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Lips Like Blood

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Kirishima Eijirou was said to be hypnotically beautiful.

He had his mother’s good looks, blessed with silky black hair and bright ruby eyes. Though his skin was fair his cheeks were rosy, lips red and full like a carnation. His late father’s sharp features only enhanced his beauty as he grew, chubby cheeks giving way to a strong jawline. Even his razor-sharp teeth, the gift of some distant draconic ancestor, completed his face and smoothed the roundness of his eyes. There were whispers of a faerie’s blessing, as no mortal could hope to achieve his level of beauty, but no fae ever claimed credit for his attractiveness.

As the prince, he had more than a few playmates growing up. His beauty was only hinted at then, hidden beneath a childish face. As social as they came, he made fast friends with the children of servants and the others who lived at the palace. His mother threw a fit whenever he was found sparring with a bamboo sword or climbing the trees in the royal garden, but as he grew older he worked to stay close to his childhood friends.

The first trouble came on his fourteenth birthday.

A feast had been held in his honor, and as much as he disliked being the center of attention he had smiled and talked politely until his mother had patted his hand and told him he was done for the evening. Grateful, he swiped a platter of little sandwiches he didn’t know the name of and slipped into the courtyard. He let out two short whistles followed by a longer one, and after a few minutes a few of his playmates surfaced. Their small group giggled and teased each other while stuffing their face with the snack, and for a few wonderful moments Kirishima forgot his status.

He was knocked out of the welcome distraction by a small cough, quiet enough to be mistaken for an accidental one. Kirishima turned and blinked at his friend, who had gone silent but very red in the face. “Denki? Are you alright?”

The shorter one jerkily nodded, poorly hiding something behind his back. He hesitated before pressing it into Kirishima’s chest. The prince stumbled to catch the gift: a single tulip.

Kirishima blinked. Flowers were only exchanged on birthdays between lovers, but Kaminari… oh. Oh.

His shock must’ve shown on his face because Kaminari stiffened and took a step back. “I’m sorry, your highness, I should’ve known better.” He dashed through the corridor he had come through, almost hidden by the vines climbing down the walls.

Kirishima had been too stunned to call after him, but the others had seen the ordeal go down. Sero had ditched his plate to run after him after hastily saying goodnight. Everyone else gave him half-hearted birthday wishes before dwindling away.

After a few weeks of painfully awkward conversation, the two became close again, but it had taken its toll. People were starting to stare at him, with more wonder and awe than came from the usual glances he got from his position. Servants avoided his eye, former friends looked away too quickly and made excuses to avoid conversation. He didn’t understand it - he was still him, after all, the same Kirishima. He escaped from his lessons to talk with Sero under the gnarled oak tree one day. His plain friend sighed deeply. “Eijirou, listen, if you haven’t figured it out by now I gotta tell you: you’re pretty.”

The prince cocked his head, not sure where he was going with this. “I mean, I guess so, but what does that have to do with everyone avoiding me?”

Sero shook his head. “No, I mean you’re pretty. As in, you spiked from mildly cute friend to wildly attractive prince who also happens to be the kindest person on the planet.”

Eijirou flushed with embarrassment. “Ah, I don’t think that’s exactly true-”

“Not my point.” Sero jabbed him with a sharp elbow. “You got a major glow-up that no one expected. You became heartbreak material in ten seconds flat.”

“I…” His head spun, and he leaned into the tree for more support. “Oh, holy shit. You’re telling me I’m being avoided because I’m hot?!”

Sero tossed an apple between his hands. “Don’t believe me, wait it out. You’ll see I’m right.”

Kirishima opened his mouth to argue but was cut off by his teacher calling his name from somewhere inside the palace. He glared at Sero, who only shrugged.

As the weeks passed, it became harder and harder to ignore. The small group of people he had worked so hard to know became distant. Servants he didn’t know the names of blushed when he passed by and waved. Before he knew it, the only people he could talk to were his mother, Kaminari and Sero. A prince who used to have everything was suddenly painfully lonely.

He was fifteen when the marriage proposals started coming in.

At first they were occasional, one every few weeks from neighboring kingdoms, mostly for political alliance. He politely wrote back his apologies in that he hoped to remain single, but more and more extravagant letters came from all corners of his kingdom and beyond. Men and women he had never even met vowed to give their undying love and devotion to him if he accepted their proposal. As soon as he opened his bedroom windows, he was met with a crowd of people rioting for a look at his face.

He moved his things into a smaller room with a single window overlooking the garden, and it was then he became a prisoner in his own home. The staff suddenly consisted only of married citizens, with the exceptions of Sero and Kaminari. The new hires paid him no mind, their faces green with jealousy. His attempts at conversation fell on deaf ears. He felt as if he was drowning, deprived of fresh interaction he so desperately needed.

And so, six months before he was to turn sixteen, his mother summoned a mage and his two apprentices from King Endeavor’s lands. He was less intimidating than she had expected, more skeleton than man, but he was able to draw the attention in the room with his bright eyes and wide smile.

“Your majesty.” He bowed respectfully. His apprentices followed though the blonde one did so reluctantly. “You wanted to see us?” 

The queen nodded. “And hopefully more than that. Sit, I have a proposition for you.” She waved away the guards by the door as the three sat down. “Leave us.”

The two guards dutifully shut the doors behind them, letting the queen examine them carefully. “I have not been told your true identity,” she said coolly.

“I apologize, your majesty. I am wanted by several crime syndicates and go by the alias All Might to protect myself and my apprentices,” the mage said evenly. “Let me introduce you to young Midoriya and young Bakugou.” The green-haired one - Midoriya - nodded at his name while the other stayed sullenly silent.

“A mage with more than one apprentice, interesting.” The queen eyed him suspiciously but didn’t press it. “My problem revolves around my son, Eijirou.”

“I’ve heard rumors.” All Might said grimly. “Is he cursed?”

The queen inhaled sharply but nodded. “My husband made more than a few enemies, and his assassins planned to kill us as well. The guards were able to save our lives, but not before one of the attackers placed the curse on Eijirou.”

“Not a family curse, then. And assassins trained in magic.. that itself is near unheard of.”

“It was a consolation prize for not being able to take his life,” the queen said bitterly. “I assume you need to know the wording in order to lift it?”

All Might nodded. “I do not know how much we can do, but we do need the curse’s words.”

The queen sighed, suddenly looking ten years older in her exhaustion. “It goes like this:

"Lips like blood and hair like night,

Born to make the wrong things right

Should he fall in love before sixteen

Eternal, then, his rest shall be.”

Midoriya gasped, earning him a jab from Bakugou. “Shut up, Deku. This isn’t your first curse.”

“It’s the first one involving death!” he hissed back, green eyes wild. 

“Boys, please,” All Might said, patience strained. He turned back to the queen. “From the dictation, it sounds like it was cast in a hurry, but I wouldn’t underestimate its severity. There might be some loopholes I can exploit, but I need as much context as you can give.”

“The first part is straightforward, he inherited most of my physical traits.” She lifted a stand of her own black hair. “As for ‘born to make the wrong things right,’ my husband and I were in an arranged marriage to secure peace between our kingdoms that have been enemies for generations. His birth was supposed to solidify that peace.”

“I see,” All Might said. “And he is fated to die should he fall in love. I presume that’s where his rumored beauty comes in?” 

The queen frowned. “Indeed. I can only guess that the curse strengthened any beauty he may have had beforehand and made it all too easy for others to fall for him. In any case, his sixteenth birthday is in six months. If he falls in love before then…” She trailed off, unsure how to continue.

“We will do everything we can, but we need time,” All Might vowed.

“I have a tower prepared for you. You will be treated like honored guests and have full access to the castle and anything else you may need. You may stay as long as it takes.” She lifted an eyebrow at his apprentices. “Bakugou and Midoriya, are they single?”

Midoriya nearly choked at the blunt question. “Not exactly, your majesty, but I have someone in mind. You don’t need to worry about me.”

Bakugou only smirked. “It won’t be an issue.”

The queen regarded him for a long moment. “Be sure it stays that way. One more thing: do not tell Eijirou what you are doing here.” 

“What?!” Bakugou sputtered. “You’re telling me he doesn’t even know he’s cursed?!”

“Young Bakugou!” All Might chastised. 

“He does not know of his curse and he will stay in ignorance,” the queen said with an iron voice. Her gaze bore straight into an unflinching Bakugou. “He’s already miserable as it is, and I will not allow him to sink any lower by learning of it. Are we clear?”

Bakugou held her glare for another second before ducking his head. “Crystal,” he spat. 

The queen nodded, satisfied. “Excellent. Should you weaken the curse, your reward will be your weight in gold. Should you break it completely, it will be twice that. Are we in agreement?” 

“It will be difficult without alerting him of his condition, but it can be done.” He glanced at Midoriya and Bakugou, the latter scowling harder than he had ever seen him. “We accept your offer.” 

The queen rose. “It’s settled, then. A servant will escort you to your quarters, and you are welcome to join Eijirou and I for dinner tonight.”

All Might got up and bowed deeply. “Thank you, your majesty. We will be sure to be there.” 

The queen smiled thinly. “And thank you, All Might, for what you’ll be working for. Any progress is better than none.”

 


 

Bakugou lasted seventeen seconds in the shared room before blowing up. 

“This is bullshit!” he yelled, chucking his bag at the bed.

Midoriya winced and put down the vial he was holding. “Kacchan-”

“Don’t ‘Kacchan’ me, shitstick! We’ve just been hired to lift a curse on pretty boy, something that requires us to be close to him, and he has no fucking idea! We can’t even tell him his old hag’s been a prick to him for most of his life and he’s going to kick the bucket unless we get our act together!”

“Kacchan!” Midoriya shouted, voice strained. “The situation isn’t the best, but we have to work with what we’ve got! Otherwise the prince will die!”

 “What we’re given is bullshit!” he emphasized. 

They went silent as All Might’s shuffling footsteps sounded from the room above. His gaunt stature stood tall but tired. “Young Kirishima’s circumstances are unfortunate, yes, but not impossible. He can still be saved, and we must work to ensure that his life is not cut short.” 

Bakugou glared at the ground and kicked at it with his foot. He bit his lip, visibly straining to hold back another wave of argument. Finally, he let out a resigned sigh. “Fuck this. Any castle worth its salt has swords, and I’m ready to kill something.”

All Might wilted slightly and Midoriya cleared his throat. “We passed by the armory on the way to our rooms, I think.”

Bakugou stormed down the hall, taking the wrong corridor three times before wrestling with his pride and taking Deku’s directions. Of course, he was right and Bakugou had walked past it without noticing at least twice. He growled. He was going to kill that nerd.

He considered stalking back to the room out of spite, but he’d be damned if he didn’t get rid of all the pent up energy he had from traveling the past few days. He passed by a few doors, finally arriving at the right one. He kicked it open, and his mood immediately worsened upon seeing someone else there before him.

He was dressed in a simple loose shirt and pants but had obviously been training before Bakugou barged in, judging by the sword he held by his side. He couldn’t get a good look at his face, half hidden by the black hair that hung around his head, but Bakugou would be lying to himself if he said he didn’t notice the way his shirt hung just right over his shoulders. He scowled harder.

“The fuck is your damage?”

The fucker had the audacity to laugh, and Bakugou caught a glimpse of teeth sharper than steak knives. “I should be asking you that, man! You’re the one who nearly kicked the door down!” He pushed a lock of hair out of his eyes, and Bakugou’s stomach twisted in disgust at the honest way they twinkled in the afternoon light.

Bakugou rolled his eyes with a grunt and picked up a blade, testing its weight in his hands.

The stranger smirked and leaned against the wall. “Do I at least get a name after that dramatic entrance?” 

“Fuck you,” he said primly, finally deciding on a broadsword that caught his eye.

“Aw, don’t be like that! You can call me Ei,” he said good-naturedly.

“I don’t care,” he snapped back, and the stranger took the opportunity to giggle. Bakugou turned to glare at him, which only made him laugh harder.

“Who spit in your stew, Blasty?” he teased.

“Blasty?! The fuck?!” 

“Y’know, 'cause of your explosive personality!” He smiled at his own joke as Bakugou glowered.

The sword clattered to the ground as Bakugou stomped over to him, jabbing a finger into his chest. “Oi, fuck you! You call me Bakugou or nothing at all!”

Ei’s face lit up. “Ooh, you’re one of the mages!”

Bakugou nearly bit his tongue in frustration. He had let this big-eyed idiot goad him in the two minutes he had known him, he needed to step up his game. He groaned and reached for the broadsword. If something didn’t die within the next five minutes, he was going to explode. 

“You know how to use that?” Ei’s eyes went wide with excitement. “There’s more room in the gardens if you want to practice there, you’re not really supposed to use it in the armory. It’s kind of cramped in here, anyway.”

Bakugou weighed the pros and cons of beheading him right there and decided that killing one of the castle staff wouldn’t be a great thing to do less than an hour after moving in. “Fucking whatever, Shitty hair.”

“Hey!” he pouted, hand instinctively shooting for his head. “It may be a bit sweaty but it’s not terrible!” 

Bakugou pushed past him into the hallway and hefted the sword onto his shoulder. Ei hesitated for a moment before scrambling after him, face like the sun. “Wait up, Blasty!” 

Ei chattered the whole time, not minding that Bakugou was only half listening. Even so, he picked up on a couple of things from Ei’s rambling. He was close with some guy called Kaminari, an idiot even stupider than him judging by how he managed to get struck by lightning twice. He didn’t have a lot of friends, which Bakugou found odd but didn’t question. He decidedly did not care what Ei did in his free time.

“Oh, I have to tell you what Hanta did once he found out Denki was messing with his stuff-” 

“We’re here, Shitty hair.”

“Really? I didn’t even notice, wow.” He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. “And it’s Ei, not shitty hair.”

Bakugou snorted, not pointing out that Ei was the one leading them there. He shrugged off his cloak and stretched his arms a bit, vaguely aware of Ei doing the same before reaching for his sword. He stopped short and whipped his head around to catch Ei staring at his arms. “Oi, the fuck are you looking at?!”

Ei went pink in an instant. “Ah, sorry! I’ve just never seen a tattoo like that before! Does it mean anything?”

Bakugou scowled and resisted the urge to cover the symbol on his shoulder. “Not to you, it doesn’t.”

Ei raised his hands in mock surrender. “Fine, don’t tell me! A deal, then: if I beat you in a spar, you have to explain it to me.”

“What makes you think I’m interested in sparring an extra like you?” Bakugou said lightly.

Ei’s smile grew upon noticing his poorly hidden competitiveness. “I’ll raise the stakes. If I lose to you, I’ll tell you my name. My full name, I mean.” He scratched the back of his neck - a nervous tic. So this meant more than he was letting on.

“Prepare to be pounded into the ground, Shitty hair.”

Ei bit back a smile and unsheathed his own sword, an old but well-crafted saber. The two got into position and circled each other warily. Ei’s eyes flickered with uncertainty before Bakugou lost his patience and violently jabbed at him. He dodged easily, much to Bakugou’s surprise, and from there things spiraled. Ei returned every irrational slash and hack, parried away every thrust and was able to jump back just in time when he was overpowered. Bakugou was rusty, for sure, but he missed this, missed having an opponent who could keep up with him. Ei was clearly struggling but he was holding his own, staying on the defensive with a crazed grin that rivaled Bakugou’s.

With a final yell, Bakugou swept Ei’s leg and pointed his sword at his neck, pinning him to the ground. Ei let out a defeated huff against the foot on his chest and dropped his saber with a dull clang. “Geez, Blasty, you don’t let up.”

“Never said I did,” he answered smugly, wearing a dangerous smirk. “I seem to remember someone promising to give me their actual name if they lost instead of some shitty nickname.”

Ei scowled in distaste but froze at the sound of approaching footsteps. He shoved Bakugou’s foot off of him and stood up in a panic, hastily retrieving his sword. Bakugou grabbed his arm and yanked him back. “Oh no you don’t, hair-for-brains, no one runs away from a bet with me.”

“Bakugou, you gotta let me go right now or else things are going to go to shit.”

Bakugou’s retort died in his throat seeing the genuine terror in Ei’s eyes. Ei must’ve sensed his hesitation and took the chance to slip out of his grip, sprinting before Bakugou could grab him back.

“Oi, what’re you-!”

“I’ll explain at dinner, I promise!” Ei called over his shoulder. He rounded the corner and took off, leaving a very disgruntled Bakugou behind.

The footsteps from earlier grew slightly louder as a disheveled man entered the gardens, black hair wild and bags under his eyes. Despite his exhaustion, he carried an air of danger around him and Bakugou knew in an instant he did not want to make him an enemy. The stranger zeroed in on him and crossed his arms as he approached. “You’re one of the mages.”

Bakugou stiffly nodded, choosing to stay silent. The man’s heavy scarves shifted slightly and floated around his shoulders as he narrowed his eyes. In any other situation, Bakugou would’ve fought tooth and nail to see the enchantment up close.

“Have you seen the prince since you arrived?” he asked in a monotone.

“Not yet,” Bakugou spat, meeting his glare. 

The man’s scowl deepened. “Are you certain?”

“Fucking positive,” he said through gritted teeth. “Pretty sure someone with a crown is hard to miss.”

The guard studied him for a second longer before his scarves drifted back to their original position. “If you see him, inform him to go straight to his quarters. He is late preparing for tonight’s dinner.” 

Bakugou could only stare as he stalked past to interrogate the next person who was unfortunate enough to cross paths with him. If he wasn’t intimidated (he wasn’t scared, but he could recognize when someone was a threat) he would’ve gone after him and demanded an explanation. Unfortunately, the conversation was an unwelcome reminder that he was running late as well. He didn’t care for the formalities associated with royalty, but All Might would have his head if he messed up the first real job they had in weeks. He swore and quickly made his way back to his room, not bothering to return his sword to the armory. 

Deku jumped as Bakugou busted into the room and immediately frowned. “Kacchan, it’s nearly time, where have you been?”

“None of your fucking business, that’s where!” he hissed.

Deku sniffed indignantly. “You don’t need to be rude, but hurry! And yes, you do need shoes.”

Bakugou wondered not for the last time why he decided to take All Might’s apprenticeship as he dug through his trunk. He slipped on a change of clothes and fished out his worn but sturdy boots before giving himself a once-over in the small mirror. Deeming himself presentable, he threw on a cloak just as All Might walked down the steps.

Their teacher smiled tiredly. “Are you boys ready to see what you’re working with?”

Deku nodded eagerly as Bakugou raised an eyebrow. All Might merely chuckled and patted him on the back with a bony hand. “Fear not, young Bakugou. You only need be polite for one meal.”

Bakugou shrugged his hand off and crossed his arms. “It’s whatever. Let’s just give the queen her precious dinner and get it over with.”

All Might sighed quietly but opened the door and led them out. Before long, they arrived at the great hall and the man Bakugou had met earlier escorted them in. The queen rose and nodded her head in greeting. “Thank you, Aizawa.”

He bowed curtly and left with the door cracked. The queen shook her head slightly. “I apologize, Eijirou will be with us soon. Please, sit down and eat. I’m sure you’re hungry after your journey.” 

The three bowed and took their places, leaving the spot for the prince open. Bakugou’s mouth watered in anticipation at the sight of the stew, and to his delight it tasted just as good as it looked.

“I must thank you again for your hospitality, your Majesty,” All Might said. “Everything has been delightful since we’ve arrived.”

The queen hummed, distracted. “Of course, you are my guests and it’s simply my duty as a hostess to ensure you feel welcome. I’m glad you all-”

The heavy oak door opened as Ei flew in, hastily apologizing to Aizawa. He was dressed in a simple red silk vest over a clean shirt, and Bakugou saw a small scar on his eye he hadn’t noticed when his hair was down. It was now tied up in some sort of bun, but his attention was more directed at the thin golden band circling his head.

“I’m sorry mother, I lost track of the time with my studies.” He glanced up sheepishly and bit his lip.

Mother?! He was vaguely aware of his spoon dropping into his stew. “What-”

The queen clicked her tongue in mild irritation. “Whatever the reason, you are late. Sit down.”

Ei ducked his head slightly and joined them at the table. Bakugou’s brows creased. What in the hell was Ei doing there? The queen had only mentioned herself and her son meeting them for tonight and-

Oh.

Oh no.

Bakugou’s eyes widened as the queen sighed. She waved a hand and Bakugou suddenly felt like he was falling, falling without a thing in the world to stop him.

“Everyone, this is my son, Eijirou.” 

Chapter Text

“You asshole.”

Bakugou had cornered the prince after the very aggravating dinner, but he could hardly call it a cornering when the shitty imposter had more or less let himself be dragged into the hallway.

Ei - or should he say Kirishima, damn him - smiled nervously. “Surprise?”

“Oh, fuck you,” Bakugou spat. “I’m not dealing with your lying bullshit.”

“Hey, I didn’t lie to you!” he whined. “You never asked!”

“You never corrected me,” he seethed, “and you know damn well that’s not something you gloss over!”

“I was going tell you, when you beat me,” Kirishima said quietly. He chewed on his lip and glanced at Bakugou. “You won fair and square, but I didn’t want you to get in trouble from Aizawa seeing you pinning me down with a sword.”

Bakugou wanted to ram his head into the wall. Of fucking course Kirishima had a savior complex on top of his ludicrously nice personality. He made the mistake of meeting Kirishima’s eyes and felt his resolve waver. He was certain Deku had mastered the kicked puppy look after years of practice, but Kirishima blew his out of the water with his big doe eyes. Bakugou wanted to hurl.

“You absolute asshole,” he repeated, disturbed it came out more exasperated than angry.

Kirishima offered a weak smile and looked at the ground.”I’m really sorry,” he said. His voice was brittle, like it was seconds away from breaking. “I just wanted to make a friend without making it weird, I guess.” He let out a choked laugh and blinked rapidly.

Bakugou bit his tongue to keep from screaming. This fucker was about to cry because he hurt his feelings, how dare he. “Stop right fucking there,” he commanded.

“Huh?”

“If you want to be buddy-buddy with me, you don’t do it by lying to my face. Cut this pity party shit out and say what you mean. Start over.”

Kirishima looked up in surprise and slowly nodded at his words. “Oh, Um, okay. I’m sorry for being an asshole.”

“Good. Keep going.”

“I want to get to know you as a friend.”

Bakugou thought he was fucking insane, but that could wait. He nodded in affirmation. “Alright. Now, how are you going to make up for the tomfuckery you pulled?”

One of Kirishima’s teeth poked out as his eyebrows scrunched together in thought. It would’ve been endearing if Bakugou cared about that kind of thing. Kirishima’s eyes lit up suddenly. “We could spar again! When you’re not doing mage stuff and I’m not doing prince stuff, we could keep doing the thing from earlier where whoever loses has to answer the winner’s question.”

Bakugou was almost impressed. “Now that’s a proper fucking apology.”

Kirishima’s face broke into a relieved grin. “Oh, thank god, I thought you were never going to talk to me again.”

“It’s still on the table,” Bakugou grumbled. The idiot’s smile refused to falter and Bakugou had to look away. “Goodnight, Shitty hair.”

Kirishima squawked in indignance as Bakugou turned away. “That’s a low blow! You know my name now!”

“Do I?” Bakugou said, not bothering to look back as he started walking.

Kirishima laughed and left in the other direction, and if Bakugou smiled to himself as he went to his room, well, no one had to know.

 


 

Deku quietly scrawled on parchment as the sun touched the horizon, painting the sky a brilliant orange. Bakugou sat on his bed, not quite willing to draw a bath just yet. He was content to let the tense silence continue, but Deku cleared his throat. “What did you think of the prince?”

His jaw clenched at the disturbance in peace, but he knew from experience it was impossible to dodge magic-related questions from the nerd forever. “He’s an asshole,” Bakugou grunted. He could practically hear Deku’s eye-roll.

“You think everyone’s an asshole, Kacchan.”

Bakugou silently cursed the day Deku grew a spine. “Yeah, well, he’s especially an asshole.”

“He didn’t seem that bad to me,” Deku said mildly.

Bakugou almost laughed out loud. “Good thing I don’t care about your opinion, then.”

Deku sighed. “Fine. Be prickly. What do you think about his curse?”

He frowned at the ceiling. “You mean how he looks and shit? He’s decent at best; his old hag was really fucking exaggerating.”

Deku gave him an odd look. “No, I don’t think she was, that’s what I’m trying to say. He’s unnaturally pretty. I’ve never seen another human look like that. A fae or two, sure, but not without glamour magic.”

Bakugou snorted. “I thought he was one of the castle staff, he can’t be all that great.”

Deku chuckled. “When was this?”

“Right before we ate. Bastard challenged me to a duel.”

Deku paused his writing for a moment. “And you accepted?”

“Weren’t exactly a lot of other options, seeing as you still won’t learn how to use a sword.”

Deku made a face and turned back to his letter, not taking the bait. It was an age-old argument they both knew was a cheap attempt to push him into snapping. “If he’s alive after a fight with you, I’m sure he can take care of himself. My only question is how you mistook him for a servant in the first place.”

Bakugou narrowed his eyes and snarled. “Eat shit and die,¨ he said. “Wax more poetic bullshit for the half-and-half bastard and get off my back.”

Deku straightened in surprise. “It’s not a love letter,” he said tightly. Bakugou relished in the shade of pink the nerd’s ears went. “It’s a normal letter between friends. That’s it.”

Bakugou raised an eyebrow at a sketch at the end of the desk, ink portraying bicolored hair in perfect detail. “Right, because that’s real fuckin’ platonic.”

Deku snatched the parchment and glared at Bakugou, earning himself a smirk but nothing more. His shoulders slumped. “Try and change the topic all you want, but if you really can’t see his curse you need to tell All Might. The spell is… strong. Scarily so.” He laughed without humor.

Bakugou narrowed his eyes but stayed quiet. Deku dripped wax from the candle onto his letter and sealed it without another word, yawning. The sun had only just set, but Bakugou could feel his own eyes start to feel heavy. His bones ached from all the traveling, and before he knew it he had fallen into a dreamless sleep.

The next morning, Bakugou rose with the sun. He silently shrugged on a cloak to ward off the pre-dawn chill and risked a glance at Deku, still sleeping as light filtered into the room. His temper simmered at the sight of the moonstone amulet around his neck, rising and falling with his quiet breaths. He cursed to himself and tightened his hand around the sunstone bead that rested between his own collarbones. They were supposed to compliment each other, All Might had said. Deku’s cool determination was meant to act against his fiery attitude, but all he saw were too many arguments and broken bones.

Bakugou let out a shaky sigh. It was too early to think about their mangled relationship, he decided, and promptly shoved the topic to the back his mind to suffocate.

Scowling, Bakugou grabbed the sword from the day before and left, only for him to realize he had no idea where the prince’s quarters were. Fucking excellent. He stalked down the hall and let his footsteps echo, though his anger stayed a dull roar in his ears. The castle was just starting to wake, servants greeting each other as they passed by. Bakugou gritted his teeth and stopped. He was going to get nowhere if he kept going like this. Finally, he yanked aside one of the staff, making him yelp and nearly drop the tray of food he was carrying.

“What the hell, man?!” He crowed, glaring at him with unnerving yellow eyes. “You could’ve just tapped me on the shoulder!”

Bakugou squinted at the jagged black streak in his hair and immediately decided he didn’t like him. “Oi, Sparky, I need to get to the prince’s room.”

“Sparky?! Cause of the-” His free hand flew to the dark highlight. “Oh! That’s actually pretty clever.”

Bakugou snorted. “You have low standards. Did the shitty nickname make you forget how to get to his royal pain in the ass?”

The servant blinked once before bursting into a laugh. “Oh my god, you’re Bakugou, aren’t you? I thought Eiji was exaggerating, but geez, he wasn’t joking.” He stuck out his hand fearlessly. “Call me Kaminari.”

Bakugou narrowed his eyes. “I do not give a single fuck about your name. I was promised a duel, and that shitty-haired bastard better deliver.”

Sparky just snorted and turned around, waving for Bakugou to follow him. “Whatever, man. He’s gonna bitch about waking up early, though.”

“He can bitch all he wants, he’s not running away from me this time.” He grudgingly fell into step next to him and glared at the floor.

Sparky’s shoulders shook with restrained laughter before finally giving up and cackling at Bakugou’s stormy expression. “You just casually threatened the prince in front of me, of all people! I’m only his servant if you want to get technical, but no one can knock out somebody faster than me so that makes me his bodyguard too.” He grinned and let a few loose sparks fly from his free hand.

“And you’re just letting me make those threats,” Bakugou countered. “Some bodyguard you are.”

Sparky shrugged. “Maybe. I would’ve electrocuted you by now if Eijirou hadn’t mentioned you beforehand.”

Bakugou pushed down the wave of questions that came with that sentence and clicked his tongue instead. “So you’re telling me you have lightning magic strong enough to kill intruders and you’ve never even fucking tried to become a mage or some shit?”

Sparky made a face. “I wanted to when I was younger, but I go brain-dead when I overuse it. Hard to learn other magic when you can’t master your own.”

“Chicken shit.”

“Am not!” he said defensively. “Going away to apprentice some old magic-man would’ve meant moving away from my bros, anyway. Hanta would probably want to come along, and that would be awesome, but Eiji-” he stopped mid-sentence and clamped his mouth shut.

Bakugou’s hands clenched into fists. “But ‘Eiji’ what, fuckmunch?”

Sparky looked pained in a way that made Bakugou’s questions die in his throat. “Eijirou doesn’t leave the castle,” he said flatly. “If you want to know more than that, ask him yourself.”

The two walked in silence after that, the tension nearly palpable. They took a few more turns and went past what Bakugou recognized to be the gardens before Sparky stopped in front of a door identical to the other guest rooms. He balanced the tray of food in one hand and quietly opened it.

The prince’s room turned out to be nothing more than a repurposed guest room, the inside roomy but modest. Where Bakugou’s room had two beds, this one had only one, tucked into the corner in a mess of cream sheets. The large window gave a generous view of the garden and let light seep into the room with a warm glow. Morning had done nothing to disturb the single occupant, however. Kirishima laid sprawled on his bed, limbs flung out and a line of drool dribbling out of his mouth. His hair stuck up in every direction, making for a truly monstrous bedhead.

“He looks like an idiot even in his sleep,” Bakugou grumbled.

Sparky raised an eyebrow and set down his tray. “You’d be the first to say that, that’s for sure. Everyone without a sweetheart falls head over heels for him.” He met his eyes with a knowing look.

“Guess I’m the exception,” he said shortly, not caring to repeat the conversation from last night with Deku. He prodded Kirishima with the handle of his sword, which only made him mumble and roll over.

Sparky winced. “Oh man, you really don’t want to do that-”

Bakugou ignored him and jabbed him harder, making him groan. “Rise and shine, asshat.”

Kirishima opened his eyes blearily, their bright red color hazy from sleep. “Wha…?”

“Duel, right now. You owe me.”

Kirishima stuck out his bottom lip in a childlike pout, movements slow. “Not ‘n the mornin,’” he mumbled, turning back over.

Bakugou laughed dangerously. “I don’t remember leaving it up to you.” He yanked back the sheets with a swift tug.

Kirishima yelped and rubbed his arms in a vain attempt to gain the heat back. “Bakugoooou,” he complained, yawning. “Taking someone’s covers away is unmanly!”

“So is lying about your identity, but here we are.”

“Are you really going to use that card?” Kirishima whined, running a hand through his unruly hair. To Bakugou’s amazement, the black strands stubbornly stuck up.

“I’m going to keep using it until you finish your damn apology,” Bakugou said. “And the fuck is up with your hair?”

Kirishima laughed openly at that, his thin nightshirt shaking with his shoulders. “I don’t know, man! It just does this in the mornings!”

“It’s true,” Sparky butted in, finally speaking up. “Ever since we were little his hair would stick up like crazy before it was brushed.”

“It’s stupid,” Bakugou said decisively, to which Kirishima only laughed harder.

“You should see my mom’s bedhead, it puts mine to shame,” he giggled.

“I’m pretty sure I’d have bigger fucking problems if I saw the queen in her nightgown. Are we going to fight or what?”

Kirishima shook his head but stood up. “I can’t exactly go to sleep after that very unmanly act, but let me get ready for the day first. Not all of us wake up ridiculously early.”

“It’s dawn, it’s not early, fuck you.”

Kirishima hummed and ignored his insult, choosing instead to flip through his wardrobe and pull out a similar shirt and pants from the day before. Bakugou turned around and waited for him to finish because despite popular belief, being a jackass did not make him a pervert. Kirishima plucked a hairbrush from the desk by his bed and stubbornly yanked it through his hair in a way that made Bakugou wince. “You brush your hair like a toddler.”

Kirishima stuck out his tongue, proving Bakugou’s point and making Sparky howl. He tied it back with a thin strip of cloth before lacing up his boots and smiling at him. “Ready to go, captain!”

“Not a chance,” Sparky said, eyes narrowed. “You gotta eat some of your breakfast or your mother’s going to have my head.”

Kirishima pouted again but dutifully stuffed a piece of toast in his mouth. Finally, finally, the prince was ready for the day. He barely had time to grab his sword before Bakugou grabbed his arm and started dragging him to the gardens, Sparky staying behind. It only took a few moments but Bakugou wasted no time. He stretched his arms a bit and scowled when he noticed Kirishima eyeing his tattoo again. “Stop staring, asshat, you’ll get your answer if you can best me.”

Kirishima perked up and unsheathed his sword, the steel glinting in the morning light. “Fine! That’s still my question, but you’ve got to ask one too.”

Bakugou didn’t pause his stretching, racking his brain for something, anything, to count for his part in the wager. He was content fighting for the hell of it, the strain of muscles and the sweat of an effort-filled fight, but the bet added something he wasn’t quite sure how to swallow. “I want to know where you got your scar,” he said eventually.

Kirishima’s face flushed red for a moment, piquing Bakugou’s interest. He wasn’t particularly invested when he asked, but if it was something that embarrassed him Bakugou was all for hearing the answer. “Alright, get ready to spill about your tattoo then!”

“You wish,” he taunted. He drew his own sword and the two started circling one another, looking for an opening they could exploit. This time it was Kirishima who struck first, a sharp slice Bakugou barely blocked. He grinned, not giving Kirishima time to react as he countered. The prince’s eyes flickered with the fire of challenge and threw himself back into the fight, putting in all his effort even as Bakugou deflected strike after strike. The mage was forced to go on the defensive as Kirishima pushed onwards. His attacks lacked speed and diversity, but the ones he landed were solid and powerful enough to send tremors through Bakugou’s bones.

Bakugou’s mistake came when he stepped back, expecting cobblestone but tripping over his own cloak. He fell down with a yell and Kirishima did not waste a second pinning him to the ground.

“I guess wishes do come true,” he teased. His face was close enough for Bakugou to see small flecks of gold in his eyes, too indistinct to be seen at any other distance.

Bakugou’s stomach did an involuntary flip, something he did not want to think about the implications of. He shoved Kirishima off him. “Apparently only for shitty-haired idiots, they do.”

Kirishima’s smile turned smug. “At least me and my hair won, Blasty. Pay up.” He got up and patted the space side him on the marble bench.

Bakugou took a long look at the sky and wondered why he ever agreed to stay at the palace. Sighing dramatically, he sat down next to him and glared at the ground. “It’s a marking thing. Every family has a different symbol where I’m from.”

“You still have your cloak on,” Kirishima said softly. His face was a gentle expression Bakugou couldn’t decipher. “Am I allowed to see it?”

Bakugou stiffly angled his left shoulder to him and let him push back the fabric, revealing the stark black ink on his skin. Kirishima let out an awed breath, eyes filled with wonder. He reached out to touch it but hung back, unsure. “Can I…?

He nodded once, shakily. Kirishima extended his fingers and Bakugou’s breath hitched at the contact. He traced the angry yet graceful curves of the design, his touch like pins and needles against Bakugou’s arm. “A sun,” he said reverently. “It’s beautiful.”

Bakugou tensed but let his arm be held a moment longer before answering. “It’s similar to my homeland’s symbol for fire magic.’”

“Is that what kind of magic you do?”

Bakugou took his arm back, the symbol disappearing underneath his cloak once more. “That,” he said, “is another question.”

Kirishima’s face fell but he nodded. “My mom wants me to help out with a negotiation today, but I can spar with you most of the day tomorrow.”

“I need to check in with Might anyways,” he grumbled. He sheathed his sword and stood, not bothering to offer a hand to Kirishima. “You better be ready for another round same time tomorrow.”

“Not cool, Bakugou! We have all day tomorrow, we don’t have to start so early!”

“Starting early just means more sparring, Hair-for-brains.”

Kirishima groaned but stood up, his smile quickly returning. “Alright, alright, I’ll just ask Denki to wake me up when he comes in. See you tomorrow, Blasty!” He waved and headed for his room, his grin making Bakugou’s stomach twist for the second time that day.

Bakugou kicked at a pebble before starting for his own room, scowling the whole way. Damn Kirishima and his stupid smile, his stupid eyes and his stupid hair. He made himself take in a breath of false calm as he arrived at the door. Feeling weird was normal. That’s what the shitty-haired prince was supposed to do. He, Deku, and All Might would figure it out, and he would never have to worry about it again.

He opened the door to find Deku and All Might waiting for him, leaving the last chair at the small table open for him. Might smiled grimly. “Young Bakugou, there are some things we must discuss regarding young Kirishima.”

“No shit,” he said dryly. “Make any fascinating discoveries?”

Deku shook his head. “We only have theories, but they’re the best we have.”

Might waited for Bakugou to sit before starting. “His aura suggests his curse was cast by a mortal, but a very powerful one.”

“So we’ve got a shot at lifting it,” Bakugou finished. “Good.”

“Lifting it is a possibility, yes, but our first step is to weaken it. It was made as a conditional curse, one that will only take place if another event occurs. This alone makes it strong, but there may be a loophole its wording.”

“Should he fall in love before sixteen, eternal, then, his rest shall be,” Deku recited. “Oh! The consequence isn’t very specific! If we’re careful, we could turn it away from him dying if he falls in love!”

“Correct, young Midoriya!” Might praised, eyes bright. Bakugou squashed the inkling of jealousy that threatened to bloom.

“So you’re saying we have to make it literal rest instead of him fucking dying before we do anything else. Wonderful.”

Might chuckled and patted Bakugou on the shoulder. “Don’t be so bleak, young Bakugou. We must consult a fae to confirm it was not cast by a mortal, but from there I know where to find the materials to create the weakening elixir. There is hope yet.”

Bakugou leaned back in his chair, resigned. The mid-morning light patterned the loose parchment at the table and made the moonstone around Deku’s neck shine brilliantly. Finally, he loosened his grip on the fabric of his cloak and let out a breath. “Fine. We need to be sure before we do anything. Know any faeries willing to lend us a hand?”

All Might shifted in his seat. “The few fae I know I cut ties with long ago. They won’t be happy to see me, much less help me on any magical endeavor. Luckily, we may not need to rely on them. Most royal families are tied to important fae families in a mutual bond, and the Kirishimas are no different.” He paused to meet both his apprentices’ eyes.

“It is time to summon the Ashidos.”

Chapter Text

It had been a week since the queen had reached out to the Ashidos, and Bakugou’s patience had begun to wear thin. He distracted himself by sparring with the prince, but that had its limits seeing as Kirishima often opted to talk with Sparky and another servant whose name he couldn’t remember. On that particular afternoon, however, he discovered something very interesting.

“You’re telling me you’ve never fucking met your fae family?!”

Kirishima scratched the back of his neck. “It sounds bad when you put it that way, but I guess? My mother said they haven’t talked since her coronation.” He swung his legs over the counter and crossed them, completely ignoring the chair. “Is that weird?”

Bakugou still wasn't sure how he ended up in the kitchen with Kirishima, the other chatting away like they had known each other for years. They had an arrangement for trading information, but if Kirishima was going to talk without an incentive Bakugou wasn’t about to stop him. The boy in question chomped on a freshly baked roll and Bakugou tried not to stare at the shark-like bite he left.

He rolled his eyes. “Hell if I know. The Todorokis invited the Yaoyorozus to visit every few months but the damn half-and-half bastard made friends with their daughter.”

Kirishima’s eyes crinkled as he bit down on his lip to conceal a giggle. He cracked as soon as Bakugou glared at him, laughing so hard his shoulders shook. “The fuck is so funny, Shitty hair?!”

“Really?! ‘Half-and-half bastard?’ He’s really quiet but I can’t think of anything he’d do to make you so touchy!”

“He’s a bastard,” he said curtly, sending Kirishima into another round of giggles.

“He’s really not, I swear! He just doesn’t understand how to act around people sometimes.” He shifted and raised his eyebrows dangerously. “Kind of someone I know.”

“Oi, watch it.” Bakugou punched his shin, the only part of the prince he could reach from his seat. “You didn’t have to deal with him making heart eyes at fucking Deku for months.”

Kirishima’s eyes lit up. “Midoriya and him are together?!”

Bakugou snorted. “As if. King Endeavor can’t stand All Might and Icyhot’s too chickenshit to cross his old man directly so they both have been pining like dumbasses.”

Kirishima laughed but didn’t comment, letting them fall into a comfortable quiet. Bakugou despised small talk, but with Kirishima, it didn’t seem so trivial. The prince never talked to be polite, he talked because he seemed to genuinely enjoy being with Bakugou, something that baffled him to no end.

He huffed quietly. If Kirishima insisted on talking to him and his company wasn’t a direct annoyance, the least he could do was show interest. “How do you even know Icyhot, anyways?”

Kirishima positively beamed at the prompt. “I’ve known him since we were really little! His family used to visit for days at a time and we just clicked.” His smile faltered and turned sad. “I didn’t see him as often after he got burned, though.”

Bakugou let his eyes fall to the floor. He just had to be stupid and reopen an old wound the one time he made an effort to hold a conversation. He bit his tongue and racked his brain for something to break the tension.

“He still comes around, yeah?”

Kirishima shrugged. “Around once a year, I think. King Endeavor doesn’t show, there was some bad blood surrounding his missing son and the attack on my family. I don’t know the details but I’m just grateful my mother and I survived.” He chuckled weakly. “Things could’ve been a lot worse.”

Bakugou swallowed thickly, not trusting himself to speak and nodding instead. Things were a lot worse, and he suddenly understood why the queen refused to tell Kirishima about his curse. At least this way he could be optimistic through his isolation. If he were to know the truth… Bakugou didn’t want to think of a Kirishima that didn’t smile.

“I’ve been thinking,” Kirishima said quietly, staring at the ceiling.

“Now I’ve seen everything,” Bakugou muttered.

The prince shot him a dry glare. “Rude. But I’ve been thinking about family a lot, especially since you came.” He sucked in a breath. “I lost my father too early, and if there’s another faerie family that’s supposed to be a part of my life, I don’t want to miss out on it.” His eyes searched Bakugou’s, looking for some type of sign.

Bakugou tugged at the edge of his cloak. “If you decided to ditch them without giving them a chance, you’d be a real dumbass.”

Kirishima smiled again, a small and grateful one. “Thanks, Bakugou.”

Bakugou jutted his chin and pointedly looked away, but not before he felt the tips of his ears go pink. “It’s common sense, Shitty hair, don’t patronize me.”

“Whatever you say, Blasty.” He slid off the counter and offered a hand to help Bakugou up.

He stared at it with more confusion than anger. “The fuck is that supposed to be?”

Kirishima rolled his eyes in exasperation. “I’m trying to give you my hand, Bakugou. It’s something friends do.”

Bakugou bit back a retort and grabbed his hand, pulling himself up. Kirishima’s shy smile turned blinding and Bakugou tried not to think of the way his hand fit snugly into Kirishima’s larger, softer one.

Too soon, Kirishima let go. “Come on, let’s go to the gardens.”

Bakugou let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. “Oh, thank fuck. Kiss your beginner’s luck goodbye, asshole.”

Kirishima rolled his eyes. “You’ve beaten me the last three times, Bakugou. This isn’t for sparring.”

Bakugou scowled. “Are you getting cold feet, your-fucking-highness?”

“Not everything’s about fighting! I wanted to meet up with Denki and Hanta before Jirou arrives.”

His shoulders stiffened. “I don’t want to meet with any extras.”

“They’re my friends, not extras.” Kirishima sighed and chewed on his lip, making its cherry red color even more pronounced. After a beat of silence, he turned away. “I’m sorry, that was out of place. I can’t force you to spend your time with-”

“Tomorrow.” Bakugou’s eyes widened at his own interruption. He swallowed and carefully met Kirishima’s gaze. “I’ll go with you to meet whoever those people are tomorrow.”

Kirishima’s smile got impossibly bigger, and Bakugou’s heart leaped into his throat. He stared at the floor and tried not to flinch as Kirishima threw an arm around his shoulders. The prince didn’t say anything, but his expression was soft with gratitude.

Bakugou shifted, breaking the spell. “Stop looking at me like that.”

Kirishima snorted but let his arm slip, and Bakugou refused to linger on the empty feeling it left.

“Alright, alright. See you tomorrow, Bakugou!”

He only shook his head, but Kirishima’s laugh rang in his ears long after he left.

 


 

The next morning, Bakgou’s exit was blocked by Midoriya, arms crossed and mouth in a tight grimace. “Kacchan.”

“Deku.” He leaned against his sword, eyes sparking with a silent warning. “Is there a reason you’re forcing a conversation?”

“There is, actually.” He cleared his throat. “You’ve been spending all of your time with the prince. There’s not a lot to do without being able to start on the spell, but we both know that’s not the whole truth.”

Bakugou glared coldly. “Who I spend my time with is none of your goddamn business.”

“Except when it interferes with what we’re here for. Kacchan, we’ve only been in the castle for two weeks, but he’s the only person you’ve bothered to talk to!”

“So what if he is?! He’s the only person in this hellhole who will actually put up a fight against me! If you’re so fucking worried, spar with me yourself!”

“Do not make this conversation about me,” he said coolly. “If there’s something more going on than a polite friendship, it needs to stop now.”

“I’m not a goddamn idiot!”

His hands sparked suddenly, making both of them jump.

Deku’s anger quickly melted into worry. “Kacchan-”

“It’s fine,” he spat. “My fire is fucking fine, and so am I. Just… listen for one goddamn second.” He let out a breath, long and slow. “Kirishima and I are friends. It’s not his fault a curse is fucking up his life, and I’m not going to cut him off for it. I’m supposed to meet with the extras he likes, so stop flipping your lid over it just being him.”

Deku lowered his head. “You’re right.” He sighed, and Bakugou felt just how burned out he was. “Just promise me it’ll never get to that point.”

Bakugou averted his eyes and kicked at the ground. “If anything happens, I’ll be a fucking adult about it.”

Deku nodded and stepped back. “Thank you, Kacchan.” He straightened up suddenly and rummaged through his pockets. “This has nothing to do with anything we talked about, but could you please give this to the messenger that’s supposed to come today? I’m going to be in the village and don’t want to miss her-”

“I’ll take your fucking love note,” he interrupted.

Deku’s ears went red. “You’ll take my friendly, non-romantic letter, you mean.”

“Whatever, nerd.” He snatched the parchment and gestured to the door. “Are we done here?”

“That’s all I wanted to talk about.” He sat down in the chair and hesitated, shaking his head. “Be careful, please.”

“I’ll be careful when I’m dead,” he grunted.

He pushed the door open and stepped into the hallway. By now the route to the garden was little more than muscle memory, only half-paying attention to where he was going. He soon spotted Kirishima leaning against the trunk of the massive apple tree in the corner, talking with Sparky and another servant he’d seen one or twice. He half-considered going back to his room, but Kirishima locked eyes with him before he could go through with it.

The prince’s face broke into a grin and waved. “Bakugou! I was starting to think you wouldn’t come! Don’t scare me like that, man!”

“Shouldn’t have gotten your hopes so high, then.

The servant whistled in mock appreciation. “So this is the mage you won’t shut up about it. Didn’t know you had such poor taste.”

Kirishima ignored him. “You already know Denki, and this is Hanta. He’s apprenticing under Hakamata to be a tailor and clothesmaker.”

“Sparky and Plain face,” Bakugou shortened.

Kirishima glared but moved over to make room for him. “I told you their names for a reason.”

“And I didn’t use them for a reason,” he said and sat down.

“Your personality is outstanding, really,” Sparky said dryly.

“With what Eijirou was telling me, I was expecting someone a lot more,” Plain face waved his hands in place of words, “charming.”

“I’m a fucking delight to be around, jackass!”

“Bakugou,” Kirishima said sternly. “Play nice.”

He huffed and let his head fall against the trunk, giving Sparky just enough time to yank the letter from his hands. His eyebrows shot up at the name. “Geez, man, you’re writing to the legendary ice prince?! You didn’t strike me as the type of guy to have a ring of royal buddies.”

Kirishima frowned. “I thought you hated him, what-?”

“I lived in his castle for a full damn year, if I wanted to talk to him I would. It’s fucking Deku’s love note.”

Plain face wiggled his eyebrows. “Whoever Deku is, he’s lucky to have the youngest Todoroki to himself. It’s been a few months since I’ve seen him but let me tell you, he’s a real piece of eye candy.”

“Treachery!” Sparky cried, bringing a hand to his chest. “You’d abandon me for him!”

“It’s a tragedy, I know,” Plain face snickered.

Bakugou's eyebrows knit. “The hell are you talking about?!”

Kirishima laughed and rubbed the back of his neck. “They’re stepbrothers, don’t let any of what they’re saying fool you.”

Sparky nodded seriously. “My bro is speaking of betrayal, this is no laughing matter.”

“Like you wouldn’t leave me for Jirou in a heartbeat.”

Sparky immediately perked up. “Speaking of, when’s she supposed to get here?”

“Relax, Denki. She arrived an hour ago, she’ll be here as soon as she makes her rounds.”

He groaned and sunk further into the grass. “That takes forever! My poor, pining heart can’t take this.”

Bakugou opened his mouth to tell him how pathetic he was being but stopped short at seeing a thin girl with dark violet hair come into the garden. Kirishima nudged Sparky’s shoulder. “You should speak out loud more often, man! Hey, Jirou!”

“Hey, Kirishima.” She smiled and plunked next to Plain face. “Didn’t expect to see you here, Bakugou.”

“Fuck you,” he said easily.

Sparky bolted up and gave Bakugou a snarl. “Don’t talk to Kyouka like that! She deserves the whole world on a silver platter!”

“We’re not on a first name basis, Kaminari,” she shot back, but Bakugou didn’t miss the tinge of pink on her cheeks. “Any of you have letters I need to deliver?”  

“Just this one,” Kirishima said and gave her the parchment.

She smiled faintly at the label. “Midoriya’s still flirting with Todoroki, I see. Anything new happen while I was gone?”

“Nothing other than Bakugou, Midoriya, and All Might coming,” Kirishima shrugged. “What kind of gossip have you heard about on the road?”

“Same old things. This noble had an affair with that noble, some queen accidentally started a war, those types of things. Nothing interesting.”

Sparky gave her a winning grin. “I’d love to have an affair with you.”

Plain face cackled while Kirishima choked. “That’s not how you win over someone, man!”

“I’m doing my best!” he shouted, face red but otherwise undeterred.

Jirou shuddered. “Please never speak again.”

Sparky wailed in dismay. “She’s immune to my charms.”

“Or lack thereof,” Bakugou said.

Jirou smirked and pulled two letters out of her bag. “Two letters this time. One from your parents, Bakugou. Write back every once in a while.”

“Can it, Ears.”

She ran a hand over one of the fins that poked out of her hair. “Suit yourself. This one’s yours, Kirishima.” She handed him a sharply folded envelope with a gold seal. “From the Ashidos. Your mother got a separate one.”

Kirishima bit his lip but took it, flipping it over and breaking the seal. The three crowded around him to see the caligraphy better.

“Eijirou,

We apologize for not getting to know you sooner. We have been busy, but that does not excuse failing our responsibilities as your fae family. Time is… different in faerie lands. No one had fully realized how much you had grown. We will arrive in three days time, and we look forward to meeting you.

Sunset and Moonrise,

Kaito and Hayama Ashido”

“Sunset and Moonrise?” Sparky broke the silence, frowning.

“It’s a fae greeting, don’t think too hard about it,” Bakugou grunted.

Plain face hummed. “Three days, huh? When did you get this?”

“Three days ago.” She smiled. “Looks like you’ve got company tonight, Kiri.”

He put a hand to his forehead. “Oh man, this is going way too fast.”

Plain face patted his shoulder sympathetically. “Better get ready, Ei. Your mother’s going to want you in your full prince getup tonight if you’ve got long-lost relatives coming.”

Kirishima winced but got up. “You’re right, I just wish that stuff was more comfortable. If you plan on staying, Jirou, I’m sure my mother has something that would fit you for dinner.”

She made a face but nodded. “See you in an hour or two, then.”

Sparky sighed dreamily as she picked up her bag and disappeared behind a hedge. “What a girl.”

“You’d have better chances with her if you didn’t act like a total idiot around her,” Kirishima said and offered Bakugou a hand up. He scowled but accepted it.

“Like you guys are any help,” he pouted.

Kirishima shook his head. “I think you’re doing that all on your own.” He helped Sparky up and turned to Bakugou. “Are you going to eat with us?"

“Is that an invitation?”

“If you want it to be.” He winked, sending Bakugou’s heart into a somersault.

He shoved his arm just hard enough to make him stumble. “Fucking whatever, Kirishima. I’ll meet your dumbass faerie family.”

The prince smiled, and Bakugou had a hard time remembering why he’d wanted to say no. “Awesome! See you then, Blasty!” He waved much too energetically and slipped behind a bush, Sparky right behind him.

It was quiet for a moment, but it didn’t last. Plain face shifted and leaned against the tree to face Bakugou. “You used his name.”

Bakugou bristled. “He earned it. There’s nothing else to it.”

Plain face raised an eyebrow. “Is there? When you add in there, it makes it sound like there is, in fact, something else that you don’t want to address.”

“Watch it, fuckmunch,” he said dangerously.

“I’m not saying anything!" He leaned closer and wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. “However, if I was to say something, I would say you’ve got a thing for our little Eiji.”

“What?” he deadpanned. His heart thudded against his ribcage. This was not something he was going through. He was Bakugou-fucking-Katsuki, not some silly village girl with a crush.

Plain face shrugged, face smug at the sight of red creeping down Bakugou’s neck. “It’s not exactly something that’s hard to do. I’ve seen plenty of people angrier than you fall head over heels for our beloved prince - not that you set the bar low.” He hummed, feigning thoughtfulness. “I have to know: was it his gorgeous red eyes?”

“Fuck off,” he mumbled staring straight ahead.

“That long, inky black hair? Let’s not forget that beautiful figure! All that working out does not go to waste. Did you know he works out? Because he works out."

“Fuck off!” he said louder. He grabbed his sword suddenly and stalked towards the low stone arch.

Plain face cackled. “Ooh, I know! It has to be his stunning smile! Even our resident mage swoons at the sight of those-”

“FUCK OFF!” he shouted, flipping him off without bothering to look back as he ducked into the hallway.  He distantly heard Plain face laugh harder, making his insides twist. He was fine, he could deal with a little discomfort. Kirishima’s curse was supposed to mess with people’s heads. Having weird feelings just meant whatever odd blip at the beginning had worn off.

He took another breath in, then out.

He was fine. This was normal.

Above all, he did not have feelings for Kirishima Eijirou.