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Forests To Get Lost In

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Bakugou looks over at Todoroki with glazed eyes. Todoroki doesn’t know from what; it could be alcohol, it could be something a bit more dangerous like emotions, or it could just be drugs. Todoroki wanted to disappear and not deal with confrontation. He’s bad with confrontations. Great, now he feels bad for wanting to disappear and not be confronted by an obviously off brand emotional Bakugou Katsuki.

“Shouto, you ever-“

Oh, God. Todoroki swallows the lump forming on his throat. He’s calling me by my first name.

Todoroki’s just glad that the music is blasting at the maximum level. His eyes meet Kaminari’s, who is the one who threw this party. Kaminari does a ton of gestures that Todoroki interprets as Thanks For Taking Care Of Drunk Bakugou, Todoroki!

“You ever think of what would happen if we were still together?” Bakugou hiccups at the end of that sentence. Todoroki wants to be swallowed up by Kaminari’s marbled floors.

If Todoroki was a lesser man, he would say, Yeah, Katsuki. I think about it all the time. I think about our times together from years ago. Sometimes I jack off to your memory then cry afterwards because I miss you.

And Todoroki also thinks that if he was more of a man, he would offer to bring Bakugou water, hand him off to somebody else, and run for it.

But he’s still the same. He might have matured, he believes he has, but he’s still the same peron when he was sixteen and looked at the other in a different light. Still the very same idiot.

“What do you mean?” He asks more to himself than to answer Bakugou’s question with a question of his own.

“I think,” Bakugou looks at Todoroki intently despite obvious inebriation, “I think we would be hanging out together, like we once did.”

Todoroki’s inner demons scowl. That’s it? You made me want to get swallowed up by marble tiles for that?

“And you’d be my favourite person, like you still are.”

Okay. Well.

Todoroki’s brain just stops functioning at this point.

How can I still be your favourite person Bakugou? How can I still be your person? How? Why?

And a dark part of him whispers, After all I did to hurt you, that wasn’t enough?

*

(9 years earlier)

Todoroki cannot stand spring and fall. Not because of the drops and rise in temperature, but because these seasons entail going to school and having to stay with his Dad. Summer and winter means he goes to the countryside to stay with his mom where he can relish the quiet and simplicity of life.

He’s had this arrangement since he could remember.

When he was twelve, Todoroki meets Midoriya and Bakugou who lives there all seasons of the year. Todoroki wandered off his usual path and ended up in a deep part of the forests.

The two boys run past him; an obnoxiously loud blonde and a timid green-eyed one. Todoroki doesn’t remember where he picked off the bright red fruits of a tree, but Midoriya was carrying some as well.

Midoriya was about to eat them, and Bakugou shrieks at him. “Stupid Deku! Those are not fruits! Those are poisonous! Don’t be like that weirdo!”

Todoroki knew he was the weirdo the blonde was referring to, and he ends up rounding up on the two of them to say something sarcastic back to Bakugou. He took a liking to Midoriya, who did the same. Bakugou accepted him as well, and Todoroki felt the same. Being friends with Midoriya entails Bakugou as a plus one, and he did want a friend.

Todoroki loved summer and winter. He loved seeing his Mom, he loved getting away from his Dad, and most of all he loved his friend Midoriya, and okay maybe Midoriya’s friend Bakugou.

The change in one’s body is not noticeable, but to Midoriya and Bakugou it was. Or in Bakugou’s case, the lack of it. At fifteen, Todoroki and Midoriya could easily reach the fruits of the citrus trees. Bakugou couldn’t even when he is standing on the tips of his toes. In the countryside, Todoroki spent a lot of his time picking fruit, and this entailed that he spent a lot of time looking down at Bakugou as well.

Midoriya looks at him directly; his once gentle face now turning rough. Bakugou on the other hand retains some semblance of softness.

*

At sixteen years old, on a summer, Todoroki visits Midoriya’s house to find Bakugou standing at the entrance as well.

“Deku’s sick. He can’t come out.” Bakugou says matter-of-factly. Todoroki may not have spent the same amount of time together as the two, but four years is enough for him to decode Bakugou’s moods. Bakugou hates routine being disrupted. Routine for Bakugou is that when school is out and summer or winter begins, the three of them would meet at Midoriya’s house and stay outside until its too hot or too cold to bear.

“Oh,” Todoroki says, “What are your plans then?”

Bakugou sighs. “Its summer. I’m going to make the most of it.” He walks pass Todoroki, and Todoroki remains rooted on his spot and watching Bakugou’s back. Bakugou stops and turns to the other. “Well? Are you coming?”

“Oh! Yeah, I’ am.” Todoroki gets to Bakugou’s side within two strides. When they start walking, Todoroki had to slow down his phase so that Bakugou could keep up. Bakugou’s up to his jaw now, and Todoroki wonders if he’s actually ever going to hit a growth spurt because if he doesn’t, Todoroki would grow a head taller than him or maybe more.

They walk quietly to the forests until they reach a lemon tree. Bakugou hands Todoroki an eco bag, signalling for him to start picking.

Bakugou makes him pick everything, and Todoroki wonders if someone actually owns these trees. They find a strawberry bush, several in fact, and Bakugou looks delighted. He’s got his own bag, and he lectures Todoroki to start picking and make himself useful. The next tree they find is an apple tree. Todoroki starts picking without being told to and Bakugou grunts.

“Why are you making me pick so many?” Todoroki asks. Bakugou glares, “Enough talking, more picking.” Todoroki sighs. Without Midoriya, the two of them are stuck in a one-sided conversation.

“Oh! Get that one!” Bakugou points at something a bit higher up. Todoroki stands on his toes and plucks it easily. He was about to put it in his bag when Bakugou grabs it from his hand.

Bakugou bites into it; a loud crunch that makes Todoroki focus on his companion. Todoroki watches Bakugou chew on the juicy flesh of the apple, so seemingly joyful over something so simple. Todoroki not only watches but makes note of Bakugou; actually looks at him.

Its really hot out, and Bakugou is wearing a white sleeveless shirt two sizes big for him. The baby fat on his cheeks are starting to melt, but he still looks soft. Midoriya and him have jumped ship the puberty train and growth spurt when they hit fourteen, and it looks like Bakugou is finally catching up.

Bakugou is on the cusp of change; still innocent and with no rough edges. Todoroki attributes his next train of thoughts to hormones. He wonders if Bakugou has perverse thoughts as well, or if he’s curious of the things adults do.

Even with relationships Midoriya got a head start. One afternoon after class, Midoriya texts Todoroki that there is someone he likes. Todoroki teases him that he never thought Midoriya would like anyone as much as Bakugou, and Midoriya groans about it but ends up telling Todoroki about this girl in his class.

Todoroki wants to know if Bakugou has someone like that in his life as well. Rationally speaking, the chance of the prickly boy having a love interest is close to none, but Todoroki’s curiosity got the better of him.

“Do you have a girlfriend Bakugou?”

Bakugou sputters on his apple. He ends up coughing and spluttering while also glaring at Todoroki. He also seem embarrassed by the question judging by how red his usually pale cheeks are.

“What kind of stupid question is that?!”

“So that’s a no, huh. Seems like Midoriya beat you to it.”

“What do you mean, Deku beat- don’t tell me you also have one!”

That makes Todoroki’s eyebrows rise. He wasn’t aware that Midoriya is officially dating the apple of his eye. Todoroki kicks himself inwardly with the pun. Bakugou’s still holding the apple. Does Bakugou taste like apples? Todoroki kicks himself inwardly again for the perverted thought.

Todoroki ignores the question and picks another apple. Bakugou’s still glaring. He takes a bite out of the apple, the same loud crunch as when Bakugou did it. Bakugou starts walking, pushing past him.

“Let’s just keep going halfie!” Todoroki ceases his chewing. Even from this distance, he can see that Bakugou’s ears are bright red.

Well, hey now. That’s something new.

Todoroki spends the rest of the morning picking fruit with Bakugou while also staring intently at the other. Bakugou called him out twice, and by the third time, Todoroki would smile the same smile his Mom cannot say no to, and Bakugou only glowers. The list in Todoroki’s head keeps growing. He insists on blaming the hormones and a lack of Midoriya’s intervening. At one point, Bakugou was ready to tackle him and hit him, but Todoroki dodges and laughs. Bakugou scowls, makes sure the bag filled with fruit and vegetables is fine, and goes back to scowling. The trouble with not having Midoriya around is that Todoroki loves testing Bakugou’s patience, and Bakugou loves hitting Todoroki in retaliation.

Its almost lunch time when Bakugou finally seems satisfied. “Alright, I’m going home. See you around.”

Todoroki feels lost. Usually after these sessions, the three of them would head to Midoriya’s house and eat lunch. Feeling quite petulant, Todoroki says, “What? No inviting me to lunch?” Bakugou stares at Todoroki incredulously. Todoroki smiles. Bakugou grumbles and motions for him to follow. Todoroki wanted to invade Bakugou’s space and purr in satisfaction but he holds himself back.

Bakugou’s house is very different from Midoriya’s. It is very rustic and homey, all sorts of hanging vegetables over the door. Bakugou’s parents are not home, both working at the Bakugous farm. They set the bags by the sliding door leading to the back garden. Todoroki makes himself comfortable, lounging by the table.

Bakugou kicks his ankles, “What do you want to eat?”

“Apples.”

“What?”

“I mean, whatever you are having.”

Bakugou starts cooking, and Todoroki watches. When Todoroki realizes that he’s been watching Bakugou’s back for minutes now, he turns around and stares outside at the heat.

Yeah. This is better. Yeah.

“Have you gone too stupid now that you’re trying to blind yourself by staring straight into the sun?”

Bakugou sets down the food and takes a seat across Todoroki. They say their thanks for the food, and Todoroki is surprised that Bakugou is a good cook. Whenever they are over at Bakugou’s, it was only to drop off the bags of fruit they picked at the forest. Todoroki realizes that he doesn’t know much about Bakugou like he does Midoriya.

“Hey, what’s your favourite colour?” Todoroki asks.

Bakugou’s nose crinkles. “You’re being weird again.”

“What’s your favourite colour?”

“Why do you want to know?!”

“Your conversation skills are wonderful, Bakugou.”

“...”

“Its yellow isn’t it?”

“No!”

“Come on, tell me.”

“Red.”

“Red.. really? Like apples?”

“You bastard.. what do you have against apples?! And I mean red like the red half of your stupid hair, stupid.”

Todoroki fumbles for a moment. Bakugou looks unbothered. Todoroki wonders if this is what falling in love is like.

*

On second thought, Todoroki thinks maybe he was just horny. Its been four days, and Midoriya is still sick. He and Bakugou has probably picked the last strawberry bush bald in the entire countryside. Bakugou’s still wearing sleeveless shirts and uncaringly biting into fleshy fruits wherein the juice drops to his chin and Todoroki thinks of other things. Nasty, perverted things, that is.

“Bakugou, I’ am so sick of picking fruit.”

“What else do you want to do then, dumb shit? What do fancy city boys like you do for fun?”

Jerk off to the thought of their friend’s friend.

“Go to the mall?”

“You mean indulge in capitalism. I see your point.”

“What does that even mean?”

At night, Todoroki jerks off angrily to thoughts of Bakugou. At the morning, he goes straight to Bakugou’s house who greets him with a roll of his eyes.

“What took you so long?”

“Bakugou, its eight in the morning.”

“I start my day at five, what’s your point?”

Todoroki sits down beside the other. The entrance (or exit?) to the garden is where they spend their days now. This time, Bakugou’s got pots, pans, and mason jars everywhere.

“What are you doing?”

“Making preserves.”

“What?”

Bakugou sighs and hands Todoroki a jar. “If I give you this, would you stop talking?”

“Maybe.”

Todoroki opens the lukewarm jar and smells strawberries. Bakugou grumbles like an old man and hands him a spoon. “Deku is much easier to shut up.” Todoroki scoops it up, and Bakugou says, “Be careful its hot.” Todoroki’s probably making it up in his head that Bakugou looks caring, but he can have fantasies.

Its good. Its really good. He’s had strawberry jam of course, but not fresh like this. “I didn’t know you do stuff like this.” Bakugou shrugs, but he’s smirking proudly. “I’m that good. You can keep that, half and half. Its red like your hair.”

Todoroki stops. His hair again. God, why is he suddenly getting hard? “Its not the same shade.” He croaks out. Bakugou raises a brow at him and crosses his arms. “Well, duh, stupid. What’s your point?”

Todoroki doesn’t have a point, but a voice inside his head screams that Bakugou is reminded of him with the colour red. Like his hair. Like his Dad’s stupid hair colour. He’s always hated that half of him. Todoroki can’t believe his crush on Bakugou is because of the other continuously mentioning the one thing he absolutely hates about himself.

“I hate the red half of me.” Todoroki mumbles. Bakugou’s eyes travel from him to his hair. His head is tilted upwards, and Todoroki feels a bit self-conscious.

“You should, you look stupid,” Bakugou says, the awful person he is, “But its also very you.”

*

Todoroki can’t sleep. The events of earlier morning keep coming back to his head, plaguing his mind and his senses.

After Bakugou tells him that his hair is stupid, he replied by saying, “Bakugou. You like me, don’t you?” Which caused the other boy to sputter and shout profanities at him.

Not knowing what to do with the fuming Bakugou, Todoroki adds fuel to the fire by saying, “I think I like you, Bakugou.”

He continues to shout curses at Todoroki.

“Don’t tell Midoriya, okay.”

That made Bakugou shut up. “What does the nerd have to do with this?! After all this time, I actually thought you liked him!”

Todoroki remembers the warmth he felt when he heard that sentence. It was like, Oh. So that was it.

“I like you.”

“Fuck you! You said earlier that you think you like me! Make up your goddamn mind!”

“Okay.”

“Okay?! What okay?! Stupid half and half I ought to—“

“I made up my mind. I like you, Bakugou.”

Bakugou only stares at him incredulously before looking down at the floor. “This is so stupid! Stupid Todoroki! Stupid Deku! You both are so annoying!”

Understanding fills him, and he says, “Midoriya isn’t sick, is he?”

Bakugou turns quiet. He is so red that Todoroki felt bad for a second. He’s grinning from ear to ear. This was a change in the plot that he did not expect.

“He was. For the first two days at least.”

“Please explain to this stupid halfie what that means.”

Bakugou glares at his sarcasm, but his red face makes Todoroki feel a surge of affection.

“He was sick, and he asked me what I was up to and if you were here already. I said you’ve been here, and that we’ve been hanging out, and then stupid Deku suggested he pretends to still be sick so we can spend more time together.”

Todoroki is not exaggerating when he says that that was the longest sentence Bakugou has ever said without cursing.

“You mean Midoriya knows you like me?”

Bakugou hits him over the head and Todoroki isn’t even mad.

“Bakugou.. I really want to not be beaten by Midoriya.”

“What the fuck do you mean?”

Todoroki knows he is as red as his hair at this point. “What I mean is that he has a girlfriend and all that. Surely they have done.. stuff.”

Bakugou covers Todoroki’s face with his hands, pushing the other away while screaming profanities. “I KNEW YOU WERE A GODDAMN PERVERT I KNEW IT!”

Back to the present, Todoroki groans and turns on the other side of his bed again. He is so tense and horny for the other teenager, but when Todoroki pried off Bakugou’s hands away from his face and saw that the other was blushing furiously, he just couldn’t bring himself to make another move or honestly, move at all.

God, Todoroki can’t believe he needed hormones to realise how adorable Bakugou is.

So here lies Todoroki. On his bed during summers and winters, harbouring feelings for Bakugou Katsuki who likes his red hair. Todoroki doesn’t know what to think. Or what to feel, regarding the matter. He’s not the most poetic person, but oh does his heart jump and hurt when he thinks of Bakugou.

Bakugou’s mouth. Bakugou’s exposed shoulders. Bakugou’s lips.

Maybe he really is just horny?

But then, Todoroki thinks of how Bakugou likes his red hair, and how Bakugou makes him lunch, or gives him strawberry preserves. He thinks of how Bakugou actually makes him feel, and Todoroki decides that aching for Bakugou physically is much easier to deal with than emotions.