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“What do you mean , you haven't seen it ?”

 

    Kirishima's eyes are blown wide, his mouth agape, and you know that any focus he might have had on his homework is now completely gone. “I mean what I said, dumbass,” you say, voice dry in hope (useless, useless hope) that if you act disinterested, he'll drop the subject. “I haven't seen any of the movies in that series.”

    He makes a high-pitched whine of a sound, and you roll your eyes. “How have you lived this long without seeing them?” You shrug, and he pushes his paper toward the side of the table as he gets up on his knees and leans forward. “You're a crazy bastard, Bakugou, you're insane! This series is so good , incredible, even!”

    “Is it now,” you mutter, not looking up from your own worksheet. You knew this would happen eventually, but fuck, why'd it have to happen so soon?

    Yes ,” Kirishima says emphatically, leaning even further towards you before suddenly springing back and falling on the ground in a dramatic fashion. “We need to have a movie night, Bakugou! You need to watch this series, it's- it's- agh! I can't even begin to explain!” He sits back up, pushing himself in a way that gave him enough momentum to rock back and forth for a few moments before he was stable again.

“I don't have time for a movie night.”

“Yes you do! I know your schedule by now, you definitely have time for a movie marathon!”

    “Maybe my schedule's changed,” you grunt, and Kirishima makes a psssh sound in response.

    “The only time your schedule changes is when we have a big test coming up, and we don't have any as far as I know.” His eyes are glittering with enthusiasm, and something flutters in your stomach before he starts talking again. “I really think you'd like it! It's got action, and explosions, and cool buff guys! You love that stuff!”

    The longer he talks, the more you realize that his hands are doing… something. Something familiar. They're raised about shoulder-level, flapping in the air as if he was drying them off. The more he talks, the faster they go, and he doesn't show any signs of stopping.

You stare at him, at his hands flapping too fast for your eyes to catch. “The fuck is that,” you say, and your tone must have been harder than intended because suddenly Kirishima's smile slips and his hands pause in midair.

“What's what?”

“That,” you say again, imitating his hand movements in a slower fashion. You remember doing this a lot as a kid, but at some point you stopped yourself. You don't remember why.

“Oh. Yeah, that,” Kirishima says, voice tinged with a nervous laugh. He brings a hand to his neck and runs it through his hair, and you try not to focus too long on the way the strands fall through his fingers. “It’s, uh, it’s a form of stimming. You know. Hand flapping.”

You know hand flapping, but you don't know what stimming is and you don't want to admit it. But there must have been something about the set of your jaw, or the prolonged silence, because Kirishima sighs and you know you're about to get an explanation.

“Stimming is something I do when I've got a lot of emotion to express. I mean, I do it for other stuff, but that's why I did it right now. It just kinda- it comes with the feelings, man.” He averts his gaze from yours, and you realize that he hasn't really looked you in the eye all day. Has he ever? You haven't noticed- you don't look him in the eye either. “It's, uh,” he says with a smile- nervous again, why is he nervous? “It's something that comes with being autistic, I guess.”

Autistic. You roll the word around in your head, trying to call a vague recollection of the definition. You remember the word as an insult- you're so fucking autistic, stop being retarded, look at the slow bastard, he can barely speak - but you don't remember it ever being used in a positive way. Your chest tightens, and you refuse to dwell on why.

“Sorry, I didn't- fuck, I shouldn't have said that,” Kirishima says, and you remember he’s sitting across from you and you've been sitting in silence for god knows how long. “I figured you'd think it was weird.”

“I never said that, dumbass,” you find yourself snapping, and your chest tightens further. “I just- I was thinking.”

Kirishima stares at you, or maybe slightly to your left, or maybe it was you who couldn't stare back, before saying, “Bro, you do know what that means, right?”

“Of course I know what it means,” you lie, and fuck, you said it too fast, because he's smiling at you in that way that lets you know you've been caught.

“Wow. I'm a little surprised, honestly,” he says, leaning his cheek into his hand, and he flits his eyes toward you for a moment before directing them down at the discarded paper again. “It just means my brain's wired a little differently. I mean, there's more, of course, but I don't really wanna get into it tonight, you feel me?”

“Whatever,” you say, and your tone is lighter this time because you don't want a repeat of earlier. “I don't give a fuck about your brain unless you're using it for math, which,” you slide his paper towards him, tapping it with a pencil, “Is what you should be doing right now, fuckwad.”

“Right, sorry!” His eyes crinkle as he lets out a little laugh, and now your chest is tight in a completely different way. You avert your eyes to your own paper and try to ignore the cause of both.

 

____________

 

There was something about what he had said that was bothering you, enough to keep you up past when you'd usually go to sleep.

 

Maybe it wasn't what he'd said, more what he'd done. The flapping of the hands was so familiar, so natural, that you almost felt to urge to do it yourself. Which was stupid, of course, because you hadn't done that in forever and it was something you stopped doing for a reason you can't remember.

Then there was the eye contact, or rather, the lack of. You can't believe you didn't notice until now- when was the last time he looked you in the eyes? When was the last time you'd looked anyone in the eyes? Was this why it was so much easier to talk to him than anyone else?

Your hands are itching to do something, that sensation you've come to be acquainted with, so you crack your knuckles methodically until you can't get a sound anymore. It wasn't enough- you need your hands to be doing something.

Not knowing what else to do, you take out your phone and google what being autistic is. The typing is something, but it's not enough, so you start drumming and snapping the fingers of the hand that isn't holding the phone across your knee. The first result is from Wikipedia, which reads:

 

au·tism
/ˈôˌtizəm/
noun
a developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behavior.

 

    Your fingers drum faster. Okay, so Kirishima has a developmental disorder or something. Did he think you would be an ass about it? You remember the look on his face when you forgot to say anything, and you feel your face pull into a scowl.

    After a moment of deliberation, you click on another link that seems more in-depth. The site provides you with an endless list of information, and you try to focus on one thing at a time. It's- overwhelming, you think, as you skim through a long introduction paragraph. To the left of the page, you see a list of sections that you could click on instead of reading everything at once.

    You decide to click on symptoms, because that seems to be the easiest way for you understand what Kirishima meant. There's another introduction paragraph, but you skip over it to the bulleted list instead of the clumped paragraphs.

    Your breath hitches as you read through the list, and the drumming gets faster still. There are things like stimming with various different types (hand flapping, chewing, drumming or tapping or snapping their fingers, bouncing their leg, so many, why do these sound so familiar ), or things saying how they will avoid eye contact, or have strict schedules and they don't like change, or-

    You close the webpage when you realize you can't breathe anymore. The drumming on your legs is from both hands now, when did you drop your phone? Everything is out of focus, and there's a roaring in your ear that doesn't sound like anything even though it’s so loud . Concentrate. Concentrate. Nothing is wrong.

    No, something is wrong, and you don't want to admit it but you have to. Something is wrong. That list had many things on it that lined up with Kirishima, that made things about him make sense, but. But. It wasn't just him.

    As you read the list, you had simultaneous memories flowing through your head- times with Kirishima, and times with yourself. You were checking off things on a list you didn't even know you had made, and when you had closed that tab it was accompanied with both feelings of relief and fear. Why were you afraid? What were you afraid of? There's nothing to be afraid of. Something is wrong, but everything is fine.

    Your phone is on the floor, and you aren't sure if you had dropped it or thrown it. You don't want to pick it up, because if you pick it up you might look for that tab again and keep reading, and if you keep reading, you'll find more things that you don't want to see. You'll look for other sources, and read more lists, and fuck, you might even find some goddamn quizzes , and you can't bring yourself to pick up the phone and do exactly that. You can't. You can't. Not tonight, not tomorrow.

 

You try to ignore the knot in your stomach, or how your throat has closed up, but you can't ignore it enough to sleep for several hours.

 

____________

 

    You wake up slick with sweat from a dream- a nightmare?- that’s already slipping from your brain. You remember whispers, then yelling, and you think you remember shouting at someone who was far larger than you. It's dripping away like water off a roof, and you don't bother to try and grasp at the remnants.

    A knock at your door breaks the shaky trance you didn't realize you were in, and you try and yell at whoever's at the door to fuck off and find that you can't. Your voice isn't working right now, and the realization makes it worse.

    You wipe at your forehead to push the hair out of your eyes that's stuck to your skin, and you manage to stand from your bed in a sharp, jittery movement. You walk towards the door in the same fashion, and cringe at the way your feet clumsily hit the wood floor.

    You open the door a sliver of an inch, and are ashamed at the relief that floods through you when you see the red, red, red of Kirishima. If it were anyone else, you would slam the door, but it's him , and you don't admit why that's special.

    “What do you want,” you say, and are surprised that your voice is suddenly working, if a bit too rough and much too quiet.

    “Hey, man,” Kirishima says, and you search his face until you can place the emotion. Concern, you think, is what the crease in his brow and the soft frown on his lips means. “I- I wanted to see if you were okay.”

    Something like dread pools in your stomach, and you almost can't force yourself to respond. “Why,” you manage, too faint, too scared, now he'll know something’s wrong, even if he obviously already does.

    “It's just, I sorta- I heard you? You weren't like, screaming or anything, but,” he shifts on his feet, and starts rubbing his thumb between his fingers. “You sounded like something was up, so I, uh. Yeah. Came to check on you.”

    “I don't need you to check on me,” you snarl (fuck, don't say anything else, stop-), “I'm fucking fine . Leave me alone.”

    You regret it the moment it comes out of your mouth, but you can't bring yourself to form an apology before his expression shifts to a resigned tiredness. “Yeah, I figured,” he sighs, and he starts interlocking his fingers in a repetitive motion instead. “If anything's not fine though, my door's always open.”

    You don't say anything else, but he doesn't pressure you to. Instead, he gives a soft smile, and manages to make eye contact with you for a moment (you hold it for as long as you can, but it becomes too much after about only a second). “See you at breakfast?”

    You nod, a brisk tip of the head that really barely communicated anything, but Kirishima gets it. You close the door before he can smile at you again.

 

____________

 

    It's four days later when the subject of autism comes up again, and you aren't prepared for it. You aren't prepared at all.

    You've just gotten your hero suit altered, and while the changes you requested were exactly as efficient as hoped, there were some other changes that were bothering you. Kind of a lot.

    The neckline of your top had started fraying and tearing, so you had asked for it to be fixed. And fixed it was- the neckline looked perfect and pristine again, just how you liked it. But it didn't feel right- they must have used a new fabric, because you're sure that the normal fabric never felt this awful. It's grating against your skin, and you can't concentrate at all. The feeling of it against the back of your neck is so uncomfortable that you almost want to tear it to shreds so they can fix it again with the old fabric.

    You manage to keep your cool until the end of the class and the walk back to the locker room. It takes you a moment to realize how fast you're walking, and another to realize Kirishima was suddenly next to you.

    “-Slow down , man, what's the deal?” He claps a hand on your shoulder, and usually that would be fine but for some reason you can't handle it. You yank his hand away from you, and he laughs but doesn't put it back. “Bro, I don't mean to sound like a dick,” he starts, “But you looked like shit during practice today. Is something up?”

    You want to say no, that everything is fine, everything is always fine, but it dawns on you that you just don't have the energy. “It's my fucking costume,” you mutter, “It's fucked up.”

    “Didn't you just get it altered?” Kirishima asks, and you make a noise of frustration that comes from the back of your throat.

    “Yeah, but they fucking- they used some weird fabric, it's scratchy as shit. I need to get it changed.”

    Kirishima hums to himself, then says, “Can I feel it?” You debate this in your head for a second or two before rolling your eyes and giving a short nod.

    He pinches a bit of the fabric between his fingers, and you feel a bit pleased when you realize he's not touching you while doing so. “Oh, god,” Kirishima says, and his face pulls into a grimace. “Jesus, that's gross, oh my god. How have you been wearing this? If it were me, I wouldn't be able to stand it for a second. I think I'd fucking, combust, or something.”

    “It's not that bad,” you say, even though yes, it is absolutely that bad.

    “Well sure, for you maybe it's not,” Kirishima grins, “But for me and my sensory issues? Hell no.”

    “Sensory issues?” you ask, before you can stop yourself.

    He waves a hand and smiles again, god he smiles so much , and says, “Another autism thing. Sometimes certain textures make me feel like I wanna crawl out of my skin, or something like that.” He’s not looking at you, so he can't see that your face has paled considerably and you've started to crack your knuckles. “Man, I am so glad I told you I'm autistic. Or more like I'm glad that you weren't a dick about it. Now I can actually talk about it with you!”

    The fabric on your neck feels like its burning into your skin, and you don't think you've ever been this happy to see the locker room door. You need to get this off. And maybe blow it up. You need to blow something up.

    Kirishima stops starkly, and even though everything in you is telling you to go through the goddamn doors , you don't and stop with him. “You don't mind, right?”

“Mind what.”

    “Me talking about being autistic and stuff.” He flaps one hand loosely at his side for a moment before switching to cracking his knuckles like you were doing. “It doesn't bother you?”

    Your throat feels tight seeing him nervous, apologetic even. It fucking sucks and you can't stand it and, like too many things lately, you don't know why. “Talk about whatever you want,” you say, because it seems like the best option. You're not good at making people not nervous. You are good at making people more nervous, but every cell in your brain is telling you how bad that would be.

    Despite how lackluster your response was (you know it was, it always is), Kirishima beams at you with a blinding smile, and if it weren't for the costume that's still burning a hole in your neck, you'd be floating.

 

____________

 

    You do not think about what Kirishima said about autism and sensory issues. You do not think about this as you take off your costume and your skin sings at the release from the awful, disgusting fabric that you're never touching again. You do not think about it as you turn it in again for repairs after blowing it up, and making a note to use a different fabric.

    You do not think about it as you lay in bed that night, relishing the feeling of smooth sheets and soft blankets. You do not think about it as you drum your fingers on your arm in a rhythmic pattern that releases some sort of pent-up energy that you can't explain.

 

You do not think of it. At all.

 

____________

 

    It is another two weeks before you force yourself to confront the issue at hand, and it is out of guilt.

 

____________

 

    It started when Kirishima was in your dorm- studying, again, as per your routine. This time, you can feel that he's actually making some headway for once. It makes pride- a feeling usually reserved for yourself- bubble in your chest, and it actually takes effort not to smile.

    When he shows you a problem that he did without help (after a 10 minute explanation on the one before it), you actually do smile because he got it completely fucking right. Kirishima notices, of course, and you're about to pass off the accidental smile as a sneer when his whole face lights up. You can't bring yourself to do it, so you instead let the smile stay for a fraction of a second more before carefully smoothing your face to neutral again.

    “It's right,” you say, and he fist pumps the air and lets out a whoop of excitement.

    “Fuck. Yes,” he exclaims, “I did not think I did that right.”

    “Hey,” you warn, “Don't fucking insult my tutoring.” Don't fucking insult yourself you dimwit , you think, but you don't say it.

    Without thinking, you start drumming your fingers on the table, then it seems as if your hand has other plans because it gives one, two, three little flaps before you realize what's happening and force your hand to lay flat.

    You hoped to be lucky enough to escape Kirishima's notice, but it seems the universe wants to fuck with you because he happened to be looking right at your hand when it happened.

    A strange expression crosses over his face, but before he can say anything, you blurt out in a panic, “I wasn't doing that- that hand-flapping thing you do.”

    Kirishima paused. “I didn't say you were.” Fuck. He's right. You just made yourself look suspicious for pointing it out. Suspicious of what? You haven't done anything. There's nothing wrong. Everything's fine .

    “Hey,” he says, and it's in that soft voice, the one that you've come to tentatively label as confused but concerned . “Is there something you wanted to talk about? You seem kinda, uh-”

    “There's nothing to talk about,” you snap, and his eyebrows twitch.

    “It kinda seems like there is,” he says, and his voice is harder now, not so hard as to be mean, but hard enough that you stiffen in place. “I think something's been going on for a while now, and I've been trying to let you talk about it when you're ready, but I'm starting to think that'll never happen.”

    “Oh, what? You think I'm fucking emotionally stunted , like you?” The words leave your mouth faster than you can think them, and panic flares in your system, mixing with an anger that you don't understand.

    Kirishima’s eyes are wide, and the hurt is plainly painted on his face. “Excuse me? I'm ‘emotionally stunted’? This from the guy who can't admit he has one feeling unless it's forced out of him?” You realize quickly that you misread his expression- he's hurt, but there's a cold fury behind his eyes that you never wanted to see directed at yourself.

    “Isn't that part of your autism you were so excited to tell me about?” You need to stop. You need to stop now , why can't you stop, you need to stop . “I don't know what you're thinking, but I'm not like you! I'm not fucking slow , or-”

 

You manage to stop before the word retarded passes your lips.

 

    “You're not fucking what , Bakugou?” Kirishima hasn't moved from where he was sitting. Neither have you. “You're not fucking what ?”

    “I didn't-” you start, but you can't find a way to finish that sentence. “I- Kirishima-”

    “I think you have some stuff to figure out, Bakugou,” he says, voice like ice, and he stands up slowly. “When you've figured that out, come talk to me. But until then? I'd prefer if you and I didn't see each other. At all.”

    You don't say anything as he gathers his things and walks out your door. You don't say anything as he closes it with a deafeningly quiet click , and you don't say anything for the next hour or so where you find that you still can't move from your seat on the floor.

 

____________

 

Here you are. In front of your laptop, staring at the search bar.

 

    It really shouldn't be that hard to type this out, so why is it? You've done it before. You can do it again. Goddammit, you've faced some of the most dangerous villains in the world , and you can't do this? Fucking pathetic.

    You feel your chest get tight and your throat start to close, so you try and shut down that train of thought before you have a breakdown. It's been happening more often than you'd like to admit, and you know why but you can't fix it until you do this .

    True to his word, Kirishima hasn't talked to you in days. You aren't sure how many. You stopped counting. On the first day, your other friends- especially Kaminari, the insistent bastard- kept trying to figure out what was wrong. But you couldn't bring yourself to say anything, so you scowled and muttered and told them to fuck off until they left you alone, too.

 

You haven't talked to any of your friends in days.

 

    You know Kirishima's avoiding them too, you can see it- not to the level you are, but he is. He doesn't deserve this. This is your fault. You need to fix it.

    The search bar is blinking in front of you, and you stare at it for a few more seconds before finally typing out your question with shaking fingers and air caught in your throat.

 

how to tell if im autistic

 

____________

 

It wasn't perfect, but it was a start.

 

    The search led you to many, many days of research and documentation, until finally you'd  compiled a list of evidence that you had gathered on how you might possibly (not definitely, not definitely) be on the spectrum.

    Looking at the list made you feel some mix of anger and ashamed, which didn't make sense because there wasn't anything to be ashamed about (there wasn't, there wasn't, there wasn't). It was just what Kirishima had said- the brain being wired differently.

    Fuck, thinking of Kirishima makes a whole other emotion explode in your chest- you think you've identified it as longing . Or maybe it was guilt? Maybe both. Probably both. You know you need to talk to him, tell him what you've found and that you're sorry (you also know you aren't good at that ), you just want to fix this. But fuck, you're scared, scared it's too late, scared you'll make it worse, what if he hates you , he probably does, is it permanent?

    You feel your breathing quicken, and you turn the list face-down and make tiny explosions in your palms until you calm down. Or at least, you stop breathing too fast and sweating so much- when did you start sweating? You panicked more than you thought.

 

You resolve to talk to him tomorrow on Sunday, as soon as possible because you can't wuss out this time, you can't.

 

You can't let yourself lose him like this.

 

____________

 

“What are you doing, Bakugou?”

 

    You look up and see your classmate- what was his name again? You never bothered to remember. “What?” You don't understand his question, either. You don't like not understanding things.

    “With your hands,” he says, and there's an edge to his voice that makes you irritated. “You look weird.”

    “Fuck off,” you say, and you relish the look on his face. You continue to flap your hands- why should some random boy's opinion matter? You know you aren't weird. You're the best.

    He grabs one of your hands, and you're almost too shocked to rip it out of his grasp. “Don't fucking touch me, dickwad,” you spit, then you actually spit on him because you can.

    “You fucking retard ,” he snarls, and suddenly there are stars in your eyes and you've fallen from where you were sitting. “Don't ever -” he's kicking you- “Spit in my face-” oh god you've never actually fought anyone- “Again. I don't wanna catch whatever fucking illness you've got.”

    “I don't-” you wheeze, fuck fuck fuck, “I don't have an illness .”

    “Bullshit,” he growls, “You don't think I've seen you during class? Something's wrong with you.”

    You open your mouth to scream at him, but decide instead to blast him with your explosions because oh yeah, you can do that. You decide while you grab his leg that you will also scream, because fuck this guy, oh god everything hurts oh god.

 

But when you try to scream, your voice is gone.

 

    You try again, and he's moving in slow motion now, but no matter how hard you try you can't make a sound. And suddenly your explosions aren't working, nothing is working, you're frozen as the world around you melts to black and all you see is the face of your classmate as he lifts you up by the collar and

Throws

You

Across the yard.

 

    You expect to land, you brace for it, but you don't, instead finding that you just keep falling, and even though it was already pitch black, it only gets darker, and darker, and darker, and you still can't scream or light up the darkness with explosions, all you can do is writhe in the emptiness and hope for a landing, but it never- it never-

 

“-ugo!”

 

Something is calling your name.

 

“Bakugou!”

 

There it is again. You can't find it, why can't you find it?

 

“Bakugou, wake up!

 

    You gasp, and suddenly your eyes are open and you're staring at- you're-

 

“...Kirishima?”

 

    Your face, you can tell, is drenched in sweat- you can feel your hair plastered to your forehead, your neck, everywhere. Your chest is heaving- were you hyperventilating?- and your hands are twisted in your bedsheets, surrounded by smoldering holes in the fabric.

    But beyond all that, Kirishima is here, gripping your shoulders and looking over you frantically. Kirishima is here , seeing you like this , and out of all the ways you wanted to talk to him again, you didn't want it to be like this.

    “Bakugou,” Kirishima says, and god, his voice sounds so small, “What happened? What- I heard you-” He cuts himself off, and you can't watch as his eyes search your face for answers.

    You want to say that everything's fine, but even you know that there's no way to get away with that with a scene like this. So you say nothing, willing your eyes to stay dry and your breathing to slow, until you finally manage to say, “How'd you get in my room?”

    “You left the door unlocked,” Kirishima says, too fragile, too quiet. “I- I wasn't gonna come in, cause at first you were just kinda making sounds, but then it sounded more- more like you were screaming, then you started using your explosions, and- and I-”

    “Fuck,” you groan, because you know that Kirishima probably wasn't the only one to hear that. “Why'd you- why're you here?” You can hear that your own voice is weak, and you hate it.

    “Do you honestly think I'd sit there and do nothing while my friend is fucking screaming in his sleep?” Your not sure if Kirishima sounds angry or scared. He doesn't look angry. He should look angry. Why wasn't he angry?

    “You didn't have to come in,” you mutter, and you can't bear to look at him, can't watch him realize that no, he didn't have to come. He could just leave. You can't watch him leave.

    “Bakugou, I might be pretty mad at you right now, but that doesn't change the fact that you're my friend and something clearly happened. I can be mad at you later.”

    “You aren't leaving?” You curse yourself for how hopeful, how pitiful that sounded. You don't need him here.

 

You really don't want him to go.

 

    “No, bro,” he sighed, shifting his weight so that he was sitting in a more comfortable position than leaning over you. “I'm not leaving you.”

    You aren't sure what comes over you, but the dam breaks and suddenly you're clinging to Kirishima like your life depends on it. You can hear yourself sobbing- oh god, you're crying on him now- apologies into his chest, and you aren't sure if he can understand what you're saying, but you do know that one of his hands is on your back and the other is threading through your hair.

    You don't know how long this goes on for, but you do know at some point you stopped crying so hard that a damn river was flowing down your face. After a moment more of silence, Kirishima says, “Do you wanna talk about it?”

 

You nod, just barely, but he knows. He always knows.

 

    “I've been. Thinking. For a while,” you start, head still on his chest, and you turn so you can hear the steady heartbeat and try to match your breathing to it. “When you told me you were autistic. I looked up some stuff about it that night. And it felt- like I wasn't just reading about you.”

    “Okay,” Kirishima says, and you sag into him a little further. You're sure in the morning you’ll regret this, but right now you're high on contact you didn't know you needed. “Who did it feel like you were reading about?”

    “Myself,” you manage to force out of your mouth, and your eyes burn again with humiliation. “And I don't know why, but it- it really fucked with me.”

    You feel Kirishima nod against the top of your head. “Considering the stigma around it, I'm not surprised,” he murmured. “I honestly thought you were going to think I was ‘weak’ or whatever, but you didn't. And I know I should expect that kind of decency from everyone, but still. It was nice, to not be judged.”

    You know that was probably meant to make you feel better- on some level, it did. But knowing that you took away that shred of decency that you had offered, knowing that Kirishima had probably been hurt in the past by people who didn't give it to him, knowing that you had become just like them, even for a moment, makes you feel sick.

    “When you were doing the hand-flapping thing, I recognized it,” you mumble, trying to stay collected because you can't afford to break down again. “I knew I had done it as a kid, but I couldn't remember why I stopped.” You take a breathe. “I think I remembered tonight.”

    After a moment of nothing, you hear Kirishima say (so, so quietly), “How bad was it?”

    You can't bring yourself to say what happened- you're honestly not even sure the dream was accurate. You feel like there's more, but you can't find it, and the thought that you might have another dream like this one that tells you more makes you feel all too small. “Bad,” you decide to say, because it was. Because that's the one thing you're sure of.

    “I'm sorry you had to go through that,” he says, and you manage an empty laugh.

    “It's not like I haven't done my fair share of being a dick,” you mutter, “I had it coming.”

    Kirishima stiffens against you, but he doesn't pull away. “I've heard about some of the things you've said to Midoriya. What you've done. You're right- you've absolutely been a dick.” There's no justified reaction to that you can have, because it's true. All you can do is stay silent. “But that doesn't justify ableism. You didn't deserve whatever happened to you that made you think you were less-than for being different.”

    Didn't I, though , is on the tip of your tongue, but you don't say it. He might be speaking from personal experience, and the last thing you need to do right now is make everything worse. “I made a list,” you say instead, “Of, uh- reasons I might be on the spectrum. I was gonna bring it to you today and try to fucking- I dunno, explain myself or some shit.” You hear the rustling of paper coming from your desk, and you guess that Kirishima has found your list. “I'm sorry,” you say, “I'm sorry. I really am, and you know how much I hate fucking saying that.”

    “I know,” he says, and he's started running his fingers through your hair again. “I kinda figured this was going on. I just wanted an apology.”

    “You knew?” you ask, and try to decide whether you feel relieved or terrified. Did everyone know?

    “I actually had some suspicions before I told you, but when you didn't say anything else, I figured I was just looking anywhere for someone else like me. But then I started noticing more, so I didn't drop it completely.”

    You aren't sure what to say, so you say, “Oh,” and leave it at that.

    Kirishima puts a hand on your shoulder, and asks, “Have you talked to a therapist or a psychiatrist about it?”

“About being autistic?”

“Yeah, you know. Getting an official diagnosis and all.”

    “No,” you say, but you know you probably should. You have a therapist, but you usually avoid her at all costs. “I don't really want to think about it right now.”

    “Okay,” Kirishima says, “Do you just want to stay like this for a while? It's very early sunday morning. We've got time.”    

    You hesitate, but ultimately nod against his shoulder. Just this once, you want to indulge yourself. Just this once.

    “Hey, you know what that means, right?” Kirishima asks, and you can hear the grin in his voice. You do not know what that means. You shake your head. “It means ,” he says, resting his cheek on the top of your head, “That we can do that movie marathon I was talking about.”

    “Oh my god,” you sigh, “I can't believe you're still thinking about that.”

    “My bro, I never forget when a bro hasn't seen one of the greatest movie series of all time.”

    You groan louder, but don't object. You know that this isn't going to last forever, and that soon Sunday will be over and you'll be forced to face your problems, but for now, you can sit here and drum your fingers to the beat of Kirishima's heart.