"Annoying me won't get it done faster," Bakugou groused, although he didn't make any move to actually shoulder Kirishima back.
"Mm, is that what I'm doing?" Kirishima said, edges of his words soft with exhaustion. He kept his arms snug around Bakugou's waist, hardening his forearms just a bit in case of oil splatter, watching over Bakugou's shoulder as Bakugou methodically fried karaage three or four pieces at a time. Bakugou didn't answer, or alter his rhythm, chopsticks smoothly flipping over half-fried pieces or picking up new floured ones to slide into the oil.
Kirishima's kitchen smelled like frying and a little bit burnt, good homey smells, and Bakugou was warm and relaxed against him. Kirishima focused on being just here, just now, on taking one breath after another, slow and deep.
Bakugou was almost out of chicken pieces before he asked, "Day that bad?"
"Wasn't good." Kirishima closed his eyes and pressed his forehead in against the curve of Bakugou's neck, grateful for his centimeters of height advantage that made it comfortable. "I'm okay."
"I'll be okay."
"Liars don't get karaage for lunch tomorrow."
Kirishima snorted softly. "Haveta eat it all tonight, I guess. My hard life." Before Bakugou could argue further and probably win, Kirishima asked, "How was your interview?"
"Didn't argue with the boss," Bakugou reported, shifting pieces of karaage around on the paper towel to make room for the last few pieces. "Went on a patrol. Met everyone at afternoon meeting."
"Sounds like it went well. You gonna take it if they offer it to you?"
Bakugou paused, chopsticks hovering above the frying oil, for a long second before he said a quiet, "No."
"No?" Kirishima let go finally so that he could come around to see Bakugou's face, leaning back against the kitchen counter. "Hm? You didn't fight anybody, the area's great for exposure, their reputation's good…what?" Bakugou muttered something incomprehensible over the noise of the stove's fan. "What?"
"It's too far," Bakugou snapped, louder. "Commute's too far. Was like an hour off-peak, during rush hour, forget it."
"That's all?" Kirishima laughed. "Katsuki, you baby. If it's that bad, I'm sure they have company housing, just drop your lease here, you're barely ever there anyway."
"Because I'm here," Bakugou snapped. "The problem isn't my shitty apartment!"
"I know," Kirishima kept his voice light even though the idea of Bakugou being practically a prefecture over was not at all pleasant. "But it wouldn't be forever, even six months there would probably boost you a dozen ranking spots. We can see each other on off-days. Or we'll be distance for a bit, lots of hero couples do it at some point." Bakugou's scowl was getting darker and darker as Kirishima felt for the edge of the argument. "Or I could come out there with you."
"Don't," Bakugou snarled, slamming his chopsticks down on the counter. "Don't fucking do that. You have it so good here, you're popular, you love mentoring, practically running a satellite office, don't you fucking dare!"
"Yeah, but." Kirishima shrugged a shoulder. "Then you can't tell me you're saying no to a better gig just for me, either." Bakugou shrugged angrily, reaching to turn the stovetop off. "C'mon, talk to me. You don't think we could handle distance?"
"No," Bakugou said bluntly, which had just enough time to dig sharp-tipped claws in Kirishima's chest before Bakugou added, "I can't. I barely handled that six-week exchange internship you did summer of third year, and that was important rescue training shit! You're worth a hell of a lot more than some shitty short-term job just to pump up my fucking rank!"
"Babe, that might be the most romantic thing you've ever said to me," Kirishima said, teasing to hide the way his heart had skipped half a dozen beats at least.
"Fuck off," Bakugou said gruffly, but he let Kirishima gather him into a tight hug. He muttered into Kirishima's chest, "M'not taking it."
"The fucking food's getting cold."
Eventually Bakugou peeled Kirishima off so they could eat, setting at Kirishima's wobbly low table with bowls of fried chicken and rice and iced barley tea, which they both pretended made the inconsistent air-conditioning bearable. They stuffed their faces through the start of the evening hero news, sitting too close, bumping knees and elbows.
When the news went to commercial, Kirishima cleared his throat. "Even if you aren't taking it, we could still look for a new place. Together."
"Fucking finally," Bakugou agreed so quickly that Kirishima blinked at him. "I want a decent kitchen and a doorman, for packages and shit."
"I…" Kirishima started laughing and put down his chopsticks to bury his face in his hands. "Yeah. Whatever you want."
Bakugou pulled one of Kirishima's hands down by the wrist to kiss the corner of his mouth. "Glad you're seeing it my way."