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Handcuffed (to you)

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It was a bright and sunny day in March. And yet here they were, indoors, in a special course for their provisional license. Todoroki sat in his chair, facing Bakugou, who was in his own chair. They were a good metre apart, and Todoroki squinted his eyes as he tried his best to decipher Bakugou’s expression. He had never played this game before and didn’t exactly get the point of it, but he listened to instructions regardless.

 

“Bloodthirsty?” Todoroki tried.

 

“Nope!” Camie Utsushimi chimed behind him, and he could hear the pop of her bubblegum as she tried to blow a bubble.

 

They had to guess each other’s emotions. Utsushimi was holding up the prompts behind him right now. This was… a game called 'Charades'? He had no idea what face Bakugou was trying to make, but that wide grin was what Bakugou wore in fights, wasn’t it? The blond’s eyebrows furrowed further at Todoroki’s guess. Huh.

 

“Rage?”

 

“Nadda.”

 

The point was that the needed to better understand the emotions of themselves and others and to control it. Something about them… not being emotionally adept enough, and that’s why most of them here failed? Todoroki didn’t exactly get it, but he had indeed been blind to the emotions of Inasa Yoarashi, which made him fail.

 

“Anger?”

 

“Bzzt.”

 

Bakugou’s lips looked like they were sneering now, his eyes narrowed… disbelief? Just how specific did they want it to be? Todoroki had to summon all the synonyms for anger that he knew.

 

“Don’t tell me… contempt?” Todoroki raised an eyebrow. He’s pretty sure this time. Bakugou looked like he wanted nothing more than to beat Todoroki to the ground, sneering as he was.

 

“Noooope. Time’s up boys. That’s a grand total of zero,” Utsushimi patted Todoroki’s shoulder sympathetically. “I’ve never seen anyone as bad as you two. And, you know you can use ‘skip’ right?”

 

Inasa was laughing boisterously, pointing fingers at them, “Oh god, that was amazing! You’re both so emotionally constipated!!”

 

Well, it was his first time doing this. Todoroki shrugged. Inasa had gotten only 2 right when he did it earlier with Utsushimi. He tilted his head back to see what word it was- WHAT. JOY?! His eyes widened visibly in shock, and his head whipped back to eye Bakugou in disbelief. JOY?!

 

“Fuck you, half-and-half bastard! You suck at this!”

 

Todoroki grimaced, because what? He wasn’t the one at fault here, Bakugou’s face didn’t resemble… joy at all. Todoroki thought back to the times where his friends, Midoriya, Uraraka, Iida smiled. Yeah, those were clear examples of joy. Bakugou’s twisted grin… did not look like joy.

 

“Switch, you loser. I’ll show you how this works,” Bakugou huffed, glaring at the laughing Inasa, pride wounded. Bakugou stomped up and shoved Todoroki aside from his seat. Todoroki felt so done with everything, he didn’t even protest, going to the other seat silently.

 

He blinked when Utsushimi flipped the prompts. Uh, okay. He fixed his face within a second, blinking patiently as Bakugou eyed him critically.

 

“Boredom?”

 

“Nahhh.”

 

Well, Todoroki was indeed bored, but that wasn’t what he was trying to show right now. Inasa was bursting into giggles again, and it was distracting.

 

“Irritation?”

 

“Nopeee,” the blond girl said, popping the ‘p’ sound.

 

“Apathy?”

 

“You guys are gonna go through the entire the dictionary!” Inasa laughs. “Do you think this is a vocabulary quiz?”

 

“Shut your goddamn mouth! I’m trying to concentrate,” Bakugou bit out, eyeing Todoroki intensely. “God, I don’t fucking get it. What’s with that face, icyhot?!”

 

“Right now, it’s disappointment,” Todoroki bit back.

 

Bakugou growled, lifting his head to see the prompt. SADNESS. WHAT EVEN. God, he couldn’t believe this. “That’s not fair! He always looks fucking sad!”

 

“Hey, you’re not supposed to look!” Utsushimi pouted. “And boys, remember that you can skip prompts!”

 

“Camie, what makes you think they can guess any of those… if they can’t get joy and sadness?” Inasa was rolling on the ground in laughter right now, wheezing as he was out of breath. Well, good. At least one of them was having fun. Todoroki felt so done with everything. And if he always looked ‘fucking sad’, then why didn’t Bakugou guess that?

 

Todoroki raised an eyebrow, saying huffily, “And you always look angry.”

 

Bakugou growled loudly, jumping up from his chair, and Todoroki watched with the raised eyebrow as people held Bakugou back.

 

-

 

Why are you two always arguing, they asked.

 

That’s why you guys failed, they said.

 

Well, they’re not wrong, but Todoroki is not exactly impressed by their teachers’ solution. He’s getting tugged around by Bakugou, by a pair of handcuffs. It reminds him of that get along shirt Kaminari told the class about a few days back on the group chat. People stare at them while Bakugou angrily drags Todoroki everywhere in the supermarket, tossing food into his basket, and it looked like it was going to be curry rice. Todoroki just follows him like deadweight, wincing whenever Bakugou clearly disregarded the fact that his wrist was tied to another person’s.

 

“Stop pulling so hard,” Todoroki complained. Bakugou was the angriest shopper he had ever seen, and those potatoes were going to bruise from how hard he slammed them into the basket at the sound of Todoroki’s voice.

 

“Then fucking keep up!” Bakugou snarled.

 

Ridiculous. How was Todoroki going to know if Bakugou wanted to walk straight or turn into another aisle? Bakugou was walking so fast, and the basket between them kept bumping against his knee. It was annoying, and it hurt. He sighed heavily. At least it looked like Bakugou was buying food for two.

 

This will make you learn how to cooperate with each other, they said.

 

Todoroki didn’t have problems with cooperation. Todoroki had problems with Bakugou and his problems with cooperation. They finally got all of the ingredients and queued up to pay for their stuff, under curious stares of children and disapproving stares of adults.

 

“Mommy, why are they chained up? Are they bad people?”

 

“Shhh! Baby, don’t ask questions like that!”

 

Bakugou looks increasingly pissed off under public attention, while Todoroki just felt weary and wanted to go back.

 

It was finally their turn, and when it came around to paying, Todoroki pulled his wallet out. Bakugou immediately stopped him, slamming money on the counter. “I can pay for my own stuff, dipshit!”

 

“But, we’re shar-”

 

“Shut the fuck up, rich boy.”

 

Todoroki doesn’t curse very often, but god. Damn. It. He blew at his bangs. Okay, he had to stay calm out of the two of them. They were in public, and they could very well lose their chance at a provisional license forever if they mess up. He waited as the cashier scanned their items, and then-

 

“HEY! Fucking faggots, you should be in jail instead of doing kinky shit like that in the open! Disgusting!”

 

Someone was shouting at them from the door, Todoroki just blinked at him, nonplussed. However, he felt a strong tug as Bakugou moved towards the man with clenched fists, “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY?!” It caused him to stumble along, and he quickly grabbed onto Bakugou, standing his ground and pulling the rash blond back with all of his strength.

 

“Oi, we can’t fight!” The man who insulted them dashed off into the carpark and got into his car in a hurry instead of staying to fight, and Todoroki wasn’t surprised.

 

“Don’t hold me back, half and half bastard!”

 

“Bakugou, do you want to lose your license before you get it?!”

 

Todoroki rarely raised his voice, but look at them now, breathing heavily in public, Todoroki highly irritated and Bakugou simmering with rage. Bakugou concedes, storming back to the counter (without warning again) to get their stuff.

 

Todoroki could really use some iced coffee right now. Black and bitter. Like how he felt about this situation.

 

That’s why he sharply tugged Bakugou into Starbucks when he saw it around the corner, making the blond cuss loudly.

 

“The fuck! Where the fuck- Hey! We’re not stopping by for coffee!”

 

Yeah well, now Bakugou knows how he feels, getting dragged around without warning. Luckily, there is no queue, so Todoroki pulls Bakugou along to the mildly horrified looking cashier. He places a polite smile for her, which she shakily returns.

 

“Uh, c-can I get your order please?”

 

“One iced americano.”

 

“And, for your…. Your friend?”

 

“We’re not goddamn friends!” Bakugou sneered, attempting to drag Todoroki away. Todoroki holds on fast onto the counter. The cashier looks like she would rather be anywhere but here.

 

“T-then, for your… boyfriend?”

 

“Chai… Latte,” Todoroki grunts with effort.

 

“I don’t want whatever the fuck that is!”

 

“Bakugou,” he reasons, his patience wearing thin as the cashier waits for him to pay- he can’t right now, he’s holding on to the counter for dear life, he needs his coffee, and he would fight Bakugou to the death, but no, not in public, he wants his license. See, he can prioritise, unlike someone. “You’ve paid for all the groceries, let me pay for the coffee.”

 

“No!”

 

“You’ll like it, I promise.”

 

“No!”

 

“You owe me since I let you have your dominant hand, now let me get my fucking coffee!” Todoroki raised his voice in a shout, glaring at Bakugou. It was uncharacteristic of him to get so angry or curse, and Bakugou seemed mildly surprised by how vehement and stubborn Todoroki got over coffee.

 

“Fine,” Bakugou spat but made it clear just how unhappy he was about all this by full-on sulking. God, of all the people he could have gotten handcuffed if, why did it have to be Bakugou? Todoroki’s life had never been so hard before.

 

They got their coffee and hopped out of Starbucks, Todoroki sipping on his cool ice americano with his warm hand- the ice would melt so fast, damn it. Bakugou held the bag of groceries with his right hand, and his left-chained with Todoroki’s right, held the coffee cup, so Todoroki’s hand got tugged up when Bakugou tried his drink.

 

Bakugou’s eyes widened in pleasant surprise. “Huh. It’s… spicy.”

 

“Told you that you’d like it,” Todoroki replied with thinly veiled smugness. They still got weird looks as they walked, but Todoroki didn’t particularly care right now, placated with the cool, bitter coffee coating his mouth and sliding down his throat. It was so good. He hummed with pleasure, gaining a weird look from Bakugou. Whatever, he had coffee, nothing could ruin his mood now.

 

They got back to their dorms within five minutes. Their classmates weren't around since they were all on their internships, making the large place strangely quiet. Todoroki toed his shoes off with some effort, while Bakugou did it quickly and haphazardly.

 

“Hurry up, I’m hungry,” Bakugou huffed.

 

Todoroki ignored him, using his feet to push his shoes side by side so that they looked neat and tidy.

 

“Who even cares about that?”

 

“It’s called manners, not that you seem to know about that,” Todoroki replied placidly. A vein twitched on Bakugou’s forehead, but this time Bakugou chose not to engage, instead of tugging Todoroki along with strength as a form of petty revenge. Todoroki winced in pain as the metal bit into his wrist again.

 

Bakugou set the plastic bag of groceries down on the table, and took the ingredients out, preparing everything with a practised ease that showed that he did this often. Todoroki kept his arm out and raise so that Bakugou could work easily without him being tugged around. Luckily, the kitchen wasn’t particularly big, getting tugged around got really old really quickly.

 

“Can’t you fucking help?” Bakugou snarled while peeling potatoes.

 

“My hands are tied,” Todoroki replied, lifting his chained hand, connected to Bakugou’s. His other hand holds his barely cold coffee, the ice melted due to the warmth of his hand. He doesn’t know how to cook, too.

 

“Tch, whatever,” Bakugou said grumpily. Todoroki watched, close to his side as Bakugou busied about, taking care to follow Bakugou wherever he walked so that he wouldn’t have to be tugged around. Bakugou chopped potatoes and carrots with rapid, precise, rage-filled actions. Well, whatever helped him cope, Todoroki thought, sipping his coffee through the straw. It was like he was watching a one-person cooking show, up front and personal.

 

Everything went into the pot, and Bakugou threw spices in without measuring them. The way he cooked was rough and haphazard, and Todoroki had no idea how the taste would end up. He would eat whatever though since he couldn’t do much except cook instant noodles. And if it was really that bad, perhaps he could convince Bakugou to go to the convenience store nearby to get some rice balls of one of those cheap lunch boxes.

 

It was a peaceful moment as Bakugou stirred the pot thoughtfully, lifting the ladle to taste it. He placed the ladle down to pick up his chai latte, gulping it down like he really liked the taste of it. Good. Todoroki was good at guessing people’s favourite coffees.

 

Food was soon served, Bakugou got rice from the rice cooker, heaping them generously on 2 plates, and then used a ladle to pour the curry over. Todoroki follows like a puppy on a leash, perking up at how delicious it smelled. If it was half as tasty as it smelled… Bakugou set the plates down on the dining table, and their handcuffs were so short that they had to sit side by side, their chained hands resting on the table between them. Todoroki only had his left hand to use to eat. Well, spoons would suffice, he supposed. If it was ramen, though, this clearly wouldn’t work out.

 

“Thank you for the meal,” Todoroki said politely, putting his hands together, tugging Bakugou’s wrist. slightly with the action.

 

“No one’s even here to see it,” Bakugou grumbled, ignoring all formalities to dig in with gusto.

 

“You’re here, and you cooked, I should thank you,” Todoroki replied patiently, in a much better mood now, with both his coffee and food needs satisfied. He was a simple man. He picked up his spoon and carefully lifted a spoonful of curry rice, putting it into his mouth.

 

The depth of the flavours hit him immediately, and he hummed in pleasure- until the stinging spice kicked in. Ow, that was a little… spicier than he would have liked. Coughing a little, he reached for the remains of his coffee, sipping it to soothe his tingling tongue. Bakugou eyed him as he did so.

 

“It’s tastier than I expected, but it’s a bit spicy,” Todoroki explained, in case Bakugou took offence about the food not tasting good.

 

“Whatever, I’m the one cooking, you have no rights to complain.”

 

“I was praising you.”

 

“Whatever.”

 

Bakugou refused to look at Todoroki from then on. They spent the rest of dinner in silence, which was fine. Todoroki was used to silence during meal times. It was a welcome change from all the screaming and sassing they did towards each other. It was strange, but Todoroki became childish in Bakugou’s presence at times, bickering like they were little kids.

 

“I’ll wash it,” Todoroki offered, picking up the dishes. Bakugou shrugged, following Todoroki. He raised his arm in the air so that it was easier for Todoroki to use both of his hands. This was likely the calmest and most cooperative they had ever been around each other. The magic of food perhaps, Todoroki mused.

 

Once Todoroki was done, Bakugou pressed the button of both of their handcuffs, separating the two of them. Todoroki looked up in confusion.

 

“I’m going to shower. Come back to my room later,” Bakugou held the handcuffs in his hand as he walked off, leaving no room for arguments. Uh… okay. Todoroki threw his empty coffee cup, reaching for Bakugou’s to see if it was empty as well. It was. Bakugou must’ve really liked it. Smiling to himself, Todoroki trashed the cups, then went back to his own room to prepare for his shower.

 

-

 

Bakugou was bored waiting for Todoroki. He had finished in 5 minutes. Sure, he could understand not wanting to be chained up, but they had a 30 minute unlock limit daily, and exceeding that instantly made them fail the course. He knew Todoroki was a stickler for rules, so he wasn’t too worried, but still. Was Todoroki conditioning his hair or some other shit like that? It would explain why his hair was so silky and- god, his mind was wandering.

 

There was a soft knock on the door.

 

And then nothing.

 

“Come in, idiot,” Bakugou grumbled. Todoroki and his damn manners. Even when they were running low on time. He realized that at any point during their squabbles, Todoroki could have unlocked the handcuffs, or threatened to, but he didn’t. Somehow, Bakugou knew that wasn’t Todoroki’s style.

 

Todoroki entered the room, sipping on another cup of coffee, this time in a mug from the kitchen. He didn’t seem pressed for time at all, walking slowly.

 

“The fuck? You’re drinking coffee at…” Bakugou eyed the clock, “8 pm?”

 

“It calms me down,” Todoroki murmured.

 

That made no sense to Bakugou because wasn’t coffee a stimulant? “Whatever, it’s your life, come and get chained up.”

 

Bakugou waved the handcuffs in the air, and Todoroki sighed, taking a long sip of his coffee before heading over. It felt like he was a reluctant dog going back to his owner, and he didn’t like it. He put his right hand out, another hand still holding on to the coffee cup.

 

“Wait, what the fuck?” Bakugou’s eyes narrowed at Todoroki’s extended wrist.

 

Todoroki blinked. Hm?

 

Todoroki looked down and- there his wrist was, all pale and everything, except for a circular strip, rubbed red and raw and was definitely bleeding at one point, from how the metal handcuffs kept digging into his delicate skin. All the harsh tugging did not help.

 

“Time’s running out, Bakugou,” he said placidly when Bakugou continued staring in what seemed like disbelief.

 

“YOU DUMB FUCK!” Bakugou screeched, scrambling off his bed towards the cabinet in his room, ruffling through a drawer. “Why didn’t you say anything about it?”

 

“Should I have?”

 

Sip.

 

“God, OBVIOUSLY. Fucking come here, you idiot,” Bakugou retrieved a first aid box, settling down harshly at the side of his bed, obviously angry and irritated from how he slammed the lid open. Todoroki has never seen anyone so angry with a first aid box. Following, he stood in front of Bakugou.

 

“Sit! Do I have to tell you every goddamn thing? Tell me next time if it hurts, fucker,” Bakugou huffed, pulling out the disinfectant, ointment, cotton swabs and bandages. Todoroki sat down, then winced when Bakugou grabbed his arm, pulling it closer. Thankfully, his cup of coffee was only half full and did not spill. Bakugou disinfected the wound with care, and Todoroki was pretty used to injuries- enough to have a high enough pain tolerance that he didn’t flinch since he was prepared for it. He was just surprised by how Bakugou bandaged his wrist quietly and carefully compared to all of his other rough manner of doing things.

 

It reminds him of his sister, always bandaging him up and treating his wounds after training with his Father, as he couldn’t be bothered to do it himself, just letting it heal naturally if he was left to his own devices. (Why bother? New wounds would just replace them anyway.)

 

“We’re switching wrists,” Bakugou announced once he kept the first aid box, snapping the handcuffs on his right hand and Todoroki’s left. The metal is cool against his warm skin, but soon it would warm up. Todoroki stared in silence for a bit. Bakugou let him.

 

“You said you wanted your dominant hand,” Todoroki remarked finally, now holding his cup off coffee with his cold hand- but this time it was a hot cup of coffee, dang it. Now it would cool down into a lukewarm mess.

 

“Well, wise guy, do you want the handcuffs on your wounds?” Bakugou snorted.

 

But why would Bakugou care?

 

Todoroki tilted his head thoughtfully, “Preferably not.”

 

“There we go,” Bakugou said decisively. This time, he didn’t tug Todoroki, instead jabbing his thumb towards the bed. “Don’t know about you, but I’m just going to lie down.”

 

If Bakugou was lying down, and they were connected… Todoroki had no choice, did he? At least this time, Bakugou walked relatively slowly, which allowed Todoroki to climb onto the queen-sized bed while balancing his half-full cup of coffee.

 

Todoroki set his coffee aside so he could engage in mindless scrolling of his phone like Bakugou was. To the undiscerning eye, they might seem like good friends hanging out on the bed, lying close together and chilling.

 

“Ah, Midoriya,” he murmured when he received a text message.

 

“HAH?!”

 

And the peace was broken, Bakugou Katsuki was all up in his space now, leaning over and squinting at Todoroki’s screen. Todoroki respects other people’s privacy, but he doesn’t particularly care when his is breached.

 

Attached is a photo of Midoriya Izuku, showing a peace sign in what seems to be like his internship office. It’s in their little group chat which consisted of him, Midoriya, Iida and Uraraka. They’re all very supportive, and Midoriya had given him a lot of advice on how to deal with Bakugou, which all seemed very conflicting.

 

Don’t fight him, but fight back sometimes?  What?

 

They had all held back on chatting about their internships for him, making the chat strangely dead and tense, but he assured them it was fine. This was better- with them sending selfies and uploading pictures of their lunches and dinners and commenting on everything and nothing all at once. He rarely sent pictures of himself back, although he also added food pictures and comments.

 

He saw a message from Uraraka asking if ‘Mr. Sourpuss’ was still next to him, to which he looked at Bakugou, who was scowling at the screen.

 

“Give me that!” Bakugou growled, stealing Todoroki’s phone, tapping the camera function to take a photo with his tongue out, middle finger raised, so close to his face that he covered up most of the screen. Signs of Todoroki could only be seen by the strands of red hair on the black bedsheets. Bakugou sent that triumphantly, dropping the phone on Todoroki’s chest.

 

Uh… okay then.

 

Todoroki picked his phone up to see a barrage of texts from everyone, including ‘ASDFGHJKL’ from Midoriya, ‘!!!!!!!!!!’ from Iida, and from Uraraka… ‘YOU’RE LYING DOWN NEXT TO EACH OTHER?!’, ‘IS HE GONNA EAT YOU?’, ‘GET OUT TODOROKI!’.

 

He texted back with one hand, telling them about the handcuffed situation- they had been so busy bickering ever since they got chained up that Todoroki hadn’t had the time to go on his phone. He chuckled at all of their antics- everyone was now texting him in caps, asking about his safety- Uraraka promising to kill Bakugou if he did anything, Midoriya saying Kacchan wouldn’t do that. Iida telling him to stay safe and to not provoke Bakugou.

 

Time passed quickly chatting with his friends, Bakugou occasionally snickered at a group chat named ‘Bakusquad’- it must be Kaminari, Kirishima, Ashido and Sero. Todoroki had a few chuckles himself, and he felt like one with the bed by the time it was 11 pm, as settled in as he was.

 

He blearily thought back about the instructions given to them. Stay chained up at all times, except for a 30-minute allowance each day for showers/toilet breaks. 3 days of this, and then they’ll be free from each other. Except, tomorrow they had to wake up early for a mission at the forest, while chained up. He wasn’t looking forward to that.

 

Bakugou yawned loudly, plugging in his phone at his bedside to charge it. “Let’s go brush our teeth,” he said with a hint of a grumpy pout, eyes half-lidded. Todoroki nodded, tagging along sleepily, dragging his feet. They had to first go to Todoroki’s room to get his phone charger and his toothbrush, and thankfully Bakugou went without a fight, perhaps due to how sleepy he looked.

 

They stood side by side at the sinks now, Todoroki brushing his teeth gently, Bakugou furiously scrubbing them, a tad awkwardly due to the use of his left hand. The sight has Todoroki glancing down at his left wrist, now bandaged up with a thin layer of bandages. He was thankful that the metal could stop digging into his wrist, and that Bakugou seemed to stop tugging him about.

 

It was weird, doing this side by side, one hand unused, due to the chain between them. Todoroki felt like if Bakugou had a choice, they would never ever be standing this close to one another. It was hard to wash their face like this, but they managed, ending up with damp fringes when they left the washroom.

 

Bakugou switched off the lights, and they laid still on the bed, facing the ceiling. It felt strange and awkward on Todoroki’s end, but Bakugou was soon out like a light, soft snores filling the empty and unfamiliar room. That left Todoroki alone with his thoughts, wondering what they were doing tomorrow. Wondering if Bakugou would be rough and aggressive again with all the tugging tomorrow.

 

His breath hitched when he felt Bakugou shifting and turning to his side. Todoroki stared at the sleeping boy that grimaced in his sleep, scooting closer under the blankets to stick to Todoroki’s side. Bakugou threw a leg across Todoroki’s torso with some force, making the latter grunt in surprise. The furrow in Bakugou’s smoothed immediately, the blond sighing in contentment as a soft smile crossed his lips.

 

Todoroki had never slept with anyone else before, but here he was with Bakugou snuggled against his side. It must be because his side was warm. In March, Japan was still pretty cold, as it had yet to transition into summer. Todoroki watched Bakugou curiously because he never had the opportunity to do so before, not this close. And whenever they established eye contact, Bakugou seemed to take it as a signal to fight.

 

A sliver of light from the window hit Bakugou’s face. He looked peaceful, handsome, even. It must be the coffee talking. Todoroki continued to stare, surprised at how different Bakugou looked when he was asleep. He didn’t feel sleepy at all, and he wasn’t sure what to do, but he needed all the sleep he could get for tomorrow.

 

That was kind of hard, with Bakugou’s heavy leg across him.