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Be Still, Just for Me

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Silence. The quiet stillness of early morning, sunlight streaming through the cracks in untouched curtains that swayed like slim tree branches beneath a gentle blow of air from the ceiling vent. The birds of early morning sunrise sang songs, eventually curtailed by the occasional roar of an engine as the routine of work roused residents within the building.

The covers on your bed were soft and wrinkled from daily use, the smell of detergent long-gone. You weren’t supposed to wake up for another half hour, your internal clock used to the regular blaring of the alarm set on your phone sitting silently on the bedside table. Comfort and warmth kept you sleeping...until a loud thud literally rocked your bed, causing you to jolt awake.

“Eh...what the fu-” You looked around and rubbed the sleep from your eyes and drool from the side of your mouth when, in your bleary vision, movement caught your eye. And loud, frustrated yelling filled your ears. Both combined made you still, having no clue what was happening...or who was in your bedroom.

You sunk into the bed, ready to bolt to the opposite side and grab the baseball bat you kept hidden under the bed frame for emergencies. The stranger stumbled around on the floor looking drunk or disoriented to the point of falling right back down again. They were yelling angrily in a language you couldn’t understand, but it sounded a bit like Japanese?

If they don’t see me, maybe I can escape , you thought to yourself before the figure finally turned around, and finally they saw you. Your heart was thudding against your chest like rapid drum, rhythmic with fear at what this intruder was doing in your apartment, but there was no time to think as crimson eyes bore down on you like rabid wildfire.

“Ittai nan desuka? Anata wa dare deskuka? Doushita no ?!” (what the hell? Who are you? What did you do?!) The man’s voice was raspy and crackled like an open flame, neck muscles bulging as his hands sparked- wait, sparked?!

It was at this point that you screamed.

“GET THE HELL OUT OF MY APARTMENT YOU FUCKING BURGLAR!” you cried right back at him, shifting in your bed towards the side opposite the intruder. You couldn’t breathe, your blood was thumping in your ears, you had no idea what was happening or who this was and, while your brain tried desperately to piece together some logic to the situation, your fight or flight instinct overpowered your sense of observation.

“Mojidōri no seikō wa nani ga okotte iru no?” (what the literal fuck is going on?) The man looked around desperately, almost like he was attempting to figure out where he was, looking between you and the closed bedroom door with teeth bared like a caged animal desperate for escape. Even though fear and the need for self-preservation were top priorities, you couldn’t help but notice there was something oddly familiar about him: his features, his blonde hair, his red eyes…? Before you got any farther with your train of thought he rounded on you again with another stream of words you couldn’t understand.

You’d never make it to the bedroom door without him catching you, and you were already frozen and that was doing you no favors, so realistically there was only one option: fight.

Summoning all the courage you could muster, your fingers found grip on one of your pillows as you held it over your head. “GET OUT OF MY ROOM YOU PERVERT!!” you yelled before throwing the pillow at the angry-looking stranger. He caught it easily and threw it down in a plume of smoke before yelling at you again with an expressive mix of pissed off and completely confused. “THE FUCK DID I JUST SAY, ASSHOLE, GET OUT!!”

Maybe it was the fact that you looked like a freaked out angry woman on the verge of tears who was about to throw another pillow at him, but the blonde man cautiously stepped away and lunged for your bedroom door handle, flinging it open and walking out into your living room, letting out another incomprehensible yell for good measure. After sliding off the bed and throwing off your covers, you grabbed a pair of discarded shorts on the floor - you lived alone, so why bother wearing pants to bed - and slid onto the carpet to shakily grab the wooden bat, tag still dangling from the handle.

“Holy fuck holy shit what the literal hell is going on…” you mumbled to yourself with trembling lips as you made your way towards the stomping sounds in your apartment. Maybe you could scare him off...but how did he make it into your room, anyway? The guy seemed just as confused as you were, but this was your apartment, and there was no way someone was going to assault you or steal anything if you could help it.

Creeping out of your bedroom, the man in an orange hoodie, black shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes stood with clenched fists in the middle of your living room. He must’ve heard you, because a second later he rounded on you with hands ready and teeth bared, but his eyes flitted to the bat held above your head and his aggression levels seemed to shift slightly into something else. Since he was standing still and you were now hyper-focused on defending yourself, you got a proper look at his face and physique.

 

Spikey pale blonde hair sat on his head, which led down into a strong jawline. His bizarre red eyes - contacts maybe - stared at you with disturbing clarity. He was tall and looked well-built, even under his hoodie you could tell he had broad shoulders. Well, he was at least handsome for a weirdo intruder, but you couldn’t really think about that now. There was just something so curiously familiar about him, like you’d seen him somewhere before. On the news, maybe? Or, no, that wasn’t it-

“Oi! Doko da? Kokae ro!” (Where am I? Answer me!) He yelled, and that’s when you noticed his palms sparking. Had...no. No no no ?!

Blonde hair, red eyes, gravelly voice, hands that exploded. “Oh my god…” you managed to squeak out under your breath, backing up slightly while wondering if you were still dreaming. This had to be a dream, right? Yeah, definitely a dream.

“I-I’ll call the police!” It seemed like the only logical thing to do in this situation, right? But he couldn’t understand you, obviously, and you couldn’t understand him, so this seemed like the textbook definition of a stalemate.

The man noticed your slight step back, and seemed to finally understand that you were properly freaked the hell out. His hands stopped sparking and he took a deep breath through his nose without taking his eyes off you before speaking again, his tone the calmest it had been since this disaster started, but that wasn’t saying much. “Nihongo wo wakarimasuka ? (you don’t understand Japanese, do you?)

Even with a less aggressive stance he still looked intimidating, but not like he was about to murder you in self-defense. You lowered the bat slightly, but made no move to get any closer. An idea hit you, but you were scared to take him out of your sight having no clue what he might do. But standing here like an idiot did you no good, so you really hoped the hand sign for “wait a minute” was universal as you held up a finger while balancing the bat in your other hand. The man looked at you with a confused expression, but didn’t make any aggressive moves as you slowly slid back into your bedroom to grab your phone.

The logical and scared part of your brain told you to call the police...but the morbidly curious part told you to get to the bottom of this, because there was absolutely no-fucking-way what you thought was happening could actually be happening...right?

You opened up a translator app on your phone that you’d downloaded a while back to read untranslated manga, and luckily noticed it had a voice option. Cautiously walking back out you observed that the man hadn’t moved, but immediately noticed the phone in your hand and eyed it suspiciously as you slowly set it on the back of the couch which acted as a barrier between the two of you before holding the bat with both hands again. Only one way to find out if this worked.

“Who are you?” you asked, loud enough for your phone to pick it up and translate the phrase into Japanese. The man looked surprised, but still made no move to let his guard down completely.

“Who the hell are you ?” he asked, you understanding the robotic voice of the translator as it played it back into your own language. You furrowed your brows, because this was going nowhere again.

“I live here, moron. Why are you in my apartment?” Keeping the topic focused on him, and not you, was ideal. Giving out personal information seemed like a bad idea. As the phone translated he scoffed, looking around once again to take in your very average furniture and simple decorations.

The man seemed just as frustrated with the situation as you were as he answered. “How the hell should I know, idiot? Why don’t you speak Japanese?” He was trying to get information out of you, rather than him give up more than he needed. Same tactic, just perfect.

“Because we aren’t in Japan,” you said as though it should be completely obvious by the language barrier. At this he really did look stunned, but quickly put his defenses back up again. To keep him talking you went ahead and asked another question that you absolutely had to know the answer to. “Why...how do you make sparks with your hands like that?”

It sounded absurd when said aloud, and as your phone translated your odd wording his face contorted into an attempt to stay calm - poorly. “It’s my quirk...are you quirkless?” he asked with suspicion.

You almost dropped the bat, but managed to keep your shit together. Quirks?! N-no, there was no way this wasn’t a dream. Playing along - or dumb - seemed like a good idea, because if this was who you assumed it might be, making him pissed off was the absolute worst thing to do. “Quirk? What’s a quirk?” Luckily your shock managed to translate into complete bewilderment, hiding the fact that you knew what quirks were in a very specific yet highly improbable context.

Unfortunately his attempt at keeping his voice down was wearing thin with every new translated sentence. “What do you mean , what’s a quirk?”

Shaking your head was, apparently, the wrong thing to do, because the man’s palms sparked loudly as he grunted in palpable frustration, making you jump back and hit the wall. If this was a dream it was frighteningly convincing. Rather than taking a deep breath to calm down like the first time, he stomped around the apartment and found your front door, which led out into the breezeway of your floor. He took one last look at you with a sneer before flicking the lock, opening the door, and slamming it shut behind him.

Letting out a shuddering breath you didn’t realize you were holding you slid down the wall onto the floor. “Oh my god oh my god...that’s...please be a dream, please be a dream, please be-” A ringing noise made you drop your bat. You realized it was your morning alarm to get ready for work as the familiar tone echoed in your living room. Glancing over towards the front door you stood up and turned off the alarm. “This isn’t a dream...what the hell is happening?”

Having no idea if he’d return, you changed into some casual clothes when something on the floor caught your eye. Bending down you realized it was a long body pillow you’d bought earlier this year at a local convention. You expected to see the character on the white pillow case...but now, staring up at you, was a blank piece of fabric.

The illustration was gone, leaving only the pillow behind.

You frantically emailed your boss, telling him you had an unexpected emergency and wouldn’t be making it in to work today. Rarely taking days off you hoped this wouldn’t cause much of an issue, because there was absolutely no way you could focus on work after the morning you’d dealt with.

The front door remained still and silent as you attempted to calm down. “OK, OK, just chill out, it’s fine...you’re fine.” The distinct noise of your stomach rumbling made you double over on the couch. “Thanks, stress-hunger...I need...pizza…” There were only a few twenty-four hour pizza places around, and normally this sort of pizza emergency was reserved for weekends, but the “fuck it” mentality was overwhelmingly strong right now. “If I tried cooking right now I’d probably start a fire…” You were supposed to go grocery shopping yesterday, but laziness took over so you put it off resulting in hardly any real food in your apartment. With shaking hands and a rapid pulse you managed to tap an order for a large cheese pizza for delivery into the online ordering system.

Hardly a minute later there was a pounding at your door, and though delivery would be fast at this hour, there was zero chance your breakfast stood in the breezeway.

“Fuck, shit! What do I do?!” Hopping off the couch you looked around for the bat, only to realize you’d propped it up against the wall next to your bedroom door and the couch now acted as a barrier, leaving you no time to grab it before the door swung open loudly, making you freeze.

The blonde man took a cautious step into your apartment, and though his posture seemed less aggressive, he still looked like a balloon ready to burst from stress. It didn’t lessen how absolutely handsome he was, though. He stared at you with those striking red eyes before following your eye line to the bat against the wall, then back to you. Swallowing the lump in your throat felt about as pleasant as eating a fistful of rocks.

Rather than start yelling, his eye twitched before his hands came up in a typing gesture, and you realized he was probably telling you to take out your phone again so you could talk. Biting your lip nervously you complied, setting the phone on the couch between you once more, only now you’d switched positions with him closer to the front door which sat on the same side as your bedroom.

“I’m not gonna hurt you or anything,” he said, probably aware of how nervous you must look considering the stranger that randomly sprung up from your bed was back in your personal space. “Do you have any damn clue why I’m here or how I got here?”

Once the app translated you shook your head once more. “No...sorry. I was literally asleep when you, uh...appeared.” At that he ran a hand down his face before clicking his tongue. It was only 9 in the morning and he already seemed exhausted; but then again so were you, so at least you had that in common. “So who are you, anyway? And why shouldn’t I call the police?” If he gave you a name - the name you were dying to know - and it confirmed your suspicions, you’d need to keep a cool head, so you concentrated on steeling your expression.

At that he narrowed his eyes, but stood up straight as if he standing in front of a classroom about to give a speech. “Don’t call the cops, like I said I’m not gonna do anything. I just want information and to figure out what the fuck is going on.” Pausing as if thinking about whether or not he should answer, he finally gave in. “I’m Bakugo Katsuki, a Pro Hero in Japan. Now, your turn to answer questions.”

Even though you’d prepared for whatever he might say, the indisputable recognition that the man in front of you was an adult version of your favorite anime and manga character almost made your legs give out and your head spin with how quickly the blood under your skin flooded into your rapidly beating heart. This was like some bizarre fanfic where the highschool girl got transported into her favorite anime world, except reversed: someone from another world got brought to yours. The difference was your world was boring, average, and had nothing extraordinary to speak of. Well, until now, anyway.

“...Pro Hero?” you managed to ask, even though you knew exactly what that meant. “Like, a superhero or something?”

Bakugo - because that was his name, no bullshitting anymore - groaned. “I said I’m asking the questions, now.” You were so familiar with the brash and loud boy from the manga that this slightly mellowed-out adult version was almost jarring. It was still definitely him, his explosive anger earlier proved that, but maybe as he’d aged - he looked about mid 20’s, same as you -  Bakugo finally got a handle on his emotions. “Who the hell are you?”

You debated giving a fake name, but what good would that do? He didn’t know you like you knew him, so lying and possibly keeping up the lie for however long he was here would be difficult. “I’m (y/n) and I...work in an office. And I don’t have superpowers.” You added on the last bit trying to be funny, but he didn’t laugh.

“My quirk isn’t a superpower, it’s not damn magic,” he quipped back while folding his arms. “Walking around outside...seems like you’re right saying no one here has quirks, and we aren’t in Japan.”

Still trying to get a grip on everything that was happening and not wanting to reveal too much, you kept questions and answers vague but probing. “So, what does that mean for you? How did you get here?”

A sound close to a growl echoed in his throat; maybe probing with too many questions he might not know the answer to wasn’t the best strategy. “That’s what I’m trying to figure the hell out!”

Once your phone translated your mouth formed a tight line. Sure, this was Bakugo Katsuki - the hot adult version - standing in your living room with a pissed off expression, but you weren’t going to put up with an attitude when this wasn’t your fault, and you knew the exact same amount of information about the situation than he did. “Look, I didn’t have anything to do with this so don’t get mad at me. I called out of work because some strange guy appeared in my bedroom who has sparkler hands and says he’s from another fucking universe or something so watch the attitude!”

Maybe you were talking too fast for your phone to translate properly, or expressing something other than fear and confusion caught him off guard, but Bakugo stilled if just for a moment. Before he could speak, however, there was yet another knock on your door. He immediately spun around, hands up at the ready, before turning back on you with narrowed eyes full of suspicion.

“Don’t move,” you said while trying to match his piercing stare, but admittedly his glare was just as intimidating in real life as it was in the anime. Slowly you scooted towards the front door, eyes lingering on him until you had to look away to answer the door.

Immediately the smell of hot pizza hit your nose as the delivery man greeted you. “Just sign this please...perfect. Have a good one!” With that he walked off, leaving you with a warm cardboard box.

As you walked into your small kitchen Bakugo watched you carefully, eyeing the box as if it’d personally offended him...until you watched him sniff the air and saw his guard drop slightly. You were too hungry and mentally worn down to focus on anything other than grabbing a plate from the cabinet and load it up with a couple slices of cheese pizza. Without saying anything you walked over to grab your phone from the couch and set it down on the counter between the two of you once more and just stared at him with tired eyes as you took a bite.

“What? Got a problem with pizza for breakfast?” you asked as he continued to stare at you like a crazy person. “You’ve had plenty of chances to hurt me or rob me or whatever at this point, so the fact you haven’t tells me you probably aren’t bad.”

“Of course I’m not bad, I said I’m a fucking hero didn’t I?” he spat back at you.

You took another bite of pizza before speaking. “You still haven’t explained what that means. Your definition of ‘hero’ might be different from the one here.” Technically, it was true. Heroes here were paramedics and firefighters, not people with quirks or powers. The best course of action, you assumed, was to continue acting ignorant. Though you let your guard down a bit, sitting down at the table and feeling too vulnerable still seemed like a bad choice, so instead you just stood at the counter and ate your cheesy breakfast pizza without shame.

At that revelation Bakugo crossed his arms as if to silently concede your point. He was the outsider in this situation, and creating unnecessary animosity wouldn’t get him answers.  “Heroes fight villains, save people, and win fights. Any more dumb questions?”

The “win fights” bit reminded you exactly who you were talking to, but the “save people” addition meant he’d finally overcome the roadblocks holding him back depicted in manga.

... Holy shit an anime character was in your living room. You were sure it’d take you the rest of the day, maybe longer, to really let that sink in.

You did have more questions, so since he opened up the floor, you walked in. “Yeah, actually. How do you get back home?”

He issued a low growl, signaling you’d hit a sore spot. “I. don’t. Know.” he answered slowly. “If I knew I wouldn’t still be stuck in this shithole.”

Bakugo’s attitude was starting to make him look less attractive by the minute. After finishing the first slice of pizza you gave him a tired glare. “I was going to offer you pizza as a kind of truce, but not if you call my apartment a shithole,” you quipped before closing the cardboard box.

“Who wants your fucking pizza?!” he yelled with frustration mirroring earlier this morning, which made you jump back a bit. Despite you knowing who he was, this version of Bakugo was older and undoubtedly even stronger than he is in the source material...meaning making him mad was still a dangerous thing to be wary of. He must’ve noticed your step, because he took a deep breath through his nose before speaking again. “I’m even less happy about this this as you are, so just...let me fucking think for a minute.”

While pacing across the carpet of your living room floor, you tried not to stare at the tall man with a chiseled face and broad shoulders and pale blonde hair and piercing eyes. He was, probably - no, definitely - the most handsome man you’d ever seen in person. As in, ridiculously good-looking. Getting caught up in that fact seemed risky, though, when he was just about ready to snap if you said something that pissed him off. There were a lot of precarious things to keep in mind right now, and all of them mixed together made your head spin. Instead you bit into your second slice of pizza and remained silent while you tried to figure out what the hell to do from your end of things.

“Maybe if you replay what you were doing when, uh, this happened we could figure it out,” you called across the room, halfway wanting to break the awkward silence and halfway wanting to help figure out what was going on. Bakugo stopped walking to glare at you once the phone was done translating.

“I don’t need your help.” You couldn’t deny how much the words stung; you were just trying to cooperate, and you figured two people solving a problem would be better than one...but this was Bakugo Katsuki after all, and his determination to do things on his own must still be going strong, even into adulthood.

Leaning against the fridge you watched him continue pacing, a hand roaming to a back pocket in his jeans before he stopped, feeling around for something that seemed to be missing. Muttering something under his breath, too low for your phone to pick up, he looked around the floor before barging into your bedroom.

“Hey! The hell? I didn’t say you could go in there!” you yelled before grabbing your phone and walking around the couch to stand in the doorway of your room. Bakugo bent down onto the floor and looked under your bed and nearly crawled under it. He tossed your pillow which usually bore his likeness off to the side. You’d bought the thing on a whim because it was so over the top, but now you felt your ears burn in embarrassment at the idea. “Get out of my room!”

“Where the FUCK is my wallet?!” Sliding out from under your bed he palmed his pockets again before glaring up at you.

“I don’t have it, if that’s what that look is for,” you shot back while staring down at him on the floor.

He stood up while running a hand down his face in obvious frustration. “Can’t fucking believe this shit…”

“If you’re going to pout, do it somewhere other than my room.”

“Why, got something to hide?” he asked with a suspicious tone. Your ears burned once again, but you wanted to drive the point home.

“It’s my bedroom, pervert, and I don’t want random people from other dimensions going through my stuff!” Once the robotic voice on your phone translated you actually saw his eyes widen just a fraction before looking almost a bit flustered himself.

“I’m not a pervert!”

“Then get out of my room!” you emphasized before raising your arm and pointing out into the living room. Without an argument, for once, he came forward and you backed up to let him through as he stomped into the kitchen, opened up the cardboard box, and grabbed a piece of pizza he tore into it. You weren’t the type of person to let people walk all over you, and you weren’t about to let Bakugo be the exception. A headache was just about on it’s way and you had to sigh. Closing your bedroom door you watched him devour the pizza like he was defeating a villain high in carbs. It was difficult not to laugh, honestly.

Instead you walked over and leaned against the arm of the couch, not wanting to invade his space too much. This was still an absolutely ridiculous and unimaginable thing to have happen...but you were sure by now this wasn’t a dream, and you were very much awake.

Deciding to go about this a different way, you worded your next sentences very carefully. “So you can’t find your wallet, which I assume would have an ID in it, and money, too? You don’t speak the predominant language here...and as of right now, you don’t know how to get back to your own world. Did I miss anything?”

Bakugo crossed his arms and sneered at you. “Pointing out the obvious there, huh?”

“I’m just laying out my observations so far,” you said, spreading your arms out wide. His lack of cooperation was grating on your nerves. If he wanted to get home, he might have to give in just a little. “What’s your plan then, genius?”

“I wait it out,” he answered. When you gave him a confused look he rolled his eyes. “Obviously a quirk - probably from some dumb villain trying to get rid of me - sent me here. It’ll wear off eventually and I’ll be back home, no fucking problem.” He stated it so matter-of-factly, but you weren’t completely sold on him believing his own words.

“Wait it out,” you repeated slowly. “And where do you expect to do that? What if you’re stuck here for more than a day?”

It was a question that sprung into your mind. He didn’t know how to get back, and there were obviously no quirk users on his end of the world to help him out. He’d walked outside to judge the honesty of your word on quirks, only to come right back here. Where else was he going to go, after all?

His mouth formed a tight line before clicking his tongue and glancing briefly at your closed front door. “Why the hell do you care? I’ll figure it out, I don’t need a damn babysitter.”

“No, but you might need a chaperone or something. You have no money for food, no place to stay, can’t-”

“Shut up!” he said, slamming his hands on the counter, not bothering to let the translator finish. “Just shut up! I don’t want your help!”

Gasping at his sudden outburst you tried to back up, only to run into the couch behind you and promptly bust your ass on the floor. Before he exploded at you again - or he saw you finally start to cry from being legitimately scared - you picked yourself up and ran into the bathroom, locking yourself in.

“Please don’t break down the door…” you said, turning on the faucet to splash some water on your face in an attempt to calm down. “Maybe I should have called the cops...he’s...dangerous, right?” It was the most logical thing to do, but you’d been so caught off-guard by having a literal manga character in your apartment that your curiosity outweighed rationality. It’s then that you realized you must’ve dropped your phone on the floor when you fell. Now you really did feel like crying. “What am I going to do? What’s the right thing to do?”

After a few minutes you gathered yourself together, determined not to let him get to you. From what you knew of his character and personality in the source material, he was the type of person to lash out or bottle things up rather than talk through things civilly if he felt cornered or overwhelmed. Being accusatory didn’t seem to work out so well, so instead it might be best to just let him talk when - or if - he wanted to.

Taking a deep breath you opened the door, hoping that he might’ve calmed down a bit. Looking around you saw Bakugo leaning up against the wall, hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans before looking at you with an unreadable expression. He gestured vaguely to the kitchen counter where your phone now sat. Walking over you opened back up the app, set the phone down, and stood by awkwardly as you waited to see what he might do or say next.

“Look,” he said, catching your attention. “I wanna be here about as much as you want me here. Right now, I don’t have a solution to fix this mess.” Pausing, he seemed to be gathering his thoughts before speaking again. “I know this was caused by another quirk, no other explanation. I don’t know how to reverse it or how long I’ll be stuck here. Ideally, this will last twenty-four hours and I’ll wake up back where I’m supposed to be where I can kick the villain’s ass that sent me here.”

Processing his words you nodded in understanding. “OK...that’s still a day that you’re here. Do you have a plan?”

Bakugo seethed through his nose, agitated with your continuing questions to things he had no solid answers for. “I’m going off the assumption that, even if you don’t realize it, you’re somehow connected to this. So, I don’t think it’s in my best interest to wander too far away.”

Your brows furrowed before shooting nearly up to your hairline at the implication. “Me?!” you exclaimed, pointing to yourself. “Are you inviting yourself to stay here or something? I mean, no offense, but I’m just taking your word for it that you’re not secretly a bad person.” Even though the idea of him basically being a temporary guest made your pulse race, you still needed to put up the front of not being able to take his claims of being a hero at face value. “And you just said you didn’t want my help. So which is it?”

He looked genuinely offended at your connotation that he was anything other than a morally righteous hero, but couldn’t really doubt your apprehension considering the situation. “I don’t want your help...and I fucking hate being wrong about anything, because I rarely am.” His attitude of superiority finally showed it’s head. “But I’ll also admit that I have jack shit here. Best case scenario is I’m here for a single day, then I’m out of your hair. If you really want me gone, I won’t stop you from booting me out. Like I said, I’ll figure it out.”

The idea of him sleeping outside and not having any food for a whole day was a painful thought. You considered yourself an empathetic person and tried to help people when you could, and even though this circumstance was completely absurd, he still needed help, right? Still, you decided to drag things out a bit. “Give me some time to think about it and I’ll give you an answer.”

Shrugging, you saw the tiredness of the situation on his handsome features again. “Do you...have a restroom?”

Nodding, you pointed back towards the door you just came out of. Bakugo stepped past you and disappeared behind the closed door.

“Oh my god he’s using my bathroom...now I’m really glad I cleaned over the weekend,” you muttered to yourself. Living alone you were sometimes lazy with cleaning, but the aesthetics of a tidy apartment outweighed stepping over dirty laundry or dishes sitting in the sink.

Not knowing what else to do you grabbed the pizza box and slid it into the fridge, but not before noticing he’d taken another slice while you weren’t looking. Most of the shelves were fairly bare except for some leftovers, milk, condiments, and a few other things. Yeah, you really needed to go grocery shopping, but was that the best idea with Bakugo here? Was it safe to leave him here? Should he come with you? Stuffing those questions away for later you grabbed your plate and started washing off the pizza crumbs in the sink before hearing the bathroom door open.

Bakugo stopped around the corner to watch you set the dish in the drying rack. He said something you couldn’t understand while pointing back at your bathroom with an odd look. Drying your hands you grabbed the phone from the other end of the counter and set it between the two of you so it could actually pick up the conversation.

He clicked his tongue, annoyed at the language barrier, but it was better than not being able to communicate at all. “Your bathroom is weird.”

Your mouth hung open, looking between Bakugo and your bathroom. It was perfectly normal! Maybe a bit small since it was just a one bedroom apartment, but there was nothing wrong with it. “How is it weird?”

“Just set up differently than Japanese bathrooms. It’s weird,” he answered as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Well, pretty much all bathrooms here look like that, so deal with it.” You swore you saw his eye twitch, and again it was hard not to crack a small smile. It was probably hazardous to your health to put up too much of an attitude, but you couldn’t hide your personality completely.

Sinking down into the couch cushions with a bit of caution and a glance in your direction, you watched the smallest bit of tension ease from his shoulders before he rubbed his eyes with his fingers. Yeah, it was only about ten thirty in the morning and this day already felt too long, so you shared the sentiment.

The awkward silence that passed over the next couple of hours was broken only when you attempted to ask him questions about his world, only for him to brush it off with annoyed sneer.

“None of your business.”

“Why do you care?”

“The hell are you so nosy for?”

“Go away!”

Eventually you took the hint that he wanted to be left alone - probably still trying to figure out some way to get back home from this end - so you went to your bedroom and closed the door. Now that you were alone, you attempted to process your own racing thoughts.

Bakugo Katsuki, a manga character that should not exist, was currently sitting in your living room. Not only that, but he was clearly an adult now, so in his own universe he existed as a real Pro Hero...meaning he’d realized his dream within the story. His hard work and dedication paid off, and that honestly made you smile.

Despite his gruff and rude personality, you’d always been drawn to him in the story. Sure, he was a shitty kid in the beginning and had a lot of lessons to learn, but as you read the manga chapters and watched the anime, his personal growth and character development bloomed. Bakugo was nuanced and complicated, and at times you just wanted to wrap him up in a blanket and say “you’ve done well, now take a nap you little gremlin.”

However, the man sitting in your living room was no longer a teenager, but an adult, and though you’d observed hints of his personality, you still had basically no clue how different he was from his teenage self. It seemed as though he could at least keep a slightly more level head now considering he hasn’t blown up your apartment, though his temper and annoyance with people was still noticeably intact. Could you really blame him though, considering the circumstances? If your life was upended by being tossed into another universe, you’d be pretty annoyed - if not scared - as well.

A rapping at your door jarred you out of your thoughts. “Uh, come in,” you called out though you didn’t have the translator app open yet. He must’ve understood that it was alright to open the door from your tone though, since he turned the knob and stood in your doorway.

“I need information,” he practically demanded, as if you had more answers than he did. “Do you have internet here?”

“Yeah...why?”

“I want to know if I’m the only one from my universe dealing with this shit, or if other Heroes also got transported.” You nodded in understanding. The thought hadn’t occurred to you that he might not be the only one a villain attacked.

“Alright, well, tell me what to search for? Also, consider the fact that I guess, besides me, no one here knows who you are or about your...quirk.” Dragging out the last word seemed like a good idea, not wanting to let him know you were already familiar enough with the term to use it conversationally with confidence.

An annoyed look crossed his face; maybe he was used to people doing what he said without much pushback, but you weren’t someone to be pushed around. “Just do it. Look for any instances of weird shit happening, news articles popping up, whatever. Use some common sense.” Without elaborating further he stomped back out of your line of sight.

Groaning a bit, you dipped off your bed and pulled out a laptop nestled in a bag by your closet. Your phone was fine for most things, but you could do things a bit faster on an actual computer. Following his vague advice, you searched for anything that might pull up a hit. Unfortunately, keywords like “superpowers” and “bizarre sighting” only turned up popular TV and movie characters. From what you could tell, no one had reported on anyone else being found to come from another universe. “He’s not gonna be happy about that…”

Walking out of your room Bakugo caught your eye as he stood stiffly in the kitchen. He must’ve rummaged through your cabinets without asking judging by the glass of water in his hand. Staring at him proved far too easy, but you managed to snap out of it when he glanced at you with his mouth drawn into a tight line.

“Well? Spit it out.” Though he was asking a question, you suspected he probably already knew the answer.

You shook your head and attempted to look apologetic. “No, sorry. I searched for anything I could think of, but honestly half the results were movie trailers or conspiracy theory articles...I even looked on some local forums and if anyone’s seen anything or anyone that stands out, it would’ve been there.”

As you spoke Bakugo stood absolutely still, probably in an attempt to stay calm and not blow up - maybe literally - at the news that he was, most likely, the only one currently dealing with this shitty situation.

“Maybe there’s someone in another location? Um, I mean if anyone with powers is seen in public I think videos or pictures would go viral pretty quickly…” It felt like rambling at this point, but the fact that he wasn’t reacting was honestly making you nervous. Was he about to snap? Yell? Break something? Reactionary and over the top were traits most people associated with Bakugo’s character, so the odd silence made you tense.

“Do I scare you?” The question caught you off-guard, not expecting such a severe shift in subject. His crimson eyes stared you down intensely while he leaned against the counter, but it didn’t feel predatory or hostile...it was more like he was trying to gauge whether or not you were mildly trustworthy with your answer.

Lying to him now meant playing a risky game, so this time honesty seemed like the best policy. “I mean, I was obviously freaked out earlier? I think anyone would be in my situation.” You watched his eyes dart to the side where, somewhere behind you, the bat leaned against the wall. “But like I said, if you wanted to hurt me you’ve had plenty of chances…”

Remaining calm during frustrating situations didn’t appear to be one of his strongest attributes. “If I blew up this place I’d be stuck with even less than I have now, which is basically nothing useful,” he answered with jaw tense and hands stuffed into the pockets of his jacket. “So? You kicking me out or not?”

You wrung your hands together from nerves bubbling up in your system before letting out a sigh. It was hardly early afternoon and you already felt exhausted. “No...then I’d be the asshole. You’re lucky I don’t have a roommate or anything because I have no clue how I’d explain this. But, uh...yeah. For a day or however long you’re stuck here, I won’t let you sleep outside at least.”

He looked as though he was about to say something, then diverted his train of thought to something else. “I won’t blow anything up.”

“If you do, then I really will kick you out. Also, some ground rules,” you said, holding up a hand ready to count off on your fingers. The throbbing vein in his temple was nearly pulsating. “If you make a mess, please clean it up. Two,” you said, holding up a second finger, “you can sleep on the couch. It’s all I’ve got, so arguing is pretty pointless. And three...I have to go grocery shopping today, and you’re coming with me.”

At this he nearly balked. “The fuck? Why?”

“No offense, but I don’t want to just leave you here. If, despite what you think, you’re not gone tomorrow...maybe it’s best to at least familiarize yourself with the area? And I really doubt you wanna use my soap and shampoo and stuff, anyway. So, we can just buy you your own.” The idea of taking Bakugo grocery shopping just came to you in the moment, but really it was the most logical thing to do, right? Shopping with him...you forced yourself to keep composure or else risk him seeing your ears turn red.

“I don’t need a babysitter!” he spat, but you were ready for him to fight you on this and didn’t want to back down this time.

“Either you come with me or I won’t help you. Also, I imagine you don’t wanna eat pizza for lunch and dinner, and I don’t know what you like, so if you go you can pick out something that might be familiar to you.” That was the best explanation you could give that made any sense, and even then you could feel a headache starting to form. You heard him mutter under his breath low enough for your phone not to pick it up, but you assumed it was just more grumbling.

His foot tapped on the ground, the sound muffled by the carpet under his shoes. “Fine,” he finally answered, not bothering to hide his suspicion about the situation.

This was going to be a difficult grocery trip. “Give me a minute and we can go,” you groaned, heading into the bathroom to freshen up so you were mildly presentable going out in public. A ridiculously hot guy who, before now, only existed within a manga and anime format was currently in your apartment waiting for you to take him grocery shopping like some kind of bizarre, overly-domestic dream...so you couldn’t help but feel a bit self-conscious about wanting to look decently put-together. After brushing your hair, brushing your teeth, and putting on some mascara you looked at yourself in the mirror. You never thought of yourself as ugly or particularly boring-looking, but compared to Bakugo your ego deflated a bit. It wasn’t as though he’d look at you like that, anyway; you didn’t have a quirk, you weren’t a fighter, and you always assumed Bakugo naturally gravitated and respected people who were strong and capable. Anyway, your main goal was getting through the rest of the day without him blowing up anything, and you’d deal with his attitude later.

Coming out of the bathroom Bakugo stood almost exactly where you left him, eyeing you with impatience. Letting him intimidate you now would mean he’d step all over you later, so you grabbed your keys, sunglasses, and purse before walking towards the door. “Coming?” you asked while you opened the door he left unlocked earlier. With a grumble Bakugo followed you out the door and into the parking lot.

The grocery store was honestly close enough to walk to, which on any other day you might prefer if the weather was nice. Now, however, you knew carrying food for two people would be too much for you to handle on your own, and Bakugo didn’t appear to be in a particularly hospitable mood. So, driving was the next best option.

He followed at a safe distance, watching you point the key fob towards your car. It wasn’t particularly new, but not old enough to need constant maintenance, either. Opening up the driver’s side door you looked back to see him standing still, apparently wary of something as mundane as driving.

You gestured towards the car, but he didn’t move, probably doing some mental gymnastics of all the ways he could escape out of a moving car. After a full minute you threw your hands up in the air and got into the car, letting your head rest on the steering wheel. “Am I really sure today isn’t a lucid dream?”

After another minute you heard the back door on the opposite side open and close, seeing Bakugo finally get in before slamming the door unnecessarily hard. Setting your phone up in the holder you normally used it for directions or music, you instead just opened back up the translator app. “I just need food and some other things. You don’t have to talk to me for the rest of the day of you don’t want to...and, no offense, this isn’t how I wanted to spend my day, either.”

“How do I know you’re not a shit driver and will crash us both?” was all he said in return, ignoring your implied quip about his justifiably sour attitude.

“Why would I crash my own car? It’s not even paid off yet. Also, I’ve never been in a wreck, I’ll have you know.” Now he was just finding things to complain about. Glancing up into your rear-view mirror you saw Bakugo’s eyes dart around as you drove, taking in the unfamiliar surroundings while looking ready to hop out the window if necessary. Instead of thinking about how an angry Bakugo Katsuki sat in the backseat of your car, you focused your attention on getting to the grocery store without drama.It proved difficult because of your absolute disdain for terrible drivers, and keeping your normal road rage contained took more effort than you were openly willing to admit. Anger probably riled Bakugo up, and that’s exactly what you wanted to avoid.

After finally finding a parking spot you got out and started walking up to the store, glancing back to see Bakugo, once again, keeping his distance. The sooner you could get this incredibly awkward excursion out of the way, the better.

Grabbing a cart you waited for him, watching his eyes shift around warily at the innocent lobby of the grocery store. Taking out your phone you opened back up the translator app. If this kept up, you might need to look for a better app or pay a little for the fancy version. “Alright, here’s the plan,” you said as he drew closer, head snapping back in your direction. “I buy what I want, and you pick out what you want or need, no issues. As a precaution...and the fact that I hate grocery shopping...get enough to last like, a week. Just in case!” You added the last bit at seeing his eyes widen at the idea he’d be stuck here more than a few days, hands going up defensively.

Maybe he was tired of arguing, or maybe he just hated grocery shopping just as much as you, but with nothing else to do he gave in. “Whatever. Let’s just get this over with,” he bit out before walking past you onto the main grocery floor. You made a mental note to pick up some aspirin before wheeling the cart around to follow Bakugo into the store.

Working from one side of the store to the other, you tried to make this as painless as possible but Bakugo wasn’t exactly the easiest person to shop with. For one, since none of the labels were in Japanese, he had to ask what things were outside of immediately obvious vegetables, rice, meat, etc. He became agitated at a lack of certain things he wanted, foods and spices common in Japan that weren’t available here. You silently compared his food choices to yours: he ate healthier than you did, picking fewer snacks and easy to prepare frozen foods and instead going for fresher options for more well-balanced meals. When you picked up a box of your favorite cookies, you swore he cut his eyes a little too sarcastically in your direction. Curbing your eating habits and foregoing sweets wasn’t something you’d let him nag you about. More cookies for you, at least.

At one point you came to an aisle with condiments, Bakugo pausing in front of the wall littered with various bottles of spicy sauces. Some of the bottles had skulls on them, others had flames, and one in particular sported an illustration of a gravestone.

“Which one’s the hottest?” he asked, assuming what the bottles were based on the label designs. You scrunched your nose up, not being very fond of spicy foods yourself.

“Uh, I’m not sure…” you said, scanning the bottles before noticing a familiar brand. “Oh! I think I’ve seen a coworker talk about this one. He likes spicy stuff, I don’t, so he’d know better than I would.” You grabbed the bottle - aware of how close you were to him since he didn’t bother moving out of the way - to read the ingredients on the back, noting the different types of peppers used. “Yeah, this seems pretty spicy.”

Bakugo scoffed before grabbing the bottle from your hand and putting it into the cart. “I like spicy food,” he stated as if challenging you to put it back on the shelf before turning and walking around the corner to the next aisle. This told you the notes in the manga were right about his food preferences. As long as he didn’t make you eat anything he made, there wouldn’t be an issue.

The last section you skimmed through was personal hygiene: body wash, soap, shampoo, etc. All this time you couldn’t help but notice that while Bakugo’s hair kept the signature spiky appearance from the source material, it didn’t look plastered with product or damage...it looked soft. You desperately shoved ideas of running your hands through his hair far far away before your ears visibly burned.

He seemed particular about smells, sniffing every bottle he picked out and turning his nose up at most of them until he found something tolerable. “What are you gonna do with all this shit when I’m gone?” he asked suddenly.

“Huh? Oh, well besides the hot sauce I’ll just eat the food, I’m not picky. And there are places that take donations like soap and shampoo, hygiene products, stuff like that. There are probably some shelters nearby, too.” He’d just arrived here this morning, but of course all he probably thought about was when, and how, to get back to his own world. The only reason he was here stemmed from pure necessity: dealing with you seemed like the best option, far better than sleeping outside without food or a bathroom, at least. If he disappeared tomorrow, you’d have the items in your cart to prove today wasn’t some fluke lucid dream.

 

After the longest grocery trip you’d endured in quite a while, you paid at the register - it was about twice as much as your usual grocery amount, which you anticipated since you only ever shopped for yourself - and wheeled the cart out to the car. Over the last hour Bakugo seemed to become just slightly more comfortable, but the skeptically critical glint never left his crimson eyes.

While wheeling the cart out to the car, mental exhaustion hit you once again...and the day wasn’t close to over yet. You popped open the trunk and started piling in bags, and were surprised to see Bakugo actually help - he had far less trouble lifting the heavier bags than you normally did -  before you wheeled the cart into one of those cart corrals that sat in the parking lot. Bakugo waited for you to sit in the driver’s seat before, once again, showing preference for the back.

Once again the drive back home was silent, though at one point some moron cut you off without using a blinker, prompting you to flick him off through your windshield with mild enthusiasm. Glancing up at the rear view mirror you swore Bakugo wore a look mirroring curious interest rather than is so-far-normal moody disdain for everything happening around him, but the expression dropped quickly once he realized you were watching.

Arriving back to the apartment normally gave you a sense of relief, but now a bit of dread started to sink in: you still had no idea how to really handle the situation, but you needed to figure out quickly to avoid any exploded furniture. You took a deep breath before getting out of the car and popping open the trunk to take things inside. After a second Bakugo stepped out of the car, looked at you before rolling his eyes, and grabbed half the bags before waiting on you with an impatient tapping foot. Rather than waste this rare opportunity of generosity, you hurried along with your own bags and walked up the stairs to your apartment, fumbling with the keys a bit before opening the door and walking inside.

After setting the bags down on the floor you took out your phone and opened back up the app before turning around to see Bakugo dropping his own bags. He then returned to the slightly annoyed look he’d been wearing for the past few hours. Once again you had to stop yourself from staring; even angry he was attractive. “Thanks for helping. I can put everything away, I know where it all goes.” He hesitated before sitting down on the couch and appearing lost in thought.

Despite the literally explosive personality depicted in the source material and the screaming match from this morning, you observed that Bakugo seemed oddly content with silence - which you appreciated. Not wanting to break his train of thought, which you assumed comprised of thinking up ways of getting back to his own universe, you quietly put away the groceries. You attempted to separate out a section in the fridge, freezer, and pantry for the things he picked out to make things easier. The remaining bag held toiletries which you toted into the bathroom before placing everything away, pausing while grabbing the soaps and things Bakugo chose.

“Oh...he has to shower in here, doesn’t he,” you whispered to yourself while feeling your cheeks burn. “I haven’t even showered today, god…” Now was definitely not the time to get flustered, not with Bakugo right outside the door. Instead you quickly organized the shelf hanging from the shower head, took a deep breath to compose yourself, and walked back into the living room.

Bakugo hadn’t moved from his spot on the couch, but his eyes were trained on you, making you squirm in your socks. He had this way of staring that made you feel analyzed, like he was watching for you to slip up or spill some hidden information you were hiding. He wouldn’t get the satisfaction, because the only thing you were hiding was the fact that he existed in your world as a manga character, and letting that information out seemed like the opposite of a smart idea.

Maybe it was the grocery shopping, or the fact that you hadn’t eaten anything besides pizza in hours, but a hunger suddenly overcame you. Holding your phone you walked towards the handsome man sitting on your couch. “I’m gonna make lunch for myself. You can fix whatever you want if you’re hungry.” Something simple and requiring little effort like a sandwich sounded fine, but you weren’t about to resort to making him one and possibly boil yourself down to a sexist joke of making a guy a sandwich.

Pulling out some things from the fridge and bread from the cabinet you ended up with a decent-looking lunch. Nothing fancy, but at least it looked appetizing. You were about to put a jar back in the fridge when it was suddenly ripped from your hand, making you think you dropped it at first. “Huh? What..?”

It was then you realized Bakugo stood behind you, jar in his palm, and looked at you with a quirked brow. Apparently you weren’t the only one who was hungry. Clearing your throat and scooting out of the way you grabbed your sandwich and a glass of water before sitting down at the table.

Occasionally you glanced up to try and see what he was making, but every time he caught you embarrassment controlled your neck muscles and forced your head quickly in the opposite direction. You could feel his eyes on the back of your head when you realized he wasn’t going to sit at the table with you and eat, instead preferring to stand at the counter. When you were finished you stood up and moved carefully around him to wash your dishes before silently heading into your room and closing the door.

With a sigh you buried your face in the comforter of your bed, a hundred thoughts running through your mind. “OK, it’s late afternoon now, so what do I do? If he doesn’t wanna talk I can’t make him talk...but maybe just being nice will be enough? I’ll go crazy if I don’t find out more about him and his universe before he’s gone! Goal set!” With new energy you dug into your dresser for some clean pajamas - pants and an oversized shirt should be fine - and came out of your room to see Bakugo leaning against the counter with arms crossed, red eyes immediately darting to you.

Still careful not to invade his personal space you grabbed your phone next to him. “I’ll be done in a bit,” you said, pointing to the bathroom. He just shrugged his shoulders, which you took to mean he still wasn’t in a talkative mood. You closed the bathroom door behind you and turned on the shower to the hottest setting, letting yourself relax properly for the first time that day.

The water eased your tense shoulders, but your mind still raced. “What the fuck am I supposed to do now?! Bakugo Katsuki is in my living room, quirks are real, and he’s pretty much invited himself to stay here until he’s able to go back home,” you echoed to yourself in the acoustics of the shower. Maybe you could ask him to play video games or something? You remembered a brief moment in the manga where he mentioned some gaming terms, so maybe you could connect with him on that and pass some time as well. He was competitive, so if you put him in a good mood by letting him win, he might be willing to loosen his lips about some information. “Lips...oh, oh no.” Now all you had to do was keep from acting like a moron in front of, probably, the hottest guy you’d ever seen in person.

There was one more thing you needed to get him to talk about, though: what to do if he didn’t disappear tomorrow. After turning off the water you changed into clean pajamas and looked at yourself in the foggy bathroom mirror, nodded to yourself in preparation of dealing with Bakugo outside, and opened the door.

Rather than leaning against the counter he sat on the couch, foot tapping rapidly on the ground with obvious frustration at his current predicament. You looked at him briefly before walking into your room and dumping your dirty clothes into the laundry basket. “Alright, let’s see what happens,” you said under your breath before walking back out and standing in front of him with your phone in your hands.

He furrowed his brows, as if asking you to move from in front of the blank TV screen so he could continue watching an imaginary show. “What?”

“So, if I’m going to let you stay here until you’re able to go back to your universe, you gotta level with me a bit.” Bakugo scoffed, but didn’t interrupt as the phone translated. “If you’re still here tomorrow - not ideal, I know - “ you added quickly, seeing his face contort, “do you have a plan? I can’t take off work two days in a row, so you could just...hang out here I guess, if you promise not to blow anything up.”

He crossed his arms with obvious annoyance. “You think I can’t control my own quirk as a professional hero? The only things I blow up are villains. And I don’t really have any damn choice but to stick around if that shitty situation comes up, do I? No I.D., no money, nowhere else to stay, I can’t fucking talk to anyone...did I miss anything?” Counting off on one of his hands his sarcasm was palpable, making you groan.

“Alright, smartass, got it.” OK, that didn’t go as terribly as you thought it might. Now, phase two. “Do you like video games?”

A look of confusion replaced the one of annoyance. “The hell does that have to do with anything?”

“I’m trying to pass the time. You can keep brooding if you want, but I’m not gonna let you sour my mood. Think about it this way: the more time that passes, the sooner you can fall asleep, and the sooner you can wake up to possibly be back home.” Your far-reaching logic seemed to have an effect as you watched the mental gears turning in his head, debating on whether or not to openly agree with you.

“Fine. Don’t complain when you lose. The hell kinda games you have, anyway? I bet they’re all shit…” So far, so good! You grabbed the controllers and sat down on the couch, watching him sift through the games on your TV stand. Something seemed to stand out to him as he pulled it out with a grin. “Your collection isn’t total garbage, and somehow they overlap into my world,” he called over his shoulder. “I’m real good at this one.”

Figures the one he held up was one you were particularly bad at, even though it was still fun. Console controls were also fairly universal, so he had no trouble plugging in the game. Before he sat down, though, Bakugo unzipped the orange hoodie he’d been wearing all day and tossed it off to the side, rolling his broad shoulders as if preparing for a fight.

Below the sleeves of his black shirt you now stared at his arms, lean but still strong and muscular. He needed powerful arm muscles to control his quirk, no doubt. What really caught your attention, though, were the faint scars dotted from his forearms up past the hem of his sleeves. Some were long, others were short and wide; some looked fairly new and others looked faded and healed over. He caught you staring and you quickly swiveled your head away in embarrassment.

“Um, sorry! I didn’t expect...nevermind.” You were sure you sounded like a moron, but surprisingly he didn’t chastise you.

“I said I was a hero, didn’t I? Wasn’t a damn lie. Scars are part of the job.” Feeling the couch dip at the other end you took that as a sign that he wasn’t angry. Maybe people stared often, but you weren’t about to ask about scar origin stories just yet.

Following the prompts on the screen you both picked out your characters - luckily he didn’t pick the one you were best with - before watching the countdown numbers flash on screen to the start of the fight.

Once “FIGHT!” appeared in the middle of the TV, Bakugo’s character did some super move that almost immediately took a third of your own character’s health. “What?!” you screeched at the sudden attack. Apparently your misery was his pleasure, but hardly a minute later Bakugo emerged victorious.

“You are shit at this,” he mocked. Looking over, though, you saw the faint glimpse of the first smile he’d worn all day, and damn if it wasn’t a nice look on him. You weren’t losing on purpose, but keeping him in a good mood remained the goal.

“Shut up, I just need to warm up, first.” After another round you did a bit better, but still lost quickly. The third round made Bakugo the victor once again, and he actually let out a laugh. Now you were the annoyed one. “OK, pick new characters!”

“That won’t help you.” As if to further agitate you he purposefully picked a character that was known to be mediocre at best. You picked another one you were halfway decent with, and started the match.

Once again, he kicked your ass with only a little more difficulty this time. Over the next half hour this continued: he would win, then laugh, you’d groan and smash buttons before going and picking a new character, and the cycle would repeat. Your frustrations turned into his source of joy and, although you were glad for the mood shift, losing every single match grated on your nerves enough to warrant a new strategy. “Alright! New game!” you shouted while tossing your controller onto the couch when Bakugo’s character stomped yours into a bloody pulp.

“Sore loser,” he scoffed, amused at your short temper. Searching through your collection you pulled out a different game and held it up with a questioning look. “The hell is that one?”

“Aha, so not everything crosses over.” You replaced the discs before sitting back down on the couch. If he was unfamiliar with the controls and mechanics, it might give you a bit of an unfair advantage.

“Or it could be a shit game so I never bothered with it,” he shot back while you went through the starting menu. Sure enough you read the smallest hint of confusion on his face and prepared to possibly win the first match of the night. He wasn’t the type to back down from a challenge, however.

When the actual match started you let loose with no mercy, actually managing to K.O. Bakugo’s character with little effort. “Tch, pure luck,” he reasoned while settling into a more concentrated position with his elbows propped on his knees while staring intently at the TV screen. The controls of this game operated different than the last one, which seemed to throw him off just enough to win the second match.

You laughed while tossing your hands in the air after having finally beaten him at something. His grip on the controller seemed dangerously tense. “Please don’t blow up my controller.”

“I won’t blow anything up,” he growled out, the translator only picking up a few of the words through his teeth.

“Do you want me to show you the controls so it’s fair?” You really did want to keep him in a good mood, so maybe evening things out would help. Instead he cut his eyes to you before swiftly pulling them back to the TV.

“I don’t need your help, just start the next match.” Stubbornness wasn’t something he aged out of, apparently. Instead you shrugged and pressed on with the next fight. He was getting the hang of it, but you were still kicking his ass when he paused the game this time. “OK fine! All I need is one lesson and I can win.”

Ignoring the idea that he could reel in a comeback you scooted a bit closer and explained a couple of the combos that worked for all characters and the button combinations. He only need to hear it once before he unpaused the game and the match ended up in a tie. He grinned while you groaned.

Now that he knew what to do the matches were harder, and he ended up winning the next two despite your best efforts. “You’re shit at this,” he said while you hung your head in defeat.

“Yeah, well, I don’t always play to win, I play because I’m having fun,” you said in retort. “I don’t have a roommate and playing against the AI can get boring, so honestly I don’t mind that much.” Maybe Bakugo was used to the people around him being equally as competitive as himself, because he didn’t really have a comeback for that. Wanting a break from playing games, you decided to enact the last step in your strategy.

Turning to him slightly while trying not to get distracted by his handsome face, you posed a question. “So...assuming you will be gone tomorrow, are you willing to tell me more about your world now?”

His face dropped and brows furrowed, but he didn’t seem as annoyed with the question compared to earlier. “It is obvious my world is way more interesting than this quirkless place.” Bakugo drummed his fingers on his jeans before giving you an answer. “If I answer your questions will you stop bugging me?”

You had to contain excitement at getting him to actually open up a bit. “Yes, yes I will. OK, so…”

Launching right in you started with basic questions that you honestly already knew the answers to if the manga proved truthful - which it did. His answers about quirks and heroes fell in line with things you already knew, but hearing his own perspective s was the exciting part. You asked if he had other heroes he ever teamed up with or if he worked on more solo missions. Sure enough he mentioned Kirishima - calling him his “best friend” even - while explaining that few heroes actually worked alone unless the mission called for a specific quirk or set of skills.

Even though you possessed an understanding of Pro Hero work, hearing it straight from him and listening to first-hand details made your excitement genuine. Bakugo assumed you knew nothing about his own universe or how quirks worked, so maybe your undivided attention and him being in control of the conversation kept him talking. You didn’t mind.

“So you go to a special school for hero training...does that mean you didn’t go to college then? Just straight into hero work?” you asked. He quirked an eyebrow and scuffed.

“The hell would I need college for? I learned everything I needed to know at UA. Anyone who isn’t interested in being a Pro Hero can do whatever the hell they want, though,” he said before continuing. “I guess you went to school for your ‘boring office job’?” The last bit was emphasized with air quotes, pointing to your exact words from this morning.

It was the first time he’d directly asked you about yourself and your life, so you had to gather up your composure at his curiosity before answering. “Uh, yeah. I graduated a couple years ago and moved here for my job. It pays the bills, so I can’t complain too much.” You shrugged, not really wanting to dig into comparing your very ordinary career with his exciting one. Maybe he picked up on the indifference of your tone, or he didn’t care to know anything else about your job, but he didn’t ask any more questions.

“Uh, are you hungry for dinner or anything?” The silence felt awkward so, once again, food came to mind in a mild attempt at passing time and trying to find common ground. Besides, a sandwich and two pizza slices didn’t exactly comprise a day’s worth of well-rounded meals. Rather than answer you Bakugo stood up and walked into the kitchen, pulling out things from the fridge and cabinets. “What are you doing?” you asked, grabbing your phone and walking over.

“Cooking,” was all he said. You expected more of an explanation, but he seemed to think the opposite.

“You don’t have to, you’re sorta a guest, I guess.” At that he spun around while holding a bag of rice to look straight at you with those striking red eyes of his. They were more vivid than you imagined they would be, as if light illuminated them from behind like a paper lantern.

“I’m only gonna say this once,” he said while holding up a finger for emphasis. “This whole situation sucks, and it pisses me off, but I’m not the type of asshole to ignore the fact that you didn’t kick me out despite that being the most common sense thing to do.” You were so stunned at his words that his analytical glare passed by without catching on to the hidden reason you kept him around. “So sit down, don’t complain, I’m cooking.”

Bakugo Katsuki was cooking you dinner - something you’d literally only dreamed of. So, rather than argue about it, you let him have reign over the kitchen. While Bakugo rummaged around to find whatever pots and pans he wanted, you decided to set up the couch in a makeshift bed for him. Friends would sleep over on rare occasions, especially if they'd’ had too much to drink and you refused to let them drive home, so you kept spare pillows and blankets lying around.

Looking down at the pillow and folded blanket made you pout. You wish you could do more, but this was all you could settle for with such short notice. Hopefully he wouldn’t mind too much - like he said himself, it was better than sleeping outside.

After walking into your room to grab a novel you’d been nursing for a while in your free time, a delicious smell hit your nose. So Bakugo might actually be a good cook! Looking over you couldn’t help but take the opportunity to stare a bit. Broad, strong shoulders and long arms; that black shirt clung to his back in just the right spots. He was beyond handsome, honestly. Despite being tossed into unfamiliar territory, he seemed fairly confident and concentrated with whatever he was cooking. Maybe he was using the opportunity as a distraction from the current situation, so rather than bug him you sat down at the small kitchen table your parents gifted you when you moved in and opened up your book.

The silence wasn’t as awkward as you thought it might be...you could almost say it was comfortable. After a while you glanced up to see him pulling some plates down from the cabinet.

“Bangohan ga dekimashita yo,” (food is done) he called out. You weren't sure what he said but assumed it meant dinner was ready. Setting your book down and grabbing your phone to pull back up the translator you stood up and made your way into the kitchen, nose in the air at the interesting smells.

“Oh wow,” you exclaimed, scanning over the spread of food. Despite having a limited selection of familiar ingredients at the grocery store he seemed to improvise well with whatever you bought. He raised an eyebrow at your fixated stare.

“Stop drooling, weirdo.” After filling his plate he left you to do the same before grabbing a glass of water and sitting down at the table. You rolled your tongue back into your mouth and spooned a bit of everything onto your own before doing the same. “Itadakimasu,” (let’s eat) he mumbled quickly before digging in.

As soon as you lifted the first bite to your mouth you should’ve prepared yourself for some level of spiciness, but decided it wouldn’t be that bad. What you weren’t expecting was a burst of flavor that honestly sent you reeling; it was goddamn delicious. But, after swallowing the first bite you started coughing which made Bakugo look towards you, then look down at the food, then back at you with an offended glare.

“The fuck? The food is not bad, I’m not a shit cook,” he replied to an unasked question. After gulping down half your glass of water you finally got a hold of yourself and met his glare with one of your own.

“It’s spicy!”

He just shrugged. “Yeah, and?”

“I told you at the store I don’t like spicy stuff,” you explained while scooping up another pile of food. Despite the horrendous burn in your mouth, it tasted good enough to keep you eating.

“How is that my problem?” As if to mock you he also swallowed another bite without so much as flinching. “Weak. I cooked, so I made it how I like it: spicy.”

After getting up to refill your glass with ice water, you took a deep sigh before speaking. Things were going well so far tonight and you didn’t want to ruin it by getting into a yelling match over food. “That’s...fair, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, the food is really good and I appreciate that you made it, because you really didn’t have to...but holy shit my mouth is on fire.” He must’ve found your exaggeration - or pain - amusing because you swore he actually smiled for a split second before returning to concentrate on his food.

The remainder of dinner was devoured in silence aside from his occasional quip at you having to chug water after every bite. He finished before you did and was about to clear off the counter and dishes before you practically yelled at him to stop.

“Stop! No, I can put things up since you made the food. That’s fair, right?” Once again he raised an eyebrow in your direction with a hand on his hip. He really was effortlessly attractive - to an almost unfair point.

“Are you telling me what to do?” he said accusingly. You shook your head in a wide sweep.

“No, I’m telling you what not to do,” you answered before stuffing the last bite of food into your mouth and downing the rest of your water. “It’s ultimately my kitchen, so you’re just borrowing it.”

He honesty stared at you before clicking his tongue and walking out of the kitchen and back to the couch to, apparently, stare at your back while you cleaned up dinner.

You cleaned and put away the dishes quickly knowing his eyes were on you the whole time, as if watching for a mistake or dropped glass. Clumsiness came naturally to you, but only when you weren’t paying close attention.

After everything that happened during the day, you were honestly more tired than usual despite it being slightly earlier than you’d normally fall asleep. Your brain felt exhausted from trying to comprehend the idea that one of your favorite manga characters came to life from a pillow in your bedroom and now stood in your living room. He was probably as tired as you were, and the sooner he fell asleep, the sooner he could possibly return back to his own universe.

In a completely selfish way you wished he would stay for just another day - to learn more about him, to get to know him on whatever personal level he might allow, or even just capture the mental image of him to keep as a reminder that this was real and not some day-long hallucination. But he didn’t belong here, and you knew that, so the sooner he got back home to his Hero work, the sooner he would be happy again.

You walked into the bathroom and closed the door to go through your nightly routine of brushing your teeth and applying moisturizer before looking at yourself in the mirror. You were in your mid-twenties, with a job that paid the bills, and no drama to speak of; well, this entire day consisted of drama, honestly, but it was something you’d never experience again...which made you want to say goodnight properly just in case he disappeared tomorrow.

Opening up the door you came out to actually catch him yawning while sitting on the couch, but Bakugo shut his mouth while you glanced away to avoid staring. He almost looked like a sleepy cat, but you stuffed that adorable image away for now while standing in front of him.

“So. Uh, I’m going to sleep. If you’re gone in the morning and are back in your own world, no harm done. I’m sure it’s been an annoying day for you.” Embarrassment flooded through your chest as he looked up at you, but you pushed forward with what you wanted to say. “If you are, I just wanted to say that it was nice meeting you, despite a rocky start this morning. I’ve obviously never met anyone who is a real Hero before, and especially not someone who has what amounts to a superpower.” Going off his look you added, “Yea, I know its a quirk, I’m just being a smartass.”

His fingers drummed on the arm of the couch as if expecting you to say more. When you didn’t he took the opportunity to chime in. “I still don’t know what kind of quirk sent me here, or what their intentions were. I hate not knowing shit.” He paused a moment to stew in his own frustration before continuing.

“I’ll be gone, and you can go back to doing whatever you do. Thanks for the food and the couch, and I guess not calling the cops to put me in jail.” Considering that alternative you really did provide more than you realized. “No one here will believe you if you told them about me, huh?”

At that you glanced away before running a hand through your hair. “Huh, yeah I guess not. They’d all think I’m crazy or something if I tried to explain it,” you said while shaking your head with a light laugh. “But, anyway. Uh, goodnight. Sorry if the couch isn’t great but it’s all I have.” With one final glance his way you walked into your room, closed the door, and locked it behind you before crawling into bed.

“Today was real, I still can’t believe it,” you mumbled into your pillow. “I have no proof that today was real, but I know it was real so that counts for something...right?” Even though you were tired, the food hadn’t settled in your stomach quite yet so after plugging up your phone - that translator app ran down your battery to pretty much nothing after using it most of the day - you scrolled through social media. You followed a couple of blogs that posted art sometimes, and when you ran into a drawing of Bakugo you promptly closed your phone and stared off into the darkness. “Single most surreal moment of my life,” you whispered while glancing up at your bedroom door.

The living room line shone from underneath your closed door telling you he must still be awake. It made you feel a bit guilty leaving him alone, but you honestly assumed he’d be tired of your company by now. Maybe he needed time to brainstorm ways to get back home, or why he might’ve been sent here if it wasn’t random. Rather than dwell too much on the “what if” scenarios, you closed your eyes and eventually drifted off to sleep, secretly hoping you might get just one more day with Bakugo Katsuki.

 

Chapter Text

The sound of your alarm was achingly loud as you groaned against the pillow. Your dreams were odd and muddled, visions unclear against shifting colors and sounds. You grabbed the phone off your side table and looked at the time before quieting the sound and laying back down for a moment, the thought of going to work keeping you firmly in bed.

You sat straight up as a thought struck you and your eyes shifted towards your closed bedroom door, nerves tensing in your chest. “Yesterday couldn’t have all been a dream...so…?”

Moving as quietly as you could with your feet padding softly against the floor you shakily reached forward, unlocked the door, and twisted the knob until the door opened. You bit down on your lower lip, unsure of what you might find as you approached the couch from the back. Taking a deep breath you looked over the edge and struggled not to drop your phone.

There he slept, a wild tuft of pale blonde hair leaned up against the armrest of your couch. His face was beautifully soft but tense, as though his dreams - if he had any - were angrier than your own. He just barely fit on the length of the couch, one foot propped up on the other armrest while the other leg draped off the cushion and onto the floor, along with half the blanket you’d given him. You didn’t dare move closer and risk waking him up despite the strong urge to run your fingers through his soft-looking hair. He’d definitely blow your hand off for that one. So instead, you took one last glance at the sleeping man before you moved back into your room and grabbed your work clothes for the day.

Bakugo was still here, in your apartment, sleeping on your couch. He was going to be thoroughly pissed when he woke up with the realization that he hadn’t returned home, but this meant you had one more day to learn more about him. “Wish I didn’t have to go to work,” you said under your breath while picking out clothes to take to the bathroom. Normally you’d just come out and change in here, but walking around in just a towel seemed like an embarrassingly bad idea under the current circumstance.

Sneaking out of the bedroom once more you tiptoed to the bathroom while glancing at the sleeping man on your couch before locking the door behind you. While you let the hot water wake you up at this early hour you reached for your soap only to see the items you bought Bakugo yesterday. They looked used, meaning he must’ve taken a shower at some point after you fell asleep. The thought of him using your shower and standing where you currently stood sent blood rushing to your face. “Oh God, no no, don’t think of that. Just focus on getting through today,” you told yourself while quickly finishing up your shower before hopping out.

Your work attire was usually business casual, and you weren’t in a position to deal with clients directly, so you tried to keep things simple but professional: slacks and a conservative top with a bit of makeup to help you look properly awake. A few months ago some asshole coworker asked if you were sick when you didn’t have time to put on concealer, hinting that women without makeup - or you, specifically - looked ill. It was completely sexist and pissed you off for the entire day, but you weren’t dumb enough to notice how some men in higher positions had a tendency to retain the jobs of women at your work who put a bit more effort into their appearance than others. Of course, you wanted to be noticed for your work ethic and creative ideas, but sometimes that just wasn’t enough. “Thanks, misogynistic workplace culture,” you mumbled while trying not to get mascara in your eye. It wasn’t even that you disliked dressing nicely or wearing makeup...but the idea of putting on a presentation to be taken seriously made your blood boil more often than you’d openly admit.

After giving yourself a once-over in the mirror you grabbed your pajamas to take back into your room and slowly opened the bathroom door. Somehow after all that Bakugo was still asleep on the couch, though it looked like he’d shifted a bit so his back was now to you. It felt very odd to stealthily maneuver around your own apartment when normally it didn’t matter, but after yesterday you both were probably mentally exhausted, so you continued to let him sleep as you dropped your pajamas in the hamper before sliding into the kitchen to make a quick breakfast.

Apparently, the smell of food turned out to be the instigator in waking up sleeping beauty. You were plating your own portion when you heard a groan behind you. Turning around you saw Bakugo sit up with a sleepy expression before looking around the room, his face growing more and more agitated until it landed squarely on you.

You quickly turned back around, the idea of him staring daggers at the back of your head more appealing than seeing him angry with your own eyes. He yelled something in Japanese which made you flinch, his frustration at still being here very obvious. At least none of this was your fault; you didn’t have a quirk, and you had no way to control any of this, so hopefully he could at least not direct his anger at you.

Rather than walk straight into the kitchen you heard Bakugo pad heavily across the floor and slam the bathroom door shut. “Please...just...don’t be difficult today,” you sighed while plating the second serving. You cooked enough for him just in case he woke up while also thinking about how to make things a bit easier on him. Even though a lot of this fell on you, complaining seemed useless because you were the one who offered to let him stay here in the first place. “What the hell did I get myself into…”

Before sitting down to eat you grabbed the pizza box from the fridge and slid a couple of remaining slices into a container for lunch. You heard the bathroom door open as a more awake but no less angry-looking Bakugo walked over, crossed his arms, and stared you down at the kitchen table. Despite accomplishing the “be scared of me” look you couldn’t help but admire his handsome features.

He watched you open up the app on your phone before speaking. “Well?” he asked. You just furrowed your brows in response.

“Well, what? Also, good morning?”

“I’m still here, is what! The fuck am I supposed to do?” It felt as though he expected you to drop the answers to his predicament into his sweaty hands, despite having no more information now than you did yesterday.

“Well, don’t yell at me about it! You obviously know more about quirks than I do, so don’t look to me for answers!” you said in response while attempting to meet his glare right back. “I made some breakfast if you’re hungry. I have to go to work soon, so I can’t stick around today. You’ll have to entertain yourself.”

He looked between you and the plate of food before walking over to take an angry bite of toast. “At least you get to work,” he said between bites. “I bet villains are having a fucking ball with my absence. Assholes. Can’t wait to get my hands on whoever thought they could get rid of me.” Maybe he just needed to vent, so rather than interrupt, you just let him keep talking while you ate and your phone did the translating work. “I thought of something last night. What if all of this is some illusion? What if I’m not really in another universe or whatever, and all this shit is in my head and my body is asleep? In that case, I just have to figure out how to wake up.”

Now, this was a new idea, one that actually made you turn around and stare at him. It was ironic how he considered the possibility that this place wasn’t real when in reality his own universe was just a made up fantasy to you and everyone else. “Are you suggesting I’m not real?”

Bakugo just shrugged. “Maybe. You are pretty weird.” Your offended expression must’ve been amusing since he reacted with a smirk.

You took a deep breath to calm yourself down before sassing the man who could easily explode your entire kitchen into smithereens. “It’s too early to be insulted, and I’m not gonna go through my whole backstory to explain why I’m definitely a real person. You have the whole day to think up theories while I’m at work,” you said while standing up to wash your dishes in the sink.

“What the hell am I supposed to do all day?” Bakugo asked. “Your world is boring.”

“Didn’t you say yesterday you didn’t need a babysitter?” you spat back. “Figure it out. Just...please don’t blow up anything. Move.” For once he did as you said and stepped aside while you pulled open a drawer and took out several items: a pen, a pad of paper, and the spare apartment key. You were in no mood this early in the morning to put up with his attitude or bullshit, no matter how cute he was. “Here’s my cell number in case you get arrested or something. This is my only spare key to the apartment, please don’t lose it and just lock up if you leave. Do me a courtesy and write a note if you do go anywhere.”

Bakugo stood oddly still as you rambled off instructions. Maybe he expected to just walk all over you, or that he could shove you around because you didn’t have a quirk of your own and he was usually the one in charge; but you were no pushover, and if there was one solid thing about Bakugo you knew from the manga, it was that he respected people who were strong. You might not be physically strong, but there was no way you were gonna stand by and let him do or say whatever he wanted.

It was possible that the same thought crossed his mind because his mouth formed a tight line once you finished talking. “You act as though I’m some stupid criminal that’ll get tossed in jail. And don’t order me around,” he growled out while you grabbed your bag and slid on your shoes. “Hey! I’m talking to you!”

Ignoring him seemed to piss him off, but if you didn’t leave now you’d risk being late. You grabbed the container of pizza before standing in the open doorway and turning around and staring right into those pretty red eyes of his, phone in hand. “I’ll be back around seven. I’m sorry you’re still stuck here, I really am, but I have my own responsibilities to take care of. Also, you’re welcome for breakfast.” With that, you shut the door and locked it behind you while leaving Bakugo’s incoherent yelling behind as you walked down the hallway to start what you knew would be a very long day.

After you left, Bakugo stared at the closed door before slamming his fist down on the counter, nearly knocking over the plate of breakfast food in the process. He’d dealt with numerous shitty situations, and he always managed to find a way out. The main difference now was that he truly was alone in this: no hero agency to contact, no friends to call, no one to count on besides himself when, after many years of being a selfish asshole, he finally learned to lean on others. He didn’t have to fight every battle alone anymore. Hell, this place might not even be real , an illusion...but he had no clue how to test that theory. He couldn’t even use his quirk here without people freaking out! Smoke issued from his strained fist, wafting upwards until a blaring alarm sounded in his ears.

“The fuck?!” he yelled before looking up and seeing the fire alarm above the stove. Reaching up he pressed the button to shut the damn thing off before he blew it up. The ones here must be far more sensitive to smoke than the alarms in his own apartment since he’d never set them off even once.

The other problem that made his head spin - besides figuring out what the hell to do about this situation - was you . What connection did you have to all this? Was this location completely random, or did the villain have another agenda? Were you hiding more than you let on? Bakugo asked himself these questions while scanning around the apartment that had become his temporary shelter.

A TV sat against the wall opposite the front door with a short shelf filled with various games and consoles supporting its weight. The couch made a pretty shitty bed if he was honest, but Bakugo told himself it was better than sleeping outside or on the floor. That brought up yet another question: why the hell were you being so nice to him, a total stranger with “superpowers”? Were you secretly afraid of what he might do if you attempted to kick him out? The idea stung a bit, honestly. He was a Hero and a damn good one at that. Although others were still far better at dealing with civilians than himself, Bakugo had improved his self-image and attempted to only scare villains and assholes who deserved to face his rage. Even with his suspicions and no plans to let his guard down here, you still gave him a place to stay and bought him food. He was an asshole, but even he could show a bit of appreciation when it felt warranted.

Glancing up at the microwave on the counter he groaned. It was only nine in the morning, meaning he had nothing to keep him busy for the ten hours he was stuck here alone. After dumping his plate in the sink Bakugo grabbed the pad of paper and pen you’d left on the counter before sitting down on your couch to think.

While Bakugo seethed inside your apartment, you dragged your feet on the way to work as your mind reeled with thoughts on the events of the past twenty-four hours. Bakugo was still stuck here, and it was obvious he didn’t trust that you were completely innocent in all this. Why would he? “Trusting” didn’t exactly seem like a well-used word in his vocabulary.

“Well, if he really is stuck here for a while then he should curb the attitude. It’s not my fault...just trying to help,” you mumbled to yourself, nearly bumping into someone else on the sidewalk in the process.

Cars and buses trudged along on the traffic-burgeoned roads, your pace nearly the same as theirs. It was one of the main reasons you usually walked to work, besides enjoying some fresh air and mild exercise. Your road rage wouldn’t do well every single morning, especially not when dealing with drivers who looked at their phone screens more often than they watched the road. Before long you stood outside your bland office building and took a deep breath before you opened the door and stepped inside.

You could already tell today was going to be very long.

After putting your leftover pizza up in the fridge and pouring yourself a cup of cheap, bitter coffee in the communal kitchen, you turned around to see a coworker you found particularly annoying blocking your way.

“Morning,” she said with an oddly sly grin. Your eye twitched.

“Morning,” you replied while stepping around the older woman to see a box of donuts perched on the counter. The box was, unfortunately, empty, with only a few crumbs left. “Dammit.”

Your coworker hummed and followed you towards your cubicle. Her disgustingly chipper attitude this particular morning made your teeth grind. “So, you were out yesterday. Everything alright?” she asked.

Pausing, you wondered if she would pester you with questions that weren’t any of her business. “Perfectly fine. Just had some things to take care of.”

“You mean like...grocery shopping?” she asked, her voice rising in curiosity with every word.

The coffee in your hand nearly slipped out at her question. “Uh, what?” Her eyes narrowed at your reaction.

“Yesterday I stopped by the store after picking up my kids from school and saw someone who definitely looked like you, but you weren’t alone. Who was that delicious-looking man with you?” she asked without a hint of shame. Yeah, “delicious-looking” described Bakugo all right, but coming from her mouth it felt tainted.

“Aren’t you married?” you shot back.

She just shrugged. “I’m allowed to look but not touch. Anyway,” she continued. “Who was he? Hmm? Was that your emergency ?”

Your ears burned as you quickly thought up a lie to make her go away. “He uh...he’s here, visiting! From out of town. It was a very sudden trip. Needed someone to show him around. That’s all.” Your fingers clicked and clacked over the keyboard to hopefully indicate that you were done with this conversation.

“Hmm, that so…” she muttered to herself, obviously skeptical of your explanation. “Well. Better get to work.” When she finally walked away you gagged at her gross infatuation. Bakugo was out of the league of literally everyone in this building, anyway - probably even most of the people in town, yourself included! The people here were, generally, average and boring. They slogged through the tedium of balancing work and personal time like a server carrying trays in both hands while dodging running toddlers. You had a routine, but even with Bakugo here you couldn’t just skip work to deal with him. There were times you wished something exciting would happen, that adventure would drop in your lap...but now that an anime character flopped into your life like a fish out of water, you weren’t so sure about that notion anymore.

The first half of the workday slid along quicker than you anticipated because of the pile of leftover work from yesterday in addition to everything needed for today. If you were busy, then you couldn’t daydream about whatever mischief Bakugo was undoubtedly up to. “I swear if I get back and there’s a hole on my couch…”

The chat icon at the bottom of your screen lit up. Opening it you saw it was from one of the few coworkers you got along with. You were in different departments, so aside from occasionally grabbing lunch together, you used the internal chat system to keep in touch. She’d sent a picture of a new Bakugo figurine that just released. Your mouth went dry.

“Isn’t this from that anime you like? That angry gremlin?” she typed out. This moment caused the feeling of surreal paranoia from yesterday to surge back into the pit of your belly. The character on your screen literally slept on your couch last night. What. The. Fuck .

You typed out a quick response before getting back to work, eager to distract yourself from extraordinary thoughts.

By the time lunch rolled around you were starving. One of the microwaves smelled like rancid popcorn, but you powered through the stench to heat up your leftover pizza. Since the weather was nice you sat outside in an open balcony area while scrolling through social media. “I wonder what he’s doing now,” you wondered, eyes scanning the scenery on the street below as cars drove by and fat birds chirped.

As you ate leftover pizza at work, multiple pieces of paper lay scattered across the kitchen table, Bakugo’s foot tapping rapidly on the floor of your apartment. Notes upon notes of ideas, theories, and rambling thoughts were scribbled down in a way that only made sense to him. Desperate for any type of answer on how to get home, Bakugo wrote down anything that came to mind: the villain’s motive, whether or not this place was real or an illusion conjured in his head, why he wasn’t in Japan, etc.

“Fuck...if this is an illusion then the asshole villain would need to know this language and culture and somehow implant all that information, or make it very damn realistic.” Red eyes darted to his forearm before they fluttered closed. He wondered earlier if an injury might jolt him back to his own reality, so he used his quirk on himself. Despite knowing the ins and outs of his quirk and understanding his own destructive power, the light burn marks on his skin were evidence of the pain. It was nothing compared to the permanent scars from past fights that littered his body, though.

“The point is to get rid of me, right? Or make me go crazy trying to figure this shit out,” he mumbled aloud. Bakugo picked up the paper detailing what he remembered doing yesterday morning before all this happened, and read it over for the sake of clarity.

It was a rare day off for him, and despite wanting to take a well-deserved respite, Bakugo hated the idea of lounging around doing nothing. After waking up and dressing he decided to head out of his apartment building to a corner store a block away. He actually liked cooking, but even Bakugo admitted that the store owner made pretty good miso soup.

The building housed multiple Pro Heroes, so security was extremely tight. Bakugo rarely locked his door if he knew he wouldn’t be gone long; anyone stupid enough to rob him of all people would get their faces blown in. He grabbed his wallet, phone, and sunglasses and pulled up the hood on his jacket before heading out.

He hated the paparazzi and their predatory tactics in getting pictures and forcing interviews whenever they felt like it, so whenever he went out and wanted to be left alone, Bakugo dressed inconspicuously to avoid notice. Always on the lookout for the flash of a camera, obsessed fans, or the possibility of a surprise villain attack, he rarely let his guard down. In all honesty, it was exhausting to avoid feeling relaxed unless he was at home or out during a rare night with friends. Just one price of being a Hero, he mused silently.

Bakugo ordered the usual from the corner cafe. The owner knew him at this point and did Bakugo a courtesy to never point out who he was to customers so he could eat in peace. He scrolled through his phone with a mouth full of food to see posts from his coworkers, scoffing at how open they were with their personal lives.

Kirishima remained the social butterfly he was at UA. He took the time to sign merch and take pictures with fans, as well as share photos of himself at the gym or training. During an interview, a reporter asked why he was so open about his life online.

“Well,” he said. “Heroes are still people. We have lives outside of kicking butt and saving everyone, right? And I think it’s important that everyone understands that sometimes we can chill out and have fun like everyone else.”

“What a sap,” Bakugo mumbled. Even though his agent urged him to be more active online as a Pro Hero, he enjoyed his privacy. No one needed to see his flaws or vulnerabilities, or what he ate for breakfast that day - just that he was a strong and capable top Hero.

Once he was finished eating Bakugo stepped outside to take in the nice weather for a brief moment before heading back towards his apartment building. While checking his wallet to see how much cash he had - Kaminari somehow convinced him to go out drinking tonight with a couple of others - his phone rang.

That small distraction was all it took for a silent someone to come up behind him, place their hand on his shoulder, and squeeze until all that remained of him on the sidewalk was an open wallet, cracked phone, and scratched sunglasses.

“Fuck!” Bakugo yelled on the couch as the memory ended. “Routine...they knew where I liked to go and at what time. Must’ve been watching me. Can’t believe I was so stupid. Let my guard down for one second. Dammit!” At times like this, he would normally go out and train, destroy something at the gym before paying to replace it, or bug Kirishima to be a punching bag with his hardening quirk. Now, none of those options existed, but just sitting here like an idiot made him feel useless. “Think, think...shit. What if the asshole is here with me somewhere? Keeping watch?”

Leaving the papers scattered on the couch Bakugo stood up and scanned the room. “Oi! If any fuckers are here, you must have a death wish since you won’t live through it if I catch you!” he yelled into the empty room while vague paranoia seeped down his spine. With a low growl, Bakugo walked over to the counter and stuffed the spare key you’d left him this morning into his pocket. He needed to get out, to know what was around him, to find anyone suspicious in the area despite having no clue what the damn villain even looked like. Being in this small apartment started to feel claustrophobic, anyway.

His hand hit the doorknob before he remembered what you said this morning. “Nagging me to do shit like the old hag…” Turning around he snatched up the pad of paper and wrote down the quickest possible note before closing the door with a slam.

“Went out,” it read in messy Japanese.

Back at your office, you wondered what your new, temporary roommate was getting himself into before your coworker decided to gossip to other coworkers about the mystery grocery store man. “Can people mind their own business? We have a deadline next week,” you mumbled while popping some candy into your mouth. You kept a small stash behind your monitor so people wouldn’t dig their nasty fingers into a communal bowl.

“Where did you meet him?”

“Grocery store is a weird place for a date, but I won’t judge.”

“If it doesn’t work out, give him my number.”

They didn’t even know him, but the passing comments on your personal life made you wish the fire alarm would sound off so everyone could leave for the day. Most of the people in your office were older and didn’t know when to drop a subject, or couldn’t take the hint that you weren’t going to let any incriminating info slide. You assumed most of them weren’t familiar enough with anime to know who Bakugo was, but it wasn’t a risk you were willing to take if you wanted to keep up the charade of secrecy.

As the afternoon wore on you wondered what you’d do if he was stuck here for a while; as in, long enough to wonder how you’d possibly keep him entertained if Bakugo couldn’t get himself home. Your world was, just as he’d stated this morning, far less interesting than his own. Last night seemed like a small success with playing video games, so rather than letting him stew in his own frustration and anger at having no control over the situation, maybe you could at least try and get him to have fun.

“What would Bakugo Katsuki find fun, though? Besides beating up villains, anyway.” Maybe you were thinking too far ahead. He could disappear tomorrow, for all you knew...but what if he didn’t? What if you woke up tomorrow morning to find him asleep on your couch again? “I’m really glad I don’t have a roommate because I have no idea how I’d explain this shit.”

By the time six-thirty rolled around, you were equal parts anxious and eager. Relaxing at home after work was normally a calming experience, but the possibility of coming home to an unknown scene made you groan.

“At least tomorrow’s Friday...but what the hell am I gonna do about the weekend if he’s still here?” you wondered while walking out the door and down the street towards your apartment building. “And...won’t he need, like, more stuff?! He seemed like a hygienic guy with how he brushed his teeth in the anime, so I don’t think he’d be OK with wearing one set of clothes day after day, and I definitely don’t have anything that would fit him. He better not run up my water bill by washing his stuff every day!” The thought of dealing with an outrageous bill at the end of the month made your feet move just a bit faster towards home.

You stood in front of your apartment door and took a deep breath. “You can do this. If he has an attitude, I can deal with it without staring. He’s just a guy...who uh, shouldn’t really exist. But he does. And he’s hot. I’m a disaster…” you mumbled while sliding the key into the lock and pushing it open slowly.

“Hello?” you called out. No one answered. The apartment seemed empty, but you walked around to make sure there were no more unexpected visitors - including under your bed where the long, blank pillowcase still sat.

Nothing seemed out of place and nothing looked burnt, luckily. You did see the disorganized pieces of paper lying on the couch cushion. The writing was all in Japanese so you couldn’t read any of it. “Did he pick up on Midoriya’s note-taking habit?” you wondered aloud. Disturbing them seemed like a bad idea, so you just gathered them together and left them on the couch. “OK, so...where is he, then?”

Walking over towards the fridge you noticed another piece of paper on the counter, this one scrawled with some messy-looking writing. “Did he really leave a note like I asked him to? Surprising, honestly.” You took out your phone and poised it above the note to take a picture for the app...unfortunately, Bakugo’s handwriting prevented any recognizable translation. “Seriously? It’s not even legible. Well, he’s an adult and emphasized he didn’t need a babysitter...so if he went out and got lost, it’s not on me.”

Your normal routine consisted of changing out of your work clothes and into something more comfortable as soon as you got home, and you weren’t about to adjust that detail. A baggy t-shirt and soft pajama pants felt much better than your work clothes. Afterwards, you noticed a few things in your TV stand that desperately needed to be hidden.

“Season one, season two...that’s it. I have a couple of manga volumes in my room, better hide those, too.” You grabbed up the box sets of My Hero Academia and buried them under some dirty clothes in your closet, along with the manga volumes you owned. “If he found these he’d probably have some kind of breakdown or freakout...best to hide any evidence he might find snooping around while I’m at work.” Afterwards, you stretched and walked around the apartment to make sure there was nothing else Bakugo might find. He was probably too preoccupied today with being pissed off at his situation and writing those notes you found earlier - lucky you.

“It’s almost eight...should I go look for him? He can’t read the street signs so what if he really is lost?” The idea of Bakugo having to spend the night outside because he couldn’t find his way back made you frown. You grabbed a cookie out of the cabinet while wondering whether to go ahead and start dinner or walk around in the dark looking for Bakugo when the sound of the door lock clicking caught your attention.

Bakugo opened the door with more force than was probably necessary due to his bad mood, but stopped short when he realized he wasn’t walking into the empty apartment he’d left that afternoon.

You stood there with some kind of deer-in-headlights look and a cookie in your mouth as he stepped inside and let the door close behind him. All he wanted to do was get back and stew in his own frustrations at having no more information now than he did earlier. He’d gone out searching for something, anything, anyone who looked mildly suspicious...but came up empty-handed. The people here were painfully mediocre and completely quirkless, but he wasn’t at home where he could shut himself out from the world, or blow up something easily replaceable. No, he had to deal with some temporary roommate - well, technically he was the roommate - and act civil enough to keep your shitty couch for what he really fucking hoped was one more night.

Bakugo watched you finish the cookie with surprising vigor while you took out your phone to translate. “Um, hi. Where have you been? Did you get lost?” you asked, making his eye twitch.

“Hah? Why is that any of your damn business? And no, I wasn’t lost,” he answered while tossing the spare key you’d let him borrow onto the counter. When he got back home he wouldn’t need it.

“Just curious, no need to get an attitude. I saw your note but I couldn’t read it.” Crimson eyes scanned the paper in your hand. He rarely got headaches, but Bakugo swore he felt one edging up behind his eyes.

“What do you mean you couldn’t read it? Is the technology here that shitty and outdated?” he demanded, referring to whatever application you used to make communication possible. Your mouth thinned but he was in no mood to care about pleasantries.

“No, your handwriting is the shitty thing! Even Google didn’t know what it said.” At that bold accusation he rounded on you, nostrils flared. His handwriting was perfectly fucking fine!

“The hell did you say?”

You looked startled by his reaction but didn’t back away. Stubborn. “I said your handwriting is messy!”

Even without activating his quirk Bakugo swore he smelled smoke. “I didn’t even consider the possibility that I was dragged here to you specifically in order to piss me off!” he growled out while pointing an accusatory finger.

The bickering went back and forth, volume rising on both ends as both you and Bakugo turned an argument about legible handwriting into a yell fest. You knew he was obviously still upset at being stuck here, and you didn’t plan on insulting him as soon as he walked in the door, but the work day was long and you were tired and hungry and him being angry just fed into your own frustrations.

“Well I was going to be nice and offer to take you shopping tonight but toss that idea out the window!” you barked out while wildly gesturing towards an actual window at the other end of the room. Bakugo looked confused in addition to exasperated when the phone translated your words.

“Shopping?! Why the hell would I want to go fucking shopping ?” he replied with arms wide while staring right at you.

You took a deep breath in an attempt to calm down, but it did little good. “I know you don’t wanna consider the worst case scenario of being trapped here more than a few days, but I figured you were tired of wearing the same clothes two days in a row. Nothing I have will fit you so I was going to ask if you wanted some clothes to last you just in case!” You blurted all that out before sliding to the floor with your back against the cool metal of the fridge, the palms of your hands rubbing circles into your eyes. Yesterday was exhausting, and today was no better - but you had to wake up for work and deal with annoying coworkers, only to come home to Bakugo Katsuki yelling at you. Sure, maybe you could’ve been a bit nicer about his note, but he had no reason to display bitterness towards you directly.

Expecting some kind of outburst, you were surprised when your words were met with silence. You looked up to see Bakugo staring down at you with an open mouth and furrowed brows. He was already taller than you, but from your position on the floor, he stood as a broad tower of a man. If you didn’t know he was truly a good person from the manga, you would surely be more intimidated.

“Your priorities are absurd, you know that? Why do you even care what I might want or need?” he asked, a hand running through his ash blonde hair.

There was one glaring reason to his question that you would never admit aloud: you wanted to get along with him. Having the real-life version of Bakugo Katsuki in your apartment was like an absurd dream that you hadn’t woken up from yet, and honestly? You wanted him to like you. You wanted to be friendly with him. You didn’t want him to hate his time here, as involuntary as it was. But you couldn’t say any of that. It would be far too revealing of what you knew of him and his world, and would place you in a glaringly vulnerable light. Instead, you thought of a saying you’d read in passing once: tell the truth, but tell it slant.

You glanced away, toes curling against the cold tiles of the kitchen floor, his perceptive gaze like a beacon trained a target. “I’m just trying to be nice, I guess. You don’t want to be here, don’t belong here...but if I can make things easier then I’ll try,” you said with a shrug, projecting a bit to make sure the phone in your hand picked up everything despite how small you felt admitting just that much.

Bakugo stared down at you sitting almost pitifully on the floor after you gave him that answer. He’d been so damn suspicious of you since yesterday morning; suspicious that you had something to do with his agitating predicament, that you held some kind of clue to help him get back home. Hell, he even considered the possibility that you might be working with the villain in some way...but you’d have tried to get rid of him by now, right? Bakugo knew true fear; he’d both felt it himself and seen it displayed in the eyes of people he saved every day - people in danger. Your freaked out reactions yesterday weren’t fabricated. Yet here you were, offering up food and shelter and other shit for him through some bizarre altruistic urge to be “nice”. He hated feeling pitied by other people, but he could at least recognize when it would be stupid to reject help.

When he was younger he would’ve scoffed at the idea, but with age came wisdom and a bit more experience on how to swallow his pride on the rarest of occasions. He wouldn’t let his guard down completely, of course, but today had been long and he didn’t want to fall asleep pissed off. One shitty night’s sleep was enough.

“Are you serious,” he asked, catching your attention as you looked up at him. “What do you get out of being nice to me?”

That question must’ve snapped you out of feeling timid. “You’re a hero, right? You save people? What do you get out of helping people you don’t even know?”

You knew how to throw his own words back in his face. It annoyed him. “Don’t interrogate me. Why I chose Hero work is none of your business,” he answered as you finally stood up from the floor and brushed yourself off. “Well? Let’s go since you’re so damn insistent.”

He watched your brows furrow in confusion. “Uh, go where?”

“Didn’t you just fucking offer to take me to the store? Wearing the same clothes three days in a row is disgusting,” he admitted. Honestly it was; he couldn’t remember the last time outside of a mission in his hero costume that he’d spent more than a day and a half in the same clothes, and that was only when Kirishima dragged him to a bar and got him fucked up on some drink they named after him when he saved the owner from a villain.

Best case scenario, he’d wake up back home. Worst case, he’d wake up here if you didn’t try and stab him in his sleep. In the middle of those two options sat wearing the same pair of underwear for three days. If you offered to mitigate that last one, he’d take it.

“Really? You wanna go now?” Bakugo gave you a look that revealed his obvious answer. “Um, OK! Just let me change and we can go. As soon as we get back I’m ordering takeout because fuck cooking, I’m tired, and today’s been long.”

You scooted around him to slip into your room and close the door before you took a deep breath. “I’m surprised he went along with it,” you mumbled while changing into some jeans and a casual shirt. All you had to do was drive to the store, let him pick out what he needed, and come back. Grocery shopping wasn’t nearly the painful experience you expected it to be, so maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.

After changing, you walked out of your room to see Bakugo reading through the pile of notes you’d organized earlier. He looked up towards you, his eyes analytical. Without a word you grabbed up your purse and keys and headed for the door with Bakugo silently trailing behind. There seemed to be an understanding between the two of you to get this chore done and come back - hopefully - without any drama.

He didn’t put up as much of an attitude when getting into the car this time. If there was still daylight you could probably just walk since it wasn’t very far, but you were tired, starving, and it was pitch black outside, so screw that idea.

You knew where you were going but set your phone up in the stand and turned on the translator. “Um, sorry I insulted your handwriting. Our technology might not be as advanced as yours, and today’s been...long.” Bakugo probably didn’t want to hear about your annoying coworkers, so you left out the details. “You have enough to deal with so I don’t wanna argue about dumb stuff.”

He sat silently in the backseat of your car, ruby eyes glistening as streetlights passed through the side windows. “Whatever,” was all he gave as a reply. Bakugo didn’t want your pity, but you were doing him a handful of unnecessary favors for his benefit, so he kept the quips to a minimum.

The late hour meant that the store and parking lot were mostly empty. Bakugo was grateful for that detail because he really did not want to deal with or interact with more people than necessary. You were already an itch under his skin.

Bakugo analyzed the interior of the store as the two of you walked around. Just like the grocery store it seemed normal enough - nothing suspicious that might signal a crack in an illusion. The fluorescent lights in the ceiling were just as annoying here as they were back in Japan. The carts still had that one annoying squeaky wheel that made his eye twitch. There was always at least one screaming kid who possessed the lung capacity to echo throughout half the store. When fans became more of a nuisance with his growing popularity, Bakugo defaulted to just ordering things online. His busy Hero schedule and unpredictable hours also meant shopping took away from the little free time he savored. Of course, he loved being a Hero, he loved winning, and he loved kicking villain ass...but it was exhausting in all honesty, and breaks were rare.

No one knew him here. He was a stranger, a normal citizen. Anonymous. The thought settled strangely in the back of his mind and mixed with the annoyance of still having no answers to his current situation.

“Ok,” he heard you say in front of him while turning around, phone in hand to translate. “I figure pick out...uh, whatever you need to last you three or four days? I have a washer and dryer, too, so that’s not an issue. If you’re gone before then, clothes are easier to return than food.” He stared at you with a blank expression before turning to his left to see the men’s department. The styles here weren’t what he was used to, which agitated him. Growing up with parents in fashion and advertising made him picky, but he was in no position to be overly demanding. “And just...don’t pick out something too expensive, please? As you can probably tell I’m not exactly rich, but I do alright.”

This was all so...domestic. The past two days wore him down mentally, anger and confusion bubbling up into no attainable solutions to being stuck here. He was preparing to stay here in the event he couldn’t get back soon: buying food, clothes, toiletries. The brief idea of blowing up this entire building in a massive blast flickered into his mind; in addition to wanting to let loose his quirk that he’d been unable to use openly for two days, creating chaos might dispel the illusion...but if this wasn't in his head, if he was really in another world, then arson was out of the question.

“Hello?” Your hand waving in front of his face brought him out of the mental image of burning carts and smoldering TV’s. “Did you hear me?”

“Yeah, yeah. This won’t take long,” he answered with a frown. You looked a mix of concerned and tired, but whatever sat in that weird head of yours wasn’t any of his business.

“Alright, then. I’ll just be wandering around. Come find me when you’re done,” you said before turning around and heading down the wide store aisle, footsteps padding on the cold tile. At least you left him alone to do this, a small detail he appreciated.

After leaving Bakugo behind, you appreciated the simple fact that the store was mostly empty; dealing with a crowd would surely give you a headache after the past two days. Without thinking too much about it you wandered into the candle aisle, scents filling your nose as you stood in front of various glass jars filled with multicolored wax dripping with artificial smells. Ocean breeze. Clean linen. Fresh garden. Forest path. All of them vague yet accurate as you picked one up and sniffed.

The candles in your apartment were nearly burned down to the bottom, so you needed a new one anyway. “After the past couple of days, I might need something to help calm me down...Bakugo might need it more, though. I wonder if he likes candles...and what kinds of smells he likes.”

You enjoyed different kinds of scents depending on your mood and the time of year. Fresh cut flowers and dewy grass in the spring and summer always made your apartment feel a little less dusty. Ages ago you attempted to keep a plant alive to add a bit of color, too, but it wilted after a few weeks. A green thumb you did not possess.

The beginnings of fall currently appeared outside as trees lost their leaves, brown and crumpled on sidewalks that crunched under heavy boots, or sat neatly in piles for adventurous kids and playful dogs to jump into. Warm spices and hot tea and cozy blankets: these were the mental images that materialized during fall. A slight chill just now hit the air; not cold enough for a jacket, but no longer warm enough for shorts and tank tops.

You considered Bakugo and his quirk and the small details you knew about him, so you picked up a couple of candles with darker scents that reminded you of campfires and smoked wood and damp mountain air. There was one towards the top of the shelf that looked interesting. You stood on your tip-toes to try and reach it, but could just barely touch the label. “Dammit...unfair to short people…”

Just as you jumped up in an attempt to grab the candle, a gruff voice echoed down the aisle causing your fingers to sleep and the candle to flip off the shelf. “Shit!” you yelped, fumbling with a candle in one hand while you reached out desperately to grab the other one before it hit the floor and shattered. Time stood still and moved furiously quickly as the jar flipped in your hand, your eyes wide in panic. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if it broke, but you really hated the idea of an employee having to clean up your clumsy mess.

With knees in the floor and both candles now cradled safely against your chest, you breathed out a sigh of relief before hearing footsteps headed your way. You looked up and above you stood Bakugo with a cart trailing behind him and a hand on his hip. He must’ve seen the whole thing...wait, he caused it by scaring you in the first place!

His shit-eating grin told you that your assumption was right.

You stood up with both candles in hand and looked at him with furrowed brows. He didn’t have to go yelling for you, but this was Bakugo - being loud was a secondary personality trait. While still staring at him you sniffed the candle you’d worked so hard to grab...only to find out it smelled terrible. Your face must’ve shown your disgust because you swore Bakugo actually chuckled as you put the candle on a much lower shelf and held on to the one you liked. With your free hand, you took out your phone and opened back up the app.

“You done?” you asked. He just rolled his eyes.

“No shit. Let’s go, I hate shopping.” You were tempted to look at the clothes he picked out, but it really wasn’t any of your business. Hopefully, he paid attention to prices, though. Just a little.

Even though the clothing choices were fairly bland since this wasn’t a proper department store, he managed to find a few things he could tolerate for…hopefully just one more day. Since his dad worked in fashion, Bakugo grew up with a particular expectation of quality, and that didn’t change once he became a Pro Hero and no longer had to rely on an allowance. The choices here were tolerable, but he really would be an ass for turning his nose up at free clothes he desperately needed. Showering could only do so much.

By the time he was done the cart was filled with approximately two t-shirts, two black tank tops, one pair of sweatpants, one pair of workout shorts, a pack of black socks, and a pack of boxer briefs. The shoes he was already wearing were fine. Even though he was here, slacking off on his training wasn’t an option; he’d return back home ready to kick the ass of the villain that sent him here.

He considered this amount the “minimum” for the worst case scenario that he was stuck here for more than a day or two. It was honestly embarrassing having someone else buy this shit for him...but you offered, so he tried to shrug off the blow to his ego on self-sufficiency.

The only thing that mitigated his agitation at having, as far as he could tell, no control over the situation at hand was finding you fumbling around like a moron trying not to drop a candle that you didn’t even buy because it smelled bad. You were shorter than him, and turning the corner to see you jumping up like a moron was too perfect a moment to pass up. If you’d actually dropped the thing he might’ve felt slightly guilty, but that pissy look you gave him was mild at best.

“Fine by me, I’m starving, so let’s hurry up and get back,” you said while leading him to the cash registers. “Do you...like Chinese food?”

His good mood was brief, replaced quickly with tired indifference as he remembered where he was: not home. Not in Japan. Not being a Hero. This place was foreign and he felt helpless, which pissed him off. He really needed something to punch. Your question brought him back to the fluorescent lights and cold tiles of the store.

“I’ll eat it. Don’t care what you order, just make mine spicy,” he answered while analyzing your expression; it was similar to the one you made smelling the candle.

“I’ll order takeout when we get back. Too tired to cook.” As soon as you walked down the cashier’s aisle he piled everything up and crossed his arms impatiently to get this over with. “Oh! Almost forgot, oops.” You set the candle you were holding at the tail end of the pile. The cashier looked between the two of you with an odd look - probably because of the translator - but Bakugo’s glare sent her back to scanning. You paid and he grabbed the bags before walking towards the exit. Honestly, he was hungry, too, so the sooner he got back to eat, the sooner he could sleep.

You yawned while walking to the car; honestly, it was pretty late to be eating dinner, but you hadn’t had much of anything since lunch and going to bed without either of you eating anything sounded awful. You observed that Bakugo’s fashion sense didn’t change much since most of the items he picked out were black. You made sure to avert your eyes when the pack of underwear crossed over the conveyor belt. Thinking about whatever underwear he picked out was most definitely not OK. Nope. Absolutely not.

The drive back home was mostly silent as he stuffed the bag into the back seat with him and made no attempt at conversation. You didn’t really know what to say either, so both of you fell into awkwardness. He was surely still pissed about being here, about having you buy him things, about not knowing anything regarding the quirk used on him. At least he let you do this one favor, and maybe he appreciated it...or just enjoyed cackling at your expense when you almost dropped that candle. You were already a bit clumsy, and having a hot guy staying with you for a while probably didn’t help, either. If it made him crack a rare smile, though….maybe it was worth it? You wouldn’t trip up intentionally, but you had a feeling that being flustered about him posed a natural threat to your balance and coordination.

As soon as you parked Bakugo wasted no time in grabbing his things and exiting the car, but at least he slowed down enough to let you walk in pace behind him. He impatiently gestured towards your front door since he left your spare key inside, so you opened the door and let the two of you inside your apartment, locking it behind you.

“Now that’s out of the way…” You set your things down and pulled a takeout menu off the fridge, scanning it to figure out what to order. Bakugo said he didn’t care as long as it was spicy, so you paid close attention to the little pepper indicators next to the dish names. Glancing up you saw Bakugo seated on the couch, the bag of clothes next to him, one hand opening and closing as small sparks flew up from his palm. He stared at the flickers of light as though they held the answers to his problems, or like a realization might ignite along with the firework-like flames.

Bakugo glanced up from the sparks in his hand when you spoke up from the kitchen. Even though he couldn’t understand you he assumed you were ordering food with your phone precariously balanced on one shoulder and a menu in hand.

He hated not knowing. He hated feeling lost. He hated having no answers to this giant fucking problem. If he really was alone here with no other Heroes - and so far that seemed likely - then he was screwed, but that definitely didn’t mean giving up on finding a way back home. There had to be a way to get back, and he was going to find it. Bakugo never gave up on anything, so he’d be damned if he let this exasperating situation get to him. That’s surely what the villain wanted, and Bakugo wouldn’t let them have the satisfaction.

That, however, did nothing to cure the boredom here at having no Hero work to keep him busy.

His eyes flickered up once again when you moved out from the kitchen and towards what looked like a small hallway closet. With your arms full of towels you walked into the bathroom for a minute before coming back out, glancing at him briefly as you walked back into the kitchen and grabbed your phone.

He’d observed you for the past two days and came to the conclusion that you were weird, but not dangerous. Getting into a physical fight with you - barring you weren’t hiding some super strength or you were lying about everyone being quirkless - meant he would win, no contest. Your apartment seemed average enough, if a bit small. He made good money as top Pro Hero, so his own place back home was at least twice this size despite living alone. Besides that bat you wielded yesterday and kitchen knives, nothing else screamed “weapon.” You also seemed clumsy, something he could use to his advantage if he needed to. Overall, he concluded that you weren’t an immediate threat.

“Hey,” you called, the phone in your hand translating once more. That robotic voice was annoying and it occasionally got words wrong, but overall he could piece things together. “Food should be here soon, I just ordered the spiciest thing they had so I hope that’s OK.”

“You gonna turn your nose up at it again? Coward?” he mocked, and sure enough, your nose scrunched up again at the mere idea of smelling whatever food he ate.

“It’s yours, not mine, so no problem. I also, uh, cleared out some space in that closet for your things so you don’t have to keep them in the bag.” You pointed to the door you opened earlier. So that’s why you removed the towels. “I’m going to change,” you said before disappearing back into your room and closing the door behind him.

Bakugo sighed before grabbing the bag of clothes and sorting them onto the single shelf you’d emptied for him, keeping the tags on for you to return if he didn’t wear them. “I could be outside with fuckin’ nothing, I guess,” he mumbled to himself, trying to look at the few positives of the situation: shelter, food, bathroom, clothes. If he was forced to choose between being homeless and being here, he’d stick to this apartment.

Clean clothes sounded pretty good right now, considering he’d worn the same thing for two days in a row. On that note, he grabbed what he wanted and headed into the bathroom to shower.

When you came out of your room wearing the pajamas you had on earlier, Bakugo was gone. “Uh...what?”

You looked around before pausing to hear water running in the bathroom. “Bakugo is using my shower right now, holy shit,” you whispered while trying to keep any and all stray thoughts far away from your rampant imagination. “Nope, none of that. We’ll just...put those thoughts.. .far away.”

To keep yourself occupied before the food arrived you grabbed the novel you were reading yesterday and sat on the couch. The store bag was gone, so you assumed Bakugo put his things in the closet. It wasn’t much, but you tried to give him a small amount of available space in your apartment.

After about ten minutes you heard the bathroom door open and nearly bent the front cover of your book from how hard you gripped it to keep the book from falling right onto the floor. Bakugo walked out from the steamy bathroom wearing a black tank top and sweatpants, the clothes he’d worn for the past two days tucked under his arm. The faint scars you saw last night littering his skin wound up to his shoulders - evidence of his battle prowess and resilience. You silently thanked the book for its wondrous ability to hide your face before he caught you staring. Or trying not to stare...or something.

Luckily his priority seemed to revolve around being left alone at the moment. You watched from the corner of your eyes as he walked to the kitchen for a glass of water before you heard a knock at the door. Looking up from your book Bakugo stilled, his shoulders tense as he glanced from the door to you with narrowed eyes.

“Food,” you said before getting up from the couch, hoping he would understand that much without the help of your phone. After digging in your purse for some cash you opened the door to reveal a scrawny teenager holding a plastic takeout bag.

“Thanks.” With food in hand and less money in your pocket, you closed the door and set the bag on the counter. “Holy shit I’m hungry.”

Bakugo watched as you sorted through the boxes. The answer to which box belonged to which person became immediately clear when a distinct spicy smell made your eyes water. “Ugh, no thanks.” He scoffed and snatched up the box along with a pair of disposable chopsticks before sitting down at your small kitchen table. Instead, you grabbed a fork from your drawer and sat at the opposite side with your phone in the center to pick up any conversation.

There was a full minute of silence before Bakugo spoke up. “OK, stop fucking eating. What’s wrong with you?”

With fork poised in the air on the way to your mouth, you paused and almost dropped rice into your lap. “What? What’d I do?”

“Why are you using a fork?” he asked, red eyes darting to the utensil in your hand. You cleared your throat after swallowing the hovering bite.

“I...don’t...uh...chopsticks and me don’t get along, alright? I can never get them to work right,” you admitted while avoiding eye contact. Bakugo looked borderline disgusted.

“Literal babies in Japan can use chopsticks,” he mocked while easily picking up his own spicy noodles. He really was a brat.

You just turned your nose up at him and continued eating. “My apartment, my rules. Maybe I’ll figure it out soon, but today is not that day.”

Even though Bakugo thought he had you mostly figured out just from small interactions and silent observation, the one thing that made his eye twitch was your sass. His friends back home pushed his buttons constantly - almost to the point of blowing their faces off - but you just spat back most things he said or did with vigor, and he couldn’t retaliate in the same way. Pushovers always grated on his nerves, but he wasn’t sure which annoyed him more: someone who stood up to his attitude, or someone who just did what he said - which was usually correct - without question.

The remainder of dinner proceeded in dedicated silence. Normally Bakugo wouldn’t mind being alone all day, but it was always by choice; now that he was forced into near isolation with no one to talk to besides you , he considered digging into your own personal history. Not that he cared about your daily life or anything, but there remained the possibility that you knew more than you were letting on. Maybe he could pretend to care long enough for you to slip up on the off-chance that you were involved in this scheme.

“What boring shit do you do for work?” he asked suddenly. You looked up from finishing off your food with that damn fork, appearing surprised at this question.

“You wanna know what I do?”

He shrugged. “I told you what I did; isn’t it fair for me to ask?” Bakugo knew he was being an asshole, but didn’t particularly care to curb his attitude at the moment.

You sighed but told him the rough gist of your job responsibilities and role at the company. None of it sounded unbelievable. “Wow, yeah, that is fucking boring,” he answered with a disinterested tone when you were done.

“I mean, yeah...but the pay is decent, so I won’t complain too much. I’ve been there a few years so I guess I’m just kinda going through the motions.” With that, you got up to toss away your takeout container, but Bakugo didn’t miss your attitude shift.

He could never work at an office; hell, the thought of anything other than Hero work made him cringe. It was difficult and strenuous and dangerous, but he loved every minute of it. Most people didn’t enjoy that luxury, though, with their own jobs. Maybe you fell into that group. Not like your personal issues were any of his business, really. He also couldn’t pry for information if you were in a bad mood, so a different tactic might be in order.

While washing the fork in your hand your mind wandered to Bakugo’s questions. You didn’t like talking about work much. It surprised you that Bakugo even asked about it at all, but there wasn’t much to tell without listing off a growing list of frustrations that he probably didn’t care about. Your life fell strictly into a mundane category compared to his, but if he wanted to know more about it, you’d give in. Maybe you could find some common ground...but honestly, you were exhausted and just wanted to read until you fell asleep in your comfy bed.

When Bakugo got up after finishing his own food you went into the bathroom and hummed through your nightly routine of teeth brushing and face washing. “It’s almost the weekend,” you mumbled to yourself. “Which means I can rela...oh. Shit. What if he’s still here? How do I entertain someone who lives a way more exciting life than I do?” you asked towards your reflection in the mirror. Of course, it held no answers, but you had one more day to think about that. He might not even be here tomorrow, anyway, right? The thought shouldn’t have bothered you as much as it did.

When you opened the door Bakugo sat on the couch with a couple of your games in hand. If he kept his attitude in check, you could focus strictly on how ridiculously handsome he was. A dangerous road, you thought to yourself. Don’t do or say anything dumb .

You grabbed your phone from the counter and stood next to the couch as his crimson eyes watched your every move. “I’m going to sleep since I have work tomorrow. I don’t mind if you wanna play or watch something, just don’t keep the volume up too loud. Did you, uh, sleep OK last night? Do you need more blankets or anything?”

Bakugo shook his head. “It’s a couch. I’ve slept on worse. It’s fine.” His answer was curt but you were too tired to push the subject.

“If you’re sure. Goodnight. I hope you can make it home soon...let me know if I can help. I don’t mind.” With that, you walked into your room and closed the door.

Bakugo growled to himself and tossed the games to the side to keep from breaking them. Why were you so fucking nice ? He couldn’t understand it. What did you get out of helping him? There had to be some hidden agenda.

Or maybe he was just a cynical asshole who expected the worst out of people by default until they proved him wrong. Either way, he wasn’t about to let his guard down around you...which meant he needed a plan.

Tomorrow, if he woke up in this quirkless world again, would be the start of something interesting.

Chapter Text

The morning routine should've been easy and memorized by this point: wake up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, leave for work. Simple.

Instead, you struggled to turn off your alarm under the dreariness of sleep so as not to wake the temporary roommate who may or may not be snoozing on your couch in the next room. In your drowsy haste to get up and answer that question, you overestimated how wide your mattress was and almost fell right on your ass to the floor. “Woah, OK...that woke me up. Now to just...quietly…”

Mimicking the previous morning, you slowly opened your bedroom door with today’s work clothes held under your arm and slid towards the couch.

There Bakugo lay once more, looking slightly more comfortable than the night before. Sunlight seeped through his pale blonde hair, and despite his slight scowl even in sleep, this was the most peaceful you’d seen him yet. Your heart raced, secretly giddy that he was still there. Three days , you thought to yourself. It was incredibly selfish to want one more day with him, but could anyone blame you? This whole situation still felt like a lucid dream - one that you didn’t want to immediately wake up from.

You’d gone to bed with a less-than-stellar mood when Bakugo started asking about your work. Such an innocent question shouldn’t have brought the mood down, but it was hard thinking about how much he loved Hero work compared to how you skated through the office on autopilot most days. Jealousy wasn’t a good look, especially when comparing your very average life to Bakugo’s.

With a sigh, you tore your eyes away from the sleeping man and tiptoed into the bathroom. “Today will be different,” you told yourself as warm water woke you up from early morning lethargy. “I don’t wanna be a downer since he’s already dealing with so much...so I’ll do my best to keep him happy! Whatever the hell that means…not like I can summon bad guys for him to fight. But tomorrow’s Saturday, and he doesn’t have to be cooped up here by himself. Maybe we can find some common ground and I can show him around town, take his mind off all this...if he’s here, that is.” Thinking that this might be his last day here made you a bit sad, but everything surrounding this situation fell squarely outside of your influence to change.

After getting ready for work, you opened the bathroom door to find him still asleep. Considering his bad mood yesterday morning, you thought it best to let him rest. Instead of making breakfast you silently grabbed a granola bar from the cabinet before taking the notepad he’d used yesterday - judging by the missing pages - and used your phone to translate a note, careful to copy down the Japanese characters exactly. Bakugo might have messy handwriting, but you didn’t want him to throw insults right back at you.

“Be back at 7” it read. With one last look towards the sleeping man on your couch, you opened the door and locked it behind you before walking out into the hallway.

Before hitting the stairwell one of your neighbors came out of her own apartment. You’d seen her many times and held brief conversations but never properly exchanged names. She was an older woman with a bit of a limp and glasses too large for her face. She always nodded or waved if you passed by while taking her small dog with one eye out for a walk. He looked almost as old as she did, so maybe they made a perfect pair.

“Good morning,” she said as you passed by.

“Morning,” you replied, about to head down the stairs, but she cleared her throat as if wanting to hold a longer conversation.

“I don’t mean to pry,” she said, her head swiveling from side to side as if being watched despite there being no one else in the hallway. “But are you OK? I heard some awful yelling last night while taking little Charlie here out.”

Immediately you stiffened, thinking back to the yelling match between yourself and Bakugo after you got home from work. Without context, it probably did sound like a fight going on, but you didn’t want to alarm her or anything; lying it was. “O-oh. Yes! Yes, I’m fine. A friend and I were just watching a movie. He um, doesn’t hear so well, so the volume got a bit loud. Sorry.”

Her glasses magnified her eyes as they widened like saucers. “Ooh, a movie! You kids and movies. What was it?”

Shit , you thought. Improvise! Something loud, something…?

“Transformers,” you blurted out. “The Michael Bay one. With all the explosions and robots?” She looked a bit confused but nodded, telling you she bought the fib.

“Maybe my grandson knows. I just stick to my drama stories, you know. There’s this one where-”

“I’m very sorry, but I have to get to work. Bye!” you interrupted before nearly tripping down the stairs in your haste. You power-walked down the last flight and onto the sidewalk before you took a deep breath to steady your nerves. “I’ll be so pissed if I get a noise complaint because of him...so this just means no more yelling. Hah, yeah, OK,” you told yourself. This was Bakugo you were talking about, but you’d do everything within reason to avoid any more arguments and keep him happy.

As you walked to work, Bakugo slept. Bakugo only dreamed when deep and comfortable sleep hit him. That kind of ease couldn’t come from sleeping on a couch in a world he didn’t belong. Even so, the past few days must’ve exhausted him more than he thought because he slept later than he did even on his days off back home.

He felt a blanket that wasn’t his, cushions that weren’t his, and the smell of an apartment that didn’t belong to him. Red eyes snapped open to see your ceiling before closing them for a moment, hoping he could wake up from this stupid, infuriating dream.

Unfortunately, when his sleep-blurred vision cleared, Bakugo still wasn’t home. “I’m going to murder the fucking villain that did this,” he mumbled while sitting up. For some reason, he expected to hear your voice, but instead, only silence greeted him. He looked around the apartment to find it empty and, judging by how the sun streamed in through the blinds of the tall window in your living room, he assumed you must’ve already left for work. Bakugo remembered his attitude the previous morning when you were generous enough to make him breakfast and how you nearly slammed the door when you left.

“Shit.” The thought jogged his memory on the plan he developed last night: be nice to you.

It was strictly a tactical decision that developed for several reasons. Number one? He still didn’t really trust that your behavior, generosity, and accommodating attitude stemmed only from trying to be nice. There had to be another reason, right? If you knew more than you were letting on, he’d find out...but if his sour attitude - justified though it was - made you reserved and unwilling to talk? No good. He hated lying, so screw that idea. He’d just be slightly more agreeable than usual. No fucking problem.

Number two? Bakugo never went back on his word, and he meant it two days ago that if you wanted him gone, he’d leave. That was far from ideal, obviously, because he’d have nowhere to go, no reliable food source, no shower, nothing. Your presented kindness butted up against your low tolerance for his ego, so playing it safe and not getting himself kicked out was a priority. He wouldn’t fight you on that.

He hated the third reason the most: besides you, there was no one to talk to. He couldn’t even read the damn street signs here. Bakugo valued time by himself, but only because he chose to spend time alone, not because it was forced on him. Kirishima, Kaminari, Deku, hell even Jirou dragged him into things, and - despite his protests - Bakugo valued those friendships now that he was older. They worked together, saved lives together, won battles and celebrated together...sometimes mourned together when all their efforts just weren’t enough.

He missed his friends and Hero work, no doubt about it. If you were willing to talk to him and keep him from ripping his hair out from boredom? He’d take it, and that meant keeping you placated.

“Fuck this sappy shit,” he groaned while easing up off the couch to stretch. “If I’m stuck here I can’t be lazy. I gotta train somehow…”

Bakugo sat in front of your TV stand and sorted through your DVD collection hoping to find something useful. In the process he did find a couple of anime box sets and movies that looked interesting - at least he could understand the language so it was better than sitting around in silence. He also found a couple of workout videos that were clearly catered towards women, but maybe they could still work.

After fixing a simple breakfast, he cleaned up and put the dishes away. Step one of being nice: don’t make a damn mess. He wasn’t a messy person anyway, but annoying you with dirty dishes or misplaced things would ruin his plan. While cleaning he found the note you left this morning with your carefully practiced handwriting that looked obviously copied from an online translation. When you got back from work wasn’t any of his business, so he paid it little mind.

“Thank god no one’s here to see this - Kaminari would have a field day with blackmail,” he said while putting in one of the DVDs. Not that he considered exercise to be gendered, but he was used to more extreme strength training in a large, Hero-specific gym with equipment and room to move compared to whatever mild cardio this might entail.

Considering he couldn’t read the menus it took a minute to get the damn video to actually start. After five minutes he shut it off with a groan, determining he could work out better on his own. While out wandering around the previous day, Bakugo passed by a small park area - could be a decent spot to brainstorm routines without using his quirk since the weather was nice.

Bakugo looked down at his hands and popped off a few sparks before closing them tightly into fists, his knuckles white and muscles tense. Keeping his quirk a secret pissed him off, but drawing attention to himself or causing an uproar with bystanders would create problems. “Being stuck inside isn’t doing me any favors,” he echoed in the empty living room. His mind ran more efficiently while actively engaged with something other than mulling about doing nothing, anyway. On that note, Bakugo changed into the one pair of workout shorts he picked out, grabbed the spare apartment key, and disappeared beyond the door.

Meanwhile, you sat at one of the tables outside your office building and ate some lunch you picked up at a small corner store nearby. They knew the names of half your coworkers by now due to how often everyone grabbed food there. Cheap and convenient made for a perfect lunch. While eating you wondered about what the hell you were going to do about tomorrow if Bakugo was still here.

“What does he even do for fun? All I know is he trains and sleeps and likes video games...but what else?”

There were things to do around town, sure, but all of it seemed boring in comparison to whatever he and his friends probably got up to. He also had no identification, which limited things to places where an I.D. wasn’t needed.

“When I get home maybe I can toss around some ideas and see if one sticks. I don’t want him to be bored...but will he even wanna hang out with me in the first place?” The abrupt idea that Bakugo might just want to be left alone made you fidget. You really wanted to get along, but of course you wouldn’t - and probably couldn’t - force him to do anything he didn’t agree to. Still, you figured he must be bored staying around your apartment or any nearby areas.

Despite his general attitude issues, it wasn’t so bad having Bakugo around. Loneliness sometimes crept up on you while being single and without a roommate, so having someone to talk to was a nice change. Of course, you had friends you could hang out with, but last minute plans usually didn’t pan out...plus, half of them were in relationships, and you hated being a third wheel.

“I wonder if he’s figured out any more ideas on going home. I dunno what he could exactly do from here, though.” Although thinking up weekend ideas to keep Bakugo entertained and wondering if he had any control over his situation kept your mind busy, the thrill of office work called. With a groan, you finished your lunch and walked back inside.

Friday afternoons were always the slowest. Everyone wanted to go home and productivity slowed dramatically compared to earlier in the week, but of course, you had to stay busy. Your mind drifted to Bakugo every once in a while, wondering what he was doing and whether or not you’d have another argument tonight. If you could just keep him in a good mood then everything might just be tolerable…”might” being the keyword.

As you suffered through the last few hours of work, Bakugo sat alone on a park bench as the sun began to sink down over the horizon of buildings and trees in the distance. The tree behind him cast a dancing shadow over his face, a cool breeze blowing through the branches that licked the sweat from his brow. He closed his eyes and listened.

Chirping birds. Rustling leaves. Walking people. Laughing children. Honking cars.

Normal, everyday sounds...for everyone except Heroes, anyway. Bakugo was used to the cacophony of violence and the unpredictability of a sudden fight. They often broke out when people least expected it, leaving panic and destruction in their wake. He’d seen whole buildings fall apart and neighborhoods reduced to rubble. Civilians ran away while he sprinted directly into danger.

In comparison, the quiet peacefulness here was jarring. Of course, crime still existed, but probably on a far less destructive scale. For that, Bakugo felt grateful: in his world, Heroes were necessary to combat villains, both weak and strong, in order to keep people safe and prevent assholes from taking over.

Bakugo opened his eyes and gazed from one side of the small park near your apartment to the other as a light sunset glow cast itself on the green grass and concrete walkways, coating them in an orange and blue haze. He’d been out here for hours doing what exercises he could without any equipment or using his quirk: running, push-ups, cardio, even hanging from a low tree branch by his knees to do sit-ups. It didn’t engage him like the gyms back home, but it allowed him to evict pent-up energy and gave him a clear mind to see the path ahead: continue thinking about ways to get home while avoiding pissing off the person who owned his temporary shelter.

“I don’t even know what time it is...shit, what did that note say? Seven?” It seemed too early to be that late, but it made him realize how hungry he was and how desperately he wanted a shower.

He had no trouble finding his way back to your apartment building while still remaining aware of his surroundings for anyone or anything suspicious. Once inside he looked at the clock on the microwave: about five-thirty. He had time to take a shower and grab a snack before you got back, which would be the perfect time to enact operation “act nice”.

While Bakugo sat around in your apartment, you began your walk home from work. Friday evenings usually left you feeling invigorated with thoughts of a relaxing weekend on the horizon, but if you woke up to Bakugo sleeping on your couch again then those plans flew right out the door. You had a few ideas to present to him tonight and hoped at least one of them interested him enough to do something other than mope or complain.

“Will he be there, or will he wander around again doing who knows what?” you wondered aloud while climbing the steps up to your apartment. “Be nice, don’t say anything dumb, don’t stare...maybe I can manage at least one of those.”

You opened the door and were greeted with the sound of obvious video game noises coming from inside. After sliding off your shoes and closing the door quietly you walked towards the couch to see familiar pale blonde hair sticking up from the back as two characters battled it out with grunts and light shows on the TV screen. Video games seemed to put him in a good mood two days ago, so maybe you could make this work to your advantage.

You watched silently until the fight was over and the word VICTORY sprawled across the screen. “Uh, hey,” you said to catch his attention. Immediately Bakugo paused the game and looked over the back of the couch at you with those pretty red eyes of his. Don’t stare , echoed in your head once more as you opened up the translator app on your phone.

Bakugo tossed the controller to the side and stood up, eyeing you while he walked towards your small kitchen. “Are you hungry? Because I am,” he asked with hands on his hips. The question caught you off-guard since you didn’t exactly expect him to care about whether or not you might be hungry. He quirked an eyebrow at whatever perplexed expression you made.

“Yeah, actually. I could eat. I normally eat lunch around one so by the time I get home I’m pretty hungry. Let me go change, and I can get started on dinner,” you answered. Before you could turn around towards your bedroom, though, Bakugo interrupted.

“No. I’m cooking,” he stated as an absolute fact. He really did not want to start an argument so soon, and especially not about something so stupid. Your tendency to think about his comfort first bugged the hell out of him.

You sighed before sliding the phone between the two of you on the kitchen counter. “You’re sorta like a guest, and guests shouldn’t cook. I don’t mind.”

Bakugo clicked his tongue in response. “You won’t win this fight. Why the hell did you let me pick out food if you don’t want me to cook it? Also, I’m not some lazy freeloader who doesn’t pull his own weight.”

“But, you have enough to deal with,” you argued, but Bakugo just ignored you and proceeded to pull things out of the fridge and set them on the counter. “OK, well fine then. Just know that I’m not making you do this so...uh...alright you’re not listening.” Your footsteps padded against the floor behind him until he heard a door open and close. Bakugo smirked to himself.

“She hasn’t known me long enough to realize I don’t lose at anything.” He really was a smug asshole; he’d keep up this act of politeness even if it pissed you off. Stubbornness always won out.

You closed the bedroom door behind you and almost rubbed your eyes before remembering you were wearing makeup, and smudged mascara wasn’t on trend this decade. “I shouldn’t complain if he wants to help out, really. That’d be dumb, right? Plus, Bakugo Katsuki making me dinner again...hello?! I’d be stupid to turn him down. It would be rude. And I kinda have done a lot for him…” you murmured to yourself while picking out some pajamas to wear.

You really did want to make him as comfortable as possible, but if Bakugo offered to lend a hand in some type of bartered repayment plan then you’d try not to object.

“Ah, much better.” Sliding on a big soft shirt and stretchy pants felt far more comfortable than your business-casual work clothes. Bakugo wore the clothes you bought him the previous night, which told you he silently appreciated the gesture. “His dad works in fashion from what I remember, so I bet he has fancy clothes back home...but he can’t know I know that or he’d literally blow me up.” You ran your fingers along your lips with an imaginary zipper as a reminder to be careful when speaking to Bakugo. He was incredibly perceptive and would pick up on any slip-ups.

With that in mind, you opened your door to find him busy at the stove with his back to you, only turning for a split second to look over his shoulder before returning to his work. Maybe you could make small talk and pick his brain about ideas he had on getting home.

“So,” you said while grabbing your phone off the counter, careful not to get too close to Bakugo holding a knife. “Do you have any more theories on how to possibly get back to your world? Or do you still think this is some dream you need to wake up from?”

Bakugo just wanted to remain focused on dinner, but telling you to “fuck off” didn’t mesh with his plan. So, he indulged your curiosity to see how you’d react without looking up from slicing vegetables. “What else do I have to do here besides think? I have theories and ideas. And no, I don’t think this is just some made up shit in my head. It’s too elaborate, too many unknown factors for one idiot villain to think up on their own,” he answered. After an afternoon spent at the park observing random people for hours, he was convinced this whole world couldn’t be a lucid dream; there’d be a slip-up by now, a tear in the reality. No one, not even the strongest of villains, could keep that kind of complex illusion going for long. You hummed off to the side as if considering his words.

“So you think they acted alone? Are most villains independent or do they work in groups?” Acknowledging your prying questions and replying tactfully might yield something useful, Bakugo thought to himself.

“They’re all different, so it depends on their motives and the scope of their plans.” He stirred a simmering pot before probing just a bit further. “Why do you wanna know? It’s none of your business.” It technically was since he was intruding on your life, but voicing that aloud put himself at a disadvantage.

You shuffled a bit, and it didn’t go unnoticed. “Well, I mean two brains are better than one, right? I’m just trying to brainstorm and maybe come up with something you hadn’t thought of yet. Not that you’re not smart! You’re obviously super smart.” He heard you clear your throat, only glancing up through his peripheral vision for a moment before returning to the food. “I guess I watch a lot of TV and read a lot of books, so that’s where my ideas come from since quirks aren’t exactly my area of expertise. I like figuring things out and theorizing and finding answers to things. It’s sorta what I do at work, and I think I’m pretty good at it,” you replied with a smile. He judged it to be genuine.

Bakugo turned to face you now, one hand leaning on the stove with the other stuffed in his pocket. “Yeah, I am pretty damn smart.” You rolled your eyes at his confirmation but he resisted a quip at your expense. “But if you have ideas, spit ‘em out.”

“Really?” you said almost flabbergasted that he wanted to hear your thoughts on his situation. It was odd seeing you excited about something after your drab mood yesterday. “OK, um, so I have some ideas. Tell me if they sound dumb or are super obvious.”

“I won’t hesitate,” he taunted while turning back to the food. You ignored him and continued.

“So I’ve been trying to think about whether or not you appearing here is random, as in, could you have been sent anywhere ? Or did the villain send you here on purpose? That doesn’t make sense to me, though, because obviously, I don’t know any villains, so how would they know to send you here?”

Bakugo came to the same conclusion over the course of the past couple of days, so on this, he agreed. If the villain wanted to destroy him, why send him somewhere fairly safe like this on purpose? Unless-

“But...there’s the possibility that it doesn’t matter where you were sent, and that their plan was to get you out of the way for some other reason. But that still tells me the villain might not control it, because why send you to my apartment specifically?” You hummed while deep in thought, which gave Bakugo a brief opportunity to analyze your behavior and appearance.

He watched you cross your arms as a finger tapped the inside of your elbow, mouth quirked off to the side as you stared at nothing in particular. You didn’t look tense or particularly stressed about talking to him about these ideas, so he guessed that your ramblings were an honest attempt to brainstorm solutions or reasons for how he ended up here and why. Still, he wanted you to keep talking. By some miracle, you might come up with something he hadn’t already considered.

Your gasp made him look up, thinking that something was wrong. “What?” he asked.

“I just thought of something…” The distress on your face put him on edge a bit. “If this really was random, then you were super lucky. What if you ended up at the bottom of the ocean? Or out in space?! That’d be awful.” You shivered as if just considering those morbid possibilities sent chills down your spine. Bakugo had seen plenty of disturbed expressions over the years, so he knew immediately yours wasn’t fake. For the briefest of moments, he almost felt guilty, but the feeling disappeared as quickly as it surfaced.

Truth be told he had been avoiding those conclusions for the very same reason: thinking of those “what if” scenarios meant considering the fact he might very well be dead right now. He could handle a lot of different scenarios and work around rough terrain, but appearing in an active volcano? In the middle of the ocean? Maybe even underground, trapped in a cave system far below the surface of the planet? Avoiding those hypotheticals and focusing instead on the existing issues was far healthier for his mental stability.

“Sorry! Sorry,” you exclaimed, hands waving a bit which brought him out of the grim scenarios running through his head. “Didn’t mean to make that morbid.”

Bakugo shrugged and kept his focus on the food in front of him, hands working deftly around the knives and pots. “I’ve considered those, but it’s stupid to dwell on things that didn’t happen. In my line of work getting caught in your own head can be dangerous.”

You hummed, considering the consequences of choosing Hero work as a career. The fame, the recognition, the excitement...it all carried a price: even someone as talented and proficient as Bakugo couldn’t save everyone. There had to be moments where a plan went wrong, but you hoped those moments were extremely rare. You pushed those imaginary ideas to the side, not wanting to get wrapped up in something too depressing.

From how he talked about his friends and other heroes the past few days, it seemed like Bakugo had a better grasp on his friendships as an adult, so maybe he and his colleagues had a mutual support system when one of them had an especially rough day. The words of All Might rang in your head: “You can only save the people you can reach.” Bakugo definitely seemed like the type of person who would try his damndest to reach everyone, no matter the cost.

“Oi.” A pair of fingers snapped near your face. You looked up to see Bakugo cutting his eyes towards you with a quirked brow while still maintaining control of the stove. “I just said don’t dwell on it. Got any more theories?”

“Um, yeah...sorry, I get lost in my head sometimes.” Staring off into space during conversations was somewhat of a trait that you couldn’t shake off. “I was wondering what kind of technology you had in your universe? And have people always had quirks?” You knew that quirks weren’t actually traits that existed forever in his world, so asking vague questions would be the safe route.

“If you’re thinking of a time travel theory, I’ve already considered that. Doesn’t work.” You gaped at him. Bakugo truly was smart: he knew your line of thinking just from a few questions. At least he seemed intrigued by your first ideas, which in turn made you feel kind of smart, too.

“Oh yeah?” you asked, curious how he came to that conclusion. The smell of the food filled your nose, making your mouth water, but you tried not to drool too much.

Bakugo turned off the heat on the stove while remaining focused on your question. “Quirks have only been around about nine generations, so honestly not that long. The technology here, from what I’ve seen, isn’t far behind what we have back home. If we were back in time, computers and cellphones probably wouldn’t even exist.”

You hummed while carefully walking behind him to grab some plates from the cabinets next to the stove. His logic made sense, so this being an earlier iterance of his universe seemed unlikely. There remained so many different options and pathways that led him here that you weren’t sure if voicing all your ideas was even productive if Bakugo couldn’t do anything from this end to send himself back home.

“Stop zoning out, weirdo,” said Bakugo as he snapped in front of your face again. “Food’s done.”

You wanted to call out his name-calling, but instead, let it slide to avoid an argument. You stepped back to let Bakugo load up his own plate with food before walking to the kitchen table, letting you plate your own. It all smelled delicious, and though you recognized all the ingredients as things you bought at the store, he’d used a few of them in interesting ways and combinations. Some of it smelled vaguely spicy, but you took some of everything anyway to avoid appearing rude.

Grabbing your phone you set it between the two of you before taking a bite of everything. You were right about the spice, but it wasn’t nearly as offensive as the first time he cooked. It complimented the other flavors beautifully. The food was fucking delicious.

Bakugo studied your reaction to the food. It was incredibly tempting to load it up with spices and peppers, but making it inedible to you would, once again, cut into his plan of keeping you in a good mood. He watched your eyes go wide and an oddly content smile cross your face. He was very aware of his cooking skills, and would gladly boast about them if prompted.

“It’s so good!” you exclaimed as the phone struggled to translate with your mouth full of food, but Bakugo got the gist of it. “Thank you for making dinner. Like I said, you didn’t have to. And thanks for not killing my taste buds with spice this time.”

He scoffed before taking his own bite; yeah, it was good, but he wanted to shift the conversation back to something productive. “Any other theories?”

You swallowed another mouthful, your eyebrows furrowing in perceived concentration before he watched you shake your head. “No...I mean, you’ve had more time to think up stuff then I have since I’ve been at work. The only thing I can say is, if there’s a way to trigger you going back home from this end, I have no clue what that’d be.”

If, as he’d concluded, quirks truly didn’t exist here, then that idea was probably true. He didn’t even know what the damn villain looked like, so if they were hiding out here and observing him from afar he might not even know it. He’d been on high alert since realizing what triggered all this, but nothing showed for it. It pissed him off.

“Sorry I can’t be of more help,” he heard you say from the other side of the table. You looked dejected, but obviously not as much as he felt with so few answers after three days of critical thinking. “But!” you cut in with an oddly light-hearted change in tone. “Even if I can’t do much about that, I have some ideas for the weekend if you’re open to it.”

Bakugo narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “So you think I’ll still be here tomorrow, huh?”

Your face fell, but it didn’t appear as though he caught you in a lie or scheme. “I mean, I guess I’m trying to think of a ‘what if’ situation. Of course, if you’re back home tomorrow that’d be great! I don’t know what you’ve been doing the past two days, but I figured you’d be bored. I don’t work Saturdays or Sundays, so the weekend is free if you wanna do something other than hang out here all day.”

“Do tell what you assume I’d find fun?” Sarcasm came so naturally to him that he didn’t realize how snarky it sounded until after the fact. Luckily you didn’t seem mad; in fact, you looked even more determined, like he lit a fire in your eyes.

“I mean, I can go out and do stuff by myself if you wanna sulk here all day. That’s your choice.” You stuck your tongue out at him like a stubborn brat. It made his eye twitch. “I’m just imagining having fun, not stuck inside. Wow, so great, amazing” you mocked. “I’m offering, take it or leave it.”

Bakugo seethed through his nose. He hated that you were, once again, right: he was bored out of his mind here with nothing to do but think. He had no money, no transportation, and couldn’t even read the damn signs posted up on streets and shops. A feeling of regret that he hadn’t taken extra language courses in UA nagged the back of his brain.

You looked smug, and he tried not to blow up the fork in his hand.

“Alright, smartass,” he echoed across the table. “Tell me your ideas and I’ll tell you if they’re shit or not.”

Despite the sarcastic grin on his face, you were relieved to know Bakugo would at least hear you out on your ideas. “Let me clean up dinner first and then I’ll make a list.” Since he made dinner, it was only fair that you cleaned up, right?

He waved a hand in the air as if giving you permission to whisk away his plate. You rolled your eyes while grabbing the dishes and tossing them into the sink. Bakugo got up from the table and sat down on his makeshift bed looking deep in thought.

You started to notice his small mannerisms, catching glances whenever he wasn’t looking your way. He could remain incredibly still without appearing zoned out like you were often guilty of. He clicked his tongue right before he said something sarcastic; not all the time, but often enough. His bottom lip jutted out in a bit of a scowl when he was frustrated. To keep from staring you busied yourself with the dishes, your hands pruney by the time you set the last plate in the drying rack.

Before sitting down on the couch you bent over next to the TV stand and pulled out a laptop case, opening it up and pulling out the computer inside. You usually just used your phone for everything, but it’d be faster to search and open up websites on something with more processing power.

“Mkay, so…” you mumble while typing away in the search bar. There were a couple of travel websites that appealed to tourists: perfect. “We have an aquarium. I went a long time ago and remember it being pretty nice. It’s big, too.” Out of the corner of your eye, Bakugo remained a bored-looking statue, so you continued with your list of ideas. “Um, we have a really big park downtown with some fancy gardens and stuff if you’re into that.” It wasn’t the most exciting idea, but you put it out there anyway. Again, no reaction. “There’s an art museum, but it’s not super big. And...oh!” You bonked yourself on the head as your main idea return to you, having almost forgotten about it. “Amusement park! Rides, games, all that stuff. It’s probably the most exciting thing to do around here.”

Bakugo looked at you expectantly, as if waiting for you to add to the list. When you remained silent he clicked his tongue. “That it?” he asked.

You chewed your lip, a bit anxious that none of it appealed to him at all. At least you tried to give him some options; it was ultimately his decision whether or not he wanted to stay here and be bored or spend the day with you doing something mildly entertaining. “Yeah...I dunno what kinds of things you do for fun in your own universe, but this is all I can think of right now. Like I said, you don’t have to do anything, but I’m offering.”

If he was honest with himself - disgustingly , horribly honest - Bakugo actually liked a few of the ideas. Hero work took up a vast majority of his time and energy, so when he wasn’t training or kicking villain ass, Bakugo savored the rare days off to relax and unwind, possibly even catch up with friends with patrol shifts opposite his own. Even then, going out in public meant navigating around swarming fans who recognized him, or avaricious reporters chasing him around for magazine interviews about shit that wasn’t any of their business.

Here? He was nobody, an unknown factor, just another bystander among the crowds. Nothing stood out to him as suspicious yet , but of course, he wasn’t about to let his guard down. Still...a day out to explore this place and keep an eye on you at the same time? Just the idea of sitting around here doing nothing made him seethe, so taking you up on the offer sounded better than nothing.

“Does the park have roller coasters?” he asked curiously. Bakugo liked thrill rides, and this might be the best chance he had at getting his adrenaline pumping if he couldn’t use his quirk. You smiled excitedly.

“Yeah! I love roller coasters. They have a bunch of different ones...here,” you said, pulling up the website to the park and turning your laptop screen towards him. An advertisement video played showing off people with fake smiles and terrible tourist clothes. He watched as the video cut through quite a few rides, highlighting the staggering height and innovative loops and curves of some of the coasters. Admitting it out loud was out of the question, but Bakugo felt a small pang of excitement thinking about whipping through the air at fast speeds. “So? Is that a yes?”

He hesitated, but honestly, you seemed terrible at hiding your own excitement in hoping for his confirmation. Maybe if you were distracted with the business of an amusement park, he could catch you in a lie...though he was becoming increasingly sure you didn’t know the villain and had nothing to do with any of this - just someone caught up in his own mess. Letting his guard down once got him into this dilemma, though, so he’d remain vigilant.

“Yeah, yeah, fine. Sounds better than playing games all day, anyway.” When your phone translated what he said you practically toppled the laptop to the ground in excitement. He quirked a brow in your direction.

“Ha...sorry. I was sorta hoping you’d lean towards that one,” you admitted. The other attractions were fine, sure, but the park would definitely be the most fun as long as Bakugo didn’t get an attitude during the day...which he very well might if he was around groups of loud people all day. But that’s what he chose, so you assumed he could handle it. “I haven’t been in a long time and I know they have some new rides and stuff, so…”

Bakugo stared at you curiously, his expression unreadable, as if he was analyzing your every move and word.

“And what if I’m gone tomorrow? What will you do?” he asked. You hummed while closing your laptop before turning back to him.

“Sleep in, be lazy, read, relax...the normal stuff people do on weekends, right? Why, what do you and your friends do for fun?” you shot back. Bakugo scoffed and folded his hands behind his head and once again you tried desperately not to stare at his scarred and sculpted arms.

Bakugo gazed off at an invisible spot on your ceiling while he spoke as if memories replayed like a tape behind those crimson eyes of his. “With Hero work, there isn’t that much downtime. Sometimes you’re on call anytime, any day. Villains don’t give a shit about our schedules - they’ll attack whenever. But sometimes days are slow, which is a good thing, and we manage to get away. Kirishima is the only one who can keep up with me if we go hiking. He’s like a smiling brick wall. Kaminari sticks to parties even though he’s a lightweight.”

“Kaminari...did you mention him before?” you asked, wanting to know more about how Bakugo described his friends and their quirks.

Bakugo shrugged, hands still seated behind his head. “He’s basically like a walking Pikachu, but the mouse is probably more powerful because it doesn’t turn into a bumbling dipshit if it zaps too much.”

At that honest description, you had to laugh. So he really did describe Kaminari as a famous Pokemon. “There are so many different kinds of quirks...wait, so you have Pokemon in your world?” The realization sold the look of shock in your expression; of course, Horikoshi would add references to existing media within his own story, but according to Bakugo the games existed in his world, too? “Like, the games and stuff?”

“Wait, do you ?” asked Bakugo while finally looking your way. “So that’s one more thing that overlaps between worlds.” He seemed to say it more to himself than to you as if wondering if it meant anything significant. You, on the other hand, had more pressing questions.

“OK so now I gotta ask even if it’s lame: do you have a favorite Pokemon?” If he had an answer, you absolutely had to wrangle it out of him. Immediately he groaned as if you asked him something far more mentally taxing.

“Seriously?” he replied with an eye-roll. “I don’t fucking know, I haven’t played those damn games since I was a teenager.”

Did he have a completely predictable favorite Pokemon? Yeah, yeah he did. But if you wanted to weasel information out of him, he’d get something back. “Tell me yours first,” he goaded with a slight smirk.

He watched you close your eyes and cross your arms as if considering the solution to an incredibly difficult problem. “There’s so many...which one,” you mumbled to yourself, too quiet for the translator to pick up. Bakugo clicked his tongue with impatience before you turned to him with a confident smile, the answer apparently on the tip of your tongue after much mental deliberation.

“Hah? That one? That’s so lame,” Bakugo said after you aired out your favorite Pokemon.

“What?! No, it’s not!” you argued with a pout. “Whatever, I told you. Now tell me yours.” He hated being ordered around. Curiosity got the better of him, though, so he decided to see how much you assumed about him after three days.

“Guess,” he said, holding up three fingers to signal the number of attempts. Rather than give up or get mad you looked determined. It was a look he knew well on others, but this stubborn streak of yours showed itself more often than he first assumed it would.

Once again he watched you close your eyes and assumed you were sifting through hundreds of Pokemon to try and find one that fit his personality. You mumbled to yourself, sometimes shaking your head as though tossing away unfit Pokemon, while other times you nodded or your eyebrows shot up before shifting back into something more neutral. Bakugo observed you had an extremely expressive face, so if you lied, he could probably tell.

“OK!” you said, your eyes snapping open and a lopsided grin plastered on your face. “Three guesses…” You held up a finger but seemed slightly hesitant with this first guess. “Primeape?”

Bakugo ground his teeth together at such a disastrous answer, one of his hands leaning off the couch arm opening and closing into a fist. “Hah?! The monkey in the first generation? Why that thing?!”

Immediately your hands went up defensively. “I mean! It’s sorta spiky like your hair...and you both have short tempers?” His nostrils flared while you continued. “You just seem like someone who doesn’t take any shit and will put up a fight, is all! Thinking back to a few days ago...” you answered while nervously cutting your eyes away.

His anger was justified considering the circumstances, but thinking back to how you reacted to him with fear brought forward a bit of clarity on your reasoning. The reminder of “be nice” popped back into his brain, so he tried to calm himself down after hearing you nail down his temper and impatience.

“No,” he emphasized with a glare. “It’s not the angry monkey. Try again.”

After that he watched you relax; if he wanted to remain on your good side, being more aware of his actions was essential. “Hm, alright then...bleh, I can only remember stuff from the first three or four games, but one came to mind pretty quickly.” He gestured for you to continue. “Typhlosion?”

His eye twitched. You stared at him. His top lip curled. You grinned like a sly fox. He looked away with a sneer. You laughed triumphantly.

“Am I right?! Oh shit I’m right, aren’t I?” While going through your mental list of Pokemon the one that immediately came to mind was the one with a punny name on “explosion” so of course, that would be one of your answers. Primeape was an attempt to be cheeky, a calculated risk that luckily didn’t get sparks thrown in your face.

“Lucky fucking guess,” he admitted, but couldn’t help but get excited at him admitting you chose the corrected Pokemon.

“Mm, well it kinda fits your quirk so not that lucky,” you argued before quickly looking away with a smug grin when he shot you a glare.

Before the computer almost toppled to the floor again you stood up and set it back down next to the TV before returning to the couch, making sure to sit as far away from Bakugo as possible since being close to him in any capacity made you a bit nervous. Not because you were scared of him or anything, but you assumed he had personal boundaries that you didn’t want to risk crossing. “So, uh, tomorrow. If you’re still here and still wanna go to the park, what time do you wanna go?”

“Early,” was all he said. “Avoid long lines, go to the biggest ride first.” Apparently, he’d already strategized a plan of attack, and you didn’t want to argue. If you could keep Bakugo entertained and somewhat happy and distracted for the day, it was worth it.

“I guess that means when the park opens.” You sighed knowing you had a fifty-fifty chance of sleeping in tomorrow. “I think it opens at ten, with about half an hour to get there...so we’d leave at nine-thirty. That work?” you asked. He just shrugged, so you took that as your answer.

Since you had a preliminary agenda for tomorrow and it was starting to get late, getting a good night’s rest for whatever lay ahead in the morning seemed like a good idea. You stood up and stretched, yawning while you walked into the bathroom for your normal nightly routine, unaware of Bakugo watching you subtly out of the corner of his eye.

He huffed through his nose and ran a hand through his hair while wondering what the hell he was going to do tomorrow if he wasn’t back home. Theme park, really? There were probably worse things you could’ve suggested, and the fact that you offered up some ideas at all to keep him entertained made him secretly grateful that he wouldn’t wallow inside his own frustrations for another day. And honestly? He needed a fucking break. Letting his guard down was out of the question, but if a couple of rides could get his adrenaline pumping and he could walk around in a wide open space with a bit of freedom, saying “no” sounded stupid.

The bathroom door opened and you walked out to grab your phone from the couch before turning to him. “I’m going to sleep. If uh, you’re back home tomorrow, then no worries. If not...then we’ll deal with it. Goodnight, Bakugo.” He grunted in response while you walked behind him and disappeared behind your bedroom door.

Sleep sounded pretty decent to him, too. “Damn I miss my bed,” he mumbled while getting up to brush his own teeth and turn out the lights.

Your bathroom was simply decorated with a shower curtain that matched the hand towels that matched the soap dispenser that matched the rug. It wasn’t his personal style, but it wasn’t hideous or anything.

He looked at himself in the mirror above the sink and scoffed. He wasn’t supposed to be here. He was supposed to be in his own universe blasting villains into the ground and training with Kirishima and eating familiar food and living the life he was meant to live, not stuck here hiding his quirk while relying on someone else. The enamel on his teeth suffered from how vigorously he scrubbed as if trying to brush away his resentment.

After turning out all the lights he grabbed the folded blanket over the side of the couch and attempted, for the third consecutive night, to make himself comfortable. Bakugo stared up into the darkness of your living room ceiling, the subtle texture swirling around in his fading vision like moving waves.

Stubbornness always won out when it came down to giving in or staring whatever annoying thing he was dealing with right in the fucking eyes. “You won’t win,” Bakugo whispered as he closed his eyes and attempted to imagine himself back home.

If he dreamed hard enough, maybe it would become real.

_________________________________________________________________________________________
Thank you so much for reading! Sorry not much happened in this chapter, but day 4 is THEME PARK DAY!!! Look forward to those shenanigans next chapter! If you enjoy this story, please comment! <3

Chapter Text

Cool air blew through the vents near the ceiling, wafting down onto the gentle rise and fall of a warm blanket draped over a lumpy silhouette that stretched from one arm of the couch to the other. The sound of the ice maker in the freezer rattled as newly frozen cubes toppled down into the tray, echoing through the otherwise quiet apartment.

A bird outside mistook one of the windows as a mirror and smacked into it hard enough to jolt Bakugo awake, hands at the ready with sparking palms as the blanket slid to the floor.

He looked around for a moment before realizing where he was - and where he wasn’t - before falling limply back into the couch with a groan. “Day four: everything sucks,” he cursed with a snarl. “Wait, Saturday...what time is it?”

Bakugo rubbed the sleep from his eyes and stumbled off the couch to look at the time displayed on the microwave: almost eight o’clock. For once he missed having a phone if only to keep track of time wherever he went. Normally his notifications buzzed with annoying texts or missed calls from agencies wanting a merchandise deal or to use him in an ad, so keeping it on silent was preferred. He turned around and stared at your closed bedroom door, concluding that you must still be asleep.

“Shit, the park. Being social, crowds...better than sitting around doing nothing, I guess,” he mumbled while remembering the plan for today. As frustrated as he was about still being here, he knew getting angry and blowing shit up wouldn’t solve his very unique problem. The villain probably counted on him losing his cool and being miserable, so just out of spite he’d keep his shit together while trying to possibly, maybe , have a halfway decent time today.

Bakugo grabbed a set of clean, new clothes from the closet along with his familiar jeans and worn hoodie for a full day outside. Being thankful for something as mundane as clean underwear struck him as bizarre when coming out alive during dangerous missions often overshadowed the ability to take a hot shower to wash off the blood and grime. Again, he considered what could’ve happened, where he could’ve possibly ended up...but scoffed and brushed the hypothetical scenarios aside before heading into the bathroom to shower.

He always turned the water to the hottest setting, enjoying the nearly scalding sensation on his skin. Bakugo reached down to grab his soap but grabbed yours by mistake until he wiped the water out of his eyes.

It was right then, for the first time in over three days, that Bakugo realized he was roommates with a woman and the possible implications that carried. He was using your shower, staying in your apartment, and sleeping on your couch. This wasn’t a hotel, this was your home, and his temporary living space until he figured out how the hell to get back home.

“Fuck,” he muttered, quickly grabbing his own soap and trying not to think too hard on it. Not like it mattered, anyway. He wasn’t about to parade around in the nude or do something questionable to make you uncomfortable; still, this roommate situation was a first and he’d exercise appropriate mindfulness going forward.

He and Kirishima agreed to rooming together after graduation, both sidekicks to Pro Heroes as they worked their way upwards and gained reputations until they felt stable enough to move out on their own. It worked out well enough since they’d known each other all through their time at UA, but this current scene extended beyond his expertise.

You seemed more comfortable around him day-by-day and managed to joke around about something as stupid as Pokemon, so Bakugo judged you didn’t see him as much of a threat, anymore. The thought unsettled him a bit considering he still didn’t know whether or not you had ulterior motives, but he felt increasingly sure that you couldn’t do him much harm. He’d go out, ride some damn roller coasters, and observe you in a setting outside of this small apartment. No problem.

The sound of your alarm sounded muffled through the warm covers pulled up over your head. It was Saturday, so why-

“Oh my god it’s Saturday,” you exclaimed while sitting up and reaching over to grab your phone and shut off the noise. You set an alarm to wake in time for the theme park to open. “Bakugo,” you mumbled before once again, creeping out of bed and peeking through your bedroom door.

You gasped when you saw the couch was empty, a crumpled blanket left behind. “He’s gone…” A surprising pang echoed in your chest, sad that an opportunity to really get to know Bakugo disappeared while you slept. Then you looked up and saw the closed bathroom door before hearing the sound of running water.

“He’s still here!” You covered your mouth in excitement but couldn’t hide your smile as you slid into the kitchen to pull some things out for breakfast. Park food was always overpriced, so eating well now might save you some cash later.

You knew how selfish it was to feel pleased that Bakugo hadn’t returned home yet, but you couldn’t fix his problem; all you could do was try and make him comfortable while fighting the urge to literally fangirl around a hot anime guy come to life. This was your temporary life and you had no choice but to accept it.

The bathroom door opened while you were halfway done with breakfast, but you couldn’t look at the man walking behind you for fear of burning the food. Bakugo was absolutely the type to mock you for screwing up a meal, but you refused to give him the satisfaction.

“Ohayo (good morning),” you heard from behind you. The phone app wasn’t open but you knew what it meant from watching enough subbed anime. Bakugo leaned up against the wall and watched you cook, scrutinizing your hands moving over the hot stove. It seemed like he was mostly ready to go, and you hadn’t even showered yet. Or maybe he projected being reserved rather than openly eager to ride some coasters.

“Ohayo,” you mirrored, which he quirked a brow up at before silently snickering. “What?” you asked, but of course any Japanese reply would fly right over your head. You set down a spatula and opened up your phone with a questioning look. “What’s that look for?” you asked again.

“Your accent mixed with Japanese is…” He paused before finishing his statement, but you weren’t sure why since Bakugo always seemed to know what to say and how to say it. “Interesting,” he finished. You puffed out your cheeks before returning to breakfast.

“Nothing I can do about that. If you find it so interesting, though, I can just...say random Japanese words I know until you get annoyed.” Immediately his smirk dropped and appeared on your own face. He wasn’t the only one who could act like a smartass.

“Neko,” you said to prove your word. Bakugo’s jaw clenched.

“Stop.”

“Inu!”

“Do not-”

“Senpai!” At this point, his eye twitched while he held back a growl and while you had to focus on finishing breakfast, you couldn’t help silently laughing at his expense. “Too easy,” you mouthed too low for your phone to pick up. Bakugo groaned and mumbled something under his breath before sitting down at the table. You didn’t want to agitate him too much before spending the entire day with him, but it was his own fault for being such an easy target.

After a few minutes, you finished breakfast and set out a couple of plates. This was the second time you cooked for Bakugo, and you really hoped he didn’t hate it. “Food’s done,” you said while scooping a bit of everything onto your plate. You needed to eat quickly so you could shower and get ready to give yourself enough time before the park opened.

While you sat down Bakugo got up to plate his own food. It looked decent enough, similar to the breakfast you made a few days ago with several replacements. He had no clue what constituted theme park food here or if he’d like it, so to be safe he gave himself generous portions. Before sitting down he also dug into the pantry and pulled out the bottle of hot sauce you bought.

He watched you eye the bottle as he sat down, turning your nose up at it like last time. Bakugo smirked but decided to taste the food before drowning it in sauce. Now you were staring, probably wondering silently what he thought of your cooking.

Not bad , he thought after swallowing the first bite...but he still grabbed the hot sauce and poured a generous amount over everything. It was worth the look of horror on your face.

“I don’t think it’s that bad,” you said while stabbing a bite on your fork with slight aggression before stuffing it into your mouth. If you were allowed to annoy him, he’d do the same.

“It’s edible,” replied Bakugo. “But it’s not spicy.”

“Not everything needs to burn up your taste buds,” you retorted. “Also, are you implying you’re a better cook than me?”

Bakugo scoffed before taking another bite. “Yeah, I am. Can you cook something other than breakfast food?” With how tightly you gripped your fork he thought it might bend under the pressure. If this was all it took to rile you up, then his day just got more entertaining.

Yes ,” you emphasized. “But you kept kicking me out of my own kitchen. I’ll cook next time and prove it.” You stuck your tongue out at him like a mocking child.

“Go ahead then,” he challenged. If you wanted to compete with cooking just to watch him win with ease, he’d accept your bet.

Back and forth banter continued throughout breakfast until you finished before him. “I’m going to shower, get ready, then we can go,” you said while dumping your plate and dishes into the sink. “You,” you said while pointing in his direction, “can wash dishes since you’re dead-set on things being fair.”

Bakugo’s hands went out in a clear “what the fuck” gesture with his mouth full of food as you walked past him and into your bedroom. “Comes back to bite me in the ass,” he mumbled, thinking to how he cooked dinner and you washed dishes over the past few days.

When he finished his own meal and stood at the sink, he realized with a bit of shock how easily he’d let his guard down during that whole interaction. Either you were a tactically precise conversationalist or his general vibe that you were the enemy finally disappeared. Only one of those options seemed slightly plausible.

“Don’t act stupidly,” he reminded himself as warm water poured over his calloused hands hardened and worn from quirk-use and battle experience. Today would be a day of observance.

His red eyes flickered upwards for a moment as you came out of your room with an armful of clothes and disappeared into the bathroom with a brief glance in his direction.

You paused before stepping into the shower, once again considering how Bakugo stood in this very spot not long before. “Don’t think about it. This is just temporary,” you told yourself before stepping into the hot water. “At least he’s tidy.” You noticed he always set the bottles you bought him right back in the same spot and didn’t move any of your own things; well, your body wash bottle mysteriously moved to the opposite end of the shower, but you avoided thinking too hard on it.

While feeling pensive under the warm water, you started to hum softly to yourself. Since you lived alone it never bothered anyone if you sang in the shower, and it often made you calm either before or after doing something stressful. In this case, the thrill of taking Bakugo to an amusement park brought your nerves into your stomach. You never really sang in front of people; it wasn’t even that you considered yourself a bad singer, necessarily...only that doing something in front of someone when it was normally just for yourself felt a bit vulnerable.

After dressing you looked at yourself in the mirror. If you were completely, candidly, insanely honest with yourself, you wanted to look cute today. Not just for the hot guy in your living room, but for yourself, too. Looking nice often made you feel more confident, and more confidence meant the likelihood that you said or did something dumb in front of Bakugo went down.

“Not like anything would ever happen,” you whispered to yourself while putting on sunscreen, coating your lashes with mascara, and pulling your hair back a bit to keep it out of your face and off your neck. “Hell, I don’t even know if he’s single...he didn’t mention a relationship, but he doesn’t seem the type to just blurt out personal stuff like that.”

The fact that he didn’t seem to find you unbearable to be around, though, made you smile. “Maybe he’s just being civil because of the circumstances, but I’ll take it.”

When you felt presentable you went to open the door but grabbed the sunscreen off the counter before walking into your living room.

Bakugo sat on the couch, his hand popping off small sparks before letting them disappear when his eyes flickered up to you. Honestly, his stare sent shivers under your skin from how casually intense it was, but you kept your composure. You walked over and grabbed your phone - it was unmoved from where you left it - and opened up the translator app.

“Here,” you said, extending the sunscreen to Bakugo. “If you don’t want to get sunburned being outside all day.”

He raised an eyebrow but took the container, examining it in his hand before standing up. “I don’t burn.” His words contradicted the action of him walking into the bathroom to definitely not apply sunscreen, forcing you to roll your eyes at his dramatics.

You grabbed a small backpack from your room and stuffed the essentials in it: keys, wallet, power bank, chapstick, etc. Before leaving you grabbed a couple of extra items that caught your eye before closing your bedroom door.

“Hurry up,” Bakugo groaned near the front door. You shook your head at his impatience before extending your hand towards him. “The hell is this?”

“Sunglasses,” you said bluntly while putting your nicer pair on top of your head. He got the shitty cheap pair and you didn’t feel too bad about it. “Dunno if you’ve noticed, but people here don’t naturally have red eyes. Someone might bother you with questions or something. Plus the obvious sunny weather.”

“Red eyes...the fuck? That’s not just a natural eye color here?” You shook your head as he snatched the glasses from you and eyed them with scrutiny before looking at your own. “Give me those.”

“What? No! I saved up ages ago and bought these nice ones, you get the cheap ones.” You stared him down as he silently challenged you for the nicer pair, but you matched his stubbornness. His lip twitched before turning away towards the front door and sliding the cheap plastic glasses onto his head, causing you to grin at the fact that you won this round.

At the mention of red eyes, Bakugo wondered how the hell someone like Shoji or Ashido would manage here where their physical traits were far more obvious and problematic in a world without quirks. Red eyes were common in his world, and no one batted much of an eye at extra limbs or a rainbow of skin tones. Here, though, no one had horns, or more than two eyes, or sharp teeth. No one he’d observed, anyway. In that respect he was lucky to only be an Emitter, else he really wouldn’t be able to leave this apartment at all without causing a fuss.

The thought reminded him that he had plans today. “We going or not?”

He watched you run around the apartment to make sure the lights were out before snatching up a bag and giving a thumbs up. You were a massive dork, that was for sure. “Ready!” Bakugo walked down the hallway while you locked your apartment door, following quickly behind.

A cool breeze blew through the early morning air, the sky light blue and cloudless. If it rained today, he’d be pissed, but so far things looked good.

Your car beeped when you unlocked it, but rather than slide into the back seat like on previous days, Bakugo seated himself in the front seat next to you. At this he noticed you pause before closing the door behind you.

“Tired of the back seat?” You asked while situating your phone in the center console stand. Bakugo shrugged while sliding the borrowed sunglasses down onto his nose, taking notice of how you avoided eye contact and cleared your throat after speaking.

“I like to see where I’m going. Wanna make sure you don’t drive into oncoming traffic or something,” he replied without a hint of sarcasm.

You huffed through your nose. “I’ll have you know I’m an excellent driver. I’ve never been in a wreck and I’ve never gotten a ticket, so there, smartass.” You started the engine and adjusted your own sunglasses as if trying to look far cooler than you actually were; the attempt didn’t work. “I’ll have to use an app to get there, so the drive might be a bit silent on conversation. You can turn on the radio, though, if you want.”

Bakugo decided that a silent drive worked for him because then he could really pay attention to wherever the hell you were driving him. The thought that you’d drive him to some faraway and hidden villain hideout seemed ridiculous, but until he saw the damn park for himself, anything felt possible. In addition, he hated following behind anyone and preferred standing in front...but since the front here would be the hood of the car, the passenger’s seat would suffice. He could also keep a closer eye on you and pick apart your idiosyncrasies, but he’d keep that detail subtle.

The drive proved fairly boring with little in the way of interesting landmarks or noticeable scenery. Bakugo did end up messing with the radio, but he knew none of the songs, eventually settling for some station stuck on some kind of outdated rock music judging by the guitar work and rhythm. He wasn’t the biggest fan of pop, so it was better than nothing.

Something he did notice, however, were your small bouts of road rage. True to your word, you never seemed to veer out of the lines or fail to stop at a light or sign, but the way you gripped the steering wheel and clenched your jaw when someone else did something stupid almost made him burst out laughing. Compared to your height, the tense energy you gave off while driving was a stark contrast. For some dumb reason, he found this incredibly funny, though Bakugo resisted snickering out loud.

Eventually, the horizon in front of him burst with pops of swirling color and twisted metal - roller coasters. After being in a car for so long Bakugo was ready to stretch his legs, but furrowed his brow in confusion when you turned into a parking lot about half a mile away. He narrowed his eyes with suspicion since there should be a parking lot near the actual park. “Oi, temee wa doko ni ikuno?” (Where are you going?)

You held up a “hold on” finger before turning into a small shopping strip with restaurants and stores, parking near the back before switching your phone back to the translator app and turning to him. Even behind the sunglasses, you could feel the distrust oozing off his dark glare and tried to ease his wariness. “Yes,” you started, “the park is over there...but parking costs, like, almost as much as the tickets and I’m not paying for that shit. So we get to walk. That cool?”

Almost immediately you watched the tension leave his shoulders. “Whatever. Just hurry up,” he grumbled before getting out of the car.

“Crisis averted,” you said to yourself before hopping out as well and locking the doors.

You watched Bakugo scan the scenery as if on a mission to find anything out of the ordinary...though he didn’t know the area, so how he could know the difference between normal and bizarre was lost on you. Without a word he started walking, pale blonde hair bouncing in the early morning wind, hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans. Unfairly handsome , you thought before catching up to him. Today would be a test in keeping your shit together with nowhere to hide.

Other people seemed to have the same idea of parking elsewhere and walking, their sun hats, sneakers, and casual attire giving off a tourist vibe. Despite being a tourist himself, though, Bakugo gave off an aura of sidewalk ownership, his broad shoulders dipping and swaying with every step he took.

While he walked, you went ahead and bought two tickets on the park’s website to avoid waiting in line. There was an online discount, too, so score on that deal. A power bank sat in your bag, but you didn’t want to use it until later since it was still so early. The translator app ate up your phone’s battery while open, so if Bakugo chose to remain silent during this walk towards the park entrance, you wouldn’t object.

As you neared the park the sounds of screeching metal echoed in your ears as the coaster closest to the entrance ran test runs before they opened the gates in approximately five minutes. Excited children ran by with already exhausted-looking parents as lines formed in front of the turnstiles. The entrance was painted with bright colors and plenty of park branding, making it easy to spot from the highway.

Bakugo stalled before the entrance, hanging back behind the growing crowd, head swiveling to take in his new surroundings. Sensing he might have something to say, you took out your phone and stood next to him, careful to keep some distance between the two of you. Accidentally brushing up against his arm would surely send a jolt up your spine. “So-” you started, but Bakugo interrupted.

“We go to the biggest coaster first, don’t argue,” he stated with an air of finality.

His plan forced a grin onto your face. “I wasn’t planning on it.”

“Good. Better keep up with those short legs of yours.” With that snarky comment, he continued forward towards the entrance gate, leaving you behind him once more.

“Smartass,” you muttered to yourself. “I can keep up, no problem.”

Bakugo heard you pad up next to him, his defenses on high within the growing crowd of energetic strangers. More often than not, crowds annoyed the hell out of him, but if it meant getting out of your damn apartment to let out pent-up energy, he’d tolerate it...or by the end of the day, he’d want to scream and blow something up. Only the future would tell.

Security personnel wearing matching park uniforms sorted through bags and ushered everyone through what Bakugo assumed were metal detectors - something he knew of but rarely saw back home. Traditional weapons such as guns or knives were uncommon since quirks could be - and were - used as weapons themselves, so security in public spaces and events focused more on suppression and reaction rather than prevention.

He watched the woman scan your phone before ushering the two of you through the beeping detectors. Of course, he had nothing on him, not even a set of keys or wallet, so there were no issues.

A rack sat nearby with the same branding displayed outside, full of folded brochures. Bakugo grabbed one and opened it up, revealing a map of the park. He couldn’t read the text, but the simplicity of the illustrations seemed understandable even to children.

You walked over and peered down at the map through your sunglasses. The sun blazed overhead, and Bakugo stood silently grateful once again for your generosity in his own pair. “Point it out, which one’s the biggest,” he demanded.

You hummed for a moment, scanning the map as he watched children who could never outrun him jog towards rides with a mild scowl. Impatience sat on his shoulders like clinging static. “This one,” you answered finally, pointing down to a coaster about halfway across the park. “The Behemoth, it’s-”

Without a word, Bakugo closed the map, thrust it in your direction to grab, and immediately started walking towards his destination. You fell in line beside him, but he remained focused on pinpointing the roller coaster painted in bold black and red to mirror the picture on the map. It wasn’t long before the colors came into view, the roar of wheels on metal and excited screams echoing towards his left.

Bakugo looked up to see a towering hill that stretched far into the sky, the sun behind the metal peak obscuring the apex of the ride. He walked faster, excitement starting to bubble under his skin at the thrill of wind in his hair and adrenaline in his veins. Four days without fighting or using his quirk caused far too much pent-up energy, and if riding a damn roller coaster was the only way to ease some tension, he’d hop right to the front of the line.

Despite Bakugo’s quip at keeping up due to your height, you managed to keep pace with him just fine. If he started running or sprinting somewhere, then you might have issues. As the two of you neared the winding metal gate leading up to the coaster platform, you peeked up through your eyelashes and almost faltered in your step to see Bakugo actually smiling! It was subtle, unlike most things Bakugo did, but your blood raced under your skin at the thought of Bakugo actually enjoying himself here.

You followed him through the snake-like bars...until he got impatient enough to start hopping over them with surprising ease since the line didn’t reach back this far. “The fuck,” you mumbled before attempting to catch up to him by climbing through the bars knowing you couldn’t leap over them nearly as easily. “Wait up!” Bakugo, to your surprise, actually looked back and caught you mid-way through a crawl. You must’ve looked stupid because he let out one breathy laugh before snapping his fingers in your direction. You flicked him off before almost toppling to the ground.

“Hayaku!” (quickly) he called over the metal bars before turning around to continue his stride towards the end of the line. After a few seconds, you caught up to Bakugo and stood behind him in the line. With hands stuffed casually into his pockets, he quirked a brow at your mild distress at exercising this early in the morning.

The line wasn’t too long, luckily, and moved quickly enough as people eventually sorted into smaller lines depending on which seats they wanted. With a silent understanding of the system, Bakugo filed into the line waiting for the very front of the coaster, because of course, he would; considering how much he disliked people walking in front of him and his apparent affection for being first in everything he did, no other row seemed reasonable.

Your eyes followed each train as it screeched to a halt in the loading dock before the safety bars flew up, groups of windswept guests with wide smiles and excited giggles filed towards the exit, and a new group sat impatiently for the cycle to resume once more.

Bakugo’s tapping foot caught your attention, his eagerness and impatience obvious as you attempted not to stare at his striking silhouette. With broad shoulders covered by one of the few articles of clothing he came here with and a strong jawline like cut diamond, even the stupidly cheap glasses you gave him looked designer. If he wasn’t a Hero, he could easily be a model with how effortlessly handsome he appeared while doing absolutely nothing. The thought made your ears burn as you pointedly avoided eye contact even though his attention seemed solely focused on the ride and not your intrusive thoughts.

His pulse buzzed beneath his skin as Bakugo stood next in line for the ride. He’d meticulously watched people exit the train for reactions, and every single one came off with ear-splitting grins and hair that seemed mussed from a blustery draft of concentrated airy adrenaline. Having been a teenager the last time he visited a park, he wondered how different things would feel as an adult compared to the thrill of battling villains on a daily basis.

While waiting in line he watched you, as well. You sat on top of the bar separating the lines, feet dangling and occasionally bouncing off the flimsy metal causing it to echo into the feet-worn concrete of the platform. Even he could see the premature excitement rolling off your posture with a slight grin. You looked his way and, because he suddenly felt uncharacteristically awkward being caught staring, Bakugo turned away just as the gate opened to let the waiting riders through.

Since he was first in line - because of course, he was - Bakugo slid to the end and immediately hopped into the seat, his legs dangling over the edge of the floorless coaster. He watched you slide past him and put up your bag, pausing to turn around and hold out your hand to him.

“Nani?” he asked with a bit of impatience, staring at your hand questioningly. You took off your sunglasses and waved them around until he got the hint to hand them over lest they fly off into oblivion. Sure, they were cheap according to your own words, but they weren’t his property, and losing them would ruin this whole “play nice” deal.

After stuffing both pairs of glasses and your bag away into a cubby area towards the exit, you slid in next to him and hopped with an amusing amount of difficulty just to reach the seat before pulling down the safety bar. Poking fun at your height could prove entertaining for the rest of the day.

An attendant came around to check the safety harnesses, and for a brief moment, Bakugo considered what to do in case this thing flew off the tracks. Were safety regulations up to code here? He could save himself by using his quirk and quick reflexes, but everyone else? You, included? Totally screwed. His brain was wired to consider the worst-case scenario because he’d observed the worst case scenario with his own eyes at least once.

His crimson eyes cut to his right briefly, though your silhouette sat mostly hidden behind the wide restraints. He came here to try and fucking relax and let off steam, not stress about a highly unlikely scenario.

When the train full of people jerked forward, hypothetical tragedy flew out the window as premature adrenaline filled his veins, his feet dangling below as he gripped the metal bars across his shoulders.

“Oh god, I forgot how steep it was,” you muttered as you rose higher and higher into the air. Strangers behind you laughed and talked as the wind picked up with each click of moving chain, excitement buzzing in the thinning air. You looked left and saw Bakugo’s strong hands bracing against the cold vertical bars, his fingers drumming impatiently. This was the closest you’d ever been to him for a period of time longer than a second or two, but rather than focus on that you turned your attention back towards the hill of painted metal that plateaued into a steep drop.

The view on the ride up was glorious, honesty. With a clear blue sky and fluffy clouds overhead, it provided the perfect vantage point to see across not only the park but the town as well. The highway you drove on stretched below with moving cars that ducked in and out of filling parking lots as people eased from Saturday morning sleep and into the day’s activities. Leaves of green danced below as well, softening the blow of industrialization from office buildings and strip malls.

Before you could focus more on the scene, though, Bakugo’s laugh to your left brought you back to full attention as the full brunt of sitting in the front row hit you while staring at a steepening vertical drop, the plateau below your feet now gone leaving open air as your only cushion.

“Oh ffuUUCK!” you - and about a dozen others - screamed as the car toppled forward, gaining speed like a revving race car. Wind whipped your face and hair as the whirl of screeching metal echoed in your ears. After the initial shock, you couldn’t help but laugh with every twist and turn and loop, your blood rushing like a moving rapid in your veins as you struggled to keep your eyes open in the face of cold rushing air.

...And just like that, it was over when the wheels jerked to slow the speed of the train as you pulled back into the station. The grin spread across your face wouldn’t ease, not helped at all by Bakugo’s frenzied hoot next to you as one of his fists pumped in the air like a child winning a game of tag.

As soon as the safety bars flew up, Bakugo hopped out with a distinct pep as though squaring up for a fight. You hopped down as well and attempted to tame your wind-mussed hair, but you must’ve looked kind of dazed because Bakugo turned around and snorted at you with that handsome smirk of his before heading for the exit. “Well, he seems happy. Imagine, Bakugo happy...wow,” you said to yourself, unable to feel a tingle of pride at having suggested a successful outing destination. You grabbed your bag from the waiting area and followed him out and down the exit path.

Holy shit, that was just what he needed to get this day started on a literal high-flying note. Bakugo genuinely had fun on the damn thing, and the view from the top wasn’t too bad, either. It was so damn tempting to let his quirk pop off, but with so many people around the risk of someone making a panic over a guy with firecracker palms didn’t seem worth it.

A small booth sat to the left of the exit with a bored-looking employee avoiding everyone around her while focused solely on the phone in her hand. Screens sat at the back suspended up on the wall, each displaying a different section of the ride.

Photos , he thought while curiously looking at the mixture of petrified and comically-posed pictures. You stood beside him and looked up as well. “Oh, that girl looks like she’s about to barf....oh! There! Wait…” Bakugo followed the line of your pointing finger and snickered. As soon as he saw the flash of the camera - because of course, he’d never close his eyes on these rides - he posed with a fat middle finger and crooked grin. He really was a brat at heart.

“Really?” You shook your head disapprovingly, but the small quirk of your mouth told him you thought it was kind of funny, at least.

“Here.” Your voice to his right brought him back to attention as he looked down to see you holding out his borrowed glasses. He snatched them up and slid them on, mouth opening to ask for the map when a towering column of color jutting up into the sky caught his attention. Nah, fuck the map. He knew exactly where to go next. With renewed vigor, Bakugo walked with purpose across the warming pavement, weaving in and out of wandering families, only slowing down for you to catch up with those stubby legs of yours before you got lost like a wandering child.

It wasn’t long before he stood in front of the point of interest stabbing towards the clouds: a tall tower whose sole purpose seemed to be dropping patrons straight down a vertical drop with unpredictable timing. “Yatta!” (hell yeah!) he whistled while staring up through the shaded glasses. Before heading into the line, longer compared to the first ride, he turned around to see you staring upwards.

He caught your attention enough to pull out your phone for him to speak up. “Scared?” he asked with an obviously mocking tone. You waved your hand as if to dismiss his accusation like an annoying fly.

No, ” you emphasized. “Of course not...just glad you picked this one before I ate lunch.” You trotted in front of him towards the end of the line, leaving him behind with a swish of your hair. Your back-talking ate at him like an itching mosquito, but he’d finally decided that he preferred this attitude to that of a pushover.

Bakugo stood impatiently while leaning against the metal bars, arms crossed over his chest, trying to drown out the looped music playing through the speakers under the covered walkway. You stood opposite him messing with your phone, typing away on the screen. It wasn’t his business to ask what you were doing, even if mild curiosity pulled on the back of his mind.

It was then he noticed someone behind you nearly leaning over your shoulder as if to peer down at the device in your hand. Bakugo narrowed his eyes at the man until you caught sight of him and leaned away with a startled look.

“Uh, excuse me?” you asked while shutting off your phone screen. Was this weirdo trying to read your texts?! His crooked mouth contorted into an unnerving grin that made your skin crawl.

“Hey, just curious. What’s your name?” he asked while following your attempted lean out of his space. A slimy shiver ran down your spine knowing this conversation wasn’t headed in a good direction.

“Leave me alone.” You turned away and stuffed your phone back into your bag trying to ignore the man, but with his height he kept leaning over you like a circling vulture, prodding with questions you had no intention of answering. Anger and annoyance bubbled up in your chest at dealing with this today of all days when you just wanted to ride some damn rides, but just as you were about to round on him and screech in his face, a shadow stepped forward followed by a sturdy foot that rattled the metal bar at your back like a gong.

Ima sugu tachi sare yarou,” (get lost, bastard) Bakugo ground out in slurred Japanese while leaning over the bar into the creep’s face, jaw set like hard stone and broad shoulders unbending like steel girders. You had no idea what he said but it sounded threatening nonetheless, the cut of his voice like a honed knife. Others around observed the scene with dramatic interest but said nothing, resolving to keep to themselves rather than get involved. You moved away quickly to see the source of your annoyance jump back at Bakugo’s sudden invasion, glancing nervously between you and Bakugo before muttering something and turning away.

“Overprotective boyfriends, wasn’t doing nothin’,” you heard him grit out before leaning against the bar farthest away from you. Immediately you felt your neck heat up as Bakugo stood back with a scoff and retreated back to his previous spot, eyes glaring through your sunglasses at the creep as if daring him to do something about it. You were really damn glad for that language barrier right about now.

B-boyfriend ?! You thought with panic at the man’s horribly incorrect assumption. Today wasn’t a date, and Bakugo definitely absolutely was not your boyfriend. Your heart raced in your chest and jaw hung limp as you tried not to stare at the Hero next to you, but when he glanced your way you froze up and only managed a weak “arigatou,” as you attempted desperately to keep your hands from shaking. He just shrugged his shoulders as though his actions meant nothing and nodded for you to turn around and close the gap between you and the end of the line as people moved forward while you stood still.

The last thing you expected was for Bakugo to observe your uncomfortable behavior and act on it...but he was a Hero, right? And he’d never done anything perverse in the source material, unlike the Purple Menace. Maybe it wasn’t so much out of character as it was just...unanticipated.

Prompted by the creep’s words, your thoughts ran back to your monologue in the shower this morning: you had absolutely no clues about Bakugo’s relationship status, not that he’d mention something so personal to you, anyway. Still...you had to wonder. Did he have a partner back home? Was he single? Was he even interested in romance with Hero work keeping him constantly busy with danger and excitement? He spoke about his friends and colleagues but didn’t mention anyone special.

Oh my god , you thought, what if he’s dating another Hero? What if he’s dating Kirishima? Or Deku? Or Uraraka?! The shipping community would go absolutely ballistic if any of those were true, but of course, you couldn’t ask that without seeming overly curious about something that really wasn’t your business.

Bakugo watched as you avoided leaning on the bars separating the winding line of the ride into evenly spaced rows, posture stiff and guarded. He wasn’t stupid; he’d observed enough nasty behavior from Mineta at UA to notice someone with ill intentions, and the pissed off look on your face right before he stepped forward just sold him on his hunch. It wasn’t a big deal: if someone was acting villainous, Bakugo stepped forward like a magnet driven by instinct. If it was anyone else he would’ve done the same thing.

He kept his eye on the creep as they inched forward through the line, but every time they caught sight of the other, Bakugo sneered and the man turned away.

When the gate finally opened to release a new batch of thrill-junkies, Bakugo noticed the man from before scuttle off to the opposite side of the circular platform. Once again the two of you sat next to each other. It wasn’t like he cared who the hell he sat next to, but it was convenient...also he wanted to see your face when this thing dropped.

After an attendant came by to check the safety harnesses, Bakugo heard an enthusiastic announcer over the PA system.

“Welcome WELCOME everyone! Are you all ready to scream?!” He didn’t understand the words, but by the cheers from around the platform, he assumed the disembodied voice was giving some sort of pep talk. He looked over to see you grip the safety bars before the ride started to tick upwards and spin simultaneously as the voice continued to blare through the speakers.

He rose up, up, up, taking in the view of not only the park but the surrounding area as well. “Be calm, everyone, as you rise into the sky at a height just below that of The Behemoth, the tallest ride in the park!” Eventually, the spinning circle of occupied seats came to a stop at the apex, continually rotating at an ominously slow speed. Bakugo then realized he had no idea when they were going to drop, now aware that the unpredictable timing must be part of the thrill. He couldn’t help but grin as his feet kicked in midair.

“What we’re gonna do is start a countdown! How’s that sound? Well, you can’t answer, so I’ll answer for you!” The voice paused, and Bakugo swore he heard an ominous chuckle through the speakers.

“Ten! Nine!”

“Oh, shit,” you said to his right, catching his attention. Even from this angle, he could see the tendons in your hands stretch across the shoulder harness. Not scared, huh?

“Eight! Seven!”

Bakugo unclenched his teeth to keep from biting his tongue as excitement buzzed under his skin.

“Six! Fi-!”

Then, the ride dropped, and Bakugo’s stomach almost flew up into his throat as you screamed.

After only a few seconds he landed back on safe ground, once again feeling a thrill under his skin. Everyone around him, you included, babbled excitedly as the safety bars went up.

“That asshole announcer, dropping the damn thing before the countdown was over,” you said while hopping down and shaking the wind from your hair before looking his way with a dumb smile. Seems like you’d forgotten about the creep from the line and gained back a bit of excitement - good. If you were in a good mood, it’d make the day run smoother. He ran a hand through his hair before following everyone else towards the exit.

As the day wore on, crowds gathered and split throughout the park, gravitating towards rides like bugs to a glowing lantern, forcing you to weave between sprinting children and distracted teenagers. At one point you passed a photo booth bursting with high school students in matching shirts branded with their school name, giggling and laughing behind the curtain. The scene reminded you of taking your own pictures with friends who moved away or you grew apart from in a now-abandoned mall, a nostalgic smile playing on your lips before the booth slipped out of sight.

You and Bakugo rode one more coaster before deciding it was time for some lunch. Pulling out the map, you scanned it for food stands nearby while standing under an area littered with large umbrellas offering shade to tired guests.

“Besides spicy, do you care about what kind of food it is?” you asked while holding up your phone. With so many people around it’d been difficult to actually talk to him while walking or waiting in line.

“Obviously, I mostly know Japanese food, but I’d assume park food is either very generic or very bizarre. Just hurry up and pick someplace, if it sucks I’ll just blame you.” Your mouth thinned as he smirked. This was at least, by far, the most you’d seen him smile since he got here, even if half the time it was at your expense. The manga rarely showed him smiling outside of a fight, so he must’ve figured out how to chill the hell out a little and enjoy a thing or two.

“Fine, smartass. How about…” You lowered the map to see a food stand right in front of you. “Perfect. Here. I’ll be back.” With Bakugo now holding onto the folded map, you walked forward and stood in line, scanning over the menu hung up above the ordering window.

After a minute you looked back to see Bakugo lounging at a table, staring off at nothing in particular with his arms folded to appear notably aloof. So far the day had flown by without any hiccups; no bad moods, no yelling, no arguments. Hopefully, you could keep up the pace.

The sweaty-looking man behind the counter slid two orders to you, pointing off to the side for condiments. They didn’t offer any spicy entrees, but as a substitute, you grabbed some hot sauce packets: better than nothing.

You sat down opposite Bakugo and slid him the food which he looked at with a quirked brow before you rained down a handful of hot sauce packets like sloppy hailstones. “ Nani kore nda yo?” (what the hell is this?) he asked with an exasperated gesture. You pulled out your phone and set it between the two of you.

“They didn’t have anything spicy, so hot sauce packets will have to do.” He scoffed before watching you eat the first bite, dumping three packets all over the contents of his plate without a second thought.

After making sure the surface area was thoroughly coated, Bakugo shoved a forkful into his own mouth as you waited to see whether or not he’d spit it out. His face went through a bizarre range of expressions before settling back into neutral, his fork dipping back down for a second bite.

“So if I’m to blame if you hated it, what happens if you like it?" you asked just to be snarky. Bakugo looked at you from across the table, the sun overhead glaring off his cheap sunglasses like a solar flare. You really were terrible at this “no staring” thing.

“I’ll blame the guy that made the food, moron,” he shot back, jerking his head towards the food stand.

“Did you just call me a ‘moron’?”

“What if I did?”

“Do you call everyone insulting nicknames?”

“What if I do?”

To keep from extending a brewing argument you scooped more food into your own mouth in an attempt to ignore him. Instead, you looked right over his left shoulder and paused, your eyes glued to a kid jumping around with his family at another table.

He had a bright green shirt on with Midoriya’s face plastered across the middle. You promptly choked on your bite of food.

You completely forgot about fucking merch ! You didn’t own any anime shirts yourself, but at least one kid walking around a crowded theme park on the weekend was bound to wear something recognizable. Fuck fuck fuck - !

“Oi, you dying?” Bakugo asked with a nonchalant tone while you struggled to swallow the food lodged in your throat. You quickly grabbed a bottle of water you bought earlier from your bag and gulped down enough to breathe properly once more.

When you briefly looked up, the boy and his family were gone. Bakugo turned around to follow your line of sight and luckily saw nothing as well.

“Just, uh, ahem! Went down the wrong way. I’m fine,” you said with a few more coughs. He hummed as though he didn’t quite believe you.

“Maybe don’t suck down your food like a vacuum.”

You flicked him off - he just looked amused - before taking extra care in finishing your own food at a slower pace. You’d keep your eyes peeled for anything else that might tip him off, though you weren’t sure what the hell to do about it if that happened.

The two of you spent the remainder of the afternoon riding every roller coaster in the park, though half that time was spent either walking around or standing in line. Bakugo kept his eyes trained on you a majority of the time, watching for any more odd behavior. Your little choking incident seemed slightly unbelievable, but he had no evidence to back up claims of deception. Maybe you saw someone you knew or thought you knew. Maybe it was nothing of consequence...or maybe it was. He couldn’t say just yet.

One of the rides was a coaster that flew backward - something he’d never ridden back in Japan, even as a kid. Bakugo valued his sight and being able to see exactly what lay ahead, but with the ability stripped as he sat in the front row - which was now the back - Bakugo felt a microscopic bubble of anxiety in the pit of his stomach. It’s just a stupid ride , he told himself as the safety bars came down.

He felt the cold metal of the safety bar under his palms like ice and took a deep breath through a clenched jaw, exhaling just as the train jerked backward, not noticing you glance at the strain of his knuckles with silent concern.

When the ride settled back into the docking platform, Bakugo was the first to exit and only bothered slowing down when he noticed you trailing behind.

As the sun started to set, casting an orange glow across the park like a translucent, mandarin blanket, exhaustion crept in slowly but surely. Sleeping tonight might actually end up being halfway decent after exerting most of his pent-up energy, and if he woke up back home, then-

Bakugo’s steps faltered for only a moment as he considered the fact that he’d been so distracted by everything today that remaining stuck here in this world and being pissed about it hadn’t crossed his mind since this morning. No new theories, no explanations, no answers. The thought of trying to make the day into a fairly relaxing one actually worked ...maybe too well. But he still wasn’t home, and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.

“Bakugo?” Your voice, smaller than usual, caught his attention, snapping his eyes to his right as you followed along a covered path, light streaming down through meticulously woven strands of growing vines and flowers draped across a tall tunnel made of wire. “Are you OK?”

Were you concerned about him of all things? No, really, he fucking wasn’t OK, but ending the day in a bad mood, especially when he’d eventually be stuck in the damn car with you for half an hour on the way back to your place, made his stomach sour. “Fine. Just damn fine.”

Bakugo walked ahead of you. His shoulders appeared stiff and for the first time today, his bitter disposition returned after what you thought was a successful day in having fun. Imagine, having fun with Bakugo Katsuki! But you knew prying would get you nowhere, so instead you followed him silently and hoped to figure out a plan to see that smile of his one more time.

He seemed to be headed in the direction of the first coaster you rode. The park, bustling with loud families and boisterous teenagers earlier, now seemed relatively empty as night set in. Many of the rides housed lights strung up on the metal trains, streaking stars in the night sky as they flew across the tracks. A tall ferris wheel spun slowly against the dark sky on the opposite side of the park, still visible from where you stood. Honestly, it was kind of romantic in a way-

Though you said nothing you covered your mouth anyway in embarrassment at the thought of this whole outing feeling mildly amorous. Of course , this wasn’t romantic - nothing romantic about it! Definitely not. Your intrusive thoughts were interrupted by a coaching voice as you passed by a row of vintage-looking prize booths.

“Step right up! C’mon now, test your strength! Win a prize! YOU SIR, YES YOU!” A man dressed up in some circus-type version of the normal park uniform, complete with off-center top hat, loudly banged a cane on the outside of his booth as the two of you passed before pointing the stick directly at Bakugo’s passing silhouette. “You look like a strong lad! Whatcha say, huh? Win a prize for that lovely lady?”

You stopped and blushed at the implication - the suggested relationship between the two of you inescapable even to park employees - as Bakugo turned towards the booth, body highlighted by the artificial glow of fluorescent lamps hanging from the top of the booth. “Hah?” he said with a bit of a snarl, glaring at the man who didn’t seem at all intimidated.

The evening darkness hid your warm face while Bakugo was too entranced by this provoking booth operator to notice.

“That got your attention, hm? Prove your strength! Knock down the targets and win a prize! Or are you scared, good sir? The fire in your eyes tells me you enjoy a challenge!” The man gestured to four moving rows of targets, all different sizes and sliding across hidden rails at various speeds. Even though Bakugo couldn’t understand the man’s goading words, he took a step forward as though squaring up for a fight.

“Shit,” you muttered, looking between the booth running with the sly grin and Bakugo, who’s hands inched out of his pockets. If he blew up the booth there’d be nowhere to run and security would-

“Omae wa nandato? Chousen ka? Booru o kurete! Ore wa taageto wo korosou .” (The hell did you say to me? That a challenge? Give me the damn balls! I’ll kill those targets.) Bakugo’s slurred Japanese was laced with fire, making the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. All you could do was stand by and watch, nervous that trying to pull him away would actually escalate the scene playing out in front of your eyes.

The man looked confused before he shrugged with an easy grin. “Dunno what ya said, but I think that means ‘yes’ in my language.” With the top of his cane against a small red button on the wall, the man pressed down and a set of equally bright red balls rolled to a stop in front of Bakugo.

“Uh-” You stood behind him as Bakugo picked up one of the balls, rolling it around in the palm of his hand before tossing it up and down a few times to gauge its weight and size.

Bakugo grinned deviously, his feet separating into a stance as he rolled his shoulders. The scene played out eerily similar to the physical strength exam during his class’s first day at UA.

He wound up his right arm, eyeing the targets like a hunter ready to pounce on its prey before stepping forward and letting loose a deafening “SHINEE!” (DIE!). The ball whistled through the air like a rocket, but you thanked whatever theme park god was looking down on you now when you realized Bakugo didn’t activate his quirk during the throw...though you swore you saw a small trail of smoke whizz past the startled man in the booth.

The ball hit the target perfectly in the middle. The grin stretched across Bakugo’s face never faltered.

“B-boy oh boy, you got quite an arm, there!” the surprised employee stuttered as Bakugo picked up another ball.

This was just what he needed right now: to let off some steam in a mildly non-violent way that hurt no one in the process. Bakugo had no clue what the hell this ugly asshole shouted, but he knew a challenge when issued directly to his face. If he couldn’t punch something, then throwing a ball as hard as he could without using his quirk and drawing unnecessary attention to himself seemed like the next best thing.

He didn’t notice you standing slack-jawed behind him as Bakugo wound up his arm for a second time and lobbed the ball across the length of the stand, hitting yet another target square in the middle. A satisfying crack accompanied a DING, telling Bakugo he might’ve broken the damn thing.

“Well, hold on now-” the now nervous-looking man stuttered when Bakugo picked up a third ball. He wasted no time in delivering yet another bullseye. Fuck it felt good to let go of his inhibitions, even if it was just throwing a stupid ball at a cheap target.

“Alright! Well, time to close up here ya go good job, there, have a good night COMEBACKANOTHERTIME!” The booth operator's words slurred together as many things happened in very quick succession: he pressed a button and the remaining balls disappeared into a hole dropping down into who-knows where before shoving a small stuffed toy into Bakugo’s startled arms. A closing shield similar to those seen in abandoned malls came down in front of his face with a snap, effectively making the booth look abandoned.

“What the fuck was that about?” you said behind him. Somehow Bakugo had completely forgotten about you, his concentration stacked and focused on breaking something and letting off internalized frustration. Looking back over his shoulder, he saw your eyes glance between the now-closed booth and himself with a look of confused awe before breaking out into some bizarre grin, your hands coming up excitedly. “Bakugo, that was crazy! You scared the shit outta that guy with your throws, and you hit every target right in the middle! I knew you were strong, obviously, but that was pretty cool I gotta say.”

Your arms waved around frantically, apparently mimicking his throw but with terrible form and balance. Even though he couldn’t understand a damn word you said, none of it seemed malicious or mocking. For the briefest of moments, a wave of secondhand embarrassment hit as remnants of the earlier park crowd passed by and stared at your odd behavior.

When you finally calmed down and looked at him with a smile, he couldn’t help but roll his eyes; if you truly weren’t villainous - his suspicions merely a low simmer at this point - you were at a minimum entertaining, which was more than he could say about most strangers he came into contact with.

Your eyes glanced down at his hand, and only then did he notice the thing he was holding - a stuffed animal with a polka dot bow, slightly paled on the ears and tummy from hanging up in a sunlit booth. He didn’t want or need this - he just wanted the satisfaction of winning at the stupid game, which he obviously did.

With his free hand, Bakugo pointed his thumb over his shoulder towards the towering coaster the two of you first rode on this morning. You followed his finger and, understanding his intentions, nodded. He then turned on his heel and tossed the stuffed animal behind his back, not really caring what happened to it.

You ran forward behind him and caught the stuffed animal before it hit the ground, running your thumb along the soft and puffy cheeks. “It’s cute, at least,” you said while stuffing the prize into your bag before catching up to Bakugo, your phone now out to talk to him properly. Just leaving it on the ground didn’t seem right; plus, he’d won it...not for you , or anything. No, certainly not. It didn’t mean anything to him, obviously. Just a toy, that’s all it was.

Bakugo seemed to be in a much better mood as the two of you walked, his scowl forgotten and demeanor lighter. Maybe he just needed to let off some steam, though you still weren’t sure what put him in a bad mood in the first place.

“After this do you wanna leave? I think the park is closing soon anyway,” you said with a yawn while standing in the short line for the ride.

“Tired already? Maybe the adrenaline will wake you up since you have to drive us back.” Truth be told fatigue was setting in for him, as well, but you didn’t need to know that. He was also starving. “Yeah, after this thing we can go and eat.”

“Food,” you said longingly, feeling a bit of drool pool in your mouth. Lunch was hours ago, so the mention of dinner made your stomach rumble audibly causing you to cover it up with a fake as hell cough, making him smirk. Once again you were awful at hiding what you were thinking; he could practically see the imaginary food drifting in front of your vision as he moved forward in the line.

Riding the same coaster twice in one day - once in the morning and again under the cover of night - seemed to round out everything into a satisfactory conclusion. The wind in his face gave Bakugo a burst of energy, and looking to his right it appeared to do the same to you as he followed illuminated signs towards the exit gates.

The yellow buzz of streetlamps flooded the sidewalk as the two of you walked, leaving the amusement park behind. Aside from his sour mood that passed surprisingly quickly, he’d...actually had a decent time today. The crowds got annoyingly loud at times, sure, but he chose the damn place so complaining did him no good. Other than that, though, Bakugo considered worse things to occupy his time. He still had no answers on how to get back home, but sulking and letting the anger bubble up like a pot ready to spill did nothing productive for his train of thought.

And what about you? His assumption that you were an eccentric weirdo was proven correct. You laughed at the dumbest things while somehow managing to keep up with his quick pace from one ride to the next, enjoying the adrenaline rush as much as he did, and even though conversation wasn’t frequent due to the noise level of the park, you still understood his gestures and mannerisms well enough.

Did he want to get the fuck back home? Obviously. Was today a complete waste of time? No.

The parking lot where your car sat untouched looked empty for the most part aside from a beat-up looking dark green van, a white car with far too many ugly bumper stickers, and an out of place sports car near the front.

He suppressed a yawn as you unlocked the car; damn, he was more tired than he assumed.

“Food? Yes, food. I’m not cooking, by the way, way too tired,” you said next to him. Were you implying he should cook? Bakugo scoffed and opened his mouth to answer before a blinking sign along the strip of mostly closed shops and restaurants caught his attention. His legs propelled him forward as his red eyes scanned over a sign in Japanese. “Bakugo?”

A place that served Japanese food - holy shit , he thought to himself as a craving for familiarity washed over him like a wave. It was probably cheap and couldn’t compare to the real deal in Japan, but he’d take it. Now, all he had to do was-

“Do you wanna eat there?” Your voice to his left made him turn, your eyes looking up at the sign as well. “Looks like they close in...oh, thirty minutes. Better hurry up, then!” You started walking towards the front door, glancing back after a moment to see him standing there like an idiot with a look that questioned your assumed answer to his silence. Bakugo jogged forward and practically shoved you through the door to provide nonverbal feedback.

The place was empty aside from one older-looking man at a booth slurping down a steaming bowl of soup. The walls were lined with generic and sun-faded posters in Japanese, noodles and rice and skewers of meat illustrated with digital brush strokes and appetizing colors. “I’ve never been here before, never really over on this part of town,” you said to yourself as Bakugo wasted no time in walking forward to find a menu. Food, you remembered. They had food here! Hopefully, it tasted as delicious as the aroma coming from the hidden kitchen.

“Welcome! Hello.” A man with jet black hair and wrinkles lining his eyes and mouth stood behind the counter, a heavy Japanese accent lining his words.

“Nihongo o wakarimasuka?” (do you speak Japanese?) Bakugo asked with shining eagerness in his eyes. You realized this was the first time meeting another Japanese person here, someone who might be able to understand him without the use of a phone app.

The man’s eyebrows shot up before he broke out into a wide grin. “Oh, hai! Anata wa nihon shusshin desuka?” (yes! Are you from Japan?)” Almost immediately Bakugo bombarded the poor guy with his native language, gesturing energetically with his hands at nothing and no one in particular. You pulled your phone away, grabbed a menu, and stepped to the side to let the two men talk about...well, you weren’t sure, but judging by Bakugo’s enthusiasm at talking with someone else in Japanese, it must’ve been engaging. It was kind of cute to see him like that, too, but you’d never tell him that.

After a minute of picking out what you wanted - the menu had both your language and Japanese translations - a snap brought your head up to see Bakugo gesturing for you to order. He must’ve already told the man what he wanted.

You told him your order and paid while Bakugo sat down at a booth facing the parking lot. “You make a cute couple,” the man behind the register whispered, leaning down so only you could hear. Immediately your whole face felt burnt as blood flooded your cheeks and you desperately avoided eye contact.

“N-no, uh, we’re not…” You shook your head vigorously rather than finishing the sentence. He looked apologetic at having misconstrued your relationship, but you tried not to make a big deal out of it. “It’s fine, don’t worry.”

“Gomen, sorry. Food will be ready shortly.”

“Arigatou,” you replied, making the tension in his shoulders ease a little before you sat down opposite Bakugo with a sigh and slid your phone to the center of the table. Three separate people assumed he was your boyfriend today - three too many according to your emotional sanity.

Bakugo looked at you questioningly from across the table. “The hell is your face so red?” he asked with a quirked eyebrow.

Immediately you stilled and looked absolutely anywhere other than at Bakugo’s very attractive face. “Uh...n-no, no reason. It just...happens sometimes,” you lied while trying to force the blood to drain out of your cheeks.

“You’re a shitty liar, which is probably a good thing,” he quipped. You looked almost offended, but he just scoffed while draping an arm across the back of the cool plastic booth. After a minute of silence, you started fidgeting as though you had something to say but were reluctant in letting it loose. “Just spit it out and stop squirming if you got something to say.”

Your eyes finally met his as your fingers interlaced across the edge of the table. “I guess I just wanted to say that I hope today wasn’t a waste or anything. It wasn’t much, but hopefully, it was at least a little bit fun. Obviously, you wanna get back home, but I hope today helped to let off some steam...or just relax, maybe.”

Whatever Bakugo thought you were going to say, it wasn’t asking him whether or not he had a good time today. He almost felt guilty to admit that, yeah, today was actually kind of fun, because shouldn’t he be focused completely on finding a way back home? Of course, he’d never stop thinking about new ideas or searching for clues, but the past three days had mentally exhausted him with pent-up irritation at the lack of tangible progress. He didn’t know where to turn...but today cleared his head while providing a bit of entertainment as well. When he got back home, he knew Kirishima would jump at the chance to ride some roller coasters if Bakugo put up the idea.

He also wasn’t about to forget that you did all this shit on your own dime, taking time away from your own plans to keep him occupied. At the very least, he could offer up a bit of honesty in return.

“I don’t say this often, so listen up,” he enunciated while contrasting a stern tone with his casual demeanor. You leaned forward, hanging on his eventual answer. “Today wasn’t half bad. The coasters didn’t suck, and yeah, it did clear my head to make room for new ideas on how to get back home. So…” He rolled his tongue around in his mouth, the word stuck in his throat like thick honey before he rolled his eyes and continued. “ Thanks , or whatever. So yeah, it was fun. Happy?”

You looked as taken aback at his answer as he did towards your question before leaning back in your seat and grinning, the air around the table now much lighter than before. “I’m glad! Maybe I used it as an excuse to chill out, too.”

“You aren’t as annoying as I thought you’d be,” Bakugo avowed. He really couldn’t resist getting the last word in, and the exasperated look in your eyes made it worth it.

“I’ll take that as a backhanded compliment, I guess.” You then sat back as the man from the register appeared to set two trays of food in front of the both of you, steaming food and delicious smells pouring from the bowls and plates. “Oh, wow. This looks good.”

“Enjoy!” the man offered with a smile before disappearing back behind the counter. Your mouth watered as you scanned the food before looking up to see Bakugo already breaking apart his chopsticks and-

Oh. Oh fuck. Chopsticks : your downfall. There weren’t any other utensils on your tray, and you didn’t want to ask for some and look like an idiot...or maybe you’d look like a moron anyway since you never got the hang of how to use them correctly. Shit.

Bakugo picked at his food easily, obviously well-versed in casual chopstick use. You bit your lip and pulled apart the wooden sticks, holding one in each hand while imagining the food suddenly appearing on them to make your life easier, but no such luck.

After a minute Bakugo apparently noticed you hadn’t touched your food, quirking an eyebrow at you while easily eating sticky rice. “Why...oh shit, that’s right. You don’t know how to use chopsticks,” he mocked while taking another bite of food. Rather than starve and give him the satisfaction of making fun of you again, you tried to hold them with extreme concentration, only for one to keep falling onto the damn tray.

Your angry mumbling must’ve amused Bakugo because his smug expression was permanently glued to his face. “Fucking...c’mere,” he ordered before suddenly reaching over and grabbing your wrist across the table to arrange the chopsticks properly between your fingers.

Frozen in place, you held your breath, eyes focused on Bakugo’s deft fingers moving against your skin. They were calloused and warm and somehow comforting in a way you couldn’t really vocalize. This was the first time he’d touched you voluntarily and you really hoped he couldn’t feel the blood rushing and heart racing under your skin.

All too soon his hand retreated, gesturing for you to try again now that your fingers were supposedly in the right spot. Sure enough, it was much easier to hold the food than when you’d attempted it in the past, and you even managed to get most of it in your mouth. Bakugo just snickered as you ate, an occasional piece of rice falling into the napkin lining your thighs while you attempted to rid your mind of flustered thoughts.

Bakugo finished his own food before you, despite ordering a larger portion, no thanks to your utensils. Eventually, though, you take one last bite before shoving the tray away, exhaustion coupled with a full stomach hitting you with full force. “Fuck, I’m tired…”

“Then hurry up and drive before you drift into the wrong lane.” Bakugo snaps in front of your face after standing up, leading you out of the restaurant towards your car. It felt a bit eerie walking to your car in a dark and empty parking lot, but Bakugo’s presence erased any bubbling fears as you unlocked the doors and opened up the driver’s side.

The drive back to your apartment felt longer than the drive to the park this morning. Bakugo attributed the false sense of time to exhaustion, building lights, car headlamps, and glowing street lights passing over his vision, not unlike the illuminated roller coasters. You turned on the radio without asking if he minded - probably to help keep you awake - while you drove, occasionally glancing down at the digital map rotating and moving on your phone screen. Every once in a while Bakugo snapped a sparking hand near your face when he noticed you looking sleepy, and every time you’d jump like a rabbit and sit up to refocus on the road.

At one point your phone buzzed. Once. Twice. Three times, catching Bakugo’s attention. A text message alert popped up at the top of the screen, but true to your word as a good driver you ignored it to keep eyes centered on the road ahead. Curiosity tugged at the back of his head since you hadn’t really mentioned friends or acquaintances of your own, but without the translator open any questions he’d pose would be useless. He packaged away the information for later, though he couldn’t pinpoint significance in a text of all things.

When you finally pulled up in front of your apartment, he watched as your head fell forward onto the steering wheel from assumed fatigue. Tempting as it was to just shove you out of the car so he could shower and go the hell to sleep, it probably wasn’t the most polite course of action following a day without arguing.

“Oi, okite,” (wake up) he barked in your ear, causing you to swat at him weakly as you sat up. He snorted and exited the car, turning around to yawn so you couldn’t see.

You grumbled and sluggishly made your way outside, up the stairs, and finally slid your apartment key into the lock with a satisfying click. “Fucking finally, so tired.” While you slipped off your shoes, Bakugo maneuvered past you to the bathroom and closed the door, not wasting any time apparently in washing off the grime of amusement park seats and railings. “He really is a brat,” you mumbled before making your way into your room and closing the door, leaving it cracked just a bit for a stream of light to cut across your walls and bed.

“Bed, good delicious bed.” You wasted no time in plopping down on the cool comforter, letting your eyes close for a moment before your phone buzzed. You’d seen the messages while on the road but answering them while driving and sleepy spelled out a world of trouble.

iphone-zHSr

You couldn’t tell her the truth about what was going on, no way. For one thing, she’d never believe you without seeing Bakugo for herself...but thinking up some excuse of a story sounded like far too much work right now, so instead you just closed your eyes and let the sound of the air conditioning ease you into a restful state.

A loud knock at your door woke you up from almost dozing off after laying in bed longer than you assumed. Bakugo announced something through the door, but the sound was muffled, and you couldn’t understand his Japanese, anyway. It took you a minute to register the voice of responsibility in your head nagging you to get up. Apparently, you’d taken just a moment too long and Bakugo knocked a little more insistently, an unexpected “OK?” coming through your door in your own language. He picked up things quickly.

“Fine, getting up, hold on,” you grumbled while almost falling off the bed and flinging the door open...leaving you face-to-face with Bakugo’s very close chest. Immediately you stepped back to see him already in his own pajamas and a confused look on his face, the contours of his cheeks and nose barely visible in the darkness of your room.

“I’m fine! Just tired,” you coughed before quickly grabbing up some pajamas of your own. “Let me just, uh...” You scooted past him through the door - careful not to brush against him on accident - and padded into the bathroom for your own shower, quickly closing the door behind you.

Bakugo looked over his shoulder with peculiarity before walking into the kitchen and grabbing a glass of water. “Four days down...what the hell am I supposed to do now?” He huffed through his nose, eyeing his makeshift bed on your couch, reminding himself over and over again that his circumstances could be far worse. “I wonder what the hell the others...are...holy fucking shit I’m so stupid !” He nearly dropped the glass in his hand at the mind-blowing realization that he wasn’t actually alone in this - his dumbass friends back home, the Hero Agencies, even his parents had to realize he was missing by now. No, they definitely figured out something was wrong days ago when he didn’t show up to Kaminari’s drinking invitation, nor to his patrol shift the next day.

And because he was a top Hero, there would surely be some gigantic manhunt to find him. He’d disappeared right off a busy street, standing in front of that corner restaurant. Someone had to see what happened, right? “Fuck, finally some good news. Well, not news , but…” Bakugo grinned at the mental image of his friends and coworkers desperately searching for him; and not just him, for the wretched idiot of a villain, too. Once they caught on, it was only a matter of time.

“Time...what if I just have to wait it out?” He’d been so preoccupied with finding a solution on his own from this end, with understanding things with basically zero clues, that he hadn’t thought of potential efforts back home. “I hate waiting, though. And feeling like I can’t do a damn thing from here.”

Bakugo paced back and forth for a minute before plopping down on the couch, his tired body easing into the cushions and blanket. His short surge of energy evaporated as suddenly as it appeared, eyes and limbs heavy from the day’s mental and physical activities. He listened to the water in the bathroom patter against the tiles before shutting off, telling him you were done showering. “Patience isn’t my strength. Deku, don’t disappoint with that overly analytical brain of yours. You either, Ponytail.”

He paused his muttering when the bathroom door opened, steam pouring out as you exited with your clothes. You looked refreshed but still tired, about the same as he felt. You started to yawn but covered your mouth when you caught him staring from across the room before shuffling past him back into your bedroom. You really were odd, but not necessarily in a bad way...more like in a way that highlighted your inability to hide whatever you were thinking. Bakugo found that mildly comforting for some reason.

He saw you lean over the couch with your phone as you stifled yet another yawn unsuccessfully after a minute. “I’m uh, going to sleep. Thanks for hanging out with me today. I’m probably not the most exciting person to be around, but I’m glad it didn’t turn out super boring.”

With hands folded behind his head, Bakugo furrowed his brows at your words. “Don’t talk down about yourself. You’re weird , but not boring. If I thought you were dull I would’ve said so by now,” he stated candidly. Bakugo didn’t really know why he went out of his way to talk you out of being self-deprecating, but it didn’t feel wrong to do so. Maybe it reminded him a bit of how Kirishima used to be during high school, and even then he didn’t let that shit slide.

You stared down at him with rapt attention before blinking suddenly and cutting your eyes elsewhere, a free hand playing with the ends of your hair, twirling it between your fingers. “Um...thanks. You obviously aren’t a boring person to be around, either.”

“No shit, I’m exciting as hell,” he gloated, easing the unexplained and brief tension in the air when you rolled your eyes.

“Yeah, yeah. Well, it's been a very long day and I’m tired, so goodnight. If I don’t see you in the morning, then I’ll just say it’s been...interesting.” He raised a brow before you quickly added “in a good way! I mean. Otherwise, goodnight.”

Bakugo hummed as you retreated and closed your bedroom door, crimson eyes lingering for an extra moment before getting up to turn out all the lights. Sleep sounded fucking glorious right about now, even if he was resigned to a couch and some blankets.

You plugged up your phone and climbed into bed, tapping away on the screen to your friend that you’d tell her about your recent adventure tomorrow. She sent you a bunch of kissy face emojis to butter you up, but there was no way you were going to tell her the hottest guy you’d ever laid eyes on was staying in your apartment until further notice - an immediate and urgent phone call would inevitably follow the text as soon as she read it, and you were far too tired to deal with that right now.

Instead, you put your phone on silent and snuggled up into your blankets before you remembered something. Leaning over the side of the bed you opened up your bag to take out the stuffed animal Bakugo won earlier. “I know you’re not for me,” you whispered into the darkness with a bit of unrealized longing. “But I couldn’t just leave you for someone else. Maybe you’ll be a good luck charm if I keep you around long enough.”

Silently, you slid the stuffed toy under your bed for safekeeping and returned to settle into the cool fabric of your pillow and sheets. You thought about everything that happened today: Bakugo defending you from that creep in line, getting him to smile and laugh on the rides, gushing over his destruction of that ball game, his hand on yours during dinner…”Oh, no.”

You hid your blushing face under the covers and curled up into a ball. “I have a giant fucking crush on the real-life Bakugo Katsuki.”

Chapter Text

 

ch5

The choking grip of darkness surrounded him like an ocean of spilled ink, thick and suffocating and wretched. Tendrils crawled under his skin like vines of acid, burning in his veins as they crept up his body like a ladder. He struggled, but could not move. He screamed, but no sound was heard. Mocking laughter, wet with saliva, whispered like ghosts into his ears, far away and unseen, yet clear and crisp as though right against his skin.

The tendrils reached his neck, hot and alive with an erratic heartbeat in his pulse, and constricted his airway…

You can’t save everyone

They counted on you

What kind of Hero are you?

Bakugo struggled and attempted to scream as ink filled his lungs.

Then, he woke up.

With ragged breath and cold sweat pooling in the pale blonde hair on the nape of his neck, Bakugo sat up with a jolt from the nightmare, crimson eyes scanning your living room for an enemy unseen.

He clenched his jaw and screwed his eyes shut, letting his head fall into his sweaty palms when he realized where he was - and where he wasn’t. “Even here they follow me,” Bakugo grumbled, his words hot against his calloused skin.

Hero work took a toll on everyone who chose the profession. Bad was always packaged in with the good, and all you could do was minimize the damage while keeping yourself both physically and mentally intact.

Bakugo was resilient in everything he did...at least in public; even he couldn’t stand strong every single day without breaking, but he let no one see that ache, that vulnerability, that weakness if he could help it. Once, he and another group of Heroes didn’t fare so well against a well-planned ambush from a band of villains. Rather than let him return to his empty apartment to stand in a cold shower until his skin pruned, the other Heroes on the mission dragged Bakugo into a movie night where no one really watched the movie. Instead, they had all sat in silent understanding that grieving together in solidarity felt slightly better than grieving alone.

His nightmares were rare and usually vague, but the effect remained the same when he awoke. The exhaustion from the previous day at the amusement park must’ve sent Bakugo into a deep enough sleep to trigger the vision.

At least you weren’t awake to see him in this pathetic state-

Wait...why did Bakugo care how you saw him? Your opinion of him didn’t matter, and wouldn’t influence him one way or another. He’d be gone soon, never to see you again. You were just someone who let him stay here, an unintentionally involved observer in his current life fuckery.

With a scowl, Bakugo stood up from the couch, glancing back at your closed bedroom door before moodily stomping towards the bathroom.

You lay curled up in bed, warm covers wrapped around you as you stirred from sleep. Your dreams were... interesting , your ears and face warming while you remembered the vague images of Bakugo swirling around in your head. How the hell were you going to face him when you were dreaming about him just now?!

“I’m so screwed,” you groaned into the pillow while blinking away the sleep from your eyes and adjusting to the light filtering through dancing dust particles in the room.

A smell coming from outside your bedroom made your nose twitch. “Huh…? What-” Still groggy and stiff from sleep, you misjudged how close you were to the edge of the bed and, unceremoniously, toppled right over onto the hard floor.

“FUCK!” you screeched as the floor connected with your back, the sheets halfway spilling over the mattress as well. “Oh, shit, that hurt...ow.” You asked yourself why you were cursed with clumsiness of all things.

A couple of quick knocks at your door immediately dulled the pain in your lower back as you held your breath.

“You OK?” Bakugo’s voice echoed from the other side of the door in your own language, his heavy Japanese accent laced into the words in a surprisingly appealing way. He’s still here , you thought selfishly. You bit your lip to keep from groaning as you untangled yourself from the sheets and stood up before answering.

“Yes! Hai! I’m OK!” Wow, I sound stupid , you thought while rubbing the spot on your back and flinging open your bedroom door...only to, once again, come face-to-face with Bakugo’s chest. He looked down at you with a quirked eyebrow before you stepped back to put some distance between the two of you. Apparently, he either had no sense of personal space or he didn’t mind if you stood this close to him. Only one of those options seemed plausible.

You cleared your throat and avoided eye contact before addressing him properly. “I’m fine.” He must’ve understood since he turned around to head back in the direction of the delicious smell coming from the kitchen. “Did he make breakfast…?”

After grabbing your phone from the nightstand - an unread message from your friend urging you to spill the beans from the previous night causing your notification light to blink - you walked out of your room to see Bakugo standing with his back to you, his hands busy at the stove. He wore one of the tank tops you bought that showed off his broad shoulders and strong arms, and once again you tried desperately not to stare as you walked towards the bathroom to freshen up.

Bakugo didn’t bother with an oven mitt or potholder as he held the pan handle with his left and stirred the fried rice with his right, his calloused hands nearly immune to heat at this point. He was used to cooking with saibashi chopsticks, but after looking in all your kitchen drawers despite knowing you wouldn’t have any, Bakugo resigned to use the utensils available.

He’d woken up in a shitty mood but stubbornness forced him not to let one stupid nightmare ruin yet another day stuck in this place. “Deku, you better work fast to get me the hell back home,” he muttered while easily tossing the rice like an expert chef. With the combined brainpower of top Heroes back home working around the clock to find a solution to this mess, Bakugo assumed that it shouldn’t be long before he’d be able to sleep in his own bed and get back to his normal routine and life.   

As he plated two servings of rice, the bathroom door opened behind him and you walked up with an inquisitive look on your face while staring at the food. “Fried rice? Is that a common breakfast thing in Japan?” you asked as the phone in your hand translated. You had that same hungry look in your eyes as last night before the two of you left the park.

This was definitely a self-indulgent meal after eating familiar food the previous night, but he didn’t really care. You’d made breakfast several times at this point, so it was his turn to return the favor...and also prove that he was a better cook.

“Yeah, rice is served with almost every meal. That a problem?” Bakugo didn’t consider whether or not you’d eat it; if you didn’t like it, that was your problem and he could save it for later.

You shook your head and sniffed the air before letting out a satisfying hum. “Nah, not at all. It smells great, too. You didn’t have to cook, but thank you, anyway.”

“I don’t say shit I don’t mean, and I said I’m a better cook. Gonna prove it,” he emphasized with a bit of smugness while beating a couple of eggs in a clean bowl. From the corner of his eye, he saw you reach forward to steal a grain of rice but a glare sent your direction made you back away with a sheepish grin.

“Fine, fine…” You held your hands up in defeat before sitting down at the table so he could concentrate on not fucking up the eggs. They’d cook quickly and ruining them meant you’d surely bug him all damn day about it.

Once the folded eggs were placed delicately atop a small mountain of fried rice, Bakugo set each plate down at one end of the table before grabbing the sharpest knife you had which was far too big for the job, but maybe it would sell the dramatics.

When he turned around you were about to dig in with your fork before he snatched it out of your hand. “Hey!” you cried out before eyeing the knife in his other hand with concern. “Uh…”

Silently, Bakugo sliced through the egg, the gooey sides falling evenly across the fried rice in an impressive display. You stared with wide eyes as he did the same to his own plate before dumping the knife in the sink and sitting back down, satisfied that he’d won the cooking competition before you even tasted it.

“That’s not fair.”

“What isn’t fair?” he said while tossing some hot sauce - he just kept the now half-empty bottle on the table at this point - over the runny eggs.

“It’s fancy breakfast!” You stuffed a bit of everything into your mouth before dropping the fork with a clatter and a bizarre throaty groan. “Fuck. Yeah, it’s good. Not fair. I’ll win next time.”

Bakugo snorted at your exaggerated reaction. “Doubt it.”

The two of you ate breakfast with relative silence as you wondered what you could possibly do to keep Bakugo occupied today. The theme park was the most exciting thing you could think of, and he didn’t really seem interested in anything else...but maybe you could pick his brain with a full stomach and a clear mind.

Even though this was his fifth day here, far longer than he wanted to stay, you observed that Bakugo seemed to be in a relatively good mood. “Have you figured out any more theories on how to return home?” you asked while scraping your plate clean of egg and rice.

Bakugo paused, and the look on his face made you almost immediately regret asking that question. “It’s almost like I’m constantly thinking of how the hell to get back, or something,” he snapped with more of a bite than you were expecting. “Stop asking.”

Your teeth dug into your bottom lip as guilt bubbled in your chest for constantly reminding him that he wasn’t back in his own world where he could use his quirk, where he could be a hero again; but you couldn’t completely erase your curiosity at any new leads. At this point, though, it had to be a sore subject, so maybe it was best to drop it and try to keep him distracted with something fun.

“Um, sorry. I uh, won’t bring it up again,” you said timidly, your phone barely picking up your words to translate as you picked at your food. The last thing you wanted to do was make him upset after how well yesterday went. Whenever Bakugo acted out with a petty attitude, you could snap right back...but you didn’t want him agitated or angry, especially not at you directly. If you could avoid a repeat of his first day here, that would be best.

Bakugo muttered something under his breath, prompting you to look up to see his stern face staring back at you. His lips thinned as he ran a hand through his pale blonde hair, the subtlety of an internal debate playing behind his crimson eyes. “I do have another theory, one I thought of last night. Just stop bugging me about it because as far as I can tell I can’t do a damn thing to fix it from here.”

It surprised you that he managed to calm himself down, making you grateful for his own self-awareness. Maybe he was thinking about how you reacted towards him five days ago, too. “Deal!” you replied, trying to brush the tension from your shoulders as you got up to wash your plate. Bakugo moved to get up as well, but you held up a hand to stop him. “You cooked so I can wash, that’s fair, right? And you can tell me your ideas...if you want!” You added the last bit hastily to avoid the impression of demanding information, though you assumed if he didn’t want you to know something, he wouldn’t tell you, anyway.

Bakugo could tell your inquisitiveness didn’t come from a place of malice, but rather one of curiosity and a genuine desire to help him out considering all you’d done for him so far. After all his observations and digging, he couldn’t find any ill will in your actions. He’d come to several conclusions since getting back from the park yesterday:

  1. You probably didn’t have any villain connections, nor were you associated with the villain that did this. If so, you’d have tried to get rid of him by now
  2. You seemed like a bad liar by how expressive you were, so if you attempted to hide something, he could tell
  3. There was probably nothing either of you could do to directly affect getting him back home

The last point bit at him terribly, if he was honest with himself. Bakugo hated feeling useless and weak, and for once his intelligence and powerful quirk might not be enough to liberate him from this stupid situation. Without quirks or anyone here who knew about quirks, all his theories and ideas led to dead ends without anyone to help act on them.

Yesterday, surprisingly, did wonders  wonders in helping him let off steam, but the fact that his quirk had to remain a secret made his teeth grind.

If his theory was right, which unfortunately seemed likely at this point, he needed to...ask something of you. Relying on others still proved difficult at times, and now was no different, especially when Bakugo had nothing to his name besides the clothes on his back, which currently weren’t even technically his.

The sudden lack of running water and clinking dishes brought his attention up to you, his eyes following as you rounded the kitchen counter to lean back against the couch facing him with your phone in hand. You opened your mouth to speak, but Bakugo got there first.

“How long can I stay here?” he blurted out without any warning. Bakugo wasn’t one for tiptoeing around something; if he wanted an answer, he’d ask the question without hesitation.

Your brows knit together as you spoke. “How long…? Do you think you’ll be here much longer?”

Bakugo stood up out of the kitchen chair and walked past you to stand in the middle of the room, warm light from outside pouring in across his bare feet before he turned your way with a stern expression. “My theory is time. Most quirks have drawbacks, some more severe than others. For something powerful like this - tossing someone into another fucking universe or whatever - the villain probably can’t do this often. Maybe there’s a time limit until the quirk wears off, or maybe if they use it again it will cancel this version out. And that means...all I can do is wait.”

His posture betrayed nothing of the possible revelation that patience might be his only ally here. Bakugo wasn’t exactly a patient person from what you knew, which meant you’d need to put in some serious effort into keeping him calm so he wouldn’t eventually blow up your apartment in frustration.

You shifted to lean against the side of the couch in order to see him properly, which may have been a bad idea because wow he looked gorgeous in a morning glow. “I mean, I don’t have a roommate, and no immediate plans for visitors, either...so I guess just stay as long as you need to. I won’t kick you out unless you do something to warrant it.”

“And you’re still allowed to do that.” He mirrored his words from the first day here. Bakugo was a Hero, after all, so villainous behavior seemed completely out of character for him. Hell, in the manga he hated smoking, went to bed early, and never talked back to teachers - a law-abiding citizen to the core. Sometimes his attitude wasn’t the best, but that certainly didn’t warrant you leaving him to sleep on the streets. If he actually did something that made you feel uncomfortable, you’d be surprised.

You nodded, letting him know you understood the weight of his words. Things seemed so solemn, now, that you wanted to try changing the subject. “So, uh, is there anything you wanted to do today? I have to go back to work tomorrow, so if you wanted to go out and explore or something, we can.” A blonde eyebrow lifted in your direction, making you squirm a bit. “Or! I can just leave you alone today since yesterday was so social, up to you.”

Bakugo crossed his strong arms, bare from the black tank top he wore, and eyed you without blinking. “Did you give me all the half-decent suggestions on Friday, or are there other things to do here?”

That’s right: he’d chosen the most exciting thing from the list you provided, so what was there left to do if nothing else interested him? You hummed to yourself while trying to think quickly, your toes wiggling against the floor until your eyes landed on the video game console under your TV.

“Video...oh! OH, I KNOW!” Your sudden burst of enthusiasm caught him off-guard as he gave you a silent “what the fuck” stare, but you ignored him. “Do you have VR technology in your world?”

He looked towards the TV where you were staring, then back at you. “Like, virtual reality?” he asked, you nodding in response. “Yeah, why?” His tone seemed interested, so you explained what you just remembered.

“So a place opened up nearby that’s like, a VR bar? You go and can rent the headsets and stuff and play games. I have some friends who did it and they said it was pretty cool.”

Bakugo rarely had time for video games back home, and though the technology existed, he didn’t personally own a headset. Sero did, though, keyword being “did” until Kaminari freaked out while fighting a virtual monster, broke a chair, and short-circuited the damn thing on accident before Bakugo even got to mess around with it.

Maybe some combat-related games could prove interesting, not to mention the added bonus of seeing you flail around like a moron while he inevitably destroyed you in whatever games they offered.

Could be fun , he pondered. It was certainly better than sitting in this apartment doing nothing.

“Fine, yeah. I want to see how much worse you are at games than you normally are,” he quipped with a smirk. Your excitement at his answer disappeared when you undoubtedly realized he was insulting your video game prowess.

“Well,” you said. “We’ll see! We’ve just been playing fighting and racing games so far, so maybe I’ll surprise you with some hidden skills, smartass.” You stuck your tongue out at him which made Bakugo’s eye twitch involuntarily. If your so-called “skill” could match up to your smug attitude, he might actually be impressed.

The phone in your hand suddenly buzzed, and Bakugo watched as your face changed to one of mild annoyance when you rolled your eyes and typed quickly on the screen, mumbling something he couldn’t hear or understand. He took your distraction as an opportunity to head into the bathroom to shower and brush his teeth, but the sound of quick footsteps behind him made Bakugo turn to see you skid past him, effectively blocking him from the bathroom. “Nanioshiteiruno?” (What are you doing) Bakugo asked while you pressed something on your phone.

“Are you gonna shower?”

“Yes.”

“Let me go first,” you asked, hands together in a mild plead.

“What? Why?”

You cleared your throat before answering, avoiding his stare for whatever reason. “I’ll probably take longer to get ready, so lemme go first? Also, it’s my bathroom so I call dibs THANKS!” Before Bakugo could argue you back stepped into the tiled room and closed the door.

“Why is she so damn weird?” Bakugo threw up his hands in defeat, stopping at the small closet to sift through his remaining clothes. If he was stuck here one more day he’d pretty much be out of clean clothes. “Almost a week...when’s the last time I went this long without fighting?”

He sat on the couch, wondering what wild stories the media were inevitably cooking up about his disappearance when an unusual sound echoed from the bathroom into the living room, making him tilt his head and listen.

You were singing...and it wasn’t half bad.

Even without the ability to understand the words, the melody was pleasant to his ears and cadence had a nice rhythm to it. He didn’t know much about singing considering Jirou was the only one with any remote musical capabilities, but Bakugo either liked something or hated it, rarely balancing between the two in indecisiveness. And this? He hated to admit it...but he liked it, a calm washing over him as he listened to your voice projected through the echo of bathroom tiles and running water.

You smiled to yourself as you washed the soap from your body, bubbles and suds sliding down the drain. Today might not be as exciting as yesterday, but you’d try your best within your ability to keep Bakugo content. When you stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around yourself, however, you looked around the bathroom and clamped a hand over your mouth with a horrid realization: you didn’t bring clean clothes into the bathroom with you. “Fuck. Fuck! God, I’m so dumb…” you whispered to yourself through gritted teeth. You were so used to living alone that it would’ve been too good to be true for you to always remember to grab clothes before you showered while Bakugo was around.

It wasn’t like your pajamas were particularly dirty after wearing them only to sleep in, but you much preferred sliding on clean clothes right after a hot shower. You sighed before putting back on your oversized shirt and pants, hiding your underwear in the towel crumpled in your arms before setting out a clean and folded towel for Bakugo; it wasn’t necessary, since he knew where they were, but you still wanted to be a good host.

After taking a breath to steady yourself, unsure why you felt so nervous considering you weren’t running out in a towel or anything, you grasped the door handle and stepped into the living room to see Bakugo lounging casually on the couch, apparently just waiting for you to finish. You really needed to get him a book or something to read to occupy some of his free time.

You loosely gestured towards the bathroom before nearly jogging to your bedroom, nearly tripping over your own damp feet along the way before shutting yourself behind the door, closing you off from Bakugo’s confused expression. “He must think I’m a total weirdo. At least I can try and look kinda cute today, and maybe even show him that I can be good at games, too. Too smug for his own good.”

For a moment your hand hovered over a dress hanging up in your closet but decided against it if you had to move around a lot playing a game, settling on jeans, boots with a low heel, and a light sweater. You looked at yourself in the mirror, nodding in approval at feeling pretty cute when your phone buzzed on your bed. “I really shouldn’t have told her anything…”

With the minimal information you told your friend - that a “travel error” stranded a stranger in your town and you offered to let him stay with you until he was able to get back home - she honed in quickly with questions about whether or not he was cute, if he was funny, if you liked him, etc. It wasn’t like your crush on Bakugo would lead anywhere; when he returned home, he’d probably forget all about you and this universe, happy that he could be a Hero again. There was no use in attempting to start something that could never turn into anything significant.

It wasn’t that you lacked confidence in yourself, really. You’d successfully navigated relationships in the past, but for one reason or another they just never worked out. “My goal is to keep him busy, not take him on a date, anyway.” You bit your lip and thought back to the handful of people who assumed you and Bakugo were dating yesterday, but shook those thoughts aside, looked at yourself once more in the mirror, and opened your bedroom door.

Bakugo stood up from the couch, as the door behind him opened having been twiddling his thumbs after showering since he couldn’t exactly go out and spend money he didn’t have in a town he wasn’t familiar with.

“Ready?” you asked while he grabbed the cheap sunglasses from the previous day. He dismissed your smug grin visible out of the corner of his eye.

After locking the door behind you, Bakugo walked down the hallway and saw one of the few signs of life in the building besides you and himself: an older woman with an equally old-looking dog. It barked at him weakly as he walked by and the woman nodded in his direction with a wrinkled smile.

“Morning,” she said while fumbling with the keys to her door. He answered based off an assumption of what she said.

“Ohayo,” (good morning)  he replied without a glance before heading down the stairs, hearing your own footsteps behind him. You and the woman exchanged some words before catching up to him.

“Good for her,” the woman whispered down to her dog who definitely understood and barked the doggy equivalent of “I agree” in response.

As if on instinct Bakugo walked in the direction of your car, but rather than follow his lead you just continued walking right past him down the paved parking lot in front of your building. He looked up, confused before you pointed down the street.

“It’s close enough to walk to! We don’t have to drive,” you called before continuing to walk.

Bakugo huffed before running to catch up to you, now assuming wherever this place was must’ve been close enough to talk to.

Clouds hung overhead, a shift from the clear blue sky from the previous day, though they weren’t dark or dense enough to indicate rain. He was glad the sidewalks were far more sparse in terms of people than the amusement park. Even though he somehow managed to avoid getting severely annoyed with busy, loud crowds, dealing with them two days in a row might just bring his mood down again, something he’d rather avoid.

You walked beside Bakugo as he took in shops and stores he’d never seen before. At one point you tried to walk ahead of him, but his legs were longer and it only took a couple of steps to line back up. You turned it into a damn game after a few repeated cycles of this, apparently prepping for whatever lay ahead at this VR place.

Would you co-op against some nasty monsters, or go against each other? Possibly both? Either way, he’d enjoy kicking your ass and proving you wrong. He supposed that without quirks, something as mundane as video games was probably more appealing here than they were back home with the ability to act out fantasy scenarios and do things no human here could ever accomplish.

As you neared the location specified on your phone, you tried to keep your eyes off Bakugo beside you, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to remain subtle with how, after each passing day, he seemed more and more at ease around you. Maybe this meant he was finally starting to trust you a bit, or at least didn’t see you as some kind of villain accomplice.

You looked up to see two women approaching from the opposite direction. Their hair was styled and sunlight bounced off the healthy-looking curls that draped over their shoulders delicately. With fashionable and expensive clothes and a walk that oozed of confidence and appeal, they passed by you and Bakugo, their heads turning noticeably in his direction. One of them definitely swayed her hips a bit as they waltzed out of sight, their heels clicking behind you until the sound disappeared.

He didn’t belong to you, Bakugo wasn’t yours by any means...so why were you agitated all of a sudden? It was like you weren’t even there, the women completely ignoring you in favor of the handsome man walking on your right. Was it so obvious to them that the two of you weren’t together, that he was far out of your league, despite what others assumed the previous day?

The thought made you bite the inside of your cheek, but you shoved away the insecurity.

Curiosity got the better of you, so you chanced a peek up through your own sunglasses at Bakugo, but he seemed completely unphased by the women who just passed by. He didn’t look back or acknowledge them at all, really. Maybe that meant he did have a partner back home, and just never mentioned them. Bakugo didn’t seem like the cheating type based on his personality from reading both the manga and interacting with him in real life, so he was likely taken, uninterested in women, or disinterested in relationships at all.

Finally, the two of you arrived at the place: VR Venture. The outside looked unassuming, the windows blacked out like a nightclub while the sign above the door stood out in bold red letters. Bakugo followed you inside, a breeze of cool air wafting down from the air conditioning above the door.

“Hi there, can I help you?” A heavyset man dressed casually in a t-shirt with a well-known video game logo on it caught your attention at the front desk.

“Hi, yeah, we’ve never been here before. How exactly does it work?” you asked. Bakugo looked curiously around past the front lobby to the bar on the opposite side, various strangers sitting and laughing while hallways on either side of the front desk led off to who knew where.

The man nodded before jumping right into the rules. “You pay for the time you’re here and can play any available games. We rotate them out regularly so we get in new games once a month and phase out others. It’s in one-hour increments. No food or drink allowed in the rooms with the equipment. Any questions?”

You shook your head and took out your wallet. “Nope, got it. Uh...can I pay for two hours?” Unsure of how long Bakugo might want to spend here - maybe he’d get bored, or maybe he’d get wrapped up in the experience - a couple of hours seemed like enough time to explore at least three or four games and, hopefully, have some fun.

After paying the man led you down one of the hallways and into a small room, maybe about the size of your bedroom, with a large TV mounted on the wall. Two headsets and sets of controls lay on opposite walls in secure cubby areas. The man ran through a quick explanation of the hardware before leaving you and Bakugo alone in the room.

“Ok, so-” Before you finished your sentence, you noticed Bakugo was already inspecting the headset before adjusting it on his head, surprisingly careful of how it sat against his hair. He couldn’t see your smile. “Not gonna wait for instructions on how these things work?” you asked, holding your phone in one hand and your own headset in the other.

Bakugo clicked his tongue before rolling up the sleeves of his orange hoodie. “No, I’m sure it’s simple. Hurry up,” he ordered, impatient to get started and beat the hell out of something, even if it was just in virtual reality.

“Just, ugh. Fine…” He heard you shuffling around while he experimented with the control sticks in his hands. Through the screen latched on to his head which covered the entirety of his peripheral vision, Bakugo stood in a simple virtual room with blank walls and a wooden floor. When he turned his head left, he looked left in the game. When he turned right, he looked right. Same with up and down. Two disembodied hands floated in front of him, moving along with his own hands. It was a bit disorienting, but he’d get used to it. Pressing down buttons adjusted the fingers. Now, if only he could…

“I can’t hold my phone while I do this so we’ll, uh, just figure it out,” you said before he noticed a second pair of hands appear to his right at the absolute perfect time. “...Really?”

He managed to find the right combination of buttons to flip you the bird, which he honestly found far funnier than he probably should’ve.

Eventually, a menu popped up that allowed him to scroll through various games. The title screens made it fairly obvious what the games centered around: zombies, dinosaurs, space, etc. Several leaned more towards puzzles and problem solving, but he didn’t care about those too much; Bakugo was here for action first and foremost. Without asking for your permission or opinion, he chose the first option displaying a bloody rampage of decaying zombies.

“Could’ve at least asked!” you said, but he didn’t understand and was too busy figuring out the controls when the visuals changed to a dark and spooky graveyard, rain pouring down with surprising believability, and a dilapidated mansion on a hill far ahead.

Trigger, zoom, move forward, reload . He memorized the controls quickly and looked over to see your own disembodied hands fiddling with some kind of long range rifle. Sniper, huh? He was very curious to know if you could aim that thing if how you played other games was any indication of your performance.

After a minute or two Bakugo heard the sounds of drooling virtual zombies stumbling in past the moss-covered gravestones. They dragged themselves forward as Bakugo raised his hands, a pistol in one and machete in the other...only to see one zombie after another drop onto the dark wet ground before he even had a chance to shoot.

Bakugo looked over to see the floating sniper rifle poised and level, the echoing sound of artificial gunshots vibrating in his ears. You weren’t lying when you openly claimed some hidden video game skills...what the hell?!

He mumbled through a clenched jaw and grinding teeth as you, one-by-one, shot nearly every single fucking zombie in beginning section, leaving Bakugo only a handful to deal with when you had to reload. Looking over, he saw you fiddle with the gun until you managed to flip him the bird in return, waving around your disembodied hands with glee.

“Payback, baka!” you laughed. It was extremely difficult to keep from blowing up the damn controllers in his hands when you called him stupid , of all things. There was no fucking way in hell he’d let you keep the lead, so he pressed the button to advance to the next level a little harder than needed, swearing by the end of this that he’d come out with the highest score.

If this was the only thing you might beat Bakugo at while he was in your world, you’d take it. It wasn’t your fault he picked fighting games most of the time when at your apartment - he knew his strengths and how to play to his own advantage, but so did you. You couldn’t help but laugh at his incoherent mumbling while your kill score remained slightly above his throughout the next four levels.

Although you’d never shot a gun in real life, aiming in a game and blasting away virtual enemies gave you an adrenaline rush. Whenever you came home after a shitty day or needed to let off some steam, you always popped in a game full of extravagant kill cams and over the top weapons. It was cathartic, in a way: porting yourself into a stronger, more capable body with the assets to beat the shit out of anyone who pissed you off without consequence.

No wonder Bakugo enjoyed being a Hero so much. It wasn’t the only reason, obviously, but it was probably on the list somewhere between “Beat Deku” and “Blow Shit Up.”

After five zombie-killing levels, the final individual scores were posted against the screen:

Bakugo: 356

You: 372

“FUCK YES! I FUCKING WON!” You yelled at the exact same time as Bakugo, but for very different reasons. When the main lobby screen reappeared you took off your headset and looked to your left to see a fuming man with bright red eyes glaring at you, his hair only slightly mussed from the device. “Uh oh.”

Rather than snap at you, though, he just set the headset down and walked out of the room, leaving you standing there alone and confused. “What…is he really that mad?”

You silently poked your head out of the doorway to see him walk towards a water fountain with his back to you, shoulders square and stiff. Just thirsty , you thought as you moved back into the room. He liked competition, right? But he also seemed like a terribly sore loser...so if he wanted a rematch or to play something else, maybe you should go easy on him.

However, you immediately thought back to the Sports Festival and his match against Todoroki. Bakugo was furious that Todoroki didn’t use his full power against him...so no, it was probably a bad idea to do anything other than try your best, even if Bakugo seemed more in control of his emotions now.

Your fingers tapped against the screen of your phone when Bakugo returned. He seemed less pissed off now, which was a relief, and gestured to your phone as though he wanted to say something.

“Look,” you started, but he cut you off.

“Rematch. Different game. Don’t hold back,” he declared while pointing directly at you challengingly before picking up the headset and adjusting it once more.

You stared at him before smiling, internally relieved that he couldn’t see your satisfaction at knowing he wanted to keep playing games with you.

Of course, he picked out the next game: a combat-focused competition, no more tag-teaming enemies. He was definitely trying to win this round, but even though this wasn’t your preferred shooter, you’d try your hardest.

...Too bad it wasn’t nearly enough. Bakugo was relentless with how he controlled his stylized cartoon avatar, tossing ridiculous weapons your way as you dodged, at one point almost forgetting this was just virtual reality and had to regain your balance to keep from eating the floor. You even swore you heard him laughing a few times.

Several games and playthroughs later, a “TIME’S UP!” screen popped up and the headsets powered themselves down automatically. You were out of breath, tired, and starving after two hours of what basically turned into a workout since Bakugo kept choosing close-combat games.

“Wow, OK, should’ve worn gym clothes or something,” you mumbled while taking off the helmet and attempting to smooth down your hair. Looking over towards Bakugo left you almost speechless, however.

You had no idea when he’d taken off his hoodie, but he did , and you silently wondered how the hell you hadn’t said something absolutely stupid by now.

Sweat slid down his arms and neck as he removed his own headset, flipping his hair from side to side like a model in a staged commercial. He looked your way and you quickly busied yourself with removing the handset straps from your wrists, turning your back to him in the process.

Bakugo stared as you struggled with surprising effort to remove the wrist straps, but as he took a step forward to just yank them off so he could get the hell out of here, you freed yourself without help and shoved them into the cubby attached to the wall.

It was more of a workout than he’d anticipated, which honestly felt great. Even though his quirk concentrated around his palms, a mild side effect caused a bit more sweating than normal, even with tame exercise. You’d made the mistake of wearing a sweater, but he wasn’t about to bug you about it since you looked more exhausted than he felt.

You cleared your throat after putting away the equipment and turning to him with your phone. “Well! That was pretty fun, right?” you asked with a bit of a sheepish grin. He noted you were acting a bit odd, but couldn’t place whether or not to be suspicious yet.

“You weren’t fuckin’ lying about being halfway decent at something,” he stated while sliding back on his hoodie now that he’d cooled down a bit. Once again you looked offended, and he couldn’t help but grin. All it took was one insult to bring back your attitude.

“Uh, who won that game, hmm?” His eyebrow twitched.

“Who won the rest of them? Hah?”

You stuck your tongue out at him and made for the door. “Sore loser. There’s one thing I can beat you in and you can’t take that satisfaction away. But, anyway, I’m starving, now! Wanna find some food nearby?”

“Yeah, yeah. Are you obsessed with food or something? Always hungry,” he said while following you back out to the lobby. Bakugo enjoyed good food, sure, and right now could go for some lunch, but you had some sort of love affair with food that resembled Kirishima’s.

The two of you walked out onto the street, the sidewalks noticeably busier now that it was past lunchtime. Bakugo slid back on your cheap sunglasses - he was growing secretly fond of them - and walked as though he knew exactly where he was going. He didn’t.

“Have any particular cravings?” you asked while catching up to him. He really wasn’t picky, so Bakugo just shrugged to let you pick since he found that Japanese place the previous night and cooked breakfast this morning. If he picked somewhere, you’d likely go along with it - so instead, he wanted to see where you’d gravitate towards without any suggestions.

Shops lined the side of the street, people filtering in and out for their weekend chores before shuffling back into the tedium of work the next day. You hummed next to him before jogging ahead to a store directory of the area, humming while going through the list of restaurants and places nearby. He couldn’t read any of it, but the area looked fairly expansive according to the map.

“OK, we’re here…” You pointed to a red dot on the map and traced it up towards the area opposite your apartment. “Hmm...oh! This place.” He watched your finger tap about a block up the road. “I have some friends who’ve been there. Said it’s pretty good.”

For all he knew your friends had shitty taste. “What kind of food is it?”

“I think they said it's like a fusion type place? Tacos, maybe? I really don’t care, I’m hungry enough to eat anything.” Without waiting for his answer you skipped past the concrete column displaying the map and walked down towards the restaurant. Bakugo followed, catching up only to play the “who can stay ahead of who” game once more because you were a stubborn brat who wanted to annoy him, no doubt.

The place was far busier than he expected it to be when the two of you arrived, so either the food was in fact good, or they were running a promotion to bring in customers. Whatever smell hit his nose, though - a bit spicy, warm, with something else he couldn’t quite place - made Bakugo’s mouth water.

While waiting in line you grabbed a menu, which unfortunately didn’t have that many pictures and certainly no Japanese translation. Bakugo grumbled, which you knew was from his inability to immerse himself here with the language barrier. It didn’t seem to pose too much of an issue until there was a lot of reading or explanation involved.

You held up a finger for him to be patient - unlikely, but there was an attempt - before scanning the menu for something he might like. “Spicy, spicy…”

Illustrated peppers indicated spiciness level, and only one item had three peppers. Typing on your phone, you used the app to translate how many spicy tacos do you want ? hoping he could decipher the text in a way that made sense.

Bakugo grabbed the phone out of your hand to read the message before scowling, his own fingers typing out a reply when the keyboard switched over to Japanese characters.

Don’t assume you know what I want , the rough translation read. Well, what were you supposed to do?! Either he ate what you ordered for him, or didn’t eat at all.

If you hate it, blame me . I’ll make you lunch . You shoved the phone in his face, mildly annoyed that he chose to be difficult now of all times. He had no choice but to accept your help, and you knew he was aware enough to know that.

He pushed the sunglasses up to his hair, giving you a hard stare with piercing ruby eyes. With obvious reluctance, he gave in and held up three fingers for three tacos. Rather than wait with you in line, Bakugo went ahead and sat at one of the few empty booths in the place, beating out a couple who were forced to sit in the back near the bathrooms. At least his “fuck off” attitude was good for something.

After ordering at the counter and grabbing two bottles of water, you sat down opposite Bakugo not unlike the previous night. He crossed his arms and stared at nowhere in particular, while you noticed staring from another direction.

More like several directions.

You couldn’t help but spot several women and even some men discreetly checking Bakugo out from the corners of their eyes. While it irritated you, you couldn't do anything about it. First, because he wasn't yours, and second because you had been doing the same for the past four days. Bakugo, on the other hand, didn’t seem to notice or care about the staring, reacting the same way he had when the women passed by him earlier. His eyes lit up when the server brought his food, however. You had to hold in your laughter because it was such a genuine reaction you could relate to: excitement over delicious-smelling food.

Apparently, Bakugo didn’t appreciate your attempt to keep from laughing because you felt a kick to the shin under the table right as he dug into his food, which gave off the distinct smell of habanero peppers. His expression betrayed nothing.

“You little shit.” Two could play this game. You waited for Bakugo to let his guard down for just a split second. When his mouth was full, you brought your foot into his own shin, forcing his eyes up to glare at you, and shaking his head with a silent threat that you didn’t really take seriously at this point. You were sure it didn’t hurt anything but his pride.

Before he could retaliate, however, you pulled your legs up and sat squarely on the seat to protect them from whatever kick he might unleash. He looked mildly startled when his shoe hit nothing but air, and you slapped your hands across your mouth to keep from laughing when he bent down and looked under the table.

Muttering what you assumed was colorful language, he stared at you while he continued to eat as if daring you to pull something else. You had no idea why seeing him annoyed at such a small gesture was so funny, but it was.

The food was, in fact, delicious , once you managed to calm down and start eating. Bakugo ate everything on his plate, so he must’ve liked it at least a little bit, which meant he couldn’t say shit about you ordering for him.

When you were done you pointed towards the restrooms in the back to let him know where you were going, and left Bakugo to fend for himself for a few minutes. You looked at yourself in the mirror and attempted to smooth down your hair with a fold-out brush in your purse, but realized you’d just need another shower after all that exercising.

“At least he didn’t say anything if he thought I looked bad,” you noted while washing your hands. He seemed to blurt out whatever he was thinking if it suited him but hadn’t been deliberately mean since the first couple of days. Whether he thought you looked good , though, was a different matter, considering his lack of interest so far. Maybe he was just...neutral on looks. Either way, you flicked those ideas aside and exited the restroom.

Immediately catching your attention were two women standing - no, practically leaning - against the booth Bakugo sat at. Speaking of first days, he looked like he was about to literally blow up, his knee tapping up and down rapidly under the table like a jackhammer.

They were definitely in prime flirt poses; you knew how some women acted in front of attractive people to gain their attention because you’d been there yourself on more than one occasion.

“Shit.” You quickly walked towards the exit, and as soon as you caught his “ get me the fuck out of her e” glare, Bakugo stood up from the table, nearly shoving one of them out of the way as he followed you outside.

Fucking vultures , Bakugo thought as he stormed down the sidewalk in the direction the two of you came from earlier. Like lions ready to pounce on their prey at the first open opportunity, the women swooped in and crowded the booth. Bakugo wasn’t stupid, and he knew the look of flirty desperation all too well.

It was disgustingly pathetic.

Coupled with the fame and acclaim of Hero work were the horribly agitating fans. It was the whole reason he dressed inconspicuously when not on patrol: to have some damn peace and quiet without being bombarded for autographs and pictures every five minutes.

Anonymous packages were sent to his office at the agency, and very few were worth keeping. A drawer in the desk he rarely sat at was stuffed with letters from hopeful kids wanting to be a Hero like him and people grateful for his effort. The rest? Foul and obscene and stuffed in the trash after being blown up for good measure.

Even here, where no one fucking knew who he was, people couldn’t leave him alone. He’d honestly enjoyed the inconspicuousness of being here so far, so this pissed him off enough to storm out and back towards your apartment.

He heard your voice beside him as he walked, but Bakugo tuned you out - he’d dealt with enough socializing over the weekend and just wanted to be away from people right now. After a minute you stopped trying to talk and focused on keeping up a few steps behind him. At least you had enough common sense to know when to leave him alone.

Luckily the walk back was a straight shot with few turns, something easy enough for him to remember without trouble. Bakugo dug around in his jeans pocket for a key...that definitely wasn’t there. Dammit .

“Um, I’ve got it.” Bakugo stood aside as your hand came up to slide a key into the lock. As soon as your hand turned, he grabbed the handle and pushed the door open without waiting for you.

You stood awkwardly in the doorway and watched Bakugo drop down onto the couch without so much as a word in your direction since you sat in the restaurant. He was obviously mad about something, but you had no idea what, and it seemed best not to ask since he ignored you on the way here.

With your shoes removed you locked the door and walked further inside to see Bakugo nearly as reserved as day one. Arms crossed while he stared at some blank spot on the ceiling with a scowl, he definitely gave off “don’t talk to me” energy. Not knowing what else to do, you decided now might be the best time to take a shower to wash off the dried sweat and clear your head.

You picked out some clothes from your bedroom and walked back out to see Bakugo in the exact same spot on the couch, still very much brooding. Biting your bottom lip, you wondered if you did anything to make him upset, or if it was something you were completely oblivious to. Maybe it was the women back in the restaurant, making you wonder what they possibly did to turn Bakugo into a silent statue.

Turning towards him as you crossed the living room, you pointed towards the bathroom. Bakugo acknowledged you for half a second before turning away to continue staring at the ceiling. You gripped your clothes tighter and sighed before disappearing into the bathroom and turning the shower knobs for scalding hot water.

Bakugo knew he was unreasonably pissed off considering the circumstances, but he didn’t really care. He had a right to seethe at whatever he pleased and no one - definitely not you - could stop him.

He did notice you weren’t singing like you were this morning. It was unimportant, anyway. Inconsequential.

After several minutes of silence aside from the running shower, he got up and slid a fighting game into your console. Maybe if he could combo the shit out of some NPC it would help him feel better; a real punching bag would be ideal, but nothing he could do about that.

When you came out of the shower he didn’t bother acknowledging you and instead continued to focus on the game flashing on the TV screen. He did see you pause as though you wanted to say something, but seemed to decide against it and disappeared back into your room behind him.

You came back out after a moment, and for some reason he expected you to be annoyed with his silence at this point and bug him about it...but you didn’t. Instead, he heard the shifting of a kitchen chair as you sat down and, out of the corner of his eye, watched you pull out a book he’d seen you reading before. He noticed your hair was still damp and your posture was reserved before he tore his eyes back to the video game.

“If you want to talk, it’s fine.” When the phone next to you translated, Bakugo growled, and you said nothing else. He didn’t need your pity or outreach, and he certainly wasn’t about to air out his agitation to someone who wasn’t his friend or colleague; he was here because he had no other choice - it was either stick around this apartment or sleep outside. You weren’t anyone to him.

Luckily, you didn’t attempt any more conversation for a long while. He’d barely moved from his position on the couch, one foot propped up on the cushion, when he heard you shuffle behind him. His hands stilled on the controller.

“I’m going out for a walk. I’ll be back later.” All he did was nod in acknowledgment, but whether or not you noticed Bakugo wasn’t sure when he heard the front door open and close. He finally paused the game and felt an almost unnerving sense of solitude with your abrupt absence like a gust of wind on a still day.

You walked down the paved parking lot until it merged into the sidewalk, and headed in the direction opposite the one you and Bakugo ventured down this morning as if on autopilot.

He made the apartment too stifling with his brooding, and maybe just you being there was preventing any positive progress on getting over it. The late afternoon sun cast a mandarin glow over the buildings and trees like a warm fire that couldn’t burn or harm. Cars whizzed by and families chatted as your feet hit the ground one step at a time towards an unknown destination.

Eventually, you paused in front of a store you’d meant to enter many times but always passed by. Now seemed like as good a time as any to enter the bookstore seated on your left in between a chain restaurant and jewelry store.

You loved the smell of books and paper - it gave you a feeling of nostalgia, memories of staying up past your bedtime to finish a novel or running your hands over the glossy pages of picture books filled with animals and dinosaurs. So much was contained within the bindings facing you on dusty wooden bookshelves, and immediately you were glad you decided to take a walk.

Wandering around the store, you took in all the different sections: fiction, nonfiction, young adult, romance, classics, historical, etc. An occupied chair greeted you after rounding the corner of a shelf littered with titles like “The Sexiest Vampire” and “Ridin’ Boys: A Novel”.

The chair, which seemed oddly elaborate for the fairly plain interior of the store, housed a cobalt cushion which, in turn, housed a very fluffy cat. You internally squealed, not expecting to see an animal in the store. It made sense, you supposed, that it might enjoy the silence and occasional pets.

...You wanted to pet the cat. You really wanted to pet the cat.

“What’s your name, hmm?” Bending down you looked for a collar and found a metal tag imprinted with the name “Honey.” Indeed, a coat of warm caramel and golden tones spread across the cat from nose to tail. You lifted your hand slowly to let it sniff you, soft tail flicking over the edge of the chair.

It purred, and you smiled as its head butted up against your hand. You took out your phone and took a picture to send to your friend with the blunt caption “CAT” in all caps. When Honey got tired of you, it hopped down from the chair and scurried off to another hidden part of the bookstore.

At some point, you wandered into a section with encyclopedias and dictionaries. You hummed while browsing and paused when your eyes read the spine of a small but wide paperback book that read “Japanese-(Language), (Language)-Japanese Dictionary.” Picking it up, you flipped through the thin paper pages to find not only single words but common phrases and inquiries translated for ease. “Shit...this might come in handy. And it’s pretty cheap,” you commented, turning the book over to look at the price.

With the book under your arm, you continued to browse around the store, inevitably drifting into the fiction section where you perused a few titles you’d heard positive things about. Before you realized it, however, the novels switched into manga as you continued exploring.

It was here you stopped and bent down to look at a section that nearly stretched across an entire shelf. You picked up a book and flipped it to a random page until your heart jumped up into your throat.

Teenage Bakugo stared up at you from the off-white page, the shading dramatic and action lines bold to show him winding up for his recognizable Howitzer Impact against Todoroki during the Sports Festival. He looked so young and... angry , here. If you hadn’t read up through the AFO fight, his duel with Deku, and how he acted during the makeup portion of the provisional license exam, you’d have much more difficulty imagining how Bakugo got from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other...for the most part. He still had a temper, was blunt almost to the point of rudeness, and could cut a diamond with his glare, but his attitude definitely improved as he moved into adulthood.

“You read that manga? What volume you on?” A small voice caught your attention and, looking up, you saw a young girl sitting cross-legged on the floor with a My Hero Academia manga in her lap. She looked half your age at the most, the low pigtails made her look even younger. She was staring at the volume in your hands.

“Oh, uh yeah. I’ve read...mm, up past the volumes they have here,” you replied while counting up the numbers. They only had up through the Overhaul arc, but you’d read online versions up through the Festival arc.

“Who’s your fav?” she asked, apparently wanting to quiz you on manga knowledge. You started to sweat thinking about the man back at your apartment.

After clearing your throat, you smiled down at the girl while trying to keep it together. “I guess Bakugo is my favorite. Not just his personality and quirk, but his character development is really wild. A lot of people, myself included, didn’t care for him much in the beginning.”

“Yeah, he’s a giant asshole.” You held your tongue and looked down to see a page spread of the Wild Wild Pussycats, which meant she hadn’t seen even half of Bakugo’s later improvement. “Todoroki’s pretty cool. His dad’s really mean, though.”

It always seemed like a popularity contest between Todoroki and Bakugo. “Well, if you keep reading you’ll see how people change.” You felt an urge to defend him from harsh judgment; not only because you knew more of the plot, but because you kind of sort of maybe had a basic understanding of Bakugo from actually meeting him in real life .

While you were debating manga characters with a child, Bakugo stood in front of your closed bedroom door, curiosity bubbling up once more now that he was alone.

“Look around for clues since she kicked me out last time.” He wasn’t exactly thinking in the most rational sense five days ago, so with you gone, he wanted one more look around your room for anything you might be hiding. You called him a damn pervert last time, but it wasn’t like he would dig through your clothes....or would that be the perfect place to hide something? But if he moved anything too much, you’d notice. “Fuck it.” Playing it safe only got him so far.

He opened the door and turned on the light to reveal an unmade bed, a dresser, nightstand, and nothing particularly out of the ordinary. Stray clothes lay crumpled on the floor, but he stepped over them to bend down and crawl under the bed where he originally emerged.

No residue, no holes, nothing to indicate he’d materialized from another universe. Just a long pillow and too much dust. “She should fucking sweep under here,” he mumbled while brushing the dust off his shirt once he stood up. He completely missed the stuffed animal hidden behind said pillow, already forgotten and dismissed.

His hand moved to open one of the dresser drawers but stopped, suddenly feeling like he was invading your privacy. What did he expect to find, anyway, a note from the villain detailing their intricate plans? Having nothing specific to look for meant he was basically searching in the dark.

He let his hand drop and looked over towards your closet, the door slightly ajar to reveal a crack of darkness on the other side. Striding across the room, Bakugo pushed open the door and turned on the separate light to reveal...clothes. Various clothes, some suitcases, hats, purses, belts, and some other boring-looking shit lined the wall-mounted racks of the small room. Nothing extraordinary here, either.

While scanning the hangers weighed down with jackets, he thought about your sense of fashion briefly. Since he wasn’t in Japan the popular clothing styles were obviously different - something he took note of while wandering around at the park and exploring earlier. He also wasn’t oblivious to your own sense of style which, honestly, wasn’t terrible.

Bakugo was so used to Kirishima’s horrid patterns that maybe everyone else looked acceptable in comparison. Thinking of Kirishima, something bold and red jumped out at him in the closet, and he couldn’t help but reach forward and pull it off the rack to investigate.

Swaying from the plastic hanger was a simple but nice-looking dress, the fabric like shiny satin and unwrinkled as though it’d only been worn once, or not at all. “The hell would she wear this? A hot date?”

Speaking of which, it dawned on him that you’d never mentioned a relationship before, but then again he didn’t exactly feel the need to share irrelevant information about his personal life, either. If you were dating, it might be hard to explain his appearance and why some stranger was sleeping on your couch. And-

When he realized the mental tangent his mind was leaning towards, Bakugo scoffed and hung the dress back up where he found it, but in his rush, he knocked several other things off the rack. “Shit! Fuck,” he cursed while trying to put everything back where he found it and scurried out of the room...until he remembered to turn out the light and leave the door cracked, just like he found it.

“Why should I care, none of my damn business.” He walked out of your room, noticing you weren’t back yet and glad you hadn’t found him rooting through your things. There was probably nothing significant to find, anyway. Glancing up at the clock on the microwave above the stove, he noticed you’d been gone a while and wondered when you’d be back. A “walk” shouldn’t take hours, right? Unless you were annoyed with his moping to the point of reluctance to return until his attitude shifted.

He growled to himself, feeling like he was overthinking things. Normally, critical analysis of a situation fell right within his forte, but this was over something insignificant. Bakugo didn’t care if he agitated you; hell, he’d been nice if not even hospitable the past few days to keep you placated. This was nothing more than a housing agreement based on extraordinary circumstances.

Deciding to take a shower to clear his head and wash off the bit of sweat from before lunch, Bakugo told himself if you weren’t back in an hour he’d go out looking for you; getting lost seemed within your realm of competence in addition to the fact that Bakugo wasn’t stupid and knew how a woman walking around alone might look to some shitty asshole.

One hour , he told himself. He could occupy himself for an hour.

You weren’t kidnapped, or lost, or anything of the sort. Rather, you were walking back to your apartment with a bag in one hand weighed down with two books: the Japanese dictionary, and a novel you’d read a couple of years ago translated into Japanese. Maybe he’d appreciate it. Or maybe not, it was hard to predict exactly what he’d do or how he’d act at this point.

While strolling down the sidewalk as the sun started to set, you felt your phone buzz in your purse: it was your mother calling, probably to catch up and see how you were getting along. She always seemed to call during a moment of stress or anxiety, like some otherworldly mom-sense tingling.

You debated on whether or not to answer given that she could sniff out whenever you felt even mildly off, and this whole week threw you off in a massive way. But then again, if you didn't answer she might call when you were with Bakugo and make it awkward, or worse...she’d show up uninvited out of worry. It wouldn't be the first time. While you normally loved your mother, her tendency for overprotection was a lot to deal with sometimes. No matter how old you got, she’d always think of you as a kid rather than an adult.

With a deep breath, you pressed the green button on the screen. "Hey, mom.”

“Hey, sweetie. How’re you doing? Been a while since we last talked.” Her tone sounded inquisitive rather than demanding or worried, luckily.

"Yeah, sorry, I've just been pretty busy lately," you explain while trying to keep your tone even to reveal nothing as you slowed your walk towards home.

"Oh? I know that job of yours keeps you so stressed. You need to relax sometimes, dear." Occasionally you called your mom for advice on dealing with stuff at work since she went through a lot of the same experiences; technology changed while people remained the same.

"Oh, trust me I'm aware..." you laughed awkwardly since your job was not the current stressor in your life.

Without realizing it you’d wandered all the way back home, but not wanting to go upstairs just yet you walked in circles outside your apartment building with your phone against your ear and a bookstore bag in your hand.

"Have you found any potential partners? I know the last date you went on was a while ago,” your mom asked. You stared at your phone for a second with a slack jaw, wondering how the hell she pinpointed your mental conundrum with her ridiculous mom senses.

...Technically there was someone on your mind, but you dug the toe of your shoe into the sidewalk at the thought. Telling your mom about Bakugo in an incredibly vague way wouldn’t do any harm, right? She might even offer up some advice.

"I, uh, did meet someone, but it's not like that,” you told her, trying to come up with a way to explain the situation without outright lying to her.

"Ok, explain what it is like." Dammit.

"Uhhh... Well, he's cute - no, very cute - and funny and smart and everything but he's not going to be here for long. Just a temporary visit from somewhere else, so I don't see much of a point in trying to start something that isn't going to last you know?” Mentioning any self-doubt about Bakugo’s capacity to like you romantically would raise her red flags and start her on a tangent about not thinking badly of yourself and to be confident that anyone would be lucky to be with you.

Quiet echoed back on the other end of the line for a moment as your mother hummed that familiar thinking "hmmm" before she answered. "Well, you're smart. You’re my kid, after all.  And you never know what might happen in the future. Anyone would be so lucky to be with you. I just want you to be happy, and sometimes you have to make yourself vulnerable to find that little bit of happiness." Your mom could always throw out some sentimental kindness, and you could feel the edges of your vision blur as you held back tears.

"Yeah...thanks mom. I wanna be happy, too."

While you walked in small slow circles in front of your building, Bakugo stood several stories above the ground and debated whether or not to go out looking for you.

“Dumbass, it’s getting dark.” He wandered over to the window overlooking the parking lot to see if you were coming down the sidewalk, but his eyes stopped on a slow moving figure below. They - no, she from a closer look - had your hairstyle, hair color, and was dressed in what you changed into after your shower. Bakugo huffed out his nose, wondering what the hell you were doing just standing around outside before he noticed the phone in your hand.

He mentally questioned who you were talking to before tossing the inquiry out like stale bread. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t any of his business. You weren’t lost or hurt, so nothing to worry about.

"Sweetheart, sometimes you just gotta jump. We never know what life has in store for us in the end but some opportunities come by just once in a lifetime, and when they do, you just have to go after them. No holding back, I don't want you to regret never doing what you want to do because you’re scared." It was honestly amazing advice that seemed almost too applicable and real to be mere coincidence. Would you regret it if Bakugo disappeared and you never said anything, letting the chance slip away forever?

You choked out a "Thanks mom. You're the best."

"You know I am,” she laughed. "Well I gotta go now, your dad is making dinner and it’s starting to smell like it’s burning again.”

“Bullshit, I know he’s a better cook than you,” you retorted.

“Watch the language, you’re an adult but you’ll always be my baby. And don’t call me out like that. That’s what the internet says now, right? Callouts?”

“Oh my god.” You tried not to double over in laughter at her horrible attempt at staying relevant. “I should go and get some dinner myself, I think.”

“Keep me updated on this mystery man of yours,” she urged. You rolled your eyes at her exaggeration, even though Bakugo was definitely a mystery at times.

You exchanged words of love before hanging up, feeling honestly far lighter than you did before your walk.

"OK, get it together. You can do this!" you said, giving yourself a pep talk and smacking your cheeks, internalizing something Kirishima might say to pump himself up when faced with a massive hurdle to get over. The chill in the air started to seep into your bones, so you finally made your way back to your apartment. With a little bit of confidence and your mother's words ringing in the back of your head, you opened the door. Stepping inside you noticed Bakugou had finally removed himself from the couch and was grabbing a glass of water as he turned to you. He still looked a bit agitated, but just not quite as much as before you left.

Bakugo dropped a few ice cubes into his glass before closing the freezer door. His shitty mood had dissipated for the most part, and he was getting bored again with no one to talk to. Nodding towards the bag hanging from your hand, he wondered if you’d tell him where you ran off to.

With your phone in one hand, you set the bag on the table and began to speak. “Hi. Didn’t think I’d be gone so long but there was a cat at the store and I got distracted way too easily.”

“A...cat?” he clarified, and you nodded with a smile.

“It was fluffy and cute and it’s name was Honey but of course when cats don’t want attention anymore, they just run away. But, anyway! While I was out…” Bakugo watched you pull out a small but thick book and hold it up to the kitchen light. “I found this Japanese dictionary. Dunno, it might help since, ya know…”

You trailed off awkwardly with an unfinished sentence, but Bakugo knew you were referring to his unknown amount of time stuck here. Buying the book was practical, he’d give you that much.

Setting that aside, you pulled out another, smaller book with a less boring cover and he immediately noticed the text on it was all in Japanese. “So this is actually a novel I’ve read before, just in my language, obviously. I found a copy in Japanese so I picked it up. I don’t know what kinds of books you like, but if you get bored it’s better than nothing I guess.”

Bakugo stepped forward and snatched the book from your hand. “Rude!” you exclaimed without any seriousness behind it as he read the back cover. Fantasy, dragons, territory squabbles, war...he didn’t have time to read often, but at least it didn’t seem too dull.

“Thanks,” he said without thinking, but he didn’t feel like taking it back. After not finding anything incriminating in your room - even if the search was very surface level - Bakugo remained convinced that you weren’t collaborating with any villains, which meant he could just focus on making fun of you for dumb shit until you got annoyed.

“You’re welcome! Are you hungry? I’m still kind of full from earlier but I could eat a sandwich or something. And no,” you said while pointing in his face. Bakugo felt an urge to slap your hand away. “You’re not cooking since you made breakfast.”

He just shrugged his shoulders and walked past you with his glass of water and new book. “Didn’t say I was, you made that assumption yourself. And if you screw up something as simple as a sandwich I will laugh.”

You huffed and rolled your eyes, which made him smirk against the cool glass. Over the next ten minutes, you slapped together two sandwiches, asking him yes and no questions to what he wanted and he nodded or made a sound of disgust with each condiment.

When you set the plates down at the table, Bakugo tossed the novel on the couch and sat down at the end of the table opposite to you. It was just a simple sandwich, so he didn’t have much to say about it - but it wasn’t a bad sandwich, at least.

After he finished eating, Bakugo stood up to wash his plate but you grabbed the other side in an attempt to grab it away. Luckily he had a strong grip.

He stared down at you. You stared back with an almost impressive amount of determination. He knew you probably wanted to wash them, and he had no reason to fight you on it...but he did anyway because he was an ass.

“Let go,” you said.

“Iyada (no),” he replied, assuming what you said from context clues.

You tugged on the plate, but he didn’t let it budge. Your growing frustration at something so stupid made him grin. “Oh my god...fine, take it.” Eventually, you let go...but then Bakugo realized he’d just resigned himself to washing dishes. Fucking dammit . You gave him a knowing look. His eyebrow twitched.

While Bakugo lost a competition he didn’t realize he lost until it was too late and busied his hands in the sink while grumbling, you picked up the Dictionary from the table and thumbed through it. At the very least he’d probably get a kick out of your horrible pronunciation of his native language. You leaned against the wall and flipped to a page out of curiosity. “Let’s see…’explosion’ is…ha! Bakuhatsu! It’s almost your name, like you were named after your quirk.” You secretly knew quirks didn’t develop until people were about four years old, but the coincidence Horikoshi created was too clever to pass up mentioning.

Bakugo rolled his eyes but didn’t bother glancing in your direction, confirming that information in a cranky tone of voice, as if he'd heard all the jokes before. You couldn't help yourself and risked one terrible gag. "Is that why you have such an... explosive personality?"

When the phone translated, he did look up to stare at you like you were the biggest fucking moron on the planet, and for some stupid reason you started laughing at how serious he appeared over your dumb joke. You tried to get it under control but every time you saw his cranky face it made you burst into another fit of giggles.

You hid your face in the dictionary as you laughed, feeling his glare at the back of your head, but you couldn’t help it: he still looked pretty cute, even when his lip twitched with agitation. Suddenly he walked over and snatched the book out of your hands, setting down the dish drying towel and flipping through the book for some kind of retort while you still sputtered with laughter, hiding your smile behind your hands.

He flipped through various pages back and forth. You were finally starting to calm down when he glared at you and said with a very thick Japanese accent “stop being stupid,” in your language. Honestly, that just sent you into another, stronger fit of giggles. Sometimes you laughed at the dumbest things, and now was definitely one of those times. You held your sides, unable to get a hold of yourself, eventually sitting down in the chair while Bakugo fumed with annoyance. He threw up his hands, obviously fed up with your antics but you could tell he wasn’t actually mad.

You laughed so hard you actually fell out of the chair, busting your butt on the floor and smacking the bruise on your back from this morning (which you were now painfully reminded of). "FUCK!" you yelled, while trying to get a hold of your laughter and groaning at the same time.

It actually forced out a laugh from Bakugo. The sound was so obviously startled out of him and was so full of unexpected joy that even in pain you laughed with him while still on the floor trying to desperately keep from snorting. After you both calmed down a bit he extended his hand down to you and helped you up from the floor with ease, making you wince.

This would turn into a safety hazard if cheering him up meant making yourself look like an idiot; maybe that meant he'd be impressed if you could keep your shit together and act like a human being with a bit of grace and balance.

His hand was rough and calloused from his quirk, but was also sturdy and brought a sense of comfort. It was different from the brief touch the previous night at the restaurant, his fingers wrapped around your palm for far too little time.

Bakugo watched your face scrunch up as you got back to your feet, setting the dictionary down to let your phone do the work. "You didn't fall that hard, dummy."

"No, I fell out of my bed this morning, and well, the floor just made me relive that memory," you explained while rubbing a spot on your lower back. He’d fallen off buildings before, so this seemed minor, but he decided not to compare pain tolerance levels.

Bakugo debated something for a moment before he grabbed the dictionary and rifled through the pages again. While stuck here, he might as well start learning a new language in case he saved someone from here one day. “Cream?" he asked, assuming he butchered the pronunciation since your phone didn’t translate it back into Japanese.

With a look of recognition you nodded, holding your hand out for the dictionary. “Hai, sokushi kusuri ga aru” (I have some). He snickered and corrected your pronunciation, letting you repeat it back once more. Still terrible.

"Uuh...Kōri ni ete kudasai" (please get ice) you requested while clapping your hands together, pleading for this small favor. He’d look like an asshole for refusing, so instead he turned around to open the drawer he’d found re-sealable bags in the other day.

You left Bakugo in the kitchen while you rifled under your bathroom sink for some cream. “Bandaids...rubbing alcohol...ah! Ok, here it is." After checking the expiration date because you didn’t get giant bruises that often, you reached down and nearly pulled up your shirt before remembering that Bakugo was just around the corner. “Shit,” you squeal in a small voice while quickly smoothing your shirt back down, but not before seeing the large purple spot on your back in the mirror. “Wow, nice look,” you commented sarcastically while trying to keep the blush from your cheeks considering you almost stripped down with the door open.

With a deep, calming breath you walked back into the kitchen to see Bakugo holding out a bag of ice with a paper towel wrapped around it.

You took the bag from him with a nod. “Arigatou," you thanked him, glad that the atmosphere finally calmed down and he rid himself of his bad mood from earlier. Grabbing your phone from the table you turned back to him. “I’m just gonna lay on my bed and read since I can’t stand around with ice on my back. Let me know if you need anything.”

With your bedroom door cracked open, you lay down and applied the cream to your lower back before balancing the ice to the right of your spine. Almost immediate relief hit the bruised spot as you open up the novel you were slowly picking through during your free time.

Bakugo also picked up a book - the one you bought earlier - and continued reading it, so far intrigued from the first chapter. After about an hour of silence from your bedroom, he decided to stand up and stretch, thinking about his wandering around in there earlier. You must not have noticed if he didn’t place something back exactly the way he found it.

He yawned as exhaustion started to catch up with him even though today wasn’t nearly as busy as the previous day, red eyes glancing at your door. “Fuck it,” he mumbled before walking over to your door to ask if you were going to sleep anytime soon.

The scene before him, though, wasn’t what he expected. You lay sprawled on top of your covers, feet towards your pillows and head at the end facing the door, one arm dangling down while the other sported a distinct line of drool under your chin. The bag of ice lay melted on your exposed back.

You were fast asleep. No wonder you were so quiet.

He could’ve left you there and walked back out to brush his teeth, or wake you up...but for some reason unknown to him, he didn’t. Instead, Bakugo picked up a folded blanket he’d found in your room earlier, and spread it over you. You gave him blankets, so he could return the favor.

Just a favor , he thought to himself as he exited your room, closed the door, and thought nothing of it.

Chapter Text

ch6</a>

Wrapped up like a cocooned butterfly waiting to hatch and greet the day, warm sunlight cast a glow on your back as you dug yourself deeper into the comfort of whatever protected you from waking up. Something felt off, but you couldn’t quite place it in the haze of sleep. Sleep ...you just wanted to sleep-

“OI! OKITE!!” (wake up!)

A loud voice made you jump, but instead of tossing off the warmth you brought your knees to your face and curled up to will the sound away. 

“Noo…” you said, muffled against the blanket pulled over your head. Something hard was shoved against your ear, and a BEEP BEEP BEEP reverberated in your eardrum. “Fuck, fine FINE! STOP SMACKING ME IN THE HEAD!”

You shot your arm out from under the blanket like an iguana tongue searching for a fly, snatching your phone from whoever-

... Oh, shit. Bakugo?! Wait, why is he in my room? What day is it? Alarm...oh FU-

Emerging from the blanket with a sudden and fearful burst of energy, you saw Bakugo standing at the end of your bed with crossed arms, an air of annoyance cascading off him like steam. Looking down at your phone, your eyes almost bugged out of your head. 

You’d slept through all of your alarms to the point where, if you didn’t leave in fifteen minutes, you’d be late to work. 

“Oh my god. Shit FUCK GET OUT! I GOTTA GET READY!” Stumbling off the bed you shoved Bakugo back out of your room, ignoring his vocal protests and slamming the door in his face. “Can’t believe this, don’t even have time for a shower!”

While tossing on some work clothes you saw your novel discarded on the ground and a zipped baggie of water laying on your bed, prompting you to remember falling asleep while reading with ice on your back. Where’d the blanket come from, though? It normally remained in the corner of your room until the weather got colder. “Must’ve grabbed it in my sleep or something,” you reasoned while buttoning up your shirt. 

After getting dressed you flew out of your room and into the bathroom, ignoring Bakugo laying on the couch after having been woken up by an unending phone alarm. Wash face, brush teeth, comb hair, no time for makeup . “Guess I’ll be a mess today. At least I don’t work with customers or anything.”

Opening up the bathroom door you finally noticed Bakugo in your rush to get ready. “Gomen! Sorry,” you apologized, feeling guilty for waking him up and rushing out like a tornado flying through your apartment. You opened up your purse and tossed some cash onto the counter, turning back to him. “Here’s some money if you need it. Be back tonight!” Without your phone out he probably didn’t understand, but the meaning was hopefully obvious. After you locked the front door, you jogged down the hallway and out into the crisp morning air, too panicked to consider the faster option of driving to work. 

Now alone in the silent apartment after that mildly entertaining display of you running around like a headless chicken, Bakugo groaned and sunk back down into the couch. He didn’t sleep well, tossing and turning, unable to completely relax. Something tugged at the back of his mind - whether a reminder or memory or revelation, he wasn’t sure - preventing him from resting properly. Or maybe it was just your cheap couch. Fuck, he missed his bed, his sheets, his pillows, the familiar smell of his apartment, but there was no use dwelling on something he couldn’t immediately change. Either way, Bakugo closed his eyes and attempted to sleep a bit more before dealing with the day.

He’d been here almost a full week, and there was fuck all he could do about it. No leads, no clues, nothing . At this point, he tried to desperately avoid any depressing ideas on when - not if, when - he’d return home. “Don’t fuckin’ think about it,” he mumbled to himself, honing in on the chirping birds outside to distract him from a worst-case scenario. 

While Bakugo slept, you nearly jogged all the way to work, slowing down only when you neared the building to avoid appearing too disheveled. In the elevator, you pulled out a mirror to fix your hair, but honestly, there was nothing you could do until you were back home to take a proper shower. 

“Ah, good morning,” a voice to the left of the open elevator doors greeted when you stepped out onto your floor. You made it just in time to avoid being written up. “Mm, not sick, are you? Make sure you’re getting proper rest, now!” he commented while scrutinizing your appearance.

He was your boss, the fat cat who signed your paychecks. Misogynistic comments were, unfortunately, the norm every once in a while; he definitely came off as a guy who, whenever he saw a bare-faced woman without makeup, assumed she was ill as though women couldn’t have undereye circles or wrinkles. Restraining yourself from tipping his coffee cup down his shirt was... difficult

“Yes, sir,” you answered in a curt but controlled voice, passing by him to sit at your desk and cool down. You thought of the iconic orange cat in the newspaper comic strips, his tired eyes staring right into your soul. “Mondays, huh? Fuck ‘em.”

Luckily, you kept some mascara in your purse and slapped some on in the bathroom on your floor to help you look a bit more awake. A mandatory meeting was scheduled for your department soon, and you’d much rather have people focused on your ideas and not on how disheveled they thought you looked.

A man who latched onto the last bit of hair strands on his head with combed-over desperation stood at the front of the meeting room in front of the heads of your department, yourself included. 

“...So, now that we’ve been over the scope of the project coming up, does anyone have any idea on how we can tackle some of the foreseeable issues?” He almost always honed right in on possible obstacles, hoping to show the efficiency of his department by catching problems before they arose. 

A man next to you cleared his throat before speaking. “Yes, I think I know.”

He always tried to answer first, but rarely put forward anything innovative or note-worthy. The two of you also didn’t get along very well, but you were civil enough to get work done. 

His answer was, predictably…predictable. You’d run into a similar problem in the past and knew there was a better way to overcome it. 

“Fine, not bad,” the balding man at the front of the room replied. “Ah, (Y/N). You have something?”

“Yes, sir.” Moving forward, you explained your idea to combat one of the issues without driveling on with too much detail. A couple of other people nodded, though your coworker who previously spoke remained noticeably still aside from the scratching of his pen on a ruled pad of paper.

Your boss acknowledged your idea with a nod before moving on to the next point on the meeting agenda. At least you put the idea forward; whether or not he went with your concept was anyone’s guess. There existed, unfortunately, a definite power hierarchy and culture within the office that favored friends over those who worked the hardest. At least a few times in the past you were passed over in favor of someone who grabbed after work beers with the boss or some other kiss-ass style gesture. 

You wanted to be recognized for your ideas and work, not because you were buddy-buddy with the guy who signed your paychecks. So far things weren’t looking positive on that front, but you tried to remain optimistic. 

Later in the day, the old computer screen at your desk flickered for a moment, prompting you to look outside and see a sudden sprinkling of rain touching down from the darkening sky. “Shit,” you mumbled in frustration. Attempting to stay on top of things, you normally checked the weather before work to know if anything would make walking home terrible, in which case you’d tolerate driving. 

According to the weather app on your phone, it was going to rain all through the night with severe thunderstorms. With no car or umbrella here, you’d get soaked on the way home, but there was nothing you could do about it. With a sigh, you said, “I hope Bakugo’s out of the rain…”

While the rhythm of rain loomed on the horizon at your office, Bakugo stretched out on the grass in the park near your apartment he’d found before the weekend. Red eyes looked up at the distant roll of thunder, but ultimately he decided to continue exercising rather than head back to your apartment. He’d dealt with much worse than a little rain in the past. 

....However, Bakugo apparently waited a bit too long to run back to safety. Now completely soaked from his hair to his shoes - the only pair of shoes he had here - he stood under the awning of a building nearby, hoping the rain might slow down soon since he was a good ten-minute walk from your apartment building. 

Bakugo hummed to himself in annoyance while gazing up at the dark clouds, lightning accompanying the boom of thunder over the city. He wondered where he’d be right now if you’d kicked him out for one reason or another: could he find adequate shelter from the rain? What if he caught a cold with no ability to buy medicine or see a doctor? What if he had none of the comforts you’d freely given him?

“Dammit.” He ran a wet hand over his wet face, the foggy headlights of cars speeding past enough to nearly drench him again from splashing puddles. He loathed feeling indebted to someone, but literally had no way of paying you back other than, what, cooking? Not acting like an ass? 

He watched the rain pour down, and rather than wait for it to let up for him to make an escape, it only barreled down in harder and more forceful sheets. It looked as though he’d have to make a run for it at this rate. Not like he could get any wetter than he already was. 

Meanwhile, you’d just arrived home after sprinting as best you could from your office building through the puddles and wind. Your clothes were soaked, you were freezing, and all you wanted to do was get inside to feel warm and dry. “Today has not been my day, huh.” You wrung out your hair and shirt as best you could and took off your shoes to avoid tracking in too much water, then slid the key into the lock of your apartment door and walked inside. 

It immediately felt... empty

“Bakugo?” you called out, but no one answered. You listened for the shower, but aside from your clothes dripping onto the floor and the obvious patter of the rain outside, the apartment was silent. “Fuck it.” Rather than track water everywhere you quickly stripped down right in front of the door - double checking that you locked it just in case - and gathered your clothes up into your arms to drop into the washing machine by the bathroom before hopping into your room for some clean, dry clothes. 

After having an unexpected guest for nearly a week, walking around your apartment without clothes and without fear of being seen felt nice, but it would only last until Bakugo returned. 

“Much better,” you sighed while straightening the oversized shirt and mismatched pants. They were pajamas, so who cared if they went together? “Wait...so if he’s not here, then...shit. I hope he at least found some shelter until it hopefully lets up.” 

You opened up the closet door in the front hallway to see your umbrella; it seemed as though neither of you prepared for today, but Bakugo probably didn’t even know it was there. “Hot tea sounds nice right now.” As you walked into the kitchen to start boiling some water, you saw a note scribbled on the counter. 

“Walk. Back later.” You stared at the note, written in surprisingly neat letters in your native language (he’d surely start a fight before he’d let you criticize his handwriting again) and realized that Bakugo was considerate enough to let you know he went out. “Surprisingly thoughtful, must’ve used the dictionary,” you commented while smiling to yourself. 

While a kettle of water boiled on the stove you set about mopping up some of the water on the floor before setting out a clean, dry towel for whenever Bakugo got back. Tea first, then shower , you thought. 

With a warm mug in your hands and a steeping tea bag floating against the steam, you sat down right before the front door opened. 

In walked Bakugo, dripping from head to shoes as if he’d jumped into a pool with his clothes on. The black tank top he wore stuck to the contours of his skin like glue, his pale blonde hair plastered to his forehead, and every inch of exposed skin glistened under the yellow-tinted hallway light. Pushing down the blush that rose to your face hot and fast proved impossible, unfortunately. 

He seemed startled to find you sitting there for whatever reason but to avoid staring at him and to also distract yourself - nearly choking on your tea in the process - you grabbed your phone and basically threw the towel at him, hitting him in the face. 

“Sorry! I uh, made some tea if you want any. You can toss your wet clothes in the washer. Guess we both got caught in the rain,” you joked while attempting to get a hold of yourself. Maybe it was the heat of your blush gathering on the back of your neck, the humidity rolling off Bakugo like the steam from your tea, or something else unknown because the room felt like a sauna as you cleared your throat awkwardly. 

He grunted and roughly towel-dried his hair before emerging like a wet cat. You put your discomfort on pause to hold in a laugh. “Where’s the washer?” he asked. You pointed towards the narrow door next to the bathroom. Bakugo followed your finger with his crimson eyes before slipping off his shoes and socks at the door. He dried himself off as best he could, and walked into the bathroom with an armful of dry clothes. 

Bakugo tossed his dripping clothes into the bathroom sink before setting down a towel to keep from making even more of a mess. “Fucking rain,” he cursed as he turned the shower head to the hottest setting, hoping to erase the chill under his skin. 

He’d lost track of time after getting stranded under a shop awning and didn’t expect you to be back from work, the dark sky outside messing with his sense of time without a phone or watch. 

Although he normally disliked getting a constant barrage of texts and calls and emails due to his status as a top Hero, Bakugo did miss his own technology and the convenient ability to stay connected. He’d considered blowing off Kaminari’s drinking invitation before he disappeared but now thought of every time he’d skipped out on being with his friends in favor of taking on an extra patrol shift or training. 

What if he never…

“No, don’t consider it. I’ll get back home, no fuckin’ doubt about it.” He echoed the words into the tiled and foggy shower wall as hot water eased his cold muscles back to life. If people called him stubborn and someone who refused to give up, he would make sure to live up to the titles.

With Bakugo out of sight, you let out a shaky breath and took a sip of tea to calm yourself. “He’s...so hot,” you whispered to yourself until you realized he’d left a wet trail of rainwater all the way across the floor. You debated making him clean it up when he got out, but figured making a big deal out of it when he already looked miserable from the rain - or possibly slipping on a puddle and busting your ass on the floor when your bruise from yesterday was still healing - might not go over well. 

Once your floor was dry once again you sorted through the fridge to find something warm to cook for dinner. The items Bakugo picked out at the store were diminishing while items you preferred sat mostly untouched. So, you grabbed some ground meat, picked out some spices from the cabinet, and got to work seasoning and prepping a couple of hamburgers. 

You weren’t even sure if he was hungry, but you sure felt your stomach rumble, so too bad. “It’ll be my lunch tomorrow if he doesn’t want it,” you decided while chopping up a jalapeno to mix in with Bakugo’s burger while yours remained milder. 

Just before you placed the burgers in the hot pan, the bathroom door opened. You turned around to see Bakugo drop his wet clothes into the washer...where you just remembered your own clothes sat unwashed. Holding back a gasp of horror you turned back to the food, desperately trying to push away the idea of his own clothes mingling with yours. “This is how I die, huh,” you mumbled, another blush heating your face and neck. It was such a stupid thing to stress over, really, but with each passing day, you felt more and more attracted to your temporary roommate. 

Bakugo felt far better after a hot shower. The warmth cleared his head and shoved away the bleak thoughts for the moment. 

He was running out of clean clothes anyway so washing this small load would help him out a bit. If he needed to, he’d ask how to use the washer and dryer to wash the rest of his things. Emphasis on if he needed to. 

The sound of oil sizzling in a pan pulled his attention towards the kitchen. Whatever you were making honestly didn’t smell too bad, and coming from Bakugo that was a high compliment. He walked next to you and silently pulled out an empty mug since you mentioned tea earlier and filled the vessel with steaming water from the kettle. “What kinds of tea do you have?” The phone next to you on the counter translated. 

It was only then he noticed how stiff and tense you looked while at the stove, almost as if touching you might shatter the brittle support keeping you upright and hyper-focused on the cooking meat. “Uh, green, earl grey, and black tea. They’re in the pantry.”

Bakugo could determine which tea was which by smell - and the color of the box - since he couldn’t read the text, preferring green tea over the others. While it steeped in his mug Bakugo stood behind you, leaning against the counter with his arms crossed, eyes focused on you and the stove.

“Don’t burn ‘em,” he joked to break the awkward silence, but it only seemed to pull your shoulders in even more. He wondered if something happened today to put you in this oddly quiet mood. You were normally talkative and curious, or at least responsive, especially considering he pretty much had no one else to talk to. 

He didn’t realize how intently he was staring at every movement you made. 

The only thing that brought Bakugo out of his trance was your sudden yelp and hiss when some oil splashed up on your hand after flipping the burgers. The fuck were you standing so close to the stove for?

“Ow! Shit.” You shook your hand but didn’t recoil completely from the stove. Too stubborn for your own good, he observed. 

“Let me do it, heat doesn’t bother me,” he offered without thinking too much about it. Because of his quirk, only extreme heat affected his hands and arms which proved convenient for cooking with hot oil or anything that might pop up and burn him. 

Rather than move away, though, you stood your ground. “I’m fine,” you answered with more force than he was expecting. You sighed before following it up with, “It’s...I’m fine. Nothing I can’t handle. I’ve dealt with worse. Besides, it’s almost done so not much for you to do, anyway.”

He was tempted to just pull you away from the stove. You were clumsy, but didn’t seem particularly delicate; your resilience with putting up with him was proof of that. Shoving you out of the way while hovering over hot oil with intense concentration might not be the best idea, though. 

Under any other circumstance, Bakugo might’ve been pissed with the tone, but he could tell you weren’t acting like yourself; at least, this wasn’t the you he was used to. He’d only known and observed you for a week, but you were nothing if not consistent so far. “What’s with the attitude? Did something happen today?” 

His curious question brought you out of your trance, not expecting him to ask what was wrong. How could you possibly tell him that he was the distraction causing your spike in stress? You’d rather have the ground open up and swallow you whole than admit the truth, so you decided to be honest while leaving out anything concerning him. “Uhh...it’s just not been a great day, I guess. Waking up late and getting to work tired, my boss was being a dick, running home in the rain...things just added up, I guess. Sorry if I was being a brat.”

After turning off the heat and plating the burgers you turned, unsure of what Bakugo’s silence meant. His arms were crossed and his brows were furrowed, making you wonder whether or not he accepted your apology. 

“The hell are you apologizing for? Shit happens. Just turn off your stupid alarm next time.” It was such a Bakugo thing to say: simple, direct, and with a slight demand sprinkled in. Sometimes you could predict Bakugo’s answers and behavior based on your secret knowledge, and other times he surprised you. There really was a lot more to learn about him, and you covertly hoped he’d continue opening up little by little. 

Whenever you were around him you couldn’t help but try to smile a bit. “Thanks. And I’ll try,” you answered with a small laugh. Bakugo just rolled his eyes and stood beside you to take down some clean plates. He started to reach for one of the burgers, but you stopped him. “Ah, no, take that one,” you said, pointing to the other. “I made it spicy.” Your intense focus over feeling stressed luckily ensured you didn’t forget which burger was which. 

He raised an eyebrow before taking the burger you pointed at and following you to the table with his tea. Rain continued to pelt the windows and roof outside, but your attention was focused on Bakugo’s reaction to your cooking. He examined the burger with exaggerated scrutiny, eyeing you with a knowing smirk, before taking an experimental bite. 

Then another. And another. You smiled at his silent acknowledgment of how good the burger tasted, knowing his compliments - especially on food - were probably rare. You took a bite of your own burger and your pride at something so small soared; yeah, it was a pretty damn good burger. 

Banter was short and sparse as the two of you enjoyed warm food in an attempt to banish the slight chill in the air. All it took was Bakugo validating your mood to make you feel better. Even though he was in a far worse situation than you’d ever dealt with, you felt grateful at his attempt to avoid stoking the flames of annoyance. 

When the two of you were done eating, Bakugo stood up and grabbed your plate with a glare that dared you to fight him. “I’ll wash, don’t argue.” You held up your hands in mock defeat, prompting him to shake his head at your antics. If Bakugo wanted to act domestic you weren’t about to stop him. Too bad you didn’t own an apron. 

While Bakugo washed the dishes, you got up to finally start the washer where two different sets of clothes mingled. Luckily, everything looked dark and indiscernible as you blocked the hallway light and poured detergent in before closing the door and starting the machine. Once things were dry, though, you had no idea how to deal with sorting his things from yours, so to distract yourself you decided it was finally time for a hot shower. 

“I’m gonna take a shower,” you said while holding up your phone and pointed towards the bathroom. There was a nearly imperceptible hesitation before Bakugo nodded while standing at the sink, eyes down and focused on the running water. Maybe it took him a second to understand? You weren’t sure, but instead of dwelling on something that was probably nothing you shrugged and disappeared into the bathroom. 

Bakugo’s calloused hands kept busy on the scalding water rinsing over the dirty plate when he heard it again: your singing.

He silently wondered if you’d do it again the first time he heard you sing a few days ago. Unconsciously, he turned off the water and listened. 

Whenever he kept himself busy alone in your apartment, things almost always felt too quiet. His quirk was loud, his voice was loud, and his general attitude mirrored both, so silence often buzzed in his ears like static. It wasn’t necessarily that he disliked a lack of noise, but it all came down to choosing silence rather than it being the default. 

So, when you began to sing, he enjoyed it...not that he’d ever admit so aloud. He didn’t realize how long he’d been standing still until you stopped singing, blinking himself back to attention so you wouldn’t wonder why the hell it took him ten minutes to wash a few plates. 

Once the hair dryer started up and the dishes were dry, Bakugo walked across the living room to peer out into the stormy darkness outside. Thunder echoed off in the distance, the occasional flash of lightning casting a glow over the city horizon. He hated the rain because it forced a chill into his bones, and he far preferred feeling warm over feeling cold. However, the sound and aesthetics often calmed him, reminding him in some small measure of his quirk: he created light in dark places on both large and small scales like flashes of lighting. His quirk was loud and vibrated the eardrums of those not used to the reverberations like thunder. Some found beauty and comfort in the power of his quirk and scale at which he could create controlled explosions...while others cowered in fear.

His eyes remained focused on the storm outside when the bathroom door opened. He felt your eyes on him and saw your reflection in the dark window, but only turned around when he heard the click of a lighter. 

“Uh, figured I’d prepare just in case,” you said with the phone next to you and a candle in one hand and lighter in the other. Glad that you’d managed to relax while eating dinner, he said nothing when he noticed tension once again sat in your shoulders like an invisible weight. If something else was bothering you, he could shut up and listen to you vent for a minute or two. 

“Is that the one you bought after I got here?” he asked. 

You nodded, adding, “Yeah, almost forgot I picked it up.”

As the wick burned down the smell of the scented wax hit his nose. “It doesn’t smell terrible,” he commented in an attempt to ease your second wave of tension. It wasn’t a lie; he liked the smell, which honestly surprised him.

You pursed your lips and rolled your eyes. “No, if it did I wouldn’t have bought it,” you quipped back. He opened his mouth to retort when the lights suddenly flickered before a massive crack of thunder plunged the two of you into darkness. 

Being abruptly tossed into a dark apartment coupled with the whistling wind and drum-like thunder made you yelp. Too caught up in trying to think of what to do now, you weren’t embarrassed to feel grateful for Bakugo’s presence at the moment. 

“More candles, light,” you mumbled, trying to remember where you’d put some of your other candles when a warm glow brought your attention to your left. 

Bakugo stood with his palm up, activating his quirk just enough to illuminate his hand but not enough to let off more than a few small sparks. His other hand came up to point to the candle and gesture around the apartment, and you understood. 

He followed you around the apartment while you looked for a few more candles hiding in closets and cabinets. As you dug around in a small toolbox your parents gifted you when you moved into this apartment, you remembered that your phone had a flashlight on it, but of course you weren’t about to replace human flashlight Bakugo with your phone. 

You pulled out a dusty small emergency flashlight with batteries that definitely needed to be changed soon judging by the dim light emitting from the lens. 

After lighting all of the candles you had found, you grabbed the dictionary you bought the previous day. Running down your phone’s battery without the ability to recharge it wasn’t the smartest idea; the dictionary would be difficult for longer sentences, but you felt very appreciative for buying it on a gut reaction. It wasn’t much light, but it’d have to do until they came back on...which you hoped was soon. 

“Arigato,” you said while looking up at Bakugo. The glow from the candles and his quirk made his eyes look like sparkling gems in the darkness, like rubies hiding in a forgotten cave just waiting to be unearthed by someone with enough dedicated patience. 

You hoped immensely that he couldn’t tell how often you were staring. 

He shook his head and corrected your pronunciation once again, but there was only so much you could do about your lack of Japanese accent. 

A particularly loud crack of thunder outside made you yelp again, wishing there was something to help drown out the sound. 

Bakugo grabbed the dictionary from you and flipped through it. “Scared?” he asked with a smirk. While you butchered his language, Bakugo’s accent only made his words more appealing. 

You’d rather eat soap than let him act smug, so you crossed your arms and stared at him with determination. “Nope.”

However, yet another boom shook the windows - the worst one so far - and effectively erased the remainder of your resolve. 

He considered poking fun at how scared you were from something as normal as a storm, but actually seeing the anxiety rise off you in waves kept him silent. Bakugo could be an asshole, but he wasn’t about to make you feel bad on purpose, especially considering the shitty day you described to him earlier. Comparing bad moods - his own shitty situation didn’t invalidate the problems in your own life. 

Lightning lit up the room when you grabbed a candle, moved around him, and sat down on the couch he’d been using as a bed and wrapped the blanket he’d also been using around your shoulders up to your ears. He wasn’t sure how he felt about you using his blanket - well, technically yours - but yanking it away wouldn’t be productive. 

You loved roller coasters, but hated storms? As tough as you presented yourself, everyone had a weakness, it seemed. 

Bakugo grabbed the dictionary and sat down on the opposite end of the couch, flipping through the thin pages. Without your phone conversation was limited, but he felt an urge to try and distract you somehow. 

Comforting people had never been part of his Hero repertoire. Bakugo’s focus remained on winning and saving, preferring to leave the responsibility of consoling people to others better suited for that emotional labor. That patience was something he lacked, but Bakugo didn’t see it as a necessity for doing Hero work. 

The knowledge that came more naturally to Deku and Kirishima and Uraraka might’ve come in handy right now, though, seeing you huddled up on the couch. Remaining quiet as rain pelted and rattled the windows made him feel unusually awkward, but he had no idea what the hell kind of limited conversation he could distract you with.

...Until his eyes, now used to the darkness, saw something under your TV sitting on a shelf. This could go nowhere, or it could start a full-blown argument as it had done between his friends back home. Better than nothing, though. “Oi,” he said, catching your attention. 

You turned to him, the blanket still wrapped halfway up your head. “What?”

“Iron Man or Captain America?” he asked with curiosity. It sounded stupid aloud, but it was his best idea at the moment.

“Huh?” Your look of confusion made him roll his eyes before repeating his words. 

“Iron man, or Captain America?” Maybe his accent threw you off but if you had a brain and critical thinking skills, which Bakugo knew you possessed, you could figure it out. And honestly? He hoped for a bit of a fight, or else he’d have to come up with something else.

Bakugo held some kind of humor in his eyes, which momentarily distracted you from the storm.

“Captain America,” you answered. Immediately his eye twitched in the dim candlelight. 

You actually liked both Iron Man and Captain America, but you remembered a collab event with Marvel when one of the movies came out and Deku chose Captain America while Bakugo chose Iron Man. You wanted to see if this information held true. 

“No, no. Iron Man,” he argued with mock exhaustion and renewed energy.

You grabbed the dictionary from him and flipped through it to counter his answer. “Anata wa...kurutte iru.” (you’re crazy)

As soon as the words left your mouth, you watched his jaw go slack and stare at you as though you’d grown a second head. You’d insulted him in joking ways before, so why did it look as though his brain was backfiring? Did you say it wrong? You just repeated what the dictionary said-

“Chigau!” (wrong!) Bakugo exclaimed as he snapped back to attention, wrenching the dictionary away from you. You’d heard the term enough in anime you’d watched to know roughly what it meant, and assumed he was arguing about your character choice.

“Captain America is better!” Tossing your hands up, the storm and your fear lay forgotten as your focus shifted to the argument at hand. 

When Bakugo found the page he was looking for, he held the dictionary up to you even though you could barely read the text in the dim light without holding it right up to your face. “Name, not ‘anata wa’”, he emphasized with a growl while pointing to himself

You furrowed your brows, not understanding what you did wrong. “So...Bakugo, not ‘anata wa’?” you asked, hoping for clarification. He nodded before you took the dictionary back from him. “Uh...wakarimasen.” (I don’t understand)

Bakugo ran a hand through his hair in obvious frustration. Maybe the term you used was really rude? The dictionary should’ve pointed that out, then. He looked around before finding a pen and grabbed the book back from you, nearly giving you a papercut in the process. “Watch it! Could’ve just asked for it…”

He flipped back to a specific page and vigorously scribbled out “anata wa” while writing “NO!” next to it before shoving it back in your face. You’d seen several different sides of Bakugo at this point, but this particularly frustrated attitude seemed new. When the power came back on you’d have to ask him what the hell his problem was. 

Unfortunately, before that happened, another crack of thunder rattled the windows. Rather than sink back into the couch, you bolted up and nearly tripped on the blanket wrapped around you in the process. Maybe moving around or searching for something to occupy your time and mind without any power remained your only option. 

Bakugo watched as you fumbled across the room to grab the dying flashlight, mumbling to yourself before walking into your room. Apparently, he’d done a shitty job of keeping you distracted when a Captain America vs Iron Man debate spiraled into a vocabulary lesson. 

“Oi! Nanioshiteiruno?” (what are you doing) he called out from the couch, watching the flashlight bounce back and forth in your room like a frazzled lightning bug. 

You crawled under the bed, shifted to the closet, and walked across where he couldn’t see before, finally, every light in the apartment flipped back on like a blinding sun. A thump and “ow!” in your room told Bakugo it startled you, as well. After sitting in the dark, the light hurt his eyes until he adjusted and could see properly once more. 

The rain and thunder still echoed outside, but at least the two of you had light and electricity. 

“Oh, thank fuck,” you mumbled as your anxiety started to subside with the renewal of power. “Now, where’s my phone…?” After adapting to the bright light in your room, you walked out to see Bakugo standing up from the couch to stretch; it took extreme willpower to tear your eyes away from the muscles in his arms and back as you walked into the kitchen to grab your phone. 

He walked towards you, and now that you could see him in the light, Bakugo looked almost...flustered? But, that couldn’t be right. Maybe you were just seeing what you wanted to see. Just imagining things.

“So why the hell are you afraid of storms?” Bakugo asked with his arms crossed as he leaned against the kitchen counter as if guarding himself from something. 

You groaned, knowing your stress over thunder and lightning was anything but subtle. “No point in lying, I guess. I used to like storms when I was little, but one day I was a smartass and didn’t go inside when my mom yelled at me when it started to rain. A lightning bolt struck pretty close by and I went deaf for a minute or two, which would freak out most kids, I think. So, I just...don’t like it, now.”

Laying out that story to him felt odd, but you were only human and kids did dumb shit all the time. It luckily hadn’t permanently affected your hearing, but the presence of lightning and thunder recalled that vivid memory of raw fear every single time. 

Bakugo stood still, staring at you, before speaking. “You probably wouldn’t like Kaminari, then.” You weren’t sure if this was his attempt at a joke, but even if it wasn’t, you appreciated it. 

“Is that Pikachu?” you asked, careful about not letting him know your memory was full of information Bakugo hadn’t revealed. 

He nodded, and you swore a glimmer of nostalgia brightened in his eyes before disappearing. “His quirk is more like electricity than lightning. Would be handy during a power outage. Stick a cord in his mouth and he’ll charge your shit.”

The fact that Kaminari actually charged things for his friends made you laugh at the ridiculousness of it. “Wow, yeah, that is handy. I hope he only sticks clean things in his mouth, though. No one I know sanitizes power cords.”

At that Bakugo barked out a laugh of his own, and you couldn’t help but smile. It felt like earning a badge of honor to get Bakugo to smile or laugh. “He’s way too dumb to think far ahead enough to consider germs.”

The two of you settled into silence one more before you decided on a risky comment. “I can tell you care about your friends. I’m sure they miss you, but you’ll see them again soon. I don’t know anything for certain...and I wish I could help more, but if they’re Heroes like you, then they’ll figure it out and get you back to where you belong.”

Bakugo stared at you with intensity, and for a moment you thought you’d overstepped boundaries once again by bringing up his situation...until he blinked and the tension in his shoulders eased ever so slightly. “Of course they are. They’d be lost without me, and no one can take my place.” His confident grin made you forget all about the storm outside before he walked off into the bathroom and closed the door. 

It was at that moment you noticed the washer and dryer and remembered you needed to dry both his and your clothes so they wouldn’t start to smell. Quickly, you slid over to the stacked machines and opened up the dryer, tossing a few scented dryer sheets into the metal bin before digging into the washer. 

I’m touching Bakugo’s things, his clothes, don’t be weird, don’t make it weird. Something orange caught your eye, though, and you remembered that neither of you wore orange since he left his hoodie here today.

They were a pair of black boxer briefs with a bright orange band. Grenades, explosions, and red X’s ran across the band in a repeating pattern. 

You currently held Bakugo’s underwear in your hands and if you weren’t frozen in place you’d probably rip the fabric with how tightly your fingers dug into the damp elastic. “Oh...n-nope! Nope, nope, noo.” Your jaw clenched so hard you swore you almost chipped a tooth before you shut your eyes and tossed everything else into the dryer, slamming the door shut just as Bakugo came out of the bathroom behind you. 

Bakugo wore boxer briefs, with his own branding on them, because why wouldn’t he do that? Your face felt hot and a bead of sweat definitely ran down the back of your neck when you quickly pressed the button to start the dryer as Bakugo walked somewhere behind you. 

The storm outside sounded farther away and less aggressive when Bakugo walked into the living room and saw you standing in front of the washer and dryer in silence, a beep emanating from the stacked machines. 

“You OK?” he asked, mildly concerned over why you were just standing there like a statue. Apparently that jolted you out of whatever trance you were in, because you nearly jumped when he spoke. Was the storm bugging you again despite the lights being back on?

He watched you scoot - yes, scoot - across the floor and grab your phone. “Um, well it’s late, so uh, goodnight, Bakugo!” You walked backwards, nearly tripping over the couch in the process, before making it to your room and closing the door. 

Staring after you, Bakugo looked at the running dryer and thought he should’ve asked you how to use it so he could wash his own things. You weren’t his maid, so he wasn’t about to have you do chores on his behalf. Your inclination to help him without Bakugo even asking for help threw him off day after day. He couldn’t find any malice in your actions, but he was nothing if not self-sufficient. You already gave him shelter, food, clothes...company...

As much as he hated to admit it, Bakugo just assumed he was going to wake up here again tomorrow. What choice did he have other than just...wait until those idiots back home figured it out? 

Bakugo stood by the tall window overlooking the parking lot in front of the building and watched the rain come down in sheets, coating the cars and asphalt with a slick, wet shine. The pale yellow street lamps outside cast a glow on Bakugo’s face as the dark silhouettes of raindrops sloping down the glass outside mirrored moving shadows across the contours of his cheeks and hollows of his eyes. 

Despite the slight chill in the air and sense of isolation Bakugo currently felt wriggle under his skin, he glanced at your closed bedroom door briefly, and felt warm. 

Chapter Text

ch7</a>

You woke up to the sound of your phone alarm blaring on your nightstand, and when you realized you were oriented in your bed correctly with your head on your pillow and feet at the other end, you reached over to shut it off with a groan. The last thing you wanted was to wake Bakugo up again by sleeping through your alarm. 

Bakugo...he permeated your thoughts more often every day and even found his way into your dreams. As your crush on him grew so did your fear of a missed opportunity. Your mother's words from a few days ago rang in your ears: I don’t want you to regret never doing what you want to do because you’re scared

The fact was, you were scared. It was getting harder and harder to keep yourself together as the two of you grew more comfortable with each other...which honestly surprised you, now that you thought about it in the silence of your bedroom. 

From what you observed, Bakugo didn’t exactly take kindly to strangers or casual conversation of any kind. He brushed off people who stared in his direction or tried to talk to him, but for whatever reason he tolerated you - no, he actually seemed relaxed, if not borderline happy at times. Maybe he no longer considered you dangerous or a threat. Maybe, just maybe, the two of you could actually be friends, soon. Dating? That was completely up to Bakugo, and you still had no idea if he was even single. But friends? You could manage that, even if you wanted more for however long he was here. But him accepting you as a friend might prove a difficult task in itself. 

You sat up and looked at your closed bedroom door, hoping your opportunity hadn’t completely disappeared with Bakugo’s possible absence. 

Opening the door slowly and quietly, you tiptoed with an armful of clothes and bated breath towards the bathroom, peeking around the couch to see if it was empty; it wasn’t. 

Remembering the previous night and how you literally ran away from him after the whole clothing fiasco, you held back a blush and headed for the bathroom to get ready for work, avoiding thoughts of Bakugo-branded underwear at all costs. 

After you showered and got ready for work, looking far more put-together than the previous day, you gathered your things as noiselessly as possible and wrote out a note for Bakugo whenever he woke up to tell him when you’d be home. This little note game between the two of you was cute, but you’d never admit so aloud. 

You glanced over at the sleeping man on your couch before locking the door behind you and heading off to work. 

About an hour after you left, Bakugo was stirred from sleep by the birds chirping outside and his adjusted internal clock telling him to wake the fuck up. He opened his eyes to see the now-familiar patterning of your couch. “One week...I’ve been gone one whole week,” he mumbled while tossing off the blanket and running his hand across his face. 

One week was far longer than he expected to be stuck here, but there must’ve been a solid reason why he wasn’t back home yet. Maybe his colleagues ran into a snag or issue, or maybe they were having trouble locating the villain responsible. 

Placing blind trust in others felt like trying to move an invisible brick wall, but Bakugo had little choice in the matter. He could be angry and pissed and upset all he wanted, even throw a damn tantrum like a child begging for candy but it wouldn’t make a lick of difference as far as he could tell. 

He grunted and sat up, stretching into the morning light. If he was any taller he wouldn’t fit on your couch, and it wasn’t nearly as comfortable as his bed back home, but he reminded himself that things could’ve ended up much worse. The quiet of the apartment told him you actually got up for work this time but reminded him that he had an entire day alone once again. 

Walking into the kitchen, Bakugo saw your note. It looked just like the one he found Friday morning, if not a bit neater with the Japanese characters. He was slowly picking up words here and there in your own language, as well, which might prove useful whenever he returned home. Tourists and non-Japanese speakers needed saving from villains, too. 

A lot had happened over the past week, so Bakugo grabbed the notes he started scribbling before the weekend and went over them, editing and adding new ideas and hypotheses while scratching out points that no longer made sense, like all of this being an illusion or dream. He was real, this place was real, and all of the people in it, you included, were real. You were too nuanced in personality to be some villain’s figment. 

He’d seen a new side to you last night that left him feeling odd. You liked rollercoasters and blasting zombies but felt uneasy during thunderstorms. You had good days and bad days. You had childhood memories that impacted your life as an adult. Bakugo looked across the room to a short bookshelf holding movies and games, his eyes landing on a picture framed in silver-coated plastic. You were smiling widely and covered in rainbow confetti with two older adults flanking you, probably your parents judging by the resemblance, Bakugo assumed. They looked proud of you. 

You had a life here, one completely separate from his own problems...yet, you still made time for him, and exerted effort to afford him comforts he otherwise wouldn’t have. Few people outside his closest friends could get Bakugo to feel at ease, but you managed to get him to laugh and feel less hopeless despite this shitty situation. You not only put up with him but seemed to actually enjoy his company. 

Bakugo stared at his notes while his train of thought derailed into uncharted territory and the words blurred together before he blinked himself back to reality and wiped the unusually sweaty palms of his hands on his pants. Bakugo felt the sudden urge to distract himself. 

Remembering that you washed and dried his clothes the previous night - he really needed to ask you how to use the damn thing - he quickly got up to pull his things out of the dryer, unaware that you’d washed your own clothes in with his. 

He squinted after opening the door, unsure why the pile looked bigger than he was expecting. Bakugo reached his arms in and pulled out the clothes, seeing what he thought was one of his socks spill onto the floor. Reaching down, he picked it up and realized it definitely was not his sock. 

“The fuck…oh, shit!” He dropped the pair of underwear that definitely did not belong to him in addition to everything else in his arms right on the floor, his face burning and jaw clenched. His brain started piecing things together, remembering your comment about getting stuck in the rain as well. Washing one load was more economical than two...right?

“So stupid,” he muttered while grinding his teeth and picking his things out of the pile on the floor, but now your clothes were just...there. Bakugo quickly snatched up your own clothes and practically threw them back into the dryer and slammed the door shut. He was acting like a flustered teenager towards something as trivial as clothes, but you’d never know he saw anything. No fucking problem. No...wait, was that why you were acting so oddly right before going to sleep? Putting his things in the dryer must’ve caused your stumbling around, not the storm. Of all the things to be dense about, this one made Bakugo run his hands, which felt sweaty once more, through his hair and down his face. 

He hoped this morning and his current anxiety that had nothing to do with being stuck in an alternate reality did not extend into the rest of the day. 

You, on the other hand, were having a pretty good day at work - at least far better than the previous day filled with rain and stress. There’d be another meeting tomorrow to discuss the previous day’s meeting and which idea your team would go with, but today felt slow as the hours dragged on while you sat at your desk and wondered what Bakugo did to keep himself busy. 

While waiting for a coworker’s response to a question, you pondered about what in the world to do if Bakugo ever figured out that he was a manga character here. It wasn’t that you liked lying to him, but what good would it do to tell him that his entire life here was based on the fantasy of an artist in Japan? The fact that Bakugo currently lived with you, ate your food, talked with you, even laughed with you, meant that he was as real as you and your friends and your parents and the cat at the bookstore. 

“How could he go back home knowing he was just a character here? He’d probably have some kind of mental breakdown…” You put yourself in his shoes and thought about what you would do if you’d been thrown into his world and found out you were a character in a popular manga, though far less action-packed and filled with domestic shenanigans in some slice of life story no doubt. Everyone knowing the story of your childhood, about your happiness as well as your pain, about your most vulnerable moments...you weren’t sure how you’d handle it, but it probably wouldn’t be something you’d easily overcome or deal with. 

Bakugo probably had enough stress from being a Hero, and the last thing you wanted to do was burden him with even more stress on top of his current predicament. If he found out...you’d fess up and be honest about what you knew. But the more time you spent around Bakugo and the more you got to know him, the less you thought of the manga or anime. He was obviously real, and no story could change that fact. Also, you had a giant growing crush on him and had no idea what to do about it, so rather than burden yourself about something that hadn’t happened yet, you bit your lip and thought about the actual pressing matter: keeping your feelings under control. 

You still couldn’t believe that you literally ran away from him last night after seeing his underwear. One of your dreams got creative with that new information but you distracted yourself with hot coffee and busywork to keep your imagination in check. 

“He’s going home soon, don’t get your hopes up,” was what you told yourself. There was no use starting something that could never turn into anything, right? But a sly voice in the back of your mind that sounded suspiciously like your mom whispered something about “lost opportunities” and “no regrets.”

As if to double down on the encroaching thoughts, your phone buzzed from a certain nosy friend. 

iphone-WqZs

Really driving home your point, universe , you thought to yourself while you returned to focus on the work that needed to get done. Figuring out what to do about Bakugo could wait until later. 

Meanwhile, without a single dark cloud on the horizon, Bakugo sat against a tree outside after exercising and hoped the weather remained good for the rest of the day. After the stupid dryer incident this morning he struggled to get you off his mind. In attempting to avoid dwelling on a situation he couldn’t change, he drifted, instead, to the opposite end of the spectrum where you inconspicuously sat. 

He thought about how you acted around him, switching from weirdly flustered to comfortable with little effort. “Flustered...oh my god I’m so fucking stupid.” A realization struck him like a speeding truck on a dark, slick highway: you might have a crush on him. 

Bakugo was used to fans and people who threw themselves at him, even when he tried desperately to avoid attention on the street and out of uniform. He even had a fan club, but he made every attempt to ignore them and their weirdly obsessive behavior. Some of his friends set him up on dates but they never ended well because the date was never interested in Bakugo Katsuki, they were interested in him as a famous Hero. Constantly putting on a front in an attempt to impress him, the terrible acting and fake flattery always made Bakugo groan. They were interested in being arm candy, in the perks, and in the lifestyle that supposedly came along with being a Hero despite having no idea what he actually did and the physical and emotional toll it took on not only him but every other Hero he knew. 

He was so used to over the top displays that any signs of normal flustered behavior must’ve begun to pass right over his head. He couldn’t be sure of his assumption, but it explained some of your gestures and reactions. And...Bakugo was not really sure how he felt about it, because outright rejection did not immediately cross his mind. 

You treated him like a person, not like a celebrity with something to offer or an anomaly because of his quirk. There were no grand displays of trying to impress him or acting like someone else for his sake; you weren’t the best liar, he’d observed, so if you attempted to fake your way through something Bakugo could usually see right through it. You called him out on his bullshit and treated him like, he assumed, you treated everyone else...and it felt fucking refreshing because no one outside of his close friend circle ever did that. 

But even entertaining the idea of anything happening other than being platonic and civil was out of the question and incredibly naive. He couldn’t-

His train of thought, once again, flew off the rails and straight towards a sheer cliff with no bottom in sight. “What the hell am I doing?” He grit his teeth and rubbed his eyes until his vision was blurry. “This isn’t happening.”

He was leaving soon... eventually . What was the point in trying to figure any of this shit out when nothing could come of it? 

Maybe he couldn’t control being stuck here, but he could control himself and his thoughts, at least. He shoved everything on his mind deep into a dark chest and locked it away before standing up, stretching, taking a deep breath, and running around the park until his muscles ached as if trying to outrun something he desperately didn’t want to validate. 

As the sun started to set and cars stalled in traffic, you walked home with purpose and less anxiety and stress than the previous day. Today was the seventh day spent with Bakugo Katsuki...well, half-day considering you sat at a desk job for most of it. You knew that despite his appearance of ease and comfort, his stress levels connected to being stranded here would never truly go away...not until he woke up back in his own world where he belonged.

This was, as your mother put it, a once in a lifetime circumstance. Chances were high that you’d never run into Bakugo, or anyone like him, ever again. You wanted to know more about him, what his opinions were on trivial things, his likes, his dislikes, his passions outside of Hero work, and even the things that plagued him that you knew he’d never voice aloud, especially not to you. 

You wanted to know him , not just the Hero in training presented in a manga, or even the Bakugo that slowly opened himself up to you as his days here wore on. All of that depended on him, though, and his overall comfort level around you. Maybe if you continued to help him where you could, and empathized to the best of your ability, he’d let his guard down. Just a little. 

Finally arriving home after a long day at work, you opened the door to hear voices coming from the living room. Closing the door quietly, you walked inside to see the now familiar head of pale blonde hair sticking up over the back of the couch, Bakugo’s attention focused on the TV in front of him. 

For a second panic and dread made your stomach drop into your feet, paranoid that he found the box sets in your room. However, you realized that he wasn’t watching his own anime, but one of your other favorites he must’ve picked out from your collection under the TV. 

“Oh, no,” you whispered to yourself upon recognizing which episode he was on as you walked up behind the couch and stared at the grim characters sitting in the rain on the screen. 

You took the opportunity to break the silence when the credits started rolling. “Uh, hey-”

With a sudden growl Bakugo jumped up, his ruby eyes blazing and his hands outstretched and glowing towards you, apparently startled out of his anime-watching trance. 

“HOLY SHIT!” You yelled at his sudden and aggressive movement, dropping your bag and backing up against the wall with a feeling of panic until you saw the realization in Bakugo’s eyes and his hands lowered. “The hell is wrong with you?! Scared the shit out of me…” you breathed while leaning down to take your phone out of your purse as your nerves calmed down. 

Bakugo stared at you with a stern finger now pointing in your direction. “Moron, don’t sneak up on people!”

“Don’t point your glowy hands at me! And I wasn’t sneaking, I was just waiting for you to finish the episode,” you answered, mirroring his point with one of your own. He met your eye line before looking away with a scoff, and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his lounge pants. Surprising someone like Bakugo was, in hindsight, probably a terrible idea. “And I don’t blame you for getting sucked in. You just finished episode four, right?”

Bakugo gestured at the TV as though it personally offended him. “The whole alchemy plot? Interesting at least. Mustang isn’t so bad, either. But the kid and the dog thing? Is the rest of the show that dark?”

You hummed before answering, trying to remember plotlines and specific depressing situations. “Not all of it, no. But there are other things that happen like that. It’s not a...happy show, I guess? It’s really good, though, so I think it’s worth the watch. Do you not have Fullmetal Alchemist in your universe? It’s really popular and well-known here.”

He shrugged before sitting back down on the couch, the TV screen now stationary on the Main Menu. “Hell if I know. Not like I have lots of free time to sit and watch shit.”

You opened your mouth to reply when your eyes were drawn to a pile of scribbled notes on the table in front of the couch. Bakugo turned around to see you staring before his eyes fell on the notes as well. Rather than indulge your curiosity and pry into whatever he was writing, you decided it was time to change into something more comfortable. “Uh, be right back,” you said before slipping into your room and closing the door. 

Bakugo stared at the closed door, irritated with how self-aware he now felt with every fleeting glance he made in your general direction before gathering up his notes, rolling them up, and stuffing them under one of the couch cushions. It wasn’t like you could easily read them anyway, but Bakugo felt the need to keep something all to himself with the little he owned here. His musings and theories were his own, even if he’d already discussed some of them with you. 

He shifted on the couch when the door behind him opened, revealing you looking much more at ease in the oversized clothes you wore as pajamas. “Much better...what?” you asked before Bakugo realized he was staring again. Your eyes darted to the now-empty table, the notes now gone, but again you didn’t pry. He forced himself to blink and turn around, hoping to play off whatever the fuck he was doing without you noticing. 

This isn’t happening , he told himself again. 

“Are you hungry? How does dinner sound?” You asked while holding up your phone to translate. He silently thanked you for the change in topic and watched you walk into the kitchen to sort through the fridge and cabinets. Guilt ate at him for letting you cook again when you’d already done so much for his benefit, but cooking was the least of his worries. Even though you gave him money if he needed it, Bakugo refused to spend any when he had food available here. 

“Fish?” You called out over your shoulder. He just shrugged, his mind occupied with anything other than dinner. Sitting just made him feel stir-crazy, though, so instead, he got up to pour himself a glass of water while you pulled out spices and pans. “If you don’t mind me asking...what have you been doing while I’m at work? I know it’s not super exciting here and things to do are limited, but maybe you’ll be back in your world soon...”

He didn’t miss how your voice trailed off at the end, your eyes staring unfocused into the pantry like a void. Even though you brought up a topic he specifically told you to stop bugging him about, for some reason your stoic expression and almost imperceptible dip in demeanor made him hold his tongue. Maybe you were just sad for him, but pity couldn’t replace solid solutions. 

Leaning against the counter Bakugo took a sip of water before answering your question with as much information as he was comfortable sharing. His scribbled notes earlier must’ve brought this up. “Go outside, explore, work out. I don’t like being stuck inside somewhere all day.” 

You just nodded, prompting him to continue. It was getting to the point where if something bugged you, he wanted to know about it. “Don’t worry I’ll be out of your hair soon,” he said, going off the assumption that his continued presence here was starting to annoy you and ignoring any questioning observations about your own feelings towards him. 

This made you look up at him, your hands stilling over the seasoned fish. He didn’t look away this time. "I don't...you're not a bother if that's what you mean. As long as you're here I'll do what I can to help you out, even if it isn't much."

Such a selfless answer made the muscles in Bakugo’s neck tense. “Why?” he asked with a little more force than he intended. Avoiding resolving an issue, in most cases, wasn’t his style. Why were you going so far out of your way to help him? Why even bother when it wasn’t your obligation? Were you truly just that fucking nice?

He watched you bite your lip and look down at the floor as if you weren’t sure you should answer, or thinking that whatever answer you gave might piss him off. “I guess...I think, if I was in your situation and had next to nothing and didn’t know anyone, I’d want someone to do the same for me.”

It was probably the most common sense and empathetic yet simplest thing someone could say - treat others the way you want to be treated. Bakugo’s brows furrowed as he searched your face to see if you were bullshitting, but he couldn’t pin down anything outside of honest sincerity and something else that he couldn’t take the time to analyze right now. 

“You really don’t give a shit if I stay here, do you?” He said it more to himself than to you, but he didn’t mind that it seemed to ease your tension a bit. 

You held a strange determination in your eyes as you answered as if you wanted to prove he truly wasn’t a burden. “No, I don’t. I don’t mind helping. You aren’t a bother or annoying.” Turning your back on him and returning to the fish sizzling in the pan, however, you couldn’t help but get one last word in. “Ok, sometimes you're annoying.”

The look on Bakugo’s face was worth the risk to your health if he took the joke wrong. You couldn’t help but laugh, glad for the change in mood. Not expecting any heavy conversations today, you still wanted to be honest about the fact that you really didn’t mind him staying here. You enjoyed his company, and the more time you spent with Bakugo the more anxious you grew at the thought of him leaving, but you wanted to keep the mood light as you cooked if possible. 

“What?! I am not annoying.”

“Mmm maybe more...grating with all your sarcasm?”

“You’re as much a sarcastic shit as I am so you have no room to talk.”

“Maybe. If nothing else you liven up the apartment. Without roommates, it can feel lonely here sometimes.” You didn’t mean to spill out your feelings on enjoying his company, but it was too late to take it back now. It really did feel nice to come home to someone rather than an empty apartment. 

“Don’t you have friends?” he probed before realizing it was kind of a dickish thing to ask and possibly proved your “annoying” point correct in a small sense. He’d seen you texting and recalled you talking on the phone to someone the other day, but your otherwise predictable schedule brought out his curiosity. “You go to work and come right back here. Don’t let me being here stop you from doing shit. I can take care of myself.”

Rather than look upset at his question, though, Bakugo watched you roll your eyes at the accusation as you flipped the fish in the pan and watched it sizzle. “ Yes , I have friends. I just don’t go out all that much. It’s hard to get people together with our own jobs and responsibilities and stuff going on.” You then turned to him, your eyes alight with the same determination from earlier as if to prove him wrong. “ And for your information, smartass, I have plans Thursday night, so there .”

For whatever reason, Bakugo liked this side of you - strong-willed, stubborn, and determined to prove a point. It reminded him of himself. He realized early on that he couldn’t just walk all over you. It was a good trait to have, in his opinion. “Where are you going?” he asked before he could stop himself, curiosity getting the better of him once more. Bakugo wasn’t sure if wanting to know more about your personal life was a bad thing at this point. 

“I’m going to a concert with a friend. I like seeing bands live when I have the opportunity. It’s like a rush of adrenaline and music and energy, ya know?” You said with a smile on your face before turning back to the food. 

Whatever Bakugo assumed you were going to say, it wasn’t that. But you kept surprising him so really he couldn’t reliably go off assumptions based on knowing you for one week. “Yeah, I’ve been to a few,” he replied. “One of my friends has sort of a music-related quirk, sometimes she does charity gigs.”

“Oh, really? That’s pretty cool. It’s like, a bunch of people coming together that wanna enjoy something and have fun and leave responsibilities and worries behind for a few hours. Aha sorry, now I’m all excited thinking about it,” you exclaimed while Bakugo watched you with a quirked brow. 

“Who is it?” It appeared that some things like movies and comics at least overlapped with his own world, though he doubted he’d know the band if they weren’t Japanese. 

You hummed before answering. “Uh...I think I might’ve mentioned them not long after you got here? When we were talking about music or something maybe? If you want I can let you listen after dinner. Who knows, you might not hate it,” you joked while still facing the stove. 

There was something about the way you bobbed your head from side to side as though the music was already playing made you look kind of cute-

Immediately Bakugo cut off his line of thinking, snatched the thought like a ticking bomb and shoved it far away as quickly as possible before his face turned red. What the fuck is wrong with me?! Get a grip , he chastised to himself, wondering what the hell happened over the past twenty-four hours that turned him into a flustered idiot. 

You, on the other hand, had no clue how Bakugo was feeling and concerned yourself only with the food in front of you and thinking about hanging out with your friend in a few days. Having Bakugo around as company was nice, sure, but getting out of the apartment with someone familiar and doing something you’d been looking forward to for months felt exhilarating. 

“Don’t burn it,” he quipped behind you, but compared to the previous night, you now felt at ease and confident rather than tense and stressed. 

You fired back, “I didn’t burn the burgers, so I’m not gonna burn the fish, either.” Smugness often radiated from him like heat from a lamp, so you’d give him no satisfaction about a burnt dinner. Tonight felt good, despite the nagging feelings in the back of your mind about Bakugo’s situation and whether or not to do anything about it. You refused to let him get to you, obstinance overshadowing embarrassment for once. 

After the two of you sat down to eat when the food was done, you set your chin in your hands and waited for Bakugo to take a bite, daring him to say it tasted bad. 

“The hell are you staring for?” he asked, one eye twitching in rhythm with his words. 

“Just waiting for you to take a bite and tell me it’s delicious,” you replied with a devious grin. He matched your stare with a questioning look. 

“You think so, huh?” Bakugo took a bite without breaking eye contact. If he thought he could intimidate you by this point he was sorely mistaken. “Too much seasoning.”

“Bullshit.”

“Hah? Now you think I’m lying?”

“I think you want me to think you- there! Took another bite! See? You do like it!” Bakugo acted oblivious as he lifted the fork to his mouth a third time with a shrug. He enjoyed frustrating the hell out of you and you knew it, but joking around with him like this felt nice so you weren’t about to get onto him about it too much. “If you’re so picky then you cook for once since I did it two days in a row,” you said without even considering the fact that you might wake up to an empty apartment in the morning. 

Maybe Bakugo briefly forgot that possibility, too, because he actually agreed. Taking advantage of his ego to prove you wrong was too easy. 

Before Bakugo could stand up to wash the dishes when he was done eating, you grabbed his things and stuck your tongue out at him for good measure. You were giving yourself more work, but the look on his face due to your obstinance made pruney fingers worth it. 

Bakugo couldn’t help but smirk at your stubbornness when your back was turned. It really did remind him of himself, sometimes, and he far preferred you in this good mood than looking self-conscious or overthinking things...not that he hadn’t been overthinking literally everything all day. 

While you finished up the dishes Bakugo sat on the couch and watched you move into your room before coming back out with a pair of over-ear headphones. “What are those for?” he asked as you sat down next to him, very aware of the small distance between the two of you. The fact that he had to make that distinction remained a thought for later analysis. 

“I asked if you wanted to listen to the band I’m going to see. Do you not want to?” You held out the headphones in one hand and phone poised in the other. “If you don’t like it, it's fine, just means you have bad taste in music,” you quipped while sticking your tongue out at him. His eye twitched. 

To be honest Bakugo missed music since he didn’t have a phone or computer here for easy listening. Letting his curiosity take hold of him again, he grabbed the headphones and slid them on, mentally noting how comfortable they were. At least they weren’t garbage so maybe, even if the music wasn’t to his liking, the quality would be good. 

Bakugo crossed his arms and relaxed into the couch while you opened up the music app. A second later a slow and low rumble vibrated in his ears as the music started. He...didn’t immediately hate it, to his surprise. Cutting his eyes to you briefly he held back a small smile as you started drumming on your thighs to music you couldn’t even hear, the rhythm and tempo probably memorized at this point. 

You missed a few beats but didn’t slow down, your mouth forming soundless words in a language Bakugo couldn’t understand, but it didn’t matter - the music sounded good , and he understood why you’d want to see them live. It would’ve been so easy to poke fun at you but he kept his mouth shut and enjoyed the sound, instead. 

When the first song ended you knew it too and moved to take the headphones back, but he slapped your hand away not wanting to give it up just yet. The smug Cheshire cat look on your face almost made him regret it, but Bakugo’s stubbornness won out as it usually did. 

The next song started and you continued looking like a fucking dork, switching between air drums and guitar as though he wasn’t even there. That was something he liked about you - you didn’t put up a mask for his sake and did whatever you probably did when you were alone. 

When the third song was over Bakugo finally handed back the headphones and clicked his tongue at your self-satisfied grin. Switching back to the translator app you asked, “Sooo I take it you liked it? Your music taste isn’t shit, then.”

“I’ve heard better, smartass,” he quipped back in an attempt to get a rise out of you, but rather than fight him on it you just started to laugh. Bakugo shuffled his thoughts around to bury the smirk that threatened to surface at how carefree you looked. 

“You’re a damn liar,” you said as you wiped away some fake tears and came down from the high of laughter. You felt happy that Bakugo actually enjoyed the music; it was one more thing the two of you had in common and you were too focused on having fun to feel embarrassed. “Do you play any instruments?”

Bakugo looked like he was pulling down an old memory from a box stuck in the attic to dust off and revisit. “I learned the drums as a kid, and played them a few times in school as a teenager,” he answered. 

You recalled the Culture Festival arc and how literally explosive Bakugo’s drum work was and couldn’t suppress a smile. “That’s cool! You said one of your friends was in a band or something? Do you play with her band sometimes?”

“Only if my agent bugs me hard about it or Jirou comes up with a good bribe.” 

“You have an agent? Are Heroes kind of like celebrities?” This was a detail you didn’t recall from the source material, but it made sense to delegate public appearances, charity events, and who knew what else to someone who could keep track of it all. 

Bakugo shrugged, his hands resting behind his head on the couch. The fact that he could be so relaxed around you now made your heart flutter a bit. “Yeah, but I only talk to her when I have to. Blowing up my phone with shit I don’t really care about all the time, telling me where to go. It gets annoying.” 

Afraid of digging deeper and get him on a complaint tangent, you remembered something and found it the perfect time to change the subject. “Oh! I wanted to ask…” You got up and retrieved the Dictionary the two of you used the previous night, holding it up for Bakugo to see. “Why did you scratch this stuff out last night? I didn’t understand why it was wrong.”

Almost immediately you saw him stiffen and his eyes widen as he stared straight ahead, avoiding your look of confusion. Was it really that bad?

He uncharacteristically cleared his throat before speaking more carefully than you were used to. “Japanese word usage depends a lot on context. There are...different meanings depending on which words you use. In this case, it’s just best to use the person’s name.”

You looked down at the vigorous scratchings on the page where Bakugo marked out the phrase. “Oh, so different words have different meanings? I’d assume the book would point that out…” Going off how tense Bakugo looked you decided not to ask what exactly the context was of the words you used. You could Google it later. “OK, I just won’t use it then. Bakugo it is!”

Looking almost relieved that you dropped the subject, Bakugo followed your hand when you gestured towards the TV. “I’m not tired yet. Wanna play a game? Or are you scared I might win like I did on Sunday?”

Avoiding competition seemed basically impossible for Bakugo, so you weren’t too surprised when he smirked and agreed. 

Rather than pick a fighting game, though, Bakugo insisted on a shooter for a rematch for his loss at the VR Bar. “It wasn’t a fluke! I’m just not great at every type of game,” you exclaimed.

“Prove it. Play against me. If you win - which you won’t - I won’t bug you about it anymore.” Getting Bakugo to openly admit that you were better at him than something made your pulse race. You were also someone who couldn’t pass up a challenge. 

Memories flooded Bakugo about his time in the UA dorms, playing video games with Kirishima and Kaminari on the few evenings they had free from training and studying. Since becoming Pro Heroes they rarely had the free time to relax; maybe he could think off this whole thing as...a break? A break he didn't ask for, sure, but he had no obligations here outside of wondering when and how to get back home. 

Red eyes fixed themselves to the TV screen, your character and Bakugo’s character now pitted against each other rather than working together. Whoever fought through the demon hordes, met in the middle of the map, and destroyed the other first won the match. 

Every once in a while Bakugo cut his eyes to you briefly, taking note of how concentrated you looked as though powered through sheer determination of will to prove your win wasn’t just a one-off and rub it in his face. Your stubbornness was nothing if not admirable. When he realized, once again, how often he was staring Bakugo clenched his jaw and concentrated on the game, ignoring how tightly he was gripping the controller. 

When the two of you entered into a large open room with many platforms, pits of lava, and dramatic music, Bakugo shared a brief glance with you in silent understanding: only one of you could win. 

Bullets and grenades ricocheted against rocks. Heavy guitar riffs pumped in time with the activation of power-ups. Demons spawned in a futile attempt to distract Bakugo from his prey...but all it took was one mistimed jump to expose himself to the laser sight of your rifle. 

“Dammit!” He shouted at his stupid mistake. Bakugo seethed silently as his character lay dying on the ground. Your character walked over with an ominously slow pace after picking up a ridiculous chainsaw weapon from an unopened crate. This was torture for him and you damn well knew it. 

“Any last words?” You asked in a tone that oozed of pretension. Bakugo bit the inside of his cheek. 

“Get it over with alread-” His words were cut off as your character, poised above his with a revving bloody chainsaw, was violently tossed just far enough to the side for them to land in a boiling pit of neon lava. Apparently an enemy, a weak drone used for nothing but fodder, spawned, but both of you were too focused on the impending execution to notice as it hit you just hard enough to send you to your death. 

The two of you stared at the screen before bursting out in mirrored anger. 

“The fuck was that?!”

“Oh my god…”

“THAT WAS STUPID!”

“I WAS SO CLOSE!”

Bakugo ran his sweaty hands down his face, hearing your mirthless laugh next to him at the unfairness of it all. “So close... so close …”

He wasn’t even mad at technically winning because you died first - what pissed him off was that he didn’t win on even ground. It was the damn Sports Festival his first year at UA all over again. 

“Rematch,” he stated after calming himself down. You looked up at him with surprise. 

“But, you won.” Bakugo shook his head. 

“It was a bullshit win. If I’m gonna win, I’m not gonna do it on a technicality. Rematch,” he emphasized, waiting until a grin tugged at the corners of your lips.

In the second match you didn’t fare quite as well now that Bakugo was familiar with your strategies. Now you were the one feeling a chainsaw to the face. You groaned while he gloated. 

As tempting as it was to fight back and forth with him well into the night, exhaustion finally crept up on you. “You win this round, but I’m gonna get ready for bed because work is stupid,” you said while yawning before getting up to stretch and head into the bathroom. 

As you washed your face and brushed your teeth you thought once more about what to do with these fluttering feelings in your chest caused by the man right outside the door. Even though Bakugo obviously felt stifled and agitated by his situation you couldn’t help but notice how, day by day, he opened up more to you. The inner debate on whether or not to tell him how you felt stressed you out because you could wake up to him gone tomorrow with a lost chance. Even though nothing could come of it, you still wondered how things might turn out in a hypothetical situation. 

But really, Bakugo was the deciding factor on any of this: he’d been nice and even friendly towards you, but until he showed a similar interest you just assumed it would all be one-sided and would make conversation and interaction going forward horribly awkward, not to mention a buzzkill for your confidence.

“There’s nothing I can do about it if he’s gone, tomorrow...but if he’s not?” You managed not to look like a blundering fool in front of him today. If you could keep Bakugo laughing - he really did have a nice laugh - then you’d call that a win. His presence here was as unpredictable as social media gossip, and each passing day was a missed opportunity...but you weren’t ready to make that leap of faith. Not yet. 

Walking out of the bathroom, you saw Bakugo seated almost exactly where you left him on the couch. He also looked tired, so maybe it was bedtime for the both of you. 

“I’m going to sleep,” you said while holding up your phone and stifling a yawn. “I uh...tonight was fun. And I’m glad you liked the music.” 

Bakugo looked as though he wanted to say something, but instead kept still and quiet. “And I realized I hadn’t said it in a few days, but since we don’t know when you’ll make it back home I figured I’d just say that…” You hesitated, feeling your heart beat against your rib cage. “That it hasn’t been so bad having you as a roommate. My last one was pretty terrible. But, yeah. Goodnight, Bakugo.”

For one brief moment the words hung on the tip of your tongue like a precariously dangling icicle on the edge of a rooftop, but you chickened out at the last second. Bakugo hesitated before nodding and moving to get up to, presumably, brush his own teeth and go to sleep. 

“Oh, but before I forget…” He turned to look at you curiously as you opened the door to your room. “Captain America is better than Iron man!”

As the words translated and sunk in you struggled to hold back a laugh before Bakugo yelled something your phone couldn’t understand from his slurred Japanese and threw a couch pillow at you, but it smacked into the door as you ran laughing into your bedroom and locked it behind you. You couldn’t resist poking fun at him one last time. 

Giggling to yourself you crawled into bed and slid under the covers, curling up to catch up on social media for a minute before you fell asleep. You remembered what Bakugo said earlier about “anata wa” and how different words had different connotations. His reaction had been so strange and stiff that you chose not to press him on it, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t look it up for yourself. 

You browsed Google for an answer, but the first few pages weren’t much help. After a few minutes you found an online forum where someone had posed this exact same question before, and gotten several answers. “Perfect,” you sleepily mumbled while scrolling down the page. 

The Japanese language was less like your own and had more to do with the situation, tone, and who you were speaking to…”Let’s see...here we go: different ways to say ‘you’ and their connotations.”

“Omae” was informal but acceptable when you were speaking to someone of lower status than yourself, such a teacher to a student.

“Kimi” was similar, but considered rude. 

“Anata” was used in place of someone’s name if you didn’t already know their name, or used by women to affectionately address their husbands…

The article kept going but you were frozen in place, jaw slack and eyes bulging as you read back over the previous line, the words “affectionately” and “husband” popping out at you. The words blurred together as your brain slowly started working again. 

He thought...did I insinuate...that we…?!

No wonder Bakugo acted the way he did - you basically referred to him as a romantic partner, but how were you supposed to know?! Dropping your phone face down onto the sheets you turned over and screamed into your pillow from embarrassment. So much for keeping your shit together for the day. 

After a minute of groaning you heard a knock on your door and stilled in a panic. “Oi, you OK?” 

Oh my god, he heard me , you thought with a panic. “YES, I’M FINE.” Your voice cracked on the last syllable and you really wished your own bed was a portal into a pit where you could just disappear. Luckily he didn’t knock again and you resigned to attempt to fall asleep despite both your mind and heart racing in the darkness. 

Bakugo looked at your door and, despite the fact that you sounded a bit strange, decided to leave you alone. He hoped that if something really was wrong you’d tell him-

That thought made him flinch as he walked to turn out the lights. He shouldn’t want that. He shouldn’t want you to confide in him.

Stomping over to the couch he flung himself down and attempted to sleep, but his mind was racing almost as quickly as your own. You had fun with him, and Bakugo wasn’t normally described as the most fun person to hang around. He truly hated to admit it, but lying to himself would just piss him off even worse: when he wasn’t overthinking every little thing you did or said, Bakugo had fun, too. 

He stared at the textured ceiling, his crimson eyes adjusting to the dim moonlight filtering in through the blinds. “This is nothing,” he told himself. “Nothing will happen, and nothing can happen.”

Unpredictability seemed to follow Bakugo around in this world like a dog trailing a dangled treat. Although he tried to believe his own words, something told him that it wouldn’t be as easy as he hoped. 

Chapter Text

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You tossed and turned with restlessness before your alarm rang on your nightstand. Last night’s sleep felt pretty terrible because you struggled to doze off after reading that embarrassing translation right before bed. Overanalyzing something that both you and Bakugo obviously wanted to forget about did you no good. 

“Fuck...I’m gonna be tired today, I can already tell,” you groaned while sitting up and turning off your alarm so it wouldn’t ring out for too long. Squinting at the morning light cascading into your room you eventually got up, stretched, and grabbed some work clothes for the day. 

Before opening the bedroom door, though, you hesitated. The questions that pervaded your mind, like what to do if Bakugo was still here for another day or week or month , also didn’t help you sleep well. The longer he remained stuck here the more frustrated he’d become, no doubt, but all you could do was help him in any way you could, even if you knew he’d never openly ask for aid. 

You quietly walked out of your bedroom, selfishly hoping to see the now-familiar tuft of blonde hair resting on your couch. You almost tripped over a pillow on the floor in your sleepy daze, remembering that he threw it at you in defense of Iron Man. Holding back a laugh you crept around the couch to see a lump huddled under the blanket he borrowed. Rather than stare at him like a weirdo you shuffled into the bathroom to get ready for work. 

Despite a hot shower, you still felt half-asleep as you finished getting ready. It wasn’t as bad as your rush on Monday, but you could tell that today was going to feel very long. “Yesterday was so nice,” you mumbled, thinking back to everything before you eventually fell asleep. You and Bakugo were getting along and you managed not to embarrass yourself up until the very end. If all that you’d feel today was the urge to crawl back into bed then you’d be grateful. 

Creeping out of the bathroom you yawned, not noticing Bakugo had shifted so the corner of his blanket now lay on the floor right in your path. With a gasp, you tripped over the fabric and landed right on your face as you met the floor with a thud. “OW! Fucking shit…”

Bakugo’s eyes snapped open at the sudden noise, the palms of his hands popping as he sat up to defend against some unexpected attack...only to look down and see you writhing around on the floor, feet tangled within the spilled blanket. 

With a sigh he dropped his guard, wondering how the hell you got through each day with only dumb luck. “Heta (clumsy)…” he muttered before crawling to the edge of the couch to lean over the arm. “You OK?”

You groaned in frustration as you struggled to remove yourself from the blanket which somehow wound up twisted around your ankles like a rope. “I’m fine, just…gimme a second.” Without your phone out he managed to pick out the “I’m fine” but didn’t believe you as you continued to struggle. Bakugo shook his head and resigned that he wouldn’t get back to sleep until he helped you out of this mess. 

“No, really, it’s fine,” you said as he got up off the couch and walked towards you. “No need to get up for my sake!”

Too bad that once Bakugo set his mind to something he rarely backed down. He grabbed the blanket off the floor and attempted to pull it off your legs in one swift motion. You yelped as Bakugo lifted you up off the ground only for your feet to become miraculously untangled as you dropped unceremoniously onto the carpet. He winced as you groaned, unaware that you were tangled in it like a fish in a net. 

In his sleepy haze, Bakugo didn’t think much of extending a hand down to help you to your feet once you gave a thumbs up that you were alright. You took it without hesitation as he pulled you up easily, letting go when you gathered your balance to step away and brush yourself off. 

“Gomen, sorry I woke you up, arigatou,” you said, waving to him before sliding back into your room and closing the door to presumably get ready for work. Your weird mixture of Japanese and your own native language was kind of funny, but at least you were trying. 

Rather than go back to sleep, Bakugo remembered something he wanted to ask you and since he, unfortunately, did not wake up in his own bed, now seemed like as good a time as any. He stretched and walked into the kitchen to dig out some bread and dropped it into the toaster. While he was up, and you were still here, he figured he might as well make a small breakfast for the two of you.

Meanwhile, you looked in the mirror after you finished getting ready for work. You still felt tired but maybe downing some bitter office coffee would help a bit. Tripping over Bakugo’s blanket and falling on your ass again wasn’t exactly how you wanted to spend your morning, but you couldn’t go back in time and watch your step. It was only after you’d scurried back into your room that you realized it was the second time he’d offered a hand to you when you’d fallen and lifted you to your feet with what seemed like little effort. “Hopefully he’s not mad I woke him up.” After checking yourself once more in the mirror you walked out of your bedroom and into the main living area. 

Bakugo, no longer on the couch, leaned against the kitchen counter eating a piece of toast. He looked up at you before pushing the plate towards you as you walked closer. It had been so long since someone made you breakfast that even simple toast caught you by surprise. “Arigatou,” you said while setting your phone down on the counter and nibbling on a piece yourself. “Sorry for waking you up.”

He just shrugged and cut his eyes over to the side. “Show me how your washer and dryer work.”

You looked over towards the stacked appliances and wondered if you’d ever taken your clothes out from a few days ago. Normally you didn’t leave things in the dryer for so long but Bakugo was a very handsome distraction. Wait, were his clothes still in there too…?

“Oi, stop spacing out,” he said while snapping his fingers to catch your attention. 

“Oh, uh, sorry. Yeah, I can show you. I gotta leave in…shit, about five minutes so let’s make this quick.” After checking your phone for the time you walked over to show Bakugo how to use the large appliances. 

“I’m gonna assume you know the basics of washing clothes.” His blank stare told you that he wasn’t incompetent with household chores. You cleared your throat and continued. You explained how much detergent to use, what the words next to the knobs for water temperature and load size meant, and how long each cycle should take before going over the dryer settings as well. "Shit, I forgot to get my clothes out of here from the other day," you commented with your phone balanced on the top of the washer to translate. As you opened the dryer you failed to realize that Bakugo’s face had turned tomato red. 

Upon reaching in you realized that the load wasn’t as big as you figured it would be. You paused as your brain processed exactly what that meant. If his clothes weren't there anymore that meant he took them out, meaning he probably…saw… oh god . Without saying anything you grabbed your clothes out of the dryer - making sure to pick up everything on the first try, your hands like an iron grip despite the nerves in your stomach causing your hands to shake - and turned around. 

Bakugou had spaced out for a good second thinking back to the previous morning before hastily moving out of your way, turning his head away so you wouldn’t see his burning cheeks.

"I'll just go put these in my room,” you croaked out before shuffling into your bedroom. Quickly piling your things onto your bed you told yourself that you could put them away tonight, not having enough time or a clear head to do the chore right now. Power walking with as much control as you could muster, you grabbed your phone off the dryer while pointedly avoiding Bakugo who hadn’t moved an inch, gathered up your things, and walked towards the door. “OK see you tonight, bye!” You squeaked out before almost slamming the door closed. 

While you speed-walked to work in existential panic, Bakugo was having similar problems, except he couldn't run away to work like you. It was obvious that you came to the conclusion that he probably saw your clothes, otherwise you wouldn’t have bolted out of the apartment like a scared bird.

It took a solid minute for Bakugo to force his body to move from standing in front of the dryer like a statue, shaking his head to get a grip on himself. “So fucking stupid…” he grumbled while running his hands through his hair and down his face. He snatched up all of his dirty clothes, including the pajamas he was wearing, and followed your instructions.

Since he knew you were at work and wouldn’t come barging in, especially after practically running out the door away from him, Bakugo decided to take a shower and lounge around in a towel to wait for his clothes to finish washing and drying. It was still only morning but he needed a distraction to keep himself from overthinking things. After his little emotional realization yesterday Bakugo was determined to keep himself in check, so after fixing a more filling breakfast than just toast he sat and read more of the book you’d bought him. He never thought he’d actually miss reading, but it actually passed the time fairly quickly and the book you picked out wasn’t half-bad. 

When his clothes were finally done he took them out of the dryer and folded them - he wasn’t a slob, after all - and sighed contentedly at the feeling of clean, warm clothes that he washed himself. It was small, but some semblance of self-sufficiency in this situation made him feel less useless. 

Every time he looked at the dryer Bakugo felt his ears burn thinking of you and your realization, but he shoved the feeling down and decided to go outside and exercise. He grabbed the sunglasses you had let him borrow and the key to your apartment. Bakugo left with the resolution not to allow a repeat of the previous day. 

Despite hoping the embarrassing incident this morning would be the worst part of your day, things didn’t exactly improve once you arrived at work. The coffee tasted especially disgusting and the same coworker that bugged you about Bakugo last week refused to leave you alone. 

“Is he still here?” she asked, the stinging scent of her overbearing perfume wafting into your cubicle space as she stood next to your chair while you tried and failed to stay focused on your work.

“That’s none of your business,” you replied in a curt tone that you hoped she’d interpret as rude. She ignored you. 

“That sounds like a ‘yes’ to me. When’s the last time you went on a date? I’m not one to pry-” you struggled to hold back a snort at that obvious lie. “But you should at least put yourself out there. Don’t want to be alone forever, (y/n), do you?” She acted as though her marriage, which you knew had been on the rocks for years, made her far happier and more content than you felt as a single woman. You wondered how many times she’d told herself she was happy before she started to actually believe the lie. 

Gathering up your notebook you stood up, looked her square in the eyes, and said, “I have a meeting to get to.” You weren’t about to sit around and let someone who didn’t sign your paychecks tell you what to do or judge your nonexistent relationships. 

You sat in the conference room, taking notes while your boss stood up front and discussed the upcoming project before bringing up the ideas everyone had brought forward on Monday. Hopeful that they’d go with your idea - the one that made the most sense based on your experience - you sat back and listened. 

...However, what you heard wasn’t your name called when the project solution came up, but your coworker’s name, the one currently on your right, the same guy who sat beside you and took notes on Monday. As your eyes narrowed and your teeth clenched you turned your head slowly towards him, but as soon as he caught your glare he turned away quickly. However, he didn’t bother hiding the subtle smirk on his face. 

A few of your coworkers gave you sympathetic looks knowing he was getting credit for your idea, but it wasn’t the first time something like this happened in the office. You knew starting an argument here would make you look unprofessional, but it took every ounce of self-restraint to keep from ripping your notebook in half. 

You sat through the rest of the meeting in a daze, eyes like foggy glass and ears stuffed with invisible cotton. As soon as everyone started getting up to leave you followed your asshole coworker at and tapped him on the shoulder, resisting the urge to yank his wrinkled shirt collar. 

“Let’s chat, hmm? Trust me, won’t take long,” you hissed through gritted teeth. The guilty but smug look on his face made you want to punch him when he turned around. 

“I know what you’re gonna say,” he started, but you didn’t bother letting him finish. 

“You stole my idea and you know it,” you admitted bluntly. Maybe hanging around Bakugo so much influenced your boldness. He looked taken aback but cleared his throat and straightened his shirt before offering up some half-assed excuse. 

“Isn’t the idea the most important thing? Does it really matter who it comes from as long as the project gets finished?” 

This guy didn’t sign your paychecks either, so you didn’t bother holding your tongue. “Yeah, it matters . I knew you were a kiss-ass but I didn’t realize you’d stoop to taking credit for my idea.” Then, you got a wonderfully devious idea. “You know what? Since it’s obviously your idea...you can head up the project without my help. Because you surely know all the answers to all the issues we resolved last time, right?”

Almost immediately his face fell slack with the realization that you were now setting him up to fail. “Have fun... jerk .” You let that last bit slip off your tongue in a whisper after stomping down the hallway back towards your desk. It wasn’t much, but if you could cause him a bit of suffering for his hubris you’d take it. 

Stepping up to the lunch counter in the small cafe next to your office, you eyed one of their giant cookies wrapped up behind the glass display. After that whole altercation at work and resisting being charged with assault, tiredness from lack of proper sleep came back full force. The whole day wasn’t going how you wanted, honestly. At least you had the concert to look forward to tomorrow. Spending time with Bakugo was nice, but you wanted to get out and see your friend and drink a little and let loose a bit. You deserved this. “And one of those cookies...yes, the chocolate one, please.”

While you stuffed your face with a double chocolate-chip cookie at work, Bakugo was finishing up his exercises outside and decided to take a walk and explore the area around your apartment a bit more. If he was going to be stuck here for who knew how long it seemed prudent to familiarize himself with the area. 

He walked in the direction the two of you headed on Sunday towards the VR Bar. Since it was a weekday, the sidewalks were fairly empty in comparison, with adults at work and kids in school. Eventually, he passed in front of the taco place you took him to, and for a moment he debated on whether or not to go inside. Working out gave him an appetite...but he still refused to spend any of the money you gave him, which was why it sat untouched on your counter back at the apartment. It did give him an idea though which he stuffed away for later on as he continued exploring. 

Bakugo stopped at a traffic signal - the universal red and green lights translated across language barriers - to wait to cross the street. Something caught his eye on the opposite sidewalk, however: a woman struggling to move past a group of what Bakugo presumed to be students on some kind of trip or outing judging by their matching uniforms. 

She was yelling something he couldn’t understand, and then he looked down. 

A child, maybe two or three, was about to waddle straight off the sidewalk and into the street. Without hesitation and driven on pure instinct, Bakugo acted. 

I can’t use my quirk here , he thought as he pushed the muscles in his legs to propel himself forward with as much momentum as he could muster. Quickly glancing to his right, he could see at least one car approaching both him and the kid who was none the wiser as the mother across the street looked on with horror. 

It was all over in a matter of seconds when Bakugo appeared on the other side of the street with a wriggling child held under his arm before the oncoming car sped past the intersection while blaring its horn, not bothering to slow down. Several people took out their phones in an attempt to capture the heroic stunt and post it online, but it happened too quickly for anyone to record more than Bakugo carrying the child on the other side of the street. 

“Oh my god! Oh my goodness,” the frantic-looking mother screeched as she finally managed to pull away from the highschool crowd and held out her arms to Bakugo who handed the now-crying child over to his mother. “You saved him oh my god he’s OK, shh you’re OK...please, thank you so much, I don’t-”

Jikai wa kozou o miteite kure, ” (keep an eye on the brat next time) Bakugo said before walking past her down the sidewalk as though he didn’t just save a child’s life. She obviously didn’t understand his Japanese from her confused expression, but it didn’t matter. Whether it was looking after an entire city, jumping into a crumbling building, or saving one kid from walking into traffic, being a Hero wasn’t a job he would ever set aside for anything or anyone. 

The walk home from work felt longer than you remembered as your stomach rumbled for food and your body begged for a good night’s sleep. “Still pissed at that asshole at work...maybe I can at least watch him flounder a bit.”

As you walked up the steps to your apartment floor you slowed down and wondered if Bakugo might be there. You still had no idea what to do about this stupid crush situation, but you didn’t think you had enough bravery to spill your guts out just yet. And after this morning you truly hoped you’d be able to look at him without stumbling over your words. “Maybe once I fix dinner my brain can function again and I’ll get some ideas.” 

After opening the door a wonderful smell wafted up to your nose, making you salivate. Looking up you saw Bakugo standing with his back to you at the counter leaning over something he was chopping while several pans on the stove bubbled and smoked. Whatever it was it smelled divine. You felt like crying from appreciation at such a small gesture. 

Apparently, he hadn’t noticed you yet, so you quietly closed the door and attempted to slip off your shoes, but Bakugo’s Hero senses must’ve been sharp because the movement caught his attention. No use in being quiet now. Walking towards the stove you sniffed the air, smelling a mixture of meat and vegetables and rice. “Hey,” you said as he looked up at you. Every time his red eyes met yours you had to remind yourself to keep it together. “Whatever you’re making smells really good.”

Even though you hadn’t taken your phone out yet Bakugo smiled. It was small but definitely there. He started to talk but you realized you hadn’t taken your phone out yet. It was starting to become a habit as you became used to the language barrier. “Sorry. What are you making? It uh, smells really good.” 

You kept yourself from drooling as Bakugo pointed to various things simmering on the stove. “Went out and explored a bit and saw that place we went to Sunday. I wanted to see what kind of spices you had here to see if I could make something similar.”

You couldn't hold back the smile when he mentioned the restaurant you'd chosen. It had been a good choice, after all. "Well, thanks for making dinner. Today was kind of rough and this honestly cheered me up." You didn't exactly mean to let it spill out that today was bad, but you normally didn't have someone to talk to when you got home and instead ranted to an empty apartment whenever something went wrong. You didn't expect him to really care about your problems, though. 

...Which is why it surprised you when he asked, "Why was the day shitty?"

Leaning against the counter as Bakugo continued to cook you groaned remembering the events of the day. If he was offering an ear you’d take this rare opportunity. “Well, I didn’t sleep that great last night so I felt tired most of the day. Pretty sure I have another bruise from falling this morning.” You left out the clothing incident and appreciated that Bakugo didn’t press you on it. “And work was crazy...oh! Oh my god, I got so mad today…”

Bakugo watched in amusement as you flailed your arms around while telling him about this coworker of yours who took credit for your idea. He was a bit taken aback by the onslaught of words as your phone struggled to keep up. You made some fake strangling motion and Bakugo had to hold back from snickering at your exaggerated antics.

He mentally ticked off the things that bothered you today, pausing to wonder why you didn’t get much sleep. The weird noise you made last night before dismissing his concern...was that the reason? You claimed you were fine, but now he suspected that was a lie. Maybe it was something you just didn’t want to bring up, but he was rarely one to hold his tongue. Opening his mouth to ask about it he paused as you brought up the asshole at work again, and hearing about how your hard work was brushed off and basically stolen pissed him off more than he thought it would. 

“I honestly wanted to punch him in the face,” you grit out while throwing a punch in the air. Your form was atrocious and it would hit him more in the chest than the face because of the height difference, but he couldn’t blame you for your frustration. If someone took credit for his accomplishments he’d want to punch them, too. 

“Maybe you should have.” It was only half a joke because Bakugo’s default question in most situations that angered him was: would fighting solve the issue? 

You just laughed as you calmed down after the mini outburst. “I wish, but I didn’t wanna get fired and arrested. It would’ve really been a bad day, then.” He refused to analyze how much he liked it when you laughed. “Thanks for listening. Normally I just rant to the air I guess if no one’s around. I’ll let you get back to cooking,” you said before grabbing your phone and heading into your room. 

Bakugo was actually stupidly amused by you. He might’ve at least threatened the asshole but he could see how that wasn't something you would go for, especially if you wanted to keep your job. Dinner was turning out even better than he expected. He’d done a decent job remembering the spices and ingredients in the food he ate and adjusting flavors as he saw fit with the things you kept in your kitchen. 

He couldn’t shake the question of why you didn’t sleep well but decided it wasn’t the right time to bring it up yet. Hearing your door open Bakugo looked up, but he really wished he hadn't because now he was staring. You wore an oversized t-shirt and some shorts that sat just below the hem of the shirt with your hair loose. Relaxation and comfort oozed off you and dammit he was only human. As soon as you turned towards the kitchen, though, he dropped his gaze to the food cursing to himself to keep it together. This is nothing

After putting away the clothes you left on your bed this morning you came out of your room feeling much more comfortable, closing the door behind you before looking over to see Bakugou still cooking in front of the stove. Bakugo is actually cooking me dinner . The thought made you smile as you sat down at the kitchen table and texted your friend about the concert the next evening. Your eyes wandered up but quickly drifted back to your phone before he noticed you looking at his strong arms and defined back through the black tank top he wore. Keep it together

The phone pinged back with a text from your friend which held your attention and kept you from staring as you read her messages. She seemed just as excited as you were about the concert and you felt a thrill about your first night out in weeks. You and your friend texted back and forth for a while, failing to notice that you were somewhat ignoring Bakugo. Every minute or so, he stole glances at you from the corner of his eye but always turned back towards the food when you looked up to do the same. 

He was about to ask who you were talking to when you got up and set your phone down on the counter and walked to the other side of him to pull out some plates. You didn't have a lot of cabinet space so you had to utilize everything, including the plates that were on a shelf barely within your reach. It didn’t exactly help that Bakugo, who had been doing most of the dishes lately, started putting things up one shelf higher than you usually did. Under normal circumstances you'd just climb on top of the counter to grab what you needed, but you were not about to do that with Bakugo here and risk him making fun of you so you just stood on your tiptoes to barely reach them, taking two from the stack and setting them down on the counter. “Damn cabinets” you mumbled while digging in the drawer for some silverware. 

Bakugo discovered that watching you struggle to reach the plates was, for whatever stupid reason, beyond funny. Why the fuck you didn't just ask for him to pull them down he would never know. Maybe your pride got in the way, which he could at least relate to on some level. He let a small chuckle escape him while you were looking for the silverware. You looked up, curious as to what made him laugh, but your expression somehow made it even funnier. He thought he was losing his fucking mind honestly but he couldn't help it. 

"What’s so funny?" You asked but he just shrugged because he didn't understand, though he felt an inclination about what you meant. Walking over to grab your phone you gave him a stern look that held no real backbone to it and repeated yourself. “What’s so funny?”

Now that the food was finally done he switched the heat off the stove and turned to look at you with your arms crossed in an attempt to look serious, but that just made it even funnier. In this whole shitty situation, he’d take whatever lightheartedness you offered. “You should get a step ladder for your kitchen if you struggle that much. Or one of those grabby arms that old people use." He couldn't help being a smartass and let out another bark of laughter at the appalled look on your face.

"I don't need a step ladder. I can reach shit just fine." Insulting you was so amusing that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity. 

"You could barely reach the plates. How the hell would you reach the glasses that are higher than them?" He asked while pointing up to the third shelf where he’d been placing the glasses. You kept them in two different cabinets and hardly any of them matched, but if you wanted to pick a fight over this particular shelf he wasn’t going to back down. 

Taking a deep breath you met his gaze with determination. "First of all,” you started. “You’ve been putting them up higher than I usually put them, but even then I can still reach them no problem,” you said with conviction. Bakugo took that as a challenge.

"Really? Then prove it." He told you and smirked when the boldness behind your eyes faltered for a moment.

"...What?" 

Shit. Shit. Shit . It was a trap, that sneaky bastard. You should’ve known better than to set yourself up so easily considering you’d done it to him multiple times by now.

"You heard me. Prove it. Get the glasses,” he challenged, tilting his head up towards the high cabinet with a devious glisten in his eyes. 

Letting him win, of course, was out of the question, but what were you supposed to do now? If something was up high you normally just climbed up on the counter to grab it, but knowing yourself you’d most likely slip and fall with him staring at you just waiting for an opportunity to laugh. “Fine...no problem!” The last thing you wanted was to let him stew as a smug asshole just because he was tall and built and strong and-

Then you spotted your savior. Walking past him with your nose held high in the air you grabbed a chair from the kitchen table. His smug expression faltered as you stuck your tongue out at him, carried the chair over to the cabinet, set it down, and promptly stood up on it to easily grab a glass. You felt a bit like a dog climbing up on furniture to steal a piece of dinner, but you didn’t care. 

“Here’s your glass, smartass,” you gloated while dangling it right above his head. He reached up to take it but you pulled it away and out of reach like a dangled treat. “Oh, so who can’t reach now, huh?” you mocked. 

You should’ve known Bakugo would never take such ridicule without proper retaliation. The minute the words left your mouth Bakugo reached forward and grabbed you by the waist, causing you to yelp, and lifted you up off the chair to set you on the floor. He snatched the glass from your hand and flicked you on the nose. “Pretty sure it’s still you,” he said and laughed at your stunned expression. 

Whatever you expected, it certainly wasn’t being manhandled by Bakugo Katsuki, and as a result, your jaw hung limp as you struggled terribly to hide the blush that threatened to flood your face. No one had ever carried you off with that amount of ease and confidence and you’d be lying to yourself if you said it wasn’t a turn-on. 

Besides the fact that his laugh was something you wholly enjoyed, being picked up like that - like you weighed nothing to him - was unexpected and embarrassing. “The hell are you so strong...unfair advantage, basically cheating…” you mumbled too low for your phone to pick up while trying to hold it together.

He, on the other hand, struggled not to laugh as he pulled down another glass without the use of the chair as you pulled it back to the table, grumbling all the way. “Just...the food’s gonna get cold!”

Your glare just made him laugh harder and he had to turn away. You resembled a ball of fury ready to snap at him like a pissed off puppy. The fact that you weighed so little to him wasn't unexpected, but your surprise at him making a split-second decision without thinking twice about it was just brilliant. You had looked so shocked and appalled by the whole thing that it was fucking worth it. Piling his plate with food his laughter finally died down. He hadn’t laughed like that since you busted your butt by falling out of the chair a while back, silently grateful you owned up to every challenge he issued and came up with ridiculous solutions. Your grumbling as you grabbed your food, too low for the phone to hear, almost got him going again but he kept it together for the time being. 

He crossed his arms at the table and you did the same, apparently both of you expecting the other to take the first bite. Your hunger must’ve outweighed your stubbornness, though, when you rolled your eyes and angrily dug into the food as though it personally offended you while glaring at him. 

You dropped your fork gently on the plate as you swallowed and held back an almost embarrassing noise. “I can't even be mad because the food is fucking delicious,” you admitted begrudgingly. You saw him smile, but it was a smile that radiated pure unadulterated smugness and pride. Handsome asshole.

"Of course it is. I made it." He said it as though anything less sounded absurd. 

"Is that supposed to be a jab at my cooking?" you asked. His red eyes were alight with mischief rather than malice so you knew whatever he said was meant to be a joke. Apparently, he’d grown a proper sense of humor as he aged.

"Maybe." 

With an intentionally dramatic sigh, you stared him down across the table. "Fine," you said before taking another bite of food. "You think my cooking is shit, then you can cook from now on. Thanks for offering up your skills, very generous of you." You almost choked on your food as you watched his face twitch from smug to the realization that you'd turned the tables. One trap in exchange for another. 

Fine , I’ll cook. But I can make it as spicy as I want and you can’t complain,” he jabbed back in your face. He smirked when the gears started turning in your head that arguing with him was a mistake. Despite his love of winning in everything he encountered, part of Bakugo didn’t want you to give in. Your determination amused him. 

Fine ! No problem, I can take it. But if my mouth catches on fire you have to carry me all the way to the hospital.” It was such a ridiculous claim that Bakugo just shook his head in disbelief.

“Yeah, sure,” he agreed while knowing he’d never make something spicy enough to make you sick. He was well-aware from all the complaining of his friends that his tolerance for spicy food soared above that of most people. 

A small part of him felt impressed, either by your bravery or stupidity he wasn’t sure but it was enough. As he took another bite of food your phone pinged and almost immediately you grabbed it up, your fingers flitting quickly across the screen where he couldn’t see. Curiosity, something he’d been feeling more of lately when it came to you, got the better of him. Once you set it back down he asked, “Who’re you talking to?”

“Oh, just my friend I’m going to the concert with. Figuring out logistics, what to wear, that stuff,” you answered with a hint of excitement in your voice. Bakugo just hummed in response. It felt a bit strange to him. He’d never seen you talk to anyone else so much, almost to the point where he felt ignored for a moment or two. Not wanting to think excessively about feeling disregarded, the sudden urge to stab his food more forcefully than necessary came over him. 

“What time does the thing start?” Bakugo mentally flinched at all the prying questions coming out of his mouth. 

After texting for a minute, the glow of your phone screen highlighting the contours of your face, you set it back down to answer. Multitasking on your phone with this language barrier made easy conversation annoying but he wasn’t about to tell you to stop talking to your friend...or whoever the hell you were talking to. “I’m going right after work, so I probably won’t be back until pretty late...maybe eleven or midnight,” you said almost buzzing with excitement. “If you’re here I don’t expect you to wait up for me or anything, I’ll be quiet.”

If I’m here . He just nodded in response. Bakugo still had no fucking clues about when he would go home, but at this point, he’d resolved to feign surprise at waking up on your couch every morning. 

The brief thought of not seeing you all day flitted across his mind but he stuffed it away quickly as he jabbed at another bite of food. The remainder of dinner lulled into silence, your and Bakugo’s attention split between eating, overthinking, and texting. 

When the two of you finished dinner you moved to take the plates but Bakugo reached them first. “Don’t bother, I got it,” he said while piling things in the sink and missing the odd look you gave him. 

“You cooked, I don’t mind cleaning.” He just shook his head while staring down at the soapy water in the sink, suddenly determined to overthrow this feeling of being a useless freeloader. 

Bakugo’s change in demeanor didn’t go unnoticed by you. One minute he was laughing his ass off at your expense, and the next...he’d closed himself off as though something was on his mind that he refused to share. Asking Bakugo of all people to confide in you seemed fruitless, so instead, you decided to leave him alone to hopefully overcome whatever was bothering him. Maybe he needed the dishes as a mental distraction. 

“Well, I think I’m going to take a bath and relax after everything today.” The thought of sinking into a warm bubble bath with some scented oil and taking in the smell of that new candle you bought sounded glorious. You turned around quickly to dig in the cabinet for a cookie which you stuffed in your mouth, unaware of ruby eyes following you as you almost skipped through your bedroom door. 

Bakugo gave a long, heavy sigh. Tomorrow will be boring as hell if she’ll be gone literally all day . He tensed at his own thoughts as hot water started to prune his calloused hands. What the fuck was wrong with him? He was a grown-ass man who lived alone and saved lives on a daily basis - he could handle one full day by himself here.

While the water filled the tub you walked back into your room and closed the door most of the way as you searched through your clothes for something to wear tomorrow. “What to wear...it’ll get warm with all those people in one room...hmm.” Standing in front of your closet you spotted a red dress that you wore only once and turned away with a sneer at a memory you hadn’t thought of in months before grabbing a top, some pants that made your butt look pretty good, and boots with just a bit of heel on them. With your regular routine of going to work and coming straight home, you rarely dressed up, so when the opportunity arose you jumped at the chance to wear something a bit nicer. You were so focused on your bath and thinking about the concert tomorrow that you failed to realize you’d given Bakugo the least amount of attention since he arrived. 

He ended up finishing the dishes rather quickly and took a moment to glance up at your cracked bedroom door. The impulse to go over and talk to you was strong; strong enough that he felt himself getting slightly worked up about it. He didn't need to go over to you, he could damn well find other ways to entertain himself, but Bakugo was also accustomed to your near-constant attempts at trying to keep him occupied. Ever since flopping out onto your bedroom floor you usually tried to talk to him, or to play a game with him or ask him questions about his friends and quirks to keep him from blowing up something out of boredom, loneliness, and frustration. Now your absence stung despite you living in the same damn apartment as him. Bakugo couldn't even say anything anyway because he was the one who told you not to go out of your way to do shit for him.

Bakugo’s friends back home bugged him constantly, and with a perpetual bombardment of media attention and fans he valued time to himself; so...what was different now? Whatever answer came to mind made his jaw clench. 

He passed by your door and bent down to look at the other video games you had, a couple of them catching his attention. As he sat down on the couch you came out of your room with what looked like clothes and set them down next to your purse before grabbing the candle you lit during the storm the other day. “I’ll be out in a little while,” you said, holding up your phone to translate it as you smiled at him on the couch.

Bakugo simply nodded, most of his focus on the game menu displayed on the TV. He was starting to notice the differences in your smiles, his attempt at distancing himself failing miserably. He didn’t even think twice about picking you up earlier for the simple satisfaction of your dumbfounded reaction. And he refused to let those thoughts be acknowledged in any shape or form, not with what little time you spent together and not with the fact that he was eventually going home. 

He started playing a game with a bit more force and tension than it really required while you indulged in your bath, unaware of the reason behind his inner turmoil.

You sighed as you settled into the bath when it was ready, the candle flickering in the reflection of the mirror on your sink, the water full of bubbles and scented oil, warmth washing away the stress of the day as you grabbed some nail polish you’d set out and indulged yourself. A bit of self-care every once in a while didn’t hurt. Eventually, your mind wandered to Bakugo in the other room as you hummed to yourself, steam fogging up the shower curtain liner as you adjusted to the heat and took in the smell of your candle. Keeping yourself distracted with other things helped you from dwelling on Bakugo playing video games in your living room. If you kept yourself busy you wouldn't make a fool of yourself or get flustered. His stunt with the glass didn’t help anything, of course, and it didn't make your stupidly massive fantasy crush go away, either.

Attempting to bring your thoughts back to yourself, the concert, and relaxation you concentrated on your nails and not making a mess of things. However, Bakugo dominated your imagination, making you want to drown yourself...just a little. Forever was impossible, and you knew his time here must be temporary. He couldn’t be stuck here indefinitely, right? Hell, he probably wouldn’t be here next week or next month for all you knew... “This is stupid,” you muttered while sinking farther into the water almost up to your chin. You were trying to relax...so you tilted your head back, letting it rest on the edge of the tub, and started to sing.

The sound echoed against the bathroom walls, past the locked door, and into the rest of the apartment. Either you failed to realize he could hear you or you didn't care, and almost on instinct Bakugou paused the game to, once again, just sit and listen. Part of him wanted to drown out the sound because it agitated him that he liked it so much while the other part wanted to keep listening. This song wasn't as full of energy as the others he’d heard before, but it was still equally pleasant to hear. He ran a hand down his face and groaned. "The fuck is wrong with me..."

He could’ve unpaused the game to let the sounds of virtual characters beating the shit out of each other overshadow your voice, but he didn’t. And if he could have knocked some sense into himself he would have. Instead, he kept listening. The moment your singing stopped and relative silence returned to the apartment he hit the Start button and forced himself to concentrate on the game...so much so that he hardly noticed you come out of the bathroom to stand there next to the couch and watch. 

When he lost and let out a string of curses you laughed, finally catching his attention. “Ooh, so you do lose sometimes! Good to know you’re still human like the rest of us.”

Tossing the controller off to the side with a frown he looked up at you, his brows furrowed at how relaxed you looked. Could his assumption about you have been wrong…? While normally you were the one who seemed to stumble over themselves, the past two days the roles felt reversed outside of the stupid dryer incident. It made him briefly wonder if the friend you kept texting was... no , it didn’t fucking matter. Stop thinking about it

“Did the game kick your ass?” You asked again while sticking your tongue out at him. It was obvious you were just trying to joke around, but it just pissed him off. 

No , don’t be stupid. It was a fucking glitch or something,” he bit out with more attitude than he intended. “Don’t forget I can beat you at pretty much everything so you have no room to talk.” Bakugo crossed his arms to make a point, failing to realize how closed-off it made him look. 

As soon as your phone finished translating Bakugo watched your smile fade, but he didn’t back down as his frustration with everything going on bubbled up into his words. “There’s no need to get an attitude, I was just joking around...actually, know what? You’re welcome to be moody and play by yourself if you want. Don’t get mad at me for something that I had nothing to do with. Goodnight, Bakugo.” 

With his mouth agape at your unexpected retort, you turned your back on him and promptly slammed your bedroom door shut, leaving him well and truly alone. He didn’t expect you to give him an earful on his attitude without even giving him a chance to respond. This was one of maybe two times you’d shown anything other than generosity and kind hospitality to him, and it took him a minute to realize he’d actually upset you, which pissed him off even more because that wasn’t his intention at all. Bakugo was internalizing his irritation, which honestly shouldn't have surprised him because he’d done this type of mental and emotional fuckery ever since high school. 

While Bakugo stewed in his self-made kettle you crawled into bed with a frown and plugged in your phone before curling up under the covers. The bath was supposed to ease the waning tension and stress of the day so you could sleep well enough to stay awake and have plenty of energy for the concert tomorrow, but Bakugo’s sudden attitude shift caught you off-guard. You thought tonight had been going well...so what happened?

Maybe he still thinks I had something to do with all this, or he’s just upset that he isn’t home yet , you thought as the cool fabric of your pillowcase caressed your cheek in the darkness. But either way, he shouldn’t take his anger out on you when you’d been nothing but nice to him, gave him a place to stay, food to eat, clothes to wear...or maybe he was upset about something else, something he hadn’t disclosed to you. 

For a moment you considered going out to apologize, but you really had nothing to be sorry for, and if anything he should’ve apologized to you . The thought of going to sleep on bad terms with Bakugo over something you were completely ignorant about formed a lump in your throat, but you refused to let him walk all over you or talk to you like that. Going to bed in a bad mood only to wake up to the possibility of Bakugo’s permanent disappearance from your life stung more than you thought it would...but it wasn’t your job to coach him on politeness. Your crush on him didn’t blind you to his behavior. 

You sighed into your pillow and put Bakugo out of your mind to focus on imaginary music and peaceful rest. 

Meanwhile, Bakugo stared at your bedroom door in the darkness as though it would burst into flames from his glare alone. The thought of apologizing to you crossed his mind for a split second before being swept away like dust under a rug. His pride refused to let him admit wrongdoing when he might wake up in his own bed tomorrow, never to see you again. 

He didn’t realize how tightly his fists were clenched until the sting of his fingernails dug into his warm palm. 

With a growl, he threw himself onto his makeshift bed in an attempt to sleep and force your mental image out from behind his closed eyelids. 

Both of you went to sleep with a pang - one of guilt and one of pride - while pursuing dreams that had nothing to do with the other as the moon watched with a silent glow through two different windows. 

Chapter Text



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For the first time in a while, you woke up with excitement buzzing under your skin rather than exhaustion or stress. The concert was tonight! You turned off your phone alarm before stretching and rubbing the sleep from your eyes. Despite going to bed in a sour mood because of Bakugo’s attitude you felt refreshed and awake. Thinking of your temporary roommate you glanced up at your bedroom door, wondering if today would be the day you’d find your couch empty and cold. 

Grabbing some work clothes you slipped out of your bedroom and peeked over the side of the couch to see, to your relief, Bakugo asleep and huddled under your blanket. His rude behavior last night didn’t mean you wanted him to disappear just yet...not until you mustered up the courage to tell him how you felt, at least. 

His face caught your attention, however, and not for the usual reasons. It was marred with a frown and furrowed brows as though nightmares plagued him. You briefly debated on whether or not to wake him up but concluded that it might be best to let him sleep if he awoke with his bad attitude intact. You also took extra care with your steps not to trip over his blanket again. 

After dressing for work, packing some extra makeup, and grabbing your concert outfit you’d set aside the previous night you scribbled out a small note on the counter with the help of the dictionary. Bakugo could stew in his grumpiness but you didn’t have to stoop to his level. “Back late. S-”. You almost wrote out “sorry” but scribbled the half-finished word out, remembering that you didn’t do anything wrong and there was nothing you should’ve apologized for. 

With your arms full and one last over-the-shoulder glance at the sleeping man on your couch, you left the apartment and headed to work. You refused to let anything ruin today. 

Not long after you left Bakugo woke up to an empty and silent apartment. He groaned and squinted at the time displayed on the microwave in the kitchen, concluding that you must’ve already left for work. 

It was some of the worst sleep he’d gotten since he arrived here. He’d gone to sleep pissed off, his mind muddled with agitation and thoughts of you that he desperately tried to ignore. So much for his idea of waking up back home to avoid feeling shitty. 

Rather than get up and attempt to find something to entertain himself for an entire day alone, he mumbled, “fuck this,” and flopped back down onto the sofa in an attempt to go back to sleep. Without his normal daily responsibilities, Bakugo could afford to sleep in once or twice. 

You, on the other hand, were having a pretty great morning. Ignoring a possibly moody Bakugo back at your apartment, you walked to work with your concert attire. You decided to stop in a small coffee shop on the way to the office. Leaving early for work had its advantages. 

While waiting in a line a barista walked forward and made an announcement. 

“On behalf of the owner’s birthday today, everything will be half-off for the next hour!” A few people in line clapped and the owner behind the counter brushed away the generous gesture with a smile. Discounted coffee sounded great, and maybe you’d treat yourself to a pastry, too. 

Before walking into your office building you ran into another bit of good luck: one of the cutest dogs you’d ever seen ran up to you, a leash dangling behind it on the sidewalk. Its tail wagged excitedly and its tongue lolled out of its mouth as it sniffed at your feet before pawing on your shins, apparently begging for scratches and pats. “Aww, where’s your owner? Did you run away? You’re so cuuute...I miss having a pet, sometimes.”

Eventually, a woman ran up and apologized to you for her dog. “Oh, no worries! He’s very cute.” You bent down to pet him one last time before the woman grabbed the leash off the ground and continued on her morning jog down the sidewalk. “Maybe I can keep this good luck going for the entire day,” you hoped to yourself before finally walking into work and settling in for the day. 

After several hours of tossing and turning, barely getting any more sleep, Bakugo just resigned to wake up and get the day over with. He dropped the blanket to the floor rather than folded it like he normally did, agitation still fresh on his mind. Walking into the kitchen he saw your note and sighed; even though he pissed you off last night due to his inability to control his reactions around you, the note proved you still thought to be considerate. He noticed the scribbling and wondered what you scratched out. Maybe you misspelled something or wrote the character wrong. Either way, Bakugo didn’t think too hard on it as he attempted to distract himself for another day. 

While eating a simple breakfast Bakugo considered what might be going on back home since his disappearance. There was no doubt in his mind that everyone was probably looking for him or at least brainstorming ways to get him home. But what was the villain’s motive? Was this planned by a large syndicate to get him specifically out of the way for some large-scale attack? Or was this the work of a lone villain with their own selfish motivations? 

He thought back years ago during his first year at UA when he was kidnapped by the League of Villains. Even when the Pro Heroes knew his location and that he was alive, it had caused a massive media uproar for a student to be snatched up from right under the noses of his teachers. Kirishima, Deku, Aizawa...All Might...everyone banded together to rescue him. Bakugo would never forget that day for as long as he lived. It was the first time he truly accepted that he couldn’t defeat every obstacle and win every fight by himself - that grabbing the hand of some dumbass friend who risked his future Hero career and life to save his own was his only chance at escape. 

That idea alone kept him going. Kirishima had stuck by him through all of that League of Villains bullshit, had graduated with him, had partnered with him during their early days as Pros. Kirishima wasn’t the smartest guy around, but Bakugo knew that he’d never give up trying to find him or bring him home. He could leave the logistics up to Deku and Ponytail. 

He wondered if they were alright. He wondered if they were fighting for their lives with him gone, his absence opening up the perfect opportunity to overwhelm the other Heroes...he wondered if they’d had time to even find the damn villain responsible if things had turned into a shitshow. Maybe he placed too much stock in his importance, his ego and pride blinding him on occasion to how much others truly depended on him. With a constant barrage of fans and channeling All Might’s signature confidence in assuring people that everything would be OK, Bakugo occasionally lost sight of other things that actually mattered. It didn’t happen nearly as often now as when he was younger and just starting out, luckily...but it still happened. 

“Of course shit is fine, why am I worried? They can handle themselves.” What was the point in worrying about nothing he could directly affect until he got back home? He was agitated enough without considering hypothetical situations…OK, fine , he was concerned about the state of things back home no matter how much he tried to deny it. 

To bring his mind elsewhere and pass some time - because he’d likely be completely alone for the entire day with you at your concert - Bakugo got dressed and headed outside to start an excessively long workout session. 

Somehow your day was turning out far better than the previous one. Your stupid coworker who claimed your idea as his own hit you up more than once to ask questions...which you promptly ignored or sent a smiley face emoji. Eventually, you’d swoop in and save the day, gaining the proper credit you deserved, but letting him flop like a panicked fish for a while sounded pretty satisfying. 

You were about to head out to lunch when one of your non-shitty coworkers pulled you aside. “Hey, (y/n)! We’re heading down the street for lunch to that new place that opened up. Wanna come?”

Rather than grab your usual sandwich you decided to go a bit out of your comfort zone and join them for a change. “Yeah, sure!”

I have a really good feeling about today , you thought to yourself as you ate with your coworkers. Your phone buzzed in your purse and you already knew who it was before her name popped up on the screen. 

iphone-Nolt 

You were silently grateful that she didn’t mention your temporary roommate situation, but you had a gut feeling she’d bring it up tonight when you couldn’t escape. As for your outfit choice, you didn’t consider it too flirty, but you were single and didn’t often have the opportunity to dress up...so why not? Bakugo wasn’t really anything to you outside of an acquaintance, right? He certainly wasn’t your boyfriend despite what people at the amusement park last weekend assumed. Your crush on him hadn’t faded but you hadn’t quite worked up the bravery to spill your guts to him quite yet. In addition, his own feelings towards you seemed strictly platonic from your observations. So tonight, you planned to go out and have fun and maybe even meet someone interesting...well, at least someone who belonged in this universe. 

Meanwhile, Bakugo was finishing up his exercises in the park he’d designated as his workout spot. The shade from the trees was nice in addition to when the occasional breeze blew through, few people interrupted him since nearly everyone was at work or school, and he could keep an eye on his surroundings for anyone or anything suspicious. 

...Or maybe he was just desperate to avoid feeling bored out of his mind. He hadn’t talked to anyone today. That wasn’t unusual thus far, but rather than wait until seven tonight when you normally got back to the apartment Bakugo would likely be alone until he went to sleep. Since you were the only person he’d really talked to while he was here and understood his circumstance, there wasn’t much else he could do. 

The thought of not speaking to you for the entire day nagged at him like a buzzing fly. He silently wondered if you were still pissed off at him from the previous night. Maybe the concert would put you in a good mood if that asshole at work didn’t steal any more of your ideas. 

Feeling the pang of hunger in his stomach Bakugo made to stand up and head back to your apartment for a late lunch when movement caught his eye off to the left. He stopped to cut his eyes to the side...and staring back at him was a kid peeking over the side of the bench, his hands gripping the metal handle. 

Bakugo looked around but didn’t see any other adults nearby. Was he lost? Dealing with kids was not on Bakugo’s list of proficient skills. 

“Gimme my ball back.” The kid popped up from his squatting position to point down at Bakugo’s feet. Not understanding his words, Bakugo just followed his finger and bent down to see a bright red ball hiding under the bench right between his shoes. Reaching down he pulled it out and held it up as the kid’s eyes followed the ball with a focused stare. 

Without a word Bakugo tossed the ball to the end of the bench. After picking it up and sticking his tongue out at him for who knew what reason other than to be a brat the kid scurried off to a group of similarly-aged kids playing behind him on a small playground. Kind of reminded Bakugo of himself at that age - a brat. 

He cut his eyes to the left, then right, then looked down at the palm of his hand and activated his quirk. It was just enough to emanate a faint glow. Bakugo silently wondered if going too long without using your quirk might have adverse effects...he’d never gone more than a week without popping off some small blasts at least. 

The thought left him wanting time alone in your apartment to use his quirk in addition to grabbing some lunch. With that final thought and no more interruptions, Bakugo hopped off the bench and walked down the shaded sidewalk, wondering how much longer he’d need to endure this disruption to his normal life. 

When it was finally time for you to clock out of work you were basically buzzing with excitement. Your friend would be there to pick you up in about half an hour and then drop you off when the concert was over. You’d have to watch how much she drank because you were not about to get into the car with someone too drunk to drive. 

Grabbing your things you went into the bathroom on your floor and changed into your concert outfit, stuffing your work clothes into your bag. You pulled out the extra bit of makeup you packed and stood in front of the sink to make your everyday look a bit more dramatic with heavier eyeliner and darker lipstick. This was something that you wanted to do for yourself; if no one else noticed how you looked that wasn’t your problem or concern. 

“Ooh, have a hot date?” A coworker walked in but paused to look at you before she went into one of the stalls. 

“Ha, I wish. I’m heading to a concert with a friend tonight. I don’t get out too often so I figured I’d take the opportunity to dress up a bit,” you responded while adding a second coat of mascara. 

“Well, have fun either way!” she called as you waved before heading out the door and down the elevator to wait in the lobby for your friend to show up. 

When your phone buzzed to tell you she was outside you practically skipped out the door and into her car parked around the corner. 

“Oh my GOD it’s been too long!” she screeched before reaching across the center panel of the car to hug you awkwardly. “Dang, you look good. I like that shirt.”

“I know! And thanks, I don’t wear it often enough but I bought it so I should wear it, right?” Leaning back in the passenger seat you got a good look at your friend. Her own outfit was a bit more risque than your own with a silky patterned top that sat on her shoulders, high-waisted skirt, and boots with an impressively tall heel. She always dressed a bit more dramatically than you did, not caring what anyone thought, and you had to admire her confidence. 

She groaned and shifted her car into the proper gear before speeding down the road towards the concert venue. “Work has been so shit lately. Mind if I unload? All I have is my dog and she’s great and all, very cute, you know that, but she just looks at me with that dopey face begging for treats half the time.”

You nodded while staring at the shifting colors of the sunset sky above the city. “Go for it, I’ve had quite an interesting week, myself.”

“Yes, you have. I’m gonna make you tell me all about this guy problem that doesn’t sound like the worst problem to have.” Her tone was laced with something that told you it would be fruitless to argue. 

The two of you were friends back in college. Despite studying in the same major you both ended up working at competing companies with her office - and apartment - all the way across town. “By the way, thanks for driving. You know how much I hate dealing with traffic.”

“I don’t mind, plus you live kinda close by, right? It’ll be less driving for me to drive across town once versus you picking me up, driving back over here, dropping me off at home, then going home yourself, right?” You hummed in agreement, your mind wondering what Bakugo was doing right now without you to entertain him or keep him busy. 

When seven rolled around Bakugo almost instinctively looked over at the front door while he cooked dinner before he remembered that he’d be eating and spending the evening alone. Looking down at the warm food on the stove he realized he made too much, his subconscious thinking about your portion in addition to his own. 

With a frustrated sigh, he dug through your cabinets until he found some resealable containers. After scooping out his own dinner, Bakugo piled the rest into the container and stuffed it in the fridge. Maybe you’d be hungry when you got back or you could just take it to work tomorrow rather than let it go to waste. 

He tried eating in complete silence but the lack of banter was driving him crazy, so he slid in the anime he started watching the other day and let it play in the background. Hearing the familiarity of Japanese, even if it was just through an anime, gave him a sense of comfort in a place where he felt like a complete outsider. The fact that you tried so hard to include him in conversation and make him feel welcome made Bakugo appreciate the effort more than he expected he would.

Any attempt at distracting himself failed to make time move any faster, however. It seemed to move quickly when you were around, but now that he had sat alone in your apartment for almost an entire day everything felt as though it was being tugged along by a snail determined to come in last place. If asked, he would deny that feeling until the day he died. 

“We’re heeere!” After your friend parked her car in the garage nearby - with a bit of in and out adjustment, and even then her parking still wasn’t perfectly straight - the two of you got out and headed towards the front doors along with other groups of random people headed in the same direction. You showed the bouncer your ID and got a neon green wristband strapped to your wrist while another security guard searched your bag for weapons and contraband. These things always had tight security, and though it was annoying you appreciated the extra precaution. 

“They always get my arm hair caught in these things.” You winced as you slid the wristband until it moved freely, pulling a hair or two with it. “And no heavy drinking tonight. You’re driving, don’t forget. I will shove a cup of water in your face and drink your alcohol.”

She grumbled before agreeing when you elbowed her in the side. “I know! That was the deal. Now c’mon, I wanna find the merch table.”

The floor was hard black concrete, perfect for cleaning up spilled beer or...other fluids. The lights were bright as the opening band started setting up their equipment on stage, testing out the microphone and tapping on the drum set. It smelled lightly of cigarette smoke and beer, scents that would only become more fetid as the night wore on. 

You skipped out on buying a shirt this time - you had enough band shirts which you wore as pajamas and didn’t need to add to the growing collection. The two of you walked up to the crowded bar to order some drinks, deciding to get a head start on a bit of drinking before the crowds made the lines too long. 

A guy had his back turned to you while he helped someone else with their order, but when he turned around and handed them their card back he turned to you and asked: “What’ll it be?”

Honestly? He wasn’t hard on the eyes. You started a tab while your friend paid cash, the bartender flashing you a smile as he made your drink with deft hands that told you he was well-versed in making hundreds of drinks in one night.

As you turned away your friend nudged you in the side. “Oh my god he’s totally flirting with you! Girl, jump on it...unless that guy you’re obsessed over is still hanging around your place.” She batted her eyelashes like a cartoon villain attempting to look innocent.

You nearly choked as you took a sip of your drink. “What?! Nah, no, god no…also, he's still here and I know you won’t let it die while I can’t run away.” She knew you hadn’t been on a date in a while and was just trying to push you in at least one direction with a hot guy as the destination.

“Uh, he totally is. I can read body language. What, you not interested?” You bit your lip as she analyzed you with narrowed eyes. You considered Bakugo back at your apartment, which was honestly dumb because the two of you weren’t dating - far from it considering how last night ended. Hell, you didn’t even know if he even considered you a friend or just someone he had to put up with and was getting tired of you. 

“Well, let me know if you make a decision because I’ll grab him up if you don’t,” your friend said, dragging you closer to the stage as the opening band finished setting up. The main band you wanted to see was the last act, so you’d have to stand through a couple of other bands before they came on. 

Taking another sip you looked back over at the bar to see the bartender give you a wink before you turned around quickly, ears burning. Oh, god, he is flirting with me

The first band just sounded alright, nothing spectacular. It got your head bobbing as the floor vibrated with the bass from the heavy speakers up-front. By the time the first band was done, the energy and excitement in the room had doubled as well as the acrid smell of cigarette smoke as people came in from smoking outside. You’d have to wash your clothes and shower when you got home for sure. Dumping your empty can of cheap beer in the trash - bar drinks were way more expensive than just buying a pack at the grocery store - you went back to the bar and ordered another. The same cute bartender took your order. 

“You like the band?” he asked, popping open another can of beer for you. He wasn’t nearly as handsome as Bakugo, but you couldn’t deny that he was attractive.

“Oh they were OK, I’m mostly here for the last band,” you replied, taking the cold beer in your hand. 

He nodded before turning to another customer. “Well, I’ll be here.” 

Fuck, nope not imagining it. Definitely flirting . It felt almost...weird to flirt back? As though you were doing something wrong, even though you were still single…just with a smart, funny, hot, smartass, and heroic guy whom you’d never meet again currently hanging out at your home, none the wiser to your feelings. No big deal. 

While the second band set up your friend bugged you a bit more about the bartender while also prodding into your personal life. “So please tell me what’s up with this mystery guy, huh?”

You tapped your nails on the side of the beer can, condensation running down the pads of your fingers as you considered exactly what to reveal. “Ok, so like,” you started, wanting to open up about the dilemma in a vague way. “He’s been staying with me for the past week. Circumstances were sorta...bizarre, I’ll just leave it at that.” She gave you a curious look but you ignored her. “Don’t know when he’ll be able to leave. Didn’t have a place to stay so I put him up. Seemed like the right thing to do. Didn’t plan on getting a stupid crush or whatever, he’s just...funny and stupidly attractive and I think we get along pretty well.” Thinking back to the previous night and his unexpected attitude made you reconsider your unofficial acquaintance label. “We have more in common than I figured we would...what?” You stopped rambling when she gave you a cheshire cat grin. 

“You never struck me as someone to hold back what’s on your mind, so what’s stopping you from just telling him you like him or whatever?” she asked. Your toes wiggled in your boots as you tried to phrase the thoughts that you’d told no one besides your mom until this point. 

“I don’t know when he’ll leave, neither does he. He doesn’t live here, he’s from Japan. But it’s not even the fact that it’s temporary that holds me back...I think it’s more the thought of rejection, or how awkward it would be if I told him but we still had to live together for a few days. He’s kind of a closed-off person, doesn’t seem like someone to spill how he’s feeling.” You shrugged your shoulders and took a sip of your beer as people moved around you and the band up on stage did a sound test. 

“Listen to me.” She clamped a hand down on your shoulder while staring you in the eyes. “You are so dang smart and pretty and anyone would be like, super dumb to turn you down for at least one date. Anyone would be lucky to date you, I swear. You’re one of my best friends and I wouldn’t bullshit you. You deserve to be happy, so what do you wanna do?”

The words flew out of your mouth faster than you were expecting. “I wanna touch his butt-” You clamped a hand down on your mouth as your friend sputtered around laughing and tried desperately not to spill her own drink. If you were an anime character your face would be glowing red right now. 

“OK, Lemme lay it out for you like this,” she started. “You like him, right?” You nodded, your hand still clamped tightly over your mouth to prevent your subconscious thoughts from escaping. “He doesn’t know you like him, right?” You nodded again. “Is it really that scary to put yourself out there just so you at least know rather than let your brain think up dumb excuses for the worst outcome? You’ve been on dates, had relationships, why would this be different even if it’s temporary?”

A bubble of insecurity, probably brought up from the alcohol, replaced any potential embarrassing statements. “He’s outta my league anyway-”

She pinched your arm for that one. “Uh uh, nope, we’re not doing this. What did I just say?!” She moved her hand around erratically in front of your face for emphasis. “You’re a catch! You’re nice and considerate, obvious from the fact that you’re letting him stay with you. If he sees everything I see and still says ‘no’ he’s not worth your time. He’d be a dingdong.”

Of course she was right about that. You wanted to be with someone who felt the same about you as you did about them, and her enthusiasm reminded you a bit of your mom. She was like a walking self-care package that could always boost you up to your fullest. 

“But he won’t be here long...I don’t wanna start something and then have him just leave.” She gave a heavy sigh, swishing around the last drops of beer in her own can. 

“I think you just want me to say what you wanna hear: that you shouldn’t put yourself out there, and obviously I’m not gonna say that. All I’m hearing are excuses- hey, watch it!” A guy bumped into her as he walked towards the bar, not bothering to look back. “Anyway...you gotta figure out what you want, ultimately. But if you don’t at least try you might regret it, ya know? Never know what he might say, especially someone who puts up a wall.” 

Her advice really did mirror that of your mom: sometimes you’ve got to just take a leap and risk the hurt that comes with it. The question was whether or not you’d feel worse not doing anything, or trying something and getting heartbroken as a result. At this very moment you didn’t know the answer, so for now you focused on forgetting about it with the help of music and alcohol. 

While you drowned your troubles in the beat of the music, Bakugo kept eyeing the clock on your microwave far too often. He’d look up and only ten minutes had passed. He attempted to read his book but the quiet nagged at him again and he found himself missing your laughter before he shut the book with a snap and tossed it on the other side of the couch. 

While watching a few more episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - he’d have to check if it existed back home because it was actually interesting - Bakugo flipped through the dictionary you bought to learn a few more common phrases and words. When he went back home at least he could say he learned something while away. 

Eventually, his mind wandered to you and the concert. He wondered where the venue was, what the other bands sounded like, if you were having a good time, if you were still pissed at him from the previous night…”So dumb...fine, fine! I’ll fucking apologize!” He practically yelled the words to an empty room knowing no one could hear him. Saying “sorry” and admitting personal fault was something Bakugo rarely did, but considering you were the only damn person he could talk to and the thought of you looking at him like you did last night made him clench his jaw. He’d suck it up and say it. 

He never thought he’d actually miss getting dragged around town by Kaminari but being stuck in this apartment without transportation while you went out without him dragged his mood down once more. Obviously, he wouldn’t tell you what to do or keep you from doing shit without him, but Bakugo silently admitted that he actually enjoyed your company. Things were at least lively when you were around, standing up to his challenges or reacting to his sass to get a rise out of him. Few people could make him laugh like he did last night...then his self-directed anger reared its head and ruined the good mood. He needed to keep things civil for his own sanity in this shitty situation. 

When it was finally time for the last and main band to come on, the band you came here specifically to see, you grabbed some water from the bar to help cut down on the alcohol that made your chest feel warm and your laughter come out a little more easily. Your friend took the hint that you didn’t want to talk about Bakugo anymore to your relief, but every time you turned towards the bar that bartender flashed you a smile. 

The drum beat reminded you of Bakugo and you thought he’d be amazing as a drummer if he hadn’t decided to pursue Hero work. The sound bounced around in your chest as the crowd, now full and packed in like sardines on the floor, jumped around and sang along with the vocalist. Some held their phones up to take pictures or videotape the performance which annoyed you because their stupid screens blocked the stage for everyone behind them. In your opinion, if someone was busy with their phone, then they weren’t enjoying the live show to the fullest extent. 

At one point someone even crowd-surfed through the sea of people, hands going up to keep the obviously drunk guy from falling to the floor. The energy was high and the music was loud and while they were on stage you forgot about Bakugo and work and all your other responsibilities and problems. You needed tonight, so you savored every second. 

By the time they finished their encore and finally ended the set for good you were sweaty. Your hair stuck to the back of your neck, your throat was sore, and your voice was hoarse from singing. You had no idea what time it was but you knew it was late when people started filing out of the room and flooded towards the bar to close out their tabs. 

Your cheeks flushed and your ears rang. A buzzed, adrenaline-filled smile lit up your face as you walked over to do the same. The same bartender that had been giving you drinks all night was of course the one that came up to you. “Enjoy the show?” you heard him ask through your ringing ears.

“Yeah! It was really great, I’m glad I came. Just gotta close out my tab.” 

He nodded. “Sure thing,” he said while handing back your card, I.D., and a receipt to sign. “Say, uh...you busy now?”

You looked up as your hands fiddled with your wallet. “Huh?” The unexpected question caught you off-guard. 

“I asked if you were free right now. I just gotta clean up and I’m done. Wanna continue this back and forth somewhere that isn’t a bar?” 

Almost immediately, you started to get a bad vibe from the bartender, a shift in his demeanor now that the two of you were mostly alone while your friend waited for you by the door. You’d been drinking but you weren’t stupid. “No, no thanks. I’m with my friend so-”

“I can take you home,” he replied with a little more insistence. The questionable twinkle in his eye sealed your decision. 

“That ‘no’ is solid.” Your voice was firm even if your step wobbled a bit as you turned around to leave him behind, not bothering to look back as he called after you. His voice, which now sounded annoying, faded into the noise of the crowd as the two of you walked out into the brisk midnight air towards the parking garage. 

After you made sure that your friend was sober enough to drive, the two of you headed towards a fast food place a few blocks away to grab some greasy burgers and fries to absorb the alcohol. It was highly likely that Bakugo was asleep and the last thing you wanted to do was wake him up by rummaging around in the kitchen for a late dinner. 

“Gross, that guy was a jerk,” your friend said through a mouth stuffed full with hamburger meat of questionable origin. The two of you were sitting in the dark parking lot, and the dashboard clock read close to midnight. Your head swam lightly from the alcohol but you weren’t drunk, just giggly and a bit wobbly on your feet. 

“Yeah. What is it with guys trying too hard immediately when they meet someone? Or not taking “no” for an answer the first time around?” You took a bite of your cheeseburger, wiping away a bit of ketchup from your mouth so it wouldn’t drip on your shirt.

“Who knows, but here,” she stated while taking a stick of gum out of her purse. “Better take this before you get home to Mr. Hot Stuff.”

You almost choked on your soda as she doubled over laughing. “Oh my god, shut up! We aren’t  gonna make out or anything...far from it, probably.”

“Like I said earlier! Never know what might happen, hmm?” You just shoved some fries in her face while she complained you were spilling salt in her car despite her being just as messy an eater. “But, really though, beer and burgers made your breath rank as hell. Take the gum.”

The two of you burst out laughing as you took the gum, anyway.

An hour earlier back at your apartment, Bakugo turned out all the lights and attempted to sleep...but he kept tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable, and it had nothing to do with the fact that he was still sleeping on a couch that didn’t belong to him. 

He felt restless because you weren’t back yet. Just like when you went out for a walk and he wasn’t sure when you’d return, some small urge to make sure you were alright and came back to the apartment in one piece kept him from falling asleep. 

“Fuck this, she better get back soon,” he mumbled. He kept most of the lights turned off even as he picked up his book to read. His eyelids felt heavy, but Bakugo knew he’d just keep flipping back and forth on the couch cushions until he knew you weren’t out in the middle of the night. Too tired to analyze how protective he felt towards you, Bakugo focused on the book while listening for the now-familiar click of the front door lock. 

“Byee!” your friend screeched as you wobbled out of the car. “Lemme know how things go! You’re hot and don’t you dare think otherwise!”

“Shut up, you kiss-ass.” You laughed and were about to slam the door closed before leaning back down. “Text me when you get back so I know you didn’t drift into oncoming traffic.”

She raised a thumbs-up to you before you closed the door and waved goodbye to her retreating car. Walking up to your apartment you kept your balance by holding on to the guide rail, the effects of the alcohol just enough to make you feel slightly dizzy. 

You stopped at your front door and stared at the door handle with far more intensity than it needed. “I hope he’s not still mad, I don’t wanna deal with that right now...today was so good. Maybe he’ll be asleep and I can just sneak in…” That meant the entire day would’ve passed by without speaking to Bakugo at all, but if his attitude hadn’t dissipated by now maybe it was for the best as hard as that pill was to swallow. “It’ll be fine, just don’t say anything dumb and I’ll be golden...shit, I gotta shower, too, I smell like cigarettes and sweat. And drink water. Don’t want a hangover. Now I’m rambling. Fuck.” I’m doomed

Contrary to what you hoped, Bakugo was definitely not asleep. As soon as he heard the door creak open, he hopped off the couch quickly before catching himself and slowing down as he rubbed his eyes and met you in the front hallway. He watched you lock the door and attempt to take off your shoes. You must not have noticed him yet, but he certainly noticed you...or at least what you were wearing. 

He normally saw you in pajamas and drab work attire. Not that any of it looked particularly bad but the outfit you wore now, which appeared more put together and outgoing than he’d seen before, looked... good . Good on you, specifically. Your hair was kind of messy and your makeup was more dramatic than he’d seen before, but none of it looked out of place. All of it wrapped together made him clench his jaw and dig his nails into the palms of his hands stuffed into his pajama pants pockets with the realization that he was staring again. 

By the time you got one boot off you finally looked up and noticed him, a bit startled to see Bakugo staring at you from a few feet away. He looked sleepy. Shit, did I wake him up ? “Oh! Uh, wait...hold on…” You fumbled around in your bag for your phone and pulled it out. “Hey! Uh, didn’t know if you’d still be up or not, tried to be quiet,” you joked, holding up a finger to your mouth while smiling. 

Bakugo nodded while he watched you take off your other boot, leaning against the wall for balance. “Hey. Have fun?” he asked, hoping this meant you were no longer mad and he’d no longer need to apologize and you weren’t just giving him that smile to be nice and civil. 

Your voice sounded slightly hoarse when you answered. “Yes! It was really great, totally worth it. And I hadn’t seen my friend in a while so I’m glad we hung out. She’s weird but funny, I think you’d like her.” For some reason, Bakugo felt a wave of relief blow through him at the statement, but he kept silent as you continued rambling. “The bands were great, well the first band was just OK, not like, amazing or whatever. Last band? The one you listened to? Fucking, just...great! Soo good.” 

You were waving your hands around dramatically the whole time and Bakugo could tell you were even more off-balance than usual. He wondered if you’d been drinking; there seemed to be something slightly off about you in the way your words slurred just a little. “If you’re hungry there’s leftovers in the fridge. I cooked earlier, made too much.”

The deer-caught-in-headlights look you gave him at his statement made his eye twitch from how scrutinized he felt under your gaze. “Food...you made me food? Aww thanks! But we swung by some fast food place on the way back so I’m good. Oh, wow, I sound like shit. Too much singing.” You made a fake coughing noise in an attempt to clear your throat before wrinkling up your nose. “Eww, I smell like cigarettes, too...I need a shower. But! Yeah, super great. Well, aside from this one guy I guess, he was gross, blech, but whatever, doesn’t matter. Still totally worth it.”

Bakugo watched you wave your hand around dismissively at the comment but it didn’t skip past him. Setting your bag down on the kitchen table you wobbled a bit even without heels which confirmed that you’d probably been drinking, but you didn’t seem full-on drunk at least. “What guy?”

“Hmm? Oh, the guy?” You scoffed and rolled your eyes. “He was a bartender. Started out alright, pretty cute, flirting and shit. But when I went to leave he turned sleazy and gross. I don’t take shit, though. Nothing happened, I’m tough!” Bakugo watched your lopsided grin appear while his own disappeared as he was overcome with the sudden urge to knock this guy in the jaw. 

You failed to notice his annoyed expression and the thin line of his lips, instead intently focused on finishing your normal nightly routine and falling into bed. “But anyway, wow, yeah I’m sleepy. God, I have to work tomorrow, so dumb…” Groaning you thought about having to wake up early and wobbled into your bedroom to grab the first pair of makeshift pajamas you saw before brushing past Bakugo, who hadn’t moved at all, and closed the door. 

His red eyes followed you even after you’d disappeared into the bathroom. At least you seemed to have had a fun day while his was exceptionally boring. And maybe it was the alcohol putting you in a good mood but he’d take it so long as you were no longer pissed at him. 

He’d finally be able to sleep now that you were back but figured he could wait until you went to sleep yourself. As he sat down on the couch, he ran his hands through his blonde hair and took a deep breath to calm down. The thought of someone acting like an asshole to you - and not the tolerable kind of asshole he was - made him want to blast this bartender guy in the face. He thought back to the guy at the amusement park, and hell, even your stupid coworker. The urge to defend you bubbled up in his gut, but before he could swallow the feeling he heard a...slightly off but familiar sound from the bathroom. 

You were singing again but it didn’t sound quite right. It was slightly off-key and the words slurred together, probably inhibited by your drinking. It wasn’t even terrible, and if anything it sounded kind of funny - at least you seemed like a decently fun drinking buddy who would know how to have a good time...unlike Kaminari who got them all kicked out of a bar the previous year when he fell off a table and shocked several patrons on accident. 

But your singing didn’t distract him completely from thinking about how long it had been since he’d punched someone or something and how this bartender you met seemed like the perfect target. He failed to realize how worked up he was getting over the whole thing. At least you weren’t hurt and made it back home safely, and you were in a good mood. He had no plans to ruin it this time because he slept like shit and felt like shit for a good portion of the day. Maybe tomorrow would be better. Bakugo hated thinking in such depressing terms but at this point he just assumed he’d keep waking up on your couch, not knowing what else to do. 

When you came out of the bathroom, you still looked a bit unsteady on your feet but also more refreshed. You giggled to yourself and Bakugo wondered if you actually found something funny or if alcohol made you into one of those giggly drunks. You brightened up when you saw him and smiled and it made his heart squeeze in his chest, a feeling he chose to ignore just like all the others. 

After disappearing into your room with your clothes before coming out empty-handed, you took out your phone again and faced Bakugo on the couch. “Much better...I’m gonna drink a glass of water before bed and then we can go to sleep. I’m sure you’re tired. Do you mind if I sit with you?” 

He looked at you with a quirked brow and shrugged. “It’s your couch, do what you want.”

You just rolled your eyes and wobbled into the kitchen. He had a sneaking suspicion that your normally questionable balance would only worsen with the addition of alcohol. Bakugo stood up and steered you back towards the couch while saying, “sit, I go,” in your language. Studying that dictionary earlier was already paying off. For whatever reason, you seemed to find this hilarious and started giggling again.

“Yes, sir!” you answered with an exaggerated salute. 

He scoffed before pouring you a glass of ice water in the kitchen. After handing it to you he sat on the opposite side of the couch, very conscious of the distance between the two of you, to make sure you drank it all. If you woke him up groaning about a headache and a hangover it wasn’t going to be his fault. 

“Arigatooo,” you said with a lopsided smile before taking a sip. Bakugo couldn’t help but snicker at your drawn-out pronunciation. “Hey...can I ask you something?” He turned to you, now unable to avoid eye-contact. 

You smiled but felt nerves bubble up in your stomach. This was probably a bad idea. “OK, so I’m just...gonna ramble, I think, and blame the alcohol later. Liquid courage makes people do dumb stuff, sometimes.” Bakugo stared at you with those piercing eyes of his, unmoving. You continued. “Are we friends? That’s probably a dumb question to ask because no one asks people that, but I dunno, I want to know the answer rather than just assume one way or the other. You haven’t been here long, but that’s OK. I feel like we get along pretty well, and I think you’re funny even when you laugh when I’m clumsy. And, I think, I like hanging out with you, Bakugo. You’re pretty fucking cool, and not just because you have explosion powers.” You forced a smile on your face and bit your lip despite feeling like you might barf after saying all that. “It’s OK if you don’t wanna answer or, uh, anything…”

Bakugo was honestly stunned at the question. Whatever he thought you were going to ask it certainly wasn’t a question inquiring about friendship of all things. Were you friends ? He pondered this for a moment while his eyes wandered to your lips and how your teeth tugged at the skin before tearing his eyes away from the frustrating distraction. Upon contemplating how the two of you had interacted and managed to get along despite the circumstances, Bakugo found it odd how you managed to keep him in a positive mood. He thought about how boring and, dare he think very silently to himself, lonely the day felt without you nagging him about something or offering to keep him entertained. Bakugo enjoyed your company, at least. He ignored every other feeling that threatened to visualize itself in his brain, though. 

Friendship had always eluded Bakugo growing up. People usually just followed him around, tagged along behind him, or were too scared to voice how they actually felt. Before UA, he didn’t really have friends so much as stooges who never criticized him, bowing down before his aggressive personality and flashy quirk. Maybe they wanted to be his friends, but Bakugo didn’t value their company - only their loyalty. 

Then he attended UA and everything started to shift. He met Kirishima whom he now considered his best friend. He realized that putting other people down only limited his capacity to recognize his own weaknesses and faults. He got his ego in check (for the most part). If you had asked him ten years ago this same exact question he would’ve no doubt laughed in your face. 

...But he thought about how he actually liked spending time with you and enjoyed your company. You talked about dumb shit with him just like his friends back home. Besides, if he said “no” then things would just turn miserable again and he’d lose sleep for two nights in a row knowing you wouldn’t have asked the question if you weren’t hoping for a positive answer. Bakugo refused to admit to more, not just openly but to himself, but friends? Yeah, fine, fuck it , whatever. What harm would it do? He hated lying, anyway. 

“Yeah, I guess we kind of are. You’re just as weird as my friends back home, anyway,” he finally answered. The unexpectedly bright smile you gave him was so full of unhindered joy over such a dumb question that his breath caught in his throat and his pulse raced beneath his warm skin. 

“I’m glad! And yeah, but you’re weird too so tough shit.” You stared at him for a moment more before clearing your throat and chugging your water, suddenly feeling very parched. Thinking back to your conversation earlier with your friend it would’ve been so easy to ask something else, to let everything slip...but you kept it platonic, and it paid off. Katsuki Bakugo thought of you as a friend! If that wasn’t a brilliant regard from someone as difficult as him you didn’t know what was. 

Seeing you chug water as though you’d just come out of a burning building forced him to blink away his embarrassment and hide the blush that threatened to spread across his face. It was stupid how much he enjoyed seeing you smile, so agreeing to this temporary friendship felt worth it. 

Your eyes cut to him and he got the impression from your body language that you wanted to ask something else. “What?”

You nearly choked on your water after realizing you were staring. “Huh? Oh, N-nothing. Wow, I’m tired...glad tomorrow’s Friday. I’m ready for the weekend.” This was a desperate deviation tactic to change the subject now that you’d gotten the answer you hoped for regarding something that had been on your mind all week. Alcohol, for once, proved to be helpful in giving you the push you needed to put yourself out there...just a little. Before you knew it your eyes started to drift closed as the need for sleep overcame you, but you blinked and forced them open to finish your glass of water first. 

Exhaustion from staying up far later than usual didn’t help keep Bakugo’s eyes open as he watched you nearly fall asleep sitting up. He’d seen you trip over your own feet enough times that the last thing he wanted was for you to end up on the floor-

... Because you fell off the couch! Nothing else! No other fucking reason whatsoever! He nearly bit his tongue at the stray thought that flashed across his mind before shaking his head free of his apparent imagination. 

He watched you stand up, wobbling a bit before planting your feet firmly on the ground. “Well, time for sleep, I think. Lemme just…” As you walked past him towards the kitchen with your glass and phone a feeling deep down in his gut - call it a Hero’s intuition - made him stand up as well. 

Hardly a second later he watched you pitch forward, glass in hand, straight towards the floor...but he caught you around the waist before you turned into a groaning pile. 

You thought you could make it to the kitchen to put away your empty glass and head straight to bed. Bakugo wasn’t mad at you anymore and the two of you were friends for however long this lasted. Great. Perfect. No problem! Too bad your wobbly feet had other ideas and caused you to fall forward not even halfway to the kitchen. You shut your eyes and gripped the glass tightly, waiting for the ground to come up and meet you...but it never did. A strong arm wrapped around your midsection and held you off the floor. You peeked one eye open and felt yourself rise up until you regained your balance and your feet were once again planted firmly on solid ground. With a gaping mouth you watched as Bakugo let go of you, snatched the glass out of your hand, and shook his head at you in disbelief. “You are the clumsiest person I’ve ever met. Don’t move.”

Tonight would be a night of unexpected firsts, that was for sure, because as soon as Bakugo set your glass down in the sink he stomped back over to you with a look of determination before literally scooping you up into his arms. You yelped as he said something about not falling and breaking your damn neck but you couldn’t make out a thing. Your mind was too busy screaming itself hoarse as you felt his arms under your knees and against your back and his chest against your arm. Too stunned to talk and too paralyzed to move, you just let Bakugo carry you to your bedroom as you covered your burning face with one hand and held your phone with the other. 

Practically kicking the door open he walked into your dark room and set you - well, more like gently tossed you - down onto your bed before pointing a stern finger in your face. “Go the fuck to sleep.”

With that very clear statement Bakugo turned around and closed your bedroom door with a slam,  leaving you in the dark. 

It was a split-second decision to take matters into his own hands, literally, to avoid you falling on your ass and winding up with yet another bruise. You weighed little in his arms and some disembodied voice nagged him that it wasn’t such a bad feeling but he vehemently ignored it. He dared not look at your face with his ears burning before setting you down, giving you a final order, and escaping with his dignity intact. 

You weren’t sure how long you sat there, completely dumbfounded, instead of going to sleep. Every atom in your body screamed right into the void at having been picked up for a second time by Bakugo. And...and he carried you to your bed ! In his very strong arms ! You’d definitely dreamed some stray storyline that followed this rough plot before but never imagined it would actually come true. It had felt...far better than you imagined it had any right to feel. 

After the shock and awe of it all wore off exhaustion hit you once more. You sunk into the cool sheets of your bed and buried your face in your pillow as embarrassment lulled you to sleep. 

Meanwhile, as soon as Bakugo shut your door, he ran his hands down his face to get his shit together after that little stunt. He was determined to sleep like a fucking baby tonight even if stray thoughts of your warm smile and cute face just- fuck, fuck ! No ! Absolutely not. 

He nearly brushed the enamel right off his teeth from how vigorously he scrubbed, wishing he could scrape his mind clean with minty freshness. Eventually, he turned out all the lights and threw his tired body onto your couch, burying himself in your blankets like a cocoon. Compared to the previous night, at least, tonight wasn’t...so bad, really. 

Friends, fine, that’s it. Nothing else. Nothing more. 

 

Chapter Text

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Your phone alarm was currently the most annoying sound in the universe. You’d been having a very... interesting dream and the last thing you wanted to do was wake up to reality. “Ugh,” you groaned while snatching your phone off the nightstand and blinking away the glare of morning light. 

After getting so little sleep from going to bed so late, heading into work seemed like a bad idea, but at least it was Friday and you could sleep in tomorrow. Rubbing your eyes you remembered everything that happened the previous night: the concert, the asshole at the bar, the conversation with Bakugo, him carrying you to your bed...that last one definitely had something to do with at least one of your dreams. 

“At least I don’t have a hangover. Thank you, water.” You stood up and sifted through your drawers to find some work clothes; you were running low so you’d need to wash a load over the weekend. Keeping your eyes open proved difficult since all you wanted to do was crawl back into bed, but you managed to find something acceptable and clean. 

You glanced quickly at the lump on your couch before scooting into the bathroom. Each day that passed where Bakugo failed to return to his own world felt like a lost opportunity when you kept your clumsy mouth shut about how you felt. If you didn’t work up the courage soon it would be too late, but nothing you could do about it when you had to get to work. “It’s too early for this shit.”

The cold shower helped you clear your mind and wake you up but you knew you’d need at least a few cups of coffee to feel fully alert and make it through the day. After applying a bit of makeup and styling your hair you left the bathroom with caution, careful not to wake up your sleeping roommate. Bakugo’s blonde hair poked out of the blanket like a tuft of golden wheat. He looked cozy and you hoped his sleep was better than the previous night. 

You wrote your usual note - grateful whenever Bakugo did the same - before walking towards the door...but you paused by the fridge. He said he made leftovers , you thought while opening the refrigerator door as quietly as possible. Seeing the container on the top shelf you grabbed it before you slipped out the front door with one last glance at the couch. 

“Good morning,” you said to your elderly neighbor as she finished walking her little dog around the apartment complex. She gave you a kind smile. 

“Oh, good morning,” she replied before gesturing you closer with a wrinkly finger. “That young man you’re with - quite handsome. If I were fifty years younger-”

You bit your tongue to keep from laughing or gagging, you weren’t quite sure which felt more appropriate. “Ahahaa...w-well we aren’t, uh...have a good day!” Gathering up your bag you darted off down the sidewalk. If your elderly neighbor hit on your hot roommate and you missed that memorable scene, so be it. 

Once you arrived at work you hid a yawn behind your hand before pouring yourself a generous cup of coffee. “Just let the caffeine kick in,” you muttered while walking back to your desk. Most of the morning was spent with your headphones on, zoning out to the music as you worked. It was only after lunch that your overly-nosy coworker came around to bug you about weekend plans. 

You honestly hadn’t thought of plans - not yet, anyway. All you really needed to do was go grocery shopping since Bakugo had eaten a majority of your food by this point. The previous weekend was so busy with the amusement park and VR games that a part of you just wanted to laze around in pajamas and do nothing...but if Bakugo was still here you hated the idea of him feeling bored, especially since he couldn’t really do anything productive or even talk to people who didn’t speak Japanese while you were at work. 

“Nope, just saying in,” you answered with a bored voice in the hopes she’d leave you alone. Most weekends at least one person tried to drag you out to do something costly or dumb but you blew them off every time. 

“You really need to get out more, experience life, get laid. Do something exciting.” All she did was sit and play on her phone at her kid’s sports games and ignore her husband in favor of any remotely attractive man she passed - not exactly an eventful life so she had little room to talk. But you didn’t feel like starting an argument. Your life was none of her business, anyway.

“I assure you I’m doing just fine, thanks.” She failed to pick up on your closed-off body language. 

Tapping her foot on the ground she sighed. “Tell you what. You’re single, and I have a friend who-” You cut her off before she could finish attempting to set you up on some terrible blind date. 

No, not interested. It’s time for my lunch, anyway.” The last thing you wanted was anyone at work trying to set you up or improve your romantic life. The jerk at the bar last night still made your nose wrinkle up in disgust. You maneuvered your way around your coworker and down the hall towards the kitchen - food would distract you, perfect. 

You opened up the container and stared at the neatly arranged assortment of rice, vegetables, and meat. Even before popping it in the microwave it smelled delicious. 

“Ooh, that looks good,” a different coworker quipped as he fixed his own lunch. You smiled. 

“Yeah, it does. Thanks.” As you waited for the solitary microwave on your floor to free up your phone buzzed. Your friend texted you last night when she got home but the whole carried-off-to-bed-by-Bakugo situation prevented your brain from firing off at full-capacity before you finally fell asleep. 

She point-blank asked if you touched his butt because of course she would. 

You blushed and whispered, “oh my god,” before texting back NOOOOO in all caps. 

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At her reply you stopped to think it through. She really wasn’t into anime at all and instead watched bad cable dramas and true crime documentaries - an interesting mix. All you knew was that you definitely didn’t have a picture of the real Bakugo to send her...but it was an interesting thought. 

Would Bakugo let you take a picture of him? To keep to remember him by? Obviously taking one without his consent would be weird and creepy so you didn’t want to resort to that if he said “no”, which he probably would. 

She texted back that from the way you spoke about him his hotness level better be through the roof. “Oh, it is…” you mumbled thinking about all the instances when you secretly stared when he wasn’t looking. 

After you grabbed your food from the microwave you sat down and pondered about pictures before searching through Google on your phone for “Japanese male model”. Quite a few pictures came up but none of them really fit Bakugo’s facial structure or hair...you copied one that was similar enough, though, and sent it her way. Maybe then she’d back off and let you figure things out on your own terms. No matter how much you appreciated her advice and words of encouragement you were an adult and you were the one to deal with any romantic confession consequences.

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Since you hadn’t seen him shirtless you, well, made an informed assumption on his body type. 

At this point, you put your phone on silent and sunk into your chair. You took a bite of food to distract you only to hold back an embarrassing sound from how delicious it was: it tasted even better than it smelled, and it wasn’t spicy enough to burn your mouth, either. “I’m gonna miss his cooking…”

The last thing you wanted to do was ruin things now that Bakugo had officially called you a friend - that in itself felt like a huge success. Your phone lit up once more and you debated reading the screen because you already knew who it was...but you picked it up anyway with a sigh. 

Listen to me, imma just say this one last time: U better not be sitting there thinking he’s out of your league or whatever or I WILL come n smack you. Ur gorgeous and nice and one of the hardest working people I know. At LEAST put yourself out there. Anyone would be lucky to date u <3

Her words brought another smile to your face. Although the two of you didn’t hang out as much as you wished she always smothered you with positivity when you needed it most. 

I could hug u right now u beautiful supportive butterfly. I’ll think about it some more...Thanks <3 <3

After replying you stuffed your face with Bakugo’s cooking before your phone lit up one last time. 

You’ve done a lot of thinking so time to live a little! Maybe its not meant to last but I say its better to say u tried than say u did nothing. Do u wanna look back a couple years from now and regret not making a move? If ur OK with that then keep going, but if u think there’s any chance he might say Yes...then jump!

“I’m too tired for this today...why are feelings so complicated.” You put your phone away and finished eating, pondering her words yet again. You’d been debating on this all week and if you didn’t make a decision soon it would be too late...Bakugo couldn’t wait for you forever - literally. Ultimately, you decided to feel things out today. You’d pay close attention to his behavior after work to see how he reacted to your words and actions; nonverbal body language could say a lot and you’d watched enough terrible romantic comedies to pick up on common social cues. 

A couple of hours later, someone chatted you that there were cupcakes in the kitchen. You immediately jumped out of your chair and headed that way. “Yes, please, something sweet...I wonder if Bakugo likes cupcakes?”

As you neared the counter you saw a group of people already gathered around the display: chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with frosting opposite their cake flavors. There were more than enough for everyone on the floor, so they wouldn’t mind if you took one of each...right? You weren’t the only one with that same idea so you grabbed two cupcakes before walking back to your desk. It was tempting to taste one of them but letting Bakugo choose which one he wanted while you took the leftover cupcake seemed like the nice thing to do. 

If he didn’t like cupcakes, well, that just meant you could eat both: win-win!

When it was time to head home you packed up your things, grabbed the cupcakes, and hurried down the hall and out the door. 

“So ready to sleep in tomorrow, no alarm, no work.” You wondered what Bakugo got himself up to today even though it probably wasn’t so different from what he did the rest of the week. If you could do something to keep Bakugo busy you would, even if it meant sacrificing your weekend. 

You entered into an oddly quiet apartment once you opened the door and closed it behind you. No cooking food, no video games, no shower. Just silence. Thinking you’d find a note sitting on the counter you slid the cupcakes into the fridge and looked around only to find the countertop and table empty of notes aside from the one you left this morning. “Weird,” you said to yourself before a swift and horrifying thought punched you right in the gut. 

What if...what if he was gone?

The idea of Bakugo disappearing while you were at work made you stiffen before your feet slid out from under you. It felt like a cold gust of wind, chilly and devoid of warmth, spread through your chest and into your veins. You felt like you were going to throw up as your head started swimming. 

After standing up and regaining a bit of balance you walked over to the hall closet where he kept the clothes you bought - his things were still here, folded and tidy. The blanket he used was draped neatly across the couch as well. “Shit, how long has he been here?”

You took out your phone with shaky hands and counted the days on your calendar. “Nine, ten...ten days.” Ten days seemed like the perfect amount of time before a quirk would wear off. Your breath quickened but you attempted to control it with little luck. Throwing your phone on the couch you ran into your room and bent down to pull out the pillow where he’d originally sprung from. It was still blank, white and bare as if no image had existed there at all. “If he went back, would he appear back on here, or…? Fuck. Dammit!” You felt so stupid thinking you had more time, that you could build up the courage to tell him how you felt when you were ready and before it was too late. Now you’d never have the chance. 

A stinging pressure started to build behind your eyes as your breaths came unevenly and your friend’s words echoed back to you: will you regret it if you don’t jump?

No ...shit. Calm down. Don’t panic,” you told yourself before stuffing the pillow back under the bed. Changing clothes into something more comfortable helped calm you down but only slightly. Passing by your closet you paused as your brain latched onto hypothetical possibilities and scenarios; this was the first time you’d been alone in your apartment in almost a week, wasn’t it?

“Should I…?” Turning on the light you dug in the back of your closet for a duffel bag and pulled out the My Hero Academia season box sets you’d hidden. If he’d found them by now things definitely would’ve gone to shit...so maybe this was your opportunity to get rid of any evidence in your apartment. 

Besides, after all this, you’d never be able to think about him in the same context again. Reading the manga and watching the anime would feel awkward if nothing else, right? 

Grabbing the DVD’s you stuffed them into a grocery bag, slid on some flip-flops, and looked both ways down the hallway to make sure the coast was clear before jogging down to the garbage chute at the end of your floor. 

“Goodbye, evidence. Have fun at the dump.” You let out a shaky breath and dropped the bag, listening to it clang down the metal chute until nothing but silence echoed back. At least now there was nothing in your apartment to alert Bakugo to his true existence here, which eased your nerves just a bit more. If he came back - no, when he came back - there’d be no problems. 

Once you walked back through the front door, though, the empty apartment stared back at you, taunting and prodding as if to mock you. You could be overreacting over nothing. Maybe he wasn’t gone at all and just lost track of time outside or got distracted. You closed your eyes and took several deep breaths in another attempt to calm yourself. 

After plugging up your phone to charge you took out a broom and dustpan, some gloves, and various cleaners. You had to keep yourself distracted with something , to keep moving before the anxiety swallowed you whole. 

You wiped down the counters and stove. You put away any stray dishes left in the drying rack. You swept the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and your bedroom. You organized your things in the bathroom, pausing to look at the shampoo and soap Bakugo had been using. Would you just...throw them away when he was gone? If he was gone? You shook your head free of the thought before continuing on your cleaning spree until your head felt dizzy from chemical fumes. 

About an hour had passed by the time you finished cleaning. Nearly everything was spotless and smelled overwhelmingly like store-bought cleaner so you lit your new candle to help a bit with the odor. “What now?” It still felt so... lonely in the apartment without Bakugo. Looking back at the front door you grabbed your phone and the book you’d been reading on and off and plopped down on the couch. The thought of fixing dinner made your stomach roll. You scrolled through Twitter and Instagram since Bakugo kept you busy and off your phone most of the time, which was actually a pleasant change of pace considering how most people stuck to social media like moths to a flame. 

Glancing up from the screen you saw the hall closet door and wondered what you’d do with Bakugo’s clothes. Would you throw them away like his bathroom items? Donate them? Both thoughts made you cringe. “Just keep waiting, don’t panic,” you told yourself while only half-believing your own words. 

You tried to read your book but after a few minutes the words blurred together and you threw it to the side in frustration.

The silence was driving you crazy so you grabbed your phone and headphones and turned the volume up until your ears were ringing as you selected your favorite playlist. Music often calmed you down and distracted you. As the beat started up you closed your eyes and drowned yourself in the sound, letting the guitar and drums vibrate in your chest and under your skin. 

Intensely focused on the music you started to sing, eyes still closed and your arms wrapped around a pillow on the couch as you leaned your head back and filled the apartment with your voice. 

The determination to drown out your thoughts and the silence worked so well, in fact, that you failed to hear the front door open and close quietly. Bakugo stood in the hallway still as a statue as he let himself listen. It was the first time he’d heard you sing outside of the shower and the acoustics of the bathroom didn’t idealize the sound: he still thought it sounded beautiful. Not wanting to interrupt, he gave himself this one selfish indulgence and immediately didn’t alert you to his return. 

After another minute your voice faded away and Bakugo assumed the song was over. He watched you take your headphones off and stand up from the couch only to scream and jump back as though you’d seen a damn ghost. Even Bakugo who was used to sudden noises and surprises by friends and villains alike was taken aback by your reaction. 

You held your hand over your heart while you stared at him. “Holy shit, you scared the hell out of me!” 

He didn’t think you’d freak out at his reappearance, his plan to preserve the calm atmosphere now tossed out the window. You fanned yourself dramatically as he lifted a brow before you looked at him with an oddly...relieved expression? 

“You OK?” He asked before you grabbed your phone and walked closer. 

“I am now. Sorry for screaming, you kinda scared me. Thought someone broke in for a second,” you explained. Oh, so that’s why you looked relieved - you thought he was a burglar or stranger. Without a quirk or a solid way to defend yourself against an attacker besides that baseball bat you threatened him with on his first day here, Bakugo saw how that could be a bit scary. 

“You didn’t leave a note, so I wasn’t sure when you’d be back.” He watched you shift from one foot to the other, unsure of how to read your body language. “Are you hungry? I haven’t eaten dinner yet.”

Bakugo inwardly winced at the fact that he’d forgotten that he’d said several nights ago that he’d cook dinner after you challenged him about it. A small part of him felt guilty. Bakugo hated feeling like a freeloader who didn’t contribute when you’d given him so much. “Yeah, I could eat. And I lost track of time while out, figured I’d be back before you returned.” It was a roundabout way of apologizing because he rarely apologized for anything, but it satisfied him well-enough. 

“Where were you?” You opened up the cabinets to stare at a dwindling pantry while Bakugo grabbed himself a glass of water. He didn’t miss the curious tone in your voice. 

He just shrugged his shoulders. “Pretty much what I’ve been doing since I got here - trying to keep busy. Working out, walking around, exploring, mostly.” The fresh air outside also helped him clear his head to think about everything that had happened up to this point, ranging from his lack of answers surrounding the villain and quirk that brought him here to your little friendship conversation last night kept his mind busy. 

You stared into the pantry as if it held solutions to questions he wasn’t privy to before you blinked yourself back to attention and turned to him. Even though he was back Bakugo could see in the reflection of your eyes that you were hiding stress from an unknown origin. “What do you want to eat? Maybe we could order something? There isn’t a lot left here and it’s pretty late to start cooking, anyway. Plus, I cleaned the kitchen and dirtying it up immediately makes my head hurt.” You smiled but it seemed a bit forced.

Now that you mentioned it, Bakugo looked at the now spotless stove and counters. Did you clean while he was away, too? Shit, I really am useless here. “Sure, that’s fine.” Agreeing to something simple like takeout seemed like the best course of action. 

He opened the fridge - something everyone did even when they knew nothing in there would satisfy them - and stopped. Two cupcakes, one vanilla and one chocolate, sat on the top shelf. Those definitely weren’t there earlier. “Did you bring those?” He asked while turning to you and pointing to the desserts. 

You visibly brightened up at the question. “Yeah! Someone at work brought them in. There were more than enough so I grabbed a couple. I figured you might like one, though I didn’t know which flavor you’d like. That is if you want one of course! You don’t have to eat one, maybe you don’t-” 

Bakugo just stared at you with raised eyebrows until you clamped your mouth shut. You must not have realized you were rambling on about cupcakes and debating on whether or not he’d actually like it. 

“So, yeah,” you finished with a bit of nervous laughter. 

Sweets weren’t something he normally gravitated towards, but if it stared him in the face chances were that he’d at least try it. Plus, and he’d never openly admit this, but the gesture was kind of cute. “Thanks.” He grabbed the vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting and turned to you. “I like sweets well enough, but I still prefer spicy things.” Bakugo thought about how much you squirmed at the thought of spicy food and smirked. 

“I mean, spicy is nice sometimes but not all the time. And your level of spicy seems like a health hazard.” His eyes narrowed at your accusation that his taste in food was anything but heavenly. 

“You’re crazy, you can never have enough spice. You just can’t enjoy it because your taste buds suck.” How dare you slander spicy food like this; he felt obligated to defend it if only for the joy of engaging in such a stupid argument with you. 

“I don’t enjoy the feeling of my mouth being on fire. That doesn’t mean my taste buds suck .” You crossed your arms defensively, having taken the bait. 

Bakugo scoffed. “Sounds like they suck to me,” he spat back before taking a bite of the cupcake. It was actually pretty good - not overly sweet. He could cook but baking was a bit out of his expertise; he’d always wanted to try making bread, though. 

“Yeah, well, just because it’s spicy doesn’t mean it’s good .” You walked over and grabbed the remaining cupcake from the fridge before sticking your nose in the air. “Maybe you’re just numb to real food by now.” He stared with his mouth agape as you giggled and stuck your tongue out at him. 

One of these days he was going to do something about that tongue of yours-

He immediately started choking on his cupcake at the stray thought that vocalized itself in his brain. The fuck? Where did that come from?!

“Shit, Bakugo, are you OK?” Your voice was laced with mild distress as his coughing fit continued. He turned his back to you quickly and held up a finger, the universal sign to give him a minute. Hardly ten minutes after walking in the damn door and Bakugo’s thoughts were already wandering into dangerous territory. 

You slid over his glass of water and, when he could finally breathe, he downed half the glass in a couple of gulps. With his back still to you because he swore his face felt warm - it had nothing to do with the coughing - he said “thank you,” in your language. It took a minute for his breathing to return to a relatively normal pace. 

“Did it go down the wrong way?” Bakugo accepted the ready-made excuse you offered and nodded. 

When he thought he’d calmed down enough to look you in the eyes he took one more gulp of water and turned around...at exactly the worst time. Some vanilla frosting from your cupcake was smeared on the side of your mouth, so you took your finger, wiped it off, and promptly licked it clean without so much as a glance up at him. Bakugo wasn’t sure if he was imagining the movement in slow motion or not but either way he almost spat out his water and went into a second coughing fit. 

“Are you sure you’re alright?” you prodded with a bit more concern this time. He surely looked like some kind of idiot by this point but he refused to face you as he downed the last of the water in a futile attempt to wash his brain clean of whatever the fuck it was trying to think of. Words failed him again and he just nodded again. 

He’d been fine for most of the day. He’d woken up, read your note, and started the routine he’d set up while here. A walk in the cool air helped him feel centered and relaxed...and now it all came quickly undone by your cheekiness and some fucking frosting. Thoughts of last night consumed him but he’d managed to push them aside while alone. All his hard work seemed to fall apart when you were around. It was starting to drive him crazy - you were starting to drive him crazy. 

“Well, if you’re sure...I’m gonna order some food, then. Want anything specific?” 

Clearing his throat one last time he shook his head. “Whatever is fine,” he managed to grit out as you walked over to sit at the kitchen table to sift through a couple of takeout menus piled in the center. He also wanted to sit at the table but only to bang his head down on it. Maybe he could beat the intrusive thoughts out of his skull. Bakugo ran a hand through his pale blonde hair and sighed while still avoiding eye contact with you. 

He silently thanked whatever deity in this universe, if there was one, for your obliviousness given the fact that you failed to notice his obvious urge to jump out a window. You listed off a few food choices but Bakugo didn’t care and waved a hand in the air dismissively in a clear “whatever” motion. Maybe food could properly distract him from wandering to more unsavory places.

“Well, if that’s the case, Chinese takeout it is, then!” Your enthusiasm told him how hungry you were and another small pang of irritation at himself for not having cooked something flared up, but no point in dwelling about it now. He really didn’t care what you ordered, but you must’ve had at least some sense of his food tastes by now. 

Bakugo noticed that you were basically wiggling with excitement in your chair as you talked on the phone to place the order, like some stupid food dance that only you could come up with. He wondered if you noticed what you were doing at all. A small smile found its way onto his face without him even realizing. 

While you talked on the phone to the guy on the other end taking your order, you looked over at Bakugo leaning against the counter. He was sort of smiling at you and dammit if you didn’t feel like smiling right back. Things started off rocky when he returned from...wherever he was, then he almost choked on a cupcake, but things had finally calmed down. Acting casual and friendly with him felt good; if you could just keep this pace and not let your words or feet trip you up whenever he did, well, anything , then you’d be fine. Maybe you’d even build up the courage to tell him how you felt before the night was over. Maybe

“Alright, food is ordered and should be here in about half an hour. We have to go grocery shopping tomorrow, almost out of food. And I’m going to be lazy and sleep in, don’t wake me up unless there’s an emergency, no exceptions.” You pointed at him as if he’d been your personal alarm for the week when really you were his, accidentally waking him up with your tripping and falling. Relaxing with a full night’s sleep also sounded heavenly. The fact that you used “we” instead of “I” on the assumption that Bakugo would be here tomorrow flew right over your head. 

Scoffing, he took another sip of water and folded his arms. “Here I was thinking you were already being lazy.” Sarcasm truly was his second language considering the fact that he didn’t have a job or work while stuck here despite having a far more exciting life than your own back in his universe.

“Very funny , smartass. Not all of us have been training, working out, saving people, and doing crazy shit our whole lives, you know.” No amount of teasing would prevent you from catching up on your lack of sleep.

“I haven’t even told you about the interesting stories and missions I’ve done over the years,” he retorted. With a faraway look in his eyes, as though he were rifling through fond memories, you perked up at his open invitation to tell you about his life. 

“Really?” Your excitement wasn’t feigned. The anime and manga only covered his first year at UA, so if he had amazing stories as a Pro Hero you refused to let the opportunity to learn more about him pass you by. 

As if drawn in by your enthusiasm, Bakugo sat down across from you and launched into a story of a long and drawn-out battle against a villain. He’d talked briefly about his friends and summarized a few of their quirks by this point. Maybe his ego was showing and jumped at the opportunity to showboat around a bit. 

He and Kirishima had been chasing a wanted villain for days until they finally managed to corner him. Bakugo’s tone shifted with the action, slowing down and dropping lower during the less stressful parts and picking back up when the action resumed. His eyes never left yours during the story, and he even popped off some sparks with his quirk for emphasis. 

You were wholly sucked into his retelling, your neck craned forward as you balanced on the edge of your seat with rapt attention. You blinked back to reality and Bakugo paused with an irritated expression when a knock echoed against your front door. 

“That must be the food. Don’t forget where you stopped!” Hopping out of the chair quickly you opened the door to find a tired-looking delivery woman holding a plastic bag. Of course it would be busy and exhausting on a Friday night. 

You signed the receipt and waved her off before bringing the food inside. Bakugo had already gotten down some plates so you set the bag down and started to divide things up. You slid a box full of spicy food his way, but he picked at your own food anyway because he knew it’d annoy you. He could be such a brat, sometimes, but you didn't mind too much. 

“Since you’re obviously not using them.” Bakugo grabbed up a pair of wooden chopsticks from the bag, separating them and placing them in his hand with practiced ease as if to mock you. However, you were so hungry that you dug into your plate without a second thought, swallowing down an indecent sound. The pangs of hunger undoubtedly enhanced the flavor. 

After the two of you sat and ate for a few minutes, you gestured for Bakugo to continue with his story. “So, where did you leave off?”

Bakugo looked up to see he had your full attention again. Normally, he resented retelling stories of his heroics, finding it annoying as though he were being drilled by the press or meticulously analyzed as a public figure. Right now, though, he felt comfortable; there was no need to rehash or embellish the details from the glistening look in your eyes, as though whatever you expected him to say wasn’t as incredible as the real thing. 

He enjoyed having your undivided focus, but he was too wrapped up in memories to realize it. 

When he finished the story - he and Kirishima obviously won with a grandiose display - Bakugo took a triumphant bite of food. “Dumbass villain didn’t know what hit him.”

Your bright smile reminded him of the same one you gave him last night. “That was amazing! The way you two...ah, so cool! You and Kiri make such a good team!” Bakugo picked up immediately on one particular detail through your excitement. 

“Kiri?” he asked. You looked taken aback at him questioning shortening the name of his best friend whom you’d never met before you cleared your throat. 

“Oh, um, well you don’t use his name too often and...it’s a little hard to remember. So I just shortened it in my head. Does it bother you?” He watched you squirm a bit in your chair as though afraid you’d offended him. 

Bakugo wasn’t entirely comfortable with you giving Kirishima a nickname like that. Japanese culture used specific ways to address different people - as he’d explained a bit earlier in the week - and shortening Kirishima’s name when you’d never shortened his own made his eye twitch slightly. But you weren’t exactly versed in the intricacies of another culture, and your reasoning made sense, so he’d let it slide this time. 

“Just call him Kirishima,” he answered before taking another bite of food and shrugging it off. You nodded in understanding and seemed to relax a bit. 

“Sure, sorry, I’ll be sure to remember. Uh...do you have any other cool stories of you and your friends being badass?”

Smirking, Bakugo let his pride get in the way once again. He found that he didn’t mind telling you stories that seemed, to you, far more impressive than they were in reality. “A lot more.” You lit up like a Christmas tree and Bakugo felt his pulse race under his skin when you leaned forward on the table. 

“Can you tell me another?” You reminded him of a puppy begging for treats, and who was he to deny you entertainment when it made him look good? 

With a nod, he launched into another story about a villain he took out with Kaminari and Asui. The three of them tracked her to a nature reserve filled with rare and protected plants and species. Tactical care had to be taken to avoid unnecessary damage. 

“It must’ve been difficult when your quirk is literally explosions,” you stated, completely absorbed into the story. Bakugo just scoffed. 

“Not when you have a mastery over it and don’t act stupidly.” Once again he let a few sparks loose from his palm and watched your eyes light up, the gold and yellow lights reflected in them like small fireworks. 

Because they all went to school together the three of them knew how to utilize each other’s quirks effectively to capture the villain and turn her in to the authorities. Once he finished, you sat back in your chair and sighed, staring at him with an unfamiliar longing. 

“Wow...you work with so many cool people and do amazing things.” You held up your own hands and stared at them as though hoping a quirk of your own might appear if you wished hard enough. “My life is pretty bland in comparison.”

He waved off the comment with a flick of his wrist. “I’ve never had someone from another damn universe appear in my bedroom before, so you have that on me.” A lot of crazy things had happened in his lifetime, sure, but his current dilemma topped pretty much all of them for most bizarre. ,

You just laughed at that and scratched the back of your neck. “Yeah, I guess, but in your world, it’s literally a possibility. Here, I’m just the lucky woman who wound up with you.” Without a second to spare he watched your face transform from sheepish to mortified. “Um, what I MEAN is...uh…”

He zeroed in on your phrasing, the word “lucky” standing out quite clearly. You fidgeted, nervousness at the slip now blatantly obvious. “Lucky, huh?” He was in a good mood, and honestly? After he looked like a complete moron earlier choking on a damn cupcake he decided to play along and goad you into an explanation, curiosity getting the better of him. 

Avoiding eye contact you attempted to stammer out an answer. “W-what I mean is...lucky for the opportunity! To meet you, of course! I imagine I’m the only one in this world who has ever met someone with a quirk before, so it’s like...historic!” He watched your babbling with far too much amusement for his own good as you waved your hands around distractedly. 

Bakugo didn’t buy that explanation for a second. The answer, the phrasing, the wild gestures, culminating in the fact that you were practically sweating in your seat: it all screamed of bullshit. He leaned forward on the table and smirked. 

“So you’re lucky because I’m one of a kind?” he asked with a shit-eating grin that you would’ve seen had you been looking at him. The way your hands fidgeted, obviously nervous to let the truth slip out, was honestly kind of cute. 

As Bakugo waited for an answer, something in his brain clicked which made his smile falter. What the fuck was he doing? He’d just told himself last night that this couldn’t happen, that he wasn’t going to treat you differently, that he’d shove whatever stupid feelings he’d realized deep down into a sunless pit. And now? What, he was acting flirty?! Bakugo’s ears burned with the realization when you made an odd noise that brought his attention back to you. 

“Hiccup!” You slapped your hands over your mouth as a loud hiccup forced you to literally bounce in your seat. Chancing a glance up at him you pulled your hands away before another hiccup echoed in the room. 

It had all been going so well...until you stuck your foot in your mouth by practically admitting to Bakugo how lucky you felt to have met him and that he was special. To top it all off, now you had the hiccups. You only ever got them when you were extremely stressed. Why now of all times and not earlier when he wasn't here?! Another hiccup made you jump again. 

“Do...you have the hiccups?” he asked warily. Gone was his borderline flirty attitude and confidence which was now replaced by a look of bewilderment. 

You slowly pulled your hands away from your mouth. “Um, I get them sometimes,” you managed to get out before hiccuping again. He didn’t need to know why you had the hiccups, so you tried to avoid letting one more thing slip. “Excuse me.” You practically bolted from the kitchen and ran into the bathroom, shutting the door with a snap. 

Bakugo let his head drop to the table with a heavy sigh and an inaudible groan. He’d been so occupied enjoying the conversation that he didn’t realize what he was doing. How often had that happened before? Analyzing whether or not any of that was good or bad felt beyond him at the moment. 

As soon as you were safely hidden in the bathroom you turned on the faucet in a pitiful attempt to mask your hiccups and let yourself freak out as embarrassment flooded your entire body. Slapping your hands on your face you wanted to scream but only a hiccup came out instead. How the hell were you supposed to get rid of these?! Normally you just waited it out, but at this rate with Bakugo just outside you felt hopeless. Now that you were alone with your thoughts in the bathroom, however, you thought back to the conversation: had Bakugo actually been...flirting with you? Or were you just viewing the situation through rose-colored glasses, eager to see what you wanted to see? 

The way he spoke, showed off his quirk, smiled at you, even stared at you...none of that was just your imagination. Tonight’s conversation felt different than any other you’d had with him so far. Maybe he was just...oblivious to how he was acting? No, he seemed too smart and self-aware for that. You had no idea what to think, honestly. “I’m so screwed,” you whispered to yourself in the mirror. 

While you were locked in the bathroom Bakugo pulled himself together and started to clean up dinner - an easy distraction. He silently asked himself what Kirishima of all people might do in this situation. Bakugo rarely ever asked for advice, confident in his own decision-making and judgments. But he was out of his element with this whole...whatever it was. Kirishima would probably say something like ‘ man, just go for it! The manliest thing you can do is live your life without regrets.

His thoughts were interrupted when he heard another loud hiccup from the bathroom. “Dammit…” Then, a devious idea struck him like a slap across the face. It surely would’ve been suggested by Kaminari. It would either work perfectly and the two of you might be forced to confront something, or you’d be pissed at him with angry hiccups. At this point, he wasn’t sure which was worse, but fuck it

Bakugo grabbed your phone that you’d left on the table and stood outside the bathroom door with his free hand raised. When you opened the door a minute later Bakugo immediately popped off his quirk in an attempt to scare the hiccups out of you. You screamed and jumped back, falling right on your ass as a result. He knew it made him look like a giant asshole but the terrified look on your face forced a sudden laugh out of him. 

He held out your phone to translate once you finally sat up with your hand over your heart for the second time that day; it reminded him of how dramatic you looked when he came back earlier, except this time rather than relief your face contorted into annoyance. 

“You...asshole! Scaring me twice in one day!” You tried to kick him in the shin but he lifted his leg easily to avoid the blow. It wouldn’t have hurt, anyway. 

There was one question he needed answered, now, to know if it was worth it. “Are your hiccups gone?”

You opened your mouth to possibly yell at him again when you paused...and waited. No hiccups. “Holy shit I think they are,” you breathed with a bit of amazement. Narrowing your eyes you returned to looking exasperated. “I’m only half thanking you though.”

Fair , Bakugo thought, but his good mood was slowly returning and he didn’t want to let it go. “Wow, how grateful you are. I could just leave you on the floor, you know.” Taking a step away from the bathroom his brows raised when you called out to him. 

“Wait! Just...ugh, fine, help me up. It’s the least you could do.” You held out your hand expectantly, wiggling your fingers. Not many people could keep him on his toes, but your bold attitude was the rare exception. He didn’t actually plan on leaving you there, anyway, since it was his fault in the first place. Reaching out a hand you grabbed it and he easily lifted you back up to your feet. 

His hand felt warm in yours, his grip strong and comforting. He lifted you as though it was no problem at all, which it probably wasn’t considering he literally carried you off to bed the previous night. Now that you stood on your own two feet you realized how close you were to him but attempted to remain calm. He hadn’t let go of your hand yet, and the smirk on his face made him look painfully handsome. 

“Glad my plan worked. Those hiccups looked kind of painful.” You managed to nod in response. 

“They, uh, can be sometimes,” you stammered out. Bakugo finally let go of your hand and the lack of warmth was almost jarring. Rather than avoid eye contact you stared at him, drawn to the intensity of his ruby eyes. They looked kind of strange, as though you could see an idea bouncing back and forth reflected in them. 

In that moment you felt your heart beating in your chest and thought, now, tell him now ! The moment seemed perfect with the two of you standing there so close together in heavy silence. You opened your mouth to speak and let loose the words you’d been debating over the past few days...but stopped when Bakugo took a step back, away from you. It was small, but you caught it. That small step stomped on your brief surge of confidence and your throat closed as though plagued by the prick of venom. 

Immediately your brain flew into overdrive with self-deprecating ideas. Were you making him uncomfortable? Did he know you had a crush on him and wanted to keep his distance? Then why flirt? Was he really flirting? What if-

“Oi, come back down to earth.” Bakugo waved a hand in front of your face. You must’ve zoned out, staring off into space with him still right in front of you. 

“Oh, sorry...I should get ready for bed, probably.” It was a pitiful excuse but it was the best you could come up with, an urge to be alone and out of sight overcoming you.

You stepped past him, mindful of keeping the distance he set, and walked towards the kitchen. The dishes were put away and boxes of takeout were nowhere to be seen. “Did you clean up? You didn’t have to...but thanks.” Turning around to glance at him was hard, but you did it anyway. 

Gone was his smirk from earlier. The air felt heavy between the two of you as if his single step back pushed him a hundred steps away. 

“Sure,” was all he said with a shrug. With your phone still in your hand you projected, not wanting to step closer to retrieve it just yet. 

“I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Your footsteps felt like lead as you padded through the living room and into your bedroom where you softly closed the door behind you with a click. 

With Bakugo’s gaze no longer on you the insecurity you’d done so well to drown with the help of your friend bubbled back to the surface. Did you do something wrong? He hadn’t seemed insulted or put out when you let slip how lucky you were to meet him; on the contrary, his tone suggested amusement if nothing else. Was he just teasing you and you’d read too far between the lines to see what you wanted to see? Bakugo didn’t seem like the type of guy to just lead someone on for no reason...but without an answer all you were left with were questions. 

Bakugo watched your door close and immediately bit the inside of his cheek until he tasted the familiar tang of iron. 

The way you’d been looking at him and how reluctant he was to actually let go of your hand pushed him so damn close to opening up with foolish honesty. He had to physically back away from you to bring himself back to reality, and he didn’t miss the perplexed expression on your face afterwards. 

What the hell was wrong with him? He'd never acted this way back home. Fans and strangers alike threw themselves at him, desperate for attention...but he always brushed right past them without a second glance. Relationships were a distraction from Hero work and, in the worst case scenario, could be used against him by a cunning villain. 

But now you were the distraction, making his mind wander and his ears burn. What was the point in starting something that could never turn into anything? And what about you? Had he been so selfishly wrapped up in his own emotional struggles that he failed to consider how his reactions affected you? It was beyond obvious from the conversation tonight that you had a damn crush on him...so what the fuck was he going to do about it? 

By the time you opened your door Bakugo realized he hadn’t moved from his spot in front of the bathroom, too lost in thought to bother. You cleared your throat and pointed to the bathroom, making him realize he still held your phone in his hand. He studied you briefly as you walked past him, your posture reserved and eyes unreadably foggy. 

He listened when he heard the shower start up and wondered if he’d hear you sing again...but you didn’t. Taking that as a bad sign he set your phone down on the table and sunk into the couch. Whatever was on your mind was intense enough to stop you from doing the one thing he expected of you. Bakugo felt the need to put his thoughts down on paper, maybe that would help sort things out. 

Pulling out the notes he’d hidden under the couch cushion he started to write, letting the ink flow with his thoughts. While scribbling, Bakugo heard your phone buzz on the table but ignored it; your private conversations were none of his concern. 

Your phone vibrated four more times before he finished writing and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t at least a little tempted to see who the hell wanted your attention so badly. It wasn’t as though he had the passcode to your phone, anyway, or could easily read the messages. He often lacked privacy back home with his public life and wasn’t about to invade yours. 

He scoffed and continued to write, making a list of Pros and Cons. To follow whatever the hell the thumping in his chest was telling him to do, or continue ignoring it to leave things as they were...but he wasn’t stupid enough to believe that, while he wouldn’t act on anything consciously he might slip up like he had tonight. 

Bakugo asked himself: if he met you back home under completely normal circumstances, would he feel the same way he did now? Or was this just a product of the situation at hand - being stuck with you the past ten days - where he would’ve normally ignored you like he did all the others?


(in case it’s difficult to read I transcribed it below for easier legibility. Also just pretend this is in Japanese)

proscons

proscons

The only reason your shower was taking so long was that you were, in fact, having the same inner debate as Bakugo. Your list was mental, though. The biggest boulder standing in your path remained the fact that you had no idea how he felt about you. Tonight, you made such a fool of yourself that your feelings must’ve been glaringly obvious...but Bakugo was much better at hiding his emotions and thoughts. 

At times you felt sure he at least felt something for you, even if it was just friendship...but when he took that step back your resolve crumbled. His stoicism confused you to no end. You couldn’t deny that feeling as though he was pushing you away hurt like the sting of a papercut. With a sigh, you stepped out of the shower before you started to resemble a prune. “I can’t stay in here forever, I guess.”

You walked out of the bathroom, a bit of steam following after you, to see Bakugo on the couch. A pile of notes sat in front of him, much like the ones you’d seen days ago. He looked frustrated and deep in thought, but when he looked up at you his expression softened. Again, you wanted to ask about the things he wrote but now especially felt like the wrong time. The air was still tense, though at least not as much as before your shower. 

“Hey...um, phone?” You made a typing gesture with your hands and Bakugo seemed to understand, pointing silently over at the table before folding up his papers. It seemed like he didn’t want you to read them, anyway. It was best not to pry. 

Grabbing your phone from the table you saw you had quite a few new texts from your friend, all asking various questions of “what’s happening OMG” and “you guys better be KISSING and TOUCHING BUTTS or I WILL COME OVER THERE!!!”

“Shit,” you whispered. She was exactly the type of person to drive all the way across town as a final act of defiance against your self-pity party. Your fingers hovered over your virtual keyboard while thinking of a response when Bakugo’s voice broke the silence. 

“You OK?” he asked in your language. He seemed to ask if you were OK quite a lot recently. Mulling over his reasons for concern just made you feel even more tense. You pulled up the translator app with shaky fingers.

“Um, yeah. Fine. Just my friend being dumb is all.” You attempted to play it off with a strained laugh. “I think I’m going to bed. Let me know if you need anything...goodnight, Bakugo.” Your eyes lingered on him one last time as cowardice and self-doubt told you to flee to the isolated safety of your bedroom. 

“Oyasuminasai (goodnight),” he said in a softer voice than he intended. The look you gave him was, for once, unreadable. Your normally expressive eyes and gestures were now languid and inert. It didn’t suit you. Bakugo’s fist closed around the folded list he’d made, crumpling the paper with all your good qualities. 

No answer came to him on what path to take, but this couldn’t go on much longer. Fighting villains was easy, but this required more tact and consideration. He didn’t want to hurt you or lead you on, but it still soundedly absurdly stupid to start something that already had an (unknown) end date. Tomorrow...if he woke up on your fucking couch again, he’d choose. No more of this teenage bullshit. 

Meanwhile, you flopped down onto your bed with a groan as you typed out a response to your friend. “ We aren’t kissing, the exact opposite. Pretty sure i put my foot in my mouth and screwed up. Do NOT come over here. I just need time to think.”

You desperately needed rest; maybe the sleep deprivation from the previous night caught up to you without you realizing it. Closing your eyes and nuzzling into the cool sheets of your bed a sudden impulse hit you to lean down and grab the stuffed animal Bakugo had won at the amusement park. You hadn’t cuddled like this in many years, but at this point, any comfort sounded welcoming. 

“Maybe you can help me figure things out,” you whispered to the stuffed animal, hugging it tightly to your chest as you drifted off to sleep. 

Tomorrow would be a new day, for both of you. Someone had to give, one way or another. 

Chapter Text

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No dreams came to you that night; no nightmares, either. Just dark emptiness built up from the stress of a mind muddled with disquiet. The light from outside streamed in through your curtains but you buried your head in the sheets to avoid facing the day...but you sniffed the air and smelled something mixed in with fabric softener. What was it…?

A knock at your door made you tense. “Oi, get up. Food done.” Through the wood, Bakugo’s voice echoed in your room with his broken translation in your own language. That dictionary was paying off but you brushed the thought aside with the realization that Bakugo was still here, that you still had time together. 

You groaned and sat up to rub the sleep from your eyes before grabbing your phone to check the time. “Holy shit.” The screen read 10:34 A.M., later than you normally slept in, even on the weekends. Exhaustion must’ve hit you harder than you thought, but at least you felt rested after a proper night’s sleep. 

Glancing at the stuffed animal that you latched onto during the night you smiled. “Maybe you helped me sleep.” Stretching and yawning, you hopped off the bed and smelled whatever Bakugo was cooking. “He really made breakfast, huh. I hope today isn’t weird like last night…” you muttered to yourself. Today...you had to make a decision on what to do before the end of the day. After panicking from the fear of Bakugo’s disappearance it hit you harder than ever that you’d regret it if he didn’t know, even if he rejected you in the end. You just had to build up the courage and find the right time to spit it out. 

You checked yourself in the mirror first to make sure your bedhead wasn’t a bird’s nest before grabbing your phone and opening your bedroom door. 

Bakugo stood at the stove and was already plating his food when you shuffled behind him into the bathroom to freshen up and wash your hands. After taking care of your needs you came back out to see him sitting at the table with a second plate ready and waiting for you. He glanced up as you walked closer to see him looking far less stressed than last night. Maybe things could start out better than they ended. 

“Good morning,” you said while setting your phone down on the table and sniffing the air. Your mouth watered at the smell. “Thanks for making breakfast, it smells great.” He followed you with those pretty red eyes of his and smirked. If things were still uneasy between the two of you he didn’t show it. 

“Of course it is, I made it.” If his ego was back then you assumed things really were fine. 

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” you replied before taking a bite. You expected to taste peppers and spice from how vehemently he defended spicy food the previous evening but, while it contained a bit of kick, there was no sucker-punch of fire. It made you suspicious. “Did you go back on our deal? You cook but can make it as spicy as you want?”

He rolled his eyes, a bit of mischief shining in them. “Just you wait, this is only breakfast. Besides, who says it’s not as spicy as I want at this moment?” Logic mixed with a bit of smartassery, classic Bakugo. The thought of him surprising you at a future meal, though, sent a shiver down your spine at his subtle threat. He must’ve noticed your realization because the corner of his mouth twitched into an almost-smile. Enjoying the edible food while it lasted seemed like a good idea. 

When the two of you finished eating you cleaned up while dismissing his protests. If he cooked and you cleaned, that was fair, right? 

Bakugo leaned against the counter as you dried off the damp plates and cooking utensils he used, your phone sitting beside the sink. “The only thing I have planned today is grocery shopping. Is there anything you need or want to do?”

Since he spent most of his time alone with no transportation and no money you wanted to extend the opportunity to break the monotony. Instead, he just shrugged his shoulders as you watched his bottom lip jut out, mulling over the question. “No, I don’t care. You said you wanted to relax, right?”

Pausing you looked down at your reflection in the clean, shiny plate. What he said was true...you wanted to relax after the busy week at work coupled with the adventure of the previous weekend, but you knew he was bored despite his words. “Well, you’re not wrong. I just figured you’d want to do something since sitting around all week was boring.”

He shrugged again but you could tell your words rang true. Then, an idea struck you when you remembered a small detail from the manga. Bakugo was an incredibly active person, both physically and mentally. His Hero work surely tested the limits of his strength and reflexes. You couldn’t duplicate any of that here, but maybe something else could suffice. Phrasing it right was key. 

“Hmm...you’re crazy active, right? I imagine your line of work means running and exercising and being outdoors a lot, right?” Bakugo turned to you with a curious look. 

“Yes...why?” You really hoped he bought into this idea. 

“Well, I just remembered that there's a place somewhere around here that’s like one of those indoor rock climbing places. Would you be interested in something like that? We could go after we get groceries...if you want, I mean.” Without Bakugo here you would probably never do this yourself, but maybe it would be fun if you didn’t totally make a fool out of yourself. 

Judging from the look on his face Bakugo didn’t expect that idea. He hummed to himself before a small smirk appeared on his handsome face. “Doesn’t sound terrible. Yeah, sure. Think you can keep up with me?” 

He really couldn’t help acting smug as hell, knowing full well he could climb circles around you and most of the other people there, but at least he took the bait. 

You giggled and shook your head. “Yeah, right. It’ll be great if I can at least make it to the top. Maybe you can race the other people there. I’ve only done this a few times before but I had fun at least.” Extreme exercise wasn’t a part of your daily routine. Jogging, swimming, and your workout DVD’s got the job done for the most part - all very mild things compared to what Bakugo was probably accustomed to. 

“Well, you’re gonna make it to the top today,” Bakugo told you with a confident smile. It sounded both like a challenge and a promise and you couldn’t help but feel excited as your nerves took a backseat. You were glad that the awkwardness of the previous night had faded and could joke around with him again. 

“Looks like we have a plan!” you exclaimed with a small clap. “I’m gonna take a shower.” Bakugo nodded and you took your phone into your room, letting the door close most of the way behind you. 

Sifting through your drawers for something to wear, another idea came to you, though this one was a bit more devious. Maybe you’d...put a bit more effort into your outfit today. Nothing flashy, but something that made you feel good and look cute at the same time. It was a gamble, but maybe you could get Bakugo to slip up and give you some kind of hint about whether or not he felt the same. Seemingly always in control of his actions, Bakugo was difficult to read but no matter what, before the day was over you had to tell him. 

You grabbed a dress that highlighted the curve of your neck and the gentle slope of your collar bones, a pair of tights since the weather app on your phone told you it might be windy and left your room. Acknowledging Bakugo sitting on the couch with his book with a nod you closed the bathroom door behind you. 

Bakugo listened in anticipation of your voice but he only heard the muffled sound of running water. Your mood had vastly improved and the air in the apartment felt less like fog and more like sunlight, something he felt grateful for. Maybe it was the early morning hour; he never heard you sing as you got ready for work. 

He still had no clue what the hell to do. If he’d just woken up back home then this conundrum wouldn’t be an issue, but his stint here was extended for at least one more day it seemed. He could be oblivious to a lot of things when it came to emotional complexities and relationships but he wasn’t naive enough not to validate his own growing feelings. “So stupid,” he mumbled before tossing his book aside to grab a glass of water. 

He’d only taken a sip when you stepped out of the bathroom and into the morning light. Once his eyes caught sight of you he promptly choked on his water. It would’ve been a terrible lie to see he handled that well considering how controlled he vowed to be today. 

You’d never worn a dress in front of him before and dammit if he didn’t think you looked good in it. Hardly twelve hours later and he was already enduring another coughing fit, which made him remember the cupcake, which also made him wish you weren’t staring at him with those expressive eyes of yours. 

“Um, you OK?” you asked across the counter. Bakugo just nodded and wiped away stray water droplets with the back of his hand. 

Muttering too low to hear or for your phone to translate, he said, “it’s just a stupid dress.”

Despite his strange look, you reluctantly accepted his answer and pointed back towards the bathroom to signal that it was free. It wasn’t until you were back in your room that he risked chugging the rest of his water and softly banged his head on the sink. “Fuck.”

He loathed cold showers but took one anyway, letting the stinging water slide over his scars and prickle his skin with goosebumps. It was a futile attempt to clear his head. 

Tired of wearing a combination of the same clothes day after day with no other choice Bakugo dressed in the outfit he arrived here in: jeans, a black v-neck shirt, and an orange hoodie with the sleeves pulled up to his elbows. He was slipping on his shoes when you came out of your bedroom and it took effort not to lose his balance. 

You’d fixed your hair in a similar way to how you wore it to your concert. A necklace glittered around your neck and earrings caught the light on your jawline. And was that...lip...stuff? Gloss? Fuck, he didn’t know but his ears burned when he briefly thought of how plump they looked. You were going grocery shopping for fuck sake; why were you dressed like that?!

“Ready to go?” you asked with a small smile. He swallowed the lump in his throat and reoriented himself before answering. 

“Yeah, let’s go.” This is going to be a long damn day, he thought.  

He grabbed the sunglasses you lent him the previous weekend, sending a quick glare your way when he heard you suppress a laugh at the sight while you grabbed some mismatched cloth bags you used for groceries. Walking down the hallway, down the stairs, and outside into the open air you led him to your car parked in front of one of the other buildings. 

“Still can’t believe you can reach the pedals with your height,” he jabbed in an attempt to have a bit of control over the situation. If he could keep you on your toes then everything would be fine. 

“I can reach them just fine, thanks,” you replied with a stern tone while holding your phone in front of you and walking towards the driver’s side of your car. 

“Doesn’t count if you’re basically eating the steering wheel.” The deadpan look you gave him across the hood of your car was worth it. Too easy. 

“I do not eat the steering wheel.” You stuck your tongue out at him before ducking down into the car. Bakugo’s eyes darkened slightly as he slid into the passenger’s side

The last time he drove with you was towards the theme park. Without the stress of wondering whether or not you were secretly working with a villain - by now he was ninety-nine percent sure you weren’t - Bakugo observed the buildings and shops on the short drive to the store. 

The one familiar thing about the trip was your road rage and silent seething that Bakugo still found hilarious. Someone cut you off at a light and you flipped them off with a stream of what he assumed to be colorful curses. The juxtaposition of your demeanor this morning and your demeanor now made him snicker. 

“What’s so funny?” you asked as though it wasn’t obvious. 

“How mad you get at stupid drivers,” he replied, cutting his eyes your way behind the shades of his sunglasses. 

“Like I said before: if they weren’t so infuriating there’d be no problem. It’s like they drive with their eyes closed.” You pulled into the lot of the same grocery store you took him to before and his mouth quirked up into a smile. The angry puppy dog look you held was still kind of cute. It felt pleasant to be at ease with you, but he tried not to dwell on that fact. 

Rather than ease your frustrations the parking lot only served to piss you off more and it took a surprising amount of effort not to burst out laughing. 

“How the fuck do you even get your license parking like that?!” At one point you saw what you assumed to be a free spot but as you pulled closer a motorcycle sat hidden behind a van. You promptly laid your head down on the wheel with a heavy sigh and a bark of laughter erupted out of Bakugo. 

“Please use your quirk to blow up that bike.” Wiping a fake tear from his eye Bakugo shook his head. 

“No. Tough luck.” Bakugo silently wondered if you’d ever been in a real fight, or what would happen if you got truly angry at someone or something. He didn’t necessarily want to find out, though. 

When you finally managed to find a parking spot you calmed down. Snatching up your bags you took a deep breath before walking towards the front of the store with Bakugo at your side, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans like usual when the two of you were out in public. 

“It’s probably for the safety of drivers everywhere that I walk most places,” you commented, earning a small snicker from the man at your side. Of course small threats of violence would amuse him. 

You grabbed a cart, disliked the squeakiness of one of the wheels, put it back, and grabbed another one that was nice and quiet. “If you were serious about cooking then pick out what you want and I’ll get specific things I want. Deal?”

Rather than shy away from the designated task of unofficial chef of your apartment, he grinned. “Good. I’ll teach you what real food tastes like.” You just rolled your eyes at how smug he could be. Sure, the food he’d cooked so far had been delicious, and he really did seem like a perfectionist when it came to proving someone wrong in the pettiest of ways, but you weren’t about to let him jab at your personal tastes. 

You had a crush on him, didn’t you? So how bad could your tastes be?

“Still surprised your taste buds work,” you quipped back while tugging the cart through the small bakery in the store and tossing in a box of cookies. Some people stared due to the translator, but you were used to it by now. It was the best solution to the language barrier you had on hand. Maybe you should pick up the dictionary yourself and learn some more phrases to show up Bakugo for once. 

“Don’t be pissed at me just because you have the heat resistance of a four-year-old.” For that, you tried to swerve the cart into his side but he pushed it back on course while giving you a try-that-again-and-see-what-happens glare behind his sunglasses. You just stuck your tongue out at him knowing he wouldn’t make a scene in public and risk drawing too much attention to himself. 

The two of you went up and down aisles, Bakugo’s hand shooting out when he passed something familiar or asking about unrecognizable items. You grabbed things you wanted that didn’t need his input while he appeared to mentally prepare meals and the ingredients needed. Even if he went home soon you could surely figure out some recipes with his picks. Your fingers gripped the worn plastic handle of the cart at the sudden thought of Bakugo leaving; he was here now, so you’d focus on enjoying today while it lasted. 

While wandering around the produce section Bakugo proceeded to grab different variations of peppers, smirking when he saw your face pucker. “You told me to cook so don’t complain.”

He was right, of course; you had no room to argue since you’d dared him to cook in the first place. His smug attitude was as annoying as it was attractive because you knew by now he could back up everything he claimed. Standing up to him by being a smartass put you in this position. Dammit

You pointed down towards the personal hygiene section and left Bakugo with the cart to wander around picking things as he pleased. So long as he didn’t overload your budget with fancy ingredients it wasn’t an issue. 

“Toothpaste, toothpaste…gotcha.” Grabbing a box of the brand you normally bought, which was luckily on sale this week, you turned around to head back down towards the produce section when you stopped to face the display opposite the toothpaste. 

Assorted personal care items stared you in the face ranging from tampons and pregnancy tests to flavored lube and condom boxes with erotic silhouettes. “Oh, god,” you mumbled before power-walking down the aisle. You refused to mull over how long it’d been since you’d been intimate with someone or give yourself any flustered ideas while grocery shopping. 

By the time you and Bakugo waited in line to check out your cart was full of items that would ideally last you a couple of weeks. He picked out things you normally skipped so you were curious to see his recipe plans. 

Bakugo normally disliked grocery shopping; not that he didn’t find cooking or experimenting with new foods more enjoyable than other things, it just felt tedious and took too long. Back home there were services to get groceries delivered, but the few times he tried it the numbskull that picked out his items grabbed vegetables on the verge of expiration and shitty-looking cuts of meat. Eventually, he gave up and went back to doing his own shopping. 

With someone to talk to, however, the boredom wasn’t as annoying as usual. Your faces were always expressive and every time he picked out something you didn’t like your nose wrinkled in disgust. He’d put them in the cart anyway just to laugh at your frown. With the right cooking method and seasonings, he could make most people enjoy foods they normally hated. He’d take it on as a challenge to fix things you’d like just to savor your surprised face. 

After loading everything into your car you insisted on pulling the cart into one of those cart corrals littered around the parking lot. “I used to work at a grocery store and picking up carts that people left lying around was a pain in my ass. Here,” you said while dropping your car keys into his hand before darting off to the nearest corral. Bakugo slid into the passenger side before watching you attempt to ride the cart down the hill because of course , you would. 

With this small moment to himself Bakugo wondered again about what to do. He had to make a decision before the end of the day, the ability to keep himself composed around you becoming more and more difficult every hour. He just needed a bit more time...maybe this climbing thing would clear his head. 

When you climbed into the driver’s side next to him Bakugo dropped your keys in your hand, pausing for a fraction of a second as his fingers brushed your palm. The memory of your hand in his the previous night and how he had to force himself to let go came flooding back but he shoved it aside as the car engine roared to life. 

“So, I don’t really do a lot of climbing or stuff like that often. Do you usually eat before or after?” You asked the question while stopped at a red light on the way back to your apartment. 

He found your love of food kind of endearing. “Something small before, then carbs and protein after,” he answered while wondering what to make for lunch while on the subject. 

The next words out of your mouth made his eye twitch. “OK, so what about clothes? Maybe shorts and a tank top or something like that?” Asking him about food was one thing, but a quick image flashed in his mind as he stared straight ahead at the road and refused to slip up like he had this morning. 

It was just a question about maneuverability, right? It was a question along the same line as what to eat, right?...Right?! He swallowed thickly before answering in a flat tone. “Wear whatever you want as long as you can move around easily.” Today was, indeed, going to be a very long fucking day. 

When you parked in front of your apartment and the two of you started grabbing up bags you actually attempted to swat his hand away to grab more bags than he knew you could reasonably carry. Your stubbornness reminded him of himself, a trait he found both amusing and agitating. He was obviously stronger than you so it seemed fair that he grabbed up the heavier things, but if you wanted to make things perfectly equal then he wasn’t about to object. 

After unlocking the door and wobbling into the apartment with your arms loaded up with bags the two of you got to work putting things away in comfortable silence. Bakugo knew where most things went by this point so you took half the bags while he took the remaining set, finishing fairly quickly as a result. 

“Glad that chore is taken care of,” you said while brushing your hands of invisible dirt. “Do you mind making lunch while I go change? You probably have a better idea of what would be best than I do.”

“Sure,” he answered with his back to you while pulling out utensils and pans. You grabbed your phone and he heard you pad through the room and close your bedroom door before taking a deep breath in a futile attempt to center himself and concentrate on the rhythm of the knife in his hand. 

Something tugged at the back of his mind; you seemed different today with how you were acting but he couldn’t quite pinpoint how. Maybe...wait, no ...couldn’t be. Were you really that devious? The damn cupcake, the dress, asking what to wear: a couple of answers struck him: 

  1. This was all some dubious scheme to get a rise out of him, or
  2. You really were fucking oblivious to everything you did that made his teeth grind and ears burn

“If you’re playing games, I’ll win,” he whispered to himself. Both possibilities seemed equally plausible considering what he knew about you at this point, but he’d observe for a while to determine your intentions. 

When you came out of your room Bakugo remained facing the counter with his back to you as he assembled both of your lunches. “Oh, that looks good!” you exclaimed behind him. He didn’t turn around immediately and instead remained focused on the food in front of him. Subtlety was key here.

“Of course it does,” he quipped back as you poured yourself a cup of water. 

“Need any help?” Bakugo shook his head at your question before hearing you slide out a chair and sit down at the small kitchen table you owned. 

He peeked over his shoulder to see you absorbed in your phone before his breath caught in his throat. Some skin-tight black leggings curved around your calves and thighs and up to your... shirt , loose and flowy that wound up and around your shoulders. The real thing was arguably worse than what his mind conjured up in the car, his ears burning and jaw clenched at what you picked out. If you were trying to get a rise out of him and he’d been dumber then you certainly would have succeeded. However, two could play this game and he never lost at anything. He just needed to make sure this wasn’t you acting obtuse to how you actually looked in those clothes. 

You were busy checking social media before you pulled up the translator app and looked at Bakugo. “Thanks again for cooking. Is it almost ready?” It took a second for him to respond, and in that time you noticed his shoulders looked a bit tense and...was the back of his neck red?

“Yeah, it’s done,” he said while carrying over two plates, one for himself and one for you. His tone was even as he sat down, avoiding eye contact with you. He hadn’t really given any obvious indication that your questions and choices were affecting him. You’d asked him the clothing question in the car hoping for something, but his stonelike face hadn’t budged. You even picked out your favorite leggings that made you feel confident with how it made your butt look and a loose tank top with a sports bra underneath that peeked out from the large armholes of your shirt. Maybe getting an obvious rise out of him was going to be harder than you thought. 

You took a bite of food without thinking before you realize that, again, Bakugo hadn’t made it overly spicy. “I’m nervous at this point that you’re just going to lull me into a false sense of security and then set my mouth on fire when I least suspect it.”

He barked out a laugh at your suspicion before taking a bite of his own meal. “It does me no good to make you sick with spicy food if you can’t drive to this rock climbing place. But thanks for the idea.” You paled at the thought of him taking your idea literally. 

“Gee, you’re welcome…” you quipped sarcastically. Since lunch was small the two of you ate fairly quickly. You grabbed up the plates and cleaned up while Bakugo went to change. Rock climbing in jeans sounded like a terrible idea. 

When he came out of the bathroom you had to keep from staring. You’d seen him in his workout clothes before but would probably never get accustomed to the sight. “Ready to go?” you asked while leaning against the wall by the door. Bakugo nodded and grabbed the sunglasses you’d lent him last week. If he liked them so much maybe he could just take them with him when he left-

No, don’t dwell on that now

“I looked it up earlier and the place doesn’t seem too far so we could walk...but I have a feeling my arms and legs will feel like jello so maybe it’s just safer to drive,” you said while walking back outside towards your car. 

“If you don’t do this often then that’s probably best,” he replied while sliding into the passenger seat once more. 

You pulled up the directions on your phone and set it in the holder on your dashboard as a robotic voice laid out directions for you. The drive was otherwise silent aside from the small snickers Bakugo made whenever someone did something stupid on the road. At least he was enjoying your road rage, but having him smile at you was distracting so you kept your eyes straight ahead on the road. 

When you parked your car in the large open parking lot and got out to stretch your arms you looked around to see most of the spots occupied. It was Saturday, probably their busiest day, so you expected a lot of people. The building looked large from the outside so maybe everyone would be spread out at least a little. 

Walking inside Bakugo was hit with the familiar smell of sweat, deodorant, rubber, and plastic - the odors of a gym. There were various walls that stretched all the way across the large room and people climbing up or relaying down. A few of the walls reached all the way to the ceiling with some added hanging handholds for extra difficulty. Not that he really needed to, but starting out on an intermediate wall first would draw less attention to himself. 

After speaking with the man at the front desk Bakugo watched you pay for the two of you and again felt a pang of guilt for feeling like a burden; he wasn’t about to go digging into your finances, though and hoped you weren’t in a position to struggle just to keep him occupied. He was well-off financially back home but knew not everyone had the same privilege. 

The two of you and another small group that came in around the same time were led to an area off to the side for what he assumed were safety guidelines and rules. Though not often, he’d done enough of this back home to understand despite the instructor, who looked like a combination of high on caffeine and ready to drop straight into a nap, not speaking Japanese. 

Bakugo glanced beside him as you stared as the instructor went over footholds and handholds and how to attach the rope to the safety harness. He didn’t need someone explaining things to him as though he were a beginner, but he didn’t want to see you slip and fall at any point. 

Once the training was finished he followed you over to one of the easier walls. He could use it as a warmup but had a sneaking suspicion you might need help but knew you wouldn’t outright ask for it. The bizarre feeling to remain close to you nagged at him but he didn’t immediately dismiss it. 

He hooked up the safety harness - of course he didn’t need it but didn’t want some annoying employee on his case about it - and wiped the sweat off his palms before grabbing the first handhold. His quirk was his fallback; it came as naturally as breathing, but here he couldn’t use it at all. Maybe relying purely on his strength would make this more challenging. 

Bakugo looked over to see the determined look on your face before you also moved forward to grab the handholds. Although you were certainly weaker than him, Bakugo could tell you weren’t someone to give up easily. 

He could’ve made it to the top much faster but instead, he paced himself to point out the occasional foot or handhold when he noticed you seemed lost on where to go next. You slipped a few times and your annoyed face and puffed-out cheeks made him laugh before you’d grit your teeth to move up one more step. 

By the time he made it to the top you weren’t trailing far behind, but he was eager to move to the other side of the room and try the more difficult walls. You could hold your own without his help. 

You looked over to see Bakugo at ease, dangling from the top of the wall as though waiting for you so the two of you could repel down together. Your arms were tired and you desperately needed some cold water, but you were happy to actually make it to the top even with Bakugo’s help. 

“Water…” you wheeze while walking over to the water fountain near the front desk to rest for a few minutes. Bakugo looked as though he hadn’t even broken a sweat. He skipped the break and marched over to a much more difficult wall with fewer grips and an incline that jutted out at an intimidating angle. Looking around the room you saw a few women staring after him as he walked past but he didn’t give them a second glance. As much as you wanted to say something to them you knew you couldn’t; it reminded you once more that, before the end of the day, you’d have to make a choice, even if it was just for the remainder of the night, that could drastically change the dynamic between the two of you for worse or for better. 

Bakugo stretched, the defined muscles in his arms shifting under his skin before he moved up to grab the wall. Just then, someone waltzed up and tapped on his shoulder - a toned woman with long hair and a pretty face - and said something to him. She was too far away to hear but she wasn’t exactly trying to hide the fact that she was flirting. To your surprise, Bakugo turned his nose up at her with a scowl before hopping up onto the wall as she stood there looking surprised before storming off. 

He couldn’t understand her...yeah, that had to be it , you thought while taking another sip of water and watching him jump with practiced ease from one handhold to the next. “He really is something else.”

Bakugo should’ve have been surprised to find out that he really did mind other people and their annoying interruptions. So he wasn’t just going crazy - it was literally just yo u that he tolerated here in this universe. The thought that he must’ve liked you more than he was willing to admit made his eye twitch as he concentrated on climbing the wall in front of him. Expending all the pent-up energy he held felt like a blessing, so he was going to use this time to get in as much training and exercise as possible. 

When Bakugo landed back down on the ground after making it to the top he looked over to see you staring at another easy wall on the other end of the room. After grabbing a sip of water he went to an even more difficult wall that most people seemed to be avoiding. Of course, he took it as a challenge. 

Even with the added difficulty, Bakugo was faster than you at climbing. Every once in awhile, he’d look over to see your progress without his help. It was slow but you were managing. The important thing was that you weren’t giving up if you slipped and kept climbing higher and higher. 

He reached the top of his own wall first but you followed a minute later, your hand clinging desperately to the hold at the top. The look of satisfied joy on your face couldn’t keep his own smile down. You waved at him from across the room with enthusiasm and dammit if he didn’t wave back, though in a far more understated way. You were tougher than you looked. 

“Holy...holy shit, I did it!” you exclaimed with a heaving chest as you leaned your head against the wall before repelling down which was about a hundred times easier than climbing up. 

Your legs wobbled and arms felt like lead when you landed back down on the ground, but you didn’t care. Climbing to the top without Bakugo’s help was far more satisfying than you thought it would be, and he actually watched you do it! And waved back! Maybe it was the adrenaline but you couldn’t keep the smile off your face as you unhooked the harness and turned around for a much-needed rest. 

“Excuse me,” someone said, stepping into your path. “Need any help? Saw you from over there,” the man said while pointing over his shoulder. He wore a collared shirt that matched the other employees helping people. 

“Ah, no thanks, I think I’m good,” you replied as your smile faded. 

“You sure? We’re here to help, after all. Not that your climbing was bad, but with a bit more instruction I bet you could do even better next time.” It sounded like a backhanded compliment which you didn’t particularly appreciate. It was one thing if it came from Bakugo who you didn’t mind talking back to, but being rude to an employee was different. 

You were about to answer when a familiar figure started walking over from across the room. Bakugo’s shoulders were squared and his hands were balled into fists as he practically marched in your direction. He looked kind of...mad? Did something happen when you weren’t watching?

Waving him over the employee looked up to see Bakugo closing the distance until he reached you. His subtle glare flicked up towards the employee but softened a bit when his eyes landed on you. 

“You, sir, are a great climber! Haven’t seen you here before but very impressive!” Bakugo just stared blankly at the employee while you tried not to laugh. Of course he was a good climber considering his occupation and training regimen, but of course, this guy didn’t know that. “If he’s with you then I can see that you don’t really need my help, then.” With a friendly wave, he walked away to help someone else. 

You pointed over towards the water fountain where the lockers that everyone kept their personal belongings in lay neatly in a grid against the wall. Bakugo understood and followed behind you while you missed the way his ruby eyes flickered up possessively towards the employee before landing back on you. 

After pulling your bag from the locker and grabbing your phone you looked up to see Bakugo holding out a styrofoam cup of cold water to you. “Arigato.” Taking the cup you downed half the water in one gulp, your throat desperate for relief after that workout session. 

“You’re really good, Bakugo. But I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess,” you admitted before taking another sip of water. “You’re a better climber than most of the people here.”

He leaned against the wall beside you, one one hand in his pocket and the other holding his own cup of water. “I’ve climbed actual mountains back home without the safety net so this wasn’t bad. Your idea to come here was good.”

At his small bit of praise, a warm bubble floated up into your chest. “Thanks. Are you ready to go or do you wanna stay longer? I think I’m done, personally, but I can hang out if you want to climb some more. I don’t mind.”

You watched the mental gears turning in his head before he answered. He looked cute when he was thinking, but you kept that thought to yourself. “Yeah, we can go.”

“You sure? I don’t-”

Bakugo took his hand out of his pocket and promptly bonked you on the head with his fist. It wasn’t hard at all but the whole display surprised you. “I meant what I said. Let’s go.”

Turning in the equipment was a blessedly quick and easy transaction. Now that you had fulfilled your exercise quota for the entire week you realized how hungry you were when your stomach growled. This just made Bakugo laugh and poke fun at your food addiction, but so long as he was smiling you tolerated it. 

“Did you have fun?” you asked after climbing into the car and clipping in your seatbelt. 

Bakugo slid back on the sunglasses he’d tossed in your bag before nodding with a small smile. “Like I said, not a bad choice.” He seemed a bit lost in thought and you wondered what was on his mind but decided it was best not to pry. You knew he couldn’t have been too tired from all that, so it must’ve been something else but you didn’t want to turn the tides on the good day the two of you spent together so far. 

“Well, let’s go! Can’t wait to eat, used up all my energy climbing.” 

“I’m cooking,” he replied with a slightly ominous tone. You weren’t sure whether or not to be excited or terrified as you pulled out of the parking lot to head back home. 

The drive to your apartment was silent as you used your phone to navigate back home. It was late afternoon now, the orange sun setting across the horizon of the city like a haze. With no more outside distractions, all you could do was mull over what to say and how to say it before the day was done. You had to tell him before the heaviness of inevitable regret ate you whole. 

Arriving back at your apartment was a blessing, the familiar smells and cool air easing your tension slightly. You wanted to bolt into the shower but, since Bakugo insisted on cooking, figured he might appreciate the first go. “Hey, do you want to shower first so you can be comfortable while you cook?”

Sliding off his shoes he gave you a small but grateful look. “I’ll be quick,” he replied. 

“Take your time.” You peeked over your shoulder to watch him gather his things from the hallway closet before you disappeared into your room, leaving the door cracked open.

Hot water scalded Bakugo's skin in a comforting way as he washed the sweat and smell of artificial rock walls down the drain. He sighed and thought once again about what the hell he was going to do. The day was ending and he'd basically gotten nowhere. It wasn't like him to avoid acting on an important decision but he was out of his element and your feelings mattered as much as his. Engaging fully in his Pro Hero lifestyle had stunted him more than he thought with these types of emotional choices. 

For all he knew he could wake up back home tomorrow and would never see you again-

The sudden thought made him wince. As desperate as he was to get back home and return to his normal life, he'd be lying to himself if he said he wouldn't miss that damn smile of yours. 

While Bakugo mulled over his lack of decision-making you sorted through your clothes for some pajamas while wondering when - not if - to tell him how you felt.

"Either tonight or tomorrow," you told yourself. You couldn't keep dancing around this stupid crush, but you also didn't want to ruin how today was going, which admittedly was probably the coward in you trying to avoid a possible rejection.

"If I keep putting it off I'll never have the chance...but what if I do this and he's still here and everything turns weird and awkward?" The thought of him not wanting to be with you or him feeling uncomfortable in an already precarious situation made you bite your lip from the emotional sting. 

Setting some clean pajamas on your bed you looked back at the stuffed animal you clung to the night before leaned up against your pillow. "...Or, what if something goes right for once? No regrets, right? I'll play it by ear and if after dinner I haven't put my foot in my mouth…" If the positivity of the day wore on for just a few more hours then you'd gather up your courage and be honest with Bakugo.

You sat on the end of your bed messing with your phone when you heard a knock at the door. Looking up you saw Bakugo standing in the doorframe haloed by the overly-yellow apartment lighting coming from your living room. During these silent moments, he looked almost angelic. His hair was still damp from his shower and the familiar black tank top he wore clung to his skin as he pointed a thumb over his shoulder back towards the bathroom. You nodded in understanding when his ruby eyes focused on something behind you that seemed to catch him by surprise. Glancing over your shoulder you realized it was probably the stuffed animal that he’d definitely not won for you. His eyes darted between you and the toy, eyebrows furrowed but eyes unreadable before he turned around back towards the kitchen. 

“What...just happened?” you wondered while grabbing your clothes and following him out at a distance towards the bathroom for your own shower. 

Bakugo stood with his back against the kitchen counter, arms crossed as he heard you pad through behind him towards the bathroom. Once he heard the click of the door he breathed heavily through his nose, his fingernails digging into his palms as he cursed. 

“Fuck...I forgot about that stupid thing. She kept it?” The fact that you kept the toy he’d won a week ago, something he completely forgot about to be honest, pretty much erased any doubts about how you felt. 

So what the hell was he supposed to do? Ignoring things wasn’t his style; it was the type of immature teenage bullshit that he avoided, but he’d been doing exactly that since earlier this week which pissed him off. He either had to put a stop to all this tiptoeing around confessions left unsaid or say “fuck it” for however long this might last. It’d be unfair to you if he kept his mouth shut anyway...and hell, what if you said something first? How would he respond?

If things dragged on neither of you would be comfortable, that much was obvious. Would giving in for, what, a day, a week, be worth it? Bakugo still had no damn clue when he’d return home. If he were to wake up tomorrow back in his universe and back to his normal life, what would he want to have happened? What image did he want to close his eyes to if it was for the last time?

The image came faster and clearer than he expected: you, smiling and happy in his arms. “Shit…” His ears burned at the thought but he shouldn’t have been too surprised with everything running around in his imagination. With that the decision was made...but how was he supposed to do this? Did he just blurt it out? Build up to it? Fuck, he still needed to cook, too. Bakugo turned around to start pulling out ingredients, his mind busy with hypothetical confessions and uncooked recipes. He’d talk to you about this after dinner; if it tasted amazing - which it would, obviously - and things didn’t turn horribly awkward like the previous night then hopefully you’d remain in a good mood to make this whole thing easier. 

You’d been so preoccupied with your thoughts that you didn’t realize how long you’d been pruning in the shower. He obviously saw the stuffed animal on your bed but you had no clue what was going through his mind when he walked away. Was he mad that you kept it? “Ugh, why does this have to be so hard? I just gotta...spill my guts, I guess, and hope for the best.” 

After you finished your shower, you got to work drying your hair. Without the grime of sweat, you felt much more comfortable in your shorts and oversized t-shirt. The smell of something delicious wafted in through the door and made your mouth water as you combed the tangles out of your hair. 

After leaving the bathroom and padding through the living room to dump your sweaty clothes in the hamper you wandered back towards the kitchen, the heavenly aroma pulling you in like a magnet. Bakugo stood near the stove with his back against the counter in an almost mirrored position from before you took a shower. The steaming pan on the stovetop proved that he had indeed moved at least a little. He looked up at you when you walked closer, his crimson eyes still just as unreadable as before. 

“Hey,” he said, eyes flitting between you and food.

 Pulling out your phone you replied, “Hey, that smells really good.” The comment put a small smirk on his face. 

“Of course it does.” Bakugo stated it as fact, as though anything less was completely preposterous. You rolled your eyes at his teasing tone. 

Leaning on the opposite side of the counter with the phone between Bakugo and yourself you tapped your nails on the counter with a sigh. “Hope you had fun grocery shopping and being a monkey because I’m definitely not doing anything tomorrow. I can already tell my arms are gonna be sore,” you said with a light laugh before stretching your hands above your head. 

He scrutinized you as though he didn’t believe your declaration of laziness. “For not having done that in a long time you weren’t completely bad at it,” he quipped. Your overly-exaggerated sneer made him chuckle, but you really liked it when he laughed even if it was at you looking like an idiot. If he was enjoying himself then maybe things would turn out for the best. 

“I made it to the top twice .” You held up two fingers towards his face while staring at him with that adorably determined look he’d grown attached to. 

“Yeah, on the easy walls.” Bakugo pushed himself off from the counter to stir dinner as you sputtered behind him. Honestly, teasing you was dangerously easy. 

“No one starts out on the hard walls, not even you , I bet. So...there!” You stuck your tongue out at him and Bakugo bit the inside of his cheek on reflex. 

Bakugo pulled a couple of plates down before turning down the heat on the stove. “Food done,” he said in your language while you grabbed some silverware on the opposite end of the kitchen. He could judge by this point when he was too far away for the phone to pick up his voice reliably. 

“Arigato, Bakugo.” He looked over his shoulder to see you almost wiggling in anticipation of the dinner he made as you prepared the table. Running a hand through his hair, Bakugo thought he was seriously in denial if he didn’t notice how every stupid thing you did amused him. 

He plated equal servings and set the food down before taking his own seat to your right. You reached back and grabbed your phone to place it between the two of you again. “I hate to admit it but you are a better cook than me. So I really do appreciate you cooking.” 

Bakugo smirked confidently but shrugged it off as he watched you take the first bite. Your face went through a series of expression changes, from satisfied to surprised. “It’s so good! But I’m still suspicious because this isn’t that spicy.” As funny as your shock would’ve been, he decided it was best to make it edible to you and keep the mood light. He still couldn’t help poking and prodding, though. 

“I’ll just hit you when your guard is down.” Bakugo took his own bite and didn’t so much as flinch. 

You scoffed before the corner of your mouth quirked up into a small smile. “I thought you were a smart Hero. Giving away your plan is a rookie mistake.”

The banter continued throughout dinner. He was far more aware of what he said and how he said it compared to the previous night, but didn’t flinch away if his voice picked on a slightly flirty tone or you looked at him a certain way. A mixture of comfort and anxiousness settled into his chest as he enjoyed this time with you while also wondering what exactly he was going to say. 

When the two of you cleaned your plates you insisted on washing because it was “only fair” because he cooked. While Bakugo wasn’t nearly as tired as you probably felt after today he wasn't going to fight you about the dishes. 

Once the plates sat in the drying rack, Bakugo looked up to notice you appeared...tense, but he couldn’t place his finger on exactly why. You started to bite your lip and fidget with your hands in a way that solidified his assumption. Finally, you cleared your throat, pulled your phone closer to you, and said, “Listen, Bakugo...I need to tell you something. And I know it might be weird or uh, change how you see me but I just need to tell you.”

He stared up at you, his arm draped across the back of the chair he sat in. There were two options for confessions, here:

  1. Confess your feelings
  2. Confess some deep, dark secret

Shit, maybe this meant he wouldn’t have to stumble over his own words after all. Before he could figure out a reply, however, you continued. 

“Um, OK. This has been on my mind for a while, debating on whether or not I should say anything...but I figured I’d rather you know and deal with what comes after than not say anything at all and you disappear. I think I’d regret it. So...no regrets.” You let your hands fall to your sides, fists clenching and unclenching in rhythm with his own beating heart. 

Ruby eyes trained on you, fully attentive to whatever you were about to say. 

“I like you. As in more than just a friend way. And I mean, it’s fine if you don’t feel the same or whatever, I just need you to know.” You put your hands out for emphasis before continuing. “And this is probably super awkward, shit. Of all the things I expected out of my life a crazy hot guy with explosion powers appearing in my bedroom was definitely not on the list. You’re a smartass but you make me laugh. And you’re smart and confident and I just...have fun hanging out with you. And um, feel safe when you’re around. I think that if I met you on the street, no quirks or anything, that I’m pretty sure I’d like you exactly the same. You’d still be you. So, I guess no matter what, I’m glad we met, Bakugo. And...mm...that was a lot longer than I meant it to be…”

For a moment, Bakugo just sat there stunned. He hadn’t expected you to blurt out all of that. It was far more put-together than whatever straightforward garbage he would’ve started off with. He blushed and looked down because fuck, how was he supposed to follow all that?

“Um...Bakugo? Can you say something?” Glancing up, he noticed how nervous you looked, even more on edge than before you spilled your guts out to him. No one had ever confessed to him like this before, not in such a heartfelt way. Your voice cracked as though you might start crying and he didn’t want that at all. Now you were just waiting for his answer. 

He cleared his throat and ran a sweaty hand through his pale blonde hair. “I...sometimes I’m shit with words-”

You interrupted his improvised thought with a small step forward. “Oh, I mean it’s fine if you don’t like me back or feel the same-”

“Shut up.” His tone wasn’t demanding but he heard you clicked your teeth as your jaw snapped shut at his words. It made him wince. Fuck , this was going terribly. He really was bad at this. Bakugo stood up, his chair clattering against the floor as he walked over to stand directly in front of you. “I might not be the best with words, but I am good with actions.”

His hand came up to cup your chin and tilted it up just enough so you could look him in the eyes; up close they glistened and pulled him in. Bakugo leaned down just enough to let his lips make contact with yours, giving you enough time to back away if you wished. It was soft and tentative, not wanting to scare you away by being so forward. When you didn’t respond, he pulled away slightly to make sure you were alright when you reached up and grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him down to kiss him like it was the last thing you’d ever do. Bakugo could’ve sworn he saw stars but he’d never admit so aloud. The fact that you were both smiling into the kiss would stay between you always. 

Your hands gripped the soft cotton fabric of his shirt, your fingers digging into your palms like if you’d let go he’d slip away and all of this would wind up a dream. For as brash and headstrong as you knew him to be, the kiss was deliciously soft and chaste and warm and you savored it like tea on a cold day, like the lingering sweetness of honey. He smelled like the soap in your shower and the leftover fumes of dinner. A smoldering bonfire that comforted you and brought you warmth and light on cool nights. This was what it felt like to kiss the man who you’d gotten to know over the past week and a half; he was real and he was kissing you and this single moment erased any doubt you’d internalized about regret - more than worth it, a memory to cherish. 

Eventually, you had to breathe and pulled away reluctantly. You knew your face was probably the same shade as his pretty red eyes that currently stared down at you in a way you’d only dreamed about until now. Clearing your throat, you could help but bite your lip and smile like an idiot. “I guess this means you like me back, huh,” was all you could manage before ducking your chin into your chest. 

His laugh echoed like a symphony in your chest, the apparent tension and anxiety of the confession replaced an easy and comfortable joy. “No shit,” he said, making you smile even wider. All you wanted to do was kiss him again, your eyes darting up quickly towards his lips. He smirked and understood your unspoken request, leaning down to capture your own in another kiss. More passionate, harder contact, your throat closed as you struggled to swallow down your racing pulse. No less sweet, though. Your hands still gripped his shirt, your knuckles grazing his collar bones as the hand, no longer cupping your chin, wandered to your waist and pulled you just a bit closer. 

When breathing became necessary again you pulled back, your breaths coming in small pants but the satisfied grin never left your face. In a spur of the moment gesture, you let go of his shirt to hug him. If he could kiss you then a hug wasn’t out of line, right? 

Bakugo stiffened as your arms wrapped around his back, making you nervous that you’d crossed a boundary. You loosened your grip to pull away...when his arms came up around your shoulders to return the embrace. It was loose and slightly awkward but it was happening. You thought you might float away, untethered by gravity or stress. 

He felt warm - warmer than you thought he'd be. Maybe it was a side effect of his quirk, or maybe it was just a feeling of comfort in your chest and the flush of your skin against. Eventually, the two of you separated and you ran a hand through your hair nervously and cleared your throat once more. " Well . No offense, but you've been very good at not looking like a flustered moron, unlike myself at least...once per day, probably. So how was I supposed to know?" 

Bakugou kept one hand loosely on your waist while his eyes darted off to the side for a split second, his mouth twisting as if debating on whether or not to answer. "Not that you've seen, anyway. Or you’re just oblivious."

He saw how your eyes glittered with mischief at the comment. "Oh, so there have been moments? Tell me one at least." You held a finger in front of his face but he brushed it away with his free hand. 

"Hell no." He wasn’t going to make this easy on you.

"Oh come on! You've literally seen me make a fool of myself, the least you could do is tell me one time you felt that way." Both of your hands came together as if begging for scraps, for anything he’d toss your way. You were teasing him obviously, but there was genuine curiosity in your eyes so he considered maybe one of the least embarrassing moments. Definitely not the cupcake incident though. Absolutely not.

 "This morning when you came out in your dress and tights,” he admitted, his thumb rubbing absentmindedly across the soft cotton of your shirt. 

You stared at him as though he’d grown another head as realization set in. "...You...I knew it! Choking on water was a bullshit excuse." Bakugou bit the inside of his cheek knowing he couldn’t improvise his way through any more incidents...but maybe since all this shit was now out in the open he wouldn't have to. 

"Don't tell me you didn't know exactly what you were doing, dressing up cute and shit for something as mundane as grocery shopping,” he retorted before realizing exactly what he just admitted.

"Oh, so I'm cute then?" You batted your eyelashes dramatically while Bakugo cast his gaze to the right of your head. Goddammit, you were weaseling all this shit out of him left and right. He was right about you being devious, apparently.

After a minute, you dragged him to the couch, no longer conscious of keeping dedicated distance between the two of you. The air was pleasant and light, the growing unease and stress of the past week falling away easily like dry leaves from a rocking tree branch during autumn. You were in the middle of telling him something when you stopped and clapped your hands over your mouth. “Oh! Fuck, I just realized something, but I guess it’s sort of pointless to ask now…”

Bakugo flicked you gently on the side of the head, his knee brushing against yours on the couch cushion. He didn’t bother shifting away. “Just spit it out.”

Fine , fine. So demanding. I completely forgot to ask before I blurted everything out if you were even single! I’m not a homewrecker.”

His jaw hung limp as he stared at you incredulously. “What?! How is that not obvious? Have I ever mentioned anyone back home who isn’t one of my dumb friends?”

You just shrugged and laughed weakly. “I mean, you seem like a private person. Maybe I figured it was too personal.”

“If I was with someone and hadn’t mentioned them by this point I’d figure shit wasn’t going well, anyway. And as a Hero, I’m morally obligated to not be a shitbag,” he answered. At that, you smiled softly and scooted close enough to lean against his side. Unfamiliar with close contact when it came to this sort of thing, Bakugo stiffened on reflex before his arm came up to drape behind you over the back of the couch. As horribly cliche as it felt, Bakugo surprisingly didn’t mind so much. 

The two of you plugged in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and picked up where Bakugo left off the other day. He appreciated hearing his native Japanese even if it was just through an anime, but also found the plot and characters interesting so far. Every few minutes he’d glance down at you nestled against his side, your eyes glued to the screen. The entire dynamic had changed just over the past hour after your bold confession. It took guts to put yourself out there in such a way, but now with this heavy stressor off his chest he could go back to focusing solely on solutions for how to return home. 

For now, though? Just for tonight? The comfort of sitting next to you and reflecting on your words was enough. 

He wasn’t exactly a “cuddler” and physical intimacy was well out of his familiar range but when you’d tilt your head back and look up at him through your eyelashes he relented to the occasional kiss that sent the faintest of shivers down his spine. 

Reveling in the new sensations of being open and honest about your feelings with each other felt... so damn nice. You honestly weren’t sure how he’d react to you opening your heart out and prepared to get metaphorically stabbed in the chest if he outright rejected you. “Soft” and “Bakugo” were words you wouldn’t have associated with each other but here you were, leaned up against his side like some cheesy sitcom. You wanted to take advantage of what possible little time you had left, to bask in the fact that he really was yours this time, but as the night wore on you yawned and felt your eyes drooping. 

Bakugo nudged you in the shoulder and you sat up a little straighter. “Go to sleep. It’s been a long day.”

A lingering string of unaired thoughts stuck to the roof of your mouth. If you went to sleep and he disappeared before the morning, this would be all you had...but maybe it was enough. Maybe one night would satisfy the craving that pulled you closer to Bakugo Katsuki. 

To avoid falling asleep against him - which didn’t sound so terrible, honestly - and drooling down your chin or on his shirt, though, you gave in. “Fine...you aren’t the boss of me but fine , I’ll listen just this once.” Standing up you stretched your arms above your head before heading into the bathroom to brush your teeth. Your steps faltered for a moment when you realized you’d been smooching Bakugo with dinner-breath...but so had he, so it was fine, right?!

After some excessive use of mouthwash, you walked back out to see Bakugo turning off the TV before those shining sun-like eyes of his landed on you. “Mm, well, goodnight. Even if...even if you wake up back home tomorrow, and it was just for tonight, I don’t regret tonight.” Walking forward you beckoned him down to your level with your finger. You covered that handsome smirk of his with one last lingering goodnight kiss and you swore the room started spinning from how light you felt. 

“Oyasumi, (y/n),” he whispered in a deliciously low tone when he pulled away. You suddenly didn’t feel so tired anymore but you couldn’t back out now. Before closing the bedroom door behind you, you looked over your shoulder one last time at him and gave a small wave before letting it click shut. 

As soon as he was out of sight you felt like jumping up and down and squealing like a teenager again from the bursting amount of exuberance you felt. Instead, you bounced on your bed, your feet kicking in the air and plugged up your phone to immediately text your friend because you absolutely had to tell someone as soon as possible . “Oh my god, oh my god, that happened , that totally happened! Ahhh!” you giggled into your pillow. 



iphone-npWt

You laughed into your pillow while relaying exactly what happened to your friend, texting back and forth in the darkness. 

Bakugou watched as you closed the door to your bedroom, eyes meeting for the last time that night. He licked his lips to remember to the taste of your own. Intimacy was a bit foreign to him, honestly. Always so damn focused on his Hero work, he'd probably let things slip by without even realizing. But the past was in the past and he was here now. Even if just for tonight, the absence of his internal struggle on what to do with how he felt relieved the weight from his chest. Yours as well, he assumed, since it seemed you'd been internalizing a similar debate. 

That cute as shit smile of yours and the feeling of you in his arms and against his chest put another sappy smile on his face without him even realizing. Of course, he still missed home and wanted desperately to go back as soon as possible...but why squander this time with you worrying about shit he had no control over? 

Turning out the lights one by one he went to brush his teeth when he heard you from inside your room. Curiosity getting the better of him, Bakugo padded silently up to your door and placed an ear close enough to hear. A definite giggle came from behind the closed door this time. He rolled his eyes and walked back towards the bathroom. 

“What a sap...guess I’m a damn hypocrite, though." If he woke up tomorrow with the opportunity for one more day like tonight, Bakugo thought that he wouldn’t mind that so much. 

 

Chapter Text

moodboard

Moodboard made by me

In the darkness hummed a warmth, a comfort, a new type of familiarity that drew him in like a cat to the spot warmed by the sun near the window. It eased the ache in his chest. His breathing became less shallow and his hands stopped trembling as the cold isolation was swept away by the glowing embers of your laughter. 

The crack of rumbling thunder outside woke Bakugo up to the now-familiar and dimly lit living room of your apartment. Rain pelted the roof and windows, dark clouds swirled far overhead and unseen, and a shock of lighting cast ominous shadows of the windswept trees outside onto the walls. 

It was some of the best sleep he’d had since arriving here.

Another roar matched the tempo of his breath as he sighed through his nose and blinked himself awake. Everything started flooding back into his mind from the previous night: your confession, the nervous trembling in your voice as you waited for his answer, the way you smiled into his kiss. Just the thought of it made his pulse hum under his skin. 

“That really happened, huh,” Bakugo whispered to himself as he listened to the rain outside. Despite falling asleep with a massive weight lifted off his chest at the lack of mental and emotional turmoil, he guiltily and selfishly wondered what would happen now that he had one full day with you. A day without holding back, a day to understand you through a new perspective, a day where he could hold you again and maybe act less fucking awkward about it. 

Bakugo didn’t date - it all seemed so stupid and pointless while focused on Hero work where his life was on the line every day. Most people saw him as a public figure anyway, nothing more than a villain-destroying machine looping through cable news stations or a celebrity too wrapped up in fame and work to give a shit about anything else. They swarmed him for autographs and photo opportunities. No one ever fucking asked him if he’d had a miserable day or not besides his friends. 

At the beginning of his Hero career after graduating from UA, he’d gotten wrapped up with a fan or two, their enthusiasm and flattery stroking his young ego. But afterward, it felt supremely unsatisfying and he didn’t understand what the fuss was about. So, he gave up for a few years before trying again but ultimately went right back to focusing on himself and his dream of becoming the number one Hero without distractions. Kirishima set him up on dates but he saw right through the fake acting and pathetic flattery. He chalked it up to people wanting him for superficial reasons - fame, money, bragging rights. After that, nothing ever went past a first date...and the last one he’d endured was over three years ago. 

Bakugo wasn’t sure how the hell to categorize what the two of you had for now, but he’d done enough overthinking for one week and instead focused his eyes on your closed bedroom door as he sat up from the couch. He silently wondered if his inexperience would become obvious to you if more time passed, but if he hadn’t fucked up so far then he must’ve been doing something right. He’d roll with his intuition like he normally did. If today was his last day here, why hold back if it was just the two of you? At that exact moment, another angry roar of thunder and crack of lightning boomed outside and he heard a yelp from behind your door and the distinct thud of someone falling, presumably, onto the floor. 

“Really? This early?” Bakugo groaned as he stood up and stretched before he walked over to your door and knocked. “You OK?” he asked. You’d managed not to trip over your words or feet the previous day, so it only made sense that you fixed that trend first thing in the morning. 

“Hai!” he heard you answer while obviously fumbling around where he couldn’t see. After a minute, you opened the door, a tangle of bed-mussed hair that he found surprisingly cute framing your sleepy face. Bakugo felt an odd urge to kiss you good morning just for the hell of it but paused when he noticed you wince at another loud boom of thunder and remembered how you reacted during the last big storm. 

“Ohayou (good morning),” he said instead, leaning against your doorframe as the phone in your hand translated.

“Morning,” you mirrored as you tried not to melt at that handsome sleepy smile of his. You’d woken up in the shittiest of ways as your left shoulder met the floor, but knowing Bakugo was still here and you’d have at least one entire day with him swept away the frustration. To your surprise, Bakugo started slowly leaning down towards your face for what you assumed was a kiss. As much as you absolutely wanted to return it - more than anything, really - you panicked and clamped a hand over his mouth, the warm breath of his nose ghosting over your fingers as his eyes went wide with an obviously silent question. “Uh, sorry, let me just...brush my teeth first.” The thought of kissing him with morning breath overwhelmed the common sense thought that he wouldn’t care, so instead, you stood on your tiptoes and placed a light peck on his cheek before scooting past him into the bathroom. 

After thoroughly scrubbing your teeth and swishing mouthwash around until you were sure he’d smell nothing except the sharp sting of mint, you walked back out to find him staring through the blinds of your window. Your footsteps made him turn, the cool light from outside ghosting over his silhouette before he walked towards you. “I’m making breakfast, no arguing,” he said with a matter-of-fact tone before disappearing into the bathroom himself. 

Instead of rummaging through the kitchen to disobey him just to savor the look on his face, you settled for a glass of juice and wondered what to do for the day. As long as it was raining any outdoor activities were out, but maybe Bakugo wouldn’t mind spending a lazy day inside. 

When Bakugo came back out you felt ready to give him a proper good morning kiss this time. You bit your lip, your eyes trained on him, as he walked around the counter and stood in front of you almost expectantly. “Well?” he asked, a small smile playing on his lips and a curious glisten in his eyes. 

Without hesitating, you met him halfway for a short and chaste kiss. The feeling of elation hadn’t dissipated since the previous night and it was over far too soon for your liking when he turned away to start pulling things out of the fridge. Shit, he’s smooth

You remembered that you needed to wash clothes and cleared your throat to speak since he’d practically taken your breath away with that small gesture. “I’m going to shower and then wash clothes. Thanks for making breakfast.” Bakugo hummed in acknowledgment as you headed into your bedroom to pull out a clean outfit before marching past him, making brief eye contact, and disappearing around the corner. 

Maybe it was the idea of you now being physically close to Bakugo, but you took extra care in the shower to make sure you were squeaky clean. Marveling once more at the thought of one more day with him, one day with him as someone you could kiss on the mouth , you couldn’t help but sing. You felt light and happy, a sappy grin plastered on your face that would be difficult to rid yourself of if things kept up like this for the entire day. 

The delicious smell of breakfast filled your nose as you walked out after your shower, drool already pooling under your tongue. You dropped your pajamas into the washer before walking over to lean on the other side of the counter, phone in hand. 

“It smells so good...where did you learn to cook?” you asked while unashamedly staring at his toned shoulders and arms. 

Bakugo pulled a couple of plates down from the cabinet before turning to you, your eyes quickly shifting focus up to his face. “The only way my mom would let me play with knives as a kid was if I helped her cook. Plus, someone dared to say I was shit at it so on principal I had to prove them wrong.” 

He watched your mouth fall open in obvious shock before you covered it with your hands to stifle a laugh. Your giggling reminded him of his dream and he couldn’t help but grin like an idiot as he turned back around to portion out the food. Today is going to be a good day , he thought. 

“Oh my god...somehow I’m not surprised. But I’m reaping the benefits of your kitchen skills so I’m certainly not complaining.” Bakugo set both plates on the kitchen table before seating himself down in the chair he normally took as his own.

While you pulled out your own chair, Bakugo decided to ask a question that hadn’t felt right to ask until now. “Do you ever sing in front of people?”

He watched you pause stiffly before slowly taking your seat, obvious embarrassment written across your face. “ Oh ...you can hear me…?”

His eyebrows shot up, not believing that you didn’t know. “You aren’t exactly whispering and the apartment is small - sound carries well.” A tinge of pink spread across your nose as you pushed around the food on your plate. 

“I didn’t realize. Guess I got used to being the only one here,” you admitted. One corner of Bakugo’s mouth quirked up into a small smile at how shy you suddenly became. “Wait, how big is your place where you live if you think this is small?” 

Bakugo looked around for a second to do some mental math. “At least twice this big. I live in a high-security building with other Heroes. Also, don’t change the subject. You don’t suck at singing, dunno why you're embarrassed,” he said with challenge in his eyes. Apparently, that small compliment made you sink even further down into your chair to avoid his scrutiny.

“I guess I’m just not used to people hearing me, much less saying I’m any good at it.” You finally took a bite of food but he didn’t miss the way your eyes lit up at his words, or the food, or maybe both. “So, I guess that answers your question: no, I don’t really sing in front of people.”

Observing this hesitancy to compliment yourself spurred him on. “Have some confidence, play to your strengths. You’d probably kick ass at something as ridiculous as karaoke.” At his admission, you turned to stare at him, those honest eyes of yours almost inescapable. If it was this simple to make you happy then he could oblige without even trying. Bakugo used to be terrible at admitting the strong points of others, but he’d gotten a handle on his shortcomings as he grew older.

“You really think so?” He couldn’t lie even if he wanted to, not when you looked at him as you did now. 

“Why would I lie?” Bakugo asked. You relaxed in your chair as he took another bite of food. 

“Well, what about you? Have you ever done karaoke? I imagine it’s way more popular in Japan than it is here.”

He couldn’t help but snicker as memories shot to the front of his brain. “Yeah, a few times. Kirishima and Kaminari drag me along so they can look like idiots on stage and I get blackmail material.”

His stories of home always drew you in as though you vicariously lived through his own nostalgia. “And what about you, hm? Do you sing?”

Without hesitation, he said, “Fuck no.” His quick answer made you laugh and he just shook his head in disbelief of just how damn comfortable he was right now doing something as domestic as eating breakfast with you. 

You decided it was best not to comment on how mild the food tasted and instead savored the complementing flavors and skillful cooking. The remainder of breakfast felt light and easy, both of you falling into easy conversation. The fact that Bakugo had heard you singing at least once through the bathroom made you panic, but praise from him was something to savor and your bashfulness eventually fell away. 

When both of you were done eating, you moved to take the plates away but Bakugo grabbed them up with his quick reflexes. “Hey! You cooked so I can clean up, that’s fair.”

He just scoffed while placing the dishes in the sink and turning back towards you. “Is it? You’ve given me food, shelter, and everything I wouldn’t have otherwise. I feel like a useless freeloader if I don’t help out somehow, so deal with it.” 

You mulled it over while staring at him; it made perfect sense that someone as self-reliant as Bakugo would hate the idea of being taken care of, even if he didn’t really have a choice in the matter. His stubbornness was something to behold, but you could be stubborn, too. “I’ve said it before: I promise I don’t mind helping with any of that stuff. But, if you wanna do chores I won’t complain,” you said, sticking your tongue out playfully before quickly reeling it back in. 

With a glint of mischief in his eyes, Bakugo strode over to you with a determined swagger in his step that made you gulp. “Uh...uh oh.” Before you could move away he swooped down and pressed his lips to yours in something more forceful than just a peck this time. It promptly made you swallow your tongue, taking you by surprise. When he pulled away with that stupidly handsome smirk of his you felt more than a little dazed and breathless. You’d never admit that openly, though; his ego did not need any more stroking. 

“Go sit down. I’ll do the dishes.” Bakugo’s voice was low and slightly husky, sending shivers down your spine in a way that made you want to melt right into the floor. Instead, you nodded weakly and sat on the couch, your brain fried because of this sudden massive uptick in bold affection. Glancing back towards the kitchen, Bakugo smiled in a smug yet relaxed way and you felt ecstatic to know you were the cause. 

Light thunder echoed outside and snapped you out of whatever haze-filled stupor you sunk into after that kiss. “Uh… what was I doing..? Oh! Laundry, right.” Hopping off the couch, you gave Bakugo a shy smile as you walked back into your room to gather up your things, sorting through to find whatever needed scrubbing. You assumed since Bakugo now knew how to wash his own clothes that the same mishap with seeing his underwear wouldn’t happen a second time. 

Concentrating on stuffing your things into the washer and avoiding the man behind you scrubbing dishes was tougher than you realized, especially from the soft and memorable morning you’d had so far. Once that chore was underway, you plopped back down onto the couch with your game controller to see if he wanted to be competitive in a way that had nothing to do with climbing fake rocks. 

Bakugo walked over and looked between the controller in your hand and the TV. “You want to get your ass kicked that badly? Let me shower first.” Your phone perched on the arm of the couch translated his snarky comment. 

“We’ll see who loses!” you called out as he walked away towards the bathroom, vaguely aware of your eyes on him as the two of you stole glances at each other as if memorizing and savoring every stupid laugh and smile. 

Soaking up the hot steam from your shower, he relaxed as the water and the smell of soap gradually woke him up properly. What had you called him last night? “Crazy hot…?” Bakugo wasn’t a stranger to people staring and with parents working in the fashion industry he took at least a bit of pride in how he looked, but coming from you it made him snicker as suds spun down the drain at his feet. “Would she pass out if I walked out shirtless? Probably, or close to it.” Although the mental image of your burning face amused him immensely he figured pushing your buttons too quickly might not end well...plus, you’d already proven your own deviant behavior so who knew what kind of retaliation you’d come up with when his guard was down. 

He warmed up his hands with his quirk - not enough to light off sparks but enough to make them glow - and ran his fingers through his hair to quicken the drying process. After nearly two weeks it had grown a bit but wasn’t long enough to annoy him just yet. Turning around he stopped, brushed his teeth again for good measure, and walked out into the living room. This routine was unfamiliar, but he didn’t mind so much. 

Bakugo noticed you concentrating fully on the game you were playing, brows furrowed as your fingers moved rapidly over the worn buttons of the controller before a large “YOU LOSE” blinked across the screen. Judging by your angry mumbling this wasn’t your first loss. It reminded him of how you acted while driving. He silently watched you from behind the couch as you started another match and found it kind of adorable when you pouted if things didn’t go your way. How you had turned him into such a fucking sap in such a short amount of time he had no idea, but he wasn’t about to let the day go to waste dwelling on it. 

When you finally won you tossed the controller onto the couch and jumped up, screaming, “FUCKING FINALLY!! GOD!” Your sudden outburst brought a laugh out of him if nothing else. 

“You see that, Bakugo? I won,” you said while crossing your arms with pride. 

“How many times did you lose, though?” Bakugo retorted before easily hopping over the back of the couch to land on the cushion. You stared at him before clearing your throat and sitting down in your previous spot.

Waving your hand in the air dismissively, you turned to him. “Eh… a vague number of times, don’t exactly recall, doesn’t matter.” There was no effort on your part to keep any noticeable distance between the two of you now, a subtle detail that he accepted for now. 

“Can you beat me, though?” he asked with a smug grin. The gears turning in your head were obvious but you owned up to his challenge despite knowing he would, in all likelihood, win. 

Bakugo looked composed and at ease. After every consecutive defeat he lodged against your character you huffed and mashed the controller buttons with unnecessary force. You wanted to beat him at least once to wipe that smug grin off his face and wondered if there was a way to distract him just long enough to kick his character off the edge of the map. Maybe... ooh, I’m evil. But will it work… ?

As his character closed in, ready to launch one of those stupidly long combo attacks to drain half your health one go, you knew it was now or never. With how close the two of you sat it made it almost too easy to reach over and attempt to tickle him in the side right under his arm. His shocked laughter followed by a stream of curses bought you just enough time to unceremoniously boot Bakugo’s character right off the map and into oblivion. 

You were so shocked that your stupid plan actually worked, and Bakugo was so shocked that you’d actually pulled such a stunt just to win, that you both stared at the screen as “PLAYER 1: WINNER” flashed in bright gold letters. 

“I won...I won! HA! Eat that!” When you blinked yourself out of your stupor you jumped up from the couch and pointed right in Bakugo’s twitching face. It was torn between a mixture of amused and pissed. 

“Resorting to cheating, hah?” he practically growled as you crossed your arms. 

“Maybe...but it worked, didn’t it?” You stuck your tongue out at him before remembering what happened after breakfast. When Bakugo set down his controller in an ominously slow manner you felt your fight or flight instinct kick in, snatched your phone, and bolted towards the bathroom for safety. “Bye!”

You slid across the floor as quickly as you could manage as you heard Bakugo yell behind you and bolt off the couch hot on your tail. Managing to slam the bathroom door in his face you locked it while giggling like a maniac at the fact that you just tickled Bakugo and it fucking worked, holy shit

You saw the handle jiggle as he tried to open it from the other side. With your ear up against the door, you could hear his angry muttering as you tried not to double over from your own laughter. 

“Dao o akero! (Open the door),” he yelled. 

You had no idea what he said since his voice was too muffled by the door for your phone to translate, but you took a wild guess. “No way! You’re just a sore loser!”

The door handle stilled as a haunting silence came from the other...until you heard the familiar popping of his quirk. You could practically see the devious grin plastered on his face, thirsty for vengeance. “ No ...he wouldn’t,” you whispered with realization. “Don’t you dare blow up this door!”

Bakugo repeated his words from before, his tone lower with the biting edge of a snake about to strike. 

“Do you know how much my security deposit was for this place?! How do I explain a blasted door to maintenance?” you asked desperately while trying to figure out what to do. If you opened the door, you were doomed. If you didn’t open the door, you were still doomed. It seemed ridiculous that he’d actually cause property damage...but his pride was not something to wound without consequence. 

You looked around the bathroom for anything that might save you: toothbrush? No, useless. Soap? Fragrant, but impractical. Plunger? Gross. Shit...shit ! Sufficiently trapped with the knowledge that no matter what Bakugo would get his revenge, you groaned in defeat. The popping on the other side of the door grew louder before you slowly unlocked the door with a click while silently praying for mercy. 

As soon as you cracked open the door a piercing red eye glowing like a lump of burning coal stared down at you, and before you could react his hand reached through the gap, quick as lightning, and grabbed your wrist so you couldn’t slam it closed again. Bakugo opened the door and stepped into the cold fluorescent bathroom light with the exact grin you imagined. 

He backed you up against the wall, effectively trapping you and blocking your only exit. Your breath caught in your throat as your mind flashed suddenly with the realization of how incredibly hot it felt to be pinned up against a wall with Bakugo staring down at you hungrily. 

Oh ...um, s-sorry?” you squeaked out like a cornered animal. 

Bakugo just clicked his tongue at your feeble attempt at an apology. Cheating at the game by tickling him of all things was the last thing he expected but he’d be damned if he let you get away with it. “Sorry isn’t gonna cut it. Maybe you know the saying...an eye for an eye?” He let his voice drop low, his tone rough as the pad of his thumb felt the pulse beating rapidly under the skin of your wrist. He had you exactly where he wanted you. 

“Uh, maaaaybe?” Your eyes were blown wide and voice laced with nervousness. He’d never hurt you, but he could even the playing field. It was easy to grab up your other wrist and hold them over your head against the wall with one of his hands. Now truly defenseless his mouth twitched once more before he went in with his own tickle barrage, fingers skimming your sides and under your arms. It was the first time he’d ever tickled anyone, truth be told, but by how you started screeching and struggling Bakugo knew he was doing something right. 

“Ahaha! Stop oh my god I’m sorry I’m sorry!” you gasped between bursts of laughter, Bakugo’s hand still tight around your wrists as your face went red and tears began to pool at the corners of your eyes. Eventually, you let your body go limp as your knees gave out and you dragged yourself to the floor while still giggling as you attempted to catch your breath. 

Bakugo let go of your hands, figuring that you’d had enough torture for the time being. 

Looking down at you, spent from laughter, your chest heaving and cheeks ruddy made Bakugo’s eyes flash darkly. He swallowed the lump in his throat as his mind wandered into dangerous territory. Composing himself quickly he knelt down to your level as you pulled your head up to wipe away a stray tear from your sparkling eyes. As you opened your mouth to talk - lips plump and moist from biting them in a futile attempt at remaining quiet during his onslaught - Bakugo lunged forward on instinct and covered your mouth with his in a searing kiss full of needy energy. 

His left hand pressed up against the wall next to your head while the other gripped uselessly at the cold bathroom tile for traction, your hitching breath ghosting over his face through your nose. You jumped at first from the abrupt touch but it took you no time to relax under him, sandwiched between Bakugo and the wall behind you. 

You limply dropped your phone in your lap as your hands came up to weave through his softly textured hair. He usually ran warmer than most due to his quirk, but this was a completely different area code of hot, honestly. His mouth moved against yours hungrily, devouring every small sound you made that ran down his throat and into his chest. Occasionally, your teeth bumped into his but luckily you didn’t seem to care that he probably seemed well out of practice when it came to this type of thing. Bakugo saw stars last night, but now explosive fireworks bloomed behind his eyes as he felt your fingers scrape against his scalp, goosebumps shivering across his skin. Eventually, he had to pull away to breathe, his teeth tugging at your bottom lip before inching away. 

The two of you panted heavily, eyes blown out and dark. The atmosphere in the bathroom turned heavier than it had ever been between the two of you in a matter of seconds. You licked your lips subconsciously, Bakugo’s eyes following the action. It made you want to close the small distance between you, and it seemed like he’d read your mind as he leaned in again, his adam's apple bobbing in his throat...when your phone rang out from your lap, startling both of you with a jump. Glancing down you saw it was your mother. Perfecting timing, mom , you thought. 

Letting go of Bakugo’s hair, you reached down to grab your phone. “Okasan (mother),” you mumbled, the little bit of common Japanese you knew coming to you in the moment. He nodded, ran a hand down his face, and stood up from the bathroom floor before extending a hand to help you up to your feet. 

Wordlessly the two of you exited the bathroom as you bolted into your room, your finger swiping to answer the call before it went to voicemail. “Hey, mom…!” You were going to need a bit of distance to cool off after what just transpired. 

As soon as Bakugo saw your bedroom door close, he promptly stuck his head in your freezer, his foot tapping rapidly on the floor in an attempt to calm the hell down after that little makeout session. 

You, on the other hand, took a deep breath in the safety of your room as your mother spoke. “Honey, are you alright? You’re breathing hard.”

Lie through your teeth ! “O-oh I just uh got done working out! Just...trying to stay healthy, ya know?” Your awkward laugh at the end probably didn’t help things but you knew your face was burning and there was nothing you could do about it. Your mother hummed on the other side, keen to your bullshit after so many years. 

“Mmhm, alright.” She didn’t sound convinced. “What have you been up to? I know you were having a bit of a dilemma last week and wanted to see if you were able to figure things out.”

“Oh, that.” You gathered up your thoughts quickly to remain focused. “Actually, I kinda followed your advice.”

“Which part?” Amusement laced your mother’s voice knowing her words had rung true. 

“I took a leap of faith,” you admitted while smiling to yourself thinking about Bakugo. 

She let out a curious huff on the other end of the line. “Hmm, well, you don’t sound upset...so how did it work out for you?”

“I told the guy I like that I liked him and um, he likes me back.” You felt like a giddy teenager telling your mom about your crush and boy problems but you were too happy that everything worked out for the best to care. “He isn’t quite sure when he has to leave, but I guess we both figured that it was now or never.”

“Oh, baby, that’s wonderful! Tell me: have you kissed him yet? Is he polite to you? Are there any photos of this boy I can see?” Her prying questions made you laugh as you fell onto your bed. 

“Oh my god, you sound just like my friend when I told her about him...and yes we’ve kissed a couple of times.” Heat flooded your face thinking back to just a few minutes ago in the bathroom but you’d never admit that outloud. “I don’t have any pictures, no. I’d probably need to butter him up to get him to take one.”

Bakugo didn’t really seem like the type of person who enjoyed taking pictures, but having just one to keep would be worth any begging. 

“Sounds a bit like your father, honestly. But baby you sound so much happier now and even if it’s temporary, I think these are the moments to cherish. It would’ve been awful wondering ‘what if’ I think. I know you and it would’ve driven you crazy,” she said with a small chuckle. You hated to admit it but your mom really did know you best. 

“Yeah...I know. I think he sort of came to the same conclusion.” It still felt a bit like a dream, honestly. Bakugo Katsuki made out with you on your bathroom floor. You could make him smile and laugh! You suppressed a giggle to keep your mom from taunting you too much. 

“Try and get me a picture! Is he cute?” You could picture the prying expression of your mother through the phone. 

Glancing over your shoulder to double check that the door was closed you whispered, “mom, he’s the hottest guy I’ve ever met no lie he’s a solid ten, wait no, twenty.” She nearly gasped on the other end and you buried your face in your pillow. 

“Ooh! How exciting. Well, be careful...I’m still your mother. Use protection-”

You interrupted her with a startled yelp at her implication. “MOM OH MY GOD! Don’t say that!”

“Oh, hush. I know you’re smart but I have to say it anyway.” And just after you managed to calm down one sentence sent you reeling back into embarrassment. 

Conversation flowed for a few more minutes after your mom stopped teasing you on the other end. “Well, I’ll let you go. Is it raining over there? We might get some here tonight.”

Walking over to your bedroom window, you peeked out of the blinds and watched raindrop pour down outside, the sky dark and gloomy overhead. “Yeah, looks like it’ll stick around a while.”

“Alrighty, be safe, love you.”

“Love you, too.” With that, you hung up and let out a sigh of relief. “Mom why you gotta be so nosy…?” You made sure you were composed before opening up your door to find Bakugo a few feet away staring out into the parking lot outside through the blinds. Letting his hand drop, he looked over to you.

“Hey,” you said to break the silence marred only by the rain outside while pulling up the translator.

“You said that was your mom?” he asked before taking a sip of water from the glass he held. Water sounded exceptionally refreshing at that moment. 

You nodded and leaned against your doorframe. “Yeah, she likes to check in every once in awhile, make sure I’m alive. Typical mom stuff, I guess.” Bakugo hummed in response before you asked a curious question. “What about your mom? What’s she like?”

Bakugo scoffed before turning back towards the window. “Nosy old hag…”

Your jaw dropped and brow furrowed as the phone translated. “Uh, excuse me?” 

Apparently, you’d assumed Bakugo meant you and not his mother, making him choke on his water as his eyes widened. “No, fuck, my mom is the hag, not you. She’s too much like me, to be honest. Not sure if that’s always a good thing.”

Bakugo and his mother had grown up with a bizarre relationship that, looking back, probably wasn’t the healthiest. Once he understood Todoroki’s childhood trauma - really understood it and what it meant - Bakugo looked at his own relationship with his mother in a different light. They still talked and visited each other during the small gaps in Hero work when he had a day off, but for the most part, Bakugo made his own path for himself separate from his parents. If it fell into some of that self-care bullshit that people talked about, he’d take it. 

You didn’t need to know any of that, though. 

“Parents tend to raise their kids in their own image. You don’t seem all that bad to me, so…” You shrugged and gave him a soft smile. “I bet she misses you, though.”

He suddenly felt the need to move, to rid himself of the stillness bottling itself up in his muscles. His feet carried him into the kitchen to lean against the counter more on instinct than anything else. You followed not far behind. “I’m sure she’s yelled at someone by now about it. She’s stubborn and loud, mostly.”

“Yeah, that does sound like you,” you quipped before he reached over and flicked you on the nose. “Hey!”

“Smartass,” he teased. The air around the two of you felt very different now from how it did in the bathroom, heat gone and replaced with a bizarre sense of calm. Bakugo normally disliked rain and chilly weather, far preferring spring and summer...but so long as he was inside the gentle pitter-patter on the roof didn’t bother him so much. Having you around might’ve contributed to that feeling...just a bit. 

The rollercoaster of the past couple of days had distracted him from thinking of home and his situation, but talking about his mom reminded him harshly of what he should be focused on and a pang of guilt flashed across his face for a moment. Should he really be happy right now? Enjoying his time here so long as he remained stuck? Shouldn’t he-

“Hey.” Your voice snapped him out of his spiraling daze. Bakugo looked up to see a slight look of concern on your face as you gestured over to the couch. He set his empty glass on the counter and followed you more on reflex than anything, sitting next to you with his back facing the window outside. 

Without words the two of you settled with you leaned up against his chest, one of his legs dangling lazily over the edge, his bare toes tickling the floor. He wasn’t used to this but it somehow felt natural, one of his hands draped loosely around your midsection. Your weight against him made him feel solid and grounded as his mind continued to wander. 

“Bakugo?” His chest vibrated as you spoke. “I know you miss your home...I’m sure you’ll be able to go back soon.”

Your voice was soft and held a tinge of hesitancy in it as though bringing up the subject would upset him. Truth be told, maybe he needed to talk about this shit, air it out in the open every once in a while. Who else was he going to talk about it with, anyway? 

“Yeah, I do. I grew up there, my life is there, my career, my dumb friends. I’m a Hero there, and being a Hero is what I’m good at. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be.” Bakugo did miss his friends, the familiar foods, his apartment, the smells, sounds, beating up villains...he’d never known anything else. 

Things were calm in this universe - calmer than he’d ever personally experienced back home. Maybe if he turned on the news it would show him familiar scenes of violence...but despite his anxiety surrounding this whole situation, the tranquility here felt like a long-overdue reprieve. 

“Sorry.” Your voice was soft despite the stoic robot-like cadence of your phone which he’d gotten used to by now. He absentmindedly rubbed circles into the fabric of your shirt with the pad of his thumb. 

“Don’t be, none of this shit is your fault. I just wish I had more information. I feel just as in the dark now as I did a week ago. People back home might know what happened, or how to get me back...but maybe they can’t reach me. No fucking clue. I have ideas, but that’s all they are.”

You hummed in time with the gentle roll of thunder outside. Things seemed to have calmed down since the early morning. “What kind of ideas? You’ve told me a few before, but have you thought of anything new?”

Bakugo lifted his hand from your shirt and held it out, a faint orange glow emanating from his palm, the muscles in his forearms twitching slightly. “Think of quirks like a limb or muscle: if you overextend it then it needs time to heal. If a quirk is really powerful then once it becomes overused, it might need more time to return to normal. Over the decades quirks have become increasingly strong and versatile, but there are always drawbacks. If I overuse my quirk, for example, my arms and hands start to hurt. Rarely happens now from the years of training I’ve done, though. Whatever quirk sent me here must be very strong. It might be days, weeks...more...before I can go home if it’s dependent on something like time.” His voice trailed off at the thought of spending such a long amount of time here without a choice in the matter. Bakugo placed a lot of stake in autonomy, so having his stripped away stung like salt on an open wound. 

The silence stretched between you both and you sighed against his chest before replying. “Well, if your friends are as smart as they seem from your stories then I’m sure they’ll figure out how to get some information to you soon.”

He clicked his tongue and rested his chin on top of your head, the two of you leaning against couch cushions. “Collectively they should be able to figure something out.."

“Well, either way, let me know if I can do anything to help. I’ve been told I’m a pretty good listener if you ever want to vent.”

Of course, you would offer even more to him than you already had. Bakugo just shook his head and sighed. None of this was your responsibility or burden to bear yet you continued to act selflessly for his sake. "You've done enough, already," Bakugo admitted. It didn't feel like an adequate response.

You both remained that way for a while, the quiet interrupted only by the rain outside. Downcast yet still comfortable, both of you lost in your own thoughts. Wondering when he might leave felt almost pointless at this stage, so he selfishly resigned himself to enjoying the time he had here to the best of his ability. At minimum you kept him distracted which he was wholly grateful for. He felt your even breathing against his chest, a rhythm, a warmth that spread through him despite the chill outside. Everything converged into a potent mix, his eyes fluttering shut and arm still loosely draped around you as it lulled him into sleep.

When you awoke, you didn’t realize you’d even been asleep. For the first time that day, a bit of sunlight streamed in from the blinds behind you, and listening closely you heard the soft chirping of birds that had replaced the thunder and rain. As your vision cleared, you felt something sturdy at your back and warm breath against your hair. Looking down, Bakugo’s arm lay limp around your waist, serene, still. He must’ve fallen asleep, too, but you managed to wake up first. You hated the idea of moving from this dreamy spot cuddled up with Bakugo, but mother nature called and you had to use the bathroom. Moving as slowly as you could you managed to untangle yourself from him and ease off the couch, tiptoeing into the bathroom. 

After finishing your business and washing your hands you opened the door quietly in anticipation of Bakugo asleep on the couch, but instead you saw him yawn and stretch in an almost adorably cat-like way. With the sunlight softly cascading into the room his pale blonde hair looked almost like a glowing halo.

It was now early afternoon after that little power nap and almost right on cue your stomach rumbled, apparently angry that you hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. You looked up mortified but Bakugo just stared at you before letting out a single chuckle. He walked close enough to hand you your phone, a sleepy smile on his face. It was almost painful how handsome he was. “I guess you want lunch, then?”

You cleared your throat and slid into the kitchen to grab a glass of water. “Aha, yeah, I guess I do. My stomach knows what it wants. Actually...now that it’s stopped raining, wanna take a walk outside afterwards?”

He hummed nodded and started pulling things out of the fridge for whatever he wanted to make. “Fine with me.”

You smiled before remembering you had wet clothes in the washer. “Shit,” you mumbled, hoping they didn’t start to smell as you hopped over to stuff everything into the dryer with a couple of dryer sheets. You also grabbed your phone charger from your room and plugged it up into a socket under the counter. 

As Bakugo started cooking, you couldn’t help but openly stare at him without reservations. His movements in the kitchen were smooth and oozed confidence. Mesmerizing was one word to use. It was almost surreal to compare this man in front of you man to the one who arrived here twelve days ago with his frightening anger and explosions. You wanted to get to know every side of him that he was willing to show. 

Every once in awhile he’d look up at you and roll his eyes but never told you to stop staring, which must’ve been obvious by now. 

“Enjoying the view?” he asked smugly. You cut your eyes away like a child being caught doing something she shouldn’t. 

“No, I’m just bored,” you retorted with an overly sarcastic tone that made him click his tongue. 

“Smartass. Take a damn picture then.” You knew he wasn’t serious but your response stuck to your tongue as a question popped into your head. 

You pretended to examine your fingernails, fully expecting him to deny you. “...Would you mind?” you asked hesitantly. 

Bakugo stopped chopping to turn to you with a questioning look. “Mind what?”

“Taking a picture of you...wait, no, that came out wrong. Maybe uh, one...together? If you’re OK with that?” Biting your lip, you looked up to see his eyes widen with surprise, apparently not expecting that explanation. 

“You want a picture together.” He said it more as a statement than a question. 

“I mean- only if you want! I know not everyone likes their picture taken…” The thought of having a keepsake, even just one picture, to remember this day made you hopeful. 

Bakugo set down the knife and leaned on the counter into your personal space, crimson eyes boring into yours with an amazing amount of scrutiny. 

“Normally, I hate pictures. The press are vultures who bug the hell out of me and any other Hero for an interview or photo opportunity.” You assumed that was his answer and couldn’t help but look a bit crestfallen...but he continued, a finger tapping evenly on the counter. “Let me think on it.”

That sounded better than a straight “no” so you held out hope that with enough buttering up he might give in. “Sure! Yeah, of course.”

After a while you must’ve zoned out scrolling through your phone when you felt a jab in the ribs and blinked quickly to see him smirking next to you. “How do you manage to go so far into your head like that?” 

“Talent,” you said without thinking, your tongue playing behind your teeth threatening to poke itself out at him again, but you weren’t quite ready for whatever retaliation he’d lob your way just yet. 

Lunch was delicious but you expected nothing less. You came to two conclusions as to why it wasn’t spicy: either he truly was plotting your untimely demise by setting your mouth on fire when you least expected it, or he was intentionally making your portions milder than his own. Either way, you had no complaints and ate with a bit of an unconscious wiggle, an idiosyncrasy you’d had since you were little. You only wiggled when the food tasted delicious, though. 

You attempted to argue with him yet again about the damn dishes when the two of you finished eating; you were just as stubborn as he was. Now that he knew at least one weakness of yours Bakugo reached a hand forward with an ominous glint, making you take a step back. 

“Don’t you dare tickle me again! Ugh, fine, wash the damn dishes then.” You turned your nose up at him but couldn’t help but smile while throwing your hands up dramatically. Walking towards your room you felt his eyes on you, and when you looked over your shoulder he didn’t bother glancing away, shameless in his staring. You had to admit, it made you feel pretty damn good about yourself. 

When you closed the door to your room, Bakugo ran a hand through his hair. “What a nerd,” he mumbled under his breath before grabbing some clothes and headed into the bathroom to change. If you could stare, so could he, right? He’d be lying to himself if he said he didn’t notice the way your hips swayed when you walked or how hot it was when you stood up to him with confidence. 

When he came out, you were already waiting, leaned up against the couch playing on your phone. You wore some boots that boosted your height a small amount, fitted jeans, a loose shirt and hoodie, one similar to his own but a different color. He had to quickly derail his train of thought because it definitely was not going in the right direction. The crazy hormonal teenage phase miraculously skipped over him with how focused he remained on training. His natural stubbornness didn’t help things, either. Now, apparently, he was paying the price for it without those distractions around. 

Bakugo bit the inside of his cheek as you looked at him. “Hayaku (hurry up),” he said, grabbing his own hoodie and heading towards the front door to keep from saying or doing anything stupid. 

His hand gripped around the door handle when he noticed you standing behind him, your own hand outstretched towards him, palm up. He looked at you confused, not understanding what you wanted...until he saw a brief flash of disappointment in your eyes as you started to pull your hand away. Wait...did you want to hold his hand?

“It’s OK if you don’t-” you started, but he didn’t let you finish before he grabbed your hand and yanked you forward as determination flooded through him. What, he could kiss you on your bathroom floor but felt embarrassed holding your hand? Stupid , he thought even though he was sure the tips of his ears were pink. Your skin felt softer than his, palms free from scars and calluses due to years of intense exercise and quirk use. He’d never held anyone’s hand before; not like this, anyway. 

The way you bit your lip and smiled at him like a sap made it worth it. 

“Oh! Hold on.” You opened up the utility closet next to the door to grab an umbrella. “Just in case.”

Maybe he felt self-conscious because his hands were naturally sweaty due to his quirk, but you luckily didn’t seem to mind as the two of you walked outside towards the park he used as his temporary training area. Clouds still lined the sky, so your idea to bring your umbrella wasn’t unfounded. The air held a slight chill, the ground damp and marred with scattered puddles while humidity and the smell of fresh rainfall filled his nose. 

He listened to you talk about the city, how long you’d lived here, and listed off some of your favorite spots to visit or people-watch. After a while, he got used to the feeling of your hand in his and didn’t give it a second thought. 

Other people had the same idea to enjoy a respite from the rain, one couple pushing a stroller while a group of teenagers attempted to climb one of the taller trees. “I really need to come out here more. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in work and dumb stuff that I don’t just take a relaxing walk.”

“This is where I’ve been exercising. It’s fairly quiet, which is good,” he commented as the two of you continued to walk. Some odd movement up ahead caused him to slow his pace and narrow his eyes. 

“Huh? What’s wrong?” 

Bakugo ignored you and focused instead on the struggling people just off the path of the sidewalk - until one person stumbled and fell while the other bolted in the opposite direction. He slipped out of your hand and started running, your calls after him falling on deaf ears as Hero-mode took over. 

You watched nervously as Bakugo bolted from zero to a hundred in terms of speed to sprint after the asshole who was about to seriously regret their life decisions while you jogged towards the person who fell. As you got closer, it seemed to be an older woman who looked terrified and shaken. “Oh my god, are you OK?! Can you stand?” you asked in a panic while extending a hand to try and help her up. 

The woman groaned but grabbed onto you as you helped her up, her flower-patterned dress now dirty with damp earth. You glanced up just in time to see Bakugo literally tackle the guy to the ground in the distance, roll perfectly, and land back on his feet while the poor sap struggled on the ground. It was one of the hottest things you’d ever seen someone do with your own two eyes. 

As you talked to the woman you found out a man came up behind her and attempted to take her purse, but being a “stubborn old bat” as she kindly put it, she resisted and put up a fight. He took her bag and left her in the mud. It wasn’t long before a security guard that roamed around the park came jogging up to Bakugo and the robber in the distance to assess the situation. Bakugo pointed up towards the two of you since you assumed he couldn’t understand the uniformed guard. 

Bakugo followed the guard who dragged the purse-snatcher behind him as they walked towards you, the thief covered in dirt and leaves and twigs after literally getting tackled into the ground. Bakugo looked no worse for wear aside from his muddy shoes. 

“Excuse me, ma’am? Can you tell me exactly what happened?” the guard asked towards the older woman. She pointed a shaky finger in the robber’s direction. 

“I was just walking and this hooligan tried to take my bag. I’m not as young and spry as I used to be but I fought him off! How rude!” She took her bag back and promptly smacked him with it, but your attention was focused solely on Bakugo who walked around the involved individuals and back to your side, hands in his pockets as though he hadn’t just thwarted a burglary. 

He had no defense so the purse-snatcher kept his mouth shut but a dirty sneer seemed permanently etched into his face. He shrunk back slightly when Bakugo glared his way, though. “You should thank this man. He uh, performed quite a stunt back there.” The officer shuffled his feet, silently admitting his own lack of acrobatic skills. 

The old woman tore her eyes away from the burglar, her expression shifting almost immediately to one that oozed pleasant grandma energy. “Ooh, thank you, young man. This younger generation is so kind,” she said, taking his strong hand in hers and shaking it as Bakugo stood awkwardly and just let it happen. She then turned to you and one wrinkly eye gave you a subtle wink and a gentle pat on the arm. “Thank you for your help, too. Treat this one right, young lady. He’s a keeper!”

At her words, you turned bright red. "Um yes, thank you!" Bakugo cut his eyes to you questioningly, probably wondering what this woman said that made you look so embarrassed. After the officer walked away with the burglar in tow and the old woman continued on her slow path down the sidewalk, you took a deep breath to calm yourself after that wave of excitement before grabbing up your umbrella once more and continuing on your walk with Bakugo beside you. 

“I have to say, that was really impressive. Didn’t anticipate anything like that happening today,” you said with a light chuckle. Bakugo looked at you like you were crazy. 

“That? Easy. I’ve taken down villains who could destroy entire city blocks. That was pitifully simple.” He stated it with only a slight air of arrogance as a way to downplay his actions, but he mesmerized you anyway. 

“Well, I thought it was amazing.” You hooked your hand around his elbow since his hands were stuffed into his pockets. He didn’t pull away, and when you glanced up at him through your eyelashes you swore his eyes lit up and his chest puffed up slightly at the obvious stroke to his pride and ego. Maybe telling him it was sexy, too, would’ve been overkill. 

He was used to the awe and groveling thrown his way back home, numbness taking over at some point as he went through the motions day in and day out...but here everything he did was outside of the norm, and he’d be damned if the admirable look you gave him didn’t spur him on to keep talking. It reminded him of Friday night and how you sat on the edge of your seat as he retold stories that had nearly slipped his memory from how mundane they seemed. Bakugo jumped into yet another one while the two of you walked, continuing the trend of impressing you with his feats of heroism. 

“You really are a great Hero, Bakugo. You have every right to be proud.” When it came to strangers and the press their statements usually rang hollow and Bakugo brushed them off without much thought. However, when they came from someone he gave a damn about and respected - All Might, for example - he generally deflected and chalked it up to luck. Slowly but surely you were inching your way into this second category. 

Eventually, the sun started to set and he realized how quickly time passed while doing something as simple as walking with you in the park and found that, surprisingly, he didn’t mind it at all. Being outside was better than being stuck inside, at least. 

“Hey, my phone’s starting to die so we should probably head back,” you said. When it was done translating you stuffed your phone into your pocket and the two of you wandered back towards the direction of your apartment. About halfway there the distinct sound of rolling thunder echoed overhead. “Shit…” you mumbled while looking up at the sky. He could already feel a drop or two land on his face. 

As soon as the two of you jogged out of the park the rain had started pouring down once more, but luckily you had the foresight to bring your umbrella. Bakugo held it above the two of you since he was taller as the sky turned dark and the mud on his shoes from earlier was scrubbed away by the deepening puddles in the sidewalk. 

By the time you both made it back to your apartment both of you were halfway soaked as the rain decided to drift along in the wind. The umbrella could only help so much. Even so, you were laughing as you fished your keys out of your pocket to open the door as Bakugo removed his soaked shoes. It was then he noticed how your damp clothes clung to you and averted his eyes from staring before you took notice.

Closing the door behind him, Bakugo shook his hair out like a wet dog while you yelled at him. “Oh my god, stop, you weirdo!” The smile gave you away that you weren’t really mad so he didn’t care. 

He watched you plug up your phone as he shuffled past you into the bathroom for a much-needed hot shower and a change of clean, dry clothes. 

When you heard the shower running you decided to change into some pajamas and put up your clean clothes from earlier while you waited for the bathroom to free up. “Hate hanging up clothes,” you mumbled, stuffing things into your closet and drawers before waiting outside the bathroom. A hot shower sounded like a blessing. 

As Bakugo came out, steam pouring from the room behind him, he was still pulling his shirt down and you glimpsed a bit of skin you weren’t expecting. While you knew he was ripped you still gasped out of shock because, damn , how could you not? A long scar also ran from under the hem of his pajama pants up his torso in a zigzag of healed-over tissue. If your brain had been working properly you would have wondered what - or who - caused such damage. 

His ruby eyes settled on your pitiful attempt not to blush and avert eye contact. Maybe boosting his ego so much earlier hadn’t entirely worn off because he just smirked that stupidly handsome smirk of his and leaned against the doorframe, daring you to come closer. 

When you finally resigned to move forward he blocked you, stepping in the same direction you did. This back and forth continued until you managed to duck under one of his arms, and slam the door shut at his back. “Nice abs, hot stuff!” you yelled through the door knowing he couldn’t understand you, but you heard him laugh anyway on pure assumption.

You let the warm water cascade over you, shrugging off the chill from the rain outside. So much had changed in the past twenty-four hours; it felt like a surreal dream. A song erupted from the fluttering butterflies in your chest even knowing Bakugo could hear you outside, and by the time you finished your shower you felt lighter than air. 

Walking out of the bathroom, you found Bakugo had already started dinner, various spices and ingredients strewn about on the counter. I could get used to this , you thought selfishly as you grabbed your phone still plugged up to the charger and leaned against the faux marble. You really needed to dig more into that dictionary to better communicate with him without your phone. “What are you making?”

“You’ll see,” he replied ominously before turning back around to focus on the stove. 

“You really don’t have to keep cooking, you know.” Bakugo just scoffed as though to suggest otherwise was ridiculous. 

“Too bad, don’t complain,” he quipped over his shoulder. You hummed and shook your head at his dramatics before grabbing one of the novels you’d started reading and plopping down on the couch to let him concentrate. If you were honest with yourself, though, your mind wandered after only skimming a few pages. 

Listening to all his Hero stories at the park made you wonder if he was uncomfortable with the inability to use his quirk for so long. It was second nature to people in his universe, right? An extension of himself. Did it feel like an invisible third hand tied behind his back? Were there side-effects of withholding use of his quirk for almost two weeks? Not to mention that it directly connected Bakugo to his home. You wondered if there was something you could do to help in some way if he was stuck here for who knew how long...but how? 

You were unaware that Bakugo often glanced up from focusing on dinner to stare at you curiously.

“Oi, food!” Bakugo called from the kitchen when everything was finally done. When he woke up this morning, he wasn’t sure what he was in for after everything that transpired the previous night, but today...had been good, overall. Some pangs of home hit him earlier without the turmoil of his feelings weighing him down. But somehow, and he was silently grateful for this, you managed to ease his frustrations by just being you

He plated everything evenly - maybe a bit OCD but it would’ve bugged him otherwise - and set the dishes on the table while you grabbed your phone and sat down in your usual seat next to him. 

“Oh, it smells so good!” you praised. It was dangerous to get accustomed to your near-constant shower of compliments, but he didn’t feel like shutting it down quite yet. 

“I know,” he replied with a shrug and you just rolled your eyes. 

“Yeah, yeah, I’m sure everyone knows the great Bakugo is a multitalented perfectionist.” You got a swift kick in the leg for that one with the heel of his foot. 

The two of you ate in relative silence, Bakugo glancing over to see that stupid wiggle you did in your chair every time you took a bite. “Have you ever taken cooking lessons? I feel like...if you weren’t a Hero you could own a restaurant or something. You could probably do anything you wanted.”

He nearly snorted at the question. “Cooking isn’t hard. It’s just putting shit together and experimenting with flavor profiles.” It was just common sense, really, but judging by your eye roll you didn’t buy it. 

“Ah, yes, super easy. Is there anything you aren’t good at?” 

Bakugo hesitated because, honestly? He truly was a perfectionist and excelled at most things he tried. It did nothing to knock his ego down a peg...but there was one thing he knew for sure he was terrible at. 

“I can’t sing worth a shit so you win that one.” Kirishima sounded like a dying animal and was by far the worst singer of their friend group, but Bakugo followed close behind which was why he adamantly refused to participate in karaoke. 

You glanced shyly down at your food, mimicking your embarrassment from this morning when he brought up your singing. It was honestly cute how one small compliment made you so humble, but a change in subject was in order. 

“What were you thinking about earlier?” he asked, never one to hold back what was on his mind. You looked up with furrowed brows. 

“Huh?”

“When you were reading. It was obvious you were distracted.” He watched you swallow another bite of food more slowly than you needed before answering. 

“Oh...just mulling over some ideas, is all.” Bakugo quirked up an eyebrow at your answer. He expected you to elaborate but instead your expression shifted from happy one moment to contemplative the next, as though whatever rolled around in that head of yours weighed you down. 

This was another thing Bakugo was terrible at: comforting people. He’d gotten better at it, especially during rescue missions, but Kirishima and Uraraka oozed helpful and approachable energy, so he usually left the tasks up to them while he just kicked ass. 

Maybe you didn’t want to talk about it, and Bakugo wasn’t one to pry into someone’s personal business. If you didn’t want to share he wouldn’t make you unless the situation seemed dire. Another change in subject was in order... Oh...I know. Fuck it, why not.

“Oi,” he said, grabbing your attention. “Let’s take a picture after dinner.”

Almost immediately your eyes lit up and he knew he’d made the right choice. “Wh- really? You want to?”

“I don’t lie, yeah I mean it.” The smile you threw his way could’ve lit up a city block and he’d be damned if he didn’t admit it was captivating. The fact that you actually wanted a picture with him to remind you of his time here made him feel warmer than he cared to admit. He also appreciated the fact that you seemed easy to please. Your straightforwardness meant he didn’t need to crack his head open to figure you out. 

After you scraped your plate clean you again argued with him about the damn dishes. It was becoming a routine, a never-ending argument. 

“Let me wash the fucking dishes, already!” You had one hand in the sink while the other tried uselessly to shove him out of the way, but he was easily strong enough to hold his ground. 

“I don’t mind helping!” With a huff Bakugo tossed a soapy spoon in the sink before swooping forward and picking you up, slinging you over his shoulder like a yelling sack of potatoes. 

“Wh- what the hell put me down !” He’d carried enough people to safety to know how to hold someone in just about every position; Bakugo had one arm around your legs to keep you from kicking and the other around your midsection as you wiggled at his back while screeching and laughing. 

Bakugo walked around the counter and set you down on the couch, admiring your messy hair and stunned silence before strutting back into the kitchen to finish the dishes. He never lost in a fight, no matter how small, even if he won through incredibly petty means. 

“I won’t give up!” You shouted from the couch while trying to get a grip on yourself after that flustering situation. If he could pick you up like that all the time you’d have no complaints no matter how unfair it was. Holding hands made him blush but that was about it as far as you’d observed. How was he so composed all the time?

Standing up from the couch you slid into the bathroom, avoiding Bakugo’s smirk from the kitchen. You wanted to brush your teeth and fix your hair if he really wanted to take a picture together. 

Walking back out Bakugo was already on the couch presumably waiting for you. A bit of shyness overcame you at the moment but you reminded yourself that he could be gone tomorrow and you’d have let this keepsake slip away...and dammit, if you could make out with him on your bathroom floor you could take a picture without looking too flustered. 

Grabbing your phone, you sat next to him, your leg brushing against his for a split second. “Can we take two pictures?” you asked a bit selfishly. What if the first one turned out bad? What if you blinked? A few scenarios ran through your head before you came up with a devious plan, but he’d need to agree for it to work. 

Bakugo shrugged it off. “So long as it doesn’t take forever.” 

“You have to try and smile, though.” He groaned and rolled his eyes but you could tell it was all for show. 

Leaning your head on his shoulder you posed, smiled, and snapped the first picture. It was awkward but there was no going back now. Looking at your screen it wasn’t half-bad at all, but you still wanted one more.

Bakugo honestly didn’t mind the pictures so much, but posing for them always felt fake and forced. With you, though, it wasn’t agitating. If he could suffer through magazine interviews and incapacitate villains then he could take a damn picture, right? He’d never taken a couples ph-

Fuck .

As soon as the word “couple” entered his brain you kissed him on the cheek and snapped the picture, catching him in a moment of stunned surprise like a deer caught in headlights. His flustered face now stared back at him from your phone screen. You sneaky shit

Your laughing brought him out of his head. “Ahaha, you look so cute!” you teased, poking him in the cheek. 

He growled on instinct, not used to feeling self conscious and especially not having proof of it. His brain flipping on a stupid switch was becoming increasingly common around you. 

“If you don’t like it...I can delete it. I don’t want you to feel weird about it or anything,” you said, his face apparently giving away his agitation. It was just a dumb picture, and you looked so genuine that it spurred him on. 

“It’s fine, keep it.” Bakugo shifted his gaze off to the side but didn’t miss the smile you gave with his response. I’m such a fucking sap, what the fuck

The two of you sat there for a moment before you let out a sigh. “Thanks for indulging me. I think today...was a really good day. I had fun. Hopefully it wasn’t too boring for you since we didn’t really do anything exciting.”

Bakugo thought about the day from this morning to now and honestly couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so...light. This was new and unfamiliar territory, but it didn’t scare him; if anything, it made him excited to explore whatever the hell this was. He found himself trying to get you to smile, and when you did he committed the sight to memory. The rollercoaster of emotions he’d felt while growing closer to you did not bode well the longer this dragged on, but for now he didn’t care. He wanted to step into the warmth you emitted, perched on the edge to avoid the cold that nipped at his heels. 

“Yeah, it was a good day,” he admitted. He either threw himself fully into something or saw no point in pursuing it at all, so why should this be any different? 

The way your eyes lit up told him it was worth it. 

The two of you decided to relax for the rest of the evening and watch a movie you picked out on Netflix. It was subtitled so you could read it and Bakugo could listen in his native language. You managed to wiggle your way into cuddling with him again, his grumbling a performance than anything else. 

Of all the things you pictured him doing, cuddling with you on the couch while the two of you watched a movie was not on your imaginary list of hypothetical scenarios. It truly did feel like an excellent end to the day. Your phone was off but Bakugo chimed in anyway, gesturing angrily whenever some terribly-acted fight scene came on, probably blurting with complete confidence that he could do better. 

By the time the last line in the movie was spoken, you could feel the heaviness of your eyelids as you pulled back out your phone. “Tomorrow is Monday...back to work I guess,” you groaned, thinking about leaving the weekend behind to slog through another day at the office. 

“Do you not like your job?” he asked while trying to stifle his own yawn.

You just shrugged and leaned against his side. “It’s fine. I mean, I’m good at what I do, and people rely on me. But sometimes things piss me off...like when assholes try to take credit for my work. I don’t want to be there forever, but it’s a stepping stone.”

Bakugo rarely thought about civilian life because he knew nothing else other than Hero work. He’d never had another job. Working in an office all day sounded like torture if he was honest, which was why he delegated all his paperwork to an assistant at the agency. 

“You should look for something new, then.” The solution seemed simple: find something you actually liked doing, or at least a place that valued your work. He could tell you weren’t a slacker and probably threw yourself into whatever you needed to do just like Bakugo did. “No use being some place you don’t wanna be.”

“Yeah, that’s true...you’re happy as a Hero, right?”

The question seemed so ludicrous that he almost laughed. Bakugo answered with unwavering confidence. “Yes. I wouldn’t tolerate anything else. It’s what I always wanted to be, and I’m fucking good at it.” It wasn’t a lie - he as a top Hero and would rather chew glass than change his career path. He missed it terribly. 

“From what you’ve told me you’re more than just good,” you replied, referencing his earlier boasting. Chuckling softly, Bakugo nudged you when he saw your eyes flutter closed. 

“Go to sleep.” It was more an order than a suggestion. 

“I don’t want to,” you whined, attempting to push even closer to him but, as nice as it felt, you’d never win at a game of stubbornness with him. 

“You want to feel like shit tomorrow? No? Then go to sleep. I don’t wanna hear you complain about it.” He wasn’t going to say he’d be here tomorrow, neither of you knowing what the morning might bring. 

Waving a hand in the air like a white flag you finally gave in. “Alright fine, I’ll be responsible I guess.” You stretched your arms above your head and rolled off the couch and into the bathroom. 

When you came out you yawned and he found this sleepy face of yours kind of adorable. Seated on the couch, Bakugo was surprised when you walked close and swooped down for a peck on his cheek, longer than the one before. 

He turned his head and stared into those glistening eyes of yours and both of you had the same idea, meeting in the middle for a final goodnight kiss. Your lips were soft and warm and you tasted vaguely of mint, sweet and light and different from the passionate energy of the afternoon. Bakugo cherished the simple sensation, his fingers pausing from picking at a stray thread on the seam of the couch. 

“Goodnight, Bakugo,” you said softly, pulling away. He didn’t need an app to understand, you’d wished him goodnight enough times at this point.  

“Oyasumi.” You padded towards your room behind him but looked back over your shoulder and he watched, committing the sight to memory; For what purpose he didn’t know but he wasn’t about to think too hard on it. Not now. 

When you finally disappeared behind your closed door Bakugo ran a hand through his hair and filled his lungs with the smell of your apartment before letting the breath out slowly. Everything was new and experimental and thrilling in an oddly comfortable sort of way. You continually surprised him and kept him on his toes. He’d fallen into a years-long routine at home, and while he loved it and missed it...this wasn’t so bad, really, so long as it was temporary.

After he brushed his teeth and settled back onto the couch - he really missed his damn bed, but oh well - he glanced up in the darkness at your door before closing his eyes to the moonlight and wondered what he’d wake up to. 

Chapter Text

moodboardch13

The incessant blaring of your alarm pulled you from a pleasant and dreamless sleep. Reaching over, you fumbled to turn it off before sitting up with a groan. “Mondays...gross.” 

After rolling out of bed and searching around in your dresser for some work clothes, you paused in front of your door. It had become habit at this point. Every day that Bakugo remained here meant that his inevitable departure would only hurt that much worse; an ache you dared not think about yet. You agreed to this, though - both of you did with that first kiss you shared. An understanding to savor the time spent together and deal with the aftermath later. 

No matter what, though, you had to leave to get ready for work and face the day, so you took a deep breath and slowly opened your door. A pale forearm hung over the arm of the couch nearest to the window. Letting out a sigh of relief, you stepped into the morning light of the living room. Selfishness battled with dejection as you tiptoed towards your bathroom. You knew he missed his home and friends and work terribly...but you were glad that you had one more day together, even if you had to spend most of it at the office. Bakugo’s sun-like eyes, shining deep and bright whenever they stared at you, told you it was worth it. 

While in the shower, you thought more about a solution to his quirk problem, a way for him to use his quirk without getting caught. Somewhere without people, somewhere isolated...but what - or where - fit that description? You needed to think on it more, maybe conduct a bit of research during lunch to figure something out. If you could make his time here more tolerable within your means then you’d at least try. 

Once you finished getting ready - either Bakugo was used to your morning noises or a very heavy sleeper - you started to write your usual note for him dictating when you’d be home. You added a small addition to the note this time on impulse: a smiley face at the bottom, small and lopsided. He’d surely laugh at you when you got home, but you didn’t care. 

The rain from the previous day had finally disappeared, leaving puddles and wet leaves and the smell of damp earth behind. Your hair only looked slightly messy from the humidity by the time you walked into the office. 

Coming out of the elevator, you noticed everyone seemed more...frazzled than usual. “Uh oh…hey, what’s with everyone this morning?” you asked, flagging down a coworker who was shuffling by. 

“Oh, good morning. It’s kind of a mess, honestly. Three people called out sick, the one person who knows how to check code for the project due at the end of the week had a family emergency, and...and there’s someone else out but I can’t keep them all straight. It’s a zoo today. Good luck.” With that, he zoomed off before the papers he balanced in his arms threatened to spill over onto the floor. 

Great …super.” You rubbed your temples in anticipation of a headache, settled in at your desk, and got to work. 

Bakugo groaned while shifting deeper into the couch cushion with a blanket over his head to block out the sunlight peeking in through the blinds. Quick scenes and sounds flashed from a dream he had during the night, but he couldn’t recall exactly what it was about... oh , wait- 

His eyes snapped open when he remembered the now-vivid dream with you front and center. Those types of dreams were rare and none of the imagined people in them ever had recognizable features or were people he knew. “Fucking hell…” Listening closely to the silence in the apartment, Bakugo sat up,sighed through his nose, and thanked no one in particular that he was currently alone. 

After he shook his mind free of salacious thoughts - or attempted to, anyway - Bakugo got up, stretched, and padded into the kitchen. He paused when he saw your note and the crooked smiley face you put on it. “What a nerd…” A softness settled in his chest in opposition to his words. 

Rather than leave the note on the counter or throw it away like he normally did, Bakugo took it and stuck it with the rest of the notes he’d been keeping under the couch cushions. The neon yellow contrasted sharply with the dull white lined paper; at least you’d never find this hidden stash of notes so long as you refrained from digging around under your furniture. You’d seen him scribbling at least once, but he didn’t pry into your personal things - not too much, anyway - so he expected that same courtesy, especially because he basically had zero privacy here. 

Once Bakugo finished his breakfast he thought about what the hell to do to occupy his time for another day. The weekend was over so you were back at work, leaving him alone once more. 

“Guess I’ll go workout at the park again.” He was getting bored of doing the same thing day in and day out, but there wasn’t much he could do about it. No car or reliable transportation, no money other than what you gave him - which he refused to spend, anyway - and no one to talk to other than yourself. 

Resigning himself to his improvised routine, Bakugo grabbed the novel you bought him, the apartment key, your sunglasses, and headed out the door. 

Halfway down the stairs he noticed the older neighbor of yours with the small dog he’d seen a couple of times. She seemed to struggle with the bags she was carrying while taking the stairs one step at a time, slow and steady. Helping old ladies was basic Hero 101 training, right?

Walking up to her, Bakugo extended a hand. She looked up when his tall shadow stretched before her on the worn-down carpet. “Oh? Ah, you’re that young man I’ve seen with (y/n). What- oh! Oh, my.”

Without a word, he took the bags from her frail and wrinkled hands and gestured back up the stairs for her to follow him back up to the apartment across from your own. 

“Goodness, well, if you insist!” She followed Bakugo up the stairs at an only slightly faster than she was moving before, but if this could kill a bit of time while satisfying his Hero instincts then he didn’t mind. 

The old woman fumbled a bit with her key before she unlocked the door and led Bakugo inside. An immediate “old woman” smell bit him but he managed to resist scrunching up his nose too much. The candles and soaps you used in your own apartment were far more pleasant, in all honesty. 

“Just set them down over here, please.” She gestured to a kitchen table. Everything was patterned in old-looking fabric. One of the chairs looked nearly as old as she did, and the walls were covered in pictures of strangers. Maybe her kids or grandkids. 

A bit of movement caught his attention from the couch as the small dog he’d seen often being walked by the old woman jumped up and barked at him. “Don’t be rude, Charlie!” As though the dog understood her, Charlie let out one final “ruff” before climbing down from the cushion and stared at Bakugo as he walked the bags to the table. “Don’t mind him, I just don’t get many visitors. Oh! Here,” she said, turning around with a plateful of cookies of different shapes and sizes, obviously homemade. He wasn’t one for sweets, but Bakugo couldn’t deny they smelled pretty good. 

He took one and popped it into his mouth. Not bad , he thought before she grabbed a couple more and shoved them into his hand and patted him on the shoulder with grandma-like affection. “Take as many as you want! (y/n)’s quite lucky to find such a nice young man. You’re welcome to visit any time!”

Even though he couldn’t understand most of what she said, your name made Bakugo’s ears perk up. Judging by the wrinkled smile on her lips, though, he guessed it was nothing to be wary about. 

“Arigatou,” he said while backing up towards the front door. Leaving before getting caught in some long-winded story or forced to eat too many cookies sounded like a good idea. 

Charlie barked once more, catching the old woman’s attention. “Leaving so soon…? Well, I’m sure you’re busy. Tell (y/n) hello for me, won’t you?” Bakugo gave a generic nod and hoped that appeased her enough to let him slip past the door and back into the apartment hallway. 

“She could have more annoying neighbors, I guess.” Stuffing another cookie into his mouth, Bakugo headed back down the stairs to actually start his day properly. 

It was half-past five, about an hour before you were scheduled to go home when a shadow stepped into your cubicle, blocking the fluorescent bulbs above your desk like an ominous solar eclipse. 

“Good afternoon, (y/n)! Now, I know you and everyone else has had quite the busy day today. We really appreciate all your hard work.” Your boss leaned against the edge of the fake wall and grinned in a way that didn’t reach his eyes. He was definitely setting you up for something. 

“Just doing my job, sir. We’re all trying to accomplish the same goals,” you replied, turning your old office chair a few degrees in his direction. His stiff smile didn’t fade. 

“You’ve done such a great job in fact, that we need you to stay for a bit after work today to make sure some things get done by tomorrow. You’ll be paid overtime of course, but we’d super appreciate it. We wouldn’t ask if we didn’t think you could do the job.”

It was a ploy you’d heard before: buttering you up with compliments about your work ethic while simultaneously guilting you into staying longer than you needed. Sounding more like a boss demand than something you could opt-out of, you felt obligated to say “yes”. Subtle retaliation tactics were very real and you’d dealt with them before. You didn’t want them to pass over you for projects and responsibility if you didn’t take this - office politics and power dynamics at play - but you also didn’t want to say “no” to the extra money. Even though Bakugo practically insisted you not spend unnecessary money on him, going to the amusement park and rock climbing and buying extra food weren’t exactly cheap. You had savings you could dip into if you truly needed to, but for now, you were fine financially. The overtime pay would help, however. 

“Um, yes, sure, I don’t mind staying late. How-” Before you could finish your sentence, he practically materialized a manilla folder from behind his back and dropped it on your desk as though anticipating you’d say “yes” no matter what. It looked like at least a couple hours worth of work to slog through. 

“Suuuper! Appreciate it.” Without another word, he waltzed down the hallway towards his glass office at the end of the floor. 

“This is the plot of Office Space, isn’t it?” Flipping through the folder you sighed while thinking about the conversation between you and Bakugo before you went to bed. Maybe he was right about you finding a new job, something that actually made you feel as fulfilled and excited as he did. Not today, though, not with all this stupid work you had to finish. 

Bakugo truly did enjoy cooking, and he was fucking good at it. Experimenting with ingredients and ratios, new spices, improvising and deviating from recipes until it tasted exactly how he wanted it to. He found a rhythm in the kitchen, a wavelength different than the one he had on the battlefield. If anything went wrong, it was his own fault and the perfectionist in him meant that he tossed out the bad batches and started over until he was satisfied. 

So, he ultimately didn’t mind cooking for you. It really was the least Bakugo could do after everything you’d given him, and with how much you enjoyed his cooking it gave a little boost to his ego, too. 

“She really needs some new knives,” he mumbled while chopping vegetables. Back home, he kept a whetstone in his kitchen and sharpened his own things rather than waste money on something new. If he spent good money on knives then he’d make them last until they were sharpened to the hilt. 

By the time seven o’clock rolled around, the time you normally arrived back home, dinner was almost ready. 

7:15 P.M.

 A few minutes late, no big deal. 

7:30 P.M.

The pot of rice sat warm on the stove. Two plates, stacked and empty, rested on the counter. Bakugo had already washed the bowls and utensils he’d used. 

Leaning against the counter, his bare foot tapped against the linoleum floor, arms crossed as his eyes flickered between the front door and the clock on the microwave. 

7:32 P.M.

“The fuck is she?” It wasn’t like you to be this late; you always arrived when you said you would. Not having a phone was annoying, but now he really fucking wished he had some way for you to communicate with him while away. 

7:45 P.M.

The food had gone cold at this point but that was the least of his worries. Bakugo paced the apartment trying to figure out what the hell to do. He could be worrying for nothing; maybe you got caught up with something or someone, a conversation with a coworker for example. You could do what you wanted and Bakugo wouldn’t try and control that. 

...But what if you were in trouble? Bakugo was conditioned, maybe subconsciously, to expect the worst out of a situation. He’d observed and dealt with his fair share of tragedy in his line of work. It came with the job; there was no getting around it. You were a woman walking home alone at night, and no one had to tell him twice what that meant no matter how tough you tried to appear. Assholes preyed upon that power imbalance. Even though quirks didn’t exist here, Bakugo was sure plenty of other dangers existed.

He couldn’t go to the cops because he didn’t have a fucking I.D. here and couldn’t communicate with them effectively. They’d probably think he was erratic. 

He didn’t have a phone or a way to reach you. Hell, he didn’t even know where you worked, only that it was within walking distance. There were too many identical-looking office buildings to pinpoint the right one on a blind guess.

Stomping over to the window, Bakugo looked down at the parking lot for any signs of movement. An older man he’d seen a few times got out of his car and walked to the building next door, but other than that, you were nowhere to be seen. A bead of sweat ran from the nape of his neck down under the collar of his shirt. 

“Fuck...the hell do I do?” For all he knew while standing here waiting like an idiot you could be-

The mental image that came to mind evaporated the saliva in his dry throat as his lip curled in a snarl. 

“Nah, fuck this waiting around shit.” Patience didn’t fit in well with Bakugo’s style, and he’d be damned if he let something happen while sitting on his ass worrying. Bakugo grabbed his hoodie, stuffed your apartment key into his pocket, double-checked that the stove was off, and ran out the door. 

He jogged around the entire apartment complex for any signs of you, but all he found was a woman walking her dog and a kid delivering pizza. 

Coming out of the complex, Bakugo debated on which way to go: left or right. The longer he stood there, though, the more time was wasted. Making a split-second decision, he sprinted down the sidewalk towards the park the two of you walked through the previous day. 

The faint smell of yesterday’s rain soaked into the grass and tree bark as though preparing for the inevitable cooler, drier weather on the horizon. Street lamps stood dotted around the park far too sparsely for Bakugo’s liking as he jogged down the paved walkways. The dancing shadows of trees highlighted only by moonlight above drew his attention away every other second as he scanned for signs of people and movement. 

8:05 P.M.

He called your name, his voice echoing like a ghostly siren in the foggy park, the light and carefree aesthetic of the previous day long gone. No one answered back. 

Bakugo had been a Pro Hero for about seven years now. He’d endured training after training of search and rescue procedures, although Uraraka and Yaoyorozu normally headed those operations. Every time he stepped behind a tall bush or tree he bit his tongue, expecting some wretched vision of you lying unmoving on the ground. 

His fingers scraped at a piece of bark as he steadied himself against a tree, his other hand curled into a tight and sweaty fist at the grisly direction his mind had wandered down so quickly. Tokoyami talked far too often about true crime and forensic science for his liking, but Bakugo knew that a lack of a body was far more foreboding than finding one. It meant unknowns, it meant you could be anywhere, dealing with any number of scenarios, it meant you could be-

Taking a deep shuddering breath, he calmed himself down and tried to think rationally. “What the fuck is wrong with me?” This kind of spiraled apocalyptic thinking helped no one. He had to stay focused and avoid the hypotheticals. You were probably fine, just late. That was it. 

After one more round circling the park, Bakugo headed back towards your apartment with a steady stride, eyes peeled for any signs of you on the way. He had to keep moving; if he stopped, if stillness overtook him, if he thought too hard and felt too deeply then he’d start to crumble. 

Bakugo opened the front door and hoped that you’d returned while he was out searching, that you’d ask where he was, that you were OK. 

But your home was just as empty now as it was when he left half an hour ago. This was, by far, the most useless he’d felt since his first couple of days here swarmed with mental panic about how he was going to get home. “Keep it together, Katuski. You’re a Hero for fuck sake.” 

8:35 P.M. 

“God, I’m so tired and hungry…” At long last, you slid the final and completed form back into the manilla folder, leaned back in your chair, and groaned. You knew the amount of work your boss stuck you with would be a lot, but despite working through it as quickly as you could manage it still took you almost two hours past when you normally left to get it all done. 

It was then that you looked up from your desk and realized you were alone. 

“Uh...hello?” you called out while standing up from your chair, but no one answered back. Some of the motion sensor lights on the other side of the floor had already gone out. “Am I the last one here…?”

It wasn’t the first time you’d been asked to work late, but it didn’t change the fact that the empty office building always creeped you out. The silence was jarring, echoing off the cubicle walls like phantoms compared to the click-clacking of keyboards and kitchen gossip during the day.  Grabbing your things, you walked into the elevator and leaned against the polished stainless steel wall. “I hope Bakugo isn’t mad I was late…”

You exited the elevator and saw a janitor polishing the dark marbled tiles next to the reception desk on the first floor. She looked at you a bit startled, obviously not expecting someone else to be wandering around so late in the building. You nodded and smiled in an attempt to ease the visible tension in her shoulders before you stepped outside into the brisk night air. 

Fewer cars littered the streets this time of night, the tall lamps flickering overhead as you shuffled down the sidewalk. You wanted to get home but exhaustion seeped into your bones so your pace was neither the fastest nor the slowest. Feeling safe to and from work only came into question when night descended and most everyone else was already home. There was no group crossing the street to blend into for a feeling of collective safety with the mandarin haze of sunset descending behind glossy stainless steel buildings. 

You were used to keeping watch, observing your surroundings, checking over your shoulder to make sure you weren’t being followed. It was second nature at this point, a reflex, a tradition. 

Nearing your apartment you yawned, wanting nothing more than to eat, shower, and flop into your bed only repeat the exact same thing over again the next day. “I should really start looking for a new job...maybe this week I’ll…”

A silhouetted figure sat on the bottom step leading up to your floor, hunched and unmoving. The slope of the shoulders, the pale golden hair, it all looked familiar. 

“Bakugo?” Why was he outside? Did he lock himself out?

As soon as you said his name Bakugo looked up, the pale glow of the yellow ceiling light built into the brickwork catching his eyes in the darkness like a startled cat. He muttered something too low for you to understand as he stood up quickly, nearly losing his footing for the first time since he’d been here as he jogged up to you. 

It was only then with him so close that you noticed his frantic expression before he grabbed you by the shoulders, his grip stronger than you expected. If you didn’t know him better you might’ve stumbled, scared from his burst of unexpected anger. 

“Omae wa doko ni itta? Daijoubu? (Where the hell have you been?! Are you OK?)” he said quickly. His eyes raked you from head to toe as you stood there still and stunned. Even without your phone, you got the gist of what he said from his harsh tone. Had he been...worried about you?

All you could think to do was nod weakly in response. Bakugo let go of you, his arms like heavy lead that raked down his face as he sighed through his nose before he yanked you forward and wrapped you up in his strong arms. Startled by the sudden contact, you brain jolted to the realization that arriving home two hours late without a way to let him know where you were must’ve freaked him out. 

He cared , and that coupled with his tight embrace flooded you with warmth as your hands came up around his back and gripped the soft orange fabric of his hoodie between your fingers. It felt so good after such a long and stressful day to know you mattered to him, no matter how small. His smell, the pulse of his heart under his skin, his breath on your neck all comforted you in a way you’d only dreamed of. 

After a minute, he loosened his grip and stepped back, shaking his head in the haze of parking lot moonlight. Grabbing you by the hand, Bakugo pulled you back to reality and led you up the stairs to your apartment, his fingers right around yours as though afraid to let you go. 

Once the two of you made it inside you pulled it together enough to take out your phone as he rounded on you with another scrutinizing look. “Where were you? It’s two hours past when you were supposed to be back.”

Bakugo’s expression was a mixture of distressed and relieved. Now that you stood in the safety of your apartment you could explain yourself. 

“I’m sorry. It was a fucking mess at work. A bunch of people were out sick and they made me stay late to pick up the slack. I couldn’t really say no...and I didn’t have a way to contact you. Just…” You closed your eyes and took a deep breath to calm your nerves. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to worry you.”

Your apology must’ve been somewhat acceptable because his shoulders dropped and his tight-knit brows relaxed as he clicked his tongue. He opened his mouth but seemed to rethink his words before speaking once more. “Are you hungry?” The change in topic was abrupt but at the thought of food, you didn’t care. 

“Yeah...I haven’t eaten dinner or anything.” It was then that you noticed all the food on the stove. It must’ve been cold by now and you felt a second wave of guilt hit you. “Oh, did you make dinner? Sorry-”

“Stop apologizing,” he interrupted while walking over to start warming up the food. “Not your damn fault your boss needs a kick in the ass. Sit down, you look exhausted.”

He was gruff and curt through his worry but didn’t want to voice it aloud. The anxiety slowly rolled off him now that he knew you were safe, and his offer to reheat dinner and order for you to relax made your eyes go damp on the verge of tears from appreciation. 

“Thank you. Let me just go change.” Bakugo watched you walk to your room almost in a daze and close the door. Only then did he take a deep breath, as deep as he could manage, into his lungs before letting it out in the hopes his nerves would quiet down. 

He’d worked himself up for nothing, but looking back on the past few hours Bakugo knew he did the right thing in searching for you...the looming threat of danger was always in the back of his mind, conditioned by his Hero training to prepare for the worst. 

But you were fine and safe and all he wanted to do was strangle that stupid boss of yours. He’d stuff both your boss and that thieving coworker in a closet if given the opportunity. Thinking back to the list he wrote out Friday night, Bakugo closed his eyes:

  1. Want to protect you

Looking over his shoulder as he heard your door open behind him, Bakugo noticed you seemed  less stressed than when he ran to you outside. He’d probably startled you but whatever, you could deal with it. You flashed him a tired smile and some invisible butterflies fluttered around in his chest before he turned around to finish reheating the food. 

When he set his own plate down next to yours you stared at him confused. “Have you not eaten? You didn’t have to wait…”

“My appetite goes to shit when I’m stressed,” he said before realizing his honest admission. It truly was a bit jarring how anxious he’d been before you showed up safe and unharmed. “And don’t fucking apologize again. After we eat you’re going to show me where you work.” He knew it sounded like a command but luckily you didn’t look apprehensive about it. 

“Uh yeah, I can do that.” As soon as you took the first bite of food he watched you melt into the chair. “Oh my god it’s so good, didn’t realize how hungry I was.” Before he could react, you sat up and gave him a quick peck on the cheek while his mouth was full. The stupid butterflies came back and his ears burned from the contact. “Thank you, Bakugo.”

He grumbled something too low for your phone to pick up before stuffing another bite of food into his mouth. The two of you ate in relative silence but he didn’t mind. 

“Now you really should look for a new job,” he blurted out. Considering the things you’d told him and how your coworkers treated you, this place sounded like they didn’t deserve your time or energy. Bakugo was never one to wait around and if something needed to be said, more often than not he’d lay it out in the open. 

You sighed after scraping your plate clean. “Yeah, you’re right. I thought about what you said last night, too. I think I’ll update my resume and start looking this week. Not today, though, I’m way too tired.”

“Even I don’t work twelve hours at a time, and if I do it’s rare and because of immediate high-risk danger. But I still love what I do. If you don’t like your job then take the steps to change it.” Despite the sleepiness evident in your eyes, he saw a sparkle of determination from his words. Maybe all you needed was a push; he certainly couldn’t have gotten where he was by acting alone, no matter how hard he tried to convince himself otherwise as a cocky teenager. 

“I will, I promise. But again, sorry for worrying you and thank you for making dinner. It um, means a lot.” Bakugo felt the heat rising in his face but he was helpless to stop it. “I’m going to take a shower and just...wash away the smell of the office. Blech.”

You didn’t even attempt to fight him over the dishes this time, not that he wouldn’t have let you, anyway. Grabbing your candle from the counter, you walked into the bathroom and closed the door while Bakugo picked up the plates and silverware.

The smell of the candle enveloped the steamy bathroom, hot water pooling at your feet as your stress and exhaustion rode down the drain on suds and bubbles. You were too tired to sing so you hummed a soft tune instead, breathing in the familiar scent of your soap and the burning candle on the counter.

“At least today is over. Tomorrow will be better,” you told yourself. If tomorrow turned out anything like today, then you’d really need a hard drink at minimum in addition to a kick in the ass to get your resume to as many places as possible. 

After finishing your shower, you walked out to find Bakugo on the couch watching a subtitled action movie. His red eyes flickered up towards you as he gestured for you to come closer. If you’d been in a flirty mood you might’ve teased him for it, but it wasn’t the right time. Grabbing your phone, you sat on the couch next to him and honestly wanted nothing more than to bury yourself in his side. 

Before you could react, a cookie materialized in front of your face. “Eat it,” Bakugo said with complete seriousness. 

“Huh? Are you demanding I eat a cookie?”

“That a problem? You bought ‘em, didn’t you?”

If this was some bizarre attempt at cheering you up you’d take it...but not without being a smartass, first. So, you opened your mouth and wondered if he’d actually feed it to you.

“...Really? You are so weird.” You swore you felt him chuckle at your back before he shoved it into your mouth. 

You held it in place with your teeth and took a bite while trying not to laugh yourself and spit crumbs everywhere. 

“Your neighbor makes half-decent cookies,” he with in a completely serious tone. 

You turned to him, curious. “She made you eat cookies, didn’t she? Her grandkids don’t visit that often but she always bakes too many. Did you save one for me?”

A guilty look crossed his face for a split second. “I just fed you a cookie, didn’t I?”

“But it wasn’t hers.”

“No, and?”

“I thought you said you didn’t like sweets.” 

“Show me where your office is,” Bakugo interrupted, cutting right to the chase to deviate from your cookie obsession. You assumed he wanted to know in case you were ever late again. His ways of showing he cared spanned the range of subtle to overt, and you were slowly learning how to read his hidden meanings. 

With half the cookie still poised in your mouth, you slid off the couch and grabbed your laptop before plopping right next to him once more. After going through the login and startup screens you pulled up a virtual map of the area. 

“Mm, OK. Here’s the apartment...and here, down the street, is my office building.” Looking over your shoulder, Bakugo studied the map, his ruby eyes following your finger as it slid up the road - the opposite way he went while out searching - to a square that looked identical to about twenty other squares on the two-dimensional map. 

“One more question,” he said, a bit of hesitancy laced in his voice this time. “Is there any way to contact me in case this happens again?”

You bit your lip as your phone translated, a fond feeling of warmth settling in your chest at the request to keep in touch. Unfortunately, your answer was less than satisfactory. “Not really...I don’t have a landline here. I could maybe get a cheap phone for you, something I could text while I’m at work.” 

Bakugo clicked his tongue and you felt him lean back into the couch. “No, don’t buy something just for that. I’ll deal with it. If you’re late again I’ll just barge into your office and look for you.”

Laughing for the first time today, you closed your laptop and settled into the warmth of his side. He smelled like a subtle campfire, like fire-soaked wood and autumn leaves with a hint of burnt caramel. “Good luck, they’ll just call security...I appreciate your concern, though.” 

The action movie caught your attention as your eyes drooped, exhaustion finally catching up to you after such a long day. 

“Shouldn’t you go to sleep?” The word “sleep” made you turn and cuddle even closer to him, latching onto the warmth he emitted. Rather than move away, Bakugo placed a scarred hand on your shoulder. You’d have to ask him about his scars one day. 

“Mmhm. Soon. Just want to stay with you for a while.” 

More often than not Kirishima was the rock and Bakugo was the hard place, nearly immoveable from stubbornness. Now, looking down at you leaned against his chest, a small crack splintered the wall he’d built up over his lifetime. 

For a moment he wondered what it would be like if the roles were reversed. What if Bakugo came home from an exhausting day, an evening after a long and tiresome battle against a villain, to find someone there waiting for him? Someone to ease the ache of loneliness that sometimes flooded him in the still of night while shuddering in a bed too wide to warm by himself? What if-

No , he told himself quickly, eyes unfocused on the TV screen while trying not to focus on your weight and even breathing against him. I’m going home. Maybe one day, but not now. This can’t last

When the movie was over and the credits started rolling, Bakugo asked you something and when you didn’t answer he glanced down to find you fast asleep. You must’ve seen him sleeping nearly every morning as you got ready for work, but he’d only caught you once before when you fell asleep with a melted bag of ice on your back. 

Serene, comfortable, safe. He quietly hoped things would always stay this way for you. 

He moved as carefully as he could and picked you up from the couch. You shifted but didn’t wake, and Bakugo leaned into how you felt in his arms this time rather than deny it like he did after your concert. 

Carrying you into your bedroom, he laid you down into your bed and loosely tossed the covers over your shoulders before heading back out to grab your phone from the couch. He glanced down to see your phone cord dangling across your nightstand and plugged it up for you. 

“Oyasumi,” he whispered as you settled into your mattress, none the wiser to his watchful gaze that lingered longer than he meant it to before he closed your bedroom door behind him with a soft smile. 

Chapter Text

ch 14

When your alarm jolted you awake from sleep, you almost fell out of bed but caught yourself before meeting the floor. Disoriented, you looked around to see your familiar room, bed, ceiling, etc. “Eh...wasn’t I...on the couch?”

The last thing you remembered was... oh , falling asleep on Bakugo while watching a movie and your eyes snapped open at the realization. “Oh, god, that means he carried me to bed and I wasn’t even awake to enjoy it!” You turned off your alarm and groaned into your pillow, thinking back to how nice it was to have a quiet night with him. “Right...work. Fuck.”

You also noticed your phone was plugged up which you definitely didn’t remember doing. “For someone who’s supposed to be a stubborn asshole, he’s really considerate.”

But the office wouldn’t wait for your early morning frustrations or musings. Stepping down from your bed, you expected your foot to touch on bare floor but instead the distinct crinkle of paper slid between your heel and the carpet. “Huh?”

Looking down, you noticed a piece of folded paper laying on the ground. You didn’t recognize it, too sleepy to consider where it came from at the moment. Instead, you picked it up and tossed it onto your bed before sliding over to your closet to pick out your clothes for the day. 

You opened your door without thinking, forgetting that at some point you’d wake up without Bakugo Katsuki practically living in your apartment. Pausing once the couch came into view, you bit your lower lip. His presence seemed like such a constant at this point that once he disappeared, whenever that would be, you’d surely feel the sting of heartache. 

Quietly, you peered over the back of the couch to see a sleeping lump wrapped up in blankets and let out an anxious breath. Not today, your mind whispered as your heart squeezed. He looked so cute while sleeping that it was tempting to take a picture but decided against the indulgence. 

After showering and dressing for work, you realized you left your phone in your bedroom. Tiptoeing across the living room, you slid back inside to unhook your phone from the charging cable. It was then you remembered the odd piece of paper you’d found this morning, your eyes glancing down at where you left it on the bed. “Hmm…”

Japanese letters were scrawled on the front, but you weren’t sure what it said. You unfolded it to find it filled, top to bottom, with Japanese. “Did Bakugo write this…?” A jarring thought struck you like a slap across the face: what if he anticipated leaving and left you a note as a final goodbye for you to find?

You felt your eyes tear up a bit at such a heartfelt idea, but after examining the note you noticed how the lettering didn’t quite match up to Bakugo’s from the few times you’d seen his scribbled notes. But it had to be from him, right? Who else could’ve-

“Oh, shit!” A note left on your floor where Bakugo appeared. Too much of a coincidence, right? “I have to wake him up.”

Walking back out into the living room with the note in hand, you gently nudged Bakugo’s shoulder. “Hey, Bakugo...wake up.”

The last thing you expected was for him to bolt awake, hands outstretched and ready for a fight. If you hadn’t stepped back just in time, he would’ve smacked you in the face. His wide eyes told you that he wasn’t used to being woken up, or else he slept far more on-edge than you’d previously assumed. “Woah! Sorry, it’s just me,” you said as his sleepy eyes landed on you and his shoulders relaxed slightly. He still looked like an adorably cranky cat who was woken up far too soon for his own liking. 

“Nani?” 

You pulled up the translator app on your phone while also holding the folded note out to him. “Did you write this? I found it on my floor this morning.”

He took it with a definite “what the hell are you talking about” look in his eyes, turning it over to see the scrawled lettering on the back. 

His face turned to one of blown-out shock as he quickly opened the paper, crimson eyes scanning it from top to bottom. You noticed one of his hands was shaking slightly. “Kirishima…” was all he whispered, eyes never leaving the paper, but you caught it. 

(Just pretend the note is in Japanese. I’m also including a caption underneath the image of the text in case you have trouble reading it)

kiri note

(NOTE READS: All I have is this one piece of paper so things are gonna be quick! BAKUGO IT’S KIRISHIMA SHIT MAN I HOPE YOU’RE OK! We found out you were missing after a few hours. Lucky for you, the villain attacked in broad daylight and people saw what happened.

Summary: villain used her quirk on you to teleport you outside of our universe to try and get rid of you permanently. She’s been doing this to small time Heroes for several decades and remained hidden because if…if whoever she teleports dies, she can use her quirk again almost immediately. She’s been spacing it out for years, picking off Heroes so she’d be hard to track. She can’t control where people go, it’s random, but we KNOW you’re alive because her quirk tells her that much. It leaves her physically exhausted if you’re still alive. Using it made her weak and slow enough to find after we gathered witness accounts. She’s in custody. I had to wait two weeks to send this stupid letter until her quirk, which is crazy dangerous and rare obviously, recharged just enough. All I could send was this letter, but I have no idea if you got it because we can’t tell if you’ve moved around or not. It should arrive in the same place you popped up. You could be in the jungle or some war zone for all we know. Her quirk has a time limit, and unfortunately sending the letter extended the time until you can come back but we HAD to try and let you know something! Her quirk will wear off completely after 35 days from the first day you arrived and you’ll be warped back here.

EVERYONE’S FREAKED OUT AND ALL WE CAN DO IS SEND THIS STUPID PAPER BUT BRO YOU’RE COMING HOME SOON JUST HANG IN THERE! WE’RE HOLDING DOWN THE FORT UNTIL YOU CAN KICK VILLAIN ASS AGAIN! Villains tried to rise up with you gone but you aren’t the only badass around! Thank Deku, Iida and Yaomomo (and me!) for keeping things under control.

~ Everyone

p.s. your mom says “you better come back in one piece, brat” sorry she made me write this)

You gasped, your hand flying to your mouth when you realized your guess had been correct: this note was from his home. “Bakugo, did Kirishima send you a letter?!”

All he did was nod as he read the letter at least a few more times before running a hand through his sleep-mussed hair. “What the fuck...they really got me information.”

“Well? What does it say?” A tightness formed in your chest as you considered what this might mean for him, mean to him. 

Bakugo looked up at you with a bizarre mixture of both defeat and excitement. “It says when I’m going home.”

The anticipation of truly knowing the last day you’d ever see Bakugo again gripped at your heart like tightly-pulled wire. While your morning anxiety formed from the unknown made you squirm, having an end date to all this sounded just as stressful. 

“How many days have I been here so far?” he asked, pulling you out of your head before you could think too hard about the implications. 

You glanced away and pretended to conduct some mental math when in reality you’d kept track of the days like you counted down the hours at work until you could go home. “Uh, fourteen I think. Today marks two weeks.”

Wide awake now, he looked back at the letter and swung his legs over the side of the couch to let his bare feet touch the floor, the blanket he used draped across his lap. “According to this I’m here for...another three weeks. They can’t bring me back for a total of thirty-five days from the first day I got here.”

“Holy shit.” Three weeks? That was far longer than probably both of you anticipated he’d be stuck here. Your pulse raced selfishly with the knowledge that he’d be here for three more weeks while knowing he wanted desperately to get back home. “Sorry, that’s a long time. I know you’re eager to get back. But...but at least you have information! Does it answer some of the questions you had?”

Again, he stared at the paper even though you knew he’d read it a handful of times in the few minutes you’d been standing there. “Yeah, quite a few. They’ve had this fucking villain in custody for a while but had to wait for her stamina to come back enough to send the note…”

It was painfully obvious that he was answering you more on reflex than anything, absorbed in the note like a sponge soaking up a fresh new spill. His eyes were distant, lost in thought, as though he were looking past the note he stared at so intently. 

You had your own busy thoughts to consider with this new information, but looking down at your phone you cursed. “Shit, I have to get to work. Are you gonna be OK?”

He just nodded, again more of a mindless reaction than a proper answer. A stray thought whispered in the back of your mind, bitter and hard to swallow: maybe he doesn’t want to be with you that long . You bit your tongue and tried your best to shake off the guilt of selfishness. He missed home. He didn’t belong here no matter what your heart told you. “I have to go to work...I’ll see you tonight.”

You quickly grabbed your things and practically ran out the door. Ran from your thoughts. Ran from your feelings. Ran from the idea that he’d tire of you soon enough.

When you finally arrived at your desk, you practically dropped your bag on the floor in your rush to busy your mind with tedious work - anything to dull the ache in your chest. You forced yourself to look on the bright side of things. Now that you knew exactly how long he’d be here, you could plan your surprise without fear of him disappearing before you could carry it out. 

“Stay focused, don’t come to conclusions you can’t back up.” With renewed vigor, you put yourself to work to make sure you’d make it home at a proper time tonight and used every spare moment to research your developing plan. 

Meanwhile, the sound of the front door shutting snapped Bakugo out of his daze. He looked up to see you gone in your rush to avoid showing up late to work. 

You’d been right in the blind confidence you’d voiced on Saturday about his friends. They’d managed to get this single piece of communication to him, even if it was just a note. It answered most of his questions: what kind of quirk was used, how it affected the villain, that his friends know he’s alive, etc. With new clarity on the situation, Bakugo felt a huge fucking weight lift from his shoulders...but now time was the issue. 

He now knew the exact day when he’d be going home, which should’ve been a good thing, a great thing. But three more weeks? He anticipated few more days, maybe a week at most. The worst outcome of course would’ve been months, or never. Thank fuck that was no longer a viable option. 

And then there was you, the other massive factor in this equation. Was it even OK if he stayed here that long? You were too damn nice to kick him out, that much was obvious, but for all he knew you had plans that didn’t account for his extended stay. Too dazed from the note and bombardment of new information to ask before you ran off to work, Bakugo sighed and leaned back into the couch. 

And at the rate you two had been acting together… “Shit, I’m fucked, aren’t I?” 

This growing emotional attachment to you didn’t sit well with him. It was one thing to be open with how the two of you felt on the basis that he could disappear at any time, but now he had three weeks to spend with you, talk with you, have fun with you, kiss you...or-

The image that popped into his mind reminded him briefly of his dream the previous night and he thanked no one in particular that you weren’t there to see his face burn in flustered embarrassment. “So damn stupid. I don’t even know if I can stay here yet...I’ll have to ask tonight.” 

After scalding his skin with a hot shower, Bakugo fixed himself some breakfast and wondered what to do for the rest of the day. Hell, he had three weeks worth of free time to do whatever he wanted, which, given the circumstances, wasn’t much. Craving the thrill and satisfaction of fighting villains, he groaned at the idea of doing this same routine - working out, cooking, reading - for twenty-one more days. Not counting weekends since you didn’t work and often took him out on your own dime. Saturdays and Sundays were interesting, at least. 

“I’ll figure it out, I guess.” Bakugo glanced over at the two books he’d been switching between: the novel you bought him and the dictionary. “Might as well learn another fucking language.” Since you were basically the only person he could talk to reliably, cutting down the language barrier didn’t sound like the worst idea. Relying on your phone wasn’t ideal but it worked, and with so much time in front of him anything productive sounded appealing. 

So, Bakugo grabbed his books and a bottle of water, and headed out the door. 

For you, work was surprisingly fruitful. Your intense focus on avoiding the topic of Bakugo leaving made time fly by and before you knew it your stomach growled in anticipation of lunch. 

“Finally,” you said after stretching out of your desk to head downstairs. After grabbing something quick from the cafe next door, you sat outside and enjoyed the brief hour of sunlight before you had to head back to work. 

Your phone buzzed while you attempted to swallow a mouthful of food. “Gee, wonder who it is.” Assuming correctly, your friend who knew about Bakugo wanted to know all the juicy details from the weekend after you bragged to her Saturday night after the two of you confessed. 

iphone-BHru

You went through the gallery in your phone and sent her the picture you and Bakugo took together. Feeling a bit less insecure compared to this morning, you smiled while looking down at the two of you immortalized in a photo on your phone. He, Bakugo Katsuki, willingly agreed to take a photo together. Maybe you were working yourself up over nothing. “He’s so cute…”

It didn’t take long for your friend to reply back, raving about how handsome he was while pitying herself that she hadn’t found someone for herself. “He won’t be here forever...but I’ll make his time here count,” you told yourself while trying your hardest to avoid the looming three week deadline before his inevitable return. 

Your mother also called before you finished lunch. “I’m popular today, huh?” Picking up the phone, you balanced it between your shoulder and ear so you could still eat lunch between sentences. “Hello?”

“Hi, honey. Sorry, I know I called you at work. You busy?” There must’ve been a reason for her call since you normally spoke just once every couple of weeks or two. 

“Nah, just eating lunch. Need something?”

“Just wanted to check in. Nosey mom things. Where’s that picture I asked for of this boy, hm?” Ah, there it was. The classic prying mother. 

You shook your head and took another bite of food. “He’s definitely more of a man than a boy, for one. And two…” Taking your phone away from your ear, you sent her the same picture of you and Bakugo that you sent your friend to appease her curiosity. Plus, you felt like bragging about him a bit. “OK, sent it. Tell me what you think.”

As someone who never turned her phone settings to silent, your mother’s button presses on her end were audible. “Let’s see...ooh OK! You were right about him being handsome. He has a nice smile. His eyes are an interesting color...almost more red than brown. What does he do for a living?”

His eyes were the main feature that stood out from a normal person’s since no one here had naturally red eyes. You thanked your mother’s lack of intrusive questioning...except now you had to lie about his job, and she always picked up on your lies. 

“He uh...is in public service! He’s from Japan so the jobs are a bit different over there, it’s hard to explain. His job is basically helping people, though.” Technically Hero work counted as a public service job, right? 

She remained quiet on the other end for a moment, but luckily didn’t pry for more information. “Hm, interesting. Well, I’m making this my new phone background to show you off-”

You almost spat out your food at her very casual comment. “Oh my god...seriously? Even I didn’t do that.”

“You’re my only daughter and you rarely send me photos so yes, I’m keeping this one front and center. I can tell the smiles are genuine. Well, I’ll let you get back to lunch. Make sure he’s polite to you and treats you right.”

If she could tell through a single photo that his contentment was real, then maybe you truly had been worrying over nothing. 

“Trust me, if he didn’t I would’ve kicked him out no matter how handsome he was. Alright, love you.”

“Love you, too.” With that, you hung up and quickly finished your lunch. “Three whole weeks...I still have to do some research but tomorrow I should be able to ask him about it.” Now that you knew Bakugo would be here, all you had to do was surprise him with your idea and hope he said “yes”. 

As the end of your work day neared, Bakugo stood in the kitchen of your apartment, sorting through the groceries in your fridge and pantry to figure out what to cook for dinner. He’d been thinking non-stop about the note and what it meant for him, you, and the people back in his world. 

They had to continue fighting and keeping the peace without him. Not that they couldn’t handle it, of course, but when a villain actually succeeded in whatever stupid and nefarious plans they conjured up then other assholes were sure to feel a confidence boost in their ability to take down Heroes. From Kirishima’s note, it seemed like everyone pulled together to keep things in order, though. Even in his absence, they supported him. Bakugo really was a sap. 

The roommate situation was another frustration entirely. What if you needed him to leave? Where the hell would he go without any fucking money, I.D., and a language barrier to boot? He didn’t truly believe you’d kick him out on the street, though. If you didn’t two weeks ago when he was an asshole stranger, Bakugo assumed you wouldn’t do it now. 

But he wasn’t about to take any chances, which was why he decided to make sure dinner tasted amazing to butter you up when he asked if he could stay for the next three weeks. A little bribery couldn’t hurt, right? 

Bakugo was tasting some sauce he’d mixed together when you walked through the door. Glancing up at the microwave clock it read 7:06. Good

He could tell you were in a much better mood and looked less exhausted than the previous day as well. You sniffed the air and he watched this stupid grin appear on your face as you smiled at him. “Wow, whatever you’re making smells so good...I feel pretty spoiled at having dinner ready when I get home.” Spoiled? If anything you spoiled him with your generosity and kindness. The bare minimum he could do was cook, and it didn’t feel like nearly enough. 

You set your phone on the counter and let your chin rest in the palms of your hands while you leaned on the counter. “I don’t mind ordering out if you get tired of cooking. Or you could wait until I get off work and I could make something.”

Bakugo turned towards you and scoffed at your suggestion. “As if anything you order would be as good as what I make.” He smirked when you rolled your eyes because you knew it was true. “Also, no. Don’t argue.”

“Are you implying my cooking isn’t as good as yours?”

Struggling to hold back a laugh, he stirred the food in front of him. “You said it.”

You let out an exaggerated groan before leaning away from the counter. “Sassed in my own apartment. Can’t believe this...so much disrespect.”

Previously filled with a whirlwind of turmoil and stress from the previous day, Bakugo now felt glad that you’d returned to giving him attitude in that stupidly charming way that made him smile without realizing. 

Ignoring your comment, he turned down the heat on the stove. “Food’s almost done.”

You slid in beside him and reached up to grab a few plates, waiting impatiently for him to fill his own plate. “Chotto matte (wait a second),” he said while meeting your hungry glare with one of his own. 

That tongue of yours peeked out from between your smirking lips and he had half a mind to make you swallow it. Later , he thought while dipping his things out extra slowly just to see the exasperation in your face. 

Once you’d finally filled your plate, the two of you sat down to eat. He needed to wait and see your reaction, to ease you into a carefree mood before he asked about the weight on his mind. 

The look of joy and satisfaction that crossed your face, complete with that dumb chair wiggle, gave him a pride boost he definitely didn’t need. It didn’t hurt, though. 

“Bakugo, it’s so good! I feel pretty lucky, you know. Like I said last week, but without the bullshitting around truth this time.” 

You must’ve meant last Friday when he caught himself unintentionally flirting while you let slip how “lucky” you were to know him. He could’ve given some sarcastic answer, something to embarrass you once again, but instead he remained focused. 

“(Y/N), I gotta ask you something. And don’t lie or promise something you can’t fulfill.” He watched you slowly swallow a bite of food before nodding for him to continue, his serious tone catching your full attention. Bakugo crossed his arms and stared up at the ceiling. He hated asking for favors or help. “Do you have a problem with me staying here for the next three weeks? Like the note said this morning.”

Glancing to his left, you tilted your head in a way that once again reminded him of a confused puppy. 

“Did you think I was going to kick you out or something?” you asked as though the mere thought of it sounded ludicrous. 

He didn’t think so, no, but he had enough respect for you to double check that he wasn’t overstaying his welcome. “Thirty five days is a long time to stay somewhere spontaneously. You could have, I dunno, family visiting or a trip planned. I need to make sure you aren’t passing up other things for my sake.” Being a burden didn’t sit well with him, and he wasn’t about to rearrange your schedule just to keep him occupied. 

You stared at him earnestly and set down your fork. “I appreciate you asking, but as I’ve said before, you aren’t a burden. If my parents come to visit they stay in a hotel, and I don’t have any extravagant plans to take a trip or anything. My main concern, I guess, is that you have to wait so long to home. The news is good, but not what you were probably hoping for…”

He let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding and looked at you properly. Even now you concerned yourself with his problems. Maybe you really were just that fucking nice. 

“It’s better than bad news, or no news at all. I’ll fucking take it.” Bakugo rarely thanked anyone, but he huffed out an “arigatou” before taking another bite of food. A change in topic sounded good right about then. 

“Besides,” you started. “I get to eat your food for a few more weeks. Absolute torture.”

“Smartass.” He just grinned as you nudged him with your foot for that one.

You could tell he’d been stressed about asking such a simple question, and since he cooked dinner you figured it was only fair that you fight over the dishes again. 

“Just give up, you gremlin,” he teased while easily keeping you away from the sink as you reached forward fruitlessly. 

“Me? You’re the gremlin! Just let me help.” 

No . You’ve helped enough. Why are you still in your work clothes?” It was an obvious ploy to get you distracted and away from the sink, and you were about to argue about him telling you what to do when he practically shoved you out of the kitchen. 

Crossing your arms you narrowed your eyes at him and said, “you’re not the boss of me.” Bakugo matched your glare in a way that told you he always won glaring contests while taking a threatening step towards you. “I’m gonna shower...this isn’t over.” You stuck your tongue out at him before quickly retreating it back into your mouth when he gave you a ‘watch it’ look. Tempting though it was to tease him endlessly, you wanted to brush your teeth and feel comfortable for the rest of the night. 

After grabbing a long t-shirt and some shorts, you headed towards the bathroom while giving Bakugo another playful glare along the way. 

As you washed, you thought about what it would feel like in the morning without the anxiety of wondering whether or not Bakugo was gone. But now you had a countdown timer. It was bound to stress you out the closer it got to his last day here. It felt far longer than the two weeks that he’d been around so far, and you had three left. You weren’t about to waste any time wondering about how you or he might feel in the future. He was here now

You sang even though you knew Bakugo was probably listening outside. The fact that he complimented you on your voice boosted your confidence and you didn’t mind letting it ring out through the acoustics of the tiled room. 

Bakugo was sitting on the couch when you came out of the bathroom with your work clothes tucked under your arm. Kirishima’s note was gripped tightly in his hand. He must’ve read it over and over until he had it memorized by the end of the day, though mild shock laced his handsome features as though wondering if it was truly real. 

When he looked up, you tried not to freeze from his captivating stare. “Hey,” you said before moving to walk past the couch and dump your clothes in your hamper. You failed to spend much time with him the previous day due to the whole fiasco with work, and you wanted to ask him more questions about the contents of the note so you grabbed your phone and sat down next to Bakugo on the couch, aware of the slim bit of space between you. 

“How many times have you read the note today?” you asked. 

He hummed before folding it up to sit neatly between his fingers. “A lot. Wanted to make sure nothing was hidden between the lines, no hidden messages or anything. And to check whether or not it was really from Kirishima.”

The thought that it could be someone posing as his friend hadn’t occurred to you. “Can you tell if it’s real?”

A soft smile lit up his face as though he were digging back into old memories. “Yeah, it’s him alright. We went to school together to become Heroes, and he’d always bug me to help him study so I’m familiar with his handwriting.” 

“I’m glad they were able to get something to you, even if it’s just a note...what all does it say besides a time frame?”

Bakugo leaned back into the couch cushion and you couldn’t help but notice the way his arm muscles twitched. “A summary on the villain, what happened, and the quirk.” He went on to explain more details about the villain and what his friends were dealing with back home. At the confirmation that he could’ve wound up somewhere far more lethal, you couldn’t hold back a gasp. 

“You really are lucky, I guess, to wind up here in a city rather than...somewhere else.” You tried not to think of him drifting helplessly in space or trying to survive in a jungle by himself. Bakugo nudged you in the side to force you out of hypothetical tragedy. 

“I’m here, so don’t stress about it. I already went through the ‘what if’ scenarios enough and I’m not gonna start that shit again.” His steadfastness grounded you, reminding yourself that he was here and not somewhere else. 

“I guess when you put it that way it’s sort of like...serendipity I guess.” Maybe you were being too sentimental too soon, but it felt like a succinct way to summarize how you viewed the whole situation.

Bakugo’s expression softened a tiny fraction before he turned back to the note. “Note also said some villains tried to rise up like dumbasses with me gone, but they handled it. At least it was just one lone villain and not some plot by an organized group.”

“Told you to believe in your friends. See? I was right,” you gloated to ease the tense air in the room. “And you sound like a big shot if those assholes thought they could just take over with you gone.”

There you went, complimenting him again. Everyone back home knew to keep their praise to a minimum by now to avoid his ego swelling up to the side of a stadium, but he didn’t mind showing off for you. Sitting back to make yourself comfortable, he watched you stretch and cross your legs, the bare skin catching his attention as he lost his train of thought. You were close, close enough for him to smell the fragrance of your soap and feel your leg brush against his. It was tempting to just reach over and kiss you but he resisted...for the moment. 

“I am fucking impressive,” he gloated unabashedly to divert from the road his brain was heading down. You just rolled your eyes and giggled. He’d missed that sound the previous day and realized he’d get to hear it for a few more weeks. Not a bad thought. 

“Hot-shot Hero...so, tell me how the Hero system works. Are there rankings? Sidekicks?” you asked. He hummed before answering, glad for the distraction. 

“Yeah, there’s a ranking system based on popularity and solved cases. I don’t give a shit about whether or not I’m popular so long as I can do my job.” His brash attitude didn’t always have the most positive effect on his social standing but it didn’t concern him much. Some people ate up his no-bullshit personality and clamored for his merch and public appearances. He’d been a brat in high school but learned quickly that what he said and how he acted did, in fact, impact how people saw him as an effective Hero. He didn’t change so much as evolved. 

You leaned forward with a curious expression, a strand of hair falling across your face. He felt an odd urge to brush it away but left it when you inquired, “so, Mr. Hero, where do you rank?”

He couldn’t help but smirk. “I’m the #2 Hero out of everyone. Damn Deku taking up the #1 spot, but I’ll surpass him soon.”

To say you looked shocked was probably an understatement with your eyes blown comically wide and your jaw hanging slack as you leaned into his space. “Really? Are you serious?”

Bakugo’s eye twitched thinking that wasn’t exactly the reaction he was hoping for. “What, you think I’m lying?”

You waved your hands in the air. “No, it came out wrong. I meant it in a ‘that’s amazing’ kind of way! You’re #2! Wow…” The absolutely glowing smile you gave him radiated warmth and his heart swelled at the idea you felt secondhand elation on his behalf. Even though he didn’t hold the top spot, you skipped right over the mention of Deku and honed in on stroking his ego. His eyes sparkled at the sentiment. “So that means you’re pretty much better than everyone! You really are a badass. I’m proud of you.” 

Your words and smile mesmerized him long enough for you to reach up, grab him by the cheeks, and plant a searing kiss on his lips before he realized what was happening.

Warmth flooded Bakugo through your hands and lips down into the base of his spine like a buzzing hum. The absence of this small affection the previous day struck him like a train when he realized he missed it. Once the initial shock wore off, his hands found refuge on your waist, wanting to hold you there, to savor the feeling and hold it like a keepsake memory. 

Neither of you pulled away as your lips started moving, slotting with his perfectly as he closed his eyes and his thumbs rubbed small circles into your shirt. What started out as a chaste congratulatory kiss quickly turned deeper and hungrier as seconds passed. 

The combination of knowing you thought so highly of him, that you were proud of him of all the damn things and wanting to give into this needy indulgence spurred him on as he moved his lips against yours in a steady rhythm. Your hands moved from his cheeks to knead the skin between his neck and shoulders as his own shifted from your hips to the small of your back. Closer , he thought selfishly, leaning forward to envelop himself in whatever you willingly offered. You didn’t object but he dared not lose himself too much, his brain screaming one thing while his mouth whispered another. 

When you made a small noise he chased after it with unsated hunger, swallowing it before picking up the pace of the kiss, desperate for more. You pressed your chest to his and his hands tightened around your back, your fingernails scraping against his skin in a way that sent shivers down his spine. He’d never been this close, this wound up in you before and dammit he wasn’t about to slow down now. 

You felt so incredibly warm with Bakugo flush against you like that was where you were supposed to be. Every time he moved, he shifted, he grunted you felt your self control slipping. He felt and tasted so good that the last thing you wanted to do was stop now. You tentatively ran your tongue over his bottom lip, asking for permission he gladly gave as he repeated your actions. 

He kissed the same way he did everything else: with the intent on winning. His scent and taste made your entire body vibrate. Sliding your tongue against his you moaned a bit louder, his fingers gripping your back in a fruitless attempt to be even closer even though no space remained between you. Assuming Bakugo would hold back when it came to vocal expressions of affection, he found his rhythm in actions rather than words and kissed you harder and faster as his chest vibrated against yours with every noise he made that mirrored your own. The room turned unbearably hot as you tugged at his hair gently, experimentally, before an image of you straddling him appeared behind your closed eyelids and you knew that if you didn’t pull back now that things would move too quickly too soon. With restraint you didn’t think you possessed in the heat of the moment, you pulled back agonizingly slowly while nipping at his lip in the same way he’d done on your bathroom floor. 

Bakugo paused, his breath heavy as his chest heaved and a bead of sweat ran down his neck into the collar of his black shirt. By the time you separated just enough to avoid your lips touching, he had you pressed so tightly against him that he could feel your heartbeat like a drum in your chest and was positive you felt his own as well. 

His hands remained at your back and your fingers continued to thread through his hair when he opened his eyes and stared at your flushed cheeks and kiss-bruised lips and half-lidded eyes, the lingering taste of you on his tongue as he attempted to swallow and catch his breath. It was only then that he realized how sweaty his palms were, the combination of body heat and lust sending them into overdrive. He needed to let go, to move, to back away before he left a wet spot on your shirt but the best he could manage was to move them back to their original spot on your waist. Your eyes, sultry and glistening like twinkling stars, forced him to stare, unable and unwilling to look away. 

Bakugo didn’t know what to say. Words felt inadequate after such a heated moment of getting literally wrapped up in each other, paranoid that it would turn awkward when all he wanted to do was stay right here. You were still too close and the urge to pull you back in at this distance almost overcame him, but he retained some small semblance of self-control. Holy fuck he was thirsty. 

You ran your tongue around your mouth, saliva dribbling down the back of your throat as you attempted to get a hold of yourself. His carmine eyes never left yours. You knew you were blushing furiously but his own cheeks were dusted pink so at least the two of you matched. A sudden wave of shyness fluttered through you as you fought against the ocean tides just to keep the distance between you when you finally broke eye contact for a split second. “Water?” you managed to ask in a squeaky voice. 

“Water,” he mirrored in your language with a quick nod. When he finally let go of your shirt a lonely shiver spread across your skin at the lack of contact, but you managed to stand up without alerting him to your jelly-like legs as you padded into the kitchen with a controlled pace. 

Bakugo mentally thanked you, clearing his throat and running his hands through his hair as he readjusted himself on the couch. However, that made him painfully aware of...oh, shit . He cut his eyes quickly to you in the kitchen, your back to him as you pulled down glasses and stuffed them with ice from the freezer. Fucking hormones , he cursed after realizing the makeout session had left him physically compromised without a phone call to distract you this time. Positioning his legs as inconspicuously as possible that he hoped beyond hope would obscure his problem. He wiped his sweaty palms on his sweatpants, a temporary solution until he could actually stand up and drench himself in ice-cold water, when he felt the couch dip beside him and watched you hold out a glass for him to take. 

“Arigatou,” he managed before chugging nearly half the glass in one desperate gulp. 

As you drank from your own glass, you tried to keep your eyes to yourself. That had been...incredibly intoxicating and left you more than a little flustered, though you weren’t exactly mad about it. A bubble of awkward tension now surrounded the two of you and you weren’t sure what to say after an even more intense makeout session than the previous one. Chancing a peek at him through your eyelashes, you noticed his cheeks were still dusted pink.

You left a bit of distance between the two of you this time despite the urge to sit closer. Bakugo finished his water before you did and looked as though he missed the brief distraction. “I...uh,” he started, looking like a deer caught in headlights. You remembered how he explained he wasn’t the best with words, so you chimed in to save him the trouble and hopefully ease the tension. 

“It’s OK. I don’t want things to be awkward. Um...want to play a game? I bet I can beat you this time around.” A change in topic sounded like a good idea and gave you the chance to get a hold of yourself. Bakugo seemed to agree, giving you a quick nod. 

“Not a chance, but you can try.” 

After you handed him the controller, you couldn’t help but get in one last comment just to see him squirm a bit and add yet another notch to his ego belt. “Gotta say, though...you’re a good kisser.” 

Rather than boast about how you were right, his ears glowed and you swore you saw him sink even deeper into the couch while mumbling something too low for your phone to pick up. You couldn't help but suppress a giggle. “Just...play the damn game!” Now that you knew how to rile him up, you could take advantage of it over the next couple of weeks to push his buttons...just a bit. 

It didn’t take long before Bakugo’s tension eased and he yelled smugly while you groaned loudly whenever you lost. If he was here for another three weeks then you’d need to be more careful with how you acted around him. Not that you didn’t necessarily want to have more makeout sessions, but you were well aware that moving too quickly or acting without proper consent could ruin an evening, and that was the last thing you wanted. 

Once you won at least a couple of matches out of the handful you played, you felt your eyes start to shut as weariness finally hit you at the end of the day. “I think...I’m done. And you only won for now so don’t give me that face.”

Bakugo just scoffed and handed over the controller for you to wind up and put away. You debated on whether or not to give him a goodnight kiss...but ultimately told yourself that a quick peck would be fine, nothing more. 

“It’s bed time for me, I think.” Walking over, you bent down in front of the couch to meet Bakugo eye-to-eye. He must’ve agreed with your line of thinking because the soft kiss only lasted a second before both of you pulled away. “I guess...I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodnight, Bakugo.”

“Ashia (tomorrow)...” he whispered, eyes darkening the smallest fraction as you rounded the couch and disappeared into your room. 

Bakugo waited a minute to make sure your bedroom remained silent before he strode quickly into the bathroom, stripped down, and doused himself in ice-cold water. It made him shiver but he grit his teeth and endured it in an attempt to clear his head. 

“Fuck...not good.” With the question of whether or not he could stay here out of the way, Bakugo now faced the fact that a lot could happen in three weeks, especially considering the stupidly hot makeout session less than an hour ago. It was one thing to be emotionally honest on the grounds that tiptoeing around feelings was childish. Bakugo was someone who dove head-first into most situations, but this wasn’t a battle to be won. It involved trying to make sure he didn’t royally screw up anything and hurt you. Mostly because he had no idea what the hell he was doing when it came to this type of thing, and he couldn’t ask for advice from anyone. 

Once his skin turned numb from the cold, he turned the knob in the opposite direction until steam floated up to the ceiling from the heat. “What do I fucking do?” he growled into the emptiness of the ceramic tiles. 

What happened on the couch was far more enjoyable than he wanted to admit, and it was obvious you were just as into it as he was. Casual affection was one thing, but being more... physical was something he couldn’t even think about before his ears burned. 

Was it really a good idea to keep this going now that he had time? The more attached he got - you got - the shittier it would feel when he ultimately leaves for good. Even without ever experiencing proper romance for himself, Bakugo knew that much. If he’d miss your damn smile now, he’d surely have an even tougher time three weeks from now. But doing otherwise hadn’t worked, obviously, and things were far better now without the stress of hiding behind lying to himself. 

Thoughts of you weighed on his mind with renewed vigor when he finally fell asleep on the couch that he assumed would be his bed for the remainder of his stay. 

 

Chapter Text

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Moodboard made by @thebinkyfish on tumblr

Your dreams were blurry and inconsistent, moving around from one scene to the next like shifting tides. Despite precarious footing, you felt...safe. Warm. Comfortable. Walking along the tightrope suspended above worlds that followed no rules and moved as though circling around a mountain range, planes flat one moment and jagged the next, didn’t scare you. Not anymore. You knew that if you fell, if you were to stumble, you wouldn’t be alone. 

The alarm on your phone jolted you out of your bizarre dream and you slid further beneath the covers in a futile attempt to ignore it. Normally, your dreams were vivid and clear, even if they didn’t make sense, but this one had almost visualized emotions more than anything else. Unfortunately, though, you couldn’t stay in bed all day. Reaching out of your covers, you turned off the blaring alarm before kicking the sheets half off the bed. You knew that if you remained there you’d just fall back asleep, so sometimes drastic measures had to be taken. 

You rolled out of bed and managed to land on your feet rather than your butt for once. “What day is it...Wednesday?” Early mornings always felt disorienting. Grabbing some clothes out of your dresser, you went to open your bedroom door and, for the first time in two weeks, felt no anxiety about who you might or might not find on the other side. 

Peeking your head over the couch, you saw the now-familiar sight of Bakugo curled up on his makeshift bed, an arm draped over his face to obscure his features. Still, he looked tense rather than relaxed, his muscles twitching in the early morning sun cascading in from the window. Maybe a bad dream plagued him or he fell asleep still consumed with the whirlwind of events the previous day. 

After showering and following your normal morning routine, you wrote him the usual note dictating when you’d be home from work with the addition of another sloppy smiley face. You grabbed a banana from the counter and turned when you heard Bakugo shift behind you, but he didn’t wake. 

He barely fit on the couch, the top of his head to the tips of his toes nearly spanning the entire length of the cushions. Maybe you should get him a blow-up mattress or something more comfortable for him to sleep on since you knew he’d be here for a while. Or he could sleep in your own bed , a stray thought whispered across the back of your mind. 

“Oh, god,” you whispered to yourself with burning cheeks as you locked the door behind you. It wasn’t as though you hadn’t thought - or dreamed - about it, but that was an intimate step that you weren’t exactly sure how or when to take, or if he even wanted to take it. Speeding down the apartment stairs, you nearly tripped over your own feet in your rush to get to work and escape the stray thoughts of sexual-tension that creeped into your mind more and more everyday. 

The previous day had been so busy that you failed to ask about the plan you’d been researching. Today, you’d gather up the last bits of research and present it to him tonight for an answer. If he liked it, great! The fact that you knew he’d be here through the weekend made things easier. If he hated the plan...well, you’d feel bummed out, but it just meant finding an alternative to keep him busy in an attempt to ease his boredom.

An hour after you arrived at work, Bakugo stirred awake. His sleep schedule felt permanently screwed due to the lack of alarm or proper responsibilities to wake up for, but there wasn’t much he could do about it. 

Honestly, he felt like shit despite the last few nights sleeping like a damn baby. The night had been tense and uncomfortable, memories of the previous evening flooding his mind as he considered everything that had happened up to that point and what that meant moving forward. 

“Stupid…” he groaned while running a hand through his hair. It had gotten longer than he normally kept it - another issue to add to the list. Kirishima had grown his hair out after graduation, a long trail of bright red spikes reaching the middle of his back while Bakugo kept his fairly similar to how it had always been for the sake of low maintenance. 

When he and Kirishima used to be roommates, he’d always find long red hair in the shower drain and hair dye on the sink which might’ve caused an argument here or there. Having a roommate again, nethertheless one who he was technically involved with in some unlabeled and vague romantic capacity, should’ve made him feel claustrophobic but in reality Bakugo was surprisingly fine with it. He missed having a space of his own and a proper bed, but you were not annoying to have around. 

While it was on his mind, Bakugo made a mental note to tidy up the areas he used the most, notably the kitchen. He wished he could work or have some type of job while here if only to keep away the boredom and monotony, but without an I.D. or a more familiar knowledge of the local language he’d have a hard time. Other than that, he decided to just let the day unfold. He’d dealt with enough mental exhaustion the last two weeks and didn’t want to start a new round concerning you or things that hadn’t happened yet. Acting carefully and cautiously around you while exercising restraint sounded best for the time being. 

He got up and walked into the kitchen, glancing down at the note you’d left. Your Japanese handwriting had gotten better since you wrote nearly the same thing everyday. Bakugo also wondered how you’d feel about actually sitting down to learn some proper phrases and grammar to ease the communication barrier on both ends. Seeing the dumb smiley face you doodled at the end made his mouth quirk up in a quiet smile. “Idiot…”

Maybe sleeping on a couch for so long wasn’t exactly ideal because when Bakugo moved towards the bathroom he winced as a sharp pain shot down his neck and into his shoulder. “Shit, must’ve slept on it weird.” He had a nice pillow and bed back home, a much-needed investment for how much he valued a good night’s rest. 

Scanning the apartment, he grimaced. “Three weeks, huh...you know what? Fuck it.” The fact that he now knew exactly when he’d be going home eased his mind and for once Bakugo decided to take it easy. 

After making himself some breakfast, he grabbed a bag of ice much like you’d done a week prior, put on that weird anime he’d started watching about the two brothers, and flopped back down onto the couch. 

Every once in a while, though, he was bombarded with unwarranted flashbacks of the previous evening on the cushions he slept and sat on everyday. You certainly didn’t complain, so maybe he wasn’t as terrible at this whole affection thing as he assumed. 

While Bakugo let the day unfold naturally, you spent your lunch break finalizing your plans for the weekend. You hadn’t taken any vacations this year so you had some days to spare to use at your leisure so long as the deadlines weren’t too pressing. 

Just the idea of getting away from the city for a long weekend made you bubble up in excitement. It wasn’t like you’d be flying across the country or anything, but new scenery and a chance to explore somewhere new sounded pretty damn good. 

It had taken quite a bit of searching to find a location not only far from the city but secluded enough where Bakugo could hopefully use his quirk without interference. Now, you just hoped he liked the idea.

Your stomach growled after realizing you’d failed to eat lunch through your focus. “Food, need food,” you groaned while scurrying downstairs. Rather than head to the nearby cafe you normally frequented, you noticed a new restaurant that had opened across the street. Judging from the colorful pictures in the windows and Japanese-style lettering out front, you assumed they served some type of Asian-inspired dishes. 

You walked through the front doors and asked if they did takeout orders. 

“Yes, we do! Would you like a menu?” asked the cheery hostess. You’d worked enough customer service and retail jobs to understand that, soon enough, her soul would be crushed under the indescribable weight of misery, peer pressure, rude customers, and low wages. She just needed time. 

You nodded and stepped aside to glance through the menu. “Ooh, ramen! I bet Bakugo would like this place…” Most of your ramen experience and came from the delicious-looking depictions in anime and your poor college days. Two drastically different aesthetics. 

After paying for your food, you walked back up to the office and sat down at your desk to multitask working and eating when you realized they included chopsticks with your ramen order. You’d gotten better at using them since Bakugo made it his mission to poke fun at your incompetence, but you weren’t perfect with them yet. Maybe by the time he left you’d be-

Oh, right...Bakugo was leaving in three weeks. Every time you reminded yourself of that fact, you felt your heart squeeze longingly. You’d gotten so attached after such a short period of time, but it wasn’t as though you could keep him here or go with him. He needed to go back, to return to his life, to be a Hero again. 

“Don’t think about it,” you told yourself while breaking apart the chopsticks and distracting yourself with the hot ramen. 

Bakugo would probably scrutinize it as “not authentic” or whatever, but to you it tasted pretty damn good. It was at least different from what your normally ate, but unfortunately you couldn’t spend all day savoring broth and noodles. You spent the rest of the afternoon brainstorming how to bring up your plan to Bakugo in a way that would make him say “yes”. 

A sedentary life didn’t really suit Bakugo; he felt best while on the move, while busying his calloused hands with something productive. It was only natural that he would lay around doing nothing for so long before the aching pull of industriousness yanked him off the couch. 

"How do people do nothing all day?" The ice on his back had melted. While some of the tightness had subsided, he winced if he turned his head too far to the left. Maybe some proper stretching would do the trick. 

With his mind made up, he changed into some workout clothes - he needed to do laundry again soon - and headed out the door. But rather than go towards the park like usual, he jogged in the opposite direction for a change in scenery. He was also curious to see the office building where you spent most of the day for his own peace of mind. 

He slowed when he came across the building you’d pointed out to him and grimaced at how boring and dreary it looked, wondering if it was just as drab on the inside. How the hell did you stand working there everyday? Avoiding actually sitting down at his agency for paperwork or logistics meetings was basically a pastime at this point. The adrenaline rush of fighting villains face-to-face suited him far better. 

Distracted by your building, he failed to notice the ramen shop across the street and instead went around the block to circle his way back towards your apartment. Bakugo hoped you’d actually take the initiative to find somewhere better to work, remembering your asshole coworker and his own stupid panic when you arrived home late. He was completely serious about busting down the doors if you weren’t back by a certain time. While he normally avoided property damage, especially considering the dangers his quirk posed, he’d make an exception for that. 

Every once in a while he’d think of you and wondered how the next three weeks would play out. He’d never been this consistently close to anyone before, not in the intimate way he was with you. If he screwed things up he couldn’t go anywhere else or ask his friends for advice...which meant he couldn’t screw things up. Maybe it was the perfectionist in him, but he felt compelled to do the best at whatever the fuck this was so you wouldn’t look back on his time here with annoyance. 

To distract himself from intrusive thoughts of you, he worked out a little harder and joggled a little faster than normal while hoping physical exhaustion would keep his mind clean. It did, but you never strayed from his thoughts for too long. 

The vulnerability that came with emotional attachment was something that never quite sat well with Bakugo; the idea of having someone even closer than the friends he’d had for years seemed foreign and absurd. But there was something about you that shifted his mood and eased his tension and Bakugo wasn’t sure whether or not that was actually a good thing. At the very least, he was grateful he wasn’t stuck here alone with no one to talk to. You were smart and snappy and cute and stubborn and funny and sexy and-

“Fucking dammit, I really am screwed.” He chopped a carrot crooked and threw the whole thing away in frustration as he started dinner, eyes darting up to the clock every once in a while to keep track of the time. One of his secrets was that he enjoyed cooking shows but usually altered the ingredients or recipe to his own liking. So far you’d done nothing but applaud his food and he wasn’t about to let go of the ego boost. It also gave him a chance to experiment while connecting as best he could to Japanese cooking considering the circumstance. 

By the time you left work, the sun had begun to set and cast a mandarin haze over the city. If you ignored the heavy traffic and loud annoyances that accompanied living in the city, then it really was beautiful. 

Maybe tonight you’d kick your butt into gear and look for a new job. The fiasco Monday coupled with Bakugo’s innate ability to inspire those around him to succeed made you realize a change was in order sooner rather than later. 

“Wow, how long has it been since I checked the mail?” A small mail center stood next to the leasing office of your apartment complex. You usually checked it once or twice a week despite receiving bills, magazines, and local restaurant menus that usually went into the trash. With Bakugo here, you’d been far too distracted to check it recently. 

However, today a package sat stuffed into the small metal box along with the rest of the junk mail. “Package...what- oh! I forgot I ordered this.” Weeks ago, maybe a day or two before Bakugo even arrived, you’d gotten an email notification about a sale at a lingerie outlet and if there was one thing you appreciated it was a good sale. 

You weren’t dating anyone at the time so it wasn’t a purchase to show off to anyone in particular, but sometimes wearing something sexy or fancy just made you feel good about yourself. Being single didn’t exclude you from treating yourself to something nice. 

Holding it in your hands as you walked towards your apartment building made you slow down with mild panic. “Bakugo can’t see this...I mean, if he wanted to I wouldn’t exactly say ‘ no ’ or whatever but it’s a little soon for that don’tcha think? I can barely stare at his arms let alone think about...hah, yeah, too soon…” You rambled to yourself nervously while approaching your apartment door. 

You hid the bag behind your back before unlocking the door, hoping he wouldn’t notice or ask about it before you could hide it in your room. Sliding off your shoes as you entered, the wafting smell of something delicious made your mouth water. “Hey,” you said with a smile while taking out your phone with one hand and balancing the hidden package with the other. 

Bakugo looked up from the stove and his eyes almost immediately landed on the package. “Hey. What’s that?” he asked, ponting a long spoon in your direction. 

Damn his stupidly high perception , you cursed to yourself as you tensed. “Oh, this? Uh, just a thing I ordered in a mail a while back. It’s been so busy here I forgot to check,” you explained, a bit of tension leaking into your words as you hoped he wouldn’t press further. “I’ll just go change...dinner smells great!” 

You tried and probably failed to walk casually into your room, his eyes following you with a raised eyebrow until you closed the door. “Whew, crisis averted.” The heat in your cheeks subsided as you tried to quietly open the package. You were definitely one of those people who wanted to use anything you got in the mail as soon as humanly possible. 

A matching bra and panty set, black with lace detailing, sat on your bed next to the discarded packaging. It wasn’t something to wear everyday but the deal was too good to pass up before they sold out of your size. You wanted to try it on to make sure it fit but decided to wait until later and hid the package contents in your dresser before changing out of your work clothes and into some more comfortable pajamas. 

“Does he...would he even like something like this?” you wondered to yourself. Not that the set was for Bakugo, but what if… “ No , god, get it together. Don’t go out a flustered mess.” Standing in front of the mirror, you took a deep breath to compose yourself before heading back out into the living room. 

When he heard your door open, Bakugo looked behind him to see you in a change of clothes walking towards him. The package you had was gone and you seemed oddly tense when he asked about it, but prying into someone’s mail seemed invasive. He assumed that if it concerned him you’d spit it out. 

Rather than try and sneak a taste of the food before it was ready, you grabbed your laptop and plopped down onto the couch. He rarely saw your browse on the computer so there must’ve been a compelling reason behind it and his curiosity could only take so much dismissal. While the food simmered, Bakugo walked over and asked, “What are you doing?” 

You looked up at him almost shyly before answering with your phone poised in your hand. “Well...I thought about what you said the other day about a new job. And you’re right. I don’t want to be somewhere shitty that doesn’t value me or my work...so I’m looking for something new.” 

He blinked with the realization that you’d taken his advice seriously before grinning with satisfaction. “Good. I’m usually right so this shouldn’t be any different.” You just rolled your eyes but it was true; he was rarely wrong about anything and was damn proud of that fact. “Food’s almost done so don’t get attached to whatever boring thing you have to do.”

“Updating my resume and looking for jobs is definitely boring, can’t argue there. And I’m sure it’ll be delicious...chef Bakugo. You need one of those cute aprons that says ‘kiss the cook’ on it.” He wasn’t sure if it was the desperate attempt and spectacular failure on your part to keep from laughing at his expression or the absurdity of wearing a tacky apron but Bakugo ran a hand down his face to hide his own stupid smirk. You really did keep things lively. 

“You saying you want a kiss, then?” he asked with a devious tone. You stopped typing and he swore a slight blush rose to your cheeks. So you weren’t immune to embarrassment after all. 

“I mean ...I’m not gonna say ‘no’ if-” Feeling bold despite the hesitations that plagued him most of the day, Bakugo bent down, shut your laptop on your fingers, and kissed you. He kept it quick and chaste for his own sanity but the squeak you made at the gesture was worth his impulsiveness. “Now you really need that apron…”

Shaking his head in disbelief, Bakugo walked back into the kitchen and felt satisfied at distracting you briefly from your work. He was playing a dangerous game but just one kiss wouldn’t hurt. 

When he finally announced that dinner was done, you practically tossed your computer to the side and hummed excitedly while walking into the kitchen. You tried to peer over around his shoulders at the delicious-smelling food but he shoved you to the side until you relented and grabbed some plates. 

Dinner was easygoing as you both exchanged the day’s events back and forth, neither particularly exciting. A bead of condensed stress rolled around in his head every few minutes as he pondered more about this whole ordeal and what to do. Was he overthinking this? Honestly, he never second-guessed himself this much and usually just went with his gut without looking back. Kirishima was always spouting that “no regrets” shit he’d gotten from Crimson Riot and Bakugo had already taken the first step in accepting this temporary situation with you, but he needed to act less impulsively before he did something stupid or made his lack of experience glaringly obvious. 

When you mentioned trying some new ramen place for lunch, his attention veered, grateful for the distraction. 

“Ramen, huh? Was it any good?” Just the thought of tasting a bit of familiarity made his mouth water. 

“Yeah, actually. Then again I’m not a ramen expert and most of my experience is with those freeze dried packets.” At that, Bakugo sneered in mild disgust. 

“You eat those? They taste like garbage wrapped in plastic.”

You took another bite of food and did that stupid wiggle in your chair. “When you’re a poor college student you gotta get by somehow. The only hard thing is chopsticks...but I’m getting better.”

He snickered at your self-evaluation. “You sure about that?”

“Yes...probably. Shut up.” Honestly, that pouty puppy dog face you made whenever he pushed your buttons was dangerously cute. You had this bizarre habit of improving his mood without even trying but he wasn’t about to complain. 

Still, this place sounded interesting and he craved the taste of home. Bakugo made do with the food and spices available here and while none of it was bad he’d latch on to any part of Japan he could get his hands on, even if it wasn’t his Japan. Maybe he could check it out for himself with the money you’d left him, or possibly even meet you for lunch one day. He had the time so why not? 

You surprised him by avoiding an argument over this dishes for once. “What, don’t want to be stubborn today?”

“I’m always stubborn, but I’m not the only one.” His eye twitched when you winked at him cheekily from the chair. “Maybe I’m just plotting to catch you off-guard. I have to keep you on your toes somehow…” Your voice trailed off as though a stray idea had interrupted you mid-sentence. He was about to ask about it but you answered for him after standing up and leaning on the counter with your phone in hand. “There um, is actually something I wanted to bring up to you. I’ve thought about it for a while, and it’s totally up to you...feel free to turn me down.”

After setting the plates down in the sink, he leaned on the counter himself and quirked an eyebrow in your direction. “Well? Spit it out.”

“Well...OK just hear me out. I’ve been trying to think of a way for you to use your quirk here. I imagine it’s probably uncomfortable to avoid using a natural part of yourself all the time, right? We’re in the city with too many people around so I had to think outside a bit.” You stretched your arms out for emphasis while Bakugo trained his eyes on you, intently curious now about this plan of yours. 

“I figured somewhere more secluded might work. I found a cabin that’s kind of in the middle of nowhere a couple hours a way. It’s up sort of on a mountainside so maybe you could go outside and use your quirk for a few days without worry. And it seemed like…” The way you nibbled on your lip nervously briefly distracted Bakugo as his brain processed everything the phone translated. “We could um, go this weekend. If you want. A long weekend, maybe three or four days. Unless you don’t want to go! I mean, duh, if you don’t wanna go then we won’t and...yeah…” 

Whenever you were nervous you started to ramble, something he’d picked up on over time. He just stared as he processed the fact that you’d planned this little getaway for him specifically; somewhere he could openly use his quirk. Truth be told, his arms and hands had felt stiff the past few days and he wondered if it was a side effect of avoiding a natural release of energy when he used it so frequently back home. 

Quite a few questions popped into his mind as he processed the new information. “How long have you been planning this?”

Your fingers wound together as you glanced up at him through your eyelashes. “Uh, I guess… maybe a week? It took me a while to figure out where to go away from a lot of people.” 

“A week ?” he asked with a hint of incredulity. “So you started planning this,” he held up a finger before continuing. “One, before you told me you liked me.” You glanced around nervously but Bakugo kept his eye line steady. “And two, before I got the note yesterday detailing how long i’d be here. Am I wrong?”

“No...no, that sounds about right.”

“So now I’m curious. What would you have done if Kirishima hadn’t sent the note and neither of us knew when I’d go back? What if I’d disappeared during this planned weekend?” The tightness in his chest at the thought of leaving you behind so abruptly went ignored. 

You just crossed your arms and matched his stare with one of your own. “Then I’d have a weekend to myself as a little vacation, that’s all. I haven’t had one in over a year so it’s a win for both of us. You get to use your quirk and I get to relax away from work.” 

A vacation, huh? Technically this whole ordeal counted as an involuntary vacation for him if he remained optimistic. For whatever reason, Ashido’s voice echoed in his head. She’d barge into the common room during the holidays and put on those awful romance movies where the couple ended up in a secluded cabin for a romantic getaway completely by happenstance. He only ever caught bits and pieces because the acting was always terrible and the plots had sinkhole-sized issues but Bakugo knew enough to make the connection. 

He drummed his fingers on the counter before saying, “let me take a shower and I’ll give you an answer. Deal?” 

The fact that he didn’t give you an immediate answer stirred the nerves in your stomach, anxious that he’d think the whole idea was stupid. “Deal.” You did kind of spring a whole plan on him out of nowhere, but he’d rolled with all your other ones so you tried not to overthink it. 

Once Bakugo moved around you and slid into the bathroom, you noticed the dirty dishes he left in the sink. Listening out for the water running in the shower, you made short work of the dirty plates and silverware without him literally shoving you out of your own kitchen. When you were done, you realized his stubbornness had gotten you to clean out of spite. “Dammit...handsome smartass.” 

It also made you notice that the kitchen looked...tidier than they did this morning? Did he clean up while you were at work? “Does chores without even being asked? What a dream.”

Afterwards, you sat back down on the couch and opened back up your laptop to resume your job search. You replayed everything you told Bakugo in your head and realized the whole thing sounded more romantic after voicing it aloud. Hopefully he didn’t get the wrong idea...not that you didn’t exactly mind being stuck with him in a cabin in the woods with no one else around. You were realizing you didn’t really mind a lot of things when it came to him, apparently, but you’d never had a proper discussion with him about boundaries or expectations...maybe you needed to do that sooner rather than later considering the makeout session from the previous night. 

“If he says ‘no’ it’ll be fine. We can figure out something else.” You skimmed job listings and local businesses with open positions to distract yourself from digging into hypotheticals.

You were so focused on flipping through tabs on your laptop and pulling up your outdated resume that you failed to immediately notice Bakugo once he stepped out of the bathroom. 

“Oi,” he said, catching your attention. He sat down on the couch next to you, his skin still slightly flushed from hot water and steam as the scent of soap and toothpaste clung to your nose. His eyes glanced at your laptop screen. “Find anything good?”

“A few things that are nearby. I need to update my resume though; I haven’t touched it since I got my current job a couple years ago.”

Bakugo then crossed his arms and focused his attention on you, instead. “About this cabin thing...got an important question first.” You nodded, unsure of what he was about to ask. “Will I get a bed if I go?”

Of all the inquiries you thought he’d voice, a bed wasn’t one of them and you couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Yes, you’ll have a bed. This place should have two beds, I checked while searching.” You didn’t miss the way his eyes lit up at the simple comfort of a bed. Did that mean…? 

“Fine, that’s all I needed to know. We’ll go,” he stated simply with a small smirk. 

You’d half-expected him to say ‘no’ so when Bakugo actually agreed you almost jumped up and kissed him again but managed to hold yourself back while remembering the previous night. In your haste the laptop nearly toppled to the floor. “Close one...just excited I guess. So you think it’s a good idea? I get to have a little vacation and you can do...quirk stuff!”

He stared at you blankly but his eyes shined with amusement. “Quirk stuff, huh?”

“You know what I mean. I can set up everything now, actually. How does Friday through Sunday sound?” 

“As if I have other plans in my busy schedule.” You puffed out your cheeks at his sarcasm and nudged him softly in the arm. 

Beaming, you managed to hold in your excitement knowing he agreed to this little trip with you. “Oh! Speaking of beds, do you...want me to get you an air mattress or something?...Don’t give me that look, I saw you jump at the mention of a bed.” 

Bakugo crossed his arms like a pouty teenager. “No, you’ve done enough. I’ll deal with it. And since you like springing surprises so much I’ll warn that I’ll be pissed if you buy one. The couch is fine.” 

There was no way he was totally fine with the couch, especially not for another three weeks, but you didn’t feel like bringing down the mood by arguing about it. “If you say so...chef Bakugo.” He kicked you in the shin for that but the small smile gave him away. 

While you went through the rental company website to finalize things, Bakugo asked you questions about the types of jobs you were looking for. “Well, somewhere that needs my skills, obviously. Better pay, better benefits, the usual stuff. And ideally somewhere close so I don’t have to drive...the less I have to deal with idiots on the road the better.”

“You really do hate driving. Good thing I’ll be stuck with you for two hours, then,” he commented sarcastically as you tried to swat at him for the quip.

“I don’t hate it so much as just want to smack the idiots who obviously bribed their instructors into giving them licenses.”

Your volatility towards other drivers amused him to no end; a ball of rage ready to let loose. “Just don’t get into a fight with me in a car. I’ve avoided drawing attention to myself so far and don’t want to get arrested now.”

“Yeah, well… if I do pull over to throw hands they probably deserved it.” You held up some fists and threw a fake punch into the air for emphasis. 

Curious, he asked if you’d ever been in a real fight before. “Mm, well no… I’ve taken self-defense classes but that’s about it. Oh, wait! In college I hit a guy in a bar who was being disgusting. Pretty sure I cracked a tooth. He definitely deserved it.”

Your words were laced with pride at the fact that you’d defended yourself but Bakugo was reminded of the off-handed remark from your concert the previous week. He tended to let people take care of themselves but silently seethed at the idea of someone pulling enough bullshit for you to actually hit them. If anyone tried something stupid while Bakugo was around, his quirk might “accidentally” go off. How tragic. 

Apparently, he’d zoned out contemplating hypothetical ass-kicking. “Hello? Earth to Bakugo?” You waved a hand in front of his face and he swatted it away. 

“Glad you don’t put up with bullshit.” While the idea of you wrecking someone sounded glorious to watch, he didn’t actually want you to feel uncomfortable or in danger at any point. 

“I’m tougher than I look. I’ve…” Your voice trailed off and your eyes glazed over briefly before returning to the familiar brightness Bakugo was used to. “Nevermind. We have a trip to plan for!” The abrupt change in subject stopped him from digging for further explanation. Maybe you’d open up to him before his last day here, but he wouldn’t force vulnerability if he struggled with it himself. 

Talking with you was easy. It felt almost effortless at times, something Bakugo was wholly grateful for. The thought actually reminded him of something. He grabbed the dictionary from the side table and held it up to you. “Since I have time, figured we might as well actually learn some phrases and words in each other’s language. Plus, I can correct your pronunciation.” 

“Are you saying my Japanese is bad?” 

Bakugo answered without missing a beat or looking up at you while he flipped through the dictionary. “You said it...but yeah you sound terrible.” Your exaggerated gasp made him whip around which was the exact wrong thing to do because the same stiffness from this morning shot up his neck and made him wince. “Dammit..”

“What’s wrong?” You’d just asked him about the comfort of the couch couch and grimaced at any evidence to the contrary. 

“It’s nothing.”

“...You sure?”

“Did I stutter?” 

You grinned knowingly as his eye twitched. “You slept weird, didn’t you?” His teeth ground together at your correct assumption which must’ve been visibly obvious. “Thought so. I sit at a desk all day so I’m no stranger to neck pain. How about...oh! Turn around.”

Your finger twirled in the air but Bakugo sat there confused. “Why?”

“A neck massage can do wonders.” It took a full second for him to comprehend and digest exactly what you’d said before his face sprung a warm leak. He’d never had a massage in his damn life. 

“A what ? Why the hell would I want that?” Rather than back down, you just grinned in a way that told him he was going to face a rare loss in this discussion. 

“Because it feels nice, for one. And…” You paused before staring at him innocently while your tone betrayed your intentions. “If you don’t want one then I’m buying you a new pillow. The choice is yours, Bakugo.” 

You truly were devious when you set your mind to something. “What if I refuse both?”

“Just try, smartass.” As if the discussion were over, you shut your laptop and sat up on the couch to physically adjust his shoulders so his back was to you. You briefly recalled running your fingers along his neck the previous night but decided the prudent path was to keep this chaste and focused. “Relax. I’m sure being a Hero is stressful, right? And yesterday was kind of a whirlwind of information. Just...chill out, OK?”

You stared at his back, the muscles twitching under his skin as he rolled his shoulders and finally seemed to give in with a sigh. Bakugo grabbed the dictionary and flipped through it, apparently determined to resist fully relaxing as you experimentally ran your fingers across the back of his neck. 

He tensed immediately, head fixed straight ahead as he started reciting off words and phrases for you to copy and repeat back to him. Massages were normally sensual when outside of a professional parlor or spa and you couldn’t help but memorize the curves and dips of his skin under your palms. 

You started slow, running the pads of your thumbs across the base of his neck and immediately felt a knotted ball that was surely at least one source of his discomfort. Small scars marred his skin, tangible memories etched in like braille readable only to close touches. A map laid out before you of his travels. After a minute he finally let his shoulders drop as you worked the juncture where his neck met his back before disappearing behind the black cotton tank top. 

Wary of your placement, you kept your fingers away from wrapping too far around his neck. The vivid recollection of anime scenes flashed in your head: the sludge monster and infamous kidnapping by Dabi during the Training Camp Arc. You’d always held the belief that due to past trauma Bakugo avoided anything restrictive around his neck. 

His unbuttoned school uniform. His gravitation towards v-neck and scoop neck shirts. His winter outfit that wrapped around him protectively. 

Of course, this was knowledge he was unaware you knew. For your own peace of mind and to hopefully avoid him telling you to stop, your hands and fingers gripped and dug in avoidance of his neck directly. 

He corrected your pronunciation a few times with the words and phrases you recited. You recognized some of them as ones he used often, such as “oyaho” and “oyasumi nasai”. 

At one point, you pressed into a particularly tense spot and and swore you heard something between a grunt and moan. Both of you stilled but he didn’t tell you to stop...so you didn’t. Selfish curiosity nagged at you to press further but you remained focused and, once satisfied that you’d reached most visible areas, you let go and sat back on the couch. 

“Better?” you asked. You certainly weren’t a masseuse or anything but had both given and received a few massages over the years so you tried your best with the knowledge you had. 

Bakugo waited a moment before rolling his head, stretching out the muscles you’d loosened before he turned around to look at you properly. His face was blank making you assume that it didn’t help, but being the smartass he was, a disbelieving smirk lit up his defined jawline. 

“Hai, arigatou.” Words of appreciation were rarely heard from Bakugo but every time you barged in with an offer to help him in one way or another, he felt his resolve crumble. The way you lit up and clapped your hands together told him it was the right choice. 

“You’re- ah… what was it... oh! Doitashimashite.” Your pronunciation was still off but you picked up things quickly. 

Truth be told, that had felt better than he openly wanted to admit to. He’d vehemently denied going to any type of spa or masseuse back home; not because he thought it was stupid but the idea of paying a total stranger to dig into his problem areas made him grimace. 

He recalled the small handful of times he’d given in to such impulses and he’d come out no better off than before. Now it wasn’t so bad, though, and Bakugo wondered if he’d outgrown his discomfort or if it was just you in particular. 

For the rest of the night, he asked you more questions about the cabin excursion and your job options while you typed away on your laptop, browsing through websites and connections for openings. 

At some point, you looked down at the corner of your screen at the same time Bakugo tried and failed to hide a yawn. “Shit, when did it get so late?”

“The fucking computer has a clock on it. How did you not notice the time?” 

You closed your computer and stretched, brushing him off with a flick of the wrist. “Sometimes it happens, OK? Let me go brush my teeth.” Bakugo watched you zip your laptop back up into its case by the TV before disappearing into the bathroom. 

It gave him the opportunity to grab a glass of water before going to sleep himself. In a few days he’d get to sleep in a bed. Even just two nights of that bliss made the trip worth it. The strong itch to use his quirk again gnawed at him as well, his fingers twitching in anticipation as he leaned against the counter. 

Try as he might to question things and overthink this situation, Bakugo felt…guiltily comfortable. Falling into conversation with you was easy, even if it was over something as mundane as job skills. He thought back to that damn list he’d made last Friday, the one where your good qualities far outweighed the negative consequences of admitting he had his own stupud crush. If compelled, he would add a few new points to the list...good kisser being one of them. “Goddammit,” he cursed before downing half his glass of water. You somehow kept him hydrated and thirsty at the same damn time. 

He was so lost in thought that he barely heard the bathroom door open. When Bakugo saw a hand wave in front of his face, he came back to reality. 

“Just wanted to say thanks for agreeing to my plan. I’m hoping it’ll be a good trip. Also wanted to say goodnight... I mean, oyasumi nasai.” 

A tired smile beamed down at you. “Goodnight,” he mirrored in your own language. Your eyes widened before you reached out with your free hand and tugged on one of his own, prompting him to bend down in confusion. Leaning up, you gave him a small kiss on the lips before letting go with one last fleeting glance in his direction. 

While at times you mirrored his boisterous energy, you also exuded a quiet and thoughtful energy that nearly mesmerized him at times. When he got a hold of himself he down the rest of his water, but not before tasting the remnants of your toothpaste stuck to the creases of his own lips. 

You were about to crawl into bed when you remembered something. Trying to stay quiet, you changed out of your pajamas and dug into your drawer for the new underwear you bought. You turned around in the full-length mirror that just happened to be positioned in an angle you found personally flattering. “Spicy,” you whispered to yourself while posing dramatically in the darkness. The underwear shaped around your rear end nicely and the padding in the bra pushed the girls up just enough without looking like you stuffed some socks in there. 

“Damn, I look good.” While biting your lip, you peered over at your bedroom door and thought about Bakugo on the other side before your face lit up like a nightlight. Despite the vague recollection of your dreams that might have involved a similar scenario, you didn’t want to move things too quickly. It needed to feel like the right moment. You’d know it when it happened. 

After quietly changing back into your pajamas, you put the set back into your drawer and finally fell into bed, sinking into the mattress with a sigh. Revealing your plan had gone better than you expected despite Bakugo’s line of questioning. 

As you closed your eyes, a slideshow of images flitted across the backs of your eyelids. A long winding road, silent other than the rusting trees and music blaring through your car speakers. A cabin in the forest, warm wood the color of caramel. The smell of breakfast wafting in from a small kitchen with handmade towels and antique soap dispenser. Golden-hour sunlight coating a fallen tree outside used as a makeshift bench with deep and raspy laughter at your side. The pitch-black night glittering with stars normally invisible within the city. A calloused hand in your own and carmine eyes trained on you. 

The possibility of regret evaded you as you drifted off to sleep with idyllic dreams and hopeful promises of time neither wasted nor forgotten.