It's a stupidly calm and blessed Friday afternoon when Bakugou, entirely unprompted, murmurs "Am I a bad person?"
Automatically, Kirishima sits up, setting down his phone with the really intriguing Wiki article he'd been reading. The sun was gentle, the air was crisp, and the only sounds in Kirishima's room had been the gentle hum of the AC and whatever else the other U.A. students were doing beyond and below his balcony. So Bakugou's very out of nowhere statement has him alarmed, entirely out of character from his explosive friend. He turns in his chair, having been seated at his desk, and almost makes eye contact before Bakugou is ducking his head enough to shade the top half of his expression, leaving little to read besides the typical pull of his frown.
"Wha . . ? Of course not man. What's gotten into you?"
Bakugou doesn't reply at first, staring down at his fists and Kirishima watches as he slowly clenches them, finger by finger, in his lap. Then- "I know I'm unpleasant and all. I really don't give two shits about that. But am I a bad person?"
"I- I thought you didn't care what others thought about you?"
Wrong choice of words. "I don't," Bakugou barks, lips curled into a snarl and eyes flashing crimson. But then the edge leaves him once more and he slumps against Kirishima's pillows looking defeated, for lack of a better description. "I just . . . Want a second opinion, that's all, hair for brains."
Damn, this must be serious then, Kirishima thinks. Bakugou rarely voices stuff like that, much less asks for his opinion.
Okay, scratch that, he's asked for Kirishima's opinion plenty of times. But only for trivial stuff like "What'd you make of these, shitty hair?" Or "How's that for proud, huh?" Or "Oi Kiri, what the FUCK do you think Pikachu's tryna do?" Very rarely to never does Bakugou genuienly seek out anything other than his own intellect and ideals.
Kirishima takes a moment to glance out at the balcony, trying to buy time enough to gather his words before Bakugou looses his nerve all together and storms out of the room. He looks back, taking in the subtle shaking of Bakugou's fists (most likely from suppressed explosions) and opens his mouth.
"I think you have room for improvement."
The air thickens insufferably, choking and utterly unbreathable. Kirishima watches as Bakugou's jaw tenses, watches the way his hands glow with sparks (and he's secretly proud at the blatant show of restraint and respect, Bakugou actively trying not to set what must be his 7th set of bed sheets aflame) before forging on.
"I mean, you're awesome man, don't get me wrong. You're strong, confident, smart"- by now Kirishima has physically brought his hands up to tick things off on his fingers, leaned back in his chair - "you don't settle for anything but the best, and you've got a lot of traits me and the gang admire you for." At this he pauses, taking a breath.
"But man, you have to learn to let things go."
Finally, finally Bakugou lifts his head up, eyes meeting Kirishima's, and that's all it takes for him to rise from his chair and climb onto his bed, making absolutely sure they maintain eye contact. "Like, yeah people can be assholes sometimes. But you shouldn't take everything so personal. The world's huge bro, and not everything revolves around you. Sure, Denki can be a bit much, but you can't go tearing him down every time he does something less than perfect. Or, like, when others are tryna be their best and become an awesome hero. It doesn't mean they specifically want to surpass you. It just means they want to be their most awesome self possible."
Kirishima's breath is measured, such tiny nuances he scolds his friend for on the daily finally out in the open in a way that makes him think his words might finally sink into all that unruly ashen hair after all. "So no, you're not a bad person, like, at all. But you do have room to grow."
Bakugou's gaze is unwavering, but so is Kirishima's, and as his words sink into the mattress, Kirishima gets to see the moment something clicks in Bakugou's brilliant mind.
"You think I take things too personally." Like half of what Bakugou says, it's poised as a statement, not a question, but Kirishima nods none the less. Bakugou takes in a long, slow breath, like he's debating something, before his frown finally drops into something practically unrecognizable: tired, heavy acceptance.
He slumps forward, resting his forehead on Kirishima's shoulder, and Kirishima brings his arms up and around his bro's shoulders. They stay like that, in a quiet bubble, until Bakugou's hands have stopped popping and his fingers carefully uncurl. "Thank you," Bakugou mumbles into the space between them, open and honest and judgement free.
"Of course man. Anytime."