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Ahead and Behind

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Patrol was so much better than anything Kirishima could have imagined. He breathed in the city,  gulping down exhaust fumes and the oily scent of fast food. People crowded the streets and Fat Gum waved to everyone that passed regardless if they recognised him, as if he was Queen Elizabeth II.

“…Most of the people in the shopping district know me,” Fat Gum was saying. “If you drop my name, they’ll give you free food.”

Kirishima’s stomach flipped. “Really? It’s okay to do that?” Excitement held hands with the hunger in his gut, and both of them tap-danced over the yellow-bellied anxiety he couldn’t shake.

“Oh, yeah.” Fat Gum gestured. “Tamaki eats all the time.”

Amajiki spluttered, shrinking back a couple of steps. “It’s for my quirk!” he defended. “I wouldn’t do it otherwise.”

Kirishima frowned. “It’s cool, man.”

He’d quickly pegged Amajiki as the nervous type, although as a member of the Big Three Kirishima really didn’t see what Amajiki had to be insecure about. Compared to him… No, stop thinking about it! Kirishima shook his head to trick his nerves. God damnit. And on top of everything else, why did Bakugou have to spring something like that on him so suddenly?

“Kirishima?” Fat Gum repeated.

Kirishima blinked. “Huh?” Shit, Fat Gum had been speaking to him.

“I was just saying it’s important for a hero to always be on their guard when on patrol.”

“Right!” He nodded enthusiastically, hoping his vigour would excuse his distraction.

He couldn’t screw this up. This was his chance. This was his opportunity to catch up with the others—to catch up to Bakugou, so they could stand by each other’s side.

“You seem worried by something,” Amajiki said.

Kirishima laughed nervously. “I do?”

“If you’re worried about villains, don’t be.” Fat Gum placed a hand on his shoulder. “Tamaki and I are both here to back you up. Besides, you’re already plenty strong on your own.”

The words made him swell with pride. “Thanks! But…” He scratched his head. “That’s not really it.”

“Then what’s wrong?” Amajiki said.

“I…”

How much should he tell them? Outside of Class 1-A, not many people knew he was gay, let alone dating Lord Explosion Murder. Amajiki and Fat Gum were good people, though. If he couldn’t trust them with this, how could he trust them on the battlefield?

“Actually, I’m meeting my boyfriend’s parents this weekend,” Kirishima admitted.

Amajiki froze. Fuck.

“Oh my god.” Amajiki shuddered, hiding his face. “That’s terrifying!”

Fat Gum laughed. “You say that about meeting anyone.”

“People are scary…” Amajiki twirled a lock of his hair.

Kirishima breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thank you for telling us,” Fat Gum said. “There aren’t many openly LGBT heroes in Japan yet. I’m sure you being out will make a huge difference.”

Kirishima swallowed, his neck prickling. “I’m not sure if we want to go public when we graduate, though.”

He was well aware of all the fucks Bakugou did not give, but they were still in the early stages of their relationship. Kirishima didn’t want to rush anything, and he definitely wasn’t ready for the world to know his sexuality when he still hadn’t told his parents. It’s not that he was ashamed, things were just… complicated.

More importantly: “What if Bakugou’s parents don’t like me?”

“Bakugou?” Fat Gum glanced at him. “The kid that got kidnapped?”

Amajiki shuffled. “The loud, scary one?”

Kirishima couldn’t argue with either of those adjectives. “Yep. He’s not like that, though.”

“Sure.” Fat Gum smirked.

Kirishima growled. “He’s not.”

He held up his hands in defeat. “Sorry, sorry. I’m only teasing.” Fat Gum grinned. “I’m sure his parents will love you.”

Amajiki nodded. “You’re like Mirio; impossible to hate.”

Warmth curled in Kirishima’s stomach. “Thanks, guys.”

Amajiki seemed to realise what he said. He turned bright red. “Um, I—I mean…” He shied away, pulling his hood down to cover his face.

Fat Gum sighed.

#

“Stop panicking,” Bakugou hissed.

“You’re panicking!” Kirishima cried, exasperated. “It’s your parents.”

“Exactly.” Bakugou tied his shoes angrily. “You clearly haven’t met my Mum.”

“He has a point, you know,” Deku said. “Kacchan’s Mum is terrifying.”

He lounged on Bakugou’s bed, scrolling on his phone. How dare the fucker get so comfortable! It was as if he was enjoying Bakugou’s internal crisis.

Kirishima paled. “Wait, so he wasn’t exaggerating?”

“Nope.” Deku grinned.

“Deku, I will explode your face if you don’t shut the fuck up.”

“I’ll tell your Mum if you do.”

Bakugou paused in shock. When the fuck did friendship evolve into one healthy enough for Deku to tease him? It was almost normal.

“Deku?”

Deku gulped. “Yes?”

Bakugou snorted. “Bitch.”

Deku rolled his eyes.

Kirishima just looked at them like they were both crazy. He was probably right.

“Are you ready?” Bakugou asked.

“I’ve been ready for ten minutes,” Kirishima said.

“I’ve been ready for half an hour,” Deku said.

Bakugou’s parents being the fuckwits they were, they couldn’t just take him out for lunch. No, they had to invite his ‘friends’, too. Deku was a given, but Bakugou had accidentally let slip Kirishima’s name a couple times, so now they wanted to meet him. Fan-fucking-tastic. Bakugou wasn’t going to hide anything, though. Why should he? He was in love with Kirishima Eijiro and the whole world should know.

His phone rang—fuck.

“What?” he yelled as he answered it.

“Katsuki, don’t shout at me!” his Mum shouted.

“You shouted first!”

His father could be heard faintly in the background, telling both of them to calm down.

“I just wanted to let you know we’re setting off now,” Mum said.

Bakugou grunted.

“Is Izuku with you?”

“Unfortunately.”

“And your new friend? This Kirishima Eijirou?” He could feel his Mum smirking from down the line. Bitch. She probably thought Kirishima didn’t exist.

“Yeah, he’s here,” Bakugou said.

“Good, good.” She hummed. “Well, we’ll see you three there.”

Bakugou made a noncommittal noise.

“Katsuki, answer me properly!”

“Yes!” he growled.

“Thank you.” Mum hung up.

Bakugou grabbed his jacket. “Let’s go.”

Kirishima blinked.

Deku nudged him. “I told you so.”

#

Bakugou hesitated as they neared the restaurant. He fumbled with the zipper of his jacket, his palms sweating. Why was he so nervous? It was just his shitty parents, but maybe that was why. He couldn’t explode them, no matter how mad he got.

“Are you sure you want to tell them?” Kirishima asked.

“Yes,” Bakugou said. “Are you sure you’re okay with that?”

Kirishima smiled. “If you are, then I’m cool with it.”

“It’ll be fine,” Deku reassured. “I can slip away to give you some privacy.”

“No, stay,” Bakugou said quickly. “I…” Shit, how could he explain it? Deku was there. He always had been. He was important to Bakugou in a completely different way to Kirishima and, as loathe as he was to admit it, Bakugou wanted Deku’s support. A small part of his mind still toyed with his doubts, pulling at his fears. What if his parents reacted badly? What if they didn’t approve of Kirishima? Worse, what if they said something to upset him?

Before his thoughts spiralled out of control, they entered the restaurant.

“Katsuki!” Mum called. She ruffled his hair. “You weren’t lying about Kirishima!”

Bakugou batted her hand away. “I told you.”

“Uh…” Kirishima seemed taken aback; Bakugou Mitsuki had that effect on people. To paraphrase Mineta, she was a Bakugou with boobs and a temper to match. With the social graces he apparently lacked, Bakugou’s mother was one of the only things that could genuinely frighten him.

She grinned at Kirishima. “It’s nice to meet you, kid.” They shook hands. “Thanks for putting up with my son.”

“It’s my pleasure,” Kirishima said.

Dad chuckled. “No one’s ever said that before.”

Bakugou would have killed him if it weren’t for the fact it was true.

“And Izuku, honey. Look at you, all grown up!” Mum ruffled Deku’s hair, too.

They sat. Mum did that smiling thing gregarious people do, and Bakugou could feel his Dad’s eyes glancing from him to Kirishima. Damn him for being observant.

“I’d have ruffled your hair too, Kirishima, but it looks like you put a lot of gel in it,” Mum explained.

Kirishima laughed. “Yeah, that’s true.”

“I like it.” Mum nodded. “It makes you look manly.”

Kirishima beamed. “Thanks!”

Bakugou relaxed a bit. They were getting along; this was a good sign.

“I saw you at the sports festival,” she continued. “You were totally badass!”

Kirishima scratched his cheek. “You’re making me blush.”

Fuck. Only Bakugou was allowed to do that! A waitress came over and they ordered drinks. His parents were paying, so Bakugou got the most expensive juice on the menu.

“Anyway,” Mum started. “Izuku.”

“Yes?” Deku flinched. Ha.

“I heard you got a girlfriend.”

Deku frowned. “How do you know?”

She smirked. “Your mum told me.”

Deku deflated. “Oh my god,” he whispered. “She’s telling everyone.”

Kirishima patted him on the back. “It’s okay, man. You’ll survive.”

“Loser.” Bakugou snorted.

“At least Izuku has a girlfriend, Katsuki,” Mum said. “What do you have?”

“A boyfriend,” Bakugou deadpanned.

The table went silent. Mum raised her eyebrow.

Fuck it. It’s now or never. “I’m dating Kirishima.”

Kirishima tensed. Silence pounded and Bakugou’s heartbeat boomed through his veins, but then Mum cackled with laughter. Bakugou gritted his teeth. Dad coughed awkwardly.

Mum paused. “You’re joking, right?” She turned to her husband. “Right?”

Dad shook his head. “I don’t believe so.”

Mum’s eyes widened and Bakugou clenched his fists, his palms hot. She hated him. Fuck, they hated him. Tears threatened to betray him but he pushed down the pain twisting his heart, focussing instead on a burning rage. Before the fuse could blow, however, Mum reached across the table and clasped Kirishima’s hands in hers.

“Honey, I am so sorry for everything my son’s done to you,” Mum apologised. Her face glowed with sincerity.

What.

Deku spluttered.

Bakugou growled. “What the fuck do you mean?”

“He’s not that bad!” Kirishima defended.

Mum folded her arms. “When he was six Katsuki said the only reason he’d want a wife was to have her do all the washing up for him.”

Kirishima faltered. “But I’m a guy.”

She shrugged. “Same thing.”

“Not really,” Deku said.

“Have you seen how many toothbrushes he gets through a week?” Mum continued. “And don’t get me started on the clothes he burns. I swear, the first time he—”

“That’s enough, Mum!” Bakugou cried. They were in public.

“I don’t think that story’s appropriate for a restaurant, dear,” Dad added.

Mum sighed. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude, Kirishima. I just know my boy’s quite the handful.”

“I think everyone in class knows that,” Deku said.

Bakugou glared daggers at him.

“It’s okay, Mrs Bakugou,” Kirishima said. “I go through plenty of toothbrushes, too.” He showed his teeth.

Mum whistled. “That’s some kinky shit right there.”

Kirishima shut his mouth abruptly.

“Mum!” Bakugou hissed. Had she no shame? Actually, of course she didn’t. They were related. Bakugou threaded his fingers with Kirishima’s indignantly.

His parents smiled.

“We’re happy for you both,” Dad said.

Kirishima squeezed his hand.

“And if Bakugou ever hurts you, I’ll kick his arse,” Mum added.

Kirishima grinned. “Duly noted!”

Bakugou scowled. “I’d never hurt him.”

Chapter Text

Never had Bakugou been so humiliated.

“We’re supposed to be tied up to our thighs,” Yoarashi said.

“Fuck no,” Bakugou growled.

They were heroes-in-training, but for some godforsaken reason Gang Orca thought a three-legged race made for an appropriate training exercise. Their legs weren’t just tied together, they were full on clamped, the bonds designed to weigh both of them down. Yoarashi being the illegitimate lovechild of bigfoot and King Kong he was, Bakugou barely came up to his chest, which meant while the clamps came uncomfortably high on him, they rested just above Yoarashi’s knee.

“Maybe if I pick you up we can move them higher,” Yoarashi suggested.

“Are you actually an idiot?” Bakugou snapped. “Then I’d hang off you like a fucking loser.” No thank you.

Yoarashi scratched his head. “Oh yeah.”

Bakugou simmered. Fuck, why couldn’t he have been paired with someone his height? Then again, maybe that was the point. At least he didn’t have to put up with Camie’s gossip. She’d asked Todoroki if the carpet matched the drapes at least three separate times today, and showed no sign of giving up. Todoroki had escaped her for now, paired up with some guy whom had three legs anyway.

“I guess it doesn’t really matter,” Yoarashi said.

“No shit.”

“You sure do swear a lot, Bakugou.”

“Really? I had no fucking idea.”

Yoarashi laughed. “I like you.”

Apparently, the simpleton felt the need to vocalise each thought. Bakugou sneered. “I’m taken.”

Yoarashi frowned. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“I know.” Bakugou couldn’t miss an opportunity to rub his relationship in everyone’s faces, though.

Gang Orca blew a whistle. “Line up, you lot!”

Yoarashi walked as if he wasn’t attached to anyone, dragging Bakugou with him. His bones jumped in his sockets.

“Slow down, fucker!” Bakugou yelled.

“Sorry,” Yoarashi said. “I thought you could keep up.”

His eyebrow twitched. “I can.” Bakugou stormed ahead, but it turned out he had to use a lot more strength than anticipated to move Yoarashi. His blood boiled. Fuck! Kirishima was out there right now, Deku too, yet here he was, stuck playing children’s games with a musclebound airhead.

“You’re friends with Todoroki, right?” Yoarashi asked.

“No.”

“But he has conversations with you.”

“That’s because I can actually hold a conversation,” Bakugou replied.

Yoarashi pouted. “I can hold a conversation.”

“Debatable.”

“I’m holding a conversation right now!”

Bakugou glanced sideways at him. “Why all the interest in Todoroki, anyway?”

“He’s hot.”

Bakugou blinked. “What.”

“Hot-blooded!” Yoarashi spluttered. “I meant hot-blooded!”

Bakugou gaped. “Oh my god,” he said. “You have a crush.” Fuck my life.

“I do not!”

Bakugou raised his eyebrow.

“I don’t,” Yoarashi insisted. “I just… I want to make up for judging him and his father.”

“Sure,” Bakugou drawled.

“Yo!” Camie interrupted, bumping into them. Her partner looked shell-shocked. “Who has a crush now?”

“No one,” Yoarashi said.

“He—”

“Oi!” Gang Orca roared. “Quit chatting and move! How difficult is it to form a straight line?”

“I’m not even straight,” Bakugou said under his breath.

Yoarashi bit back his laughter. Gang Orca glared at them.

Camie nudged Bakugou. “Give me the deets later.”

“Right,” Gang Orca interrupted. “You know the rules. No taking off your restraints. The first pair to reach the finishing line wins; the losers have to fight me.”

Bakugou still had bruises from his last time sparring with the pro hero, the fucker. Losing probably meant staying behind longer, too, not that it mattered. Kirishima was visiting his family after patrol, and he wouldn’t be back until late. Shit, now he was thinking about Kirishima’s family and how it wasn’t ‘a good idea’ for Bakugou to meet them just yet. He grit his teeth. What right did he have to complain, though? He knew nothing of Kirishima’s relationship with his family. Hell, he even forgot he had a sister.

“We’re going to win this, okay?” Bakugou growled. He had to. Bakugou couldn’t keep losing.

Yoarashi grinned. “Leave the running to me.”

Before he could protest, Bakugou caught the glint in Yoarashi’s eye. He cracked his knuckles. Camie raised her eyebrow.

Three.

Two.

One.

Gang Orca blew the whistle. The pair rocketed forwards, borne on a jet of wind. Yoarashi roared and Bakugou laughed despite the howling in his ears, his blood racing. Fuck yes! Yoarashi might be a wind gorilla but his quirk was strong as hell—their take-off had flattened all their competition at the starting line!

Well, all their competition except Todoroki. Half-and-Half hurled towards them on a stream of ice, his partner trailing behind him. Soon they were neck to neck, cold air biting at Bakugou’s skin.

“Hey,” Todoroki said.

“HELLO TODOROKI!” Yoarashi bellowed, the wind snatching his words.

Bakugou snarled. He couldn’t lose, not to Half-and-Half, not to Deku nor anyone else. Bakugou couldn’t fall behind.

Both teams pushed ahead, the finish line in sight. Close. So close! But fuck, Todoroki was inching ahead! Something, he had to do something!

Bakugou yelled as he blasted Todoroki from the side. Heat washed through his veins and the explosion swerved Todoroki off course just long enough for them to take the lead. They were winning. They were fucking winning—

Camie and her partner crossed the finish line a fraction of a second before Bakugou and Yoarashi did. Her victory flashed up on the scoreboard.

No.

He… He lost. To Camie.

Bakugou just gaped. “How the fuck.”

“You dudes are like, crazy!” She winked. “It was pretty obvs what your plan was, though. Kai here can warp space, but he needs a couple seconds to prepare, so I totally covered us with an illusion.”

Bakugou lost.

Again.

Rage trembled through him. He clenched his fists so hard his nails drew blood, his lungs tightening. FUCK! They’d been so fucking close! If only Bakugou had noticed. If only he’d been better.

“Bakugou, are you alright?” Todoroki asked.

“I’m fine,” he hissed. How could you ever understand? Like it or not, you’re Endeavour’s son. You’ve always been on top.

Camie frowned. “Are you, like, mad you lost? It’s only a game, bro.”

“I fucking know!”

Camie glanced at Todoroki. Todoroki shrugged.

Bakugou felt like screaming and crying, exhaustion collapsing all his feelings at once. He kept it all in, though, caging down his emotions.

Control yourself. Contain your anger. Shit. What would Kirishima say?

‘You’re not weak, Bakugou. Everyone has their bad days.’

But then why did it feel like Bakugou was falling further and further from the top? He tried so hard, but he just kept losing: to All Might, to villains, to Deku… No, stop! Stop thinking like this!

Fuck, he was so tired of this. His thoughts spiralling out of control… Bakugou needed peace. He needed Kirishima.

#

Kirishima wasn’t there when he got home.

Chapter Text

Kirishima’s parents swarmed him as soon as he stepped through the door.

“Eijirou!” Mum grinned, hugging him warmly. “Oh, you must be starving!”

Dad chuckled. “Give him room to breathe, hon.”

“Right,” Mum said.

“Hey, Dad.” Kirishima hugged him too.

“Did you come straight from patrol?” Dad asked.

“Yep.” Kirishima slung his bag in the corner. “I showered at the office.”

He nodded. “I wondered why your hair was down.”

Mum tutted. “I think it looks better this way.”

Kirishima rolled his eyes. His stomach grumbled.

Mum laughed. “The food’s almost ready,” she said.

He followed his parents into the connected living room/dining room/kitchen, breathing in the familiar scent of his mother’s curry. Mild, unlike the hell Bakugou subjected his taste-buds to. Kirishima collapsed onto the sofa with a sigh.

His parents smiled at each other.

“We’re proud of you,” Mum said as she stirred. “You’re finally doing something with your life, like your sister.”

“Thanks.”

Kirishima’s gaze flicked to the photos on the mantelpiece. Akane’s picture was almost imperceptibly bigger than his, an innocent consequence of two different styles of frames. Kirishima couldn’t help but notice.

“How’s Akane doing?” he asked.

“She got promoted,” Dad said.

“Really?” Kirishima grinned. “That’s great news!” He’d have to tell her in person. Kirishima hadn’t seen his sister in far too long.

“She’s super busy, though,” Dad said. “Her workload’s increased.”

Kirishima shrugged. “What’s new?”

“Food’s ready,” Mum called.

They served themselves and sat around the table. Kirishima mouth watered in anticipation.

“So we saw the sports festival on TV,” Mum started.

“You did, huh?” Kirishima absently traced a scuff on the table leg by his seat, a relic of his quirk.

“You were so cool!” Dad jumped in. “Especially against that crazy kid. I showed that video to everyone at work, saying ‘that’s my son!’”

Kirishima gulped around his mouthful. “Bakugou’s not like that.”

“Yeah, well…” Mum shook her head. “You should choose your friends wisely.”

Kirishima’s stomach twisted. “What?”

“I’m just saying you need to be careful who you associate with,” Mum explained. “Your sister knows this. Your image is what people judge you by, especially if you’re a hero.”

His lungs clenched and the curry suddenly tasted awfully bitter. They didn’t like him. His parents didn’t even know Bakugou yet they didn’t approve; Kirishima could only guess what they’d say if they knew the truth.

“They’re just children, darling,” Dad said.

“They’ve already been attacked by villains twice,” Mum replied, her eyes narrow. “Children grow up quickly.”

Kirishima had to agree with her on that.

#

“Yo Kiri!” Kaminari said. “Your name! Your hero name’s all over the news!”

Bakugou gritted his teeth at this, hating the way jealousy coiled in his gut. He couldn’t let it show; he had to be supportive. Be a good boyfriend.

“Tsuyu! Uraraka! Your names came up too!” Mina said.

Fuck, even them! How could Bakugou be losing to a frog and a helium balloon? The rest of the class fawned over the interns but Bakugou simmered at his desk, clutching it in a death-grip. Calm. He had to remain fucking calm!

Shit.

He couldn’t do this. His relationship with Deku was a series of aheads and behinds, constantly in flux. Pride, anger, respect… So many conflicting emotions shackled them together, but their friendship was built that way. It was built to survive. Kirishima, however? Kirishima was joy, love and peace. He was the happiest Bakugou had ever been, but never did Bakugou imagine he’d have to compete with him. Selfish. Unfair. Gods, Bakugou knew it was so wrong. He couldn’t help feeling this way, though, and it drove him insane. Guilt wrenched his soul, voices yelling in his head. You’re shit. You don’t deserve him.

He’s so much better than you.

“Bakugou?”

Speak of the devil.

“Hey,” he said.

Kirishima frowned. “You okay?”

“I’m fine.” Bakugou pouted.

Kirishima hesitated. “Is it about your provisional license?”

Bakugou changed the subject. “How are your parents?”

Kirishima flinched slightly. “I… They’re fine.”

“Huh.”

For the first time in a while, silence hung between them.

“Did you tell them about me?” Bakugou asked.

Kirishima looked down. “No, I didn’t.”

Ask him what’s wrong. Do the right thing. The words wouldn’t come out, though.

“I’m planning on visiting my sister this weekend,” Kirishima said.

“Oh.”

“Do you…” Kirishima scratched the back of his head. “Would you like to come with me?”

Bakugou frowned. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah.” He nodded. “I’m sure.”

Bakugou smiled. “Alright, then.”

#

Damnit! Izuku was late to a study session. With Uraraka. Alone. He pulled on his uniform and tried desperately to get his head out the gutter. Do not think Kacchan thoughts! But thinking of Kacchan only brought to mind that dark bruise on his collarbone that had appeared several days ago, and great, now Izuku was thinking about whether he’d end up with any bruises on his collarbone. Come to think of it, could biting be a viable battle technique? For people like Kirishima and Koda, maybe, but Izuku still wasn’t sure how much of One-for-All he could channel into his jaws.

Lost in thought, Izuku almost didn’t notice he was going the wrong way. He checked his watch—five minutes. Damn. He was about to head back when he heard voices around the corner.

“Did you see all of them?” All Might said. He was speaking English and, to his surprise, Izuku found he could understand it. Present Mic’s lessons were paying off.

“I think so,” a voice replied. “Unless anyone was absent.”

“No one was,” All Might said. “That’s why Nedzu called you in today.”

A laugh. “I imagined that was the case.”

“We’ll need an aerial view of the school now,” said another, much deeper voice. Izuku recognised both of them, but he couldn’t quite place where from.

The speakers turned the corner.

“Oh!” All Might said. “Midoriya, my boy! I didn’t see you there.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. Two men accompanied All Might, the African and European that had saved Kirishima at the mall.

“Hello.” The European smiled, his eyes a milky white. “It’s nice to meet you again.” His gaze pointed right over Izuku’s head.

“Hello.” Izuku frowned.

“Midoriya, these are my friends from abroad,” All Might introduced. “Sego Anterior and Kugusa Noxolo.”

Kugusa nodded at him. His shaved head sharpened his features, as did his startlingly blue eyes. A white tattoo snaked across bare arms that rippled with muscles, dipping underneath a sleeveless jacket. Sego was a stick in comparison, his clothes hanging off him.

“Are you heroes?” Izuku asked. It would be so cool if they were! Genuine foreigners! They could tell him all about the hero societies in other countries!

“Maybe,” Sego said.

“He means of a kind,” Kugusa corrected.

Sego frowned. “I do?”

“You said maybe.”

“Oh. My bad.”

Heroes of a kind, huh? Did that mean yes?

“What are your quirks?” Izuku said. “I heard you talking about seeing stuff.”

Sego grinned. “I’m blind.”

Izuku blinked.

Kugusa laughed. “We’re partners,” he explained. “My quirk lets him see.”

Kugusa touched Izuku’s forehead and when Izuku blinked the scene changed completely. Wait, no. What? His head swam. He tried to blink but his eyes wouldn’t respond and he blinked a second later. He—He was looking at himself. Green hair, a face plastered with freckles… It was as if Izuku had switched positions with Kugusa. He certainly felt a lot taller.

“I can share my senses through physical contact,” Kugusa said.

“That’s so cool!” Oh boy, was it strange watching his own mouth move as he spoke. And gods, did he really sound like that? Ew.

Kugusa let go and Izuku fell back into his own body. He took a couple of breaths to steady himself.

“What’s your quirk, then?” he asked, turning to Sego.

Sego’s eyes narrowed. “Let’s hope you never find out.”

Chapter Text

At first, Bakugou thought Kirishima had led him into a mall by mistake. Two supermarkets, several bookshops, a café and a restaurant stretched out either side of him, all scattered with humans in varying degrees of health. Then Bakugou spotted a pharmacy and the hospital reception and realised even sick people had to eat.

“Come on,” Kirishima said. “The haematology department’s this way.”

“The what department?”

“Blood,” Kirishima replied. “Akane’s quirk clots it.”

Huh. “So she hardens on the inside?”

Kirishima laughed. “Pretty much.”

To Bakugou’s amazement, Kirishima navigated the maze of featureless corridors effortlessly. How often had he been here before? The hospital was at least as large as U.A., a sprawling complex of clinics and wards. Who knew so much could go wrong with the human body?

Kirishima wrung his hands as they walked, his fingertips hardened.

“Don’t you get on with your sister?” Bakugou asked.

“No, I do.” Kirishima shook his head. “We get on really well, actually. I just…”

Bakugou reached out and squeezed Kirishima’s hand. “You just what?”

Kirishima sighed. “Akane’s an overachiever, and I’m not. My parents like to bring it up.”

Well shit. Kirishima’s insecurity wasn’t just him being an idiot.

Bakugou gritted his teeth. “Fuck what your parents think.”

“I don’t think they realise they’re doing it, though. They only want what’s best for me.” Kirishima rubbed his thumb. “It’s just… difficult, always being compared.”

I know.

What should Bakugou say? What could he say?

“Eijirou.”

Kirishima stopped in surprise.

“You’re fucking amazing just the way you are,” Bakugou said. “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Okay, that line sounded better in his head. Shit. What else was he supposed to say? ‘You’re the strongest person I know.’ ‘I love you.’ ‘You’re so much better than me.’

Kirishima blinked, checked to make sure no one was looking then planted a quick kiss on Bakugou’s lips. He grinned.

“Thanks, Katsuki!”

Bakugou’s blood rushed at the sound of his given name on Kirishima’s lips. Fuck it. He had a new kink.

“Are we calling each other by our first names, now?” he teased.

“I guess?” Kirishima raised his eyebrow. “You called me by mine first.”

Oh yeah. “Eijirou.”

“Stop.” Kirishima giggled, nudging him. “You’re making me blush, then Akane will know something’s up.”

Just like that, the giddiness in Bakugou’s stomach fled.

“You’re not going to tell her about us?”

“I…” Kirishima’s gaze fell. “I don’t know. I want to, but…”

Fuck, why was Bakugou so worked up about this? Families were different. He had no right to push Kirishima, but Bakugou wanted to be acknowledged. He wanted to be good enough for Kirishima to introduce him as his boyfriend.

“If—If you ever need to talk, I’ll listen.” Bakugou clenched his fist. “I said it before. You can tell me anything.”

Kirishima swallowed. “Yeah.”

They entered the haematology department and Kirishima let go of Bakugou’s hand. Several people sat in the waiting room.

“Hold on, isn’t your sister working?” Bakugou asked.

Kirishima shook his head. “She should be on lunchbreak now. I did text her, but she never answers.”

“Excuse me!” a woman trilled. Bakugou stepped back and she rushed past them, carrying a box of papers. He caught a flash of black hair.

“Akane!” Kirishima called.

“Eijirou?” Akane looked over her shoulder and her eyes widened. “Oh yeah! Your text!” She readjusted her grip on the box. “I’m running late, sorry, but I’ll be with you in fifteen minutes! Promise!”

Kirishima nodded. “See you soon.”

“See you!”

Akane disappeared into a consulting room and the two of them sat down.

Kirishima checked his watch, grimacing. “Yeah, we’ll be here a while.”

#

Akane’s ‘fifteen minutes’ turned out to be forty-five. Kirishima didn’t expect anything less. She sighed as they sat down to eat and took off her glasses.

“Man, I’m beat!” she said. “It’s crazy in there, honestly.”

“I’m guessing that’s why you didn’t reply to me,” Kirishima said.

“Yeah…” Akane smiled apologetically. “Sorry, Ei. You know I don’t do it on purpose.”

“I know.” He really didn’t envy her work schedule.

Akane downed a cup of coffee. “So,” she started. “Who’s this?”

Nerves crawled up Kirishima’s spine. Before he could figure out how to introduce him, his boyfriend beat him to it.

“Bakugou Katsuki,” Bakugou introduced. They shook hands.

Kirishima breathed a sigh of relief but immediately regretted it. Shit. This wasn’t fair on Bakugou. He knew it annoyed Bakugou, even if the blond wouldn’t say anything.

“Ah, the crazy kid.” Akane nodded. “It figures my brother would have a man-crush on you.”

Kirishima laughed nervously. He hadn’t come out to Akane yet, but he sometimes wondered how much she knew.

Bakugou smirked. “A man-crush?”

“Yeah, like his one on Crimson Riot,” Akane said. “There are only so many posters one can have before it becomes questionable.”

“Stop,” Kirishima whined. Twelve posters wasn’t that many, even if he didn’t have enough wall space in his room and so had to overlap them.

Akane laughed. “I saw you at the sports festival, though, Ei. You were so manly!”

“Stop…” Kirishima rubbed his nose to hide his grin.

‘You should choose your friends wisely.’

His grin dropped.

Akane bit her lip. “Are Mum and Dad still nagging you?”

“Obviously.”

Bakugou scowled.

“Ignore them.” Akane shook her head. “I’ve tried talking to them before, but they just don’t understand they’re doing it.”

Kirishima locked his jaw.

“How’s school, anyway?”

He shrugged. “Bakugou’s helping me study.”

Akane winced. “You have my sympathy.” She placed a hand on Bakugou’s shoulder.

Bakugou snorted. “He’s an idiot, isn’t he?”

“Katsuki!”

“Eijirou.”

Akane raised her eyebrow.

Kirishima coughed. “How’s life, anyway?”

“Eh.” Akane made a noncommittal gesture. “It has its ups and downs.” She sighed. “I’m still single.”

Bakugou glanced at Kirishima.

“Uh…” His face flushed. “While we’re on that topic, um…” Just say it! How hard could it be?

“You two are dating,” Akane said.

Kirishima jumped in his seat. “How did you know?”

“Ei, I’m your sister,” she deadpanned.

He scratched the back of his head. “But I never told you I was gay.”

“It’s not hard to guess. You’re always going on about manly this, manly that…” Akane smiled. “I’m happy for you.”

Kirishima exhaled, his whole body relaxing. “Thanks.” He leaned into Bakugou’s side and Bakugou’s hand found his again, a comforting warmth.

Akane pouted. “It’s not fair, though. My little brother got a boyfriend before I did!”

#

“See?” Bakugou said. “That wasn’t a disaster.”

“Well, no.” Kirishima cocked his head. “I suppose it wasn’t.”

As they left the hospital, Bakugou caught sight of someone. “The fuck is he doing here?”

“Who?” Kirishima frowned.

Bakugou gestured. “Oi Todoroki!” he called.

“Oh, hello.” Todoroki stopped to let them catch up. “I didn’t know you were here. Are you finally seeing someone about your anger?”

Bakugou’s eyebrow twitched. “Are you finally seeing someone about your bitchface?”

“I visit my mother every Sunday,” Todoroki replied.

“Oh.” Bakugou had to stop himself from asking ‘the same one that poured boiling water on you?’

“What were you doing here?”

“My sister’s a doctor,” Kirishima explained.

“Ah.”

They continued on the same way together and Bakugou cursed Todoroki for intruding, even though he wasn’t really. They got on the train.

“Kirishima,” Todoroki said. “You’re friendly, right?”

Kirishima frowned. “I guess?”

Bakugou glared at Todoroki. This had better not go where he thought it was going.

“Why does Yoarashi keep trying to make friends with me?”

Yep, fuck. There it was.

“The guy from Shiketsu?” Kirishima asked. “He seems very… passionate.”

Todoroki nodded. “He is. It’s annoying.”

“Why don’t you want to be friends with him?” Kirishima said.

“I…” Todoroki paused. “I don’t really know. I guess I don’t understand why he wants to be friends after he said he hated me.”

“Oh my god,” Bakugou cried. “He has a crush on you. It’s so obvious!”

Todoroki blinked. “In a romantic way?”

Bakugou raised his eyebrow. “What other type of crush is there?”

Todoroki clapped his hands together.

“I’m not sure whether that’s supposed to be violent or sexual,” Kirishima said.

“Or both.” Bakugou smirked.

“Are you sure he likes me?” Todoroki’s brow creased, a whale of an expression for his blank face.

Bakugou snorted. “No one puts up with someone as rude as you unless they want to fuck.”

A pause. “Huh.”

Bakugou was surprised Todoroki didn’t burst into flames with the blush on his face.

“Do you want him to like you?” Kirishima asked.

“I don’t think so, but…” Todoroki hesitated. “Being raised the way I did, I never considered the possibility of being in a relationship. I didn’t even know I liked guys until the dorms.”

“What?” Bakugou blinked. Not that he hadn’t been checking out Kirishima in the communal baths since they moved in, but still.

Kirishima coughed.

“I just don’t know what to do,” Todoroki said.

“Have you tried talking to him?” Kirishima suggested.

“No.”

“Maybe start there?”

Todoroki pondered this for a couple of moments. “Maybe.”

Chapter Text

They sat in silence, the ticking clock the only sign time still dragged on.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Uraraka said.

Izuku didn’t. He could still feel a little girl’s warmth in his arms, so close. He could have saved her. If only he’d done something, Eri could be free by now. Instead, she was Chisaki’s prisoner, terrified and utterly alone. Izuku could picture her so vividly, shivering in the dark, being killed over and over again… He felt sick. Oh god. He should have saved her—

“Deku.” Uraraka placed her hand on his. “It’s okay. We’ll rescue her. Sir Nighteye’s plan will work.”

“But…” His swallowed. “If only I’d acted sooner, we wouldn’t have to risk our lives.”

“If you’d acted, you’d be dead right now,” Uraraka said. “It’s not your fault.”

He leaned into her. “I know. I just… All Might would have saved her.”

“All Might has had years more training and experience than you have,” Uraraka said.

She ran a hand through his hair and he hummed. Izuku could get used to this feeling. But…

“What if something goes wrong?”

Uraraka shook her head. “Don’t think like that, Deku.” She bit her lip. “We’ve got a team of pros with us. It’ll be fine.”

“You’re right. I guess I’m just being silly.”

“You are.” She smiled. “You’re a good hero, Deku.”

Thank you.

He grinned. “There’s no one I’d rather have by my side than Uravity.”

Uraraka laughed. She sure did smell nice.

And with that thought, Izuku suddenly realised how close they were. His head rested against her shoulder and her arm wrapped around his back. Uraraka’s chest was right there and oh my god Izuku, no, that’s not appropriate! Wait, did you honestly say ‘there’s no one I’d rather have by my side’? DO YOU REALISE WHAT THAT SOUNDS LIKE!?

“You’re muttering,” Uraraka said.

Izuku jumped. “Sorry.”

#

Bakugou slapped the textbook down on the table. “Right. Let’s get this shit over with.”

Kirishima pouted. “Do we have to?”

“If you don’t want Ectoplasm to fail you, then yes.” Bakugou flicked his forehead. “Get to work.”

“You’re so mean, Katsuki!” Kirishima grumbled. He got out a mechanical pencil but pressed the wrong end and yelped.

Bakugou snickered.

Kirishima scowled. “It’s not funny.”

“It’s fucking hilarious.”

Kirishima gulped as a single drop of blood welled from his thumb. He wiped it away. Bakugou watched as Kirishima stared at the textbook, his eyes far away. Fuck.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. “Is calculus too hard for you?”

“I—No.” Kirishima shook his head. “I mean, yes, but that’s not it.”

A pause. “Did something happen with your internship?”

Bakugou wasn’t stupid. He’d noticed Kirishima, Deku, Uraraka and Asui leave at the same time, and saw their expressions when they’d returned.

“You can tell me,” Bakugou said.

‘If you were good enough, he wouldn’t have to,’ the voice in his head piped up. ‘You’d be out there with him.’

Bakugou gritted his teeth.

“It’s nothing,” Kirishima replied.

“Eijirou.” Please talk to me.

Kirishima avoided his gaze. “I can’t tell you.”

The words struck a blow to Bakugou’s core. “Why the fuck not?”

“I’m not allowed to.” Kirishima sighed. “It’s police stuff.”

Deku and Uraraka could talk about it. They could share their problems.

Bakugou said nothing, not daring himself to speak. Jealousy and concern coiled in his gut, a two-headed snake. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t Kirishima’s fault, but if he really wanted to, Kirishima could tell him. Or did Kirishima not trust Bakugou?

“You’re annoyed,” Kirishima said.

“No I’m fucking not,” Bakugou growled.

“Don’t be like that.” Kirishima laced their fingers. “You know I’d tell you if I could.”

“You can.” He swallowed. “It won’t leave this room.”

“I…”

Bakugou pulled his hand away. “Fuck it. Just do the maths.”

Kirishima scratched some numbers with his pencil dejectedly, all of them completely wrong. He hesitated.

“Katsuki, I—”

“No, I get it,” Bakugou cut off. “I’m not good enough.”

Kirishima’s fingers curled. “Not everything’s about you, you know.”

I know. “I didn’t say it was.”

“Then why can’t you understand why I can’t tell you?” Kirishima cried.

“Why can’t you understand I just want to help?” Bakugou spat. “It’s the only thing I can do, stuck here while you’re all out there!”

Kirishima snorted. “Are you sure you’re not just pissed I have an internship and you don’t?”

Bakugou froze for a moment, afraid of the answer.

“Well?” Kirishima demanded.

Heat rushed through Bakugou’s veins. “So what if I am!?”

Bakugou was human, too! Wasn’t he allowed to have his fucking flaws!? Goddamnit, he couldn’t do this anymore!

“I’m your boyfriend, Katsuki!” Kirishima yelled. He leapt to his feet. “You should support me!”

“I know!” Bakugou shouted, choking on his words. “I’ve tried so fucking hard, but I can’t stop being jealous!”

No, stop it! This is wrong. Kirishima shouldn’t be yelling. Bakugou shouldn’t be making him yell.

His heart twisted. Useless. Pathetic.

Kirishima blinked back tears. “I can’t deal with this right now. You—You just…”

Fix this. Make it right.

Instead, Bakugou sneered. “Then don’t.”

Kirishima’s nostrils flared. “Fine!”

He slammed the door as he left and the sound echoed through the room. Empty.

Bakugou cried.

Chapter Text

“So what was wrong with Bakugou this morning?” Yoarashi asked.

“Shouji said he fought with Kirishima,” Todoroki said. The news spread quickly but, surprisingly, Ashido shut down any gossip.

Yoarashi shuffled against the cave wall. “Surely they’ve fought before?”

“I don’t think so.”

“But it’s Bakugou,” Yoarashi said.

Todoroki shrugged. “Love’s weird.”

Yoarashi chuckled. “Yeah.”

A blizzard howled outside the cave, freezing wind snatching their warmth. A small fire’s light danced erratically, but Todoroki didn’t mind. His quirk kept him warm; the fire was for Yoarashi.

Yoarashi huddled closer to the fire, tucking his hands under his arms.

“It sure is cold,” he said, his breath crystallising.

“Mm.”

When Gang Orca announced a ‘survival exercise’, Todoroki didn’t expect to be stuck in a frozen wasteland with Yoarashi Inasa, of all people. The class’ goal was to capture a flag, but they’d all been separated and ten minutes in, the blizzard struck.

“How do you reckon they did all of this?” Yoarashi said. “It’s not winter yet.”

“Probably someone’s quirk,” Todoroki replied.

“You mean like yours?”

Todoroki shook his head. “I’m not this strong.” His mother could have done it, though, on a smaller scale. Todoroki’s stomach twisted at the thought of her. He watched as the fire dimmed, the wood they’d scavenged almost used up.

Yoarashi shivered. “How long do we have to stay here?”

“At least until the blizzard passes,” Todoroki said.

A single flame remained, spluttering.

“How long will that be?”

“I don’t know.”

The flame went out.

Yoarashi laughed nervously and fingered his cloak. “Do you reckon this will burn?”

Todoroki frowned. “Don’t hero costumes have to be fireproof?”

“Oh yeah.” Yoarashi pulled his cloak tightly around himself.

Todoroki could still see him shivering. He sighed.

“Let me in,” he said.

Yoarashi started. “What?”

“I can warm you up with my left side.”

Yoarashi turned red. “Are you sure?”

Todoroki shrugged. “I’m pretty sure we fail this exercise if one of us dies.”

“A little cold never hurt anyone!” Yoarashi laughed through his chattering teeth.

“If you don’t want me to help, that’s fine.”

“No, I…” Yoarashi opened his arms. “If you don’t mind, then I’m good.”

“Why would I mind?”

Todoroki sat against Yoarashi and leaned back. His head only came up to Yoarashi’s chest. Huh.

Yoarashi leaned into him, humming. “You’re hot.”

Todoroki was suddenly aware of all the places their bodies touched. Maybe that’s why he should have minded.

“Temperature-wise or as in sexy?” he asked.

“The first one!” Yoarashi yelped. “I meant no indecency!”

Todoroki glanced at him. “Bakugou said you have a crush on me.”

Yoarashi’s face was the same colour as one half of Todoroki’s hair. “Bakugou also told Camie the more he swears the more powerful his explosions are.”

“Oh.” Todoroki should have known better than to trust Bakugou.

“But, I mean…” Yoarashi hesitated. “If you want me to have a crush on you, then… Maybe—I guess I might… Um…”

“Is that a yes?” Todoroki’s heart beat slightly quicker.

“Uh…”

I’ll take that as a yes. “No one’s had a crush on me before.”

“I never said I had a crush.”

Todoroki raised his eyebrow.

Yoarashi stammered. “I d-didn’t.”

“You’re an awful liar,” Todoroki said. He appreciated that.

Yoarashi frowned. “And you’re an awful truther.”

Todoroki turned to look at him. “What does that mean?”

Yoarashi swallowed. “I don’t know. I just said it automatically.”

“You do that a lot.”

“Are you insulting me?” Yoarashi locked his jaw.

“Yes,” Todoroki deadpanned.

Their faces were close. Yoarashi’s breath tickled Todoroki’s lips.

“The blizzard’s thinning,” Yoarashi said.

“It is.” Todoroki could feel Yoarashi’s warmth through his quirk…

Someone screamed.

Todoroki leapt to his feet. “That was close.”

Yoarashi clenched his fist. “That was Camie!”

#

Bakugou ploughed through snow, too numb to feel the cold. They were caught on the edge of a dying storm, his skin stung raw by the wind. Kirishima had left for his internship without a word, without a chance to make things right. How could Bakugou let this happen?

“Yo! Wait up!” Camie called.

Bakugou ignored her. He couldn’t deal with extroverts right now.

“Bakubro!” Camie said. “Lord Explosion Murder! Dude!”

How the fuck did she even know his hero name?

“Wait for me, would you?”

Bakugou froze. Kirishima smiled at him, his red hair stark against the snow. I love you. Bakugou’s heart clenched. I’m so sorry. He reached out, but Kirishima disappeared in a flurry of light. An illusion.

Camie placed a hand on his shoulder as she doubled over, panting.

“Holy shit, bro. You walk fast.”

Bakugou shook her off him. “Don’t touch me.” How dare she use Kirishima to make him stop!

Camie snorted. “Just because you’re being a bitch doesn’t mean I’ll let you treat me like one,” she said. “You fought, so what? Deal with it, lover boy.”

“Fuck off,” he snarled.

“See, that’s why you’re in this situation in the first place.” Camie folded her arms.

Bakugou turned his back on her. “You don’t know anything!”

“Then spill.”

Bakugou hesitated. “I just…” Should he tell her? Who knew, maybe Camie had some secret extrovert wisdom to share. “Maybe I’m not cut out to be a boyfriend.”

Camie’s gaze softened. “Why not?”

“I always say the wrong thing,” Bakugou said. “I try to be supportive, but I can’t stop being jealous, and I only make things worse.”

“You don’t have to be perfect, bro,” Camie said. “Where’s the fun in that?”

“But…”

“Did you tell Kirishima any of this?”

“Why do you think we fought?” Bakugou said.

Camie eyed him. “Because you held everything in too long, like,” she said. “A relationship goes both ways, you know.”

“I know that,” he grumbled.

Okay, so perhaps Bakugou had ‘held everything in’, but Kirishima had, too. Fuck, if only Kirishima talked to him!

Oh. Oh.

That’s what Camie meant. How could Bakugou expect Kirishima to confide in him if Bakugou didn’t do the same?

“Thanks,” he said.

Camie grinned. “No probs.”

The blizzard had cleared, giving way to the horizon. Rocks scattered the snow, and in the distance something grey loomed.

“What’s that up ahead?” Camie asked.

Bakugou squinted. “I think it’s a city of some kind.”

Winds howled through metal skeletons, an urban wasteland devastated by ice. A single skyscraper punctured the wreckage, and on top of it flapped a red flag. Finally.

Bakugou gritted his teeth. “Let’s go.”

Camie grinned. “Yeah, let’s—”

The snow gave way beneath her and she shrieked.

#

Todoroki arrived with flames at the ready, only to find Bakugou yelling down a hole. Yoarashi skid to a halt next to him.

“For fuck’s sake, there is a handhold right next to your hand!” Bakugou shouted.

“It’s literally ice!” Camie shouted back. “It’s freezing!”

Bakugou growled in frustration.

“What happened?” Todoroki asked.

Bakugou simply pointed. Treading carefully, Todoroki peered over to find Camie at the bottom of a ten foot crevice. She seemed unharmed.

“Todoroki?” Camie said. “Is that you?”

“Yeah.”

Camie perched halfway up the wall, shivering. “Is your boyfriend with you?” she asked.

Todoroki glanced at Yoarashi.

“I’m not his boyfriend,” Yoarashi said.

Todoroki frowned.

Yoarashi frowned back.

Bakugou glared at them.

“Just fly me out of here!” Camie called.

“Oh, yeah.” Yoarashi lifted her out with his quirk, confused. “What were you doing down there?”

“Taking a selfie,” she deadpanned. “Where were you two?”

“In a cave,” Todoroki said.

Camie raised her eyebrow.

“There was a blizzard,” Yoarashi explained.

“Whatever you say,” Bakugou said.

Todoroki nodded. “It’s a good thing this is a cooperative exercise, or you two would have lost already.”

Bakugou’s palms crackled. “The fuck did you just say?”

#

Wind howled through abandoned streets. Icicles dripped from iron girders and Bakugou crunched ice underfoot, stopping himself from slipping through sheer irritation. Damnit! He had to wait until Kirishima returned to make up with him, and fuck knows how late that’d be. Bakugou clenched his fists.

Todoroki cocked his head. “Did you hear that?”

“The wind?” Bakugou said.

“Wind doesn’t sound like that,” Yoarashi said.

They stopped to listen. A guttural moan cut the air, followed by muted explosions and teenagers shouting. Shit.

“You’re right. That’s not the wind,” Todoroki said.

Bakugou took off before the others could say a word, his blood racing. At last! His chance to punch someone! He raised his palms, nitro-glycerine burning…

A boy flew past him, cracking into the ground.

“Kai!” Camie yelled.

Kai scrambled to his feet. “Look out!”

The ground shook. A gust of cold air burned against Bakugou’s nape. Bakugou turned.

“What the fuck—”

Todoroki slammed a wall of ice into the creature just as it smashed its claw down, freezing it. It vaguely resembled a transparent Godzilla, and Bakugou could see his wide eyes reflected in its skin.

“They’re made of ice,” Kai said. “We’re trying to reach the flag but they just keep on coming!”

Bakugou cracked his knuckles. “Ice, eh?”

Monsters of every shape and size prowled the streets, circling the skyscraper. The students were locked in combat, stuck in a stalemate.

“It’s like Pixie-Bob’s quirk,” Todoroki said.

“Then we just need to crush the quirk-user,” Bakugou said.

Kai shook his head. “We have no idea where they are.”

The guy with three legs tried to climb the skyscraper to the flag, but an ice beast dragged him back down.

Todoroki summoned his flames. “They need help.”

“We need a plan first,” Kai interrupted. “If we get the flag I bet all of this stops.”

“Not if it was a real situation,” Bakugou said. “We need to find a way of getting the flag and defeating the monsters.”

Camie bit her lip. “Bakugou. You can fly, right?”

Bakugou frowned. “Yeah?”

“Todoroki, can you, like, control your fire so you burn monsters but not us?”

“If I concentrate,” Todoroki said.

Camie smirked. “Then leave this to me.”

#

All four of them held onto Kai, Yoarashi squashing all of them together.

“Oi Wind Gorilla, move your elbow,” Bakugou hissed.

Yoarashi shuffled. “Sorry.”

“Shh,” Kai said.

“Sorry.”

Kai closed his violet eyes and breathed in. The world around Bakugou dulled, but he had no time to complain. Before he knew what was happening, spacetime shifted and Kai’s quirk hurled the five of them straight into the middle of the battle. Nausea washed over him and Bakugou had to take a moment to reorient his senses. When he did, a giant rhino met him face-to-face.

“Todoroki!” he yelled.

“Yes,” Todoroki said.

Bakugou forced himself not to flinch as fire engulfed them. The ice beasts screeched under the assault (as did some of the students), but they weren’t done.

“Bakugou, Yoarashi!” Camie cried. “On three!”

“Three!” both Bakugou and Yoarashi shouted.

A gust of scorching wind flattened the beasts and three Bakugous burst through the air. He rode a tailwind with illusions by his side, explosions booming. Air rushed past him, exhilarating. Bakugou was above the others, above it all, a god soaring towards the heavens. The flag waved to him, his victory.

Something shrieked and a clone fell to an icy tentacle, the blow knocking him through the remaining clone. He smacked against the side of the skyscraper and pain jolted through his bones. Fuck!

“I’m on it!” Yoarashi roared. A gust of wind knocked the tentacle back and Bakugou pushed off again, readjusting his trajectory. Down below students felled monster after monster, the ice weakened by Todoroki and Yoarashi’s assault.

So close!

Fire burned and wind raged, but Bakugou didn’t stop. Explosions carried him higher, higher. He reached out with a shout, fingers splayed…

Bakugou grabbed the flag.

#

“That was amazing!” Yoarashi grinned.

Todoroki scrolled on his phone, already changed. Bakugou scrubbed cream into his raw skin, hissing. Honestly, fuck the cold!

“I can’t believe Camie’s plan actually worked,” Kai said. He scratched his head. “She’s something else.”

“Don’t go there,” Bakugou said.

Kai blushed. “What do you mean?”

“You know exactly what I mean,” he said. “You’re like a—”

“Bakugou,” Todoroki interrupted.

“What?” Bakugou turned to glare at him but froze when he saw the expression on Todoroki’s face.

Todoroki held out his phone. “The news.”

Chapter Text

The room smelled of hospital, a sickly sweet mix of illness and antiseptic. A cardiograph beeped to Sego’s left and curtains rustled in the breeze from an open window, but the door shut out all other sounds. He could hear one person’s breath; there were three people in the room.

“How bad is it?” Sego asked.

“Very,” Kugusa said. “He’s barely holding on.”

Sego clenched his fist. For a teenager to go through something like this… It was horrifying, even for a hero-in-training. It made him sick to his core to think there were people like Rappa Kendo out there, not only willing to beat up a child, but eager.

Sego held out his hand. “I’m ready.”

Kugusa took it and light burst into his vision, shades and colours blurring into focus. He blinked a couple of times. Kirishima Eijiro lay unconscious, wrapped in bandages and strung up by tubes. Sweat and gel matted his hair, black roots showing, and his face was deathly pale.

Sego’s stomach turned: it was worse than he’d imagined. Thank god he’d seen Kirishima both at the mall and in class.

Sego touched Kirishima’s forehead and his quirk flowed through him, his eyes glowing white. Kirishima regained his colour in a matter of seconds, his bruises disappearing. Bones creaked as they knitted themselves back together, and the cardiograph steadied.

Sego took his hand away.

“I can’t do anything for the others,” he said. Guilt coiled in his stomach. “If only we’d thought ahead…”

“Stop it, Sego,” Kugusa hushed. He squeezed his hand. “You know you can’t see everything.”

He swallowed. “Yeah.”

Kugusa let go and the darkness returned. Sego reached out until he found the bed rail and grabbed onto it, steadying himself. Sometimes he suspected his blindness was a punishment for having too powerful a quirk, some cosmic balancing factor.

“That girl’s quirk is similar to your own,” Kugusa said.

“Similar, but not the same.”

He heard Kugusa fold his arms. “Do you think Lustra knows?”

“Almost definitely,” Sego said. “We’ll find her, though, before she can do anything else.”

#

Kirishima blinked and light flooded his vision, a whitewashed ceiling all he could see. Oh god! Where was he? Rappa, Fat Gum, Amajiki! His entire body ached, his head pounding. Shit. What… What happened?

Where was Bakugou?

He clenched his hands and felt soft linen underneath one palm. Someone held his other.

“Eijiro?” Mum cried. “Eijiro!” She hugged him, sobbing. “Oh my god, Ei! I’m so glad you’re alright!”

He breathed in her scent, his nerves calming. Dad and Akane stood by his side, faces anxious; that meant he was in hospital again. He was safe.

“You scared the life out of us,” Dad said.

Akane nodded in agreement.

Kirishima let out a shaking breath. “What happened to the others?” His voice came out hoarse. “Is everyone safe?”

Was Amajiki alright? Midoriya, Uraraka and Tsuyu, too?

Had they rescued Eri?

“Your classmates are fine,” Dad said. “Eraser Head’s speaking with them now.”

Kirishima sighed in relief. “Thank god.” He sat up, his muscles protesting every movement. Kirishima winced. He desperately wanted to know about Eri, but that was classified information. His family didn’t have the clearance.

“I knew this would happen.” Mum shook her head. “It’s too dangerous. Look at you, my baby boy…”

“I’ve been in hospital before,” Kirishima said. He knew it was little consolation.

“But not from a villain attack,” Mum replied. “You’re my only son, Eijiro. I can’t…”

Dad placed a hand on her shoulder and Mum leaned into him.

Akane rolled her eyes. “Next time you’re on the news, try and aim for something that’s not life-threatening, alright?”

He grinned. “Will do.”

Kirishima’s smile fell. Ghosts of pain still battered his body, a crow’s beak the face of his new nightmares. His chest tightened. He could have died, and the last time he’d have seen Bakugou would have been a fight.

“Did anyone come while I was unconscious?” Kirishima asked.

“Your teacher, Eraser Head, did,” Mum said.

“No, I mean… Any of my friends?”

Akane bit her lip. “Not yet.”

Kirishima didn’t know how to feel. He wasn’t angry at Bakugou, not anymore. (Near-death experiences put a lot into perspective.) He just… didn’t know what he wanted to say. Bakugou had problems, but Kirishima had them too. Kirishima was more than willing to talk, but he knew Bakugou struggled with opening up. Their communication skills needed serious work, but none of that mattered right now. God, Kirishima just needed to see his boyfriend’s face.

“Mina called,” Mum said. “She and some of your classmates wanted to come, but I told them to give you space.”

Gee, thanks. Had one of those classmates been Bakugou? Did Bakugou even know about the situation?

“She seemed very worried about you,” Dad commented. “She’s a lovely girl, isn’t she?”

Kirishima’s stomach twisted.

“Dad, stop it,” Akane said. “Ei’s told you before, Mina and him are just—”

The door slammed open. Bakugou panted, his face red and his eyes frantic.

“Excuse me, you can’t just walk in here!” Mum said. “My son—”

Akane held her back, silencing their parents with a look.

“Katsuki.” Kirishima swallowed, his heart racing.

“Eijiro!” Bakugou pushed past Kirishima’s parents. “Oh my god, you—the news—and I just…” He clenched his fists, smoke rising from between his fingers. “Fuck.”

Kirishima wanted to take Bakugou’s hands, but he was uncomfortably aware of his parents’ gazes. “It’s okay,” he said.

“No, it’s not,” Bakugou snapped. “I…” His jaw tensed and Bakugou’s eyes flicked to the other people in the room. “I was wrong.”

Kirishima’s family seemed to fade into the background. “What?”

“I don’t care about the license.” Bakugou exhaled. “I don’t care about the internship or anything else. I just care about you.”

Kirishima’s throat went dry. His parents looked like they wanted to speak but Kirishima ignored them. All he could think was ‘Bakugou cares about me’. He’d known, of course he had, but hearing Bakugou say it made his heart soar and the cardiograph beep up a storm.

“I know.” Kirishima took his hand. “You didn’t have to say anything.”

“I did.” Bakugou sniffed, angrily wiping unshed tears. “God, I’m so stupid.”

Mum coughed. Akane and Bakugou glared at her at the same time, and she fell silent. Bakugou sat on the bed, lowering his voice.

“I know I’m not great at speaking, but…” He paused. “There’s something I have to say, just in case I don’t get to say it again.”

Kirishima frowned. “Bakugou, I’m going to be fine.”

“No, that’s not what I mean!” he said. “Just shut up for a moment, would you?”

Something in his tone made Kirishima gulp.

“I…” Bakugou struggled to form the words, his throat bobbing. “I love you, Eijiro.”

Kirishima froze. He couldn’t look at his parents, couldn’t look at Akane. At that moment, they didn’t exist. Kirishima pulled Bakugou into as much of a hug as his bandaged arms allowed, burying his face in the crook of Bakugou’s neck. Even then, he couldn’t hide his blush.

“I love you too,” he whispered.

The words were a glorious weight off his chest. He filled his nose with Bakugou’s scent, with Bakugou’s skin. Love. He’d never have expected Bakugou to say it, but Kirishima was very glad Bakugou did.

Dad cleared his throat.

Shit. Kirishima said that aloud! Oh god. Oh fucking god!

“I swear if you say something stupid…” Akane warned.

“I just want to be on the same page as everybody else,” Dad defended.

Akane’s eyes narrowed.

“You two are… boyfriends?” Dad said.

Bakugou tensed in Kirishima’s arms. Sweat trickled down Kirishima’s back.

“We are,” Kirishima said. He could feel his world collapsing.

Dad blinked. “Right.”

Bakugou stood, and Kirishima clenched his eyes shut. Please don’t say anything Bakugou.

“Hi,” Bakugou growled.

Oh thank god.

“Hi.” Dad waved awkwardly.

Mum pursed her lips. “Akane, you knew?”

“I did,” she said. His sister was using her doctor-voice, and Kirishima was glad of the solidarity.

Mum ran a hand through her hair. “Why didn’t you tell us, Eijiro?”

“Because…” Should he tell the truth? There was no point in lying. “I didn’t know how you’d react.”

Dad snorted. “Give us some credit, kid.”

Mum breathed in. “We’ve known you were gay since you were eleven.”

Wait, what!? They knew? THEY KNEW!?

Bakugou frowned. “What happened when he was eleven?”

“He discovered Crimson Riot,” Dad said.

Bakugou smirked. “Of course.”

Was it really that obvious? Not even Kirishima himself knew he liked guys back then!

Kirishima’s face heated. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“To be honest, we hoped it was just a phase,” Dad said.

“Dad!” Akane cried, her nostrils flared.

“Don’t misunderstand, Akane, we’re not disgusted,” he said quickly. “We just…”

“We know what people will say,” Mum cut in, “and we don’t want them saying those things about our son.”

Kirishima swallowed. “Mum…”

“It’s okay, Mrs Kirishima.” Bakugou grinned. “If anyone talks shit about Eijiro I’ll beat them to a pulp!”

#

A woman waited for him outside his flat, standing in the doorway. If her gaudy clothes hadn’t marked her as foreign, the dark tan of her skin definitely did. Her hair was a mess of curls and her eyes glittered like golden stars, burning with such intensity he had to look away.

“Hikaru Daichi,” she said. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

He took a step backwards, hugging the bag with his possessions to his chest. Streetlamps flickered and police sirens wailed in the distance, but no one else was around.

“I don’t want no trouble,” he said.

“Neither do I,” she replied. “I’m not here to disturb your parole.”

Daichi’s eyes narrowed. “What do you want?”

“Two weeks ago, you attempted to rob a jeweller’s in the mall,” the woman said. “You were caught.”

Sweat trickled down his back. “I didn’t take nothing!” The police gave back everything he stole. She couldn’t be here for revenge!

The woman straightened. “Show me your quirk.”

Daichi faltered. “What?”

“Your quirk,” the woman repeated. “There’s no one around.”

“Why do you want to see it?”

She shrugged. “Indulge me.”

Hesitantly, Daichi summoned his avatar. Violet light ran through his blood and burst through his skin, growing until it towered over them.

The woman laughed. “Amazing! It’s made of light, isn’t it?”

Daichi nodded. “Yeah.”

She smiled. “Watch this.”

Her eyes flashed and golden light rushed through her body, twisting in the air until an exact replica of his avatar stood before him. Daichi gaped.

“I can control light,” she explained. “Can you pick up that car?”

He glanced around: no one was watching.

“Sure.” Daichi mimed with his hands and the avatar copied him, lifting up the car.

The woman walked right up to it, her eyes wide. Her avatar, however, stayed where it was.

“That’s incredible,” she breathed. “Your quirk’s actually exerting force on it.”

He put the car down. “I guess? Look, lady, what is it you want?”

“I’m a scientist,” she explained. Her avatar bent to pick up the same car, but its hands passed straight through the metal. “I want to know why my quirk obeys the laws of physics, but yours doesn’t.”

Daichi didn’t know any physics. “Huh.”

“I could use your help, Daichi.” The woman extended her hand.

He eyed her. “What do you want me to do?”

“Nothing illegal,” she said. “I’m not a criminal, and I won’t tolerate anyone who breaks the law.”

Daichi hesitated. “You’ll pay me?”

She smiled. “Of course! I’d be employing you.”

His heart skipped a beat. “A proper job? With payslips and shit?”

“Yep.”

Daichi weighed his options. One the one hand, he could try and find a job on his own, a feat made difficult by his criminal record. On the other hand, this woman was offering a job here and now. Cons: he had absolutely no idea who she was or what the job entailed, only that it wasn’t illegal. Pros: money.

It didn’t take long for him to make up his mind.

Daichi shook her hand. “Deal.”

“Fantastic!” The woman grinned. “My name’s Lustra, by the way.”