It wasn’t the first time Kirishima had psyched himself up to ask out Bakugou, and he was worried it wouldn’t be the last.
Ever since they started the band, it’d been on the tip of his tongue. Every practice. Every concert. He always started strong, “you were great out there tonight” but couldn’t bring himself to finish it with the line that Kaminari gave him, “but you’d be better if you were kissing me.”
The entire rest of the band, aptly named The Sqwäd, all knew about his overwhelming love for Katsuki. Sero had given up encouraging him after the first year, but Mina and Denki still shot him desperate looks at every chance to say something that he didn’t take.
But his affection for the explosive man never faltered, and the manly thing to do was to express it. If he couldn’t do it in words, the least he could do was actions. He was always the first person to praise Bakugou on a job well done, bring him coffee, send him cheery wake up texts with too many arm muscle emojis, remember to grab an extra pair of drumsticks for when he broke one or lost it after throwing it at one of the band members, and generally making the ash-blonde feel loved and supported. Whether or not the man would admit it.
Eijirou had convinced himself it was enough, and for a few years it was.
But now, walking away from his pep-talk with Shinsou, Kirishima decided he had waited long enough. Another part of him felt obligated to follow through, since he’d just told Hitoshi to man up and ask Kaminari out already. It would be shameful to have delivered that speech only to slink off to the living room to fantasize about how great it would be to finally kiss Bakugou.
Mina had often tried to explain that the two had been dating for years and just never acknowledged it. Considering how often they shared food, slept over at each other’s houses, and even sometimes held hands, it was a plausible theory. Yet there was that part of him that refused to believe someone like Katsuki would settle for someone like him.
Kirishima knew his self-confidence wasn’t the best. It wasn’t until high school that he even let himself freely speak up around others. Ashido had been a big help in boosting his esteem and her suggestion of him joining her new band was the best thing that ever happened to him- after all, it’s how he met Bakugou.
When it was first pitched to him, he didn’t even know how to play an instrument. None of them had been professionally taught, and he was proud that it didn’t show in their current gigs but it was pretty brutal when they started. He was the only one who had never touched an instrument before being part of the band, but Mina assured him that he’d pick it up quickly. He didn’t believe her- especially after seeing how talented the drummer was.
Kirishima can still remember when he first saw the ash-blonde. He’d been in the middle of practicing, and Eijirou was late in arriving since he’d never been to Bakugou’s house before. He’d followed the drumbeat through the house like a siren’s song and felt his heart lodge in his throat upon seeing him. The boy was sweaty, keeping time to a melody that was yet to be played, a headband pushing his spiky hair back, and a look on his face like he was ready to kill a man.
Kirishima fell in love.
He wouldn’t realize it until later, at the time he was just convinced he’d found a new inspiration for true manliness. Eijirou found himself walking up to the drums and standing beside them, just watching the boy play until the blonde noticed him and stopped.
“The hell are you smiling at, Shark Week?”
His gravelly voice matched him perfectly, and all Kirishima could do was smile dumbly while Mina laughed. He hadn’t even noticed her or the other two boys in the room until she started cackling.
When he turned to face the rest of them he saw a tall kid with black hair down to his shoulders looking at him with amused confusion, and a blonde boy tuning an electric guitar with a seemingly already fond grin.
“Boys, this is Kirishima. He doesn’t know how to play anything yet, but he’s gonna be awesome when he does,” Mina crowed.
“Yo, dude!” the kid holding the guitar said, while the other one saluted him.
“He doesn’t know how to fucking play anything?” the drummer spat, “I thought you said this was a band, not a preschool.”
Ashido shrugged, “He’ll learn. He’s smarter than he looks!”
Kirishima didn’t have it in him to be offended, and if it was anyone but the drummer who had cursed at him that way he might have given up and left. But he was filled with such a drive to impress him that he found himself saying, “What instrument goes best with the drums?”
“Probably the bass guitar,” the tallest boy said, “It fills the pockets that the main beat leaves.”
Eijirou turned to Mina, “Has anyone taken that yet?”
She had a knowing smile that he wouldn’t understand until much later when she slapped a hand on his shoulder and said, “Guess you’re gonna fill his pockets.”
The guitarist had burst out laughing, but Eijirou was far too enamored with his new place in life to even consider the underlying meaning of the joke.
He’d shown up to their next rehearsal with a used electric bass that he’d begged his parents to buy him- they’d never seen him so excited about trying something new before and encouraged him socializing with other kids, happily purchasing him the instrument.
Kirishima had then spent the next week until practice religiously going over scales and chords, all the while thinking of proving his worth to the angry drummer. His fingers were sore and his sleep schedule ruined, but he showed up to rehearsal with a spring in his step and a confidence he’d never felt before.
Stepping back into the garage they’d deemed their practice space, Kirishima was greeted by Sero and Kaminari. They’d immediately fallen into a good rapport with each other during that first meeting, and the mood was always light with them around. Then Bakugou stomped in and sneered at their camaraderie. Eijirou had learned that the drummer went to school with Hanta and Denki, so they were more than used to his attitude. Mina had met Kaminari at band camp where they’d instantly bonded over being the hyperactive kids that other students gave wide berth to. Since then, Ashido was introduced to Denki’s two “best friends who also totally know how to rock” (though Bakugou had immediately argued the term ‘friends’) where she’d easily become accustomed to the natural rhythm of their group. It didn’t take long for Kirishima to find his own place in it.
At their second rehearsal, Kirishima played a bass line he’d been practicing, to show off how hard he had been working. Mina, Sero, and Kaminari had excitedly applauded his progress but Bakugou stepped out from behind the drums and moved Kirishima’s fingers down a position.
Katsuki’s face was deadly serious as he ordered, “Try it again, from there.”
Eijirou proceeded to repeat the movements he’d done before in their new shifted key, and found that it sounded a lot better. Before he got to the end, Bakugou sat back at his drum set and started a steady backing beat to it. Kirishima hadn’t realized how powerful he would feel playing alongside the boy he’d started viciously crushing on, and his mouth hurt from how widely he was smiling. The rest of the band joined in, Sero on the keyboard, Denki doing a small guitar riff, and Mina humming along at a fast pace.
After they finished, Kirishima’s mouth got ahead of him as he turned to Bakugou and said, “I think we could make beautiful music together.”
The blonde had raged and threw a drumstick angrily at the bassist, who was just as red-faced himself. The others found it hilarious and it became an inside joke they used to this day. Eijirou has come to terms with him never living that down.
But now, here he was, walking back into the living room at Shinsou’s apartment- where the band had spent the night after hanging out- preparing himself to finally do what he should have done years ago.
“Hey, uh, Katsuki? Can I talk to you?”
Mina and Kaminari both murmured a quiet “Ooooooooh!” but were shut up by Sero, who must have caught on to what was about to happen.
Bakugou was still sipping from his coffee, but set it down on the table and stood up, “Let’s go to Eyebags’ room.”
Kirishima watched as Bakugou strolled into the purple-haired man’s bedroom like he owned the place, before the bassist forced himself to add, “and Shinsou wanted to talk to you, Kami,” before running after the ash-blonde.
The bedroom was just as colorless as the rest of the apartment, with the exception of many framed photos of Hitoshi’s adopted family. Katsuki sat on the bed and crossed his arms, waiting.
Kirishim began, “So, I was talking to Shinsou. ‘Cause he’s totally stalling on asking out Denks, right?”
“Yeah,” Bakugou started, “He’s been waiting a long time.”
Eijirou wasn’t sure if there was a double meaning to Katsuki’s answer, but it felt like he wasn’t just talking about Kaminari.
“Right, so I was telling him that he should just say something already. Since the wait has been so long. It’s almost painful, you know?”
“Excruciating,” Bakugou drawled looking a little annoyed.
Kirishima smiled, “Exactly! Then, while I was talking to him, I realized that I should practice what I preach, or that wouldn’t be manly at all.”
If Eijirou didn’t know him better, he’d almost call Bakugou’s current mood anxious.
The drummer sighed, “Is this going somewhere, Shitty Hair?”
“Not Shark Week?” Kirishima asked.
Bakugou raised a well-manicured eyebrow.
“It’s what you first called me,” Eijirou grinned, “I can remember it real easy. You said ‘the-”
“I said ‘the hell are you smiling at, Shark Week,’” Katsuki interrupted him.
“Yeah!” Kirishima chuckled before realizing, “You remembered?”
“Of course. I remember everything,” Bakugou smirked.
Eijirou felt his heart beating speedily in his chest, overcome with affection for this ridiculous man who had to assert his perfectionism at every possible moment.
Katsuki narrowed his eyes again, prompting him, “Go back to what you were saying.”
A part of Kirishima really hoped that Bakugou had already figured out where this was going but had decided to let him take his time. It was both sweetly thoughtful and yet sadistic, so that sounded par for the course.
“We’ve known each other for a long time now,” Eijirou began.
“Ten years, six months, and twenty-three days,” Katsuki corrected.
Eijirou blinked owlishly, “Oh. You counted?”
Bakugou averted his eyes, “It’s an estimate. Simple math.”
If it was any other moment, Kirishima would just smile and let the drummer take the chance to change the subject he was so desperately looking for, but today wasn’t about running.
“How’d you calculate it then?” Eijirou persisted.
Katsuki looked surprised. He’d obviously expected Kirishima to let him get away with his usual defense tactics. The bassist felt like this was the right step to make today. It was time to be upfront.
“I,” Bakugou started, frowning, “Just remembered it was in the spring when we met. It was starting to get hot outside. You were wearing these hideous orange shorts.”
“And that let you figure out how long it’s been to the day? Spring is a few months, but you came up with an exact number.”
“Lay off, Shitty Hair!” Katsuki stood up from the bed, defensive.
Kirishima put a hand out and held Bakugou’s bicep to keep him from leaving, “If I was smart like you I’d have remembered it too. ‘Cause it’s important to me. Maybe the most important.”
Bakugou paused, allowing himself to be held onto, “If you have something to say you should just say it.”
“I’m trying!” Kirishima pouted, “This is super hard, dude.”
“So hard that it took you ten years?” Katsuki jibed.
The redhead's smile was all sharp teeth, “Plus six months and twenty-three days.”
Bakugou’s mouth twitched into a half-second’s grin before cementing itself as a determined frown again.
“You changed me,” Eijirou tried a second time. “Before you, I was happy being nobody and staying quiet. I didn’t see what the point of standing out and standing up for myself was. I didn’t know where I was going in life and I didn’t care. But all you had to do was breathe and suddenly I had an identity and aspirations.”
“I did more than breathe. Besides, you’d have figured it out on your own,” Katsuki said while leaning into the hand around his arm.
“Maybe, but I didn’t know who I wanted to be until you showed me I could be somebody.” Kirishima frowned, “Does that make sense?”
“Just keep talking, Shark Week,” Bakugou reassured him, and brought a hand up to grasp Eijirou’s arm the way the red-head was holding his.
The bassist continued, “You held me accountable. You taught me that if I want something I have to give it all I got and be the best.”
Katsuki nodded, encouraging him to keep speaking.
“And you deserve the best,” Eijirou added. “I know I’m not a lot of things, but I’m gonna try and be the best I can. For you and for me.”
Bakugou’s face was pink as he growled, “For fucks sake, just ask me already.”
“Okay,” Kirishima clasped both of his hands around the drummer’s, “Bakugou Katsuki, I love you. Will you be my boyfriend?”
The blonde smirked before saying, “No.”
Eijirou felt like he’d been punched in the stomach, and it must have shown in his face because Bakugou started to do the ugly laugh he only made when he was truly amused.
“Because,” the blonde added, “dating is for pussies. I don’t date.”
Kirishima held the other man’s hands tighter, “Okay, then marry me!”
Katsuki’s face was almost comical with its shock, before he smirked, “You stole my line, asshole.”
“Oh fuck, really?!” Eijirou asked, honestly surprised. “I mean, yeah! Let’s get married! Holy shit.”
The bassist found himself laughing, all the anxiety of the earlier moment dissipated in happy giggles.
“You know, Katsuki,” Eijirou started, “I think we could make beautiful music together.”
Bakugou snorted and shoved the redhead playfully, “Divorced.”
“Oh come on, you loved it!”
“No, I love something else though,” Katsuki smiled.
“Me?” Kirishima asked excitedly.
Bakugou snorted, “I was gonna say ‘shoving this in Drooly and Eyebags’ faces,’ but you’re alright I guess.”
Eijirou let go of Katsuki’s hands and instead held the man’s face lovingly.
“I-I’m gonna kiss you now,” the bassist announced.
The blonde smirked, “Then do it, coward. I’m not gonna wait another ten yea-”
Kirishima cut him off with a kiss. Trying his best to sink a decade of missed opportunities into one moment. Like in the countless times he’d imagined it, Bakugou’s lips were as soft as they looked and he hummed happily against them. Pulling back from the kiss to find Katsuki looking somewhat dazed before recovering with a triumphant grin.
“Those two losers are gonna be so pissed when they find out that we’re sharing their anniversary.”