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Shinsou flicked his tongue over his lips, his dark eyes half-lidded. Bakugou watched the way his lips shined and shivered at the feel of warmth breath on his cheek.

“You think about him, too?”

Shinsou’s voice was low and needy, so close to a whine. Bakugou could hardly believe it.

He swallowed hard. “No!” he coughed. “Why - why the hell would I ever think about that idiot?”

Shinsou paused, considering, then leaned forward, pressing Bakugou firm against the wall. His lips curled into a cheeky smirk, his eyes hooded as he watched Bakugou squirm in his most subtle way - fake a glare, give up halfway through, tighten and loosen his fists.

“No?” he asked, clearly not impressed. “Then what’s this for?” He palmed the growing erection in Bakugou’s pants.

Bakugou choked.

“I heard you earlier,” Shinsou continued, breathless, “moaning his name. His real name.”

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!” Bakugou said, finally shifting gears. He pushed against Shinsou’s hold, an easy feat since Shinsou had never focused on upper body strength, not like Bakugou did. “Fuck off, fucking weirdo.”

Shinsou grabbed at his wrist before Bakugou could do more than turn away, and his palms sparked. Bakugou turned back around, fury in his gaze masking the nerves he felt, and faltered at the lack of care in those dark eyes.

Shinsou seemed unconcerned about the heat radiating from Bakugou’s palms, pulling him closer, expression intense.

“What…” Bakugou found himself at a lost, “…the hell is wrong with you?”

His words seemed to reignite something inside of Shinsou, because his teasing smile was back, his eyes narrow and catlike as he watched Bakugou. “I think I figured out a way for us to get along,” he said. “What d’ya say, Ka-stu-ki?”

Bakugou shivered.

 

-


Bakugou banged his head on the tile behind him for the third time, his nostrils flaring. His hands tightened in already wrinkled cloth and the person beneath him hissed.

“Listen, I know I said I’d pretend, but you can’t just fucking -”

“This isn’t working!”

“Well, obviously you aren’t trying hard enough,” Shinsou said, annoyed. “All you’ve done this whole time is bitch, I had no clue you whined this much.”

“You shitty bastard!” Bakugou growled. “I’ll kill you!”

“With the way this is going, I’d let you,” Shinsou said dryly. “Loosen up already, this is uncomfortable for the both of us.”

“I can’t just -”

Shinsou grinned as Bakugou suddenly went lax, though it faltered just the slightest when Bakugou started to slump over him. He hadn’t had a clue how much the guy weighed until now, especially with most of it being muscle. He winced as he tightened his grip on Bakugou’s thighs and pressed him securely onto the counter.

Bakugou’s head rested limply on his shoulder, and Shinsou couldn’t resist leaning toward his ear and whispering, “Good boy.”

Despite the steady hold Shinsou had on him with his quirk, he felt Bakugou give a full body shiver at his words. Shinsou blinked in surprise for only a moment, before he realized he could use this.

He pressed closer, letting out a small noise as heat fully engulfed his length. His hands shook as he held Bakugou close but he ignored the strain easily with the sudden rush of pleasure he felt.

“You feel really good,” Shinsou said sincerely, without any hint of mocking. He felt Bakugou give a weak jerk against him, a whimper escaping his lips. “I mean it,” he insisted.

“Shut… the fuck… up,” Bakugou hissed, forcing Shinsou to withhold some of the control he held over him. It was much more difficult to handle without giving a specific command, and Shinsou didn’t have any in mind just yet.

“But, Kacchan,” he said, softly, slowly. Bakugou stilled against him again, though this time Shinsou knew it wasn’t the effect of his quirk.

“Don’t - don’t fucking say - ”

“Kacchan, I’m really happy you let me touch you like this,” Shinsou said, keeping up the guise. “I’ve always wanted to…”

Bakugou let out a strangled noise.

“You’re so strong,” Shinsou continued, ignoring the twitch of his hips itching to move. “It’s not just your quirk either - you’ve… you’ve always been so strong.”

“Fuck,” Bakugou whispered.

“This is okay, right?” He mimicked a smaller voice, sounding tentative. “This is good? I just wanna make you feel good, Kacchan.”

“Goddammit,” Bakugou growled, and by now Shinsou’s control had almost entirely slipped, yet Bakugou hadn’t moved an inch from their position. “Deku - ”

“Call me by my name,” Shinsou urged. “Please, I -”

“Izuku,” Bakugou said, without a moment’s pause, continuing, “just… just c’mon. Fuck me, already.”

Shinsou held back the grin he could feel pulling at the corner of his lips and instead moved. He pressed flush against Bakugou, his legs trembling from holding up his weight and half of Bakugou’s. He ignored the weakness - ignored the fact that Deku, Izuku, would never have such a problem, not with his strength - and pulled out slowly before thrusting back in.

Bakugou muttered something under his breath, and under the haze of pleasure Shinsou hardly heard him.

“Huh?” he mumbled, then caught himself as he shifted back into his usual tone. He cleared his throat and asked again, “What was that, Kacchan?”

Bakugou buried his face further into Shinsou’s neck, his ash-blond hair tickling his skin.

“I said harder, already,” Bakugou repeated, voice oddly quiet. Shinsou had to slow his breathing and be still in order to hear him properly. “…m’not gonna break, idiot.”

Shinsou paused, considering how to respond before deciding, “I just wanna take care of you,” sounded plenty like Izuku to him. He had always been the selfless sort, hadn’t he?

He seemed to have thought correct, if the way Bakugou’s thighs tightened around his waist said anything.

“Stupid fucking - ”

Shinsou cut him off with another slow thrust, biting his lip to hold back a moan. He didn’t mind going slow, he thought, not if it meant he could savor the feeling around him.

“Izuku,” Bakugou breathed out, his breath making Shinsou shiver. “Izuku, Izuku…

Something moved in between their bodies and Shinsou only dimly recognized that it was Bakugou’s arm. It took him a moment to gather why, but as Bakugou’s noises picked up and a wet noise followed, he realized.

The nickname was rolling off his tongue even easier now and Shinsou found himself hardly paying mind to what he said to Bakugou, only focusing for what he wished was said to him. It didn’t seem to matter because Bakugou only grasped bits and pieces of the words he murmured into his ear anyway, his words drowned out by pleasure and his own moans.

Shinsou bit his lip, feeling his gut tighten. “I wanna see you,” he said, whining softly.

Bakugou tightened his grip on Shinsou’s shoulders and Shinsou vaguely realized there would probably be bruises there tomorrow.

He didn’t care.

“Please…” he whispered. “I bet you’re super pretty, Kacchan.”

“Shut up!” Bakugou shouted, his voice echoing in the empty restroom. Shinsou had long since given up on caring whether or not someone heard them. “You - ”

“You don’t gotta be embarrassed, it’s true,” Shinsou said, and he was surprised to find he really believed it.

Bakugou pulled back to glare at him, though with his reddened face and swollen, kissed lips it was hardly threatening. Shinsou briefly found himself lost in those narrowed eyes.

“Yep,” he said, laughing a little, “I was right. Really pretty.”

“You’re never right, idiot.”

Shinsou snickered, but of course played along. “Of course not, Kacchan.”

Bakugou grunted and started stroking himself again, nibbling on his lower lip.

Shinsou didn’t even fight back the urge to lean in and kiss him, tasting the leftover melon bread Bakugou had eaten for lunch on his tongue. Beneath it was the distinct flavor that was all spice, all Bakugou.

He inhaled deeply, getting a mix of sex, sweat, and heat. Bakugou was still staring at him when he opened his eyes and Shinsou only realized things were over when he notice the sticky feel of cum on his bare chest - it had been a good decision to strip away the upper portion of his uniform, he realized, since he’d rather not walk back to class with a stained blazer and shirt.

His cock was limp within Bakugou and he hissed as he slowly pulled out, the sensitivity making him uncomfortable. He avoided Bakugou’s eyes even though he could still feel them on him, burning.

It was only once the two of them were haphazardly cleaned off, a condom disposed of, and both halfway dressed, that Bakugou finally spoke up.

“That wasn’t as bad as I thought.” His voice was rough, no doubt from all the sounds he’d been making earlier. “I guess.”

Shinsou felt some of his confidence return, even though he still couldn’t bring himself to hold Bakugou’s eye contact for too long.

“Heh,” he chuckled. “So the bastard can have fun after all.”

Bakugou growled. “I change my mind, shithead.” He looked every bit put together, since his clothes were normally wrinkled and loose. If it wasn’t for the way his face still held some redness, his hair mussed up and lips swollen, Bakugou would look just as normal. Shinsou secretly delighted in the fact that it was his fault he wasn’t as composed, despite what Bakugou tried to seem. “You fucking sucked.”

“That’s not what you were saying earlier,” Shinsou teased, a shiteating grin on his face. “Was it now, Kacchan?”

When Bakugou charged him, palms sparking, Shinsou dodged.

Chapter Text

Shinsou trailed his lips further down Bakugou’s exposed neck. The wide expansion of skin was tanned and unmarred, and Shinsou had to swallow hard against the urge rising in his belly.

“If you fucking bite me, I’ll kill you,” Bakugou hissed.

Shinsou held in a snicker. So apparently Bakugou had caught on to his train of thought.

(He wasn’t really that surprised. Bakugou had always been rather smart, just… lacking a better way of expressing it.)

“I’m not gonna mark you, dumbass,” Shinsou said, words going straight to the root of the problem. He knew it wasn’t the pain, because Bakugou clearly had a thing for a bit of pain mixed with pleasure. Instead, it’d have to be… “Nobody’s gonna find out you like it up the ass.”

Bakugou gritted his teeth and avoided his eyes. He didn’t speak, but Shinsou knew he’d hit the nail on the head. He wasn’t really offended by the knowledge - Bakugou was a prideful guy, so he probably saw it as weak, like he did nearly anything else a normal person wouldn’t bat an eyelash at.

With sex usually came emotions, after all, even if they were just lust and relief.

He kept staring for a while longer, only stopping when the heat of Bakugou’s skin caught his attention once more.

He leaned back in and scraped his teeth lightly against soft skin, lips twitching with the beginnings of a smirk when Bakugou let out a soft noise. There were hands curling into the messy strands of his hair, grip secure but not tight, just a slight tug. It was just enough to have Shinsou exhale heavily against wet skin, making Bakugou shiver.

He tugged harder.

“You like light touches, huh?” Shinsou murmured, lips brushing against his skin. He didn’t bother to pull away, even as the lack of distance made his words slur - if not by the closeness then it was the haziness of lust. “I bet you like being looked after too, hm, Izuku?”

The relaxed state of Bakugou’s body suddenly shifted as he tensed, though Shinsou was unsure of exactly why at first. He was doing no more than rubbing small circles into Bakugou’s hip, his lips pressing light kisses along his abdomen. It was hardly anything to get anxious over.

But then Shinsou wondered…

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be taken care of…” he continued, looking up at Bakugou through thick eyelashes.

The other was still wound tight, his expression twisted with what looked like displeasure and almost… pain.

“I don’t - ”

“You don’t always have to take care of everyone else, you know,” Shinsou said, and for once, the words weren’t just a matter of persona, a way of speaking to Bakugou. They were unrealistically genuine, and Shinsou silently cursed himself for getting so worked up over pretend. There was no Izuku here to reassure, no Izuku here to look up to with loving eyes.

There was only Bakugou.

It didn’t matter that those were words he often wished he could say to Izuku, who often spent his time worrying over others so much that he’d neglect himself. It didn’t matter that when Bakugou was quiet like this, when he was still, Shinsou could get lost in the image.

Because in the end, it wasn't real.

“Hey,” a gruff voice called.

Shinsou blinked and met red eyes. The twisted expression he’d caught earlier had long since been warped into something else, something more genuine and less violent. He wasn’t quite sure how to describe it, having never seen something like it before on Bakugou’s face.

“Are you even listening, freak?”

“Sorry,” he said, mentally shaking himself. “What’d you say?”

“I asked if you were okay, dumbass. You’ve just been sitting there staring into the void for the past five minutes.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, oh,” Bakugou said. “You actually killed my boner.”

(He hadn’t, but Shinsou decided not to comment on that right now.)

“No, I meant - ” Shinsou paused, then said, “You’re worried about me?”

It had the expected reaction - sudden sparks and the scent of smoke. Shinsou inched back and was silently glad that Bakugou had long since released his grip on his hair. The smoky scent that always followed Bakugou was nice, but it was hardly something Shinsou thought would suit himself.

“You don’t have to get so embarrassed,” Shinsou said, barely holding back his amusement. Apparently, he wasn’t doing a very good job at it because Bakugou gave him a dark glare and tightened his fist threateningly. “Having emotions is kind of normal, you know.”

“I don’t need you to tell me that.”

“You sure?” Shinsou just couldn’t hold his tongue; teasing Bakugou had become one of his favorite pastimes.

“Fucker,” Bakugou began in a low growl, and amidst his humor, Shinsou felt something stir inside of him.

His lazy grin wavered and he abandoned it in favor of swallowing hard, leaning back on the heels of his feet as he stared at Bakugou. It took the other boy a moment to recognize that he wasn’t going to inspire any more rage in him, and when he did notice, Bakugou still looked every bit disgruntled - just more within reason.

“What?”

Shinsou hummed and looked him over through half-lidded eyes. “Just thinking…”

“Thinking what, smartass?”

(There had to be something wrong with him. There was no way he was - )

“That you’re actually okay, like this,” Shinsou said.

“The fuck’s that supposed to mean?!”

“It means…” He could feel his heart stutter in his chest, ignoring the urge he had to wring his hands. “That I don’t know why I thought I needed you to pretend.”

Bakugou opened his mouth, the beginnings of a threat on his tongue most likely, but said nothing. Clearly, he hadn’t been expecting Shinsou to say such things.

“…I thought at first maybe you just wouldn’t be good at it,” Shinsou continued, after a breath’s pause. “But that’s not it.”

Bakugou’s chest was still rising slowly, breaths leaving him evenly, but he was entirely still otherwise. Even his hands, which typically clenched into fists when he was passionate or thinking or anything were free of smoke and sparks, splayed open.

“You don’t talk like him,” Shinsou said. “Not because you can’t, but because you won’t. I know you’d know exactly what he’d say.”

His lips curled up in a half smile, his eyes searching.

“Because you’ve been thinking about him way longer, haven’t you, Katsuki?”

“Fuck,” he whispered.

“You know about him better than I do - more than I do, even when you say you don’t like him, when you tell him to fuck off.”

“…” Bakugou gritted his teeth, then asked, “What are you trying to say?”

“You’re afraid of fucking up his image, aren’t you?”

Shinsou knew he was on the right track even when Bakugou didn’t answer him. From the way Bakugou’s breathing had picked up, ears hanging onto every word he said - it only made sense to assume what he said held some level of truth.

He wasn’t expecting to hit the exact mark, no matter how close he thought he was. Shinsou was good at reading people, but he wasn’t good enough to get a read on Bakugou Katsuki. The boy was damn-near an enigma the way his words conflicted with his actions every time emotions that weren’t smugness and actual anger came into play.

The only person he’d ever thought capable of understanding someone so volatile had been Kirishima, resident sunshine and largest extrovert personality.

But at some point things had obviously changed. Shinsou wasn’t entirely sure anymore if it was Midoriya’s influence on the both of them, or if this was something he had been hiding within himself underneath annoyance at Bakugou’s outer demeanor.

“You don’t think you’re good enough for him,” Shinsou said, when it became clear Bakugou wasn’t going to speak. “You think anything to do with you is gonna screw him up.”

He was pushing him away every single time Midoriya approached him, refusing to acknowledge their mutual past because he didn’t think he deserved it.

(Shinsou hated that part of himself that was jealous. The part of himself that thought he really, really didn’t deserve it. He didn’t have a place there, especially not in thinking that.)

“The fuck would you know about it, huh?”

Shinsou gave a small, self-deprecating smile. “Well… I’m the same, aren’t I?”

Bakugou’s expression tightened, his brow furrowed deeply.

“Midoriya’s nice,” he said. “He doesn’t look back at people’s past and judge them, and he doesn’t listen to gossip and rumors. He wants to be there for everybody, even someone like me.”

Bakugou snorted. “Nobody asked for your tragic backstory, dumbass. I didn’t meet up with you for some pity party.”

“Heh…” Despite the rudeness, Shinsou only grinned. By now he liked to think he was used to the way Bakugou tried to deflect. “Didn’t you, though? Isn’t it fucking sad…” He closed the distance between them, leaned in close enough to kiss Bakugou but never looked down to his lips - eyes on him and his uncomfortable expression. “…that all we can do is think of him, when we’re together?”

Bakugou pressed a hand against Shinsou's chest, but there was no force holding him back from him further than that. “Don’t compare me to a lowlife like you… You think I need this?”

“I doubt you’d keep coming back to me otherwise,” Shinsou replied. “Clearly, your own imagination isn’t enough for you anymore. I doubt your own hand even does it for you now.”

Bakugou was shaking, but Shinsou wasn’t sure if it was out of anger or something else.

“So what, then?” Bakugou said, clearly pissed off just as much as he was embarrassed. “You wanna stop fucking? Fine by me then - ”

“No,” he said, and he was surprised by how much he meant it. He didn’t want to stop. They’d been meeting like this for over a month now, playing into roles they knew didn’t fit just for a moment of relief, but Shinsou knew he got addicted to it the first time around. It was nice, to pretend, but he knew it was more than just the sex that he liked. He bit his lip and watched as Bakugou’s eyes focused on the way he nibbled on the flesh, wanting.

“Then what.”

There was no inflection, no uncertainty in his tone anymore. Bakugou didn’t sound so curious about it, his anger shifting into lust the way it tended to whenever Shinsou would snark at him until they were both riled up enough to fuck harder than usual. He probably didn’t care as much anymore.

Shinsou did.

He leaned in, crowding Bakugou against the wall, and listened to the way Bakugou’s breath hitched low, something he’d missed the first few times they’d done this, before he’d realized Bakugou liked being put in his place every now and then.

“I want…” Shinsou traced his lips alongside Bakugou’s jawline, felt him shiver against him, and then nibbled at his ear. “…you to get off your goddamn high horse.”

Bakugou didn’t seem to register the words at first, leaning further into his touch with heavy, needy pants. Shinsou had to pull away from him - something that was difficult with the way Bakugou was holding onto his shoulders tight - in order for Bakugou to snap out of his daze.

His face was flushed, but he still glared. “What the fuck,” he said, shifting uncomfortably. “You’ve blue balled me this whole goddamn week, asshole, you’re not - ”

Shinsou rolled his eyes. Bakugou was exaggerating, as always. It wasn’t his fault that the other boy had the sex drive of a rabbit, even in the midst of exams. Unlike him, Shinsou couldn’t multitask in his preparation, and he wasn’t practically guaranteed a top spot. That, coupled with his insanely fucked up sleeping habits, and he just never had time to fuck around.

“Did you hear a word I said?”

Bakugou snarled, his sudden rant cut off - Shinsou wasn’t entirely sure where he was even going with it, having zoned out the moment Bakugou went into his next slew of creative insults. “What?”

“You’re going to quit this shit,” Shinsou said, gesturing at the entirety of him. Bakugou frowned in both anger and confusion, and he had to hold in a snicker. It was almost cute. “Stop ignoring him and pushing him away.”

Bakugou paused, then asked, seemingly amazed. “You’re fucking kidding me. You’re still on about that nerd?”

Shinsou ignored him. “You’ve got a chance.”

“I - I pushed him around for years, the fuck do you mean - ”

“And he still likes you,” Shinsou interrupted. “I’d be willing to bet you’ve gotten somewhat better, even if I haven’t personally seen any improvement.”

Bakugou looked annoyed at the skeptical look Shinsou shot him, but he said nothing to dispute it.

(Kirishima and the rest probably were signs he was getting better…)

“If it doesn’t work out, this can keep going,” Shinsou said. “But fuck it if you think I’m gonna let you go on thinking you’re hopeless.”

Bakugou’s lips twitched into a smirk, and Shinsou hated himself for the things it did to him.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you gave a shit about me, you creep.”

Shinsou feigned a grimace.

“As if,” he said. “I care about Midoriya. It’s just unfortunate he likes you.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Shinsou said, then stepped away from him and towards the exit. “You gotta at least try, Bakugou. Got it?”

Bakugou watched Shinsou go, and it was only when he was alone that he remembered the problem he had. He gritted his teeth and cursed Shinsou.

Fucker had blue balled him again.

(He didn’t have the heart to question why, even without pretend, he still found himself aching.)

Chapter Text

Bakugou was stumbling.

Shinsou wasn’t used to seeing him struggle with his words outside of sex; not in this way. Sometimes he’d fucked up a sentence or hesitate, but that usually manifested in the form of shouts or curses.

He was still cursing now, but he was clearly making an effort to stay mellow. It seemed to be working, too, if the way Iida was restraining himself from reprimanding him again was any sign. Even Uraraka looked a little giddy at the sight, talking Bakugou’s head off about some show she’d been watching last night.

Bakugou had called it stupid, and yet he was still listening, even if his eyes kept darting away from the group and to the entrance to the classroom.

It was obvious he was waiting on someone, but the fact that he was waiting with others was really odd to look at.

Sometimes he’d hang around his friends while they’d gather for lunch, but that was rare since he had a habit of taking off himself. Shinsou probably had missed seeing most of that before he’d transferred into the class, too.

Their conversation abruptly cut off when someone dashed into the classroom. Shinsou saw a curly head of hair and everything was made very obvious for him, as he watched Midoriya greet his friends and then hesitantly say hello to Bakugou as well.

“Midoriya-kun,” Iida spoke, pushing up his glasses. “You really should prioritize arriving earlier! If not for our teacher’s late habits - ”

“Stupid nerd was up training last night,” Bakugou cut in, though his tone wasn’t harsh. “It’s cause he didn’t sleep well.”

Midoriya looked surprised, and so did the rest of the group, each staring at Bakugou with curiosity.

“Oh, thanks, Kacchan,” Midoriya said, his lips curling up slightly.

Bakugou turned away and marched over to his desk without another word. Iida’s voice rose as he began to apologize for getting ahead of himself, his concerns soon eased by Midoriya’s soft words.

Shinsou watched as Bakugou leaned back in his seat, feet kicked up as usual. He was going for the traditional lazy look, Shinsou knew, but he looked so winded up. Like he was nervous.

(Had he been waiting for Midoriya so he could check if he was okay? Was he worried about him training so late?)

Shinsou inhaled sharply and turned his eyes away.

“Everything okay, Shinsou?”

Shinsou jerked in his seat and had to muffled a grunt when his knee hit his desk. He gritted his teeth through the pain and looked to his right, where Kirishima was standing. He gave Shinsou an apologetic grin and leaned back against the desk behind him idly.

“Sorry, man!”

Shinsou waved him off. It was hard to hold a grudge against someone like Kirishima, and Shinsou had long since lost most of his bitterness. Being welcomed with open arms into his new class certainly helped with that, but he knew that the majority of his change was because of…

Shinsou sighed and focused back on Kirishima, whose gaze had never strayed from him. His expression looked concerned, though Shinsou wasn’t sure why he’d be worried.

“Did you need something?” Shinsou asked, trying his hardest to not snap. He felt a bit irritated, though that could have easily been his lack of sleep. He’d tossed and turn much more than usual the past few nights, and his body wasn’t sure how to handle that sort of thing anymore.

Ever since his thing with Bakugou, he had started to get a few more hours in. He still wasn’t sure if it was because a good fuck made it easier to relax or if Bakugou just had something about him that made it easier.

(Hitoshi sort of didn’t want to find out the answer to that.)

“Ah, well…” Kirishima looked a little sheepish, averting his eyes from Shinsou’s stare. He wasn’t intimidated - Shinsou knew, because if the same person that befriended Bakugou, of all people, got nervous around him, it'd be surreal - but he did seem a little nervous for some reason. “I’m just kinda curious is all… you seemed upset earlier.”

Shinsou blinked at him.

(Had… he been upset earlier?)

“It’s probably just my face,” Shinsou said dryly. “People tend to think I’m angry when I’m not.”

Kirishima laughed, and Shinsou was relieved that the other boy at least recognized he was joking, even if he was being partly honest. It happened way too often that people thought he was being rude when he wasn’t trying to, and by this point, it was tiring to have to explain himself.

(He still wasn’t used to being understood so well by his classmates. It felt really nice.)

Kirishima’s laughter died down and he trailed off into a soft sigh. “Well, maybe,” he teased, a sharp-toothed grin on his face. It lessened just the slightest as he continued, however, and Shinsou held back a frown, “But you didn’t really seem angry, man.”

Shinsou didn’t know what to think about that. “I didn’t?” he repeated, a deep furrow in his brow.

Kirishima shook his head. He opened his mouth to continue, then seemed to hesitate. Shinsou was curious, but he wasn’t going to push enough to make Kirishima uncomfortable.

“Well, I’m fine now, so - ”

“You seemed… sad,” Kirishima explained, his voice suddenly soft.

Shinsou went silent, his mouth closing. He really didn’t know what to say to that.

“I don’t mean to pry,” Kirishima continued, “but if something’s up…”

“I’m fine.”

Kirishima didn’t look convinced whatsoever, and Shinsou wasn’t sure why he thought he could even fool him. The redhead probably had the ultimate radar for dealing with bullshit, especially considering his group of friends.

Shinsou felt distinctly uncomfortable, though, not sure how he was even going to address this issue himself, much less explain it to someone else.

(He didn’t even realize it was an issue; not until today.)

But luckily, Kirishima seemed to know that. He shrugged off the snappish reply and offered Shinsou a friendly smile.

“Sure thing,” he said, and he shifted them into a more easy-going conversation, just enough for Shinsou to relax in his desk again.

By the time class began and Kirishima had left him alone, Shinsou could almost pretend the realization never hit him.

 

-

 

Shinsou was in the middle of tidying his desk when he heard it. The majority of the class had already left for the cafeteria, but Midoriya and his friends had been left waiting since Midoriya had had troubled finding his wallet. Shinsou had been listening in and almost thought he’d lost it until he found it in a smaller pouch in his bag and declared himself ready.

“Eat lunch with me.”

Bakugou was there, too. Kirishima was beside him, his mouth open, and he had probably been in the middle of some mindless ramble, but now he was silent. Slowly, he closed his mouth and turned to look at Midoriya, who was staring wide-eyed at Bakugou. His friends were standing behind him, probably just as shocked.

Shinsou couldn’t focus enough on them to confirm or deny, though.

All he could see was the flush riding up Bakugou’s neck, obvious from how disheveled he always wore his school uniform. He could see the way Bakugou was trembling - struggling against some lame outburst, probably - and how his fists clenched at his sides.

“Uh.” Midoriya sounded nervous and hopeful all in one. It was almost like he wasn’t sure whether this was a dream or not.

And what did that say about Bakugou? That he had neglected Midoriya and his feelings so much that he got mixed signals from the obvious. Shinsou wanted to hate him.

(He couldn’t.)

“Is this some sort of prank?” Iida piped up, finally seeming to gather himself. Shinsou slid his gaze over to him almost lazily, noticing the way he still looked uncertain despite his stern words. “I don’t believe - ”

“Wasn’t talking to you, four-eyes.” It was obvious Bakugou was restraining himself from blowing up, and Shinsou wasn’t sure if he was impressed or not. Bakugou’s eyes remained trained on Midoriya’s face, searching. “You wanna fucking go or what?”

And that - that sounded a lot like a threat, but Shinsou knew Bakugou well enough by now to realize he was just embarrassed. And if he knew, then that meant that Midoriya must’ve realized it by now.

Bakugou was being honest.

“S-Sure!” His voice was oddly high-pitched and his eyes were still wide, but there was a bright smile on Midoriya’s face when he spoke.

“Midoriya-kun - ” Iida began, his hands starting to gesture erratically. He was stopped suddenly by Uraraka’s hand on his shoulder, however, and he turned to stare at her determined look. She sent a pointed look to Bakugou, but it was obvious that Iida didn’t recognize the exact significance by his sudden whispers.

Uraraka cut him off with a pointed line at Midoriya, a smile on her face. “Sounds good! We’ll let Todoroki-kun and Tsuyu-chan know you’re eating with someone else today!”

Midoriya seemed to have just remembered his audience, his face suddenly flushing. “Ah!” he shouted, turning back to his friends. “I’m sorry! I forgot - ”

“Don’t worry about it!” Uraraka called. She was already pulling Iida alongside her out of the classroom, ignoring his flabbergasted protests. “See you afterwards!”

“Ah…” Midoriya mumbled under his breath, staring at the exit.

“Let’s go already,” Bakugou said, shoving passed Midoriya. “I’m hungry.”

“R-Right!” Midoriya went ramrod still beside him, before realizing he had to follow after him. He was still stiff as he walked, and the sight was so amusing that Shinsou couldn’t help but snort as he watched them go.

The sound drew the attention of Kirishima, who had been watching the scene silently. He sighed and shrugged, sending Shinsou an almost pouty look.

“Bakugou abandoned me!” he whined childishly.

“Katsuki’s gotten tired of you,” Shinsou said in agreement, his voice taking on a teasing tone. He walked up to the front of class and out of the room, Kirishima beside him. He stumbled slightly but Shinsou didn’t call him out on it or turn towards him, knowing he’d right himself easily. “Looks like Midoriya’s the next hot thing.”

Kirishima laughed a bit and made another joking comment as they walked to the cafeteria together. He didn’t seem bothered at all when Shinsou resorted to short replies, and kept up his rambles - probably about the same thing he’d been trying to explain to Bakugou earlier - until they reached the cafeteria.

Then, he turned to Shinsou and asked, “Wanna sit with us?”

Shinsou looked over at the table he’d typically sat at, the one he shared with Midoriya’s friends, and at the sight of their deep conversation, he knew his answer.

(He didn’t want to hear conspiracies about what Bakugou was up to. He already knew. It was his idea, after all.)

Shinsou said yes.

 

-

 

Bakugou’s table was still just as loud even without his occasional shouts and death threats. Shinsou had never realized it before, but it seemed like most of the conversation was made up of Ashido’s laughter and Kaminari’s cries of joys. Sero’s snickers were still loud, but they often got overshadowed by Kirishima’s laughs whenever he tuned into the conversation.

Shinsou probably would’ve felt off in the group if it wasn’t for how friendly they all were. It helped that his sarcastic comments were well-received, even if Kaminari whined about how “mean” Shinsou was.

He found himself smiling midway into his meal, relaxed in a way he hadn’t felt in over a week.

Then, Kirishima turned towards him in the middle of a lapse in conversation and said, “So you and Bakugou are on a first name basis now?”

There were eyes on him before Shinsou had even finished registering the question, and he quickly found himself feeling sick. He avoided looking Kirishima in the eye and took another bite of his burger, silently trying to think of some excuse.

Kirishima wasn’t trying to be rude. In fact, he sounded happy and interested. Friendly, like he always did. That didn’t mean the question didn’t stir up feelings Shinsou was trying so hard to avoid.

“No way, dude!” Kaminari exclaimed. “He lets you call him by his given name?”

“And you’re still alive…”

Shinsou frowned and said, “I didn’t mean to say it.”

Kirishima tilted his head at him, looking a bit confused. “You said it so easily, though.” It was a murmur, so Shinsou wasn’t sure if he was really supposed to have heard it, but it didn’t matter because he wouldn’t have replied to it anyway.

It was easy to say, and he liked saying it. There was no real excuse for how familiar he acted with Bakugou.

“I knew you guys were getting closer, but wow…” Ashido mused. “Didn’t think it went deeper than Bakugou being tolerant of you.”

(It probably didn’t. Not for Bakugou, anyway.)

Shinsou idly bit into a french fry, ignoring how cold it was now. “He probably just realized yelling at me wastes his own time,” he tried.

“As if,” Sero said. “That guy could go on forever.

Kaminari nodded in sympathy, while Ashido snickered. Kirishima looked like he was going to bring up how Bakugou wasn’t a bad guy, or some variation of that, so when he did speak up, Shinsou wasn't really surprised.

“I’m kind of proud of him, actually,” Kirishima said. “Since he asked Midoriya to lunch, I mean. I was wondering what was up with him this week, but now things kind of make sense…”

This, of course, was the exact thing Shinsou had been trying to avoid. It was just his luck that Bakugou’s friends tended to be gossips. Kirishima, at least, was genuine about his happiness and concern.

It seemed like all the others just wanted to get the latest scoop.

“What do you think, Shinsou?”

“Hm?” Shinsou had zoned out around the time they’d begun wondering if Bakugou was planning to get Midoriya alone to murder him or something. Maybe in the past he would’ve found it funny, but now it seemed hard to laugh when he was involved.

It was too personal.

“Do you think Bakugou likes Midoriya?”

Shinsou choked.

Kirishima slapped his back hard enough for Shinsou to jerk forward, and when he stopped, his back was stinging from the hit. He hid his wince as he thanked him for his help, and looked over to Ashido with a frown.

“Why’s it matter?” he asked.

“No reason!” she insisted, but her smile looked too sugary. “I mean, I just figured I’d ask since you guys are so buddy-buddy now!”

Sero laughed.

“We’re not,” Shinsou said.

“Mm-hm,” Kaminari agreed, though it was obviously patronizing.

Shinsou turned to Kirishima but there was a hesitant smile to his face that made it clear he didn’t believe him either. Shinsou just grumbled softly to himself and abandoned the rest of his food. He really wasn’t feeling hungry anymore.

“Where are you going?”

“Back to class,” Shinsou called over his shoulder.

He could hear the group whispering among themselves as he left - it was hard not to, even though they were trying so hard to keep quiet - but it was only bits and pieces so he couldn’t tell exactly what they were saying.

Not that it matter, of course.

Shinsou resigned himself to another slow day, and left the cafeteria.

 

-

 

Things must have went well, Shinsou figured, because Midoriya and Bakugou were eating lunch together again the next day. Then, the day after that. And again and again, sometimes with days skipped so they could go back to their usual groups.

(During those times, Shinsou sat with Tokoyami and a few others. He didn’t feel comfortable sitting with Bakugou’s friends anymore, even after he had accepted Kirishima’s apology for being invasive, and sitting with Midoriya’s group still made him uneasy.

At least with this table, no one pried where it wasn’t necessary, even if they did spare him concerned looks every now and then.)

He didn’t know for sure, of course, because Bakugou didn’t approach him to tell him. It had been his suggestion when Bakugou confessed that he wasn’t sure how to go about things after being as nice as he could be for over a week already. Lunch had seemed like a good place to start to Shinsou, and he must’ve been right because Midoriya would show up to class noticeably happier.

He told Bakugou “good morning” and didn’t get ignored or shouted at, but instead a grumbled greeting back. It probably sounded stupid to get excited over, but Shinsou couldn’t call it that when Midoriya looked so happy.

Shinsou liked seeing him happy, so he ignored the kerning in his gut, tried to stop his eyes from following Bakugou’s figure when he entered class, and stayed silent.