That week Bakugou had been quieter than usual, Kirishima had noticed.
He had become really observant on everything involving Bakugou ever since they had rescued him from the League of Villains, which was only a month ago. Not like he hadn’t followed the ash-blond everywhere before the kidnapping, but now it felt different, deliberate.
Kirishima was worried, and he knew that if Bakugou ever saw a trace of concern or sympathy in his eyes, he would get angry, really angry, so he hid it. He did his best to act naturally around him, making the usual jokes, asking for help studying after class and trying to ignore the voice in the back of his head that told him time after time that something wasn’t right. If Katsuki ever saw through his facade, he didn’t say anything.
Sometimes, when he remembered what they had been through, Kirishima felt the tears coming to his eyes. He had cried the night after All Might and the Villain’s fight. They had watched it together, on the huge screens in the commercial district. Kirishima felt his heart clench in fear, this villain seemed to be a real match for the number one hero, but he also felt relieved, because just a moment ago he had been there, Bakugou had been there, but now they were safe, they were alive. He kept repeating that thought in his mind like a mantra.
We made it, we’re okay, Bakugou is okay, he’s here with me, they are not taking him back, he’s here, he’s here, he’s here.
The hand grabbing his own proved he was right. The pulse on Bakugou’s wrist against his skin made it real. All Might raised victorious in front of the cameras and everyone cheered. The redhead let out a sight. That night, Kirishima cried silently in his bed, hoping no one in his house would hear his sobs and shaky breaths. It was over, the nights of no sleep and images of worst-case scenarios filling his mind were finally done. Katsuki was safe. Good had defeated Evil once again.
Now that all the students had moved into the U.A. dorms, they had a lot more time to spend together, and that’s when Kirishima started to think Bakugou was acting elusive. It’s not like Katsuki had been avoiding him in particular, he had been avoiding everyone lately. Kirishima thought it wasn’t something particularly strange given the situation, the blond was probably running away from their classmates’ questions about the villains' headquarters, so when Bakugou disappeared inside his bedroom after class every other afternoon, or when he stood up and left in the middle of a group study session, Kirishima didn’t go after him. He didn’t want to annoy him. Despite his worry, he believed some alone time would, in fact, do him good. That didn’t mean he didn’t worry, though, and thus he tried to spend as much as time as possible together.
That day, Kaminari had suggested Bakugou and Kirishima came to his room and spent the afternoon playing videogames, a plan to which the ash-blond miraculously agreed. Denki had become a great support for Eijirou, he was the only person he ever shared his worries about Bakugou with, and the yellow-haired boy had promised to make an extra effort to try and get Katsuki to socialize. So after their usual lunch at the cafeteria, the three boys headed upstairs together.
“So, what do you feel like playing? Smash Bros?” Denki asked as he waved the game case in his right hand and a controller in his left.
“Sounds good. Any objections, Bakugou?”
The blond only hummed while he laid down on the small bed against the wall.
“You two start without me, I’m gonna take a nap.”
With that, he turned on his side, back towards the other two. Kirishima frowned at Denki, who shrugged his shoulders and lifted his hands in confusion. They sat down on the floor, in front of the TV and began playing. Link, controlled by Kaminari, and Yoshi, chosen by the redhead, jumped and punched each other on the screen against all known laws of physics. Link won. Kirishima blamed it on his eyes glancing constantly towards Bakugou. He had noticed out of the corner of his eye that he wasn’t really sleeping, he kept on checking his phone.
What the hell is going on inside his head?
Kirishima bit his lip.
In the end, Katsuki did fall asleep and soon it was dinner time. He woke up when Sero came into the room looking for them. Afterwards, in the common room, everyone was excited about the beginning of the new semester.
“Hey, Kiri, you’d better get ready, my man! I’m gonna get top marks this time, just you watch!” Mina teased playfully, winking her eye at the redhead.
“Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s impossible.” He answered, with a serious face. “Because I will be the one with the best results this academy has ever seen!”
They laughed together, knowing there was no way they would get to the top with people like Yaoyorozu or Bakugou in their class. Eijirou looked around him and saw the latter passing by a confused Midoriya, whispering something only he could’ve heard. Bakugou kept on walking towards the elevator and disappeared. Kirishima approached Izuku, who looked frozen on the spot.
“Hey Midoriya, what’s up? Everything okay?”
The timid boy jumped in surprise.
“Oh, Kirishima! Yeah, sorry, everything’s fine!”
The redhead craved to know what Bakugou had told him, but he didn’t want to come out as a nosy stalker, so he tried to cover his interest.
“Bakugou didn’t say anything rude to you, did he? You know how he is, that guy has no filter.“
“No, that wasn’t it, he wasn’t rude.” Midoriya’s eyes were fixed on the elevator Bakugou had disappeared through. “He said he wanted to talk to me.”
Kirishima felt a pinch in his chest.
“Oh, I see. That’s good, I guess! Well, if you feel intimidated or something maybe I could go with you-“
“Thank you, but no.” He interrupted. Kirishima was startled by Midoriya’s sudden assertiveness. “This is something between Kacchan and me.”
Kirishima’s mouth ran dry. He didn’t like the sound of that. Midoriya turned to look at him again, a big smile on his face.
“Thanks for worrying, Kirishima. And thanks for taking care of Bakugou. I know how much you care about him.”
He placed a hand on Kirishima’s shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly.
“We’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
With that, Midoriya walked away and followed the blond’s path. Everybody else left for their respective rooms.
Kirishima couldn’t sleep that night.
He had knocked on Katsuki’s door before opening his own and received only silence in return. So he’s outside talking to Midoriya. That thought made his stomach churn for some reason. He locked his door and sat on the bed, hands at his sides.
He clenched his hands, grabbing the bedsheets.
Why would he talk to Midoriya and not me?
Kirishima knew how to recognize his emotions. He had never been one to suppress his feelings and he found giving them a name was a good way to deal with them. Rationalizing something so irrational helped him relax and cool his head. Right then, he was feeling… jealous? No… Not only that, at least. He was also feeling… disappointed. It was stupid, he knew that. Even if they had gotten really close over their time at the Academy, he couldn’t expect Bakugou to rely on him alone. Besides, he had known Midoriya since they were kids, far before he had even met Eijirou.
Can I really compete with that?
No, it wasn’t a competition. Kirishima wasn’t fighting anyone for Bakugou’s trust, but he wished he would open up to him.
He’s obviously going through a lot, why won’t he let me help?
Katsuki was the most prideful person he had ever met, Kirishima understood why he wouldn’t talk about a dangerous experience that had put him in a very vulnerable position, but still…
”I know how much you care about him.”
Apparently, a lot of people did. Denki had been the first one to tackle the issue, calling him out for spending so much time with the blond. Then Mina came talking about “crushes” and “falling in love”, words that hadn’t even crossed the redhead’s mind. Once they did, he could never delete them. However, he cast them aside. He pushed them to the back of his brain, because it was the right thing to do. Bakugou was anything but interested in love relationships, becoming a hero was his only objective, and Kirishima didn’t have the time nor the energy to pain over unrequited feelings, so he contented himself with being his close friend.
I am his friend, right? Maybe not even that feeling was mutual.
Does he think I’m annoying, following him around all the time? Maybe he wishes I left him alone so that he could be with other people. Does he think I’m gross, crushing on him? He’s probably noticed. Of course he’s noticed, idiot, the whole class must have noticed by now. I’m pathetic. He must think so. Why would he ever trust me when I’m such a coward-
“Stop it, goddamn it.” He said out loud.
Kirishima’s eyes were watery. He brushed the tears off his face with his t-shirt. That was exactly what he wanted to avoid. He took a deep breath in, then exhaled slowly. He had to stop that train of thought right there and then.
We’re friends. He helps me with my homework. We sit together at lunch. He invited me to go hiking on the weekend. He took my hand-
His heart clenched inside his chest.
He took my hand.
He had been so scared. Everything was running out of control, the fear was paralyzing. And there was still a chance that Bakugou would refuse to accept their help. Yet they had chosen him.
“It’s got to be you, Kirishima.”
And when he called out to him, at the very instant Katsuki grabbed his hand, trusting him with his life, Kirishima felt the world around them disappear. He had never felt so connected with anyone in his life, he didn’t think he ever would.
With that thought in mind, Kirishima checked his phone. 2 AM. Bakugou hadn’t returned yet. He sighed and moved inside his bed. At least let’s try and get some sleep.
His alarm went off at 6 AM as usual. Class didn’t start until 8, but he liked to get up earlier and go for a refreshing run around the U.A. grounds. Despite his short resting time, Eijirou didn’t feel tired, so he put on his sports clothes and left his room. Outside he met Bakugou.
They stared at each other. Kirishima felt a shiver run his back when he took in the boy’s state: he was beaten up. His face was purple in places, his lower lip was split, his clothes were ragged and dirty. He must’ve already visited the nurse’s office, for he had patches stuck on his swollen cheek and his exposed knees. Did he had a fight with Midoriya? He gulped at the thought of the state the other boy must have been in.
They stood in the corridor like that for a while, one hand on their respective door’s knobs, unmoving. When Kirishima let go, the ash blond opened his own and, after making eye contact again, walked into his room. He didn’t close the door behind him.
Does he want me to follow him?
He went inside. Bakugou was hiding behind the wardrobe’s door, but Kirishima could see him in the reflection of the body-sized mirror on the opposite wall. He was changing his t-shirt.
“Lock the door.”
Kirishima blushed, realizing he had been staring at the blond’s nude torso. He approached the door and turned the key, then moved back to his original position. Katsuki had already finished, he closed the wardrobe and signaled towards his bed.
Kirishima didn’t move. What for? Bakugou sighed and rolled his eyes.
“Sit down, please.”
Eijirou did as he was told. Bakugou remained standing, although he leaned on the desk in front of him, hands in his lap, fidgeting. They stayed in silence for a while. When Kirishima was about to say something, anything, Katsuki mumbled.
“What do you think about me?”
I beg your pardon?
“I said” His voice rose louder. He cleared his throat. “What do you think of me.”
What kind of question was that? Kirishima thought a lot of things about a lot of people, especially about Bakugou, but he wasn’t about to admit that, no way. He stalled for time.
“What do you mean?”
Katsuki gritted his teeth, an irritated grunt escaping his mouth.
“What do you mean ’what do you mean’? We’ve fucking known each other for three years, we spend most of our time together, you’re always around me for fuck's sake.” Kirishima bit his tongue. So I’m like a dog following you around after all. “You must have an opinion about me. What is it?”
Is he fishing for compliments or something? Really? Kirishima felt himself getting irritated.
“I think you’re an asshole.” He blurted out.
Okay, that may have come out harsher than he had wanted. He bit his lip, embarrassed. The shocked look on the blonde’s face made it worth it, though. He was blushing.
“Maybe I deserved that.” He changed his weight from one leg to the other. “But I mean, besides that. You wouldn’t hang out with me if I was only that.”
Kirishima raised an eyebrow at that, a smirk on his face.
“Well, I wouldn’t know about that… I can be quite the idiot sometimes.”
A small smile crossed the blonde's face, but it was gone in a second. He looked at Kirishima, then at his feet, then at Kirishima again. He stood up and took a few steps forward until he was right in front of the redhead, who had to crane his neck to look at his face.
“You like me, don’t you?”
Kirishima stopped breathing. What. The. Hell.
“Excuse you, what-“
“I’ve noticed. It wouldn’t take a genius, either. You’re too obvious.”
If there had ever been a moment where Kirishima had wished for the earth to open up and swallow him whole, it hadn’t been as horrible as that moment right then. He wanted to die. The pit in his stomach was worse than ever. He lowered his head and stared directly in front of him, at Bakugou’s black t-shirt, but not really looking at it, he just wanted to avoid his face. He felt humiliated. Why is he doing this? Does he care that little about my feelings?
“You’re not denying it.” Bakugou added. “So it’s true.”
Shut up, please, shut up.
Kirishima clenched his hands into fists. Punching Bakugou right there and then seemed like a great idea, but he had never been one to solve his problems through violence, unlike said boy. He decided he was going to politely ask him to move aside and he would run back to his room and lock himself in for the rest of his life. Yeah, that sounded like a good plan.
But then Katsuki’s hand was on his cheek. It moved down to his jaw and pushed it gently, making the startled redhead face him.
Kirishima leaned back on his hands, trying to create some space between them. Too close. The ash-blond looked really nervous, his usually arrogant and cunning demeanor gone.
“What do you see when you look at me?”
He thought his heart was gonna burst out of his chest. What was he supposed to say? What did he want him to say? His lungs were failing him as Katsuki leaned in, closing the distance between them again. His mind was racing, trying to understand the situation.
Just what happened with Midoriya?
Bakugou wasn’t acting like his usual self. Kirishima dared to look into his crimson eyes and he saw hurt. Bakugou was hurting, and he was asking him to comfort him. But how? What did he want to hear?
“There must be something I have done right… for you to choose me.”
Kirishima had thought their faces were close before, but somehow they had gotten even closer. He could feel Bakugou’s warm breath against his skin. There was nothing he could look at but his face, his stern expression, his furrowed brows, his shiny eyes. Kirishima realized Katsuki was on the verge of tears.
At that moment, he understood. Bakugou Katsuki was doubting himself, and he had turned to him for help. He had chosen him.
“I like you because you’re incredible.”
It all happened in a flash. Katsuki grabbed Kirishima’s nape and pulled him against him, crushing their lips together. The force of the impact made the red-haired boy stumble backwards, but Bakugou was fast to grab him by his top’s straps and kept him steady.
Oh my god. Oh my god, he’s kissing me.
Katsuki bit his lip, his hand grabbing red locks of hair tightly. His movements felt needy, desperate even. Kirishima let out a nervous sight and he took that opportunity to slip his tongue into his mouth, conquering, demanding, controlling. The smell and taste of blood and sweat invaded Kirishima’s senses. He moved one hand to Bakugou’s hip, the other to his face, careful not to touch any bruises. He opened his eyes at the feeling of something wet: he was crying.
No, wait, stop-
Eijirou put his hands on Katsuki’s shoulders, but the blond only tightened his grip on him. He kept ravishing his mouth even after Kirishima had stopped moving.
Not like this.
Kirishima pushed hard, moving him away. With the back of his hand, he brushed off a trail of saliva that hanged on his chin.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
As soon as those words left his mouth, he regretted them. Kirishima watched Bakugou break down in front of his eyes. His face was the embodiment of panic. Then his lower lip started trembling. He fell to his knees, bringing his hands to his head.
“Fuck. Fuck this, I’m-” His voice was hoarse, broken. “I’m sorry. What the fuck am I doing.”
It was the first time Kirishima saw Bakugou like this. He felt horrible, impotent. Just a while ago he had been complaining about the blond not coming to him, and now that he was pleading for his help he didn’t know what to do.
“I just- What the hell is WRONG WITH ME?!” Bakugou’s voice wasn’t loud, yet it felt like a cry. “WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?”
Kirishima knew he wasn’t only talking about his rejection a second ago. Whatever idea had been clouding his mind for the past few days must have blown up after his talk with Midoriya. He crouched down on the floor, next to the sobbing boy. Slowly, Kirishima placed a hand on his shoulder. Katsuki flinched, but before he could shake it off Kirishima spoke.
“You’re worth a lot, Bakugou.” His breathing was erratic. “You may not believe it right now, but deep down you know it’s true.”
“You don’t know that,” Katsuki mumbled. “you don’t know shit-“
“Yes, I do know, so shut up and listen to me for once in your life, because you’re not in your right mind at the moment.”
Bakugou stayed silent.
“I know you. I know you’re the top student of U.A. I know you’re the strongest willed teenager I have ever met. I know you never ever give up and I know you never let anyone look down on you, and no one really can because you are one of the best heroes this academy has ever seen. But you wouldn’t be so strong if you didn’t work so hard!”
Kirishima made an effort to keep his voice steady.
“For god’s sake, you were surrounded by six villains whose mission was to capture you, and you were still able you make it out of there safe and sound!”
He squeezed his shoulder.
“I don’t know what’s triggered this, but I’m guessing it’s got something to do with Midoriya.”
Katsuki’s clenched jaw confirmed his theory. “I… can’t tell you.”
“I’m not asking you to.”
The redhead felt relieved to hear the other boy’s voice had calmed down.
“What I am asking you to do is to stop pitying yourself and let go of your damn pride for once in your life. You’ve never ’given a fuck’ about what other people think anyway!”
“Sometimes I do.”
Bakugou sat down, knees against his chest, resting his head on his arms.
“Sometimes I care, when it’s someone I look up to.”
“Well, that’s normal. Everyone likes to be praised, have their efforts recognized. And that’s what we’re working for right now. To become better heroes.” Eijirou leaned in, trying to get a look at Katsuki’s face. “Or in your case, the Number One hero.”
“Well, you can’t blame me. I fell for the best prize.”
Kirishima smiled. Bakugou had stopped sobbing and he was visibly more relaxed. The ash blond raised his head and looked at him. Slowly, he moved his knees and turned around until they were face to face again. Kirishima understood the look in his eyes and opened his arms wide. Katsuki moved inside, wrapping his arms around the redhead’s neck. Kirishima rested his hands on the blond’s back.
The hug was warm and tender, it felt even more intimate than the kiss they had shared before. Their chests were pressed together, their hearts beat in unison.
“I’m sorry.” Bakugou’s breath tickled his ear. “I’m an asshole.”
“Yeah, well, past is in the past. I’m glad you listened to me.”
“I’ll always listen to you.” He buried his head in the crook of his neck. “I care about you. I wanna be there for you as you are for me.”
Kirishima bit the inside of his cheek.
Don’t you dare get emotional now, you crybaby.
They remained silent for a couple of minutes.
“Can I… kiss you again?”
Bakugou caressed Kirishima’s hair.
“Yes.” He answered.
Katsuki turned his head until his lips were against the redhead’s neck. He pressed one kiss on the skin there. Kirishima closed his eyes, holding his breath. The blond then kissed him again, a little further up. Then again, right below his earlobe, sending a chill down Kirishima’s back. He kissed his cheek.
Bakugou took a moment to observe the boy before him, his long eyelashes, his pink blush, his slightly parted lips. He was offering himself to him, innocently, trusting.
I want to give myself to you too.
Bakugou took one of Kirishima’s hands in his own and once their fingers were intertwined, he brought their lips together.
This time, it wasn’t rushed. It was soft, gentle and affectionate. Their mouths moved in unison, absorbing, accepting, receiving, tongues meeting in a slow dance. They paused every few seconds to breathe, half-lidded eyes locked on each other. Eijirou descended his hands to Bakugou’s hips and pulled towards him, asking the ash-blond to get closer. Katsuki moved, sitting between Kirishima’s tights and wrapping his legs around his torso. He put one hand on his lower back, the other on his cheek. Kirishima leaned forward and pecked him a few times, rejoicing in the sweet sound of their lips separating. It was intimate and sensual.
Bakugou slid his hand under the redhead’s t-shirt and drew circles against his skin, leaving a trail of goosebumps on his way. Kirishima opened his mouth, sighting, and then he moved it down to his neck, licking, sucking. He wished he would leave a mark so that everyone knew that this angry mess of a boy was his, that he had lowered his walls and accepted his affection.
Katsuki released a shaky moan and pulled on red locks of hair, bringing him back for an openmouthed kiss.
Suddenly, a loud noise. The two boys practically jumped out of their skin.
“JESUS CHRIST- SHUT UP ALREADY!”
Bakugou grabbed his mobile phone from the bedside table and turned it off. That was his alarm to wake up for class, so that meant it was 8 A.M. already.
“I… should probably take a shower.” He said. “And you have to get ready too. Eat some breakfast and that shit.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Kirishima felt a little disappointed they had been so rudely interrupted by their real-life duties. “I’ll… see you later, okay?”
Bakugou nodded. Eijirou stood up and walked towards the door.
“Do you wanna… see a movie together or something?”
Oh my g-IS HE ASKING ME OUT ON A DATE?
Kirishima couldn’t contain his smile. “Of course! I’ll come to pick you up!”
Even at that distance he could see Katsuki’s ears tinted red.
Kirishima left the room and walked towards the cafeteria.
You don't have to cry by yourself
Swallow your pride, ask for help
You don't, you don't have to lie to shield yourself
You'll be alright, yes, you can ask for my help
Ask for my help