Chapter 1: Another one bites the dust
“You’ll find my resignation on your desk in the morning, sir.”
“Yeah, you can fuck off for all I care. Now get the hell out of my office.”
There was a collective round of sighs as they watched him go.
“Come on, pay up Hanta. You too Denki. I win this round.” The pair grumbled, but handed over the cash.
“Damn it, I thought Mashirao’d last longer than two weeks though… Ugh, you always win Mina.”
“That’s because you guys are way to optimistic. Mr Bakugou always finds a way to break them.”
The boys glanced at each other. “Keep it down would you? Unless you want a new job too.” Hanta mumbled it, and still almost jumped out of his skin when the door slammed open.
“Hey! Do some fucking work and find me a new fucking assistant! And one that can fucking cut it this time!”
“Right away sir,” Mina replied smoothly. She’d already started writing the email when Mashirao had broken the news. “I’ll begin recruitment immediately.”
Their boss stomped back into his office, and all three of them breathed a small sigh of relief.
“Seriously though,” said Denki, once he was sure the coast was clear. “Where the hell are we going to find another assistant for him? That’s the fourth that’s quit in three months!”
Katsuki Bakugou stalked his office, taking in the view of New York. Well, that was that. Another bottom feeder that had scraped themself off his boot. If they couldn’t cut it in an environment like this, what the fuck were they even doing here? Whatever. It wasn’t his problem, and it just meant he didn’t have someone breathing down his neck while he worked. And on that note… He flipped open his laptop, and sank down into the chair in front of his desk. He still needed to finalise the details of his takeover of Ingenium enterprises.
At just twenty seven, Katsuki was already one of the most successful people on Wall street. After starting up his own pyrotechnics firm while at college, using the money from his student loans, and through a combination of ambition, acumen, and sheer ruthlessness, not only was his own company thriving, but by twenty three he’d already performed his first takeover of another company. Four years later, he’d already made his first billion. He’d been voted Wall Street’s number one rising star, and had been considered for most eligible bachelor, until he told the person asking for an interview where to stick it.
The only thing more legendary than Katsuki’s ability was his temper.
It was more of a relief than usual when he signed off for the day, and hit the elevator call button in his office, the doors immediately opening. Iida was being more of a pain than he’d hoped over the deal, and it felt like he hadn’t gotten anywhere all day. And being pissed from another assistant quitting wasn’t helping. The elevator only went a single floor, before the doors slid open, and Katsuki pressed his thumb to the keypad. The door slid open, opening onto his penthouse. He’d always liked to be close to the office, so when he’d bought out the building, he’d claimed the top three floors for his own use. Four, if you counted his personal offices. on the forty eighth floor.
This was where the real view was at, from the windows that ran floor to ceiling on every wall, to the panoramic view of the city he had from his rooftop pool. It was all sleek, and modern, and expensive, but today he headed straight up to the gym. He had some frustrations to work out.
It was two weeks later, with the merger deal finally sorted, that he received a call from Hanta.
“Sir, we have an application for the position.”
“Position- What, for my fucking assistant? The fuck took so long?”
“Sorry sir. I don’t think there’s many left.”
“Watch it. Well? Who the fuck is it?”
“One… Eijirou Kirishima. He says he can come in at your convenience.”
“Then tell him to get his ass here tomorrow, two pm.”
“I’ll let him know.” Hanta filed the rougher edges off the message. He’d find out soon enough anyway, and even if it was only a few weeks, it’d make his life quieter while he lasted. Hopefully the guy was desperate. “Sir, just to remind you… he is the only candidate.”
“Doesn’t fucking mean I’m going to hire him without an interview, am I? Tell him he better not be fucking late,” Katsuki added, before hanging up.
On the other end of the, now dead, line, Hanta sighed. “Why does he even bother with personal assistants anyway? He just uses us as them…”
Mina patted him on the back. “Maybe this one’s finally the one.”
There was a pause, then all three of them laughed, but quietly, in case their boss heard.
Denki had the last word. “Poor guy. God have mercy on his soul.”
He was on time at least, in a plain suit and tie, but with red hair slicked back into spikes. It was a bold choice, but one that probably wouldn’t be an issue. By the time he’d walked into the office, a little lay due to Bakugou’s previous call overrunning, the betting pool was already being set up.
“So, what makes you think you’re qualified?” Katsuki had gone straight into the interrogation, not even bothering to let Kirishima introduce himself.
“Well, I was a personal assistant to Tensei Iida for four years, but with the merger recently, there were redundancies.”
“You moved fucking fast then.”
“I didn’t want to be out of work any longer than I had to. Bills to pay, that sort of thing.” For someone who’d just lost his job, he was damn cheerful. That dumb smile hadn’t left his face the entire time.
“You won’t need to do much business wise. The idiots outside handle all that, so I’ll need you for errands. Lunch, dry cleaning, shopping, all that shit. You do know how to make coffee, don’t you?”
“I got through college by working as a barista sir.”
“Then you can’t be any fucking worse than the last guy. I’m gonna work you to the fucking bone, you know that?”
And he still smiled. “If you’re paying me, I’d like to think you’ll be getting your money’s worth sir.”
Katsuki grunted. “Well, it’s not like I’ve anyone else in mind. When can you start?”
“Tomorrow, if you want.”
“Tomorrow’s a fucking Saturday.”
“I know.” He was a daring little bastard, but he still knew who was in charge, and Katsuki could get behind that.
“Well, I’m not working fucking weekends, so be here Monday morning. Eight am.”
Kirishima stood up. “Thank you sir,” he said, offering his hand. “I’m looking forward to working for you.”
Katsuki didn’t bother shaking it. “Let those assholes outside know to expect you on your way out. I can’t be fucked wasting my breath on them.”
“I will do.” And still that dumb smile, Katsuki thought, as he watched the new guy go. It’d probably get annoying, but he could always fire him.
“So I guess I’ll see you all on Monday then. Is there anything I should know?”
“Well, you already met him,” said Denki with a grin, ignoring the elbowing from Hanta. “Just keep your head down and do what he asks and you should be fine.”
“I don’t think there’s anything that you wouldn’t be better hearing from him…” Mina began to add, before she snapped her fingers. “Wait, coffee things. I’ll show you where the maker is. The boss does love his coffee after all. Seriously, he should get a machine in his office, but he’s too stubborn to make his own.”
“You call that thing a coffee maker?” Nothing Katsuki had said had made his smile falter, but the sight of an instant coffee machine did it. “I thought you said he liked coffee?”
“Alright, mister barista. We can’t all be hipsters about it.”
“...You think I’m a hipster?”
She was tempted to make a comment about red hair, but with his expression, it would have been like kicking a puppy. She sighed.
“Just… see you on Monday, okay? And be a little early. Mr Bakugou says he starts at eight, but he’s a bit of a workaholic.”
“Thanks.” That bright smile was back, and there was a definite spring in his step as he left the office. Mina grinned at the other two, and held out her hand.
“God, fine,” Denki grumbled, handing over the cash. “I swear, you make more off these bets than you do working here.”
“I’m just better at reading people than you. You too Hanta.” He groaned. “Right then. Envelope predictions for how long he lasts. Usual buy in?”
It was probably best for Eijirou’s ego that he didn’t hear the conversation after he left. But he at least managed to hold himself together until after he’d taken a cab home, and let himself into the small studio apartment. Then he let himself turn into a small quivering wreck. The Katsuki Bakugou! Employing him ! Sure, he’d worked for the Iida brothers for a few years, but but they didn't have his clout. Or his reputation. Admittedly, he hadn't seemed too bad in the interview, but he wasn't actually working for him then. Easy on the eyes too, but Eijirou wasn't about to be unprofessional and ogle his boss while he was working. His boss. It still felt weird calling him that. It'd take some getting used to.
Tempting as it was to go out and celebrate, he didn't want to risk being rough on his first day. So he phoned his mom instead.
“Hey, Mom? Yeah, I got the job. Yeah, it actually pays a little more, so, you know, it's kind of a blessing in disguise.” He sighed. “Mom, I know he’s the reason I lost my job in the first place, but it was just business. It’s not like he woke up and thought ‘Let’s make Iida’s assistant redundant. Mom, stop worrying, I'll be fine. Mom. Mom, that’s not stopping.” He sighed, and held his phone away from his ear while she rambled away. “Mom, someone else is trying to call me, I'll call you on Monday, okay?” She was a nightmare once she got going, and he wasn’t being called at all, but there was no way to stop her without a good excuse. It was still only about four, too early to bother eating… Hmm. Tempting as watching trashy reruns of U.A. was, he’d was going to be productive. Eijirou booted up his laptop, and pulled up google. Time to act like a creepy stalker, and find out as much about his new boss as he could.
Eijirou had tried to sleep last night. Really, he had. But knowing what was coming, his first day working for Katsuki Bakugou himself, well… Anyone would be nervous, right? Too nervous to sleep, that was for sure. He’d managed a few hours at least, but he was going to have to rely on caffeine to pick up the slack. Especially since it was only seven fifteen when he pulled up outside the building for Mortar Pyrotechnics (and the unholy number of other companies Mr Bakugou had drawn into his orbit), carrying a large package. More than a few people mistook him for a delivery man, but that was fine, it would be worth it.
“I know I said early, but you might be a little too eager and what the hell is that?” asked Mina, changing track mid sentence when she saw the box.
“I told you. There’s no way I could serve instant coffee in good conscience. So I brought a proper machine with me.”
“You… holy crap you actually did. Did you seriously just have all this stuff lying around at home?” She asked, as she helped him carry the box to the small kitchenette.
“Well, yeah? I need to make coffee somehow.” She shook her head.
“Well, at least you’re keen. Based off when he started working, you’ve got maybe ten minutes before he starts yelling for a caffeine fix, so it better work fast.”
“Mina, please. I’m a professional.”
“Kaminari! Where the fuck’s my coffee?” came an angry and completely unmistakeable voice over the intercom.
Denki sighed, and nodded to Eijirou. “Looks like you’re up.”
“Wish me luck,” he replied, coffee in hand.
“Good luck. You’re gonna need it,” he added under his breath.
“Holy shit, you were actually fast for once- who the fuck are you?”
“Eijirou Kirishima, your new PA? You hired me on Friday?” Katsuki stared at him for a moment, like he’d just claimed the sky was a lamb shank. He was sat there in close fitted dark blue suit, but the shirt was open at the top, and he hadn't bothered with a tie. Kirishima did an excellent job of not staring at the exposed sliver of flesh. Something seemed to click for Bakugou.
“Oh. Right. Well, what the fuck are you standing there for? Give me my fucking coffee!”
Eijirou tried not to hold his breath. He’d taken a gamble, with this one, and while he did have a safer bet in reserve outside, this was going to be his new boss’s first impression of him. Literally, apparently. Time seemed to slow, as Katsuki raised the mug to his lips.
“...The fuck’s this supposed to be?”
Well. Shit. “S-sorry sir, I’ve got something a bit plainer outside, I’ll go fetch it-”
“I never fucking said I didn’t like it. I just asked what the fuck was in it.”
“O-oh! Well, I heard you liked spicy food, so I tried a recipe I know for Lavado beans with some ground Guajillo-”
“In fucking English.”
“Sorry. It’s a chili espresso, sir.”
“Huh.” That was all he said. No follow up questions, no praise, but no yelling either, and he was definitely drinking it. He looked up. “...You still here?”
“Sorry sir. I didn’t know if you needed me for anything else.”
“Well, you can make yourself useful and go pick up the progress reports from the assholes on the seventeenth floor. Should have been on my desk on Friday, but they’re fucking late. Again.”
“I’ll get right on it,” Eijirou replied, before making a quick exit.
“Excuse me, Hanta, was it? He’s asked for progress reports from the seventeenth floor. Do you know who I’d be asking for?”
“Huh? Oh the new guy? Well, you want-” He stopped, suddenly. “Wait. You don’t need to remake the coffee? Like, at least six times?”
“Holy shit. Uh, right… seventeen… That’d be Kouda you want. He manages all the pet based companies Mr Bakugou bought up.”
“Thanks.” Hanta stared at his back, as Eijirou waited for the elevator.
“But shit . He still throws my coffees in my face half the time.”
It turned out Kouda had only just arrived, and nearly had a breakdown when he heard Bakugou was mad at him. It turned out he’d already submitted the reports digitally - it was just a printed copy that he was lacking. With those in hand, he headed back up, pausing when Mina waved him over.
“He’s in a call right now, and he’ll flip if you disturb him.”
“Thanks for the warning. I’ll be quiet.”
“That’s not-” She tried, but he was already gone, slipping into Katsuki’s office without a sound. And he’d been doing so well too.
“I don’t give a fuck about your excuses. Your entire department is down ten percent from their targets!”
Eijirou didn’t say a word, merely putting the offending documents on the desk, and was about to leave, until he noticed the already drained coffee cup.
“No, you absolute fuckwit, the projections already took into account the fall at this time of year. Are you fucking kidding me?”
He steeled himself, and slid closer, trying to take the mug without attracting attention, but without seeming too nervous either. Bakugou’s eyes flicked towards him, but he didn’t say anything (to him, at least), and Eijirou continued as he was, taking the offending cup and leaving with the minimum of fuss. He finally breathed out when the door clicked softly behind him. God he needed a coffee himself.
“You survived the lion’s den then?”
“Oh, Mina. Yeah, I’m fine. I’m making him another coffee, how do the guys take theirs?”
“You’re making? Hanta’s fine with a Cappuccino, and Denki’ll love you forever if you make him a caramel latte.”
“How did you know I had the stuff for that?”
“I was nosey and had a root. Don’t worry, I didn’t move anything.” He wasn’t sure he believed her, but it didn’t make much of a difference anyway. The insulated coffee pot was still warm too, from when he’d made the last cup, so it only took him a minute to get it back up to temperature, just long enough to prepare the chili for Mr Bakugou.
He slipped back into the room with the replacement coffee, placing it close enough for him to reach, but far enough away that he wouldn’t knock it if he hadn’t noticed it.
“I know what the projections are, I made the fucking projections!” Bakugou threw back his hand, arcing just past the gently steaming coffee. He spared Eijirou the slightest of nods when he noticed it, before going straight back to his yelling. “Are you an actual fucking retard?”
His second brush with death for the day done with, Eijirou headed back and finished everyone else’s coffee’s, putting them on everyone’s desks.
“Mmm, Mocha, just how I like it.”
“Is that caramel?” asked Denki, lifting the cup to his nose. “Oh, dude, you are a keeper!”
Across from him, Hanta snorted. “A caramel latte? God, you’re such a girl.”
“Guilty as charged,” said Eijirou, picking up his own. “You can’t beat a caramel macchiato.” Hanta rolled his eyes. “Hey, Mina? The progress reports. Is there any way to know which Mr Bakugou doesn't have printed copies of?”
“Hmm.” She thought for a moment. “I know he doesn't mark the emails as read until he’s read the physical copy, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have it, and he’s been pretty busy this morning… Why do you ask?”
“Well, with him being in a meeting, I'm at a loose end. I figured I could see if there were any other reports he was waiting on.”
“I can't see him complaining. I’ll give you read only access to his emails. If he wants you assisting him it shouldn't be an issue. Actually, I haven't even given you your own details yet, have I?”
Once he was set up, Eijirou gingerly picked through his new boss’s correspondence, careful not to open anything that hadn't already been read. After pinning down some of the open threads, he followed them up himself, politely introducing himself, confirming the status of the reports, and then in a few cases, printing them off himself. Before he knew it, it was already nearly midday, and the yelling from the head office had grown to the point that they could hear it outside. Even Eijirou wasn't willing to step in there right now.
When silence finally reigned, a little after noon, there were more than a few nervous glances in the office. If his mood was as bad as it had sounded, then there was every chance he wanted someone to take it out on. When Eijirou took the reports and a fresh coffee, the others looked at him like he was some kind of martyr.
“Well, it was nice while he lasted,” Denki sighed, bracing himself for the inevitable explosion.
Eijirou opened the door a sliver, to check Mr Bakugou wasn't in another meeting, but he was just sat there in his chair, glowering out of the window. He stepped inside.
“Sir-?” he began, but his boss cut him off with just a look.
“What the fuck do you want?”
Eijirou held his composure. “I brought you a fresh coffee, as well as some more reports you were waiting on,” he said carefully, placing them down on the desk. Mr Bakugou glared.
“Right. Now get the fuck out of my office.”
“Right away sir,” he replied, clearing the room as quickly as he could without running. An utterly foul mood then, but he could have sworn he caught something to the effect of ‘Not completely useless’ as he closed the door behind him.
Eijirou glanced at the clock again. It was nearly one.
“What does he do for lunch?”
Sero shrugged. “He eats in his office when he remembers, but he’s probably going through the reports right now. You’re safe for that one today.”
Eijirou frowned. Busy or not, he still needed to eat. And if he was too busy to remember, well, what else was a personal assistant for? A quick google search of the area later, followed by a short call, and he was out of the building, back fifteen minutes later with a carrier bag that was still warm. Technically he’d paid for it out of his own pocket, but he was pretty sure he could claim it back on expenses. Besides, a few dollars was a small price to pay for a good impression.
“Sir, I brought you some lunch.”
Mr Bakugou barely glanced at it, before he paused. “How the fuck did you know I liked the sushi from there?”
“You’re a well known man, sir. There’s a lot of information online, and the rest was an educated guess.”
“Huh.” He looked at him, and for the first time properly looked at him. “What the fuck was your name?”
“Eijirou Kirishima, sir.” Internally, he wondered how many more times he'd have to introduce himself, but the man must have to deal with a lot of people every day. It probably took awhile for individuals to stick for him.
His boss seemed to pause, as though he was about to say something. “You've got shitty hair,” he eventually settled on, and Eijirou silently wished he’d quit while he was ahead.
“I'm sorry, sir.” That only elicited a grunt. “Sir, is there anything else you’d like me to do?”
“Hmm. I've got some presentations that need proofing and polishing. That's a fucking waste of time you can save me.”
“If you send them to me sir, I'll get on it right away.”
His boss gave him a quizzical glance. “You even have a fucking email here?”
“Yes sir. Miss Ashido already set me up.”
“Good. And tell her to replace the piece of shit marketing manager that came with Ingenium. If that's the kind of asshole they're relying on, no wonder they were going fucking bust. The fuck are you still here?” he added, seeing Eijirou hadn't moved.
“Ah, sorry sir. Just making sure that was everything.”
“Yeah, yeah, fuck off and do some work. And get me another of those fucking coffees.”
It turned out he’d gotten off so lightly that morning only because his boss hadn't internalised the fact that he had a new assistant yet. Now it had sunk in, the tasks were coming thick and fast. There was no way one person could handle it all, but looking at the list as it came in, there was a fair bit of backlog. He must have been sitting on some of this since he lost his last assistant. All he had to do was get on top of things, and prioritise.
By the time he finally clocked off a little after six, the mound was still being added to, but he was pretty sure he’d made it smaller overall. He hoped so, because if he hadn't, he was going to have some late nights dealing with it. But for tonight, it was time for takeout, a few hours of trashy tv, and (he sighed internally), phoning his mom. Considering she’d spent the entire weekend sending him horror stories from people who’d previously worked for Mr Bakugou, he wasn't looking forward to it.
When he finally managed to pry her off the phone, he’d decided that his new boss was easier to deal with.
I had planned to get a little further this chapter, but it felt like a relatively natural point for a break, and I figured little and often would be preferable to infrequent walls of text dumped out.
His next few days on the job passed quickly, despite the late nights he pulled multiple times to get ahead with the backlog of work. It was paying off, because by the end of the week he didn't have anything outstanding from before Wednesday. A few more days and he’d hopefully be on top of things.
He steeled himself as he entered the office bearing the first coffee of the day. Just one more day, and then he could enjoy his weekend, and not have to worry for two whole days.
“You still not done the spreadsheets from Wednesday yet, shitty hair?”
“They're first on my list for today sir,” he replied, placing down the cup. On the plus side, Mr Bakugou had stopped asking what his name was every time he spoke to him. Unfortunately, he’d taken to calling him by that nickname instead. Eijirou already had a sinking feeling he was stuck with it.
“The fuck’s with the foamy shit?”
“It's a macchiato sir. I thought I’d try something new.”
“Well it’s weak as shit,” he snapped after the first sip, angrily shoving it towards Kirishima. “Come back with a real fucking coffee!”
“Right away sir. Sorry.”
He sighed to himself, as he started making an espresso. What kind of monster couldn't appreciate a macchiato?
“Finally made a bad one, did you?” asked Denki, wandering over from his desk.
“It was my own fault really. It's what I get for fetting cocky.” He sipped the rejected coffee - at least he could appreciate the foamy goodness. Denki raised an eyebrow.
“Didn't the boss try that?”
“That counts as an indirect kiss, right?” Eijirou choked.
The other man just laughed. “You can handle the boss yelling, but not that? Dude, you're screwed if Hanta finds out.”
“Yeah, well… You just caught me off guard, that’s all.”
When he took the replacement coffee into the office, the macchiato hadn't been touched again. Until Denki drank it.
“Hey, shitty hair!” Mr Bakugou’s head stuck out of his office, glare locked on Eijirou. “You can fucking drive, right?”
“Uh, yes sir. Why?”
“Because my fucking driver called in sick, and I’m supposed to be having a lunch meeting at one,” he snapped, stomping out of his office. “You'll have to fucking do.”
“When the fuck do you think?” His boss’s voice was steadily climbing already. There was no time to waste.
He had wondered why Mr Bakugou needed a driver to cross such a short distance. If it was such an emergency, he could have driven himself, or gotten a taxi. At least, that’s what he’d thought, until he’d spent two minutes with the man in a car.
“MOVE YOUR FUCKING ASS OUT OF THE WAY YOU FUCKING ASSRAG PIECE OF SHIT!”
If this was what he was like as a passenger, Eijirou couldn't in good conscience let him near the wheel. Endure it. He had to endure it.
“FUCKING CUT US UP WILL YOU YOU FUCKWIT I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU!”
It was quite possibly the most stressful twenty minutes of Eijirou’s life.
“I'll be at least an hour. Find somewhere to park, and I'll call you when I'm done.”
He didn't wait for a reply, striding into the high end restaurant like he owned the place. Actually, it was plausible that he did. An hour. He considered his options as he pulled into the nearest car park (God bless sat nav), and carefully maneuvered into a generous space. The car probably cost more than his year’s salary and he was not going to so much as scuff it. An hour gave him time to get lunch himself, but best to go for something quick that he could take away. He wanted to be ready if the meeting ended early.
That there was a nearby subway was practically a gift from the heavens, sans the terrible coffee. Especially given that, as he’d predicted, he got the call early. Bakugou barely let him stop, throwing himself into the back seat, and slamming the door.
“Get a fucking move on.”
He was fuming, to angry at whatever had just happened to even yell at the traffic. Eijirou could hear him muttering to himself, but he couldn’t make it out. Maybe he wanted to vent? He took a deep breath.
“Did the meeting go well, sir?”
“What do you fucking think?”
“Do you… want to talk about it?” Now he really was living dangerously, and he tried not to focus on the scowl in the mirror.
“Why the fuck would I do that?” About as expected then-
“That fucking piece of shit bitch told me I needed to work on my public image! Who the fuck does she think she is?” Oh. Apparently he did. “I make more in a month that she fucking has in her life, so where does she get off telling me what to do?”
“Who were you meeting sir?”
“That bitch Momo.”
“Yaoyorozu?” He recognised the name from his time at Ingenium. The Iida brothers had had consultations with her before.
“Whatever her fucking name is.” There was a rare moment of silence, soon shattered. “THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM IT’S ON FUCKING GREEN MOVE YOUR GODDAMN ASS YOU AUDI ASSHOLE!” Oh good. Apparently he was feeling better.
That detour had probably added another day of working late to catch up too, but it was fine. Eijirou had rent to pay, and Mr Bakugou had stormed right back into his office the moment they’d returned. A placating coffee later, and Eijirou was back at his own spot, being approached by Denki who was wearing a look that could only be described as pity.
“I won’t even ask how it went, but we were gonna head out and grab a few drinks after work. You want to hang?”
He actually just wanted to sleep, but he couldn’t exactly say that. “Are you go straight from work, or do I have time to go and change?”
“Meeting about eight, if you’re up for it.” It couldn’t hurt to actually get to know his co-workers. Might as well start sooner rather than later.
“Sure. Just a couple though, I’m beat.”
“Dude, trust me, we get it. We’ve all worked for him for long enough.”
“That’s- That wasn’t what I meant.”
Denki laughed. “Still so young and pure. Mina picked the place, so I guess she might as well text you the deets. Catch you later.”
It was closing in on six, and he could already see the others gearing up to go.
“Hey, Eijirou, you coming?”
“Yeah, just give me a minute. Is Mr Bakugou still working?”
“Probably. Maybe even a few more hours if he’s still pissed about that meeting,” replied Hanta.
“Shit, that late? I’ll make him one more coffee before I go.”
“The boy is an actual saint. He’s too good for him, Mina, can we keep him for ourselves?”
“Only if you want to tell Mr Bakugou that you stole his assistant.” Denki quickly shut up. Even Eijirou smiled at that one.
“Go on. I’ll meet you there. I’m not going drinking in a suit.”
“Sir, I brought you another coffee.” He barely looked up at him, only letting out a small grunt. His boss… had he had bags under his eyes earlier? He looked exhausted. He almost said something, but he stopped himself. This was his boss. Who had only been his boss for a week. It was his job to assist, not pry. “I’ll see you on Monday, sir,” he added, closing the door softly behind him. Right then. Time to dash home and get changed. If he was fast, he might even manage a shower.
He did, but he was cutting it close. He’d swapped to jeans, and a casual black shirt over a red t-shirt, forced to restyle his hair in the back of the taxi taking him to the bar. He silently vowed to apologise to it for the ignominy later. The other three were already there, and waved him over to the table they’d claimed. It was a cheap place for the area (and so still reasonably upmarket), the lights dim, and the music loud.
“Hey, you made it! We were getting worried we’d have to start betting on it.” Mina beamed at him.
“Sorry, hair took ages to dry.”
“It’s looking fierce though,” replied Denki, giving him a thumbs up. “You could take someone’s eye out with those!” It was weekend hair, so the spikes were more extreme than what he wore at work. He rubbed the back of his neck.
“Yeah… It’s a habit, I guess.”
“Who cares about his hair, what matters is what he’s drinking!”
“Oh, I was going to go get a beer-”
“Nope, dude, first round’s on me.”
“Eiji, take it,” said Hanta. “This cheapskate’s probably never going to offer again.”
“Hey, I’m not a fucking cheapskate! It’s not my fault I have expensive hobbies!”
“Bro, no one needs that many electric guitars. You can barely even play.”
“I can too!”
Mina rolled her eyes. “We’ve lost them. I’ll get you one.”
The argument had mostly died down by the time she’d returned with the round, and Eijirou was just about starting to relax. No doubt the alcohol was helping soon after too.
“So, how’s it been? This first week?”
“Well, no shit,” said Denki. “I meant dealing with the boss. We’re used to him, but, well…”
“I mean, he’s pretty intense. But he’s not a bad guy.”
“Hanta, are you hearing this? Is that the chorus of of literal angels I hear?”
“Ah, shut up Denki. You’re just being a salty bitch ‘cause the boss doesn’t let you slack.” Sat there with them like this, it was easy to forget that these three were, after Mr Bakugou, some of the most powerful people in the company.
“Seriously, he’s not that bad… Though I do wish he’d drop the nickname.”
Mina snorted. “You mean shitty hair? Don’t worry, it’s practically an initiation ritual with him. It was months before I stopped being racoon eyes to him.”
“Oh, yeah, that was great. She came in one day and her mascara had run in the rain. She looked like a full on bandit! Ah classic,” Hanta said with a sigh. Mina glared at him.
“Oh? That’s pretty big talk from tape face. Didn’t he walk into the office while Denki was trying to get the roll off you without ripping out your eyebrows?”
“THAT WAS DENKI’S FAULT IN THE FIRST PLACE!”
“It was funny as hell though-”
“Shut the hell up drooly!”
Mina leaned over. “He fell asleep at his desk one time. You can guess the rest,” she whispered.
“And Mr Bakugou caught him? And didn’t fire him?”
“He might look, sound, act and be an idiot, but Denki is actually pretty good at his job.”
“I… have no idea how offended to be about that sentence.”
“It’s just the truth man.”
“Shut uuuuup, Hanta!”
Eijirou chuckled. He had a feeling these three were going to be what kept him sane. And then he sighed. Maybe it was the drink, but his thoughts kept straying back to his boss. “Does… Does he work this late every day?”
“Who, Bakugou? Maybe? I mean, he literally lives above his office so it's not like we see him leave. What brought this on?”
“I guess… I don’t know. I just feel bad that he wasn't invited.”
“Dude, even if we had, he wouldn't have come. Besides, if that's what he's like normally, do you want to see how he is drunk?” Kind of.
“We’re supposed to be relaxing, not worrying about our boss!” Mina declared, standing up. “Shots, then selfies!”
He hadn't wanted to get too drunk tonight, but there was no stopping her. At least he had all weekend to get over the hangover, he thought, before the tequila put a stop to that.
When he woke up the next morning, he wasn't entirely sure when (or how) he’d gotten home, only that he regretted everything with every fiber of his being, as the sunlight committed a brutally sustained assault on his head. He was in the middle of making the greasiest breakfast he could muster, when his phone rang. Mina? He was surprised she was even conscious.
“Oh my fucking god, Hanta drunk texted Mr Bakugou!” Eijirou choked.
These expectations Im setting are unrealistic. I'm terrible at writing at weekends.
“What did he send him?”
“Nothing bad, thank god, just a few selfies. Apparently he was trying to send them to Denki and hit the wrong name.”
“Well, that doesn't sound that bad-”
“It was two in the morning.”
“Yeah,” she agreed. “He didn't reply, but that might be even scarier. What if he’s just waiting for us on Monday, ready to kill us all?”
“He wouldn't actually kill us, right?”
The silence wasn't reassuring. “...He has a very good lawyer.” And neither was the answer.
“So what do we do?”
“Don’t say anything, hope he’s forgotten about it, and throw Hanta under the bus to save ourselves?”
“I’d feel bad doing it though…”
“He was the one who text him.”
“But you're the one who suggested shots.” The silence that followed was practically an admission of guilt. “Hey, Mina? Could you send me the pictures- Shit! I think my breakfast is burning!”
“Then go, go! I’ll text them!”
“See you!” He practically dropped the phone, as he ran to take the bacon off the heat, throwing a window open and wafting the smoke out with a towel before it set the sprinklers off.
He glanced at his phone as the pictures came through, and sighed with relief. He was clearly wasted, but he was fully clothed and wasn't making out with anyone, so he’d consider it a win. He’d have been willing to post it on facebook, if it wouldn’t feel like rubbing it in. He spent the next two days trying to ignore the existential dread.
The office was… worryingly subdued when he arrived on Monday. Hanta in particular was trying to make himself as unnoticeable as possible, even down to building a small wall of files to hide behind. It was never going to work. He wasn’t looking forward to this, but he did still have a job to do. And chili to act as a bribe. He could have sworn he heard everyone breathe in when he opened the door.
“Good morning, sir. I brought you a coffee, and last week’s progress reports.” He’d looked into the existing system for submitting them, and there hadn’t been one, so he’d told everyone to simply send the digital copy, and he’d print them himself. It was barely any extra work for himself, and made it much easier to know who to chase up. Mr Bakugou gave him the silent treatment. Oh, to hell with it. There was no way the dread was better than the inevitable yelling - he might as well rip the bandage off and be done with it.
“Did you have a good weekend sir?”
“You me aside from being woken up at two in the fucking morning by you assholes steamed off your faces, shitty hair?”
“I'm sorry about that sir. By the sounds of things, it was a simple mistake.”
“You think I hadn't fucking worked that out? Why else would he fucking text me that late?”
“It’s partly my fault sir. I’d been saying that it would be nice if you could join us the next time. It probably influenced him a little.”
Now that seemed to knock him dead. “Why the fuck would you want me to go? I’m your fucking boss.”
“That doesn't mean you’re not still a person. Is there anything you’d like me to order you for lunch?”
Bakugou leaned back in his chair, and eyed Eijirou. “You know you’re the only one who had the balls to talk to me about it? Those fuckers have been avoiding me all morning.”
“I think they're hoping you'll forget about them if they wait long enough.”
“I know. It’s fucking hilarious.” And he actually grinned. It was the first time Eijirou had seen him without a scowl, and was his daily reminder that his boss was incredibly attractive. “I’m still fucking pissed, but I'm not going to do anything. Watching them panic is comedy gold. And if you breathe a word to them I'll fucking kill you.”
“My lips are sealed.” He felt a little bad for them, but only a little. It was pretty funny, and now his own main worry was keeping a straight face all day. “So, about lunch…”
“Get me whatever. You've been pretty good so far.”
“Will sushi be alright then?”
“I just said get me whatever.”
“Yes sir.” This was probably the longest he’d actually spoken to him, and that included the interview. “If there’s anything else you need, please just ask.”
“That's what I fucking pay you for. Go chase up the progress reports for me-”
“Already on it sir. I was just waiting for replies from two departments. The rest are there.”
“...Oh. Well go fucking do something else then.”
“Right away sir.”
“He… he survived! Dude, you still have a job, right?” Time to play it cool.
“Yeah, but he was more pissed at you guys than he was at me. He knew it was you guys who planned the night.” The colour drained from their faces. “Best keep your heads down.”
He followed his own advice, because there was no way he’d handle an interrogation. He was back in Bakugou's office a few times, and made sure to make a show of working himself up to it each time. By the time Bakugou finally came out to end the charade mid afternoon, Eijirou was starting to think he was being punished too after all. Bakugou stomped dramatically into the center of the room, and everyone braced themselves.
“Watch who you fucking text next time,” he growled, before heading back into his office. Eijirou just about managed to stifle his chuckle until the door was closed.
“Eiji, dude, you fucking traitor!”
“Sorry, sorry, I was sworn to secrecy!”
“I can’t believe we’ve been worried all day over nothing,” Mina groaned, slamming her head onto the desk.
“I mean, he really was annoyed. He was just letting you punish yourselves.”
“The boss is a cruel, cruel man… How did you end up in his good books anyway?” Hanta asked, still clearly scarred for life by the traumatic experience.
“That’s it,” he confirmed with a nod. There was another thud from Mina’s head.
“Dude, you’ve got balls of steel. Either that or you’re an actual real life Nanny McPhee.”
Hanta snorted. “That’s your punishment for this rank betrayal, McPhee.”
“Guys, really? It's not my fault Hanta was dumb.”
Even Mina was cracking up. “Pngh, McPhee!”
“Well then, I guess I’ve got no choice,” he declared dramatically. “Until the nickname stops, you’ll have to make your own coffee.”
“But dude, yours is so good! I can’t go back! You opened my eyes!”
“Tough,” he replied, setting himself down to write some emails. “I’ll make sure to stink the office out with it next time I make one for myself or Mr Bakugou.”
“I take it back,” said Hanta, with a mock groan. “You’re a far crueller man the boss could ever hope to be.”
He caved on the second trip.
The rest of the week was relatively peaceful, aside from the periodic yelling from the office next door. Eijirou was steadily growing more confident, and even the others had noticed it. Whereas before he’d shuffle into Bakugou’s office like a nervous wreck, now he was just walking in like he had every right to be there (though he was still careful to make sure he wasn’t in a meeting before making a sound). And by Friday he was already risking small talk.
“Do you have any plans for this weekend, sir?” Eijirou asked, as he watered the potted plants. He hadn’t been asked to, but they’d been wilting a little.
“Why, you fucking planning something?”
“Oh, no. I’m staying in until payday sir. Let’s just say I spent more than I planned last week, and leave it at that.”
“Huh. No, I don’t have any fucking plans. Maybe I’ll get bored run a rival into the ground.”
“That’s a shame. There aren’t any parties scheduled for the economic elite to mingle at? I know the Iida brothers went to some from time to time, when I still worked for them.”
“Why the fuck would I want to go and play nice with people who think they’re on my level?”
“You could always think of it as like a wine tasting, for your next purchase.”
Bakugou actually snorted with laughter, before he caught himself, and coughed. “You insulting my taste in wine?”
“No sir,” Eijirou replied, trying to hide his own smile. So he did know how to laugh. “I noticed you had a reasonably large gap without meetings in the middle of today, so I ordered you a steak for lunch. I hope that’s okay.”
“What moron complains about a steak?”
“Don’t you fucking use language like that in my office.” He was fairly sure that was a joke. He’d proven to be self aware enough to see the hypocrisy.
“Sorry sir," he replied, smile still on his face. "Do you need anything else?”
“Just some fucking peace and quiet.”
“Then I’ll get out of your way.”
He’d thought he’d escaped, as he packed to leave, until came the conversation he’d been dreading.
“Hey, Eiji? Fancy coming out tonight?”
“Sorry Denki, not this week. I’m on a tight budget until I get paid.”
“Boo. Well, whatever. Catch you next week dude!”
“Yeah, see you. And you guys have fun.”
“Pfft, you know we will. Without you.”
“It won’t work.”
“Eh, it was worth a shot. Later.”
He waited for them to leave, then made one last round of coffee. When he took it through, the usual acknowledgment of his presence (and hair) never came. Mr Bakugou was asleep, napping in his chair. Gently, he put the mug down, and glanced around, finding a blank piece of paper (and yes, he checked both sides), and a pen. When Bakugou came to, he found a note next to the mug.
Sorry if it’s cold. I didn’t want to wake you.
To my incredible amusement, it wasn't even that bad. Just late. Everyone lived, it's fine.
I'm going to take this moment to thank everyone who's reading and leaving lovely comments each chapter - I had planned to reply individually to all of them, but there's only so many times a man can write thank you for commenting before he goes insane, so I'll do one big thank you here! Without all of you, I've no doubt I wouldn't be posting anywhere near this obsessively.
...I may need an intervention.
Kirishima had never been more glad for payday. It came double for Mina, as they all cracked open their betting predictions for Kirishima. He wasn't sure how to feel about the single week Denki had given him, though he’d at least been apologetic.
“Sorry dude. I figured you were too nice to handle him.”
Sero’s three weeks wasn't much better. But the other two’s jaws dropped when Mina predicted Kirishima was the one.
“How the hell Mina?”
“Yup, so pay up.”
“It’s only been a month, don't you think it’s a bit early to be calling that?” he asked, blushing a little.
“Nah. All three of us can see it. A couple of guys lasted longer, but you could always see the cracks after the first week or two,” Sero said.
“Dude, the guy actually likes you. We’ve worked for him for years and he still only just about puts up with us. But seriously, Mina, how the hell did you call this one?”
Eijirou groaned. “Can we just tell them already?”
“Wait, tell us what?”
“Well, I miiiiiight have gone to college with him,” Mina admitted, rubbing the back of her head. “And then I emailed him asking him to try for the job.”
The cries of outrage even managed to draw Mr Bakugou from his office, who promptly laid into everyone. Except Eijirou, a fact which absolutely everyone noticed, and made sure to point out. Repeatedly. For the rest of the day.
“Sorry about before,” he sighed, when he next went into the office. “They’d been taking bets on how long I’d last here, and got a bit excited.” There was no response. “Sir?” he asked, looking up.
“It’s not my fucking fault none of them could hack it.” He had a face like thunder, but he didn’t sound angry, just… unhappy.
Eijirou made up his mind.
“Sir? They’ve asked me out with them later. You’re welcome to join us.”
“Tch, like you fucking mean that.”
“I do.” Eijirou’s voice was firm. “If it helps, think of it this way. The better I know you, the better I’ll be at my job. It’s practically a work meeting.”
He didn’t look convinced, but he conceded. Slightly. “I’ll think about it. But don’t hold your fucking breath.”
“Well, if you do decide to come, we’re meeting at eight.”
The end of the day came and went with no further reply, and Eijirou went home to change feeling surprisingly down. He really had hoped Mr Bakugou would decide to come, but at the end of the day it was his decision. He’d offered, and done all he could - he couldn’t force him. So it came as something of a surprise when, as he was pulling up outside the bar at about ten to eight, his phone dinged.
Where the fuck are you?
It was an unknown number, but there was only one person who’d be texting him something like that. He almost dropped his phone in his haste to reply, simply giving the address and telling him he’d just arrived himself. There was no text back, but he didn’t have chance to think about it. After all, Denki was already there.
Half an hour later, Bakugou arrived. Eijirou had barely recognised him dressed down, in tight jeans and a leather jacket, with a pair of shades probably there as a disguise. Shit. Denki had pounced on him so quickly he’d forgotten to tell them Bakugou had accepted. They knew he’d been invited, but last they'd heard he still wasn't coming.
“The fuck are you all staring at?” The other's were in shock. Eijirou mostly couldn't get over how good he looked.
“Don’t fucking call me that. It sounds weird out of work.”
“R-right. What do you want s- Um, Katsuki?” Now that was a weird word to say. “It's my round.”
“Whatever, long as it's fucking decent.”
Shit. Even by the time he’d gotten back from the bar, he could feel the tension in the air. The conversation that had been so lively before now felt stifled and awkward, and his own attempts at conversation weren't doing much to help. His boss had noticed too.
“Oh, fuck this. I knew this was a bad idea,” he said, stomping away from the table.
“Wait!” Eijirou got up to follow him. “Ugh, guys, really? Si- Ugh, Katsuki!”
“The fuck are you following me for? It obvious they don't want me here.”
“They're just surprised, si- Katsuki. They started buying me drinks so quickly I forgot to tell them you’d agreed to come. This is my fault… I drag you out here, and then fuck it up right from the start…” Bakugou stared at him. His first instinct was to brush him off, but the guy was actually fucking sincere!
“Tch, you’re not the fucking problem here.”
“Look, just give- give me two minutes! I’ll go talk to them, but please stay. You deserve to enjoy yourself too.”
From where he was stood, Katsuki couldn’t make out what shitty hair was saying, but whatever it was, he seemed to be doing the nice guy equivalent of yelling. What was the fucking point? He should have known better than to come- Shitty hair waved him over. He groaned. Apparently he was a glutton for fucking punishment. There was an awkward pause when he came back over, broken by what sounded suspiciously like someone being kicked. Denki’s sharp intake of breath was a bit of a giveaway too.
“Sorry boss. We were being pretty rude there.”
“Yeah, sorry,” agreed Mina. “We’re just not used to seeing you outside work.”
“Yeah, well, if you’re gonna be asses about it don’t get fucking used to it.”
After that, the conversation trickled back, and they were acting like normal people again, though he could tell they were still being more guarded than normal. The only one who wasn’t treating him like he was some god damn fragile ornament was shitty hair. For the most part Katsuki just let them, content to sit back and drink, but it would have been easier if the music wasn’t so shit.
“The fuck did you choose this dump anyway?”
“They’ve booked a really good live dj for tonight! Oh man, I can’t believe I’m gonna see Present Mic live!” He knew the name - Yaoyorozu’s advertising department worked with him a lot, which meant he was a pretty big name. Surprising he was doing such a small gig as this. But at least Denki was loosening up. He would have gone up the fucking wall if they’d been awkward all night.
“You’re staying for it, right?” shitty hair asked, looking like a puppy begging to be fed from the table. And even he wouldn’t kick a puppy.
“Fine, whatever.” Fuck. He looked genuinely thrilled. People weren’t happy when he was around, that wasn’t how things worked. People were happy when he left and stopped yelling at them.
He wasn’t expecting it when the lights dimmed, but he was way too cool to let anyone realise. A spotlight glared, revealing the figure who’d taken the stage. Present Mic, owner of the world’s most ridiculous necklace, and strong contender for worst hair ever.
“Can I get a YEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!?” The crowd roared. Katsuki groaned. “Then let’s get this party started! Let me see your peace signs!”
Denki knowing all the words wasn’t a huge surprise. Mina knowing all the words wasn’t much more of a surprise. Shitty hair (Shit, he had to give that title to Mic now) knowing all the words? That he hadn’t expected. Katsuki knew the song. He even knew most of the chorus. But those three were singing along at the top of their lungs from the first note, word perfect. They even knew the bridge! Who the fuck knows the words to bridges?
“I hear a voice a' calling, telling me to risk it
asking if I have been going the distance
singing with a passion that I cannot deny!”
Shitty hair… wasn’t actually half bad, even if it was hard to hear him over the other two screeching. The only one who wasn’t joining in was Hanta.
“What, you’re not drunk enough?”
“Nah, I'm just not that keen on the song. I think his first one was better.” He glanced around. “But please don't tell those three I said that. They’d lynch me.”
“Blackmail noted.” Hanta let out a nervous laugh. Katsuki hadn't decided if he was joking yet.
“You didn't fucking warn me this was going to be karaoke.”
“Sorry Katsuki. I just really fucking love that song,” he replied, taking his jacket off. Shit. He’d been hiding those arms in those cheap suits? The guy was ripped! And that shirt was tight enough to show it wasn't just his arms- Fuck, how much had he had? No one seemed to have noticed though. They were all too busy blaring out the next song.
“Guys, pictures!” And there struck Mina, selfie queen. There was no way he was being dragged into that.
He stayed until the end of the setlist, then took off. They were all staying out, and they tried to talk him into another hour, but he’d done his time now. He was done. His phone beeped, as he rode the silent elevator up to his apartment (it was a little known fact that it also went to the ground floor, and his private garage). Shitty- Eijirou? A picture, the only one he’d agreed to mostly to shut them all up. A selfie, with all five of them, himself looking surly as Eijirou practically held him in place. And a caption.
“I had fun. We should do this again sometime.”
He’d… consider it.
Go on, be honest, who was expecting Mic to be the next character to show? Me either. I literally decided that halfway through that scene. Planning. Who needs it?
This is also to blame for the viewpoint shift. I only realised I'd done it after I’d done it, and just rolled with it.
Also, congratulations to Bakugou and Kirishima for rocking the character poll! Im so proud of my fictional boys.
Eijirou had thought it had gone quite well, all things considering. Even if, when he came in on monday, his throat was still a little sore from the karaoke he’d been dragged to after. It definitely hadn't been his idea. Not at all. As far as he was concerned, Katsuki suggested it.
So it was something of a surprise when his boss turned out to be in an utterly foul mood.
“Ka- Sir?” He was too busy ranting incoherently to answer, but Kirishima spotted a newspaper crumpled into a ball, where it looked to have been thrown against the wall. Curious, he straightened it out. There was no mistaking it. That was the bar they’d been in on Friday, and there was his own red hair staring back at him, alongside what could only be his boss’s bright blonde. Mina, Denki and Hanta were there too.
“I hadn’t realised there’d be so many cameras there for Present Mic. One of the paparazzi must have spotted us. I don’t see anything wrong with the picture though - it’s barely a footnote.”
“What? Who gives a shit about that fucking picture? Read the one above it.”
“Endeavour industries… bought out by Shouto Todoroki and Izuku Midoriya-” A pen shattered against the wall.
“Why him? Why fucking him, of all people?”
Eijirou stepped back. He’d seen Katsuki angry plenty of times, but never this bad, and he wasn’t sure what to do. He wasn’t sure if there was anything he could do. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to try.
“Do you know him-?” This time it was a cup that faced his wrath.
“Know him? The fucking bastard’s been riding my coattails since school. He was always talentless, never was going to amount to anything. Then somehow the bastard got into Stern with me. Bad enough that he stole my big moment, but then he-” He coughed, and caught himself, whatever he was about to divulge left unsaid. He wasn't going to push his luck any further on that one.
“What about Shouto?”
“It’s in the past,” he snapped, and Eijirou took the hint.
“I'm sorry for prying. I'll get you a fresh coffee, and clean up this mess for you.”
Katsuki didn't respond, and slumped in his chair. Eijirou was… Well, he was worried.
He spent a lot of time in Katsuki’s office that day. He noticed, of course. The man wasn't an idiot.
“Do you have actual work to be doing?”
“I am sir. And I'm on top of everything.”
It was mostly true, and Katsuki accepted it. Eijirou couldn't say why - while he could usually read his boss and his passionate outbursts pretty well, on the rare occasions he closed off like this he became completely inscrutable. All he could do was make it tacitly clear that he was there for him if he wanted it.
His mood stayed sour for the rest of the day, and could only have said to have improved the next on a sheer technicality. If he was honest with himself, Eijirou would have called it moping. Katsuki’s moping was, admittedly, an unusually aggressive and productive form, but Eijirou could spot a man trying to ignore something.
By Tuesday lunch it must have started to catch, because Mina came over.
“Still no luck then?”
Eijirou shook his head. “Nothing. I just wish he’d talk to me, so I could try and help. Any ideas?”
“Normally when he gets in a funk like this you just have to let it blow over, but I'm not sure how long that'll be this time…”
“I can’t just leave him like this…”
“I mean, you can,” Mina replied, completely serious. “Cheering him up when he’s grumpy isn’t in your job description.”
He stared at her. “And? I know I don’t have to do anything. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to!” She fidgeted, before sighing.
“Of course you do. You always do. Maybe that’s enough.”
“It doesn't feel like enough though…”
He’d thought he’d managed to brighten himself up, but the next time he went into Katsuki’s office he had a weird look on his face.
“I'm fine. Stop fucking worrying.”
How did he…? Eijirou opened his mouth to assent, but the words refused to leave his mouth. “No. You’re not. Whatever your issue with him is, it’s eating away at you, please, just talk to me-”
“Eijirou.” Katsuki’s voice was calm, but his knuckles were whitening where he gripped the edge of his desk.esk.
“...I’m sorry. I know I’m overstepping my bounds.” A primal part of him wanted to run, run as fast as he physically could. But he knew he’d never forgive himself if he backed down now. “But I don’t care. If whatever your issue with him is too personal to tell me, then fine. At least let me help take your mind off it. Do you have any plans tonight?”
“I asked if you’re doing anything tonight.”
“I fucking heard you the first time, why the fuck do you even want to know?”
“Because you have plans now. I’m coming round to yours, and we’re going to watch movies, and get takeaway, and enjoy ourselves, and not think about whatever it is you won’t talk about.”
“Do I get a choice in this?”
“Only between movies and talking,” Eijirou replied with a smile.
“Fine, the fucking movies it is. But I’m picking. Tch, you’re my fucking assistant, the hell are you doing this?”
“Because I’m also your friend, Katsuki. Let me know when you’re done for the night.” He left the room straight away, mostly so his boss didn’t have time to change his mind and just kill him instead.
He closed the door behind him.
“Guys. Why were you listening in?” All three guiltily unpressed their ears from the door.
“Um, good luck?” Mina said quietly as she left. The other two had already gone, and there was only Eijirou left in the office.
“I’ll be fine,” he replied, and almost believed it himself. “It’s just a movie or two.”
“Just… I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
“Sure. It’s not like I’m going anywhere.”
“Yeah… And, Eiji? Thanks.” She left before he could ask what she was thanking him for. Last he checked he hadn’t done anything for her to thank him. Well, whatever. He had other things to focus on. It was already past six after all. The door creaked open.
“Katsuki? Are you still working? Everyone else already left.”
“Fuck. You’re still here?”
“Of course I am. I promised you a movie night.”
“Threatened more like. I need another twenty minutes to finish these emails.”
“Anything I can help with?”
“Not unless you have intimate knowledge of the company finances. And then you’d know too much, and I’d have to kill you.” Eijirou was pretty sure it was a joke, but he said it in a such a deadpan tone that it was hard to be sure.
“I’ll just pre-write the emails chasing up the progress reports to the usual suspects then.”
He stayed in the office while he did it, quiet, tucked away in the corner, but still there, if only to make sure Katsuki didn’t slip away. He knew full well if he lost sight of him there’d be no getting him back.
He sighed. “It’s nearly seven. Don’t you think you’ve done enough for today?”
“Katsuki. I know you have a habit of working until nine or ten. But you were still at it at eleven yesterday.”
“How the fuck?”
“I do talk to the cleaners, you know. Working yourself into the ground won’t solve anything.”
“And movies with you will?”
“Well, no. But if you feel better after it, I’ll consider it a win.” For all his complaining, Katsuki hadn’t actually refused, or told him to leave at any point. Eijirou was getting good at reading between the lines.
Katsuki groaned, and snapped shut his laptop. “Come on then. I’m not gonna get any fucking work done with you sat there bothering me anyway.” He hit the button behind his seat, and the wall slid open, revealing the inside of his personal elevator. Eijirou had been in it once before, when he’d filled in for his driver, but he’d only gone down that time. He wasn’t sure if anyone had ever been up.
“So, what movies do you have in mind?”
“I don’t fucking know.”
“But you had all afternoon to think about it!”
“Yeah, well, I didn't think you’d actually go through with it.”
The elevator stopped before he could reply, and Katsuki pushed out, putting his thumb to the scanner, and waiting as the door slid open. “Well, get a move on.”
Eijirou wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting, but the sleek, modern living room he walked into… probably should have been it. It was all top of the line, almost definitely designer, but the styles were all pretty simple. There was no showing off just how stupidly rich he was. Which actually made quite a bit of sense. After all, he’d probably never expected anyone else to step foot in here.
“It’s nice in here.”
“Of course it fucking is. I designed it.”
“An eye for design too? Is there anything you can’t do?”
“If there is, it isn’t worth doing. Don’t just fucking stand there. If you’re coming it do it properly.”
“Oh, right-” Katsuki was already gone, so he figured he’d do as he was told. He left his shoes and jacket by the door, and was debating on whether or not to lose the tie as well when Katsuki got back, and the tie was immediately discarded. He’d swapped to a pair of jeans, and his shirt was open enough buttons to nearly make Eijirou have a heart attack. There was no way he knew what he was doing to his poor heart, right? Even he wasn’t that cruel. Right?
“What are you staring at? It’s not like it’s the first time you’ve seen me dressed down.”
“Y-yeah. Sorry. So, movie. You have to have something in mind.”
Eijirou shrugged. “Then we’ll just have to browse netflix and see what comes up.”
“Don’t have it.”
“You- You poor deprived soul, this is worse than I thought! We’ll use mine.”
Katsuki wasn’t given any more say in the matter, and minutes later Eijirou’s recommendations were flooding the screen.
“Love actually. Beauty and the Beast. Broadcast- what the fuck even is broadcast news? Mamma Mia? Is everything you watch a shitty romcom?”
“Hey, Mamma Mia is a flawless gem, and I won’t have you saying anything against Queen Meryl’s good name.”
“We’re not watching a fucking romcom.”
“We don’t have to. What about…” His eyes traced the lines of options. “Something fun and actiony… Oh, what about the All Might movies?”
Katsuki paused. “How did you- Whatever. As long as you don’t put the the fourth one on, ‘cause that one was a trainwreck.”
“What? But that was one of the best ones!”
“Please. That romantic subplot with him and Nighteye was shoehorned in to try and get more girls watching it and you know it.”
“That was the best part! The hints had been there since the first movie!”
“Right. I’m putting them on. And I’m going to point out every hint you’re missing.”
“See? See?” he managed, between mouthfuls of pizza. “Look at how worried he is about All Might! Even when he’s trying to push him away, because he doesn’t want his battle with All for One to hurt the people he cares about! And Nighteye’s so desperate for him to tell him himself, even though he could just use his power to see! That’s not the worry of someone who’s just a co-worker!”
“Doesn’t seem that fucking different to you,” Katsuki replied dismissively. Eijirou choked. When Katsuki turned to look at him, his face matched his hair.
“K-katsuki! Come on, it’s totally different! They’re just downplaying things because they were worried having gay characters would affect sales. T-they’re just testing the waters here.”
Was he giving off the wrong signals? Was he giving off the right signals? No, that was stupid! This was his boss! Sure, he was attractive, but so were tons of people. That didn’t mean he like liked them. Wait, did he look relieved? Or disappointed? His own heart was racing too fast for him to be able to tell. He hadn’t expected such a soul crushing bout of regret.
He stopped analyzing the romance after that, and focused on the pizza. Things were only awkward for a little while, because a few minutes later Eijirou was too busy gushing over the fight scene to think about it. They ended up watching the second one too. Eijirou didn’t see the end of it.
The bright lights of a city just starting to rise poked their way through the curtainless windows, and he squinted. This wasn’t his- Where-? Wait, this was… This was Katsuki’s living room? Had he fallen asleep? A quick glance at his phone told him that he must have done. It was nearly six in the morning. He wasn’t sure what was worse. That he’d just woken up on his boss’ couch, or that he missed the big reveal about Shigaraki’s identity. Probably the couch. Yeah, he’d go with the couch. Katsuki wasn’t there, so he must have gone to bed, which meant he knew he was there, but now what did he do? Did he get up? Wait for Katsuki? The entire thing had been spur of the moment, and he hadn’t planned on staying the night, so he didn’t have anything with him. Did he make them both breakfast, or would Katsuki get mad if he rummaged through the kitchen- His head snapped round. A light had come on upstairs, and those sounded like footsteps.
“Good. You're fucking up.” Holy shit he wasn't wearing a shirt. And the guy worked out. Like he wasn't hot enough already.
“I'm so sorry, you should have woken me up!”
Katsuki shrugged. “Too much effort. You getting ready or what?”
“Have I got time to nip home? I don't have a change of clothes, and I slept in most of them.”
“New York Rush hour? Not fucking likely. This way.”
“Huh?” He wasn't sure what Katsuki was getting at.
“I said move. You need a fucking shower, but first you’re coming with me.”
It turned out he was being dragged to Katsuki’s surprisingly extensive walk in wardrobe.
“Take that off.”
“I need to see what size you are so I know what'll fit you.”
He wasn't sure if he was being sized up or checked out. He wasn't sure which he’d prefer. All he knew was that he’d never felt this awkward being nearly naked with another guy in a small space.
“Let’s see… you’re a little bigger than me, but not by much, so the ones which are a little loose on me should be snug on you… You. Shower, now.”
He was quick. And quickly found out that the thing more awkward than being around him in just his underwear was being around him, still slightly damp, in nothing but (his) towel.
“Try that, and if it-” He stopped mid sentence and snorted with laughter. “Holy shit is that what you look like with your hair down?”
Eijirou matched it again. “Yeah, well… It's not like I have any gel with me.” A pot was thrown to him.
“No way I'm inflicting that sight on everyone.” He was too grateful to be mad, clutching the little tub of salvation to his chest. “Fucking wierdo. That suit doesn't fit, I laid some out in size order. Just step up or down till it’s right.”
“What about you?”
“I'm not fucking watching you get dressed. And I need a shower too.”
His eye was spot on. As soon as he’d finished getting the last of the water off himself, Eijirou slipped into the suit, trying not to have a heart attack when he saw the label and implied price of what was, really, just a plain slate grey suit. Although- Oh god it was silk! When Katsuki next found him, he was dressed, though the jacket was temporarily hung up, and he was making breakfast for two.
“I hope this is okay. I guess based on what was in the fridge. ...I wanted to do at least something after all this imposing.”
“Tch.” He still ate it. Maybe it was the fact they were both fully dressed now, but the silence was… comfortable, for once. But soon enough, the moment passed, and the two of them had to start work for the day. It was the first time Eijirou had been there before Mina.
She was immediately suspicious. “So, how was it?”
“It was fine. Just pizza and cheesy superhero movies. We didn't talk about work once.”
“Huh. That’s it.” She paused. “I've not seen that suit on you before- Wait. That's one of Mr Bakugou’s, isn't it?” Her eyebrow became accusatory.
“Look, I… fell asleep on his couch, okay?”
“And you were still there this morning?”
“Yeah, and I didn’t have time to go home, and it wasn't like I'd planned to be there overnight…”
“Hmm.” That was all she said. That was all she said to him for the rest of the day. But apparently it wasn't just to him.
Denki and Hanta came over at lunch.
“Dude, what did you say to Mina earlier? She's been acting hella weird ever since she spoke to her.”
“Nothing. I mean, I filled her in on how last night went, but that was it.”
“Oh, your date with the boss man? How did it go?”
Eijirou was too busy choking to answer.
“Ah. Like that dude? Well, catch you later.” The guys shrugged, and left him to it.
Katsuki let him keep the suit, when he tried to return it. Apparently he never wore it anyway, and Eijirou might as well have at least one suit that wasn't shit. He wasn’t sure if that was Katsuki being thoughtful, or a dick. The line was pretty blurry sometimes, but even after he got home, Eijirou couldn't settle. Had Katsuki been right? When he watched nighteye, his feelings seemed completely obvious. Was he really acting the same? Was he the only one who couldn’t see it?
He stared at his phone. He wrote a text. He deleted it, then wrote it again. After another fifteen minutes, his thumb finally stopped hovering, and broke the cycle. Sent.
Hey, Mina? How do u no if you like some1?
He waited for what seemed like an eternity. It was eighteen seconds.
Oh thank fuck its about time
Surely you didn't all think the Deku jad gotten away with it, did you? That grudge is alive and well. And being papered over by, what's this, actual relationship progress? Gasp.
I'd say I'm sorry to keep you waiting, but I've clearly been spoiling you all. Plus this chapter's twice the length of the others.
Plus I had the monster Hunter demo to play, and, I’m sorry. I love monster hunter more than all of you =p
(Actually I mostly write while on public transport so weekends are always slow)
The only thing that stopped Eijirou immediately calling Mina was that she beat him to it.
“Ugh, seriously Eiji. It's been killing me waiting for you to figure it out.”
“You could tell- Oh, who am I kidding, it's you. Of course you could tell.”
Even in college, Mina had always been good at reading people. Like books - the kind that had big letters and lots of pictures. There was a reason Mina was head of Human Resources. No one worked in that building without her approval - If Bakugou was the company's King, then Mina was it's Queen.
“I mean, yeah, but even Denki can see it.”
“You don't remember? After he left the bar after Mic played, and you did nothing but talk about him for two hours.”
“Oh god. I wasn't that drunk was I?”
“Nah. It was only ten minutes really.”
“Mina! I'm having a serious existential crisis here!”
“Well, what do you think of him? And it's just me, so be honest.”
“Honestly…?” He took a deep breath. “He’s… handsome. And smart, and passionate, and ambitious, and kind too, even though he tries to hide it under all that grumpiness. And then when you’re not expecting it he’ll tell one of those really dry jokes of his, and it'll just kill me and oh my god I've got it bad.”
“There it is.”
He groaned. “Mina, what do I do?”
“Talk to him about it? There’s no way you can keep this bottled.”
“I know, but… What if he doesn't feel the same. Is he even into guys? And he’s my boss, and I've only known him a month!”
“And? You spend a lot of time with him. There’s people who get together and work after one or two dates. For the rest… I'm not sure.”
“What? But this is you! You can read anyone.”
“I know. And he does like you, but… Well, I've never even seen him like someone as a friend before. At least, not properly. So I've no comparison for if this is platonic or romantic. You could just ask him-”
“Are you nuts? If I screw this up I might lose him and my job!”
“So what?” she asked, and he could hear the judgement in her voice. “You're just going to keep your mouth shut, and suffer being around someone you’ll never know if you could have had something more with, because you were too scared to take a risk and be honest? That's not very manly of you.”
“I-” She was right, of course, even if it hurt to hear her say it. “I know. I won't sit on it forever, I promise. I just… I only really see him in work. Let me do a few more things with him just as friends first. I think I need to ease him in.”
There was a sigh from the other end of the line. “If that's what you think, I'll trust you. Honestly, when it comes to this you probably know him better than I do. Just don't leave it so long that you miss your chance. Uuugh. I have to work with you two. This is going to kill me.”
“How do you think I feel?” he replied, a small smile finally forming on his lips. “I have to actually talk to him. Friday the usual plans?”
“Not this week. Hanta’s parents are over, so Denki’s going to meet up with some old friends instead. But the week after should be, why?”
“I'll try and bring him again.”
The two of them chatted for awhile, catching up about college, and just generally making small talk. Down the phone, he heard her yawn.
“Eiji, damn it, we have work tomorrow. Let me go to bed.”
“Let you? I'm not the one who started complaining about our old professors.”.”
“I see your point, and choose to ignore it. See you tomorrow Eiji.”
“Yeah, see you.”
He sighed, as he sloped off to bed. How the hell was he supposed to sleep after that conversation? Badly, as it turned out.
So badly even Katsuki noticed how tired he was.
“The fuck are you so tired for?”
“Sorry. Just a bad night's sleep.”
“Well get some fucking coffee down you. It's going to be a busy day.”
It was, but he still found time to invite Katsuki out for the following Friday.
“Whatever, sure.” He hadn't even put up a fight that time. Could it be he really was enjoying himself? Or was he just reading too much into it? He had no clue, but he did know he was unreasonably excited for it.
Until the day before. He came into the office completely miserable.
“Holy shit dude, who died? Uh, no one actually died, right?”
“Ugh, just my apartment block. They’ve had a termite infestation, and now they’re saying it’s not structurally sound.”
“From termites? How old is your place?”
“Well, the building isn’t coming down, but all the staircases are wooden, and someone already fell through one. They need to nuke the place then repair everything. So I need all my stuff packed and out of there by the end of the week. God, now I have to tell him I need to cancel…”
“That’s fucking stupid.”
Eijirou turned so fast he nearly gave himself whiplash. How long had Katsuki been stood there? Why was he even out of his office in the first place?
“Sorry. I was really looking forward to tomorrow too, but I need to find somewhere to live for, like, the next month at least-”
“No, I mean it’s fucking stupid why you’re even worrying about it. I’ve got a spare room.”
It took a moment for that to sink in.
“You- are you sure?”
“Why the fuck not? Gives me an excuse to keep my hag of a mother from visiting.” He was pretty sure the others were staring as much as him, but he had other things to worry about right now.
“I mean, if you’re offering, I’d love to, thank you, and it’d be a real weight off my shoulders. I’ll still need to sort out something for my furniture, but I can get a storage unit for that…”
“Good. Bring your stuff with you tomorrow. You might as well get ready here.”
“Tomorrow- Oh, going out! I mean, I do still need to pack everything and move it-”
“These three can help.”
“We can?” Mina elbowed Denki in the ribs. “I mean, yeah, sure dude!”
“Well, I guess… If I hire a unit tonight then I should be able to make it… But, seriously, guys, you don’t all need to do this.”
“Eh, consider it a thank you for ruining shit coffee for us forever.”
“Speaking of, where the fuck’s mine? I only came out to see why the fuck it was taking so long.”
“Ah, sorry! It should be ready to make now, I’ll have it to you in just a minute!”
He was in shock. Had that actually just happened? Katsuki, offering to let him live with him? Sure, it was only temporary, and they were basically only going to be roommates, but… Well, he had wanted to spend more time with him. Maybe this was the best thing that could have happened to him. Or maybe he’d go completely insane. Both seemed pretty possible.
“Bro, could you be any more obvious about it?”
“Huh? About what?”
“You’ve had a dumb grin on your face all morning,” replied Hanta, trying and failing utterly to suppress a smirk. “Ever since a certain someone swooped in like your knight in shining armour.”
“I have not! ...Have I?”
“Yup. If you’re not careful the boss’ll notice. And even he can’t be that oblivious.”
“Has he said anything? Is he on to me?”
“No, but fuck knows how.”
Eijirou took a deep breath. Even though he did want Katsuki to find out sooner or later, he wanted to tell him properly. Not just have him find out through gossip. But if his poker face was this bad… Well. He was probably pretty screwed.
It was probably quite telling that he had almost everything packed that night, and it was only partly because he didn’t want to keep everyone when they were offering to help him out. Excitement had nothing to do with it. Not at all. And he definitely wasn’t equal parts nervous, and wasn’t just distracting himself. And yes, he had already decided on what to wear tomorrow night. And changed his mind twice. Apparently this was just his life now.
He brought everything he might need in the short term to get ready the next day, during which he was just as bad as the night before. When it finally came time to pack up for the night, he’d never been more or less ready. Katsuki waved him into the lift. Eijirou had expected him to just open the door, but instead he stopped, and input a complex sequence of commands.
“Put your thumb here,” he demanded, and Eijirou was too flustered to question it. The lock beeped. “There. Now you can get in.”
“You’re giving me a key?”
“Well I’m not fucking letting you in every time you need to come through the fucking door. The fuck else were you expecting?”
“Yeah… I guess that would make sense.”
“...The fucks wrong with you? You’ve been acting weird since yesterday. You don’t want to stay here?”
“No, no! It’s not that! I couldn’t think of anywhere better! I guess I’m just a little nervous about it. You are still my boss after all.”
Katsuki gave him an odd look. “The fuck happened to the Eijirou who decided we were fucking friends? Or does that only count when you think I need something?”
“I- You’re right. I’m being a hypocrite, aren’t I?” he said, silently relieved that he’d latched on to the half of his issues that he didn’t mind talking about. “I lecture you about letting people help, then don’t let them help back. I’m being an idiot, aren’t I?”
“Yeah. You fucking are.” Blunt as ever, but that was part of why he liked him.
“Sorry. Oh, but do you want me to pay rent or anything?”
Oh. Oh, Eijirou recognised that look. That was the look Katsuki had when someone had just said something so stupid he wanted to punch them in the face.
“Eijirou. You fucking know how much money I have, right? You really think I’d even notice anything you could give me? I pay your fucking wage in the first place! Now, are you getting ready or what? Your room’s this way. Unpack whatever you brought or whatever while I grab a shower.”
The room was nearly as big as Eijirou’s whole apartment. It wasn’t as big as Katsuki’s (he’d caught a glimpse when he was having suits forced on him), but it was still more space than he’d ever had in his life. Hell, he probably could have fit all his stuff just in here, and didn’t even need the storage locker, apart from the fact that he couldn’t bring himself to even consider ruining Katsuki’s impeccable sense of style. The bed was a king size. And… was that a tv built into it? Don’t get used to it, don’t get used to it. He was still just a guest, after all, crashing in a friend’s spare room. Nothing more.
When Katsuki left the shower, there was a steaming coffee waiting for him.
“We’re not at fucking work you know.”
“I know. But even if you don’t want rent, I still want to show my appreciation, and I’m not being a freeloader.”
“Ugh, whatever. Aren’t you having a shower?”
“Uh, yeah. I was just waiting for you to be done.”
“...I’ve got more than one fucking bathroom you idiot. There’s one right outside your room. Might need to move some of the old hag’s shit though.”
Well, one more reason he felt like an idiot today.
“R-right. I’ll be quick.”
“Whatever. I’m not the one who’ll have your ass if you’re late.” With the picture in his mind of the only thing more scary than an angry Katsuki, a jilted Mina, he was ready in record time. Katsuki was waiting with a mouthful of toast, before sliding the plate towards him.
“Eat it. You’re not drinking on an empty stomach.”
“I had a pretty big lunch, but-” He caught Katsuki’s look. “I mean, thanks.”
Katsuki stared at him. “Stop walking around on fucking eggshells just because you’re staying here. It’s pissing me off.”
“I’m not fucking finished. You think if I had a problem you being here I would have offered? I don’t say things I don’t fucking mean. So stop acting like a nervous prick, and start acting like you again. I put up with you because you don’t fucking act like that.”
“O-oh.” It made perfect sense, now that he said it. He’d spent so much time worrying he’d forgotten to even consider the fact that it was Katsuki who brought it up in the first place. And he was right. Eijirou was the one who was making things weird. “Yeah, you’re right. Guess I got caught up in my own head there. I’ll try not to let it happen again.
“Yeah, there’s that fucking stupid smile you never get rid of. It’s fucking weird seeing you without it.”
“You look good.” He did too. Katsuki was a master of simultaneously looking incredible and like he’d just thrown on whatever was to hand.
“What else is fucking new? You just going to stand there gawping, or are we going?”
The bar Hanta had picked was walking distance from the office, so the pair walked leisurely through the evening air. A handful of people recognised Katsuki, but it wasn’t that surprising - so close to the heart of the city’s business, it would have been more of a shock if he’d gone unnoticed. He ignored them all, pointedly talking to Eijirou, until they went away.
“Fucking leeches,” he growled. It was probably a bit harsh, but Eijirou wasn’t in the mood to disagree.
It was a great night. The others were kind enough not to tease him in front of Katsuki, and, for all his grumbling, Katsuki himself was there for nearly five hours, finally declaring he was done with the lot of them at one in the morning. Eijirou left with him, mostly just because he was tired himself, but partly because he wanted to keep talking to him for just a little longer. It had only been small talk, but it felt like he’d finally started to open up a little. He’d learned his favourite colour (orange), what music he liked (a surprising taste for jazz), which sports he was into, and which teams weren’t safe to talk about if he valued his life. For the first time, just for a few hours, he’d been able to forget he was his boss completely.
Before he knew it, he’d followed Katsuki all the way back to the office. He hadn’t planned to - he still hadn’t actually moved in after all, but he’d been so wrapped up in the conversation he’d not realised. Katsuki glared at him, the door leading to the private elevator held open. “Well?” he asked, iron control only letting the barest hint of a slur show. “You coming in or what?”
Woo, progress? Surprise, he ended up moving in before le romance happened, but dont worry. We all know he wont be leaving.
For those who may or may not care, next chapter Im planning to include more faces beyond just the squad. And properly. So that'll be a thing.
Also, 200+ kudos? How when and why did that happen? Thank you everyone who inexplicably enjoys my ramblings and keeps subjecting yourself to them.
Waking up in a strange bed with a splitting hangover did lead to a moment of confusion and a panicked checking that he hadn't had a drunken one night stand. Once that had been cleared up, and his brain started working properly, he groaned and looked at the time. Eleven. And he was supposed to be moving today. Thankfully, they'd had the foresight to schedule the meeting for late afternoon, to give everyone time to recover, but he was not looking forward to lugging around heavy objects. And he still had things to do, so he forced himself out of the ridiculously comfy bed.
Katsuki was already up, and looking none the worse for wear.
“How the actual fuck?”
“Because I didn’t get as wasted as you, idiot. Fucking eat something, you look like shit.”
“Yeah… Something quick though, I need to go clear the rest of my apartment before the others get there.”
“You’re not fucking done?”
“Pretty much all the packing is,” he said, between mouthfuls of sugar seasoned with cereal, “but I wasn’t expecting to stay over last night, so I still need to clear all the cupboards out, and do a last sweep to make sure I haven’t missed anything. I’ll phone a taxi in a minute.”
“When’ll you be back?”
“Depends on the traffic. The unit’s just outside town, and then we have to make the trip here, so…”
“Fine, text me when you’re on the way then.”
“So I know when to order fucking food.”
“Oh, right. Hanta said he knew someone with a van, so hopefully we’ll only need to make one trip.” He stood up, stretched, and immediately regretted it for this pain in his head. “Well, I guess I’ll see you later.”
He had more crap to shift than he thought. The frozen stuff he had to throw, but the rest he bundled up, and took to the nearest food bank. No sense it going to waste. He hadn’t even considered taking it with him - given that he bought the cheap brands, he’d probably just end up insulting Katsuki if he tried. Once he’d finally managed to escape the talkative woman running the bank that was trying to set him up with her daughter (and then son, when he’d told her he was gay), and only just got back before the others showed up.
“Wow, dude. You live like this?”
“Denki, I already packed everything.”
“Yeah, but this place is tiny!”
“I prefer the term economically optimised.”
“Eiji, I know how much you earn. You can afford way better than this,” said Mina, arms folded. “And I know the Tenyas paid you well.”
“Isn't this all a moot point anyway, since I'm in the middle of leaving?”
She paused. “I swear to god if you move back in here after it opens I'll kill you myself.”
“Like he has any plans on moving out once he’s got cosy with the boss,” Hanta said with a smirk, while Denki nodded along.
“Alright, let's not kill him off, or the boss’ll have our hides. Start actually moving the furniture would you?”
“Right away miss,” replied Denki, tongue sticking out, as he grabbed one end of the couch, Hanta across from him. Eijirou grabbed a few chairs, but Mina caught him.
“I'm serious though. Promise me you won't hit a month, and move back out without being honest with him. You wanted to spend time with him, now's your chance. Make the most of it.””
“Yeah… I will do.”
“You better. Because if you’re still pining after this I will break you.”
Somehow she expected him to just get on with things after that, but he was too busy shifting furniture to dwell on it. All three of them were swiftly coming to the conclusion she was an even harder taskmaster than Katsuki when she put her mind to it.
“Seriously, what’s the rush?” Denki asked, trying to not scream as she plowed through the traffic. Eijirou himself was seriously regretting letting her get behind the wheel.
“We still have another trip to make, and I am not missing the new episode of the Bachelor.”
Somehow, none of them died, and he stepped out of Denki’s car (a yellow and black camaro. The teasing over him buying Bumblebee was apparently old news) onto the street outside the tower. It was already dark, so late into the year, and his breath was visible in faint puffs. He’d only remembered to text Katsuki when he was half way there, but he could just claim they got lucky with the traffic.
“You forgot, didn’t you?” Shit. He’d seen right through him.
“...Just a little.”
“Well, whatever. It just means you have to wait longer for food.”
“It’ll give me time to move these boxes at least.” He didn’t actually have all that much to deal with. He’d brought a good chunk of his clothes the day before, so it was mostly things like movies, games and cds. He’d have to talk Katsuki into trying some of them. But for now, the boxes were slid under the bed, or in the bottom of wardrobes. He could unpack them as he used them.
When he came back down, chinese had just arrived, and Katsuki was pulling up a movie.
“Try not to fall asleep this time,” he snapped, and hit last viewed. All Might 2? And… that wasn’t far past what he remembered seeing? Had he stopped watching after Eijirou had fallen asleep?
“No promises. Still hungover, remember? You’ll just have to wake me up if I do.”
“I’ll get a trumpet.”
“Oh you bastard.”
They ended up watching the third one as well. And he even managed to wake up the next morning without being confused as to where he was, followed by a small victory in the argument as to who made breakfast. Eijirou won, and made a full fry up for them both just to rub it in. Katsuki responded by finally giving him the grand tour. A lot of the place he’d already seen, but it turned out Katsuki still had a couple of surprises left for him.
“You've got a full on gym in here?”
“Like I'd bother going to a public one.”
“Holy shit. You’ve got everything in here!”
“Yeah. So you’ve no excuse for letting yourself go soft while you're here.” Eijirou was torn between blushing and being a small kid at christmas.
“Seriously, this is insane.”
“You haven't even seen the fucking roof yet.”
“You have a fucking pool up here?”
“Heated, and with a hot tub too. That canopy’s glass, but you can make it dark or transparent, and you can open or close the sides with a button. Oh, and a bar and grill I never fucking use.”
“Have I ever told you you have the best house ever?”
“No, but it’s fucking true. Now can we go in? It's fucking freezing and I'm not putting the heaters on so you can gawk.”
“Point taken. I think I might hit the gym then, and grab a shower. It’s been too long since I last went anyway.”
To his surprise, Katsuki ended up joining him.
“...The fuck are you staring at? Perks of a home gym.”
“You’re telling me,” he blurted out, before realising what he’d just said. He really hadn’t been prepared for Katsuki to come in completely shirtless. “I mean, I probably would as well if I had my own private gym.”
“What’s stopping you?”
Did that count as flirting? Was the man even aware of what he was doing to him right now? Would it be weird if he took his shirt off? Would it be weird if he didn’t ? This was a minefield he wasn’t prepped for.
“Fair point I guess,” he settled for, shrugging, and removing his shirt. He was trying to gauge interest after all.
“Your stomach needs work.” Did that mean he was checking him out? Or just that he took working out seriously? Gods, he wished he had Mina’s talent right now.
They didn’t talk much for the next hour, focusing on their respective workouts, while Katsuki subjected Eijirou to a full spectrum of soft rock. He ached all over, but that was his own fault for getting competitive with the weights. For all his suffering, it was nice to know there was at least something he could beat Katsuki at. Once they were cleaned up, Katsuki proceeded to return the favour by crushing him at every game he owned. It just wasn’t fair.
It was amazing how quickly he’d felt at home after just a few days. Maybe it was because Katsuki wasn’t treating him like a guest, but it felt more like home than his actual home did. Maybe it was just because Katsuki was there. Having an extra half an hour in bed in the mornings wasn’t hurting either, considering he now only had to walk to the elevator to get to work. Until he’d done it himself, he’d though it odd that Katsuki would want to basically live at work. Now he was convinced it was another sign the man was a genius.
Despite the added teasing from the others, work itself didn’t change much. Eijirou had given up all pretenses, and now just called his boss Katsuki all the time, unless he was dealing with a client, but that part of life was otherwise unchanged. Until he got a strange email on the Thursday.
My name is Momo Yaoyorozu. While we haven’t spoken before, I am acquainted with your employer, Mr Bakugou. As I’m sure you are aware, I represent Creati visions, which deals with both personal and corporate personal relations, and there is a social event approaching which I believe it would be beneficial for your employer to attend. All of the biggest names in business will be attendance, and it would be good for him to meet his peers and competition. The details of the event are enclosed in the attachment.
That… was unexpected. Last time Katsuki had spoken to her he’d been fuming the entire way back to the office. Still, he couldn’t just ignore it, and, looking at the party (which was what is was, no matter how she dressed it up), he was inclined to agree with her.
If you don't mind me enquiring, why ask me? Wouldn't it be better to approach him directly?
It took her a while to respond. From personal experience, she'd probably rewritten it a few times.
I've attempted to get him to go several times in the past, and every time he refuses. Until recently, there was no evidence he went to social events at all. And then, just recently, he was spotted at the Present Mic concert. As far as I can tell, the only thing that has changed is you. Which is why I came to you and not him.
Apparently that paper was coming back to haunt him after all. Still…
I'll talk to him. I won't lie to him or manipulate him into coming, but I'll try to convince him. But I can't promise results.
I understand that. Thank you. If you succeed, let me know by the end of Monday, so I can finalise the numbers.
Good luck. Momo Yaoyorozu.
Well. That was a thing that just happened. Well, he wasn't in a meeting right now, so… might as well get it over with.
“Hey, Katsuki? I just got an email… There’s a business social next weekend and you’ve been invited.”
Katsuki groaned. “That bullshit again? I tell her to fuck off every year. You got anything actually important to say?”
“Why not go?”
“I mean it. The Tenyas went every year, and most of the time they came back with new deals or information. And who knows, you might even enjoy yourself.”
“Like I'd fucking enjoy myself with those pricks.”
Eijirou sighed. “Come on, you're just being stubborn now. It's only one night.”
A grimace crossed his face, as he apparently wrestled with a choice of terrible proportion. “...Fine. But you're fucking coming too. At least then there'll be someone worth talking to.”
“I'll… I don't think that’ll be a problem,” he managed, trying to hide how flustered he was. He hadn't even considered the option until Katsuki had said it. “I'll let her know.”
“Good. And still tell her to fuck off for me.”
He asked me to pass on this message, and I quote: “Fuck off, but whatever, I'll go to your shitty party.” He’s insisting I go as a plus one however. Will that be a problem?
Eijirou. Anyone who can convince Katsuki Bakugou of anything is more than welcome to be there. You’ve managed in twenty minutes what I haven't in four years. I'll make sure both your names are on the list. We'll have to make sure to actually meet while we’re there.
Looking forward to it.
And also having an internal panic attack what the hell had he just agreed to?
Apparently I lied and overran. They'll turn up next chapter instead.