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A Secret Admirer

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It happened on a Thursday which, if you think about it, is a really weird day of the week for something like this to just start happening. It was such a small thing too, almost not worth getting hung up about, but it was still… strange.

The class of 1-A filtered into homeroom groggily, it was only 7 o’clock in the morning. The first people to enter were Iida and Uraraka and Asui, followed closely by Midoriya, Todoroki, and then Bakugou and Kirishima. It was such a small disturbance in their early morning routine that, at first, nobody even noticed it. Too distracted by sleepy morning conversations and the rubbing of eyes as everyone tried to gear up for a long day of hero training.

Kirishima tried to encourage Bakugou into a conversation like he did every morning, but he knew it was pointless. Even though Bakugou was usually the first one on the boy’s side of the dorms to wake up in the morning, that didn’t mean he was bursting with social energy to talk to any of them. Still, Kirishima took consolation in the little grunts and nods Bakugou graced him with when they walked to class together, knowing if it were anyone else, they’d have already been told to fuck right off. It had become part of their routine and it made Kirishima feel special.

So when Bakugou broke free from the pack and sauntered over to his desk for a few minutes of peace and quiet before class started, no one really batted an eye. Until –

EH?” Bakugou’s shout was loud in the early morning buzz of half-awake conversations. Like his explosions; it startled everyone around him.

“Kacchan?” Midoriya looked concerned as he peered around Iida’s tall frame to better see the blonde on the other side of the room. “What’s wrong?”

All eyes turned to look at Bakugou. He was frozen in his tracks, his eyes wide, and his bag hung limply in his hand, like he had just been about to throw it to the ground and collapse into his desk when something stopped him. Kirishima’s eyes followed Bakugou’s gaze when the blonde made no move to answer Midoriya.

And then he saw it.

It was so innocent, really. Just a bottle of unopened green tea. It looked like maybe it had come from one of the many vending machines that were placed around campus.

The longer Kirishima looked at it, the more he recognized that particular brand of green tea. It was Bakugou’s favorite. He was always drinking it; at lunch, after sparring – Kirishima had seen empty bottles of it scattered about Bakugou’s room the few times he had been allowed to come in and hang out.

Just an innocent bottle of unopened green tea. With a little note stuck to the side.

“What does it say?” Uraraka asked loudly. Her eyes were shining in what could only be construed as excitement and overwhelming curiosity.

It didn’t seem like Bakugou had heard her. He just stood there, staring at the bottle like it was a bomb waiting to go off in his face. When nothing happened, he reached out and plucked the note from the bottle. It came off violently and stuck to his finger while the bottle jiggled around from the force. His eyebrows furrowed as he squinted down at it.

The class waited with bated breath. Uraraka looked like she might explode at any minute from the suspense. Kirishima empathized with her – his own heart was racing.

“Tch.” It was all Bakugou said before he crumpled the note up into a ball in his fist.

“Wait!” Uraraka tried to run at him, already knowing what was about to happen, but she wasn’t fast enough.

With a loud pop and crackle, the little note burned up in Bakugou’s hand before he dusted the ashes off his fingertips and onto the ground.

“No!” Uraraka’s face looked pink with frustration. “I wanted to read it! Now I’m soo curious! What did it say, Bakugou!”

Kirishima could tell by the bright tint crawling up Bakugou’s neck that he was incredibly on guard. His movements were stiff as he collapsed down into his seat and stared at the bottle on his desk reproachfully. Kirishima almost wanted to go to his best bro’s aid; to stop Uraraka from pestering him, but something deep down prevented him from speaking out. Who had gotten up so early just to place a bottle of green tea on someone’s desk?

And not just anyone’s desk; Bakugou Katsuki's desk. This was a big deal.

“Come on, Bakugou!” Uraraka flopped down beside him. “I won’t ask for anything else ever again for as long as I live if you tell me what the note said. You can whisper it in my ear!” She leaned close into his personal space and Kirishima winced, knowing he wouldn’t like that.

Bakugou looked murderous. “Fuck off,” he said, though his tone sounded a little funny. He was shaken up; that much was obvious.

“Pleeeease!” Uraraka’s eyes turned pleading.

“It just said to enjoy, okay?” Bakugou snarled dangerously, his white teeth flashing. His cheeks were tinging even darker now. Kirishima couldn’t help but think how brave Uraraka was for remaining next to him when he was like that. “Now get the fuck out of my face!”

“I wonder who it was from,” Midoriya muttered quietly, having taken his seat behind Bakugou stealthily so as to avoid becoming a target for his anger. “And why.”

Bakugou turned around in his desk anyway. His palms sparked and popped dangerously. “It doesn’t fucking matter who they are or why they did it!”

“Woah, what’s going on?” Ashido yawned loudly as she entered the room, followed closely by Kaminari and Sero, who looked like they were leaning on each other for support. “Why is there so much yelling so early in the morning?”

Uraraka bounced to her feet and she smiled the biggest grin Kirishima had ever seen on her. “Bakugou has a secret admirer!” She snatched the green tea bottle from Bakugou’s desk before he could protest and tossed it over to Ashido, who caught the bottle easily in the air. “This was just sitting on his desk with a little note on it when we came in!”

Ashido’s black eyes widened with matched excitement. Kirishima grimaced. He felt sort of bad for Bakugou. Ashido was the Queen of Gossip and Romance, and this was probably like hitting the rom-com jackpot for her.

“Oh my god! I wonder who it’s from!” Ashido expelled with giddiness as she rolled the bottle around from one hand to the other experimentally, as if the bottle would have some sort of clue on it.

Bakugou’s eye twitched and he slammed his hand down on top of his desk. The smell of burning wood filtered through the classroom. “What are you girls going on about?” He snarled and his face looked twisted in anger and… confusion? Kirishima blinked in surprise.

Ashido smiled widely at him. “Well, who else would have done it and why if not because they have a crush on you! This is obviously some sort of effort to get your attention! Isn’t that exciting?”

Bakugou’s eye twitched again – or really, his whole face was twitching uncomfortably now. “NO! IT’S NOT!”

Kirishima looked closer. Though it was incredibly normal for Bakugou to be exploding like this, the red in his face wasn’t the same shade as when he was arguing over the correct answer in class or fighting off robots on the battlefield. No, this red was from something else. Bakugou looked… embarrassed. So so embarrassed.

“It is!” Ashido argued back. Her smile was so wide Kirishima was surprised her face didn’t split in two. “How romantic! We have to find out who it is!”

More smoke and pops crackled from Bakugou’s hand. He had effectively burned a handprint into the top of his desk. “SHUT UP!”

“Indeed.” Aizawa appeared in the doorway, looking disgruntled by the sheer volume at which his class was producing at such an early time in the morning. “Take your seats. Quietly.”

Ashido chucked the bottle at Bakugou with so much effort, he was forced to catch it unless he wanted it to smack him right in the face. Ashido grinned maniacally and Bakugou dropped the drink as if it had burned his skin. With a ‘thunk’, the bottle bounced off his desk and fell to the floor, where it rolled back and forth before coming to a stop near Midoriya’s foot.

The rest of the class took their seats, Ashido and Uraraka were practically buzzing with excitement, they clearly couldn’t wait to gossip about this once class was over, but Bakugou remained standing. He looked out of breath and a bead of sweat had started to trail down the side of his face. Kirishima suddenly felt bad for just standing back and letting his best bro get thrown into Ashido’s romantic spotlight, but he had been just as shocked as the rest of the class to see the bottle, maybe even more so. Someone at UA was pining after Bakugou.

Well - Kirishima forced down a blush that threatened to overtake him - someone else was also pining after Bakugou.

“Bakugou,” Aizawa stated with authority. Bakugou’s red eyes swiveled around to look at him. “I won’t say it again. Sit down.”

Bakugou looked like he was going into fight or flight mode. His hands were half-curled into fists and his body was tense. Kirishima could see his shoulders shaking as he took deep breaths. Finally, the blonde sat himself down roughly into his seat. He stared at the top of his desk with furrowed brows, his mouth set in a tight line of concentration. He didn’t look up even as Aizawa started going over their lesson plans for the day.

Kirishima had a hard time concentrating that day.

He tried to ignore it when they had first entered the room, but now that he had nothing to focus on but Aizawa's grumbling tone and the thoughts in his own head, he couldn’t just ignore the tense ball of jealousy he felt growing in the pit of his stomach.

Someone at UA, maybe even someone in this very classroom, was trying to get Bakugou’s attention. This didn’t really come as a surprise, per se. Bakugou was a very attractive guy. His soft features and pale complexion were a stark contrast to his explosive personality. And he was so cool and manly, like a bad boy straight from a movie or something. A bad boy with, Kirishima knew, a heart of fucking gold. It was so damn attractive – of course there were others out there that saw that in Bakugou as well. Kirishima wasn’t stupid. He had just been… wistfully ignorant up until that morning.

But it couldn’t be ignored anymore.

Kirishima’s eyes involuntarily moved over to look at the blonde when he sensed movement out his peripherals. Midoriya had bent down and picked up the bottle of green tea and he looked like he might shit himself as he tried to hand it back to Bakugou. It shook a little in the green-haired boy’s grasp.

Bakugou’s red eyes narrowed on the bottle hanging over his shoulder and for a second it seemed like he wouldn’t take it. His hands were clasped tightly to the sides of his desk, like he might lift off into the sky at any moment. Then he snatched the bottle from Midoriya’s hand and slammed it down onto his desk.

“Bakugou.” Aizawa didn’t raise his voice. He didn’t need to. His gaze was stern and menacing.

Bakugou slid down into his seat and chewed on the inside of his mouth as he stared the bottle down.

 

 

Their morning lessons dragged on that day.

Despite Bakugou’s earlier outbursts, he remained uncharacteristically quiet for the rest of their classes. He didn’t even take the liberty of snorting in his usual manner when Midoriya nearly fell out of his chair in an attempt to answer a question as quickly as possible. Kirishima wanted to say something to him, but he didn’t know what he was meant to say. They didn’t particularly talk in depth about anything to each other, though Kirishima was sure that he had made some headway with his friendship with the explosive blonde since they pretty much spent every day together and Bakugou hadn’t completely rejected his efforts. But still, their conversations had always been very surface level.

When they were sparring, they talked about strategy and quirks.

When they were eating with the rest of the Bakusquad at lunch, Bakugou generally remained quiet while the others jabbered on about anything and everything, and he really only chimed in with his own opinion if it was to disagree and argue with them.

Those rare moments when Kirishima had been allowed to hang out in Bakugou’s dorm room after dinner and on the weekends to play video games or read comics, they kept their conversations centered around whatever was most relevant at that moment.

Sure, Kirishima longed to talk to him about other stuff. What he liked to do. What his family was like. Was he a dog person or a cat person, or an animal person at all? Kirishima had a feeling that he was, though Bakugou would probably never admit to it. But they hadn’t reached that point in their friendship yet and Kirishima had been content to wait. To be close to someone like Bakugou was a privilege in itself and he didn’t want to ruin it by pushing himself on the blonde too fast. He had just gotten Bakugou comfortable with him casually (or maybe not so casually but he tried so hard to make it casual) swinging his arm over his shoulders when they walked to class.

But he felt like he had to say something. Bakugou looked like he was dying over there.

But he didn’t even get the chance to.

As soon as the bell rang, signaling for lunch, Bakugou was out of his desk and slamming his books deep into his bag. He leaped over his desk dramatically and looked ready to storm out of the room when he stopped. His red eyes darted back to the unopened bottle sitting innocently on his desk.

Kirishima knew he wasn’t the only one watching Bakugou with held breath. Would he take the bottle with him? He hadn’t drunk from it. He probably thought it was poisoned.

After a moment of intense staring, Bakugou snatched the bottle off his desk and practically ran from the room at top speeds. He moved so quickly that Iida called after him and scolded him for running in the halls.

Kirishima watched him leave with his mouth parted in surprise. He had taken the drink with him. So, he was curious to know who had given it to him too. Probably even more curious than the rest of them – though the look on Ashido’s face as she came bounding over to Kirishima had him doubting it.

“What was that?” Ashido asked.

“I know, that was so weird,” Uraraka agreed. “But he took the bottle with him! Do you think he knows who gave it to him?”

Ashido whipped around at that suggestion, gobbling it up. “You mean like, maybe he’s dating someone and trying to keep it a secret and this was just some kind of slip up?”

Kirishima tried not to focus on the way that heavy ball of jealousy rolling around in his stomach seemed to get bigger. He tried to keep the curious yet slightly detached look on his face. He tried so hard, he thought he might burst.

“He was so embarrassed. It was kind of cute. Who knew Bakugou was capable of that kind of emotion.” Asui had joined them around Kirishima’s desk, with Kaminari and Sero close behind her.

“I don’t know. He looked… worried.” Midoriya mused out loud. “Almost like he thought it was a trap or something. I don’t think he knew who gave it to him.”

“It has to be a secret admirer!” Ashido proclaimed. “It just has to be!” She closed her eyes tight and clasped her hands together, like she was making a wish. “Pleeease let it be a secret admirer!”

Kirishima squirmed in his desk. Why did they have to have this conversation right here? He had to participate, otherwise it would look suspicious, but he just couldn’t get the words to come out.

“Bakugou? With a secret admirer?” Sero looked more awake than he had at the start of class, and he was ready to dig into this drama with both hands. “Who would be crushing on him though? The dude is psychotic!”

Kirishima dug his fingernails into his palms to prevent himself from saying anything. He felt like he should go to his friend’s aid – Bakugou really wasn’t all that bad once you got to know him and got used to his screaming, but he felt too embarrassed. He felt like now wasn’t the time, like if he said anything, even under the pretense of defending his friend’s honor, that he’d be giving something away. He didn’t even trust his own voice not to stutter or crack.

“Are you kidding?” Ashido rolled her eyes as though they were all idiots. “Bakugou might be a basket case, sure, but he was still the winner of the Sports Festival, plus he was the drummer in our band, plus his quirk is super cool, and if we’re being completely honest, he IS kind of hot in a totally rebellious sort of way, all douchebaggery aside. I’m sure there are girls lined up around the block that want to get close to him.”

Kaminari scoffed at this with his mouth hanging wide open. “But it’s BAKUGOU. Why can’t a secret admirer leave food on my desk?”

“Maybe it’s someone who doesn’t really know him personally,” Asui suggested. They had finally started to filter out of the classroom and head for the cafeteria. Kirishima tried not to scan the halls for any sign of their explosive classmate.

“So, you think it’s someone from a different class,” Midoriya asked. He looked like he was thinking a mile a minute as they trooped down the hall in unison. “That makes sense. Kacchan has always wowed people, especially those who haven’t been his target before. Anyone at the school who is not in our class could have a totally different perception of him than we do...” He continued to mutter under his breath, but Kirishima couldn't make out what he was saying, thankfully.

“Uuuugh, the romance!” Ashido squealed excitedly before she whipped around to look at Kirishima, who was sweating a little, wishing they would talk about anything else. “Who do you think it is Kiri?”

“Huh?” Kirishima looked at her with a frown. “Me? Why would I know?” He tried to act nonchalant, though he wasn’t sure if he really pulled it off.

“You’re his best friend!” Ashido said it so simply. “You guys hang out all the time. He must have said something to you?”

Kirishima tried to think back to their conversations.

He could remember Bakugou getting really invested in a video on his phone about a fighting strategy when they were taking a break from sparring once. The blonde had practically thrust the phone into his face, rambling on about how his new move was going to be similar to that, but better, obviously. He could also remember Bakugou crinkling his nose once when Kirishima mentioned a particular movie, though he had only responded to tell Kirishima that the movie was so incredibly stupid and how could anyone in their right mind possibly like it.

But have they ever talked about a secret crush? An admirer from afar? Relationships in general?

He shook his head. “No, he hasn’t said anything to me. About anyone really.”

“UUUUGH!” Uraraka looked pained as she leaned into Ashido. “I need to know now!”

Thankfully, by the time they had gotten into the cafeteria, Kaminari and Sero had diverted the conversation into a hazed panic over the test they were meant to have tomorrow that apparently was very easy to forget about.

Kirishima relaxed a little, though he still felt unsettled. He hated how much this green tea bottle situation was bothering him.

Up until that day, he had thought he had done such a good job at hiding his attraction to Bakugou. It was really hard to see him every day and not touch him or confess in the most word-vomiting, non-manly way possible. He exerted so much energy throughout the day keeping himself in check – always making sure that his touches would be perceived as manly friendship, and that he didn’t stare too long when Bakugou got really worked up in training. But now he felt nervous. And for what? Because there was… competition?

Kirishima shook his head. He was so lost in his own thoughts that he hadn’t even realized they had arrived in the cafeteria and were sitting at their usual spot with trays in front of them.

Ashido sat next to him and argued with Kaminari about the relevance of their test (“It’s just one test, it probably won’t be so bad, right?” “Uuugh, you say that about every test!”) and Sero sat across from him and watched the argument unfold while he munched contently on his sandwich.

The bench jiggled and suddenly there was warmth on his other side. Kirishima turned and his heart nearly leaped up into his throat when he saw Bakugou sit down next to him with a tray of his own. His face was still tinged with pink embarrassment, but nothing like what it had been before.

Kirishima’s eyes did a quick scan of his tray, but the green tea bottle was nowhere to be found.

“H-hey,” he said breathlessly. He hadn’t expected Bakugou to come to lunch today honestly. Usually, whenever the blonde got worked up over something, he’d elect to take his food back to the dorms and eat by himself until classes resumed. “Where’ve you been?”

Bakugou’s red eyes snapped over to look at him. His jaw was clenched, and he looked seconds away from blowing them all up. “Nowhere, mind your damn business.” He snapped.

Kirishima blinked at him, though he probably shouldn’t be so surprised. He knew Bakugou was yelling at him because he was embarrassed and not because he had done anything wrong. He had so many questions he wanted to ask the blonde, but he knew to keep his mouth shut. Ashido, on the other hand, never knew when to keep her mouth shut.

She gasped and leaned across Kirishima to get all up in Bakugou’s face. “Did you try to find your secret admirer? Do you have an idea of who it is?”

Bakugou’s ears burned red again and his eye started to twitch. “No, you damn gossiper, and even if I did there’s no way in hell I’d tell you!”

“So you do have an idea of who it is!” Ashido’s eyes were shining excitedly.

Bakugou barred his teeth like a dangerous dog and clasped his hand into a fist. “Listen black eyes you’re heading straight for a world of hurt!”

“Ugh,” Ashido rolled her eyes dramatically and flopped back down into her seat. “You’re right Sero, I don’t understand how anyone could have a crush on him. He’s so rude.”

That seemed to affect Bakugou more than anyone could have been prepared for. His fist loosened and the anger on his face drew back for a moment before it returned full force.

“Whatever.” He spat. And just as quickly as he had arrived, he snatched up his tray and disappeared again.

Kirishima wanted to reach out to him, to call him back, but he didn’t. Now wasn’t the time. Today wasn’t the day for him to be clingy and risk exposing his secret. He was in dangerous territory.

It was easy for everyone to assume they were just bros because the topic of romance and Bakugou Katsuki just didn’t mix. But now that Ashido was invested in finding out who had given Bakugou that bottle of green tea, Kirishima felt more exposed somehow. Like her extra-intent eyes would pick up on the subtle bits he allowed to slip out throughout the day. And she could never find out. No one could. Especially not Bakugou.

Ashido pouted as her black eyes followed Bakugou’s tense back until he disappeared out of the cafeteria and down the hall. “Great. Now I’m going to have to apologize.”

“What?” Sero raised an eyebrow. “Why?”

“Because I obviously hurt his indestructible feelings or something,” Ashido grumbled. She looked genuinely upset. Kirishima knew that as much as Ashido forced her way into people’s personal lives, she never meant to hurt anybody. She was just excitable, and a romantic, and she didn’t know how to keep anything to herself. She was a lot like Kirishima in that regard. She wanted to be involved in everyone’s life. He reached out and wrapped his arm around her shoulder in solidarity.

Sero and Kaminari blinked at each other in confusion. “Bakugou has feelings?”

 

 

Kirishima had never heard Bakugou yell so loudly before during training. It was like he was verbally trying to expel all of the frustration and confusion out of his body with every heavy swing of his muscular arm. He was sweating like crazy, which only made him more dangerous, and he blew up the base of a building in a matter of seconds.

“Young Bakugou!” All Might yelled from the sidelines. “This is a rescue operation! Why are you destroying everything!”

“SHUT UP!” Bakugou screamed back before he let loose a huge blast from his palms and sent a ‘villain’ spiraling off into the distance. He was out of control.

“If you don’t stop, I will have to remove you from this lesson and send you back to the dorms early!” All Might warned. Usually the thought of falling behind and missing a class was enough to corral Bakugou’s anger back into check. For such a manly badass, Bakugou cared so much about his grades. But even All Might’s warning didn’t deter him this time, and he continued to slam and destroy and rip apart anything in his path.

A loud buzzer sounded throughout the training course and the robots posing as villains immediately shut down and collapsed to the ground. The other heroes on the course with Bakugou – Todoroki, Uraraka, and Jirou – all stopped what they were doing and turned their eyes onto their distressed classmate.

Bakugou stood away from them, bent at the waist with his elbows resting on his knees. Even from this far away, up in the stands observing, Kirishima could see Bakugou’s whole body shaking from overexertion as he panted loudly. All Might had stepped out onto the course, barely giving the other students a glance as he squeezed past them and stalked towards Bakugou’s back with a determined look on his face.

“Young Bakugou. I am going to have to ask you to leave until you have calmed down –“

“FINE!” Bakugou yelled. When he turned around his face was red and sweaty. This was new, and Kirishima would be lying if he said he wasn’t starting to get worried. This whole secret admirer thing was really wearing Bakugou thin. Usually he argued to stay out on the field, promised to keep his anger in check, but today he just stomped away, grumbling under his breath as he detached the launchers from his forearms.

All Might turned towards the stands of observing students and his eyes fell on Kirishima. “Kirishima! Would you be so kind as to take Bakugou’s place?”

Kirishima blinked before he nodded and jumped to his feet. “Of course!” He jogged down to the training course and tried not to think about Bakugou for the rest of the lesson.

 

 

It was all anyone could talk about. The green tea bottle. So innocent. So simple. With a little note that was also simple. Enjoy! It could have been from anyone. Bakugou carried those drinks around with him at all times. Literally anyone could have observed him in the hallways or in the cafeteria or even during training and put two-and-two together that it was his favorite drink. Honey with Ginseng. But Kirishima couldn’t help but deflate a little bit at the thought.

Knowing little things about Bakugou had always been enough to satiate his need to be closer to the blonde. Sure, Midoriya probably knew way more about Bakugou’s past and childhood than Kirishima could ever hope to know, but apart from that, he liked to believe that only he was observant enough to know that Bakugou enjoyed his eggs with an unsettling amount of hot sauce, or that his favorite cheat snack was mint chocolate ice cream and he only allowed himself to have one bowl a month, or that he liked to take his showers in the morning as opposed to at night, or that he was always wiping his hands on his pant legs because of the excessive amount of sweat that he produced… or that he smelled like caramel. These were all little things Kirishima had picked up on after months of hanging out with Bakugou, of quietly watching him out of the corner of his eye.

And now it had become painstakingly obvious that someone else at UA had been watching Bakugou just as closely as he had been. Had they discovered anything about the blonde that Kirishima himself didn’t know? Were there things about Bakugou, private things, that someone else was privy to know that Kirishima hadn’t figured out yet? The idea made the ball in his stomach tighten and he clenched his jaw.

“Hey.” Ashido. “Are you okay? You’ve been so quiet all day, it’s really weirding me out you know.”

Kirishima glanced over at her as they walked side-by-side back to their dorm building. The others had pulled ahead of them, laughing and excitedly planning a Smash Brothers tournament in the living room tonight. He winced and tried to smile brightly. “Yeah, I’m fine!”

Ashido didn’t believe him for a second. He supposed he should have known that she wouldn’t. “Is this about Bakugou?”

Kirishima could already feel the blush starting to creep up the sides of his neck. “W-what? What do you-mean?”

“You’re trying to figure out who gave him the bottle.” Ashido pushed him gently on the shoulder. “Some girl is trying to steal your bro away and you feel threatened! Bros before hoes, right?”

Kirishima visibly relaxed. Good. She didn’t know anything. “Something like that.”

Ashido giggled into her hand. “Don’t be so tense, Kiri. Bakugou would never abandon you for some girl.”

Kirishima blinked at her in confusion. “Why do you say that?”

“Duh. He loves you.”

Kirishima almost tripped over his own feet. “WHAT?” He practically screamed.

“Yeah, it’s so obvious, in a totally Bakugou sort of way.” She rolled her eyes at the blatancy of it all. “The way you guys always train together, and he lets you hang off of him the way you like to do, even though it’s clear that he hates all kinds of physical contact, and he’s always waiting in the living room for you in the morning to walk to class. Sometimes I see him sitting there for ten minutes or more waiting for your slow ass!”

He couldn’t push down the intense feeling of warmth that started to take over his whole body.

“You’re his best friend! He probably won’t ever admit it, but it’s so obvious it hurts. He’s like a lost puppy when you’re not around, all sulky and moody. You’re his favorite red-haired punching bag.” Ashido smiled encouragingly, but her words seemed to drag Kirishima further down than she could ever know. Still, he tried to smile back at her. She was just trying to help make him feel better. It’s not her fault she didn’t know how he really felt.

“Thanks, Ashido.” He choked out. He was Bakugou’s best friend. Nothing more. And he was okay with that, really. He really really was. Really.

When they entered the dorm building, lagging behind everyone else, the rest of class 1-A had already set up for a long night of hanging out in the living room. Sero and Kaminari were practically in Todoroki’s lap, excitedly trying to explain to him the rules while shoving a controller into his stiff hands. Todoroki looked like an uncomfortable deer caught in headlights. He held the controller upside down and Kaminari snatched it from him before jamming it back into his grasp right side up. Todoroki looked like he might burst into flames – he looked so overwhelmed!

“You want to play with us or are you going upstairs to interrogate Bakugou?” Sometimes Ashido could read his mind like an open book.

Kirishima tried to push down the blush from creeping up his neck. “I’m gonna try and talk to him.”

“If he says anything about the bottle, you better tell me about it! The suspense is literally killing me.”

You and me both, Kirishima thought darkly. He forced a chuckle. “Yeah okay, sure.” He waved goodbye as Ashido rushed to Todoroki’s aid like a valiant, pink queen in shining armor before he turned and started for the elevators.

Once inside the elevator, he pressed the fourth-floor button and watched as the doors closed and he was finally alone. He sagged into the wall of the elevator with a heavy sigh and let his head fall back with a quiet ‘thud’. He debated on whether he really was going to try and talk to Bakugou tonight or not. He hadn’t seen the blonde this worked up since the Sports Festival, when he had to be restrained just to receive his first-place medal. Kirishima was almost nervous that he’d blow him up if he tried to talk about it with him, but mostly he was nervous about being pushed away. He could handle a few explosions thrown at him, his quirk was actually a really good Bakugou repellant, but he didn’t know if he could handle the emotional blowback if Bakugou thought that Kirishima wanted to gossip about the bottle. Maybe he would never be allowed back in Bakugou’s room again! But seeing the apparent distress and frustration on Bakugou’s face during their training had made Kirishima’s insides twist uncomfortably. He had to check up on him, just to make sure that he was okay. That’s what best friends did, right?

The ping of the elevator startled him from his thoughts and he stepped out into the hallway. Bakugou’s door was right next to Kirishima’s. He stopped in front of it and fiddled with the strap of his bag nervously. He listened for any signs of life behind Bakugou’s door, but he didn’t hear anything at all. He didn’t even hear music or a movie playing. Was he already asleep? Had he even gotten dinner yet? He supposed Bakugou could have had time to grab something since he left training early, but he had been so angry, Kirishima doubted he had even thought about it.

He raised a fist and knocked hesitantly at the door. It took a minute for his mouth to properly form words. “Hey, Bakugou? You in there?” He was met with silence. His eyebrows furrowed with worry. Was Bakugou even here? He knocked again, a bit louder this time. “Hello? It’s just me, I –“

“Go away,” Bakugou yelled from somewhere inside.

Kirishima winced and his hand fell back down limply to his side. Bakugou was inside, he was just ignoring him. “O-okay! I just wanted to make sure… that you were okay.” More silence. “If you wanted to talk, I mean, not about this specifically or anything but, just in general, if you need anything – “ Kirishima knew he was rambling. God, he couldn’t stop himself.

“GO. THE FUCK. AWAY!” Bakugou yelled again, louder this time. Somewhere behind the closed door, Kirishima could hear the crack and pop of his hands.

“R-right, sorry!” Kirishima hurried away from the door before it exploded on him.

When he was safe in his own room, he stripped of his clothes and collapsed onto his bed with a frustrated groan. What was he supposed to do? He felt like he had been such a bad friend today. First, he didn’t even try to stop Uraraka and Ashido from getting all up in Bakugou’s face about the bottle, then he hadn’t even stuck up for him when Kaminari and Sero mocked the idea of anyone ever having a crush on him, and now he had run away from confronting him just because he was uncomfortable and didn’t want to risk being too obvious all of a sudden. All while Bakugou struggled with this by himself. Ugh! He was so unmanly!

He pushed his head further into his pillow, briefly wondering if he should just suffocate himself so he wouldn’t have to face the reality of being such a shitty friend. But the stifling heat was too much for him and after a few minutes he turned his head to the side to gulp down the fresh air lazily blowing through his cracked window.

He didn’t know how long he’d laid there, but he was almost about to doze off and fall asleep when his phone buzzed loudly on his nightstand and jarred him awake. He blinked around blurrily before he reached out and grabbed his phone. He rolled onto his back and turned on the screen, and his heart started to beat a little faster when he saw that he had gotten a text message.

From Bakugou.

Sorry.

It was just one word, but Kirishima felt all of the tension flood from his body. He quickly typed back, already knowing he was going to over-do it, but not caring anyway. He had to get it out.

Hey! Don’t even worry about it! I shouldn’t have bothered you, I just wanted to make sure you were okay! You don’t have to talk to me, of course, I feel like I’ve been a shitty friend to you today so if anything I’m the one that should be sorry!

It was so much, Bakugou was probably going to blow up his own phone out of anger, but Kirishima didn’t care. He needed to apologize and to get it off his chest. He needed Bakugou to know that he was aware of what a shitty friend he had been. Bakugou didn’t reply right away and the tension was literally killing him. What was he doing over there? It was so quiet in the room next to his. He couldn’t take it anymore. He quickly started typing again.

Some people are playing games downstairs – Smash bros tournie! Want to go dominate?

He really hoped Bakugou would take the bait. His competitive nature was the only way anyone could convince him to do anything social with the rest of the class, and Kirishima was really hoping it would work in this situation. He just wanted things to go back to normal. It had only been a day and he already missed spending time with him. As bros. Just two dudes – hanging out.

His phone buzzed with another text.

Fine.

Kirishima’s whole body seemed to vibrate. Finally, he could spend a few hours with Bakugou and try to forget that someone else probably thought his hair was also sexy and that his lips were probably super intense when you kissed him. He leaped out of bed when he heard Bakugou’s door open and slam shut before Bakugou’s rough voice filtered in through his own door. “Come on loser I’m not fucking waiting for you.” Kirishima could already hear him padding away towards the elevator.

He pulled on one of his Crimson Riot hoodies and a pair of sweatshorts as fast as he could before he grabbed his phone and quickly left his room. Bakugou was already on the elevator and Kirishima tried not to think too much about the fact that Bakugou had his foot angled in the doorway so that the elevator door wouldn’t close without him.

He hurried into the elevator and Bakugou pulled his foot away and finally let the door close.

“Tch,” Bakugou grumbled beside him. “You’re such a fucking fanboy.” He said with a roll of his eyes.

Kirishima looked down at his Crimson Riot hoodie before he smiled back up at him. “I just like to represent manly heroes! One day I’ll have a hoodie with your name on it too!” Shit, he probably shouldn’t have said that – though he had been thinking about it since the first day he’d met Bakugou at the entrance exams. He already knew, even back then, that Bakugou was going to be such a badass hero and he couldn’t wait to buy his merch when it came out.

The tips of Bakugou’s ears burned red – they probably matched the bright blush that had crawled its way up Kirishima’s neck. Why did he have to be so goddamn awkward?

Thankfully, the elevator pinged to announce that they’d reached the bottom floor and the door opened to reveal their classmates hunched together in the living room, surrounding the television. At first, Bakugou didn’t move. He looked like he wanted to slam the elevator doors shut and go back upstairs. Kirishima felt bad for pushing him. He knew Bakugou was already straining his emotional limit today, and here he was making him embarrassed over some stupid shit. But after a minute, Bakugou stepped out of the elevator and started for the couches. Kirishima sighed thankfully and hurried after him.

“Hey! Room for two more?” Kirishima grinned down at them all.

“Of course!” Ashido squealed excitedly. She was eyeing Kirishima hungrily as she scooted over on the couch and pulled him down next to her. She kicked Sero and Kaminari’s backs, who were laying on the ground in front of the couch (“Ow!”). “Make room for BakuBRO!” This was her way of apologizing.

The boys grumbled angrily at being shooed away before they shuffled closer to the center, where Todoroki and Midoriya sat tapping buttons. Todoroki’s movements were slow and calculated, while Midoriya button smashed as quickly as possible and yelled in giddiness whenever Todoroki’s character got too close to him.

Bakugou didn’t hesitate before he plopped down in front of the couch and pulled his knees into his chest, resting his elbows on the tops. He accepted the apology. “I’m next!” He stated bluntly.

“No way! You aren’t even on the bracket!” Kaminari complained.

“Then put me on the damn bracket! I’m playing next!” Bakugou snarled.

Kirishima tried to ignore how close Bakugou’s back was to sitting between his legs. He tried so hard. Ashido grabbed a hold of his arm and squeezed, forcing Kirishima to look at her. Her black eyes were wide and she looked expectantly at him. He knew what she wanted. She wanted him to tell her everything he and Bakugou had talked about. She wanted to know if there were any updates on the mystery admirer. Kirishima winced and just shook his head, to let her know he didn’t know anything new.

Ashido pouted for a minute before she turned back to the television. “Oh my GOD, Todoroki just HIT. HIM!”

“I’m trying!” Todoroki sounded like he was in pain. Poor guy.

Kirishima couldn’t help but smile at his tense classmate before his eyes subconsciously moved to look at the back of Bakugou’s head. His heart pounded away in his chest and he was sure Ashido, who was pressed flush against him still clinging to his arm, could hear it.

 

 

The next morning, most everyone had forgotten about the green tea bottle incident.

They had all stayed up super late playing Smash Bros, even Bakugou had started dozing off near the end – it was way past his usual bedtime, but he had been determined to beat Kaminari out for first place. Which he did, of course. Because he was Bakugou and Bakugou always won. Kirishima was proud of himself for getting Bakugou to come out of his room and enjoy the rest of his night. It had filled him with warmth when they had gotten back up to the fourth floor and he had heard Bakugou grumble tiredly, “night fucker,” before disappearing into his room.

So Kirishima was back to his normal bubbly self as he, Bakugou, Ashido, Sero, and Kaminari approached their homeroom. That was, until the door slammed open from the inside and Uraraka stepped out looking excited. Kirishima could already feel the horror that was beginning to build up inside of him, and Bakugou stopped dead in his tracks.

“Uraraka? What are you doing here already?” Ashido asked curiously.

“I couldn’t help it – I had to see if… well, come look for yourself!” She gestured into the classroom.

Ashido, Sero, and Kaminari ran ahead of them to peer inside. Bakugou was still glued to the spot, looking mortified, and Kirishima winced at the excited squeal Ashido let out when she stuck her head into the classroom. “There’s another drink waiting for you Bakubro!” She yelled back over her shoulder.

Kirishima’s eyes snapped over to Bakugou. The blonde’s face was redder than he had ever seen it before and his hands crackled dangerously by his sides. Kirishima wasn’t even sure Bakugou was aware that he was doing it at this point. Before Kirishima could say anything, Bakugou had taken off at a sprint down the hall and disappeared into the closest bathroom.