En route to a training facility in Nagano, the students of 1-A pass their time on the bus by playing some word games at an unnecessarily loud volume. After hero-specific shiritori fizzles out, Ashido suggests something called Never Have I Ever.
“I’m not playing that,” Bakugo says.
“Why not?” Ashido demands. ”It’s fun!”
“Because it’s a drinking game and we’re underage, you neon nightmare.”
Ochako pops up over Ashido’s seat, hooking her arms around it. “We can use a point system, then! We’ll all start out with five points, and if you’ve done the thing a person says, you lose a point!”
“Yeah! We’ll do that!”
“Now it just sounds stupid,” Bakugo says.
“Shut up, Bakugo,” Ashido says cheerfully. “Who wants to play?”
As usual with anything competitive, the entirety of Class 1-A (minus Bakugo, who is Taking a Stand) agrees with solemnity.
“I’ll go first!” Ashido yells. “Never have I ever read a whole book in English!”
A flurry of hands shoot up and then immediately plunge back down because Aizawa is 1) present and 2) knows their English teacher, who has 3) assigned them six English novels to read since the term started.
“I’ll go first,” Aoyama says. He props his folded arms on the head of the person in front of him, much to Iida’s stoic chagrin. “Hmm! Never have I ever…won a fight against Todoroki!”
Bakugo's shoe hits the back of his head.
“FUCK OFF, CAT TOY. NOW GIVE ME MY SHOE BACK.”
In a style very similar to Present Mic’s, Sero announces to the entirety of the bus, “That’s gonna be a penalty! Player Bakugo Katsuki will now start the game with four points instead of five due to excessive violence!”
“I’m not fucking playing!”
“Never have I ever interned for Best Jeanist!” Kaminari shouts.
“Ohh, that’s rough!” Sero crows with relish. “Player Bakugo’s lost another point!”
“Listen, sticky, I said I’m not fucking PLAYING!”
“Never have I ever refused to play a bus game because everyone ganged up on me at once!” Ashido shouts with her hands cupped around her mouth.
“Ohhh noooo, he’s only got two points left! What will Player Bakugo do?!”
It’s a testament to either the bus driver’s experience with hero children or her tranquil disposition overall that the explosion in the back of her bus doesn’t faze her. Aizawa—even though he’s awake—doesn’t even bother commenting on it. Mostly because he’s tired, but also because he trusts Bakugo not to grievously wound anyone until they’ve at least reached the training facility.
Two strategic questions later, Bakugo's eliminated from the game (“I! WASN’T! PLAYING!”) and twelve minutes after that, half of everyone participating has lost all their points and are watching like sharks for who will emerge as the winner.
“Never have I ever tried to tried to power a lightbulb with a fart,” Shoji says with a smirk.
Kaminari, now down to one point, announces, “I hate this game,” for the fourth time.
Todoroki says, “Never have I ever played Never Have I Ever before today,” and Kaminari shouts, “DAMN IT.”
Soon, the game is down to only Ashido, Kirishima, Yaoyozoru, and Hagakure—all with one point left.
Ashido says, “Never have I ever kissed anyone at our school,” with smug triumph.
Hagakure complains, “No fair!” and Yaoyozoru sighs, “I wish I hadn’t told you about that.”
Ashido cackles. “It’s down to you and me, Kirishima!”
Kirishima opens his mouth, then closes it and clears his throat, which attracts the attention of almost the entire bus. Red-cheeked, he says, “Uh, actually, you win.”
“WHAT?” Ashido shrieks.
Kirishima laughs. “Congratulations?”
With that, Never Have I Ever promptly ends and Who Did Kirishima Kiss begins.
“How did I not know this?” Ashido demands.
“Bakugo’s gotta know!” Kaminari says. “Who was it, Kacchan?”
“Eat a surge protector, Pikachu.”
“It would appear that Player Bakugo is, once again, not playing!”
“SHUT IT, STICKY. OI, CAT TOY! SHOE! NOW!”
At sunset, the frivolity of the morning is largely forgotten. The entirety of Class 1-A pant and groan on a hillside near the obstacle course where they’ve been doing animal rescue all afternoon, while Aizawa double-checks that they rescued all those in need of rescue from fabricated danger.
“I’m gonna die,” Sero shares.
“I’m already dead,” Jiro counters.
“I’ve never felt half of these muscles before,” Hagakure whines.
Then Aizawa says, “Good work,” and directs them to gather the rescued animals and put them all back in their pens.
“Gently,” he emphasizes with a particularly fierce scowl. He has a puffy white Himalayan kitten on his shoulder that he doesn’t seem to have noticed, but it doesn’t undercut his daunting presence at all.
Rounding up the animals (gently) and returning them (gently) to their pens is even more effort than it sounds, and by the end of it the lot of them are trudging back to the hillside to collapse and carry on with early expiration.
It’s while summoning the energy to die that Sero notices a pair of red leaves in Kirishima’s hair. They’re the exact same shade as Kirishima’s dyed hair, with only a few yellowed veins to distinguish them as separate entities. They stick out from the sides of his hair like fox’s ears.
Sero lets out a gasp of a laugh, lifting his arm from the ground with an admirable burst of strength in order to point in Kirishima’s general direction.
Kaminari follows the invisible line from Sero’s trembling fingertip to the leaves and snorts with appreciation.
Within seconds, an energetic third of 1-A is giggling.
Kirishima says, “Guys?” with concern and peers upside down at his classmates. Now he looks like an inquisitive fox, and the sight makes the wheezing half of 1-A wheeze more.
With a grunt, Bakugo shoves himself off the ground and tromps across the scorched grass of the field. He passes the seven sleeping kitten-dragon hybrids they’ve all spent the past two hours wrangling into their pen, crouches by Kirishima’s head, and gently plucks the leaves from the inhospitable terrain they’ve been trapped in.
The gentle part alone is enough to get some of their classmates to stop laughing. He’s using the same care he used to pick up the lightning fox kit, the same care that made several of his classmates raise their eyebrows in surprised respect.
But it’s Kirishima’s little smile and soft, “Thanks,” that brews real suspicion.
Then Bakugo says something quiet none of them can hear and Kirishima says something equally quiet back and then Bakugo snickers and Kirishima beams.
Kaminari levers up onto his elbow, eyebrows high, and demands, “What the fuck? Are you two dating?”
Bakugo smirks over his shoulder, finally at the pinnacle of smugness, and says, “Yeah. Fucking jealous, aren’t you?”
It’s been going on for “a month, I guess?” according to Kirishima, which puts the start of them dating either right before, during, or directly after their time on I-Island—or possibly even before Bakugo was kidnapped.
To 1-A’s collective disappointment, though, Kirishima won’t answer anything else. When pressed, he just smiles, sheepish, and says, “I don’t know how much I should say, guys. It’s kinda private.”
When Asui is elected to ask Bakugo, he growls, “Fuck off, frog snot,” which could mean anything, really.
News of the newly minted couple spreads rapidly to the rest of the school, and for several days afterward Kirishima and Bakugo are the focus of 1-A, 1-B, 1-C, 2-B, a decent chunk of 2-E, and the dreaded self-named Gossip and Observation League from Class 3-D.
One member of the League even waits outside 1-A’s dormitory to ask Kirishima, “Have you ever dated anyone before Bakugo?” while another coos, “You must’ve been very popular in your junior high days!”
Another one bounces along behind Bakugo on his way to the bathroom one afternoon, yelling, “Was Kirishima already your boyfriend when you invited him to I-Island with you?”
None of the six League members is swayed or even remotely intimidated by Kirishima’s wry non-answers or Bakugo’s screaming, and they carry on like dogged paparazzi despite the lack of conclusive answers they receive for their trouble.
After a few days of this, Bakugo starts off class with Present Mic by asking in English, “How much provocation is necessary before force can be used to retaliate against enemy students without repercussions, sir?”
Of the few who are able to follow what he’s said, Yaoyozoru and Iida both drop their pens in unison, Todoroki snorts, and Midoriya winces.
Present Mic stares back at Bakugo for three full seconds before he gathers enough sense to respond, “What the—? Ene—? Um. Well. I-in what context, exactly?” also in English.
“Nosy-ass fuckers trying to interrogate my boyfriend!” Bakugo snaps, slamming his fists on his desk.
At the last word, Kirishima glances up, owl-eyed, from his doodle of himself with laser hair. “Boy…friend,” he mouths. Then he beams, nods, and continues drawing.
In Japanese, Kaminari calls, “Sir, what’s the difference in English between ‘fuck’ and ‘fucker’?”
Present Mic pointedly clears his throat and moves on.
What’s fascinating to the school at large is that there doesn’t seem to be any difference in how Bakugo and Kirishima are with each other now as opposed to how they were before everyone knew. They’re just…Bakugo and Kirishima. Shouting, laughing, muttering, smirking, and…sitting near each other doing completely different things in companionable silence. Same as always.
Even their closest friends seem clueless about the whole thing. After Bakugo confirms it in front of the class, Kaminari is the first one asked and the first one to insist that he didn’t know. “I don’t spend every second with them!” he tells the curious cluster around him. “We’re not a three-headed…thing!”
Bakugo bellows, “STOP FUCKING ASKING!” at Ashido, but that only makes some of the ones who weren’t asking start asking.
Midoriya very intelligently does not ask, but he does take notes, because relationships between heroes is actually not a topic he has a lot of information on.
“STOP FOLLOWING US, YOU CREEPY-ASS NERD.”
“Sorry! Can I just ask you guys one quick—”
The funny thing is, everyone is so focused on when and why and how this relationship happened that it isn’t until the class is relaxing in the courtyard watching Bakugo dig his knuckles into Kirishima’s scalp while Kirishima tries to flip Bakugo onto his head that Tokoyami murmurs to himself, “Our class’s first romance,” and the rest of them realize that, oh…wow. Yeah.
“This is so fucking weird,” Kaminari says, and the rest of them nod.
The Love Between Bakugo Katsuki and Kirishima Eijiro stops being a Topic of Interest after about a week.
Mainly because that’s the limit of the student body’s attention span, but also because Kirishima and Bakugo don’t really act like a couple. The only indication that they’re something other than friends is when Shoji complains that he can’t sleep whenever Bakugo and Kirishima hang out in Kirishima’s room, which is directly next to Shoji’s.
“Are we sure they’re even dating?” Jiro wonders aloud.
“I bet they’re just horny,” Hagakure says. “Friends with benefits.”
After a moment of thought, Uraraka says, “Ow,” and touches her own teeth with a flinch.
A small cluster of 1-A are in the common area, copying Yaoyozoru’s notes from Ectoplasm’s class. Naturally, the potential sex that their classmates are having is the more captivating subject, and the discussion continues as they copy down equations.
“W-what kind of benefits?” Koda asks, peeking over the top of his notebook. “Like extra sparring?”
Iida, teacup in hand and peeled tangerine in the other, feigns selective hearing and leaves the room at a steadfast march.
“Something like that,” Hagakure tells Koda kindly.
Nine days after The Bakugo and Kirishima “Romance”(?) becomes public knowledge, the second- and third-years start to openly roll their eyes at the first-years' concept of romance, and the school as a whole moves on.
Bakugo visibly doesn’t care, to no one’s surprise, and Kirishima doesn’t seem to mind either.
“Who wants to bet on how long they’ll last?”
“Ashido! Betting is against—”
“Fine, Class Rep is out! How 'bout you, Todoroki?”
“Ashido! As Class Representative, I—! Are you even listening to—”
“Kyoka, make your bet!”
“Fine. I’ll put five thousand on six months.”
“All right, we’ve got six months! Five thousand on six months! Who’s next? Midoriya? Ochako?”
“ASHIDO, I REALLY MUST INSIST YOU CEASE—”
“That’s a bid of six thousand from Class Rep! How many months’re you saying, Iida?”
“What? I, I—no! My hand wasn’t up for that and you know it, Ashido!”
Outside on the grass, Bakugo mutters, “Shuthafuckup, fuckin’ loud fucks,” into Kirishima’s armpit. “…’m g’na burn’a whole fuckin’ dorm down.”
Kirishima yawns, “‘Kay,” and continues to pet his angry boyfriend’s hair as the color of the sky changes from solid blue to swaths of pink and amber.
On the surface, Bakugo and Kirishima seem to continue their comfortable friendship, and if they’re occasionally caught making out and yanking each other’s clothes off where they think they won’t be seen, only a few of their fellow students are around to witness it and confirm to others that they are, in fact, very much beyond platonic displays of affection.
It’s several weeks after that, as the chill of winter is settling in, Kaminari takes courage from his friends’ success with romance and asks out Jiro.
At the top of his lungs.
In front of their entire year.
“You’re a fuckin’ idiot,” Bakugo tells Kaminari, who is dealing with his problems by lying face-down in the grass.
“Where’s the sympathy, man?” Kaminari moans.
Despite Bakugo’s censure, he’s the only one who didn’t leave after Jiro walked away and took the whole crowd with her. As Kaminari tries to become one with the dirt below him, Bakugo sits against a thick tree trunk with his Heroic Budgeting! workbook open in his lap.
He also snorts at Kaminari’s entreaty for consolation. “You want fucking sympathy?” he asks. “Go find whatever dumpy, fifth-rate school your raisin-brained friend slobbered his way into after he was expelled.”
Kaminari whines, “That’s cold. You’re cold, man. This fucking suuucks.”
Bakugo doesn’t reward this behavior by responding. Instead, he focuses on working out the difference in cost between 1) repairing a skyscraper in downtown Osaka that’s been partially destroyed by fictional hero Fistpact or 2) tearing the whole thing down and building a new one.
Kaminari starts to complain in earnest, so Bakugo tunes him out and writes down a theoretical equation. He considers the time and resources required for both options and ultimately scrawls, Equal waste of money. Build a park instead.
“How’d you ask out Kirishima?”
Bakugo lifts his narrowed eyes from his workbook. “Huh?”
Kaminari’s turned his head, his cheek resting on a bed of grass blades he’s yanked out of the soil. “You and Kirishima are like, solid, man. How’d you get him to date you?”
“None of your fucking business, doorknob shock. What fuckin’ makes you think I asked him, anyway?”
Kaminari raises his eyebrows. “Then it was Kirishima? Damn. Bold move.”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“Dude, all love, seriously, but I’d never ask you out.”
“Fuckin’ good! You just proved you’re shit at it, anyway! You don’t get someone to date you by putting them on the spot in front of a hundred people! That’s just common fucking sense!”
Kaminari mutters, “Harsh,” and doesn’t notice Ashido, Yaoyozoru, and Uraraka marching across the grass behind him with righteous fire in their eyes.
Bakugo decides not to say anything. The moron deserves it, and he enjoys watching Uraraka terrify people.
Should be funny.
“It’s hardly a loss,” Aoyama sighs to Tokoyami later that same day as he props his chin in his hand. “What an uncouth pair they would have made.”
In the hours since Kaminari made his failed romantic overture, most of the school has heard about it and a line has been drawn between those who sympathize with Kaminari’s show of bravado and those—like Bakugo—who think he’s an idiot.
Tokoyami and Aoyama are ostensibly studying in the dining hall, but it’s been quite a while since Aoyama did more than use his open literature textbook as an elbow rest.
Beside him, Tokoyami highlights a sentence in his notebook about the first documented case of mutation and points out, “It’s not as though there’s much romantic dignity to be had in our class anyway.”
“Oui,” Aoyama sighs. “Tu marques un point là, c’est tout simplement tragique. Vraiment décevant.”
Two meters away in the common area, Bakugo shoves his elbow up onto the back of the sofa he and Kirishima are sitting on and scowls at the pair of them. “We can fucking hear you, sequins.”
“Quoi!” Aoyama exclaims, smirking sideways back at him. “Tu parle français, Bakugo?”
“I know enough fucking English to know what ‘tragique’ means, you damn nightmare glow stick.” He chucks a wad of paper at Tokoyami for good measure. “And what the fucking fuck do you mean no fucking dignity!?”
The paper ball smacks the side of Tokoyami’s beak, and Tokoyami peers back at Bakugo's seething face with the air of someone who has seen nightmares crafted by the reaper of souls whose presence calls up a shrieking fear unlike any felt in the light of day.
“Babe,” Kirishima says, stretching and yawning. “I’m callin’ it. I’m so tired of dates and hero names my brain’s gonna leak out my nose.” He drops his head on Bakugo’s shoulder—a true accomplishment considering the contortion Bakugo’s put himself in to both sit correctly and face the dining area behind them—and says, “I don’t care if we’re dignified, do you?”
Bakugo, still locked in his stare-down with Tokoyami, takes a good seven seconds to respond, “No. Fucking outsiders are always gonna judge and talk shit.”
Kirishima says, “Cool. Wanna come to bed with me?” and grins.
Aoyama wrinkles his nose and mutters, “Distasteful,” around his straw.
Bakugo switches his attention to him—since Aoyama actually reacts—and says, “Fuck yeah,” with a smirk.
When Bakugo and Kirishima collect their books from the table and start to leave the room, Kirishima at least calls out, “Night, guys,” before they’re out of sight, and Tokoyami waves back.
“You do have to respect Kirishima’s ability to get through to him,” Tokoyami says after a few long moments of silence.
“Ugh,” Aoyama responds.
Shortly thereafter, they go back to studying their separate subjects in companionable quiet until Jiro walks into the room carrying an empty glass. She plucks out an earbud and calls, “Hey.”
Aoyama hums absently and Tokoyami grunts.
She fills her glass with barley tea from a pitcher in the fridge and sits across the table from them. She’s in sweatpants and a giant hoodie, her hair still wet from the shower.
“Weirdest thing just happened to me,” she says. “Bakugo gave me advice. He hasn’t talked to me directly in like, two weeks, so it was sort of jarring.”
Aoyama glances up from his notebook, one shaped eyebrow lifted higher than the other. “Oh?”
She says, “Mm. We passed each other on the stairs. Kirishima told me he thinks Kaminari was copying some scene in an old movie they all watched recently. Then Bakugo was like—” She pitches her voice lower and raspier and whisper-yells, “‘Look, rope ears, I know you probably turned down Kaminari because he’s a fuckwit, and I completely fuckin’ get that. He’s a dumb chucklestick and he’s not gonna get any better with age, so—’”
“This is advice?” Aoyama wonders. He smiles with incisive incredulity and braces a fingertip on his cheek.
She snorts in agreement. “Not that part,” she says, dropping the imitation. “He basically said there’s a difference between being embarrassed by something a person does and being embarrassed by the whole person.” She connects two beads of condensation on her glass with her fingernail and watches the combined droplet speed toward the table. “Sounded like he was saying I should give Kaminari a shot.”
“That’s not what I’m hearing,” Tokoyami says as he removes the flashcards he doesn’t need from the metal ring they’re bound on. “Kaminari isn’t a bad person, but if what Kirishima said is true, then he chose a bad example to emulate, and that indicates poor judgment.”
“Also,” Aoyama says sweetly, “he’s an idiot.”
Jiro nods, but she’s still looking at the glass with something like fondness to her smirk. “Yeah,” she says. “But I guess I already knew that about him.”
Tokoyami makes a neutral noise while Aoyama gives her a face full of judgment, skepticism, and concern.
Jiro and Kaminari start dating the next day.
And break up the following month.
“That’s what you get for following Bakugo’s advice,” Ashido says.
Jiro sighs into her palm. Dating one of her classmates didn’t turn out either of the ways she was expecting it to: it didn’t end in misery or bliss. Just…an awkward puff of smoke.
Kaminari took it well, considering she broke things off before breakfast on her way to class while he was still half asleep.
“Ask me for advice next time!” Ashido says. “I’m not dating anyone, sure, but I’m also not Bakugo.”
“Okay, okay,” Jiro says. She winces as Ashido randomly plucks at the strings of Jiro’s least expensive bass guitar. “He wasn’t wrong, though.”
“Still doesn’t mean you should listen to him!”
“That doesn’t make sense….”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the dormitory building:
“Kacchan, you suck.”
“What the fuck?! Fuck off, firefly! You got four weeks with her because of me!”
“I know! But now she knows she doesn’t want to date me! At least when she turned me down the first time there was, I dunno, mystery? Like maybe someday she’d be like, ‘That Kaminari’s not so bad! Maybe I should give him a shot!’”
“That’s exactly what did happen, fuckface! Because of me!”
“Yeah, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon! I didn’t have time to, like, prepare!”
“What the absolute fucking—!”
By January, to the disbelief of all eleven classes, the only Official Couple among the first years is still Bakugo and Kirishima.
Bakugo smirks when he hears the incredulous whispers. “I fuckin’ said I was the best at everything, didn’t I?” he shouts.
Kirishima, pink-faced, gives him a raised eyebrow. “Uh—”
“Wh—I didn’t mean it like that!”
Sero wonders, “Are you sure you should be calling me sticky?” and runs faster than he has ever run before.
Competitive spirit is a funny thing, though, and heroes-in-training are especially susceptible to a challenge.
It’s not altogether surprising, then, that the new year sees an increase of romantically-linked pairs among the first-years of UA.
On January 5th, Yaoyozoru quietly announces to her closest friends that she’s dating Kendo from 1-B.
On January 11th, Ojiro is seen bowing to Kagamiya from 1-K and presenting her with a letter.
Two weeks later, he’s exchanging contact information with Matsuoka from 1-E.
And on Valentine’s Day, he gives homemade chocolate to Kaibara from 3-B.
When asked why he hasn’t approached anyone from 1-A, Ojiro says, “I think it’s a bad idea to date classmates,” and ducks nonchalantly to avoid the pen Bakugo’s chucked at his head.
Iida is approached just after Valentine’s Day by Nekoda from 1-F who blurts in one trembling word, “Pleaseconsiderdatingme,” then drops the fancy envelope they’re carrying on the ground, freezes in panic, then concludes with a guttural scream of mortification.
Iida agrees, but the two of them only go on one date to the top of Musutafu Tower, and Iida spends most of it so tense he shouts everything that he wants to say.
1-A collectively agree to pretend it never happened to spare Iida’s feelings.
Except Ashido, who perches on Iida’s desk and says, “Give Nekoda my info if you’re not interested. I like their ears.”
Bakugo rubs his temples and mutters, “This fuckin’ class.”
To the surprise of some, Aoyama and Tokoyami spend most of March being a Tentative Thing without a label. Rumors fly that they spend their break going on “outings” to test the waters, and by the time their second year has begun in April, the two of them have moved on to what Hagakure decides to call Hesitantly Dating.
“What’s hesitant about dating?” Bakugo demands as the second years troop from their respective dormitories to their first day of class.
“Nothing hesitant about anything with you, ‘Splosion Boy,” Kaminari yawns.
“You’re either dating or you’re not,” Bakugo snaps.
“I dunno what to tell you, man,” Kaminari says. “Some people like to think about stuff before they do it.”
Kirishima decides to wrap his arm around Bakugo’s waist then, effectively distracting him from blasting Kaminari’s soul out of his body.
Several meters away, Tetsutetsu wonders, “How are they still a thing?”
Shoji, whose new neighbors in the 2-A dorm are both single, says, “You don’t want to know,” with true darkness in his eyes.
Shinso joins the hero track at the start of their second year and promptly complicates the dating tide.
Near the end of lunch one day in late April, Shiozaki from 2-A stops by 2-B’s classroom and politely asks Shinso to consider going on a shopping date with her. He says, “Um, well. I have someone else I’m interested in, sorry.”
Oblivious to the open-mouthed shock on the faces of the students behind her, Shiozaki inclines her head and says, “I understand. Thank you for being honest. May you find happiness.”
“Thanks. You too.”
They walk away in opposite directions, looking equally nonplussed.
Midoriya slowly pulls his notebook from his bag with an uncertain frown, but when Kendo says, “I don’t think that’s relevant, Midoriya,” he nods and slowly puts it away.
“Is that what you have to tell people who ask you out now, Kirishima?” Ashido calls across the classroom.
The smattering of laughter that follows is only as loud as it is because Bakugo is a whole classroom away in 2-A.
Kirishima smiles with a hint of a wince.
“MAYBE YOU ALL MIND YOUR LONELY-ASS FUCKIN’ BUSINESS,” Bakugo advises them from Kirishima’s pocket.
“Dude,” Tetsutetsu says with incredulous disdain, “do you just have each other on the phone all the time?”
“AND WHAT IF WE DO, YOU CORRODED EXHAUST PIPE?”
“Dude,” Tetstutetsu repeats.
Kirishima grins and slides his hand into his pocket. The unmistakable auditory shift to speakerphone encourages Tetsutetsu to preemptively cover his ears.
“You two are sort of codependent,” Shinso says, “if you can’t handle being separated by one wall for a few hours every day.”
“SHOVE YOUR SIXTH-RATE PSYCHIATRY YOU DON’T KNOW US AND YOU DON’T SEE EITHER OF US TRYING TO ANALYZE ANY OF YOUR FUCKING ISSUES.”
Kirishima, visibly unaffected despite every other person in the room trying to cover their ears in some way, says, “We only do this during breaks.”
“Why?” Kendo asks, lowering one hand.
Kirishima smiles a little, his face red. “Uh, well—”
“HOW MANY WAYS DO I HAVE TO SAY NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.”
“It’s just nice to be connected,” Kirishima says.
Bakugo’s silent for a long moment, then the call disconnects.
“Aw, c’mon,” Kirishima says, giving his phone a morose pout.
Ashido clasps her hands next to her cheek with suspiciously misty eyes. “That’s actually super cute,” she says. “I’m converted. Long live the sappy couple!”
Kendo golf claps politely.
“Wait!” Hagakure yells. Her bracelet jets out in Shinso’s direction, suggesting that she’s pointing at him. “Who is it that you’re interested in!?”
Shinso stares in her direction, blank, and then seems to realize what he said in front of his present classmates. “Um….”
Midoriya takes his notebook back out.
On the last day of April, several people watch with mild surprise as Aoyama and Tokoyami leave All Might’s class holding hands and walking close together. Granted, it’s mainly for Tokoyami’s benefit since Ojiro hit him on the side of the head pretty hard with his tail and Tokoyami’s been having some difficulty orienting himself, but they still make a pretty cute picture.
“A couple who actually act like a couple,” Ashido sighs.
“It’s a nice change,” Hagakure agrees.
“Fuck all the way off,” Bakugo suggests.
That evening, Ashido drops an open notebook on one of the common room tables and says, “Okay, so! I want to date someone and we’re running out of single people, people!”
Jiro pulls her magazine out from under the notebook with a dimple of annoyance on her cheek. “That’s not even close to true,” she says.
“Oh yeah?” Ashido says, propping a hand on her cocked hip. “Momo’s dating Itsuka, Kirishima’s dating Bakugo—”
“Still?” Jiro blurts.
“Aoyama—I know, right?—is dating Tokoyami, but for real now, Ojiro’s dating everyone but he’s with that girl from 1-C right now, Shinso’s into someone and won’t say who, and like half of 2-C are dating half of 2-E which is just weird, and—”
She keeps going, but her classmates have already figured out that everyone she’s listing has already been written in her notebook, so they just skim that instead.
“Ochako’s not dating anyone,” Jiro points out. “And I’m single. So is Iida. And, like, most of the second year students for that matter.”
Ashido absorbs this for a few seconds, then gives Jiro a feral grin. “Oh? So you’re volunteering to take me out on a date, Kyoka?” she purrs.
Jiro gives her a flat stare. “I’m not dating again until I graduate,” she says.
The six of them gathered around the notebook all look as one across the room where Kaminari’s sketching some adjustments to his costume.
When he feels the collective weight of their judgement, he blinks up at them. “Whoa,” he says. “What?”
“Your relationship with Kyoka was brought up,” Asui says.
Jiro groans, “Tsu, don’t,” and covers her face.
Kaminari grins. “Ready to give me a second shock, babe?”
“Your dumb puns are half of why we broke up.”
Kaminari snorts, then a second later real surprise transforms his face. “Wait, really?”
Jiro says, “No,” to him and, “I’m banning this subject from future discussions,” to the rest of them.
“Noted!” Hagakure chirps.
“I still don’t have anyone to date!” Ashido complains.
Everyone offers a few words of encouragement, except Asui, because Asui is contemplating Uraraka’s name on the single list. Five seconds later, she’s heading for the stairs.
When Bakugo finds out about the betting pool about how long his relationship with Kirishima is going to last, he tapes a new bet to the dormitory refrigerator.
[I BET YOU FUCKERS WE NEVER BREAK THE FUCK UP!!!!!]
“I guess it’s sort of romantic,” Uraraka says, “for Bakugo.”
“Poor Kirishima,” Jiro says.
“He’s fine,” Tokoyami says, glowering up from the protective cradle of his arms. Dark Shadow wilts over his shoulder with an ornery noise. Bakugo’s room is next to Tokoyami’s and it’s been A While since he was last able to sleep through the night.
Kendo studies the angry character strokes on the paper and says, “Bakugo does realize he’s never going to be able to collect on this new bet, right?”
Midoriya glances out the dormitory window at the lawn where Kirishima’s tackled Bakugo to the ground and is hollering with premature victory. “I don’t think he cares about that part,” Midoriya says.
“I’m revising my bet to the end of term,” Ashido says. “I have them pegged as an on-again-off-again kind of couple once the shine’s worn off.”
“End of third year,” Kaminari says loyally.
“Awww,” Hagakure coos.
At lunch the following day, Ashido slams her foot down on her desk and shouts, “Class Rep!”
Iida looks up stoically from his soba three desks over, several long strands hanging in a cascade from his mouth.
“Go on a date with me!” Ashido demands with a grin.
He processes that, inhales the noodles, and chokes.
By all reports of the date afterward, however, it went…well.
“Wait!” Hagakure cries, her bracelets clanging as her arms wave. “You’re dating Iida now?”
Ashido nods and smooths her skirt out before crossing her legs primly at the ankles. She and an audience have gathered under a tree near their dorm for some friendly interrogation.
“You may ask your questions,” she says with a regal smile.
Uraraka holds her hand up.
“Did he do what I told him and take you to Roppongi Hills?”
Uraraka beams like a proud parent. “Good. I yield my time to the next questioner.”
“Noted. Yes, Asui?”
“What’s your evaluation of Iida’s romantic potential?”
“Very positive! He was on time, he bought me a ticket to the movie, then I bought us snacks, and he didn’t eat all the buttered popcorns off the top before the movie started. Oh, and I kissed him on the cheek when we got back to the dorms and he blushed for, like, ten minutes. It was super cute. Yes, Momo, you have a question?”
“More of a comment, actually. I’m very happy for you, Mina.”
“Aww, thank you, Momo.”
“I actually do have a question, now that I think of it. Would you and Iida like to join Itsuka and I for our next library date?”
“Uh. Thanks, Momo. But, um. Pass.”
“You’re always welcome!”
By summer, the number of couples at UA has swelled beyond counting, and Bakugo wonders loudly from the grass of the baseball diamond where he’s using Kirishima’s thigh as a pillow if people are just pairing up at random now.
“Like those fuckin’ two,” he says, pointing at a boy and girl sitting alone in the stands. “They just met, like, six seconds ago.”
“That’s not true!” the boy shouts. “We met this morning!”
“And we’re totally dating!” the girl adds. “Our quirks are better than yours, too!”
Bakugo stares up at Kirishima and says, “The fuck is wrong with our school?”
Kirishima cracks his knuckles absently. “I dunno, babe,” he says. “I think we’re still winning, though.”
Bakugo says, “Fuck yeah,” and accepts an awkward high five from his boyfriend by bending his arm and holding his palm skyward by his shoulder. Kirishima’s lap is too comfortable to move from, not even for a proper high five.
Besides, an awkward high five from Kirishima is like ten proper high fives from anyone else.
The day before summer break, Jiro knocks on Ashido’s open door and says, “I withdraw my bet. I don’t think they’re breaking up.”
Ashido moves her new (for style only) glasses from her nose into her hair and yawns. At the desk beside her, Iida is starting to drool on his notebook, so she pokes his face until he stirs.
“You’re probably right,” Ashido says. “And they’re gonna be married before anyone else, too.”
Jiro grins. “I’ll bet against that.“
“No bets,” Iida mumbles, rubbing his eyes with both palms. “Stop.”
Ashido’s eyebrows are already rising. “What do you know, Kyoka? Tell Mina this instant.”
“No,” Iida groans.
“Denki’s leaving on a date with Shinso right now.”
A UA dormitory window can comfortably fit about five students if some of them are crouching. This window is currently playing host to twelve, and it’s not working out great for most of them.
“Let me see!”
“You gotta wait your turn!”
“Where are they going, does anyone know?”
“I do not gotta! You’ve been there too long anyway, Kirishima!”
“Are they already holding hands?!”
“He’s my best friend! I have reasons!”
“No, they’re just walking really close.”
“Who asked who out?””
“I think Shinso asked.”
“No, it was Kaminari!”
“How do you know?”
“Just seems like something he’d do.”
“Guys! Wheeeerrrrre are they going?”
“I think Kaminari said ice skating.”
“They have indoor ice skating!”
“The…city. I don’t know. Somewhere there’s probably indoor ice skating.”
“THEY’RE LOOKING THIS WAY.”
Mass retreat from a UA window can be done seamlessly with practice and teamwork. What occurs when Shinso and Kaminari look over their shoulders at their dorm’s first floor kitchen window is not a good example of that.
Afterward, couples continue to date and break up and dance around each other long past graduation, but if anyone thought they had escaped The Bet of Bakugo and Kirishima, they are sorely disappointed when they receive wedding invitations with a scrawled note at the bottom that reads,
’Til death is for losers. You’re all paying us after we’re reincarnated.