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can i get a kiss (and can you make it last forever)

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ashido didn't, in fact, have a field day.

bakugou made sure of it. as far as anyone knew, he and kaminari had just gone out for coffee and mcdonald's. a normal outing between two normal friends. nothing out of the ordinary had happened during that outing and that was that. no one thought otherwise and everyone– even kirishima, who knew the full story– said nothing. it was like it hadn't happened at all.

it was clear that kaminari wasn't exactly pleased with this. bakugou could see it in his eyes when they looked at each other. what are we? kaminari would ask with those pretty gold eyes. did that date even happen? bakugou would always look away before the questions started getting to him, before he started asking the same questions himself.

besides all of that, everything was fine. everything was normal. they all went to school, did hero training, got assigned ridiculous homework, slept and ate and talked among themselves. bakugou liked it this way, the way it'd always been, but sometimes when he looked at kaminari, when he saw kaminari smile, when kaminari would make a stupid face at sero, bakugou wondered whether he'd like it another way.

that afternoon when they'd gotten back from their date, they'd taken the stairs instead of the elevator. hagakure and asui were watching a home design show in the common area when they'd walked into the dorms, and kaminari had let go of bakugou's hand. it felt like a loss and bakugou was starting to miss the feeling of kaminari's hand in his already, but when they turned the corner, kaminari had settled his hand back in bakugou's and pulled him to the stairwell, a crooked little grin on his face.

bakugou had thought that kaminari was going to kiss him in the stairwell. as they'd walked together up the steps to the third floor, bakugou had come up with a thousand different scenarios in which kaminari had stopped walking and pulled him close and kissed him until he forgot his own name. he wanted kaminari to kiss him. he– he wanted to kiss kaminari, wanted to thread his fingers into kaminari's hair, wanted to watch kaminari's cheeks go pink, wanted to push kaminari against the wall and kiss him until their knees went weak and their lungs gave out.

no one kissed anyone in the stairwell. they'd emerged out on the third floor completely unkissed and they'd walked together to kaminari's room. they'd paused at the door. kaminari had let go of his hand to unlock the door while bakugou looked around the hall to make sure no one was around. when kaminari opened his door, he stood there in the frame for a moment, kind of smiling as he did the same visual sweep of the hallway that bakugou had done over bakugou's shoulder before taking both of bakugou's hands in his. it made bakugou's heart stutter in his chest.

“why'd we take the stairs?” bakugou had asked then, kaminari looking up at him. it was quiet as kaminari shrugged, rubbing his thumbs against bakugou's.

“i don't know,” he said shyly, a tiny smile on his lips. “just... wanted to spend a little more time with you, i guess.” god, bakugou wanted to kiss him so bad. “besides, it's always romantic when you get walked to your door.”

bakugou rolled his eyes with a scoff, but squeezed kaminari's hands anyway. they stood there for a moment, holding hands and looking at each other, then kaminari opened his mouth to say something, right as the door to bakugou's left swung open. bakugou couldn't drop kaminari's hands fast enough, both of them taking a reflexive step back from each other as iida stepped out of his dorm room to walk past them and down the hall.

“hello bakugou, kaminari,” iida greeted politely as he walked by. bakugou said nothing, but kaminari called “hey, iida!” after him. they waited in silence until they both heard the sound of iida getting into the elevator at the end of the hall. when bakugou looked back at kaminari, his friend's cheeks were starting to grow pink. with annoyance, bakugou felt himself flushing to match.

“thanks for today,” kaminari said softly, his hands on the door like he was about to close it. bakugou shoved his hands in his pants pockets, pressed his lips together, and nodded tersely.

“yeah,” was all he could think to say. they stood there for another second and it was almost like kaminari wanted him to say something else, to do something else, but when he didn't, kaminari just smiled a little.

“i'll see you later?”

“yeah,” bakugou repeated. it was kaminari's turn to nod, and then the door was closing. it closed with a faint click and bakugou just stood there at the door like a fool, feeling like one too. he resisted the overwhelming urge to kick the door and simply turned on his heel to walk down to the elevator. he was so fucking stupid; he should've done something, said something– should've kissed him. he was certain that he was never going to stop thinking about what kaminari would've said if iida hadn't left his room.

that was three weeks ago. it had been three weeks since the date, three weeks since he and kaminari had held hands, three weeks of constant wondering about what kissing kaminari would feel like, three weeks of reliving that stupid fucking date over and over and over.

but other than that, everything was normal. just like it had always been.

♥ ♥ ♥

it was monday. classes were just starting to finish up for the day, and the students were changing out of their hero costumes and back into their uniforms in the locker rooms. bakugou could hear kaminari chatting up an absolute storm with kirishima and deku on the other side of the room, and he tried to focus on everything but that, sloppily buttoning up his blazer and carding a hand through his hair.

“i think i'm gonna do it.” kaminari's voice sliced right through bakugou's thoughts despite his best efforts. “it can't be that hard, can it?”

“yeah, but... what if it hurts?” deku's voice went. “seems dangerous, especially if you do it yourself.” bakugou sat down hard on the bench in front of the lockers, pulling on his shoes. some lockers behind him slammed closed, footsteps nearing.

“then i'll get bakugou to help me!” kaminari declared, suddenly right behind bakugou. his friend patted him on the head and bakugou turned to growl at him over his shoulder.

“i'm not helping you with shit,” he said, even though he had no idea what kaminari was talking about. kirishima and kaminari laughed. deku looked mildly uncomfortable, but to be fair, it always seemed like he was mildly uncomfortable.

kaminari's eyes squinted into little half moons when he grinned at him, and bakugou had to bite the inside of his cheek. "you know you will," was all he said, and even though bakugou still had no idea what on earth kaminari was talking about, he knew that he'd help him with anything, anytime, just so long as he asked. it was so damn frustrating to think about that fact, so he tried not to, turning his face away from kaminari to fix his eyes on the scuffing on his shoes. he could feel all three pairs of eyes looking at the back of his head.

after a couple moments, kirishima, kaminari, and deku left the locker room, but not without kirishima reaching over and ruffling his hair as he passed. bakugou'd shot him a nasty little snarl and kirishima had simply smiled with amusement, his eyebrows quirking up as he slipped out the locker room behind the others.

there were only several people left in the locker room– half-and-half, soy sauce, and that kid with the tail. bakugou was shoving himself up from the bench he was sitting on when soy sauce materialized right in front of him, stupid smile on his face. bakugou groaned out loud, shoving his hands in the pockets of his pants.

"hey, bakugou!" sero said cheerily. "you did awesome in training today." bakugou rolled his eyes and shouldered past his friend– no, he wasn't a friend. he was something like a minion at this point– to get to the door.

"ain't gotta tell me shit that i already know," he deadpanned, sero close on his heels. sero laughed that effortless laugh of his. his blazer was draped over his forearm to reveal his long, lithe arms and his wacky fucking elbows.

"still, it has to be said," sero continued. the harsh artificial fluorescent light of the locker room dimmed into the natural, lazy mid-afternoon beams streaming through the tall windows lining the outside wall of the hallway leading to the exit of the training grounds. bakugou could see kaminari, kirishima, and deku from where he was. "the way you practically destroyed satou was legendary."

bakugou snorted. "everything i do is legendary." sero laughed again, then shook his head, his hair a wave of black.

"yeah, right, right, forgot about that. number one hero in the making and all that, huh?" bakugou grinned wickedly up at him. it was so annoying to look up at this fucker. why the hell was he so damn tall?

"that's fuckin' right. don't you forget it."

they walked down the hall in a complacent silence, the doors at the end of the hallway swinging open and slamming shut ahead of them. by the time he and sero got outside, kirishima and kaminari were waiting there for them with ashido, who also had a thing for materializing out of nowhere. deku was thankfully nowhere to be seen. the three of them were chatting among themselves until bakugou and sero walked out of the building, the sunlight nearly blinding.

"aye! best friends!" kaminari crowed, slinging his arm up and around sero's shoulders as the five of them started to walk down the path towards the main school building. "wicked job during training today!" ashido was bouncing as she walked, the dust from the path kicking up around her heels when she skipped in front of them and began walking backwards so she would still be facing all of them when she spoke.

"i know right!!" she gushed, her eyes bright with that flame that always seemed to spark to life after she fought. "we're all getting so strong and cool!" she flexed for emphasis, her muscles apparent even under her school jacket. "like, seriously– did you guys see how kirishima basically held up that entire wall from falling on tsuyu? i swear, everyone swooned."

bakugou watched splotches of color bloom on kirishima's cheeks. "you're totally exaggerating. it was like one rock." the others laughed and kaminari detached himself from sero to lean over and jab kirishima in the ribs with an elbow.

"dude, even i was swooning. you're the ultimate dreamboat of our year. forget about todoroki." kirishima's blush deepened a little more and he grinned shyly, his sharp teeth glinting in the sun.

“bro...”

“bro nothing! you know it's true.” kaminari looked at the rest of them in turn, his eyes landing on bakugou last. bakugou might've been imagining things, but it felt like they held eye contact a little longer than everyone else. “guys, tell me i'm right.”

“you're right,” sero and ashido chorused. bakugou snorted and kicked a pebble. the others took that as stubborn agreement, and bakugou watched kaminari gesture wildly at him and then kirishima.

“see! even bakugou thinks so.” kirishima made a flustered noise, covering his reddened face with his palms.

ashido walked over and drew him down with a hard tug on his shirt to give him a noogie. “stop denying it. you know we're right.”

“we're right,” kaminari and sero said in unison. they laughed, beginning to shift the topic of conversation to something else that bakugou wasn't paying attention to. they'd walked for five of the seven minutes it took to get from the training grounds to the classrooms, passing rows and rows of manicured shrubbery and looming trees, the main building coming closer in the distance ahead of them, when bakugou heard kaminari say his name. the sound of kaminari's voice brought him back to the conversation, and he turned his head to look at him, only to realize that his name had only been mentioned in passing.

“–kugou to help me with it when we get back to the dorms later,” kaminari was saying to the other three, his golden hair floating around his face in the soft breeze. some leaves from the trees on either side of them drifted into their path. bakugou saw sero squint his eyes at kaminari.

“you sure you want to get him to help you?” he said, making kaminari sort of stick his bottom lip out as he thought about this before shrugging and tucking some hair behind his ear. he opened his mouth to say something, but bakugou decided to speak up instead.

“what the fuck are you shitheads talking about? i'm right here, you know,” he snapped. they all turned to look at him like they only just realized he was there, ashido blinking owlishly at him from her spot next to kirishima.

“my ears,” kaminari supplied unhelpfully. bakugou gave him a level stare. kaminari met him with a look that made bakugou's insides do weird things. they must've been looking at each other for a while, because kirishima loudly cleared his throat, which made kaminari snap his gaze away. when bakugou saw the way kaminari's cheeks went the softest pink, he wanted... he didn't even know what he wanted.

“he's going to pierce his ears,” kirishima elaborated. bakugou tilted his head up, swept his gaze over the shape of kaminari's ear. the tips were rosy and kaminari kept pushing hair behind them. it was... it was cute. bakugou knew what he wanted to do then: he wanted to take kaminari's head in his hands and brush his hair away from his face and watch his face go cherry blossom pink and press his lips right on the bridge of his nose and feel kaminari sigh and–

“and he thinks that's fuckin' smart, huh?” bakugou retorted. “you know you can just go to the mall and shit, right?” kaminari wrinkled his nose at him and bakugou really wanted to kiss that fucking nose.

“it's about the experience, bakugou. besides, i don't have any money to get my ears pierced at the mall. do you even know how expensive that is?”

bakugou rolled his eyes. “you'd have more money if you didn't waste every dollar you get on stupid shit.” sero tried to cover up his snort with a weak cough and kaminari shot him a withering glare.

“whatever, blasty,” he went on. “if you're so concerned, why don't you take me to the mall yourself to get my ears pierced?” behind the jibe was something real; bakugou could see it in kaminari's eyes. it was painful. bakugou had to look away before the questions started getting to him– would you really do it? would you take me on another date? would you hold my hand like you did before?

“as if,” bakugou grumbled in response, scowling purposefully at the ground. “in your fuckin' dreams, pikachu.” kaminari huffed and bakugou didn't know whether to feel angry or to feel like he was at a loss.

the atmosphere was a little tense in the silence following, and bakugou could feel kirishima looking at him. in that moment, he really wished that he hadn’t told kirishima jackshit about how he felt about kaminari, or the date they’d had several weeks prior. although he did feel a little guilty about not telling ashido or sero (for god knows what reason), he’d only made up his mind and told kirishima about it because he figured that his friend would figure him out soon enough. stupid shitty hair knew him too well.

“what kinda piercings are you gonna do, kaminari?” kirishima piped up then, thankfully salvaging the quickly deteriorating mood. all eyes except bakugou’s swiveled to look at kaminari expectantly. bakugou saw kaminari’s mouth quirk up in a small smile out of the corner of his eye.

“i’m gonna do two on both sides,” he said, tugging on the lobe of his left ear. his teeth raked across his bottom lip for a fraction of a second and bakugou nearly found himself transfixed. “i think it’ll look cool! hopefully it won’t take too long.”

ashido nodded with surety. her smile was blinding. “hell yeah! you’ll totally look cool! if bakugou doesn’t want to help you, then can i?” there was a beat after her words and bakugou looked up to make a face at her.

kaminari laughed softly. “yeah, if you want,” he replied, ashido pumping a fist into the air with unnecessary excitement.

the conversation between the others didn’t waver in the last couple minutes it took to get to the school. bakugou took the time to allow himself a rare moment of daydreaming (if he had to be honest, which he didn’t want to be, most of his daydreaming moments centered around kaminari). would kaminari actually want him to help with his stupid piercings? he scowled more intensely at the school quickly coming up on the horizon, his heart doing odd skips as he thought of kaminari and him in kaminari’s bathroom by themselves. just thinking about them touching, about them being alone together and touching had his brain swimming in his skull. they hadn’t been alone together for the past three weeks. they hadn’t touched each other while alone together for the past three weeks. he wasn’t sure if he was mentally prepared for such a situation. he was probably going to end up ghosting his fingers across kaminari’s cheek and see kaminari’s pale eyelashes flutter and look into kaminari’s eyes of gold and promptly have an emotional breakdown.

fuck. he had it so fucking bad.

the school building cast a massive shadow upon the ground as they came up on it, the air cooler than it was in the sunlight. bakugou’s friends were hollering amongst themselves, play-wrestling as they walked up the concrete steps to the doors. ashido had sero in a chokehold. kirishima and kaminari were laughing so hard that they almost fell down the stairs backwards. bakugou couldn’t help but smile. just a little. it was more of a smirk.

kirishima threw open the right door with a flourish, holding it open for the four of them as they tumbled into the school. the redhead clapped a hand on bakugou’s shoulder as he walked past, earning himself a dirty frown.

“fuck is it?” bakugou muttered, shrugging kirishima’s hand off of him. kirishima followed bakugou into the hallway, the door banging shut behind them. ashido, kaminari, and sero were goofing off a little ways ahead of them, enthusiastically talking about something or other. if they were any louder, class prez was gonna come out of nowhere and berate them with those weirdass hand gestures of his.

the look kirishima gave him was almost pitying. “bakugou...” he started. bakugou held up a dismissive hand, not wanting to hear what the guy was going to say next.

“don’t even start with me.” kirishima sighed. the sun cast radiant lines of sunlight through the windows, spilling onto the floor and the wall to the left of them. the light illuminated the side of kirishima’s face, his eyes glinting like rubies. his friend bumped his shoulder against his.

“bakugou,” he said again, bakugou rolling his eyes up to the high ceiling. “you should talk to him.”

“no.”

“he wants to talk to you. he told me.” bakugou’s gaze snapped back to kirishima’s face in a fraction of an instant. he squinted at him with scrutiny, trying to decide if he wanted to believe this bit of information. kirishima stared right back at him, his face an open book of plain and honest innocence. bakugou suspected that he wasn’t lying.

“he did not,” bakugou said anyway, his mouth turning down in a familiar frown. kirishima rolled his eyes.

“yes, he did,” he established, sounding a little exasperated. “told me a couple days ago.” a couple days ago! how long had kirishima been holding out on him?

bakugou swept his gaze back to their friends in front of them. they were rounding the corner of the hallway, getting close to the classroom. “well, i don’t want to talk to him.”

“i know you do.” god, bakugou fucking hated kirishima and his damn perceptiveness. he had to work on becoming harder to read. “you can’t keep lying to yourself like this, bakubro.”

“don’t fuckin’ call me that,” he grunted, shoving his hands deep in his pants pockets. “i’m not lying to myself. i don’t want to talk to him.”

kirishima sighed dramatically, sharp teeth shining in the light when he opened his mouth. “you guys practically make out with each other with your eyes. it’s, frankly, disgusting. i don’t know how ashido and sero haven’t noticed yet. you can’t tell me that you don’t want to talk to him. every time you look at him, you make this face. like... you’ve never seen anything more beautiful in the world.”

“shut the fuck up!” bakugou snapped loudly– louder than he meant to. he glared viciously at the ground in an attempt to keep kirishima from noticing the sudden flush of his cheeks. “stop saying shit you know isn’t true, shitty hair.”

kirishima barked out a laugh at that. “stop saying shit you know isn’t true, bakugou,” he parroted, socking bakugou in the arm lightly. “at least help kaminari with his piercings later. he’d appreciate the time with you. and i know you will too.” bakugou said nothing in response and, thankfully, kirishima didn’t continue, letting bakugou wallow in what he’d said as they went down the hall and into the classroom’s open door.

the classroom was bustling with idle chatter when they walked in. everyone was clustered around several different desks in tiny groups. bakugou noticed that ashido had seamlessly meshed into place beside uraraka and deku, hovering over invisible girl’s desk and enthusiastically talking about something that involved a lot of hand gestures. kaminari and sero were laughing about god knows what with jirou, who had a self-satisfied smirk on her face.

bakugou could hear kaminari’s laugh from the door. kaminari had such a nice laugh. he always laughed with his whole body, eyes little slivers in his face. with a laugh like that, bakugou thought that he’d be able to pick kaminari out of any crowd.

kirishima was pushing him into the classroom, his knuckles digging into the small of bakugou’s back. bakugou heard his friend mutter a low move under his breath and it occurred to him that he was just standing in the middle of the doorway.

“i know you think he’s pretty, but can you please just go inside,” kirishima said unnecessarily, voice almost right in his ear. it made bakugou snap out of his little trance, and he practically leaped away from kirishima, giving him a sour look. kirishima just looked amused, the corners of his stupid mouth turning up. bakugou turned away in a huff, stomping over to his desk. he could hear what jirou was talking about with sero and kaminari from this close. he slipped into his chair.

“i swear to god, if mina accosts me with glitter one more time...” was all bakugou heard jirou say. it made no sense out of context, but for some reason bakugou could relate to it. he saw kaminari break into one of those face-splitting smiles out of the corner of his eye and he struggled to keep his eyes on a chip in his desk.

“dude!” he exclaimed. “she does the same thing to me all the time. i would say it’s the worst, but i actually find it kind of cute.” sero let out a crass snort.

“kind of cute? just wait until she leaves your room with glitter over every single surface. that stuff’s impossible to get out from between the floorboards. my floor is permanently shiny now.”

kaminari laughed again and bakugou couldn’t stop himself from looking in kaminari’s direction this time. “she spilled glitter all over my bedsheets when she was obsessed with scrapbooking, if that counts. i would wake up with glitter all over my face and in my hair and on my clothes.”

“that was certainly a look,” jirou cut in, the smirk in her voice evident even though her back was turned to bakugou. “you always had glitter in your eyelashes. you looked ridiculous.” bakugou remembered that-- he’d walk into the bathroom to see kaminari trying to pick glitter off of his uniform. there’d be glitter on his cheeks, like a bunch of sparkly freckles, when he’d stumble downstairs to the kitchen on weekends. glitter would find its way onto kaminari’s bottom lip and the curve of his nails and the shell of his ears, making it nearly impossible for bakugou to pay attention to anything but kaminari and his glittery self.

he’d felt almost disappointed when kaminari had finally felt productive enough to wash his bedsheets and get all the glitter off. he still sort of missed sparkly kaminari. at least then he’d had an excuse to stare at kaminari’s mouth, citing “you’ve got glitter on your lip” whenever kaminari would notice him staring.

bakugou half-listened to jirou’s conversation with sero and kaminari for a couple moments before completely tuning out when jirou began to mention something about icy hot. he stared at his desk and zoned out, eyes defocusing. god, how he wished that kaminari was still plagued with glitter. he’d wanted to kiss all the glitter off of him, place his lips against the butterfly flutter of his eyelids, the slope of his nose, the curve of his mouth. he’d wanted to kiss the glitter off like it was sugar, but he’d obviously never gotten the chance.

the date had been the closest he’d ever gotten. kaminari had teased him when he’d dropped his gaze to bakugou’s mouth during their hug on the train. the whole world had stopped for just a second, and bakugou had been able to feel the warmth of kaminari’s breath. he had been so handsome from that close, his eyes like golden fires lined with pale, glitter-free eyelashes. bakugou had held his breath until kaminari had pulled away, until kaminari had brushed his middle and forefinger against his lips for a fraction of a second before brushing those same fingers against his own lips.

they’d basically kissed then. not really, but basically. an indirect kiss transferred by fingers and flustered glances. bakugou could feel himself flushing even now, and he couldn’t say that the heat was unpleasant. he reached up and touched his mouth mindlessly, thinking of kaminari and the way he’d looked at him and the mischief in his smile and the feeling of their hands clasped together, fingers in between fingers. would he ever hold kaminari’s hand again? he’d had so many chances in the three weeks since their date, but he was just too fucking scared of taking the leap. maybe kaminari was getting tired of waiting for him.

aizawa’s voice snapped him to attention, gaze refocusing and hand jerking into his lap. the loudness of the classroom had subsided to the occasional murmur and creak of chair, aizawa’s presence commanding the students’ full attention.

“decent job in training today,” aizawa droned, taking his place behind his desk and boredly shuffling through some papers. “some of you received top marks.” there was a silence as aizawa picked up a sheet and skimmed it with an impassive glance. “iida, kirishima, yaoyorozu. good work.” bakugou heard ashido make a low whooping noise from her seat, quietly chanting kirishima’s name. soft giggles rippled through the room. kirishima was red-faced, hiding a pleased smile behind his hands.

“the rest of you,” aizawa continued, the room quieting, “passed, and that’s all that matters, i guess.” he set down the paper, scanning the room briefly. “as for homework.” groans sounded several desks away from bakugou and others stifled laughter at the noise. aizawa was as unexpressive as ever. “midnight told me that there were some worksheets she didn’t pass out during her art history period and she expects them to be completed by noon tomorrow.” he slipped out from behind his desk with a modest stack of papers in hand and began to pass them out, weaving through the desks like an apparition. nobody said anything as this was done.

bakugou glanced down at the papers on his desk. there were several of them, crookedly stapled together at the corner. a lot of the questions were multiple choice centered around various painting styles and artistic eras, with a couple short answers asking about things like artist identification and brushstrokes. no wonder midnight had forgotten to pass them out. they were so boring that even she hadn’t remembered.

aizawa made his way back to his desk. “you guys have assigned cleaning on friday, and the first year class president meeting will be next monday at four.” he looked around the surface of his desk as if searching for something else to announce or hand out, but couldn’t seem to find anything, so he simply said, “class dismissed.”

the change in the room was immediate. everyone scrambled out of their desks and massed into little groups as they drifted out of the classroom. bakugou snatched the papers off his desk and crammed them into his bag, which he carelessly extracted from under his chair. kaminari, sero, and ashido were clustered around kirishima’s desk and bakugou stomped over to them without thinking.

“top marks!” ashido was gushing, slapping kirishima on the back as he gathered his things. “that’s our boy!” kirishima squirmed, but not unhappily, cheeks and ears a vibrant pink for at least the fifth time this afternoon.

“ashidoooo,” he whined while smiling a satisfied but embarrassed smile. “c’mon.”

“we should get ice cream to celebrate!” ashido exclaimed, eyes gleaming.

“i agree!” kaminari exclaimed right back.

“you guys celebrate everything with ice cream,” said sero, the only reasonable one. “we just had an ice cream celebration for bakugou’s new high score in donkey kong.”

“that was an important occasion,” bakugou snapped, having sidled into the circle his friends had formed. “i’m now officially un-fucking-beatable in donkey kong and all of you fuckers know it. an ice cream celebration was needed.”

ashido reached over and smacked bakugou’s chest with the back of her hand, swiftly yanking it back when bakugou tried to smack her hand right back. “see, even bakugou gets it! kirishima’s top marks cannot go uncelebrated. we must” — ashido struck a fancy pose, eyes closed and her forefinger pointed up at the ceiling— “commence the frozen good party at once.” kaminari, sero, and kirishima dissolved into snickers and bakugou rolled his eyes in an attempt to hide his amusement.

they filtered out of the classroom and made their way down the hallway, ashido energetically detailing some sort of juicy celebrity gossip that she’d heard via hagakure. the others were oddly enraptured by this, giving disbelieving gasps of “no” and “you’re not serious.” every once in a while, one of them would pipe up with a sly “you know what i heard?” and the conversation would grow all the more enthusiastic. bakugou would put in a word or two every now and then, ashido’s voice going shrill with excitement when bakugou made a comment about a rumor of a pro hero relationship scandal as they exited the school and clipped down the stairs to the gravel path.

the heat outside was already becoming a little less relentless as the afternoon ticked by into the evening. by the time they reached the dorms, ashido was so incredibly animated that she might as well have been dancing. the other three were chatting with her raucously, voices overlapping each other and laughter sneaking into every other sentence. bakugou had somehow tangled himself into the conversation as well— they were still discussing the relationship scandal— and his friends managed to yank several graceless laughs out of him, alongside more than enough dumb smiles.

they tumbled into the dorms, a blast of air conditioning washing over them as they collapsed inside. there was already a little group congregated by the television, uraraka, jirou, and deku staring rapt at whatever stupid drama that was playing. bakugou followed his friends to the kitchen, kaminari having to pull ashido along with them when she stopped to squint at the television drama.

“excuse me!” kaminari practically yelled as he wiggled his way in between icy hot and yaoyorozu, both of whom were standing in front of the refrigerator with glasses of juice. they both startled and took several steps back, then took several more as the rest of them swarmed the fridge. “sorry, lovely people, but we’re having a celebration.”

“what on earth for?” yaoyorozu asked as she watched the five of them begin to battle over which tub or ice cream should be eaten. she didn’t get a response. she and icy hot sidled over to the other side of the kitchen, keeping a careful eye on the disaster that was kirishima’s ice cream celebration.

“rocky road— get the damn—” ashido grunted right before getting elbowed in the ribs.

“all of you are dumbasses,” bakugou said simply, fingers just barely brushing the side of the oreo ice cream tub. kaminari batted his hand away, reaching over him to the caramel almond brittle.

“ew, kaminari, seriously?” sero said. “you’re the only one who eats that.” kaminari pulled a face. it was annoyingly endearing.

“it’s so good. you just don’t have taste buds.”

sero barked out a laugh, drawing back. “what does that even mean?” kaminari pulled another face, crossing his eyes.

“exactly what you think it means, my man. you have zero taste buds. absolutely none.”

ashido snickered from behind her spoon, having somehow extracted the rocky road and found a spoon. kirishima was hovering over her with a spoon of his own, occasionally snatching the ice cream from ashido’s hands. “sero? more like... zero... taste buds...” they all laughed. even bakugou. a little.

“that was awful,” sero snorted. “ashido, you can do better.”

ashido grinned wickedly. “you haven’t seen anything yet, zero taste buds hanta.”

ice cream was distributed— rocky road for kirishima and ashido, caramel almond brittle for kaminari, vanilla for sero, and oreo for bakugou— and the conversation died down as they all focused on eating, the only sounds being the scrape of metal spoon against bowl, since sero insisted that they all eat out of bowls rather than out of the container like “barbarians.”

bakugou was sitting next to kaminari and kaminari kept kicking him under the table, enough times that bakugou was starting to believe it was intentional. whenever bakugou would glance over at him, his eyes would be dutifully trained on his bowl of ice cream, like he hadn’t done anything at all.

bakugou spooned some more ice cream into his mouth. kaminari’s foot bumped into bakugou’s for the hundredth time. his gaze darted over to kaminari again, but he looked the same as the last hundred times he’d looked: bent over his ice cream with hair in his face and a little spot of something on the corner of his mouth. bakugou watched kaminari lick his bottom lip and he had to try so hard to keep from flushing. there was a beat.

kaminari kicked him again. impulsively, bakugou kicked him back, probably with more force than necessary. he watched kaminari’s eyebrows shoot up and then, slowly, surely, a smile crept onto his face, a smile that he dipped his head to hide. bakugou’s heart did something funny in his chest, the sound of his blood rushing through his body oddly loud in his ears. if he reached down under the table, he might be able to rest his hand on kaminari’s knee, just like how he’d done on the train three weeks ago. would the others notice? he was pretty sure that kirishima was looking at him.

he looked across the table. kirishima was not looking at him, but looking at sero as sero blabbered on about potential modifications to his hero costume. kaminari kicked him. bakugou kicked him back. it went on like this for a while until bakugou was almost confident that his leg was just naturally pulled to kaminari’s strange magnetic field.

ashido stretched her arms over her head after setting her spoon down in her bowl with a clatter. “aahhh...” she sighed, leaning back in her chair. “good celebration, kirishima. thanks for the food.” she said this with passion, making kirishima chuckle.

“yeah, yeah,” he replied, scraping the remnants of his ice cream from the sides of his bowl with his spoon. “i’ll make sure to get more top marks so we can eat ice cream more often.”

“that’s a copy, soldier!” ashido exclaimed, bouncing out of her chair and sweeping up her bowl with a dramatic flair.

sero pointed his spoon at her as she bounded around the table. “you know the ice cream is there whether kirishima gets top marks or not, right?”

“sure, but it’s not as fun if we just eat it.”

kaminari stood up too and leaned over to grab the empty bowls from the table. “we gotta feel like we earned it.”

“kirishima got top marks, not you,” sero pointed out, twisting in his chair to watch kaminari and ashido position themselves at the sink. with a rush of something unidentifiable, bakugou watched ashido gaze at kaminari critically before going up and swiping a bit of ice cream off kaminari’s face with the pad of her thumb. kaminari scowled at her and she just grinned, wiping her thumb on her shirt.

“who says i can’t share my victories with my bros?” kirishima supplied. he began pulling off his school jacket and loosened his tie.”ice cream celebrations are so manly, don’t you think?” sero snorted, propped his hands behind his head.

“yeah, i suppose so.”

there was a moment of kaminari and ashido screwing around at the sink, dishes clattering and knocking against each other. kirishima turned to bakugou, who had propped his feet up on the table.

“oy, bakugou,” he said. bakugou raised an eyebrow. “wanna come to my room to do homework?”

bakugou considered this, peering at kirishima. kaminari let out a weak little shriek when ashido splashed him with water. “i’m helping kaminari with his piercings.”

kirishima’s expression shifted entirely. “oh?”

bakugou glared at him. “the fucker asked me to. doesn’t look like i gotta fuckin’ choice.”

“okay, uh-huh. wanna do homework when you’re done with that?” bakugou shrugged.

“i don’t care, shitty hair. we might as well.”

kirishima flashed him a grin and a thumbs up. “awesome! just come over when you’re done.”

“can i come?” sero asked. “i was zoned out the whole time midnight was talking today.” kirishima laughed and pushed himself away from the table. he tossed his jacket over his shoulder.

“definitely. we can get started while we wait for bakugou and kaminari to get finished.” the way kirishima said the sentence made it sound like he was implying a great deal and bakugou felt his ears heat. for the millionth time, he wished he hadn’t told kirishima anything about how he felt about kaminari. “ashido! we’re going to my room to do homework!”

ashido gave him an energetic peace sign, her sleeves rolled up to her elbows. “i’ll be there in a sec! go on up without me.” kirishima gave her a stupid little salute and she returned it, her smile making her dimples show.

sero thumped bakugou on the back of the head as he walked past and bakugou reached for him to smack him, but he dodged swiftly, sticking his tongue out at him before ambling over to the elevators down the hall with kirishima. bakugou tried to glower at sero’s back but his mouth wouldn’t stop twitching up.

several moments later, ashido came bounding out of the kitchen.

“see ya later, bossman!” she chirped as she followed the path that sero and kirishima had gone. “don’t maim kaminari!” bakugou scoffed at her and she vanished into an elevator.

just as bakugou stood up to leave, kaminari materialized next to the table with a potato and a glass of ice. they sort of stood there and looked at each other for a second, bakugou probably looking like a fucking fool with a deer-in-headlights expression.

“so you’re going to help me after all?” kaminari finally said. bakugou’s brow furrowed.

“the fuck does it look like?” kaminari stared at him, then shook his head and smiled. he turned in the direction of the elevators.

“you’re so dumb. come on.”

bakugou shoved his hands in his pockets and followed kaminari to the elevator hall. kaminari pushed the up button with his elbow and they waited. it was silent. it occurred to bakugou that this was the first time they’d been alone in a very long time. the last time they’d been alone together had been the date, he realized with a start. he stole a glance at kaminari.

“you are so bad at pretending not to look at me,” kaminari said suddenly, turning his head to look at bakugou. bakugou bit the inside of his cheek, thrown wildly off guard. he had not been expecting that at all. he said nothing, trying to force himself into an impassive expression instead of the wide-eyed one he probably had on right now. kaminari just looked at him, the corner of his mouth pulling up. bakugou prayed that kaminari wouldn’t say anything else about it.

“can’t say that i’m not flattered though,” kaminari continued. god, how long was this elevator going to take? “it’s kind of cute.” bakugou froze. his heartbeat slowed, then rapidly skyrocketed. his brow creased further. the heat on his ears was nearly unbearable.

“i don’t know what the fuck you mean,” he said as flatly as he could. cute. kaminari had called him cute.

he didn't think he hated it.

the elevator finally, finally dinged, the doors sliding open to reveal an empty space. the noise managed to get bakugou moving, and he followed kaminari into the elevator, thoughts going a hundred miles an hour. he was not prepared to help kaminari pierce his ears. this was going to be a disaster. he was going to have a meltdown. if kaminari said one more thing like “it’s kind of cute,” bakugou was certain he would simply cease functioning. being alone with him in this elevator was terrifying. he wanted to simultaneously grab kaminari by the collar to kiss him until he couldn’t remember anything and squirm into the corner farthest away from him.

kaminari hit the button for the third floor. the elevator doors closed, the whole shaft stuttering before gliding upwards. kaminari was bouncing from foot to foot.

“i think i’m kind of nervous,” he said, sounding more like he was talking to himself than anything. bakugou glanced at him. the elevator stopped and the doors opened.

“why? they’re just earrings. don’t tell me you’re pussying out already, sparkplug.” kaminari smiled and shook his head again. he strolled out of the elevator, bakugou close behind.

“i just... i don’t know. i hope i don’t mess anything up.” bakugou’s mouth settled into a familiar line. you mean you hope i don’t fuck anything up, he thought grimly.

they arrived at kaminari’s door. kaminari handed bakugou the glass of ice to root around in his pockets for his room key. his mouth scrunched to the side as he did so, gaze unfocused until his face brightened when he produced the key.

“before we go in,” kaminari started, unlocking the door and then holding it almost closed, “my room is a little messy, so ignore that.”

bakugou rolled his eyes. “it’s not like that’s anything new.” kaminari grinned, bumped shoulders with bakugou as he clumsily opened the door to let him in. he flicked on the overhead light and bakugou let out a low whistle.

there was shit everywhere. there were clothes on the ground, shoes scattered everywhere, papers and worksheets haphazardly abandoned on various surfaces. the bedsheets were more on the floor than the bed.

“oh, shut up,” kaminari said with a smile in his voice. “i’m gonna clean it soon.”

“this is a fucking disaster.” kaminari laughed and bakugou felt it all the way down to his toes.

“i know, i know, i know. i warned you already, so you don't have the right to criticize me.” bakugou didn't have a snarky response prepared, so he simply stayed silent and focused more on stepping over all the crap kaminari had laying around on his floor. he noticed that kaminari didn't share that same regard, trotting around his room with papers crunching under his shoes. the room was so messy that bakugou's hands felt like they were itching to pick up some of the mess.

he suppressed the urge as much as he could, collapsing down in kaminari's desk chair as kaminari vanished into the bathroom. he heard slamming around and then the water running, kaminari's humming overlaying it all. bakugou bent down to untie his shoelaces.

when kaminari left the bathroom, bakugou had taken off his shoes and blazer and was scanning the surface of kaminari's desk. there were some photos scattered around on it, most of them being goofy selfies kaminari had taken with their friends, plus other people he associated with like yaoyorozu and ojiro. there was some unfinished math homework from several weeks ago lying on the desk as well.

“looks like you've gotten yourself comfortable,” kaminari said, the closeness of his voice making bakugou startle. bakugou swiveled around in the desk chair and almost collided with kaminari, who hopped out of the way. “are you ready?”

bakugou's gaze flitted over kaminari. he'd somehow changed shirts– he was now wearing a bright yellow t-shirt that looked like it was from some sort of summer camp he'd gone to several years prior– and his hair was neatly gathered away from his face and into a small ponytail at the nape of his neck. the curves of his ears were fully visible now, lines perfect and unblemished aside from the occasional freckle.

“yeah,” bakugou said as he stood up. he felt a lot less confident than he sounded, but he followed kaminari into the tiny half-bath nonetheless. bakugou noted that the bathroom was considerably more organized. they positioned themselves in front of the sink.

“you know what you're doing, right,” bakugou asked, watching kaminari fuss with the now-melting glass of ice, potato, and other items bakugou assumed were for piercing on the thin shelf above his sink. kaminari shrugged with one shoulder, fishing a chunk of ice out of the glass.

“i've read articles if that counts...” he answered, fumbling with the slippery ice before pressing it against his right ear. it was already starting to drip water down his fingers. bakugou tried not to stare. there was a silence. it bordered on awkward.

“so what do you want me to do?” bakugou finally asked. kaminari's gaze flicked to him after a beat, then he clumsily gathered the tiny needle and lighter he'd had on the shelf with his free hand and handed them to bakugou.

“warm this up. apparently it makes it easier.” bakugou looked at the items critically. his thumb fiddled with the lighter for a couple moments, then he focused on heating up the needle.

“bakugou...” kaminari said suddenly, causing bakugou to look up at him. the ice cube had almost entirely melted, making a wet mess of kaminari's hand and jaw.

“what.”

kaminari sort of squirmed, lips pressing together. he began to dry his face with the bottom of his shirt, flashing a considerable amount of lithe stomach to bakugou. bakugou almost burned himself in his distraction. “i'm nervous. what if i look like shit when we're done?”

bakugou scooted closer to kaminari, flicking off the lighter and setting it on the shelf. he squinted at kaminari's earlobes, belatedly realizing that kaminari had drawn tiny little x's on where he wanted the earrings to go. bakugou grabbed the small baby potato kaminari had stolen from the kitchen. “you'll look fine. stop saying stupid shit you know isn't true.” they were close. bakugou was only a hairsbreadth away from kaminari's body and he angled himself so that his hands were where they needed to be. he felt kaminari's breath on the side of his neck. it made the hair on his arms rise up.

“you mean it?”

“of course i fucking mean it,” bakugou scoffed. “now shut the fuck up.” he pressed the point of the needle on kaminari's lobe and kaminari managed to grab a fistful of bakugou's shirt and he took a breath right as bakugou jabbed the needle through kaminari's ear and stabbed into the potato.

they stood there for a second. bakugou felt like his body creaked when he moved to yank the potato from the needle. he pulled back, twisting the needle around and then caught sight of kaminari's wild-eyed expression. he paused. kaminari didn't make any move to let go of his shirt. they stared at each other and bakugou's cheeks started to warm. kaminari's mouth began to curve into a little smile, cheeks blooming a pretty pink. he let go of bakugou's shirt and turned towards the mirror, leaving bakugou mildly shell shocked. it took him a moment to gather his bearings and fumble for the second needle kaminari had on the shelf.

the next piercing was easier. it took half the time and kaminari didn't clutch bakugou's shirt like a stress ball this time around. before kaminari had bakugou move to the other side of him to do his left ear, he had bakugou take the first needle out as he took some small pink studs from the shelf.

“where'd you get those?” bakugou asked, deftly swiping away the bit of blood on kaminari's ear and washing off the needle and his fingers. he watched kaminari put on the tiny little earring and smile at himself in the mirror.

“ashido,” he replied simply, tilting his head this way and that so his piercing would reflect the light. “she had a lot of different colors, but i don't wear pink very often, so i thought it would be a nice change.” it was a nice change. it was cute. kaminari looked cute. he looked handsome. he looked outrageously kissable. bakugou's hands itched for the second time that afternoon, but he tried to ignore it by moving to kaminari's other side and heating up the needle. a thought occurred to him. kaminari busied himself with pressing another half-melted ice cube to his ear.

“you disinfected all of this shit, right?”

kaminari's gaze wandered to bakugou. “yeah. i did before you got in here.” bakugou narrowed his eyes at him and grunted. kaminari's mouth quirked up in a smile. “why, are you concerned about me?” his tone was teasing and light. bakugou didn't even have to look him straight in the eyes to know that he'd find that playful-flirty glint in them.

“yeah, fuckass, i am,” he blurted before he could think about what he was saying. “i was certain for a second there that'd you'd forgotten like a dumbass and you'd end up with a nasty fucking infection.” he turned his body away to put the lighter on the shelf even when he only had to reach over. kaminari had been rendered speechless. bakugou waited a moment before turning back to him, his cheeks hot whether he liked it or not.

“get over here,” he grunted as kaminari dried himself again with the damp bottom of his shirt. he shuffled a little closer. bakugou pressed the tip of the needle on the sloppy x kaminari had drawn.

“it's nice that you care,” kaminari said softly, only flinching a little when the needle made its way through his earlobe. bakugou reached over to pluck the needle from kaminari's right ear and kaminari turned a little to put in an earring.

“of course i fucking care,” bakugou muttered under his breath, but he knew kaminari heard him by the way the tips of his ears pinked. he busied himself with reheating the needle for the last piercing. kaminari's hand graced the hem of bakugou's shirt before his fingers curled into the fabric. his gaze shifted down and his pale eyelashes almost ghosted his cheeks.

“bakugou, i...” he started, grazing his teeth over his lip. bakugou fought to concentrate, moving to do the last piercing. “bakugou, i want to talk to you. about... about the date.” bakugou's heart seized in his chest and he struggled to keep a straight face. his hands wanted to tremble.

“what about it.”

kaminari shifted his weight to his other foot. “you've been... um, you've been sending me some kinda mixed signals lately.” bakugou managed to keep his hand steady enough to stab the needle through and into the potato behind kaminari's ear.

“and?” the hand gripping his shirt tightened.

“i don't know if it's too soon to ask or...” kaminari looked up. his eyes were the color of the setting sun. they were so pretty. “do you, like, like me? or are you just screwing around because if so that's sorta cruel, even for you.” kaminari laughed nervously. bakugou felt like he'd forgotten how to speak. he took a step back with the potato in hand, brow creased. kaminari let his hand fall from bakugou's shirt and settled for wringing his hands together.

the silence felt like it was going to last forever. bakugou didn't know how to respond. yes, he really, really liked kaminari. he couldn't stop thinking about him. he couldn't stop dreaming about him. he wanted to hold his hand and kiss his mouth and be grossly soft with him, something he'd never, ever wanted to do with anyone else. he'd never felt like this with anyone else.

so why did it feel like he shouldn't say how he felt?

kaminari's expression was starting to crumble in on itself. bakugou's heartbeat skyrocketed in panic. he wanted to say it, but he couldn't– he couldn't get the words up his throat.

“pi– k... kaminari,” was all he managed to say. he knew he was red in the face. kaminari was the only person who could ever make him red in the face. kaminari looked helplessly at him, expecting so much more from him than he could ever give.

kaminari turned towards the mirror and it became obvious that the conversation was nearing its end.

“you don't understand,” bakugou blurted, his thoughts frantically swimming in his head. kaminari flexed his fingers on the rim on the sink. a moment passed.

“i don't, bakugou. i really don't,” he replied, sounding resigned and fed up. “i don't know what you want. i see the way you look at me, the way you always blush when you talk to me, and i think you might feel how i feel about you, but then you go around brushing me off and saying stupid shit and pretending like that date never even happened.” kaminari turned to him again, gaze fierce. stray wisps of blonde hair floated around his face in a silent dance. “what is it? did we not hold hands for, like, twenty minutes? did that mean nothing?” he ran a hand through his hair, sending it all almost falling out of its ponytail. “i need you to tell me something, bakugou. we... i can't go on like this.”

“i don't know what i want either,” was all bakugou could think to say, softly and stupidly, his shoulders slumping as he said it. it wasn't what he wanted to say. it wasn't what kaminari wanted to hear. kaminari turned away from him again. he knew he fucked up.

“well, i'm not going to wait for you forever.” kaminari didn't sound angry, just disappointed and sad, which somehow felt so much worse. “when you figure out what you want, i can't promise you that i'll still want the same thing.” kaminari began taking the needles from his left ear and replacing them with the pink studs. bakugou assumed that this was his cue to leave, but he didn't want to go. he wanted to fix this. he wanted...

they stood there in silence for a while, kaminari beginning to clean up once he'd put all his earrings in. the pink complimented him well. he looked good. he looked handsome.

“what?” kaminari breathed out, looking genuinely startled. with a savage flush that flooded all the way down to his toes, bakugou realized that he'd said that out loud. being around kaminari for this long was starting to scramble his thoughts, making it so he had no idea what was coming out of his mouth anymore.

there was a moment of mutual staring. kaminari had grown a pleasant shade of pink, one that almost perfectly matched the color of his earrings.

“th... thank you, bakugou,” he stammered, looking like he was trying to hide a smile. “you... you look handsome too.”

bakugou did not know how to take this compliment. his face burned. “i'm gonna fucking... i'm going to go.” kaminari gave him a small smile. he tucked hair behind his ear and simply smiled and it made bakugou's whole body warm.

“okay.”

“okay,” bakugou echoed, beginning to squeeze by kaminari in order to leave the bathroom.

“hey, wait,” kaminari said. bakugou stopped, one foot out the bathroom. he looked over his shoulder at kaminari, who was leaning against the sink. he chewed his lip. “i'm... sorry for snapping at you. i got a little worked up there.” bakugou didn't know what to say. he didn't really know how to handle apologies either. thankfully, kaminari didn't seem to mind and plowed on, picking at the curves of his nails. “i, uh, i really like you, okay? the date made me realize that. you... you don't have to tell me anything now– or ever– but i... i just want you to know. that i like you. like, i want to do boyfriend things. you know.” he was rambling, his cheeks scarlet. bakugou did not know how to handle confessions either, but he felt like he saw this one coming. kaminari was still talking. “just– yeah, um... yeah. i like you. you... you can go, sorry, i totally just–”

“pikachu, i get it,” bakugou interrupted, his amusement probably showing on his face. the fact that he was stupidly pleased was also probably showing on his face. “i'm going.”

“o-okay. bye. see you later.”

“bye.”

he gathered his blazer and school bag from the desk and put on his shoes, then made a very swift exit, almost accidentally slamming the door behind him when he left. out in the hall, he felt like he was out of breath, and he leaned against the door, covered his face with his hands and nearly yelled. so many emotions were welling up inside of him. on one hand, he was fucking over the moon about kaminari's confession-that-he'd-been-kind-of-expecting. on the other hand, he was very fucking angry at how goddamn fucking stupid he was. “i don't know what i want either”? what kind of bullshit was that? he was really fucking dumb for that stunt he pulled in there, making kaminari all worked up like that and not being able to say anything like a little bitch. he had no idea how he was going to fix that one. god, he was so fucking stupid.

he opted for taking the stairs up to the next floor, taking the steps two at a time. he had to talk to kirishima.

he threw himself out the stairwell and shot towards kirishima's room. he knocked loudly several times in rapid succession, then barged inside the unlocked room, catching kirishima, sero, and ashido completely off guard, all of them looking up at him from their spots on the floor with bewildered, startled expressions.

“pinky. soy sauce. get the fuck out,” he demanded, jabbing his thumb towards the hallway. kirishima spluttered the beginnings of a protest. “out.” sero and ashido shrugged at each other, then began gathering their things.

“did you poke kaminari in the eye with the needle?” ashido joked as she flounced out of the room with sero close behind.

“shut the fuck up,” he shot back, earning himself a playful grin from ashido as he rushed to shut the door.

“what the hell, man,” kirishima complained. “storming in here and telling them to leave in the middle of us doing homework was totally unmanly.”

bakugou launched himself onto kirishima's bed, feeling the sour look kirishima was giving him. he finally succumbed to his urges and, covering his face with his hands, let out a short yell, then flopped face down on the bed.

“jesus, bakugou,” was all kirishima said at first, then continued after a beat of bakugou just laying on the bed like a corpse. “what the hell happened with kaminari?”

“the fucking worst!” bakugou shouted into kirishima's pillow. “and somehow the fucking best!” kirishima simply hummed, waiting for bakugou to set himself to rights and elaborate. that took a couple minutes, and bakugou heard kirishima resume his dutiful pencil scribblings on his homework.

“he confessed to me,” bakugou said. kirishima's head snapped up.

“what??”

“you fucking heard me. he told me he wanted to do 'boyfriend things.' exact fucking words.” kirishima scrambled to the bed, red eyes wide with disbelief.

“no, he didn't.”

bakugou flipped over again. “he did! he fucking did. he told me he liked me and i couldn't even say jackshit to him.”

“oh my god.”

“you're fucking telling me. i fucked up so fucking bad, kirishima, like, this shit is fucking stupid. i completely shut down. entire mental disaster. just stood there like a fucking idiot and couldn't tell him what he wanted to hear. or what i wanted to say.”

“what did you want to say?”

bakugou ran his hands down his face and bunched his shirt up in his fists. he could already feel himself blushing. “it's embarrassing.”

“you cannot pull that card on me,” kirishima cried, thumping his fist against bakugou's chest. bakugou swatted him away, letting out a low “aaaaaaa” as kirishima kept thumping on him, trying to get him to speak.

“okay! okay, god damn, stop,” bakugou relented, a wickedly idiotic smile threatening to overtake his face. kirishima sat back, plopping down with his legs crossed like he was about to be told a story. his face was so eager that bakugou had to look away for his own sanity.

“i wanted... i wanted to tell him that i like him too, obviously. i wanted to tell him that... i've never liked anyone before and he makes me feel all sick and shit, like even my stomach is happy to see him.”

“that's somehow the grossest but cutest thing ever,” kirishima cut in.

bakugou thwacked him on the shoulder. “shut up!! let me talk, you're making this harder.” kirishima put up his hands in surrender, and after sending him a heavy glare, bakugou continued. “i wanted to tell him... you know, that i can't stop thinking about him and that i wouldn't... i wouldn't mind doing 'boyfriend things' or whatever the fuck.” he paused, looked up at the ceiling. “i wanted– i want– to kiss him. i want to kiss him so fucking bad. like what the fuck. i cannot stop thinking about kissing him.”

kirishima cackled and began shaking bakugou's body. bakugou couldn't help but laugh, trying to push kirishima's hands from his torso. “that is so gay, bakugou!! you are so manly. it's crazy.” he stopped shaking him, but not before giving a hard tug on bakugou's ear. “why can't you tell all of this to him? you seem to be able to tell me just fine, even if you are the color of a beet.” bakugou sat up and had to fight the urge to put his best friend in a headlock.

“shut the fuck up!!!” he exclaimed, making kirishima cackle again. “i don't know why i can't tell him. i'm so fucking bad with words when i'm around him. i always freeze up. it's so annoying. makes me wanna blow something up.”

“then don't talk,” kirishima said simply, resting his elbows on the bed. “just do it. just kiss him. what could go wrong?”

“what could go wrong??” bakugou repeated with a lot more intensity. “are you hearing yourself? literally everything could go wrong. did it ever occur to you that i've never actually kissed a single fucking person?”

kirishima snorted. “yeah, but did it ever occur to you that kaminari has kissed more than a few?” bakugou just stared at him. it actually did not occur to him at all. he'd somehow forgotten that kaminari had probably kissed more people than he'd like to admit.

“i bet he's a good kisser,” kirishima continued, waggling his eyebrows. bakugou sent him a withering glare that kept wanting to flicker into an annoying grin.

“oh my fucking god, you always say the dumbest shit. you don't even know if that's true.”

“you're blushing! you know it is!”

“i fucking hate you!!”

♥ ♥ ♥

everyone was enamored by kaminari’s newfound pink studs in his ears for the rest of the week. kaminari had made a point to pull his hair back from his face for about five days, gathering his hair either in a tiny sloppy bun, a tiny sloppy ponytail, or a sloppy half up-half down thing. he’d pin his hair away from his face with colorful bobby pins stolen from ashido, making sure that everyone caught a glimpse of his earrings.

it was kind of endearing how kaminari wanted everyone to notice. his over-the-top flaunting of his earlobes earned him quite a bit of attention by nearly everyone in class– and even sometimes out of class. fuckers from class 1-b and that one exhausted-looking purple haired guy came over to kaminari at lunch to tell him that his earrings were nice. kaminari’s reaction was always the same. he’d give them this coy little look, eyes sparkling, then say thanks, very deliberately tucking hair behind his ear under the guise of being flattered. he was stupid. it was cute.

bakugou found himself pretty damn charmed by the new earrings. he was starting to think that kaminari was beginning to notice that. he was starting to be not sure whether kaminari was putting his hair up because he wanted others to notice or because he wanted bakugou to notice.

that wasn’t the only thing. after the confession, kaminari was slightly more forward with the way he talked to and interacted with bakugou. it wasn’t obvious enough to anyone who wasn’t kirishima, but bakugou was becoming aware of kaminari’s tendencies to lean into him a little (or was that him leaning into kaminari?) and to brush his hand against his when they were walking (or was that him brushing his hand against kaminari’s?) and looking at him with this look like… there wasn’t anything he’d rather be doing (or was that kaminari just mirroring bakugou’s expression?). it was sending bakugou into fits. it was getting hard to sleep at night. he’d resorted to just lying in bed and thinking of kaminari and how his hand felt in his and how he might feel if they laid down on the common room couch with their legs tangled together and what his mouth would feel like against his own and kaminari’s eyes and his smile and his hair and his laugh and his stupid shitty flirting and his—

the lack of sleep was making him more grumpy than usual.

being around kaminari made him angry and flustered and he wanted to snap something over his knee, but it also made him feel that good kind of sick, like he was drunk on kaminari’s static or something. he loved being around kaminari and he hated it. he’d narrowly avoided several instances where they almost ended up alone together– something he was pretty sure he couldn’t handle at this point– with vague hand gestures and furrowed brows and mutters of “should shitty hair come along? shitty hair’s coming along.” kaminari didn’t seem to mind, which was a dramatic contrast to when bakugou had first started pretending the date never happened. in fact, it appeared that he found it humorous. or endearing. or charming, even. bakugou wasn’t even sure anymore.

it was dinner time on saturday. the students in class 1-a usually took turns cooking dinner for everyone in small groups of three or four, and it was bakugou’s turn. unfortunately, he was cooking with ashido… and kaminari, greatly emphasizing his head-splitting internal conflict, but currently neither of them were anywhere to be found. ashido had said that she was going to run up to her room to change shirts and had never come back downstairs and kaminari had simply vanished. bakugou should’ve been upset about being abandoned and stuck with cooking duty, but he was actually relieved to have a moment alone, even if it wasn’t going to last long.

he was cutting bell peppers for the stir fry he’d planned with his missing cooking-mates when ashido floated into the kitchen.

“bossman!” she exclaimed, much to bakugou’s chagrin, and bounced over to the counter he was standing at. “hard at work in here?”

bakugou shot her a flat glare. “how many times have i told you not to fucking call me that?” ashido just batted her lashes innocently. she had indeed changed shirts, switching from the maroon t-shirt she’d been wearing earlier to a tan camisole that showed off the muscles in her arms and a skinny necklace that she’d bought on a run to the mall this afternoon. “start the rice. i can’t do all this shit myself.” ashido gave a stupid salute that bakugou tried really hard not to find amusing.

“you got it! massive pot of rice… comin’ right up!” bakugou continued to chop the bell peppers, ashido banging around in the cabinets and humming a tune as she filled a pot with rice, then water. the stove was turned on. ashido’s humming turned into soft singing. bakugou finished cutting the bell peppers, sliding them into a large pan.

they worked in tandem, ashido floating around the kitchen in that way of hers, handing him green onions and broccoli and snap peas while singing to herself, and bakugou chopping, chopping, chopping, almost in time with the song she was singing.

“have you heard that song?” ashido piped up out of nowhere, appearifying beside him as bakugou finished slicing the last of the onions. he gave her a side look, putting the onions in the pan.

“what song,” he grumbled. ashido’s eyes gleamed, making it obvious that she was thrilled that he’d taken her bait. he pointed briefly to the spice cabinet, knowing ashido would know what seasonings this particular meal required.

“you know!” she said, floating across the kitchen to gather the spices. “that new one that goes like—” she hummed out a little melody, then started to sing some nonsensical sappy lyrics about love and probably parties in what seemed to be the chorus. “—you know!” she said again, bouncing back over to him with her hands full of spice shakers.

“no, i don’t know,” he replied, even though he knew the exact song she was talking about. she’d been singing the damn song for about four days now. the words were ingrained in his mind, burned into his brain with her lilting, out-of-tune singing voice.

“what!!” she exclaimed, dumping her handfuls of seasonings onto the counter, handing him garlic powder and turmeric. “i’ve been singing it all week! it’s so good!! it’s my favorite right now!!” bakugou put his hand out after sprinkling garlic and turmeric on the veggies, and ashido smacked the shaker of sesame seeds in his palm. “i know all the words. i’ll sing it for you!”

bakugou groaned. “do not.”

“i will!! i will!! let me get my prime vocals prepared for you, bossman.” bakugou rolled his eyes, snatching the salt and pepper from the counter in front of her, putting a gratuitous amount onto the vegetables, then taking the pan over to the stove. on the eye next to him, the rice was bubbling under its lid.

“are you even paying attention to this?” he called over his shoulder, reaching over to lower the heat. “shit’s gonna burn.”

“i’m totally paying attention!” ashido called back, though it was obvious she was not, as she was at the fridge pouring herself a glass of orange juice. “gotta grease the vocals, bakugou. it’s part of the process.” bakugou tried not to snort as he poured oil into the pan. she was so fucking dumb.

behind him, bakugou heard ashido begin vocalizing theatrically over the sizzling of the vegetables. after several dramatic la’s and oh yeah’s, she began to sing the song, starting off low on the first verse, building up to the bridge. she danced over to him, flip flops smacking on the tiles. bakugou stared at her, trying not to show any explicit amusement by this whole display.

“c’mon, bakugou, i know you know the song! sing it with me,” she implored, shimmying next to him. she continued to sing the song, her voice rising in a dramatic crescendo as she reached the chorus. she started to do one of those terrible dances kaminari always stole from viral instagram videos.

“pinky, you fucking wish,” bakugou said to her, his mouth twitching up. “you won’t even catch me singing that cheesy shit in my grave.”

“as if you’ll actually die,” she replied with a snort, beginning to do the milly rock. bakugou barked out a laugh without intending to.

“that’s fucking right. as if i’d actually die.”

ashido danced back over to the fridge, her voice impossibly loud when she started singing the second verse. bakugou shook his head, mouth in a stubborn smile, and scooted over a little when ashido danced back over to him with the chicken broth in hand. she shook the carton of broth and poured some inside of the pan, the vegetables sizzling and popping.

“hey, ashido!” a voice from outside the kitchen called. it was kaminari. bakugou felt his suppressed internal panic bloom to life when he heard his voice. “hey! yaomomo wants to talk to you!”

“what?” ashido yelled, poking bakugou’s sides with her forefingers as she danced.

stop,” bakugou hissed at her, trying to squirm away from her touch. kaminari materialized at the mouth of the kitchen, hair messily pulled up in a ponytail, blue t-shirt all wrinkled and faded from many cycles in the washing machine.

“yaomomo,” kaminari enunciated, strolling into the kitchen, “wants to talk to you. something about clothes you took from her?” ashido faked thought, giving bakugou’s sides a few more rapid pokes before hopping away from him to give kaminari a onceover.

“ah...” she simply said, standing with her arms akimbo. “the clothes... yes, i do recall something about... clothes.” kaminari laughed. bakugou focused all of his attention on stirring the vegetables.

“go take care of it. i’ll help bakugou with dinner while you’re gone.”

“you should’ve been here thirty minutes ago, pikachu. where the fuck have you been?” bakugou managed to say, gaze darting to catch ashido bouncing out of the kitchen and kaminari casually strolling towards him. kaminari sidled right up to him, eyes raking over the sizzling stir fry and the boiling pot of rice.

“i took a nap,” he answered plainly. “didn’t wake up until, like, five minutes ago.” bakugou grunted, all too aware of how close kaminari was standing. the warm skin of his arm kept brushing against bakugou’s arm, reminding him of every single goddamn sleepless night he’d been having lately.

there was a silence. kaminari just stood there next to him, his presence warm and bleary and comfortable. bakugou was trying to tell himself that the heat rising to his cheeks and probably coloring his face was because of the steam wafting up from the stir fry. definitely.

god, who was he kidding?

“is there anything you want me to help you with?” kaminari finally asked, taking a step away from bakugou. bakugou let his gaze follow him as he walked over to the fridge.

“get me soy sauce.”

“sero or actual soy sauce?” bakugou could hear the smile in kaminari’s voice. grateful that he wasn’t facing kaminari, bakugou allowed himself to smirk stupidly down at the vegetables in the large pan.

“i’m not gonna repeat myself, dipshit.”

“alright, alright,” kaminari relented, clipping back over to bakugou with the cold bottle of soy sauce in hand. after turning down the heat on the eye, bakugou went to take the soy sauce from kaminari. kaminari managed to make direct eye contact with him as he took the bottle from him, their fingertips brushing against each other in a breath of a moment. bakugou felt his eyebrows twitch into a crease. he turned his back partially towards kaminari when he poured the soy sauce into the pan, a cloud of steam billowing up at the contact.

“smells good,” was all kaminari said next. there was another long silence. kaminari wandered over to the other side of the stove to open the lid to the pot of rice. soft bubbling escaped the pot, evidence that there was still water left below the rice, signifying its incompletion. bakugou turned off the eye he was using for the stir fry, moving the pan to the eye near the back of the stove.

“anything else i can help you with?” kaminari piped up again, leaning against the counter effortlessly, legs lazily crossed, hair sloping into his eyes.

“find me a lid for this.”

kaminari bounced out of his lounging position to rummage in some of the cabinets for a lid. bakugou deliberated silently at the stove for the moment, trying to think of something else that would complete the meal. maybe a salad? a salad sounded good. a salad would probably do the trick.

he went over to the fridge to grab the tomatoes and the greens for the salad, then some carrots for good measure. he heard kaminari let out a small aha! when he found a lid that fit the pan just right, cabinets slamming shut in his wake.

“anything else?”

“i need a bowl for this salad.”

bakugou had made his way back over to the row of counters by the stove by then, setting the salad things down on the counter and pulling out one of the drawers for a knife and a cutting board. kaminari wrinkled his nose. bakugou had forgotten how cute it was when he wrinkled his nose like that.

“ew, what the heck? salad was not a good option. no one eats salad,” he whined, dropping down in a crouch to get a plastic white bowl from a cabinet by the stove.

lettuce and spinach crunched under the blade of bakugou’s knife, filling the kitchen with a rhythmic pattern of chopping and crunching. “i eat salad, dumbass.”

kaminari stood back up, pulling a face when he set the bowl down on the counter next to bakugou’s cutting board. “yeah, but you’re weird. the only salad that’s good is fruit salad. except it has to be with just melons.”

bakugou shot him a squinty-eyed look. “what the fuck? that’s not even a fruit salad. that’s just... fucking melons.” kaminari leaned back on the counter, eyes rolled up to the ceiling.

“nuh-uh! it’s definitely salad. melon salad,” he said, a smile flicking onto his face. “anything can be a salad if you think about it.” he gestured vaguely to the stir fry that was on the stove. “like... that could just be vegetable salad— cooked vegetable salad, which sounds nasty, but you get what i mean.”

“that is the dumbest fucking thing i have ever heard you say.”

kaminari laughed and bakugou’s knife almost slipped and sawed off the tip of his finger. “thank you, bakugou. it’s my pleasure.” he did a stupid little mock bow, ducking his head a bit. bakugou had to try so hard not to smile or blush or chop his fingers off that it was nearly painful. it was like his chest was tightening with anticipation. or something.

“is there anything else you need? all gross salads aside,” kaminari continued, watching bakugou heap leafy greens, cubed tomato pieces, and circles of carrots into the bowl.

“salad dressing.”

“ah, right. which one?” bakugou thought about this, using the knife to halfheartedly mix the salad.

“the ginger sesame one.” kaminari walked back over to the fridge and returned with the salad dressing in a matter of moments. he set it down on the counter and bakugou swiped it up, shaking the bottle before opening it and drizzling it over the salad. kaminari resumed his lazy counter-lounging, watching bakugou with his head tilted on his shoulder.

“anything else you want?” he asked in such a conversational tone that it was impossible to believe that he wasn’t just asking about what needed to be done for dinner. that phrasing— anything else he wanted. bakugou’s mind spun. there were so many things he wanted.

all of those things were kaminari.

he wanted to stop fussing over dinner, wanted to stop trying to distract himself with cutting vegetables, wanted to turn towards kaminari and get a good look at him, wanted to reach out and brush that stray strand of blonde hair out of his eyes, wanted to run his fingers down the slope of his jaw and press them his lips, wanted to be close to him, so close that he could feel his breath on his cheeks, wanted to—

“hey,” he muttered, almost under his breath. he fiddled with the kitchen knife’s grip. kaminari said nothing, his silence expectant. he scraped his nails across the surface of the cutting board. “i wanted to fucking talk to you, okay?”

his eyes drifted to kaminari, who had raised his eyebrows, parted his lips. “okay. we’re talking.”

bakugou had no idea how to speak in front of kaminari. it was like he forgot basic cognitive functions. he knew what he wanted to say, but he couldn’t say it, couldn’t physically get the words to leave him and venture into the real world, into the gap that divided him and kaminari. kirishima had told him not to try so hard, to just do it, just... just kiss him.

“sparky, i...” like you. “you...” should let me hold your hand again. trying to speak was starting to stress him out. kaminari just blinked at him, his eyelashes pale and long and framing those sunset eyes that bakugou had lost so much sleep over.

“yeah?”

bakugou ran his hands through his hair, mouth tugging down. “shut up. don’t say anything. let me figure out how to fucking... say what i want to say.” kaminari smirked, obviously amused, then mimed zipping his lips closed. his silence continued to be expectant.

“okay, i fucking— i’ve been... thinking about shit, okay, and i... god damn, i can’t fucking sleep,” bakugou blurted. “i’m so fucking exhausted.”

kaminari looked so confused. “what? you can’t sleep?”

“no— i mean, yeah, but—”

“why?” whatever happened to zipping his lips closed? bakugou couldn’t concentrate with kaminari asking so many questions.

“i can’t sleep because i...” keep thinking of you. “it’s because i fucking...” want you more than i’ve ever wanted anything.

“you know, maybe you should just take a melatonin or something. my mom used to give me some all the time when i was younger. believe it or not, i’m a lot less rambunctious than i was in elementary school. if you need some, i think i have some stashed away somewhere. you could’ve just asked me or—”

“kaminari,” bakugou broke in, getting desperate now. this was not how he wanted this conversation to go. “kaminari, please, just shut the fuck up.” kaminari gave him a sour look but stopped talking. don’t talk. just do it. just kiss him. what could go wrong? speech was completely failing him. he had to do it. he was going to do it. he needed to kiss him.

“here,” he breathed. “come here.” kaminari looked absolutely baffled. after a beat, he stood up from his counter-leaning and scooted about five centimeters towards bakugou. “i said here.”

“bakugou—”

“closer. come right fucking here.” their voices had dropped low, whispers filling the thinning gap between them. kaminari shuffled a little bit closer. there was a tiny space between the tips of their shoes.

“this good?”

“no.” another beat. kaminari moved closer. their shoes touched. if kaminari tilted his head up, bakugou thought that their noses might brush against each other. “stop.” bakugou’s hand hovered, wanting to ghost against kaminari’s forearm. he could feel kaminari’s breath. his hair smelled like cucumber watermelon shampoo.

kaminari raised his gaze. they looked at each other for what felt like an eternity. bakugou finally rested his hand on kaminari’s arm, making kaminari draw in a breath. kaminari’s pupils dilated. bakugou felt like his face was on fire. his eyes flicked to kaminari’s mouth, his intentions clear. kaminari didn’t pull back or turn away when bakugou tilted his head and brushed his mouth against kaminari’s, the very movement nearly sending him directly into cardiac arrest. kaminari mumbled something intelligible against bakugou’s lips, drawing up his arm so that his hand slipped into bakugou’s, fingers searching for spaces.

the kiss was terrible. it was bumbling, messy, more teeth than anything. it was somehow the worst and best possible scenario, this awful kiss, and it felt like it lasted milliseconds. when kaminari pulled back mere centimeters from bakugou’s mouth, he was smiling.

“that was the worst kiss i have ever gotten,” he whispered, sounding so incredibly charmed.

“if it was so fucking bad, why don’t you just teach me,” bakugou whispered back, also sounding so incredibly charmed. kaminari smiled wider, then leaned back in, placing a featherlight kiss on bakugou’s lips.

“it’s like you’re trying to bite my face off,” kaminari chuckled, squeezing bakugou’s hand. “you have to be gentle. and slow. not so much teeth.” he kissed him again, demonstrating carefully, gingerly. bakugou wanted to melt. “y’see? it’s nice. you try.” bakugou attempted a second time, kissing kaminari as softly as he could. kaminari began to smile into the kiss like he was trying not to beam. his other hand came up to cup the side of bakugou’s face, thumb stroking his cheek, and he kissed him back, his mouth feeling delicate. bakugou was pretty sure that he was getting weak in the knees, which was gross and so fucking cheesy, but at this point, he didn’t think that he minded much.

“you’re a very good student,” kaminari said when bakugou pulled back. “you get top marks.”

bakugou fit his free hand on the small of kaminari’s back. the motion was surreal. “where’s my ice cream?” kaminari laughed, placing a small kiss on the corner of bakugou’s mouth.

“i don’t have any ice cream, but you can kiss me as much as you’d like.”

“that’s the best fucking deal you’ve ever struck with me, pikachu.”

they stood there and kissed some more, mumbling stupid things to each other and smiling like idiots. it was probably criminal to feel as good as bakugou felt right then, blood rushing and breath catching every single time kaminari would put his mouth on his. he supposed kirishima had been right about both things: acting would be better than talking and kaminari was, indeed, a very good kisser. he was also so handsome and cute and funny with his dumb smile and shitty one-liners and bakugou really, really, really wanted to do “boyfriend things” with him. did kaminari teaching him how to kiss count as a “boyfriend thing”? god, he sure hoped so.

initially, neither bakugou nor kaminari noticed ashido floating right into the kitchen with no forewarning, being preoccupied with this cool new kissing thing and all, but they sure as hell noticed her when she let out a tiny shriek at the mouth of the kitchen.

her field day had come a month late, but all the best things were worth waiting for. bakugou supposed he knew that from experience.