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No Secrets to Success

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Almost two more months. Two months! Kirishima can’t stand it. He scuffs his toes along the pavement as he walks, sighing to himself.

He should’ve started class two weeks ago. Unfortunately, due to a situation that mostly boiled down to adoption papers, bureaucracy, and the strict requirements of UA’s admissions, his own admittance had been delayed. He was given the choice – defer his acceptance until the next year, or transfer in after everything was settled, provided he was able to pass a series of make-up exams.

He’d chosen the second option, naturally. He’d decided on this path and he wasn’t slowing down if he could help it. But he was starting to get a bit dejected, both by the wait, and at the ever-looming prospect of the exams. Each day that went by, he knew he had more to catch up on, and although the class materials were provided to him...Well, self-study had never been his strongest point. And it was all brand new material.

He shakes himself off, irritated. This was no time to be moping! If anything, he just needed to double down and work harder! Kirishima picks his head up and renews his pace down the sidewalk. And damn, with good timing, because he recognizes that scowl.

Walking towards him is the angriest looking human being Kirishima has ever seen in his life. He wonders if that's the guy’s resting face. He’s pretty sure it had looked just the same in the glimpse he remembers getting of him before the entrance exam.

The impulse overtakes him.

“Hey!” Kirishima says brightly, stepping sideways to be directly in the guy’s path. “I know you!”

“Fuck off,” the guy snarls, pushing past him and barely slowing down.

“No, hey!” Kirishima says, trotting after him. “You came in first in the UA entrance exam! Bakud…Bakugou!”

“What the fuck of it?”

“I came in second.” Kirishima says. “You got me by three points. I was pretty damn impressed when I realized all of your points came from taking out villains.” That actually got Bakugou to pause, flicking his eyes to Kirishima for just a moment. “You’re in 1-A, right?”

“Are you fucking stalking me?!”

“No!” Kirishima laughs. “I’m in your class.”

Bakugou stops short on the sidewalk, whipping around to glare at him. He scans Kirishima up and down, eyes squinted.

 “Not that I’d pay attention to a loser,” he says, “but you aren’t. I’d remember that ugly fucking hair.”

“My hair’s great,” Kirishima dismisses. “But yeah, I haven’t actually been able to attend, but-”

“Fucking washed out already?” Bakugou guesses, mocking.

“No, it’s a family thing. I can’t transfer in yet, and ah…I actually have to pass a huge exam before I do to make up for the missed time.” He slumps a little, gloom creeping back in. “I’m screwed,” he moans. “It’s impossible to teach myself everything.”

“Sucks to suck,” Bakugou snorts, and turns to walk away.

 “Oh, sure, it’s easy for you,” Kirishima whines, falling into step with him.

“It sure as hell is,” Bakugou mutters. He picks up his pace. Kirishima gasps.

“Dude!” He cries. “That’s right! You can help me!”

“What?! Like FUCK-”

“Tell me who in your class is smart! I can ask them to tutor me!”

Bakugou stops short again. “What,” he demands, voice flat.

“Someone smart in the class? Who can help me with the material? It’s been a few weeks, I’m sure you can tell who the top students are gonna be.”

I’m gonna be the top!” Bakugou snarls and woah, Kirishima can work with this.

“So you can tutor me?”

“No!”

“Ah,” Kirishima squashes the laugh that’s threatening to spill out. “So I need someone smarter, then.”

Bakugou lurches forward, seizing his collar, palms sparking dangerously. Kirishima has no doubt his quirk is going to be just as exciting up close as it was in the entrance exam. “What the fuck.” The fist tightens. “Do you mean by that?”

Kirishima holds his hands up in surrender. “Nothing, bro,” he says, innocently. “Just if you can’t tutor me, I better find someone who is capable.”

The fist in Kirishima’s shirt reels him in so close he’s certain the next thing he’ll get is Bakugou’s other fist against his jaw. He thinks about hardening. “Oh yeah, Shitty Hair?!” Bakugou fairly screams. “I’m going to tutor you until you bleed!

With some difficulty, Kirishima reaches between them, across his own body, to grab Bakugou’s free hand in his own. He shakes it once, firm, and immediately lets go, a small detonation following.

“Kirishima Eijirou!” He chirps. “Nice to meet you.”

Bakugou steps back, releasing Kirishima’s shirt front. “I could’ve taken your fucking hand off,” he says, anger bleeding into incredulity.

Kirishima grins, pleased to see the tiniest widening of Bakugou’s eyes at his bared teeth. He hardens his arms and slams his fists together in front of him, relishing the sharp cracking noise it makes.

“Not likely,” he says, and Bakugou raises an eyebrow.

 


 

Kirishima’s still grinning down at his phone when he arrives home. After their little scuffle, Bakugou had practically ripped Kirishima’s phone from him, entering his contact info with unparalleled violence. Shouldering open the door, Kirishima calls a vague greeting into the house and taps the new contact name, chosen by the man himself.

 

To: King of ExplodoKills

              (6:42 PM) just got home! thanks again bro!!! see u tomorrow!!!!

 

From: King of ExplodoKills

              (9:16 PM) 6 pm same corner DONT BE FUCKING LATE

 


 

The next day Kirishima is loitering on the same street corner where he and Bakugou shared most of their previous conversation when the boy himself stomps up. Kirishima checks his phone, it’s still quarter to six.

“What’s up, dude, you’re early!” Kirishima greets, jamming his phone back in his pocket. “You eager?”

“Shut up,” Bakugou scowls. “You got your wallet?”

Kirishima tilts his head, confused. “Um, why?”

“We’re studying in a café. Let’s go.” Without checking to see if Kirishima’s following, he stomps right back off. Kirishima dutifully goes after him.

They round the corner and Bakugou leads them to a small place, quiet but with spacious booths and not very crowded despite the hour. Kirishima walks with him to the counter.

“Bottle of water and a chicken sandwich,” he says. The girl behind the counter looks to Kirishima, at his shoulder.

“Uh, the same,” he says quickly.

“Of course.” She punches it in. “Is that together or sep-”

“Together!” Kirishima says over Bakugou, shouldering in front of him. He passes his money over the counter.

“What the fuck?” Bakugou demands, shoving at his arm, but Kirishima braces himself for it and refuses to be moved as he gets his change.

“Dude, you’re tutoring me! It’s my treat!”

“I picked to go here!”

“So you could tutor me! C’mon, bro, just let me!”

Bakugou scoffs but relents, snatching his water bottle off the counter and shoving past him, sliding into a booth near the back.

Kirishima gathers up his change and his own water bottle and trots after him, sitting down across the table. He finally manages to get his coins back in his wallet and shoves it back into his pocket. When he looks up, Bakugou is draining his water bottle.

“Dude, thirsty much?” Bakugou glares at him. “Aren’t you gonna want that for your sandwich?”

“I have another one,” Bakugou says elbowing his backpack next to him. “I just wanted one that’s cold.”

“You’re certainly…overprepared?”

“My quirk is sweat-based, moron,” Bakugou says, flexing his hand. “It’s important to stay hydrated.”

“Oh, sick,” Kirishima says. “It’s in your sweat? You must hate summer.”

Bakugou grins with all his teeth. “I fucking love summer,” he says. “Now get out your shit.”

 


 

They’re at it for nearly three hours, and it’s going both better and worse than Kirishima expected. Bakugou has already begun resorting to hitting him over the head with the workbook when he gets frustrated enough, like he think he can beat the knowledge into Kirishima’s brain, but he must not have been bullshitting when he said he was one of the top in the class. His explanations, while gruff and absolutely filthy with profanity, are more concise and somewhat clearer than the books, and it’s obviously helpful to have him right there to check Kirishima’s work and answer questions.

Eventually they come to a mutual stopping point, Kirishima dropping his pencil and leaning back to exhale heavily. “This is a lot,” he whines. “My brain is gonna overload.”

“This is week one,” Bakugou snapped. “You have a lot more to catch up on.”

Kirishima blanches. “That was an entire week of material?”

“Class started off slow.”

“No, I mean, you managed to teach me a whole week’s worth of stuff in three hours?” Bakugou’s squinting at him like he can’t figure out what the point it. “Bro, you are amazing!”

Bakugou almost flinches, the scrutiny on his face transforming into disbelief, before he pastes the frown back on. “Of course I am,” he dismisses. “And you’re still getting a ton of shit wrong.”

“Better than before! And I am starting to nurse a headache, cut me some slack.”

“Still not good enough,” Bakugou shoots back. “So you better suck it up because we’re doing week two tomorrow, and then we can go with day-to-day shit.”

Kirishima sits in shock. “You’re gonna meet me…every day?”

“What, did you think I was gonna half-ass this?!”

“No, but I didn’t even-” Kirishima’s flustered. “I didn’t even know this wasn’t a one-time thing!”

“I told you,” Bakugou hisses. “Until you bleed.”

Slowly, Kirishima looks down at the study materials spread out between them. “Every day, though?” he asks weakly. Bakugou sits back, gathering his stuff into his bag.

“I probably can’t actually every single day, but you are going to fucking learn this shit, Shitty Hair.” He stands from the booth and Kirishima scrambles to do the same. Bakugou levels a look at him.

“Same time tomorrow,” he says, and stalks out of the café.

 


 

The next day Kirishima meets Bakugou again at the street corner, and again they go to the café. They both order the same thing and take their seats, although Bakugou won’t even think about letting Kirishima buy his food. Not that Kirishima would’ve insisted.

They’re nearing what’s probably the end of today’s session when Kirishima voices a thought.

“Bro, I know you said you’re serious about every day, but I’m gonna go broke if we keep doing this.” Bakugou considers that, ripping into the remains of his sandwich.

“We’ll switch it up,” he decides. “Library’s nearby.”

“Ooh!” Kirishima perks up. “Can we study outside?” Bakugou makes a face at his enthusiasm. “C’mon, man, it’s still so warm out and I need the fresh air! It’ll motivate me to work out more than if I’m all cooped up.”

Bakugou sits up, scrutinizing Kirishima, then the books on the table.

“This isn’t going to be enough,” he says, considering. Kirishima tilts his head. “We have practical lessons and shit. You’re missing out on a fuck ton of conditioning and quirk training.”

Kirishima flinches. “Yeah…I try to do stuff on my own at home, but it definitely isn’t the same.”

“Well there’s nothing I can do about the specialized shit, but…”

“But?” Kirishima prompts.

“Tomorrow’s the weekend. You free all day?”

 


 

“When you said, hah, you were gonna, fuck, make me bleed,” Kirishima collapses onto the grass, groaning. “I didn’t actually think it was literal.”

“Sounds like a you problem,” Bakugou wheezes from his spot. They’ve just finished a number of sprinted laps around the park, which wouldn’t have been as terrible if the laps hadn’t taken place immediately after a core workout turned push-up competition.  He jabs a finger against Kirishima’s shoulder. “Here’s how it’s gonna go,” he declares. “Every day we can, two hours study, two hours training. Weekends are training all afternoon plus revision at night. They give you mock tests, right? We can throw those in.”

“Dude, don’t you have like, other things you need to do?”

“Like what? I’d be studying and training anyway.”

“But what about, like, hanging out with other friends.”

“No.”

“No?”

“No.” He squints at Kirishima. “Other friends?”

Kirishima doesn’t understand for a minute, but once he does, he laughs. “We’re friends, bro!” He insists.

“Where do you live?”

“Uh, what?”

“Where. Do. You. Live?”

“You take friendship extremely seriously,” Kirishima says, but rattles off his address.

“Fuck you.” Bakugou mulls this over. “That’s not terrible. Be up at 4 tomorrow.”

“Uh, what?!”

“We’re running.”

 


 

That’s how Kirishima’s life develops over the next two weeks. He gets up before dawn, runs with Bakugou, goes home, eats breakfast, showers, and passes out. He gets back up in the afternoon, does whatever, and eventually goes off to meet Bakugou once the other boy is out of classes. Sometimes Bakugou texts him that they’ll meet up earlier or later, their usual time now as early as 4 PM, and only once does he cancel entirely. Kirishima spends the evening playing video games and feeling entirely too restless.

On the weekends Kirishima sleeps in and meets Bakugou in the afternoon for the day’s lesson plan. To his face, Kirishima calls them “heartless schemes and torture,” but “lesson plan” is accurate enough. They run, jump, climb, sit up, squat, and everything under the sun, but most of all, they spar.

They aren’t using quirks. By mutual agreement they’d decide it would get them in too much trouble, since a lot of this training occurs in local parks around the city, but they work on their hand to hand almost daily, switching rules in and out, like only using one arm, or only counting certain types of pins for points.

One afternoon they flop down in the grass, panting and taking long pulls from their water bottles. Kirishima pokes his own arm and whines.

“What.”

“Dude,” he complains. “You’re thinning me out! I’m losing muscle mass with all this running and stuff.” Bakugou actually frowns at this, furrowing his brows the way Kirishima knows he does when he’s thinking.

“Fuck, we probably should be incorporating more lifting, this is gonna fuck me up too,” he says. “I’m definitely not paying for a gym membership just so I can go with you though, when the school has one already. That you can’t use. Fuck.”

“Actually,” Kirishima says. “I don’t use a gym.” Bakugou lifts an eyebrow.

“What the hell do you lift?” he asks, and that’s how Bakugou winds up at Kirishima’s house.

 


 

He shows Bakugou around first, giving him a brief tour to familiarize him with the layout. He walks into Kirishima’s room and whistles. Kirishima scratches the back of his neck.

It’s not anything crazy, but he does have a heavy bag suspended from the ceiling, a rack of weights, and an adjustable weight bench. He’d gotten rid of his dresser to fit it all, managing to shove most of his clothes into the closet, his parents graciously letting him take over the hall closets as well.

“Not bad,” Bakugou says, and Kirishima beams.

“We can also drag stuff outside if he ever need, I’ve got a big backyard,” he says, and leads Bakugou to the back door.

“Who are your neighbors?” Bakugou asks, apropos of nothing.

“Um…I don’t really know?” Kirishima says. “They,” he points to the house to their left, “Are almost always away on business or something. And that house,” he points to the right, “is up for sale. No one lives there.”

“So no one who’d call the cops, and everyone else is probably far enough away to not give a shit.”

“Call the cops?”

“If we start sparring with our quirks.”

Kirishima beams even brighter.

 


 

Bakugou finally meets his parents that night, greeting Kirishima’s moms almost neutrally just when he’s on his way out and they’re on their way in. Kirishima does the introductions, and Bakugou grunts and nods and mutters “see you tomorrow, Shitty Hair,” and slouches down the walk, and Kirishima’s moms make fun of him for the next hour.

“This is the boy who tutors you?” his mom asks, a teasing note in her voice.

“And convinces you to get out of bed at four in the morning?” his mama adds. “A miracle worker in the flesh!”

“Stop,” he begs them, “He already puts me through the wringer without you two adding in!”

His moms relent. “But you two are friends, though, right Eijirou?” his mama asks gently, and Kirishima grins.

“Yeah,” he says. “We really, really are!”

 


 

And that becomes their new normal. Weekday study/training and weekend training/study, and on a good half of the days they end up at Kirishima’s, using the weights, sparring in the yard, and Bakugou staying for dinner.

One day, Kirishima walks up to Bakugou in the park to find him screaming something into his phone before abruptly hanging up.

“Dude, you okay?” he asks. “Who was that?” Bakugou sighs.

“My shitty mom,” he groans. “You’re coming over tonight.”

Kirishima gets the okay from his moms, who by now have an enormous soft spot for Bakugou, if only for how he puts Kirishima through his paces.  After they’re done studying they head in the opposite direction as Kirishima’s.

“We working out at yours?” Kirishima asks.

“We’re taking an off day. I don’t have any good shit at my place and my parents are enough of a pain in the ass by themselves.”

“An off day? Blasty, I didn’t think you were capable,” Kirishima laughs, dodging the swipe at his head. He doesn’t manage to avoid the follow up and by the time they’re walking up to the door, he’s locked in a chokehold under Bakugou’s arm.

The door swings open before Bakugou can release him or reach to open it himself. “Aha,” says a woman who must be Bakugou’s mother, since he’s her spitting image. “So this is the boy my boy can tolerate.”

“Does this look like tolerance!” Bakugou demands, tightening his grip.

“Ma’am,” Kirishima says seriously, meeting her eyes as best he can, given the terrible angle his neck is at. “He adores me.”

Bakugou’s face transforms into one of such outrage that Kirishima’s own laughter throws them off balance, dragging them off the step. That’s how Masaru finds them minutes later, Kirishima laughing into Bakugou’s threats and Mitsuki laughing over them both.

 


 

After dinner, Bakugou herds Kirishima away from his parents, who were grilling him over Bakugou’s treatment of him throughout the whole meal.

Kirishima answered them honestly, which meant he praised Bakugou’s dedication and skill quite a bit (Bakugou is awesome and I have never been so fit in my life! Plus, like, I know so much hero history now?), but for some reason that seemed to twist Bakugou’s expression even more.

Kirishima studies the back of his head and hazards a guess.

“So what’s your class like?” he asks.

“Hah?”

“What’s 1-A like? What are the people like? You see them every day and I never hear a word.”

Bakugou whips around on the stairs, almost knocking Kirishima backwards. “First of all,” he says, voice low, “it’s not ‘your class,’ it’s our class. And second of all, they’re a bunch of B-list losers who aren’t worth my time.” He continues up the stairs.

“Damn,” Kirishima whistles. “Names and quirks?” Bakugou pauses at a doorway.

“…Dunno.”

“D-you don’t know?! Dude, it’s been a month and a half!”

“They’re not worth my fucking time.”

“You’re not friends with any of them?”

Bakugou grinds his teeth. “No,” he grits out, entering the room and throwing himself onto the bed. Kirishima follows him in and sits cross-legged next to his knees.

“Well,” he hums. “I bet they would be friends with you. If you let them.”

“Fuck them,” Bakugou mutters into the arm thrown across his face. “Of course they would.”

Kirishima hums again and reaches over to squeeze Bakugou’s ankle, hoping it doesn’t provoke him. His shoulders stiffen up, but that’s all, and when Kirishima lets go he risks it and says, “You should try it.”

Bakugou doesn’t answer, so Kirishima glances around the room. “Wow,” he says. “All Might fan, huh.”

That definitely provokes him.

 


 

Somehow, Kirishima manages to learn more and more about Bakugou. Not that he thought he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, but he’s surprised at how much Bakugou surrenders on his own. The day he tells Kirishima about his relationship with a kid named Deku, their classmate (and Bakugou has been very insistent that it’s Kirishima’s class as well), Kirishima nods seriously and says only “I hope you two can work it out.” Kirishima prods him for more information about the others in 1-A and Bakugou slowly begins to report in more detail. It’s still strictly observational, not giving away a hint of personal interaction, but hey, at least he’s beginning to take some stuff in.

“You know,” Kirishima says cheerfully one night in Bakugou’s room. Bakugou had consented to a study break and was now flipping through old comic books, and Kirishima is trying to distract him past his self-imposed 15-minute time limit. “My friend Mina is in our class!”

“Fucking who?”

“Mina! Dude, there’s no way you’ve missed her. She is literally pink.”

“Oh, Black Eyes.”

“Ashido Mina, yeah. We went to junior high together. She’s always been a hero-type, so I’m not surprised at all she’s at UA. I’m hype to see her in school!” Bakugou’s expression has taken on a stormy quality, something worse than his usual intolerance of their classmates. “Dude, what’s up?”

“Nothing,” he spits. “Glad you’re so fucking excited to hang out with fuckin’ Ashido Mina.” He’s glaring holes through his comic book.

“Well, yeah, but what’s your problem?” Kirishima asks, trying not to be offended.

Nothing.”

Kirishima searches his face, still turned away. He could be wrong, but…he’s pretty sure he isn’t. He reaches out with both hands and wraps them around one of Bakugou’s. “Blasty,” he says smiling. “You know you’re still gonna be my favorite.”

Bakugou whips his head up to glare.

“I’m serious dude, you’re my best friend.”

Bakugou continues to glare, but just for a moment, Kirishima feels it. Bakugou squeezes his hand back.

Then he rips is out of Kirishima’s grip, with added sparkler-like bursts for show. “Shut the fuck up you sap, and get back to work.”

“Damn,” Kirishima sighs, and tugs his textbook back over.

 


 

The next weekend, Bakugou takes him hiking. “It’s about eleven miles,” Bakugou tells him the day before. “Nothing strenuous.”

“Nothing strenuous,” Kirishima repeats, thinking eleven miles. “Can you define that?”

Bakugou reflects on this. “I don’t need my climbing gear,” he says. And then, “Put your ass down, that’s not how you plank.”

It turns out he’s right about it not being that strenuous, though, since Kirishima is okay even in his running shoes. But the terrain still isn’t even, shifting his footing constantly, and by the time they’ve made it to the top sweat is rolling down his back, trapped by his shirt and the drawstring bag he has stuffed with water bottles and chips. He’s always grabbing an extra water bottle these days, and he tosses one now to Bakugou.

“Why are we hiking?” he asks Bakugou.

“What the fuck do you mean, why are we hiking,” Bakugou grouses into the lip of the bottle. “Conditioning, balance, pacing, navigating varying terrain, take your fucking pick.” He settles himself on a rock, and as Kirishima watches, he closes his eyes and turns his face to the breeze. His hair shifts with it, his shoulders rolling back in relaxation.

“And also you just like it,” Kirishima guesses, taking a seat on the ground next to him.

Bakugou presses the side of his calf to Kirishima’s knee. “And also I just really fucking like it,” he agrees.

 


 

They’re walking down the sidewalk away from the library, headed towards the park to do some running before heading their separate ways. “So,” Kirishima says. “This is it.”

“What the fuck are you talking about now?”

“This is our last week before my exam,” Kirishima says. “It’s on Friday.” Today is Monday.

“Yeah, and don’t think we’re not doing practice tests every single day up ‘til then.” He doesn’t change tone or even turn to look at Kirishima but all of a sudden Kirishima can’t keep going. He stops.

Bakugou continues another few paces before he seems to realize he’s lost him and spins. “What?”

“I just…don’t know if I can do this,” Kirishima says quietly.

What?”

“I don’t know-”

“No, I heard you, shit-for-brains. I mean what the fuck are you talking about?! What the hell have we been working on the last two months?!”

“You don’t get it,” Kirishima says desperately. “Me, my quirk, what if I’m not a hero?!” There are tears gathering in his eyes, and he struggles to wipe them before they fall.

A hand seizes his sleeve and drags him into an alleyway, shoving his back to a wall. Kirishima blinks up to find Bakugou squared in front of him, jaw set and eyes blazing.

“Explain,” he says, so Kirishima does.

After he’s finished haltingly spitting out the experience he’s still ashamed of from middle school and pointing out the weaknesses of his quirk, how he lacks the components of a hero mentally and physically, he looks up to find Bakugou still staring straight at him with that same expression.

“You done?” he asks. Kirishima nods. “First off, I don’t give a shit that you think you’re not a hero because of that bullshit. That was then, this is now.”

“But-” Kirishima tries to argue, but he’s cut off.

“No, fuck you! You were scared of a villain! You were so fucking scared of a villain that you couldn’t even move! And then what did you do!”

“Nothi-”

“You applied to a hero school!” Bakugou explodes. “So that you could face off against villains exactly like that and worse every day! Because you’re not a coward.” He jabs Kirishima in the chest. “And you’re not weak.” He jabs again. “A real weakling would have never done that. But you didn’t fucking quit. You’ve got exactly what it takes to be a hero and that’s what you’re gonna fucking be.”

He takes a step closer, putting them nearly chest to chest.

“Second of all,” he snaps. “Your quirk is not shitty. Your quirk is badass and strong as hell. It’s the second-best quirk out of everyone’s I know.”

“What’s the first?” Kirishima asks, the tiniest smile tugging at his mouth.

“Mine,” he declares, just as cocksure as Kirishima thought he’d be. “And whose quirk is your favorite?”

“Uh, yours-”

“Wrong. It’s your own.” Bakugou steps back. “That’s always your answer for that, understand? But! Don’t get me wrong!” He points an imperious finger at Kirishima’s face. “This is the only fucking time I’ll settle for second place!”

Kirishima knocks his hand away and steps in, throwing his arms around Bakugou’s neck. “Thanks,” he says, voice thick.

Bakugou’s hands creep to his shoulder blades. “Whatever, Kirishima” he growls. “We still have a run to do.”

 


 

Friday, the day of Kirishima’s exam, arrives at last. He wakes up a bundle of nerves. Bakugou had asked him, in his own abrasive way, if he wanted to skip their early morning run in favor of sleeping in, but honestly Kirishima thought the routine and the exercise would be better than anything else. And, well. He’d get to see Bakugou, obviously.

So he gets up, meets Bakugou, and they do their usual route, only without speaking. When they’ve circled back around and made to part ways, Bakugou reaches over and catches his shoulder, gripping it tight for a moment before letting go.

Kirishima takes a deep breath and smiles at him with all his teeth.

His exam is scheduled for directly after the school day, at 3:30, and is to be proctored by his would-be homeroom teacher, Aizawa Shouta. He arrives at the main office and is directed to an empty classroom where he’s seated in the middle seat of the front row. Aizawa walks in a few minutes later with a stack of papers.

“This is your written make-up exam, covering all the class material from the first two and a half months to determine if you will join the class this year or be forced to re-apply for acceptance." He says it like a script.

That had been the deal, Kirishima could defer his entry or he could bet it on this exam. Harsh, but he expected nothing less from UA.

Aizawa continues, “It will be administered in three two-hour sections, each followed by a ten minute break during which you can leave only to go to the bathroom. Expect to get out of here around 10 PM. You can’t move between sections, you can only work on the section specified during its two hours. I will announce when you have an hour, a half hour, fifteen minutes, five minutes, and one minute left.” He rolls his eyes. “You can have as many pencils as you want. I will be here the entire time, and you can ask me questions but I will not help you with the material. Any questions before we begin.”

“If I pass,” Kirishima asks. “Will this be my classroom?”

Aizawa considers him. “Yes,” he says.

Kirishima glances around. He grins.

“Let’s go.”

 


 

When the exam ends, Aizawa walks him out of the building, asking if he’s capable of getting himself home. Kirishima assures him that it’s fine, and exits the lobby, taking a deep but shaky breath of night air. He tilts his face back, eyes closed.

“Hey.”

He whirls, manfully doing his best not to shriek, and finds himself looking at Bakugou standing to the side of the doors.

“Oh my god you nearly gave me a heart attack,” he wheezes, clutching his chest. “What are you doing here?!”

“That would be really embarrassing,” Bakugou says blandly. “Passing your exams just to die on the steps from a heart attack.”

“Shut up,” Kirishima complains. “It’s after 10 and my brain is fried. And we don’t know if I passed.”

“Kirishima. You definitely fucking passed.” Kirishima has to smile at his confidence, no less dazzling just because it’s universal.

“We’ll see,” he hedges. “Seriously, what are you doing here?” Bakugou shrugs, stepping forward to bump his shoulder to Kirishima’s, turning them both to face the grounds.

“I figured if I left you alone you’d kill yourself overthinking. And it’s Friday, so it’s not like I need to be up early.” He starts to scuff at the ground before evidently catching himself and planting his foot. “I thought you could stay over at mine. If you wanted.”

Kirishima stares at the side of his head. “Let me text my moms.”

 


 

Later, they’re curled up in bed, too tired and too uncaring to blow up an air mattress or roll out a futon.

“When do you get your score?” Bakugou asks quietly, voice filtering through the small space between them.

“Sometime on Sunday. They’re going to call me. If I’m in, I have class Monday.”

Bakugou slides a hand forward in the dark, wrapping it around Kirishima’s wrist. “We still hanging out Sunday?”

“Definitely,” he breathes, and falls asleep like that, Bakugou’s fingers a warm circle around his arm.

 


 

Sunday morning rolls around, and Kirishima is practically glued to the phone. UA will call their landline, and he’s been snapping and snarling at his moms for going anywhere near it, then having to track them down to sheepishly apologize. They laugh him off every time, promising they understand and waving him back to his spot in the kitchen.

He’s meeting up with Bakugou at 1. He hopes they call before then, because he isn’t going to skip out if they haven’t but he will be miserable company, waiting for a message from his mom or mama.

He stares down the clock. It’s 11:52.

The phone rings.

 


 

“Bakugou!” a voice screams, cutting over the noise of the crowds on the sidewalk. People turn to look as a boy flies down the path, dodging around people, dogs, and strollers. “Bakugou!”

The crowd parts and Kirishima sees him, glaring down the sidewalk, trying to pinpoint his yelling. His eyes widen when he realizes Kirishima isn’t slowing down.

“Bakugou!” he screams a final time, and crashes bodily into him.

Bakugou stumbles back a few steps, sputtering “what the fuck, Kirishima.” He pushes at his shoulders, but he can’t dislodge the other boy from how he’s clinging to him, hands fisted in his hair.

“Bakugou! You’ll never believe it!” Kirishima gasps out. “I got…I got…”

“What! What the fuck did you get?!”

“I got an EIGHTY-FOUR,” Kirishima howls, drawing out the vowels in uncontrollable joy. People are definitely staring. “I’ve never gotten an eighty-four in my life!

Bakugou stops trying to push at his shoulders and it’s enough to get Kirishima to pull back to look at him. He knows his eyes are probably wet, his cheeks bright red. Bakugou’s hands fist against his sleeves. Kirishima waits. Bakugou’s eyes widen, his hands begin to shake.

“FUCK YES,” he screams, ten times louder than Kirishima.

 


 

They calm down a bit and get off the street, avoiding all the looks from strangers. “I know we were gonna work out probably, but my moms really wanna take me out for lunch!” Kirishima explains. “So if you want we can do that?”

“Sounds good,” Bakugou says, “but I’m making you run twice as long tomorrow.”

Kirishima draws up short. “What?” he asks.

“What?”

“We’re not…done?”

Bakugou’s expression goes slack, and then darkens to something awful.

“With the training!” Kirishima rushes to amend. “With the training outside of school! Since I’ll be in school!” Bakugou’s expression clears.

“I was doing it and I was in school,” he points out. “…We can probably lighten up, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t keep going.”

“Ah, good point!”

“Besides,” he slants a look at Kirishima. “You’ll definitely still need the tutoring.”

 


 

On Monday, Kirishima is practically vibrating with tension. He has to get there early to pick up his uniform, change, and talk to the office, so he arrives by himself and winds up being introduced around the teachers’ room.

“We’ve all been cheering for you, kid,” Present Mic laughs. “God knows I wouldn’t have passed an exam that long.”

“You’re all terrible influences,” Aizawa tells his coworkers as the bell for homeroom rings. He starts shepherding Kirishima out the door. “Come on.”

When they arrive at the classroom, Aizawa stops him at the door with a hand on his shoulder, and walks in. The din from inside quiets considerably, and Kirishima hears him speak.

“As you’ve been told, we have a student joining our class from today on. He was meant to start at the beginning of the year but due to extenuating circumstances has begun late. He’s caught up on material, but try to integrate him into your lives otherwise. With any luck, you’ll be working together one day.” His head pokes out the door. “Introduce yourself.”

Kirishima walks in, eyes wide and looking all around the room. He recognizes a few people from the entrance exam, and he obviously spots Ashido in a heartbeat, biting his smile back at her enthusiastic wave. He’s surprised by how many people he feels like he could pick out from Bakugou’s rants, even if he’s recognizing them as “Half-and-Half,” or “Ponytail.”

“Hi!” he says. “My name is Kirishima Eijirou! I’m super pumped to be here and I can’t wait to get to know all of you!” He flashes the biggest grin he can, spotting Bakugou’s rolled eyes. Aizawa directs him to an empty seat near the middle of the room.

“I’m starting the lecture immediately so that you can’t get a chance to start talking to him and derail me,” he says before anyone can as much as turn to Kirishima. “If you speak to him before break, I’ll think about expelling you.”

“But sir!” the blond boy in front of Kirishima says. “How will we integrate him into our lives like that!”

“Kaminari, what did I just say.”

“Not to speak to him?”

“In your case, I’m going to make that not to speak at all. You can talk at break.” The boy slumps in his seat, and Kirishima watches Mina lean over to punch his arm and snicker. She twists around to grin at him and he grins back before pulling out a notebook and facing front.

This is perhaps the best day of his life.

 


 

Well, it’s almost the best day of his life. It probably is, but he’d be absolutely sure if he had a chance to talk to Bakugou. He wanted to go over during the break, but during all their class changes he’d been overwhelmed by their classmates, all eager to speak with him.

He can’t be mad about that, though, and he eagerly collects everyone’s names and starts filing them away against the information Bakugou has provided.

Even during lunch he’s kidnapped by Mina, who eagerly re-introduces him to half the class (“Kirishima and I went to junior high together! You’re gonna love him!”). He’s not surprised she’s a major component of multiple social circles, just as at ease with the girls as she is with the guys. Her, Kaminari, and a guy named Sero seem close, and Kirishima can see himself getting into trouble with them any day now.

“So what’s your quirk?” he asks almost everyone, gushing over their responses and demonstrations before scrambling back to his seat for the next class. Everyone is excited to show him, and he privately thinks that it’s partially because they’re all used to each other by now, and he’s a brand new audience. And, hey, they are all really cool. They’re worth showing off.

But none of them are his favorite.

He shoots glances at Bakugou throughout the day, his eyes skipping over to him during their breaks, but he doesn’t get a chance to make his way over and Bakugou doesn’t approach him, probably not wanting to deal with a crowd of excitable classmates. At some point they catch him looking.

“Ah, Bakugou?” Uraraka notes, puffing her cheeks out. “He’s really powerful, but he can be kind of a jerk. I’d avoid him.”

“Yeah, Kiri,” Mina agrees leaning over and frowning. “He’s got a temper and he’s violent. Stay out of his way.”

“He’s got major issues with Midoriya especially,” Kaminari whispers. “I honestly think one day he’s gonna incinerate the whole classroom.”

“Sounds interesting,” Kirishima says, half amused and half annoyed. And another half concerned. He knows that’s not sound mathematically, but he’s a feelings guy, clearly. “But he’s a hero too, so I’m sure it’ll all be fine.” They look like they want to argue with him, maybe tell some horror stories, but a new class period is beginning and the class president, Iida, is ushering them back to their places.

He finally gets his chance during the second to last break of the day, slipping away from Mina, Hagakure, and Satou to approach Bakugou’s desk.

“Hey!” he greets, rounding the aisle to stand next to Bakugou. “I think I’ve managed to talk to everyone but you.”

Bakugou twists to look at him, chin propped on a fist. “So what,” he says, voice flat. Kirishima can see a bit of humor in his expression, and understands where it’s coming from. He feels like the two of them are in on some inside joke that no one else knows exists.

It is a little uncomfortable, though, because Kirishima can feel everyone getting just a little quieter, a little more anxious, turning to watch how this plays out.

Midoriya takes a small step forward, and before Bakugou can latch onto that, Kirishima grins. “So let’s talk!”

There’s a pause. “Shitty Hair,” Bakugou says, uncurling the fist under his chin to open his palm. Kirishima thinks it’s genuinely funny how Bakugou inverts that symbolism, that a fist is dangerous and an open palm means peace. Kirishima is seconds away from slapping Bakugou’s hand in a high five, just because he knows how irritating Bakugou finds it, when the next teacher walks in.

There’s a palpable sigh of relief from the class.

“Well come on,” Midnight says. “Take your seats.” And Kirishima steps back, smiling at Bakugou as he goes.

 


 

They have a PE period as the last period of the day, all of them using the break to rush down to the locker rooms and change before heading outside to meet Aizawa. Bakugou’s been telling him that they’ve been ending the day with various skill exercises, like obstacle courses or rope climbing, before recording trials of certain exercises to track their progress week to week.

Kirishima walks into a courtyard with Kaminari and Sero. They’re the last to arrive because they took the time to show Kirishima every bathroom and vending machine between their classroom and the locker room, enthusiastically commentating on them all.

Kirishima spots Bakugou at the front of the group, waiting with the rest for Aizawa to finish consulting his notes. “Hold up, guys,” he says to Kaminari and Sero. “I gotta finally say hi!”

“Kirishima, wait,” Kaminari says immediately, but Kirishima has already set forth, excusing himself as he brushes past people to get to the front.

He walks up behind Bakugou, who’s got his arms crossed, staring tightly at the rope course behind Aizawa, definitely already assessing.

He leans his right shoulder against the center of Bakugou’s back, his chest lining up with Bakugou’s left shoulder. He hears the simultaneous gasp that rips through the class. He hooks his chin over Bakugou’s shoulder, lining up their faces.

“What’s up?” he says.

“Kirishima!” someone hisses.

“Can you see this thing’s secrets yet?” he asks, nodding his chin at the ropes course and bumping Bakugou’s cheek.

“If I say no, will you stop annoying me?” Bakugou says, voice low.

“Kirishima,” Aizawa says. “That reminds me, before we begin, you should demonstrate your quirk to the class if you haven’t already. You should all be familiar with what you’re working with.”

“No problem!” he chirps, straightening up and hearing the ripple of tension disappearing from everyone at his back. And oh, he just cannot resist that type of invitation. He slings his arm around Bakugou’s shoulder and spins them both around to face the others.

He gives them a split second to all blink confusedly before he twists inwards and blows a raspberry against Bakugou’s cheek.

Bakugou’s reaction time is, as always, impeccable. In an instant he has two hands on Kirishima’s face and in another instant they’re detonating against his skull.

A couple people scream.

As the smoke clears, he half hears the class babbling, someone asking about someone else named Recovery Girl, and a few variations of oh my god, is he dead? Did Bakugou just kill the new kid?

But mostly he hears himself laughing hysterically and Bakugou screaming in his ear.

Everyone else must begin to hear that too. Kirishima can just barely see them past the cage of Bakugou’s arms, which are still attached to his head but just shaking him now as Bakugou continues.

“Kirishima, you shitty-haired bastard, I can’t take you out in public for five minutes without you being the most obnoxious fucking fuck on the goddamn planet, I oughtta murder you!”

Kirishima gets his laughter under control. “God damn, Blasty, don’t pile it on or anything.” He releases his quirk, unhardening and cracking his neck, which finally dislodges Bakugou’s grip on his head.

“Kirishima,” Aizawa says behind him, sounding very much like he’s pinching the bridge of his nose. “You didn’t necessarily need to offer a live demonstration.”

“Oh, sorry, sir. I thought you meant to show what it does!” Bakugou swats him over the back of the head.

The rest of the class is staring at them in stunned silence, gape-mouthed. “Do you…know each other?” Yaoyorozu asks weakly.

“Sure!” Kirishima confirms brightly. “Bakugou’s the reason I’m here! I had to take a bunch of make-up exams, and he’s been tutoring me every day for like two months!”

What?!

“You would’ve gotten in without me,” Bakugou mutters at him, but it’s on the very tail end of the class’s collective outburst and therefore perfectly audible. Everyone’s staring at Bakugou like they’ve never seen him before.

“K-Kacchan…”Midoriya says, and Kirishima freezes.

“Kacchan?” he asks, delighted. “Kacchan?

No.

How did I not know about this?! Can I call you-”

“NO!” Bakugou detonates two palms against Kirishima’s actual rock-hard abs.

“Just Katsuki, then?”

“Kirishima, I will end your fucking life and I won’t even feel the tiniest bit bad. I won’t even apologize to your moms.” Kirishima laughs in his face. He drops his quirk and feels Bakugou’s hands spasm at the feeling of his actual stomach.

Aizawa jams his notes into some hidden pocket. “Rope course,” he says loudly. “Please just go.”

Bakugou throws his arm around Kirishima’s neck and drags them off towards it. “I am going to beat your ass at this, you fuck. I am going to have you begging for fucking mercy at the sight of my superiority.”

“I dunno,” Kirishima laughs, waving a little at the still-motionless class behind them. “I had a really good tutor.”