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“Bakugou, my bud, let me ask you something.”

“Do not.”

“Yeah but I’m gonna.”

“Because you’re an idiot.”

“Yeah yeah, been established.”

Kirishima let himself hang loose on the pull up bar before catching a breath and dropping to his feet. Bakugou was only a few feet away giving the punching bag the fight of its life. He was purposefully not looking at Kirishima as he threw jabs, left then right, as he bounced on his feet. Kirishima could tell only because Bakugou was looking at him while he was doing his pull ups (quick cut-away glances here and there), but now kept his eyes hard focused and frowning at the punching bag.

Kirishima  found that he didn’t mind it too much. He had to be looking right back at Bakugou enough to notice it anyways.

His punches too had gotten more aggressive and for a moment Kirishima was worried he was going to end up giving himself a stroke if he didn’t let up soon. They had been working out for the last few hours and pushing themselves hard. But no man was a machine, not even Bakugou. His hair was soaked and dripping from the tips with sweat and his tank top was almost at the same state.

Kirishima came from behind the punching bag and held it steady as Bakugou threw all his weight into his punches. If Kirishima didn’t know any better, he could swear that Bakugou was trying to punch straight through and into his gut. The thought almost charmed Kirishima; if Bakugou wanted to spar, all he had to do was ask.

It was easy to get caught up in the way Bakugou moved: all power and raw energy as if every blow could crumble a building from the foundation. He was like a wild dog, baring fangs and claws and ready to tear anyone apart. But he was not without an impressive sense of bodily control of which Kirishima had never been able to achieve. He knew every muscle, every function, how to hone it, and make it at top form with the rest of him.  

Bakugou was a brash fucker, but Kirishima was not above giving props where it was do.

Bakugou finally stopped with a final one-two combo punch, panting heavily and wiping his forehead with the back of his gloved hand.

“What was the question?” He said, pulling the velcro scrap from around his wrist.

Kirishima blinked a few times, pulling his eyes off the curve of Bakugou’s bicep. “Hm?”

“A minute ago,” Bakugou said, annoyed. “You were gonna ask me something.”

Kirishima shrugged, wrapping his arm around the punching bag as if was a friend.

“Ah, can’t remember,” He sighed. “Probably wasn’t important."

Bakugou rolled his eyes as he pulled his gloves off.  “Idiot."

Kirishima smiled fondly when Bakugou looked at him and only shook his head.

Yeah. He was.


---

 

BAKUGOU [1:24AM] : its u

[A semi-blurry picture of a rock]

KIRISHIMA [1:28AM]: this is you

[a gif of a pomeranian with wet spiky fur from a bath]

BAKUGOU [1:28AM]: prick

It started somewhere around their second year at Yuuei, this casual texting. They had each other’s numbers before then, but it was only used for school-related questions and failed conversation attempts on Kirishima’s end. Bakugou was admittedly bad at it, one word answers and leaving Kirishima on read more times than he could count. Kirishima tried not to pester him too much but after a few months of Bakugou finally accepting that he and Kirishima were actually friends , it got easier. There was never any deep conversation, not anything more than Bakugou would talk about outloud but Kirishima enjoyed knowing that he was right- that Bakugou was capable of friendship, in his own prickly way.

Kirishima could always tell when Bakugou just wanted to talk because conversations never began with a simple hey, what’s up . It was as if he prepared in some way with a link or a funny picture to get Kirishima’s attention and then let Kirishima take over from there. He didn’t mind though. In fact it made his stomach flutter at the thought that Bakugou wanted to talk to him at all. It seemed childish but he couldn’t help the sort of awestruck infatuation he felt around Bakugou.

They were eighteen years old now, they had been friends since the beginning of their time at Yuuei, gotten in more jams than they could count, had seen each other at their most vulnerable and strongest and plainest, boring, ordinary states. But even still Kirishima couldn’t help but feel out of Bakugou’s range sometimes. Only sometimes. It wasn’t jealousy, it was something else. Something that always felt so out of reach.

It was an answer Kirishima never put a question to because of the impossibility of it.

KIRISHIMA [1:29AM]: can’t sleep?

BAKUGOU [1:30AM]: no

BAKUGOU[1:30AM]: got way too much energy. Like i gotta fight

KIRISHIMA [1:32AM]: isn’t that you, but like all the time tho?

BAKUGOU [1:33AM]: guess thats what makes me the best

KIRISHIMA [1:35AM]: more like high strung as fuck. If you don’t learn to relax some, you’re bound to pull a muscle.

BAKUGOU [1:36AM]: fuck off, i’m plenty fuckin relaxed

KIRSHIMA [1:36AM]: HAHA

BAKUGOU [1:37AM]: WHAT. I CAN RELAX

KIRISHIMA [1:38AM]:  the fact that ur enforcing all-caps at this time of night proves that you’ve never relaxed once in your life

BAKUGOU [1:39AM]: whatever

KIRISHIMA [1:39AM]: i’m serious! What do you normally do to fall asleep?

BAKUGOU [1:40AM]: idk run i guess

KIRISHIMA [1:42AM]: you know its not good to overwork yourself

BAKUGOU [1:43AM]: you fuckin asked

KIRISHIMA [1:44AM]: have you tried a bubble bath? That can be relaxing

BAKUGOU [1:45AM]: how old are you?

KIRISHIMA [1:46AM]: you never outgrow bubbles. And besides the hot water is good for loosening muscles after a hard workout, come on you know this.

KIRISHIMA [1:48AM]: or you can find like ocean sounds to listen to while you sleep. Like white noise?? That shit knocks me right out. Not sure why, just does.

KIRISHIMA [1:51AM]: or hell i dont know, jerking off is an old classic, never fails

Oh god. Oh fuck why did I have to say that.

Why is he taking so long to text back… obviously I crossed a line or something.

Fuck.

BAKUGOU [1:59AM]: you jerk off?

Kirishima felt sweaty all over and his hands began to shake and he didn’t know why. They didn’t talk about this. He could feel something shift suddenly. It was an innocent enough conversation thus far but Kirishima felt overexposed and found out somehow. Like suddenly Bakugou knew all his secrets; the ones Kirishima only let breathe in quiet moments of the night like this.

No one was ever invited in.

But still… Kirishima didn’t want to change the subject. It was uncharted territory and for some reason he felt brave. Maybe it was being eighteen, on the cusp of adulthood. If he were fifteen again, he’s never talk about something like this with Bakugou. With Kaminari, sure, but only because there was never anything there. It was a mutual understanding that it was just friends.

It didn’t feel risky. It didn’t feel… like more, as it did with Bakugou.

He went back to the keyboard and pretended he wasn’t a total weirdo about something that wasn’t weird to begin with. If Bakugou wasn’t changing the subject, perhaps it was still okay. His worst fear was somehow putting Bakugou off.

Still though, it was Bakugou asking if Kirishima jerked off. If anyone was to blame for impending weirdness, Kirishima had evidence that it wasn’t his fault.

KIRISHIMA [2:02AM]: the fact that you even have to ask worries me that maybe you don’t

BAKUGOU [2:03AM]: FUCK YOU I JERK OFF

KIRISHIMA [2:03AM]: stop yelling pls its too late

BAKUGOU [2:04AM]: im texting not yelling

KIRISHIMA [2:05AM]: still feels loud

BAKUGOU [2:07AM]: whatever. how’s that shit  supposed to be relaxing anyway?

KIRISHIMA [2:08AM]: jerking off?

KIRISHIMA [2:09AM]: i’m so worried about you that we’re even having this conversation right now. Are you doing it right?

Kirishima genuinely wasn’t joking. Bakugou went quiet on his side. But he was there, with the typing bubble popping up and going away every couple seconds.

Kirishima wondered briefly if maybe there was a reason that they didn’t talk about this stuff. He never minded and honestly never thought about it. Selfishly he was glad that Bakugou didn’t date. He liked being the person Bakugou sought out the most. It wasn’t dating, and Kirishima never let himself hope and wish for more than what they had.

But if Bakugou, at almost an adult and pro hero was still so naive about something that should have been the simplest thing about their lives? Kirishima was concerned, as he would be if it were Kaminari or Sero. He didn’t think Bakugou was a late bloomer. He was the first among the boys in his class to grow facial hair, to get a deeper voice. He was first in everything.

BAKUGOU [2:13AM]: is there a wrong way to do it?

KIRISHIMA [2:14AM]:  well clearly something is amiss  if you’re wondering why its not relaxing

KIRISHIMA [2:17AM]: its supposed to feel good you know…

BAKUGOU [2:19AM]: shut up

BAKUGOU [2:21AM]: it does i guess

That doesn’t sound very convincing, Katsuki.

KIRISHIMA [2:23AM] : what do you think about?

BAKUGOU [2:28AM]: ...im not answering that

KIRISHIMA [2:29AM]: oh dont be a baby

BAKUGOU [2:31AM]: fucking fuck

BAKUGOU [2:33AM]: i dont know!! I kinda just do it and get it over with

KIRISHIMA [2:34AM]: yeah that makes sense

BAKUGOU [2:35AM]: the fuck is that supposed to mean?!

KIRISHIMA [2:36AM]: that u do everything angrily….. Including jerking off

KIRISHIMA [2:37AM]: i can only picture you growling and yelling at your dick to hurry the fuck up and finish

BAKUGOU [2:43AM]: you’re a fucking piece of shit im done with this conversation

KIRISHIMA [2:44AM] : am i wrong?

Minutes passed again and Bakugou had gone quiet again only this time Kirishima was sure he probably went to sleep, angry with him. He felt his stomach drop and immediately began a routine of flipping through different apps and news feeds to distract himself until Bakugou texted him back.

And he still didn’t.

This was the line that Kirishima was scared of crossing.

KIRISHIMA [3:15AM]: god whatever ok im sorry come back

Still nothing.

KIRISHIMA [3:22AM]: its ok if ur not really like in touch with urself or whatever haha

KIRISHIMA [3:23AM]: but you are gonna give yourself grey hair and possibly a premature heart attack if you dont learn to chill one of these days

KIRISHIMA [3:25AM]: just like find something or someone you like, close your eyes, and let nature take its course. U dont gotta be in competition with urself.

KIRISHIMA [3:26AM]: i’m sorry if i made things weird!!! Don’t be mad. Ok i’ll leave u alone now.

By now Kirishima was sure that Bakugou was sleeping and decided it was probably the best idea.

Of course sleep didn’t come to him. He felt too weird and stressed out. It was gonna be along night of staring at the ceiling.

But then his phone vibrated from under his pillow.

BAKUGOU [3:34AM]: i did it

Kirishima felt all the panic that had built up in his joints melt out of him with relief and didn’t hesitate for even a second to type back.

KIRISHIMA [3:34AM]: did what

BAKUGOU [3:35AM]: the fuck you think

KIRISHIMA [3:36AM]: OH ok um

So Bakugou still wanted to have this conversation?

KIRISHIMA [3:37AM]: i trust everything went………well??

BAKUGOU [3:38AM]: yeah

KIRISHIMA [3:38AM]: and you’re relaxed?

BAKUGOU [3:39AM]: yep

What the fuck is happening?

KIRISHIMA [3:40AM]: hmm… not sure if i quite believe you…

BAKUGOU [3:41AM]: well i wanna kick your ass a lot less, but keep talking and we’ll see

KIRISHIMA [3:42AM]: still so testy

A picture popped up from Bakugou and Kirishima almost didn’t know what he was looking at for a moment. He raised his brightness to clear the image. It was Bakugou.

He was laying back on his bed, illuminated in soft yellow light from what had to be his lamp on his desk. He was covered in shadow, shirtless , and just fucking hot. What the fuck was happening? He was just a simple picture of his friend from the collarbones up. All the hard lines of his face were smoothed away and he looked simply normal, tired, and yes… like he just came.

There was a part of Kirishima that was  almost hundred percent certain that Bakugou just was this innocent as to not know the social implications of sending someone a picture while talking about sexual things. Especially one of your post orgasm glow jesus fucking CHRIST Bakugou!

BAKUGOU [3:43AM]: do i look capable of murder right now

KIRISHIMA [3:45AM]: no you uh. You look pretty chill to me

BAKUGOU [3:46AM]: see, fuckin told you

KIRISHIMA [3:46AM]: totally believed in u

Kirishima’s heartbeat was coming so rapidly he was sure it skipped a few here and there.

BAKUGOU [3:48AM]: why are you still up?

KIRISHIMA [3:49AM]: was studying, guess i cant sleep either

BAKUGOU [3:49AM]:  just jerk off then loser

WHAT IS HAPPENING.

KIRISHIMA [3:50AM]: lol ur funny

BAKUGOU [3:52AM]: i was serious

KIRISHIMA [3:53AM]: its a good thing you and i are such good buds otherwise all this jerking off talk might be a little weird

BAKUGOU [3:54AM]: only weird if u make it weird

KIRISHIMA [3:54AM]: guess you’re right

BAKUGOU [3:55AM]: well whatever im tired so im going to sleep

KIRISHIMA [3:55AM]: yeah yeah, see you tomorrow

Kirishima was shaking all over.

He fell asleep easily, it was almost four in the morning. He dreamed of Bakugou as he was in that picture. Soft, slow, sensual. Everything he wasn’t in real life. They touched gently, feeling each other all over. Kirishima knew every curve of every muscle on Bakugou’s body as though they were his own and his subconscious supplied those memories  for him. It felt so real that Kirishima woke feeling confused, sticky, and still hard.

He was so fucked.

 

---

 

Kirishima was thankful at how weird things weren’t in the days following. At least, not in any way that Kirishima could easily detect. He did homework, went to class, his internship. He was glad for the lack of time in the day for things to be awkward.

There were some days that Bakugou and Kirishima didn’t see each other outside of class until the weekend. They still lived in the dorms of Yuuei, not far from each other. But hero training was still as grueling as ever. After a jam-packed day there were simply no more hours in the day to hang out.

Sometimes it sucked, if you were like Kirishima who sometimes found himself missing Bakugou, as if he wasn’t the person Kirishima saw the most in the day to begin with. But sometimes he just wanted to hang out and get something to eat. But in the days following the texting, he was almost glad for the break.

Neither of them did anything wrong per say. But it felt like they were teetering too close to the edge of something that couldn’t be so easily reversed.

 

---

 

Kirishima knew he landed wrong the second his shoulder hit the mat. The pain was sharp and immediate and he was tapping Bakugou’s thigh to let him out of the hold he was currently trapped in.

He grit his teeth and rolled over onto his other side when Bakugou let him free.

“Shit, you okay?”

Kirishima was sure Bakugou would have quipped something sarcastic and victorious but instead he was kneeling by his side, hand hovering over the place where Kirishima was holding.

“Yeah,” he groaned, lying. “No, fucking ow, no.”

He pulled himself up into a sitting position and pointedly didn’t look at Bakugou. He hated looking weak in front of him. Especially when he was supposed to be the unbreakable one. And here he was trying not to whine like a child.

“Here let me see,” Bakugou said taking Kirishima’s arm in his hands.

He unfolded it to make it straight. Bakugou placed one hand at his shoulder blade and the other braced on his elbow.

“Rotate it for me.”

Kirishima let Bakugou slowly move his arm in different directions until he was wincing and flinching away. Bakugou pressed his fingers into the place that hurt the most. They did this for a few moments, Kirishima trying not to focus on how had his shoulder hurt and instead how gently Bakugou was touching him.

They were used to being close to one another but it was usually almost always in proximity of combat or like now, sparring. Kirishima could never feel Bakugou’s breath on his skin before like he could now. He was hyper aware of his best friend’s touch on his sweaty, overheated skin. His fingers were firm, but Kirishima couldn’t imagine a safer pair of hands to be touched by. In just a few seconds he was finding himself amazed at the wonder of Bakugou’s hands; the same ones that could cause mass destruction were now soothing and careful on his sore shoulder.

Truth be told, he didn’t necessarily need Bakugou to confirm that nothing was broken or dislocated. He knew his body well enough and had broken and dislocated enough parts of himself over the years to tell the difference. And he had certainly hurt himself enough times sparring with Bakugou for this to be even one of the more minor injuries. It was more of an annoying inconvenience, than anything.

Sleep with an ice pack and rub some cream on it to relieve the soreness and he would be fine tomorrow.

He knew this and he knew Bakugou knew it too.

When he looked at him a moment later, Bakugou was looking at him too. His mouth hung open and the moment was suddenly charged with a sort of newness that hadn’t been there before. Neither of them spoke, and neither looked away. They were still so close. All the lines in Bakugou’s face had gone soft and smooth like in the picture. Kirishima had the wildest idea to rub his thumb in the crease between his brow, but didn’t.

For a split second, and Kirishima would have missed it if he blinked, Bakugou leaned in just a bit. Just enough to realize what he was doing before pulling himself away. And then he scowling, angry. Brows furrowed, eyes moved to the mat. He placed Kirishima’s arm back down to his side before standing, mumbling something about ice, and walking away.

His skin was cold where Bakugou touched him as everywhere else on his body was alight with heat.

He didn’t understand anything.

 

---

 

“Hey can I ask you guys something?”

“Anything, my boy.”

“Sure.”

Kirishima chewed on the straw of his coffee. Tamaki was picking at what was left of his fries and Fat Gum had just received his second meal. The three had taken a break from patrolling in one of the outdoor restaurants of this particular pavilion. It was just simple routine after three years.

After his own graduation, Tamaki took a job with Fat Gum's agency. He had gotten loads of offers from across the country and their mentor urged him to take one of them, but Tamaki insisted on staying with him. Perhaps it was fear of change but now it just felt like loyalty. Now that Kirishima was nearing his own graduation, he was so very conscious of how many days like this they might have left if Kirishima decided to take an offer outside the city. He didn’t want to think about that right now.

“I just,” Kirishima started, setting his milkshake aside. “I’m just not sure that I’m making a big deal out of nothing.”

Fat Gum suddenly looked concerned. “Everything okay?”

“Of course!” Kirishima smiled to waive off any worry. It really wasn’t a big deal. Except he was having a hard time focusing on literally anything else these days.

“Have you ever had a friend,” He started, unsure at how to phrase it as to not give himself away. “Have you ever had a buddy, a best bud in fact. You’ve been friends for years. But… suddenly it feels like you’re not friends anymore?”

“Have you gotten into a fight?” Tamaki asked. Both he and Fat Gum were giving Kirishima their utmost attention.

“Oh!” Kirishima suddenly realized his wording and laughed nervously. “No not like that. Like um, you both might have new...ish… feelings for each other. That you didn’t have before.”

“Ahh, I see.” Fat Gum was nodding as if he has some expert wisdom to impart on Kirishima. Instead he looked at Tamaki with a smile, who by now was blushing a lot and not looking at either of them.

“Have you and this friend done… anything? That might suggest either of you want something more?”

Tamaki looked pained asking it and Kirishima gave him a small smile at the effort.

“Not really?” Kirishima shrugged. “Nothing like, specific. It’s just like moments, here and there you know? Like something might happen.”

“Do you want anything to happen?” Fat Gum asked with a mouthful of food.

Kirishima shrugged again. The selfish part of him wanted to say yes. The realistic part of him feared being wrong.

“What if something does… happen ,” Kirishima then said carefully. “And it doesn’t work out. What if we aren’t friends again.”

“What if you become something more? Better?” Tamaki said.

He looked at Kirishima, knowing and honest. He was often embarrassed talking about his own life, and Kirishima was always careful not to pry too much. But he knew about Mirio, The Quirkless Hero. Tamaki’s oldest friend. His closest person.

“If you worry too much about the bad things, you’ll miss out on the good.” Tamaki said then, quieter this time.

Fat Gum, ever the booming, jubilant hero was beaming, clapping Tamaki on the back which rattled him.

“You do take advice to heart, you little scamp!”

Kirishima laughed as Tamaki tried to shove the massive hero off of him. He still had a hard time accepting their mentor’s kind of overbearing affection and praise. But he was getting there.

“Listen to Suneater, Young Riot,” Fat Gum said with a breathy laugh. “The boy isn’t as simple as he acts.”

Kirishima laughed with him, suddenly feeling light with possibility. He went back to his milkshake, sipping happily.

 

---

 

If in about ten years, Kirishima and Bakugou were still together in some way, where it be just as friends or something else, Kirishima was going to remember this exact moment as the one where he thought for the first time in a complete sentence:

Holy shit, I love him .

Bakugou was sitting on the sofa, totally slouched. His jeans (the super tight fitting ones from  internship with Best Jeanist which no one was allowed to make fun of him about anymore because Bakugou genuinely liked wearing them) were undone at the button and zipper. There was something playing on the television, that Kirishima didn’t register. A bag of chips sat on half on his chest as Bakugou lazily fished for a handful of crumbs to shove into his mouth.

Fire red crumbs littered his old baggy t-shirt and stained his fingers from where Kirishima could tell. Kirishima came to sit next to him and thought, Yep. This is it for me.

“Oh come on, the super spicy ones and you didn’t save me any?” Kirishima snatched the empty bag from Bakugou’s chest. He wasn’t actually disappointed, but wanted any reason in the break the silence.

Bakugou lazily pushed at Kirishima’s hip without looking at him before messily wiping his cheese-dust coated hands on his shirt.

“There’s another bag in the kitchen, calm down.”

Kirishima expected at least another insult thrown at him, but didn’t get anything except the faint sound of whatever game show Bakugou was watching.

He pulled his feet up to sit cross legged with a cushion's space between them. These were one of their rare moments  where they could do just this for a little while and Kirishima was happier for it than anything.

“Anything cool happen at your internship today?” He asked, genuinely curious.

Bakugou shrugged, which means he didn’t really want to talk about it.

Instead, “How’s your shoulder?” he asked without looking at him.

Kirishima rolled it a few times in demonstration, there was barely a hint of an ache and he knew Bakugou was only asking to change the subject.

“You know me, it’ll take more than a one lousy toss to knock me down.”

Kirishima smiled at him proudly when Bakugou looked up and gave a hint of a smirk. They sat like that for a while, quiet and tired. If there was something to be said about anything, it could wait. Kirishima knew he could have a motormouth sometimes, but he and Bakugou had gotten good at companionable silence. But more than that, he knew when Bakugou was in a sort of dark mood where something was actually bothering him more than his usual moodiness, all he needed was the quiet.

Kirishima stood, untangling his feet from their numbing position and stretched out his arms. Bakugou noticed and sat up more on the couch.

“Leaving?” He asked, which meant, don’t leave.

Kirishima smile again, “Just getting that other bag of chips.” Which meant, wouldn’t think of it.

Bakugou nodded and Kirishima swear he could almost see his shoulders settle with relief.

 

BAKUGOU [22:17PM]: a kid got hurt today.

Kirishima saw the text light up his screen after he came out of the shower. He and Bakugou had only left the common area barely an hour ago before going to their rooms with talks of needing to do homework or to sleep.

Another text followed.

BAKUGOU [22:18PM]: he’s fine.

KIRISHIMA [22:19PM]: i’m sure it wasn’t your fault. You always do your best!

BAKUGOU [22:20PM]: i know. It wasn’t. Just sucks you know.

BAKUGOU [22:22PM]: why do these dumb ass villains gotta go after the kids anyways? Are they that shit at being villains that they gotta resort to  kid hostages?

KIRISHIMA [22:23PM]: they go after the kids because they know dumbasses like us are always gonna try and save them.

KIRISHIMA [22:23PM]: cheap shot, proven effective

KIRISHIMA [22:24PM]: but you always win. That’s what you do. And you do it well.

KIRISHIMA [22:25PM]: that kid may have gotten some scratches but they’re gonna remember that it was the king of explodo kills who saved them

BAKUGOU [22:26PM]: thanks

BAKUGOU [22:26PM]: you’re not nearly as dumb as your hair makes you look

KIRISHIMA [22:27PM]: gee thanks and here i thought we were having a moment.

KIRISHIMA [22:28PM]: good thing i love you no one else would find you nearly as charming

Oh… shit.

Google search: how you you delete a text message after its been sent

Google: no results found.

BAKUGOU [22:30PM]: what

KIRISHIMA [22:30PM]: what

BAKUGOU [22:31PM]: you love me?

KIRISHIMA [22:31PM]: i didnt say that

BAKUGOU [22:32PM]: dont be stupid you literally just did.

Nononononono no this was not happening. Not like this .

KIRISHIMA [22:34PM]: well just pretend like i didnt

BAKUGOU [22:35PM]: what the fuck dipshit

BAKUGOU [22:35PM]: you’re not gonna pretend like it was a joke or something?

Now it was Kirishima’s turn to hover over his phone screen for a long amount of time. He felt like crying or smashing his phone in his palm with his quirk. He had to sit it down for a moment out of fear that he might have accidently.

This wasn’t a joke to him, he couldn’t pretend like it was to save his life. Which apparently, he should have been doing now.

KIRISHIMA [22:36PM]: i shouldn’t have said it i’m sorry

BAKUGOU [22:37PM]: sorry?

KIRISHIMA [22:38PM]: just forget it okay?

BAKUGOU [22:38PM]: fine

BAKUGOU [22:41PM]:   this is u

[a picture of fire hydrant]

Kirishima willed himself not to cry.

 

---

 

With end of term exams came the gnawing reality that he and all his friends were on the brink of true adulthood. He didn’t feel ready at all, but maybe no one ever really did. The world felt too big and he too small inside it. Soon they would be scattered to the wind like dandelion seeds. They weren’t unprepared, Yuuei had done them all well. Kirishima stupidly thought they would all stay together.

He thought… he and Bakugou at least…

They hadn’t talked about it yet. Or anything more than classes, training, or jokes at their other friends expenses.

It hurt too much.

But the truth was, he was ready for Bakugou to go off in the world and stake his claim on the field of heroes. Kirishima would never be far behind, he hoped for a good career and knew he would do well. But when he thought of Bakugou, he thought of the stars. Magnificent and terrifyingly unreachable.

Of course he loved Bakugou; he was doomed to lose him as anyone who loved a star could tell you.

 

---

 

Explosion Hero: F-Bomb

It literally took three years for Bakugou to decide on a hero name that both he and the Yuuei administration would agree upon. It felt like the most obvious choice when a teacher mentioned how Bakugou needed to stop dropping, well, f-bombs. Then he laughed so loud and maniacal Kirishima was sure he was having some sort of mental snap.

“Are you okay?” Kirishima asked, trying to shush him.

“F-BOMB!” He yelled, punching Kirishima in the arm in excitement. “Get it?! It’s ME.”

Bakugou jumped on Kirishima’s back and they both almost fell to the floor. They both nearly got detention for being too rowdy in the halls.

“Badass Heroes: F-Bomb and Red Riot, how does that sound?” Bakugou was so close to his face that if Kirishima turned, their lips would have met.

Kirishima let himself feel a moment of explicit joy. He could never stop himself from smiling so big when it was Bakugou who for once, was just as happy.  He twirled them around once before Bakugou hopped to his feet.

“Sounds like we’re in a heavy metal band.”

Bakugou’s eyes went wide. “We should totally do that too. Heavy metal heroes.”

“We can’t play any instruments.”

“So?”

Bakugou’s excitement was addicting.

---

 

For no reason at all except that literally nothing was stopping him, Kirishima decided to shave his hair. Well not all of it, it actually took him a long time to make it even, but he made himself a mohawk. He balded the sides of his head and left the middle long and flaming red.

KIRISHIMA [18:04PM]: what do you think?

Kirishima sent Bakugou a picture of himself in the bathroom mirror. He was smiling, tongue out, a peace sign, and hair covering his bare shoulders  and the countertop below. He was too excited about his new look to think about how stupid he looked.

He was nearly done cleaning up all of the mess he had made before he realized that Bakugou had texted him back.

BAKUGOU [18:06PM]: what the fuck did you do

KIRISHIMA [18:17PM]: gave myself a mohawk!! I haven’t spiked it up yet. Its gonna be so badass when i do though.

KIRISHIMA [18:18PM]: i was thinking about a look for when i debut pro

KIRISHIMA [18:20PM]: oh no do i look dumb

BAKUGOU [18:22PM]: you dramatic baby. You look fine

BAKUGOU [18:23PM]: you look uh. good.

KIRISHIMA [18:23PM]: do my eyes deceive me? A genuine bakugou-official compliment?

KIRISHIMA [18:24PM]: i might have to screenshot and print out this interaction

BAKUGOU [18:25PM]: eat shit and die

Kirishima was sitting on his bed now, unbelievably smitten, as he let himself be the last few weeks. But it wasn’t without an undercurrent of saddness.

KIRISHIMA [18:26PM]: i’m gonna miss this

BAKUGOU [18:27PM]: what?

KIRISHIMA [18:28PM]: you know, bickering with you. We might not be able to do this as much after graduation

The typing symbol popped up and disappeared about four times from Bakugou. Kirishima couldn’t help but feel like he had said the wrong thing, again.

BAKUGOU [18:30PM]: i dont understand

KIRISHIMA [18:31PM]: well you kno when you go to whatever agency you’re going to and we get busy being pro badass heroes.

BAKUGOU [18:33PM]: i’m confused. you dont wanna be partners anymore?

KIRISHIMA [18:35PM]: wait you were serious about that?

They only talked about it the one time and that was almost two weeks ago. He thought they were just playing around because Bakugou had finally found his hero name. People say a lot of things when they get caught up in the excitement.

BAKUGOU [18:36PM]: yeah i thought

BAKUGOU [18:36PM]: nevermind forget it

KIRISHIMA [18:37PM]: wait baku i’m sorry

I didn’t know… I don’t understand what you mean .

BAKUGOU [18:38PM]: i said shut the fuck up about it.

Kirishima felt his heart drop. Why was this always happening? He couldn’t think of what to say for a long time. He sat his phone down, put his head between his knees and practiced his breathing exercises. He hadn’t had a panic attack in a long time but he couldn’t bear this tightness in his chest.

He let his mind go blank when he grabbed his phone again.

KIRISHIMA [18:45PM]: when i said i loved you, i wasn’t lying. I wasn’t pretending or joking around.

KIRISHIMA [18:46PM]: i thought you were going to reject me. Or make fun of me. Or both.

KIRISHIMA [18:47PM]: i never hoped for anything. pls dont shut me out.

KIRISHIMA [18:47PM]: you’re my best friend. i love you katsuki.

Please please god don’t hate me.

Kirishima was so done with fighting, with being unsure. With feeling like he was losing grip on something he might not have been control of in the first place.

If he broke part of his friendship with Bakugou over goddamn text message he was going to be so goddamn angry with himself. Especially when Bakugou himself was probably only thirty feet away from him anyways.

For a while Bakugou didn’t text back.

Kirishima put on a shirt, and silently chastised himself for being braver when he was beat to the ground by a villain but too afraid to confront his best friend about their feelings. This was so unmanly of them both.

 

 

Bakugou was in the school gym. Kirishima could always find him there if he wasn’t in his room or the kitchen. It wasn’t a simple obsession with fitness, it was something to focus on. Lifting, running, working his body to its breaking point. Kirishima could understand the appeal sometimes when the only other option was to face something he’d rather not.

Kirishima never for a second thought that he would someday be the thing Bakugou would want to avoid. He hated it more than anything.

Bakugou was on the pullup bar, teeth gritting hard as he pulled himself with speed that was sure to wipe out his energy within minutes if he went too fast. Even in a furious state, Bakugou’s form was perfect.

It was almost funny, when he thought about how at fifteen years old,  Kirishima thought Bakugou then was the epitome of manhood and masculinity. His innocent former self couldn’t have fathomed the kind of man that Bakugou would grow into. Any impression of juvenile boyhood that Bakugou might have once possessed was gone now. He was the very image of what a hero should be; tall, handsome, strong, with beauty so raw and wild it could only be Bakugou.

Kirishima just watched him for a few moments and saw Bakugou purposefully ignore him.

“I wanna be partners.” He said loud enough for his friend to hear over his own grunts with each pull up.

Still he kept going and ignored him.

“I’m serious,” Kirishima stepped forward. “Can we please talk?”

Bakugou scowled and tried to go faster, harder. Kirishima couldn’t stand it. He surged forward, grabbing Bakugou by the hips and trying to hold him there to prevent him from moving anymore.

“Would you just stop Katsuki?”

Bakugou held himself with his chin over the bar, his chest heaving, and Kirishima’s hands damp where they clutched his shirt around his middle. He could feel the muscles tremor beneath his fingers. He pulled down gently and Bakugou offered little resistance before letting his arms lax and he dropped to his feet.

“What do you want?” He spat angrily.

Kirishima let his hands drop from Bakugou’s sides, suddenly remembering where they were when Bakugou was only inches apart from him now.

“Did you read my texts?”

Bakugou frowned at him again. “No?”

Well that explains it.

“Really? Because I got kinda heartfelt, dude.”

They always said that communication was key. Apparently that applied to reading text messages too. Kirishima felt every square inch of his face and ears go red as he fished around his pocket for his phone.

He unlocked it, where his conversation with Bakugou was still open.

His heart was beating out of his chest. Everything felt like too much and Bakugou’s intense gaze was burning into him like Aoyama’s navel laser.

Kirishima held out his phone for Bakugou to read the last few messages he sent that Bakugou obviously missed because otherwise he wouldn’t he aggressively ready to pull-up himself into early-stage arthritis.

Bakugou was entirely unreadable. Kirishima thought himself an experts on reading his best friend, but apparently when Bakugou wanted his emotions locked down and undetected, not even Kirishima could breach it. Finally, convinced that Bakugou was just going to stand there like a robot and make him feel stupid, he stuffed his phone back in his pocket.

But… when he looked back up at Bakugou, in almost a blink of an eye, there was a familiarly irritating cocky grin.

“Can’t believe you confessed over text message .”

Kirishima scoffed tossed his arms at the absurdity of it all. They were arguing?

“It doesn’t count if I have to come here in person and make you read it.

Bakugou crossed his arms and quirked an eyebrow. “You’re right. Doesn’t count. Not until you say it.”

“You’re not gonna trick me into confessing like this is some game, Bakugou.”

Not this.

It happened so fast, he almost would have missed it. The cockiness that Bakugou perfected so well melted into something else. Something so unlike him. “Am I joking?”

They stared at each other for too long. Just staring, no urgency. Kirishima remembered the picture Bakugou had send him those few months ago. He looked soft then. Like he did now. Open. But only for Kirishima here, no. There could be a thousand people in the room but it felt like such a private, delicate thing.

Kirishima bit back a smile as he raised his hand to rest on Bakugou’s forearm, just to feel the skin turn into goosebumps.

“I wanna be your partner.” He whispered.

“F-Bomb and Red Riot?”

“I want that,” Kirishima confirmed, gently stroking the sun-kissed skin and golden hair of his arm. “ You.

Bakugou dropped his gaze just a bit, just away and back again. “When you said it, before. I thought you were joking.”

Kirishima was almost offended. “Why would I joke about that?”

Bakugou shrugged as if suddenly finding the whole thing silly. “‘Cus I thought you knew that I, you know."

They were adults, this should not have been so ridiculous as it somehow became. Kirishima was almost unsure that they were ready to call themselves heroes.

“How could I possibly know how you felt?” He asked, exasperated.

“Cus I sent you that stupid picture!”

Oh my god.”

Kirishima began to laugh so hard he couldn’t stop, then Bakugou. Breathless, airy and ridiculous. He pushed his forehead into Bakugou’s chest as the other’s arms fell  from their folded position. Both hands came up to up the freshly shorn sides of Kirishima’s head. They rubbed all over his head; threw his hair as he gently pulled Kirishima’s head back to look him square in the eye.

“We’re so fucking stupid.” He decided.

Kirishima was inclined to agree.

And then it was just this. An affection blown wide open like the first breezes through a cherry blossom tree that sent the beautiful petals through the air with its gusts. Kirishima felt like the wind had been knocked right out of him, especially.

It was Bakugou’s soft lips finding his in something simple and exploratory. It was one kiss, then another, and Kirishima overcome with giddiness that he broke it with so much laugher that Bakugou gave up and held him against this chest. They were so happy.