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Burnt Sugar (Katsuki Bakugou)

Chapter Text

 

Katsuki Bakugou and his friend Eijirou Kirishima finished speaking with police about the villain they had just apprehended.  They leaned up against his black BMW as Bakugou contemplated what he was going to do next. The villain that had specifically targeted him because of a run-in they had had earlier that day when the man sexually harassed his girlfriend, his girlfriend that was in love with another man - another hero.

The hero in question, Suneater, had tried to restrain him during their fight and Bakugou used his quirk to be released from his hold. The bigger problem was that he hadn't realized he propelled the hero into danger and he was pinned by a large concrete beam.

Reina Togata, Bakugou's girlfriend, ran to Suneater's side and didn't leave him for anything. He caught glimpses of her lovingly caressing the hero's cheek, holding his hand, and whispering to him. Bakugou screamed at her to leave, telling her that she was going to get hurt, but she refused. That was the moment he knew that she would never love him like that and he just couldn't handle it.

Bakugou sighed with frustration as Kirishima pulled him out of his thoughts, trying to convince him to go see Suneater - also known as Tamaki Amajiki,  the man whom his girlfriend was in love with. "You need to come, Bakugou."

"For the last fucking time, shit for brains. NO."

Bakugou was getting really fucking fed up with this entire situation. He was mad at himself for not realizing he was pushing Tamaki into a dangerous position, but the asshole didn't listen to him before, right? That part wasn't wholly his fault. He was angrier that Reina didn't listen to him and the fact that she, in his opinion, threw herself into harm's way just to hold that jerks hand made him livid.

"Dude, he could've died. You need to go. And he's friends with Reina so you know she's there, you should be there for her."

"She's in love with him. That's why she was such a fucking idiot, you know that, right?" Bakugou shook his head at the thought.

"What? Really? Did she tell you that or are you just reaching? They're childhood friends, bro. That's a strong relationship."

"She told me. They both love each other but can't make it work because of her brother or whatever and were going to fuckin move on." Bakugou ran a calloused hand through his sweaty hair. "She wanted to be honest with me and I told her that I didn't care if she loved him, as long as she cared for me and didn't fucking try anything with that asswipe."

"Fuck," Kirishima whispered as he pieced this together all of the information he'd previously been given from Tamaki himself. "Do you still not care that she's in love with him?"

Bakugou had been asking himself that question a lot lately, especially at night when his thoughts would run rampant. Could he be with someone who couldn't fully give their heart to him? Could Bakugou really handle watching them in the same room together or knowing they were right across the street and could see the other whenever they wanted? Knowing that she would never be able to love him as intensely as she loved Amajiki?

"No."

Kirishima patted his friend's shoulder, leaving his hand there to rest after the third time. "I don't blame you, man... so you're going to break up with her then?"

Bakugou's chest burned from hearing the words aloud. The words he didn't want to utter himself because he wished the situation was different. He wished Reina loved him like that but she didn't and she doesn't.  After seeing how destroyed she was today, he knew he couldn't stand in the way of whatever they had.

"Guess so."

-

With a heavy heart, Bakugou trailed behind Kirishima until they reached the room that Amajiki was in. His eyes landed on Reina's beautiful golden hair as it cascaded down her shoulders while she let the wall hold her up and rested her eyes. He cleared his throat as he stood in front of her, "Can we talk?"

Reina opened her bloodshot eyes and nodded before she pushed herself off of the wall and fell into step with him down the bleach scented hallways of the hospital. "You shouldn't have been so reckless, Reina. You could've gotten seriously hurt... you could've died."

"That's like the pot calling the kettle black, Katsuki. You ran in there without a second thought about anything...anyone...unprepared. He was trying to help you." Reina kept her voice down as they continued their walk. They both knew how this conversation was going to end and Bakugou was scared to even look at her. He knew that he'd change his mind once he swam in the ocean of her eyes and just be hurt more in the long run. Bakugou needed to do this for himself, he needed to be loved the way he deserved.

"I told him to back off and he fucking didn't. It wasn't only my fault, Reina."

"If you hadn't rushed in it wouldn't have happened at all."

Bakugou's hands clenched at his side. Of course, she wouldn't see this the way he did. Of course, she would take his side. "It could've been ten times worse if I hadn't stepped in."

Reina could hear the strain in his voice and she knew that on some level, perhaps he was right. "Yeah, maybe. Guess we'll never know..."

"Did you even think about me before you rushed to him? Before you started whispering sweet fuckin' nothings into his ear like a forlorn lover?" Bakugou couldn't hold back the sharpness of his tone, he was hurt so much that it broke his heart - something he didn't think was actually possible.

"Did you even think about the situation I was just in moments earlier with that villain before you tossed your god damn keys at me and ran away?"

"At least I'm not in love with someone else," he spat.

The words made Reina stop in her tracks. "You knew what you were getting into, Katsuki and you said you didn't care! You can't just throw that in my face like it's some surprise."

"Well, I guess I do fucking care, Reina! How could I not?! You guys fucking stare at each other like you're Romeo and Juliet! Like Togata and I are the shitty parents keeping you apart when really it's just because you're both too fucking scared that it won't work out." Bakugou pulled at the roots of his hair, knowing that the situation they're in was all because she wouldn't talk to her brother, Mirio Togata, about being in love with his best friend.

"I'm sorry," her voice was quiet and full of guilt. He exhaled slowly to cool himself off but when he did, his emotions just weighed more heavily on his heart, "I just...I wish it was me you loved like that. Even though I know you care about me, it'll never be as strong as you do for him."

Bakugou's shoulders slumped as he shoved his hands in his pockets, "I don't wanna be another thing standing in your way of being with him."

Her eyes softened, "Katsuki, that's not what you are."

He shrugged. "It kind of is...you need to talk to your brother, Reina. I don't think it'll be as bad as you think."

Bakugou's heart ached as he knew he was pushing the woman he loved into another man's arms, but when you love something you've got to let it go, right? Even though it's not what he wanted, Bakugou knew that deep down it's what Reina wanted, even if she won't admit it to herself, or out loud.

"So this is it then?" She sighed with a defeated tone. "Yeah, this is it." Bakugou held his arms open and she wrapped hers around him.

"I'm sorry, Bakugou," she mumbled into his chest. He let his chin rest on top of Reina's head, "Me too."

When their hug ended and Reina walked back toward Tamaki's room, Bakugou wanted to call out to her. He wanted to take it all back and tell her that he's going to fight for her, that she should choose him, and that he loves her. Bakugou knew it wouldn't change anything though, because when she yelled at him during his battle with the villain, he saw in her eyes that she would've died before she left Tamaki's side. He wished that one day someone would love him that much too.

-

Bakugou bumped into Kirishima as he was leaving and his red-headed friend had collected coffee for whoever was up at Amajiki's room. Though Bakugou wasn't crying, it was clear to Kirishima that he was upset by the hurt that lurked behind his crimson eyes.

"You okay, man?"

Bakugou stared blankly at his friend, "What kind of dumb ass question is that, Shitty hair?"

Kirishima sighed as he glanced down at the tray of coffees in his hand to make sure he wasn't spilling anything. "Let's grab a beer later. Usual place?"

"Fine," Bakugou grumbled, both not wanting to admit that he didn't want to be alone all evening but also because he was annoyed that his friend was going to visit the asshole that the woman of his dreams was in love with.

"Okay, good. I'll see you later, Bakubro. I gotta go before these coffees get cold."

"Whatever." Bakugou shoved his hands in his pockets so roughly that he tore a hole in the seam of one of them, cursing loudly as he walked through the motion-activated door. The door closed with a whoosh that ruffled his hair, leaving him to mumble profanities about the 'fucking stupid hospital and its fucking stupid doors and the stupid fucking people inside of it.'

He stared at the sidewalk, making an effort to step on every crack as he went. It was something he used to do as a kid when he was angry at his mom, the phrase 'don't step on a crack or you'll break your mother's back' would be repeated in his mind with each step. Now though, this just became a habitual thing he did whenever he was upset about something.

Of course, because he was too preoccupied watching his calculated steps in time with the sharp thumping of his broken heart, he crashed into someone. He got a look at the woman who now slightly frowned at him and had quickly noticed the thick bangs that hid her olive-toned eyes and her long coal coloured hair that practically blended into her cropped black leather jacket. She was hot, but it didn't matter - especially not today.

"Watch where you're fucking going, bitch," he sneered as she steadied herself from the bodycheck she took from him. The woman, Kaiya Kitamura, pulled out one of her earbuds even though she had heard him perfectly clear. She shrugged. "Maybe you should watch where you're going, man."

Kitamura put her earbud back into her ear and walked away, pulling a joint out of her front pocket as she did so. She sparked it up as she continued on her way, leaving a trail of dragon's fire with each step she took, not bothering to wait for a response.

Bakugou stood there for a moment as he stared at his car a few feet ahead, incredulous that those words just came out of that woman's mouth.

-

Home was the last place Bakugou wanted to be so instead he just went to the bar that Kirishima was going to meet him at. He sat at the vast mahogany bar at the back of the venue and flagged down the blonde male bartender. "Beer."

Kirishima knew his friend well enough to know that he was going straight to the bar so he had sent out a text to their friends to meet him there and that he'd follow shortly after.

-

After two beers, Bakugou felt a large hand clap his shoulder and he didn't bother to look back, he just took another swig of his drink. "What?" His dead voice startled his friend, Hanta Sero, who was the first to arrive.

"Whoa, I didn't think you were this bad. You didn't even yell at me, man."

Bakugou turned to face him and glared before he noticed a raven-haired woman with him and shifted his narrowed crimson eyes as he registered who it was. Kitamura laughed when she recognized him as well. "What a coincidence, huh?"

Sero looked at his female friend and lifted an eyebrow. "Oh, your friend and I met earlier. He's kind of a dick, hey?"

Kitamura's eyes flickered back to Bakugou and she watched as his jaw clenched and a fire burned behind those red orbs of his. "Prove me wrong," she smirked and he just turned around to stare back down at his beer.

He was getting a real case of deja vu here, as the first time he had met his now ex-girlfriend was when she bumped into him on the street as well, though she wasn't as rude as he considered Kitamura to be.

Just reflecting on that memory had his heart squeeze in his chest like a ripe orange in a juicer and this was not the time for reflection. Now was the time for forgetting and that's exactly what he planned on doing.

Chapter Text

Kaiya Kitamura had been friends with Sero since childhood, they grew up as neighbors. When Kirishima let him know what happened with Bakugou and his now ex-girlfriend Reina, he knew he needed to be there for the guy and tried to cancel his plans with Kitamura. He had mentioned that they were going out to a bar and she invited herself to tag along, promising to behave and well, Sero could never say no to her. Even if he did, she probably wouldn't listen anyway.

As they sat at the bar beside a distraught Bakugou, Sero admired Kitamura's smile as she talked to the bartender, asking him if they had any specials. When the guy started flirting with her he became annoyed and just ordered for her, "She'll have a light beer."

The blonde behind the counter shifted his eyes from Sero and back to Kitamura, internally wondering if they were together, "Is that what you'd like? I could make you something not on the drink menu if you wanted, I'm an excellent mixologist."

If the woman had a drink at the moment she would've choked on it at the word mixologist. If this guy had any shot with her, it was blown right then and there. She coughed to try and hide her laugh, "That's okay, Han's right, I'll take a light beer, thanks."

"Mixologist. What kind of fucking bullshit is that?" Bakugou grumbled from beside Sero as he polished off the rest of his beer, pushing it forward toward the opposite end of the bar. "I know, right? Like, just call yourself a bartender." Kitamura chuckled. She leaned over and stuck her hand out past Sero to leave it in front of Bakugou, "Kaiya Kitamura. Sero's bestie."

He stared down at her hand and then up at his friend, "I thought that Dunce Face was your shitty best friend?" Sero shrugged, "I've known Kitamura since we were in diapers, I can have two best friends, yenno."

Bakugou let Kitamura's hand stay there until she playfully poked him and withdrew her hand, earning a slight growl from him that she just laughed off as the 'mixologist' left her beer on the wooden surface in front of her. The blonde behind the bar noticed Bakugou's empty beer, "Another?"

"Damn fucking straight another? Do I seem mildly intoxicated to you? Until I do, keep on fuckin' top of this if you want a good tip."

The man rolled his eyes when he turned around to grab the beer thinking, 'Great, another one of these assholes...at least his friend is hot.'

"You know, if you just wanna get drunk Kitamura could help you with that and save you a couple bucks." Sero chimed in as Kirishima and Kaminari joined them, taking the two stools on Bakugou's other side.

Kaminari waved to the pair, already familiar with Kitamura. "Oh yeah! Her quirk is super cool." Bakugou glanced over her way with a raised eyebrow, "What, you got a creator quirk like Tits Mcgee from UA?"

"Tits Mcgee?" She tilted her head and Sero filled her in, "You've met Yaoyorozu before, that's who he's talking about."

"Ah, no. It's not like that. Wanna see?" She smiled brightly, reminding him too much of his ex and he scowled, "No. It's probably shitty anyway."

"Suit yourself, Sourpuss." Kitamura took another sip of her drink, missing both Sero and Kirishima placing a hand on either side of his shoulder to keep him from getting up and confronting her. Sero leaned in, "Today's probably not a good day to insult Bakugou, Kaiya."

She quirked up an eyebrow, "What? The guy can't take a little teasing?"

Bakugou, who clearly heard this exchange, lashed out. "WHAT THE FLYING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU SHITTY ASS GIRL?!"

"I've been told by all your friends here at one point or another that I actually have a nice ass, but I guess that's just like, your opinion man." She smirked, both from her Big Lebowski reference and the fact that she knew she was teasing him more.

"WHO THE FU-"

Kitamura interrupted him with a small smile, "Relax, just take a joke, will ya? You might actually benefit from a touch of my quirk, yenno."

Before Bakugou could respond, Kirishima piped up, "She calls it 'Tipsy', I'm not sure of its legal name, but she can raise your blood alcohol level."

His interest had now been piqued, maybe 'this bitch' could actually help him a bit after all. She nodded as he glanced over at her and he rolled his eyes which she took as the OK. Kitamura got off of her stool and stepped behind Bakugou, who swiveled around to look at her, drinking her in like he hadn't before. He admired her lustrous raven hair that practically reached her waist, bringing his attention to the tight black jeans she was wearing and her basic sneakers that looked a bit out of place with her outfit.

Kitamura noticed the few scratches on his right cheek and temple along with a slight bruise that was forming under his left eye. "Rough day at the office?" He smirked but was glad she didn't truly question him. "You could say that. Now just get on with this shit already."

Her lips tugged up at the corners, "On a scale of one to ten - one being how sober you are now, ten being blackout drunk - how intoxicated do you want to be?"

"Seven."

Kitamura dramatically limbered up as if she were about to run a marathon that had Kaminari chuckling. She hovered her hand over Bakugou's forearm, taking a quick second to admire its muscular appearance and let her fingers gingerly rest on his skin. Kitamura focused, slowly raising the alcohol in his system until she felt it was just a little past a few drinks in and retracted her hand. As she pulled away, Bakugou felt relieved when the slight dizzying numbness traveled through him and relaxed his body.

"Better?" Kitamura hummed as she noticed his shoulders slump and some of his tension release. He nodded before he turned around, "Yeah."

Most people would've been annoyed that he didn't bother to thank them for helping him out, but Kitamura didn't really care, she just walked back over to her seat with a smile, glad she could use her quirk to actually help someone in some way, rather than just be the one who gets everyone drunk for free.

"Why the fuck would you buy a beer if you can do that?" He tilted his head toward her, his friends all watching intently not because they didn't know the answer, but because they were surprised Bakugou was bothering to ask someone a personal question.

She stared through his crimson eyes as she took another sip of her beer, already feeling the consequences of using her quirk but wanting to prove a point, "Uses less stamina, plus I kinda just like the taste." She glanced over at Sero, who was quite familiar with what a 'seven' level of her quirk does to her and he stood up as she did. "I'll be back though, smoke break."

"For fuck sake those just kill you faster, dumb ass."

"Drive fast and leave a sexy corpse." She smirked as she walked out in front of a laughing Sero who pushed her shoulder lightly, "You know he's not going to get that reference to The Office, right?"

Kitamura chuckled as she pulled a joint and her lighter out of her jacket's inner pocket, sparking it up the moment the door shut behind them. She leaned against the wall and propped one foot against it as she took a long drag before passing it to her funny-elbowed friend.

She exhaled slowly, feeling the cannabis slow her mind and almost instantly start to bring down her level of alcohol intoxication. The downside to her quirk is that when she uses it, she's also affected. After experimenting with drugs as a teenager who, with a quirk like hers, clearly went through a party phase, she found that marijuana helped somehow helped negate the effects of the alcohol in her own body. Doctors couldn't tell her why, but seeing as her quirk could do significant damage to her liver, they encouraged her to utilize it - something she certainly had no issue following through with.

After a few hits, both she and Sero were in a cloudy state of mind, Sero more so than her as she'd built up quite a tolerance over the years. "So she cheated on him or something?" She asked her friend as she watched the cars whizzing past them on the street.

"Not exactly but it fuckin feels like it." Bakugou's gruff voice sounded from the door neither she nor Sero heard open. The blonde scoffed as he realized they were smoking pot and not cigarettes. He stepped closer to Kitamura and smacked what was left of the hand-rolled joint out of her hand and onto the ground. "That's illegal you fucking morons."

Kitamura shrugged while she stared longingly at the still-lit joint on the concrete sidewalk underneath her. Bakugou noticed what she was looking at and stepped on the burning embers. She leaned back against the wall with a slight sigh but she wasn't upset about it, it had done its job already anyway.

Bakugou glanced over at Sero, "You're a fuckin' sidekick idiot. You can't be doing shit like this, you're not a snot-nosed fuckin' kid anymore." Sero rolled his eyes, "Alright, thanks for the lecture dad."

"WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM?!"

Kitamura winced from Bakugou's decibel and placed a hand on his shoulder, careful not to activate her quirk. As soon as he felt her touch he growled, "Get your filthy hands off me, you junkie bitch."

She squeezed his shoulder lightly before retracting her hand, "Relax, you're just getting yourself worked up over a non-issue."

"Did you come out here to chastise us for smoking or what?" Sero's voice was calm yet intrigued, curious as to his friend's motivations. "Or maybe you wanted one too?"

"I'll leave the smoking for idiots like you who can't deal with their issues."

"Says the man who came to a bar to get wasted and not deal with his problems." Kitamura smirked, knowing she was right. A pair of vermillion eyes narrowed at her but she couldn't care less about his glares.

"What's with your fucking quirk?" He questioned as he crossed his arms, sneaking a longer glance to study Kitamura's relaxed expression. "Which part?" She hummed, her eyes glued to the street in front of her, watching as a nearby street lamp flickered.

"The whole goddamn thing."

Kitamura let her hands rest in her front pockets as she leaned against the building, "Well, you already know I can raise the blood alcohol level of a person. I suppose it's just like any other quirk in its execution, really. I focus and it happens."

"Well, no shit." He grunted and she chuckled softly, "You're the one who asked such a dumb question, don't get all huffy with me."

His crossed arms flexed as they tightened up as Bakugou's temper started to rise. She couldn't help but notice and a small smirk curved up her lips at the sight. Bakugou closed his eyes and took a deep breath to try to control himself, he knows he can get out of hand after he's had a few and he wanted to avoid that. When his eyes opened his glare landed on Sero, "Why the fuck are you friends with someone so shitty?"

"She gets me drunk." He deadpanned.

Bakugou's jaw clenched, "How could you be so stupid?!" He balled his fists as his arms fell to his sides, "Both of you!"

"He's joking, dude. Didn't he already say we grew up together?" Kitamura pointed a finger playfully, "You just didn't listen."

His eye twitched, "Today is not the day to fucking test me."

"Let's go back inside, yeah?" She pushed herself off the wall, not waiting for anyone to respond. Bakugou was momentarily entranced by the sway of her jet black hair as she passed him, "You gotta keep those other two numbskulls in line too." She winked over her shoulder and walked back into the bar, hopping on the empty seat next to Kaminari at the end of the bar.

"Hey, Calamari." She smiled as she elbowed the man in question, Bakugou and Sero taking their original seats as she did so. "Hey, Kit Kat. How's it going?" He grinned back, "Stayin' out of trouble?"

She fluttered her eyelashes playfully and placed the back of her hands under her chin, "Me? Trouble?" His golden eyes lit up as he chuckled, "Pretty little thing like you? Yeah. Trouble."

Kitamura laughed, "Speaking of which..." She leaned over the bar to catch Sero's attention but ended up catching the attention of the blonde bartender. "Did you need something, sweetheart?"

She cringed internally at being called sweetheart, "Just trying to get my friend's attention, nothing I need help with, thanks though."

He placed his elbows on top of the bars wooden surface and leaned in toward her, "If I were your boyfriend, you'd never have to try to get my attention. You'd already have it."

Considering that the four men around her were all heroes in one way or another, they took notice of the change of atmosphere in their general vicinity. Bakugou watched out of the corner of his eye, making sure that he wouldn't have an issue for the billionth fucking time today. "I'm not really into mixologists." Kitamura said matter-of-factly but of course, the bartender pressed on. "You just haven't met the right one."

"Huh. Maybe you're right. I don't think I have either, but I'll just go talk to my boyfriend over there."

The guy scoffed, "Why would you even date a guy like that? He's so...plain." Kitamura's eyes narrowed at the man in front of her and now rudely encroaching in on her personal space. She felt a redness grow behind her cheeks as her temper started to smoke. She hated when people insulted the people she cared about and even with her laid-back personality, she could just never let it go - especially when it came to her best friend. "Well, you're just spare parts, aren't ya, bud?" She stood up and walked over to Sero, draping her arm over his shoulder as she stood next to him, "He's fucking great and his dick is bigger than yours, so go fuck yourself."

Bakugou burst out laughing, shocking all of his friends with his unexpected outburst and Kitamura smirked as she dug into her pocket and pulled out a bill to pay for her drink. Sero grinned, how could he not when a beautiful woman just said he had a big dick? She clutched her friend's shoulder and guided him out of his seat, leading him to the door. "Kai, I haven't paid yet."

She winked, "Drinks on him, Hanta."

Bakugou, Kirishima, and Kaminari sat at the bar and settled their bills as the now red-faced bartender gave each their change while they talked about what just happened. "What the hell was that?" Bakugou questioned, "Outta the fuckin' blue."

"Sero got picked on a lot in elementary and middle school." Kaminari explained, "He was always too embarrassed to stand up for himself so Kitamura always did. I'm sure it's just mental reflex by now."

" At least one of them has a pair of balls."

 

Chapter Text

Bakugou felt slightly guilty for being glad that 'that octopus-armed motherfucker' was taken off hero duties for two weeks, it meant that he didn't have to worry about running into the guy at work. He'd spent the entire week going on patrols and picking fights with petty thieves to release some of his pent up anger, something that Kaminari had quickly picked up on.

Unfortunately for Kaminari, AKA Chargebolt, Bakugou didn't care to have his flaws pointed out to him and when he spoke up about it he was called a 'perma-fried cock-sucking shitty-ass Pikachu'. Of course, Kaminari had known Bakugou for years and had heard and been called every name in the book, but it certainly was never nice to be on the receiving end of an insult from the man that you now technically work for.

After two years of struggling through having to be a sidekick, Bakugou threw caution to the wind and started Ground Zero Hero Agency. He hired most of his classmates from U.A - well, the ones that he found tolerable in small doses. Only two people declined the offer, Sero and Kirishima. Sero wanted to become a pro-hero by working his way up the ranks in a well-respected agency, a response that Bakugou took full offense to and screamed at him every time the guy looked in his direction for weeks. Kirishima, on the other hand, said he really liked working with Fat Gum and he wanted to split his time. Both parties agreed since Kirishima is a strong hero and good friend, but Bakugou wasn't happy about it...especially because when Kirishima isn't around, it meant his number two would be Kaminari.

-

"K-Katsuki?" The voice that dared to refer to him by his first name called out as he was walking to the bar Friday night after work. His heart squeezed in his chest as he kept walking, he didn't want to see her, hear her, and most of all he didn't want to think about her. Not. At. All.

Reina Togata stood there with a frown on her face as Bakugou continued to walk past her without even sparing a glance. If it were anyone else, she would've accepted that they didn't want to talk to her, but Bakugou? Well, Bakugou was different. She turned around and walked after him, "Come on, Katsuki! Don't ignore me."

Bakugou's teeth gritted and his jaw clenched as he heard her voice yet again but still, he continued on without acknowledging her.

"Katsuki!" She huffed as she grabbed his arm. He finally stopped and shook her hand off of him as he growled, "Leave me the fuck alone, Togata."

"Whoa." She breathed taking a step back, "Katsu-"

"Stop calling me that." His eyes narrowed in on her beautiful cerulean ones and when they met it felt like he was punched in the stomach. Her innocent expression made his gut hurt even worse, "Wh-what? I thought it was okay because we're still friends...right?"

"We weren't friends before and we're not friends now." As Bakugou glared down at the petite blonde, he saw her bottom lip began to quiver - a telltale sign that she was about to cry. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, "Look, I'm glad you're fuckin' happy and whatever, but I need space. It's been a goddamn week, you can't expect me to be excited to see you, Re-Togata."

Togata looked at her shoes and nodded, trying to hide the few tears that managed to slip past the barrier of her eyelids. "Okay. Sorry, B-Bakugou." She quickly turned on her heel and walked in the opposite direction, giving Bakugou exactly what he asked for - space.

Bakugou shoved his clenched fists into his pockets and cursed the entire way to the bar, feeling like a complete bag of shit for having made his ex cry. Why couldn't he have taken a different route or left five minutes earlier? It was an entire week that he didn't see her beautiful god damn face and now the time he did, he made her fucking cry like the asshole he is.

When he reached his destination, Bakugou shoved the door open and stalked to the counter with a dark aura that screamed 'don't talk to me'. "Whiskey, neat."

-

Kitamura and Sero just so happened to have taken a similar route as Bakugou and when a teary-eyed blonde came into view, Sero quickly knew who it was and he tugged his friend across the street to use that sidewalk instead. "What was that?" Kitamura asked as she smoothed out the crinkled leather of her jacket, "Bakugou's ex is what that was."

The raven-haired woman glanced back and saw the prettiest golden hair bouncing down the sidewalk, though the quiet sob that escaped her was audible from there. Kitamura frowned, "This close to the bar? They probably saw each other..."

"Yeah, she must be really upset. Bakugou is brutal when he's mad at someone." The woman chewed on her cheek for a second, "He's probably really upset, Han." Kitamura pointed out and Sero sighed, "Probably. Another fun night I guess...sorry Kaiya."

Kitamura shrugged and slipped a joint out of her inner jacket pocket, "So let's make it a fun night then."

A smirk slid up Sero's cheeks, "Light it up, homegirl."

She burst out laughing, "Homegirl?" Her eyes crinkled in the corners and Sero admired her captivating smile. "Dude. First of all, it's not 2001. Secondly, you really think you could've pulled that off if it was?"

He shrugged, "No, but it served its purpose." Kitamura lifted an eyebrow at her friend, "and that purpose was to look like a jackass?"

"Well, that and to make you laugh." Sero smiled brightly, not in the least embarrassed, though he probably should've been. She took her lighter and carefully sparked up before taking a hit off of her expertly rolled joint. Kitamura exhaled, the smoke pluming from her mouth and dissipating into the air around them. "Mission accomplished, bud." She smiled as she passed it over to Sero.

Kirishima and Kaminari had been sitting at the bar with Bakugou when Sero and Kitamura walked in. When the fiery blonde heard Kitamura's voice he felt himself tense even more, "Why the hell is she here? Fridays are fucking guy's night. I don't want to see you shitty fucks here with your god damn girlfriends."

His voice wasn't as menacing as the pair had expected, making it obvious how upset he truly was. "I'm not his girlfriend and I don't plan on being a girlfriend to any of you, so what's the big deal?"

"Maybe today's not in the cards, Kit Kat..." Kaminari sighed as he walked over and gave her a small, friendly hug. "I mean, if that's what you guys want." She shook her head as if to shake off the feeling of being unwanted...yet again. She plastered on a smile and waved, "See you guys another time then. Hope you feel better soon, Bakugou."

The lightness in her head from the marijuana wasn't enough to push out familiar and unwelcome feelings, so when the door shut behind her, Kitamura willed her quirk to work on herself to take the edge off.

As she walked away the guys stayed quiet except for Sero, who ordered a beer. Bakugou groaned, here he was probably making another fucking woman cry over nothing. He couldn't make it right with Togata, but he could with Kitamura.

"She's seriously not your chick?" Bakugou glanced at Sero who shook his head no, so he turned to Kaminari. "And your fucking broken fuse ass isn't going to flirt with her all night?" He shrugged, "She's not into me...besides, I've got my eye on someone else."

Bakugou pinched the bridge of his nose, if there was one thing he hated, it was apologizing. Right now though, he just needed to do something to make him feel like less of a dick, and this seemed like the only way to redeem himself. Bakugou raised himself from his seat, mumbling that he'd be right back, and walked out to find Kitamura.

Sticky, humid air hit his skin as he opened the door, he grumbled that it felt as if he were walking into a sauna. He turned the corner and saw Kitamura's fleeting figure, swaying slightly as she walked.

"Oi!" He shouted, but she didn't stop. She hadn't realized it was someone calling out to her, she was too busy humming Mahna Mahna to herself as a distraction from her thoughts. Bakugou sighed, why was this even more work than he anticipated? "Oi! Sero's shitty friend!"

A smile crept up Kitamura's lips and she paused, glancing over her shoulder. "Yeah?"

"Get the fuck back in here before fucking tape arms shits his pants or somethin'." He motioned with his thumb toward the door and walked back in, plopping back down in his seat, Kitamura trailing not far behind him and taking the stool next to Kaminari and clapping a hand on his back. "Hail and well met, my dude."

"Just shut the fuck up and get a drink already," Bakugou grumbled and attended to his whiskey from earlier.

The familiar mixologist smiled, "Glad to see that asshole didn't scare you away for too long, cutie." Kitamura sighed and was about to say clap back, but Bakugou beat her to it. "What the fuck did you just say?"

His crimson eyes narrowed as he waited for an answer. "That you were an asshole to this beautiful woman over here." The guy shrugged, not getting why he was being confronted about this.

Kitamura silently shook her head, not bothering to chime in as it was clear where this was headed. "WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!" He shouted and the entire bar went silent as they watched the bartender.

He cleared his throat and tugged at the collar of his black button-up shirt, "Clearly I wasn't wrong. You need to leave.  All of you." He scanned the group and his eyes rested on the olive ones belonging to Kitamura, "Except you. I'd prefer if you stayed. I'd like to get to know you better."

Kitamura looked him dead in the eyes and made a dramatic fake barfing sound before she stood up. Kaminari and Sero laughed while Kirishima cringed, he was always the polite one. Bakugou smirked and followed behind the woman, catching a whiff of the subtle cinnamon scent of her pitch-black hair as it swayed in front of him.

"So...what now?" Sero rubbed the back of his as he spoke, looking out at the buzzing street in front of the bar. "I'm not going home, that's for fucking sure," Bakugou grumbled as he shoved his hands in his pockets.

"We can just hang out at my place? I mean, I don't have any booze but we don't really need any..." Kitamura spoke up, "Plus, it's not that far away, we could still walk there."

Kirishima grinned, "Great idea, Kitamura. Lead the way!"

She nodded and did as she was told, grabbing Bakugou's arm and pulling him forward with her. She didn't know much about Bakugou, she heard a fair amount from their mutual friends but Kitamura was curious to know more about him from the man himself. "So...do you like...stuff?"

"Are you fuckin Ralph Wiggim or something? What the hell is wrong with you?" Kitamura nearly peed her pants she was so excited that he got her Simpsons reference. "It's official, Bakugou. We can be friends now since I know you like The Simpsons."

"We're not fucking friends, get your shit straight, burnout." Kitamura elbowed Bakugou's side, "Nah, we're friends now. Admit it."

"Never! Because we're not friends, you stupid fuck!" He glared at her but when his eyes landed on the playful, muted green ones peeking through those thick black bangs at him, he found his narrowed eyes softened just a little and scowled as he turned away.

It only took a few minutes of walking before they were close and Kitamura glanced back at the men behind her and smiled, "Almost there, boys!"

Kirishima looked between her and Bakugou and gave her a thumbs up. She rolled her eyes and turned back to face forward. "You seriously live close to here?" He asked, his eyes focused on the rough concrete sidewalk ahead.

"Yep." Kitamura lifted her hand to point to a dingy apartment building with a few blocked out windows. "Home, sweet home."

He grunted, "That place looks like a fuckin' shithole."

"It's not so bad." She shrugged.

"Aren't you scared to live in a rough neighborhood?" A smirk crawled up Kitamura's features and she poked his cheek, an action that had his quick reflexes moving to swat her away. "Aww, you're worried. Told ya we were friends."

"We're not fucking friends! It's just a question, god damn it!" She laughed at how worked up he was over this and stopped once she reached the door of her building, boarded up on the bottom from where someone shattered the glass. "Deny it all you want, Sourpuss. We both know it's true."

Kitamura unlocked the door and held it open for everyone, winking playfully at Sero as he walked through. Sero knew what was on the other side of her third-floor apartment door but no one else did and he knew how one of them would react.

Kaminari and Kirishima walked in first, both chuckled and as Bakugou walked in behind them, Kaminari called out, "Nice vases, Kit Kat!"

Bakugou's eyebrows furrowed, she definitely didn't seem like the type to have flowers in her place, but when his eyes caught sight of a transparent-green plastic bong sitting on her kitchen table he groaned, "What the fuck is wrong with you?!"

Kitamura shrugged sheepishly, "What? It's for uh, medicinal purposes."

"Medical purposes my ass!" His face swung towards Sero, "Why the fuck are you friends with her?"

"You're friends with her too, man."

"Relax, Bakubro. It's just pot, no one's making you do it." Kirishima clapped a hand on the blonde's shoulder before pushing him a bit closer to the one couch in her apartment.

It wasn't until he sat down on her lumpy couch that Bakugou looked around the place and he was right, it was a shithole. The discoloured paint was peeling from the walls, the cupboards were dingy and most of their doors were crooked. She had a brown suede couch, which he was currently sitting on, a small kitchen table with a few chairs along with a few other small things and a TV. Everything was clearly second hand, but she did put up a few pieces of framed floral watercolour paintings to make the place look a bit more homey.

Part of Bakugou wanted to ask her how a grown woman of twenty-seven would even live in a place this grungy, but he didn't want it to seem like he actually cared... because he didn't, right?

Kirishima and Kaminari pulled up two chairs from the table and brought them to the living room section of her apartment, it was open concept so really it wasn't that far. Sero took the side of the couch opposite to Bakugou and Kitamura in the middle. Sero held out the palm of his hand toward the woman as if she was going to read it like a fortune teller and she laughed. She knew it was him asking for her to use her quirk and she rubbed her hands together to warm them up before sandwiching Sero's in between them.

Once they were both equally tipsy, Kaminari raised an eyebrow as if to silently ask as well. "Well then get over here, Pikachu!" She nodded her head and he grinned, walking over and sitting cross legged in front of her, doing the same as Sero as held his hand out for her. She shook her head with an inebriated giggle and did the same for him, leaving her head spinning.

Sero's lips turned down slightly as he saw her hand shake as she pulled it away and she swayed slightly as she relaxed back into the couch. He glanced at her coffee table and found a small, metal one-hitter pipe that was painted to look like a cigarette beside her make-up bag that he knew she kept her weed in.

Sero grabbed the bag and took out a teeny plastic bag out of it, broke off a bit of the bud and crudely broke it into smaller chunks with his hand before packing it into the tip of her pipe. Bakugou was busy judging her apartment and thinking about how she must have a bad job to have to live in a place like this, so he was caught off guard when the short metal grinding against metal sound from a lighter filled his ears.

His head turned and he growled, "What the fuck?! Couldn't you at least go somewhere else and do that shit?"

Kitamura nodded her head in quick succession and pulled herself up off the couch. When he saw her stumble and lean over to steady herself with her hand on the coffee table he heaved a sigh and gripped her wrist, tugging her back into her seat. She tilted her head and looked at him with confused, glassy eyes.

"Just sit the fuck down and be quick. Don't you think you've had enough? You can barely walk."

Kirishima glanced over at them and smiled to himself, Bakugou really was making a new friend...and with someone so out of his comfort zone. He elbowed Kaminari who had grinned when his eyes landed on Bakugou scolding Kitamura, knowing it almost always came from a well-meaning place.

Kitamura patted Bakugou's knee after she set down the small pipe and lighter after another hit when she knew it was cashed. "It helps negate the side effects of my own quirk."

Though he had an idea, Bakugou figured he'd just ask and glanced back up at her, "What side effects?"

"When I use my quirk, my blood alcohol level also rises. Not as much as the person who I've used it on, but enough that would leave me blackout drunk if I used it a few times in one night." She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, "By fluke, I figured out that pot actually helped decrease my own alcohol level."

He hummed, "So you don't get high then?"

She smiled, "I do, but it's much milder than being drunk all the time...easier on the kidneys."

"Harsher on the lungs." He pointed out and she exhaled, "It is what it is, man. Damned if you do and damned if you don't."

Bakugou smirked, "You could just not use your quirk, you know."

"Where's the fun in that? Plus, it's not like I use it every day anyway."

"Nah, just every other day." Sero laughed as he joined their conversation. Bakugou raised a knowing eyebrow and she held up her hands protectively, "What? It's not that bad."

"Hey..." Sero snickered, "Hey guys, wanna know something funny?"

"Spit it out, tape arms."

"Kaiya's middle nam-" Kitamura's hand immediately slapped over Sero's mouth but he licked her palm and she retracted it in disgust and wiped it on her jeans. "Her middle name is Usagi!"

Kaminari's eyes went wide as saucers at this new piece of information and he looked at Kitamura, "Please tell me that's true."

Kirishima grinned and Bakugou sat silently, waiting for her confirmation. She exhaled heavily as she threw her head back, "Yeah, yeah whatever. It is."

The guys erupted in laughter, well, everyone except Bakugou. She turned to him with a curious look, "What, not gonna laugh like everyone else?"

"Laugh at you, Thumper?" He smirked wickedly, "Never."

 

Chapter Text

"Kitamura, you freak! Get your head in the fuckin' game, you're at work!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The sting of her mother's slap on the cheek was only made worse by the pierces of her words, "Kaiya Kitamura! You're such a fucking disappointment. What have I told you about using your quirk in school?!"

Tears pooled in the corners of thirteen-year-old Kitamura's eyes and her mother's expression softened. The woman pinched the bridge of her nose and exhaled before she looked her daughter in her olive-toned eyes, "Just...just don't do it again, okay? You need to control it already. You're not a damn kid anymore, Kaiya."

"But Mom, I-" Kitamura was cut off by the back of her mother's hand hitting her cheek but also came in contact with her mouth, splitting her bottom lip. The girl recoiled and her mother scoffed, "Look what you made me do! This is what happens when you talk back, you horrible child!"

Kitamura wanted nothing more than to tell her mother that she was contradicting herself, to tell her that the other girl was bullying her and that's why she used her quirk, but she stayed quiet and hung her head, trying to let her mind focus on the metallic taste of blood in her mouth rather than the huge gaping hole in her heart that should've been filled with parental love.

Mrs.Kitamura stopped in her tracks when she realized that her daughter wasn't at her side, and instead trailing behind. She scoffed, "Too much of a coward to walk beside me now?"

Before Kaiya could open her mouth, her mother continued, "Don't bother coming home until tomorrow. I don't want to be reminded of how upset I am with you right now, freak."

The woman didn't bother to wait for a response before her cheap heels clacked down the remainder of the school's hallway without her, not looking back once. Had school still been in session, Kitamura knew she would've been teased mercilessly. The principal had given her detention for using her quirk on a girl who was bullying her and had called in her mother after school that day for a meeting.

When a lightly bleeding Kitamura walked out of the school doors a hand landed heavily on her shoulder and she crumpled into herself as her back became concave, she just didn't have the will power to stand up straight with one more weight added on top of her shoulder. "Whoa, Kitamura... are you okay? I mean, I saw your mom walk outta here looking pissed, but jeez..."

She cleared her throat to make it less obvious that she was fighting back tears, though she knew her best friend would see right through it. "Everything's fine, Sero."

He frowned, "I know it's not, Kaiya... please tell me what happened." Sero pulled his backpack around to his front and dug through it until his fingers landed on the noisy plastic package that contained a wad of tissues, he pulled one out and held it out for her. Kitamura sighed and accepted the tissue, placing it against her lip to soak up the drips of blood. "I used my quirk on Yui today. She just wouldn't shut up about how useless my quirk is, so I showed her how useless it is."

Sero let out a breathy chuckle, "I bet she'd be a sloppy drunk." A small smirk crossed Kitamura's lips, "You know what? She is." He laughed but gave her a knowing look because she knew she wasn't supposed to be using her quirk at all.

"Oh don't give me that look, Han! You know she deserved it!"

"She did deserve it, but that doesn't mean you should've done it..." He sighed while she dabbed at her lip before huffing in frustration. "Why can't anyone be on my side for once? Glad to hear your disappointed in your freak friend too." She shoved her hands into the front pockets of her jeans and started walking away, "I'll see you tomorrow or whatever."

"Kai, I'm on your side, I just...I don't want you to keep getting in trouble!" Sero's eyebrows furrowed as she continued walking, not turning back - a page she took from her mother's book.

Kitamura spent the evening sitting on a swing in the small park at the end of her and Sero's street. She knew that her mom was serious, she knew that she couldn't go home. Her heart ached while her mind turned in circles and her stomach rumbled, this truly was a punishment, one that Kitamura was scared would happen much more often.

The darker it got, the colder it became and Kitamura's hoodie just wasn't warm enough to be comfortable so she walked over to the tunnel slide and sat just inside the top, hoping that the little bit of coverage would help and that maybe she could sleep there. She wished she could fall asleep, but her brain wouldn't shut up; all she could hear were her mother's words being played on repeat. Kitamura knew she was a disappointment, both of her parents were never shy about vocalizing that, but a freak? That one was new... but it wasn't wrong and that's what hurt her the most.

Mr.Sero had been out walking their dog and had watched as his son's friend heaved her backpack over her shoulder and headed into the slide, he didn't understand what she was even doing there. "Kitamura?" He called out as he walked closer to the large plastic structure. When she didn't answer he knocked on it, "Kitamura, I know you're in there."

She sighed audibly and scooched herself out so that she could say hello and hope that he'd quickly be on his way. Kitamura knew that her parents would scold her twice as much tomorrow if someone found out about their newest punishment. "Hello, Mr.Sero. How are you?"

"Confused... what are you doing here? It's late. Do your parents know where you are?"

Kitamura chewed the inside of her cheek, deciding on what she should say, "I-I can't go home right now, sir. I don't think I'm allowed to say anything..."

"I'm sure you can, sweetheart. It's cold out here, I'm sure they're worried." She shook her head simply, "They're not."

He caught a glance of the dried up blood on her lip and concern mixed with a bad gut feeling told the man that this situation was more than what he thought. "Why don't you come over for a cup of tea and warm up?" The girl looked away as she thought about it but was interrupted when the dog in tow barked. "I think Hanta wouldn't like that." She mumbled.

"Oh you know that's not true. I'm not taking no for an answer, come on."

-

As soon as Kitamura walked through the Sero families door, Hanta's eyes grew wide and he scrambled up to clobber her with a hug. "Are you okay? I was so worried, Kai."

Finally, as her friend voiced their concern once again, she told the truth. "I'm not, I'm really, really not." Sero's grip tightened and his eyes met with his father's worried ones. "You'll stay here tonight, Kitamura."

"Thank you, sir." She mumbled against her friend's shoulder as silent tears ran down her face and soaked into his shirt. "Thank you."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Kitamura you god damn freak! You're at work, get your shit together and clean that damn tropical fish enclosure!"

The woman in question was stolen from her unwanted memory and shook her head to get it out of her mind, bringing her back to the reality of her nine to five job at the local aquarium. "Yes, sorry. I'll get to it right away."

-

"Uh, Bakugou?"

The blonde hero rolled his eyes, "What now, you fuckin' walking taser?" Kaminari chuckled before he nodded at the road ahead, "This isn't our usual route."

"And your point?"

"Well, I mean...you never stray from our routine unless something's come up, man." Kaminari pointed out, knowing something felt off about this. "There are other areas that need our attention too, you dumb shit." Bakugou grumbled, "Just keep your goddamn eyes peeled, alright?"

Kaminari shrugged and did so. Well, he did until they turned a corner and he saw a familiar building...one they were both inside last weekend. "We're patrolling Kitamura's block. That's why you changed our path!"

"I don't fucking care if it's that shitty girl's block. Did you see the stats on this fucking street? It's almost double the ones we usually patrol." Bakugou was not only trying to convince Kaminari that this was why he added a detour to their usual routine, but he was also trying to convince himself too.

"Do you like her? Damn, that was fast! She is really cool though, so I can see why." Kaminari was just baiting Bakugou, he knew that his friend wasn't easily enamored by anyone but he was so tired of the silent moping and at this point, much preferred being yelled at again.

"I DONT FUCKING LIKE HER YOU DICK WEED!"

"Hey man, I'm not judging you, she's hot." Kaminari shrugged, his lips curling up ever so slightly at Bakugou's reaction.

"There's nothing hot about a fucking burn out like that!" He lied, masking it with a scoff. While he'd probably never admit it out loud, he did find her attractive. It's part of the reason why he didn't want her around at all.

"Whaaatever you say..." Kaminari teased, elbowing his friend's side. Bakugou shoved him into a nearby street light post and Kaminari shook it off as he laughed, "Aaaand he's back!"

Kaminari's teasing had the opposite effect than intended as he now had Bakugou thinking about Reina Togata, again. His chest tightened as he wondered about how happy she was now and if octopus arms was treating her right...maybe he'd have another shot? He huffed quietly, he knew that wasn't going to happen. She loved Amajiki, and he wasn't anything like that guy.

How could he ever find someone like her? She was fun, she was sweet, and she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever set eyes on. He concluded that he was going to be a bachelor forever because, in his mind, no one would ever be able to compete with how perfect Reina Togata was for him.

 

Chapter Text

"For fuck sake, you shitty haired motherfucker." Bakugou cursed as Kirishima's girlfriend kissed his red-headed friends cheek and set down a slice of pie in front of each of them. Kirishima shrugged, "I had no idea where else we should go so The Slice sounded like a good plan to me."

"Or instead of being at your girlfriend's fucking bakery we could just go to a different god damn bar." He sneered as he stuck a fork into the chocolate zucchini pie in front of him. His friend laughed as he watched Bakugou chew angrily, "I've never seen someone eat pie with such a pissed off expression."

"Why are you still surprised? He does that every time!" Kirishima's girlfriend called out from behind the till as she was cashing out for the night.

Kitamura's entrance was highlighted by the gentle ring of a bell above the door and the woman looked up and smiled but Kitamura's faltered, "Oh, I'm sorry. Looks like you're getting ready to close. I must have written down the wrong address..."

"Kihdahmuwha!" Kirishima's mouthful of pie muffled his voice and she laughed before returning her attention to the woman behind the till, "Ah, I'm sorry. It seems we're those kinds of customers this evening."

The woman grinned and held out her hand, "Hinata Hamasaki, I'm Kirishima's girlfriend. You guys are just hanging out here tonight, it's no bother!" Kitamura shook Hamasaki's hand, "Kaiya Kitamura. Thankfully none of these losers girlfriend." She winked, making the other woman laugh

"Speaking of Sero and Kaminari, where are they?" Hamasaki asked as she trailed behind Kitamura the short distance to the table Kirishima and Bakugou were seated at. Kitamura sat down in the empty seat beside Bakugou, assuming Kirishima would want to sit next to his girlfriend.

"Aren't you usually with tape arms?" Bakugou questioned before shoving another forkful of pie in his mouth.

"Sero texted me and said he got held up at work and to just leave without him."

Bakugou scoffed, "What kind of fuckin' hero is he that he would let you walk alone from that shit neighborhood."

Kitamura raised an eyebrow at Bakugou, "Is that concern I hear?"

"Fuck no!"

"Well, it sure sounded like it." She teased, elbowing his side before he scooted his chair a bit further away from her. "No, it fucking didn't. Even an idiot wouldn't let someone like you walk in a crime-ridden area like that alone. It's common fuckin' sense."

"Someone like her?" Hamasaki chimed in with a quick wink and Bakugou groaned, "Shut it, shitty pie girl. You know what I meant."

"I don't think we do, though, Bakubro." Kirishima grinned, "Lay it out for us."

"FUCK OFF!" Bakugou's face started to become redder and redder as his frustration grew. He just kept putting his foot in his mouth and there was no way out of this except to admit that he thought Kitamura was hot...but luckily he was saved by Kaminari walking through the door.

"Hey, guys!" He greeted with a peppy smile, earning one in return from everyone except the ash blonde, who just took another forkful of pie and chewed like it had a death wish.

Kitamura turned to face Bakugou with curiosity bubbling within her, "What the fuck is it now?" He growled in annoyance, ready to use his fork to stab his own leg to get him out of this situation.

"I've just never seen someone eat pie with such anger, it's quite interesting." Her lips pulled up in a small smirk and the heat that radiated from his palms started to alter the shape of the fork nestled inside of one.

"THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!"

Everyone turned to Kaminari and he grinned, "Aw, come on guys. That was perfect timing!"

Kitamura was the first to laugh, "That is indeed what I said."

The couple across from them quietly stole a kiss in the commotion but Bakugou caught it, "That's fucking it. As soon as tape arms gets here we're going to a pub. You two can't keep your disgusting paws off each other for ten goddamn minutes!"

Hamasaki cringed, "Sorry, Bakugou. I forgot."

"Fuck off." He grumbled and when the door opened a third time and he saw Sero, he jumped out of his seat. "Alright, let's fuckin' go."

"What'd I miss?" Sero tilted his head. Kitamura shrugged and approached him, Kaminari trailing behind. "Bakugou doesn't wanna see any PDA, so we're heading to a pub apparently."

Sero loudly whispered, "Doesn't he know that drunk people make out too?"

"Of course I fucking know that, you piece of shit!" Bakugou was getting angrier as the seconds passed. He wished Reina was there, he wished it was her kissing him while they thought no one was looking. But it wasn't and he knew it never would be because, in his mind, he lost his one and only shot at love.

"It's different and you know it. Let's go you lazy fucks." The tonal change in Bakugou's voice reminded them all that behind his anger was something more.

"What about that place on Third? No mixologists, it's pretty decent."

"Fine." He stated as he shoved his hands in his pockets. "Let's go."

-

Kitamura saw Bakugou's shoulders release tension as she walked into the pub behind him. She was relieved that the hum of music along with the slightly dimmed lighting must've worked it's magic instantly.

Bakugou walked straight to the wrap-around wooden bar and took a seat. He made eye contact with the bartender at the other end of the counter and shouted his order, "Three fingers of whiskey. Neat."

The bartender, a man in his mid-forties with short salt and pepper hair, poured the drink and placed it in front of Bakugou. He smiled kindly at Kitamura, "Anything for you, Miss?" She returned his smile, "Just a light beer, please."

By the time the bartender got through everyone's drink order, the place was starting to get busier. The group's small talk was uneventful and Bakugou felt his anger turn into a dull, aching sadness as he tried to tune out his own thoughts and listened to the stupid ones that came out of his friends' mouths.

"I'll be right back." Kitamura excused herself and stood up from her stool to make her way to the bathroom. Unfortunately for her, it only took two steps before a drunk man stumbled into her and subsequently poured his entire newly refilled drink - and the one for his friend - down her black v-neck shirt. Kitamura sighed as she looked down at her wet top but what irked her more was the pungent smell of vodka that she now couldn't get out of her nose...they must've been doubles.

The tall drunk man guffawed, "Ha! Wet T-shirt contest!"

Naturally, such a phrase would draw the attention of most people in the room but Bakugou hadn't bothered to look, well, not until he heard a familiar voice mutter out, "For fuck sake."

He turned around to see Kitamura weave past a tall brunette male who was wavering as he stood in place. Bakugou's eyes narrowed and a quiet growl sounded from his throat that brought Kirishima's attention to him. "I'm sure she's fine, Bakugou."

"How would you know? Did you see what happened? He could've fuckin' done other shit." Bakugou's glare was now fixated on his red-headed friend who was a bit taken aback by him even caring at all. "Nah, man. I didn't. Why don't you go make sure she's okay."

"Fine." He grumbled as he got up and walked over to the women's restroom, the tug of worry in his chest becoming more prominent the closer he got...what if something else did happen? While he, a hero, was right there?

He knocked on the door and when there was no reply, Bakugou started to get more worried, which in turn worried himself more. Why was he so concerned about this chick he barely knew? He quickly brushed it off as his sadness moments earlier just turning into anxiety for his friend. Well, someone he wouldn't admit was his friend.

"Oi. Thumper. You okay in there?" He was still hit with radio silence and the reason why, he found out moments later when he opened the door to the women's room and found Kitamura washing her shirt in one of the sinks with the faucet running, standing there in her jeans and just a black, lacy bra.

"What are you fucking doing?!" His eyes almost bulged out of his sockets, he was definitely not expecting this to be what was waiting on the other side of the door.

Kitamura glanced up when she heard Bakugou's voice and her face turned crimson red but she continued running her shirt under the tap, taking a deep breath to keep a cool head before she responded. "Trying to get the smell of vodka out of my shirt."

Bakugou looked away to hide his own blush and Kitamura rolled her eyes, "If you're going to stay in here, would you mind closing the door so that the entire bar doesn't see me in my bra?"

He fully stepped in and let the door slam shut behind him. A middle-aged brunette walked out of a stall and glared at him as she approached an open sink to wash her hands. "You can't be here."

"He's harmless," Kitamura said with a sigh as she continued to scrub at her shirt but the woman just scoffed and finished up before she pushed past Bakugou. He rolled his eyes but held his tongue for once and watched as the woman he wouldn't admit was his friend lifted up the wet shirt to her nose to check if the smell had gone, which it hadn't.

Kitamura turned off the faucet and wrung out her shirt before she took the few steps over to the hand dryer and stuck it underneath, smashing her hand onto the metal button to turn it on.

Bakugou studied Kitamura's features as she stared down at her slightly billowing t-shirt. Her eyebrows weren't bunched together, they were tensionless. Her lips not pulled into a tight line, down, or upwards. In a way, Bakugou admired Kitamura for not getting mad at the guy or crying as most people would've, but he could tell that she was upset by the lack of expression on her face.

Then again, he did just literally walk in on her in the ladies' room without a shirt on so she was probably uncomfortable already.

Kitamura stood there silently drying her shirt but her mind was busy asking questions she wasn't sure she wanted the answer to badly enough to ask aloud. Why was Bakugou just standing there all awkwardly? If he was uncomfortable why wouldn't he just leave the women's washroom? Why did he even come here in the first place?

When her shirt finally felt less damp, the raven-haired woman pulled the shirt up to her nose one last time but this time she frowned. "What the hell kinda drinks were those to smell this strong?" She grumbled.

Bakugou held out his hand and she tilted her head to the side, her bangs swaying also, giving him a better glimpse of the eyes that he didn't realize he was longing to see until this moment. "What?"

"Maybe it's just your shitty nose." He shrugged and she tossed the shirt at him before she propped a hand on her hip, knowing that she was right.

The pungent scent of alcohol invaded Bakugou's senses as soon as the shirt was in his hands, he didn't bother holding it up to his nose before he lobbed it back at her. "Smells like you just got off a four-day bender."

The corners of her lips pulled up into a smirk from his remark before she simply put the damp shirt on and motioned to the door. "Well, I tried." Her shoulders lifted up and down lazily before she continued, motioning toward the door for them to leave. "Smells like I had thirty, but I could use another."

Bakugou unzipped his hoodie and threw it at her, "Your shirt is still wet, idiot. You'll get sick."

"Bakugou, we're not going outside right away so why does th-" Kitamura paused mid-sentence when she actually caught a whiff of his scent off of the clothing he tossed at her, "Did you bake cookies or something today?"

"What the fuck kind of question is that?" He asked as he opened the door and accidentally startled a group of freshly legal girls, one of whom gasped, "Ground Zero?! Ohmygod!"

Kitamura lifted an eyebrow at Bakugou who ignored them, but then answered his question as they now stood just outside the bathroom. "Your sweater kinda smells like cookies that were left in the oven for too long."

He paused and crossed his arms over his chest, inadvertently putting his biceps on display for the gaggle of girls who were idly watching their conversation. One squealed lightly and Kitamura couldn't help the grin that swept over her face. She threaded her arms through the sweater and zipped it up, unbothered by the baggy material before she playfully nudged Bakugou. "Let's go back to the bar before your fan club inflates your ego, hero."

The ash-blonde rolled his eyes but didn't respond otherwise before he walked back to his seat at the bar next to Kirishima. "So?" The redhead questioned.

"So what?"

"Is she okay?"

"She smells like an alcoholic and her shirt is wet but she's fine." He flagged down the bartender with a wave of his hand before turning his attention back to Kirishima, who just smiled. "What is it this time, shitty hair?"

"You're a good friend, Bakugou."

"Fuck off." He grumbled, lifting his new glass and taking a sip.

-

"Your face is gonna stay that way if you keep looking at me like that." Kitamura teased as she glanced at a wide-eyed Sero when she took her seat. "Why are you wearing Bakugou's sweater?" He asked, trying to hide the slight pang of jealousy he felt by seeing her in his friend's clothing...it should've been his. He should've been the one to go after her, but he didn't - he just wanted another drink.

"Did you miss the part where some asshole shouted 'Wet t-shirt contest' after accidentally spilling two drinks down my top?"

Sero's incredulous expression started turning into a smile, "And Bakugou came to your rescue?"

"Guess he's a better friend than you thought." She replied simply.

Sero hummed in a way that was clearly judgemental, "Hmm. Maybe."

Kitamura leaned back in her chair slightly, "What the fuck do you mean, maybe?"

Sero held his hands in front of his chest, "Nothing, nothing."

-

As the gang said their goodbye's outside the building before going their separate ways, Kitamura took off Bakugou's sweater and handed it to him, "Thanks, that was really kind of you."

Bakugou couldn't help the slight warmth that spread across his cheeks as Kitamura stood in front of him with a soft smile in her hazy green eyes, illuminated by the soft glow of the streetlamps outside, "It's nothing." He looked to the left in an effort to retain at least some of his pride, hoping she didn't notice.

It's true that if he hadn't been nice enough to check up on her, she probably would've called him out on blushing, but she decided that she would give him a pass tonight.

Kitamura waved the sweater to the left so it was more in his line of sight and he scoffed, "I don't want it after your gross ass liquor-soaked shirt was in it."

She sighed, "You're right, I should wash it first... but then it won't smell like cookies."

"It's not cookies, dumb ass."

"Then what is it? Hmm? You're not hiding a secret baking talent under that gruff facade?" She elbowed his side and he snatched his sweater out of her hands before throwing it on top of her head.

She laughed and clawed it off, messing up her hair and leaving her bangs a total disaster, a look Bakugou dared to think was cute. "It's from my quirk. My palms secrete nitroglycerine which can smell similar to burnt sugar."

"Huh, weird."

"It's not fucking weird, it's my god damn quirk, there's nothing weird about it!" He shouted and she grinned as she put his sweater back on and zipped it all the way up, nuzzling her nose into the fabric all while keeping her emerald gaze on his crimson one, "It's weird, but in a good way." Her voice was muffled so only the two of them could hear, but what neither the two of them nor their friends noticed, was one of the young women from outside the washroom just so happened to be outside smoking a cigarette as she watched their interaction and decided it would be an opportune moment to capture with her phone's camera.

Bakugou's lips twitched into the smallest smile as he fully took in the sight of her in the baggy apple-red sweater he'd lent her, "You wear too much black." He commented.

Kitamura chuckled, gaining the attention of their other three friends, "I call it Widow Chic, thank you very much."

"You should let people pay you to go to their funerals." Kaminari placed a heavy hand on Kitamura's shoulder before he continued, "Could you imagine? Just having some hot chick there grieving, freaking everyone out. It'd be so funny!"

"I could wear my big sunglasses and get one of those floppy hats."

"Yes!" Sero chimed in, "And one of those long cigarette holders!"

Bakugou rolled his eyes, "You guys are fucking losers."

"And yet you choose to be friends with us." Kitamura's smile as she spoke had Bakugou very confused as he felt something he didn't think he'd ever feel again... a flutter in his stomach.

 

Chapter Text

Kitamura groaned the next morning when she awoke to texts from both Sero and Kaminari.

Sero: It's not true, right?
Sero: You would've told me first, right?
Kaminari: YOU SLY DOG, WE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW!

She scratched her head in confusion as she yawned before texting Sero back.

Kitamura: What's not true?
Sero: Have you looked at any social media?
Kitamura: Han, I just woke up and saw your text. What's going on?
Sero: Apparently you and Ground Zero are a thing.

Kitamura's eyes widened and her heart picked up pace, she scoffed aloud even though no one was there to hear it.

Kitamura: Like hell we are! What the fuck?!
Sero: *sent attachment*

She quickly clicked on the image sent by her friend and her mouth dropped open just a little. The image was of her swimming in Bakugou's red sweater with a grin on her face as she looked at something out of frame while Bakugou's attention was on her with a faint smile on his lips as well.

Kitamura: Holy shit.
Sero: My thoughts exactly.

She tried to make a joke to alleviate the tension she felt both within herself and within this conversation, but her best friend's response wasn't one that helped, it only made it worse...

Kitamura: Bakugou smiles? Didn't think that was possible.
Sero: Apparently when he looks at you it is.

Kitamura's heart thumped in her chest as she continued to stare at the image, dissecting each microscopic detail down to the softness in Bakugou's vermillion eyes and the tips of her own fingers curled around the sleeves of his sweater. She knew that it was easy to skew things into something it's not, but she had to admit that the photo was pretty believable - and that scared the shit out of her.

She knew Bakugou didn't have feelings for her, he was still hung up on his ex, right so what was the big deal? He looked at her weird for a second and someone caught it in a picture, it didn't mean anything...right? Kitamura sighed and continued getting ready for work as she chewed on a repetitive thought, do I want it to mean something?

A few blocks away, Bakugou and Kirishima were patrolling for work. Bakugou saw the tabloid article as soon as he woke up since he had a Google alert on himself to do any damage control if necessary but knew he couldn't do anything about this one. It was only a rumor and rumors eventually go away on their own.

Kirishima walked quietly beside his friend but wanted nothing more than to pick his brain about the situation. While he knew Bakugou wouldn't admit any feelings even if he did have them, he had become pretty good at reading his friend over the years and knew he'd be able to see through a lie.

"Sooo..."

"Don't fuckin' say it," Bakugou growled, knowing exactly where he was taking this conversation.

"Oh come on, man. How can I not?"

"It's easy, Nimrod. You just don't say shit." His eyes flickered back to the pavement in front of them and he kicked a small rock, watching as it bounced a crooked path into the street.

"I know you're not dating, but it did look like you were into her..." Kirishima stuck his hands into his pants pockets, "And you were pretty worried about her yesterday..."

"Oh, fuck off. I was worried she was sexually harassed and that means I'm into her?"

"You changed our route to patrol her building, Bakugou."

"Walking here last week brought my attention to a shitty fucking crime-ridden area that needs patrolling, it has nothing to do with that stoner bitch." Bakugou's teeth gritted as his fists balled up by his sides. He did not want to be having this conversation.

"You gave her your sweater! You never did that with Re-" Kirishima stopped himself from saying her name and Bakugou rolled his eyes, "You can say her fuckin' name. I never did because she never needed it. I was trying to be a decent human being, I didn't realize that needed an ulterior motive."

Kirishima caught sight of Kitamura as she turned down a corner now facing them and waiting at a bus stop, tapping absentmindedly on her phone, "So she really doesn't mean anything to you?"

"No."

"Great, then you're okay with us saying hi to her right now." Bakugou whipped his head to face his friend who was grinning and called out, "Hey, Kitamura!"

Kitamura's head swiveled to the sound of her name and when she saw Bakugou, her cheeks lightly flushed. "Hey, guys. What brings you to my neck of the woods?"

Kirishima looked at Bakugou who refused to even look at Kitamura and nudged his side. "Work." He grumbled and Kitamura glanced over at Kirishima with a worried gaze but he just shrugged, this wasn't exactly abnormal behavior for Bakugou.

"Hey, I'm sorry that helping me has seemed to cause you more trouble than it's worth..." She rubbed the back of her neck as she redistributed her weight between her two feet.

"Whatever." He looked away and pushed Kirishima forward, "We've got shit to do."

"We'll see you Friday, Kitamura!" The redhead called out over his shoulder and she nodded, quietly responding, "Yeah...Friday."

Kitamura's heartfelt right as the pair walked away. She knew he'd be upset because that's just the kind of person he is, but she didn't expect him to ignore her to that extent. The fact that he didn't bother to glance in her direction stung like a wasp trapped inside of her chest trying to get out.

-

The week passed relatively uneventfully, the rumor died down since there had been new rumors about Hawks circulating and the public found him much more interesting.

But when Friday rolled around and Sero texted Kitamura to join them again, she declined.

Sero: That place on Third at seven.
Kitamura: Thanks Han, super tired today though. Next time.
Sero: You sure? You can just come out for a bit.
Kitamura: My bed is calling out to me today, sorry bud.
Sero: You know where we'll be if you change your mind.

It wasn't that Kitamura didn't want to go, it was that she didn't think Bakugou would want her to be there and so she saved herself the trouble. If he couldn't even look at her before, how uncomfortable would it feel now? She convinced herself that it would just cause him more stress if she showed up, and as a hero, he was probably already stressed out enough.

-

Bakugou hadn't seen, heard, or thought about his ex for the majority of the week. His thoughts just kept circling back to Kitamura and it vexed him greatly. He'd never admit it to anyone, but he really liked that picture of the two of them. He thought she looked pretty when she smiled widely like that and he liked the way his sweater looked on her.

His previously Togata obsessed mind had been seemingly diffused but it definitely didn't help when Sero brought her up that night in the bar. "So what's the deal with Togata? You over her now or still a lovesick puppy?"

Bakugou's chest ached at the thought of his beautiful ex-girlfriend and he glared at his friend, "Why the fuck would you bring that up?"

"Because inquiring minds want to know, Bakugou." He shrugged. "But I suppose from the way your grip tightened on your beer bottle that you aren't over her."

"Fuck, I forgot you're a dick. Where's tits-for-brains? Shouldn't she be the one to listen to the dumb shit that comes out of your mouth?"

"She didn't feel like coming, so now that burden has fallen to you."

Bakugou's forehead creased, "She fuckin' bailed on us?"

"She said she was tired." Sero shrugged, "No big deal."

He grunted in response and got another beer from the bartender. His thoughts wandered to Kitamura and he wondered why she really didn't want to be there tonight. Was it because of him? Because of what happened at the bar last time? Maybe it was the picture...Or maybe she really was tired?

Bakugou didn't know why Kitamura wasn't there and it was eating him up inside, making his chest feel heavy with guilt as he had assumed it had to do with him since she was friends with everyone else. He couldn't stop thinking of what she'd be doing, probably just in her shitty apartment getting high...which was exactly what she was doing.

Kitamura sat on her couch in her Hello Kitty pajama pants and a tank top. Her legs were pulled up underneath her and she was watching reruns of Sailor Moon, taking hits off of her transparent green bong as she saw fit.

Her head was spinning slightly but she felt calm, entranced in the colourful program playing on the screen in front of her. When the munchies hit her, Kitamura walked over to her kitchen and grabbed the box of Froot Loops from on top of the fridge.

A knock on the door startled her and she checked the peephole of the door before opening it for the one person she really didn't expect... "What are you doing here?"

"Why didn't you fucking show up?" Bakugou asked as he pushed past her and walked into her apartment as if he owned the place.

"I had a long day, I'm wiped." She fibbed as she shut the door behind him.

"Bullshit."

"I'm making a bowl of cereal, you want one?" She ignored his comment and grabbed two bowls from the cupboard. "What are you, twelve?"

"Twenty-seven is not too old for cereal. You want a bowl or not?"

"Fine." He grumbled as he walked over to her kitchen table and took a seat, noticing her vase from the last time was gone. He glanced around and saw it in front of the tv, smirking now because he was right.

After an hour and a half at the pub, Bakugou just couldn't get out of his own head. He knew she was avoiding him and he fucking hated it. He felt like garbage because Kitamura was actively not doing something just because of him and he wanted to give her a piece of his mind. So he paid his tab, got up and left without bothering to say goodbye to anyone.

Kitamura set down a blue ceramic bowl in front of him along with a spoon and sat in the chair across from his. She shoveled a spoonful of cereal into her mouth and Bakugou followed suit.

"I know you're not just here for cereal." She pointed out and he shook his head, swallowing before he spoke, "I know you're lying. Why did you really not come tonight?"

"Bakugou, I'm tired. Relax."

"Don't tell me to relax! You're trying to avoid me, it's obvious." He shoved a spoonful of colourful crunchy circles into his mouth, making him seem way less menacing than the glare he was shooting her would suggest.

Kitamura tossed her head back in frustration, "I just figured you'd want your guys' night back and I'd save you the trouble of looking like the bad guy."

Bakugou scowled, "So this is about what happened last week?"

"I mean, I don't want to ruin your reputation or whatever." She pointed her spoon at the ash-blonde across from her, "Being seen with a pothead chick with an inebriation quirk is probably not great for your public image."

He leaned back in his seat and away from the table as he took his last bite of cereal. "It's not like you were doing drugs in the picture, dumb ass. I don't give a shit about the tabloids anyway, it's just gossip for teenagers and boring people who have nothing better to do."

"It kinda looked like you gave a shit when you and Kiri passed my bus stop the day after..." Kitamura mumbled before she spooned up the last bit of the milk in her bowl. "You couldn't even look at me."

Bakugou ran a hand through his blond tresses as he exhaled, "Kirishima was being a dick about it right before we saw you and kept insisting that I have feelings for you when I don't." He cleared his throat, "I didn't want to add more fuel to the fire."

Her stomach sank as the words left Bakugou's lips. The question in her mind from this morning circled back as she wondered if she actually wanted it to mean something to him, and by the way she felt like she was hit by a tonne of bricks, the answer became obvious to her.

She did.

"Of course you don't." She managed to speak without giving herself away, "I forced myself into your guys' nights, there's a reason they're called that, right?"

Kitamura picked up both bowls and brought them to her sink, "Besides, I'm pretty content here anyway. Watching Sailor Moon stoned is actually more entertaining than it sounds."

Bakugou rolled his eyes, "You're already one of the guys, so just don't be weird about it, okay?"

Kitamura appreciated the sentiment, and even though it did sting, she was glad to have at least made another friend. A small smile crossed her face, "Are you admitting we're friends, Bakugou?"

His eyebrows knitted together, "Are you really pulling this shit with me?"

"Yep."

The ash-blonde stood up and walked toward the door, "Fine, we're fuckin' friends or whatever. Happy?" Her smile grew and Bakugou couldn't help but admire it, though he wished she looked as happy as she did in the picture.

She nodded, "Yeah, thanks Bakugou. I'll see you next week."

"I'll kick your ass if you're late, Thumper." He called out as he opened the door to leave, gifting her a small smile of his own before the door shut behind him.

Kitamura breathed a sigh of relief and one of frustration after the door shut. She was disappointed that she let herself think that maybe he could have feelings for her. She was disappointed that she let herself think that anyone could have feelings for her. And so she packed herself another bowl, lit it up, and took a rip off of her bong in hopes that she'd be able to shove down the aches of her never-ending feelings of inadequacy.

-

Bakugou left Kitamura's apartment with a weird feeling, something just wasn't sitting right and he didn't know what it was. He grumbled to himself as he shrugged it off and walked home, thinking the entire time about how Kitamura had just spent an entire Friday night alone because she was being considerate of his own feelings.

When he laid in bed that night, Bakugou found himself staring at the photo and headline from the previous week, Ground Zero and New Love Interest Get Cozy at Local Pub.

He studied Kitamura and wondered why he kept coming back to look at that image but more importantly, he wondered why he kept feeling so drawn to her...

 

Chapter Text

The air in Kitamura's shitty apartment was thick and hazy from an afternoon of blazing on the couch with Sero. He admired the way her jet black hair cascaded down her back as she packed yet another bowl, giggling at The Simpsons rerun that was playing on the TV in front of them as she did so.

"Where's Bart? His dinners getting all cold and eaten," she recited in time with the episode and Sero chuckled, holding out the lighter to his friend. His finger gently caressed her hand as she took it, leaving his face pink with a blush as he let his collected facade fade for a moment. Shit.

Luckily for Sero, Kitamura didn't notice and simply sparked up the bong that they'd been utilizing, taking a decently sized rip before clearing the chamber and handing the contraption over to him. She let her heavy head fall against the back of the couch and she stared up at the dingy ceiling as she slowly exhaled whilst listening to the bubbling sound of her friend's hit.

Kitamura focused on her breathing, counting each inhale and each exhale until Sero leaned back as well and tilted his head to gaze at her - he loved the way her olive-green eyes appeared slightly lighter in colour when she was stoned and was hoping to catch a glance of them. Feeling his gaze on her, she tilted her head to the side and her eyes met his, "What?"

"Have you ever heard of the Hero's Banquet?" He asked, his voice taking on a more sincere tone. She bit her cheek as she racked her foggy brain for a moment. "No. Should I have?"

Sero shrugged. "Not necessarily. It's just this black-tie event that the city puts on every year as like, a thank-you to all the pro-heroes and side-kicks."

"That's nice of them," Kitamura hummed.

"Yeah..." he took a deep breath, he was going to do it. He was finally going to ask Kitamura out on a date. Sero had hoped that being stoned would have helped his anxiety, but seeing as his palms were sweaty and a lump appeared in his throat while his heart rate increased, it hadn't. "Well, it's um, coming up soon and I thought that maybe...you'd want to go with me?"

It took a moment for his words to sink in, so when she didn't answer immediately and just blinked as she processed, he quickly added, "You know, as friends."

Kitamura's lips curled up at the ends just at the thought of Sero dressed in a tuxedo and she nudged his ribs with her elbow. "I bet you look cute in a tux, Han."

"Cute? I look like god damn James Bond in a tuxedo."  Sero sat up and pulled at the sleeve of his vibrant orange hoodie as if it were a dress shirt's cuff. He cleared his throat, "Martini. Shaken, not stirred."

The laugh that erupted from Kitamura was one that lit up her eyes and left Sero in awe of how beautiful he thought her to be. "You're such a dork!" She chuckled leaving him grinning.

"You love it, though."

Kitamura nodded like a novelty bulldog bobblehead on a dashboard, "It's why you're my bestie, Han."

He exhaled slowly while his smile faded as she friend-zoned him. Who was he kidding though, he had already done it to himself mere moments earlier, but he was still hopeful. "So you'll go with me?"

"Of course, that sounds fun! I'll need to buy a dress though, I don't think I have anything appropriate."

Sero smiled as he imagined what she would choose and thought back to her high school graduation when she wore this incredible black A-line dress that hugged her chest in the most delicious way. She almost always dresses casually but damn, she cleans up good. "It's two weeks from now, on the Saturday. I can help you shop if you want?"

Giggles filled the room as Kitamura pictured a montage of her trying on dresses and Sero giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down, shaking his head yes or no to each. "I think I'll need a woman's opinion on this," she scratched the top of her nose. "What was that cute pink woman's name? I met her one time...she seemed to be pretty trendy. Think she'd be willing to help me?"

"Mina Ashido? She lives for that shit! I'll let her know, she'll be so excited," Kitamura nodded with a smile as she turned her attention back to The Simpsons. Sero knew that she'd just agreed to go as a friend, but once they were there maybe he could change her mind? Maybe Ashido could change her mind...

Sero: I need a favour...
Ashido: What's up?
Sero: You up for being my wing-man?
Ashido: OMG! YOU'RE FINALLY MAKING A MOVE?!?!?!

--

Bakugou trudged up his parent's driveway and the front door of their two-story house whipped open before he even approached it, "Get in here you little shit!"

He narrowed his eyes slightly at his mother as she held open the heavy wooden door for him but sighed as she ruffled his hair as he walked past her. Bakugou's mother had called him earlier that day to invite him over for supper. Of course, she did have an ulterior motive, and this time it was to find out who the hell this new woman was.

After kicking off his shoes, Bakugou made his way through the hall to the living room and sat on the couch adjacent to the loveseat his father was seated on. He stretched out his neck from side to side before fully relaxing into the plush cushions and nodding hello to his father.

"How are things, Katsuki?" The man's kind eyes crinkled as he sent his son a small smile.

Bakugou shrugged as glanced around the room, nothing's changed and the old school photos of him still lined the eggshell white walls where the TV sat and silently taunted him as he stared at the image of a twelve-year-old version of himself. "Fine."

A scoff was heard and Bakugou grumbled silently as his mother sat down beside his father. "Fine? Who was that woman in the picture? No doubt Reina has seen! What did she say?" Her eyes narrowed. "Why isn't she here with you?"

Bakugou felt anger radiate from his chest and throughout the entirety of his body at the assumption she was making as well as the thought of Reina Togata. "We fucking broke up, I don't give a shit what she has to say about the picture."

Mrs.Bakugou leaned over and smacked the back of his head. "What did you do to fuck it up with her?! She was such a good woman! You don't know how good you had it!"

"Mitsuki, dear. Please relax, we didn't invite Katsuki here to yell at him," her husband placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Like hell we didn't!"

Bakugou's anger continued to bubble up to the surface as his fists clenched. "It wasn't my fucking fault she was in love with someone else," he hissed through gritted teeth, dissipating Mitsuki's anger in a millisecond.

"What?"

"Don't make me fucking say it again, you dumb shit!" He averted his eyes and rubbed his shoulder, not wanting to meet the pitiful gazes of his parents.

"Oh, sweetie," Mitsuki cooed as she leaned forward and placed a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry."

"Me fucking too," he grumbled, tugging his arm away from her and she sighed.  "Well, it's her loss," a sly smile pulls up her lips as she remembered part of the reason invited her son over. "And this other woman's gain. Who is she?"

"It's none of your business, she's a fuckin' nobody," Bakugou turned his attention to the television on the other side of the room against a wall full of embarrassing pictures. "Isn't there a movie or something we can watch?"

"God damn it, Katsuki. We barely see you and when you're here we will talk like a normal family!"

Bakugou takes the remote off of the coffee table in front of him and presses the power button to turn it on. "Normal families sit in front of the TV and AVOID talking."

"Not this one!" She leaned forward and snatched the remote out of his hands to turn the device off. "So what's her name?"

"It doesn't fucking matter what her name is," Bakugou crossed his arms over his chest and kicked his feet up onto the table to be more comfortable, something he knew pissed his mother off.

Mitsuki's eye twitched as she looked at the pair of feet on her formerly clean table but she held her tongue because she was much more interested in hearing about this woman and knew that if she aggravated her son too much, he would just completely shut up. "How long have you two been dating?"

"We're not dating you old hag. She's just friends with that Spider-man knock off."

"Oh. So she's Sero's girlfriend? That picture must have caused you some trouble then, huh?" She mused as she relaxed back into her seat next to her husband.

"They're just friends. They grew up together or something."

"Interesting...and how long have you had feelings for Sero's friend?"

Bakugou's eyes flickered over to his mother's similarly shaded crimson ones. "I don't have feelings for her," his voice was unexpectedly soft as the words slipped from his mouth, betraying the meaning behind them completely.

Mitsuki smiled softly. "I don't believe you. Have you seen the picture? It's pretty damning."

"It's just a fucking picture, you can't tell shit from that," he rolled his eyes. "Besides, Togata was the only fucking chance I had. She was perfect."

Mitsuki squeezed her husband's hand as he spoke, "No one is perfect, Katsuki. It's clear that she wasn't either if she was in love with another person while in a relationship with you."

"For fuck sake, why are we still talking about this shit!" Bakugou was beginning to feel picked apart by his parents, he knew that they were judging him and he hated that. His mother smirked, "We're still talking about it because you clearly don't have anything else interesting going on in your life."

"Fuck off," he grumbled, leaving Mitsuki to laugh. "Alright, alright. I'll drop it for now... I do expect to meet her though. Just tell me her name and I'll be done."

"Kaiya Kitamura," Bakugou's features softened as her name left his lips and his expression didn't go unnoticed by either of his parents. Mitsuki and her husband Masaru shared a knowing glance and she sighed. "I've seen that look from the picture on your face before, Katsuki. The longer you deny your feelings, the less of a chance you'll have with her."

-

On his drive back to Hosu from Musutafu, Bakugou couldn't get his mother's words out of his head. She's seen that look on my face before? The only woman I've ever even brought to meet her was Togata...

His knuckles clenched the leather steering wheel of his gunmetal grey BMW 2 series as he became increasingly frustrated trying to figure out what he actually felt. The image of her smiling while his sweater was loosely hanging off of her replaced his questioning thoughts. He had studied that picture so many times that he didn't even need to have it in his hands to look at it, which spoke volumes to him once he realized it at that moment.

Bakugou ran a hand through his hair and gripped at the roots, how could he have feelings for two people at once? It had been a few weeks since he and Togata called things off but he knew he still cared for her more than he should as the thought of her with someone else still felt like he was being stabbed in the heart with a hot fire poker...and yet he still couldn't stop thinking about Kitamura and that god damn picture.

Was this how Togata felt when they were together? In love with someone else but still developing feelings for another? He didn't understand how it was possible...he didn't want to. He couldn't have Togata and he needed to accept that, but if he was admitting to himself that he did have more-than-friendly intentions with Kitamura, he would not do the same thing to her as Togata had to him, so he made a promise to himself. He would never think of Togata while he was with Kitamura.

Bakugou exhaled, letting his shoulders relax as coming to a conclusion, even if it was one that he hadn't necessarily wanted, felt like a weight taken off him. He was into Kitamura... but now what? The tension reappeared mere seconds after it left when he remembered their previous conversation. You know, the one where he clearly stated he didn't have feelings for her and called her 'one of the guys'?

"Fuck," Bakugou muttered to himself as he parked his car absentmindedly in front of Kitamura's apartment building, where his distracted mind drove himself to rather than to his own house. He leaned his head back against the headrest and faced the building, realizing where he drove to. Bakugou truly did want to see her but it would be weird if he came by unannounced again...right?

If he didn't, he would have to wait an entire week until he was able to see her and what if what his mom said was right? What if the longer he waited, the less of a chance he stood to have?

Deciding he didn't want to take that chance, Bakugou slipped his phone out of his pocket and did something he knew he would be teased mercilessly for on Monday.

Bakugou: What's Kitamura's #
Kirishima: I don't know, man. Ask Sero? Kami might have it too.
Kirishima: WAIT.
Kirishima: BRO! I knew it!

Replying to Kirishima at this point would be fruitless. It wouldn't save him the conversation later, so he just didn't respond at all and messaged again.

Bakugou: What's Kitamura's #
Sero: Uh, why?
Bakugou: Why the fuck do you think, dumb ass?

-

Sero glanced over at Kitamura happily chewing on a slice of cheese pizza that they had ordered that night to complete their couch vegetation day. A vertical line appeared between his two eyebrows, why did Bakugou want her phone number? He said yesterday that he was still hung up on Togata...

Sero: You're not using my best friend as your rebound.
Bakugou: For fuck sake.
Bakugou: Just give me her damn number you piece of shit.
Bakugou: Fuckin' ask her then. If she doesn't want me to have it, then don't.
Sero: K

Bakugou assumed that Sero would just text Kitamura, not that he was actually there with her to ask in person, which of course made Sero feel much more uncomfortable.

"So, uh, weird question," the apprehension in his voice alerted her to the nature of the conversation. She tilted her head to the side in curiosity. "Is everything okay, Han?"

He squinted a little but ultimately nodded. "I guess...it's just that, uh, Bakugou is asking for your number."

Kitamura's eyebrows raised in surprise and with the way her eyes lit up, Sero knew the answer she was going to give if he asked. Her heart fluttered, why would he want my phone number? She quickly caught herself before her mind wandered further, he has already made it clear that he doesn't have feelings for me...friends just have each other's phone numbers...right?

"Oh?"

"Yeah...I definitely don't have to let him have it though, so it's no big deal if you prefer it that way."

She let her lips curl up in a knowing smile. "Are you worried about me?" Sero's cheeks began to dust with speckles of pink and he quickly reached for the pizza box to grab another slice, taking a huge bite to give himself a chance to think about his response through before he said it.

Kitamura waited, amused with her friends stalling tactics and when he swallowed she questioned him further, "Well?"

"We've been looking out for each other since we were kids, Kai. Of course I worry about you."

Her questioning eyes softened as his brown hues met their gaze. "I worry about you too. Though I don't think this situation is one to worry about," Kitamura took a deep breath. "You trust him right?"

Hesitantly Sero nodded and she continued, "Then I do too. You're not one to place your trust in people who don't deserve it."

Kitamura grabbed another piece of pizza and before she took a bite and commented again. "It's not like he's interested in me, Han. Relax."

He sat straighter, "How do you know that?"

"He said so himself yesterday," she shrugged, trying not to show that she was actually disappointed by it. He hummed with narrowed eyes, "Yesterday? But you didn't come to the pub yesterday."

"Bakugou stopped by on his way home to clear the air after that whole tabloid debacle. Said I'm just one of the guys now."

Sero: *contact attached*

"Hmm. Well, you must be right then. Nothing to worry about," he agreed as he hit send on his text. Neither of them anticipated how quickly Bakugou was going to contact Kitamura, so when he called her just mere moments later, it took both of them off guard.

Kitamura's phone rang and she stared at the unknown number for a minute before she answered, "Hello?"

"Hey, Thumper," Bakugou's smooth voice flowing directly through her ears filled her with warmth and she felt her cheeks start to heat up, adjusting her gaze to the grease-stained box of pizza in front of them. "Hey, Sourpuss. What'd you need my number for?"

"Are we not talking on the phone right now, dumb ass?" Bakugou closed his eyes as he leaned back in his car's seat as he let her voice occupy his mind.

"Touche," she laughed, earning a small smile to pull up Bakugou's lips, one that he didn't bother to hold back since no one could see him. For a moment, they both were content with listening to the other breathe, knowing that they were in some way close.

It wasn't until Sero cleared his throat that both of them became jolted back to the moment. "Are you with someone?" Bakugou questioned, worry lacing his tone as he thought of something he hadn't before: he didn't know if she truly was unattached, just that she wasn't dating Sero.

"Yeah, Sero and I ordered a pizza and we're watching The Simpsons..."

"Oh," Bakugou exhaled, the slight disappointment in his voice was enough to give Kitamura a little hope. "Wanna come over? There's still like, half a pizza left."

Sero hadn't taken his eyes off of Kitamura since she picked up the phone, he was definitely surprised by Bakugou being bold enough to phone her just a few minutes after receiving her number and not even bothering to text first. The smile on her face made while she wasn't speaking made his stomach churn and leaving him to wonder if she had a crush on Bakugou. The worst thing that came out of this phone call though was how excited she sounded as the words left her lips, "Okay, great! See you soon!"

 

Chapter Text

Kitamura smiled at Sero, “I hope it’s okay with you that I invited Bakugou to join us? I figured you wouldn’t mind since you’re close.” 

He shrugged, though really he wanted to wildly shake her by the shoulders and tell her to uninvite him. “Yeah, it’s okay...kinda late though, huh?” 

Kitamura looked down at her phone and saw that it was already ten oclock. “Oh, well it is Saturday, so that’s not a big deal right? I’m not tired anyway, are you?” 

Sero was tired but there was no way in hell he was going to leave the two of them alone this late at night, he just couldn’t. He knew he wouldn’t stop thinking about it and so he simply accepted that he’d have to keep himself awake by any means necessary. “Nah, I’m good.” 

She smiled, “Gre-” 

A quick succession of knocks interrupted her and she gave Sero a puzzled look before she walked to the door and opened it for Bakugou. She pursed her lips as she gave him a quick once over, admiring the way he looked effortlessly put together with his straight leg jeans, long sleeve tee, and a thin black bomber jacket. 

 “That was fast.” She laughed, standing aside to let him in. He lifted an eyebrow, “You complaining?” 

Kitamura quickly shook her head, “Nope, not at all.”  He smirked and slid his jacket off, glancing around to see where he should put it and she held out her hand, “I’ll hang it up.”  

Bakugou passed her his jacket and mumbled a thanks before he walked over to the couch and greeted Sero with a nod and basic, “Hey.” 

Sero raised an eyebrow at Bakugou, “Hey, man. What are you doing here?”  

He rolled his eyes, “I was invited, was I not?” Sero rubbed the back of his neck as he chuckled uncomfortably, not wanting to start anything. “Guess so.” 

Kitamura felt the awkwardness as soon as she neared them after hanging up Bakugou’s coat in her closet. “Bakugou, have some pizza. Want a drink?”  

“Sure.” 

“Great. You too, Han?” She smiled at Sero and he nodded, “Yeah, that’d be great, Kaiya.” He put emphasis on her name in an effort to claim Kitamura in some way but Bakugou didn’t care. Kitamura on the other hand, noticed and thought it was a bit weird but she shook off the feeling. 

She popped the tops off of three beers and brought them to the coffee table, putting one down in front of Sero but physically passing one to Bakugou. He let his hand cover hers as he took the drink from her and judging by the small blush that formed on her cheeks, Bakugou thought that maybe he wasn’t too late to fix his mistake from yesterday, to let her know that he didn’t just think of her as one of the guys. 

Kitamura glanced at the open middle cushion of her couch and briefly contemplated whether or not she should squeeze in between her best friend and the man she was developing a crush on, or if she should just get a chair from the kitchen.  While the idea of being that close to Bakugou was tempting, being wedged between two people on her small couch was never comfortable so she opted for the kitchen chair. 

Sero felt like a jerk seeing her pull up a chair and offered for her to sit on the couch instead of him. She simply laughed, “It’s no big deal, Han. Just a place to sit.” 

“Or you could just sit on the couch like a normal fuckin’ person.” Bakugou pointed out motioning with his head to the empty space beside him. Selfishly, Bakugou wanted her to sit beside him and even if it meant Kitamura would be sitting that close to his friend as well, he thought that Sero didn’t stand a chance with her anyway. 

Bakugou watched as Kitamura bit down on her plump bottom lip, considering his offer. Her willpower was already weakened but when he smirked as she made eye contact with him, her body moved on its own to sit in between them. 

“Just a place to sit, huh?” Sero grumbled, he thought low enough for no one to hear but Kitamura definitely heard. 

She sighed and rested her head on his shoulder, “You were right, the couch is more comfy.”  

He glanced down at her and let his head rest against hers, letting himself relax a little, “Told you.”  

She softly pulled her head away and sat up properly, happy that she was able to diffuse some of the weird tension she was feeling and she leaned forward to grab the remote and turned up the volume. Kitamura shifted herself into a more comfortable position, which just so happened to make her free hand brush against the one Bakugou had rested on his thigh. 

The brief touch had Bakugou’s skin prickle with goosebumps and he glanced over at her to see her once again biting down on her lip. She felt it too. 

Bakugou exhaled as he stared down at Kitamura’s hand, he was being so impulsive when normally he would’ve been more guarded, especially with a friend around. But today, none of that seemed to matter to Bakugou. All that mattered to him right now was that Kitamura knew he was interested in her as more than a friend

With that thought in mind, Bakugou placed his hand on lightly on top of Kitamura’s knee. He hoped that it wasn’t too bold of a move, but when both she and Sero brought their attention to his hand, he felt his cheeks begin to heat up in embarrassment and he moved to take his hand away. 

Kitamura, whose heart was beating a thousand miles a minute, placed her hand on top of his to stop its retreat. Bakugou’s eyes flickered up to meet hers, only to be caught by Sero, who cleared his throat, making Kitamura jump and remove her hand. “So Bakugou, Togata was looking for you last night at the pub after you left.” 

Bakugou stiffened up, immediately the promise he made to himself was being broken so quickly. He couldn’t help but have his curiosity piqued though, “Why the hell would she be looking for me?” 

“Said something about that tabloid picture of you guys. Seemed almost jealous, maybe you still have a shot, man. We all know you love her."  

Kitamura's heart sank like the titanic, slowly, and then all at once. She couldn't compete with someone like Reina Togata, I mean, have you seen her? She was as fit as fit could be, her long blonde hair cascaded down her back like a golden waterfall, and her features were so feminine and delicate. She was the kind of woman that Kitamura wished she could be and the kind of woman men wished they could be with. 

Bakugou, while surprised that Togata was looking for him, knew that nothing was going to happen between the two of them again. "That ship has fuckin' sailed." 

"Hmph, well, whatever you say." Sero glanced at Kitamura and noticed her blank expression, knowing from experience that means she’s upset and instantly he felt guilty.  What kind of friend was he being to either of them if he’s just trying to get digs in to make himself look better? 

Kitamura was staring blankly at the TV in front of them, blobs of bright primary colours flashing on the screen but she barely registered them as the characters of her favourite show. What was she even doing right now? She was so embarrassed that she, once again, thought that anything could happen between her and Bakugou when it was clear that it wouldn’t.  She hadn’t even heard Bakugou’s response, nor Sero’s after that, she was too busy mentally chastising herself for being vulnerable, for being so weak

Sero had tried to get her attention but failed, so he nudged her ribs and her head turned, “Sorry, what was that?” 

With a sigh, Sero rubbed the back of his neck, “I’m gonna get going, Kai. I’m actually more tired than I thought.” 

“Are you sure? Are you okay to get home?” She asked, knowing that Sero has had his fair share of her pot stash over the course of the day.  Sero nodded, “I’m gonna get a cab, I’ll swing by and grab my car tomorrow.” 

“You can crash here, Han. Take the bed and I’ll sleep on the couch after Bakugou leaves.” She offered, but he shook his head, “Nah, I’d just feel guilty. Thanks though. I’ll see you tomorrow?” He asked with a slightly hopeful tinge to his voice and she smiled, “Yeah, that sounds great.” 

Sero didn’t want to leave them alone, but he couldn’t stand to see that look Kitamura’s face knowing that he put it there. He knew his best friend well enough to know that she had a thing for Bakugou and he just had to hope that it was a passing fancy...

Sero waved to Bakugou over his shoulder, “If I hear you were an asshole, I’ll punch you in the dick the next time I see you.” 

Bakugou rolled his eyes, “See you Friday, jackass.”

When the door shut behind Sero, Kitamura handed the remote to Bakugou and scooched over to the other side of the couch, putting space between them that he frowned at. Like Sero, Bakugou had also noticed the expressionless face he’d only seen once before and assumed that she was upset, though he wasn’t really sure why, and he wanted to make her smile. “What, I’ve got cooties or some shit now?” 

Kitamura’s lips tugged up a little, “It’s a possibility, but I also thought you’d want some space since there’s room now.”  

There she is, being considerate again.  

“I was comfortable before.” He shrugged and when Kitamura finally let her eyes meet his once again, Bakugou motioned with a nod for her to come closer. She took back her spot on the middle cushion of the couch, still leaving a few inches of space between them to which Bakugou shook his head slightly. He didn’t anticipate her to be such a shy person about things like this, but it was actually kind of cute. 

He leaned back and let his arm stretch out across the couch behind her, making Kitamura’s mind race as her stomach did flips. She knew she needed to stop thinking so much, and as the thought passed through her mind, she heard Homer Simpson’s voice call out, ‘Shut up brain or else I’ll stab you with a q-tip.’ She giggled at the line, well, more so at the opportune timing of it.

Wanting to help get Kitamura out of her head and back into the present, Bakugou turned up the volume on the television. He glanced down at the ravenette out of the corner of his eye and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw a small smile on her plump lips as she engaged with the show, mouthing the words along with it as if she’d seen it a hundred times. What she didn’t know was that Bakugou had as well. 

“If it isn't the leader of the Wiener Patrol, boning up on his nerd lesson.”  He quoted along in perfect time, bringing the woman’s attention to him fully. 

“Please tell me that wasn’t a fluke,” her eyes shone hopefully up at him and he smirked. “Definitely not.” 

She excitedly turned toward him and swatted his arm, “Bakugou!” He chuckled and caught her hand within his before she could hit him again. He squeezed it before he loosened his grip, giving her the option to retract her hand, but she didn’t.  

With caution, Bakugou moved his arm from the top of the couch down to rest on top of her shoulders and he worried that he was being too forward, but at the same time, it just felt natural. Of course, he was watching Kitamura for any sign of it being an unwanted gesture, but his worries were soothed when she slipped her other hand out of his and used it to position herself closer to him and to rest her head against his chest.  

Kitamura’s stomach fluttered as Bakugou’s arm had dropped on top of her shoulders and an intense, comforting warmth spread throughout her body.  She caught a whiff of burnt sugar and couldn’t help but nuzzle her way against him, how could you resist a scent like that from a man like this? 

They sat and watched tv like this for hours, quoting lines and laughing as she had been all day with Sero, but with Bakugou, there was an added bonus of cuddling, creating a different kind of bond between them.  Every so often, Bakugou would trace his fingers along her arms using the lightest touches that made her soft skin get goosebumps and he’d smirk to himself each time, pleased that he was able to continuously have that effect on her. 

With a contented sigh, Kitamura leaned her head up to sneak a quick peek at Bakugou, who had already glanced down at her when she exhaled. She smiled softly up at him and he squeezed her shoulder, “It’s late, I should get going.” 

“Oh, okay. Sure.” Kitamura shimmied out of Bakugou’s arms and fished her phone out of her pocket to check the time. “Shit, you’re right. Wow, three thirty a.m. is way later than I anticipated.” 

He nodded and got up off the couch, holding out a hand to help Kitamura off of the couch as well. Her lips twitched up, “Quite the gentleman all of a sudden.” 

Bakugou scoffed, dropped her hand, and let her fall back onto the couch before he walked away to the door, purposely 'forgetting' his jacket. “Pfft. I’ve been a fuckin’ gentleman.”

Kitamura's eyes softened and she reached out to touch the top of his shoulder, "You're right, you have been before." 

"Damn right, I'm right," he replied and she shook her head with a laugh, letting her hand fall from his arm. "Goodnight, Bakugou." 

His hand poised above the doorknob and he debated on whether or not he should kiss her. She looked up at him through her eyelashes and those big olive eyes of hers had his resolve weakening, but ultimately he didn't want to move too fast, so he quickly took himself out of the situation before things could get heated.

"Goodnight, Thumper." 

 

Chapter Text

"Soooo what happened after I left?" Sero questioned as soon as he walked through Kitamura's apartment door the following Sunday afternoon. He watched her carefully as she thought of her response, his anxiety at an all-time high as he anticipated them having hooked up that night.

"We just hung out and watched The Simpsons." She smiled, her eyes brightening up at the thought of their night, "I didn't realize he was a big fan too."

"That's it?" He questioned with a raised brow and Kitamura shrugged, "Yeah, we just hung out."

Just then her phone dinged and when she saw who the message was from her smile widened.

Bakugou: Forgot my jacket at your place. Free later?

Kitamura: Maybe.

Bakugou: mAyBe.

Bakugou: See you at 8, loser.

Sero watched with a long face as Kitamura grinned from ear-to-ear, texting whom he could only assume was Bakugou. In his mind he berated himself for even letting them meet, it was his fault that this was happening, it was his fault that they'd met.

"Kai?" His voice was soft as he gently placed a hand on her shoulder. With a quick glance, Kitamura noticed how close Sero was and nudged his side, "What's up, Han?"

What's up was that he wanted her to stop texting another man while he was with her but he knew he couldn't outright say that, so instead he jerked his thumb behind them to the couch. "There's a rerun of shark week programming today...wanna watch?"

Kitamura slid her phone back into her pocket and nodded, "Hell yes, I do." She held up her finger, "Oh, one thing though."

He tilted his head to the side, "Uh-huh?"

"I, um, I have plans around eight tonight..." Kitamura's fingers pressed together as she shifted her weight uncomfortably. Sero, who was by no means an idiot, could tell why. "Hot date?"

Kitamura's green eyes widened and her hands flew out in front of her, "N-n-no, nothing like that." Her face bloomed with a peachy shade of pink that made Sero's heart skip a beat. "So you're still just one of the guys then?"

She let out a breath, "Yep." He inwardly smiled, happy that there was no hesitance in her reply. "Alright then. Belated shark week it is!"

"Perfect," Kitamura laughed as she walked over to the couch, giving Sero a quick gesture with her hand to follow.

-

By the time seven-thirty pm rolled around, Kitamura found herself constantly pulling out her phone to check the time, anxious about Bakugou coming over again. Sero's lips pursed before he remembered why she kept looking at her phone. Maybe she did have feelings for Bakugou, but that doesn't mean they are reciprocated... especially since she still thinks she's just part of the gang. Maybe Bakugou is just trying to mess with him? Or maybe he's actually just making an effort to be a friend.

That thought made Sero frown, he knew Bakugou didn't make an effort with friends unless he knew them really well and there was no way he knew Kitamura well enough to show that kind of friendship yet. Fuck, he's into her. Sero concluded the inevitable but he was determined not to let it come to fruition, so he sent a text.

Sero: *contact sent*

Sero: Here's her number, wingman.

Ashido: I got you, fam.

Sero tucked his phone back into his pocket and patted Kitamura's knee. "Well, I guess I'll let you get ready for your date," he teased, wanting to embarrass her just to see her rosy cheeks.

She blushed, "It's not a date, Han. We're just hanging out."

Sero leaned closer to Kitamura and placed a hand on her shoulder before leaning into her ear. "It better not be a date," he whispered, the sexy tone to his voice surprised him as much as it did her.

What the hell am I doing?!

He quickly got up and headed to the door, leaving Kitamura to sit there with a confused expression and a weird wishy-washy feeling in the pit of her stomach. He didn't want to make things any more awkward but he also kinda wanted to see what would come of it if he did start flirting with her. When he reached the door and opened it, revealing a well dressed Bakugou who had his hand poised to knock on the door, he had to hold back his feelings and managed to just nod a hello.

Sero called out over his shoulder, "Ashido is going to get in touch about going shopping for the Hero's Banquet."

"O-okay," she managed to sputter out.

"Oh and Kai?"

"Mhmm?" she turned her head to look over the couch at him, noticing Bakugou's presence beside him and feeling her heart begin to race. "You're going to look beautiful in whatever you choose to wear to the banquet."

Kitamura smiled and nodded, "Thanks, Hanta."

"Just maybe nothing black this time?"

Her smile fell into a frown and he chuckled, "I'm kidding! Wear what you want!" Kitamura raised her hands shooed him away, "Whaaaaatever."

He smiled, "Night, Kaiya."

Bakugou, having lost much of his patience the moment the banquet was mentioned, gave him an extra nudge out the door and shut it in his face, earning a laugh from Kitamura. She rose from the couch and walked towards him, letting herself take a long look at Bakugou on the way.

She loved how he looked in jeans, it was obvious to her that he knew what looked good on himself and might have even brought his clothes to a tailor to have them fitted so perfectly. He wore a soft-looking black cotton t-shirt that hugged his biceps deliciously well and draped over his pectoral muscles enough to show their definition without looking too tight. Of course, this was topped off with his signature smirk and intense vermillion eyes, making him all the more appealing.

"Hey stranger," Kitamura greeted with a smile and walked past him to her closet to grab the bomber jacket he left there last night. She caught a whiff of his sugary scent off of the jacket as she picked it up and smiled softly to herself before her expression returned to normal and she held it out for him. He took it from her, slipped it on, and when he turned around to leave, she quickly called out, "Wait! Did you want to hang out or something?"

His lips pulled up into a smirk and he glanced over his shoulder, "Duh. Let's go, idiot." Kitamura tilted her head to the side in confusion and Bakugou rolled his eyes. "We'll go for a walk or something. I don't want to stay cooped up in your shitty apartment."

Her mouth made a large 'O' shape and she nodded, returning to her closet to grab a jacket of her own before locking the door behind them.

The cool evening air wrapped around Kitamura's figure so thoroughly that her entire body shivered and Bakugou took notice, looking her up and down as he did so. "You should get a better jacket."

"I'm fine, it's always just that initial wind that gets me. My body will adjust to the temperature in a minute," she smiled, her lips quivering slightly to keep her teeth from chattering. She started to walk forward and folded her arms across her chest to try to warm herself but Bakugou stayed in his spot, hiding the concern on his face with a raised eyebrow. "You sure? You look pretty fuckin' cold, Thumper."

Considering the light rain jacket Kitamura had put on was her only jacket, she shook her head. "I'm sure. Let's keep moving though, it'll help me warm up."

"So would a better jacket," he grumbled and shoved his hands into his pockets. Kitamura laughed and when he caught up to her, she nudged him with her elbow. "Worry wart," she teased.

When he glanced down and saw how close she was walking beside him, Bakugou's lips curved up slightly into a smile, enjoying the fact that she either consciously or subconsciously, still wanted to be close to him as well.

"So you're going to the Banquet?"

Kitamura nodded, "Yeah, Hanta invited me yesterday." Bakugou kicked a pebble on the sidewalk harshly, pissed that he missed his chance to take her and wondering if he'd underestimated Sero as a rival for Kitamura's attention. She cleared her throat before she added, "As a friend, he said."

Bakugou tore his gaze away from the sidewalk underneath them and brought it up to study her features, "Did you want it to be otherwise?"

Kitamura ran a hand through her long black hair and exhaled, "No, I don't think so." His eyes narrowed, "Then why do you look disappointed?"

"Because it means I have to go shopping for something formal."

"Just wear something you already have, who gives a shit." He shrugged, letting his hands free themselves from the confines of his pockets. "I don't think Hanta would appreciate if I just showed up in a mini skirt and a t-shirt, Bakugou."

"Oh, he probably would appreciate it," Bakugou smirked and Kitamura shook her head. "Ha ha. You know what I mean. It's not appropriate... I need to find something that is but that doesn't cost an arm and a leg."

"I imagine it's the pink bitch who's taking you shopping then? Probably the only girl that nerd even knows."

Kitamura scratched the side of her head as she tried to recall her name. "Ashido is her name I think? The touchy feely one."

"Yeah, that's her. You'll be fine, she's good with that shit." He glanced over and saw her reaching into her jacket lapel pocket and pulling out a joint and a lighter. "You really going smoke while we're just on a walk? Did you use your quirk today? You don't seem drunk..."

"Only a little on Hanta, but I'm just feeling anxious and it usually helps." Bakugou quickly snatched the items out of her hands and shoved them into his pocket. "Then talk about it first, dumbass. Don't rely on fucking drugs to solve your problems."

"I'm not relying on drugs to solve my problems, thank you very much. How is this different than having a beer after a hard day?" Bakugou grumbled but saw her point and handed back her joint and lighter. He watched as she poised the joint between her plump lips, admiring them for just a touch too long which gave Kitamura the feeling that she was being watched. She glanced over and the corners of her lips turned up as she sparked the lighter and lit up.

She inhaled deeply before she tilted her head upwards and blew the smoke straight up into the air like a dragon breathing fire. Bakugou watched as Kitamura's shoulders visibly relaxed as she exhaled and found himself wondering aloud, "Does it really help that much?"

"For me, yes," she nodded. "Hanta too." Bakugou peeked over as she took another hit, eyeing her lips once again and getting caught once again, earning a smirk from her that he wished he could kiss off her lips.

"Why? You wanna try?"

Bakugou scoffed at the offer but having such presented to him did pique his curiosity. Kitamura grinned goofily when he hadn't responded with a resounding NO. "You do, don't you?" she teased, elbowing his ribs as she exhaled up into the air once again.

"No. I work tomorrow dumbass," he stated plainly, kicking another pebble and watching it bounce down the cement.

Kitamura chuckled, "It doesn't last that long, BAKAgou."

He scowled. "Well how would I fuckin' know! I'm not some stoner like you."

The ravenette shrugged, "It's not rocket science."

"Fucking fine. Pass it over," he growled, holding out his hand. Kitamura raised an eyebrow, "Bakugou, you don't have to smoke just because I am."

He rolled his eyes and she simply passed it over to him. "Don't take too much at once or you'll die of a coughing fit."

Bakugou took the hand rolled joint in between his thumb and first finger and brought it to his lips. He took a slow drag, letting the smoke fill his lungs before he exhaled just as slowly as if he'd done it a hundred times before.

Kitamura, who was watching with curiosity, couldn't help but comment. "Are you sure you've never done this before?"

Bakugou kept his vermillion eyes locked on her olive ones as he took a second hit, already beginning to feel the strange, light-headed effect of his first. He smirked as he passed her the joint, "Pretty sure."

She chuckled and gingerly avoided his fingers as she took it from his hand and took another drag before stubbing out the little bit that was left. "So how do you feel?"

The ash blonde shrugged, "Simultaneously light and heavy."

Kitamura eyed him with a smile, noticing his stiff posture had now turned released his shoulders allowing him to slouch. His features were also softened, his forehead smooth and unwrinkled while his eyes were now slightly glassy. "You didn't do a lot so it's effect should be minimal. Do you like how it feels?"

Bakugou's hand brushed against hers and instead of feeling an electric pulse like she had once before, this time she a soothing warmth came over her and she wondered if it had anything to do with his quirk. Her cheeks turned rosy regardless as she came to the conclusion that the feel of Bakugou's warm skin against hers would probably always elicit that reaction from her body.

Bakugou had felt the fleeting touch as well and the feel of the softness of the back of her hand lingered on his skin and he craved to touch her once again. But he kept his hands to himself and glanced up at her as he responded. "Yeah. I get why someone would do this."

"See? Not so bad," she bumped shoulders with him and they turned the corner, coming closer back around to her apartment building. Bakugou rolled his eyes, "No, but you still shouldn't do it so often. Smoking anything isn't good for you, dumbass."

"Are you concerned?" Kitamura's lips pulled up into a playful smirk, she loved to tease him. His relaxed expression turned into a frown even though he was starting to become fonder of the way she looked while she bugged him, increasing his heart rate just a little as he thought in the back of his mind how cute she looked. "Just stating a fact."

"Katsuki?" A voice familiar to the man called out his name; a voice that made him stop in his tracks.

"Togata," he grumbled. "Hey."

 

Chapter Text

"Katsuki?" A voice familiar to the man called out his name; a voice that made him stop in his tracks.

"Togata," he grumbled. "Hey."

--

Kitamura, who was only a few steps ahead of Bakugou, turned and looked over her shoulder to see one of the only people she would be okay to never see again, Reina Togata. Her beautiful blonde locks cascaded over her shoulders in loose, bouncy curls and her smile was vibrant.

Kitamura took a deep breath to calm herself as she switched her attention to Bakugou, who had cheeks tinged the colour of ripened cherries. Immediately she felt inferior to the woman that she was now turned to face, the woman who had the heart of the man she was developing feelings for.

Bakugou's heart raced as he laid his eyes upon Togata's curious oceanic ones. "What are you doing in this part of town alone?" He asked.

"Tama is working near here today and I wanted to surprise him with some takoyaki!" She held up a brown paper bag in her hands and he frowned.

"You really think he'd be okay with you walking around in the dark by yourself in this shit fuck area just to bring him some damn food?"

Togata shrugged and smiled sheepishly, "I just wanted to do something nice for him."

Bakugou was trying so hard to keep his cool. Part of him was hurt to know that she was being such a doting girlfriend, though he knew she would be. Another part of him was worrying about what Kitamura was thinking.

He looked over to her and felt a pang in his chest as he saw the look in her eyes, hiding behind the smile she had plastered on.

She took a few steps closer and waved at Togata, not wanting to be impolite. "I don't think we've officially met. I'm Kaiya Kitamura."

"Reina Togata," she smiled kindly. "It's nice to meet the woman from the picture in person!"

Kitamura's eyes widened, "Oh, um. Haah.. wel-"

"It's just a damn picture," Bakugou pursed his lips. "Why do people keep making such a big fuckin' deal over nothing?"

"Oh, you know why, Katsuki. Don't play dumb," she smirked, something he always used to find endearing but now just thought it was a bit obnoxious...but maybe that was because she was right, he did know why but he didn't want to admit it in front of Kitamura lest he scares her off.

"Whatever, fuck. Where the hell are you going? It's not safe for you to go alone," Bakugou huffed, glancing over once again at the ravenette. He hoped that Kitamura wasn't uncomfortable, but he knew that she was just by the way he saw her fidgeting with her fingers.

"I'll be fine, I'm sorry I interrupted your date!" She smiled kindly at Kitamura who was looking down at her hands, picking at the skin around her nails anxiously. "I'll just get on my way."

"You know I can't let you do that, right?"

"Katsuki, I'm okay," her cerulean gaze bore into his crimson one and her eyes crinkled up as she smiled gently. "You don't need to worry about me."

He rolled his eyes,"Then call your boyfriend. It's not safe." He shoved his hands into his pockets. "and I thought I told you to stop calling me that."

Togata sighed and picked her phone from her pocket. She swiped it open and found Amajiki's contact, pressing the round green button to call.

As she held the phone to her ear, Bakugou turned his attention to Kitamura, who could tell just by Bakugou's posture that he was anxious as well. "Just relax, she'll be okay. We can walk her wherever she's going."

He ran a hand through his ash blonde hair and exhaled, letting out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding in.

"Or, um, you can if you want to be um...alone or something."

Another pang struck inside of his chest, this time stronger. "Don't be stupid, Kitamura. I'm here with you, I'm not just going to ditch you."

She nodded and swallowed hard as she turned her head to look in the other direction but all Bakugou wanted was to see her face, not for it to be hidden by a curtain of her onyx hair. Without thinking, he raised his hand and tucked the hair that hid her face from him behind her ear, his rough fingers gently brushing against the smooth skin of her cheek as he did so.

Kitamura felt her entire face heat up, including her ears and she looked at Bakugou with widened eyes.

"Pfft, stop staring, Thumper," he scoffed. "Not my fault you had shit covering your face."

Kitamura smiled as she shook her head, grabbing a hair tie off of her wrist and combing back her hair with her fingers into a high ponytail. "Better?"

He smirked as he reached over and tugged the bottom of her hair. She squealed quietly before slapping his hand away and he fought back a real smile as he replied, "Much."

Togata, who neither had noticed finished her phone call very quickly, watched their interaction with a bittersweet smile. "Tamaki is going to come get me from here. He said it should only be a few minutes so I'm okay if you go."

Kitamura tightened her now loosened ponytail and smiled at Togata, feeling a bit more comfortable with the situation. "We'll wait with you, Togata."

The blonde smiled, "Thank you."

Just as the words fell from her lips, a familiar redhead and a caped hero turned the corner, both now smiling but for different reasons. The caped hero, Suneater, jogged over to Togata and pulled her into a hug while the other, Red Riot, sauntered over toward Bakugou and Kitamura.

"Funny seeing you two here," he grinned, elbowing Bakugou's side and earning himself a shove.

"Hey, Kiri," Kitamura smiled.

"Heya, Kitamura. You guys on a date or something?"

She shook her head side to side and before a word could slip from her lips, Bakugou growled. "Of course we're not on a fuckin date, shithead!"

Kirishima shrugged, "Sorry, Bakubro. Easy mistake to make seeing as you guys aren't really friends."

Bakugou narrowed his eyes at his friend. "Well, we are now."

The redhead then turned to Kitamura and grinned, "I'm glad you got through to him, Kitamura! He needs more friends."

"I HAVE ENOUGH FUCKIN FRIENDS YOU HAIR FOR BRAINS PIECE OF SHIT!"

Kitamura giggled after Bakugou shouted and Kirishima gave Bakugou a knowing smirk.

"Hey, um, Riot. We should get back to work." A meek voice called out from just a few feet away, reminding Bakugou of who else was there. He rolled his eyes at Kirishima. "Get Togata home. We've got plans."

Kirishima nodded and Kitamura tilted her head in confusion but made no further comment. "Get home safe, Togata." Kitamura gave a little wave and the blonde waved back with a kind smile, "Thanks! And sorry for interrupting your date."

Kitamura's cheeks tinged pink and she waved her hands in front of her chest, "It's not a date, really. It's no problem."

Togata winked, "Right. Not a date. Well, enjoy the rest of your evening you two!"

When the trio was out of sight, Kitamura let out a long breath. "She's lovely. I can see why you're in love with her."

"Was," he stated simply, earning a head tilt from Kitamura. "Was?"

"Did I fuckin' stutter? Yeah, I was. I'm not any more. I'm over it. Over her." Even Bakugou didn't quite believe himself, but he wanted to. He wanted to be over Togata and each day it hurt less and less. Days where he had spent any time with Kitamura he found he almost even forgotten that Togata had ever broken his heart because it was becoming preoccupied with a growing attachment to her.

Kitamura chewed on her cheek, not sure what to make of what he's saying, but hoping it's true. "Okay," she breathed.

Bakugou reached over and gently tugged on Kitamura's hair. She raised an eyebrow at him and when he saw a playful look in her muted green eyes, he smirked. "You like having your hair pulled, don't you?"

Her eyes widened and her cheeks went beet red. "I, uh," she stumbled on her words before she just threw her hands up guiltily. "I guess I do."

His chuckle made Kitamura's heart soar, she loved the sound of his laugh. "I'll remember that."

Kitamura bit down on her lip at the implication and her mind began to wander to less than pure thoughts as her imagination ran wild with thoughts of what kind of lover Katsuki Bakugou would be.

Bakugou glanced over at her as they were close to her buildings door and noticed she was biting her lip, hard. He watched as her teeth buried themselves into the plump flesh, breaking the skin just enough to bring blood to the surface. What was she thinking about?

"Hey," he tried to get her attention but she just kept mindlessly walking so he reached over and placed his hand on her shoulder, turning her sideways to face him. She stared at him with big doe eyes that he swore he needed a map to navigate through.

Bakugou cupped Kitamura's chin and used his thumb to softly tug her bottom lip free. In a daze, Kitamura's eyes were set on Bakugou's, watching him with curiosity as her heart fluttered in her chest and her stomach spun. Did he really just do that?

"You made your lip bleed," he mumbled as he swiped his thumb over her lip to clear a tiny bead of blood off. He kept his hold on her for just a moment longer as he watched her lip tremble from his touch.

"Oh," she whispered, and Bakugou asked the one question she didn't want to answer. "What were you thinking about?"

"N-nothing!" Her quick response and the heat on her cheeks gave her away instantly. "Ooooooh," he laughed. "You're thinking about sex because of what I said, huh?"

Bakugou took a step closer to Kitamura and she took a step back but knew resistance was futile as she felt her back hit a buildings wall.

"Of course not!" She looked away but he used his finger to tilt her chin forward so she had no choice but to face him. "Don't lie to me, Thumper. That's my one god damn rule, alright?"

"Fine, I was! Sue me or whatever. I don't even care."

She's so cute when she's flustered, he thought.

His lips curved into a smile as he glanced down and noticed her hands trembling. "If you don't care then why are your hands shaking?"

"Fuck off, Katsuki." She grumbled as she rolled her eyes and his smile grew as her eyes widened and she realized the mistake she'd made. "Sorry," she sighed. "I don't know why that even slipped."

"It's fine, Kaiya."

--

The next morning, both Bakugou and Kitamura woke up to the same text.

Sero: WHAT THE FUCK?!

Sero: *picture attached.*

Bakugou rubbed his eyes before he tapped on the image to view it. He sighed when he saw the picture was of him and Kitamura the night before, with her back against the wall, looking up at him with big eyes as he held her chin in his hand, gazing down at her. The caption read, "Ground Zero Warms Up To Potential New Girlfriend."

He ran a hand through his hair. "Fuck."

Meanwhile in her apartment in downtown Hosu, Kitamura had a similar reaction but with more gusto. "FUCK," she shouted within her apartment, uncaring if her neighbors would be woken or not by her outburst.

A picture taken one time in a public space she could understand, but this was in private outside her home. She wasn't someone who often felt unsafe, but today she did. Today the entire city would know where she lived and that she was interested in Bakugou. Everyone.

There was no mistaking this picture, no missed communication or mixed messages. This tabloid caught the right moment at the right time that left no guessing for neither her nor the rest of the world; Bakugou was interested in her.

What she didn't know was the depth of that interest. Was he looking for a rebound? A friends with benefits situation? She didn't know and she wasn't sure she was ready to find out. She was enjoying getting to know him better and this conversation was not one she was in a rush to have.

Sero: Kai?

She guessed she didn't reply fast enough and worried that her friend was beginning to feel left out of the loop.

Kitamura: Well, that picture is quite damning.

Sero: Safe to say you're no longer one of the guys...

Kitamura: I guess not, Han.

Kitamura: I'm sorry.

Incoming call from Sero

Kitamura cursed under her breath; she really didn't want to talk about this with anyone. She inhaled deeply and picked up the phone, "Hey, Han," her groggy voice called through the phone. "How are you?"

"Are you sleeping with Bakugou?" Sero, who was livid, jumped straight to the point. "Because I'm so not okay with that, Kaiya. Why would you even do that? Why wo-"

Kitamura felt herself growing angrier by the second as heat rushed to her face and her lips pursed. "I'm not," she started. "And even if I was, it'd be none of your business."

Sero's eyebrows knitted together as he frowned at her response, but at least he knew they hadn't gotten that far... there's still hope for him, right? There's got to be...

Sero thought back to that day Kitamura's mother forbade her from coming home, the day that they truly became best friends. He knew it to be one of the saddest and happiest days for him because that's the day she told him everything, the day she began to fully trust him.

Since that day, Kitamura and Sero kept no secrets from each other but now that was now beginning to change as Sero hid his feelings from her and she hid her feelings for Bakugou from him.

"I feel really far away from you," he sighed into his cell phone. "I thought you'd tell me about stuff like this."

Kitamura's heart squeezed in her chest as guilt flooded through her, "I figured you wouldn't want to know..."

"Well, I do, Kai. I don't want you to hide things from me..." How he could say such a hypocritical thing was beyond him, but in this moment he had to know - he needed to know. "Are you in love with him?"

This, at least, was a question Kitamura knew she could answer without hesitation because while she did have romantic feelings for him, they didn't have a chance to develop that far...yet. "No."

He exhaled, his breath over the speaker on his phone made a loud crackling sound in Kitamura's ear. "Are you still going to um, go to the banquet with me or are you going with him now?"

"You really think I'd ditch you?" She scoffed. "Thanks, Sero. Glad you think so highly of me."

"Kai, it's not like that. I ju-"

"I've got to get ready for work, I'll see you on Friday. Or some other time since I've clearly ruined that for myself."

She hung up the phone and tossed it onto her phone. She hadn't the patience to deal with this so early in the morning and before her first cup of coffee.

Kitamura's phone buzzed once and she didn't bother to look, figuring it was probably Sero. But when it buzzed two more times curiosity got the best of her.

Sero: I'm sorry.

Bakugou: Don't worry about that shitty fucking picture, dumb ass.

Unknown number: Hey Kitamura! It's Mina Ashido! I heard you need to go shopping for the banquet? I do too, let's go together. Saturday?

Kitamura bit down on her lip when she saw Bakugou had texted her and when she felt a sharp sting, she had remembered the night before in detail. Well, she remembered the important parts in detail. She sighed loudly and flopped back down onto her bed, hiding her big smile into her pillow at the memory of his intense gaze locked onto her and only her. Somehow with just a look, Bakugou was able to make her feel like they were the only two people in the world, and when she pulled up the picture on her phone once again, she could even see that in the image.

Kitamura: Picture? What picture?

Bakugou: Fuck off. There's no way tape boy didn't message it to you too.

Kitamura: Thanks, Bakugou.

Bakugou: Don't be fuckin' weird about it like last time. I don't want to come to your shitty apartment to drag you to the pub on Friday.

Bakugou: You're going whether you like it or not.

Kitamura: Now that's just rude.

Bakugou: Deal with it, Thumper.

 

Chapter Text

Sero breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Kitamura walk through the door of the pub the following Friday night. He pushed his stool away and rushed over to her, stopping only a mere foot away.

"I'm so sorry, Kaiya," he apologized, holding out his arms and hoping she'd accept his offer of a hug. She did and simply walked into his arms. Once they were clasped around her, Sero felt her body relax and he laughed, "You could've just texted me back if you were that stressed about it."

"I'm sorry too, Han," she apologized and gave him a quick squeeze before tapping his back twice, signaling she was done with the hug with her signature 'pat out'.

Sero didn't let go, instead, he nuzzled his face into her honey-scented hair, wanting nothing more than to be close with her. "I was worried," he sighed.

Kitamura tried to shimmy away but he still wasn't having it, he had exactly what he wanted in his arms and he wasn't going to let her go. She laughed awkwardly and patted his back once more before going limp. "Hey, buddy. Hug is over."

Bakugou, whose eyes hadn't left Kitamura's form since the moment she walked through the door, had finally caught her gaze. She shrugged about her current situation but smiled anyway. It was just Sero after all, he's harmless even if she wasn't exactly comfortable.

Bakugou rolled his eyes but decided to come to her rescue and tapped on Sero's shoulder, "Did she or did she not tell you to fuckin' stop?"

"Fuck off, Bakugou." Sero let her go and she exhaled, finally getting some personal space as she took a step away.

"Act like a fucking decent human being for once." He spat before he turned back toward his seat, making eye contact with Kitamura as if to invite her as well.

She took a step to follow and Sero lightly grabbed her wrist and tugged her closer, his voice lowered so only she could hear. "Was I being disrespectful? It's just a hug, I didn't think you'd mind."

Her eyes met Bakugou's as he watched their further interaction with a furrowed brow. "I was a bit uncomfortable, Hanta..."

Sero frowned. "So it's uncomfortable when I hug you but if it were Bakugou it wouldn't be?"

Kitamura sighed, "The hug wasn't the uncomfortable part. It was that each time I tried to end it, you wouldn't let me, Han. I'd be uncomfortable if anyone did that," she explained. "It just so happened that Bakugou noticed my attempts and wanted to help."

"I just wanted to be close to you after fighting...I thought you hated me." He murmured, tucking a strand of her black hair behind her ear. If it were Bakugou, she knew she would have blushed, but with Sero it just didn't feel quite right...

She took a half-step away and he let go of her wrist and mumbled an apology. Kitamura reached up and ruffled his hair. "I could never hate you. Just relax and let's be our normal selves, yeah?"

He nodded and half-heartedly muttered, "Yeah...our normal selves."

Kitamura smiled and quickly walked toward Bakugou, who was checking her out as she got closer to the empty seat beside him. He admired her figure in the tight black jeans she was wearing, complemented by the black deep v-neck shirt she had tucked into them. Her straight hair cascaded down to her waist and swayed with each step she took, entrancing Bakugou as she approached the seat beside him.

"Took you long enough, shitty girl." Kitamura scoffed playfully, "Me? Shitty?"

Bakugou smirked and raised a hand to get the attention of the bartender, "Yep."

She nudged his arm as she sat down, an action that didn't go unnoticed by Kirishima who was on Bakugou's other side. His lips turned up slightly but when he turned back to talk to Sero, the look on his other friends face worried him. "You okay, man?"

Sero, who was frowning as he leaned over the bar to keep an eye on Kitamura, simply nodded and returned his gaze to the drink in his hands.

It was obvious to everyone that things were escalating between Bakugou and Kitamura, and for Kirishima, who had hoped they'd get together all along, seeing Sero like this was an 'ah-ha' moment. Of course Sero had a thing for Kitamura, why hadn't he seen it earlier?

Kirishima patted Sero's shoulder, "It's okay, pal. We'll find you someone else, yeah?"

Sero shook his head before gulping back the rest of his half full glass of beer, hoping to dull his heartache. "I don't want someone else," he grumbled, wiping his mouth with his sweaters sleeve.

The redhead sighed and gave a sympathetic smile, "Sorry."

"There's still the banquet...we're going together. Maybe if I-"

Sero's thought was interrupted by Kitamura laughing loudly. He leaned over and watched as she almost fell off her chair, Bakugou saving the day as he swiftly wrapped his arm around her waist to keep her upright and pulled her closer to him.

"Nevermind," Sero muttered under his breath.

----

Calming elevator music played softly overhead as Mina Ashido and Kitamura went on their shopping trip to a department store the following afternoon to find outfits for the heroes banquet next weekend. In the middle of an aisle, Ashido held up a short, cherry red body con dress and Kitamura wrinkled her nose as she laughed, "Ashido, there is no way in hell I'm wearing that."

Ashido smirked, "But you'd look so hot in it." She added the garment to her handful of hangers and shrugged. "You're at least trying it on. If you still hate it then I will accept your opinion."

"Fine," Kitamura sighed and continued walking. A moment later she found herself standing in front of a mannequin wearing the most beautiful dress Kitamura thought she'd ever seen. She gazed up at it longingly, admiring how it hugged the plastic body perfectly, only flowing out from it's form-fitting style once it was down to the knee when it draped elegantly to the floor, leaving enough room for semi-comfortable leg movement. The thin straps around the shoulders held up a beautiful, albeit low cut, sweetheart neckline bodice that she knew would suit her.

Kitamura reached out and gingerly touched the soft black fabric and watched as the subtle sparkles caught the light as she moved it in her hand. Ashido noticed her admiring the dress and walked over to the rack to pick one up. Kitamura's eyes flickered over to Ashido, "It's black, don't bother."

"You can't ogle a dress like that and not try it on, Kita," she insisted as she grabbed the dress and Kitamura's arm, dragging her towards the change rooms. "Now come on, I wanna see a fashion show!"

Ashido shoved five dresses hangers into Kitamura's hand and opened up a thick curtain for one of the department stores changing rooms and slapped Kitamura's ass as she walked into it.

Kitamura burst out laughing and looked over her shoulder at the woman behind her. "Nice ass," Ashido grinned and made a shooing motion with her hands, encouraging Kitamura to change.

After tucking a lock of wavy cotton candy pink hair behind her ear, Ashido took a seat across from Kitamura's change room, which was the first stall in the sequence of curtained-off rooms, and there was a full-length mirror a few feet away beside the last changing room.

The first dress Kitamura tried on was a simple A-line dress with a scoop neck in a royal purple. She opened the curtain and Ashido immediately made a farting sound with her mouth. "Hate it. Next."

"I didn't even get to look in the mirror," Kitamura complained but her friend shrugged. "You don't need to. You look great, but it's just too plain. Ooh! Try on that black one next!"

"Ashido, there's no point. I'm not going to buy it anyway," she rolled her eyes and closed the curtain. After putting the purple dress back on its hanger, she took off the red dress Ashido had picked out and wiggled into it.

Kitamura slid open the curtain and walked out of the room and closer to where Ashido was sitting. The rosy-hued woman smiled widely and stood before grabbing Kitamura's hand and pulling her closer to the mirror.

Kitamura tilted her head to the side as she studied herself, smoothing out the wrinkles in the dress as before she moved to see the dress from different angles. "It looks so good, Kita. Sero is going to die when he sees you in this."

The ravenette hummed and continued to study the dress. Sure it fit her well enough and it did highlight her ass quite nicely, but she just didn't feel like the red complimented her skin tone.

"My skin looks pasty against this shade of red," she complained, chewing on the inside of her cheek as she judged herself.

"Oh shut up, it looks great! You should get this one," Ashido insisted. As she looked in the mirror at her friend, she caught the reflection of a familiar person walking past and her eyes lit up. She turned around and took off like a speeding bullet to grab the man she saw passing by. "Bakugou!"

Bakugou, who was getting a tie and trying to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, threw his head back with a groan. He knew from her voice it was Ashido and he also knew that she was the hardest person to escape as she could outrun a cheetah, so he just stopped in his tracks and hoped for the best. "What?"

"We need your help. Come with me."

"I've got things to do, Pinky. I don't have time for your bullshit today." He crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at her, hoping to intimidate her slightly.

Ashido rolled her eyes, "It'll only take a second. I just need you to convince Kitamura of something. Come on!"

Hearing her name immediately interested him and he remembered that Kitamura had mentioned something about shopping with Ashido the previous weekend. A smile crept onto the rosy-hued woman's face as she knew she had him and she began to wonder if the rumors really were true. Did Bakugou have a crush?

"Whatever," Bakugou grumbled and Ashido squealed with anticipation, pulling him along toward the women's changing rooms.

When Ashido had run away and she heard her shout Bakugou's name, Kitamura's heart started to thump in her chest. Was Bakugou there? Did she want him to see her in this? Did she want his opinion? Would it be weird? The answer to the last question was an obvious yes and so she decided to head back to her change room before Ashido returned.

Unfortunately for her, the pair she was trying to avoid arrived just as she reached the curtain to her room. Bakugou pursed his lips when he saw her, his eyes glued to her exposed legs for a long moment before they traveled up and took in the rest of her outfit.

"Sorry," Kitamura mumbled toward Bakugou, shyly turning her head to the side to avoid eye contact.

Ashido, who was now standing a bit further back to give herself a better view, noticed Kitamura's face began to flush and saw her start fidgeting under Bakugou's gaze. To Ashido, this was interesting...very interesting.

"Don't be sorry. Not your fault this bitch is so demanding," he responded, crossing his arms in front of his chest in an effort to stop himself from reaching out to touch Kitamura's bare arms to confirm if her skin was indeed as soft as it looked.

"So Bakugou, what do you think? Come back here, it's a better view," Ashido instructed and he, surprisingly, did as he was told.

Kitamura awkwardly stood in place and bit her lip as she watched Bakugou give her a good once over, checking her out with no shame since he was prompted to. "I'm surprised it's not black."

"Sero said anything but black, remember?" Kitamura sighed and brushed a piece of hair away from her cheek.

Bakugou scoffed, "Fuck him, you're the one who has to wear it."

"He's the one who has to look at it all night," she pointed out.

Bakugou scoffed. "Him and everyone else. Do you want to wear black?"

"Well, yes bu-"

"Then fuckin' do it. Who gives a shit what that idiot said."

"Hey Kita, why don't you try on that dress you were staring at. The black one," Ashido smiled kindly at her. Kitamura's gaze returned to Bakugou and he shrugged, "Don't look at me, it's your choice, Thumper."

Kitamura nodded and entered her changing room. Maybe she should wear what she wanted... I mean, Sero wouldn't be upset, right? It's just a dress.

She stared at the black dress as she shimmied out of her current one and mindlessly hung it back on its hanger. She unzipped the low scoop back zipper of the black one before she stepped into it and gently tugged it up. When Kitamura went to re-zip the back it felt like it snagged and she cursed.

"What's wrong, sweetie?" Ashido called out.

"Zipper's stuck," Kitamura sighed.

"Just hold it together and come out. We can fix it out here."

With a silent roll of her eyes, Kitamura did as she was told. She walked out anxiously holding her dress together at the small of her back, hoping that the dress looked okay on her and when she looked up at Bakugou and saw him blushing, she knew it looked more than okay.

To Bakugou, she looked like a dream. The neckline was flattering and showed off her chest while the bodice hugged her curves as if it were made for her and highlighted her round ass in the best way possible. The only thing that didn't make it look like it was made for her was that it was a few inches too long, but that would be an easy fix and in no way did it take away from how exquisite he thought she looked at this moment.

Ashido, who couldn't help but notice the Katsuki Bakugou blushing at the sight of Kitamura, couldn't resist getting them closer together. "Bakugou, why don't you fix the zipper for her."

His eyes flickered up to Kitamura's, silently asking for permission and she turned around. Bakugou placed his hand ever so gently on top of hers, his soft touch making her tense as her mind began to race alongside her heart. He smirked and took a step closer to her.

"Relax Kaiya," he soothed and she took a deep breath to try and do just that, though the sound of her given name falling from his lips had her practically melting like ice cream on a hot summer day.

With his free hand, Bakugou gathered her jet black locks and brushed them over her shoulder, leaving almost her entire back exposed to him in the most alluring way.

He unclutched the fabric in his hand and found the zipper, which was indeed caught on a piece of the dresses soft fabric. Kitamura turned and peered over her shoulder at Bakugou."Please tell me I didn't ruin the dress."

Bakugou tugged the zipper down using a bit more force than he should've and he felt Kitamura's sharp inhale, holding her breath anxiously. "The dress is fine." He confirmed for her. He placed his palm flat against her bare skin and used the other to zip the small zipper up the small of her back.

Kitamura's heart palpitated the moment he touched her and she found herself wishing that this could happen more often as she loved the warmth that radiated off of him. She quietly gasped when she felt his fingers brush against her neck as he took her hair and fanned it out in its original position to flow down her back like a curtain of silk.

Ashido watched in awe as Bakugou carefully arranged Kitamura's hair and her heart warmed. She'd never seen him so gentle and calm. Katsuki Bakugou calm. It wasn't something she anticipated ever seeing but here it was, right in front of her face. She felt a small tug in her chest as she knew that she was supposed to be Sero's wingman today, but after seeing this... well how could she not root for Bakugou?

Ashido raised her phone up and quickly took a picture, capturing the exact moment that Kitamura looked over her shoulder at Bakugou with a subtle blush and small smile to thank him, while Bakugou softly gazed into her eyes.

Naturally, Ashido had forgotten her phone makes a snap sound every time it takes a picture and both Bakugou and Kitamura's heads turned in her direction, remembering that there was indeed someone else present at this moment. Kitamura's blush deepened and she bit her lip while Bakugou just cursed. "For fuck sake. Why the hell are you taking pictures, raccoon eyes?!"

Ashido cringed and held it up to show them, "It was too good to pass up. I'll send it to you both!" She quickly did so and both of their phones dinged.

Kitamura looked down at the dress, picked up the bottom since it was too long, and walked down to the mirror. She couldn't help the smile that curved her lips upward, she felt like a million bucks as her eyes traveled down the mirror but her smile faded as she kicked the excess fabric a little with her foot.

"Just get it tailored. It suits you," Bakugou chimed in, admiring her reflection before meeting her eyes in the mirror. "You'd be an idiot to buy that other dress after having put this one on."

Kitamura's gaze flickered over to Ashido's and she smiled, "He's right. You should wear this, who cares if it's black. You look like you're ready to walk the red carpet."

"Know any good seamstresses?"

"Bakugou does. He gets almost everything tailored. Probably get his t-shirts done too!" Ashido chuckled and Bakugou rolled his eyes but pulled his phone out of his pocket and texted Kitamura a phone number.

"Thanks, Katsuki," she smiled.

-

When Kitamura returned home from her shopping date with Ashido, the first thing she did was look at the picture she had been sent. She bit her lip as she inspected it carefully for a few long moments before sighing when she noticed the length of her dress in the picture, reminding her to call the seamstress that Bakugou suggested.

She dialed the number and held her phone up, wedging it between her shoulder and her ear so she had her hands free to play with the fabric of her new dress.

"Hello?" A woman answered.

"Oh, yes. Hello, I'm hoping you have some time available tomorrow to hem a dress? I'm sorry it's short notice, but my friend Katsuki Bakugou recommended you."

"Whom may I ask is calling?" Their tone sounded a bit annoyed, but Kitamura chalked it up to her not introducing herself.

"Right! I'm so sorry! My name is Kaiya Kitamura," Kitamura grimaced.

"Yes!" The woman's tone took a 360-degree turn, sounding much more enthusiastic."Tomorrow works. Noon. Did he give you the address?"

"Yes, he did. Thank you so much!" Kitamura breathed a sigh of relief knowing that she was in good hands and that she'd be able to get this all settled tomorrow.

"I'll see you then."

 

Chapter Text

The train ride to Musutafu was uneventful yet Kitamura still found herself smiling. She was excited to have this dress altered to fit her properly, but mostly she was just still daydreaming about her moment with Bakugou the day before and the photo Ashido took.

She pulled it up on her phone for the hundredth time since she woke up and her lips pulled upward as she studied Bakugou's face. His eyes were intense yet soft and focused only on hers while his expression was gentle as well, something she was beginning to see more often from him. His hand was hovering over her upper arm, not quite touching it but close enough that she could still remember the warmth it gave off. Bakugou's hair was messy yet tamed in it's typical way while even in his t-shirt and jeans he was looking like he just walked out of a men's fashion magazine. How could he make everything look so good?

She sighed happily as her chest warmed along with the thoughts of Bakugou. She wondered what he would be wearing to the banquet but she knew that whatever he chose would look like it was made for him. Thinking of the banquet brought forward another thought for Kitamura: was Bakugou bringing a date?

Her eyebrows gently furrowed at the thought and she wished that maybe, just maybe if Sero hadn't had asked her first that Bakugou would have. Kitamura ran a hand through her hair and shook her head, he wouldn't. It would've just added to the rumours. He's probably bringing some gorgeous model or something anyway.

When Kitamura arrived at her destination, she tilted her head in slight confusion. It wasn't a business store front as she'd anticipated; it was a house. She cautiously walked up to the door and knocked on it twice, ready to quickly apologize if needed in case Bakugou accidentally gave her the wrong address.

The door swung open and revealed a woman with hair eerily similar to Bakugou's. "Kitamura, come in! Welcome to our home," she smiled.

Kitamura let out the breath she was holding in and smiled, "Thank you. Um, I hope this isn't rude but my friend Bakugou didn't tell me your name, what should I call you?"

The woman fought back a smirk, "Please call me Mitsuki, dear."

"Oh, wonderful. You can call me Kaiya if you'd like or my surname. Whatever you prefer, Mitsuki. It's lovely to meet you," Kitamura smiled sweetly and Mitsuki returned it.

"Likewise. Now please, come in," she instructed as she took the shopping bag with the dress out of Kitamura's hand.

Mitsuki, who was jumping for god damn joy that her son had, in her eyes, thrown her a frickin bone here, grinned as Kitamura walked through her house and to their living room as she had directed. She knew from her previous conversation with her son the night before, right after Kitamura had phoned her, that he wasn't going to come, but Mitsuki was determined to see them together and whipped out her phone to start annoying him into making an appearance.

Mitsuki: She's so pretty! You better not fuck this up!

Katsuki: Fuck off, hag. Don't be fuckin' weird with her today either.

Mitsuki: I think I'll show her that one baby picture of you where you're naked in the bathroom.

Katsuki: NO YOU FUCKING WON'T!

Mitsuki: You bet your ass I will, you little shit.

Kitamura sat down on the couch facing a large television against a wall of school photos when she realized where she actually was and felt like an idiot. Her eyes widened and her face flushed but when she glanced at Mitsuki and saw she was preoccupied with her phone, she just had to get a closer look at those pictures of Bakugou.

She walked over to the wall and stood in front of it with a shit-eating grin, looking at the few pictures of Bakugou throughout his youth. Mitsuki watched with a smug smile as Kitamura brought out her phone and took a picture of the photo of Bakugou when he was ten and looking very awkward with a half scowl on his face, clearly, he didn't want his photo taken that day.

Kitamura: *image attached*

Kitamura: Your mom's nice.

Bakugou: Don't believe any fuckin thing she says.

Kitamura: It's super cute that your mom tailors your clothes for you.

Bakugou: Fuck off, Thumper. Just get your shit done.

Kitamura: Thanks for your help, Sourpuss.

Bakugou: Whatever.

Kitamura's smile was interrupted by Mitsuki clearing her throat. "Who are you texting?" She inquired with a mischievous smile that somehow put Kitamura at ease.

"Apparently your son," Kitamura laughed. "I'm really sorry to inconvenience you, Mrs. Bakugou, I didn't know. I only knew that Bakugou gets his clothes fitted and I needed a recommendation."

"Ah, well my husband and I are in the fashion industry, I practically sew for a living so you're in capable hands." Mitsuki peeked into the bag before holding it out for Kitamura. "Why don't you put this on so I can see what needs to be done."

Kitamura nodded and took one last look at the photos on the wall. She laughed quietly and then took the bag, following Mitsuki's directions to the bathroom to change.

When she entered the room again Mitsuki wolf-whistled, easing any anxiety that Kitamura had left. "It's a beautiful dress, isn't it?" Kitamura beamed as she did a quick twirl.

"On a beautiful woman! Look at you!" Mitsuki put her hands on her hips as she stepped back to get a full view. "So obviously it's just the length that's the issue. An easy fix."

"Phew, that's good," Kitamura smiled. "I'd hate to create a lot of work for you, Mitsuki."

"Oh, hush. For you, anything." Mitsuki winked and took a little box of pins out of her pocket. "Just stand still, okay?"

As Mitsuki began to pin the dress her thoughts began to wander further to her son... why wasn't that little bastard here with her? She wanted to see them together so she could truly judge if she thought they'd be a good match.

"Kaiya, dear. Could you do me a favor?" She asked as she folded up another small section of the dress. Kitamura hummed, "Of course."

"Great. Could you text Katsuki and tell him to get his lazy ass over here for dinner tonight?"

Kitamura giggled, "I can do that."

Kitamura: Your mom says to get your lazy ass over here for dinner.

Bakugou: You're staying for dinner?

Kitamura: No, she just asked me to text you for her.

Bakugou: That means you're staying for dinner, idiot.

Kitamura: Don't make assumptions, Dingus.

Bakugou: Dingus? Fuck, are you high right now?

Kitamura stifled a laugh that caught Mitsuki's attention and she smiled knowingly. "What's that dumbass saying?"

"He's making assumptions about me staying for dinner and I called him a Dingus," she laughed.

Mitsuki smirked, "You are staying for dinner, I thought that was implied."

"Oh," Kitamura breathed. "I wouldn't want to cause you any more hassle, Mitsuki. You're already doing me a huge favor."

"It's no hassle, really. I'd love to get to know the girl in the pictures better." Mitsuki's smirk had Kitamura's face bloom with a vibrant blush. She had thought it had blown over, but of course a mother would want to know...well, a good mother.

"I-it's nothing, Mitsuki," Kitamura stuttered, not even believing herself. Mitsuki finished up with her pin placing and stood up, resting a hand on Kitamura's cheek as she spoke kindly, "No need to lie, Kaiya."

Kitamura exhaled and let her shoulders slump as she met Mitsuki's eyes, "That last one was pretty damning, wasn't it?"

"Mhmm." Mitsuki patted Kitamura's cheek. "Now carefully take this off and bring it back please," she then turned away. "I'm going to be in the kitchen prepping dinner."

After changing, Kitamura texted Bakugou to let him know what was happening.

Kitamura: Guess I'm staying for dinner after all.

Bakugou: Told you, dumbass.

Kitamura: Ouch.

Bakugou: I'm on my way, stay away from the bitch if you can.

She rolled her eyes at their conversation and walked with the dress into the kitchen, where she found Mitsuki chopping vegetables. She got the vibe that even if she'd asked if she could help, Mitsuki would've declined. So instead, Kitamura draped her dress over a chair at the kitchen table and walked over to the sink to wash her hands.

After she dried them on a nearby dish towel, Kitamura looked around for another cutting board and found one leaning against the white tile backsplash beside the stove. She grabbed it as well as a large knife out of the knife block she spotted and walked over to the pile of veggies that Mitsuki had stacked beside her, making room for her cutting board so they could work side by side.

Kitamura grabbed a carrot and got started. "I hope you don't mind me helping, Mitsuki," she commented as she chopped.

Mitsuki smiled, "Not at all. Though you could've asked."

Kitamura stopped chopping and elbowed Mitsuki's arm. "We both know you would've insisted on doing it yourself had I offered."

The older woman laughed because she knew the ravenette was right and nudged her back. "Smartass."

After all the ingredients were prepped, Kitamura watched as Mitsuki assembled the curry they would be having for dinner. "Do you mind stirring occasionally while it simmers? That way I can finish up your dress at the same time."

Kitamura nodded, "Of course!"

Mitsuki gently took the garment off of the back of the wooden chair in the kitchen and left the room, leaving Kitamura alone to watch a simmering pot of spicy curry. As she got lost in watching the sea of bubbling goodness, her thoughts wandered to a specific person - Bakugou.

Would he be here soon? How would he act with her in front of his mom? Would it be awkward? Probably.

It was only ten minutes later before Bakugou arrives at his parents' place after speeding the entire way there, worrying about what crazy shit his mom was telling Kitamura. Hoping to catch his mother in the act, he quietly entered the house and was careful to latch the door silently.

After the scent of his mother's signature spicy curry invaded his nostrils, he followed it to the kitchen but was pleasantly surprised when he found only Kitamura standing in front of the stove, pushing the curry around gingerly with a wooden spoon to make sure it wouldn't burn.

He leaned against the doorway for a moment, admiring her current thoughtful position before he quietly walked up behind her and placed his chin on her shoulder. Kitamura inhaled sharply as she startled but Bakugou's low voice immediately calmed her, "It's just me."

"Oh," she breathed, her cheeks beginning to turn a light shade of pink from his bold action. Her stomach began to do flips as Bakugou let his arms snake around her waist; he just couldn't keep his hands off of her.

"Where's the old hag?"

A sentence such as that should not have been said in the alluring tone that it was and Kitamura could feel the teeny hairs on her arms stand up just from the feel of his breath on her neck, let alone the reverberation from the bass in his voice. "Hemming my dress," she replied, trying so hard not to just turn around and kiss him right now like she desperately wished she could...

Bakugou hummed and tightened his grip around her waist, pulling her closer and against his chest. He didn't want to rush anything but after seeing her in that dress yesterday it was all he could do to not just kiss her right here and right now. He couldn't stop thinking about her smooth skin, soft hair, and her smile. Fuck, that smile of hers drove him insane and there was little he wouldn't do to see it. Having her in his arms reach and not touching her would have been sheer torture and he just wasn't willing to do that to himself when he was confident that she wouldn't be bothered by being in close proximity to him.

They both quietly enjoyed the moments that followed. Kitamura only moving to occasionally stir the pot while Bakugou held her in his arms as they observed the contents on the stove.

Mitsuki's shit disturber senses were tingling and the moment she finished hemming Kitamura's dress, she snuck back into the kitchen to the doorway- where Bakugou had once studied Kitamura - and caught a glimpse of their current position. She pulled out her phone and snapped a quick picture or five before Bakugou got the eerie feeling like he was being watched.

Immediately his hands fell from Kitamura's waist and the small smile that was dancing upon her lips had fallen with them and she turned around to see Bakugou stalking towards his mother with narrowed eyes. Kitamura's face flushed with embarrassment as she didn't know what to say or do at the moment but she soon found that Bakugou sure as hell didn't have that same problem.

"What the fuck is your problem!"

"You two looked cozy, I just couldn't resist," she smirked, fueling Bakugou's anger even further. "So you thought you'd take a fuckin' picture?! Haven't we had enough of that bullshit?!"

"Oh calm the hell down, Katsuki. It's just a picture, I'll only send it to you," she informed him in a dismissive tone. "Oh, and your father."

"For fuck sake," he growled, his forehead crinkled with frustration.

Kitamura, who wanted to help diffuse the situation, turned the element on the stove off, walked up to Bakugou, and placed her hand gently on his shoulder. "Hey," she spoke softly, letting her hand fall slightly to his back and begin to rub between his shoulder blades. "Who cares? It's just your mom, Katsuki."

He exhaled before glancing back at Kitamura and meeting her calm gaze, releasing the tension he had held in his shoulders. "Whatever," he sighed in defeat.

A small smile traveled across Mitsuki's lips as she watched Kitamura calm her son down so quickly and took note of the fact that they were, at least occasionally, on a first-name basis. She glanced over at the stove, "That curry looks perfect, Kaiya. Why don't I dish it up while you two take a seat in the dining room."

Bakugou led Kitamura to the dining room and pulled out a chair for her, tucking it underneath as she sat down. She thanked him with a small blush on her cheeks and he sat down beside her before slipping his hand underneath her chair and pulling it closer to his so that their legs were flush with one another. Kitamura bit her bottom lip as she thought about how touchy-feely Bakugou had been already today and wondered if maybe today would be the day that he actually kissed her...if he even wanted to that is.

Bakugou watched Kitamura chewing anxiously on her lip out of the corner of his eye. He couldn't stop thinking about her lips already, but seeing her bottom lip trapped between her teeth like that made him wonder how supple they'd feel between his teeth.

Without thinking, something that was happening a lot when he was around Kitamura, Bakugou captured her chin between his thumb and finger, making her look at him. Her head tilted to the side slightly as curiosity shone in her eyes. Bakugou lips twitched up into a smirk and he leaned in, leaving their lips only mere inches apart. "Every time you bite your lip it makes me want to bite it myself," husked Bakugou.

Her teeth released their prisoner and she studied his intense crimson eyes as she whispered her reply, "And why don't you?"

The sound of the front door opening and swinging shut broke the tension between them as Kitamura jumped away from Bakugou as if they were teenagers getting caught in the act. He chuckled at her childish response before he called out, "Hey, old man."

"Katsuki! What a lovely surprise," his father greeted and turned the corner to see Kitamura sitting beside his son. "Oh, and we have a guest. Who's this?"

Kitamura pushed out her chair and stood up, offering her hand to him. "Kaiya Kitamura, sir."

"Masaru Bakugou," He chuckled. "So formal."

"Hah...sorry." Kitamura blushed and rubbed the back of her neck as she returned to her seat, avoiding the amused gaze of Bakugou beside her.

Masaru headed into the kitchen and greeted his wife with a kiss on the cheek. "That's the woman from the tabloids, right?"

Mitsuki grinned and nodded before she pulled out her phone and showed her husband the picture that she took ten minutes earlier. Masaru's eyes softened as he studied the image, looking at how relaxed his son seemed and the small smile that was on his face as he held onto Kitamura's waist. "I hope it works out for them," he murmured into his wife's ear as he placed another kiss on her cheek. "Dinner smells delicious."

-

The moment that Kitamura had cleared her plate, Bakugou spoke up. "Alright, we're leaving."

Kitamura burst out laughing, "Jeez, someone's antsy."

Bakugou scoffed, "We stayed for dinner, we ate said dinner, now we can fuckin' leave. That's how this shit works."

"I didn't even get to see any embarrassing baby pictures though! This will not do," Kitamura crossed her arms playfully and winked at Mitsuki across the table who just shook her head knowingly with a small laugh.

"Not again," he groaned. "We just fuckin' did that."

"Again?"

Bakugou's eyes widened as he realized his mistake. They hadn't done that but he had with Togata right before they broke up. "Fuck."

Mitsuki cringed across the table and waited to see how Kitamura would react before stepping in to try and help her dumbass son clean up this mess.

"Oh," Kitamura exhaled. "With Togata, you mean." She scratched behind her ear uncomfortably. "Well, t-that's okay. Another time, maybe. I did get to see that horrendous pre-teen school photo of you so that will tide me over."

"Oh fuck off, it's not that bad."

"It's pretty bad," Kitamura laughed and Mitsuki joined in as well. "She's right, you know."

"Fuck you, you ancient bitch! If it's that bad then why do you even fucking hang it up!"

"Because it's funny, obviously," Mitsuki smirked at her son. "I always hope people notice it when they come over."

Bakugou took a deep breath, making it obvious to Kitamura that he was about to shout more at his mother and she placed her hand on top of his on the table. "Maybe you were right, we should get going."

As soon as her skin touched his, the anger he'd felt had dissipated and all he could think of was the first time he had held her hand weeks ago in her apartment, but this time she initiated it. That was a good sign, right? "Yeah, whatever. Let's go."

 

Chapter Text

Every time Bakugou glanced over at Kitamura on the drive back to Hosu she looked deep in thought and it was pissing him off. Why wasn't she talking to him? Was she upset that she met his parents? Was it because he almost kissed her before dinner? Or that they left so abruptly?

After five more silent minutes, he just couldn't take it anymore. "What's wrong?"

Kitamura, who was busy freaking out in a good way about what Mitsuki had whispered to her before they left, hummed in response. "Hmm? Nothing's wrong, why?"

"Normally I can't get you to shut up but here you are being as silent as a fuckin' mouse. I can tell something's up so just spit it out already." His attempt to mask his concern was not successful and it made Kitamura's lips twitch up into a smile. She figured she probably shouldn't tell him that when she hugged his mother goodbye, the woman whispered 'You're perfect for him' into her ear.

"I was just thinking about how much you look like your mom," she smirked. At the stoplight, Bakugou looked over to her and caught the playful glint in her eye that made his heart feel light as a feather. "Fuck off. I'm sure you look exactly like one of your parents too."

The light in Kitamura's eyes dimmed instantly at the mention of her own family. Her smirk fell and her lips defaulted into a straight line as she breathed her response, "You're right. I do."

Her quiet tone had warning sirens going off in Bakugou's head and he knew he was now navigating a sensitive topic but what he didn't know was what to say next. Part of him wanted to ask about it, he wanted to know more about her and who she was but at the same time, he hated to see her shine dulled. He didn't want to be the one who put her in a bad mood, he only ever wanted to see her smile and hear her melodious laugh.

Kitamura, who wasn't oblivious to the instant change in her demeanor, felt guilty for putting Bakugou in an awkward situation. "Sorry...my family isn't exactly uh, functional," she explained.

Bakugou let out a breath, "Sorry for bringing it up, Kaiya."

At the sound of her name her eyes flicked up to Bakugou's and even though his were focused on the road, she didn't need to peer directly into them to know he was being sincere. Kitamura slowly moved her hand closer to Bakugou and was about to place it on his arm when he turned the wheel and she second-guessed herself, retracting her hand and letting it rest on the center console between them.

The ash-blond felt his heart race when he saw that she was going to touch him and he scolded himself internally about getting worked up over such an innocent gesture, but when she didn't complete it, he had to fight off a frown from appearing on his face. Bakugou noticed she left her arm resting on the console between them and her hand dangled off the end. He took a hand off of the leather steering wheel of his BMW 8-series and wiped it on his pants to make sure it wasn't sweaty before he placed it on top of hers, weaving his fingers into the spaces left by hers.

Kitamura smiled softly and bit her lip as she registered his touch but then couldn't stifle the giggle that escaped her lips. Bakugou became incredibly self-conscious and began to think that he had made a wrong call. "The fuck you laughin' at, Thumper?"

"I was thinking about how considerate it was that you wiped your hands on your pants before you held my hand," she grinned cheekily at him and he felt his cheeks begin to warm. "You want to deal with fuckin' sweaty hands then? Fine. I won't wipe them off next time," he grumbled.

"Next time?" Her eyebrow raised at him and she watched as his face flushed into a deeper rosy shade but that didn't stop him from squeezing her hand in response. "Yeah. Next time."

Kitamura sighed contentedly and smiled down at their clasped hands with her heart on fire with affection for the man beside her. Only a moment later Bakugou parked his car in front of Kitamura's apartment building and they both sat there quietly, neither wanting to be the one to remove their hand first even though they knew it would have to be done.

When the ravenette finally let her eyes travel from their hands and up to Bakugou's face, she found his crimson eyes already studying her intently. She sighed and loosened her grip, letting her hand slide to her seatbelt to unbuckle it while Bakugou's hand was left in its former position as if he were waiting for her hand to return.

"Thanks for everything, Bakugou," she smiled, her hand poised on the car door handle. He scoffed, "I'm walking you to your door, don't say goodnight yet, dumb ass."

"Alright, alright. Whatever you prefer, Bakugou," she chuckled and opened up her door, slipping out of the seat with ease.

When they reached her building's main entrance she quickly unlocked it and as soon as her hand was free, Bakugou picked it up. Their eyes met for a moment before Kitamura shyly looked away with a small smile, leaving Bakugou thinking about how sweet she looked at that moment.

Kitamura stopped in front of her apartment door and looked up into Bakugou's eyes with a soft expression. "Well...this is my stop."

Bakugou rolled his eyes but he smiled, "God, you're such a dork."

"Don't act like you don't like it, Bakugou," Kitamura shrugged, her soft expression instantly becoming more playful in an endearing way.

"You can stop that, you know," He said as he firmed his grip on her hand. Kitamura tilted her head to the side with confusion, her hair falling slightly into her face as she did so. "Stop what?"

Bakugou took a step closer to her, once again leaving only inches between them, and used his free hand to brush her hair over her shoulder and away from her face. "Stop calling me by my surname." He pulled her hand up to his lips and held eye contact with her as he placed a kiss on the top of her hand.

"Goodnight, Kaiya," he murmured against her smooth skin before placing her hand down at her side and breezing away, not giving her a chance to respond because the soft blush on her face was response enough for him.

Kitamura gaped at Bakugou's retreating form as she felt only the lingering warmth of Bakugou's kiss on her hand along with the thump thump thump of her heart.

"Goodnight, Katsuki," she whispered, a hint of a smile playing upon her plump lips.

---

The next week passed slowly as Bakugou knew he wouldn't be seeing Kitamura again until Friday at the pub. As Kaminari and Bakugou were patrolling Thursday after wrapping up a takedown of a few minor villains an hour earlier, a buzz in his pocket made his lips pull up into a small smile because he knew who it was.

Kitamura: You really should be nicer to those reporters, they're just doing their jobs you know.

Bakugou: Then they should stop asking stupid fuckin questions and maybe I'd be nicer.

Kitamura: Also, saw your fan club. Yikes.

Bakugou: You're just jealous.

Kitamura: Of a gaggle of eighteen-year-olds fawning all over you? Never.

Kitamura: Okay, maybe a little.

Bakugou chuckled aloud, catching Kaminari's attention. "OooOOOOOOooo. Who's the hottie of the day, Bakugou?"

Bakugou's smile fell and his eyes narrowed to glare at his partner, "What's that supposed to mean jackass?"

"Don't you usually get a few numbers slipped into your pocket after your little fan club comes around? Figured you'd be texting one of them, Bakubro."

"Don't be fucking stupid. I wouldn't be caught dead with a woman like that," he growled before bringing his attention back to his conversation with the woman he was actually interested in, only to be interrupted again.

"Well, who is it then, man? You barely smile after that shit with Togata and now look at your dumb lovestruck face!" Kaminari laughed and nudged Bakugou's arm.

Bakugou shoved Kaminari, making him trip over a small rock in the middle of the sidewalk and fall on his ass. Bakugou smirked as he crossed his arms, pleased with this outcome. "She's none of your fucking business."

"You're no fun," Kaminari sighed and got up from the ground, dusting himself off as he stood. "I'll just have to find out another way."

Kaminari: Yo, who's Bakugou's new piece?

Kirishima: Bro, have you seriously not noticed?

Kaminari: Noticed what?

Kirishima: Kitamura and Bakugou, man. They definitely have something going on. Mina sent me a pic. Hold on.

Kirishima: *Image attached.*

Kaminari: FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

Kaminari: Poor Sero...

---

All eyes were on Kitamura when she walked into the pub the following evening with Sero, who picked her up from her apartment. The attention wasn't because she was being loud or was dressed a certain way, but because Kaminari and Kirishima wanted to see her interact with Bakugou whilst Bakugou just longed to see her.

Sero, who was determined to limit the amount of face time that Bakugou got with Kitamura tonight, quickly took the seat next to Bakugou before she had the chance. Kitamura's friendly smile lessened slightly but she shrugged and took the seat beside Sero on the end.

Sero patted his back jeans pocket to take out his wallet and buy himself a drink but when he felt both pockets were empty, he remembered he left it on his kitchen counter. He leaned in closer to Kitamura, "I forgot my wallet at home, mind using your quirk?"

Kitamura nodded, "You bet, Han." He placed his hand palm up on the bar and Kitamura placed her hand gingerly on top, willing her quirk to adjust Sero's blood alcohol content to as if he had just had two beers, his usual request.

Bakugou glanced over and felt a pang of jealousy when he saw their hands connected but when she opened her eyes and he noticed they were now glassy, he took a deep breath to calm himself. She was just using her quirk - the were not truly holding hands.

Kitamura brought her hand back into her lap and the goofy smile that was now present on her face made it clear that she was under the influence of her quirks downside. Two drinks to Sero felt more like four to Kitamura and she was feeling it.

Her fingers tapped against the bar as she hummed along to the song playing, Sero not paying any mind to her as he shouted over an annoyed Bakugou to talk to Kirishima. Kitamura felt a hand rest on her left shoulder and she turned to see a man about her age with messy brown hair and lilac eyes. "Hey. You're Ground Zero's new girl, right?"

She shook her head no. "I actually go by Kitamura, not by tabloid headlines."

"Sho Tatsune," he smirked. "I like your attitude, Kitamura."

She laughed, "Yeah, my attitude. That's why you came over here?"

"I came here because I saw a beautiful woman being ignored by the four men who should be paying attention to her. You deserve better, you know." Tatsune winked. "I can give you my undivided attention."

Kitamura rolled her eyes and just as she was about to speak, someone did for her. "Hey, fuckwad. We are paying attention so stop trying to prey on her and get the fuck out."

Bakugou's loud voice caught the attention of everyone in a four-foot radius and Sero turned to face the now embarrassed Kitamura.

"I'm not preying on anyone, hero," Tatsune sneered. "I'm simply speaking with the brilliant woman you all chose to ignore."

"Doesn't look like she's too excited to be talking to you," Sero chimed in, feeling the need to get a word in to defend Kitamura. He faced Tatsune and glared in an attempt to ward him off.

"Guys, I'm fine. I can talk to other people, you know." She sighed, but now egos were involved and no one was paying attention to her anyway.

"She's a free woman, is she not? She can speak with whoever she pleases!" The stranger jeered and Bakugou's eyes narrowed. "She can talk with whoever she likes but I'm not about to stand around and let her be preyed upon by some dirtbag."

"Yeah! Exactly!" Sero added.

The woman in question quickly slipped out of her seat, completely embarrassed by the way this is turning into a scene, and began walking toward the door. The only person to notice her retreat was Kirishima, who followed behind her.

The moment Kitamura was out of the bar, a joint was between her lips and her lighter was being sparked. She inhaled deeply and leaned up against the establishment's concrete wall with closed eyes, needing to take a minute to cool herself off as her inebriated state always made her temper short.

"Well, that was weird." Kirishima chuckled awkwardly as he leaned against the wall beside Kitamura. She nodded and held out the joint to him but he passed.

"What the hell, right? I could've handled that myself. He was harmless, I'm sure."

Kirishima hummed. "Probably, but being heroes, we see those situations differently. They can go south real fast."

Kitamura took another hit off of her joint and exhaled slowly, feeling the substance already calm her body. "I guess you're right Kiri," she sighed as she considered his point.

Kirishima patted her shoulder. "Don't worry about it. We've all got your back," he smiled a toothy grin. "Those two are just a bit... overprotective of you. In a good way, though."

She smiled at Kirishima and as she placed the joint between her lips again, the door slammed open and Bakugou appeared. "When the hell did you sneak off?" He sighed in relief. "Scared the shit outta me. I thought the guy came with fuckin friends or something and th-"

Kitamura took his left hand and wrapped her fingers around it, giving a good squeeze before she let go purely because Kirishima was there. "I'm sorry. I just needed to clear my head."

"Let me fuckin' know next time, jeez, Thumper." He ran a hand through his hair and only then noticed Kirishima was with her and nodded in acknowledgment.

Kitamura offered the joint she was smoking to Bakugou who just shook his head. "No. I've got to keep an eye out for that asshole tonight. I'm driving you home, alright?"

A small smile crept up her face as her previous embarrassment fully faded and was replaced with butterflies from Bakugou's deep concern for her. "Okay. Thanks, Katsuki."

Kirishima's eyes darted over to Bakugou to gauge his reaction of his given name being used but seeing as he didn't lose his shit, Kirishima deduced that this wasn't the first time she'd used it. Bakugou felt Kirishima's stare and moved his eyes to glare at him.

Kirishima, who'd witnessed enough from the pair to come to the conclusion that their feelings were mutual, decided to go back inside and give them some time. As he was walking back through the bar, he found Sero about to leave and grabbed his arm. "Hey man, have a beer with me, yeah?"

"I've got to find Kaiya, she's not answering my texts. Something's wrong."

The redhead, who wanted to make things the least amount of complicated as possible, tugged Sero back toward the bar. "She's just finishing a joint outside, she'll only be a few minutes. Come on, my treat." Sero sighed but agreed and followed Kirishima.

Meanwhile, outside Bakugou moved to stand shoulder to shoulder with Kitamura because he was feeling overprotective and because he just wanted to be as close to her as possible. He let his hand find hers and weaved his fingers within hers, trying to calm himself as he was finally able to have a hold of some part of her.

His grip was tight and secure and if Kitamura couldn't tell he was anxious before, she could now. "I'm okay, Katsuki. I'm sorry for worrying you over nothing."

"It's never nothing, Kaiya. There are bad people in this fuckin' world and even the small guys can do something big." His thumb ran over the top of her hand slowly as he continued. "Maybe I overreacted back there but that guy just gave me the creeps. He didn't have good intentions, trust me."

"Okay," she breathed. "I'll trust you."

Bakugou took a deep breath and turned his head to face Kitamura fully. "Can you do something else for me?"

The softness in his voice drew a small smile on Kitamura's face, "Anything."

"Save a dance for me at the banquet tomorrow?"

A warmth traveled into Kitamura's cheeks and she nodded. "I can do that...but won't your date get jealous?"

"I'm not bringing one," he shrugged sheepishly. "The only person I wanted to go with was already asked."

 

Chapter Text

"Ashido," Kitamura whined. "I can't zip it up."

"Call Bakugou, I'm sure he'd love to come and help you put your dress on," she smirked. "And then take it off again."

"Oh my god. Can't you just do up the damn zipper for me and save your teasing for a less stressful time?"

Ashido chuckled and walked over to where she was standing in her bedroom and quickly zipped it up for her, smacking her ass after she finished. "There, good to go."

"Thanks," Kitamura sighed. "What time are Tanaka, Kami, and Hanta picking us up?"

"Kami said they'll be here in five minutes."

Kitamura nodded and walked over to the full-length mirror in Ashido's bedroom to study herself and make sure she looked presentable. She smoothed out the fitted black dress with her hands and leaned in closer to inspect the make-up that Ashido applied for her, admiring the fluid line of the cat-eye style liner that she was able to achieve.

Kitamura began fidgeting with her hair, holding it up to see if it would look better in a high ponytail rather than down like usual. It reminded her of the time she pulled it up into a ponytail because Bakugou was annoyed that her hair was in her face, and of course, with that thought, she smiled lightly.

"Do you think I should wear my hair up, Ashido?" Kitamura turned to face her friend as she held her hair up and the rosy-hued woman grinned, "It makes your dress look that much sexier...shows more of your back." Ashido walked over and handed Kitamura a hair tie. "Do it!"

Kitamura smiled, "I'm really glad you offered to let me get ready here with you. Thanks, Ashido."

"Just call me Mina already, jeez," Ashido grinned as Kitamura pulled her hair up into a sleek high ponytail, exposing the deep scoop backline of her dress.

Kitamura smiled at herself in the mirror and took a deep breath. "That's as good as it's gonna get, I think."

"Bakugou is going to shit his pants when he sees you, Kita," Ashido smiled and put a hand on her shoulder. "You have nothing to worry about."

A light blush dusted across her cheeks and she sighed, "You really think so, Mina? Even though he saw the dress already?"

"Hell, I'd fuck you in that dress. Look at us," she gestured to the mirror and Kitamura smiled as she admired her friend's knee-length navy blue bodycon dress with a sweetheart neckline. "We're gonna turn heads."

Kitamura's phone buzzed from within her small black clutch purse and she pulled it out, instantly smiling when she saw who had messaged her.

Bakugou: Where the hell are you?

Kitamura: Hold your horses, we're waiting on Ashido's boyfriend, Kaminari, and Sero.

Bakugou: For fuck sake, those assholes are always late.

Kitamura: Sorry, handsome. See you shortly!

Handsome? Oh god. Kitamura facepalmed and Ashido laughed, "What did you say to him?"

"I called him handsome…"

"Aww! So what's the big deal?"

"We've never really been that kind of flirty… I guess. I hope he doesn't freak out." She bit her lip and Ashido just shook her head. "That man has an ego the size of Canada. It's not like he doesn't already know you think he's attractive, you have eyes."

Ashido's phone was the one to buzz this time and she excitedly led Kitamura to the door to put on her heels. "Ooh- the guys just texted. They're downstairs, let's go."

Kitamura nodded but was slightly disappointed that the guys didn't bother coming to the door to get them, but she brushed it off as her being a bit old fashioned and slipped her black pumps on, following Ashido out the door.

Kaminari stood outside in his burgundy three piece suit with the back passenger door opened while Ashido's boyfriend, Kaito Tanaka, held open the front passenger door of his modest Honda Civic in a dark grey suit with a navy tie to compliment Ashido's dress.

"Hello, Beauties!" Kaminari grinned, showing off the open doors for them. Kitamura scooched into the backseat beside Sero and Kaminari squished in on her other side whilst Ashido took the much more comfortable shotgun seat.

"Wow." Sero breathed as Kitamura settled in beside him. She smiled and blushed lightly but also tried to take a look at his outfit, which was a charcoal grey suit with an orange tie. "You look great, Han," she complimented as she raised her hand to fix his hair, which he had combed off to the side. "Your hair looks nice like this."

Sero grinned, "I'm glad you think so!" Kitamura nodded and placed her hands in her lap. He glanced down at them and contemplated reaching over for one but sighed as he decided against it, figuring that maybe luck would be his lady this evening and he would get another chance later. After all, they would be dancing together, right?

Tanaka leaned over, kissed Ashido's cheek, and whispered, "You look as radiant as ever, Mi."

She quickly turned and kissed his lips before she replied with a cheeky grin, "I know, right?"

-

Bakugou tapped his foot anxiously outside the doors to the largest hotel in Hosu as he waited for Kitamura and her party to show up. There was music playing but he couldn't make out what it actually was over the hustle and bustle of the crowd - not like he wanted to anyway.

He had Kirishima and Hamasaki save a table for everyone but he just couldn't sit at the table and wait. Patience had never been his forté and he was well aware of that, so here he was, leaning against the cold brick outerwall of Hosu's swankiest hotel, waiting to finally be near Kitamura again...and when she finally arrived, he was not disappointed.

Kitamura was first out of Tanaka's car and she looked around for Bakugou, knowing he was waiting for them. She spotted him just outside the doors and grinned when they made eye contact. 'You look amazing,' he mouthed and she shrugged sheepishly, making him laugh as he approached.

"Katsuki, you look incredible." Kitamura admired his slim-fitting black suit, paired with a black button up shirt and skinny black tie.

"Aww!" Ashido cooed as she stepped closer to them, hanging off of Tanaka's arm. "You two match. That's so cute!"

Sero pursed his lips as he noticed that they did indeed look as if they were attending together and his heart began to ache in his chest when he saw the way she was beaming at his friend.

Kitamura blushed at Ashido's statement, "Just a coincidence, Mina. It's nothing."

"Right. There was no way Bakugou planned this after having seen your dress last weekend, right?" Ashido winked at Bakugou who narrowed his eyes in response, annoyed that she chose to point out what he did actually do.

Bakugou wouldn't admit it, but he did want people to think they were there together. At this point, he didn't care about anyone knowing he had feelings for Kitamura. He wished he had asked Kitamura to the banquet first and because he hadn't, he wanted to at least give the impression that they could be there together.

"Well, they're not here together so who cares," Sero piped up and took Kitamura's hand. "Let's go find our seats."

"Shitty hair and pie girl are saving a table in there," Bakugou grumbled as he glared down at Sero and Kitamura's clasped hands. Kitamura glanced at Bakugou and after following his eye line quickly realized why he sounded so grumpy just then. She dropped Sero's hand and took out her phone from her clutch.

Kitamura: We're only here as friends…

Kitamura: Just, um, in case you wanted to know.

Bakugou felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and assumed it was Kitamura but decided to wait until they were seated at their table to respond.

Kitamura looked around the grand ballroom with wide eyes as she took in the beautiful decor. The room has several large chandeliers that gave the room a warm glow, along with the large candle centerpieces on top of each pristine white tablecloth and the chairs were adorned with gold silk bows on the back.

"Is it always this beautiful in here?" Kitamura murmured to herself, but her date heard and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Only because you're here, Kai."

Kitamura swatted Sero's shoulder and chuckled quietly, "Smooth."

He nudged her side, "I can't help it. You look so pretty even though you're wearing black again."

Kitamura frowned and looked down at her dress self-consciously, an act that Bakugou noticed as he was walking on her other side. In an effort to make her smile, he snuck a hand behind her and gently tugged at the bottom of her ponytail before resting his hand on the small of her back.

Her cheeks warmed as she felt Bakugou's hand against her soft skin and she gazed up at him for a quick moment only to catch him already smiling softly down at her. Kirishima and Hamasaki, who were watching with curiosity as their friends approached the table, were wondering how this was going to go.

Kirishima leaned into his girlfriend's ear and whispered, "The alpha male subtly asserted his dominance over his chosen mate."

Hamasaki giggled and kissed the redhead's cheek. "Ten bucks says they kiss tonight."

"Here? In public isn't Bakugou's style. You're on." He stuck out his hand and she shook it. "Never doubt a woman's intuition, Eijirou."

"Well, it's too late now I guess," He chuckled and waved to the group as they all took seats. Bakugou intended to take the seat next to Kirishima and pulled out a chair for Kitamura beside him, which she sat at. "Thank you, Katsuki," she smiled sweetly up at him, missing Sero's glare completely as he couldn't believe he didn't think to do that.

"You didn't even tell me they're on a first name basis now! I'm so going to win." Hamasaki whisper-yelled at Kirishima with a satisfied and goofy grin on her face.

Bakugou heard that and lifted his eyes to meet the amber ones that belonged to Hamasaki and raised an eyebrow. "You talking shit over there, pie girl?"

She waved her hands in front of her chest, "No, no. Not at all. Just...observing."

His eyes narrowed at her and Kitamura tapped the side of his shoe with her heel to get his attention. "Oh, be nice."

Bakugou rolled his eyes, "I'm always nice."

Kirishima burst out laughing and earned a glare from the fiery man in question and then rubbed the back of his neck. "Aw, come on Bakubro. You know that's not true."

"Fuck you, shitty hair."

"See! You're only ever nice to Kitamura, only sometimes to the rest of us."

"And only on a good day." Kaminari added, chiming in from across the table.

Kitamura blushed as she looked down at her hands in her lap and Sero reached over and rested his hand on her forearm. She glanced over and he quickly retracted his hand, "Sorry," he mumbled. "Just a silent show of support."

"Thanks, Han."

Bakugou took this moment to look at Kitamura's previous text and message her back.

Bakugou: Does he know that?

-

The dinner aspect of the banquet was rather uneventful as they were forced to listen to boring speeches from various politicians and a few agency executives.

"Ugh, I thought they'd never shut up." Ashido groaned, dramatically letting her head fall onto her date's shoulder. Tanaka kissed the top of her head and Kitamura couldn't stifle her "Aww."

Ashido looked at Kitamura and then at Bakugou and back to Kitamura again and winked at her, wiggling her eyebrows a few times after that. The ravenette rolled her eyes and shook her head with a smile. "They're starting up the dance hall, Kitamura. Who's got your first dance?"

"I do, obviously." Sero jumped in quickly, pushing out his chair and offering his hand to Kitamura, who chuckled at her friend's excitement and took his hand. Everyone trailed behind the pair to join in the festivities, each couple going to the dance floor while Bakugou wandered over to the bar off to the side.

Bakugou ordered an old fashioned and leaned his back against the bar as he watched Sero twirl Kitamura during the upbeat song, admiring her bright eyes and effervescent smile as she moved. Sure, she was a knockout in that form-fitting dress and yes, of course, Bakugou had spent some time checking out her ass, but he just couldn't get over seeing how happy she looked.

Kitamura tossed her head back with a laugh as Sero began to pull out an imaginary lasso and wave it around before 'catching' her with it.

"You've got it bad, huh?" Kaminari commented as he walked over to Bakugou, sipping his beer.

"Shut up, dunce face," Bakugou responded, not willing to give any mind to thinking of a better retort because it meant not thinking about her.

When Bakugou could tell the song was wrapping up, he downed the rest of his drink and headed over, wanting to claim the next dance as his. As he walked closer, their eyes met and Kitamura moved her finger in a come-hither type motion, beckoning him to join them with a smile.

Bakugou clapped a hand on Sero's shoulder before he spoke. "Next dance is mine, Tapey."

"Gross, I don't want to dance with you," Sero joked, trying to shove his feelings down. Kitamura giggled and lightly bumped her hip against Bakugou's. "Claiming your dance, Sourpuss?"

"You bet your sweet ass I am." He smirked.

The song ended and just for their luck, the slow beat of If I Didn't Care by The Ink Spots began to fill the room. Bakugou held out his hand and she took it, her questioning eyes immediately meeting his knowing ones.

Bakugou led her a few feet away from their friends before he wrapped an arm around her waist and kept her hand in his as he began to slowly shuffle his feet to the beat. "I didn't get a chance to tell you how beautiful you look tonight," he murmured.

Kitamura smiled softly, "Thanks, Katsuki. You look really handsome. Black was a good choice for you."

He sighed and released her hand, placing it around his neck and her other naturally came to match. He set his hands low on her hips and gazed into her hopeful eyes for a long moment.

"You know, I don't think just one dance is enough for tonight," Bakugou said quietly as he leaned down slightly to rest his forehead against hers. "I want them all, Kaiya. Just like this."

Her lips pulled up into a small smile as a blush became prominent on her cheeks. Her stomach was full of butterflies and her blood was pumping so fast she could hear it in her ears. She wasn't sure she could take being this close to him for this long...

She bit her lip, accidentally drawing his attention from her eyes to them and she felt him inch even closer to her face, their noses now brushing against each other.

"Katsuki..." Her breathy voice whispering his name was the last straw. He couldn't hold back anymore, he needed to kiss her.

The moment their lips met, the world around them faded away. Bakugou thought that was just shit that happened in books or movies and never in real life, but here he was in a room with hundreds of other people and to him, he felt like it was just she and him.

Bakugou's kiss was everything Kitamura wished it to be, soft yet firm, tame yet passionate. As she felt his lips retract, she pressed hers against them, unwilling to let this fleeting moment go so quickly. Kitamura felt Bakugou smile against their kiss and she couldn't help it either as her lips naturally turned upward.

This was the moment that Sero just so happened to have returned from the bar to see - the woman he adored, his best friend, looking so happy as she kissed his other friend.

"You owe me ten bucks, Eiji," Hamasaki whispered to her boyfriend with a grin as they continued to dance and he looked over his shoulder to see the two smiling like idiots with their lips pressed together.

"That's a bet I'm happy to lose, Hinata." He smiled at her and quickly pecked her lips.

Sero practically felt his heart break as the scene played in front of him, he wished he could look away but it was like watching a car crash. His chest was so heavy with disappointment and sorrow that it felt as if a hundred cinder blocks were piled on top of it.

That feeling only increased when his phone rang and it was his father. He frowned but knew if his dad was calling him that something was wrong so he quickly picked up the phone.

"Dad? Are you okay?"

Mr.Sero took a deep breath before speaking, "I just found out Mr.Kitamura was rushed to the hospital...it doesn't look good, kid."

"Holy shit," Sero whispered to his father. "Where? I'll tell Kaiya."

"Hosu General. 504."

"We'll head over right away," Sero confirmed and his father cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Make sure she's prepared to deal with her mother, Hanta."

Sero hung up and shoved his phone back into his pocket and hastily made his way through the crowd of couples and tapped Kitamura on the shoulder, making her part from the everlasting kiss she and Bakugou had been sharing.

A low growl sounded from Bakugou as his eyes opened and he saw Sero was interrupting their moment by whispering into Kitamura's ear. He watched as her eyes widened and she instantly dropped her arms from around his neck.

Worry rolled off of her in waves and he felt them crashing upon him like he was the shore.

"What happened?"

Tears were building up in her eyes and she opened her mouth to say something but Sero tugged her arm and pulled her away, leaving Bakugou confused and completely out of the loop.

After a moment of standing still in the middle of the dance floor, Bakugou's wits returned to him and he swiftly traced the path that they had taken toward the doors and made it outside just in time to see the pair get into a small yellow taxi.

"Fuck!" He loudly cursed, earning a glare from an older couple a few feet away. His heart raced alongside his mind at the speed of one hundred miles per second. Was it him? Something he did? Did Sero steal his moment and confess and she secretly liked him the entire time so they ran away together? Fuck, if that was it, he would burn the entire city down.

He fished his phone out of his pocket and rapidly dialed her number. The monotonous rings drove him insane and when her voicemail kicked in, he cursed a storm.

"This is Kaiya Kitamura. Leave a message!"

 

Chapter Text

"This is Kaiya Kitamura. Leave a message!"

"Where the fuck did you go?! What the hell was that, Kaiya! We finally fucking kiss and you run away with that asshole?!"

Bakugou's finger smashed the red circle on his phone to end the call and he shoved the device back into his pocket. He paced outside of the hotel, running his hand through his hair and tugging at the roots in frustration.

How could she do this to him?

Swiftly he brought his phone out again and tried to call Kitamura another time, his free hand clenched into a fist at his side.

"This is Kaiya Kitamura. Leave a message!"

"For fuck sake, Kaiya! You can't just take off like that! What did I fucking do?!" Bakugou cursed into the phone as he sighed, knowing that if he didn't keep his temper in check things would only get worse. "Just...just call me back, okay?"

As Bakugou ended the call, Kirishima - who had seen him run outside moments earlier - spotted him and jogged over. "Hey man, what happened? Where's Kitamura?"

"Fuck if I know." He scoffed.

"What do you mean? How don't you know, you two were attached at the mouth for like, that entire song."

"I finally fucking kissed her and then the next thing I know she's about to cry and running away with that shitbag." Bakugou's hands clenched into fists and his fingernails dug into his fleshy palms. "She won't even answer her damn phone!"

"That I think I know the answer to. She left her purse under the table with Hinata's when we went to the dance hall. If she left that quickly, she probably didn't stop to grab it," Kirishima explained.

Bakugou let out a heavy breath, "So she's not ignoring me then."

"I don't think so. Did you try Sero?"

The ash-blond shook his head side to side, "You really think he'd answer me after what he just fuckin pulled?"

Kirishima sighed as he took out his phone and quickly called his other friend. "Hey man, where'd you go?" He asked as soon as he heard the call connect, before Sero could even get a word out.

"Kitamura's dad's in the hospital, I don't have time to talk right now."

Bakugou watched his friends face fall and the redhead replied, "Fuck. Where? We'll come down, she forgot her purse."

"Hosu General, room 504."Sero ran a hand through his hair as glanced at the door to Mr.Kitamura's room from the hallway. "She wouldn't want visitors though, Kirishima."

"Why don't I just send Bakugou with her purse. I'm sure she'd be okay seeing him, bro."

Bakugou's brow furrowed at the sound of his name and Kirishima's worried crimson eyes met his.

"Fine," Sero grumbled. "But he can't go in the room with her parents."

"No problem! I'll let him know. Thanks, Sero."

Kirishima quickly ended the call and Bakugou grunted, "Well?"

"Her dad's in the hospital, 504. You're bringing her purse."

His eyes widened and his mind stopped racing with negative thoughts about himself and instead began to fill with worry. "Is she okay? What happened?"

"I don't know, man. That's why you're going to go, bring her purse and check in on her."

Bakugou nodded and hastily weaved his way through the crowded entry way and back into the ballroom. Once he had his hands on the small black clutch he remembered Kitamura carrying, he dashed for the door, the whole time thinking, hoping, wishing that he could at least be some sort of support for her right now.

-

"Why would you bother to show your face here," Mrs.Kitamura scoffed as her daughter entered her father's hospital room alone. "It's your fucking fault he's sick in the first place!"

Kitamura's brow furrowed as her heart ached at the words she knew to expect. She took a deep breath and didn't bother to respond to her mother's comments.

The beeping of her father's heart monitor bounced off of the walls of the sterile room and filled her with heavy regret as she looked at her father's frail body in the bed. His skin was tinged yellow and his cheeks hollowed out, he forced his lips to curl up into a small smile at his daughter as he watched her study him. He motioned with his hand for her to come closer and she frowned as she saw the bruise forming on his skin from where the IV was placed.

Kitamura sat next to her father's bed and kept her hands folded in her lap. "I'm sorry, dad."

He shook his head knowingly and said the one thing she needed to hear, "It's not your fault."

"Of course it's her fault! This is all her fault thanks to that horrible quirk of hers!" Kitamura winced at her mother's words and she didn't know it, but Sero - who was standing just outside of the door - cringed when he heard her mother shout as well.

"You're the one who gave me the quirk, mother," she spat back. Her mother's blood boiled and she walked over to Kitamura and slapped her straight across the face. "Don't you ever speak to me like that," She growled.

Kitamura slumped in her chair and held her stinging cheek, reverting back into her mind as she began to think that this really was all her fault. She shouldn't have used her quirk on her father when he'd asked her all those years ago. She should've said no, but he was so insistent. He'd go as far as to punish her if she didn't want to use her quirk on him, making her clean the entire house if she refused. She was just a kid...how would she have known things would've turned out like this?

Mr.Kitamura leaned over and reached for his daughter's hand with a sad smile. One that she hoped was meant as an apologetic one because of her mother, but she knew it wasn't after one word fell from his lips, "Please."

Kitamura's heart sank as she realized that her father wasn't trying to be closer with her in what she assumed would be the last time she saw him, but instead was just trying to use her to get drunk...again.

As soon as her father had asked, Mrs.Kitamura's vision tinged red and she began to hurl insults at her daughter once again.

-

Bakugou sped the entire way to the hospital and when he reached the room that Sero was standing outside of, he heard why Kitamura had acted so weird last weekend when he brought up her parents.

"Why did you even come here? And dressed like such a whore!" Her mother shouted as the tension within the room rose. "Your father's dying because of your pathetic ass. Get out and don't bother coming back!"

Bakugou's hands gripped onto Kitamura's purse as he struggled to keep himself calm. How dare anyone talk to her like that...and why is she letting them! Why wasn't she standing up for herself?

Sero clapped Bakugou's back and sighed, "Don't say you heard, Bakugou. It'll embarrass her."

"I'm not going to lie to her," he glared and Sero sighed. "Whatever, man. Just... don't be a dick about it."

"Fuck you. Like I'd be an asshole about something like that," he motioned toward the door and just like that, it opened.

Kitamura walked out looking like she just came home from war; shell-shocked and unresponsive. She didn't make eye contact with either of the men waiting for her, instead, she just began to walk down the hallway to the waiting room around the corner and adjusted her dress as she took a seat.

"Hey," Bakugou greeted as he situated himself in an uncomfortable chair beside her. She still didn't look at him but she did respond. "You didn't have to come all the way down here."

He tapped her arm with her purse, "How else would you have gotten into your apartment later? I imagine there's no pocket for your keys in that dress."

She let out a breath and took the clutch from him, placing it in her lap to stare down at it. Bakugou wrapped his arm around Kitamura's shoulders and leaned her head to rest against his arm.

"I'm sorry, Kaiya," he murmured against her hair as he laid his head on top of hers. "Me too," she whispered in defeat.

It was all Kitamura could do to not cry. Her mother was right, it was all her fault. She was the one who turned him into an alcoholic. She was the one who fed his addiction, even if it was under the ruse of 'quirk training'. Maybe if she refused more often and just accepted the punishments he wouldn't have become an addict...

"We should go," Kitamura broke their long silence. "They don't want me here anyway."

"If you want to be here, Kaiya, we should stay," Bakugou's replied calmly and Sero nodded in agreement. "Yeah, exactly."

She shook her head, "No, it's not right for me to be here."

"I'll take you home." Bakugou offered, a beat quicker than Sero, whose mouth was just about to open to offer the same thing.

"Thanks, Katsuki," she mumbled and lifted her head off of his shoulder. Sero stood up and opened his arms, offering her a hug he knew she wasn't going to refuse. She rose from her seat and walked right into Sero's open arms, letting him envelop her in a supportive embrace as he had so many times before.

After a long moment, they separated and Bakugou took Kitamura's hand in his, giving a gentle squeeze after he weaved their fingers together. "Let's get you home, Thumper."

Kitamura smiled half-heartedly at the use of his nickname for her and let Bakugou lead her out of the hospital and to his car.

-

Kitamura leaned her head against the cold glass window of her door as Bakugou drove to her apartment. The drive was rather quiet as Kitamura replayed her mother's words in her head over and over and over again whilst Bakugou wondered what he should say.

He didn't want to upset Kitamura any more than she already was, but the thought of her thinking that what her mother said was true. "She's wrong," he started quietly. "You know that, right?"

"She's not," Kitamura breathed, fogging up the window slightly. "Look at my quirk, Katsuki. How do you think I practiced?"

"Did he give you permission to use it?"

Kitamura softly scoffed, "He practically made me." Bakugou felt his eyebrows knit together at the idea of her being forced to get her father drunk knowing that when she uses her quirk she also is affected. "Then it's not your fault."

"He wouldn't have become an alcoholic if it wasn't for me." Kitamura sighed but with frustration. "He wouldn't have collapsed at home tonight and his liver wouldn't be failing."

Kitamura took her head off of the window and looked toward Bakugou, who had his eyes fixed on the road ahead but his peripheral vision on her. "I'm the reason my d-dad's going to d-die," she stuttered as she choked back tears.

Bakugou immediately pulled the car over and parked on the side of the road, only a block away from her apartment. He quickly flipped up the center console between them and undid both of their seatbelts before he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her into his lap.

Enveloped in Bakugou's warmth, Kitamura couldn't keep her tears at bay any longer. She felt like the worst person in the world and even Bakugou's hand rubbing slow circles against her bare back couldn't soothe her.

"That's not true, Kaiya," He murmured into her ear as he held her tightly. "He made his own decisions. He used you for your quirk when he should've been protecting you from people who do that shit."

Kitamura's cries turned into sobs as she buried her face against Bakugou's chest, wetting his dress shirt with her tears. Bakugou remained quiet now, feeling guilty that he probably made things worse by insulting her dying father...but he wasn't wrong.

They stayed like that for a few long minutes until Kitamura shimmied herself back onto her seat. Bakugou's gaze attached to her puffy green eyes and he reached out to wipe a bit of streaking mascara off of her cheek. Kitamura gave a small, sad smile at the action and her eyes flickered down to his chest where she saw one large dark circle.

"Sorry I made your shirt wet."

He didn't bother to inspect the shirt and instead just shrugged. "It'll dry."

Kitamura chuckled softly, "Yeah, it will."

-

When they arrived at Kitamura's door, she wasn't expected Bakugou to come in as well. She thought he was just dropping her off and was a gentleman for walking her to her door. So when she began to close the door behind her and saw Bakugou close on her tail she tilted her head like a confused puppy.

"You thought I'd leave you alone on a shitty night like this?" Bakugou scoffed, pretending to be offended.

Kitamura's cheeks tinted pink and she stumbled on her words, "I-I'm sorry, I didn't really think much of it."

"And you don't have to because I made the decision for you, Thumper. I'm sleeping on your couch, end of story."

"Katsu-"

"For fuck sake, Kai," he interrupted. "I'm not leaving you to cry alone all night, at least let me be here in case you need me, alright?" The sincerity in both his expression and his voice was enough to convince her not to argue and to accept his kind offer.

"Thanks, Katsuki," she exhaled. "That's sweet of you."

Bakugou felt his face warm at her compliment and he grumbled in response as he looked away, "Whatever."

 

Chapter Text

Whilst Kitamura went to her bedroom to, 'get changed and take this shit off my face', Bakugou grabbed the remote and propped his feet up on her coffee table as he turned it on. He flipped through the channels until he found the one show he knew would have the highest probability of making her laugh, The Simpsons.

Kitamura walked back into the living room, taking the long way in front of the TV to make her way to the other side of the couch in an effort to grab his attention. Wearing her black leggings and a matching tight black tank top that hugged her curves perfectly, she hoped she would catch his eye, and she did. How could Bakugou not stare at her for the millionth time that day?

He patted the cushion next to him and she plopped down into it, leaving only an inch of space between them. "Good choice," she nodded to the screen and pulled her legs up to rest on the empty spot beside her.

"Figured your dumb ass wouldn't mind it."

"I've been told my ass is many things, but dumb has not been one of them," she laughed as she leaned forward and grabbed her stash box from the coffee table.

Bakugou smirked, he loved that she could clap back like that. He watched as she busted up a bud before carefully rolling it into a joint. She twisted the end of it and brought her lighter to the tip, scraping the metal gears until flames licked at the paper.

Kitamura took a hit and exhaled slowly before glancing over and Bakugou and offering it to him. She smiled when he actually took it from her and brought it to his lips, his eyes not parting from hers for a second.

Her mouth curved with a slight smile and a playful look in her eyes had him mesmerized. When he passed the joint back to her, she took a heavy hit and leaned in closer to Bakugou. He watched with curiosity as she approached him with thick smoke in her mouth but shut his eyes as she closed the distance between them. Kitamura exhaled slowly against Bakugou lips and he inhaled, taking what was left of her hit into his lungs.

She pulled away so he could exhale properly and when his vermillion eyes opened and met her hazy olive ones along with a seductive smile, it took all the self-restraint he had to not lean her back on the couch and have his way with her.

"Was that okay?" She murmured as she studied Bakugou's expression. He was starting to feel the effects of the pot and he couldn't fight the way the corners of his lips turned up into the smallest smile, feeling his control slip. "Yeah," he breathed. "It was."

She took another drag off of the joint and exhaled upward. "I've never shotgunned before... I'm glad you liked it."

"I like anything that has to do with those pouty fucking lips of yours," he husked, taking the joint from her hand and taking his last hit before passing it back and staring forward at the screen in front of them.

Her heart nearly stopped at those words. Did he really just say that? A light blush covered her cheeks as she extinguished the joint and turned to face the TV as well, though most of her attention was focused on the moment she and Bakugou had just shared.

It wasn't until Homer cracked open a Duff Beer during the show that Kitamura was reminded of why he was over in the first place - her father.

Though the weed had taken the edge off, it didn't numb her emotions as she had wanted. Her negative thoughts came crashing back into her mind and without realizing it, she shifted to put more space between herself and the man she had feelings for. Even subconsciously the last thing Kitamura wanted was to bring Bakugou down with her.

Bakugou noticed the moment he felt her move and the slight curl of his lips flipped upside down. With his peripheral vision he glanced at her and his friend deepened. She was upset.

Maybe it was because of the pot or maybe he just wanted to feel closer to her, but Bakugou suggested something neither of them expected. "Lay down."

Kitamura was brought out of her self-deprecating thoughts and tilted her head to the side. "What? Why?"

Bakugou sighed, "You'll be less tense and probably fall asleep." He kept his eyes glued to the TV. "And being asleep is going to be better than whatever shit thoughts your thinking right now."

"It's not that bad... I can handle it," she mumbled as she stared down at her hands. "I deserve it."

With one smooth motion, Bakugou wrapped an arm around Kitamura's shoulders and guided her down to lay her head in his lap. She inhaled sharply from the movement but relaxed the moment he slid his hand into her hair. "You don't deserve what happened and you don't deserve to think that shit about yourself."

Kitamura sighed and let the tension leave her body as she stared up at Bakugou and admired his strong jaw from below. What if Bakugou was the one who was right and not her mother? What if this wasn't all her fault? What if her father wasn't dying because of her?

A tear slid out from the corner of her eye and she turned her head to the side, hoping to hide it from Bakugou. Kitamura's attempt was unsuccessful as another tear escaped, glistening as it slid slowly down her cheek. Bakugou wiped it away with his thumb but didn't say a word. He didn't want to make her feel worse, he just wanted to be there for her.

Bakugou's heart ached for Kitamura, he couldn't imagine what it was like to be in her shoes right now. He couldn't get over the way her mother yelled at her, the words and tone she used. Sure, he and his mother fought like cats and dogs, but never like that. The Bakugou's fought because they were opinionated and stubborn. The way Mrs.Kitamura fought was to injure her daughter and Bakugou loathed that.

He glanced down and when he saw her tears flowing more quickly, he began to stroke her hair. He stayed silent because he knew there was nothing he could say to make things better, but he thought maybe this might help calm her.

It took a few long minutes, but it did, and when her breathing steadied she turned onto her back and looked up at Bakugou with reddened eyes, "Thank you, Katsuki."

Bakugou picked up her hand from her side and brought it to his lips to kiss the top of it before placing it back where he got it.

--

Kitamura woke up to the sun shining through her living room window. She yawned and fluttered her eyes open, smiling gently when she looked up and saw Bakugou with his head tilted to the side, breathing softly as he slept.

She tried to lift her head but felt something weighing her hair down and that's when she remembered Bakugou had been combing his fingers through her hair last night. Her face flushed as she felt embarrassment seep out of her, she knew he had seen her cry.

After she took a deep breath, Kitamura raised her hand to try and untangle her hair from underneath Bakugou's hand. She managed to free her hair without waking him up but it was when he felt her weight shift on the couch that he woke up and tossed an arm around her waist. "Where do you think you're going?"

His husky morning voice made Kitamura giggle even though she found it quite appealing. "I'll make breakfast, you stay here."

"I'll take you out for breakfast," he grumbled and squinted down at her to wait for her response. She shook her head, "You would look quite formal for breakfast."

Bakugou grumbled as he realized he was still in most of his clothes from the banquet from the previous evening, missing only his suit jacket. "Then we'll make a quick stop first and I'll fuckin' change."

Before Kitamura had a chance to respond, there was a knock at her door. Both she and Bakugou looked at each other with confusion until a voice sounded from the other side of the barrier.

"Kaiya, it's just me," Sero started. "I thought we could go for breakfast."

"The guy can't send a fuckin' text first?" Bakugou grumbled as Kitamura rose from her place on his lap. She boldly leaned down and kissed his cheek before she walked to the door and opened it, not bothering to think of her current appearance.

"You look...well rested," Sero grinned as he pointed at Kitamura's messy hair.

"It wasn't so bad," she said as she smoothed her hair down with her hand. "We were actually just talking about breakfast."

Sero swallowed hard, "We?"

Kitamura shrugged sheepishly and held the door open for him to walk in, only to see Bakugou throwing on his suit jacket, in the same outfit as yesterday. The pang in his chest didn't keep him from managing a short hello to Bakugou.

After seeing their kiss last night and noe seeing Bakugou practically doing the walk of shame with his date, Sero didn't think he could be any more hurt by this situation...or by Kitamura.

"Did you want to come with us for breakfast? Katsuki just needs to stop at home quick," She smiled and Sero felt like he couldn't back out. He had just said he came to take her out for breakfast.

"Why don't we head over and Bakugou can meet us there?" He offered, wanting to at least get a little bit of alone time with his best friend.

Kitamura looked over to Bakugou who rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Head to that diner on 4th. I'll be there shortly."

Bakugou slipped past Sero and out the door, he wanted to get home and meet them as quickly as possible, which is why he chose a diner closer to his place.

After Kitamura was ready, she and Sero hopped into his car. The drive was silent until Sero broke it, "So you and Bakugou are a thing now?"

"I don't know..." she began, not knowing where she actually stood with Bakugou. "Would that be a problem?"

"Asking me now seems counterproductive, don't you think?" He grumbled and stared hard at the road ahead as a fire grew within his chest. Kitamura frowned, "So it is a problem."

"I mean, yeah, Kaiya. It is," he began, getting angrier. "It's fucking Bakugou!" Sero hit his hand on the steering wheel and Kitamura straightened up in her seat. She'd never seen Sero like this before. He'd always been so laid back and passive but seeing his hands clenched on the steering wheel while he gritted his teeth was so out of character for him.

"Hanta." Kitamura placed her hand on top of his right one that gripped on the steering wheel and he snatched it away, moving it onto another spot. She sighed. "I'm sorry I made you mad, Han. That wasn't my intention."

"And what was your intention, Kaiya?" He glared at her as he parked the car. "To ignore me and fuck all of my single friends?"

Kitamura recoiled as if he'd just hit her in the face. "Why did you even come by this morning if you were only going to hurl insults at me?"

"I came by to make sure you were doing okay with the family shit you have going on but clearly Bakugou kept you so busy last night that you forgot about your father dying in the hospital," Sero spat.

Kitamura quickly undid her seatbelt and opened her car door. Tears filled her eyes as she stared at her friend. "Go home, Hanta," she whispered, the hurt she was feeling was obvious in her voice. Sero scoffed and sped away as soon as she had shut the door, feeling both infuriated with Kitamura and with himself.

Kitamura stood in front of the diner and wrapped her arms around herself in an effort to self-soothe. She backed up and leaned against the wall of the building, staring at her sneakers as she waited. A pair of casual brown leather shoes came into view in front of hers but she didn't dare to look up.

"Where's Bowl Cut? Parking the car?"

Kitamura shook her head and cleared her throat, "He's not coming."

The corners of Bakugou's lips pulled down as the sound of her defeated voice reached his ears. "Tell me about it over coffee," he said as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and tugged her into motion.

The door chimed as Kitamura and Bakugou walked into the small, family run diner and he guided her to his usual spot, the last booth by the window. The smell of coffee overwhelmed Kitamura's senses and as soon as their waitress, a woman in her sixties with greying hair and wrinkles around her eyes, came by, she asked for a cup.

"So, what did that little shit do?"

"He was just so, so...angry," Kitamura sighed. "It's my fault though..."

"Why would it be your fault?" Bakugou asked as he crossed his arms and leaned back into the booth and thanked the waitress as she placed down their coffees, which was something Kitamura noticed he never did anywhere else.

Kitamura chewed on her cheek as she fixed her coffee with cream and sugar. "Because I have feelings for one of his friends," she took a sip, avoiding eye contact with Bakugou.

Bakugou scoffed, "So what does that have to fuckin' do with him? That's none of his god damn business."

"I've clearly made him uncomfortable. I'm going to stop coming out with you guys on Fridays." Kitamura ran a hand through her hair and pulled at her roots as her stomach did flips. "I don't even know if he's my friend any more, Katsuki."

She looked up at him and it was obvious that she was fighting back tears, something he never wanted to see. His grip tightened on the handle of his mug as he took a sip to try and stay level-headed for her Kitamura's sake. "That stupid fuck is still your friend. You've been friends for years, this won't be what ends it."

"You weren't there, you didn't hear what he said," her voice quieted as she continued. "Or how he said it."

"Well tell me what he fuckin' said then," the tone of Bakugou's voice made it obvious that he was now angry and Kitamura didn't want that either. She didn't want to cause any more trouble between Sero and his friends and she knew that if Bakugou knew what he'd said, he'd fly off the handle.

"It doesn't matter, it's no-"

"Kaiya," he started, placing his hand on top of the one she had resting on her coffee mug. "If it made you this damn upset It's not nothing. Don't lie to me."

She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "The worst of it was that he made a comment about me sleeping with his friends and not caring about my dad in the hospital."

"For fuck sake, that fucki-"

"Please don't start anything, Katsuki," she interrupted with a sad smile. "It would just make the situation worse."

"Kai," he sighed, lifting his hand away from hers to smooth out his wrinkled forehead. "Don't listen to that dipshit, alright?"

"The people who've known me the longest all think I'm horrible..." Kitamura started, staring down into the beige abyss of her coffee. "It's only a matter of time before you do too."

Bakugou scoffed and stood up, moving to slide into her booth beside her. "Don't be a fuckin' idiot."

"I'm just dragging you down, Katsuki..."

The heartbreak in her voice nearly made his eyes water as his chest constricted. He put a finger and thumb under her chin to capture it and turn her toward him. Her teary green eyes looked up at him with anguish and pain swirling inside of them and he couldn't help himself. He didn't know what else to do, so he leaned down and he pressed a firm kiss against her trembling lips. "I could never think you're horrible, Kaiya."

Her cheeks tinged pink and searched his eyes as she blinked away tears. "Bu-"

"Never."

 

Chapter Text

It was the day of her father's funeral and Kitamura stood just outside of the doors to the funeral chapel, dressed in a modest black A-line dress that flowed to her knees with a pair of simple heels. Her hair cascaded down her back but she fidgeted with a piece of it as she tried to work up enough courage to go in.

Kitamura had spent the previous day bawling her eyes out with her face shoved into her pillow to muffle her cries. She had hoped that because she let herself cry so much yesterday that she'd be able to keep herself together today, but that wasn't the case.

While she wasn't crying, Kitamura was a wreck on the inside. Her mind wouldn't shut up, her stomach was in knots, and she felt like she was going to puke.

Sero, who had just arrived, saw her as soon as he got out of his car. He knew he needed to be here for her but he also knew that after their argument, she might not want him there. But there he was, walking towards her, hoping that she wouldn't just push him away after the horrible things he said.

"Hey, Kai," he greeted as he walked up behind her. Hearing his voice brought tears to her eyes, he came. She turned around and smiled sadly, "Hi, Han."

"Look, I-"

"Hanta, I-"

They both spoke at the same time and paused, Sero let out a small breath and held up his hand signaling for her to let him speak first.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said any of that," he took a deep breath before continuing what he rehearsed on the drive there. "I want you to be happy, and if for whatever reason Bakugou makes you happy, then I'll accept that."

Kitamura couldn't have known how much it pained Sero to say that; it felt as if he was giving up. And not because he wanted to but because he had to. Sero cherished Kitamura's friendship, he loved her and he at least wanted her in his life. He knew that he had to accept that she didn't have romantic feelings for him and that wasn't an easy thing to admit to himself.

He held out his arms and she quickly closed the distance between them to experience the embrace she so needed at that moment. "I'm sorry too, Hanta. I didn't expect any of this to happen," she murmured against his shoulder.

Sero stroked her hair as he asked the question he already knew the answer to, "Does he make you happy?"

Kitamura didn't need to think before she answered that with a resounding, "Yes."

The man exhaled heavily before placing a kiss on the top of her head. "Okay," he breathed in acceptance. Kitamura squeezed her friend tightly.

"We should probably go inside now," Sero concluded as he released her from his hug. She held onto his waist for an extra few seconds before sighing and letting him go.

"Thank you for coming, Han."

"I wouldn't have let you face this alone, Kaiya." He offered his arm for her to weave hers around and when she did, he led her through the threshold of the building.

Unluckily for her, her mother was greeting attendees at the door and she received a glare that was sharp enough to cut glass.

"Hello, Mother," she greeted politely, not wanting to make a scene. Her mother, however, had not the same restraint. The woman grit her teeth as she spoke, "How dare you show your face here."

Kitamura was about to open her mouth and reply but Sero was already tugging her away in an effort to save everyone's reputations. Of course, Mrs.Kitamura had no intention of letting that happen though, as she reached out and gripped her daughter's free arm. She pulled her close, her nails digging into Kitamura's skin enough to puncture it.

"Get the fuck out of here you selfish little shit! You're the reason we're here in the first place!" She raised her voice, catching the attention of everyone in a five-foot radius of them, including Mr.Sero. The man sighed, he hoped that Mrs.Kitamura would have wanted to keep up appearances today but clearly that was not the case.

Sero's father walked over and placed a hand on Mrs.Kitamura's shoulder and she let go of her daughter. "Why don't we let the kids grieve, Umi."

Her green eyes narrowed at Mr.Sero. "Mind your own god damn business for once, Matsuta," she spat.

"Making a scene is not going to bring him back. Your daughter is staying for her father's funeral and that's final." His brown eyes flickered to his son, silently ordering him to take Kitamura away.

Mrs.Kitamura glowered at her daughter's retreating form, hate spilling out of her every pore. She shook with rage and Mr.Sero sighed, "I'll make sure they leave directly after the service."

Silent tears streamed down Kitamura's face as they walked away. She was grateful for Sero's father stepping in, but she felt so embarrassed. Not only was she not wanted at this funeral, now other people heard her own mother blame her for her father's death. While she didn't know the majority of those in attendance today, she didn't want anyone thinking she killed her father.

Once seated, Sero could feel Kitamura shaking like a leaf beside him. "It's not your fault, Kaiya," he reassured.

Sero more than anyone could attest to that. As they'd spent a lot of time together growing up, the few times they were at Kitamura's house, her father would make several trips to see them for her to practice her quirk. The older they became, the more she would refuse, the more threats she'd receive and the guiltier she'd feel for caving. Those were the days that Sero got a glimpse of what home was to her. It wasn't a safe space for her to relax, it was the prison she was forced to inhabit when she had nowhere else to go.

After the service ended, Sero quickly stood and tugged Kitamura up and out of her seat. For her sake, he wanted them to avoid any further interaction with her mother. They walked to his car in silence and after she sat down in the passenger seat, Kitamura leaned her temple against the glass window beside her.

She couldn't stop thinking about her mother's words and the people who had now heard them. Sure they were strangers, but that doesn't mean she wanted anyone to think she'd do something that horrible.

Kitamura inhaled sharply when Sero's hand landed on her shoulder. "Kai, we're here," he spoke softly, bringing her out of her dazed state. Kitamura glanced over at him and she could see the concern in his eyes clear as day.

"I'm fine, Hanta," she lied as she unbuckled her seatbelt.

"I know you're lying," he carded a hand through his hair. "Can I come to hang out for a bit?"

With a sigh, she nodded and they made their way up. Kitamura made a beeline for the couch and sunk into the cushion while the first thing Sero did when he walked in was check the fridge. He pulled out some jelly and placed it on the counter before opening up the cupboard beside the fridge to grab the jar of peanut butter.

Armed with two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Sero placed the plates on the coffee table and plopped down on the couch beside Kitamura, who was currently rolling a joint.

The female glanced at the sandwich on the table in front of her and her lips curled up the slightest bit. PB and J's were what Sero always used to make her when she would stay over at his house on nights her mother kicked her out as a teenager. They were her ultimate comfort food and he knew that.

After twisting the tip of the joint she grabbed her yellow bic lighter off the table and dragged her thumb across the metal gears to ignite the flame. She took a hit and slowly exhaled as she passed the joint over to Sero, who did the same. They both unwound as they passed it back and forth, not needing to talk as if it were an unspoken agreement.

Kitamura sighed as she put out the joint and stared straight ahead. "You know, for 6 pm on a Friday it sure feels like a Sunday."

Sero laughed, "Everyone's still meeting up at the pub tonight if you wanna go."

"I don't want to kill the vibe, Han," she sighed before she continued. "And I don't want to make you uncomfortable."

"Forget about me. Tonight, you need to take your mind off of things. Let's have a few drinks, yeah?"

Kitamura's lips curled up at the corners. She had a shit day, but maybe Bakugou would be there tonight and he always managed to make her smile. "I guess that'd be okay."

-

An hour or so later, Sero and Kitamura walked through the door of their usual pub and when she saw a head of spikey blond hair she smiled. Sero gave her a little push in Bakugou's direction and he walked to the other side of the group to meet Kaminari.

Kitamura sat down in the empty seat beside Bakugou and nudged his elbow. "Hey, Sourpuss," she greeted and his head swiveled to the sound of her voice.

Bakugou smiled at first but after he noticed her puffy eyelids and bloodshot eyes his smile faltered. "I didn't think you'd be coming by tonight after, well... you know."

"Hanta convinced me to come out. Said I could use a distraction and I think he's right," she said as she placed a hand on his to give a squeeze before she retracted it.

Bakugou's eyebrow raised. "A distraction, hmm?" A smirk curved his lips as he continued. "I think I know what could be a good distraction."

Kitamura swatted his shoulder, "That's not what I meant and you know it."

"Sure it's not, Thumper."

Kitamura laughed and flagged down the bartender, "A light beer, please."

The man nodded and poured her drink, placing the glass down in front of her. Bakugou made eye contact with the bartender, "She'll have another so keep your eye on her glass."

He looked toward Kitamura for confirmation and when she smiled she shrugged and said, "Hard day."

"Ah. Well I'm happy to oblige," he agreed.

Bakugou made a mental note to give the guy an extra good tip tonight for checking with her before letting someone else order her a drink.

Sero looked across the bar to check on Kitamura and when he saw her laughing with Bakugou he exhaled heavily, catching the attention of both Kaminari and Kirishima.

The men followed his gaze to the woman at the other end of the bar and Kirishima patted his back. "Plenty of fish in the sea, bro."

"But I want that one."

"And I want Mount Lady but that doesn't mean it's gonna happen," Kaminari chuckled and took another sip of his beer.

Sero rolled his eyes, "You just don't get it, man. She's different than the rest."

"I know, but it just wasn't meant to be. There'll be someone else. Someone meant for you," Kirishima tried to console his friend.

"Liiiiike her." Kaminari pointed to a random woman walking to the bar by herself.

Sero admired her short brown hair that looked effortlessly tamed and that dress she was wearing? Wow. It fit her perfectly in the bodice flowed out at her hips, swaying gently with each step she took.

Kaminari grinned and elbowed his friends ribs, "Go say hi, dude."

Just as Sero was about to look back at Kitamura, Kaminari placed a hand on his shoulder. "We can keep an eye on her, but we all know Bakugou's wouldn't let anything happen," he started before he jutted his thumb in the mystery woman's direction. "A woman like that isn't going to stay alone at the bar for very long. Don't let your chance pass you by."

Sero nodded and took a sip of his drink before standing up, "Thanks, guys."

After taking a deep breath, Sero approached the empty seat beside the woman Kaminari had pointed out. He noticed the beer in his hand and smiled, it was the same kind that he liked.

"Did you steal my beer? That looks like the same one I was drinking," he directed a warm smile to the woman who, upon turning and meeting his gaze, was more striking than he expected.

Her brown hair was complemented by captivating light brown eyes and plump cherry red lips. Her lips curved into a smirk at his line and he became immediately entranced by her beauty.

"Pretty sure I just paid for this one, but you can buy my next one." Words slipped off of her silvery tongue in what Sero found to be the most alluring way.

"I'd be delighted, m'lady," he grinned and she couldn't hold back a laugh. "God, are you always so cheesy?"

Sero shrugged, "Yeah, kinda."

The woman smiled and removed her hand from her glass and held it out, "Haruka Yamamoto."

"Hanta Sero."

-

"Look, I'm not saying you're wrong, but you're definitely not right," Kitamura smirked as she took the last sip of her second beer, feeling a good buzz going.

"I'm right damn it!" Bakugou shouted. "Principal Skinner's real name is Armin Tamzarian!"

Kitamura knew he was right, but she loved seeing him get so worked up over this. "Prove it."

Bakugou quickly whipped out his phone and Kitamura burst out laughing at how his eyebrows furrowed while he typed with such determination. She placed her hand on his wrist to stop him. "I know you're right, Katsuki," she murmured.

"Then why did you fight me on it, you crazy bitch!" He bellowed, gaining the attention of the bartender who simply checked to make sure Kitamura was alright and then went back to making a drink.

"Because it's fun to tease you," she grinned. "You little..." Bakugou grumbled and she leaned in closer to him.

"You little what?" She prompted as she discreetly placed her hand on his knee to tease him further.

Bakugou's crimson eyes met with Kitamura's playful gaze and his anger dissipated into annoyance. "You little shit," he finished.

She nodded, "Solid burn, Sourpuss."

Bakugou rolled his eyes but when she squeezed his leg it brought his attention back to her touch.

"I'm glad I got to see you tonight," Kitamura mentioned, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear with her free hand.

The ash-blond placed a hand on top of the one she had resting on his leg and curled his fingers around it. He lifted her hand and weaved his fingers within hers, using his thumb to gently rub over the top of her soft skin.

"I wish I could kiss you right now," she murmured, her cheeks turning a light shade of pink with her small confession.

That was all Bakugou needed to hear because the truth of it was, he always wanted to kiss her. He dropped her hand and in the same motion raised his to cup her cheek, pulling her closer and leaving little space between their lips.

"You can, Kaiya," He whispered as he searched her surprised eyes. "Whenever the fuck you want."

With that, she closed the small gap between them and pressed her wanting lips to his in a kiss that made all of her worries melt away.

 

Chapter Text

Kitamura's day at work was dragging on. She detested cleaning the outside glass of the aquarium exhibits because it was never satisfying. The moment she'd finish, a kid would run up and squish their hands against it, leaving fingerprints that she'd have to go back and clear off again anyway.

The nature of her day changed quickly as she saw a familiar reflection in the section of glass she'd been cleaning. A smile spread across her cheeks and she spoke before turning around. "What are you doing here?"

"Guess I'll just fuckin' leave then," Bakugou scoffed, mentally hitting himself for thinking showing up unannounced at her work was a good idea. He turned around and began to walk away but stopped when he felt his hand become encased within two soft ones.

"I was just asking. That doesn't mean I don't want to see you," she squeezed his hands and he looked over his shoulder to see her hopeful smile. A smile that was meant for him.

Kitamura dropped her hands as Bakugou turned around, making him frown. He picked one of them up from beside her thigh and tugged her closer to him. A light blush crossed her cheeks and she bit her bottom lip, bringing his attention to her mouth. His free hand caressed her now rosy cheek before he used his thumb to free her lip from her teeth, letting his touch linger for just a moment longer than necessary.

A soft sigh escaped Kitamura and she found herself gazing into the scarlet depths she'd dreamt about every night since they had shared their first kiss a few weeks ago. Bakugou smirked, satisfied with her reaction to his touch.

"You free tonight?" He asked, suddenly a bit anxious at the possibility of her being busy when he'd gone ahead and made plans for them.

A small smile crept up Kitamura's lips and she nodded, "Yeah, I'm free."

Her smile widened when Bakugou breathed a sigh of relief. "Good, because I'm taking you out on a date."

"Is that a demand or a request?" She laughed as she shook her head, amused with his phrasing.

Bakugou shrugged, "Both."

When she smiled wider he brought her cupped cheek closer to his lips and kissed her smooth skin. "I'll pick you up at seven."

Kitamura hummed in response and just as she was about to go in for a real kiss, she was interrupted by her supervisor.

"Kitamura! Get your lazy ass back to work!"

Bakugou's eyes flickered over to the crotchety older woman and he glared before bringing his attention back to a blushing Kitamura, a sight he found absolutely charming. He gave her lips a quick peck before pulling away. "See you tonight, Thumper."

***

After work Kitamura raced home to shower and get ready, she wanted to put her best foot forward for her first date with Bakugou.

She stood in front of her closet with a sigh as she looked at her options, studying each item intently. She settled on a high waisted charcoal grey skirt that reached her mid-thigh and a tight black v-neck shirt tucked into it. Kitamura pulled her long black hair up into a high ponytail and made sure her bangs fell perfectly across her forehead before she applied some simple eyeliner and a few swipes of mascara.

A series of knocks interrupted her as she was pulling on a pair of basic black heels. Once she quickly slipped them on, she opened the door and smiled when her eyes landed on Bakugou. He was wearing a black button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, a pair of slim-fitting dark wash jeans, and a pair of brown leather shoes.

"You look nice," she smiled, opening the door wider for him to come in. He blatantly checked her out, his eyes lingering on her long legs before traveling up to meet her gaze.

"You too," he smirked as he took her hand and tugged her closer, placing a small kiss on her cheek.

After grabbing her purse, Bakugou led her out to his car and opened the passenger side door for her. She thanked him and slid into the seat but when she went to grab her seatbelt, he was already holding it and brought it across her body, clicking it into place himself as if she were precious cargo.

Kitamura's heart fluttered at his gesture and she took a deep breath to compose herself as he walked around the car to get in on the other side. She hadn't been on many dates before so she was rather nervous, but on top of that, Kitamura really liked Bakugou. She was afraid that if she said or did something wrong on their date she might mess things up with him so she was determined to be on her best behavior.

Silence fell between them in the car as Bakugou drove and at a stoplight, he glanced over at Kitamura and placed a hand on her knee. "You okay?"

She nodded hastily and smiled, "Yeah, totally. Just um, a bit nervous I guess."

He felt his lips curve into a smirk. "Are you saying I make you nervous, Kaiya?" He teasingly moved his hand up from her knee just an inch and she had to take a deep breath.

"Maybe," she chuckled, trying to regain her confidence. Bakugou returned his hand to the steering wheel as the light changed and he smiled thoughtfully to himself. She wouldn't be nervous if she didn't really like him, right?

Kitamura smiled when they pulled up to the diner near his place that they'd been to previously. She was really glad they weren't going to some fancy-schmancy place, it just wasn't her scene. Although with Bakugou by her side she thought such a place could be more enjoyable. Nevertheless, she was happy with his choice and he breathed a small sigh of relief when he saw her smile.

"Here's okay?" He asked, a hint of doubt in his voice as if he half expected her to outright say it wasn't. Bakugou was anxious about taking the right steps and making the right moves because the last thing he wanted was to mess things up with her, especially on their first date.

"You know it is," she chuckled, finding his hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze.

"Better fuckin' be," Bakugou shot back as he squeezed her hand back.

***

Once inside, Kitamura and Bakugou took a seat in the booth furthest from the door and sat across from each other. The waitress brushed a lock of greying hair behind her ear as she approached them with a kind smile, her eyes wrinkling up as she did so. "What can I get for you two today?"

"Burger and fries." Both Kitamura and Bakugou said in unplanned unison. Kitamura smiled afterward and added, "Please."

The waitress didn't bother to write down the orders before she smiled and walked away. The pair shared a look and Kitamura stuck her tongue out. "Copy cat."

Bakugou scoffed. "You're the copy cat here, Thumper."

Kitamura nudged his foot under the table and Bakugou lightly nudged it back. A smirk pulled up her lips as she rose her foot to trail up and down his shin, an action that soothed Bakugou enough to visibly relax his shoulders.

The ravenette rested her palm in her hand as she gazed at the blond across the table from her. "Thank you," she smiled.

Bakugou stared at her blankly. "For what? I didn't do anything."

"For taking me out," she replied with a small shrug. "I'm really happy you asked."

"Good," he countered, admiring her soft features from across the table. "I was thinking we could head to that new arcade bar after dinner."

Kitamura's eyes lit up. "The one with the Mario Kart set up?"

Bakugou nodded, a small smirk crossed his face. Of course, she'd be excited about one of his favourite games...she was a dream come true. "Yeah, that's the one."

"Oh my god. That's so exciting! I haven't had a chance to go there yet."

A plate of food was placed in front of Kitamura and her smile widened into a grin. She hadn't realized how hungry she actually was until the aroma of her burger wafted into her nostrils.

Bakugou held back a laugh, he'd never seen someone look so happily at a burger before. "You're looking at that thing like you've never eaten before."

Kitamura's eyes flicked up from the perfect burger up to Bakugou's face and she shrugged sheepishly. "I guess I'm just really hungry and this," she gestured down to the plate. "Looks delicious."

Bakugou shook his head lightly before taking a bite of his burger and once he did, Kitamura began to eat as well. To her, this was no simple burger, it was the best burger she'd ever tasted. She moaned dramatically as she chewed and swallowed her first bite, earning a raised eyebrow from the man across from her.

"This," she smiled. "Is the best burger in town. Wow."

Bakugou felt his lips twitch upward as she took another bite and a bit of ketchup landed on her cheek. After she swallowed it she noticed Bakugou's attention on her and tilted her head slightly. "What?"

"C'mere," he leaned over the table slightly and rested his palm on her cheek. Instinctively she leaned into his touch and when she felt him wipe something from her skin with his thumb, her face began to flush.

Instead of retracting his hand afterward, he used the thumb that took the ketchup from her cheek and placed it on her lips. "You missed some," he smirked.

Without thinking, Kitamura's body acted on its own and her lips parted to take the pad of his thumb into her mouth. She gave it a gentle lick to clean it before backing away enough for his thumb to slip out of her lips.

Bakugou's heart began to pump wildly in his chest, he hadn't expected that but fuck was he glad it happened. If just her lips around his thumb felt that good, he couldn't imagine how good they'd feel wrapped around something else.

Just from that thought, Bakugou felt his face warming up and he retracted his hand and turned toward the window to try and compose himself before she noticed his flush. Of course, she already had and found herself wanting to tease him further.

"Mm, that was nice," she murmured as she let her foot caress his leg under the table, sending a shudder through Bakugou's spine.

"Just shut the hell up and finish your damn burger, Thumper."

"Sure thing, Sourpuss," she smirked.

After they'd finished eating and settled the bill, they climbed back into Bakugou's car. Kitamura let her head lull to the side as she allowed herself to stare at Bakugou as he put his seatbelt on. She reached out a hand and placed it on his knee to gain his attention, which it did.

Bakugou faced Kitamura and studied her, but couldn't fully read her expression in the dimly lit car. Her lips curved softly and Bakugou took her hand from his knee and lifted it up to his lips to place a kiss on her palm.

"I like it when you do that," Kitamura sighed. "It's so sweet."

"You think I'm sweet?" Bakugou asked curiously. She had called him that once before, but he doubted it as no one else ever had.

Kitamura let out a breathy laugh, "Yes, I do. Little things like that are sweet...it's just a way that you show me you care."

The ash-blond reached out and cupped her cheek with his strong hand, caressing her skin with the softest touches of his thumb. "Kaiya, do you really need me to kiss your hand to know that I care?"

Kitamura shook her head no as her cheeks began to warm with a blush.

"I'm crazy about you, Thumper. You're all I think about every damn day and when I'm with you it's like I'm fuckin' breathing for the first time," Bakugou leaned forward and left only a half-inch of space between their lips.

His hot breath fanned across Kitamura's face as she looked into his eyes intently. She felt her heart pumping overtime as his words hit her. "Katsuki, I-"

Just his name falling from her lips was enough to drive him over the edge and close the rest of the distance between them and he silenced her with his kiss.

Their lips moved in tandem as they shared a passionate kiss and it wasn't until Kitamura tried to move her body closer to his that she realized she was still being retained by her seatbelt. She breathily laughed as it kept her in place and pecked Bakugou's cheek before whispering into his ear. "Your place is close, right? Maybe we should go there."

 

Chapter Text

The tension was palpable as Bakugou and Kitamura walked up the stairs to his apartment, both with hearts beating at double speed. As soon as the door clicked shut behind them, Bakugou backed Kitamura up against it and placed one hand beside her head while the other cupped her cheek, keeping her in place so their lips could meet.

Kitamura's arms wrapped around Bakugou's waist and she immediately started to toy with the hem of his shirt. Her fingers gently skimmed the skin underneath sending a shiver down his spine. After a moment she let her hands wander underneath his shirt, exploring the muscles of his back as his tongue did the same to her mouth.

Bakugou dropped his hand from her cheek and dragged it slowly from the side of her neck and down the curve of her breast until he reached her hip. He let his hand wander back to her ass and squeezed, earning a small gasp from Kitamura. He smirked from her reaction and nudged her nose with his until a small smile formed on her lips and she gave him the softest kiss in response.

Kitamura's hands retreated from his torso and landed on the button of his dark wash jeans. She bit her lip as she looked up into Bakugou's vermillion eyes as if to ask for permission. When she got a small nod, she didn't waste any time before removing his pants and sliding down his body as she did so, resting on her knees as she admired the outline of Bakugou's erection. Kitamura tugged on the bottom of his shirt and Bakugou quickly lifted it up and over his head, leaving him almost bare in front of her.

Kitamura lightly traced around the throbbing area before ghosting her hand over top until she reached the waistband of his boxer briefs and tugged them down, revealing his large member to her as she knelt in front of it.

Bakugou groaned as she touched him for the first time, it was something he'd dreamt about for months. Now it was really happening and was so much better than he imagined as she stroked him cautiously at first, but then getting into a rhythm that had his head tilting back.

Without warning, Kitamura licked a long line from his base to his tip, taking the head into her mouth and sucking on it for a moment before she inched down his length. Bakugou moaned as she began to bob up and down on his cock and he grabbed onto her ponytail.

With devious eyes, Kitamura looked up at him. "This is the real reason I wore my hair up tonight."

"Naughty girl," he smirked.

She hummed against his dick as she licked him like a lollipop, keeping her eyes glued to his the entire time. Feeling himself growing closer to completion, Bakugou grabbed her elbow and tugged her upward into a lewd kiss.

"Bedroom," he ordered against her lips and she parted from him, grabbing his hand and let him lead her around the corner to his room.

Bakugou eyed Kitamura as she stood in front of him and placed a hand on his chest before using the gentlest of pushes to make him fall back onto his bed into a seated position. He watched as she slowly lifted her shirt off and over her head and slid her skirt down painfully slowly over her perky ass. She reached behind her to unclasp her crimson lace bra but was interrupted.

"Leave it," Bakugou instructed. "I want to take that off myself."

Kitamura nodded and walked toward Bakugou with a sway in her step. She smiled softly when he reached out to her and pulled her to stand between his legs. He placed a hand behind her neck and guided her face to his so he could gift her with a sensual kiss whilst using the other hand to explore her newly exposed skin.

Bakugou traced the outline of her bra before he reached around and expertly unhooked it. The article fell off of her shoulders and he quickly tossed it across the room before he lifted his hands to cup her breasts. Kitamura moaned softly as his thumbs gently skimmed over her erect nipples, causing a wave of pleasure to roll through her body from such a simple touch.

"I barely even did anything, Kaiya," he smirked, repeating the action. Kitamura sighed ran a hand down his bare chest, letting her fingers explore the muscles he worked so hard to maintain before they landed on top of his length.

Bakugou growled lightly and tugged her onto the bed to lay down on her back. He laid himself down on his side and let his fingers trace the outline of her womanly figure.

"You're so fuckin' beautiful," he breathed against her neck before he placed a kiss on her pulse. Kitamura felt her cheeks becoming warmer from his compliment.

"You're not so bad yourself, hot stuff," she replied with a light laugh.

Bakugou brought his hand back up and the backs of his fingers gently stroked her cheek. "I mean it," his lips turned upward at the corners as he spoke, admiring as her blush deepened.

"Thanks," she whispered as she shyly glanced away.

Her sudden bashfulness was cute to Bakugou and he leaned down to kiss her shoulder as his hands traveled from her cheek, between her breasts, and to the elastic of her panties. He didn't hesitate before slipping his hand underneath the fabric and letting his fingers explore her most intimate areas.

Kitamura mewled as he ghosted his touch over her clit before slipping a finger between her folds. "Mm. You're so wet, Kai," he husked against her skin, before shimmying her panties down and adding another finger into her core.

Kitamura pushed herself against him, her heart was racing and she could already feel pleasure building up within her as he continued to pump his fingers in and out. He was working her slowly at first and then gained momentum with each whimper she'd make until her breathing became ragged.

"Katsuki," she moaned his name and it was the sweetest sound he'd ever heard.

"Katsu, please," she whined as she felt his length pressed up against her thigh. "I need you."

Bakugou didn't have to be told twice. He swiftly maneuvered himself onto all fours, caging her between his arms as he leaned down to kiss her. "You're sure?" He mumbled against her lips.

"I'm yours," she hummed the words Bakugou didn't realize he'd needed to hear. He let out a breath and kissed her deeply, trying to pass his affections with his tongue and lips rather than with words. She was his and he was hers and that was all that mattered to him.

After lining up with her entrance, Bakugou slowly slid himself into her core. She sharply inhaled as she felt him stretch her out but the constant feel of his tongue massaging hers was enough distraction for her to get used to his size before he began to thrust. His movements were slowly paced until he felt Kitamura begin to push her hips against his. He then quickened his rhythm as he began to trail kisses from the corner of her lips, down her chin, and to her neck.

Kitamura practically purred from each kiss he left on her skin as he continued to fuck her. His gentle kiss paired with the way he was pounding into her was driving her mad. Kitamura found herself unable to control the sounds that left her mouth now as her moans of pleasure began to fill the room accompanied by the sound of skin slapping against skin.

With every moan that left her lips, Bakugou grew closer and closer to his own climax. Reducing her to this moaning mess made him impossibly hard, he couldn't get enough of it. He lifted a hand between them and began to circle her clit with his thumb in hopes of bringing her to a point of pure ecstasy, which is exactly what it did.

The woman squirmed underneath him as the heat and pressure that had built up within her finally overflowed and spread throughout her body. Her walls contracted against him and her moans turned into silent cries of pleasure as she writhed against his body. Bakugou continued his ministrations as she rode out her orgasm before he finally found his own sweet release.

After a long moment, Bakugou collapsed on top of Kitamura's chest, out of breath and panting. "Katsuki," she giggled as she tried to shimmy out from under him. "You're heavy."

He groaned and rolled over, draping an arm over her stomach and pulling her closer to his chest. Kitamura exhaled as she snuggled closer, letting her head nuzzle into the crook of his neck. It had been quite some time since she had been intimate with anyone and at this moment, as she laid contently in Bakugou's arms, she was glad she'd waited as it made this moment so much more special to her.

Bakugou toyed with Kitamura's ponytail and twirled it around his fingers. He tugged on it to pull her head away from his neck enough so that he could gaze at her. It was now that he knew he wanted many more times like this. He knew he wanted to be able to hold her as she slept, that he wanted to always be there to comfort her in times of need, and that he wanted to make her happy. It was at this moment that he realized there was little he wouldn't do for her. It was when he knew without a doubt that he was in love with Kitamura.

Upon seeing the most relaxed expression on his face, Kitamura smiled softly and raised a hand to hold his cheek, letting her thumb gently trace his lips as she admired him. "You're so handsome."

He glanced at the wall behind her as his cheeks heated up slightly. While he knew he was a good looking man, it was different hearing her compliment him like this - it made his heart flutter. The woman's smile grew wider as she noticed his blush and she continued. "You're really cute when you blush too, Katsuki."

His eyebrows furrowed and he frowned at Kitamura, knowing she was teasing him. "Shut it, Thumper."

She laughed and kissed the tip of his nose. "You're cute. Just accept it."

"Never."

"Fine. Be that way," Kitamura pouted. Bakugou rolled his eyes and let his hand travel down to slap her ass. She let out a squeal and his lips curved up into a smirk. "This was much better than that shitty arcade."

Kitamura chuckled as she nodded. "It definitely was. Although I'd still like to check it out sometime."

"I'll take you next time, beautiful," he promised as he delivered a kiss to her cheek. Kitamura sighed happily. "So there will be a next time?"

Bakugou scoffed lightly. "There better fucking be."

Her heart warmed at the idea of him wanting to go on another date with her and she tangled her legs with Bakugou's. "I'm glad," she murmured. "I love spending time with you."

Kitamura's eyes widened as she realized she let a word slip that might have made things uncomfortable between them. "I mean, er, that was a bad choice of words. Not to say that I love you because it's way too soon for anything like that. I mean, we're not even dating, I wouldn't say that. We just hooked up and oh go-"

Bakugou began to laugh and she shut up completely and rolled over to face the wall so she could hide her embarrassment. Kitamura's stomach was in knots as Bakugou's laughter filled the air, not making her feel any better. He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her back flush with his chest.

"I've never seen you so flustered," he chuckled as he kissed her bare shoulder. "It's fuckin' cute." Kitamura shook her head. He was just being nice, she thought.

The reality of the situation though was that the fact that she was so embarrassed about saying the word love in any context around him made him think that maybe she was beginning to feel as deeply connected to him as he was to her. Although Bakugou couldn't confirm it, he was confident that he right, which he was. Kitamura was so worried that she might have scared him off just by saying the word in passing that she couldn't stop the negative thoughts that began to race in her mind until Bakugou kissed her neck.

"Relax, Kai," He murmured against her skin. "I love spending time with you too."