Bakugou knew it was a terrible idea. Fucking Midoriya must’ve dislodged a part of his brain when he landed that hit on his jaw. He must’ve dislodged every sensible part of him, every part he’d built over his bones to protect himself from doing this very fucking thing.
Kirishima was on his side, drooling a little bit. His hair was splayed out on the pillow so in the darkness it almost looked its natural black.
It was rare Bakugou could get into the bed without waking him up. Tonight was no exception.
He tugged on the blankets and his arms protested it. He’d overdone it, his Quirk, and they were burned, all the way up his forearms, another backdrop of weakness to the bruises and the bandages. God, why did he have to be so fucking weak.
Kirishima made a low sound, moving back, “’Suki?”
He wanted to respond but all that came out of his mouth was this pathetic choked noise. Fuck. Fucking shit.
He was up in an instant, eyes flying open, pushed up on one elbow to look at him. They widened, raking over all his injuries and Bakugou wished it was darker so he couldn’t.
“Bakugou,” he breathed and scooted forward to sit in front of him, reaching for his face, “what happened—“
He didn’t feel himself lurch forward. Just the fabric of Kirishima’s shirt where he was balling it up in his fists, the warmth of him where his forehead grazed the crook of his neck when he bowed his head.
It wasn’t close enough. There wasn’t enough of him for Bakugou to stop seeing that flash of something in All Might’s sunken eyes, pity, or—or disappointment—
He lowered himself to sprawl one leg over the bed, all his weight on Kirishima’s thigh. Kirishima’s hands came down from hovering near his shoulders to rest around them, his other hand starting to card through his hair in an automatic soothing motion, “Hey. Hey, buddy? You okay?”
He didn’t say any of it. He didn’t trust himself to.
So Bakugou shook his head, pressing his eyes closed so the tears wouldn’t fall. Pressing closer, snaking his hands around Kirishima’s waist instead to have as much contact with him as he possibly could, fingers digging into the back of his shirt. He wanted all of it, the comfort of every soft line of him, the heat that always managed to calm Bakugou down nightmare after nightmare. He was shaking so badly already. Kirishima was moving with it.
Bakugou felt him swallow hard before his grip went tighter too, vicelike, and it almost hurt. It didn’t do his injuries a service, anyway.
Kirishima’s voice was quiet, careful when he spoke, “It’s okay. It’s okay, bud. It’s just me. You can let it out. It’s just me, Katsu.”
He didn’t think he knew how to. What that was, a few hours ago, that was him letting it out. There was so much of it stacked in him the only way he thought he could make it leave was exploding. Emotions were the one area where he didn’t think.
Then why the fuck did it feel so easy when Kirishima said it? Why did everything in Bakugou allow him to sag, fall into him, and just fucking sob? They hurt his throat, tears burning his eyelids, his cheeks. He muffled the noise against Kirishima’s skin.
“It’s okay,” Kirishima kept repeating, hiccupping between every affirmation, the hand brushing through Bakugou’s hair never faltering. Kirishima never faltered.
It could’ve been a few minutes. A few hours.
Either way the last thing that happened before he fell asleep was Kirishima lowering them both on the bed, quiet words continuing.
It’s okay. It’s okay, buddy.
Bakugou struggled to open his eyes when he woke up because of the salt from dried tears still sticking them closed. Kirishima was there when he finally managed. Still sleeping, dried tear tracks and all.
His hand was coming up to wipe them away before he could stop it.
Because of you. That’s because of you.
He untangled them inch by inch, rolling out of the bed so he landed on his ass on the floor. His entire body was fucking aching.
So much is because of you, you fucking prick.
He left the room.
Kirishima was sitting on his bed that night. He had expected it would happen, but it still managed to startle him when it actually came to it. Which was ridiculous because he was in all his soft-haired sweatpants-ed glory. Not in the least bit in-fucking-timidating, though who could tell considering Bakugou would find any kind of lame ass excuse to leave the room when Kirishima was in it all day.
“Hey,” he said, shoving his phone in his Crimson Riot hoodie, “you’re here.”
And yet Bakugou still felt paralyzed at that. Fucking shit.
He closed the door behind him with his foot, shoving his bandaged hands into his pockets, “Of course I’m here. It’s my damn room.”
Kirishima snorted, his shoulders moving with it, dimples flashing, “Yeah, I know. I was just waiting for a little, so I thought you were gonna pull an all-nighter on the makeup work.”
He’d been planning on it. He didn’t like falling behind, much less when he had the extra day of suspension, but he also didn’t want to sacrifice his carefully maintained sleep schedule, not after already having a late night before. Fucking Pikachu even had the gall to laugh at him for it downstairs.
“So does that mean we can talk?”
Bakugou scowled, “Tch. The fuck are you talking about?”
“Your fight,” Kirishima elaborated, eyes lighting on his injuries just like they had in the darkness of his own room as Bakugou walked across the room to change his shirt. A beat later, he added, “With Midoriya.”
“Just making sure, you might’ve hit your head or something.”
“I didn’t hit my goddamn head—“
“The bruise I can see peeking through your bangs tells a different story, but maybe I’m the concussed one,” Kirishima threw back easily and met Bakugou’s glare with a bright smile. He knew that it was stupid and disgustingly sappy to think it literally made the room seem bathed in the glow of it, but he was warmer. His fucking face was going red, his own blood, the fucking traitor.
Bakugou turned back and pulled the shirt out, slamming the drawer shut, “Can you at least wait until I catch my fucking breath before harassing me, shitty hair?”
“I thought we agreed that insult was invalid when I have my hair down!” He whined and, God, Bakugou would rearrange his teeth with his fist if he didn’t want to run his tongue over them.
If he didn’t he would regret it more than anything.
“Shitty is a constant state,” Bakugou deadpanned as he switched the shirts, swiveling on his heel to lean against the drawers, arms crossed. The metal hurt against the bruises spanning his back but he didn’t give a shit. Plus, Kirishima would get fussy if he showed it.
There was silence. Bakugou would never fucking admit it out loud, but he always liked how Kirishima looked in his room. A splash of red against all the black and grey, like that one pretentious ass painting by Picasso. Or a heart, looking at Bakugou with bloody eyes beating softly.
He tilted his head forward slightly, voice careful like Bakugou would spook away, “We also agreed we could talk about anything with each other.”
They had. Bakugou wasn’t about to lie and Kirishima’s eyes were getting more scarlet with each passing second so he looked away, fixating on the corkboard Ashido had hung up without his permission.
Right on the stupid fucking limited edition All Might trading card he’d ended up scoring on the same day as fucking Midoriya.
The familiar thought of, God, what makes him so much fucking better than me, flashed through his head and he pressed his mouth into a line to keep it from escaping out through there. It was kneejerk despite the fact he knew the answer.
“Move over,” he said gruffly and Kirishima made space for him. They sat facing each other, Bakugou’s legs crossed, with his hands braced on his knees while Kirishima had one leg folded up to rest his chin on. There was a faint grin on his face and the only reason Bakugou noticed it was because of the dimple. He had realized a long time ago how much he looked forward to seeing it.
Christ, no wonder lasers were always fucking red in movies. Kirishima was doing a great job of burning holes into Bakugou’s skull. “Stop staring at me.”
“Last night wasn’t a nightmare, was it?” He didn’t stop staring. The grin disappeared, the dimple along with it.
Bakugou focused on the absent spot and shook his head. He didn’t realize how tightly he was clenching his fists until Kirishima reached out to touch his knuckles softly. He had faint, awful tanlines from those useless sleeves he wore. Bakugou wanted to trace them with his mouth.
“I’m worried about you, bro.” He curled his fingers into Bakugou’s and tugged. “You… I don’t like seeing you cry. As healthy as it is to do it, I don’t like it.”
Bakugou grunted, “Believe me, I tried to stop.”
“Not the point!” More tugging, an insistent lean forward of his head to meet Bakugou’s gaze again. So, so red. His hair tickled Bakugou’s nose.
“Talk to me.”
Why was he so soft? Why was Kirishima always so willing, so fucking able to conform to every rough line of him?
“I won the fight,” he mumbled, staring at their hands. They had different kinds of scars, but they both had them, curling over their fingers, their knuckles. “I managed to pin him down with one hand on his face. I won.”
Kirishima blinked. He was struggling to keep his face neutral and Bakugou could tell. He wore his heart on his sleeve. It was fucking insane.
“Isn’t that a good thing? For you, I mean?”
It crossed his mind to tell him but he. He’d promised. It was Kirishima, it was Eijirou, but he’d promised All Might. So he swallowed that down. “It wasn’t enough.” He thought he could keep himself contained to that but with the one’s he needed blocked blocked, all the others decided to tumble out.
“It wasn’t nearly fucking enough. I wanted to—to prove to myself that I wasn’t weak, that I was perfectly goddamn capable of it but it didn’t—“ Kirishima’s hardened hands squeezed his sparking ones and he had to make himself calm down. He couldn’t bare it. He couldn’t hurt more people, not like this.
“Take your time, Katsu,” Kirishima said softly. He was every contradiction.
Bakugou took a shuddering breath, fixing his face into its usual scowl to force it into submission. It didn’t work. He brought their joint hands up to press them into his forehead, and maybe he was covering himself from Kirishima, but maybe he wanted to feel more. He wanted to feel the pulse of him.
“My weakness allowed for All Might’s Quirk to be taken.”
Kirishima ripped his hands away. It was honestly not even the worst case scenario in his head but it startled him anyway.
It shocked him into freezing when Kirishima grabbed his face, pulled him forward. Bakugou already knew they were rough, calloused, but the feeling was a goddamn world of different on his cheeks.
Truly bloody this time. Or at least looking to draw it. His face was a fight waiting to happen and it was the one time Bakugou didn’t want to rise to the challenge.
“Katsuki, you’re not weak.”
His fingers pressed into Bakugou’s temples. Like the words.
“What happened at Kamino was not a show of weakness. I don’t know how you can even think that.” His voice went quieter, more like he was trying to make it digestible, the ability to bury through Bakugou’s skin. “I… do. I do know how. I would think the same thing. But it’s a bad thought. It’s a wrong one. It could’ve been any of us.
“You’re anything but weak, man,” maybe his face was getting closer, maybe Bakugou’s head was spinning. “I was terrified, but I was never worried. I knew we would get you out of there because you’re so strong. You’re so incredibly strong, dude, in every single sense. You have to know All Might isn’t your fault.”
Bakugou would have shut his eyes if he had the power to. If Kirishima—God, Kirishima—
His thumbs were sweeping over Bakugou’s wet cheeks and he was crying too. They were back to it. “You’re allowed to cry. You’re allowed to break down and scream all you want, and still be strong. You’re allowed to go through what you went through, and still be so goddamn strong.”
“Enough,” but his word didn’t carry. It barely even formed. “Eijirou—”
Parry me. Block me all you want.
Kirishima’s hands had slid down to hold his neck instead. Bakugou was just clutching at his wrists uselessly. Like they were all that was keeping him on the bed. They probably were. The second Kirishima let him go, he’s bolting out. Of his own room. He’d sleep in the goddamn bathtub, he didn’t give a shit.
Then Kirishima pulled him forward gently and pressed his tear-soaked mouth against Bakugou’s forehead. The space right between his eyebrows.
It felt like a brand. Or something else. Honestly, all his nerve endings were fucking trampling each other to get to that spot, to be there and feel it to the point that he almost couldn’t. It was so much.
At Bakugou’s rigidity, he started pulling away, and he absolutely wasn’t having that shit. His throat was too clogged to let him say it, Fucking commit, but he raised his trembling hands and buried them into Kirishima’s hair. They slipped, with the tears, with the surprise, with the fact they were just really damn awkward, and it was forehead against forehead. Nose to nose. Kirishima’s eyelashes almost tangled in his own.
He could finally speak, “Your eyelashes are too damn long,” and Kirishima let go of his neck to grab his wrists. He pulled them out of his hair.
It was terrifying. For a second.
But he kept them, lacing their fingers all together.
Jesus fuck, he had to muffle a sob.
“This is okay,” he said quietly, and Bakugou wasn’t entirely sure if that was a question or an affirmation but he nodded anyway. Kirishima’s eyes flickered up to meet his for a second before the red of them seemed to bleed down into his cheeks as he brought Bakugou’s knuckles up to his mouth. And just pressed them there, on the part. Their scars didn't match, made up of different traumas, but they looked good together. The feeling of Kirishima's lips against his skin felt like a new one, burning.
Bakugou took his hands back along with one of Kirishima's, finally acting on his instinct.
Damn tan lines. Starting on his middle knuckle and splaying out to circle around his wrist, and they all called the sleeves stupid and Kirishima would laugh and agree, say they made him look cooler, but Bakugou knew he'd gotten them because the material allowed for him to pick people up without hurting them when he was hardened, because the last thing Kirishima wanted to do was hurt someone with his Quirk, because he thought of others almost more often than he thought about himself—
"Damn tan lines," Bakugou spoke against the middle knuckle.
He looked up and was met with the sun's brighter imitation. All soft and Kirishima, tongue almost poking between his teeth. "You have some too, Katsuki."
Not out of your damn selflessness.
He didn't say it because Kirishima's looking at him like he's everything he's not and his emotions are still raw enough to feel like the heart Kirishima resembled. He kind of wanted to kiss him, then, but.
He wasn't gonna kiss Kirishima after crying. That wasn't fucking happening. It wasn't gonna be salt and stupid bullshit Bakugou conjured up of his own self-loathing. It had to be the good things because Kirishima was all good things.
"You get me though, right?" Kirishima said softly, nudging up with his hand.
"I get you," Bakugou echoed, not moving. He added in a, "Shitty hair," belatedly but it sounded more like he'd some dumb pet name instead. He'd have to find something new and decided on shaking the captured hand closer to Kirishima's face and muttering, "Shitty tan lines."
It made him snort. "Anger management."
"A good percentage of your insults toward me have the word ass in them, Kat, what're you trying to say?"
Bakugou clicked his tongue, "Smartass."
"That's a new one!" Kirishima said cheerily and he tipped Bakugou back so he was lying flat. He didn't resist it. Why would he?
He didn't let go of his hand. It was starting to get sweaty and he couldn't find it in himself to give even one shit. When Kirishima made the move to let go, he tightened his fingers.
Kirishima did it again, "I have to turn off the lights. Big emotional stuff needs time to be slept off."
"You did this to yourself," Bakugou said, once again shaking their fists for emphasis as to what this was.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," Kirishima reasoned and finally freed himself when it caught Bakugou off guard. It took three heart-pounding seconds for darkness to descend and Kirishima to slip into the bed, grabbing the hand back so Bakugou's arm is almost hugging his chest. "Still is. Get under the covers, dude."
"You're not allowed to call me that anymore," Bakugou grunted and complied without letting go of the hand, which took some maneuvering, but he could fucking manage.
Kirishima's eyes really did seem to glow. Happy and tired in the same respect. "Why's that?"
Bakugou narrowed his eyes and pulled him closer so their heads were leaning against each other, temple to temple, "Shut up."
"We can work out the rules tomorrow," Kirishima agreed, kissing Bakugou's cheek.
It was warm. He was warm. He'd say lukewarm, but he didn't know a damn Luke. Eijirouwarm. He deserved his own brand.
They were quiet.
Bakugou shut his eyes, finally. Kirishima was running his fingertips over the back of Bakugou's hand.
The quiet made him naked. It bared him in full and he barely recognized the words.
Kirishima didn't stop but Bakugou felt his heart stutter. He smelled like gunmetal and cinnamon toothpaste.