“You should really try it. I think you’d enjoy it, actually. You know, let go a little.”
Katsuki sneered, rolling his eyes as he slouched back in the booth. Talk about annoying as fuck. These idiots always bothered him about his sex life--or rather, lack thereof. Anytime he went to dinner with Deku and his stupid partners, Katsuki was bound to be interrogated or talked at for a minimum of an hour.
Normally he wouldn’t have bothered coming out tonight. Unfortunately, it was fucking Deku’s goddamn birthday, and well… as one of the nerd’s oldest friends, he couldn’t exactly decline. Not three years in a row, and not without getting a phone call from his bitch of a mom.
So here he was, sitting in a fancy, upscale restaurant with Deku, Glasses, and Round Cheeks, waiting for their meals to show up.
He was on his second old fashioned, wishing that he could drink away the hours and just go home to his place without having to contend with these three.
“Ochako is right,” Glasses said, leaning forward. He was a tall, broad man, just a bit larger than Deku had ended up being.
Back in high school, the three of them had gotten together. Since then, they’d been pretty much inseparable. It was annoying. They loved rubbing their affection for one another in literally everyone’s face, always being together or touching in some way. They’d even gotten matching rings from some asshole out in America named Johann.
Katsuki hated it.
He hated seeing them like this.
Not because he was jealous, okay? He wasn’t. Mostly, it was because he never felt like he could just be himself. He was, as odd as it might sound, a fourth wheel with them. Long gone were the days where they were a group of friends minding their own business. No, now they were… well, whatever this shit was.
And he fucking loathed it.
“Watch it,” he growled.
Deku sighed, running a hand through his dark hair. “Kacchan, they’re not… well, wrong. We could even go with you, if you wanted.”
His gaze snapped to his idiot best friend. “Like hell I’d even bother going, let alone with you freaks.”
They were trying for the umpteenth time to get him to go to a club downtown. Katsuki hated being in the downtown scene. Being around so many people just wasn’t for him. Hell, even being in this crowded restaurant was a challenge. The next table was ten feet away, but his skin still prickled at the proximity to the other people in the restaurant.
Saying he disliked people was an understatement at the best of times. Tonight, he was all but shivering with anticipation. Something was going to go wrong, and he’d be at the center of it. Like always.
He was just too fucking recognizable.
A glance around the restaurant from their semi-private booth revealed very few people looking his way.
Most of the geezers who ate here probably wouldn’t recognize him, actually. But that didn’t mean that someone wasn’t bound to.
Deku pouted. “It’s just a club, Kacchan. I think you’d enjoy it.”
“I hate fucking crowds.” As if the idiot didn’t know that.
Uraraka chuckled. “Well, you won’t fuck the crowd, Bakugou.”
His cold glare settled on her. She was, for what it was worth, rather pretty. Katsuki didn’t find much sexual appeal in women, but he could admit that she had grown into herself. She was still round, but in all the right places. Her ass, for one, and her cheeks. She was shorter than her partners, but that didn’t mean jack shit. Katsuki had seen her throw Glasses down at the gym without breaking a sweat. The woman knew how to kick ass, and he respected that.
“Shut up.” The words bit out cold and bitter.
“It’s my birthday,” Deku said, smirking. His wide eyes and wild hair still gave him a surprisingly innocent expression. Once upon a time, Katsuki had almost caught feelings for him.
But then he’d decided he didn’t need some wimp as a partner.
Of course, Deku wasn’t a wimp. Not like he used to be, anyway.
“So?” he snapped. “Who cares?”
“Uh, we do,” Uraraka said. She grabbed her drink and took a long sip. It was some expensive whisky from America, something Katsuki had never heard of. “And so do you, or you wouldn’t be here.”
“Is it settled, then?” Iida asked, wiping his face with his napkin. The jackass had just polished off the last of the appetizers.
“Yup!” Deku beamed. “After dinner, we’re going to Wyld.”
What a fucking name for a club.
Fuck his life.
In the end, Katsuki managed to weasel his way out of going. Either Deku realized he really didn’t want to go or Uraraka noticed how uptight and quiet he got after they’d settled on going to Wyld. Whichever it happened to be, Katsuki couldn’t be happier.
Clubs just weren’t his scene.
The thought of being in a crowded room with hundreds of other bodies all crushed together just… wasn’t appealing to him. And yes, okay, he understood where they were coming from. He did. They cared about him, but fuck, they were going about it the wrong goddamn way.
After dinner, rather than heading out to Wyld, he and his… “friends” headed out toward the local bar circuit. At least that he could handle. To an extent.
By the third bar, though, his temper was waning.
In his mind, there really wasn’t much difference between a goddamn bar and a club. Maybe the main difference was that rather than bodies being crushed against him and loud, annoying music, the four of them could slink off to a billiards room and play pool while sipping their drinks.
At least it was Tuesday. That left the bars they visited fairly empty. This one, a place called The Speakeasy, was the emptiest of all, and Katsuki begrudgingly appreciated that his idiots were happy to hang around there for a while and play a few rounds of Eight Ball.
Supposedly, a few more of Deku’s idiot friends were on the way.
Katsuki wasn’t all that interested in meeting them. He knew at least one of the idiots, a wealthy surgeon, and he sort of, kind of knew the guy’s lanky boyfriend. Not by name, of course, but whatever. It didn’t fucking matter. Let the nerd invite more friends. Maybe then Katsuki could come up with some dumbass excuse and sneak out of the bar.
As if he would.
Well, okay, yes, he absolutely would do that on a normal night. Some small part of him actually maybe kind of wanted to be there tonight. Deku’s last two birthdays…
Fuck, he was a terrible friend.
He’d forgotten, okay? Fucking forgot that it was his best friend’s birthday. The first year was because his secretary had been an asshole and had put him down for a meeting out with some agent in Hollywood. The flight to the US had already been booked, and the days leading up to it were a complete blur.
It wasn’t until Katsuki had boarded his plane and checked his calendar for the itinerary that he’d seen Midoriya’s Birthday scrawled over the date.
The second time, he’d been so drunk he couldn’t see straight. That had been after his last relationship, and at the time… well, he’d been so engrossed in his own disconsolance that he couldn’t bother to remember much of anything. He’d been away from his work for weeks after that. Almost two damn months.
He’d forgotten Deku’s birthday the last two years.
Fucking sue him. Being a billionaire wasn’t as easy as the old idiots in the US made it look. For one, he had worked his way to the top. He’d pushed and pushed and pushed, becoming famous through sheer force of will--and his good looks.
He couldn’t ignore that.
Still, he couldn’t help the pit of guilt that sat in his stomach as he stayed at the bar with Deku and the others, playing a mediocre game of pool and just hoping no one recognized him. If he could get away without people gawking at him tonight, all the better.
He leaned in for his next shot. He and Round Cheeks were holding their own, but it was tough. Deku was good at billiards. Bastard probably came here and played every week with his partners.
That meant, though, that Uraraka was equally good. Somehow, she almost seemed to make the balls float as they glided toward whichever pocket she had aimed for.
Bitch was crazy good.
Katsuki was just about to take his shot, lining the end of the cue up with the base of the cue ball in the hopes of an English-style roll, when more people entered the room.
His gaze flicked up.
There was the cold bastard of a surgeon, his lanky boyfriend on his arm. The two made an annoyingly good-looking couple. Both were dressed smartly, but with a side of street casual, as evidenced by Sero’s leather jacket and dark jeans.
Behind them came the rest of the party. The blonde idiot, the pink idiot, the purple idiot, and--
Katsuki’s arm jerked.
He missed his shot, scratching the tip of the cue across the red felt.
His breath caught in his chest as a hulking man strode into the room, his long, red hair done in a complex pattern of braids and tails with metallic beads and rings interspersed in the locks. Black fuzz dusted his square jaw, and Katsuki wanted to devour the other man. His chest was enormous, his biceps almost as thick as Katsuki’s head.
His stomach clenched at the side of wide, muscular shoulders barely squeezed into a long-sleeved V-neck. The shirt was a garish mustard yellow with a faded white logo across the front. He at least had enough sense to wear jeans, but--
Are those fucking Crocs? RED CROCS? WHO THE FUCK WEARS RED CROCS?! Katsuki slowly stood up, eyes narrowing and lips pulling into a dangerou pout.
Next to him, Uraraka grinned devilishly. “See something you like, eh?”
“Fuck no.” The lie was paper thin and drier than fallen leaves.
That grin only grew wider. “Fine. Then I won’t bother introducing you two.” She shrugged and waltzed right over to the newcomers.
Katsuki’s grip around his pool cue tightened.
He needed to go over there, had to find out the man’s name, but his legs wouldn’t move.
All he could do was stare.
And then, almost in slow motion, Red turned to look at Katsuki.
Their eyes met.
The instinct zing of electricity dampened to horror as a look of recognition crossed Red’s face. His eyes widened, lips pulling into a shocked o.
Katsuki’s stomach squeezed tight.
God damn it.
The exact thing he hadn’t wanted to happen had obviously just fucking happened.
He swallowed the tight lump in his throat, eyes wide but angry, lips twisted into a defensive sneer. If the fucker thought recognizing him gave him the upper hand, Katsuki swore he’d fucking--
Just as quickly as the round o had appeared on Red’s lips, it slipped into something softer. He then turned away, diving back into the conversation.
Katsuki blinked slowly. What the fuck just happened?
Because he knew he hadn’t been imagining it. He fucking knew Red recognized him. Now, though, the enormous man was pretending like Katsuki wasn’t even in the room.
He straightened his back, forcing himself to loosen his grip on the pool cue.
His palms were sweaty, nasty.
He set the cue aside and slipped out of the room. Katsuki needed a fucking drink before he got anywhere even close to Red.
As he slipped onto one of the glittery stools behind the counter, he said, “Long island.”
Short of straight liquor, it had the harshest kick and would last him the longest without breaking the bank.
He almost laughed at the absurdity of that thought.
Ten years ago, he’d have been far more worried about what was in his wallet. Now, things were different. So very different.
But old habits died hard.
A figure slipped onto the stool next to him, and Katsuki’s entire body went ramrod still.
Judging by the absolute enormity of the other person, it could only be one guy. A flash of garish red Crocs from the corner of Katsuki’s eye confirmed as much.
“So, uh. Hey.”
Fucker had a deep goddamn voice.
As if to save him from his own embarrassment, his drink slid across the counter to him in exchange for his card.
Katsuki swallowed a gulp of the long island, glad for the chance to clear his throat. He had to get his shit together. He had to reclaim control of the situation. Panicking and spiraling weren’t doing anyone any fucking good.
Get your shit together, damn it!
Red gave a deep chuckle. He sounded nervous. “Look, I, uh… I won’t, you know… say anything.”
Finally, Katuski turned to give the other man a cold glare. “I don’t give a fuck.”
The enormous man’s plush lips pulled into an amused smile. They looked soft. “Somehow, I don’t think that’s true. Just know I won’t say anything, okay? Won’t even treat you any different.”
“You mean like you are now, idiot?” He stood up and turned his back to leave, proud of himself for keeping his cool, but Red just had to get the next word in.
And those words did things to Katsuki.
“Don’t you want your card? Or are you offering to buy me a drink?”
Oh, that cheeky fucking bastard.
Katsuki leaned in, making sure to crowd the massive man against the counter. He pressed closer and breathed against the man’s ear: “I don’t buy shit for anyone.”
With that, he yanked his card out of the idiot’s hand and turned on his heel.
He smirked as he sipped his cocktail.
There. That was better. He was in control again.
Not Bakugou fucking Katsuki.
He joined the rest of the idiots back in the small pool hall. The group had broken into new games. The one he’d been playing with the Terrible Three was long gone, the balls racked anew. Katsuki scoffed and took a seat at one of the bar tables to watch.
He was the only one not playing, but both tables had two teams of two. He’d just be in the way, anyway, so watching was fine with him.
Red slipped into the room not long after, his dark eyes flitting to Katsuki. A wide grin stretched across his lips, and without preamble, he strode right on over and joined Katsuki at the small bar table.
“Mind if I join you?” he chirped.
“Yes.” Katsuki sipped his drink, frown darkening.
The other man just chuckled in that deep, good-natured way and sat down anyway. He grinned as he watched the teams go at it.
“Who do you think’ll win?”
Katsuki rolled his eyes. Okay, so yes, maybe he freaked a little that the guy recognized him, but whatever. If the asshole kept his word, Katsuki had nothing to worry about.
Besides, being outed here wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to him.
“Who cares?” he snapped. “They all suck anyway.”
Red blinked doe-like eyes at him. “That’s not a very nice thing to say.”
Katsuki scoffed, the sound little more than a half-amused snort. “You actually thought I’d be sweet? The fuck you on, Red?”
“Red?” He hummed and reached up to toy at one of his braids with thick fingers. “My name’s actually Kirishima, but I’ll take Red.”
“Oh, you’ll take it, huh? Well, since you’re so proud of it, why don’t I call you Shitty Hair instead?”
Shitty Hair’s lips twitched into a frown.
Now that he was sitting closer, Katsuki realized that Shitty Hair was actually older than him. He had fine wrinkles across his forehead and at the edges of his eyes. In the dim light of the room, they were barely visible.
Wonder how old he is. Katsuki slouched against the back of his barstool and gave his widest, toothiest smirk. “Like that better?”
Some sort of response looked to be just dripping at the tip of Kiri--Shitty Hair’s tongue, but when Pinky waved him over, the redhead just stood. All amusement had slipped away, and he regarded Katsuki with a cool, dark expression.
Katsuki’s stomach flipped.
And then, just as easily as the humor had melted away, it returned when Red joined Pinky and the others.
Still, as the night wore on, Katsuki couldn’t help sensing those dark eyes lingering on him.