What a huge waste of fucking time. Crimson eyes glared ahead as Bakugou’s head was tilted gently by his make-up artist, the plush, quick strokes of the brush against his cheek below where his mask rested making him even more irritated as he stood hunched over so she could reach his face.
In front of him, the photography group and his agents chattered about the photos they had taken of him, skipping through with some nods but mostly shaking heads, disapproving of most as the photographer nodded with their suggestions.
“Can we just get on with it?” He asked his crew with a snappy tone, pulling away from the make-up artist and rising to his full height, stretching his back. He glanced around the mostly empty park, his arms crossing over his chest.
Taking the day off to do a ridiculous photoshoot wasn't Bakugou’s top priority. Of course, his usual patrol route had been kindly taken over by Kirishima for the day, in an effort to help his bro rise up in popularity; the only reason they were out in the sun taking these god-forsaken photos of him.
As good of a hero as Bakugou was, much of the public was still put-off by his harsh personality and “scary” appearance, and it was affecting his status with most social media. Magazines and online articles talked about his amazing fighting skills, while at the same time mentioning his “unfortunate attitude towards the press and the citizens”. Oh boy, was he going to show those moronic journalists his “unfortunate attitude”.
Of course he hated the cameras pressed under his nose right after he had nearly died, and the babbling, pointless questions that came with the crowd of news reporters, but he didn’t want the entire city to hate him in turn, and thus his agency decided to do a photoshoot in peaceful public areas, so that citizens could feel at peace, a sense of connection between them and the rising hero Ground Zero… and mostly so he no longer looked like an abrasive asshole.
Clearing his throat, one of Bakugou’s agents gave him a smile, stepping closer to talk as the photography crew got into position once more.
“Mr. Bakugou, sir, why don’t you.. Give us a smile?” He offered in a friendly tone, but Bakugou only scowled further.
“Why? I’m already practically prancing in a field of daisies, why do I have to smile at the fucking camera like a five year old on their birthday?” He couldn’t help but bark, he wasn't one for smiles and everyone knew so, it was enough that he was already outside and visible to the public eye, but most citizens were kept at bay by the security guards so they didn’t get too close.
Across the street from a gathering of shops and stores was the park they were settled in, a nice and friendly backdrop of lush green grass and several trees plus the benches and tables scattered across the area. They faced away from the concrete parking lot and the toys and swingsets, which Bakugou strictly enforced he was not to take any pictures on the slides like a child. He was a pro hero now, and even this unnecessary photoshoot was pushing his buttons.
“Please, Mr. Bakugou,” One of his female secretaries piped up, her hands clasped together with a hopeful look. “It would make the process easier and quicker for all of us! Just a few nice photos with a gentle smile, that’s all!” She encouraged him.
“Maybe even with the mask off?” The photographer called, glancing up as he settled the camera onto a tripod.
Bakugou rolled his eyes with a low growl, his temper flaring as he resisted the urge to scream. He was already half-way out of his costume, missing most of his more fierce-looking gear like his belts and gauntlets. He grumbled as he undid his mask and passed it off, his eyes slipping shut as he crossed his arms. He felt the make-up artist begin to brush pigment across his eyelids, this time he didn’t really bother bending down for her as his eyes fluttered open when she pulled away.
“Alright, let’s see,” The photographer settled into position. “Smile!” He chirped.
Bakugou’s lips quirked up, letting his shoulders roll back as the snapping began, following the directions of the crew as they adjusted his position, telling him how to stand and pose. Yet still, they didn’t seem very happy with the results, their low chattering and judgement of the pictures making it harder for him to hold back his snarling temper. Who knows what Kirishima was doing right now, or any of the other Pro Heroes. Surely they weren’t posing for some stupid camera, they were doing important things, their jobs , which meant they were saving people and crushing villains. Why wasn't he doing that too?
“Still not working.” One the men mumbled, rubbing his temples.
“It looks more like an angry show of teeth.” His secretary murmured with a frown on her lips, crossing her arms.
Bakugou’s eye twitched as they continued to pick apart the faults with his photos until he was near his breaking point. His muscles tensed, palms sweating as he itched to just blast the stupid camera equipment to Hell.
“Are we done yet?!” He snapped furiously, stalking toward the group as their eyes turned to him. “I don’t need to be fucking photographed all day long, there’s no time for that!”
“Mr. Bakugou, sir,” Another male agent of his offered a weak smile, “We really are just trying to help. Your ratings with the publicity haven’t gone up much, and while they’re steady and stable, if you hope to become the number one Hero, you have to also earn the trust and respect of the public eye.” He explained.
Growling, Bakugou’s lips curled into a snarl as he spat, “What do you think I’m trying to do?! This is all complete bullshit, I am so sick of--”
“Oh wait!” His secretary interrupted, clapping her hands together. “Look, there, at that flower shop!”
Eyes turned in the direction of her pointing, towards the colorful florists shop. Out front were numerous plants on display, pre-made bouquets of lovely arrangements, hanging plants with blooms draping down, freshly flowering plants neatly displayed on tiered wooden shelves, bright and vibrant. Price tags and flower names were stuck on small wooden signs that fit the simple, modern-rustic theme of the green, white and brown shop. Glass windows displayed a rainbow array of writing for discounts, sales, events and much more, all hand-written in a curly, bubbly style. Hanging above the main entrance, the name read; Midori’s Meadow.
“What if we got Mr. Bakugou included in the public?” She suggested. The photographer hummed thoughtfully with her. “If he was seen at such a quaint little place, surely his image would improve!”
While his agents chatted about it, seemingly on board with the idea, Bakugou could only rub his face in frustration. While there was nothing wrong with the little florist shop, the blond did not want to hear anything from his friends about being surrounded with flowers. He was Ground Zero, for God’s sake, he beat the shit out of villains and saved innocent lives, he didn’t prance around in a field of flowers.
“Let’s go with that.” The photographer nodded and Bakugou resigned himself to crossing the street toward the shop with the group.
The fresh and sweet scent of the flowers hit him from several feet away as they approached. He scowled slightly, but couldn’t deny that the flowers were very pretty, each one full and lush, not a brown spot in sight, not a single dead bloom marring the image of the floral shop. It was clear the little place was quite dedicated to their work, and honestly, Bakugou would say that they charged far too cheaply for such quality flowers.
“Let me see if we can get into contact with the owner.” His agent trotted inside, the chime of a bell ringing when the glass door was opened. Bakugou’s scarlet gaze roamed the greenery, silently admiring whoever took such wonderful care of the plants. Succulents of all sorts were plump and healthy, and even the ground was taken care of, barely any petals or plant matter surrounding the pots and display stands.
The bell rang again minutes later and Bakugou’s eyes darted up as his agent returned, with an employee in tow. An exceedingly cute employee, Bakugou noticed.
“Thank you kindly, Mr, Midoriya, we really appreciate your understanding!” The agent smiled gratefully at the employee.
The handsome young man beamed back, plush cheeks dotted with freckles, messy green curls tousled in an adorably attractive way as they brushed his forehead. Soft pink lips, a gentle button nose and expressive, shining emerald eyes were quite captivating as the blonde stared at him, his features much more gentle than most males, yet still rather defined and good-looking. He was quite small, too, his figure lightly toned, though he was shorter than even Bakugou’s agent, which made him probably a foot or more shorter than the blonde himself.
“Oh please, there’s no need for that!” He chirped, voice smooth and light, “I’m very glad to help, I had no idea that--” Jade irises met his own, and the man seemed to light up even brighter than the sun.
“Ah! Mr. Ground Zero, sir!” He clasped his hands together, equal parts nervous and excited. “I am so honored to meet you! To think, one of the top Heroes would be here today is incredible! I admire your work so much, I’m honestly a super big fan! Your skill during battle is quite unique, and you never manage to fail! Though there are little interviews with you, your actions really speak for themselves!” Bakugou couldn’t help the prideful little grin that began on his face. It was obvious this man was passionate, intelligent, and interested in Heroes, and Bakugou found that he didn’t mind the gushing as much as he usually did. Coming from others, while it stroked his ego, it easily annoyed him, but this young man was different about it.
“Thanks,” He said, albeit a little awkwardly, offering a polite nod to the employee, who seemed to absolutely shine like the sun. His group of colleagues all gave him an odd look with a mixture of emotions, which he returned with a narrowed gaze and a raised eyebrow. “What?”
His secretary cleared her throat, waving a hand through the air as she turned to the shop worker.
“We’re here to improve Ground Zero’s image in the public eye, and we appreciate your time and for you allowing us to use your shop for just a little while.” She bowed politely, and the young man seemed flustered as he waved his hands. “We shouldn’t take long, the scene is just perfect for the shots that we want.”
“No, no please! It’s quite alright, it’s a slow day after all and I’m grateful that out of all the places you’ve decided to come here!” He laughed, a charming sound that Bakugou found didn’t grate on his nerves at all. “Um, please do forgive me, though, I have to give the plants some water at the moment, if that doesn’t interfere too much with your, ah, photo shoot.” He adjusted the deep green apron resting over his simple white shirt and dark jeans, a few dirt stains and streaks of green marring the front of the apron.
“Not at all!” The photographer gestured to the lively plants. “Why, it might even add another refreshing layer of feeling to the pictures! Please, this is your job and we are the ones crowding in.” He chuckled. “So, thank you, Mr. Midoriya!”
“Oh, please, you can just call me Midoriya!” He assured, and Bakugou’s eyes were drawn to the nametag pinned on his apron. Izuku, Midoriya. The last name was very similar to the shops own, and Bakugou’s crimson gaze darted up to the front of the outlet.
“Do you own this place?” Bakugou found himself asking, looking towards Midoriya. The young man laughed, brushing away some dirt from his jeans.
“Ah, well, my mother does, actually!” The warm aura radiating from him was calming and inviting, his face full of fondness as he spoke, “It was her dream to open up a place like this someday, she put a lot of effort into making it work, and I’m happy to have been with her every step of the way!” His eyes flitted about the various shrubs and he seemed proud. “I guess you could call me the manager, but she’s the owner.”
Bakugou nodded, now becoming curious about the man’s Quirk. It had to be something plant related, for him to be able to keep such quality plants alive with this much work, and to smoothly manage the shop on top of that.
“Alright, I think we’re ready to begin.” The cameraman spoke as he finished setting up some pieces of equipment. Midoriya gave them all a lovely smile and Bakugou watched him return inside the shop, his eyes drifting lower for just a moment. He had a cute butt on him, too.
Bakugou’s focus was drawn toward the camera once again, his agents assisting with the poses and angles as they took several shots in front of the flowering displays. Midoriya stayed politely out of the way, working around them as he watered the little plants and hummed a gentle tune to himself. The blond found himself slightly distracted as he continued to let his gaze linger on the other male, watching his lithe figure stretch and bend to accommodate each of the flowers, using a delicate touch wherever it was needed.
“Mr. Bakugou,” sighed his secretary, “You still don’t seem to be smiling very much. Your expression doesn’t give the feeling that you’re relaxed or invested at all.”
“That’s because I’m tired of this shit,” He grumbled. “We’ve been at it all day, what more do you want from me?” He grew snappy once more, and his colleagues shared another look.
“Why don’t we take a break?” The cameraman suggested, looking towards the agents. They nodded and stepped aside to review their progress with the photoshoot.
Bakugou swiped a hand across his face, letting his shoulders relax as he moved away from the camera equipment. He was exhausted, feeling like a prop that they moved around however they wanted. So what if society thought he was just a brute? He could make it to the top no problem with his sheer will and force. As long as he won, he could save people.
Midoriya stretched on his tiptoes, wobbling as he attempted to water one of the higher hanging plants. Bakugou watched, slightly amused as a little pink tongue darted out in concentration, his eyes carefully detailing each movement so he didn’t crush the small blossoms and leaves. Bakugou’s legs were moving before he knew it.
“Need some help?” The blond couldn’t help but chuckle at the startled expression as Midoriya dropped back on his heels, blinking up at him. True to his thoughts earlier, the other was much shorter, his head tilted back so he could meet Bakugou’s gaze.
“Oh, really, there’s no need for you to trouble yourself!” Midoriya assured him quickly with a kind smile, but Bakugou raised a brow.
“Helping is what Heroes do.” He murmured, and Midoriya’s eyes glittered brightly, his smile stretching wider. Bakugou stuck out his hand, waiting for the watering can.
Giggling, Midoriya passed it over, and easily, Bakugou reached up with an uncharacteristic caution, allowing the water to trickle over the flowering plant.
“Thank you, Mr. Ground Zero!” Midoriya’s cheerful tone automatically made him feel like he’d just won another battle, strong and victorious even as he did such a menial little task.
“Ugh, don’t call me that,” He grumbled with a lack of any hostility. It felt too uptight and formal. “Bakugou is fine.”
“Oh,” Midoriya seemed mesmerised that he’d given permission to call him that, a wonderment glinting in his bright eyes that amused Bakugou. “A-are you sure, ah, um, Bak--”
“Actually, Katsuki is even better.” The male couldn’t help himself as he drew the watering can away from the plant, smirking down at the flustered, freckled face that was just too endearing to resist.
“--Kacchan?” Midoriya murmured, confused and surprised as he looked up at the blond. Snorting with amusement, red eyes bore down on Midoriya as he raised a brow.
He couldn’t help but bark a laugh as Midoriya’s cheeks flooded with a blush. “Kacchan? What, cat got your tongue?” He teased, finding himself relaxed for the first time that day as a nervous giggle bubbled out of Midoriya’s throat. Maybe the childish nickname was partly his fault for being so forward with Midoriya. He couldn’t remember the last time he had flirted with someone, or had been so open with his interests.
“Ah, no, I’m sorry! I was just-- your name, it’s--” Sheepishly, he fumbled for words before he gave up with a whine and a palm to his face. “I’m so sorry, it just.. Slipped out in the moment.”
“Relax, it’s not a big deal.” He waved a hand through the air, extending his arm to pass the watering can back to Midoriya. With a sigh, the other man took it back, and Bakugou felt a grin on his lips. “I guess that means I can make you a nickname too, right?” He flicked his gaze down to the nametag once more, “Deku.”
“Deku?” Midoriya’s face twisted in adorable bewilderment, his head tilting at the odd nickname. “Where did that come from?” He questioned, a light undertone of humor in his voice.
“I could ask you the same thing about ‘Kacchan’, couldn’t I?” Bakugou badgered back with a teasing shrug. With a smile far too dazzling, Midoriya began to snicker, and soon, Bakugou was chuckling with him, a shared moment of laughter that left Bakugou with a fuzzy chest and a swooping stomach, finding himself with the first real smile on his face all day. Their friendly bickering came naturally, and the way Midoriya could pull genuine smiles and laughs from him was surprising and not at all unwelcome. It was like being under the sun, warm and refreshing, a cascade of fluffy feelings tumbling through his chest whenever he got to see a little glimpse of who Midoriya was from their small conversation.
A click of a shutter caused their laughter to die down, Bakugou’s eyes darting over to his group of colleagues. They all seemed quite amused, almost proud, as the photographer seemed pleasantly surprised.
“Well now,” The cameraman flicked his gaze to the image before him, “I’d say this a perfect one, don’t you think?” He smiled at the two of them, stepping forward and turning his camera to display the screen.
Bakugou and Midoriya leaned forwards, faces close as they peered at the picture.
True enough, it was full of genuine emotion. The sunny, floral background and the vibrant blooms of the hanging plant sparkling with fresh water was a perfect backdrop for the pair of grinning men, laughing with one another. Bakugou’s face was warm, for once, his smile no longer an angry snarl, crimson eyes bright and his eyebrows smoothed out instead of being pinched in agitation. Midoriya radiated such a comforting, sunny energy, freckled cheeks tinged pink and eyes aglow as he grinned widely, the dimples on his cheeks adding such a sweet look to his features. Every emotion, clear and bright, captured forever.
“Wow,” Midoriya murmured beside him, and Bakugou’s eyes drifted reluctantly away from the freckled face on the screen to the one right next to him.
“Do you like it?” Bakugou questioned in a low murmur, studying his expression.
Nodding, Midoriya’s lips pulled into a smile.
“Of course, absolutely.” He replied softly. “I… I think it’s..”
“Beautiful.” Bakugou finished for him, his gaze locked with Midoriya’s visage. Jade irises turned, surprised, and they glittered with unspoken emotions. Midoriya gave him a precious little smile and a small nod, and Bakugou couldn’t help but wink teasingly as they straightened.
“Great! It’s perfect then.” His secretary exclaimed, his crew breathing a collective sigh of relief as the cameraman began packing up. They went over dates, companies and exchanges of the photos they’d use for some magazine articles, Bakugou tuning them out easily as he focused his attention on Midoriya.
“I’m glad everything worked out!” Midoriya beamed up at him, and Bakugou could only respond with a nod, finally free of that stupid lense and the irritating clicks of the camera.
“Took them long enough.” He muttered, rolling his eyes as he dragged a hand through spiky locks. Midoriya hummed thoughtfully, big eyes drifting over Bakugou’s face.
“Ah, well, it’ll be great for you, Kacchan!” He said, clasping his hands together. “Sure it was tedious, but once the articles come out, there will definitely be a big jump in your popularity, and you’ll climb your way up the ranks in no time!” He was so honest and genuine, filled with nothing but kindness. Bakugou wanted to be greedy; he wanted more time with Midoriya, more playful banter and more sincere compliments.
“Well, it better work. After all these extras put me through, I damn well deserve it.” He grumbled, and Midoriya pressed his hand to his lips as he giggled. Bakugou’s heart fluttered, terribly smitten with the adorable freckled male. “I’d rather be back in action, doing my job right about now.” He sighed. Their eyes met, and something seemed to tug on Bakugou’s heartstrings as Midoriya’s lashes fluttered. The world melted away, and it was just him and this handsome man, standing amongst the most beautiful flowers.
“I’ll be cheering for you.” Midoriya told him softly, shyly, biting his lower lip before his gaze drifted away nervously. Bakugou felt heat crawling up his neck, and couldn’t understand why words from Midoriya felt so much different from the words of his other fans.
“Then there’s no way I’ll lose.” He murmured lowly, speaking only for Midoriya to hear. He hoped the other wouldn’t be able to hear how fast his heart was beating, slamming against his chest in a rapid tempo.
The moment lingered between them, Midoriya meeting his eyes as something seemed to spark between the pair. Bakugou felt an unusual, rare prickle of nervousness as his tongue sat heavy like lead in his mouth. Say something more to him! His mind yelled.
“Mr. Ground Zero, sir, time to head back!” His agent called. Both males glanced over at the retreating group, and Bakugou’s mood dropped, the moment shattered. He hesitated to leave such a tranquil place where the attractive little ball of sunshine worked.
“Ah,” Midoriya hummed out, his tone laced with slight sadness. “Please do take care, okay, Kacchan?” He smiled gently, his eyes full of fondness. Bakugou’s lips quirked up.
“Don’t worry, Deku,” He assured, rolling his shoulders back with a small little flash of his sharp canines. “I can handle anything.” Midoriya smiled at him with a small laugh, sending him off with a peppy wave.
For the rest of the week, Bakugou couldn’t get that freckled face out of his mind.
Midoriya was so shy about his face in the magazine, letting the page rest open on the counter as he continuously glanced at the photo of him and a very popular Pro-Hero, laughing and smiling together. His heart swooned at the image of the handsome male and he sighed a little dreamily.
His friends had effectively embarrassed him about it a hundred times over, but they also congratulated him and were so excited to hear his story about the encounter. They teased him and gushed over the fact that he was “famous” now - which he wasn't. His mother had also been overjoyed by the fact that her son and the shop was featured in the magazine; it was true that the article had brought in an abundance of business for them.
Midoriya took a deep breath, letting the sweet floral aroma settle comfortably into his lungs. He hadn't seen Kacchan since that day, a little over two weeks ago. It was probably just his overly emotional self, but he was rather disappointed. After the way they seemed to naturally hit it off, Midoriya couldn’t help but hope that maybe he’d see the blond again sometime.
“Don’t flatter yourself,” Midoriya mumbled to himself, alone in the shop for the time being. “He’s a Pro-Hero! He has much better things to be worried about than hanging out with a dorky flower shop boy.”
Green eyes drifted to the door, flicking over flowers and plants that swayed in the gentle breeze. Sighing, Midoriya decided to quit pouting over it and get the rest of his tasks finished for the time being. The sunflowers were doing lovely at this time and his mother asked him to shuffle the displays so they could stand out. She was so proud of them, her eyes sparkling as she made sure they were healthy and happy in the greenhouse. No blemishes, no diseases or dead petals in sight. He had taken after her in terms of most everything; looks, personality and even work ethic; taking the utmost care of their precious plants and flowers just like she did.
A gentle tune took the form of a soft hum in the back of his throat as Midoriya got to work. He took extra care with the sunny yellow flowers, making sure they were properly situated and eye-catching out front. He was giddy to be able to write in the bright yellow window marker as well, happily announcing the arrival of the flowers with a swirly, cute font.
Satisfied and hoping that his mother would appreciate it, he returned behind the counter to arrange some more bouquets to replace the others that were nearing their time to wither. He tended to the few but friendly customers who popped in at this time of evening, but none were the blond hero he wanted to see.
He was crouched behind the counter when the bell chimed, searching for the right color ribbon to match his last bouquet for the night. Scuffs from footsteps echoed on the floor as someone strolled to the counter.
“Be right with you!” He called out warmly, drawing a measured amount from the roll and snipping it neatly.
He popped back up with a huff, bright smile already playing on his lips as he greeted the customer.
“Hi, welcome in-- ah?!”
Crimson eyes met his own as Midoriya stared up, stunned. His heart thundered in his chest, breath suddenly catching in his throat at the sight of the handsome man once more.
“Hey, Deku.” Bakugou said, voice low as he flashed a smirk.
“Kacchan!” Midoriya’s voice rang out, laced with delight. “Hi, oh my gosh, what are you doing here?” He laughed, cheeks dusted with pink as his fingers nervously played with the silky ribbon. The blond hero looked absolutely dashing in dark jeans and a black button up, the sleeves rolled up to show off his well sculpted forearms.
“What kinda question is that?” Bakugou scoffed slightly, rolling his eyes in a playful manner. His eyes flicked up and down Midoriya briefly, hands resting in the pockets of his jacket. “I’m here to see you.”
Me? Midoriya blinked, tilting his head as he felt the heat crawl up his neck.
“Ah, me? Really?” He asked softly. “What for? Oh! Because the article, right? I think it turned out so good! Everyone’s talking about it, they’re all really eager to see more of you in the future, so there’s no doubt that it worked! I think citizens are starting to--”
“No, Deku,” Bakugou said, an amused look on his face as he cut off the shorter man’s rambling. “I’m not here because of the article.” Scarlet irises stared straight at him, watching as Midoriya slowly fiddled with the ribbon, slowly working it into a bow as his brow furrowed.
“Oh.” Midoriya said dumbly. He couldn’t find any other words, overwhelmed with a mixture of anxious and ecstatic emotions. Bakugou was so many miles out of his league, he was a Pro-Hero building up his career, surely there were numerous other things, important things that he could be doing with his life than coming just to see him. “Why?”
There was another beat of silence before Bakugou rolled his head back and groaned loudly. Midoriya flushed, gnawing his lower lip and the blond smacked a hand over his face.
“Deku.” He said, tone exasperated as if there was something obvious he was missing.
“Yes?” He replied slowly, utterly confused and lost as Bakugou leveled him with a look that told him you are so oblivious.
“Go on a date with me.” He said, smooth and simple, and Midoriya’s heart jolted.
“A date?” He repeated - stupidly, his mind supplied, screaming at him - eyes wide as he looked at Bakugou.
“Yeah, a date. Go out with me.” Bakugou murmured, his own cheeks dusted with a light pink blush but he kept his confidence, waiting for Midoriya’s response.
“Yes.” He blurted, breaking free of his stupor. “Yes, of course! I would love that.” He said, his cheeks aching as a blinding smile overtook his lips. Bakugou actually looked surprised and Midoriya couldn’t understand why, but he could only dissolve into a fit of excited giggles.
“Yeah?” Bakugou chuckled, an endearingly soft look crossing his face, even as his gaze gleamed with amusement. “Me too.”
Midoriya’s heart fluttered, and a pleasant feeling bloomed in his chest, something bright and warm and could possibly be called romantic.