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acceptance and denial

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On his papers, Kirishima still writes down “1-A”. When somebody asks him what his class is, he always answers “A” before quickly correcting himself. He’s a second year now. And part of the class B. He’s still getting used to it.

Kirishima really likes his new class! He’s always been easy-going and quick to make friends, so socializing was never a problem – besides Tetsu is in the class B as well and so is Kaminari, thus it isn’t like Kirishima would be all alone if he stayed in his own classroom. The thing is he doesn’t want to.

It’s been just a couple of weeks since school year started and Kirishima loves his new classmates. However, that doesn’t stop him from going to the 2-A classroom every day to have lunch with Bakugou and Sero. Kaminari does the same very often. Kirishima thinks he knows the reason: their class went through a lot together in their first year. Despite Aizawa insisting that it is important for them to mix with other classes, since heroes often are forced to work with different people in order to succeed, the bond forged between them won’t break that easily.   Deep down, they’re still class A.

(Regardless of how much Kaminari insists that that Kirishima is just a giant masochist who can’t live a day without being bullied by Bakugou.)

(Which isn’t fair, really, because Bakugou doesn’t bully Kirishima. He’s a prick, yes, and sometimes he and Kirishima bicker a lot, but Kirishima knows that Bakugou likes him. And that he likes the rest of their classmates as well, even though he has a hard time showing it.)

 

“Why won’t you fucks eat in your own classroom for once?” Bakugou groans.

(But he doesn’t make any effort to move somewhere else or to push them away. The guy is a whole new level of tsundere. So troublesome.)

“It’s fine like this, isn’t it?” Kirishima drags someone’s chair to sit in front of Bakugou.

“Cementoss and All Might gave us so much homework…” Kaminari complains, ignoring Bakugou’s scowl and dragging a chair to sit by Kirishima’s side. “Sero, tell me you have it worse so I can feel better.”

“Actually…” Sero grins around his chopsticks. “Today we had Midnight and Aizawa. You know how much they hate grading papers, so they gave us nothing.”

Kaminari lets out a weird sound, like a wounded animal, and dramatically hides his face behind his arms. Kirishima can’t help but pull a face as well when he thinks about the pile of work that awaits him that night.

“Just fucking ask the ponytail chick for help.” Bakugou rolls his eyes.

“Yaomomo never lets us copy her homework!” Kaminari retorts.

“Asking for help and copying someone’s work are not the same fucking thing, Pikachu.”

As Kaminari gasps and starts throwing a tantrum, – he hates it when people call him Pikachu. All electric Pokémons are fine, but Pikachu is off the table, for some reason – Kirishima smiles softly. Bakugou still pretends he doesn’t know anyone’s names, but it’s easy to see that he had warmed up to them. He’s a little softer than before, especially since the new school year started.

(Not that Kirishima would say that out loud, since he doesn’t want to be murdered or anything.)

“Actually,” Kirishima says to Bakugou, ignoring Kaminari’s whining and Sero’s vain attempt to shut him up, “I was hoping you could help me a little with Japanese homework? Tonight?”

“Humph. Whatever.”

Kirishima grins. Definitely softer.

“Oi, Kirishima.” Sero elbows him softly and points at the window.

They are on the second floor and the windows have a nice view to the courtyard. From where they are, they can see a familiar face waving eloquently at them – or, well, at Kirishima. Behind him, Kaminari makes a distressed sound as Kirishima gets up and open the window.

Tetsutetsu doesn’t yell (they both got scolded by Iida last week for being noisy and they promised to stop) but he keeps gesturing violently. He waves his hands and makes a punching motion and then waves some more. Kirishima understands immediately and beams at his friend, raising his thumb. So they’ll have a sparring match later. Awesome. Tetsutetsu grins back and runs somewhere else.

Kirishima is more than happy when he goes back to his seat, which is why he feels so surprised when he finds the three of his friends wearing the same annoyed expression.

“What?” He asks, frowning.

“It’s just… so not cute when you guys do that.” Sero pulls a face.

Kirishima blinks. “What do you mean?”

“What is the deal with you and iron jerk face?” Bakugou mirrors Sero expression.

“Steel.” Kirishima corrects mechanically. “What about him?”

“What about him?” Bakugou snorts – and not in a good way. “Are you serious?”

“I’ve never thought I’d say this, but I’m with Bakugou.” Kaminari nods. “Your relationship with Tetsutetsu is kind of weird. Now that you guys are in the same class it looks like you’re reading each other’s minds or something.”

“Maybe it has something to do with their quirks. Like people who get hard together, stick together.” Sero suggests.

“That makes no fucking sense!” Bakugou snaps, his neck growing red.

“And that sentence sounds so bad in so many levels,” Kaminari groans, “Don’t be gross, Sero.”

Kirishima feels his good mood slowly fading away.

“What’s the problem? We’re friends.”

“You’ve been hanging together too much lately and you two have this thing where you read each other’s minds and you keep doing that half-hug half-headlock thing.”

“Yaomomo and Jirou hug all the time.” Kirishima pouts.

“Yeah, but they’re girls, so it’s normal. Tetsutetsu and you… How can I put this?”

“It’s fucking creepy,” Bakugou supplies.

Kirishima’s stomach drop and he feels his happiness disappearing for good as Sero and Kaminari nod.

They’re my friends, Kirishima tells himself. They don’t mean this. They don’t mean to hurt me.

But it does hurt, regardless.

It’s not cute when it is two guys, Sero had said. Kirishima guesses this is how most boys think, though. He’s the weird one for thinking differently. He loves his friends and he’s sure that he is loved back, but he can’t help but wonder. Wouldn’t that change if they knew the truth?  Wouldn’t they find Kirishima disgusting?

Kirishima can’t even imagine their reaction. They’d probably be shocked. They have no idea after all. They already went back to their trivial discussion about homework and teachers, completely unaware that they made Kirishima upset somehow.

He chews on his lower lip uncomfortably until he raises his gaze and meets a pair of sharp, serious eyes attentively glaring at him. Bakugou has noticed his uneasiness.

Swallowing hard, Kirishima quickly forces a smile and turns to Kaminari, trying his best to fit in the conversation again.

 

 

Kirishima doesn’t know when he started liking Bakugou’s room more than his own. Maybe it’s because Bakugou never leaves his dirty laundry scattered on the floor. Maybe it’s because Bakugou’s furniture is simple and manly. Maybe it’s because everything about the room is very Bakugou-ish and Kirishima learned to associate the room with the presence of his problematic, but beloved friend. Either way, Kirishima feels very at ease when he’s in Bakugou’s room, even when he goes there to study.

He was really happy when he found out that, regardless of the changes in their classes, their rooms remained the same and he was still Bakugou’s neighbor. He always loved being able to go to Bakugou’s room whenever.

Tonight, however, it feels a little different.

He couldn’t forget the conversation they had at lunch. He couldn’t concentrate on the afternoon classes. He couldn’t fight properly when he met Tetsutetsu, which resulted in his most humiliating defeat so far. He spent way too much time in the shower after that. He didn’t even bother styling his hair properly before going over to Bakugou’s because he was so out of it. It’s not completely unexpected that being in Bakugou’s room doesn’t ease his bad mood away, but it’s frustrating nonetheless because that’s the effect Bakugou’s room usually has on him.

Sitting on Bakugou’s bed, Kirishima watches his friend frowning adorably at the textbook on his desk, remembering Bakugou’s words. It’s fucking creepy, he had said. Had he really meant that? If he learned the truth, would he think Kirishima is creepy? Would Kirishima still be allowed to hang out at Bakugou’s room if that happened?

Kirishima doesn’t notice he’s staring until Bakugou raises his gaze from his homework and their eyes meet.

“What?”

“Nothing!” Kirishima blurts and turns his face away. He feels his neck warming up.

“I thought you came here to study. Your shitty grades won’t get any better if you just sit on your lazy ass and stare at me all night.”

“I was not staring!”

His face is probably as red as his hair by now.

Bakugou puts down the textbook and turns to Kirishima, again wearing that sharp expression. Not many people know, but Bakugou is incredibly observant when it comes to other’s thoughts and feelings (even though he doesn’t give a fuck about them or simply doesn’t know what to do about them most times) and Kirishima usually likes that intelligent side of his.

However, now that he feels Bakugou’s perceptive eyes reading him like an open book, he thinks that it’s not always a good thing.

“You’ve been acting weird since lunch,” Bakugou points, “Spit it out what’s bothering you.”

Kirishima presses his lips in a tight line, as if trying to stop them from producing any words. He wants to say everything. It feels weird to keep secrets from his best friend when being honest is part of his nature. However, at the same time, he doesn’t want to… He can’t…

He’s scared of losing his friend over this.

But can he really consider himself a man if he hides who he is from his best friend?

“There is something I need to confess,” He blurts.

Bakugou cocks an eyebrow, “I fucking know. Just say it already, shitty hair.”

Kirishima swallows hard. He opens and closes his mouth, but no sound comes out of it. He can’t do this. God, he thought he could do this, but he can’t. He’s going to hurl.

Bakugou’s glare slowly dissolves into something different than impatience. It’s so faint that somebody who doesn’t know him well wouldn’t notice, but Kirishima does. Bakugou is showing concern. God, he can read Bakugou’s expression like no one else can. What they have is so important… What he’s going to do if- What if Bakugou doesn’t want to be friends anymore?

“Kirishima…?” Bakugou calls carefully and moves as if to get up and get closer to Kirishima.

Something about Bakugou’s voice – and how he sounds less aggressive and more worried – unties the knot that had formed in Kirishima’s throat. Without even thinking, he hears himself blurting out:

“Bakugou, I’m gay.”

Bakugou freezes on the spot. Kirishima feels his stomach dropping somewhere near his feet as Bakugou’s expression goes from slightly surprised to confused to shocked and then settles for a frown that can’t mean anything but utter disgust.

No.

Kirishima feels panic bubbling in his chest and his eyes stinging. The knot in his throat comes back, bigger than ever, heavier than it should be. This can’t—this can’t be happening. This has to be Bakugou being his usual rude self, annoyed at everything. There is no way—they’re buddies, Bakugou wouldn’t…

Please don’t hate me. I don’t know what I would do without you.

“You have a crush on iron jerk face.” Bakugou mutters in disbelief.

It’s such a weird affirmation that Kirishima stops feeling everything at once and just stares at Bakugou.

“What? No? Why would I… Where did that come from?”

“Oh, thank fuck.” Bakugou lets out a heavy, relieved sigh and leans his back on the chair again. “Then what?”

“What do you mean then what?”

“Well, you looked like you were going to die and then you say you’re gay, then the obvious conclusion is that you like somebody you shouldn’t. The first person that came to my mind was the iron jerk.”

“Steel.”

“Whatever. Then who is it? I don’t care as long it isn’t an asshole like that half-and-half bastard or Deku. But not even you would…” There is a pause. Bakugou looks absolutely terrified now. “You don’t have a crush on Deku, right?”

Unbelievable. Bakugou is just... Incredible.

“Oh my God, no! I don’t have a crush on anyone, okay?”

“Then why are we having this stupid conversation?”

“Why are… Bakugou, I just came out to you. I’m gay. I like boys. In a romantic way. I want to date guys instead of girls.”

“I know what the fuck a gay person is!”

“And… you… you don’t mind?”

“No?” Bakugou glares at Kirishima as if he is the one acting stupid. “What the fuck do you want me to say? Congratulations? What’s with you today, dude?”

Kirishima lets out a heavy breath that he didn’t realize he was holding until then. Relief floods his chest, making his cold sweat be replaced by a warm, welcome feeling.

“I… I was really scared, you know?” He admits, voice small. “I thought you were going to be weirded out or… Get angry or… I don’t know.”

At that, Bakugou does look angry, “Why the fuck would I get pissed over something like that? What difference does it make? You’re still the same person! As long as you don’t go dating some asshole like Deku or that steel guy, then it makes no fucking difference. If you want to suck nine dicks at the same time is not my fucking problem.”

For the second time on that night, Kirishima feels his eyes stinging and a knot inside his throat, but for a very different reason. You’re still the same person, Bakugou had said. Translating that from Bakugou to normal people language, that means I accept you the way you are, doesn’t it? And as for as long you don’t date some asshole like Deku or that steel guy… Well, Kirishima doesn’t point that both Midoriya and Tetsutetsu are perfectly acceptable boyfriend material, because he’s too touched by the fact that Bakugou worries if Kirishima’s hypothetical boyfriend would be a good guy.

“Bakugou, I’m going to give you a hug now. Don’t feel weird about it.”

“Oh, no, I will definitely feel weird. Get your grubby hands away from me or I’ll fucking murder—Fuck, GET OFF, KIRISHIMA!”

Kirishima hugs Bakugou tightly, making kissy faces at him. Bakugou doesn’t look any angrier than usual – but that still means a lot of anger – as he wrestle Kirishima. Bakugou wins the fight – he always does – and he doesn’t even seem uncomfortable as he pins a whining Kirishima against the carpet.

From the floor beneath them, they hear Kaminari throwing stuff at the ceiling and his muffled voice demanding silence. Bakugou and Kirishima make more noise after that just for good measure.

 


 

 

“Bakugou, I’m telling Kaminari and Sero.” Kirishima murmurs during breakfast.

Bakugou lifts his head and cocks an eyebrow up. He’s not a morning person and it takes him more than a few seconds to realize what the hell Kirishima is talking about.

The cafeteria is virtually empty, because very few people wake up as early as Bakugou and Kirishima, the former for his personal reasons and the latter because he’s a ridiculous morning person who gets up with the sun. So Bakugou and Kirishima are usually the first ones to show up for breakfast at the cafeteria.

(Except for Square shaped glasses guy, who is an outcast and an anomaly and a fucking freak, so he isn’t taken into account here.)

Getting breakfast early is a good thing, though. They get to eat calmly without their noisy classmates and, in most days, Bakugou and Kirishima have the table all to themselves. (Although Bakugou sometimes misses last year when nobody would sit on his table regardless of the time, he admits to himself that Kirishima’s company is okay. Bakugou’s not so happy when Kirishima brings his noisy friends along, but he endures it.)

“Why?” Bakugou finally croaks in response.

“Why, because they’re my friends. That’s the kind of stuff you tell your friends.”

“Whatever.”

Kirishima fidgets. Bakugou stops playing with his cereal bowl and glares.

“What now?”

“Actually… I was wondering if you could be there with me?”

“Why the fuck would I?”

“Ugh, I know! This is so not manly!” Kirishima groans and hides his face on his hands. His face is all pink.

Bakugou feels a strange tug on his stomach at the sight. Probably because of how ridiculous Kirishima looks.

“It’s just… I’d feel better if you were there. Since you’re the first person that I’ve ever told and stuff.”

“No.”

“Why not.”

“Because I don’t fucking want to.”

Bakugoooooou…”

Bakugou groans and starts shoving Kirishima away when he tries to hug him. It’s too early for this shit and Bakugou hates it when Kirishima uses that whiny voice and pouts like that. It makes that annoying tug on his stomach worse.

“What difference does it fucking make if there is somebody there, you bothersome fuck? Call your mother or whatever, just don’t get me involved with your stupid friends.”

“They’re your friends too! And that’s not funny, I can’t tell my mom like that!”

Bakugou stops wrestling him so suddenly that Kirishima slips and headbutts him on the forehead, making Bakugou gasp in pain.

Irritated, Bakugou kicks Kirishima’s chair and watches with satisfaction as Kirishima yelps and falls.

“What the hell, dude!” Kirishima complains, getting up awkwardly. “That hurt!”

“Yeah, it better have!” Bakugou retorts. “Is your quirk active or something? Your skull is so fucking thick, what the fuck!”

“That was an accident! You kicked my chair on purpose!”

Bakugou shakes his head and decides to just change the subject back: “What do you mean you can’t tell your mom like that?” He frowns. “Your mom don’t know?”

Kirishima shakes his head negatively.

Bakugou blinks, taken aback by the weirdness of the idea. He has a very honest relationship with his mother – mostly because the two of them have this habit of yelling everything that comes to their minds – and the idea of hiding secrets from her is kind of unthinkable. He often forgets that most kids hide lots of secrets from their parents.

“I don’t think I can tell my family yet.” Kirishima sighs. “I… I’m not sure how they’d react. I hope they react like you did, though.”

And Kirishima offers him a sheepish smile Bakugou has seen before. It’s a smile that Bakugou hates, because it’s the smile that only appears on Kirishima’s face when he’s trying to hide feelings that are not so pleasant.

“You think they won’t?” Bakugou asks carefully.

“Dunno.” Kirishima sighs. “They’re kind of unpredictable.”

Kirishima’s sheepish smile disappears; giving place to a frown that doesn’t suit his face at all. Bakugou thinks he hates the fragile expression more than the fake smile. This is Kirishima, after all. Somebody Bakugou somewhat respects for his strength. It doesn’t feel right to see him like this.

“What if they don’t accept me?” Kirishima mutters to his own knees.

Bakugou doesn’t miss a beat.

“Kill them.”

Kirishima lifts his gaze, eyes wide with shock. Then he snorts.

“What the hell, dude, I can’t kill my own family!”

“What, want me to kill them for you?”

“Bakugou, no! Though that was the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me, in a twisted way, no, I don’t want you to do that.”

But then Kirishima is laughing again. That’s enough. Bakugou feels less uncomfortable already.

 

 

When the last class of the day ends and Bakugou walks outside the classroom, he sees Kirishima and Sero walking towards him, the former wearing his determined expression and the later looking honestly confused.

Bakugou turns around and starts walking towards the other way.

“Bakugou, wait! You too, Kaminari!”

You gotta be fucking kidding.

“Bakugou, wait, dude, I need to talk to you guys!”

“Fuck off, shit for brains!”

“Ba-ku-gou! I’ll buy you coffee!”

“Do I fucking look like I’m in need or something?”

Bakugou, refrain from yelling such words in the middle of the hallway! This is a school!”

“GO SCREW YOURSELF, FOUR EYES!”

And, just like that, Bakugou falls into a trap. When he stops walking to properly flip off and yell at Iida, Kirishima reaches him and grabs his wrist.

“C’mon, man. Free coffee.” Kirishima pouts.

“We’re not even allowed to go outside the campus, you dickhead!”

“Well, one day we are going to and then I’ll pay you coffee.”

Kirishima beams at him and blinks his stupid big eyes. The tug on his stomach is very present and Bakugou is very annoyed by it.

“Did you call us to watch you wooing Bakugou?” Sero bemoans. “Don’t we have enough of that every day at lunch time?”

Sero takes one step back at the glare Bakugou gives him; probably thanking the heavens that Bakugou’s quirk isn’t laser eyes or anything similar.

“C’mon, let’s just go to my room so we can talk alright?”

Bakugou grunts, annoyed, but decides to comply for once. The sooner he goes, the sooner he gets rid of these assholes. Kirishima grins again and lets go of his wrist so they walk side by side normally.

Both Kaminari and Sero look curious and interested, but Bakugou doesn’t pay them any mind. Instead, he stares intently to Kirishima, trying to find any indication that he’s nervous. He notices that his friend has his fists firmly clenched, but his expression doesn’t betray any anxiety.  He looks nothing like the pale mess he was yesterday before he confessed his stupid secret to Bakugou on the night before.

Good.

Bakugou looks straight ahead. After Kirishima left, Bakugou had realized that most people would be shocked or probably would react badly at Kirishima’s confession. Which is really stupid, honestly, because why does it matter? While later Bakugou remembered that most people are like that, at the time the only thing he could think was “What difference does it make? This is still Kirishima.”

Bakugou was never really interested in romance and such stuff, so he never gave much thought about it.

When they reach Kirishima’s bedroom, Bakugou is the first to enter. He just tosses his backpack to the side (he knows that Kirishima had classes with Cementoss today, so he’ll probably be needing help with the homework and thus Bakugou might as well just stay there and try to shove some knowledge into that thick head of Kirishima’s.) Sero follows his example, while Kaminari fidgets on the same place.

“Ugh, your room is just too much, Kiri.” He comments.

Bakugou looks around. He thinks there was a time in which he thought something similar. It’s stupid the amount of bright red shit Kirishima gathered in his room, making the final result a little overwhelming. However, Bakugou spends so much time in Kirishima’s room – almost as much as he spends in his own – that he got used to it. Currently, the excessively manly room feels too familiar.

“So…” Kirishima closes the door without even bothering to answer Kaminari. “There is something I want to confess to you guys.”

Sero and Kaminari look at him, both taken aback by Kirishima’s unusually serious tone. Behind Kirishima, Bakugou crosses his arms and glares at them, as if challenging them to react in the wrong way. If they react badly, Bakugou would have no problem with kicking their asses.

You know, just because he hates stupid people.

“You’re scaring us, Kiri.” Sero frowns. “What is it?”

“So…” Kirishima hesitates and takes a quick glance to Bakugou before breathing in. “Because you’re my closest friends, I feel like I should tell you. But I want you to know that this changes nothing. I’m still the same person I’ve always been.”

Shouldn’t that be fucking obvious?

“Guys, I’m gay.”

The room is silent. Kirishima’s and Sero’s expressions are still tense. After almost half a minute of tension, Kaminari finally mutters:

“So…?”

“Why do you all react like that?” Kirishima groans. “That is it! What I have to say to you is that I’m gay!”

Sero frowns. “What, was it supposed to be a secret?”

Bakugou snorts and starts laughing out loud.

“Dude!” Kaminari throws his hands up in frustration. “You have this giant poster of Crimson Riot shirtless and covered in oil right by your bed’s side! Do you think we look at that and go like okay right the boy who falls asleep looking at that must The Straighty McStraight?”

“It’s not oil! He’s covered in sweat from the battle!”

“Ah, yes.” Kaminari smirks, glancing at Bakugou. “You would have a thing for sweaty guys, wouldn’t you?”

Kirishima’s face goes scarlet and he yells: “WE ARE NOT LIKE THAT”, which gives Bakugou the impression that they’re not talking about Crimson Riot anymore. He doesn’t understand what the big joke is, even though both Sero and Kaminari start laughing and Kirishima’s neck is as red as the motivational flags he hung on the walls.

“If you guys already knew, why were you saying two guys being together is something disgusting?” Kirishima finally barks, annoyed.

That makes the two of them stop laughing.

“We never said that.” Kaminari frowns. “Have we?”

“I’m pretty sure I don’t think it’s disgusting, so I don’t know why I would say so.” Sero shakes his head. “When did we do something like that?”

“Hm… Yesterday when I was talking to Tetsu…”

Kaminari and Sero make identical faces of horror.

“YOU LIKE TETSUTETSU?” They yell in chorus.

“Oh my God, no! But you said…”

“That steel jerk face is creepy.” Bakugou supplies. “Not gay guys. Jesus fucking Christ, don’t you listen to people, shitty hair?”

“Yeah.” Sero nods. “Did you think…? Oh, man, that’s why you were so quiet yesterday. Shit. Sorry, Kiri, we didn’t mean like that.”

“Yeah, we only hate Tetsutetsu, because… you know. He’s from class B.”

“We are from class B, Kaminari!”

“He’s from the former class B! You know what I meant. And shit, we’re really sorry. We’d never call you disgusting.”

“Unless you start to like steel jerk face.”

“Bakugou, shut up!”

“No fighting!” Sero interrupts before Bakugou can blow up that electric moron. “What we mean is, we know, Kirishima. You’re still our bro, dude.”

“Yeah, you’re still our dude, bro.”

“You guys…” Kirishima mutters and his voice is all wobbly. His eyes are already teary.

Bakugou makes a disgruntled noise and lets himself fall on Kirishima’s bed as the three idiots do their thing.

He doesn’t want to get involved.

(He isn’t involved.)

Chapter Text

Kirishima has done it now. He can’t breathe. He stumbles out of bed gasping for air, but if feels like despair has filled his lungs leaving room for nothing else. He crosses his room running. His brain has stopped working, but somehow his legs know where to take him in a situation like this. His trembling hands manage to get the door open and he rushes outside his room without even bothering to close the door again. He makes his way to the room next door.

Of course. Bakugou is there. Bakugou is strong. Bakugou is a hero and he’ll know what to do.

He storms inside his friend’s room without knocking and he just blurts in a breathless, desperate voice:

“Bakugou! I need you to be my boyfriend!”

And, of course, it’s just his luck that he finds himself staring at Ashido instead.

Kirishima looks around, wondering how the hell he ended up in the wrong room, but then he sees Bakugou’s desk. A misplaced Ashido sitting by the said desk. Bakugou’s books. Bakugou’s lifting weights. Bakugou’s poster of All Might. And finally, Bakugou himself, perfectly seated on his own bed where he belongs, his eyes wide with shock.

For a second, Kirishima forgets his panic, because what the hell? What is Ashido doing in Bakugou’s room?

“WHAT THE FUCK, SHIT FOR BRAINS?” Bakugou roars, standing up as Ashido covers her mouth to muffle an excited squeal.

“Hum. I… What is Ashido doing here?”

“Oh, don’t mind me,” she giggles, her pink cheeks starting to look a little purple, “Please, go on.”

“That is none of your fucking business and what the fuck is wrong with you? Are you high? Are you freaking drunk?”

“I’m not! Sorry for just coming in like this, I just…” Kirishima closes the door behind him. “I shouldn’t have started like that, it’s just that… Bakugou, I need your help.”

Ashido gasps and blushes harder, “You want Bakugou to help himself?”

“Shut your trap, black eyes,” Bakugou snaps, “And you get the fuck out before I fucking explode your ass all the way to the god damn moon.”

“You wanna take him to the moon?” Ashido snorts. “Bakugou, that’s so gay.”

Bakugou turns his murderous gaze to Ashido, but Kirishima understands the reference and tells her:

“It’s not gay if it’s on the moon.”

“Kirishima, please,” Ashido grins at him, “The moon is the gayest. It’s extra gay if it’s on the moon.”

He can’t help but smile back. Ashido makes gun fingers at him.

“OUT! The two of you. I don’t want any of you meme loving fucks anywhere near me for the next 48 hours,” Bakugou roars, grabbing Ashido by the back of her shirt and pulling her towards the door.

“Wait, no—Bakugou! We’re not done yet!” She wails.

“I don’t fucking care, get out and don’t let me see your ugly mug again. You too, Kirishima!”

Kirishima feels oddly satisfied to see Ashido being kicked out of the room. Right after he wonders where the hell that came from and he tries to stop Bakugou before he reaches the door.

“Dude, that’s no way to treat a girl!”

Bakugou glares daggers at Kirishima. Kirishima thanks the heavens that Bakugou can’t explode things with his eyes.

“Kirishima. You have 10 seconds to disappear before I fucking kill you.”

“Calm down a little, man,” Kirishima groans, “I said I’m sorry for coming in like that and I can explain, so please let Ashido go.”

“Ashido isn’t going anywhere. Ashido wants to see this through,” she says.

Bakugou gives her a warning glare before letting go of her shirt and turning his furious gaze to Kirishima. He crosses his arms and Kirishima watches the muscles flexing under the pale skin. He swallows hard to focus.

“You have 30 seconds,” Bakugou says.

“30 seconds? That’s nothing!”

“27 seconds now.”

“Okay!” Kirishima throws his hands up in frustration and starts talking as fast as it is humanly possible: “Since everything went so well with you guys, I came out with my sister as well, but then she didn’t believe me and we started arguing and I told her I have a boyfriend out of spite and she still wouldn’t believe me but then she told mom and mom told dad and they called me and told me it’s okay and that they love me and they’re happy I have someone and they want to meet them and they’re so excited I don’t have the heart to tell them the truth and they want me to introduce my boyfriend to them but I don’t have a boyfriend and that’s I need you to pretend to be him.” A brief pause to breathe. “My boyfriend, that is.”

Both Bakugou and Ashido stare at Kirishima in silence with their mouths hanging open.

“Do you want to maybe explain that better?” Ashido asks. “Mainly because I couldn’t understand a word?”

“Why would you tell your family that you have a fucking boyfriend, you moron?” Bakugou roars.

“I don’t know!” Kirishima wails. “I was really annoyed and you know how I get… My sister was like Eijirou, how do you know you’re gay if you’ve never been with a boy? And that was really obnoxious of her so I ended up saying that I have a boyfriend.”

“And then she told your parents.” Ashido bites her lower lip.

“Yes.”

“And they’re happy for you.”

“They are so happy.” Kirishima hides his face in his hands. “I don’t even remember the last time I saw them this happy. They keep asking me to tell them about my boyfriend and to send pictures and I’ve been telling them that he’s shy and… Oh God, if they find out I was lying, it will break their hearts.”

“And you want me to lie to your fucking family and tell them I’m your stupid boyfriend?” Bakugou raises an eyebrow.

“Yes. Bakugou, would you do this for me?”

“No. Go ask your steel face lover.”

Bakugoooooou!”

“He can’t do that!” Ashido intervenes. “Tetsutetsu-kun is from class B. Kirishima can’t date someone from class B.”

“He is part of class B now, you dumb bitch!”

You know what I mean!”

“What the fucking ever, I don’t give a fuck.” Bakugou heads back to his bed. “You made the mess, you clean it, Kirishima. It is not my fucking problem.”

Ashido pouts, “That’s not very hero-like of you Bakugou.”

“Yeah, what kind of hero doesn’t even save his buddy?” Kirishima whines.

“Why,” Bakugou barks, “are you shitheads still in my fucking room?”

“Bro, please!” Kirishima pleads, “You just have to come and have dinner with my family. I take over your cleaning duties for an entire month. No, two months!”

“That doesn’t sound like much, Bakugou. You should do it.” Ashido comments, thoughtfully.

“Yeah? Then you go there and pretend to be his fucking boyfriend.”

“Two months of cleaning duty and I will do the dishes for you every time you cook for the rest of the year,” Kirishima offers, “Please, man. You know how my mom gets. I swear I’ll never ask you to do anything ever again.”

Bakugou does know how Kirishima’s mother gets. He briefly saw her once after last year’s sports festival and he's heard Kirishima talk about his family so often it feels like he already knows them. They sound really overwhelming.

But probably not as overwhelming as Kirishima, who’s now making those ridiculous puppy eyes and pouting at Bakugou. So damn annoying.

“Tch… You will take over my cleaning duties for three months,” Bakugou hears himself grunting, “and you still owe me big time, you hear me?”

There is a lot of cheering and yelling after that (mostly from Ashido, since Kirishima is busy hugging Bakugou and wailing) and they don’t stop until Bakugou causes a small explosion on his open palm. Kirishima and Ashido decide it is a good time to take their leave after that.

 

“So…” Kirishima asks once Bakugou has slammed the door shut on their faces. “What were you doing in Bakugou’s room?”

Ashido snorts. “I was not trying to steal your fake boyfriend, if that’s what you’re worried about. Aizawa-sensei paired us up for an assignment and we were working on it.”

“Oh. Sorry for interrupting.”

“It’s all right.” Ashido laughs whole-heartedly. “We still have the whole week to do it. But I do expect a full report of what happens when he meets your parents.”

Kirishima stops at his own door and Ashido waves at him before making her way to the stairs.

(It isn’t until much later on that night that Kirishima realizes that Ashido didn’t even question the fact that Kirishima needs a fake boyfriend instead of a fake girlfriend.)

(He really shouldn’t underestimate his friends.)

 


 

 

“Okay, but of all people… Why Bakugou?” Sero asks during lunch.

Ashido lets out a little giggle while Jirou elbows her. (Today they managed to drag Bakugou with them to have lunch at the cafeteria instead of in their classroom. Ashido and Jirou just joined them. Bakugou did mumble something about a growing parade of idiots, but, other than that, he did nothing bad. Sero didn’t seem to mind and Kaminari actually looked happy when Jirou sat by his side.)

(When Kirishima took a shot and told them about his plan, Jirou didn’t react, which made him think that Ashido didn’t exactly kept it a secret.)

“And what do you mean by that, Soy Sauce?” Bakugou glares at Sero dangerously.

“I mean what I said…?” Sero frowns at Kirishima. “Why Bakugou?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Kirishima tilts his head to the side, confused. “It has to be Bakugou.”

“Why?”

“Because!! It’d be weird if I asked someone other than him.”

Bakugou gives Kirishima a weird look. Kaminari rolls his eyes while Sero mutters “of fucking course”. Jirou buries her face on her hands, her shoulders trembling and Kirishima thinks for a second she’s crying until he notices she’s trying to hide a giggling fit. Ashido puts an arm around her shoulders.

“Don’t mind her.” Ashido mutters, smiling. “Kyouka is too into this kind of stuff.”

Kirishima doesn’t know what she means by that, so he just shrugs in response.

“Whose idea was this?” Sero asks.

“Who the fuck do you think? Of fucking course it was Kirishima’s idiotic idea.  Don’t know what the fuck he was thinking.”

“Would Bakugou still be able to speak if the F-word didn’t exist?” Ashido pulls a face.

“He would.” Kirishima nods. “Once we challenged him to not say the word fuck for a whole day and you’d be surprised at the amount of bad words he knows and how creative he can be with them. Let’s just let him say fuck.”

“Will it be okay, though?” Kaminari asks. “Like… will your parents be okay with Bakugou?”

“Why the hell wouldn’t they be?” Bakugou snarls.

“Well… Should we remind you that last year they had to gag you and tie you up so they could hand you a prize safely? Everybody was watching that.”

Kirishima intervenes: “Look, Bakugou sure can be a good boyfriend, alright? Like… When I first came out to him, he offered to kill my family for me and everything!”

Bakugou widens his eyes at Kirishima and too late he realizes that, out of context, Bakugou’s offer doesn’t sound as sweet.

“That…Yep. Super healthy. Exactly what you look for in a boyfriend. Somebody to slaughter your entire family. 10/10 boyfriend material.”

“Not like that, he said it as a joke to cheer me up and…” Kirishima sighs. “Look, I know Bakugou has some anger issues, but..;”

“Anger issues? Anger issues?” Bakugou growls. “You wanna go there, Kirishima? Last month you broke your fucking phone because of Candy Crush.”

“Hey! That level was freaking impossible, so I got impatient and my quirk activated on its own! It was an accident! You break stuff on purpose all the time!”

“Doesn’t that mean I’m in control and you’re not?” Bakugou smirks.

“That— you can’t—” There is a brief pause. Kirishima pouts. “I hate you.”

Bakugou grins, “If you hate me that much, guess I don’t have to be your fake boyfriend anymore.”

“No, don’t fake break up with me, please, I’m sorry— Stop laughing at me, man, not cool!”

 “Oh my God, they’re already like a married couple” Ashido mutters while Jirou dissolves into a giggling mess once more. Kirishima has never seen her happier.

 


 

 

Insomnia is a bitch and Bakugou hates it.

There is no way someone as strong as himself would not be able to do something as stupid and simple as lying on a fucking bed and falling asleep. And yet...

When his mom asked him about the bags under his eyes, he told her to piss off. That caused them to have one of their biggest fights yet until his father butted in to stop them. He was incredibly happy when the school implemented the dorms system because then he could escape from his mother’s annoyingly observant gaze. At school, nobody gets close enough to notice something as subtle as dark circles under his eyes.

(Well, some do, but they’re all morons and they don’t notice anything or don’t care anyway.)

It’s been almost months, so it shouldn’t be a big deal anymore. It should have never been. But the thing is that, whenever Bakugou turns off the lights to go to bed, he feels the ghost of a firm grasp on his nape. A hand dragging him into liquid darkness, where everything is pitch black and his whole body feel heavy.

He always turns the lights on again almost immediately.

On the first night, he tried leaving them like that and ignoring the feeling. He found himself hyperventilating and trembling, almost unable to reach the switch again with his wobbly cold hands. He left the lights on for the rest of the night.

On the second night, he tried leaving the curtains open so the natural light outside would ease him into sleeping. However every shadow outside started to look eerily human shaped and every little noise sounded like somebody approaching his window. On that night, something made a sound outside – Bakugou doesn’t know what it was and he refuses to think about it – and he blew up the whole window, startled. 

Bakugou told everyone that there was a stupid spider bothering him since earlier and it wouldn’t die easily, so he lost his temper and exploded the nasty thing. His classmates believed him without questioning. Aizawa, however, wasn’t so easy to convince. It took Bakugou a lot of explaining and apologizing to get the annoying teacher off his back. And Aizawa still didn’t look completely convinced as he sent Bakugou to sleep in Kirishima’s room while they get the window fixed.

Sleeping at Kirishima’s room wasn’t much better than at his own, but there was something calming about Kirishima’s steady breath. Even though it was dark, the thought that he wasn’t completely alone made it easier to ignore his anxiety.

He wouldn’t sleep there forever, though, so he looked for different approaches once he went back to his room. Every night, Bakugou paces around the room trying to make himself more tired. He studies, he reads, he lifts weights, he watches shit on his phone. He goes over to Kirishima’s room and wastes time until is late. He comes back and he got so low he even checks his classmates’ social media, eventually leaving snarky comments just to mess with them.

He delays going to bed as much as he can.

When he finally falls on the mattress, he gets immediately unconscious. He sets the alarm for as early as he can, thinking that if he gets up earlier, he’ll get sleepy earlier as well. It works. He’s not as well-rested as he used to be during the day, but it’s something.

Sometimes, Bakugou has dreams – he refuses to call them nightmares – and he wakes up sweating profusely and making small explosions create holes on his blankets. He shifts the furniture of his room so he can reach the light switch even when he’s lying down. When he wakes up from one of those dreams, he can turn the lights on again. Even though he doesn’t get any sleep after them, at least it’s not dark

 

The dreams don’t come as often as they used to last year. Regardless, when Bakugou wakes up at 2am that night, he feels as if he’s being dragged into darkness and his hands automatically look for the light switch.

“Crap...” He mumbles to himself, wincing at the sudden light, and his voice is impossible to hear.

He sits slowly and his hands are still shaking, so he grips tightly on his own sheets. A few sparks appear, but nothing explodes as Bakugou looks around. There is nobody there. Just him, alone in his room. There is nobody there.

Then why the fuck he feels so freaking watched?

He looks for his phone on the nightstand. An annoyed groan escapes his lips when he sees the time.

“Fuck off…” He grunts at himself.

(Because one of the ways of dealing with those stupid feelings was to pretend they weren’t his. Sometimes, Bakugou wakes up from one of the not-nightmares and acts as if they’re someone else’s. It helps him to ground himself, to make them look more banal.)

“Shit.”

Bakugou moves until his back touches the wall. He tries to focus his attention on the steady, cold surface behind him. It is not a comfortable position, but it makes him feel less antsy. He looks around his bedroom, trying to look for anything out of the ordinary. The carpet looks normal. There is some school stuff carelessly tossed around the floor. There is some dirty laundry piling up. Ashido had left one of her bright pink notebooks on his desk. And then there is his stuff packed for the holidays.

The holidays. Right. Fuck. Bakugou is spending the golden week at Kirishima’s.

And by Kirishima’s it meant Kirishima’s actual house, not just his dorm room. God damn it. When Bakugou said yes to this whole fake boyfriend thing, he really didn’t think things through. He just wanted to get Kirishima and Ashido off his back, really (and maybe to wipe that desperate look off Kirishima’s face, but he doesn’t dare verbalize that even in his thoughts.)

Bakugou didn’t think of the implications. He never thought about dating and stuff like that, so of course the details of the situation would only come later. He hugs his knees against his chest, trying vainly to feel more comfortable as he runs a checklist of the problems at hand: first, he had to meet Kirishima’s parents. Not only meet his parents, but lie to them. Pretend he went around sticking his tongue into their son’s mouth. Second, to spend a whole fucking week at someone else’s home. At a home filled with Kirishimas. Holy fuck. Third, he had zero experience with romance. He didn’t know how to be a boyfriend. What the fuck is he supposed to do?

(He runs through his list over and over again until his biggest worry is if he’s going to survive through the week without blowing up Kirishima’s home.)

(On that night, he doesn’t turn off the lights, though. He can’t bring himself to.)

 

 

 

 

“Whoa, dude, you look like shit,” Kirishima says first thing in the morning.

“Kirishima, I swear to fucking God, I’m this close to breaking your entire stupid face,” Bakugou retorts simply.

“That’s no way of treating your boyfriend, Bakugou,” Kaminari comments.

Bakugou tries to explode his stupid face, but Kaminari jumps out of his reach fully aware that Bakugou is too sleepy to chase him. Kirishima grabs Bakugou’s shoulder on an attempt to calm him down.

“Dude, chill. But seriously, what is wrong? You feeling something?”

“Nothing!” Bakugou shoves Kirishima’s hand away, annoyed. “I started watching some TV show and before I realized it was too late. Get off my back.”

Kirishima seems to buy the excuse easily enough, so he nods and walks away to join Kaminari and the other losers from class B. Bakugou thinks he’s going to have some peace finally. He drags his feet to the place where his classmates are gathering, wishing to be anywhere but there.

It’s just like this stupid school to plan an activity with all the students from the heroics department right before they go away for the holidays. And of fucking course their teachers didn’t gave them any instructions besides go inside the buses with your classmates and prepare for the worst. Bakugou can swear none of his teachers ever plans classes. They must just make up stuff as they go along.

As Bakugou gets into the stupid bus, he wonders if he’ll be able to sleep a little before this stupid group activity, but his hopes are quickly crushed when that dumb girl with the pancake face sits by his side without hesitation.

“The fuck do you want?”

“Hm? Nothing, I’m fine. Do you want something?” She has the gall to ask, but seems to realize her mistake quickly enough. She raises her hands as if surrendering. “Sorry! I’m just kidding! I don’t want anything. Can’t I sit here?”

“No. Go find your stupid friends.”                                       

“You are my friend.”

“Where the hell did you get that idea from?”

“Come on, Bakugou!” Uraraka sighs. “Don’t be like that.”

“You don’t be like you are.”

“Ugh, jerk!” She shoves him. “I’m not doing anything! You won’t even notice I’m here!”

Bakugou shoves her back just because he can. Uraraka yelps, but doesn’t fall over and doesn’t leave either. Bakugou is too tired to fight her and she seems sleepy too, so he leaves her be. Once the two of them settle in silence and the bus starts moving… Well, it doesn’t feel completely horrible.

That is, until she breaks the silence.

“It’s really cool, you know?” Uraraka comments. “What you’re doing for Kirishima.”

Bakugou groans. And here we go.

“I thought I wouldn’t notice you’re here, but I’m still listening to your annoying voice.”

“My voice is not annoying!” Uraraka says and she punches him on the shoulder, which is… nice.

It’s not that Bakugou gets off on being punched or anything. (That is Kirishima’s thing, probably.) But, while he loves it when people are aware that he can end them in one snap of fingers, it’s also a nice change of pace when, every now and then, they also know that Bakugou isn’t simply an exploding machine. Kirishima, for once, never looks scared of him. Uraraka, when she isn’t following Deku like a fucking puppy, often acts like she doesn’t expect Bakugou to explode at any moment.

“I’m just saying,” she mutters, “that when Mina told me I was surprised, but I also found it really nice.”

“Shut the fuck up or I’ll show you how nice I can be, pancake face.”

“Pancake— You shut up!”

“I want to, but you won’t fucking let me.”

She shoves him again. He shoves her back. They stay quiet after that.

Bakugou feels at ease enough to doze off for a moment. He feels it when Uraraka yawns and rests her head on his shoulder to take a nap as well, but he’s already half-asleep and too fucking tired to fight her off.

 


 

 

Kirishima is worried about Bakugou. It’s not like the bags under Bakugou’s eyes are unusual, but today he looks downright exhausted. Kirishima wonders if Bakugou couldn’t sleep because of what he’s going to do – Kirishima knows that Bakugou hates lying – and he feels guilty about it.

The buses reach the destination after no more than ten minutes. Kirishima gets off and immediately starts looking for Bakugou.

“If the person you wanna see so bad is your boyfriend,” Kaminari says, “he’s right there with Uraraka.”

Kirishima blinks and turns his eyes to the direction Kaminari is pointing. He does recognize Bakugou’s unruly mop of blond hair, his back turned to where Kirishima is, and he’s listening to something a sleepy Uraraka is trying to say between yawns. Bakugou makes a dismissive gesture and Uraraka rolls her eyes, before walking towards Iida and Midoriya on the other side of the crowd.

Kirishima frowns. First letting Ashido in his room – for homework, but still – and now chatting friendly – for Bakugou’s standards, but still – with Uraraka. When did Bakugou get so chummy with the girls from his class? That is… It’s not that Kirishima isn’t happy. He wanted Bakugou to be friendlier to other people for ages. It’s just… Well, he’s a little weirded out. Yes. That must be it.

“Bakugou!” He calls out and feels satisfied when he notices Bakugou’s eternal frown softening a little once their eyes meet.

Kirishima runs to his friend to ask what he and Uraraka were talking about – you know, just out of curiosity, it doesn’t really matter – when a loud voice interrupts them:

ARE YOU READ-AY?”

Some of the students jump, some just flinch and some even activate their quirks on instinct – the latter being mostly students who used to be from class 1-A, used to Aizawa’s surprises – but turns out it’s just Present Mic’s way of wishing them a good morning. Kirishima frowns, thinking to himself that it’s way too early for them to be dealing with such a loud teacher.

“HELL YEAH! It’s time for you to prove yourselves!” The teacher yells. That amount of sheer energy should be forbidden at this hour. “You are now teaming up for a survival journey!”

Only when Present Mic dramatically points at the place behind him is that Kirishima’s sleepy brain starts to process where they are. An impressive building very similar to 13’s USJ casts a large shadow over the students and teachers. Aizawa and Cementoss can be seen standing on the entrance, their arms crossed like the weirdest duo of bouncers.

Kirishima scowls, remembering that the last time they were in a training area like this, villains invaded the academy and almost killed two of their teachers. (It was also when he started being friends with Bakugou, but the rest of the test was a very unpleasant experience.) Lost in his thoughts, he almost misses the teacher’s explanation.

“You gonna go inside and your only goal is to get out! What awaits you in there is a surprise! The whole group must come out unharmed otherwise… THE WHOLE TEAM’LL GET EXTRA LESSONS FOR THE HO-LI-DAY!”

Groans and complaints echo around the fields, as well as excited shouts and challenging war cries. Cementoss picks up a box from the ground and takes it to Present Mic.

“YOUR FATES ARE IN MY HANDS NOW! It’s time to sort out the groups!”

There is more complaining and some yelling. Some of them make noise with their quirks and Kirishima sees Ashido hugging Hagakure and Jirou and yelling something at the teachers. No one likes when the teachers pick the groups.

“What is it?” Present Mic theatrically cups his ear to listen to them better. “You want twice as extra work as a punishment?”

That effectively shuts them up, but doesn’t stop them from pouting and sulking as Present Mic makes a large gesture to simply draw the first name.

“And the first group of heroes to go inside…! Shouto!” Everybody turn their eyes to Todoroki and tense up in anticipation as the second name is drawn. “Real Steel!” Kirishima can hear Tetsutetsu letting out a war cry. Another name is drawn: “Creati! Earphone jack! Aaaaand…! Phantom thief!”

There is cheering, booing and more grumpy remarks as Todoroki, Tetsutetsu, Yaoyorozu, Jirou and Monoma step ahead. Aizawa mumbles something to them before they go inside the training area.

One whole minute passes – one agonizing minute, that is, because Present Mic won’t stop talking in the meantime – before he calls the second team. Kaminari, Hagakure, Ojiro Mineta and Shiozaki go inside next… And then Tokoyami, Satou, Iida, Ashido and Tsuburaba. It seems impossible for Present Mic to keep that energy for all of them, but he’s managing. And finally the fourth group:

“Come here now… Red Riot!” Present Mic yells and Kirishima tenses up. “The next one is… Deku!” Kirishima looks for Midoriya on the crowd and smiles at him, ignoring Bakugou’s annoyed grunt. “The next is… Uravity! Along with… Battle Fist! Aaaand… Killer Blast!”

That makes Kirishima’s shoulders go stiff. Bakugou and Midoriya are together in his group.

“You gotta be fucking kidding me!” Bakugou snaps. “This day keeps getting better and better!”

“Come on, man,” Kirishima says, nudging Bakugou softly. “At least we get to team up, eh?”

“Shut the fuck up, Kirishima!” Bakugou shoves him and stomps his way to Aizawa.

Kirishima sighs and follows him, pretending not to see Midoriya’s irked expression or Uraraka’s panicked face. His only comfort is when Kendou joins them and gives him a friendly smile.

“Good luck.” Says Aizawa with the smallest hint of a sarcastic grin on his face.

Kirishima is glad that Bakugou doesn’t flip Aizawa off, but he does give him a dirty look. Aizawa doesn’t look impressed.

They walk inside, making sure that Bakugou is the first of the group and Midoriya is the last.

The view that awaits them, however, sweeps Midoriya and Bakugou’s issues from Kirishima’s mind immediately. They find themselves facing a city that has been completely destroyed. They can’t see any signs of the other groups. The buildings have crumbled, there is smoke coming out of some and everything scream post-apocalyptic scenario.

Kirishima swallows hard. Suddenly, he feels like he is again on that narrow alley almost a year ago, feeling powerless and desperate, and his best friend missing. He takes a step ahead until his shoulder bumps with Bakugou’s and he stays there.

It’s fine, he tells himself, Bakugou is here. This is just training. There are no villains here.

Bakugou gives him a questioning look. Kirishima doesn’t stare back.

“Where’s everybody?” Uraraka asks.

“There must be someone’s quirk involved,” Kendou suggests calmly, “like a warping power or something similar, so the groups don’t end up in the same place.”

Uraraka and Midoriya exchange a quick look and Kirishima can see when Bakugou’s shoulders stiffen. None of them is exactly fond of warping powers, considering their previous experiences.

“It’s… It’s gonna be fine,” Midoriya says, trying his best to sound confident, “so let’s get moving.”

“Shut up, Deku,” Bakugou snarls and stomps in front of everyone.

“Bakugou, wait! Why you gotta be like that, man?”

And, of course, Kirishima runs after him. Being by Bakugou’s side in battle is more than just a habit now.

The city around them is eerily quiet. Every now and then they hear the soft crack of fire somewhere, but they don’t stop to investigate. They’ve been walking for almost a minute – that feels like an eternity – and no one says a word. Bakugou refuses to look at the rest of them. Kirishima is busy chanting mentally that they’re safe, they’re together. Midoriya’s face is impossible to read. While neither Uraraka nor Kendou were there last year, they can feel the boys’ tension. They know something is up.

And then Uraraka decides to try and break the quietness.

“Um. Don’t you guys think it’s too easy?”

“There must be enemies somewhere,” Kendou answers, “stay alert.”

They walk some more. They end up in a place where an entire building had fallen down, blocking the passage. Bakugou and Midoriya don’t hesitate for even half a second and start climbing instead of trying to find a way around. The other three follow them.

“So…” Uraraka starts, unsure. She seems desperate to lighten the mood. “After this, Bakugou is going over to Kirishima’s for the holiday, right?”

Bakugou shots her a death glare over his shoulder. Kirishima clears his throat.

“Yeah.”

“Cool, cool. Are your parents okay with that, Bakugou? Like… most people are going to use Golden week to see their families, so…”

“Don’t be absurd.” Bakugou scoffs. “My parents fucking love Kirishima. They’d adopt him if they could. When they heard I’m spending the holidays with him, they just told me to  fucking go.”

Kirishima frowns. Does Bakugou usually give answers this long? Normally, he would just grunt. Or yell. But now he just gave a full, polite-ish answer to Uraraka. (Right before he fastened his pace to get to the top before them and avoid further conversation, but still.)

That is… good. Right?

“I really hope they don’t adopt Kirishima,” Uraraka says as she accepts Kendou’s help to climb up, “or else it’d be really awkward for you to be his fake boyfriend.”

Kirishima stops walking. Kendou and Midoriya follow his example.

“His what?” Midoriya yells at the same time as Kendou blurts: “So it is true?”

“Where did you hear that?” Kirishima asks, panicking.

“Uh… Was it a secret?” Uraraka looks from one of them to the other, blushing. “I’m sorry, I, uh… Mina told me, so I assumed everyone knew?”

“Everyone does!” Kendou exclaims. “I’ve been hearing rumors about Kirishima asking Bakugou to be his fake boyfriend for a couple of days, but I thought it was just that. Rumors.”

“A fake boyfriend?” Midoriya repeats, baffled.

The three of them stare at Kirishima, waiting for an explanation. Kirishima doesn’t have one. He did tell Sero and Kaminari about his plan and how Bakugou agreed to help. Ashido was there too and so was Jirou, but Kirishima really thought the whole thing was just between them. Holy shit, no wonder people had been staring at him funny all week long.

Bakugou climbs down just to yell at them:

“Why the fuck are you dumbasses wasting time here?”

“Um.” Kirishima manages.

“I’m sorry!” Uraraka blurts, panicking.

“We are talking about this fake boyfriend arrangement you and Kirishima have.” Kendou explains.

Kirishima expects Bakugou to explode Kendou’s face. Instead, he just groans.

“Can’t you fucks take care of your own lives?”

“Well, I told many people to do that when I heard that story.”  Kendou shrugs, not seeming scared by Bakugou’s anger in the least. “But now that I now it’s true, I’m curious.  I heard some people say that you’re already dating, some saying that you’re just pretending for some reason. What is the whole story?”

“None of your fucking business! Now can we move or do you want to sit down on these fucking ruins and have tea?”

Kendou sighs but starts walking again, they follow her example and Bakugou lead the way. The climb isn’t an easy one, for the unstable rests of the building keep sleeping under their feet and they have to be careful not to step on something loose.

“So… Kirishima.” Kendou raises an eyebrow. “You also think is none of our business or you’re going to tells us why you need a fake boyfriend?”

“I, uh, I just… Due to some circumstances, my parents heard I have one. A boyfriend that is. They were so happy I couldn’t tell them the truth, so… I kind of asked Bakugou to pretend.”

“That’s… different.”

Midoriya still looks shocked, but Kendou and Uraraka are completely normal. Not a second question about Kirishima pretending to date a boy. Simple like that. And apparently everybody knew for a while and, so far, nobody confronted him or treated him different.

Why was he nervous about coming out to these people again?

“But it usually doesn’t work like that.” Uraraka finally says. “The whole fake dating thing.”

Kendou scoffs, “what, do you know many people that often pretend to date?”

“Well, I don’t know them, but you see it on movies all the time!” Uraraka’s eyes sparkle and she turns to Kirishima. “You were supposed to pretend to everyone just to be sure!”

“That seems like a lot of work.” Kirishima smiles gingerly. “I barely could convince Bakugou to pretend to my folks…”

“But you did.” Uraraka singsongs and then she calls to Bakugou: “Doing such a nice thing for Kirishima! People will start to think you actually care about him.”

Bakugou snarls, impatient, “Of fucking course I care about him, what the fuck?”

Midoriya slips and almost falls. Kendou blinks, in shock. Uraraka and Kirishima gasp loudly.

Bakugou stops and stares at them.

“What?”

“You… You just said you care about Kirishima!” Midoriya stutters.

Bakugou starts to blush under their intense stares. “What the… And why the fuck are you shocked too?” Once again he climbs down to punch Kirishima on the shoulder. “We’re together all the fucking time! Why the hell would I hang out with someone I hate?”

“Because you have no other friends…?”

“WHAT THE FUCK, KIRISHIMA!”

That’s when lots of things happen at once: Bakugou throws a punch towards Kirishima. Kirishima defends himself. Kendou puts herself in front of Uraraka to protect her. Midoriya runs towards them to stop the fight. The rocks beneath Midoriya’s feet are reduced to dust and then Midoriya is falling. He reaches forward trying to grab onto something, anything, but there is nothing, so he’s falling backwards.

Before Kirishima can think of reacting, Bakugou turns around and grabs Midoriya’s wrist. Everybody freezes.

“Damn it, Deku, you useless fuck, watch where you put your damned feet!”

“Kacchan…” Midoriya mutters, breathless.

“You… You just saved Deku.” Uraraka gasps.

Bakugou lets go of Midoriya’s wrist as if it had burned him and then Midoriya is falling again. This time, Kendou activates her quirk and gets him on the palm of her hand before anything bad happens.

“Don’t drop him!” She scolds.

“I didn’t save him!”

“Yes, you just did, we saw it!” Uraraka starts to grin. “Oh my God, Bakugou, you just saved him!”

“I did not! He was just—I was—Look, he was there and my body just moved on its own, I didn’t mean to—Stop looking at me like that, you creepy nerd!”

“K-Kacchan…!”

“Dude, that was so manly!”

Midoriya’s eyes are all wet and sparkly. Kirishima thinks his are not much better because Bakugou – his Bakugou, his precious problematic friend – not only had admitted to care about him (Kirishima’s heart still hasn’t stopped racing) but he also saved Midoriya! He’s grown so much!

(And, true, after that Bakugou blows up almost everything on a 500 meters ratio, at least it gets easier to advance, regardless of how much Bakugou insists he was just trying to kill Midoriya.)

(Not long after that, they meet robots that attack them and Bakugou goes completely berserker and destroys half of them on his own. Kirishima can swear Bakugou’s cheeks and neck are bright red the whole time, but he can’t confirm since Bakugou refuses to look at any of them.)

(After they finish the task, Kirishima and Uraraka tell everyone who will listen to them that Bakugou had saved Midoriya from certain death.)

(Midoriya won’t stop telling everybody that Bakugou’s body moved on its own as if that's a very important detail.)

(Kendou comments, if anybody asks her, that Bakugou saved Midoriya from what would have been a nasty fall, but nothing that threatened his life. She doesn’t understand why Uraraka is so ecstatic or why Kirishima and Midoriya started crying.)

(She also adds that Bakugou tried to kill everyone by throwing a robot at them because Uraraka teased him.)

Chapter Text

At night, everyone is gathered on the first floor waiting to go home. Some are wielding bandages and band-aids from that morning’s exercise, but all of them are talking excitedly about the holidays.

That is, everyone but Kirishima and Bakugou, who are standing in a corner away from the others. Kirishima fidgets nervously on the same spot, wishing that someone would come and break this tension, but he knows nobody will come. Bakugou is wearing that strained expression that goes beyond anger and everyone already learned to stay away from Bakugou when he looks like that.

That is, everyone but Kirishima.

“It’s going to be all right,” Kirishima says meekly, “because it’s just a couple of days and it’s going to be mostly fun.”

A grunt. Bakugou doesn’t look at him.

“And, uh, I didn’t mention but both of my sisters will be there. I mean, my older sister will just stop by every now and then, but it’s cool, right?”

“Shut,” Bakugou growls, “the fuck up, shitty hair. Shut your stupid mouth and stay like that, you dumbass. There is nothing fun about this god damn situation.”

Kirishima flinches. “Sorry, man! I know I’m asking for much, but…”

“No!”  The next glare effectively makes Kirishima stay quiet. “You’re lucky I’m a man of word and I already agreed to your ridiculous plan. Someone else would just let you deal with your own fucking mess!”

Kirishima bites his lower lip and stays in silence after that. He can’t shake the feeling that Bakugou is angry at something else that is not the fact that he’s going to spend the next couple of days at Kirishima’s house. However, that must be just Kirishima’s optimistic side trying to cheer himself up. Chances are Bakugou is really doing this against his will and Kirishima is a terrible friend for even asking.

(But it had to be Bakugou.)

“Kirishima!” Ashido’s familiar voice calls and Kirishima turns on time to see her running towards them.

Bakugou lets out an annoyed sound and walks away with his hands shoved in his pockets.  Kirishima pouts.

“Uh…” Ashido stops when she reaches him and hesitates. “Trouble in paradise?”

“It’s,” Kirishima murmurs hesitantly, “nothing. Bakugou isn’t happy, though.”

“Isn’t he just being Bakugou? I heard that he was pretty manly today.” She nudges him amicably. “Ochako told me what happened during the exercise. How come Bakugou didn’t pass out?”

“Pass out?”

“Yeah, like Prince Zuko. Remember when Prince Zuko is making a new life in Ba Sing Se with his uncle and he transitions from evil to good so fast he literally passes out?”

“Huh.” Kirishima chuckles. “Don’t let Bakugou hear you calling him evil.”

“I’m not calling him evil! I’m just saying it was a pretty damn twist in his personality. I never thought I’d live to see the day Bakugou Katsuki would admit having positive feelings towards someone.”

Well, when she puts it like that…

“Oi! Hair for brains!” Bakugou calls from the entrance and he looks definitely constipated.

An old red car approaches the entrance and Kirishima recognizes the driver. He swallows hard.

“Go get ‘em, Kiri!” Ashido slaps his back. “You got this! And don’t let Bakugou bully you, right? Despite everything he likes you! He said so himself, right?”

In spite of his nervousness, Kirishima smiles at Ashido as to thank her. He adjusts his backpack and runs to join Bakugou.

The woman driving the car is familiar, though her hair looks shorter than the last time Kirishima saw her. Her eyes are big and lively, her mouth stretched in a giant smile. She’s wearing a black leather jacket that looks good with the sidecut of her hair. When Bakugou unceremoniously occupies the backseat, she turns to smirk at him.

“Well, well, well, you must be the boyfriend. I can’t believe you actually exist.” She winks at him. “Name and quirk.”

Bakugou gives Kirishima the you-will-pay-for-this look before turning back to her and grunting: “Bakugou. Explosions.”

The woman howls. “Oh my God! I knew I’ve seen you somewhere! You’re the explosion kid who whooped Eijirou’s ass last year on the sports festival, aren’t ya?”

“…yeah.”

“Aw, man!” She cackles. “I always knew you were into that kind of stuff, Ei.”

Kirishima flushes violently. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“What I just said.” She finally starts driving, but still glances at Bakugou through the rear view. “Ah, I almost forgot to introduce myself to you, boyfriend-kun. I’m…”

“Atsuko,” Bakugou cuts her off, “I know.”

She looks surprised for half a second, before laughing again. “Maaaan, your boyfriend really is something, isn’t he?”

Kirishima can see a vein pulsing on Bakugou’s forehead and he fears the car will get blown up before they reach the destination.

“Nee-san!” Kirishima whines. “Why don’t you go find your own boyfriend instead of bullying Bakugou?”

“I don’t have time for men, kiddo.” She grins. “Or women, for that matter.” Again she winks at Bakugou.

However, she does change the subject after that and starts telling them about something funny that happened to her friends. Usually Kirishima pays attention to his sister’s stories because they do tend to be very funny. Today he finds hard to concentrate.

The thing is: he’s used to angry Bakugou. Hell, how could he not be? But he knows when Bakugou is angry, when he’s angry-angry and he knows when Bakugou is angry for real – those are three different things, as he explained many times to Kaminari, even though Kaminari insists that that doesn’t make any sense – and this time Kirishima can tell that Bakugou is unhappy. With angry Bakugou Kirishima can deal. It’s not a problem. Upset Bakugou… that is a different matter.

Bakugou doesn’t say anything during the whole trip. He doesn’t say anything when they arrive – and Kirishima is a little nervous at that, after all he’s seen Bakugou’s home and it is a really fancy house, while Kirishima lives in an enormous, yet humble place – and Bakugou remains quiet as they go inside.

Kirishima’s mother comes running as soon as she hears her children’s voices at the entrance.

“Eijirou!”

Part of his nervousness gives in as he lets her loops her arms around him. His mom is exactly like he remembers, soft eyes and sharp smile, and she looks so genuinely pleased to see him that Kirishima can’t help but feel a little better.

“Oh, baby, I missed you so much,” she coos, squeezing Kirishima. “Have you grown? You look taller. Isn’t he taller, Atsuko?”

“Probably is just his stupid spiky hair, mom.” Atsuko grins mischievously.

“And you!” For a second, his mom looks like she’s going to hug Bakugou too, but – thank heavens – she holds herself back and just smiles. “You must be Katsuki-kun. I heard a lot about you. It’s really nice to finally meet you.”

“Hm. Thanks for having me,” Bakugou mumbles as he begrudgingly bows.

Kirishima knows that Bakugou hates this. The small talk, the obligatory pleasantries… Bakugou’s grumpiness is to be expected. However Kirishima can’t shake the feeling that he’s missing something.

“You boys must be very tired, aren’t you? Do you want to take a bath before dinner? Or maybe rest a little?”

Kirishima can’t help but think to himself that it’s been a long time since she looked this happy. For some reason, she has always seemed fond of the idea of being a mother-in-law. Atsuko has never brought anyone home and, until then, neither did he. He feels his heart clenching in a mix of guilt and happiness as his mother hovers over Bakugou, obviously delighted to have him there.

“I’m… fine,” Bakugou grunts.

“Let them breathe, mom, you can attack them later… Oh. There you are, Yuu.”

Kirishima freezes. This is the moment he feared. A little girl peeks from the living room, but she runs away as soon as her eyes meet her brother’s.

“Oh my,” Kirishima’s mom says, “I’m sorry for that, Bakugou-kun. That’s my youngest daughter; she’s shy around new people… Why don’t you boys go drop your things at Eijirou’s room?”

Thankful for the excuse to flee, Bakugou nods and glares at Kirishima. Kirishima gladly leads the way.

 

 

His room at home is emptier than usual, since most of his stuff are at U.A. now, but it’s still familiar enough. Kirishima kind of expects Bakugou to dive on the bed like he does after a tiresome day at school. Instead, Bakugou stands where he is, awkwardly looking around.

“Huh… make yourself at home and stuff,” Kirishima tries. “It’s not much, but…”

“Whatever,” Bakugou doesn’t look at Kirishima as he drops his backpack and kneels down to look for something. “I’m gonna go take a bath first.”

“Sure! Sure, the bathroom is at the end of the corridor. I’ll show you.”

“I can find it myself.”

And, just like that, he leaves the room.

Kirishima wonders if this is really worth it if it’s going to bother Bakugou this much. Nevertheless, his selfish part doesn’t want to back down. The look on his mother’s face… she surely would be so disappointed if she knew the truth. And… it feels good. Kirishima feels extra guilty because of that, but the truth is that he spent so much time afraid of his family reaction that now that they are being so receptive, he just wants to keep going. He’s been scared for so long the simple idea of bringing a boyfriend home and being supported is just… too nice? He wants to enjoy it. Even though he knows Bakugou is unhappy, he wants to enjoy it.

God, how unmanly of him.

Someone knocks on the door softly. There is only one person in his family that does that, so Kirishima just mumbles:

“Come in, mom.”

She opens the door with a shy smile and asks, “Is Katsuki-kun in the bath now?”

“Yeah.”

“Is everything all right between you two? He felt… upset.”

“Mom!” Kirishima whines. “You promised you wouldn’t do that!”

“I know! I’m sorry! It’s just that… how can I put this? I was too curious? It isn’t everyday that my little boy brings his boyfriend home! I couldn’t help it! What did you do, Ei?”

“Nothing!” Kirishima answers way too fast, way to guilty. He knows there is no use lying to her like that, but he tries anyway.

“Well, Katsuki-kun felt almost betrayed. Like he’s lonely.” She frowns. “If you wronged him, make sure to apologize properly, Eijirou. If you like someone this much, you should treasure them.”

Kirishima bites his lower lip and doesn’t say anything else. He’s afraid his words would betray him if he tries to speak.

“Well… You two have plenty time to talk. Earlier Atsuko tried to make cookies and the mess she made… Dinner will be late, so make sure to make up with Katsuki-kun until then, right?”

She smiles gently at him one last time before walking away.

Kirishima sits on his bed, confused. Betrayed? Lonely? Those were not the emotions he expected Bakugou to be feeling. Anger, for sure. Inconvenience, also yes. But why would Bakugou feel loneliness?

Now that Kirishima thinks about it, Bakugou seemed almost fine with his fake relationship plan just on the day before. Doesn’t that mean that Bakugou is angry at something completely different? Is Kirishima just being optimistic?

He gets up and paces around the room, bothered and trying to recall everything that has happened on the past 24 hours. Bakugou seemed tired in that morning. He mentioned that he didn’t sleep so well, right? But still felt like normal Bakugou. Still normal during breakfast. On the bus ride to their morning exercise he even talked to Uraraka normally, without… Then it dawns on him. The battle simulation! That was when Bakugou started to act upset.

Why, though? Was it because he had accidentally saved Midoriya? Was it Uraraka’s teasing? No, that wouldn’t make Bakugou feel betrayed.

“What are you doing?”

Kirishima lets out a shameful yelp.

“Jesus, Bakugou!” He pants, putting a hand on his chest. “Warn me next time.”

Bakugou must have taken the fastest bath in history or Kirishima has been pacing around the room for too long.

“The fuck you want me to do? Wear a bell on my neck or something?”

“Sorry. I was spacing out.” Kirishima rubs his own nape awkwardly. “I was just thinking… are you mad at me, man?”

“Huh? Where did that came from?”

Bakugou deliberately turns his back to Kirishima and crouches down to look for something inside his backpack, even though there is nothing to get from there. It’s the most passive-aggressive way of avoiding eye contact Kirishima can think of.

“Well… you look mad.”

“I look like this all the fucking time.” Bakugou violently shoves something to the depths of the backpack. “If you wanted a smiling idiot, you should have asked one of your annoying friends to be here instead of me.”

He is about to point out that Bakugou is one of his annoying friends when he realizes.

It was him! All the time it was his fault! Bakugou started acting bitter after he admitted that he cared for Kirishima, but that wasn’t the problem. The issue was that Kirishima reacted as if it was a huge shock that Bakugou was his friend. As if Bakugou had no feelings. As if Bakugou was incapable of liking someone.

Even though Kirishima knows that one of the things Bakugou hates the most is to be treated like some sort of villain, he did that.

God, he’s the worst friend ever.

“Huh… Bakugou?” Kirishima crouches down by his friend’s side. “Have I ever told you about my mom’s and my sister’s quirk?”

Bakugou glances at him by the corner of his eye, reluctantly curious by the change of subject.

“They can read other people’s emotions,” Kirishima says, “or at least interpret them, since everyone experiences emotions in different ways or… whatever. The reason I went running after you when I had to find myself a fake boyfriend is that… you’re my best friend, you know? More than the others. I thought…” God he’s blushing. Bakugou is blushing and Kirishima feels his cheeks reddening as well. “Since what we have is more special than a regular friendship I thought they would actually believe.”

They just stare at each other for several seconds, just absorbing what Kirishima just said and letting their faces go increasingly red.

“Holy fuck!” Bakugou groans, turning his eyes away. “How can you say that with a straight face?”

“There is nothing straight about my face.”

“Go back to the fucking closet, you fuck, I can’t stand your gay/straight stupid puns anymore.”

“I’m sorry,” Kirishima hurriedly says, before he misses the chance, “that I acted so shocked when you said you care about me. I know you do, man, I was just surprised you admitted out loud!”

“Shut the fuck up. I’ll seriously kill you if don’t stop saying embarrassing shit right now, damn it.”

“I’m trying to apologize!”

“Fucking stop it, then!”

Before they can argue any further, the door swings open violently and Atsuko barges in yelling, “what are you two doing?”

Bakugou and Kirishima jump to their feet and Kirishima is very sure that Bakugou almost exploded his older sister right there.

“Dad is here,” Atsuko announces with a lopsided grin, “so mom asked me to get you two. What were you boys doing that your faces are this red?”

“ANEE-SAN!”

(She runs cackling, which is good, because Kirishima is certain that Bakugou wants to kill her for that and he would have if she hadn’t fled)

(Bakugou, however, looks more like he’s about to puke than actually murderous, whatever that means.)

(After Kirishima’s apology Bakugou does look less gloomy. When they join everyone at the table, Kirishima’s mom gives him an approving smile, which can only mean that Bakugou is no longer upset, right?)

 


 

 

When they finally go back to Kirishima’s room, Bakugou feels like he just ran a marathon.

Kirishima’s family is a handful even more than he expected them to be. Kirishima’s father is a taller, bulkier, scarier version of his son, except that his spiky hair is black and he has a very intimidating beard. His handshake almost crushes Bakugou’s fingers. Kirishima’s mom, on the other hand, is small and tender, with her soft voice and easy smile. She’s like the stereotypical movie housewife, except for her sharp teeth, just like her son's. Atsuko with her sidecut and leather pants is just as overbearing as her father and she spends the entire dinner trying to convince Bakugou to call her onee-san.

And then there is the little sister. Yuu. Kirishima hasn’t told Bakugou which one of his sisters has the emotion reading quirk, but he’s sure that it’s the younger one. Have you ever tried having dinner while a 12-year-old glared at you suspiciously across the table? Because Bakugou does not recommends the experience. He can tell that Yu doesn’t believe them and, according to what Bakugou heard about her from Kirishima, she is not as easy-going as Atsuko and she tends to be possessive.

Bakugou already has a lot on his plate (both figuratively and literally, because, damn, do the Kirishimas eat a lot) and he has to deal with a jealous little sister. Fuck this shit, honestly.

Dinner is quite an event. Between a spoonful of food and another, everyone asks them questions – except Yuu, obviously. Kirishima’s father asks Bakugou about his family and about his career goals, and for whatever reason he seems very pleased with the answers he gets. Atsuko asks Bakugou details about his quirk and about the test to get his provisory license last year. When Bakugou gives her rude answers, everyone at the table laugh like he’s the most hilarious person they had ever met. Kirishima’s mom wants to know more about their relationship, how they became close, shit like that… Bakugou lets Kirishima handle her and focus on his food, wondering if his emotions won’t reveal their lie.

And that, like the little sister’s aggressive silence, just piles up on Bakugou crescent list of worries. What was Kirishima thinking? To pretend he is dating someone when not only one, but two members of his fucking family can read emotions?

Nobody address anything out of ordinary during dinner, though. After they’re done, Bakugou offers to help with the dirty dishes, because, contrary to the popular belief, he has manners. Kirishima’s father just waves him off, telling than he’s the guest and makes his way to the kitchen to do the dishes himself. Yuu follows him. Atsuko then proceeds to drag Bakugou and Kirishima to the living room and challenges them on Mario Kart.

Several races, screams and fights later, Kirishima’s mom tells everyone is time to go to bed like they’re fucking five and everyone listens to her.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Kirishima asks, closing the door behind him.

“Shut the fuck up, hair for brains. I still can’t believe you forgot to tell me your mom and sister are freaking mind readers.”

“They’re not mind readers,” Kirishima defends himself as he settles a futon for Bakugou, “they’re emotion readers. And I told you. Everyone feels emotions differently. They have strong empathy, but that doesn’t mean they can name what everyone is feeling.”

“Don’t you know what shut up means?”

Kirishima laughs, “all right, all right.”

They change into their sleepwear in silence after that.

Bakugou feels a different kind of nervousness settling down in his stomach as they get comfortable to sleep. He tries to make himself comfortable in the futon, but it feels weird. Not bad, but… unfamiliar. And unfamiliar is never good. He grabs his phone and opens the first app he sees as Kirishima turns off the lights. He mumbles something in response to Kirishima’s good night and tries to focus his attention on whatever he’s seeing on the small screen.

When he finally falls asleep, the phone falls softly on his pillow. When the phone screen goes blank, the whole room falls into darkness.

 

 

For the first time since Bakugou can remember, he wakes up first. Usually Kirishima is up with the sun, but this time he keeps gently snoring as Bakugou leaves the room. Bakugou was never a shy person, so he has no problem in heading to the bathroom and following his usual routine on his own.

He’s not surprised when he heads to the kitchen and finds Kirishima’s mom already up. She smiles tenderly at him.

“Good morning, Katsuki-kun. Isn’t it a bit too early for you to be up?”

Bakugou grunts something in response. She keeps smiling and something about it bothers him. He averts her eyes. That’s when he sees a bunch of ingredients scattered across the counter.

“Can I help?” He finally asks, pointing the food with his chin.

“Sure, why not?” Kirishima’s mom shrugs. “Eijirou told me you like to cook. I’m making waffles, by the way. Do you know…”

“Of course I do.” Bakugou cuts her off and approaches the sink to wash his hands.

She giggles. “Sorry if I act too chummy, Katsuki-kun. It’s just that Eijirou told me so much about you that I feel like I already know you.”

Bakugou doesn’t know what to answer, but apparently he doesn’t need to, because she just keeps talking.

“I probably don’t need to say this, after all I already know that you two care for each other so much, but I think it’s my duty as a mother to be embarrassing, so… I felt that there was something missing for Eijirou for a long time, but that changed when he met you. Thank you for taking care of my baby boy, Katsuki-kun. He’s a great boy and he deserves to be happy.”

Suddenly, Bakugou realizes why her smile bothers him so much. It’s not just because of the sharp teeth, it’s because her smile has the same optimistic happiness as her son’s. The tenderness and affection in her eyes is also familiar.

“I know that,” Bakugou mumbles to the counter.

She laughs softly. “I’m done talking about feelings. Torture’s over. You can relax and focus on the waffles now.”

Bakugou barely has time to let out a relieved breath when they hear yawning from the hallway followed by Kirishima’s sleepy voice:

“Mom? Have you seen Baku… Oh, there you are.” Kirishima scratches his belly lazily until he fully absorbs the scene in front of him: Bakugou and his mother talking and making waffles together. “Huh… What are you two doing?”

Before she has the opportunity to answer, Bakugou deadpans: “Your mom was telling me about the time you tried to send Valentine’s Day chocolate to Crimson Riot.”

“MOM!”

(Bakugou does his best to focus solely on the food as Kirishima whines at his mom, who’s just laughing earnestly. He ignores the feeling of guilt creeping within his chest.)

 


 

 

Kirishima thinks Bakugou is dealing incredibly well with this. Considering that socializing and lying are two of Bakugou most hated things to do, Kirishima is shocked at how good Bakugou is at handling this whole meeting the parents thing. Kirishima could have never imagined that one day he would see Bakugou helping his mom with breakfast and chatting almost amicably. It is true that Bakugou is always outstanding at anything he sets his mind to, but getting him to actually do it is not easy.

Kirishima feels a little too happy that Bakugou would go this far for him. It’s like he’s special or something. Even though he’s embarrassed that his mom would tell Bakugou humiliating stories of his childhood, he can’t help but getting all giddy and smiley at the fact that Bakugou humors her by listening as if he’s actually interested.

By the time everyone finishes breakfast, his mom is beaming of happiness and Kirishima’s dad shows him his thumb up every time Bakugou is not looking. Even Atsuko seems to be getting along with Bakugou, even though their banter consists of sarcastic remarks at each other that always end in one of them laughing and the other scowling. His family likes Bakugou. His family accepts him and they’re happy for Kirishima.

(And Bakugou is so good at this whole fake dating thing that Kirishima sometimes forgets that it’s just acting and catches himself marveling at how great of a boyfriend Bakugou is.)

(More than once he has to remind himself that Bakugou is doing this just as his friend.)

(But when did Bakugou get so good at acting?)

 

 

“Oi, shitty hair,” Bakugou calls. “Let’s fight.”

Kirishima doesn’t even need to think about the invitation before he’s already on his feet. He and Bakugou were watching some old movie together, but it’s not surprising that Bakugou gets bored of them very quickly, or that Kirishima doesn’t mind it at all. Sparring is his favorite way of training, after all.

They go together to the backyard where they can move at will and Kirishima feels excited. After almost a year of friendship, sparring with Bakugou is more an exercise to build stamina than actual fight training – they know each other’s movements all too well to be a challenge – but Kirishima always has fun with Bakugou nonetheless. He loves the way Bakugou moves, ruthless and unafraid, and he loves the feeling of reading his movements and being able to fight back.

“Hope you didn’t soften up,” Bakugou taunts, smirking a little as he stretches his muscles. “It’s been a while.”

“You wish, Blasty.” Kirishima grins. “It’s not like I haven’t been practicing.”

“Yeah, with the iron jerk,” Bakugou scoffs. “I’m going to wipe the floor with your shitty hair.”

“Steel. He’s stronger than you give him credit for. And rude.”

“Oh? You mad that I’m belittling your lover?”

“Aw, you’re jealous, babe?”

Bakugou swings at him so fast Kirishima barely has time to duck.

“Hey! Not fair!”

“Thought we were here to spar.” Bakugou shoots an eyebrow up, sneering. “You think the villains will ask if you’re ready before they attack you?”

Bakugou cracks his neck and waves his hand, inviting Kirishima to attack him. He’s wearing an oversized sweater with the sleeves rolled up leaving just enough of forearm visible to be a distraction. Kirishima glares at the exposed skin, wondering if Bakugou is being unfair on purpose, but in the end he has to admit that, even if Bakugou was that sly, he would prefer a fair fight.

Huffing at how unfair it is that his friend looks attractive when they’re supposed to fight, Kirishima makes his move. Unlike him, Bakugou is ready and ducks easily.

“Now that was just sad,” Bakugou says.

Bakugou is obviously being annoying on purpose, trying to rile Kirishima up so they can have a proper fight. With a heavy sigh, Kirishima gives him what he wants.

They don’t use their quirks at first which is some kind of unspoken agreement between them. It started last year after Bakugou was… Well, after Bakugou was rescued. One day, they started training together and Kirishima kept waiting to harden his skin on the moment Bakugou started using his quirk, but that moment never came. Kirishima is pretty sure that this is a thing he isn’t supposed to ask about, so he can only guess the reason – and he’s pretty sure it has something to do with Midoriya, even though he doesn’t know what. The only thing he knows is that Bakugou started taking practice without his quirk much more seriously than he used to when he first arrived at U.A.

Aizawa-sensei had told them several times that they shouldn’t rely on their quirks only and a professional hero should have several aces up their sleeve. Bakugou seems to have taken his advice and, if it’s because the reluctant respect he seems to have developed towards Aizawa-sensei or something to do with Midoriya like Kirishima’s instincts suggest, Kirishima doesn’t know. It doesn’t matter, anyway. He wants to get stronger too, regardless of his quirk.

“You’re not giving your everything,” Bakugou complains after a while.

“What? Yes, I am,” Kirishima says immediately, but soon realizes that is only half-true.

He’s not going easy on Bakugou on purpose – god no, Kirishima knows better than anyone else that going easy on a fight against Bakugou is almost asking for a deadly injury – but he is distracted. And not only by Bakugou’s forearms, but by Bakugou as a whole.

Kirishima thinks to himself that is pretty silly that he’s thinking about how much Bakugou changed instead of focusing on the Bakugou that is in front of him.

“Let’s focus on a goal, then,” Bakugou says. “First one pinned to the ground is the loser.”

“You’re on.”

Kirishima does his best to focus this time, because this is an old agreement between them. There is no punishment for the loser or prize for the winner, just a goal that they're going after. However, for some reason, the title of winner is important for both of them.

(Kaminari had called them competitive freaks when Kirishima explained the general idea and, well, he doesn’t deny that he is a little too competitive.)

He tries to brush away those complicated thoughts, but he loses nonetheless. Bakugou doesn’t stop until Kirishima falls with a huff that sounds more annoyed than pained.

“Hah. You definitely gone soft, hair for brains,” Bakugou smirks.

Kirishima tries to squirm free, but Bakugou’s on top of him and has one of Kirishima’s arms twisted and the other under his knee. With his cheek against the ground, Kirishima has to admit he’s completely immobilized.

“Fine,” he grunts begrudgingly. “You win.”

Only then Bakugou lets him go, a cocky smirk on his face as he offers a hand to help Kirishima to stand.

It isn’t until he’s back on his feet again that Kirishima notices that they’re not alone. His little sister is at the back door, glaring at them, and Kirishima wonders how he didn’t notice her before. Yuu is a small girl that doesn’t look like Kirishima’s mother or father – according to them she’s just the copy of someone’s great grandmother who’s passed away before Atsuko was born – but she has a strong presence. Maybe it has something to do with her quirk.

Kirishima is so busy blushing over the fact that his little sister just watched him lose on a fight that he doesn’t notice that Yuu looks absolutely murderous until she stomps her way towards Bakugou.

“You’re a liar,” she accuses.

“What the hell?” Bakugou lets out, as surprised as Kirishima feels.

“You’ve been feeling guilty since you got here,” she continues, unfazed. “You’re hiding a big secret from big brother and even your relationship doesn’t feel normal.”

“Y-Yuu! Mom already told you that there are different types of…”

“Don’t lie, brother! I won’t be fooled!” She turns her attention to Bakugou again and her voice becomes low and threatening – or at least as threatening as any 12 year old can get. “Papa and Mama and Atsuko-anee-san might like you, but I don’t. I don’t think you’re suitable for my brother and I’m not handing him over. Not to a half-baked boyfriend like you!”

Boy, Yuu sure is eloquent when she’s angry.

She balls her tiny hands in fists as she walks back inside, like the smallest storm of the world that comes, causes chaos and just disappears. Kirishima is still wondering what the hell that was.

Silence dreads until...

“That… That snotty brat!” Bakugou barks and then he turns to Kirishima, that takes a step back on instinct. “Oi! Kirishima! Am I a fucking half-assed boyfriend?”

“Huh…” Kirishima replies, wisely.

“What the fuck!” Bakugou says at no one in particular. “That brat was fucking challenging me! I’ll freaking show her! I’ll be the best damn boyfriend  you’ll ever have in your life, Kirishima!

Kirishima doesn’t say anything – mostly because he’s sudden and inexplicably a blushing mess.

(Good thing that Bakugou is too angry to notice anyway.)

Chapter Text

Bakugou is blatantly glaring at Kirishima's little sister - but, in his defense, she started it.

He’s vaguely aware that he shouldn’t try to look that threatening towards a 12 year old girl, but the said girl doesn’t look scared in the least.  

Dinner is quite the experience again. Kirishima’s father and Atsuko aren’t home, so it’s just the four of them, Bakugou and Kirishima sitting by one side of the table and Kirishima’s mother and Yuu in front of them. Mother and son awkwardly try to start conversation, but it’s all in vain. Bakugou and Yu keep aggressively eating their dinner at each other.

“So…” Kirishima’s mother tries. “Atsuko was thinking of taking you boys out on Friday.”

“Sounds lovely, mother,” Yuu interrupts without looking away from Bakugou. She knows that the first to break eye contact loses. “I’m going too.”

“Huh…” Kirishima frowns. “I think mom meant just me and Bakugou, Yu.”

“And why is that, brother Hasn’t your boyfriend come here to get to know your family? Do you have a problem with me going, Mr. boyfriend?”

This.

Is the most annoying girl Bakugou had ever put his eyes on.

The mocking way she says the word “boyfriend”, as if she’s sure that Bakugou doesn’t deserve the title, makes his blood boil. He knows he’s being tested. He knows she wants to watch him closely and she’ll win at the smallest sign of weakness.

(He’s not sure about what she’s going to win, but Bakugou sure as hell ain’t losing.)

“I don’t have any problem with it at all,” Bakugou says through gritted teeth. “You can come with us whenever you want.”

The girl gapes, not happy that Bakugou has accepted her challenge. Bakugou doesn’t back down, even though she’s glaring daggers at him.

By his side, Kirishima sighs.

“Eijirou, honey, why don’t you and Katsuki-kun go to bed?” Kirishima’s mom suggests. “You boys trained really hard today.”

“Right.” Kirishima stands. “Don’t you need help with the dishes, mom?”

“Oh, no, you did the dishes after lunch and Katsuki-kun basically made dinner for us, so you two deserve a little break.”

At that, Yuu finally breaks eye contact (Bakugou smirks because he won) and turns to her mother.

“He made this food?” She gasps, as if she can’t believe she was fed by the enemy (and Bakugou’s smirk grows.)

“Yes, he did. Thank you for that, by the way, Katsuki-kun. Now Yuu, why don’t you help me with the dishes so we can talk?”

Kirishima grabs Bakugou by the hand and drags him away from the table before he can laugh loudly at Yuu’s frustrated “but mom!

 

Once they’re in Kirishima’s room, Bakugou can finally let out the frustrated roar he’s been bottling up the whole afternoon.

“I’m sorry!” Kirishima says. “She’s not a bad kid, she’s just worried!”

Worried?” Bakugou snarls. “She said I’m a half-assed boyfriend! I never half-ass anything!”

“I know, I know. She probably felt that we are just friends and she’s worried, it’s just that.”

Bakugou remembers what Kirishima’s mother said to him – that she could feel Kirishima and Bakugou cared for one another a lot. Bakugou has tried not to think about that too much, because his stomach does weird flips inside him whenever he tries to get his mind around it, but isn’t it weird that Kirishima’s mom is convinced, but his little sister isn’t?

“Your mom seems to believe in us. Why the fuck the brat doesn’t?”

“It’s not like they have the exact same quirk. They perceive things differently.” Kirishima sits on his bed. “Yuu has always been more protective and she doesn’t trust people easily, that’s all.”

“What is this protection bullshit anyway? What, does she think I’m going to… to hurt you or—” Bakugou trails off, his annoyance making him incoherent.

“It’s not like that. It’s not personal.”

Of course Kirishima would say that. Kirishima always knows what to say.

He knows that Bakugou is angry because Yuu sounds just like those asshats that keep treating Bakugou like some sort of villain, to his utter annoyance. What do they expect? That he becomes a little goody two shoes like Deku? Like hell he will. His goal is to become a hero, of course, but he won’t stop being himself for that. He’s going to be the most ruthless, powerful and successful hero that there is while still being himself. He doesn’t need to be a wimp to be a good person. Anyone who is not okay with that can shove it.

Even if that anyone is his (fake) boyfriend’s sister.

“I think she would actually like you a lot in other circumstances,” Kirishima says. “She likes strong people. She’s just looking out for me, making sure you won’t be a bad boyfriend.”

“And there is that,” Bakugou says. “What the fuck does she mean when she says I’m not worthy? I am fucking worthy, screw her!”

“That’s what is bothering you?” Kirishima laughs softly. “She doesn’t mean that. She has this childish idea that a boyfriend should protect you and all that shit, so…”

“What the fuck! You don’t even need protection, you’re strong on your own! We fight together just fine!” Bakugou starts pacing back and forth around the room. “And even if you didn’t, I totally got your back! I can protect you better than any-fucking-body!”

Letting out a weird squawking sound, Kirishima buries his face in his hands. “Dude! Do you even think about it when you say these things?”

What?”

“Nothing. Just…” Kirishima lifts his eyes lies enough to look at Bakugou. He looks flustered. “I’m glad you’re willing to protect me.”

Bakugou is about to reply with something on the lines of “of fucking course”, but, before he can, an annoying voice is heard in his head. Except that you can’t protect shit, not even yourself. Bakugou stops in the middle of the room.

That isn’t true, he thinks to himself. I am strong. I am a hero. I save people. I always win.

Except for the times he doesn’t. Except for the time he was caught by whatever the fuck that sludge villain was and fucking Deku of all people tried to save him. If it wasn’t for All Might, there was nothing Bakugou could do in that situation. His quirk – his brilliant, powerful quirk – didn’t help him. Except for when he had to team up with square glasses and fight Deku and Uraraka and that damn nerd defeated him. Except when he was captured by a bunch of villains that saw potential in him. Potential to become one of them. He couldn’t break free. He couldn’t do jack shit.

Except when All Might was giving everything he could to save him and all Bakugou could do was fight blindly, telling himself that he didn’t want to die, but he was very likely to fall fighting. When he was the reason All Might had to lose. The time when Kirishima was the one that had to rescue him.

“Bakugou?” Kirishima calls, finding the sudden quietness strange.

“Fuck you.” Bakugou mutters avoiding his gaze.

Kirishima rolls his eyes and doesn’t pay any mind to it. He doesn’t find Bakugou’s answer weird, apparently, even though he should. After all, Bakugou isn’t talking to him. He is talking to himself.

He can't stop thinking about that until Kirishima announces he's going to turn off the lights. Annoyed, Bakugou doesn't try to tire himself out by playing with his phone until he passes out. Instead, he covers himself from head to toes and closes his eyes shut, determined to fall asleep to a normal person. He doesn't know who he's trying to prove himself to: himself? The annoying thoughts in his head? Some sort of superior force that seems to be mocking him? He doesn't know. But he keeps his eyes closed until Kirishima's soft snores fill the room and slowly lull him into a uncomfortable slumber. 

 

Bakugou can’t see and his whole body feels numb, but he’s vaguely aware that there is someone carrying him. He wants to fight. He wants to fucking explode their heads off. He wants… to do something. But he can’t. His hands are restrained. He doesn’t know how many people are there. He doesn’t know where he is. Even for someone as reckless as him, it won’t do. They take off the blindfold, but it is still too dark. He doesn’t recognize anything. He still doesn’t know where he is.

He’s helpless. He can’t do shit. This is how he’s going to die.

With a gasp, Bakugou sits up. A dream. It was just a stupid dream. Why is it so dark? He feels desperately vulnerable, so he slides back trying to lean against the wall… except that there is no wall. He palms around for his phone, but he can’t find it. His desperate eyes sweep around the room, but it’s too dark to see.

He’s not in his room. He doesn’t know where he is. His first instinct is to blow everything up, but his quirk simply doesn’t work. Suddenly, he feels like he’s 14 again, gasping and struggling as that disgusting villain tries to take over his body and he chokes on thin air. He can’t breathe. There is no air.

He thinks he hears someone calling his name right before he’s blinded by sudden light. A pair of hands try to touch his shoulders and Bakugou thrashes and fights to get away, but his legs are still tangled to that stupid futon and he almost falls.

“…ou! Bakugou! What is it? Do you want me to call my mom? Bakugou, talk to me!”

Kirishima. The pair of hands grabs both sides of Bakugou’s face, keeping him in place and his eyes finally adjust to the sudden clarity to see the face of his friend. This is familiar. Kirishima feels like home, somehow. Bakugou stares at the bright red hair, at the small scar above his eye, at his sharp teeth, at his worried expression… Bakugou makes a mental list of everything that he knows about Kirishima’s appearance and checks every item carefully. Everything is there. This is Kirishima. His friend. It starts to get easier to breathe.

“Are you getting better? Bakugou… Bakugou, please, talk to me. Oh man… That’s it, I’m going to call my parents.”

Bakugou grabs Kirishima’s wrist. No. His mind is now clear enough that he knows that calling someone else is a bad thing. He breathes in deep through his nose and slowly lets the air out through his mouth. This is fine. Kirishima is here. He’s not in danger. Everything is fine. He’s being an idiot.

“Bakugou…?”

“No… parents… ‘m… fine.”

“You’re obviously not, dude, holy shit, what was that?”

Bakugou shakes his head. As his thoughts get clearer, he lets go of Kirishima’s wrist slowly and becomes more and more aware of the extremely concerned stare of his friend. Crap. Now he’s done it.

“What just…”

"What happened?” Kirishima completes the question for him with his eyes blown wide. “I heard you shuffling and mumbling in your sleep and then you sat up and started hyperventilating.”

“I was not hyperventilating.”

“Well, then what do you call when you can’t fucking breathe?”

“It’s cuz you stink and I couldn’t stand your smell.”

“Bakugooou.”

He avoids looking at Kirishima. He’s very aware that his hands are still shaking.

“It was nothing, damn it!”

Kirishima bites his lower lip, hesitating, and then takes a deep breath, as if preparing to do something. Bakugou waits, his shoulders tense. This is the worst. He convinced himself that he wouldn’t have weird dreams, since he didn’t have any last year when he slept at Kirishima’s dorm room. He knew it, though. He knew deep down that Kirishima’s presence, as comfortable as it made him feel, was not a cure for his issues. He waits, feeling his mouth dry and his eyes stinging because he does not want anyone – let alone Kirishima – to see this pathetic side of him. He braces himself for... he's not sure what.

“So…” Kirishima scoots closer so he’s sitting by Bakugou’s side. Both of their backs rest on the side of Kirishima’s bed. “You had a nightmare. And you don’t want to talk about it.”

Bakugou glares at his knees. Kirishima seems to be satisfied with that answer.

“It’s cool. You’re cool. I mean… You don’t have to force yourself to say anything.” Kirishima fidgets. “But I’m surprised you didn’t end up exploding my bedroom because you were startled or something.”

Bakugou knows he’s trying to lighten up the mood, but Kirishima’s comment hits the nail on the head. Bakugou did not explode anything – but it was not because he didn’t want to.

“I can’t.” Bakugou admits, still refusing to look at his friend.

“What?”

“I can’t blow up anything right now,” Bakugou says and god, does he feel stupid. “I… Sometimes when I… When I have these dreams… My hands get dry. I can’t use my quirk right now.”

He feels Kirishima’s dumbfounded eyes on his face, but he doesn’t look back. He makes sure his face is empty of emotion, even though he can’t help frowning a little.

“This is why you’ve been practicing fighting without your quirk!” Kirishima gasps. “I thought… Dude, this—This has been going for months! You’ve been having those dreams for months and never talked to anyone?”

Bakugou balls his hands in tight fists to stop the trembling. His nails are probably going to leave a mark on his palms – that is, if they don’t break the skin – and it feels terrible. As if his hands are made of thin, dry paper and they are going to shred into tiny pieces anytime. He hadn't told anyone because he feels oddly naked when his quirk doesn't work. Actually... not just naked. Skinless. As if all of his vital organs exposed for anyone to come and end him without a problem, because he's a quirkless, defenseless, useless paperweight. 

(He refused to think about Deku. He refuses.)

One year ago, they wouldn’t have this conversation. One year ago, Bakugou would have kicked whoever dared to pry into his personal business, whether it was an accident that Kirishima was there to witness the shameful show or not. Bakugou would cut any contact he had with the poor fool and threaten them to make sure they wouldn’t babble about it with anyone, because no one ever should know that he has flaws. That he does not wear an impenetrable armor and that he is fucking vulnerable for the stupidest reasons.

This is not one year ago, though. This is the present and present Bakugou knows better. Even All Might isn’t invincible and Bakugou is nothing but a snotty brat trying to reach him.

This is not one year ago and this is Kirishima. It startles him the realization that he would never, ever want to cut his ties with the other boy. He knows without saying that Kirishima would never tell anyone about this, because Kirishima knows Bakugou wouldn’t like that. He trusts Kirishima. He still doesn’t want Kirishima to know how dumb he is, but he knows that, from all the people that could have seen him in this state, Kirishima is the one he would have picked.

“I still don’t want to talk about it,” he says with tight voice. God, he can feel tears forming on the corner of his eyes. Tears of frustration, tears of anger. His nails start to hurt his palms for real.

“Okay,” Kirishima says, catching Bakugou’s hand on his. “It’s fine. Is there anything you want to do? You want to try to go back to sleep?”

Bakugou shakes his head negatively. By the corner of his eye, he sees Kirishima nodding as he tries to pry Bakugou’s hand open.

“Do you want me to turn off the lights?”

He shakes his head again. Kirishima finally manages to open his hand and he soothes the tender skin of his palms, drawing circles with his thumbs over the nail marks.

“What can I do to help?”

Help. Bakugou does not accept help. Bakugou is a lone wolf that prides himself in doing everything on his own.

Kirishima holds his hand, intertwining their fingers. Bakugou takes a deep breath.

“Distract me. Let’s talk about something else.”

Kirishima’s eyes widen as if he wasn’t expecting Bakugou to give in so easily.

“Uh… So… Tomorrow, Atsuko-nee-san is taking us to the aquarium. Have you ever been to one?”

Bakugou shakes his head. “Why the aquarium?”

“She works there. She, huh, thought we could have a… a…” Kirishima clears his throat. “A date and stuff.”

Bakugou groans. “Great.”

“Sorry,” Kirishima pouts. “I accepted her invitation because I thought it was going to be just us while she messed aroung with her coworkers and we could just fool around and enjoy ourselves and shit. I didn’t know Yuu was going to tag along, so I thought it was going to be a break from pretending.”

“Whatever,” Bakugou says. “I came here ready to pretend all week, so…”

Except.

He hasn’t been doing anything so far, has he? He just came over and announced he’s Kirishima’s boyfriend and?? Nothing? His interactions with Kirishima are the same as when they are at school. They talk. They occasionally spar. They play video games, occasionally in the company of Kirishima’s older sister. Nothing they’re not used to do.

Fuck, no wonder Yuu doesn’t believe in them.

Bakugou glares at Kirishima. “What do couples usually do in dates? We can use this opportunity to finally convince that brat.”

Kirishima smiles fondly at him. “You really hate losing, don’t you?”

“I’m not losing anything. Now answer my question.”

“Fuck, I don’t know, dude. Technically you’re my first boyfriend, remember?”

“You’re useless.”

“Rude. Also you don’t mean that. Why are you asking that now, anyway?”

“Dumbass, do you want to convince your sister we are dating or not?”

“Well, I do, but… isn’t dating different for everyone?”

“Kirishima, we’ve been doing nothing out of the usual since we got here.”

Kirishima seems to consider that for a moment. His cheeks get a little flushed.

“R-Right. You know what? Let’s do some research.”

“What do you mean research?”

Only then Bakugou realizes that Kirishima is still holding his hand, because he doesn’t let go as he reaches for Bakugou’s bag and pulls Bakugou’s laptop from it.

“Let’s watch shoujo anime.”

“Wha- Fuck, and here I thought you were serious.”

“Dead serious.” Kirishima stares right at him, his expression matching his words. “You say you don’t know what couples do. So let’s see some couples.”

“This is a stupid idea.”

“You got a better one?”

Bakugou doesn’t, so he lets Kirishima turn on his laptop and google “very romantic shoujo anime”. He thinks to himself he’ll have to clear his history later.

He’s not comfortable. He still has this annoying feeling that he’s being observed, so as Kirishima does his thing, he scans the room. The window is closed and the curtains are drawn. The door is shut as well. There is no one in the room but them. Kirishima’s things are in the same place they were before the boys went to sleep. There is no reason to, but he can’t stop thinking of people with shrinking and invisibility quirks. Bakugou feels idiotic for being so paranoid.

He gets closer to Kirishima. Usually he grounds himself by focusing on what’s familiar in his room. Tonight he does it by focusing on his friend. How dumb is that?

“Here, this is the one.” Kirishima announces pointing at the picture of a apathetic looking anime girl.

They start watching it. At some point Kirishima rests his head on Bakugou’s shoulder and Bakugou lets him. The familiar presence by his side may not settle his uneasiness, but it certainly makes him feel safer.

He doesn’t fall asleep after that. He definitely can’t calm down enough for that. However, for the first time in his life, Bakugou admits to himself that he’s glad he’s not alone.

 


 

 

“What do you think they’re doing, dad?

“I wouldn’t know, Atsuko. I’ve never seen such behavior in my house.”

“Fascinating.”

Kirishima pretends he can't hear the loud whispers from the door of the living room and tries his best to focus on the book in front of him. Bakugou certainly is having no problem with them, his eyes trained on the book page as he takes notes on the corners and highlights important passages. Kirishima has always liked watching Bakugou study, because studying is something Bakugou seems to genuinely like without going full-Bakugou about it. Actually he half-Bakugous it. He sits down and reads with his expression unusually serene as he rationally solves the homework.

Kirishima, on the other hand, reads the same line several times without absorbing any meaning from it, spends a couple of minutes staring at the wall remembering something funny Kaminari told him, stares at Bakugou marveling at how handsome he looks when he’s calm like this, doodles on his notebook, wishes he had done this earlier so he would be free, attempts to read the text book one more time only to quickly give up… long story short, Kirishima isn’t as good at studying as Bakugou is.

Bakugou wouldn’t let him waste the holidays without doing his homework though, so they end up spending the morning in the living room, their books scattered around them and notebooks open.

Needless to say, this isn’t Kirishima's idea of getting the most of the holidays. He knows Bakugou won’t let him off the hook easily, though. He won’t be getting away unless he finishes his homework.

Pretending he can’t see his sister and father watching them as if they are some sort of TV show, Kirishima sighs and tries to read the question again.

A hero has the ability to manipulate the water in the atmosphere and there is a fire on the second floor of a house. The closest window is about 10 meters high and the hero plans on controlling the water inside it to put out the fire. Assuming they’re able to make a straight line of water and knowing the hero needs to stay 5m away from the fire to… Hey, have Bakugou’s shoulders gotten broader? Bakugou usually looks thinner than he actually is since he loves oversized clothes that allow him move freely. It’s been a while since Kirishima has seen him in a tank top. He’s fairly sure Bakugou’s arm got more muscular. He wants to reach out and feel them – you know, just to measure if—

“Kirishima, if you have time to stare at me, you already solved the train question, right?”

“Wha- I wasn’t! I mean… what?”

Bakugou glares at him. “The train question. Did you solve it?”

“Ah… I mean, yes. Here.” Kirishima pushes his notebook so Bakugou can check his answer. “I got letter B.”

“Hmm.” Bakugou checks Kirishima's answer for a while. “You’re not wrong, but you could get the answer faster if you used this other formula instead.”

“Oh… You’re right.”

“How are you doing with the water question?”

“Fuck, I don’t know, dude,” Kirishima sighs. “I have to guess the velocity of the water in a straight line from the hero to the window, but they don’t give me the distance between them, so…”

“Dumbass, they give you how high the window is and the distance between the hero and the house. You can figure out what you need easily if you use the Pythagorean theorem.”

Kirishima stares at the little drawing on his book for a few seconds. “Ah! You’re right!”

Soft gasps come from his family on the hallway. Bakugou stares at them.

“And what exactly are you doing?” he asks.

“Oh, don’t mind us,” Kirishima’s father says waving his hand.

“We’ve never seen Eijirou actually doing his homework before, that’s all,” Atsuko marvels.

“Don’t say that if I’m completely irresponsible!”

“That’s just sad.” Bakugou pulls a face. “How did you manage to even get in high school?”

“Don’t believe them! I do my homework!”

“Well, yeah,” Atsuko agrees, “but you’re still pretty stupid. We’re shocked to hear you discussing complicated math stuff with Katsuki-kun.”

“Shut up!” Kirishima pouts and turns to Bakugou. “I say smart stuff all the time, right?”

Bakugou just stares at him coldly and deadpans: “You think Shizuku was right to marry Haru, so you obviously have shit instead of a brain.”

“Wha- You’re still going on about that? She had no spark with Yamaken, dude!”

“She had fucking nothing in common with Haru, why the fuck would she date him?”

Kirishima’s father seems confused. “Who are you two talking about?”

“The, huh, the characters of a show we binge watched yesterday.”

Kirishima doesn’t think he fully understood what had happened on the past night. He was terrified beyond words to see Bakugou so… scared. Kirishima had grown used to the idea that Bakugou was fearless, even though he knew deep down that that wasn’t true.

He guesses the most shocking part was how little he could do in that situation. Kirishima had simply been the one to turn on the lights while Bakugou was the one doing the entire job to calm down on his own. Kirishima couldn’t even listen to his worries, because Bakugou didn’t want to talk about it. All he could do was to sit there watching shoujo anime with his friend, secretly sulking about the fact he didn’t even notice the struggle Bakugou was facing.

And he has the audacity to call himself a best friend.

(Kirishima is currently acting as if nothing had happened, because he thinks Bakugou prefers that way.  After that, they watched shoujo until Kirishima passed out on Bakugou’s shoulder.)

(Kirishima doesn’t think Bakugou slept at all, but he behaved normally during breakfast and afterwards, when the two of them had a very heated discussion about who was a better match for the heroine: the obvious love of her life or the light-haired quick interest that was there just to add tension to the story. Bakugou was so wrong Kirishima almost forgot about how worried he was.)

“You two pulled an all-nighter binge watching a romantic show?” Atsuko grins.

“Right, right.” Kirishima’s father ruffles his daughter’s hair. “Don’t taunt them. Now let’s let the boys study.”

“Dad, you’re so boring…” Atsuko complains rolling her eyes as her father drags her away. “But fear not, Eijirou, Katsuki-kun, I can still taunt you a lot tomorrow on your date.”

And then they are alone again. Kirishima glances at Bakugou, looking for signs of annoyance, but Bakugou is already back to his homework. Despite Bakugou’s legendary studying skills, Kirishima can’t help but to think he’s being avoided. Like Bakugou is purposefully not talking to him.

“Shitty hair. If you have time to stare…”

“I’m not staring! Gee! How do you know I’m staring when you’re reading?”

Bakugou glares at him. “If you’re not staring, how do you know I’m reading?”

“I got it, I got it, back to this torture.”

Kirishima finds it harder than usual to focus on his homework. He is not sure if it is because of what happened last night or the fact that Bakugou’s arms keep flexing every time he erases something on his notebook.

 

It takes a long while, but Kirishima manages to finish his homework. Bakugou refuses to give him the answers and threatens to hit him with a dictionary every time he notices Kirishima’s attention is wavering.

After they’re done, much to Kirishima’s dismay, Bakugou decides to help Kirishima’s mother to prepare dinner. Kirishima isn’t allowed in the kitchen, so he spends his afternoon watching movies with Yuu and his father while Bakugou and Kirishima’s mother cook. Kirishima doesn’t even want to imagine what they talk about, but when he eats the best food he has ever tasted in his life, he decides not to complain. After dinner, Bakugou lets Atsuko drag him to yet another video game competition and they get so into it Kirishima falls asleep waiting for Bakugou in the bedroom. When he wakes up on the next morning, Bakugou is already up and talking to his father in the living room.

Kirishima couldn’t be happier with how well Bakugou is getting along with his family, but he can’t brush off the feeling he’s really being avoided. Maybe he’s being paranoid; after all it has been just one day, but… Well. He did witness a pretty private moment. He knows Bakugou didn’t want Kirishima to know about his nightmares.

But now he does. Now what?

 That aside, Kirishima is worried about the outcome of today.

Yuu is glaring at Bakugou again – which is truly amazing, considering she’s on the passenger seat and Bakugou is sitting on the back with Kirishima. Bakugou is glaring back, of course because he would never back down from a challenge. Even if the challenger is a little girl. Atsuko keeps stealing glances at the two of them and then giving her little brother a look between amused and apologetic.

The week is almost over, Kirishima reminds himself. All they have to do is survive a date (in front of his two sisters) and one last dinner with his parents before Atsuko drives them back to U.A.

“And… this is it.” Atsuko announces finally.

The aquarium where Atsuko works is the biggest of the city, meaning it’s a fairly impressive place to visit. Kirishima hasn’t been there since he was in middle school and he finds himself shifting excitedly on his seat as the enormous building come to view.

“I’d usually guide you through the place, but that would be boring,” Atsuko says. “You guys are free to walk on your own while I walk with Yuu.”

What?” Yuu gasps at the same time Bakugou says, “That isn’t necessary.”

While Yuu’s shock don’t seem to bother Atsuko, she does raise a brow at Bakugou. She turns to her younger brother and the two of them have a quick silent conversation.

What is this? You’re fighting? Her furrowed brows seem to be asking.

Please, please, let me be alone with Bakugou, Kirishima’s eyes beg.

And then Atsuko – bless her – seems to understand what she needs to do. “Now, now, let’s compromise, shall we? The happy couple can walk just a few meters ahead so Yuu won’t feel lonely and will be able to reach you anytime, but you two have enough privacy. Later we can get some lunch together. How about that?”

That means they will be under their sight, but at least they will be able to talk. Even better: Bakugou can’t run away. Kirishima grabs the opportunity.

“Seems fair to me,” he says quickly. “You guys don’t have a problem with that, do you?”

“Whatever.” Say Bakugou and Yuu at the same time and then they start glaring knives at each other again.

Kirishima wasn’t joking when he commented Bakugou has a lot in common with his little sister.

“Then it’s settled!” Atsuko claps her hands on the boys’ shoulders, satisfied. “Why don’t you two wait here while Yuu and I buy the tickets?”

She sure isn’t subtle, but Kirishima makes a mental note to thank his older sister later for leaving them alone by the car for no reason whatsoever. Yuu seems to be attempting to murder Bakugou with her eyes as she is dragged away by her older sister and there is something more violent in her expression than usual. Kirishima wonders if she’s feeling the tension between the two boys and getting even more convinced that Bakugou isn’t suitable to be by her older brother’s side.

Which is unfair, of course, Bakugou is more than fine as both friend and fake boyfriend.

Even though it stings a little when he hears Bakugou letting out a soft “tch” as soon they are alone.

“Hey.” Kirishima starts. “You’re avoiding me.”

“The hell I am. I am here with you, aren’t I?”

“You are, but you don’t want to be. If this is about the other night…”

Bakugou’s head whips up at the mention of the said night and his expression is way less than friendly now. He seems to be daring Kirishima to keep going.

“I’m not going to tell anyone!" Kirishima sighs, frustrated. "I’m just worried about you, man!”

“Tch… This is exactly why I didn’t want to tell you.”

“Is it really?” Kirishima huffs. “Because I’m your best friend, Bakugou. I’m going to worry about you whether you tell me what I should worry about or not.”

Bakugou faces him. “Fuck you! I didn’t want you to—” He stops. He hesitates and takes a step back. He bites his lower lip. This isn't usual Bakugou behavior. “Forget it.”

“No! No forgetting! What you didn’t want me to do? Look, dude, I won’t force you to talk about your problems if you don’t feel like it. But… It would be nice you let me help a little.”

There are more cars arriving and families, couples and groups of friends heading to the entrance. Fortunately, the spot Atsuko chose is already surrounded by parked cars and there is no one too close to them to disturb their conversation.

Bakugou glares at his own feet, his hands balled into tight fists again. Kirishima wonders if he’s going to hurt his palms again like he did after the nightmare and has the urge to make him stop. He doesn’t move, though. He doesn’t touch Bakugou. Instead, he waits. Finally, Bakugou mumbles something impossible to understand.

“Come again?”

“I said,” Bakugou snarls, impatiently, “I didn’t fucking wanted you to see me like that! It’s fucking pathetic!”

“Wha- Dude, don’t be ridiculous! You’re one of the strongest people I know! It’s not pathetic, it’s… Look, I get it, all right? I’ve had nightmares before too.”

Bakugou blinks, surprised. “You have?”

“Well… yeah. Back then when… when you were gone. And stuff.” Kirishima scratches his own nape awkwardly. It’s the first time he admits this to someone, too.

A family walks past them excitedly chatting about their plans for the day. A little boy laughs loudly, pulling his mother by the hand so they can get to the aquarium quickly. The father gives them a suspicious look, probably wondering what two teenage boys are doing all alone in the parking lot.

Bakugou groans and suddenly messes his own hair in a frustrated gesture. “Look… let it go. Now we have to focus on convincing your snotty sister we’re madly in love or whatever. I don’t want to talk about my actual feelings right now.”

“You don’t wanna right now as in…”

Bakugou groans again. “Yes, Kirishima, when we go back to school we can have a fucking therapy session and talk about all of the stupid shit you’re so thirsty for. Happy?”

Kirishima smiles. “Yeah, actually I am.”

Bakugou gives him a weird look, as if he’s evaluating him. Kirishima doesn’t get it.

After a few seconds of silence, Bakugou sighs and says, “Hold my hand.”

“What?”

“I said hold my hand, dipshit. Are you my fake boyfriend or not?”

“Right, right.”

They’re holding hands when Atsuko finally comes back with the tickets. Bakugou complains that she took too fucking long and Kirishima wonders if that wasn’t on purpose.

(It probably was, since she looks very satisfied with herself when she sees Bakugou’s and Kirishima’s intertwined fingers.)

(Yuu, however, doesn’t look too happy. Instead of violent, she looks somewhat disgusted now. Does that mean the tension from before is really gone?)

And they finally walk into the aquarium. Kirishima doesn’t mind walking together with Bakugou like this and, though the feeling of his sister’s attentive eyes on their backs isn’t exactly comfortable, he’s glad they can talk freely again.

Bakugou seems less tense. Kirishima thinks to himself that even Bakugou can’t stay angry in a calming environment like this, with the blue lights and the fishes lazily swimming around.

“Then, what are we supposed to do?” Bakugou asks after a while.

“Huh?”

“To convince your sister, dumbass. This whole thing isn’t so we can act like a couple in front of her?”

“Is this why you didn’t want to get separated?”

“If I don’t convince her we’re a couple, it will be like I lost to her.”

Kirishima smiles because that’s so Bakugou. “Right. Then… I don’t know. We’re already holding hands? What else can we do?”

“Fuck, if I know. I thought that crap you made me watch was supposed to give us ideas.”

“Hey! It was a good show! But… well. I suppose the main couple wasn’t exactly a traditional couple. Did the even go on a date?”

“They didn’t. That’s why they’re not a good couple.”

“Don’t start with that again!”

They stop in front one of the biggest exhibitions. Not too far, Yuu and Atsuko stop too, the younger girl still paying more attention to her brother rather than the fishes she had paid to see while Atsuko mindlessly greets and chats with one of the staff members.

“I knew we should have watched the one about jellyfishes. That one had to have something about aquarium dates,” Kirishima comments.

“It'd be useless anyway,” Bakugou rolls his eyes. “This doesn’t feel like a date at all.”

“What a date is supposed to feel like?”

They stare at the fishes as if waiting for an answer. The fishes keep swimming without caring. Just like Kirishima and Bakugou, the fishes had probably never been on a date either.

“No, but, seriously,” Kirishima marvels, “I’ve had crushes before, but I’ve never been really invested in someone to imagine what dating them would be like. Like… How? What is dating anyway? Isn’t it almost the same thing as being friends?”

“Well, I guess?” Bakugou pulls a face. “The only difference is that you… you…” He trails off, his eyes losing focus for a moment.

“What?”

“I’ve got an idea.”

“What?”

“Stay still and close your eyes.”

“…?”

“Just do it.”

Kirishima frowns a little, but, if he trusts someone, that someone is Bakugou. He closes his eyes shut and waits.

Then, in the soft coolness and pacific blue lights of the aquarium, Bakugou leans in until there is no distance between them. Around them, Kirishima stops hearing the soft murmurs of passing conversations, forgets that there is anyone around. If his hand wasn’t still safely held by Bakugou’s, he would probably go away floating because he can’t feel the ground under his feet. Because Bakugou is kissing him.

Chapter Text

After being apart for an entire week, there isn’t a single student in their year that goes straight to their room after coming back to school. Some bother to go upstairs and dump their bags in a corner, but all of them go back to the common area to exchange holiday stories. Kaminari is no exception.

He sits with Jirou to talk about the days spent at home and soon Ashido and Tetsutetsu join them on the couches to tell their own adventures. Kendou drops by as soon as she spots them there. Other groups are scattered around the room and Kaminari gets too invested in Kendou’s hilarious family picnic and how she literally had to hold her hand over her little siblings to protect them from the rain to notice that two more people have arrived. It’s Ashido’s shrill voice that calls:

“Here they are! The lover boys! How did the week go?”

Kaminari turns around. Since he was out of town with his parents, he didn’t have phone signal and he couldn’t check on Bakugou and Kirishima’s shenanigans. He had told himself that it was more fun like this, to hear everything about their holidays with Kirishima’s folks at once, despite his burning curiosity. He didn't want to hear that everything was going to hell when there was very little he could do to help from afar, but he's looking forward to hearing about it now that it's over. When he sees the expressions on his friends’ faces, however, Kaminari feels his excitement dimming.

Unsurprisingly, Bakugou glares viciously at them and makes a beeline toward the stairs without as much as a “hello”. Kaminari is caught by surprise by how weird that feels. (Real) threatening looks and cold silences are so last year Bakugou. This year’s Bakugou seemed to have calmed down a bit, even he was still a prick sometimes. Kaminari wasn’t expecting a warm greeting, but Bakugou didn’t have to look so blatantly angry for no reason. Nevertheless, the biggest surprise isn’t Bakugou’s impolite behavior. It’s how strained Kirishima looks.

Instead of his usual toothy grin, Kirishima wears a strained expression, his shoulders sheepishly slumped as if he’s trying to fold into himself and make himself smaller. He gives Bakugou a pleading look as the latter walks away as though he wants to follow him. Kaminari knows Kirishima well enough to see the internal debate unfold silently before Kirishima sighs and decides that ignoring them would be too mean. You don’t need to be very observant to notice the defeated way Kirishima’s steps toward them are, especially if compared to his usual optimistic demeanor.

“Oh my God,” Ashido says pulling a face, “was it that bad? What happened to Bakugou’s mouth?”

Kirishima turns his gaze away.

“What about his mouth?” Tetsutetsu asks.

“Maybe it was just me, but I thought it looked hurt…? A little swollen, that is.” Ashido says. “Like someone punched him or something.”

Kaminari’s eyes widen. He didn’t notice anything wrong with Bakugou’s mouth and he looks at the stairs to check if Bakugou is still there so he can check. Bakugou is long gone now.

“That was me,” Kirishima says.

Everyone gasps. And then they start talking at the same time.

“Oh my God—”

“I knew this day would come…!”

Impossible ! Kirishima is supposed to be a saint! What about his endless patience!”

“Well, everyone does want to punch Bakugou in the face, I guess.”

“—probably deserved, but to hit my precious explosive baby !”

“— means the end is near!”

“Guys, guys, no, calm down ,” Kirishima says, trying to make his voice be heard over the fuss, “it was an accident!”

There was a collective relief sigh after that. Kirishima frowns.

“Wait,” Tetsutetsu says, “what kind of accident?”

“Did Bakugou not get along with your parents?”

“What? No! No, he…” Kirishima takes a deep breath. “They loved him. My mom and dad spend a lot of time with him and my older sister asked me to invite him over again next holiday and everything.”

“Then why Bakugou looked like he was going to murder someone?” Jirou asks.

“Maybe that’s how Bakugou reacts to good things,” Tetsutetsu suggests. “Like… he’s so horrible that, if someone is nice to him, he gets like that.”

Kaminari glares at him and he’s about to tell him off – how dare Tetsutetsu talk about Bakugou like that? Bakugou might be a jerk, but he’s their jerk – but he actually has a point. Seeing the way Bakugou reacts to Midoriya, Kaminari wouldn’t be surprised if Bakugou hated everything that is nice.

“Well…that actually makes a lot of sense,” Kaminari begrudgingly admits.

“Yeah, maybe he’s allergic to niceness.” Ashido nods

“Guys!” Kirishima calls. He looks even more upset, if that’s possible.

“Well…” Kendou calmly intervenes. “If he was allergic to niceness, he wouldn’t be friends with Kirishima, would he?”

Kirishima gives her a grateful look.

“Bakugou’s allergies aside… if everything went okay, why the death stare?”

“Hm… not everything went well. My little sister… have I mentioned that her quirk is to read emotions?”

Everyone stares at Kirishima, slowly absorbing the meaning of those words. And when they fully realize the implications, everyone starts talking at the same time again.

OH MY GOD!

“And you still followed through—”

“Holy fuck, Kirishima, you absolute egg —”

“—can’t believe I’m gonna side with Bakugou—”

“Dude, you’re so dumb!”

“I know, I know!” Kirishima whines. “I just thought that, since Bakugou is my best friend and I think he’s pretty hot, she wouldn’t notice my feelings are absolutely platonic!”

“Did you just say you think Bakugou is hot?”

“Nevermind that, did you just say your feelings for Bakugou are completely platonic?” Ashido shakes her head. “And you expected your mindreading sister to believe he’s your boyfriend?”

Kirishima turns his eyes away. Kaminari hasn’t seen his friend stressed like that since… well, since never. He decides it’s time to intervene.

“You don’t wanna talk about it?” Kaminari asks.

Kirishima wordlessly shakes his head.

“Okay.”

“But, Kirishima—” Ashido starts to protest.

“Drop it,” Tetsutetsu says simply.

For once, Kaminari is grateful for Tetsutetsu. Ashido looks like she still wants to argue, but, after a glance at Kirishima’s slumped shoulders, she sighs and gives in, “fine. But later you’re going to talk to us, Kiri! When you’re ready.”

Kirishima’s relieved sigh makes Kaminari worry, but, since pushing is not an option, he tries to fill the silence as quickly as he can by asking Jirou about her holidays. Jirou tells them about how she met Ibara and Honezuki when she was hanging out with Yaoyorozu at the mall and how the meeting escalated into a weird race to taste all the sweets they could buy. Their conversation carries normally and, thought Kirishima doesn’t contribute with any stories, he slowly goes back to his normal self by asking question and making comments. Kaminari relaxes.

 

 

Kaminari knows there is something terribly wrong when he walks in the cafeteria and he sees Kirishima sitting alone. Kirishima is never alone. Not at breakfast. Although Kirishima is an absurd person that wakes up at ungodly hours, recently Bakugou has taken a liking to get up just as early and the two of them would always eat breakfast together. Always, except…

“Hey, buddy,” Kaminari says as he takes the seat by Kirishima’s side. “It’s weird to see you here without your worst half. Where’s Blasty?”

Kirishima’s weak attempt to smile back at Kaminari vanishes and he flushes deeply at the question. “He’s not my- you can’t just say that, dude!”

Kaminari considers the red spreading on Kirishima’s face, bright enough that he wasn’t sure where skin ended and hair started. Instead of apologizing, Kaminari rephrases his question. “Where is Bakugou?”

“Dunno. In his room? I haven’t seen him today.”

Kaminari leans back on his chair. He thinks he knows what’s going on, but he doesn’t dare put his thoughts into words just yet, not even in his mind. He hates it when he’s in this position. Usually he can trust Kirishima to keep everyone emotionally in check and Bakugou to make sure no one is doing something stupid, but when Bakugou and Kirishima are the ones needing help, Kaminari must step in. For now, he decides to watch a little more, to see if Kirishima will approach him to talk about this – he doesn’t even toy with the idea of Bakugou being the one to reach out for help, though, because he’s not that stupid -  and he keeps his theories for himself.

Not much later, a yawning Sero joins them and is quietly followed by Bakugou. Sero doesn’t seem to find anything strange, either because he doesn’t know there’s something to pay attention to or he’s too sleepy to notice. However, Kaminari sees the way Kirishima tenses up when Bakugou sits down. Bakugou and Kirishima are conspicuously not talking to each other. Kirishima’s cheeks are flushed. Bakugou doesn’t raise his eyes from his cereal bowl the whole time.

Kaminari can’t believe this is actually happening. He doesn’t know if he should be frustrated or yell “finally!”

Ashido joins them on their way to class. They might be in separated classes now, but they’re still headed for the same building and their shoe lockers are still on the same place. Ashido starts complaining about having to wake up this early again and her shrill voice fills what would have been a very awkward silence without Bakugou and Kirishima bickering. She doesn’t shut up until Bakugou opens his locker and a sheet of paper slips out of it.

“Oh my God!” Sero screeches. “What is that? Is it a challenge letter? Who is suicidal enough?”

Ashido slaps him. “Don’t be stupid! It’s obviously bullying!” She looks delighted by the idea. “Oh, my, who would dare? Shall we defend our explosive child?”

Ashido’s and Sero’s excited noises muffle Bakugou’s soft curse when he crouches down to pick up the paper. Unlike Kaminari, neither of them notices the way Kirishima’s face is suddenly very pale.

“What the hell…?” Bakugou’s expression grows more and more disgusted as he reads.

“Let me see!” Ashido demands, taking the paper from Bakugou’s unresisting fingers. Whatever Bakugou read on the letter was shocking enough that he didn’t react immediately, so Ashido started reading aloud, “ Bakugou-senpai, my name is Onizuka Yuri, from class 1-A. We never talked, but you’re the reason I decided to enter U.A. and be a hero. I really admire you. I would…” She trails off, her eyes impossibly wide. “Oh my God! This is a love letter!”

“Like hell it is!” Sero takes the letter from Ashido and scans its contents. “Holy cow. Holy cow , it really is. Bakugou, you dog!”

But Bakugou has already turned back to his locker to retrieve his shoes. He doesn’t look like he’s paying attention.

Too excited to notice she’s being utterly ignored, Ashido is out of her mind with glee. “It says here she wants to meet you after class to get your answer!  Whatcha gonna do, Kacchan?”

“Don’t fucking call me that, jerkface!” Bakugou’s face twists in disgust.

“C’mon, man, not cool, don’t talk to her like that,” Kaminari says. “Seriously, though, who is this girl? Do you know her?”

“Can’t you read? She said clearly on the letter we never talked,” Bakugou barks.

“So, you don’t know what you’re going to say to her?” Ashido insists, unfazed by Bakugou’s insults. “You could start off as friends.”

“I’m not starting off as anything.” Bakugou slams his locker door shut. “I’m not meeting some random girl just because she wants to.”

Ashido gasps, while Sero looks like he expected such an answer. Kaminari is about to intervene and tell them to leave Bakugou alone when the last person Kaminari expected to say something in this situation speaks up:

“You have to go!” Kirishima yells.

He was so quiet, Ashido and Sero forgot he was there – when has Kirishima stayed quiet for longer than two minutes around them? – so they startle when they hear his voice. Their reaction is nothing compared to Bakugou’s, though. Bakugou freezes, so surprised he forgets to act angry. Instead, he stares at Kirishima, his eyes round with shock and his mouth hanging open. When he’s not wearing his habitual rage mask, Bakugou looks impossibly young and vulnerable.

“You have to,” Kirishima insists, when no one says anything. “This is a girl that seriously likes you.”

Bakugou seems recovered from the shock, closing his mouth in a tight line. Kaminari swears there are small explosions behind Bakugou’s crimson irises. “So what?” Through clenched teeth. “I don’t have time for this nonsense. I don’t even know her!”

“But she knows you! It takes courage to lay out your feelings like that! You can’t just leave her waiting and just don’t show! That would be so unmanly—”

“What, so you of all people want me to go there and make out with her or something?”

Kirishima flushes from his neck to the top of his forehead, every centimeter of exposed skin going as red as it is humanly possible. “N-no, I… I just… Can you not be an asshole for five minutes and just go there and give her an honest answer?”

Bakugou opens his mouth to give a rude answer, but closes it again without saying anything. He’s positively fuming now and Kaminari takes a step back just in care Bakugou’s temper gets the best of him and he starts blowing up stuff.

“Fucking fine !” Bakugou says finally, violently ripping the letter from a startled Sero. “I’m gonna go there waste my time just to tell this girl to go fuck herself! Are you happy?”

“Don’t tell her to go fuck herself! Give her an honest answer!”

Bakugou ignores that and shoves Kirishima out of his way. Kaminari watches him as he crumples the letter in a very small ball and violently thrusts it into his pocket. People in the hallway that stopped to watch what were they yelling about this early make way for Bakugou easily, as they don’t want to get exploded out of the way.

Kirishima stays where he is for a few more seconds without looking at anyone, his fists tightly clenched. Ashido hesitantly reaches for his shoulder, but he turns around and leaves before her fingers touch him. It’s almost funny how he stomps towards the stairs in a very Bakugou way.

“Holy shit. That was… intense,” Sero says. “It’s been a while since I saw Bakugou get angry at Kirishima like that.”

“Forget about Bakugou,” Ashido says. “Bakugou would fight the sky if someone let him. Why was Kirishima that mad?”

“Well,” Kaminari decides to admit, because hey, he is friends with Kirishima and he’s in amicable-ish terms with Bakugou, but he’s not dealing with this alone. He can’t. Ashido claims to be their mother, so she might as well help. “I don’t know what happened at Kirishima’s house, but I think Bakugou and Kirishima are finally aware that they’re in love with each other.”

 


 

 

Ashido would have spied on any of her friends getting confessed to and Bakugou is no exception. In fact, she might want spy on Bakugou especially, because Bakugou forced in a romantic situation is both hilarious and super interesting. Sero says they shouldn’t meddle, because Bakugou will definitely murder them, but she ignores him. As if Ashido would let Bakugou deal with his feelings on his own. She knows that all of that rage is there because Bakugou is shit at feelings. And now that she knows Kyouka’s theories that Bakugou and Kirishima are secretly in love with each other are true! There is no way Ashido can stay put and do nothing! Her baby boys’ happiness is at risk and she absolutely has to do something.

She considers getting Kyouka as her helper, but she isn’t sure about it. Kyouka sure seems very invested in Bakugou and Kirishima’s supposed relationship, but she doesn’t really spend much time with them. Fortunately for Ashido, Kaminari says he’ll help her.

He insists that he isn’t really friends with Bakugou and he’s doing this 100% for Kirishima’s sake and because he’s curious about how this whole thing will play out. Ashido mercifully lets Kaminari play out his tsundere act and pretends she doesn’t know that Kirishima, Kaminari and Bakugou have this weird thing in which one of them plays the mom friend role whenever the others are in need of adult supervision. She’s sure Bakugou would also deny that he loves his friends too.

Honestly, what would this bunch of emotionally constipated boys do without her?

Alas. One problem at a time. Ashido decides she will deal with Bakugou and Kaminari’s not-friendship later. Now she has to focus on Bakugou’s love life. She waits anxiously for the last class to end and pretends to be deeply focused on her phone when Bakugou stands up. She doesn’t have to hurry. She’s read the letter. She knows where Bakugou is meeting the suicidal first year who apparently has a crush on him.

(And Ashido isn’t following him just because she’s curious. She wants to see what he’s going to say because Bakugou would never tell her, sure, but also because she worries about how this is going to affect the whole Bakugou/Kirishima situation.)

She gives Bakugou a ten seconds head start and then she hurriedly shoves her things in her backpack and rushes after him. The mysterious girl asked Bakugou to meet her behind the main gym and Ashido takes the longer path to make sure she won’t run into Bakugou on the way there. Even with all the advantage she gave him, Ashido’s mad dash towards the gym guarantees she arrives before Bakugou.  Ashido isn’t surprised, though. She knows Bakugou must be dreading this and he must be stalling as much as he can.

Ashido sees the girl waiting by the back door and she hurries to hide behind the bushes by the corner. She takes a good look at the daring first year that – for some reason – fell in love with Bakugou Katsuki at the first sight. According to the letter, the girl saw Bakugou’s performance at the last sports festival and fell in love with him. As much as she likes Bakugou, Ashido 100% can’t relate.

The girl has short dark hair that cover her eyes so Ashido can’t see her true expression, but her posture suggests determination. She doesn’t look delicate. The tightness of the uniform around her arms suggests strong muscles beneath. The way she lets her hands rest on her hips suggests confidence, but something about her – or maybe it’s Ashido’s intuition – says that she’s nervous. The girl must suspect Bakugou might not show up.

Ashido hears a step behind her. It’s Bakugou , she thinks and gasps, readying herself to scream and run away.

Before she makes any noise, a hand covers her mouth and Kaminari holds a finger in front of his lips, ushering her to stay quiet. Ashido lets out a relieved – but silent – breath. Behind Kaminari, Kirishima is looking nervous.

“What are you doing here?” She mouths.

“The same as you, apparently,” Kaminari mouths back and cranes his neck to see past the bushes. “Is that her?”

Ashido nods, though she doesn’t know for sure. She notices how Kirishima is still hesitating to take a step closer and join then, so she smiles encouragingly at him. Whatever that is happening between him and Bakugou right now, it must be really weird to watch a girl confess to the boy you like. Especially when you were the one who told said boy to answer the confession. Ashido’s smile, as lovely as it is, doesn’t seem to affect Kirishima very much. He still looks like he wants to puke.

Then Kaminari starts slapping Ashido on the arm repeatedly and mutters hurriedly, “ he’s here !” and Ashido is suddenly too busy trying to see without being seen to comfort Kirishima.

Bakugou comes from the opposite direction in his signature posture, his hands shoved deep in his pockets. Ashido can tell he’s trying to look nonchalant, but he’s nervous. She knows him well enough to notice that.

“Bakugou-senpai!” The girl calls, her voice breaking. “You really came!”

Ashido waits for a rude answer, but Bakugou says nothing. He stalks closer until he’s right in front of the girl. Ashido can see the hem of his boxers under his oversized pants and again she wonders what the hell have this girl and Kirishima seen in that boy.

“So?” Bakugou grunts, his voice low with nervousness, though Ashido isn’t sure the girl can notice that. “Who the hell are you?

Seriously, what about Bakugou makes him boyfriend material? He’s cool as a loud, bad tempered friend that can be reliable sometimes, sure, but a boyfriend ? Why do these people want to date the king of explodo-pants? What is Ashido missing ?

“I’m Onizuka Yuri, from class 1-A.”

“You said that on your letter,” Bakugou retorts. “That doesn’t mean shit to me. It’s just a name.”

Onizuka nods, as if Bakugou raises a very reasonable argument. “So let me properly introduce myself,” she says calmly. “My quirk is heat generation, as in my body temperature gets so high I can easily set things on fire and sometimes straight up melt them. I’ve always wanted to be a hero, but I was worried such a destructive quirk wouldn’t be fitting for a hero, combined with my bad temper. But then I watched your performance last year and I was very impressed. I think you’re a hero I can look up on. I researched what I could about your quirk and you and I was really impressed. Then I realized… Well, I really admire you, senpai. I want to learn from you and I also want to stay by your side. Please, let me be your girlfriend.”

The answer is immediate. “Fuck no.”

Kaminari buries his face in his hands. Ashido feels sorry for this weird, earnest girl.

“I understand that I’m rushing things,” Onizuka says, “so please, consider getting to know me as a friend first and then-”

“I don’t have time for this,” Bakugou cuts her off. “I want to be the number 1 and I can’t go fooling around with a girlfriend.”

“Don’t be stupid,” she scoffs. “That’s what I like in you. Of course I won’t get in the way or ask for too much attention. I want to be a hero myself, so I would support you in any way I can.”

Bakugou consider her in silence for a long moment. Then he lets out a heavy sigh. “The answer is no.”

The two of them stay where they are for another moment. Onizuka slowly wraps her arms around herself and gives a tight nod. “I see,” she says slowly. Her voice is so quiet Ashido can barely make the words. “If that’s your final answer… Can you tell me why we can’t even be friends?”

Ashido considers getting up and interrupting them. She feels like Bakugou is about to give one of his very insensitive speeches about how he doesn’t have any friends and anyone in his way is just a stepping stone. It’s probably not her place, since she is Bakugou’s friend, not Onizuka’s, but Ashido feels sorry for Onizuka. You can’t choose who you fall in love with. Ashido wants to hug her and tell her to not think badly of Bakugou after this, because he (mostly) doesn’t mean to harm anyone, he just doesn’t know how human feelings work, that’s all.

Then Bakugou’s next words shock Ashido into stillness:

“I don’t want you to get your hopes up. I already have someone I like.”

Kaminari chokes on thin air and covers his mouth with his hands so they won’t be caught. They almost miss Onizuka’s answer.

“Oh. And you won’t date them because you don’t want a relationship to get in the way of your dream?”

“That’s none of your fucking business.”

“Right, right,” a short chuckle. A watery one. Her voice breaks one more time. “So this is how it is, huh… Thank you for being honest. Don’t regret this, okay? I accept your rejection and I’ll keep admiring you from afar, but I’m not going to like you like this anymore.”

Bakugou doesn’t answer. Ashido doesn’t pay attention to whatever Onizuka says next, because she finally remembers to turn around and check on Kirishima.

Red doesn’t seem strong enough to describe the glory of Kirishima’s skin right now. The bright scarlet doesn’t color just his face – that Ashido can barely see, since he’s hiding it in his hands – but spreads on his ears and neck. Ashido is sure his chest is red too. Who would have thought that Red Riot is literally red and blushes with his whole body.

 

 

Ashido has had enough and she’s been only doing this for one morning and half an afternoon. She leaves Bakugou saying goodbye to Onizuka and drags Kirishima with her back to the dorms. Kaminari follows them without hesitation, still wearing a funny shocked expression from the exchange they just heard. Kirishima, likewise, seems to have stopped functioning altogether, since he lets Ashido drag him by the hand with only a mild whimpering noise in protest.

She only stops for a second when they reach the dorms building. Dragging the two boys to her room would draw too much attention, she decides, and Kirishima’s room is too close to Bakugou’s for her liking, so she leads them to Kaminari’s room instead. There they should have enough privacy to talk.

“So…” Kaminari closes the door behind them once they’re inside. “Bakugou just admitted that he has positive feelings towards someone. That’s a thing that happened. I didn’t hallucinate that.”

Kirishima sits down on Kaminari’s bed and glares at his own knees without saying anything.

“Kirishima,” Ashido says, “what happened in your house? Seriously, are your parents magic? Do they make goodness blossom? Is this the reason you’re the embodiment of a sunshine ray? Did they use their magic to un-Bakugou him?”

Kirishima pouts at her. Ashido has really had it with the silent treatment.

“Seriously, what’s going on between you two?”

Kirishima takes a deep breath. “Huh… remember what I said about my sister reading emotions? Well, she didn’t believe us when we said we were together. Or that’s what we thought, at least. And… You know how Bakugou gets. He was super pissed that she would doubt him.”

“Yeah, how dare your sister accuse him of lying when he was not telling the truth, right?”

“We tried to think of ways to convince her and…” Kirishima stares at his knees again, his face blushing furiously. “We… huh… Bakugou kissed me.”

Bakugou kissed him, he says.

Ashido needs to sit down. Kaminari’s mouth hangs open for a long moment before he turns to her and starts gesturing frantically.

“And I, huh, I panicked and used my quirk by accident and I almost ripped Bakugou’s lip off.”

They stay in silence.

“Kiri… Why don’t you tell us in detail what happened? We’re not going to interrupt you, just… Talk to us.”

Kirishima stares at his knees for a few more seconds. Finally, he sighs and starts talking.


"I'm so, so sorry," Kirishima said for what should be the hundredth time.

Bakugou gave him an unimpressed look, annoyance still clear in his eyes, but after two minutes deliberately ignoring Kirishima's pleads for forgiveness, that was an improvement. Yuu, on the other hand, didn't look at her brother, but promptly said:

"I don't think sorry is enough in this case." She stood on her tiptoes to look closer at Bakugou's bloody lip. "I'm positive you struck a nerve that goes from his lip all the way to his brain. His brain will implode in a few minutes. Congratulations, big bro, you killed him."

"Shut up, Yuu! That's not a thing," Kirishima said, and then, with a concerned glance at Bakugou, "right?"

Bakugou gaped. "Are you asking me if a split lip will cause my brain to fucking implode?"

Kirishima felt like crying. Instead, he settled for apologizing some more. Usually, he wouldn't fuss about it so much. That's not what makes him want to cry. What made him want to to curl up in a small ball and bury himself in a deep, deep hole is that his quirk involuntarily did that to Bakugou when Bakugou kissed him.

Bakugou kissed him and he felt like he was hit by a truck, like he was falling, like his heart was going to punch a hole through his ribcage and under that uncontrollable rush of adrenaline he thought that he would die. That's when his quirk activated on its own, hardening his entire face and very effectively trapping Bakugou's lower lip.

Kirishima went through an emo phase in middle school, so he's pretty sure that this isn't the most embarrassing thing he's ever done, but then he couldn't recall anything more humiliating.

"I'm sorry, Bakugou," he whined again.

"Say you're sorry one more time and I swear I'm going to give you a reason to be sorry, you ass."

Yuu glared daggers at Bakugou, but for once she didn't say anything. Maybe her silence meant she's also annoyed by her older brother's insistent rain of apologies.

The only good thing was that Yuu was the only one who saw the disgraceful scene, since apparently Atsuko had gotten distracted with one of her coworkers and had told Yuu to go on without her for a while. Yuu was the only one watching as Bakugou leaned down slowly, so slowly, so that Kirishima had time to figure out what his plan was and either roll with it or to stop him. Yuu was just a couple of steps away from them when Kirishima lost control of his own quirk and a startled Bakugou shoved Kirishima away.

Kirishima groaned and hid his face in his hands, his cheeks burning.

"What's with you, big brother? Was this the first time you kissed or what?"

"Of course not!" Kirishima's voice came way louder than he originally intended to. "We kiss! We kiss all the time! That's what boyfriends do! We're boyfriends!"

"Oi, pipe down, shitty hair!" Bakugou hissed, because people were starting to stare.

Yuu raised an eyebrow. "Not necessarily. It's perfectly common for people in romantic relationships to start dating and getting to know each other first before sharing such intimacy."

Kirishima stared at her, frowning at the idea of his little sister - who is a child, mind you - knowing more and being more mature about romance than he is.

Bakugou, however, wasn't as impressed. "Yeah, real life isn't like shoujo manga, snotty brat," he said.

Yuu attacked Bakugou. The top of her head barely reaches his shoulders, but she tried to attack him anyway. Unlike her older siblings, Yuu doesn't know enough about combat to be a real threat and all she managed was to make grabby hands towards Bakugou's neck before he held both of her hands and they settled for a pushing contest. Even Bakugou knows better than physically fight a little girl, so he just looked mildly annoyed and offended that she even thought of trying to take him down. Yuu didn't give up and kept pushing and grunting. Some people nearby pointed and smiled faintly at what looks like a very violent child playing fight.

"Then what did you do to my brother that caused such reaction, you fiend," Yuu rasped. Her feet slid on the floor with the effort of pushing Bakugou, though he stayed unyielding as ever. "That's not how one should react to a kiss!"

She... had a point. Kirishima didn't have a reason to panic like that. Even if the kiss was a complete surprise, it was just that. A kiss. It wasn't even the first time he kissed someone. He did kiss a girl in middle school, though their relationship didn't last because back then Kirishima was starting to realize that he didn't care much for girls. Then why did Kirishima reacted so strongly?

"Who are you, the kissing police?" Bakugou snarled, seriously getting riled up then. "A yucky brat like you?"

"I'm 12! I'm not a child anymore and... God damn it, why won't you let me shove you?!"

Kirishima decided it was time to intervene.

"Stop it, you two! Yuu, stop trying to fight Bakugou, what are you thinking? And Bakugou, let her go."

Bakugou obediently let go of Yuu's hands, surprising Kirishima, until he realized the gesture made Yuu stumble. She ended up falling face first into his chest.

Yuu shoved Bakugou again to recover her balance. "Ugh! This isn't over, Bakugou Katsuki!"

"You little--"

"Hey, knock it off, you two," Kirishima said.

Bakugou and Yuu bit back whatever they were about to say. Kirishima sighed and stepped closer to his little sister, wondering what the hell he'd have to do to convince her.

"Listen, Yuu... I know you are concerned about my relationship, but I promise you Bakugou is my boyfriend."

She stared at him impatiently, as if waiting him to say something else. When it became clear that he was finished, she furrows her brow. "And? I know that."

"You... you know?" There is a pause in which Kirishima and Bakugou exchange a startled look. "Then... Why did you keep calling Bakugou a liar?"

She frowned. "Because he was hiding something...? I could feel he had a secret he wasn't telling you. And… Well, I can feel that there are no secrets now, but that's just because I pushed him and I can't accept that! There is also his attitude and the way he treated you last year and..."

Kirishima blinked and stopped listening, as Yuu kept on and on listing Bakugou's many bad qualities and why she could not accept him as a brother-in-law. Did... Did that mean Yuu's believed them from the start?

"Wait a second," Yuu said. "Why did you think I was opposing him?"

"I thought... I thought you didn't believe Bakugou was my boyfriend."

It was her turn to gape, surprised. “Why would I think that? I don't even need to use my quirk to feel you’re mutually in love.” She made a disgusted face. “Still, it’s possible to fall in love with someone who isn’t good for you, so-”

You're mutually in love, she's said.

She kept talking, but Kirishima wasn’t listening anymore. I can feel you’re mutually in love. Kirishima glances at Bakugou and sees his own shocked expression mirrored on his friend’s face.

Bakugou is the first to recover.

“Oi, you brat, quit talking about embarrassing shit you don’t understand,” Bakugou said. “You’re, like, 5.”

“I’m 12! And my quirk is empathy, you buffoon! Of course I know what I’m talking about!”

Kirishima stole another look at Bakugou. Bakugou glanced at him at the same time. When their eyes met, both boys blushed violently and looked away.

Before either of them could think of anything to say - which wouldn't be happening anytime soon - Atsuko’s loud voice announced, “I’m back, kids, what are you…” she trailed off, her eyes traveling from the flushed boys to the furious little girl. “Are you kidding me? I leave for two minutes and you three start fighting? Yuu, you better not be bugging them again or I’m telling mom.”

But sister!”

Yuu and Atsuko started arguing. This time, Kirishima tried not to listen because… well, love is a strong word. Hearing Yuu throwing that word like that like it’s nothing worthy of note was too much for Kirishima’s heart. Like it's an obvious fact that can be nonchalantly stated without trouble. The sky is blue! Cats say meow! Kirishima and Bakugou are in love with each other!

Even in his mind, the words made his heart skip a beat. It’s not like that. It’s not supposed to be like that. He thought he could lead his family into believing Bakugou was his boyfriend since they’re best friends - being above regular friends can be mistaken for a crush or something, right? Right? - and, all right, he likes Bakugou a lot and he enjoys spending time with him and he admires him and… Kirishima swallows hard as he thinks about the kiss.

One thing was his family easily accept that his best friend was his boyfriend. Another was Yuu explaining to them that she’s very aware of the difference between platonic and romantic love and that she can tell Kirishima and Bakugou are experiencing the latter.

Kirishima looked at Bakugou one more time and again he saw his own confusion reflected. They stared at each other for a second. They looked away.

“If you don't behave, I’m taking you home, young lady.” Atsuko threatened a pouting Yuu. When Yuu said nothing in return, she sighed and turned to the boys. “Come on, kids, we’re gonna grab some food now.”

Like she promised, Atsuko treated them lunch. Yuu squinted at them, probably aware of their inner turmoil, but she said nothing, not wanting Atsuko to tell her off again. Bakugou mustered enough energy to half-heartedly answer Atsuko’s questions. Kirishima didn't have that strength of mind then and he admired Bakugou for that.

Through the afternoon, though, Bakugou was quieter. Atsuko glared at Yuu, rightfully assuming that Kirishima and Bakugou were upset about something ahe said. What Atsuko didn't - couldn't - know was that Kirishima and Bakugou weren’t exactly upset. They were carefully revaluating their own feelings, going through a slow process of denial then acceptance then a strong feeling of having no idea what to do.

When the night fell and Atsuko drove the boys to school - their things were already in the trunk and they had already said their goodbyes to Kirishima’s parents in the morning, thank God - Kirishima forgot to tell Atsuko not to be too harsh on Yuu. Kirishima waved at his sisters when they dropped them off and Atsuko drove away. He was painfully aware of Bakugou by his side.

Atsuko’s car disappeared after turning on the corner. Neither boy moved for a while. Then they stared at each other.

Kirishima panicked and turned to go inside. Bakugou quickly followed him, but said nothing.

 

 

Back to the present, Ashido and Kaminari stare at Kirishima with their mouths hanging open.

“I have so many questions,” Kaminari says.

“Wait, wait, let… let me see if I understand.” Ashido takes a deep breath. “You… you realized that you like Bakugou, because your sister told you so.”

Kirishima nods.

“And you didn’t know before that.”

Kirishima nods again.

Kaminari mutters softly, “you were the only one then.”

Ashido glares at him.

“What? He was! Sero and I thought this whole fake dating thing was Kirishima’s stupid way to get them together and Bakugou went with it because he knew!”

Ashido sighs. “Anyway,” she says pointedly, “Bakugou likes you too, doesn't he? Your sister said that too. And Bakugou just admitted out loud.”

Kirishima nods one more time. Ashido starts to get angry.

“Then what the hell, Kirishima!” She throws her hands up in frustration. “Why are you and Bakugou barely looking at each other? You find out you like him and it’s mutual and you… you… you do whatever the hell you’re doing?”

“Because!” Kirishima wails, his eyes wide with something that can only be described as fear. “ What do we do? Bakugou is my best friend and…this is so weird. I don't know how to be in l-l-lo… ARGH! I can't say it! It’s so embarrassing!”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW? Kirishima, you like a boy that likes you back! Your parents love him! You don’t seem to mind his anger issues! Why aren’t you holding hands right now!?”

Kirishima makes a lot of spluttering noises and buries his face on his hands. Ashido groans and starts pacing around the room, trying to walk her annoyance off.

“Kaminari, take over! I’m so angry I could slap him!”

Kaminari frowns, but nods and goes sit by Kirishima’s side.

“Buddy, you remember the first time I played a song on Expert mode on Love Live?” He asks.

Ashido stops pacing and stares at him. Kaminari lifts his hand urging her to wait and doesn't look away from Kirishima. Kirishima slowly lifts his eyes to meet Kaminari’s.

“You said it was impossible,” Kirishima says meekly.

“That’s right.” Kaminari smiles encouragingly. “I kept tapping randomly because the song was too fast for me. I missed, most times. I could barely finish a song and lost most of my Love Points. I was so frustrated that one time I didn’t tap at all during the fast part, because I thought it was pointless. And then I lost. Do you see what I mean?”

Ashido gapes at her friends, wondering how she ended up with these idiots. Now she wants to slap Kirishima and Kaminari. But then…

“I get it!” Kirishima stands up. “Holy cow, you’re so right, Kaminari! I need to find Bakugou right now!”

“Oh, god,” Ashido says. “Does that mean I’m too smart to follow you weirdos’ conversation or that I am the dumb one?”

Kaminari grins cheekily at her. “Love Live teaches you many important lessons, Mina-chan.”

“Shut up about your weeaboo taptap game, Denki-kun.”

Kirishima says nothing, because Kirishima is already bolting to the door. Ashido decides not to follow him, because, for once, she’s fairly sure she can force him to describe how that went later. For seconds, she thinks her brain would explode if she watched Bakugou Katsuki getting a love confession twice on the same day.

 


 

 

Bakugou makes his way to his bedroom with a frown. The conversation with Onizuka Yuri was more tiring than he would expect from something so trivial. It was not the first time he got a confession - he was fairly popular in middle school, either despite his trouble maker reputation or because of it - but it was the first time his answer wasn't simply “Stop bothering me and fuck off.”

He doesn't know why he didn’t tell her to fuck off. Maybe it was Aizawa’s annoying insistence that Bakugou should be polite at least, if not nice, if he wanted to be a professional hero. (Although Bakugou would die before admitting that he’s following Aizawa’s advice.) Maybe he was remembering how Best Jeanist told him last summer that being honest and straight to the point was the best way to get rid of annoying people. (Again, it would be a cold day in hell before Bakugou thanked him for that.)

But the possibility that was more likely was also the one Bakugou absolutely refused to put in words. That he was polite - almost nice , for his standards - because this was the first time he got confessed to while know what it’s like to… to have such feelings.

He can now respect someone brave enough to go out there and lay out their feelings like that, because holy shit,what a wild thing to do. Especially with the uncertainty of being reciprocated - or, in Onizuka Yuri’s case, with a 99% chance of rejection.

He’s annoyed. He hates that he feels this way. He hates Kirishima for making him feel this way. Bakugou double-hates Kirishima for making him face his fucking feelings by telling them to Onizuka Yuri.

Bakugou would keep listing everything he hates as he drags his feet, but his brooding is violently interrupted when a girl turns on the corner and bolts to him like a fucking projectile. Uraraka sees him and screams, but she’s going too fast to stop.

Bakugou lets out a string of curses and bad names as the two of them go down in a mess of tangled limbs.

“Shhhhh!” Uraraka covers his mouth with her hand to shut him up and suddenly his body feels impossibly light. “Stop yelling, they’ll catch me!”

Somewhere far away, Bakugou hears the familiar voice of Uraraka’s four eyed friend. She curses under her breath and fights to untangle herself from Bakugou and stand up. Without her weight on top of him,  Bakugou’s body floats gently above the ground. Before he can complain about it, Uraraka grabs his wrist and drags his unresisting body with her towards the nearest door.

Uraraka takes him to a broom closet.

“What the fuck?”

“Bakugou ,  I never asked you for anything, so please, please, stay quiet for a second.”

Bakugou is going to yell at her, he really is. But then he sees how stiff Uraraka’s shoulders are and how pale his usually rosy cheeks look. Bakugou frowns as Uraraka presses her tiny body against the door to make sure it’s still shut. Bakugou stays quiet, even though he’s still floating.

The two of them wait in tense silence. Outside, Iida’s voice is getting closer. Soon, Bakugou hears Deku’s voice as well, both of them calling Uraraka and talking to each other.  Bakugou hears them wondering where the hell she went until their voices get smaller and smaller and finally disappear.

Uraraka sighs and slides to the floor, relieved. She's still blocking the door.

“Hey, cake face. Put me down.”

Uraraka stares at him in confusion, only then realizing that she took away Bakugou’s weight. “Oh,” she says, mildly surprised. “I’m sorry.” And releases him.

His feet are on the ground again. Uraraka doesn’t get out of the way. Bakugou doesn’t make any moves to leave either.

“What was that?” He asks.

“I’m sorry for bringing you with me,” she says. “You didn’t need to hide with me, but I panicked.”

He stares at her. He doesn't want to ask and she doesn't want to answer, but Uraraka sees the question in his eyes and sighs.

“Recovery girl found out I didn't take my shots this year and asked Iida-kun to fetch me so I could take them, so I ran away.”

“Your shots?”

“The flu vaccine.”

Bakugou frowns and remembers that they did have an epidemy of fiery flu that summer and a there was a free vaccination campaign so people wouldn't go around spilling fire out of their nostrils. Bakugou’s parents took him to take the vaccine before the school year began.

“And you’re running because…?”

Uraraka hesitates and Bakugou thinks she isn't going to tell him. If she prefers running away from her best friends instead of explaining what the problem is, there’s no way in hell she’s telling Bakugou. But then...

“The needle. I can’t… I don’t want to…” She huffs, struggling with the words. “I’m afraid of needles, okay?”

Bakugou understands faster than anyone else would and that’s why he doesn't make fun of her. After last training camp, Bakugou read nonstop about the villains that attacked them, obsessively trying to learn more about them and how to beat them.

He knows what happened to Uraraka during the attack.

He also knows that Uraraka prefers telling this to Bakugou than to her best friends because she’s scared of needles in the same way he’s scared of the dark.  

Bakugou groans and drops by her side. “Just tell them to fuck off and mind their business.”

“If I tell them I’d rather die of fiery flu rather than taking a shot, they’re going to ask why!” She complains. “And then they’ll worry about me! I don't want that!”

“Don't be fucking dramatic. No one dies of fiery flu. You would just sneeze fire for a couple of days and possibly contaminate other unvaccinated fools.”

“Thanks, jerk.” She punches his shoulder, but she’s laughing despite the sarcasm.

They stay where they are, sitting side by side in silence. It doesn't feel awful.

“So. What about you?” Uraraka asks after a while.

“What about me?”

“You’re grumpy since you came back from Kirishima's. I tried saying hello yesterday, but you ignored me instead of yelling at me. And today you didn’t have lunch with Kirishima. Something happened?”

Bakugou doesn’t want to tell her (he does not ), but he feels somewhat indebted since she trusted him with her fear of needles. He doesn't want to tell her about his own fear, so it's only fair he answer her questions about his next biggest secret.

“I like Kirishima,” he says flatly and avoiding her eyes. “And I kissed him.”

“Oh!… Oh. Oooohoho! I was not expecting to hear that! And? What Kirishima-kun did?”

“Got hard and split my fucking lip.”

“Wa- god, Bakugou ! TMI !” She punches his shoulder again, this time harder.

“What do you… BITCH, NOT LIKE THAT!” Bakugou shoves her. “His face got hard, you fucking perv! Remember Kirishima’s quirk? Hardening? Dumbass!”

“Oh. That makes more sense. God. Sorry.”

Both look away, embarrassed.

“S-so…” she tries after a while. “Are you two dating for real now?”

Bakugou shakes his head.

“I think he likes you too, you know”

“I know he does.”

“Then why aren't you dating?”

Bakugou doesn’t answer.

“You’re afraid of messing up and ruining your friendship, huh?”

Bakugou glares at her.

“Do you want my opinion?”

“No.”

“Too bad. I'm telling you anyway. You will fuck up.”

“I’m gonna fucking kill you, Uraraka.”

“You will fuck up,” she insists, “but it’s going to be fine. Nothing you two can't fix. The only way it won't work is if you don't try at all.”

“This conversation isn't happening.” He stands up.

Uraraka smiles at him.

“Out of the way,” he commands.

She stands. “Hey, can I go hide in your room for a while? Since You’re going after Kirishima-kun I won't bother you.”

“No.”

“Boo. Stingy.”

Bakugou doesn’t bother denying that he’s going after Kirishima. He hates it, but Uraraka is right.

 


 

 

Kirishima yelps and takes a step back right on time to avoid getting hit on the face by a door. On the next moment, Bakugou steps out with Uraraka on his heels.

“Blasty! You’re here!” Kirishima lets out, his voice higher than usual.

(In his nervousness, he doesn’t notice how Bakugou goes pale upon seeing him nor how Uraraka’s grin turns definitely wicked.)

Upon seeing Bakugou so up close, Kirishima is rethinking this whole thing. Maybe he’s reading too much into it. Maybe Yuu was wrong after all and only Kirishima is in love. Maybe Bakugou meant someone else when he told Onizuka Yuri that there is someone special for him. Maybe Kirishima should just go back to his room and hide for a thousand years.

“Look who we have here,” Uraraka says cheerfully. “Bakugou was about to go after you, Kirishima-kun!”

“He… huh… he was?”

“That’s it, fuck off, Uraraka!”

Bakugou shoves her away and ignores Kirishima’s indignant exclamation in Uraraka’s defense. She doesn’t seem fazed enough to fight back, however, and seems satisfied with just rolling her eyes at Bakugou before walking away.

Before she turns on the corner, she winks at Kirishima.

“Fucking--” Bakugou makes as if to walk after her and seriously beat her up, so Kirishima decides to act.

He grabs Bakugou’s shoulder. “Dude, leave it.”

Again, Bakugou looks poised to argue, but when his eyes turn to Kirishima he seems to think better of it. His shoulders slump, the fight suddenly vanishing from him.

“Right,” he grunts and averts his gaze.

Kirishima hates this. As much as he complains about it, he prefers when Bakugou is being loud and cursing at the wind. He hates how awkward things got after Yuu outed their feelings. How they won’t look each other in the eyes anymore and how they have basically not talked to each other since then. It’s been barely 24 hours and Kirishima already misses Bakugou like crazy.

He’s scared. He doesn’t think he could handle losing what they have for good. He has to do something about it.

“Kirishima?” Bakugou calls.

And that’s all it takes. Bakugou says his name and everything gets too much. Kirishima pushes Bakugou and ignores the string of colored curses and indignant noises made in response until they’re both in the broom closet. Kirishima closes the door behind him.

What is it with you fuckers and pushing me into places today? What the fuck!”

“We need to talk in private !”

Bakugou scoffs at that, but doesn’t try to get away. It feels a lot like their usual harmless bickering and it gives Kirishima a little hope that they might actually be able to go back to normal.

Kirishima takes a deep breath. Maybe the dark, cramped space isn’t the most romantic once, but it certainly makes things easier. For example, he doesn’t have to worry about Bakugou noticing how Kirishima blushes when he crosses his arms and waits for Kirishima to start speaking.

He swallows and try to ground himself. It’s only Bakugou, he remembers. His best friend that will certainly not appreciate if Kirishima beats around the bush or waste their time. Only Bakugou.

“I like you,” Kirishima blurts and it doesn’t feel like he’s making a big revelation. Bakugou already knows that. Bakugou probably knows everything about him. “I like you,” he repeats, “and I want to know if you like me.”

There’s a beat. Bakugou’s scowl doesn't make him any more nervous. If anything, the familiar grumpy face is comforting.

“I do,” Bakugou finally says. “I like you too.”

Kirishima huffs loudly. He’s starting to think that Bakugou can see his blush despite the darkness. “You… wow.  So do you, huh, want to… maybe go out? For real this time, that is.”

“No.”

Another beat. This is the most ridiculous conversation Kirishima has ever had.

“I… I thought you were gonna say yes. But... Why not?”

“I don’t halfass things, Kirishima. And if I’m going to be the number one, I’m not gonna get distracted by… anything. I’m not gonna fall behind Deku or the half-and-half bastard or anyone else.”

“Don’t be absurd, you’re not falling behind anyone!" Kirishima immediately protests and then quickly adds, "unrelated to dating, that is. I’d say that even if I didn’t want to date you. Because it’s true.”

Kirishima doesn’t miss the way Bakugou’s locked arms tighten whenever he says the word “date”. And then he reprehend himself for focusing so much on Bakugou’s biceps in this situation.

“Am I… distracting you?” Kirishima asks and he can’t hide a little bit of hurt in his voice. He doesn’t try to, anyway. It’s Bakugou, after all. He can always be honest with Bakugou.

“No! As if I’d be distracted by just this!” Bakugou uncrosses his arms and gestures rudely to the two of them. “But… that whole bullshit we saw in that shoujo anime is too time consuming. And stupid.”

Kirishima considers that. He did think most of the shoujo anime they watched together was pretty stupid.

“We don’t have to be like shoujo anime, though? We looked for that because we wanted to convince my parents that we were a normal couple, but… they believed even before we did that. And we weren’t doing anything different.”

It’s Bakugou’s turn to think about it. “So… you’re saying we can do whatever we want?”

“Yeah! Fuck being a normal couple!”

By now, Kirishima’s eyes are used to the darkness enough he doesn’t miss the way Bakugou’s lips quirk upwards, as they always do when Kirishima curses.

Bakugou opens his mouth and closes it again, frowning as if he's struggling with something. He's considering Kirishima's argument. Kirishima waits in silence, because he's nothing if not patient and he trusts Bakugou's judgement. Finally, Bakugou glares at him, sharp and contemplative.

It doesn't matter that they're in a small, dark broom closet. Clearer than anything else, they can see each other. They always could.

“Okay,” Bakugou says.

“Okay? Like… okay to dating or okay to diss normal couples, because that was unclear. Also…” Kirishima hesitates. “Also if you really don’t want to date, it’s… well, I do want to be a hero too, even if I don’t aim to be the absolute best, so I won’t get in the way of my best friend, obviously , so…”

Kirishima realizes that he’s basically saying the same thing Onizuka Yuri has said right before she was properly and calmly rejected. He thinks to himself with a futile sting of jealousy that that girl had an awful lot of potential for being the ideal significant other to Bakugou. Part of the problem is that she didn’t know him, didn’t know how to approach him. She didn’t know that Bakugou won’t give his trust to just anyone who is honest and brave. She didn’t properly earn her place in Bakugou’s life.

However that is just a detail. The biggest part of the problem was that she isn’t Kirishima.

“Okay to dating, dumbass .” Bakugou crosses his arms again. “You’re right. We can do whatever the fuck we want.” And then, after a brief moment of hesitation he says in a lower voice, “if it’s you, then I’m okay with whatever.”

He’s avoiding Kirishima’s eyes as he mutters those words as if it takes great physical effort to admit that out loud. It’s the most romantic and sweet thing Kirishima has heard in his entire life and he wouldn’t trade this moment in the broom closet for any shoujo anime. Ever. With a groan, Kirishima stumbles forward and lets his forehead drop on Bakugou’s shoulder.

“I’m going to kiss you right now,” he announces in a hoarse voice. “Okay?”

“You’re not using your quirk this time?” Bakugou’s snark is muffled by how hoarse his own voice is.

“Dude! We agreed not to talk about that!”

“I never agreed to fucking anything.”

“It was implied!”

They stare each other down for a moment before Kirishima realizes that Bakugou hasn’t exactly moved away. In fact, he even uncrossed his arms for the second time in order to allow Kirishima to comfortably lean against him.

As far as kisses go, they still have a lot to learn. This time no one’s lip gets split and that’s always a win on Kirishima’s book. They bump noses in the dark and at some point Kirishima feels Bakugou cursing softly into his mouth - not a sexy curse, for the matter, but a your-stupid-sharp-teeth-scratched-my-tongue sort of curse - and it’s awkward and sloppy. Kirishima loves every second of it.

“Fuuuck...” Kirishima hides his face on the crook of Bakugou’s neck again.

“You’re embarrassing,” Bakugou says as he holds tightly onto Kirishima’s waist.

 

When they finally walk of of the broom closet, they find Uraraka and Kaminari crouched down on the floor and hiding their violently flushed faces on their hands.

In an unexpected show of maturity - maybe he’s in a good mood or maybe he’s too tired for this right now - Bakugou simply grabs Kirishima by the hand and walks away from them without saying a word.

Later, Kirishima thinks to himself that maybe Kaminari and Uraraka are part of the small group of people that can get into Bakugou’s private business without (too much) backlash. Kirishima smiles to himself, honestly proud of how much his boyfriend has grown.

 


 

 

Bakugou tells Kirishima he doesn’t want any coming out bullshit. He was never hiding anything from anyone, even if his private life wasn't anybody’s business but his own. He waits and discretely studies Kirishima’s expression by the corner of his eye, searching for any of Kirishima’s hesitation from before. Kirishima frowns a little but he doesn’t look like he’s going to barf, like he did when he said he was coming out to Kaminari and Sero, so Bakugou is satisfied. When Kirishima says “whatever you want, babe”, however, Bakugou can’t simply let it go. It would make Kirishima think he can get away with anything. (Technically, he can, but that doesn’t mean Bakugou will let him know.) He hits Kirishima with a pillow, Kirishima yelps and push him back. They wrestle for a while, fall off the bed and after a lot of complaining and name calling, they end up lazily  making out on the floor.

This whole dating thing might be better than expected, really.

It’s one of many changes this year and Bakugou is okay with it.

Fewer people than he expects stare when he and Kirishima walk to class holding hands. He thinks a lot of people expected this - them - to happen anyway, most of them simply don’t care and the few assholes who bother gaping can go curl up in a corner and die, for all Bakugou cares.

“See you at lunch,” Kirishima cheerfully says, squeezing Bakugou’s hand before letting go and heading to his own classroom.

Bakugou still isn’t used to being apart from Kirishima during classes. Sometimes the teacher says some shit that Kirishima would find funny and Bakugou turns around to see if he’s laughing only to find himself staring at Iida’s stupid square face instead.

It’s not the end of the world. He still sees Kirishima all the time and Sero is in his class, which is good. Besides Kirishima, Kaminari and Sero are the less annoying members of this odd group that Bakugou refuses to acknowledge out loud, but begrudgingly has become part of. And he doesn’t care about Aizawa’s bullshit that they’re supposed to learn how to work with all of the other heroes. If that means Bakugou needs to play along with pieces of shit like Monoma, then fuck everything. He’s better off with the dumbasses from the old class 1-A, thank you very much.

(Kendou is acceptable, Bakugou will give them that.)

(But Tetsutetsu is forever in his blacklist. And Bakugou will break Kaminari’s face if he ever suggests again that Bakugou is just jealous because Tetsutetsu is all over Kirishima all the time.)

As he watches Kirishima walk away, Bakugou tells himself that this is whatever. He’ll get used to it.

But then he walks into his classroom and freezes at the weirdness of the scene waiting for him.

Kaminari (who is not part of this class, by the way, but is there more often than Kirishima, does this fucker even go to his own classroom?) is in the middle of the room holding Uraraka by the shoulders and she’s holding him back. Most of the other students are watching this weird display of affection like it is some kind of play. Jirou is hiding her face on the crook of Yaoyorozu’s neck and trembling with what appears to be a fit of giggles. Deku looks pale and terrified but doesn’t take his eyes away from them. Apparently Iida has given up talking them into behaving and is aggressively studying in the back of the room.

And then Bakugou hears what Kaminari and Uraraka are saying.

If it’s you ,” Uraraka says in a weirdly deep and sumptuous tone, “ I’m happy with anything, Eijirou.

Kaminari makes as if he’s going to swoon in her arms. “ Oh, Katsuki, you’re so-” he sees Bakugou at the door. His face goes white. “Fuck.”

Bakugou drops his bag. He doesn’t start screaming. He doesn’t blow up anything. He takes a step toward his classmates. All of them retreat a step.

“What is it?” Bakugou asks in a barely recognizable voice. “What were you going to say that Katsuki is, Kaminari?”

“N-now… easy there, Bakugou-sama…” Uraraka lets out a nervous giggle. “It’s not like Kaminari-kun and I were eavesdropping yesterday. We just… happened to hear and… we were, huh, u-updating erveryone and… huh…”

“You fucking BUNCH OF PIECES OF COCK-SUCKING SHITS !”

There is a lot of screaming and exploding after that. Some people come watch from the other classes. Kirishima is there too, although he instantly becomes a useless blushing mess when some poor fool yells at him to control his husband. There is more exploding after that. Bakugou is pretty sure Mineta is dead and the entire classroom becomes a war-like scenario despite Iida’s best efforts.

If Aizawa wants to kill them all for it later, well, that’s just how life is for them at U.A. and there is no meaning in denying that.

Bakugou only recently has learned to accept some aspects of their hectic life, so he doesn’t purposefully antagonize their teacher any further.

He does, however, hold Kirishima’s hand under the table when all of them are in detention together. Just out of spite and rebellion, of course.  Everyone will learn to accept that as well.