“You are... not good at this.”
Tsuyu winces at the graded test being presented to her. Nineteen points out of sixty? Ouch. She looks up to look at the blond sitting across from her. He fumes silently, burgundy eyes glaring at the wall and cheeks flushed in embarrassment. She sighs. Why couldn’t she get through to him?
Tsuyu has only been a student tutor for two semesters now but she’s pretty sure she’s got the hang of it. After all, she’s tutored over thirty people so far and they’ve all been able to improve their grades drastically so she has to be doing something right.
Well, she had to be doing something right. As in past tense. Because she’s definitely not doing it anymore. She’s been tutoring Bakugou Katsuki since the beginning of the semester and he’s only getting worse.
Before she started tutoring him the blond was at least scoring within the C-range. Now, he’s barely able to score above a D on his best day. Not only is Tsuyu a bit guilty about his downward spiral she’s also anxious. Bakugou was drastically affecting her performance record which determines if she gets rehired after the summer break. It would be one thing if her supervisors took into account the other thirty-plus people who have benefitted from her tutoring but unfortunately her performance is only graded on a semester-by-semester basis and Bakugou’s marks have been such a time-consuming fiasco that she hasn’t had any time to tutor anyone else.
She sees him five days a week for three hours each day and he’s just. Not. Getting. It. Which is ridiculous. He’s incredibly intelligent! A chemistry major with a 3.99 GPA and the president of the Distinguished S.T.E.M Students Association. (Okay, so she snuck into the dean’s office and did some digging, so what? Does a girl not deserve some answers?) So she just couldn’t understand the issue. Mathematical Physics is tough, sure, but nothing Bakugou shouldn’t have been able to handle. Except it is, for some reason, and it’s beginning to look like it is her fault.
“So... Okay, This obviously isn’t working,” Tsuyu begins handing Bakugou back his failed test.
“No shit,” Bakugou responds, still not looking at her. He looks like he’s trying to glare a hole in the wall. “I look goddamn stupid and you ain’t helpin’ none.”
Tsuyu rolls her eyes. It’s hard to feel guilty when you’re dealing with such an asshole. “Sure. Me sitting here, reiterating every single thing you’ve learned in class, for three hours a day almost every day isn’t helping anything. That’s definitely the problem here. Not you. Me.”
Bakugou huffs childishly, cheeks burning bright red. He would almost be handsome if he wasn’t such a jerk. “I’m glad we’re in agreement,” he deadpans, still turned away from her and staring at the wall. “You need a new day job.”
“Well, if I’m so horrible why do you keep coming back? You know you can request a new tutor, right?” Tsuyu watches Bakugou flinch at her words. God, did he really not know that? For such a smart guy he wasn’t actually that smart at all. “There’s still enough time for you to salvage your grade if you do it by tomorrow. I think my coworker Toga has an available time block at the same time and she’s actually a math major, so maybe that’ll be better.”
Bakugou wrinkles his nose. “She’s psycho.”
“She’s. Psycho. I have class with her ex-boyfriend. Dabi?” Tsuyu shrugs. She’s heard the name before but she doesn’t think she’s ever actually met the guy personally. “Well, he’s told us horror stories,” the blond suddenly looks uneasy and Tsuyu giggles softly. “I’m not sitting in an empty room with just her for three hours. And you shouldn’t either.”
Tsuyu laughs out loud this time. “Thanks for the heads up. But what are you going to do then?” All traces of mirth are quickly wiped from Tsuyu’s face as she remembers the predicament that she and Bakugou are in. He is going to fail and she is going to lose her only source of income if things keep going the way that they’re going. They need a solution and fast.
“What is it that I’m doing that doesn’t work for you? Is it my tutoring style? Am I going through the units too quickly? We can add another hour if you need it and that way we can slow down a bit,” Bakugou is still turned away from her but his face is a bit more relaxed and he doesn’t seem to want to punch the wall anymore.
“Asui, that’s not the issue. Just drop it,” he replies. Tsuyu sighs tiredly.
“Then what is? You’re not cooperating with me, Bakugou. Help me to help you you so that I can help myself because, at this point, if you don’t pass this class with flying colors, I’m out of a job. Seriously.” Tsuyu pauses and looks at Bakugou continue to ignore her and face the wall. Irritation washes over her at the sight of his continued disrespect. “Can you just... Be a decent person for two seconds?”
Bakugou bristles at her words. He turns in his seat, not fully, but enough where Tsuyu is finally able to look at him full-on for the first time since beginning their session. He still doesn’t meet her eyes, but she can tell she’s shamed him into acting a bit more decently from the pink tint of his cheeks. “You’re gonna think I’m a fuckin’ dumbass.”
Tsuyu feels the corners of her lips curve up involuntarily. “Uh, I’ve seen your test grades. If those don’t make me think you’re an idiot, nothing will.” Bakugou opens his mouth to protest but she cuts him off. “Bakugou. Your last test grade was a 10%.”
“I don’t need a reminder, smartass.”
“Good. So spill.”
“Fine,” Bakugou responds. Tsuyu watches the blond flush red. From his cheeks to his chest and even the tips of his ears. Tsuyu forcefully wills herself not to blush at his display of intense embarrassment; how is someone so volatile so.... cute?
“I hate your face. It’s distractin’.”
Tsuyu blinks thrice. Slowly.
“Are yo— Did you just call me ugly?”
“Wh— You— No, dumbass, how the hell did you come up with that?”
“Well, I don’t know, ‘I hate your face,’ maybe?”
“I’m sayin’ you’re too fuckin’ pretty to be a tutor. How am I supposed to get anything done if you’re just sittin’ there with your dumbass face bein’ all... dumb.”
Despite herself, Tsuyu feels a bubble of laughter building within her. “You have the communication skills of a toddler. How have you made it this far?”
“Fuck off, Asui.” Tsuyu laughs as Bakugou finally turns to face her head-on for the first time. “I’m bein’ serious. And the solution isn’t to send me off to Little Miss Psycho’s end of the hallway either.”
“Be nice,” Tsuyu laughs, strangely giddier than usual.
“I am bein’ nice. You should hear Dabi talk about her.”
“Okay, okay, okay, stop it,” Tsuyu waves her hands dismissively. “I wasn’t going to tell you to request another tutor. This is actually good, we can work around the issue of... my face.”
Bakugou’s eyebrows raise questioningly.
“Listen,” she begins again. “On the weekends, I can audio record myself going over the unit material and you can just listen to that without ever having to look at me, right? And we can just choose one day a week where we meet up in person and I’ll give you a pre-test of sorts, just to make sure you’re properly grasping the material. If you pass with an 85 or above, you’re free to go, but any lower than that and you’ll have to endure a face-to-face session with me. And not because I like torture, mind you,” she winks at the blond across the table and he scowls as his cheeks color pink. “But because if a specific part of the audio sessions aren’t working, we’ll need to review extensively in person. Sound good?”
Bakugou thinks the proposition over for some time while Tsuyu watches him quietly. For such a hardass he was really a funny guy. ‘I hate your face,’ he says! As if there wasn’t a million and one other ways to say ‘I find you distractingly pretty.’ Butterflies erupt in her stomach as she replays the entire situation in her mind’s eye. But a compliment is a compliment, she supposes, if her racing heart and pink cheeks have anything to say about it.
“You listenin’ to me, Asui?”
“Oh, sorry,” Tsuyu apologizes, pulling herself out of her own headspace. “Yeah?”
“I said that’s fine. If you go into the same amount of detail on the recording that you usually do in person, I’ll be good But during the pre-tests I’m gonna aim for 90%, 85s are for fuckin’ dummies.” Tsuyu tries to stifle her giggle but she fails and it bubbles out her instantly.
“Mmm, not really. It’s just... If 85s are for dummies what does that make you?” Bakugou rolls his eyes.
“A fuckin’ genius,” he replies and Tsuyu decides to relent.
“Sounds about right,” she smiles. “So what day are we deciding to have our pre-test sessions? Wanna make it Thursday so you’ll have most of the week to study and get through the recording?”
Bakugou shakes his head. “Friday. If you don’t mind.”
“Nope! I don’t have a problem with that so that’s good too. Same time?”
“Mm,” Bakugou starts, “An hour earlier. I don’t want to keep you too long.”
“That’s fine, but... You think you’ll need more than three hours to take the test and review?”
“No,” Bakugou says and Tsuyu tilts her head questioningly. “I’m gonna get the hang of this shit pretty fast now but,” the blond meets Tsuyu’s eyes before he continues. “I was thinking if I asked you out for lunch after our usual time you’d say no.”
It’s Tsuyu’s turn to flush pink now. “Oh,” she responds intelligently.
“Yeah. Don’t you have class after our session? On Fridays?”
Tsuyu doesn’t try to hide her surprise. She didn’t think Bakugou knew anything about her besides the fact that she was a student tutor. “Yes, well, no, I used to. I found out I didn’t need another marine biology credit so I dropped it. So now I’m free.”
“Okay. So what do you want to do?”
“For tutoring? I mean, I don’t ca—“
Bakugou rolls his eyes. “No, dummy. For lunch. You ever been to that Thai place off campus? By the main gate?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever had thai before,” Tsuyu answers. “Maybe Vietnamese? But never Thai.”
Bakugou’s nose wrinkles in disgust. “You serious?”
“Uh, yeah. Why lie?”
“I don’t know. You’re a sarcastic ass, Asui, I’m just makin’ sure.”
Tsuyu laughs. “Takes one to know one.”
“Fair. So we goin’?” Bakugou asks. He almost seemed pretty cool until Tsuyu spotted the faintest of blushes spreading across of his cheeks for the umpteenth time today. She bites her cheek to keep from smiling too hard. He’s endearing. In an asshole kind of way. If that was even a thing. That has to be a thing.
“You sure you’re going to be able to function correctly? You know, since you’ll have to look at my dumbass face for at least another hour.”
Bakugou squints and leans his entire torso over the table so that his face is only inches away from Tsuyu’s. “The problem, right now, isn’t your dumbass face; it’s your dumbass mouth.”
Tsuyu leans back in her chair and laughs. “Well, pretty soon I’ll be eating with it, so problem solved.”
“Not soon enough,” Bakugou replies gruffly but Tsuyu can hear the smile in his voice. “Let’s get goin’. I can’t believe you’ve never had Thai before. This is about to blow your goddamn mind!"