Katsuki’s shout echoed through the neighbourhood for a moment, before fading completely. Across the street, a woman walking her dog jumped and shot him a nervous look. Katsuki sneered at her, and she picked up her pace, quickly disappearing around the corner.
Good. Katsuki wasn’t willing to deal with strangers right now.
He kicked at a pebble on the sidewalk, sending it ricocheting off into the street and swore again, a bit more quietly. Staying here wasn’t an option, he knew that much. His mom would give him a few minutes to cool off, then she’d start yelling at him to come back inside, and he’d be back to having to deal with her bullshit.
Katsuki considered his options for a few more seconds, then started off toward Uraraka’s apartment complex.
He fished his phone out of his pocket once he was a bit further down the street, and called Uraraka.
Uraraka’s phone was flaky at the best of times, but this time she picked up on the third ring.
“I’m coming over,” he said.
She didn’t try and argue. This was how it worked, with them. If he was calling to make sure she was actually, you know, at home, it was important, and she didn’t ask questions.
“Okay,” she replied. “I’ll open the window.”
Katsuki made an affirmative noise and hung up, feeling marginally calmer.
He made it to Uraraka’s apartment complex a few minutes later, and immediately cut across the communal lawn to the giant oak tree by the east side of the building. Katsuki had been moving on autopilot ever since he’d left the house, and this part was no different. Pull himself up onto the lowest branch, climb near the trunk until he was at the second floor windows, walk along one of the thicker off-shoot branches until he was close enough to climb through the window.
It was a tighter fit than he remembered, but he made it through, and managed to land on Uraraka’s bed with his dignity still intact.
Uraraka was sitting up by the headboard, as usual, and had watched the whole event go down.
“I hate that fucking hag,” Katsuki said by way of reply.
Uraraka hummed encouragingly, and Katsuki continued.
“She wants me to bring a date to my cousin’s wedding. And why? Because she’s sick of being asked about how my dating life is going. SHE’s sick of it. How the fuck does she think I feel?! Every single time we go to a family event, every single person is asking if I have a fucking girlfriend!”
The question itself didn’t bother Katsuki too much. It was about as annoying as every other question he got asked at a family event. But the way people asked, all significant looks and needling tones, made his skin crawl.
“I could go as your date, if you want,” Uraraka suggested.
Katsuki scoffed. “Are you fucking joking? My mom would love that! She’s been trying to get us to date since we were five.”
Uraraka wrinkled her nose, which was a fair reaction. Uraraka had his respect, and (reluctantly) his friendship, but nothing beyond that.
“I know it’s not ideal, but it would at least get her and your other relatives to start pestering you.”
“But that’s not a real victory, is it? Because then she just gets to be smug and say that she was right all along. She’ll be insufferable.”
It wasn’t even just “not a victory”, it was a fucking white flag of surrender. If he brought someone, especially someone like Uraraka, who his family would love, he was admitting defeat, admitting that all of their shitty passive-aggressive comments had finally worn him down.
Outside of his increasingly gloomy thoughts, Uraraka was still talking.
“Okay, so you can’t not bring a date, and you can’t bring me. Deku, then?”
Katsuki sat bolt upright and levelled her with his most fearsome glare. The fucking AUDACITY-
She was smirking, and very clearly trying not to laugh.
Katsuki flopped back down onto the bed. “Fuck you.”
“Hey, I had to lighten the mood somehow! And come on, you have to admit it would be unexpected.”
The word floated around in Katsuki’s mind for a moment, an idea starting to click into place.
“Unexpected…” he said pensively, trying to prompt it into solidifying fully.
“Wait,” Uraraka said, her voice now sounding slightly panicked. “Please don’t actually drag Deku into this. You know he wouldn’t say no to you, but you’d both be so miserable the whole time-”
“I’m not asking fucking Deku, Round-Face, stop freaking out.”
Katsuki felt her relax, and she fell silent.
He sat up again, twisting around so he was facing Uraraka.
“I know what I’m going to do,” Katsuki said, grinning wickedly. “I’ll find a date, but I’m going to find someone she’ll hate.”
Uraraka gave him a deeply skeptical look.
“Okay,” she finally said, “how? You don’t really talk to anyone except me outside of class, and I’m definitely not letting you find someone on like, Craigslist or something.”
“You talk to people. Who do you know that my mom would hate?” Katsuki asked.
Uraraka tapped at her chin, considering. “I mean, pretty much anyone from 3-C, knowing your mom. I can ask around, but I really don’t think anyone’s going to want to.”
Katsuki almost asked why not, but held back. “Pretend to date that antisocial kid from 3-A so he can piss off his mom” probably wasn’t a proposal that appealed to most people.
“Tell them it pays 5000¥,” Katsuki said. That would probably motivate at least a few people, and the dent in his savings would be worth the look on his mother’s face.
“You’re absolutely sure you don’t want me to do it,” Uraraka said, invigorated by the mention of money.
Katsuki swatted her in the shin. “If I have to bring you, it’s because no one else would do it, and I’m not fucking paying you.”
Uraraka pouted at him, which they both knew was completely ineffective, and was done more out of habit than anything.
“Seriously though, let me know when it is and I’ll keep the day free in case.”
Katsuki grunted noncommittally, but didn’t say anything else.
Uraraka got up after a few minutes to grab her earbuds and her homework, before rejoining Katsuki on the bed. Katsuki was content to stare up at the ceiling and seethe in silence for a while. He’d finished his homework on Friday night, like a responsible human being, so he could afford it, for a while.
Eventually, when the sun had mostly disappeared behind the building across the street, Uraraka set her stuff aside and leaned into Katsuki’s line of sight.
“Are you staying?”
Katsuki considered it for a moment, then shook his head.
“Nah. School tomorrow and shit.”
That hadn’t stopped him before, but having a plan and time to decompress had helped enough that he was willing to go home for the night.
“Okay. Text me the details about the wedding so I can start asking people tomorrow.”
“Yeah, alright,” Katsuki said, sitting up and stretching until his back cracked, making Uraraka wince.
He went out the window again. He definitely wasn’t as pissed as he’d been when he’d arrived, but that didn’t mean he wanted to deal with Uraraka’s parents. He rarely wanted to deal with anyone that wasn’t Uraraka.
Uraraka called out a goodbye once he’d gotten to the base of the tree, and he waved over his shoulder at her, which was more than they usually bothered with, but he guessed she felt bad for him or something.
It wasn’t pity. Uraraka didn’t fucking pity him, and that was what Katsuki liked about her. She acknowledged that this situation was shit, and she’d tried to help. That was how it worked with them, and that was how Katsuki liked it.
The walk back to his house felt a lot longer than the walk from it, probably because he was actually aware of what he was doing, not stumbling along in a blind rage.
He wasn’t looking forward to getting home. Even though he’d been quick to refuse Uraraka’s offer, now that he was actually on his way back, he was starting to regret it.
Sure, he had a solution in the works, but his mom couldn’t know about it until all the details had been worked out, and there was no way in hell she wasn’t pissed as fuck at him for leaving in the middle of their argument, especially since he hadn’t stuck around within screaming distance.
Katsuki paused at the edge of the curb (not like there was anyone around) and pulled out his phone.
He had nineteen missed calls and six voicemails, all from his mother.
While he was considering swallowing his pride and just going back to Uraraka’s, rather than dealing with the absolute shitshow that was undoubtedly awaiting him at home, there was a cry of “Look out!” from behind him. Katsuki looked up and had just enough time to register red, before something slammed into his side, knocking him onto the cold, unforgiving asphalt.
All the air in Katsuki’s lungs was punched out with a painful wheeze when he hit the road, quickly followed by sharp aches erupting all down his back.
The person who’d knocked into him scrambled off almost immediately, stammering apologies.
“Holy shit, I’m so sorry! I did not mean to hit you, I swear!”
Katsuki had some choice responses lined up for that, but before he had a chance to say any of them, another voice, further away, called out.
“We’ve gotta go, dude! Your curfew’s in five minutes!”
The guy who’d bowled him over swore loudly, and Katsuki heard him getting to his feet.
“I’ll find you at school tomorrow, and apologize properly, okay?” he said, which was great and all, except Katsuki had no idea who the fuck this moron was, and he doubted they had any idea how to find him, either.
Unfortunately, before he could point that out, there was the sound of a motor starting, and by the time he sat up, the road was empty once again.
Katsuki honestly wasn’t sure if that counted as a hit and run, but he definitely wasn’t fucking pleased about it.
It was probably a good thing those assholes had disappeared before the initial shock had worn off. Katsuki was not about to have his entire life plan be thrown off by getting arrested for manslaughter, however great the motive may have been.
At the very least, this was a surefire way to get his mom off his back. “I got hit by a car” was a pretty good argument trump card, even if it wasn’t technically true.
With that thought, and a deep, comforting fury starting to settle in his bones, he got to his feet, and continued his walk home.
He’d gotten the lecture of a fucking lifetime about road safety, even though he most definitely had not been the one in the wrong, and he’d woken up bruised and aching from the impact of the fall.
So really, he didn’t think it was altogether unreasonable that, when someone tapped him unexpectedly on the shoulder while he was getting his books out of his locker, his first reaction was to take a swing at them with his chemistry textbook.
The tapper managed to catch the book before it could clock them in the skull, which Katsuki was not fucking happy about, because if there was any day where he deserved to fucking hit someone, it was today.
“Okay, I know I probably deserved that, but there’s no way you knew it was me.”
Katsuki’s ambient rage sharpened into something almost physically tangible.
The boy holding his chem book, with his spiky red hair and excessive facial piercings, was, without question the same one who’d nearly given Katsuki a fucking concussion the day before.
“You,” Katsuki snarled, raising the arm not being held in place by Shitty Hair Spikes, fully intent on finishing what he’d started with the textbook.
“Whoa!” Spikes said, catching Katsuki’s wrist and holding it in place before it could make contact. Fucker was strong, Katsuki would give him that. “I get being angry, but can I at least apologize before you hit me?”
“You have twenty seconds,” Katsuki growled. That’s about how long Katsuki figured it would take for him to get his arms free and punch this guy into the next century.
“Really? Great! Okay, first off, hi, I’m Kirishima, and I’m really, really, sorry about yesterday, but my friend wanted to test out the go kart he built and I had heelies so we decided to set up, like, a water-ski situation and go on the back streets because no one’s ever there at that time, but, well, you were! Completely my bad, it was a stupid idea and I totally get why you want to beat me up, but I really don’t think that would benefit either of us in the long run so I could pay you damages to make up for it? I mean, I only just started working so I don’t have, like, a lot of money, but I could!”
The twenty seconds were up, and Katsuki broke free, but he didn’t hit Kirishima. Instead he took a good long look at him, considering.
His hair was encrusted with more gel than Katsuki had ever seen anyone use for everyday wear, and the bright red of it was obviously dye. He had a piercing in one eyebrow, two through his bottom lip, and about five in each ear. He was smiling, awkwardly, but wide enough that Katsuki could see his teeth, which were unnatrurally pointed. Filed, probably.
Everything about his appearance was something out of one of Bakugou Mitsuki’s nightmares, and Katsuki felt an idea click into place in his brain.
“A favour,” he said, slamming his locker shut and grabbing his textbook from where Kirishima had dropped it.
It took Kirishima a second to react, but when he did, it was with a bright, confused grin, so wide it made Katsuki’s cheeks hurt. “Um. A favour?”
“Yeah. Meet me at the cafe by the rec center at four.”
Kirishima winced and started to protest. “I actually have-”
“I could just kick your ass instead,” Bakugou suggested, shooting Kirishima a grin of his own, albeit a significantly more unfriendly one.
“Right, okay. See you at four then!” Kirishima replied, far too cheerily for someone who’d just been threatened with grievous bodily harm.
Katsuki rolled his eyes and stalked off toward his classroom, already starting to regret giving up his chance to beat Kirishima into the ground.
Katsuki glanced at the window, just to confirm that it hadn’t somehow gone from cloudless to pouring rain in the ten minutes he’d been inside. It hadn’t.
Kirishima slid into the chair across from him, breathing hard.
“What the fuck happened to you?” Katsuki asked.
“I teach swimming lessons at the rec center until 3:45,” Kirishima explained. “Didn’t have time to dry my hair.”
“Why didn’t you fucking tell me that this morning? I thought you’d wussed out on me!”
“I tried!” Kirishima said defensively, and now that he mentioned it, Katsuki did actually remember that, but he was in too deep to admit it now.
“Try harder next time,” he grumbled.
He was saved from Kirishima’s response by the timely arrival of their waitress.
“Hey,” she said brightly, like she hadn’t been sending Katsuki dirty looks for sitting and not ordering anything since he’d arrived, “what can I get for ya’?”
Kirishima ordered some complicated smoothie thing without even glancing at the menu, and Katsuki ordered a green tea. The waitress disappeared behind the counter, leaving the two of them to sit in awkward silence.
“So…” Kirishima said eventually, finally breaking the quiet, “you have a favour to ask?”
“Yeah,” Katsuki replied, curt. He didn’t clarify. He knew he had to, soon, but actually saying his plan out loud was, for some ridiculous fucking reason, way harder than saying it in his head.
Kirishima let him stew for a few seconds before saying:
“Are you gonna elaborate on that, or-”
“I need you to pretend to date me,” Katsuki blurted out, all at once. Nice going. Very casual.
Kirishima stared at him for a few long moments, mouth hanging slightly open.
Katsuki felt the back of his neck heating up, with what absolutely was not an embarrassed blush, and snapped:
“Are you just gonna wait until you start catching flies, or are you gonna say something?”
With a sharp shake of his head, Kirishima snapped himself back into reality.
“Right, sorry. It’s just… you know, when you said a favour I was thinking like, getting you alcohol or Mina’s phone number or something, not… this.”
“I don’t know who Mina is, and I don’t drink,” Katsuki said flatly, which made Kirishima laugh nervously.
“Well yeah, I see that now, that’s just what people usually want when they ask me for favours. So, uh, why the fake dating? If you don’t mind me asking.”
Katsuki gave an abridged version of the events that had brought him to this point, which Kirishima took surprisingly in stride. Their waitress returned with their drinks right as he was finishing up, and Kirishima took a long sip from his violently pink smoothie before responding.
“So you want to use me to piss off your mom?” he summarized, raising one pierced eyebrow at Katsuki.
“Look, if you want to be all fucking judgy about it, I take cash,” Katsuki said, dropping his hand palm up on the table.
“Hey now,” Kirishima said, raising his hands in surrender, “I didn’t say I wasn’t doing it. I’m always down for a little chaos.” He flashed a grin, showing off his ridiculous shark teeth.
“Good,” Katsuki said. Now for the part he’d really been dreading. “We start tomorrow.”
“Wait, what? You said the wedding wasn’t for another month!”
“It’s not. But think about it. If I just show up at the wedding with the perfect spite date and no lead-up, the hag will definitely know it’s a trick. She may be a pain in my ass, but she’s not stupid.”
“Can’t you just tell her you’ve found a date and leave it at that?” Kirishima asked.
Katsuki shook his head. “She’s a fucking meddler. If she finds a crack in the story, like, say, no one else thinking we’re dating, she’ll figure it out.”
Kirishima still looked uncertain, but instead of immediately backing out, as Katsuki had been half-convinced he would, he said:
“Let’s wait a week.”
“What?” Katsuki snapped, “Why?”
“Starting to date immediately after we met is kind of weird, dude. It’s a lot less suspicious if we give it a little while. Plus it gives us more time to plan.”
“The plan is we pretend to date until after the wedding, then we say we broke up,” Katsuki said slowly.
Kirishima let out an exasperated huff of air. “Okay, sure, but people are going to ask questions. How we met, when we realized we liked each other, who confessed first, all that sort of stuff. Also, are we telling anyone we’re faking or are we keeping it a secret from everybody? How much PDA? There’s, uh, logistics to consider here.”
Katsuki hadn’t thought about any of this, and, frankly, he was kind of horrified that Kirishima, who, based on what small amounts of information Katsuki had about him, was the proud owner of maybe two brain cells, had.
Apparently it showed on his face, because Kirishima grinned at him again and was quick to offer up an explanation.
“I have watched a truly insane number of rom-coms in my life, and rules are like, priority one for fake dating to succeed.”
Katsuki grunted an acknowledgement.
It was kind of amazing, how easily Kirishima admitted to having such an embarrassing pastime. This guy was full of fucking surprises, apparently.
Kirishima glanced at his phone, presumably checking the time, and his eyes widened.
“Shit dude, I’ve gotta go. Same time tomorrow? We can set up rules and background and stuff.”
“Can’t,” Katsuki said. Skipping out on two days of studying in a row was out of the fucking question.
“Okay, uh… Oh! Gimme your number and we can figure out when we can meet up again.”
Katsuki’s instinctive response was to tell him to fuck off. Exactly three people had his phone number, and they were Uraraka and his parents, and his parents only had it because they’d set up his plan when he’d first got his phone and his provider wouldn’t let him change it.
However, the alternative was probably Kirishima showing up at his locker again, and if he was going to be stuck with that kind of spectacle while they were “dating” he might as well avoid it while he could.
He gritted out his number, which Kirishima dutifully typed into his phone.
“I sent you a text, so you should have my number too!” he said when he was done, stowing his phone in his pocket and getting up from the table. He pulled out enough change from his other pocket to cover his drink, then, with a final wave and a “See you!”, he was gone.
Katsuki took out his own phone, to make sure Kirishima hadn’t fucked up his number. He probably should have done that before he left, but it was too fucking late now.
Sure enough, he had a text message from an unknown number.
Unknown (16:58): looking forward 2 working w/ u!
Unknown (16:58): (○｀ε´○)／＼(○｀ε´○)
Katsuki stared at the two texts for a few long moments, then saved the number under “Shitty Hair”, put the payment for his drink on the table, and got up.
As he was walking out of the cafe, he called Uraraka.