Actions

Work Header

A scar worth bearing

Chapter Text

The coffee felt cold in his lap as Bakugou gripped the wheel aggressively in his gloved hands, jerking the car to the left and hitting the breaks lightning-fast as the car slipped on the frost-ridden road. The night was a pitch black one, and no matter how much Bakugou insisted on squinting, it was very difficult to see in the gloom.

"You should turn on the headlights," Todoroki suggested impassively from the passenger seat, his head tossed around as Bakugou hurled the vehicle through a maze of streets in the dark. 

"And you should shut the fuck up," Bakugou countered petulantly, removing a hand from the wheel to tug at his scarf. When the vermillion accessory loosened its hold on his neck, he tossed it in the back seat of the police van. His tie, however, he made sure to throw in Todoroki's face. "I already fucking explained it —if we turn on the fucking headlights we'll draw fucking attention to ourselves! Dammit, don't make me swear three times in one sentence, half n' half. And don't you dare tell anyone I ran that red light. We're supposed to be the police for fucks sake."

Todoroki picked Bakugou's tie off of his face, before placing it in a compartment underneath the dashboard.

"You don't have to be so extra," Todoroki deadpanned. 

Bakugou's face whipped to meet Todoroki's and the half n' half instinctively reached out a hand to guide the car out of the path of a lamp post. He clutched the collar of Todoroki's shirt, the task of driving --and not dying-- forgotten as he hissed lowly. 

"Where did you learn that word?" Bakugou demanded. "You never speak pathetic teen language, half n' half, that was the soul fucking reason I thought I could tolerate your stupid ass."

"Kaminari," Todoroki replied simply.

"Don't let that shitty meme taint you," he warned, snapping his head back to the front. Todoroki let go of the wheel as Bakugou clamped his larger hands around the steering device. "You know, we're gonna get hounded and lectured for this."

"No, we'll probably lose our jobs," Todoroki corrected, watching the road. 

Bakugou huffed. 

"You say that like it's worse than one of Aizawa's lectures." He reached up to reposition the mirror, a heavy frown on his face as his scarlet shards connected with the blankets and pillows they had collected in the large backseat of the van.

"You sure you can do this? You sure you can look that kid in the eye —past all his bruises— and tell him that everything's going to be okay?"

Todoroki didn't reply, but the small flicker of determination in his single blue eye was more than enough for Bakugou to understand. He hated being able to feel empathetic, but he understood why Todoroki wanted to do this.

They had received the report two days ago, and it was one that made Bakugou's blood boil. It'd apparently been going on for months, until the old lady next door had figured it out. A young boy of five years living in Ikebukuro had been domestically abusedabused countless times by his drunk father, and that had hit Todoroki too close to home.

Bakugou had offered to take the case alone, but Todoroki wanted to be a part of it despite how scared it made him feel. Yes, he had been in that position. Yes, his own father had tormented him enough that a scar had solidified on his wavering heart. So yes, he wasn't going to stand by and let it happen to somebody else. Especially not a young child .

That was precisely the reason why Todoroki had "borrowed" a police van, before knocking on Bakugou's bedroom door at 11pm. They were going to get that kid out of that broken home, together.

Bakugou watched as the other fiddled nervously with his fingers, a shiver travelling up along his arms. Of course Todoroki Shouto didn't bring a fucking coat on a cold Winter's night, that damn Half n' Half. 

"Here." Bakugou, with the help of a miracle, managed to pull off his gloves whilst driving over the speed limit. He tossed them into Todoroki's lap.

"Thanks."

Bakugou's brow twitched uncomfortably.

"A good deed for some information. Spill it, pretty boy. Why did you choose me to save this damn kid with you?" Bakugou daringly asked. "There are plenty of officers at the station that could have helped you out, and driven within the speed limit."

"I didn't want someone who could drive within the speed limit," the other said simply. "I wanted the officer who's underpaid, complains about it, but stays later than any other cop on the team," Todoroki admitted. "I want you, the officer who said 'fuck the rules, I'm not going to let anyone die'."

Bakugou's jaw hit the floor, but he was wise to pull himself together before he ran into a group of trash cans. He stepped on the gas and the car spun around the damn bins, bringing them to a stop beside a ditch. 

He had never heard his partner talk that much, nor had he ever been complimented by Todoroki at all in the entire six years they had worked together as partners. It fucking irritated him. He didn't need to be praised! He already knew he was good enough! But...it also made him feel better. Like he was worth something. Damn it! Now he was having pathetic, sappy thoughts. Ugh. 

He shook his head to remove his sappy thoughts. Feelings were futile.

"You ass, how do you know I'm underpaid?"

"Because you're my partner, and we get the same amount of pay."

Bakugou narrowed his eyes.

"I bet you peeked at my bank account on my laptop."

"Yes, I was bothered enough to do something as small as that," Todoroki murmured, with an expressionless face that could have put a stone to shame.

Bakugou slammed on the accelerator.

"Don't sass me," Bakugou snarled. "Kaminari's turning you into an even bigger pain in the ass!"

Bakugou about kicked Todoroki out of the car when the calm officer raised one arm in a pathetic half-dab. A half dab too much, in Bakugou's opinion. His temper was holding on by a mere thread at this point, but he would have to keep the fire within him at bay. The house loomed over them as Bakugou parked (-surprisingly neatly) outside of the cobblestone driveway.

"We're here."

Todoroki's eyes jittered nervously for a moment before he lifted his head confidently.

"Let's go."

________________

"Explain what happened from the moment you entered that house," Aizawa instructed, watching Bakugou carefully as the fiery male shifted in his seat. 

"We knocked on the bastard's door—"

"Without swearing," Aizawa interrupted, causing a growl to rumble in Bakugou's throat. 

"We knocked on that idiot's door," Bakugou continued despite Aizawa's sigh, "and when he answered it we showed him our badges. He immediately retreated further into the room and we told him "we're from the police force and we have the right to assess your house regarding your child's well being"—"

Aizawa's eyes hardened, but he didn't interrupt. 

"Then we saw his kid hiding under his fucking bed. He was wearing long sleeves so we assumed that his marks were on his arms, but they weren't."

"Where were they?" Aizawa questioned. 

"Less noticeable places; the back, stomach, scalp," Bakugou answered. 

"And then?" Aizawa pressed. 

"His dad came into the room commanding us to get out, so I punched that fucking loser in the mouth. We drove the kid to the station and that was that."

Aizawa Shouta's eyes bored holes into his skull, but he was silent for a long moment. The lecture had begun with the Commissioner of Police listing all of Bakugou's past mistakes while on-site. Then, it had continued with Bakugou recalling the events of last night. He wasn't stupid, he knew he shouldn't have resorted to violence no matter how livid he was, but to see the child's bruises with his own eyes made him go beserk. 

"It confuses me, Senior constable Bakugou, how your passion to protect those against domestic violence results in you abandoning protocol and using said violence against  civilians." Aizawa leant back in his chair. The bags under his eyes almost matched the black of his unkempt hair, which was tied into a messy ponytail. 

"It's not that confusing," Bakugou murmured lowly. "That asshole of a father has been beating up his kid for years, meanwhile the police station were lazing around sipping hot cocoa from coffee cups and chatting about how heroic Iida Tenya is. Fuck protocol."

Aizawa rolled his eyes.

"I'm unaware as to how your jealousy plays any role as an excuse, but I understand your frustration."

A vein popped in Bakugou's head, but he remained quiet.

"I understand that you don't like following protocol," Aizawa continued, "and I understand that it'd be quicker to storm in there and get these abused children out. However, because you were foolish enough to punch the child's father in the face, we don't have a case to pit against him that doesn't involve your removal from our force."

"So if I quit, that bastard will go to jail?" Bakugou questioned. "But if I stay, he'll use this against us?" Aizawa noticed the sudden volume in Bakugou's voice. Sure, Bakugou had every right to be angry, but there were lines that couldn't be crossed even as a member of the police.

"That would be easiest–" Aizawa began, only to be interrupted by Bakugou leaping out of his seat.

"Then I quit!" the senior constable growled, narrowing his eyes to slits. 

"Slow down. There's no need to be rash. If needed, the police force can make a pitch that he was endangering the child before you assaulted him. Then, you'd still have your job," Aizawa suggested, collecting a file of papers in his hand. "Either way, leave it to me. From here on, I suggest you think before  you act. Go find your tie."

Bakugou could hear the hint of dismissal in the commissioner's voice so he stalked to the door, mumbling a "yeah, boss" under his breath before leaving the room curtly. He closed the door behind him, a sense of dread growing in the pit of his stomach. 

He had almost lost his fucking job.

Waiting for him outside was Todoroki, who looked like he hadn't slept in years.

"He's going to be put in an adoption centre," Todoroki suddenly whispered.

"Yeah, well I don't give a shit," Bakugou muttered, curling his fists in the pocket of his trench coat. "Have you seen my stupid tie?"

"It's under the dashboard of the van," Todoroki replied, walking quietly after Bakugou as he padded along the corridor towards the main office.

They reached the large room, where upon the walls hung pictures and names of people whose cases they were involved in. The coffee machine was its usual boring blue, sat atop a narrow kitchen bench, flanked by a small, white fridge. The room was as depressing as Todoroki's attempt at humor, Bakugou reasoned, and that was a solid statement. 

"Dammit." He slammed a fist on his desk, alerting the other constables within range. Kaminari gave them a sympathetic look, one that Bakugou wanted to burn right off of his stupid face.

"I'm not allowed to drive any police vehicle for the next four months, I'm temporarily thrown off of the Protection against Domestic Violence team, and now I have to deal with Kaminari as my partner for the next fucking six months as we go around on night shifts doing who knows what."

"It's called a patrol," Kaminari offered, only to make Bakugou go bat shit crazy. "And most of the time we do arrests, or play cards when things get boring."

"It's called shutting the fuck up!" Bakugou remarked, saliva spitting from his mouth. 

Todoroki passed Bakugou a cup of water, which the fiery male skulled in one go. His fists shook as he faced the half n' half, eyes venomous.

"And what punishment did you get?" Bakugou challenged.

"Nothing."

He didn't understand how Todoroki had the guts to look him in the eyes after saying that he had gotten no punishment at all, but the impassive constable truly did.

"No punishment at all?" Bakugou repeated, his breathing becoming irregular. He was only angered further when Kaminari's irritating voice slipped into his ears.

"Did you hear what's happening to the poor kid, though? He doesn't have any other family so he's going to an adoption centre."

"What if he gets adopted by another violent parent?"

Bakugou snapped his angry gaze over to Uraraka. 

"That won't fucking happen!" he assured, snarling.

Uraraka looked dubious, but she lowered her gaze and sat down at her desk. Todoroki sat down in his own, and Bakugou gave a loutish huff before slamming his ass on his chair, fists still curled against his side. Kaminari sat across from him, golden eyes flickering with amusement.

"Guys, did you see Iida's face on the news?" Kaminari grinned.

Uraraka giggled, "he looked so stiff, but the entire city thinks of him as a hero now!"

"Ever since he reprimanded that crazy murderer, Shigaraki Tomura, the town is in love with him," Jirou added calmly, brushing aside strands of raven hair before placing an ear piece behind her ear. 

Bakugou slammed another fist on his desk, bringing a heavy silence across the room. Kaminari gave a goofy smile, realizing the reason behind Bakugou's sudden outburst of anger.

"Look, Bakugou, you're the only one who isn't happy for Iida and his popularity. Iids's such a nice guy," Kaminari began, before casting a confident glance at the unreadable Todoroki. "Hey, Todoroki, what do you think of Iida's sudden rise to fame?" Kaminari quirked a brow, urging on an answer that Bakugou knew would be very much rehearsed.

"Lit," Todoroki said simply, glancing at Kaminari who nodded his head proudly. Todoroki looked confused, as if he didn't understand what he had said or what it meant, only that he knew he had to say it for Kaminari's sake. 

Why did Kaminari insist on teaching Todoroki such crap?! 

Bakugou felt his blood bubbling dangerously in his veins as he impulsively threw his pen at Kaminari's face. Luckily, the male was athletic enough to dodge. Which was weird, since Bakugou had no idea that Kaminari was that athletically privileged —even as a cop. 

"I'm not going to lose to anyone!" Bakugou declared. "Especially not shitty glasses, and especially not this fucking system—"

Jirou interrupted smoothly with a firm tone of voice. 

"Kaminari," she said simply, and the officer sprung to his feet immediately in response. Bakugou raised a brow as he watched Kaminari twirl the keys of his allocated van with a finger, before sliding a gun into his belt. 

"The security cameras spotted Red Riot robbing a beauty boutique at Hanazawa road, fourteen seconds prior to now," Jirou explained, her fingers gliding effortlessly across the keyboard of her laptop. "Prepare to depart in 2 minutes and 13 seconds. Be careful, he may have an accomplice."

Kaminari rushed to the door, beckoning Bakugou to follow with a hand. 

"It's time you saw me in action, Bakugou. This is your new squad; we work with armed robberies."

Bakugou rose to his feet, steps loud and sharp as he flanked Kaminari's side. Armed robberies sounded mildly interesting, he supposed.

"Let's go," he murmured, glancing back to catch Todoroki's eye before pushing open the door. It'd be strange to suddenly have a new work partner, especially one so characteristically different from half n' half, but soon he would climb back to his precious rank. He'd show Aizawa that he was worthy of being a senior constable, and Iida could suck his dick because he would be the best police officer the station had ever seen.

He followed Kaminari down the hall at a brisk pace, a frown prominent on his lips. 

Red Riot? Now, who the fuck was that? And why did they sound so familiar? 

 

 

Chapter Text

The lamp-post flickered feebly across the two figures waiting apprehensively by the door. It was a late Winter afternoon, hence the sky was dark and time was of the essence.

Kaminari gestured for Bakugou to circle around the building, intending to trap Red Riot between them. Bakugou reluctantly complied, stalking around the worn-out building to the back entrance, a little too loud in his steps since he could hear a slight shuffle of urgency from inside.

They had received the report five minutes prior that the infamous Red Riot was robbing a beauty boutique in the 7th Ward. 

He opened the door quietly, the gun holstered to his belt providing some relief. He wasn't going to shoot the guy, but having a weapon always proved useful. Kaminari warned him the mission would be about stealth —clarifying the meaning to someone like him who could easily get impatient. Bakugou immediately punched Kaminari in the arm to justify the other's argument. 

The door made no noise as he closed it behind him. Unaccustomed to the gloom, he made sure to take slow, cautious steps. He hated all of this sneaking around, but Kaminari had warned him how important this task was. Apparently Red Riot was a burglar the town had been trying to catch for some time now, but to no success.

He caught a flicker of pitch black against the darkness and immediately recognised the figure of a male. The shadow gave the hint that he was about his age —mid twenties— with a stocky figure and broad shoulders. 

He could tell by the way the figure was facing him that the thief knew he was there, so Bakugou saw no reason to hide any longer. He flicked a switch by the wall and watched as four lights flickered on one-by-one. He knew Kaminari would curse him for this, but a direct approach wouldn't hurt either. Bakugou had the confidence that he could catch any bad guy in any circumstance given to him.

What surprised him was that the thief, his eyes coming into contact with Bakugou's, pulled down his wine red mask, revealing a set of glimmering, crimson eyes. Bakugou's eyes trailed upwards to the roots of spiky, red hair that appeared to defy gravity as it pointed up towards the ceiling like stalagmites. The thief was wearing an unusual outfit that made absolutely no sense since it left his chest bare. Bakugou realised he was staring too long and furrowed his brows, his shoulders tightening.

"Why did you pull down your mask? The moment you let a cop remember your face is the moment you lose."

"Lose?" The thief repeated, amused. "Against you?"

A vein snapped in his head, but Bakugou tried to remain calm. He vowed to tighten the cuffs more tighter than normal when he caught the thief.

"Get on the floor," he demanded, placing a finger on his gun to draw the thief's attention to his weapon. He didn't need to use the pistol, intimidation worked fine enough.

The thief lugged the heavy bag onto his back, a beaming grin approaching his lips. A grin that, surprisingly, caused Bakugou to hesitate, for it was far too pure and genuine to be the grin of a criminal. Bakugou narrowed his eyes, a snarl on his lips.

"You're surrounded," Bakugou hissed, "get down on the ground with your hands above your head."

The figure laughed a warm, attractive laugh. "I don't look too surrounded, officer." The villain glimpsed behind him with an "aah" of understanding, as if seeing something Bakugou couldn't.

Bakugou eyed the bag, ignoring the criminal's words as he knew they were meant to distract him. 

"Put the bag down, thief."

"Can't. Otherwise my friends won't be too happy with me," the thief said, in a tone more handsome than any voice Bakugou had ever heard. Wait, what?! Since when did he think guys were handsome?!

The thief stretched his arms. 

"Say, I've seen you around before, Senior constable, Bakugou Katsuki. You look really cool in that uniform. How long has it been since you started your job? Seven years?" Bakugou's jaw clenched as he took aggressive steps closer. What was he talking about?! And how did he know so much?! 

"Shut your mouth," he growled, irked by the idea that this thief could possibly have copies of his personal file, or, even worse, access to the police data base —that, by the way, was very confidential.

"You know, no matter how hard you try, constable Bakugou, you won't ever be able to catch me," the thief told him, his grin fading into a charming smile. "A steady hand catches the most fish."

Before Bakugou could even comprehend what had happened, thin fingers pressed a nerve on his neck and he was down. As his mind urged to fight the sudden drowsiness, he struck out a hand and gripped the ankle of the thief as he attempted to skim past. He felt the red-headed thief pulling him onto his knees by his collar and his own grip slacked. 

His eyelids suddenly grew heavy and the last thing he saw as he blacked out was that stupidly attractive grin.

____

When he awoke to his senses, Kaminari was fanning him with his jacket.

"You went out cold, Bakugou. What happened in there?" Kaminari asked, worried.

Bakugou massaged his shoulder as he propped himself into a seated position. He grabbed Kaminari's jacket out of his face and tossed it across the sidewalk, much to Kaminari's dismay since he began to complain that he had just washed it yesterday. Whilst Kaminari scuttled over to collect his item of clothing, Bakugou decided to speak.

"You're letting me in on your next patrol and that's fucking that," he ordered, causing Kaminari's eyes to widen in shock. "I'm catching that jerk even if I die trying."

"No offense, Bakugou," Kaminari began, returning back to the fiery male's side. "But you were kind of useless. You weren't even supposed to turn on the lights until I had signalled that I was in position."

"I can't see your fucking signal in a pitch black room," Bakugou retorted, knowing full well that the kind of training that revolved around dark rooms was only done by the officers in Kaminari's squad —the squad that handled armed robberies on a day-to-day basis.

"How long has that thief with the shitty hair been running around?" He then asked.

"Months," Kaminari responded, taking on a rather puzzled expression. "He just manages to slip out of our grasp every time. How does a guy with that kind of thick physique move so fast? I bumped into him a couple months ago and he felt like rock. He knocked me out cold and left a note saying he was sorry about it. A pretty ridiculous move since I could have used his handwriting as evidence."

"Did you?" Bakugou asked.

"Nah," Kaminari chuckled. "I'd have felt pretty guilty."

"Guilty?" Bakugou rolled his eyes. "You're dealing with a criminal."

Bakugou tuned out on Kaminari's mumbling and instead tried to remember what he had seen. Spiky red hair. Crimson eyes. A big smile. A big bag of goods too. That was enough to serve as evidence; he knew he was expected to report seeing the thief firsthand, but man, he didn't want to at all. 

Why? Because he wanted to catch that burglar himself. Why? Because Bakugou wanted a challenge that he could seek his teeth into and enjoy from the bottom of his heart. 

"In any case." Kaminari rose to his feet, patting the dust and dirt off of his jacket. "It seems that he wasn't after the money, again."

Bakugou's brow quirked.

"What?"

"I checked with the store owner and she confirmed that 60 different types of eye shadow were stolen, but not a single yen of money."

Bakugou couldn't help but huff.

"So he wants us to know he exists," Bakugou realised. Kaminari nodded in response.

"He has a different goal, it seems."

Silence ensued between them and something felt eerily strange. When Kaminari began staring at his face for too long, Bakugou almost kicked his partner's face. Something was definitely wrong. 

"What?!" His voice dripped with menace. "Quit staring at me, shitty face!"

Kaminari straightened up, covering a hand over his mouth.

"Ah, you know, Bakugou, blue eye shadow really doesn't suit your face," Kaminari murmured cautiously, suppressing the laugh that threatened to spill from his lips. 

In the reflection of his pistol, Bakugou saw the dashes of deep blue that covered his eyelids, and honestly, he had never cursed so much. 

 

____

 

Bakugou kicked the door of his apartment open to see Todoroki —who was reading on the small couch. The other lifted a hand in greeting, leaving Bakugou to stare angrily at the back of his head.

"Don't turn around!" Bakugou yelled, hiding his face as Todoroki curiously peeked behind anyway. 

"I fucking told you not to turn around!"

Todoroki raised a perfect brow as he caught a brief glimpse of blue. He decided not to dwell on the matter and turned back to his book as Bakugou scurried into the bathroom. The senior constable screamed immeasurable curses into the air as he slammed the door. Scrubbing his eyelids to the point where he almost ripped one off, he finally managed to rid his face of the foolish eye make up. Water trickled down his face as he stared at his fuming reflection.

Red Riot would pay, he would make fucking sure of that.

Remember to report everything you saw, Kaminari had said earlier.

Yeah, fuck no. 

He'd reprimand that thief all by himself and bask in the satisfaction that came with it.

Yeah, sure, technically he was a part of their team now, but every kid knows that there's no Bakugou in team —no matter how hard you try and spell it.

Ugh.

How had Red Riot known so much about him, anyway? 

He huffed. 

That didn't even matter; Bakugou promised to hurl him into jail the next chance he got. No more surprises, no more marvelling at how hot that fucking Red Riot looked. He'd catch him next time, for sure.

Red riot would be a dead riot when he got his hands on him. Bakugou's blood continued to boil as he exited the bathroom to join his roommate on the couch.

"How was your day?" Todoroki asked coolly, cutting through his thoughts.

"Fucking shit," Bakugou hissed, falling on the dull, brown couch that was too small for both of them to stretch out at once. He used his own feet to push Todoroki into a corner of the couch, leaving him with enough space to span out against the cushions. Todoroki merely blinked before repositioning himself on the very edge where Bakugou's feet couldn't reach him. "And to make matters worse, Kaminari wasn't a total idiot. He actually knew what he was doing. What a piece of shit."

Todoroki had no idea how to reply to a statement such as that, so he did as he usually did and remained quiet.

Bakugou closed his eyes, the rims red due to his aggressive scrubbing. He turned to his side, wondering if he could wake up in a world where everything would just go his way. His way was the best way, after all.

He felt his bones begging for sleep and the nerve on his back still twitched from being pressed by some grimy thief's accomplice.

Unfortunately, something tapped his shoulder just when he had started to get drowsy.

He tossed over and opened his eyes sharply to see Todoroki holding out his phone. He obviously wanted Bakugou to read whatever was on the page. 

He grabbed the phone with a growl, eyes scanning the small words on the screen. He scrolled down to see a picture of a small boy with quirky green hair and large, green eyes. The child that they had saved yesterday night: Midoriya Izuku.

"His adoption information is up," Todoroki murmured.

"So, what?!" Bakugou snapped, tossing the phone into Todoroki's hands.

Todoroki's eyes flittered over to their spare room before meeting Bakugou's again, and that was enough for even an idiot to understand. 

Bakugou immediately jumped to his feet, grabbing Todoroki's collar in his hands.

"You want to adopt a fucking kid, half n' half?! Are you out of your mind?!!"

Todoroki nodded simply, holding Bakugou's fiery gaze. 

"We have a spare room."

Bakugou couldn't believe the nerve of this asshat. Did this apartment look like a fucking day care centre?! Did that Half n' Half think that, just because they were roommates, Bakugou would actually say yes to living with a dorky kid that would pester him incessantly?!

Todoroki looked determined as he curled his fingers around Bakugou's wrists, relieving Bakugou's grip off of his shirt.

"I won't know what to do," Todoroki admitted. "If we let him live here, I won't even know how to act around him, but I know that I don't want him to go into the wrong hands again. It's the right thing to do."

Bakugou could feel the intensity behind those mismatched eyes. He could feel every inch of Todoroki's soul wanting him to understand. Todoroki looked determined; Bakugou didn't hate a look like that.

He sighed, pushing past Todoroki to grab his coat and car keys. Todoroki watched cautiously as Bakugou tossed him his coat before taking uncouth steps towards the shoe rack. Pulling on his boots, he pulled open the door with the ferocity of a storm. The knob slammed against the wall.

"Well, are we fucking going or not?" Bakugou barked.

Todoroki spurred into movement, joining Bakugou's side as he pulled on his thick, grey coat. 

"Thank you," he whispered, and soon they were both in his car, heading towards the orphanage where the kid they had both saved on that downcast night sat contained and alone.

All Bakugou could do was hope, hope that he wouldn't have to be counted on to be a good father figure for a child who had only ever seen him punch a guy in the mouth. 

"Are you sure you're okay with this?" Todoroki persisted.

"Yeah, whatever, just don't expect me to like the kid," Bakugou hissed, but his irritation diverged when he saw Todoroki smiling.

His room-mate was smiling that soft, sweet smile that only revealed itself every so often. The smile that managed to calm Bakugou down, even if it was only by a little. Todoroki looked relieved, but Bakugou was unsure.

Could he really protect a kid?

_______________________________________

The car ride home was quiet. All three of them refused to talk, or, in Bakugou's case, weren't good at making conversation.

He glanced at the kid in the reflection of the car mirror, a frown carved onto his lips.

Midoriya Izuku looked like a mess in his monochrome clothes. His hair was unruly, uncombed and greasy-looking. His eyes, though big in size, were a dull, phlegmatic green that seemed to grow darker with every turn he took.

It made sense. After all, the kid was leaving his old life to discover a new one with an angry, impatient cop and an unemotional one.

The cop thing had helped with adopting the kid. He had gotten a few weird stares upon entering the orphanage, especially since he was entering with Todoroki by his side. He heard the whispers of the young female staff who gossiped about how he and Todoroki looked like a fucking gay couple. What the fuck. As if he'd date a guy dumb enough to let Kaminari mentor him about memes.

Todoroki did most of the talking and paper signing, mostly because he didn't trust Bakugou enough to talk without saying something either stupid, cruel or nasty.

The adoption went smoothly, with a house check organised for tomorrow. They were trusted to take care of Deku a night earlier purely based on their job profiles. Most people on the street were aware of their ranking in the police station. Immediately, the adoption staff had gushed about fucking Iida Tenya and his fucking heroicness. The staff pretty much entrusted the kid to them purely based on the fact that shitty glasses sometimes volunteered at their orphanage.

"Iida-san is so handsome!"

"And so heroic~"

Bakugou almost gagged.

Either way, Todoroki seemed more relieved about having the kid in their care. It was unusual to see him taking so much initiative. Bakugou was the complete opposite. In fact, he felt terrible when the kid was within his presence.

"Are you hungry?" Bakugou asked, in a tone rough enough to graze skin.

The boy's shoulder's jumped and he remained silent, which only irritated Bakugou to the core. It was human decency to fucking reply to some's goddamn question!

He gripped the steering wheel to calm himself, aware of Todoroki's glacial and protective aura diffusing throughout the car. Man, if looks could kill.

It wasn't like he was going to hurt the kid!

"Fucking choke on a chill pill," he snapped to Todoroki, who calmly pressed a finger to his lips in response.

Bakugou almost slammed the brakes. Why was Todoroki being so annoying?!

The more time he spent in the kid's presence, the bigger the seed of doubt in his stomach became. Somehow, the car ride felt like forever. The street lights taunted him in the corner of his vision. They were telling him he wasn't good enough. God dammnit, he knew  he wasn't good enough. He would never be.

I should have said no. I can't take care of a five year old.

 

Chapter Text

Two weeks had past since Todoroki and Bakugou adopted Midoriya Izuku, and Bakugou couldn't help but feel that the kid was absolutely scared of him.

The adopted child never came out of his room and so it was Bakugou's job (—since he was home more often than that half n' half bastard) to get the kid to actually move. He had to tell him to shower, to go to the toilet, to fucking eat —Bakugou felt like a fucking mother, and he hated it. Regardless, Todoroki entrusted him with that stupid brat, and he knew that he had just as much responsibility to take care of the kid as his roommate did.

"Deku." Bakugou had swiftly decided on a nickname. "Take a bath." He stood by the door, leaning against the frame.

Deku shook his head, scrunching up his eyes as he hugged his knees close to his chest. He always sat tucked away in the corner of the room, refusing to lie upon the mattress and accept his new life.

"I fucking said, take a goddamn bath!"

Bakugou quietened down when he saw the boy's whole body jolt. Deku pressed his small figure against the wall as if wanting to sink through it and disappear. Bakugou felt guilt grip his throat with bony hands and croaked out a much softer command.

"You need to take a bath."

Deku shook his head again and this time Bakugou decided to take a different approach. He crouched down to appear smaller, as one would do with a scared dog, and held out his large hand slowly. He peered into Deku's eyes and the child stared back with a mixture of emotions that made Bakugou's stomach crawl. He could see the flecks of fear and worry, the gleam of confusion and glitter of sadness. The sparkle of innocence was tainted by a smear of distrust.

"I promise I won't hurt you. I know I can be rough, but the moment I saw you I wanted to protect you." Bakugou didn't know where those words had come from, but every word he uttered felt true. That night, when he had punched Deku's dad in the mouth, he had done so because he had wanted to save him. In that moment, he hadn't cared about the possibility of getting fired. He had wanted to save Deku —and he still did.

Bakugou softened his gaze —which was incredibly difficult since his face was a permanent mask of anger and hatred— and sighed.

With minutes of silence spanning out between them, Bakugou almost gave up. He made a move to pull his hand away and was very close to leavingleaving entirely, but stopped when he felt soft, chubby fingers clutch onto his fingertips. Bakugou narrowed his eyes as Deku scooted over to him slowly, large eyes wary as he allowed Bakugou to pull him closer.

The next thing Bakugou knew, he was squeezing bubble bath mixture into the steamy water with his sleeves rolled up and sweat collecting on his brow. Deku stood by the door, scared, and Bakugou had to usher him closer once again by lowering himself into a crouch.

"Get in the bath," Bakugou ordered, but Deku didn't move. In fact, Deku looked like he was about to run back out of the door and hide forever.

He understood why Deku didn't want to get in the bath, especially with Bakugou there breathing down his neck. His eyes trailed over to the bruises on the child's legs that had only just begun to fade. Deku immediately hid them with his small hands.

"Do you know what my job is?" he asked the child, keeping the roughness to his tone at bay.

Deku didn't reply, but rather shook his head slowly.

"I'm a police man." Bakugou gripped the hem of his shirt before pulling it over his head. He let the white material fall to the floor and ran a hand over his seasoned body. He was well-accustomed to the marks and scars across his skin, the bruises dashes across his stomach and even along his muscular back. Sure, he couldn't see them, but he could feel them aching, every day.

Deku's eyes widened as a small gasp left his mouth.

"I'm an ass to everyone I meet, but these are the scars I bear for the people I want to protect." Bakugou sat down on the bathroom tiles, crossing his legs as he beckoned Deku to come closer. The child, though hesitant, couldn't help but be lured over to him. Deku traced a small finger across a thin scar that ran across the adult's shoulder, intrigued but concerned.

By sitting down, Bakugou was at a height where they could meet eye-to-eye, and he had to admit that Deku's eyes held a vigour in them. That glimmer of life was hidden behind a lens of hurt and betrayal, for now, but Bakugou could only imagine that this kid's smile, when it bloomed, would be fucking beautiful. He wanted to see the kid's eyes crinkle up with happiness. He wanted that more than anything.

He watched Deku's finger as it ran across the smooth skin of his biggest scar, and decided he had to open up to be opened up to.

"You know, Todoroki and I didn't really get along at first. We were newbie partners, you see, and our first job together was at an elementary school. Apparently a stupid political governor had gone crazy after getting sacked. He wanted to take a few kids with him before he committed suicide and so he intruded into the school with a knife."

Deku, though young, listened carefully to his story, understanding words far beyond his age. Bakugou almost cursed himself for talking about such horrible things to a five year old brat, but there was an intelligence and understanding in the boy that compelled him to keep talking. He felt comfortable enough to talk about things that he had always kept to himself, and that was beyond shocking.

"Todoroki was stupid, or brave, enough to face the attacker head on; he's pretty stubborn when it comes to saving kids. Man, he's annoying as fuck, but he's also a pretty nice guy —though, don't you dare fucking tell him that."

Bakugou paused to take a breath.

"Anyway, the knife was in the air by the time I leaped towards him. It would have landed square in his chest, but I managed to push him away in time."

Deku's breath hitched in his throat as he gripped Bakugou's hand. 

"I don't mind bearing this scar for that half n' half. I wouldn't change the past. I'd take that knife again —a hundred times, if it means saving his life."

His eyes hardened.

"Deku, don't be afraid or ashamed of your own scars. There was something you were fighting for. Whether it was your life or your father that you wanted to save —there was something you lived for."

At the mention of his father, Deku's eyes suddenly began to brim with tears. All this time, he hadn't told anyone about the abuse, and that was because his father was all he had. He'd pretend he was okay when his father would send him on errands. He'd pass the police station almost every day from the grocery shop, but he never even thought about handing his dad in. How could he? How could he abandon a member of his family? He couldn't. 

"I-I don't want him to leave," Deku admitted, shaking as he covered his chubby face with tiny hands.

"Even though he hurt you?" Bakugou asked.

Deku nodded strongly, and that was the first time Bakugou had ever seen the kid look so sure. He ruffled the kid's hair, ignoring the way Deku flinched when he was touched.

Before he knew what he was doing, he lifted Deku into the warm bath, tears and all. The kid's clothes soaked in the bath water; the bubbles sapped the colour of the cute, russet Pomeranian on his shirt. The water seemed to make the child more nervous.

Deku continued to hide his face in his hands, sobbing quietly as Bakugou massaged shampoo into his soft, green hair. In the reflection of the bathroom mirror, he could see the determination brewing in his own eyes. This kid. His kid. He didn't mind bearing another scar for a kid like this.

Deku was strong, resilient, forgiving. He was everything Bakugou wanted to be. A small part of Bakugou hated Deku for that sole reason; a five year old kid was an even bigger person than he'd ever be. Damn, he felt pathetic, but maybe the existence of this kid would challenge him to become better. 

"You can take a bath with your clothes on just this once," Bakugou said firmly. "But next time, you're going to wash your entire body and drown those horrible fears of yours. You were seriously starting to stink."

Deku nodded slowly, wiping away his tears with his little, clammy fists.

When Bakugou cupped water into his hands to rinse Deku's head, the child held his breath, almost turning blue despite Bakugou's order to breathe. 

What was the kid doing?!

Then, it hit him. The realisation that the abuse wasn't just punches or kicks. That horrible excuse of a father had tried to drown Deku too. 

"Deku," Bakugou murmured, and the child slowly met his piercing gaze. "I'm going to rinse your hair, can you lean back?"

It took a while for Deku to suppress his fear, but Bakugou was understanding. (Yeah, even he was surprised with himself.) He propped one hand under Deku's back as the child floated anxiously in the water of the tub. He caressed the soap out of the child's dark green hair with his other hand.

"Your dad, he really treated you like shit. I fucking hate his guts."

Deku sniffed, raising his head with an anger in his eyes Bakugou had never seen a kid possess.

"That's not true!" Deku insisted, sitting up abruptly. The water splashed restlessly against the tub in response. "He fed me and gave me a room..."

"And beat your fucking ass every time you breathed." Bakugou didn't mean to snap. Damn it to hell, he wished Todoroki was here instead of him. He couldn't help a damn kid. Why had he even agreed to adopt this brat in the first place?

Even after being hit by his own father, Deku loved his dad, but what if this kid was loving a version of someone that wasn't real? 

Bakugou wanted to set the child straight, but that could wait till later. 

"You might never see your father again, but I swear to you that you'll never feel alone —not anymore. You can hate me, but I want you to accept that you have a new life, and that you don't have to be scared. All right?"

He made the promise on the spur of the moment, but now, Bakugou was determined to keep it. You'll never feel alone anymore, kid. 

And surprisingly, despite the harshness of his words and his tone, Deku looked at him properly for the first time and uttered a soft, "okay."

____

Bakugou gripped the empty cup of coffee in his hands, throwing it in the bin with all the fury of a mother fox trying to protect her young. The crippled paper cup thudded limply against the bin, falling to the floor soundlessly as if dead.

"Bakugou, you missed," Todoroki commented, looking up from the file in his hands.

"I can see that! Dammit, I'm not fucking blind!" Bakugou snapped. He turned his head when footsteps sounded from the hallway. The door soon swung to the side to reveal a familiar figure. "Kaminari, you piece of shit," Bakugou snarled, enraged. "Don't leave your empty shit on my desk."

"Oh, the coffee cup? Haha, but it wasn't empty," Kaminari chided, walking giddily over to his desk. "It was filled with air."

Jirou's face-palm was in the corner of his eye as Bakugou muttered several, censored insults to Kaminari, who sat with a goofy smile on his face as if not hearing a single word.

"More importantly." Kaminari laughed awkwardly as he met Bakugou's boiling gaze. "I heard you adopted that kid; Midoriya Izuku! Bakugou Katsuki living with a feotus of his same species. Did my life just become a comedy movie?"

Bakugou snapped his gaze over to Todoroki who shrugged.

Man, that damn half n' half!! He was supposed to keep that a secret from everyone!

"I say we have a house party!" Kaminari suddenly declared, rolling around on his desk chair, only to have it completely pushed over by Bakugou's merciless kick.

Kaminari landed with a thud on the ground, but a goofy smile still adorned his face as he lifted his head.

"Deku doesn't like company!" Bakugou told him roughly. "And I'm damn sure he'd hate yours."

Uraraka's eyes swirled with affection. 

"Awwwh. You already gave him a nickname."

"Shut up!" Bakugou snarled.

So, Bakugou seemed determined not to let them come over, huh?

Well, Kaminari worked with armed robberies on a day-to-day basis, he always knew how to secure another route.

"Todoroki?" Kaminari rose to his feet to look the half n' half in the eye. "What do you think? Wouldn't you agree that Izuku-kun needs a little, unfamiliar company in order to adjust to our big, unfamiliar society?"

Todoroki paused for a moment, setting down his book before nodding firmly.

"You're right," Todoroki agreed.

He turned his head to dodge Bakugou's fierce glare as Kaminari shouted gleefully.

"It's sorted then! Uraraka-chan, Jirou and I will be coming around your house tomorrow at five."

Jirou lifted her head from where she sat.

"Tomorrow? I have to stay back late for a solo mission so I can't go."

Bakugou was enraged. How dare they just invite themselves over?! Getting half n' half's permission meant nothing! Bakugou was always the one with the final say!

Kaminari continued to pester Jirou about the details of her solo assignment, but Bakugou had to calm himself before he punched anyone. He rose haughtily to his feet before grabbing the door handle and opening the door. He made sure to slam it behind him.

Bakugou continued to stalk down the hallway to the vending machine, only stopping when he saw the janitor standing in his way.

The janitor halted, moving aside to let Bakugou through. 

He would have thanked the guy had he cared to, but Bakugou wasn't that nice. He felt the janitor's eyes hot on his face as he inserted his card and ordered a hot coffee.

"What?!" Bakugou snapped, not offering as much as a glance as he dipped his hand into the slot to retrieve his drink.

"I think your eyes could do with some blue eyeshadow," the voice chuckled, and Bakugou's neck immediately throbbed. The pressure point that had been pressed without assent began to ache as he remembered the night where he met the only villain who had ever slipped from his grasp. 

He snapped his head over so quickly that his neck and joints cracked. He caught the amused look in those crimson eyes, in that large, confident grin.

He also caught the so-called-Janitor's shirt collar in his hands, before slamming him against the vending machine. The red riot didn't flinch, but rather smiled. This almost made Bakugou pummel him. 

"Why the fuck are you here?!" Bakugou screamed, alerting a few of the officers near by.

The janitor's cap slipped off of his head as Bakugou shook him vigorously.

"What do you want?!"

"Who are you?!"

"A peaceful janitor who wants to make a living as a man rather than a thief," the Red Riot replied, his face relaxed despite the fact that it was a hair-length from meeting Bakugou's quaking fist.

"Don't fucking lie to me!" Bakugou went to shake his collar again, but somebody was pulling him back by the arms. He could hear All Might's annoyingly righteous voice as the squad leader pulled him away from the janitor.

Kirishima did well to put on an expression of surprise on his face, pretending to look "intimidated" as Bakugou screeched curses of fury. Bakugou felt himself being dragged back further and further away from the thief these stupid colleagues of his were trying to catch in the first place!

The next thing he knew, he was back to being reprimanded by Aizawa's cold gaze.

"I'm not fucking apologising," Bakugou told him.

Aizawa couldn't care less.

"Do you have a problem with our staff?" Aizawa asked simply.

Bakugou bit back a retort. Say it. Tell them who he is. Tell them you just saw Red Riot! Fuck. JUST FUCKING SAY IT. 

But under some work of magic that Bakugou couldn't understand, his mouth and vocal chords could not obey his mind's fervent commands. What kind of spell did that thief have over him?! Why couldn't he talk?!

Aizawa took the silence as a hint of possible remorse, which was insane since Bakugou barely ever regretted an action he took.

Bakugou scanned the framed pictures behind Aizawa on the wall.

Yagi Toshinori, Kaminari Denki, Iida Tenya and Aizawa Shouta. The four most important and perhaps inspirational constables in their station.

Bakugou couldn't believe that Kaminari was either important or inspirational, so he assumed Kaminari's picture was hung up to make the others look decent, or for comedic purposes. 

The clock ticked and Aizawa soon dismissed him. Bakugou recieved yet another warning and the penalty of having one of his badges stripped from his uniform.

He still couldn't believe what was happening. How had the police squad not noticed a criminal was working as their janitor!?!

Then, he remembered.

I'm the only one who's seen that damned thief's face. I'm the one who has to catch him. I will catch him.

Bakugou rampaged through the entire station trying to find that thief again, but to no avail.

Damn it to hell, what was that thief trying to do, anyway?

 

Chapter Text

Bakugou still found it strange to eat dinner at a table with three people, especially when it was in dead silence. Deku still wasn't used to the new environment and Todoroki was an introvert or had no interest in others —either way he pissed Bakugou off, so, basically, it was up to him to make the effort. Not that he would —he didn't give a shit. Dinner conversations were redundant anyway. 

He settled on analysing Deku instead.

Bakugou had been bombarded with shifts for the past week —resulting in him passing out on the doorstep or, if lucky, the couch— and hadn't been able to talk with the kid all that much.

Deku was getting better. He flinched less when either he or Todoroki lifted an arm to pat his head, he ate more, and he even took a bath without being asked. Bakugou didn't like the idea of an internal clock, though. It was great that Deku was doing things on his own, but everything felt too robotic. The kid needed some spontaneity. 

"Deku," he began, and the boy raised his head, placing his fork carefully on the table. "What kindergarten did you go to when you were still with your dad?"

Todoroki lifted his head, eyes growing firm at the mention of Deku's real father. 

"I've never gone to one," Deku said quietly.

Bakugou's eyes waned to slits. What? Did that mean Deku spent every day alone in that house, breathing in the smell of liqour and tabbacco? 

"Then, you're going to one now," Bakugou decided firmly.

Deku bit his bottom lip, almost as if he wanted to say something, but he kept quiet —a very bad habit of his. 

Todoroki softened his gaze and placed his cutlery on his plate. He then tapped Deku's hand softly, anticipating the flinch, before smoothing a large hand over Deku's smaller one completely. 

"You don't have to go to a kindergarten if you don't want to," Todoroki promised cooly, warning Bakugou to back off with a cold, grey eye. 

"Fine!" Bakugou snapped. "But both of us are always working! And it doesn't seem right to leave a six year old alone in a shabby apartment!"

Todoroki gave him a nod that Bakugou understood as, leave it to me, and left the dinner table to return to his room. Bakugou faced Deku, who was staring up at him with wide green eyes, and let out a huff. 

"Can I-I..." Deku trailed off. 

"Can I what?" Bakugou demanded. 

Deku shrunk back in his chair and Bakugou, once again, found himself unable to communicate the way he wanted to. Was it so hard for him not to fucking yell? Damn it to Hell. Why was he still so horrible at this? 

"Whatever," Bakugou muttered, leaving the table with their dishes in his hand. 

"Can I call you Kacchan?!" Deku blurted out nervously, halting Bakugou's movements entirely. He snapped his head around to see Deku with his eyes screwed shut, anticipating a response. 

He almost found the freckles fucking cute, but there was no way he was going to let the kid string him along whichever way he wanted. He hated kids. They were too deceitful. They were too good at lowering an adult's guard. He wouldn't let his guard be lowered! 

"Kacchan?" He repeated coldly, raising a brow. "That's fucking lame."

Deku hung his head, lip trembling as he bit back his tears. Oh fuck no. There was no effing way that he'd let a kid's tears force him into defeat.

Well, that's what he thought for the first few minutes, but then he started to feel pretty shit for making the kid cry. 

The Deku cried only inflated his guilt too; he cried quietly and softly, suppressing his whimpers and choking back sobs as if he had done so all of his life; as if he had spent a life staying invisible. 

Bakugou, albeit sighing, placed the dishes on the kitchen bench and walked over to the TV. He clicked a few buttons and popped open the cover of a DVD.

"No kid hates Disney, right?" Bakugou murmured bluntly, averting his gaze when Deku hopped off of his chair to stand by his side. Deku shook his head and clutched Bakugou's shirt in a tiny hand. 

They settled on the couch and Bakugou couldn't help but be angry with himself. He felt angry that he felt so happy and that, in the end, his guard was being forced down— it was all too confusing. Little by little, this kid had him dancing in the palm of his hand. 

Damn. He remembered the first time they had sat on this couch together; Deku had sat an entire two metres away from him at first. Now, Deku fit snuggly into his side like the last puzzle piece Bakugou desired to feel whole. He curled an arm around the kid, his hard hand surprisingly gentle against Deku's back —against Deku's scar.

Todoroki entered the living room hours later to see the two asleep on the couch. A small smile touched the corner of his lips as he placed a blanket over them both.

He turned off The Lion King and turned off the lights, and as Todoroki slept, he found himself memorizing Bakugou's relaxed face and his coiled arms, and the little Deku who fit snuggly between them like he was Bakugou's entire world.

Well, he probably was.

_______

When Bakugou woke up, it was the day of the house party. Naturally, he cursed numerous times as he clambered off of the couch remembering Kaminari's huge grin about meeting Deku. He glimpsed back at Deku who was asleep in a tangle of blankets, a serene look on his small face.

Bakugou lifted the boy into his arms, holding him carefully but firmly as he delivered him to Todoroki's room.

The half n' half lifted his head immediately at the sound of the door opening. His disarray of scarlet and white hair flopped into his eyes as he attempted to run a hand through his fringe.

Bakugou dropped Deku into Todoroki's arms before huffing dramatically.

"Take care of him."

Todoroki, through lidded eyes, noticed the remarkably neutral expression on Bakugou's face. There was no anger, no hostility —he had definitely come a long way.

"Why are you smiling, creep?!" Bakugou demanded rudely.

Todoroki blew air through his fringe before flopping back into his bed. He pulled the grey sheets over Deku before meeting Bakugou's scouring gaze. 

As if a moment of telepathy passed between them both, Bakugou suddenly groaned as he placed a hand to his head tentatively. 

"Alright, I'll go and buy your fucking soba," Bakugou snarled, slamming the door behind him as he grabbed his keys and put on his shoes.

What the fuck was he, their slave?!

 

___________________

By the time Kaminari had knocked on their door with Uraraka teetering behind him, Bakugou had prepared a fucking full course meal. Okay, so it wasn't as good as that guy's from Shokugeki no whatever, but it was fucking boss compared to Todoroki's horrendous cooking skills.

Todoroki didn't even know that a spatula existed, or that the oven was actually more than just part of the bench to put books on.

At least the half n' half opened the door as Bakugou stood by the kitchen with his arms crossed. Deku stood behind him, a hand clutching Bakugou's apron, which, by the way, was the first thing Kaminari noticed when he walked in.

"You really suit pink, Bakugou!" Kaminari grinned, taking off his shoes one by one as Todoroki closed the door behind them. "What a rad birthday present, am I right? I'm surprised you didn't throw it away!"

Bakugou's snarl to shut up was drowned out by Uraraka crouching down in front of Deku.

"You're so cute, Deku-kun!"

"Hey!" Bakugou shouted. "No one can use that nickname but me."

Uraraka rolled her eyes before holding out a hand that MIRACULOUSLY Deku took. It had taken Bakugou at least three fucking weeks for Deku to get used to him.

Fuck that. Uraraka had to go. She was tainting his pride.

Todoroki blinked as Kaminari made himself at home, spanning out across the couch as he started gushing about who knows what. He flicked the TV on and invited Deku to join him. Thank fucking fuck Deku was nerved by Kaminari's chirpy attitude because otherwise Bakugou would have lost it if Deku liked Kaminari too. 

Uraraka was the only one that could soothe Deku so easily; it almost made Bakugou jealous. He breathed in and out to calm himself, but it clearly wasn't working because as soon as Kaminari opened his mouth to say something stupid he snapped.

It was mostly along the lines of: "I can't believe you've become a fully fledged mum, Bakugou!"

Yeah, Bakugou wasn't too fond of being considered the mum.

He advanced on Kaminari with a clenched fist, but the nimble officer dodged him before hiding behind the couch. They ran around the sofa in circles with Kaminari laughing and Deku watching through wide, cautious eyes.

"You can't touch me. I have the power of Todoroki and bad memes on my side," Kaminari exclaimed, soon hiding behind Todoroki whose placid expression could hace froze fire.

Bakugou decided to calm down when he glanced at Deku. 

Finally, everyone was seated at their shabby dinner table, with Deku and Uraraka sitting next to each other and Bakugou next to Kaminari. What poor seat choice. Todoroki sat at the head of the table, eyeing the curry Bakugou made with a wary look. 

Todoroki offered Kaminari the first bowl of curry. The chirpy officer wholeheartedly took the bowl and engulfed it quicker than Bakugou could say "it's hot."

And boy, it was hot, the spicy kind of hot.

Kaminari let out a screech as if his tongue was on fire, which it probably was, to be fair.

Todoroki soon declined the curry, earning an exaggered huff from Kaminari who was skulling cups of milk.

"You used me as a test subject, Todoroki!"

The half n' half shrugged.

The murmur of the TV sounded from behind them as Uraraka asked Deku some reasonably simple questions. Kaminari had finally settled down on the couch, unable to talk after the shock he had recieved. He glanced at Bakugou in shock who ate the spicy curry with no problems.

"I can't believe you can eat that," Uraraka murmured.

Bakugou rolled his eyes.

"Even a kid could eat it. Here, Deku."

Bakugou held out his spoon filled with the crimson curry. Deku sniffed it, eyes curious as he craned his little neck forward to take a bite.

Uraraka went to stop him but it was too late.

Deku swallowed the spicy curry, tipping his head to the side as he tried to understand why Kaminari had overreacted. It wasn't really that spicy at all!

Bakugou suddenly smirked, crossing his arms triumphantly.

"That's my boy."

Everyone in the room froze to look at Bakugou who seemed bright with pride. Uraraka immediately flushed red, smiling goofily.

"Your boy? As in, your son? Ooooh."

Bakugou's expression fell.

"That's not what I mean, round-face!"

"Awwwh. You're so proud of him. You're really like a family!" Uraraka grinned.

Bakugou jumped to his feet, about to retort when he was suddenly interrupted by the sound of a familiar name coming from the news on the TV.

He snapped his head over to the bright glow of the TV screen, where a woman with a mic was recounting the events of a siege that happened at an office building.

"A witness spotted Red Riot a block away and experts say that he may be linked to the attack. 14 casualties, 2 dead. The police are still identifying the scene, but an officer from the Tokyo police station working out of hours was also caught in the attack."

A picture of the police officer's photo flashed on the screen and Kaminari immediately stumbled off the couch. His fingers traced Jirou's pixelised picture as the hands of fear gripped at his throat.

"Jirou Kyouka has been taken to the nearest hospital, suffering wounds to her abdomen and arms."

Bakugou felt his stomach twist and turn as he curled his fists. Todoroki immediately covered Deku's ears with his hands as Uraraka rushed towards the door, lip quivering

"Who would do this?!" Bakugou screamed into the air as Kaminari slowly rose to his feet.

The officer's expression was firm and emotionless as he glanced back to answer.

"I don't know," he began, clutching at his shirt to suppress his shakings fists. His golden eyes narrowed.

"But what if she was targeted?"

Uraraka held a hand to her mouth. 

"Do you think it could have been the Red Riot?"

 

 

Chapter Text

Jirou looked serene on the hospital bed, with her hair neatly fanned out on the blue pillow and her fragile breaths disappearing into the air along with Kaminari's hope. Bakugou knew the press was dying to take a picture of her now; motionless, cut and bruised. Perfect for the headlines and to catch attention. On the way here, Bakugou had already yelled at quite a few reporters, chasing them away with a growl and a bark, sometimes a hiss.

You never know how much someone means to you until they're almost gone. Bakugou understood what that meant now. Jirou was often quiet, but she was the central piece to the team. She was funny, clever and creative. Plus, she could roast Kaminari —which immediately put her in Bakugou's good books.

Bakugou didn't hate her —nobody could, so to see her like this made him angry and conflicted.

Right now, it seemed the entire team was already mourning her, but she was still hanging on. And so Kaminari hung on too. His hope wasn't dead yet.

Kaminari's shoulders sagged as he took Jirou's cold hand, rubbing warmth into her palm with his thumb. 

"They say she received the wound from a villain —a serial killer by the name of Toga Himiko. She seemed to have an accomplice during the siege, but it was confirmed that it wasn't the Red Riot. I guess he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time," Kaminari explained. He refused to take his eyes off of Jirou. What if she disappeared? What if he looked away and someone hurt her again? Kaminari's voice broke a little. "No one knows when she'll wake up."

Bakugou closed his eyes and suppressed the shaking of his fists by stashing his hands into his pockets.

"They'll pay. I'll kill them all."

"Don't do it, Bakugou." Kaminari let go of Jirou's hand only to fix up the small, purple flowers on the table next to her bed. Even as he did so, his eyes were latched onto her for any sign of movement. Every time the breeze rustled her hair, his hopes would get up. Did she move? Is she going to be okay? Maybe it isn't too late to tell her how I feel? Every question inside his head ate away at his sanity. He felt like he'd go crazy without her. What was the point of his lame jokes if she wasn't going to come back with a witty retort? "Bakugou, don't make things any worse. The more you strike your opponent, the more they strike back."

Bakugou's eyes diminished.

"Have you turned into a coward? I can't believe you'd fucking say that after one of our own was—"

"I don't want to see her get hurt anymore!" Kaminari snapped. It was unusual to see Kaminari lose his temper at all —he rarely did. His voice was cold and broken as he continued through gritted teeth, "I'm sorry for snapping, but you won't change my mind..." A moment of silence passed and Kaminari's muscles tensed. "Bakugou, you should go console your kid. He saw the news too. Stuff like that can scare children. Todoroki's working late, right? You shouldn't leave him alone."

"Deku's strong enough to be by himself."

"Sure," Kaminari murmured. "And Jirou was too."

A seed of worry grew in Bakugou's stomach and he found himself taking Kaminari's advice.

"Call us if she wakes up." He pulled on his coat as Kaminari sat stiffly on the seat, as still as a figurine.

"Of course," Kaminari promised.

"Don't forget: we're all here for you and Jirou." 

Kaminari couldn't believe that words with such sincerity could come out of Bakugou's mouth like that. His jaw dropped.

"She will wake up, you know," Bakugou told him quickly, when he couldn't handle the awkward silence anymore. He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. Dammit. Had he said something too sappy and stupid?

Kaminari's smile was wistful and forced. 

"What if it takes forever?"

Bakugou huffed, crossing his arms. He rolled his eyes as if it was the most stupid question in the world. 

"Then wait forever, loser. Even if waiting a million years inflicts a scar on your heart, isn't it a scar worth bearing?"

Kaminari finally cracked a smile, murmuring something about forever not actually being a thing and that Bakugou was actually going crazy, but he found strength in Bakugou's words.

"I didn't know you were so good at consoling people," Kaminari teased. Bakugou's temper pricked at the comment, but he was glad that Kaminari's energy was coming back. Even if it was only a meager fraction.

Man, he never knew there'd be a day when he wouldn't detest seeing that idiot smile.

Fuck, he thought to himself. Why am I being so nice? This is disgusting.

For Kaminari's sake, though, Bakugou really did hope that Jirou would wake up from her coma soon.

____________________________________

Bakugou walked home from the hospital through a giant park. Kids gleefully squealed around him as they played games of tag in amidst the trees. Bakugou immediately thought of Deku: the only boy who couldn't play and laugh like all the other kids in the city did. Maybe if they hadn't adopted him, Deku would be able to go out with a better foster family and do fun, cheerful things. Instead, he was stuck with two lousy cops who were too busy to take him anywhere. Bakugou growled at himself, ashamed.

"I'm takin' him out!" he vowed. Whether it be to the beach, city, amusement park or any other place he wholeheartedly despised, if it was for Deku, he'd endure it all.

He followed the winding path leading through the fields and arrived at his apartment complex.

His phone beeped as he entered the building. He opened the text message Todoroki had sent him. 

I don't like the thought of Midoriya being alone in the house anymore. I employed a nanny.
SENT : 5:05pm 

It took a moment to register, but in due time Bakugou felt his blood boil. 

And you didn't think to tell me sooner Half n half?!?!
SENT : 5:05pm

[shrugging emoji] 
SENT : 5:06pm

!!!!!!!! IT'S MY FUCKING HOUSE YOU FUCK@&#&*$@**!&"*#**$*"*'@@#%&$%
SENT : 5:06pm

Read.

 

Bakugou lumbered up the stairs in a fucking fury. He slammed open the door with his foot, eyes ablaze. 

Bakugou's jaw dropped when he saw Deku at the dining room table, a red crayon in his little hand as some stranger —whose back was currently to him— asked him what he was going to draw. A fucking stranger! In his fucking house!! What a load of shit. Nanny or not, they were getting thrown out of here.

Bakugou stalked up towards the stranger, fully prepared to take the consequences of messing up someone's facial features, when suddenly, Uraraka stopped him. She rested a strong, round hand on his chest in warning. 

"Don't hurt him."

WHY WAS SHE HERE TOO?!?! God damn it! 

"He's a babysitter who also studies martial arts. Deku-kun needs someone to protect him when you guys aren't home," she explained softly, but the fucking explanation wasn't nearly as good enough. 

"Yeah, well he can martial arts his fucking ass out of my house," Bakugou mumbled, but he did quieten down a bit. He did KIND OF agree that Deku shouldn't be home alone anymore. The crime rates in the city were climbing, and people were even starting to move. And this was Tokyo! People were supposed to move in not out.

"You don't want him alone in the apartment and neither does Todoroki-kun." Uraraka retracted her hand from Bakugou's chest. "This was the best choice."

"Where'd you even find this guy?!" Bakugou analysed the worn-out beanie the stranger wore on his head. "He looks like shit."

Uraraka pouted angrily.

"Don't say that! You shouldn't look down on people, Bakugou-kun..."

Bakugou was taken aback for a moment, but he did shut up. Man, roundface was just as annoyingly righteous as always. 

The stranger turned, finally hearing their voices from the kitchen, and that was when Bakugou froze. A confused expression painted his face as he leaned closer to get a good look. The "stranger" pulled off his beanie and revealed familiar crimson hair. Determined red eyes also sparkled back at him —and that shit-eating grin revealed itself as if to taunt him. 

"I've heard a lot about you, Constable Bakugou," the "nanny" grinned. "I'm Izuku's new friend and babysitter, Kirishima Eijirou. It's nice to meet you."

Bakugou practically leaped at the man, curling his fingers around his collar before shaking him vigorously. Red Riot!

"Get out of my house!" he screeched.

Uraraka immediately bound Bakugou's arms behind him with her own, restraining him as Bakugou seethed, spitting out any insult he could think of. He flung her off easily at first, but she wasn't giving up.

"Bakugou-kun! Calm down!"

Did she just tell him to calm down?!

Uraraka gave the babysitter an apologetic glance before kicking the back of Bakugou's knee with her foot. When he crumbled to the floor, she jerked his arm behind his back quicker than he could react.

Since when did round-face know a move like that?! Bakugou thought, as he fell to his knees. The only thing that calmed him down at this point was Deku suddenly clutching his arm, eyes wide and concerned.

Bakugou shrugged Deku and Uraraka off, growling as he demanded for Uraraka to take Deku and get out of the fucking room. He rose to his feet, glaring so intensely at Kirishima that the thief thought his brain would explode.

"No," Uraraka said firmly, clutching Deku to her chest. She cradled the kid in her arms and held her ground as she stood like a barrier between him and the Red Riot. "I can't leave. We don't want you to mess up the poor guy's face." Deku gave a feeble nod that kept Bakugou quiet. It was clear that Uraraka was shaking; she was scared of him, and yet she was brave enough not to back down. Bakugou had to give her a little credit for that.

"The poor guy thinks he can handle it," Kirishima chuckled warmly, agreeing to the idea of them leaving. "I'll be okay. I think Izuku deserves a walk outside for his wonderful drawing. You should buy him some ice cream —my shout."

Uraraka, though hesitant, left the apartment with Deku. Then, when they were finally alone, the thief faced Bakugou again.

"Surprise," he grinned. 

Bakugou's eyes twitched. 

To soften the air, Kirishima Eijirou held up a piece of paper scribbled in various colors. There was some spiky looking black, red and yellow thing in the middle of the page, but Bakugou had no idea what the hell it was.

"I asked Izuku to draw his favorite person." The thief pointed to the weird thing Bakugou had been looking at, "and there you are, right in the centre of the page. That nice guy with the red and white hair is drawn there too. I guess the cute little kid couldn't pick one."

Bakugou stalled for a moment. 

"W-what? You mean, the kid actually likes me?" Bakugou shook his head violently; he couldn't get distracted. Besides, the drawing was hardly flattering. He looked like a mess.

This asshole was more clever than he looked, and Bakugou knew that better than anybody. "Never mind that, you ass, don't call him by his fucking first name!" Bakugou snapped. "I bet you accepted the babysitting job knowing I live here. What's your deal? If you want a taste of death, I'd rather kill you on duty." 

Kirishima ignored him completely, much to his distaste. 

"I'm fucking turning you in, right now!" Bakugou grabbed the thief's hand before hurling him towards the door. 

Red Riot stumbled before regaining his balance. 

"Hey," he laughed. "You're too aggressive; it's not very manly to throw guys around because you feel like it. Besides, Izuku's a good kid. I can protect him when you guys are at work and then no one has to worry. I may be a thief, but I'm not a killer. You saw what happened yesterday, right? Toga Himiko is still running wild out there, and I know you want to catch her."

Bakugou stopped in his tracks, his eyes growing to slits as a wicked smile overtook his thin lips. 

"Are you fucking bribing me?!"

"Not yet," the villain murmured, a teasing hint in his masculine voice. "But it wouldn't be hard." He ran a hand through his bright red hair, which was down for once. "Toga Himiko and her accomplice, Twice, don't really leave any leads unless they want to. She isn't a part of my association, but I may or may not know where her hunting grounds are. If you're game enough." 

Bakugou perked a brow.

Of course he was game enough! But he couldn't fall for this trap.

"And why would you do that?" he asked suspiciously.

"Because it's the manly thing to do. I've never liked Toga's methods: she always has a way of getting innocent civilians wrapped up in her assassinations. My boss wouldn't want me spending time on stopping her, so it's a win for the both of us if you catch her instead." 

Bakugou was still reluctant, so Kirishima decided a little more persuasion was necessary. Rather than persuasion, he had something a little more dangerous in mind...

"I know you don't want to hear this, but Izuku's kind of attached to me already. I don't think he'd want another guy to go missing in his life, not like his father."

Time seemed to stop for a moment as Bakugou pieced everything the Red Riot said together. Did he just mishear something? Or did that fucker actually mention Deku's dad?!

"A threat, huh?! How did you find that out? You know a little too much about your enemy for a thief..." Bakugou was eerily calm, which made Kirishima cautious. Bakugou was only ever calm when he was thinking about ways he could rip his prey apart.

The thief almost expected a nasty punch in the face, but Bakugou was smiling. It wasn't an endearing smile —it was more like the crazed smile of a demon. Bakugou's eyes danced dangerously as he took a step closer to the thief. No one had ever challenged him before. No one had ever been strong enough to stand on his level as an equal. No prey had been this invigorating, ever. 

"Fine," Bakugou hissed, cracking the knuckles of his left hand slowly. The noise echoed in Red Riot's ears. "I'll play your fucking game. You can stare right into the eyes of my kid every day and I'll stare right into yours, but if you hurt him... I'll hunt you down."

A moment of silence passed before Kirishima's serious expression melted into a charming grin.

"If you want to hunt me down, you'll have to catch me first, Constable Bakugou." He straightened up and reached for the door. "We should go and make sure Izuku and Uraraka are safe."

"Wait." Bakugou's sharp command was met with obedience. Kirishima stopped. "Why petty robbing?" Bakugou growled. "You seem cocky enough to go for a bank, or a corporate business' secrets. Why settle for 60 shades of eyeliner?"

"Eyeshadow, " Kirishima corrected, before shaking his head softly and crossing his arms.

"And as for why," Kirishima began. "Do you know how a pod of killer whales kill their prey?" He continued when Bakugou didn't bother to answer. "They beat a seal with their fins until it can't breathe, and then they drown it together. The kind of association I work in is like that pod of killer whales —it was made to drive the police department insane. Torture is commended, killing is like breathing. So, my job is to drive your armed robbery squad up the wall before my boss delivers your last gift."

Bakugou's blood turned to ice. He was confused, and rightly so. This guy looked like a good man, like someone who would reach above and beyond to save people, but he was spouting crap about torturing the police department before killing them?

"You're fucking insane," Bakugou muttered, "but I don't hate the way you think. So you want to kill me, then do it."

For the first time since they had met, Kirishima's expression darkened.

"There's more of you, aren't there? A whole fucking organisation hell bent on seeking revenge on the police? What did we do? Arrest your drunk father? Give you one-too-many speeding tickets?" Bakugou taunted, but he was discontent that the Red Riot was showing no emotional reaction to his taunts. Instead, he wore a complicated and unreadable expression.

"Whatever it is, I'm not going to let you destroy this police squad, or harm anyone in it. If you so much as breathe on Deku, if you so much as look at one of my colleagues, I'll be the killer whale that drags you all down to Hell."

Finally, Kirishima reacted.

He held out a hand fearlessly.

"On second thought, I think I should go with you when you hunt down Toga and Twice."

"I don't need you," Bakugou spat.

"Yes, you do. If you go alone, you'd probably shoot them without thinking. You're a police officer, aren't you? You'd be fired from your job, and then would you be able to protect your colleagues from us? You'd need inside information for that."

Bakugou had to admit he was right, which only irritated him beyond compare.

"Fine," he hissed. "You and me. Next Monday. At Midnight. That makeup shop." He smacked the other's hand away in an attempt to show that he somewhat agreed. Albeit, reluctantly.

"This might be the first date I've had in a while." Kirishima looked down at his hand.

Bakugou's rage exploded at the joke.

"Shut up, shitty hair! Like I'd want to be around you!"

Kirishima grinned in response, and it almost made their previous conversation seem like a joke. Was this guy really someone who'd say something like: My job is to drive your armed robbery squad up the wall or torture is commended?

It made no fucking sense. 

Why was it so hard for Bakugou to exterminate his growing interest for this thief? Why was it so hard to stay away? Why was it so hard to believe that Red Riot was actually a sadistic villain hellbent on torturing the police department?

He recalled what Kirishima had said earlier on in their conversation: I may be a thief, but I'm not a killer.

Which version of him was genuine? What half of him was Bakugou supposed to believe?

Bakugou's head ached thinking about it, so he decided to stop. His mumble came out low and deep,

"You're seriously everywhere, Red Riot. I can't wait for the day when you're out of my sight." 

Kirishima's signature grin revealed itself and Bakugou's heartbeat sped up. 

"Maybe we're destined to run into each other, Constable Bakugou." 

 Bakugou scoffed.

"Yeah, if you keep stalking me like that, of course we are..."

 

_________________________________________________________

BONUS:

 

Bakugou curiously peeked over Todoroki's shoulder. The half n' half appeared to be taking a selfie of himself, which was probably the most unusual thing in the world after Bakugou not swearing. He furrowed his brows as Todoroki glanced back at him.

"What are you doing?"

He sipped from a can of beer.

Todoroki looked down at his phone before lifting it enough that Bakugou could see the image clearly. Bakugou's neutral expression turned into a scowl. The first picture was a picture of Todoroki half-dabbing, a monotone expression on his face. Todoroki swiped and the next one was a video of his roommate saying lit and then lifting up a literature book. Lit(erature) was written in the corner in font, as if Todoroki didn't have faith that Kaminari would get the joke. The fact that Todoroki was even making a joke was a miracle.

"Which one do you think would cheer Kaminari up?" asked Todoroki.

Bakugou ran his hands over his face in disappointment and disgust.

"If you sent me either of those, I'd blow up my phone... So neither."

Todoroki frowned, torn as to which one he should send. He was smart enough to ignore Bakugou's bad advice. He looked so determined to come to a decision that Bakugou almost felt guilty for not being helpful. In his own way, Todoroki was worried about Kaminari too. Unfortunately, Todoroki's worry lead to an incredulous belief that sending memes would somehow cheer Kaminari up.

Bakugou sighed and muttered, "how about the dabbing one?"

Todoroki nodded.

"Okay."

Out of nowhere, Deku came along and curiously slid his finger over the phone. His large, green eyes crinkled up when it changed to a picture of Bakugou's face photo shopped on Grumpy Cat's body and vice versa.

"So cute," Deku mumbled. His eyes were sparkling with stars.

"WHAT THE FUCK?!" was Bakugou's polar-opposite thought. "What is this shit?!"

Bakugou threw his phone across the room, much to Todoroki's displeasure. Todoroki watched as the phone bounced once and hit the wooden floorboards.The half n' half was surprisingly calm as he shrugged and muttered, 

"Kaminari has copies."

Bakugou crushed the can in his fist. "I'm going to kill him."

 

 

Chapter Text

Bakugou was tying his shoelaces at the entrance-way when the door suddenly swung open, revealing an exhausted Todoroki who had just endured a late-night shift. Todoroki checked his watch in puzzlement before opening his mouth and closing it again. 

"I'm going somewhere; keep Deku safe." Bakugou's tone was brisk and detached, and Todoroki's years of experience dealing with the fiery male told him that Bakugou was hiding something. Suddenly, an expression of understanding flashed across his handsome visage.

"You're going to do something stupid..." You're going to find the people who hurt Jirou.

Bakugou huffed angrily at the insensitive comment. Why was that half n' half always saying things that would irritate him? And when did he ever do anything stupid?! Okay, maybe a few of the things he did weren't exactly smart... But this was different. If he could catch Toga Himiko then maybe... Just maybe Jirou would wake up again and Kaminari wouldn't be moping around like some whiny loser. Bakugou's nerves squirmed under the impassive gaze of his room-mate, a gaze that could read him over and over like a magazine. Clenching his fist by his side, he tried to appear unaffected by the cold gaze that hid glimmers of fear and concern deep, deep under the lenses of magnificent turquoise blue and stormy grey.

"Nothing I do will ever be as stupid as agreeing to live with you," Bakugou retorted sharply. He rose to his feet, a hand on the door handle. In a softer voice he murmured, "I'll come back... okay?" but then the sentimentality of the entire situation made him uncomfortable and he dealt with his emotions the way he always did --by yelling something mean: "Dammit, stay out of my life, half n' half! You always poke your nose into my fucking business. I don't know how I even tolerate you, you're so fucking useless!"

Todoroki's mask of ice grew even more unreadable, but Bakugou didn't care if he had gone too far. He couldn't let anyone see how he really felt. Todoroki wasn't useless. He was annoying for sure, but not useless. He was his partner. He was his room-mate. He was the only guy that could tolerate Bakugou's pettiness, grumpiness, and selfishness, but also the only guy who would call him up on it and keep him in line. Bakugou was almost grateful that he had been ordered to get along with the man. It reminded him of his younger days in the force. Aizawa looked a little less exhausted back then. Bakugou himself was just a new recruit. Todoroki too. They had hated each other at the start -or, well, Bakugou had definitely hated him! But now, Bakugou was scared. God. He was too scared to open up his disgusting, violent self and let the man see him for what he truly was... Weak, prideful and lonely.

"Don't just stand there looking at me like that! I know that what I'm about to do is fucked up! But... Don't stay quiet! Say something! D'you think I can't do it?! If it was shitty glasses would he have your trust?!" Bakugou couldn't believe he was letting his real thoughts pour out like this. He had grown used to hiding everything that he thought was weak, disgusting and pathetic, and now he was just spitting it out in a frenzy. He could just imagine how lame Todoroki thought he was... 

Walking past him and placing his keys on the counter, Todoroki took off his shoes and entered the house. He purposely left the door open. "No. I trust you... I think." 

"If you're not fucking sure then don't fucking say it!" Bakugou growled, before storming towards the entrance.

"I don't know about Iida, but I think it's impressive that you can risk your own safety for something that you're not even getting paid for," was Todoroki's honest response. "It's like you know what you want to be. Better. Important. A hero..."

Bakugou stood dumbstruck. The words Todoroki had uttered were slowly sinking into his skin, into his veins, through his blood and towards his scarred heart. It was the most reassuring thing he had ever heard in his life. That he was doing something admirable, even if it was wrong. A hero, huh? He liked that. Yeah, he wanted to be a fucking hero! He wanted that more than anything. "Don't die," Todoroki murmured.

"I'm not dying until you pay me back for all the fucking housework I do in this house, you multi-coloured shit." He strode out of the apartment without shutting the door, refusing to even glance back. He'd definitely make it back. He had Deku to look after, and he intended to climb back and knock Iida off his high horse; he had so many fucking dreams left unaccomplished, how could he die knowing that? He would make it back regardless of who he had to sacrifice. That was a promise.

Todoroki closed the door and padded towards the sofa, only stopping when he caught a flash of worried emerald green hiding behind the spare room door. 

"Can't sleep?"

The green-haired child nodded slowly before approaching Todoroki's outstretched arms. Holding him protectively, the police officer carried the child over to the kitchen bench and set him down next to the kettle. 

"Hot milk?"

The child nodded again. Neither of them spoke until Deku gained the courage to let out a quiet murmur. 

"I-is... Kacchan coming back...?" Todoroki remained expressionless as the child continued, "Kacchan never leaves the house on Saturday nights... Where is he going?" Todoroki was surprised by Deku's observant nature, and realised that the boy was more intelligent than his scared persona let on.

"He'll come back," Todoroki promised. He flicked on the kettle and watched it puff out steam through narrowed eyes. "No one's ever lost to him. His stubbornness to win can't be outmatched." 

Todoroki didn't underestimate Bakugou's tenacity to survive.

Not one bit.

______________________________________________________

The beauty boutique on Hanazawa road had intensified its security system after Red Riot robbed it of all its eye shadow. Cold, broken slivers of moonlight glimmered above Bakugou's hunched form, reflected in the puddles left behind by yesterday's rain. A thin veil of clouds covered half of the moon, darkening the already dismal streets. The lamppost above still flickered feebly, but despite what little light there was, Red Riot had no problem finding Bakugou. He crept up on the police officer, almost scaring him when he uttered a smooth and amused, "hey," over the officer's shoulder.

"AAAH!"

Bakugou lurched around, grabbed the thief's collar, and screamed a curse. The actions happened so quick that Kirishima wasn't even able to blink.

"Don't sneak up on me! I'll kill you..." growled Bakugou.

Kirishima flattened down his crumpled t-shirt. 

"You don't sound very enthusiastic about killing me. Usually your words have a bit more bite. What's eating you?"

"It's none of your business!"

Damn! What was wrong with him? Even the red-haired bastard could see him being so pathetic. But he couldn't help but feel contorted. Bakugou wasn't an idiot; he knew how dangerous this darn Toga Himiko was. If she took out a whole building and even endangered a capable officer like Jirou --she had to be something special.

Every time Bakugou thought about what they were going to do, his stomach tightened up into knots. What if he didn't make it back? What kind of expression would Deku make? Would Todoroki actually show emotion on that blank face of his? Bakugou shook his head fervently and pulled at his hair. What was wrong with him?! Why did he even care?!

This was why he didn't want to adopt Deku. This was why he didn't want to be Todoroki's roommate. This was why he wanted to work alone rather than sit with those idiots and be a part of a team. He never wanted to get attached.

Kirishima was surprised to see Bakugou's face soften under the moonlight. Determination brimmed in Bakugou's scarlet eyes, deep and powerful. Kirishima had never felt intimidated by Bakugou's angry outbursts or violent manner, but this, this expression was scary on its own. It was the face of a soldier, a fighter who had no intention to die just yet. A formidable human filled with the burning desire to make it out alive and return to those he was beginning to love. Kirishima could see it all. And in the reflection of those magnificent eyes, he could see himself. His weak self that, if touched, he feared would break into a million pieces. 

"Even if I have to use you as a shield, Red Riot - I'll do it. I have something to get back to. Even if you break, I won't look back." The words didn't take Kirishima by surprise when Bakugou uttered them. In fact, he felt relieved that Bakugou was thinking this way. The officer was still determined to put the police station before him. That was how he wanted it to remain. It would make it easier for him when he had to...

When he had to...

Break Bakugou. 

"I wouldn't blame you." Kirishima stared boldly back into those pits of scarlet fire. "If you used me as a shield, I wouldn't blame you. You need to get back to that kid, to your friends. I- I..." He cleared his throat and looked away, as if he didn't want to say anything that would put Bakugou in an uncomfortable position. But Bakugou could already guess how that sentence was destined to end.

I have nothing to get back to. I have no one that would miss me. I'm alone. And in that moment, Bakugou realised there had to be a motive for why Kirishima was doing this. A motive for wanting to destroy the police station. A motive for faking a smile and robbing banks and using witty words to confuse everyone around him. There was something Kirishima had left behind just for this. But what was it? 

Kirishima didn't expect Bakugou to make a big deal out of it, even when he saw the sudden flash of understanding in those fierce eyes. But he certainly didn't expect Bakugou to slap himself in the face either.

The harsh slap resounded off the concrete walls of the alleyway, echoing through Kirishima's bones. 

"Dude!" Kirishima exclaimed, jaw dropping. "What are you doing?!"

"Stopping myself," Bakugou snapped. "Fucking stopping myself from saying something stupid. You're a thief and I'm a cop. That's that. I won't console you. I won't tell you there's someone waiting for you."

"I know that," Kirishima laughed sheepishly. "I don't expect you to-"

"But," Bakugou interrupted impertinently. "Right now I couldn't care less about what stupid mistakes you've made. You're a man, aren't you?!" With that, Bakugou slammed a rather aggressive palm down on the red-head's shoulder, causing the other to almost lose his balance. "Quit the excuses and fight for yourself. If there's nobody else left to fight for, fight for your own goddamn self! Even if others think you're selfish, fuck them! Play the villain until the end! Trick me, if you have to! Tell me you're going to do anything to get out of this alive too! Quit making that remorseful face; it makes me fucking sick. The villain doesn't get to fucking cry. Don't act like a loser. Do your best to try and bring me down!"

Kirishima refused to meet his gaze. "Even if my ambition is to kill those you work alongside, you want me to keep fighting? Even if the only reason I get up everyday and keep breathing is because I can picture all of you dead, you want me to keep waking up?" 

Bakugou clutched his collar. "I'll fucking stop you. I won't let you touch anyone. I won't let you hurt anyone."

Kirishima's eyes narrowed for a long moment before his hands shot up and he grabbed Bakugou's collar too. 

"Are you an idiot?! You should be telling me to die!" The red-head's brows furrowed so fiercely that they almost met in the middle. Anyone else would have been surprised and intimidated that such a nice guy was fuming, but Bakugou felt refreshed. He was good with dealing with anger. Anger was his best friend. It was easier for him to understand people when they exploded and let their emotions break free; it was a language he knew best.

"Don't tell me what to do!" Bakugou snapped. "I do what I want and say what I want, shitty hair! I'll stop you!"

3 seconds.

2 seconds.

1.

0.

After a long moment of paralyzing tension and contorted silence, Kirishima clutched his stomach, and laughed. Warm laughter bubbled out of the red-head's throat as Bakugou's face turned a vehement red in confusion. "God! You're so funny, dude! I didn't even know veins could pop out of foreheads!" Straightening his doubled over form, Kirishima fixed a more serious expression on his face. "But I get what you mean, and I appreciate it. Yeah. You're right! I can't afford to give up here. Even if we're enemies, even if we're fighting for different things, I won't give up. You're really the manliest guy I've ever met, Senior Constable Bakugou Katsuki." He finished off with a strong grin that left Bakugou fuming. 

"Quit messing with me!" 

"Can't. You're the one who's going to stop me, aren't you? Then I'll have to stay by your side and annoy the Hell out of you for at least another good month," Kirishima returned, a goofy smile adorning his lips.

The smile made Bakugou's skin crawl. It was so neat and immaculate that it looked like it had been practiced over and over. It was a smile that hid Kirishima's true intentions. Growling, Bakugou tore himself away from the unreadable man and trudged down the alley. Was it foolish of him to admit that he liked the other, angrier, more emotional version of Kirishima better? Was it dumb that he preferred Kirishima's messy, sloppy grin over that perfect smile? Was it crazy that he wanted to be the one to take Kirishima down? "Whatever..."

"Hey, hey. Wait up."

Bakugou stashed his hands into his jacket, refusing to slow his pace.

"Hey. Why aren't you wearing your uniform?" Kirishima noted, trying to break the tension and change the topic. "I never see you without it. It's like your second skin."

"Yeah, well... I have no right to go and chase a couple of murderers without permission from my Commissioner, so I figure if I don't wear my uniform, I can do whatever the fuck I want." 

Kirishima's eyebrows sloped down the middle as he let out a defeated laugh.

"I don't think that's how things work, dude."

Bakugou stopped abruptly, almost causing Kirishima to walk into his back. Whipping around, he narrowed his eyes and leaned towards the thief.

"Quit talking to me."

"Don't tell me what to do! I do what I want!" Kirishima teased, mimicking the words Bakugou had thrown at him earlier.  

Bakugou had to resist throwing his hands around the other's neck as Kirishima tucked his arms behind his head, smiled, and continued walking. He was about to scream something real nasty but stopped when he saw a small photograph fall out of Kirishima's jacket. It flitted to the ground and landed beside an empty beer bottle. Bakugou wondered if the red-head was going to retrieve it, only to realize that Kirishima hadn't even noticed. Picking it up, the first thing Bakugou noticed was that it was ripped, with only two thirds of the picture remaining. He knew he wasn't supposed to look at people's stuff, but he was Bakugou Katsuki, and he didn't give a damn! The second thing he looked at was the people in the image. A high school kid standing against the blackboard with a bed of black hair, spiky, characteristic and much like the Red Riot's. Next to him stood what appeared to be a slightly older man in a white dress shirt and yellow jacket, with large, kind eyes and a cheshire grin. They both looked incredibly happy. 

Kirishima's footsteps faded into the distance as Bakugou contemplated what to do with the photo. Of course it was human decency to give it back, but there was something so intriguing about the image that he knew he had to hold onto it. So, he shoved it into his pocket and acted like nothing happened. Besides, this photograph would be good evidence, and might even help Bakugou figure out what kind of person Shitty Hair really was. 

___________

After taking several turns into a plethora of gloomy alleyways, they were much, much further from the heart of the city. Bakugou kept his head down, animal-like senses peeled for any sign of movement or any traces of blood-lust.

"This is a bad area, dude. You should be careful," Kirishima advised.

"Careful? I've spent a lifetime doing things impulsively and I've made it this far." At this, Bakugou cracked his knuckles.

"When it comes to Toga and Twice, impulsive might not be the best start..." 

Bakugou ignored Kirishima and continued down the dark path, his thoughts wandering to the two people back home. What were they doing right now? Hah. Bakugou could probably guess: Half n' Half was asleep in his room and Deku was having another nightmare. 

Bakugou reached out a hand up to the sky as he looked at the half moon. Why did it feel so wrong being so far away from Deku? His hands couldn't reach him here; if something went wrong... If someone tried to hurt him again like his father did...

"The kid'll be okay," Kirishima murmured. Assuming the sentence didn't have much weight, he supplied evidence to his claim. "Todoroki's there with him, and I promise I won't let any of my group hurt him either."

"You really do have access to police data files, don't you?" Bakugou growled, grimacing. "Stop reading me; it's disturbing." But he did feel a little bit better hearing that.

"You make it easy since you show everything on your face."

"Shut up!" Bakugou's hands subconsciously reached for the photograph in his pocket and he suddenly felt the need to know more about the guy he was about to go into a dangerous mission with. 

"What was the old you like?" Bakugou had never liked small talk -or any talk at all, for that matter, but there was something about the Red Riot that interested him.

"The old me was a coward," Kirishima admitted rather easily, "and he couldn't help anyone. I had good people looking out for me, but in the moment of truth I was weak. I couldn't protect them." The sadness in the thief's voice had hardened into one of self-loathing. "In the end, I was useless."

Before Bakugou could even formulate a response, Kirishima came to life, drew back against the wall and raised a finger to his lips. Bakugou masked himself in the darkness on cue, listening carefully as a voice asserted itself. Just around the corner, someone was talking.

"We really showed them, Toga! No, I showed them. No! We showed them!"

"Hehehe. Did you see that police officer's blood? She was so pretty."

"No she wasn't. Wait. Yes she was!"

Bakugou listened to the conversation in confusion. He could only identify two voices; a man's and a woman's. However, at some points in the discussion, it sounded like there were two men with two completely contrasting personalities. 

"That's Twice," Kirishima whispered from beside him. "He has a double personality. It sounds like we only have two enemies."

Bakugou made a move to bust out into the open and take them down, but stopped when Kirishima's hand curled around his arm. 

"Wait. Their voices are getting quieter. They're moving. We should stay hidden for now." 

Kirishima guided him closer so that they could peek around the corner. Bakugou reluctantly did as he was told, but only because keeping quiet seemed like a good idea. When he saw his moment to strike, he would, and Kirishima wouldn't be able to stop him.

They followed the two villains towards a large, abandoned warehouse. Watching the villains go in, Kirishima discussed their simple plan. 

"You stay here, and I'll go around. We'll trap them between us. I wanted to think of a better plan, but I'm not that smart... and you're not that cooperative." 

"Fuck you."

"The objective is to restrain Toga and Twice, and for that, this will come in handy." Kirishima withdrew meters of rope from under his puffy jacket. "Toga always carries a knife with her; Twice, on the other hand, relies on hand to hand combat, but he isn't that fast. If things go well, you should match up with Toga and I'll be fighting Twice. If things go extremely well, we should be able to knock them out before they even see us coming."

The plan sounded very familiar, and Bakugou was reminded of his first mission with Kaminari. This was how he and the Red Riot had met in the first place. Ignoring the nostalgia, he watched Kirishima slip away into the darkness and crouched down by the entrance for a few minutes like Kirishima had advised. When three minutes had passed, he entered the building.

It was dark, musty and smelt like oil and old water. He felt like the stench would consume him whole, but he was almost grateful. In the dark surrounded by nothing but stuffy dust and smoke, he could forget about his concerns. He could forget about the risks and plunge himself into his mission. He could focus solely on the mission and let the hero in him come out. 

He was going to make it out alive. 

He was sure of it. 

__________________________________

Three sharp knocks sounded on the door before the police commissioner, Aizawa Shouta, groggily lifted his head. 

"Come in," he drawled, before slowly peeling himself from the yellow sleeping bag he cherished more than anything. A stocky figure with broad shoulders closed the door behind him and handed the commissioner the files he had been holding. He fixed his glasses a moment later and glanced as his pristine suit to ensure his attire was impeccable. 

"Iida. What do you need?"

"Aizawa-sensei, when was the last time you left your desk?" 

"Call me Aizawa. It's been a long time since I was your mentor. And as for the latter question, I'd rather not answer it." There was a sense of monotone sadness in the last statement that portrayed Aizawa's despair. He probably hadn't left the desk in a good week or two, Iida realised, sympathetic. "What do you have to report?" 

"A lot, and it's not good news," Iida admitted in his booming, confident tone. "This is the information that the intelligence team has procured. Yayorozu-kun diligently analysed the crime scene left by Toga Himiko on the 5th of January. The weapon was found to be a hydrogen bomb about 3 inches by 3 inches, round in shape and small in size. The detonator was said to have been in an entirely different location. This is unlike any other of Toga Himiko's appearances..."

"Yes, it's the first time she's used a bomb, even if it's small," Aizawa realised. "She must have had outside help."

"The idea was previously discredited due to her tendency to go rogue, but it's plausible," Iida added. "Regardless, there's more disturbing news. When Jirou-kun was delivered to the hospital, we were told she wasn't holding any police ID, and when we inquired about her laptop it was not found. However, she had confirmed beforehand that she would be taking both of these things to aid in her solo investigation." 

Aizawa's eyes widened before narrowing bitterly. 

"Theft? The other side probably has numerous hackers. It wouldn't be strange if they have all our information now. Change all of the algorithms and organise an automatic password change for every thirteen seconds. Have Yaoyorozu-kun create false data to throw any potential hackers off." 

Iida nodded before drawing another paper from under his arm. 

"There is one more pressing matter!" 

Aizawa sighed, "more bad news? They really don't intend to give me a break..." Grumbling, he gestured for Iida to hand him the paper. Upon viewing it, his lips pursed. "I see. This is serious. Have you read this, Iida?" 

"I had it scanned for threats before I brought it to you, but I have not, myself, read the contents."

Aizawa passed him the paper and Iida meticulously scanned the contents. His eyes widened dramatically. "If this is true, then Constable Bakugou is in danger!"

"Keep calm, Iida. This letter says that they have him contained as a hostage, but we can't necessarily take their word for it. We can't let them move us like pawns."

"But Sir!" 

"Shut up," Aizawa groaned, causing Iida to snap his jaws together and bow in apology. Aizawa could feel a headache brewing and his tolerance was reaching its limit. "I want you to confirm Bakugou's location. Contact Todoroki."

"Yes!" Iida nodded. "Would it be wise to have Yaoyorozu-kun's team track his whereabouts? If he's wearing his work tie then the compulsory GPS in his badge may be..."

"Do you think Constable Bakugou would willingly wear his tie?" When Iida fell silent again, Aizawa continued. "Constable Bakugou was off duty; if he was taken, he was most likely in normal clothes. Check anyway, but if there are no results than the next plan of action is to collect as much information on the threat as possible. Analyse this letter, there will be a hint as to where the location is. If they're keeping him hostage, they intend to hold him for ransom. They'd likely want to meet us somewhere. That paper should have everything they want us to know." 

Iida nodded promptly before turning towards the door.

"Iida," Aizawa called, causing the muscular man to halt. "I want you to visit Jirou at the hospital. This is a solo mission, and you must not tell anyone you're going there. If you understand, nod. Alright. You are dismissed." The bones in his back cracked one by one as Aizawa rose from his seat. A rough sigh left his throat as he trudged towards the door.

"Where will you be going, Sir?" questioned Iida. 

Aizawa pulled on his coat. 

"To meet an old friend."