“I’m standing there with one villain slung over my shoulder and my foot on the other, when out of nowhere, a third one shows up and clubs me over the back of the head with a baseball bat.” Kirishima gesticulated emphatically as he spoke, accenting every few words with a motion. The two of you were seated in his office, you on the sofa and him on the adjacent chair. A teapot and two teacups lay on the coffee table in front of you, the tea growing cold as you became enthralled in his stories, not pausing to take any sips. It had been about two months since you were initially invited for tea by Kirishima and had since been to his office a few times just to chat. It was starting to become a regular event.
It was late afternoon, the sun streaming through the windows and painting the office in golden hues. One beam of light in particular shone into one of Kirishima’s eyes and lit up their vibrant crimson color.
“Please tell me you had your quirk activated.”
“Oh yeah,” he answered. He took a quick sip of his tea, but made a face at the lukewarm temperature. “I don’t know what this guy expected to happen, but the bat just broke and splintered into a few pieces. But, remember, the first villain had a combustion quirk.” Your eyes widened as you started to realize where this story was going. “So, he was able to light the splintered wood on fire and it catch my hero costume as well. I managed to keep all three of them in check, but by the time the police arrived, I may as well have been naked.”
“Oh my god,” you practically yelled, bursts of laughter cutting between each word. “You’re kidding!”
“Nope, not at all.” Standing, he picked up a pillow to demonstrate. “I had to hold one of the villains in front of me so I wasn’t arrested for public indecency. Needless to say, fireproof is on the list of things to change for when I get a new costume.” You were practically crying from laughter. Picturing Kirishima standing as he was now, only with a human in front of him instead of a pillow and completely naked to boot, you couldn’t help laughing.
The pair of you turned to the elevator. You had grown used to people constantly coming in and out of Kirishima’s office. Apparently, 6 people had the key to get to his penthouse office besides Kirishima – Bakugou, Midoriya, Uraraka, as well as the heroes Cellophane, Chargebolt, and Pinky, whom you had met once each. It was kind of interesting to see who would be coming in each time you were there.
“Kirishima-kun, we have a problem!” Uraraka announced, charging into the room. “Intel says that they’re going to be – oh, hey [Y/L/N]-san – on the move later tonight.”
“And that’s my cue to leave,” you said, standing to leave them to their work. Before you could get a few paces away, Kirishima grabbed your arm.
“If you ever need anything, just call me,” he said, dropping his volume so Uraraka couldn’t hear. “Seriously, anything.” You nodded up at him, giving a small smile.
“Thanks, Kirishima. I will, I promise.”
Late that night, you found yourself sprawled across your living room couch, half-eaten bag of chips and a pack of cookies in front of you, two seasons deep into a mediocre murder-mystery TV show. Work had been a nightmare for the past few weeks, so when you finally had the night to just chill out and not stress, you jumped all over it. You were still getting used to having a large apartment to yourself, but the more time progressed, the more you enjoyed the opportunity to be noisy in the middle of the night. Fortunately, the walls you shared with neighboring apartments were fairly thick.
“It’s obviously the sister!” you yelled at the TV, jokingly irritated by the predictable plotline. The previous season had been just as bad, but you couldn’t help yourself at this point. You were in too deep.
Knock, knock, knock.
Three short, rapid knocks on the front door echoed through the room. It was the knock of someone in a high-energy state, either nervous or impatient. Did I order food? You wondered to yourself as you meandered your way to answer it.
Knock, knock, knock.
Another set of knocks. Whoever was there was clearly not in the mood to wait.
“I’m coming! Just one moment!” you called out, running your fingers through your hair in a vain attempt to make yourself presentable. After a few good run-throughs and a quick check in the entryway mirror, you twisted the handle and threw the heavy wood door open.
And found yourself facing an empty hallway.
“Hello?” Poking your torso out the door, swiveled your head for signs of another person that may have been looking for you. No one to your left. But, to your right, a few paces down the hall, stood a petite woman with a terrified look on her face and a small basket in her hands. She looked vaguely familiar, but not enough to spark a memory. Her body was turned away, but she had her head twisted back toward you. She had clearly been leaving from your door. “Sorry, were you the one knocking on my door? Can I help you?”
“Oh, um, yes that was me,” she sputtered, the words falling out of her mouth in a rushed, garbled mess. She turned from her awkward twisted position to face you fully, but did not move to stand any closer. You felt nervous just looking at her. Bouncing on the balls of her feet, she picked at the basket, keeping her eyes shifted down, avoiding eye-contact. “I wasn’t sure if this was still the right place and I’m not sure what I was hoping to get out of this and maybe this was a stupid idea, but I just felt I needed to do something about it. I’ve just been seeing all those news stories about Ground Zero and I thought it was all my fault.” The whole sentence ran together, the syllables falling over one another as she tried to get them all out in one breath. You couldn’t even catch wait she said, much less craft a response to it.
“Wait, slow down, slow down.” Wedging a doorstop under the gap in the door, you stepped out into the hallway so you could speak more directly with her. “I’m sorry, have we met before? And what do you mean ‘it was your fault’?” You wrinkled your brows at her, trying to place the familiarity in her features, but came up short. Your brain was basically running on fumes and you weren’t equipped to decipher her rapid-fire apology. It was approaching midnight and, while many of the tenants her still up at this hour, you could feel that the longer she stayed outside your place – on the brink of tears, no less – the more your neighbors would grow angry with you. “Would you like to come in? The hallway isn’t the best place to talk.” Probably not the wisest idea, but you felt bad just leaving her to stand out there.
She nodded meekly and followed you back into your apartment. Closing the door behind her, you rushed back into the living room to clean up some of the mess, before patting a couch cushion to urge her to sit. She complied, but continued to perch herself on the very edge, as if to run at a moment’s notice. You sat in the loveseat across from her.
“So, can you start over? And slowly this time, please.”
“Um, [Y/L/N]-san,” she started tentatively. “You really don’t remember me?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t. Did I meet you at one of Katsuki’s events? I’ve met a lot of people that he’s worked with and I have such a hard time remembering everyone.”
“Um, no, that’s…” She trailed off. You tipped your head and raised an eyebrow in curiosity, but she had her eyes trained on her thighs, as if the denim pulled taut across them was mesmerizing. After a brief pause though, she whipped her head up with new-found confidence. “I’m sorry!” She dipped her entire torso forward, so her head was close to touching her knees.
“For what?” you asked, surprised.
“I’m sorry for sleeping with your boyfriend.” Oh. Oh. That’s why you recognized her. That’s what she was talking about outside the apartment. You though she had mentioned something about the recent news about Bakugou and it being her fault.
With the realization came the memory of that night and it rushed in, hitting you faster than a bullet train, a wash of negative emotions and uncomfortable images. As you registered her features, everything clicked back into place. The twitch of her eyes in distress, the inflection of her apologies, and the rhythm of her nervous steps about your apartment. All of it brought back memories you’d though you were finally over.
“Is that what you came here for?” you asked. Somehow, you felt detached from your body, the words leaving your mouth without the command from your mind. “You already apologized that night and in all honest, I don’t want your apologies.”
“I just couldn’t stop thinking about this and I’m sure I would keep feeling guilty if I didn’t say anything to you or Ground Zero ever again.”
“Then continue to feel guilty. I don’t care.”
“[Y/L/N]-san, I’m so sorry, really. I had no idea that he was even dating anybody. A lot of heroes are very openly single, so I assumed he was the same. I swear I never would have done it, had I known.”
“Cool, good for you. Can you please leave now?”
“Wait, no, I still have more I want to say.”
You sighed, rubbing your hand against your forehead and closing your eyes in exasperation.
“Look, I’m sure you are doing this all with good intentions, but I really don’t want or need to hear anything else from you. It’s pretty late and I would like for you to leave.” Boosting yourself up from the chair, you walked to the door and opened it with a click. “If you want to apologize so badly, go talk to Katsuki.”
“I already tried going to his office, but I kept getting turned away at the door.” She followed after you, leaving the basket she had brought on the coffee table.
“Then do to Red Riot’s office. He’ll probably try to help you out.” Holding the door open with your foot, you again motioned for her to go. “This is neither the time nor the place – nor the company for that matter – to have this conversation. It’s been months and I don’t want to think about it anymore.” From the corner of your eye, you spotted the basket perched in the living room still. Pointing to it, you continued. “Oh, and you forgot whatever that is.”
“Um, I didn’t forget it,” she mumbled, glancing back at it and then at you. “It’s a small apology gift. Please keep it.”
“No, take it with you.”
“Please, I really want you-”
“Take it back with you.”
Her wide eyes grew in fear, but she nodded and darted to grab the gift before turning to run out the door. On her way out, you managed to catch the beginnings of another apology, but you shut the door behind her before she had the chance to finish it.
With the girl gone, your apartment suddenly became cold, silent, and lonely again. You no longer appreciated the ability to make noise without the complaints of another person and now all you wanted was someone else there to complain. Someone else to occupy the vast, empty space.
Sinking back into the sofa, you pulled out your phone, dialing it and holding it to your ear.
Ring, ring, ring.
“Hello? [Y/L/N]?” Kirishima’s voice crackled though the speaker.
“Hi, Kirishima,” you mumbled in response, out of energy to speak at full volume.
“Is something wrong?”
“Um, so, you know how you said to call if there was anything I need?”
“Well, um, I know it’s late and you’re probably still working, but do you think you could come over?”
A long pause. In the background, you were pretty sure you could hear the mutterings of other conversation.
“Sorry, you know what? Never mind, you’re busy. Sorry to bother you.”
“No, no, no! I’m just switching shifts with someone so I can come over. Can you wait another thirty minutes or so? Or do you need me to be there right now?” For some reason, his words caused a knot in your chest to come undone and you had to hold back some choked sobs in order to respond.
“Th-thirty minutes is, um, is fine.”
“Okay, I will see you then. Stay put and in the meantime get yourself some herbal tea.”
You nodded – not like he could see you – and gave a small grunt of acceptance in response. After ending the call, you sat there for a moment, considering the situation.
Maybe you hadn’t made the best decision in calling Kirishima.