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my heart stops (when you look at me)

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/ i.


the word felt so strange, so new.

“bo-ee-fren-duh,” kaminari enunciated in the mirror, watching the way his mouth moved as he said the word. “boyfriend. boyfriend.” he licked his lips, took a breath. “i am– i am bakugou katsuki's boyfriend. we are boyfriends. he is my... my boyfriend.”

he'd been sitting here in front of the mirror in his dorm room for about fifteen minutes, telling himself that he was bakugou's boyfriend and bakugou was his, head swirling with thousands of emotions and thoughts about this particular sentiment. they were boyfriends! he honestly never saw that coming.

well, maybe he did. a little.

he sat back and planted his hands on the ground behind him, wondering what bakugou was doing in this exact moment. was he in front of his mirror talking to himself too? probably not. that didn't seem like a bakugou thing to do.

yet, a lot of the things that happened in the past couple weeks hadn't exactly been bakugou-like, if kaminari thought about it. taking him on a date? totally unheard of. holding his hand on said date? absolutely crazy. buying him a present and sharing food with him? ridiculous. somehow pining after him for about a month? you must be kidding. kissing him in the middle of the kitchen where anyone and everyone could've possibly seen? complete insanity. if kaminari had thought about any of those things before about, say, five weeks ago, he would've written them off as fiction.

it was still very surreal. it felt like everything was happening so fast. at the same time, it felt like it had taken them forever to get to this point. he never thought that he'd actually... kiss bakugou. on the mouth. with tongue (okay– they hadn't done that yet, but kaminari was trying to scrape together enough confidence to actually do it). he also never thought that bakugou would want to do the same thing to him. apparently bakugou had been trying to psyche himself up to kiss him, which felt strange and weird, but also good. it kind of made him feel special. when he thought about it, it gave him these tiny warm fuzzies in his chest. being important to bakugou in this way felt really nice. it was something he never thought could happen.

they hadn't really established the whole “boyfriends” thing. neither of them had gone to the other and asked, “hey, do you want to be my boyfriend?” kaminari had thought of a thousand separate cheesy lines for that particular situation and never actually got to use a single one of them, which was sort of a bummer, but on the other hand, he and bakugou were now boyfriends. he supposed he had plenty of time to drop cheesy lines on bakugou if this “boyfriends” thing worked out like he hoped it would.

it had happened like this: ashido had walked in on them kissing in the kitchen and very nearly almost brought the entire building crashing down on them with her shrieking and gasping. they managed to quiet her down and make her promise that she wouldn't go about spreading around what she just witnessed (bakugou insisted. kaminari was so far gone that he didn't care. he might as well have been flying). miraculously, ashido had actually said nothing, but kaminari clued sero in on the situation after bakugou revealed to him that kirishima knew about everything.

bakugou asked him not to tell anyone about whatever they were. kaminari was still so far gone that he didn't care. while bakugou had been asking him not to tell anyone, he'd just been staring at bakugou's mouth the entire time.

“oy, sparky. are you even fucking listening to me?” bakugou snapped, waving an impatient hand in front of kaminari's face. kaminari blinked widely, pursing his lips.

“ah– sorry, i was distracted.”

bakugou looked indignant. “what?? what the hell could you possibly be distracted by?” they were in kaminari's room, so technically there were a lot of things that kaminari could be distracted by. he really needed to clean his room.

“you,” he sort of blurted, feeling a giddy flush rise to his cheeks. bakugou shut up instantly, eyebrows furrowing fiercely. kaminari adored the shade of red that bakugou turned.

“what,” was all he said, obviously dumbstruck. it was so cute.

“it's very hard to pay attention to what you're saying when you look like this,” kaminari replied, using his hand to gesture at bakugou's whole self. “it's incredibly distracting. all your words just turn into mumbo jumbo in my brain and all i can think about is how handsome you are.”

“shut the fuck up,” bakugou groaned, even though it was apparent that he was totally charmed by kaminari's words. it showed on his face in the form of a stronger shade of red.

“no way. i know you like it when i talk. especially when i talk about how much i like you.” oop. he hadn't meant to say it like that, but he supposed that it was true. still, embarrassment flooded his face in warmth. he suppressed the urge to hide his face in his shirt collar. bakugou's mouth opened, then closed. he was silent for a moment.

“why do you have to go and say shit like that, huh,” bakugou muttered, looking down at the patterned bedspread, his pale eyelashes brushing his cheeks. when he looked back up at kaminari, his eyes were soft, like red melted chocolate. kaminari felt his insides turn to goop and was suddenly extremely grateful that he was sitting down. if he'd been standing up when bakugou had looked at him like that, he would have a concussion from hitting the floor so hard.

“i'm just telling the truth,” kaminari said, heart beating wildly for no reason at all. was bakugou going to kiss him? he was still adapting to this kissing-bakugou thing. he had no idea when bakugou would decide that kissing would be an appropriate response and that had him on edge constantly.

“should i kiss you?” bakugou asked, echoing kaminari's thoughts. his voice was quiet. kaminari wanted to scream. he was so damn enamored with this boy.

“god, i don't know,” kaminari answered, although he knew exactly what he wanted and that was kissing. “do you think that kissing is a good answer to what i just said?”

in response, bakugou simply lunged at kaminari, barely giving him time to think. kaminari's head almost conked against the wall when bakugou dragged him down from his sitting position, lips already eagerly pressing against his. kaminari's eyes fluttered closed and he brought his arms up to wrap around bakugou's neck. bakugou was so warm. he made kaminari so warm.

they kissed for a really long time, long enough that kissing turned into making out, something that kaminari never thought he'd ever do with bakugou. he didn't even know that bakugou had the desire to make out. and with him of all people! kissing bakugou never failed to be surprising.

“you're turning out to be such a great kisser,” kaminari mumbled against bakugou's mouth at some point, mind swimming in his skull, his lips feeling pleasantly swollen. bakugou had his hands in kaminari's hair.

“yeah, well, i learned from the best.” kaminari warbled a happy little “oh my god,” kissing bakugou with a newfound force that made him feel like he wasn't even real anymore. he literally was not real. he felt way too good to be real.

when they finally decided that they'd had enough making out for that particular moment, they sprawled lazily on kaminari's bed, breathing hard and holding onto each other's hands for dear life. kaminari scooted closer to bakugou, his bed sheets crinkling under him. bakugou had his eyes closed. his hair was a mess because kaminari had ran his fingers through it so many times, almost like it was water. his cheeks and ears were bright pink and it was... it was such a memorable sight. kaminari wanted to burn it into his brain so he could always have this moment.

kaminari squeezed bakugou's hand. after a beat, bakugou squeezed back and kaminari's whole body buzzed.

“would it be inappropriate,” kaminari started, eyelids feeling heavy, “if i squirmed into the curve of your body to take a quick nap.”

bakugou opened one eye to peer at him. “what, you wanna cuddle or something?”

“i mean...”

“you wanna fuckin' spoon, that's what you're saying.” kaminari felt himself blush for the millionth time.

“well, yeah. we just sucked face for like twenty minutes. i think a little spooning is in order. besides, spooning is nice. have you ever spooned with someone?”

bakugou managed to squint at him with one eye. kaminari was pretty confident that bakugou had never spooned with someone. “we can only do it if i'm big spoon,” he said, effectively dodging kaminari's question. kaminari wanted to giggle like a coquettish girl. that's how good he felt.

“what if i wanted to be big spoon,” he mock pouted, sticking out his lower lip. bakugou turned on his side and made like he was going to chomp on kaminari's lower lip. kaminari basically squealed, rearing back with a massive smile. he was pretty sure he caught bakugou with a massive smile on his face too, but bakugou let go of his hand to wrap his arms around kaminari's middle and pull him towards him. kaminari pretended to fight him by thrashing around. bakugou let out this bark of a laugh that kaminari felt reverberate through his entire body with shockwaves and everything.

“stop it, idiot,” he said, a smile in his voice. “you wanted to spoon, right?”

“you are so warm,” kaminari sighed once he settled down. “it's inhuman. i know it's because of your quirk, but you are so warm. please do not be surprised if i use you as my personal heater during the winter months.”

there was a pause in which both of them realized that kaminari had just implied that whatever they were doing– this kissing and snuggling and teasing thing– would last.

“during the winter months, i will still be big spoon,” bakugou responded gruffly after a moment. kaminari's heart swelled and he almost burst.

“that's fine,” he said, resting his hands on bakugou's clasped ones, right on his stomach. “i'm willing to make that compromise.” bakugou exhaled and kaminari could feel it on the back of his neck. it gave him goosebumps. he adjusted, tucking himself neatly in the curve of bakugou's body, the two of them fitting together like puzzle pieces.

kaminari closed his eyes and was starting to drift off when he felt bakugou bury his face in the slope of his neck.

it felt natural. it felt so natural. it felt right to be like this, curled up next to bakugou, hands touching hands, like they needed to feel each other. it was only the third or fourth day after bakugou had kissed him in the kitchen, but it felt like it had been an eternity. it felt like it could last for many more eternities afterward. he didn't think he'd mind spending forever like this, with bakugou giving him those tiny butterfly kisses under his jaw as they spooned and napped. it felt like what heaven must feel like.

/ ii.

waking up next to kaminari was batshit crazy. it was so weird. bakugou always thought that he'd be used to waking up next to him after about a week of basically hibernating in each other's rooms together, but each time felt like the very first time, which was cheesy and gross. but cheesy and gross was starting to be bakugou's normal when it came to kaminari. he wanted to say that he hated being cheesy and gross with kaminari, but kaminari was always cheesy and gross with him, so it only felt fair that he reciprocated as best he could.

honestly, he was kind of glad that they hadn't told anyone besides their friend group about whatever it was that he and kaminari were doing. he didn't know how he would take everyone knowing about him and who he was kissing and spooning and being gross with. he wanted to keep it to himself, keep what he thought he had with kaminari to himself, for as long as he could. maybe it was selfish, but he never really liked sharing bits of himself like that.

kaminari didn't seem to mind. nowadays, he glowed, and not just because of his quirk or anything. he glowed, like he was so fucking happy to see bakugou when he woke up from some stupid spontaneous nap he decided to take, like he was so fucking happy to hold his hand while doing homework together, like he was so fucking happy to just lay on the floor on their phones with their limbs all tangled up. he looked so fucking happy. it kind of made bakugou really fucking happy too.

his friends teased him about it, especially kirishima. his best friend would always spout shit about how gooey he was turning for kaminari or how completely gone his expression was when kaminari would talk.

“it's disgusting,” kirishima gushed, as if that was the best adjective to use. “it's so gay, man. what is he doing to you? you're a total mess for him.”

bakugou glowered at kirishima, scribbling nonsense on the back of his notebook. “shut up.”

“you're not denying it!”

“shut up!!”

“dude, come on. stop lying to yourself. just admit it, bro. you're absolutely crazy for him. i can see it in your eyes. i can see it in his eyes! you two are disasters. it's kinda beautiful.” kirishima poked bakugou's cheek with the eraser end of his pencil, continuing on. “my two best bros... in it for life! don't think i don't notice both of you always sneaking around to have smoochfests or whatever.”

how did kirishima even know about that? “we do not have smoochfests. that is the dumbest fucking thing i've ever heard.”

“what, the word smoochfests or the act of smoochfesting?”

bakugou stopped scribbling and set his pen down to squint at kirishima in disbelief. “did you just use the word 'smoochfesting.'”

kirishima grinned, all shiny, pointy teeth. bakugou punched him on the shoulder. kirishima hissed and laughed at the same time. “i did! it's the perfect word to describe what you and kaminari do on the daily. smoochfesting.” he paused, then waved his hand around. “regardless, have you thought about calling him by his given name yet?”

bakugou reddened. “it's been a week.”

“nine days,” kirishima corrected. “perfect amount of time to start getting a taste for his given name. he's probably already trying to decide whether he should do it or not.”

“it's been a week,” bakugou said again, a bit woozy from thinking about calling kaminari by his given name. that would be a huge step. they hadn't even talked about whether they were actually boyfriends or just friends who kissed and cuddled a lot. calling him by his given name was like telling him that... that he loved him. huge step. given bakugou's past record of not being good with words while kaminari was around, that would be a terrible conversation to try to have.

“you guys are boyfriends, aren't you?” kirishima was asking. bakugou's vision focused and he peered at kirishima, scratching his unclicked pen on the back of his notebook.

“i don't fuckin' know. we haven't talked about it.”

“what! what do you mean? you two are all goo-goo-eyed for each other. it would be very hard to believe that you aren’t boyfriends.”

bakugou shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant. “we haven't talked about it,” he repeated. “i don't know... i don't know if i want to talk about it.”

“with me or with him?”

“with him.”

kirishima considered this, pausing to stare off into the near distance. “what are you afraid of? him saying no or something?”

“i'm not fucking afraid,” bakugou growled under his breath. “just don't wanna fuck things up. it's just fine now.” kirishima raised his eyebrows at him and bakugou wanted to smack that look right off of his friend's face. “stop giving me that look. i know what you're about to say. don't say it.”

“it's probably good if you talk to him about it,” kirishima said anyway, leaning to rest his back on the side of his bed. “who knows? maybe he'll start the conversation first so you don't have to be freaking out about it for the rest of your days on earth.”

“i am not freaking out about it.”

kirishima laughed. “you are totally freaking out about it. you should see your face right now.”

even after bakugou left kirishima's room to go to his own, he wasn't able to stop thinking about what kirishima had said. the whole given name thing was ridiculous– and sort of scary– and he did not want to think about that for a long time now. he didn't even call kaminari by his actual name. most of the time he was calling kaminari various nicknames that had somehow turned from insults to endearment terms. but the boyfriends thing? he was definitely thinking about that.

kaminari had already made it pretty clear that he was very interested in pursuing whatever it was that they were doing. bakugou wasn't as sure if he'd made it clear enough, but he figured he had in some way or another, if not with his words, but with the way he acted towards kaminari. they'd been kissing a lot in the past nine days. bakugou wanted to always be kissing kaminari. as he thought about this, he wanted to be kissing kaminari.

maybe that meant they were already boyfriends, like something subconscious had happened and they both knew this deep down. or maybe it just meant that bakugou just really fucking liked kissing a certain blonde boy.

he thought about this for the next week, mulling it over and freaking out about it only a little. the two of them still hadn't told anyone else about... them, so everything they did was in the privacy of their rooms when school wasn't in. kaminari didn't ask about whether they were boyfriends or not, which was simultaneously disappointing and relieving, but he did initiate several kisses that turned into make out sessions that left them dizzy and on the floor with their hair a mess and their shirts all wrinkled. bakugou supposed that meant something.

in the aftermath of one of these sessions, they were laying on bakugou's bed. kaminari had bakugou sandwiched between the wall and his body, one of his legs dangling haphazardly off the edge of the bed. bakugou was watching him flick his thumb down his instagram feed, watching the way his eyes scanned up and down.

“enjoying the show?” kaminari murmured playfully, not taking his eyes off of his phone. bakugou scoffed, although he was thoroughly enjoying whatever show this happened to be. he was so glad he'd landed on the right channel.

bakugou haltingly reached to rest his hand on kaminari's stomach, his cheeks beginning to burn the way they did whenever kaminari was around. he just... he just wanted to touch him. make sure he was real. make sure this was real. kaminari sort of curled in on himself when bakugou cautiously began to rub his thumb back and forth, testing out the movement. the fabric of kaminari's shirt wrinkled and scrunched.

“that tickles,” kaminari whined, not unhappily, while squirming. “you're probably using this to your full advantage. trying to get me in a vulnerable position to satisfy your predatory instincts or something.” a graceless laugh was pulled from the depths of bakugou's belly.

“my predatory instincts, huh?” kaminari grinned, still squirming, and set his phone down on the floor and flopped over to face bakugou, their faces just a few inches apart.

“are you ticklish? i bet you're ticklish,” kaminari teased, bringing his hands up to the space of bakugou's waist.

“i'm not fuckin' ticklish,” bakugou shot back, wanting to shimmy away, but only to discover that he was still sandwiched between the wall and kaminari. talk about trying to get him in a vulnerable position to satisfy predatory instincts. when kaminari grinned again, it was wicked, a savage glint in his eyes.

“but are you though?” he said, beginning to tickle him in such a painfully slow manner that it was almost just a scrabbling of nails against his skin.

“oh, you are so fucking dead,” bakugou breathed, chest constricting because he was, in fact, very fucking ticklish. he was trying to hold in laughter for the sake of his dignity, but a little something slipped from his mouth, making kaminari's whole face light up like a lamp.

“oh my god, you are ticklish!!” he exclaimed, tickling him with more urgency. “that is so adorable!! i'm going to tell everyone.”

bakugou tried to glare at him, but then he started laughing. “you better not! i'll fucking kill you,” he gasped out. “you will actually find yourself fucking dead one day.”

kaminari was beaming so intensely that bakugou couldn't even see his eyes anymore. “rising star bakugou katsuki, future pro hero lord explosion murder... found dead in his dorm!!” he said in a very theatrical voice, eyes sparkling. “investigators say the cause of death is... tickling!”

bakugou kissed him, mostly because he had no idea what else to do, and also because kaminari's smile was starting to become contagious. kaminari was smiling into the kiss, the tickling slowing to a stop, and they kissed and kissed and kissed until kaminari's fingers started to grip bakugou's shirt.

“you know, you have such a small waist,” kaminari mumbled against bakugou's mouth. “'s cute. i like it.”

“why d'you always have to talk when we kiss,” bakugou grumped, threading his fingers into kaminari's hair. it was gathered up in a ponytail and he started to work his fingers through it, pulling out the hair tie with gentle strokes. golden hair spilled over his fingers like a tipped-over honey jar.

kaminari just kissed him back in response, still smiling like a complete and utter idiot. he was glowing again, radiating even. it gave bakugou that happy-sick feeling in his stomach. they kissed until bakugou couldn't find anymore space for air, lungs desperate but mouth stubborn because he didn't want the kiss to end.

kaminari was the one who pulled away first, but not without planting a soft, chaste kiss to bakugou's lips. he turned back over to face the ceiling, chest rising and falling as he breathed in and out. bakugou's hand drifted down from kaminari's hair to the center of his chest, fingers tracing the lines of his ribs through his shirt.

“every time you kiss me, i think i see stars,” kaminari said, voice so low that bakugou almost didn't catch the words. bakugou felt himself start to flush again, his whole body going hot.

“you make me feel sick,” bakugou said back, sort of dreamily, earning a puzzled look from kaminari that crossed into a lot of other emotions.

“that's poetic,” he replied, somewhat sarcastically. there was a beat. “what is that even supposed to mean?” bakugou wanted to shrink away, wishing he hadn't said anything. trying to describe the happy-sick feeling he had was going to make him lose control of his cognitive functions.

“it's... it's a good sick.”

“um... okay?”

bakugou fumbled for the right words, tongue feeling like cotton in his mouth. “you make my stomach do shit like... how it feels when you go down a hill on a roller coaster. you know?”

kaminari's voice was quiet when he responded. “oh. yeah.”

“yeah. it's like that. makes me feel weird and shit, but it feels good. a good sick. like i'm... floating or something.”

“oh,” kaminari breathed. “that actually is kind of poetic. i like that.”

the flush in bakugou's cheeks got stronger. “it ain't a fuckin' thing,” he mumbled.

they were like that for a while, just laying there together on bakugou's bed. bakugou could hear every breath that kaminari took from this close, could feel the filling of his lungs. his hair still smelled like cucumber watermelon, with a hint of something coconutty that bakugou thought might've been stolen from sero. kaminari put his hand over bakugou's and closed his eyes for so long that bakugou figured he was sleeping.

bakugou tried to count kaminari's freckles. they were splashed across his cheeks and nose, some darker than others. there was a thin scar by the corner of kaminari's left eye, one that bakugou had never noticed before. on impulse, mind blurred and distorted by the feeling of kaminari's heart beating against his hand, he leaned over a tad to brush his lips against the scar, feeling the thin roped tissue against his lips. kaminari exhaled particularly deeply, his eyelashes fluttering on the side of bakugou's chin. not so asleep after all.

“hey,” he whispered. bakugou could feel his breath on the underside of his jaw. he pulled back, but only a little, kaminari holding his hand in a firmer grip. “i have a question.”

kaminari's eyes were soft and oozy and warm like fresh chocolate chip cookies, the gold pooling in the whites of his eyes. “mm,” was what bakugou answered with. kaminari's heart beat steadily. his lashes drooped.

“am i your boyfriend?”

oh fuck, oh god. bakugou felt himself begin to unravel at the seams, the question making him spiral. it was the question, the one he'd simultaneously feared and anticipated for about a week now. suddenly, he forgot how to speak.

“mm... bakugou,” kaminari mumbled, closing his eyes again. “i like you a lot, bakugou. feels good when you kiss me. i wanna be your boyfriend.” his hair had spilled out over the black pillowcase under his head, almost like a halo.

“fuck, kaminari,” bakugou said under his breath, his voice hushed. “shit, i fuckin'... i wanna be your fucking boyfriend too.” kaminari let go of his hand to cup the side of bakugou's face, his eyes opening lazily, sleepily.

“okay,” he murmured, mouth tilting up into a slight smile. his gaze drifted to bakugou's lips. without thinking, bakugou bit his bottom lip, face basically aflame. they were boyfriends. he was kaminari's boyfriend. kaminari was his boyfriend. kaminari's thumb brushed over bakugou's lips. he smiled some more, hummed contently, then leaned up a little to kiss bakugou so softly that bakugou was certain he was coming apart, all his insides turning to mush and leaking everywhere.

/ iii.

three and a half weeks had passed since bakugou had kissed him in the kitchen. the two of them were now boyfriends– imagine that! kaminari had begun talking to himself in his bedroom mirror, trying to drill the boyfriends concept into his brain until it started to feel real.

it still didn't feel real. he'd added orange heart emojis to bakugou's contact name in his phone (his contact name was still “bakugou.” thinking about making it anything else remotely more romantic or intimate made his head spin) and he struggled to keep people from looking at his phone screen when bakugou would text him. no one else aside from kirishima, ashido, and sero knew about their being boyfriends yet. it was getting hard to keep it a secret.

they tried to keep their distance at school and in the common area on the first floor of the dorms, but it was honestly so hard. kaminari wanted to be touching bakugou all the time. he wanted to hold hands and hug and kiss and say sappy things, and he just barely managed to contain it during class and in public. it was almost painful to keep away from bakugou. he’d escape with brief touches of bakugou’s hand under the lunch table or bumping shoulders with him in the hallway or playing a subtle game of footsie under the table at dinner time.

when they finally were left alone though, finally left in the privacy of one of their rooms, it was like kaminari finally remembered how to breathe.

they’d planned to meet in kaminari’s room as soon as they arrived in the dorms for the afternoon, bakugou strategically several minutes behind kaminari as to not raise any suspicion from their classmates. kaminari was spinning in his desk chair on his phone, scrolling through his instagram feed for probably the thirtieth time. he’d just switched to checking stories on snapchat when there was a quick, harsh rap on the door. he shot up out of his chair and nearly threw his phone down onto his desk, crossing the room in only a few strides.

he fumbled with the lock on his door for a moment before swinging it open to reveal bakugou standing in the doorway, posture all careless and lazy.

“hey,” was all he managed to say before kaminari reached out and yanked bakugou into his bedroom, nudging the door shut with his foot. he spun around and backed up against the door without thinking, gripping bakugou’s school blazer tight in his fists and craned up to give bakugou a kiss that made his boyfriend (it was still so strange to refer to him that way) drastically relax against him, hands going up to cradle his cheeks.

“i missed you, i missed you,” kaminari breathed between kisses. his heart felt warm. “i missed you so much.”

“i missed you too,” bakugou mumbled, giving kaminari one last kiss that was more of a fierce pressing of lips, then pulling back, much to kaminari’s disappointment. he was so tempted to tug bakugou back and make him go a pretty shade of red.

“being away from you drives me crazy,” kaminari whined, sliding down to a seated position against the door. bakugou plopped down hard in kaminari’s desk chair, sending the chair spinning slightly.

“you’re so gross,” he said, but he was smiling as he said so, making kaminari feel like he was turning into goop where he sat.

“no, you’re so gross,” he teased back. he watched bakugou pull off his blazer and toss it onto kaminari’s bed, watched him kick off his shoes like this room was his.

bakugou patted his thigh, a motion that kaminari almost missed. “you're the one that started all this gross shit in the first place,” he said, making a face at kaminari as he pulled his phone from his back pocket. kaminari grinned and scrambled up from his spot by the door, ambling over to bakugou and sitting himself down on his lap. it was obvious that bakugou was attempting to pretend not to care about this, staring at his phone with a newfound intensity, but kaminari could tell that he cared a great deal by the way his ears turned red.

“need i remind you about the date? the one that you asked me out on?” kaminari replied, draping his arms over bakugou's shoulders. “because that sure sounds like you're the one who started all this gross shit.”

bakugou glared at him, but it crumbled. he set his phone down on the desk and looked at kaminari, his mouth twitching up. “yeah, but you didn't even know it was a date until the goddamn thing was over,” he said, voice soft. he reached up to tuck some hair behind kaminari's ear. kaminari had to fight to keep himself under control. “fucking idiot.” he said those last words so endearingly that it was almost like he was calling kaminari a pet name. kaminari's heart beat loud in his chest.

“but i'm your fucking idiot,” he murmured. bakugou licked his lips, smiled a little.

“yeah. you are.” bakugou tucked his arm around kaminari's waist. “now gimme a fucking kiss.” kaminari smiled so hard that it hurt, then leaned down until their mouths brushed, his hands coming up to cradle both sides of bakugou's face. he kissed him, bakugou tilting his head up to meet kaminari all the way. they kissed and kissed and kissed for god knows how long. the air conditioner whirred in the background. kaminari was getting lightheaded, but it felt good.

bakugou pulled back, swearing under his breath. kaminari whined, resorting to planting kisses on the corner of bakugou's mouth, the bridge of his nose, the spots under his eyes. “sparky, i have to do homework.”

“screw your homework.” kaminari found bakugou's mouth again, and bakugou kissed him back for a long moment before pulling away a second time, looking thoroughly flushed.

“we can't do this all afternoon.”

“we can totally do this all afternoon,” kaminari responded, feeling warm all over his body. “in fact, this is all i want to be doing this afternoon.” bakugou just stared at him for a second, then brought his hand from the space of kaminari's waist to the nape of his neck, hair threading through his fingers. his touch was feather-like.

“you're so fucking lucky i like you,” bakugou muttered, going in for another kiss. kaminari smiled against bakugou's mouth. bakugou was right. he really was lucky. having bakugou as a boyfriend, being able to kiss him like this, being able to be close to him like this, was something entirely new, something he never expected. they hadn't been together for long, but kaminari was pretty sure that he wanted to have this for a long time. he wanted to be bakugou's boyfriend forever.

time stretched. kaminari had no idea how long they kissed, but when bakugou pulled away for the millionth time, everything in his body buzzed like radio static. his face burned. bakugou smacked him on the lower back, jiggling one of his legs.

“'kay, pikachu, get off,” he said, looking as dazed as kaminari felt. “i can't feel my legs.”

“i can't feel my mouth,” kaminari replied almost giddily, slipping from bakugou's lap and stumbling to his feet. he wandered over to his unmade bed and plopped down hard onto it, raking his hair away from his face and putting it up in a messy ponytail with an elastic from around his wrist. he could feel bakugou watching him. so much for doing homework.

“hey,” bakugou said suddenly, swiveling the chair so it was directly facing kaminari. kaminari laid down, tucking his pillow under his arm, and peered at bakugou.


“do you... do you wanna fuckin'... go to the movies or some shit?” kaminari shot right back up, suddenly completely clear headed.

“bakugou!” he exclaimed, grinning like a fool. “are you asking me on a date?? whatever happened to doing homework?”

bakugou scratched the back of his head, cheeks rosy. kaminari felt his own cheeks going rosy to match. “fuck off. do you want to go or not?”

“wait, right now?”

“i don't fucking know. do you want to go now?” kaminari got up from the bed, gaze roving across the floor for some decent clothes to wear. he was certain that he had a nice pair of jeans somewhere on the ground.

“yes! i mean– yes, yeah, we can go now. i just want to get changed first.” there was a beat. they stared at each other and kaminari could hear his blood rushing in his ears. would it be rude to ask bakugou to step out so he could put different clothes on? they'd changed in front of each other and every other guy in class in the locker room many times before this, but this... it felt different. all those other times before, they'd been around so many other boys. they'd never just been... alone together. and they were dating now. changing in front of each other hit differently.

there was another long moment of silence, awkwardness seeping into the cracks in the conversation.

“change then,” bakugou said gruffly, eyes purposefully trained on the floor. kaminari's whole body went hot, his mind all muddled and relatively panicked. oh god. was he going to do this? holy fuck. he was going to undress in front of his boyfriend. oh shit.

he'd taken off his blazer and tie as soon as he'd gotten back to his room after school let out and they were somewhere in his disaster of a room, but he still had his shirt and pants on. with trembling hands, he began to unbutton his shirt. he let out an unsteady breath, the first button undoing. he was about halfway through the buttons when he felt bakugou's eyes on him. he dared not look up and make eye contact with him. he already felt like he was going to phase right through the floor.

he took off the shirt. against his better judgment, he looked up and met bakugou's eyes just briefly. bakugou flushed even fiercer than before and dropped his gaze in the span of a second. a nervous laugh was threatening to burble out of kaminari, and he smothered it, turning to set his shirt down on the bed and look for another one. there was a mildly wrinkled t-shirt draped over the edge of the bed and he reached for it, heart pounding in his ribs. in one fluid movement, he pulled the shirt over his head, feeling way less naked once it was on him.

another wave of heat washed over him when he realized he was going to have to change his pants. jesus christ, he just couldn't catch a break. bakugou seemed to realize this too as soon as kaminari unzipped his pants, the noise sounding ten times louder than it needed to be. bakugou let out this strangled sound, and when kaminari looked up at him, he had his hands covering his face, his ears a nearly alarming shade of red. bakugou's embarrassment made kaminari so much more embarrassed, and it was like he was seeing through a scarlet screen.

“i'm... i'm gonna change in the bathroom, okay,” kaminari said in a rush, picking up a random pair of jeans from the floor and fleeing to the bathroom in several strides. once there, he caught his own eye in the mirror and was astonished to see the color of his face. it was like all the blood in his body had skyrocketed up.

he changed pants, then lingered in the bathroom for a minute to give himself– and bakugou– some time to breathe and calm down and return to normal coloring. he smoothed the wrinkles in his shirt and fixed his hair, then stepped out of the bathroom.

“hey, i'm ready,” he told bakugou, who was still sitting in the desk chair, typing on his phone in a flurry of thumbs. bakugou did a double take, then set his phone down on his thigh.

“i'll meet you downstairs. i have to grab some things from my room.” kaminari thought about this.

“no, meet me just outside the dorms. everyone will see us together if we meet downstairs.”

bakugou stood up, grabbing his blazer and putting on his shoes. he gingerly stepped over all the mess on kaminari's bedroom floor to reach him, stopping just mere centimeters from him. he grabbed him by the bottom of his shirt and pulled him into a kiss that made kaminari's knees almost give out. he broke away after only a couple moments, leaving kaminari dizzy, and gave him a fierce look.

“meet me downstairs.”

kaminari didn't have time to protest, bakugou sidestepping and leaving the room before he could get any words out of his mouth. he just stared at the door, the gears in his mind slowly turning.

if bakugou wanted to meet downstairs, then that meant that everyone downstairs would see them leaving together. there would be no question about whether something was going on between them, because he and bakugou never really went out together by themselves. besides, the last time they'd gone somewhere by themselves was the date, and that had been ages ago. did... did bakugou want to go public? that didn't make any sense. he'd always insisted that he wanted to keep everything under wraps.

there was only one way to find out.

/ iv.

once bakugou had gotten downstairs, he'd spotted kaminari talking to yaoyorozu, both of them seemingly gushing about one thing or another. he looked nice. bakugou hadn't had the chance to tell him that, having been overwhelmed by the whole changing-clothes-in-front-of-each-other thing. that had been a terrible idea. both of them were not ready for that whatsoever and it'd become pretty obvious. he'd felt like he was invading on something extremely private the entire time and had felt humiliatingly grateful when kaminari had decided to change in the bathroom.

he kind of wished that he hadn't been embarrassed the whole time. he wanted to do normal boyfriend things, and he assumed that changing clothes in front of each other was part of the normal boyfriend things category. he wanted to be ready for all of the stuff that came with doing normal boyfriend things, but apparently there were steps. they couldn't just leap from holding hands and kissing, both in private, to changing clothes while alone together. he realized that now.

so he figured that he might as well take the next step. it was terrifying, but he figured that it was time and he wanted... he wanted to be kaminari's boyfriend for real.

he walked over to kaminari and yaoyorozu. they were standing by the couch among several of their classmates. he made some sort of eye contact with yaoyorozu, but kaminari didn't notice, too busy blabbering about whatever they were talking about. he only turned and saw bakugou when bakugou came over and, with his heart going wild in his chest, put his hand on the small of kaminari's back. in front of everyone.

he felt kaminari freeze. “bakugou,” was all he said, his face a hundred emotions at once. they just looked at each other for a second, then kaminari's face softened into the sweetest smile bakugou had ever seen in his fucking life. he was glowing. “bakugou,” he said again, saying it like he didn't want to be saying anything else. bakugou momentarily forgot that they weren't alone and smiled back at him, which made kaminari smile wider, his eyes turning to little crescents. he leaned against bakugou, wrapped his arm around bakugou's waist.

“ready to go?” bakugou asked, his voice uncharacteristically soft. kaminari smiled some more.

“yeah.” he turned to yaoyorozu, who looked both completely confused and thoroughly surprised. “sorry, yaomomo. i have a date.”

yaoyorozu’s impeccable eyebrows raised. “if you have to go, please do. i don’t want to be a hindrance to your... date. we can finish this conversation later.” kaminari kept smiling. bakugou didn’t want kaminari to ever stop smiling.

“thanks, yaomomo.” he leaned into bakugou some more. “i’ll see you later.” they walked together towards the doors, and bakugou could feel almost every eye in the common room swivel to look at them. the feeling was gnawing at his stomach, making him feel like he shouldn’t have touched kaminari at all, like he really should’ve asked kaminari to meet him outside instead of downstairs.

“bakugou, i’m so happy,” he heard kaminari say, his voice drawing him out of his self-doubt.

“what?” bakugou looked at kaminari, who was practically laying on him as they walked out the door and into the late afternoon sunlight. kaminari was still smiling, eyes twinkling, his radiance rivaling the sun itself. he stopped walking after they’d reached the gravel just past the stairs, forcing bakugou to screech to a halt.

kaminari peeled himself from bakugou’s side to take both of bakugou’s hands in his, gazing up at him with something that could only be described as pure affection. bakugou felt like the breath was being stolen from his lungs. “i’m so fucking happy right now,” kaminari gushed. “i could just... i could just make out with you right here. that’s how happy i am.” he continued, not letting bakugou get a chance to form words. “you make me so happy, bakugou. i’m the luckiest boy in the goddamn world.”

“kaminari—” was all bakugou managed to say before kaminari tugged him close. the kiss that kaminari proceeded to give him felt like summer and raw happiness, and bakugou was already dizzy, already weak, his stomach turned to butterflies. if kaminari hadn’t been holding him, he might’ve just melted right in his arms.

the large majority of the people that had been downstairs when bakugou and kaminari had left had seen the kiss and the way bakugou had smiled when they broke apart and how fiercely the two of them held hands as they continued walking.

it was certainly a novelty. being boyfriends in public was a lot different than being boyfriends in the privacy of their rooms. there were lots of other eyes and stares and glances, and bakugou had to frequently think about what he was comfortable with others seeing. he didn’t much like being physically affectionate with kaminari in front of their classmates.

he’d began constructing a scale of public displays of affection that he was comfortable with initiating. he didn’t mind idle touches on the shoulder or the arm, but he always felt squirmy when he thought about touching kaminari’s face in front of others. he never really held kaminari’s hand either; kaminari always held his. he didn’t know why he preferred it that way, but he did sometimes grab onto kaminari’s hand when it felt like no one was watching, like under the table at lunch or while they watched bad television sitcoms with their friends.

kissing was a whole other thing. he did not like kissing in front of their classmates. he didn’t even like kissing in front of their friends. he was terribly uncomfortable with others seeing something that felt so intimate and special, to him at least. he wanted so badly to be comfortable with it because he sometimes got the vibe that kaminari wanted to kiss him while they were cooking together or wanted to kiss him congratulations after doing well in training. it was another boyfriend thing that he told himself that he had to get used to, but if he was honest with himself, he just didn’t like how it made him feel... vulnerable in front of other people.

when the two of them went out though, he didn’t care. he didn’t care if strangers saw him kiss his boyfriend or snuggle grossly on the train. he’d catch some of them staring sometimes and he’d glare at them, then kiss kaminari again out of spite. they didn’t know him. they didn’t know kaminari or how bakugou felt about him. it felt different, being affectionate to kaminari in front of strangers. he didn’t know why, but whatever it was had him making out with kaminari in the middle of the mall, much to kaminari’s delight.

thankfully, kaminari understood. kaminari had always been a very affectionate person by nature and had always been extremely tactile even before the two of them even thought of getting together. but now that they were together, it was like kaminari always wanted to be touching. bakugou didn’t mind, but he’d made it pretty clear when it came to how uneasy he felt about being even remotely romantic in front of their classmates. kaminari had been mildly disappointed, but accommodating, and promised to try to not be as touchy-feely with him until he was more comfortable with doing so.

bakugou was so fucking grateful for kaminari and his seemingly infinite patience with him. there was nothing more that he could ever want in a boyfriend.

despite all of this, the two of them still continued to share rather affectionate, longing glances no matter who they were around. bakugou really couldn’t help it. kaminari seemed to like it, and he returned the glances each and every time bakugou looked at him. it made him feel all warm and good-sick inside, like kaminari had wrapped him in a hug and never planned on letting go.

/ v.

“you love him, don’t you,” ashido had murmured to him at lunch one day, making kaminari nearly choke on his chicken. sero hummed knowingly next to him, mumbling something like, “it’s true,” as he chomped on whatever vegan nonsense he’d managed to get from the cafeteria line.

kaminari coughed, swallowed, took a sip of water. “what?? i do not! i mean— i do, but it’s! it’s not like that! i just... it’s— it’s complicated, okay?” he coughed some more, spots of color blooming on his cheeks. ashido leaned back and surveyed him, then shared a look with sero, who seemed amused.

“he totally loves him,” sero said to ashido, and ashido tsked, waggling her finger at kaminari.

“how long has it been now?” she asked, the three of them watching kirishima and bakugou go through the lunch line across the cafeteria. kaminari tried to normalize his breathing, then dropped his gaze to his water glass.

“how long since what?”

sero elbowed him in the ribs, which was particularly painful. kaminari scowled at him. “you know,” sero started, shoveling another forkful of what was probably tofu into his mouth. he chewed thoughtfully, then kept talking. “since you and blasty got together. how long has it been?”

kaminari kind of squirmed. ashido slurped loudly on her lemonade. “it’s been two weeks and four days since we became... official, i guess, but i like to say that it’s been a month and six days.”

sero whistled. “why the huge jump? that’s a whole” — sero began to count on his fingers— “sixteen days.” kaminari ate some more chicken.

“that’s when... that’s when he kissed me in the kitchen. we kind of had a thing for a while before we actually started dating.”

“ah yes,” ashido remarked. “the smoochfesting, as kirishima so aptly puts it.” kaminari flushed vibrantly. he’d forgotten about that term. he couldn’t say that kirishima was wrong. during those sixteen days, he and bakugou had been constantly dragging each other off into private spaces, usually their rooms, to fawn over each other and, well, smooch, but kaminari had thought that they’d been at least a little covert about it. he wasn’t quite sure how kirishima had noticed. maybe they hadn’t been so subtle after all.

“we were not smoochfesting,” kaminari whined, lying through his teeth. “it was just... a thing, i don’t know.”

“you guys were totally making out all the time,” sero objected. “all. the. time.”

“we were not!”

“you totally were. don’t argue with me about this. i’m right and you know it.”

“all smoochfesting aside,” ashido cut in, then slurped some more on her lemonade. “it’s been a while, right? what are the deets? what are you calling him? what’s his contact name in your phone? what does he call you?”

kaminari waved his hands around frantically, completely overwhelmed by all the questions all at once. he didn’t say anything, making sero and ashido look at him with even more interest.

“kaminari, come on,” sero pleaded.

“look at how red he is,” ashido murmured thoughtfully. “there’s definitely something going on here.”

kaminari put his hands on either side of his face and shook his head emphatically, his ears burning. “there’s nothing going on, guys! we just... call each other by our family names.” most of the time, bakugou didn’t even do that. bakugou had only called him by his name about twelve times in the past two months, instead calling him by the nicknames that he’d grown to really adore. but of course he wasn’t going to tell his friends that.

“your family names??” ashido repeated, as if this was a crime. it was sero’s turn to tsk. “you’ve got to be kidding.”

“i’m not kidding,” kaminari mumbled. “calling him by anything else makes me feel... i don’t know. i’m not ready. i don’t think he is either.” he shook his head again. “he can’t even kiss me or hold my hand in front of you guys. we’re just... we’re taking it slow.”

ashido peered at him and sero did the same. in that moment, kaminari caught a glimpse of bakugou and kirishima walking towards them with lunch trays in hand, then felt his heart rate pick up. “okay, okay, shut up. don’t say anything else about it. they’re coming.” his friends looked at him a little while longer, then sat back and resumed eating, thank god.

the conversation stayed with him for the rest of the day. should he really be calling bakugou by something else? by a pet name? or maybe his given name? thinking about it made his stomach squirm. he wanted to, but he was kind of scared, scared of committing that way and also scared of how bakugou would react if he did something like that, called him by something a lot more intimate than what he was currently calling him. he kept remembering what he’d said to his friends: he can’t even kiss me or hold my hand in front of you guys.

“what the fuck are you making that face for?” bakugou barked several days after kaminari had the name conversation with sero and ashido. they were in bakugou’s room playing multiplayer racing games on the console bakugou had set up in his room. kaminari was fatally losing, completely distracted by what was on his mind.

“what?” he sort of echoed, blinking at bakugou, who paused the game and turned to him.

“you’ve been making that face for the past three days. like you swallowed a fucking lemon or something.” kaminari laughed at that, retreating from his thoughts. he set down his controller and scooted towards bakugou until their legs touched.

“i’m thinking,” he said, sighing a little. “sero and ashido were talking to me the other day and i can’t stop thinking about it.” he rested his head on bakugou’s shoulder. after a moment, bakugou set down his controller and wrapped his arm around kaminari, pulling him closer.

“what’d they say to you.” it was more of a demand for answers rather than an actual question, which kaminari found oddly amusing. he found himself smiling.

“they...” he hesitated, not really sure if he should even speak the words out loud. he didn’t want to turn the conversation sour or awkward. “you know, it was nothing. i’m just in my head too much.”

“sparky,” was all bakugou said, the nickname sending kaminari’s heart into a tizzy. it was obvious that bakugou wanted to know what was bothering him, but his insides were starting to twist at the thought.

kaminari lifted his head to look at bakugou, worrying his lip. “it was about names,” he blurted. bakugou looked confused, his brow furrowing. “about whether i should call you by something other than your family name.” bakugou’s face suddenly blanked. kaminari’s heart seized, but he couldn’t stop himself from blabbering on. “i don’t know, bakugou, i really don’t know. i want to call you by your given name or call you babe or something, but i’m scared and i don’t think i’m ready and just, god, bakugou, i don’t know.”

there was a long silence when kaminari finished, one that made him feel so sick that he thought he might have to lay down. bakugou looked down at his lap, pressing his lips together.

“i’ve been thinking about the same thing,” bakugou said after a while, his voice very quiet. kaminari bit the inside of his cheek so hard that he almost tasted copper. “i’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”

“really?” kaminari whispered. bakugou simply nodded. there was a beat, a long one. kaminari licked his lips, dropping his voice to below a whisper, his voice so soft that it was almost like he wasn’t saying anything at all. “do you... do you want to call me denki?”

the color that bakugou’s cheeks turned made kaminari feel like melting into a puddle. he felt a flush rising to his face. they looked at each other for a moment. bakugou’s lips parted.

“can i call you” — kaminari’s breath caught and he would’ve sworn that he felt his heart skip a beat— “katsuki?” bakugou reddened even more, cheeks the color of kirishima’s hair when it was freshly dyed. bakugou’s pupils were blown wide, his eyes more black than red. kaminari’s hand went up, fingers ghosting the fabric of bakugou’s shirt, right over his heart. his heart was beating as fast and as hard as kaminari’s was.

bakugou leaned down, his nose brushing kaminari’s. kaminari could feel his breath on his cheeks. kaminari’s fingers curled into bakugou’s shirt. “yes,” bakugou breathed, his mouth mere millimeters from kaminari’s. “yes.”

when they stopped kissing, they were on the floor, out of breath and their hair sticking up all over the place. the video game was long forgotten. kaminari couldn’t feel his mouth. his body was buzzing, and he was pretty sure he’d accidentally sent a current through him and bakugou while they’d been kissing. it felt like electricity was running through his veins. bakugou hadn’t said anything if he had though, and he’d resorted to lazily draping an arm across kaminari’s chest.

“did i shock you?” he asked quietly, bakugou nuzzling his face against his ribs. bakugou sort of hummed.

“yeah, but i’ve gotten used to it.”

kaminari made a face up at the ceiling, covering bakugou’s hand with his own and threading his other hand through bakugou’s hair. “what? i shock you often?”

bakugou snorted. “you haven’t noticed? you send these tiny fuckin’ shocks through me almost every time we kiss. when we make out, it gets worse. it’s like you can’t control your goddamn quirk around me or some shit.” an intense flush returned to kaminari’s face.

“oh god, i’m sorry. i didn’t even know i was doing that,” he apologized, feeling thoroughly embarrassed. had he really been losing control of his quirk several times a day for the past month? he wasn’t even sure how he hadn’t noticed. maybe he just discharged electricity naturally, like it was part of his makeup or something, just like how bakugou had his high body temperatures.

“it’s kinda cute. i don’t really care.”

“you think it’s cute!” he repeated indignantly. “it’s embarrassing, that’s what it is. i wish you’d told me sooner.”

bakugou adjusted, folding his arms on kaminari’s chest and looking down at him. “shut the fuck up. you always discharge when you’re happy. or when you’re upset. but i’m pretty sure you’re not angry every time you kiss me.” kaminari just stared at him. there was a beat, then bakugou’s mouth stretched into a smile that made kaminari’s heart flutter. “there. you just did it again.”

kaminari gaped at him. “i did not. i didn’t even feel anything.”

“you always do it. ‘s cute. just means that you’re happy to be around me.” kaminari colored some more. he supposed that it would be virtually impossible to be unreadable if his body betrayed him like this. bakugou would always know how he felt about him, which he guessed wasn’t too bad. it was just embarrassing that he didn’t even know that he’d been discharging so often.

“you’re dumb. i actually totally hate you, did you know that?” kaminari teased softly, a smile playing at his lips. bakugou raised his eyebrows, then grinned wickedly, running his tongue along his top row of teeth. he leaned down some more, the pressure from his folded arms on kaminari’s chest increasing, but not to the point that it was uncomfortable. kaminari cupped the side of bakugou’s face, rubbing his thumb against his cheek.

“your shocks definitely say otherwise.”

bakugou shifted again, planting a hand on the floor next to kaminari’s arm, then angled down to lightly kiss him on the mouth. kaminari kissed him back just as softly, sure that if what bakugou had said was true, he was sending a constant current through bakugou while they kissed.

bakugou pulled back, but only a little, his mouth brushing the corner of kaminari’s mouth. kaminari felt his stomach flutter and jump when bakugou moved to kiss him right under his left ear.

“i lied,” he whispered. “i totally lied.” bakugou kissed him again under his ear, then kissed the lobe, his lips pressed against the metal of his earrings.

“yeah?” bakugou whispered back. the feeling of bakugou’s breath against his skin had goosebumps rising on his arms.

“yeah. i like you a lot. a lot-a lot.”

there was a beat, then bakugou pulled all the way back, his eyes lidded. wisps of ash blonde hair fell over his brow. “i like you a lot too” —another beat. bakugou’s face turned a pretty shade of crimson. he averted his gaze to something to the side of kaminari— “denki.”

it was like kaminari’s heart stopped working, just stopped beating right then and there. he was pretty sure that he could see his soul rising from his body. he certainly did feel the rip of the electric shock that he sent through the both of them that time, their hair frizzing. bakugou flinched, but didn’t move away, watching kaminari.

kaminari almost rolled over so he could catch his breath. it felt like all his nerves were fried. “oh my god,” he breathed. that was all he could say. “oh my god.”

“what, you like that?” bakugou murmured.

“oh my god, yes,” kaminari practically gushed, looking back at bakugou, his heart full. “i like that.” he put both of his hands on either side of bakugou’s face, curling the tips of his fingers into bakugou’s hair. “i really like that.” he pulled him down into a kiss, squeezing his eyes closed. he could probably cry right now. god, he was so happy. could this even get any better? there couldn’t possibly be anything more wonderful than this, than bakugou, than the way bakugou smiled when he kissed him.

/ vi.

it was extremely hard to get used to kaminari calling him by his first name. he didn’t do it often, but bakugou was pretty sure that kaminari was really trying to get used to the way bakugou’s given name sounded coming out of his mouth. every time he’d do it, every time he heard kaminari call him by his name, bakugou would heat up all over his body and forget what he was doing. there was one time when kaminari had idly called him katsuki while he’d been chopping vegetables for a salad, and he quite literally lost control of the knife and sliced right into his finger.

the only upside to that particular moment was that kaminari cooed over him for about three hours, flitting around and asking him if he was okay or if he needed anything. he treated the bandage around bakugou’s finger like it was a severed limb, which was kind of amusing in a way.

it was difficult, though, to try and say kaminari’s given name. denki. it felt... weird coming out of his mouth. it felt strange. it didn’t feel right and every time he tried to say it, he’d go hot with a fierce flush of embarrassment. the name still felt forbidden, even though kaminari tried to convince him otherwise.

“oh, come on, baby,” kaminari had whined at one point. bakugou had momentarily stopped functioning, his brain clinking to a stop. kaminari had also taken to calling him “baby” and other assorted gross things that he secretly loved. “you can call me denki, you know. it’s not like you’re not allowed to call me by my name.”

they were in one of the gyms, doing some late night exercises. bakugou had been restless and needed to get his energy out, kaminari tagging along to keep him company.

bakugou weakly punched the punching bag hanging in front of him, blowing out a hot breath. “it’s fuckin’ weird,” he grunted. kaminari kind of snorted, somewhere behind him.

“it’s weird? you’ve called me denki before. besides, i like it when you call me denki. makes me feel good.” bakugou could feel his ears heating. he felt kaminari sidle up beside him, carefully sliding his hand up bakugou’s spine. kaminari could probably feel bakugou’s sweat through his shirt, but it didn’t look like he minded. bakugou looked down at him. kaminari’s mouth twitched up in a hint of a smile. his cheeks were flushed a healthy pink from all the weight reps he’d done earlier.

“i’m trying,” bakugou heard himself say. he reached up, tucked some idle gold hair behind kaminari’s ear, letting his fingers linger momentarily. kaminari’s eyes lidded. he leaned into the touch. “i’m trying.”

“okay,” kaminari responded, his voice soft. “i trust you. take as much time as you need, okay? i’ll wait for you.” he lifted his head to place a gentle kiss on the corner of bakugou’s mouth and bakugou felt himself let out a sigh.

something in him told him that he needed to apologize to kaminari, but he wasn’t sure what he should apologize for. he supposed that he just processed emotions a hell of a lot differently than kaminari did, which didn’t surprise him, but it made him feel stunted in a way. it was like kaminari had already jumped into the deep end and was calling him to get in too, but bakugou was still hesitating in the shallows. maybe that’s what he should apologize for. apologize for being so... scared? no, he wasn’t scared. he couldn’t be scared. not of this.

he just wished he could be more like kaminari, more open, more willing to commit to a relationship like this. it wasn’t like he didn’t want to call kaminari by his given name or kiss him in front of their friends— it was just... difficult. for some reason, it was hard for him and he was having trouble accepting the fact that kaminari really liked him like that, even though so much time had passed. it’d been almost a whole month since they’d started dating, since they’d officially gotten together, and bakugou was still wrestling over holding kaminari’s hand in school.

kaminari didn’t seem to be annoyed by bakugou’s apparently endless hesitation when it came to their relationship. he seemed to be happy. the way that he kissed him hadn’t changed. the way he smiled when bakugou touched him hadn’t changed. he seemed to be content with whatever bakugou was comfortable with at the moment, and that was so confusing to bakugou. he didn’t understand how kaminari could be so happy with his mediocre performance as a boyfriend.

he voiced this to kirishima exactly one time, too uneasy to mention it any more than that. kirishima had just looked at him, popped a potato chip into his mouth, and crunched on it for a long moment. he rustled around in his bag of potato chips and grabbed another chip, then pointed at bakugou with it.

“why are you insistent on being so tough in front of kaminari?” he said once he was done chewing.

bakugou was stunned into a blank expression. “what?”

kirishima adjusted on his bed, eating some more chips before answering him. “you’re scared of being vulnerable, i think. you gotta stop with wanting to look so... i don’t know. kaminari doesn’t care.”

“i’m not fucking scared,” bakugou grumbled, picking at stray threads in his sweatpants. kirishima squinted down at him.

“see, that’s what i mean, dude. you don’t have to act like you’re super tough or like you don’t care about anything ever. that’s what it means to have a relationship with someone, you know? even if it’s, like, i don’t know, a friendship or something, you’re supposed to be able to be open with the other person. like what we’re doing now! you’re telling me how you feel, which is what kaminari probably wants from you.”

“but kaminari’s different,” bakugou said, shifting his position on the floor. “kaminari’s different than you and me.”

kirishima chomped on some more chips. “well, yeah, he is your boyfriend after all. being someone’s boyfriend requires you to have to be a lot more willing to be intimate, yeah? like, you guys probably make out and stuff all the time when no one is around.” bakugou flushed a hot red and bit down hard on his lip. “i assume that you’re some level of close to him physically, so you gotta balance that out with, like, emotional closeness. you can’t kiss someone and hold their hand and then totally shut them out of your emotions.” bakugou opened his mouth to protest, but kirishima silenced him by raising a finger and giving him a look.

“listen, bakugou. i know kaminari’s good to you— good for you— but you gotta reciprocate, you get me? it’s gonna be hard, but i know you can do it. show him that you’re, like, the number one boyfriend or whatever. and isn’t your one month anniversary coming up? this is literally the perfect time for you to start opening yourself up to kaminari. he wants to see you, okay? stop with this... trying to be tough thing. being vulnerable and telling people how you feel is super manly too!”

there was a beat. bakugou looked at the floor. kirishima waited, popping some more chips in his mouth.

“okay,” bakugou said quietly. “okay, i’ll try.” he didn’t even have to look at kirishima to know that he was beaming brightly.

“that’s what i like to hear! youthful determination, oh yeah!” bakugou looked back up at kirishima. he folded his arms across his chest, almost like he was trying to keep himself together.

“hey, there was... there’s something else.” he could already feel every single vein in his body working double time, his blood rushing loud in his ears. kirishima peered at him, eyebrows raised, expression filled with interest.

“what’s up?”

bakugou covered his face with his hands, then splayed himself out on the hardwood floor, feeling the coldness of it through his shirt. “i think... fuck, i think i’m— kirishima, i’m losing my fucking mind.”

kirishima laughed. bakugou heard the bag of chips crinkling as kirishima moved it onto the floor. “what, you think you’re gay?” bakugou spluttered a response, taking his hands from his face to flip his friend off with both hands.

“no, fucker! i already know that!!” he exclaimed. “it’s something... it’s something different!”

“what is it?” kirishima sounded more amused than anything. bakugou’s brain was swimming in his skull. it was going to be something entirely different saying the words out loud. it was like... he was finally going to be honest with at least one part of himself, even if he wasn’t talking to the person he wanted to tell this to the most.

“god, kirishima, i think i fucking love him,” bakugou blurted, feeling his whole body burn. “i think i’m legitimately in fucking love with him, or at least getting real fucking close.” bakugou looked at kirishima, who looked like he was processing this with a bold exclamation mark over his head.

“now, this is what i’m talking about,” kirishima said after a long moment, a smile stretching across his face. “this is the kind of emotional openness i’m talking about! bro, you’ve got to tell him. he’d be so happy! and you’d get closer to him by telling him, i think.”

“yeah?” bakugou sort of mused to no one in particular, staring up at the ceiling.

“yeah. and just between you and me, i think he loves you too.”

bakugou shot straight up into a seated position, heart thumping in his chest, cheeks scarlet. he felt like he couldn’t breathe. he felt tingly all over. “what??” he breathed. “who the fuck told you that? did he tell you?”

kirishima shook his head. “no, but i’ve been hearing stuff from sero and ashido. it’s not any of my business, but that’s what i hear.”

bakugou wasn’t able to stop thinking about everything kirishima had said for the next couple days. he’d lay awake in bed, staring into the dark, thinking about calling kaminari by his name and, in a particularly masterful imaginary exchange, telling him that he loved him. he wanted to tell him. he wanted to be close, close like kirishima had talked about. he wanted to take the step, wanted to join kaminari in the deep end.

kirishima was probably right. maybe he was too concerned with building up his walls around his emotions rather than trying to dismantle them enough to let kaminari in. the concept of being close like that, intimate like that, really was scary. he had to admit that to himself.

at night, he dreamed about kaminari, dreamed about touching his face and kissing his mouth and holding his hand. during class, he scribbled kaminari’s name in the margins of his notebook before scribbling it out so no one would see. he tried several times to change kaminari’s contact name in his phone, but couldn’t make himself change it to “denki.” after a lot of staring at kaminari’s contact over several days, he finally managed to add a single yellow heart to the end of “fucking idiot,” and for some reason, that felt like a breath of fresh air.

he was trying. he hoped kaminari noticed because he was trying his hardest for him.

/ vii.

kaminari still got butterflies in his stomach when bakugou was around. if anything, the butterflies had gotten stronger, fiercer. they made him feel the happy-sick bakugou kept telling him about when they were curled up together on one of their beds, bakugou’s mouth next to his ear, his arms holding him close against the curve of his body.

sometimes kaminari was surprised by how angrily those butterflies swarmed him. he’d touch bakugou’s hand while they walked or feel bakugou’s hand brush the small of his back and feel like his insides were collapsing on themselves. kissing bakugou made his heart nearly shatter through his ribs. just seeing his boyfriend in profile, watching the sun silhouette his face, gazing upon the flutter of his eyelashes, the slope of his nose, the upturn of his mouth, had kaminari’s knees going weak and his stomach turning to jelly.

looking at bakugou made him feel like stars were shining in his eyes. his mind wandered even more than usual in class. one time he thought that he saw bakugou doodling his name in his fire-red notebook when he peered over jirou’s desk and it made his hands go clammy and his mind swim furiously. he locked himself in his room that afternoon and scribbled bakugou’s name over almost every single page of his math notebook until his face burned rosy and his hands shook and he felt so happy that he might as well have been crying.

frankly, he was kind of terrified of these butterflies and of these feelings. he couldn’t ever concentrate anymore— not in class, not when his friends were talking, not when he was playing video games— and it’d gotten to the point that he really wished that jirou didn’t sit between him and bakugou in class. it was so hard to stare at bakugou and tune out what his teachers were talking about when jirou was right in the way. several times, he’d forgotten that jirou was there until she threw tiny bits of paper at him to make him stop staring “like a freak.”

she knew exactly who kaminari was trying to stare at. she just liked to tease him about it.

all of kaminari’s friends liked to tease him about how gone he seemed lately. sero would find him hunched over his phone, texting and grinning like a fool, and try to peek over his shoulder at the texts until kaminari batted him away, feeling too floaty to care. ashido asked about this and that, things like the sweet nothings she assumed bakugou whispered to him when they were sleepy or if bakugou’s lips felt soft when they kissed or if they put their hands up each other’s shirts when they were cold.

kaminari didn’t want to tell them anything. he was feeling particularly selfish, something he’d never felt before, and he wanted to keep everything to himself. there were some things that he couldn’t seem to be able to not tell anyone though, and he often found himself spilling his guts out to ashido very late at night over the phone.

“can i tell you something?” he’d asked on a late thursday night one time. ashido had called him to ask him what color nail polish she should pick as her theme color for the rest of the week, and they’d started talking for a lot longer than the two of them had expected.

ashido let out a noncommittal grunt on the other side of the line. kaminari could almost smell the nail polish and acetone through the phone. “hit me with it.”

kaminari flipped over in bed, pulling the sheets up to his chin. the phone was making his ear and cheek really warm. something in his stomach rolled and it sent a wave of happy-sick dizziness up to his head. “it’s about bakugou,” he said, bringing his hand up from under the covers to brush against his bottom lip. he was already starting to smile.

“when is it ever not about bakugou,” was what ashido responded with, a hint of amusement leaking into her voice. kaminari heard something clatter about on ashido’s end of the line. he laughed.

“okay, but— but, like, listen. it’s important.”

“i’m listening.”

kaminari was silent for a moment, that tiny smile stretching into a stupid little grin that warmed his face. a pool of joy was starting to leak through all his veins and he bit the tip of his thumb. he closed his eyes and felt his heart thrum.

“kaminari?” it was like ashido was speaking through an empty paper towel roll, and kaminari realized that he’d been silent for a lot longer than a moment. “you’re still there?”

“yeah,” kaminari breathed, biting his thumb a little harder. it hurt, but he was too happy to care. “i’m here.”

“did you fall asleep?”

“no. just thinking.”

there was a beat, some shuffling. “about bakugou?”

“i love him,” kaminari blurted out, the pool of joy exploding and splattering absolutely everywhere. the butterflies in his stomach started to flutter up his throat and down to his toes. there was a long silence on ashido’s end and kaminari could envision the exact face she was making: one that widened her eyes like saucers and set her mouth in a shocked o.

“you love him!” she practically yelled, the volume sending kaminari’s ear ringing.

“i love him!!” kaminari exclaimed, almost yelling himself. he curled up so that his knees were to his chest and buried his face in his pillow, his heart threatening to beat right out of his chest.

“oh my god, kaminari!” ashido squealed.

“i know!” kaminari’s insides were squirming. so much dopamine was flooding to kaminari’s brain that he felt like he could pass out.

“are you going to tell him?” ashido asked, the biggest smile in her voice.

kaminari flopped over to face the ceiling. he snuck a peek at the alarm clock on his nightstand. it was almost midnight. bakugou would definitely be asleep right now. if he was going to tell bakugou, he’d want it to be in person. he didn’t exactly want to send a text about something as big as this, and a phone call felt like he’d be pushing it. he wanted to... see bakugou when he told him.

a tiny bit of worry started gnawing at his consciousness. “yeah, i will, but, like, what... what if he doesn’t love me back?” kaminari said, almost to himself. ashido huffed on the other end.

“of course he loves you back, silly!” she declared. “he might not say it back right away, but he totally does. have you even seen the way he looks at you? the guy’s completely smitten, kaminari.”

kaminari bit back a smile. “i love him so much,” he sighed, almost dreamily. “he’s so... gah, i just...”

“i know,” ashido drawled, dragging out the words in the exact tone of voice kaminari was using.

there was a beat. “you know, should i tell him tonight? i kind of don’t want to wait. i want to tell him now.”

“he’s totally sleeping right now,” was what ashido responded with. “he might be cranky if you wake him up, but he’s probably dreaming about you right now, so you might as well go up and see him. if it’s you, i don’t think he’ll mind.”

kaminari was suddenly raring to go. he wanted to leave his room right now to tell bakugou right now. he didn’t want to disrupt bakugou’s impeccable sleeping patterns, but he really wanted bakugou to know something that felt so incredibly important to him. his body started to warm almost uncomfortably under the covers, and he threw them off, swinging his legs off the bed as he shifted into a seated position.

“i think i’m going to go,” he said, already trying to scan the floor for a pair of shoes. “i’ll talk to you later, okay?”

he could hear ashido clap her hands happily. “good luck!! don’t stress!! i love you!!” kaminari smiled so wide that his face ached.

“love you too, dork.” ashido hung up first, causing kaminari to sort of just sit on his bed in the dark for a moment. with a rush of sudden resolve, he shot up to standing, deciding to abandon the task of finding shoes. he was only going to go up one floor— he didn’t need shoes. besides, this would probably be quick anyway. he’d go up, tell bakugou how he felt, then come back to his room.

well, maybe they’d spoon for a little bit. that would be nice. and if kaminari managed to get bakugou to let him stay the night in his room...

kaminari left his phone on his bed and cautiously made his way across his room to the door. being up and walking around this late was kind of against curfew, but he was pretty sure that no one was watching. he slowly opened his door, looking around before stepping out into the hallway, shutting the door behind him. the lights in the hallway had dimmed for the night, making him feel particularly sneaky.

he walked to the end of the hallway, his bare feet shuffling against the carpeted floor. the lights by the elevator shone an ethereal blue, casting a glow onto his hands. he pressed the button to go up. a few seconds passed, and the elevator arrived on the floor, making a ding that seemed a lot louder than it normally was. kaminari winced, scanned the empty hallway behind him, and went inside the brightly lit elevator, blinking rapidly to get his eyes adjusted to the glaring light inside.

he pressed the button for the fourth floor. the doors closed, then opened shortly after, revealing an equally as empty hallway. he stepped out of the elevator and began to make his way down the hall. bakugou was the third room and kaminari reached it pretty quickly. he found himself standing in front of bakugou’s door in the span of several moments, his hand poised to knock. there weren’t any lights under the door, as expected. bakugou was completely out by now.

with a twinge of guilt, he knocked on the door softly, then waited a moment. nothing. kaminari licked his lips, then knocked again, this time a little louder. there was silence, then a faint groan from inside. testing his luck once more, he knocked again. this time, there was movement inside the room. and lots of grumbling— irritated, angry grumbling. footsteps came towards the door, and the door was unlocked and yanked open to reveal bakugou with his hair sticking up and his sleep shirt wrinkled to oblivion.

he looked like he was about to punch someone in the face, a “what the fuck” just on the tip of his tongue, before he blinked a few times and saw kaminari standing there, barefoot. his angry expression softened drastically, making kaminari’s insides turn goopy. there was a beat.

“hey, sorry,” kaminari said quietly, shifting his weight from foot to foot. “i... sorry, i totally woke you up.”

bakugou just looked at him, expression bleary and tired now that all the anger was gone. “what is it,” he said, voice thick and gravelly with sleep.

“i have something to tell you,” kaminari answered, those butterflies rapidly filling his stomach. his ears started to heat.

“at midnight?” bakugou’s voice was indignant, if not exhausted.

“it’s... it’s important.” kaminari wanted to reach out and touch bakugou’s chest. bakugou just continued to look at him. kaminari figured that he should continue speaking. he hesitated for a second, his voice dropping to a whisper. “i’ve been thinking a lot, okay? i really like being with you and... and you make me really happy, katsuki.” even in the dim, kaminari saw the way bakugou’s cheeks flushed. “my heart does all this funny stuff when i’m around you and i... i wanted to tell you that... that, um, you mean a lot to me.”

kaminari’s mouth worked silently as he tried to bring himself to say what he wanted to say. he hadn’t realized it would be so difficult to do this. maybe he should’ve waited until the morning. “it’s been a while since we’ve been together and i really think i... i love you. i’m in love with you.” kaminari’s gaze darted up to bakugou’s face. bakugou looked like the wind had just been knocked out of him. there was a moment of complete silence, both of their faces flushed scarlet.

bakugou ran a hand down his face, then carded the same hand through his hair, sending all the stray strands askew. he pressed his lips together, licked them. kaminari couldn’t help but snap his gaze to bakugou’s mouth. bakugou noticed.

“kaminari...” was all bakugou said, his voice barely above a whisper. “fuck, i... shit, you don’t even—”

kaminari couldn’t resist this time. he reached up and brushed his palm against the plane of bakugou’s chest. he rested his hand right above bakugou’s heart. he felt the way it thrummed rapidly in the shell of bakugou’s ribcage. “it’s okay,” he murmured, using his other hand to move some hair out of bakugou’s eyes. “it’s okay, baby. you don’t have to say it back. it’s okay.”

bakugou put his hand over kaminari’s, holding kaminari’s hand against the curve of his face. he leaned into kaminari’s touch, his heart beat steady.

kaminari leaned up to place a soft kiss on bakugou’s mouth. a second passed, then bakugou wrapped his free arm around kaminari’s waist and pulled him close, so close that kaminari stumbled right into bakugou’s chest, their hearts beating in tandem.

bakugou held him like the world depended on it, his kiss like the heat of explosions and the crackle of lightning, and kaminari knew that bakugou felt something for him too.

/ viii.

the night that kaminari told bakugou that he loved him, kaminari slept in his bed. that wasn’t anything new, sleeping together, but after kaminari told him that he loved him, bakugou hadn’t been able to fall asleep. kaminari held onto him for hours, his legs tangled up with bakugou’s, his breath hot on bakugou’s shirt, his cheek pressed against bakugou’s heart. his head was tucked right under bakugou’s chin, and he glowed. bakugou could feel how happy he was in his sleep.

bakugou hadn’t been able to say “i love you” back and that kept him up almost all night. the fact that kaminari had told him not to worry about saying it back made him feel even more guilty. he’d been expecting bakugou to not be able to say it back, which was crushing. bakugou hadn’t even been able to say kaminari’s given name when kaminari had told him. he’d used “kaminari” without even a second thought, only mere moments after kaminari had called him katsuki.

god, he was so bad at this love thing, wasn’t he?

kaminari didn’t seem to mind. he never seemed to mind. he seemed to be so happy all the damn fucking time, even when bakugou let him down like this, even when bakugou couldn’t voice what he wanted kaminari to know so badly.

that night, he listened to kaminari breathe steadily into his shirt for what felt like hours. he finally fell asleep when kaminari half-awoke in the middle of the night and shifted, deeply exhaling and holding bakugou a little tighter, almost like he was holding him close in his dreams too. bakugou couldn’t help but wrap his arms around kaminari as well, wanting to feel his boyfriend’s heartbeat through his shirt and against the skin of his stomach.

he was going to tell kaminari that he loved him. he had to. he didn’t think he could go on like this if he didn’t. still, he was going to wait. just a little longer.

when bakugou’s alarm went off the next morning, it was like being slapped in the face. he woke up with a startled gasp, heart jumping as he was yanked out of a dream he already couldn’t remember. the alarm clock blared obnoxiously, and he had to peel his arm from kaminari’s body to fumble around recklessly to his right to turn it off. kaminari just groaned sleepily and nuzzled his face in the curve of bakugou’s neck.

after several short moments of bakugou’s hand slamming around on his bedside table, his hand connected with the cold metal of his alarm clock. involuntarily, his fingers curled into a fist and he hit the alarm clock hard, hard enough that it stopped yelling for him to get up.

bakugou laid there for a lot longer than it took for him to shut the alarm clock off. blearily, he gazed up at the ceiling and registered the fact that he and kaminari had radically shifted during the night, kaminari practically draped completely over bakugou’s body, an arm flung across bakugou’s chest and a leg tossed over both of bakugou’s. his lips grazed bakugou’s neck and his hair tickled bakugou’s ear. it was blissful in a way. if he closed his eyes, he just might fall asleep again. he had to get up.

“hey,” he said softly, his voice hoarse and layered with sleep. he sort of nudged his left side up a little to lightly jostle kaminari. nothing. “heeeey. we have to get up.” kaminari didn’t move.

bakugou licked his lips and stared at the ceiling some more. he felt like it would be mean if he just got out of bed and left kaminari there, but they needed to get ready to go to class. but he also wanted to stay. having kaminari close to him like this made him want to say to hell with doing absolutely anything.

“sparky,” he tried again, reaching over and moving hair out of kaminari’s face. his boyfriend shifted a tiny bit at the touch. bakugou nudged him up with his left side again. “... denki.” he was whispering. “wake up.”

kaminari’s fingers flexed. it was starting to appear like bakugou was going to have to use more aggressive means to wake kaminari up if he wanted to get anything done. it was going to be hard to do anything, though, since kaminari was practically lying on him.

he wiggled his other arm out from under kaminari’s body, making kaminari groan softly again. there was another beat, and bakugou bit the inside of his cheek. he shifted onto his side, which made kaminari’s face slide onto the pillows below him. his brow furrowed, his mouth twitched. bakugou cautiously reached up and trailed his fingers down the side of kaminari’s cheek, letting his thumb brush against the line of his jaw.

kaminari’s nose scrunched in the tiniest bit. the arm that he had tossed over bakugou’s body twitched too, kaminari’s fingers very nearly tracing bakugou’s spine.

“denki,” bakugou murmured. kaminari looked so much more angelic when he was sleeping. he was... he was so beautiful. his freckles looked like constellations on his cheeks.

“k’tsuki...” kaminari said on a breathy sigh. bakugou felt his heart jump in his chest. kaminari’s hand dipped down, his fingers crawling under the hem of bakugou’s sleep shirt. the pads of his fingers trailed against bakugou’s skin and bakugou almost went rigid. he’d never felt kaminari’s skin on his skin. they’d touched each other’s faces, necks, arms, hands... but nothing under their clothes. kaminari’s hand was so warm.

kaminari’s eyelashes fluttered. bakugou’s stomach flipped. “denki,” he whispered, and, for some reason, his voice broke. kaminari’s eyes opened drowsily, his amber irises melting in the whites of his eyes. kaminari’s hand was all the way under bakugou’s shirt now, beginning to roam the space of bakugou’s lower back.

“why’d you have t’ wake me up, baby,” kaminari said, his eyes drooping closed again. bakugou didn’t want to move.

“we have to get ready for class.” kaminari simply grunted. bakugou wanted to kiss him awake. he really needed to brush his teeth. “c’mon, denki.” he felt kaminari discharge lightly, sending all of bakugou’s nerves alight like a thousand small flames.

“say m’ name like that again. m’be i’ll wake up if you do.”

bakugou’s face radiated like a space heater. kaminari had half his forearm up bakugou’s shirt. “wake up, denki,” he said, his voice low in a whisper. “we’re going to be late.”

the sheets rustled as kaminari sat up, withdrawing his arm from under bakugou’s shirt. he looked down at bakugou, golden hair falling into his face. early morning sunlight peeked through bakugou’s curtains and illuminated kaminari’s face with swathes of light. he stretched and yawned, his shirt lifting and flashing a bit of stomach. he scratched the space under his ear and smiled down at bakugou, sleep still settled in a corner of his mind.

bakugou momentarily forgot how to breathe. it became overwhelmingly apparent to bakugou that he really did love kaminari. he might as well adore him. he loved every single part of him, every single moment like this. he wanted kaminari to put his hands back up his shirt and feel over his shoulder blades and his spine with that careful, warm touch of his. he wanted kaminari to kiss him until he forgot about every responsibility he had, until there was nothing but them and that kiss for the end of time.

that morning, they were late for class. they’d been so down to the wire that when they’d rushed out of the dorms and down the path to school, they were some of the only people still walking around. when they’d reached the classroom, kaminari had pulled bakugou back right as he’d been reaching for the door, grabbing the front of his blazer and drawing him down into a hard kiss. kaminari pulled back just as suddenly, bakugou already dizzy and red-cheeked. he did a quick sweep of the notably empty hallway, then, with a smile playing at his lips, drew bakugou back into another kiss, one that lasted until the late bell rang shrill overhead.

bakugou went into class, tardy by mere moments, with a swollen-feeling mouth and flushed cheeks. he didn’t even care. he could feel kaminari stealing glances at him across jirou’s desk throughout the day, and it made him so out of it. his insides were swooping and twirling, and he felt the happy-sick stronger than he had ever felt it before.

it was sort of beginning to dawn on him that their one month was coming up soon, which felt surreal. it felt like they’d gotten together only yesterday, but at the same time, it felt like it had been forever. being with kaminari made time distort into a bunch of relative nothing. most of bakugou’s hours were spent either thinking of kaminari or kissing him, so he supposed that there was a reason for time slipping away from him so easily.

despite this, bakugou figured he had to start thinking of something to do for kaminari when their anniversary rolled around in the next week. he was sure that he wasn’t going to go as far as a grand display of affection in the middle of the cafeteria, but he wasn’t sure that kaminari wouldn’t go to such lengths. his boyfriend would have thrown flower petals everywhere bakugou walked and spouted gross lovey shit from all that western literature he liked to read all the time if he could.

maybe he could buy him flowers? it seemed too generic, but maybe it would do the trick. not much pleased kaminari. bakugou could give kaminari a kiss for their anniversary, and he didn't think that he would even mind. he would probably treat that kiss like it was the most special thing in the world.

if bakugou was honest, he had no idea what he was going to get or do for kaminari. over the next couple days, he lost many hours of sleep by lying awake in the middle of the night, trying to think of something he could do for kaminari, something that would feel special enough for such a special day.

he ended up asking kirishima for help.

me: what the fuck do i get kaminari for our anniversary
me: respond or fucking die

it was in the middle of the night when he’d asked, so he hadn’t expected kirishima to respond, but shortly after bakugou put his phone back down on his nightstand and resumed staring at the ceiling, his phone spasmed in a mess of vibrations. he fumbled around on his nightstand trying to pick his phone back up. the notification screen blinded him when it raised from black, and he squinted at his screen, jabbing his finger on the brightness settings before checking his texts.

shitty hair >:O: isnt that a question you should know how to answer bkg??
shitty hair >:O: he IS ur boyfriend after all :o

bakugou made a face at his phone, thumbs flying across the screen.

me: there is a fucking reason why i’m asking you
me: any ideas???????
shitty hair >:O: why are u even awake... its like 00:40 go to sleep......

bakugou glared at the text, almost as if kirishima would be able to feel the intensity of his displeasure through the phone. he considered turning on the light so he could send kirishima a picture of his middle finger.

shitty hair >:O: aaaaanyway! u know that kaminari doesnt need much to be happy
shitty hair >:O: hehe what if you gave him a kiss for ur anniversary....
me: it’s not like i already thought of that, dumbass
shitty hair >:O: youre so funny :D!!!

there was a pause. bakugou couldn’t help but smile just a little.

shitty hair >:O: what if you got him like... hmmm... a little momento or something? smthing that would be really special and means a lot to the both of u...
shitty hair >:O: not to be cheesy but what about like a bracelet??? nothing too fancy
shitty hair >:O: u know... like one of those cool charm ones. we could go to the mall and pick one up for him this wknd if u want!

bakugou thought about this. it honestly was a pretty good idea. kaminari did wear bracelets sometimes, often ones that he stole from ashido and sero, and there was this one bracelet that he’d never seen him take off. it was one of those elastic bracelets with multicolored beads. some of the paint on the beads were chipping off, making the plastic beads nearly clear, so bakugou suspected that it was old— something that meant a lot to him.

would he like it if bakugou got him a bracelet? would he never take it off? bakugou felt his ears start to heat and he bit the tip of his tongue. he thought that kaminari just might love it. and if he loved it, bakugou thought that he might just love kaminari a little more.

when he finally fell asleep that night, he kissed kaminari in his dreams.

/ ix.

their anniversary landed on a friday. it started off like any other day for kaminari, with the typical getting up for class schtick, fussing over the wrinkles in his button-up, spending at least ten minutes agonizing over what color earrings to wear... just the normal stuff. today though, he caught himself lingering in front of the mirror longer than he usually did, his hand hovering by his face, almost ready to tuck hair behind his ear, but not quite. he watched himself barely brush his fingers over the bridge of his nose, over the curve of his mouth, and suddenly, his heart started up in a gallop.

today was their anniversary. today marked one month since kaminari asked bakugou if he was his boyfriend. today marked nearly two months since they kissed in the common floor’s kitchen. today marked the beginning of something with bakugou that kaminari hoped would last forever.

kaminari squirmed happily in the mirror, cheeks going rosy. oh god, he hoped there would be so many anniversaries after this. he really wanted to give bakugou the biggest kiss in the world. he felt himself swoon and he had to force himself to leave the bathroom so he could start making his way to class.

he crossed paths with jirou at the elevator. she was rocking back and forth on her heels as she waited for the elevator, and she caught kaminari’s eye as he approached, tilting her head up slightly in greeting.

“you look happy,” she noted as kaminari got closer, her eyes taking in the color in his cheeks, the light in his eyes. kaminari bit his bottom lip and smiled. he was almost embarrassed that his sheer delight was so obvious to her, and that only made the color in his face rise more.

“today’s my anniversary with bakugou,” he said softly. his smile widened into a dorky grin. jirou looked at him some more, then smiled herself, and it was a real, genuine smile.

“i know,” was all she replied with, the corners of her eyes crinkling as she smiled. there was a silence, then she sidestepped over to him, tucking her arm under his and rubbing circles on his back with the palm of her hand. the sudden display of affection had kaminari’s heart going wild. “i’m happy for you.”

kaminari smiled some more, his cheeks starting to hurt. he leaned into her, wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “thanks, jirou.” he paused, chewing on his bottom lip again. “he makes me so happy.” jirou laughed and smirked up at him, her teeth peeking through the miniscule gap between her lips.

“yeah, i’ve noticed,” she said right before shaking her head a little, her mouth quirked up at the corners. “you two are so gross. i see the way you guys look at each other and i can’t even imagine what you guys do when you’re alone.” kaminari flushed something fierce.

“jirouuu,” he whined, wickedly embarrassed. “why’d you have to say it like that? we don’t even do anything.”

jirou pursed her lips and raised her brows, thoroughly unconvinced. “uh huh,” she hummed, which only made kaminari redder. the elevator dinged, signifying its arrival, the doors sliding open. ashido, uraraka, and todoroki were already inside, ashido and uraraka enthusiastically chatting away about who knows what, todoroki just standing there looking sleepy. jirou gave kaminari’s back one more rub, then slipped out from under his arm and made her way into the elevator. kaminari hustled after her just as the elevator doors began to close.

“good morning kaminari!” ashido singsonged from behind him. kaminari twisted to look at her.

“good morning,” he singsonged back, shooting uraraka and todoroki stupid grins while he was at it. todoroki blinked passively at him, but tilted his head down in greeting. uraraka warbled out a soft “good morning” next to him.

it was silent in the elevator for a moment, the floors ticking by.

“it’s your anniversary with bakugou, isn’t it?” kaminari heard uraraka ask, making his eyes widen a little. it had taken bakugou and kaminari forever to go public, so most of their classmates had no idea when they had officially started dating. one day they’d been the same way everyone perceived them to be, and then the next day they’d been holding hands under the table at lunch. it’d been out of the blue, if kaminari really thought about it. the fact that uraraka knew that today was their anniversary was... certainly unexpected.

“oh—” he started, twisting back around to look at her again. “yeah, it is! who... who told you?” ashido made a particularly suspicious face. kaminari barked out a laugh, shaking his head. “okay, yeah, fair.”

“well, i think you and bakugou are a great couple,” uraraka said after a beat, almost cautiously. “he seems to like being around you a lot.” kaminari reflexively tucked his hair behind his ear, turning back around to smile dumbly at the ground.

“ah... thanks, uraraka,” he murmured, feeling heat rise to his cheeks yet again. he wanted to see bakugou so bad, wanted to drag him off to an empty room and kiss him until he forgot who he was. he didn’t think he would be able to concentrate in class at all today.

the elevator doors opened onto the ground floor of the dorms. several of their classmates were milling around the floor, eating breakfast, making last minute adjustments to their appearances, trying to wake themselves before trying to leave. everyone in the elevator was either exiting or about to exit when bakugou suddenly materialized several meters away from the elevator, the others squeezing past the two of them and out into the common area. kaminari felt his face brighten into a blinding smile, bakugou’s name right on the tip of his tongue, when bakugou crossed the threshold between them in three long strides.

before kaminari could even speak, bakugou curled his fingers into kaminari’s blazer lapels, catching him by surprise, and pulled him into the most mind-numbing kiss that he had ever gotten in his life. kaminari’s knees literally went weak, nearly giving out on him, and he had to scramble to keep himself up by gripping onto bakugou’s wrinkly button-up. everything was swimming together behind his eyelids and he could feel bakugou’s hammering heartbeat against his chest. all the blood in his body rose to his head and he would’ve collapsed if it wasn’t for this kiss.

kaminari had no idea where he was. bakugou had never kissed him like this before. this was a kiss that felt like the world depended on it, like if this ended, everything would too. kaminari’s hands found their way to the sides of bakugou’s face, and he kissed bakugou back like he’d be absolutely nothing without him. he felt like he was going blurry at the edges, and he felt the crackle of electricity tear out of him and singe every part of him in the best way possible.

after what felt like an eternity and a half, bakugou broke away, mere centimeters from kaminari’s face. they were both breathing hard onto each other’s cheeks, hearts beating wildly. kaminari’s head spun and he felt dazed.

“katsuki,” he managed to whisper, every touch like lightning. “katsuki...” bakugou tugged on the lapels of kaminari’s blazer again, pulling him closer so that their chests were flush together. the look in bakugou’s eyes had kaminari breathless. everything was spinning. bakugou’s hands slipped to the space of kaminari’s waist, and every shift felt like a static shock.

bakugou didn’t say anything, his eyes like crimson fires, just leaned in again to press another hard kiss on kaminari’s mouth, one that had kaminari practically melting. one of bakugou’s hands went up to brush against kaminari’s hand on his cheek, and he gently took it from his face and pushed something warm and metal into kaminari’s palm, curling kaminari’s fingers closed over it. kaminari didn’t have time to think about it because, dear lord, bakugou’s teeth were on his bottom lip and he could not remember how he’d gotten here.

kaminari was the one that pulled away this time, suddenly realizing he was out of breath. he felt like he was standing on a tilt-a-whirl. bakugou watched him take shaking breaths and blink rapidly several times. he almost wanted to put out his hands to steady himself, the butterflies in his stomach fluttering into every single of his veins.

“denki,” kaminari heard bakugou mumble. kaminari looked up at him, probably giving him the most starry-eyed look in the world. they were standing on clouds. bakugou’s cheeks were flushed to the point that the color was starting to creep down his neck. his blonde eyelashes drooped over his eyes when he trained his gaze down and away from kaminari’s face.

“katsuki?” kaminari said breathlessly, lips parted, face pink.

bakugou looked back up at him, his brows furrowing. kaminari thought he saw bakugou redden even more and it felt like he was seeing heaven unfold before his eyes. “denki, i...” bakugou screwed up his mouth, swallowed. kaminari kept staring. he could only hear bakugou’s voice and the slamming of his own heartbeat. “i fucking— i fucking love you. i’m... in love with you.”

kaminari went slack-jawed. “k... katsuki, i... i love you too.” he said it mindlessly, but the weight of the words suddenly came crashing down on him and his eyes widened like saucers. his hands started to come over and cover his mouth in complete astonishment, complete, raw delight. he felt himself smile the biggest smile he’d ever smiled and he was floating, they were floating, electricity dancing around them.

“oh my god, katsuki, i love you too!” he exclaimed. with pure euphoria, he watched bakugou’s mouth tilt into a bashful smile and he went to cradle bakugou’s cheeks again, then realizing he was holding something, the something bakugou had put in his hand.

there was a beat of silence as kaminari unfurled his hand. it was a bracelet, a metal chain-link charm bracelet with three silver charms on it: a lightning bolt, a heart, and a stick of lit dynamite. kaminari stared at the bracelet for a couple moments, then gaped up at bakugou, who raised one shoulder in a half-shrug, lips still curled up at the corners.

“happy anniversary,” bakugou said softly and kaminari wanted to cry. he was so happy he could cry. he was pretty sure he was already crying. he threw his arms around bakugou’s neck and kissed him until his mind went fuzzy again, until his stomach did flip after flip. bakugou wrapped his arms around kaminari’s middle, and they kissed and kissed and kissed until kaminari realized something important.

he pulled back, bakugou looking only mildly irked by this. “oh god, i don’t have your gift,” kaminari blurted, cheeks aflame. “it’s— it’s cheesy, i know, but i got you red roses and they’re in my room and i was hoping we could go eat after class... i had everything planned out, i had no idea you were going to—” bakugou cut him off by pressing his lips to kaminari’s and kaminari almost collapsed in bakugou’s arms. he couldn’t feel anything below his waist. there was just them, just this, just this singular moment for the rest of time.

there was a distinct clapping noise to kaminari’s right. someone was clapping their hands. reluctantly, kaminari broke the kiss, thoroughly confused, and the fact that he and bakugou were standing at the mouth of the elevator hall, in the middle of the common floor, among the rest of their classmates, smacked him right in the face. a flush rose to his face like a tsunami wave as he watched sero, ashido, and kirishima, who were standing by the couch, begin to clap and cheer, with the rest of their classmates looking on, completely dumbstruck.

“fuck off!!” bakugou yelled at their friends, making a face at them before squinting angrily at everyone else who was watching. ashido, sero, and kirishima just cheered louder, ashido letting out a ridiculously loud “yeah!!!” that echoed through the common room.

kaminari couldn’t help but smile to himself. he felt the warm metal of the bracelet tucked in his hand and felt his heart quite literally explode. who knew that a clumsy first date would lead to this? he never wanted bakugou to stop making the happy-sick feeling in his stomach feel like the best feeling in the world.