Kirishima Eijirou is six years old when his mother realizes that she doesn't have time to get a babysitter before she has to leave for the evening, and is dragged to his first Fashion Week in an uncomfortable but well fitting suit. It's the most important day of his life, though he doesn't know it yet. He's small, at six, shy and timid, but his eyes are very wide as he follows his photographer mother around red carpets, sticking close to her side. Okaa-san is tall and beautiful and wearing a dress made of floaty fabric with flowers on it, and Eijirou is careful not to hold onto it so it doesn't wrinkle as she takes pictures of people also wearing beautiful clothing. He's not really sure exactly why Okaa-san takes pictures like these, but the people are pretty and it's interesting, so he follows along obediently and doesn't question it. He gets cooed at a lot, which is nice but also scary.
They escape the red carpet area to a small cafe, and Eijirou hops onto a chair to sit and wait while Okaa-san calls Akane to see if she can meet up with them and help look after Eijirou. He likes Akane, a lot, and beams when Okaa-san puts her phone away with a relieved smile. Akane makes Okaa-san smile like no one else can, not even Eijirou.
“Is Akane-san coming?” he asks, kicking his feet, and Okaa-san smiles.
“She is,” she promises, “and she'll keep an eye on you so I can work, little man.”
“I like watching you work,” Eijirou says earnestly, and Okaa-san's face does something complicated. A happy-sad, all at once.
Their food arrives, just simple drinks and takoyaki, and Eijirou watches as Okaa-san nibbles on hers before taking a bite. Ever since Maro left them last year, Okaa-san is slowly getting better, but he still hates that she feels so nervous doing things like eating. It's easier, if Akane's there. Akane laughs and jokes and feeds her little bites with her chopsticks and calls her “my sweet” and Eijirou really wants Akane to stay and keep making Okaa-san smile forever.
“What is this?” he asks finally, pointing out the window.
“Don't point at people, Eikkun, it's rude,” Okaa-san says with a smile. “This is Fashion Week. People come from all over the world to look at new clothing that people have made.”
“Why?” Eijirou asks frankly, and Okaa-san smiles again. Eijirou loves his Okaa-san's smile. The crinkles by her eyes get deep and soft, and she looks so happy.
“Clothes are a lot of things, Eikkun. They tell us about a person, or they're art you wear on your body, or a statement you make without words. So we're here to find out what people are saying without them having to say anything.” Okaa-san ruffles his hair. “I take pictures so that people who aren't here can see them too.”
“Cool,” Eijirou breathes, lighting up, and Okaa-san laughs a little before nudging him to finish his takoyaki.
The door opens and Akane sweeps inside.
“Akane-san!” Eijirou hops off of his chair and runs to her. Akane beams a him, sweeping him off his feet and up into her arms. He's much too big to be being picked up any more but Akane is six feet tall and muscular, with long blonde hair and brilliant green eyes. She's fresh from the gym, still in her workout gear, and Eijirou hugs her tight. Akane is half Japanese and half Swedish, which Eijirou thinks is extremely cool, and she can lift Eijirou like he's a feather which is even more cool.
“Hey there hot-shot,” she teases, kissing his cheek. “Lookin' spiffy in that suit. Where's your ma?”
Akane gasps. “No way.”
Okaa-san's going red now, blushing hotly, and Eijirou giggles at the look on her face. Okaa-san's tall too, not as tall as Akane, but her makeup is fancy and her dress is beautiful and covered that fancy flower pattern and floats around her body. And Akane looks at her like she hung the moon. Eijirou wants Akane to stay forever.
“Are you sure that's your ma, kiddo? Because that looks like a princess who happened to stumble into a cafe.”
Eijirou giggles as Akane lets him down, and beams as Okaa-san tips her face up so that Akane can lean down and kiss her. Okaa-san looks so happy.
“Thank you for coming to look after him,” Okaa-san says, and Akane grins at her.
“Not a problem, sweetheart. I've got him, Kiyoko, you can get back to work.”
Okaa-san's face goes even more red, and Eijirou resists the urge to beam. It's so good to see Okaa-san happy.
“Alright,” Akane says, setting him down and taking his hand. “What do you wanna do, kiddo? Wanna go watch a movie to watch at home?”
“Yes!” Eijirou squeezes her hand, swinging it as Okaa-san gets up and puts the camera back around her neck. She barely comes up to the middle of Akane's chest, but she's still so tall! As far as Eijirou's concerned, Okaa-san is one of the tallest people he knows. “Can we watch the one with the lions again? I liked that one!”
Akane grins at him, her teeth perfectly straight and white. “Sweet, I like that one too. We'll drop your ma at the carpet and then you and me are gonna go get popcorn and food and do nothing but watch movies til we're tired. How's that sound?”
Eijirou cheers, holding up his other hand for Okaa-san to take, and together they walk back to the place where all the people have been posing and modeling.
There's another big and important thing that happens that day, but really, when he thinks back on it, the day is mostly important because it's the first day that Okaa-san calls Akane her girlfriend when she comes home.
That's the first thing he learns when he walks into his college classrooms to people who have more talent, more drive, and more experience than he does. Toshinori Yagi and all his associated fellows hand pick each and every one of the interns. You apply, and you hope for the best. There is no guaranteed way of getting in. Each and every intern is picked by the big man in charge, and there is no way around it.
Eijirou rolls up his sleeves, and gets to work.
Eijirou's life has been straightforward to this point. He did well in school, struggling mostly with math, he played on the baseball team, he took trips with his moms and was a good big brother to the twins. And when high school is done, he keeps the momentum. He does well at college. He works hard, gets good grades, is praised for his work in melding masculine aesthetics into beautiful clothing, and calls his mothers every two days to check in. He works hard, and he does everything he can to move out fast into the world, and he succeeds. He graduates with a degree in Fashion Product Development, and three minors; Business, Physical Education, and Journalism. And on one clear spring afternoon, he applies to the vast company that is All Might, in the hopes that an internship under any of their labels will open up.
And against all odds, he gets in.
He's carrying no less than eight coffees and has a fast food bag clenched in his teeth, but he still whirls around in the sleek lobby of the All Might office building as he hears footsteps approaching. He got into this position thanks to sheer dumb luck and a borrowed Armani suit from his best friend from college, who's also in the building and interning under yet another one of the labels in the building. Tetsutetsu himself is running up, also holding a borderline lethal amount of coffee, and Kirishima grins around the bag. All Might is a beast of a company. The brands and labels that it hoards under its powerful arms are ridiculous. Everything from the original All Might to Fatgum and Hawks and Fourth Kind and Mount Lady can be found under the roof, and while it's been a roller coaster of a week already, Eijirou can't help but still be excited as his friend walks with him.
Together they get into the elevator with two other interns performing the Running of the Caffeine, and the solitary woman lifts up her leg and uses her sharp toed heel to push all the buttons for their floors. Tetsutetsu's on 8 with Fourth Kind's design studio, Kendou's on 17 with Textiles, the infamous Monoma is on 20 in Marketing, and Eijirou is on a brutally far up 28. He does his best not to walk too close to any windows when he's in the design studio.
The elevator jerks, and Kirishima resigns himself to a morning of listening to Tetsutetsu talk about his weight routine and how he's been missed at the gym as they go up, Kendou and Monoma bickering about something in the background. Tetsutetsu waves with his head as he gets off on 8, four different PR people cram in on 12, Kendou gets off and trades with the designer for Cementoss (whose name he can never remember), another 3 crowd in on 18, Monoma and two of the PR people get off on 20, Cementoss gets off on 22, and finally the last two PR people and the three from R and D get off on 24, leaving him blissfully alone with a bag in his mouth and eight steadily cooling coffees as the elevator finally moves towards his destination. Of course, it stops on 27, and he tries not to cry with frustration as a short, bulky guy with wild green hair walks into the elevator. He's got a Bluetooth on his ear and is talking, but Eijirou has to hide his smile when he sees the little earpiece isn't turned on.
“...get the paperwork from Kacchan at 2 for the meeting with Sir, Ojirou will have Naka's schedule, maybe Kendou will know about grapefruit since she likes healthy snacks...”
Midoriya Izuku, former model and current intern, jumps nearly a foot in the air as the door closes and he realizes he's not alone.
Eijirou laughs around the bag as he stammers apologies. Midoriya hurries to take it from him.
“I'msosorry,” he says frantically, politely ignoring the holes Eijirou's teeth made in the bag. “Hi, Kirishima-kun!”
“Don't worry about it,” Eijirou laughs. “Running errands?”
“Y-yes,” Midoriya mumbles, going red. “I forgot to take something to the PR team last night.”
“Happens to all of us,” Eijirou grins, and the elevator finally dings for 28. “This is me-”
“Oh, I'll go with you! Mirio-senpai is visiting and I need to get him.”
Eijirou sighs in relief. “Oh, cool.”
They walk out of the elevator and onto the floor of the Fatgum offices. Each of the floors has its own look and décor, and Eijirou loves his. Fatgum's whole brand and aesthetic is comfortable and fun punk with an emphasis on looks that can fit any body size or type, and he's happy he was pulled on board to work for its lead and original designer. The man himself stands a massive 6'7” in the middle of the room, texting on his phone and already halfway through a slice of pizza while leaning against a bright red wall. The whole office has a fun mid-century modern look without sacrificing comfort. The walls have a magnificent mural of a view of Mount Fuji done in spray paint, some general tags, and a whole ton of pictures from pop punk and alt rock shows on them.
“Oh hey there,” Toyomitsu Taishirou, more commonly called Fat, says cheerfully, ignoring the exasperated look their receptionist is giving him for eating in the clean lobby. “You made it on time! I'm starvin' for a burger.”
“Sorry it took so long, the elevator stopped constantly,” Eijirou says, handing the receptionist her coffee. She seizes it gratefully and downs half of it in one go as Midoriya hands the bag over to Fat.
“S'not a big deal,” Fat grins, opening the bag and immediately tearing into a burger. “Fuck, I'm so 'ungry. Cmon greenie, let's go get Mirio.”
They're led back past the main office area, past the PR bullpen where a group of models stand hovering around the veritable buffet table laid out to the side and devouring food. Another major benefit; Fat refused to let anyone go hungry on his watch, so the offices are always packed with food. Healthy or not, if you wanted it you could take it, and it was always refreshed. No one, no one went hungry if Fat knew about it and could help. Rumor was that a good quarter of the operating budget went to food, but it was never questioned.
They head into the studio proper, a big open room with desks here and there along the walls. Fat's right hand and youngest designer stands at a table looking over two different fabrics, and Kirishima brightens at the sight of him.
“Amajiki-senpai, I have your-”
Amajiki Tamaki, dressed in what Fat likes to call “Business Emo”, is in front of him and knocking back a good third of his espresso in one go before Eijirou can even finish his sentence. Fat's office dress code consists only of “Wear What Makes You Comfortable (And keep backup clothes in your lockers in case of unexpected business meetings with the head honchos)”, which Eijirou appreciates. In his skinny jeans, black dress shirt, oversized and unzipped hoodie, comfortable slip ons, and black fingerless gloves, Amajiki-senpai looks more comfortable in the studio than anywhere else.
“Thank you,” he mumbles once he surfaces, and jumps when Midoriya zooms past him to Togata Mirio, who's looking over something on a far table and dressed in a white linen suit with an inky blue shirt under it. “There's paperwork on my desk for the shoot on Tuesday-”
Tamaki sighs in relief, and Eijirou beams at him. “Stop that, go be a ray of sunshine somewhere else.”
He passes Fat his coffee and distributes the others to the rest of the room before heading to the desk and getting the paperwork. Once he's got everything settled he'll head to his locker and get changed out of his suit and shoes, something he's very much looking forward to. He's been pushing the limits on what he wears to see if he can get a reaction out of Fat, but so far it's just been Tamaki looking extremely pained at his themed crocs.
Papers gathered and ready to be taken down the hall to their proper homes, he heads towards the door only to be caught by Tamaki's tiny wave.
“Jeanist's asked for your help with final prep today for their show on Saturday,” he says apologetically. Fat nods as he plows his way through fries with the sort of single minded determination that would put professional athletes to shame. Eijirou loves his boss. “Nothing too bad, just measurements. Ditch the jacket and those horrible shoes, I will loan you a pair do not wear your Crocs, call time for the model's arrival is 9:30.”
Eijirou glances at the massive clock on the wall. It's 9:05. He'll be cutting it close, but he'll make it work.
The papers are delivered to their respective people, his locker in the back staff room is flung open and his jacket and shoes tossed in, and he hurries back to the studio in his socks to take a pair of chunky black sneakers in his size from Amajiki, who looks him over and actually winces. Granted, his salmon shirt, blue tie, and far too loose black slacks isn’t the trendiest look, especially with his sky high red hair.
“Hakamata's going to kill me for sending you down looking like this,” Fat says cheerfully, snickering. “We gotta get you some better suits kid. Or at least get those tailored.”
Eijirou cringes but nods, waves quickly at Midoriya (who's still trying to get Togata to stop teasing his boyfriend and go upstairs to their offices), and books it out the door. The stairs will be faster than the elevator, so he takes them down to the 21st floor, where Best Jeanist has its shooting studio and work studio.
As always, there's a herd of near uniformly identical interns hovering by the door, but Uraraka from the All Might studio is there as well, looking like she'd rather be anywhere else. The bags under her eyes are terrifying and impressive all at once. Eijirou immediately wishes that he could have shoved more coffee on her- she interns for All Might, is the assistant on Yamada Hizashi’s photoshoots, and also works security at night. He’s not certain she doesn’t actually sleep in a storage closet somewhere.
“Oh thank god, you’re here too,” she mutters as he arrives, brushing himself down. The studio is a riotous bustle of people, Best Jeanist's frenetic pace miles away from the relatively calm, easy going atmosphere just floors above. The interns are all clutching identical coffee mugs. “They freak me out. They're like zebras, I can't tell them apart.”
“Yeah, it's kinda creepy.”
There's a clamor as the doors open and the models come in, and Kirishima cranes his neck to look them over. It's a decently mixed bag, that's for sure. They're mostly about the same height. A few girls, mostly guys, one of them tall and built like a brick with black hair and glasses (who looks suspiciously like Iida Tensei from Ingenium Design... huh). The men are a pretty standard lot. Black hair, blond hair with a black streak, black hair again, and-
Ash blond hair. Pretty.
Eijirou's eyes trail down from the puff of hair and. Oh.
Ash-blond is striking, with an intense scowl and glare combination and an excellent body. He's beautiful, with strong boned features and a cocky jut to his chin. Eijirou likes him immediately. He's manly as hell.
The identical interns all shuffle around like stressed gazelles, skittish and wary, and turn with glittering eyes to look at Uraraka and Eijirou. He suddenly feels like a bug under a microscope. Someone shoves a measuring tape in one hand and a notebook and pen into the other.
“Brown-hair,” one of them says with a sort of relieved glee, “you get Hagakure. Red-hair gets Bakugou.”
“I don't have a clue who that is,” Uraraka says dryly. One of them waves her forward and leads her away.
“I'm in the same boat,” Eijirou says, and one of them gives him an ugly, feral grin.
Eijirou immediately feels a spike of terror. “Sorry?”
The one who spoke leans in close, smiling sharply, and points at Ash-blond. Ash-blond, or Bakugou he supposes, is currently snapping angrily at someone who stepped too close to him. “This is a hazing. You have to get all his normal measurements, and his arms. Good fucking luck.”
But Eijirou's spent the past two weeks doing such terrifying things as working with a hangry Fat, getting coffee during rush hour, and wearing socks with Crocs in a fashion design company just to get a reaction, so one model shouldn't kill him- no matter how hot or how much of a hassle that model might be. Taking a deep breath, he steels his nerves. He's about to walk across the floor when Hakamata walks in and claps his hands once. All eyes immediately turn to the designer. As always, his face is half covered by a large scarf.
“We have a photoshoot for the new collection in five days,” Hakamata says in his cool voice. “We are down to the wire on fitting adjustments and final measurements. Let's have this over with quickly.”
There's a collective, “Yes, Hakamata-sensei!” from around the room, and then the whole place bursts into motion. The identical interns all swarm, and Eijirou heads towards Bakugou. He looks… he looks like he's uncomfortable, but he's hiding it well, eyes flicking around constantly to follow all the movement around him. There's a good five foot radius around him of empty space, no one wanting to get too close. As Eijirou approaches, someone knocks a basket off of a table behind Bakugou, causing a crash. Everyone except Bakugou jumps. He doesn't seem to have even noticed.
Oh. The pieces click together.
Eijirou makes sure to approach so that Bakugou can see him coming, and grins back when Bakugou scowls at him. Bakugou jolts and yeah. Eijirou was expecting that.
“Hi,” he says cheerfully, unrolling his tape measure. “Shirt off, please!”
“What the fuck is up with your teeth?”
Eijirou's grin widens as Bakugou drags off his shirt. Holy shit. Hoooly shit. The guy is ripped. His abs are just shy of display worthy, clearly defined without the skin being practically suctioned, and his arms are positively glorious. Eijirou values performance over display for himself, but then, he’s not model. He's not actually sure if he wants to lick him or drag him to the gym to compare routines. Maybe both.
Both is good.
He waits until Bakugou can see him again before saying, “Yeah, they freak people out, but they're natural! It's a genetic thing, my mom has it too! She had hers capped though. I like mine as is.”
Eijirou’s teeth are pretty freaky, he has to admit. But Eijirou's a fan of his strange smile. While he has his back molars like most people, all of his front teeth from incisors on are pointed and wickedly sharp.
Bakugou looks vaguely interested and then makes a “tch” noise. “Weird.”
“Sure am!” Eijirou says cheerfully. “Ready?”
Bakugou gives him one more look then nods sharply, as if bracing himself.
He steps up and starts measuring, jotting things down as he goes. Bakugou's pretty close to him in chest size but his waist is much more slender. Eijirou's wider in the shoulders and hips. He's also got about an inch of height on Bakugou, which makes him feel irrationally smug.
It doesn't take long for him to figure out that Bakugou hates surprise touch and tenses every time he lifts his hand and puts it back down without it being seen. He ignores the slight growls and twitching, leaving his hand on his arm to help ground Bakugou and give him a way to feel where else he's moving, and sweet merciful fuck, his biceps are impressive. Like expected, Bakugou settles under his hand. It’s the on-and-off that bothers him, it seems.
As he kneels to get lower body measurements Bakugou says roughly, “Can't imagine you give too many blowjobs with teeth like that.”
He seems to regret it the moment he says it, blanching a little, but Eijirou just looks up at him with a slow, lazy smirk, lowering his lashes just a little bit. Even with his scar, he knows full well that people love his eyes and his long lashes. He's yet to have a person not be flustered by this look. Bakugou's cheeks turn a very satisfying faint pink.
“Wanna bet?” Eijirou drawls, grinning up at him with said teeth on display, and proceeds to measure his inseam. Bakugou flicks him in the forehead, hard, and Eijirou just laughs as he braces a hand on his leg as he writes down the measurement. He's got a hard head and thick skin, Bakugou will have to do better than that to run him off.
He's almost done when Bakugou asks, “So you got a specialist for a dentist or…”
“Oh yeah,” Eijirou says, taking the last set. “There's a guy in the city who does vampire veneers for the serious vamps so I go to him. He gives me a discount for molds of my teeth for more realistic veneers for people. The Buffy crowd really like them.”
“Yep!” He stands up, relishing that inch he has on Bakugou. Bakugou can clearly tell there’s a height difference and looks deeply annoyed. “All done!”
“Fan-fucking-tastic,” Bakugou mutters, pulling his shirt back on. Eijirou quietly mourns the loss of that view. He's never going to get used to seeing so many ripped and gorgeous models everywhere.
“Well, I probably won't see you again, but it was nice to meet you!” Eijirou grins at him again, and Bakugou grimaces. Under it, he looks a bit amused, and Eijirou decides to take the win. “See ya!”
He turns to leave but Bakugou grinds out, “What do you mean you won't see me again?”
Eijirou turns back around. “I'm just helping out, I'm actually interning up with Fatgum on 28.”
“Huh. Your hair's a different kind of shitty than these guys, should've known.”
“Hey now, I like my hair!”
Bakugou makes a face at him and Eijirou just laughs, giving him a teasing finger wave before heading back to hand the measurements off to the head of the herd of interns, a woman who looks extremely bored.
“Who did you have?” She asks, collecting his paper.
“Bakugou. I didn't get a first name-”
Her head whips around to look at him. “And you're done?”
She stares at him a moment before checking the paper. “...so you are. Hmm. Which company are you with again?”
“Uh, Fatgum? I’m an intern, I’m not actually-”
She doesn't seem to notice his confusion, writing something on top of Bakugou's paper. “Name?”
“Kirishima Eijirou, but-”
“Very well. You're free to go. We'll take it from here.” She glides away, enormous bell bottom jeans swishing around her legs, and Eijirou decides it'll be a wise choice to escape while he still can. He slips out the door, glancing back in time to see Bakugou scowling at one of the Jeanist interns passing him a pair of extremely bedazzled jeans, and grins again as he heads out.
The rest of the day is straightforward. He has fun teasing Tamaki, eats lunch with Uraraka and Momo from Textiles, makes some bentos for Uraraka to take home and gets cried on, goes to a meeting to learn more about what it is marketing does, and does another coffee run at 4:00. (There's technically a coffee machine in the break room, but no one's willing to drink what it creates.) He catches a bus and then a train home to his polite little apartment, drops his keys in their bowl, and collapses onto his bed with a groan of relief.
After a bit of decompressing he drags his phone to his face and indulges his curiosity.
A search of 'bakugou model’ reveals that Bakugou's name is Bakugou Katsuki, he's 23 like Eijirou, and that he's been modeling since he was absolutely tiny. Eijirou's pretty sure that he spots an old magazine photo of him and a terribly cute Midoriya together at about age 6 or 7. There's a few articles a couple years old that seem to be little fluff pieces, and tell him exactly nothing except that Bakugou has a talent for saying things without actually saying anything. Probably a useful skill for a model, a way to keep people away. He's modeled a lot and for some pretty big names, including some international ones.
Eijirou sits up, surprised. He recognizes one set. It was when he was 16 or 17, a shoot Okaa-san did in Kyoto during sakura season for a traditional clothing company, and he remembers seeing them before edits. This one had barely needed any. Bakugou is sprawled elegantly over the roots of a tree, blossoms fallen to tangle in his puff of hair. There's an arm thrown over his eyes, and a single perfect blossom on his lips, as if sealing them closed. The inky black and tiny white crane pattern of his yukata against the soft pink sakura and the pale green of the grass is striking.
He's beautiful. Elegant. Aching to be comforted.
Eijirou saves the picture, wondering if Okaa-san will remember it. The only reason he does is because of the image of the soft cherry blossom on those pale lips. He would never have guessed the grouchy man from earlier could look so soft.
“Bakugou Katsuki, huh,” he asks the ceiling as he rolls onto his back. “Pretty and tough, just like him.”
The ceiling seems to be judging him. He doesn't blame it. Don't get involved with models was a mantra his professors had drilled into his head. Nothing good could come of it, they'd insisted, and while Eijirou could appreciate where they were coming from they hadn't been 6 inches away from Bakugou's abs. Eijirou's not stupid, he's not going to go chasing after a well known and well liked model, but if the opportunity comes up… he might just power walk.
He gets ready for bed, puts Bakugou Katsuki from his mind, and has no great plans or expectations of seeing him again.
Eijirou is so fucked.