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“Kirishima,” Mina says, at lunch. 

Bakugou’s eating his bowl of rice, quietly hunched over, and his gaze involuntarily flickers over at the sound of Kirishima’s name. He refocuses on his meat, stirring the broth.

Mina goes on, “Do you wear chapstick?”

And Bakugou swallows his rice. His eyes move to Kirishima, glance cutting out the corner of his eyes. 

Kirishima is tearing his mutton with his teeth, messy and fucking stupid. His eyes are almost crossed as he chews on his food, and he pauses to look at Mina. “What?”

“Well, like,” Mina waves her fork around, slicing through the air mindlessly as she talks. “I figured with your quirk your lips would be all cracked twenty-four seven, but they’re not.”

“Oh,” Kirishima says around his mouthful before gulping it down. “Yeah. Yeah, I wear chapstick. My quirk kinda does mess with them, so.”

He shrugs, and Bakugou stiffens. 

Of course, of fucking course Kirishima wears chapstick. Have they even looked at his stupid lips? Do they not see him apply it a little too often during class? Do they not see how it smears a little during spars, over the corners of his lips?

It’s so painfully obvious, to see the full parts of Kirishima’s lips covered in butter, to notice how it coats his cupid’s bow. It’s literally staring up at you when you see Kirishima beaming, smiling with his razor sharp teeth.

Unobservant idiots, Bakugou scoffs to himself. 

“Oh, that makes sense,” Sero nods. He points at Kirishima with a french fry. “I guess I never really looked at your lips bro.”

Bakugou frowns at this, but chooses instead to bite into a carrot, munching almost annoyedly. What the fuck. It’s not weird to be observant about your friends. It’s not weird to have a mental list of things that Kirishima does, his stupid fucking habits—the way Kirishima worries at his lips, the way he cracks his knuckles and furrows his brows in a manner that makes his scar dip and fold, the way he nudges his nose before laughing.

He doesn’t have a mental list for the rest of his friends. And that’s simply because the rest of them are fucking extras. Dumbasses.

Exhibit A: right fucking now. Kaminari seems to get bored with this topic of discussion and bangs a fist on the table. “How many carrots do you think I can fit into my mouth.”

“Ten,” Mina says, immediately perking up in interest.

“Fifteen and I bet he’ll start gagging,” Sero counters.

Kaminari tsk s and waggles a finger, cocks his eyebrows in a self absorbed kind of way. “You offend me, mes amis .” Then he points at Bakugou’s bento. “Gimme your carrots.”

“Absolutely fucking not,” Bakugou barks, pushes his lunch tin towards himself, eyes narrowing into angered slits. 

Kirishima nudges him with an elbow, laughing, “Come on, man!”

And this nudge into Bakugou’s side is private. It is a simple thing, the knock of Kirishima’s elbow, it is an innocent thing. Bakugou and Kirishima have touched and shared contact before; this is nothing new.

But this brush is a little careful. Kirishima leans into Bakugou’s space and his eyes are warm, and it’s as though they are—they are separate , clipped off from the rest of the group for a second.

“You’ll get to see Kaminari struggling after only six, I bet,” Kirishima continues. His voice is low. He nudges Bakugou once more. “It’ll be fun!”

And Bakugou grits his teeth, shrinks a little. Maybe he does want to see Kaminari suffering. 

He uncurls his arm and shoves his bento over a little. 

“Thanks!” Kaminari yips, diving in messily with his chopsticks, gathering up all the carrots he can grab.

Bakugou’s lips tilt a little further down at the corners as he quickly pulls his ravished bento back towards himself once Kaminari is done. He watches in mild disgust as Kaminari starts pushing carrots into his mouth, face twisted up in a terrible mix of horror and distaste.

But it’s fine. It’s fine, because Kirishima’s elbow is still pressed into his side. 

 

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.

 

“That answer’s wrong.” 

Kirishima looks up lazily from his equations, across the table to Bakugou. He’s sleepy, eyelids falling a little heavy as they tend to do after an hour or so of studying. 

“What?”

Bakugou watches his mouth move, lips curl and flex and memorize the way the corners get caught on razor sharp teeth. He grits his own, eyebrows tensing up, annoyance mounting. Snaps his eyes down and points to the problem Kirishima just tried to solve. 

“There, it’s wrong,” he explains, impatiently. A heat climbs up his throat, and he tries not to blush as the image of his best friend’s lips flashes through his mind again, as the image of Bakugou taking those lips between his own comes to mind. 

Because, god, Kirishima has this fucking effect on him. He immediately imagines running his hands through Kirishima’s spiked hair, a finger curling under Kirishima’s shoulder. Imagines the feeling of Kirishima’s teeth pressing into Bakugou’s bottom lip, imagines the taste of his chapstick.

Bakugou clears his throat. The room feels hot. “You should’ve multiplied instead of divided. Got it all fucked now.”

“Oh,” Kirishima says, pushing the word through a sigh. He scrubs a hand down his face before turning his pencil over and erasing the last half of his work. “Got it.”

Bakugou lets his eyes trail back up, then. Back to the image that’s been plaguing his thoughts.

He blames the chapstick, really. 

 

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.

.

 

Bakugou’s at class when Kirishima unscrews a small stick of lip balm. 

There isn’t anyone there yet, the room is empty save for Momo and Jirou, quietly reading over some notes of their last session. And here, Kirishima’s applying butter to his lips. His hair isn’t properly done today, either: it’s almost as if he had to rush to class late, with one of his buttons aligned wrong at the bottom, his tie tilted and scrunched up.

Bakugou watches, as he applies the balm. He almost leans forward, in interest, but his chin is caught on his hand, eyes carefully looking at Kirishima out the corner.

And, for a moment, he thinks about reaching across the aisle separating their seats and straightening up the fabric of his tie for him, fixing the buttons on his shirt. He thinks for a moment about trailing his thumb up across the stray smudge of cherry tint just under Kirishima’s lip. 

But he doesn’t. He steels himself, keeps his fists clenched in his pockets as he stays leaned far back in his seat. His hair’s hanging in his eyes at this angle, just barely. He still watches Kirishima. 

“You missed a spot,” he states—curt, blunt. The redhead turns to look at him. 

“What?” He arches both of his small fucking eyebrows, forehead lining. 

Bakugou makes a small gesture with his finger, a quiet grunt slipping out of his mouth as he does so. “You smeared it. Missed a spot.”

“Oh,” Kirishima says, and his lips spread into a smile. Bakugou’s tongue dries as he sees Kirishima’s razor white teeth. He slides the stick over his bottom lip once more, a tantalising swipe. Bakugou’s throat fills up with tannin as he imagines licking Kirishima’s lip the same way. 

Then Kirishima looks at him again. “Thank you!”

 

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.

 

“Stop fuckin’ dragging me,” Bakugou complains but makes no move to snatch his shirt sleeve out of Kirishima’s grasp. 

He’s giddy, excited—has been since they arrived at the mall with the rest of the class about fifteen minutes ago. After getting distracted at a kiosk selling knock off Crimson Riot keychains for much longer than Bakugou’d liked, Kirishima started tugging him deeper into the mall. 

“Sorry I just wanna get there,” Kirishima grins over his shoulder, and Bakugou’s breath catches in his throat. 

His gaze fixates on the stretch of semi-waxy lips pulled taut around a fang toothed smile, the curve of a way too pretty mouth curled wide. It’s so mesmerizing, so fucking haunting that Bakugou doesn’t even realize Kirishima’s turned back around and stopped until he’s running straight into his back. 

This—this obsession he has going on for Kirishima’s shitty fucking chapstick has got to stop. It’s getting out of hand, and he’s sick of it. 

Well, he’s sick of the fact that he still doesn’t know what the shit fucking tastes like, at least. He only knows it smells a bit like butterscotch and vanilla, and maybe almonds and earth—but that is just what Kirishima smells like.

Bakugou spends hours alone, wondering about what it would be like to taste the chapstick, to have Kirishima press openmouthed kisses at his skin, to smear the balm down his dusted skin brought to fever heat—he knows he wants Kirishima, wants this bit of him too: the playful way something as stupid and simple as chapstick drives him insane .

“Where the fuck are we even going,” Bakugou grunts. 

“I’ll tell you when we—ah! Here!” 

Kirishima’s beaming, bright and whole and all too confident as he turns on his heel to face Bakugou, throwing his arm out in some sort of grand-ish gesture. 

Bakugou tilts his head up to read the store sign, glances inside, then cuts his eyes over to crook an eyebrow at Kirishima. 

“A merch store?”

“Mhm,” his best friend hums, nodding quickly. “I’m gonna get ya something. As a thank you!”

“A thank you?” Bakugou counters, tone a little more harsh than intended. “The fuck for?”

“For being you.”

And, oh. That… Jesus, that shouldn’t have made Bakugou’s heart lurch to a screeching halt the way it did inside his chest. The air’s left his lungs, blood rushing to his cheeks so fast he’s sure he might just fall over faint. And his eyes, they’re fixed on Kirishima’s lips again. Kirishima’s perfect, pink, devastatingly plush lips. 

He has to tear his eyes away to stop himself from grabbing the other boy by the hair and finally giving in to his shitty fucking desires. 

To maybe have a chance to compare the fantasies to reality, to maybe dare, curl his fingers behind Kirishima’s neck, blunt nails digging in, pulling Kirishima’s lips in between his own, crush them up like pomegranates to purple juice, drink him in, taste every bit of him.

But for now, he simply walks behind Kirishima.

He follows as Kirishima leads him under the store’s cheesy archway, as he tugs the sleeve of his shirt again towards the All Might aisle, as he stops and bounces on the balls of his feet like a three year old in a candy store, waiting for Bakugou to pick something— anything that he wants. 

He follows and watches and observes, all while keeping his jaw clenched and eyebrows cinched tight in an attempt to keep himself at bay and ignore the ever growing pit of want in the depths of his stomach. 

And maybe he notices the way the corners of Kirishima’s lips tilt a little higher when he brushes a hand over a certain All Might shirt. And maybe he decides to get that one just because his best friend’s unintentionally telling mouth is more than enough to sway his decision. 

He buys Kirishima a new tube of chapstick, as a thank you. 

He finds some lip balms at the checkout aisle, next to a gobstopper machine and a few plastic gudetama figurines, and he pays for them while Kirishima is distracted, pockets the stick. His fingers twists around it as he keeps his hands buried inside.

He doesn’t pull it out until they’re back at the dorms. Kirishima went to take a quick shower before dinner and Bakugou knows he always leaves his door unlocked. He sneaks in and leaves the new tube on Kirishima’s desk. 

But not before applying it to his own lips first, head keening into Kirishima’s mirror for one second to purse his lips, once, and then places the lip chap on the table. On his way out he pulls Kirishima’s curtain, pushes one of the bright red kanji posters in place.

He leaves, imagines how Kirishima must look, towel around his waist, face puzzled as he looks at the chapstick on his table, his room straightened out just one inch. Does he realise it’s been Bakugou, does he realise it has always been Bakugou.

Does he whisper to himself, in that realisation, does he whisper Bakugou’s name in a bit of awe, in a bit of understanding.

Bakugou will never know.

 

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He’d been walking out to go down to the kitchen, grab one of the green teas he has stashed away from Momo in the back of the fridge. But as soon as he opens the door, there’s Kirishima. If Bakugou had to guess, he’s been standing there too afraid to enter for a good few minutes, with his red hair damp and darkened, falling around his shoulders in wet knots. In his hand is the lip balm Bakugou gave him.

Because while no one else is allowed to step foot inside Bakugou’s room for any reason, Kirishima’s always welcome to waltz right in like it’s his room. Like he owns it and he belongs there and he is the one who sleeps in that pristinely made bed every night. 

For a second, Bakugou thinks about how he wishes he did. 

“The fuck you need, Shitty Hair?” He asks now, hands shaky in his sweats pockets and arms chilly from his tank top. He’d had on a hoodie of Kirishima’s that the redhead didn’t know he stole, but knew better than to wear that downstairs in front of everyone—so he had pulled it off a second before swinging open his dorm door. 

After all, it’s obvious that Bakugou wouldn’t own any Crimson Riot merch of his own. 

“Thank you.”

Whatever fucking fetish this idiot has for giving gratitude lately needs to fucking stop because Bakugou is tired of the heat it makes the ocean pool in the pit of his chest every time he does it, and there’s a mountain of pressure building up in Bakugou’s head.

“For what?”

Kirishima digs in the pocket of his worn out basketball shorts, pulls out a tube of chapstick. The tube that Bakugou had bought him. 

“I don’t know what that is.”

“C’mon man, don’t lie. I know it was you,” Kirishima grins, and it isn’t fucking fair how much the dumbass makes him feel without even trying. He grins, white and sharp and fanged, his eyes warm in a thousand shades and flecks of red, his eyebrows twisted up in an earnest kind of way. 

God, Bakugou feels everything, and his chest seems to fill up to bursting, heat pulling everywhere and burning at his cheeks, his neck and down to his fucking toes .

“Whatever,” Bakugou grumbles, making to shut the door in his best friend’s face, giving up on his earlier mission to retrieve a drink in favor of saving his cheeks from bursting into flames. 

Kirishima stops it with his foot, pushes it back open and slips inside just far enough to shut it back behind himself. And for the first time in months Bakugou thinks about seriously blowing his stupid, pretty face up. 

What ?” Bakugou snaps. He steps back into his room, sits, leaning against his study table. He crosses his arms, scowling and tense and really hoping that Kirishima won’t notice the faded red hoodie that belongs to him hanging off the edge of his bed. 

“Nothing,” Kirishima all but beams, the light of his smile seeping through the cracks of Bakugou’s hardened facade, and he feels the need to stretch out in it like a cat in a sliver of sunlight. 

“If it’s nothing,” Bakugou kicks his feet off the floor, settles on his table. “Then why’re you in here.”

Kirishima—pliant and pushing and personal space invader Kirishima—leans in now, stares at Bakugou with just a few centimeters between them.

There is something in his eyes. Bakugou bites the inside of his cheek. “I am going to get tea.”

Kirishima pushes one hand on the mahogany of the table, just beside Bakugou. Stares up at him, eyes wide, earnest. “Can I,” he starts, and then switches: “Can you get it later?”

Bakugou’s battling with himself, half of him wanting to call out the fumble of words and the other half screaming not to look at Kirishima’s mouth, keep his eyes focused on anything but, because he’ll be wanting to drink that up instead of his fucking tea. 

The second half fails. And Kirishima notices. 

“Fine,” Bakugou grumbles, only a portion of his normal bite, normal viciousness in his tone as he fights to breathe correctly with Kirishima so close, so demanding of attention. 

The reaction is immediate—the curl of pink tinted lips, the crinkle of mascara framed eyes, the wrinkle of a freckle dotted nose. It’s immediate and pure and—fuck, it’s so, so good. 

“Fine,” Kirishima parrots, a light jab, and pushes in further. 

He’s so close that Bakugou can feel the heat radiating between their chests, can practically hear Kirishima’s heartbeat pounding against sturdy ribs so loud that it—oh, no, that’s just his own. Bakugou can count every line of Kirishima’s face, pressed from use of his quirk, small tan lines folding at his forehead, barely there: and he can feel Kirishima’s breath, warm. Kirishima is beautiful and flawed, one eyebrow of his seems to hold higher than the other, there is a fleck in one eye than the other.

Bakugou can smell him, like the fucking vanilla chapstick and like the fresh, clean scent of a clean stone body out of a shower, the punch of shower jell and the run of hard water down skin. And He imagines Kirishima, standing alone in a shower, humming to himself as he runs his hands through his hair, shampoo in his hands as water pelts down his back. Soap suds frothing up in his chest, in his hair.

Bakugou suddenly curls his fingers over the material of Kirishima’s shorts, bites down on his cheek again so hard he’s sure that the metallic taste on his tongue is copper. But he can’t help it. And he can’t help the grunt he lets out as Kirishima raises a hand up to cup his jaw, either. 

“What are you doing.”

It’s not a question necessarily, because a deep and dark tucked away part of Bakugou’s brain already knows the answer, knows why his best friend is pushing him back harder into the wood and knocking their chests together. 

“Do your lips still taste like the chapstick you got me, Katsuki ?”

Bakugou’s breath hitches, stalls, and his face grows so hot that he’s sure the comparison between it and Kirishima’s hair must be simply uncanny. He splutters, for a moment, grips the wrist of the hand that Kirishima has placed on his jaw, but he can’t seem to push anything out. 

“It’s been driving me crazy, you know,” he continues, leaning in to nose along Bakugou’s cheek, under the defined bone that juts out from below the apple. “You’re supposed to be smart, but it’s painfully obvious that someone used the balm before me since the wrapper wasn’t on it. Who else could have used it, Katsuki?”

What the fuck. What the fuck . Where does this fucker get off on even saying shit like this? And this sudden—the sudden fucking use of Bakugou’s given name out of nowhere as if it’s natural? As if that’s what he’s always called him? As if it’s so easy? What the fuck. 

And who the fuck does he think he is even insinuating that Bakugou would ever dare let anyone else press their lips to the same balm that should be buttering Kirishima’s. 

How fucking dare he. 

“I just needed to know,” Bakugou mumbles and instantly curses himself for how weak it sounds, how shattered his facade has really gotten around Kirishima. 

“Needed to know? What, exactly?” 

His lips are nearly brushing against Bakugou’s cheek now, just a fraction of a hair, a baby breath away from contact on the heated flesh. Bakugou wants to lean into, press and mold and melt into the touch he’s been thinking about for months. 

“The taste. I needed to know what it would taste like,” he answers honestly, because when has he ever needed to lie to Kirishima before, ever needed to sugarcoat it, ever needed to ease his words out. When has he ever had to filter himself to the one boy who can see right through him regardless.

“Oh,” Kirishima falters, as if that’s not what he was expecting, and Bakugou has half a mind to ask him what he was. “ Oh.

His grip on the blond’s jaw tightens accidentally, and the second Bakugou feels pin pricking fingertips poking at his skin he knows it’s because he’s caught Kirishima off guard. He’s flustered, must be, since that’s the only time his quirk acts out like this. 

“Shitty Hair,” Bakugou croaks, wincing a little. There’s a heavy baritone to his voice and he stares , up at Kirishima, and there’s this want that twists and aches in his belly, grounding at the depths of him.

Kirishima eases his fingers out. “Sorry,” he whispers, and suddenly his hand is away from Bakugou. Bakugou chases, pressing further into Kirishima.

“Bakugou,” Kirishima says this time. “I—”

“Stop,” Bakugou hisses, finally. Stop this fucking nonsense, stop not kissing me, touch me right now, can’t you see I am burning up for you, can’t you see me, begging for you to go easy on me, stop

Kirishima seems to understand the gleam in Bakugou’s eyes, and leans in, an inch. His lips brush over Bakugou’s for a tense second.

And then they kiss, and it’s nothing like Bakugou has ever felt before: he is drinking Kirishima up, pulling his lips between Bakugou’s own teeth, sipping down the taste of vanilla chapstick and almonds and earth and something so Kirishima that it’s like wicker and soil and singed sandalwood and fuck, there’s a warmth pushing out Bakugou’s belly as Kirishima brings his arm around Bakugou’s waist, as he tastes him in.

It’s wrong and it’s right and it’s everything and it’s nothing and it’s too much and not enough and Bakugou feels so greedy as his hands fly up to card back into loose red hair. And he’s tugging and pulling and his lips are sliding a little too easily from the chapstick. He’s smearing it, he knows, and maybe that makes him a little smug. 

Because he’s finally the one to smudge that pretty pink tint off the corners of pretty pink lips.