Christmas was three days away. All around Katsuki, the world played out like some bullshit romantic Christmas movie. People bought presents for their families and friends, and sometimes their partners, if they had them. The world was decked out in snow and lights and decorations.
The dorms were the worst of it, with a massive tree in the common area, smaller trees scattered throughout the rest of the dorm, and hanging lights, hanging paper snowflakes, and tinsel – god, he hated tinsel, it got everywhere – hung up everywhere. Singing snowmen, singing reindeer, singing everything was on every available surface, and mistletoe hung in several convenient and awkward places.
It was like everyone had gone crazy the moment December started, and Katsuki had managed to deal with it for most of the month, but now, with Christmas closing it, it felt like every decoration, every tree, every flake of snow falling from the fucking sky, was mocking him.
And what was worse, still, was all the fucking romance. All the couples rubbing noses and handing out Christmas chocolates. Holding hands and smiling and blushing and fuck. Some stupid, small, gross part of him wanted to be in the same position as all of them. Holding hands and sharing hot chocolate, smiling at each other over their scarves, rubbing cold noses together as a kiss.
Katsuki wasn’t sure when he’d gotten so damn sappy, but he figured it was probably relatively recently. And he one hundred percent was going to blame Kirishima. If the damned shark-toothed hair-for-brains idiot hadn’t smiled at him and needled his way into Katsuki’s heart, this would have never happened. But no, the shitty haired bastard had gotten under his skin, into his heart, and now Katsuki wanted to sing Christmas carols with him and hold his hand.
God. This couldn’t get any worse.
Katsuki shoved his scarf higher around his mouth and stuffed his gloved hands into the pockets of his winter coat, keeping his head down to try and avoid the blistering cold and flurries that surrounded him on the city streets. He was downtown, where all the shops were covered in Christmas lights and fake trees and tinsel, trying to find a stupid present for stupid Kirishima in some weird, backward attempt to confess his stupid feelings.
Or make it ambiguous enough that when Shitty Hair rejected him Katsuki could laugh it off as a joke and pretend Kirishima was seeing shit that wasn’t there.
With a frustrated huff of steaming air, Katsuki looked around to try and find some sort of stupid present. There were all sorts of shops all around, but nothing really screamed Kirishima. He supposed he could get the guy a scarf, or a hat, but that seemed a little too impersonal for what he was trying to do.
But then, chocolates or a stupid holiday bear would be too personal. It’d be too hard to shrug it off if the guy took it badly.
Fuck, there had to be some sort of middle ground. With a quiet curse, Katsuki scrubbed a hand down his face and shoved open the door to the nearest store, hoping he’d get lucky.
It was, as it turned out, a tea shop. Katsuki squinted as the smells washed over him and shook his head. There was no way a tea shop would work. Sure, he’d seen Kirishima drink tea around the dorms before, and the guy definitely preferred it to coffee, but tea couldn’t be seen as romantic.
And how the hell did you even pick out tea? It was tea. It was glorified hot leaf water. Katsuki didn’t even know why people drank it. It all tasted like shit to him, even if some of it smelled pretty great.
So, he couldn’t buy Kirishima tea, but he could buy Ashido some – he even knew her favourite flavour, so that worked out. He took the bag and left, frowning as he tugged his scarf back up.
All right, if he bought Ashido a gift he should probably get fucking Pikachu and Soy Sauce gifts too. But what if that meant Kirishima didn’t understand why he was getting a gift from him?
Fuck. Now he had to make sure his gift for Kirishima was extra special. Which left a lot less room for ambiguity.
Damn it, Ashido.
Katsuki went back to stalking through the snowy, darkening streets of downtown, ignoring all the people who went by. It seemed every other group was a family or a couple. His heart stabbed when he saw them all, and he cursed a bit at how it stabbed even looking at the kids.
He wondered, sometimes, if he’d ever be good with kids as a hero. It was something that seemed to come pretty natural to Kirishima, but Katsuki had to work at it, still.
The next stop was the bookstore, not for him, but for Pikachu and Deku – and he would never live it down buying Deku a gift, but the nerd deserved it for everything over the last year, and, besides, he’d promised Deku’s mom he’d try harder, and so here he was, trying harder. Pikachu got a stupid book of jokes that Katsuki had seem him eyeing but hadn’t been able to justify the price of – good thing he had a fucking rewards card with the store – and Deku got a weird interlocking block puzzle that was seafoam and white, like his stupid uniform he never wore properly. Dumbass.
It was exactly the sort of thing he used to get in trouble for fiddling with in class, but Katsuki remembered how much they’d kept him calm and grounded. It might not stop the muttering, but it would stop the shaking from anxiety behind him.
And yeah, as much as he and Deku weren’t friends, he didn’t like seeing anyone that anxious. So, he’d weather the looks and buy the stupid puzzle.
So that left Soy Sauce, who he decided to say ‘fuck it’ to serious gifts for and just bought him a bunch of washi tape, and Kirishima, who he still had no ideas for. Damn it.
So in the stupid fucking cold he kept wandering downtown, trying to hunt down stores he thought Kirishima might like shit from. There were puzzle stores – the idiot was too impatient for them – jewellery stores – he would never be able to pass that off as a platonic gift, no fucking thank you – and a bunch of other shitty stores that didn’t scream out at him.
And then he came to a store he’d sworn he wouldn’t check, with a gift in the window he’d sworn he wouldn’t get, but it made him stop, and stare, and it called out to him in a way nothing else had all night.
So Katsuki stalked into the store, threw down his money, and started haggling for a customization. He had just a few days until Christmas and this had to be perfect.
Christmas Day was spent with family – or other people’s family, in a few people’s cases – but Christmas Eve was spent with the class. One by one Class 1-A filed into the common area, which had a massive and gaudily decorated Christmas tree in the centre, and placed their presents under the tree. Katsuki crept in once most other people were there and pulled his gifts out of the bag he carried them in. Deku’s, Ashido’s, Soy Sauce’s, and Pikachu’s were all in boxes, while Kirishima’s was in a bag.
Once placed, he dropped onto the couch in the corner of the room, near the windows, and crossed his arms, scowling. His heart pounded hard in his chest, and he figured Bat-Arms would hear it, if the guy grew a couple extra pairs of ears.
He watched as the party unfolded around him. People were being cheesy and ridiculous, giggling over mistletoe, acting like idiots over eggnog – probably spiked. Mr. Aizawa wasn’t exactly here to stop them. They’d all given him his present earlier – a kitten with all the shit you needed to take care of a cat. He’d gotten all soft eyed and trembly and taken off before any of them could see him cry.
Katsuki pretended it didn’t please him just a little, to see that Mr. Aizawa cared that much about them. Kirishima had called it ‘manly’ that Mr. Aizawa loved cats that much.
Dense, but supportive. Much like a well-placed rock.
Idiot would probably like being compared to a rock, too.
“Aww, guys, look! Even Bakugou is smiling!” chimed Ashido, beaming from across the room as she pointed at Katsuki. He dropped his unintentional smile to a scowl and slumped in his seat. A moment later, the couch dipped from the weight of another person. He glanced up through his eyelashes and saw Kirishima stretching out next to him, grinning.
“Hey, you all right?” asked Kirishima, cocking his head to one side. His hair wasn’t up today, instead hanging down and framing his face. Katsuki would never admit it aloud, but his hair looked good like this. Soft and touchable. It softened Kirishima too, if that was possible. Made his cheeks and eyes look brighter, redder.
Katsuki rolled his eyes, but he knew he’d hesitated too long to make any response sound genuine. He settled for scowling at the Christmas tree decorations – which had gone up at some insistence from Uraraka. Apparently, you just had to have a personalized Christmas tree. All of 1-A had a special ornament on it. Kirishima’s and his were right next to each other – his with ‘BK’ painted on the outside and Kirishima’s with both ‘RR’ and ‘KE’ on it.
Katsuki still didn’t have a hero name that had gotten approved. He tried not to let it bother him. But he couldn’t fucking think of anything. And that pissed him off more than anything else. If he just found one good name, he’d take it. But ‘Explosion Boy’ wasn’t exactly his idea of a good name.
Or anyone else’s, except Kirishima.
“We should do presents now!” said Ashido, bouncing toward the tree.
“Now?” asked Rocket Legs. He looked around at all the clocks, doing the hand-wavy thing that always put Katsuki on edge. “But it should be last!”
“But some people have to go home early!” said Ashido, stabbing a finger at his glasses. “Come on, Iida. It’s not such a big deal.” She bounced over to the couch and flopped down on Kirishima’s other side. One by one, the rest of them settled in, including Shinsou, who was a recent addition.
Katsuki didn’t bother with a nickname. Shinsou was cool, if a little strange.
Presents were passed out, one at a time, and Katsuki saw the strange look that came over Frog Girl’s face – as she was handing out presents – when she came to the one Katsuki had put under the tree for Deku.
“It’s not gonna blow up, is it?” asked Frog Girl. Katsuki rolled his eyes and shook his head. He looked away as a handful of small presents were put at his feet, scowling slightly.
He watched, out of the corner of his eye, as everyone else unwrapped their presents, and only started to unwrap his own once they were all thoroughly distracted.
He had one from each of the four that had dubbed themselves the ‘Bakusquad’, one from Uraraka – shit, he should have gotten her something. He’d make it up to her later. Without telling her, obviously – and one from Deku, which had his eyebrows raising.
“What?” asked Deku, catching Katsuki’s eye across the carpet. “You think you’re the only one trying?” There was a teasing challenge in his voice that had Katsuki smiling, despite himself, and he sorted out his presents – Uraraka’s first, Kirishima’s last.
Uraraka had gotten him a coffee mug that had a little instruction paper in it, marking it as one of ‘Hatsume’s’ creations. He thought she might have been the support girl she and Deku had teamed up with in the cavalry battle. The mug, apparently, could withstand the lower range of his explosions and heat.
Ashido had gotten him a pair of mittens shaped like cats and Katsuki scoffed at them, and at the inscription that read ‘for my favourite cat prince’. His own present to her was signed ‘for the only queen I’d bow to’. He noticed when she saw it, because she ‘aww’ed and clutched at the tag, beaming at him.
He winked. She giggled.
Pikachu whooped when he opened the joke book and pumped a fist into the air. “All right! Thanks, Bakugou!” He immediately started flipping through it, throwing a few stupid puns at Soy Sauce, who saw the washi tape and started laughing.
“This is actually really good – my family loves to scrapbook,” said Soy Sauce, grinning at him. Katsuki rolled his eyes to hide the pleased little twitch of his lips.
That left Kirishima and Deku, the latter of whom was surrounded by a small mountain of presents that he’d already opened. It seemed he’d left Katsuki’s until almost last.
It took Deku a second to get through the paper, and Katsuki watched, his other presents forgotten, as Deku got the little box open and pulled out the puzzle.
His expression flickered, softening, before a small, trembly smile spread across his face.
“You remembered,” murmured Deku, turning the green and white puzzle over in his hands. The others fell still and silent around him, looking between the two. “You know this is one of the only things of mine you never said anything about?” He looked up at Katsuki through his bangs, smiling.
“Yeah,” said Katsuki, shrugging. “It kept you fucking quiet.” It kept you calm.
“Thanks,” said Deku, still beaming.
“Whatever,” said Katsuki. You’re welcome, it meant, and everyone in the room knew it, too. He needed a better way to hide how he spoke. Too many people were decoding it.
Katsuki settled back into his own presents, pleased that everyone had liked theirs so far. All that was left was Kirishima, but he hadn’t touched his gift bag yet, instead leaning over Ashido as she finished unwrapping her own.
Pikachu had gotten him a sleeping mask, to replace the one Katsuki had blown up when Pikachu had spooked him one morning. It had ‘BOOM!’ written across its black front in big, orange letters. It’d be useful, if nothing else, and it matched his usual style.
Not bad at all.
Soy Sauce had gotten him a gift card for the bookstore. Maybe not original, but it was nice that he remembered that Katsuki liked to read.
That left Deku and Kirishima. Katsuki bypassed the gift bag that Kirishima’s gift was in and dug into the rectangular present that was Deku’s. The tag read ‘for the lost one’. Katsuki frowned and glanced up toward Deku, noticing that Deku was watching him, just as Katsuki had watched Deku unwrap his present.
Katsuki pulled off the wrapping paper and froze, his entire posture softening all at once. His fingers skimmed the title of the book, a soft smile slipping onto his face before he could stop it.
‘Unification, Book One of The Heroes of Discord’. It was a book Katsuki hadn’t owned since his first year in middle school, when he’d figured out he was gay. After he’d come out to his parents, they’d gone out and bought it for him, knowing nothing but the fact that the main character was a gay sidekick trying to make it big in the hero world. And that the main character, outside of that, was a lot like Katsuki. They’re way of saying the supported him, in more than just words
Some asshole high school students had stolen it from him and dumped it in the river, and while Katsuki had blasted them all as best he could – he’d been stopped by his old principal, the fucker – the book, and his mom and dad’s message to him inside it, had been destroyed.
With only slightly shaking hands, Katsuki opened the book and sucked in a sharp breath, drawing the attention of those around him.
There, above what was a perfectly rewritten version of his mom and dad’s message – and god, Deku had to have memorized it in order to get his parents to rewrite it, because there was no way anyone but he and Deku had remembered the exact wording – was a message from Deku.
‘We are who we are. We love who we love. We reunite when all is well. A hand extended is a hand taken. You were once my best friend. I want to make things right again. – Deku.’
Katsuki looked up and caught Deku’s eye, aware that many people were watching them.
“You got yourself a handshake, Deku,” said Katsuki. Deku beamed, others murmured, unsure what it meant, and Kirishima clasped Katsuki on the shoulder.
“Oh, you guys only have each other’s presents left, right?” asked Ashido. Sure enough, when Katsuki looked down, all he could see in front of him and Kirishima were two nigh-identical gift bags. Katsuki’s to Kirishima was dark red, and Kirishima’s to Katsuki was dark orange.
Both reached for the bags and opened them, Katsuki slightly slower – while noticing that Kirishima kept glancing at him and worrying his lower lip.
Kirishima pulled out the teddy bear – blond, almost the same colour as Katsuki’s hair, on purpose – and sucked in a sharp breath. The bear wore a little orange toque and a little red scarf. On one end of the scarf, stitched in black, was the word ‘RED’. On the other, ‘RIOT’.
Katsuki swallowed hard, noticing the way Pikachu, Soy Sauce, and Ashido were peering at the bear.
“Open yours,” breathed Kirishima, clutching to the bear with trembling hands. He didn’t look at Katsuki.
Katsuki did, opening the gift bag and pulling out – oh.
It was a teddy bear. The same shade of red as Kirishima’s stupid hair. It wore a little black toque and a black scarf. On one end of the scarf was the word ‘GROUND’ in all orange letters. On the other, ‘ZERO’.
Katsuki stared for a long time.
“Ground Zero,” he murmured, trying to put together where the idea had come from.
“It came to me one night, you know?” Kirishima started, rubbing the back of his neck. He laughed, nervously, still clutching the bear with one hand. By now, they’d drawn the attention of most people – matching bears screamed ‘love confession’. Katsuki had seen enough cheesy holiday romance movies with his dad to know that. “I thought, maybe, you’d like it. And if you didn’t, you could always get rid of the scarf, or pull the stitches. You can probably sew, right?” He was rambling. He did that when he was nervous.
“I…” Katsuki paused, running his fingers over the letters again. Ground Zero. “I like it.” His words were soft, barely there, but Kirishima seemed to hear him all the same and beamed at him.
“Awesome! I was so worried, I mean, I know you’re really, really stuck on having the perfect hero name and—"
“We got the same bears,” said Katsuki, cutting him off, his voice slightly awed. It was true, beyond the colour of the fur and the accessories, they’d somehow managed to pick the exact same bear. In a store with fifty styles of bear, that should have been impossible.
Unless the two really were that in sync with each other.
“Uh, yeah, sorry?” offered Kirishima.
Katsuki ran his thumb under one eye of the bear. They’d given each bear the same eyes. Only one shade of red at the store. And their eyes weren’t different enough to try and get a more exact somewhere else.
“You like me,” said Katsuki.
Kirishima froze. Ashido froze.
“Uh,” started Kirishima. “How, why would, how—?”
Katsuki looked up and managed to lock eyes with Kirishima, despite the fear that coursed through his body. His hands, thank fuck, weren’t sweating, or else he might have ruined the bear. “Because this is the kind of bear you give someone to confess.”
There was a long moment of silence. Ashido gasped, hands flying to her mouth. She’d figured it out first.
Well, Katsuki didn’t like Kirishima for how quick witted he was.
“Wait,” said Kirishima, eyes going to the bear he held, then back to Katsuki. “Wait.” Katsuki waited. “That means. You’re. You—”
“I, what?” asked Katsuki, lifting his chin in challenge.
“You like me too,” whispered Kirishima, eyes sparkling.
Katsuki scoffed, but it cracked partway through, and he barely caught his own wince. “Obviously,” he mumbled, unable to hold Kirishima’s gaze any longer.
He didn’t have to. Kirishima dropped the bear into his lap, leaned over the short distance between them, and cupped Katsuki’s face in both hands. Then, with a shaky laugh, he leaned in the rest of the way and pressed his lips to Katsuki’s.
And oh. This was… this was nice. Katsuki wrapped his fingers around Kirishima’s wrists, dropping his own bear, and tilted his head to kiss back a bit better. He didn’t have much experience, but neither did Kirishima, it seemed. The kiss was soft, sweet, and left Katsuki’s breath trembling when the two pulled back.
Silence, then, “Way to go Kacchan!” Deku. Of course. The others broke into cheers right after. Katsuki looked to Kirishima to find him flushed, grinning, and bright eyed.
“Merry Christmas,” said Kirishima.
Katsuki reached out and brushed Kirishima’s shaggy hair out of his face, leaning back in to press his forehead to Kirishima’s. “Merry Christmas,” he replied against Kirishima’s lips.
On the floor, their two bears fell together, sitting side by side. And, if you looked closely enough, it almost looked like they were holding hands.