Eijirou stared at the infirmary ceiling in silence as he gathered his thoughts.
He remembered the battle - the pain of Hakamata’s spells, the achy dizzy feeling of using too many spells and still pushing for another one - but not much else.
He’d woken up before...Bakugou had been there. He’d told Eijirou that Toga was dead, and Hakamata had been left to Aizawa’s mercy.
It was over.
For a second, Eijirou’s heart stopped as he realized it was over, Bakugou could be free now, he could leave.
“Calm the fuck down, asshole.” Eijirou’s entire body went limp in relief. Bakugou was still there. Eijirou turned his head, peered at the war mage who was sitting beside his bed, scowling down at him.
Oh, right. Bakugou had said he wasn’t leaving. Of course. “Don’t you remember what we talked about before?”
There was an edge to Bakugou’s voice that Eijirou couldn’t place. Something from before had him anxious. What…
Oh. Maybe the name thing? Bakugou had said Eijirou could use his given name, Katsuki. He’d promised to explain when Eijirou woke up again. Eijirou opened his mouth to ask him to follow through, but the words died on his tongue.
Bakugou looked so jittery. Did he regret telling Eijirou to use his name like that? Or maybe he just didn’t want to explain.
If Bakugou wasn’t ready to explain, then Eijirou wasn’t about to make him. Not when Bakugou was planning to stay.
“Before?” Eijirou repeated, sinking into the bone-deep exhaustion that hovered at the back of his mind, using it to mask his tone.
“You don’t remember?” Bakugou seemed...lost? Relieved? Something. He clearly wasn’t about to explain, though, so Eijirou was pretty sure he had made the right decision.
“Sorry,” Eijirou sighed.
“It’s fine. I’ll just explain again.” Bakugou grumbled, but his shoulders weren’t hunched defensively as he told Eijirou the news of their friends. Sero and Asui had departed to capture Dabi, along with some noble mages. Shinsou and Monoma were still working together and in the palace, and Awase had been searching the depths of the palace for whoever Hakamata had been using against him, with Tokoyami protecting him whenever he wasn’t needed by the crown prince.
“You really don’t remember?” Bakugou asked. Eijirou didn’t want to lie, but he also didn’t want to admit he was dying to know why Bakugou had told him he could call him Katsuki.
“It might come back to me if you keep talking,” Eijirou suggested. Bakugou rolled his eyes and stood.
“If you’re well enough to try to get me talking, you’re well enough for-“ Bakugou broke off, staring down at the hand clutching his sleeve. Eijirou blinked, realized it was his own hand, and hastily let go.
“Sorry!” Eijirou looked away, yanked his hand back, only for Bakugou to catch his hand and hold onto it.
“Hey. I’m not leaving if that’s what you’re worried about,” Bakugou said quietly.
“I mean it. Your shitty ass is stuck with me.” Eijirou lifted his gaze to meet Bakugou’s. The war mage’s expression was hard to read, and not too long ago Eijirou would’ve thought it was annoyed. But now he could see the little quirk of Bakugou’s lips, the set of his jaw, the softness around his eyes. “And hey. Even if you don’t remember, I told you to call me Katsuki now. It’s my given name.”
Eijirou could feel his own surprise, though he knew it was for a different reason than Bakugou thought. Bakugou probably thought Eijirou was surprised he was giving him permission for this. In reality, though, Eijirou was reacting to something even more unlikely: Bakugou had repeated his permission instead of just pretending like it hadn’t happened.
“Quit that,” Bakugou grumbled, poking at Eijirou’s cheek. “It’s not a big deal.” That was a lie and they both knew it, but Eijirou was content to let Bakugou pretend.
He’d explain when he was ready, and Eijirou could wait patiently until then.
It was dark when Eijirou woke the next morning, this time in his own bed after being discharged from the infirmary the day before. For a second, he wasn’t sure what had woken him, but a whimper from the bed beside him gave him a pretty good idea.
Eijirou pushed himself up on his elbows and frowned into the darkness, blinking a few times as he realized the person-sized lump next to him was actually a person, specifically a war mage who had apparently decided to curl up in his bed.
Bakugou’s body was tense, and there was a clear and probably carefully maintained distance between him and Eijirou.
Eijirou bit his lip as Bakugou let out whine that sounded downright terrified. He was desperate to reach out, to soothe the mage somehow, but held back. Bakugou didn’t like being touched without warning, and him waking up to someone touching him would be bad enough, but someone - even Eijirou - touching him in a bed would be even worse than normal.
“Bakugou.” Eijirou sat up, shifting as carefully as he could so he wouldn’t accidentally jostle Bakugou, who let out a shrill cry that pierced Eijirou like a dagger. Bakugou was still for a heartbeat, and Eijirou thought maybe it was over and Bakugou was awake, but then Bakugou was writhing, twisting and arching, his magic sparking against his palms and eating away at the blankets as he desperately clawed away at them.
“Eijirou!” The scream tore itself from Bakugou’s throat as he wrenched himself free of the tattered remains of Eijirou’s poor blankets and nearly fell off the bed.
Eijirou lunged, seized Bakugou’s shirt, and hauled him toward the center of the bed without thinking.
Pain bit into Eijirou’s stomach and chest as Bakugou braced himself, palms pressed to Eijirou’s skin and magic still active. Eijirou clenched his jaw and forced himself to slowly let go of Bakugou.
“Hey, you’re okay. You’re safe.” Eijirou did his best to keep his voice steady as Bakugou’s breathing steadied and his magic faded, but he must have let it wager just a little too much because Bakugou sat back, glaring through the darkness.
“I think you killed the blanket,” Eijirou said, forcing his tone to lightness as he held up the remains of his poor poor blanket, hoping it would distract Bakugou from studying him too closely. He would need to find an excuse to slip out and put on a shirt and maybe sneak over to Sero or Shinsou to be healed.
Bakugou blinked blearily at him, glanced down at his own hands before lifting his gaze to meet Eijirou’s.
“You’re safe?” Bakugou probably meant for it to be a statement, but his voice quivered.
“I’m okay,” Eijirou assured him. He reached up, ran his fingers through Bakugou’s hair. It was the best way he’d found to soothe the mage, and Bakugou reacted the way Eijirou expected, the tension draining out of him and his eyelids drooping.
But then Bakugou did something Eijirou did not expect, and just sort of collapsed forward against Eijirou’s chest.
Eijirou hissed, his body going rigid before he could control himself as Bakugou’s body weight landed on his newly-inflicted injuries. Eijirou tried to force his body to relax, but Bakugou was already up again and staring at Eijirou’s torso in horror.
“Fuck,” Bakugou whispered, scrambling backwards. “Fuck, fuck, goddamnit I fucking did it again.” Eijirou grabbed for him, knowing it was a stupid idea but desperate to keep Bakugou from pushing himself backwards any more in case he fell off the bed.
“It’s okay!” Eijirou blurted out, Bakugou freezing in place when Eijirou’s hands cupped his cheeks. “Bakugou, it’s fine. I’m fine.”
“Like fuck you are,” Bakugou snapped, his voice low and miserable. “You’re hurt again and it’s my fault. Again.” Bakugou clenched and unclenched his fingers a few times, his hands hovering like he wanted to touch Eijirou’s arms but wasn’t sure he should.
“Go ahead,” Eijirou murmured, dropping one hand from Bakugou’s cheek to catch his hand, holding it in his own. “I’m not afraid of your magic or your hands or anything. I’m not afraid of you.”
“You should be,” Bakugou rasped, his eyes closing almost involuntarily as Eijirou’s thumb brushed over his knuckles. “You’ve been good to me, the only goddamn good thing in my life in years. And I keep getting you hurt. First Toga, then your arm, and now..” Bakugou took a deep, shuddering breath before continuing. “You shouldn’t want me around. You shouldn’t be trying to make me feel better when…I’m a war mage, I destroy shit, and everyone has always been afraid of me and they’re right because I keep hurting the best goddamn thing in my shitty life.” Bakugou’s words were halfway to being sobs, and it tore at Eijirou’s heart even as some things fell into place.
Bakugou chose to stay with him.
Bakugou hated it when he was hurt.
Bakugou told him he could use his given name, even if Eijirou had been pretending not to remember that.
Bakugou thought Eijirou was the best thing in his life.
“Katsuki.” The name slipped out, soft and warm on Eijirou’s lips. “Come here.” Bakugou’s eyes were wide in the darkness as Eijirou gently pulled him in by his hand, which Eijirou gently laid on his chest, next to where his skin still ached in the shape of the mage’s fingers.
“Hush,” Eijirou murmured. “Can you feel my heart?” Bakugou nodded, silent and clearly uncertain, probably still expecting Eijirou to be afraid. “It’s yours.”
“What?” Bakugou was too stunned - maybe confused? - to even swear.
“My heart,” Eijirou repeated. “It’s yours. I trust you with my life, Katsuki, and I would give it to you or for you the second you asked.” It was quiet for a moment, Bakugou struggling to process Eijirou’s words. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, apparently at a loss for words. Eijirou wanted to kick himself. He shouldn’t have said anything, it was too soon. Bakugou might have brought up the name thing again, but clearly it was still too soon. He wasn’t ready. “Hey, you don’t have to say anything. I don’t want to put any pressure on you or anything. I shouldn’t-“
“No!” Bakugou’s other hand caught Eijirou’s as it pulled away from his cheek. “Don’t take it back!” Eijirou stared at him, held in place by the way Bakugou clutched his hand and leaned into his space.
“Katsuki,” the war mage corrected him. “You called me Katsuki and you said...just…” Bakugou paused, gathering his courage. “Don’t...don’t take it back. Please. I…”
Eijirou wanted to tell him he didn’t have to explain, that he wasn’t taking anything back, he just wanted to make sure Bakugou didn’t feel pressured. He wanted to say that Bakugou didn’t need to explain about the name, or maybe apologize for acting like he didn’t remember the first time he'd been given permission to use the name. He wanted to say so many things, but he stayed quiet as Bakugou gave up on words and settled for actions.
Bakugou pushed himself up a little and leaned in, tentative lips brushing Eijirou’s forehead. Eijirou held still, but it was a relaxed and expectant stillness rather than a fearful one, reflected by his steady heartbeat against Bakugou’s palm.
“Promise.” Bakugou’s voice was low, as uncertain as his movement, but there was an underlying need that Eijirou couldn’t help answering.
“That my heart is yours? Of course. I promise.”
Apparently satisfied, Bakugou let himself sink down, his head dropping until his forehead touched Eijirou’s collarbone. His hand shifted, making room for Bakugou to tilt his head and bring his lips to Eijirou’s skin, kissing the spot right over his heart.
“Mine,” Bakugou whispered against his chest. Then he lifted his head, took Eijirou’s hands, and brought one to his cheek and the other to his heart. “Yours.” Eijirou felt like his heart would burst as the full weight of what Bakugou was saying swept through him.
“Katsuki,” Eijirou rasped, using the hand on Bakugou’s cheek to gently nudge the mage closer to him. “Katsuki, can I kiss you?” Bakugou’s eyes were wide in the darkness as he follow Eijirou’s pull, leaning in and nodding. Eijirou let out a relieved noise and leaned in, pressing his lips first to Bakugou’s forehead, mirroring the kiss Bakugou had given him a few moments ago, before dropping kisses to Bakugou’s nose, then his cheekbones, the corner of his jaw, his chin, and then finally his lips, doing his best to put every ounce of the warm, affectionate, awestruck feelings he had for Bakugou into the movement of his lips on Bakugou’s.
A tiny noise escaped Bakugou’s throat, something that wasn’t quite a whimper but was definitely happy if the way Bakugou presser closer and tried to move his lips with Eijirou’s was any indication. Eijirou smiles against Bakugou’s lips, making the mage pull back, squinting in the dark.
“Damn it all to fuck, I can’t fucking see your dumb shitty face!” Bakugou hissed.
“Katsuki,” Eijirou crooned, gathering the mage in his arms and ignoring the sting of his wound as Bakugou let himself be held against Eijirou’s chest. “Let’s get some rest. You can see my dumb face in the morning, okay?”
“But-“ The confidence that had filled Bakugou’s voice and body a moment ago vanished, fear leaking into his tone and making his body quake under Eijirou’s hands.
“It’s okay. I’m safe, I’m here with you. You can sleep right here against my chest if you want. Then if you have a nightmare, you can wake up and hear my heartbeat and breathing and stuff. That would help, right?” Eijirou combed his fingers through Bakugou’s hair, tension draining from the mage’s body with each gentle scrape of Eijirou’s nails against his scalp.
“Fine.” Bakugou let out a sigh as he gave in. Eijirou kissed his cheek, then settled as comfortably as he could against the sheets, ignoring the twinge where Bakugou’s magic had damaged his skin. Bakugou lay beside him, stiff and unsure at first, then more relaxed as Eijirou started to play with his hair again. Eijirou found himself smiling as Bakugou slowly curled into his side, one hand resting tentatively on his chest to feel the rise and fall of his breath.
Bakugou was relaxed in his arms, seemingly asleep, but Eijirou had a feeling he wasn’t the only one who laid awake for a while, just soaking in the feeling of the warm body beside him and the enormity of what they’d admitted to each other.
Eijirou woke to Bakugou watching him, a serious tilt to his mouth. Eijirou started to ask what was wrong, but Bakugou laid a finger over his lips to stop him before he even got a single word out.
“I need to say something,” Bakugou said quietly. “And you’re not going to like it, but you have to hear me out, okay?” Eijirou nodded, confusion and worry warring for control of his mind. Bakugou moved his hand away from Eijirou’s mouth, rested a fingertip lightly on the scab that had formed over the wound from Bakugou’s magic the night before. “This can’t happen a third time. If it does, who knows what kind of damage I could do.”
“You’re not shitting scared of me, yeah, I got that from you deciding to fucking pledge your goddamn heart and life to me after I did that to you last night,” Bakugou interrupted.
“I know. God, I know how much you care about me,” Bakugou insisted. “It’s kind of fucking obvious, and it’s been years since anyone gave a shit what happened to me, so you shut that goddamn mouth of yours and listen because if I hurt you a third time, I swear I’ll walk away from all of this and never come back.”
That drove the breath straight out of Eijirou’s lungs.
“What?” He couldn’t mean that, could he? But then, Bakugou wasn’t exactly the type to joke about that. Eijirou’s voice broke as he added, “Why?”
“Because if I hurt you again, I would never forgive myself. And if that happens, I won’t risk it again. I shouldn’t risk it now, but I’m a goddamned selfish moron and I want one good thing in my life, and that’s you. So just...if I hurt you again, that’s it. Because next time it might not take just a night’s rest or a healing spell from your handler friends to heal you. And I refuse to let my fucking past shit be the reason you lose an arm or your goddamn head.”
Bakugou fell silent for a moment, biting his lip as he struggled for control of himself. He pulled his hand away from Eijirou’s skin as it began to pop with magic, tucked it against his own side and closed his eyes as he fought down the wave of emotion and power that threatened to overwhelm him. Eijirou inhaled slowly, processing Bakugou’s words.
He understood that Bakugou hated seeing him in pain, hated the idea of being the cause of it. Bakugou’s whole body trembled at the very thought.
“Okay.” Eijirou let out his breath in one quick rush. “Okay, then let’s talk about this.”
“You can’t talk me out of-“
“I’m not going to try.” It was Eijirou’s turn to interrupt. “I respect you and your right to make your own choices too much for that. But you must have some idea what we can do to make sure you don’t have to follow through on that, so tell me what I can do, because losing you would hurt a thousand times worse than anything your magic could do. It would be like having my heart ripped out.” Bakugou’s head came up, his mouth falling open as he stared at Eijirou for a moment before he cleared his throat, looking down at his own hands for a moment before clasping them around one of Eijirou’s.
“Promise me you’ll do something for me, if I’m freaking out or having a nightmare or some shit like that, and I start to lose control,” Bakugou said, finally lifting his eyes and holding Eijirou’s gaze solemnly. “And promise me you’ll do it before you touch me or I touch anyone else. Before I can do any damage.”
The beginnings of dread cooled deep in Eijirou’s stomach at that. He had a feeling he knew what Bakugou wanted, but he needed to hear it out loud.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Cancel my magic. I know you’d never to it without permission, so I’m giving it now. Hell, I’m asking you to. I need you to promise that you won’t let me hurt you, because I know you’re going to keep reaching out when I’m out of control, because that’s what your dumb ass does. But if there’s one person in the world I never want to see in pain again it’s you.”
Eijirou couldn’t detect any hesitation in Bakugou’s expression or voice, but his own held him back.
“I never want to use spell beads on you like Hakamata and the others did.”
“They did it to hurt me, to try to force me to be what they wanted,” Bakugou reminded him. He leaned in, resting his forehead on Eijirou’s. “You said losing me would hurt worse than war magic, like ripping out your heart. But hurting you again would be like that for me. I want you to do this because I want to spare us both that pain. I’ve made my decision, Kirishima. It’s time for you to make yours.”
“Eijirou.” Bakugou made a half curious, half impatient noise. “You know my given name. If you want me to promise this, you’d better start using it,” Eijirou explained. Bakugou let out a sharp laugh.
“Sure. Eijirou, please. Promise me you’ll do this.” Eijirou tilted his head slightly, their noses brushing. “Promise.”
“I promise, Katsuki. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect you and make you happy, and if that means I have to cancel out your magic so you don’t have to worry about hurting me, then fine.” Eijirou put his free hand over Bakugou’s and tilted his head the last little bit to connect their lips in a soft kiss. “I would do anything for you.”
“That’s what fucking scares me,” Bakugou muttered against his mouth. “Just remember I prefer you alive, okay, dumbass?” Eijirou laughed and kissed him again before replying.
“I’ll keep that in mind.” He paused, weighing his options for what to say next for a moment before continuing, “Speaking of me being a dumbass, what’s your opinion on cutesy nicknames?”
“What the fuck?” Bakugou sat upright, scowling at him. Eijirou gave him an innocent grin.
“Well, we are like a couple now, right? I have to think of something adorable to call you!”
“Call me my fucking name, asshole,” Bakugou growled. “Took you long enough to earn that.”
“That’s true, but I still think nicknames are cute,” Eijirou hummed, pushing himself up and leaning over to kiss Bakugou’s forehead. “Like you.”
“Go fuck yourself,” Bakugou grumbled, frowning at him. Eijirou considered him for a moment, then reached up and brushed a bit of hair away from his eyes.
“Hey. If you’re not comfortable with it, that’s okay,” Eijirou told him softly. “But you gotta tell me, okay?” Bakugou was quiet for a few moments before curling forward to plant his forehead on Eijirou’s shoulder.
“Just don’t call me something fucking stupid, or I’ll kick your ass,” Bakugou sighed, turning his head to press his nose to the crook of Eijirou’s neck.
“How about this, Katsuki? I’ll try nicknames out when I think of them, and you tell me if they’re okay or not!” Eijirou curled his fingers into the soft hair at the back of Bakugou’s neck. “If you don’t like one, I’ll never use it again. Deal?”
“How long is it going to take you to find something that way?” Bakugou huffed, closing his eyes and soaking in Eijirou’s presence. Eijirou slid his free arm around Bakugou’s waist and let out a low noise of contentment before answering.
“Does it matter? We have all the time in the world to figure it out,” Eijirou pointed out. “Just like everything else, sugar.”
“Terrible idea, asshole,” Bakugou informed him.
“I’ll probably have a lot of them,” Eijirou warned, shrugging the shoulder Bakugou wasn’t using as a pillow.
“Probably?” Bakugou snorted. “How the fuck did I end up with a dumbass like you?” Eijirou gently tilted Bakugou’s chin up to kiss the tip of his nose.
“Aw, you love a dumbass like me,” Eijirou cooed, grinning when Bakugou wrinkled his nose at him.
“No, just you.”
“Aww, sweetie, I love you, too!”
“No. Never call me that again.”
“Whatever you say, honey bun.”
“I fucking hate you.”
"No, you don't."