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Punk's Not Dead

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“FUCK!”

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.

“Bakugou?”

“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.

“Hi, Bakugou.”

“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.”

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.

Unexpected.

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.

***

To say that Katsuki wasn’t in the best mood the next morning would’ve been an understatement.

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.

***

Kirishima came sprinting into the cafe at 4:01pm. His hair was out of its ridiculous spikes, and was, for some reason, dripping wet.

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.

Chapter Text

“Kirishima, Bakugou? Really?”

“Yeah, really! We’ve been over this five fucking times!”

“But I like Kirishima!” Uraraka whined, flopping back onto her bed with what Katsuki felt was an unnecessary level of drama.

“How is that fucking relevant?” Katsuki demanded, leaving his comfortable sprawl on the carpet in favour of sitting up so he could glare at her better. “I needed someone to do it, he said yes. Fucking simple.”

Uraraka continued to pout at him. “He’s the only member of the boy’s team that willingly spars with me!”

“And he’ll still have a death wish when I’m done with him,” Katsuki replied, rolling his eyes.

Katsuki had been on the receiving end of Uraraka’s jiu jitsu prowess exactly once, when they’d met back in kindergarten. To his five year-old self, it was what made her worth being friends with. Looking back on it, he kind of understood where the guys’ team was coming from, even if they were being little bitches about it.

“That’s not the point. When you guys “break up” there are politics involved! I’m going to be expected to pick a side!”

Katsuki sighed, loudly. This, right here, was why he didn’t talk to anyone at school.

“I literally could not give less of a shit which side you choose. We barely talk at school anyway.”

Uraraka seemed ready to complain some more, so Katsuki continued before she could.

“We’re meeting up later this week to talk out details. I’ll make sure you still get ass-kicking rights, okay?”

“Okay,” she said, seemingly mollified now that she knew she wasn’t going to lose her sparring partner.

Katsuki went back to lying on the floor, and he heard the bed springs creak as Uraraka did the same on her bed.

They stayed like that, sharing the space in companionable silence, until Uraraka abruptly sat up and leaned over the side of the bed, hovering over Katsuki’s face.

“Have you texted him back yet?” she asked, a weird lilt to her tone that Katsuki wasn’t at all a fan of.

Katsuki shoved her face away with a snarl, which, because it was Uraraka and she was fucking annoying like that, had no effect. She just laughed and rolled off her bed, joining him on the floor.

“Seriously, have you?”

Katsuki shook his head, and Uraraka gave him an affronted look.

“It’s been over an hour!”

“Fucking so?”

“You have your read receipts on! That’s rude, especially since he’s doing you a favour.”

“Are you forgetting the part where he nearly hit me with a car?!”

Uraraka made a dismissive hand motion, then jabbed her finger accusingly at Katsuki’s chest.

“Text him.”

“No,” Katsuki said, purely out of spite. He probably should text Kirishima, if only to get all this shit over with as soon as humanly possible.

“Do it or I will,” Uraraka threatened.

Uraraka was not, from an outsider’s perspective, scary. She had a chronic baby face, weighed 110 pounds soaking wet, and was usually smiling.

Katsuki had known Uraraka since elementary school, and was therefore not an outsider.

He took out his phone.

The message app was still open on Kirishima’s texts.

Shitty Hair (16:58): looking forward 2 working w/ u!
Shitty Hair (16:58): (○`ε´○)/\(○`ε´○)

“Shitty Hair?” Uraraka asked, in what was approaching her “maybe stop being an asshole” voice.

“No. You don’t get to fight me on this, it’s terrible fucking hair.”

Uraraka let it go, but continued to hover over Katsuki’s shoulder while he typed out his reply.

Me (18:15): When are you free?

He shut off his phone and turned to look at Uraraka.

“Happy?”

She shrugged. “You would’ve had to do it eventually. Are you staying for dinner?”

“Fuck no,” Katsuki said, standing and stretching. He may not have liked eating with his family, but at least they didn’t try to fucking chat with him.

“Keep me updated,” Uraraka called after him as he climbed out her window.

“Only if you don’t force me to come over every time I try,” Katsuki snapped back.

He glanced up at the window, and, right on cue, Uraraka flipped him off.

Katsuki returned the favour, turned on his heel, and headed home.

***

By the time Katsuki had navigated dinner, the inevitable stream of questions about where the fuck he’d been, and finished his homework, he was more than ready to just be fucking done with the day.

Unfortunately, when he turned on his phone to check the time, he had four messages from Kirishima, and putting those off until morning was inviting the very real possibility of Kirishima pulling some dramatic stunt at school the next day, or dropping out of the plan altogether.

So Katsuki resigned himself to his fate and opened the messages.

Shitty Hair (18:46): oh thank fuck
Shitty Hair (18:46): i thought i messed up ur # and sent that 2 some random person
Shitty Hair (18:46): anyway!!
Shitty Hair (18:47): i know you aren’t free tmw but i can do same time pretty much any day!!

Katsuki honestly couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen anyone use that many exclamation marks. He was tired just looking at them.

Me (20:13): Wednesday, same time, same place.

Shitty Hair (20:13): ominous

Me (20:14): Shut the fuck up. Can you make it or not?

Shitty Hair (20:14): i can make it!!
Shitty Hair (20:14): see you then!!

Katsuki didn’t bother replying. They had a plan. Kirishima and his exclamation marks could wait until Wednesday.

***

Tuesday and Wednesday passed the same way they always did. School was school, whether it was the most prestigious high school in the country or not.

Wednesday afternoon found Katsuki at the same table as last time, with the same waitress glaring daggers at him. Kirishima, fortunately for him, wasn’t late this time, although his hair was wet and he was out of breath.

“We could’ve just met up later,” Katsuki said as Kirishima dropped into the seat across from him.

“Nah dude, I have the same break as Monday. If we started later we’d just have less time.”

Katsuki was going to point out that maybe Kirishima should have fucking mentioned that, and suggested a different day to meet, but Kirishima seemed to understand how to work under a time limit, if nothing else, and got right to business.

“So, did you have specific points you wanted to go over, or…”

Logistics were your fucking idea, Shark Face,” Katsuki snapped.

“Okay, uh, PDA, I guess? What are you cool with?”

Katsuki shrugged. “I don’t know. Whatever the norm is.”

“Are you sure about that?” Kirishima asked, raising his eyebrows skeptically. “Because if “the norm” is what my locker neighbor and his girlfriend have going on, it’s making out on my locker at seven am.”

“I don’t do shit halfway,” Katsuki said firmly. He didn’t particularly want to make out with Kirishima, but he’d never really wanted to make out with anyone, and if it was needed to keep up the ruse, then so be it.

“Wow, okay,” Kirishima said, looking vaguely unsettled, though whether it was because of Katsuki’s words or his attitude was unclear. “Let’s try that again: No offense intended, but I don’t want to make out with you. So how about I give you stuff I’m cool with, and you let me know if there’s a problem.”

Katsuki highly doubted there would be, but he gestured for Kirishima to go on anyway.

“Arm around your shoulders?”

“Fine.”

“Hugs?”

“Fine.”

“Kiss on the cheek?”

“Fine.”

“Holding hands?”

“No,” Katsuki said, surprising both himself and Kirishima.

“Really? You’ll make out with me, but that’s where you draw the line?” Kirishima asked, a teasing lilt creeping into his voice.

“My hands get sweaty, asshole. This is for your sake,” Katsuki snarled.

It was half true. Katsuki’s hands did tend to sweat a lot, but if Katsuki didn’t hate the feeling of his own sweaty palms more than literally anything else, he definitely would’ve inflicted them on Kirishima.

“Okay, okay. Linking pinkies, then?”

Katsuki thought about it for a second, before settling on a “Fine”.

“Cool, I think I had one more…” Kirishima trailed off, staring into the middle distance as if trying to summon something from his memories. Finally he jolted a bit and slammed his hands on the table, having apparently successfully remembered whatever it was. “Right! Pet names.”

“You can try, but I’m not fucking responding to any of them,” Katsuki said, making Kirishima laugh.

“That’s good, though! You’re pretending to be you,” Kirishima pointed out.

“Yeah, fine, whatever. Anything else?”

Kirishima shook his head. “Nope, that’s all I’ve got.”

“What else did we need to go over?” Katsuki asked, checking the time on his phone. They were making good time. Kirishima still had forty-five minutes left of his break.

“How did we meet? Fake meet, I guess.”

“Keep it the same,” Katsuki said. “It’s easier to back up if it starts out true.”

Kirishima hummed approvingly, but started to frown after considering it for a bit longer.

“Okay, how the fuck did I convince you to go out with me after nearly giving you a spinal?”

Katsuki mulled it over for a few seconds until he’d come up with a semi-reasonable answer.

“People saw when you ambushed me at my locker, right? We can just say that we ended up enjoying spending time together, and for my favour I got you to pay for the drinks. We got along, so we agreed to do it again, then we decided to start dating.”

Clean, simple and fucking efficient.

Kirishima seemed to agree, if his absent nodding was any indication.

“I like it. Who asked who out?”

“I asked you, obviously,” Katsuki scoffed.

Kirishima made an offended sputtering noise. “What do you mean obviously?”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “You tracked me down at school so you could apologize to me, when you could’ve gotten away with it with no consequences if you just hadn’t bothered. Your noble ass wouldn’t ask someone who you thought you’d wronged out.”

Kirishima stared at him for a few seconds, dumbstruck.

He snapped out of it fairly quickly, with a shake of his head and a laugh. “You’re pretty perceptive, huh Bakugou?”

“Don’t act so fucking shocked, Shitty Hair. I’m good at everything.”

“Of course,” Kirishima said, though he sounded much more sarcastic than Katsuki considered reasonable.

“Fuck off. Have you got anything else, or can I go home?”

“Uh… figuring out why we break up, I guess?”

This, Katsuki had been prepared for. Or, rather, this entire scenario had gift wrapped the answer and handed it to him.

“My family,” Katsuki said. “They were absolute shit to you, and you didn’t want to deal with it again.”

Kirishima frowned. “I wouldn’t break up with you because of that.”

Katsuki snorted. “I think you’re severely underestimating how shitty they are. We can throw in some other stuff when we get there, but they’re definitely enough to drive you away.”

Kirishima finally nodded, though he still didn’t look convinced. “Alright.”

“That’s it?” Katsuki asked.

“That’s it,” Kirishima replied.

“I’ll meet you at the main door on Monday,” Katsuki said, standing from his chair and getting ready to leave.

Kirishima laughed. “Are we doing some grand entrance as a couple?”

Katsuki levelled Kirishima with his most fearsome grin.

“I don’t do shit halfway.”

***

The rest of the week went by somehow both more slowly and more quickly than usual, but Monday arrived eventually.

Katsuki got to school twenty minutes earlier than usual so he could meet up with Kirishima.

He’d thought that he’d be waiting on Kirishima, since that seemed to be their usual dynamic, but to his surprise, when he arrived at the main door Kirishima was already there, sitting on the highest step.

He looked surprisingly nervous, swinging his feet and chewing on his lower lip.

“You’re going to bite a hole through it if you keep that up,” Katsuki said by way of greeting, making Kirishima jump.

“Ah, Bakugou, hey!” he said, scrambling to his feet and grinning. He still looked nervous.

“Why are you so fucking jumpy this morning?” Katsuki demanded. Kirishima hadn’t looked worried while Katsuki was actively threatening to kick his ass, so this was, in Katsuki’s opinion, ridiculous.

Kirishima didn’t immediately deny it, which was the reaction Katsuki had expected. Instead, he said:

“Are you sure about this?”

Katsuki stared at him for a second, trying to figure out if this was some weird joke he didn’t understand, but Kirishima looked completely serious.

“Uh, yeah. I don’t know if you’ve somehow forgotten, but this was my fucking idea.”

“I know, but this isn’t something you can come back from, Bakugou. I know your goal is to piss people off but dating-” Kirishima paused for a second to gesture at himself, “me isn’t something people forget.”

“You think I give a shit what these extras think of me? I’m top of the fucking school, and I can associate with whoever I fucking want.”

“People are going to be weird about it,” Kirishima insisted.

Katsuki sighed. “Are you having second thoughts, Shitty Hair?”

“No!” Kirishima exclaimed, sounding almost offended. “Just wanted to make sure you were aware.”

“Well, you’ve done that, and I still don’t give a damn. Shall we?” Katsuki motionned grandly at the doors, and, when Kirishima didn’t make any move toward them, grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him along.

Kirishima caught on to what was happening after that, and followed along until they were right at the doors, where he pulled up short and nearly sent Katsuki crashing face first into the doors.

Katsuki was no longer surprised that this asshole was willing to fight Uraraka, since he was apparently made out of fucking solid rock.

Fuck. He’d forgotten to tell Kirishima about Uraraka.

Whatever, she could wait. For now:

“What the fuck is your damage?” Katsuki demanded, whirling around to glare at Kirishima.

“Sorry! I just wanted to do this before we went in,” Kirishima said, removing his wrist from Katsuki’s grasp and shifting their position so only their pinkies were linked.

Once he was done, he smiled sheepishly at Katsuki, squared his shoulders, and said:

“Okay, all good. Let’s go!”

Katsuki realized, as the doors swung open, that he was now officially saddled with this moron for the next month.

He was sure he’d made worse decisions at some point in his life, but he was having some trouble remembering them at the moment.

Things started out fine. Katsuki made a beeline for his locker, towing Kirishima behind him, and started the process of getting his bag into his locker and his books out.

Kirishima made his life slightly easier by serving as a glorified bookcase while Katsuki shoved his backpack into his (slightly) overstuffed locker.

“You know,” Kirishima said casually, “I thought you’d be neater than this.”

“Fuck off,” Katsuki replied, jamming his shoulder into his locker so it would fucking close. “Books take up room.”

Kirishima handed Katsuki his books and linked their pinkies again, all in one move. Motherfucker could be smooth when he wanted to, apparently.

“Now, call me crazy, but I keep my books in my desk, and use my locker for y’know, the things my locker is supposed to be used for.”

“These aren’t school assigned,” Katsuki grumbled.

Kirishima looked at the books Katsuki was carrying, one of which was a thick calculus workbook.

“Nerd.”

Katsuki kicked him in the shin, hard, which only made Kirishima laugh, much to Katsuki’s annoyance.

By the time they’d arrived at Katsuki’s classroom, Kirishima had stopped laughing.

Katsuki appreciated that, because it meant he didn’t have to kill him and find someone else to fake date.

“Okay, this is me,” Katsuki said, stopping in front of the class 3-A door. “Fuck off.”

“Wait, can I go inside?” Kirishima asked excitedly.

“What? No! You have class, moron!”

Kirishima rolled his eyes. “Yeah, in like, ten minutes. Come oooooon, I’ve always wanted to see what the smart kid class looks like!”

“The classrooms are standardized, dumbass. It’s literally exactly the same as yours.”

“Please?” Kirishima whined, pulling out a ridiculous pout that made Katsuki want to kick him again.

“Ugh, fucking fine,” Katsuki relented after a few more seconds. “Come on.”

He pushed open the door and dragged Kirishima in behind him, pointedly ignoring his victorious “YES!”.

Deku was in his usual corner talking quietly with Four Eyes, Half-and-Half and Frog, and Ponytail was at her desk revising something. Other than that, the room was empty.

All five of them looked up at Katsuki and Kirishima’s somewhat boisterous entry, but Katsuki levelled them with his best “don’t fuck with me” glare and they quickly went back to their business.

“Aw. It’s the same.” Kirishima had the nerve to actually sound disappointed.

“I fucking told you it would be,” Katsuki said, sitting down at his desk and taking out what he needed for his first class so he could fit his extra books inside.

“I know, but I thought you might be lying. Sworn to secrecy by admin so that we lesser beings wouldn’t know what class was like for the elite.”

Katsuki closed his desk and gave Kirishima a good, long look.

“You’re really fucking weird, you know that?”

Kirishima grinned at him and hopped up onto Katsuki’s desk. “I try.”

“Cute,” Katsuki said sarcastically. “Don’t you have your own class to get to?”

“Dunno,” Kirishima said, scanning the classroom with deliberate slowness as he tried (and failed) to pretend he wasn’t smiling. “The whole “exact copy of my old classroom” is starting to grow on me. I might stay.”

The warning bell went off, and Katsuki shoved Kirishima off his desk.

“Class, asshole. Go,” he snapped, trying to inject as much venom as possible into his voice. Kirishima being this ridiculous made it difficult to summon his usual early morning crankiness.

“Yeah, alright,” Kirishima said dismissively, before leaning in and planting a light kiss on Katsuki’s cheek.

Katsuki had agreed to this, of course, but it still made him tense up in surprise for a second before the part of him that knew this was an necessary evil came online and made him relax his shoulders.

Go,” Katsuki said firmly, pushing Kirishima away from him and towards the door.

Kirishima, finally, went, but not before stopping at the threshold to blow an exaggerated kiss at Katsuki.

Katsuki flipped him off, and Kirishima vanished into the hallway, laughing.

From the far corner of the classroom, Katsuki heard the sound of several heavy books falling to the ground.

He turned his head toward the sound and found Deku, gaping at him like a dead fish with his books scattered around his feet.

The others were also staring at him, though they at least had the decency to be less obnoxious about it.

“Fucking what?” he barked, jolting all of them out their collective daze.

All of his semi-normal classmates went back to what they were doing, but Deku just started muttering to himself while Half-and-Half picked up his books.

Katsuki resolved to ignore it, and tried reading while the rest of his class trickled in.

The muttering was, unfortunately, really fucking annoying, so he only made it through about half a paragraph before he turned around, slammed his hands on the desk behind him, and snapped:

“If you have a question just fucking ask it!”

“Oh!” Deku jumped, clearly surprised he was being directly addressed. “Uh, are you and Kirishima…”

“Yes, he’s my fucking boyfriend, now will. You. Shut. Up?”

Deku’s eyes widened, and he looked like he was preparing to ask a follow up question, which Katsuki was not in the mood for, but he was saved by Professor Yagi walking in and calling the class to order.

Class was the same as usual, though Katsuki found himself a lot more aware of breaks than he normally was, because even though he acted exactly the same as he usually did, i.e, stayed at his desk and ignored everyone, the rest of the class seemed to have taken it upon themselves to whisper and stare at him with the least amount of subtlety possible.

It was fucking excruciating.

The worst part, in his opinion, was the fact that Kirishima had been fucking right about this. People were being weird, but Katsuki was grateful for small mercies, like the fact that everyone knew better than to try and actually talk to him.

Finally, after a few cycles of nonsense, lunch rolled around, and Katsuki was, for the first time since he’d arrived at school, alone.

Most classes had at least a few people stay behind and eat in the classroom, but 3-A had learned by week two that the classroom was Katsuki’s domain, and they were not fucking welcome there during lunch hour, because Katsuki ate lunch alone.

As far as he was concerned, this was just a fact of the universe, like gravity or the day/night cycle. Uraraka was his friend, but at school she hung out with Deku and his merry band of nerds, and since Katsuki had exactly zero interest in trying to talk to anyone else, he ate at his desk, in silence, then got a headstart on his homework while he waited for break to be over.

Which was why, when Kirishima appeared unannounced in the 3-A classroom, all red hair and shark-toothed smiles, Katsuki’s instinctive reaction was to throw his bento at his head, hard.

Kirishima managed to dodge it, but only barely.

“Dude,” he said, watching the remains of Katsuki’s lunch slide down the wall to the floor, “you nearly hit me!”

“Guess I need to improve my aim,” Katsuki growled. Not only did he have to deal with Kirishima interrupting his peace and quiet, now he didn’t have any fucking food.

Kirishima pouted at him. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I came to see if you wanted to eat lunch in the caf with me.”

“Why the fuck would I do that?”

“Well, it’s going to be a lot easier to convince people we’re dating if we’re, y’know, seen in public together.”

“People saw us this morning.”

Kirishima raised his eyebrows. “And is your plan to let them see us together once and hope they take us at our word beyond that?”

Katsuki glared at the rice grains stuck to the wall behind Kirishima’s head. Fucker had a point, even if Katsuki didn’t want to admit it.

“Fine,” he said, pushing his chair back and getting to his feet. “But you’re helping me clean that up. And buying me lunch.”

“Okay, I’ll concede to buying you lunch, because I kinda doubt you brought money if you had a lunch with you, but deciding to go all guerilla warfare on me was your choice, dude.”

“I was provoked,” Katsuki grumbled, kneeling down and collecting his container from the floor. God, the tiny grains of rice were going to be a fucking nightmare.

“I understand that you count other people existing near you as provocation, but I don’t,” Kirishima said, crouching down beside Katsuki and taking the container from him. “So I’ll wait with you, but I’m not helping.”

Katsuki bitched about Kirishima being useless while he cleaned, but he didn’t force Kirishima to help him, mostly because the nagging Uraraka-voice in the back of his head said that Kirishima was doing him a pretty huge favour already.

“Let’s go,” he said when he’d finished throwing away the last of his rice.

“Alright!” Kirishima said, sliding off the desk he’d been sitting on while he waited. Katsuki was beginning to sense a theme with Kirishima and desks.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I sit with some people during lunch.”

Katsuki already didn’t like where this was going.

“I promise they’re really nice! And you’ll only have to meet three new people. I mean, you’ve technically met Denki before, but not for very long and not under the best circumstances-”

“Your getaway driver?” Katsuki interrupted dryly.

Kirishima laughed nervously. “Uh, yeah.”

Katsuki let the silence between them linger just long enough for it to be uncomfortable, then said:

“I’ve changed my mind. He’s paying for my lunch.”

Kirishima’s answering laugh was loud enough to startle a girl passing them on the other side of the hallway.

“Oh man, he’s not gonna be happy about that.”

“Yeah well, I wasn’t fucking happy about being bowled over by you two idiots, but we all have to suffer in life.”

Kirishima suddenly caught Katsuki by the elbow, preventing him from continuing forward.

“In here, dude,” he said, nodding toward a set of double doors while an amused smile pulled at the corners of his mouth. “Did you seriously forget where the cafeteria was?”

“No,” Katsuki retorted reflexively. He had, but like fuck he was going to admit that.

He pushed past Kirishima and through the doors, a decision he regretted almost immediately.

The cafeteria was loud, and crowded, and all the things Katsuki usually went out of his way to avoid.

“We’re in that corner,” Kirishima said, appearing at Katsuki’s side and pointing at an isolated table in the far left of the room.

There was only one person at the table, a girl with curly, bubblegum pink hair and even more piercings than Kirishima, who spotted them almost instantly and waved them over excitedly.

“You should’ve told us you were bringing him, Ei! We would’ve organized a proper greeting,” she said once they’d arrived at the table.

“And that’s exactly why I didn’t tell you,” Kirishima responded, dropping into the seat across from her.

Katsuki, who had reluctantly taken the seat beside Kirishima and was still trying to decide whether he should just go back to his classroom and accept that he wasn’t going to get to eat, decided that some recon was in order.

“Who’re you?” he asked the girl, who he’d dubbed Pinky, for the time being.

Pinky turned to Katsuki with a wide, overly friendly grin, and stuck her hand out toward him in what was clearly an invitation for a handshake.

“Ashido Mina! Dancer, gossip, and best friend of Kirishima Eijirou,” she said, deftly turning her extended hand into a peace sign when she realized Katsuki wasn’t going to take it.

“How, fucking dare you,” came an offended gasp from behind them, and Katsuki glanced over his shoulder to find two guys, both holding cafeteria trays and coming their way.

One of them, the one with bright fucking yellow hair, slammed his tray down next to Kirishima and pointed an accusing finger at Ashido.

“You do not get to claim best friend rights.”

Ashido stuck her tongue out at him. It had a bright purple ball piercing through it.

“I’ve known him longest, Denki. I have dibs.”

“You can’t call dibs on a person,” the other new arrival, this one with black hair and suspiciously few piercings, given what the rest of the group looked like, argued.

“I love you all equally,” Kirishima said, in the tone of someone who had had this argument many times and was starting to get tired of it. “Now stop being weird before my boyfriend realizes I’ve tricked him into lowering his standards for me.”

Katsuki snorted derisively at the obvious ploy, but no one else at the table seemed to find it amiss.

“Oh shit!” Yellow-Hair said, eyes widening like he hadn’t even noticed Katsuki was there. “Nice to meet you dude! I’m Kaminari. Sorry about the whole nearly killing you thing.”

“He’s the one that owes me lunch?” he asked Kirishima, ignoring the offended squawk from Kaminari.

“Yep,” Kirishima replied. He shrugged apologetically at Kaminari. “Sorry Denki, it was his condition for coming.”

“It hasn’t even been a full day and I’m already being replaced by your boyfriend,” Kaminari sighed dramatically. He stood up and headed back to the lunch line anyway.

“Does he have any grievances with me I should know about?” Suspiciously-Few-Piercings asked, taking a bite out of a large dill pickle. It was the only thing on his tray, aside from seven different individual Jell-O cups and a packet of soy sauce.

“Which one are you?” Kastuki asked.

“Sero Hanta,” he supplied, pouring some soy sauce onto the pickle before taking another bite.

“I didn’t, but now I definitely do,” Kastuki said, watching with morbid fascination as Sero set aside the now half-eaten pickle and started on one of the Jell-O cups.

Sero shrugged, seemingly unconcerned. “Yeah, that’s normal.”

He continued eating.

“Are they always like this?” Katsuki asked Kirishima.

He shook his head. “They’re usually worse.”

“Fantastic.”

Kirishima got out his own, blessedly normal, lunch, and started eating, pausing occasionally to talk to the other Ashido, Sero, and, once he returned with Katsuki’s lunch, Kaminari.

The food was way better than Katsuki had expected, and listening to the morons talk wasn’t terrible, all things considered. They were even, occasionally, funny.

Finally, when everyone had finished actually eating and the table had dissolved into exclusively talking, Ashido got everyone’s attention by slamming her hands down on it and standing up.

“I nearly forgot! We’re doing an official welcome for Bakugou on Friday at my dad’s restaurant.”

Kirishima and Katsuki exchanged a glance and both started to protest, but Ashido cut them off with a wave of her hand.

“Sh! This is non-negotiable. You never know what someone’s really like until you see them outside of school. Be there or face my wrath.”

Katsuki had some choice words about where she could stick her fucking wrath, but something about her expression stopped him.

She was still smiling, but there was steel in her gaze. Katsuki was being tested, and if he failed, their entire scheme failed with him.

“Fine,” he bit out, earning cheers from the Three Stooges and a concerned glance from Kirishima.

They could figure out what they were going to do about Friday later. For now, the warning bell had just gone, and Katsuki had a class to get to.

Chapter Text

Kirishima insisted on walking him back to class, which seemed kind of ridiculous to Katsuki, given that he had to walk past his own classroom to do it, but Kirishima’s reasons became clear once they’d gotten out of the earshot of the rest of the morons.

“Look, Bakugou, I know you said you don’t half-ass shit, but I’m not sure you’re fully grasping what you’ve just gotten yourself into.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “It can’t possibly be that bad. Go to your class.”

“Bakugou, I’m serious-” Kirishima started, sounding, for some reason, actually concerned.

Katsuki cut him off. “If you really want to talk about this, it can wait until after school.”

“I work,” Kirishima said.

“And I have a cell phone. We’ll fucking handle it. Now go away.” Katsuki gave Kirishima a small shove toward his classroom, which barely budged him. Fucking bullshit.

Kirishima seemed to, if nothing else, grasp Katsuki’s intentions, and started off toward his own class, though he still looked like he wanted to say something.

This whole situation was already far more of a headache than Katsuki had anticipated, but he was in too fucking deep to back out now.

With an exasperated sigh, he turned on his heel and stomped his way to his desk, sitting down just as the late bell rang.

It was the closest he’d come to being late in his entire high school career.

He hated everything.

***

At 4 PM, when Katsuki was elbow deep in biology review, his phone started ringing.

Logically, there was only one person it could possibly be, because Uraraka knew better than to try and contact him before six on a weekday, and both his parents were in the house.

He briefly entertained the idea of not answering, but Kirishima was nothing if not fucking persistent, and Katsuki had a feeling that even muting his phone wouldn’t be enough to stop him, so he picked up the phone.

“What the fuck do you want?”

“Bakugou! Okay, shit, I thought you weren’t going to pick up,” Kirishima said with a small laugh.

“I want to get this over with as much as you do. What’s the problem?”

“Uh… Well, okay, the thing about Mina’s family’s restaurant is that it’s actually more of a karaoke bar.”

Katsuki covered the receiver and took a deep, slow breath, then removed his hand and said:

“Care to fucking repeat that, Shitty Hair?”

“Hey, I tried to stop you from agreeing!” Kirishima protested. “Mina always goes super overboard with this stuff, and it really didn’t seem like your scene.”

He was right. Katsuki would rather tear off his right arm than do fucking karaoke, but Ashido had issued a challenge, however subtle. And Katsuki would tear off both his arms and one of his legs before he backed out of a challenge.

So what he needed was a solution that let him keep his pride, and that didn’t force him to sing in front of strangers.

“How good are the morons at keeping secrets?” he asked after mulling over his options for a few moments.

Kirishima laughed nervously. “Pretty terrible. I mean, Hanta’s not bad, but the only people he can’t keep anything from are Mina and Denki, and they’re both…” he trailed off. “Anyway, yeah. Telling them is not gonna fly.”

“Fan-fucking-tastic,” Katsuki growled, raking a hand through his hair. That was about the answer he’d expected, but he’d at least had some hope.

“We can always say that something came up and you couldn’t make it,” Kirishima suggested.

“And then Ashido will reschedule it, and we’ll have to lie again, and it’ll go on like that until we break up,” Katsuki said. “And this shit is exhausting enough already. So I’ll do it, but I’m not fucking singing.”

“Okay,” Kirishima said, and Katsuki wondered how he could tell from just his voice that the asshole was smiling. Maybe it was a lisp because of his ridiculous teeth. “See you tomorrow, Bakugou.”

Katsuki considered going without a parting, since he was in a pretty shitty mood, but he opted, for once, to not be an asshole.

“Bye, Shark Face.”

Uraraka would be proud of him.

***

To his horror, Katsuki’s school routine started to morph around the con.

His mornings progressed pretty much as normal, but at lunch, Kirishima would show up and drag him to the cafeteria to “Socialize with people for once, seriously, I can’t believe you actually use your lunch break to study”.

Kirishima’s friends didn’t seem to mind, and, in fact, didn’t even acknowledge that there was a time when Katsuki hadn’t sat with them.

They left the same seat open for him on Tuesday as they had on Monday, so he even had a fucking assigned seat, apparently.

He was still adjusting to it halfway through lunch on Tuesday, when Ashido abruptly cut off her conversation with Kirishima and turned her full attention on Katsuki.

“Bakugou, are you able to get yourself to Akaiki on Friday?” she asked, popping an entire piece of agedashi tofu into her mouth like a fucking barbarian.

“I have a train pass,” Katsuki answered with a noncommittal shrug. Sure, he didn’t use it often, and he’d never been to that particular neighbourhood before, but he could figure it out.

The entire table fell completely silent.

“What?” Katsuki snapped.

Ashido shook her head firmly. “Yeah, no. Terrible plan. Ei’s driving you.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “I’ve taken a fucking train before, Pinky.”

“Sure, but taking public transit to Akaiki is a horrible idea,” Sero said, like this was something everyone knew.

“Unless you want to get stabbed,” Kaminari interjected. “Then it’s a great idea.”

Katsuki looked at Kirishima, who gave him a very sheepish smile.

“I’ll drive you.”

“Oh shit, can you give me a lift too?” Kaminari asked, giving Kirishima a pleading look.

“Yeah, sure. Hanta?”

Sero shook his head. “Nah. I’m going straight from work, and it’s faster to just walk.”

“And I live there, so I should be alright. Try and get there for eight,” she said, aiming an accusatory look at Kaminari.

“Hey! Ei’s driving me, I can’t be late.”

“Oh please. He can’t say no to you and you wouldn’t know punctuality if it punched you in the face.”

The conversation devolved from there, and Katsuki felt no need to participate in it further.

Wednesday and Thursday passed pretty much the same way, but on Friday, someone had dumped what looked like an entire plate of spaghetti on Katsuki’s seat.

“People are fucking gross,” he said, setting his lunch down with slightly more force than usual on the other side of the table.

Ashido went to find some cleaning products, while Katsuki scraped off what he could with some paper towel.

There seemed to be something written on the seat too, but there was too much sauce smeared over it to make it out.

Ashido came back soon after, and made quick work of the remaining sauce.

“‘Punk fucker’?” Katsuki said, reading the message as it was revealed. He barked out a laugh. “Seriously? That’s supposed to be insulting?”

He looked at the rest of the group, expecting similar reactions, but everyone just looked grim.

Kaminari was the one who broke the silence, huffing out a resigned breath.

“Who’s telling Aizawa this time?”

“I’ll do it,” Kirishima said quietly, placing his lunch down on the table. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“I’m coming with you,” Katsuki said, because that reaction had been weird as hell, and he wanted a fucking explanation.

Kirishima looked, for a moment, like he was going to refuse, but he just nodded and started off toward the cafeteria doors.

Katsuki followed, waiting until they were outside before asking:

“What the fuck just happened?”

Kirishima sighed, but didn’t slow his pace. “People being weird about this.”

“Hang on a goddamn second,” Katsuki said, stepping in front Kirishima so he’d be forced to stop and answer him properly, “when you said people being weird, I thought you meant the whispering during breaks, not fucking vandalism.”

Kirishima shrugged. “Well, the whispering too, but it was only a matter of time before this happened.”

“Care to elaborate on that, Shitty Hair?” Katsuki growled.

“You’re top of the grade, and Mina, Denki, Hanta and I are basically community outreach kids. People don’t respond to that mixing very well.”

“Yeah, stuck up adults,” Katsuki said. “And I don’t think an employee is stupid enough to do that.”

Kirishima shifted uncomfortably. “It’s people our age too, Bakugou. U.A elitism runs deep.”

“That’s fucking stupid. If you’re here it’s because you earned it.”

“Yeah, well. Not everyone thinks that way.” Kirishima shot him a somewhat forced smile. “Now come on. We’ve gotta report this before someone says we did it.”

Katsuki fell into step beside Kirishima, thinking over what he’d just said.

Now that he’d mentioned it, it was kind of weird that the group had managed to snag a lunch table in the same spot every day, with basically no one around it. Katsuki hadn’t been going to the cafeteria for long, but that definitely didn’t seem to be the norm.

Katsuki wasn’t exactly in the loop when it came to school gossip, because he frankly didn’t give a shit, but he’d kind of assumed, since Uraraka knew Kirishima and seemed to like him, that he was… not popular, that was fucking stupid, but at least liked.

“Before we go in,” Kirishima said, pulling Katsuki from his thoughts, “I should warn you about Aizawa. He’s… kind of intimidating. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a huge softie, but he’s also absolutely terrifying.”

“I had Kayama last year,” Katsuki replied. “Nothing will ever be worse than that.”

Kirishima let out a genuine laugh at that, the first one since lunch had started, and Katsuki couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit smug, like he was beating whoever had graffitied his seat.

“Sensei?” Kirishima called reluctantly, pushing the classroom door open and leaning inside. “Someone vandalized our table again.”

Katsuki heard a muffled—but no less exasperated—sigh from inside.

“Come in.”

Kirishima stepped inside, Katsuki right behind him.

Aizawa was sitting, or more accurately, slouching, at his desk, with a pile of papers in front of him.

He looked like he hadn’t slept in a month, an impression that was not helped by the way he was glaring at them.

“What was it this time?” he asked, addressing the question to Kirishima while he rifled around in his desk for something, eventually pulling out a thick folder and a piece of paper.

Kirishima described the scene, and Aizawa wrote it down.

“Any idea who did it?” he asked, in the tone of a man who knew exactly what answer he was going to get and didn’t like it.

“No, sir,” Kirishima replied.

Aizawa grunted and wrote that down too, then added the paper to the file and returned it to his desk.

“I’ll talk to admin again, but given what the results have been every other time I’ve tried…” he trailed off, but from the frustration in his tone it was easy to figure out what the past experiences were like.

“Thank you, sir,” Kirishima said, and Katsuki echoed him, albeit more quietly.

Aizawa turned the full weight of his gaze on Katsuki.

“You’re the one this was directed at?”

Katsuki nodded, and Aizawa snorted.

“I’ll mention that. Might actually get them to do something.” He made a dismissive motion at them. “Get out.”

Katsuki and Kirishima did as they were told.

“That whole fucking folder?” Katsuki exploded, as soon as the door shut behind them. “Are you kidding me?”

Kirishima laughed awkwardly. “Well, it’s everything for me, Mina, Hanta and Denki, for all of high school, so it’s not that bad, when you think about it.”

“That’s still pretty fucking terrible, Kirishima.”

Kirishima just shrugged at him, smilingly helplessly, and kept walking.

Katsuki let the subject drop, but he couldn’t stop thinking about it.

It unsettled him, how close he’d come to being the person who wrote stupid insults on people’s lunch tables. If he hadn’t met Uraraka when he had, if he’d taken his mom’s speeches about “those kinds of people” a little bit more to heart… He could so easily have been on the opposite side of this equation, and it made his skin crawl.

When they reached the cafeteria doors, he grabbed Kirishima’s arm to stop him before he could go inside.

“Get the rest of the morons, and we’ll eat in my classroom.”

Kirishima’s face split into a grin, a proper one.

“Really?”

“Just for today, Shark Face.”

“Thanks, Bakugou!” Kirishima said, and he pulled Katsuki into a hug, which Katsuki had technically okayed, but there was no one around to see them, so he felt perfectly justified when he shoved Kirishima off with a:

“Don’t be disgusting. Go get your friends.”

This time, Kirishima listened.

***

Katsuki had half-expected for the incident at lunch to kill the partying mood and lead to Ashido cancelling that night’s festivities, but the group seemed, if anything, more determined to have fun than before.

“If we let these assholes stop us from having fun, we’d never have any,” Ashido had declared, perched on Katsuki’s desk, because apparently Kirishima’s friends also had no idea how to use chairs.

Which was why, at 7:30 that night, Katsuki found himself halfway out the front door, arguing with his mother about whether or not he should be allowed outside.

“It’s four fucking hours! I’m not going to die!”

“Four hours you could spend doing something productive,” his mother replied, annoyingly even-toned.

“You’re the one who’s always on my ass about socializing more, I thought you’d be happy about this!”

She refused to back down, despite the fact that Katsuki was fucking right. “I’ve never met these people, brat. You aren’t going to fucking Akaiki with strangers.”

Katsuki barely resisted the urge to slam his head into the doorframe.

“When I asked you on Monday, you said it was fine.”

“Because I hadn’t realized you’d lost your damn mind, and were planning on spending your night in the crime capital of the city with a bunch of delinquents!”

Katsuki heard the sound of a car pulling up on the driveway, and knew he needed to find a way to get out of this situation, now.

“Yeah, well, one of those “delinquents” is my date to the wedding, so you’d better get used to the idea.”

While his mother was too shocked to respond, Katsuki made his escape, running out the door and jumping into the passenger seat of Kirishima’s car.

“Fucking floor it, Shitty Hair, we’ve got about ten seconds before she jumps in front of the car to stop you.”

Kirishima, to his eternal credit, didn’t ask questions, just reversed out of the driveway at an inadvisably high speed and took off down the street.

“Dude, what the hell was that?” Kaminari asked from the back seat, nearly sending Katsuki a foot in the air.

“When the fuck did you get here?”

“Before you did,” Kaminari answered, vaguely and spectacularly unhelpfully. “Now, seriously. What happened?”

“The hag decided to be difficult.” He had absolutely zero intentions of elaborating beyond that.

Luckily, no one forced him to, although Kirishima did bully him into putting on his seatbelt when they got to their first red light.

Kaminari kept up an almost constant stream of chatter, only occasionally supplemented by Kirishima, which Katsuki tuned out in favour of the music coming from the car’s sound system.

It was some godawful synth-pop, which he tolerated for about a song and a half before snapping.

“Who’s fucking music is this?”

“Mine,” Kaminari said, which Katsuki really should have guessed, “Why?”

“Hand over the fucking aux.”

“Dude, no! I already lost shotgun to boyfriend privileges, I’m not giving this up too.”

Katsuki turned around just enough to level Kaminari with his most fearsome glare, and held out his hand.

Kaminari grumbled a bit, but unplugged his phone and passed Katsuki the aux cord.

Katsuki connected his phone, pressed shuffle, and settled back into his seat.

He got all of two seconds of peace, before Kaminari’s head appeared in the space between the front seats.

“Is this fucking MCR?!” he demanded, a delighted grin on his face.

“Yeah,” Katsuki bit out.

“Holy shit, did you have an emo phase?”

“No,” Katsuki snarled. He just had good music taste.

“You totally did!” Kaminari insisted, letting out a sound that could probably qualify as a squeal.

“I’m going to kill him,” Katsuki told Kirishima, because it was polite to let someone know you were about to commit homicide in their car.

Kirishima was making a valiant effort to hold back his laughter, and failing miserably.

“Nope, scratch that. I’m killing both of you.”

“Hey, we aren’t judging,” Kirishima said, though the fact that he had to force the words out between giggles said otherwise, “emo is kind of a predecessor to punk. I had an emo phase.”

“I still can’t believe Mina actually got to witness that,” Kaminari said wistfully. “I seriously cannot picture you emo.”

“Fucking middle school, man,” Kirishima said, with a small smile and a shake of his head. “Not a good time.”

The discussion continued in the same vein until Kirishima pulled into a tiny, dingy parking lot, and declared that they’d arrived.

Katsuki got out of the car and stretched out his back, waiting while Kirishima and Kaminari did the same.

He realized, once Kaminari had climbed out of the car, that he’d never actually seen him in casual clothes.

The whole look was about what he’d expected, obnoxiously bright colours and a lot of studs, but he was also wearing fishnets and a neon yellow miniskirt, which Katsuki had not expected.

Kaminari noticed him looking and shifted a bit, crossing his arms like he was daring Katsuki to say something.

“You wear way too much yellow.”

“Wha- Hey, I do not!”

Kaminari continued to jabber obnoxiously at him, but Katsuki opted to stick close to Kirishima and ignore him.

Kirishima had the same expression he’d had in the car, clearly trying to hold back laughter, and Katsuki assumed he’d heard the whole conversation.

Once they got inside the restaurant, they were greeted by a man who Katsuki guessed was Ashido’s father, if only because Kirishima and Kaminari both referred to him as “Mr.Ashido”. He looked way too normal to be related to her, in Katsuki’s opinion.

Ashido, the pink haired one, appeared shortly after and shooed them into a closed booth in the back, after some quick banter with her father about stealing her friends.

Sero was already there, sprawled across a couch and doodling something on a napkin.

He waved at them when they came in, but didn’t make any effort to clear up space.

“Okay!” Ashido said, shutting the door and clapping her hands excitedly. “Food should be done in a few minutes. But first…” she walked over to the TV that dominated one wall of the room and turned it on, revealing a picture of her and Kaminari, grinning widely in what looked like actual mugshots.

“Today is first and foremost about getting to know Bakugou, but it’s also the one year anniversary of me and Denki getting arrested!”

“Oh shit, I forgot that was today!” Kaminari exclaimed, laughing.

Katsuki turned to look at Kirishima, trying to gauge whether or not everyone had lost their damn minds.

“They egged the protestors at Pride,” he explained, smiling like a proud parent.

“We also glitter bombed them,” Ashido said, clicking something on the remote that switched the picture on screen to one of Sero, in handcuffs, standing in front of a genuinely impressive abstract mural on the side of a train. “And this is so Hanta doesn’t feel excluded, even though it’s only been a few months.”

“Here’s to many more,” Sero responded dryly, raising his arm in a half-hearted fist.

“Unfortunately, Eijirou has no choice but to feel excluded, because he’s a goody-two-shoes,” Ashido continued, undeterred.

“I was there in spirit!” he protested, to jeers from the rest of the group.

“Just because you have “aspirations” doesn’t mean you’re immune to mocking,” Ashido declared with an imperious wave of her hand. “Hanta, Denki, you’re helping me with food.”

Kaminari started to protest, but Ashido raised her eyebrows at him and he followed her out, with Sero going soon after.

“Sorry about that,” Kirishima said as soon as the two of them were alone, “I think it was Mina’s way of… I don’t know. Testing you?”

Katsuki shrugged. “Well, I don’t care. I’m just surprised you’re all still allowed to attend U.A.”

Kirishima laughed. “That’s mostly Aizawa. He threatens to expel us a lot, but he always fights admin on it whenever they actually try. From what we can figure, he’s a former problem child, so he helps us out of, like, intergenerational solidarity.”

“So, how come you weren’t part of the slideshow?” Katsuki asked, after a few seconds of silence. He’d been half-hoping he would be; his mom would’ve had an aneurysm.

“I mean, I took the picture of Hanta, so technically I was,” Kirishima said, very obviously dodging the question.

Katsuki wasn’t falling for his shit, so he glared at Kirishima until he gave him an actual answer.

“I want to be a paramedic, when I’m older, and you can’t become a first responder with a criminal record,” he finally explained. “And even though it’s kinda unlikely I get in with my grades where they are, I wanna make sure it’s possible, y’know? I want a chance to help people.”

Kirishima was avoiding Katsuki’s eyes, almost like the admission embarrassed him.

Unfortunately, Kirishima making this a big deal was making Katsuki embarrassed, so in an effort to just make it stop Katsuki blurted out:

“I want to be a surgeon.”

In his surprise, Kirishima ended up looking at Katsuki. “Really? That’s so cool! I definitely wouldn’t survive that much school,” he said with a laugh. “Wouldn’t it be funny if we ended up working together?”

“It would be fucking something,” Katsuki grumbled, earning another laugh from Kirishima.

There was a knock at the door, followed by Ashido’s muffled voice saying:

“Is it safe to come in?”

“Yes, you fucking perverts,” Katsuki snapped, and Kirishima turned to stifle his giggling in Katsuki’s shoulder, which just made them look guilty.

But since it was what they were going for, Katsuki submitted to the mocking, (and retching noises, courtesy of Sero) as they set out the food. Everyone quickly got to eating, except for Ashido, who set up the karaoke machine while everyone was distracted.

She opened things up with a horrific butchering of a Marina and the Diamonds song, which Katsuki would have chewed her out for, except it was quickly overshadowed by Kaminari’s somehow even worse rendition of All Star.

Katsuki had told them, in no uncertain terms, that he was not fucking singing, but now he was almost tempted, if only to show them what music was supposed to sound like.

Sero was strong-armed into performing some song that Katsuki didn’t recognize, which he did surprisingly well, except for the rap part, which he fucking nailed. Katsuki was grudgingly impressed.

After that it was mostly ensemble numbers, including a shockingly competent group performance of Bohemian Rhapsody, which Katsuki did actually participate in, albeit very stealthily.

Once things wound down a bit, Ashido put on some sappy duet from a Disney movie, and forced the microphones into Katsuki and Kirishima’s hands. Her eyes had that same challenging gleam they’d had on Monday when she’d invited Katsuki to this thing in the first place, and he knew there would be no backing out of this.

Kirishima, on the other hand, tried his damndest to avoid his fate, but his friends were immune to his pleas, and Katsuki eventually dragged him off the couch himself, just to get things over with.

It definitely wasn’t fun, but Kirishima was arguably the best singer from his friend group, even though his cheeks stayed the same colour as his hair through the whole debacle, so it wasn’t awful, either.

When they finished, and the morons had finished their excessive round of applause that only seemed to mortify Kirishima more, Ashido announced that she needed Katsuki’s help with something in the kitchen.

Katsuki knew a bald-faced lie when he heard one, but he went with her anyway, because, if nothing else, he was fairly confident he could take her in a fight, especially in the truly insane heels she was wearing.

When they got to the kitchen, Ashido actually busied herself getting water bottles for a few moments, which was more commitment to the ruse than Katsuki had expected.

“Out with it, Pinky,” he snapped. “I know we aren’t here for water.”

Ashido put the bottles down and grinned at him.

“Glad to know Eiji wasn’t lying when he said you were smart.”

“So, what is this?” Katsui asked, “A shovel talk?”

“Eh, you could call it that,” she said, hopping up onto the counter so she was taller than Katsuki. A cheap move, but he had to give her points for planning.

“I’ve known Ei since middle school,” she started, “and I care about him a lot. And I want to like you, but I also want to make sure he’s not gonna get hurt, especially after lunch today. So if you’re doing this as a joke, or a prank, or something, I’ll end you and all that you hold dear, got it?”

It was almost impressive, Katsui thought, that she came so close to the truth while somehow managing to miss it entirely.

“I’m not messing with him,” Katsuki said, trying to force as much sincerity into his voice as possible. “This matters to me, too.” It wasn’t even a lie, technically speaking. Just a grievous omission of truth.

Ashido’s face split into a grin. “Good!” She slid off the counter, slapping Katsuki hard on the shoulder as she did. “You’re alright, Bakugou. Once you get past all the layers of prickly asshole.”

“Yeah, yeah. Shut up and hand me some of the bottles,” he said impatiently. He’d signed up for being annoyed by his fake boyfriend’s idiot friends, not fucking feelings.

Ashido did as he asked, and they headed back to the room.

Katsuki immediately dropped down next to Kirishima and handed off one of the waters he was carrying, pressing a little bit closer to his side than necessary because Ashido was still watching them.

She raised her eyebrows at the pretty blatant (by Katsuki’s standards) display, and he stuck his tongue out at her.

“Comfy?” Kirishima asked. He sounded like he was making fun of Katsuki, which he didn’t appreciate.

“I brought you water, asshole. You don’t get to be difficult.”

“Alright, fair enough,” Kirishima replied, shifting a bit so his arm was around Katsuki’s shoulders, rather than awkwardly squashed between them.

It was, all things considered, more comfortable than Katsuki had expected, and he didn’t end up moving until they left for the night.

Chapter Text

“Is he seriously asleep?” Kaminari asked, in what was probably supposed to be a whisper.

Katsuki swatted at him, to prove that he wasn’t, but didn’t bother opening his eyes.

In his defense, he’d had a long-ass day, and it was getting close to midnight. As far as Katsuki was concerned, these hyperactive motherfuckers were the weirdos, not him.

He could feel Kirishima shaking with silent laughter, and opened his eyes to glare at him.

Kirishima grinned at him when he noticed, and flicked Katsuki on the forehead.

“Alright Sleeping Beauty, let’s get you home,” Kirishima said, carefully extricating himself from under Katsuki and pulling him to his feet. He had arranged it so he was supporting most of Katsuki’s weight, which was probably supposed to be nice but was just fucking patronizing.

“I can stand by myself, asshole,” Katsuki grumbled, shoving him away. He only stumbled a bit before regaining his balance, and he made sure to glare fiercely enough at the assembled idiots that no one would call him on it.

“Alright,” Kirishima said, backing off with his hands raised. “Denki, Hanta, you guys coming?”

They both nodded and stood. Ashido gave them each a parting hug, except Katsuki, who she punched in the shoulder.

He punched her back, and they headed out.

The drop in temperature once they got outside was enough to jolt Katsuki firmly back into full alertness. This was accompanied by the realization that he’d basically fallen asleep on Kirishima. And sure, that was technically allowed, based on the rules they’d set out, but Katsuki hadn’t spent that much time touching another person since… he didn’t even remember. Since he was a baby, probably. It was fucking weird.

He climbed into the passenger side and plugged his phone into the aux before Kaminari got any ideas.

There were seventeen missed calls from his mom, and three from Uraraka.

Katsuki stared at them for a moment, then started his music and put his phone face down in the space between the front seats. He could deal with that later.

“Hanta lives closest, so we’re dropping him off first,” Kirishima said, and Katuki grunted an acknowledgement.

The detour added an extra five minutes to Katsuki’s trip home, which wasn’t really that much, all things considered, but it gave him more time to think about what was waiting for him when he got home.

He’d told his mom about Kirishima, kind of, and then disappeared for four hours. This wasn’t going to be pretty.

Katsuki didn’t even notice that they’d pulled up at his house until Kirishima poked him gently in the side.

“Did you fall asleep on us again?”

“Fuck off,” Katsuki snarled, and Kirishima just laughed.

“See you on Monday?”

If he survived until then.

“Yeah. Bye.”

He got an answering “Bye!” from both Kirishima and Kaminari, who’d reclaimed the aux cord before Katsuki was even fully out of the car.

Katsuki had planned on waiting until they drove off before trying to get into the house, but Kirishima was apparently one of those people who waited to see that you were safely in the house before leaving, because of fucking course he was.

Resigned to his fate, Katsuki headed up the front walk and opened the door as quietly as he could, hoping that by some miracle he’d be able to get up to his room without anyone realizing he’d gotten back.

That hope was, of course, in vain, because his mom was sitting in the armchair that faced the door, lurking in the shadows like a goddamn cartoon supervillain.

“Start talking,” she said. Her voice was deathly calm, which meant that Katsuki had severely underestimated how much shit he was in.

“The food was pretty good, but the noodles were a bit undercooked,” he answered, because he was an asshole who’d been raised by an asshole, and if she wanted answers she was going to have to fucking take them.

“You know damn well that’s not what I meant, Katsuki.” she snapped, standing and moving so she was standing in front of him.

Katsuki made a frustrated growling noise. “I told you exactly what I was doing, and that’s what I did! I don’t know what else you want from me!”

“I want to know why the fuck your date to your cousin’s wedding is taking you to Akaiki, and bringing you home after midnight!”

“I literally wasn’t alone once the entire night, and Ashido’s dad was in the fucking restaurant! Nothing happened except what I told you was going to happen!” Katsuki exclaimed.

“Ashido?” his mom said conveniently ignoring everything else he’d said and immediately zeroing in on the one name he’d given.

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “It’s not her.”

“Who the hell is it, then? Because you up and left with her four hours ago and you still haven’t told me what your date’s fucking name is!”

Katsuki hesitated, just for a second. He knew he was going to have to tell her about Kirishima, that was the whole fucking point, but he’d hoped, somehow, that he could avoid inflicting his mother on Kirishima until it was absolutely necessary.

“Kirishima Eijirou.”

There were four seconds of complete silence, then:

“If this is this some kind of bullshit teenage rebellious phase, I am going to ground you for the rest of your natural born life.”

Katsuki wanted to point out that his rebellious phase had basically been from birth to present and she had never given him shit about it before.

“You wanted me to bring a date. He’s my fucking date,” he said instead, like he was issuing a challenge.

“Fucking Christ,” his mother sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “This is some serious commitment to pissing me off, brat.”

The thing was, she was right. This whole thing was, technically, one giant “fuck you”.

But.

Katsuki hadn’t ever really been interested in anyone, but he’d figured out, through Uraraka nagging him and some serious self-reflection, that if there ever was, it was going to be a guy. So this conversation was going to happen at some point, and it might as well be now.

“I’m not gay because I want to piss you off!” he yelled.

“Shit, kid,” she said tiredly, dropping back down into the armchair, “I know how being gay works. But the rest of the family-”

Katsuki barked out a short, disbelieving laugh.

“Oh my god, of course. Of fucking course that’s what you’re worried about.” He took a deep, steadying breath, and resisted the urge to punch something. “I’m either bringing him, or I’m not bringing anyone, so pick your fucking poison.”

“Fine, bring him. But when your grandmother disowns you, you have no one to blame but yourself.”

“Fucking let her!”

A heavy, oppressive silence settled over them, neither one willing to show that the other had gotten to them.

His mother was the one to break it.

“I’m going to bed, and you should too. We’ll talk to your father about this in the morning.”

Katsuki didn’t respond, just toed off his shoes and stomped past her and up the stairs to his room.

It took him forever to get ready for bed, so wound up from everything that his hands wouldn’t stop shaking.

He checked the time on his phone once he was actually in bed.

It was nearly one, and he had three missed texts from Kirishima.

Shitty Hair (00:28): hey! i know ur probs asleep but denki wants ur playlist
Shitty Hair (00:28): he says i have 2 tell u he’s pissed about the aux
Shitty Hair (00:29): but he still wants it

Me (00:47): He gets a link when he earns it.

Shitty Hair (00:47): how does he earn it?

Me (00:48): Wouldn’t you like to know.

Shitty Hair (00:50): this is from him
Shitty Hair (00:50): *sent a photo*

It was a screenshot of a text conversation with Kaminari, where he’d sent a whole screen’s worth of sad faces to Kirishima in response to Katsuki’s playlist secrecy.

Katsuki let out an involuntary snort.

Me (00:51): Tell him he can ask me about it at school if he’s that desperate. I’m going to bed.

Shitty Hair (00:52): ok, will do. gn!!!

Katsuki felt a bit calmer, after that. Still not good, but his hands weren’t shaking and he no longer wanted to blow anything up, so it was an improvement.

He set his phone on his bedside table to charge, and, somehow, managed to fall asleep.

***

The next morning, Katsuki was woken up by someone knocking at the door.

He knew it was his dad, because his mom would’ve just barged in.

“Katsuki? Are you awake?”

“Yeah,” he grumbled, sitting up but not bothering to leave his bed.

The door opened and his dad stepped inside. He stayed hovering near the door, wringing his hands awkwardly.

“What do you want?”

“Your mother told me what happened last night.”

Katsuki had figured as much. His dad wouldn’t try and wake him up on a weekend unless he had a reason.

“And?” Katsuki snapped.

His dad looked, somehow, even more uncomfortable than before. “I just wanted you to know that whatever she may have said, I don’t- we don’t love you any less.”

Katsuki scoffed. He hated when his dad did this, tried to smooth over what his mom said by making it seem like she hadn’t meant it, rather than outright saying he disagreed with her.

He was too tired to call him on it, though.

“Yeah, sure. I’m going over to Uraraka’s.”

“Alright,” his dad said, giving him an uneasy smile. “Do you want breakfast?”

Katsuki shook his head, and his dad left without another word.

He got up, got dressed, grabbed his phone, and walked out the front door.

His mom wasn’t in the house, because she definitely would’ve stopped him from leaving if she was.

As it stood, the walk to Uraraka’s was the same as always, and when he climbed in through her open window, she looked up from her phone long enough to smile at him and make room on the bed, then went right back to what she was doing.

It was exactly what he’d needed.

He lay at the foot of her bed in silence for a while, until Uraraka got bored of whatever she was doing, or got tired of repressing her meddling tendencies, and poked Katsuki’s hip with her foot to get his attention.

“So your mom called me last night, and asked me who you were out with,” she started.

Shit. The missed calls from Uraraka.

“Of fucking course she did.”

“And I didn’t actually have an answer for her, because you didn’t tell me you were going out,” she finished, like he hadn’t spoken at all.

“I was at karaoke with Kirishima and his friends,” Katsuki told her.

“What?!” Uraraka exclaimed. “I’ve been trying to get you to go to karaoke with me for years, asshole!”

“I didn’t want to go, but one of his friends invited me and it would’ve been suspicious if I said no.”

Uraraka was still pouting, but she seemed to have accepted his answer.

“I figured she’d be happy you were talking to people. People that aren’t me, I mean.”

Katsuki sighed. “Me too. But I told her about me and Kirishima.”

Uraraka’s eyes widened.

“Wait, “told her you’re dating” told, or “told her you’re pretending you’re to date” told?”

Katsuki propped himself up on his elbows to scowl at her. “What do you think I am, an idiot? The first one.”

She let out a relieved sigh. “Well, that’s good.”

Katsuki snorted. “Good is pretty fucking generous.”

He gave Uraraka the summarized version of his talk with his mom the previous night, and watched with a kind of perverse satisfaction as her face got redder and her expression got stormier.

By the time he finished, she was on her feet, pacing and frustrated.

“That’s just awful! How can she even say that, that’s just-”

She kept pacing as she ranted, and it was weirdly comforting, having someone share his anger.

“You know what?” Uraraka said after a few minutes, coming to an abrupt stop and pointing sharply at Katsuki, “We’re going to get ice cream.”

“I don’t have my wallet.”

“I’m paying for you,” Uraraka said. Her jaw was set, like she was daring him to fight her on it.

He would, normally, because he didn’t like owing people for shit, but Uraraka never offered to pay for things, and if she was, she had a good reason for it.

She was still grumbling while she rooted through her closet for a pair of shoes, while she put the shoes on, and while she grabbed her wallet.

“We’re going out the window,” she declared, pulling a sweatshirt over her head.

Katsuki suddenly wished he’d thought to put one on when he was leaving. It wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t hot, either, and he much prefered being warm to being cold, especially if he was about to eat something frozen.

“If you fall again I’m just going to laugh at you,” he said, climbing out onto the tree without waiting for a response.

He had a lot more practice with the tree than Uraraka did, since she only had to use the window when she was leaving with him, which didn’t happen very often.

She made it down without any difficulty, and kicked him hard in the shin as soon as she had both her feet on the ground.

It hurt, because she was the fucking jiu jitsu prefectural champion, but he just kicked her back instead of acknowledging that.

Katsuki could tell that she was still fuming, because she was shit at concealing her emotions. Not that he could judge on that front, but he at least looked intimidating. Between her general roundness and the giant pink sweatshirt she was wearing, she just looked like a pissy Jigglypuff.

He told her as much, and she hit him again, then threatened to buy his favourite flavour and eat it in front of him.

“You hate ginger,” he told her, rolling his eyes.

“I enjoy pissing you off more than I hate ginger,” she retorted.

That was probably true, but her threats were empty anyway. They were still sniping back and forth when they got to the nearest ice cream place.

There were no other customers, and only one employee, which Katsuki figured was to be expected, given that it was about 10 am and no one fucking ate ice cream that early.

Unfortunately, the sole employee happened to be fucking Half-and-Half.

He gave Uraraka what might have been a smile, if you squinted hard enough, and nodded at Katsuki in stony faced acknowledgement.

“Todoroki! Did you switch your hours again?” Uraraka asked, going from grumbly to bubbly in the space of two seconds.

“Ojirou needed someone to cover for him,” he replied. “It’s just for this week.”

“Oh, good. Deku would flip if he had to rearrange your study schedule again.”

Katsuki hung back and let them chat. Uraraka would get around to ordering pretty quickly, since talking to Half-and-Half was like trying to talk to a block of ice.

He’d always assumed that was why he and Deku got along. Deku talked enough that it didn’t really matter if the other half of the conversation responded or not.

Uraraka came back over after a few minutes with their ice cream. She handed Katsuki his cone and called out a final goodbye to Half-and-Half, and they left the shop.

Through some kind of silent mutual agreement, they walked to the nearby park instead of going back to Uraraka’s.

They walked quietly for a while, absorbed in their respective desserts, but they eventually got to a bench and Uraraka had them sit down while they finished.

“Have you told Kirishima about what happened?” Uraraka asked once she’d thrown out her bowl.

Katsuki shook his head. “There’s no reason to. I told him when he agreed to this that they were going to be dicks about it. He literally signed up to piss her off.”

“Yeah, but there’s a difference between theoretically knowing they’re going to be awful, and “I told my parents about us and my mom all but told me I was the family disappointment”,” Uraraka pointed out.

“I’ll tell him I told them,” Katsuki said, getting up from the bench and walking back the way they’d come.

Uraraka caught up quickly, and wasn’t thrown by his escape attempt at all.

“You got him involved, Bakugou. He has to know the situation, or you’re screwed.”

Katsuki huffed, frustrated. “He knows the situation. It’s not like they’re going to fucking quiz him about their reactions to me coming out.”

Uraraka rolled her eyes. “I know you hate sharing personal information, but you literally dragged this guy into your family drama. He deserves to know exactly what he’s getting into.”

They’d made it out of the park by then, and were back on the sidewalk beside it.

Whatever Katsuki was going to say in response was lost when someone in a passing car threw a cup of something out the window at him. It hit him in the back of the head, and it splattered, cold liquid all over his hair and dripping down his shirt.

They yelled something, too, but he didn’t hear it. Judging by the way Uraraka puffed up, enraged, she did, but she started fussing over Katsuki before he could ask about it.

“Take off your shirt,” she ordered, pulling off her sweatshirt and handing it to him, then picking the cup off the ground and tossing it in a nearby garbage can.

Katsuki did as she asked, because his shirt was starting to get sticky and it was fucking gross.

Uraraka took his ruined shirt from him once he’d put on her sweatshirt. It actually fit him, which meant it was truly fucking gigantic on her.

“What the fuck was in that cup?” It had been fucking freezing, and it was now working on making his hair a sticky, chemically scented nightmare.

“Slushie.”

“Fuck,” Katsuki said, with passion. He touched the back of his head, and his fingers came away blue. “Did you hear what they said?”

Uraraka nodded, grim-faced.

When she didn’t continue, Katsuki raised his eyebrows significantly at her.

“I’m not saying it out loud.”

Well, at least they knew it was on purpose.

They went back to Uraraka’s, and Katsuki got as much of the slushie as he could out of his hair. Uraraka put his shirt in the wash, and declared the sweatshirt loaned to him until he got a chance to wash it.

He would’ve fought that, normally, but Uraraka had her determined face on, and you didn’t fuck with determined-face Uraraka. Besides, the sweater was insanely soft and comfy, and he’d had a shitty enough day to merit some material comfort.

Katsuki stayed at Uraraka’s until his shirt was done going through the wash. He still didn’t want to go home, but there was still slushie residue on his back and it was starting to get really fucking uncomfortable, so he reluctantly decided to leave.

“You need to tell him about this, at least,” Uraraka called down to him, once he’d gotten down the tree. “Whoever did this could be dangerous.”

If they were too much of a coward to come after him directly, Katsuki didn’t think they were really much of a threat, but he wasn’t stupid enough to ignore two incidents in two days, however ridiculous they both were.

“I’ll tell him Monday.” This was a face-to-face conversation, and the rest of the idiots should probably be in on it too.

Uraraka was apparently satisfied with this, because she didn’t try to keep him from leaving.

***

Katsuki spent the rest of the weekend in his room. He left for meals and to wash Uraraka’s sweatshirt, but he’d had a string of really shitty days, and as far as he was concerned, the world didn’t deserve his presence.

He’d finished all his homework on Friday, so most of his time was spent on Google Scholar reading about a new disinfectant spray that was in the early testing stages, and texting Kirishima.

It was a pretty strange combination of activities, but when Katsuki had tried to gross him out by talking about the horrors of gangrene, Kirishima had just called him and asked for a breakdown of the study, which was when Katsuki remembered that, right, this motherfucker wanted to be a paramedic, and trying to get rid of him with gross medical facts wasn’t going to work.

Kirishima was an attentive listener, and even made an insightful comment at one point, which was when Katsuki abruptly excused himself from the conversation because not hating Kirishima was fine, but actually getting along with him was fucking weird.

On Monday, Kirishima came to get him for lunch, like usual, and Katsuki told him that they were eating in his classroom again.

“But on Friday you said-”

“Friday was a long fucking time ago. Go get the Three Stooges.”

Kirishima came back a few minutes later with Ashido, Sero and Kaminari, who all looked somewhere between confused and wary.

“Is this one of the signs of the apocalypse?” Sero asked uncertainly, taking a seat at the desk in front of Katsuki’s.

Kaminari dropped down next to Sero and whipped out his phone. “I’ll Google it. There’s gotta be a list somewhere.”

Katsuki growled at them, and they backed off.

“So, is there a reason we’re being allowed in your class again?” Ashido pressed.

Katsuki told them about what had happened on Saturday, though he carefully left out the events of the previous night.

When he finished, Kaminari was the first to ask a question.

“Did you see what kind of car it was?”

“White,” Katsuki replied. “Maybe a Mazda? I don’t fucking know.”

Monoma,” all four of them said simultaneously, with identical looks of resigned frustration.

“What the hell is a Monoma?” Katsuki demanded.

“He’s in class B,” Kirishima explained. “He doesn’t like us very much.”

“And he drives an obnoxious white Mazda,” Ashido added, taking out her phone and typing something out. “I’ll see what I can find out, but you guys should probably go talk to Aizawa.”

“The fuck is he supposed to do? It’s not like this happened at school.”

“Maybe not, but you and Monoma are both students. Plus, it’s more proof that there’s an actual problem,” Kirishima said, standing and holding out his hand in Katsuki’s direction.

Katsuki rolled his eyes, but hooked his pinky with Kirishima’s and followed him out of the class, to the sounds of wolf-whistles and jeering from the peanut gallery.

Katsuki flipped them off.

The entire experience had been a little too familiar for Katsuki’s liking, given that they’d done the same fucking thing three days ago. Kirishima even had the same air of quiet sadness that he’d had on Friday, and he wasn’t looking at Katsuki.

“You know,” he said, “if you wanted to stop, we could. I could do something else to pay you back.”

“Not a fucking chance,” Katsuki snapped. He couldn’t end this even if he wanted to, not now that his mom knew. Besides, “that’s letting them win. Would you back out this easily if you were actually dating someone?”

Kirishima shook his head, a bit of a smile starting to creep onto his face.

“Damn fucking right. So you don’t back out now.”

Kirishima’s smile was a full-on grin now. “You know, you’re pretty manly, Bakugou.”

“That’s a weird-ass compliment, Shitty Hair,” Katsuki said, opening the door to class C and tugging Kirishima in behind him.

Aizawa was there, and raised a single disapproving eyebrow at their entrance.

“Twice in a week is a lot, even for you.”

Kirishima laughed awkwardly and scratched at the back of his head. “Yeah, I know. Bakugou?”

Katsuki told the story again, watching as Aizawa’s resting frown deepened into genuine anger.

“Physical assault is a serious accusation, Bakugou. You’re sure it was purposeful?”

“I’m pretty fucking certain,” he said. “Uraraka from class B was with me. She can corroborate.”

“Good to know,” Aizawa sighed, making note of it in the ever-fucking-thickening folder of bullshit. “I’ll have Kirishima let you know if there’s progress.”

Katsuki figured that was as much of a dismissal as they were going to get, and left the classroom with Kirishima in tow.

They’d nearly made it down the hall to class A when Kirishima said:

“Oh, I nearly forgot. Can I give you a ride home after school? I need to talk to you about something.”

Katsuki frowned at him. “Don’t you work?”

“Nope, day off. We hosted a swim meet and there’s a clean-up day today.”

“Alright,” Katsuki said, giving Kirishima a skeptical look. “Main entrance?”

“That works.”

“Bakugou!” Kaminari called as soon as they opened the door, like there was any chance Katsuki could miss him. “We need you to approve something.”

“I don’t approve of anything done by you chucklefucks,” Katsuki grumbled, and Kirishima let out a sound that could probably be best described as a guffaw.

“I think you’ll like this,” Ashido said.

Katsuki sat back down at his desk, and Sero, who’d been silent through the whole exchange, slid a paper across it.

On it was the word “bitch” in clear, elegant cursive, liberally decorated with pretty flowering vines.

“I’m thinking directly on the front windshield,” Sero suggested.

Katsuki grinned at him. “Can you do colours?”

***

“Okay,” Kirishima said, as soon as Katsuki had climbed into the passenger seat, like he was afraid he was going to lose his momentum if he didn’t get his words out immediately, “so my parents know about us.”

Katsuki thought of his own parents’ reactions, and stiffened up involuntarily.

“Shit. Are they… are they okay with you dating a guy?”

“What?” Kirishima asked, surprised. “Oh yeah, they’re fine with it.” He laughed. “I mean, it would be pretty hypocritical if they weren’t, since they’re y’know, lesbians.”

Katsuki punched him in the shoulder, causing Kirishima to swerve slightly.

“Hey!” he exclaimed, “No assaulting the driver!”

“Why were you acting all fucking secretive if they’re fine with it!?” Katsuki demanded.

“You didn’t let me finish! They’re like, aggressively okay with me dating you, but they, uh. They want to meet you.”

Katsuki’s brain stuttered to a halt.

“Pull the car over.”

“Dude, we’re in the middle of a residential street-”

“Pull. The. Fucking. Car. Over.”

Kirishima pulled the car over.

“So,” Kirishima said nervously, “I take it I should tell them you can’t make it?”

“I haven’t decided,” Katsuki replied. “What would “meeting them” mean?”

“Well, they invited you for dinner on Friday at my house. You’d be meeting them and my little sister.”

Katsuki sighed and flopped back against his seat, burying his face in his hands.

“How much are they gonna annoy you if I say no?”

Kirishima looked confused. “Uh, they won’t? They’re just excited I’m dating someone and they want to get to know you.”

Katsuki mulled it over for a few seconds more. “How’s their cooking?”

“Um, pretty decent?”

“I’ll do it.”

“Wait, seriously?” Kirishima said incredulously.

“Do I sound like I’m kidding, Shark Face?”

Kirishima still didn’t seem convinced. “No?”

“Fucking right. Let’s go.”

Kirishima started the car, though he still looked confused.

That was fine. Katsuki had no intention of explaining that he’d prefer spending an evening with his fake boyfriend’s family than his own parents. It got him out of the house and away from his mom for a night, and the promise of food was more than Uraraka’s house had to offer.

“See you tomorrow?” Kirishima said when they pulled up in front of Katsuki’s house.

“Yeah. We’ll eat in my class again.”

No one would be stupid enough to try and fuck with them while they were in a classroom, and it meant they wouldn’t have to deal with Aizawa and his impressive resting bitchface for at least another day.

“Okay,” Kirishima replied, still sounding a bit dazed. “Bye, Bakugou.”

Katsuki waved him off and headed off toward his house, secretly relishing the fact that his mom was glaring at the car from the living room window.

Chapter Text

Monday night had been, to severely understate the situation, tense, so by the time Katsuki got into school on Tuesday morning, he was somehow even more tired than he’d been before he’d gone home yesterday.

The situation was not helped by the fact that Half-and-Half was lingering by his desk, clearly waiting for him.

Katsuki briefly entertained the logistics of just saying “fuck it” and going home, but having to explain his decision to skip to his mother was literally the only scenario he could imagine that was worse than whatever the fuck was going on here. Besides, he wasn’t a goddamn coward.

“What the hell do you want?”

“Good morning, Bakugou.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes and shouldered past Half-and-Half so he could sit down. The asshole hadn’t ever bothered with greetings before, so it was clearly just to infuriate him, and goddamn if it wasn’t working.

“Cut the bullshit, or you can fuck off,” Katsuki snapped.

Half-and-Half didn’t react, because he was a pain in the ass like that.

“I just wanted to let you know that I saw what happened. On Saturday.”

Katsuki looked up from the books he’d been setting out to glare at him.

“Are you planning on fucking blackmailing me or something?”

Half-and-Half looked confused. “No. I was volunteering my services as a witness, if you needed another one.”

“Why the fuck didn’t you do something yesterday? Or, I don’t know, when it fucking happened?” Katsuki snarled, earning a few concerned looks from their classmates.

Fuck them.

“I thought it was an accident until Uraraka brought it up at lunch yesterday. She seemed to have it under control when it happened, and you aren’t usually very receptive to outside help.” His expression never changed, but Katsuki could hear the undertone of accusation in his voice. “I didn’t have a chance to speak to you after I found out the truth until now.”

Once he was done speaking, Katsuki let the silence sit for a few moments, thinking.

If he was alone in this, he would’ve told Half-and-Half to go fuck himself, stuck with Uraraka as his only witness, and left it at that.

Unfortunately, he had Kirishima and his gaggle of idiots to consider now.

He was still tempted to kick Half-and-Half to the curb on principle, but he kept thinking about Aizawa’s fucking binder, bursting at the seams with the bullshit Kirishima and co had been dealing with since first year, and the resigned looks on their faces when they first saw the graffiti on their table.

“Stay here for lunch today. Bring the rest of your nerds, too. I know you’re going to tell them anyway, and I’d rather they find shit out firsthand.”

Half-and-Half nodded, then headed back to his desk.

Katsuki’s eyes tracked him, mostly accidentally, which is how he got a view of Deku looking between him and Half-and-Half with the particular scheming glint in his eyes that he got whenever he was trying to figure something out.

Their gazes caught by mistake, Katsuki sneered at him, and he backed off.

Good. Katsuki was going to have to fucking deal with him at lunch today already. That was plenty.

***

Staying at his desk when lunch started and watching as the rest of the class emptied out was normal.

Kirishima, Ashido, Kaminari and Sero all showing up a few minutes later, all talking and jostling each other around, was normal.

The way they trailed off into awkward silence when they noticed there were four other people awkwardly gathered by Katsuki’s desk was not.

There was a brief sort of standoff where both groups studied each other uneasily.

Katsuki sure as hell wasn’t going to do anything about that, which was why it was probably a good thing that Uraraka arrived when she did, bursting through the door with a:

“So sorry I’m late! I only got Iida’s message right at the start of lunch, and then I had to go use the microwave in the caf, and…” she took in the tense atmosphere and drifted into silence for a second, then continued on, like she could dissolve it by sheer force of cheeriness, “and the line was ridiculously long. They should really invest in more microwaves, especially for such a big school, right, Bakugou?”

She said the last part as she dropped down at the desk behind him, which was, miraculously, not one of the seats regularly taken by his usual lunch group.

Katsuki grunted a vague affirmation, and the weird mood dissipated.

Kirishima and his friends took their usual spots, and Deku, Four Eyes, Half-and-Half and Frog all found places nearby.

Once everyone was settled, introductions started, which Katsuki tuned out, because everyone already knew who he was, and he knew them all already.

This wasn’t by choice, of course. He didn’t know a single one of his classmate’s names outside of them and Yaoyorozu, and he only knew her name because she consistently came close to him on exam scores and he needed to know her name to properly motivate himself to crush her.

No, the reason that knowledge was forcefully etched into his brain was because Uraraka was friends with them, and she insisted on talking about them to him sometimes, especially when she was crushing on one of them. Which had happened, somehow, for every single person in her friend group, except Half-and-Half. Katsuki thought that was ridiculous, because, even though he was a gigantic pain in the ass and Katsuki wanted to kill him, it was an objective fact that he was the best looking member of Deku’s little posse.

“I’m almost afraid to ask,” Frog said a few minutes later, “But why are we all here?”

Four Eyes nodded in agreement. “I was wondering the same thing.”

Uraraka and Kirishima both gave Katsuki simultaneous expectant looks.

He gave the quickest possible telling of Saturday’s events, along with everything that had happened during yesterday’s lunch.

“Well,” Deku said when he’d finished, “I think that with Uraraka and Todoroki corroborating your story, you’re in a pretty good position, especially since he’s been going after you unprovoked.”

“Um, yeah, about that,” Sero said, wincing. “We may have, kinda-”

“-spray painted a floral-patterned curse word on his windshield,” Ashido finished.

“In our defense, it looks fucking sick,” Kaminari added with forced cheer, after a few seconds of heavy silence.

Kirishima gave the assembled group a very forced smile.

“Well, that certainly doesn’t help your case,” Four Eyes said, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“I get where you’re coming from, Iida, but physical assault is definitely worse than vandalism,” Deku said with conviction.

It was at this point that it really hit Katsuki how fucked up his life had gotten, because he was actually agreeing with Deku about something.

“I don’t mean to imply that they’re equal crimes. Unfortunately, since the administration seems to favour Monoma over Kirishima, Ashido, Kaminari and Sero, this gives him an angle. A way to twist the story to make himself into a victim,” Four Eyes replied grimly.

“Shit,” Kaminari sighed, “he’s got a point.”

“So what if he does?” Katsuki exclaimed. “Nothing was going to get fixed by admin anyway. Better vigilante justice than fucking nothing.”

“How likely is it that something like this happens again?” Frog asked, ignoring Katsuki’s outburst.

Kirishima huffed out a tired half laugh. “Basically guaranteed.”

Frog tapped her chin pensively. “Why not wait it out? You’re at an impasse, here. Monoma can’t say anything about the graffiti because he’d have to admit to attacking Bakugou, and if you press this, he’ll just bring up the graffiti and nothing will happen. It isn’t ideal, but if you accumulate more evidence-”

“Fuck this,” Katsuki snapped, standing up so abruptly that he knocked his chair over. “I’m not in the fucking mood to sit around waiting for someone to attack me again if I can do something about it!”

“Bakugou-” Uraraka started.

“No! I’ve been dealing with this shit for a week and I’m already fucking sick of it! It’s been happening to them for three fucking years! So no more fucking waiting. I don’t care if I have to kill Monoma myself, I want this shit over with!”

The silence after Katsuki finished yelling was, even by the standards of the many that had preceded it during that lunch period, uncomfortable.

Kirishima was the first to react, standing from his own desk and grabbing Katsuki’s elbow.

“Excuse us a minute,” he said with a forced smile, frog-marching Katsuki out of the classroom and into the hallway.

“I stand by everything, Shitty Hair,” Katsuki snarled as soon as Kirishima closed the door.

Kirishima sighed. “You don’t think I’m fucking frustrated? Of course I am! Helping Hanta with the car this morning was the most cathartic thing I’ve done in weeks, but Asui’s right. We’re at an impasse.”

“But-”

“No. Listen to me,” Kirishima said firmly, cutting Katsuki off. He had a look in his eyes that Katsuki had never seen before, a hard-set, burning determination. “Monoma’s getting bold, and he’s getting sloppy. If we give it time, we’ll have concrete proof, and we can force U.A’s hand.”

Katsuki opened his mouth to try and speak, but Kirishima continued, tightening his grip on Katsuki’s arm.

“I’m not done. We can get as much petty vengeance on Monoma as we want, but it’s not going to fucking help. The graffiti might ruin his day, but he can afford to have his car repaired. Hell, he can probably afford a new fucking car. But if we manage to prove that he’s been doing all this? We might be able to get him expelled from U.A, or at the very least force the administration to admit that they were wrong, and be better. If we do this, we can change the whole system, and make sure that the next time a Monoma comes around, the school has no way to weasel out of doing something about it. Okay?”

Katsuki stood in stunned silence for a few seconds while Kirishima loosened his grip on his arm.

“I- Yeah. Fine.”

“Good. Come on.” Kirishima led him back inside and Katsuki followed without resisting, dazed, until he was back in his seat.

“We’ll do it,” Kirishima told the assembled group.

Deku’s eyes widened comically, and Uraraka blatantly stared at Kirishima in complete disbelief.

“We’ll help in whatever way we can,” Four Eyes declared solemnly, and the rest of the group nodded in agreement.

“Just so we’re clear,” Half-and-Half said, “you don’t actually need me to do anything?”

“Nope!” Ashido chirped. “Not yet, anyway. We’ll let you know when we do.”

Half-and-Half nodded, and turned his attention back to his lunch.

That seemed to remind the rest of the assembly that this was, technically, their lunch period, and that they should probably get some food in them before classes resumed.

The remaining time was passed mostly in silence while everyone focused on eating, with only occasional splashes of conversation here and there.

Katsuki didn’t participate in any of them, partially on principle and partially because he was trying to figure out why the fuck his heartrate hadn’t gone down since Kirishima had lectured him in the hallway.

***

Compared to the chaotic shitstorm that was Tuesday, Wednesday was almost unsettlingly uneventful.

Frog, Four Eyes and Half-and-Half seemed to have taken their little chat as an invitation to acknowledge him in public, which it absolutely fucking wasn’t, but they didn’t do much more than nod at him. Deku, for once, had the good sense and survival skills to keep his distance, so Katsuki let it slide.

It was fucking annoying, but it was better than having frozen chemicals thrown at him, so so fucking be it.

Thursday was also shaping up to be normal, until lunch, when Kirishima nudged Katsuki’s leg under his desk to make him look up from his food and asked:

“Do you want me to drive you straight from school on Friday?”

Before Katsuki even had a chance to respond, Ashido locked in on them like some kind of drama-seeking missile in too much eyeliner.

“What’s happening Friday?” she asked.

Kaminari, apparently sensing a chance to be annoying, joined in.

He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at them. “Hot date?”

“I’m having dinner with his family, you fucking creeps,” Katsuki snapped, realizing his mistake a second too late when he noticed Kirishima wincing.

“YOU’RE WHAT?!” Ashido shrieked, nearly sending her lunch flying in her haste to get up and jab a finger in Bakugou’s face.

“I just fucking told you, Raccoon-Eyes. Do you need me to sound it out?”

“Hanta!” Kirishima said desperately. “How’s your lunch? How’s not torturing your best bud?”

“Nice try, but I like watching you suffer as much as they do,” Sero said smoothly.

Kirishima gave him a deeply betrayed look, which Sero acknowledged with only a shrug.

“It’s a good colour study. Your face ends up matching your hair.”

“You’re dodging the question!” Ashido said, shifting her accusatory finger from Katsuki to Kirishima.

Sero backed off, hands raised, leaving Kirishima completely at her mercy.

“Look, my moms found out that we’re dating, and they wanted to meet him. That’s it,” Kirishima said.

Ashido squinted suspiciously at him, but seemed willing to let it go at that.

Kaminari, however, started laughing uncontrollably.

“Holy shit,” he wheezed, “Sayuri’s going to eat him alive.”

“Guys!” Kirishima protested, “she’s not that bad!”

Sero shook his head. “No, she is. Remember in first year when she found out what our health class curriculum was like and decided to do LGBT inclusive sex-ed for us?”

Kirishima slumped forward onto the desk and buried his face in his arms, groaning. “We agreed never to speak of that.”

“It was actually very helpful,” Kaminari said, completely ignoring Kirishima’s continued efforts to vanish into the desk. “And Yuka’s chill.”

That got nods of agreement from Sero and Ashido.

“Be nice to Toshiko,” Ashido added. “Or as close to nice as you can get, I guess.”

Katsuki nodded, unconcerned. He could be polite when he wanted to, and Kirishima seemed irrationally nervous about this, so Katsuki figured he could try.

“Stop trying to hide in the desk, you big baby,” he said, kicking Kirishima sharply in the shin. “It’s unmanly.”

That got Kirishima to sit up, and earned a horrified gasp from Kaminari.

“He used the u-word!” he hissed, grabbing onto Ashido’s arm for support.

Kirishima gave Katsuki a look that could best be described as a pout, which earned him an eyeroll and another kick.

“So Bakugou,” Sero said, drawing his attention away from Kirishima, “any chance you can explain what the fuck a logarithm is?”

Katsuki spent the rest of lunch trying to yell basic math into their brains.

***

Kirishima showed up at his locker after school on Friday, backpack in hand.

“Ready to go?”

“Yup,” Katsuki said, forcing his locker shut and swinging his bag over his shoulder.

His mother always told him he was going to get back problems if he didn’t start wearing it properly, but it wasn’t like she was here to stop him.

“Do you wanna drop by your house to change?”

Katsuki thought about it for a second, then shook his head. His mom knew what Kirishima’s car looked like now, and coming home only to leave the house with him definitely wasn’t going to fly, especially since he hadn’t told her about today.

“Alright then.”

Kirishima hooked their pinkies together and started off toward the parking lot.

“How’d you end up with a car, anyway?” Katsuki asked, once they’d reached it and Kirishima was working on getting the doors unlocked.

He’d never really thought about it, but Kirishima driving to school every day was pretty unusual. U.A was easy to get to by public transit, and Kirishima’s work was within walking distance.

“Well, it used to be Yuka’s, but she works from home now, so she doesn’t need it. I have to be at school for practice at seven, and the trains near my house don’t start running until seven thirty, so I got the car,” Kirishima explained, climbing into the driver’s side and starting the ignition.

Fuck, practice. Jiu jitsu practice. He’d completely forgotten about Uraraka’s request, way back when this all started.

“Uraraka says you still have to spar with her after we break up,” Katsuki said, and Kirishima nearly stalled the car in surprise.

“Jesus Christ Shitty Hair, who gave you a fucking license?”

“URARAKA KNOWS?!”

Oh, shit.

“Fuck, yeah. She was the first person I told about, y’know. My mom and shit,” Katsuki said. “I should’ve told you. Sorry.”

Kirishima seemed to have gotten himself under control, and let out a short laugh. “It’s fine, I was just surprised.”

Katsuki snorted. “Yeah, no shit.”

“In my defense, I didn’t even know you and Uraraka were friends. You never talk to her at school.”

Katsuki shrugged. “I like her, not the rest of her friends. I hang out with her outside of school.”

“Oh,” Kirishima replied. He sounded a little off, though Katsuki couldn’t fathom why. “Anyway, I’ll definitely keep sparring with her afterwards, she’s awesome.”

“You sound weird,” Katsuki snapped. He’d gotten the confirmation for Uraraka, he could afford to be an asshole now. “Spit it out.”

“I’m just…” Kirishima trailed off. “Is she, like, okay with this? Us pretending to date?”

“She’s bi, asshole, it’s not like she’s homophobic.”

Kirishima laughed, almost desperately. “So not what I was getting at, but good to know. I meant more, is she cool with you pretending to date someone at all.”

Katsuki spent a few seconds trying to detangle whatever the fuck Kirishima was avoiding saying, then sighed loudly.

“Fucking Christ, not you too.”

“I just wanted to be sure!” Kirishima exclaimed defensively.

“I’m not even attracted to women!” Katsuki yelled back.

“Okay!” Kirishima said, fixing his eyes on the road in a way that suggested he really wanted this conversation to be over.

They lapsed into silence for a few seconds, until Kirishima’s curiosity won the battle for dominance with his embarrassment and he asked:

“So if you aren’t attracted to girls-”

“Guys. Theoretically,” Katsuki replied, opting to put Kirishma out of his misery.

Kirishima nodded awkwardly. “Uh, theoretically?”

“Hasn’t happened yet, but if it does, it’ll be a guy.”

Kirishima was still nodding. “Neat. Uh, me too. I mean, not theoretical but, uh. Guys.”

Katsuki side-eyed him. “I mean, I figured.”

Kirishima looked like he was seriously considering bailing out into the street.

“Oh?” he said, with impressively bad faked casualness.

“Your idiots weren’t very surprised about you getting a boyfriend,” Katsuki explained.

That seemed to relax Kirishima, a bit. “Yeah, okay. That makes sense.”

He was still acting kind of weird, but Katsuki wasn’t about to drag it out of him. Kirishima would talk if he wanted to, and if not, it wasn’t Katsuki’s fucking problem.

“So how far’s your house?”

“About fifteen minutes from here. You can put on music or something, if you want,” Kirishima said, gesturing at the radio.

Katsuki turned it on, flipped through every station he could find, got annoyed with all of them, and eventually just plugged his phone in and started playing his own music, emo jokes be damned.

Kirishima was still looking at the road, but he looked like he was fighting back a smile.

“What’s so fucking funny?”

“Nothing!” he insisted. “I just figured you would go for the aux first, is all.”

“Fuck you,” Katsuki said reflexively, making Kirishima’s smile turn into a full-on laugh.

Katsuki felt his ears heating up, and attributed it to mounting frustration at the fact that no one took his insults seriously anymore, and the fact that it was about thirty degrees and muggy out.

They didn’t talk much until they pulled into the driveway of what Katsuki assumed was Kirishima’s house.

It was small and kind of scruffy looking, but the accents and door were painted in a bright, cheerful yellow, and the garden near the front porch looked well cared for.

Kirishima was drumming his fingers nervously on the steering wheel, obvious in the now-silent car.

“Are we just going to sit here forever, or are we going to go inside?”

Kirishima startled slightly, then nodded. “Right, sorry. Let’s go!”

Katsuki picked up his bag and climbed out of the car, waiting for Kirishima before making his way toward the house.

Kirishima opened the door and waved Katsuki inside, calling out a “We’re home!” as he shut the door behind them.

The house was blessedly cool after the oppressive heat outside, even if the entryway was small and he and Kirishima were kind of squished together.

Katsuki managed to maneuver his way out of his shoes and into the small hallway leading away from the door so Kirishima had more room, and nearly bumped into a woman coming from the opposite direction. Katsuki assumed it was one of Kirishima’s moms.

She was tall, nearly Kirishima’s height, with curly hair and skin a few shades darker than her son’s. She was wearing wire-rimmed glasses, and she looked… very normal, all things considered. It was a similar whiplash to when he’d met Ashido’s dad: people this normal didn’t seem like they should have neon-coloured children.

“Bakugou, I assume?” she said with a small smile.

Katsuki nodded. “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Kirishima.”

She waved him off. “Please, there are four Kirishimas in the house, that’s just going to get confusing. Yuka is fine.”

Katsuki blinked, a bit taken aback. Uraraka had been coming to his house since she was five, and the idea of her calling his mom “Mitsuki” made him vaguely nauseous.

Then again, the Kirishima family seemed to be about as different from his as possible, so he’d deal.

It was just for tonight, anyway.

“Well, you’ve got a couple hours until dinner, and I’m not going to force you to spend time with me before then. Just remember that the walls aren’t soundproof, okay Eijirou?”

Kirishima’s face went red so quickly that Katsuki was almost surprised he didn’t pass out.

“Mama!”

Yuka laughed. “Sorry, sorry. Your mom put me up to it.”

She ruffled the front of Kirishima’s hair, to further protest, then disappeared back the way she came.

Kirishima still kind of looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him whole.

“You should know that it’s just going to be more of that,” Kirishima said, leading Katsuki down the hallway toward a set of stairs. “And Sayuri’s going to be even worse.”

“There really isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. It’s not like it’s true,” Katsuki said with a shrug.

Kirishima opened his mouth, like he wanted to explain, why this was, in fact, Actually Horrible, but he was interrupted by a new voice speaking from the top of the stairs.

“Ei?”

Kirishima’s face immediately split into a wide grin.

“Hey, you’re home early!”

“We had a half day,” the voice said, and when Kirishima stepped aside a bit, Katsuki found that it belonged to a girl of about twelve, with jet black hair and an almost impressive number of freckles.

She was holding a book, though Katsuki couldn’t see the title from his current angle.

“Right, I forgot. Anyway, Toshiko, this my boyfriend, Bakugou. Bakugou, this is my little sister,” Kirishima said, gesturing at each of them when he said their names.

Katsuki nodded in greeting.

Toshiko just studied him silently, slowly pulling the book up to her chest like a shield.

He couldn’t see the title, but he’d know the cover art anywhere.

“Is that from Winter the Nameless?” Katsuki asked, only partially of his own volition, pointing at the book.

He’d been… not obsessed with the series when he was younger, that implied way more investment in something other than school than he was willing to admit to, but he’d definitely liked it. Enough that he still had some parts of the earlier books memorized.

“Yeah!” Toshiko said, all of her shyness vanishing instantly. She held out the book up so Katsuki could see the cover. It was the fourth book, meaning Toshiko was two-thirds of the way through the series. “You’ve read them?”

“A while ago,” Katsuki said, trying to sound dismissive. He suspected he failed, because Toshiko narrowed her eyes at him. Kirishima made that same face whenever he thought Katsuki was being difficult.

“Favourite book?”

The Scorpion Queen, obviously.” Book six. The peak of fucking YA literature, as far as Katsuki was concerned.

Toshiko nodded, and it occurred to him that if she knew to agree, then she was probably re-reading the series. Smart kid.

“Favourite character?”

His instinct was to respond with “Not fucking Evanna,” but the Kirishimas seemed like one of those families that frowned upon swearing in front of kids, so instead he said:

“Stella.”

Toshiko nodded again, and Katsuki wondered at what point his life had gotten so messed up that gaining the approval of a twelve year old was something that brought him legitimate pride.

“Opinion on her kiss with Aiden in Crow’s Blood?”

“A complete waste of time, used for forced tension between Stella and Winter,” Katsuki responded instantly. He had fucking opinions about that kiss. There was a reason Crow’s Blood was his least favourite book in the series.

Toshiko stared him down intensely, and Katsuki met her head-on, because he wasn’t going to lose to a goddamn twelve year old.

Finally, she turned to Kirishima, who was trying and failing to fight back a grin.

“You can keep him,” she declared, sliding past Kirishima in a direction Katsuki hadn’t explored yet, submitting to a hair ruffle as she passed her brother.

“Dude, that was uncanny,” Kirishima said with an exaggerated shudder. “I swear, the first time she read the series she came into my room and went on a fifteen minute rant about that kiss.”

“I see who got the brains in the family,” Katsuki replied, ignoring Kirishima’s wounded expression.

“I haven’t even read that series!” Kirishima complained. “I don’t have opinions to be wrong about!”

“Then get cracking, Shark Face. I don’t want my only source of intelligent conversation in this house to be someone in middle school.”

Kirishima gave him a deeply wounded look, but directed Katsuki up the stairs and toward his room anyway.

“Here we are,” Kirishima said, coming to a stop in front of a door marked with the kanji for “Eijirou”.

“Shit, I could’ve sworn yours was the one with “Toshiko” on it,” Katsuki deadpanned, and Kirishima shoved him, then opened the door.

Katsuki’s first thought was that it was almost aggressively Kirishima. From the posters covering the walls, to the punching bag, to the camo bed sheets.

His second was:

“What the fuck is that?”

“What the fuck is- Oh, yeah,” a fond smile settled on Kirishima’s face as he followed Katsuki’s gaze to the absolutely abhorrent eyesore hanging on the far wall. “It was a present from Mina when we started high school.”

Why?” Katsuki demanded, gesturing vehemently at the goddamn flexing clock.

“Hey man, I like it! Reminds me not to let myself go, y’know?” he said, punching his fists together in front of his chest.

It drew attention to the fact that he could, probably, crush the stupid clock with his bare hands if he chose to.

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “Yeah sure. It’s still fucking hideous.”

Kirishima shrugged. “To each their own, right? I haven’t said anything about your skull shirt.”

“What about it, Shitty Hair?” Katsuki asked, leveling Kirishima with a menacing look.

“I would definitely have worn it during my emo phase.”

This sparked a heated debate about the aesthetic merit of skulls, which ended with them on the floor with Kirishima’s laptop between them, watching some kind of sketch comedy clip.

Katsuki had no idea how they’d gotten from point A to point B, but he did know that the coolness of the house that he’d appreciated when they first came in had gradually shifted into him being genuinely cold.

He had goosebumps on his arms, and when he rubbed at them to try and warm up, Kirishima noticed and gave him a concerned look.

“You okay?”

“I’m fine,” Katsuki snapped defensively, “Your house is just fucking freezing.”

“Oh shoot, sorry!” Kirishima said, pausing the video and scrambling to his feet. “We all run pretty warm, and it’s cheaper anyway, so we keep it cold. You can borrow a sweater or something, if you want?”

“I don’t need your pity,” Katsuki grumbled, mostly out of habit. Unfortunately, the only thing he hated more than looking weak was being cold, so he was either going to have to ask for one anyway, or hope that Kirishima’s particular brand of aggressive kindness extended to this too.

“It’s not pity, dude, it’s being a good friend! Hanta has, like, no insulation. I think he’s worn most of my sweatshirts more often than I have,” Kirishima said, rifling through one of the drawers of his dresser until he found what he was looking for and pulled it out of the drawer. “How’s this one?”

It was, of course, bright fucking red, with a white cross and “Staff” embroidered on the upper left side.

Katsuki glared at it.

“Okay, taking that as a no,” Kirishima said, undeterred. He continued to sift through the drawer, until his face split into a scheming grin, and he pulled out a black hoodie with the MCR logo emblazoned across the front.

“More your speed?” Kirishima asked innocently.

Katsuki could tell he was making fun of him, which made him want to accept it out of spite, but it was clearly old, since it looked about three sizes too small for Kirishima, and therefore wouldn’t fit Katsuki either.

“Just give me the fucking lifeguard one,” Katsuki said peevishly, and Kirishima tossed it over, laughing.

Katsuki pulled it on, muttering his plans for Kirishima’s painful and violent death as he did.

The hoodie was a size too big on him, which managed to be nice while also making him indescribably furious.

He had fucking sweater paws. It was undignified.

Kirishima had made his way back to his spot on the floor while Katsuki was putting on the hoodie. Katsuki had expected him to start the video again, but instead he was giving Katsuki an indecipherable look.

“What?” Katsuki snapped.

That seemed to bring Kirishima back to reality.

“Your hair’s all staticky,” he said, rubbing at it with a shit-eating grin on his face.

Katsuki swatted his hand away. “You of all people don’t get to make fun of people’s hair.”

“Hey, at least this is on purpose,” Kirishima responded.

Katsuki wanted to say that that was worse, actually, but before he had the chance to verbally decimate Kirishima and his terrible style choices, there was a knock at the door.

“Ei? Dinner’s ready,” Toshiko called from outside.

“Okay, we’ll be down in a second!” Kirishima replied, and Katsuki heard the sound of running feet in the hallway.

“You might want to hurry,” Kirishima said, getting to his feet. “Yuka made udon, and if we take too long Toshi will eat all of it.”

Katsuki definitely didn’t need to be told twice, and he followed Kirishima down the stairs and in the opposite direction from the front door.

The house was open-plan beyond the stairs, with the living room, dining room and kitchen all next to each other and not a wall between them.

Yuka was in the kitchen, and Toshiko was helping a short woman with a bob—who Katsuki assumed was Kirishima’s other mom—set the table.

She looked up when she heard them coming, and grinned widely when she set eyes on Katsuki.

“Ah, you must be the famous Bakugou,” she said. Kirishima wilted beside him. “Nice to finally meet you. I’m Sayuri.”

Vague memories of Thursday’s lunch set off alarms in the back of Katsuki’s head, but before he could respond to any of them, Sayuri nodded at him and said:

“I like the sweater.”

Fuck. Well, this was going to be interesting.

“Mom,” Kirishima begged from beside him, “please.”

“What? I think it was a good choice, Eijirou. It brings out his eyes.”

Yuka emerged from the kitchen, carrying a tray of bowls in her hands.

“At least let them sit down, Sayuri,” she scolded, setting the pot down in the center of the table and waving them over.

Katsuki waited until Kirishima had picked somewhere to sit and sat down beside him, holding himself stiffly while the rest of the Kirishimas settled into their seats.

Bowls were passed around, and once everyone had food in front of them, Kirishima took a bite, and Katsuki took that as permission to follow his lead.

Kirishima hadn’t lied; the food was good, and it took all the years his mother had spent trying to instill proper table manners in him for Katsuki to not scarf the entire bowl down in seconds.

“No books at the table, Toshiko,” Yuka admonished gently, the first thing anyone had said since the meal had started. Toshiko guiltily set her book down on the floor beside her.

After that, there wasn’t another second of silence. Sayuri asked about their days, and seemed to expect a detailed answer from everyone, including Katsuki.

It never went so far as the full on interrogation he’d been expecting, and Yuka carefully redirected the conversation whenever it got close, but Sayuri asked about his classes, his plans after high school, how he got along with Kirishima’s friends, and, eventually:

“So how did you two meet? Eijirou’s been very tight-lipped about the whole thing.”

Katsiki glanced over at Kirishima, who was staring into his nearly-empty udon bowl like it held the secrets of the universe. Clearly, he wasn't going to be of any help.

“He was heelying behind Kaminari’s go-kart and knocked into me,” Katsuki said, and Kirishima let out a single pained whimper.

Sayuri, to his shock, just started laughing, so hard she gave herself hiccups.

Yuka just shook her head with a small sigh.

“Well, that’s certainly in-character.”

Toshiko sat up straighter, grinning.

“He jumped off a roof once.”

Katsuki shot Kirishima a look.

“It was into a lake!” Kirishima explained quickly.

Unfortunately for him, Toshiko’s comment seemed to have unlocked Pandora’s box of embarrassing childhood stories, which Kirishima submitted to with only occasional defensive complaints.

Until Sayuri tried to take out a photo album, at which point Kirishima shot to his feet with a “Well, would you look at the time!” and yanked on Katsuki’s elbow until he got the hint and stood up as well.

“Thank you for having me,” he said, inclining his head slightly.

“Of course!” Sayuri said brightly. “You’re welcome back any time.”

Kirishima’s grip on his arm seemed to relax a bit at that, but he continued to herd Katsuki gently towards the door.

“Sorry about that,” Kirishima said, once they were seated in the car again.

“Are you kidding? That was fucking awesome,” Katsuki replied. “I have enough blackmail material on you to last a lifetime.”

Kirishima sputtered indignantly. “Dude!”

“The morons are going to have a fucking field day with all this,” Katsuki said, watching smugly as all the blood drained from Kirishima’s face.

“You wouldn’t.”

“Oh, I absolutely fucking would.”

They bickered back and forth until they arrived at Katsuki’s house.

All the lights were off, which was a bit unusual, but then he remembered that his parents were out at some dinner thing for work.

Which, yes, meant that he could have just stayed home and spent the exact same amount of time with his parents, but somehow, he couldn’t bring himself to regret it.

“Bye, Shitty Hair,” Katsuki said, climbing out of the car and starting off toward the house.

Kirishima called something out that he didn’t hear, and waited in the driveway until Katsuki had gotten the door unlocked and made it inside.

Katsuki took off his shoes and headed up to his room to change out of his uniform.

It wasn’t until he was pulling out his pajamas that he realized he was still wearing Kirishima’s hoodie.

Chapter Text

On Sunday afternoon, Katsuki got a text from Kirishima.

Shitty Hair (16:32): hey! we were thinking abt moving back into the caf tmr to try and bait monoma into fucking w/ us again. is that ok w/ u?

Katsuki had to admit, it wasn’t a terrible idea. When he’d first had Kirishima and his friends eat in his classroom, it was to get them away from Monoma and his bullshit, but since they needed new dirt on him to make any progress, going back to the cafeteria made a lot of sense. Katsuki wasn’t exactly keen on leaving the relative peace of his classroom for the abject chaos of the cafeteria again, but if it meant smoking Monoma out and securing them a victory...

Me (16:34): Yeah, fine.

Shitty Hair (16:34): cool! ill let everyone know
Shitty Hair (16:35): oh, can u bring my hoodie back?

Me (16:35): No.

Shitty Hair (16:36): Σ(T□T)
Shitty Hair (16:36): y????

Me (16:38): I wore it at dinner yesterday and my mom nearly burst a blood vessel. I’m not giving up something that effective at pissing her off.

Kirishima’s next response took a lot longer than the others.

Shitty Hair (16:42): i need it 4 work dude!!
Shitty Hair (16:43): if u really want 1 i have others
Shitty Hair (16: 43): i can trade u monday
Shitty Hair (16:43): so u can keep pissing off ur mom, i mean

Katsuki considered it for a moment. It wasn’t weird to say yes, right? This was within the parameters of boyfriend-y behaviour they’d set up, even if they hadn’t talked about this specifically. And the hoodie really had done an excellent job of sending his mom into a flying rage, even if he’d only worn it because he was cold and it happened to be the fist sweater he’d picked up.

Me (16:44): If you try and give me that MCR one, I’ll kill you.

Shitty Hair (16:45): what if
Shitty Hair (16:45): hypotheically
Shitty Hair (16:46): fuck
Shitty Hair (16:46): *hypothetically
Shitty Hair (16:46): i had 1 in ur size

Me (16:48): Still a no, asshole. Your friends are annoying enough as it is.

Shitty Hair (16:48): ok ok ill figure smth else out
Shitty Hair (16:49): r u chill w/ a non mcr band hoodie cuz that’s basically all ive got

Me (16:50): Yeah, whatever.

Shitty Hair (16:50): okie dokie! C u tmr!!!

Katsuki didn’t bother responding, instead opting to stare at Kirishima’s final text with a mixture of horror and grudging respect.

Who the fuck said “okie dokie” in real life?

Once he’d given up on trying to figure out Kirishima’s weird texting lingo, Katsuki tossed his phone aside and started trying to accumulate enough laundry for a load so he could wash Kirishima’s hoodie before giving it back to him, because he might’ve been an asshole but he wasn’t a goddamn barbarian.

He managed to get enough clothes into his hamper so that it didn’t look like he was only washing the sweater, then headed down to the laundry room.

Katsuki made it through the entire house without incident, until he opened the door to the laundry room and found his dad, humming to himself as he emptied the dryer.

Just his goddamn luck. Huge house with three fucking people in it, and yet.

At least it wasn’t his mother.

“I’ll be out of your hair in a second,” his dad said, giving Katsuki a small smile.

Katsuki grunted and moved past him to get his load started. No reason to waste time waiting for the old man to get gone.

The door to the dryer clicked shut, and Katsuki let himself believe, for a second, that he was home free, an illusion that lasted about half a second.

“Is that… your boyfriend’s?” his dad asked hesitantly, nodding at the hoodie.

It stuck out like a sore thumb, bright red in a sea of black uniform socks.

“Yeah,” Katsuki said, shoving it into the washer next, with a bit more force than necessary.

He could tell that his dad wanted to say something, since he was hovering awkwardly rather than making his escape.

“What?” Katsuki snapped, because this had already been going on for far longer than he wanted, and his dad wasn’t going to get on with it on his own.

“Nothing, nothing! I’d… I’d like to meet him, at some point. You don’t talk about him much.”

There’s a fucking reason for that, and she’s upstairs cooking dinner, Katsuki wanted to say, but his dad knew that. Seemed to expect him to say it, even, if the way he was wincing was any indication.

“You’ll meet him at the wedding,” Katsuki said finally.

His dad looked like he wanted to say something, then let out a soft sigh and said:

“I guess I will.”

He left right after, and Katsuki finished emptying his basket.

Slamming the washing machine door as hard as he could helped, but not much.

***

Monday was… fine. Normal.

Frog actually had the fucking audacity to voluntarily partner up with Katsuki during a group exercise, which was a position normally reserved for whatever unfortunate fuck didn’t find someone to work with fast enough. It ended up being surprisingly painless, if only because she was seemingly immune to being yelled at and actually semi-competent at English.

He’d decided, by the end of the period, that of all Uraraka’s friends, he liked Asui best. Uraraka would be fucking unbearable about it if she found out, but it wasn’t like we going to tell her.

She nearly ruined it by nodding at him as he left the classroom for the cafeteria at lunch time, but then Four Eyes started yelling about something, and he decided she still deserved the top spot of “not quite as awful as the other nerds”.

Kirishima was already at the lunch table when Katsuki arrived in the cafeteria. He was alone, and weirdly enough, completely ignoring his lunch in favour of the book he was reading.

That on its own was weird enough, but Kirishima seemed completely engrossed in the book, which wasn’t something Katsuki associated with Kirishima. Or any of his friends, for that matter.

He dropped his stuff down on the table loudly enough to break Kirishima’s concentration, making him jump.

Fuck, man, don’t do that!” he said, clutching dramatically at his chest and giving Katsuki an indignant look.

“Pay attention to your surroundings and I won’t have to,” Katsuki sniffed. “What’s got you so distracted, anyway?”

Fear flashed through Kirishima’s eyes, quick enough that Katsuki might have missed it if he hadn’t been looking for a reaction.

“Um…” he said, clearly stalling while he tried to subtly move the book back into his bag without Katsuki seeing it.

He failed, obviously, because Katsuki wasn’t an idiot, and managed to snag the book from Kirishima’s grasp before he could squirrel it away.

Book 1: Endless Night, the cover page declared.

“This is from Winter the Nameless,” Katsuki said. His voice came out sounding weird.

Kirishima laughed and scratched at the back of his neck, awkwardly avoiding eye contact.

“Uh, yeah. Toshiko kind of forced it on me after Friday. She said she didn’t want me to bore you.”

“You know you didn’t actually have to read this, right?” Katsuki snorted, handing the book back to him. “We’re not actually dating, you don’t have to worry about impressing me and shit.”

Kirishima laughed again, though it came out sounding a bit different. Strained, almost.

“Yeah, I know. But Toshi’s going to be expecting a full book report and I don’t want to disappoint her.”

Katsuki shrugged. “She’s a kid, she’ll get over it. They’re sturdy little fuckers.”

Kirishima frowned at him. “I’m not saying she’s delicate, but this is something she cares about, so I’m not just going to dismiss it like it’s nothing. That would be shitty.”

Katsuki wanted to say that no one had given a shit what he liked when he was a kid and he was fine, but he had a feeling Kirishima would get all weird and pitying if he did, so he didn’t. Too much personal information at once, anyway, and not any that Kirishima had to know.

So instead he just snorted dismissively and got out his lunch.

The rest of the idiot squad slowly trickled in. First Ashido, wearing a neon leopard-print bandana that violated, if not the dress code, then at least Katsuki’s personal code of ethics, the Sero, whose lunch seemed to consist of a giant plate of curly fries accompanied, once again, by a packet of soy sauce. Kaminari was the last to arrive, and he made his entrance by crashing into one end of the table at top speed, because he apparently had no idea how to work his own fucking legs.

There was a round of mocking applause from Ashido and Sero, but Kaminari recovered quickly, gave them a sarcastic bow, and dropped into the seat next to Kirishima.

As soon as he sat down, he noticed the book on the table and pointed excitedly at it.

“Hey, Winter the Nameless! This was my shit in middle school, who’s reading it?”

Kirishima raised his hand sheepishly, and Katsuki started waging a passionate internal debate about whether it was an overreaction to retroactively hate a beloved book series because a tasteless moron also happened to like it.

He settled on no, but only because Deku had read the series at the same time Katsuki had, and if that hadn’t ruined it for him then nothing would.

“Who’s your favourite character?” Kaminari said, jabbing a finger at Kirishima. “Be warned, there are wrong answers.”

“Dude, I started it yesterday! I’ve basically only met Winter!”

“Wait,” Sero said. “The series is called “Winter the Nameless”, but one of the characters is named Winter? How does that make any sense?”

“She doesn’t have a family name, Soy Sauce,” Katsuki snapped. “Common fucking sense.”

Sero raised his hands in a silent surrender and Katsuki thought that would be the end of it, but when he turned back to his food, Kaminari was looking at him with open delight on his face.

“The fuck are you looking at, asshole?”

“I knew it!” Kaminari crowed, completely nonsensically. “I knew you had to be a closet nerd!”

“HAH?” Katsuki yelled, slamming his hands down on the table and standing up to lean into Kaminari’s face. “Who the fuck are you calling a nerd?”

Clearly, Kaminari’s few brain cells had finally left him, because instead of cowering in fear, he just laughed.

“You, dude! No one has strong opinions on the series title unless they were really obsessed at one point.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Katsuki hissed, and Kaminari just laughed harder.

This. This was why he carefully and deliberately cultivated the impression that he didn’t fucking like anything, because it left you open to this nonsense. It gave you an exploitable weakness.

Kaminari shrugged, unperturbed. “Not that I can judge or anything. I had a fan account.”

Beside him, Ashido and Sero lit up with identical looks of sadistic glee.

“You’re kidding.”

Kaminari shook his head. “Dead serious. Twenty thousand followers, and I got 3000¥ for administration of it when I left.”

“Oh my god,” Ashido said. She sounded absolutely delighted.

“Denki, my dude. You do realize that’s the peak of success you’re going to achieve, right?” Sero said.

“I am perfectly okay with that,” Kaminari said, leaning back in his chair and opening the tupperware containing his lunch. “It was fun, and it was nice to talk to people about something I enjoyed.”

Katsuki thought about not reading around his mom so she wouldn’t know he wasn’t working on schoolwork, about laughing at Deku at school when he’d sit in a corner at recess and tear through books like his life depended on it.

He felt something nudge his leg under the table, and it brought him back to the present.

Kirishima was giving him an almost concerned look, and holding out a bundle of black fabric.

Katsuki ignored his expression, opting instead to eye the folded sweater suspiciously. He didn’t think Kirishima would go against his wishes, not when he had enough embarrassing childhood stories to fucking end him at his disposal, but he made sure to unfold the hoodie so he could see what was printed on it before accepting it.

“Crimson Riot?”, he asked, eyeing the stylized red (of course) lettering on the front of the sweater.

“Yeah!” Kirishima said excitedly. “He’s this singer from the eighties. Really cool guy, and I love his music.”

“You’re not one of those hipster fuckers who only listens to old music on vinyl, right?”

“Dude, no!” Kirishima laughed. “And Yuka’s the one who introduced me to his music. Nothing about this situation is cool.”

“Fine,” Katsuki said, accepting the hoodie and laying it down on his lap. He hadn’t expected the whole sweater exchange thing to happen now, so he didn’t really have anywhere else to put it. “Yours is in my locker.”

“Can we go get it when you’re done eating? I don’t want to forget to get it before work today.”

“Sure.”

They went back to eating, and after a few seconds, he realized that the table had fallen completely silent, and he could feel three pairs of extremely unsubtle eyes boring into him.

“What?” he snapped, shifting his attention from his food to his idiots.

“That was a weird-ass courting ritual, guys,” Sero said, and Katsuki flipped him off.

“I borrowed his work sweater and he needed it back.”

“Yeah, but you asked for a replacement,” Ashido pointed out.

Katsuki needed a response, and he knew that “I wear his stuff to piss off my mom” was going to get Ashido on his ass for using her friend. He racked his brain for something from one of the infinite shitty rom-coms Uraraka had forced him to watch in his life.

“So? I like wearing his clothes,” Katsuki blurted, which was, uh what?

Kirishima’s face flushed so fast it completely surpassed red and went straight to purple, and Sero had to hit Ashido repeatedly on the back when she started choking violently on her rice.

Kaminari, meanwhile, was looking at him with an expression that bordered on awe.

“Dude,” he said slowly, “that was the gayest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Well, at least it had been convincing. Unfortunately, Ashido’s windpipe was now clear, and she seemed to be gearing up to make the rest of his lunch period absolute hell, so Katsuki, in a desperate bid to change the subject before she could act, pointed at Kirishima and said:

“He jumped off a roof when he was ten.”

***

After the horrifically embarrassing ordeal that had been Monday, Katsuki had assumed the week could only go uphill.

And he thought he was right, for a while, until he realized that the relative aura of chill at the lunch table on Tuesday was actually because everyone kept sending Kirishima worried looks, and Kirishima himself was picking his way silently and mopily through his lunch.

He kicked Kirishima in the shin.

“What’s with you?”

Kirishima laughed a very forced laugh. “Nothing, I’m fine. Just tired.”

Katsuki could tell that was utter bullshit, but if Kirishima wanted to talk about it, he fucking would, so Katsuki let it go and went back to his food.

Kirishima’s mood persisted through the rest of the period, but Katsuki figured if Kirishima wasn’t making it his business, he could leave it alone. Besides, knowing him, he’d be fine by the next day.

Katsuki was, of course, wrong, because the universe seemed to have decided that this month was when all the bad karma he’d accumulated throughout his life was going to come back and bite him in the ass.

If anything, Kirishima looked worse than yesterday, hunched dejectedly over his food and avoiding eye contact with everyone. His spikes even looked like they were drooping.

Not my problem, Katsuki told himself firmly, even though an ever-growing part of him wanted to grab Kirishima by the shoulders and shake him until he stopped looking like that.

“Bakugou! You’re coming to the vending machines with me,” Ashido chirped, standing abruptly and making her way over to Katsuki so she could smile-glare at him more effectively.

God, she really had to get better at subtlety if she was ever going to try and talk to him alone without immediately raising the suspicions of everyone in the area.

“And why the fuck should I do that?”

“Because you’re basically a hermit, and I think you should at least know where they are by the time we graduate,” she said easily, grabbing him by the upper arm and tugging him to his feet. “Let’s go!”

He would’ve told her to fuck off, but if she was going to such ridiculous lengths for “secrecy”, she probably knew something about what was up with Kirishima.

She dropped his arm as soon as they were outside the cafeteria.

“You’ve gotta talk to him.”

Katsuki frowned at her. “Why do I have to do it? You’re his friend, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, and I tried,” she said with a frustrated huff. “So did Hanta and Denki. He won’t tell us anything.”

“I tried yesterday too, remember? Why the hell do you think it’ll go different if I do it again?”

She sighed and slumped a bit against the nearest wall. “I don’t know, boyfriend magic? Fucking seduce it out of him if you have to, I just hate seeing him like this.”

“And you think I don’t?” Katsuki snapped defensively.

Ashido rolled her eyes. “Of course you don’t, none of us do. It’s just… Ei wasn’t always so much of a presence, y’know? When it was just us in middle school I got used to looking out for him. And he’s grown a lot since then, obviously, but he still gets like this sometimes and I feel like I can’t be the one to help him because he’ll feel like he’s backsliding, or something.” She paused for a second and chewed on her bottom lip, arms crossed and staring off into the distance. “I think you might get through to him better than I could, for this.”

Katsuki turned her words over in his head for a few moments, considering.

He wasn’t good at this sort of thing by any stretch of the imagination, but seeing Kirishima like this for the past few days had sucked, in a way he hadn’t even really thought possible, like his bad mood was dragging everyone else’s down with it.

And since Katsuki was stuck with him for another week and a half, and his friends weren’t able to do anything about it…

He dug the heels of his hands into his eyes with a sigh.

Fine.

“Does he work today?”

“Nope.”

“I’ll talk to him after school.”

Ashido grinned and punched him in the shoulder.

“Alright, that’s what I like to hear! Now, what terrible packaged snack do you want?” she asked, leading him in what he assumed was the direction of the vending machines.

“Fuck-all, Bubblegum. That shit’s toxic.”

“Hey, surviving the vending machine food is, like, a U.A right of passage. I’ll even pay for you!”

Despite his many and vocal protests, he ended up with a bag of chips, which Ashido forced him to eat at the lunch table, in front of everyone.

It managed to make Kirishima crack a small smile, which, for the few seconds it lasted, almost made it worth it.

***

Katsuki didn’t exactly know where Kirishima’s locker was, but given that the asshole was both tall and bright fucking red, he figured it wouldn’t be too much of challenge to track him down.

He ended up being right, because he was a fucking genius, but he only caught Kirishima as he was leaving his locker, and had to jog a few steps to catch up with him.

“Hey!”

Kirishima turned around, eyes widening slightly in surprise when he saw Katsuki coming toward him.

“Is something wrong?” he asked. The concern in his voice was the most emotion Katsuki had heard out of him since Monday, and that was enough to fully harden Katsuki’s resolve to fucking fix this.

“I’m here to find out,” Katsuki replied, grabbing Kirishima by the wrist and pulling him toward the parking lot. “You’re driving me home.”

“Wh- dude! I work!”

“No you don’t. I asked Ashido.”

Kirishima gave a frustrated huff, but allowed himself to be dragged along anyway, apparently resigned to his fate.

Katsuki let the silence that had settled over them linger until they’d pulled out of the parking lot.

“So,” he finally said, “what the fuck’s going on with you.”

“Nothing.”

“Bullshit.”

“I’m serious, it’s not- it’s not something you have to worry about, okay? It’s not going to interfere with your plans.” Kirishima kept his eyes fixed on the road, jaw set and shoulders tense.

Katsuki growled. “Fucking hell, I don’t care if it’s going to “interfere” or not! Your friends are worried about you, and you won’t talk to any of them.” He didn’t say that he was worried too. That felt like admitting too much.

Kirishima let out a sound that was probably supposed to be a laugh. “Damn meddlers.”

“Yeah yeah, we fucking knew that. Spit it out, dipshit.”

“Look, it’s not-” Kirishima cut himself off with a frustrated sigh. “They can’t help, okay? And it’s just going to make them upset if I tell them, so I don’t want to.”

“They’re already upset, asshole. Seeing you all mopey is weird, especially when you won’t tell anyone why.”

“I really don’t want to have this conversation right now.”

“Why not?”

“Because if we do, I’m going to start crying, and if I start crying I’m going to crash the fucking car,” Kirishima said, and now that he’d brought it up, Katsuki could hear the barely-concealed tremor in his voice.

“Pull over, then,” Katsuki suggested, not quite gently, but at least not as outright confrontationally as before.

Kirishima sighed again, and for a second Katsuki thought he was going to refuse, maybe even kick him out of the car, but instead he pulled into the parking lot of a small convenience store and turned off the engine.

Katsuki looked over at Kirishima, who was still staring straight ahead, digging his fingers so strongly into the steering wheel that his knuckles had gone white.

“I’m failing math,” Kirishima blurted, all at once, like the words were forcing themselves out of him. “And I can’t ask Aizawa for help because he’s already doing so much for me, and my friends are even worse at math than I am, and if I fail a core course I automatically don’t qualify for the paramedic care program I want to apply to and even if I manage to get up to a pass I’ll probably still fail the entrance exam and I-” the torrent of words was cut off by a strangled sob, his grip on the steering wheel tightening even further.

Well, shit.

Katsuki honestly wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting the problem to be. He hadn’t really thought about it that much, beyond just making it stop. Unfortunately, this meant that he had no game plan, and a crying Kirishima he had no idea how to handle.

Giving Uraraka food usually helped, but that didn’t seem like it was going to work in this situation, so instead, before his brain could fully catch up to his mouth, he said:

“I’ll tutor you.”

Kirishima was so surprised he actually stopped shaking, regaining some control of himself.

“What?”

“Exactly what it fucking sounds like,” Katsuki said, because this was working, and if it was working then he was sticking to his guns, goddamnit. “I’ve helped you before, right?”

“Well, yeah, but just a bit at lunch, with everyone. I don’t want you to waste your time.”

Katsuki glared at him. “It’s important to you, so it’s not wasting my time.”

That made Kirishima look away, for some reason.

“I already owe you for the whole nearly-killing-you thing, and I don’t-”

“Listen to me, Kirishima. You’ve gone above and fucking beyond what I expected this whole fake dating thing to be, okay? So we’re even on that. And if I do this, I get to do extra math review, and your idiot friends stop breathing down my neck,” Katsuki said, carefully leaving out the “and you stop looking so fucking sad” that was trying to claw its way up his throat. “Win-win.”

Kirishima was quiet for a few seconds, then asked, still somewhat uncertainly:

“You’re sure?”

“I don’t do shit I don’t want to do.” And Katsuki really needed to do this, although he wasn’t sure why, exactly. He wasn’t sure he wanted to find out. “Tomorrow?”

“I actually do have work tomorrow,” Kirishima said, smiling, and Katsuki aggressively pretended he didn’t see him wiping under his eyes.

“Friday, then. And Tuesday.”

“Twice a week?” Kirishima said, a hint of a whine creeping into his voice.

“Driving math through all your hair gel is going to take a lot of fucking effort, Shitty Hair.”

“Alright, alright,” Kirishima relented, starting the engine and getting the car back on the road. “I’ll drive you after school?”

Kastuki grunted in agreement.

Kirishima looked so much lighter than he had when they’d first gotten into the car, with a genuine smile on his face and some of the tension gone from his shoulders.

It made a knot of worry that Kastuki hadn’t even really been aware of loosen in his chest, and the victory of that fueled him for the entire ride home.

Chapter Text

“Okay,” Katsuki said, uncapping his pen and pointing at the problem sheet on the desk in front of Kirishima. “When did things stop making sense to you?”

Kirishima sighed. “I’ve gotta be honest, I basically stopped understanding math as soon as they added letters.”

Katsuki took a deep, calming breath. This was going to be harder than he thought.

If nothing else, they were only a few months into the school year, so he could probably get Kirishima caught up relatively quickly. Probably.

“Alright, Shitty Hair. Get your notes from April.”

“What? Why?!”

“Math is all connected, dumbass. If you don’t get something from back then, you’re screwed before you even start,” Katsuki explained. “Ideally we’d start with shit from last year, but I’m guessing you’re one of those assholes that burns all your notes at the end of the school year.”

Kirishima’s guilty expression was confirmation enough.

He left his seat at the desk (he’d brought up a chair from the dining room for himself and given Katsuki the actual desk chair) and grabbed his bag from the corner he’d tossed it into when they came in. After a few minutes of digging, he pulled out a collection of crumpled pieces of graph paper, which he placed on the desk in front of Katsuki.

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

Kirishima at least had the decency to look properly ashamed.

“Look man, I kept forgetting to bring a notebook!”

“Well you ain’t forgetting now,” Katsuki growled. “Find a notebook. Step one is copying all this shit out properly.”

Kirishima groaned, and Katsuki threw an eraser at his head.

“You wanna pass math? Shut up and get fucking organized.”

After that, things went pretty smoothly. Katsuki managed to get the notes in order while Kirishima found a proper notebook, and had Kirishima ask questions about the material while he copied it out.

“Stop cramming your examples into corners! Can you even tell which step is supposed to come first?”

“Um… I kind of didn’t know before?”

Katsuki glared at him. “You’re supposed to ask me when you don’t understand stuff.”

“I’ve already asked you a bunch of questions about this topic. I should get it by now,” Kirishima replied, biting down on his bottom lip and scratching uncomfortably at the back of his neck.

Katsuki took a second to roll up the stack of already-copied notes, and smacked Kirishima upside the head with it.

“Hey, what was that for?!”

“Being a fucking idiot! I’m here to help you, you moron!”

Kirishima still looked confused, so Katsuki smacked him again, between the eyes this time, to make sure he was paying attention.

“Feeling like you should already understand something is unproductive. Sometimes shit takes a while to sink in. Math makes sense to me, so I get through it fast. English takes me for-fucking-ever, because it’s a garbage nightmare language with no rules. Am I stupid because English doesn’t come easy to me?”

“Well, no, but-”

“No fucking buts, Shitty Hair. Just because it takes you longer doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen, got it?”

Kirishima paused for a second, then nodded.

“Good. Ever heard of the method of Loci?”

“Uh, no?”

“Well, then I’m about to change your fucking life.”

***

About an hour later, Kirishima started fidgeting.

Ten minutes after that, his stomach started growling.

“Alright, asshole. Break time,” Katsuki said, slamming his pen down next to the practice problems he’d been writing out.

“Oh thank God,” Kirishima said, dropping his pencil and immediately leaning back in his chair, stretching out so much that his shirt rode up. “I thought my brain was going to turn to mush.”

“Wouldn’t be much of a change,” Katsuki grumbled, standing and rolling his shoulders.

Kirishima pouted at him, and Katsuki had to resist the urge to hit him again.

“Well, I was going to offer to get you a snack, but now I don’t think you deserve one.”

“I wasn’t hungry anyway, Hair for Brains,” Katsuki snarled, though his statement was undercut when he was betrayed by his own body, his stomach letting out a rumble loud enough to rival Kirishima’s from earlier.

“... Dude,” Kirishima said. He almost sounded impressed. “I take it back, but only because I’m kind of afraid that if I don’t feed you you’ll eat me.”

“I’m going to fucking kill you.”

Kirishima was annoyingly unconcerned by this, and just got to his feet and stretched again.

“It’s kinda sweet that you think you could take me in a fight.”

Katsuki knew, deep down, that Kirishima was right. Kirishima willingly fought Uraraka, on a fairly regular basis. Katsuki… well, he took care of himself, but his life plans didn’t involve him having to fight anyone. Physically, at any rate.

Nevertheless, his honour was being questioned, and he wasn’t about to take that shit lying down, so he lunged at Kirishima, a move which somehow ended with Kirishima grabbing him by the waist and flipping him into a fireman’s carry.

“Bro,” Kirishima said, and even though Katsuki couldn’t see his face, he could hear him holding back laughter, “why?”

“BECAUSE YOU’RE FUCKING ANNOYING!” Katsuki yelled, trying and failing to wriggle his way out of Kirishima's grasp.

“You realize you can just tell me that, instead of trying to tackle me, right?” Kirishima asked, lowering Katsuki back onto the floor.

He started to make his way toward the door, and seemed to be expecting Katsuki to follow.

Katsuki almost didn’t, just out of spite, but he was still fucking hungry, so he went.

“You never fucking listen to me anyway, figured I might as well try a new approach.”

“That’s not true! I definitely listen to you sometimes. I know how to do a step function now!” Kirishima protested, nudging Katsuki in the shoulder.

“I’m going to do it, Yuka. I’m going to quit,” Sayuri groaned from her seat at the dining room table, saving Katsuki from calling her son a moron in front of her.

“No you aren’t,” Yuka answered from the kitchen, where she already seemed to be working on dinner.

“They’ve misused the word metaphor fourteen times! Fourteen! They’re third years!”

“And by the time you’re done with them, they’ll never do it again,” Yuka said.

The whole conversation had the feeling of a well-worn argument, almost an inside joke. Katsuki tried to imagine his parents having a conversation like that, and came up empty.

Kirishima wove his way through the conversation and into the kitchen, leaving Katsuki hovering awkwardly at the dining room threshold.

Katsuki was still trying to decide whether he should follow him and risk intruding, or just keep lurking there like a creep, when he heard a call of “Hey, Bakugou!” from the living room.

Katsuki blinked in surprise at Toshiko, who scrambled off the couch and ran over, skidding to a halt in front of him. She had apparently progressed to book six since he’d been here last, since she had it tucked between her arm and her torso.

She was smiling, which was weird. Really, this whole situation was weird. Katsuki wasn’t used to kids trying to talk to him. They were usually afraid of him.

“What do you want?”

“Is Eiji reading them?” she asked.

It took Katsuki a second to figure out what the fuck she was talking about, but when he did, he scowled at her.

“Why are you asking me?”

“You won’t lie to make me feel better,” she replied, grin widening. She didn’t look much like Kirishima, but they smiled the same way. Genuine, with lots of fucking teeth.

“Fair. Yeah, he’s reading them. He’s at the part where Aiden and Winter meet Stella.”

“Awesome,” she said, bouncing a bit on the balls of her feet.

“Lay off him for a bit, okay? He’s gotta focus on math right now.”

Toshiko wrinkled her nose at the mention of math, but nodded anyway.

Kirishima, who had reappeared from the kitchen, trapped Toshiko under one arm and started viciously ruffling her hair. “Toshi, stop trying to steal my boyfriend!”

“I’m not!” Toshiko exclaimed, swatting at his arm, “Boys are gross!”

“Damn right!” Sayuri called from her seat, making Katsuki snort involuntarily.

Kirishima released Toshiko, who immediately went back to the couch, then handed Katsuki an apple and a granola bar.

“Yuka wants to know if you’re staying for dinner,” he said, once they were back in his room and had both gotten some food in them. “She’s making sushi, so she needs to know how much to make.”

Katsuki considered his answer for a second. On the one hand, his mom was going to pitch the bitchfit of the century if he didn’t come home for dinner like he said he would, but on the other hand, sushi. And avoiding whatever bitchfit his mom would inevitably throw if she was denied this one.

“Yeah, I’ll stay. I want to get you to at least rational functions by today.”

“Cool, I’ll go let her know!” Kirishima said, collecting Katsuki’s apple core and granola bar wrapper and taking off down the stairs.

Katsuki took advantage of the brief reprieve to text his mom that he wasn’t going to be home for dinner, then set his phone to silent.

Kirishma came back shortly after, and they worked until Toshiko was sent to grab them for dinner, which was significantly more chill than last time, mostly because Sayuri still seemed to be exhausted by her students.

Katsuki was half-tempted to ask Yuka for her recipe, but that seemed like overstepping, considering the circumstances.

After they’d finished eating, Kirishima dragged him back upstairs, and they worked on math for another few minutes, until there was a resounding clap of thunder outside, and all the lights went out.

“Oh, awesome!” Kirishima said, immediately abandoning his work and running over to the window to watch the storm. “Bakugou, you’ve gotta come check this out, the rain’s bouncing!”

Katsuki figured he should probably give up on trying to get Kirishima to do math, at least until the power came back on, and joined Kirishima at the window.

He’d never been afraid of storms, but Kirishima’s unbridled glee at the rain and lightning wasn’t exactly something he understood either, and it only kept him occupied for so long.

“Oi. If we aren’t doing math anymore, can you drive me home?”

“Well, I mean, it shouldn’t take too long for the power to come back on,” Kirishima suggested instead. “I have some stuff downloaded in my laptop, so we could always watch a movie! Oh, I found a Winter the Nameless adaptation-”

We don’t talk about the movies,” Katsuki growled, and Kirishima wisely didn’t push the subject any further.

They ended up agreeing on some action movie with more explosions than plot, which Katsuki was actually kind of enjoying, if only because keeping a running tally of how many times the lead would’ve died in real life was entertaining.

Even that wasn’t enough to keep him completely awake though, especially half sprawled on Kirishima’s ludicrously comfortable bed, in near complete darkness, with the steady beat of rain outside.

Luckily, before he could actually fall asleep, there was a soft knock on the door.

Kirishima paused the movie and called out a “Come in!”.

“It’s nearly ten,” Yuka said, opening the door and leaning just her upper torso into the room.

“Oh shit,” Kirishima said, only loud enough for Katsuki to hear. “I can drive you home, just give me a second to find my keys-”

“I was going to say that Bakugou’s welcome to stay, if he wants. The storm doesn’t look like it’s letting up any time soon, and I don’t really want you driving in the rain at night,” Yuka cut in, gently. “Let me know either way, okay? If his parents want him home Sayuri’ll drive you over.”

“Okay. Thanks, Mama.”

Yuka gave them one last smile, then closed the door.

Katsuki turned on his phone, which, as he had predicted, had a whole fuckton of missed calls and messages on it. Staying was definitely going to make it worse, but he’d much rather deal with this when he wasn’t half asleep.

“Do you mind if I stay?” Katsuki asked.

“Nah man, not at all!” Kirishima said brightly. “We’ve got a spare futon and everything. Will your parents be okay with it?”

“They won’t care,” Katsuki said, sending a second message, to his dad this time. He wouldn’t be a pain in the ass about this, at least.

“Sweet! I’ll go tell Yuka.”

Kirishima left the bed to go and talk to his moms, and Katsuki took the opportunity to lie down and get comfortable, on the assumption that they’d be continuing the movie when Kirishima got back.

And if he closed his eyes for a second, well, it couldn’t hurt, right?

***

Katsuki was jolted awake by a loud bang, followed by a slew of quiet cursing.

He sat up, blinking blearily as his eyes adjusted to the dark room.

He could just barely make out the figure of Kirishima in the doorway, holding his foot while hopping in place like an idiot.

The stupid flexing clock on the wall said it was 4:03.

“What the fuck are you doing awake?” Katsuki demanded, trying to keep his voice down.

There was another banging sound as Kirishima startled, released his hold on his foot, and slammed his hand into the doorframe.

“I could ask you the same thing!” he hissed, stepping fully into the room and shutting the door behind him.

“Your grand entrance woke me up,” Katsuki said dryly.

He couldn’t tell in the dark, but he knew Kirishima well enough at this point to be sure that he was blushing.

“I had to go to the bathroom, and it’s not like I have night vision!” Kirishima exclaimed, dropping to the floor and adjusting himself so he was under the blanket there, facing away from Katsuki.

Katsuki scoffed, and was about to settle back under the covers, but his still half-asleep brain finally picked up on the fact that something about this situation wasn’t adding up.

“Have you been sleeping on the fucking floor?” Katsuki snapped, sitting up once again.

Kirishima shushed him, shooting a nervous glance at the door.

“Yeah? You fell asleep on the only bed, man.”

“You mentioned a futon. I know you mentioned a futon.”

“I didn’t want to wake you up trying to move it in,” Kirishima said sheepishly.

Katsuki dug the heels of his hands into his eyes. This fucking moron, honestly.

“Well, I’m awake now. Let’s go get it.”

Kirishima shook his head. “No way, man. Futons are a pain in the ass to move in daylight, no chance we’d get it in here without waking everyone up.”

“Switch with me, then.”

“What? No!” Kirishima sputtered. “You’re a guest, I’m not going to make you sleep on the floor!”

Katsuki really, truly, could not fucking believe this.

It’s your goddamn bed!”

“And you’re already in it,” Kirishima insisted. “Might as well stay there.”

They sat, staring at each other in stubborn, resolute silence, until Katsuki had an epiphany.

“We could share.”

Kirishima made a weird choking noise, followed by a “What?”

“We could share,” Katsuki repeated, more slowly. The bed wasn’t huge, but if he moved so he was against the wall they could probably make it through the few hours left of the night without incident. Besides, what kind of idiot would choose the floor over a bed, especially someone like Kirishima, who took pride in caring for his body?

“Seriously, I’m fine on the floor,” Kirishima said, but Katsuki could tell his resolve was flagging.

“If you stay on the floor, then I’m joining you,” Katsuki declared, challenging. The “and then we’ll both be fucking miserable, and it’ll be on you” went unsaid.

Kirishima lasted another two seconds, then let out a world-weary sigh, picked up the blanket and pillow from the floor, and hesitantly climbed into the bed with Katsuki, like he was afraid Katsuki was going to spontaneously change his mind and attack him.

Katsuki rolled his eyes, and shifted over to the wall to make as much room for Kirishima and his delicate sensibilities as possible. Katsuki had basically fallen asleep on top of him not even three weeks ago. This was ridiculous.

Because it was four in the fucking morning and Katsuki was a reasonable human being, he started to drift off pretty much as soon as he stopped moving, even with Kirishima lying unnaturally still beside him.

He moved just enough to kick him in the leg and say “Fucking relax, Shitty Hair. I’m not going to strangle you in my sleep or anything.”

Kirishima let out a desperate-sounding laugh. “Good to know.”

Katsuki turned over and propped himself up on his elbow so he was leaning a bit over Kirishima. He could feel the heat radiating off of him, even with the little bit of distance between them, and he understood, somewhat, why this house was kept so fucking cold.

“You know it’s not the end of the world if we touch, right? I’m used to it with you by now.”

That seemed to get through, finally. Kirishima relaxed a bit, and Katsuki dropped down onto the pillows again.

Crisis averted, he fell asleep within seconds.

***

When Katsuki woke up next, it was with the sun in his face.

The lights were off, but Kirishima’s laptop was plugged in and its charging light was on, so the power must’ve come back on at some point.

He was warm, which was weird. He usually woke up cold at home, and he figured Kirishima’s frigid house would be infinitely worse, but somehow…

Somehow, during the night, he’d ended up cuddling human space heater Kirishima Eijirou.

And not just casually pressed to his side, either. One of Katsuki’s arms was trapped under Kirishima’s back, while the other was slung over his chest, and their legs were tangled together.

Kastuki managed to maneuver in such a way that he could see Kirishima’s face, checking to see whether he was awake or not.

He wasn’t, although he was drooling a little, which Kastuki’s sleep-muddled brain actually had the audacity to find endearing.

Kirishima’s hair was out of its spikes, which made sense, all things considered. It sure as hell didn’t do that by itself, and it would probably have been insanely uncomfortable to sleep in.

Still, it was strange, seeing his hair down and loose around his face. Made him look softer, somehow.

Katsuki had the vague sense that this should be awkward, or at least physically uncomfortable, but it wasn’t. It was actually kind of nice, which was something he intended to unpack when he was properly awake. For now, he was going back to sleep.

Even though he dozed off, Katsuki didn’t really properly fall asleep again, instead remaining in the early morning not-quite-asleep-not-quite-awake gray area until he felt Kirishima stir, then stiffen up, then scramble gracelessly out of his arms and off the bed with a yelp and a loud thump.

Katsuki sat up and gazed down at a very red, very distressed looking Kirishima lying on his back on the floor.

“Nice going, Hair for Brains,” he said dryly.

Kirishima smiled sheepishly at him. “Morning, Bakugou.”

“Did you break anything?”

“Come on, man,” Kirishima whined. “Give me some credit. I’m sturdier than that!”

Katsuki gave him a deeply skeptical look, but let the subject drop, swinging his legs over the side of the bed and taking a second to stretch.

He had the kinda gross “I’ve been wearing this school uniform for nearly twenty-four hours and also slept in it” feeling, and he knew his breath was probably rank. His teeth felt like they had fuzz on them.

“Is your family gonna be weird if I use the shower?” he asked, kicking Kirishima in the side to get his attention. If he were at Uraraka’s he’d be gone already, but since Kirishima’s family thought they were dating, there was the risk of assumptions being made.

Kirishima’s face, which had returned to its normal colour, flushed red again.

“Um, I think they kind of expect it? My moms took Toshiko out to the aquarium for the morning, and Sayuri was pretty clear about how she thought we’d be using the time alone,” he explained.
“I was going to warn you about it when I got back from telling them you were staying, so you could like, mentally prepare, but you were asleep so…”

“Christ,” Katsuki said, “even if I was dating someone my mom approved of, she would probably install fucking cameras rather than leave us alone in the house.”

Kirishima laughed awkwardly. “Yeah, well. In Sayuri’s words “It’s going to happen, so it might as well happen somewhere where you won’t get arrested for public indecency”.”

Given Ashido, Sero and Kaminari’s horror stories about Sayuri’s safe-sex talk, the attitude wasn’t exactly out of character.

“Good to know. I’m borrowing some clothes, too.”

Kirishima looked like he was about to protest, but he took another look at Katsuki’s wrinkled school uniform and seemed to think better of it.

“Yeah, alright. Bathroom’s down the hall, I’ll leave something at the door for you.”

Katsuki nodded and left the bedroom, managing to find the bathroom with minimal difficulty.

Trying to figure out someone else’s shower, was, as always, unnecessarily complex, but he got it in the end. The hot water and being able to get rid of the day’s worth of grime on his body was nice. Being pulled fully into the world of the waking was a bit more of a mixed blessing, because now that Katsuki was more alert, he was also acutely aware of how goddamn weird this entire situation was, and it only got worse once he got out of the shower.

He’d woken up cuddling Kirishima, in Kirishima’s bed, and now he was wearing his clothes, after having used his shower. That was starting to seriously blur the line between fake dating and actually fucking dating.

The worst part of all this was, Katsuki thought while he stopped by Kirishima’s room to grab his phone, he didn’t actually mind, much. At all, actually.

The final nail in the coffin was when Katsuki got to the dining room threshold.

He could see Kirishima from there, in the kitchen, humming and dancing along to some music he’d put on while he was cooking something.

Kirishima hadn’t noticed him yet. His hair was still down, and while the sky had gotten progressively more overcast since Katsuki had first woken up, the kitchen still had enough light in it that it made Kirishima’s hair kind of glow, and he was smiling to himself, and-

And suddenly Katsuki couldn’t fucking breathe.

Because the thing was, Katsuki got beauty.

Sero had explained it once, in one of the rare moments where any of Kirishima’s friends said something intelligent.

“I’m an artist, dude. Of course I understand beauty. It’s… well, it’s not objective, there’s still taste in there but like… I can appreciate a flower, or a sunset, or the fact that Todoroki meets all the standards for the Vitruvian Man without being attracted to any of them. It’s just aesthetics.”

And that made sense to Katsuki. He’d always been able to get that people were pretty. But it was always, like Sero had said, aesthetics.

When he’d heard attraction, of any kind, described in books or movies, (and, on one infamous occasion, by Uraraka), he hadn’t gotten it. It sounded ridiculous, honestly.

But that weird twist in his gut as he watched Kirishima move around the kitchen, the tightness in his chest and the way he suddenly found his eyes stuck on Kirishima’s smile?

That felt a hell of a lot like what Uraraka had described a crush feeling like.

“Oh, hey! I didn’t hear you come down,” Kirishima said, looking up from what he was doing and smiling at Katsuki, which made the tightness in his chest so much worse, “I can only really make eggs, so I’m- Are you okay, dude?”

“I’m fine,” Katsuki snapped, a little more intensely than he meant to. He had to get out of here. Now. “Uraraka texted me. She needs help studying.”

“Oh,” Kirishima said. Katsuki thought, for a second, that he saw a flash of disappointment in Kirishima’s eyes, but it was gone so fast he was sure he’d imagined it.

“Yeah,” Katsuki said, turning on his heel and heading for the door, rudeness be damned.

He heard sound behind him as Kirishima turned off the burner and set aside the pan, followed by running feet as Kirishima followed him to the door, because of course he did, it’s fucking Kirishima and he’s like that, holy FUCK-

Katsuki’s palms were sweating so much that his phone was starting to slip out of his grasp, and Kirishima hovering while he put on his shoes wasn’t fucking helping.

“Do you want a lift to Uraraka’s?” Kirishima asked.

“Nah, it’s a short walk. I’ll be fine,” Katsuki said. He didn’t know if that was true or not, but being stuck in a car with Kirishima right now was, if not the worst thing he could imagine, pretty high up the fucking list.

“Are you sure?” Kirishima pressed, frowning. “The weather’s starting to get gross again.”

“I like the rain,” Katsuki said, only partially aware of the words coming out of his mouth through the blinding need to get away.

“Okay! I’ll see you on Monday, right?”

The fucking smile was back, and Katsuki needed to be literally anywhere that wasn’t here.

“Yeah. Bye.”

He was out the door before Kirishima had a chance to respond.

He made it about a block before the sky opened up, and it started pouring. There was even a distant rumble of thunder.

Katsuki fucking hated rain.

Chapter Text

Katsuki realized after stumbling around in the rain for five minutes that he had no idea where the hell he was going.

He managed to get his phone out and the GPS open just long enough for it to plot a route to Uraraka’s before it died.

It was still pouring by the time Uraraka’s building came into view, and Katsuki knew, distantly, that he was soaked and shivering, but he was focusing on other things, or maybe on nothing. He wasn’t sure.

He made it up the tree, somehow, and knocked insistently on the window until Uraraka looked up from the work she was doing and noticed him.

“Bakugou?!” she exclaimed, scrambling out of her desk chair and running over to get the window open.

Katsuki climbed in quickly and dropped gracelessly onto her bed, then, when he realized he was getting it wet, the floor.

“What the hell, Bakugou?”

“I think I have a crush on Kirishima,” he said, the words forcing themselves out of him without his consent.

“Okay,” Uraraka said. Her voice had gone from frustrated and confused to calm, gentle even. Katsuki was pretty sure he should feel patronized, but it was just kind of nice. “I’m going to get you a towel and some dry clothes, and when I get back, you’re going to explain what happened. In as much detail as you can.”

Katsuki nodded, sitting up and pressing his back against the wall while he tried to get his thoughts in order.

Uraraka came back shortly after, and Katsuki dried off and changed while she waited on the other side of the room.

“So,” she prompted when he sat down again, still using that stupid soothing voice that he wanted to hate but couldn’t.

And Katsuki talked. Explained everything from the tutoring to his hasty exit that morning, while Uraraka listened intently, not interrupting until the end.

“Alright. Let’s get your phone charged,” she said, snagging it from the pile of wet clothes and digging through her drawers until she found Katsuki’s extra charger.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because you left everything except your phone at his house, and then ran off into the rain, and that’s going to raise some questions,” Uraraka explained, and Katsuki abruptly realized that, yeah, shit, she had a point.

“I’m not telling him,” he said quickly.

Uraraka snorted. “Yeah, definitely not. You just figured your feelings out, I’m not expecting you to do anything about them yet.”

Katsuki didn’t like the sound of that “yet”, but Uraraka had gotten his phone on and was waving him over to unlock it.

“I’m going to tell him you had a fever. Explains your weird behaviour, and if we say it’s contagious you won’t have to see him until Monday, when you have to anyway.”

“You aren’t telling him shit,” Katsuki said, unlocking his phone and snatching it out of her grip,

“Look, you said you don’t want to tell him you like him yet, but he’s going to need some kind of explanation-”

I will tell him I have a fever,” Katsuki interrupted, which seemed to appease Uraraka, at least enough to get her to back off.

She also gave him a considering look, which he didn’t appreciate, but left him to his texting without further commentary, which he did.

Katsuki already had a missed message from Kirishima waiting for him.

Shitty Hair (8:32): r u ok? u left all ur stuff in my room

Me (9:03): I have a fever.

Shitty Hair (9:03): oh no!!! (˚☐˚! )/
Shitty Hair (9:03): that sucks man
Shitty Hair (9:04): want me 2 bring ur stuff over???

Me (9:04): I’m contagious. Just bring it to school on Monday.

Shitty Hair (9:05): u sure? u don’t have hmwk or smth??

Me (9:05): Finished it while you were reviewing.

That, at least, was true.

Shitty Hair (9:06): ok! hope u feel better soon!!!

Katsuki handed his phone back to Uraraka after that. He didn’t really need to respond, and it would make it easier to pretend his face wasn’t flaming if he ignored the cause.

Kirishima had been this annoyingly kind and embarrassing since day fucking one. Why the hell was it affecting Katsuki this way now?

Well. He knew why, but that didn’t make it any less fucking stupid.

He groaned and banged the back of his head against the wall in frustration.

“Careful,” Uraraka admonished. “You already dented the bathroom wall, I don’t want to have to tell my parents that it happened again.”

“I was nine, and I apologized. Fuck off.”

“Yeah, yeah. Everything went okay?”

Kastuki nodded. “He’s bringing my things to school on Monday.”

“Good.”

They sat in silence for a few moments after that, but Katsuki knew it wouldn’t last.

“You know the wedding’s next weekend, right?” Uraraka finally said.

Katsuki nodded. It hadn’t really sunk in yet, but he knew.

“And that you and Kirishima are planning on “breaking up” after that?”

Katsuki nodded again, trying to figure out what the hell Uraraka was playing at.

“Okay, this isn’t working,” she huffed. “What’s your game plan, Bakugou? How are you going to ask him out for real?”

“I’m not.”

“What do you mean, you’re not?”

“Exactly what it fucking sounds like, I’m not asking him out!”

“Why not?” Uraraka asked, and she had the gall to sound fucking incredulous about it.

“I picked him specifically because he’d piss off my family, Uraraka.”

She levelled a glare at him. “You’ve never given a shit about what they thought about your decisions before!”

“I don’t care about them, I care about him!” Katsuki exclaimed, surprising himself as much as Uraraka. “I’m already forcing him to spend a whole day with people who hate him just for existing, I can’t do that to him for the rest of- for however long we’d be together.”

Uraraka frowned, pursing her lips like she wanted to say something else.

“Besides, I don’t even know if…” he couldn’t bring himself to say “if he likes me” out loud. It sounded too ridiculous and juvenile, even in his own head. “There’s no good outcome to telling him.”

“I didn’t take you for the noble pining type,” Uraraka said sarcastically, forcing a laugh out of Katsuki.

“It’s a fucking week. I think I’ll be okay,” Katsuki said, rolling his eyes.

“Look, I don’t want to rain on your parade, but if this was your reaction to figuring out you had a crush on him, I think you’re severely underestimating how miserable this week is going to be for you.”

There was another silence after that, because Katsuki knew she was right, but he had no intention of admitting it.

“You know Kirishima is definitely going to want to stay friends with you after you guys stop “dating”, right?” Uraraka asked eventually.

Katsuki hadn’t thought about that. Or, rather, he’d been aggressively avoiding thinking about that ever since he’d claimed he only had a week of this left.

“Yeah,” he replied. “I’ll figure something out.”

***

He stayed at Uraraka’s for as long as he could justify sitting around feeling sorry for himself, then gathered the tattered shreds of his pride and headed home.

His mom, as predicted, went completely nuclear as soon as he walked through the front door, though she calmed down once she realized Katsuki wasn’t fighting back, and just banished him to his room with an “I don’t want to deal with you right now”.

Since he’d been planning on spending the rest of the weekend in his room trying to figure out what the fuck he was going to do about the situation, that suited him fine, and he went without complaint, though he made sure to slam his door hard enough to rattle the walls so she didn’t think he’d gone soft.

By the time Monday morning arrived, he had a plan. It was a shitty plan and he fucking hated it, but it was the only one he could think of where everyone came out mostly unscathed.

Most of it could wait until later in the week. Today’s priority was seeing Kirishima and not monumentally fucking it up.

Which he could definitely do, because he was Bakugou Motherfucking Katsuki and he could do anything, but that didn’t mean it was going to be pleasant.

Once he made it to school, he spent some time waiting at his locker before he went to find Kirishima.

He was not stalling, because stalling was for cowards, but he was glaring at his books intensely enough to burn holes in them, which, combined with his general reputation as someone you didn’t approach without warning, should have kept everyone away before he was ready to deal with them.

Unfortunately, some people couldn’t take a fucking hint, and while he was still not stalling, he heard someone clear their throat behind him, then:

“Um, Kacchan?”

Because today wasn’t going to be a fucking nightmare already.

Katsuki whipped around, fully prepared to scream Deku into next week, but when he actually saw him, he stopped short.

Deku’s bottom lip was split and bleeding, and he had the start of what was going to be a seriously nasty bruise on his right cheekbone.

“What the fuck happened to you?” Katsuki blurted, losing the truly masterful slew of insults he’d been ready to unleash on him to shock.

“Okay, so, before I start, Kirishima’s fine, okay?”

Katsuki was immediately twice as on edge, and it took every ounce of his self control not to grab Deku by the collar and fucking shake answers out of him.

“Why the hell wouldn’t he be fine?” he demanded.

“Well, he kinda got jumped by a few people outside the gates, and-”

“HE FUCKING WHAT?”

Deku took an involuntary step back, but didn’t squeak or flinch like he would’ve a few years ago. “I got there before things got too serious and they ran off when they realized we both actually knew how to fight, but they did get a few hits in, so he’s in the nurse’s office but it’s not bad, I swear-”

“I’m going to kill him. I swear to God, I’m going to fucking kill him,” Katsuki snarled, slamming his locker shut and stalking off in the direction of class 3-B.

“It’s not his fault he got hurt, just wait- Where are you going?” Deku called after him, jogging a few steps to catch up. He was limping slightly.

“I just fucking told you, didn’t I?”

Deku’s eyes widened in understanding, and he managed to get in front of Katsuki, clearly trying to block his path. “Kacchan, I couldn’t tell who anyone was, we don’t know it was Monoma!”

“Who the fuck else would it be?” Katsuki snapped, shoving Deku out of the way and continuing on.

Deku didn’t try and stop him again, and didn’t even seem to be following anymore.

All the fucking better.

Katsuki threw open the door to class 3-B with a resounding crash.

“Which one of you fuckers is Monoma?”

No one spoke, but a girl with orange hair glanced over at some blond asshole sitting on a desk near the back and smirking, and that was answer enough.

Katsuki marched over to him, picked him up by the front of the shirt and knocked him onto the floor.

People scrambled out of the way, and Katsuki was pretty sure he heard someone calling for a teacher, but he ignored it.

Monoma managed to get into a sitting position, but he was moving away from Katsuki, rather than trying to fight back. Now that he was closer, he could see some bruises on Monoma’s exposed skin. They looked fresh.

“What? Not gonna fight when you don’t have the element of surprise?” he jeered, winding up to punch him right in the fucking teeth, “Or is it because it’s one on one?”

Before he could go through with the punch, someone grabbed his arm, and someone else grabbed him around the waist to pull him back.

He tried to break free, but whoever these assholes were, they were fucking strong.

“Let me go!”

“No,” Uraraka’s voice. She had his arm. “You’ll regret this, Bakugou. Even if it doesn’t seem like it now.”

Orange-Hair from earlier was the one who had his waist, and she nodded.

“Believe me, I want to punch him too, but it’ll be a legal nightmare if you actually go through with it.”

Katsuki didn’t care. He didn’t care if it got him expelled, if it meant that Monoma won the long game, he was a coward and a bastard and he’d been harassing them all month. Katsuki was going to smash his fucking skull in, whatever Uraraka and fucking Orange-Hair had to say about it.

“No, let him!” Monoma called, still on the floor and smirking again, full of confidence again now that Katsuki was out of punching range. “He can ruin his reputation if he wants. I hardly think that boyfriend of his is worth the trouble, but-”

Katsuki let out a wordless yell of rage, and managed to wrench free of Orange-Hair’s grip, fully intent on going through with every colourful imagining of Monoma’s violent demise he could come up with, but before he could, he ran into a familiar solid wall of muscle.

“Come on, that’s enough,” Kirishima said, grabbing Katsuki by the shoulders and holding him in place.

“Why the fuck are you here?!” Katsuki demanded, backing off a bit so he could actually see Kirishima, instead of having his face pressed into his chest.

When he noticed Katsuki looking at him he smiled, bright as ever, and it would have been reassuring, if not for the way it was marred by the bandage across his nose and the two still-forming black eyes.

“Midoriya came to get me,” he explained. “He figured you were going to do something stupid.”

“Fucking Deku dragging you into this when you’re hurt,” Katsuki growled, turning his attention away from Monoma for a second to focus it on Deku, who was lingering by the door and looking like he was regretting it. “I’ll fucking kill him too, shitty bastard-

“Hey, hey,” Kirishima said, grabbing Katsuki by the chin and forcibly turning his face so Katsuki was looking at him, “I’m fine, see? I’m okay. Leave it. Leave him be, it’s fine.”

“No, it’s not fucking fine, your goddamn nose is broken!” Katsuki yelled, pushing ineffectually at Kirishima’s arms, trying to get free.

“Nothing I can’t handle,” Kirishima said, and he had the absolute goddamn audacity to keep smiling. “Come on, let’s get you outside.”

Katsuki wanted to fight that, and he did, screaming obscenities and thrashing around in Kirishima’s grasp, but Kirishima and his stupid fucking tree-trunk arms won, and he managed to alternate between pushing and dragging Katsuki until they ended up not only outside the classroom, but down the hall.

Kirishima eventually let go of his shoulders, but he still seemed ready to grab Katsuki if he tried to make a break for it. He wasn’t going to; he’d tired himself out enough that he was no longer seeing the world through a haze of blind fury, and he knew it was a bad idea.

He swiped viciously under his eyes, not fully sure when he’d started crying, or when he’d stopped. Kirishima politely looked away, and didn’t mention it.

“Better?” he asked after a few minutes, when Katsuki’s breathing had finally evened out.

“Yeah,” Katsuki replied. His voice came out croaky, and his throat was sore. “Thanks.”

“Hey, can’t have you getting arrested for assault,” Kirishima replied, kicking him lightly in the shin. “Who’d teach me math?”

Katsuki didn’t answer. He didn’t really know how.

He hadn’t had an episode like that in… shit, in years. Not since early middle school, probably, and he always hated how he felt after, wrung out and jittery all at once. Not to mention fucking embarrassed about snapping and losing control like that.

“I’m sorry,” he said, a few seconds later. “For making you deal with that.”

“Apology accepted, although I think you’ll have to make a few more of those.”

“I’m not fucking apoligizing to that shitty coward,” Katsuki snapped.

Kirishima laughed. “Nah, not Monoma. Midoriya, though, definitely. And Uraraka and Kendou.”

“Kendou?”

“Orange ponytail,” Kirishima clarified, and Katsuki grunted.

“Fine.”

“That’ll probably have to wait a bit though,” Kirishima said, nodding over to the other end of the hall, where Aizawa was advancing on them with exasperation deeply etched into his face.

“Alright, you two. Nezu’s office. Let’s go.”

***

The teachers apparently had enough foresight to know that putting Katsuki in a room with Monoma was a bad move, so they’d split everyone up.

Monoma had gone in and given his version of events while Katsuki was cooling off in the hallway, as had Uraraka and Kendou.

Now Katsuki, Kirishima and Deku were giving theirs, under the watchful eye of Aizawa, lurking in the corner like some kind of sentient gargoyle.

“Kirishima, Midoriya,” Principal Nezu said mildly, taking a sip from his teacup, “Why don’t you start?”

Katsuki already knew the basic story, so he didn’t pay much attention until Nezu turned to him, with a gleam in his eyes that was far too sharp for his otherwise non-threatening face.

“Bakugou?”

Katsuki told him what had happened, as concisely as he could get away with. He wanted this shit done.

When he finished, Nezu sighed deeply and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Well, your stories seem to match up with those of the girls, and it would be impossible to deny that something happened to Kirishima and Midoriya,” he gestured at their injuries, then paused. “Unfortunately, the only witnesses we have that weren’t directly involved were the ones who saw Bakugou attack Monoma, and he denies attacking Kirishima.”

“That’s bullshit,” Katsuki snapped. “He has motive, and-”

“And neither Kirishima nor Midoriya can confirm they saw him there,” Nezu interrupted, leveling Katsuki with a disapproving look.

Katsuki was damn close to climbing over the desk and throttling him, when someone started frantically knocking on the office door.

Nezu nodded at Aizawa, who pulled it open, revealing a dishevelled-looking Ashido, breathing hard and brandishing her phone like a weapon.

“Monoma did it!” she exclaimed, shouldering her way through the gathering in front of Nezu’s desk and slamming her phone down on it, face-up. “I have proof.”

Nezu raised his eyebrows, but didn’t react otherwise.

Ashido opened up her messages and clicked on a video, clearly taken by someone who didn’t want to be seen filming, since half the screen was taken up by the underside of a desk, and the other half was showing Monoma’s face.

“-tacked you out of nowhere?” asked an offscreen voice.

Monoma laughed. “Yes! I’m telling you, he’s unhinged.”

Katsuki curled his hands into fists. Kirishima, somehow, noticed, and reached over to squeeze his wrist. It was nice. Grounding.

“I mean, I don’t think it’s that unreasonable if you beat up his boyfriend,” someone else added.

“Please,” Monoma said dismissively. “He had no way of knowing I did it, he was just looking for an excuse to attack me.”

“Wait so you did attack Kirishima?” a third voice piped up. “Dude, that’s fucked up! Not to mention stupid, he’s on the team with me!”

Beside him, Kirishima let out a soft huff of a laugh.

“Well, I never said I was alone, Tetsutetsu,” Monoma replied. “Strength in numbers and all that. The runt from 3-A was a surprise, though.”

“Thank you, Ashido,” Nezu said. “I believe that’s enough.”

“Are you sure?” Ashido asked. “He goes on for another two minutes.”

“Quite sure,” Nezu replied with a tight smile. “You, Kirishima and Midoriya may return to your classes. Bakugou, seeing as you attacked another student, I will be contacting your parents and sending you home for the day, but I believe one day of missed classes will be sufficient punishment, given the circumstances.”

Katsuki stiffened.

His parents.

Fuck. His mom was going to kill him.

Kirishima had apparently noticed his distress, and started rubbing circles on Katsuki’s arm with his thumb, which was nice for the three seconds before Katsuki’s brain abruptly remembered that he’d been avoiding talking to him all weekend for a reason, and the source of his distress shifted to that.

He was beginning to regret all the times he’d made fun of Uraraka for complaining about crushes. This shit sucked.

Kirishima kept ahold of his arm, and Katsuki continued to be distracted by it, until he let go to help Ashido get something out of what Katsuki assumed was her locker. How, exactly, they’d ended up at her locker was a mystery he was probably never going to solve.

The pair managed to liberate whatever it was they were trying to get free, and Ashido held it out to Katsuki with a victorious grin.

“Here we go! One backpack, slightly used.”

Katsuki stared down at it.

“It looks like it went through a hurricane,” he said incredulously. One of the zippers was torn from the lining, and there was a new stain on the corner that he was beginning to suspect was blood.

Kirishima laughed sheepishly, scratching at the back of his neck. “I mean, it was an unfortunate casualty of this morning’s fight. And Mina’s locker. Oh! And your uniform’s in there, with all your notes and stuff. I washed it and everything but uh… You may want to give it another go before wearing it.”

Fuck, he’s adorable, Katsuki thought, and the words felt like a physical blow to his chest.

“Whatever,” Katsuki said, grabbing the bag from Ashido and swinging it over his shoulder. “Get to your fucking class.”

Ashido groaned. “God, I know it’s technically a suspension, but I am so jealous that you get to go home. I do not want to have to do a Lit class after all this.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “You need every Lit class you can get, Pinky. I’m still not fully convinced you know how to read.”

She made an offended squawking noise annoying enough to rival Kaminari’s, and Kirishima started laughing.

Given Katsuki’s relationship with Kirishima’s laugh, he figured it was time for him to make his exit.

“Go away. Get your fucking education.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ashido said dismissively. “See you tomorrow.”

Katsuki grunted noncommittally, and Ashido started down the hallway with a wave.

Kirishima lingered for a second, then leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Katsuki’s cheek.

“I’ll update you if we get any news on Monoma,” he said, right next to Katsuki’s ear. Then he pulled back, grinned at him, and took off after Ashido.

Katsuki stood there, unmoving, until he was alone in the hallway, then lifted his hand to his cheek, which was burning hot.

He hated everything.

***

By the time he got himself outside, his mom’s car was there, idling in front of the school gates.

He managed to open the passenger door, throw his bag into the back seat, and sit down before the yelling started.

“Are you fucking kidding me, Katsuki? First the boyfriend, and now you’re getting into fights at school?!”

“He fucking deserved it.”

“Really?” his mother demanded. “Did he really? Or do you just give so few shits about your future that you didn’t even stop to think before going after him?”

“He did!” Katsuki insisted.

“What could he have possibly done-”

“He and a bunch of his goons jumped Kirishima!”

That got her to shut up.

Katsuki thought, naively, that he’d somehow managed to win the fight, or at least gained a point, when his mother said, in the cold, calm voice she reserved for when she was fucking murderous:

“So. This is because of the boyfriend.”

Shit.

“No, it’s because some assholes tried to hurt someone I care about, and I wasn’t going to let them get away with it!” Katsuki exclaimed.

“Oh, so you would’ve done the same thing for Uraraka?” she asked sarcastically.

Yes!” Katsuki said vehemently, because he fucking would. He probably would’ve if they’d attacked Ashido, too, or Kaminari, or Sero.

“I don’t believe you,” she snapped, still cold. “I’m meeting this boy.”

“You’re going to meet him this weekend anyway-”

Tonight, Katsuki! I want to know if you’re bringing a goddamn delinquent to my niece’s wedding!”

Katsuki hesitated for a second. He’d already been having second thoughts about dragging Kirishima into his family’s bullshit, and that was when they hadn’t had an explicit vendetta against him. But if he said no, his mom might ban Kirishima from the wedding, and then everything would have been for nothing.

“Fine.”

“Text him now,” she said.

“He’s in class, I’ll do it when there’s a break.”

Now, Katsuki!” she yelled, and Katsuki got his phone out of his pocket.

He spent a few seconds staring at his last conversation with Kirishima, trying to figure out what to say.

Me (10:01): My mom wants to meet you.
Me (10:01): When does your shift finish?

“Well?” his mother demanded, after he’d put his phone back.

“I told you, he’s in class! He’s not going to answer until there’s a break!” Katsuki growled.

“If he gets into fights on school grounds, then he’ll have his phone out in class.”

Katsuki was almost tempted to let it slide and just ignore her for the rest of the drive home, but:

“He didn’t get into a fight, he got attacked!”

“Right. You got into a fight, on his behalf.”

“Oh my god, I pushed one guy and then nothing else happened!”

They sniped back and forth until they pulled into the driveway, at which point Katsuki grabbed his bag, got out of the car, and stomped into the house and up to his room as fast as he could without looking like he was running.

Once he was safely in his bed, he checked his phone.

Kirishima hadn’t answered, because he was still in fucking class.

Katsuki threw his phone onto the carpet, flopped facedown onto his pillows, and screamed until his mother started banging on the ceiling with the broom and telling him to shut up.

This was the longest day of his fucking life, and it wasn’t even noon.

Chapter Text

About an hour and a half later, Katsuki’s phone went off.

He scrambled out of bed at a speed he would normally be embarrassed about, but his mom had been coming in every twenty minutes to ask if Kirishima had answered yet, and if that shit happened one more time he was going to scream. Again.

Luckily, it didn’t look like that was going to happen, because he had three new texts from Kirishima.

Shitty Hair (11:58): gonna go out on a limb and say this isn’t a good kinda meet
Shitty Hair (11:58): my shift’s done @ 6 but i’d be showing up at ur house w/ wet hair in my work uniform
Shitty Hair (11:58): if u give me till 7 i can like shower so i don’t meet ur angry mom smelling like pool

Me (11:59): She’s going to be pissed no matter what. If you come over sooner it’s done faster.

Shitty Hair (11:59): ok, lemme ask my moms

Katsuki realized after about three minutes that he was sitting on the carpet in his own goddamn bedroom and staring at his phone, which was, to put it mildly, fucking pathetic, so he got up and moved back to his bed instead. He opened up Gmail so he could stare at academic emails he had no intention of answering at the moment instead of his text chat with Kirishima.

Finally, after nearly ten minutes, he got an answer.

Shitty Hair (12:08): they said it’s fine but they want me home for dinner (~7)

All things considered, Katsuki would’ve expected them to want him home immediately, but he wasn’t about to question it if it got this over with.

Me (12:08): Yeah, okay.

Shitty Hair (12:09): c u @ 6ish!!!

Still with the fucking exclamation marks.

“Mom!” he called. Normally she would pretend she couldn’t hear him unless he came downstairs, but she’d been breathing down his neck for an answer since they got home, so he could probably get away with it today.

“What do you want, brat?”

Ha, he’d been right. “Kirishima says he’ll be over at six!”

“What? School finishes at three!”

Katsuki sighed. “He works until six!”

He heard grumbling and the sound of feet coming up the stairs. His door opened a few seconds later.

“Tell him he’s staying for dinner.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “His moms want him home for dinner.”

His mother raised her eyebrows at him.

“Oh, so you can sleep at his house, but he can’t have a meal with us.”

“He got his goddamn nose broken this morning and they haven’t seen him all day, I don’t think it’s that fucking unreasonable,” Katsuki said.

“Watch your tone,” she snapped. “What time do they want him home?”

“Around seven o’clock.”

His mother let out a short, frustrated sigh. “Fine. Make sure he comes straight here after work.”

“Yeah, whatever.” Katsuki flopped back down onto his bed, staring resolutely at the ceiling until he heard his mother’s retreating footsteps.

Then he got up and shut the door, because she never fucking did it herself, and tried to figure out what the hell he was supposed to do with himself for the next six hours.

***

He ended up re-reading Endless Night.

When he’d first dug it out of his closet, he tried to make up excuses. He didn’t have any homework, and YouTube, newer books and articles weren’t holding his attention, so he might as well try a familiar story to pass the time, right?

That was all true, to a certain extent. It was a comfort book, as much as he hated admitting that. But the underlying reason was that Kirishima was reading it, was nearly done reading it, actually, and Katsuki had every intention of milking that common ground for all it was worth while he still had the chance.

And sure, that might have been even more pathetic than the floor thing, but it’s not like anyone could prove he was doing it.

By four Katuski had finished Endless Night and moved on to Shield of Shadows, but he only got about five chapters in before the jittery impatience he’d been fighting off since noon started creeping back in.

He decided that he was going to keep reading on the front porch. He’d been trapped in his room all day, and the fresh air would at least be different.

It also meant that he was guaranteed to be the first person Kirishima ran into when he arrived, and that he wouldn’t be ambushed by Katsuki’s mother, which was a definite plus.

Being outside helped, for a while, but as it got closer to six, it got harder to focus, until Katsuki was more glaring at the book and trying to force the words into his head than reading.

Finally, Katsuki heard the sound of tires on pavement and looked up to see Kirishima’s car pulling into the driveway.

He was relieved for a second, then realized a part of his brilliant plan that he hadn’t accounted for, which was that he was still holding the book, and Kirishima would know he’d been reading it.

A small, desperate, part of him wanted to throw it into the gardenias before Kirishima could notice, but the rational part of him, the one that understood that that was fucking stupid, ended up winning out, and instead he just closed it and laid it face-down beside him.

“Hey,” Kirishima said, stopping at the foot of the stairs and smiling nervously at him.

Another thing that Katsuki hadn’t accounted for because of, well everything else, was the fact that when Kirishima said he was going to be coming with wet hair, that meant his hair was going to be down.

So now he was faced with hair-down, smiling, backlit-by-the-sun Kirishima, again. It was just as bad as it had been on Saturday, except he couldn’t run away this time, and he’d had time to get used to his feelings, so there was no reason for them to be hitting him this hard.

And yet.

“You weren’t kidding about the pool smell,” Katsuki said, even though Kirishima was a good three meters away and downwind.

Kirishima, luckily, didn’t seem to notice, instead letting out a small noise of distress.

“Oh shit, seriously? I can’t really smell anything because like, you know,” he gestured at his nose, still bandaged and swollen, “but I tried rinsing off in the pool showers so it wouldn’t be too bad.”

Ah, fuck. Katsuki had apparently severely underestimated how nervous Kirishima was. He probably wasn’t used to people disliking him, given how much of a fucking people person he was.

“It’s not that bad, Shitty Hair,” he said. “They won’t notice.”

“Okay,” Kirishima replied, apparently appeased. “Sorry for freaking out, I’m just… I don’t know. I know that the whole point is for them to not like me, but I still want them to? It’s stupid.”

“Yeah, it is,” Katsuki said, before his brain-to-mouth filter could kick in. Kirishima looked crestfallen for a second, so Katsuki rushed to continue. “Not- Fuck. It’s not stupid to feel like that, you just have no reason to. Their opinions don’t mean shit.”

Kirishima laughed, and Katsuki saw some of the tension release from his shoulders.

“Alright. Anything in particular you want me to do?”

“Keep your hair out of your face so they can see all your piercings.”

That made Kirishima laugh again, and he even made a hideous snorting noise that Katsuki desperately wanted to hear more.

“Whatever you say, man,” Kirishima said, still chuckling to himself, as he pulled an elastic off his wrist and tied his hair back in a low ponytail. “Good?”

“You’ll do,” Katsuki forced out, before he could do anything too embarrassing, like voice his actual feelings on the ponytail. They were overwhelmingly positive.

He picked up his book, stood up, and opened the door, then stepped inside, trusting Kirishima to follow him.

As soon as he got the door shut, his mother started yelling from the other room.

“Katsuki! Your delinquent is late!”

Kirishima, who’d been in the middle of taking off his shoes, shot Katsuki a concerned look.

Katsuki just rolled his eyes.

“He said he was done work at six, not that he’d get here at six.”

Instead of a verbal response, he got approaching footsteps, and Katsuki gestured for Kirishima to hurry up with his shoes before she arrived.

He managed to get them off and get himself upright by the time his mother reached the entrance, and as soon as she was in sight, Kirishima had his customary personable grin in place.

“Hi Mrs. Bakugou,” he said, and he did a decently good job of masking the nervousness in his voice.

Katsuki’s mother looked him up and down, like she was fucking Terminator-scanning him. When she was done, the corner of her mouth pulled up in a sneer.

“What happened to your face?”

“It got punched. A couple times, I think,” Kirishima replied, laughing nervously and scratching at the back of his neck.

“I meant the piercings,” she said, then, after a short pause where she inspected his face again: “And the teeth.”

Before Katsuki or Kirishima could respond to that, Katsuki’s father did the one useful thing he’d ever done in his life and appeared from deeper in the house, took his mother by the elbow and started guiding her toward the living room.

“Why don’t we let him into the house before we start asking questions, Mitsuki?”

“It’s an easy question to answer,” she said, allowing herself to be led but otherwise undeterred. “If you ignore the nose, it’s clear he has good bone structure, and I want to know why he’s choosing to ruin it.”

Kirishima looked almost shell-shocked, and it was clear that whatever he’d been expecting, this wasn’t it.

Katsuki, in a moment of impulsivity he was sure he’d regret later, reached out and grabbed his wrist, like Kirishima had done for him in Nezu’s office.

It seemed to snap him back to reality, enough that he looked over at Katsuki and smiled again, a bit more strained this time.

“Holy shit.”

“Yeah. It’s probably only going to get worse from here,” Katsuki said, because he wanted to be reassuring but he wasn’t a fucking liar.

“Good to know,” Kirishima replied, and when Katsuki started after his parents toward the living room, he didn’t try to pull away.

His parents had taken one of the couches, leaving the other open. Katsuki wasn’t about to ditch Kirishima to face the inquisition alone, so he sat down on the empty couch and pulled Kirishima down beside him.

“So,” his mother said, picking up as though the conversation had never been interrupted. “Since I’m not allowed to ask about the piercings, can I at least know why your hair is dripping on my sofa?”

Kirishima checked the end of his ponytail to see if it was actually letting off water, which was a rookie mistake, but Kirishima’s mothers were actually nice, so Katsuki couldn’t really blame him.

“I work as a lifeguard, so I was in a pool pretty recently,” he explained, once he’d determined that she was just fucking with his head.

Katsuki’s mother raised her eyebrows. “Lifeguard, huh? You work with kids?”

Kirishima nodded, and looked like he was about to say something, but she cut him off before he got the chance.

“And you think getting into fights is setting a good example for them?”

Katsuki groaned. “I told you already, he got-”

“Shush, brat. I want to hear it from him.”

“I didn’t start the fight, ma’am,” Kirishima said quickly. “I defended myself, but I would never attack someone.”

There was a long silence while his mother gave Kirishima another appraising look.

“Fine. What do you want to do when you graduate?”

“I want to be a paramedic,” Kirishima answered immediately, and Katsuki watched as his mother’s eyes narrowed, calculating.

That wasn’t good.

“Katsuki’s tutoring you in math, isn’t he?’

“Uh, yes, he is,” Kirishima answered, seemingly unsure of why she was asking.

“And you think you can be a decent paramedic even if you’re struggling with high school math?” she asked.

“Mitsuki-” his father started, but Katsuki was louder, and he was angrier.

“What the fuck does this have to do with anything? He’s not going to have to know pre-calc to treat someone, and his biology grades are nearly as good as mine!”

“I’m just saying that I might not want my life in the hands of someone who nearly failed a core course,” she said coldly.

“It’s not very far into the year,” Kirishima said, quietly but firmly. “And I’m getting help to make sure I don’t fail. I think that counts for something.”

His mother looked shocked that Kirishima had responded for a second, and Katsuki had never wanted to kiss him more than he did in that moment.

Rather than concede the point, however, she continued grilling Kirishima, about his grades, his appearance (again), and even his family.

Kirishima took it all relatively in stride, but Katsuki could see his grip on his shorts getting tighter with every thinly veiled jab sent his way. Katsuki wanted to do something, hold his wrist again or yell at his mother to just fucking stop already, but there was never enough of an opening.

Finally, a timer went off in the kitchen, and his father spoke up.

“I set that earlier. It’s seven o’clock,” he explained, getting to his feet and disappearing into the kitchen to turn it off.

“Thank fucking god,” Katsuki said under his breath.

“Language, Katsuki!” his mother snapped.

“He’s heard me swear before, hag!”

Kirishima stood up before they could start fighting in earnest, and bowed to Katsuki’s mother, then his father, lingering in the kitchen doorway.

“It was nice to meet you both,” he said.

“Well, at least he has some manners,” his mother grumbled, and Katsuki grabbed Kirishima by the arm and dragged him toward the door before the comment could turn into a lecture.

Katsuki loomed over Kirishima until he’d gotten his shoes on, then forced him outside as quickly as humanly possible.

As soon as the door shut, Kirishima’s shoulders slumped forward.

“Well, that was a nightmare.”

Katsuki snorted. “At least it was good practice. My grandmother’s worse.”

“Dude, your family gatherings must be exhausting,” Kirishima groaned.

“Yeah, well. You hit me with a car, this is payback,” Katsuki said, trying for a joke.

It seemed to land, and at least earned a small smile from Kirishima.

“Geez, when she asked how we met I thought that vein in her jaw was going to burst.”

Katsuki grinned. “I think if it had this would’ve been worth it.”

“Yeah,” Kirishima replied, and they trailed off into silence for a second.

“I’ll see you tomorrow?” Kirishima asked eventually.

Katsuki nodded. “Unless Nezu spontaneously decides to extend my suspension, yeah.”

“Cool. Bye, Bakugou.” Kirishima gave a small wave, and another somewhat dim smile, then walked off to his car.

Katsuki waited until he was out of sight before going back inside to face his fate.

“I didn’t like him,” his mother said as soon as he was inside.

“I figured you wouldn’t,” Katsuki muttered darkly.

His mother ignored him.

“Honestly Katsuki. You’re at one of the best schools in the country, you’d think that you could find someone…” she trailed off, gesturing vaguely with one of her hands, “respectable.”

“Respectable?!” Katsuki exploded. “Fucking respectable? That’s your complaint? He’s determined, he cares about people, and he’s a good person. That’s pretty fucking respectable!”

He knew what she meant. Of course he knew what she meant, it was the thing that had first made him drag Kirishima into this whole scheme, but he was too pissed off to care.

It made him fucking furious that someone could look at Kirishima, with his huge smiles and ridiculously kind heart, and think that a few piercings and his stupid fucking hair made him less “respectable”, and it made him even more furious that when this all started, he’d done the exact same thing.

“Don’t play dumb, Katsuki, you know damn well what I meant,” his mother snapped back. “If you want to bring him to the wedding, that’s your choice, but telling the rest of the family you’re gay is going to be hard enough when you’ve found someone worth settling down with, so I don’t think-”

“You know what?” Katsuki interrupted, “fuck this. If I like Kirishima, what kind of person do you think I’m going to “settle down” with, huh?”

His mother made an impatient huffing noise. “If you gave me some time, I’m sure I could find someone, Katsuki.”

“Not fucking happening.”

“Well, I know I could do a better job than you did when left to your own devices!”

“I don’t fucking care who you find, I’m in love with him!”

His mother was staring at him, eyes wide and shocked, and Katsuki felt like the bottom had dropped out of his stomach.

Fuck, he hadn’t meant to say that. He didn’t even know if it was true, yet, and if it was he definitely didn’t want the first person he told to be his fucking mom.

He stood perfectly still, locked in a silent battle of wills with his mother. When she finally started to speak again, Katsuki reacted instinctively, opened the front door, and walked out of the house.

This wasn’t going to end on its own, so he was going to fucking end it himself.

His mother called after him, but she couldn’t chase him down without causing a scene, so as long as he moved quickly, he was home free.

When he couldn’t hear his mother’s yelling anymore, and he felt like he had a decent head start, he texted Uraraka.

Me (19:19): I’m coming over.

She responded immediately, which was rare for her, but Katsuki figured the world owed him a bit of good luck at this point.

Jigglypuff (19:19): are you staying?

Me (19:20): Yeah.

Jigglypuff (19:20): ok, see you in a few

***

Uraraka was working on a project when he arrived, sitting at her desk with a video call open on the ancient desktop computer.

She’d left the window open so he could get in without disturbing her, and angled the monitor away so that he couldn’t be seen climbing in.

He should probably thank her more often, considering how much bullshit he’d put her through in the last month. Or at least let her know he appreciated her friendship.

God that was fucking sappy. Kirishima and his “squad” were clearly a shitty influence.

Katsuki couldn’t really do much while Uraraka was working except lie still on her bed and dick around on his phone, which is what he ended up doing.

It wasn’t a great distraction, but it passed the time.

Eventually, Uraraka said her goodbyes and shut off the computer, turning to Katsuki with a look of resigned sympathy on her face.

“Is this a “talk about it” problem or a “leave me the fuck alone” problem?”

Katsuki sighed and dug the heels of his hands into his eyes.

“I don’t fucking know,” he finally answered. “I just needed to not be in that fucking house for a while.”

Uraraka hummed sympathetically.

“You know, I’m planning on moving out next year,” she said. “I’ve been looking at places near the schools I want to apply to. A few of them have good medical programs. Just. If you wanted to get out of the house more permanently.”

Katsuki had definitely considered that. Moving out as soon as he fucking could. But it wasn’t cheap, especially if he was going to university at the same time. Doable, if he lived with someone else, but he hadn’t thought he’d be able to find a tolerable roommate.

“We haven’t even started applying yet,” he said, instead of answering.

“I know, I know, and I’m definitely not going to force you. I just thought I’d put it out there.” She paused, and shot him a wry smile. “You know, since you basically live with me already.”

It wasn’t a cure-all, obviously. He still had to go back to his house eventually, and deal with Kirishima and the wedding. Hell, this wasn’t even a concrete plan, just a vague possibility, but it was something, and it made the tension he’d been holding in his shoulders since noon relax, just a little.

“I’ll think about it.”

***

There was a routine to spending the night at Uraraka’s. She never told her parents he was there, and whenever he hadn’t eaten she snuck food that wouldn’t be missed up, rather than just having him eat with them. Only one of them ever showered, and she’d started keeping a futon under her bed in their first year of middle school so she didn’t have to sneak it out of the hallway closet.

Katsuki was pretty sure her parents knew he was there anyway, but since they never said anything, they kept the pretense up.

By nine o’clock, Katsuki had the futon set up, and by nine thirty, he was out cold.

He didn’t sleep very well. He rarely did, when he stayed at Uraraka’s, and even though he knew to expect it, he was still miserable when Uraraka shook him awake the next morning.

“I’ll meet you outside,” she said, like that wasn’t what they did every single time.

She was gone before he could snark at her, though.

Fucking morning people.

Katsuki had a backup uniform hidden in her closet. Since he didn’t stay over on school nights very often it hadn’t been replaced in a while, so the shirt was too small, but it was still better than going to school in regular clothes, not to mention regular clothes that he’d slept in.

His bag being at his house was more problematic, but there was no way in hell he was going back there until at least that afternoon, so he’d figure something out.

Once he was dressed he went out the window and down the tree, then loitered by the trunk until Uraraka came out of the building’s front entrance.

“We need to replace that uniform,” she said, digging a granola bad and an apple out of her bag and handing them to him.

“It’s not that bad.”

“You’ve grown a lot since last year, Bakugou. You look like you’re about to pop a button.”

They sniped back and forth during the rest of the walk to school, which had the benefit of waking Katsuki up and making the half-hour walk a lot less tedious.

Once they got to Katsuki’s locker they parted ways, and Katsuki got five whole seconds of peace before he was accosted by Kaminari.

“Hey man! We’re eating outside today, just wanted to make sure you knew.”

“Why the fuck did you come all the way over here to tell me that?” Katsuki demanded.

“Well,” Kaminari drawled, “since you refuse to give anyone your phone number, we have to resort to analog communication.”

“Kirishima has my number.”

Kaminari snorted. “I’m not going to use your boyfriend as a relay service when I can just walk down the hall to talk to you, dude.” He tapped Katsuki on the forehead. “Under the willow tree by the picnic tables, twelve sharp. Be there or face Mina’s wrath.”

“Don’t you have your own fucking wrath?” Katsuki asked, batting his hand away.

Kaminari shrugged. “Yeah, but Mina’s is scarier. See ya!”

And with that, he was gone.

Katsuki briefly considered what the likelihood that he could move all his locker’s contents into his desk so people couldn’t ambush him there anymore was.

Given how full it was, probably not high.

Might be worth a shot, though.

***

Class was fucking tedious.

Trying to get through his work while half asleep was already a pain in the ass, but doing it without any of his usual materials made it infinitely worse.

By the time lunch rolled around, he was so desperate to not be in his classroom anymore that he made it halfway to the cafeteria before he remembered Kaminari’s instructions from that morning.

Part of him wanted to not go out of spite, but he’d gotten used to eating with Kirishima and the Stooges, enough that he could barely remember what eating on his own was like. Which was going to make the rest of the year weird, but whatever. He’d gotten used to eating with them, he could get used to eating without them.

Not yet, though.

Given the spectacular vagueness of Kaminari’s directions and the size of U.A’s campus, it took Katsuki a while to actually find the damn tree, and by the time he did, everyone else had beaten him there.

Sero spotted him first and waved him over, which got the attention of the rest of the group, who cheered when they saw him approaching. Ashido even wolf-whistled.

“Lookin’ good, Bakugou!” she said. “Finally decided to show off your pecs?”

He flipped her off, which only served to make her laugh, and made sure to kick Kamiari before sitting down next to Kirishima, who was staring resolutely at the ground. The back of his neck was red, and Katsuki was fully prepared to lecture him about sun safety, when Kaminari's voice pulled his attention away.

“What was that for?” he whined, rubbing at his arm and pouting at Katsuki.

“Learn to give better directions.”

“Hey, I give fine directions!”

“You absolutely do not,” Sero interjected, and the two started bickering, which kept Katsuki entertained until Kirishima nudged his shoulder and handed him something.

It was a tupperware, full of what looked like stir fry.

“Uraraka texted me,” he explained, “and we had some leftovers, so…” he trailed off.

Katsuki stared at the container for a long moment, then grunted out a short “Thanks” and started eating.

He wanted to be mad at Uraraka for telling Kirishima that something had happened, but he didn’t actually know how much she’d told him. For all he knew, she’d just said that he forgot to bring a lunch.

Whatever. He could be mad at her later. For now, he was just glad he got to eat.

The stir fry was good, but Yuka’s cooking had yet to disappoint him, so he wasn’t surprised. He finished it fairly quickly, then passed the container back to Kirishima and lay down, with the vague idea that he should try and take a nap so that he would actually absorb something during afternoon classes.

Instead he just ended up staring at Kirishima, since his head was right by Kirishima’s legs.

He really did smile a lot, especially when he was talking to his friends.

“You okay down there?” he asked after a bit, leaning over Katsuki with an amused look on his face, still smiling.

“You have a scar on your eyebrow,” Katsuki said, instead of responding to the question like a normal person. He hadn’t noticed it before, but it was obvious now, and he reached up to grab Kirishima’s face so he could turn it and get a better look.

Kirishima laughed awkwardly, but submitted to the manhandling without any complaint.

“Yeah. I fell out of my bed when I was a kid and hit it on the corner of my bedside table.”

“Idiot,” Katsuki said, too tired to try and fight the fondness out of his tone. It didn’t matter anyway, there were people around. He could play it off.

“Shut up.”

“Oh, stop acting grumpy about it,” Ashido said, barely looking up from Sero’s hair, which she’d started braiding while Katsuki wasn't paying attention. “You wouldn’t let us pierce over it.”

“Hey! We all voted left!” Kirishima protested.

“Some more vocally than others,” Kaminari said, giving Kirishima an accusatory look.

Katsuki jabbed Kirishima in the arm to get his attention.

“What the fuck are they talking about?”

“We decided to get matching piercings in first year,” Ashido explained. “The only one we could get Hanta to agree to was an eyebrow, because he’s boring.”

“I don’t like needles!” Sero said defensively.

Kaminari raised his eyebrows, clearly unconvinced. “The multiple tattoos say otherwise.”

“It’s different,” Sero insisted, trying to turn his head so he could fight Kaminari properly, but Ashido smacked him and told him to stop wriggling so she could work.

Kaminari then made it his mission to try and annoy Sero into moving again, which was entertaining until Ashido caught on and smacked him.

Katsuki realized with a slight pang that he was going to miss this, miss them. All of them, not just Kirishima.

“You falling asleep on us?”

Speak of the devil.

“Trying to, but you fuckers are loud.”

“Hang on,” Kirishima said, shifting around so Katsuki’s head was in his lap, and Katsuki didn’t know what the fuck Kirishima’s plan was but he was a lot less relaxed than he’d been a second ago.

And then Kirishima’s fingers were running through his hair, and that was somehow even worse but like hell Katsuki was going to admit that because it was also, so, so nice, and this was a lot for 12:20 in the afternoon on very little sleep.

“Toshi used to get night terrors,” Kirishima said softly. “I remember this helped get her to sleep after.”

Katsuki grunted, rather than responding properly, because he didn’t trust himself not to say something embarrassing, and closed his eyes.

“Oh, gross,” Kaminari said, but Ashido quickly shushed him.

Katsuki decided she was his favourite. After Kirishima.

He drifted off quickly after that.

Chapter Text

After school, Kirishima was waiting at Katsuki’s locker.

“What are you doing here?” Katsuki asked. He hadn’t consciously made a plan to avoid Kirishima after the whole fiasco at lunch, but he definitely hadn’t been planning on seeing him again until the next day.

“Uh, giving you a ride to my house? For tutoring?” Kirishima said uncertainly.

“I tutor you on Tuesdays and Fridays.”

“It’s Tuesday.”

Katsuki, against his will and better judgement, started laughing.

“Holy shit,” he said through increasingly desperate peals of laughter, “it’s only fucking Tuesday.”

When he recovered enough to straighten up and face Kirishima again, he was giving Katsuki a concerned look.

“Are you okay to do tutoring? You’ve been kind of weird today.”

“I’m fine, asshole,” Katsuki replied, ignoring the small bolt of panic the observation sent down his spine. He’d gotten off fairly easy on Monday, since he’d barely had to see Kirishima, but he’d have to be more careful around him if he was starting to pick up on some of Katsuki’s slips.

He opened his locker, then realized he didn’t actually have anything to get out of it, since his bag was still at home, and shut it again.

“Dude, where’s your bag?”

“None of your business,” Katsuki snapped reflexively. It wasn’t really fair, since he’d have questions is someone showed up to school with no bag two days in a row, but he didn’t want Kirishima knowing any more than the absolute bare minimum about how yesterday had gone. Damn self-sacrificial asshole would probably blame himself.

“I mean, it kinda is if you don’t have any of your notes with you,” Kirishima said, tone light.

“You have your own notes.”

“And you spent all of last time criticizing them.”

Katsuki raised his eyebrows at him. “Which means they’ll be better this time, or you’ve been wasting my fucking time.”

“Alright, point,” Kirishima said, grinning. “Are you staying for dinner again?”

Katsuki should probably say no. The longer he avoided going home, the worse it was going to be when he inevitably did, and even if that wasn’t the case, getting too comfortable at Kirishima’s was the last thing he needed right now.

“If your moms don’t mind,” he said instead, because he was, apparently, a fucking idiot.

“They won’t,” Kirishima said. “I mean, when it’s not you it’s Hanta or Mina or Denki, so Yuka basically always makes a fifth portion anyway.”

It stung, being put on the same level as the rest of Kirishima’s friends, even though really, Katsuki should’ve been happy. He and Kirishima had only known each other a month, and the rest of them had been friends for all of high school, at least.

But it was a reminder that whatever Katsuki felt now, to Kirishima he was the friend he was pretending to date, nothing else. Which, all things considered, was probably a good thing to drill into his brain, but Katsuki was only human.

Katsuki managed to say something snarky about Kirishima’s excessive friendliness, and his awkward angst pause was quickly forgotten.

They kept chatting during the drive, and Katsuki realized that somehow, despite only having been there twice, he had the way to Kirishima’s house memorized.

Yuka greeted them from her seat on the living room couch once they got inside, and Kirishima told her that Katsuki was staying for dinner.

When they got to Kirishima’s room, he started digging through his bag for his stuff, and Katsuki, since he didn’t have anything else to do, ended up looking around.

The room was, unsurprisingly, exactly the same as it had been last time he was here, with the exception of the book lying open and facedown on Kirishima’s bed.

Katsuki felt it said a lot about how dire the crush situation was that the fact that Kirishima was apparently a book spine ruiner didn’t make Katsuki like him any less.

“Got to book two?” Katsuki asked, nodding at the poor, abused copy of The Shield of Shadows.

“Yeah,” Kirishima replied with a short, sheepish laugh. “I’m nearly done, actually. I had trouble falling asleep last night.”

The comment made a cold knot of guilt settle in Katsuki’s stomach, but he tried not to show it.

“What do you think?”

“I mean, Aiden’s my favourite of the main trio, so I’m glad to see more of him,” Kirishima replied.

Katsuki’s disdain must have shown on his face, because Kirishima continued, defensive.

“He’s fun! And it’s not like I don’t like the girls, he’s just the one I like best.”

Katsuki let the silence linger just long enough for Kirishima to start shifting uncomfortably, then said:

“Next time you can’t sleep, work on your math instead of disappointing me. ”

“Thinking my math homework is going to be less disappointing than my Winter opinions is a pretty bold assumption,” Kirishima said, and Kastuki flicked him with his pencil.

“Your math’s improving, shithead. I can’t guarantee that your taste will.”

That got a smile, a big, genuine grin that made Kirishima’s eyes scrunch.

Katsuki flicked him again. “Get to work.”

***

When Kirishima dropped Katsuki off at home later that evening, Katsuki considered, for longer than he cared to admit, just waiting until Kirishima left and then walking back to Uraraka’s.

He didn’t go through with it, if only because he really wanted to go to school with his bag at least once this week.

He wasn’t immediately ambushed upon entry, so he assumed his mother wasn’t home. The door had been unlocked, so his dad probably was, but he had the good sense to leave Katsuki the fuck alone most of the time.

Katsuki went up to his room right away, and changed into pyjamas, even though it was barely seven o’clock. He also pulled on Kirishima’s sweater. Partially out of spite, for when his mother eventually came home, and partially because it was big and comfortable and smelled like Kirishima.

He hadn’t been present enough in class to know if he had homework or not, which was definitely going to bite him in the ass soon, but it wasn’t like there was much he could do about it. The only other students at U.A he had contact info for were Uraraka and Kirishima, neither of whom were in his class.

Instead of doing homework, he made a list of things he had to get done before Saturday.

It was only two bullet points long, which didn’t seem like enough, but most of the things his stupid, awful plan required him to do happened on Saturday, or after it, and he’d made that list already.

While Katsuki was still glaring fiercely at the two lines of text on the piece of looseleaf in front of him, there was a soft knock at the door.

“Yeah?”

His father opened the door and stepped into the room, giving Katsuki a tight smile.

“I wanted to talk to you a bit. About yesterday.”

Katsuki shut his eyes, took a deep breath.

It was better than having to talk to his mom, and there was a chance, however slim, that if he did this, he could avoid discussing this with her entirely.

“Fine,” Katsuki said, swivelling his desk chair so he was facing his father. “Talk.”

His father shut the door, but stayed where he was, leaning awkwardly against the frame. “I don’t think your mother was fair to Kirishima, yesterday. He seemed like a nice boy. The piercings are… a choice, but I liked him.”

“You couldn’t have said so while he was here? Or when mom exploded at me?” Katsuki crossed his arms, digging the nails of his left hand into his bicep so he wouldn’t be tempted to so something stupid.

His father hesitated. “You know how your mother gets when she makes up her mind. She decided as soon as she got that phone call yesterday that she wasn’t going to like him.”

Katsuki snorted. “She decided as soon as she found out he was a boy.”

“Probably,” his father said with a sigh. “But she’s under a lot of pressure from her mother, and if there was ever a woman set in her ways…” he trailed off. “Well, you knew that already.”

“That doesn’t mean she gets to treat someone like shit. Especially not someone I care about,” Katsuki snapped.

“No, it doesn’t. Just… try and think about this from her perspective. Kirishima isn’t exactly what she expected, and-”

Katsuki had heard enough.

“Get out,” he said.

His father, to his credit, stopped talking immediately, and only lingered for a second before leaving the room.

Katsuki waited for until the door shut behind him, then turned back to his desk, and added a third bullet point to his list.

***

When Katsuki got to lunch the next day, he dropped down beside Kirishima and said, without preamble:

“Where do you guys do your piercings?”

Cellophane, in the old mall by the train station,” Kaminari answered, seemingly unfazed by the lack of context. “Hanta works there, so we use his employee discount.”

Katsuki turned to Sero. “They let you do piercings?”

He shook his head. “Nah, and I wouldn’t want to. Only thing worse than getting a needle is giving one.” He shuddered. “Right now I mostly run the register, but once I get certified I have a job as a tattoo artist.”

“So if I wanted to get a piercing-” Katsuki was cut off when Kirishima started loudly choking on his lunch.

Katsuki hit him on the back a few times until he stopped coughing and waved Katsuki off.

“I’m good, I’m good,” Kirishima insisted, even though he was still pretty red.

“Chew your fucking food,” Katsuki admonished, clipping him lightly on the back of the head.

“Not sure that was the problem,” Kaminari said, and Sero started snickering.

Kirishima nudged him with his foot and hissed out a “Shut up!”

“You can be thirsty for your own boyfriend, Ei,” Ashido said, and Katsuki mentally revoked her status as his second favourite.

“Is anyone going to answer my fucking question?” he demanded, trying to derail the conversation before it got too out of hand.

“I don’t think you got to finish it,” Sero pointed out.

“Would Cellophane be a good place to get a piercing?”

“Hell yeah!” Ashido said excitedly. “We can take you tomorrow after school.”

“I didn’t ask you to fucking escort me-”

“Too late!” Kaminari interrupted. “Eiji’s driving!”

“Eiji’s working,” Kirishima said apologetically. “I’ll be with you in spirit.”

“Fine. Bakugou, bring your train pass.”

“I never agreed to this!”

Kirishima patted him on the shoulder. “Too late now, dude.”

“They’re relentless,” Sero agreed, nodding sympathetically.

Despite Katsuki’s continued insistence that they weren’t fucking coming, by the end of lunch, plans had been finalized to get him, Sero, Kaminari and Ashido to Cellophane Tattoos & Piercings after school the next day. Katsuki was loath to admit it, but he was kind of glad he wasn’t going alone, if only because between them this group had basically every facial piercing there was, and if he was going to get through this without getting ripped off or losing a facial feature to infection, they were good allies.

***

“I’m so excited!” Ashido said as they were boarding the train the next day, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “We haven’t had a first time since Hanta in first year.”

Sero wrinkled his nose at her. “Don’t phrase it like that.”

“Hey, you’re the one who went there!”

“So, what are you thinking about getting?” Kaminari asked, ignoring the continued bickering between the other two.

Katsuki shrugged. “I don’t really care, I just want something noticeable.”

“I mean, that’s basically every piercing,” Sero said, having apparently abandonned his argument with Ashido.

Ashido snapped her fingers and pointed at him, somehow still bouncing, even now that she was seated. “Ooooh, you should do the squad eyebrow piercing!”

For half a second, Katsuki was tempted. An eyebrow piercing would definitely earn the desired apoplectic fit of rage, but…

But next week, this was all over, and it would just be a reminder of everything he couldn’t fucking have anymore, even more so than any other piercing.

Of course, he couldn’t say that, so he played it off.

“Not a fucking chance. I’m not matching with any of you assholes.”

Sero took in stride, and hummed thoughtfully. “Well, you’ve never gotten anything pierced before, right?”

“Nope.”

“You should probably start with your earlobes, then. Fast healing time, and a pretty chill place to start,” Kaminari suggested.

“Even Sero “No needles” Hanta got his done.” Ashido turned Sero’s head toward Katsuki and tapped the ear closest to him for emphasis.

Sero did, in fact, have his lobes done. He also had a piercing higher up his ear, a bar through both sides that cut across the shell.

“What’s that one?” he asked, pointing at it.

“Industrial barbell,” Kaminari answered, gesturing at his similar one. “They take a long-ass time to heal, but they look pretty badass.”

“I’ll get that,” Katsuki said decisively.

“You sure? It might look kinda weird without your lobes done,” Ashido said.

Katsuki shrugged. “I’ll do all of them, then.”

“That might not be the best idea,” Sero said. “They’ll be sore for a while, especially if you aren’t used to it.”

“I’m doing it.”

Sero shrugged and backed off. “Your ears.”

“And your wallet,” Kaminari said, shuddering sympathetically. “That’s gonna be, like, 8000¥.”

That was almost enough to make Katsuki reconsider. He probably should’ve expected this to be expensive, but he’d decided to do this on a whim two days ago, so he hadn’t really had much by way of expectations.

“Not like I’m doing anything else with my money,” he said instead.

They lapsed into a brief silence after that, until Ashido said that they’d reached their stop and they all got off the train.

Katsuki was content to let himself be herded along, since they all actually knew where they were going, up until Kaminari came to an abrupt halt in front of a storefront, and Katsuki nearly crashed into him.

It wasn’t Cellophane, or even a tattoo parlour. In fact, it looked like a record store.

“Not this again,” Sero groaned.

“Hey, come on!” Kaminari protested. “He’s on shift, and it’s not like Bakugou really needs all of us here-”

Katsuki was inclined to agree, except that he didn’t know what the fuck was going on. Before he could ask, though, Ashido was rolling her eyes and grabbing Kaminari by the arm, seemingly fully prepared to drag him away from Present Mic’s by force.

“We’re here for moral support. You are not going to go ogle the record store guy.”

Kaminari spluttered indignantly. “I don’t ogle him!”

“You definitely ogle him,” Sero said tiredly, grabbing Kaminari’s other arm, and aiding in moving Kaminari along. Katsuki followed, unsure of what else to do.

Ashido sighed. “Look, Denki, we’ve all accepted that you have a thing for- Hang on. Bakugou, is there a word for people with purple hair? Like blonde or brunette?”

Katsuki took a second to long for the time when no one would’ve dared ask him such a stupid fucking question.

“No,” he said, when it became clear that Ashido wasn’t going to take his disgusted silence as the answer it clearly was.

“Thanks babe. Denki, you have a thing for purple people. He is purple people. And we’re here to accomplish something, so no getting sidetracked, ‘kay?”

“Fine.”

Sero released his hold to swing an arm across Kaminari’s shoulders. “We’ll go look at pretentious indie music with you this weekend so you can get some ogling in.”

That seemed to appease Kaminari, somehow, and before long, Katsuki was sitting in a plastic chair by the front counter of Cellophane, listening to Kaminari and Ashido chattering to each other about some show Katsuki didn’t watch while Sero was in the back talking to one of his coworkers.

Katsuki took out his phone to check the time.

It was a bit past four, and he had two texts from Kirishima.

Shitty Hair (4:01): ok so i kno ur at the mall w/ the squad so u don’t have 2 answer
Shitty Hair (4:01): but i just got 2 the kiss in book 3

Me (4:05): And?

Shitty Hair (4:05): u & toshi were right, it was stupid

Me (4:06): Damn fucking right it was.

Shitty Hair (4:06): o shit that reminds me
Shitty Hair (4:06): i think stella should be allowed to swear
Shitty Hair (4:06): like at least one solid f-bomb

You (4:07): Finally, one of your opinions on WtN that I agree with.

Shitty Hair (4:07): 1st of all
Shitty Hair (4:07): rude
Shitty Hair (4:08): 2nd of all
Shitty Hair (4:08): we JUST agreed the kiss was stupid!!!
Shitty Hair (4:08): so there!!

Me (4:09): Fine. One of two opinions I agree with.

Shitty Hair (4:09): ha gottem
Shitty Hair (4:09): also, when did the series come out
Shitty Hair (4:10): cuz there's defs a lot of stella/winter <3 tension & i wanna kno if i should get my hopes up or not

Me (4:11): 2003-2009

Shitty Hair (4:11): welp
Shitty Hair (4:11): (T__T)

Me (4:12): What's that supposed to mean?

Shitty Hair (4:12): there's never any lgbt+ rep in stuff that old

Me (4:12): Well as we all know, the gays were invented in 2011

Shitty Hair (4:13): FJALFHLSJDMS
Shitty Hair (4:13): BRO Y R U CHOOSINH NOW 2 START BEING FUNNY
Shitty Hair (4:13): I CANT LAUGH IM ON BREAK AND MY BOSS THINKS IM DOING HW

Me (4:14): So you lied about doing your homework to read, and then you kept lying about doing your homework to text me.

Shitty Hair (4:14):
Shitty Hair (4:14): well when u put it like THAT

Me (4:15): Go do your homework or I start sending spoilers.

Shitty Hair (4:15): OK DAMN IM GOING

Kirishima’s reaction to book six was going to be fucking priceless.

Katsuki put his phone away after that, just in time for Sero to emerge and wave him into one of the back rooms.

“What’s got you all smiley?” Ashido asked teasingly, bumping his hip with hers.

Katsuki shoved her back, and forced his face back into a neutral scowl.

It wasn’t hard, once he remembered that he wasn’t going to get Kirishima’s reaction to the other, infinitely superior kiss of the series, because there was no way he was going to get there by Saturday, and after that…

It was fine. He chose this.

Being distracted ended up being a good thing, because he barely noticed the piercings while they were happening, only a kind of dull ache after they were done.

Kaminari took pictures, and insisted that he send them to the squad groupchat, because they wanted Kirishima’s reaction permanently saved for posterity.

Katsuki didn’t stop them, even though he probably should have, and received a string of exclamation marks and barely comprehensible emojis in return. That, combined with the joy of crossing an item off his list, almost made the 8000¥ and monstrous screaming fit from his mother worth it.

***

On Friday morning, it was time for Katsuki to go through with one of the two points he’d been avoiding all week.

“Deku!” he called, and watched the nerd in question jump, startled out of his conversation with Four-Eyes.

Deku opened his mouth, probably to ask why Katsuki was talking to him. And while that was reasonable, because this certainly wasn’t standard fare for them, the last thing he wanted to was have this conversation in front of other people.

“Meet me in the hallway,” he said, turning on his heel and marching out the door. Now he just had to hope that Deku’s curiosity outweighed his self-preservation instincts. Based on what Katsuki knew, he didn’t have much to worry about.

Sure enough, not even a minute later, Deku was walking out of the classroom, shoulders squared and face determined. His injuries from the fight were healing pretty well, but the fading scratch on his cheek lent him a bit more grit than usual.

“What’s up, Kacchan?”

For a moment, Katsuki hesitated. He didn’t want to have this conversation, it was why he’d been putting it off since the idea had occured to him. But his options were this, or leave Kirishima without anyone to tutor him, and there was no way Katsuki was doing that to him.

So he told Deku everything. About his mom, his deal with Kirishima, and the fact that he’d been tutoring Kirishima for the past week or so, and he needed someone to take over.

“I have some questions,” Deku said when Katsuki stopped talking.

Katsuki had figured that would be the case.

“Fucking ask them, then.”

“Uh, why me? You don’t like me.”

“You’re smart,” Katsuki said, even though it pained him to. “And Uraraka told me you help her with work sometimes, so I know you know what you’re doing.”

Deku nodded, apparently accepting the answer. Katsuki thought, for a single, naive second, that he was done, home free.

“You do know that people can stay friends after they break up, right?” Deku asked, shattering any hope Katsuki had of a clean, quick escape.

“Yeah,” Kastuki replied uneasily. He had a feeling he knew where this was going.

“Why do you need me to take over, then? I mean, you were willing to start tutoring in the first place, and you got mad when he got hurt on Monday, so you obviously don’t hate him, and I know he and Uraraka get along so you wouldn’t have to pick one or the other, so - Oh.”

Deku’s eyes widened in realization, and Katsuki shut his eyes and clenched his jaw. Observant little shit.

“Have you-” Deku started, and Katsuki shook his head.

“No point.”

“But-”

“Don’t,” Katsuki said, injecting as much finality as he could into the word. “Just. Will you do it?”

“Yeah, I will.” Deku tore a piece of paper out of his notebook, and scribbled something on it. “My phone number.”

Katsuki took the scrap and shoved it in his pocket. “Thanks.”

Deku looked surprised, for a second, then beamed at Katsuki. Katsuki realized it was probably the first time he’d ever thanked Deku for anything.

Luckily, before either of them could say anything, the warning bell rang, and they both headed back into their class and went to their respective desks. Deku’s friends fussed over him upon his return, which, given how Katsuki had pulled him out of class, and the quality of their general interactions, wasn’t unreasonable. He still thought Half-and-Half’s extremely unsubtle injury scan was excessive.

Katsuki turned around to look at the front of the class, and pulled the list out of its place in his homework folder, and crossed out one of the two remaining items.

Chapter Text

Katsuki and Kirishima’s final tutoring session, which Kirishima, of course, didn’t know was their final tutoring session, didn’t actually involve a lot of studying. It mostly consisted of Kirishima badly masking his nerves while asking Katsuki questions about the wedding plans, with half-assed attempts at math thrown in whenever Kirishima thought he’d asked too many questions in a row.

It was, to put things mildly, exhausting, mostly because Katsuki didn’t want to think about the wedding until around three the next day, which was when they were supposed to get there. It seemed to help Kirishima, though, so Katsuki dealt with it, until they pulled up in front of Katsuki’s house.

“So I’ll see you tomorrow?” Kirishima asked.

“I should fucking hope so,” Katsuki grumbled, and Kirishima laughed, a nervous, forced sound that Katsuki instantly hated.

He understood why Kirishima was nervous. Monday had already been hard on him, and tomorrow was just going to be more of the same, but from Katsuki’s entire extended family.

“Right, right.” He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and part of Katsuki wanted to reach out and grab his hands so he’d stop. “You’re sure you want me to drive?”

“I sure as fuck don’t want to be stuck in a car with my parents. I know where the venue is, we’ll be fine.”

Kirishima huffed out a sigh, and his fingers stilled. Katsuki still wanted to hold his hands.

“Alright.”

“I expect you to look fucking obnoxious tomorrow,” Katsuki said, snagging his bag from the back seat and climbing out of the car before he did something he’d regret.

“I’ll do my best,” Kirishima laughed, a real laugh, one that didn’t make Katsuki feel like someone was dragging their nails down his spine.

Katsuki allowed himself a quick half-smile before slamming the door and making his way up to the house.

“Katsuki!” his mother yelled as soon as he opened the door to the house. “Are you ready for tomorrow?”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “Ready”. He had to wear a fucking suit a show up, it wasn’t exactly a goddamn challenge.

“Yeah!” he called back, kicking off his shoes and heading up to his room before his mother could bombard him with more inane questions.

As soon as he dropped his bag, however, he remembered that he did actually have something to do. Nothing that would really affect his mother, so she didn’t have to know about it, but still.

He had a final bullet point to cross off.

Katsuki found Kirishima’s hoodie fairly easily, buried in the tangle of covers and sheets on his bed, because he may or may not have been sleeping in it for the past few days.

As he collected laundry from around his room to make a load, then made his way to the laundry room, he was hit with an abrupt wave of deja vu, although luckily his dad wasn’t around this time. He stayed in the laundry room through the entire washing cycle, sitting on the floor and wishing he could go back to that point, before he liked Kirishima, or before he realized that he liked Kirishima. He’d take either, at that point.

Eventually, the washing machine made its annoying cheery ending chime, and Katsuki moved the load into the dryer.

It felt a little too pathetic to sit in the laundry room when he didn’t have the excuse of needing to move his clothes before they got mildewy, so he left the dryer to its work and went to bed.

If he didn’t fall asleep for another two hours, well. No one fucking knew but him.

***

At exactly 2pm the next afternoon, there was a knock on the door of the Bakugou household.

Katsuki, because he wasn’t a fucking idiot, had been lingering by the landing since 11, and made it to the door first.

When he opened the door, he was greeted by the sight of Kirishima, with his stupid hair spikes and bruised-up nose, wearing a goddamn suit.

Which, yes, was kind of a thing at weddings, and Katsuki should definitely have been more prepared for it, but as it stood he just kind of froze for a second, staring.

There was no way the suit was rented. It fit him perfectly, and his tie matched his hair, and when the actual fuck had this moron developed a fashion sense? This was ridiculous.

“Shit, did I spill something on it?” Kirishima asked, looking down at himself and of course, of course he would take Katsuki unabashedly staring at him as a sign that he’d fucked up somehow, because Katsuki had gone and fallen in love with a fucking moron. “I tried to be careful but I was really hungry-”

“You’re fucking fine,” Katsuki snapped, pulling Kirishima inside before he could embarrass himself further. “Where the hell did you get your suit?”

“Sayuri teaches at this really fancy private school, and one year she got accused of lying about having a family, so we all got dragged out to their annual fundraising gala,” Kirishima explained, which Katsuki had to admit, definitely wasn’t the answer he’d been expecting.

“It’s nice,” Katsuki’s mouth said, without consulting his brain first.

“Yours too!” Kirishima responded instantly, grinning.

Katsuki stared at him for a moment, not sure whether he should be relieved that he hadn’t been caught, or calling Kirishima an idiot.

He settled on a solid middle ground of “Thanks. My mom designed it.”

As if she’d been summoned, his mother appeared from deeper in the house, fighting with one of her earrings while she railed on Katsuki’s father for something.

“When did he get here?” she demanded, as soon as she set eyes on Kirishima.

“About three seconds ago, relax.”

She didn’t push it, which Katsuki felt spoke volumes about how on-edge she was. One of the few joys of family gatherings was watching his mother be just as miserable as him for a few hours.

“There’s a problem with Megumi’s dress, so we’re going now. If you and Kirishima aren’t there by three I’ll have your head, got it?”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “It’s a twenty minute drive and he’s already here. We aren’t going to shame the family.”

His mother finally got her earring in, and used her now-free hand to clock him on the back of the head.

“Scoot, brat. We need the door.”

Katsuki took Kirishima’s arm and pulled him into the living room until his parents were out of the house.

Kirishima looked like he wanted to say something, frowning and worrying his bottom lip between his teeth.

“Does she do that a lot?” Kirishima finally asked, right as Katsuki was about to snap and demand to know what had him thinking so damn hard.

“Do what?”

“Hit you,” Kirishima said, brow still furrowed.

“Shit, sometimes? It’s not like I fucking keep count,” Katsuki replied, shrugging. “I’m used to it.”

“That’s kinda worse, actually,” Kirishima said, then winced, like he hadn’t meant to voice that particular thought out loud.

Katsuki didn’t really have an answer to that, so he just pushed Kirishima toward the door with a mumbled “Let’s just go.”

Kirishima still seemed kind of unnerved about the whole situation, but he didn’t press it, and immediately handed over the aux cord when they got into the car, so Katsuki let the whole incident become horrifically awkward water under the bridge while he directed Kirishima out of the suburbs toward the wedding venue.

They didn’t talk much beyond Katsuki giving instructions, but it was fairly painless, and they managed to get to the pavilion where the reception was being held with minimal difficulty.

Parking was another matter entirely, because Katsuki’s entire extended family was here, and the lot was designed to hold a maximum of fifty cars.

“Dude,” Kirishima said, once they’d finally managed to snag a space almost a street away, “your family seriously does not fuck around when it comes to weddings.”

“It’s because they’re all petty as shit,” Katsuki snorted. “One second cousin twice removed doesn’t get an invite and no one hears the end of it.”

“So I know you said this is your cousin’s wedding, but are we talking an actual cousin or...?”

“Actual cousin. My mom’s sister’s daughter.”

Kirishima nodded, and looked like he wanted to ask another question, but before he could, they were accosted by a group of relatives whose names Katsuki couldn’t be assed to remember.

“We told you to bring a date, Katsuki, not a friend!” Probably-one-of-his-uncles said, clapping him hard on the shoulder.

Katsuki grit his teeth. They were starting early.

“He is my date,” he said, linking his pinky with Kirishima’s and lifting their joined hands for the group to see.

One of the women gasped, and the probably-uncle who’d touched his shoulder took a very unsubtle step back.

Kirishima gave a small wave with his free hand, and even though he was smiling, his discomfort was clear.

“Come on,” Katsuki said, pulling him along before the group could recover from their shock.

The family gossip chain was a powerful thing, and Katsuki had no doubt that by the time the ceremony started, the shock would be gone, and raw hostility would rise to take its place.

But that was a problem they’d get to later. For now, he and Kirishima found their seats for the ceremony (at the very back, with the rest of the “kids”, who ranged in age from six to twenty-three) in the field behind the pavilion, in direct fucking sunlight.

Even Katsuki, who ran cold at the best of times, was starting to sweat through his dress shirt. But even though there was no way Kirishima, a human heater in an all-black suit with a jacket wasn’t absolutely fucking miserable, he was well enough to make shitty comments.

“Dude, like, a solid half the people here look like weird clones of you,” Kirishima said, and Katsuki kicked him in the shin.

“Hey, you can’t get angry if it’s true!”

“I’ll be as angry as I damn well please,” Katsuki snarled, turning on his phone to check the time.

2:45. They had another fifteen minutes of waiting, minimum.

While he was trying to decide whether it was worth picking a fight with one of his relatives just so he could have something to do instead of sitting still and roasting, he heard a strident cry of “Katsuki what?!”

Nagai Hibika, 5”0, 78 years of age, and the bane of Katsuki’s existence, burst into the center of the aisle and started scanning the chairs for him.

“Did your mom age thirty years in the past hour?” Kirishima whispered, and Katsuki had to bring a hand to his mouth to muffle his laughter.

Unfortunately, his grandmother had the hearing of a woman half her age, and as soon as a sound had left his mouth she rounded on him, marching over with the kind of enraged gleam in her eye that would’ve made lesser men weep.

As it was, Kirishima reached for Katsuki’s hand immediately, almost automatically, which was kind of a lot for Katsuki to deal with right then.

“On your feet!” his grandmother snapped, and Katsuki obeyed, rolling his eyes and pulling Kirishima up with him.

“I didn’t expect this from you, Katsuki,” she said, looking Kirishima up and down with a disapproving sneer. “You were always one of the smarter ones.”

“The heart wants what it wants,” Katsuki said dryly. Kirishima managed to turn his laugh into a cough, but Katsuki’s grandmother’s eyes narrowed at him anyway.

“Do you find disgracing my grandson funny?”

“No ma’am,” Kirishima replied, although he was still very clearly fighting back a smile.

Without warning, Katsuki’s grandmother lunged forward and grabbed Kirishima by the chin, prying his mouth open so she could get a better look at his teeth.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Katsuki demanded, stepping between the two and forcing his grandmother to let go.

“Who taught you language like that?”

“Your fucking daughter, hag!” Katsuki yelled. He normally tried to avoid pissing off his grandmother when he could, solely because it was liable to turn the whole family against him and lose him a sizable inheritance, but he was so beyond giving a shit at this point.

His grandmother’s look sharpened. “You’re defending him over family?”

“Every fucking chance I get,” Katsuki replied, and his grandmother pinched his cheek, vicious and remorseless.

“You won’t be given a chance to take that back, brat.”

“I don’t want one.”

“I think the ceremony’s starting,” Kirishima said, laying a hand on Katsuki’s shoulder and gently guiding him back to his seat.

His grandmother stalked off without so much as a word of parting.

It took Katsuki a few minutes to calm his breathing, at which point he noticed that the ceremony had not, in fact, started yet, beyond the music that had begun playing in the background.

“Did you lie to the hag?”

“No! This started playing while you two were arguing, I just didn’t realize how long it was.”

Katsuki snorted, and, in an uncharacteristic show of weakness, because the past few minutes had been draining as all hell, dropped some of his weight onto Kirishima.

“I’m not complaining, dipshit.”

Kirishima smiled down at him, and adjusted his position a bit so Katsuki didn’t have the arm rest digging into him.

They stayed in that position even when the ceremony itself started, because even if Megumi was one of his less annoying cousins, that still didn’t mean Katsuki cared about how she met her fiance.

Kirishima, on the other hand, apparently paid attention, because Katsuki caught him tearing up during their vows.

“Oh my god, seriously?” he hissed. “You don’t even know these people!”

“Shut up,” Kirishima retorted, but the words lacked bite, since he still looked like he was about to cry. “It’s still sweet.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes, then went back to completely ignoring the proceedings. He only realized he’d dozed off when Kirishima shook him awake.

“Rise and shine. We’ve got more homophobes to annoy.”

Katsuki moved just enough to plant a kiss on Kirishima’s jaw, the only part of him he could really reach, before pulling away to stretch properly.

“What was that for?” Kirishima said, hand clamped over the spot Katsuki had just kissed. He was blushing.

Katsuki raised an eyebrow at him. “We okayed cheek kissing.”

“This is different!” Kirishima hissed insistently.

“What happened to pissing off homophobes?”

Kirishima tried to argue the point during their walk to the pavilion, but he eventually gave up once they were faced with the gauntlet of Katsuki’s relatives.

They dealt with a lot of inappropriate questions and passive aggressive comments, until they encountered Katsuki’s little cousins, who mostly wanted to touch Kirishima’s hair and, once they’d determined that he was amenable, play hide and seek with him.

Katsuki let him be dragged off, since being harassed by the gremlin horde was probably significantly more fun than dealing with the adults, which was what Katsuki ended up doing.

It was almost freeing, since, now that he’d pissed off his grandmother, he could be as much of an asshole as he wanted with zero consequences. It did mean he had to physically fight off one of his aunts when food was served and she tried to prevent him from accessing the buffet table, but he managed to make off with food for both him and Kirishima, who found him shortly after.

He fell on his dinner like a starving man, and Katsuki let him. He’d been dealing with his cousins for years, he knew it was a full workout at the best of times.

While Kirishima was eating, Katsuki noticed his grandmother eyeing them from the other side of the room. The dance floor had been set up and active for well over an hour, so her glare was continuously interrupted by people moving across it, but that didn’t seem to deter her in the slightest.

Eventually, Kirishima looked up and noticed her as well. After a few seconds of deliberation, he set his jaw and put aside his plate, stepping in front of Katsuki so he was blocking his grandmother’s view.

“Let’s dance,” he said, a steely glint in his eye. He probably wanted to piss off the old bat as much as Katsuki did, after meeting her.

That hadn’t even occurred to Katsuki, (probably because he had some survival instincts, and they’d carefully blocked off any thought paths that ended with him slow-dancing with Kirishima) but now that the idea was out there, he had to admit it was a good one.

“You any good?”

“I mean, I can’t, like, waltz, but I probably won’t step on your feet if we just do the whole “stand and sway” thing,” Kirishima replied, smiling and scratching awkwardly at the back of his neck.

It would do. Katsuki took Kirishima by the elbow and pulled him onto the dance floor.

For a moment they just kind of stood there, not touching beyond Katsuki’s hand on Kirishima’s arm, unsure what else to do.

Katsuki eventually forced himself to loop his arms behind Kirishima’s neck (the bastard was taller than him, so it was the logical move, even though every ounce of self-preservation he had was screaming at him to do anything else), and Kirishima got the memo, taking a small step forward and placing his hands on Katsuki’s waist.

By the time they were done arranging themselves, they were nose to nose.

You could kiss him, a horrible, traitorous part of Katsuki’s brain said. He moved his face so it was buried in the juncture between Kirishima’s neck and shoulder, which still looked appropriately couply without making Katsuki want to scream. Or, well, made him want to scream less, because he could feel Kirishima’s pulse against his cheek and fucking smell him, and it was just. A lot.

“She’s pissed,” Kirishima said softly, after a few seconds, and Katsuki grinned.

Kirishima must’ve felt it, because his breathing hitched slightly.

Katsuki pulled back enough to look at Kirishima, and asked:

“Ticklish?”

“Yeah, a bit,” Kirishima said with a small laugh.

“Weak,” Katsuki responded, going back to his previous position while Kirishima cackled outright.

They kept up their bare-minimum dancing for a while longer, until someone suddenly knocked into Kirishima’s back, sending them both stumbling.

“Asshole!” Katsuki called after the fast-retreating and unidentifiable figure fleeing the scene. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Kirishima said, grimacing as he shrugges out of his jacket. “Spilled something on me though.”

Katsuki nodded toward the bathroom and they headed over together. It was a single stall, which was terrible design for a pavilion with a 600 person capacity, but the architect wasn’t there for Katsuki to yell at, so he just loitered against the wall while he waited for Kirishima to finish up.

He was contemplating taking out his phone, when he heard someone yelling his name.

“Kas’ki!”

Katsuki sighed. He hated being one of the “little cousins”, mostly because he still wasn’t old enough to drink, and most of his other relatives were, and did. Sometimes in excess, as was evidenced by the very drunk Megumi dragging her husband over to him.

“The fuck do you want?”

She flicked him in the forehead. “You’re not allowed to be mean to me at my wedding after you caused all that drama. ‘specially because I want to tell you a secret.”

Oh, fucking hell. Katsuki sighed deeply and ran a hand over his face.

“I don’t care about your secrets, Megumi.”

“You’re gonna like this one!” she said, sing-song, before leaning into his ear and drunkenly whispering:

“Hiro and I didn’t meet in class, we met at my college’s GSA. We’re both bi!”

She pulled away, giggling maniacally, and her husband took over supporting most of her weight.

“You can’t tell anyone until after Grandma Hibika kicks it, though. You might be okay giving up your inheritance, but I’m draining that crotchety bitch dry!”

Hiro tried to shush her, but she waved him off.

“It’s nice to know I’m not alone, though. And your boyfriend’s so sweet! He complimented my dress.”

“It’s your fucking wedding, Megumi. Everyone’s complimenting your dress.”

“Damn right they are!” she cried, spinning in place and nearly falling over again.

Hiro, once again, caught her. He shot Katsuki an apologetic smile and a subtle thumbs up, then led his wife away, hopefully to get some water in her before she threw up all over her dress. Katsuki’s mother had designed it, and he’d never hear the end of it if it ended up ruined.

Kirishima emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later, still holding his suit jacket.

“Let’s go home,” Katsuki said.

“Won’t your mom be pissed? It’s only, like, eight o’clock.”

Katsuki shrugged. “She’ll be pissed no matter what, and I did what I came to do. I’m done.”

“Fair enough,” Kirishima said, swinging his jacket over his arm and offering the other to Katsuki like some kind of regency gentleman.

Katsuki accepted it with a sigh and a shake of his head, and they snuck out the nearest door and ran all the way to the car.

Twenty minutes later, they were pulling into Katsuki’s driveway, and Katsuki had finally realized the unfortunate consequence of leaving the wedding earlier than planned, which was having to have his talk with Kirishima earlier.

Kirishima insisted on walking him to the door, which was, all things considered, probably for the best. Katsuki was still kind of giddy from the run and from the act of getting away, and the slight chill of the evening air brought him back down to the level of sobriety he needed for this conversation.

When they got to the door, they stood facing each other for a moment, then both started talking at the same time.

“Bakugou, I-”

“I need to-”

Kirishima laughed and gave Katsuki a small, genuine smile. “You first.”

This was the best way, Katsuki told himself. How his family had acted tonight, and how his mom had acted on Monday, none of that was ever going to go away. And even though Kirishima had put on his stupid brave face and powered through both times, Katsuki couldn’t ask him to do that forever.

He had to make a clean break, for both their sakes. Cut Kirishima out of his life completely before he did something stupid, like ask him to stay, for real this time.

“I’ll be back in a second,” Katsuki said. “I need to grab something inside.”

Kirishima looked confused, but he nodded and let Katsuki leave anyway.

When Katsuki made it through the front door, the sweater was exactly where he’d left it, folded up on the kitchen counter with the piece of paper on top of it. He grabbed both before going back outside and shoving them at Kirishima.

“What’s this?” Kirishima asked, frowning at the bundle in his hands, before picking the piece of paper off the hoodie and unfolding it.

“Deku’s phone number.”

Kirishima let out a short laugh. “Midoriya? I thought you hated him.”

“Well, I do, but even I can admit he’s a smart little shit. And he’d probably be a good tutor.”

Katsuki watched as Kirishima’s expression went from confused to hurt as he realized what Katsuki was saying.

“Oh,” he said, shoving the paper into his pocket and quickly looking away. “Yeah… yeah, okay, I’ll just…” he gestured over his shoulder at his car and started to back away. He was blinking hard. “Um. See you- nevermind. Bye.”

He turned around and rushed off, after that.

Katsuki hunched his shoulders and stared at his shoes until he heard Kirishima’s car leave the driveway.

He tried very hard to pretend he didn’t feel the tears rolling down his cheeks.

Chapter Text

Katsuki was woken up by the sound of his phone ringing. He couldn’t remember falling asleep, but he knew it must have happened fairly soon after Kirishima left, because he was still in his suit.

Fantastic. Something to add to the list of things his mother was going to kill him for.

He accepted the call without really thinking about it, since the only person who would logically be calling him was Uraraka, given that his parents were both presumably in the house, and the only other person who had his number was Kirishima, and, well. It was definitely Uraraka.

What the fuck did you do?” Uraraka’s voice shrieked into his ear.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that either Deku or Kirishima had spoken to her at some point while Katsuki was asleep.

“I took care of the fucking problem,” Katsuki snapped.

Basically telling him that you never want to speak to him again with no explanation isn’t “taking care” of anything, asshole!

“What the hell was I supposed to do, huh?” Katsuki demanded.

TELL HIM THE TRUTH!

Katsuki laughed, a bitter, humourless thing. “The outcome’s the same. I tell him I like him, we never speak to each other again. I get rid of him on my own terms, we never speak to each other again.”

Uraraka made a frustrated growling noise. “Do you honestly think Kirishima would stop talking to you because of this?”

“Let’s say he doesn’t. Now he knows I like him, we’re still publicly broken up, and it’s uncomfortable as all hell for everyone involved. That’s not any fucking better!”

There was a long pause, then Uraraka spoke again, more gently.

And if he likes you back?

“Then he has to deal with my family. No one wins, Uraraka. This is the best solution I could come up with.”

I’m sure that’s what you think,” Uraraka replied coolly, “but I happen to know someone who disagrees, someone who maybe should’ve gotten a say in your whole scheme.

Katsuki felt his stomach drop. Well, that at least told him who’d contacted her.

He’d known that this would happen, though. He’d known that this would upset Kirishima, because he was a good person who fucking cared about people, and he and Katsuki were friends. Had been friends.

“He’ll get it eventually,” Katsuki said, then hung up before Uraraka had a chance to respond.

She immediately called him back, but Katsuki just put his phone on silent, then, for good measure, stuck it under his bed.

Fuck absolutely fucking everything.

***

The rest of the day was a complete nightmare.

His mother, as predicted, took out her frustrations with dealing with her family on Katsuki by screaming him within an inch of his life.

Katsuki didn’t even remember most of what she said, just sort of sat there numbly taking it until she gave up and banished him to his room.

He stayed there for the rest of the day, restless and bored out of his mind, because he couldn’t fucking do anything without it reminding him of Kirishima. His phone was out of the question because Uraraka was persistent as hell, so there was no way it would be safe to look at until the next day, minimum. Books weren’t an option, and neither were any articles he could dredge up, because anything he was remotely interested in would be science-related, which would make him think about his future medical career, and that, in turn, led him back to fucking Kirishima again. He couldn’t even do fucking math.

Which left lying on his bed feeling sorry for himself, all while still thinking about Kirishima.

Katsuki managed that for about an hour before he snapped, and decided to get a head start on memorizing English vocab words, because that was tedious and awful and still kind of reminded him of Kirishima, but at least it was fucking something.

By the time he’d driven himself to exhaustion, he was prepared for every vocab test from then until fucking December, and he still didn’t feel any better.

He fell asleep quickly, filled with grim certainty that if today had been bad, then tomorrow was going to be infinitely worse.

***

School was, as predicted, bad.

Deku kept looking at him like he was simultaneously trying to puzzle him out and figure out how to talk to him, and Uraraka must have talked to the rest of them at some point, because Katsuki was fairly certain Asui and Half-and-Half were glaring at him. Even Four-Eyes seemed put off by him.

Not that Katsuki cared. He kept his head down during breaks, workbook out and “Leave me the fuck alone or else” aura cranked up to eleven.

It worked, and at lunch, everyone cleared out without so much as a second glance at him.

Eating alone was weird now. His classroom felt too empty without Kirishima sitting beside him and Sero, Kaminari and Ashido all yelling and laughing and talking over each other.

I’ll get used to it, he told himself firmly, chewing with a determination that bordered on aggression as he stared at the wall in front of him. He wasn’t even fully certain what he was eating.

When Katsuki had finished his lunch (he still didn’t know what it had been, and he probably never would), the door to his classroom slammed open, and Ashido marched in, eyes blazing.

Katsuki should probably have expected this, given Ashido’s threats way back when all this had started, but somehow, he’d been naive enough to believe that no one would care enough to track him down.

“What do you want?” he snapped, before she had the chance to say anything.

“An explanation,” she replied, continuing her warpath until she was standing in front of Katsuki’s desk, directly in his line of sight. “And before you say that Kirishima can give me one, he did, and I don’t believe him.”

“We broke up because he didn’t want to deal with my family anymore,” Katsuki said, addressing the top of his desk more than Ashido. It came out sounding flat. Numb.

“Bullshit,” Ashido snapped, instantly and with so much certainty that Katsuki looked up at her involuntarily. “He would never have broken up with you because of something like that. I don’t know what actually happened, and I don’t know why you’re both lying about it, but I will find out, and when I do, it’s not going to be fucking pretty.”

She practically spat out the last part, and Katsuki felt another piece of the resolve he’d built up, the constant refrain of “this is for the best” in his head, chip away.

“How are you so fucking certain?”

Ashido laughed, a harsh mocking sound that made Katsuki’s jaw clench. “God, do you even fucking know him? He doesn’t give up on people, especially not because of things they can’t control!”

“That’s the fucking problem!” Katsuki exploded, slamming his hands down on his desk. “He doesn’t- he just keeps going, even though it’s hurting him and I can’t-” his voice cut out on him, and he had to take a deep breath before continuing, more quietly, “I can’t have that on my conscience.”

Ashido seemed to understand, then, what had actually happened, at least as much as she could understand. She didn’t look any happier, but she didn’t look angry anymore, just frustrated.

“Wow,” she said. “You’re a fucking idiot.”

Katsuki just glared at her.

“You know what? I’m not solving this for you. Talk to him.”

“I’ll get right on that,” Katsuki said, rolling his eyes.

“I’m serious, Bakugou,” she said. “I can’t force you to do anything, but I can tell you that whatever you think you’re doing, protecting him or sparing his feelings or whatever, it isn’t working.”

“Get out.”

She did.

Katsuki slumped forward onto his desk, head in his arms, and stayed there for the rest of the lunch period. When his classmates started to trickle back in, they knew better than to say anything.

***

Things didn’t exactly improve over the rest of the week, but they didn't get worse, either. At the very least, none of Kirishima’s other idiots tried talking to Katsuki, and, because they didn’t share any classes and he didn’t eat in the cafeteria anymore, he hadn’t seen Kirishima since Saturday. Which, again, wasn’t making anything better, but Katsuki knew having to see him every day would have been infinitely worse, so he’d take it.

Uraraka still wasn’t talking to him, which, he had come to admit, sucked ass. He had no intention of apologizing first, though, because he was fucking right, but he could still admit that he missed her.

This meant that by Friday, the only people he’d interacted with from Tuesday onward had been his parents, and the occasional unfortunate classmate when they had to do group work. Katsuki had never been particularly social, but even he had to admit that this was getting kind of extreme.

So after school let out for the day, when Deku came marching over to his locker with his jaw set and his eyes blazing with the kind of determination that rallied armies, Katsuki was almost (almost) glad.

“I’m giving you a ride home,” Deku said. The only hint that he was not the picture of confidence he was trying to project was a slight tremor in his voice.

Katsuki raised his eyebrows at him. “Since when do you have a license?”

“Since last year,” Deku replied.

Katsuki felt a small spark of anger at that, a resurgence of that weird competitiveness that had made him hate Deku when they were younger. He didn’t even fucking care about getting a license, and he’d been more than happy to let Kirishima-

“Fine,” Katsuki said, cutting off his own train of thought before it could get any further, “since when do you have a car?”

“I don’t. Shouto let me borrow his. Are you coming?”

There was no reason for Katsuki to say yes. He tolerated Deku, at best, and he had a feeling that this was just going to end up another conversation with someone trying to tell him that he’d made a mistake and that he needed to apologize to Kirishima.

“No.”

“We either talk here or we talk in the car. The car gets you home faster,” Deku said, seemingly unfazed by Katsuki’s refusal.

“Or I could just leave,” Katsuki retorted.

Deku shrugged. “You could. But I don’t think you will.”

Katsuki glared at him. Deku thought he fucking knew him? Katsuki could prove him wrong. He could prove him so fucking wrong. He could walk out of the school middle finger raised and never fucking speak to anyone again.

He could.

“You say one goddamn word about apologizing to Kirishima and I’m jumping out of the car.”

Deku rolled his eyes. “Noted.”

Katsuki followed him out of the school and into Half-and-Half’s obnoxiously fancy car. Neither of them spoke until they’d pulled out of the parking lot.

Deku drove very differently from Kirishima, laser focused on the road like he was liable to get jumped by a semi the second he blinked for too long.

Even though Katsuki had half-hoped it would keep him from speaking, that dream was quickly shattered.

“They expelled Monoma.”

“Really?” Katsuki asked, invested despite himself. He was glad that fucking scumbag had gotten what he deserved, after everything he’d done.

Deku nodded. “Class 1-B got an email about it. They’re notifying the rest of the grade tomorrow, but-”

“Everyone’s gonna know by then,” Katsuki finished. U.A gossip spread like wildfire.

“The school’s going to be a lot safer for Kirishima and his friends now,” Deku continued, and Katsuki felt what little calm he’d accumulated during the conversation drain out of him immediately.

“Good for them.”

For the first time in the drive, Deku glanced over at him.

“And for anyone like them.”

Katsuki sighed loudly. “People don’t stop being assholes after high school, Deku.”

Deku chewed thoughtfully on his lower lip, then let out a sad little sigh. “I know.”

The silence came back, after that.

Katsuki would later blame that weird, stilted moment of understanding for why he was too distracted to notice that they were definitely not in their neighbourhood until they were pulling into the driveway of Kirishima’s house.

“What the fuck are you doing?” he asked, once he’d figured out what was happening.

Deku calmly put the car into park.

I’m not doing anything. If you want to leave, we can. But…” he trailed off, considering his words, then squared his shoulders and continued on, “I don’t know Kirishima as well as you do, but he’s still my friend. And he’s miserable.”

Katsuki tried to speak, but Deku didn’t let him.

“I know I’m not the first person to tell you that, but it’s true, Kacchan. And I’m not going to pretend I know what the fuck is going through your head most of the time, but I don’t think you want to hurt him. So do whatever you think is right, and if you don’t want to talk to him, I’ll drive you home, and I’ll never mention it again.”

Katsuki’s initial response was to demand that Deku do exactly that, immediately, but as his words sank in, it made Katsuki pause.

He saw how much he’d hurt Kirishima on Saturday. But he’d thought… not that it wouldn’t matter, but that Kirishima, with his kind family and his ability to coax anyone into friendship, would be fine without Katsuki.

And maybe he would be, and maybe he would eventually see that Katsuki had done everything for his own good, but fucking shit, the thing he’d wanted most in the world since Saturday night was to talk to Kirishima again, and, damn it all, he was too fucking weak to turn it down, to never get to explain why.

He slammed his hands down on the dashboard, loud and sudden enough to make Deku jump, then undid his seatbelt and started climbing out of the car.

“Drop my bag at my place.”

“Got it,” Deku said, and he pulled out of the driveway as soon as Katsuki had vacated the car.

Worst came to worst, he could walk home.

***

Katsuki had never found Kirishima’s house intimidating. It was, objectively, a very friendly looking house, and he knew the people inside it matched the sunshiney exterior.

That didn’t stop him from standing in front of the door for nearly five minutes, fist raised to knock but not quite brave enough to go through with it.

“This is fucking stupid,” he finally growled, bringing his knuckles down against the wood in three loud, precise raps.

He heard footsteps almost immediately, and was abruptly seized by the fear that the person who answered wouldn’t be Kirishima, but instead one of his moms, or, even worse, Toshiko.

But, when the door opened, it was Kirishima standing behind it, gaping at Katsuki like he couldn’t quite believe he was real.

“Bakugou?”

“Who fucking else,” Katsuki grumbled.

Kirishima didn’t laugh, just pursed his lips and stepped outside, gently shutting the door behind him.

He was wearing only a tank top and cargo shorts, even though Katsuki knew his house was fucking freezing and the late afternoon sun wasn’t doing much to warm up the outdoors, either.

Katsuki was going to make this quick, for his sake.

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, unable to bring himself to meet Kirishima’s eyes. “I didn’t… I thought it would be better if we just. Stopped seeing each other.”

Kirishima barked out a short, bitter laugh.

“Seriously? After all the shit we went through together, I thought we were at least friends. I would’ve liked a fucking explanation, at least.”

“That’s what I’m here for,” Katsuki said.

Kirishima didn’t say anything, just made a slight “go on” gesture with his hand.

“I don’t think I can be your friend,” Katsuki blurted, mostly by accident.

Kirishima huffed out an incredulous laugh.

“Wow, okay.”

“Fuck, that isn’t- let me fucking finish, okay? I can’t be your friend, because I know what it’s like to be your boyfriend, almost. And I think the only reason no one picked up on my giant fuck-off crush on you was because they thought we were already dating, but I can’t date you, either. Because the way my family was at the wedding is how they’re going to be, literally fucking forever, and you deserve so much better than that.” Katsuki paused. “So I just thought-”

“No, no, I don’t think you did,” Kirishima interrupted. He looked angry, now, angrier than Katsuki had ever seen him. “Because if you had thought about it for more than five seconds, you would have realized how goddamn stupid your plan was.”

Katsuki had known this wasn’t going to be easy. He’d already had three different people lecture him about being an idiot, and he wasn’t expecting this to go any differently. He didn’t deserve easy, not after everything, but it still hurt like hell to have the full force of Kirishima’s wrath directed at him.

“I’m sorry,” he said again, more to his feet than Kirishima.

Kirishima seemed to deflate a bit, at that.

“You know after the wedding? When I let you talk first?”

Katsuki nodded, and Kirishima gave him a wry smile.

“I was trying to confess to you.”

Katsuki’s head whipped up so fast it nearly strained his neck, but he was too busy staring at Kirishima, wide-eyed, to care.

“Yeah. And there’s something really incomparably shitty about getting so thoroughly rejected that you think your crush doesn’t even want to be your fucking math tutor, much less your boyfriend,” Kirishima said, and yeah, now that Katsuki thought about it, that must have fucking sucked.

“You don’t get to decide what’s best for me,” Kirishima continued. “If your only reason for not being with me is your family, then you’re in luck, because I don’t give a shit! I want to deal with your evil grandma and your shitty relatives for the rest of forever, because that’s what it takes to be with you, and that’s my goddamn choice to make, not yours.”

Katsuki was still reeling from the revelation that Kirishima liked him back, but he managed to scrape together another “I’m sorry,” followed by:

“I can’t promise I won’t fuck up again, because that would be a stupid unkeepable promise, and I don’t make those. But if you want to try dating, for real, even after all this, then… I promise I’ll try to listen to you, next time.”

Because that was all he could really do, right? Promise to try.

Kirishima was quiet for a few long, long seconds.

“I’ll hold you to that.”

Katsuki blinked at him, barely daring to hope.

“So-”

Kirishima nodded. “Yeah. But our first real date better be fucking mind-blowing.

Katsuki felt an involuntary smile spreading across his face. “I can do that. I can definitely do that.”

“Good,” Kirishima said decisively. Then like he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to do it if he let himself hesitate, he leaned forward and kissed Katsuki.

It was quick and chaste, and Kirishima was pulling away almost before Katsuki could register what was happening. He made a truly embarrassing noise at the loss, which Kirishima, the bastard, seemed to be reveling in. Ah, well. He deserved it, after everything Katsuki had put him through.

“You’re staying for dinner,” Kirishima said, “because my family is up to date on everything now, and while I can’t guarantee that Sayuri’s going to kill you, I also can’t promise that she won’t, and it’s probably for the best that you explain yourself sooner rather than later.”

“Sure,” Katsuki said, still kinda dazed. “Are we gonna talk about what just happened?”

“After dinner.”

Katsuki started to protest, but Kirishima cut him off.

“You made me wait a week. You’ll survive an hour.”

All things considered, that was probably fair. God, the next week was going to involve so many fucking apologies. Even though Katsuki had brought that entirely upon himself, it was still going to suck.

His displeasure apparently showed on his face, because Kirishima laughed at him.

“Look alive, or Toshiko will get you before Sayuri even has a chance.”

That got another smile out of Katsuki, and he allowed himself to be dragged inside the house, secure in the knowledge that if he could apologize three times in the space of a single conversation without bursting into flames once, then he could do it again.

***
6 months later
***

“Why do you look like you’re going to throw up?” Katsuki asked from his spot in the passenger seat of Eijirou’s car. They weren’t driving anywhere, just parked in the U.A lot while Eijirou fidgeted nervously and Katsuki pretended he was patient, and not three seconds away from climbing onto Eijirou’s lap and shaking some fucking answers out of him.

“I got my letter,” Eijirou said, which was kind of an answer.

“And?” Katsuki prompted. He had no doubt Eijirou had been accepted. His math grades had fucking skyrocketed after Katsuki had started tutoring him, and since that and the entrance exam had been his only real concerns… Katsuki understood that it was a lot easier for him to believe in Eijirou than it was for Eijirou to believe in himself, but come on.

“I don’t know,” Eijirou admitted. “I stuck it in the glove compartment as soon as I got it and I haven’t opened it yet.”

Katsuki sighed, then opened the glove compartment and rooted around in it until he found the envelope, which he shoved into Eijirou’s chest, surprising him into grabbing it.

“Go on,” Katsuki said, and Eijirou gave him a slightly panicked look.

“Do you want me to hold your fucking hand?”

“I mean, kinda?”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “You can’t open it one-handed, dumbass. Just get it over with.”

Eijirou hesitated for another second, then took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and tore open the envelope.

Katsuki found himself tapping his foot in anticipation, which was ridiculous, because he had absolute faith in Eijirou and his abilities, but the idiot’s nerves were getting to him.

Eijirou bit his lip and held the paper out toward him, so Katsuki could read it.

“I got in!”

“FUCK YEAH YOU DID!” Katsuki exclaimed, lunging across the seat to pull Eijirou into a hug.

Eijirou squeezed him back tightly, shaking a bit in his arms.

Katsuki pulled back, eventually, and Eijirou was beaming, with tears streaking down his cheeks.

“Stop that,” Katsuki said, wiping at them with his thumbs. “I knew you’d get in, drama queen. They’d have to be idiots to turn you away.”

“I’m gonna be a paramedic,” Eijirou said, his grin still so wide that it made Katsuki’s cheeks hurt.

“Hell yeah you are,” Katsuki said, pulling him in for a kiss.

Eijirou went easily, and they stayed like that for a bit, moving together with practiced ease, until Eijirou suddenly broke away.

“Fuck,” he whispered. “They’re definitely going to make me change my hair colour.”

Katsuki shook his head. “Red counts as a “natural” hair colour, so it’s allowed. I checked when you applied.”

Eijirou gave him a look so full of genuine tenderness that Katsuki was embarrassed on his behalf.

“I love you so much.”

It was the first time either of them had said that out loud, even though Katsuki had been thinking it almost constantly for months.

“Sorry!” Eijirou said, scrambling off of Katsuki until he was as far away as the car allowed. “I didn’t mean to- well, okay, I meant it, but I didn’t mean to say it, that was-”

“Eijirou.”

“Yeah?” Eijirou said, cutting off his babbling and shooting Katsuki a nervous look.

“I love you too.”

Eijirou grinned at him, and this time he was the one to basically tackle Katsuki, heedless of the fact that he was now lying across the gear shift.

Katsuki didn’t care. If Eijirou wanted to strain his back trying to make out with him, that was his own goddamn problem, and Katsuki sure as hell wasn’t going to stop him.

He would likely have let him keep going indefinitely, actually, except when Eijirou moved his arm to try and get his hand into Katsuki’s hair, his uniform sleeve caught on Katsuki’s very new, still very sore, eyebrow piercing, and Katsuki shoved him off with a hiss of pain.

“Oh shit, I’m sorry!” Eijirou said, adjusting his position so he could turn Katsuki’s head a little bit and inspect the piercing for damage.

“I’m blaming Ashido,” Katsuki said darkly. She was the one who’d finally bullied him into getting it, after all.

“Feel free,” Eijirou laughed, pulling back completely after pressing a gentle kiss to Katsuki’s forehead. “You’re fine, by the way.”

Katsuki hadn’t thought he wouldn’t be, but he appreciated the assurance.

They settled back into their proper seats, mood effectively ruined, and Eijirou started up the car.

A few minutes into the drive to his place, he said:

“I think Denki and Shinsou still have us beat for worst piercing malfunction.”

“Yeah, no shit,” Katsuki said with a snort. “I don’t think anyone’s beating that.”

“That’s quitter talk,” Eijirou declared, glancing over at Katsuki and wiggling his eyebrows at him.

Katsuki flicked him on the arm. “I’m coming over to tutor you, dumbass, nothing else.”

“Come on,” Eijirou whined. “I got in, didn’t I?”

“On conditional acceptance. That means you have to keep your grades up.”

Eijirou pouted at him. “You’re so mean to me.”

“And you love me anyway,” Katsuki retorted, because he could do that, now.

“Yeah,” Eijirou said, with that same soft, sappy smile he’d had one earlier. “I do.”