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Being Cupid Through Accident, Spite, and/or Anger - a Bakugou Katsuki Story

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The first time had been mostly an accident, or at least that's what Bakugou kept telling himself. February 14th had always been an annoyance. Valentine’s Day, the day hormonal teens tittered around giving out store-bought chocolate, sometimes out of courtesy (and for what fucking purpose was that?), sometimes out of “love” or as close as a teenager who hasn't seen shit of the world could get.

For being the top hero school in Japan, Bakugou thought that more of his peers would have kept their heads. At the very least, he would have expected that weak shit coming from the other departments. But no, here he is sitting in class minding his goddamn business while the classroom is positively vibrating in excitement and giggling nervous laughter that makes Bakugou want to blast out his own eardrums.

“Maaaan I hope Asashi-chan gives me chocolates today.” The electric idiot is sighing up a storm behind him.

Sero cocks his head to the side. “Wait, who?”

Kirishima turns around in his chair and smiles back brightly at him, as if it wasn't too fucking early to deal with this shit. “The girl from Support with the magnet quirk!”

“Ah, wasn't she the one who tuned up your Visor last week?”

“Yeah,” Kaminari sighs wistfully. Bakugou gags. “Hatsume was working on a different project so she volunteered. We've been texting since.”

“Pff, what makes you think she'd have feelings for you?” Ashido says. “If she's really as cute as you say she probably has much better options!” She's out of her seat at this point, leaning over Kaminari’s desk on one hand. Iida sends a stern look their way that someone has the audacity to be out of their chair, god forbid, 4 minutes before the last bell. Not for the first time, Bakugou wonders if Iida sleeps with a copy of the school rules, lovingly filled with sticky notes and other obnoxiously tidy shit, under his pillow.

Kaminari pouts and crosses his arms like a child. “She gave me her number! And, I'll have you know, she looked me in the eye and told me she's been looking for a strong, competent man thank you very much!”

Honestly, Bakugou is so done with this shit.

“So no chocolates today for you then.” Scathing remarks did come easy to him.

Ashido and Sero burst into laughter, joined by Jirou who had tuned into the conversation when Ashido had wondered over. Probably because she could just hear the incoming Kaminari misfortune. Meanwhile, Kirishima is trying to muffle his chuckles and give a sympathetic look while Kaminari gives the group a pitiful glare each.

Bakugou tunes them out from when his slight pivot back in his seat caused a bright purple to catch his eye. It's from Hagakure's bookbag, one loop of a brightly colored bow sticking out of it. He frowns since that means she hasn't given it yet. Probably has to build up her nerves for some reason.

*             *             *

Bakugou may not care for socializing much, but since he's been around this class, fought alongside them, gotten his ass kicked, and kicked ass of his own, he's noticed a lot of things. Bakugou's naturally observant: he catalogs everything he notices as “Important”, “Potentially Useful”, and “Fucking Insignificant” (a good 90% of which falls in the latter category). He’s especially good at using this skill to notice people's weaknesses, potential ways in which he can bring them down.

It just so happens that he notices all the romantic musings of the people around him, kissy faces and doe eyes so sickening they make him want to hurl. Plus, they’re glaringly obvious weaknesses, that no one is even doing anything about for some goddamn reason, and it pisses him the fuck off.

This is no exception. He had woken up in the middle of the night and couldn't fall back asleep. This kind of thing didn't happen nearly as often as last summer after It happened, but enough that Bakugou had a system. He'd go down to the kitchens, heat up some milk in the microwave (stovetop if he was feeling like actually giving a shit), one tablespoon cocoa, one pinch cayenne and be good to go. The warmth in his hands and in his throat made him feel powerful like he could blast anyone who opposed him. He'd be able to fall back asleep easily to thoughts of rage and carnage dancing in his head.

This process was trashed as soon as he got downstairs. Sounds of a spatula scrapping the bottom of a pot reached his ears, along with muffled words of frustration.

Turning the corner brought the image of floating pastel shorts and twin hair-ties (sickeningly cute with little smiley panda faces on them). And the kitchen… it was a fucking mess. Scattered spoons, measuring cups, trays filled with misshapen, disgusting looking lumps of inedible bullshit.

Bakugou really hoped that Hagakure left him the hell alone as he passed by the island into the kitchen proper. It was way too goddamn early, or late or whatever, to have to make “nice” to any of his classmates let alone the cheery streaker (and in this case “nice” meant not blowing shit up and getting chewed out for the whole dorm for waking them up).

As it was, a soft “Oh” was the only sound she made to acknowledge his rumpled and unusually quiet appearance as he opened the fridge door with a huff. He had to shift aside Kirishima's protein shakes, Yaoyorozu's dainty pastry box from a trendy café downtown, Ashido's disgusting natto (which always made the fridge smell like shit), a couple apples probably from Takoyami, more boxes of leftovers and junk food those fucking animals… and there in the back a carton of milk shoved in the corner.

When they had first moved in, Iida had quickly set up ground rules for the pantry and fridge spaces- everyone was allowed space for one item in the pantry and fridge each with exceptions for temporary storage and size, food should be visibly labeled, no taking others food, yada yada yada. Bakugou couldn't remember much of those first few days he came here, too lost in more important thoughts (or trying not to think really), let alone another speech about the responsibility of shared spaces and respectful behavior.

Not like it mattered much, besides himself, Asui (who made mostly pasta), Shoji (seafood), and Sato (sweets and baked goods that couldn't be cooked in the oven he apparently had in his own room), no one could really cook for shit. The rest of the class flocked like vultures whenever one of them started cooking, harping about getting a share. It had gotten so bad that some of them had asked him of all people to go out of his way and cook for those needy bastards. Lack of cooking skills or not, it didn't stop them from making the kitchen frequently a disaster zone. How much could snacks of all things cause a mess so frequently?

Speaking of, Bakugou side eyes Hagakure as he pours a mug of milk before returning the carton. What the hell was she doing at fuck-it-o’clock? He better not get blamed for her mess. Hesitating whether just to microwave the milk or heat it up in a saucepan, Bakugou realizes there is not one saucepan that isn't dirty, being used, or otherwise scattered around.

Microwave it is.

The soft beeps of the machine seem to break Hagakure put of her stupor of, tiredly? Hungrily? Sadly? Like hell he can tell, looking at the newest fuckup apparently. She maneuvers around him to dump the pan in the sink. Bakugou presses as close as he can to the counter as she passes. Invisibility quirk or not, there's something embarrassing about running into her, especially since she's frequently almost completely naked. Tonight is no exception; due to her torso being transparent, Bakugou can see that her hair ties and shorts are really the only things she's wearing and god, that makes him feel like the Purple Pervert. He wants to rip out his fucking eyeballs just thinking about it (but not before ripping out Mineta's first, do the whole world a favor as the hero he is).

Microwave done, one of the lone clean spoons left in his hand, he's about to grab his tin of cocoa when he freezes. It's not where he normally puts it and he has a sinking feeling he now knows what Hagakure is trying to make.

Controlling his breathing to prevent the sweat that starts building on his hands at the first hint of anger, he turns towards the stove top, and oh look, it’s here. He grabs the tin with perfectly acceptable force and looks down into it. Nearly fucking empty! Bakugou bites the inside of his cheek. Happy thoughts, think happy thoughts. Him beating Deku in an all-out fight, beating up Mineta, blasting the faces off of the copycat, the earthquake jackass, the zombie menace to society… and when did his shitlist start to grow so large? He turns towards Hagakure, head cocked and cocoa out in front of him.

“Why… the hell… are you fucking with my food?”

The ground makes a noise as she presumably drags her foot across it. “Oh, that's yours? I'm sorry! I thought it was Sato's! The rest of this stuff is.” And there's a pause as if she's gesturing around her like she isn't fucking invisible.

“No. It's mine. And now it's gone.” His words are clipped and he realizes he sound bitter as hell but come the fuck on. He has two things he keeps long term in the kitchens- milk and cocoa. Two teeny, tiny indulgences. Is that too much to ask in this living nightmare that is his life? Even his spices are considered shared, though few use the spicy ones, and when he does make food he usually just buys the ingredients same day. No leftovers of course due to Kirishima, Kaminari, Sero, and Mina's insatiable appetites and neediness. And, well, they frequently compliment his taste and skills in the kitchen, so he might as wel- and this wasn't the time for that!

“Why are you wasting my shit at,” here he looks at the clock on the wall for the first time, “fucking three in the goddamn morning??”

To her credit, she doesn't flinch, nor backs away. Between her frequently unfazed reactions to danger and her ability to walk around naked not giving a single fuck, Bakugou can admit she's rather badass. This is why her nervous tone, not towards him but the situation, puts him back a bit.

“Well, it's for tomorrow, you know?”

“Hah?” Did he look like the kind of person who paid attention to what shitty school events were happening outside hero work? No thank you.

“Valentine's Day… chocolates… togivetotheboyIlike.” She mumbles it to the floor apparently since it comes off as quieter than before and the scraping/tapping on the floor continues.

“Huh.” The pans look more like they're filled with toxic paint then chocolates of all things, but yeah- cocoa, milk, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, all ingredients to make the stuff. “You suck at this.”

“I know! I thought it would be easy. Chocolate is so cheap to buy, but homemade means so much more and—” she cuts herself off as if she's embarrassed and honestly.

“You're literally talking to me with your tits out and you're embarrassed about a fucking crush?” She huffs and slaps his arm and when did people outside of his (friends, they would be his friends and that’s fucking weird) annoying group of classmates he'd hang around get comfortable around him? He's obviously losing his touch.

“I'm serious! I really like him!”

“Don't feed him this shit then. You'll kill him.”

She groans in frustration and flips the tabs on her phone to a recipe. Bakugou realizes begrudgingly that the best way to save his meager amount of cocoa left is to… ugh… help make chocolates. He's half tempted to just grab the tin and retreat to his room for the rest of the night, but then if even a spot of chocolate was found, he bets the resident “Class Prez” bloodhound would sniff out his stash and blame him. Same as every other disaster any of the braindead fucks who live in this building have caused. And some even not with all this new Class 1-B unity bullshit causing them to poke around their shared spaces in the name of friendship.

“Give it here. Yes, your phone you idiot.” He spins on his heel as soon as it's in his hand. Assessing the carnage, he spies one pot he can still use, grabs a metal bowl, puts some water in the pot, looks down at the recipe again, and grabs a whisk. Whisk the cocoa and butter together until smooth while the pot heats on the stove, balance the bowl over the water, and stir. He grabs a fork and a small bowl, places some of the powdered sugar in, and hands the lot over to Hagakure. “Sift it.”

To her credit, she jumps to action right away. With a bit too much enthusiasm as white powder floats down to the floor over the sides, but it isn’t the worst help he’s gotten in the kitchen.

“How'd you learn to do all this Bakugou?”

He sighs as he is long suffering. The first year of three at this fucking school. “Mom. Told me if I want something I should do it myself and do it better.” And he had.

When he was little and had pointed not yet explosion-calloused fingers at a chocolate bar while grocery shopping with his mom, she had challenged him to make it himself and bought ingredients instead. Perched on a stool in front of the stove while his dad works on designs nearby, his first attempts were terrible. But his looks and half his quirk wasn't the only thing he inherited from his mom so he tried again and again. The rest of the ingredients and many batches later he had enough for a single portion for himself and his parents each. It was the best thing he'd ever tasted. Victory and accomplishment, praise from Dad over something he had made with his hands and hard work, a begrudging compliment from Mom when Dad nudged her. He ended up cooking a lot after that, enjoying the science of it, the art. How you could tweak things here and there to make it your own and there was always something new to learn.

Bakugou realized he had spaced out while stirring methodically. The simple, comfortable actions in the kitchen calming his nerves that had been frayed when he woke up, and pulled by his classmate's antics.

“Here, keep stirring.” And they switch places as Hagakure grabs the whisk. Pours the sugar, a splash of milk, and a couple drops of vanilla into the mixture.

“Who's this for anyways?” He racks his brain for anything important about who she hung around and came up empty. She was frequently in other groups after all. Even with his more concentrated blasts he used while teamed up with others. The blowback and shrapnel would be hell on a body that he couldn't see and account for clothed only in gloves and shoes. Besides, she was more stealth focused. Even if Bakugou wanted to do sneaky shit, his quirk would blow that out of the water before the mission even started.

“Why… hmm… why would you like to know?” She doesn't sound nearly as nervous at least. Probably finds the cooking as calming as he does. Or she's dead on her feet from trying to cook in the middle of the night. Like in secret. Secretive just like her quirk.

And that's when he realizes. “Someone in our class, right?” Well if he didn't notice nor care, it's likely someone he's never around either. Bakugou runs through the faces of all his classmates. He doesn’t actually give a shit, but now he’s curious. An image comes to mind from their last trip off campus- floating gloves hovering near a white robe, encouraging him in a voice not suited towards someone who is supposed to specialize in stealth. “Ojiro?”

She eeps and drops the whisk, quickly returning to task when Bakugou glares and points at it.

“Ah… yes, it is.” And again with the fucking embarrassment. She should be more embarrassed over what she was going to originally serve up to someone she apparently cared about. “He's kind and thoughtful, always looking out for me.” Steadily her voice gains more confidence. “He makes me feel noticed, you know? And not in a freak way like people on the train sometimes do. For who I really am. And he's attentive of my feelings, even without my facial expressions to go off of. And he—”

“Okay I fucking get it. I don't need a damn declaration.”

She swats his shoulder again, and someone is about to lose a fucking arm.

“I'm serious! Everyone is looking for that somebody. That someone who just gets them. Who knows who you really are and likes you anyways!”

“Shut up. This is a pointless conversation. When we're heroes, why the hell would we want a giant weakness that can be taken advantage of? Don't be stupid.”

Hagakure gasps this time. “You can't be serious! Even you should have someone in your life who you love.” Even you; he regrets helping her immediately.

It feels like bait almost. A trap that makes his hackles rise. “Yeah even a guy like me, huh? Probably shouldn't. Wouldn't want to mess anyone up.”

Pastel shorts turn towards him as the whisk stutters and changes hands. “I didn't mean it that way I'm sorry. I just meant… no one should be alone forever, right?”

“We're trapped in a cement building with 18 other fucks, and you call this alone?”

“Don't be a smartass, you know perfectly well what I meant! Live a little. Smell the roses before you blow them up, and then smell that too! Take in the world around you while you still can. Who knows how busy we'll be once we graduate and are out kicking butt!” The air whooshes besides him blowing past the dropped armholes of his sleep tank like she karate kicked the air in front of her. Like a cartoon character. Charming.

“Well I hope Ojiro appreciates your personality more than I do, or I wasted my fucking time for nothing.”

“Oh, he does. You'll see how excited he is to get this chocolate!” Confidence back in full force already? That moodiness didn't last long.

Bakugou pulls down cayenne, sea salt, the class' shared coffee ground stash, cinnamon, an orange from the fridge, and sets it all by the only clean molding tray.

“You'll need to actually finish making them first. Wait.” He glares as he spots some water in the mold and grabs a paper towel to fully dry it. “You have to work with dry tools with chocolate. Water fucks up the consistency.” Back down on the counter and he watches over as she carefully pours the mixture into each section. Probably the only thing graceful she's ever done in the kitchen.

“What's all the rest of this stuff for?”

“Toppings. You think you're going to win anyone over with some weakass plain sweets? What does he like?”

“Ummmm,” she trails off and shifts again and he pictures her putting her hand to her chin. How annoying. “Everything I guess? He's pretty easygoing!” Bakugou rolls his eyes to the ceiling while he grabs a knife, cutting off some zest over two pieces in small, artful curls before putting the knife in the sink and the orange back. He neither knows whose orange it is nor cares.

“A small pinch of each topping on each. Ten pieces, five flavors.” He glares again as he returns his considerably lighter tin of cocoa to the pantry and dumps out the forgotten mug of milk. This is fucking exhausting and he just wants to throw himself on his bed and crash. “Let it set in the fridge before taking them out. And clean this shit up before I get blamed for it.” Mug in the dishwasher, he's already around the island heading back towards his room when Hagakure speaks up.

“I'll buy you a new tin, I promise! And thank you!”

He doesn't respond as he takes the boys side’s stairs two at a time before he gets to his floor, passing Shoji, then Kirishima's rooms on the way to his own. As he pushes open his door, something about tonight's events remind him of something the redhead had said a week ago when he questioned why he went out of his way for anyone and everyone.

“One kind act a day keeps the heart good! That's always what my grandma would always say.” Sheepish chuckle, averted eyes. “Oh, but don't just limit yourself to that! You want to be the number one hero, don't ya Blasty?” and he had sent his trademark, sharp grin at him.

Good deed of the day done then.

*             *             *

And that brought him back to here. Aizawa walked in, bored as ever and everyone was in their seats and finally shut up. But Bakugou noticed, as the teachers came and went for each period, as lunch hour passed, then hero training, then returning to the classroom for debriefing the package was still in her bag. She’s unusually quiet too.

Midnight is bringing up on the monitor each of the students in their hero attire, asking the class to chime in on how the costume could be improved for performance or image. For the most part, Bakugou tunes it out- he's already worked up some plans with Support. His gauntlets have allowed him to use his quirk more efficiently and safely, but while their size and hollow design helps absorb and project the impact of his explosions, it also makes them weaker structurally. Waiting to get them repaired each time he gets in a fight is a drag. And in the real world, more durable equipment could mean the difference between life and death.

The design actually gets him buzzing with energy at the thought. Support will be finished with a prototype in a couple days and he's itching to try it out. Bakugou had been pouring over old weaponry that implemented explosives since he was old enough to use the net and how he could adapt his dream costume to it. His new gauntlets will be slimmer and double layered like the cylinder and barrel of a gun. Its compact design would allow it to not only be hit, but also to be used to block attacks. Plus, the tiered design would still allow the absorption and release of his sweat, while minimizing the shock to his arm. It impacts his max distance, but with all the effort he's put into more concentrated explosions like his AP Shot, he can get the distance he needs with a more controlled effect on the area around him. Air compression from stored propellants near the base could potentially trigger his explosions at more of a distance to his body too. That Zalinski guy knew what he was doing when he improved and popularized the dynamite gun. This was going to be fucking sick.

Bakugou came back to himself when he realized the classroom was a bit too quiet, not even Deku’s fucking mumbling behind him while frantically turning the pages of that scrapped notebook. Of course, he had probably been speaking up for every person so far. He practically lived for this shit.

“Come on class, any ideas? Put those youthful minds of yours to work!” Midnight says with a wink; her glasses-meets-mask pushed up into her hair.

Bakugou almost wants to retort what the hell she's doing leading the critique on their costumes considering her own. Except he's loathe to admit it works for her. He doesn't see why she has to hide behind some sex icon façade when her quirk is so stupidly strong and effective in a lot of circumstances, but it does fit her “image” and the thin material allows quick access of her quirk while also containing it. The whole point of this lesson really.

He realizes he’s spaced out thinking about what image he portrays (disgusting that he has to worry about this shit), and they're critiquing Uraraka’s costume now. Well he would say critique but it's more like a slurry of feel good nonsense and useless information.

“Maybe a different color scheme? The soft pink combined with all the accessories is a little… well….” Kaminari trails off, rubbing the back of his neck.

“What, think you can't kick butt in pink, Mr. Black-and-White?” Ashido grins at him challengingly.

“Wh—what? No not at all!” Kaminari has his hands raised in front of him like Ashido is going to sling her acid at her in the middle of class. “It's just, not very vibrant? You should have a costume more in your face for recognition! Like fuchsia and bright lights!”

“Yeah ever since your work experience and internship you've been throwing down with the best of us!” Sato gives Uraraka a grin and thumbs up which she returns.

“Perhaps you should go further with your space theming?” Yaoyarozu suggests.

“Such camaraderie, such support!” Oh look, Midnight is working herself back up again. “But I don't just want compliments, let's see how we can improve! As heroes, there will always be ways you can get better, and spotting flaws, however minor, so that you can improve on them is an invaluable skill.”

Not for the first time, the similarities between Bakugou’s costume and Uraraka's comes to mind. He knew they had the same initial designer and engineering firm, but it's a bit more than just the signature dual dots on their tops. The geometric style in the patterns of their costume, straight lines mixed with the softer touch in the curves of their accessories, albeit Uraraka's more than his. But that's the thing; for how bubbly and cutesy and shit her costume is, there's a lot that doesn't do anything. Her wrist and neck guards don't do shit a compact design couldn't accomplish. Their only function is as pressure points for anti-nausea. The wrist guards wouldn't even protect her hands from attack. Considering her quirk relies on her hands like his, it's a very real possibility and everyone else was stupid for not thinking of it earlier.

“Arm guards.” It's not the first time he's talked in the lesson, but it's the first in a while so most of the class turns their heads towards him. “Your hands are your quirk. As soon as a villain finds out they're going to target them. Deflections and evasion can only get you so far before you have to block an attack and then you’ve already lost.”

And maybe the calming effect of the cooking earlier that morning is working a little too well. Half the class looks like they're about to lose their eyes to the ground.

“Hmm that's actually a pretty good idea Bakugou! I'm surprised!”

“What the fuck do you mean ‘surprised’ Round Face??” Bakugou almost wants Uraraka to snap back. He almost feels too calm, like his guard is down and he would be a sitting duck to any passing villain.

She just meets his eyes and grins. “I didn't know you cared so much!” And how does no one else see how evil that gravity witch really is?

“You-!”

“Excellent point to bring up Bakugou!” If there's one thing Midnight is good at as a teacher, it's diffusing a conflict even without her quirk. “This isn't an issue as much with those of us who have more full-body quirks, but for those whose quirk center around a specific point, you must prepare for that part of your body to be targeted. It will only get worse as you become pro and get further recognized.” She pointedly catches the eyes of some of the students- Uraraka, Ojiro, Jirou, Sero, Iida, Bakugou. “Eraserhead and Present Mic have equipment that not only makes their quirks more effective, but also protects their most valuable assets. Some of you,” she nods to Shoji, “have regenerative abilities tied to your quirks, where getting hurt wouldn't put you out of commission. Most of you are not that way however. I'd hate to see any of you face an early retirement because you didn't take this seriously!” She sounds like an angry mother chastising her unruly children and the image of Midnight, costume on full display, strutting into a daycare and demanding her children back from a terrified receptionist makes Bakugou almost laugh. Almost.

He swallows it down and covers his smile with his hand. He has a reputation to maintain after all.

Kirishima catches his attention out of the corner of his eye. Head cocked slightly and confused smile on his face, he raises his eyebrows at him. Bakugou mouths “Later” back at him and turns his expression towards the front where they're going over Takoyami’s costume, but not before he sees Kirishima's smile widen.

*             *             *

A half hour later and his own critique done before Midnight starts wrapping up the class. Bakugou hadn't told the rest his plans on the new gauntlets, only that he was working on protecting his arms when he was questioned about it.

It seemed… weird. Before, when he was younger, hell even a year ago, he would have proudly explained his design to the class, basking in the praise that followed. But now… it was like he wanted to bottle up his ideas, hide them away unless they were polished to perfection. He was only getting the prototype in a couple day after all. What if his original idea couldn't be accomplished after all or didn't work as well as it should? What if it worked perfectly and yet he still fumbled around like a jackass as he got used to using them?

His eyes slide to his right where Kirishima, Kaminari, Sero, and Ashido have their heads together whispering loudly about all the things they would add to their costume if the only limit was their imagination. Kaminari's enthusiastic suggestion of speakers to play your theme song wherever you went just made him roll his eyes in exasperation.

But maybe, they'd be the sort of people he could tell. Real friends who wouldn't laugh at the barest hint of a weakness like blood in the water. Who also wouldn't mindlessly support his ideas like an echo chamber if they were shit.

“Okay class as my very special Valentine's Day gift to all of you, I'm letting you out ten minutes early!” Oh fuck, this again. “Find that special someone and bare your heart before someone else does! Youthful love is a precious thing, but don't be too naughty today~ Tata!” Out the door with a wink, pose, and a flourish to multiple wistful sighs.

The students start packing up to excitable chatter about plans for the rest of the day. Valentine's Day fell on a Friday this year so even the dateless have something to look forward too.

Bag packed and slung over his shoulder, he turns around to see Kaminari and Sero still stuck at their desks, looking fucking idiotic. Kaminari has a glazed over look in his eyes, Sero with his head cupped between his palms. Kirishima is already packed with his bag in his seat, standing before them with an amused smile.

“I'm pretty sure she's my dream woman.” Sero sighs like a desperate housewife at the new pool boy.

“Because she'd only date you in your imagination?” Ashido pipes in. Bakugou actually snaps out a laugh, like a breathy exhale of air, more than he normally ever does in public.

He quickly morphs his smile into a smirk and looks at Ashido. Her grades may be fucking terrible, but she can be quick witted at times. She raises up her fist and he returns it in a soft bump.

“Oh, don't be jealous that she likes us!” Kaminari chides.

“Yeah sorry bro, but that might be a lot of wishful thinking on your parts. That or the festive mood.” And his expression turns thoughtful as if suddenly Valentine's Day could become the manliest holiday of them all.

The class is starting to filter out, classroom already half empty when Ojiro moves past their merry band of misfits.

Oh right, the fucking chocolate! There's no bright ribbon wrapped box in the tailed boy's hands, and a look to his left shows that Hagakure hasn't even left her seat.

“Ojiro.” His raised voice catches his group's attention while Mashirao turns in surprise and slight alarm. To Kirishima he mutters “Make sure he doesn't leave.” Before turning around and right up to Hagakure's desk.

“Seriously?” he starts sardonically. “All that work to not even finish the job?”

“I—it’s harder than it looks okay!” At her distressed tone Ojiro comes over to the window side of the classroom. Didn't have to worry about him leaving after all, Bakugou guessed.

“What's going on?” Ojiro looks like he's trying to put himself between Bakugou and Hagakure, which is laughable considering she's still sitting and all he ends up doing is an awkward shuffle in the desk aisle.

“Well, because she's too chickenshit to do it,” he reaches into her bag to mild protests from everyone in the room. “Here. She worked her ass off to make it for you.” The package is thrust into Ojiro’s hands and he just takes it numbly.

“You handmade this? For me?” Mashirao is turned to face her with one of the biggest smiles Bakugou’s ever seen on his face. The chocolates are clutched to his chest for fucks sake.

When Hagakure doesn't respond Bakugou retorts “Yeah so you'd better— oof.” Kirishima has him by the shoulder and Ashido has a hand wrapped around his bag.

“Come on! Read the mood Bakugou!”

Before Bakugou would have thought that Ashido was looking down on him, for apparently not noticing something he should. Now he knows that it's merely teasing, a sign of affection of all things.

Sero and Kaminari are at the door and they close the door behind them, the last in the classroom besides the impending teenage dream behind them. Already talking in hushed voices. A quick look back shows that Shoji’s desk has been pushed closer to Hagakure’s. They’re both sitting and possibly holding hands and wouldn’t that be weird? What your eyes see and body feels completely out of synch.

“Huh, did you have any idea that this would happen?” Kaminari looks amused but bewildered. “They'd be the first in the class to date!”

“Of course! We talk about all sorts of things in the girl's dorms,” Her voice drops to a dramatic hush and she raises one hand to her mouth, “including crushes!” At Sero and Kaminari's excited expressions she quickly adds “But I'm not going to tell you guys! There's a sacred girl code you can't break, and one of them is keeping your friend's secrets close to heart.” Kirishima nods sagely as if Ashido's words hold some sacred hidden meaning.

“But that was so nice of you to help her out! I never thought she'd finally confess. For such a confident person, this was like the only thing she was ever embarrassed about!”

Bakugou ducks his head before narrowing his eyes at her. “I wasn't being fucking nice. She was just being so goddamn pathetic I couldn't not do something.”

“Suuuure Bakugou.” Smug snake, that plain-faced idiot.

“You would have done the same if you'd seen her. Middle of the fucking night, burning shit everywhere.”

“Oh my gooood Bakugou! You helped her make it?” This… this was a mistake. “I bet it's delicious!”

“Little Bakugou is growing up so fast.” Kaminari finishes the sentence with a loud, fake sniff.

Kirishima slings his arm over Bakugou’s shoulder. “That was super manly of you! I knew you had it in you!”

Distantly as Mina, Sero, and Kaminari turn the conversation back to romantic gossip surrounding their year, Bakugou notes several things:

First, while both Kirishima and him have grown taller over the course of the year already, it looks like Bakugou now has a greater margin between them. What was formally a couple centimeters difference is now a bit more, and doesn’t that make him feel good in a childish way. The only thing dampening that thought is the height gain is mostly in his legs if the way his pants have been fitting lately have shown. And how he fucking tripped in hero training the other day. He just managed to turn it into a frivolous front flip with his quirk. A bit dramatic for his tastes considering he was on the sidelines at the time, but can you imagine him landing face-first in the middle of the fucking class? The whole lot would never let him live it down.

Second, is how the arm pressed against his shoulder, and the side to his own, feels bulkier than it used to. Stronger, firmer, but with the soft undercurrent that Kirishima exhibits through attitude and ease alone. When did he become more muscular than Bakugou anyways? Was he getting extra gym training? Maybe all those sparring matches with that steel fuck. Either way Bakugou mentally revised his plans for the weekend. He wasn't going to fall behind on anything.

“You know, you're a pretty thoughtful guy.” And there's that sharp-toothed grin again. “You try to make it seem like you don't care about these kinds of things, but you're observant and you watch out for others in your own way. Very fucking heroic dude. And very manly.”

He doesn't remove his arm as the group saunters off across campus to their dorms. Ashido and Sero ask him if he'll make them dinner tonight, and he gives in without too much prodding. All four of them end up arguing over the best food to make Bakugou cook.

He feels… content. And that confirms that the cooking really did do a number on him, or maybe he’s just coming down with something, but it's nice as long as he doesn’t get too complacent.

Everyone is looking for that somebody. That someone who just gets them. Who knows who you really are and likes you anyways! Even you should have someone in your life who you love.

Heh even him. Maybe she did have a point. If it felt this nice being around actual friends (and there, fine, he’ll acknowledge it without cringing). Maybe it was worth it to let someone a little closer. He can't think of anyone who he'd allow that close though. For now, this is enough. He can bother with that shit when he's older.