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In His Own Way

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In their final year at U.A., when it became known that Uraraka Ochako was dating someone, it was only natural that Class 1-A flew into quite the frenzy.

Tsuyu and Ochako had been in the middle of a conversation when Ochako’s phone lit up with a text notification. Ochako had frantically checked the message before Tsuyu could see who it was from, but when she saw Ochako blush and smile dopily at her phone, Tsuyu had deduced that Ochako was seeing someone. It had really been an unfortunate coincidence that Mineta had overheard them, and the news had spread like wildfire.

When it was clear, however, that Ochako was going to be— unreasonably , many had declared—tight-lipped about who exactly her beau was, it was only natural that Class 1-A was going to drive themselves into an even bigger frenzy over it. They scrambled over to her desk every morning, pestering her with questions until Aizawa arrived. They passed her notes during class, had even taken to sitting with her at lunch. To her credit, Ochako had stayed an absolute stone wall, one which even Cementoss would have been proud of.

“Is it Midoriya? Please tell me it’s not Midoriya!” Mineta had practically begged, clinging onto her leg as she walked to class.

“Mineta, your tears are running into my socks,” Ochako had responded, not unkindly.

“The least you can do is confirm or deny!” the grape-haired teen sobbed. “Throw me a bone here, Uraraka!”

Deku had been walking with her, and ever the peace-maker, had tried consoling Mineta. “You must understand why it needs to be a secret, don’t you Mineta?”

The near-hysterical teen had abruptly stopped his whining, turning to view Deku with a shrewd gaze. He lifted a trembling hand to point at his freckled classmate. “So it’s not Midoriya!” He leaped off of Ochako’s leg triumphantly, repeating shrilly, “ It’s not Midoriya!

Bemused, the teen in question turned to Ochako, who gave him a shrug. Crossing off one name from the long list of students who attended U.A. was still not much to go off of, and Ochako had not been worried. Mineta about-faced, bouncing to the nearest hallway to join a small huddle consisting of Kaminari, Kirishima, and Sero. They’d converged to surround Mineta and then promptly burst into high-pitched whispers and gossip.

Iida had then chosen to turn the corner, planting his hands on his hips. “Honestly, don’t you guys have anything better to do than to bother poor Uraraka? Obviously, she is not ready to reveal who she is dating, and at the very least, Izuku and I will honor her request and keep her secret. I can absolutely assure you that we will not tolerate—“ Iida had snapped his mouth shut, realizing his mistake.

It then had become clear that Midoriya and Iida were in the know, and Class 1-A had dissolved into chaos.

Iida had apologized to Ochako from hell and back, promising to do whatever it would take to have her forgive him, and Ochako had laughed and emphatically told him that it was fine, yes she was absolutely sure that she wasn’t mad at him, people would have figured it out anyway, and no she wasn’t mad at him but she actually would be angry if he kept on trying to apologize to her.

And so, Deku and Iida, bless them, had kept true to their promise to her, refusing to bend to any of their classmates’ cajoling, pleading, and even trickery to get them to even cough up one character of the mysterious boyfriend’s name.

Thankfully, no one had realized that Tsuyu knew, and Ochako had been able to confide in her solemn classmate. Tsuyu had taken the news in stride when Ochako had first told her.

“But why keep it a secret?” Tsuyu had asked. “Everyone’s going to be shocked, but it’ll blow over fast enough.”

Ochako had considered her words. Tsuyu did have a point. “We’re going to let people know eventually, it’s just...it’s a new relationship, and neither of us has ever actually been in one before. God knows Bakugou has even had an inkling of a romantic thought cross his mind. We’re still getting to know each other, and it’s better to keep it this way for now, without feeling like people are pressuring us or expecting us to be a certain way.”

It had actually been Ochako who’d proposed they keep their budding relationship under wraps, for now. Bakugou had mentioned that he didn’t give a shit what other people thought, but had let Ochako take the reins on this, much as she’d pretty much done for their entire courtship. Deku had advised her early on that girls and romance were as foreign to Bakugou as snow in the summer, and if Uraraka was truly serious about dating him, she would basically need to initiate everything and charge at Bakugou with the subtleness of a Detroit Smash.

Bakugou had managed to surprise her along the way though— he had actually been the one to awkwardly and angrily declare their relationship “offi-fucking-cial”—but the ball had pretty much never left Ochako’s court, so to speak, and so it had been up to her to decide how and whether to make their relationship known.

In the end, the way 1-A had found out hadn’t been too surprising. They’d fallen too much into a habit when they were alone together, calling each other by their first names, holding hands, exchanging familiar gestures and touches.

She’d been late for homeroom, running down the school hallways before slamming the door open and jolting into the room. Bakugou, who’d gotten up to use the restroom, had just reached his hand out to grasp the doorknob when she’d collided into his chest and stumbled back towards the floor. He’d instinctively reached out and grabbed her wrist, jerking her entire person back into his chest, other arm reaching around to hold her securely.

“Watch where the fuck you’re going,” he’d growled at her.

“A-ah, thank you, Katsuki!”

No sooner had the words tumbled out of her mouth did she push him away and clap her hands over her mouth with an “eep!”. Mortified, she saw the hush fall over her classmates. Iida had been studiously looking away from the couple, and Deku had both his hands over his face too. Class 1-A had descended into chaos.

“I FUCKING KNEW IT!”

“Ohmigod, Bakugou and Uraraka —”

“How did this even happen—”

“YOU FILTHY BASTARD—”

“How did an emotionally constipated Bakugou—”

“—when I can’t even get—”

“—tell us everything—”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP IF YOU VALUE YOUR FUCKING LIVES,” Bakugou had roared, then proceeded to stomp out the door, leaving Ochako to fend off her shocked classmates.

But as Tsuyu had predicted, as soon as the shock had worn off, everyone had almost forgotten that they were dating, and things soon became normal again.

And yet.

Things were a little too normal. It was as if nothing had changed. She had to admit that she hadn’t expected Bakugou to suddenly start eating lunch with her, or walk her back to the dorms, or generally show even a modicum of affection towards her in public.

But at the same time, she’d been hoping that Bakugou would at least start eating lunch with her, walking her back to the dorms, and show even a modicum display of affection towards her in public. She knew that she shouldn’t expect him to be big on PDA right from the get go, but the two of them barely had any meaningful one-on-one interactions during school.

Their accidental reveal had done little to disturb their so-called status quo, and Uraraka didn’t know what to make of it. Granted, this was both of their first relationship, but couldn’t he at least give her a kiss goodbye when they left for their respective dorms? Even a hug or something would be better than sometimes not even getting to see each other at the end of the day.

Self-doubt and worry started to creep in her mind, locking thin tendrils around her heart whenever she caught herself gazing at him during school hours. Those thoughts became worse when she was lying in bed at night and trying to fall asleep.

It couldn’t be that Bakugou didn’t like her as much as she thought? she thought one night, unable to sleep. He’d been the one to make their relationship official, so he had to at least be a little into her, right? She doubted he was the type to get into a relationship just to get into the girl’s pants.

But, if he didn’t actually have feelings for her then he would definitely have told her straight-up. That thought brought some comfort to her and she held onto it tightly. She just needed to give him some time. It wasn’t even as if they spent no time together. They’d been officially dating for two months already. To be fair, most of their dates were spent sparring together, but some of those had been preceded by the occasional makeout session, which made Ochako’s toes curl at the thought.

She resolutely pushed her anxious thoughts aside, pumping her fist in the air. “Okay, Ochako, you got this!” She sheepishly realized that the next thought that came into her head was: What would Deku do?

Ochako shook her head back and forth to clear her thoughts. She raised her fists in the air as if to fight someone. Just give him some more time , she chanted to herself.

Like a prayer, just give him some more time.

*

Trust Kirishima to open the floodgates and have all her worries come crashing back into her mind, sinking all her positive thoughts in the deluge.

She and Deku had grabbed their usual spots in the cafeteria to save seats for everyone else.

“Oh crap, I think my phone’s still in the room,” she exclaimed, patting all her pockets. “I’ll be right back!”

She speed-walked back to 1-A, slowing down when she saw that the door was slightly ajar. She approached cautiously when she heard Bakugou’s telltale husky timbre.

“—s’Uraraka?”

Ochako halted in front of the door, hand outstretched. That was Kirishima’s voice. She hesitated, caught between eavesdropping or interrupting their conversation.

“Fuck off.” Bakugou’s scowl was apparent to Ochako from even behind the door.

“Seriously dude, I wanna live vicariously through your life. Gimme something to at least fantasize about. How many dates have you gone on? She a good kisser?”

“Fuck. Off.”

“C’mon man, I never see you two together! You guys aren’t in some kind of fake relationship or—arghumph—” Kirishima’s voice was cut off by a thumping sound. Ochako imagined that Bakugou had not held back from punching his friend in the face, judging by Kirishima’s next words.

“Dude, never the money-maker!”

“Then don’t come to me spouting all your fucking bullshit!”

“You’re no fun,” Kirishima complained.

There was some rustling, and then two pairs of footsteps sounded loudly towards the door. Ochako didn’t even have time to feel guilty before she turned around and fled back to the cafeteria.

“Did you find your phone?” were Deku’s first words when she plopped down next to him, slightly out of breath.

“Oh, um. I—I think someone must’ve picked it up already,” she said quickly, tensing up at the lie.

Deku nodded, scooping up some rice. “We can check the lost and found when we’re done eating!”

Ochako’s shoulders slumped, relieved. “Thank you, Deku.” He really was a good friend.

Ochako’s mind kept wandering throughout lunch. She pushed her food around in her bento, suddenly feeling squeamish. As more of their classmates joined them at their table, she was content to let them chat amongst themselves. She knew she shouldn’t take Kirishima’s words to heart, but the fact that he had asked Bakugou if they were in some kind of fake relationship —Ochako couldn’t help but wonder if he was voicing their classmates’ thoughts out loud.

She rested her elbow on the table and let her cheek slump into her hand, letting out a tiny sigh. She used her chopsticks in her other hand to smush her rice into a flat sheet.

Ochako was so engrossed in using the points of her chopsticks to crush her rice grain by grain that she hadn’t noticed the sudden lull in her table’s chatter, or the slight shadow of a person standing at the edge of the table beside her.

“Oi.”

Ochako stuck out her tongue at a particularly stubborn and slippery piece of rice. It kept sliding out from the small crevice of the tapered points of her chopsticks. If she could just use the edges—

“Um—Uraraka—“ Deku’s tentative voice filtered in through her consciousness.

Oi .”

Startled, Ochako lifted her head up to meet Bakugou’s red glare.

“Oh!” Her eyes widened. “I’m so sorry, I was—er—“ she gestured vaguely with her chopsticks.

If possible, the furrow between Bakugou’s eyebrows deepened. “You left your phone in the room,” he said gruffly, reaching into his pocket to produce the item in question. He tossed it to her without warning.

Ochako caught it with her free hand, fumbling a bit before she set it down on the table. She looked up to thank him, but he had already strolled away to meet a smirking Kirishima.

“Thank you, Katsuki!” Her grin stretched from ear to ear.

A slight bob of his shoulders was the only visual indication that he’d heard her, but she thought she caught a snort. He paused for a moment before turning his face slightly towards her and snapped, “If you’re not gonna fucking eat your food then don’t fucking play with it!”

Stunned, Ochako could only watch as Kirishima looped an arm around Bakugou’s neck as they headed to grab their food.

“That was so cute !” Ashido squealed. “Who knew Bakugou was such a softie, eh?”

“Ochako, if you’re full, I want some of your rice,” Tsuyu said.

“You can have all of it,” Ochako replied absentmindedly, her thoughts traveling back to what Kirishima had said earlier.

Deku glanced at her worriedly but didn’t say anything.

Ochako resumed her original position, pressing her cheek into her hand. Tonight, she decided, she would need to talk to him.

*

She caught him just as he exited his dorm room, gym bag slung over his shoulder. She fell into step with him, matching his walking pace.

“Thanks again for my phone,” she chirped, turning her gaze to his profile. His eyes slid over to meet hers under his eyebrow and grunted.

“And um…” she trailed off, slowing down, trying to collect her thoughts.

Bakugou turned around when he noticed that she had completely stopped walking. She stared at a spot on the floor an inch from his shoes.

“I just—this is gonna sound kind of stupid, but.” Oh god, her voice just cracked. Keep it together, Ochako. She swallowed a lump in her throat and barreled on. “I just wanted to make sure that you still l-liked me and that you still wanna be girlfriend and boyfriend, ‘cuz I know that we don’t really see each other much at school, which is totally okay! It’s just, I dunno, I don’t wanna pressure you or anything, and I—I um, oh god, I’m completely word vomiting—”

“The fuck ?”

Ochako jerked her head up. Katsuki’s expression was pinched. The corners of his mouth were pulled down into his trademark look of annoyance, and he stood there staring at her in shock. A flicker of emotion flashed across his face, but it disappeared too quickly for Ochako to catch. But she knew, just then, that he’d almost sounded...offended.

“I’m sorry!” She backpedaled, waved her hands at him, laughing nervously. “I told you it was stupid, I’m sorry, I don’t know why I brought that up. I’ll just, I’ll go now.”

“Hey, wait a second—“

Ochako ignored him. She wanted to crawl into bed and wallow in her embarrassment. Stupid, stupid. Why did she think this was a good idea?

Just give him some more time , she told herself angrily.

“I said fucking wait, woman,” came Bakugou’s snarl.

She felt his hand wrap around her wrist right before she was yanked and pulled around into a surprisingly gentle hug. The hand around her wrist slid around her waist, and the other was resting at the back of her head, fingers carded through her hair. She froze, wide-eyed, before closing her eyes relaxing into his embrace and bringing her hands up to curl her fingers into his jacket. As usual, he smelled like his deodorant and something else—warm, slightly smoky, but distinctly masculine, distinctly Bakugou. She buried her face deeper into his chest, basking in the warmth of the hug.

“I’m sorry,” she said again.

Bakugou rested his chin on top of her head and tightened his arms around her a bit. “You are fucking crazy.” He said it without malice, and Ochako thought she caught a tinge of affection laced in the tone of his voice.

She let herself enjoy the moment for a bit longer before she forced away the negative thoughts in her head. She giggled, then pulled back slightly so she could see his face. “Wanna spar? Lemme change first—meet me at the gym!” She leaned up to give him a quick peck on the lips before dashing to her dorm room.

If she had bothered to look back, she would have seen a slight flush bloom across Bakugou’s cheeks, his arms still hanging in a rough semblance of their embrace just before.

But she didn’t need to, because when she opened her door to see him waiting for her outside, she beamed and wondered why she’d even doubted him in the first place.

*

Things started changing gradually, so gradually that she’d barely noticed anything different in the first few months after that incident.

There were three occurrences that followed which stood out the most to Ochako, when she realized that her words had affected Bakugou more than she thought.

The first time she noticed that he was acting differently was when she woke up early in the morning to a simple text message from him: a sun emoji. As this seemed so out of character for him Ochako’s grogginess instantly turned into alarm, and she ran to his dorm room in her pyjamas and knocked frantically on his door until he wrenched it open, signature scowl in place.

“What the fuck , it’s fucking six—” he snapped his jaw shut when he saw Ochako frozen in place, mid-knock.

“O-o-ocha—” was all he managed to bluster out before she let out a cry of relief and flew at him, wrapping her arms tightly around his midsection before pulling back.

“I thought you were in trouble or something!” she exclaimed, indignant. “Don’t scare me like that again!”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” He’d automatically brought his arms around her shoulders, but made no move to break the hug.

Ochako shoved her phone into his face, its current screen still open to their text message conversation. “Explain this,” she demanded.

Katsuki craned back to study the screen, only to deepen his scowl and avert his gaze. “It’s a fucking sun,” he bit out, the tips of his ears going pink.

Ochako waved her phone in front of his face again, and he rolled his eyes and brought one hand up to push the offending object away. “But why ? I didn’t even know you used emojis!”

“Just don’t fucking worry about it, okay? I won’t send it again.” He finally extracted himself from the remaining arm Ochako had wrapped around him and he stepped back to shove his hands into the pockets of his shorts.

“Wait, no, I didn’t mean it that way,” Ochako said, crestfallen. She glanced down to study the emoji. Realization dawned on her. She gasped, “Oh oh oh! It’s a good morning text, isn’t it? I like it, I really do. Good morning, Katsuki!”

She beamed at her phone, a rush of emotions sweeping through her, before looking up at her boyfriend, whose entire face was now a light shade of pink. “Thank you.”

He scrubbed a hand over his face. “Fucking christ,” he muttered. “C’mere.” He gestured to the space next to him.

Confused, Ochako stepped fully into his room. He leaned forward and slammed the door behind her.

“Katsuki?”

He was avoiding eye contact now, glaring resolutely at the doorknob.

Ochako moved forward and brushed her hand on his shoulder, which seemed to trigger him into action. He whipped around and barked, “IT’S JUST A STUPID FUCKING EMOJI, OCHAKO. If I were really in trouble, I wouldn’t have time to be dicking around on my phone !”

Ochako snatched her hand back, uncertain what he was trying to say.

He took a few deep breaths to calm himself. “Don’t just—don’t just come barging into the fucking boys’— my room wearing that —FUCK!”

He pinched the bridge of his nose, inhaling sharply, and fully exhaling.

Ochako looked down at herself and blushed. She’d been so frazzled that she hadn’t even thought to change out of what she’d worn to bed the previous night: an oversized t-shirt over a pair of shorts, which weren’t visible unless she raised both arms over her head. She hadn’t even thought to put on a bra.

The only thing she could think to say was, “Whoops!” She laughed sheepishly, scratching her cheek. “I should...I should probably go now, right?”

His only response was a flat stare. She took that as her cue to leave, shuffling around him towards the door. Katsuki, however, seemed to have something else in mind. Without a word, he clapped both of his hands on her shoulders, and veered her straight into his bedroom.

Bemused, she watched him rifle through his closet for a moment, then produce a black hoodie and a pair of shorts. He thrust them into her arms. “Put these on before you freak someone out.”

This made her want to tease him. “Wouldn’t people be more freaked out to see me wearing your clothes?”

Katsuki’s eye twitched. “Do whatever you want! I don’t fucking care.” He stalked out of the room and slammed the door behind him to give her some privacy.

She giggled, setting her phone down to shrug on the hoodie and pull on the shorts. He was so damn cute.

Every morning after that, she woke up to a sun emoji from him.

*

The second time occurred four months into their relationship.

Lunch had just started, and Ochako was putting her materials away when he approached her desk.

“Are you and Deku walking back to the dorms today?” He said it in undertone, away from the curious ears of their classmates.

“Me and Deku?” Ochako tilted her head to the side. They always walked back together, along with Iida. She told him so.

Katsuki clicked his tongue. “Don’t.”

Ochako narrowed her eyes at him. “Excuse me?”

The blonde huffed in annoyance. “I meant . I’m walking you back today.”

She blinked at him. “You are?”

Through gritted teeth, “Yes.”

A spark of emotion lit in her chest. He was going to walk with her back to the dorms, for the first time! Her stomach was doing somersaults in her chest. She wanted to stand up and declare that they were going to be walking back together everyday from now on. But seeing Katsuki so uncomfortable made her want to tease him.

“Why?” She looked up at him innocently.

Why . Are you fucking kidding me—” It was his turn to narrow his eyes at her.

She batted her eyelashes at him, fighting back a grin.

He glared at her, the corners of his mouth twitching. “You are not funny.”

“You seem to think so, though,” she replied in a singsong voice, sliding out from behind her desk and pushing her chair in. She punctuated her sentence by tapping him on the nose.

He rolled his eyes, but flashed her a quick grin. “See ya then.” He tousled her hair, earning him a yelp in return.

Ochako pouted at his back as she flattened her locks back into place. But for the rest of the day, she couldn’t keep the grin off of her face or help the slight bounce in her step.

*

Two months later, their relationship hit the six-month mark.

“Is it even an appropriate milestone to celebrate?” Ochako wondered out loud. “Waiting until one year to do something special seems so long.”

She and Katsuki were cooling off in the gym after their weekly sparring session. They sat on the floor, backs against the wall. She was extremely conscious of their shoulders pressed together. She tried not to fidget.

Katsuki stayed silent, eyebrows furrowed as he stared at the water bottle in his hands. Ochako leaned her sweaty temple into his shoulder, wishing she had a Quirk that allowed her to read his thoughts.

“Don’t really think it matters,” he said in the end.

Ochako frowned. “Why not?”

“Just doesn’t,” he said, voice clipped. He turned to face her. She lifted her head to meet his gaze. “And I don’t mean any of the cheesy bullshit like ‘it doesn’t matter because we don’t need any fucking special day to tell us when or whether to celebrate us.’ It just doesn’t.”

When he fell silent, a blush settling over his face, Ochako raised an eyebrow at him. She quirked her lips into a smile. “You’re right,” she murmured.

She leaned forward to press a kiss to his cheek. He turned in at the last second to catch her lips with his. She pulled away with a giggle, pecking him on the nose.

“Do you remember that day when I asked you if you still wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend?” she asked shyly.

Katsuki frowned. “‘Course I do. That was probably one of the top five dumbest questions I’ve ever heard. In my life.”

Ochako made a noise of protest and swatted his arm. Katsuki rolled his eyes. He brought his arm up to put it around her shoulders, pulling her closer.

“I’m still sorry about that, by the way,” she said, fiddling with the edge of her tank top. “I guess I was being a little selfish.”

Katsuki exhaled sharply. “You had every right. Stop fucking apologizing.” He rubbed his thumb back and forth over her skin.

“Sorry.” She laughed when he let out a noise of frustration. “I never told you this, but it was actually ‘cuz I overheard Kirishima joking with you about us being a fake relationship, and I guess I took it way too personally.”

Katsuki growled, a tiny spark lighting up in the hand that wasn’t wrapped around her. “That fucker. I’ll kill him.”

Ochako laughed again. “My hero.” She paused before continuing, “Actually, I suppose I owe him a thank you. If he hadn’t said that and I hadn’t overheard him and confronted you about it, you’d still be a long way from being the world’s number one boyfriend.”

“Oi! Don’t joke about that.” Katsuki prodded her side with a finger. “I’m fucking number one at everything.”

“Okay, okay, whatever you say, Mr. Explodo-dork,” she teased. She placed a hand on his chest. Solemnly, she said, “I’ll beat you up if you’re not.”

He huffed out a laugh. “Sounds good.”

She smirked. “Good.” She watched him float up towards the ceiling. He didn’t even have the decency to act surprised, instead crossing his arms and legs with a grin.

She waved at him and blew a kiss. She clasped her hands behind her back, smiling as he used his Quirk to maneuver himself so that they were once again face to face.

He brought his hands up to cup her cheeks. As they kissed, she knew she would never doubt him again.