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Worth a Thousand Words

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Prologue: 

Kirishima burst through Bakugou’s door without even knocking, groaning melodramatically in lieu of a greeting as he made his way over to where Bakugou was currently sitting on the bed. He had his back against the wall and his computer balanced precariously on his knees, an open notebook and a few loose pages spread out next to him. He didn’t even flinch as the door ricocheted off the wall, though he was probably used to the noise since that seemed to be his signature way of entering any room.

Bakugou shifted his legs when he got close enough, giving Kirishima just enough room to flop on top of the covers while still groaning as he mashed his face into the pillow. A small weight settled comfortably on Kirishima’s back as Bakugou returned his legs to their original position, or as much as they could with Kirishima now taking up half of the bed.

 “How was your day?” Bakugou asked as soon as the groans stopped, to which Kirishima answered with an even louder groan. “I see.”

Once he finally felt capable of forming actual words, Kirishima adjusted his head so his voice wouldn’t be muffled by the pillow and asked, “Do you want to watch something?”

“I’ve got to finish this paperwork tonight,” Bakugou answered distractedly, his eyes still glued to his computer screen. Disappointment shot through Kirishima but it was short lived as Bakugou continued, “So put on anything but Paranormal Mafia.”

“It’s not that bad,” Kirishima snorted as he reached for the remote, only for Bakugou to dig the heel of his foot into his back in response.

“You put that trash on my tv one more time and I will throw both it and you out the window,” Bakugou threatened. “Got it?”

“Got it!” Kirishima said. “Maybe we can watch Paranormal Pawn Stars instead? I mean, it is the mafia aspect of the show that you don’t care for, right? Either way, we can’t go wrong with a good, ol’ fashioned Paranormal Pets!”

“Please tell me that is not a real thing,” Bakugou deadpanned.

“I think you’re really gonna like it,” Kirishima said, struggling not to laugh. “One episode had someone who was haunted by a giraffe!”

Silence was the only response Kirishima got for a few moments before Bakugou said, through what was presumably clenched teeth, “Sounds great.”

The absolute defeat in Bakugou’s voice was what finally broke Kirishima. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” he laughed, sentences coming out in two- to three-word intervals as he struggled to breathe. “You just- It’s not- Can you even imagine the types of people who would be on a show like that?”

“I hate you.”

“You’re just so gullible sometimes!” Kirishima hooted. “I don’t understand it!”

“You make us watch stupid shit all the time! How would I have known that Paranormal Pets isn’t a real show?” Bakugou snapped, causing Kirishima to start laughing even harder. He got another heel in the back until he finally calmed down and flipped the tv to a familiar movie, settling into a more comfortable position.

Bakugou remained where he was, legs draped over Kirishima with his computer on his lap as he continued to work. The sun was just starting to set, casting a warm light in the room that worked in perfect combination with Bakugou’s steady presence to ease all the stress and irritation of the day away. Fingers would absentmindedly thrum along Kirishima’s back every now and then, matching a beat that only Bakugou could hear before his hand would return to the keyboard.

It wasn’t until Kirishima was startled awake by a loud noise from the tv that he even realized he had drifted off in the first place. A myriad of curse words that were barely discernable followed as the warm weight across his back shifted.

“Goddamn, stupid-ass bump music,” Bakugou griped as he reached across Kirishima to grab something that had been near his hand. The remote, Kirishima lazily noted as the room went dark.

“W’time is it?” Kirishima yawned.

“Shhhhhhhhhhut the fuck up,” Bakugou shushed him.

Kirishima let out a huff of laughter at the simple hushing turning into such an aggressive command. “Are you going to bed soon?” he asked as he tried to sit up, knowing full well that if he were to fall back asleep right now he wouldn’t be able to get back to his room tonight.

But Bakugou clearly didn’t care, stubbornly locking his legs so Kirishima couldn’t move. All Kirishima managed to do was change his position so he was now on his back, which only served to make him more comfortable. “If you stopped acting like a damn mental patient who’s been committed against his will I might be able to finish my work at a reasonable time,” Bakugou scolded.

“’Kay,” Kirishima said, having a hard time remembering why he wanted to leave in the first place. He was warm, and relaxed, and the soft clicks from Bakugou’s keyboard were luring him back to sleep. “Just gonna…rest my eyes…for a little.”

“Uh huh,” Bakugou said in an almost condescending tone. “You go ahead and do that.”

“Wake me up when you-”

“Goodnight,” Bakugou said forcefully.

The sound of Bakugou’s computer shutting down was what woke Kirishima up the second time. He blinked his eyes open to see Bakugou closing the lid of his laptop before handing it over to him once he saw Kirishima was awake.

“Desk. Or floor,” he added. “Too tired to care.”

“All done?” Kirishima asked as he blearily made sure he didn’t miss the desk and send the laptop clattering to the hardwood floor, which he had unfortunately done in the past.

“Yeah,” Bakugou answered.

“Bedtime?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Alarm?”

“Five.”

Kirishima groaned. “Too early.”

“Too bad,” Bakugou said as he shoved Kirishima over.

Not out.

Just over.

Too tired to question his luck, Kirishima’s eyes closed once again. “Okay. Nighty, night.”

“No, not nighty, night, you bastard,” Bakugou said. Kirishima was on the precipice of falling back asleep so he didn’t have the energy to form words, humming a questioning tone instead. “You’re on the sheets.”

Bakugou didn’t even wait for Kirishima to respond before he started tugging the comforter out from underneath his body.

“Kaaaaatsukiiiii,” Kirishima whined, doing nothing to help the situation.

When he finally got the sheets free, Bakugou wrapped himself up in them and turned his back towards Kirishima. “Guess who doesn’t get any blankets now ‘cause he’s an asshole.”

“Oh no, whatever shall I do?” Kirishima mumbled groggily as he reached over and tugged both the buddle of sheets and Bakugou towards him. He wrapped his arms around a now thrashing Bakugou and burrowed his head into his shoulder.

“Comfortable?” Bakugou snarked.

“Mmm, yes,” Kirishima answered as he dodged an elbow to the face. “Are you?”

“No,” was the immediate response he got, followed by a foot to the stomach and a snort. “Okay, now I am.”

Bakugou was still wrapped up in Kirishima’s arms once he finally settled down, much to Kirishima’s delight. Sure, they had fallen asleep on one another during movie nights or after late missions before, but never in such a private setting like one of their bedrooms. He was glad that Bakugou was facing the wall or he would have gotten an eyeful of Kirishima’s dopey grin.

That excitement suddenly soured into dread as he realized just what kind of situation he had gotten himself into. While Kirishima would love nothing more than to go to sleep every night like this, he knew that Bakugou felt differently about their friendship. A good case in point being that what Bakugou and Kirishima had was only a friendship and nothing more.

Kirishima was just about to pull away and head to his own room when he was startled from his thoughts.

“We’re going to an arcade tomorrow,” Bakugou stated, almost as if this was something they had talked about beforehand despite Kirishima knowing this was the first he’d heard of these plans.

Kirishima’s brain screeched to a halt, struggling to shift gears. Mere seconds ago he had been panicking over how to keep a respectable, friendly distance from Bakugou, and now Kirishima was nearly jumping with joy over the prospect of spending an entire day with him. “Oh, are we now?” he finally settled on as an appropriate response.

“What?” Bakugou barked out. “You got better plans?”

“No,” Kirishima said as he relaxed back into the bed, his earlier worries having all but disappeared. “Where are we going?”

“This place in the Tertiary District,” Bakugou said. “Was given a shit ton of tokens as a thank you and HR finally got back to me and said they’re legally mine, so-”

“What? What does legality have to do with game tokens? And why did you…,” Kirishima started to question before trailing off, deciding he would just get the full story tomorrow when he was more awake. “What time are we leaving?”

“Whenever your lazy ass gets out of bed.”

“So, never?” Kirishima joked as he let out an unintentional yawn.

“Eijirou,” Bakugou threatened.

“Okay, okay,” Kirishima said. “We’ll leave at the first sign of dawn. When the rooster crows, we shall set out into the city to-”

Bakugou turned around and clamped his hand over Kirishima’s mouth. “It’s too late for me to be dealing with this bullshit, okay?” he said.

Kirishima’s small chuckle was apparently a good enough answer for Bakugou since he turned back around, this time with his back firmly against Kirishima’s chest. Kirishima didn’t even try to stop the idiotic grin from returning as he pulled Bakugou impossibly closer, relishing in the exasperated huff that earned him.

“Nighty, night.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Bakugou replied under his breath, shifting only enough so that Kirishima’s arm was no longer awkwardly trapped underneath them.

***

Ashido was lounging across the couch, scrolling through her phone with increasing agitation.

“No, no, no, no, NO!” she said, throwing her phone down in exaggerated disgust. “How do I not have a single good group picture of us all?”

“I liked the one of us in front of the clock,” Hagakure suggested.

“Yeah, but,” Ashido said as she made a show of picking her phone back up and scrolling to the picture in question. “Denki’s not looking at the camera and Satou and Shouji’s heads aren’t even in the shot. At least Eiji had the courtesy of ducking down, but now he just looks like he broke his back.” There was a long pause as she just stared at the photo. “When did these boys get so tall?” she said with a shake of her head. 

“I’ve always been tall,” Shouji said indignantly.

“Then you should know how to take a proper picture!”

“And why exactly is this so important to you?” Kaminari asked from the other side of the room, currently engaged in a card game with Sero, Kirishima, Jirou, and Tokoyami.

“For the memories, Denki!” Ashido shouted. “We’re graduating this year! Don’t you think it would be nice if we all had some good pictures of each other?”

“Ooh! Are you making a scrapbook?” Hagakure asked excitedly.

“Maaaaybeeeee,” Ashido answered, drawing the word out long enough that everyone knew that was exactly what she was doing.

“You wanna go through my pictures?” Kirishima offered.

“Thanks, Ei!” she cried in excitement, jumping up and running over to grab his phone. She was just about to start swiping through his photos when she stopped, giving him a calculated look. “Do you need to, like, delete anything before I go through them?”

“What? No!” Kirishima laughed, shaking his head at Ashido’s skeptical look. “I’m serious, Mina! Why in the world would I knowingly give you my phone if there were inappropriate pictures on there?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Ashido said, looking pointedly at Sero. “Care to jump in?”

Knowingly, Mina,” Sero stressed the word. “My boy Kirishima said knowingly. It’s not my fault you took my phone and saw a bit more than you wanted to.”

Kaminari made a face. “And now we all know a bit more than we wanted to.”

Sero didn’t even look embarrassed as he threw a card down onto the table, eliciting a groan from everyone at the table but Jirou. Light banter filled the room for the next few minutes until Ashido let out an excited shriek, nearly knocking heads with Ojirou as she sat up.

“No way!” she screamed as she ran over to Kirishima. “You have a picture of Blasty smiling?!”

Kirishima squinted to look at the screen that was being shoved in his face. Blown up on his phone was a picture of Bakugou and Camie, the latter holding her sides in laughter as Bakugou looked at the camera with a huge smile on his face.

“Oh yeah!” Kirishima exclaimed, his own face splitting into a smile that matched Bakugou’s. “That’s a really funny story! So a few weeks ago, Katsuki got called in to help when a little kid accidently lost control of their quirk at this game center in the middle of nowhere. All the kids ended up giving him their tokens as a thank you.”

“This is the Lord of Explosion Murder we’re talking about, right?” Sero questioned.

“He’s really good with kids!” Kirishima defended, glowering when everyone laughed. “I’m serious you guys! The girl was having trouble with her quirk and had broken down crying because she had been there for a birthday party and had scared all her friends away.”

The room quieted down as everyone stared at Kirishima, clearly intrigued.

“So what exactly did he do, then?” Jirou asked.

“Well, I can’t remember exactly what her quirk was, but it had something to do with animation or telekinesis, or something like that, because all of the stuffed animals that were supposed to be prizes were, like, walking around on their own.”

“Oof,” Kaminari said. “That’s got to be traumatizing. How old was she?”

Kirishima shrugged. “Five or six, I think. The mother said that she had just started to develop her quirk and was having a hard time getting a hang of it. So Katsuki just strolled into the ball pit where she had holed herself up and told her to calm down.”

“So he yelled at her, then?” Shouji joked.

“Which worked,” Kirishima shrugged. “She stopped crying long enough that he could actually talk to her and give her some basic pointers on control. He did have to stay there until her parents arrived to pick her up, though since every time he went to leave she could lose control again.”

“Aww, that’s really cute and all, but what does this picture have to do with that?” Ashido asked, getting them all back on track. “Doesn’t sound like you were there.”

“Right!” Kirishima said with a snap of his fingers. “So, because he suddenly had a huge pile of tokens and none of the kids that were there would take them back because it was his “reward”, we decided to go when we had a day off. Long story short, Bakugou had just won on this one machine that had raked up a HUGE jackpot, and the tickets would literally not stop coming out. We were stuck there for like three minutes, just waiting for the machine to stop, which was ridiculous because there were alarms sounding and everyone was just staring at him like he was doing it on purpose just to gloat.”

“And where is the lie?” Sero laughed.

“Woah!” Mineta exclaimed, materializing out of nowhere. “Who’s that bombshell of a blonde in the picture?”

Ashido looked him dead in the eye and said, “That’s Bakugou. We go to school with him.”

“Oh shut up!” Kaminari exclaimed as he smacked her shoulder. “I have no idea how anyone could even call Blasty’s hair blonde.”

“Or call him a bombshell,” Jirou said dryly.

“I don’t know,” Hagakure said. “He is rather…explosive.”

Kaminari and Jirou booed, throwing their cards in Hagakure’s general direction.

“He really puts the “bomb” in bombshell?” Ojirou added cautiously to another round of boos from Kaminari and Jirou.

“I know that this isn’t the time, but I feel the need to mention her hair is a very similar shade to Bakugou’s,” Sero added unhelpfully.

“Well then she’s not a blonde either!”

It was a familiar argument, one that Kaminari fought every time his hair was even slightly classified in the same category as Bakugou’s, so Kirishima was able to easily tune him out to finally answer Mineta’s question. “That’s Utsushimi Camie.”

“I thought she looked familiar!” Hagakure said.

“Wait, Camie from Shinketsu High, Camie?” Mineta screamed out as he shook Kirishima. “How do you know her?”

Kirishima hardened his shoulders, rolling his eyes as Mineta pulled his hands back with a shriek, knowing it hadn’t hurt that much. “I’m not that close with her, but I’m pretty sure she’s working at the same agency Bakugou is interning at this year,” he said. “Since I had already draped all the tickets around Katsuki and dubbed him “King of the Arcade”, she said that he’s not a king unless he has a crown.”

He reached around Mineta to swipe to another picture of when Camie had created an illusion of a giant crown on top of his head. He was scowling at her in that picture, which was nothing new so Ashido swiped back to the first one.

“I have never seen Bakugou smile like that before,” she said, already texting the picture to herself. “That Camie must be one hell of a girl.”

Kirishima laughed, though it sounded hollow in his own ears. “Yeah, they get along pretty well, I guess.”

“Pretty well?” Ashido said. “Look at that face, dude. That’s not the face of a guy who only gets along with someone pretty well.”

“Didn’t they spend a lot of time together when they had to take remedial classes back in first year?” Hagakure asked.

With a kind of cursed luck that Kirishima was starting to get used to, Todoroki, Iida, Uraraka, and Midoriya chose that exact moment to get back from grocery shopping.

“Hey Todoroki,” Ashido shouted to get their attention. “You were with Bakugou during your remedial classes first year. What was his relationship with Utsushimi like?”

“Utsushimi?” Todoroki questioned as the group walked further into the common room, carrying a ridiculous amount of bags on one arm and making it look easy.

“Camie?” Ashido attempted to clarify.

“The hot blonde,” Mineta added, much to both Kirishima and Kaminari’s dismay, though for admittedly different reasons.

“Ah,” Todoroki said thoughtfully. “She was very…handsy.”

“Ooh, that sounds promising!” Ashido squealed as Todoroki shuddered slightly and left to bring the groceries into the kitchen with Iida, leaving Midoriya and Uraraka to be bombarded by Ashido. “So, do you think there was a spark?”

“A spark?” Uraraka asked.

“With Camie!”

Uraraka had a thoughtful look on her face as she looked after Todoroki. “Oh, well, I get the impression that Shouto wasn’t all that impressed by-”

“No, no, no,” Ashido said, shaking her head. “With Camie and Bakugou.”

Midoriya let out a startled laugh.

Ashido’s eyes slid to Midoriya, who looked regretful at drawing attention to himself.  “Do you have something to share with the class?” she interrogated.

“Umm,” Midoriya said nervously. “I-it’s Kacchan. There is always a spark.”

With another round of boos from Kaminari and Jirou, Ashido took a page out of Mineta’s playbook and started shaking Midoriya violently. “I mean like a romantic spark!”

Midoriya blanched. “You think Kacchan is interested in Utsushimi?”

He seemed doubtful, so Ashido shoved Kirishima’s phone in his face. “Do you see this smile? That is the smile of boy who is head-over-heels smitten, am I right?”

Midoriya actually took the time to look at the picture critically, though he shot an uneasy look towards Kirishima before he answered. “Umm, y-yeah,” he said as he started to back away, hiding behind Uraraka like a shield. “It definitely looks like Kacchan is in love.”

How could Kirishima have been so stupid?

The confirmation by Midoriya had struck Kirishima harder than he would have liked to admit. He could remember sensing some tension after Camie had hung out with them, helping pick out their prizes and then joining them for food afterwards. At the time he had assumed it was Bakugou’s usual hatred of being in a group of more than two people, but what if it wasn’t? What if Bakugou had wanted Kirishima to leave so he could be alone with Camie?

“Would you look at the time,” Kirishima said as he abruptly stood up. “I just remembered I have to…”

It was good that nobody was paying him any attention since he couldn’t actually come up with a legitimate excuse to leave. The only response he got from his sudden departure was Ashido shouting after him about his phone.