if Katsuki left anything that you could wear,” you offered, pulling the sheets with you as you stood and walked to his untouched dresser in a far corner. With how little you’d touched it the past few months, it had accumulated a thick layer of dust on its surface and the drawers stuck when you tried to pull them open. A few good tugs and you managed to get the top one open. Nothing. You checked the rest of the drawers, coming up empty-handed until there was only one left, the largest at the bottom. Yanking it open, you found yourself greeted by folded black cloth. It was one of Katsuki’s old skull t-shirts, the kind he had worn back in his school days. It would probably be a little small on Kirishima, but it was the best you had. You pulled it out.

As you freed it from the dresser, a gentle thump followed, the sound of another item being knocked over. Curious, you set the shirt down beside you, glancing back into the drawer for whatever else Katsuki had accidentally left in your apartment. There, tucked in the farthest right corner, was a small black box on its side. You stuck your arm in to dig it out, the soft velvet along its outside brushing against your fingers, and managed to hold the item in front of your face.

It was a small black box. As if compelled by some unseen force, you found yourself opening it. You already knew what was in it and you didn’t need the finishing blow, but you couldn’t find the ability to stop yourself. It clicked open.

And there it was, reflecting the dim light around you: a three-carat diamond engagement ring.

Chapter Text

You were frozen, stuck trying to make sense of a completely nonsensical situation. There you were, kneeling in front of your ex-boyfriend’s old dresser, which had previously stored a massive engagement ring – presumably for quite some time – that you now were holding open before yourself. Across the room, your ex’s best friend pulled on an old t-shirt left behind, a curious expression starting to spread across his features. None of it pieced together in any logical manner. So, you sat there, unmoving and unbreathing.

“[Y/N]?” Kirishima asked, taking a few steps toward you. “Are you okay?” His voice freed you from your trance, spurring you to slam the ring box shut and quickly tuck it back into the drawer from which it had come, sliding it closed. Boosting up from the floor, you attempted the most casual smile you could manage, well aware that it was likely awkward and tense.

“Yeah, I’m good,” you managed, waving a hand dismissively. Kirishima looked like he was not buying it. “Just spaced out for a minute there.”

“What was that box?” Every muscle within you flexed. Simultaneously, your mind raced, struggling to come up with an answer that sounded even mildly plausible. For a moment, you stared at him blankly in a way that was definitely not suspicious.

“Oh, just Katsuki’s old class ring,” you answered as casually as you could compel yourself to. Waving your hand at him again, you hoped that the lie sounded even ten percent more convincing than it did to your own ears. Clearly, fibs were not your strong-suit. “I guess I’ll need to find a time to return it to him.”

“I can give it back to him, if you want.” Oh no. Oh God no. That was not how you planned for the conversation to go. You desperately needed to find some way to get yourself out of this situation, get Kirishima out of your home. You couldn’t handle having him around anymore.

“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Your voice shook. Stacking lies like this not only made you feel guilty to Kirishima, but it made you nervous that you’d be caught in one of them, leading you to have to explain the rest. “If you bring it back, he might ask why you were at my apartment.”

“Don’t worry about it.” He smiled reassuringly, taking a couple steps toward you. “We can just say you found it and asked me to return it. He knows we’re talking still, anyway.” The guilt was eating away at you, chewing through your heart as you clambered to find another way to reject his offer. Why was Kirishima so goddamn courteous all the time?

“No, really, it’s fine. His office is close to mine, so I can just leave it with one of the receptionists to give to him. They all know me anyway.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, definitely. Thanks for offering, though. I appreciate it.” You looked pointedly at your phone, pretending to gasp at the realization that it was, in fact, much later than you had initially thought. It was probably a pathetic excuse at an acting job, but your only hope that was it was too early in the day for Kirishima to catch on. “Woah, it’s already past eight? I’m supposed to be meeting with a friend in less than an hour.” You bit your lip and knit your brows. “I’m sorry to kick you out so early, but…” You trailed off in the hopes that he would pick up on the implication.

“It’s fine.” He collected his dirtied shirt from the floor and meandered toward the door. “Would you be interested in getting dinner sometime this week?”

“Yes!” you said enthusiastically. “I would love to!” And you absolutely would. It was probably the only completely truthful statement you had made since discovering the ring. After you dealt with this whole fiasco, you were going to put Bakugou out of your mind for a while, instead directing your attention to the man before you. Sure, you had a good bit of talking to do with your ex, but once that was through, you were not going to think about that relationship any more. The past was the past. Even if seeing the ring did hurt a bit. “Will you text or call me to let me know when you’re free?” Kirishima grinned at you, the same infectious smile that you couldn’t help but mirror back, even with the present circumstances.

“Sure.”

The two of you made your way up to the front door, where Kirishima turned back to face you. With his messy hair spiked up in a dozen different directions and the clearly ill-fitted t-shirt, you couldn’t help but giggle. It was the most obvious walk-of-shame that you’d seen in a while.

“What are you laughing at?” he chuckled, leaning down to peer at your face.

“Nothing, you just don’t look very heroic right now.”

He raised his arms, giving himself at once over, and then turned to check out his face in the mirror. Eyes widening in surprise, he pushed around some of the crimson strands in a vain attempt to reset it. When his efforts bore no fruit, he simply sighed and laughed again.

“Guess I’ll just have to get home quickly then.”

“Would you at least like to run your head under the faucet to rinse out the gel?”

“As appealing as that sounds, I’ll pass. I don’t want to make you delay meeting your friend.” Your chest twinged at the reminder of your lie. The smile fell from your face for a moment, but you managed to revive it before Kirishima seemed to notice.

The door hinges squeaked slightly as you pulled the door open for him. Outside, the hallway was all but dead silent, quiet enough to hear the faint ding from the elevator landing on a different floor. It was Saturday after all, so few people were awake. You were well aware that many of the tenants on your floor were new money twenty-somethings who had built their own startups in unique fields, so most of them worked until late during the week and partied until early during the weekend. Some had probably only gotten home a few hours ago. Others, likely passed out somewhere else. Either way, the halls were abandoned.

“So, I’ll call you early next week to make plans?” Kirishima asked in a low voice, stepping through the entryway. He turned on a heel to look back at you as he spoke.

“I’m looking forward to it,” you answered. And you were – you really were – but you couldn’t bring yourself to continue the conversation, not when you had a diamond to return and an ex to berate.

Kirishima hovered in the doorway, leaning onto the edge of it with his left hand and cradling his t-shirt against his chest in his right. Slowly, he leaned down and pressed his lips against yours before giving one final goodbye and heading down the hall to catch the elevator. He turned one final time before making a sharp right, tossing you a small wave, and then he was gone.

As soon as he was out of sight, you heaved a sigh of relief. You weren’t quite sure what you would do now that he was gone, but one thing was certain: the ring had to go.

 

Staring up at the towering building, your breathing quickened at the thought of taking even one more step toward it. You had gone months, months avoiding Bakugou and yet here you were, planted in front of a place you’d spent numerous long nights in – a place you knew as well as your own home, frankly – with a velvet-wrapped nightmare boring a hole into your right pocket. Amazingly, the box hadn’t collapsed under the force of your grip. You could feel your fingers going numb from how tightly you had held it on the entire ride over.

As soon as Kirishima left, you had called Uraraka to see if she knew Bakugou’s schedule for the day, which had very quickly devolved into an incredibly awkward conversation.

“Uraraka-san, can I ask a weird favor of you? And can I also ask you to not tell anyone I asked?”

“Um… I guess so? It would depend on the favor, probably. What’s up?” Her tone was hesitant and suspicious, the pause before her response long as she considered her final answer.

“I need Katsuki’s schedule today.”

The wait for Uraraka to answer was painfully drawn out, sending you reeling with anxious thoughts of every possible response you could receive. Your chest felt like it would explode.

“Why?”

“I, uh, I need to return something he left at my apartment.”
“Why would you need his schedule for that?”

“So, I can give it to him in person.”

“Leave it with his receptionist.”

“I really need to be the one to hand it to him directly.”

“[Y/L/N]-san…” The line went quiet for a moment. “I don’t think either of you should be seeing each other without a buffer around. Bakugou-kun is finally getting over you and Kirishima said you’ve seemed happier the past couple weeks.” You found yourself clicking your tongue in frustration. Of course, Uraraka would be opposed to it, she and Bakugou were surprisingly amicable and she had razor-sharp intuition. She probably sensed that something was up. “How about I go with you to see him? I won’t intrude on conversation, just stand around and make sure no one starts yelling or kiss-”

“No!” you cut in. “No, no, I really need to be the only one there. Also, I’m not trying to get back together with him if that’s what you’re worried about.”

She went silent.

“I’m sorry, [Y/L/N]-san. I can’t give you his schedule knowing full-well what that meeting would do to both of you. Even if you say that it’ll be okay, I just don’t know if it actually will.”

“You have no idea.”

Click. You hung up, bitter and more frustrated than you had already been spending the morning. Either way, though, you were getting in to see Bakugou. So, you called up Kaminari instead.

“Really should have started with the dumber friend,” you mumbled to yourself, finally willing your right leg to take another step toward Bakugou’s office. You rarely spent time with Kaminari, but during the short encounters you had previously, he was far and away the most gullible out of that group. Which also made him easy to manipulate. A small inkling of guilt was burrowing into your chest for tricking him into giving you Bakugou’s schedule, but returning the ring was too important to be left to someone else.

Steeling your resolve, you slammed a hand against the swinging door, walking into the agency as confidently as you had when the two of you were dating. It was as if you had never left. The entryway was quieter than a typical hero agency, only the few staff members needed to deal with paperwork and two receptionists whose main jobs were to ward off anyone that didn’t work there. At this point, Bakugou certainly had the means to afford a larger staff, but with how poorly he got along with others, it was unlikely that he would hire anyone else. Let alone any sidekicks.

“[Y/N]-san?” You stomach leapt to your throat. Slowly, you twisted your head to look down at the wide-eyed receptionist you had come to know over the years.

“Hi, Rie-chan.” Forcing your fingers to uncurl from around the box, you pulled your hand from your pocket to give a small wave. “I’m just hear to drop off something of Katsuki’s. Shouldn’t be long. Is he in his office?”

“Um, yes, he is, but…” She glanced hesitantly at the other receptionist next to her, a young girl some ten years your junior whom you didn’t recognize. The girl didn’t say anything, just mirrored Rie’s concerned expression. “I thought the two of you broke up?”

“Yeah, we did. I just found something of his while I was cleaning yesterday and wanted to return it to him.”

“Oh, well then, please head on up. I will let Bakugou-san know you are coming.”

“I appreciate it.” You smiled at the pair, giving them small nods before turning to the elevator down the hall.

Bakugou’s agency was not as large and luxurious as Kirishima’s, primarily because it was not designed to welcome any guests. Its purpose was practicality alone. So, once you took the elevator to Bakugou’s office on the third floor, you were greeted by the same generic décor that had been there for years. The room’s focal point was Bakugou’s massive desk which had dozens of villain records meticulously organized in folders, some spread across the surface, others in cabinets on either side. Aside from that, there were few personal items. Only a handful of decorations – most of which you had forced him to put up – and a minimalist couch that Bakugou had spent many nights sleeping on with a glass coffee table before it.

The only thing missing was the small photo of you he had previously kept next to his computer monitor. It was a simple thing, just an old picture from a vacation to Australia in a cheap, plain black frame, but if was displayed so prominently in the past that its absence was striking. It had been embarrassing when Bakugou first tried to lay it out. You couldn’t help but remember how you had yelled, trying to pry it from his hands and discard it. “Let me have a fucking picture of my girlfriend. It won’t kill you.” He had said. Why did it hurt to think of then?

“Why are you here?” Bakugou’s voice broke your trance. It was terse and clipped, the same way he spoke to strangers, but you could hear a hint of emotion that he was fighting to hold back.

“I think you know.”

“Don’t be so fucking cryptic.” Wow, this was going swimmingly so far. “But…I assume you found the ring.”

“I found the ring.” Marching up to his desk, you slammed the box atop a stack of folders right within his eyeline. “You can have it back. What was the point of even leaving it behind?”

“Because I wanted you to know. I bought the ring weeks before your trip and had been planning to ask once you got back. I just never could find the right time.”

“Great, well now I know and you can have it back.” You shook your head. “I should have just sold it instead. What did it go for two million?”

“Two point five, actually. And you can sell it if you want. If should have been yours anyway.”
“It’s not mine. You never proposed. I never said yes. It means nothing to me.” Your tone was like steel, no place that would yield any ground, nothing that would bend even slightly.

“[Y/N], if I hadn’t…if I hadn’t cheated, would you have said yes?” And with that, the steel melted. Something about the way he paused and wrinkled his brow, the hesitation in his voice just softened your heart. When you summoned the energy to respond, your voice sounded like his, slow and reluctant with a hint of something more, something like lingering affection.

“Of course, I would have.” His expression cracked. “But you already knew that. You never would have bought the ring if you didn’t.” If someone asked what you were feeling at that moment, you would have no words to describe it, too many emotions swirling together in a whirlwind of confusion. “It’s probably for the best though, that you never got a chance. Imagine if this same situation had happened twenty years down the line.”

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.” For the first time since you broke up, Bakugou agreed with you. Maybe Uraraka was right and Bakugou really was getting over you. And if that was the case, why did your chest sting when you thought about it?