Actions

Work Header

bad before good

Chapter Text

Time only blunts the pain of loss. It doesn’t erase it.” 
Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

 

I. bad

It was a weird feeling, when Mineta Minoru died, hanging himself on the ceiling of his dorm at U.A. barely halfway through their 3rd and last year of high school. Weird, because no one really noticed that he was gone for a couple of days until Tsuyu pointed it out. Eijiro and Ojiro had had to kick the door open, and what had been annoyance at the boy’s refusal to let them in became one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives.

The feeling was weird, because even though they were training to be heroes and had spent a lot of time in the field, most of them had never seen a body before, let alone one of someone they’d known personally, and in some way they all felt a little bit of guilt for not noticing that their colleague was about to end his life.

But the worst part about Mineta’s death was that their grief, instead of fading away, would only increase in the following couple of months, pilling on top of one another with the losses that came after it, as if Mineta had opened the dam to flood them with bad things.

Of course it wasn’t Mineta’s fault that they were dead, but his death was the first signal boost of that end of summer, beginning of fall. A boy hanging from the ceiling of his room announced that the best days of their lives were all but gone.

For a while, Katsuki thought things would be alright, he genuinely thought that, because they were all getting back to normal, but then that crazy bitch Toga Himiko threw a knife at Ochaco’s jugular killing her instantaneously, and part of Bakugo’s sanity kissed him goodbye.

Mineta could have been a little shit most of the time, but he was also depressed cripplingly, so in some way they understood. But Ochaco? Ochaco was a ray of sunshine. She had the most beautiful laugh and the cutest determination he’d ever seen. She was supportive and hardworking. Katsuki knew that he was a little bit in love with her, but he was more in love with Kirishima at the time, and she, too, with Midoriya. Even though Katsuki’d had the chance to be with her once, they parted ways.

It’d been over a decade already, but Katsuki still thought about it sometimes. He thought about how she twisted under him and moaned his name when he took her virginity, and how he stupidly thought I love her, she loves me, but she’s not the one I want, just like I’m not the one she wants. Good match, wrong timing, and he wondered what would have happened if he had dared to fight for her, if

Maybe, if he had, she would be alive now, and… that stupid Deku… would be too.

Ochaco had died in Izuku’s arms just a few feet from Katsuki himself and the rest of their classmates. She saw Himiko coming for her boyfriend, got in front of him, took that knife and the once sweet, innocent Midoriya broke beyond repair. It was of common understanding in their class that Ocha and Kiri were the glue, and losing her made them all a bit north-less; understandably no one was as affected as Izuku. School had to send him home for a week, offered psychological support, but when he came back, he still wasn’t the same.

Katsuki remembers watching his friend carefully at that time, wondering if that was what happened when one lost their soulmate – as if all light had left you, and you became nothing but a shell. That certainly was what Izuku looked like, and Bakugo even tried to reason with him, show him that he understood, but…

That motherfucking Instaphoto picture tipped him off, and the moment he saw it he knew that something was wrong, but it was only after Momo found the green envelop under Mineta’s seat and read the message behind it that he knew. He knew without even needing the confirmation from Aizawa that Izuku was gone too, off to a suicide mission he didn’t need to be part of.

Grief on top of grief, on top of grief, it was Katsuki who broke this time. He could take Ochaco’s death, but Ocha and Deku? In less than two weeks?

Along with Iida, he was sent home too, and put on suicide watch, because everyone knew that he was fucking nuts, but Katsuki didn’t feel like dying, he just felt useless. How ironic, wasn’t it? And getting back to school, it was really hard to once again have that mindset of wanting to be the #1 hero of their generation. Really. Fucking. Hard.

It probably had been the saddest graduation in U.A.’s history. The school was this close to being shut down, seeing all the trouble their hero classes had been going through in the past three years, all the losses they had to endure. They had had dropouts and transfer students over the years, and a class of 20 ending with half of its count wasn’t any news, but they had never lost students like that.

One suicide, two homicides. Every news headline talked about the most damaged future heroes of Japan.

Most of his classmates went to college instead of starting off as sidekicks right away, Katsuki included; some of them dropped the hero idea altogether, choosing to help others in different ways, and it was only a couple of years after graduation that things started to feel like they could go up again for him.

Sited in Tokyo, Katsuki moved in with his boyfriend and officially started his hero career shadowing his cousin  Mt. Lady. At last, his life was getting back on track, and his known personality resurfaced stronger than never. It took some working, but Bakugo’s official bad boy mask was on again, and he climbed that ladder to become the hero who never loses, just like what he dreamed of when he was a kid.

Most of all, he settled. While practically every other couple from his high school days didn’t survive, he and Kiri remained. They didn’t get married, and worked in different agencies, but their lives together were good. Both of them made it to the top 20 heroes of the country, with Katsuki currently occupying the third place, only behind Momo and Shoto. The most damaged heroes in Japan, it turned out, would make great, sympathetic heroes, worthy of the public’s love.

(The funniest thing was that even with Shoto occupying his father’s position as number 2 hero, Katsuki was the one being called “the new Endeavour” on the streets, even though he didn’t like to hold that title – the man was a pain, and he liked to think that he had created his own brand of being a pain. Katsuki saw no use on the comparison, but he understood why it was happening. Endeavour and All Might had been rivals since high school, and their beef lasted for over thirty years.)

The biggest turn-around had been Momo’s. After being presented with Midnight’s old agency halfway through college, hero Creati shadowed a few top heroes until she had a strong front and publicity, making a name for herself and rising in the ranks like in her school days. Once she got to the top, much like All Might himself, may he rest in peace, it was extremely hard to get her out of there.

It was okay, really. By the age of thirty, Katsuki didn’t really feel like seeking that #1 spot anymore; his third place was already pretty neat. He even felt embarrassed every time he thought about fifteen years old him with that insane view of the world. I’m going to be the number one. Huh. What for?

Funny how it took Deku’s death for him to understand his motivations. That stupid nerd. That fucking stupid useless piece of shit had it all figured out.

Izuku was eighteen when he died. Ochaco was seventeen. And now, Katsuki was almost thirty-one.

Sometimes, he’d wake up crying and the moment he’d open his eyes, with Eijiro shaking him awake, he’d know for a fact that it was because he realized the facts again, like the second shoe had just dropped, except that there’d been so many second shoes the past twelve years. Those times, he’d always tell Eijiro that he dreamed about something horribly sad that’d happen at work hoping that he didn’t talk in his sleep, and they would both pretend that things were fine.

Katsuki loved Eijiro more than he loved himself, but sometimes it killed him. Eijiro, who held them, the seventeen that remained, together until their very last day. He who organized a tenth-year reunion at a beach in  Wakayama where they had a bonfire like the one they did for their last summer camp, when things weren’t completely fucked up yet, and they chatted and laughed and sang, and then went silent in memoriam-

 

For a night, they were eighteen or seventeen again, reliving all the crazy shit they went through together until Jiro’s baby girl decided she’d had enough of gatherings, and Shoji’s son  scratched his knees falling down the sandbank on a bush, along with many little things that reminded them that they were at the brink of becoming full-on adults now – too close to that age where people stopped calling you a “young adult”.

Katsuki drove them back that night, and for the first half hour Eijiro talked about how good it was to see everyone, and how nice it was to remember the good things. He talked about Deku’s mumbling, how it always annoyed the whole class, and how when Ocha got embarrassed, she’d just float away, and the pranks! Gosh, Mineta was the best at pulling pranks! He used to be so funny! And then he cried, sobs-and-running-nose type of ugly crying, trying to hide his face with his hands as if it’d stop the tears from falling.

“I didn’t cry about this for years!” he confessed in between sobs. “I think about them, of course I do, but I don’t cry about them anymore and now!”

Katsuki didn’t know what to tell him, so he figured it was best to just listen. It was what Eijiro did for him anyway, when he was really upset, and it always helped.

“I shouldn’t have organized this reunion, it was too soon.”

The following half hour was silent as Eijiro calmed down, but there was just so much silence Katsuki could endure, so he turned on the radio catching a song halfway to the end, a rock slow song with a soft melodic in the chorus that made him think of things and chuckle.

“What?” Eijiro asked suspiciously, and he shook his head.

“Can you believe that out of all the girls, Kyoka is the one with a baby at age twenty-eight?”

Kirishima chuckled too.

“Her husband was shooting daggers at Denki the whole night, did you notice?” he commented and Bakugo nodded, failing to hide his smile. “Denki has a kid too, you know? With a college sweetheart. I don’t know if he sees the boy very often, but he has one.”

Eijiro was good at keeping track of everyone’s shit. His heart was just big that way.

“Yeah, we got some families in our odd group of acquaintances,” Katsuki said, thinking of Mina, who was recently married – they had been her honor guests -, Iida with his pregnant wife, and Yuga, whose husband already had two little kids from his previous marriage. He dared to take his eyes from the road for a moment to look at Kirishima, knowing what he’d see there and choosing to ignore it once again, and held his boyfriend’s hand. “It was good to see everyone again. I’m grateful you put it all together and dragged my ass there.”

Eijiro smiled sadly, squeezing Katsuki’s hand sweetly, and then looked out the window.

“Thanks, babe,” he replied watching the houses pass by. “I think I’ll take a nap.”

Katsuki didn’t think he met any of his classmates again after that night. Their squad was all over - Mina (and the wife) had a community center, Sero got a gig in Hong Kong and never left, Denki was sited in Hiroshima. As of the rest of the class, the only time they’d get together would be for emergency crisis where many heroes were requested to show up.

It was always him, and Eijiro. And that was gradually starting to be a lot.

Kiri wanted kids, had been wanting them for years now, and Katsuki always found a way to avoid that conversation. He knew he should just be honest and tell his boyfriend that he didn’t want any kids, and he knew that Eijiro knew what he was doing, but they’d been in that push and pull relationship since they met, and at this point they were just… In their comfort zones, he supposed.

Thing was, Katsuki didn’t like comfort zones, never did. Once upon a time, he’d move, move, move until things were shaken up and more like he liked them, but things had also changed. That time, when he lost his mind, left him damaged. The years might have passed, but the pain didn’t subdue. For a long time, he thought he would never move, move, move on again.

He needed a shift, and that need led him to highs of recklessness and lows of lethargy. The need for something that would get him out of that comfort zone even though he wasn’t ready for it, was supposed to get him going and then he’d work from there, but whenever he took a step towards it, it was messy and extremely painful.

Katsuki had come this far, but most of the time he wasn’t proud of the person he became. He needed to tell the truth, but couldn’t, and he was very good at pretending, but that was making things worse. At the end of the day, Katsuki played himself.

First and foremost, any action taken would hurt Eijiro. To hurt Eijiro was the last thing in Katsuki’s list, but wasn’t he hurting his boyfriend already? With his 31st birthday coming up, it’d make fourteen years of them being just boyfriends. No marriage talk, and if there ever was any, Bakugo would cut it off immediately. No kids talk, and if depended on him, there would never be. All they had was this fancy apartment downtown and amazing sex, and to be honest not even that was paying off; if it had, he wouldn’t have…

There were ugly things going on inside of Katsuki. Like the grief that started with Mineta and topped, topped on one another, the secrets were consuming him. Being good at sex was his and Eijiro’s normal, and after putting that aside left them with… nothing but empty love.

Heartbreak, at this point, just felt inevitable. As a matter of fact, those thoughts had been haunting him for almost a couple of years already.

Didn’t mean Katsuki was okay with them, though. If he opened the Pandora box of open wounds, he would certainly get to that one. That one that had broken him and had been ignored for too long. That one that would certainly be salted, if he’d get too close. Number two, Katsuki did not want salt in his wounds.

Katsuki was maybe six when his friend (what was his name?) dropped him from a certain height and he ended up with a bad scratch on his chin and nose. Dad happened to be home when he arrived biting down his need to cry, half of his face bloodied, and his first instinct when he saw his father reaching out to hug him in worry was to fight the embrace, but dad was kind and caring, and all he wanted was to make sure that his son was okay.

The two of them went to the E.R. that evening before mother would come home to prepare dinner, and father let him sit on his lap the whole time the nurse treated his cuts, even though his parents were constantly talking about how Katsuki was getting too big for laps. Masaru held his son tenderly that evening, letting the boy dig his nails on his arms when the remedy stung a little and caressed his pointy blonde hair as the nurse put on some Band-Aid on the bruises.

After everything was done, he took Katsuki’s hand and walked back home with him, making a quick stop at the market to buy some ice cream. That night, after dinner, as Katsuki swallowed spoon full after spoon full of ice cream, his dad pushed his hair back gently and wisely told him-

See, son? It’s got to get bad before it gets good. Just got to remember that the good part will always come, eventually.

Remember the thing about the second shoe falling over and over again? That was what Katsuki got for his 31st birthday  – another second shoe. From the Tokyo tower, he overlooked the city, cell phone in hand, trying to forget the text he’d just gotten and wouldn’t bother to answer, probably. That text was making him think, and to think wasn’t a good idea, because he’d been at the “bad” part for a long time already, perhaps the “worst” part of it all, and it felt like he’d never get to the “good”.

All of this, it was fucking him up.

Meaning, more than he already was fucked up.

Sighing, Bakugo pocked his phone again, screen locked, and decided to make his way down. He still needed to go back to the agency get some things before heading home, where he’d meet Eijiro so they could go to a restaurant celebrate his birthday. Lots of stuff to do in one day, and no time to answer that Shinso guy’s question.

He could explode his way down, of course, because he was super extra, but his shift had just ended and it wouldn’t hurt to take the elevator for once, even if it meant taking a selfie or two.

Katsuki’s popularity had grown steadily the past decade, in part because he proved himself to be one great fucking hero, but mostly because his personal relationships made him more likable. Eijiro was everyone’s favorite and counterbalanced Katsuki in practically everything, for starters; and there was also the fact that his agency was one of the best of the country.

Katsuki had about 7 heroes under him, all with different and outstanding quirks and a similar modus operandi as his. He wasn’t much of a team effort kind of guy, and everyone who tried to work with him would get a couple of weeks top to shadow him before it was decided if they’d stay or look for another agency, and even though many of his interns were brilliant on their own, only the brightest stayed.

It was that same team that gathered in the office that afternoon when Katsuki got there; they had a cake and a “Happy Birthday Ground Zero” banner hanging on the widow, hot dogs and mini hamburgers all around, and Mitsuha, who had a voice quirk, sang happy birthday to him as she wheeled the cake in his direction.

“Make a wish, boss,” she said clasping her hands. The 31 candles burned in orange and blue, and Katsuki leaned over to take a closer look at them.

“You guys didn’t need to-” he said, but Kaneda, who’d been with him the longest, interrupted him.

“Yeah, you say that every year. Just make the damn wish, Bakugo!”

He looked down at the cake again, hands on the trolley, thinking that he’d put the brat on his place later; at this point, the number 1 candle was being consumed faster, looking a bit crooked, and Katsuki closed his eyes to think of what he wanted.

He wanted strength, but that wasn’t exactly what he needed at the moment. What he needed… was courage. To tell the truth, to be honest, to get going, to move on. Being strong, he had to learn when he first got into U.A., wasn’t nearly enough.

Yeah, courage was the right choice.

Katsuki opened his eyes and blew out the candles; his colleagues clapped cheerfully and a familiar hand clasped his shoulder, making him turn around and face his boyfriend, on Eijiro’s other hand a small box about the size of his hand.

For a moment, Katsuki panicked. He remembered how Four Eyes had proposed to his crazy ass girlfriend in the middle of their agency after a busy day, and he hoped to God that that wasn’t the case now, because it’d involve hurting Eijiro. It was already determined that hurting his boyfriend was out of the question, but after that dreadful second he realized that no one was kneeling, no one was proposing, it was just Kiri offering his present.

“Happy Birthday, babe,” he said pecking Katsuki’s lips and melting him a little, like only Eijiro knew how to do.

“You didn’t need to come, I was heading home,” he said opening the box and finding… “A tie? Are you fucking kidding me?”

To his utter distaste, Eijiro laughed.

“What fucking kind of shitty prank-”

“Katsuki,” Kiri said softly, taking the tie from the box and putting it around his neck. “We’re having a fancy dinner tonight, and all your ties are in shreds.”

“Fuck ties,” he mumbled and pouted, taking the offensive piece of fabric off and throwing it on Eijiro, who just chuckled. “Fuck fancy dinner, I’m gonna spoil it with cake.”

“That’s the spirit, boss!” Mitsuha cheered, half a hot dog in her hand. “First slice goes to…”

They all drummed on their tables as he cut the slice and put it on a paper plate. Katsuki made a show of stabbing a plastic fork on the cake and looked around at his colleagues, before he got himself a bite and analyzed it - chocolate cake with ganache, the way he liked it - and then he ate it, making everyone gasp.

“The fuck you expected?” he said with his mouth full. Every year they threw him a party, and every year he did something different. One time, he threw the first slice in the trash (which was a shame, because he loved first slices, but the aesthetic) and told them that this tradition was bullshit.

Eijiro was used to him already and only shook his head with an amused smile on his face before taking the knife and start cutting more slices for everyone else.

“Who made this shit?” Katsuki asked pointing at the cake with his fork.

“I did, boss,” Mitsuha said at the same time everyone pointed at her. “Gia did the hamburgers and Shihao the hotdogs. Is it any good?”

“You all should be working on your cases,” he said frowning and they all gulped. “But congratulations, this cake is fucking great.”

Mitsuha sighed relieved.

“Thanks, boss,” she said and he reached out for a fist bump. “Got you a present too, it’s on your table.”

Eijiro offered her a piece of cake and she stepped away gleefully. Katsuki ate his cake. Ever so subtly, Kiri got closer to him.

“That girl has a crush on you,” he said matter-of-factly and Katsuki rolled his eyes.

“Don’t start.”

Somehow, Eijiro convinced Katsuki to wear the tie for their fancy dinner. They had reservations at this pretentious French restaurant where food was actually good, but not nearly enough in the plate. Luckily, they had had enough hamburgers and hot dogs at the agency, so they weren’t exactly hungry when they got there.

“I got a text from Shinso today,” Katsuki told his boyfriend halfway through dessert. Eijiro looked at him with raised eyebrows.

“Birthday text?”

Bakugo shook his head.

“No. His wife is pregnant with a boy, they want to name him Izuku.”

Kiri’s eyes widened.

“Really? Why?” he asked. “I never pegged him and Midoriya as friends.”

“He has his reasons,” Katsuki said vaguely because he had made a promise so many years ago of keeping a secret.

“And why tell you?” Eijiro wondered. “Since when you two are friends?”

“We’re not, but he wanted to ask if I wanted the name. For my child someday.”

Eijiro’s expression softened all of a sudden, like Katsuki knew it would if he was to bring up the subject, and his heart ached, like he knew would happen. Why did he bring it up?

“Oh, that’s noble of him,” Eijiro said smiling. “What did you tell him?”

“Nothing,” Katsuki said with a shrug.

“Won’t you answer?” Kiri asked frowning. Bakugo shook his head no. “Why not?”

“Let’s go home?” Katsuki suggested uncomfortably, signaling to the waiter.

Eijiro was not stupid, Katsuki knew that, but for some unknown reason he kept pushing his luck with him. Someday, the man would break. Someday, he would push the question further until Katsuki had to lay it down to him - those ugly truths, those semi-healed scars with scabs begging to be picked on.

Hopefully, Katsuki thought as they drove home, today wouldn’t be that day. Hopefully, he’d get to stay in this comfort zone for a bit longer, even though they already were in their 30s and Eijiro’s siblings already were populating the world by themselves, putting some extra pressure to their relationship in the meantime.

At some point he would run out of luck, wouldn’t he?

“Why won’t you answer Shinso?” Eijiro asked again when they were home, after pouring two glasses of wine so they could end the night. Katsuki accepted his glass with a sigh. “I mean, Midoriya was your oldest friend, and it was very respectful of Shinso to ask for your permission.”

“Deku’s been dead for almost as long as we knew each other,” he answered with a tired sigh.

“So what?” Kiri insisted. “You guys were friends since daycare, you still have nightmares about his death, he clearly means a lot to you still.”

“I don’t-”

“Don’t,” he interrupted, sounding a lot like a warning. “You think I don’t know you, Katsuki? We’ve shared a bed for over a decade, and you talk in your sleep.”

Taking a deep breath, Bakugo looked away, the glass of wine half full in his right hand, the liquid trembled as he grew more nervous.

“Fuck,” he mumbled to himself.

“Look,” continued Kirishima. “I’m not saying we should name our kid Izuku. All I’m saying is that if you want to claim the name or not, you should reply him. It’s a yes or no question.”

“I’m not naming my kid Izuku,” Katsuki said with a snark and Eijiro breathed out in a somewhat relief.

“Okay, fine. There are so many names we could choose, he can keep the name. Or maybe Iida will claim it. Isn’t his wife pregnant again?”

,” Katsuki replied casually taking a sip of his wine. “They posted this morning.”

“Oh, I didn’t see that,” Kiri said fishing out his phone to check it out. “But anyway, we can think of other names. You know Mina is still up to the solidary pregnancy.”

Katsuki’s wine was gone and hadn’t been enough. But he was done with the lying. He debated the whole day if he could do this, but it was clear he couldn’t, that was why he brought up the subject of the text, because he should just tell Kiri, like he was planning on doing a year ago.

“It doesn’t matter,” he interrupted Eijiro reaching for the bottle of wine and pouring himself some more. “I’m not having kids.”

“What?” Kiri asked confused and Bakugo looked at him.

“I’m not having kids,” he repeated, making Eijiro frown at him.

“Okay. You’re the genius, but I can do it,” he said, clearly not understanding his point, which only exasperated Bakugo more.

“Kiri,” Katsuki interrupted again and took a deep breath. He spoke slowly to help the information sink in. “I don’t want kids in any way. If we’re together and you decide to have a kid, I’d be its dad too, and I don’t want to be anyone’s dad. Ever. Never have. And I’ve been waiting for that opinion, desire, whatever, to change, but it never has. Which means it never will.”

There was a moment of silence where Eijiro stared at him, jaw dropped, unable to talk. Katsuki feared he broke just like he thought would happen, but then he shook his head.

“You’re joking,” he said somberly.

“Why the fuck would I joke about something that is important to you?” Bakugo replied scowling. “I know you want kids, and I wish I could want them too, for you, to make you happy, but I can’t. I tried to want it, and I can’t.”

“Then what the fuck are we going to do?” Eijiro asked. He was shaking now, the low liquid in his glass waving with the disturbance. He quickly thought it over, probably trying to find a way out of that dilemma of theirs. “Maybe we can find a point halfway happy for both of us. A godchild or… I could do social work.”

“Don’t be stupid, that won’t make you even halfway happy.”

“What do you mean, that I want to have kids more than I want to be with you?” Kirishima asked offended.

“That’s exactly what I mean, actually,” Katsuki said evenly and took a sip of his wine.

“That’s bullshit,” Eijiro replied exasperatedly. “I love you.”

“I know that!” Katsuki barked back. “And I love you, but I know for a fact that it won’t ever be enough!”

“You’re tripping, you had too much to drink,” Kiri said reaching for his glass of wine, but Bakugo kept it out of his boyfriend’s reach, opting to set it down the coffee table himself. “Look, let’s talk about it.”

“We are talking about it! You’re not listening to me!”

“Listening to what?” Eijiro interrupted him. “Because it sounds like you’re saying that in order for me to fulfill my dream of being a dad, we’d have to break up.”

“That’s what I’m trying to say,” Katsuki insisted.

You want to break up? You just told me you love me.”

“And it’s killing me, Eijiro!” he practically shouted; he rubbed his face nervously, trying to put his thoughts in order. Maybe he did have too much to drink, but if he lost fuel now, he wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to get through this conversation again. “If we stay together and decide to have a kid, it’ll make me miserable. If we stay together and decide not to have a kid, it’ll make you miserable. Don’t you get it? There’s no space for you and me anymore.”

“You’re right, I don’t get it,” Eijiro replied with the same level of anger. “We’ve been together since we were seventeen, Katsuki, how is it that fourteen years later you decide it’s not worthy anymore? I was going to fucking propose to you this summer!”

“Don’t throw that shit at me now!” Bakugo protested. Fuck, he knew the proposal was coming, he should’ve ended things a long time ago.

“Look at me, Katsuki, and tell me we shouldn’t be together anymore, that this is what you want.”

With a deep sigh, Katsuki did what Kirishima asked – he looked right into his eyes, and he said the words.

“We shouldn’t be together anymore. It’s not the same, and you deserve to be happy. I can’t make you happy.”

“You think a kid can? When you don’t even want one yourself?”

“I’m not kid-friendly!” Bakugo said annoyed. “I don’t like kids, I can’t remember a day in my life when I was like ‘you know, I’d love to have kids and raise them, and shit’. That’s not me, Eijiro. But it is you. You love that shit, you’ve talked about it since we met.”

“Then why the fuck did you kiss me for the first time? If you knew!”

“Because we don’t get to choose the person we fall in love with!”

That shut them both up, and for a moment they just stared at each other wide-eyed. This conversation was not going in a good direction, and it was as if Katsuki could physically feel the change of mood in the air. Finally, Eijiro spoke up.

“But we get to choose to keep loving them,” he said very calmly; he reached out and touched Katsuki’s cheek, fingertips almost as rough as Bakugo’s, and he closed his eyes under his boyfriend’s touch.

Maybe this wouldn’t go as south as expected. Maybe they could part ways smoothly.

“Babe, let’s figure it out,” Kiri said tenderly. Bakugo was hopeful too soon, it seemed. “Marry me.”

“Eijiro.” He replied like a warning.

“Let me choose you. You know I do, over and over.”

“Don’t do this,” Katsuki said standing up and walking towards the kitchen. Eijiro followed him.

“Why not? We love each other. Come on-“

“I CHEATED ON YOU! OKAY? AND I CAN’T GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT. I DON’T DESERVE YOU!”

Taken by surprise, Kiri paused and stepped back.

“You… what?”

“I don’t want,” Katsuki continued in a much more controlled tone, but still nervously avoiding eye contact. “To hurt you, I swear I don’t, but I’ve been thinking about breaking up for months and I was sure I would do this so long ago, but shit kept happening.”

“When?” Eijiro asked evenly, and when Katsuki looked at him, it was as if all light had left him. Was that how he looked like on a daily basis? He swallowed before answering.

“About a year ago? I think? When I went to India.”

“India?” he echoed and Katsuki nodded. “Who… was it Mitsuha?”

“What?” Bakugo asked confused, for a moment incapable of remembering his own employee. “No! Gee, what’s your problem with her?”

“She went with you!” Kiri argued and he rolled his eyes. “And she was sent by Utsushimi.”

Camie’s last name sounded like an insult coming from Eijiro’s mouth, and it took all the self-control Katsuki could gather not to groan.

“You say it as if she’s some sort of spy. You can’t possibly still be hung up on me and Camie,” he said, to what Kirishima scoffed. “We literally hooked up one time in like, second year. Before you and I got together, even.”

“Do you call fucking on a daily basis ‘not together’, Katsuki? Because that was our situation at the time.”

“I was fucking Mina on a daily basis too, and she never thought we were together,” he replied. “Some of those times you were there too! I don’t see you jealous of her.”

“Mina was different,” he argued and this time Katsuki was the one to scoff.

“Bullshit,” he replied; at each word he stepped in Kirishima’s direction intimidatingly. “Mina took my virginity. It’s been a fuck ton of time and I still remember how she feels under my touch, I still know exactly what to do to make her squirt, and she probably knows better than you how to turn me own. And yet, you’re not jealous of her. Camie and I had a one-time thing. It was fucking amazing, best pussy I’ve ever had, can’t deny that. But it was that and never again. She graduated, we barely saw each other again, she’s across the country from us and we only get to meet when there’s a major crisis. So why the fuck are you jealous?”

Eijiro swallowed, taken aback by Katsuki’s words. He knew he’d been borderline cruel, but some things just didn’t make sense with Kiri, and since they already were going downhill, what the hell, right?

“Who, then?” Kirishima asked instead, and Bakugo sighed.

“You don’t want to know.”

“Yes, I do.”

“No, you don’t.” Katsuki said with finality. “You think you do, but you don’t. You claim to know me so well, well, news fresh, Eijiro, I grew to know you a whole fucking lot too!”

“WHO WAS IT?” Kirishima asked again, pining Bakugo against the wall, and he grunted angrily. He didn’t even realize when the intimidation had shifted hands.

“FINE! It was Yaoyorozu.”

“STOP FUCKING WITH ME!”

“I’M TRYING TO, YOU IDIOT.” Katsuki screamed back, finally making some sense come over Eijiro, who let go of him and stepped back.

“You didn’t fuck Momo,” he tried to reason.

“I did. She was fresh out of that divorce of hers, and I was sure I’d break up with you as soon as I’d get back. I could tell you we were drunk, but we weren’t. And when we got back… you…”

“Were in the hospital,” Kiri finished the sentence for him; this time he was the one avoiding eye contact. Bakugo let out a shaky breath.

“The villains had attacked and you were badly injured. You needed me, I couldn’t leave, not yet. So I kept staying.”

“Is that why Momo’s been avoiding me?” Eijiro asked, his voice weak.

“I don’t know,” Katsuki answered and Kiri turned his back on him. “Maybe. She felt bad when we saw the news at the airport.”

There it was again, the silence. None of them moved or talked for a long time, though Eijiro kept his back to Katsuki for as long as possible. Bakugo understood, honestly, why he would want to avoid him for the rest of their lives, if possible. Fourteen years they’d been together, but it was the first time they cheated; if it had been the other way around, he didn’t know how he would react. Violently, maybe, probably.

“So, what is it?” Eijiro said half turned in Katsuki’s direction, still facing the other side. “You and Momo are in love?”

What?” Katsuki replied with a scowl. “No! We fucked, and that was it. I told you I love you.”

“Then act like it!” Kirishima said turning to him again. There was passion in his words, but not in his eyes. “Make it work, make us work. I forgive you.”

“No.” Katsuki said firmly.

“No?”

“Don’t you get, Eijiro? I’ve been trying to make it work for years,” he explained feeling the tears starting to pool in his eyes. Damn, it was no time to cry! “And it’s about time I let go.”

“You’re tripping,” Kirishima insisted. Part of Katsuki knew it’d be that hard and had been expecting that reaction from the get-go, but part was surprised, and he sighed in frustration as he stepped away just to stop abruptly at Kiri’s next words. “Are you taking your meds? Do you need to recalibrate them?”

“Am I-“ Bakugo replied aghast turning to him, and he shook his head. “This has nothing to fucking do with anything, Eijiro, no need to be an asshole about it! All I want is for us to part ways in order to be happy, that’s all!”

“So you can run to Yao-Momo’s arms, right? She is a real fit for you, isn’t she? Barren and all.”

“Don’t be like that,” Katsuki said as a warning pointing a finger because Kirishima was on thin fucking ice if he kept it up. “We’re adults and I believe we’re perfectly capable of dealing with it like adults.”

“Well, I’m sorry if I can’t fucking take it in one go that you don’t want to build a family with me after over a decade together, that you want to break up, and that you CHEATED ON ME WITH ONE OF MY FRIENDS!”

“I thought you said you forgave me.”

“SHUT UP, KATSUKI, SHUT UP!” Eijiro screamed on top of his lungs; Katsuki would be lying if he said it didn’t make him shrink a bit under Kiri’s sad stare, cracking voice and angry face. “Why would you do that to me? Why would you stay, and lie over and over and over, and fuck with me, make me think we would have the rest of our lives together? Why?”

“It’s complicat-“

“Complicated my ass!” he interrupted him, pointing a finger at Bakugo’s chest, tears streaming down his cheeks. “I knew all along that you were a broken piece of shit, but I loved you anyway, and for what? So you could shit all over me?”

“I didn’t mean to, I swear,” Katsuki said low, and when he blinked his own tears fell too. “I’m sorry.”

“Fuck your sorry!” Eijiro spat back. “Fuck you.”

With determined steps, Kirishima backed away and walked towards the lobby, where he got his jacket and keys, but Bakugo followed him closely.

“Kiri, you don’t have to leave, I’ll go. This is your apartment.”

“Don’t bother,” he replied pocketing his phone and putting on the jacket.

“I mean it. I can sleep in my agency.”

“Katsuki,” Eijiro said coldly – something Bakugo honestly thought would never happen. “It’s your birthday, you should sleep on your own bed. I’ll be back. Eventually.”

Only Katsuki didn’t know if he would be here when he came back, but it wasn’t as if Eijiro was giving enough space to say goodbye. Before he could step forward, the door was closing on his face and he was left in the empty apartment that used to be his too, but didn’t exactly felt like it now.

The house phone rang and it probably had been ringing for a while before he realized it, so he hurried back to the living room and picked it up.

“Bakugo speaking,” he said.

Oh, Mr. Bakugo,” a women’s voice said on the other end. “It’s Fera, your wall neighbor? We heard noises, and we were worrying if everything was okay.”

“Oh, for fuck's sake,” Bakugo complained and hung up on her face. Fuck the neighbors, he needed to live somewhere with no people around, Tokyo was driving him crazy too.

The bottle of wine still was on the coffee table, so he picked it up and sipped straight from it. As he did that, he thought about his childhood house and about the last time he had talked to his father. It wasn’t that long ago, when he had to recalibrate his meds like Kiri accused him of not doing.

Casting a glance at the clock, he saw that it still was a quarter to midnight, meaning that it still was his birthday. Thirty-one years old. Professional hero #3 Ground Zero. And (finally) single (the way he was supposed to be all along. Why did he think he could ever make someone happy?).

Well, what a great, cheerful way to end the day, and Bakugo hadn’t even said everything he had to say about the matters they discussed. He didn’t say that back in high school he never thought he and Eijiro would be the couple to last, didn’t say how he was chin deep in this well of sadness and their relationship was not helping him get out of it, and he didn’t say that on top of never wanting kids, after their 3rd year all he could think of was that he didn’t want to bring someone to this world just so they could die before reaching their full potential like Deku and Ocha did.

Raising his bottle to anyone in particular, Katsuki made a toast.

“Happy fucking birthday, you useless piece of shit.”

Another proof the world liked to turn in weird directions, if he dared say.