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all the bright precious things

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Momo came to visit him every single week for the next month. She would come right after breakfast, he would serve her tea, they would talk, never about anything serious. She only ever addressed the elephant in the room once. They had been sitting on his small dining table, sipping from their respective cups and waiting for Ochako and Todoroki to come over. She placed her cup and saucer on the faded wood with a small sigh.

“ I know that this is less than ideal, but I wanted to thank you anyway… for doing this.”

Bakugou stared at her, noted how she avoided his eyes, “ Well, it isn’t for entirely selfless reasons.”

There was a small smile on her face, “ She does seem very nice, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen you this happy.”

“ Well, I have been having a lot more sex.”

She threw her napkin at him. “ Do you have to be so vulgar?”

Before he could reply, the front door opened and immediately Ochako’s voice filled the space.

“ We’re here!”

He smirked at Momo and got up from his chair, ignoring the intense stare that she was sending his way.

***

 

He and Ochako watched from the distance as Todorki and Momo walked on the sands of the beach. The space between them had decreased throughout the visits, Bakugou could not remember the last time Momo had smiled like that, Todoroki too seemed lighter. Less mysterious giant and more man.

He was sketching in his chair, Ochako in front of him, a glass of orange juice half empty in her hand, she was staring at the two lovers with a fond distant look on her face. Something in him tightened at the thought she might be jealous, he did not try to understand her relationship with her husband and he had no delusions about his status; he was not her long lost love. What they had was nothing like what Momo and Todorki had; there was no quiet tenderness between them, no deep unconditional love. It had started as a carnal attraction but he was not sure what it was now, he did not want to examine why the thought of being another one in a long line of lovers bothered him. He did not know if it was because of who they are, or if it was a side effect of being around the other couple.

“ Do you ever want that?”

He glanced at her. “ Want what?”

She pointed at the distant figure of Momo and Todoroki. “ That,” she gulped her drink in one go as if she wished it was something stronger, and turned to face him she motioned with her hand at the facade of the mansion behind him.“ He wanted all of this for her, you know. I had to push him into it. I wonder if she can feel that every time she comes?”

He scoffed and returned to his sketch pad, he would not be analyzing the fact that all of his figures had started to morph to look more and more like her, “Feel what? His undying love? It’s honestly suffocating.”

He glanced at her from the top of his drawing, he could see her profile from here, her eyes were soft as she continued to stare after the couple. “ Not his love, Katsuki, his desperation.”

He frowned at that but he did not question her. She made her way to him and draped herself on his back, her breasts pushed up against him. Her hands came around his waist and she peered over his shoulder at his designs.

“ They’re beautiful.”

He smirked and turned to look at her. “ Of course they are, I have immense talent and you should know that by now.”

She hummed, a mischievous smile on her face. “ You are good with your hands,” her arm stretched and she slowly grazed at one of his designs.“ Do you think you can make me one?”

He looked back at the paper. “ What? A dress?”

He could feel her head move in a nod against his shoulder.“ If you design it I can send the designs to a tailor.”

He huffed, “ Don’t insult me Cheeks, I can make it, you don’t need a tailor.”

She squeaked before cupping his face and making him turn to look at her. “Really? You can do that?”

He wrenched himself from her grip.“ Jesus, my neck, “ he rubbed at his shoulder.“ And yeah of course I can, I’ll just need to get some supplies.”

She rested her head back on his shoulder, her hair tickling the bare skin. “ Tell the servants everything you need. I want to have a famous Katsuki Bakugou dress.”

“ What? Want to brag to all those other society ladies?”

There was a shift in the air and she pressed her lips lightly to his shoulder, when she spoke her voice was lower, nothing but a whisper against his skin, he was not even sure if she had meant for him to hear her. “ I just want to always remember this.”

He tensed, she seemed to be holding her breath behind him, waiting for his response. In front of them was the view of the river and on the opposite end of the bay was Momo’s house. Bakugou stayed silent. She detached herself from him and walked back to where she had been standing.

“ We should probably go inside before it gets too cold.”

She turned to face him, her face was relaxed but he had spent enough time with her the past few weeks to know that the look in her eye was resigned as if he had confirmed something for her. Bakugou supposed he had.

“ Yeah, let’s go back inside.”

The goosebumps on his skin had nothing to do with the cold.

*****

Momo, of course, was still a married woman and could not shirk all of her societal responsibilities. The summer was almost over and she was required to go visit Shindou’s family with him for a week. The air around the mansion was a lot colder, it looked sadder now. It reminded Bakugou of the first time he had seen it like this when Todoroki had invited him over for dinner. Uraraka had stayed over the night before, he cooked her breakfast in the morning. He was starting to notice things about her all the time; she had a southern twang to her voice in the early hours after she had just woke up; she preferred tea to coffee and had it with an insulting amount of sugar and a squeeze of lemon and she slept like the dead. His cottage was small, he was sure that any normal person would be able to hear him in the kitchen but she managed to sleep through it every time, he would have to wake her up physically if he wanted her to get up.

His living room was even smaller now, that he had an entire corner dedicated to the making of her dress. He had rolls of fabric, a machine, and a mannequin, it had not even taken her a day to procure everything he needed, it stroked a primal part of him; that she so clearly wanted something he made. He was surprised at how well they established a routine, if he stayed with her in the mansion she would leave him after breakfast and go to the study where she seemed to be working on something, he was not completely sure but he figured that a house that big was difficult to run. He would usually either leave to his cottage after breakfast or stay and read from the impressive library they had. Sometimes he and Todoroki would even talk, or play a game of football. The days would pass in mundane contentment. Ochako rarely stayed at his cottage, but she somehow fit his routine so well. She helped him clear the table and chased him out of the kitchen so he can work on the dress. The thought that he would not mind living the rest of his life like this, struck him while he was draping; he could hear the clink of dishes as she went around in the kitchen, it was as if they occupied a pocket in the universe. He had to immediately strike it down, they were not like that, he did not know what they were but the weird fucked up circumstance they found themselves in would surely not end with him and her in a small house completely at ease. Not that he wanted it to.

But the thought seemed to bury itself in his mind. He did not even realize how long he had been out of it until she came and hugged him from behind; hands still slightly damp roping around his torso.

“ When do you think it’ll be done?”

“Patience,” he reprimanded her, she asked him the same question every day.

“ I can’t help it,” she whined, “ I want to wear it for the next party.”

He turned his head to the side fixing her with a look. “ It’s been a while since you’ve had those.”

She nodded. “ I know, we’ve been busy,” she chuckled and squeezed his middle before disconnecting from him and making her way to the couch, he stared at her bare feet.“ But they do serve a purpose, and summer is almost over so we should end it with a bang, don’t you think?”

“ I suppose.”

There was a squeak from the couch and she quickly shot up. “ God, is that the time?”

She rushed to the bedroom and he could hear her rummaging; she did everything so loudly.

“ Do you have to leave?”

“Yeah,” she shouted, “I’m expecting a very important phone call.”

She rushed back into the living room in a whirlwind of fabric and panic and quickly pecked him on the cheek.

“ I’ll see you later.”

Then she was gone, and Bakugou was all alone with a small smile on his face.

****

At this point, all the servants knew him. The mansion, once intimidating with its many rooms, was now familiar. It was late evening, he had engrossed himself with his work to the point where he had missed lunch and had not even noticed until the sun had set and it was too dark for him to work without switching on the lights. He was too tired to cook and Ochako’s chef did make decent enough food for him to have no qualms about showing up for dinner. He had done it before.

He did not find her in her room, or the library, he was about to ask one of the many silent servants when he heard whispering from the study with the telescope. He quietly made his way down the corridor, catching her voice as she talked with Todoroki.

“ - for you to end up disappointed.”

From his angle, he could see the back of her head as she talked with Todoroki, who was facing the window, it felt like the first night when he had seen them on the dock.

“ She said she’ll talk to him.”

Ochako sighted, it was laden with frustration.“ We still have to do this, we’ve worked so hard we can’t let it all-”

Todoroki snapped his hand down on the side table, the crack of his palm against the wood shocked Bakugou but Ochako did not seem surprised with it.

“ Isn’t that why we did everything, in the first place. So we won’t have to care about what we are supposed to do, or who we’re supposed to be?”

The last part seemed to be directed at Ochako herself and was laced with bitterness. Something in Bakugou’s stomach twisted, he had never seen them act this way. He had not even known that Todoroki could be so angry.

“ Oh, Shouto,” Ochako said with pity and understanding, “ You know better than anybody that is the furthest thing from the truth.”

Todoroki did not say anything, the silence lasted for centuries, or at least it seemed like that to Bakugou.

“ I’m sorry, you’re right.”

Ochako took a few steps and took his hand in hers, Bakugou hated how comfortable they were with each other’s touch. They did not act like two people who were not in love with each other.

“ Of course I am, we’ve come this far but we can’t forget that this all could come crumbling down around us.”

Shouto nodded and squeezed her hand back. Bakugou had seen enough, he had been an idiot to get himself involved with them. It did not matter that Momo and Todoroki were in love, Ochako was not his, and Todoroki was not Momo’s. He took a step back but he had been standing in his place for so long and the door of the study opened suddenly. Todoroki stood there with wide eyes.

“ Bakugou?”

Behind him, Bakugou could see Ochako turn quickly from where she stood by the window. The surprised grin she shot his way, made something in his chest constrict. Todoroki looked at both of them and passed by Bakugou, he placed his hand on Bakugou’s shoulder and squeezed quickly.

“ I’m assuming you’re staying for dinner, “ he said with a smile and walked away, voice calling back amusingly, “ Don’t make me wait, you two.”

Ochako smiled and motioned for him to come into the room. “Katsuki, I missed you.”

He scoffed, “ You seemed fine to me.”

She frowned and took a step towards him. “ Don’t do this.”

He looked down at his shoes, he could still feel her eyes on him.

“ Do you know why we throw our parties every weekend?”

The question caught him off guard and he looked up at her before looking to the side.

“ I’m not dumb Cheeks, I know both of you are shady as hell, I figured it had something to do with all of your money.”

She nodded and he was taken back by the fact that she did not even try to deny it.

“ It didn’t start that way though.” She motioned to the room around them. “Everything you see here, Shouto and I had to work for; we built an empire from nothing.”

“ Most people are not so flippant about breaking the law.”

It was her turn to scoff, “ The law means nothing Katsuki, you know that,” she said with disappointment. He said nothing and swallowed the tightness that was climbing up the back of his throat.
“ The parties started,” she continued, “ As an attempt to lure Momo in. It was my idea, it was all for her, for the small chance that he would get to see her again. But she never did, not until you moved in next door.”

He met her eyes and the pain in them shocked him. She did not seem to care though, and she continued. “ Do you know what that does to a person? Knowing someone could love someone that fiercely but never being able to even fathom it, knowing that after each night the person you love most in the world would be heartbroken?” she said, her voice tight and low, “It breaks something in you, but the parties continued, and they were good for business and so I overlooked it all. And that was selfish of me, I admit, but I will not go back to the person I was Katsuki. This money you look down on, it gave me everything. It even gave me you.”

His eyes widened, the words were phrased like an afterthought but they were deliberate, she cared about him enough to justify all of this. He crossed the room and cupped her face, she met his eyes head-on. He could see the desperation and the pain in them clear as day. At that moment, he knew that he did not care, he did not care that she was married, or how exactly she had gotten her fortunes or even what her past was. He did not care as long as he could be by her side through it all.

“ Come to Paris with me.”

It was Ochako’s turn to be shocked. “ What?”

“ After the party, I need to go back, but come with me Cheeks.”

She shook her head, “ Katsuki I can’t.”

He gripped her face tiger and bent down so that they were eye to eye. “ Yes, you can. Todoroki won’t mind, you don’t have to be with him all the time, do you? Leave this place Cheeks, come with me.”

“Momo told Shouto she’ll leave her husband soon, they’re going to tell him at the party next weekend-”

“ That sounds like they’ll be together soon, anyway. Isn’t it about time that you did for yourself what you have been doing for him?”

Her eyes seemed to search his, darting across his entire face. “ I have work.”

“ And Todoroki can’t handle it for a few months? You can always come back to visit. Come on Cheeks, say yes.”

He held his breath as she bit her lip, her eyes darted to the side. “ Give me some time to think, yeah?”

He could feel disappointment build in him but he squashed it down.

“ Of course.”

That night, Bakugou could not sleep. He ended up working until the early hours of the morning on the dress. By the time the sun rose, his fingers had been pricked about a hundred times, he was exhausted and his back was killing him, but it was done. He had made his first official Katsuki Bakugou dress, with no input from his parents, no help from the tailors at the fashion house. This was his from start to finish.

And Ochako was going to wear it.

He immediately fell into his bed in a heap and slept right through the evening. When he woke up he felt a tinge of disappointment that she had not come to visit him yet. Bakugou was a light sleeper, if she had knocked or entered he would have known. He tried to not think too much of the emptiness that screamed inside of him. He carefully wrapped the dress in tissue paper and put it inside a box, before walking up to the mansion gates and giving it to the first servant he saw.

There were three days left before the party. Ochako did not come to see him.

***

By the time that the night of the party came around, he was in a horrid mood. A part of him did not want to go, but there was also a part of him who hoped that he would enter that giant hall, that their eyes would meet across the throngs of guests just like they did the first he saw her and that this time she would not be able to look away.

The fact that he had to see Shindou did not improve his mood at all. Momo and Shindou had pulled up in their car to pick him up. Immediately he knew that something was amiss because the air in that two-minute drive to the mansion was filled with a tension he could almost touch. Momo was tense, Shindou seemed angry, but Bakugou did not care about him anyway. He made a note to stick by Momo’s side for the rest of the night, just in case.

When they entered the mansion seemed to be even more cramped than before. A party had not been hosted for a while and it was clear that the people had missed their weekly release, the energy in the room was bundling up and Bakugou was glad that he did not live here because he did not want to be there when it finally burst.

“ This place is a mess.” Shindou hissed from next to him.

Momo was looking around, and Bakugou’s heart squeezed when Todoroki materialized by her side. Ochako would not be far then.

“ Momo! I’m so happy you made it!”

Bakugou looked up and felt the breath leave his lungs. She was wearing his dress and it looked amazing. The fabric hung on her figure and framed it in waves, the heavy beadwork shone under the light of the hall and left blurry lines in her wake. He had created something from scratch, transformed it from a drawing to a physical form but Ochako had brought his vision to life.

“ Ochako, this is my husband. Shindou this is Ochako, Todoroki’s wife.”

Shindou’s eyes widened, but he immediately smiled and took Ochako’s hand to kiss. Bakugou hated that about him, Ochako wore her mask to protect herself, Shindou wore his to lure people.

“ My, my, stories of your beauty do not do you justice.”

Ochako smiled widely before ushering all of them deeper into the mansion. She played the perfect hostess throughout the night, she poured champagne for them, she laughed with Shindou. Bakugou was sure that she was the only reason that Shindou had not noticed how close Momo and Todoroki were standing to each other. Bakugou also noted how Ochako seemed to be actively avoiding him, she had not looked in his direction all night.

He felt raw, agitated. He had exposed himself that night, asked her to stay the way he had never asked anybody else to do. Bakugou had always been the one to leave, the one to never develop any attachments, but he had overturned all of that at the chance that they might have more mornings like the one they had all summer. He had thought that it would be a done deal and every single second in this mansion, every second she ignored him was an insult; a declaration that she did not want the same things he did.

She had left their little group a while back, moving around the party and playing the perfect hostess. She shone in his dress and a small part of him was dreading going back to Paris and creating other clothes, he did not think he would create anything else that would compare; anything that would make his heart ease the way she did. Next to him on one of the makeshift bars, Shindou was talking to a woman, who managed to look about seventeen. Bakugou wanted to punch him. He glanced around and caught her again, he suspected that he will always be able to catch her in a crowd.

She was talking to a tall man with dark hair, her hand was on his forearm and that was all he could focus on. Before he knew it he was across the room, right behind her. He caught himself before he said anything stupid, but his hand stretched across the infinite space that seemed to stretch between them and grazed the bare skin of her upper arm. She turned to look at him, eyes wide.

“ Bakugou.” Her voice was surprised, admonishing, her eyes pleading with him.

“ Is this your friend Mrs. Todoroki?”

She turned back to the man and gently pushed Bakugou forward so that he was standing by her side, “ Commissioner, this is Katsuki Bakugou, he’s our neighbor,” she said lightly and motioned at her dress, “ He is also the designer of this beautiful dress.”

The man, the commissioner, smirked down at her, the look on his face as smarmy as can be. It seemed Bakugou had to add another person into the list of people he wanted to punch.

“ Well, then every man in this room should thank him.”

Ochako giggled, it was a sound Bakugou had never heard her make before. Ochako would laugh and chuckle and clear her throat to hide her joy. She did not giggle.

“ Cheeks I have to talk to you about something.”

She tensed at the nickname and the smile on the commissioner’s face instantly dropped, he cleared his throat.

“ I’ll talk to you later, Mrs. Todoroki.”

Ochako nodded at him and turned quickly to face Bakugou once the man had become another head in the crowd. She grabbed his forearm and dragged him out to the gardens through one of the huge open doors. Instantly Bakugou felt better, the summer air washing over him, and the lessened crowd lifting his mood a little.

“ What is wrong with you?” she hissed quietly.

“ You’ve been avoiding me.”

Her eyes widened and she sighted, she turned to look around, even now she managed to be on guard.

“It’s complicated.”

“ So what you’re fixing it by not telling me anything? You know if you wanted to say no all you had to d-”

“ I don’t want to say no.”

He stilled at that. “What?”

She turned to him and finally, finally her eyes were on him, they were clear and focused. Nothing mattered, it was only them in this crowd of hundreds. It was the kind of focused look she gave to the party-goers, only it was better because there was no pretense to it. He was looking at Ochako and she was looking at him.

“ All I have been able to do is think about you...and Paris,” she confessed, “ I talked with Shouto about it, and he wants me to be happy,” she paused and laughed bitterly, “ That is all we’ve ever wanted for each other anyway. I still of course had to tie loose ends, finalize somethings before I could travel to another continent for a few weeks. Things that you just halted because of your impatience.”

She glared at him but there was no real malice to it.

“ Why did you not tell me any of this?”

“ I was going to surprise you, if I had not managed to finish by tonight I would have talked to you about following you to Paris anyway. I have been working too hard lately,” she said and a mischievous grin took over her entire face, “I’m sure Shouto would have been able to handle a few things.”

Bakugou smirked and looked down at her. “ You still haven’t told me what exactly it is that you guys do.”

Her hands came up grazed over the lapels of his jacket. “ That’s only for me to know, can’t have you knowing all my secrets.”

Bakugou smiled down at her, “ So what? This all has a fucking happy ending?”

“ Well, if everything goes as planned, Momo and Shouto talk to her husband after the party ends today and Momo will ask for a divorce.”

Bakugou felt an almost sick pleasure in the idea that by the end of the night, Shinodu would be blindsided and he would be that much closer to what he wanted. He glanced back at the room filled with guests, his eyes wandering to the bar. He tensed when he saw that Shindou was not there and he quickly scanned the huge room. Something did not feel right.

“ Hey Cheeks, where are Todoroki and Momo?”

****

Ochako had immediately alerted one of the servants to keep an eye out but it was not hard to find Momo and Todoroki and unfortunately Shindou with them. Bakugou crushed at himself as he ran towards the tree line, Ochako on his heels, where he could already start to hear the yells of Shindou.

“ -you can divorce me?”
There was clear anger in Shindou’s voice and Bakugou pushed himself to run even faster. They found them at the edge of the grounds, hidden away by the foliage. Todoroki had pushed himself between Momo and Shindou while the man was angry yelling.

“ WE ARE LEAVING RIGHT NOW!”

Bakugou stopped right before he reached them.

“ Shindou you need to calm down.”

The man turned to him, face red and eyes enraged, “And you! You knew about it all along didn’t you and you just played along? I always knew you didn’t like me but this is a whole new low.”

“ That’s rich coming from you.”

They all turned around where Ochako was walking towards them. She was glaring specifically at Shindou.

“ What are you even talking about?”

Ochako came to a stop next to Bakugou. Her head was held high and her shoulders were back, he had never seen her like that. This was not the trickster hostess he saw inside or the carefree girl who would hum every time she took a bite of his pancakes. He was not sure who this was.

“ I talked to Momo when she came to visit often,” she stated, “ Girl talk, you know? She shared how often you left the house, how busy your work kept you. I looked into it, imagine my surprise when I found out you have a mistress, a mistress you have kept since the before your marriage.” Ochako fixed Shinodu with a glare so lethal Bakugou felt flutters in his stomach. “ Momo is within her full rights to ask for a divorce. Adultery is very frowned upon.”

Shindou scoffed and gestured at all of them, “ And what the fuck do you call this then, is this not adultery?”

Ochako smiled at him, “ I have ample proof of your… ministrations. Momo has been visiting us for the summer, a couple she’s friends with, and her childhood friend who is our neighbor. Hardly anything scandalous and unlike me, you will have a very hard time finding anyone who would say otherwise.” The smirk she directed at the man almost made Bakugou want to question their entire time together. “ Good discrete help costs so much these days, I won’t count on you finding anything.”

Shindou laughed and wagged his finger at her, Bakugou could feel the rage coming on, “ You’re something else, a right bitch I’ll give you that, but you should not underestimate me.” He took a step closer to her and Bakugou stepped in front of her. “ You see? You two managed to pique my interest, and the story just doesn’t add up. A disgraced son and some farm whore getting lucky and making this much money, ” He motioned to the house. “ I’ll find a way to bring you down even if it’s the last thing I do.”

Ochako smiled at him, her eyes cold and distant. “ Be my guest.”

Shindou stood still as if waiting for her to fold, but when she did not he stormed off. They all watched him leave with various expressions of relief and disbelief on their faces.

“ You never told me you were looking into him,” Todoroki said with no small amount of reverence in his voice.

Ochako smiled as she turned towards him. “ A married woman still needs to have her secrets.”

***

“ You know I never found out what you did?” Bakugou said, turning his head to look at the woman draped over his workbench.

Ochako’s head perked up and she fixed him with an amused look. “ I don’t do anything anymore, it’s all Todoroki,” she said wistfully.

Bakugou scoffed, “ Yeah and that’s why you still won’t move permanently here?”

She placed her head back on the bench and he turned back to the mannequin he was working on.

“ How about this? I’ll tell you a different secret if you drop it.”

That made him stop what he was doing, he turned around fully to face her. He could not see her face but he knew she was smiling.

“ Depends, what’s the secret?”

She turned to him a smug smile on. “ My full name is Ochako Uraraka.”

Bakugou’s eyes widened, and Ochako burst into laughter at his facial expression, her joy filling his studio.