Katsuki sat up with a gasp and choked on air, gripping his neck to make sure it hadn’t actually been broken. After adjusting his eyes to the dim light of the moon beaming in through his window, he began to pant a little softer, laying his face down on his bed and sighing. He tasted salty moisture under him, and realized that streaks of it were coming from his eyes. He propped himself up on his elbow and wiped his face with his other hand, groaning and flipping his pillow over.
But he knew he wasn’t going to get back to sleep.
Most of his nights had gone like this since he’d been freed from the League of Villains’ grasp, and that had been almost three years ago. Almost every night his brain tricked him into thinking he was back there, Shigaraki’s hand firmly holding his throat, the other villains teasing his demise as well. Some nights he was disintegrated, some nights he was just choked until his neck snapped.
Tonight it was the latter. But he always died.
And some nights, it couldn’t be solved by simply shoving it down and forcing his way back into the calm arms of unconsciousness.
Groggily, he rose from his bed, comfortably scratching then adjusting himself in his boxers, and yawning as he walked out of his room. Instinctively, he went for his parent’s room, but their bed was empty, so he decided to look for them downstairs. The TV was on, humming lowly and casting a blue glow into the hallway, and he heard his parent’s voices. His father laughed tenderly, no doubt at something his wife said, before he heard his son’s dragging feet.
“Katsuki,” Masaru turned around and addressed him surprised, wondering if he needed anything.
“Wha’tha fuck‘re ya doin’ up this late?!” Mitsuki yelled, quickly being shushed by her husband. She mumbled something profane before quickly apologizing with a giggle. The two were obviously drunk. “Go backta bed!”
Usually Katsuki would venomously retort with something about him being a grown man, or them being awake too, but he said nothing as he approached the couch, turning around and plopping his form down heavily. He was larger than them both now, so he ended up crushing Mitsuki‘s leg and making her spill her wine, curses slipping past her lips at him. His parents separated to make room for him, and much to their surprise, he leaned under his mother’s arm and put his feet in his father’s lap, gentle snores coming from him seconds after. The two looked at each other, confused and astounded at the behavior he hadn’t exhibited since he was a child.
They knew he’d been having sleeping trouble, more than usual lately, and they’d even heard him scream himself awake sometimes, but he had never done anything like this. The two of them were visibly worried. Was he alright? Did he even know what he was doing right now?
Masaru reached for his wife’s hand, and the two sat still until their son was deep enough in sleep for his father to coax him back to bed.
“That everything?” Mitsuki asked her husband as he hauled another black suitcase to the door.
“I think so, honey,” Masaru answered calmly as he wiped the sweat from his brow, though he hadn’t lifted that much down the stairs. It was definitely going to be a hot weekend.
She turned to Kirishima, who she had asked to arrive unannounced as a surprise to her son. “Eijirou, would you be a doll and get Katsuki from his room? We’re gonna head out soon.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he answered, maybe a little too eagerly. He paced up the stairs, immediately knowing where he was going. He’d been here countless times over the past few years.
Katsuki’s room, which had the same large, explosion sticker slapped on it since their first year, with the words ‘Knock or Die’ on it in fiery font, was at the end of the hall, past his parent’s bedroom and the guest bed and bathroom. Kirishima knocked firmly, and after hearing no response, hardened his fingers to knock a little louder. Still no answer. He knew he shouldn’t have, but he tried the knob anyway, finding it to be unlocked as he pushed the door open. Katsuki was on his bed, his shirtless back facing the door.
“Oi,” Kirishima called out to him, only to receive no answer other than heavy snores.
He stayed in the doorway for a moment, taking the liberty to inspect his friend’s room. It’s not like he hadn’t seen it before, but he had hoped it wouldn’t show signs that his friend wasn’t mentally or emotionally feeling well. He’d been extremely withdrawn since his kidnapping in their first year, and he knew his stubborn ass hadn’t been seeking any counseling with Aizawa or anything like that, so the red-head was determined to be whatever he needed for as long as they’d know each other.
And if that was up to Kirishima, it’d be as long as possible.
Scanning the room, he could see that the desk was a little untidy, a pencil cup toppled over and some papers spread about on the floor. There were a few clothes draped over his desk chair, and Kirishima could see that his laundry was overflowing a bit, as it was on the floor in the doorway leading to his bathroom. Usually, Bakugou always kept his room clean and presentable, but it seemed as if he had stopped caring so much. Not that Kirishima minded, since his room was not much better, but it did make him feel a ping of concern. His friend always seemed relatively okay, despite everything, but he certainly needed to do something about his withdrawal from everything and everyone.
That’s why tonight had to be perfect.
Kirishima tiptoed over to the bed before gently standing over his friend, rolling him on his back and dropping down hard to straddle his waist. Katsuki was wide awake now, the force of a body with much more mass than his own knocking the wind out of him. Upon seeing his sharp-toothed friend, he yanked a red earbud out.
“Kirishima, what the fuck?!” Katsuki wheezed.
“Afternoon, Sleeping Beauty.” He snickered his reply, then caught his friend’s quick blush at their position, before he was roughly rolled off to the side.
“You’re a piece of shit, you know that?”
No doubt for reminding him of the time their hands ended up down each other’s pants after training.
Kirishima was never bothered by that memory, though.
The intruding young man smirked at the thought. “You never let me forget it.”
“What the fuck are you doin’ here?” Katsuki oozed annoyance when he spoke, but he knew this spiky-haired shit wasn’t buying it. The red-head turned towards him, propping his head up on his palm.
“You’re mom called me over.” He gave him a smirk, and Bakugou found it incredibly hard not to blast it off his mug. He didn’t want to face his mother’s wrath for using his quirk in the house. “She told me to tell you to come kiss her goodbye.” He hardened his skin before he made a kissy face at him.
Yeah, this fucker knew what was coming.
He was given an immediate blast that forced him off of the bed. Bakugou couldn’t help it.
“Asshole,” he mumbled while calmly patting out the small fires on his sheets, earning another snicker from the floor. After getting up and stepping onto Kirishima’s stomach to give him a taste of his own medicine, the two headed to the living room, where Katsuki spotted his mother dressed in a sun hat, bathing suit, and a beach wrap around her waist.
“You guys aren’t gone yet?” He asked in an irritated tone, even though deep down he wasn’t super psyched about being all by himself. He was secretly grateful that his mother called over his friend to hang around, because there was no way he was going to do it himself.
Mitsuki gestured for her son to come over, to which he replied with an eye roll and a head shake. He wasn’t going to be embarrassed even further in front of Eijirou; the guy already seemed to have been appointed his unofficial babysitter for the next few days, and Katsuki could feel the absolute fucking mirth radiating off of him when he saw his annoying face. She beckoned him again, this time adding a ferocious glint in her eye that Katsuki knew all too well. He angrily stormed over to be pulled down and assaulted by his mother’s numerous kisses, and after he heard Kirishima fighting back laughter, he roughly pried himself away from her.
His father gave him a firm shoulder pat—which he shrugged off—before loading the last bag in the car. Mitsuki admitted to herself that over the past few years, she hadn’t ever felt 100% comfortable with leaving her only boy by himself since he was kidnapped, especially after the unconscious stunt he pulled the night before. She voiced her concerns to her husband, and he reminded her that their son suggested the getaway himself, and his friend would be with him the whole time.
Still, she felt uneasy in her own way, as mothers do.
Kirishima picked up on it, and assured her that not one eye would leave Katsuki’s sight. That earned a growl from his sandy-haired companion, which he ignored because Kirishima knew he probably wouldn’t hit a friend in front of his parents.
“Y’know, Katsuki could just come over to my house? My dad and brothers will be there, so we won’t be alone. Plus, I think he’ll sleep a lot better if he’s away from home for a while.”
His friend whipped his head towards his mother, eyes burning. “You told him?!”
“Nah, you just did. I had a feeling you weren’t sleeping very well.” Katsuki fumed, embarrassed that he’d fallen for one of this stupid rock’s traps.
Mistuki laughed, ignoring the murderous glare her son was shooting his friend. “Well, I think it’s time we head out.” She looked to her husband, who silently nodded in agreement, and then back to the two boys. “You guys have fun, okay?” They turned to leave before she stopped one last time. “Katsuki?”
“Whaaat?” He groaned.
“Go pack your bag.” The evil look was back in her eye, and it took everything in him not to crumble under the pressure.
“Why? He’s my roommate. I already spend too much time with him during school as it is. Can’t I get one moment without this asshole?”
She was in front of him in an instant, his cheeks being squeezed firmly in her hand. “Don’t disrespect our guests, boy! Plus, I don’t want you cooped up in here alone this weekend, you hear me?” He ripped away from her grasp and rubbed his face, fighting an embarrassed flush.
“I wasn’t planning on stayin’ here anyway, hag!” He punched Kirishima’s arm after his mother closed the door, then paced by his friend to go back upstairs to pack.
“Dude,” Kirishima started, “Your mom is crazy hot when she’s mad.”
“I will literally kill you.”
After they made it to Eijirou’s house, the majority of that day was spent deflecting Bakugou’s rude comments about the state of his room, and trying to teach him how to play God of War. He was bad at every other video game he had shown him before, but for some reason, as the red-head expected, this one had resonated with the blonde the most.
“Geez, you have to slow down and aim the axe, bro.” The red-head flinched as the health bar diminished more and more with each missed swing.
“Shut the hell up, shithead!” Katsuki replied as he somehow managed to kill another horde of Draugrs. “Still did it.”
“Oh wow, you beat the tutorial enemies in what was possibly the longest amount of time! Great job!” Before he received a punch, he ducked. Katsuki cursed the amount of time he’d willingly spent with this dumbass in high school. His moves were starting to become predictable. “Yo, pause the game, I need your help with something.” With an annoyed grunt, Katsuki obliged, then followed Kirishima downstairs to the kitchen.
“Throwing a party!” He stepped to the side and revealed ingredients of all kinds, fresh and canned and boxed, and looked like he couldn’t be more proud of himself for assembling a random assortment of edible shit.
“A party for who?”
“For our class, duh. We’re starting our second year of college soon! And...” Kirishima trailed off, wondering if his prepared words were going to get his friend to open back up and talk to him about whatever was going on.
“Well, you...Dude you—you’ve been...” He had to be honest, as sincere as possible, because he knew Katsuki appreciated those consistent traits about him. He took a deep breath before continuing. “This party is...more for you. I’m not going to lie and say that I haven’t noticed how you’ve changed these past few years after...everything... You don’t talk to anyone, you make sure your classes don’t line up with a lot of us, and you don’t even text me as much anymore. And I don’t think it’s unmanly for me to be concerned about you. We’re roommates, and I hardly ever see you aside from when you head out for the day. Or when I bug you to just make sure you’re alive.” Katsuki stood against the kitchen sink, his arms tightly crossed on his chest and his eyes downcast. He didn’t think he’d get this talk from Eijirou of all people. He thought at least this guy knew how to respect his boundaries, feeble as they seemed against him. “I know something’s up, man. Or, um...Well, I just know you’re different now, anyway. I just...want you to know that you can talk to me. Or someone else. Just don’t bottle it all up, which I know you’re doing.”
The blonde closed his eyes to take a moment to compose himself, because the emotion that was ringing the loudest in him right now was rage, among a mess of others. His mother’s harsh words on his temper, on his tendency to blow up over unimportant things, echoed through his mind, but the urge to destroy everything around him and scream with all his might was burning at the top of his skin, and Kirishima could see that based on the thick tendrils of smoke coming from his fists. He needed to change the subject. To something a little less pointed at his friend. He didn’t want him to feel cornered.
Katsuki was way ahead of him, as a calm question quickly popped into his head. “Where are your brothers? And your old man?”
Obviously his friend had lied to his mother about the two of them not being alone, but it was with good reason, because she wouldn’t have agreed to him coming over after the incident last night. It wasn’t even that big a deal, but he knew her too well. That woman could be just unbearable sometimes.
“Oh...” Kirishima was extremely disappointed, as he’d thought that maybe showing his concern for his sandy-haired friend would spark this intense outpouring of honesty from him, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen. “Kazuo and Hisoki are on some corporate retreat...thing. And my dad took Bo on a summer fishing trip. I stayed behind ‘cause I hate fishing. Makes me smell real bad.”
“As if you don’t already.”
“Ha ha.” The red-head rolled his eyes. “So will you help me or not?”
“But I don’t know how to cook anything on my own!” It wasn’t completely true, but he knew that Bakugou loved to cook, even if he treated it as an inconvenience most of the time.
“So why did you buy all this crap?!”
“Because I thought you’d be a good friend and agree to make something for the party!”
“There’s a difference between a good friend and a caterer, you idiot!” Small explosions erupted in his palm, but as usual, Eijirou wasn’t phased.
“Can you at least show me how to make something?” The red-head clasped his hands together and pleaded.
“Suck my dick,” Bakugo said and flipped him off, turning to exit the kitchen. Suddenly, Eijirou rushed in front of him and leaned in close to him.
“...Is that a request, or a challenge?” He asked honestly, but a little playful.
“Tch.” Katsuki pushed his head over as he passed, knocking his spiky-haired friend to the counter. “Don’t be an idiot.”
“I’m 100% serious, man.” He stood up straight and rubbed his head. “I know you remember that time we were fighting in the locker room freshman year, and then you kissed me and I—“
He grabbed Kirishima’s shirt and roughly pulled him close. “First of all, you kissed me, you fuckin’ freak(Bakugou definitely kissed first). And second, why the hell would you bring that up?! I’ve been tryin’ very hard to forget about that so we can stay friends and I won’t have to deal with you whinin’ like a bitch if I drop you.”
“Look man,” his friend threw his hands up and smiled slyly, “you seem to be the only one who has a problem with what happened.” Kirishima always found this to be funny, as Bakugou hadn’t pushed him away for a while during the experiment. Yet he never ceased to complain whenever it was brought up. “I was just presenting a possible exchange for you helping me make sure this party is somewhat enjoyable for our,” he gestured between them then repeated himself, “our friends. They’re super excited to try your cooking again. What are they gonna say when they find out you flaked out on all of us?” Kirishima knew he’d got him with that, because keeping his word was something that Katsuki made sure he was extremely diligent at.
“Yet you still hang out with me.”
The blonde groaned angrily. “When does this fuckin’ thing start?” His sharp-toothed friend grinned as he looked at his watch, feeling triumphant in his victory.
“In like two hours.”
Katsuki growled and shoved him out of the kitchen. “Dipshit.”
“You’re the best, man! Seriously!”
“I don’t want to see your stupid fucking face for the next two hours.”
“Understood.” Kirishima was beaming. “By the way, offer still stands!” He ducked out of the way of his angry friend’s fist with a cackle, then ran to start tidying up the place for the get-together.