Bakugou stepped into Kirishima’s favorite flower shop, hands thrust deep into his pockets. He tried to ignore the little black box in his right pocket, but he couldn’t help the ache in his chest when his fingers brushed over the dark velvet.
“Can I help you?” Bakugou nearly jumped out of his skin, his hands coming out of his pockets to lift defensively, miniature explosions crackling over his palms, only to find the shop’s owner watching him, eyes wide with surprise and then wider with recognition. “Oh! Bakugou! I didn’t expect to see you after…” Bakugou’s scowl made the shop owner’s words trailed off. “Ah, anyway, what can I do for you?”
“I need a bouquet,” Bakugou said, trying to make his tone harsh, but he completely failed if the shop owner’s expression was anything to go by.
“Any special message you want?” she asked, her expression unbearably sympathetic. Bakugou hunched his shoulders and half turned away.
“Just something...y’know,” Bakugou huffed. “Something nice.” The shop owner shook her head, a little frown creasing her forehead.
“You know that’s not how I work. What do you want to say to him?” Bakugou hesitated. He didn’t want to spell out the tangle of emotion in his chest, especially not to some flower shop lady, especially not when those damned feelings were rising up and clogging his throat, especially not today.
“Fuck,” Bakugou muttered.
“I have some tuberoses that symbolize pleasure, but I don’t think that’s really what you’re going for,” the shop owner mused. Bakugou glared at her.
“Why the fuck does - did - Eijirou even like you?” he grumbled. She gave him a sad smile.
“We became friends because of you, actually,” she told him. “The two of you defeated a villain that nearly destroyed this whole neighborhood about a year ago. Kirishima stopped by to see if I was okay, and picked up a bouquet of red roses. Would you like some of those to take to him?” Bakugou’s heart twisted, and he brought one hand up like pressing on his chest would make it hurt less, would make breathing easier when it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the room.
This was a bad idea. He shouldn’t have-
“Hey. Deep breaths, okay? Why don’t you sit down, and I’ll put something together for you, okay?” Bakugou just wanted to run, but he knew he wouldn’t make it far, and it was better to sit now and try to calm himself then end up running blindly and get himself into trouble. He distantly heard the shop owner mutter to herself, “No red roses, then. Probably better to avoid red altogether…”
Bakugou leaned forward, dropping his head into his hands and trying to block out the woman’s quiet musings as well as the memories crowding in on him.
Images swam before him despite his best efforts, painfully clear despite the stinging in the corners of his eyes and the blurry quality to his vision.
Kirishima, laughing nervously and presenting him with a dozen red roses.
Kirishima, with some ridiculous daisies in his hair because some little girl they’d passed had recognized him and insisted on giving him the flower crown she’d been carrying.
Kirishima, tucking a cluster of weird yellow and white flowers behind Bakugou’s ear because his favorite flower shop had a sale, laughing as he told Bakugou that holly flowers were for domestic happiness.
“Fuck,” Bakugou rasped, folding his arms on his knees and lowering his head to rest on them. It was harder to breathe past the lump in his throat bent over like that, but it felt less vulnerable to have his face hidden. He’d give anything to be there, rolling his eyes at Kirishima’s antics and pretending that Kirishima’s smile didn’t make him feel warm and fluttery and whole.
He’d give anything to have Kirishima in his arms one more time.
“Bakugou, your bouquet is ready,” the shop owner said, breaking into his thoughts. Bakugou surged to his feet, scrambling to wipe furiously as his damp cheeks, his glare daring her to comment. Instead, she just held out a bouquet, wrapped in silver and tied with red ribbon even though it clashed with the white and blue flowers. Bakugou numbly reached for his wallet, but she shook her head and pushed the flowers into his hands. “It’s on me.” Bakugou cleared his throat, seizing the opportunity to argue about something to distract himself, but then he caught sight of the little silver card tucked between the flowers, and it occurred to him that he didn’t really need a card.
It wasn’t like Kirishima would be reading it.
Bakugou fled. He didn’t care that his escape probably looked like exactly what it was.
He made his way across town, moving as mindlessly as he could, trying not to think about where he was going.
The cemetery was quiet as he followed the path to the right row of stones, then walked down the row until he came to the one that read Kirishima Eijirou - Beloved Son, Treasured Partner, Hero.
Bakugou stood before the stone for a long time before he finally sank to one knee, setting the flowers aside as he leaned forward to brush a few fallen leaves away from the grave. Kirishima’s grave.
Bakugou’s fingers trembled, resting on the cold stone, smooth on the face except for the rough grooves of the words carved into it. He blinked furiously, trying to fight back tears through sheer willpower, until he finally gave up and let the tears fall as words tumbled from his lips.
“I had a fucking plan for today, you know,” Bakugou began, curling his fingers into a fist against the unforgiving surface. “And it didn’t fucking include...fucking shit, Eijirou, today wasn’t supposed to be...shit, I didn’t want dirt and stone and motherfucking silence. I wanted to...I got reservations at that stupid fancy place you always said we couldn’t fucking afford.” Bakugou took a ragged breath, reached into his pocket and pulled out the tiny black box. “I was...I was going to ask you...fuck, Eijirou, you were the best thing that ever happened to me, you asshole. You and your stupid smile and your stupid fucking laugh and that stupid thing you’d always say. ‘Anything for you, Katsuki,’ and fucking god damn it, I wanted to hear you say that when I asked you…”
Bakugou’s fingers shook as he opened the box, pulling out a silver ring. He clenched his fist around it, the way he had nearly every day for the last week. He was tempted to activate his quirk, destroy the ring and hopefully all of the pain that went with it.
But he couldn’t bring himself to get rid of anything that was Kirishima’s. It didn’t matter that Kirishima had never worn the ring, didn’t matter that Bakugou had never gotten the chance to ask him to, because if Bakugou couldn’t make himself stop wearing Kirishima’s hoodies and couldn’t make himself clean out Kirishima’s locker at the hero agency, he sure as shit wasn’t going to be able to so much as scratch the ring that was supposed to be on Kirishima’s left hand.
Bakugou swallowed hard, forcing down his grief, and reached for the bouquet with shaking hands. He picked it up, carefully tied the ring in the ribbon, and laid the flowers on the headstone.
“I wanted you to be mine forever, Eijirou,” Bakugou whispered, his voice catching on Kirishima’s name. “I was so stupid. I should’ve just. Fucking. Held onto you when I had the chance. I should’ve...should’ve fucking protected you better. I’m so fucking sorry, Eijirou.”
The cold autumn air stirred, ruffling his hair and making the flower petals shiver.
The card fell from the bouquet, and Bakugou reached for it automatically. His vision was still blurry, but when he realized that the card had something written in it, he paused. Bakugou frowned, ready to toss the card away, dismissing it as a mix-up that the shop owner had even put it there to begin with. But then he blinked, his vision clearing enough to make out the words, and he couldn’t stop himself from reading it.
Forget-Me-Nots - self-explanatory
White Carnations - for remembrance
Violet tulips - for faithfulness
And the white tulip in the middle is for forgiveness
Bakugou crumpled the card in his hand, something in his chest shattering. Fuck.
He couldn’t possibly forget Kirishima, would never stop seeing him in every flash of red in the corner of his eye or bright burst of laughter overheard from someone else’s conversation.
He’d never be able to let anyone else in like that, never stop loving Kirishima.
He’d known all of that, though, even before he’d had to sign that goddamn paper to let Kirishima’s life fade with a rattle and one last, haunting beep.
But that wasn’t what had him curled forward, pressing his forehead to Kirishima’s name carved in stone, screaming into the bouquet he’d brought, so full of grief and memories and love for someone who couldn’t love him back anymore and all-consuming, soul-crushing guilt that even the fucking flowers and the damned florist knew it.
He’d blamed himself as soon as he saw Kirishima on the ground.
He’d blamed himself, doubted his decision even as he signed his name to stop the machines that had kept Kirishima alive.
It was his fault Kirishima was dead.
Maybe if he’d just been stronger, faster, better…
Maybe if he’d just waited a little longer…
He couldn’t ever forgive himself, so why did that little white tulip, nestled in a bed of remembrance and faithfulness, make him feel like Kirishima would be pulling him close and telling him not to blame himself, because even if he blamed himself, Kirishima would forgive him?
And worst of all, why didn’t it make the burning, aching emptiness in his chest hurt any less?