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Kirishima likes to think that he knows his classmates pretty well.

He knows that Tsuyu has an aversion to cold weather. He knows that Jirou hums classical music to herself whenever she does homework. He knows that Kaminari is scared of lightning.

(Though he isn’t sure that last one counts because he has made it his personal mission in life to learn everything there is to know about Kaminari Denki, but he digresses.)

He knows little things about all of his classmates.

So, yeah. He likes to think that he knows them pretty well.

But sometimes, he looks at Bakugou and Midoriya and wonders if he even knows them at all. He wonders if anyone does.

Because sure, everyone may know of Bakugou’s affinity for all things spicy and of Midoriya’s reckless tendencies when it comes to protecting the people he loves. Those things are easy to pick up on. But the deeper things—the secrets written between moments and memories—those are kept hidden within a world that only Bakugou and Midoriya are a part of.

Kirishima sometimes worries about those deeper things. Because he may not know the why or the what or the where of it all, but he can see the tension stretched across Midoriya’s shoulder blades, the weariness carved into his cheekbones.

He wonders how he’s the only one that can see how Midoriya is constantly on the edge of a cliff that nobody else is aware of.

Except for Bakugou.

Bakugou sees it too. Kirishima knows that much. Because sometimes, when he thinks no one is watching, Bakugou stares at Midoriya—searches the spots of fatigue stretched across his forehead and the sharp edges lining his smile—and whatever he finds written between freckles and pale skin makes him frown.

That makes Kirishima frown too.

 


 

He first notices it on a Wednesday. He's almost late to class, but manages to slide through the door a few minutes before the bell rings.

Everyone is already in their seats and he follows suit, sitting down and slipping his bag under his chair. He glances around as he fist-bumps Kaminari and frowns when his gaze falls on Midoriya.

The green-haired boy is sitting at his desk, his chin resting on his palm as he fights to keep his eyes open. It’s clearly a losing battle, which isn’t at all surprising considering the shadows smudged under his eyes. Kirishima wonders when they first appeared. He wonders what else he’s missed about the smaller boy.

Aizawa slinks to the front of the room and starts to teach and Midoriya somehow finds the strength to stay awake until the bell goes off, something Kirishima is abundantly impressed by.

When class ends, he waves off Mina and Sero, telling them he’ll meet them in the cafeteria later. He watches Iida and Uraraka surround Midoriya and he thinks that they may ask the smaller boy if he’s okay, but the pair just continues to talk animatedly with wide gestures and bright grins.

Kirishima’s frown deepens because it’s so clear that Midoriya is exhausted, so why aren’t his friends asking him about it or telling him to go sleep?

The green-haired boy says something with a smile that is so obviously forced it sends a pang of sadness through Kirishima, but Iida and Uraraka just walk away, the brunette knocking shoulders with a waiting Tsuyu as they exit the room. Soon, it’s just Midoriya, Bakugou, and Kirishima left and the redhead makes himself busy with putting away his notebooks when he feels the blond’s red eyes fall on him momentarily.

Out of the corner of his vision, he sees Bakugou lean down and squeeze Midoriya’s shoulder and Kirishima is momentarily concerned that he’ll have to intervene in a fight, but there are no explosions.

“You can’t keep doing this, Deku.” Bakugou’s voice is low and Kirishima almost doesn’t hear it.

Almost.

Midoriya avoids the blond’s eyes and nods, just barely.

Bakugou frowns and his eyes flash, but there’s not a hint of anger present.

Kirishima stands up then and hooks his bag around his shoulder, slipping out of the classroom. He doesn’t understand, but he feels like he’s interrupting something private—something raw that he shouldn’t be witnessing.

He thinks he’s missed a lot.

 


 

It’s late and there’s an old movie playing on the television in the common room. The rest of the class is asleep, tucked into couches and chairs and scattered across the floor with moonlight illuminating their features through the window.

Uraraka and Tsuyu are curled up together in the large armchair with Iida and Yaoyorozu leaning against each other at their feet. Jirou is asleep on Mina’s lap and Tokoyami is in a corner with Shouji’s arms wrapped around his shoulders. Kaminari is snoring from his place sprawled across the carpet, though the sound is muffled against the pillow he’s hugging.

Kirishima somehow ends up with Midoriya resting against his chest, green hair tickling his chin. He tugs the smaller boy closer and shifts so he can lean more comfortably against him. Every time Midoriya breathes, he can feel warm air on his collarbone and it sends waves of relief through him. He’s just glad the boy is sleeping. He closes his eyes and leans his head back against the couch with a small smile.

For a while, the redhead thinks he’s the only one awake until he hears footsteps coming towards him. He considers opening his eyes to greet them, but decides to squint instead, keeping his eyes narrowed enough to appear asleep.

Bakugou is crouched in front of the couch, eyes surprisingly soft. The blond leans forward and brushes Midoriya’s loose curls back, dragging his thumb against his forehead gently.

“Nerd,” he whispers and his voice is fond and filled with affection.

Kirishima is surprised because he’s never seen his friend act so warm. Bakugou is usually all about fire and rage and violence, but he’s handling Midoriya as if he is something precious. The redhead has to resist the urge to smile because yeah, he agrees. Midoriya is something precious. That was never negotiable.

What apparently is negotiable is the fact that Bakugou hates Midoriya more than anyone.

When Bakugou pulls away, Midoriya whines slightly in his sleep and Kirishima doesn’t have to look to know that the blond is barely concealing a smile.

Bakugou waits until the green-haired boy settles back against Kirishima before standing up silently and disappearing down the hallway towards his room.

Kirishima thinks it says something that Bakugou is the only one who hasn’t missed the fact that Midoriya isn’t okay. He also thinks that maybe Bakugou doesn’t hate Midoriya at all.

 


 

A few days later, Kirishima frowns because the purple stains under Midoriya's eyes are darker than they used to be and his skin is pale enough to seem translucent when the light hits him directly.

And still, no one notices.

Except Bakugou, of course, who wears a tense expression for the duration of class and sits with heavy shoulders while the boy behind him shakes just barely enough to be noticed.

Kirishima doesn't know what to do. He doesn't know what will help because even if he notices that Midoriya is not okay, he doesn't know the why behind it and that terrifies him.

Midoriya is sunshine. He's a little ball of happiness wrapped between shining smiles and emerald eyes and it's so abundantly wrong to see this shadow that has taken the place of his friend without anyone else blinking at the replacement.

So, Kirishima watches and holds his breath because Bakugou notices too and if anyone can break through the glass walls surrounding Midoriya, it’s the explosive blond.

Still, the redhead can't resist wrapping the smaller boy in a hug when class ends. Midoriya stiffens for a second, then relaxes and wraps his arms around his friend's waist with a smile.

"Hey, Kiri," Midoriya says into his chest and Kirishima grins.

"Hi," he replies and squeezes him lightly, trying to ignore how thin Midoriya feels against him. "You looked particularly huggable today."

The green-haired boy laughs again and it's colorful and bright and Kirishima feels like crying.

He holds onto his friend for another long second and freezes when he meets crimson eyes over Midoriya's head.

Bakugou glances down at Midoriya and his face softens, then he meets Kirishima's gaze again and gives a single nod.

Kirishima can read between the lines.

Thank you, red eyes whisper silently.

He nods back and squeezes Midoriya a little bit tighter.

You're welcome.

 


 

Kirishima wakes up and groans at the darkness still surrounding him. He sighs and reluctantly crawls out of bed, glaring at his phone when he sees that it's almost three in the morning.

It is quiet as he makes his way to the kitchen in search of a water bottle to soothe the scratchiness in his throat that always appears when he first wakes up.

He doesn’t expect anyone to be there, so he's surprised to find Bakugou sitting on the couch in the common room, staring at the television. When Kirishima walks in, the blond sends him a glare before it fades into a neutral expression as he recognizes the redhead.

Kirishima goes to speak, but Bakugou shakes his head and gestures downward with his chin. It is only then that Kirishima realizes Bakugou isn't alone.

Midoriya is curled up on the couch, asleep and partially hidden under a blanket, while his head rests against Bakugou's thigh and his face presses against the other boy's shirt.

"I'm glad he's sleeping," Kirishima whispers, smiling at the peaceful expression on the green-haired boy's face.

Bakugou nods. "Yeah, the nerd needs the rest." His fingers are tangled in Midoriya's curls, gently running along his scalp and brushing his hair away from his forehead.

"Is he going to be okay?"

"You noticed, huh?" Bakugou's voice is sharp, but not angry.

"I don't know how everyone else hasn't," Kirishima says honestly, sinking into the armchair after retrieving a water bottle from the fridge.

The blond is quiet at first, staring down at the boy in his lap with an expression that Kirishima doesn't fully understand. "Half and Half knows that something's wrong, but he's giving him space, which isn't an awful decision, to be honest. And Tsuyu figured it out right after I did. Other than that, they're all idiots. I think some of them know he's not quite okay, but no one really knows what to do about it. Round Face and Four Eyes don't have an excuse though. They're just dumbasses."

When he mentions Uraraka and Iida, Bakugou's lips curl in a sneer and his voice fills with irritation. Kirishima kind of understands how he feels.

But he doesn't know how to respond to that, so he settles for a safer subject. "You call her Tsuyu now?"

Bakugou shrugs, his attention still focused on Midoriya. "She makes sure that he eats. She's better than the rest of the extras. That deserves respect."

And Kirishima remembers how small Midoriya felt when he hugged him and thinks, yeah, Tsuyu is good people.

"You never answered my question."

Bakugou finally looks up and makes a noise of acknowledgment, his thumb brushing slowly against Midoriya's cheek.

"Is he going to be okay?"

The blond hums in response, then nods. "He's got a lot on his shoulders right now. But he's strong enough to handle it. And if he isn't, he's got me."

The determination in Bakugou's voice makes Kirishima smile.

"Are you ever gonna tell him?"

Bakugou raises an eyebrow. "What?"

"Are you ever going to tell him that you’re in love with him?"

The other boy freezes, hand stilling in Midoriya's hair. "He already knows."

"You told him?" Kirishima asks, unable to hide the shock in his voice.

"I didn't say that, Shitty Hair. I said he already knows. He's smart and, as much as I hate to admit it, he knows me better than anyone. I've never been able to hide anything from the damn nerd."

"Then, what—" Kirishima starts to ask, but Bakugou cuts him off with a sharp look.

"He's waiting on me to say something."

The redhead nods, staring at Midoriya as the green-haired boy shifts in his sleep and shuffles closer to Bakugou subconsciously, his fingers clutching the blond's shirt.

Bakugou reaches down and covers Midoriya's hand with his own, threading their fingers together. "I did a lot of shit when we were kids. I was a complete asshole to him."

"All kids are assholes."

"I told him to take a swan dive off the middle school roof."

Kirishima can't help the flinch that comes at the words.

"Yeah," Bakugou says with a humorless laugh. "I was more than an asshole. I hurt him so much and my reasons were twisted, but they made sense in my head and I thought I was saving him in some weird, fucked up way. He was quirkless for a really long time. His quirk showed up the day of the entrance exam, but even before that he wanted to be a hero. He wanted to save people. But he was quirkless and he was going to get himself killed."

"So you bullied him to make him stop trying to be a hero," Kirishima finishes, his heart aching for the pair in front of him.

Bakugou nods and his voice is bitter when he speaks. "I was stupid to think that anything could stop Deku from being a hero. Fuck, you should have seen him when we were kids. He was always trying to save everyone. Deku was always meant to be a hero, quirk or not. It took me longer than I care to admit to realize that. When I saw him use his quirk for the first time at school, I was pissed out of my mind. I thought that he had lied to me about being quirkless for our whole lives and it fucking hurt."

"Midoriya would never lie to you."

"He said the same thing when I confronted him about it."

Kirishima leans back in his seat as his mind tries to comprehend everything Bakugou had said in the last few minutes. He had known that there was animosity between the childhood friends, but he had never known the extent of it.

He is broken out of his thoughts when Midoriya whimpers in his sleep, trembling.

Bakugou frowns and drapes his arm over the smaller boy's shoulders, running his fingers through mossy hair. "It's okay, nerd. You're safe. I'm right here."

After a few seconds, Midoriya settles again and Kirishima lets out the breath he didn't realize he was holding.

"After I got my hero license, I apologized to him. For all of it. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. And the stupid nerd looked at me and smiled that stupid dopey smile of his and said he had already forgiven me." Bakugou's words catch in his throat and his eyes are watery when he looks up to meet Kirishima's gaze with a choked laugh.

The redhead swallows heavily because the raw emotion on Bakugou's face is strange and unfamiliar. "It's Midoriya. What did you expect?"

"Yeah," Bakugou says and his expression is all fondness when he looks down to the green-haired boy curled up in his lap.

Kirishima has more questions, but he pushes them away and stands up, walking forward to squeeze the blond's shoulder. "If you're not saying anything because you think you don't deserve it, just remember that he chose you. He forgave you because you're important to him. Midoriya is a lot of things, but he's not stupid. He trusts you for a reason. Remember that."

Bakugou stiffens, then nods.

"I'll see you guys tomorrow. You should try to get him upstairs before morning," Kirishima says as he crouches to press a kiss against Midoriya's forehead. "Oh, I promised Kaminari I would make waffles tomorrow. I can bring some to your dorm for you guys if you want."

The blond nods. "Thanks."

And Kirishima reads the subtext, knows that he isn't just talking about the waffles. "Anytime."

He starts to leave and gets as far at the doorway before Bakugou’s voice breaks the silence.

“Kirishima.”

The use of his actual name shocks him enough to stop and he turns to glance at the blond over his shoulder.

“You should take your own advice,” Bakugou says.

Kirishima tilts his head curiously.

Bakugou raises an eyebrow. “Dunce Face. You should tell him how you feel.”

“How did you—”

But the blond waves him off. “He looks at you like I look at him,” he says, nodding towards Midoriya.

Kirishima doesn’t know what to say to that, so he just nods dumbly and continues towards his dorm.

 


 

“Did you just knock me off the track?” Kirishima asks, watching the television in disbelief.

Kaminari laughs and knocks their shoulders together as he sinks back against the couch. “You were in my way.”

Kirishima sends him a look that he hopes coveys his utter betrayal.

“Would you idiots shut up and play?” Bakugou cuts in, smirking as he overtakes the lead.

The common room is empty except for them, the rest of the class already having learned better than to interrupt the Mario Kart tournament that takes place every Sunday morning.

Most of the time it’s just the three of them, but sometimes Mina and Sero join in. Anyone is welcome, Kirishima always says, but the trash talk can get intense and the occasional controller gets thrown.

The round ends and Kirishima groans. “How the hell did I come in last?”

Kaminari elbows him in the side with a grin. “You’re welcome for the red shells.”

“That was you? Man, that’s cold.”

The electric blond just shrugs unapologetically.

Kirishima glares at him and looks over to Bakugou to congratulate him on his win, but the explosive teen is tapping at his phone with a concerned frown.

Before he can ask, the sound of footsteps distracts him and Midoriya walks in, eyes red-rimmed and watery. Kirishima can see the green-haired boy’s frame trembling slightly and he stares at him in surprise.

Midoriya automatically heads for Bakugou, but freezes when he notices the other two in the room. His eyes widen as he falters, looking torn.

But Bakugou just holds out a hand and shakes his head. “It’s okay, nerd. C’mere.”

Midoriya ducks his head, avoiding eye contact, and lets Bakugou pull him into his lap easily.

Kirishima smiles as the green-haired boy tucks his head under Bakugou’s chin, the blond wrapping his arms around Midoriya without hesitation.

“Go to sleep. You’re okay, Deku. I’ve got you,” Bakugou says quietly, pressing his lips against Midoriya’s forehead for a long moment.

Eventually, the tremors racking Midoriya’s body fade away and he closes his eyes, curling further into Bakugou. It only takes a few minutes for the smaller boy to fall asleep, safely wrapped in the blond’s hold.

“I think it goes without saying that if either of you give him shit for this, I will blow up your faces,” Bakugou says after a minute, his fingers lightly dragging over the back of Midoriya’s neck in soothing motions.

Kirishima raises an eyebrow. “You know we’re not like that, bro.”

“I knew he was having a hard time, but he’s really not okay, is he?” Kaminari asks, biting his lip nervously.

“You noticed?” Kirishima asks, turning his attention to the boy next to him.

Kaminari reddens and glances away. “Well, not exactly. I noticed you watching him, so I started watching him too.”

Bakugou smothers a laugh in Midoriya’s hair and smirks at Kirishima knowingly before sobering. “He’s doing better than he was.”

“You’re good for him,” Kaminari says sincerely and Kirishima kind of wants to kiss him for it.

“Shut it, Sparky.” But Bakugou’s words have no bite and they all know it. “I’m gonna take him to my room. Try not to kill each other.”

Kirishima rolls his eyes, but waves goodbye as Bakugou stands up with Midoriya still in his arms. “Take care of him.”

“I always do,” Bakugou responds over his shoulder before disappearing down the hallway.

As soon as he’s gone, Kaminari flops over to collapse against Kirishima’s shoulder with a huff. “I’m going to punch Monoma in the face.”

Kirishima blinks, even as his cheeks heat up from his friend’s closeness. “Where did that come from?”

“Wait.” Kaminari leans back enough to look him in the eyes. “I thought you guys knew. I thought that’s why you were staring at Midoriya.”

“Kami, what are you talking about?”

“Monoma has been going after Midoriya way more than usual. I think he only does it when he can get Midoriya alone though. The only reason I know is because I walked in on it during lunch a few days ago.”

Kirishima frowns. “Walked in on what?”

“Just Monoma being himself and taunting Midoriya. Midoriya seemed like he was handling it alright until Monoma starting going on about how he’s a disappointment to All Might and all of us. Then, he just froze.”

The redhead sucks in a sharp breath because yeah, that explains a lot. “Fuck.”

“Yeah. I told Monoma to get lost, but Midoriya said he was fine and that he had somewhere to be. He looked like he was about to pass out, so I didn’t fight him on it.”

“Damn it. We need to tell Bakugou.”

Kaminari winces. “I’m sorry. I really thought you guys knew.”

Kirishima shakes his head quickly and wraps an arm around the blond’s shoulders. “It’s not your fault. We’ll tell him tomorrow.”

“Still. I should have done something.”

“Hey,” Kirishima says, tilting the other boy’s chin up until he meets his eyes. “Not your fault. Kay?”

Kaminari nods.

“Good. Now, get ready because I’m going to kick your ass at Rainbow Road.”

 


 

Kirishima doesn’t get the chance to tell Bakugou about Monoma.

Instead, everything goes to hell.

Midoriya is sitting next to Bakugou at lunch, his head leaning on the blond’s arm and a soft smile on his face that makes Kirishima smile too.

Kaminari, from his place next to Kirishima, sits across from them, arguing with Bakugou over the merits of the newest zombie movie to hit theatres. Kirishima knows he’s fighting a losing battle, but Kaminari doesn’t, so he tries to play mediator before things start going boom.

“Kaminari is brave today,” Midoriya comments, grinning at the redhead.

Kirishima chuckles. “He’s feeling bold at the moment. Apparently, he aced the pop quiz in math.”

“I did!” Kaminari cuts in with an indignant expression. “Are you doubting me?”

Midoriya laughs and turns his face into Bakugou’s shoulder.

Kirishima hurriedly shakes his head and pats Kaminari on the head. “Of course not! I have complete faith in your academic abilities.”

“What academic abilities?” Bakugou quips with a smirk.

Midoriya sighs and swats at the explosive blond’s chest. “Kacchan, was that really necessary? Be nice.”

Bakugou grumbles under his breath, but doesn’t reply or blow anything up, so Kirishima counts that as a win.

“Oh, darn. I’ll be right back. I think I left my notebook in class,” Midoriya says with a frown, already standing up.

“You’re such a nerd,” Bakugou says, but his tone is laced with unrestrained fondness.

Kirishima can feel someone staring at them, so he turns to find Uraraka watching Bakugou with a sharp glare, her eyes narrowed in suspicion. He sighs because he is aware that the girl has a habit of being nosy when she doesn’t understand something, but he had been hoping to avoid any unnecessary confrontation. He’s sure that Bakugou won’t take it well and even more sure that Midoriya will feel guilty about the entire situation, which will then make Bakugou even more angry, which will then stress out Midoriya even more, and really it’s just something that should be avoided at all costs lest they fall into a cycle of despair and rage.

He turns back to the conversation, grinning when Bakugou tosses a napkin at Kaminari’s face with a scowl.

“Shut it, Pikachu.”

“Don’t poke the bear, Kami,” Kirishima interrupts, shaking his finger at the electric blond beside him.

Kaminari frowns. “But he poked first.”

“Oi, stop talking about me like I’m not here, dumbasses,” Bakugou growls.

Kirishima rolls his eyes when the pair starts to argue again, but can’t stop the smile pulling at his lips. Bakugou still wears his harsh exterior, but his words lack any real venom.

He spends the next few minutes focusing on playing referee and making sure the argument doesn’t get too heated.

“Where the fuck is Deku?” Bakugou asks, glancing around. “He’s taking forever.”

Kaminari’s eyes widen. “Shit. It happened at lunch last time. We gotta go, Kiri.”

But Kirishima is already standing up and yanking at Bakugou’s arm.

Bakugou frowns, but his forehead creases together in worry. “What are you morons going on about now?”

“Monoma has been going after Midoriya when he’s alone. Just come on. We’ll explain later,” Kirishima replies, sprinting out of the cafeteria without checking to see if the other two are following.

When he gets to the classroom, he freezes in the doorway, eyes widening in shock.

Midoriya is crouched on the ground, back against the wall with his hands covering his ears as tears stream down his face relentlessly. His entire body shakes and Kirishima can hear the uneven nature of his breathing.

He turns his attention to Monoma, who stands over the green-haired boy with a cruel smirk as his hands spark with tiny explosions that seem familiar.

“Is that my quirk?” Bakugou asks in a tone that Kirishima know means something is about to blow up.

Kaminari grips onto his arm with wide eyes and Kirishima is about to say something when Bakugou turns to them with an enraged expression that has the redhead already preparing alibis and defenses in his head.

Yes, Your Honor, we were all washing our hair. At the exact same time. I know it’s strange, but it’s a bonding exercise, you see? There’s no way we could have killed him.

“Can you handle Monoma?” Bakugou asks, shocking him out of his musings.

Kirishima is too surprised to do anything but nod dumbly.  

Bakugou rushes forward, knocking Monoma away from Midoriya, and kneels in front of the green-haired boy slowly. “Hey, nerd. Do you know who I am?”  

Midoriya shakes his head violently, slamming his skull loudly into the wall behind him in the process.

Kirishima winces at the sound as he grabs for Monoma’s arm, hardening his skin to avoid getting burned from the explosions.

“Kami, find Aizawa,” he says. “Make sure he comes alone.”

Kaminari nods and runs out of the room, his shoes loud on the tiled floor.

Once the electric blond is out of sight, Kirishima turns to face Midoriya and Bakugou again, frowning at the pure fear that is written across the smaller boy’s face.

Bakugou talks quietly, his voice calm. “It’s me, Deku. It’s just me. Can you open your eyes for me?”

Midoriya shakes his head again, crying out in pain when it cracks sharply against the wall once more.

“Come on, baby, I need you to look at me. Please?” Bakugou says, cradling Midoriya’s face between his palms gently.

Midoriya finally opens his eyes, locking onto Bakugou’s face. “Kacchan?”

“Yeah, baby, it’s me. I’m right here.”

“It hurts,” Midoriya says with a whimper, biting his lip hard enough to draw blood.

Bakugou frowns and moves his hand to the back of Midoriya’s head, prodding gently. “You’ve got a pretty nasty bump back here, nerd. Try not to headbutt any more walls, okay?”

Midoriya nods with a wince. “It hurts, Kacchan. Too bright.”

“I know,” Bakugou says in a soothing tone, his thumbs tracing along Midoriya’s cheekbones softly. “C’mere.”

Kirishima watches as the explosive blond sits on the floor and gathers the smaller boy into his lap, pressing Midoriya’s head into his chest. He flips off the lights, glaring at Monoma when the 1B student tries to pull away.

“You’re not going anywhere. This is your fault,” Kirishima says angrily, his grip tightening.

Monoma sends him a disgusted expression. “It isn’t my fault he’s a basket case. That’s all on him.”

Kirishima chooses not to dignify that with a response, even as his blood starts to boil.

Luckily for everyone, Bakugou isn’t paying attention to Monoma, so he doesn’t hear the scathing remark. The explosive blond is completely focused on the boy in his arms, whispering comforting words into his ear and rubbing a firm hand over his spine.

Kaminari rushes back into the room with Aizawa at his side and Kirishima finally lets his shoulders drop slightly as the tension leaves him.

“Hey, sensei. Long story short, Monoma has been bullying Midoriya. Today, he stole Bakugou’s quirk and went after Midoriya during lunch. We came and found them. Midoriya probably gave himself a concussion during his panic attack, but Bakugou has that under control, so you should probably focus on Monoma here because I am very quickly losing control of my temper,” Kirishima says, watching as his teacher’s frown gets more and more pronounced.

Aizawa doesn’t even blink at the fact that Bakugou is currently curled around Midoriya. “Kirishima, Kaminari, come with me. Monoma, we’re going to see Nezu. Bakugou, take Midoriya to Recovery Girl. You’re both excused for the rest of the day. Midoriya has my number. Don’t hesitate to call if you need anything.”

Bakugou nods as he strokes Midoriya’s curls, dropping light kisses to his temple every few seconds. “Thanks, sensei.”

The teacher crouches next to the pair on the floor for a brief moment and lays his hand on Midoriya’s shoulder. “Hey, problem child. I’ll come find you later, okay?”

Midoriya nods.

Kirishima watches as Aizawa squeezes the boy’s shoulder one more time before standing up and taking Monoma firmly by the elbow.

“Come along, children. Since Midoriya is in no state to explain the situation right now, you two will have to serve as witnesses. Though, I’m sure Nezu will want to talk to the problem child later, especially since I’ll be pushing for expulsion,” Aizawa says as he turns towards the hallway leading to principal’s office, ignoring Monoma’s indignant squawks of protest.

Kirishima follows obediently, holding out a hand for Kaminari to grab. The electric blond laces their fingers together and leans into his side as they walk.

“Is he going to be okay?” Kaminari asks, voice shaky.

“Of course. Bakugou will take care of him,” Kirishima says, trying to keep his tone steady.

He doesn’t think he’s very successful based on the way Kaminari’s fingers tighten around his own.

Kirishima tries to send him a reassuring smile. “Besides, he’s got us too. And sensei, right?”  

Aizawa glances over his shoulder at them, his lips twitching into a smile. “Yeah. He’s got me. You’re good kids. You did the right thing by coming to get me.”

Kaminari nods fiercely.

Kirishima beams and squeezes Kaminari’s hand.

Yeah. Midoriya would be okay. They’d make sure of it.

 


 

Hours later, everything has settled down and Kirishima feels like he can finally breathe again.

He collapses on his bed, yanking Kaminari down next to him with a groan. “I’m exhausted. Who knew being a witness was so tiring?”

“I’m just glad Nezu didn’t need to talk to Midoriya after all.”

Kirishima hums in agreement. “I never even knew the classroom had cameras.”

“I think that was kind of the point.”

He swipes at the blond’s shoulder before sobering. “Should we tell Bakugou?”

Kaminari blinks. “About the video? Probably. It will help him with Midoriya.”

“I’ll text him to see if he wants us to drop by. I think they’re still in his dorm. At least, that’s where he said they were going after Recovery Girl finished with Midoriya,” Kirishima says, sending off a message quickly, then setting the phone aside.

“I guess we wait now.”

Kirishima watches Kaminari, studies his face with a smile. Maybe Bakugou is right. Maybe he should tell him how he feels. Part of him is scared of the rejection and the possibility of ruining their friendship, but a bigger part of him thinks that he’ll regret it if he stays silent forever.

No, he has to say something.

With that thought, Kirishima flips over to lay half on top of Kaminari, his chin resting on the blond’s chest. “You know I’m like super gay for you, right?”

Well, that isn’t quite what he was planning to say, but okay.

“Wait, no. Fuck, that’s not what I meant,” Kirishima hurries to correct. “I mean, yeah, super gay. For you. But, shit, this is hard. I’ve been in love with you since like the second day of school, so that’s a thing. Oh, god, this is so awkward. I’m sorry. I’m making it worse.”

Kaminari blinks at him with wide eyes, then holds up a hand. “Stop. You just dropped a huge bomb on me. Gimme a minute to process. You know I’m slow.”

Kirishima goes to pull away, but is stopped by firm hands pressing against his back.

“Who said you could move, asshole? You don’t get to break my brain and then not cuddle me to make it better,” Kaminari says with a scowl, though his expression is filled with fondness.

Kirishima reddens. “Sorry.”

“Damn it, I wanted to say it first. It was going to be romantic and all that jazz. But you just had to beat me to it, didn’t you? Come on, Kiri. I love you, too. I thought I was being obvious.”

“You what?”

Kirishima feels like his heart might explode.

Because, yeah, thinking the feelings might be mutual is one thing, but actually hearing it is a whole new ballgame.

“I am completely in love with you, idiot. Or, as you would say, I’m like super gay for you, too!”

“Hell, yes! I’m gonna date the shit out of you, Kami!” Kirishima says, darting forward to leave a chaste kiss on the blond’s lips.

Kaminari laughs. “You’re an idiot.”

“I’m your idiot.”

“Yeah,” Kaminari says, his expression turning soft. “You are.”

Kirishima really wants to kiss him again. So he does.

 


 

The aftermath of the incident is simple, but not entirely painless.

Monoma is expelled.

Kirishima sits down with Bakugou while Kaminari takes Midoriya to get ice cream.

“Are you sure you want to watch this?” Kirishima asks, even though he already knows the answer.

Bakugou nods, his mouth set in a determined line.

“Alright.” He presses play and leans back against the wall.

The video starts with Midoriya entering the classroom, clearly content as he darts forward to grab the notebook on his desk. And then Monoma enters the room and Midoriya tenses immediately, eyes searching for an escape route as the blond crowds him by the wall.

“Well,” Monoma says, lips twisting into a sneer. “If it isn’t All Might’s pet.”

“I’m not his pet,” Midoriya replies. “Leave me alone, Monoma.”

The blond reaches out a hand and Midoriya flinches away, slamming his head against the wall hard enough to make him stumble.

“I don’t know what All Might sees in you. Or the rest of your stupid class. You’re weak. I remember you from the entrance exam. You were the kid that broke yourself trying to save that girl. What kind of hero can’t even save someone without breaking their own bones? You’re pathetic,” Monoma spits out.

Midoriya shakes his head, his back pressed against the wall. “I’m not weak. I fixed the issue. I just didn’t know how to control my quirk at the time.”

“You don’t deserve a quirk like that. The fact that you can barely control it proves that. You’ll never be a hero. You’re just a fanboy who never got over his obsessions. You’re kidding yourself. Give up already. Before you get someone killed.”

“I would never,” Midoriya hisses out, eyes shooting up to meet Monoma’s gaze.

But the blond just scoffs. “You already did, didn’t you? Nighteye? Not to mention, you almost got Iida and Todoroki killed during the Hero Killer Incident. And then there were those kids. What were their names again? Kouta and Eri, right?”

“I saved them,” Midoriya says, but his voice shakes and he stares at the ground.

“They were only in danger because of you in the first place, weren’t they? Face it, Midoriya. You’re not a hero. You would be better off quirkless. At least that way you wouldn’t get in the way so much because you wouldn’t be here to mess everything up.”

At that, Midoriya’s knees give out and he slides down the wall until he hits the ground, bringing his knees to his chest.

“Ah, did I hit a nerve? Good,” Monoma says. “And then there’s Bakugou. You know he hates you, right? I don’t know why you insist on following him around like a lost puppy. But it’s okay. I’ll help you remember your place with him.”

And then the blond holds his hands out in front of him and shoots off explosions right next to Midoriya’s ears. The green-haired boy whimpers and clutches his head as he squeezes his eyes shut.

Moments later, the video ends.

Kirishima glances over at Bakugou. “That’s when we walked in. You already know the rest.”

Bakugou’s fists are clenched tightly. “I’m gonna murder him.”

“Yeah, I think Aizawa felt the same way when he watched it. We all did. But Midoriya is safe and Monoma can’t bother him anymore. He needs you, so just focus on him, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Great. Now, let’s go. If I know my boyfriend, and I think I do, he’s going to overdo it on the toppings again and get sick. It won’t be as bad if I make him share, but we gotta hurry. He has a tendency to inhale gummy bears.”

Bakugou rolls his eyes before grinning as he follows Kirishima out of the dorms. “Wait. Boyfriend?”

“Shut up. Yes, you were right. Come on or I’m telling Midoriya you were being mean.”

“You ungrateful ass,” Bakugou retorts before pausing. “Seriously though, I’m glad you guys figured out your shit. Your pining was getting out of control.”

Kirishima sighs and reaches out to tug his friend forward. “Whatever.”

“Besides,” Bakugou says with a wicked smile, “my boyfriend is better than yours.”

“Wait.” Kirishima turns to him slowly as his jaw drops. “You finally—?”

Bakugou shrugs and darts off towards the ice cream shop, leaving the redhead staring at his back.

Kirishima shakes off his shock and chases after him, even as his lips curl in a proud smile. “You can’t just drop that on me and run away, Bakubro! I need details!”

The only response he gets is laughter wrapped in small explosions.

 


 

The days pass by quickly and Kirishima is relieved to see the shadows disappearing from under Midoriya’s eyes. The green-haired boy looks happier and more at peace and it makes him smile.

“He seems to be doing a lot better,” Kaminari comments, looking towards Midoriya with a grin.

Kirishima nods and nudges the blond with his elbow. “He is. I told you Bakubro would take care of it.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Now, shut up and fight me before sensei yells at us again.”

The redhead chuckles, sending a wave to Aizawa that has the teacher rolling his eyes and pointedly ignoring him. “Bring it.”

He barely has time to harden himself before electricity comes rushing towards him, slamming into his body with a jolt. They fight for a few minutes, dodging each other’s attacks with wide grins. Eventually, Kirishima manages to sweep Kaminari’s legs out from under him, sending the blond sprawling across the dirt.

Kirishima kneels over him, his legs holding Kaminari down. “I win.”

“You’ll have to teach me that move later,” the blond says, accepting Kirishima’s hand to help pull himself up.

Kirishima nods as he turns to face Midoriya again, wincing as Bakugou takes a hit to the stomach. “I bet fifty on Midoriya.”

Kaminari laughs and shakes his head. “No way. Fifty on Bakugou.”

“Are you two betting on your classmates?”

Kirishima straightens at the sound of Aizawa’s voice behind them and plasters on what he hopes is an innocent expression. “Of course not, sensei. That would be very unsportsmanlike.”

Aizawa narrows his eyes at them before sighing and pinching the bridge of his nose. “You’re all brats.”

“Out of curiosity,” Kaminari says. “Who would you bet on?”

“Brats,” Aizawa repeats with a groan, already walking away.

Kirishima thinks he’s going to ignore the question until the teacher turns to face them.

“Also, the problem child,” Aizawa says, then moves towards Tokoyami and Shouji’s match.

“Damn,” Kaminari says under his breath, just as Midoriya pins Bakugou to the ground and declares his victory. “I’ll pay you later.”

Kirishima can’t resist leaning over to plant a messy kiss against his boyfriend’s cheek. “Love you.”

“Yeah, I love you, too,” Kaminari says, dragging the redhead into a headlock and ruffling his spiked hair.

Kirishima laughs until his stomach hurts, feeling happier than he has in a long time.

 


 

Soon, the rest of the class starts to pick up on Midoriya and Bakugou's renewed relationship, though Kirishima is pretty sure they haven’t figured out it’s romantic yet.

Uraraka gets involved because of course she does.

Kirishima tries to intervene because someone is going to get hurt, but she just levels a glare at him and waves off his concerns. He is left to wait for the fallout.

It all comes to a head a few days later and it's worse than he imagined it would be.

They're outside, spread across the training grounds, and the sun is just starting to sink down towards the horizon. It started as a sparring session, but by now everyone is sprawled across the grass in groups just talking and enjoying the break.

Kirishima grins when Kaminari tosses an arm around his shoulders and tries to force his heartbeat to slow down. It's a losing fight—it has been for a while—but he gives a valiant effort anyway. He ultimately has to admit defeat when Kaminari kisses his cheek and sends him a wide smile that makes his pulse skyrocket.

Bakugou and Midoriya are sitting against a large tree, their backs against the trunk as they talk quietly. Bakugou elbows the smaller boy, but Midoriya just laughs and leans his head against the blond's shoulder with a soft grin.

Kirishima finds himself chuckling at the sight because Bakugou's lips are twitching at the corners as if he's fighting a smile and his eyes are wide with fondness.

He doesn't notice Uraraka until she's standing in front of the pair, hands on her hips and eyes narrowed.

He feels the air leave his chest and he tugs Kaminari with him when he hurries forward, desperate to stop whatever is about to happen because he can feel that it's going to be bad.

"What are you planning, Bakugou? We all know you're not a good person. What do you want with Deku?" Uraraka's voice is sharp enough to cut through the pleasant silence and leave discomfort and confusion in its wake.

"What the fuck are you talking about, Round Face?" Bakugou shoots back and Kirishima can see him stiffen.

Midoriya frowns and opens his mouth, but Uraraka ignores him.

"You may have fooled Deku, but everyone else can tell. You're bad. You just want to hurt him. Haven't you done that enough already? Aren't you tired of pretending to be a hero? We all know that you're up to something. You're not good for him. You should leave him alone before you do permanent damage. Oh, wait. You already have," she hisses and Kirishima feels a pit settle deep into his stomach when Bakugou flinches violently.

There's a blur of green static and then Midoriya is standing up, his quirk sending lines of electricity across his skin. "Who the fuck do you think you are?" His voice is cold enough to send chills through the air and his words are said through clenched teeth as if he's resisting the urge to scream.

Kirishima steps back subconsciously and Kaminari stills at his side. The rest of the class is watching and he knows that they all feel the power in Midoriya's voice too.

"He's using you, Deku. Can't you see that?" Uraraka pushes and the exasperation in her tone is clear, as if Midoriya should know better. She is condescending and pitying and it makes Kirishima flinch because the worst possible thing to do is treat Midoriya like a child, especially when it comes to Bakugou.

"I don't recall asking for your opinion," Midoriya replies coldly and the look in his eyes is familiar. His entire stance is defensive and angry as he shifts himself in front of Bakugou, eyes flashing protectively. "It is not wanted. You don't know anything about my relationship with Kacchan and you certainly don't know anything about him as a person. Our past is exactly that—ours. You have no business in it. I warned you to drop it. I told you what would happen if you didn't."

Kirishima knows that someone should intervene, but he's frozen, his limbs too heavy to move. A quick glance around him says that everyone else feels the same way. Even Iida is stunned, his eyes wide as Yaoyorozu clutches his arm with shaking fingers.

Uraraka pauses at the words, clearly finding a hidden meaning that no one else knows. "You would choose him over me?"

When Midoriya laughs, it is harsh and biting and sounds too bitter and so wrong all at once. "You say that like it was ever a choice."

"Deku," Bakugou's voice is soft and barely audible, but the shock in his voice is almost tangible in the tense air.

Uraraka stumbles back, eyes wide and surprised. "What?"

"What kind of hero attacks someone just because they can? What kind of hero forces themselves into a situation that they have no business being in? What kind of hero lets their own jealousy fuel them into hurting someone for no reason? There's only one person here that may not be fit for heroics and it's not Kacchan," Midoriya says and his voice does not waver.

"The only time I've seen Midoriya like this is when he's talking to villains," Sero whispers.

The green-haired boy freezes for a long second, then narrows his eyes at the girl in front of him. "Yes, well, I'd say she's doing a pretty decent impression of one at the moment." He turns away from Uraraka dismissively and his features soften as he looks at the rest of the class. "I think Kacchan and I are going to head out now. Perhaps we can host a game night in a few hours."

"Text me when you guys want to head down and I'll get everything set up," Kirishima says, finally finding his voice.

Midoriya's responding smile is warm and familiar, but there's still an edge to his expression that does nothing to alleviate the redhead's unease at the entire situation. "Thank you, Kiri. Come along, Kacchan. You promised to buy me a smoothie if I beat you. I think I want mango today."

Bakugou stands up and slips his hand into Midoriya's waiting one silently as he avoids looking at anyone. "Mango tastes like shit, nerd. Strawberry is the way to go."

"Kacchan, we've been over this. Strawberry is too simple."

They disappear, but all Kirishima can see is the empty look in Bakugou's eyes and the way his shoulders sunk further down with every word Uraraka spoke. He warned Uraraka that someone was going to get hurt, but he should have pushed harder.

The redhead turns to the brunette with a sharp look and shakes his head. "I hope you're happy. I told you to let it go."

"You're taking his side? Obviously Deku is being controlled and manipulated by Bakugou. He would never act that way normally. He's being corrupted," Uraraka says.

"God, you're delusional," Kaminari cuts in and fuck, Kirishima is so in love with him. "The only person who controls Midoriya is Midoriya. Bakugou cares about him. You're the only one refusing to see it."

Todoroki nods, his mouth twisting angrily. "Bakugou has changed. We all have. Midoriya was right. You should take his words to heart, Uraraka."

She sputters for a second before pointing at the dual quirk user with an accusing finger. "He called me a villain."

Kirishima holds up a hand as Iida tries to intervene and shakes his head. "And what does a villain do that makes them a villain? Tries to force people to do what they want? Hurts people without remorse? Uses their own agenda to cause harm? Hmm, sounds like Midoriya made a pretty accurate assessment to me."

Uraraka doesn't reply, but her shoulders shake as she stares around disbelievingly when everyone refuses to meet her eyes.

"I'm going to start setting up the common room. I think it goes without saying, Uraraka, but it's better if you don't come. In fact, stay away from Midoriya until you get your head out of your ass," Kirishima says.

"I can collect blankets and pillows and futons," Tsuyu offers as she pointedly ignores the betrayed look Uraraka throws in her direction.

Kaminari tosses an arm around Kirishima's shoulders. "I'll help set up the games."

"We can head to the store and grab some snacks and drinks," Jirou says, gesturing to Ashido and Hagakure.

The rest of the class starts to discuss possible games and food options, so Kirishima slips away, following the path that Midoriya and Bakugou took a few minutes before.

He finds them on a bench and stops far enough away that he isn’t noticed.

Bakugou is sitting down while Midoriya kneels in front of him, his hands gently holding the blond’s face.

“She’s wrong, Kacchan. I forgave you because I know you. You aren’t a villain. Did you see the rest of the class? They were just as horrified at her words as I was. They all know you aren’t like that. You’re a good person,” Midoriya says, just loud enough for Kirishima to hear.

“I love you,” Bakugou replies, leaning his face into Midoriya’s palm.

Midoriya smiles and leans forward until he can press his lips against Bakugou’s. “I love you, too. Forever. Now, come on. I was serious about that smoothie.”

Bakugou laughs and lets his boyfriend pull him to his feet. “Nerd.”

“Your nerd.”

“Yeah,” Bakugou agrees and his expression is all softness and affection as he presses a kiss to Midoriya’s temple. “Mine.”

Kirishima watches them walk away, arms wrapped around each other, and feels a wave of relief that the haunted expression is gone from Bakugou’s eyes.

He smiles when he feels a hand curl around his own. “Hey, Kami.”

“They’re gonna be okay,” the electric blond says simply.

Kirishima nods and leans against his boyfriend’s arm. “Yeah, they’ll be just fine.”

And he’s not lying.

He already knows how things will turn out.

Uraraka will eventually realize that she fucked up and apologize, probably after an intervention from Tsuyu. Bakugou will start to believe in himself and trust Midoriya’s decision to love him, angry past and all. Midoriya will watch with shining smiles and clever thoughts and enough love in his heart to change the world.

And Kirishima?

Well, Kirishima will settle for holding Kaminari’s hand.