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He wouldn’t call himself a comedic genius, but he believes he knows humor. He’s somewhat aware of the anatomy of a good joke, the importance of its delivery, the punchline, the context--

However, this is something he doesn't understand one bit.

So, naturally, he’d dismiss this as a bad one, and maybe even laugh at his failed attempt to make him laugh.

But it’s this guy’s awkward stance, and the way he shifts his weight from one leg to the other, it’s how he’s trying to look at anywhere but his face, and still managing to flash glances at it, the way he rubs the back of his neck, the small tint of pink in his cheeks, the furrowed brows, and the teeth that bite at his bottom lip--as if to scold himself for looking the way he does right now.

It’s all this that makes him realize,

This isn’t a joke.

And Bakugou wonders, really, seriously wonders why his first thought was to interpret it as one in the first place.

He’s angry, and too embarrassed to specify at whom. There isn’t even any real need to be, and if he were smooth enough he could have dished out some bullshit yet still acceptable reply. But instead, he chokes--stammers:

“What the fuck?”

.

 

.

 

.

 

I like you

 

I like you

 

I like you

 

Bakugou thinks, that this might be the dumbest thing to tell someone. Of course, there’s the exception of when someone is asking for confirmation, but for the most part, things like this just shouldn’t be said.

Well, not said bluntly.

He feels like he’s placed in a weird spot, and that maybe, maybe he should do something about it. Maybe he should give a decent response. Though, there’s this part of him (a large part), that thinks he should disregard the whole thing, because it’s too much to care about, like he shouldn't be really concerned.

That’s not to say that he doesn't care, because he does. Somewhere, deep down, he’s flattered--but not so much as he is surprised.

He’s really, really surprised.

It felt surreal, in a way, to hear someone tell him this.

He’s aware of social rules, morals, ethics, and things like that. He is aware he could do better at following them, but it’s because he doesn't necessarily owe anyone anything, he hardly puts in effort to.

People can treat him the way they want, be it kindly or cruel, what’s for certain is his response will generally be the same.

So when someone comes up to him and tells him they like him, out of their own free will, it should be almost instinctive for him to tell them to ‘fuck off’, because it’s of the least importance to him right now, and he doesn’t have to hear it.

If it were anyone else, he probably would.

But it’s not just someone, it’s Kirishima.

Kirishima told him he likes him.

He likes him, which means he’s fond of him. He enjoys being around him.

And obviously, he wanted him to know this, because he went out his way to tell him.

Bakugou grabs the blankets of his bed and rolls over onto his side with a small growl, it along with the creak of his mattress is amplified in the silence of his room. This is the longest he’s thought about something other than fighting, and not only is it mildly irritating, it’s exhausting.

He feels like he owes Kirishima an answer, because something tells him the one he gave him won't suffice in the slightest.

He doesn’t want to, he shouldn’t have to.

But he could.

“Fuck this,” He hisses; he doesn't want to think about this anymore. He wants to sleep. It’s the reason why he’s curled up despite the fact his room is far from cold, because maybe the warmth will be enough to knock him out. It’s the reason why he’s closing his eyes so tight because it’s driving out the image of Kirishima, who actually stood in front of him and told him he likes him.

 

He likes me.

 

He likes me.

 

He likes me.

 

“What the fuck?”

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

Bakugou thinks, that right now, sleep is better than anything. Because when you’re sleeping, you’re unconscious, you can't think. It’s all he’s been doing during the day, and those final minutes before slumber takes him--thinking. He’s thinking about him. And it’s honestly a load of bullshit.

Had Bakugou denied his request to go somewhere private after school,

Had he just ignored him,

Maybe even lie and tell him he was too busy,

 

He would have avoided the confession and wouldn’t be sitting by himself in the cafeteria--a table all to his own, angrily glaring at his jello cup and trying to wonder why the fuck someone would tell him that they like him.

What was he thinking?

He doesn’t want to consider the possibility that Kirishima didn’t think this through, even though it might make this easier to deal with, because if it was just some random outburst, then the other would prefer--might even beg him to forget what he said.

But,

The way his hand was balled up tightly in the pocket of his pants yesterday, meant he was nervous.

And that sigh of relief after he said those three words meant he was waiting to tell him for a while.

So he planned this, he actually planned a day to tell him he liked him.

What the fuck?

Once again, that feeling of surprise is accompanied by the flattery, because he can't really fathom a reason as to why.

 

Why did he tell him this?

 

Why didn’t he punch him for telling him something so unnecessary?

 

And why can't he stop thinking about him and the way he told him.

 

He remembers clearly, the crinkled nose in response to hearing the very obvious crack in his own voice, and it was maybe sort of appealing enough to consider cute.

Or the way he gently scratched at the small scar on his eye that he for the longest time thought was just an eyelash,

Or that smile he gave him after possibly one of the worst responses someone could give to a confession.

Yes, he fucking smiled.

God, he’s so pissed, and he’s so confused. His mind is swimming and he has this collection of emotions at his disposal and he doesn’t know which one to express because he doesn't know how to respond and this is so fucking stupid, what the fuck, what the fuck?

 

He isn’t really repulsed by the confession--in fact, he’s probably the farthest thing from it, but there’s something about how he wants to react that repulses him, because it will reveal something vulnerable from him, something soft. If there is anything Bakugou Katsuki isn’t, it’s vulnerable and soft.

There’s this idea, that maybe Kirishima plans to take advantage of him in that state, there’s no justification for it, and it doesn’t even seem like something he’d do, but all the same it enrages him that it’s still a possibility.

Honestly, fuck him for making him feel this way, for making him so goddamned flustered and over-analyzing something so ridiculous.

All of this is ridiculous--pathetically ridiculous.

He needs a better hold of himself.

He wants to forget about this.

But he also wants to see him, and talk to him, and get him to explain himself because you can't just tell someone ‘I like you’ then go on as if it were nothing.

The sound of a plastic tray hitting his table isn’t enough to yank him out of his thoughts, it’s Kirishima’s ‘Yo’ that does.

 

It almost, almost made him flinch.

 

He opens his mouth to speak, but ends up watching the other claim the seat next to him--not in front of him, next to him--and get his own lunch sorted out.

He’s so nonchalant and casual, Bakugou nearly thinks he’s imagined the whole thing.

“Um, so, you’ve been glaring at your food for a while, and I don’t know what your lunch did to piss you off, but if you don’t want your jello I’m up for a trade.” He tells him.

Bakugou squints.

He continues, “I’m more of a berry guy, y’know?” He says, and without even waiting for a reply, reaches over to swipe his jello--strawberry flavored--off his tray.

It’s in those quick seconds he does that, Bakugou notes the contours of his arm and how visibly strong it looks, as well as how big his hand is.

It’s in those quick seconds after he does that, Bakugou wonders what it’d be like to hold it.

“But you,” He still isn’t done, “you look more like a citrus man, and I’ve got an orange with your name on it.” He grins, then places it in his tray.

Bakugou is not an idiot. He knows a bullshit trade-off when he sees one, but even still, he accepts it, because in that slight moment he put it in his tray, his forearm brushed his, and he never realized how incredibly warm Kirishima is.

 

In that slight moment after he does that, Bakugou wonders what it would be like to hold him.

He kind of wants to vomit, now.

He never really thought about him in that way before. For the most part, Bakugou tolerates Kirishima. Their quirks are pretty compatible, and maybe he’s slightly less annoying than everyone else.

He never really thought about him in that way, but the more he thinks, the more he’s aware of his heartbeats, himself, and the really bothersome flutter-like feeling he gets in the bottom of his stomach; he considers punching himself in the gut to rid of them.

He isn’t himself right now, and he’s made it pretty obvious with the way he didn’t protest to Kirishima swapping his food. He ignores the other’s arched brow and snatches the orange off his tray to peel it.

Kirishima rips the top off his jello, and helps himself to a very generous spoonful so big, it makes Bakugou cringe at the sight.

Kirishima sees this and scoffs, mouth full, he asks, “What?”

“You eat like a fucking pig.”

He swallows. “You do too,”

“I don’t, actually.”

Kirishima snorts, and Bakugou scowls. “ I have table manners.”

“So do I.”

“Then why the fuck are you eating like that?”

“Because I don’t need ‘em around you.”

It shuts him up so quick, Bakugou just stares at him, too confused to glare. Why would he even say that? He doesn't ‘need’ table manners around him. Why, because he’s comfortable enough to be himself?

He’s comfortable around me.

But, even so, he just has to ask,

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

Kirishima shrugs, and swipes his tongue along the bowl of his now empty spoon just long enough for Bakugou to admire the pink of it, and bite his own for even looking at it.

“Whatever you want it to mean, man.”

Bakugou scoffs this time, and doesn’t question any further. He averts his attention back to his orange.

“M’gonna kick your ass.” He says,

But it’s an empty threat, and it’s hidden in a mutter.

Kirishima catches it all the same and lets out an amused hum, then scoops more jello out of it’s cup.

Bakugou watches him, longer than he probably should before he blurts:

“Are you screwing with me?”

“Huh?” He’s stopped mid-bite, and Bakugou is honestly appalled by his genuine confusion.

“Don’t look at me like that! You remember yesterday, dumbass? You told me that you like-”

There’s a spoonful of jello in his mouth forced in by a hand that doesn't belong to him. He’s so shocked, offended, embarrassed, and angry he wants to scream, but he can't get over the fact that this is Kirishima’s spoon.

Can’t get over the fact it was in his mouth just a minute ago.

Can't get over the fact it’s still moist.

He feels lightheaded, annoyingly lightheaded; he’s made himself so hyper-aware of everything happening in this moment it’s dizzying and he can’t do anything but bite down on the spoon with the will to break it in order to express his rage.

Kirishima smiles weakly, and tugs on the spoon to get it back.

“Look, meet me behind the building after school again and I’ll explain everything, yeah?”

Bakugou watches him for a changing expression, just in case he might be lying.

He doesn’t get one, but in hindsight that should have been expected,

Kirishima doesn’t really seem like the type to lie.

He gives him back his spoon and swallows, ignoring all the stares by his classmates who caught them. And he can feel their eyes burning into his back, bewildered over the fact he just got fucking fed like a goddamned toddler.

Bashing his (or someone else’s) head into the table repeatedly seems like the best form of stress relief right now.

Kirishima sighs, and finishes up his jello.

“What are you doing?” He sputters.

“Eating?”

“Don’t eat with the same spoon you put in my fucking mouth!”

“Well, where am I gonna get another one?”

He knows damn well it would only take a few seconds to get himself another spoon; he’s fucking with him.

Kirishima resumes eating, and Bakugou gives up on his orange. He tosses it back in his tray before getting to his feet.

He leaves the cafeteria, and can feel gazes on him once more, but only one in particular is responsible for his blush.

 

.

 

.

 

.

He’s back in the same place he was yesterday, and has a moment of deja vu. Hands shoved in his pockets and rested against the wall of the school’s building, Bakugou waits patiently for Kirishima, ready to scowl at anyone who so much as glances at him.

He realizes he could leave, and act like he never meant to show up in the first place--Kirishima wouldn’t even be surprised. But he just wants to know, and being here will give him an answer, will quell the storm of emotions he’s been trying to make sense of ever since he became coherent of the actual fact someone genuinely adores him to an extent, and might even be willing to treat him affectionately.

It’s not like Bakugou wants to be hated,

He just more or less expects it.

The sound of feet hitting pavement becomes more audible with each passing second, and Bakugou doesn’t even have to look over to see who’s coming.

“Ah, I didn’t think you’d actually show up!” He’s panting hard, and Bakugou watches the rise and fall of his chest for a few seconds before looking up at his face.

His smiling face.

It’s so pathetic, and gross, and ugly, and stupid, and cute, and bright, and damn near contagious, and his teeth are so white and why the fuck do his lips look the way they do, what the fuck?

Bakugou is too young for chest pains.

“I’m glad,” He says, and Bakugou catches a specific sigh of relief in his breathing, he wants to scowl at that, but can't help but think about how badly the other probably wanted to see him.

“Can’t believe you actually ran…”

“I got excited.”

His heart flips, and he’s convinced the other has some secret hidden quirk that destroys people from the inside out by simply talking because there’s no way he isn't aware of what he’s saying, what he’s doing to him.

“Anyway, about yesterday, what I said… I really do mean it. I like you, like… A whole lot-”

“Why?”

He says it. He finally says what he’s been wondering all this time and he’s never wanted to punch himself in the face more than he does right now because he sounds so surprised, he hears himself and he sounds absolutely flabbergasted over this, when he shouldn't even care.

He isn’t supposed to care,

But he does,

he really, truly, does.

It’s so bothersome.

“Why?” Kirishima repeats, scratching his head. “Erm, I’m not really sure--I mean, I’ve kinda asked myself this question too, and… I dunno, I just look at you and I get real happy.” He shrugs, then slips his hands into his pockets.

“At first, I just thought you were pretty cool, so in a way, I guess I’ve always liked you, but now, when I see you, my heart starts racing and… Well,” He mumbles.

“For me?

Seriously, what the fuck?

Kirishima really didn’t know how to put. “When I was thinking about telling you, I planned to just keep it to myself at first, but I knew it was gonna keep bothering me. So I realized it was best to tell you. With that being said, I’m not really expecting anything from you, you don’t have to give me an answer. I just needed to get that off my chest so I can focus, wouldn't want it to get in the way of school, y’know?”

The fact that Kirishima truly believes his crush on him is strong enough to possibly hinder his performance was still both flattering and surprising.

He doesn't know what to say, doesn't know if he should even say anything, given the fact Kirishima isn't expecting a response from him.

“Honestly, I kinda had little simulations in my head of how I’d confess; I came up with three most likely outcomes-”

“What were they?”

“Well, the first is that you’d want to fight me--you didn’t. Second, was that you’d ignore me--you didn’t do that either, and the third…” He trails off.

“What was the third?” Bakugou says quickly; he just wants to know everything, get a feel for what he’s thinking. This is all so bizarre, and new. He wants to scold himself for seeming so interested, for the blossoming feelings of giddiness that rise instead of annoyance, but he can't help it. The only thing keeping him from looking like some desperate, pathetic loser who’s for the first time experiencing affection is his seemingly permanent glower that hasn’t phased the one standing in front of him in the slightest.

Kirishima has feelings for him, and it shouldn't be so hard to wrap his head around this, but it is.

“Well uh, the third was that you might like me back.”

He isn’t aware of the face he’s making, but Kirishima’s panicked one let’s him know it’s a concerning one.

“But!” He says quickly, as if to calm him down before he blows. “I knew that one was the most far-fetched, so-”

He’s so stupidly worried about what he thinks, and it’s so goddamn annoying, and sweet, and dumb. Like, who cares what Bakugou thinks?

“Hey,” He cuts him off to end his babbling, “Gimme your hand.”

“Uh?”

“Just give me your hand, fucker.” He doesn’t look at him, because that would make what he’s about to do harder. He can feel his face getting warm, and he wishes he could blame it on the heat, an allergic reaction to air, literally anything else.

 

Kirishima is honestly so fucking stupid, he actually gave him his hand, like literally slipped it into his without even hesitating in the slightest over the possibility Bakugou might break it or blow it off his arm.

So painfully, amazingly, wonderfully, adorably, fucking stupid.

And when Kirishima laces their fingers together,

And runs his thumb along the back of his hand,

And gives his hand a tight squeeze, almost as if to say:

This is seriously happening, we’re holding hands.

Balugou feels like he’s dying, like actually withering away as his life force leaves his body because he can't even recall the last time he’s high-fived someone, let alone held their hand.

Not only that, but it’s Kirishima’s hand, the hand of someone who likes him.

The hand of someone he likes.

Yeah, he likes him. He really likes him.

“This is nice,” He says, and Bakugou doesn't need to look at him to know he’s smiling.

“I like this.”

Bakugou hadn’t really noticed until now, but his throat feels real tight, and it’s hard to speak. He just squeezes back, to let him know he’s enjoying it too.

He’s not sure where Kirishima got the courage to get so close to him, to press up against him and rest his own head on his shoulder, but he doesn't protest. He couldn't even if he wanted to.

The feel of his breath by his neck, along with weight of his head and the bits of his hair that poke at his cheek throws Bakugou into sensory overload, and he might just collapse. He can only manage some sort of grunt, and finds himself placing a hand on his waist, gripping tightly at the hem of his shirt.

It makes Kirishima laugh--inwardly, and the vibrations he feels from it is enough to make him shudder slightly, he doesn't realize he’s shaking. He’s so nervous, so excited,

“So red, Katsuki.” He whispers, and Bakugou wants to dissolve.

“Like your shitty hair?” He doesn't know why he’s whispering too,

“Your insults are getting soft,”

“You’re soft.”

“That’s funny.”

He’s really glad that Kirishima isn’t dense at all, because that means he can read him, can know that even though he doesn't say it aloud, Bakugou feels the same way he does.

He peeks down at his shoulder to look at him, and notes how the other hasn’t moved away, but instead has gotten comfortable enough to rest his eyes.

It’s like he’s taking as much as he can get before he shrugs him off, but it’s not like Bakugou would; he’s enjoying this. He likes this.

Kirishima is so close, and he’s so warm and so pretty and one of these days, he’ll fall asleep in his arms, and it’s gonna feel so damn good to hold him, to know for certain that he’s always comfortable around him.

He changes his mind, he does want him off of him; Bakugou shifts a bit and lets go of his hand to take hold of his face.

His cute, puzzled face.

He stares, and Kirishima stares right back.

He doesn’t know for how long, but it’s definitely long enough for him to muster up the courage to press his lips against his.

Bakugou is actually pretty fucking stupid too, he doesn’t know the first thing about kissing and he doesn’t know what made him think closing his eyes and diving right in would be the best way to go about this. Their lips crash and their teeth clink, and he can feel the other flinch at the accidental force--but he doesn’t pull away. Instead, Kirishima takes hold of his face, and tilts his head in an attempt give more depth and salvage what he could from this mess of a kiss.

Bakugou could have been impressed by Kirishima’s sudden control, by the way he seems to be experienced in things like this, if it weren't for the fact he doesn't know what the fuck he’s doing either.

It’s so wet, and the way he moves his lips is so foreign to his. He can smell the remnants of strawberry on his breath. He can't see him, but he can tell he’s enthusiastic about this, can tell he’s trying. He can feel his brow actually furrowed in concentration against his face, and it’s so silly, and Kirishima is so dumb and this kiss is so fucking sloppy but,

 

He likes it.

 

He likes him, and that makes everything okay.

Bakugou is the first to pull away, and Kirishima makes a disappointed sound, like he was almost getting the hang things before they had to stop. He snorts and wipes his mouth with his sleeve.

“Can I hold your hand again?” Kirishima asks; he honestly has no right to sound this sweet after the slobberfest he’d done to his mouth, but Bakugou doesn't feel like denying him, so he gives.

Kirishima moves from in front of him to the side, so he can rest on the wall with him.

They’re quiet for a while, neither feeling the need to say anything. Bakugou thinks this is good, to simply stand next to someone and feel relaxed, at ease.

But the feeling slips away fast, and is replaced by a small pain in his stomach.

“Fuck, I’m starving.” He grimaces, more at the fact he killed the mood, rather than at his own hunger.

“Well, you skipped lunch so that’s expected.”

He only grumbles in reply.

“If you want, we can go to the mall and get something to eat there. It’ll be like our first date, too.”

“You move real fuckin’ fast, don’t you?”

“You were the one that kissed me, y’know.”

Bakugou huffs. “Whatever, the mall sounds good. As long as you’re paying,”

Kirishima grins--beams, and Bakugou is pretty sure he’ll never get tired of looking at his smile.

“That’s fine, I’ll pay for whatever you want. On one condition, though.”

“Which is?”

He leans off the wall and swings their hands a bit, playfully, before leaning in close--right by his ear, to whisper:

“You’ll let me feed you again.”