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Bakugou took corners like he took his coffee.

Fast.

Not that he’d ever seen that as a bad thing. The world moved too sluggishly for his taste, and he had to shave time off somewhere, right? If it meant skimming a tire on the curb when he turned around it, or Red Rovering his way through a four-strong line of pedestrians- he’d gain back by force every second some stop-and-smell-the-roses extra robbed from his personal timetable.

So he was pissed when he skidded into the supplement aisle on a weekday afternoon and crashed his cart headlong into someone else’s. Pissed, but not surprised.

“Watch where you’re going, you useless-”

“Whoa! Um, hi! It’s...you.”

They faced off across the expanse of groceries and protein powder and sparkling water. Bakugou stared at the guy long enough to squander all the time he’d gained by hurrying in the first place. The stranger was youthfully attractive, broad-shouldered, scarred from elbow to wrist, like some fairytale prince constructed out of bits and scraps of other ones. Huge, kind eyes in a custom green pantone shade that could have been named “Fuckable”. Eyes Bakugou had seen before. Granted- they were generally framed by a black leather mask and pouring tears and wincing closed with every crack of the whip-

“Hi,” Bakugou responded in kind. Face flaring, he abandoned his full cart, pivoted towards the store entrance, and power walked right through the automatic doors.

 

----

 

“It’s definitely him?”

“Definitely.”

“And he-”

“Recognized me.”

“Shit.”

“Right away.”

“Shiiiit.”

Kaminari shifted the cool towel from Iida’s neck to his bare back, moved it in thoughtful circles. They were cross-legged on the floor of the softly lit aftercare room, watching Bakugou stalk back and forth and chew a self-inflicted hangnail. He was a stormfront of stressful energy on a good day.

This wasn’t a good day.

“Fuck!” Bakugou legitimately shouted. Kaminari shushed him, cupping two protective palms around Iida’s ears and glaring between Bakugou and the sign on the wall that enforced QUIET. Iida was well on his way out of subspace at this point, but:

“I can’t ice his eardrums, dude.”

Grumbling a noncommittal apology, Bakugou joined them on the floor. He pulled one leg over the other, comfortable street clothes jarringly out of place next to their matched leather getups. Without being asked, he rubbed a dose of sanitizer between his hands and unwrapped a square of gauze.

“My sub saw my face. Jesus Christ.” The careful motions with which Bakugou adhered the gauze to a burn on Iida’s arm were at odds with his steaming irritation. “Is he Miss fucking Marple? I wore a full hood every time we played! We staggered our arrival times and when we left and...I was careful, goddammit!”

“About your appearance,” Iida weighed in. His gaze was sharp again, his posture upright as Kaminari babied his stiff shoulders. “What about your voice?”

“What about my voice, hah?!”

“It’s...distinctive.” Iida. An overstated person with a talent for understatement. Blinking uncomfortably against the contact lenses he always switched his wire frames for during electrical scenes, Iida raised his lecture finger. “To say nothing of your word choice, Bakugou-”

“Fuck me, you’re making this about...fucking- grammar?!” Rummaging in a nearby duffel bag, Bakugou found a glasses case and winged it at the center of Iida’s chest. “I’ll shove the whole public library up your ass. Get all four of your eyes on, if you’re going to be a nerd about this-”

“You’re proving my point,” Iida scolded and smiled. Just like the benevolent LIT-301 professor he was during daylight hours.

“He’s right, hot shot.” Satisfied that Iida could acclimate to normal on his own, Kaminari crawled over to the mirror mounted on the wall. He unwrapped a jingling handkerchief and started the long process of putting his piercings back in. “You opened your big mouth and ruined it.”

“I didn’t say anything that would…” Bakugou trailed off, trying to recall exactly what the hell he’d said.

“You sure? What do kind of stuff do you call him when you play?”

“Pain slut. Idiot. His sub name’s Useless and-”

A sudden flashback to the supplement aisle. Watch where you’re going, you useless-

“...shit.”

“You call him shit?!”

“No, dunce face- just the other stuff-”

“And he likes it?!”

“Yeah, he fucking loves it. Got an issue with that?”

“No!”

“Not everyone can be a soft dom calling everyone princess and kitten and-”

“Perfect boy,” As Kaminari said it, he turned to watch Iida predictably blush up to his hairline.

“Blech.” Flipping onto his back, Bakugou stared at the dark, low ceiling. “Red.”

“Noted.” Kaminari winced when he shoved his orbital back in. “So are you gonna end it?”

“Guess I have to. I mean...the whole arrangement was based on not seeing each other’s faces. Contract broken.”

“Yikes. Them’s the breaks. But...hey, you’ll find another sub you click with.” Leaning into the mirror with a wrinkled up nose, Kaminari tried to line up a bar with the hole through his septum. “Friendly guy like you.”

“Hmph.”

“I was being-”

“Sarcastic. Yeah, fucking caught that.”

“In all seriousness, dude, it’s a big city. A big horny city. There’s gotta be someone else that-”

“Not like him. There’s no one like him.”

“Oh?” Kaminari’s voice keyed up to that flirty, gotcha tone that guaranteed Bakugou had said far too much. “Ohhhh?!”

“Shut up.”

“No, no, you gotta spill. What’s so special about him?”

“Just…” Bakugou’s sigh was ragged as the hems of his jeans. “...never found anyone who loves pain like he does. When I’m sore from whipping him he’s still not tapping out. I-” Need that. “-respect that.”

“We’ve got some guys around here that like a beating.”

Again: “Not like him. He’s…” Perfect. “...different.”

“Different...”

“Once he came hands-free from me spitting in his mouth.”

“Daaa-aaamn.” Kaminari sang in acknowledgment. He stuck his tongue out to situate a barbell in it. “Thath hot.”

“If you’re that compatible, perhaps you should ask him what to do.”

Iida was somehow fully dressed already, crisp-collared, buttons just so. One black oxford propped on a borrowed shoe shine kit from the boot kink closet. He vigorously polished the toe with a brush.

“Ask him? Like, talk to him?”

“Precisely.”

“Hah,” Bakugou spat, “A sub WOULD say that.”

Wounded, Iida paused for a moment. Then he switched shoes to polish the second one even faster.

“Hey.” Kaminari said, flinging a sweaty, retaliatory towel at Bakugou. “No minors allowed in the club.”

“What does that have to do with-”

“So stop acting like one.”

“Ughhh-ghhhh,” Bakugou groaned, very much like a teenager. He flopped to the floor, angling all his simmering bile towards the ceiling. “That’s not the kind of dynamic I have with this guy, alright? We don’t talk outside of negotiation. We don’t text except to organize meeting times. No chit-chat. That’s how we both like it.” He mumbled now, linking his hands under his head. “...I think.”

“You think?”

“Don’t start. Don’t you fucking dare get all by the book on me, this isn’t-”

“Bakugou.” Kaminari’s annoying little pincushion face invaded his eyeline.

What?! Christ, you’re-”

“Pop quiz.”

Scowling, Bakugou still nodded for him to continue. He’d never been able to turn down a graded activity.

“What’s the first rule?”

Immediately: “Wipe your sweat off the St. Andrew’s cross.”

“Oh, yeah…” Kaminari scratched his chin. “Well, what’s the second rule?”

“If you show up drunk, you better not show up again.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Get to the point!”

“What’s the rule I’m trying to remember so I can win this argument?”

Closing his eyes, Bakugou gritted out the correct answer:

“...Communicate.”

“Yup!”

“So I’m just supposed to text him and ask, hey, you as freaked out as I am? Tch.” Bakugou rolled onto his side, curled into an uncomfortably stiff fetal position. “What emoji do I use for painpig?”

Thrilled to be in his wheelhouse, Kaminari ticked off some options on rainbow-tipped fingers. “There’s two pig emojis, a pig nose emoji, a bacon emoji, a clapping hand that could be a spank, a cricket bat that kind of looks like a paddle if you ignore the ball, so I’d recommend-”

“I’d recommend not having the whole conversation over text,” Iida broke in, wrapping Kaminari in an arm-pinning hug from behind. He rested his chin on Kaminari’s head, right where the bleach job was growing out black. “Instead, text him to arrange a meeting.”

“Meeting…” Bakugou repeated, cautious.

“Yeah!” Kaminari leapt onboard. “A face to face one!”

“Where’s the harm in that? Considering the recent...ah...reveal.”

Locked into self doubt by the united front Kaminari and Iida presented- how the hell did two people so different always agree on every fucking thing?- Bakugou sat up just to slouch.

“Yeah. Considering.”

“Now the most important question.” Kaminari swayed from foot to foot in Iida’s big, housing arms. “Is he hot?”

“Not really.”

 

----

 

Well, that was a fucking lie.

Bakugou’s mystery man was hot. Head-turning, eye-magnetizing, half the restaurant furtively peeking over the back of booths and shoulders to get a peek at the spectacle the green-haired bastard didn’t even realize he’d staged. Meanwhile, he was sitting all idle and innocent on a bar stool that could barely support the athletic spread of his legs. Wouldn’t have mattered, since they were long enough that his red-sneakered feet were planted on the floor.

Welp. Ugly would have been good. Ugly would have been pretty fucking convenient. Bakugou may have been blessed from birth in a variety of ways, but he sure as fuck wasn’t lucky lately.

Wrestling a coiled up braid of anxiety and anger, Bakugou adjusted the collar of his leather jacket and took the last few steps towards the bar.

“Hey,” Bakugou said as he dumped himself onto the open stool beside his former sub, current nightmare. Gruff and casual with crossed arms and totally ok, totally fine. “Name.”

“Oh-! Hi.” The menu hiding half of his face snapped down to the counter. Revealed? A boyish jawline propped up by a tacky green tartan scarf. Open lips that might has well have been tattooed with the letters D, S, and L. Freckles. Oh shit, oh fuck, the freckles. “Sorry I’m so early, sometimes when I get nervous I-”

“Name,” Bakugou repeated, coughed into his wrist, and decimated his own strategy by first revealing: “I’m Bakugou.”

“Midoriya.”

A scarred, screwed up hand extended between them. Bakugou took it. Clenched hard, and savored the familiar, pained little hum he got in return. The tiniest white sliver of teeth sank into Midoriya’s lower lip. He’d probably been biting his lip just like that behind the zipper of his hood every time Bakugou abused his back. His thighs. His ass, which had to still be a whole spectrum of purple from when Bakugou recently, gleefully destroyed it with twelve spanks of raw solid oak. They’d only stopped when the paddle splintered.

“Cool,” Bakugou said, feeling pretty fucking far from it. “I’m never gonna call you that.”

“Oh…” Strange to hear soft disappointment in a voice he’d only ever known to scream for more. “...then why’d you ask?”

“Curious.”

“Uh huh.” Midoriya leaned onto his fist. Pillowing a cheek out all soft and delectable and why, why was sexy so much sexier when it wasn’t on purpose? “Anything else you’re curious about?”

A glass of water magicked near Bakugou’s hand. He gulped it gratefully.

“Kinda wondering why you’re bothering with all the fucking small talk.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Midoriya said. A fascinating, sugary blush unfolded across his face. “You make me nervous.”

Relatable. “You could say thanks.”

“Um…”

“For the memories.” Bakugou lifted his emptied glass and peered into it, shook around the ice. “For kicking your ass as hard as you wanted it to get kicked.”

“Okay. Yeah, thank you. For that, and, uh...thanks for never asking why I needed it.”

“Not my business.”

“It could have been, if you’d pressed the subject”

“I’m your dom. Not your therapist.” Bakugou caught his breath. “Was. Was your dom. Because it’s over, right?”

“That...yeah.”

In that quiet, delaying moment between words, Bakugou learned that expecting a stab through the heart doesn’t make it hurt any less.

“It’s over. The anonymity was important. Because…” Midoriya faltered. “I’m sorry. You already said you don’t want to hear about it.”

“I mean,” Bakugou’s neck developed an itch right when he needed a reason to fidget. He busily scratched at the back of it. “I’ll listen if you need to vent to someone.”

“You will?”

“For one minute.” Now Bakugou glanced at his wristwatch, no longer just a luxury reminder that he had nowhere else to be. “Hurry up.”

“Huh.” Midoriya didn’t apologize again. Nor did he call Bakugou an asshole. But both reactions showed in the confused tickmark of a crease between his eyebrows.

“Well, when I first started going play parties, and had an interest towards more extreme, like…edgeplay, bad pain stuff right off the bat, I got a lot of reactions along the lines of-”

Midoriya lowered his voice and threw a winking finger gun,

“What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this, huh? Haha.”

His mouth curved all angelic and guilty. As if he’d poked fun at a specific person, instead of the conceptual equivalent of that guy at the BDSM night. That guy deserved to catch some shit, in Bakugou’s well-informed opinion, but time was wasting too fast for him to weigh in and eat it up with pessimism.

“I don’t blame anyone for being worried about me. It’s probably a red flag to check someone’s ID at the door and see they turned 18 two days ago. And it couldn’t have helped that I look-”

“-like a fucking kewpie doll.”

“Th...ank you?”

“Wasn’t a compliment.”

“Ah. Of course not.” Midoriya relented, stirring his drink from the center out. He couldn’t have taken a single sip from it yet, based on how full and half-melted it was. The scent of gin sparked in Bakugou’s nose. Fuck, gin? Midoriya really did like being tortured. “Anyway, I ended up with kind of a wannabe rep. I was that kid who knew what they wanted on paper but couldn’t negotiate it and sat there handing out water bottles so they’d have an excuse to stay. I, uh…”

Midoriya cringed into a smile, the shy line of his shoulders promising you’re not gonna believe this.

“...didn’t get spanked with anything more advanced than a riding crop until I relocated here last year.”

“Bullshit,” Bakugou countered. As it ticked to indicate Midoriya’s minute was up, Bakugou covered his watch with his hand.

“No, I’m serious!” With a bright, self-effacing laugh, Midoriya gripped Bakugou’s shoulder. The uncomplicated touch burned through his clothes and down to his bones. “I wouldn’t lie to you!”

“That’s fucked.” Bakugou said. Not poetry, but the best assessment he could give through the deep sense of injustice rising in his belly. For an ass like Midoriya’s to go unwrecked for that long? New evidence that the universe was an uncaring void. Also: “What the hell? You built up all those scars in a year?”

“Oh! Nnnno. No.” Midoriya leaned in and whispered like it was a fun secret, though Bakugou sensed it couldn’t have been. His hand tightened on Bakugou’s shoulder. “Those are from something else.”

“So that’s your stupid origin story, huh?” Bakugou wobbled the conversation back on track, brushed Midoriya’s hand away. “Too cute for your own good and no one would wreck you right.”

The word ‘cute’ seemed to catch him weird, make him stutter. “I-uh-whoa, no- I wouldn’t say that. It’s...there was just a disconnect between how I came across, and what I actually wanted. Does that make sense?”

The wry suspicion tightening Bakugou’s lips was the only answer he got.

“Well...either way, moving fixed it. I finally got to start over. Bought all the gear I’d need to totally take identity out of the equation, found the club, got vetted, and jumped in with both feet.” He snorted. It should have been gross. “Jumped in on all fours is more accurate.”

“You’re not as funny as you think you are.” Bakugou grumbled. Outwardly. Inwardly, he was charmed, because Midoriya had apparently decided to keep him on his toes all fucking night. “And you could have gotten eaten alive, you know. Not every dom in this town is as amazing as me.”

“You’re right. I’m glad you found me first.”

The restaurant was thrumming with noise, but a pin dropped audibly in Bakugou’s skull.

“...First?”

“Yeah. You didn’t know? Oh. Ha. Yep, you’re…” Midoriya squeezed the edge of the bar. His reluctance to meet Bakugou’s eyes kept him in profile, kept his little button nose twitching like he was allergic to confrontation. “...You’re the only dom I’ve ever had.”

A lewd highlight reel of their first encounter flashed, full color, through Bakugou’s freshly broken brain.

That night, Bakugou spied Midoriya kneeling alone in the corner of the dungeon. He was chained by the neck to the wall. Full blackout hood with a blindfold peripheral buckled in place, the phrase bully me painted drippy white across a catsuit that went all the way to the tips of his fingers and toes.

“Oi,” Bakugou said to get his attention, looming over him with crossed arms and open fascination. No response. Bakugou learned later that Midoriya had been wearing ear plugs, too, but at the time he’d assumed the new kid was just a brat. That wasn’t a dealbreaker. Quite the opposite- with all the ammunition he needed to obey the directive on Midoriya’s chest, obey it in fucking character, Bakugou squatted down to unzip the hood’s mouth.

Revealed was a circular flare of black plastic clamped between Midoriya’s teeth. Bakugou reached out and gave it an exploratory tug.

Two things tumbled from Midoriya’s lips-

-the humblest, most naked little moan-

-and the full, textured, spit-soaked length of the dildo that had been housed in his throat. Easily half a foot in length. It slapped the dungeon floor and rolled to a stop against Bakugou’s steel toe.

“Slut,” Bakugou rasped in reverence, in disgust, and stood to full height. He planted the sole of his boot in the center of Midoriya’s face. Heel to panting tongue. By the time Midoriya had licked it clean and started delving into the deep tread of the boot like he was eating pussy, they’d drawn an appreciative crowd.

Not exactly a Hollywood meet-cute. But here, sitting next to Midoriya in a bar neither of them had pre-paid an attendance fee or signed a waiver to enter, counting freckles when he’d generally be counting whip cracks, Bakugou wondered if the idea that there was a proper order to things was the craziest fantasy he’d ever indulged in.

“I was your first, huh?” Bakugou finally responded. “You hit the fucking lottery.”

“I guess so.”

“Then you ruined it.”

Again, “...I guess so.”

Midoriya fingerpainted a bead of water into a regretful little circle. “I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did when I realized it was you.”

“Dumbass. You’re too easy to read.” Bakugou hoped they didn’t share that trait. If they did, he’d surely be telegraphing how relieved he was that Midoriya had volunteered to take the blame.

“I am?”

“Uh, yeah. Even with a mask on, you don’t have a poker face.”

“Haha…”

“Whatever. Sucks we ran into each other like that. It’s a small fucking world.”

“Right?! What are the odds of that happening? Population of 3 million, 24 hours in a day, however many grocery stores-”

“Stop trying to do math, Useless.”

It was so far under his breath that Bakugou barely caught it, but Midoriya squealed. The noise sparked a cruel, intrusive fire in Bakugou’s middle. Already awake and interested from his horny sojourn into memory, his cock went stiff.

“Calm down,” Bakugou said. It wasn’t purely a command for Midoriya, but Midoriya interpreted it that way. God, subs were convenient when they weren’t a pain in the ass.

“Okay...” he peeped, going pigeon-toed. He hung his head. As his hair tumbled forward, Bakugou spied the bare skin of Midoriya’s neck. A pale and perfect border right under a shaved nape. No freckles. No scars. How far down did the scars start?

When did Bakugou’s hand move on its own to grip the closure of Midoriya’s scarf?

“Look at me.”

Midoriya did. There were tears bridging his lower eyelashes together, tense and unbroken, like the top of an overfilled glass. Then he blinked, and they fell.

“Fuck,” Bakugou murmured. His voice stayed soft. His cock raged to full hardness in pants just tight enough to make it painful. “Why’re you crying?”

“It’s a habit.” Sniff. “One of many. Crying. Following orders. Making an ass of myself in public…”

When Midoriya lifted a hand, Bakugou caught it and pinned it to his knee.

“I never made you do anything you didn’t wanna do, did I?”

“No. Never.” As if to warn Bakugou to keep it that way, Midoriya wiggled his hand free and thumbed tears off his cheeks. One by one, with easy precision, because he’d had a lot of practice. “Promise.”

“Well, make sure the next guy is the same way.”

The words the next guy were street dirt on Bakugou’s tongue. Jealousy was something he’d never had the opportunity or inclination to acquire, and his first taste made him queasy.

Context considered, though, it was a convenient boner-killer.

“Make sure he treats you right. I don’t want to have to beat the shit out of someone who’s not into it.”

“You’re sweet.”

“I’m precisely fucking not, but- ugh.” Bakugou took a swing and a miss grab for Midoriya’s hand right before Midoriya moved to futz with the tangled strap of his messenger bag. He’d never even taken it off, Bakugou suddenly noticed. “Just- take care of yourself, goddammit.”

“I’ll try.” Midoriya said. Distracted and quiet. Stupid man bag properly situated on his shoulder. There was a receipt on the bar in front of him, soaked through with condensation at the corner, and he clicked a nearby pen to sign it.

Oh shit. He was actually going to leave, wasn’t he? Bakugou knew it was going to happen, but it was happening far too fast and all at once and-

For the first time in his life, Bakugou was desperate to slow things down.

“You ever do any of that self care horseshit?” He blathered, standing at the same time Midoriya did. He tossed a few bills onto the bar, forgetting entirely that he’d had nothing but water. “Bubble baths and dumb movies and-”

“All the time.”

“Then...keep doing it.”

“Fine.”

“Fine!” Bakugou barked at the back of Midoriya’s head. Guy was walking in front of him- in front, like he knew the exact method to get under Bakugou’s skin and deployed it right when it would hurt the most. Bakugou broke into a half jog, bringing them shoulder to shoulder in the threshold hallway of the bar. He craned towards Midoriya’s ear.

“You jerk off?”

Midoriya whipped around, scandalized, curls bouncing in innumerable directions. Bakugou leered back. Who knew a self-proclaimed pain slut had pearls to clutch?

“Y...you don’t get to ask me that!”

He burst through the door and onto the sidewalk, one arm stiff in front of him. Clumsily transitioned into waving for a taxi. Close behind, Bakugou was thrilled to see that in the whole switchboard sea of traffic, not a single “VACANT” light was visible.

“Why not?” He gripped the pole of a no parking sign and leaned into the street, into Midoriya’s line of sight. Even washed out by headlights and flashing digital billboards, Midoriya’s blush looked neon. “Wanna make sure you’re-”

“Because you’re not my dom anymore,” he hissed as he gave up on hailing a ride and swivelled decisively away from Bakugou. With a tinge of coyness: “But, same answer. All the time.”

The vision of Midoriya in the comfort of his own home, going commando in basketball shorts or sweatpants or whatever the fuck, reaching into them for some vanilla hand-on-dick masturbation...it was so inviting that Bakugou almost didn’t notice him walking away.

“Wait!” he shouted, launching towards Midoriya’s back even, resolving to not, not, not touch him again. “Wait a minute!”

“Oh, exactly one minute?” Midoriya stopped in place, fists balled, jostled at the shoulder by a passing group of tourists. “What a perfect amount of time to listen to someone.”

“I won’t even need that long, fuck, it’s-”

Midoriya turned, subtly angling towards the curb, enough to break him free of the flow of people hurrying by and-

When had he started crying again?

“Talk,” Midoriya said, sopping tears with the fringe of his scarf. “One minute.”

“Our...thing,” Bakugou began, and what an innocent word that was for something leaving such a bloody exit wound, “The dom sub thing. I don’t fucking know- I’ve never given a shit about the terminology, just- you and me. It was good. It was fucking great, and I think you’re as pissed as I am that it’s ending like this. So why’s it gotta end? Why can’t we renegotiate or-”

Some asshole glanced Bakugou from behind as he walked by, knocking him towards Midoriya, ruining his verbal momentum...yet giving him all the momentum he needed to get closer. They went chest to chest, almost. Except Midoriya was a little taller and that was annoying but it was also fine as long as he was still here.

“-why can’t we forget this shit ever happened? Forget each other’s faces. And names. Your name is weird anyway- doesn’t suit you at all.

Something about the casual insult made Midoriya smile and roll his eyes. Hope and affection see-sawed in Bakugou’s stomach, but he drove forward with nothing but purpose.

“I won’t treat you any differently when I’m working you over. Why would I? I don’t care what you look like. If you’d been ugly as fuck or 200 years old or whatever the hell- I don’t judge people on their appearances. I judge them on everything else. I’m your first dom, but you’re not my first sub and you’re the only one I’ve ever- stop giggling.

Midoriya didn’t stop. He disobeyed a direct order by clutching his ribs with one arm crossed over the other and giggling even harder and ohhhh, that was Bakugou’s new favorite sound.

“Sorry.”

“Chucklefuck.” Bakugou rolled back on his heels from where he’d been apparently, unconsciously trying to look taller. “Whatever. That’s all I had to say.”

“Okay…” Midoriya’s eyes were wet from laughter now, so bright, so painfully empathetic that Bakugou balked under their perusal.

“Hey...I’m not-...not crawling back or anything here, so don’t you dare fucking feel sorry for me. Got that?”

“Got it.”

“I’m not begging. That’s your job.”

“Wow.”

“And if you say no it’s a no forever, so make sure you mean it.”

Bakugou gripped Midoriya’s shoulder in a gesture with no subtext, the very definition of arm’s length. How mature. Damn, who ever said he wasn’t a grown-up? He was nailing this.

“You don’t have to answer yet. Okay? Give it as much thought as you need to. Hell, just sleep on it and get back to me in the-”

“No.”

To Katsuki’s immediate left, there was an extended truck honk. Might as well have been a whomp whomp.

“Jesus,” he gaped, “That was fast.”

Midoriya shrugged, shifting his bag closer to his hip.

“Me not seeing you was as important as you not seeing me.”

He started to walk away again. Bakugou rushed to his side, suddenly desperate as he had been calm.

“Hah?!” He panhandled for Midoriya’s attention. “Why’s that?!”

“You’re not my therapist, remember?”

“Who am I, then?!”

“Technically? Now? Just some guy.”

Bakugou froze in place. Cradled the splinters of his heart in his hands. Definitely dropped a few right down a storm drain.

“Some guy?!” Bakugou shouted, catching up with Midoriya just to cut him off and walk backwards in front of him. The crowd made room for them on its own, a parted sea of wool beanies and cloudy breath. At least city people were savvy enough to avoid someone screaming on a sidewalk. “That’s all I am to you?!”

“I mean…” Midoriya tried and failed to side-step him. “You’re a cute guy.”

“CUTE?!”

“What, that offends you? You called me that!”

“Then pick another word! We’re not the same!”

“Loud.”

Bakugou took a split second detour to kick a trashcan. Steel-toed boots. Kinky and functional. “Oh, come the fuck off it!” He stalked a few feet in front of Midoriya, yelled over his shoulder at a dogwalker distance. “You know that’s not what I meant!”

“Handsome, then.”

“Ghk-” The compliment made Bakugou even more furious. He’d only ever dug his heels in when someone was trying to talk him off a ledge. “Fuck off.”

“Very handsome,” Midoriya repeated, trotting to Bakugou’s side. His turn to play keep up. “Happy?”

“You know I’m not.” Bakugou seethed. “I’m walking you home.”

It was more of an observation than a statement of intent. He was too exhausted by anger to argue. Midoriya didn’t say anything back, either at first or after a few silent blocks. Small talk bubbled in Bakugou’s throat, only to get gnashed back by stubborn teeth. No fucking way was he going down that road.

Nice weather we’re having? How’s the family? Do you have a family?

Why do I only wanna know every fucking thing about you now that there’s no reason to find out?

Their pace evened out. The neighborhood became unfamiliar. When they were forced together by the inconsistent bulk of the crowd, Midoriya linked their arms.

“Don’t wanna lose you,” he said.

“Too late,” Bakugou countered. It sounded like a joke, or some shitty scripted kiss-off line from a bad boy in a drama.

“Haha,” Midoriya not-laughed. Grimmest fucking noise Bakugou ever heard him make.

“We close to your place?”

“Close-ish.”

They continued walking, letting the foot traffic’s dull collective consciousness decide when they’d get there. Slow, but not particularly steady. The awareness of Midoriya squeezing his bicep kept making Bakugou’s stride trip up on sidewalk cracks. If his mother’s back got broken, he’d know why.

“Hey…” Midoriya skimmed cold-shaky fingers through his hair, root to end. “Keep going towards 16th street, ok?” Then he tipped his face towards the sky and closed his eyes.

Weirdo.

Midoriya was assuming, Bakugou supposed, that he’d get led around any obstacles by the very man whose ego he’d just steamrolled flat. Was this some impromptu trust exercise? Bakugou wasn’t naive enough to see the value in that corporate retreat bullshit, but he sure did like to be good at things.

So:

“Avoid your left,” he warned, helping Midoriya skirt around a bundle of newspapers.

“Thanks.”

“Corner. Right.”

“Thanks.”

They weaved towards 16th street, the not-blind leading the voluntarily so. And once they reached it, Bakugou planting a flat hand on Midoriya’s stomach to keep his toes from tipping over the curb, Midoriya made the strangest, most incongruous confession.

“I thought you’d have a beard.”

He opened his eyes, and there’s no way they hadn’t gotten greener.

“Is that your type?” Bakugou asked, instead of what the hell?

“Usually.”

“Fuck beards.” It was Bakugou’s honest opinion. He couldn’t grow one, so by definition anyone who had a beard was better at beards than him. Fuck beards.

“Sore spot?”

“Did I need a beard to make you scream?”

“No,” Midoriya admitted, cheeks pinker than could be explained by wind chill. “No, of course not, I’m just...surprised.”

He suddenly tangoed them out of the middle of the sidewalk, slamming his own back against a nearby wall and bringing Bakugou closer. So close Bakugou could sense the hidden heat of the trim, willing body under Midoriya’s consignment store clothes. Smell his soap. He’d smelled that before, in the dungeon, and wondered to himself how tea tree and rosemary and mint could seem like such a filthy combination.

“Do you like surprises?” Midoriya whispered, a hand smoothing up the arm of Bakugou’s jacket. Creaking the leather on the way. A path with an obvious destination, a motivation Bakugou wouldn’t dare guess at, and a hell of a lot of spectators-

“Love ‘em.” If he’d said it only an hour before, he would have been lying. “Love surprises.”

Midoriya cupped Bakugou’s jaw. Softly stroked the bareness of it, feeling for whiskers they’d so recently established weren’t there. His fingers should have been gloved, because they were trembling, cold enough to stick. His eyes glimmered with the weak, reflected tawniness of street lamps. Lips parted, messages hopelessly mixed, thigh rising to slot between Bakugou’s and grind home.

“How’s this one?” Midoriya asked, and kissed him.

A long, patient, innocent kiss, held in place by Midoriya throwing his arms around Bakugou’s neck. Posed like a high school slow dance. Cutesy. Granted, against the backdrop of everything else they’d gotten up to, any kiss was entry level. Midoriya had swallowed Bakugou’s drool before- god, both of them got their rocks off on that shit- but Bakugou could only theorize about what Midoriya’s mouth tasted like from the inside.

Until Midoriya hummed, almost sleepy in his contentment, and pressed his tongue into another kiss. Fuck, fuck, he tasted like boyfriend. Dangerous.

Some passing extra hooted at them and clapped Bakugou on the back. With a growl that separated their lips, Bakugou slammed his forearms on either side of Midoriya’s head, bracketing him in for more privacy and control.

“Surprise me again.”

“Okay,” Midoriya’s knobbly hands unlatched from the back of Bakugou’s neck. Dripped down his chest. Rucked up his shirt at the hem. “You should fuck me.”

“That so?” Thank god. “Thought you didn’t want to see me again.”

“Excuse me,” Midoriya said. An air of sternness infiltrated his tone. He got a hold into Bakugou’s front pockets, flipped their positions, and forced Bakugou’s body flat against the wall. “When did I ever say that?”

“Whoa-” Wrenched from him by the iciness of Midoriya’s fingertips on his stomach, Bakugou gasped. Sudden, breathy, downright subby. However is sounded, though, it didn’t feel wrong. Or off. Or entirely unfamiliar. Good god, he thought, squirming under a tattered NO LOITERING alert, am I a switch?

“You’ll be nice to me if you fuck me, right?” Midoriya’s tongue dragged a well-defined parallel up Bakugou’s jugular.

“That how you like it?”

“I have no idea.” He breathed a warm swatch across Bakugou’s ear. “...I’m a virgin.”

The shiver that rocketed through Bakugou’s body had nothing to do with the cold.

“Supriiiise,” Midoriya teased. He whispered Bakugou’s go-to command, given so many times at the other end of an upraised paddle. “Count to twenty.”

“What are you-”

Midoriya rotated out of Bakugou’s arms, switching his bag around to the back for better mobility. Before he ducked into the slipstream of pedestrians and joined their march towards the crosswalk, he blew a kiss.

“Fucker,” Bakugou growled through a grin and flicked a finger down in a one count.

He made it to fifteen before he cheated. Adjusting the front of his pants, ignoring the flashing red do not walk signal, he gave chase.

 

----

 

Flirtation within the bounds of the club was always comfortably regimented to Bakugou. Questions got answered and answers weren’t questioned. A judgement free zone...for everyone but rule-breakers, of course, who received swift and sometimes permanent justice. Safe. Sane, too, even if not a single motley member of their BDSM crew could be called that.

But this…

Bakugou caught a flash of green as he muscled through the volume of pedestrians.

....this was like schoolyard tag...

He watched Midoriya slip around the side of a building.

...and in tag, if Bakugou recalled correctly…

Bakugou took the corner sharper than a runaway mine cart, saw the windswept tail of a tacky scarf disappear into an alley.

...the game only ended when someone got their hands on someone else.

The heat of Bakugou’s pursuit brought him skidding into the opening of the alley. Midoriya was partially obscured by a head-height recycling dumpster. But the way he was shedding his bag, his scarf, snake-charming his belt open, he sure as fuck wasn’t hiding.

“Found you,” Bakugou growled.

“Oh!” Midoriya half-gasped, one hand shoved up the bottom of his shirt, pinky overlapping the hem. The dart of dark hair under his navel was slashed through with a mauve keloid scar. “That was fast.”

“Tch.”

As Bakugou advanced, his cock was heavy and searing as a live coal against his thigh. Strangers passed unnoticed, unaware on the sidewalk behind him. He didn’t give a shit. If anyone was looking, if fucking Midoriya here was breaking any rules; all the rules of both polite society and best BDSM practices. But in the narrow bedroom intimacy of this concrete gash between two buildings, public and private overlapped too much to be distinguished.

There was only Midoriya. Unmasked. Still anonymous. The promise of him and all the rawer, simpler pleasures they hadn’t traded yet.

And god, god, that scar was going to be sweet as a candy button under his tongue.

Decelerating to slow, deliberate steps, Bakugou closed the distance. Eased an arm around Midoriya’s waist and kissed him again. Soft, but sure. Steam curled from their brushing mouths.

“You’re mine.”

“Yeah…” Midoriya whispered. “...yeah, I am.”

Still standing in the alley, Bakugou was approximately on top of the world.

“Fuck, baby…”

Bakugou switched a hand from Midoriya’s hip to Midoriya’s ass. What an ass, holy- Bakugou still didn’t have the faintest idea what he did for a living, but personal trainer wasn’t a bad hypothesis. The perfect firm handful when Bakugou squeezed and let go, then slipped between Midoriya’s jeans and his underwear to repeat it. He was so warm. So touch-reactive. Vibrating like their compatibility was chemical. Like he could disappear into vapor.

Raised stripes and scabs were obvious against Bakugou’s palm from the other side of spandex cotton. Bakugou dug his grip in, pressing the bruises he knew were there, an aggressive claimant to the pained moan Midoriya made against his mouth. Then he soothed Midoriya quiet. With more kisses. A gentler rub to Midoriya’s ass- hell, call it a massage. See? Bakugou could be nice. Had to be, in order to satisfy this new dynamic.

“Asshole,” he blurted.

Oops.

“Can’t believe you made me hunt you down. Ah-! You-” Strong, shy fingers fluttered over his zipper. “You’re the fucking worst.”

“Mmm…” Midoriya crept the zipper pull down, sucking Bakugou’s tongue hard enough to unmoor it. Bakugou didn’t know if Midoriya was trying to turn him on or avoid a lecture, but he succeeded in both. They separated, panting, Midoriya’s curls tingling across Bakugou’s forehead like an ashen blessing.

“You wanted this all night, didn’t you?”

They kissed again, until Midoriya shook his head no, smearing their lips out of sequence. “Not all night.” He palmed Bakugou’s cock, explored its contours with grateful interest. He’d never been allowed to touch it before. “Not until I was sure.”

“Sure that- mmph.”

They couldn’t make it a whole goddamn sentence without kissing.

“That I trusted you.”

“What have I ever done do make you not trust me?”

Midoriya pulled back, all starpower smile and florid pink lips-

“You mean, other than using my sub name in a vanilla setting, asking me about my masturbation habits, refusing to take no for an answer, and cheating when you were counting to twenty?”

“Wh-!” Dead to rights. Bakugou pouted and whipped his eyes to ground.

“Don’t worry. I’ve made up my mind about you.”

Extricating himself from Bakugou’s arms, Midoriya turned towards the recycling dumpster. CARDBOARD ONLY, it read above the receptacle slot, where a collapsed box stuck halfway out. Midoriya ripped it free. Laid it in the darkest recess of the alley. Like there was about to be a retro breakdance battle, instead of a one-way deflowering. Resourceful little slut, Bakugou thought, and bit his tongue not to say it out loud. He was going to be nice. Nice. Be nice.

“Take me home with you. Let me fuck you in a damn bed, c’mon”

Midoriya knelt on the cardboard. The perforated shadow of a fire escape fell across his upper body, hid his eyes. “Here’s fine.”

Stepping closer, his own shadow joining the assembly, Bakugou slipped his cock free of his boxers. Covered it with his hand for warmth, not modesty. No reason to hide. He’d never been surer in his life that he was about to get a blowjob- a great one, if Midoriya’s talent for making dildos disappear down his throat was any indication. The way Midoriya was eyeing him with a sinfully bitten lip suggested he wasn’t unwilling, and yet-

-Midoriya planted his palms on the cardboard blanket and padded around so his arched-up ass was facing Bakugou. He brought his unbuckled pants down with nothing but a wiggle of the hips. Straining the fabric between his cheeks was the clear outline of a buttplug base, and Bakugou dry swallowed a curse.

“How the fuck did you think you could outrun me with that in?” Bakugou asked, hoarse, sinking down to Midoriya’s level knee by shaky knee.

“I didn’t,” Midoriya said, reached back, and peeled his underwear down. His hands looked chalk white against the destroyed watercolor purples and yellows of his ass. Marks that looked like dark lip-prints from the speed holes of the paddle. Gorgeous swaths of broken blood vessels. And in the middle, a clear glass buttplug that exposed the wet gleam of his insides.

“Holy fuck…” Bakugou traced the base of the toy, felt around lower, where Midoriya was loosely puckered around the thick stem. Skin all silky with silicone lube. He twitched and seized tighter under Bakugou’s fingers. Midoriya’s asshole may have never taken a cock, but he wasn’t a beginner to shoving stuff in it. Large insertions, sometimes overzealous ones, sometimes covered in a glove and attached to Bakugou’s punching arm, had honestly left him looking a little fucked up down there. But Bakugou knew that, expected that, loved that about Midoriya. If Bakugou wanted to fuck a neat little pocket pussy, he’d buy one and take it out for drinks.

“This plug’s huge,” Bakugou marvelled, pressing on it with his thumb. It nestled further into Midoriya’s body, into the slow, visible suck of pink muscle beyond its head. “And heavy. What does this thing weigh, like a pound?”

“Almost.” Midoriya said. Breathy, cheek-down on the cardboard and peeking back at Bakugou. “It was hard to keep it inside.”

“You’re a badass.”

“Should I push it out?”

“Fuck, can you? Ass up like this?”

“I think…”

Licking his lips and leaning in for a more intimate vantage point, Bakugou circled a hand around his cock. His other hand roughly spread Midoriya open to ensure the contour of his ass cheek couldn’t hide anything. In the most lascivious team effort, Midoriya spread himself in the opposite direction, bit down on his balled fist, and started to push. A contraction leapt the plug forward, his guts narrowing down and propelling it from the other side. The diameter of his asshole doubled to accommodate the plug’s widest point, rim stretching, eyes pinched shut-

-with a wracked groan, Midoriya stopped pushing. In an instant, his ass ate the plug again, puffy and blown out and failing to fully close around the stem.

“Oh, gosh…” he sighed, face burning from effort and embarrassment as he hid it in his elbow. “Sorry.”

“You almost did it,” Bakugou rushed to reassure him, “Don’t try again yet, just- fuck, legs apart. Wider.”

The reward for Midoriya’s obedience was Bakugou’s mouth, unapologetically open, tongue first on his taint. Bakugou gently thumbed the base of the plug, tipping it like a joystick and kissing up to the inside-out plushness of Midoriya’s hole. He licked and licked. Fucking going for it, eating Midoriya out with reckless abandon. Switching the angle of his head to work around the plug until his teeth were filmed with lube, his jaw was sore, and Midoriya was humping his precious little cock in wet stripes across the cardboard.

“Okay. Try again.” Bakugou said, past some arbitrary checkpoint in making Midoriya come completely undone. He banded a forearm around Midoriya’s belly and yanked him into his lap. The head of his cock met the base of the plug, slicked hotly across it, trying to find a way in.

“Nnngh-” Midoriya noised off, struggling to his knees, throwing his hands back to tear at Bakugou’s hair. His body bowed, bent flexible and catlike until the plug subtly bulged in his lower belly. Bakugou coursed a path around it to delineate the borders of the plug, then kneaded it down from the outside with all ten of his fingertips.

“Push, push, push,” he chanted in a whisper, working Midoriya’s flesh like dough, “Push.”

Thighs bracing on either side of Bakugou’s, Midoriya flinched a kiss over his shoulder and bared down. Their mouths sucked tight as the plug descended. Wet heat rained on Bakugou’s jeans when the seal broke, a deluge of body-temperature lube bursting out with the toy itself. Midoriya had to have packed himself with it before leaving for the night. Now the voided plug slithered onto the ground between them, and even though Bakugou couldn’t see it, he knew the gape was as gross as Midoriya was pretty. Wrecked. Another beating for a body that couldn’t turn one down, another destroyed corner of his temple. Midoriya would run out of space to ruin, eventually.

Burying his nose in Midoriya’s curls, lips ghosting across an unscarred nape, Bakugou tried not to dwell on two disquieting words.

Then what?

“Sit down, baby.”

Bakugou strapped an arm diagonally across Midoriya’s chest. Sinking him by the shoulder, guiding him lower, not bothering to steady his own cock or Midoriya’s hips. Aiming? Pointless, when the target has such a wide open bullseye. He breached into Midoriya’s ass. No resistance, no tightness, no squeeze- just heat. It felt good, but barely. A hug without friction. Just having Midoriya in his lap like this, though...flush with the broadness of his back, kissing the heartbeat in his neck...it was stimulation enough. He sighed, comforted, and ambled his hand down to jerk Midoriya off.

“Move however you want to. You’re in charge, so-”

“Oh my god, I-” Midoriya choked, legs tensing, starting to shudder. “Bah...B…this...oh my god...”

Bewildered, Bakugou wasn’t sure if Midoriya was stuttering because he loved it, or hated it, or hell- forgot what his name was. He’d only said it once.

“Should I pull out?”

“No!” Midoriya cried. Really cried, tears growing to ripeness in a split second and coursing over his cheeks. “No, no, don’t go, I love it, it’s so warm, oh my god, god- it’s so real-”

Under three layers of winter clothing, Bakugou’s skin blossomed with goosebumps.

“Ride me, then.” He sped up jerking Midoriya’s cock, clumsily, grateful for the slip of precum. “Use me to get off.”

“B-bah...I didn’t know-” There was no bounce or in out pattern when Midoriya started moving. Only a grinding, slow writhe as he fucked Bakugou’s hand, wept his soul bare. “-I didn’t know it would feel like this, I- oh god, you’re here, you’re really-”

“I’ve got you.”

“You’re here with me-”

“Yeah, and I’m not fucking going anywhere. Ever.”

Midoriya’s cock jolted at that, and Bakugou’s hand became an arrhythmic blur.

“So cum for me.”

“I’m going to, oh god, I-” Midoriya sobbed, rocking faster, “-almost-”

“Show me how good you feel, you’re- oh fuck.”

Midoriya’s ass shrank suddenly. Ridged muscle clenched around Bakugou’s cock, nearly shocking him to a delayed yet somehow still premature orgasm. His hand stuttered to a stop just as Midoriya spurted over it. Gushing, webbing Bakugou’s fingers together with white and turning ragdoll in his lap. His head lolled against Bakugou’s chest.

“Perfect,” Bakugou said, watching the butterfly twitch of Midoriya’s downcast eyelashes. Then, something he’d never said before, because he’d never understood before: “Perfect boy.”

“Nooo...”

“S’my opinion and I’m entitled to it.”

“I forgot your naaaame,” Midoriya softly wailed. He buried his face in two scarred, shaky hands.

“Fucking knew it,” Bakugou said with a cum-flicking snap of the fingers. “See if I care, Midoriya.

“Wahhh…”

“Let me introduce myself. I’m the guy in your ass right now-”

“Stoppp-”

“And my name’s B-”

“Stop,” Midoriya interrupted with a hint of panic. “Don’t say it again.”

“...Seriously?”

“I mean it. Don’t tell me.”

“Why?”

“I’ll, uh. I want to…” Midoriya balled his sleeve up to wipe tears from one eye. He seemed to lose energy before wiping the other one, letting his hand drop uselessly. “I’ll remember it on my own.”

“...tch. Whatever you say.”

As Bakugou dropped the subject, he picked something else up.

A steeping, bitter awareness that Midoriya was running away again.

You’re too easy to read.

“Smear the cum on me,” Midoriya spoke after a long standoff of silence. Long enough that the cum in question had gone ice-fucking-cold. “On my face.”

Bakugou did it. Shoved his palm abruptly, roughly over Midoriya’s nose, lacquered every last freckle on his cheeks with spent white and fingerfucked it behind his parted teeth and wiped the dregs into the unlucky curls that spilled over his forehead.

“Jerk off on me,” Midoriya panted. He was hard again.

Somehow, with a flat affect and full knowledge that Midoriya was using him, Bakugou did that, too. Pulled out. Stood over Midoriya’s upturned, sperm-shiny face and stroked himself to a dogged, pleasureless orgasm. Reaching out in a lazy peace sign, he forked Midoriya’s eyelids up and hosed him point blank with the first spurt. Meanest thing Bakugou had ever done to him.

And, ironically, the only thing that didn’t make him cry.

“Thank you,” Midoriya said, yanking his jeans up over his erection and buckling his belt. As Bakugou stared, he started a pathetic, ground-patting, I-can’t-find-my-glasses search for his scarf.

“Christ,” he muttered, shaking his head. “To your left.”

“Thank you.”

“Cold, colder, warmer, warm, there-”

“Thank you,” Midoriya repeated, pulling his scarf around in a keyhole tie.

“You’re not gonna-” Bakugou began, but cut it short before he could ask wipe it off? No. Of course not. This maniac was going to slutwalk home. Half blind. In the middle of the night. On a weekend. In the party district. That was part of all this bullshit. That was possibly the whole fucking point.

And keeping him from doing it? Talking some fucking sense into Midoriya’s addled fucking head? That wasn’t Bakugou’s job anymore.

“I’ll text you,” Midoriya said as he tiptoed around Bakugou. He had a drenched, drippy smile on. Milk-drowned little cum kitten. Bakugou wanted to choke him, kiss him, any number of other conflicting impulses. All he did in the end, though, was say:

“No you won’t.”

Midoriya didn’t look back or try to lie again before he exited the alley.

Exited in the opposite direction of 16th St.

Fuck.

Also the direction Bakugou needed to go.

Double fuck.

With a frustrated snarl and a steel-toed kick to the alley wall, Bakugou started counting to twenty.

When he finished, he started again.

 

----

 

Bakugou took rejection like he took criticism.

Badly.

And now here he was, sitting on a bollard in a grocery store parking lot, chewing gum and blowing weak minty bubbles and whipping his sunglasses down every time he thought he saw green. He was getting pretty fucking tired of grocery stores. Pretty tired of gum, too. There were dozens of packs of it littering his dashboard, his desk at work, the little table in his apartment he dropped his keys on. That’s what happens when you buy a pack at every store you visit just so you have an excuse to be there.

But it gave him something to do, and a receipt that proved he was a paying customer if someone gave him shit about loitering, and a small monetary penance for wasting his fucking time day after day.

Speaking of days, it’d been almost two solid months of radio silence from Midoriya. During which the season changed from winter to premature spring. During which Bakugou sent Midoriya exactly one text. It was a shitty one- hows life, heartbreaker- so seeing it bounce back as undeliverable may have been a blessing.

Sure as hell didn’t feel like a blessing. It felt like a screw in Bakugou’s stomach. It felt like a wire stripping through a failed belay, zipping free from a sheer rock wall, bringing the ground up to meet him.

Maybe he was operating on nothing but grip strength since that last tenuous connection to Midoriya snapped. Maybe that’s what stooped him so low as to try and duplicate their first crashed together, face to face meeting. All Bakugou knew about Midoriya was that, at some point in the past, in the private mundanity of his life, he’d gone to get groceries on a late weekday afternoon. Until he either saw Midoriya again, or finally convinced himself that this was the stupidest, creepiest, most inexcusable way to reconnect with someone, that’s when Bakugou would get groceries, too.

A muddy SUV with a bike on the crossbars squealed into the parking lot. Whoever was driving it took the corner like an absolute maniac, and Bakugou nodded with respectful camaraderie as it pulled into an open space. The back of the SUV was a rainbow-stickered billboard of positive affirmations and personal details. “Be Kind!” “I <3 My Dogs” and “Take a Hike!” stuck out to Bakugou as particularly, endearingly saccharine. A parking pass for an intown university was next to an alumnus sticker for a different school, one halfway across the country. A hybrid badge near the bumper proved all the outdoorsy shit wasn’t hypocritical. Yeah, whoever drove that monster wore their heart on their sleeve.

So Bakugou was floored- fucking rocked- when Midoriya hopped out of it.

Midoriya was smiling to himself, singing the last few dangling lyrics of whatever he’d been blasting in the car. Hair all opalescent in the sunlight, pulled back from his brow by a braided bungee cord headband. When he opened the back door and leaned in to gather a stack of reusable bags, the shorts he was wearing rode an inch or two up his thighs. No spank marks, no cane stripes, no bruises. Just a mouthwatering panorama of freckles. New ones. Lots of new ones.

Bakugou took one step forward, then about five steps back, almost tripping on the bollard. He covered by sitting back down on it, crossing his arms, and waiting for Midoriya to see him. Because there’s no way he wouldn’t. He’d see Bakugou and his eyes would fill with tears and he’d have a ton of explaining to do and-

-blithe and still smiling, the idiot king of his own little world, he breezed past Bakugou without even looking in his direction.

“What the fuck…” Bakugou said, his gum tumbling out of his mouth. He watched Midoriya walk all the way to the entrance before he moved to follow. For two reasons. To test the steadiness of his feet and make sure they’d actually work when he stood on them...and because those shorts Midoriya was wearing turned his ass into a legitimate showpiece. Bakugou would be remiss not to stare it down for what would, by all prediction models, be the last time.

When he finally rolled into the store, he had an empty cart in front of him, and an ambush strategy.

Not a sophisticated one...but this wasn’t a warzone. Yet.

Bakugou went straight for the supplement section, craned past the endcap to see Midoriya at the other end of the aisle. He was dropped in a virtually pornographic butt to heels squat, tracing his fingers over a row of pill bottles and muttering to himself. Bakugou didn’t try to see what he was shopping for. He’d trampled on enough boundaries today.

Drawing a deep breath, he brought his cart around, built up some speed, and crashed it into Midoriya’s.

“Ahh!” Midoriya fell onto one hip, one elbow. Then, when he squinted up into the harsh light and saw Bakugou frowning down at him in secret service aviators- “Ahhhh!”

“Hi.”

“Hi!”

Bakugou was relieved to see a smile on Midoriya’s face. An incredulous smile, one that disappeared once he thought better of it, but that reaction couldn’t lie like the rest of him.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, tentatively taking the hand Bakugou extended. They joined forces to heft him back to his feet.

“Shopping,” Bakugou grunted, tossing a random bottle into his cart.

Even narrowed, Midoriya’s eyes were so big and expressive. “...for prenatal vitamins?”

“Yeah, nosy. They’re good for your hair, or whatever, so-” Wasn’t he just being a stickler about lying? “...I was hoping I’d see you here.”

“This isn’t my usual…” Midoriya crossed his arms, drawing an ID lanyard tight between his pecs. “...this isn’t the store where we ran into each other before.”

“Uh-huh. Cuz you haven’t been back to that store, right?”

A cagey, small mammal tension tinged Midoriya’s body language. Bakugou unconsciously moved towards the center of the aisle, as if to block him if he made a break for it.

“So you just happened to show up at this one.”

“Happened to- no, moron. I’ve gone to half the stores in the fucking city trying to run into you.”

“So you’re stalking me.”

“Only in a literal sense.”

“Pfff…” With a rueful chuckle, a shrug that seemed to relax him in some way, Midoriya went back to his cart. Reversing it away from Bakugou’s: “...I went back to the club to apologize to you, you know.”

“Oh yeah?” Bakugou’s heart leapt. He left his cart to shamelessly tag along beside Midoriya’s. “When?”

“A month or so back. They told me you didn’t come by anymore.”

There was a set determination to how Midoriya continued shopping as he spoke, a little handwritten list trapped between his thumb and the handle of the cart.

“Then Kaminari told me the whole story.”

“Fucking Kaminari.”

“That you got suspended.”

“I can explain why I-”

His voice keyed down to a furious whisper. “Explain why you snuck into the office to find my STD paperwork? You already knew I was clean. We were in the fluid room like a week before-”

Bakugou was even quieter, but even angrier. “Before I barebacked you in a fucking alley, yeah, obviously I knew you were clean. I’m not fucking- suicidal. That wasn’t why-”

“You were trying to get my address, weren’t you?”

“No! I was- goddammit-”

Midoriya sped up, parallel parked his cart astride a pallet of apples, and started aggressively testing them for ripeness.

“If you were trying look for my full name, that’s honestly even worse.”

“I wasn’t, ok? I-” Bakugou hung onto the edge of the produce shelf for dear life. “-I was looking for your blood type.”

Midoriya’s popped five finger-shaped bruises into the apple he was holding. Pure disbelief. “What? Why?”

“I’m…ughh.” No lying. “...I read this fucking...magazine article about soulmates, and blood type was one of the factors that they...fuck. Fine.” He swept his hands together, metaphorically them of this whole line of questioning. “I’m leaving. Enjoy your goddamn apples.”

“You can’t leave now-” Getting rid of the apple, Midoriya caught Bakugou by the elbow and held him in place. His eyes were dancing. Completely unobscured by the usual floppy curtain of hair. Like Midoriya’s headband had brought up a blast shield, or something- and Bakugou’s heart was in imminent danger of getting lasered to death by green. “I just went from being mad at you to thinking you’re adorable.”

Prying Midoriya’s hand off by force- Jesus the crush strength on this guy- Bakugou seethed over, “I’m pouring my fucking guts out here and you call me adorable?”

“You are! In like…” With a short, searching hum. “...a tragic way.”

“Eat a dick. Eat every dick in the world.”

Midoriya brushed off Bakugou’s directive with a laugh. A bit too ambitious even for him, Bakugou supposed.

“You like that type of magazine, huh?”

“No, no, I was just standing in line at a fucking grocery store because apparently that’s all I do in my free time these days, and I flipped through it!”

“Well, if you’re curious about my blood type-”

“I’m not-”

“-I’m pretty sure it’s a letter.”

“Stop making fun of me! Who’s the bully now, hah?”

“I’d never make fun of you. For that.” A Buddha-peaceful smile spread over Midoriya’s lips as he went back to testing apples. More thorough now, treating each with gentle care when he turned them and brought them up to his nose. “Even at their worst, those articles are just...harmless wish fulfillment. At best…” He sniffed an apple nowhere near as shiny as his eyes. “...they might give you some important perspective on a real situation. A new outlook.”

Oh, Bakugou was looking new, alright. He was looking like a pathetic asshole, and Midoriya was looking so unbothered, so benevolent, the answer to all of Bakugou’s problems shrink-wrapped in a pair of athletic shorts. Was this really the same guy who hit the streets with two full loads of cum on his face? How was he so…together?

Bakugou grumbled, stealing and eating a grape. Scandal of the millenium. “There’s no situation. Stop trying to defuse one.”

“That’s kind of what I do.”

Midoriya plucked up his lanyard and presented it for Bakugou’s perusal. Bakugou leaned and squinted and was taken very fucking aback by what was typed on it. In plain, sans serif font: Midoriya Izuku. Campus Mental Health Services-

“Crisis counselor,” he read. Chewing. Scoffing. “You’re a crisis cause-er.”

“Then I’m uniquely qualified for the job.”

“Counsel me.”

“That’s unethical.”

“I’m in a bind, c’mon.”

“Got your student ID?”

Bakugou lifted a decisive middle finger.

“Oh my gosh…”

Dropping a mesh sack of four apples into his cart and rounding to a different spread of fruit, Midoriya tore at his bottom lip with his teeth.

“Um, if you came to me with your...issue, and were as forthright as my clients tend to be, I’d only know part the story.”

Bakugou grabbed the front end of Midoriya’s cart, sank his fingers in like it was a chain link fence. “Which part?”

“The least sexy part.”

“Oh. Your job sucks.”

“No,” Midoriya corrected him, “It doesn’t. I didn’t say that.”

“You love it?”

“I didn’t say that either.”

Bakugou crossed his arms, resting a thigh against a rolling display of onions. God, to be able to peel Midoriya’s brain like one.

“What if I told you I was real fucked up over someone? And I felt like I never understood them enough to get why they ditched me in the first place?”

“I’d tell you that...closure is complicated.” Midoriya began, each word delivered with slow, special care. “Pursuing it often feels better than getting it. Sometimes it’s just what you occupy your thoughts with while you’re delaying a more important emotional process. A distraction. I’d ask you if you find solace in always being busy. If sitting still makes you nervous.”

Bakugou felt like he’d been run through by an exceedingly accurate spear. He clutched his shirt. “Lotta words to say I’m wasting my time.”

“You’re smart enough to know it’s not that simple.” Midoriya put him on the spot. “Right?”

And being put on the spot always intensified Bakugou’s mean streak to rich, red vibrancy. Even his defense mechanisms were offense.

“Yeah, I am.” Bakugou growled, “What would you say to someone who got fucked raw in an alley?”

“Hmm…”

Midoriya didn’t snap back at Bakugou’s bait. He was in that wise, restrained, therapist god mode, palming a pineapple and turning it to look at it from all angles.

“First? I’d ask them about their history with impulsive behaviors. If they found themself switching from apathy to overdrive. From anxiety to a state where it became easy to ignore consequences. And then I’d refer them to a psychologist-” He gathered the pineapple into a bag. “-who might diagnose them with bipolar disorder.”

Shit.

“I’m crazy too,” Bakugou rushed to contextualize. “We’re both crazy.”

“Not my favorite thing to be called,” Midoriya chided. He was still smiling, at least. “But, off the record, sure. I’m crazy. You’re crazy. So what do you want, crazy? From one crazy to another.”

“I’m sorry I said that.”

“Forgiven. Answer the question.”

A wisp of a hair had escaped Midoriya’s headband at some point, now tickling his eyebrow like an errant grass clipping. Before Bakugou could do something as silly as brush it away, and- yikes- his hand actually moved to do so, Midoriya banished it with an upward puff of air.

“I…”

“Actually, could you take off your sunglasses before you answer? I’d like to look at you.”

Oh, right. The sunglasses were convenient for a parking lot stakeout. But now, mirror-masked, wearing all black and tailing Midoriya around the store like he was, an outsider might assume he was a bodyguard. As opposed to the reason Midoriya might want to hire one. Bakugou grumpily removed his shades and hung them on his collar.

Green, was all Bakugou saw when he looked up. Green with like, a dozen e’s. A full fucking hillside vista trapped behind Midoriya’s eyes. So jewel-faceted with green that they might as well have been gray before Bakugou’s blinders came off. Facing him down in true color, in direct light, at close range, came with a sense of peril and wonder.

“There you are,” Midoriya said.

“Sure am,” Bakugou responded, dazzled.

“Alright. I’ll ask again. What do you want?”

“You. Back.”

“I’m not trying to be mean, but…” Midoriya qualified, as if it might lessen the sulfuric sting of what followed, “...did you ever have me in the first place?”

Fuck, this college-educated pixie-brained sunshine demon was actively trying to murder him from the inside. With his soul in survival mode, Bakugou cited his sources.

“You said you were mine. You told me that.”

“In the midst a manic episode.”

“Then you were lying.”

“Essentially.”

“Well, fuck me for believing it,” Bakugou railed at a tepid, conversational volume. He itched to put his sunglasses back on. “What else was a lie?”

“Um…”

“I swear if you try to bullshit me again-”

“I…” A mortified blush patched up Midoriya’s neck. His voice gained a pubescent squeak. “...most of it.”

“Christ.”

“I’m sorry!”

“You’re always sorry. Doesn’t mean shit.”

“I can at least tell you what was true!”

“Lucky me.”

“Like...I actually was a virgin, until...uh, you know.” Midoriya was on the move, on the run, taking a reluctant millennial pit stop to size up avocados. “Until.”

“Until you weren’t.”

Singsong: “Untiiiil I wasn’t.”

“Then why the fuck-?!” Bakugou froze when he heard his own shouted curse echo off the ceiling. An easy 100% of the other shoppers in the vicinity turn to stare. Waving them off with a baleful grimace and a quick sweep for any approaching employees, he continued at a whisper. “-why the fuck was I the person you chose? Not that virginity matters to me, but it clearly did to you.”

“I’m silly like that.”

“Well- if you didn’t give enough of a crap about me to be honest, why’d you throw your cherry at me?”

The too-cute proximity of a bin of ripe cherries wasn’t lost on either of them. They looked at it, at each other, then in opposite directions.

“I was attracted to you,” Midoriya eventually said. Still refusing to look at him, Bakugou could only hear Midoriya’s hesitance and regret being the direct genesis of it. Shit, was it ever hard to stay mad at this guy.

“I trusted you. I…” Midoriya pinned on a question mark. “...liked you?”

“Why’re you saying it like it’s weird?”

“Well...you aren’t a nice person-”

“N’ you aren’t a genius for noticing.”

“-but I could tell you were a good one.”

A good person. Ugh. Might as well have said I love you like a brother.

“What do you think about me now?” Bakugou asked.

With a golden retriever head tilt, Midoriya gave Bakugou a head to toe once-over.

“I’m still attracted to you.”

“Of course you are,” Bakugou said, flattered, back in his arrogant element...until the scrutiny lurched him back out of it. Geez, they might have been in the fruit section, but Midoriya was looking at him like a piece of meat. “That’s not what I meant.”

Okay, this wasn’t a once-over anymore. Midoriya was starting up a thrice-over. Full staredown, nibbling a thumbnail while he checked out Bakugou’s pecs, totally abusing the free sample honor system- “Go on.”

“Do you still trust me?”

“Mm?”

Arms crossing in a non-verbal my eyes are up here, Bakugou repeated himself.

“Do. You. Still. Trust me?”

Midoriya softened. When his thumb fell away from his lips, they were curved in a smile.

“Yeah.”

One word. So effortlessly truthful, like he’d never lied a day in his life. Bakugou took it as a cue to get closer. Leaning in, circling a hand around Midoriya’s wrist and giving it a tenderly possessive squeeze:

“Then let's start over.”

Midoriya layered his free hand onto Bakugou’s. He stroked Bakugou’s knuckles. Wetting his lips to speak, only to say nothing. Meanwhile, Bakugou was in a stone-faced panic right under the surface of his skin. Holy shit, this really was a simple yes or no. And he’d actually respect that dichotomy this time. Because he didn’t have the power left in him for another chase. He couldn’t catch up again.

Taking Bakugou’s hand in both of his, Midoriya traced the calloused lifeline in his palm.

“Can I sleep on it? Like you wanted me to before?”

“That was a one time offer.”

“Then…” Midoriya seemed to reach a decision. A dead-eyed, head-shaking one. “...no.”

“Fine.”

Bakugou snatched his hand away and shoved it in his pocket, buried it like a corpse. His sunglasses got hooked back over his ears. There weren’t any tears for them to hide.

“I won’t bother you anymore.”

“Hey, it’s not that I don’t-”

“You don’t have to explain. I get it.”

“Do you, though? Let me-”

“Let you what?”

“Let me finish a sentence is what I was going to-”

“Why should I?”

“Wait-”

As Bakugou started to leave, Midoriya’s hand gripped the back of his jacket, harnessing him in place.

“Let go of me!”

“You’ll leave if I do that.”

“That’s the fucking point!” Bakugou stiffened his arms and slipped out of the jacket, content to completely abandon it. Fuck it, he’d buy another one and break it in for five years. He started stomping away.

Suddenly, in an insult that rivaled injury, Midoriya whipped both arms around Bakugou’s waist from behind and applied enough strength to bring his feet off the ground. Oh, hell no. Finally, a decent reason to be angry. Bakugou took advantage of it, fighting his way free and turning on Midoriya like a wild-eyed, pissed off Orpheus.

“What the hell are you-”

“I don’t want to start over.” Midoriya interrupted. He held out the jacket between them. Black leather. White flag. “Let’s start here.”

“The fuck are you saying?”

“I’m saying we can’t ignore what we already screwed up.”

Now he hugged the jacket high on his chest, eking a little noise out of the fabric. Almost looked like he was smelling it when he sighed.

“We started with the kinky stuff. We had sex under pretty inadvisable circumstances. You obsessed over me for three months."

"It was two months."

"Now we’re arguing in a grocery store like we’re in a failing marriage or something. Hi!”

Midoriya threw a friendly wave to an old woman who was staring at them. She hunched in her housecoat and scuttled away.

“That’s my landlord. Oh, geez.” He hid an awkward chuckle behind his fingers, then tapped one on his chin. “Anyway, I think we can agree this isn’t the perfect foundation for dating.”

Loath as Bakugou was to agree with this radiant, crunchy granola bastard on anything, he concurred with a shrug.

“But I’m not going to wait for perfect. I think this is worth a shot. This is...it’s enough.”

Enough. The word choice prickled Bakugou deep down.

“M’ I supposed to thank you for settling for me?”

“Settling?! Um…” There was a restored hunger in Midoriya’s gaze as it flicked over Bakugou. “More like I’m being selfish.”

“Hmph,” Bakugou grumbled, flattery soothing him like a drug. He’d suspected before that he was a ten. Now he actually felt like it. “Damn right.”

“Hey.”

Midoriya extended Bakugou’s jacket to him again. When it traded hands, Bakugou pulled it on and zipped it. A layer of protection to replace the stripped bare sensation of getting a no, then getting a yes, then getting Midoriya’s eyes on him like there was something else he needed, something he was owed.

“I’ve been shopping to make dinner anyway, so come have it with me.”

Bakugou removed his sunglasses. This time, when he shakily attempted to hinge them over his collar for safekeeping, they just fell into his shirt. Fishing them out was a humiliating, V-neck stretching chore that he was too out of sorts to play off or delay. Once the glasses were nestled in his hair, instead of between his tits-

“You’re inviting me to your place?”

“Yes.”

“For dinner.”

“Mmm…” An innocent smile, another assessing scan over all the danger zones of Bakugou’s body. “Hopefully more than that.”

Fuck.

“Fine,” Bakugou snapped, as if they were still bickering. In reality, his mind was starting to wander towards the topic of dragging Midoriya to the vegetable section, slamming him facedown in the carrots and fucking him until the sprayers turned his tank top see-through. “I’ll come over.”

“You will?”

“Why not.”

“That makes me really happy,” As if Midoriya’s his huge grin hadn’t already said it for him. “I’m sorry if I scared you by saying no at first.”

“Scared?! Fuck you. No way.”

There was a bin of honeydew melons to Katsuki’s immediate right. He scooped one up and threw it to Midoriya like a basketball pass.

“Shove it up your ass.”

Midoriya caught it right before it hit his sternum and threw it back. “It’s a little small for that.”

When Bakugou’s mouth opened to go after Midoriya with more fuck yous, more creative synonyms for fuck you, all that came out was laughter. An unguarded, knee-slapping burst of it. The basic emotional equivalent of holding down a reset button until it started to blink. Midoriya watched him with quieter amusement as Bakugou replaced the melon, wiped his eyes, and, eventually, pulled his shit together:

“Listen.”

“That’s what I’m good at.”

“I’m Katsuki.”

Bakugou went in for a handshake, which Midoriya willingly accepted and merged into a hug. God, he hugged hard. Like his life was on the line.

“I could have sworn your name started with a B,” Midoriya murmured against his neck.

“My last one does,” Bakugou clarified, swallowing hard. The scent of Midoriya’s hair, all clean and honeyed, sparked a vivid sense memory of how it felt to be inside him. “Bakugou. I just gave you my first one.”

“Katsuki.”

The hug tightened.

“That’s a nice name.”

 

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