Katsuki Bakugou was the last person Todoroki expected to see on his first day back in Japan as a pro-hero and on the first villain incident of the day, nonetheless.
A wall of ice towered over the street, blocking in the villain and keeping unsuspecting citizens out. It was great for crowd control, but not when part of the crowd catapulted themselves over it in a burst of explosions.
The villain of the hour was a tricky one. Todoroki tried brute forcing his way through it- to incapacitate the man who’d attempted to cause citywide mayhem by knocking out the power to the whole metropolitan area. He learned quickly when his blasts of fire disappeared upon contact that things were not going to be so easy.
Neither was the inclusion of the explosion powered blonde he remembered from his years at U.A. In fact, he could already hear that familiar voice yelling from across the street, “Is that fucking Icyhot?!”
The annoying nickname was enough to distract him from the villain at hand and turn around.
Ah, this was strange.
By all means, he should not have had time to dwell- not when there was a villain trying to cast the city into chaos; but the sight of the blonde and hearing that stupid nickname again made him feel nostalgic. It had been too long.
Four years, in fact.
Todoroki took off overseas not long after graduation to hone his skills and come back stronger and better than before. To America. After all, it was All Might’s origin- and if he wanted to become the best training during his formative years as a rookie hero in the country across the Pacific seemed like a pretty good option.
The chaos of the American hero league was good experience for what he had to deal with now.
The villain, dressed in a clunky maintenance uniform from the local power distribution center, was chased down by a very wild eyed Bakugou. Smoke drifted from his grenade gauntlets, as he readied to fire.
Todoroki moved to warn him, “Bakugou! Don’t-!” But there was already an explosion crackling through the air. Before it expanded to completion, the energy was whisked away in a sputtering wisp.
Bakugou cursed angrily- right before he was hit with the full force of his own power. He was flung back from the explosion. Todoroki slid across the ice to reach him just in time. Bakugou’s form hit him like a ton of bricks, sending him skidding back as he caught the hero in his arms.
Bakugou grunted when he hit a body instead of eating asphalt.
“You okay?” Todoroki asked.
As soon as red eyes opened to his, Bakugou was shoving himself out of fire and ice hero’s arms, with mild offense and violent anger. “Put me down!” He complained loudly. When he tore himself out of Todoroki’s grasp, he eyed the older up incredulously. “I can’t believe you still dress like a fucking plumber.”
Todoroki scoffed lightheartedly and pointed towards the only goofy part of the blonde’s costume. “Grenade hands.”
“I was fifteen. It’s a theme. What’s yours? Pipe cleaning?”
Todoroki’s retort was on the tip of his tongue when it was cut off by a new addition to the welcome home conversation. “Do you two know each other?”
It was the absorption man or whatever sponge moniker he probably used.
“Not your fucking business!” Bakugou snapped from his side.
The villain shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter. I lucked out with you two. Fire and explosions? Those quirks are all but useless on me.”
“What’s he like that copy bastard from back at U.A.?”
“No. Its energy absorption. He’s right. You’re as good as useless.” At least Todoroki had his ice powers- the man could absorb them but it would only slow him down as molecules would move to a standstill. Damage-wise they weren’t of much use, not when he didn’t know how much heat energy the man had absorbed from his fire attacks.
“Don’t fucking agree with him!”
“You should listen to your friend, Explosion Boy.”
“Oh, that’s it.” Bakugou charged at him.
It was futile to warn him because once Bakugou made a decision there was no stopping him. The villain smirked, and Todoroki knew what he had up his sleeve- a stockpile of static electricity energy for where he’d been sucking power from the transmission lines earlier.
Todoroki had been the recipient of a nasty blow from it that like his clothes teeming with static. Instead of letting Bakugou get jolted by a shock of electricity, Todoroki sent a stream of ice across the ground, stopping under Bakugou’s feet and shooting upwards to throw the younger hero into the air just as the electricity was discharged.
“At least you seem to care. Him on the other hand…” The villain laughed. “I don’t think he’s the friendship type. I surprised a guy as brash as that can make it as a hero- especially with a destructive quirk like that-“
“Stop. You weren’t this chatty before, don’t start now.”
“Ooh. Struck a nerve. I see. Though I’m not sure why you’d want to defend him. What did he call you, a fucking plumber. That not very nice. Though I’d have to agree on the design choice.”
“Shut up.” His patience was running thin with this guy, not after he’d been dealing with him all afternoon.
“Testy. Testy. Why don’t you try attacking me? Oh wait, you can’t.”
Todoroki saw a flash of green and black from behind the man who was picking at his nerves. The taunting turned into disgruntled screaming when the conversation distracted the villain long enough for Bakugou to jump him, restraining his arms so he couldn’t aim his quirk and clinging to him like the world’s angriest spider monkey.
“Just because we can’t use our quirks, doesn’t mean we still aren’t heroes, asshole!”
The villain struggled against the Bakugou on his back. “I can blow you up! Set you on fire with the energy I have stored!”
“Then who’d be collateral. You? Is this cheap trick worth your life?”
The villain was quiet, still struggling against Bakugou’s restraint.
Bakugou looked at him from behind his black mask. “Oi, Todoroki, some help would be great.” Bakugou… asking for help? This was a wild turn of events. He pulled out the one pair of handcuffs he kept for situations like these from his belt.
“So, you got something useful in that plumber’s toolbelt after all.” Todoroki fought the urge to stick out his tongue. It’s a juvenile urge, but Bakugou reminds him of such things. He scoffed as Todoroki clasped the cuffs on the villain’s wrists. “See? Hardly useless. I’ve learned not to rely on my quirk all the time. You never know when you might not be able to use it.”
The authorities came through when Todoroki melted down the wall of ice, collecting his target for the day. Both heroes went through the motions, the press asking a few questions and snapping a few photos (with Todoroki putting on his amicable but fake smile).The police held the crowd at bay from the scene, but Bakugou approached them anyways.
Todoroki thought his gaze lingered for too long as he stared at his former classmate from the corner of his eye. He blamed it on the nostalgia; but only later did he realize, it was more than that.
A lot was the same- his unruly blonde hair, explosive attitude, penchant for stubbornness and rude nicknames- but at the same time, so much was different.
This Bakugou had a subtle softness to him that the prickly teenaged version on himself would have loathed. His scowl not so pronounced, and hell, he even broke into the closest thing Todoroki had seen to a real smile on his face when some eager kids ask him for an autograph.
Not to mention, he’s taller (though still not reaching Todoroki’s height), broader, and bulkier. Todoroki suspected he changed in much of the same way- hero work and age did that to a person.
His gaze fixated on Bakugou reaching into the crowd to grab some magazine and scrawl out a hasty signature, watching how his muscles tensed and flexed in the movement and oh… Todoroki felt too hot in his own skin. The power from his right side kicked in, casting his body in a cooling wind and calming the blush rose from his neck when he realized what this was-
I think Bakugou’s hot.
It wasn’t the first time this had happened in Todoroki’s life. His dumb crush from years prior resurfaced with all the awkward feelings he shoved to the back of his mind in his aforementioned teenaged years.
And the focal point of it all was Katsuki Bakugou.
It was strange and unsettling- though not entirely unwelcome- to be experiencing these things again. But what he wouldn’t give to not be experiencing them here, in the crowd while being asked questions from a reporter. He froze up in the interview, mouth pulling into a tight line as his brain tried to process all these cluttered, embarrassing thoughts.
The woman’s voice asked another question and there was a recorder in his face. But he said nothing, as he hadn’t even been paying attention, until he was jostled to this reality by a nudge to his shoulder.
He’d never been so thankful to be interrupted by the blonde before as he diverted the attention away from himself. Todoroki watched him talk, and damn, if it didn’t feel like he could do that for days- this was his dream and he was clearly excited, serious, and determined with every word out of his mouth.
Dammit. It made Todoroki feel like a teenager again- full of frustration and pining.
These were not feelings he was going to go through again.
No, to say it like Bakugou: he was a fucking adult- too old and had gone through too much to waste his time with these things. He was going to nip these feelings in the bud by getting to the crux of the problem with one simple action.
Asking Bakugou out.
He caught the grenade laden hero just as he was about to leave. The crowd had long dispersed to the next incident in the city. Todoroki swallowed dryly when he faced red eyes. “Would you like to get dinner with me and catch up?” He asked.
Bakugou considered it for a moment, and Todoroki nearly thought he would decline, before crossing his arms and flashing a smirk. “Only if you’re paying, Half’n’Half.”
“WHAT?!” Bakugou choked on his drink, fist slamming against the table drawing even more attention to the unlikely pair. He was now glad that he decided to go out in a lowkey disguise as he tugged his hat further over his hair- if not there would have surely been a bombardment of online posts about the new up and coming hero and his fledgling romantic life.
Todoroki stared at the blonde- whose face contorted in anger, surprise, and confusion simultaneously- not flinching from his violent outburst though part of him was irritated by it. He thought he’d been clear when he asked Bakugou out to dinner. The next exclamation proved him otherwise, “THIS IS A DATE?!”
“I thought it was obvious.”
“Fuck no! You said catch up not make out and hold hands or whatever couple-y shit you want… to do… with me?” The longer he spoke the more Bakugou’s tone dipped into the incredulous as he realized the implications.
Bakugou was right. He wanted to kiss him and hold his hands and all that other ‘couple-y shit’. Though hearing Bakugou say it aloud made his chest tighten. He breathed a strained, “Yeah.”
Bakugou’s eyes widened. “Are you insane, Half’n’Half? I get it. I’m hot, but you know me. I’m not exactly boyfriend material.” He’s always been rash and angry and stubborn and driven and oh god if most of those things didn’t get to him.
Todoroki had another bomb up his sleeve, if Bakugou needed any more convincing that his affections were genuine and long standing. “I had a crush on you in high school.”
Bakugou choked again. “You’re fucking joking.”
“But why?” Bakugou’s knuckles strained white with the crushing grip he put on the edge of the table (Todoroki really hoped it wouldn’t break. He really didn’t want to have to pay the restaurant for damages). “I was an ass.”
“A lot of the time.”
“I still like you. I realized that today.” At least now there was no room for misunderstanding. Even when he said something as simple as ‘I like you’ he could see the near physical effect it had on the disgruntled hero. Todoroki suspected he was unaccustomed to hearing someone voice real affection towards him- and honestly it was a feeling he knew too. “I want you to go out with me. If you’re interested. Are you?”
Bakugou was unnerved. His foot was tapping underneath the table like he couldn’t wait to get away. He looked towards the door and back to Todoroki, gaze darting from Todoroki’s hands on the table, to his neck as he swallowed under the scrutiny, and then back to mismatched eyes- when he broke.
“Argh!” He groaned loudly, tearing through spiky hair. “I’m not uninterested. I never considered you- Shit.“ He was blushing at whatever thought crossed his mind and had to steady himself. “I’ll think about it.”
It wasn’t a no and at this point, Todoroki would take it.
Todoroki didn’t have to wait long to see Bakugou again because the next day they both showed up to work at the same building. Bakugou took one look at red and white hair and lost it. “WE’RE AT THE SAME FUCKING AGENCY?”
“I’m new.” He answered simply
Bakugou’s eyes nearly rolled out of his head. “Yeah, I can see that. I’m not an idiot. Why didn’t you tell me yesterday?”
“You seemed to be distracted.”
“You can’t say that shit out of the blue and not expect me to be distracted.”
“Am I that distracting?” He started with a teasing glint that worked exactly as anticipated-
“YOU- ARGH!” Bakugou’s face was a flustered red, as he slammed open the door to the agency and stormed in. He followed him in, covering up the slight smile on his face when he realized he quite liked this flavor of Bakugou.
A few weeks in and Todoroki and Bakugou were put on a special assignment together. The head of the agency was very amused by the fact they were old classmates and insisted on pairing them up.
‘-you two went to school together, didn’t you? This job will give you some time to bond.’
Bakugou complained, but it was more bark than bite.
The briefing was simple:
A new villain syndicate had been detected around Tokyo- picked up on through some questionable exchanges of money, embezzled funds, and too convenient attacks on top companies. However, they weren’t the flashy sort- working in the shadows- and smartly so since the town was crawling with fresh faced heroes ready to make their mark.
Their agency picked up on some intel through a series of underground parties and gambling rings that were tied to the missing cash. However, given the unknown nature of the villain’s quirks- the agency thought a team of high powered, relatively unknown- new- heroes was the best bet.
Namely Todoroki and Bakugou.
They met up at Bakugou’s apartment the night of the infiltration, disguises in hand. Todoroki was too recognizable- not only from his distinct appearance but also as the son of a top hero. His cover was more involved and seeing himself in the mirror- in a form that looked like him but not quite- was jarring. He adjusted his red wig, hand trailing over the concealed scar that usually marred his left eye. He’d gotten so used to the story his scar and genetics told that seeing himself with a relatively normal appearance made him feel odd.
He was drawn from his musings when Bakugou slammed a contact case down in front of him. “You know how long it took me to find colored contacts?”
Todoroki ignored his complaining. “Thanks.”
“Part of my job. Can’t have some villain recognizing those eyes of yours.” Gray and blue. One from his mother, one from his father. Bakugou lingered on them too long, bordering on awkward, before he turned away with a cough.
Todoroki blinked for a moment to see matching gray eyes reflected back at him and turned to Bakugou expectantly as he buttoned the front of his waistcoat. The blonde raised an eyebrow. “What do you want me to say, pretty boy, that you look nice?” He scoffed, but there was more of a teasing edge to it than an antagonistic one. “Because you always do.”
Ah, a rare Bakugou compliment. It made his mouth a little dry, and he swallowed. Bakugou wasn’t so bad himself. He was grateful that this was a black-tie affair, if only for the excuse to see Bakugou out of sloppy, baggy clothes and in something nice for once.
“It suits you.” Todoroki commented at last, earning him a burning glare at the pun. Todoroki had a feeling that another one might merit the threat of explosives, but the suit did suit him. The Bakugou standing in front of him was one that would make his mother proud. “Well, you do look handsome. I didn’t know your hair could do that.”
It wasn’t to Jeanist levels of orderly, but it was proof that Bakugou, did in fact, own a brush.
“Shut up. What are you, my mom?”
“How about this then-“ He tugged on the lapels of Bakugou’s jacket, dragging him a step forward and voice dropping strategically low and breathy. “You look really fucking hot.”
He was shoved back, Bakugou clasping a hand over the ear that bore the brunt of his flirtations. “Fuck. You're too good at this. When did you get good at this?!” Todoroki shrugged, and his lack of reaction only fueled the flustered blonde further. “I swear I’ll get you back, Todoroki! I’ll make you so fucking weak at the knees you’ll forget every other person you’ve been with.”
He was a little taken aback by the outburst and laughed shortly at the daggers Bakugou stared into him.
This was one challenge he'd be happy to lose.