Actions

Work Header

make a spark, break the dark

Chapter Text

 

Kirishima is slowly roused from sleep by the feel of his bed dipping from a shift in weight around him. He mutters tiredly, spread-eagle as he is, and thoughtlessly shifts to rub at his eye with the back of his hand. The smell of something burnt and sweet and smokey further pulls him out of his faceless dream, and his nose scrunches as the scent grows stronger as the bed dips further.

 

Suddenly, he feels a gentle hand on his, tugging his own away.

 

That causes a mild panic to run through him because as far as he knows, there shouldn’t be anyone else touching him. He jolts slightly with a soft snore, confusedly blinking his eyes open - or one - since fingers are ghosting over his scar and he has to keep his eye shut.

 

Blurry eyed, it takes several blinks and him reaching up to grab the wandering hand at his face before he can make out whose in his room. It’s dark and there’s a strange and warm amber glow lighting up his room and sending shadows dancing.

 

That causes him even more concern, and he’s half lifting himself up on his elbows when he finally makes out the face close to his own, and the wrist he’s been holding onto shifts so that instead of stroking his scarred eyelid, a warm hand is now gently cupping his jaw, thumb rubbing over his cheek.

 

“B… Bakugou?”

 

It’s definitely Bakugou’s face, not even a full foot away from his. The other looks serious with sweat on their brow, but their expression - although seemingly baffled by something - gentles, some.

 

Being this close with Bakugou crouching over him in the dorm room in the dark - how late was it anyway - sends a small thrill through him, and he feels like he should be really excited by it, but mostly he’s just… confused.

 

“What time isst?”

 

He glances over at his alarm - having to shift his face more than usual because Bakugou hasn’t let go of his face and only moves his hand to thumb under his eye at the motion - and sees its not even six in the morning yet.

 

For the first time, he realizes the disconcerting lights dancing around his room aren’t because of a weird power surge, but looks way more like fire flickering the darkness away and when he turns back he recognizes the light over Bakugou’s shoulder is in fact Bakugou holding a flame in his other hand.

 

He didn’t even know Bakugou could do that.

 

He manages to squirm and wiggle his way into a sitting position, noticing Bakugou still isn’t climbing off of where he near straddles him on the outside of the covers - but the fact is almost forgotten as soon as he gets a good look at what Bakugou is wearing.

 

Well, or not wearing? His shirt is gone, and it looks like he has some sort of thick jewelry hanging off his neck, and either his cover - or something else - is trailing back off his shoulders. Something dangles from his ears and Kirishima is certain they look like fang earrings - and although that is incredibly manly looking - it throws Kirishima off not because it’s so unusual for Bakugou to wear something remotely like this - but because of how damn well it seemingly compliments him.

 

“What’s going on, Bakubro? Did… did you have a nightmare again?”

 

He says this more quietly, trying to be as reassuring as possible. It wouldn’t be the first time Bakugou had come into his room before to wait out a bad dream until morning came, but this is the first time he’s ever come in with such strange attire on.

 

It’s all really exciting in its own way, but Kirishima can’t help but think something’s wrong.

 

Bakugou is looking at him oddly again, almost like there’s something wrong with what’s in front of him but he can’t quite put his finger on it. Embarrassed, Kirishima brings the back of his hand up to wipe his chin incase he’s drooled in his sleep and is mortified to see he had in fact drooled a bit. No wonder Bakugou’s staring at him - although, it’s not like its the first time he’s seen that either.

 

“Eijirou?”

 

His first name takes him off guard enough that he is openly shocked for a moment as surprise, elation, and joy swim in his belly and cause his face to flush, before concern flutters across his expression. He reaches out to cup the hand holding his face and squeeze Bakugou’s shoulder.

 

“Y-yeah, that’s right. You’re here. In the dorms. With me.”

 

Once, Bakugou had woken up in a daze, frightened and angry and lossed in a stupor, before Kirishima had gently but insistently managed to fully wake him up and calm him down again. He’s worried this might be like that now, but Bakugou seems perfectly calm if not further puzzled by his words.

 

“The ‘dorms…?’ Where are we?”

 

Make that definitely confused.

 

“H-hold on, man…”

 

With some shifting and nudging, he manages to climb off his bed - with Bakugou staying right at his shoulder, until Kirishima half-stumbles into his desk and wall before getting ahold of his light switch and turning it on.

 

Light brightens his room and Bakugou blinks in what now looks like wariness as he squints against the light and looks around. The flame goes out in his other hand as he closes his fist.

 

The more he looks around, the more miffed he appears before Bakugou refocuses on him, eyes narrowing in suspicion. Kirishima normally feels like he can read Bakugou pretty good these days, catching nuances and insights others apparently can’t see, but something is definitely off with the blonde that Kirishima can’t identify.

 

“Where’s the cave…? What happened?”

 

It’s his voice, Kirishima thinks. It’s a little deeper. Damn, almost huskier in a way. Is it because he was roused from sleep…? No, it’s not just that. There’s a calmer tone to it too, less of a growl and more of a natural sound to it.

 

Once he realizes that, Kirishima begins to realize other things one after another.

 

“Caves? What caves? We’re at U.A., remember?”

 

Bakugou’s taller, by a few inches. He’s broader in his shoulders and arms too.

 

“Uei? What are we doing back in damn Uei for? We were heading in the opposite direction!”

 

Even his anger is different, more in disbelief than bursting at the seams.

 

For the first time, Kirishima feels dread settle in his stomach. Bakugou watches him with a troubled expression, arms crossed, and although Kirishima is certain the person in front of him looks just like Bakugou - sounds just like him - he’s not certain they’re really his best friend.

 

“...are,” he finds it difficult to find his voice, “you really Bakugou?”

 

Bakugou blinks at him. Then he frowns and comes forward and Kirishima backs up a step and knocks into his chair and desk again. Alarm flickers onto both of their expressions, before Bakugou seems to gentle his motions. He lays a hand on his own chest, and there’s warmth there and fire at his fingertips. It crackles like explosions, but the sounds are muffled into quiet cracks and pops.

 

“Are you the one who had a nightmare, Eijirou…?”

 

It’s really odd seeing such an unsettled expression on Bakugou’s face, as if he’s the one not making sense. Seeing it morph into a comforting and consoling expression makes his heart twinge and although he’s not sure if he should move away or not, he stays put as Bakugou approaches him and moves to place his hand on Kirishima’s chest.

 

He’s ready to harden in an instant, each crack and pop trying his nerves, but the small flaming explosions don’t hurt at all and Bakugou’s back to cupping the side of his face again, reexamining his scarred eyelid with critical eyes.

 

“I… I can feel it. You’re Eijirou… But you feel… Different. Changed. Your magic feels so…”

 

Bakugou cuts off tersely, staring into his eyes before shifting his hand away and replacing it with the side of his face, pressing his cheek into Kirishima’s chest as if he’s trying to hear something. It makes Kirishima’s heart skip a beat or two, and that’s definitely bad for his health, but he can only sputter quietly.

 

Bakugou’s being so weird.

 

Because he’s sure its his friend, even if he seems totally bonkers right now. He doesn’t think his heart would beat this fast for anyone else.

 

“Um, Bakugou, what are you doing…?”

 

He places a hand back on his desk, knocking over a mug full of pens and pencils on accident with a clatter of noise, but instead of trying to pick them up he places his palm on the overturned mug to quiet it.

 

Bakugou stands up again, eyes narrowed and lips thinned. This is a expression he’s seen a lot. Determination, and a burning desire to understand something that’s gotten in his way. Normally to understand if that something is explodable, but…

 

And then Bakugou’s lips are against his and Kirishima is shocked so much that he actually yelps into the kiss and bites down . He jostles the desk against the wall again, and the mug under his hand breaks as he puts pressure on it and cracks it apart.

 

Bakugou barely reacts to the sharp graze of teeth against his lips, instead further narrowing his eyes, before slowly pulling apart. When he does, he hums in thought.

 

“Definitely Eijirou,” his tongue comes out to lick his bloodied lip, and even though Kirishima yelps again at the display, Bakugou’s eyes and words are still full of self-assurance as he thumbs his wound, “but not my Eijirou.”

 

Kirishima, meanwhile, still has his hands pressed over his lips, either to guard them or just because he’s so shocked - he’s not sure of which.

 

Bakugou just kissed him.

 

Only vehemently repeating the mantra of how unmanly it would be to swoon and pass out stops him from doing something incredibly embarrassing.

 

“Wh-why would you do th-that?”

 

He’s mortified of how his voice catches, but Bakugou merely lifts an eyebrow. Before he can say anything, there’s the sound of a door slamming shut and heavy footfalls before two loud bangs sound against his door.

 

“Oi, Kirishima, the fuck are you doing in there!?”

 

The voice is all too familiar, even stressed with anger and what Kirishima thinks might be laced with alarm.   

 

Kirishima’s stomach drops at the voice as he turns to face Bakugou, only to find him stepping to face the door, arms crossing once more, expression weirdly thoughtful at this unexpected outburst.

 

Kirishima knows that voice. He knows just as well as he knows his own, and that’s why he’s scared, because it’s definitely Bakugou’s voice on the other side of that door, despite Bakugou being right beside him.

 

For a moment he thinks this Bakugou might try to stop him from going to the door, but he merely watches and waits as another quick knock - this one louder - causes Kirishima to flinch. Seeing as he makes no moves to stop him, Kirishima shimmies around him and drops his hands as he heads to the door.

 

Vaguely, in some shock, he worries if he’s having some sort of fever dream as he pulls his door open and places his hand against the frame for balance. It hurts, for some reason.

 

Bakugou’s there too, and Kirishima’s surprised despite himself. But this Bakugou looks like the one he knows - from his black tank top down to his baggy joggers. He looks wide-awake and miffed, but despite that’s he’s hurriedly glancing Kirishima over before focusing in on his face.

 

“The hell are you doing waking me up so… The shit happened to your lip?”

 

It takes Kirishima by surprise to taste blood, but that’s enough to shock him out of his staring because he shakes his head to clear away the disbelief.

 

“Bakugou. Holy shit. You are Bakugou, right!?”

 

Bakugou looks at him now with a lifted eyebrow, and if it isn’t the exact same expression as the one he’d just seen moments ago.

 

“The hell are you on about...?”

 

Kirishima shifts his hand to put it against his forehead, because wow, his head is beginning to hurt. Only Bakugou’s carmine eyes zero in on the motion, and then he’s catching him by the wrist and turning his hand over to look at his palm.

 

“You’re bleeding, idiot! How did you manage to slice your palm open when you have a hardening quirk!?”

 

Kirishima is tongue-tied because what’s he supposed to say!? ‘Oh, well, you see, there’s another manly Bakugou in my room right now, and he happened to startle me into breaking my mug and I guess that it sliced open my palm, but until now I didn’t even notice it because he just kissed me but like oops I bit him and ohmygosh-ifBakugou-isrighthere-whoisinmyroom-’

 

Before he could get anything out, a hand settles on him from behind and he’s jerked back a step out of the doorway with another yelp. Bakugou looks just as startled and shocked as he does when his door is slammed shut between them.

 

Then he’s spun around and Kirishima pushes his back against the door in alarm, fists up and quirk already beginning to harden, but imposter?Bakugou is regarding him calmly, if not smugly, and boy, that look should not look as familiar or be as comforting as it is.

 

“I thought so. That explains it. If there is another me here, then of course there’s going to be another…”

 

Carmine eyes trace over him as a fist rattles against the door at his back, Bakugou’s voice shouting on the other side of it, as the Bakugou right in front of him barely speaks above a whisper.

 

This strange Bakugou comes to press his hand against the side of his face again, thumb on his scar, and with such a gentle expression that leaves Kirishima breathless, he says: “... Eijirou.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Kirishima is almost positive that a hero-in-training shouldn’t make the noise he’s making in the back of his throat, but damn, if he isn’t able to help it!

 

“B-Baku- too close, too close!

 

He puts his hands on Bakugou’s chest and pushes him back a step because he fears if he doesn’t he’s going to combust. The Bakugou in front of him barely moves at the motion, looking bemused if anything.

 

“Kirishima!?”

 

Outside Bakugou sounds like he’s only moments away from taking his door off its hinges and as Kirishima turns and fumbles with the knob he can hear the shirtless Bakugou chuckle behind him.

 

He manages to wrench the door open just as Bakugou is putting his palms up, and reflexively he reaches out and pulls the viotiale bonde inside by his tank-top before he can explode anything.

 

Only after he pulls him inside does it occur to him that maybe pulling him into the room wasn’t the brightest move, because honestly, he’s still not certain of who this weird Bakugou is. Even if he feels oddly certain this Bakugou-look-alike has no plans to hurt him, he doesn’t know that for sure.

 

“The hell is going on, Kiri-”

 

Bakugou cuts off abruptly as Kirishima shuts the door and he sees Bakugou staring wide-eyed over his shoulder. He turns around and sees the shirtless Bakugou is still standing there, arms crossed and as smug-faced as before.

 

He glances back at his Bakugou to see his shock give way to befuddlement, to a quickly rising rage and he’s already trying to push past Kirishima with one hand extended before Kirishima can get a word out.

 

“Who the fu- die!

 

While he’s expecting Bakugou to lash out and explode his entire room - what he’s not expecting is for the imposter? Bakugou to fling his cape back as he extends his own hand out, a wild and thrilled smirk on his face as he presses his palm flat against Bakugou’s hand, before digging his fingers in to keep their hands together.

 

What happens is an explosive flash of light and smoke, and a heavy caramel and gunpowder scent wafts through the air - but the sound itself that is released it quiet and crackled, incredibly muffled compared to anything Kirishima has ever heard from Bakugou’s explosions before.

 

Their right hands are locked, and his Bakugou looks on in disbelief and mounting rage as his explosions are seemingly cancelled out, as the imposter?? Bakugou grins in feral satisfaction, grip unyielding.

 

“Good to see the whelpling me here leads with a solid right hook, heh!

 

"Haah?

 

Kirishima watches with something between pure awe and undaunting appreciation at the way their posed off - his Bakugou looks ready to launch his left hand out at any moment with an explosive strike - but imposter??? Bakugou already has his left hand ready at his side, fire dancing from his fingertips and fingers ready to seize a hold of his Bakugou’s one remaining hand at any moment.

 

As shocked as his Bakugou must be, Kirishima is amazed at how clear-headed his friend is remaining, to know not to jeopardize his remaining hand by allowing it to be captured since he still can’t seem to break out of the other’s grip or explode his way free.

 

Kirishima finds himself frozen for a moment, stuck between wanting to jump in and help and running out to get a teacher - and his indecision fills him with a sense of dread as a familiar memory of his own cowardice and lack of spirit froze him once before.

 

Suddenly, the shirtless Bakugou is blinking and side-eyeing him with a sharp look, and his Bakugou springs forward - left hand going for the imposter Bakugou’s face as his knee rockets up toward his abdomen.

 

“That’s your last mistake, now go die!

 

Imposter Bakugou does nothing to to try and block his Bakugou’s knee and instead pivots his body just enough that Bakugou’s knee rams into his side instead of directly into his gut, and his Bakugou’s left hand sails past his head. Imposter Bakugou however, uses his friend’s own momentum against him and suplexes Bakugou in a move so familiar that Kirishima’s jaw drops as his friend grunts as his back is slammed into the floor.

 

All the hesitation in Kirishima dies at that moment, and he’s hardening his body and launching himself forward.

 

"Bakugou!"

 

Except he wasn’t expecting the imposter Bakugou to move back in his direction without even turning around until his arm met Kirishima’s stomach and he proceeded to pivot both of them, using Kirishima’s own momentum against him as well , until they’re spun until imposter Bakugou’s back is toward the door and Kirishima’s back is flush against his chest. One of imposter Bakugou’s hands is roughly gripping him by the chin while his other hand is thrown out to the side, crackling fires dancing from his fingertips. He wears the widest grin, expression positively alight with feral glee.

 

“Easy there, Eijirou, ” he laughs, the sound so gleeful and genuine that Kirishima feels his knees go weak because it’s exactly like that pleasant laugh Bakugou gave him once before, “don’t take our death battle away from us, haha!” The expression on his face is so alive.

 

Deranged, Kirishima thinks, but also, that’s Bakugou. That is definitely Bakugou’s mannerisms. I’d know that expression anywhere!

 

He has a hard time turning to look at his Bakugou because of the barbaric grip this Bakugou has on his jaw - maybe he should be using his quirk on something besides his fists - but he sees his Bakugou launch himself to his feet with an impressive crescent-like spring, and he’s already taking in the situation the moment he’s on his feet, expression darkening into monumental outrage.

 

If looks could kill…

 

Then Bakugou is putting both his palms out toward them both, expression dark and murderous as he snaps, “Kirishima, harden!

 

Even before Kirishima snaps to obey, he can feel the barbarian Bakugou at his back stiffen, something like pure shock written across his face as Bakugou detonates.  

 

Or at least he tries to!

 

Instead of an explosion blowing him and the other Bakugou back only an explosion of smoke and one bottle-rocket loud pop snaps through the air. Even before the eye-stinging smoke is cleared, he can see his Bakugou’s expression is one of unaldurated shock.

 

Barbarian Bakugou uses that moment to bodily throw Kirishima at Bakugou with a grunt of, “Hrn, heavy,” and Kirishima snaps to unharden before he crashes down on Bakugou and gives him a concussion.

 

They both hit the floor with grunts, Bakugou already trying to wiggle his arms out from under him as Kirishima is trying to lift off him, but a solid weight dives down on his back and he’s slammed back down before he can get enough leverage to lock himself in place, ashamedly trapping Bakugou’s hands against his chest.

 

The blonde’s snarl lets him know that Bakugou is this close to to taking this entire dorm out, but he can only wince around the knee digging down into his back and harden against that, and not anywhere else unless he wants to cut up and smash the Bakugou under him.

 

“I wasn’t expecting you to try to blow away Eijirou,” sneers the barbarian Bakugou above them, and his Bakugou snarls back at him from below, “but heh, we’re of the same violitiale nature, you an me, whelpling!”

 

"Get off!

 

“Don’t get me wrong, I’d love nothing more than to murder you until only ashes remain,” there’s a gnash of teeth above him, “but this space is too small for the sort of fun we’d want to have, and besides,” a hand suddenly presses into his hair from behind, strong fingers ruffling it and sending a chill down his spine. “I don’t like the way its making him feel.

 

He says it in such a calm and fly-away manner, but Kirishima can practically hear his grin. Under him, Bakugou’s face twists into an indescribable expression, and Kirishima can feel his fingers digging into his shirt.

 

“Without any distractions, I’ll kill you until you die anytime, whelpling! After I learn what bullshit fuckery is going on now, however.”

 

“Who the fuck, are, you!”

 

Bakugou says as he struggles violently under him, but he stops when the barbaric Bakugou presses down more, making Kirishima wheeze.

 

Drolly, he asks, “Really now, isn’t it obvious? Can you not feel it?”

 

The weight on his back shifts, and the barbarian on his back presses his hand past him toward Bakugou’s face, and Bakugou’s eyes are widening - and with vicious recall Kirishima remembers the summer camp that he’s still trying to settle down in his gut, and he violently recoils as its memory resurfaces a bitter despair he still hasn’t overcome.

 

He refuses to ever relive that trauma ever again.

 

Kirishima turns his head and bites down on the hand, tasting blood, smoke, and heat.

 

He’s expecting a furious yell or even the feel of his mouth exploding, his Bakugou’s frightened yell of, “ Idiot!” only increasing that fear, but there’s no way he’s letting them take Bakugou again, ever -

 

He’s pulled back off of Bakugou so suddenly by strong arms he gets whiplash, and he’s hardening and already throwing his arm out to attack but his strike fails to connect. He braces himself to withstand whatever counterattack is coming his way, but…!

 

Instead its thick warm arms wrapping around him.

 

Even though he hasn’t let go of the hand in his mouth, he’s once again tucked against the barbarian’s chest, shocked into stillness to find them murmuring sweet condolences in his ear, free hand exceedingly gentle as it rests on his arm, thumb stroking over his hardened skin.

 

It’s probably the warmest embrace Kirishima has ever experienced in his life.

 

When his eyes flick to his best friend, Bakugou is already up on his elbows and looks just as alarmed and shocked as he feels. But his attention is stolen away by the Bakugou behind him again as he starts making out his words.

 

“It’s alright, Eijirou, I’m sorry, I won’t take him away from you, I promise.

 

He’s seen a lot of expressions on Bakugou’s face since meeting him, and he’s definitely seen faces he’s certain others haven’t experienced before but he’s never seen this sorrowful expression before, one where his eyes are tight with worry and lips are thinned and he looks so gentle -

 

All at once, Kirishima knows he cannot fight this person. Not when they have that expression, not when they’re the one person he admires the most, and not when he is overcome with such sympathy for them.

 

Because barbarian or not, this person is so manly in all the right ways, and this person looks at him like he’s caught himself looking at Bakugou before - in a pinning sort of heartbroken way.

 

He lets go of the hand in his mouth and drops his hardened defense.

 

Bakugou, his Bakugou makes a noise of protest as he gets to his feet, but he holds his hands up in a placating manner to stop any further attacks.

 

There’s relief in the tension coiled all around him, and the barbarian with Bakugou’s face, and voice, and mannerisms lets out a sigh.

 

This is why I didn’t want to fight.”

 

He aims these words at the his Bakugou, in a heated chiding sort of way, but his angry friend merely tenses and bares his teeth, glancing down at his palms with a flick of his eyes. There’s small fizzles there, but something’s still off about them - it almost looks like they’re dusted in a fine powder of some kind...

 

It seems pretty obvious that the person holding him doesn’t want to fight by this point, so he finds his voice uneasily to say, “Um… maybe we should stop trying to blow up my room and um, talk for a moment… Okay, dudes?”

 

He eyes them both, and as neither says anything, he aims his gaze at his friend.

 

“Bakugou… Uh, maybe you should go get Sensei?”

 

We need an adult, we need an adult, is the S.O.S. he’s trying to flash, but Bakugou looks a second away from snarling at the idea.

 

“I’m not leaving you alone with him,” he practically hisses.

 

“Then I’ll go.”

 

Kirishima can’t help but flinch and twists around - moving with the barbarian - to see Shouji standing in his open doorway. He doesn’t know when he arrived, but the sight of him is immediately welcomed.

 

Much to the surprise of everyone though, the barbarian Bakugou juts his chin out in a move it sort of gesture as he states, “Then go get whoever the hell you need to. I’m not going anywhere.”

 

Shouji eyes him, six arms fanned out and at the ready, before his eyes rake over Kirishima - and then over onto Bakugou.

 

Kirishima has no doubt Shouji’s willing to jump in at any moment, but is currently weighing his options to make the right choice.

 

“Just go already, damn.”

 

Shouji’s eyes linger on Bakugou at his outburst, and Kirishima is surprised by how much he recognizes that wary and partially hooded look. He feels bad not to immediate remember that Shouji had been there , that night, and was also one of the people who couldn’t save Bakugou.

 

This whole scene must dredge up bad memories for him too.

 

It’s a sympathetic sort of pain that clenches his heart, and the barbarian Bakugou behind him shifts slightly, but remains silent. His only outward change is slightly narrowing his eyes, and his thumb rubbing up his arm again.

 

Shouji finally nods at him and he returns it, before their classmate dashes off down the hallway. Kirishima isn’t certain if they managed to wake anyone else up during their fight, or if Shouji could just hear because their rooms are right next to each other but he feels it’s probably best to get this guy to let go of him before someone else appears.

 

He shifts enough that after a few moments, the barbarian, although surprised, seems to get the hint and lets go of him. Kirishima hurries a few steps away to stand by his Bakugou’s side before turning around to face him.

 

It’s almost… unnerving the way the barbarian Bakugou seems to look smaller for a moment, before he stands tall again, crosses his arms, and leans back against the wall. He places one of his hands on his chin, partly covering his mouth, and looks like he’s deeply contemplating something.

 

Feeling safe enough to look away, Kirishima turns to his Bakugou to assess how he’s doing, only to find Bakugou’s carmine eyes already roving over him. When their eyes meet, Bakugou glares and he winces in turn.

 

“The fuck is wrong with you, don’t just drop your hardening like that…!”

 

“Sorry man, but I just felt like it was the right thing to do…!”

 

Bakugou turns his glare down to his palms, eyeing them in distaste. He catches a glimpse of a fine film on Bakugou’s hands again, before the irate blonde begins furiously rubbing them on his joggers.

 

“The fuck did you put on my hands, you fuckin’ copycat…!”

 

The other Bakugou looks up at that - and wow, Kirishima really wishes he knew another name for him - before rolling his eyes.

 

“Calm down, it’s just a basic quenching powder, like the kind thrown on campfires to eliminate fire and smoke in a hurry. Just rub the hell out of it or wash your hands and it’ll come right off. Now shut it, I need a moment to think...”

 

Kirishima was relieved to know whatever he’d done to Bakugou hands wasn’t permanent. But he couldn’t help but be impressed, too, because when did he manage to snuff out Bakugou’s power with it?

Bakugou, his Bakugou, continues furiously rubbing his palms together as he snaps, “I don’t know who the hell you are, you fake, but you’ve made a big mistake coming here!”

 

Kirishima can’t help the way his stomach twists at those words. Because, surely it’s impossible for there to be two Bakugous, but at the same time…!

 

But at the same time, he’s certain in an unexplainable way that he’s really looking at two versions of the person he admires most!

 

Barbarian Bakugou glances up at the outburst, expression guarded, but he doesn’t say anything and instead goes back to looking contemplative.

 

Seeing as his friend looks like he’s just about to go into round two at being ignored, Kirishima steps in front of him and tries his luck.

 

“Are you really Bakugou, man?”

 

The angry blonde behind him bristles in indignation, but he focuses on the barbarian before him. Carmine eyes regard him seriously for a moment, before the blonde warrior announces, “I’m Katsuki Bakugou, Barbarian King of the King Explosion-Riot Clan and its Troup, and Slayer of over a Hundred Beasts per quest to date.”

 

He announces all of this without flourish, almost as if he’s stating it in a factual identity-proving way.

 

“Fuck off,” his Bakugou roars, “I’m the only Bakugou Katsuki here!”

 

“You were before tonight, I’m sure.”

 

His cryptic reply gives Bakugou pause, before the blonde stuffs his hands into his pockets and narrows his eyes, seething out, “Oh, yeah? What do you mean by that?”

 

For once, looking thoroughly put-out and offended, the barbarian gives an annoyed sigh as he grouces, “I mean, it looks like I’ve accidentally traveled into your world. As I’ve stated before: magical bullshittery. ” He runs a hand down his face, giving another sigh.

 

“This must explain all the weird shit that’s been happening lately. A damn annoying ass portal must have opened in the caves…! Shit.”

 

He and Bakugou share a glance, both not sure what to make of any of this.

 

Then there’s an all-too-familiar face standing in the doorway, and at once his hair floats up and his eyes gleam red as he focuses an angry and vengeful look at the Bakugou glancing at him from the wall.

Nothing changes from the gaze. The barbarian’s form doesn’t change at all, and neither does his voice when he growls, “The fuck are you doing here, Aizawa?”

 

Glowing red-eyes focus on him for a moment longer, before his hair drops back down and he comes into the room. Shouji waits silently outside in the hall.

 

“What’s the meaning of this?”

 

“You’re ‘Sensei?’ For fuck’s sake…”

 

Bakugou gives an irritable sigh, before crossing his arms again.

 

“Whatever. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that we have an annoying situation on our hands here.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

Bakugou looks vaguely furious as he snaps, “Really, you couldn’t have showed up even a minute earlier…? I just said who the hell I was. Clean out your damn ears and listen, because I’m not going to repeat it again!”

 

Bakugou lists the same information he had previously, all the while Aizawa listens without comment. When he finishes, Sensei asks, “You say you came through a portal?”

 

“That’s the only damn explanation that makes sense right now.”

 

“And you just happened to land here, in the dorms, in Kirishima’s room and not your other selve’s room?”

 

The barbarian Bakugou raises a brow at that and scoffs.

 

“There was no ‘just happening’ about it. It at least makes some sense that I would have appeared by Eijirou, considering that’s probably where the damn portal thought I wanted to go.”

 

Kirishima glanced between Aizawa and Bakugou before he raised his hand.

 

“Um… I’m confused.”

 

“Further explanations can wait. For now I want to know if you’re here alone.”

 

“Alone…?” The barbarian pauses, eyes widening for a moment before shaking his head. “No, I was with Eijirou… My Eijirou,” Kirishima flushes and wonders if that sounded as possessive to Bakugou and Aizawa as that had to him, “but he was still asleep when I got up to investigate… I should be the only one here.”

 

“What are your plans for being here?”

 

The warrior growled as if that were a stupid question, and his patience was growing thin.

 

“Get back fucking home, of course.”

 

Aizawa seemed to decide something then.

 

“Further questions can wait. For now, come with me. Until we can be certain of your identity and your position, I don’t want you in the student dorms. Kirishima, Bakugou, go back to bed.”

 

Kirishima scoffed in disbelief the same time Bakugou growled, “Fuck that!”

 

Aizawa turned a glare toward them and they both flinched.

 

Kirishima tried to reason, “It’s almost time for us to be up anyway! Laying down wouldn’t do us any good - even if we could go back to sleep! B-besides, you can’t really expect us to ignore something like this can you?”

 

“He has my fucking face. I can’t just let him go as he pleases.”

 

Annoyed, Aizawa considered them for a moment before saying, “Then get dressed and meet me outside the principal’s office in an hour.”

 

That looked like the best they were going to get. Aizawa turned with a signal to follow him, and with a slight scoff the barbarian pushed off the wall. But before following him he turned to Kirishima and held out his hand. Aizawa was turned around in an instant, seizing his other wrist with his eyes glowing murder. He looked only one wrong move away from mummifying the blonde warrior.

 

The barbarian rolled his eyes but kept his distance, instead pointing to his palm. He gave him a knowing look.

 

Kirishima blinked in confusion, but before he could ask anything Aizawa was already leading the barbarian away - the warrior’s chin held up in disdain as he followed. Out in the hall he pulled his arm free, but made no other movements.

 

As Kirishima and his Bakugou stood in the doorway, he saw Jirou was also awake and standing outside by Shouji. She was still dressed in her bed clothes and looked mildly disoriented, then shocked at seeing two Bakugous, but as he watched her ear jacks withdrew from the wall at her back.

 

“Anything?”

 

She shook her head, eyeing the new arrival as she said, “No… There’s no weird noise or movement. Everyone’s still in bed.”

 

Aizawa glanced at Shouji, who withdrew ears from his arms as he nodded, as if to say the same.

 

“Good. Then both of you return to your rooms until it’s time for you to be up.”

 

Unlike him and Bakugou, both hesitated but didn’t say anything in the end, and instead watched Aizawa walk away with the barbarian. As they reached the end of the hall, he sent Kirishima one last unreadable look before disappearing.

 

Jirou asked what was on everyone’s mind.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

Kirishima, at being the center of everyone’s attention, shrugged.

 

“I don’t know… He just appeared in my room a little while ago.”

 

A hand was on his wrist then, turning it over.

 

“You’re palms still sliced up. Did he hurt you?”

 

Bakugou’s voice was venomous.

 

“Uh, no, that was because…”

 

His mind flashed back to the kiss and instantly his face flushed. Bakugou glowered at him for it, mouth twisting and eyes vaguely uncertain, before he turned away and started dragging Kirishima toward his room.

 

“Well, we need to put a fuckin’ bandage on it anyway.”

 

Kirishima glanced back at Jirou and Shouji, who watched them both impassively, but he didn’t offer anything else and turned back to Bakugou as they approached his room. His insides were full of anxiety and restless thoughts as they went inside.

 

Just what was going on? Was that person really another Bakugou? A King Bakugou at that? What portal was he talking about? How long… how long would he be here?

 

“Sit down.”

 

Kirishima obeyed, taking a seat at the desk as Bakugou opened one of his drawers and pulled out a first aid kit. Carmine eyes regarded him for a moment, first aid kit held firmly in his hands. He had a troubled expression on his face, but his voice was calm when he spoke.

 

“Give me your hand.”

 

Almost mindlessly, Kirishima obeyed.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Bakugou holds his hand in his own, dark carmine eyes scanning over his palm with the desk light shining down on it. He inspects it with his thumb, prodding each part with a skeptical glower, almost as if he’s daring any tiny pieces to have dared embed themselves into his flesh.

 

Kirishima watches quietly for a few moments, happily flustered that Bakugou seems intent on bandaging his hand for him.

 

Seemingly finding nothing amiss, Bakugou drops his hand onto his lap and begins rummaging in the first aid kit for the supplies he’ll need.  

 

Kirishima tries to lighten the oddly dour mood.

 

“Man, what a way to wake up, huh Bakubro?”

 

The long-suffering glower Bakugou sets him with almost makes Kirishima wince, but instead he scoots forward some more in his chair and with the stubbornness of a boulder, he tries again.

 

“I mean, wow dude, there’s another you here!”

 

Those are apparently the wrong words to say because now Bakugou actively snarls in disgust and without warning, presses an alcohol swipe down into his palm.

 

Kirishima’s eyes widen in pain and he presses his lips together tightly at the sting for a long moment. Bakugou keeps the pressure on his hand as he moves the swipe back and forth across his skin before Kirishima can’t help but whine, “Ow, you didn’t even give me any warning! Betrayal!

 

“Suck it up, you big baby. And stop squirming.

 

He tries to sit obediently, and it gets much easier as the sting continues to lessen. Bakugou examines the wound again when he pulls the cloth away, before deeming it well enough to plop a neatly folded piece of gauze down in his hand.

 

Kirishima watches him methodically begin to pull a wad of bandage out to wrap his hand, when Bakugou finally speaks of his own accord. His brows are down in agitation, and his eyes are hooded.

 

“He’s not me.”

 

It takes Kirishima a moment to realize he’s answering his earlier statement.

 

“Oh,” he flounders, “I mean, of course he’s not really, you-you, but, he seems like another you??”

 

Bakugou’s look of annoyance doesn’t seem to diminish, so he tries again, pushing his hand through his hair to knock his bangs out of the way - man, I don’t even have a bandana on, how lame! - and grits his teeth.

 

“To be honest, some of what the-” he notes Bakugou’s sharp look “-barbarian was saying went right over my head. I mean, it sounded a little complicated, but like… I don’t think he was lying. I think he really is just another version of you!”

 

Bakugou finishes wrapping his hands, expression tight with anger as he rips a piece of medical tape off to bind his hand.

 

“Yeah, because it’s surely easier to believe some damn weirdo from another dimension - a weirdo version of myself at that - appeared here by some cosmic accident, and not because say, some fucko psycho villain infiltrated U.A. again, this time getting into the dorms.”

 

There’s a slight tremble in the hands holding his own, and at once Kirishima’s hand snaps closed around them. An act that is as much instinctual to reassure his friend that he’s not alone as it is to reassure himself that Bakugou’s right here, and that he’s not going anywhere .

 

Bakugou hesitates for a moment, carmine eyes regarding him with a unreadable blank expression, before his hands tighten around Kirishima’s, grip tight and unyielding.

 

It should probably hurt his hand, but it doesn’t. Kirishima grips it back with equal strength, wide grin stealing across his face.

 

“Maybe… I mean it’s possible… But I don’t think so. I mean, besides Aizawa Sensei using his quirk on him… I just got this feeling.”

 

Hah? What the hell makes you so certain.”

 

It barely sounds like a question.

 

“What, you don’t think I wouldn’t be able to recognize my best bro just because they look a little different now?”

 

Bakugou blinks at that, and he charges on, grin turning smug as he flaunts, “I mean, I’d recognize a BlastyMcSplode anywhere. They’re quite unforgettable!”

 

Bakugou looks away with a quiet scoff, muttering, “The hell…”

 

Kirishima wonders if Bakugou realizes his thumbs are rubbing over his hand. His heart clenches at the gentle subconscious motions, and he can’t help but copy them with his own hand.

 

“Are you really so certain that… he’s who he claimed to be?”

 

Kirishima hesitates now, pressing his lips together - a faint copper tange surprising him - before he finds himself asking, “Well, I mean… What do you think? Did it feel like fighting a mirror or somethin’?”

 

Bakugou frowns down at their hands as he growls, “It felt too much like fighting a mirror. He had the same attacks I had planned out already. He saw my moves coming before I made them, and led me where he wanted me to be. And his quirk,” Bakugou removed one of his hands to raise it up to stare at it, explosions crackling from his palm and fingertips.

 

“It was more flammable than my power, but he perfectly cancelled out my explosions with his own. If either of us hadn’t used such perfect control when our hands met, we could have blown our hands apart.”

 

“That’s scary!!”

 

“Heh.”

 

Kirishima watched the crackles and pops coming from Bakugou’s hand, immensely glad that the blonde’s quirk was back to normal now. Apparently, Bakugou had been thinking something similar, because his eyes narrowed in thought.

 

“That must have been when he did it. He must have thrown that damn powder against my palm when our hands met. I noticed something was off with my quirk then.”

 

“So you think he really is another you, then?”

 

Annoyed, Bakugou groused, “I don’t know what I think, besides the fact that he’s walking around with my face really pisses me off.

 

“I guess that is an awkward thought, but at least he’s with Sensei! If anyone can keep him in line, I’m sure it’ll be him.”

 

Bakugou eyed him then, before sighing. He reached over and grabbed another alcohol wipe before reaching out and pressing it firmly against Kirishima’s mouth.

 

“H-hey, what are you do- eck, that’s nasty!!”

 

“You’ve got blood all over your lips, you idiot. What the hell were you thinking, biting down on someone who has explosive hands!?

 

Kirishima winced around the blonde’s ministrations, face screwing up as the awful taste of rubbing alcohol on his lips, but he made no move to stop him.

 

“I wasn’t, bleh, wasn’t rweally thinking about it, man, ack, oh wow, that’s bad.

 

Bakugou pulled the wipe away to eye him again, before returning it to dab at the corner of his mouth, scrubbing at a particularly stubborn dab of dried blood.

 

“Then don’t fuckin’ open your mouth, dumbass. And what sort of shitty excuse is that? You didn’t have your quirk activated. He could have blown your head off!”

 

Bakugou pulled away then, as if something occurred to him, and shot Kirishima a wary look.

 

“What exactly happened before I got over there, anyway? You were making a crazy ruckus before I showed up, and there was already blood on your lips when you answered the door… There was blood on his lips too.”

 

It sounded like an accusation, but not one Bakugou understood himself, if the uncertain way he said it was anything to go by.

 

Kirishima felt himself flush from the neck upwards as he remembered strong lips pressing into his, and then he flushed for an entirely different reason when he remembered biting down on those lips.

 

He was certain that dying of mortification was one of the least manliest ways to die, and it was that thought alone that helped him swallow some of his shame.

 

“Oh well, I mean he… surprised me you know? I woke up and thought he was you - and he, I think, thought that I was um, you know, the other me he mentioned…? So it was kind of confusing and I fumbled around before I could get to the light switch and uh…”

 

Bakugou’s thumb had stopped stroking him, and the blonde was still and uncertain as he listened, brows drawn.

 

“The fuck does all that mean? Did you or didn’t you get into a fight with him?”

 

Oh. That’s what he meant.

 

Something weird must have shown on his face because Bakugou’s expression shifted into one of annoyed puzzlement. He spoke with a hint of incredulity.

 

“Did you punch him because… you thought he was me?”

 

There was hurt there, a trembling kind that Kirishima could only detect because of the way Bakugou squeezed his hand. 

 

Punched him? Wh-

 

Oh.

 

OH.

 

Our bloody lips!

 

“Uh, n-no, definitely not! Like I said, it was dark and we were fumbling around…! It was more like we crashed our faces into each other!”

 

Was that a lie?? He wasn’t certain - maybe he’d been wrong about the barbarian’s intentions - and his stomach felt tight at the thought of announcing he’d been kissed without knowing for certain that’s what really happened - and man, he was kissed by Bakugou who he really wanted to kiss but it was a different Bakugou who kissed him who, may or may not have been thinking of kissing a different Kirishima and a aauuugghhhhhh-

 

“What the hell, Kirishima. You look like your head’s about to explode.”

 

“Nothing!” He said it too fast, and too sharp, but stuck with it, declaring, “Nothing happened! B-besides,” he floundered waving his free arm wildly in a subconscious Iida-habit way, “we-we should probably be getting dressed so we can meet up with Sensei and get to the bottom of wh-what’s going on, y-yeah!!!”

 

He stood up abruptly, much to Bakugou’s confusion, and flashed him a wide smile.

 

Bakugou stared him down, and Kirishima could read him well enough to know Bakugou was judging if he should push or not. He’d been getting better lately at taking cues from Kirishima, especially since Kamino Ward, and Kirishima was immensely grateful when Bakugou decided to not push the subject, instead just giving a slight nod.

 

It wasn’t certain, in Bakugou-speak, that he was planning to drop it forever, but he could see that for whatever reason, his questions were upsetting him.

 

“B-besides, I wanna ask the other you a bunch of stuff, anyway!”

 

Bakugou’s expression shifted then into something vaguely dark, and he pulled his hand from Kirishima's as he looked away. Even though it was only him taking his hand back, Kirishima felt a profound loss with the lack of contact. With an odd but powerful sense of yearning, he wanted to grab the blonde’s hand once again.

 

He resisted just barely, his heart clenching further as Bakugou stuck his hands back into his pockets.

 

“Tch. Of course you do.”

 

Not sure what he’s done to upset him now, Kirishima clenches his hands at his sides for a moment, before bringing up his fists and knocking them together.

 

“But, hey man, thanks for coming right over when you heard all that crazy stuff! If a villain had actually been in there, I appreciate you racing over to have my back!”

 

The blonde looked surprised for a moment, before his normal resting frown settled across his face, shoulders untensing.

 

“Of fucking course I came over. Even someone as clumsy as you never makes that much noise… It’s not as if you wouldn’t do the same, right…”

 

An immense longing to say something bubbles up in his throat, but he’s not sure of what he wants to say, so instead he flushes with pride and rubs the back of his neck as he declares, “If I heard you making that much noise at night, I would have broken the wall down between us.”

 

That gets a quiet, soft chuckle out of Bakugou - and that alone makes everything they’d been through tonight worth it. Even his friend's expression changes some, softening in a way that Kirishima rarely sees but never forgets. From the tilt of his lips, to the smile lines around the corners of his eyes. It's such a pleasant expression. 

 

The blonde shoulders past him afterwards, quickly dismissing him from his room with, “Hurry up and get dressed then. I won’t wait on you to spend twenty minutes on your damn shitty hair.”

 

“Oi, it only takes three minutes to set!!”

 

“Probably because you use some concoction of cement to hold it together.”  

 

“What!? I do not! RUDE.

 

He heads to the door, hands on his hips in mock outrage before turning and waving back at the blonde as he exits, shouting, “See you in a bit, BlastyMcSplode!”

 

“Fuck off,” is his cheery reply.

 

Kirishima marches back to his room, raising his hand to look down at his palm. It’s still lined with sweat, and on an impulse he brings it up to nose. It smells warmly of nitroglycerin, like burnt caramel, like Bakugou.

 

It makes him feel a special sort of giddiness, but he has a hard time knowing why.

 

Except he does know, he just pretends not to.

 

But now, the smell also makes him think of the other Bakugou, who had smelt just like burnt caramel, and fireworks, and a range of earthy musks that had smelt so masculine, and definitely like his own brand of Bakugou’s familiar scent.

 

Surely, there’s no way he could have copied down even his Bakugou's scent if he was an impostor, right…?

 

Kirishima refuses to believe they’re an impostor any longer, but the intimate closeness the barbarian had had no qualms about broaching resurfaces in his mind.

 

‘My Eijirou,’ he had said. So possessive, and so warmly, affectionate, in Bakugou’s own vaguely exasperated way.

 

Kirishima feels his heart start to race as he closes his door behind him, falling back against it.

 

If he’s another Bakugou, and if he refers to him in that intimate sort of way, with how he’s acted since being here, then does that mean…?

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Katsuki stares down at his bandaged hand, examining it this way and that as the old woman observes him with a concerned expression.

 

“The wound won’t require any stitches, and with my treatment I’ve taken most of the bite out of… well, the bite.”

 

Katsuki glances at her wordlessly, confliction warring inside him. He recognizes this old woman from his world, and although he shouldn’t be surprised to find her a healer here as well...

 

He is.

 

The last time he’d seen her, she’d saved his and Eijirou’s life. Even though he owes this version of her no debt, her appearance makes him oddly passive. But the medical cots and sterile scent and wafts of old sugared candies has his nose wrinkled, and his body tense.

 

“Now that that’s taken care of… Will you allow me to draw some blood?”

 

He can’t help but grind his teeth at the mere suggestion. Aizawa is watching him closely from nearby, expression guarded even if his posture looks relaxed. For someone who looks so haggard, his eyes are clear and alert.

 

Katsuki realizes the best way to move on from this situation and work toward getting back home is to be complacent with their demands for now, show some diplomacy as his parents always chided him - and nowadays, Eijirou too - but he can’t help the loathing and wrath he feels bubbling inside at the thought of willingly lending his blood and having it used to discern him.

 

“What, exactly, do you need my blood for again?”

 

His voice is tight with stress and suppressed anger, but the question comes out passive enough.

 

‘Recovery Girl,’ as Aizawa has referred to her as, adjusts her glasses on her nose as she explains, “Taking a small vial of your blood will help us make certain you truly are who you claim to be. Not, that we mean to doubt you since it’s obvious you share the same face as one of the students here, but more so the fact that we can’t jeopardize the safety of all of our student’s until we do know for certain who you are.”

 

“I’m well aware of that reasoning, that much is obvious. What I’m asking is what the hell do you plan to do with my blood? How will you use it?”

 

He doesn’t keep the wariness and agitation out of his voice very well, his temper flaring, but it can hardly be entirely fault. If this world’s Eijirou’s emotions would chill the fuck out he could probably conduct himself in a more regal way, but that being said, he makes no internal move to stop reaching out toward these emotions either.

 

Recovery Girl and Aizawa share a indiscernible glance between them before she turns back to him.

 

“I see… Well, we plan to compare it up to the Bakugou in this world’s blood. If they match we hope it will further validate your claim about being a, uh… World traveler?”

 

“How will you be comparing it? What witch are you planning to give it to?”

 

Now he’s definitely not keeping the bite out of his words. Sick and vile memories resurface in his mind, past traumas of fiendish foes who had made his life a living hell once before. Even though its been years, his palms still crackle at their memory. 

 

Recovery Girl eyes him with a gentle expression, one that is uncannily familiar. He forces the flaming explosions to settle, and he breathes out a terse breath and tries to blank his face once more. He's still angry and seething, but there's no point in remembering that vile witch of a bitch unless he has to. 

 

“Witch…? No witch. I think we’ve reached a misunderstanding.”

 

She turns away and heads to one side of the room and picks up a small box. She brings it over to where he’s sitting and sets it on her desk before sitting down in her stool across from him. She gives it a delicate pat.

 

“This machine will be doing all of the comparing and analyzing for us, so have no fear. Besides me taking a small vial of your blood and placing it inside here, I assure you, no one else will be touching it.”

 

He searches her face for a hint of deceit, but finds none in her soft expression. Still, his hackles are raised.

 

“What about afterwards? Will you destroy the sample when you’re finished?”

 

She gives a sagely nod.

 

“Of course. You can even destroy it yourself when we’re done if you wish to. Why,” she pats the small magic box again, the ‘machine,’ as she claims, “you can even sit right here and watch over it the whole time its processing. Right?”

 

She aims the question at Aizawa, but it’s more of a demand than anything. Aizawa doesn’t fight her decision, just merely nods.

 

Katsuki relaxes minutely, and then sits up straight.

 

“Fine… Then get on with whatever you need to.”

 

The old woman does just that - pulling out a small syringe from her pocket and approaching him. He hands over his arm when she requests it, and he watches her as she swabs his arm with a cool sterile scented cloth as she almost jokingly warns, “You may feel a tiny prick…”

 

He doesn’t tense at all as the needle disappears into his skin, and only clenches his free hand when he watches it begin to extract his blood. His free hand trembles, left bandaged hand popping as he clenches it tight, digging his fingernails into his palm until his knuckles turn white. The sting helps calm his nerves - it always has.

 

When the vial takes what it can hold, she pulls it out once again and places the sterile cloth back on the pinprick wound and instructs him to hold it there.

 

He obeys silently, watching her shuffle to her desk and label his blood sample and place it down inside the box alongside another, pre-labeled vial. She closes the top and messes with it for a second, before leaving it alone and turning away. She presses some keys on a strange machine with a bright glass, before walking over toward Aizawa.

 

“Now we just have to wait a few minutes. Please, excuse us why we have a few words.”

 

They talk at the door and Katsuki almost scuffs at the thought that they think he can’t hear them, but he doesn’t bother trying to eavesdrop consciously. Instead, he allows his subconscious to hear their tones and drifting words while he takes a moment to simply… reflect. He unclenches his bandaged hand and stares down at it.

 

The Eijirou of this world seemed to have calmed down a lot, but he can still feel pinches in his chest from being overburdened by longing.

 

Now that his emotions have calmed, he can barely feel anything from him - mostly mindless subdued emotions without real names. Even proximity aside, there’s no yearning reach toward his own, no intentional thoughts or feelings being directed his way...

 

It’s nothing like the connection he has with his Eijirou.

 

It’s almost like he’s the only one reaching out for them, knocking on the door so this Eijirou will let him in, only to be waiting on a doorstep that’ll never open because the person inside can’t hear the pounding on the door.

 

Its boggingly and more than a little frustrating…

 

But he can’t be angry.

 

This isn’t his Eijirou.

 

His Eijirou is still back where he left him, likely still asleep and unaware he’s missing yet.

 

And then all at once, he’s back there in a flash…


*~*~*~*

 

Deep in the night…

 

Katsuki wakes up in the caves they’d gone to sleep in, roused by something he can’t immediately discern.

 

He almost panics, tired eyes searching in the last embers of light from their campfire for any dangerous wandering shadows or the sense of intruders, for Eijirou, before he recognizes the warmth pressed up against his back, and the arm draped lazily over his waist.

 

The almost panic dies before it can rise, and Katsuki knows for certain now that whatever woke him wasn’t his senses warning of impending danger.

 

He settles back down for a moment, enjoying the heat his loveache always gives off in these rare occasions when cool places like caves can allow him to appreciate it. Normally it’s a half-hearted play fight (or sometimes real struggle because its too damn hot for this Eijirou) to separate himself from his furnace of a partner on summer nights, but in cool stone places like these caves… It feels great to constantly have his skin warmed throughout the cold nights.

 

It also helps that besides being a steady warmth, Eijirou is a deep sleeper and rarely shifts around and moves in the night. For someone like Katsuki, whose senses are as sharp as his and how easily he's roused awake and alert, having an unmoving restful furnace of a bedmate is a true blessing. 

 

But that's why when he feels Eijirou shift uneasily behind him, he frowns and turns over to check if the half-dragon is awake. Eijirou continues to slumber, but his tanned face is scrunched up slightly as if he’s in some pain.

 

Katsuki narrows his eyes, and scoots closer to press his forehead against Eijirou's. It's impossible to guess if he's feverish considering he's naturally so hot to the touch, but Katsuki's learned some tricks over the years. He feels Eijirou's face scrunch up against his, brows furrowing uneasily, but doesn't feel the halfling sweating in his sleep. 

 

Not ill, then.

 

He still has a migraine then, even in his sleep. 

 

Since they'd first arrived in the area, Eijirou had been certain this was the place they were meant to be. He'd complained impishly about his headache the entire time, at first flirtingly vying for some attention from Katsuki, then near miserably the further into the caves they'd gone. 

 

It had been immensely obvious these caves systems were the source of the strange phenomenon they'd been searching for. And also, obviously the cause of his loveache's throbbing temples. Even so they hadn't discovered anything out of the ordinary on their first day or searching the caves, only the strong magical residue left over from something arcane in nature.  

 

 

As the sun had set, he’d tried to cajole Eijirou to spend the night outside the cave since whatever magic lingered here was obviously causing his head to hurt - dragon allergies, Eijirou had jokingly trilled around a wince - but Eijirou had refused his demands to sleep outside alone claiming his dragon sensitivity to things like this would come in handy if something happened in the middle of the night.

 

Clearly, he hadn’t been entirely wrong if whatever had roused Katsuki was able to effect Eijirou’s deep sleeping patterns as well.

 

Katsuki pulled his head back enough to scent the air but couldn’t discern the tell-tale presence of dangerous magic around them, only the ripple of gooseflesh across his skin that let him know some sort of magic was active in their vicinity. His senses were half-blind compared to Eijirou's, but even so he doubted he was wrong about his assumption that whatever magic was here wasn't evil in nature. 

 

Still, he thought of waking Eijirou to have the half-dragon use his superior senses to see what he could glean from the air now. But as he watched him shift uncomfortably in his sleep, nose wiggling and head shaking slightly with a slight grunt, he immensely disliked the thought of waking him to make him actively miserable. It was a rare sight to see Eijirou so bothered by a magic.

 

So instead he reached out and cupped his palm against Eijirou’s sleeping face, calling gently for Eijirou to share with him. Even asleep and with his senses disturbed, Eijirou willingly obeyed with an eagerness.

 

Katsuki bared his teeth slightly as some of Eijirou’s sensitivity to the magic in the air caused an instant pain to throb in his temples. It made him want to lash out against whatever was causing them both pain, go wild until the threat was destroyed, but instead he bore it with a grimace.

 

If his loveache had gone to bed feeling this coming on, it was no wonder he’d been so insistent about sleeping close and burying his face into Katsuki’s hair. He’d probably been trying to muffle his senses enough to rest since he’d refused to seek shelter by sleeping outside.

 

He’d have to remember to scold him in the morning for being a dumbass.

 

But right now, Eijirou was still shifting, expression pinched, and blurry unformed thoughts and emotions were starting to come from him as he began to rouse. As deep of a sleeper that he was, Eijirou was always quick to wake up when he sensed Katsuki was upset or restless. 

 

To soothe him back to sleep, Katsuki warmed the palm still on Eijirou’s face, knowing how much the half-dragon adored the heat of his scent. Just as he expected, Eijirou’s expression relaxed slightly as he turned his face into Katsuki’s palm with a sleepy nuzzle. A smile tugged on the corners of his lips, for a moment flashing sharp teeth before settling once again. Katsuki couldn't help but admire him like this, eyes softening some, even around the new aches in his mind.

 

The expression on his face looked almost wistful, but Katsuki couldn’t be certain if it was because of his gentle ministrations or because Eijirou somewhat missed the more pronounced pangs in his mind, being the experiencing-masochistic-novelty-of-it-all type of dragon halfling that he was. Dragons were absurd and too easily fascinated with such things.

 

Or maybe that was just Eijirou.

 

Either way, his soulmate’s body relaxed as he breathed in the familiar scent of his favorite person, and he turned his head to place one almost drunkenly affectionate kiss into Katsuki’s palm. His sloppy lips lingered there for a moment as he hummed drowsily, before he slowly drifted back off into deep sleep once again.

 

Katsuki admired his resting form for a few moments, idlily letting his thumb stroke over his sleeping face before he finally withdrew his hand.

 

He couldn’t remain here all night if he wanted to see what was going on further into the caves. He removed Eijirou’s arm and set it aside, laying it limply in his place as he rose.

 

He pulled his crimson cloak off Eijirou’s form to wrap around his shoulders, fixing the furred drape in place. He might have felt bad taking it off Eijirou’s sleeping form if he didn’t know for a fact that being half dragon Eijirou wouldn’t notice it was missing, or even mind if he did.

 

Katsuki stalked further into the caves after sliding his boots on, mindful of where he stepped but not at all worried he’d make enough noise to rouse the sleeping dragon. He left his cutlass behind beside the bed, thinking not much of it.

 

He borrowed the light in Eijirou’s eyes the further in he traveled, his carmine eyes lighting as fires danced within them, the darkness slowing fading into lighter hues. He scanned around him for traces of what roused him, keeping one palm to his temple to guide him.

 

Besides the sound of the waterfall outside the caves and some streams trickling inside, there weren’t any unusual sounds from within… So since he couldn’t find anything by sense of sight or smell or hearing, he focused his mind.

 

Whenever he felt a particularly painful pang, he turned in that direction and kept walking. The closer he got the more annoyed and angry he began to feel, and he purposefully shifted his thoughts and emotions away from Eijirou so his loveache wouldn't sense his displeasure. 

 

Besides the migraine he had been dealing with since arriving here, Eijirou had flown them a long distance the last couple of days, and had hunted for them this evening. He didn’t want to rouse him from a well-deserved rest unless it was absolutely necessary.

 

It was these thoughts that distracted him as he turned toward a particularly grueling pang, and that’s when it had happened.

 

Portals are ficky, pissy-assed annoything things. Some portals won’t show themselves or even open unless someone is directly in their vicinity - cloaked to be well-hidden magics for the clever shitty magicians who use them.

 

And with his mind distracted both by his thoughts and clouded by pain, Katsuki didn’t realize too late that a portal was opening directly in front of his feet until he was already stepping through - unable to jerk his way back out of the fall -  and the physical pull - of the portal.

 

He gave one last loud pissed growl, releasing his temper and anger at the situation, at magicians, at this fuckin’ cave - as he was pulled through and left tumbling into a new dark environment. The fire from his eyes faded some, immediately harder to conjure than being like a second set of eyes - telling him all he needed to know.

 

Wherever it had spat him out from was far enough away that he wasn’t in close proximity with Eijirou anymore.

 

Immediately, he’d raised his hand over his head and ignited a soft crackling flame from his palm. A bizarre and rather horribly printed room was illuminated for him, surely the hideous abode of whatever magician he was about to rip a new asshole for. 

 

When he turned, already conjuring his flames brighter, he saw the most unexpected site before his eyes.

 

Lying on his back with hands by his head, snoring softly with his mouth open and drool on his chin, laid Eijirou.

 

Katsuki blinked in confusion, cautiously glancing around once more to make certain they were alone, at least at the moment, before hurrying to his loveache's side and leaning over them. His eyes scanned them for injuries, anger bubbling in him at the thought someone touched his Eijirou when they were sleeping to move them - and he placed his palm alongside their cheek once more, this time, to rouse them…

 

*~*~*~*


He’s almost mad at himself for how much he longs for them to be at his side right now, how used to having them at his shoulder whenever they both discover something new and exciting or challenging… This sort of world hopping would have made Eijirou beyond ecstatic, and he'd be handling this entire situation with the manic excitement of a child. 

 

He doesn’t like the ache their loss leaves in his chest at that thought, or the bitter taste on his tongue at the realization that he can’t actively feel his loveache anymore. He gets this impression that Eijirou is still out there, still fine, but he can’t help but seethe at these circumstances regardless.

 

It doesn’t help his bitterness that he could sense this world's Eijirou’s emotions coming off of him in waves when they were close, but even only at this distance, its only the strongest most pinning emotions he can glean from him now. 

 

And he can only tell this much because he’s actively trying to sense him out. He can’t find it in himself to not at least check up on him every few minutes, so he knows he's alright. But he can't help feeling spurred that this Eijirou isn’t reaching out to him at all, even though he knows that's unfair to ask of Eijirou that isn't his own... But this loss of a bond he's felt and accepted as part of who he is now for years now is suddenly so weak, and it leaves him feeling devastatingly handicapped even so. 

 

He knows it’s childish to be feel jealous over this Eijirou’s obvious emotions toward his counterpart since they make sense, but he has a hard time thinking of that brat as another version of him. This whelpling version of him had seemed younger by a few years, and Katsuki had a hard time remembering his younger inexperienced self with any fondness. Katsuki doubts from their brief encounter earlier that this whelpling would be much different than he used to be at that age... and because of that, he knew for a fact that...

 

Eijirou deserves better.

 

His brooding thoughts are interrupted when darkness appears before him. He blinks out of his scowl, unaware he’d been slouched forward in thought until now. He sits up again, crossing his arms as he regards Aizawa. He hates looking up to someone, but he's in no mood to stand and posture at the moment. 

 

“Whether you’re who you claim to be or not… I want to know why you attacked Kirishima and Bakugou.”

 

What sort of shitty question was that?

 

"Haah? I didn’t attack Eijirou.”

 

“No, and I’m sure the boy was bloody and you have serrated teeth marks on your hand for completely unrelated reasons…”

 

He bristled in outrage at the insinuation, clenching his bitten and bandaged hand subconsciously but before he could retort Aizawa kept going.

 

“And I’m sure you didn’t attack Bakugou either. Those muffled pops and the heavy smoke and scent of explosions was surely caused by something else wasn’t it.”

 

It doesn’t even sound like a question.

 

Katsuki finds himself grinning now, all feral. Even his fingertips begin popping with small subdued explosions - nothing enough to actually set the man in front of him off, but enough to make him tense.

 

“I don’t know about this shitty version of myself, but you better bet your ass there were explosions. If someone wearing my face had appeared before me in my world, I would have blasted them all the way to hell without asking questions. Only a total dumbass wouldn’t attack something like that until it died.”

 

… and Eijirou, he chided mentally.

 

He meets this Sensei’s gaze evenly, Aizawa giving him a prolonged evaluating stare - red eyes roving over him - before he sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. In that moment, he stinks of stress.

 

“You’re either really another Bakugou… Or this is the most advanced mimicry I’ve ever seen. You have all his mannerisms and behaviors down to the letter.”

 

He scoffs, as if that should be obvious.

 

If anything, this makes Aizawa look even more tired.

 

Then, there’s a small trill from the box at their side and Recover Girl walks back over to the bright glass-screened box and pulls something up. Words are lit up and green, and even though the characters are both similar and strange all at once, he recognizes the word and can’t help but give a smug grin to both of them.

 

“Well, would you fucking look at that.”

 

He stands, and begins stretching out his arm.

 

Recovery Girl studies what is written before saying, “I could run the test once more, but there won’t be a different answer. You watched me take the blood, and we all watched over it. Nothing’s been tampered with. It seems we truly do have a traveler from another world here. What do you plan to do now?”

 

She turns to Aizawa, who regards Katsuki in turn.

 

“I think now... It’s out of my jurisdiction.” He glances at his wrist. “Bakugou and Kirishima should be at the Principal’s Office by now. We’ll head there and get this all sorted out. Nezu will figure out what to do with you.”

 

Katsuki tenses, expression borderline wrath as he snaps, “I’ve been cooperating this whole time because I think my best bet for getting home is to not have anyone getting in my way as I figure that out. But the moment you start deciding that I’m not in control of what I want to do, is the moment I’ll bust my way out of here. With explosions that’ll blast you and anyone else into the afterlife if need be. My priority is getting home to my kingdom once again. I will not be ‘put’ or ‘placed’ or ‘imprisoned,’ anywhere, got it eyebags Sensei?

 

Aizawa seems slightly taken off guard by his rising anger, before he narrows his eyes. Despite that, his tone his calm.

 

“Principal Nezu is one of the most intelligent people in the world. He’s also the head of U.A. If anyone can help you and figure out how we might return you back to your world, he’s the place we need to start at. Now that your identity has been confirmed under no uncertain circumstances, I assure you, have any plans to imprison you been made. And none will be, unless you give us a reason to.

 

He and Aizawa's gazes lock, and Katsuki isn’t certain if they’re both about to jump into combat or not, but he’s raring to go. If he punched him around for awhile he’d get a good sense on how honest they were being, and he’s thinking about doing just that to let off some steam when they’re both interrupted by a weird cranking stutter noise that instantly has him tensing and baring his fangs at a rectangle box at his side.

 

“Good grief, you two. You both must be sleep deprived. I should write you some medications, but then again, if you’re dumb enough to start a ruckus in my office I might as well send you heathens to psychiatrics because you’re both obviously out of your minds!”

 

She angrily trots past them puffing steam and pulls out a piece of paper from the loud obnoxious box as it spits it out to her. Words are printed all along the pages and graphs too, and she neatly straightens them before passing them over to Aizawa. He takes them, no longer looking like he plans to fight anymore, and instead has an uneasy expression at her miffed one.

 

“There, that’s all my recordings from the tests. Take those to Nezu. And as for you,” she turns back and opens the box, handing him a vial of blood. “a promise is a promise. Make short work of it.”

 

Katsuki finds himself grinning as he explodes the vial in his closed palm, relishing the feeling of knowing no one is going to be getting their hands on his blood now.

 

Aizawa looks up from the papers as the smoke clears from his fist.

 

“Ready to go?" Then, almost as an afterthought, "Kirishima will be there.”

 

He bristles at the way Aizawa says that, as if trying to entice a response out of him. He’s mad because it works, but he’s also angry knowing its not needed because he’d already made up his mind to see this ‘Nezu.’

 

“There’s no damn point in staying here. Lead the way.”

 

Aizawa's gaze is sharp, as if he was searching for something in particular, but he looks away before Katsuki can demand to know what. 

 

“Thank you for the help, Shuzenji-san. I’m sorry for having you dragged here so early.”

 

Recovery Girl merely waves that away, and Aizawa turns to the door. Katsuki stares at her for a moment, catching her gaze.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Whatever for?”

 

“Hn. You wouldn’t understand. I just felt like saying it.”

 

It’s not really the you I know I’m thanking anyway, he thinks.

 

“Well, whatever for, you’re welcome dear. Do be certain not to stray from Aizawa dear, this place can be rather large.”

 

He makes a noncommittal noise, and follows Aizawa from the room out into the hall with his chin high and shoulders squared.

 

Despite himself, he can’t help but think of his Eijirou again. He wonders if they’re still sleeping on, oblivious to his disappearance. He thinks they must be.

 

Even though he knows its not actually Eijirou's voice he's hearing, he can almost imagine the way he'd laugh at the situation he's gotten himself into, and the chiding way he'd say, wow, Katsuki, this place is so interesting! There's another you here! How manly! And there's even another little me, haha!

 

...and he can’t stop himself from thinking of this Eijirou too, and the fact he feel him a little clearer now as they draw closer to one another. It’s still infinitely weaker to the soulbond he has with his loveache... but there’s tendrils there in the heart of this Eijirou that isn’t quite his too.

 

But those thoughts make him think of his other self, as well. The hot-blooded younger him who was quick to rile, and who hadn’t hesitated to blast his explosive magic at his friend. He can’t help the way his temper rises at the memory.

 

Did he think Eijirou would be able to transform in such a closed off space, or was he just the confident Eijirou’s scales could take his heat and force? He could tell something was different about the redhead’s skin than normal, but he hadn’t had the time to investigate in the middle of their fight.

 

These people weren’t the only ones who wanted answers.

 

Katsuki had a lot of questions about this world too.

 

They came to a large room with centered doors, and as he watched they slid open for Aizawa and him. They walked shoulder to shoulder into the room, and his carmine eyes immediately sought out the two people ahead with their backs to him.

 

A familiar redhead was finishing saying something as he turned to look over his shoulder, eyebrows rising, and almost unknowingly, his lips too.

 

He almost found himself smiling back in relief, just starting to as warmth flooded his chest when his eyes caught his counterpart’s. Dark, disdain-filled glaring carmine eyes met his own.

 

His palms crackled at the challenge.

 

 

Chapter Text



There’s a tense and uneasy silence around the room as he stands in front of the desk beside Eijirou. His arms are crossed and he stares straight ahead at the rat man called ‘Nezu.’ He seems preoccupied going over the paperwork Aizawa had handed him moments ago and checking their results instead of addressing him, however.

 

Eijirou is at his side, gaze slowly traveling over him before turning back to the other him at his side. He seems to be comparing and contrasting, eyes trying to discern something.

 

Again, Katsuki feels the pain that accompanies not being able to hear his Eijirou’s thoughts. If his Eijirou had made the journey here with him by now his loveache would be sending him his every little stray thought, emotions filtering through in a familiar tide that never ceased to amaze him…

 

But not this Eijirou. They remained oddly blank, with nothing intentionally being shifted in his direction. His only telling markers were just those his body language gave off.

 

His familiar eyes, which darted from one person to the next. His shapely mouth, which lightly pouted in thought. Even the mannerisms of his hands were familiar - held at his sides as his fingers gently drummed against his pant legs as he tried to keep them both still and busy at the same time. He shifted weight on the soles of his feet, something he often did when he wasn’t feeling certain about something, or was hungry and waiting for the chance to broach dinner.

 

Katsuki’s eyes scanned him over with new scrutiny then, taking in the redhead’s physique with assessing eyes. He was well-muscled, though not as much as the Eijirou he knew, and didn’t seem to have the leanness to his frame over muscles that he and his Eijirou had. There was still soft traces of babyfat in his face, a softness that spoke well of this world’s Eijirou getting enough nutrition in his life and of being able to eat properly.

 

Katsuki could still remember the first time he’d met his Eijirou, and how carelessly he’d thought nothing of the leanness to his loveache’s frame. His energy had never seemed to wane, nor his optimism, but Katsuki was older and wiser now and he knew signs of hunger and weakness well enough to recognize them in a dragon from experience now.

 

It was a relief to see no clear signs of malnutrition present in this Eijirou.  

 

He found himself relaxing minutely at this, shoulders losing some of their tension.

 

He wasn’t entirely certain how old this Eijirou was, something he’d have to ask when given the chance, but he could guess he was at least a handful of years younger. There was something immensely comforting about seeing Eijirou young like this, with a certain softness remaining in his edges.

 

He hoped this world hadn’t been so cruel to this version of his loveache, and he wouldn’t have to endure the things his counterpart had in his younger life.

 

Katsuki’s sharp scan didn’t go unnoticed, seeing as he was now blatantly staring, and Eijirou quickly noticed his steady gaze.

 

He gave a reassuring, if somewhat timid smile, flushing slightly at being so shamelessly examined. It reminded him of how his Eijirou used to bashfully enjoy admiring gazes before his confidence had grown, before he’d begun cheekily preening on purpose for more attention.

 

The thought made him smile.

 

Eijirou flushed almost as brightly as his hair then, mouth opening and closing, before he hurriedly ducked his head and looked away, much to Katsuki’s chargain and confusion.

 

He growled in annoyance and reached out to take his arm, but before he could the other version of him scowled over Eijirou’s ducked head. His younger face took on a disgusted snarl, and he stuffed his hands into his pockets, red eyes flaring in challenge.

 

Katsuki was immediately ready to kill him for the glare he leveled his way, crossed arms tensing for a fight

 

“So, you’re Bakugou Katsuki, but from another world?”

 

He turned to face the rodent again, tersely spitting, “It’s King Katsuki, but yes.”

 

What was with all these people using last names first? Was it some weird ass custom of this world? In his world, last names were given to introduce distance between new people, a brush off. He’d done it multiple times himself when he was younger, before he’d realized just how badly he wanted the world to know his name.

 

In his mind, he could faintly hear the ghost of what his Eijirou would say if he was here.

 

Diplomacy, he’d chirp, an obviously amused hum in his throat.

 

The rodent rested his elbows on his desk, hands placed together.

 

“My apologies, King Katsuki, was it? If it would please you, may we simply hold this meeting informal and call you by your given name, Katsuki? It would make it easier to differentiate you from our student Bakugou… and we will be able to hold this meeting with a lot less fumbling over the proper etiquette.”

 

He was annoyed at the suggestion. He’d worked hard for his many titles over the years, furiously hard, but even so, he could agree that he saw no good reason to stand on ceremony. Most of that stuff just got in the way of things, anyway.

 

“Katsuki is fine.”

 

He could feel the other him tense from where he was, an angry reply half muttered.

 

Whatever it was however was lost to anyone but Eijirou, who hurriedly said, “I- I mean it will make things a lot easier! I’ve been having to refer to him as ‘barbarian Bakugou’ in my head this whole time, s-so!”

 

Katsuki found his pride wounded at this knowledge. He’d been referring to Eijirou this whole time by his name in his head, but all this time this Eijirou had felt detached enough to refer to him only in that way?

 

The not quite real Eijirou in his mind cooed at him softly as they pacificed, remember, he’s not quite me, silly. And he’s young! Who knows what sort of relationship he has with the you of this world.

 

“And, like, you can call me Kirishima too! So like, we don’t get me and the other me all mixed up, you know?”

 

Katsuki whirled on him, eyes wide in disbelief and something else he didn’t want to admit. His lips thinned as he processed the way Eijirou’s happy smiling face slowly morphed into confusion, and then some concern the longer the silence stretched.

 

Now he wanted for him to call him Kirishima?

 

Katsuki’s gaze dropped down this Eijirou’s body, before settling on his bandaged hand. They were twins, both cut into at the same place, at about the same time.

 

Though this hurt in his chest cut deepest.

 

But… But it made sense.

 

He couldn’t help but recall the fear he’d put this Eijirou through earlier. It was no wonder he offered nothing to him, and it shouldn’t shock him that he didn’t even want Katsuki to say his name anymore either.

 

Creating distance from the person who hurt you made sense.

 

Still, it was a hard pill to swallow.

 

... and yet , even knowing all of this, there was no way it would go down easy, either. Like hell would he just start calling Eijirou something so impersonal as his last name.

 

So he choked on the words he did and didn’t want to say, instead choosing to say nothing as uncomfortable glances were exchanged.

 

Aizawa, who’d been standing beside Nezu all this time, kept watching him with a calculating gaze. Katsuki glared at him with a scoff before facing the rat man again.

 

By good fortune, Nezu decided to intervene and get the ball rolling again.

 

“Could you explain more about how you managed to come to this world, so we may all better understand this situation?”

 

He’d figured this was coming, but it was only Eijirou’s sudden bright interest in him that had him keeping his anger in check.

 

He could never blame this Eijirou for his own feelings or wants, or ask him to understand him the way his counterpart did.

 

And simply knowing Eijirou was here, happy and healthy, was enough to dismiss his own personal feelings anyway. They’d only get in the way if he tried to rely on them, so he chose not to, and cut them off.

 

“Fine, but I don’t plan to repeat myself and if you dare interrupt me by asking a whole load of annoying ass questions I’m going to stop.” He aimed this at the rat man.

 

Eijirou mostly kept his anger in check, anyway.

 

Temper, temper, chided the fake Eijirou in his head with a laugh.

 

“We will try to keep all questions held in check until the end, then,” reasoned Nezu with the tact of one of the better politicians in Katsuki’s world. He sneered in reflex, before sighing and glaring down at the ground as he collected his thoughts for a moment.

 

“Eijirou and I,” he could feel this world’s Eijirou tense and not only because he was sensing out his feelings, just as he could sense his counterpart’s alert posture - “heard rumors of strange and unexplainable items washing up downriver of a village. No one knew what these things were or where they came from, and since some foreign and possibly dangerous supplies drifting through a peaceful village is a concern by itself, Eijirou and I went to investigate.”

 

He could recall Eijirou looking at all the scrap the villagers had warily fished from the river by the time they got there. The half-dragon had scooped up different things of metal and tin and unidentifiable rusted items left and right, sniffing them and turning them over curiously.

 

He could remember his own confusion and mounting agitation as he found little and less sense to make from the weird trash they’d found, his anger rising with his desire to blow it all up before Eijirou had finally stopped rummaging through the litter and turned to him.

 

“Eijirou could tell that all the junk we’d found smelled faintly of something magical, but none of the items present were magical in nature.”

 

“Magical?”

 

Eijirou’s voice caught him by surprise, and he arched his brow at the questioning tone he used.

 

“You guys have magic over there?”

 

Confused, he was slow to react. He uncrossed and raised one of his hands above him, and crackling fire lit from his fingertips.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Huh. Over here, we call things like that quirks!”

 

He lifted his own hand, and Katsuki blinked as his skin hardened with a sharp sound. But unlike what he was used to no bright red scales appeared, nor did steam ripple across his flesh.

 

Before he could reach out and investigate further, he noticed Aizawa’s hair rising and turned to him to see his eyes glowing red. He seemed frustrated.

 

But the (annoyingly) familiar feeling of having his magic snuffed out didn’t activate, and he grinned victoriously as he crackled a few particular satisfying flames as he realized just what that meant.

 

“Heh. The Aizawa of my world can cancel out my magic with those pissy red eyes of his, but it looks like you’re just a poor imitation of him.”

 

“Or,” Nezu interrupted, “there may possibly be a universal difference between what you consider magic and we consider quirks. But it is interesting to note that you seem to know not only young Kirishima, but Aizawa as well in your world, yet you seemingly have no knowledge of ever meeting another version of me. It’s all very fascinating. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind telling us more about how magic works in your world, and how yours in particular is activated once you’re done retelling your adventure into our world?”

 

They wanted to waste his time on something as basic as that?

 

“As if.”

 

He scoffed, and Aizawa stopped trying to red-eye him. Only then did he let his victory flames die down and crossed his arms once again, growling, “and I said don’t interrupt.”

 

He went back to his story tersely.

 

“Since the foreign trash that had washed up did have something magical in origin lingering on it, we concluded whatever had rubbed off on all the supplies must have come from up the river. So we followed it, and our search led us quite a ways upstream where he found a waterfall. Behind it was a cave system that had its own river coursing out from it.”

 

Eijirou had found it, hearing the sound the wind had made through the tunnels in the cliffside when he’d dove into the water to see if there was anything directly beneath. They’d scaled the slick cliffside walls before trudging their way through the cave, knee deep through a heavy and unforgiving river.

 

By good fortune, they’d found a branching tunnel soon afterwards that allowed them to walk alongside the cave river without having to fight against it and continue to get soaked. They’d followed it for sometime before they’d come to the river’s maw, and could no longer follow it without diving in and fighting the current - something neither of them had been willing to do.

 

“By luck, there was a cave behind the waterfall and we were able to investigate it. We found the source of the cave’s river, but could go no further. But Eijirou could sense whatever magic lingered there was in the air, and I could smell it too. We backtracked and searched the caverns but were unable to find exactly where the energy we sensed was coming from our first day there.”

 

“You can smell things like magic?”

 

Eijirou looked entirely too impressed, something that baffled him and had his eyes narrowing. Still, he could reflect on that later. For now, he simply nodded and said, “Yes, I can.”

 

The other him snorted and muttered, “Of course he can.”

 

“Don’t interrupt me,” he spat at him, and the other him sneered.

 

“So you’re first day of searching was in vain?”

 

He could see Nezu was trying to prevent a fight breaking out between them, but he only glowered at him and kept going.

 

“Yes. We knew it was close by, but we thought it had to have been heavily cloaked for not even Eijirou to be able to find it. It was clear it was nearby, however, and we decided to make camp in the caves incase anything happened in the night. And by some misfortune, something did.”

 

He finds himself annoyed at himself for his own carelessness. He was King Bakugou . A master of destructive magics, practically a god of flames. He was no stranger to fighting magics or being around them, and still he’d grown lax at the dangers they could present.

 

It was only by the luck of fate that his mind had been clear of dark thoughts so that the portal had teleported him somewhere fortunate instead of a deadly trap.

 

“I woke up in the middle of the night, sensing something was happening somewhere in the caves. I went to investigate and because of my carelessness, I walked directly into a portal and was spat out here.”

 

There was a mounting confusion all around him, but only Eijirou dared to break the silence.

 

“I’m still confused, bro. How did you not notice something like a portal? I mean, I admit, I’ve never seen one or anything but aren’t they flashy or somethin’?”

 

Idily, he explained, “Only an idiot would put an easy to find portal in a cave, after they’d taken so much time to hide it there in the first place. And it wasn’t like it was an Arch Portal or something noteworthy like that. It only appeared and opened once I had walked into it.”

 

Eijirou still looked so confused, biting his lip.

 

“An Arch Portal?”

 

No one else seemed to have any clue what he was talking about either, and he tapped his foot irritably as he explained, “For basics sake, let’s just say there are two types of portals. Marked portals, marked by things like giant fuckin’ arches, are Arch Portals. Hidden ones or trickier ones are commonly known as Unmarked Portals. The one that appeared before me was a hidden one, which didn’t activate until I was already walking through it.”

 

Eijirou put his hands behind his head with a hum as he thought, gently twisting his body left and right.

 

It reminded him enough of his own Eijirou to make his heart sick.

 

“...okay, then why the fuck didn’t you turn back around and go back through the damn thing?”

 

It was the other him now, no longer sneering, but still glowering at him.

 

He scoffed at their words.

 

“Do you think I would still be standing here having this dumbass conversation if I could do something like that? I just said it was an Unmarked portal, didn’t I? If it was an Arched Portal I could jump back no problem, but there’s no damn portal on this side for me to jump back into.”

 

Aizawa leaned forward now, brow furrowed.

 

“You had to come out from somewhere. Are you saying there isn’t still a portal opened here?”

 

Did they seriously know nothing about portals?

 

Unbelievable.

 

His disbelief and annoyance must have shown, because Eijirou was quickly moving a step closer, hands up and expression distraught.

 

“H-hey man, there’s really not like, another portal you can jump back through?”

 

Eijirou’s distress froze him, as did the wave of unease and worry coming from him, and he took a moment to take a deep breath and calm his grating teeth so that he could properly explain.

 

Somewhere in his mind, fake Eijirou quietly cheered him on.

 

“Okay, listen, and listen good, Eijirou.” He found it easier to speak to him directly, to keep his temper. Once more this world’s Eijirou flushed at being called by his first name, and that again helped to settle his tense nerves.

 

“Arched portals are two portals connected to each other from two different places. As long as both portals are activated, you can jump from one portal to the other, and back again. Just think of them as portals with clearly marked doorways, but with complicated hallways you can’t see. Got that much?”

 

Eijirou nodded, still obviously confused for the most part but grasping the basics.

 

“Unmarked portals are different, not only because they’re often hidden of cloaked… But because they don’t have two portals connecting you back and forth from somewhere. Instead, you use them to go one way. The portal stretches while you’re inside and deposits you where it’s been set to lead you, or where you desire it to go - depending on each portal’s function. Either way, once your out from it, it collapses back on itself leaving you there. Got it?”

 

“So in summary, there’s no longer a portal left for you to jump back through because its already returned to your world.”

 

Nezu seemed to understand it well enough, but Katsuki’s eyes were only for Eijirou. He seemed to grasp the most important part of what he was saying, because his eyes tightened with pain.

 

“Oh man, how are we going to get you home then? Are you or um… your Eijirou proficient enough in your… magic to make a portal of your own?”

 

It was such a stupid question he was genuinely stunned for a moment before he collected his thoughts. He couldn’t fault Eijirou for asking what he didn’t know, or for trying to understand something.

 

Katsuki set a reassuring hand on his shoulder and squeezed it as he explained, “No. I don’t think there’s anyone alive today who actually knows how to create portals, or truthfully, how they really work. Before today just the fact that they work - that’s all thats ever mattered to me.”

 

“Then we really have a conundrum on ours hands when it comes to safely returning you back to your world.”

 

Katsuki took his hand back reluctantly, and placed it on his hip as he spoke.

 

“Well, it’s not as if I’m without hope. The fact that Eijirou was with me guarantees the portal will open at least one more time.”

 

“You’re certain of that?”

 

He regarded Aizawa with a half-shrug.

 

“When that numbskull wakes up and can’t find me anywhere, he’ll be on high alert. I trust he’ll be able to sense, or at least figure out what happened quickly enough.”

 

Using portals left a sharp impression in the air. Katsuki would never miss it if one had activated so recently, so there’s no way Eijirou would either.

 

“B-but, how can we make sure he doesn’t just stumble here by mistake too - or worse, what if the portal doesn’t appear here at all? What if it opens somewhere else and you miss your chance?”

 

He lifted his hand to ruffle Eijirou’s hair this time, bemused as he squawked at the treatment and darted away with a cry of, ‘ hey man, don’t mess up my hair!’

 

His lips quirked with both amusement and pride as he bragged, “Don’t worry about that. It’ll definitely open somewhere around me. That portal, for whatever reason, stretches into this world. Eijirou will definitely be looking for me, and that’s where the portal will try to take him.”

 

“I thought you said no one understood portals? How can you be certain of that?”

 

“Because I was thinking of Eijirou when the portal spat me out by this world’s version of him. It could sense where it thought I wanted to be... Eijirou doesn’t need to understand how portals work to be able to bully it into doing what he wants. He’ll definitely open the portal for me to jump through, of that I’m certain. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it sometime soon now that morning is breaking…”

 

He trailed off as something suddenly occurred to him, causing his eyes to widen before he placed a hand against his chin and was caught up in new worrying thoughts.  

 

“Oi, what the hell is that look for? What did you just think of?”

 

His eyes glanced over at the younger version of himself, eyes narrowed in thought. He kept silent for a few moments longer, before releasing a quiet curse and looking away.

 

“Morning.”

 

Eijirou blinked at him, curiously tilting his head to the side as he responded, “Uh, good morning to you too dude!”

 

Drolly, he half-smiled before shaking his head.

 

“Not that sort of morning. I mean the time . Yesterday when Eijirou and I were exploring the caves we couldn’t find that damn portal anywhere, we could just sense something wild had been there and still lingered on. But last night I woke up because I could feel something had changed in the air. The portal might only be able to be activated at night…” He scowled further. “...or maybe even depending on what moon is in alignment. Either way, if that’s the case, unless Eijirou is already awake and by the portal, I don’t think he’ll be able to activate it until tonight if its already closed.”

 

How frustrating.

 

If he had just woken Eijirou up, or been more careful, or concentrated his thoughts hard enough even when he was going through the portal - he would have managed to somehow change things, he knows it.

 

“Well, that’s still okay, man! Even if you have to wait a day here, or a few - you at least know someone’s got your back on getting you back home at least!”

 

He appreciated Eijirou’s support, but was still too lost in his racing thoughts to accept it.

 

“Are you certain the Eijirou of your world will be able to help get you back home?”

 

“Hahh?”

 

He couldn’t keep the scorned note out of his voice, a reflex still ingrained into him whenever anyone said something less than positive about his partner’s abilities.

 

“I only mean, if portals are so complicated are you certain he won’t accidentally send himself here when he activates it? It sounds as if your experience with the portal happened too quickly for you to react. Are you worried the same might happen to him as well?”

 

He faced the rat with a scowl.

 

“What part of me not wanting to repeat myself didn’t you understand? I told you, Eijirou will know he’s dealing with a portal now from the imprint that got left behind. He’ll figure it out. I couldn’t react in time for my own personal reasons, and because I didn’t know we were dealing with a portal in the first place.”

 

Wild magics were always hard to identify by smell, and the cave had already been teeming with things he hadn’t recognized - most likely all the junk that had appeared from the portal and fallen into the river…

 

...which probably meant the portal did at least open nightly then. Or was for now.

 

It must have been appearing in this world and grabbing things from it, from somewhere.

 

The only thing he didn’t know was if it was just activating because it was wild magic - and that’s what wild magic did because no one else could explain it - or because the portal was being intentionally activated somehow, by something, or someone…

 

He’d have to investigate once he got back home.

 

The silence must have stretched while he was lost in his thoughts, because Aizawa and Nezu were quietly talking to each other when he zoned back in. They were no doubt discussing what to do with him now, and he was tempted to repeat his earlier threat to Aizawa about trying to decide things for him when he caught Eijirou’s voice.

 

He turned to see Eijirou and this world’s version of him - ‘Bakugou,’ as he seemingly preferred being called, were facing one another and already conversing to one another in quiet, but heated voices.

 

“You’re kidding me right? So what, he’s stuck here until some shitty-ass portal opens up again to take him back home?”

 

Eijirou grinned, chuckling lightly.

 

“Ah man, c’mon, this actually really cool! Dude, there’s a whole other you here! Just think of how manly training with him would be!”

 

Bakugou’s face registered a weird combination of surprise and annoyance, before he scoffed at the suggestion.

 

“Man, I’d be so pumped to have another me here!” He slammed his knuckles together, making a satisfying noise. “I feel like, if he was anything like me, we’d be instant bros and workout buddies and would pound each other into the dirt!” He paused, considering. “I wonder if I could beat my own ass?”

 

Bakugou must have imagined something hilarious, because he seemed to have a hard time keeping the sneer on his face from shifting into something like grin. He struggled with a wobbly put-out smile before he purposefully thinned his lips.

 

Kirishima beamed regardless.

 

“Don’t fucking say things like that out loud, you moron...”

 

“Huh? Say what?”

 

“Nevermind, forget it.”

 

“? If you say so, Bakubro!”

 

Katsuki found himself marveling at their interactions. He’d never imagined he would feel what it felt like to experience his relationship with Eijirou from the outside looking in.

 

They had a closeness that was just short of contact, both physical and emotional, and he could sense the pining lovestruck way Eijirou felt about Bakugou in his core, just as he could see the familiar softness in Bakugou’s eyes and slightly wistful way he relaxed his shoulders when he focused only on Eijirou.

 

It should have been comforting to him, but instead it tied his insides up and made him clench his fists. His left one stung the slightest bit, still healing from where Eijirou had bitten him to protect this world’s Bakugou.

 

He’d felt such immense and immediate fear radiate off him at that moment - a crippling sickening kind that he knew only too well meant his experience was something traumatic in nature.

 

Sensing that hurt from him, and knowing he’d caused it to resurface - and that as familiar as this Eijirou was - that he wasn’t his Eijirou - it all caused the ache in his chest to fester.

 

His gaze dropped to the floor.

 

This really was… Kirishima.

 

Not Eijirou.

 

More than anything right now, Katsuki just wanted his Eijirou back at his side again.