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To Tell You the Truth

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Depressed Kirishima has started to become a frequent visitor at UA.

He cries a lot, his head lays low and he barely eats. Sometimes you won’t even see him for a full week, and have to remind Aizawa that mental illness was very common in teenagers and he's skipping for a reason. Aizawa sometimes needs to check on the said depressed teen to be fully convinced. Once when it was really bad, the worst it had ever been, Aizawa had sent Kirishima home to be with his mother.

“You need to get your son professional help.” He had said, “I can give you some phone numbers and emails, but this needs to get controlled or he won’t be able to stay here at UA.”

When Kirishima came back a week later, medicated and going to weekly counseling, everyone thought he was better. He looked better. His skin had its usual dark tan and his hair was freshly dyed. He ate more, even offering to help Bakugou cook dinner, and sometimes Bakugou let him. Kirishima showed up to class everyday after he got back.

But it didn’t last barely three months until he was back where he started. No one could be angry with him. He was mentally ill, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. But people were worried.

Bakugou worries. He worries that Kirishima doesn’t get his education, he worries Kirishima is losing weight and sometimes Kirishima’s episodes last so long that Bakugou thinks he’s losing Kirishima forever. But Kirishima bounces back.

He goes downstairs to eat and his hair is freshly colored. He yells and he laughs and he smiles the whole damn day. Sometime’s he’s too reckless, bringing a new issue of where's Kirishima? Where’s his real personality? His happy, non-reckless self?

Bakugou often finds himself sneaking into Kirishima’s room when the redhead is sad. Like today.

“Shitty hair,” Bakugou says, voice a whisper and he crouches down to meet Kirishima at eye level. He’s wide awake, Bakugou can tell from his breathing, but to most it looks like he's sound asleep. Kirishima does this often, almost everyday when he's like this. He barely even moves. “I brought you some fish that the class worked hard on. Doesn’t sound too pleasant, I'm going to be honest. But food is food.”

No response. Bakugou suspected that would happen.

Kirishima had never been big on fish, but he was a huge carnivore. Sometimes that’s all he would eat. Bakugou forces him to eat his veggies most of the time.

“C’mon, sit up for a moment. I’ll eat it with you?” Bakugou suggests, knowing from countless times of experience (Kirishima refusing to eat all his food, and Bakugou not wanting the food to be wasted), that Kirishima prefers eating with people. He likes the idea of dining with his friends and family, and who was Bakugou to not make him feel at home when he was like this?

A mumble, small and unheard. Bakugou strains his ears but gives up, “You know I'm deaf, speak up.”

“Leave me alone.” A little louder. His voice is gravely, from not being used all day. Maybe not even being used yesterday either.

Bakugou grumbles. “Nah, I'd rather stay right here and conversate with you about how bad this fish is going to be.”

“I want to be alone.”

And if that isn’t the fattest, most shit of a lie, because Bakugou knows, oh he fucking knows, how much his best friend loves to be around people 24\7. It's a thing most have to get used to when they befriend Kirishima. He will stick to you like a lost puppy ‘till you die. Not that Bakugou has ever minded.

“No you don’t.” Bakugou sighs, “Now sit up, let's eat.”

Bakugou can hear Kirishima mutter under his breath as he turns over, balancing his body on his arms. Bakugou looks at his face. His eye bags have gotten worse, deep and purple looking, and Bakugou notes that his lips are chapped and gets up to retrieve the chap stick in Kirishima’s school bag.

“Have you been drinking water?” Bakugou asks as he rummages through Kirishima's front pocket. It's messy and full of trash, but he finds the chap stick sooner than later and opens it.

Kirishima shakes his head as Bakugou puts chap stick on his lips, rather softly. “Good thing I brought water for you then, huh?”

“I’ll drink it later.” Kirishima whispers, laying his head down on the pillow. “It’s not important.”

Bakugou lets out a snort, “It is if you don’t want gross chapped lips. How do you plan on getting a girlfriend with that?”

Kirishima doesn’t answer but his lip quirks up just a tad and Bakugou finds it to be a win. He hands Kirishima the water and thankfully he sits up and takes a sip. A small sip, but a sip nonetheless.

“Fish, huh?” Kirishima says, eyebrows a little raised. Now, this comment makes Bakugou stop, trying his best to tone down the smile. Reminding himself that he's Bakugou Katsuki and he’s bitchy and doesn’t smile. But the fact Kirishima is cracking a small joke-like comment, means the fucking world to the blonde.

“I know, not your favorite. The fuckers wanted some seafood though, and I stayed back.” Bakugou finds himself explaining, using a knife to cut some, bringing it to his own mouth and chewing. Another eating tip Bakugou has learned; eat first. Gives Kirishima confidence to eat himself.

“Always the social type, aren’t you?” Kirishima jokes, again. This does make Bakugou crack a fond smile.

“Oh you know me, I just fucking love my classmates.” He says, sarcastically, trying desperately to keep Kirishima this some-what happy. Because finally after days of barely even conversating, the redhead was cracking jokes. Lighthearted ones that make Bakugou want to hug him, and laugh. He doesn’t, of course. He wishes he had the courage to.

“Mhm,” Kirishima hums lightly, not really being truthful. “My social butterfly.”

Bakugou stops for a moment, as he stops cutting the fish again to give to Kirishima, eyes–only for a moment– widened. ‘My’ rings in Bakugou's brain like a game of ping-pong.

“You done yet?” Kirishima says quietly, making Bakugou return to the task at hand, instead of his brain yelling at him to sayitsayitsayit.

But what does he even want to say?

“Yeah,” He replies, placing the plate of food between them as they quietly eat. They take turns picking up the chopsticks. It's oddly domestic and comforting for Bakugou.

The sounds of the chopsticks scratching the glass plate, their chewing both quiet and barely there, and the way Kirishima shifts every now and then to adjust his position on the bed. He looks comfortable, Bakugou realizes, he looks tired. His eye bags are very noticeable, although his lips looked less chapped than before. Bakguous eyes stay on them for a while, quickly averting when the chopsticks reach Kirishima’s mouth.

He likes to think that Kirishima is just as relaxed and content, but thinks he is expecting too much. Kirishima never seems relaxed anymore, not like how he used to be. Not when he's like this. Instead, he just looks endlessly tired and scared. He looks extremely nervous, and Bakugou wishes he knew why.

Why is he nervous? Did something happen for him to act like this? He always comes to a blank slate when he thinks about it, because mental illness has never made sense to Bakugou.

His mother had told him he was depressed before, she's even told him he was anxious as well. But he never has been like Kirishima.

Even when he was a tad unmotivated and upset, he still was himself.

Kirishima just wasn’t himself some days.

One time it became an argument between the two, in October when the symptoms first started. Kirishima hadn’t been acting normal, as Bakugou put it. He was scared, jittery and talked like he was about to break out in tears. He never even left his room. It had gone on for almost a week before Bakugou (rudely) brought it up.

“Can’t you get the shit out of your bed for once, shithead?” Bakugou roared, trying to tug the blanket off of Kirishima’s figure.

Kirishima didn’t respond, he never did. He lets Bakugou yell and yell at him as he pretends to sleep and ignore him. But he heard, he heard all the names Bakugou called him. Shithead, lazy-fuck, good-for-nothing.

“Can’t you just shut the fuck up, Bakugou? Or are you bad at that too, like everything else?”

Bakugou stops yelling, eyes wide, looking down at Kirishima as he lifts his elbows to balance him.

“Just leave me the fuck alone!”

Bakugou does.

It took awhile, after that, for Bakugou and Kirishima to heal their friendship. It wasn’t particularly a fight and yet both of them were wounded by each other, needing a break.

They haven't fought since, and even when Kirishima lashes out, Bakugou is steady and doesn’t take it to heart. It’s not Kirishima who is lashing out.

“Thank you,” Kirishima brings Bakugou back to the present.

The temperature has dropped, Bakugou soon realizes. He gets up, putting the empty–when did they finish eating? –plate on Kirishima's desk.

“Why are you thanking me, shitty hair?” Bakugou lets out a low laugh, not even close to humorous, but Kirishima still smiles slightly from it. It takes a lot for Bakugou to laugh, real or not. And Kirishima takes pride in saying he is one of the few who can.

“You are the only one who visits me, anymore.” Kirishima states. It sounds sad, a little lost. Bakugou never knew this, he just assumed everyone wanted to visit Kirishima. But as he looks back on it, it's true. No one visits or even talks to Kirishima when he's depressed. They used to, back when it first started. Everyone showed their support, but now…now everyone's given up on their friend. Bakugou still remains.

Bakugou doesn’t reply, he doesn't need to as he puts his hand on Kirishima's shoulder blade, making him lay back down after one last sip from his water bottle. It's halfway full now, and Bakugou lets Kirishima know he's proud by rubbing his shoulder. Bakugou screws the cap back on, sitting it on the bedside table.

Kirishima watches with intent eyes as Bakugou makes him fully lay down on his side. The blonde pulls his comforter fully onto his shoulders, almost tucking him in, and then sighing when he's done. It sounded tired, but Kirishima has grown to know its content. A content, comfortable sigh, saying that he's happy to be there. He's comfortable to be there.

And it's only when Bakugou goes to leave when Kirishima realizes he truly doesn't want to be alone all night again. He can’t handle the silence, the ticking of his clock and the cold covers.

His body shifts slightly, letting his hand weave its way out of his comforter and grasp Bakugou's hand.

At first, it's awkward, because Bakugou's hand is in a weird position, he's turned away, and Kirishima honestly has nothing else to say anyways.

Bakugou isn’t an idiot though, so he turns around to face Kirishima, face pulled into an unreadable look. “Move over.”

And Kirishima does, scooting over towards the wall so Bakugou can fit on the edge. It's a tight squeeze in a twin bed, but they make it work, like they’ve done countless times.

Bakugou makes it less cold.

_______________

 

“Will you let me brush your hair?” Bakugou says, brush already in hand as he stands in the doorway.

Kirishima is in bed, again. He never really left now that Bakugou thinks about it. He thought they had made progress a couple days ago. Kirishima was eating and even making jokes, but nothing lasts forever and Kirishima is back to mute in only two days.

Bakugou walks into the room, too impatient to wait for an answer. He already knows that even if he got one, it'd be a no.

“Let's sit up, okay?” Bakugou asks, trying to be patient. It's hard, especially for a guy like Bakugou but he knows Kirishima is trying, he does, so he should too. “We can try the showers another day. I won’t force your smelly ass in there today.”

Bakugou talks absently, just mixed words at this point. But he talks, waiting for an answer from Kirishima, only to get silence in return.

Bakugou knows Kirishima likes when he talks like this, he has brought it up before. Sometimes though, it seems like being quiet is better for the both of them. Bakugou still debates it.

“I’m gonna sit you up so I can do your hair,” Bakugou instructs after a while. He gently–as gently as one can–grabs Kirishima’s shoulders, using strength to pull him up. Now, Bakugou is a strong guy, but Kirishima’s muscle mass weighs like boulders, even for a strong guy.

Thankfully though, he ends up getting Kirishima to cooperate a bit. The redhead sits up by himself, letting Bakugou guide him. Bakugou quickly makes his way on the bed, moving Kirishima so Bakugou is behind him.

It's uncomfortable at first, but they both shift and make it durable.

They stay like that as Bakugou untangles the other's hair. It's a quiet moment, one that's comforting to both of them.

In these moments, Kirishima wants to cry tears of joy, because Bakugou is taking care of him so gently. He's there, with Kirishima, touching Kirishima and helping him, with nothing in return and Kirishima just wants to cry. He knows that Bakugou is the only one who would do this for him. There's proof, scientific evidence.

While everyone ignores and talks about him, there is Bakugou, forcing Kirishima to eat and bathe and fucking comb his hair, and hes never been more grateful for someone to breath down his neck like a over-protective mother.

Kirishima’s mother wasn’t one of those, she was absent. She cooked, cleaned and kept to herself. Sometimes Kirishima doesn’t even know if she knows his birthday.

“You're thinking about something,” Bakugou says, matter-factually.

Kirishima just shrugs in response. Bakugou doesn’t push the issue as he continues brushing his hair, instead staying in their comfortable silence.

But when he's long done brushing his hair, Bakugou stays put. He puts the brush on the other side of the bed, opting to run his fingers through the black and red strands. Kirishima leans back, putting his back against Katsukis chest.

“You would look good with black hair,” Bakugou says, “Why do you dye it?”

The question itself is simple, and Kirishima knows Bakugou means no harm in asking. Bakugou has always been blunt when asking questions.

“Red riot.” Kirishima simply answers.

It's enough, it's an answer. But Bakugou doesn’t buy it, “I doubt that's the only reason.”

Kirishima ponders, trying not to feel so insecure. Of course it's not the only reason but…Bakugou doesn’t need to know his insecurities. There's already so much Bakugou knows, so much he's seen.

Kirishima feels a light bonk on his head, making him look to the side, catching Bakugou's eyes. “Stop thinking so much. Let me hear the sob story, will ya?”

And Kirishima wants to cry again. How does Bakugou know him so well?

“I-” Kirishima stops for a moment, trying to figure out his words. He knows his sob story, he knows it so well, but he doesn’t know how to tell someone else. “I don’t think my quirk is very flashy…I mean I'm not very flashy. I’m not amazingly cool or attractive looking. Like Todoroki. Like you, or even Kaminari can be rather cool at times.” Kirishima takes a moment again, breathing in through his nose. He shouldn’t be telling Bakugou this, he knows he shouldn’t. But Bakugou's eyes are begging for him to continue, so he does.

“I want to be someone people can look up to, but how can I if I am boring? Someone who is lazy, boring and ugly. And I thought if I got my hair dyed, or if I dressed better, then I'd be on the same level…but I'm just not.”

Bakugou twirls his fingers through Kirishima's hair as he vents, watching his side profile as his nose scrunches up and looks like he's about to break. “Since when did fucking shark teeth and an amazingly strong quirk become boring?”

Kirishima makes eye contact with Bakugou again. “What?”

“You said,'' Bakugou sighs, “that you're boring. Yet, you are probably one of the most loud and fucking obnoxious people I know. I can’t name one single fucking boring or ugly thing about you. From your shitty hair to the way-too-colorful pants you decide to wear. And you wanna know what? When I first saw those razor sharp teeth and bright ass eyes, I knew from the damn jump you were gonna be a pain in the ass. A real non-boring pain.”

Kirishima starts to think Bakugou is insulting him before he speaks again, “And I love it. I love that you're a pain in my ass. I love when you talk too much, when you're too loud. I fucking love those shitty clothes you wear, and I love those murderous teeth. And don’t even get me started on how utterly boring Todo-shit is. You can’t even compete with that level of boring, because guess fucking what? You're the least boring person I’ll ever meet.”

Kirishima is crying now. Hot tears running down his face as he laughs. It’s a real laugh this time, despite the tears. He hiccups, making Bakugou flinch slightly. “You're too kind for your own good, Bakugou.” And it's sad the way he says it, like he still doesn’t fully believe Bakugou. It's like he doesn’t believe Bakugou could truly want him, that Bakugou loves every little imperfection about him.

But Bakugou does. Bakugou loves every single small thing about Kirishima, and will continue to be vocal about it, “What’s that supposed to mean, asshole?”

Kirishima doesn’t say anything, moving his body wordlessly as he turns to face Bakugou. The blonde's hands travel down Kirishima’s sides as he does this, resting them at Kirishima’s hips. It's silent, except for the occasional small sounds from Kirishima as he continues to cry.

“It means exactly what I said. You like to believe you're so gruesome and vain, yet you sit here and hold me as a cry about being boring? I just…” Kirishima stops, taking a breath. He realizes how vulnerable he's being now. It’s all hitting him right in the face, eyes tracing Bakugou's features. He looks over the blonde's defined jawline, his crooked nose, and deeply slanted eyes. Kirishima wonders if Bakugou naturally glares, if it's a natural facial feature at this point. “I am just grateful for your kindness.”

Bakugou sighs, his grip on Kirishima's hip bones loosening. “So dramatic.”

Kirishima laughs, small and quiet, but still another real laugh. “That makes two of us, doesn’t it? You are the one who went into a full rant about how non-boring I am.”

Bakugou coughs at that, a small tint of pinks on his nose as he lifts his hand to cover his mouth. Hes flustered, Kirishima very quickly realizes. Bakugou is flustered. This makes him laugh again, wanting to test his limits.

“If I didn’t know any better, I'd say you think I'm attractive.”

Bakugou–who is still flustered, even more so–thinks he ought to kill Kirishima in this exact moment, kindness be damned.

“Shut it, shithead. I'll take it all back!”

“I'm sure you will,” Kirishima says, beaming.

Bakugou see’s this. He sees the wide smile Kirishima has, the way his eyes crinkle at the corners, half closed. He sees the tear tracks on Kirishima’s cheeks, and the small scar on his eye looks more defined than usual. Bakugou wants to cry himself, because it's been weeks since he’s seen Kirishima so happy, so pleased with himself.

“Kirishima,” Bakugou lets out, quiet. Kirishima looks him in the eye. “You believe me, don’t you?”
The redhead sighs, averting contact.

“You’re a lot of things Bakugou…but you aren’t a liar.”