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the laundry room

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Strangely, and against all expectations, it’s Mineta who saves the day, and in the weirdest of ways. This is how it happens.

It all starts casually: it’s the end of class, everyone gets up, some people start packing their stuff, some are chatting, some are already outside, and then, there’s Mineta, who goes up to Aizawa, most likely to ask something. As he barely opens his mouth, Aizawa looks up, and interrupts him, in the most unforeseen and brutal manner, voice stone cold and his signature poker face;

“You stink.”

The whole room immediately goes silent. Mineta is so taken aback he’s just standing there, his mouth open and eyes wide, probably not even knowing how to respond.

“What was the last time you washed your clothes?” Aizawa squints at him.

Mineta finally gathers himself to respond, “Before… we moved into the dorms?” he tries.

This time, Aizawa scrunches up his nose, “That’s disgusting. It’s been a whole month. Are you too lazy to use the washing machines?”

That. That’s what gets everyone’s attention. A second later, the whole class is standing in front of Aizawa’s desk.

“We have washing machines?!” Hagakure almost screams.

Aizawa is visibly unhappy. “You didn’t know there was a laundry room in the basement? How did you manage before, then?”

Everyone starts talking at the same time, and as Aizawa picks up what is said, he starts feeling a very diverse array of emotions, the most intense one being frustration, because, for God’s sake, these are supposed to be the students of the best high school in the country and they couldn’t figure out there were washing machines in the dorm building, but also exasperation when he hears ‘dry cleaner’ (too much money) and ‘mom’ (spoiled, spoiled children), and absolute dread when he hears someone say ‘you’re supposed to wash clothes that often?!’. He sighs. Sometimes, he forgets they’re just kids.

“Well, now you know, I guess,” he mutters.

“I’m not sure I know how to use a washing machine,” Sero says.

“That’s really not my problem,” Aizawa replies, because there’s no way he’s showing a bunch of young adults how to wash their dirty clothes. And if one of them blows it up? Still not his problem. They’ll blame it on Bakugou or something.

“Maybe you could come with us and show us?” Mineta offers.

So, this is how it happened. Mineta saved the day— and then got detention.

 


 

“No, just tell me what to do next!” Bakugou screams over the phone, gritting his teeth.

 

“I can’t believe you’re sixteen but still don’t know how to wash your damn clothes!,” his mother replies.

 

“Shut up, I’m fucking trying alright?!” he says, and crouches down in front of the machine. “What temperature do I set it on?!”

 

“You’re supposed to check the labels!”

 

“I did and I didn’t understand shit, this is why I’m calling you!” His mother is driving him crazy. She’s no help at all.

 

“What do you mean, you didn’t understand?! What the hell are you washing?!”

 

“Just regular shit!”

 

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?!”

 

“Like, t-shirts and pants, for fuck’s sake!”

 

“What color?!”

 

“Why does it fucking matter?!”

 

“It matters, Katsuki! What color are the clothes?!”

 

He peeks inside, to double check. He’s not dumb, he just really doesn’t want to fuck it up. “Mostly black,” he replies.

 

“What you mean, ‘mostly black’?”

 

“It’s black, alright!”

 


 

The basement looks like something straight out of a horror movie. The rest of the building looks pretty neat, but this… well…

“Huh, why am I the first one to go downstairs?” Kirishima asks. “Can you guys stop pushing me?”

So, like fifteen minutes ago, he opened the door of his room, and was met with half of his classmates asking him if he knew how to make a washing machine work, and sure, he knows, because he always helps his Grandma at home, with the laundry, the dishes, and all of those things, so yeah, sure, he can help, and also, the basement is pretty scary, so we should all go together, right?

He’s manly and all, but manly doesn’t necessary mean being stupid, reckless, and getting himself killed by some evil creature that most certainly lives in that basement. If he’s listening carefully, he’s sure he can almost hear some sort of demonic screaming. They’re all huddled up behind him, and Sero keeps nudging him forward.

“Let’s all go together, alright?” he offers, and Uraraka nods, determination on her face, and laundry basket in hand.

The light is of course broken, and they have to use Ashido’s phone as they walk down the stairs. They’re met with a long hall, and the light is just powerful enough to illuminate like, a meter in front of them.

“Aizawa said it’s at the end of the hallway,” Hagakure says.

“You— You sure you guys need clean clothes?” Kaminari asks.

“Well, you certainly do,” Ashido replies.

Nobody’s supposed to know about that laundry room, so they’re alone out there, but they all keep hearing strange sounds.

After getting a few doors wrong, and opening some broom closets, they finally arrive in front of a door that says ‘Laundry Room’.

They all let out a sigh of relief. Kirishima too. They really did freak out for no reason. How stupid. This is just a basement. A bit creepy, too dark because there’s no light, but still, just a regular ol’ basement.

He pushes the door open.

 


 

 “And what now?!” Bakugou’s about to blow up the damn machine, his phone, and himself.

“What the hell do you think?!”

“I called you so you would help me!”

“You pour the damn detergent!”

“Where the fuck do I pour it?!” he snarls into the phone, unscrewing the bottle of detergent.

“I swear to God, Katsuki, how do you even get good grades at school if you don’t know where to pour the laundry detergent?!”

“There are three fucking compartments, how the fuck am I supposed to know where to pour that shit?!”

The door suddenly opens wide, startling him and he’s met with some horrified looking people. He probably has that look himself, since they just caught him calling his mother, asking for laundry advice. Fuck.

Apparently, he’s not the only one startled because they all let out a scream of surprise when they see him.

“I’ll call you back,” he quickly says into the phone, and hangs up.

 


 

The laundry room is pretty small, and worn out. It’s narrow, there are four washing machines on each side, and a big, mostly empty cupboard against the back wall. It’s very warm inside, and it smells like five different kinds of laundry detergent, since everyone brings their own.

Bakugou always stays there the whole two hours that it takes for him to wash his clothes, and nobody knows if it’s because he finds the rumbling sounds of the washing machine comforting, or if he doesn’t trust anyone and is scared that people will steal his shit. Knowing Bakugou, it has to be the second one. Jirou tries to make him leave the room (probably to explain to Yaoyorozu how to use the washing machine, because, in her words, she has ‘never done this before, but knows other people who have’), by telling him that that nobody wants his one and only skull t-shirt anyway and he tells her to fuck off.

 


 

“Wanna go watch a movie tomorrow?” Kirishima blurts out, when they finish today’s homework. They’re in Kirishima’s room. “… Or something?” he adds, when Bakugou doesn’t look very thrilled by his offer. It’s so hard to make plans with Bakugou. One time he convinced him to have lunch with him. Best day of his life.

“I’m busy,” Bakugou says. At least he didn’t tell him to fuck off right away.

“With what?” Kirishima tries. What kind of plans does Bakugou have on a Friday night anyway?

“You’re so fucking nosy,” Bakugou sighs, “’m doing my laundry,” he mutters.

Kirishima internally laughs. Who would have thought? Bakugou Katsuki Great Plan For a Friday Night is to do his laundry. How cute.

“Actually,” Kirishima clears his throat, “I’m really bad at, uh, laundry so, can you, like help me?” He’s not bad at laundry, he’s bad at lying and Bakugou is going to see right through him and—

“Can’t you ask someone else?”

“You’re like, the only one who knows!” The lie worked? Bakugou is saying yes?

Bakugou rolls his eyes.

It’s a yes!

 


 

“Dude, it’s a date,” Kaminari tells him. He’s all sprawled out on Kirishima’s bed, eating donuts out of a box.

Kirishima gives him a look.

“Want some?” Kaminari offers him a donut.

Kirishima shakes his head and drops his t-shirt in the ‘dirty pile’ “We’re just doing our laundry together. It’s not a date.” He’s about to go meet up with Bakugou and Kaminari is not helping. He was feeling fine before telling him, and now, he’s all stressed out.

“Dude, don’t bring your dirty boxers with you!” Kaminari tells him, horrified.

“I only have like, one pair of pants and two t-shirts! I gotta bring something!”

 


 

Kirishima doesn’t look happy when he runs into Ashido in the hall.

“I told Kaminari I didn’t have enough laundry and he wiped his hands on my uniform, so I have more dirty clothes,” Kirishima explains when Ashido asks what happened.

“Oh. You can have my dirty laundry, if you want,” she offers, but Kirishima shakes his head. He did his laundry with Ashido once. Everything is neon, and some of it glows in the dark. “Why do you even need that for?” she asks.

“Doing my laundry with Bakugou,” he explains, and Ashido gasps.

“Oh, my God, you’re going on a date with Bakugou.”

“It’s not…”

“And you’re going to be all alone with him! That’s a date! A Friday night date! A Friday night laundry date!” Ashido is enjoying this way too much.

Ok, so maybe, it’s a ‘date’.

 


 

Kirishima pretends for a good half hour he doesn’t anything about laundry and washing machines, and lets Bakugou explain to him you’re supposed to read the damn labels and separate the stupid colors, like he doesn’t know that already. Then they sit, quietly, the spinning sound of the machines around them, not talking much, just like when they study. Bakugou eventually grabs one of the bottles he brought with him, probably fabric softener, and pours some into the compartment of his washing machine.

“Dude, I don’t have any fabric softener, can I have some of yours?”

“No,” Bakugou replies, and it takes Kirishima aback. True, Bakugou never struck him as a generous person, but usually, he wasn’t against sharing his things with Kirishima.

“What?”

“I said no,” Bakugou replies, visibly pissed off, putting the bottle away.

“Dude, c’mon, I’ll let you use some of mine next time,” he offers. Bakugou is acting weirdly defensive about this.

“Are you deaf?! I said no!”

“Dude, what the hell?” he frowns.

“Fuck off already!”

Never mind. Spending the evening with Bakugou in peace is more important than some stupid fabric softener. “Alright then,” Kirishima sighs and stretches out, getting himself to sit more comfortably on the washing machines. Bakugou still looks pretty annoyed. “ ‘ just don’t get why you got so mad about this,” Kirishima mutters, and looks up.

Bakugou lets out a groan and hops on one of the washing machines, facing Kirishima.

They sit like that, not talking, only the sound of their two washing machines filling the room.

“ ‘t’s not fabric softener,” Bakugou mutters.

Kirishima looks up. Bakugou has his face resting on his hand, looking away.

“What?”

“You deaf?”

“No— I— I heard, but, uh?”

Bakugou sighs.

“Since it’s my bed sheets, and my clothes, my sweat gets on them, it gets absorbed and—“ he makes a vague gesture with his hand, “when I wash them, I have to add that shit or the whole thing explodes,” he explains.

“Really?”

“Dilutes the nitroglycerin,” Bakugou shrugs, “good thing they started selling that shit,” he’s staring at his hands now.

“Guess that wasn’t that fun when your parents had to do your laundry before that, huh? Did you really blow up a washing machine?”

“Fifteen.”

“What?”

“I blew up fifteen of them.”

Kirishima tries to hold himself from laughing, but can’t help but cracking up. “Did you keep count?!”

“The old hag keeps reminding it to me all the fucking time,” Bakugou admits, and he’s kind of smiling too.

“I never heard of products like that, though,” Kirishima says, and Bakugou shrugs and passes him the bottle.

Kirishima unscrews the cap, and inhales. “It smells like lavender,” he says.

He noticed that before, that Bakugou smells like something sweet, but also like lavender. Well, his clothes. It’s not overpowering, just subtle enough when you get into his personal space. People never seem to talk about it, but maybe that’s because there’s nobody that gets as close to him as Kirishima does. It’s a smell that brings a smile to Kirishima’s lips, because it reminds him every single time they were next to each other, almost touching sometimes, every single time Bakugou let him be close enough.

“I’m sorry,” Kirishima ends up saying.

“ ‘bout what?”

“I made you share that,” he screws the cap back on, and gives the bottle back to Bakugou.

Bakugou shrugs. “Whatever.”

“Really.”

Now Bakugou squints at him, like he wants to ask something. “Why d’you lie?” he says.

“Uhu?!”

Bakugou frowns. “Get your damn hearing checked.”

“Lie about what?!”

“Not knowing how to do your laundry.”

Oh, no. His oh so subtle plan to spend time with Bakugou has been exposed.

“I— sorry.”

Apparently Bakugou is feeling kind today, because he puts him out of his misery by asking next, “How do you even know how to do your laundry?”

Kirishima almost lets out a sigh of relief. Thank God Bakugou dropped the other thing. “Somebody had to help out grandma when she did my sisters’ laundry. She got back problems.”

“You got sisters?”

“Nine of them!” Kirishima announces proudly and Bakugou’s eyes widen.

“You… never told that before,” Bakugou ends up saying.

“Yeah, well, we’re getting to know each other, aren’t we?”

Bakugou looks like he’s about to say something, but the door opens, and Todoroki appears.

“I… thought nobody would be there on a Friday night,” he says as a greeting.

Kirishima starts praying. Nothing against Todoroki, but Todoroki and Bakugou in the same room isn’t good, and Todoroki in a small, narrow laundry room, while Kirishima is there with Bakugou on a, huh, Ashido’s words, not his, ‘date’, is just bad.

Nobody seems to hear his prayers, though, because turns out, Todoroki is simply clueless about laundry, and stares at the washing machine with for almost a solid ten minutes with something akin to fear in his eyes, before randomly pushing some buttons and the machine just makes the scariest of noises.

“Did I break it?” Todoroki asks them, and Bakugou ends up offering help in the form of a snarky comment, because any occasion to show Todoroki he’s better than him is good.

But, despite the help provided, Todoroki fucks up anyway.

 


 

It quickly becomes a rule that whatever happens in the laundry room, stays in the laundry room.

A lot of things end up staying in the laundry room. That conversation Bakugou had with his mother on the phone, Todoroki’s inability to wash his white shirts without turning everything pink, the lavender product Bakugou uses so he doesn’t blow up the whole laundry room, his and Kirishima’s ‘date’, Ashido’s meltdown when her favorite crop top shrank in the wash, late night girl talks, and many other things, little secrets and long discussions.

 

That time Bakugou finds Uraraka sitting on one of the washing machines, all curled up, face buried in her hands and soft sobbing noises escaping her mouth, stays in the laundry room too.

The thing is, Bakugou didn’t sign up for all this bullshit. He didn’t sign up for doing his stupid fucking laundry himself, he didn’t sign up for stupid people crying, he didn’t sign up for caring about said stupid people, he really didn’t. So he just ignores her, and starts showing his clothes in the machine opposite of the one she’s sitting on.

She finally looks at him, puffy eyes and tears on her cheeks. “Aren’t you going to say something?” she hiccups.

He turns to her. “What the fuck am I supposed to say?”

“Well—“

“You’re obviously hiding here because you don’t wanna be bothered, so I ain’t fucking bothering you.”

She blinks at him, not knowing what to say, because, well, it’s true.

Twenty minutes later, she stopped crying. Bakugou is still there. “But… Aren’t you concerned?” she asks.

Bakugou doesn’t look up. “Whatever that shit was, pretty sure you’ve been through worse. You’ll be fine.”

“You’re so insensitive!” she pouts.

“I’m not Kirishima, I’m not gonna fucking bawl my eyes out just because someone else is crying.”

“He’s not like that,” Uraraka rolls her eyes.

“Bullshit.”

 


 

It’s Friday night again. Bakugou picked that day so there won’t be any morons bothering him while he does his laundry, but apparently, this isn’t happening, because Kirishima is there, all in his face, all chatty and shit.

Well, better Kirishima than someone else.

Kirishima is talking, and talking, and suddenly, Bakugou sees him glancing at his uniform, that he’s about to shove into the washing machine, and furrowing his eyebrows, as if he just noticed something.

“You never wear your tie,” Kirishima points out, “really trying to go for that delinquent look, uh?”

Absolute dread fills Bakugou, and his hand immediately goes to his neck to check, to make sure there’s nothing there, and takes a few deep breaths, because he suddenly feels like there’s not enough air in his lungs.

But then, he turns to Kirishima, who is looking at him, panic spreading on his face, terrified that he might have said something he wasn’t supposed to.

“Are you okay man? Do you, uh, like, not know how to tie your tie, or something? Because it’s cool, I won’t tell anyone, I can even help you, I mean, I’m not that great, but I can still—“

“I can’t — I can’t fucking wear that shit around my neck without feeling like I’m fucking choking,” Bakugou says, and his voice is so faint right now.

Kirishima probably remembers it, the story everybody was talking about, the story that followed him for a few months.

“Is this because of—“

“Yes.”

Kirishima winces, clearly not sure about what to do, because he’s known for giving people bone-crushing hugs to comfort them when they’re upset, but this really doesn’t seem like the most appropriate choice right now.

“It’s fine. Fuck off,” Bakugou tells him, still feeling like he’s out of breath, wiping his eyes on his left sleeve, his heart still thumping in his chest.

He feels Kirishima’s hand brushing against his, almost hesitant, because he just can’t help but want to do something about this, doesn’t he? He finally takes Bakugou’s hand in his, clumsily, barely holding it, probably scared to grip it too tightly or something.

“I won’t tell anyone,” Kirishima says, as if it wasn’t fucking obvious already, blinking away the tears in his own eyes, and see, Bakugou was right, Kirishima really does cry for no fucking reason.

“Shut up,” he mutters, but lets Kirishima hold his hand until they leave the laundry room.

 


 

“Someone is stealing our underwear,” Ashido declares one day, dropping her laundry in a pile on one of the machines and Bakugou almost tears the t-shirt he’s holding in half.

 

It quickly becomes a recurrent complaint that somebody is going through the girls' laundry and steals their stuff. Bakugou gets so tired of them whining about it every time they run into him in the laundry room that he tells them to just shove Mineta’s ass into one of the washing machines, he’ll fit just fine, and set it on one of the fastest cycles there is, since it’s pretty damn obvious who’s the culprit in all of this.

Iida catches the whole conversation and promises to do something about it, but strongly recommends against any activities involving the shoving of their classmates into any of the appliances that the school has put at their disposition. Bakugou snorts.

 

Turns out it is Mineta, and he just basically exposes himself, because trying to steal, at night, Ashido’s neon orange, glow in the dark bra? Not smart.

He gets banned from the laundry room, and detention.

 


 

Kirishima grows up with his nine sisters, his grandmother, and her old-fashioned advice.

To grandma, everything is easy, and she doesn’t always understand.

Grandma says, when you’re sad, eat some cake. She says, when you’re sad, go for a walk. Grandma is trying, but she doesn’t understand, she probably doesn’t know, what it’s like, to lie in bed, awake, when it’s late at night, and everything is supposed to be quiet, except it’s loud, because of that voice in your head, that you keep arguing against, and the ache in your chest, and tears, in your eyes, and doubt, on your mind. And you’re not feeling that sad, actually, it’s something else, you think, but Grandma only has advice for ‘angry’, for ‘scared’, and for ‘sad’. Grandma says, when you’re sad, clean something up, and it’ll clear your mind.

Kirishima really doesn’t know if that last one works, or if it’s a trick Grandma uses so he helps out with tiding up the mess his younger sisters made in the house.

 

It’s 11pm on a Sunday night, and he’s laying in bed, looking at the ceiling.

The idea of cake makes him nauseous; going for a walk is out of question. He glances towards his desk. There’s a whole mess of clothes on the floor and on the chair that need to be washed.

Kirishima sighs, picks it all up, and makes his way downstairs.

 

He quickly loads up his clothes, adds some detergent, and makes himself comfortable on one of the washing machines, leaning against the wall, and closing his eyes.

He feels warm, and the sound of water flowing through the old pipes is so calming, the sound of the washing machines masking all the other noises around him, inside him, inside his head, and it lulls him to sleep.

 

The creaking sound of the door brings him out of his slumber. He opens his eyes, and he’s met with Bakugou, who looks obviously annoyed.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Doing my laundry,” Kirishima answers, sheepishly. “What are you doing here? I thought Friday was laundry day.”

Bakugou doesn’t tell him anything at first, and Kirishima starts to think he won’t get any reply. Bakugou just takes his time with his clothes, before coming to sit, not facing Kirishima, but next to him.

Each and every time they ended up here, the both of them, Kirishima learned something new about Bakugou, got to know him a little better.

 

Kirishima’s Grandma is pretty amazing, actually. She’s smart and strong. One time, she beat Kirishima at arm-wrestling. She’s wise, too. So, maybe there are things she doesn’t understand. Advice is still advice, right?

Grandma sometimes says, there are a few ways to get to know someone. Grandma says, if you really want to know someone, travel with them. Or get them angry.

To Kirishima, the training camp was, well, it kinda counts as travelling, except it all went to hell in the end, so, that really didn’t help with getting to know Bakugou.

Bakugou is always angry, too, so how is that supposed to help him? Is he supposed to make him the opposite of angry? He’ll have to ask Grandma next time he visits her.

 

Almost ten minutes pass before Bakugou finally speaks up.

“I sweat a lot when I get nightmares. Better come down here than spend the whole damn night in my disgusting bed sheets that can blow up any fucking time.”

 

Grandma says, be kind. She says, find something you like in every person you meet. And Kirishima listens to her, so when he meets Bakugou, he immediately finds one thing he likes about him. Then two. Then Three. And then, there’s a million of things he likes about Bakugou, and Kaminari is getting tired of hearing about all of them. Find something you like. That’s easy.

 

All the times they’ve been here, Bakugou shared personal things with him. That just sounds like advice Grandma would give too: if you want to get to know someone, stay with them in a laundry room for a long while, late at night.

Except there’s still a catch; whatever happens in the laundry room, stays in the laundry room.

And Kirishima just wants one thing; that whatever this is, that he and Bakugou share, whatever magic happens between Bakugou and him, he wants it to get out of the laundry room.

 

But maybe there are things that are just supposed to stay in the laundry room for a little while longer, just like the lavender product, and the thing about ties, and the nightmares.

 

“I like you,” Kirishima says suddenly, and whatever happens after this, well, it’s okay, because it’ll stay in the laundry room too, right? “A lot,” he adds, for good measure.

What he doesn’t expect is for Bakugou to stay still, to just glance at him, and ask;

“Yeah?”

“Y-yeah.”

What he doesn’t expect is for Bakugou to lean in, and clumsily press his lips against his. Kirishima has never kissed anyone before, and now, his first kiss is his crush, who, by the way, is like the most popular guy in their school (for all the wrong reasons, though). Ashido will be like, so proud of him.

 

When Kirishima gets back in his room later that night, around 3am, his mind a little clearer, his heart a little lighter. Lips a little pinker, blush a little darker. His room, less a mess, the laundry in his hands, smelling fresh, folded.

He carefully puts it on his chair, then lays down on his bed. He closes his eyes, exhausted.

 

That night, he falls asleep, dreaming of nothing but lavender fields.