Bakugou doesn’t see his mom for two full days before Kirishima bullies him into looking for her. Oh my god dude go find her, she’s probably worried, Kirishima scolded as he shoved Bakugou out the door. Kirishima really does not know his mother that well if he thinks two days of him being in a hotel on the beach is going to worry her. This is the same mother who let him crawl all over the mountains by himself when he was five.
Of course, this is also the same mother who wouldn’t let him go for hours after he came back from his kidnapping, so maybe Kirishima’s onto something.
It takes some searching and some irritatingly easy questioning (“Looking for your mom, kid? Yeah she looks just like you, she went that way.”) but finally he locates her in the hotel bar, leaning against the counter and chatting with the bartender like they’d been friends for years. Bakugou eyeballs the can of soda in front of her as he strolls up. “Risky.”
Her expression immediately sours. “Oh. You. Here to bother me already? It’s not time to go home yet.”
He scowls. “Kirishima made me come find you. Tried to guilt me into thinking you were worried and shit. Good to know he was wrong, I’ll be going now.” His mom grabs the back of his shirt when he tries to leave and yanks him back over.
“Nah ah ah, now that you’re here we’re gonna talk. Siddown.”
Bakugou groans, but obediently slides onto a stool and buries his head in his arms. His mom’s hand drops heavy into his hair and oh boy. Here it comes. Now he gets the punishment that she’s been waiting to dole out probably ever since she got that call from Aizawa.
“Hey Keiko, wanna know something great? This kid here, my dumb, stupid, rotten son? He was so cute as a baby.”
“Mom,” Bakugou protests into his arms. The counter smells like spilled liquor and sorta makes his stomach turn, but her hand in his hair is keeping him on steady ground so he bears with it.
“So fuckin’ cute.” Her hand scrubs through his hair hard before gripping it again and Bakugou wills the universe to strike his mother spontaneously mute. “When he was still in diapers he’d go wait right in front of the door for his daddy to come home.” There is no god. “I don’t even know how he could tell what time it was, but like clockwork he’d go wait at the door, usually twenty or so minutes before his dad got back from work. So cute. Didn’t matter if he was napping or playing, he’d just drag his shit over, plonk down and wait. He loves his daddy soooo much. Kinda made me jealous sometimes!”
“Augh,” Bakugou shouts and bats her arm away, trying to escape. She grabs him up in a headlock and yanks him back down onto the stool. “Shut up already, hag! Nobody wants to hear that shit!”
Keiko the Bartender has the audacity to look amused. “Nah, I’m with your mom on this one kid, that’s really cute.”
“And I’ll bet that you haven’t even called your father yet. Have you?” His mother digs her knuckles into his scalp and Bakugou shoves her away this time, wrenching out of her arms and backing out of her reach. “Call your dad.”
His mom turns and grabs her soda as the bartender wanders off laughing to help another customer. Bakugou, seeking revenge, sneers at the can in her hand, “Who the fuck goes to a bar and gets soda? Jesus Christ, you’re not pregnant are you?”
His mother snorts, rolling her eyes. “And risk having another one of you? Pass.” She takes a reluctant gulp of her drink. “I haven’t had a drink since you got snatched, dumbass. You said the smell of liquor makes you sick.”
Shit. Another spectacular backfire. All his revenge attempts keep blowing up in his face lately.
“Trying to get me back? Loser.” His mother smirks at him and takes a somewhat more satisfied sip. “Surprise, I’m a good mom and you’re a little jerk.”
“You’re also a jerk,” Bakugou points out sullenly, embarrassed and angry that his mom would just up and do something like that without consulting him first. “I never fucking asked you to stop. I’m not even home most of the year.”
“You really are an idiot.” His mom reaches over and flicks his forehead before he can dodge it. “You’re my kid. The whole point of motherhood is to change stuff to make sure your kid’s okay.” She finishes off her soda and waves down the bartender for another one.
Bakugou stares down at the counter before silently taking a seat again. “All Might was here,” he says suddenly, before his mom can start firing off another embarrassing anecdote to bartender what’s-her-face. “He gave me a card. …for uh, for a doctor.”
He can feel his mother’s eyes on him so he doesn’t look over. He can’t. “You wanna take care of it yourself?”
“You’d better not procrastinate-”
“I won’t, hag, I said I’d do it so I’ll do it.”
“You’d better. I’m not fucking around, you had better do it.”
“All right already, I get it!” Bakugou growls and rests his chin in his hand, glaring down at the counter. The stink of liquor isn’t so bad without his face pressed into it but he still hates it, heady and stomach-turning. Something scrapes the counter at his elbow and he blinks down at the new can of soda in front of him, his mother cracking open her own.
“…so All Might came all the way out here to see you. Unless he was just here on vacation?”
“No. He took a train back.”
“Oh boy.” Bakugou doesn’t want to look, but he does it anyway and spies his mother giving him a shit-eating grin over the top of her can. “The famous pillar of the people, coming all the way out here just to see you. Did your heart beat right out of your chest?”
“Your little crush on him was so cute-”
“It wasn’t- I never had a fucking crush,” Bakugou protests, grabbing his soda and angrily opening it so hard he tears off the tab. “I admired him for being a badass.”
“Baby you had a crush.”
“Don’t call me-”
“You kissed your poster goodnight.”
“I was three!”
“Hey son, how’re you doing?”
Bakugou hates how obvious the note of relief in his dad’s voice is. “Stop worrying.”
His dad just chuckles sheepishly so Bakugou heaves a sigh, flopping back onto the bed. Kirishima throws a leg over his and taps away at his phone, some dumb fucking candy game or something. “Mom said to call you.”
“Did she? Your mother’s a bit of a bully, huh?”
“She’s an asshole.”
“Now now, don’t call your mother that,” his dad scolds mildly. “You know how she is, she’s just-”
“-worried, I know, I know. I’m getting sick and tired of that word.”
“I could use another one, if you want.”
“No. Just stop worrying.”
“Katsuki, parents never stop worrying.”
It takes ten minutes of reassuring and plan sharing and copious amounts of cursing (on Bakugou’s part) before his father is satisfied enough to let him hang up the phone. Bakugou growls and tosses it onto the other bed, dragging a pillow over his face.
“My mom is like that,” Kirishima says, and makes that annoyed sound he makes when he screws up a move. “Even when nothing happened to me during the last camp she was freaking out. Like, ‘oh my goodness, Eijirou, you could’ve been killed!’ And I’m just like, ‘Mom, I’m in hero school, I’m gonna be a professional. Every day is going to be like this.’”
Bakugou doesn’t move until Kirishima drags the pillow off his face, and then he just glares half-heartedly. “What’d she say to that?”
Kirishima shrugs. “She said she’ll just have to worry then too.”
Kirishima’s mom stops right in the doorway and stares at Bakugou where he’s sitting on her couch. “Aren’t you the one who beat Eijirou in the sports festival last year?”
Bakugou frowns. Is she going to be the protective type of mother? He wants to get along with her because, well, he is dating her only son and all, but if this is going to be an issue… “Yeah, that’s me.”
“Ohhhh boy.” Kirishima’s mom gives him a knowing look Bakugou doesn’t even know how to begin to comprehend and turns to head into the kitchen. “Well it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Do you like hot pot? I know it’s starting to warm up already-”
“That’s fine,” Bakugou interrupts, rubbing his arm. Where the hell is Kirishima? How long does it take to put a toddler down for a nap? You just put the kid in the bed and put the covers on the kid, why the fuck is he taking half a fucking hour to do this?
His mom is giving Bakugou that weird look again, and boyfriend’s mom or not he’s not standing for it. “What? What is it?”
She grins and Bakugou realizes with a shock that she has pointed teeth too. Not as obvious at Kirishima’s but definitely all sharp. “Nothing. It’s just that Eijirou’s talked about you so much, I feel like I already know you. Can I call you Katsuki?”
Bakugou stalls for a moment. “Uh.”
“Mom, c’mon! I don’t even call him that yet.”
Thank fuck, it’s Kirishima. Bakugou sits back down on the arm of the couch and tries not to look like he was just rescued.
“Well I can’t go around calling him Bakugou, what am I going to call his parents? Good job introducing me properly.”
“I was putting Yuki down.”
“Was she good?”
“Oh yeah, she was good. She ate all of her snack.”
“What would I do without you?”
“A lot less,” Kirishima jokes. “When’s Ma coming home?”
“She won’t be in until much later.” Kirishima’s mother looks around his shoulder at Bakugou. “Sorry Katsuki! You’ll have to meet her another time, she had to stay late at work.”
Bakugou clears his throat. “It’s fine.”
Kirishima’s mom leans forward and to Bakugou’s great shock, just up and kisses Kirishima on both cheeks before she drops her purse on a chair and wanders into the kitchen to get dinner started.
Kirishima drifts toward the doorway to straighten up where his mother had just kicked off her shoes and looks over at Bakugou. “What is it? You’re staring.”
“A lot about you makes sense now.”
“Oh, you mean my mom? Yeah I look like her, right?” Kirishima grins. “Neither me or Yuki look like our dads. You’ve seen pictures of my ma, right?”
“Yeah. Your sister looks like her.”
“Yeah.” Kirishima settles onto the couch behind Bakugou and Bakugou is pointedly aware of the entire line of warmth where Kirishima’s shoulder is against his side. “Our dads were anonymous donors so we don’t even have pictures of them, but it’s not a big deal. Mom and Ma have all the medical stuff…somewhere.”
Bakugou rubs his hands together. “It wasn’t a problem? With your quirk?”
“Nahhh, there’s a file somewhere with all the data. Mine is a mix anyway. Yuki’s a little more complicated since she has her dad’s quirk right out, but they get really detailed info at those clinics. Just ‘cause the donor’s anonymous doesn’t mean they don’t get all the stuff the parents need to know. They’re really thorough.”
“Ah.” Bakugou looks down at his fingers, picking at his nails before glancing back up at Kirishima and scowling at the silly smile on his face. “What?”
“I’ve never seen you so interested in someone else before.” Kirishima’s cheeks flush and he looks away, rubbing at one of them. “I kinda like that it’s about me.”
“Your family’s interesting,” Bakugou protests, feeling his own face heat up and begging Kirishima’s mom to just stay away from the living room. He’s still navigating this dating thing and he doesn’t know how many times he’s already run this ship aground. “Mine’s just me, Mom and Dad. Fucking boring.”
Kirishima laughs. “Dude you’re like your mom’s clone. That’s not boring. My eyes about popped outta my head when I met her.”
“I was there, dumbass.”
“And your dad’s like, the nicest guy ever.”
“My dad’s a wimp.”
“Hey.” Kirishima nudges his elbow into Bakugou’s side. “Don’t be mean. Your dad’s nice.”
“Enough about my parents,” Bakugou says loudly, shoving Kirishima over and sliding off the couch arm to sit beside him. “What’s your maji’s quirk?”
“So what’s your thing?”
Kirishima sits down beside Bakugou, plunking down the plate of watermelon slices he’d carried over. “What thing?”
“Your thing. Frogface said you all had things.” Bakugou grabs a slice to distract himself with and looks out over the water. “What’s your thing?”
“Oh, that kinda thing.”
The beach is surprisingly empty for it being summer; a few families have blankets spread out across the sand, children and parents screaming and crashing through the surf together. Apart from the boardwalk, there are a few family-owned restaurants and gift shops built right onto the shore, shoddy wooden shacks like the one they’re sitting on now with open dining areas and steps that sink right into the sand. Bakugou buries his toes in it and waits for Kirishima to say something.
Bakugou looks over at him and Kirishima smiles weakly, shakes his head. “Not like yours. Nothing I wake up from screaming. But. Y’know.” Kirishima shrugs and picks up a melon slice. “All those times I showed up at your door, they weren’t always because you woke me up.”
“Dumbass,” Bakugou breathes; he barely notices when his hands lower to rest on his lap, staring at Kirishima. He shouldn’t be relieved that the tired look on Kirishima face for almost the past full year isn’t just because of him, but he is. It’s not okay. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Dude, c’mon, you had your own shit to deal with-”
“You’re a fucking hypocrite if that’s the reason.” Bakugou punches Kirishima’s shoulder, hard.
“Ow!” Kirishima glares, rubbing his arm. “What the hell, man?”
“Who do you think I am?” Bakugou growls. “You think I can’t handle your shit on top of my own?”
“Bakugou seriously, you weren’t really handling your shit at all,” Kirishima points out.
Fuck, and he’s right. Bakugou frowns. “Well, I am now. And I’m gonna fucking expect you to be honest with me too, you got that?” Kirishima doesn’t answer and Bakugou lifts his fist. “Don’t ignore me!”
“I got it! Geez, don’t hit me again. Mean.”
The silence between them isn’t exactly companionable, but it’s familiar and they both sulk and eat their watermelon, watching the crowds start to gather as morning rolls into noon.
“I should’ve asked you about it,” Bakugou mutters finally. “I know. …sorry.”
“Augh,” Kirishima groans, “don’t apologize. It sounds so weird coming from you.”
“Fuckin’- excuse me for trying to be supportive!”
“You’re just feeling sorry for yourself.”
Bakugou clicks his tongue and looks away.
“But I get it.” Kirishima drops his empty rind onto the plate and picks up another piece, but not before he squeezes Bakugou’s knee. “Dude, look, you might not think you are, but you’re there for me when it matters. The smaller stuff, I can handle that.”
“You having nightmares isn’t small.”
“Touché,” Kirishima admits, “but I’ll tell you from now on. Other stuff like me worrying about little things? I don’t wanna load you down with that. You don’t want to be loaded down with that either and it’s cool, I got people to vent to. But you’re always there when we have a huge test, or when I really need to work on something. You’re there when it’s important.”
“You’re important,” Bakugou insists, a little mystified by his own brazenness.
Kirishima goes pink and laughs, turning back to his watermelon. “You’re trying to woo the shit out of me to get more than your fair share of this melon,” he accuses, flashing Bakugou a grin and biting into his slice. “No dice.”
Bakugou rolls his eyes, but his stomach sits warm and calm and together they work on the plate, reducing it to gnawed rinds and sticky juices. People-watching is always much nicer than people-interacting, at least in Bakugou’s opinion. He’d never really cared much for either until he starting coming to UA but he’s realizing, with some alarm, that the people he’s lived with for almost a year now have come to know him pretty well. Even more alarming is that he somehow has managed to come to know them, too.
Kirishima most of all.
“I like- I like your hair,” Bakugou says abruptly, in a sudden fit of reckless affection. It’s terrifying to open himself up to ridicule like this but he wants to, god damn it. He wants to give Kirishima compliments and make him feel special like Kirishima does for him all the time. It’s taking all his strength to shove his pride to the background, but damn it he’s not gonna let anything get the better of him, not even himself. Here, sitting on this stupid deck and watching Kirishima suck watermelon juice from his fingers as his hair flutters in the wind- Bakugou doesn’t think he’ll have a better time to try.
Kirishima just blinks at him though. Because he’s an idiot. “You always say my hair looks stupid.”
Bakugou feels his face burn. “I mean I like it like this.”
“Oh. Down?” Kirishima tugs on a lock. “Yeah. I mean, it’s a pain in the ass for it to be like this if I have to use my quirk, because it gets all rigid around my ears and I can’t brush it out of my eyes-”
“And your teeth.”
“What? No, it doesn’t get in my teeth-”
“I mean I like your teeth, moron,” Bakugou says loudly, absolutely certain that his quirk has mutated and that his face is secreting nitroglycerin that will undoubtedly explode any second.
Kirishima gapes at Bakugou, half-eaten watermelon rind forgotten.
“And your- your eyes are. Nice.” Bakugou can’t look at him anymore, augh, god. This is so hard. He stares down at the sand and pictures himself sinking into it. "And your laugh. I guess. It’s like. Y’know, it’s good.”
“What are you doing?”
Bakugou angrily digs his toes into the sand and kicks at it. Kirishima sputters when the wind carries the grains in his direction. “What does it fucking look like?! I’m trying to compliment you, jackass!”
“Haha! Forreal? Dude, don’t get mad, it’s not like you do this often.” Kirishima shoves the plate of rinds behind them and eagerly scoots closer. “Well c’mon, keep going. What else about me do you like? Don’t be shy.”
Oh god. He’s going to die. He’s gonna expire right here, eating watermelon on a beach store deck with his stupid red boyfriend. “I like it when you shut up and stick your tongue down my throat.”
Kirishima laughs and shit, now that Bakugou’s said it aloud, he really does like his laugh. He does. It’s stupid and corny and lame and he loves the way it sounds, like how Kirishima just pulls on all the happiness inside of him and pours it out for other people to hear. Holy shit that was so gay. He’s so incredibly gay. “I like that too.” Kirishima smiles and bumps Bakugou’s shoulder with his own.
Bakugou gives a disgruntled harrumph and chomps down on his watermelon, looking away.
“I like your hair too, Blasty.”
“Fuck you,” Bakugou grunts, face perpetually on fire, he’s sure.
“I do! And I like your shoulders. And your waist. And I love your hands, they’re manly as hell.”
Bakugou looks at the sand under their feet and commands it to devour him. Or Kirishima. One of them. No, both of them.
Something soft touches his cheek and he startles, glaring over at Kirishima. Kirishima just smiles back and brushes his knuckles against Bakugou’s jaw. “And I like this right here.”
He shouldn’t be encouraging this romantic bullshit. “Like what?” asks Bakugous traitorous mouth anyway.
“Being with you. Just you.”
Bakugou pulls away, shoulders hunching as he stuffs watermelon into his mouth like he’s starving to death. Can he do it? Can he admit to it?
“I-” Bakugou swallows and wipes the juice from his chin with the back of his wrist. He clutches at the rind as tight as he dares and stares at the ocean as it tries to eat the shore. “I like it when- when you call me ‘babe.’ If it’s not in front of anybody.”
“Yeah?” He feels Kirishima shift next to him. “…can I call you that now?”
Bakugou scoffs. “Do you see anybody else here? Shit.”
Kirishima sets aside his own watermelon rind and his other hand comes up to cradle Bakugou’s jaw, both of them sticky and warm. “Blasty McSplode, you are a totally smokin’ hot babe,” snickers Kirishima before he kisses Bakugou right there, in the sun, in front of the entire world.
Kirishima is gonna give him a goddamn heart attack.
electric moron: DID U SUCC
BOOMgod: die in a fire
soy sauce: o shit waddup
electric moron: here come
electric moron: DAT
soy sauce: BOOIIIII
electric moron: BBOOOII
electric moron: dammit sero
soy sauce: hahahaaaaa
BOOMgod: I hate you two meme loving fucks
Bakugou despises with all his being that his mother was right. He will never tell her, will never give her the satisfaction but when he finally, finally loosens his vicelike grip around his pride enough to admit that he is completely, terribly and hopelessly stupid for Kirishima Eijirou, a world of possibilities opens up to them both.
Over the course of the next few days the changes are so startlingly obvious that Bakugou feels like an idiot for not thinking of it before. Kirishima starts teasing him again. They end up wrestling in the middle of making out and even if it concludes with Bakugou holding his injured side after an accidental elbowing, it’s fun. Kirishima apologizes too many times and cuddles up with Bakugou like some kind of guilty pet dog. Bakugou won’t admit to this either, but he fucking loves it.
Bakugou doesn’t fight it when Kirishima takes his hand in public, doesn’t jerk away from kisses, doesn’t tell him to cool it with the flirting. It doesn’t all go smoothly but he makes an effort, a conscious, concentrated effort and the result is Kirishima shining like a goddamn diamond that Bakugou could spend the rest of his life looking at.
When Bakugou finally works up the nerve to approach the topic he asks, “Did you need this?”
Kirishima chews on the straw in his drink before he admits, “I think so, yeah.”
That makes it easier. Bakugou can give Kirishima stuff he needs. Things he wants, those are negotiable, but things he needs? Well, he needs them.
It’s easy to practice it here, at a beach full of people Bakugou will never see again, so he does. He practices looping his arm around Kirishima’s shoulders or waist while they’re walking, he practices staying still when Kirishima drapes all over him like a blanket, he practices just ignoring the part of him that wants to shove him away and stop looking so weak and dependent. Sometimes he doesn’t manage. Sometimes he sticks his hand in Kirishima’s back pocket and gives his own ego the finger.
It’s a work in progress.
Stupid Blackeyes: ok im not mad at you anymore
Stupid Blackeyes: sero and kami said ur okay r u okay
BOOMgod: why the fuck wouldn’t I be okay?
Stupid Blackeyes: omg excuse me for worrying god so rude
BOOMgod: look asshole I’m SORRY I told soy sauce you liked him alright?
Stupid Blackeyes: omg
Stupid Blackeyes: r u dying
BOOMgod: IF THIS IS HOW IT’S GONNA BE EVERY FUCKING TIME I’M NOT FUCKING APOLOGIZING TO ANYONE ELSE I’M SICK OF THIS INCREDULITY SHIT
Stupid Blackeyes: OKAY OKAY OKAY okay im kidding im sorry im serious. Im serious now.
Stupid Blackeyes: I guess its good you told sero because I wasnt gonna and he wasnt gonna just NOTICE so
Stupid Blackeyes: even though it was MEAN
Stupid Blackeyes: thank you
BOOMgod: whatever, I didn’t do it as a favor to you
Stupid Blackeyes: omfg
Stupid Blackeyes: you are impossible
Kirishima gets so sunburnt they have to spend the last day indoors. He whines and complains about how Bakugou is ‘gifted with sun-soaking genes’ and both proclaims his love and hate for the way Bakugou’s arms have gone golden brown. Bakugou complains about his complaining but rubs aloe vera into his burns anyway, though he does smack him on the back one time when he gets too mouthy and sort of regrets it when Kirishima almost cries.
“I’m not crying!”
“Shitty hair, I see you getting ready to cry.”
“Getting ready isn’t crying!”
Bakugou doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to say it, but he finds this side of Kirishima equal parts annoying and really, really goddamn cute.
“I need you to do something for me when the dorms open back up,” Bakugou says when they’re on their way home.
Kirishima, of course, agrees. His job is the hard part; he has to contact everybody in their year and make sure they show up. When he hears the plan he yells, punches Bakugou's arm and then listens to him, mystified, as he rattles off everything he needs to get ready. “How do you remember all of that?” he asks in awe. It’s great. It’s fantastic.
Bakugou tells him, “Because I’m amazing.”
Kirishima rolls his eyes but still kisses him, and promises to do everything he can to make it work.
The doctor’s nothing like he expected. There aren’t any button down shirts, no prim and proper haircuts pulled into a bun. No glasses, no clipboards, no comfortable couch to lay on. She’s in a tank top and jeans when he comes into her office and she asks, “What relaxes you?”
He tells her, “Hitting shit.”
They go to the batting cages.
Bakugou never played baseball beyond the usual games in gym class, but it comes as easily to him as everything else does. He appreciates it when Zanto whistles at his first homerun, and notes that it looks like she’s done this sort of thing before. They play for fifteen minutes, sit on a bench and drink sports drinks and talk about shit that has nothing to do with why he’s seeing a doctor. What classes are like at UA, what things he’s currently into. Bakugou bristles at first, stubbornly fighting back against someone getting to know him purely by rote, but where he expects a push all he gets is Zento telling him genuinely interesting shit about the history of heroics that isn’t in the textbooks. Studies and trends and things like that.
“You didn’t ask me about my nightmares,” Bakugou says at the end of their hour, hands throbbing with something that doesn’t reek of smoke for once, muscles simmering from working in a way he isn’t used to. He’ll be sore tomorrow. It’ll be awesome. New. Different.
“Generally don’t like diving into the hard stuff on the first session,” Dr. Zento tells him plainly, leaning against her desk. “You’re expecting it to go one way, I get that. A lot of people, even heroes, have an idea in their head of what it means to see a shrink. I’m gonna guess you probably didn’t want to.”
“All Might warned you about me,” Bakugou accuses.
Zento laughs. “He said a lot of nice things about you.”
Bakugou burns with curiosity. “Like what?”
“Ask him yourself.” Dr. Zento holds her office door open for him. “He’s your teacher, right?”
Bakugou decides to go back to see her again, if only because he hates it when people try to figure him out. He’ll stump her, definitely, for sure.
Summer vacation passes slow and thoughtless, like a fever dream. Bakugou reads everything on psychology he can get his hands on.
Two days of preparation, one favor owed to Aizawa for letting him into the dorms early, an embarrassing amount of his savings gone and seven straight hours of cooking later, Bakugou’s almost ready. Ten ‘til two; Kirishima should be bringing everyone over any minute now.
“Oooh, it smells good in here!”
The hard part isn’t the work. It isn’t even the preparation or all the cooking. No, the hard part will be to escape before he gets cornered. His classmates are irritatingly thoughtful, and as a result they like to look at other people as the same way. They’re all guaranteed to look too much into this and start assuming things about him that just simply are not true.
Bakugou hears a bag drop over by the sofas as he dips another prawn in tempura batter and lays it with the others. He ignores the sound of footsteps approaching and tests the oil’s heat before dropping the prawns in. “Oh, Bakugou. Whoa, oh my god, there’s so much food! What’s going on?!”
“Start taking shit to the tables,” Bakugou says, poking carefully at the prawns.
When he doesn’t hear Ashido picking anything up he shoots a glare over his shoulder, only to see her staring around at all the dishes in wonder. “This…this must’ve cost a fortune. And taken you forever- wait a minute, is this why Kirishima wanted everybody to come over?”
Bakugou turns back around and starts plucking prawns out of the oil. “Are you gonna fucking take it or what?”
He hears her move, but then a weight settles against his back and arms go around his chest, and he both feels and hears her say into his shirt, “I knew you liked us.” He should shove her away. He could shove her away.
Instead he grumbles, “I don’t fucking like any of you,” because he can’t let her get away with that.
Ashido squeezes him and slips away and to grab the nearest platter.
Not even a moment later the front door opens and a cacophony of voices spills in from outside.
“-didn’t even see that one with the others. Where did you find it?”
“In the clearance section! See, it’s because you’re rich you don’t think about checking over there. They had all the old season bags on sale-”
“Fourteen, man, fourteen of them all stuck together. It was like trying to untangle the mysteries of the universe.”
“-ever ever did it again. It was the unicorn of high scores, and I didn’t even get a pic, I’m so mad at myself.”
“I really did! I swear to god!”
“We believe you.”
“-to my grandfather's, since he's getting older. He's probably going to end up moving in with us so they're giving him my room.”
“What? Doesn't that make you mad?”
“No, I like Pops-”
“-finished the summer reading immediately! It's not good to put off your homework until the last minute!”
“Give it a rest, Emergency Exit...”
“Hang on, do you smell that? That smells amazing.”
Ashido throws herself over the counter, waving. “Guys, come help! Bakugou made food for us!”
Bakugou makes the mistake of glancing over at them; he's been spotted. He finishes plating the last of the food as quickly as possible. Gotta finish up. Need to fucking get out of here before they come over to him.
“Ahhhh, is that unagi?! Bakugou, you made us unagi?!”
“And tempura, and yakitori and croquettes-”
“I love croquettes!”
“Is that chanpuru?”
“It’s- wait a second, are these-”
“That’s my favorite.”
“Yeah, that one’s mine.”
“Holy shit, is this all-”
Bakugou wrenches off his apron and stuffs it into the cabinet, nearly vaulting over the counter in his hurry to reach the elevator before Hagakure snags the back of his shirt and practically chokes him to death. “No no no way! You have to eat with us!”
Bakugou struggles and contemplates leaving his shirt for dead. “Get the fuck off me! I’ll kill you!”
Uraraka joins in and destroys all hope of escape. “Are you kidding? You must’ve spent hours on this! And so much money! You have to eat with us!”
“Fuck you, my present to me is distracting all you assholes so I can have some fucking peace for once!”
“Mina, help! Get his arm!”
Bakugou gets dragged back to the table as more of their classmates trickle in and has to endure all the commentary about ‘this is my favorite’ and ‘holy cow this is better than how my mom makes it’ while they all dig in and eat his stupid apology right in front of his face. Fuck. He was supposed to be upstairs. He can't sit here and watch this. He'll die.
Kirishima leans over and digs an elbow into his side, grinning. “You’re so red right now.”
Like it’s not obvious or something. Bakugou glares utter annihilation at Kirishima, gripping the edge of the table. Every time he’s tried to run Kirishima’s grabbed onto him. He’s pretty sure he sat down beside him for this express purpose. “I’ll fuckin’ kill you.”
“I’m glad everyone else gets to see this side of you, man. Makes me look less crazy when I tell them that you’re cute.”
“I am not,” Bakugou hisses through his teeth, “fucking cute, you shitty-haired dickmunch!”
“So cute,” Kirishima muses as he reaches forward to pluck up another croquette.
Honestly, Bakugou cannot be blamed for blowing up a full set of their dishes. That’s really all on Kirishima for holding them.
Change doesn't come immediately, but it does come. In bits and pieces, in bites and swallows. Small, tiny moments that assemble into something greater than the sum of its parts.
sludge pouring up from his throat
Take the piece.
Bakugou wakes up, sweating and gasping. Kirishima stumbles through his door moments later, half-asleep, and collapses on his bed next to him.
Bakugou doesn’t fall back asleep but he does rest, Kirishima snoring softly half-sprawled atop him, and contemplates moving the his bed away from the wall to fit in a second nightstand.
Maybe relationships are more like that. Less about changing you are fundamentally and more like- like rearranging the furniture to add a new piece.
“Bakugou! Do you have a moment?”
Bakugou glances up from his book with a scowl. The only reason he bothers with the rec room is because most of his class will leave him the fuck alone when he’s reading. His room is right between Kirishima’s and Kaminari’s so it’s loud as fuck, and the rec room is spacious and doesn’t give him that feeling of claustrophobia he gets whenever he’s in his room too long by himself. Reading downstairs is his only option, and most of his classmates have recognized that if he’s quiet and reading, he’s not yelling or threatening to kill someone. The only ones stupid enough to disturb him are Kirishima’s stupid crew (which is also his crew, he supposes, if purely by association).
Yaoyorozu isn’t part of that crew. Shit, she’s not even in his class. “Why the fuck are you here?” he demands, acting gate keeper of class 2-B’s dorm if only for the sake of his peace.
“I called out to you, obviously I’m here to talk to you.” Yaoyorozu hesitates before hefting up a thick binder to drop onto the couch beside him. “I’m lending this to you.”
Bakugou eyeballs it.
“…you can pick it up, you know.”
When Bakugou doesn’t pick it up she sighs, prim and proper, and circles around the couch to sit on the opposite cushion and turn the binder to face him. “It’s from the training camp. I was making a study guide for my own personal use anyway, and I thought you might appreciate borrowing it since you missed out on most of the lectures.”
“‘Missed out,’” Bakugou repeats flatly, amazed at the audacity of his classmates. Like he’d just gotten a cold or failed to catch the bus there instead of making a screaming crying fool of himself in front of everybody after he was kicked out for being dangerously insane.
Yaoyorozu ignores his tone and flips the binder open. “I couldn’t do anything regarding the sparring matchups, but I took notes the academic lessons they gave us.” She turns to her color-coded tabs in her color-coded binder and Bakugou stares at it like it’s written in fucking Greek. “Anything in black pen is word-for-word the teacher’s lecture. I also transcribed each of the discussion sections and copied the recordings. That’s the CD in the front of each of the folders. Tabs are separated by day. Personal observations are in red pen, interesting thoughts from other classmates are in blue and are marked with the speaker’s name-”
“There’s nothing from Cementoss’s lecture on the first day.”
Yaoyorozu blinks and looks up at him. “What?”
Bakugou flips to the front. “You said you were making a study guide. If you were, where’s day one?”
Yaoyorozu gapes, working her mouth before flipping to the front of the binder like she must have just missed it. “I- well, I just didn’t include it in this. Naturally. Since you were there.”
Bakugou glares. “I thought these were your personal notes.”
She sputters for a few more seconds before sighing. “All right, so perhaps I may have organized some of this for…for students who weren’t present. Which includes Kirishima, I’ll have you know, and Tetsutetsu missed a day as well. So it’s not as if I did it entirely for-”
“Why?” Bakugou asks impatiently.
Yaoyorozu fidgets there on the couch before she heaves a sigh, clasping her hands in her lap. “You work hard,” she says finally. “I just didn’t think it was fair that you should fall behind through no fault of your own.” She must see the start of anger on his face because she leans back and says, “It’s not pity, Bakugou. I don’t pity you. I just-”
It clicks, suddenly, and like steam escaping the anger drifts away. “You don’t want first place without earning it.”
Yaoyorozu gapes. “I- It’s not something that rude, I’m not that competitive.”
“Don’t be fuckin’ coy, everybody’s competitive.”
Yaoyorozu frowns and squares her shoulders. “…will you take the notes if I agree with you?”
“I’ll take ‘em if you don’t lie about it.”
“Fine. Then…I want to hold onto my valedictorian title through my own accomplishments, not because my competition has been sabotaged.”
Bakugou sets his book aside and pulls the binder onto his lap, flipping through it. It’s thorough and well-organized, as expected. Easy to study from. “You'll regret this,” he tells her idly. “I’ll fucking destroy you in this year’s finals.”
“You’re welcome,” Yaoyorozu tells him dryly, long-suffering and put out, but Bakugou can see it. He can hear that spark of challenge in her voice. People at the top of something don’t get there because they’re bored, or because they just happened to find themselves there; people in a number one slot claw their way up and hold onto their position like they're drowning. Little miss rich girl might think she’s above everybody else scrabbling for accolades, but she isn’t. She’s just not used to having anybody who’s actually a threat. That four-eyes aside, Bakugou’s sure if he threw himself wholly into studying he’d be able to take her coveted first place from her.
Bakugou feels the couch shift as she gets up and heads for the door, and calls before he can hear it open, “When do you want dinner?”
Yaoyorozu pauses, then calls back, “Um. Saturday?”
The front door clicks shut and Bakugou scours through the notes, drawing his legs up and trying not to flinch whenever he sees Deku’s name on the page. This is for catching up. He needs to catch up.
Things are still tense for the first few weeks back in school.
Sero and Kaminari have decided that what happened is more or less forgotten and invite themselves back into Bakugou’s daily life like nothing happened. Ashido is still being annoyingly gentle but less so every day. Hagakure drifts over once in a while, like she’s his friend or something, and Uraraka has taken to greeting him annoyingly loudly every morning and saying goodbye when he leaves the classroom.
It’s incredibly irritating, but the noise fills up what would otherwise just be uneasy silence. It’s all right, in that case. Maybe.
What’s difficult is how other people deal with him. The ones who are wary of him aren’t an issue. That timid mountain of a kid and that midget grape-head have always kept their distance, so them staying even further away isn’t a problem. In fact it’s kind of a blessing in disguise; Bakugou doesn’t know what he’d do with himself if he were openly pitied by fucks like them.
The old Class B kids giving him a wide berth is fine too. That kid with the teeth, whatever Kendou called him, keeps shooting Bakugou these distrustful looks but it’s not as if Bakugou hasn’t fielded those before. Ignoring people works wonders because now the responsibility of instigation sits on their shoulders, so if someone starts some shit Bakugou is totally within his rights to end it.
No, the problem is with the ones who insist on talking to him.
One day Tetsutetsu shuffles his way over to Bakugou’s desk during lunch and the entire room braces for a storm. The two haven’t ever really worked at disliking each other but it seems to happen naturally, their similarly short tempers burning down each other’s fuses until nothing but dynamite remains. Bakugou is already a wreck, a powder keg seeking an excuse to blow, seething with the contrary combination of guilt and the defensive self-righteousness of a person who hadn’t actually meant to hurt anybody. Which he didn’t. And he’s pissed off that some people are still acting like he did.
Tetsutetsu stands over Bakugou’s desk, arms folded and sneering, neither meeting the other’s eyes until Tetsutetsu finally growls, “I don’t know what the fuck I did but I’m sorry, alright?”
Bakugou glares up at him, then goes back to his lunch. “The back of my neck.”
Tetsutetsu starts, like he hadn’t expected an answer. Probably hadn’t. Bakugou hasn’t done a lot of talking lately. “Uh, what?”
“You grabbed the back of my neck. Don’t do that.” Bakugou stuffs an egg roll into his mouth, keeping his head down.
Tetsutetsu scratches his cheek before shrugging and turning away. “Fine.”
Bakugou grits his teeth before slamming his chopsticks down atop his desk. “I’m sorry,” he spits out, because the words taste bad. They dredge up a whole lot of shame he’d rather leave buried, but, well. Gotta excise a wound before you can heal it, or whatever Zento said. No point being a fucking wimp about it. “I didn’t- I wasn’t going for- that. For what happened to you.”
“Yeah, I figured that out, honor roll.”
Bakugou jerks his head up.
Tetsutetsu sniffs and looks away from him, arms crossed so tightly Bakugou’s pretty sure one flex will rip his shirt. “I mean. Obviously, right? Who’d blow up their own gut just to win a sparring match? Even you aren’t that nuts.”
“I would’ve won anyway,” Bakugou snorts.
“We’ll see about that, asshole!” Tetsutetsu jabs a finger in Bakugou’s direction, scowling. “I’ll forgive you for what happened, but your ass is still nowhere near good enough for Kirishima. I’ll beat you into shape.”
“What are you, his mother? Get a fucking life, hardhead. You’re already banging Kendou, you don’t get to suck Kirishima’s dick too.”
“Please stop talking about me like I’m meat,” Kendou sighs, kicking the back of Bakugou’s chair.
“Besides, I thought all Kirishima-dick-sucking rights were reserved solely for Blasty McSplode!” Sero calls.
Iida comes all the way from the other classroom to yell about not throwing your chair at people.
“Erm, Bakugou?” His door creaks open. “Are you in here?”
Bakugou’s expecting it, so his blood doesn’t start boiling like it usually does when he has to speak to Deku without any warning. “What do you want,” Bakugou mutters as he checks his homework with a calculator. The idiot parade will definitely need tutoring on this chapter. Maybe he can foist Kaminari and Ashido off on someone else.
Deku wastes time shifting around in the doorway before coming into Bakugou’s room and shutting the door behind himself, lowering his voice. “So you…so you figured it out?”
Bakugou huffs, eyes flicking up to Deku before he glares back down at his homework again. “Figured what out? You fucking told me. And you yell ‘smash’ before you fuckin’ hit anything, a goddamn baby would figure it out after that.”
“Er.” Deku scratches the back of his neck. “Well- I just wanted- I need to check and make sure you won’t…”
When Deku doesn’t continue Bakugou closes his eyes, summons up all the limited patience he has at his disposal and looks up at this fucking nerd eyesore intruding into his space. “Won’t what? Tell anyone?”
Deku shifts his weight again.
“You shouldn’t have fucking told me.”
“I know,” Deku murmurs down at his socked feet. “I didn’t want you to think I was- that I was trying to trick you or anything.”
“Well you should’ve fucking just let me think that.” Bakugou snaps his book shut, lip curling. Now he’s getting pissed, because this goes beyond Deku being Deku and straight into fucking dumb reckless idiot territory. “I don’t know how it gets passed on, but I think I can fucking guess what would happen if the world found out it could be passed on. You’d have every motherfucker after your ass trying to take it from you, am I right? Probably some sickos who’d want to dissect All Might to see if they can figure out from him too.”
“More or less, yeah, that would probably happen,” Deku sighs, rubbing his neck again.
“And that’d put anybody around you in harm’s way. Everybody at school, your loser friends- your fucking mom, she’d be in danger too.” Bakugou glowers. “You put your mom at risk because you thought my feelings were hurt.”
Deku shifts. “I know, I know. It was a mistake. I just…”
Bakugou glares for a moment longer before he opens his book back up. “I’m not gonna tell anyone. But if I end up having to lie about it then I’m gonna be real goddamn pissed off, you hear me? So fucking watch it from now on. If I could figure it out, then someone else could too.”
“Right.” Deku fiddles with his scarred hand, cracking his knuckles before he turns and opens the door. “You probably don’t want to hear it, but…thanks for keeping it secret, Bakugou.”
“Don’t call me that.”
Deku pauses halfway out the door. Bakugou studiously keeps his head down. “Thanks, um, Kacchan?”
The click of his door closing is quiet. Bakugou stares unseeing at his homework in his lap and wonders if that was one of those ‘proper conversations’ Deku was so fucking thirsty for.
One night the dreams are bad, but Kirishima doesn’t wake up. Bakugou heads to the kitchen and finds Uraraka sitting at the table, facedown with her head buried in her arms, shoulders shaking.
He passes by, turns on the lights in the kitchen and starts to cook.
His dad sits him on his lap while they eat together. Bakugou leans back against his chest, too tired to be tough, too cried out to care.
“Food’s pretty amazing, huh son?”
Bakugou just shovels some rice into his mouth. It’s warm and soft.
“When things are hard, sometimes all you need to feel better is a good meal.”
His dad’s chest is big and warm and soft. Bakugou’s face feels sore, his nose still running and his eyes swollen halfway shut. He sniffs hard, picking grains of rice up with his fingers, chopsticks abandoned. His dad lets him.
“You know, your mama loves you, even when you fight.”
“Mama hates me and I hate Mama,” Bakugou mutters.
“Now, that’s not even close to true.” His dad kisses the top of his head and scoops some of his own rice into Bakugou’s bowl. “You guys just fight hard. You do everything the hard way. But that means you’ll love just as hard, too.”
Bakugou sniffs again.
“I’m sorry, buddy,” his dad murmurs, and sets his bowl aside to wrap both arms around Bakugou and hold him tight. Bakugou keeps trying to feed himself but it’s hard, his dad’s arms are very big. “I know it’s hard for you to say what you mean. You get that from me.”
Bakugou stares down into his bowl, at his father’s rice that his mother made.
“But your old man can love pretty hard too. And your mom and I both love you with everything we have.”
Uraraka looks up when Bakugou sets a bowl of rice and stir fry in front of her. Her eyes are red and swollen, her nose running.
Bakugou sits across from her and plunks the soy sauce between them.
Uraraka sniffs. Wipes her nose on her sleeve, picks up her chopsticks, and eats. She keeps casting watery glances up at him before sniffing hard and asking, “Did you have a nightmare?”
She chews on her lip. “…me too.”
Bakugou spares her a glance. Holds her eyes, and when she gets back to her food he huffs and thunks an elbow on the table in annoyance. “Well? Are you gonna fucking talk about it or what?”
The shock on her face is not appreciated in the least, but he supposes he really can’t entirely blame her.
“I passed! I passed! Bakugou, I did it!”
“Of course you did it,” Bakugou scoffs. “Did you think I’d be fucking bad at tutoring? Fuck you.”
“Heh heh,” Ashido giggles, grinning down at her test paper. “I’m setting a new goal: no more failing scores this semester!”
“Idiot.” Bakugou flicks her forehead. “Try the rest of your fucking high school career.”
“What the hell is this?!” Ashido screeches, grabbing for his own test paper. “You got a perfect score! Bakugou! What is this?!”
“The fucking natural order, what’s it look like?” Bakugou snatches his paper back and stuffs it into his books. “I’m going to beat out that ponytail rich girl as best grades in our year.”
“Um, didn’t you drop down to fourth…?”
“Do you wanna die?”
“I figured out what I like.”
“Wha-huh? What?” Kirishima yawns and rolls over. “Man, I was almost asleep.”
Bakugou makes an impatient noise. “Sleep later. Pay attention to me. I said I figured out what I like.”
“What’re you talking about?”
“When we got together, dumbass. I told you I didn’t know.”
“Uh?” Kirishima’s eyes roll up before he yawns right in Bakugou’s face and slides an arm over his side. This must be what lion tamers feel like. “Oh right, right, I remember that. You said we might as well date if we were gonna just be bored anyhow. Which like, charmed the frick outta me dude, I’m just saying-”
“I like muscles.”
“Oh.” Kirishima grins sleepily, flexing like a dumb tool. “Got it bad for these guns, huh?”
The blush on Kirishima’s face when he rubs a hand down his cheek is worth it. “C’mon Blasty, you can’t do that without any warning! When you get all straightforward like that it makes me shy.”
Bakugou idly walks his fingers up Kirishima’s side. “Nothin’ straight about it.”
“Oh my god, and now the jokes. Stop it. We’ll never get to sleep.”
“I already told you.” Bakugou rolls on top of Kirishima and braces himself on his chest. “Sleep later.”
“Compelling argument! I agree.” Kirishima wraps his arms around Bakugou’s waist and that is just perfect, thick forearms, rough hands, sharp teeth and soft eyes barely lit by the moonlight sneaking in past his curtains. “Sleep later.”
Kaminari kicks the wall twice before they finally call it a night.
Without warning, Bakugou’s bedroom door slams open.
“I’ll fucking kill you,” Bakugou howls, and hurls a book at Kaminari’s stupid fucking face.
“Dude- ow, man, stop!” Kaminari fends off the rest of the projectiles before shooting Bakugou a smug grin. “Sero beat your high score in Street Fighter.”
“What?!” Bakugou leaps up and hurtles past Kaminari. “Fuck that! Motherfucker, I’ll kill you both!”
Bakugou doesn't go to bed until three in the morning, but once he does the top high scores read as follows:
“Get the cuffs on him already, he won’t do anything with his hands bound. Christ, it’s like you guys’ve never taken a hostage before.”
“Toga never has! Usually they’re too dead. And this one’s not even cute. No blood at all! Can I stab him a little?”
“Gentle! Be gentle. Shigaraki wants to talk to him personally.”
“Get the fuck off me! Get the fuck off of me!”
“Can we gag him?”
“Of course not. He’s our guest.”
“Great! That’s terrible.”
“Why so frightened, kid? It’s just like the sports festival again, right? I mean, we’re not even putting a muzzle on you. Kinda sick of the heroes to do that, in my opinion, but what can you do?”
“I’m not fucking scared of you. I’ll tear you assholes to pieces. I’ll fucking blow this fucking building sky high, motherfuckers, come at me! Fucking try me!”
“This is almost too sad to watch. Okay, get him in the chair. Strap him down. We’ll take shifts; Twice, you’re first.”
“Mr. Compress, if you’d take shift two? I’ll do three, we’ll work it out from there. I need a drink.”
“Hold on, I didn’t know you guys were gonna go party! Save me something. Toga, would you save me something?”
“Toga can’t drink, so you can have hers.”
The door shuts and leaves him alone in the dark, strapped to a chair, for hours and hours and-
Bakugou wakes up.
He can breathe. His eyes adjust to the dark and he sees no shapes in the shadows. A little sweat dampens his hair, but not enough to disturb him. He pushes himself up to sit and listens.
A muffled thump from Kirishima’s room.
His feet carry him before he fully wakes to Kirishima’s door. He lets himself in without preamble and sees Kirishima, there in bed, jerking and gasping and dead asleep.
See there? You do it too.
Before UA, everyone else was just a pebble on the side of the road. Everyone else was just a stepping stone.
“Hey,” Bakugou whispers, closing the door quietly behind himself and stepping over Kirishima’s stupid hand weights that he’s probably stubbed his toe on to crouch by the bed. Kirishima’s half-armored so Bakugou is careful, keeps his wits sharp and eyes open as he reaches out to touch Kirishima’s shoulder and shake him awake.
Kirishima doesn’t flail when he wakes but he does cry out, and Bakugou chases after his flinch with his hands on his shoulders. “It’s just me,” he murmurs. “It’s me.”
“Bakugou,” Kirishima pants. He looks at one of his hardened fists and drops his quirk, rubbing at his forehead and wilting back onto the bed. “Jesus. It was a dream. Bad dream. I’m okay.”
“Yeah,” Bakugou says. He picks up the covers and slides underneath; Kirishima scoots over to make room for him and Bakugou reaches again, pulls Kirishima half onto his chest as he rolls onto his back. “What was it about?”
“Nothing,” Kirishima mutters into his shoulder. Bakugou doesn’t even have to shift his weight before he caves. “I mean, yeah. Something. That…villain boss guy, and he was- he was killing everybody and I kept hearing your voice, and I couldn’t find you and Iida and Todoroki just died right there, while I was looking, and.” He rubs his forehead again. “That creep’s in jail. I know.”
“Probably rest a little better if his ass was dead,” Bakugou sniffs. Kirishima doesn’t say anything to that. “Go back to sleep.”
“Then just be quiet. I’m goin’ back to sleep.” But he doesn’t, not for a while, and he strokes a hand up and down Kirishima’s back under his shirt until he hears Kirishima’s breathing even out.
I’ve changed, Bakugou realizes, quietly, with certainty.
Tiny moments assembling something greater.
Kirishima murmurs sleepily, cheek against Bakugou's shoulder, hand smoothing across the planes of his chest before stilling over his heart.
Bakugou counts his inhales like counting sheep and somehow that, the knowledge that Kirishima, that twenty other students in this building and forty students in their year are still drawing breath tonight, helps set him at ease.
And so he rests.