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“I’m going to study abroad next year,” he said.

“Abroad? Like… Abroad, abroad? In another country?” he replied.

“Yeah, that’s what the fuck abroad means. I got a scholarship and shit. I’m leaving in January.”

Tell me not to go, ask me to stay, he thought. He pleaded.

“That’s- That’s so awesome, dude! I’m happy for you.”

Oh .

And that’s how he realized he needed to leave.

 

The last box hits the floor with a soft thud. Katsuki lets out a huff and wipes the sweat off of his forehead with the back of his hand. His muscles are sore from carrying boxes all day long. There is a long night of unpacking in front of him if he wants to have a place to sleep.

As he looks around his new apartment, he decides that he doesn’t mind that much. This is his place now. Just his. He’s lived alone before, but only in shitty for-rent-only bedrooms. This place is supposed to be permanent. He had saved money for years and years of boring internships to be able to afford it and now he is finally here. A nice apartment was never his end goal, but it was definitely an important step. He’s satisfied with himself.

He’s less satisfied, however, with the man he finds in his kitchen, idly sipping from a small juice box.

“It’s about time,” Hanta says, his annoying grin already in place. “I thought you had gotten lost or something.”

Katsuki kicks him in the shin. “Go home,” he snarls.

Hanta yelps and almost drops his juice box. With a hurt look and a pout, Hanta whines, “That’s no way of treating someone that’s helping you.”

“You didn’t do shit! You just followed me around making that stupid face and talking nonsense.”

“That was moral support.”

Katsuki ignores Hanta for the time being and starts searching for his phone. He’s usually morally against ordering takeout, but after carrying shit for an entire day he doesn’t particularly feel like cooking.

“I’m done with the moral support, though.” Hanta puts his juice box on the counter. “I can help you with unpacking now that everything’s here.”

“I don’t want your help with that. You’re gaudy as fuck.”

Hanta raises an eyebrow at him. “What exactly do you think I'm gonna do? Turn your insipid decor into more interesting stuff by touching it?”

“Yes. I’ve seen you turn perfectly acceptable stuff into ridiculous trinkets with nothing but your bare hands and roll of tape.

“Okay, my craft skills are not to be underestimated. But I know your tastes, man, geez. We’ve known each other for years. Do you think I’d ruin your new place?”

“Yes,” Katsuki insists, although he’s fairly sure Hanta wouldn’t do such a thing.

Katsuki had never said anything, but there’s no way Hanta doesn’t know how important this is. Katsuki has never made any efforts to hide his dreams and aspirations and finally getting a place of his own was an important step he’s been hammering about for a couple of years now. Granted, the only indications he’s given were loud complaining about his old place and long rants about how he soon wouldn’t have to deal with a shitty living situation like his previous one. But Hanta has been in Katsuki's company long enough to read between the angry lines and he might be a teasing, annoying fuck, but he’s almost never messed with Katsuki when it came to the important stuff - and he would always apologize as soon as he realized he crossed a line.

So Katsuki lets Hanta carefully rip off the tape from the nearest box and start sorting out its contents. And he begrudgingly orders enough food for the two of them without saying anything.

Hanta picks a pot from the box and looks around, as if wondering where to put it. “Man, I can’t believe this is actually happening. Who would have thought that you’d be the first one to get your life together like this?”

“Any-fucking-one that had access to my grades, dipshit.”

“I mean, yes. But you don’t look like it, you know? Who the hell has arms that beefy and is one of the top students as well?”

Katsuki almost calls the restaurant to cancel Hanta’s meal.

He lets it go, though, because he doesn’t want to dwell on the bitter reminder. One of the best, Hanta had said. And he has been. Since Katsuki left his hometown and went to the big city, he found himself among peers - ugh - that gave him a run for his money. He is now old and mature enough to not snap every time someone reminds him that he hasn't been the number one in a long time - most of the times, anyway - and he is trying to be the bigger person about it. The presence of so many rivals would only mean that his ultimate victory would be even more impressive.

He lets Hanta off the hook with just a threatening glare and moves to his bedroom, deciding that Hanta could deal with the kitchenware on his own.

Rump comes running at him, happily trotting and huffing until Katsuki acknowledged him by scratching his ears. The dog lets out a soft bark.

“You happy?” Katsuki asks. He gets a satisfied huff in response. “Good. Because this is where we live now. This is my place.”

He looks around again, happy that Hanta isn’t around to tease him about the delighted look that is undoubtedly on his face right now.

Katsuki hasn’t been the absolute number one since middle school, sure, but it doesn’t mean he has given up on his ambitions. And he has just taken a huge step.

 

It’s almost two in the morning when Katsuki declares his new apartment livable. Hanta had left hours ago and Rump had given up on trying to get Katsuki's attention soon after, leaving him alone to obsessively put everything in place. By the time he’s satisfied, the apartment looks a bit like a mess, but a mess he can understand. Like he’s tried to tell his mother many times before, he has a system.

Rump has been napping peacefully in the living room and, as Katsuki walks by, he considers waking him up so they can head to the bedroom together. He’s used to sharing the bed with the dog since he was just a puppy, after all.

Before he reaches his hand out to pet Rump awake, the dog opens his eyes and sits up. Katsuki blinks, wondering what caused him to awaken so suddenly when he hears it. Someone is twisting the knob, trying to get the door open.

Could it be Hanta? Maybe he lost the last train and returned to ask for shelter for the night? Then Katsuki remembers Hanta had already texted him to let him know he was at home and well.

His parents? While Katsuki wouldn’t exactly put a 2am visit past his mother, he doesn’t think she would just try to go inside like this.

The only explanation left, though, is that someone is trying to break into his apartment.

Where the hell did I leave my fucking gun?

Katsuki had barely finished the thought when his door - his door, the door of his perfect brand new own apartment - swings open and a man stumbles inside.

And not just any man. Oh no. The most offensive man Katsuki had ever laid his eyes on. His hair is bright red and it points at every possible direction in a way that cannot be natural. As soon as he steps inside, the smell of cheap beer and cigarettes invades Katsuki's nostrils and even Rump whines softly. The worst of all? Over his black tee, the man is wearing a leopard print shirt, a pair of ratty dirty jorts and bright neon green crocs.

Softly, but with a lot of feeling, Katsuki mutters, “What the fuck.”

Rump stands and starts for the stranger calmly, as if to greet him. Katsuki holds his collar before he gets any closer. So much for a guard dog.

The man doesn’t seem to notice Katsuki or Rump there, considering the way he groans and pushes the door closed. He turns around as if he owns the place and starts wobbling his way to the bedroom. Katsuki's bedroom.

“What the fuck,” Katsuki repeats, louder this time.

The offensive man stops on his tracks and turns his bleary eyed gaze to Katsuki, his expression comically confused. His chin drops.

“What the fuck indeed,” the man slurs, his tone conversational.

His voice makes Katsuki feel funny, somehow. He doesn’t have time to think about it, though, because he’s very tired and there’s a drunk stranger in his living room.

“Who the fuck are you?” Katsuki demands.

“Good question.” The man lets out a bitter little chuckle. Katsuki can barely grasp his distorted words. “Who am I to ask for attention and a lil’ bit o’ trust ‘n love, huh? Who do I think I am? ‘z not like I’m dating the azzhole.”

Seeing the man’s distress, Rump whines loudly and struggles to go to him, the stupid dog. Katsuki needs to struggle to keep the dog in place, otherwise he would throw this idiotic man out with his bare hands.

“Get the hell out!” Katsuki orders.

The man squints at him, seeming to finally realize Katsuki is a real person talking to him. “And who-” a hiccup. “Who are you?”

“I’m the owner of this apartment and you’re trespassing, you son of a bitch,” Katsuki snarls.

As if to not be left out, Rump barks, still trying to make Katsuki let go of his collar so he can go lick his new friend. Red haired stranger blinks slowly and frowns, trying to process the situation.

“I’m gonna puke,” he announces.

Puke, he says. A drunk stranger vomiting all over Katsuki's pristine new apartment.

“OVER MY FUCKING DEAD BODY, ASSHOLE!”

Katsuki lets go of Rump and rushes to the drunk man. Drunk man, however, is already stumbling his way to the bathroom as if he knows the apartment well enough to navigate it drunkenly in the dark without a problem. Katsuki follows him closely, but he can do very little as the man falls to his knees in front of the toilet, coughing and heaving.

Better there than on Katsuki's carpet, he guesses.

Except that fashion disaster man doesn’t puke. He stays there, on his knees, choking on thin air and looking miserable. Rump tries to go inside to comfort him, but Katsuki doesn’t allow it. He really has to do something about this dog’s overfriendliness.

When it becomes clear that son of a fuck red haired isn’t going to throw up, Katsuki grabs him by the collar of his horrendous shirt and pulls him back to his feet.

“That’s it, I’m kicking you out,” Katsuki announces.

“Oooh you’re so strooong,” literal demon red man says.

Katsuki is about to yell at him some more - although he isn’t sure how much good he’ll accomplish by yelling at some guy that clearly can’t tell left from right - when the motherfucker stumbles on his own feet. Cursing and sputtering, Katsuki catches him on reflex. He regrets it immediately when he feels the stink of alcohol up-close.

“Oh, wow,” the gigantic piece of a useless cursed fuck says, his hands now resting on Katsuki's chest. “How manly.”

Katsuki freezes, his mouth half open to yell some profanities. Now that they’re this close, he stops to look – to actually look at the man’s face. It shouldn’t be familiar. This man is a random stranger that broke into Katsuki's apartment. However, that phrase… the expression on his face…

“Kirishima?” Katsuki calls, his voice almost too soft to be heard.

“Yeah?” Kirishima answers easily, his eyes still dazed.

Katsuki recoils so suddenly Kirishima almost falls. Rump takes the opportunity to finally leap at him. Instead of being startled, Kirishima opens his arms for the giant dog and lets out confused little chuckles when it starts licking his face. Katsuki is too shocked to stop Rump now.

Kirishima Eijirou, he thinks. This is Kirishima.

Katsuki stares at the mumbling drunk in his arms, really stares. His jaw is strong and sharp, not like the soft pre-teen features Katsuki remembers. Between his parted lips, Katsuki can see his sharp teeth. Above his right eye, Katsuki recognizes the small scar he got falling face first from his crib when he was just a baby. His hair is bright red, all right, but the black roots are barely visible. This is really Kirishima. His Kirishima.

“What the fucking fuck,” Katsuki mutters more to himself than to Kirishima.

Kirishima, whom Katsuki hasn’t seen in over 10 years. Kirishima, whose fashion sense is the most disastrous thing Katsuki has seen in his entire life. Kirishima, who is currently giggling drunkenly as he pets Rump.

“How did you end up here?” Katsuki asks, because he doesn’t know what else to do.

“How did you end up here?” Kirishima asks back and he looks honestly confused. “This’ my place.”

Katsuki swallows. He made sure to sign all dotted lines, checked the real estate company references, transferred the right amount of money he’s been saving for years. He did not meticulously study all that paperwork just to become the victim of some sort of scheme. If he finds out he and five other motherfuckers have bought this apartment, he is so making that bitchy real estate agent eat a fucking bomb.

“I fucking moved in today! This is my apartment!”

“Is it?” Kirishima looks around, still mindlessly rubbing Rumps ears. “Aw, dang it… I should’ve let Mina bring me home.”

That makes him let out a relieved breath.

But then there is the problem at hand. This is Kirishima. Drunk Kirishima. In his home. After over a fucking decade. What the fuck is Katsuki supposed to do.

“Hey,” he starts, trying his best to keep his stern face. “Where the hell do you live?”

“Hmmm I live here,” Kirishima says. “I don’t know why this is your place too…”

Right. Katsuki takes a deep breath. Instead of murdering Kirishima like he wants to, Katsuki starts looking for pockets in his horrible, horrible clothes. Kirishima only protests faintly, but otherwise lets him, which is yet another testimony to how drunk he is. (Katsuki doesn’t like to think about the risks of being in public while incapacitated like that. What was Kirishima thinking?) Then he finally finds what he’s looking for – a phone.

Even someone as careless as that must have an emergency contact, a relative, an address, something.

Except his phone is dead. And it’s a freaking android, so Katsuki can’t even charge it. He gives Kirishima his best glare, hoping all his hatred is conveyed in a single look.

As intoxicated as he is, Kirishima seems to feel the hate. He pouts, obviously upset. Rump, the little traitor, immediately leans heavily against Kirishima’s side and lets himself be hugged.

“Are you mad at me?” Kirishima slurs, hurt evident in his tone.

Rump stares at his owner in a way he must have learned from Hanta, because the traitor dog can be just as emotionally manipulative.

Katsuki is outnumbered.

“Fuck,” he says emphatically. “Fucking shit ass-sucking piss-drinking son of a bitch cock-fucker dickhead. Get up.”

“What?” Kirishima’s pout grows.

“I said get up, you bothersome fuck,” Katsuki snarls as he reaches for the other man again.

He pulls Kirishima to his feet for the second time and offers leverage by wrapping Kirishima’s arm around his own shoulders. He is perhaps five or six centimeters taller, although it’s hard to tell considering Kirishima’s ridiculous pointy hair. When they were younger, Kirishima used to be taller.

Katsuki ignores unnecessary thoughts about a distant past that doesn’t matter anymore – it doesn’t – as he drags/carries Kirishima to the couch. He lets out another string of curses as he does so, because Kirishima is fucking heavy. Katsuki all but drops him on the couch.

“Stay here,” he orders and heads to the kitchen to pick a glass of water.

He hears Kirishima talking to Rump and cooing and growing increasingly incomprehensible. By the time Katsuki comes back to the living room, he finds Kirishima leaning against the dog, his eyes closed and his mouth still producing incomprehensible sounds.

“No, no, no, I think the fuck not,” Katsuki hisses, shaking Kirishima by the shoulder. “No sleeping now. Drink this.”

Kirishima groans and whines, but takes the glass. Katsuki needs to hold it in his hands and guide it to his mouth so he won’t pour the water on his shiny new couch. Once again, Katsuki wonders how one gets so drunk to the point where the ability to hold a glass and drink from it at the same time doesn’t exist.

Dishes water,” Kirishima complains.

“Kirishima, I am this close to beating the crap out of you. Drink the damn water.”

More whining. More reluctant obedience. Rump huffs softly, seeming somewhat satisfied, and Katsuki has to hold back not to tell him to shut up. Why must his own dog look so damn smug, anyway?

Kirishima finishes the water without putting up much of a fight. Now… now what? Katsuki has taken care of drunk friends once or twice. Never someone this drunk, though, so he isn’t sure how to proceed. Besides, this is not a friend. This is Kirishima, a person Katsuki hasn’t seen since the last year of middle school. Kicking him out is out of question, of course, there’s no way someone this buzzed will survive the night on his own. But then what? Does Katsuki let Kirishima sleep? What if he throws up?

“Damn it,” Katsuki mutters to himself, because Kirishima is already dozing off. “What the fuck happened to you, shitty hair?”

Kirishima’s eyes shoot open, suddenly a lot less glassy, his gaze focused on the man in front of him.

“Bakugou?” He calls, looking soberer than he had since he arrived.

Katsuki swallows hard. If he had any doubts, they would have disappeared right there. He would recognize that voice anywhere. There was only one person that said his name like that and that person was Kirishima. Suddenly, Katsuki is a 14-year-old boy again, immature and idiotic, telling his best friend he’s leaving, deciding that cutting all bonds he has with the past is for the best.

“Bakugou,” Kirishima repeats, a sleepy smile stretching his lips. “Blasty…”

It’s been over 10 years.

The man in front of him is a stranger.

He shouldn’t be feeling like this.

(Don’t they say that first loves never last? Never work out? What was the saying?)

“Blasty, I…” Kirishima stops, furrowing his brow. He looks confused and then upset.

“Kirishima?” Katsuki says and he can’t help the way he says it. Like that name means much more than you’d think. Like a caress. Like a promise.

And that’s when Kirishima leans forward and throws up on Katsuki's coffee table.

 

When Katsuki wakes up the next morning, he feels as though he had taken a severe beating. He scowls, wondering why the blinds aren’t closed. The way he rolls carefully to the side is because he’s afraid of crushing an innocent dog - Rump likes to sleep right by his side, what can he do? - but there’s no one there to be crushed. Katsuki has his bed all to himself for the first time since he adopted the stupid dog.

It’s Rump’s absence that makes him sit up instantaneously - too quickly, for that matter, his vision swims for a while - and scan the room looking for the dog. He finds the little traitor on the guest futon on the floor with a red haired man.

A red haired man that is Kirishima.

“Fuck,” Katsuki mutters, his voice hoarse.

The previous night comes back to him in flashes. Kirishima breaking into his apartment. Kirishima being drunk. Katsuki realizing that that insane drunk man was, in fact, Kirishima. Katsuki taking care of Kirishima. What the fuck.

What the ever damned miserable disgraced fucking freaking fuck.

What is he supposed to do now? Wake him up and kick him out? Punch him? Murder him? He discards the last two options, since it would be counterproductive. He didn’t spend half of his night nursing a drunk man just to end his life when morning came.

The first option would imply he’d have to actually interact with Kirishima and… Well. He doesn’t think he wants that yet. Katsuki is a man of many talents, but- It’s not like he’s socially incapable, because he is very capable in that matter too, thank you very fucking much, it’s just that he doesn’t like to socialize much.

In the end, he decides to postpone the inevitable and heads to the kitchen. For the first time since he was a puppy, Rump doesn’t follow him. Little traitor.

Although he usually settles for coffee and plain toast in the morning, Katsuki starts making pancakes without thinking. He hates himself because that means he’s nervous - he’s always been a stress-cooker/baker. Hanta gained at least 5 kilos when Katsuki was studying to be admitted to the force - and he should not be nervous. If anything, he should be angry. He should be kicking Kirishima out already.

(He also hates that he can’t think of him as an annoying man anymore. He’s Kirishima now. Even though Katsuki knows virtually nothing about him.)

Katsuki has a pile of pancakes richly decorated with slices of fruit and a large cup of fresh orange juice by the time he hears noise from the bedroom. He freezes. First, he hears a groan. Then confused sounds. And then silence. He waits.

Two heartbeats later, he hears heavy footsteps as Kirishima drags himself out of the bedroom. Grinding his teeth, Katsuki settles his untouched juice on the table and heads there for the confrontation he’s dreading.

“Fucking finally,” he croaks as he reaches the hallway. His voice sounds horrible.

Kirishima startles a little and turns to him with wide eyes. His jaw drops comically, as if he’s never seen anything like Katsuki before. He lets out confused sounds for a while before he finally remembers how to form words.

“Am- Am I dreaming?” His voice sounds even worse than Katsuki's, breaking on the last word.

“Do I look like a fucking dream, asshole?” Katsuki says.

“Uh, kinda,” Kirishima says, “you… That is, I’m… huh. Where am I?”

“My fucking apartment. Where you drunkenly broke into last night.”

At that, Kirishima looks horrified. Right now, he looks a lot more like the boy Katsuki knew many years ago. The nice boy that would never ever get wasted and invade someone else’s home and that would apologize profusely if he ever did anything remotely wrong, even if by accident.

“Well?” He pushes. His already short patience is quickly ending.

“I’m not- Oh my Gosh, I’m so sorry!” Kirishima starts talking quickly, sentences running over one another, unfinished. “I can’t believe- I would never- I can’t believe I inconvenienced you like this, I’m so- There’s no excuse for what- Dude, I’m so fucking sorry!”

There’s a warm feeling similar to butterflies in Katsuki's stomach when he realizes that that part of Kirishima hasn’t changed, apparently.

Katsuki decides to digest them.

“You better fucking be,” he says. “And how the fuck did you get in anyway? You couldn’t tell left from right and my door was locked.”

“You’re a new tenant?” Kirishima asks, scratching his neck awkwardly. “What floor is this?”

“The fifth.”

“Right. I, hm, I live on the sixth? And I made quite the first impression.” Kirishima gives him a shy, apologetic smile. “This building… Well, if you decide to test it out, you’ll find out that your key works in a couple of other apartments too.”

“What- What the fuck ?”

“Yeah. You should probably change your locks. The windows can be opened from the outside, too, so you should be careful with them.”

Katsuki should have known. He should have known that this fucking apartment was too good to be true.

“God fucking shit damn it!” Katsuki throws his hands up in frustration. “I should not have trusted that motherfucking bitch when she told me about the damned apartment! And you- ” But he stops on his tracks when he turns his gaze to Kirishima again.

Because Kirishima is gaping at him, with starry eyes and his mouth hanging open. His face seems to be a few shades paler.

“You… Bakugou?”

Usually, when confronted by an uncomfortable situation such as this one, his fight or flight response goes off and he literally either ignores it or punches the source of his discomfort in the face. Neither seems like an option in this moment, so Katsuki schools his expression into something neutral and shoves his hands into his pockets, making sure he’s glaring at Kirishima from above.

“Yeah?”

"Oh my God, Bakugou!"

Kirishima walks toward him, half-raising his arms and Katsuki tenses up, unsure of what to do. There aren't many fools out there that can say they have tried to hug Bakugou Katsuki, but physical touch was almost never welcome to him. (The problem here was that this was Kirishima and Katsuki didn't quite know what he would do if Kirishima did hug him.)

Perhaps sensing that this would be awkward or only then realizing what he was doing, Kirishima stops himself.

For a couple of painful seconds, they just stand there, staring at each other. Finally, Kirishima averts his gaze and lets out a small chuckle.

"What a small world, huh? When did you come back to Japan?"

"It's been a while," Katsuki says.

"A while," Kirishima repeats and, for half a second, a strange expression crosses his eyes. It's so quick Katsuki thinks he might have imagined it. "Cool. I guess it's too late to say welcome back."

"You already gave me quite the welcome party yesterday, remember?"

Kirishima chuckles again, looking less apologetic now that he knows the person whose apartment he invaded is a friend, not a stranger. (Can Katsuki still call himself Kirishima's friend?)

"Sorry about that again, man. That was not my highest point this month."

"Whatever," Katsuki gruffs and turns around to head to the kitchen. "You wanna eat something?"

Kirishima doesn't say anything for a couple of seconds, but Katsuki refuses to turn around to see what kind of expression he is making. Pretend they do this everyday and wing it.

"I would like that, yeah," Kirishima says and follows Katsuki. "You wouldn't happen to have anything for a headache, would you?"

"Yeah, it's called not drinking until you're half fucking dead."

A snort. "I thought you'd say that."

Katsuki refuses to think too hard about that. Instead, he heads back to the kitchen as Kirishima follows him. It is bound to be an awkward situation, but Kirishima fills the silence with mindless chatter despite his hangover.

He still doesn’t know what to do with this situation, but Katsuki quietly thinks to himself that some things never change.