Shinsou didn’t know what to think. In front of him, a boy he had insulted and been perpetually jealous of was asleep on his mentor’s couch with a bandaged head. Three of the four cats in the apartment were sleeping on or around him and neither Yamada or Aizawa seemed to mind his intrusion.
He wasn’t necessarily bothered or uncomfortable, but it was certainly different from what he was used to. He had just returned from being tutored by Yaoyorozu and had an agreement with his foster parents to stay with his mentor over the weekend. He played the hero-in-training card at his foster home, but he wasn’t blind enough to ignore the foster licensing paperwork spread out alongside half-graded homework on his teachers’ coffee table.
“Hitoshi, can you help me cook dinner?”
“Yeah, give me a second.”
Taking a moment to pet one of the cats perched on Bakugou’s back, he made his way to the kitchen.
He knew that the other boy was interning with his mentor and he knew that they had both only recently been released from the hospital, but he didn’t know that Bakugou was staying with their teachers as well. Deep down, he tried to hold back the instinctive flare of jealousy he felt at the sight. The normally volatile boy looked calm.
“What’s the deal with Bakugou?”
“He’s staying here for now, it’s nothing serious.” Shouta was bent over the stove, stirring something absentmindedly. Hitoshi had spent long enough working with and training under the hero that he could see the touches of worry on the man’s face.
He didn’t say anything, however, choosing to help cook instead of press the subject. If Shouta wanted to say something about Bakugou’s situation, he would.
They cooked in silence. The remaining cat not piled on top of Bakugou sat lazily on the counter where someone - presumably Yamada - had placed her. The old cat wasn’t the most active, content just to watch them cook. Shinsou brushed his fingers through her fur and smiled, at least one of the cats favored him.
“What are you two idiots burning?”
“Bakugou, you have a concussion. Go lay down, please.”
“Don’t tell me what to do! You’re the one ignoring bed-rest orders anyways.”
Aizawa didn’t say anything, which was probably more incriminating than anything he would have said anyways. Shinsou laughed.
With a third set of hands, the process of cooking went a lot faster. Despite his usual nature, Bakugou seemed calm and efficient. Shinsou worked by his side, trying to ignore the occasional brush of arms or shoulders that Bakugou didn’t shy away from. Shinsou wasn’t surprised, to be fair, knowing how the boy handled everything else. The other student was always physical with others and Shinsou was fairly sure he’d seen the boy piled on one of the Heights Alliance couches with his group of friends. Kaminari had smiled at him from across the room. Shinsou smiled back, if only for a second.
Shinsou bumped into Bakugou and glanced at the bandages slipping down the other boy’s forehead. “What happened to your head?”
Once all the food was set in motion, Aizawa walked off to feed the cats that had grumpily followed Bakugou into the kitchen, leaving the two students alone to watch and stir the food as it cooked.
“So, why’re you here?” Bakugou’s voice was rough, but it didn’t contain the same anger and confrontation than it usually did.
“I could ask you the same thing.” No matter how diplomatic the other boy was being, Shinsou didn’t particularly feel like spilling his guts to him.
Bakugou side-eyed him. “My shitty parents didn’t want to come to the hospital so the old man is letting me stay here for a few days.”
Oh. Shinsou froze up a little bit, not used to this side of Bakugou. “That sucks. At least Aizawa has cats.”
“Damn freeloaders. They just wanted to sit on me because I’m warm.” He sounded just as irritated as usual, but there was a smile on his face.
“I, um…” He halted for a moment, debating whether or not to finish the sentence. “I didn’t want to be at the foster home during the weekend. Aizawa lets me stay here sometimes so I can get away from them.”
“Do I need to kill anyone?”
“No! No, they’re not that bad-”
“Then why are you hiding from them?”
They both stayed silent for a while, Bakugou with his back turned to him and Shinsou settling on the counter nearby.
“I’m not hiding.”
“Well, why didn’t you go home to your parents? They’re your real parents, aren’t they?” Even to his own ears, the words sounded bitter. Bakugou just glanced at him and huffed out a bark of laughter.
“Yeah, they’re just assholes. They had a trip planned to Osaka and left without me before I was released from the hospital. I just waited for the old man to get let out a few days later instead of staying home alone. It’s too goddamn quiet there.”
Shinsou held back his disgusted expression, his anger. He could tell that Bakugou didn’t really understand how fucked up his explanation was. Getting angry about it wasn’t going to make either of them feel better and it would probably just push the other boy away anyways. Instead, he tried to change the subject. “You’re not usually this open about shit. Did some villain take your place or something?” Nailed it.
“Nah. You think I’m weak or something, tall-ass?” It was obvious deflection, but Bakugou turned to face him anyways, his trademark grin crooked and wry. Shinsou shook his head and hoped Bakugou saw it as the compliment that it was.
They finished cooking and prepared four plates, the silence only interrupted with harsh instructions and name-calling from Bakugou that Shinsou just laughed at. He could hear the same fondness behind his voice that he could hear when the explosive boy yelled at his friends and called Kirishima ‘Shitty-hair’. He didn’t complain.
“You’re already done? Sorry, I would’ve helped more.” Aizawa stood in the entryway of the kitchen, looking vaguely surprised.
“Don’t say shit like that, geezer, go lay down before you rip your fucking stitches again.”
“Hey hey hey! What are we yelling about?” Yamada appeared behind his husband brushing his hair idly.
“Surprised you could even hear us, idiot. You're too loud.” Bakugou shoved a plate into his hands before passing one to Aizawa as well. Shinsou smiled a little, noticing the obvious care and gentleness that the boy was treating their teacher with. Shinsou could see how much Bakugou cared in his own aggressive, roundabout way.
He couldn’t blame him, not really.
Shinsou, in his own tired, crooked way, smiled.