Kirishima suddenly lost the music that had been playing in his right ear - the earphone that travelled down to split one way to Bakugo's iPod and the other to Bakugo himself. He frowned, opening his eyes to find the blond laying next to him hovering his finger on pause. Which was a little confusing, because it was a playlist of the songs Katsuki was always bugging him to listen to, and he'd finally caved, and-
"I'm not gay."
Wait, fuckin' pause, for real.
If there's one thing Kirishima didn't expect Bakugo to say, it was that. Especially while laying side to side on a blanket outside under the night sky, just the two of them, like it was the only way to live. With his boyfriend, holding his damn hand, for god sakes. And the blond didn't elaborate any more. He let his simple denial create complex and convoluted worries.
Eijiro worried enough as it was, even as happy as he was, because secrets were never easy to maintain. And hiding his absolute infatuation with Katsuki was the hardest thing he'd ever done. Dating Bakugo felt larger than life but he had to shrink it down daily, keeping himself in check around their classmates because Katsuki still didn't want to tell anyone. Four months, and he still- Hell, that should've been the first sign, shouldn't it? That maybe Bakugo didn't want people to know, because he didn't think it'd last.
Kirishima squeezed the other's hand, harder than he meant to because he was suddenly hurting.
He didn't get any reaction.
"You wanna explain that one?" He broke the silence and it shattered, exploded. Stuck in his skin because it really wasn't thick, only when his quirk was active, and he could feel anxious pinpricks all over his body taking hold.
Don't do this to me, not now. Not ever. Are you going to leave it at that just to watch me squirm, you damn impossible human being? I need something before I go crazy. And hell, you've been driving me crazy for months, but this time it doesn't feel so good.
"Don't be an ass. I'm trying to- I can't think of how to word it," Katsuki snarled, like he had the right to be the one frustrated between them. But the reply was an epipen, a temporary relief, because his teases had the same bite they always did. The kind that didn't break skin because he cared too much to do that. Bakugo wouldn't be acting so normal if this was about to be the end of them; he'd be stiff and silent and definitely, most importantly, would not still be holding Kirishima's hand. So Eijiro pulled it up to his mouth, testing his theory - needing validation before the patch of grass under him became his grave.
He kissed Bakugo's skin and fingers carefully, searchingly. Swimming in the peppery taste of the nitroglycerin because it told him that Katsuki was here, he was here and letting himself be given affection despite his backwards comment. If he didn't want Eijiro, the chemical would've erupted into flames by now because Bakugo didn't do anything he wasn't sure about. So Kirishima feeling it coat lips unignited was a silent confession in itself. He bathed in it, tasted the reassurance that he was actually, wholly wanted.
Bakugo reassured him too when he sighed into his thoughts, pretending there wasn't a smile slipping through, and that it didn't give everything away and more
"I never fucking...looked at anyone. Before." His comment was broken and jumbled and without context, but Kirishima found what he meant. And heard an unsaid 'Before you,' at the end, which wordlessly meant the world.
"Seriously?" With how downright attractive Bakugo was, Kirishima found that hard to believe. Even if the other had no reason to lie because he'd come out with this all on his own. Bakugo could've just stayed silent, and he wondered why he didn't - what on earth prompted this outburst. They could still be laying peacefully and finding a song, their song, among the hundreds the other put together (Because they made you think of me, and you're so fuckin' soft even if you pretend you aren't).
But Katsuki's curt reply still didn't explain what he meant about not being gay, so maybe that should be the priority for now.
"Yeah. The first time a girl asked me to date, I was insulted. I didn't want any distractions, even before U.A." The first time - Kirishima wondered how many more came after. Wanted to know many people Bakugo had stubbornly rejected, because it only made his 'Yes' that much more precious.
"Well, you were also an asshole in middle school."
And still are a little bit, but it's becoming more like a caricature of anger. You never used to show anyone your damn flashy smiles but now they're all I get, and you don't know how much it means to see you opening up. Hell, Bakugo, you don't know half of what you do to me.
"Everyone's a fucking idiot when they're young," Katsuki offered, not bothering to deny it. And it was true; Bakugo had done a lot of growing in the past few months, if only because he'd been so wilted to begin with. But he said something unexpected, then, because Kirishima didn't expect a follow up: "I told myself the number one hero should be alone."
Something drastic (Some loud redhead) must've changed his mind since then. And changing his mind was quite a feat, but the evidence was staring him in the face. Bakugo was definitely still aiming for the top except now he wasn't doing it solo. The proof was in his phone, too - Kirishima had lost track of how many texts he'd gotten asking 'Where are you?' And how quick it took the blond to remedy it so his answer would instead be, 'With you, right with you where I belong.' Bakugo was a lot of things, but he definitely wasn't alone or lonely. Not anymore.
And Eijiro didn't think he wanted to be.
But damn it, what exactly was all this? Bakugo didn't sit around and talk about himself - he didn't dig deep because he'd need a drill to reach the things he'd buried. Was he really laying here, willingly giving up pieces of himself that had never seen the light of day? Kirishima questioned him, because he still didn't get that explanation he'd been promised, "And now you're saying you don't like guys. So it sounds like you're just lying to yourself."
"No, I'm saying that I never liked anyone."
Kirishima pondered his conclusion for a second. And accepted it, despite the few minutes of absolute hell he'd been dropped into when this conversation started ('I'm not gay,' get outta here with that fuckin' nonsense, you kiss me more than I kiss you and that's saying something). But no, hell no, Bakugo's comment wouldn't be forgotten; payback came in the form of Kirishima's snarky response, "And I somehow stole your cold, dead heart?"
"Fuck you," Katsuki said, which was to be expected. "Obviously you did," he added, which was extremely unexpected. The redhead blinked, because he didn't know what to say to the admission; he could only do what he did best, which was to poke the blond harder:
"Cause you couldn't resist me."
It was a tease that held true. The first ever 'Where are you?' was an 'I can't resist you' that became their first kiss. That night was the beginning of them - the beginning the end, because Katsuki was it. The death of any of Eijiro's thoughts that weren't hopelessly wrapped up in the other.
But Katsuki pretended that wasn't how it happened, "Well, now you're fucking pushing it."
"Am I?" Kirishima pushed it more, because he could and because it felt like the right moment to. He turned to Bakugo, leaning on his elbow, and pressed a kiss to the hollow of his (flushed) cheek before he dared to attack his mouth. And the blond's eyes were narrowed but he let it happen; he couldn't resist, just like Eijiro said, and didn't even bother to try. He was an addict. They both were awfully addicted, and swiping his tongue across Katsuki's lips was one of many fixes. A rough hand snuck onto his neck then, fingers spread and digging in which prompted Kirishima to say, "Sure as hell seems like I'm right."
"Stupid can be right every once in a while," Bakugo replied, which somehow (I can't fuckin' resist you either, not while you're laying under the stars like a proper angel) earned him another lovesick kiss.
The kiss lasted for a hell of a while.
And when Eijiro broke away, to get his first breath in minutes that didn't taste unforgettably like Katsuki, he suddenly had the urge to ask: "So, why me then?" Just to see what answer he'd get.
Kirishima was being so obvious, setting it up so he'd get a window into Bakugo's usually unreadable thoughts. He sat up to act innocent and distract from his plan, cross legged with his hands behind him to lean back when he asked, "What do I have that that girl didn't?"
"Depends, do you want the big and obvious answer?"
And the blond's devilish grin that followed left nothing ambiguous.
I'm going to die, Katsuki, you can't just say that. You- Damn it, you're not supposed to be able to say things like that out loud. Because you can never do it without blushing, even now, and since when do you willingly let yourself get embarrassed?
Now Kirishima was flushed too, his chest heavy with knots, "Bakugo."
"Alright, alright. I'll bite," the other's grin slowly disappeared as he sat up too, one leg bent to lean his forearm on, and his other stretched on the ground. He suddenly looked very intense, which wasn't unlike Bakugo, but it meant Kirishima should prepare because he was going to give his best answer. Wasn't going to cop out of this with compliments or matter-of-facts - not when the redhead meant so much, and when he'd never really put it to words before. Eijiro just stared at him, patiently, as the blond in turn stared at the sky. His scarlet eyes burning and thinking and creating because Katsuki never liked to misspeak, and the next thing he spoke would be pretty important.
"Well, fuck," he blew air out of his nose, like he couldn't believe what he was about to confess, "I guess, you've given me this look since USJ. Like I'm already a hero worth watching."
Eijiro knew what look he was talking about, because he was giving it right this very second, "Because Bakugo, I thought you were so damn cool."
Cool, huh? Interesting choice when he could've said amazing, ruthless, manly, inspiring- one of Katsuki's hundred other shades of perfection. But he'd never been flashy with compliments. 'Cool' worked fine, it was what he thought after seeing the blond's quirk for the first time, launching a baseball into the horizon with a bomb and a snarl.
But Katsuki apparently didn't appreciate comments in general, because he shook his head and glowered, "Don't distract me while I'm answering your own question, Christ." And he looked close to bursting with whatever else he had lined up, like he should've said this all a long time ago, so the redhead obeyed and stayed silent. But that didn't mean he couldn't scoot closer. Or couldn't grab the hand Bakugo was clenching so tightly, because at least then he'd squeeze something that would squeeze back.
"You were the only one to visit me in the infirmary at the Sports Festival. And I know I was crazy pissed that day at Half n' Half, and told you to fuck off when I woke up, but you yelled right back at me. And it looked like you understood exactly why I was frustrated- like you understood me. I didn't expect that. God, you're just... you're so fucking good, Red," Katsuki's eyes were burning, smoldering, and Eijiro's throat held the resultant ash that must've been what was making it hard to breathe.
"And I don't have good things or people in my life. I have things I need and people I tolerate. That's it because it was always enough."
Kirishima heard it again in the air, twisting and writhing, waiting to be said, 'Before you.'
And talking about good people had a certain tension to it - Katsuki didn't have to bring it up, because his expression did for him. That the last good person to idolize him was kicked to the curb, tormented, and their friendship still hadn't recovered. And maybe never fully would. Kirishima still hoped, because he'd seen Izuku watching Bakugo in action, and it was a similar strain of genuine awe to his own. He had that effect on people. And probably didn't even realize it, which was part of the problem to begin with.
"Fuck- what kind of question is 'Why me?' You should know," he almost sounded mad about needing to explain, like it should be so obvious what Eijiro did to break through.
"I think I'm figuring it out."
"Well I'm not done yet, and pay attention because I'm not doing this again," Katsuki ran a hand through his hair, like this was stressful instead of freeing, which Eijiro guessed made sense for someone who left emotions he didn't want to deal with in his head to rot. But he kept going despite himself - and maybe Bakugo's stubbornness was working for him this time, instead of against, "You pushed me out of my comfort zone, for everything, and I hated it. I still hate it. But you don't give a shit, because you see what more I can do, and you want me to go there."
Kirishima did want that. He was surprised just how perceptive and thoughtful Bakugo was - even if this would've all normally been kept confined. And still, there was more the blond had to say. He was overflowing now that he finally had an excuse to, "I was going to come to U.A. and be that asshole off on his own, because I didn't have time for high school shit. Kirishima, I didn't even know your fucking name until the Sports Festival. And it wasn't because I disliked you, I just never bothered to care."
With how this all came racing out, Eijiro wouldn't be surprised if this had been eating at him for a long time, even if he'd never admit it. The redhead didn't interject yet, because Katsuki was biting his thumb like he still had a bomb left to drop:
"Why you? Easy, because I only ever want the best, and you're it. I'd be a fucking idiot if I passed this up." Time stopped, heart stopped - he waited for more, but that was it. That was everything Katsuki had. He'd given it all, so it was only fair that Eijiro gave it right back.
"I think I love you."
Eijiro blurted it without any warning, even to himself, piercing the air with unrelenting heat right as the other finished. The four letter word that only knew how to make or break, no room for a 'Maybe' or a 'Let's see.' And all or nothing was a familiar concept to both of them, but it was bombshell of an admission to throw at someone - shit, he'd just flung it at quite literally the most explosive person on earth.
And he meant it, god did he mean it.
Katsuki stared for a few seconds, years, lifetimes, "You serious?"
Of course I am, but I didn't plan on saying it yet. Guess there's no going back now. And Katsuki, we've been dating for four months but fuck, I've known it for five. I should probably keep that bit to myself though, huh.
"I- Ow" Eijiro didn't get the chance to respond because his hand was blistering, burning - still pressed tightly against Bakugo's explosive palm while it inadvertently blew. He ripped his arm away and shook it in the air to cool. And he watched the other jump from one surprise to another, confession to combustion, because he meant to set off his quirk just as much as Eijiro meant to tell Katsuki that he loved him.
Now they both had mistakes to deal with.
"Fuck, Fuck. Is your hand okay?" Bakugo leaned forward quickly, trying to catch a glimpse of the injury he caused, but Kirishima held his hand closed in his lap. The pain had stopped as soon as it'd started, because he had more important things to be feeling.
"Yeah, fine," Kirishima replied quickly, because it didn't matter at all, not when his blood was pumping cold, "You don't- Damn it, you really don't have to say it back," the redhead knew he should be confident - it was his whole persona, wasn't it? But villains and heroes had nothing to do with them, not in this very moment. That confidence couldn't be farther because this wasn't a fight (at least not a fair one). Eijiro felt himself sinking back into the doubt he'd beaten once already tonight, but he wasn't sure if he could again, he couldn't handle-
Do you really have to sound so emotionless right now? One day I'm gonna want to punch you more than I want to kiss you. And it might be today because I'm giving you so much, Angel, so just this once can you drop the act for me?
"Just forget about it," he tried to shake him, anything to dodge the response he feared, but Katsuki was relentless.
"Did you hear anything I said to you in the last five minutes?"
Kirishima blinked, because of course he had. He nodded. Words were getting harder to form; his mouth was so dry and he was starting to get frustrated and Bakugo just kept fucking staring and-
"I thought I made it pretty fucking obvious."
Did he? Because Eijiro was still a little lost, unless...
...No, he couldn't settle for an unfinished question and a fleeting 'Yeah.' It didn't sound sure enough even if they both really, truly were. And since there was still room for uncertainty, he pressed, which he'd gotten very good at tonight:
"You love me."
And Katsuki had gotten very good at making a yes sound unbearably sweet. It was unambiguous and heavy. It was worth a scalded palm - worth its weight in gold. Eijiro kept the reply in his tight, burned fist and swallowed past the ash again, "Bakugo, you-"
If a kiss could tell someone to shut up, this one just did - shouted it, really. Made Eijiro's lips forget how words ever got past them. Katsuki knew how to kiss like he knew how to fight; he was a warrior, a hero who was the best at everything he did and this was definitely no exception. Addicted, obsessed, (in love) the redhead got his fix of Katsuki's lips once again.
"Angel," Kirishima began, after Bakugo had drawn away. But he'd only first said the nickname a month ago and it was as shaky as he was. Of course, the blond narrowed his eyes at hearing it, "I told you not to call me that."
Yeah, but you never said you didn't like it. And you're usually very, very vocal about things you dislike, so I can take a hint.
Kirishima leaned forward, already grinning, and he'd never wanted to be so loud about anything, "I'm in love with you," he said it right this time. Got rid of unnecessary words like 'think,' because he was long past thinking. This was being, being in love so heavily that his chest ached and his fingers needed to be slotted in Bakugo's before things felt right. And he realized Katsuki never actually said it himself, but that was okay. He'd given so much more in the conversation that led up to it, more than Eijiro could've ever hoped for.
"I know you are," Katsuki replied, but it wasn't snarky, it was soft and validating and altogether content.
The redhead held out his palm finally, "And you blew up my hand." And his heart, and now his entire world was stuck for good revolving and beating around the one who bombed him.
Katsuki just growled, snatching the redhead's injured hand and inspecting it - brushed his thumb across Eijiro's heated, reddened palm, "Well I didn't fucking expect you to say something like that, did I?" And it really didn't hurt, more like a scrape of sparks than a burn, but Eijiro winced. He milked it. His groan of pain meant that Bakugo was now lightly blowing on his stinging palm, and ripping a strip of the old blanket they were on to wrap it, and doing it all with so much care and intensity.
"D'ya wanna head back?" Kirishima asked as the other tied the makeshift bandage in a knot. He held out his hand afterward, open and near Bakugo's face like he was waiting for him to kiss it. The blond rolled his eyes and agreed, starting to gather his things. And they both kept sneaking looks at each other - only if catching on and smiling every time could ever be considered sneaky.
Back at the dorms, Bakugo stood leaning against his doorway, watching Kirishima put his (ripped) blanket away. Giving no goodbye and obviously, painfully waiting for Kirishima to comment on it.
"You okay?" The redhead finally asked, because they'd had their goodbye kiss, even if it was less than chaste and more trying to taste and take.
Bakugo pursed his lips, "Are you going to sleep?"
But the blond still stayed, refusing to say any more which meant he wanted something and didn't know how to ask. It only took a second for Kirishima to guess what it was, and he approached the subject lightly and laced in hope, "Katsuki, you wanna stay, don't you?"
"Fuck off," the other replied, but the blush on his neck gave him away, and he was already shutting the door behind him. Eijiro didn't have a chance to reply but the last thing he would've given was denial.
You realize you don't have to keep up an image around me, right? There's no reason to act so damn stubborn about this, especially not after tonight. Especially when your shirt's already on the floor.
"I'm gonna get some water," Kirishima said while Bakugo fell back onto the bed, his bed, the one they were about to share like they'd done it a thousand times before when this was the first. At least the first time from start to finish, night to morning, without Bakugo creeping back to his room still flush with sweat. And maybe this shouldn't be a big deal, but it felt like it. Waking up in the morning only to remember who was pressing against his skin - that was something Eijiro had been hoping for.
The blond made himself comfy right in Kirishima's knotted guts, one leg kicked up and arms behind his head, wearing his black pants that stopped just above his ankles. But apparently his shirt had been optional. And It looked like he was lounging, trying to forget that this wasn't normal for them by squeezing his eyes shut. Kirishima could only smile because he wanted to make this their standard.
You're absolutely gorgeous, but you know that, don't you? Hell, stay just like that.
"Are you going to fucking go already, or just keep staring at me?" Bakugo knew, even with his eyes closed, how enamored Kirishima was. Because what else would he possibly be looking at - Katsuki deserved to be center frame.
"Staring sounds good."
"It's not. And grab me some orange juice or something," he yawned. And for some reason, it made this all feel weirdly domestic, so Kirishima let slip by accident (at least that's what he'd tell Bakugo), "Sure thing, Angel."
Kirishima hurried out the door, and if Bakugo could make grenades with his quirk, he's pretty sure one would've flown right at his head. He also thought the blond would be holding onto his angry reply for the five minutes it took to get their drinks from the kitchen, but he came back to silence. Quiet, sleeping silence. It was about as peaceful as Bakugo got.
Eijiro was glad the other had scooted by the wall, because he didn't have to worry about climbing over and waking him. Laid on his side easily, right next to him - right where he belonged. Eijiro savored the moment, the feeling, the realization that Katsuki wanted to be here. That he was so comfortable he'd fallen asleep on his back, head pressed into Kirishima's pillow, and with Kirishima's blanket up to his waist-
-and with Kirishima's hand now moving to rest right below his neck, curled in a fist, clutching how it felt to know Bakugo loved him.
Man, I'm a goner. I'm finished. You've got me in the palm of your hand, and even if you blow up I'm staying put - I've proved that already. My hand still fuckin' stings. And I don't wanna be a damn weirdo and watch you sleep, but you make it real hard not to.
He must've been admiring a little too loudly, smiling a little too brightly, because Katsuki rubbed his eyes like it was all blinding him through his lids, "Shit," he grumbled. And he was staring at Eijiro now - right through him, "You're cute."
Bakugo instantly looked mad that he both thought and said it, and Kirishima smiled at his hastily added excuse of being tired ('Cept you were only asleep for a few minutes, stupid. I can see through you too).
"I should get you in my bed more often if you're gonna be so-" So uncharacteristically soft. And so easy to adore, which was right in character - at least to Eijiro. But he was probably a little biased.
"Shut up," Bakugo interrupted, threatened, yanking Kirishima half on top of him and full of what looked like pure desire. Bakugo threaded his hand in his red spiked hair, holding a horribly greedy smile. Then tightened his grip, and damn it, Eijiro thought he was about to say something entirely hot and destructive - but instead the blond only muttered:
"Where's my fucking OJ?"
Kirishima blinked for a moment, then laughed and grabbed it for him (and took a gulp himself, which earned him a glare). The redhead curled under the thin sheet while the other drank, even when Bakugo swallowed and told him how small the bed was - how they'd never make it through the whole night without one of them ending up on the floor. Eijiro simply nuzzled against the blond's shoulder and pressed a kiss there just because he could, "You can go back if you want."
"How about you just get a bigger bed?" Bakugo asked, and looked over with such a serious expression that Kirishima wondered if he ever meant to sleep in his own room again. And Katsuki didn't even ask if that would be OK, because there was nothing more OK than this. And nothing more welcome than when he pulled Eijiro onto his chest again, with real intentions this time, kissing him like he'd been starving for weeks. The redhead was dreaming already. He never wanted to open his eyes again.
When Katsuki pulled away, Eijiro only pushed back. Pressed chaste kisses on his closed lips one after another. Definitely noting that Bakugo let him do it, despite the words the other was sneaking in.
Kiss again - Kirishima could keep going for years and years. And hell, he tried.
"You're making me regret sleeping here," Bakugo growled, turning his head away to evade any more excessive affection. But his touches told a different story - he craved more, all he could manage to get. He snaked one arm across Kirishima's back to pull him, hug him, crush him until he'd found a spot right below Bakugo's collarbone to lay his head on. His muscles weren't soft or comfortable, but they were exactly where Eijiro wanted to be.
"You're too touchy."
You knew that already. You knew that before we even started dating, and here you are, idiot. Being touched and touching right back.
"I know," Kirishima didn't apologize because he wasn't sorry. He did the opposite and touched more, felt more - drew invisible hearts on Bakugo's bare chest with the tip of his finger.
He saw them wherever he looked anyway.
"If you're gonna keep being all fuckin' cutesy, I'm leaving," Katsuki threatened, and neither of them could tell if he was actually serious. Probably not, considering how tightly the other was holding him.
Kirishima dared anyway: "You'll be back if you do."
"And how do you guess that?"
Eijiro smirked. Repeated what Katsuki had said earlier - leaned to whisper it in his ear so he could watch the skin turn red, "D'ya want the big and obvious answer?"
"Right, going to sleep, no more touching. Or breathing or blinking; damn, I can just go on the floor..." Eijiro was smiling the whole time he talked, head tilted so he could watch Katsuki fight his own. Damn it, was he pretty, and he deserved to fuckin' know. But maybe another day because he still wasn't over today's confession.
"You're staring again."
"Because I love you."
Eijiro felt them both take a large breath at his words. And promised to give himself an allowance of times he could say it, because otherwise he'd repeat it hopelessly, endlessly. Like it was his new favorite phrase and the only one that mattered anymore.
Which it was.
Katsuki closed his eyes in response and lost the fight against his smile, but it was okay to lose every once in a while, "Say it again," he mumbled. Eijiro couldn't help but get deja vu from the request, and from the way it was said so tellingly, genuinely, real as Bakugo ever let himself be.
That's exactly what you told me after I called you 'Angel,' and we both know how that turned out.
So he dared to say them together, "Angel, I love you," and told Katsuki he better get used to hearing them both. The blond would've groaned in response to the nickname, but he was so clearly caught up in the words attached to it - they both were. So he said something back that wasn't quite an 'I love you too,' but it might as well have been. Because it meant he wasn't ever going back:
"Then get used to sharing your fucking bed."