Katsuki Bakugou was a rather... unique person.
To put it mildly.
Not that Kyouka didn't like the guy. Quite the opposite, she considered him one of her close friends. Somehow. But that didn't mean she was blind to how frustrating he could be. He was a walking contradiction, stubborn in the best and worst ways, and he always seemed to get under people's skin. Even when he wasn't trying to.
Case in point, he'd pick a fight with Shouto over any insignificant little thing. Didn't matter what it was, he was always ready to argue or make a mountain out of a molehill. Right up until Shouto did something actually worth bitching about. At which point he'd pretend it wasn't a problem because Katsuki was oh-so-tough, and obviously couldn't be bothered by petty mortal things.
Today, 'petty mortal things' apparently referred to the concept of heat transfer.
Kyouka was in charge of leading their team for today's training assignment. They’d been tasked to find and successfully ambush the opposing team in order to steal a fake file drive that was supposed to contain important information or whatever. That wasn't too important, what was important was the three people she'd picked for her team; Shouto, Katsuki and Jenna.
Each of them had skills she needed to pull off her strategy, and particularly considering it was the four of them versus the rest of their class, they needed to be at the top of their game. When she’d picked her team, she’d been a bit worried about Katsuki picking a fight with Shouto, but Jenna was usually able to keep him focused, and today had been a good day for him anyways. It wouldn’t have been an issue under normal circumstances.
Only, part of Kyouka's strategy involved setting the training ground’s artificial forest on fire. Despite the bitter cold conditions, it wasn't snowing, and most of the forest was dry enough to burn. There was plenty of undergrowth for the fires to sweep through, and by tactically lighting fires in particular locations, they could drive the other team down a single narrow path. A simple plan, yeah, but an effective one. Shouto had lit the fires while Katsuki blasted out trenches to guide and contain the flames. Everything had been working out perfectly, right up until Shouto had gotten a little too fire happy, and Katsuki had been standing a little too close.
The good news was that Katsuki was unharmed thanks to his winter coat. The bad news was that Katsuki's winter coat was not fine. By the time he’d gotten it off and stamped out the flames it was little more than ash. Certainly not anything that would keep him warm.
They had at least another 15 minutes before the other team would be arriving. Out in temperatures below freezing. 15 minutes during which they needed to stay still and silent. In the freezing cold.
Shouto was incredible sorry for what happened. He'd apologized four times now, offering to warm Katsuki up with his quirk, only to be rebuffed each time by a grouchy Katsuki who was insisting that he was perfectly fine without a jacket. Completely ignoring the fact he was currently in a damn tank top. In freezing cold weather.
The two boys had been arguing about it since they’d finished their prep work. Kyouka was about twenty feet off from the two of them, trying to listen in on the other team's movements, but it was hard when those two wouldn’t shut up. Meanwhile, Jenna was comfortably situated above the rest of them; having built herself a sniper's nest while they’d been preparing the field. She’d gathered dry underbrush in a circle surrounding the base of her chosen tree, which Shouto would light when the other team arrived to prevent any of the ground fighters from going after her. If the expression on her face was anything to go off of, Jenna was also sick and tired of listening to the two morons’ back and forth below them.
Kyouka and Jenna shared a long-suffered look between them as Shouto attempted to make a fifth apology, hands fiddling together nervously as he eyed Katsuki's exposed shoulders which had a minute shiver to them. The two of them had been stuck listening to this crap for the past 10 minutes and it wasn’t getting anyone anywhere. There wasn’t a chance in hell that Katsuki was going to let Shouto warm him up, and Shouto felt too bad about burning Katsuki’s jacket to let him freeze.
Part of Kyouka wanted to ignore the two of them completely. If Katsuki wanted to play the tough guy and pretend he was stronger than the fundamental thermodynamic laws of the universe, well, he could deal with freezing his ass off. The real problem was that his explosions slowed down pretty severely when he got cold. And this plan was absolutely not going to work without him running at full power. Kyouka would've offered him her own coat for that exact reason, but she was about three sizes smaller than him. His arms wouldn’t even fit through her sleeves. Shouto didn’t wear a jacket, and nobody had brought a spare. That left them up the creek without a paddle, and left Kyouka struggling to find a solution so they wouldn’t fail the exercise. All while she was keeping her ears on the enemy group, and trying to ignore the too loud angry whispers to her side.
As Katsuki growled out a "It's fucking fine Icy-hot, stop fucking bringing it up." for the fifth time, Jenna apparently made up her mind to do something about her boyfriend. Thankfully, unlike Kyouka, Jenna wore a size larger than Katsuki.
"Alright, Kat, that's not going to work. New plan; Catch!"
Katsuki must've been colder than he'd been letting on, because his reaction time was only barely fast enough to catch the dark purple leather jacket thrown down at him. It took him several seconds after that to process what it was in his hands.
"I'm not wearing your fucking jacket! Put it back on before you freeze, moron!"
His girlfriend shook her head, an amused smirk on her face.
"I'm fine! I've got my long sleeves and gloves on, and this'll be over in 25 minutes if we do our jobs right. Besides, you need to be warm for your quirk to work properly, and I'm not losing today because you wanted to be a stubborn asshole!"
Red eyes narrowed down into a glare, but were met evenly by hazel in an all too familiar staring contest. Some days, Kyouka had no idea how these two were dating. They were both equally stubborn and set in their ways. Other days, like today, she knew that that was exactly why the two of them were dating. Because they were both capable of withstanding the other’s stubbornness when they knew they were right.
Aizawa actually had to limit how often the two of them were put on a team together, not because the two had any reservations about going up against each other. God no, if anything they preferred to face off during training. They were the only couple Kyouka knew that considered sparring a normal date night activity. Nah, people tried to get them on the same team so they’d balance each other out into something manageable. Although, that move had been known to backfire if both of them decided to be stubborn together, in which case the team leader was fucked. In all fairness though, if both Jenna and Katsuki went against their team leader, then the team leader was almost certainly in the wrong. So, you know, it worked out.
In this particular case though, Katsuki was being stupid, and he knew it. From the glimmer in Jenna’s eyes, she knew it too. Seconds ticked by them before she spoke again.
“If you’d rather have Todoroki warm you up, be my guest, but I’m not taking the jacket back. The stupid thing was limiting my range of motion. I’ve gotta get it adjusted again before I can shoot in it.”
Grumbling under his breath, Katsuki broke eye contact and shrugged on the coat in defeat. Jenna gave him a pleased smirk and turned her gaze back to where her targets would be appearing soon enough. The entire group settled back down, the mood sliding firmly into that of predators waiting for their prey. Not much longer now.
Despite having two heavy hitters and the class’ best sniper on her side, not to mention a surprise advantage and a carefully manufactured battlefield, Kyouka hadn’t planned on her team winning the battle ahead of them. They could have all the advantages in the world and she still wouldn’t plan on winning. Four against sixteen wasn’t ever going to be a fair fight, particularly when the other team knew who they were fighting and that an attack was inevitable. However, their assignment wasn’t to win the battle. Their assignment was retrieving the objective and escaping. If at least one of them made it out with the objective, they won. If all of them made it out, it would be considered a perfect score. The other team was scored based on how well they defended the objective, and failing that, how many members of Kyouka’s team they took down.
As such, Kyouka’s own role was to grab the objective while Katsuki and Shouto scattered and held off the opposing team. She’d already figured out who had the real one (and that Momo had made fakes in the first place) through careful listening (mostly because Denki had accidentally giving away while whispering to Hanta). Katsuki had helpfully carved out an escape route through the flames for her, one that Shouto had lined with ice to keep from being overtaken by fire. The moment she got through the entrance, there was a collection of dry brush for him to light ablaze so the other team couldn’t follow her, and she’d run the objective to the safe zone. Jenna would be providing cover fire for her, and making absolutely sure nobody followed her.
From there, they’d created several possible versions of the plan based on how the fight went down. Each team member had an escape route carved out through the fire, and they’d use them as soon as they could. If Kyouka got to the objectively safely, then Jenna would follow her, with Katsuki behind her, and Shouto last as he could ice his way through the flames without issue. They’d discussed a few variations for if someone got taken down, but overall it stayed the same. Honestly, Kyouka was proud of how well thought out it all was, particularly considering that they only got a half hour to prepare everything and they were working with limited materials. The point of all this was though, despite having a great plan with lots of moving parts accounted for, the plan did not involve them winning the battle against their classmates.
Which was why Kyouka was at a total loss for what to do as she stood in the middle of the defeated opposing team. Each and every team member was either unconscious or restrained, all the fake objectives had been destroyed, and Kyouka now had the real one safely in her grasp. It had been a damn slaughter. That wasn’t her exaggerating either, it had been almost frustratingly easy to take down the other team. Their classmates had made a number of very dumb mistakes right at the start of the fight, losing Izuku and Fumikage within the first minute. There was really no recovering after that. The defense hadn’t even managed to take down a single member of the attack team. Momo almost got Kyouka down while she’d been busy fighting Kouji and Hanta, but Jenna hit her with one of her paralytic dipped arrows and that took her out of the fight.
Glancing around at her teammates, it seemed all three of them were just as confused and frustrated as she was. Usually, this is where Katsuki would’ve started gloating, and Kyouka would’ve probably joined him. Instead, she found herself almost pissed. Not because they’d won, not even because they’d won easily.
The problem was they’d won because of a certain purple jacket.
Katsuki hadn’t put on his girlfriend’s jacket with the intent of confusing their classmates, none of them had even considered that, but somehow when he’d lept out to tackle Izuku, the others had just seen the dark purple color. Now, Jenna’s hand to hand combat wasn’t shabby, but it’d be batshit insane for her to go after Izuku like that unless she had a trick up her sleeve.
The others had scattered, yelling, breaking formation as they tried to figure out what the hell was going on. Since he hadn’t processed the blonde hair and red eyes in front of him in time, Izuku hadn’t braced himself properly for the explosions that followed. Likewise, Fumikage didn’t get far enough away to escape Katsuki’s AP shot, and he was already weakened by the firelight pouring in from every direction around them. From there the opposing team spiraled into a chaotic mess, made even worse with Jenna’s arrows coming as a complete surprise to them.
So now the four members of Kyouka’s team were standing around, waiting for someone to suggest what they should do next. Technically speaking, their goal was still to escape with the objective, but there was still fire consuming the forests around them and none of them were comfortable leaving their classmates helpless with danger so close.
Luckily, a familiar tired voice rang out over the announcement system, sounding as stunned by this turn of events as they were.
“Team Jirou, you’ve won the match. Please release your classmates, put out as much of the fire as you can, and help everyone back to the entryway for evaluations.”
Well. Guess they were doing that then.
Shouto set about putting out his flames, while Kyouka turned to free Hanta from where he was pinned to the wall by his own tape. From the sound of it, Katsuki was blasting Sato out from the rocks he was pinned under. By the time Jenna was able to get down from her sniper nest and join them, Fumikage and Tooru had both recovered enough to help with the rescue efforts
It took fifteen minutes to get everyone out so they could haul their classmates back to home base. Jenna was walking alongside Momo to keep an eye on the other girl. She’d administered the antidote as soon as she could, but Momo had pushed her limits with her creations, and as a result the poison hit her harder. Almost everyone had woken up by the time they’d finished, and most of them were capable of limping back themselves. The only exceptions were Denki, who’d short circuited himself and who Kyouka was now tugging along behind her, Tsuyu, who’d injured her leg and was being carried by Ochako, and Izuku who was still completely out. Shouto had put himself in charge of carrying him back after checking him over, with Katsuki awkwardly torn between hovering nearby them and walking with his girlfriend.
If it’d been a regular training session, there would’ve been no contest. But Izuku had taken a much stronger blow than he usually dealt with during training exercises. More importantly, he’d taken blow Katsuki had been expecting him to dodge. The blonde was left torn between guilt and absolute denial of his guilt. A guilty Katsuki was a volatile Katsuki, and anyone saying the wrong thing to him was likely to se-
“I cannot believe we got beat because Katsuki decided to steal his girlfriend’s jacket. Isn’t the guy supposed to give the girl his coat or something? I mean, don’t get me wrong, but I thought he was into that sort of manly stuff like Eijirou. Not… purple stuff.”
Goddammit it, Hanta.
Though, in all fairness, the guy did have a mild concussion, so he probably wasn’t thinking clearly. But still.
Katsuki went from nervous to pissed in an instant, damn near rounding on the other.
“First of all jackass, I didn’t steal anything! Jenna gave it to me because a certain someone burned my jacket. Second, fuck off with that gendered shit. Purple’s a fucking amazing color, and I fucking adore it.-”
“-Third, you morons didn’t lose because my boyfriend borrowed my jacket. You lost because you were stupid and unprepared. Villains change costumes all the time, particularly if they’re trying to get the jump on you. Get fucking used to it.”
Cutting her boyfriend off with a roll of her eyes, Jenna shot a pointed glare over at the black haired boy walking at the back of the group. He ducked his head in embarrassment, wincing in pain as he did so. Hm. Might be worse than a mild concussion if he was hurting that much from such a small movement. Katsuki caught it too, and even though he still looked pissed off, he fell back to walk with Hanta so he could check his symptoms again.
After that exchange, it only took five more minutes for their class to stumble out of the training grounds. Recovery Girl was waiting for them, quickly collecting Izuku, Tsuyu, Hanta, and Momo for the first round of healing. No doubt she’d be back to check over the rest of them before long. In the meantime, Aizawa herded everyone towards the lockers.
One hot shower later, Kyouka was feeling a lot more like a real person again. She’d changed out of her hero costume into casual clothing. They were done for the day once they got their evaluations back, and she was ready to take a well deserved nap. In the meantime, she rejoined her teammates while they waited for the rest of their classmates to either get themselves patched up or get changed.
Something felt off, even as she sat back down with her team. She glanced around her, trying to figure it out for several long before she realized Katsuki was still wearing the purple jacket. It took her several more seconds to realize that Jenna was also wearing a jacket, a black one that was decidedly not one of her usual ones. Kyouka stared down the two of them while they both pretended there was absolutely nothing weird about their current outfits, before she finally gave up. Huffing as she leaned back in her seat, she fixed Jenna with a teasing look.
“You know, of all the couples to do sappy shit like stealing each other’s clothing, I never thought it’d be you two.”
All she got was a shrug from Katsuki and a laugh from Jenna, the other girl tilting her head to lean on Katsuki’s shoulder with a played up wink.
“What can I say? I like making sure people know what’s mine. Let’s ‘em know to keep their hands off.”
Even Shouto rolled his eyes at that, breaking off from his worried brooding to give her a dry look. A couple of their classmates were shuffling out to join them, just in time to catch Kyouka’s reply.
“Jenna, I promise you absolutely everyone knows to keep their hands off of Katsuki. People don’t need a jacket to know that, they just need common sense.”
“Hey now, let’s be fair here,” Katsuki cut in, a smirk in his eyes “After that performance, I wouldn’t assume any of our classmates have common sense. Can’t blame her for playing it safe.”
“You just have to rub salt in our wounds don’t you?” Grumbled Ochako from across the room.
“It’s the only way you’ll learn.” Jenna shot back, her tone friendly but earning a groan from their classmates all the same.
As if he’d been cued, Aizawa chose that moment to walk in with Momo and Hanta trailing after him. Both students were pointed to empty seats while the last stragglers of their class filtered in. Once they were all seated, they got a long, long look from their teacher before he let out a sigh.
“Asui and Midoriya are both fine, they’ve been healed and they’re resting now.” Coal eyes turned towards Katsuki, and Kyouka felt their whole team tense up, ready to defend him if need be. “This is normally where you’d get the ‘be gentler during training’ lecture Bakugou, but Midoriya’s injuries are entirely on him this time. Still, be careful in the future. Other then that, excellent job out there. You worked with your team despite the extenuating circumstances, and you’ve improved on limiting your explosion strength in close quarters. ”
Giving a jerky nod, Katsuki’s gaze shifted to a contemplative look as he started his own mental review. Satisfied, Aizawa turned his attention to Shouto.
“Todoroki, your combos worked well throughout the match, and you did an excellent job in using your environment to your advantage while fighting. Overall, I saw quite a bit of improvement in the raw strength of your fire which is good. You need to focus on your precision, and pay attention to where your allies are in the future. Your teammates will not always be as durable as Katsuki.”
Another nod, Shouto’s eyes falling with an air of shame clinging to him. Jenna was second to last in line, straightening in her seat and meeting her teacher’s gaze.
“Excellent job setting up your location Jenna, the fire ring added a strong layer of defense to prevent ground fighters from reaching you. But if you pull something like that again, leave an easier escape route for yourself. The one you had plotted would’ve put you in range of the fire several times, and it’s too easy for that to go wrong. Particularly, if Shouto had been taken out in the fight.”
The archer hummed in reply, obviously not quite agreeing with her teacher, but not willing to protest the point either. He deemed it good enough, turning his attention to Kyouka at last.
“Jirou, I saw strong leadership from you today. You’ve made a lot of improvement since your last time heading up a team. You came up with a solid plan to take on difficult odds which played to your teammates strength. Good work. All four of you will get full marks for today. Any questions?”
The four of them shared a few glances between themselves to confirm nobody else had any questions before Kyouka shook her head.
“Great. You four are free to go. The rest of you...”
Their classmate’s chorus of groans and whines was sweet music to Kyouka’s ears as her group took their leave. If they were lucky, they’d had the dorms to themselves for at least thirty minutes, if not longer. Ahead of her, Jenna leaned in to whisper something in Katsuki’s ear which got a laugh from the explosive blonde. He leaned in to whisper something back, and Kyouka found herself grinning.
Yeah, Katsuki Bakugou was a pretty unique guy. He was a walking contradiction, frustrating on his best days, and stubborn to no end.
Still, she had to admit that the guy looked good in purple. Particularly when he had a brunette wearing orange and black walking by his side.