It's run of the mill, routine, a day like any other day; boring. Thats really what that means. Boring. So when I get a call from my ex-best friend (we haven't seen each other ever since graduation) who is working in the next city over, I was surprised and eager for something, anything to break up the monotony.
“Hey! Kiri, dude!” I say and when I get nothing but silence on the other end I have to wonder if my emphatic joy of chatting to my long, lost friend had been too much.
“Kami, how are ya man?” He sounds a little older, if that's even a thing. His voice is low but reserved, like he's just have a really long day and is exhausted.
“I'm doing better now that you called me! Whats up man? You in town? Wanna go to the movies? Dinner? And how's Bakuboi doing?” I was pretty sure he'd still try to kill me if he knew I was still using the name I gave him halfway through our first year of high school. “How's the hero-ing scene down there?”
Kirishima clears his throat. “Uh, well, he's not here. Um, listen man, I'm going to be passing through and I thought maybe I should call you up, maybe hang out?”
“Dude!” Several people passing by lifted their heads to stare at me in wonderment, at least one man shook his head and continued to stuff a packaged bun in his mouth.
“I'd love to hang out! When you coming over?”
“I'm actually just passing through the city limit right now.”
“Wow! Why the heck didnt you call me sooner?! I get off shift in about...” I jerk my arm to pull the sleeve off my wrist, glancing over the scratched-and-barely-legible surface of my wrist watch. “Half an hour, tops! Where you staying?”
“I haven't got that far yet.” Kiri admits, sounding even more exhausted than earlier. Wow, his agency must be running him into the ground.
“Well good! Then you can stay with me! I've got an apartment over on East 5th and Skyview, Apt. 114. Theres a key under the flowerpot.”
“You sure, man? I don't want to intrude...”
“Dude, seriously, when have you ever intruded? Besides, I insist!”
“Okay, but don't say I didn't warn ya.” Kiri adds with a light chuckle.
This was going to be the longest 30 minutes of my life. I haven't seen Kiri in, well over three years! Since he and Bakugou started dating in high school, and subsequently broke my poor little heart because I was crushing hard on my oblivious redheaded pal, they got hired on at the same Hero Agency and moved into their first apartment together.
I've since gotten over the heart break though.
“Hey! Hey! That kid stole my purse! Hey, somebody stop that kid!”
My head snaps around, senses ever alert for trouble, just in time to see a flash of dark colors before they bowl into me.
The air is forced from my lungs and I'm knocked forward off my feet; a glimpse of silver beneath me is the only warning I get before I crash into a trio of tin garbage cans.
The bins scatter and roll down the sidewalk, one of them even making it into the street and their contents subsequently go flying. My nose is assailed by the powerful stench of rotting food and old diapers and other undesirable things, of which I'm sitting in a pile of.
“Oh my! Are you alright?” A kindly woman inquires nearby, hesitant to help me up when the smell reaches her.
“I'm good!” I say as I scramble to my feet and pound pavement, giving chase. I can still see the kid ahead of me, wearing the classic dark hoodie and dark baggy pants.
The kid ducks and weaves, his smaller stature giving him a slight edge in avoiding objects.
But I know this block inside out, every cracked stone and wad of gum stuck to the sidewalk.
The kid is headed towards a road that's under construction, there's heavy equipment in the area and orange tape strung everywhere so there's not many people.
The kid ducks under a large man's elbow just as the big brute turns and I narrowly miss a head on collusion by suddenly turning sideways and slipping past the man.
Damn! I almost had him!
The kid darts down an alleyway, keeping to the shadows along the dirt encrusted brick wall and heading towards a chain link fence.
I charge in after him, wading through the heavy fumes of the discarded trash lining the paths, dented and rusty dumpsters emitting an unholy smell as I whip past.
Loud splashes underfoot and my pants are coated in muddy, greasy water, avoiding the obstacle course and charging straight through. The kid leaps and grabs onto the fence, climbing over with a great rattling that echoes down the narrow alley.
I glance from the fence to the brick walls, chipped and pocked from years of wear and tear. The kid glances over his shoulder, a smug look of victory plain on his baby face.
Oh yeah? Think you're so clever ,huh? Well, watch this!
Gathering my strength, I leap a high as I can towards the wall, my left foot landing against the surface and pushing off, one hand grabs the top of the chain link and legs tucked tightly beneath me, vault cleanly over.
I land in a crouch, looking up to see the wide eyed, slack jawed look on the kid's face before he turns around and redoubles his efforts.
By now I'm running full tilt but knew I needed to catch the kid before I ran out of gas. Already, the burn in my thighs and the ache in my lungs is noticeable.
This alleyway opens onto a street, the glint of the sun off a passing blue car glances into the shadows. The kid doesn't slow, as I'd expected, neither does he turn. He runs straight out into traffic.
Horns blare, tires squeal and people shout and curse at the boy.
I'm right behind him though, only partially blinded by the sun as I fly out of the darkness and leap over the hood of a black car, my backside scraping along the worn paint job.
The boy reaches the other side of the street, making a sharp right and trying to disappear into the heavily crowded sidewalk.
I leap a hedge of shiny green leafed shrubs and nearly land in a man's lap, so startled that he slops his coffee down his white shirt.
“Sorry!” I call over my shoulder but do not slow down, expertly dodging a biker as she turns onto the sidewalk and squeezing between two animatedly talking tourists, reach out.
My fingers clutch dark cloth and I give a hard yank, throwing the kid off balance as he tries wriggling himself out of his hoodie, the purse still clutched tightly in hand.
“Gotcha, ya little thief!”
My crows of victory are cut short when the kid swings around, handbag leading.
I am of the opinion that women actually do carry bricks around in their bags.
My world spinning for a split second, I see stars and a flash of green before colliding into something green and prickly, crashing into one of the cafe's ornamental trees.
It actually broke my fall as I went tumbling onto the sidewalk, the tree in tight embrace.
“Sir! Are you quite alright?” One of the servers, a man I knew well, inquires as he grabs the tree, lifting it off me.
I spit a leaf out of my mouth, shaking my head in an attempt to clear it when I glance to my left hand and see that I had not only the purse but the kid's dark hoodie as well.
“I'm gonna call that a tie.”
The server grins, shaking his head sadly as though I'm a lost cause.
“Come on.” He says, reaching down to help me to my feet.
“Thanks Obi.” I say between breaths, dusting leaves and bits of trash off my clothes and becoming aware of the stink coming off my clothes.
Several people passing nearby have wrinkled noses and sneers of distaste though I only become aware of how awful I must look and smell when one man steps forward, tucking a couple one dollar bills into my palm.
“Get yourself a hot meal.” He says with a kindly smile, clapping his hand over mine and walking away.
Someone snorts and I turn to regard Obi and realize it's not Obi at all but a tall, handsome dark haired man with a familiar scar.
I can hardy believe my eyes. He's got one heck of a set of shoulders on him but his hair is black, longish and limp against his head. His eyes are tired, bags under his lined face, shoulder slumped in a sort of defeated posture.
He used to get like that in high school. Bakugou would always do something to cheer him up, at least bolster his spirits because. I, like Bakugou, hated seeing him like this and my first thought is something happened.
“I, uh, saw your little chase back there.” He explains with a smile and thumb over his shoulder. “I damn near hit both of you with my car.”
“Wow! Its really been a while, man!”
I step forward and immediately notice something that makes me pretty damn happy.
“Hey! I'm taller than you!” I say, pressing the edge of my hand to my forehead and then to Kiri's and back again.
“You seem pretty happy about it.” Kiri says.
“Well, yeah!” I agree right away. “It's not like I've got looks or charm on my side, now do I?”
Kiri regards me with this kind of surprised look on his face.
“You're one of the most charming, good looking people I know, Kami. how can you say that?”
Needless to say, I wasn't expecting such a compliment. I wasn't ready for my longtime crush to say something like that and if the heat in my face and neck is anything to go by, I can probably signal airplanes as well as any flare.
“Uh, um yeah, thanks. S-so your car is just parked over there?”
Kiri nods, smiling as we walk down the sidewalk.
He had parked against the curb, arriving just in time to see a meter maid jotting something down on her notepad.
“Heya, Joel!” I call, arm waving high.
She turns and smiles upon seeing us, revealing a lovely white smile.
“Joel, this is my friend, Kirishima! Sorry about this, he was helping me apprehend a criminal.”
“A criminal, eh?” She says all too knowingly. “If you mean that little trouble maker then I can hardly call him a criminal.”
“Well if he keeps going at the rate he's going, it won't be long.”
“Crime rates are just getting higher.” Joel agrees sadly. “Did you know the Mayor is hiring three more hero agencies?”
That's a lot.
“That bad, huh?”
“Well, you should know, mr. hero.”
“So um, Joel, since Kiri was helping me and all and he's new to the city and all, can we look past this?”
“Kami, it's really--”
“On one condition.”
“That he takes a selfie with me. It's not every day that I get to meet Red Riot.”
“S-sure.” Kiri stammers with surprise.
“I got it.” I say, snatching her phone from her hand and walking a few paces away to snap a few shots before handing it back to her.
“Thanks! You know, you're pretty cute with red hair. Just sayin.”
“Oh, um, thanks?” Kiri answers somewhat bashful.
“I'll see you two around!” She calls, taking her bicycle and heading down the sidewalk.
I look at the black car, noticing the faded paint and the muddy smear across the fender.
“That was your car!”
“Yeah, gave me quite the shock when you came flying out of that alleyway after that kid.”
“Well, I better get this to the police station.” I say, lifting the purse for him to see.
“Hop in, I'll give you a lift.”
“Uh, you don't want me in your car.” I emphasize this by lifting one of my feet and shaking it, muddy water shook loose onto the sidewalk.
“I don't mind.” Kiri assures me.
“Dude, I smell like a landfill. I gotta stop at my agency too and clock out so you can just head over to my place and make yourself at home.”
Kiri is on the verge of arguing with me but I hold up a hand, cutting him off.
“I won't be long, its just around that corner.”
He sighs, his words of protest dying on his lips and smiling, agrees with a nod before climbing back into his car.
I wave at him as he drives off before turning and smacking myself as hard as I can in the forehead.
“Why? Why can I not embarrass myself?!” I grumble to myself as I squelch down the sidewalk. “And why am I still crushing on him? He says one little compliment to me and...”
I glance sidelong at the man walking beside me, his brows furrowed in a questioning scowl as he meets my gaze.
Kiri's car is parked parallel in front of my apartment, which is nothing more than a narrow front door squished between other narrow front doors and all sporting the same, faded red paint.
The cement steps leading up to my front door have wrought iron sticking out of them and forming a sort of path that widens near the top and bottom of the steps.
Keys jangling, I glance at the flowerpot and it's cluster of bright, yellow dandelions. I smile, stepping through the door it's darker and quieter inside and not what I expected at all.
It had taken me all of 20 minutes to go to the police station and get back to the agency, shower, and practically run home.
It was even more disconcerting that Kiri didn't come out and greet me or even say hello.
Walking into the sitting room, I find him passed out on the couch. A duffle bag and suitcase next to him on the floor tells me that he was more than just 'passing through'.
Did he lose his job? Is he visiting family? Ah, I bet thats it. I bet someone in his family is either sick or they passed away. That would explain.
I draw the curtains, not wanting to disturb my friend and walk up the narrow flight of stairs to my bedroom where I kick off my black and yellow striped sneakers and flop on the bed, sighing loudly.
What Joel had said was true, the crime rates in the city has been getting steadily higher. Of course, with the decline of the Age of All Might, its expected. Midoryia is doing his best and he's really good at it but that isn't going to stop the criminal element in the world. Midoryia has yet to prove himself to be All Might's successor to them and I have every confidence that he will.
He and Bakugou make quite the team. Seriously, criminal organizations have no chance when those two are on the ground. Even Satan himself knows better than to mess with them.
I snicker to myself and roll over, thinking myself quiet clever and scrolling through my phone with eyes that grow heavy.
Heavy metal blares through the walls of my bedroom, stirring me from restful sleep.
The sun has already set but it's still light out, the summer evening air wafting through my half open bedroom window. Somewhere, a car honks and the distant drone of airplane engines fill the sky.
A child screams and laughs, making use of their fenced back yard no bigger than a shoe box.
A twinge of pain in my neck lets me know that I slept awkwardly and it didn't like one bit.
The bed creaks slightly when I sit up, placing socked feet on the warm floor, still radiating heat from the sun's rays.
Even in a light t shirt and shorts, I was still sweating.
The murmur of a voice catches my attention, as it's coming from down stairs.
Ah. Kiri must be awake as well.
Standing, I open the door but pause at the head of the stairs when I catch a snippet of conversation.
“Bakugou, I know you said it's fine but I just need some time to think.”
Oohkay, so thats whats going on.
“I only called so you wouldn't be worried. Yeah, I know.”
Kiri's voice was subdued, not in a sad kind of way but something else...
“You can come down now, Kami/” Kiri calls, clearly finished with his call.
“Oh! Sorry I... how'd you know I was up here?”
“You have a squeaky floor board.”
I stare at the floor, dismayed that I could have possibly missed it.
I come down the steps to find Kiri sitting on the couch, just staring into space. I flop onto the other side of the couch, leg draped over the arm rest.
Kiri was quiet, reminding me of my dandelions that would wilt when left out in the hot sun for too long.
“Wanna drink? I've got some kick ass dandelion wine I made.”
Kiri finally stirs from whatever deep recess of his thoughts he'd been exploring, eyes brightening just the slightest bit with interest.
“Dandelion wine? Aren't those weeds?”
“Call it weed wine, if you want.” I shrug. “But it's damned good stuff! Did I tell you that I made it myself? Come on,.” I say, whacking the side of his shoulder with the back of my hand and hop off the couch.
Heading into the kitchen and flicking a switch that sheds a soft, yellow light over dingy white linoleum and a sink full of dirty dishes, I pause to open a kitchen drawer and take out a handful of take out menus.
“This calls for a celebration!” I say, tossing the pile on the chipped and stained counter for later use.
Between the fridge and back door is another door that leads into a tiny root cellar that often floods whenever it rains.
The place is chock full of dust and old cobwebs and the occasional spider or cockroach but it provided a perfect set up to operate my own miniature winery.
It's noticeably cooler down here, which is essential for the yeast in the wine-in-progress.
The shelves that line the back wall were erected from old two-by-fours, several rusty nails sticking out of the sides have ruined more than one of my shirts and they take a bit of skin with them in the process.
A narrow wooden table rests in the center, the legs warped and peeling but the surface had been sealed by the apartment's previous occupants, who had been avid canners.
The table contains a small fermenting station, nothing more than glass bottles with a fermenting lids and in several stages of fermentation.
On the shelves are two wine bottles, corked and waiting for use.
I take one, shaking it slightly and noting the clear, pale golden liquid in the orange light of the bare light bulb hanging over head.
“Wow. You really did make it.” Kiri voices in surprise.
“You doubted me? I'm offended.” I say and turning, hand him the bottle.
“This one's a gift from me to you and this one we're going to drink.” I say as I take the second bottle off the shelf.
“Thanks. So uh, what made you decide to try making wine out of a weed?”
“Lost of people do it. I made it from the wild dandelions that grow in the mountains. Makes for a lovely day hike too.”
Kiri stares at the bottle a moment longer and then as if coming to a decision, he shrugs and turns toward the stairs.
The cement steps behind us, light off and back in the kitchen I nab a couple of wine glasses from the cupboard.
“Youre my guest so pick something that sounds good.” I say with a chin jerk towards the stack of menus on the counter.
“I'm not really hungry.” Kiri says with an almost forlorn look at the shiny paper pamphlets.
“Just pick something that goes good with wine.”
“What would that be?”
I pop the cork, filling the two wine glasses and handing one of them to Kiri, make my way into the sitting room where I sit on the couch and call Pizza Place, putting in a order for take out.
“Pasta'ee?” Kiri questions, one eye brow raised as he sits on the couch beside me.
“Pizza is close enough to spaghetti and I dont feel like cooking.” I shrug only partially apologetic.
“Works for me. So, what does 'dandelion wine' taste like?” He wonders, watching me sip from my glass.
“Mmm! In the words of the great Ray Bradbury, it's like summer on your tongue.”
I watch as Kiri raises his glass and takes a sip, not missing the slight grimace on his face and the light shudder that goes through him.
“Are you sure you didn't just slip some brandy into your bottles?”
I laugh, glad that it had at least gotten his attention.
“So, you said you were just passing through?” I say, folding my legs to my chest and draping one arm around bare knees, ankles crossing.
“Yeah. Well, sort of.”
“Sort of passing through? Going to meet family or something?”
I got the feeling that he didn't wanna talk about it, staring at him over the rim of my glass.
Kiri stares into his wine glass, slowly rotating the liquid inside with gentle flicks of the wrist.
If he wants to talk then he'll talk and I didn't want to pressure him into--
“Katsuki and I are breaking up.”
“Huh?” I answer intelligently.
Kiri doesn't lift his head.
Is this for real? Why? What happened?! I thought they were so happy together!
“Kiri... I'm sorry.”
“Don't be. I could see it coming and he did too. To be honest, we've just kinda been 'living together' for the last two months or so. Hell, he hasn't even been home for most of it. We share a bed when we both happen to be home but thats about it.”
Kiri finally looks up, meeting my gaze with tired, dull eyes and he actually laughs. “You don't have to look so horrified, you know.”
“I'm, well, I'm just really surprised, that's all! What... huh.” I finally shrug and take another sip.
“Where did it all go wrong?” Kiri correctly asks the question I was avoiding asking. He huffs and leans back against the couch, running fingers through his dark locks. “Well, when I asked him to marry me, he turned me down.”
I was mid sip when he said this so I choke and splutter, nearly spitting wine all over my shirt sleeve. “E-*cough*-Excuse me? You did what now? How come I didn't know about this? And how come he turned you down?! Doesn't he know you're the full package? I mean, what the hell?”
Kiri waits until I'm done coughing, I almost have to physically restrain myself from picking up the phone and calling Katsuki to demand that he explain his stupidity for turning down the most beautiful man in the world.
“I should've known better though.” Kiri continues. “Katsuki isn't the kind to settle down and raise a family.”
“Thats not what you were asking him to do though!” I say, somewhat bitterly and sip more wine.
Kiri studies me a moment, his expression isn't one I can read and I didn't like it.
“I guess you could say that at that moment we started falling out of love.”
“You know what this reminds me of? Me and Jirou. Music career is her passion. Hell, she even quit being a Pro for music. Which is a worthy pursuit, by the way.” I say with a tilt of my glass towards him.
Bitter sweet memories, all of them.
I had been on the cusp of asking her to marry me but I just never got around to it. I think, deep down, I knew that she wouldn't be happy. Maybe at first but after a while?
It hurt like hell at the time but, like Kiri said, we had just fallen out of love; we are better off this way. That's something I can tell myself now and actually believe it though.
“I still can't believe you didn't tell me!” I say and wish the tissue box was within reach so I could throw it at him.
“It was kinda a spur of the moment thing.” Kiri shrugs.
“Uh, asking someone to marry you isn't exactly a spur-of-the-moment kinda thing, Kiri.” I chuckle. “Where did you pop the question?”
At this, Kiri falls silent but a quick look eases my worries that I'd crossed a line. Kiri looks thoughtful, hiding a smile.
“We were out for our morning run and had stopped for a breather by the track bleachers.”
I snort, unable to keep myself from laughing loudly.
“Hah! How romantic!”
“No way! Okay, so, what did he say?”
“Well you know Katsuki, always has a way with words.” Kiri shrugs again and takes a gulp of wine. “Actually, he just kept running.”
I laugh again. “Geeze, that's probably the first time he's ever been speechless and I missed it!”
We both fall silent, watching Kiri's face I can see the brooding thoughts darkening his face again.
“But I am sorry, man. Rejection hurts, I would know.”
I finish off my glass of wine and hop off the couch, snatching the opened bottle from the kitchen and after refilling my glass, set it on the floor between us.
“You know,” Kiri says, grabbing the bottle and pouring more pale yellow liquid into his own. “I still have that love letter someone slipped into my locker in high school.”
I steal a look at him only to see that he's gazing at me intently.
“Love letter?” I ask innocently.
Kiri levels me with 'the look', letting me know that I'm not fooling anyone.
“Listen, I know what your talking about but I already told you, it was from a friend.”
“Right. A friend that has mysteriously identical handwriting to your.”
“We shared the same writing class, I told you!”
My face was burning by now and if that wasn't a dead give away then nothing was. I hug my knees tighter to my chest and bury my face in them, bemoaning my embarrassment.
“Fuuuuck! How long have you known?”
Kiri chuckles. “For a while, Kami. Just how gullible do you think I was?”
“And you just let me believe that you believed me! Ahhh, I'm so embarrassed!”
“Don't be. I was flattered, really! I waited for you but you never came out and said anything.”
I lift my head, peering over my knees.
“What do you mean you 'waited'?”
“I thought you were going to confess but you never did and then I fell in love with Katsuki.”
I turn my head and stare at Kiri, dumbfounded by this revelation.
“You can't be serious.”
“I am.” He assures me over glass rim.
I cram my face back into my knees and screech.
“That's even woooooorse! Why didnt you throw it away? Or burn it? Or something other than keep it!”
“It's cute, why would I throw it away?”
“I don't really have many reminders of that time so it's a nice keepsake.”
“Oh. You have a keepsake box now, do you?”
“Well, another reason I wanted to meet with you was to tell you that the city offered me a job.”
I peek at him over my knees.
“Offered you a job? Really? What about youre other job? And... Bakugou?”
“I'm kinda house hunting.”
“House... you mean, you accepted?”
“They're giving me a license to run my own agency.” Kiri beams proudly. “How could I not accept?”
So that means Kiri and I are going to be working in the same city!
“And you know what that means, don't you?”
“Lots of paper work?”
“I'm going to need a Sidekick. How about it? You want the job?”
I'm not sure what to say. Honestly, it's rare that I'm this speechless.
“I mean, you can consider it but if you don't want to then I totally get it. You've probably got a pretty good position--”
“What are you saying?! Of course I'll accept!”
I leap onto the man, spilling wine down the back of my couch as I hug him tightly. “This is the happiest day of my life!”
I can smell coconut, must be his conditioner but it's a good smell on him.
I drink the rest of my glass and give a loud, satisfying smack of the lips before leaning back, staring down into cherry red eyes that are wide with surprise. His face is red and while I'd like to think that it's because he's blushing, it might be the alcohol.
God, I could drown in those eyes and what a sweet death it would be.
Warmth flows between my hips and rushes through my body, though that could also be the alcohol.
“Hey Kiri, do you like fast kissing or slow kissing?”
“Lets find out.”
Arms still wrapped around his shoulders, that twinge in my neck makes itself known when I lean down and clamp my mouth onto his, giving him a quick kiss before pulling away.
He looks so startled that its almost comical and a giggle slips past my lips, kissing him again though much more slowly so I can relish the feel of plush lips. Teasing his mouth open, our tongues slide and push gently against the other's.
Hands rest on my waist and I settle onto his lap more fully, moving my hips and giving some light frottage. Breaking away from the kiss, his breaths come in quicker as I kiss his cheek and neck, and scrape my teeth along the tender skin under his ear.
“K-Kami! We've both had... a little too much to drink... maybe we should stop... and catch our breaths?”
“Don't wanna.” I whisper and run the tip of my tongue along the fossa helix of his ear, only pulling back in surprise when I taste metal there.
“Kiri! You have a helix piercing?”
With his longer black hair hanging flat around his head, it had been completely hidden from view.
“That's... really sexy.”
“This is going a lot better than I thought it would.” Kiri mumbles.
“Making up for lost time.” I whisper and lean back in, biting his ear lobe.
The hands about my waist tighten their grip and the smooth heat of his lips finally caress my neck.
A moan rumbles low in my throat, angling my head to the side to bare more neck for him.
“We really should stop this.” Kiri mumbles against my skin, fingers sliding under the hem of my shorts. “You've got gorgeous legs, by the way.”
I kiss his mouth again, the taste of those delectable lips like honey--
“Okay, thats enough.” Kiri says and sitting back up right, actually lifts me off his lap and sets me on the couch.
Kiri hops up and heads towards the door, sliding his wallet out of his back pocket.
I grab the almost empty wine bottle and take a long swig from it.
“And thats enough of that.” Kiri says as he takes the bottle out of my hand. In his other hand, he's got a fresh hot pizza that smells like heaven and bread sticks, containers of red marinara sauce steaming their clear plastic lids.
“Oh that smells so good!” I say, mouth watering as the strong smell of basil and tomato permeate my alcohol infused brain.