In hindsight, getting a whole flock of teenagers with powerful Quirks drunk was probably not the best idea.
It’s August, and courses have grown sluggish in the heat wave - Kaminari and Sero did most of the legwork, getting everyone's schedules and figuring out who could safely host a party off campus. Yaoyorozu ended up coming through with one of her family’s smaller summer homes, and Asui - of all people - is providing many of the drinks. Something to do with working with a crew of sailors. Eijirou only has to do one thing: bring Bakugou.
/ it’s like The Reason we’re doing this as a group man / Kaminari had confessed to him in a text. / everyone wants to see Ground Zero drunk /
\ why is it me? \ he had asked back.
/ bc it’s gotta be you kiri /
/ you’re like his big glowing weak point he’ll do it if u ask /
/ it’s SO CUTE / Mina had chimed in. / also I got tequila /
Eijirou would feel bad if he didn’t want it, too.
“Have you asked him yet?” Jirou is asking him in the present. She’s cornered him in the kitchen and demanded an update; Bakugou is in the living room, chugging beer with his usual spitfire intensity, in fierce competition with three other classmates.
Eijirou blinks. “Asked who what?”
“Asked Bakugou out.”
If he had been drinking anything he would have spluttered it.
“I don’t— why would—“ he can feel his face matching his hair. “It’s not like that with us. We’re just friends. Best friends,” he adds.
“And you’re okay with that,” she asks flatly. “You don’t want anything more?”
“Yeah! Why wouldn’t I be?” Trying to compose himself, he breaks her gaze to look at the rest of the party that’s just starting to get going. And who else is in the nexus than Katsuki Bakugou, bright and burning like the sun and enrapturing everyone in his orbit.
Jirou clears her throat, and Eijirou finishes his thought. “We’re just… us.”
Bakugou is an incredible friend in his own way: he’s strong and fearless and doesn’t hesitate to give his full opinion. And he listens, too, when Eijirou is talking about his own shortcomings and sorts through all the ones he needs to work on and the ones that are just in his head. and—
“Stop staring at him, oh my god.”
Eijirou snaps his eyes back into focus and, sure enough, Bakugou is in the center of his field of vision, hissing at Mina. No sparks, no smoke, so he’s having fun in his own angry way. “Sorry,” Eijirou apologizes, and turns back around.
Yaoyorozu has appeared, somehow, and is dressed in an English-style maid outfit. “Would you like more drinks?” she asks, sweet and polite. Jirou splutters and goes a little pink.
“Yeah, sure,” and he accepts one of the wine glasses off her tray. Yaoyorozu turns and smiles at Jirou. After a beat, Jirou takes a glass as well.
“I thought you weren’t going to drink because you don’t want a hangover with your hearing,” he asks.
Jirou is definitely pink. “A single glass won’t get me wasted,” and she takes a delicate sip. It’s sweet and pretty easy to drink. Eijirou is finished with his glass by the time that he gets back to the party.
“We are not doing spin the bottle,” Sero is trying to insist. “That’s too American.”
“No, not yet. Let’s do Yamanote Sen.” Asui, ever the level headed one, suggests. “I’ll explain the rules.”
As they gather in a circle, clapping in rhythm and trying not to stumble over their words as they tried to blurt out trivia in order, Eijirou finds his focus lapsing in between his turns. Is he really missing out with just having a friendship with Bakugou? Should he be trying to date someone? He’s not a pro hero yet and is still a little under the radar - he can probably date whoever he wants without worrying about much more than if they’re a villain in disguise.
The sudden lack of shouting is Eijirou’s clue to come back to himself. “Oh, crap,” he stammers. Across the circle, Kaminari imitates a buzzer.
“Sorry, but that’s not one of the hero names from this years class 1A,” he hoots, and shoves a cup of something that smells like fruit and bathroom cleaner Eijirou’s way. “Take a big drink.”
It’s awful going down, nothing like the wine; but he’s a man, damn it, even if he hasn’t had sex and Eijirou manages five big gulps before his eyes are watering too much for more. The room erupts with cheers and audulation. By instinct, by accident, when Eijirou’s vision clears he looks for Bakugou’s reaction.
Once their eyes meet, Bakugou rolls his eyes and nudges Eijirou in the side. “Pay better attention, Shitty Hair. I don’t want you to lose over something stupid.”
“So you want me to win, huh?” He smiles and it stretches wider than he wanted it to. The drink is making him warm and tingling, like a healing or an energizing Quirk. “I can do that for you.”
“Oh, I’m still going to win, but I like it when you put up a fight,” Bakugou says with a little hint of a smirk before his focus sharpens like a hawk on Midoriya at the head of the circle.
“Let’s do… pro heroes from twenty years ago?” Midoriya asks. Several people groan with dread.
At his right, Eijirou watches Bakugou’s hands form into fists that flick out fingers in turn as he counts under his breath, lips barely moving as he mutters names from memory.
An ear jack pokes him from two seats to his left. Jirou, seated next to Tetsutetsu and Yaoyorozu, is frowning at him. Eijirou shakes himself and focuses on the game.
Throughout the evening, it becomes clear to everyone but Bakugou that the goal of the party to get him drunk. Yamanote Sen doesn’t work, and they don’t have enough beer for more chugging competitions without running out for everyone else so they find a drinking game involving sticking a fake mustache on a TV screen and drinking every time someone in the movie has it line up with their face.
Halfway through the film, most of the more zealous advocates for drunk Bakugou are too tipsy themselves to be paying attention to anything other than the movie or their own conversation. It’s loud enough with ambient conversations they put subtitles on for the three people who actually care about what’s on the screen, and Eijirou lost his prime spot on the couch half an hour ago so he can’t say he cares much about it, either.
Beside him at the little table, Bakugou yawns then pats him on the arm. “Hey,” he says. “Take a sip.”
Without thinking, Eijirou obeys. It’s some sort of fruity mixed drink in a bottle - he thinks it came from Kendo. It’s very sweet.
He feels eyes staring at him, checks that it’s not Sero two seats away, and turns to see Bakugou studying him. “Yes?” he asks, tilting his head to the side.
“You didn’t even look at the movie.”
“You didn’t have t’ drink.” Bakugou’s tone is quiet and calm. He yawns again. “Kaminari said you’d drink’f I asked. If he asks, can y’ tell him you didn’t?”
Eijirou smiles and leans in with his chin on his hands. “Why?”
“Because I thought you wouldn’t. Don’t like being wrong.” Bakugou mirrors Eijirou’s position, his eyes heavy lidded. In the low lighting, the flickering glow of the TV catches his eyelashes, tinting them lavender. Bakugou’s eyelashes are blond, he recalls, and Bakugou doesn’t like them like that. That’s why his face paint is so dark. He likes his eyes to stand out.
Too late, Eijirou realizes he’s been staring again.
Bakugou opens his mouth and Eijirou’s heart leaps into his throat with dread, anticipating something big he can’t name. Tension stretches between them like a rubber band, and Eijirou breaks into a sweat. He’s not ready for this, not now, not yet: he’s not ready to have to explain away all his shaken up feelings.
And Bakugou yawns.
He leans forward a little more onto the table, head swinging slowly back to face the TV, and Eijirou gets it.
“You’re a sleepy drunk,” he whispers.
“Hah?” Bakugou asks, with a fifth of his usual vitriol: instead of a wildcat snarl it’s a flick of an ear and a side eye. His cheeks are darker, too, flushed with intoxication.
Eijirou lets out a shaky giggle. “Nothing,” and he covers his mouth. “I’m just having a good night.”
Bakugou grunts again and goes back to looking at the movie. The sharp points of his figure are rounded in his slouch, not softened but smoothed. He’s less painful to look at.
“You tiiiiiired?” Eijirou asks him, curling his words up at the end like a scoop of ice cream.
“No,” he growls. Mumbles. The hand he is resting his chin on wobbles.
There’s something tender about it that bubbles up inside of Eijirou, floods him with a feeling so intense that he has to do something or it will tear him apart.
So he gets up and tugs on Bakugou’s sleeve. “Come on,” he whispers. Without a word, Bakugou picks himself up and follows him. Eijirou sneaks a glance at Hanta - he’s watching them and shoots him a discrete thumbs up.
Not entirely sure why, Eijirou returns the gesture.
Bakugou staggers down the hallway after him, steps heavy. He reminds Eijirou of a low battery robot, determined to do things his own way even as his body has other ideas. It’s unusual. It’s novel. Eijirou wants to keep it all to himself.
“Come on. I saw a bedroom back here on my way back from the bathroom.”
“Of course you’re not. But I am, and you’re coming with me so no one wakes me up.”
“No one wakes you up,” he echoes darkly, bumping into Eijirou when he stops in a doorway. It’s a small bedroom, maybe a guest room, dim and inviting in the glow of the bathroom light across the hall.
Eijirou doesn’t realize Bakugou didn’t step back when he turns around and almost headbutts him in the cheek. A feeling like static charges up the hairs on his arms as he meets red eyes. Such an uncommon color, and yet they match his own.
Bakugou leans in and rests his forehead on Eijirou’s shoulder. He sighs, again, and yawns. “Tired.”
Eijirou doesn’t understand him at first - a delay in hearing the word and then processing it. There’s a traffic jam in his neural pathways as everything is lighting up with unlabeled excitement. “Uh?” he replies, an answer that turned into a question.
Bakugou turns his head so his lips are brushing Eijirou’s neck and oh. Oh. Ohhhhhh. He holds himself perfectly still, trying not to activate his Quirk or panic. This is the more that Jirou was talking about.
They’ve been close but not like this; pinned on mats and slammed into training dummies but not alone in the night in a stolen hallway, not with Bakugou so pliant and gentle.
“I’m stealing this bed from you,” Bakugou murmurs against his skin and Eijirou can feel the words throughout his entire body. Like he’s switched abilities with Bakugou, like his veins are filled with nitroglycerin and he’s minutes from detonation.
“Ah—“ Eijirou swallows. “That’s— that’s good. With me.”
Bakugou heaves a heavy sigh and pulls back to stumble into the bedroom, leaving Eijirou dazed in the hallway. His hand comes up to clutch his chest, as if trying to reassure himself that it didn’t beat its ways out of his rib cage.
When he does move, he follows Bakugou’s path in a daze, watching his best friend try to make a futon in the dark. It’s hard to see how it’s going, but there’s a buzz of slurred discontentment filling the room as Bakugou growls and flaps blankets around. Eventually there’s a sound of impact: Eijirou pictures Bakugou flopping down on top of the blankets, red-cheeked and sweaty, and tries to swallow.
“You good?” he asks. A hand waves around and after a moment Eijirou takes it. Bakugou pulls him down immediately, and he lands beside Bakugou with a yelp.
Not satisfied, Bakugou grabs Eijirou by the shirt and leans in. “No ‘ne wakes me,” he rumbles, his nose brushing Eijirou’s and his breath, faintly sweet with cola and rum, fanning over Eijirou’s cheeks.
“No one wakes you,” Eijirou agrees, his eyes fluttering closed. He’s shoved away, onto his back, and feels Bakugou drop onto the pillow beside him.
In the dark, Eijirou covers his mouth with one hand and his heart with the other, and wills them from traveling anywhere else.