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A Thousand Arms to Hold You

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Summer Training Camp was not a vacation. Never was. Never had been. But every summer Classes 1A and B found themselves at some undisclosed location, having intense, grueling exercises, sometimes literally, beaten into them for three straight weeks. They were all heroes in training, though, aspiring to be the next generation of the world’s greatest, so everyone knew the training was important, knew that people would be relying on their skills to keep them safe. Many dove into it with such vigor, you might have thought that it really was a vacation for them. Bakugo was usually one of those, one of the people so intent on beating every challenge and pushing himself to every limit. Pushing himself to surpass everything Midoriya or Todoroki could manage, fighting every second to be seen as the most powerful and capable of them all.

But not this year. Not right now. He fought and trained with intensity, beat the kids he sparred with into the ground remorselessly and more brutally than was at all necessary. But there was no enthusiasm. No love for it. No spark to learn and improve. It was all just venting. The kids around him were punching bags, nothing else.

He could feel poignantly the wide birth his classmates were giving him, see the caution on their faces, hear how they talked in whispers about him when they thought he couldn’t hear. And everything they said just pissed him off further, just made him less inclined to take the camp as a learning experience and instead as a place to freely destroy everything around him.

“Don’t you wonder what happened to him?” “I heard it was bad. Really bad.” “But he seemed fine the last while…” “Well, he’s not here.”

Their voices rattled in his brain, every mention of who was missing taking another scoop out of his already unstable heart to try and empty him out. After almost two years together he recognized how weird it was for them to be seen apart for this long, to see Bakugo without Kirishima for three weeks on end. And Bakugo wasn’t going to explain, wasn’t going to make some kind of announcement, wasn’t going to inform this bramble of losers that his boyfriend was literally in a hospital when they left for camp...wasn’t going to make them aware that the love of his life had a complete mental breakdown days before they were set to come here, that every single day he’d been stuck here was torture to not be at his side.

They didn’t let Kirishima have his phone while he was in there either, so the first week of camp had been an agonizing wait for news. A brutal radio silence that ate away at him and elevated his rage levels to the point where all of his anger management training was basically completely undone.

By week two he’d gotten a call from Kirishima’s father, telling him he was doing really well and they were going to release him soon. It should have been comforting, should have been relieving news, should have made the rest of camp go by easier. But all he could think about was the fact that he wasn’t there, that Kirishima was going through it by himself. But the damn kid hadn’t let him stay either, wouldn’t let him miss the camp. Fucking selfless son of a bitch.

When he finally got a call from Kirishima he almost cried to hear the lightness in his voice, to listen to the smile on his lips. He avoided talking about the hospital and just drilled Bakugo about what he’d been missing at camp, getting him to tell him all about their activities and games. And somehow that was relieving. His heart sighed in relief that he didn’t have to hear about the hospital stay, that they could just talk about the good stuff, that he could just go on about Sero taping Kaminari in a tree or Momo making sparklers for everyone or Sato trying to do Gordon Ramsay impressions-which went off really badly with the language barrier and his British accent being abysmal. He could hear Kirishima trying to hide the sadness in his voice, how much he wished he was there, but Bakugo didn’t mention it, wanting to focus on the good things while they could.

Their conversation had been cut short though and it was a few more days before he could call again, so Bakugo waited impatiently for his phone to ring. Dinner was finished and cleaned up after and the rest of the class were doing recreational activities, which they attempted to include him in. He was in no mood. They could tell, so they left him be without much persistence.

His legs were crossed and he distractedly ripped the grass up from the lawn, watching the sun finish going down, sparing constant looks to the phone resting on his knee. His blood pressure was raised and his fingers fidgeted wildly with every passing second that nothing appeared on the screen.

When it finally buzzed, his heart skipped a beat and he almost dropped the damn thing while trying to answer.

“Eijiro?” he said into the device and held his breath.

“Katsuki!” the voice that shot through was enthusiastic and pricked his heart, “How’s camp?”

Bakugo had to pause a moment to allow himself a full, long shuddering breath. Let himself calm down, let himself acknowledge that the guy on the other end was alright, that he didn’t need to be so high strung and worried.

“Shit,” Bakugo finally pushed a smile through his voice, “Have I mentioned that our classmates are assholes?”

His chest tightened when his ears were greeted by a laugh.

“Once or twice,” Kirishima replied, “Who’s been bothering you? Do I need to fight someone?”

Bakugo rolled his eyes, as if Kirishima could see it. “Honestly it's really just been a pain in the ass trying to deal with fucking half and half without you around. He’s fucking clingy. I don’t know how you can stand him.”

“Sorry bro,” Kirishima chuckled through the phone, “I really don’t mind, but you should just tell Shoto to give you some space. He’s not unreasonable. He responds well to a direct approach.”

“Bitch I straight up told him to leave me alone!” Bakugo yelled into the phone, “You know what that bastard told me?”

“No, but I’m dying to hear it,” Kirishima sounded very amused.

“He said he didn’t think that was a good idea,” Bakugo threw up his free hand, “What the fuck does that even mean?”

There was laughter filtering through his speaker and Bakugo scowled, not finding it nearly as funny as his boyfriend. But he couldn’t deny how heartening the sound of his laughter was, how unbelievably relieving it was to know he could feel that emotion, that whatever had happened in the hospital had helped somehow. He wanted to be mad that he wasn’t taking this as seriously as him, but he didn’t want to shut down that laughter for anything.

“I’m guessing it means he’s worried about you, Katsuki,” there was such endearment in his tone, “At least I think. I’m not there. I don’t know what’s going on in his head. But I wouldn’t want to let you be by yourself either. Maybe he’s just trying to help.”

“He can shove his help up his ass,” Bakugo growled, “I’m sick of his stupid face.”

“You love his face, shut up,” Kirishima said.

“It’s passable,” Bakugo sneered, “I’d rather see your face…”

There was a heavy silence for a full moment. “I miss you too,” Kirishima sighed, “Fuck. When are you coming home?”

The lightness of the the moment was entirely gone and Bakugo’s heart sank back deep into his chest. The short time of pretending everything was normal vanished with those words. Bakugo’s desire to break something surged up again and he became so fully conscious of how much space there was between them, how far away they were from each other. Even if Kirishima really was doing well right now, it felt so wrong to be leaving him by himself. Sure he was with his parents, but that couldn’t be enough. Bakugo needed to be there. Kirishima needed him there.

“Just four more days of camp,” Bakugo ripped up another handful of grass, “They won’t let me go home early either. Fucking assholes.”

“It’ll go by fast,” Kirishima’s voice was full of encouragement, “Just keep training and stay focused and you’ll be home before you know it.”

It was hard to stop the smile he got at Kirishima’s words, but it was a sad smile nonetheless. It was really backwards for Kirishima to be the one offering encouragement right now. Bakugo wasn’t the one who’d just spent a week and a half in a hospital, he wasn’t the one who’d been kidnapped and abused by his boyfriend’s ex. That was Kirishima. Kirishima was the one still paying for Bakugo’s bad decisions, the one who’d been tormented by Bakugo’s ex for some petty revenge. The one still in recovery over it. It cut a gash in his heart to think he was the one getting comforted right now.

He shook his head and grit his teeth. He had to get a grip. He couldn’t let Kirishima see him be anything but fine. He didn’t need to deal with Bakugo being less than at his best. The only thing Kirishima needed to think about right now was being okay. He only needed to worry about himself.

“I’m fine, kid,” Bakugo forced positivity in his voice, “I’d be a pretty shitty hero if I couldn’t even take being by myself for a couple weeks.” He’d also be a pretty shitty hero if he let his boyfriend get kidnapped and tortured for two days straight. He’d be a pretty shitty hero if he failed to rescue him before the damage had been done. He’d be a pretty shitty hero…

“Yeah,” there was a wink in Kirishima’s tone, “Guess you need the extra training then.”

“Fuck off, dipshit,” Bakugo allowed a laugh, “I’ve won every match so far, so you can just eat your damn words.”

“Who did you fight?” he asked and Bakugo felt deeply that it was an attempt to drastically change the subject as quickly as possible. Bakugo had no objection, he didn’t want to talk about the bad stuff right now, or ever really. Every day he kind of just hoped it would disappear and somehow just not have happened.

“I beat the shit out of Ashido,” Bakugo huffed proudly, “And that cunt from 1B. The little rogue shit.”

“Monoma?”

“Like I’d take the time to learn his name.”

“Katsuki it’s literally been two years,” Kirishima snorted at Bakugo’s attitude, “You have to learn their names eventually.”

Bakugo rolled his eyes. “Bunch of extras.”

“Who else?” Kirishima pushed him to continue.

“Tail guy,” Bakugo said thoughtfully, “Deku, flatface, the big fist girl, Tetsutetsu, Todoroki, the frog kid, and bird boy tried again. Won’t seem to learn his stupid shadow is no match for me.”

“You can’t fault Tokoyami for trying,” Kirishima hummed, making Bakugo smile to know that his boyfriend was fully aware of who every person he’d mentioned was even though he hadn’t used many of their names, “He’ll never figure out how to overcome his weaknesses unless he keeps trying.”

Bakugo clicked his tongue. “Whatever. The day he beats me is that day I wear a dress to school.”

Kirishima laughed. “Oh shit please make that an actual bet! I want to see you wear a dress to school.”

“Son of a bitch, you think I’d ever lose to him?”

“A guy can hope can’t he?”

Bakugo shook his head. “I forgot how much of a brat you can be.”

“What can I say, I’m charming,” Kirishima sighed through the phone.

The very notion of what that attitude usually led to sent a little clench through Bakugo’s lower body. There was a reason he enjoyed him being a brat. But he was a long ways away and the problem the memory was creating was no going to be fixed anytime soon.

Bakugo growled into the phone, frustration keen. “You shouldn’t act like that when I’m too far away to do anything about it.” There was a slyness to his tone, an indicative layer trying to bleed through and get his point across.

He got a full twenty seconds of silence and then a short, almost awkward sounding hum-like laugh. It made Bakugo extremely uncomfortable to hear and he frowned into his phone about to open his mouth to ask what was wrong. Kirishima cut him off before he could.

“Hey Katsuki I need to go,” he said, a solid kick to Bakugo’s heart all on its own, “I...have to go to the pharmacy before bed and mom needs help with some stuff…”

“Right right, no don’t worry about it,” Bakugo quickly tried to pick up his attitude and embody encouragement, even though his frustration was piqued over their conversation being cut short, “We’ll talk soon and I’ll be home before you know it. Just take care of yourself. Everything’s going to be fine.”

“Got it,” Kirishima chuckled, “Tell everyone I said hi, okay?”

“Eh,” Bakugo rolled his eyes, “You’re just trying to make me socialize now.”

“Definitely,” he said, “I’ll text you tomorrow. I love you.”

Bakugo had to take a long sigh at getting to hear those words, allowing himself to let them absorb. They were pure life to him, the thing he woke up every morning for. He could survive on just that phrase alone if he needed to.

“I love you too,” he said softly.

He waited, kept the phone to his ear, trying to get every last sound he could before Kirishima hung up. Even when the sound cut off entirely and showed that the call had ended, Bakugo still pressed it to his ear, unmoving except to grind his teeth.

His chest was numb and in pain all at once, his head throbbing and hand ripping roughly at the unsuspecting grass.

Just four more days. He could see him again in four days. And when he did Kirishima was going to be just fine. There was no reason in the world to feel anxious or worried. No reason not to make the most out of the time he had left at camp. If not for himself then for Kirishima.

Until his boyfriend had been abruptly kidnapped, Bakugo had never assumed he was someone who needed protection. The guys damn quirk was being physically invincible. But the incident showed that he could be damaged, that he could be hurt.

And for that reason Bakugo was keenly aware that he himself had to get stronger and more powerful. If he failed to protect him once it could happen again. In the depths of his mind he truly believed that was why Kirishima had demanded he go to camp even without him. To try to get him to improve, to get stronger. Better.

But it was hard to focus on while he was so pissed off, so incredibly lonely without Kirishima at his side. He wasn’t used to being alone since they’d become friends. The guy pushed himself into his life and grabbed on with a vice grip. At first it had been annoying, but it was still amazing how it had developed into his very reason for living. Nothing compared to that smile. And fuck how he missed that smile.

That smile had to be protected.

Bakugo shot up and shook himself, stiffening his lip. That’s why he was here. Enough moping. He had four more days to learn and absorb and develop. He had to get out of his own head and focus on that.

Because he’d failed that smile once. He could never allow that to happen again.

Never again.

Chapter Text

The dye in the sink stained the white marble like it had so many times before, the sight more than welcoming this time around. The visual indicated normalcy, and when he looked up the sigh of relief that ripped out of him told him that he truly was seeing the face he thought he was. This was the right decision, this was exactly what he needed to do. And in that moment, he looked himself in the eye and he smiled.

Kirishima smiled. Smiled at the bright red color in his hair, smiled at the floppy wet, ruby mess and puffed his chest with pride. That was the face he knew, the face of Red Riot.

He couldn’t explain why he’d taken so long to decide to dye it back. He hated the black. Hated it when it was natural, hated it even more after it had been forced onto him. Hated the way it had been cut too, though that was still growing back out. He didn’t look like himself then. It was wrong. Yet he left it, didn’t touch it, for two months, like if he tried to change it, if he attempted to set it right she’d somehow appear to stop him. A thought he knew was ridiculous. A thought that was impossible.

Miyagi was dead. She was fucking dead. He’d looked at the corpse himself just to assure himself it was true. She’d been practically mangled from the fall and her face was a bruised up mess. Almost unrecognizable. But still her. No doubt about it.

But for a while after she had tended to live on. Like a prickling in his mind, not so much a voice, but an impulse, like a recurring intrusive thought. She pushed him this way and that and he had to fight her influence constantly. Until finally she went silent in his mind and for a full, blissful week everything seemed behind them. And maybe it would have stayed that way...maybe all he really needed was a little time to get back to his old self. But he’d never really know if that was the case, not with what happened the week they were supposed to leave for camp.

He knew this house to be a quiet residence, but it felt quieter these days, dismal despite his father’s best efforts. He liked to act like nothing was wrong while the life they all knew was falling apart around them, refusing to talk about any of the bad stuff unless he had to. And it just drove Kirishima up the wall, always had. If ever there was a time to drop that insistent smile it would have been then.

He hadn’t asked for a “chin up kiddo” and a “think positive” from his old man when the diagnosis came back, he just wanted the guy to show that he saw the reality of what was happening, that maybe everything wasn’t always going to turn out okay all the time. Even his mother in her devastation, her complete overwhelming despair over hearing what was occuring in her own body threw a fucking smile at him when they relayed the news. “Only positivity,” she’d chimed.

Positivity? Because just being positive worked about as well as wishing on shooting stars.

Kirishima stepped away from the mirror, sighing at his own thoughts as he rubbed a hand on his forearm, trailing his thumb along the scattering of scabbed over knicks and and abnormal scar tissue forming into concise bitemarks. In that strain of thought, he lifted his shirt just a little and frowned at the discoloration of what had been close to a second degree burn, scaring over nicely above his pelvis. They’d all healed a lot in the hospital, but he was more than a little surprised they remained so prominent after three weeks.

He shoved the shirt back down and slipped his flannel over his arms, shaking his head while he covered everything back up.

That’s what he’d wanted after all. Wanted something to physically show. Wanted at least one of those trapped, panicked feelings to make it to the surface. Wanted to confirm to himself that he was valid in being distraught. He hadn’t really wanted anyone to actually see it, though, hadn’t thought to ever explain it to another living soul. But that was his fault for not locking the bathroom. His fault for not being more careful.

At the very least his father had listened to his pleas not to tell Bakugo, even if his first reaction was to send him away, lock him up with the crazies. Keep him from being a danger to himself until a medical professional deemed him sane enough for the outside world. And he had gotten the notice of release, had been sent home. But if anything he felt less sane leaving that place than before he’d been admitted.

His father had overreacted. That was all there was to it. He was fine. He’d been fine. He was just reacting to bad news, just struggling to come to terms with an uncertain future while no one else around him was even acknowledging it.

A shiver ran down Kirishima’s spine as he forced out his frustration and memories at the series of events that had led him to this moment. That led to him standing in front of his mirror, with a smile he tried to perk back up, bubbling in excitement that he was meeting his boyfriend at the train station soon, that Bakugo was finally coming home. It was about time too. Being at home with his father for a week and a half straight was threatening to actually compromise his sanity.

“Hey kiddo you going or what?”

Speaking of the devil, his father’s voice bounced upstairs to hit his ears, a lively exuberant vocal. Kirishima rolled his eyes at it, but responded anyway.

“Yeah,” he shoved away from the sink, “I’m going.”

Before heading down he fixed his shirt and made sure he had everything, patting down his pockets in an excessive manner. No matter how irrational he knew it was he checked the same pocket about three times, finding his phone there each time without fail, but questioning it again and again as if he’d just been kidding himself the first two times. And as if his father was some omnipotent creature that could see his weird fidget through the very walls, his voice returned, loud as before, more chipper than it should have sounded.

“Don’t forget your morning meds!”

It was a good thing he’d said something, because Kirishima realized he had almost forgotten. Almost walked out without taking his medication. Didn’t make the reminder any less annoying, though.

“I know!” he snapped back.

Kirishima threw open the door and stormed downstairs to the kitchen, launching open the medicine cabinet to find the trio of little orange bottles and snatched them all. He grabbed a glass of water and got the proper dosage out of each, muttering to himself as he did.

While he threw back the first one, footsteps hit his ear before their source rounded the corner. Broad shoulders folded arms over a full chest and wound up to an unfairly attractive face. He was barely forty, but had the youthful features of a man in his late twenties. He probably could have gone into modeling if he’d wanted to and Kirishima wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d done it as a side gig before. It would fit his personality for sure.

Kirishima’s father looked nothing like him. Blond, curved blue eyes, normal teeth, long legs. Kirishima got his features from his mother almost entirely, though Bakugo had once made the sly comment that he’d gotten his body from his dad, as if his mother didn’t also have the physique of dancer goddess. It usually confused people when he showed them pictures of his family, tended to look at him very closely to try and pick out a single feature he’d gotten from the blond demi-god he introduced as his father. He never liked how people gushed over how attractive they were either. It was really just annoying. It was about the least consequential thing he could have hoped for in a pair of parents, but it still seemed to be their main highlight to everyone else.

Kirishima Riku tilted crystal blue eyes at the constricted expression of his son, watching carefully as he took the rest of his meds and then beaming a smile that would be infectious to anyone else.

“You dyed it back,” Riku grinned, “Looks good, kiddo. Trying to impress someone?” he winked, knowing full well who he’d be trying to impress if that was his intention.

Kirishima kicked back the last pill and glared. “Sure, dad.”

“Come on, Ei, show some excitement!” Riku lifted an exuberant fist, “Katsuki’s coming home today! Aren’t you happy about it?”

Kirishima moved around the kitchen to take his leave, wanting to get out of the claustrophobic presence of Riku. He didn’t want to talk about Katsuki with him, didn’t even want to talk to him at all. But these days Riku always seemed to push his way in, always managed to stick his nose where it didn’t belong.

“I need to go,” Kirishima brushed off the question.

“Hey!” Riku grabbed him by the shoulder as he tried to get past him, forcing him to stop and look up at him. He was almost eighteen now, he’d gotten taller, but that man still seemed to tower.

Riku’s smile softened, his slanted eyes blinking worry at the red haired boy at the end of his arm. “I’m proud of you, buddy. You’re doing great.”

Kirishima barely caught a geyser that tried to burst out of his chest, but used every effort to shove that feeling down into the pit of stomach to mingle with his medication. It was a frustration he couldn’t even label. All he knew was that he wanted that hand off of him and that if Riku said another word he was going to lose it.

The response Riku got instead was having his hand brushed off of his shoulder and a forced smile coming off his son stiffly. That’s all Kirishima could manage without lashing out, so he left as quickly as possible, not looking back.

Kirishima pushed all of it out of his head the moment he hit fresh air, shoved down every adverse feeling, every annoyance at his father and just let himself breathe in the reality that he was on his way to see Bakugo, that the man he loved was going to be home shortly. It put the lightness back into his steps as he walked to the train station.

He got impatient after he got their though, still having about a twenty minute wait on the train itself. With time to kill he browsed around in some of the little gift shops within the station and got himself a candy along with a cool little pop socket for Bakugo, which had skulls on it just how he liked.

Kirishima sat back and enjoyed his sucker after he’d finished his shopping and scrolled through his phone. There were about fifty unread messages. There had been for about a week. All of his friends had been texting him from camp, but he didn’t have the heart to open them. Didn’t have the heart to explain or listen to them tell him what he was missing out on. The only texts he answered were Bakugo’s and he even left him on read most of the time. Texting was just so draining lately and the doctor had told him to work on managing stress and anxiety levels. Opening texts was stressful, so he just didn’t.

When the train finally rolled in, Kirishima shot up and tossed out the sucker stick, rushing over to where the passengers would be getting off. His gut was in knots and his hand was fidgeting chaotically at his side. He just couldn’t wait any longer. He thought he might explode from anticipation. Where was Bakugo already?

Then he finally spotted that puff of ash blond hair and those beautiful red eyes stepping off the train and his heart about jumped out of his chest. He physically leapt at the person stepping out, wanting no other greeting but a body crushing hug. Their bodies collided together and Kirishima felt strong arms secure around him, threatening to squeeze the oxygen straight out of his chest.

“Katsuki!” Kirishima squealed and practically lifted him off the ground in his hug, face lit up like Christmas to feel him in his arms again. Flailing. Fussing. Whacking him on the top of his head for making him look so unmanly to be picked up off the ground like that.

“Fucking hell, put me down!” Bakugo screamed at him, a happy note in his voice that was hard to hide. He got a laugh at the complaint, Kirishima just elated by how cute he was when he was angry and just dying to get to see it again after so long.

Kirishima didn’t get a chance to put him back down, though, because he lost his balance long before that. He stumbled backwards, taking Bakugo down with him and crashing on his back, saved from the impact by his quirk. Bakugo managed to catch himself on his hands, stopping himself from hitting the ground like his boyfriend, but turning their expressive hug into an awkward position to be in in a public train station. Kirishima could not bring himself to care. He didn’t give a shit what it looked like. He was on cloud nine that Bakugo was here, unable to hold back laughter at their predicament as he took in the face above him.

Bakugo looked a bit more tan and there were a few new bruises on his face and neck, likely from the many bouts he’d boasted about winning. It was nice to see the other kids were getting in good hits too. Not to mention it made him look really handsome when he was roughed up and bruised. Kirishima was simply a sucker for a manly, tough guy that got his hands dirty.

“The hell is wrong with you?” Bakugo snickered and tried to push himself back up.

But Kirishima didn’t allow him. He threw his arms around Bakugo’s neck and jerked him back down into a kiss, Bakugo losing the stability in his arms to fall down against him, not expecting the kiss, but not resisting it either. There was no complaint to be found in that action, whether it was inappropriate and embarrassing or not.

His entire demeanor changed when Kirishima took his lips with his own and he felt a long exhale escaped Bakugo, shaking through his body as he pressed back hard against Kirishima’s kiss. He stopped caring that they were lying on the ground at a train station on top of each other. To both of them, in that moment they were all that existed and they each blanketed each other in the embrace.

When he pulled out of it finally, Bakugo gave him a few extra kisses before lifting back and getting a look good at the face grinning up at him. His voice was husky yet soft, whispered.

“Fuck I missed you,” he nudged their noses together.

“You have no idea,” Kirishima sighed and rolled his eyes up, thinking over his last three weeks with a distinct distaste.

“Ahem.”

Both boys grit their teeth and turned their eyes up to the disapproving glare that suddenly hung over them. Iida stood above, crossing his arms, not really looking unhappy as much as embarrassed, like this was making him very uncomfortable. Like what was happening in front of him was going to reflect back on the whole class.

It was hard to deny it looked pretty bad, even though no one was paying any attention to them, so Bakugo and Kirishima scrambled back onto their feet. The red haired boy rubbed his neck in embarrassment as he threw a smile to their class rep.

“Sorry, Iida,” Kirishima said, “Got a little carried away. How was camp?”

Iida barely opened his mouth to speak before he was cut off by high pitched squeals zooming by him, heedless. They crashed into Kirishima, the boy getting entirely bodied by two people at once, seeming to appear out of nowhere. Once again he was on the ground, to Iida’s dismay, but Kirishima could only laugh, squeezing back the two bodies that squished him with all they had.

“Kiri, Kiri, Kiri!” Mina shouted into his ear.

“Dude we missed you!” Denki pouted, punching him in the shoulder.

“Kiri!” Mina snapped once more, to make sure his eyes went to her, “Camp. Was. Amazing!” she sat back to enunciate each word with a clap of her hands.

Denki shot back up once Mina did and quickly tried to regain himself, clearing his throat and standing. He offered a hand to Kirishima to help him back up. It only made Kirishima laugh further. Denki really hadn’t changed much over the years. Never was there a straight kid less secure in his sexuality. He couldn’t even hug a guy without assuming it was taken the wrong way.

“Fuck off, Pinky,” Bakugo rolled his eyes, “he doesn’t want to hear about camp from you.”

Mina stood and stuck her tongue out at him, which actually forced a small smile from the hot headed blond. “Yes, he does,” she insisted.

“Maybe in a little while, guys,” Kirishima held up his hands, pleading them to calm down, “Let me say hi to everyone first at least!”

“Ugh!” Mina slumped her shoulders dramatically, “Fine, I’m starving anyway. Let’s go get food!”

In her excitement she grabbed onto Kirishima’s arm as if to encourage him to go with her. But she wrapped her fingers around his forearm, far too close the scarred over markings he was currently hiding and internally he felt a surge of panic. It wasn’t like she could see or feel them, but knowing her hands were on them, sent a scare through him and his instincts made him jerk his arm away violently.

She pinched her eyebrows together at the reaction, but Bakugo pushed her away before she could say anything else. He didn’t know about the injuries so he wasn’t trying to protect him from that. Maybe he just saw the glint of discomfort. Either way Kirishima was grateful for his intervention, not having wanted to be rude to Mina. Bakugo never really had a problem with that though.

“Go get food then, if that’s what you want,” Bakugo huffed, “He said he wanted to wait on everyone, so go on. We’ll see you later this week.”

“I will accompany you,” Iida sounded tired when he said it, “You shouldn’t go off by yourself.”

That got the pep back in Mina’s step as she bounced over to link arms with the class rep, though he seemed less than thrilled about the entire situation. Ever responsible Iida, looking out for his classmates even when he didn’t want to.

“Hey I’m hungry too,” Denki complained.

“We all are,” Mina rolled her eyes at him, “Come on then. We’ll catch up with you guys later!”

Mina disappeared into the crowd exactly as she liked to be at all times, sandwiched between two men. A thought that tickled Kirishima and warmed him up. It was just so heartening to see normalcy and helped to push his offputting reaction to her contact out of his mind.

He figured he and Bakugo had a moment alone now and was in the middle of opening his mouth when a new pair appeared to greet him. It was way less like a WWE match this time and more like normal people meeting up after being apart for a month.

“Kirishima, how’s it going?”

Kirishima let Midoriya sweep him into a hug and just marveled at how large the green haired teenager was getting. He remembered when he was the little guy, when he was little Deku facing down the world with powers that somehow seemed to break his body faster than they broke anything else. Midoriya had to be Bakugo’s height now and it was easy to feel from the hug that he was adding a little more bulk since last time he’d seen him. The training really had seemed to work well for him.

They pulled apart with smiles and a fist bump, catching the way Bakugo crossed his arms and grumbled to himself. No matter how many years passed or what those two had been through together Bakugo refused to not give Midoriya attitude any chance he got. And since Kirishima had come to learn that he really didn’t actually hate him anymore it made the whole thing kind of cute. Still childish, but cute.

However much he wanted to catch up with Midoriya, he couldn’t wait any longer to grab the guy behind him into as tight a hug as he could manage. Todoroki’s voice was deep when he chuckled into Kirishima’s ear. A weight felt to drop entirely off of Kirishima’s chest now that he was able to be here with him and feel he was there. Until the moment he’d seen Todoroki standing there, waiting patiently for his hug, he honestly hadn’t realized how much he’d missed him. He’d been thinking about Bakugo constantly the last three weeks, eating away in the anticipation of seeing him again, thinking of little else.

That was always how it seemed to be too. Whenever Todoroki wasn’t around Kirishima was fine, didn’t think of him outside of the norm, but the moment he stepped into the room he just captivated it. It was hard to express how important he’d become to Kirishima and moments like this he remembered why. Being in his arms was pure comfort and the rare laugh he emitted simply sparked joy.

Both of these boys really had affected his life drastically, his and Bakugo’s. Without them they’d never have gotten together, never pushed past the unspoken barrier that had separated them. It was almost a fond memory to think how foolish he and Bakugo had been, so muddled in their own heads, confused by their feelings, struggling over that spark of attraction occuring while Bakugo was already in a committed relationship to someone else...someone who’s effects lingered on. Someone who’d exacted a bitter revenge for her imagined slights...someone who haunted him daily...someone who embodied his ultimate fears…

At the time the person she had been so abusive to had been Bakugo, the poor, naive bisexual not able to have any control or self worth around her. The ways she used to put him down and wrap him around her finger made Kirishima cringe just to remember. The ways she used sex as a tool...a punishment...a torment. And how she threatened him, made Bakugo believe she would and could end his career, destroy his future were he to try to escape her, the thing he cared about most in the world.

Without Todoroki and Midoriya they’d never have stepped up to her, taken their stand, admitted their feelings. Not without Todoroki’s demand that they sit down and talk it out, not without Midoriya’s cool reasoning and their combined efforts to get the two on the same page and come up with a plan. They literally owed them their entire relationship and it stuck solidly in Kirishima’s heart that Todoroki was the first person he’d admitted being gay to, the first person he’d had that conversation with. It stuck how calm he was about it, how it got no surprise from him or anything other than a casual sense of support. And after Kirishima had been so embarrassed at the icyhot boy walking in on them liplocked in the bathroom. The years had grown a unique friendship between them and if ever Kirishima needed reassurance about his relationship he knew exactly who to look to.

“Holy shit, I missed you guys,” Kirishima sighed, pulling out of the hug and lightly punching a few arms exuberantly.

“You dyed your hair!” Midoriya caught his attention with a pillowy soft smile, brushing at a few strands, like he was testing to see if it was real.

“It looks really good,” Todoroki agreed, folding his hands, less inclined to be as handsy as some of Kirishima’s other friends, even though the hug had been fairly expressive. His normal demeanor was respectful and gave people their desired space. Midoriya was respectful in his own right, but definitely tended to be a more hands on friend. It was what he loved about them.

Kirishima shrugged, a little red faced at the compliments, “I mean I didn’t get to do anything with it before I came. It’s all floppy and messy, but the good ol’ red is back!.”

There was a snap beside Kirishima’s head that made him flinch in surprise as Bakugo swatted Midoriya’s hand away, getting a childish glare passed between them. The time away had obviously put Bakugo in a possessive mood and he didn’t seem to appreciate anyone else touching his boyfriend’s hair. Midoriya couldn’t rightly argue with that, but he sent a silent appeal to the heavens, amused if anything by Bakugo’s attentiveness.

Bakugo slipped his arms over Kirishima’s shoulders to rest and fold in front of his neck. He lifted his chin to put it against his ear, nestling into him comfortably, but casually. It was a good thing they were known for kind of lounging all over each other or they’d have probably heard complaint of PDA from their more strict classmates starting to filter out around them and offering waves in their direction as they passed by. But there wasn’t a person in 1A that hadn’t seen that kind of behavior on the daily or who hadn’t long ago pushed it to the very backs of their minds.

It felt so right to feel Bakugo’s weight against his shoulders, so very natural and homelike. The strong breath he could feel against his back was incredibly soothing, that full chest rising and falling with vigor.

“It looks fine,” Bakugo insisted, with a quick rustle in the red locks, “I’m glad you changed it back. You’d have had to change your name otherwise.”

Todoroki narrowed his eyes at Bakugo. “That’s the only reason you wanted him to dye it red again?”

Kirishima chuckled, “No, Shoto, he’s being facetious.”

“What did you call me?” Bakugo growled feistily at him.

Seeing his opportunity to pick and prod, Kirishima snorted and elbowed him gently. “Called you a fatass,” he teased. This time Midoriya was the one that got a laugh out of it to Bakugo’s perturbance.

The arms around Kirishima’s neck squeezed down,momentarily putting him in a headlock before releasing again, not going anywhere rough enough to choke or hurt him. Just a fond gesture, accompanied after my a petty little pinch on his arm.

Todoroki still looked confused, vaguely annoyed even. “That’s not what you called him,” he muttered, never having been very good at understanding the sense of humor that Kirishima and Bakugo shared.

A glance at his phone alerted Midoriya very suddenly to his need to rush home, Todoroki admitting he had a similar problem. They’d all been gone three weeks too, away from family and such. Kirishima knew Midoriya’s mother was a worrying type and there had even been mention last he’d talked to the green haired boy that his father might even be home for a couple months this summer. Todoroki wasn’t going to rush home to his own father, but he had other family he needed to see, so Kirishima couldn’t rightly ask them to stick around.

When Midoriya took his leave he threw out one of those wave and smiles that melted ice it was so warm and genuine. It was enough to give Kirishima a heart cramp as he waved after him.

A glance to Todoroki, though, told him the other boy didn’t quite feel the same. The look on his face seemed more like a Bakugo expression than a Todoroki one. Perturbed, almost annoyed, not looking after Midoriya or telling him goodbye. Like whether he’d stayed or left, he’d have been just as offended.

Kirishima wanted badly to ask what was wrong, immediately wondering if something had happened at camp. But Todoroki didn’t give him a chance, giving Kirishima’s shoulder a fond squeeze, offering a smile to Bakugo, which got him a glare in return, and leaving his own way.

The two got quick greetings from Sero, Sato, and Jiro as they passed by, having home lives they also needed to sure back to, but assuring Kirishima they wanted to catch up soon. It was certainly the theme of the day, but Kirishima didn’t mind. It was enough just to exchange hellos and smiles with most of them. The hangouts and catch up could happen later once everyone had settled back into their summer home lives.

With the main people Kirishima wanted to see out of the way, Bakugo was impatient to leave himself. He wanted to be out ot that train station, wanted to be home, alone with his boyfriend. He dropped out of the hold he still held Kirishima in and took his hand and the bag he used for luggage, taking the lead to guide them out of the suddenly busy station. That made Kirishima more than happy, he wanted some alone time with Bakugo so badly that he ran ahead of the guiding hand, grinning hugely and started pulling Bakugo along instead.

As they left he spotted and waved at the trio of Uraraka, Tsuyu, and whatever he could see of Hagakure who all smiled hugely back at him. Damn he had a lot of people he needed to catch up with. He started making lists in his head of which pairings and groups he’d have to text later to set up meet ups. He’d be in a lot of group messages soon.

For now they were a thought that could pass out of his head easily, for now he had Bakugo’s hand in his and they were finally together again.

Bakugo kept him close when they started their walk towards his house, jerking him back to not run ahead anymore and intermingling their arms stiffly to keep him as his side. He loved that forcefulness and the badly pushed down grin that Bakugo couldn’t seem to get off of his face. Holy shit it was amazing to see him looking so happy. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to continue to pick on him.

“Your face is a fucking mess,” Kirishima chuckled, winking at the bruises and knicks of broken skin.

“And?” Bakugo huffed, “I won. Every single match!”

“As if you’d lose,” Kirishima grinned, “So tell me about it! What did you guys do? What did they teach you?”

Bakugo spent the majority of the walk home doing as best he could to give a run down of their camp activities and about the new moves he’d developed. He gave a couple examples haphazardly as they walked and got a lot of amazed cheers from Kirishima, who simply couldn’t wait to see him in action again. It was great to talk about hero stuff, to make plans about sparring and testing new moves. It made the upcoming summer seem exciting, but it did make Kirishima wonder about how much time they would have for that.

He himself had all the time in the world lately. With a good deal of remorse Fatgum had told he had to take a indefinite leave of absence from the agency not long after the rescue. He’d been in a terrible state at the time and he couldn’t blame him, but he was hoping he could prove to him soon that he was ready for action again. He missed the work and spending time with Tamaki. But whether he was allowed to return was up to Fatgum and their latest conversation proved that he thought Kirishima had a long way to go. He wouldn’t be convinced, but for a while.

Though Kirishima didn’t have that as part of his summer routine, he realized Bakugo might have a lot more going on than him. It was hard not to be jealous, but he always excited him to see his boyfriend succeed.

“So do you have any big summer plans?” Kirishima beamed at him, “Are you interning with anyone? Work study?”

A shadow unexpectedly swept of Bakugo’s face as they kept walking and Kirishima could almost hear the grind of his teeth. It sent a frown over Kirishima’s expression and had him tugging Bakugo to a stop.

“Hey, what’s up?” he searched those distracted red eyes that he turned towards himself.

“I don’t want to talk about out here,” Bakugo grumbled and pulled on his hand to try and get them to continue walking. Kirishima was being stubborn though and planted his feet.

“Wait what’s it about?”

Bakugo rolled his eyes. “Dude I just said I don’t to talk about it out here! Can we at least get home? Fuck.”

“I just want to know what its about,” Kirishima glared.

The blond pinched the bridge of his nose like he was barely keeping it together. “Literally what you just said! Now can you please shut up until we get inside? Shit, you’re so annoying.”

He jerked Kirishima’s arm to get him walking again, starting a brisk pace that had the redhead stumbling to keep up. Bakugo couldn’t distract Kirishima from the issue with adorable insults though, he was stressfully fixated on whatever Bakugo was refusing to say right now and started walking even faster to hurry up and get to Bakugo’s house so he could force an answer out of him.

On the other hand, it was always exciting to go to Bakugo’s house. He was an only child just like Kirishima, but the amount of activity and pure insanity that occurred under that roof was amazing to him. So unlike his own home. Of course his own home had been different lately, especially since his return from the hospital, but still it had a stale, claustrophobia he didn’t get from the Bakugos, even though they were very much in each others space and business without remorse.

When they stepped in, they were greeted by the exuberantly, loud voice of Bakugo Mitsuki, storming out to the front door to grab her son and put the boy in a chokehold, rubbing his hair, more like a big brother than a mother.

“What the fuck happened to your face, Katsuki?” she chided playfully as he scrambled out of her hold and shoved her in the shoulder with a roll of his eyes.

“None of your business, you old hag!” he spat back and got a slap at the back of his head for his response.

Kirishima grinned hugely at the interaction, still so baffled that mother-son relationships could even be this.

Mitsuki noticed him a moment later and her entire demeanor changed. She pushed Bakugo aside and snatched up the red haired boy in a hug, knocking the wind out of him. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind where Bakugo got his strength from.

“How have you been sweetheart?” she pulled back and touched his face a lot, like she was trying to create a diagnosis of whether he’d eaten today or not just by looking at him, “We don’t see you around much these days.”

 

“Well Katsuki’s been gone,” Kirishima rubbed his arm with a shrug.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t visit,” she patted the top of his head, which wasn’t as easy as it used to be since the boys had grown a lot in the last couple year, “Masaru gets bored. Also gets sick of listening to me every day. He’d appreciate the company.”

“Sorry,” Kirishima flashed teeth nervously, not considering that Bakugo’s parents would actually want to see him without Bakugo being involved. It was a heartening thought, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to handle Mitsuki without Bakugo around as a buffer just yet.

“Leave him alone, mom!” Bakugo pushed her away from him, “He doesn’t have time to be making social calls to fucking hags like you.”

“Well he apparently has time for shitty, ungrateful little brats,” she grinned and shrugged.

Bakugo was already pulling Kirishima with him away from her, heading to his room, done with his mother within the first minute of seeing her.

“Make sure you two go see your father before Eijiro leaves, kay?”

“Fine!” Bakugo shouted back and stormed off.

Kirishima laughed as he trailed behind him through the all too familiar surroundings of Bakugo’s home. Nothing too fancy or crazy, just like a normal house, a normal middle class residency.

The Kirishimas weren’t exactly wealthy, but they didn’t struggle either. Their house was nice, multistoried, full of stuff he wasn’t allowed to touch as a kid because his parents liked to have collections. The Hero paraphernalia collection had been his favorite as a kid, especially their Crimson Riot collection. He’d broken into that cabinet more times than he’d ever like to admit, getting very good at rearranging things back perfectly to where no sign of disruption could be seen over the years. There were so many things around the house that were so exciting to a kid, so many things that a kid who aspired to be a hero would have loved to live around while growing up, but it wasn’t exactly all that fun when all of it was “look don’t touch”. Living in a museum wasn’t all that fun and made house’s like Bakugo’s all the more welcoming. Breaking things was normal, everything was touchable and there were dents and ripped wallpaper on every wall. It didn’t look trashy or run down, but lived in. It looked like a home where people were home. Where people wanted to be.

This place with all its chaos and yelling felt more like home than his own house ever would.

Bakugo shut the door to his room behind them and Kirishima smiled at the sheer amount of All Might fanboy evidence around him. He’d been in this room a thousand times, but it was still so endearing how much this hardass, prideful teenager admired and looked up to the great hero.

Bakugo tossed his bag aside and kicked off his shoes, sighing as he fell back onto his bed, letting himself sink into the mattress and blankets in relief. Kirishima plopped down on the edge beside him, bouncing a little on the springs and poking the exposed skin of his stomach that revealed itself with the way his shirt pulled up.

“So what’s wrong?” Kirishima tried his question again, twisting his brow in determination, not about to let Bakugo get away without answering again.

The blond sighed and scrunched his nose at the hand turning ticklish on his skin, hitting it aside. It wouldn’t have stopped Kirishima normally from continuing to bug him, but he really wanted that answer, so kept his hands to himself.

“There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” Bakugo prefaced, “I probably wasn’t actually going to say anything, but you asked…”

“Okay Captain Mysterious,” Kirishima teased, tapping their dangling feet together, “Spit it out.”

“After...the uh...well when we got you back and...when I…” Bakugo struggled to find the right sequence of words, noting the cringe in Kirishima’s demeanor at the mention of the two month old incident, even so vaguely, “Well, there’s a pretty good reason I haven’t actually seen any repercussions from...what I did...from killing Miyagi…”

Kirishima’s throat tightened just at the name and he shuddered to make the creeping feeling tingling up his spine go away. But still he fixed Bakugo intently with an uncertain stare, worried where he was going with this and why that hellish situation was being brought up again.

“Aizawa practically ripped my head off, he yelled at me for probably two hours,” Bakugo watched the wall intently, “he said he was going to have me expelled. That UA couldn’t continue to support my career when I’d been the cause of a minor’s death. Said it didn’t matter that she was a known villain. Our history actually made it worse too.”

“But...you didn’t get kicked out,” Kirishima frowned, “You finished the semester and even went to camp. What...happened?”

Bakugo’s expression was constricted and he flashed his canines in aggravation.

“Well, I told him I’d take whatever punishment they thought was necessary…,” he looked back to Kirishima with stern eyes, “I stand by what I did...but they told us a few minutes later that Midnight took the blame...full blame.”

Kirishima blinked away, gasping at the realization that came to him. “That’s why she hasn’t been at school the rest of the semester…?”

“She got suspended,” Bakugo explained, hands in fists, refocusing on the wall, “It’s not as bad for her in the long run, she’s already proven herself to be a reliable hero, this is just viewed as a lapse in judgment, a mistake. She gets a suspension until next school year and isn’t allowed to do any hero work til then. Compared to what I would’ve gotten...she got off really easy.”

“I had no idea,” Kirishima blinked down at him in disbelief, “Why would she take the blame though...why would they even accept her taking the blame? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Bakugo launched himself up unexpectedly, bouncing Kirishima as the weight in the mattress shifted. He took to pacing around the room, a sneer of displeasure on his lips, hand in his own hair, twisting around.

“Midnight was the one that told me to go after her,” he growled, “I’m not a full hero, she was in charge, so technically it was her fault for sending me in, when I wasn’t supposed to be there. I don’t know why she didn’t pull me out right away anyways. And it’s all fucking stupid because even if she was the one in charge she didn’t do anything! She didn’t push her...If there’s repercussions to be had for it then that should be on me. I don’t want her or anyone else running to my rescue…”

“But you would’ve been thrown out…” Kirishima argued, sick at the very thought of Bakugo’s future as a hero coming so close to ending...and over him no less.

“I know!” Bakugo fumed and threw up his hands, “And I know I should be fucking grateful she did it! But it still makes me feel like shit. I should be able to handle my own shit.”

“So what does that have to do with your summer?” Kirishima tilted his head up at him, folding his hands in his lap.

Bakugo came to a stop and ground his teeth. He finally looked to Kirishima and took a long sigh at the worried look in those big maroon eyes.

“Aizawa and Nezu did some talking behind my back and agreed that I needed...extra curriculars,” he grumbled in annoyance, “They think it’d benefit me somehow to do some studying with...the person I fucked over. On the down low...since she’s not really allowed to be teaching or anything…”

“You’re training with Midnight?” Kirishima put two and two together and suddenly felt a lot better, a lot more relaxed over the situation. That was a good thing after all. He still got to study and train even if it was private...that was more than he was going to be getting. Midnight seemed like someone who could be a good influence on him too.

Kirishima didn’t like to think about it or talk about it, but the fact that Bakugo had actually killed his own ex girlfriend, the girl who had tormented Kirishima, had abused him endlessly, was something that scared him a little. It filled him with such relief at the same time, and such adoration that Bakugo had done that to protect him, to safeguard him from ever being hurt by her again. And there was a deep sense of peace that he didn’t have to fear her ever returning again, that she was a piece of the past and would remain there forever. But it was hard to shake how unsettling it was that Bakugo had the determination and strength to actually follow through with something like...to take the strike he knew would send her tumbling to her death. He didn’t think he deserved to be punished for it...in the end it was actually self defense, she was a villain, and the situation warranted drastic measures. Internally he thanked Bakugo every day for that, thanked him for watching out for him like that, for risking his future for him. Even if the very idea of Bakugo taking such a risk chilled Kirishima to his core. He wasn’t going to allow him to ever do something like that again. Never.

The pacing came to a stop and Bakugo kicked at the carpet with a roll of his eyes. “Yeah. Three times a week. I’m supposed to learn from my mistakes or some bullshit. Don’t see what the fuck she’s supposed to do. Her only real qualities are knocking people out and being hot! What’s she going to do, seduce me into making better decisions? Pfft!”

Despite the severity of what they were talking about, Kirishima snorted a laugh, finding Bakugo’s distress at his situation suddenly amusing. When he put it that way it was hard to not crack a smile.

“Would you really have a problem with that?” Kirishima raised an eyebrow at him, “You’d be living out half the kids at school’s fantasy.”

Bakugo narrowed his eyes at Kirishima, not so amused by it. “I’m being serious. It’s fucking frustrating. Everyone else is going to be doing real hero work, getting into the fucking dirt of things and I’ll be tutoring with someone not even allowed to wear a hero costume!”

“Well in that case it’ll be even easier for her to seduce you,” Kirishima snickered, “You know...because she can’t wear the costume...so she’d be naked?”

A breath ripped out of Bakugo like he’d just completely given up on life and the palm he pressed to his forehead only confirmed that Kirishima’s jokes were not landing.

“I swear to god Eijiro,” Bakugo grumbled.

Kirishima could see that Bakugo was not going to take much more of this annoying behavior so he threw up his hands defensively, shaking his head. Yes, he tended to make jokes when serious topics came up that he wasn’t sure how to deal with, but it was obvious Bakugo didn’t need that right now. It usually alleviated the tension, usually got Bakugo to lighten up some so they could talk about it in a less heated fashion. This seemed one of those rare occasions that it was only exacerbating the problem instead, so Kirishima changed his tactic quickly, feeling oddly calm to be actively engaging in someone else’s problem rather than one of his own.

“I’m sorry,” Kirishima flashed sharp teeth, “I’ll stop...you’re right...it really sucks. But you should still give it your best. Impress them and make them see that you’re hero material no matter the situation you’re stuck in.”

Bakugo’s lip turned slightly upward as he dropped his facepalm and approached Kirishima. There was still a sense of intimidation coming off of him, the kind that seemed to follow him everywhere he went, and he didn’t look entirely happy, but not ready to punch a wall at least. He leaned down to stand eye level.

“Still Mr. Brightside, aren’t you?” Bakugo huffed and fussed a hand in his floppy red mess.

Kirishima found himself frowning at the name. He’d never called him that before. It was accurate, he realized, knowing that through much of their relationships, through most of their arguments, he’d tried to be the voice of positivity, trying with everything he had to balance out Bakugo’s aggressive negativity and propensity to violence. Not that he always stopped him, he liked to see his boyfriend fly off the handles sometimes too. He was a truly amazing combatant after all. And he remembered a score of occasions where he was far from the one seeing the upside, where he simply wallowed in doubt, or had given up completely on anything turning out right. There were times that it fit, times where that side of his nature was shining through...

But Mr. Brightside? No. If ever there was a person who would fit that description it wasn’t himself. No, that would be his father, that would be Riku. And that thought made Kirishima sick to his stomach.

Kirishima quickly shook off the unsettling comparison he had made in his own head of himself to his father and threw a smile back up to Bakugo, trying to give him encouragement. If he could convey to him with only his eyes that everything was going to be just fine he would certainly try.

“It’s just one summer,” Kirishima insisted, “We’ll all get through it. And we’ll get a lot of time together too!”

Bakugo looked hesitant still, but he was fighting a smile pretty hard at Kirishima’s persistent noting of all the positives to their situation.

“We better,” Bakugo humphed, hand slipping back into his hair and sliding to caress his jaw and tilt his head up, “I’m not planning on doing a lot of sharing this summer.” There was a smirk on his lips, but Kirishima rolled his eyes, smiling to himself and getting a cramp in his heart.

They had always been very open minded when it came to their relationship, sexual jealousy not a very strong factor in their lives. Obviously so, with the amount of times their bed had been occupied with more than just their own bodies...but it didn’t change how consoling and warming it was to see Bakugo be possessive, to feel so exclusively wanted by the person he loved. Especially after so long apart and after what they’d been through in the last couple months.

With his chin tilted upwards, Bakugo easily pulled their lips together, happily absorbing the scent and sensation of the red haired boy with an affectionate lap at his mouth and strong inhale. It was easy to fall into, to melt against, to feel a full sense of relaxation course through him. Bakugo was in and of himself a sense of comfort and the warmth of his kiss was alleviating. Pent up tension bled out of Kirishima at the contact of his lips, tension he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, the tension of Bakugo coming home, of how he had worried he would react to seeing him again, of fearing what Bakugo would ask about his hospital stay. But the blond seemed to want to talk about it all as little as Kirishima did and that was everything he needed to know, though he could feel in his chest that he was denying a crinkle of disappointment over it. Consciously he didn’t want any of it brought up, but in his heart he wished it was all Bakugo cared about.

Kirishima called himself a hypocrite and shoved it all away, deepening into the kiss as it leaned back into him.

Bakugo’s hand fell against the mattress as Kirishima was forced to lean further and further back until Bakugo had settled a knee on one side of him, keeping him engaged in their lip lock as they settled into the sheets. As was normal for Bakugo it sort of came out or nowhere. But Kirishima found himself content to makeout with his boyfriend, radiating with warmth, with joy to have him home and in his arms again.

But then he felt the brush of solid erection against his leg and Kirishima felt a painful clench in his ribcage. His eyes shot open and he went still, coming instantly to a realization of what was certainly on the blond boy’s mind, only confirmed by the way his large hand grabbed onto Kirishima’s hip and pressed him deeper into the mattress.

Panic shot through his mind.

Was he really going to…? Was he expecting him to…? Was he ready for something like that after...after what happened?

His first instinct was no. The surge of panic shooting through him, told him that no he didn’t want that. He didn’t want whatever was going through Bakugo’s head. He couldn’t...he wasn’t ready! The very idea filled him with dread and worry and a hundred humiliating, depraved memories.

But Bakugo hadn’t seemed to notice the change in demeanor and didn’t seem to see the uncertain look in Kirishima’s eyes when he pulled back.

Instead he brushed his hair out of his face and bit his lip, dropping his voice huskily. “Shit I’ve missed you.”

Kirishima couldn’t do anything but feel adored at the statement and his eyes softened, almost remorsefully at him. “I missed you too…”

Lips came down against his mouth again and cut off anything further he wanted to say, before trailing those lips along his jawline up to the lobe of his ear. The skin there tingled with the hot air of his breath and the discomfort in Kirishima’s belly spread further.

“I’ve missed being with you,” his voice shook and conveyed a deep sense of desire, not just sexual, but like his heart was genuinely breaking over the time he had spent away from him, over the time he’d had to spend without him. “I’ve missed...every part of you,” his whisper continued as his hand crept up from Kirishima’s hip to sneak under his shirt and detail the outline of every muscle.

Kirishima swallowed hard. “K-Katsuki…”

“Fuck, I need you,” Bakugo’s deep vibrato filled Kirishima’s eardrums and sent and a fearful shiver through him. He bit his cheek at the unsettled clench running through him, at the way the words made him feel phantom hands on his body, smell the sickly sweet stench of her perfume, make him completely nauseous. Nauseous because those words were supposed to be beautiful to him, but in this moment they were like nails on a chalkboard. Nauseous because the purr in his ear told Kirishima that Bakugo didn’t take the shiver to mean he was afraid, but as a positive response to what he was doing.

“Katsuki,” Kirishima tried again, his voice becoming more timid by the moment, his hand planting into Bakugo’s chest, less forcefully than he wanted to, but meant to push him away.

Bakugo’s lips were on his again so fast there was no way Bakugo even had a chance to see what fears were painting Kirishima’s expression. And as Bakugo’s tongue slipped into his mouth and the kiss became deep and firm, Kirishima could feel the tension in Bakugo’s chest release, could feel that his breathing had taken a steady pace, that his heart had a pulse that said he was relieved, that he was where he needed to be.

And Kirishima knew he couldn’t tell him no. He just...he couldn’t. Bakugo needed him, not just because he needed to get off, but because he had been through hell and back since the night Kirishima had disappeared and because he hadn’t gotten any real relief since.

The fear and sense of complete violation didn’t lessen, not even slightly, the twist of agony in his gut was still enough to make him want to vomit and the prick of unseen hands touching him sent goosebumps up his skin. But to listen to those psychotic little instincts was selfish, wrong of him. Bakugo had been there for him when he needed him, he needed to be there for him now, needed to take away the stress and weight on his shoulders. The burden of what having killed Miyagi meant to them all and to his own future. The burden of having to support Kirishima through his recovery and then breakdown.

Bakugo breathed heavy against Kirishima’s lips, noses rubbing together softly as Kirishima pinched his eyes closed to force down all of his adverse instincts, to be able to look Bakugo in the face with a smile or the very least without a look of complete panic and fear.

“Fuck I love you.”

Kirishima loved him too. Loved him more than words could express. Loved him more than he cared about his own wellbeing, more than he cared what horrors twisted to life in his mind at the notion of a sexual touch.

He loved him. So he let him have his way, let him take full liberty with his body, let him relieve his every pent up need. Let this be a beautiful reunion for at least one of them.

Chapter Text

“When did you get that?” Todoroki points to his phone before chugging the water bottle in his hand.

Bakugo threw him a raised eyebrow and turns his phone over to see what the guy was on about, finding the skull pop socket and fidgeting with it momentarily. He makes a “tch’ sound and takes a long draft of his own water.

Even if they’d been inactive they’d have been verging on dehydration on a day like this. The weather was peak summer temperatures and the sun loomed high overhead, drenching the two boys in sweat. They were both accustomed to heat, though, and found their ways of keeping cool, Todoroki having an easier time than Bakugo with his ice quirk and all.

“Yesterday,” the blond said dismissively, setting the bottle back down on the bench beside him, “Eijiro found it in a gift shop.”

Todoroki gets a distant smile. “He knows you pretty well.”

“No shit Sherlock,” Bakugo shoots back and stretched, cracking his knuckles and then neck in subsequence, “Boyfriends usually pay attention to what their partner’s like. Not that you’ll ever understand that.”

There was a harsh sneer turned to the figure icing himself down with his quirk to ward off the heat from their exertion. Todoroki got that stiff look he’d been sporting a lot lately, but stood to prepare for round two like Bakugo was doing.

“I suppose I won’t,” he huffed, “Unlike you I’m focused on being the best. I don’t have time for something like that. Relationships are a distraction.”

Bakugo grumbled. Nothing he said to the guy seemed to get under his skin like he hoped it would. He was really difficult to annoy, which made him the most annoying person he knew.

“You’re acting like dating him is some kind of detriment,” Bakugo kicked at the ground and stepped back out into the circular arena, “Even if it has distracted me or taken up some of my time, I can still kick your ass all over this ring. How’s not dating anyone working out for you really?”

Todoroki took position across from him and breathed into a pose, half crouched, eyes mismatched and piercing on his opponent. Ice trailed behind him as his arm caught fire, lip curled up in determination.

“We’ll see about that,” Todoroki tensed his shoulders, ready for the fight.

Bakugo grinned wide, seeing that this was going to be a good fight already. Maybe he couldn’t get under Todoroki’s skin, but he could get him riled for a competitive match.

The field lit in bursts of fire, ice, and explosions as the two went hard at each other. Since they’d been granted permission to use the training facilities on campus during the summer they’d agreed to practice weekly. And it was good that they had the reconstructable grounds of UA’s training grounds to work on, because the two boys had some of the most raw destructive power in the school and when they spared they didn’t hold back.

They exchanged hits and Todoroki used his ice to attempt to keep distance between them. Bakugo was quick, unrelenting and surging with energy. He avoided the spires and blasted through whatever he couldn’t avoid, coming upon Todoroki in a manner of moments. That’s when the fire came into play. Bakugo’s skin pricked at the heat, and he threw a blast that cut just past Todoroki’s face, coming close to matching his left and right side with a good burn.

A burning hand hit Bakugo’s back to launch him away, but his own explosion shot him back into the half and half bastard, catching him by surprise with an elbow to the side of his head and knocking them both to the ground. They struggled for a minute longer, Todoroki throwing flame and ice back and forth at him. Bakugo avoided every hit and swept in a blast that knocked the flaming hand away before stomping his boot down on the icy hand and colliding his knee into Todoroki’s chest to force him back down to the ground.

But the icyhot boy wasn’t done, wasn’t giving up. That flaming hand was swirling an inferno to life and Bakugo felt it coming at his head. But it never got there and the whole arena went very still when a greeting shouted out over the field from the sidelines.

“Hey!” Midoriya shouted with a wave as he passed by, “Good luck guys!”

“Looking good out there!” Uraraka chimed in with him as they went, both beaming smiles like the actual sun at the two caught in the dead middle of a brutal fight.

The distraction only caught Bakugo off guard for a second, taking the opportunity to counter Todoroki’s counter and pin down the other hand and raise a just over Todoroki’s face, threateningly sparking crackles of explosions.

“Yield asshole,” he snipped.

Todoroki was still seeming to come back to what was happening and frowned deeply, shifting under Bakugo, but finding the blond boy had him thoroughly pinned. He growled frustration and rolled his eyes.

“Fine,” he opened his hands, conceding, glancing back to the two passing out of the area to their own activity with a curled lip.

Todoroki was jarred back by an open palm whacking him in the forehead and the pressure on his arms and chest letting up. That got the annoyed look Bakugo had been trying to rile out of him for what felt like weeks and he chuckled happily, standing and crossing his arms over his defeated opponent.

“Fucking weak sauce, Icyhot,” Bakugo kicked his leg, “So much for being the best.”

While gloating in his victory Bakugo missed Todoroki’s petty streak, missed the way the half and half boy’s leg swept out and caught him in the back of the knee, knocking his feet out from under him. Bakugo landed on his back and prepared for a continuation of their fight. He didn’t receive another attack, though.

Todoroki just shuffled back up to his feet and brushed off the dirt from his uniform, while Bakugo propped back up onto his elbows, grinding his teeth up at him.

“Why are you acting like a fucking bitch?” Bakugo huffed and rolled his eyes, “You lost, get over it.”

“I am over it,” Todoroki shot back and clenched his fist at his side, “You got lucky. I was just distracted.”

“By what?” Bakugo looked at him unimpressed, “Fucking Deku and Ochaco? You see them every day. Yeah they’re annoying...but we see them every single day.” He felt the need to reiterate it twice, unsure why Todoroki had that pissy look on his stupid, attractive face.

“They aren’t annoying,” Todoroki turned fully away from Bakugo, crossing his arms, “They’re my friends. They’re your friends too.”

Bakugo tsked and pushed himself back up to his feet. “Ochaco is tolerable. She’s tough. And Deku…”

Todoroki scoffed and tensed. Bakugo had never gotten such a look of pure aggravation from him in all his years of egging him on and it turned a half smile up his face.

“So you’ve got a problem with Deku then,” Bakugo got a self satisfied smirk, sauntering past Todoroki, “Glad you’re finally seeing reason.”

“Are we going to fight or talk?” Todoroki responded shortly and caught Bakugo from getting too far away.

The blond chewed his lip, something sly in the gaze he turned back to Todoroki “Are those my only two options?”

The look that said he wanted to start throwing fists again, deflated from Todoroki’s expression, picking up on the underlying tone of Bakugo’s voice. A blush washed over his features and he looked away from the expression, drawing back just a little, disarmed.

He was about as off guard as Bakugo could catch him and dropped into a leg sweep before Todoroki could think. He hit the taller boy’s ankles and knocked his legs out from under him, the boy once again crashing into the dirt of the arena, with a guttural “oof”. Bakugo didn’t waste a second and dropped over him, pinning the boys arms down beside his head and laughing victoriously.

“You are so fucking easy to distract,” the words rumbled in Bakugo’s throat, “What the hell is wrong with you lately? You used to be great at ignoring me.”

Todoroki looked away, but didn’t move to get out of the hold this time, biting the inside of his cheek. The blue eyes was the one Bakugo could see and it darted about like whatever was going on inside Todoroki’s head was strenuous.

“Let me up, please,” he said in a soft voice.

“Make me,” Bakugo leaned close to bite the air over him aggressively, “You have two quirks, don’t you? Use them!”

The crystal blue of that eye tilted up at him, the delicate slant of his hooded lid distractingly pretty under the sweep of red hair. Bakugo wasn’t so easily taken in, though. Since the first time he’d pounced on the idea to drag Todoroki into he and Kirishima’s private life he hadn’t been able to deny how attractive he’d found the young hero. But that didn’t mean he was by any means whipped by it. He had Kirishima after all, had the ultimate form of human perfection as his boyfriend, he didn’t need the alluringly beautiful heterochromatic teen. He got enjoyment out of him certainly, but he was not a part of his life he’d be upset without.

Todoroki grumbled a little and muttered under his breath, “I don’t want to, just get off me.”

Bakugo smirked, feeling very much to have the upperhand and enjoying the ability to remorselessly pick on his classmate. “I don’t think you really want me to,” he hummed catching the mismatched eyes that turned up to his own ruby reds, “I think you like having me pin you to the ground.”

“Get off!” Todoroki yelled at Bakugo, scrunching his brow in determination.

Bakugo made that “tch” sound again and rolled his eyes. “That wasn’t a no.”

The blond shuffled back up to his feet, letting go of Todoroki’s arms and allowing a triumphant grin to pass over his lips. There was still a significant blush on Todoroki’s cheeks as he sat up.

“Look, it’s not like I haven’t thought about it,” Todoroki muttered and made Bakugo’s smile drop, “I just didn’t think it was a good idea to bring up. I’m still worried about Eijiro.”

Bakugo let his stance relax a little, noting the way Todoroki’s shoulders slumped, knee propping up his arm casually. It was exactly what Bakugo was thinking about all the time they were at camp, that everyone was deeply concerned about what was going on with Kirishima. They all hid it well, but he could see how worried they all were. This was just the first time someone had said it out loud in a long time.

But Bakugo got a smile back the more he thought about it and puffed his chest happily.

“You saw him yesterday,” Bakugo starred off to the middle distance, “He’s doing amazing right now. It’s like the whole Miyagi situation never happened.”

“I didn’t see him for very long yesterday,” Todoroki shook his head, “so I really don’t know. I’ll take your word for it, I guess. I still don't want to bring it up, though. I’d like to spend some time with him and see for myself before I go asking for something like that.”

“Suit yourself,” Bakugo shrugged, “I really think he’s fine. He’d probably be up for it if you just brought it up.”

Todoroki took a long breath and nodded. His fingers played with the fabric of his uniform pants, finding his own spot in the middle distance to stare at so as not to have to look the other boy in the face. The topics of their sex lives and threesomes and such things weren’t knew to either of them, but they still weren’t comfortable conversations to bring up in the light of day and out in the open, even if there were no eyes or ears around to witness.

“You seem pretty confident,” Todoroki pursed his lip, “Have you guys...are things back to normal?”

Bakugo turned his eyes down at Todoroki and felt the corner of his mouth perk upwards at the question. The half red head still looked away, giving only quick glances up to him, but was able to catch the wink.

“I think so,” he nodded, “He was alright with it last night.”

Todoroki clicked his teeth together and bobbed his shoulder up and down with the quick breath he took. He pulled his legs underneath him and lifted back up to his feet, once again brushing away dirt from his pants and back. He finally looked Bakugo in the eye, still plenty uncomfortable with saying the things he was saying out in the middle of their training grounds.

“You really think he’d be up for it?” Todoroki repeated.

Bakugo huffed, “You trying to blow off some steam, Icyhot?”

There was a glint in Todoroki’s eye that said his restraint was wearing thin and Bakugo genuinely didn’t know if the next words to come out would be a declaration of war or an offer to fuck. He was hoping for the former. He had no interest in the latter if Kirishima wasn’t involved.

“Does it matter?” Todoroki’s response came far more coolly than Bakugo expected, moving a step back to create a little space before resuming a defensive stance.

Bakugo grinned that he’d picked the first option, but poked a little further. “It’s because Deku pissed you off, didn’t he? What did he do?”

Fire burst open and strong in Todoroki’s palm, the intent behind it licking into his grey and blue eyes. “Just shut up and fight.”

~

“See isn’t this fun?” Kirishima Yuna smiled big sharp white teeth at her son, getting a fully unimpressed glare from him in return.

“Mom…” he frowned, “We’re in the hospital. How is this fun?”

Her slender shoulder bobbed up and down and she swung her feet almost childishly over the side of the examination table. Her painted nails ran up and down the disposable sheet before brushing back the long black vibrancy of her hair from her bright, dark red eyes. She was the image of Kirishima as an adult female. Hardly a question could be brought up over their relation to one another.

“We’re here together aren’t we?” Yuna shrugged her shoulders, her strappy top shifting easily over her thin frame, “And I just know we’ll get good news after this. Don’t you think, baby?”

Was he really supposed to sit across from her and say that he believed that for a second? That he had any confidence that this round of treatment was going to make a damn difference? His heart told him no to all of it, that believing it was a delusion. But he couldn’t say that. Not while that soft, endearing smile was eating away at him.

He smiled back through the weight in his chest and turned a thumbs up at her, barely keeping his leg from bouncing at his impatience for the doctor to show up.

“This’ll be the one,” he said through grit teeth.

“I knew you’d agree,” Yuna smiled and eyed the door a moment, “We could go get ice cream after. It’s getting hot these days.”

“I can’t,” Kirishima eyed his hands distantly, “I’m trying to meet up with Mina and Denki tonight.”

“Oh,” she let her voice hold the tiniest note of disappointment before it perked back up again, “Well I’m glad you’re getting to see your friends again. How did yesterday go? Did you get to see Katsuki?”

Kirishima momentarily shivered to remember last night, but it was pushing out a smile over that was easier than it had been to do about anything else going on around him right now. Even if last night had pushed every one of his comfort zones, he was still so happy Bakugo was home. An off putting experience couldn’t change that.

“It went fine,” he nodded, “He’s doing good.”

“Well have him over some time,” she bounced in her seat, “We could all go out to dinner!”

“Mom,” Kirishima sounded more snippy than he expected, eyes narrowing in a glare, “I’m not inviting him over.”

“But…”

“Mom!” he practically shouted at her, “I’m not. Not while you’re...like this.”

Yuna rolled her eyes. “I can fake it very well, don’t you test me.”

“I don’t care,” Kirishima sighed, frustrated, “He’s just going to think he has to worry about me again.”

There was a stiffness in the air and Yuna eyed him carefully, the smile dropping. “Eijiro...should we be worried…?”

A burst of fear gripped his throat at her tone, at the testing way she asked. Like she was gauging how close he was to another mental breakdown. Like she was all knowing and could glean the truth from his body language.

The fear in his throat yelled silent words into his ears. “Don’t let them send you back! Don’t let them send you back!”

It pushed a thick, toothy grin from him while bile hit his tongue. “Who me? I’m totally fine. I just don’t want anyone thinking I’m not. So...please don’t mess this up for me. Things are finally getting back to normal.”

Yuna sighed, contentedly, reaching out a hand to her son. He didn’t want to, but he took it, feeling mostly bone. They were cold too, frail and unhealthily pale. He didn’t like looking at them.

“I’m proud of you baby,” she squeezed his hand with what little muscle she had, “I knew you just needed to come home for a while.”

Come home? He had been at home. He’d been at his best there too. Home was UA. Home was where he could be with Bakugo every day and where he could be surrounded by activity, where he could continue to learn about becoming a hero. Home wasn’t some quiet abode where he was trapped alone with his thoughts for hours on end. It wasn’t someplace where he was constantly reminded just by the sight of the other residents what horrible things were occurring in their lives.

Fuck he had so many things he wanted to say to that, but the thought of how she might react, what she might say to his father, what they might deem his mental state might be over him lashing out stopped him from letting anything but a short smile escape his mouth.

Luckily the doctor stepped in in the next moment and relieved Kirishima with being able to change the subject. He greeted Yuna with a hand shake and turned to Kirishima with an offered hand.

“Hi there, I’m Dr. Saga,” he shook Kirishima’s hand, getting a rough, flat lipped nod from the boy.

“Eijiro,” he introduced himself and shrunk back into the seat.

“Your son?” Dr. Saga asked Yuna.

She nodded happily, shining a bright shark smile at him. “Yes. He came to keep me company while Riku’s busy at work.”

The doctor’s worn face brightened at Yuna’s words and a whimsical smile took over his face.

“How’s he been?” the doctor asked, holding his clipboard to his chest, “Honestly, meeting him I understand why you smile so much. He just brightens the place up when he walks through the door, doesn’t he?”

Kirishima’s brow pinched together and he tried to hide the annoyance in his expression. What a fucking wonder. Someone thought his dad was the god of charm. Because he didn’t hear that every single day.

“Isn’t he just something else?” Yuna laughed, “Been married to him for eighteen years and I wouldn’t take back a day of it.”

Much like the comment on how amazing Dr. Saga thought his father was, Kirishima felt a distinct cringe at what his mother said. How he wanted to argue how untrue that was. Maybe not from her perspective. She really did view the world through rose colored glasses, but he knew all too well there were things she regretted, things both of his parents would take back if they could.

The doctor nodded, “Beautiful family, you’re very lucky. Eijiro is the spitting image of you too. You have the same face.”

Well if that wasn’t the world’s most obvious statement.

“Crazy isn’t it,” Yuna winked at Kirishima, “I’m surprised Riku never wanted a DNA test. There’s not a bit of him in him.”

“Maybe in his nose,” Dr. Saga squinted at Kirishima and the boy pulled back, deeply unsettled by being talked about in front of his face. He wasn’t a museum piece, they didn’t need to pick out the different brush strokes or what the artist was inspired by when he made him. He was just a person with a leaning towards his mother DNA over his father’s, nothing to stare over.

There was a hum in Yuna’s throat, while she nodded agreement and Kirishima scrunched his nose at the observations. The walls felt very close and the eyes on him were crawling over his skin uncomfortably. He needed to get out of there.

Kirishima shot to his feet. “I need to run to the bathroom.”

“We’ll go ahead and start your evaluation,” Dr. Saga opened out the clipboard, seeming to realize he was there to do a job.

“Hurry back, baby,” Yuna called after him, “Don’t get lost!”

He didn’t respond, just darted out as quickly as he could, shaking off the claustrophobia of those four walls, finding an odd sense of peace with now being stuck in the halls of a bustling facility rather then the calm examination room. Maybe it was thinking about why they were here or the invasive feeling of strange eyes assessing him, but he couldn’t stand to be in there any longer. It wasn’t like the evaluation part of her check up and treatment needed him around anyway.

The part about needing to use the bathroom was a lie, so Kirishima moved a little down the hallway, just to get away from the door and slid down against the wall, pulling out his phone as he crouched out of the way of the passing nursing staff. He settled his heart and shook off what was left of the claustrophobic feelings as he distracted himself with his phone.

He shot a few texts out to confirm that he, Mina, and Denki were still on for that night. Both of them sent back more emojis than words and a couple questionable gif choices. It put a smile on his face while he found appropriately horrible selections to send back, laughing to himself over the wildly flailing Kermit the Frog gif he sent to them, knowing that if anyone was going to find it as funny as him it would be those two.

His smile widened when a new notification popped up, telling him Todoroki had texted him. There were happy fuzzies in his heart as he swiped open the message.

Shoto: Are you busy tonight?

Kirishima pursed his lips sadly as he replied, informing him that he already had plans that night. He almost wished he could just tell him to tag along, but he knew that he’d want to really catch up with Todoroki if they were getting the chance to spend time together. It was definitely entertaining mixing him with people like Mina and Sero and such, but wasn’t a good way to really talk. They could do something like that after he’d gotten a chance to get some quality time with him. And he couldn’t deny he was deeply looking forward to that.

Todoroki suggested another day that week and Kirishima quickly assured him that it was perfect and they decided to meet up at the park, neither really wanting to offer their own homes as a meeting place. It was for very different reasons certainly, but both were looking to avoid their fathers.

Kirishima tacked on one extra text to the stream he’d started: Hwd sparin go?

Shoto: It went better for Bakugo than for me. I will do better next time. :)

Kirishima smiled at the way Todoroki texted, grammar and spelling all fully written out. He was certain that his own way of texting, much like an illiterate chimp, must drive the well versed boy insane. But he and all of the people he usually texted understood the condensed words and acronyms and texted in the same disorganized, chaotic fashion. He wasn’t going to change it for one grammatically sound friend.

Thinking about how the match must have gone down, especially since Todoroki had admitted to losing, Kirishima opened his message stream with Bakugo, thinking of texting him about it. He’d been very proud of his persistent wins lately and his head was certainly inflated that he’d kept up his streak even in just training.

Every time he thought about how and what he wanted to say, something felt like it was pricking his spine with a needle. Thinking about Bakugo at all just seemed to drag his mind back to the previous night and he wanted to kick himself. He’d been the one deciding he would go through with it, it wasn’t Bakugo’s fault, he didn’t need to feel uncomfortable towards him because of shit he’d decided to do. And he could have just told him no, could have just asked him to hold off or that he wasn’t in the mood. There were a thousand ways he could have stopped the situation from escalating into sex last night that he hadn’t resorted to.

But that was his decision. He’d made it even if he regretted it. He just had to get over the cringe he experienced at the memory of it.

It had helped that Kirishima had managed to turn the lights off, at the very least hiding the scars left on his exposed body and at most hiding the distressed expressions he’d tried to disguise. Bakugo had been far too overcome to notice much and he thanked heaven for that. The only thing worse than what had ended up happening would have been Bakugo realizing what an uncomfortable situation he’d put Kirishima in right in the middle of it.

“It’s not Katsuki’s fault,” he muttered to himself, trying to drill the idea in, trying to rid himself of the off feeling he got about being around him now. He hated that feeling and hated feeling it towards him, but those shitty instincts of his were at work.

He didn’t intend to let them win, though. He wouldn’t let them keep him from his boyfriend. It was just something he’d have to let sift out of his memory, like having an awkward dream about a friend that somehow tickles the conscious mind every time that person is nearby. Those went away eventually and so would that feeling.

This was just a one time thing, at least for now, until he was in a better place to take care of Bakugo’s needs, when he managed to feel the desire in himself again. Bakugo needed him last night and he knew sleeping him was the right thing to do. But not again. Bakugo would be fine without it for a while. He’d have to be.

In lieu of “how’s it going” or any other normal text, Kirishima just sent Bakugo a heart emoji and closed out of the messages. It had no context and Bakugo might find it kind of stupid or cheesy, but it felt like something Kirishima wanted to say. To just let that big blond asshole know he was loved, whatever else was happening.

After a few more minutes a head popped out of the examination room and Dr. Saga caught sight of him. He waved Kirishima over and the boy took a heavy sigh, getting himself back into a mental state to handle this and stood.

“We’re ready to give your mother her next treatment,” Dr. Saga explained as Kirishima approached, “Would you mind coming and just holding her hand? I know she’d appreciate it.”

It was hard to get out anything other than a sharp nod.

Dr. Saga slipped back inside with Kirishima just behind him, but the red haired boy paused outside of the room. He composed himself, purged the idea of what this was, what was happening, why they were there. He buried it deep in the pit of his stomach, trapping it down with the host of monsters he’d secured inside of himself; locking it back up and throwing away the key.

He pushed the corners of his mouth out, spreading the smile into his eyes. He was a Kirishima. Smiling through the pain was a requirement, ignoring the bad even when it stared you in the face was a part of the territory. It came with the name.

When he turned that corner the first thing his mother would see would be that positivity she wanted so bad. For better or worse, he’d do that for her.

Chapter Text

“Hey Kacchan can I talk to you for a minute?”

Bakugo curled his lip at the green haired boy closing in on him, pulling his gym bag in closer and picking up his pace to make Deku have a harder time catching up to him. He verbally growled at the bright eyed kid, but he was entirely heedless, falling into the quick pace beside the blond with a nervous smile.

“Fuck off Deku,” Bakugo grumbled, raising his shoulders.

It was like Deku didn’t even hear him, he just casually kept up his gait and got a wandering look in his eye, hands in pockets. Why the fuck did nobody ever listen to him when he told them to fuck off? What was so difficult to understand about being anti-social to these fuckholes?

“I was just curious if Todoroki said anything to you today,” Deku got a crooked frown, watching the ground.

“Bold of you to assume we talk,” Bakugo huffed.

Deku rolled his eyes. “I’m just curious. He’s...been acting weird lately.”

Bakugo hated to admit that he’d noticed it too. Hated to admit he paid enough attention to any of the people in his life to notice that something was different or weird about any of them. But Todoroki wasn’t acting like the icy bitch he usually was, that they had grown so used to over the last couple years. There was more heat in him these days, whether that meant his temper was shorter or that was behaving more petty or just more emotional than usual. He wasn’t fighting as precisely as he was used to either. Not to mention the obnoxiously clingy behavior when Bakugo really wasn’t asking for it. Today was fine, today they’d both been looking to spar, but he didn’t want him around every day, didn’t want him hanging over his shoulder or just appearing at his side at random. The biggest relief of being home from camp other than getting to be with Kirishima again was being able to put some distance between himself and Todoroki. At least they weren’t living at the same place for now.

“He’s been an absolute cunt,” Bakugo crossed his arms, giving his version of agreeing, “What’s it to you?”

Deku frowned deeply at his childhood friend. Over the years and a few much needed confrontations they’d established a certain respect between them. Things could still easily get hostile and competitive, but Deku had gotten enough self respect not to take shit from Bakugo anymore. Which Bakugo hated to admit made him just a hint proud of his friend. When Bakugo pushed, he pushed back. And because of it the boy got considerably less annoying.

“He’s my friend, I have the right to be concerned,” Deku said curtly, “He won’t talk to me. I feel like he’s avoiding me actually. I want to say it started at camp, but he’s been acting distant before that too. Have you noticed that?”

Bakugo scoffed, “Distant? I can’t get him to leave me alone!”

“Really?” Deku blinked back to the ground, “Why?”

“Like I know!” Bakugo lengthened his strides, “Maybe he just wants cooler friends. Tch!”

 

Deku’s mouth flattened in a line, eyes narrowing in a glare at the blond beside him. He didn’t seem to subscribe to that theory.

“Do you think it might have something to do with Kirishima?” he asked, “I know he’s been worried about him. We all have.”

“Save your fucking worry, nerd,” Bakugo bared his teeth, “He’s fine. The bunch of you are going to embarrass the hell out of him if you keep going on about being worried.”

Deku got red faced and sheepish at Bakugo’s words, likely realizing that they were very true. Kirishima held his image very near to his heart and Bakugo knew he held a very persistent worry that his tough, manly image had been ruined in the eyes of his friends. Bakugo knew it was why he tried so hard to pick himself back up after the rescue, why he’d shaken off everything that happened with such gusto.

That first day back at school he’d been so unstable, so small under the eyes of his friends, as if they could see everything he’d been through by just looking at him. The black hair hadn’t helped. Bakugo had noticed how concerned all the eyes on him were too and he’d come close to cracking some skulls that day. But it was what pushed Kirishima to taking charge of his life again.

Bakugo didn’t even know what Kirishima had been through, he only knew what he’d seen in the short time he’d been prisoner to that bitch Miyagi. But it was enough to tell him that it had likely been a living hell. And from what he remembered of his own time dating that cunt he knew she was capable of horrible things. So when Kirishima had stood tall and told him that he wasn’t going to let what happened show, that he wasn’t going to let it hurt him anymore, Bakugo couldn’t help but feel the fullest swelling of pride on his chest. His boyfriend was incredible. He was the strongest person in the world.

Yes there had been a small breakdown last month, yes things looked bad for a little while. But there was no denying the strength in the boy, no denying that he was in a good place, that the worst of it was definitely behind them. Everything was going to be good for him from here on out. Pretty soon he’d be back with Fatgum, they’d all be back at school together, and in another year Red Riot would be the name of a pro hero. That he was certain of.

Hearing someone insinuate that anything was wrong with Kirishima just pissed Bakugo off. It didn’t matter that a week ago he’d been literally consumed by his own concern for the red haired boy. He had the right to feel worry during that time, while he’d been so far away and everything was kept so uncertain around him. That was his boyfriend after all; the rest of these extras could keep to themselves.

“You’re right, Kacchan,” Deku nodded, “We aren’t trying to offend him or you. It just struck all of us as weird and unsettling that he didn’t come to camp. No one ever said why.”

The path came to a divergence that Deku seemed hesitant to follow him on. He came to a stop and spoke loudly and forcefully enough to stop Bakugo.

“Hey! If you find out what’s up with Todoroki, tell me. If I did something I want to be able to fix it. Even you aren’t that much of a dick to stop me from making it right.”

Bakugo frowned at the sidewalk then glanced back to the determined look in the green haired boy’s emerald eyes. His fists were stiff at his side and the tightness of his brow showed something Bakugo knew well. The look of a person who wouldn’t quit, a person committed to finding out what the problem was and repairing it. Bakugo really did believe his own best efforts wouldn’t be able to stop the boy, not that he had any issue with getting Todoroki away from him and sending him back to his other friends. Deku could have the bastard.

“Fine, you nerd,” Bakugo shook his head.

With that he left him and got back on track, checking the time and sighing to himself. He didn’t like being late, even for things he didn’t want to do. He likely wouldn’t have been there on the dot even without Deku’a interruption, but he was content to blame it on him anyway.

He sped across town as fast as he could carry himself, adding to his already sweaty appearance through the exertion. It was actually a little difficult to keep from accidentally igniting explosions with the amount on his skin and his own nose crinkled at the sweet scent he let off by it. He couldn’t usually smell the nitro in his own sweat, but today was a particularly hot one and there was no ignoring it.

When he knocked on the apartment door, the eyes that greeted him widened at the disheveled sight of him. His widened back. Seeing teachers outside of school hours was always weird, but seeing a teacher at their own home, out of uniform, in their personal space and comfort zone…that was straight up jarring.

Oddly enough Midnight’s home attire was actually more modest and less revealing than her work clothes. She was in lounge wear, harem pants and a loose shirt that hung off one shoulder. Her glasses were more simple and her hair flat around her head, makeup done in a very simple fashion, the entire vibe of a sexy dominatrix gone from her demeanor. It was disarming and off putting. He immediately had no idea how to act around her.

Especially when she frowned and pulled him inside.

“Where have you been?” she eyed his soaked shirt and red face, “You look awful.”

“Look who’s talking,” he bit back, folding his arms at her, taking full offense as he began to glance around the apartment.

It was a nice place, very organized and put together despite being small. Her living area was open and had an array of plants on the window all meticulously cared for. A defuser was going, making the place smell like lavender. There was no doubt she had put the place together specifically to be a relaxing environment.

Midnight jammed a thumb behind her to an open doorway.

“Shower. Now,” she narrowed her eyes, “I don’t want dirty children in my house.”

He was going to gripe back, but she held up a finger to stop him. “My house my rules.”

“I’m not a child,” he shot air out of his nose, “I’m eighteen.”

Midnight seemed entirely unimpressed. “Prove it and act like one. Respect my home, please.”

Bakugo was as pissy as he could be about it, but he stomped past her to the room she’d pointed to, dropping his bag outside of the shower and turning on the water. Before he closed the door she threw a bundle of fabric at him and he glared at her.

“You aren’t going to be clean if you put those same clothes back on.”

Bakugo unfurled the bundle and found a dark t-shirt and jeans. “Why the fuck do you have men’s clothes just laying around?” His mouth was wide open in confusion.

There was a light smirk on her lips. “Do I look like a lonely person to you?”

With that she shut the door on him and left him to the first task of many she would set him to. By the time he was out he couldn’t help but be grateful for the wash, his skin having gotten sticky from the sweat and nitro and the feeling of it all being washed away was very refreshing. The clothes didn’t quite fit, but they were luckily a touch big rather than a bit small.

When he stepped out he found Midnight preparing a pot of tea. He dropped his gym bag, now filled with his old clothes, by the door and sauntered into the kitchen side of the living room with a skeptical glower.

“From now on, please arrive in a presentable state,” Midnight clicked her teeth, not even looking up from her task, “Or at least bring clothes to change into. If it wouldn’t fly at school it won’t fly here.”

Once a pain in the ass teacher, always a pain in the ass teacher.

Bakugo crashed back against one of the chairs in the living room and slumped down. Midnight brought a tray with the pot and teacups and set them down on the little glass table between where he sat and where she took her seat. She poured the tea and offered him a cup. He only crossed his arms and looked away.

“It’s rude to refuse when someone offers you tea,” Midnight sat back with her own cup, not looking at all disappointed or upset about it.

“I don’t want it,” Bakugo snipped, knowing it was a lie. The tea smelled amazing and he was thirsty from his exercising and walking. But he was also stubborn and wanted to show in every way he could that he didn’t want to be here.

There was an interested hum in Midnight’s throat. “You seem to be under the impression that you have a choice about this.”

He threw he a surprised glare and found cool dark blue eyes, calmly watching him as the teacup lifted and fell from her perk lips.

“Whether they even allow you to return for your last semester is entirely up to me,” Midnight sighed, “I’m relying on you to show me that you deserve to be at UA, that it wouldn’t be a grave mistake for us to be associated with your professional career. Public knowledge dictates that I was the one at fault for the death of the villain girl, but you and I and the leaders of UA know better than that. What I say about you from here out is what Nezu and the others will trust. They will not be looking at any other input. You have one person to impress, one person to convince. It won’t do you any good to be obstinate.”

Bakugo’s nails dug into the arms of the chair, eyes burning holes into the carpet. Unfortunately she was fucking right about it all. His entire future was riding on whether or not this one teacher found him fit to continue or not. And that keen look in her eye told him she was taking everything into account, that she was not leaning towards letting him back in...that he really was in the lowest tier right now. That he wasn’t just going to have to play nice...he was going to have to fight for his right to be allowed back into the school.

With a “tch” on his tongue he sat up and snatched the tea cup, grumbling to himself as he took a sip. Midnight smiled to herself and pulled her legs into her seat to get comfortable.

“Now since this is our first day I’m just going to go over some ground rules,” she tapped her mug with long nails.

Bakugo fought the want to roll his eyes, but did feel a deep sense of relaxation at the first sip of tea warming through him with its subtle flavors and hint of sweetness.

“First, I’m in charge,” she said sharply, “If I say it, we do it. These aren’t requests. Secondly, I’ve already said this, but I want you presentable or at least prepared to clean up when you get here. This is a home, not a barnyard. Third, I want honesty. Even if you think I’m not going to like what you say. I’ve never known you to hide your feelings or deal in half truths, so I doubt that will be difficult for you. Fourth…” her stern voice became light on her tongue and a smile touched her lips, “I’d like to drop formalities. Call me Nemuri. No sensei or any of that either. I don’t like being addressed as a teacher in my own home.”

His nose crinkled and he frowned. He didn’t like that at all, it felt too much like she was trying to establish a report, despite all the other pesky rules. It felt contradictory, but she held all the cards right now and he didn’t have much choice about it.

“Fine,” he grumbled, “Any more fucking rules?”

Her mouth quirked downward, eyes thinning on him through her glasses. “Yes. No cursing.”

“What the fuck?” Bakugo slammed a fist into the arm of his chair, practically fuming.

“Think of it as an exercise in self control,” she tilted her head, unphased, “When you’re trying not to curse it makes you consider what you’re saying before you say it. Especially with how colorful your vocabulary is, you’ll be thinking a lot.”

“That’s bullshit,” Bakugo insisted, “What does that have to do with anything?”

Midnight raised a single finger. “Rule number one. I’m in charge. I’m not going to get out a swear-jar or anything, but I’ll happily rely on consequences if that would make it easier for you. Starting now, twenty push ups for every slip.” she waved her hand like the dictation was entirely arbitrary.

Bakugo’s face was red again and he felt close to breaking the cup in his hand. Who the fuck did she think she was? Her whole schtick was being some kinky bdsm imaged hero, but that didn’t give her the right to torment him. It was such a petty rule too. There was no way it served any other purpose than her own amusement.

“Put the cup down, Katsuki,” Midnight said, “I’d rather you now break it. I like that mug.”

Growling in frustration he set the cup back down and folded his arms over his chest.

“Are we going to start or do you have more pointless rules to shove down my throat?”

“That’s all the ones I have right now,” she blinked at him and relaxed her shoulders, “We can start.”

He looked back to her, a little relieved and intently looking for what his first task was going to be. If he was actually going to be learning anything or developing his hero skills than he’d be more than happy to listen. But he deflated from that hope as soon as she spoke.

“Tell me about what happened,” she put the tea cup down to fold her hands, “All of what happened. I want to know, from your perspective, exactly what was going through your head.”

Bakugo’s teeth grit and his heel dug into the carpet. “What the f-” he caught himself to his own annoyance, “Why do you want me to do that? You were there. You read the police report. You saw the body.”

“It’s not about that,” she shrugged, “We’re here about you. Because of you. I need to know why you did what you did. I need to know if I was wrong in defending you.”

Bakugo went cold, felt something drop inside of him at her words, at the cold stare. It was poignant, stabbing. She was in a shit situation right now, because of him, because of her decision to take the blame for what he’d done. He’d wanted to just be annoyed at her for it, because at the end of the day he didn’t want anyone running to his rescue, didn’t want to owe his life or freedom to anyone. But it was irrefutable that the only thing safeguarding his future as a hero was her and right now, sitting across from him, she was teetering on regretting her decision, regretting saving him.

With that in mind Bakugo chewed his lip and leaned his arms down against his knees, trying to breath out the aggravation he felt towards her to give her an answer. To give her an explanation.

He didn't like thinking about it. He didn’t like talking about it. He’d tried to shove the entire incident as far out of his mind as he could since it happened, for his own sanity, for Kirishima. But for the sake of his future, for getting her to work with him, be broached the subject.

“She baited me in,” Bakugo said in a gravely tone, “I knew it was a trap, knew she’d be waiting and prepared to use Eijrio against me. That was the point of it all. That’s the whole reason she took him in the first place, that’s why she...why she hurt him. I knew that. I knew it full well. But she sent her little messenger to get me to come and I couldn’t even consider not chasing after. I made sure Deku and the others warned you guys and told you to come as quickly as possible...but I wasn’t going to wait around. If you and the police had shown up without me, she might have just killed him out of spite. If I was there she had a reason to keep him alive. I just...I wasn’t expecting...that…”

“What?” Midnight’s voice was steady, even.

“I wasn’t...expecting to see him like that,” Bakugo stared deeply at the lines in the palm of his hand, nostrils flared at the memory, spine tingling in horror, “He was just...destroyed. Like he hadn’t slept in years...like he’d looked the devil in the eye and she’d just stabbed in the gut for it...like he’d been in pain for days...”

The unfeeling glaze in Midnight’s eyes gave way to a sympathetic tilt, the silence in the room suddenly very loud in Bakugo’s ears.

“Don’t repeat any of this,” Bakugo snapped firmly, “He can’t know I said anything. It’s not like I want to talk about it...he has his pride to think about. It’s...fucking humiliating.”

Her nose crinkled, but she let the curse slip this time, giving a nod instead. “Kirishima is a good student and wonderful young man, nothing you say could disrupt my image of him. Many of us pros have had to go through situations we assumed would humiliate us to our piers, we are all hindered by pride in some way in this line of work. But sometimes it can be reassuring to open up to friends about those things, rather than hiding them away like secrets, it allows the opportunity to see that they still support you through it. But that is for Kirishima to decide, not either of us.” She let that diversion pass and lowered her head to him respectfully, “Anything said within these walls, stays within these walls. We’re discussing this to understand your perspective, nothing else.”

Bakugo nodded, finding that satisfactory, but finding her suggestion of opening up to be ridiculous. There was no way that would be beneficial to Kirishima. There was no way their classmates would look at him the same if they knew how broken he’d been.

“She’d subdued me,” Bakugo cringed at the thought and at saying what he was about to, “She had him there and she acted like she had any right to lay a hand on him. I still don’t know all of what they were doing to him, but I know she’d convinced him that doing whatever she said was going to keep me alive. I had to sit there and watch her take advantage of him. Watch her...touch him...make him...” he pinched his eyes and hissed, clenching his fist. “Do I have to describe that too?” the words came out sounding bitter.

Midnight shook her head, pursing her lips sadly. “No. I think I understand. I’m sorry, Katsuki. That had to be horrible for both of you.”

All he could do was nod.

“What were you feeling towards her when that happened?” she asked, getting them back on track.

Bakugo lifted his eyes and found Midnight watching him carefully. He wanted to say that he didn’t feel anything or that all he thought about was saving Kirishima, that his mind couldn’t be penetrated by anything other than the need to get the man he loved safe and sound. But that had only been a small portion of what was on his mind in that time. She’d said she wanted honesty. She’d get honesty then.

“I felt like I wanted to rip her heart out of her chest,” Bakugo bared his teeth, “I wanted to tear her to pieces and leave nothing but a bloody stain on the ground. I wanted her to live to the very last and feel every ounce of pain I could ever hope to inflict on her. I wanted to burn her alive and just...I wanted her to pay for everything she’d done to him...break off her fingers, burn out her tongue for ever thinking she could touch him like that. For ever thinking she could do what she wanted with him!” There was steam coming off of him, shoulders quaking with the renewed hatred and pain of what he’d witnessed.

“You were filled with the need to avenge his suffering,” Midnight said, “Go on.”

“You guys showed up,” Bakugo explained, “It stopped her. Thank god it stopped her. I went straight for him, but her sidekicks were trying to stop me and she was getting away. You jumped in and took down the big guy. Eijrio went down with him and she ran. You told me to go after her.”

They both let silence hang between them at that part and locked onto eye contact. Her gaze was firm, revealing nothing about what was going on inside her head.

“Did you want to chase after her?” Midnight asked, “I recall you didn’t hesitate.”

“I did,” Bakugo said with resolve, “Not as much as I wanted to run to him, though. Leaving him without even making sure he was alright killed me. If you hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have left his side.”

Midnight studied him closely, digging through those ruby reds with stormy blues, before nodding. “I believe you. But as we both know that wasn’t the case. I assure his safety and you were given an order not to let her get away.”

Bakugo narrowed his eyes at her. “And I didn’t.”

That turned Midnight’s face sour, seeing the stubbornness in Bakugo’s expression. But still she remained calm and composed. “Walk me through the rest of it.”

It was hard not to feel patronized, but he didn’t really have a choice but to trust her with all of what happened. He had to be honest too, which he knew was going to make him look worse and worse to her. All he could do was try to leave her some hope that he was redeemable or whatever bullshit she was trying to glean off of him.

“I chased her,” he said, “grabbed a crowbar because I couldn’t use my quirk. It was the first thing I saw, it wasn’t on purpose or anything. You don’t have to act like I’m some brute.” he glared and continued, “We came out on the roof and I hit her legs to stop her from getting far. Not that it made much difference to her trying to escape. She tried begging for her life and running away so I hit her again.”

Midnight’s frown deepened.

“I had her down, bleeding,” Bakugo went on heedless of her reactions, “I thought I’d won. She started gloating. About what she’d done to Eijiro...that she’d win no matter what, because she’d broken him so bad he’d never be the same again.” He had to pause and compose himself, blood pulsing to remember the look on her fucking face and the words that hit his ears. It was hard not to want to take another swing of that crowbar at her just to remember it.

He took a shuddering breath to try and calm his rage. “I beat the shit out of her, because she deserved it. Because downstairs Eijiro was hurt and violated and it was her fucking fault…”

“Language, Katsuki,” she snipped and he flared his nostrils at her to be so chided, “I’ll wave the repercussions for today, but that’s just because I know this isn’t easy to talk about. Just think about what you’re saying. Go on.”

He grumbled and shrugged off the interruption. “But I backed off. I wanted to hurt her for Eijiro, but I also knew that he’d want me to behave like a hero and I knew I needed to bring her in; it’s not like those years of training were for nothing. I know you won’t believe me, but I tried to. I turned my back on her for a second and she tried to attack me and escape. If you want to sit there and think I just lost my cool and murdered her in cold blood then fine, but I promise you I didn’t even think about it. I reacted. She tried gloating again about how she could easily escape and I swung, caught her in the neck, probably broke her throat. She lost her footing and fell.”

“A hit to the throat like that might have killed her without the fall,” Midnight said, displeased, “Why did you aim for the throat?”

“Her quirk,” he frowned, “It was her means of escape. She could blow herself away. I was stopping her, I wasn’t thinking about if it could kill her or not. It’s not my fault she fell.”

Midnight took him in narrowly, gleaning that he wasn’t telling her everything. He could feel her accusations, she didn’t have to say them.

“I didn’t try to stop her falling either, no,” he admitted, “I could’ve reached out and grabbed her, but I didn’t even try. I couldn’t make myself raise a hand to help her. Part of me told me I should, that that’s what a hero would do. But the part of me than was just numb to her pain said it didn’t matter.”

“To some, choosing not to save someone you can help could be considered the same as killing,” Midnight lowered her eyes, steepling her fingers, “Why do you think you felt like that? Numb and unwilling to move? You said part of you thought you should catch her and you were obviously dealing with rage as well. Why would you suddenly not feel anything?”

Bakugo frowned and mulled it over angrily. “I don’t know. Maybe she didn’t deserve me feeling anything about it. If I killed her in anger...she’d still have won.”

“So it was about winning?” Midnight asked.

“No,” Bakugo hissed in aggravation, “It was about Eijiro. It was about her not being able to hurt him again.”

“What does that have to do with killing her in anger as opposed to killing her with a lack of feeling?” she pushed the topic.

He stomped into the carpet and threw up his hands, “I don’t know! You’re just being confusing now! How would stopping her from winning even be a bad thing? She was a villain looking to hurt the people I loved! Winning for her was bad for everyone!”

Midnight raised her hand to calm him back down, “I’m not accusing you of anything and I’m not going to tell you what I think about any of it, I’m not going to tell you if you were right or wrong. Did the circumstances warrant that action? Were your intentions just? Should you have caught her? Should you have never chased after her in the first place? I won’t tell you any of that, that’s for you to figure out. Those are some of the many questions I’m asking you to ask yourself.”

Bakugo opened his mouth to fume at her and argue that she was being obnoxious and cryptic, but found a raised hand to cut him off.

“Save it,” she ordered, “This sort of thing, these sort of questions, are the reason we’re here. It’s not to train in new techniques, it’s about learning who you are and knowing whether you are really hero material or not. I’m asking you to think about it over the summer and come to that conclusion on your own. I’m not looking for an obvious answer from you either, something you think I want to hear. I want you to see all sides to this, not just yours, though it’s a very good place to start. And only once you’ve seen every side do I want you to answer that. If you can’t see past your own pride and desires, however noble, then you will never be a pro. It doesn’t require you to agree, just to see another perspective and respect it, so no matter how you feel about what you did, you will be able to accept why it is treated the way it is, and why I will decide whatever I decide about your fate. Do you understand that?”

The blond blinked up at her and then back down. He took the mug on the table into his hands and leaned back in his chair, taking another sip, finding it a room temperature now.

“Fine,” he said, “Whatever it takes.”

She hummed to herself and joined him finishing her own tea. “You’re a determined young man, Katsuki. Don’t get me wrong about any of this. I’ve always enjoyed your tenacity and drive. And for whatever your flaws, you really seem to love that boy. It’s the thing that most gives me hope for you.”

Bakugo’s gaze angled up at her, surprised by her words.

“I will be harsh with you and unmerciful, don’t get me wrong,” Midnight shrugged at the look, “But I care about seeing you grow. I don’t want to see you fail. I wouldn’t have agreed to do this if I didn’t think you had the ability to better yourself.” Her blue eyes swept out of the window. “Please don’t prove me wrong.”

Swallowing back the mix of emotions that had all surfaced and blended together in this uncomfortable conversation, Bakugo took time to just stare into the tea, mapping the leaves that settled at the bottom. He didn’t know how he felt about anything she’d said. He felt pissed off and inspired and ready to punch her in the face all at once.

“I won’t keep you any longer today,” Midnight still wistfully gazed out at the approaching sunset, “You’ve given me a lot to think about and I hope I’ve given you some things to consider as well.”

She didn’t have to tell Bakugo twice. The mug hit the counter roughly and the blond boy stomped towards the door, swinging his gym bag over his shoulder. Before he got out the door, Midnight’s voice caught him momentarily.

“Bring the clothes back when you come Friday,” she called after him, “Don’t be late.”

With a huff he slammed the door behind him and stalked away from her apartment, autopiloting himself towards home while he internally grumbled about everything that had just occurred.

His skin still crawled with having to sit there and describe what had happened with Miyagi. Describe his own feelings on it. It agitated him that he had to let any of it resurface at all. He’d spent all this time pushing it down, keeping it out of his head, shaking away those feelings, the hatred and fear he’d felt towards her. Shaking away the images he’d tried so hard to get out of his head, of the person he loved in such a state, in such pain and torment. Now it was all he could think about again. Now it made the idea of seeing Kirishima again a frightening thought. He didn’t want to look at the boy and see the fragile broken creature he’d taken from Miyagi’s hands. He didn’t want to taint the progress he’d made with this bullshit in his own head.

He needed to purge it all from his mind again, before he let himself spend time with him. It didn’t matter that Midnight wanted him to consider his actions, he didn’t want it coming between him and Kirishima. He’d wanted to see him tonight, to jump in on his get together with Ashido and Kaminari...but he couldn’t do that now. He’d be nothing but a buzzkill and Kirishima deserved to actually enjoy some time with his friends.

Bakugo pulled out his phone, not sure whether he wanted to text him about not coming by tonight or not, it wasn’t as though it had been a plan they’d talked about anyway. But he found a text had already come through to him from Kirishima, looking to be almost two hours old. He felt even worse for not having noticed and quickly swiped it open, a skip in his heart to find his mind automatically rushing to wonder if something was wrong.

All he found was a simple heart emoji. Nothing more nothing less. A wordless, “I love you”.

Bakugo sighed and shook his head violently. He’d jumped straight to assuming Kirishima was in trouble again...jumped right back to doing what he’d told the others not to do, worrying.

He texted back a quick: luv u 2 bih

He let the little comfort of an out of the blue text settle him. Ground him. Show him that everything really was fine, that Kirishima was one hundred percent his old self. That Miyagi’s threats hadn’t been true. That she hadn’t won. That she’d failed to break him. She’d hurt him, yes, but it wasn’t permanent. His redhead was stronger than her and he was proving it.

And if he could do it, so could Bakugo. He could stay strong through whatever shit Midnight was going to put him through.

Even if it meant he had to stop cursing…

He ground his teeth and appealed to the heavens like he’d lost his strength to live. Even if it meant that.

Chapter Text

Mina half choked trying to catch her breath, holding her ribs like she about to burst from the laughter she was struggling to contain. She wiped away a tear as her description went on, floored by what she was recounting and flooring her audience as well.

“So then...oh fuck...so then...she says,” Mina sucked in air, “‘Goth is a phase, punk-rock is for life’!”

Kirishima lost it, feeling the pounding of a fist hitting his shoulder as the two boys on the floor cackled. Denki had been laughing for the last ten minutes, just at the mention that Mina was going to tell him about the acclaimed argument that had become infamous at camp. That line about killed him though, the yellow haired boy falling over in his fit and fighting just to breathe.

“Kyoka fucking said that?” Kirishima had to confirm he’d actually heard what he thought he’d heard.

Once Mina was actually able to get out words again she nodded. “Dude, she was in rare form all camp. I think she’s losing it.”

“But…” Kirishima sucked in air, “But arguing with Tokoyami? You cannot even be serious! How do you argue with Tokoyami?”

Denki sat up and wiped his eyes. “Dude I feel like I saw God. It just...I was fueled for the rest of camp. I had a comeback for everything she said after that...it was the best week of my life.”

“It’s so true,” Mina agreed, coming down to a cross legged position with the others on her bedroom floor. She’d have blended in with all the pink if it wasn’t for all the black animal print on it. She really had quite the style.

“What did you do to her?” Kirishima folded his hands at Mina and then at Denki, eyes huge and pleading, while his mouth refused to come down from the massive smile he sported.

 

Before Denki got a chance to answer a knock came to the bedroom door and three sets of eyes shot up to it. It opened just the slightest at Mina’s prompting and a bright pink face poked in, much like Mina’s but far more mature, grown.

“I’m home, sweety,” the perky voice greeted her daughter and then shot a wave to the boys on her floor, “Hey guys! It’s been a while!”

She came fully into the room and threw out her arms, demanding them come up and hug her. They weren’t going to refuse her, they’d never have the heart to. Denki took his hug first with a pinch on his cheek that he shoved off in annoyance. Kirishima then fell into pink arms and was surprised to get a massive gasp when the older woman pulled back and looked up at his face.

“What the hell, child,” she turned huge black eyes up at him, “When did you grow?”

Mrs. Ashido was having a mental fit to have to look at him, her gaping mouth and wide eyes making her look rather ridiculous. It gave Kirishima a smile, but was also a little embarrassing to be getting so much attention from his friend’s mom.

“That’s what you do when you get older,” he laughed, rubbing his neck.

Much like friend’s parents did, Mrs. Ashido sighed and looked fondly to the middle distance to reminisce. “You used to be so small! I remember you being this little thing!” she dropped an open hand towards the floor, stopping at about her knee to show exactly how tall she remembered him being. “You couldn’t even reach the cookies. Mina never really had a problem with that. Such a cute little chub when she was a tot!”

“Mom!” Mina drew out the word, rolling her eyes, “Leave us alone. You’re the only person in existence who gets surprised that children grow up.”

Mrs. Ashido narrowed her eyes at her daughter, unimpressed. “Someday you and your friends will have kids and you’ll understand.”

“Gross, mom,” Mina frowned, “No one wants kids.”

The older pink woman swatted the younger one on the top of her head. “Be thankful I decided I did, little miss.”

Kirishima and Denki snickered at the interaction and the way Mina stuck her tongue out at her mother, like it was kindergarten again and then at the way Mrs. Ashido stuck out her tongue back. The two loved the hell out of each other it was obvious.

“Speaking of,” Mrs. Ashido turned back to Kirishima, “How are your parents? I don’t feel like I’ve seen them in a hot minute.”

The smile on Kirishima’s face got stiff and his fingers started tapping against his thigh rapidly. He swallowed back the correct answers to the question and shrugged.

“The usual,” Kirishima lied, “Busy like they always are. They’re never bored.”

Mrs. Ashido smiled with a hum. “Sounds just like them. I never understood how they managed to balance everything. I mean, always on one adventure or another, working hard, and parenting on top of it. Mina is a full time job just in and of herself.”

“Hey!” Mina pouted.

Kirishima was steadily growing more stiff and uncomfortable. He loved Mrs. Ashido, but he really wished she’d stop talking or just leave. She really had no idea what she was talking about, had no real clue about Yuna and Riku. She’d known them for years, certainly, but she really had no idea now imperfect that seemingly perfect life was. No one ever seemed to. That misunderstanding hadn’t bothered him much since middle school, but it all felt so fresh lately. It was hard not to feel short about it all while he was trying to keep face about everything.

“They did a good job too,” Mrs. Ashido winked at Kirishima, taking him aback, “I’m not being unsupportive or anything, because I think it’s just wonderful that you’re with that crazy Bakugo kid, but I always hoped when you were kids that I could snatch you up for my little Mina.”

That got a genuine laugh out of Kirishima and he sighed in relief to be moving past the subject of his parents and onto the ridiculous thought of Mrs. Ashido having tried to pair up her child with the one kid from their school days who turned out to be gay. Mina didn’t think it as funny, but blushed and shot to her feet, shoving her mother to the door.

“Enough of that,” she shook her head.

Mrs. Ashido giggled, but didn’t resist, just shot a look past Kirishima slyly, “What about you Denki?”

The blond boy’s eyes went wide and shook his head profusely, “Uh...no thanks!”

“Mom stop!” Mina got her the rest of the way out of the door and slammed it on her, “Fuck she’s annoying.”

The two boys cackled as she turned back, looking a darker shade of pink than usual. “Shut up you two!” she snapped.

“Do we need to start planning a wedding?” Kirishima winked back at Denki and he lost his smile.

The yellow haired boy turned up his nose and crossed his arms. “You know my heart belongs to Kyoka.”

Mina took her turn laughing at Denki, getting a glare. “Is that why you kept telling her everything she did, ‘wasn’t very punk-rock of her’? Because you love her oh so much?”

“Denki you’ve been chasing that horse for over two years,” Kirishima cocked his head at the obstinate expression, “I don’t think she’s interested.”

Denki’s attempts over the years to get Jiro’s attention had been quite the comedy of errors to witness, the dark haired girl unimpressed or just amused by the gestures and flirtations. She stuck around him for some reason, let him keep trying, but he’d heard the word “no” come out of her mouth more times than almost anything else these last years. There was no saying what was going through that girl’s head or why she did anything she did, but it had been wholly entertaining to watch.

Denki didn’t get offended by their teasing, but perked up a smile at them, like he knew something they didn’t and Kirishima and Mina instantly got curious.

“Jokes on you,” Denki flashed a smile, “You think it’s hopeless, but she proved it’s not impossible last week.”

Mina’s eyes got huge and vaguely horrified. “What the fuck did you do?” She said it like he must done something truly terrible.

The electric teen jabbed a thumb at himself, smirking proudly. “We totally made out last Saturday. Your man got to second base!”

The room went quiet as they let that sink in. Kirishima wasn’t sure he believed it, but after a second of thinking about it he laid a proud punch into Denki’s shoulder, grinning huge.

“No fucking way,” Mina blinked at him, “You’re fucking lying!”

She got up in his face, finger wagging at his nose, seeking out the truth in his glimmering eyes.

“I’m not!” Denki was grinning like an idiot.

The three devolved into a smiling, teasing, trio, drilling him over the details for the next while, Mina’s scepticism checking through every detail and Kirishima offering fist bumps every time Denki argued her back. It didn’t quite sound like Jiro was in love with him or anything, but if anything Denki had said was true, she wouldn’t get to deny at least being attracted to him anymore.

They’d returned to making a sort of pile on floor, forming up a triangle of heads laying legs while they discussed the very interesting development of Denki’s life all while Mina played Devil’s Advocate.

“Honestly, I was almost positive at this point that she was gay,” Kirishima admitted.

“Really?” Denki turned his head to frown over at him, “That’s ridiculous.”

Kirishima gave him an unimpressed look. “Don’t act like I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

“Being gay doesn’t give you perfect gaydar, Kiri,” Mina chuckled, “Girls are different anyway. Remember how surprised you were when I told you about Kendo?”

Kirishima rolled his eyes. “That was like years ago. I was young. Foolish. Single.”

Mina sighed at the memory. “What a time to be alive. I honestly have a hard time remembering what it was like you not being with Katsuki. I still have no clue why it was such a big deal getting you guys together. You acted like such idiots about it!”

Kirishima popped his knee to jar her head. “Shut up. It wasn’t Katsuki’s fault he didn’t know he was bi.”

Denki frowned. “I mean...like that doesn’t seem like something that would be very hard to figure out. You see a girl, boom boner. Then you look at a guy, boom another boner. You’re bi. Congrats.”

“Wow, you are so incredible hetero,” Kirishima said, turning his head to look up Denki’s body and glare at his face. “You have literally never had a sexual identity crisis in your life have you?”

“What’s that?” Denki smirked down at him, proving Kirishima’s assumption correct.

He laughed to himself and shook his head. “So are you going to ask her out again or just leave well enough alone?”

“Do I look like the type to leave well enough alone?” Denki blinked down at him.

“Perfect!” Mina cheered, “Can I video the rejection or…?”

“Bitch!” Denki shot at her, pulling his legs out from under Kirishima, going for the attack.

It was light hearted, but Mina played rough, getting an advantage quickly, pinning the yellow haired boy’s face into the carpet with his arm twisted behind him. She sat on his back and pressed her hand against the back of his head to dig his nose further into the fabric, the boy’s legs kicking.

“Eijiro help!” He screamed, but Kirishima was busy filming the whole thing, hand over mouth so as not to ruin the recording with his own laughter.

“You’ve got this,” he encouraged, winking with a thumbs up coming into his phone camera’s frame.

Denki thrashed under the full figured girl’s weight as she snickered victoriously. “Eat rug!” she grinned, “You expect to beat me on my own turf! Check this god body!”

Kirishima shook his head, filled with such contentment, such undeniable happiness in this moment. Nothing was more home-like than talking about Denki’s chances on a date or watching him wrestle with Mina and lose. His problems were thousands of miles away and his heart crimped to want the feeling to last forever. It was a slightly euphoric moment to become so conscious of his own joy, but still remained somehow unaware of how deeply it affected him in that instance.

“Kiri are you alright?” Mina’s voice pulled his eyes away from his phone and he blinked up, shaking the smile from his face at her words.

He blinked and rubbed a hand over his eyes, only then realizing that there were a few tears in them. He turned away really fast, keeping his sleeve covering his face as best he could. He hadn’t realized it, hadn’t felt the tears escape, hadn’t realized he’d gotten that much of a reaction from himself and now he was just red faced in embarrassment.

He felt someone pull his arm away from his face and a soft pink hand turned his face back to meet her concerned eyes. The dug into his expression, searching out the source of his hurt or injury like she’d just seen him pushed at the playground or something.

Shit. Shit. Shit. He’d been trying so hard not to get that sort of look from any of his friends.

“Kiri are you okay?” Her voice was tight and, just behind her ,Denki was staring wide eyed.

“I’m fine, I’m fine!” he rushed to respond, waving his hands expressively, “Seriously, I’m just really happy right now. I just...missed you guys.” he said the last, looking away with grit teeth, rubbing his hands bashfully.

The words were genuine and he couldn’t help that his mouth pulled up in a soft smile, Mina’s curving to match it once she saw that there was nothing wrong. He didn’t get the tease he was expecting or the jab about him being unmanly; instead her chest collided with his and they fell back entirely in a crushing hug. She buried her face in his shoulder and sighed, Kirishima unable to resist the need to squeeze back.

“I missed you too,” she said quietly. Her voice dropped even lower, a full whisper. “I’m so happy you’re okay.”

His nose dipped into her neck and his eyes pinched at the feeling in his chest. His hand wrapped against the curve of her waist, finding his voice catching in his throat, very unexpectedly. He hadn’t imagined getting this reaction from himself, let alone her. And in that moment he’d never been more grateful for his childhood friend or more grateful that they’d managed to create a real, full friendship at UA. He remembered a time that she barely paid him any attention, a time that he was the awkward, annoying kid chasing after her. Thank God kids grew up. Thank God that shit didn’t last.

Finally a chuckle broke through his tight chest and he loosened his arms around her, both shuffling awkwardly to sit back up. Mina kept a smile that looked like pure sunshine on him as that blush found its way back to his cheeks, Mina holding onto his hands even though they’d pulled out of the embrace.

Denki was beaming an encouraging grin to him, looking a little out of place, sitting back on his heels behind Mina.

“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to kill the vibe,” Kirishima chuckled.

“You could never,” Mina said firmly, “I can beat up Denki anytime, I’m not really missing out on anything.”

“Oh you think?” Denki’s fists hit his hips.

Kirishima tilted his head around Mina to look at him. “Dude, your track record is shit.”

Another laugh passed around them, before Mina turned those black eyes back at him, gripping his hands tightly to get Kirishima’s attention.

“I don’t like to say it because it makes sparky all mad,” Mina giggled and jabbed a thumb back at him, “but you’re my favorite. Don’t you go forgetting that I’m here for you, okay?” That hand came around to stab her index finger into his chest, tingling straight into his heart.

“You aren’t supposed to pick favorites!” Denki complained, crossing his arms.

“I’m not your mother,” Mina rolled her eyes, “I can pick favorites all I want.”

Kirishima watched her closely, feeling the hand in his with studious attention. Her words were touching, more deeply so than he was expecting, like it was something he really needed to hear, that someone was willing to listen if he had something to say. And he nodded to her, affirming that he understood what she’d said, that he’d agreed to it.

But in the back of his mind he knew. Knew that to bring up the shit going on with him was only a burden and just begged for attention. He didn’t want to be the guy known for always talking about his problems, that was the fastest way to being the avoided friend. He needed them present too much. He agreed with himself that if he was in a bad place again, for whatever reason, and if it came up naturally he’d make himself tell her about it. That was a compromise he could stand. It meant he wasn’t exactly lying to her, but he wouldn’t be the troublesome friend either.

“Dude, your phone is still recording,” Denki broke his train of thought, grabbing the phone off the ground and hitting the stop button on the recorder.

Kirishima took the phone, shaking his head at his own divergence of thought, having entirely forgotten about the thing and not even realizing he’d dropped it when Mina had gone to hug him. There was definitely some content on there now that he wasn’t expecting to have captured, nor planning to share. He’d have to edit it just to send to anyone. But by the time it was back in his pocket he’d practically forgotten about any of it.

Mina dictated that they needed a movie and the trio followed her lead out into the living room to all find their spots on the couch while she cued it up and prepped popcorn. The lights went out and they settled in, being a more snuggly bunch than people would expect of them, as long as Mina was the middle of the sandwich so Denki didn’t get all flustered about it. It was a horror movie and within minutes all three were half ducked under their shared blanket, any space left between them gone, peaking over the throw with cautious eyes and emitting more than a few shrieks at the jump scares the movie boasted quite the host of.

Of the days to follow, this was one of the few he considered a good one, one of the few he looked back on fondly. Even though there’d been an embarrassing moment of shedding happy tears in front of his friends. Even though that morning had been round two of chemo for his mother. Despite it all, he had to call it a good day, had to call it a positive time.

There was a soft pink hand in his own, there was a text on his phone from his boyfriend telling him he loved him, and there was a horror movie on the TV. If any day the last couple months or the months to come was actually a good day, it was this one.

Chapter Text

Todoroki’s eyes followed the ripples of the water closely, a subtle tightness in the corner of his lip as he studied them. He was obviously a thousand miles away mentally, but the distant expression looked like a portrait in the afternoon sunlight.

It was hard not to stare. Kirishima had always had that problem with him. Always had a problem with staring at him like he was some sort of art piece. But he really was art. The exact split of his features with the regal slant of his hooded eyes. The delicate pallor to his skin, the defined muscles of his body, the attractive angle of his jaw, all with a soft gentleness in his lips. He’d said it before, but it wasn’t quite fair.

Perhaps he felt the intent stare or had just come back to his surroundings, but Todoroki blinked a few times and turned a curious look over to Kirishima. The redhead shot his gaze away, blushing a little at having been caught staring and leaning a little further on the boardwalk railing.

“See something you like?” he winked at the red faced kid next to him, knowing full well the effect he had on him.

Kirishima turned a light glare up at him, recognizing that tone of voice. It wasn’t Todoroki’s usual, wasn’t the visage that had become common place to his friends, not the sort of sophisticated, brisk attitude everyone knew. This was a side most people didn’t get to see on him, essentially his bedroom side.

“You’re the one staring at the middle distance,” Kirishima huffed, “What else am I supposed to look at?”

The little grin on Todoroki’s face turned back out to the horizon, his body language and intent eyes mimicking the calm, yet moving surface of the water they looked out on. Could he really blame Kirishima for getting distracted by that calm persona so well paired with the shaky uncertainty of his more heated side?

Kirishima had discovered a long time ago that Todoroki was a very complicated person, a sort of duality all trapped together. It was easy to see him as the cold, kid from a famous household, the person that held all the expectations in the world on his sturdy shoulders. He was the kid who was supposed to have his future mapped out for him, the guy born to be part the top three in the world, literally bred to be strongest hero he could be. But under it all Kirishima knew he was filled with uncertainty about his future. There was nothing but conflict between him and his father and there were many times he wondered if Todoroki even wanted this life they all aspired for. He fought and strove for it with everything he had, focussing on little else; he even admitted once to Kirishima that he’d turned away one of his classmates because he feared that becoming attached to a person in that way would hinder his ability to focus on growing his skills. But some days he could see something behind those mismatched eyes, something that looked dissatisfied, unhappy. He and Bakugo together had developed a good fix for that, had used their own deviant natures to everyone’s advantage within the trio. Kirishima noticed quickly how it helped Todoroki, how he was always more focused and content afterwards, how he seemed to compete better and fight with more resolve. It was never something any of them said aloud or that Kirishima would ever mention to Bakugo, he wouldn’t want Bakugo’s competitive side to take away Todoroki’s main source of stress relief.

But it was more than that even...Todoroki got lonely, insanely lonely. Kirishima could always spot it. On those days he would always stick by him more closely, make sure he always had someone to talk to, a hand to hold, and many other little things that helped keep the half and half boy grounded. Bakugo never questioned or cared why every once in a while Kirishima was suddenly so much more affectionate with Todoroki and he hoped he’d never ask. Bakugo was a good person, but had little patience for weakness. He’d see Todoroki’s loneliness as a weakness and Kirishima couldn’t see him being compassionate about it, not in the way he was.

And right now, standing alone with him on the boardwalk of the park, watching closely the mismatched eyes so distant and absorbed with the lightly turbulent water, Kirishima felt that sense from him. He felt the loneliness, the feeling that there was something missing for Todoroki, that there was something he needed and was struggling to get.

The moment it cued into his mind Kirishima went straight into affectionate friend mode and slipped his hand over to slide under Todoroki’s, finding his right hand cold and lightly frosted over, likely to battle the heat of the day. It grabbed onto his without hesitation, pushing his fingers apart to lace them together with his own and passing a warm smile over at his redheaded friend.

“I have been wondering something, actually,” Todoroki chewed the inside of his cheek as he looked away from him again, the subtlest pinkness in his pale cheeks.

Kirishima perked, loving when his friends felt comfortable being open with him about anything. He blinked up at him excitedly. “What’s up, bro?”

Todoroki laughed through his nose, Kirishima rolling his eyes, knowing how very odd it was of him to call people “bro” with the same mouth he kissed them with. The half redhead had mentioned before that he found it strangely cute, but Kirishima knew it still amused him to still get called “bro” after half the things they’d done together.

“Well,” Todoroki hesitated and tried to pick his words carefully, “Bakugo had said you’d be okay with it, but I wasn’t so sure you were up to something like that yet. He said I should just ask you...if you were at all up to…”

Kirishima’s throat tightened already seeing the direction of the question, his hand going clammy in Todoroki’s.

“Um, Shoto…”

Todoroki quickly went on, not looking at Kirishima and deepening the shade of his face to a dark red. “I know it’s been a while and I know you’ve been through a lot these last months so I’m not trying to pressure you or anything! I won’t say I haven’t been thinking about it a lot lately, but I wasn’t going to even bring it up, until Bakugo insisted that you were perfectly fine and that he thought you’d be down for it…”

It wasn’t meant to seem harsh or rude, but Kirishima pulled his hand free from Todoroki’s and quickly jabbed it into his pocket, pulling back. The feeling of needing space was suddenly very strong and his red eyes watched the steadily growing embarrassment on Todoroki’s face, which filled with regret at Kirishima’s reaction.

Bakugo had said he was perfectly fine...that he’d be up for a threesome? He could barely handle the thought of a twosome right now! Shit. Fucking shit!

Kirishima kicked himself internally. He really had taken it to mean Kirishima was up for their regular sort of sexual activity. A miniature dose of panic coursed through him, fearing immediately that perhaps Bakugo might try something again...not to mention that Todoroki was standing in front of him right now asking if he’d like to double that sense of discomfort. Just imagining it choked him and sent his mind reeling to feelings and memories he’d been stamping out of his head for months.

~”you can play with him if you’d like”~

“I’m sorry, Shoto, but I don’t think…” Kirishima’s voice broke a little, though he scrambled to level it back out and shook his head violently to push out the intrusive thoughts, “I’m just...not really in the mood right now, is all.”

Todoroki turned away, arms stiffening at his side. “I shouldn’t have asked. I apologize.”

The guilty look on his face crushed Kirishima’s heart and he waved his hands expressively to try and get Todoroki to understand he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“Dude don’t apologize, seriously!” Kirishima pushed out a forced smile, “It’s not you! I think it’s just the medication I’ve been taking lately! I just haven’t been in the mood since I started it. That’s all!” He pulled the excuse out of his ass without thinking and got a renewed look of concern from Todoroki.

“What medication?”

If it wouldn’t have made the whole thing more conspicuous, Kirishima would have facepalmed at his own foot being so fatly lodged into his own mouth. Why did everything he say make shit worse? Why couldn’t he just put a little care and thought into his words?

Todoroki was facing him now and his hot hand was on the sleeve of his shirt, holding onto his arm tightly when he saw the hesitance and panic in Kirishima’s eyes. Kirishima had to fight not to react badly to that grab either, getting the same sense he had when Mina had done so at the train station, that something could be noticed through the fabric. But flinching and jerking away would have confirmed that something was wrong.

“It’s nothing,” Kirishima chuckled and shrugged, hoping the subtle movement would get Todoroki to release his arm, “There’s no need to get excited, Shoto.”

Grey and blue eyes bore into his own with intensity, like they were looking for the lie. Kirishima gave great focus to holding the eye contact, to assure he was convinced that what Kirishima had said was how it truly was. And the longer he looked the more he started to believe it, to Kirishima’s relief, though Todoroki’s gaze searched over him to his entirety, making him extremely self conscious of what those heterochromatic eyes were seeing.

His extremely warm hand loosened and slid back down to Kirishima’s hand. A gentle smile played Todoroki’s lips and Kirishima relaxed, dropping his guard and simply smiling back. Which apparently was what Todoroki was waiting for to snatch his wrist and jerk up the fabric of his sleeve, letting the array of scars hit the light.

Kirishima’s heart skipped a beat as he wrenched his hand away and turned an enraged look to his friend, quickly hiding his arm behind his back and standing defensively towards the displeased expression on Todoroki’s stern face.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Kirishima bit at him.

“I knew you were hiding something,” Todoroki huffed, nose crinkled, “Long sleeves in the middle of summer. You can go shirtless in winter. Who did that to you? Why are you hiding it?”

There was a hot well building up behind his eyes and nose and Kirishima was practically shaking at the thought of answering that question. Why did Todoroki have to be so perceptive? Why couldn’t he have just left well enough alone?

“It’s nothing!” Kirishima found himself snapping harshly, jerking his sleeve back down.

Todoroki stepped closer, brow constricted and determined as he held out his hand. His presence seemed to grow ten times, a dominating sense enveloping him, like he wasn’t taking no for an answer. It was the side of him that wasn’t unlike Bakugo, the side that was intense and competitive. And Kirishima was always a sucker for it, always feeling inclined to listen and cooperate with either of them when they came at him like that.

“Let me see your arm,” Todoroki demanded, “If it was nothing you wouldn’t be hiding it. I’ve seen you walk around with bruises on your neck and hickeys all over your chest without ever trying to hide them. If it was just something sexual or accidental you wouldn’t care.”

Kirishima blinked up at him, taken aback by how closely Todoroki had paid attention to his habits over the years, feeling a butterfly in his stomach at it. And maybe it was that appeal to his esteem or the authoritative way he demanded from him, but Kirishima complied.

He looked away entirely and lifted his arm back around to hold both of them out to Todoroki, unable to look him in the face as the half and half boy pushed up the sleeves on both arms and turned the light skin into the sunshine. He felt fingers brush over the scar tissue, hot and cold, felt the eyes on him study them and caught the sound of Todoroki’s breath catching in his throat.

“These are bite marks,” he stated and dropped one arm to pull Kirishima’s face back to look at him, to meet that strict expression.

Before Kirishima could say anything, his thumb pushed into his mouth to pry his jaw open, Todoroki’s eyes assessing over the rows of teeth that were revealed inside with distaste and a sharp frown. He darted his gaze between the teeth and the marks, before dropping his hand from Kirishima’s face with what looked like severe anger.

“Why did you do that?” Todoroki swallowed.

“I...I…” Kirishima felt his lip trembling and internally screamed at himself to keep it together, to not lose it out in public, at a fucking park. There weren’t many people around, but that didn’t matter. His weakness was out on display and he couldn’t do it.

Luckily Todoroki picked up on the way Kirishima was glancing nervously around himself, red eyed and panicky. The hand on Kirishima’s arm remained firm, but the look on Todoroki’s face became calm again, wordlessly turning away and pulling Kirishima along with him to leave the boardwalk and wander closer to the water and farther away from where people congregated.

They found themselves on a little beach-like spot, sandy and at the edge of the water, circled by trees and quiet. They could see the spot where they’d stood before from there, a small section in the distance.

Todoroki sat down on the sand and tugged Kirishima’s arm to coax him to sit beside him. Kirishima about collapsed onto the sand, staring with a shaky expression at Todoroki, still holding tightly to the redhead’s arm. The words were sticking in his throat though and Todoroki could see it.

“Eijiro,” he said his name with a soft voice, “It’s not unmanly to cry. You don’t have to hold back with me. Just tell me what happened.”

Kirishima pinched his eyes, feeling a couple tears release with the squeeze. He still fought to hold it all back despite what Todoroki said, not really feeling that his words were true. He’d cried enough to know how completely unmanly it was. But he couldn’t resist the sincerity in Todoroki’s voice, he certainly wasn’t fooling him into thinking nothing bad had happened.

“I got bad before camp,” Kirishima didn’t feel like he could look him in the eye while he spoke, focussing his entire attention on keeping the lump in his throat down, “My...mom is...she wasn’t good, Shoto.”

Todoroki’s eyes widened, “Wait...what’s wrong with your mom?”

Kirishima shook his head profusely and pushed the tears off of his face. “It’s nothing...it’s…”

Todoroki gripped his arm tightly and made him look him in the eye. “Stop saying it’s nothing,” he spoke firmly, “It’s obviously not true.”

Kirishima blinked into his eyes, a knot the size of a fist in the pit of his stomach, but his heart clenching at the concerned face that stared back. Fuck he hated seeing his friends look at him with concern. He hated it so damn much. But his heart was at the point of bursting. The floodgates had been opened and he had to just say it.

“It’s cancer,” Kirishima gulped, “it’s...not good. And I knew I was supposed to be acting tough, I was supposed to smile, I was supposed to be stronger than this...but I wasn’t...Shoto, I wasn’t strong. I was so fucking weak I couldn’t even keep it up for her sake.” He looked back out to the water and took a shaky breath, something stinging behind his eyes, “I didn’t mean to get bad again, she didn’t need that, Katsuki didn’t need that. Everyone’s been through enough. I was just too fucking weak to figure out how to deal with it any other way.”

“Eijiro,” Todoroki’s voice was almost a whisper, “You’re not…”

“Stop,” Kirishima tightened his brow and shook his head, “I know what I am.”

The redhead clenched his teeth and lifted the bottom of his shirt up, exposing the tight muscles of his stomach and the long mark of discolored skin just above his hip. Todoroki stared at it with a pained look on his face.

“Dad caught me doing that to myself,” he jerked his shirt back down, “And he at least could see that I wasn’t strong enough to handle my own shit. So I had to stay almost two weeks at a fucking hospital because I couldn’t even be trusted with my own wellbeing. Don’t sit there and try to tell what I did wasn’t weakness…”

The boy beside him went very stiff, but the hand on his arm slid back into the hand attached to it. The hold he took was soft and warm, not hot like often happened with his fiery side. There was a lot of care in the way he touched his skin and Kirishima cringed, feeling the sense of hesitance that washed over Todoroki. Feeling how he was becoming scared to do more than lay gentle touches to him. How he was becoming fearful of how fragile the red haired boy was.

Kirishima jerked out of the hold and used both hands to rub his eyes clean of those pesky tears.

“But it’s fucking over, okay!” Kirishima insisted, “I got better, I’m taking medication to help me stay calm and keep me from being depressed. But if people know that or see this,” he gestured to the scattering of deep teeth marks in his arms, “they’ll think I need pity or that they should be careful around me or something. I...I didn’t even tell Katsuki about the...injuries. He’d be the worst about it. It’s bad enough he knows that I was in the hospital and have to be on medication now. You...you can’t say anything to him! Not about any of this! Not about the scars or my mom or anything! Please, Shoto!”

Kirishima turned to him on his knees, hands clasped to beg him to stay quiet about it all. The mismatched eyes blinked at him in surprise, his face an array of emotions Kirishima rarely saw on him. Todoroki took the folded hands in his and pulled Kirishima close to him, wrapping him in his arms tightly to his chest.

“Okay,” Todoroki breathed out shakily into Kirishima’s ear, “I won’t say anything, I promise.”

Kirishima breathed out relief into his shoulder and returned the embrace, washing over in a strange mixture of comfort and fear. It was a release of so much weight to actually say any of it out loud, but it now felt to be taking a looming form, hanging over them, hanging over his friendship with this strong, beautiful young hero. Exactly what he feared would happen.

“You’re entirely sure, you’re okay?” Todoroki asked, his nose brushing the top of Kirishima’s ear.

Truthfully, Kirishima didn’t feel like it at the moment. With all of that shit bubbling up to the surface to talk about it, he felt anything but alright. But the only way this wasn’t going to feel like all of this shit was going to be the only thought in Todoroki’s head every time he saw him was to assure him entirely that it was just an instance from the past. That his recovery was full and complete.

He nodded into Todoroki’s shoulder, “I really am, Shoto. You’re all home now and I have Katsuki back. All that’s left of it is these stupid physical marks I can’t get rid of. I just want everything to be normal.”

“I believe you,” Todoroki assured him, “And I’ll support you. But what about your mother…?”

Kirishima went stiff in Todoroki’s arms before pulling back slowly. He’d had enough time to push all the pain and fears and emotional baggage back down, was able to force it back into the weird, writhing basement in his heart, so full of demons and pains he was trying to escape. He sealed it back up, added an extra lock and pushed out a smile, beaming with positivity to Todoroki.

“It’s going to be alright,” Kirishima repeated the words that had been slapped at him a thousand times over, “She’ll bounce back. People do it all the time.”

Todoroki watched him closely, hesitating over his response, sifting through Kirishima’s expression. Finally he nodded with a soft tilt to his head.

“I hope you’re right,” Todoroki said, “But please let me know if you need anything. If there’s anything my family could do...or if you just need someone to vent to. You’ve done it for me more times than I can count, it’s only fair.”

With bright white teeth hitting the afternoon light, Kirishima pressed an endeared kiss on Todoroki’s cheek, pulling back with a signature wink. “You’re nicer than people give you credit for,” he snickered, “But thanks. We’re fine though. Really. My parents have always done good for themselves...it’s really just up to what the doctors can do.”

Todoroki gave him the warmest of smiles, brushing his thumb along Kirishima’s brow line and pushed aside a few strands of misplaced hair. He was still struggling to get it back to the way it was, still waiting for a lot of it to grow back out. It was annoying, but he didn’t mind the attentive touch of his friend’s fingers fixing it.

“Who says I’m not nice?” there was a hint of a joke in Todoroki’s voice and it made Kirishima smile for real.

The redhead waved a hand dismissively. “I’m not saying shit. I have enough enemies.”

“You’re going to make one right now if you don’t tell me,” Todoroki grabbed his shirt collar teasingly, unable to fight the huge grin on his usually straight lips.

“Well fight me then, Icyhot bastard!” Kirishima did his best Bakugo impression as he tackled Todoroki back into the sand, getting peals of unbridled laughter out of the two of them. Kirishima could feel the laughs like pleasant darts of breath in his chest, pulsing against his own as they grappled fondly on the ground.

After a moment Todoroki pinned him down against his chest, staring down at him with all the affection his eyes could hold. But it started to slip into a different kind of look, like he was fighting with himself over something. Kirishima watched it skeptically, waiting for it to surface.

“Eijiro?” he said his name carefully, “I wanted to talk to you about something…”

Kirishima lifted up a little, those arms around him loosening. They locked eyes, but Todoroki’s were heavy with uncertainty and after a moment of holding the stare he looked away and shook his head.

“You know what, it’s nothing,” he blinked, “Forget I said anything.”

“Shoto, what’s…”

“Don’t worry about it,” Todoroki shot a smile back up as he messed the gelled hair of the boy hovering over him. He saw Kirishima’s open mouth about to push further and Todoroki was quick to cut him off, “Hey, do you want to get something cold to drink? It’s pretty hot out and you’re in long sleeves.”

The deflection was not subtle and Kirishima kept a skeptical glare on him a moment longer, before deciding it was only fair to let it go. Todoroki was being nice enough not to keep digging into the load of shit he’d just dumped on him, he could do the same and not pry.

“Sounds good,” Kirishima nodded, pushing himself back up and offering a hand down to Todoroki.

He pulled him to his feet and they brushed all the sand off of themselves before taking each others hands again to head back towards civilization.

“Uh, Shoto,” Kirishima felt the words pushing up through his throat as they went, catching the curious look with a blush, “Thanks for understanding. I think you’re the only person I could stand to admit any of that to. I just...I appreciate you not thinking less of me for it.”

“Of course I don’t,” Todoroki smiled, “No one would…”

Kirishima’s eye twitched as he recited to himself how foolish an idea that was. He was certainly idealising people.

“With your encouragement I know I’ll be stronger than ever,” Kirishima pushed through a confident smile, “This was just a short setback.”

Todoroki nodded, squeezing his hand encouragingly. “I have every confidence in you. Nothing can keep you down. I know it.”

Warmth surged through Kirishima’s chest and he leaned his head into Todoroki’s shoulder while the walked. He sure hoped he was right.

“Thanks Shoto.”

Chapter Text

“How did you meet?”

Midnight sipped her tea, blue eyes fixed calmly on the agitated figure across from her, grumbling into his own cup, adjusting his bowed, crossed legs. Bakugo wasn’t enjoying Midnight’s decision to make this session not unlike a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, where they had to be sitting on the floor. They weren’t dressed for it and the overall decor and even the tea itself weren’t exactly fitting, but Midnight looked pleased with herself nonetheless. Green tea, sitting on the floor, and tiny cups didn’t make a Chanoyu. The look in her face said that she very well knew that, but also that no matter what either of them called it he still had to sit there and participate in it.

“Who?” Bakugo chugged the entire, hot swallow of tea, shoving the cup back and making a face at the tea leaves he’d gotten on his tongue.

Midnight frowned at his lack of manners. “Miyagi Fuka,” she said, “Who else would I be talking about?”

Bakugo shrugged and wiped his tongue on his sleeve to get the nature out of his mouth, finding a tension rise into his shoulders to jump back into talking about her again. He was still uncomfortable from the conversation of a couple days ago and wasn’t rushing to answer that question. He didn’t want to keep talking about that bitch, but that seemed to be all Midnight wanted to talk about.

“We grew up in the same neighborhood,” Bakugo gave careful attention to staring at the ground while his arms leaned back into the floorboards, giving him a nonchalant look. A far from accurate representation of his internal monologue, “We went to the same middle school for a year.”

“She’s someone who was always a part of your life?” Midnight asked.

Bakugo shook his head, “Fuck no. She-”

Midnight coughed and blinked at him expectantly.

A long, aggravated groan fell out of Bakugo’s mouth and he pushed himself forward. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” she waved a hand in his direction, “Do it.”

The blond muttered angrily as he planked and fumed at his own slip up and Midnight’s annoying little form of punishment. What was this, boot camp? Absolute bullshit.

It wasn’t that he couldn’t handle a short set of push-ups, he just hated the principle of it. The principle that had to be punished in any sense for simply talking like he had his whole life. The principle that Midnight was that much in charge that she could make him do this.

“Keep going,” she nodded for him to continue while he dipped and lifted in his reps, watching him closely.

His teeth were all grit when he started back, “She wasn’t my friend when we were kids. She was annoying. No one liked her.”

“Why was that?” Midnight asked.

Bakugo rolled his eyes, “Who the f-, who cares? Why do you care about any of this?”

“We’ve been over this,” Midnight tilted her head at his almost effortless completion of his required twenty push-ups, “It’s not about what I want to know, it’s about discussion, getting insight to your side of the story. So when I ask you a question I expect an answer.”

Bakugo pushed himself up to situate back on the floor. His nose scrunched as he thought back over his childhood and about the times he’d been around Miyagi as a kid.

“She was a jerk,” he shrugged, “No one liked her because she was always pushing people around and she didn’t even have a cool quirk to show off. The big kids were even scared of her. I mostly avoided her. I didn’t think she was worth my time back then, she cute yet or anything. Everyone else at school were just cowards.”

“Why date her then?” the dark haired woman finished her tea and poured another cup.

Why date her? That was a question that hadn’t been posed to him in a long time. For a moment he completely blanked on what the answer was, feeling like that was too far to look back. Like he was trying to peer into another lifetime. But that’s what that era of his life felt like, a time lived out by another person inhabiting his body. Rationalizing with a different brain than his own. All up until that one bright eyed idiot slipped in and latched on with never an intention of letting go. He hated to think about before that. What was the fucking point after all? Who cared about a time before he had Kirishima?

But for the sake of the exercise and getting whatever qualified as a passing grade to Midnight, he indulged it and took a mental bullet train to his own past, trying with all his might to recall what had ever attracted him to her.

“She was hot,” was the answer he settled on.

Midnight glared at his answer, entirely unimpressed. “So are a lot of the girls you go to school with. Which would have been a far more convenient relationship than a girl who went to a different school who you couldn’t even see every week. I don’t think that’s really what it was. A factor I’m certain, but not the reason.

Bakugo shot air out of his nose, crossing his arms, indignant. “Half the girls at school were too weak for me to even consider.”

“Is that so?” Midnight raised an eyebrow, a sparkle on intrigue in her eye, saying she was a little giddy at the conversation topic.

Bakugo didn’t quite think about it and just started rambling over it. “Yeah! You got the one chick you can’t even see, little miss punk rock who-well, wait she’s actually one of the good ones. The frog girl and Ochaco are tough, sure, but they’re all bff with that shitty Deku and who wants to get caught up in that shit! And-”

He caught the look on Midnight’s face and didn’t even wait for the order, just dropped back down and got started on his push ups. He kept going, though, to the beaming smile of Midnight who was just eating up what he was saying. Damn girls never grew out of gossip did they?

“Yaoyorozu gets all emotional,” Bakugo grunted through his punishment, “And like in the crying and needs to be reassured kind of way. Like more trouble than that rack is worth. And honestly...Mina is just stupid.”

“Isn’t she your friend?” Midnight narrowed her gaze at the boy flexing up and down across from her.

There was a smirk on Bakugo’s face and he nodded. “One of my best friends. That’s how I know she’s stupid. Cute as they come, an ass you’d like to slap, but a grade A idiot. I’m only friends with idiots.”

There was a little twinkle in Midnight’s eye as she sighed into another sip of tea. He could hope she’d been around class 1A long enough to know Bakugo’s friend group, understand how much they loved each other and how Bakugo’s insulting nature towards them was really just affection. If she hadn’t picked up on that in these years as their teacher, he figured she needed a new profession.

“And Miyagi…” she prompted.

Bakugo stopped mid-push up and scowled, biting back his want to curse just thinking about her.

“The pattern of what you’ve said is what you admire in a woman is strength,” Midnight elaborated, “So was Miyagi strong? Is that what separated her from the others?”

 

Bakugo nodded heavily and finished his reps, breaking a light sweat by the time he was finished.

“She might have been stronger than me,” Bakugo ground his teeth to admit, “She was a-an absolute-”

Midnight glared deeply, her loose sweatshirt shifting over her.

“I don’t have a nice way to talk about her okay!” Bakugo snipped, “You can’t tell me not to curse, but describe her at the same time. It doesn’t work.”

“Sounds like a good linguistics exercise,” Midnight smiled wide, adjusting her glasses.

Bakugo’s face scrunched into all kinds of ugly shapes as he grumbled over his task and in his annoyance threw up a spiteful middle finger at her.

“Forty more,” she set her cup back down.

“I didn’t even say anything!” Bakugo shouted.

“It counts. Forty.”

Bakugo dropped back into position, biting the word, “bitch” in the back of his throat. And apparently Midnight had developed a hearing quirk, because she cuaght the under the breath comment and stepped towards him with a glare at his aggravated expression.

“What, sixty?” Bakugo growled.

“No,” she stepped on his back, making him collapse on the floor with an “oof!” He felt significant weight on his back and before he knew it Midnight was sitting cross legged on top of him, arms crossed, head high. “Show me what you can do tough guy.”

“That’s not fair,” Bakugo groaned as he slowly pushed on the ground to attempt lifting himself and the extra load of the curvy, adult woman sitting on his back.

“And I’m banned from doing hero work for a year,” Midnight shrugged, “Life doesn’t usually deal out fair hands. But the unique thing about both of our predicaments is that we did them to ourselves. Our decisions, our words, our actions put us in our unfair circumstances. Doesn’t matter if you think the rule is unfair. It’s still a rule.”

“Alright alright I get it,” Bakugo brushed away her words of wisdom and focussed his energy into the rigorous task ahead.

“Keep going, I’ll keep count,” she said as he lifted all the way, arms straining and face clenched in the effort.

It took everything in him not to cuss her out, but he was aware enough to know that was only going to prolong this already infuriating situation. He sucked it up, took it as a chance to show how strong he was, how much of a “tough guy” he was, even if her calling him that had been to jab fun at him.

“Miyagi was a bully,” he hissed in the strain of his muscles, “She didn’t know how to back down from anything. Uff-the only way she would was to make a tactical retreat.” He groaned heavily on the way down, trying to concentrate on his words and just push through the motions, “My biggest mistake when breaking up with her was thinking that I’d actually won. Actually-ugh-made her back down for real. I should’ve known she was just-agh-regrouping.”

“But that’s what you liked about her,” Midnight hummed, not so much phrasing it as a question, “She was challenging.”

Bakugo felt sweat drip down his face as he nodded, Midnight feeling heavier with every repetition.

“I guess,” he grunted, “I thought...I liked her because when we met again she just pushed herself-huh-into my life. She’d grown into her body and she just wouldn’t take no for an answer. She was persistent and had the gumption to fight me down. It was...surprisingly attractive...fuh-are we almost done?”

“No,” he could feel Midnight shrug on top of him and he sputtered a series of grumbles as he kept going.

“It started off that way,” Bakugo went on, “She was really fu-messed up, though. It didn’t take long to figure out where she got all her complexes from. Her parents sucked. Gah! Nothing she ever did was good enough and they latched onto me-huff-like I was some kind of god. I didn’t really figure out until later, but apparently she’d always been jealous of me and that whole thing didn’t really help. I think she got it more and more in her head that she had to defeat me or something and she just became even more of a manipulative, squeezing cu-bih-you took all my words!”

There was a quick chuckle from Midnight, but Bakugo didn’t find it so funny. She became serious again quickly, though.

“Were there any positives though?”

Bakugo’s shoulders shook under the pressure on his back and his palms were threatening to slide out from underneath him. “She was a good lay…”

There was a swat to the back of his head and he shot a pissed off look back at her.

“Don’t hit me!”

“You know that’s not what I’m talking about,” she glared.

He looked back to the floor and the small puddle of sweat accumulating beneath him. It was hard to think about it while his body was shaking in exertion and his arms felt like giving out. He went quiet a minute trying to figure it out, trying to remember a single positive aspect to his relationship with Miyagi. It was hard after all he’d learned about her, after all the things she’d done, the things she’d done to Kirishima. It was almost impossible to see past, to drudge back into the past to put himself in the shoes of himself during a time when she wasn’t that hellspawn creature who’d abused the man he loved for her petty, sickening revenge.

He searched over occasions they’d spent together and found himself at the dance where he’d made the first step to admitting his feelings for Kirishima. At first that’s all that occupied his mind, the memory of taking his hand and dancing so badly they should easily have been booed off the dancefloor, all uncoordinated trying to lead someone who was used to leading. It was easy to fall into the memory of dragging him away from the party and experiencing the first taste of him, but his gut dropped to know he couldn’t focus on that. He searched over that evening and tried to push out the parts with Kirishima and the parts that had been frustrating and humiliating and tried to just remember what it was like being on a date with her at a school dance.

“I got her sense of humor, I guess,” Bakugo felt his throat sticking a little, “She was really savage. She had a burn for just about everyone. I liked that.”

The tiniest twinge of longing burst like a poprock in his chest before the near collapse of his muscles pushed it away. It was an unsettling feeling. He didn’t like the touch of nostalgia that came with thinking about past laughs he’d had with that demon bitch. It felt wrong to recognize her any sort of civilized manner. She didn’t deserve to be a part of any fond memories. But unfortunately she was.

“How did your relationship end?” Midnight asked, stretching her arms, but keeping her balance on him.

Bakugo froze and clenched up. Now THAT was a story...not one he’d ever told anyone. Not one anyone outside of himself, Kirishima, Todoroki, Midoriya and-in part-a few others knew.

“It always seemed a bit disambiguous to me,” Midnight had a scowl in her voice, “There seemed to be no separation between you no longer being with her and the start of your relationship with Kirishima. I know that we teachers aren’t privy to all the intricate details of your personal lives and we were never going to ask what the actual timeline of it all was, but it seemed a bit suspicious.”

His teeth clamped down on the inside of his cheek as he gasped on the aching of his muscles, “It’s complicated.”

“Most breakups are,” Midnight sounded unimpressed, “I’m assuming it didn’t end well. And you were with Kirishima right after. Indulge my curiosity, won’t you. I’m looking for some insight into the victim of your actions, of which, I remind you, I’m getting blamed for. You can at least be honest with me about your relationship drama.”

Bakugo was gasping now and his elbows were locked in place, his face warm and dripping sweat. The idea of dipping back down into another push up was agonizing and he started to fear his arms would just drop. But he was stubborn as shit and wouldn’t be beat by his own muscles. He let out a more guttural sound than he expected and pinched his eyes shut, straining through the downward motion.

“You’re done,” Midnight suddenly announced as he lowered and patted the back of his head.

She slid off of his back and oddly the lack of weight caused him to collapse down onto the floor, body giving out. He panted into the wood flooring with more exasperation than he expected from himself.

“Come on, I don’t weigh that much,” Midnight lifted her nose and then got a curious look, “Do I?”

Bakugo had no response, he could only think about keeping as much air as possible in his lungs and not moving an inch. He didn’t care that he was laying in his sweat, didn’t care that Midnight was patting down her hips with a frown, assessing if she’d put on some fat or not. As if adding extra curve to her hips was going to hurt her already hourglass figure any.

“So are you going to tell me?” she asked, settling back against the side of the couch, still cross legged on the floor.

Another groan slipped from his throat, but this time not at the ache of his muscles. He lifted back up and steadied his breathing with a resolute lift of his chin. He wasn’t happy about explaining to her, but as always he did as he was told. There was too much at stake to be his usual stubborn self.

“We got together the same night I broke up with her,” Bakugo frowned down at his hands, “But I’d been interested in him for a little while before that.”

“Did she know that?” Midnight asked.

The blond boy nodded with a sour expression, mind pulling back to her sickening reaction to catching them slipping away from the party together. Pulling back over her threats and how her hatred for Kirishima had mounted...and how she’d tried to turn that interest to her advantage, to hurt them both.

“Yeah she knew,” Bakugo scoffed, “She was annoying about it too. Started acting even crazier than usual.”

“Understandably,” Midnight shrugged.

Bakugo almost felt steam shoot out of his ears. “Understandably? Do you have any idea the kind of shi-the sort of stuff she tried to pull? The things she threatened!” The things she’d made him do, the ways she made Kirishima feel.

“No,” Midnight blinked with interest, “Enlighten me.”

He really didn’t want to. Didn’t want to jump back into that part of the past. Didn’t see the damn point in it. What was the point of any of this? So Midnight could get her full dose of gossip for the day? Was there some lesson he was supposed to be learning in all this?

But fuck it, he didn’t really have a choice.

“She kept threatening to ruin my career and my future,” Bakugo fumed at the memory, “Saying she’d accuse me of being abusive which is a fu-a da-it’s a joke, okay! She dished out as much as she could take and I never hurt her on purpose.”

Midnight raised an eyebrow. Bakugo groaned.

“Not while we were together,” he corrected in aggravation, “I’m not forgetting about what I did to her on that rooftop. You’ve done a fantastic job of making sure I can’t forget that.”

There was a slightly self satisfied grin on Midnight’s face, but she said nothing, waiting for him to continue.

“And she said she’d get herself...well, pregnant,” he winced at the word and the very idea of it, “Literally just to keep me from leaving her.”

Midnight lost her grin and pursed her lips. That definitely killed her mood, definitely gave her a slightly different perspective on the person she called the “victim” in their situation. “And you believe she would have?”

Bakugo nodded aggressively. “She made positive she could if she ever needed to make good on that threat. You didn’t know her. She was that level of crazy. She would literally hold off on her birth control until I’d agree to whatever she wanted.”

“And this all started after she caught you with Kirishima?” Midnight inquired thoughtfully.

“She was a pain in the-she was always a jerk,” Bakugo rolled his eyes at having to keep correcting himself, “But no there weren’t all those threats until she saw us...not that she didn’t act the bih-act angry about us being friends before. Maybe she sensed something was up, I don’t know.”

“Can I pose a hypothetical to you?” Midnight pinched her brow and waited for his short nod, “What would be your reaction to finding Kirishima romantically intertwined with another person, especially of the opposite sex?”

It took about a second of contemplation on the matter for a spark to burst from his palm and fire to hit his eyes. “I’d killed the bastard!” he snapped and then gave himself pause. He swallowed and growled at his own words, seeing the look on Midnight’s face that said he’d reacted exactly how she expected him to.

“It’s not...I mean, I wouldn’t care,” Bakugo folded his arms obstinately, “sex is just sex, if he wants to sleep around I wouldn’t care.” Even as he was saying it he knew he didn’t believe it. Sure they were very open about sharing each other with others under the correct circumstances, but he didn’t think he’d be able to stand the thought of someone else having Kirishima, even with just mindless sex. If he wasn’t there, if he wasn’t involved or giving express permission then no one else should be daring to lay a hand on him. Kirishima was his and the before statement was appropriate to how he actually felt about the matter.

“You would be the first then,” Midnight rolled her eyes, “And the question wasn’t about sleeping around. I said “romantically intertwined” for a reason. You care about him, you love him, I assume. So there’s no doubt the idea that someone else having his affections would upset you. Do you get what I’m saying?”

Bakugo’s arms tightened together and he grumbled. “Yes. Fine. I’d be mad and I’d probably try to fight the guy...or girl or whatever.”

“So you maybe have a certain understanding as to why she would have been upset enough to say or do those sort of things?” Midnight cupped her knees, “I’m not justifying any of it, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing normal, rational, or sane about a teenager threatening pregnancy to keep a relationship going. Breaking up with her was definitely the right move I’d say.”

“I don’t get it,” Bakugo threw up his hands in defeat, “Are you defending her or condemning her?”

“Neither,” Midnight shook her head, “I’m trying to get perspective. You’ll never get anywhere if you only ever look at one side to things.”

“What’s there to see?” Bakugo spun back up to his feet, fists clenched, “She was insane and terrible and she lost it over the idea that I might like someone else. I didn’t even cheat on her. We never did anything until after the breakup. So she was just acting up like a spoiled brat! And then she topped it all off by waiting over a year to pop back up and hurt Eijiro again. What other side it there to see to a horrible bitch being a horrible fucking bitch?”

He didn’t wait on any reaction from her, just dropped back into plank position and started on his set of twenty, coming easier than the last without Midnight on his back, but still pretty grueling to his exhausted muscles. He didn’t take back what he’d said or regret his phrasing, he stood by it.

“That’s the problem,” Midnight frowned at him, “You aren’t seeing her as human. You’ve framed her as such a demon in your mind that you can’t even acknowledge your own part in what happened.”

“My part?” Bakugo spat in her direction.

“Yes,” Midnight spoke quickly, “A relationship is a two way street, Katsuki, something I would hope you realize by now. Your actions, whether right or wrong, caused a reaction, a counteraction, from her. A terrible reaction, yes, but still a response to what you had done or indicated you would do. People don’t just do things for no reason and however much you want to call her crazy, that applies to her too. You yourself said you’d fight - no - that you’d kill the person who’d try to take Kirishima from you. A gut reaction, empty words, perhaps, but is it not similar to her reaction to finding you interested in someone else while still in a commitment to her? You’re acting like finding issue with you cheating on her makes her the devil.”

“I said I didn’t cheat on her!” Bakugo shot a look through his labored, grunting, actions.

“Maybe not with your body,” Midnight waved it away, “But with your heart you did. Which as a woman I can tell you is far worse to experience. A sexual mistake can be discarded as just that, a mistake. But our hearts don’t lie and they want what they want. There is nothing more disheartening than learning that the person you love, longs for a different heart than yours. I don’t think anyone should take it out in the way she did...and perhaps the more she slipped down that path the more she became like a monster and certainly was no longer someone I’d consider sane. But at the root of it was the most human thing imaginable. I’m asking you not to forget that. That she was a person, that she deserved to be treated like one. She was just a human.”

Bakugo ground his teeth and dug his nails into the floor, heart pounding in his chest, limbs shaking, “Was she just a human when she violated him in front of my face just to watch me squirm and scream? Was that just a human reaction from her? Was it oh so human of her to be so pleased with herself for making him cry? Is that fucking human?”

Silence stilled the room, Bakugo unmoving in plank, halfway through his set, but finding he didn’t want to move or look away from Midnight’s still gaze until she responded. He saw the twinge of uncertainty paint the blue canvass, but she remained a solid figure, unmoving against the harsh, gut dropping words.

“I can’t tell you that,” Midnight finally sighed, dipping her head, “I honestly can’t tell you anything about her. I’m not the one who knew her. That’s why I’m asking you these things and ask you be open minded. I can only ask you to consider that maybe under the layers and layers of malice and possibly a fat slab of crazy, there was simply a girl who’d been hurt. Hurt she twisted into something unthinkable, but still just a child without direction.”

Bakugo scoffed at the notion that there was anything remotely innocent at the core of that cunt.

“She was only seventeen,” Midnight’s voice hit so sharp he flinched, “You determined her irredeemable at such a young age? It doesn’t matter what she’d done, she was a minor. She was worth at least an attempt at saving. Worth at least a shot at redemption.”

There was a crisp shake of a head as Bakugo came out of his position, looking away from her, but scowling fully. “She wasn’t.”

A sting cut into his cheek. He didn’t see Midnight come at him, didn’t glimpse the hand raising or coming down on him. But when he grabbed the pink flesh of his face and looked back to her, he saw the rage in her eyes. And he cowered. Just the slightest.

“You aren’t capable of determining that!” Midnight shouted, “You don’t have the right! It doesn’t even matter if you are right about her! Don’t you see that, damn it? There is nothing more vile or villainous than denying a person a chance at redemption! Don’t you understand that’s why there’s so much upset about this? Because the person you killed was still just a damn child!”

Bakugo couldn’t swallow. All he could do was stare and force his shaking arms to be still. He’d never been afraid of Midnight before...but he’d never seen her like this. Not even while fighting villains. There was genuine hurt creased into her face and the tremble in the fist she raised above her heart told him that she could break him in half if she wasn’t so restrained. And he became suddenly very grateful for her discipline.

The moment broke away into the air as suddenly as it had come on, Midnight falling back on her heels and breathing out a long, uneven breath. She calmed herself as best she could, but that fist stayed on her chest as she lifted a less rage filled expression back to the stunned boy.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly, “I didn’t mean that. I mean...I did, but I didn’t mean to say it like that. You...you can’t be the victim, judge, jury, and executioner. There’s a reason the laws were made the way they were.”

The inside of Bakugo’s cheek was bruising with how he bit down on it at Midnight’s tone, at the way her heart sounded truly pained. But he couldn’t let it go, he couldn’t say his determination was wrong. He just didn’t believe it.

“You saw Eijiro…” Bakugo responded in a low voice, arm wrapping around his stomach, “You saw the aftermath of what she’d done...how could you look at him and say she wasn’t irredeemable?”

“I know it was horrible,” she sighed, “But horrible people have saved themselves before. There are hundreds and hundreds of cases of people who killed in repetition, who found regret for their actions. Hundreds of people deemed mentally unstable, dangers to society, who were reformed through treatment and care. And because someone gave them a chance. Because an impulsive eighteen year old didn’t determine their fates for them without thought.”

Midnight settled back on her heels fully, sitting just in front of him and clasping her hands.

“Do you know how many people thought that you would join the villains without hesitation when they kidnapped you those years back?”

Bakugo finally managed to swallow and fought through the look of rage that overtook him, to actually listen to what was being said to him.

“More people were frightened that you would reemerge a villain than were frightened that you were in some danger,” Midnight couldn’t manage to look him in the eye, “I hate to admit...I felt an inkling of doubt about you as well. Because what we saw on the outside was rage, irrationality, impulsivity, and showy behavior. Those who knew you well knew better, but in the cloud of your negatives everyone else was unable to see your heart, unable to see that you had the soul and spirit of a hero.”

Red eyes bore into the floor as Bakugo’s hand moved to rub his arms and his mind reeled. And something deep in his chest ached, a feeling he grew frustrated at, but didn’t push out or deny.

“Katsuki,” Midnight placed a hand on his shoulder, “People who’d interacted with you daily thought those things. Some of your classmates even questioned it. But you showed them they were wrong to think that, to ever doubt you. Because you were given a chance, because you had the opportunity to show that you weren’t who they thought you were. And yes the situation was quite different than what happened with Miyagi...but the point still remains.”

“What point?” Bakugo huffed, “They were wrong about me. I’m not wrong about her.”

Midnight squeezed down on his shoulder, making him meet her gaze, “Think. About. It. I’m not even saying you’re wrong about her potential, but I would rather have seen her in a padded room for the remainder of her years than a mangled corpse. No matter what you try to convince yourself, she was a person and she had people who cared about her or who she cared about. If not for her sake, then for those people, wouldn’t it have been better that way?”

Bakugo’s nose scrunched at her, his glare solid. “Her friends were psychotics like her. Her parents didn’t care about her. Who’s really at a loss?”

The pressure on his shoulder alleviated when he gave a quick shrug and Midnight pulled back, assessing him closely. Something very thoughtful overtook her blue eyes. He was waiting for his next series of reprimands and words of wisdom, but they didn’t come. She settled back and hummed into the air.

“We can talk more about it later,” Midnight nodded, “I don’t want to overload you.”

Bakugo growled at the insinuation that he couldn’t take whatever she could dish out in full or that he couldn’t take the continuation of the topic. He was planning on complaining and challenging her to come at him with all she had, but she spoke again too quickly.

“How’s he been since the incident?” her expression was softer, concerned, “Kirishima.”

He had to take a moment to acknowledge to whiplash of topic change before folding his arms and shrugging distantly. “He’s fine. Things are pretty normal.”

Midnight gave a thoughtful hum, staring down at the floor with pursed lips.

“What?” he snipped.

“Nothing,” she shook her head, “I’m happy to hear that, of course. But it’s only been about two months. I’ve never known trauma to heal so quickly. People who go through things like he went through can struggle to overcome it for years.”

“Well he’s strong,” Bakugo’s voice was sharp and his gaze piercing, “Stronger than you give him credit for apparently.”

“I’m not casting doubt on it,” Midnight rolled her eyes at his defensive tone, “I’m just saying its impressive. You yourself said he looked like she’d...destroyed him.”

“Well he’s fine now,” Bakugo insisted, stomping his foot into the ground, “He’s fine. I’m fine. We’re both fine.”

“There’s been no strain to your relationship from what happened?” Midnight asked, her tone casting that doubt she said she didn’t have.

The emotional week before Kirishima’s breakdown played through his head, the surge of arguments, the self blaming on both parts, the constant deflection of intimacy. The time apart with Bakugo just worrying constantly too. But they were past all that. Right now things they were good. He had his boyfriend back and there was no more thought about what had happened.

“No!” Bakugo’s patience was at an all time low, “Nothing has changed. The only abnormal thing going on for us is me having to come here every week and talk to you about all this.”

Midnight raised her hands. “Alright then,” she shrugged, “No need to get so uppity. It was only a question. I’ve simply been wondering how everything affected him. It isn’t talked about much and I’m sure that’s for his sake, but as one of his teachers and the hero made responsible for his rescue it’s been on my mind.”

“Well you can stop wondering about it,” Bakugo gave a very final nod, “And if you don’t have any other painful memories you want me dredge up, I need to make a stop on my way home.”

“Not today, you can go,” Midnight looked away distantly, “I have something different in mind for next week, though. Be prepared.”

Bakugo gathered himself and his things and left with a similar attitude to the time before. There was annoyance and aggitation. Memories of times he hated to remember. Feelings of stubborness, a determined rigidity in his heart to not allow Midnight’s insistence on him assessing his own feelings and actions change him sticking to his convictions. She could throw every hypothetical at him she wanted, but Miyagi had been an irredeemable monster. He knew her. Knew her well. He didn’t see how he could get to the point where he would find agreement with Midnight on this. He felt for certain when the day came for him to solidly say what he felt about his actions, he would have no regret to offer her. He couldn’t see himself wanting to take it back.

But that was for him to get grated on next week. For now he had to stop and pick up something for Kirishima. He was coming over tonight and the excitement of that helped pull his mind to more pleasant things.

It wasn’t exactly a date or anything, just hanging out at the house, but they hadn’t spent much time together that week and it had been weighing on him. It was a lot because of all the shit Midnight and he had talked about earlier that week and the way it had been haunting him, but Kirishima had been busy too. In the end he prefered to just blame it on conflicting schedules.

His bright red head had an insatiable sweet tooth and since this was sort of making up for lost time, Bakugo figured he should get him something. Especially with feeling a bit guilty over not having anything for him after the camp trip, while Kirishima had gotten him something. So Bakugo found his way to a favorited bakery of his boyfriend and got a large cookie just covered in icing, still wondering to himself if that would be enough sugar for him. It always amazed and disgusted him to see him eat one of these cookies and he’d usually advise the boy against it, but he wanted him to have whatever he wanted today.

He deserved a good day and to be in a good mood. He deserved Bakugo at his best. And he had a lot of hopes that things were going to be looking up even more from today. He was aware Kirishima had spent the day with Todoroki and wondered to himself if they’d had a chance to talk. He’d have to ask tonight, have to see if Kirishima was ready to jump back into their old rotten habits.

There was a prick of excitement at the thought and he shoved it off. It wasn’t like he was all that excited to sleep with Todoroki again, the guy had kind of been annoying lately, but somewhere in the back of his mind it felt like that would be the ultimate sign that things realy were normal again. And, not that he cared or anything, but the damn icyhot really seemed like he could use it. Hell, maybe it’d finally get him to leave Bakugo alone!

He could only hope.

Chapter Text

Kirishima could hear the shouts from outside of the door. His hand hovered over the doorknob, a knot of fear in his chest, feet planted on the front stoop of his own home, ears tuned into the voices. They were raised, but what they were saying was unclear. All he knew was that it was a conversation he didn’t want to hear nor be a part of.

He waited. Patient and agitated, waiting for them to retreat from the hallway. Waiting for a chance to slip inside without being seen.

He’d just go straight to Bakugo’s house if he could. Lord knew he wanted to. To just walk away from this and distract himself with his boyfriend, to not let his perfectly good day get soured by this note. But he had to get his medication, had to keep himself evened out. He’d never missed a dose yet and he didn’t want to start now. Deep down he was certain missing once would throw him entirely out of whack. The doctor said it wasn’t like that, that forgetting now and then wouldn’t affect his overall state. But he couldn’t risk it. Couldn’t risk any setbacks.

So he remained anxious and hesitant, needing that medication more and more the longer he waited. But finally he heard the voices retreat and he sucked in a breath before gently turning the knob. He crept through the door cautiously, making sure he couldn’t see them and shutting it back without a sound.

The voices were clear now, without the muffle of the door, and he had no choice but to listen to the disconcerting words as he slipped through, tiptoeing into the kitchen. His heart leapt into his throat after no more than the first sentence.

“He can’t even stand to be in the same room as me anymore!”

Kirishima froze just inside the kitchen and felt the statement stab in the base of his skull.

“Baby, that’s not true,” Riku’s voice was upbeat, but calm, “You really have to calm down.”

Yuna sounded both anxious and exhausted at once, a sob falling into her next words. “I can’t. I want to...I’m trying...I just can’t stop thinking...he’s just going to keep pulling away and I’m just going...what if I...and he doesn’t even…”

A shushing followed and Kirishima shook his head violently, pushing past it, creeping to the cabinet. He could just pretend they weren’t talking about him. It was easier that way.

“You have to stop talking like that,” Riku insisted, “I know it’s just the treatment, baby, but you have to keep it together.”

“I’m just...I’m so worried...it’s...it’s not going to work,” Yuna said.

Kirishima winced and snatched the first three bottles he saw, taking them as quietly as possible, pinching his eyes as he set them on the counter and pulled out his dosage from each, barely looking, but moving slowly to make no sound. His eyes bore into the counter, ears stuck on the unraveling emotions of his mother. She’d gotten overly sensitive after the first treatments too and he’d heard her start talking of hopelessness then as well, saying how she couldn’t get herself in check.

He wanted to say he hated to hear it, wanted to say that listening to his mother in tears tore him apart...but, fuck it felt like the most genuine he ever saw her. It took fucking cancer mixed with chemo to get her to say anything she was genuinely feeling...was it so wrong that her pain pinched him with anger rather than sympathy? Was it wrong of him to feel bitter about it?

“Yuna,” Riku’s voice was stern, “we don’t talk like that. We can’t believe it won’t. It’s only been a couple days and the treatment is just getting to you. It’s going to feel bad then it’s going to start feeling better. Did you take the meds today?”

There was a sniffle. “This morning.”

“You need more, honey,” Riku insisted, “Are you in pain?”

Kirishima grumbled silently and threw back the handful of pills, swallowing them dry, not wanting the sound of pouring water to alert his parents to anything. But if his father was mentioning medication, that meant they might be coming in here to get hers. So he started to rush putting the bottles back up.

He halted as his heart leapt in his chest at the label on one of the bottles. He hadn’t seen it in his distraction that one of them had his mother’s name on it, rather than his own and he went instantly into a light panic, turning the full label up at his face.

He threw a glance over his shoulder to be sure no one was coming, the voices becoming a more distant thought to his current issue. What the fuck had he just taken?

Oxycodone. What the fuck did that mean? What type of medication was that?

There were footsteps in the hallway and he knew he didn’t have anymore time to think about it. He put it back carefully and didn’t even bother to close the cabinet. That wasn’t a detail they’d notice.

As light on his feet as he could be he shot through the second door of the kitchen that bridged into the dining room and ducked inside, slipping in and holding the door from swinging just as his parents entered the kitchen. He could see them through the crack he’d left, could see the large form of his father going into the cabinet, could see the frail figure of his mother clutching the long tresses of black hair in her hands, holding the fake strands her side. He cringed at the sight of her, still unused to the exposure of her head, unused to seeing her in such a state. It wasn’t his fault, she hid it constantly, even from him. Drew on eyebrows every morning, kept her wig on her head whenever she was around him. As if he couldn’t handle the reality of it, as if none of them could. And maybe they were right about that. This, right here, was a glimpse of what reality looked like on his parents and it was grossly unsettling.

“Does...doesn’t he seem...different to you?” his mother wiped against a tear as she crashed into a chair at the kitchen island.

Kirishima’s nails sunk into the wood of the doorframe and held his breath. He looked to his father, expectantly, a tiny spark of hope in his chest.

Riku frowned, his hand in the cabinet, glancing back over his shoulder at her and for a moment Kirishima almost thought he was about to agree with her. Fuck why did he hope so badly that he’d agree with her? Why did he want them to be worried about him? He didn’t want anyone to worry about him. The very thought of concern in his friend’s eyes drove him up a wall. Why was he wanting so badly to see that from his parents of all people, who he could barely stand to be around?

But that hope choked itself out fast. Faster than Riku finished getting out his reply.

“No sweetie,” he smiled at her, “he’s just worried about you is all.” He brought the glass and the familiar orange bottle to the table and set them down beside her, crouching to take her small hands in his, “That’s why we have to be strong and always smile. Remember? Nothing can hurt us if we don’t let it. He’s fine.”

Kirishima pulled away from the door, an empty feeling hollowing out his stomach.

That phrase played over. It had done so thousands of times before. Recently it had started to sound strange. Like the words weren’t real words anymore.

~He’s fine. You’re fine. I’m fine.~ Always just “fine”.

And Kirishima was still convinced of it...he still was, wasn’t he? Convinced those words weren’t just deflections of the truth? And he always stood by it when he said it himself. But something about it coming out of his father’s mouth cut him deeply.

A shake of his head, shoved the notions away. Shoved it all back down. He was just going through what his mom was right now, getting antsy and anxious because the medication hadn’t kicked in yet. The mind did ridiculous things when left to its own devices. He just needed his prescription to start working and his mother needed to take hers and they would both be fine. It could only hurt him if he let it. It could only hurt her if she allowed it.

But when he glimpsed her toss back her medication, Kirishima grit down on his teeth again. Shit! He’d taken whatever that was. He didn’t know what it did either. He wasn’t very involved in Yuna’s care, his father keeping him as separate from it all as possible. It had been Yuna’s idea to take him with her for her treatment, but there’d been a heavy dose of disapproval from Riku about it. So Kirishima really didn’t know what medication she took or what it was for, all he knew was that she didn’t look any better for it. Would whatever he’d accidently taken weaken him too?

“Thank you, Riku,” she sighed after she’d taken it, “I just need the pain to go away. I’m not trying to be all emotional, I just feel so...exhausted and agitated…”

“That’s what the pain med is for,” Riku nodded up at her, “Give it a few minutes.”

A small burst of relief cut through Kirishima at the realization that it had only been pain medication. It was like he’d taken an ibuprofen. Not some experimental cancer treatment that was going to shoot him full of muscle melting chemicals. He couldn’t really afford to lose any more muscle mass anyway.

Feeling entirely done with being around his parents and the raised stress levels they brought and no longer afraid he’d just hurt himself with the accidental medication switch, he crept back to slip through the side door, tiptoeing through the house to leave out of the back. He happily cut around the backyard and made the slightly longer trek around the house to avoid his parents ever knowing he’d been there.

He didn’t really take a deep breath until the house was in the distance though. He picked up his pace with a renewed pep to keep reminding himself he was going to see Bakugo and that the rest of the afternoon was going to be fun. His parents weren’t going to ruin this for him. He just couldn’t think about what they’d been saying.

The door to the Bakugos flung open before he could even finish knocking and his hand was snatched up, dragging him inside. His chest collided with another and the warm aroma of hot cane sugar hit him like a blanket. A smile instantly enveloped his face and he pulled fully into the comfort of his boyfriend’s embrace, feeling all the shit he’d listened to earlier melt away easily.

“Where you been?” Bakugo threw the door closed, not pulling out of the hug, “You’re late.”

“Give me a break,” Kirishima huffed against the side of his face, “I’m like two minutes late.” He tried to crush him with a sharp squeeze before pulling back to hold him at arm's length. “Asshole.”

Ruby red eyes rolled overhead and quickly shot around himself. Bakugo’s hand snatched onto his again and pulled him to follow, moving quickly. “Come on, I don’t want my parents to notice or they’ll try to keep you talking for an hour,” Bakugo griped as they ran through the house.

Kirishima instantly felt the need to laugh, but held it back with a hand over his mouth so as not to alert said parents to his presence. He was doing a lot parental avoiding today. For very different reasons, but still relevant ones. He liked talking to Bakugo’s parents, but he could see the blond boy wasn’t in the mood to spare his valuable time on other people.

When they reached his door, Kirishima whispered with a snicker. “Possessive today, aren’t we?”

“Eat a dick Shitty-Hair,” Bakugo snipped back at the sarcastic tone as he pulled him inside, “My parents are just annoying.”

Kirishima planned to argue him on that, say some nice things about those two people who had accepted him into their lives so easily, but Bakugo was already sweeping him into a very distracting kiss. His comments were gone in an instant.

The taste and smell of him were just relieving...like he was feeling his anxiety slip away...or maybe that was just the meds kicking in. Either way it pulled the tension straight out of his shoulders. The arms around him, holding the curve of his back. The lips pressing firmly to his, slotting over his bottom lip and offering little licks through the part.

A hum vibrated in his throat as Kirishima came up for air and gave a happy nuzzle against his nose. He was starting to feel very light, his head slowly emptying out.

“Shit why the hell are you not here all the time?” Bakugo lapped another kiss up, “Why do I ever let you leave? I should just keep you here.”

“You’d get sick of me so fast if I actually never left,” Kirishima rolled his eyes, “You know I’m annoying as hell.”

Bakugo shot air out of his nose. “Oh right. Forgot about that.”

There was a laugh and a playfully hurt shove to get his boyfriend away from him at his lack of disagreement. “You aren’t supposed to agree with me, you shit head!”

“Forgot you were a sensitive little girl too,” Bakugo crossed his arms, “So much for switching to guys.”

“Pfft,” Kirishima mimicked the position back at his boyfriend, “You trying to pick a fight, son? You want to fucking go?”

They matched eyes for a full thirty seconds, before they decided on just that and hands went up over grinning faces, Kirishima poised with hardened arms and Bakugo letting off little explosions ready to lay into him. Bakugo took one step at him, before they froze up, eardrums rattling with Mitsuki’s voice.

“Katsuki I swear to god if you blow up one thing in this house I will fuck you with a fucking hairdryer!”

“Fuck off mom!”

“Watch your mouth, you son of a bitch!”

“I sure fucking am, you bitch!”

“Both of you please stop!” Masaru’s voice carried louder than Kirishima expected, silencing the two and sending a violent puff out of Bakugo’s nose.

Kirishima’s arms dropped and unhardened and Bakugo relaxed his pose, shrugging at the interruption to their play fight. They had become rather renowned under that roof for breaking things and it appeared Mitsuki had had just about enough of the horseplay. All it had taken was the crackle of a minor explosion and she’d been on them.

“You guys are hilarious,” Kirishima plopped onto the edge of the bed, bouncing a few times and swaying a bit. He was feeling just a little bit loopy, vaguely light headed, but really really good. He turned a wide smile over at his boyfriend. “Do you think we’ll ever actually live together?”

Bakugo raised an eyebrow at him, still hovering across the room. “Why the fuck are you asking that now?”

“You were the one saying you should never let me leave,” Kirishima shrugged, feeling oddly unconcerned about the answer, “Got me thinking if we could actually stand to live together one day.”

“Why not?” Bakugo looked at him like the question was ridiculous, “We already live in the same building most of the year. We sleep together all the time. We cook breakfast in the same kitchen. It’s just having the same address.”

Kirishima hummed and let his mind wander happily over the thought of sharing a home with Bakugo, of sharing a room and one bed. The idea of having a place they could always go to get away from everyone that wasn’t each other. Where no parents hovered or teachers berated or classmates lingered. He’d miss his classmates after they were finished with school for sure, but it didn’t mean he always wanted them around. His friends were bad at taking hints and didn’t know when to leave. It would be nice to have a place to just retreat to that no one could follow.

“We should do it then,” Kirishima bounced back up to his feet, “As soon as we’re finished with school. The minute we can afford it we could get a place together.”

Bakugo smirked, turning a side eye look to him. “In a hurry to move out?”

Kirishima’s teeth clicked together, but he didn’t let his internal scream of “YES” show. Shit he wanted to get out of his house so bad. Wanted to move out today if he could. Wanted to get as far away from that waking nightmare as he could. But more than that he really did want to live with Bakugo, wanted to just absorb his life with being around him. Outside of their hero careers there was little else they each cared so much about than each other.

The redhead sauntered up to him and came up against his back, slipping his arms around the small waist of his boyfriend. He clasped his arms over his muscled belly and nestled his chin on his shoulder, grinning.

“Can you blame me for wanting to get you all to myself?”

The words cut off the grumble he was emitting at the affection. He liked to deflect that he didn’t like being held or picked off the ground and snuggled, but Kirishima knew better. Knew he was an absolute sucker for the affection and that he’d never actually pull away from it, even if he yelled and hit him about it.

Instead there was a chuckle in Bakugo’s throat as he laced his arms into a tighter cross over his chest. “You’ve made your point. Fine. I agree then. As soon as we graduate we go apartment hunting.”

Kirishima half squealed when he squeezed down, knocking the wind out of him and getting a slightly more real sounding complaint. Bakugo shifted around in the hold to face him and get another kiss in, taking the boy’s face in his hands and purring into it.

“Wait!” Bakugo hopped back as a thought struck him, “I almost forgot.”

Kirishima watched him, in confusion at the sudden jump of topics, as he went over to his desk and grabbed a little to-go box. He came back and shoved it into Kirishima’s hands. It was no more than a second before a thrilled smile beamed over the redhead’s face.

“Fuck yeah!” he pumped a fist in the air, recognizing the store name on the box, “I fucking love these!”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Bakugo waved it off like it was nothing, “Just eat your damn cookie.”

Kirishima collided back onto the bed and popped open the box, feeling it dip beside him as Bakugo sat next to him. His eyes went joyfully wide at the content, a large chocolate chip cookie, stacked with a fat swirl of white icing. His mouth was watering and like the uncivilized buffoon he was, scooped the whole thing up and took a huge bite, coating the tip of his nose in frosting.

“Who raised you?” Bakugo rolled his eyes at the uncouth manner of just diving into it.

The redhead couldn’t bring himself to care and shoved it towards Bakugo as he chewed down his massive bite. Bakugo made a face, grimacing a little at the sugary monstrosity. But the look on Kirishima’s face was stubbornly adorable as he offered part of his gift and even the cold heart of the explosive teenager wasn’t able to turn it down. He took one bite. Just the one, finding that it was more than enough sugar to last him the week.

Kirishima went for another big one before setting it back in the box, deciding to just pick smaller pieces off of it from there.

“You’re a fucking sweetheart you know that?” Kirishima winked over at him, pulling his legs up onto the bed and crossing them under him.

“Take it back!” Bakugo turned instantly rageful, raising a fist, “That’s fucking slander!”

Kirishima just laughed, sticking his tongue out at him before dipping his finger into the glob of icing and bringing upa fingerful to his mouth to suck off, feeling in the mood for a burst of just pure sugar. He really wasn’t thinking about it, honestly just wanting a mouthful of icing and simply found it a little sticky on his finger, not realizing what sort of a visual he was creating while he ate it. He had to suck at it a bit to pull all the white off and licked around his lips, rubbing his nose to catch it all. Even as he did, though, the layers of processed sugar on his stomach were beginning to rumble and twist unsettlingly inside of him. Maybe not the best idea to eat it before having any supper.

“Fuck.”

It wasn’t what he expected to hear coming so breathily from beside him. Kirishima startled a bit and shot a look over at his boyfriend, finger still between his lips. The wide eyed stare came with a bit lip and his legs were squeezing together, fixing his eyes to the finger slowly sliding out of Kirishima’s mouth, taking a trail of saliva with it.

He didn’t really have the chance to think about what to say or what to do about that look, that needy, lusting look. He barely thought about it before that light twist in his stomach turned very sickened. The smell of the cookie was suddenly unappealing and he closed the box back up, shoving it off of his lap.

Bakugo didn’t take that action the right way, didn’t take it to show Kirishima’s physical disgust with the food, but as some sign that he was moving it aside for him to replace it with himself. The blond took hold of his hand and jumped into a full, aggressive kiss, pushing him back and dipping his tongue into his mouth to taste out the sweetness of the icing, suddenly much more appealing coming off of the redhead’s tongue than to be eaten straight. Their torsos were all gappled together and Bakugo grabbed with strong fingers into the longer part of his hair, cupping his other underneath Kirishima’s leg and feeling out his thighs.

The surge of instantaneous panic that shot through him at the obviously sexual contact mixed up like a molotov cocktail with the overwhelming wave of nausea that rocked through him. His arms wrapped around his stomach and he gave out a whine that was far too obviously uncomfortable for Bakugo to ignore, unable to restrain his true feelings for anyone’s sake in his current state of pure sickness.

Bakugo pulled away, looking at the twisted, green look in Kirishima’s expression as the boy’s eyes pinched and a hand cupped over his mouth. Lust melted away into concern and Bakugo searched him over for the source of the discomfort.

“Shit, Eijiro are you okay?” he asked, “You look sick.”

Kirishima’s head shook violently and he launched himself up, suddenly driven by his lurching stomach to get somewhere to dump it all. He dove at the little trash can beside Bakugo’s bed and collapsed on his knees over it. The sounds that came from his mouth were horrible and Bakugo was at his back immediately. His presence was comforting, but the powerful nausea was agonizing. Luckily it only lasted a moment longer before he emptied everything in his stomach into the trash.

“That’s gross,” Bakugo’s comment came with a gentle rub on Kirishima’s back. He kept it up until Kirishima had gotten all of it up and leaned back to wipe off the tears of exertion and the remnants of the vomit onto his sleeve.

“Where’d that come from?” Bakugo frowned at the mess in his trash can.

Kirishima shook his head. “I don’t know. I’m not sick...I felt great a minute ago.” Better than normal, actually. Better than he’d felt in a long time.

“Was it the cookie?” Bakugo asked, “I’ve told you that much sugar is bad for you.”

“I only had a couple bites,” Kirishima frowned, leaning back a little into Bakugo’s arms, breathing through the aftermath of throwing his guts up, “It’s never done that to me before.”

A calloused hand brushed up and down his arm and, with what had almost happened a moment ago still fresh in his mind, Kirishima flinched away from it. The touch hadn’t even been sexual, but it had been close enough. It caused Bakugo’s hand to hover just off of him a moment, as if uncertain and then fall unmoving at his side, like it had given up. Kirishima just pulled a little into himself, choosing to ignore it for now.

Bakugo sounded like he had to swallow heavily before talking again. “Didn’t you say you got really nauseous for a little while when you started your medications? Have you started anything new recently?”

“No…” Kirishima was quick to answer and internally caught himself, eyes widening at remembering the mix up he’d made earlier. The oxycodone. Shit that stuff must have been something else to give him a reaction like that. Yes, the other meds had given him nausea before...but this had been violent nausea, nearly causing him to projectile vomit.

But even with all that, even with having just violently emptied his gut, he was still feeling steadily more spacey, oddly good, oddly relaxed.

“Probably just a bad batch then,” Bakugo concluded, patting the redhead’s shoulders, “I’ll get you some water...and maybe some paper towels...because damn that’s gross.”

Kirishima was able to huff a light laugh as Bakugo stood and grabbed the trash can, moving to the door. “Don’t throw up again while I’m gone. You’re cleaning it up if you do.”

A nod was his answer, coming with a quick smile.

Kirishima leaned back against the side of the bed while he waited for Bakugo to return. His limbs started to feel a little heavy and there was an unfocussed sense around him as he slipped into the feeling. A weirdly freeing sensation...like the problems of his home, the issue of him vomiting a moment before, the idea that he’d been a moment away from Bakugo initiating sex again, all unable to get near him. As long as he sat there still and didn’t move he could be content and at a strange sort of peace.

He let himself fall so deeply into it that Bakugo had snapped in his face about five times before he actually noticed it. He blinked at him, drawing the blond hair and expression of confusion into his visual focus. A glass of water was shoved under his nose and Kirishima moved slowly to take it, feeling somehow that there was really no hurry. And shit the water was good, it might have been the most refreshing water he’d ever tasted.

“Dude, where did you get this?” Kirishima asked, holding up the cup in Bakugo’s face.

His eyebrow shot up and then his eyes narrowed at the redhead. “The fuck? It’s literally from the kitchen. The fuck is up with you?”

“It’s really good,” Kirishima smiled back into the cup and drank more.

Bakugo took the cup away and put it on the nightstand. “Whatever you say, weirdo. Come on.” he took Kirishima’s hands and stood, tugging on him to stand up. He went slowly and collapsed back on the bed once he got up, feeling suddenly very dizzy.

“You still feel like throwing up?” Bakugo asked, sounding less concerned, more indignant.

Kirishima shook his head and laid back, throwing an arm over his eyes and humming into the warm envelopment of the mattress. How was his bed so comfortable? How was the mattress so damn soft?

It dipped around him on all sides this time and Kirishima instinctively held the arm closer over his eyes, keeping everything blocked out. Everything except the feeling of hands dropping on either side of his head and knees falling around his hips.

“Hey,” Bakugo snapped loud enough to get a reaction from him, “Are you on something?”

The arm slid down just enough to see over it and catch the red eyes boring into him from overhead. His brow was all pinched together, skeptical looking.

“No,” Kirishima shrugged, “But you’re ON top of me.” He waved a hand up into Bakugo’s face, returning the arm over his eyes to go back to the dark, comforting world behind it. There wasn’t anything but warm feelings and stars there and he liked it. He wanted to stay.

“You sure you’re alright?” Bakugo had never sounded so uncertain, so disbelieving.

Kirishima spread a smile and nodded. He made a shushing sound at him and let himself fall entirely into the bed and the darkness that wrapped around him. There was certainly drowsiness, but he wasn’t exactly sleepy, just sort of spacing out past the here and now, happy with the good feelings and distance from realities and problems.

And then a cold hand hit his skin and forced down under the fabric of his pants, groping over him without warning. It was like an adrenaline shot and whatever this spacey effect was that had been playing his mind cut out his filter and ability to push down his reactions. Thus what Bakugo saw next was genuine, unhindered panic in Kirishima’s eyes as he jerked Bakugo’s hand away and scrambled back, putting as much distance between himself his boyfriend as possible without falling off the bed himself. His chest was heaving, heart pounding and eyes fixated on the angered expression across from him.

“Damn it all to fucking hell, Eijiro,” Bakugo fumed, “There’s something wrong and I fucking knew it!”

He was somewhere between muddled and pumped with adrenaline and his response came out incoherent while his brain was rushing to keep up. He had to make some sort of an excuse, had to convince him that there wasn’t anything wrong. There wasn’t! Was there?

“Katsu-chan,” he said, almost slurred, “I’m fine, it’s...nothing…”

“That wasn’t fucking nothing!” Bakugo snapped, freezing the boy in place, “Have you fucking seen yourself? You look like I just tried to kill you!”

In all honesty Kirishima had no idea what expressions had formed on his face in that moment or were plaguing him now. That would take far too much of a divergence in attention and it was hard enough for him to focus on just one thing right now.

“You just...I was just startled,” Kirishima swallowed hard.

“I know what startled looks like,” Bakugo scooted forward a bit and took notice of Kirishima’s involuntary pull back, “That’s not it. I don’t know what’s up with you...but you are not fucking alright.”

The redhead bit down on his cheeks and grimaced. No. Fucking no. Bakugo wasn’t supposed to see past his defenses. Wasn’t supposed to think he was anything but perfectly fine. Fuck! That look on his face...had he just broken his illusion?

Kirishima shifted and slipped off of the bed, very slowly, body moving sluggishly as he planted his feet down, some part of his mind telling him he needed to make an escape. But Bakugo was watching him closely and hopped down on the other side, shoulders rising aggressively, not about to let him slip away without an explanation.

“Tell me what the fuck is going on,” Bakugo jabbed a finger at the floor, “You were perfectly fine a couple days ago, why are you freaking out now? What’s with the dazed look on your face?”

Kirishima moved a little to get around the bed, but Bakugo shifted to keep across from him.

The panic in his chest was feeling more real each second and the addled sensation in his head had broken away all of his barriers and filters. When he opened his mouth, it just spilled, like a floodgate that had been reving to burst for ages.

“You make me fucking uncomfortable!” Kirishima shouted and choked, clapping a hand over his mouth in the next second, his regret instantaneous, maroon eyes wide at his own words.

A blank expression took over Bakugo’s face, the teen going stiff.

“No,” Kirishima shook his head violently, just as panicked now to reassure him as anything, “No, not you. It’s not you...its the whole...the whole fucking concept. I’m fucking trying so hard for it not to bother me, but it just does. I still love holding you and...and kissing you...but...but please don’t fucking touch me like that.”

“But...why?” Bakugo’s mouth hung open, “Why does it bother you so much? It never has before, what’s so different now?”

That part Kirishima couldn’t choke out, couldn’t surface into an explanation. He didn’t want to admit the reasoning to himself let alone to Bakugo. He just shook his head, unable to explain, unable to make him understand the “why” of it. There was no point in even trying.

“You...you were fine with it earlier…” Bakugo looked like the dazed one now.

“I wasn’t...I was just…” Kirishima fumbled with his words, rubbing his arm over his face every few moments to wipe away the redness in his eyes, “you...you seemed like you needed it…”

Bakugo stumbled back and red overwhelmed him. “You made yourself have sex with me, because you thought I couldn’t handle being cock blocked? And you were just uncomfortable the whole time…?”

“It was fine, I promise!” Kirishima rushed to assure him, knowing deep down that he hadn’t been fine for days after; that to say it was fine was a fat lie.

“That’s not fucking fine!” Bakugo screamed at him, voice cracking, “You know how I fucking feel about that stuff...after what I had to deal with with my last relationship...after everything we’ve been through, you think I’d be okay with you putting yourself in that situation?”

The redhead’s boot hit the floor loud enough to shake the memorabilia shelfed along the walls. “You’re so fucking pushy, Katsuki! What was I supposed to do when you just throw yourself at me like that? You didn’t even give me a chance to tell you! Maybe if you’d listened and paid attention you’d have fucking noticed how much it terrified me! How much I hated it!”

“So it’s back to being my fault?” Bakugo blasted explosions in the palms of his hands, both of their apologetic natures drifting away, a thick cord of tension and anger all that was remaining in the room, “It’s not my fault if I’m rusty picking up on your signals after you wouldn’t come near me for two months!”

That part sounded like a complaint he’d been wanting to voice for a while and it stung. But Kirishima wasn't about to let him claim the sympathetic side to this.

“Did you even stop to wonder why I didn’t want to have sex with you all this time?” Kirishima wasn’t even trying to stop the tears now.

“I’m still wondering!” Bakugo stepped towards him, “You still haven’t even told me why it bothers you so much! You won’t even fucking admit that there’s something wrong!”

“There isn’t!” Kirishima insisted, fighting on his own breaths.

“There obviously fucking is! If there wasn’t anything wrong you wouldn’t have reacted like that! Are you on something? Are you hurt? Was it something Miyagi-”

“Don’t fucking talk about her!” Kirishima clamped his hands over his ears, overwhelmed, sobbing, shaking where he stood, “We’ve gone this fucking long without talking about that shit, can we not just fucking keep it that way?”

“Eijiro…” Bakugo’s voice became low, barely above a whisper, like realization had just washed over him “What did she do…?”

Kirishima threw his arms out and found his voice pitching as he yelled. “Fucking drop it! Can’t it just be enough for you that I don’t want it? Do I have to have a reason why I don’t want you touching me? Do I have to put in a fucking special request to get you to leave me alone? Is it so hard to just wait? Are you that much of a dick that you won’t even let me take my time being okay with it?”

Bakugo looked away from him. “It might have helped if I’d actually known you weren’t okay with it! You’re being the unreasonable one! You can’t tell me that you’re perfectly fine and then expect me not to treat you like you are. I can’t believe I thought you were actually okay. You’re a fucking disaster...they shouldn’t have even released you from that hospital...just look at yourself!”

For an entire ten seconds Kirishima couldn’t breathe, staring at Bakugo who refused to look at him and grimaced at every word that came out of his own mouth.

“You want me to pretend that you’re fine and you won’t tell me why you aren’t,” Bakugo dug his nails into his palms, “And now you’re making it my fucking fault that you couldn’t just communicate that you weren’t comfortable.”

“That’s not even what I’m saying!” That choked feeling slipped away back to angered frustration as Kirishima gripped his hair. His entire chest feeling like a solid block of cement, “I’m not blaming you for that…”

“Then why’d you say I was being pushy about it?” Bakugo paced, “You could have just told me off the bat that you weren’t ready yet and I wouldn’t have gone any further with it.”

“As if you wouldn’t have been all fucking butt hurt about it,” Kirishima threw an accusing finger, “Don’t act like I don’t fucking know you. I know you would’ve acted like a total dick about it. You’re acting like a dick about it now! I just...I fucking hate arguing with you…” he sobbed hard, “and I knew we’d argue...or you’d get all upset...or start acting like I was too fragile to function again! Why the fuck else do you think I wasn’t just straight forward?”

Bakugo stomped out at him, hands in fists. “We wouldn’t argue if you’d just been honest to start with!”

“And instead you would have treated me like a porcelain doll!”

“I wouldn’t treat you like you’re fragile if you didn’t act so fucking fragile!”

“I wouldn’t act fragile if you had any capacity to handle a fucking ounce of emotional vulnerability!”

“I’m not the one pretending I wasn’t traumatized!”

Kirishima’s heart was racing so fast and the stretching and pulling on his insides made him feel like he was about to burst apart. He couldn’t take it any longer, couldn’t stand this topic, this conversation, this room, this person.

He stormed past him, hitting their shoulders together. “I’m not fucking traumatized! I’m not fucking weak.”

His hand gripped the doorknob, but he stopped at Bakugo’s voice coming less volatile than before.

“Eijiro. Don’t go. Just…”

Kirishima shot a teary, rage filled look back at him and the blond scrunched his face stubbornly.

“Fine,” he shoved his hands in his pockets, eyes pleading and indignant at once, “just...I won’t touch you, okay. You’ve made your fucking point about that. I’m...fucking sorry I did before...I never wanted to hurt you. I’d never...Just don’t go.”

Hearing Bakugo apologize for anything was a rare sound to hit his ears. And it did go straight to his heart, did grab at it with a strong, loving grip, which sought only to rile his emotions further. Deep down inside he forgave him immediately, forgave him for technically taking advantage of him. Really...like he’d said, he’d never actually blamed Bakugo for it in the first place, it had never been his fault. He couldn’t say why his emotions had gotten so far away from him and why he’d been so accusing. But the heat of the argument was still burning in him and where before everything had felt so happy and light it now felt distinctly like a crushing boulder was rolling him over.

His chest hurt, his eyes stung with tears, his cheeks were red with rage, and he was just about as angry as he could be with his boyfriend. He didn’t care if this could just be talked out right now or not...his level of frustration and the pangs of hurt buzzing through him were all he could see.

“We’ll talk later,” Kirishima shook his head, throwing tears and running out before Bakugo could say anything else.

He slammed the door behind him and caught sight of the two heads ducking back around the corner of the living room. The Bakugo parents had obviously caught wind of there being an argument, but luckily Kirishima knew the walls were pretty thick here and details weren’t easy to pick up on through a closed door. He didn’t spare a moment of worry that Mitsuki and Masaru had heard what they’d been screaming at each other, just cut out of the entire place as fast as he could.

He sped back home as quickly as he could, for the first time in a long time finding the sight of the damn place to be a comforting visual. Especially since the car usually parked out front was gone, saying that at least one if not both of his parents had left.

There was nothing he wanted to say to them and he rushed upstairs the moment he set foot inside, not checking to even see if anyone was home, just running up into his room, slamming the door and retreating into his attached bathroom, sealing himself in behind two sets of locked doors.

He crashed into the rug by the shower and screamed into his hands, letting all of his rage and hurt pour out of him in droves of tears and shouts and fists pounding into the tile. The cracks spread and he knew he’d be getting scolded for that later. It didn’t stop him.

No matter how much he cried, though, he couldn’t seem to get all of the feelings out, it just built and refilled and burned in him. He started to recognize the feeling, remembering the last time he’d felt so helpless against his own overwhelming emotions, the last time he’d lost his control this bad. And with it came that presence like it had before, like a cold corpse hanging on his shoulder, draping over him, pricking into every fiber of his skin. Like the crack in his emotional defenses was all it took for her to break free.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!” He screamed and scratched over his chest when the phantom sensation of carressing fingers moved over him. It was all in his mind and he knew it, knew no one else was there. Nothing was touching him. Nothing but a ghost inside his head, pushing and crawling and making the most untimely of reappearances. But it did not keep his reaction to it from being panicked and volatile.

He shook with fear as his very skin started to squeeze him like a cage, so heavily aware of how much of a setback this was. How hard he’d worked to rid himself of this clingy ghost. But his ears rattled with Bakugo’s unfinished question and his body kept answering. He wanted to know what she’d done to him and his skin crawled and itched with every inch that an unwanted hand had taken hold of him, that an unfriendly tongue or set of teeth had laid into him. Ghosts of every violation prickled over him and even as he ripped off his shirt and looked at his own body there wasn’t any sign of it. The only thing that could even mark damage was the one scar he’d given to himself, the burn on his stomach...the one that more than a few weeks before had given some sense of clarity to the torture Miyagi had put him through to make him cooperate. A rod that burned, but left no scar…

~”there’s not a mark on him”~

Well now there fucking was. Now he could fucking see it. Now it was fucking real. Now there was a damn mark on him. Now there were a lot of them.

Without even thinking about it, acting on the impulsive need to shock himself back into some form of stability, he lifted his arm to clamp his teeth down into his own flesh, white, razor sharp teeth puncturing into his forearm, blood hitting his tongue. Pain usually worked to bring him back. And fuck did it hurt; it took everything in him not to activate his quirk, not to defend himself from himself. But the longer he bit down, the more iron he tasted, the deeper he dug in, the more he came into himself, the more the well of emotion inside of him seemed to stop refilling and what he pushed out seemed to stay out. The pain was sobering and though he felt disgust at the action of biting into his own arm, that sense of relief was fast approaching. That stagnant calm after the brutal storm.

Once he’d given time for his body to stop forcing out tears and the shudder of a relieved breath left him, he finally allowed himself to dislodge his teeth from his flesh. There was a familiar, gut wrenching feeling when he ripped his sharp, shark teeth from the skin and muscle, the feeling of sliding his own teeth out of his arm, much like nails scraping chalkboard. Nausea returned for a moment, but he quickly pushed past it, grabbing a hand towel from beside the sink to wrap around the fresh injury, catching the blood before it could drip. The only thing worse than explaining cracked tile would be explaining bloodstains on the rug.

His entire body settled into a distinct numbness, entirely dull save for the pain of fresh cuts. The only other feeling that reached the surface rung out like a bell in his brain, pushed him down into a puddle of himself.

Regret.

So much fucking regret. For the argument with Bakugo, for his terrible handling of the situation, for storming out...for crying it out alone in his bathroom instead of facing the fucking problem like a man...but more than anything, regret that in a single evening he’d undone weeks of work… That he’d let his guard slip, let Bakugo see him crack and run home in that state. That if his father saw him right now he’d be sent right back to the hospital.

He felt just like he did before camp. Overwhelmed, weak, at an absolute fucking loss. And just like last time, that fucking ghost had crept back in, and he’d found relief in the one thing he’d promised himself he wouldn’t do again. Made a new scar, added a new row of teeth marks to the score of others. Betrayed himself so fully once again.

If he’d had any tears left in his reservoir, he’d likely have spilled a few extra then. Just to know, to realize without lying to himself for once, that that setback he was so afraid he couldn’t risk had just hit him in full force.

Chapter Text

The exhaustion of his breakdown didn’t help him sleep that night. It was restless and he drifted on the edge of sleep for hours, finally finding some semblance of rest by the time the sun rose. That granted a few hours of actual sleep before knuckles rapped on his door, greeting him with a cheerful, “Good morning! Rise and shine happy campers!”

When the blond head of hair popped through his door, Kirishima just rolled over to face the other way, muttering under his breath, “Fuck off, dad.”

Kirishima used to be a morning person. Used to love mornings. At school he’d be the one usually dragging Bakugo’s sleepy ass out of bed at the crack of dawn or before, saying it was the perfect time to hit the gym. His enthusiasm with mornings had died down a lot and now, especially after last night, the idea of getting out of bed sounded about as appealing as a splinter under his fingernail.

But Riku didn’t see that, that he wasn’t ready to get up, that there was anything out of the ordinary at all. Instead he leaned into the doorway like he was a friend just trying to hang out, talking into the air.

“It’s beautiful outside today,” Riku commented, “I hope you’ve got outdoor plans for this morning, because that sunshine just won’t quit. There’s so many great things you can do on a day like this. You know what you should do! You should plan a kayaking trip! Yeah, get all your friends from school and take a weekend out at the river. You could really use the sunshine, kiddo.”

Kirishima threw an arm over his ear and groaned. “Sounds great, dad,” he mumbled sarcastically, unfortunately feeling his connection to sleep leaving him as he tried to push off the lingering presence in his doorway.

“Maybe it can make up for missing camp, you know…”

There was a flinch in his shoulder, but Kirishima stayed quiet, pinching his eyes.

“Hey I’ll even throw it together for you if you want,” Riku clapped, “You really should get out of the house more.”

Kirishima just frowned. Had he not been out of the house a lot lately? Yesterday he’d barely been home at all. He’d been out with friends all week and even took time to spar with Ojiro and go back to the gym the other night.

“Sorry I’ve been around so much, must be such a burden” Kirishima sighed, displeased sarcasm filtering his words before he could catch his tone.

“That’s not what I meant,” Riku gave a nervous laugh, “Just get out bed already. There’s breakfast downstairs.”

“I’m not hungry,” Kirishima rolled to bury his face in his pillow, “Just let me sleep.”

“Come off it,” Riku smiled through his words, “You love breakfast.”

Kirishima scoffed into his pillow. What the fuck did he know about anything? What made him think he knew what Kirishima did or didn’t like?

“What’s this?”

The redhead with his face buried in fabric frowned, wondering what his father might have seen and then shot up in a panic, suddenly unsure where he’d dropped the bloody towel from the night before.

Fuck don’t be that! Don’t be that!

His eyes fell on his father and he instantly breathed relief when he saw him holding up a large black T-shirt, eyebrow raised at it. He caught the anxious look on his son’s face, but just turned the shirt towards him, shaking his head. The big skull on the front of it was distinctly like Bakugo and Kirishima shrunk a little under the judgy gaze.

“I really hope this is Katsuki’s,” Riku grit his teeth, showing distaste for the garment.

Relief over him only finding an old shirt he’d borrowed from his boyfriend filtered through him as he sat back in his bed with a forced grin and a shrug. “Yeah it is,” he nodded, “I guess I forgot to get it back to him.”

“Well I think it’s cute,” Riku offered him a real smile, while he threw an uncertain look to the shirt that he dropped back to the floor, “Not the shirt, its really not my style. But that you two forget stuff at each others houses. I mean, I’m sure it’s hardly what you two are worried about when you get together, am I right?” The tall blond winked over at his son and a look of horror enveloped the young man’s expression.

“What the fuck dad!” Kirishima went red faced, unable to look the man in the eye.

“Oh come on, it’s totally normal...natural even for you have a healthy interest in each other and-”

The covers flew back over Kirishima’s face and he clamped his arms back over his ears, shaking his head. It didn’t stop Riku still trying to ramble on and burn his son with complete embarrassment.

“Stop talking!” Kirishima shouted through the blankets, “Get out of my room!”

“I’m just saying,” Riku sounded a little nervous himself, “He’s a good looking kid and you know, I’m proud of you and all...I just think it’s nice you have a positive relationship and a healthy sex life and-”

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Kirishima was muffled by the blanket, “Parents don’t talk about this shit with their kids! Get out!”

He pulled the covers away to stick Riku with an explosive look, demanding that if he didn’t walk out that door that exact moment he was going to absolutely lose his shit. Not only was the topic more awkward than he could physically handle the cringe of, it also pulsed with pangs of guilt and fear of what had happened the night before.

Riku threw up his hands at the look and took a step back, defeated. “Okay, okay! Forgive me for trying. Damn.” He didn’t really sound upset or anything, if anything a little amused by the flustered reaction from the teenager who’d gone back to trying to hide his face. It wasn’t fucking funny, but it was just like him to think it was.

Kirishima was frigid and wide eyed, turning back away from him, a little baffled by the wording. A little stifled by the phrase he’d chosen to use. He heard the footsteps retreat with a, “There’s still breakfast if you want it” and he clutched his queasy gut.

Was that really his version of “trying”?

As soon as the door clicked shut, though, it all went out of his mind as Kirishima launched out of bed and scrambled to remember where he’d thrown the bloody towel, absentmindedly rubbing where he’d bandaged his arm under the long sleeves of his shirt. He’d have to wear these shirts even around the house for a few days until the new bitemarks started to look like the others. He couldn’t have Riku noticing, couldn’t handle the outburst he knew would follow. It agitated him to no end. He hated long sleeves...hated wearing shirts most of the time really. But he’d have to bear it. His friends couldn’t see. Bakugo couldn’t see. That man who basically controlled his life couldn’t know about it for sure.

He spotted the towel stowed haphazardly under the bed, barely hidden and kicked himself for the careless placement. He’d been emotionally strung out when he’d finally made it to bed and hadn’t been thinking he’d have a parent bothering him first thing, but that didn’t excuse the foolishness of it. He’d have to be more careful next time.

Next time?

No. Fuck, there wasn’t going to be a next time! Why was he mentally preparing for a next time? One breakdown didn’t mean anything. One slip didn’t mean he was fucked. He was perfectly fine...besides the upset in his stomach and the numbness in his chest, the drained sense pulling through his sinuses, the heaviness behind his eyes.

He stared down at the towel and fell back into a seat against the side of his bed, clutching roughly at the stained fabric, the dark, almost brown color ruining the cloth. Who the fuck was he kidding? He was as upset as he’d been last night, he was just too emptied out to express it in the fitful way he’d done so before. He didn’t even know why he’d reacted that way. He had no reason.

Sure, there had been some words exchanged in anger and Bakugo’s shitty handling of emotions had definitely been worth him getting pissed off over, but no one had done anything to purposefully hurt the other. Bakugo had literally apologized as Kirishima walked out the door. Pleaded for him not to go.

But he’d left. Shit. He’d left. Why’d he leave? Bakugo was probably so pissed off. So upset. And he hated to make him upset, hated to see him angry or sad over something he’d done. He should have stayed and accepted the apology. Should have calmed down and just talked it out. Shouldn’t have let his emotions get the better of him, shouldn’t have resorted to...that. Shouldn’t have let the lingering touch of that fucking presence slip through his defenses.

A shiver ran down his spine and it felt like a spasm through his entire body. His eyes snapped shut and he squeezed at the fabric of the towel just to think about it. Because thinking about it brought it back. Because just at the memory he felt a phantom breath cut across his ear and the sharp discomfort of nails in his skin.

His eyes flung open and he spun away from where he sat, holding himself and gritting his teeth.

“Get it together, fucking get it together!” He snapped at himself.

Kirishima stormed through his room, shoving the towel under his mattress and snatching his phone from the nightstand. He knew there were messages from Bakugo on it, but he hadn’t looked. He hadn’t wanted to hear it last night. But right now he wanted anything to distract himself from the ghosts.

At least that’s what he thought until he read the messages, feeling his chest tighten and his nose scrunch at the oldest one.

King Explosion Murder: real fkn mature DONT FUCKIN RUN AWAY FROM ME

Already stinging with guilt on top of a prick of anger he scrolled to the next, which was marked a few minutes later.

KEM: dude srsly im sry jus call me

One minute after that.

KEM: fine dnt talk. Fuck u 2 i guess

KEM: im sry again. R u ok?

That was it until the morning where the presented text message that appeared had Kirishima sitting back on the bed, amazed that it was longer than two short sentences, amazed he’d tried at all to type out words. But more guilty than ever for ignoring his phone last night.

KEM: can we talk about last night? I understand if you dont want to talk to me after all the yelling. You dont want me to worry about you but now I am. U arent alright so stop pretending. I promse we wont argue. Ill be a good bf. Call me. I luv u

And at the same time, Kirishima was just as pissed off. He was perfectly fine. Bakugo was blowing that argument out of proportion. What did he mean he wasn’t alright? He was fine! He was-

His skin burned and his eyes stung when he clawed into his own chest, tingling against ghosts of old touches and cramping with his internal turmoil. He shook his head violently, denying with every waking ounce of himself that this wasn’t debilitating, that it wasn’t making a comeback. Ignoring his fearful revelation of the night before. He’d pushed through that overwhelming well of emotions and in his more leveled out state he was reeling to convince himself that that thought had just been paranoia and anxiety induced.

That’s all this was too, right? He was just being affected by his anxiety. It was just irrationality and stress. He just needed to take his meds, needed to keep his off balanced emotions in check.

That thought pushed him up and out of his room, phone slipping into the pocket of his sweatpants. He dashed downstairs, ignoring the comment from his father sitting in the living room as he passed by him and bolted straight back to the kitchen. He went into the medicine cabinet and pulled out his set of orange bottles, diving into them for his dosage, hands shaking in unbound nervous energy. He threw back the anxiety pills and then reached for the antidepressant, before his hand stopped and hovered over it.

Kirishima glared at the bottle like it had just slapped him in the face with its dick. He traced back over the weeks since he’d started it and the anxiety meds and realized with a frustrated huff that he didn’t remember ever feeling entirely calm or happy while on them. Something he may not have realized had he not practically tripped out on whatever it was that his mother was taking on the daily the night before. There’d been the throwing up and the lack of really harnessing his restraint in, but shit it felt good to feel good, even if it had only been for a short couple minutes before that huge fight. Maybe his dosage was just wrong or the medication was just wrong but he’d never felt half that happy or okay on the antidepressants. And he felt angry about it. Felt cheated.

The phone in his pocket buzzed again and the sickly strain in his heart pulled deep, not wanting to bear knowing what Bakugo was saying now, feeling like his well was refilling, like he could see the many different directions his stressed out attention was being pulled towards all being dumped into the center of his skull. But he wanted to talk to Bakugo, he wanted to set things right and make last night just go away. He didn’t want his emotions overwhelming him, especially not in the middle of the kitchen with his dad in the other room.

Shit he had to get himself under control. Not just for keeping up face, but to keep back the demons hiding outside of his door. He needed to stop the well before it filled. He needed to-

He bit his cheek when his eyes hit the bottle and the internal bargaining began. He threw a glance over his shoulder, assuring no one else was nearby. Threw the look back and reread the label twenty times as if it was going to modify the contents or change the decision he’d already reached. For his own sake he had to pretend he’d given it more thought than he had. Pretend he was acting out of rationality rather than impulse and desperation.

He popped the cap, took out the recommended dose and swallowed them down with a gulp of water before he could let himself think about it. He gathered up all the meds and started shoving them back in the cabinet, holding on the last one with a pinched brow and a grimace of regret while his thumb traced the label. Traced the word: oxycodone.

His shame was shoved away at the sound of shuffling in the other room and the cabinet slammed closed. No one entered, but his caution remained.

Kirishima scrambled quickly around the kitchen, not wanting to repeat last times mistake of medications sloshing around on an empty stomach and grabbed one of the pieces of toast in the pile his father had made for breakfast, chomping down on it without thinking. Food in general made him nauseous, but he fought through it to get in at least a bite each of the toast, eggs and bacon. He had to have something on his stomach even if his body protested and churned tumultuously.

It was a fight with himself, but he put down enough to make him think he’d be alright and went quickly out of the kitchen, running back up to his room, hiding before his father could see him again.

Still feeling about to keen over into a fit, he sat back on his bed and checked the new message, expecting another irritated note from Bakugo. But it was from Midoriya instead, rather unexpected, but a pleasant surprise.

Hero Deku: you busy today? Me and a few others are doing some training at noon. You in?

Was he in? Well he didn’t rightly know. That was its own brutal fight between his tumultuous emotions and yet to settle anxiety about fearing being around people and his restless, grating need to get out of this house and stay out of this house as much as possible. And if it was Midoriya, which likely also meant Uraraka and possibly Iida and Tsu, that meant he’d be around far more emotionally in-tune people. Which meant he’d be having to try extra hard not to show anything that was riling inside of him right now or he’d be swamped with questions and concerns if he did. Which simply drained the life right out of him to imagine having to keep up. But on the flipside...he kind of wanted the attention the group of endearing students provided.

But he also needed to deal with the Bakugo situation. Or maybe he was better off ignoring that for a while...letting the other boy cool down?

Kirishima scoffed at himself. He knew full well the longer he waited the less cool that blond hot head was going to be. He shouldn’t have even let it go this long.

First things first. He’d leave Midoriya on read for a bit. He had to make a call.

~

Bakugo’s back collided with the sand and a frustrated growl came with it. His wrists felt distinctly cold and trapped and when his vision refocused a burning hand was raised over his face, threatening him.

“Now who’s distracted?” Todoroki huffed and pulled back, giving a controlled burst of heat to the ice that he’d trapped Bakugo with.

Once it dissipated the blond launched up with a shout and a blast aimed at generally nothing. Todoroki didn’t even flinch away from it, just stood aloft from him, watching his outburst carefully as he used his quirk to cool himself down from the exertion. The fight was over so he was no longer on the defensive and despite Bakugo’s raging attitude, he was no longer on the attack.

“I’m not fucking distracted,” he bit back over his shoulder and he stormed to the benches to get his water bottle. “I’m pissed off!”

“Seems to be the same thing in your case,” Todoroki observed and sat back into the dirt to give himself a breather.

“Eat shit, asshole!” Bakugo said.

“What happened?” Todoroki continued unfazed, oddly calm, strangely more put together than he’d seen him lately, possibly in reaction to how volatile Bakugo had been all morning. It really only served to piss the blond off more, hoping he’d get a clash of anger out on the training grounds rather that a hot versus cool head face off by this meetup. Why couldn’t the damn Icyhot have all that bad attitude when he actually wanted it?

It hadn’t really gone so well for Bakugo thus far, even with his anger and frustration bounding out of control. His attacks had been sloppy and his footing off. It was hard to focus on his counter attacks and placing his blasts correctly when every few seconds his mind became clogged with the shit Kirishima had said last night...or just that look on his face.

Shit he’d fucked up so bad. But he couldn’t help the anger that bubbled up, couldn’t even truly be upset at himself over his reaction to hearing that he was suddenly being blamed for something he hadn’t realized he’d done. Maybe it should have just broken his heart to think his boyfriend saw him as some sort of rapist, but the accusation went straight to the rage center of his brain. Why the fuck didn’t the damn kid just stop him?

“We had a fight,” Bakugo grumbled and capped the bottle.

He glanced back and saw Todoroki’s expression fall, mouth twisting to the side.

“What about?”

“Like I’d tell you!” Bakugo stomped at him, but the half and half bastard just tilted his head at him.

“From my experience so far, you would,” Todoroki shrugged, sounding rather pleased with himself, “I don’t know why you do, but in case you haven’t realized yet, you always tell me...even if its been awhile since you’ve come to me about anything. I suppose it’s fine if you’ve decided not to trust me with your problems anymore. But I still don’t mind helping if I can.”

“You can’t even help yourself,” Bakugo rolled his eyes, not really meaning anything by it, just feeling annoyed and embarrassed that he really did want to just spill everything that happened last night to this boy who pissed him off so frequently. It always aggravated him how easy he found it to just rant and ramble to him, even while something deep inside him stomped and fussed that he hated him. He really didn’t like admitting that he didn’t actually bear all of those ill feelings towards the guy. He still didn’t even like admitting that Deku didn’t piss him off like he used to. If he admitted any of that, somehow, they won.

The mild jab he’d thrown at Todoroki stuck a little deeper than Bakugo expected and he caught the shifting gaze burning into the sand distractedly. Like he’d actually offended him somehow. Offended the guy who let everything fucking roll off of his back.

“Are you going to tell me or what?” Todoroki scrunched his nose and looked back, shoving off his reaction and turning a stern look back to the blond, cutting to the chase, knowing that he was just pussyfooting around what he already knew he was going to do.

“He basically said I took advantage of him,” Bakugo shoved his hands in his pockets, looking away, “That when we had sex the other day he didn’t actually want it...that it made him uncomfortable…” he swallowed at the sting of pain that came with his next words, “that he hated being with me like that...but he forced himself to do it anyway because he thought I really needed it or some shit. And he fucking made it my fault, by saying I was being pushy! I’m not fucking pushy! He can fucking say no if he doesn’t want something!”

Todoroki looked distinctively unhappy, a distant look in his eye, but an uncomfortable twist in his lip. “He told me he just wasn’t in the mood...that his medication was sort of just killing his sex drive…”

“Wait he talked to you about it?” Bakugo gaped at him.

There was a frown in response. “I just brought up what we talked about last time. I didn’t even have to say it for him to know what I was talking about and he got really defensive really fast. I’ll admit I was fairly disappointed, but I didn’t think that part of it was a big deal.”

“Fuck a duck,” the blond growled, “he couldn’t even say that to me. He’s being so fucking confusing. If it was the medication why not fucking mention that while he’s throwing accusations at me. Instead he just makes me out to be the bad guy!”

“I don’t think you’re the bad guy or anything...but, honestly you are actually kind of pushy…”

A blast whizzed past Todoroki’s face, fluffing the red half of his hair in its wake. Todoroki didn’t move.

“The fuck did you just say to me?”

Todoroki lifted his hands and sat straight. “I’m not saying it’s your fault, but you’re pretty aggressive. Don’t get me wrong...it’s what both of us like about you, but untempered and in the wrong scenario it could easily become an issue rather than a turn on.”

“I’m not the fucking problem!” The red in Bakugo’s face wasn’t from the heat and if steam could come out of his ears it would. There was a nervous look in Todoroki’s eye at his reaction, but even still that bastard just kept going.

“Aren’t you?” Todoroki pursed his lips, “I’ve seen you cut him off a lot of times or just assert yourself without asking. Remember that one time we…used those ropes and stuff...” now Todoroki was red in the face, struggling to get out his description, far more insecure and shy about going into detail on sexual topics outside of the bedroom than Bakugo tended to be; the blond often more obtuse about it than anything. To see it made Bakugo physically roll his eyes, unbelieving how the teen could be so confident and practically drip sex behind a closed door, but became like a flustered virgin in the light of day.

“He requested it,” Bakugo didn’t know where he could be going with this since those circumstances had not only been planned out, but thought out, “That was his idea!”

“I know it was,” Todoroki assured him, “And usually you’re very good at paying attention to what he wants or what he likes, but when you get too much frustration built up you stop thinking, you just get intense. Remember how he hardened on the ropes to cut them at one point because it was choking him. You didn’t even see it.”

“Well you didn’t say anything either!” Bakugo grumbled defensively.

Todoroki looked away, a little annoyed as well. “I wasn’t sure until he’d cut the rope if that’s really what was going on and because you two are too ridiculous to make up safe words I didn’t know if he was being serious or not.”

“I didn’t think we needed them!” Bakugo pinched the bridge of his nose, “Ever since we started dating he’s been the kinky one, the one who didn’t want permission or the asking if he was okay every few minutes! It’s not my fault he’s such a damn masochistic sub that he didn’t want safety considerations! And I just didn’t think about it. There wasn’t a reason for them! You never asked for any either, so don’t try making it all my fault, asshole!”

“It’s not my relationship,” Todoroki huffed, “I shouldn’t be doing your job for you.”

There was an angry huff, before Bakugo turned a slightly less serious side eye to Todoroki. “No,” he crossed his arms, eyebrow raised, “You just slip in when it's convenient and slip back out when you’re done.”

Todoroki took it a little more seriously than Bakugo’s tone intended and threw him a glare. “I’m not the one who drug me into your sex life. I didn’t push my way in, I was readily invited if I remember correctly. Not by Eijiro. By you.”

“Don’t get your fucking panties in a bunch princess,” Bakugo rolled his eyes, “I know what the fuck I did. I wasn’t being serious, for fuck’s sake, but you take everything so damn seriously as always.” He stepped right up to him and glared down, “I don’t care that you like fucking us casually. It’s the only thing I do actually like about you.”

The heterochromatic eyes drifted up to meet his reds and after a few blinks a smile pulled at Todoroki’s lips. It pulsed agitation up through Bakugo’s legs, suddenly afraid the damn guy took it as a genuine compliment. The last thing he needed was this fucker trying to get even more buddy-buddy. But he was the one spilling his relationship problems to him; a stupid mistake he found himself making a lot over the last couple years. And speaking of which…

“That’s all beside the point,” Bakugo pulled away and fell back onto the bench, “The point is that it shouldn’t be my fault if he can’t just say what he wants.”

“So you’re saying you don’t feel even a little bit bad about it?” Todoroki shuffled up to his feet, lifting his right hand to form ice crystals in the air which melted quickly in the summer heat. “It seems like a pretty serious accusation to be so simple.”

Bakugo glared at the burnt side of his face and felt through his annoyance at the remark that he’d like to add another. Then kicked himself to think it’d probably just make him even more attractive and that wouldn’t really be fair.

“I’m not some bitch that needs to mope about my feelings, I’m just pissed off,” he kicked the dirt.

“Being pissed off is still an emotion,” Todoroki calmly countered, “We’re still talking about your feelings if we’re discussing you being pissed off.”

“You trying to die, asshole?”

A small flurry of snowy ice drifted around the Icyhot teen and gusted over Bakugo, bursting cold and coating his clothes in icy residue. He shivered at it as he launched to his feet and verbally cast a growl at the lightly smirking face across from him still making ice formations in his hand.

“I’d like to see you try,” Todoroki said confidently, “But I’d rather hear you admit that you actually do feel bad about it...I know you do.”

“You don’t fucking know anything,” Bakugo muttered, slouching back, knowing full well that Todoroki had hit the nail on the head, but was too frustrated in general to deal with being called out on his bullshit, “I’m done talking about this shit, just leave me alone.”

“Katsuki.”

Bakugo flinched and bared his teeth at hearing his name come from that fucking mouth like that. Like he had any right to be so familiar with him outside of his bedroom. Outside of very specific circumstances that required a third presence to be something any of them would consider appropriate. There were guidelines to these sort of things.

“Don’t act for a second like I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve been there from the start and I’ve been friends with both of you for years. I know what guilty looks like on you. Right now you’re dripping in it.”

There was a firmness in Todoroki’s tone and, entirely despite himself and the topic, Bakugo couldn’t help finding he liked it. Which was fucking stupid. He must be some extra kind of frustrated, have a whale of pent up aggravation roiling inside, to find so many of the guys annoying ass traits to be...still annoying...but in a way that made him clench the muscles in his thighs and want another blast of that icy wind to cool him down. His body begged him to vent every ounce of it onto him, but it wasn’t asking for another match.

Agitated by these thoughts, he kept looking away from him, not wanting to indulge an ounce of the instincts that grew over his angered state and chose to ignore Todoroki as much as possible. His presence was becoming uncomfortable and he really needed him to just leave.

“Fucking leave me alone,” Bakugo grumbled, “I don’t want to hear it. Just go the fuck home. We’ll meet up next week.”

He expected a complaint or a know-it-all response from the other boy, but instead he felt shuffling at his side and looked to find Todoroki gathering his things and slinging his gym bag over his shoulder. The blond watched his calm expression turn softly to him, their eyes meeting and Bakugo feeling like he needed to curl into himself.

“Look Bakugo...” Todoroki’s voice turned sullen and his eyes dipped back over the dirt, unable to hold the gaze, shifting on the balls of his feet.

Whatever he was going to say was cut off by the musical accompaniment of Bakugo’s phone ringing, half startling them both with the loud, pulsing rap that burst from the device. Bakugo didn’t spare Todoroki another second of attention when he saw the name and quickly swiped to answer, pushing off of the bench and stepping away from the other boy.

“Eijiro?” he said hopefully into the phone and held his breath. His anger was gone, vanished, instead a thick wad of anxiety knotted up his chest.

“Hey,” the response was a little sluggish, but it was Kirishima’s voice nonetheless, music to his ears, the beat of his heart embodied, “um...Katsuki...uh...can you talk right now?”

“Yeah,” Bakugo rushed to respond, throwing a glance over his shoulder to find Todoroki watching him, “I just finished up practice. Do you want to meet?”

“That’s...not a good idea right now,” Kirishima mumbled a little, sounding a little sleepy, but not upset, “Can we just clear the air and get together after?”

Bakugo would have liked to say no, demand they talk in person. But he kept his cool, just barely, and decided it was better to not escalate things again. Not in this situation. Not right now. Not after all they’d been through. Not while in the back of his mind he did somersaults of worry over the emotional state of the boy on the other end of the line. And that made him angry at himself for once again viewing the guy as fragile when that was everything Kirishima was fighting to avoid.

“Okay,” Bakugo agreed hesitantly, “Look I’m…” he glanced back at Todoroki again and then said in a whisper, “really sorry. Last night got out of hand. I shouldn’t have yelled at you...that should never have been an argument to begin with.”

“Yeah...that was pretty ridiculous.” There was a half hearted laugh, not quite seeming genuine, but light enough to hit Bakugo’s heart, comfort him a little. “And...I don’t blame you okay. I’m sorry about that…”

Bakugo felt his breath catch in his throat and his expression scrunched up. Angry because why the hell had he been so accusing about it last night if he was just going to take it back now? But relieved at the same time to maybe know that he wasn’t a rapist in his boyfriend’s eyes. He kept his voice clear though, not wanting to let any emotion slip through with Todoroki so close by. “No?”

“Really,” Kirishima affirmed, “But like...I need some distance from all that. It's just uncomfortable for me. And I know that disappoints you and I know Shoto’s probably disappointed too...he looks like he needs it more than you do…but I can’t take care of you right now.”

Bakugo frowned at the observation and eyed the half and half bastard standing off, eyeing him curiously. The guy had mentioned wanting a roll in the hay and all that, but he didn’t see what made Kirishima think he was in some great need of it, desperate for it or whatever.

He turned back to the phone call with a shake of his head.

“Stop acting like I can’t handle myself,” Bakugo sounded more snippy than he wanted to and winced in regret at his own tone, but got his own sense of hurt pride that the redhead assumed he had to be taken care of in some way, “And the icy fuck doesn’t matter. He can go fuck himself if he’s so desperate.”

“You don’t have to be a dick about it,” the voice over the phone spoke in a grumble, “Just say you’ll respect what I want for now and back off, you don’t have to give me attitude.”

This didn’t feel like their usual tease, didn’t have that lighthearted undertone of banter and half hearted insults. He sounded really agitated with Bakugo, actually quite low on patience, but his demand had strength. And that was enough for Bakugo to feel good about him. He didn’t care if Kirishima was short tempered as long as he was still the tough, manly guy he knew.

“Fine,” Bakugo shrugged, feeling an ache of disappointment grip through him at his own agreement. He physically hit his fist into his thigh to get his head straight. He wasn’t a slave to his desires, he could be perfectly fine without the intimacy of their relationship for a while, it wasn’t a requirement to them being happy together. He could be perfectly happy without it...or so he was trying to tell himself.

“Thanks, bro,” Kirishima said and seemed to take a heavy sigh.

It seemed like a good point to change topics, to maybe pick a place to meet or make a joke or try to get them back on track...but Bakugo was nagged and his tongue acted without his brain really giving the go ahead. He didn’t regret the question as much as he should have, though, and there was something a little offended in his tone.

“Why is it so uncomfortable for you, though? Is it the medication or did something happen? You never gave me an answer.”

There was silence on the other end, followed by whispering he couldn’t make out. The hesitation only riled his curiosity further and his frown deepened with every second he went without a response. But when it finally came he turned back to agitation.

“It just fucking is,” Kirishima griped, “Drop it. I’m fine.”

The obvious lump in the boys throat told otherwise, but there was stubbornness laced all through Kirishima’s voice. Stubbornness to clash head on with his own.

It took every ounce of his restraint not to throw those same arguments at him that he had the night before. The exasperation. The ridiculousness of him saying that everything was perfectly fine with him, but also claiming he couldn’t stand being touched was enough to make Bakugo want to throttle something. Maybe that wasn’t so weird for most people, but Kirishima was...insatiable. He was the one always showing up at his door wearing something ridiculous and telling him to play along, tossing sex toys in his face and trying to see how creatively they could have sex in unconventional locations. And Bakugo had always had the stamina to match it...but being an absolute slut was Kirishima’s thing...and now he was acting like Bakugo should just take it at face value that he suddenly had no interest in what had been his favorite hobby their entire relationship. He wasn’t supposed to question it at all? Wasn’t supposed to find that concerning?

It didn’t have anything to do with his own neglected needs, it had everything to do with how unnerving this situation was. It didn’t change that his body was burning for him...or that getting cock blocked by the frantic outburst of his boyfriend the night before had put a persistent knot of frustration pulsing low inside of him...but consciously he knew his biggest concern was with what Kirishima wasn’t telling him.

Shit like that doesn’t just happen. People didn’t just stop wanting sex for no reason. Especially not someone like him.

“Okay,” Bakugo said through grit teeth, having to ignore the things he wanted to say and accuse, “Whatever. You’re fine. Sorry for asking…”

There was an exhausted sigh crackling over the speaker. “Come on, man, don’t be like that. Can we just...move on? Pretend none of it happened?”

“Sure,” Bakugo lied, internally persistent about not dropping this, not convinced. For Kirishima’s current sake, though, he quickly moved past it, rattling off some suggestions, elevating his tone, “Want to take a weekend trip or something? Go hiking? We could get the extras to come. Todoroki too if you want.”

At mentioning his name Bakugo looked up to see the man in question and startled to realize that he’d moved in close and was hovering annoyingly near beside him. Still expressionless and simply watching Bakugo talk on the phone, listening to his half of the conversation. It instantly pissed him off to think the guy had been trying to eavesdrop or really just that he was closing in on his personal space again. Fuck did this guy even have an understanding of proximity?

 

Bakugo shoved a fist against Todoroki’s chest and pushed back hard, trying to get some distance while he waited for Kirishima to answer.

“That sounds fun actually,” Kirishima’s voice lightened up some, “I could use the sun. Do you want to camp out? I can get the gear from my dad’s garage.”

For a moment Bakugo was distracted by the curious tilt of Todoroki’s head, feeling the need to scowl deeply at him and continue to push him off, though the boy remained persistent in hovering.

“Yeah, yeah,” Bakugo nodded, “Camping sounds good. Want to head out tonight?”

“I can do that,” the tint of excitement in Kirishima’s voice, coursed relief through Bakugo, “I’ll ask Midoriya if he wants to come. I know you’re probably with Shoto, so ask him and I’ll text the gang.”

Usually he would have felt it necessary to assert a certain amount of distaste over including Deku, he had a reputation to uphold after all. But right now he needed to keep any signs of confrontation miles away. Didn’t want anything to spur this finally pleasant conversation into another fight.

“Yeah I’ll ask him,” Bakugo crinkled his nose at the teen in question and pulled his face out of Todoroki’s sightline, “Meet at my house at 5. And Eijiro…”

Hesitation. “Katuski?”

 

Bakugo shrugged away from Todoroki once more, speaking under his breath so that the other couldn’t hear him. “I still love you...or whatever.”

It was a good thing his boyfriend knew him well, knew that what would seem like a half assed attempt at affection to most, was a very sweet sentiment when coming from the hot headed blond. There was a smile in his words when he threw it back and even Bakugo allowed a small grin.

“Love you too, dude,” he said, “see you in a while.”

“See you.”

Once he hit the red button Bakugo swung back at Todoroki with burning eyes.

“Back the fuck off already!” he snapped, Todoroki merely crossing his arms, eyebrows raised. Bakugo rolled his eyes and stomped back to gather up his stuff. “We’re going camping tonight. You coming?”

There was an array of questions painting Todoroki’s expression, but he didn’t voice any of the ones that seemed important, instead relaxing his shoulders and following after Bakugo slowly.

“I could do that,” he agreed, “Who will be going?”

Bakugo shrugged, “I don’t know yet. Eijiro’s asking everyone else. Probably Ashido, Sero, Kaminari and whoever else he randomly decides on in the moment. Oh yeah and Deku apparently.”

“Midoriya?”

There was that cold tone again, that brisk irritation flowing freely off of Todoroki’s tongue. A dart in his direction told Bakugo that he looked just as offput as he sounded and Bakugo shook his head, not understand nor caring to understand.

“Well show up at my house at 5 if you’re coming,” Bakugo strapped his gym bag on his shoulder and eyed him over once more.

Todorki’s gaze was stuck in the ground and for that moment at least he didn’t look like he was in a hurry to follow after Bakugo. Instead his body language was tight and stiff and the frost that sometimes lingered on his fingers was making its way up his arm...actually it was moving along his body to sprinkle over his left side, to ice down his hot half, like he was trying to balance himself out, like whatever was going on in his head was unsettling his control of himself and his powers.

He turned to leave at the sight, shaking it off and taking the opportunity to maybe slip away and lose the guy before he stuck to his side again. But the look of him was sticking in Bakugo’s brain, probably manifesting in his own frustrations and unbridled agitation and worry over what was going on with his boyfriend and how their sparing had done nothing to alleviate that in him. And maybe Kirishima was right. Maybe that guy really did just need to get laid. But it wasn’t Bakugo’s fucking problem.

He had his own problems. And if he couldn’t exhaust his frustrations sexually than he shouldn’t care if Todoroki could either. Shouldn’t. But annoyingly. He did.

Chapter Text

Kirishima showed up a little early. He had to get a couple minutes to see Bakugo before anyone else showed up. He was feeling a lot better, a lot more calm, strangely light again. If he didn’t he probably wouldn’t have agreed to a camping trip, wouldn’t have wanted to be alone around Bakugo at all. It was always uncomfortable meeting back up after a fight, even though they’d sort of cleared the air about it already. But those times before he didn’t have the magical assistance of medication that actually did something to affect his mood. Whatever the fuck oxycodone was, he wanted in, sign him up, because this felt functional, this felt doable, if not a little closer to loopy than he usually would.

When he saw Bakugo, the redhead managed a full on smile and a very Kirishima-esk hug, the kind where he tried to pick him up just to hear him fuss. He didn’t get a complaint this time, Bakugo was strangely quiet about it, his returned hug less tight than usual. When he set him back down, he didn’t go for a kiss, didn’t offer a prolonging of the embrace, just pulled free and directed him to follow him to finish loading up the car, not offering another word on their argument or their trying to make up.

There wasn’t much time to linger on it. People started showing up and there was a lot to distract them both within moments. Sero drove Denki and Mina over and the balls of energy bounced about in exuberance over the idea of taking a weekend trip, which filled Kirishima to the brim with positive energy to be around. In minutes the group had devolved into a mess of shouting and trying to see who could hold who on their shoulders, which evolved into chicken wars in moments. Bakugo yelled at them to act their age, but even he shouted a bit of encouragement for Mina and Kirishima to knock the shit out of their opponents.

By the time they all collapsed into a pile in the grass, no one actually winning, since their overall lack of balance had won out, Midoriya arrived with Uraraka in tow, throwing smiles and waves at the lot of them. They’d already been around Kirishima that day so they went to the others first. And just about when the overall greetings died down, the front door burst open, one Bakugo Mitsuki emerging with excitement and intent in her eye, shocking the lot of them when she went for the green haired boy, babbling incoherently about not seeing him in so long.

Bakugo screamed at her that she didn’t care that much when he came home from anything and the rest of the very ignored kids chuckled at Midoriya fighting to free himself from the strong woman grappling him in a hug. He could have escaped her easily if he’d been trying, his quirk was no joke, and far powerful enough to break a hug he didn’t want to be a part of. But he subtly let her fawn over him, blushing all the while.

“I don’t even remember the last time you were at my house, child, why don’t you come around?” Mitsuki squeezed up and down his large arms, marveling at his size, while behind her back Mina mimicked her, using Sero as her Midoriya doll, endlessly entertained by the boy’s situation, “Holy shit was it Christmas last time you were here? Like the one before last?”

The color drained from Midoriya’s face and the smile he gave her was very forced, his green eyes darting past her to Kirishima, and then unable to manage looking the boy in the face at all. And Kirishima kind of felt the same way, sitting back on the grass, rubbing his neck uncomfortably as he threw a glance over at Bakugo, suddenly flooded with memories of the Christmas she was talking about. Bakugo didn’t look like he was even paying attention, but the way he faced so pointedly away, made it clear he wasn’t very comfortable bringing that incident back up. Luckily no one around them seemed to notice how awkward the demeanor of the three boys got and Mitsuki rushed on past it to continue to fawn over how much Midoriya had grown.

The topic change was much appreciated. None of them wanted to dwell on it, each for their own reasons. Very different reasons.

Todoroki arrived right as Bakugo forced his mother back inside and Midoriya bashfully attempted to explain what sort of a person Mitsuki was to a rather confused Uraraka. Since that was everyone, Bakugo cut off any greetings that were attempting to be exchanged and took charge. They divided into two cars, Sero’s and Bakugo’s. Midoriya offered to ride with Bakugo and Uraraka followed that decision, adding on Mina with them, the pink girl wanting to catch up with the low gravity hero on the ride. And about as fast as that decision was made Todoroki said he’d be riding with Sero and Denki, leaving Kirishima up for grabs in both cars.

In the end he felt good, but was still wary around Bakugo after their last conversation, after he’d tried to accuse him of not being alright, that sort of hesitance in his hug still lingering on Kirishima. He really didn’t want to think about it...or at least didn’t want to think about it while sitting next to him and decided on the other car instead. Bakugo didn’t express any disappointment, but Kirishima could still pick up a hint of it as they loaded up and hit the road.

Kirishima had them make a quick stop at his house to pick up the camping supplies and thankfully no one was home. He didn’t care why.

People didn’t come over to his house and each of his friends gave comment about it being really nice and talking about how they’d like to see the inside sometime. But Kirishima ushered them along, saying they didn’t want to get behind the others and in a short couple minutes they were on the road.

~

“Keep the fuck up or go the fuck home!”

Bakugo shouted back down the path to the stragglers, namely Mina and Uraraka who were somehow still yammering on after a fucking two hour drive together! The talking wasn’t the problem, even though he prefered silence. At his back Kaminari was babbling just as fast and excitedly to Deku. It was the fact that they were hiking slowly, that they all had to slow down to allow them to keep up. And Bakugo’s patience had about run out, he was going to go his pace no matter what the others were doing.

“Suck my entire ass, fuckface!” came the eloquent reply from the pink girl at the back of the group.

The blond came full stop and spun back on her, alighting sparks in his hands and making the row of people standing between them hesitate and watch the confrontation with interest.

“Say that to my face, bitch!”

“Say it to my ass, dickwad!”

“Tell him, Mina!” was Sero’s unneeded input, before he was ducking behind Kaminari for cover.

Kirishima was the closest in position to the girls and did his best to calm things back down. “Mina, please don’t antagonize him.”

The pink girl was giggling, though, enjoying trying to piss her friend off. Uraraka had a much more cautious look on her face, but she wasn’t exactly stopping her friend either.

“I’ll fucking fight you!” Bakugo shouted.

“Come at me bro!”

“I’ll end your fucking bloodline!”

No such conflict occurred, not that it would be so bloody or terrible as their yelling would indicate; despite what it looked like there was a lot of love between those two. Instead the person nearest to Bakugo grabbed him by both shoulders and shoved him back along the path, hands hot and cold and unnerving. He stumbled forward a little and threw a pouty glare back at the pink girl.

“There’s no need for a fight,” Todoroki shook his head.

Bakugo shrugged off any further contact with annoyance and stomped back along the trail with purpose and a grumble. Not angry at Mina in the least really, but far more agitated at Todoroki’s intervention...and the fact that he was the one hiking directly at his back, which meant he was in his personal space again.

It only took a few minutes for everything to go back to normal, the two at the front content to hike silently while the bramble behind them chattered. Bakugo didn’t usually like bringing people hiking with him, sometimes not even Kirishima depending on his mood. It was a time of introspection, quiet, and just enjoying exercise mixed with nature. But that’s not really what the rest of them seemed to think, Kirishima really never had. He always wanted to talk while they hiked, so he was more than happy that he was hanging back with the others who wanted to go on and on. And however much Bakugo wanted some space from Todoroki, at least he wasn’t saying anything. That much at least he could respect about the guy. He could keep his damn mouth shut.

The rest of their hike was relatively pleasant and they stopped at a scenic ridge for a break after another hour or so. It was really relieving to take it in, just breathe the fresh air of the altitude. Kirishima found his way back to his side while he watched it, but neither said anything. If anyone was aware of how Bakugo appreciated silence while taking in the scope of a view like that it was his boyfriend, which was more than relieving, considering Bakugo was feeling a little on edge around him at the moment. It was hard to know what to say or not to say to him after that fight and the things that were brought up. He thought he’d be fine on this trip, but from the moment Kirishima had shown up, Bakugo felt unsettled by him, like he was staring at a glassy facade when he looked at his face. But there was nothing he could say about it. No accusation he could make, no subtle coaxing to make it go away without incurring another distressing fight. And they’d fought before sure...that wasn’t new; they usually had a really good time making up too. But this fight felt different. It made his chest tighten to think about and his gut tried to make him keel over. Because it was a difference in opinion, perhaps a misunderstanding. But there was definitely damaged feelings. It didn’t help that Kirishima was obviously hiding something and with Bakugo’s patience as short as it was, it surfaced in agitation towards the boy, even though there was nothing he was doing to annoy him at the moment. He was just there. Just driving Bakugo crazy with his plastic expression and stiff laughs.

Son of a bitch. Like Bakugo was going to miss that after he lost his shit the other night. He hadn’t been watching before, turned a blind eye. There was none of that now. Now he had X-ray vision on him at all times, eyeing him like a hawk with prey, questioning everything he did.

And there were all of these people here. Why did he suggest they invite them again? Had he been that desperate to make Kirishima happy? To make up for blowing his lid? He wanted them gone and he wanted to just hold Kirishima under the starlight and quietly take in the mountain alone. He did, but he didn’t. The idea of being alone with him came with just as many complications...just as many agitations that he felt so cautious about even taking his hand now. So cautious that everything he said was going to make him mad. That despite the apologies and forgiveness...that maybe Kirishima really did see him in a poor light because he’d technically taken advantage of him. He was obviously putting on some sort of front...it just wasn’t obvious what was being hidden.

Thinking about it all disrupted his enjoyment of the view. And what a view it was. Rolling hills filled lush with trees, painting the entire countryside that tumbled along below them in greens that dipped down into dark valleys and careened up to touch the clear blue of the sky, cloudless, perfect. The smell of the air was crisp too, lightly like pine and the rustle of the steady breeze alighted his ears...along with the panting of his party and the chatter they passed around while they caught their breaths. All of the charm of it lost on him due to nagging thoughts and awkward silences.

He didn’t want to seem unhappy, but he couldn’t force a smile out and little gestures like squeezing Kirishima’s shoulder or touching his hand scared him to attempt. The last thing he wanted was to feel him wince under the touch of his hand. He remembered the pain that ripped through him when he’d run to Kirishima after his rescue and the way he shot away from Bakugo before he knew who had touched his shoulder. It was the same sort of thing when he’d reacted so adversely to being touched last night, that panicked retreat, wide eyed, like the hand that touched him was made of razor. Bakugo never wanted to feel or see him do that again. Never wanted to risk witnessing that again.

So he stayed his hand and stepped back, looking away from the maroon eyes that had turned to him so expectantly. He couldn’t make the contact. He didn’t have a fucking clue what he could or couldn’t do around him now and he couldn’t exactly ask with all these people around. All he could do was retreat and snap at his party that it was time to head back to camp. He didn’t want to get caught out in the dark.

Bakugo didn’t allow himself to see Kirishima’s reaction, just jumped into leadership mode and screamed at his friends until they fell in behind him to head back the way they’d come. The familiarly chilly presence returned to just behind him and oddly enough it felt comforting to know Todoroki was at his back...that there was some human, flimsy barrier between himself and the person who was making him run circles through his head.

They kept their bubble of silence while the conversations behind them picked up, lively and exuberant all the way down the mountain. They attempted to engage with Todoroki, but he was short with his responses. Not rude, just not being much of a conversationalist. The few times Bakugo glanced back at him, he had a far off look in his eye and the tiniest downward tilt to his mouth. At least Bakugo wasn’t the only one stuck obnoxiously in his own head.

When they got back to the cars it was just before nightfall and they went quickly into making camp, which helped keep Bakugo from having to talk to Kirishima for a little while longer. Todoroki started a fire and Sero secured the tents, putting his quirk to use. Kaminari charged everyone’s phones to Uraraka’s amusement, especially since Kaminari didn’t get what was so funny. Mina assisted in getting beddings ready and Deku attempted to help Bakugo make something for dinner. Which mainly got Deku yelled at and a shout from Kirishima telling him to play nice. Deku didn’t seem to care that Bakugo didn’t want him interfering, he never fucking did.

In another hour their camp was perfection, food was made, and they were an exhausted cluster in the middle, circled around the fire, chowing down and chirping. Bakugo quietly ate his food beside a similarly quiet Todoroki while they rest went on, Kirishima pushing out an unreal amount of enthusiasm at the moment. Which should have been heartening. But Bakugo didn’t believe anything anymore. He just watched him expressively chatter at his friends with an eye of suspicion, getting a few cautious glances from the boy once in a while.

“And then we would have to push spools up the hill and line them up on a mark to use as a stool to reach the ropes that we’d have to climb from there!” Kirishima babbled about his obstacle course idea, directing most of his wide eyed enthusiasm at Deku who was nodding with intrigue.

“So where do the ropes go?”

“Ooo!” Mina threw her hand up, “A treehouse! Say a treehouse!”

“There’s no treehouses on an obstacle course!” Sero folded his arms, narrowing eyes at her.

“Why not?” Uraraka had a serious look on her face, genuinely considering it, “The item or goal could be inside of it and whoever gets to it first would be the winner. There’s no reason for there not to be.”

Kirishima and Deku looked thoughtfully at each other and smiled towards the gravity hero.

“I like that actually,” Kirishima agreed, “We can just make that the end of the course!”

“What’s the prize though?” Kaminari raised an eyebrow, tapping his lip.

Kirishima shrugged. “It’s just an idea, I don’t know.”

“Okay, okay, but like, there is one thing I’m not getting about it,” Mina held up both hands to grab the attention of two who were doing the main part of the plotting, “What’s...a spool?”

That was a little past what Bakugo could sit by listening to without getting involved. “It’s those giant fucking wood things for coiling big wires, you moron!”

Fuck, this girl and her stupid questions. It made him just want to...throw her up against something...maybe shut her up forcefully...somehow...fuck he really had a problem. His frustration with Kirishima was not manifesting in healthy ways right now. But these damn thick headed morons that pissed him off just seemed to all be so...damn dummy thicc themselves. Was he just attracted to stupid?

It didn’t quite align with what he’d told Midnight yesterday...saying intelligence was what he looked for in a woman. But that really didn’t seem to be what he looked for in men...and he had actually slept with Mina before so that kind of killed the argument that his woman had to be intelligent for him to consider bedding…

He shook his head to fight of the confusing assault to his brain. He didn’t want to existentially consider what his actual tastes in men and women were...especially not bring up with himself and consider further what had caused him to want to date Miyagi. He could feel those talks with Midnight affecting him and making him drift instantly to wondering about how that all correlated and he didn’t like it.

This was stressful enough without bringing Miyagi back up or those damn sessions with Midnight.

“Yeah,” Deku nodded, “The wire holders. Like the things that hold thread...but huge! I can see an issue with splinters though…”

“Pfft,” Kirishima hardened his entire arms in a cross and smirked, “Not a problem for me.”

There was a chorus of boos and snickering complaints from the rest that his solution only worked for him and Kirishima fought off irritated shoves from his friends. He laughed at their reactions, softening and lounging back against the log they’d set around the fire with a content look in his eye.

Bakugo watched it closely and after a moment, ignoring the continued conversation of the people around him, frowned undeniably at Kirishima. Not content. That wasn’t what that look was. He’d seemed weirdly happy today and kind of rubber faced...but it was his eyes, something in them that looked off, wrong. And Bakugo started to realized why it looked familiar and he verbally growled when he realized.

All that caution he had earlier disappeared into annoyance and a violent concern. Without warning Bakugo was on his feet, dropping his bowl aside and stepping over to Kirishima.

The others were only just stopping to look at him when he grabbed the boy by the arm and pulled him to his feet, a dull blink in his eye as he had a delayed realization that his boyfriend had just jerked him up forcefully.

“Katsu...what-?”

Bakugo gripped tightly and pulled him along moving away from everyone else. They all watched them leave, seeing the intense look from Bakugo, but no set of peepers felt more stuck to them than Todoroki’s. There was almost warning in the thick glare, but Bakugo brushed it away with a sneer. The fucker didn’t know anything.

“What’s your problem dude?” Kirishima complained as he stumbled along behind him back to where they had parked the cars. Into the dark. Behind Bakugo’s car. “What the fuck is up with you, you’re gonna fucking scare everyone?”

Bakugo twisted around and shoved him against the back of the car and whipped out his phone, turning its light on to direct at his boyfriend’s face, like an interrogation in an old movie. Kirishima blinked away and threw up his hands, but Bakugo knocked them away, taking a good look at his face, eyeing the dazed look in his eyes and his slow response.

“The hell is wrong with you?” Kirishima shoved him away and blinked against the blinding brightness of the light now that it had dropped away.

“What’s wrong with me?” Bakugo’s eyes went wide, “Have you fucking looked at yourself? You’ve got that fucking look on your face again. The same one you had last night, so what the fuck is going on?”

The upbeat light in Kirishima’s eyes turned orange with anger and his face pursed up at his boyfriend. His fists hardened and softened a couple times.

“You’re really back on this bullshit?” Kirishima hissed at him, “You fucking act like you don’t even want me to be okay! I’m fucking fine!" An indignant pout caught Kirishima's lip, with a grumble and a shrug, "You’re the one who’s acting all distant.”

“Don’t fucking try to change the subject,” Bakugo stepped into him threateningly, the boy not cowering, but not entirely confident looking either, “Last time you had that look on your face you were acting like some high ass motherfucker and we had a fight, so don’t fucking tell me to calm down when you won’t explain anything. I’ve asked about a hundred times already, but I’ll fucking ask it again, are you fucking on something?”

The reaction was slow again, but Kirishima turned momentarily stunned. Dull eyes widened a little, looking away like he was watching something in his own head, pondering over it intently.

“Eijiro!” Bakugo snapped at him, drawing his attention back in, “What. Are. You. On?”

He hovered inches away, hesitant to touch him, but wanting to trap him there to assure he got an answer. His concern and anger was rampant and this boy needed to give him a real response. His fear over Kirishima’s last reaction to being touched made him extremely wary to resort to it, but he’d hold him there if he had to. For now he stayed just enough away.

“Katsuki I’m not-”

Kirishima startled, pulled into himself a fist slammed into the vehicle beside him. His arms went up and he caught his breath, a shake running through his legs.

“Stop lying to me!” Bakugo pushed the arms down, trying to grab his eye contact and failing. His chest hurt to do this, but his worry was overwhelming. He was already certain of how much he’d regret coming at him like this...but if his suspicions were correct and there was something more seriously wrong with Kirishima than the boy let on, he’d have hated himself even more not to have done anything.

It was a scramble of hands, Kirishima trying to get him away, but Bakugo not budging or letting him hide behind his arms again. He didn’t resort to pinning him down, but finally caught hold of his chin to make him face him, leaning close to watch his frantic, still glazed eyes.

“You took something didn’t you?” he hissed, “Last night and today. You said you didn’t start any new meds, so what is it?”

Agonizingly Kirishima pulled his eyes up to meet Bakugo’s, unable to look strong against the fierceness of the blond’s gaze. When he spoke his voice was meak and small and Bakugo cringed into himself to think it might have sounded a bit frightened.

“I don’t know,” Kirishima swallowed, eyes falling to the ground, shamefully, “just something my...that I found in the cabinet.”

“What was it?” Bakugo persisted, deep voice becoming like a growl, intimidating.

Kirishima shrugged and hugged himself close, unable to look at his boyfriend. “Some shit called oxycodone. I don’t know what is...just some pain medicine or something. I-I took it on accident, but…”

“But what?” Bakugo frowned, unsure what to make of that. He wasn’t familiar with medication. That could be or mean anything to him. All he knew was that Kirishima didn’t look normal and he wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing, he just needed to know what was going on and if there was reason for him to be worried.

“But I feel better on it, okay!” Kirishima clinched up and grit his teeth, “The anti-depressants and anxiety medication don’t fucking do anything!”

“So you’re saying you’re fine, but you’re also saying your meds don’t work,” Bakugo threw out his arms and stepped back, exasperated, “Which the fuck is it? What is your fucking definition of fine, Eijiro? We obviously aren’t on the same damn page here!”

“The medication not working wasn’t a problem until you fucking couldn’t keep your hands to yourself!” Kirishima shivered and choked up just a little before violently shaking it off.

Ah. There it was again. That fucking issue that kept coming back up. Bakugo just fumed silently at it. Was he forgiven or not? Was that going to be thrown at him every time something went a little wrong?

“The idea of even calling you was stressful enough to kill me, so I’m fucking sorry if I decided to try and help myself with the one thing I found that might help me deal with you!” Kirishima ground his sharp teeth at Bakugo, less fearful of eye contact now, "And it got me through today didn’t it? You acted like a complete ass from start to finish and I didn’t do or say anything. You’re the one flying off the handle and dragging me away from our friends to get all pissy at me! So don’t act like I’m the one that has a problem right now!”

“I was just worried,” Bakugo huffed frustration at him, “I’m not fucking allowed to be worried when I see you acting weird? Would you rather me be dense? And fine, whatever, it helps, that’s fucking fantastic! Just don’t blame me for getting concerned that you look all fucking spaced out without you explaining yourself. You could just say something next time.”

“I didn’t think I had to tell you every little thing I did,” Kirishima crossed his arms, stepping away from the car, “I’m not your fucking damsel and I don’t need you treating me like a child.”

“So it’s a crime that I care then?” Bakugo said, “It’s a crime that I want to actually know what’s going on with you? You never told me what made your dad send you to the hospital or what happened while you were there! I’ve been in the fucking dark about everything and I was fine with that until you fucking accused me of raping you, because I didn’t fucking know what you were going through!”

Kirishima winced heavily and shook his head, like he was trying to shake the words out before they could get in. “Stop!” he shouted, “You didn’t...don’t use that damn word...that’s not what...it’s not what happened.”

Bakugo moved right past his attempt to deflect things, scuffing his boots into the dirt. “Either just be honest or keep your bullshit away from me.”

Kirishima’s jaw loosened and he gapped at Bakugo with disbelief, obviously stricken by the statement. And Bakugo’s guilt doubled, ached into the very depth of his chest, cut his heart with fiberglass shards. He was just trying to jar the guy into being honest...and maybe he’d gotten more angry than he’d anticipated...maybe venting a bit...but he really was becoming afraid that Kirishima was just going to keep not telling him anything, that he’d keep making mistakes and keep getting lashed out at for them. He’d rather them keep emotional distance than deal with that constantly...but he hoped beyond anything Kirishima would just agree to some honesty and maybe just tell him about what was going on with him instead of letting Bakugo freak out over stuff he didn’t understand.

But Kirishima turned the most stubborn, hurt look he’d ever seen at him, spitting into his words. “Fine. Fucking stay away from me then if I’m such a damn bother to be around.”

Kirishima spun away from him and Bakugo’s chest swelled with panic.

Fuck! Fucking fucksticks! What had he done?

“Eijiro stop!” Bakugo lunged after him before he could get a step away, regretting suddenly every one of those thoughts and words. He couldn’t let him walk away angry and upset like last time. He couldn’t live through that kind of heartache again.

His hand hovered in the air a wisp away from Kirishima’s shoulder, but the boy came full stop. And because he did Bakugo didn’t touch him, just let his arm fall back to his side, while the redhead turned a sharp look back, that whole glazed, cloudy appearance entirely gone.

“I didn’t fucking mean it,” Bakugo tightened his whole face in aggravation with himself, “Don’t leave. I’m not trying to push you away dammit. That’s the last fucking thing I want. I just don’t know what to do right now. After all that, how am I supposed to act around you? We’ve had no closure about any of it and I don’t know how real you’re being about how you feel. You’re fucking keeping me at arms length here!”

Kirishima shook his head and turned back on him, disbelieving. “I was fucking trying today! You were the one being distant! You’ve barely said a word to me all day except to corner me and accuse me!”

“Because I’m scared for you and you won’t tell me anything! Since last night I’m fucking scared if I look at you too hard you’ll fucking break! I don’t know how to act around you right now!”

“Dammit to fuck, Katsuki!” Kirishima ran his hands over his face.

At this point the rustling of footsteps in fallen leaves stopped them from saying anything further, both having momentarily forgotten that there were others in this camp and that they weren’t being as quiet as they should have been. They both looked to the face peeking around the car, taking cautious steps towards them, brow twisted in uncertainty. And oddly both were a little relieved that it was Todoroki out of all of their friends. Not that either actually wanted him around right now, but if he’d actually heard any of the conversation it required less explanation than for the others.

“Is everything alright over here?” Todoroki blinked grey and blue eyes over them, noting their agitated stances and the red in their faces showing that this had not been a pleasant talk.

Something softened in Kirishima’s eyes at seeing him, but it was forced. “It’s...it’s nothing Shoto, we’ll be back in a minute.”

“It sounded like you were arguing…”

 

Bakugo huffed. Just like Todoroki to not take a hint. To just blurt out the obvious.

“Fuck off Icyhot!” Bakugo stomped in his direction.

That seemed to deepen Todoroki’s determination not to turn back. Instead he moved closer to them, brow furrowed, especially at Bakugo.

“I told you it’s nothing,” Kirishima insisted, less nicely this time, more nervous.

“So you keep saying,” Bakugo scrunched his nose at his boyfriend, indignant.

“Because it’s fucking true!” Kirishima shot back, as if they’d forgotten Todoroki was standing right there in an instant.

“Bullshit!” Bakugo looked ready to fight and Kirishima seemed ready to counter.

But Todoroki wasn’t letting that happen. Dull ice knocked back both raised fists before stepped between them and turned bewildered stares at them. Like he’d never seen something so ridiculous in his life.

“Enough of whatever this is,” Todoroki demanded, “You both need to calm down.” he turned more directly to Kirishima, watching him intently. “Are you okay?”

Against all of Bakugo’s expectations Kirishima gave Todoroki the most annoyed look he’d seen on his face all night. And for a moment Bakugo genuinely thought he was more likely to fight Todoroki than himself...which was not something he never had seen from him. He got along annoyingly well with that cold bastard. They didn’t argue, they didn’t get on each others nerves. But now Kirishima was throwing full blown anger into his eyes, directed exactly on Todoroki.

“I thought I fucking explained to you that I was fine!” Kirishima’s arms hardened and a tremor went through his legs, “I don’t need the two of you ganging up on me!”

Todoroki looked taken aback, stumbling a pace away from the unreal anger in Kirishima’s face. Even Bakugo felt a little frozen at it, neither having seen him like this towards them before.

And the night air went still as a frozen lake as the three stared at each other, scared, angry, and hurt. But after the peak of that stiff feeling, a long, shaking sigh fell out of Kirishima, as he turned his face away from them. His now softened hand rose to pinch the bridge of his nose as he dropped down into a crouch, shaking his head like the worst headache of his life had just come on.

“Eijiro?” Bakugo stepped towards him cautiously.

The red haired boy threw up a hand to stop him and gave another head shake.

“Just go back to the others,” he said far more calmly, “I just need a minute.”

“Are you sure?” Todoroki’s voice lingered concern, but was still stiff as he tended to be.

“Yes, I’m sure,” the words came out grumpy, “I need to be alone for a moment. Just go. Both of you!”

Remembering how horrible it had been to leave without resolving anything the day before, Bakugo hesitated to do what the boy was telling him. He planted his feet and clenched his fists at the boy who wasn’t even looking at him and made his determination to stay when Todoroki grabbed him by the arm and pulled him to leave. He silently protested at it, but after another moment of debating with himself, gave enough for Todoroki to drag him away from the scene. If Kirishima wanted him to leave that bad, then it would only be worse if he stayed. It didn’t make leaving any easier.

When they got around the car, the camp was only a few dozen feet out, but Bakugo wasn’t in any mood to sit back with the cheery bunch. Or let Todoroki just get away with stepping in on something he had no business being a part of. So he switched holds, pulling out of Todoroki’s grip and taking him by the collar instead to drag him off into the woods out of the sight of the others and away from Kirishima.

“Bakugo what are you doing?” Todoroki glared behind him, Bakugo ignoring him until they were away from earshot and then jerked him out in front of him, keeping tight hold onto the collar of his shirt and raising a fist in his face. Todoroki stared at the hand, then eyed him curiously, having to look slightly down since he was a couple inches taller than Bakugo.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?” Bakugo fumed at him, “Why can’t you learn when to butt out?”

“What would have been different without my intervention?” Todoroki crossed his arms, seeming not to care about the threatening way Bakugo had him held, “You were at each other’s throats and after what Kirishima told me about why he’d missed camp I was worried about him. Especially since you were yelling at him.”

Bakugo’s eyes widened. “He...he told you about the hospital?” It was like everything else he’d said just slipped passed Bakugo and all he could focus on was that his boyfriend had talked about the one thing they never talked about with Todoroki.

Icyhot nodded and Bakugo’s grip slackened.

“What did he say?” Bakugo gulped.

Todoroki shook his head this time. “He asked me not to say anything about it.”

With a shove Todoroki stumbled back a pace and straightened his shirt collar. Bakugo laced a hand in his hair, spitting frustration into the air.

“Fucking great!” Bakugo growled, “He’ll talk to you, but he won’t talk to me. Am I that difficult to talk to?”

Todoroki raised an eyebrow at Bakugo and the blond rolled his eyes.

“Fine, maybe I am,” Bakugo admitted, “But I’m his fucking boyfriend! He’s supposed to rely on me! He should come to me over anyone else, shouldn’t he?”

There was a distant look in Todoroki’s eye and he frowned. “I can’t tell you that, Bakugo. I don’t understand the whole relationship deal, I never have. It seems like he should, yes, but you don’t make it very easy.”

“You’re fucking useless, Icyhot,” Bakugo kicked the dirt, “And he’s so fucking frustrating. What’s so hard about just saying what he feels?”

The presence of Todoroki felt unnervingly close again. More unnerving than usual. Because it wasn’t unnerving. Because for that instant Bakugo kind of liked him being in his personal space.

“From what I've known of Eijiro over these last years,” Todoroki’s voice was soft, steady, comforting, “he views manliness, toughness, being unwavering and strong to be the ultimate qualities. Perhaps he believes expressing that he’s anything less than perfectly strong about everything is crushing to him. Perhaps it’s hard for him to admit anything he’s feeling because he believes it will belittle him. Or perhaps he really is just fine and you’re being irrational.”

Bakugo was far too on edge about everything to take being called irrational, rationally. He came at Todoroki with fire in his eye, grabbing the front of his shirt and pushing him back until he hit a tree. Todoroki’s hit with a grunt and a fist and elbow pressed to his chest. An explosion whizzed past his head and the half and half bastard went entirely still, except for the rapid pace of his heart that Bakugo could feel through his shirt.

“I’m not wrong dammit!” Bakugo insisted, shouting into Todoroki’s face.

It was hard to see much in the evening lighting, but Bakugo could feel that Todoroki swallowed hard and a shaky breath left him. Though he didn’t move to counter Bakugo, didn’t do anything to defend or fight the guy who’d attacked him, just hung there staring and waiting.

“B-Bakugo…” Todoroki’s breath came out hot and Bakugo told himself he needed to pull away. He needed to step away now or he’d regret something.

But still he leaned in closer and felt his own heart rate double in speed, a pulse in the side of his head both telling him to keep going and stop at once. It was headache inducing, but his body was in a turmoil of frustration, rage, abstinence, and general upset. And this stupid, obnoxious, asshole, who was too attractive for his own good had gotten in his fucking way.

Bakugo needed to break his fucking face. Needed to bury himself inside of him. Needed to rip him apart and blast him to pieces. Needed to close the gap between them. Needed to kill him with extreme prejudice. He needed to release the ticking time bomb mixture of sexual frustration and pent up aggravation onto something...onto someone...and last time he’d felt like this...felt this level of being ready to burst...he’d fucked Deku...so his rational mind was not exactly coming to call right now.

He just wished he’d chosen to fight.

But thankfully, he didn’t get the chance to follow through, didn’t get a chance to let his irrational side take control. Because a cold hand came between them and pressed onto Bakugo’s mouth, pushing him back, Todoroki unable to meet his eyes as he chewed his lip.

“Don’t do that,” Todoroki shook his head, “It wouldn’t be right and you’ll just regret it. We both will.”

Bakugo spun away from Todoroki quickly, feelin that if he didn’t then he’d have hit the hand away and dove in. And he didn’t want to. He knew his own inclinations...he knew that he had the tendencies of a cheater. Remembered how he’d tried to just sleep with Kirishima back while he’d still been dating Miyagi, without any intention of actually breaking up with her at the time. He’d been so lucky that his boyfriend was as open minded as he was about threesomes...but this wasn’t a threesome, this was Bakugo three seconds from tearing teeth, lips, and fists into his friend because he couldn’t handle his own bottled up frustrations. Because his own boyfriend had angered and kept him wanting to the point that his worse nature had told him to jump on the next person who’d be willing.

Fuck those instincts. Those instincts would make him lose Kirishima. Those instincts were the fucking devil and he’d never hated them like he hated them now, for almost making him do that right after having a fight with his boyfriend.

He heard Todoroki take a shaky breath behind him, but didn’t look, just put all his effort into calming himself down.

“I’m sorry, Bakugo,” Todoroki apologized, “I...I didn’t want to stop you...but neither of us could do that to him...it’s not okay without him.”

“I fucking know that, asshole,” Bakugo griped, “I made the fucking rules. I just need to break something. So get out of here before I make you my target.”

He felt the hesitance behind him, but after a moment he heard the footsteps retreat.

Bakugo ran deeper into the woods to get further away from camp. Went until the campfire was a dull flicker and then let loose on everything around him. Shouting, screaming, breaking, blasting, burning everything around him. He was careful in his mess not to start any fires, but he swept destruction nonetheless.

Tonight showed him he was less in control of himself than he’d thought...made him question whether he’d actually been so very innocent about what he’d done to Kirishima...made him wonder if in the moment he’d chosen not to notice Kirishima’s discomfort in favor of his own needs, rather than just having been ignorant as he remembered. He obviously wasn’t himself when his frustration built that far. Obviously wasn’t in control. And if Todoroki hadn’t stopped him tonight…well...

Fuck. He had a really big problem.

Chapter Text

When Todoroki stepped into the light of the campfire he found a score of eyes taking him in, curious and uncertain. The one that stuck on him the hardest was maroon and wavering, looking him over with an inspecting eye, before taking Mina’s hand and disappearing into the tent that had been set for him. At the very least Kirishima looked less ready to destroy something, even if his calm appeared forced.

Todoroki wanted to go after him, make sure he was alright, maybe explain that he wasn’t trying to offend him, assure that Kirishima wasn’t still angry at him. But the look he’d given him told him it wasn’t a good idea. And he could at least be comforted in that the boy had best friend with him, that he wasn’t hiding alone. Maybe Mina would be easier to talk to or she would get him to actually calm down. Either way he was grateful to her, if not a little jealous, feeling a pang of rejection from the redhead since he’d yelled at him. Kirishima had never yelled at him like that before. He didn’t know how to feel about it.

It didn’t help either that there was a glow of embarrassment on Todoroki’s cheeks to have returned in such a conspicuous way and immediately wondering if Kirishima suspected something of happening since he and Bakugo hadn’t returned to the camp right away. Which was a ridiculous notion. There was no reason for anyone to have suspected what had almost happened. But it didn’t change how Todoroki felt about it.

Guilty as sin. Guilty for almost not stopping him. For letting his own issues, needs, and frustrations get the better of his judgement and almost allow him to betray his friend’s trust. And how Kirishima trusted them. He’d never seen an ounce of jealousy on the boy over how much he and Bakugo trained together or over any time they spent time together alone. He never showed worry over anything happening behind his back, never seemed to give it a thought that anything could happen, even though there was sexual history between all of them. That’s how much he trusted them. And he’d almost broken that.

Sure, it was as much Bakugo’s fault and it deeply worried Todoroki that the blond had come so close to him...had come a wisp away from kissing him...possibly more tonight. That wasn’t like Bakugo...or so he wanted to believe. And it wasn’t like Todoroki to let his needs get the better of him either, he was a level headed person. He’d been practicing self control since childhood. He didn’t pounce on a warm body just because his hormones were acting up. But damn, how badly he’d wanted to let them take control back there.

These last weeks had been impossible and with Kirishima refusing him he’d had no way to vent other than fighting with Bakugo. And that wasn’t helping like it should have. Nothing was helping. Nothing he did got those nagging feelings to go away. Nothing he did made him get his mind off of...

“Todoroki where have you been?” Midoriya’s voice sparked like electricity through his ears and startled Todoroki out of his thoughts and his intent stare on the flaps of Kirishima’s tent as he came to a stop in front of the fire. The green haired young hero stood, while the others continued to mutter quietly amongst themselves. “Where’s Kaachan?”

There was an uncomfortable tightness in his chest and his mind reeled over the words as he locked mismatched eyes onto Midoriya. “In the woods,” Todoroki shrugged, crinkling his nose.

“What happened with them?” Uraraka asked, leaning forward, big brown eyes searching Todoroki’s face. The soft expression of the round faced girl, lightened him a little and the shrug he gave her was unpresuming.

“I don’t know,” he lied, “They were done talking when I got there.”

“You suck at reconnaissance dude,” Kaminari chuckled, “Next time I’ll go.”

Todoroki frowned at the sparky boy as Sero laughed heartily at his statement.

“Right because you’re so stealthy,” Sero snorted, “We should send Uraraka next time. She can just float over them!”

“I don’t spy on my friends,” Uraraka crossed her arms at the dark haired boy, “It was obviously a private conversation and none our business.”

“Boo!’ Kaminari gave her a thumbs down, “That’s not how we do things here. Besides you’re the one asking all excited about what happened. Hypocrite.”

“Well the spying had already been done,” Uraraka defended herself and Todoroki felt more than ever that he wanted to back out of this, even through their tone was lighthearted.

He hadn’t exactly done any spying like he’d been asked to. His concern over what would make Bakugo drag Kirishima off so suddenly, especially after the fact that they’d recently been fighting, had spurred him to want to make sure things weren’t escalating that way again. The images of Kirishima’s messed up arms stuck in his mind when making that decision...he’d said it was something he’d done when under massive stress and upset...he couldn’t help but fear that too much of the same could push him back to such a place. It was only logic. But he seemed to be fine, just angry. With good reason it seemed, what with Bakugo’s terrible attitude.

His terrible, irrational, make a guy sweat, too attractive for its own good, shit attitude. How could he be so attracted to such horrible qualities? Why had the most annoying things about Bakugo always been the most enthralling?

While Sero, Kaminari, and Uraraka battled over the semantics and ethics of spying on friends, Todoroki shuffled back to move away from them, hoping to maybe slip away into his own makeshift quarters. He needed to be alone right now. Needed to try and alleviate the bundle of knotted need and aggravation nestled low inside of him. It wasn’t likely to fix the problem, but it would help him to stay level headed for a while.

He didn’t make it far before a strong hand was grabbing him above the elbow and pulling him to a stop. Todoroki knew who it was without even looking, felt his lungs jump into his throat and resisted the urge to burst flames at the person who’d grabbed him. He stayed calm. He had to.

“Todoroki,” Midoriya spoke like the volume could damage, “C-can I talk to you?”

Todoroki flinched, his teeth grit. He yanked his arm free stiffly.

“No,” Todoroki moved another step away from him, feeling his hands shake. It wasn’t wise for him to stay here or talk to Midoriya right now. He needed to escape this badly.

He kicked himself for agreeing to come on the trip at all, knowing Midoriya would be here. Knowing that the green haired boy might try to talk to him. Knowing it would only frustrate him further...knowing that being around Kirishima and Bakugo with neither of them being available, could only lead to upsetting him. He should have just stayed home. The house was quiet these days with all of his siblings gone, though his father still lingered the empty halls...but even Enji’s lingering presence wasn’t this aggravating.

Midoriya was suddenly in front of him before he got far, determination mapping over his array of freckles, bleeding into the entrapping emeralds of his eyes. It was that sort of look that said he wasn’t going to be so easily dissuaded. And it stretched against Todoroki’s heart, knowing how that look had saved him before, knowing how undeserving Midoriya was of this treatment. But Todoroki didn’t have a choice.

“No?” Midoriya sounded angry, his body language solid like a rock and not allowing the taller boy to take another step. And he was strong enough to stop him. Neither he nor Bakugo liked to admit it outright, but Midoriya was definitely stronger than both of them...something that would have been scary if the boy hadn’t possessed the most pure, golden heart of anyone he’d ever known. But in that moment, despite that, Todoroki was more than a bit cautious of the the intent stare and the stiffness of his maturing voice.

“No,” Midoriya said once more, not a question this time, “I’m sorry, but I’m sick of you avoiding me. Couldn’t you at least tell me what I did?”

What he’d done? What had Midoriya done? How was he supposed to explain that? Could he explain that?

“Midoriya I-” Todoroki cut himself off, clenching his teeth and looking back around him. They weren’t that far from the campfire, not far from where the others were still conversing. It wasn’t likely that they could hear them talking at this level, but this was still far too close for comfort, even if he had wanted to engage in this uncomfortable conversation.

Luckily, or not so luckily, Midoriya noticed the glance Todoroki had thrown towards the others and took initiative. Once again, Todoroki felt himself being dragged away from the others, not by the collar this time, but by his arm. He really didn’t even know why he followed him to the creek, didn’t know why he didn’t plant his feet and demand that he really didn’t want to talk about it, because by god he didn’t. But that’s where they ended up. At the creek’s edge, out of earshot, and out of the light. Todoroki could have lit his hand to push out the darkness, but he didn’t want to see Midoriya’s face. Didn’t want to add any clarity to this situation he already didn’t want to be a part of.

The green haired boy, pocketed his hands and stood at the creek’s edge, dipping a bare toe into the water. That determined, scrunched up expression still held his face and Todoroki found he had to look away, had to stare at the water if he was going to keep his cool.

“What’s going on, Todoroki?” Midoriya finally spoke, and Todoroki choked to hear how pained his voice was. Damn it.

This was it, wasn’t it? The moment he’d been running from for weeks...possibly months now. Had he really just hoped he could avoid it forever, keep Midoriya so at arms length that he’d eventually just vanish or simply linger just within Todoroki’s sightlines for the rest of his life without them ever having to speak again? But the boy’s impatience wouldn’t have allowed that, not with his pathological need to fix problems when he saw them. Not with how fiercely loyal and caring he was towards his friends. Todoroki didn’t want this to be the time and the place...but Midoriya was forcing his hand.

But maybe if he could just deflect enough to get him to walk away...

“Nothing is going on,” Todoroki insisted, crossing his arms and clearing his throat.

“Then why won’t you talk to me?” Midoriya sounded angry again, “You either act like I don’t exist or like being within five feet of me will kill you! I thought we were friends…”

Once again Todoroki winced at the knot in his chest.

“We are,” he dug his nails into his hands, “You don’t understand...I just can’t be around you…”

He knew the look on Midoriya’s face could kill him, so he kept his gaze intent on the rippling water. It didn’t seem like he was actually going to get avoid this any longer. The conversation had started...he couldn’t get out of it now.

“What?” Midoriya said in disbelief, “But...why? What did I do?”

Frost pulled up over his arm, like the ice could somehow still his shaking, like it could freeze his heart to make any of this easier. It couldn’t be easy. Lies and truths were all terrible things. No matter what came out he knew he’d hurt his friend. It’s why he couldn’t bring himself to talk to him for so long...he didn’t know how to tell him that he couldn’t be friends with him anymore...couldn’t tell him that he was in the way...that he had become an obstacle to him. Couldn’t tell him that some idiotic, erratic, irrational, stupid, prick in his damn unconventional heart cared a little too deeply...couldn’t tell him that it meant he had to reject him completely. And if this unkempt emotional state he’d experienced over the last few months of trying to create distance was any indication of what those feelings could become, he knew for certain he could never allow even a hint of them.

But this was his friend...the person who’d saved him from his own bitterness and past. He couldn’t bare to hurt him...but he had to.

“You aren’t good for me,” Todoroki pinched his eyes and jerked his head entirely away, “We are friends...but we can’t be anymore. I’ve been avoiding you because I didn’t want to have this conversation, Midoriya. I need you to leave me alone from now on.”

“T-Todoroki…” Midoriya gasped, his breath sounding sharp and shocked, “Whatever it is...let me fix it...is it your father? Is it something I’ve done? Don’t cut me off without me even knowing why!”

The pain in Midoriya’s voice was almost too much and Todoroki had to face entirely away from him not to give way on his rocky, ready to burst feelings. He deserved an explanation...but should it be a real one? A truthful one? Definitely not.

“You can blame my father if you want,” Todoroki hissed through the lie, knowing full well his father couldn’t stop him from being friends with anyone...if anything he’d have stayed friends with Midoriya just to spite him if he’d demanded that of him. He wasn’t a child that could be bullied and pushed around anymore. Even stil, it still felt believable enough for Midoriya to take it as an explanation. But he couldn’t have the boy going off to fight Endeavor. That wouldn’t have solved anything.

“But it’s my decision,” Todoroki’s tone was sharp, “We’re rivals, remember? We’re not supposed to be friends.”

The worry and hurt in Midoriya’s voice darkened and Todoroki felt a shiver go down his spine, when he spoke again.

“Kacchan was supposed to be your rival too, but you seem to be fine being around him,” Midoriya said, cutting Todoroki like a knife through butter. And the half and half boy’s throat tightened, saying nothing, unable to give him an excuse for that.

“What makes him so special?” Midoriya sounded like he had to struggle through his words, but Todoroki’s eyes widened at his statement. He had to turn around, had to assure him that Bakugo wasn’t so much better than him...if he was than he’d be the problem, not Midoriya. But when he faced him, saw the red, glistening eyes of the boy he knew was prone to tears...he felt daggers in his stomach.

“It’s not like that,” Todoroki had to put every ounce of effort into staying centered, rigid.

“I think we both know that’s not true,” there was a heavy sprinkling of salt in Midoriya’s tone, “I don’t even know what he’s supposed to be to you...what either of them are...but it’s more than a normal friendship.”

“You’ve never understood it.” Todoroki griped indignantly, “You’ve always been so disapproving about how I choose to live my private life. And I was the one who opened up to you about it! Why couldn’t you have just been supportive?”

“Because it’s not healthy!” Midoriya sparked the air with green light as his quirk manifested around his bulky body, “Because I cared enough not to support you doing something I didn’t think was good for you. Sleeping around with people who are in their own separate relationship isn’t right and if anything isn't good for you, it’s that!”

Todoroki huffed with superiority. “What would you know?”

Midoriya’s eyes narrowed and he flashed his grit teeth. “I know plenty...don’t act like you’re the only person who’s ever fallen into that web…”

Confusion painted Todoroki’s face and he searched the expression of the green haired boy, so strong, so intent. What did he mean? Did he…? Had he…? With them…?

Riddled in both the guilt of what he was doing, the confusion of what Midoriya had just said, and the pain of standing there and actually rejecting him as a friend, Todoroki couldn’t say anything to it. He just stepped back, head shaking and ready to walk away.

“Stay out of my life,” Todoroki hissed, “It’s none of your business. I would appreciate you not speaking to me unnecessarily again…”

Todoroki spun on his heel and stormed away, not wanting to give the boy another chance to say anything further. Even still he felt like he couldn’t swallow when the tear stricken voice behind him spoke...not beconning him back or shouting in anger...just speaking like he was watching the last ship home leave without him...whatever hopeless sounded like.

“Shoto…”

He pushed on, unable to stop, no matter how gut wrenching that name on his strained tongue sounded. He’d said what he had to say and Midoriya would have to just accept it. Todoroki would have to accept it. Accept that he’d finally done it. That he’d finally sealed the barrier between them. That he’d throw up a wall that couldn’t be knocked down. That he’d shut him out for good.

~

When Kirishima blinked awake, there was weight on his chest. He pried an eye open to look down at the snoring pink body that had collapsed on top of him the night before and just stayed there.

Mina wasn’t actually stupid...she knew there had been a fight, knew Kirishima was hurting over it, knew it wasn’t going to be easy for him to hang out like normal with everyone after scuffling with his boyfriend. It squeezed his heart warmly that his oldest friend had gotten him out of the situation without hesitation. She’d only tried to pry what had happened out of him for a minute, but dropped her questions when she saw how much he didn’t want to talk about it. From there she’d spent the rest of the night cheering him up, playing games, telling funny stories and watching videos she’d downloaded onto her phone until they’d fallen asleep.

He genuinely didn’t know what he’d do without her most days.

But right now she was crushing him and he needed to breathe. So as carefully as he could he lifted her off of him, trying not to wake her as he rolled her over to the area beside of him. She squirmed a little, blinking a couple times, huddling back up into a sleeping position once he’d gotten her off of him. He eyes pinned closed and she took a long sigh, showing she wasn’t ready to be awake yet.

Kirishima was very much awake, though. It was barely daylight outside. He could already see that through the tent flaps. But the fresh morning air smelled especially good and he felt oddly stiff, oddly dull. He hadn’t had a breakdown, hadn’t exhausted himself on tears or anything that night, but he was still drained. Still feeling more towards being upset than happy.

He reached over Mina and dug a hand into his bag, pulling out a smaller baggy and pulling out a couple of the little pills inside. He threw them back with a swig from his water bottle and sighed to himself. At least he had these to get him back up, to get him through whatever else today was going to throw at him.

Kirisihima secured his sleeves to cover up to his wrists and shuffled up and out of the tent, needing to get out of the tight space, needing to be in the open and alone for a bit. Needed to let himself wake up and maybe avoid thinking about last night.

But that seemed impossible since the first thing he saw upon stepping out of his tent was Bakugo, wide awake, dark rings under his eyes, staring into the last embers of the fire. His ruby eyes lifted slowly to the red haired boy appearing just outside of his tent and they just stared.

Kirishima’s heart was in his throat. He didn’t know what to do or what to say. He’d been so irrational last night and Bakugo had acted the absolute fool and all of it was a fucking mess. But when he saw Bakugo, saw the heaviness in his shoulders, the pain his eyes, the slowness in which he stood, Kirishima was less afraid and more hurt...hurt to think what he’d done or said had caused Bakugo to look like that. What had they done to each other? Why had they done this? What was so hard about just being happy?

With a trembling lip, Kirishima drove his eyes into the ground, hovering away from the center of the campsite, unsure whether it was worse to stand there or walk away. But it was hard to move. His limbs felt heavy and his chest like lead.

He didn’t look up until he heard the rustle of shoes crunching dried leaves. It was loud in the still morning air, in the silence. Not even a bird was chirping.

His maroon eyes lifted until they met ruby reds just before him, heavy, but wide on him. Kirishima’s stomach dropped and he felt emptied out, yet full, absorbing each other, uncertain, hesitant.

Bakugo’s voice came as a rumble, unintimidating, but low in its deepness as his hands rose just off of Kirishima, and heri of caution in everything he did.

“Can I…?”

Swallowing thickly, Kirishima nodded fast. He didn’t wait on Bakugo to make the first move either, just threw himself into the open arms awaiting him, colliding against Bakugo’s firm chest and dipping his forehead against his shoulder. Bakugo seemed to catch his breath as Kirishima let out a shuddering exhale, feeling his body almost melt against his boyfriend. The arms that secured around him were strong and at first gentle, as if fearful to hold him too tightly. But once he felt the pressure of how tightly Kirishima clung into him, how deeply he inhaled the scent of him, the way he found such complete comfort in the closeness, Bakugo squeezed back.

There was a hand pressed to the back of his head and an arm wrapped against his lower back, securing his waist, holding Kirishima so into him that they could have melded together. It felt like a wordless apology on both of their parts. And for that moment Kirishima felt certain things really were okay. Bakugo wouldn’t hold him like this if he didn’t still love him and he wouldn’t want to be in his arms so badly if he didn’t feel exactly the same. And they didn’t need to say anything. They just understood. Things were said, tempers were flared, and anger still tried to linger over them. But it was irrelevant and too exhausting to consider. This was relief, this was filling. This was safe.

It didn’t change what had happened or the fear that it might happen again, but just for a minute it could be ignored. The fights sucked. Kirishima truly wasn’t sure his heart could even handle another one. Even as he repeated over and over to himself that he was doing just fine and that taking that medication was going to get him back to normal, he clung to his boyfriend with a deeply penetrating fear that he was close to losing it again. That his work at the hospital had really all been undone...that with so little encouragement she’d be back.

It was strange to be comforted and afraid at once, but he pulsed with gratitude that while that fear tried to bloom back to life, he could hold Bakugo close. And the longer he held him, the more closely he clung, the farther away the inclination felt, the deeper it receded inside of him. And perhaps that was just the medication kicking in. He didn’t care. Just as long as they were here together and for at least a minute she felt too far away to reach him.

Chapter Text

As Bakugos eyes canvassed the shape of the UA front gates, backpack on his shoulder and freshly cleaned uniform fitted around him, he felt wrong. Like being here was wrong. Like what Midnight had decided was somehow flawed. Because it didn’t make sense and this didn’t make sense.

He’d fought her tooth and nail on everything. And every week of it his temper was shorter about it. Every session that they discussed the topic of Miyagi Fuka he’d found less control over his own his emotions towards the topic. They’d done a bit of work on the training grounds one day and he’d basically been challenged to put all of those feelings into his surroundings, untempered. He’d wondered if she did it to see just how irrational and destructive and wrong he could be, a rigged test for her to think the absolute worst of him.

But her words when he had finished rattled still in his mind.

~“I wanted to see what she’d done to you.”~

He grimaced to think about it. To think how Midnight had practically worked him up for weeks just to watch him explode. He didn’t know what that was supposed to show her...what she supposedly learned from that...but afterwards she’d said he could go back to school so it shouldn’t really matter to him. But it did. It fucking mattered, because it didn’t make any fucking sense. No matter what was going on in his mind, what areas he’d grown in or not, he didn’t feel as though he’d been showing her the progress she wanted. Yet she’d given him her support anyone.

He still had to work with her throughout his time at UA, though, and she still didn’t say that he’d be allowed to graduate, just that continuing his education there and being among his classmates was going to be beneficial to him, that she could only do so much the way they were. And this was it. His last year. His last opportunity. What Midnight and the others teachers saw from here out was important and he had to be at his best no matter what.

For some reason he didn’t understand Midnight still had some desire to see him succeed, even after all the arguments they’d had...all the aggravating repercussions to get him to stop cursing so much, and the endless lectures he’d so stubbornly tried to ignore. “Tried” being the optimal word. It pissed him off that some of it was starting to sink in. That he was considering things more deeply, that he was questioning his own actions more, that he was becoming strangely careful; and perhaps she was managing to see that through his anger and was the reason behind he letting him come back. But that wasn’t all Midnight’s fault.

He blamed Kirishima for most of that.

Bakugo even then was looking around himself wondering if the red haired boy was going to show or not, wondering how the first day of school with him was going to go. His confidence in Kirishima even showing up at all was on the low end of weak. The last few weeks had done nothing to bolster his confidence in his boyfriend.

Things had been...weird lately. Not so much between them, just...with him. Bakugo hadn’t seen him without that glazed over look in his eye since before the camping trip. He hadn’t seen him smile in a week...a fucking week! Kirishima. And there was nothing in particular happening, no horrible life event, not even the media pestering them or fanfare from the press like they periodically got just to see if there were any new dramatic scoops on UA’s favorite gay couple; an annoying habit he’d hated even before there’d been a kidnapping for them to talk about. But there was none of that. Kirishima just...wasn’t happy and he simply wasn’t pretending he was anymore. Like he didn’t have the energy for it anyway. He constantly said that he was perfectly fine, he felt fine, he felt leveled out. But Bakugo worried that he was too leveled out, that he had no spark left in him.

It felt cruel to call him dull. But that was what it seemed like. He had no edge.

And he’d trimmed his hair again too.

Kirishima had been fucking devastated about the way it had been cut when he’d gotten him back from Miyagi and had pointedly tried to grow it back out. But now it was a sharp undercut once again, that same haircut she’d given him and that Kirishima had despised so much, and Bakugo couldn’t help that he hated it too. Not the look, Kirishima could make anything look good, but the idea behind it. The idea that he’d adopted a style that Miyagi had forced on him of all things. Over the last week he hadn’t even touched up his roots either, letting bits of black show under his red, reminding Bakugo even more of how it had looked after his ex-girlfriend’s attention. He didn’t want the reminder.

And the sleeves. Always wearing sleeves. What the fuck was up with that? A stupid observation, perhaps, but an unnerving change in character nonetheless. He’d been doing that since Bakugo had returned from camp and only recently had he begun to think anything of it. But he was beginning to think suspiciously of everything these days. Why would the boy who hardly ever wore shirts only wear long sleeves all of the sudden?

It wasn’t like Bakugo had a chance to see if he was hiding anything underneath...he hadn’t exactly gotten past short hugs, chaste kisses, and light hand holds since their big fight. And he was still terrified of doing anything more than that. The idea of trying to remove even a modest amount of clothing from him had Bakugo frightened of an outlash or mental collapse. Kirishima had given him no indication that his mental state was unstable or that he was emotionally on edge at all, but he hadn’t shown any of that the last time either. And Bakugo’s lack of caution then had put him in a world of hurt and trouble. It wasn’t worth the risk, no matter how madly desperate he was feeling, no matter how much his need for his boyfriend only stacked with every day he couldn’t have him. But he wouldn’t make a move until he’d been assured without a shadow of a doubt that Kirishima wasn’t going to be upset by it.

And with every week...it started to feel like that was never going to come.

Bakugo ground his teeth as he started through the gates and made his way into the school, done waiting on Kirishima to show. He never did. Not anymore. He was becoming a master of excuses. Bakugo had to practically beg him to get him to leave his house these days and every time he’d offer to just go visit him there, Kirishima got especially defensive and obtuse about not wanting him to come over.

When Bakugo talked to Kaminari about it, he expressed similar concern, said he was annoyingly difficult to get out of his house these days and that when he did see him he wasn’t really all there. Even their most dense friends were seeing that something was off about Kirishima, but the damned boy would deny it until the sun rose purple.

And the part that felt the weirdest about it was that Bakugo was starting to miss him, but not in any way that made sense...he saw him every week, but even when they were together that feeling lingered. He could be standing right next to him, but somehow he still missed him.

He missed that fucking laugh and his shitty jokes and the way his hair fell when it was wet. He missed the sandalwood smell that ebbed off of him after a shower and the spark of adventure he constantly had in his big maroon eyes. He missed holding him while he slept...he missed not being afraid of holding him from behind and nuzzling against his ear while doing something mundane. He missed the person Kirishima just wasn’t anymore.

Which was more than ever why he was becoming so introspective lately, why Midnight’s lessons were sticking with him, why Miyagi still wasn’t out of his head. Because the last time he saw that person Kirishima used to be was before his ex-girlfriend got her hands on him...and though he’d disregarded the words since hearing her say them, they had since lodged themselves at the forefront of his brain, pulsing like a headache from hell, pointing to Kirishima and filling Bakugo with a heat of rage and horror he didn’t want to acknowledge.

The words where she admitted she’d broken him, that she’d hurt him so terribly that she would win even if she were captured or killed. Words that he couldn’t acknowledge as being true, words he could never accept, never consider...until…

~ “He won’t be the same...I just wish I could be around to see the look on your face when you realize he’s hopeless.” ~

On instinct he shook his head to deny it, but the lessons and habits he’d been forming told him to pause and consider...to not brush it all aside so easily. He’d never believe Kirishima was hopeless...but he definitely wasn’t the same. And truthfully, Bakugo had no idea what to do about it. He’d killed the bitch who’d done it to him and he was doing everything he could not to trigger adverse reactions from him...so what more was he supposed to do? And why did he only seem to get worse?

And Kirishima hadn’t exactly been emotional or anything, just out of it, just less responsive, just not himself. At this point he’d have prefered emotional, because the stark lack thereof was beginning to feel more concerning. And fuck Bakugo was always so concerned lately. Everything about Kirishima had Bakugo constantly worried and constantly more frustrated. It was almost getting to the point that Bakugo hoped Kirishima wouldn’t show up for things, because having him there was developing into a source of stress. His presence itself was becoming draining.

Bakugo slipped into class, the most unenthusiastic of all the kids there. Deku and his friends were all going on about what they hoped the new semester would bring and Tokoyami said something needlessly cryptic and Todoroki nodded like he understood it for whatever fucking reason. Kaminari and Sero threw paper at each other and Iida took it as inspiration to organize a kickball game.

The high pitched sounds of the girl’s voices rattled on his ears most of all as he took his seat and glared at Kirishima’s empty desk. The sounds drew his attention though and he found his eyes weren’t the only ones trained to that spot.

Mina looked particularly less spry than usual today and he could guess why. If anyone felt how concerning Kirishima’s behavior of late, it was Mina, the boy’s oldest friend. Hagakure was trying to talk to her and get her excited about something, and though she was giving her a few quick responses, her eyes, which kept returning to the empty desk, got darker every time.

With class about to start, Bakugo got settled into his desk and tried to tune it all out. No one would say anything, but it wasn’t just him and Mina who noticed Kirishima’s absence. They all just knew better than to bring it up.

Even Aizawa didn’t say anything about it when he started class and that put an irksome shiver up Bakugo’s spine. But then maybe he’d gotten an excuse or something, he had no way of knowing what the school staff were aware of. The weary looking teacher wasn’t one to just overlook his students. He hadn’t forgotten or ignored Kirishima, he just wasn’t mentioning it...like everyone else.

After a full day of classes, Bakugo honestly didn’t expect to see him at the dorms, but unable to push down his hopes entirely he went up to Kirishima’s room and found himself paused in front of the door, still, listening, hesitant.

There was sound on the other end, quiet, shuffling. Light came from under the door and shadows shifted with movement.

So he had come back, just not to class.

He raised his fist to knock, but paused, inhaling and waiting for a moment as he tried to decipher what he was hearing.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you...makes you...what doesn’t...fuck what’s the rest of it…?”

It was Kirishima’s voice alright, but somewhat muddled, incoherent, like he was half asleep. And Bakugo decided he didn’t like the sound and he didn’t want to wait on the other side of the door anymore.

He turned the handle and threw open the door, catching the redhead off guard. Kirishima spun on him in shock and tripped on his own heel while trying to do so. He fell back on his ass with an “oof” and fluttered his eyes heavily up at the boy who’d entered.

“Whoa dude, you scared me,” Kirishima blinked a lot, a soft chuckle at the back of his throat.

It was hard not to turn a small smile at the clumsy redhead as Bakugo stepped in and held out a hand to him.

“You okay man, you-”

Bakugo looked him over as he pulled him to his feet, feeling his initial smile slip from his face when those dull eyes went up to meet his and the offered hand was taken by Kirishima’s own, pale one, exposed up to the elbow by a rolled sleeve. His eyes were fixed to the forearm presented in front of him and every ounce of joy over seeing Kirishima at the dorms and at school fell into the grinder.

It took Kirishima an extra couple seconds to notice what had made Bakugo’s eyes go wide, but when he did his instant reaction was to jerk away. His boyfriend held fast to keep it within his line of sight, joy turned to concern, turned to anger.

“Katsu it’s not-“

But Bakugo already knew, could make out the shape of the discolored skin and the scabs.

That shitty bad habit filled his mind, remembering where he’d seen marks like this before...but never this deep...holy shit never that many.

He knew Kirishima did this, bit his hand or his arm whenever he was scared or nervous, was aware what it looked like when he bit too deep and drew blood, which was usually an accident of the idiotic habit. Bakugo knew instantly that these markings were self inflicted...but he couldn’t even count how many indents were just on this forearm alone. It couldn’t be accidental that many times.

Bakugo’s heart pounded against his chest and there was terror in Kirishima’s eyes, burning through the dazed look he’d had before.

“I can explain,” Kirishima tugged away from him again, then blinked a few times and pointed his stare to the middle distance.

In a fit Bakugo threw the arm away from himself and Kirishima stumbled away, bringing his attention back to his boyfriend.

“How long have you been doing that?” Bakugo snipped, “What’s been...why? Is something wrong?”

It felt like a stupid question. Of course there was something wrong. With how Kirishima had been acting the last few weeks, the scattering of bitemarks over his skin and the incoherent nature in his stare, there was no denying he wasn’t alright. Fuck, had he ever been?

His entire sense of hope about Kirishima’s situation vanished and a hundred negative instincts overtook him. Was Bakugo just an idiot for assuming there was ever a point where he’d been okay? Kirishima kept trying to convince Bakugo over and over again that nothing was wrong and every time something new and bigger seemed to be denying his claim, glaringly.

Maybe this time he wouldn’t deny it. He couldn’t, could he? There was evidence in front of their damn faces. The damn redhead would have no choice but to admit it this time.

“Nothing’s wrong,” Kirishima blinked away from him, sighing deeply and rolling down his sleeve quickly, “I’ve got it handled.”

Bakugo dug his nails into the palms of his hands, not actually surprised by the response.

“That’s what you call handled?” Bakugo bit the air viciously, “How are you seriously standing there and telling me everything is fine again. Fucking hell, Ei, does someone have to shoot you in the chest to make you admit you’re less than alright?”

Bakugo threw up his hands and paced the room. His frustration was piqued.

“Do you always have to fuss?” Kirishima groaned and sat on his bed, facing away from him, no heat or even drive in his response other than mild annoyance, “You’re not my mother, stop acting like you have to take care of me. I know what I’m doing. Just leave me alone, okay.”

Bakugo stopped his pacing, staring hard at the back of the boy’s head, tracing the pattern of his haircut, watched the unstyled longer strands fall loose. It was a simply unsettling when he’d first trimmed it back to that...now it was just annoying to look at.

“You’d like that wouldn’t you,” Bakugo grumbled, “Like me to leave and never come back. It’s not like I can do anything for you. Not like you want anything to do with me anyway. Fuck, you piss me off.”

Kirishima’s shoulders sagged, like he was exhausted, oddly mirroring how Bakugo felt about this whole situation. The boy turned maroon eyes back at Bakugo and narrowed them sleepily at him.

“You know that’s not true,” Kirishima frowned, “You’re being a big baby.”

“How is it not true?” Bakugo scoffed, heat hitting his cheeks, “You can’t stand being close to me and every time I show the slightest concern you tell me to leave.”

The red haired boy shifted to face more towards him, lips pursed. “I don’t want you to stay away from me...I just need space on certain things…”

“By certain things you mean everything,” Bakugo crinkled his nose in distaste, his chest aching hollowly in frustration and tension, “Have you even considered how hard this is for me? I need things from you, not just sex. Dude, you’re my best fucking friend and we haven’t done any of our normal shit in ages! And anything we have done get’s fucked by you being emotional or acting like you’re on another fucking planet. I hate keeping out of arm’s reach of you at all times. I don’t like sleeping by myself. I don’t like not seeing you smile. It’s all just so…”

Bakugo bit his cheek and finally looked back to Kirishima. He was staring at the middle distance again, his eyes looking suddenly heavy, before shooting back open wide on him again. There was confusion in his expression before he shook himself as if he was waking back up from almost falling asleep.

There was no explaining what the look made Bakugo feel. Something that mixed disappointment, sadness, emptiness, anger and so much else. Mostly a lack of understanding. What the fuck was up with him?

“If...if it means that much to you,” Kirishima pouted his lip a little and wrapped his arms around himself, protectively, “I could...you could...and I could just try not to think about it…”

“Were you even listening to me?” Bakugo growled, shocked that he even considered making that suggestion after everything that had happeed between them, “It’s not just sex. But I’m not going to lie...it’s a pretty big part right now…”

“So do it then,” Kirishima pulled his eyes along the floor, “I’ll just...I’ll try to keep it together…”

Bakugo could hardly believe what he was hearing. “What so you can come back a week later and tell me I raped you again? Are you serious?”

The cringe in Kirishima’s shoulders looked like it could shift the room.

“I told you not to fucking say that,” Kirishima bit forcefully, “It’s not what happened. It’s not...doesn’t count…”

He seemed to shift out of the conversation, lost in his own head again. His eyes were glossy and out of focus, but his throat looked constricted, like he was choking on his thoughts.

“It doesn’t count,” he repeated to himself, no longer talking to Bakugo, “It’s not...not if you want it…not if you get off…”

“What are you even talking about?” Bakugo opened his palms, bewildered, but Kirishima was still in his own head, couldn’t seem to acknowledge him.

“Your own fault,” his voice was like a whisper, “your...Katsuki...can you...can you please go?”

Kirishima seemed to come back to some degree of clarity very suddenly and now fixed Bakugo with a pleading gaze. It was soft...fragile. Not a biting demand like before, instead a heartfelt request. It made Bakugo want to stay even more, even as his heart weighed down his chest, exhausted him and knotting up his insides more than he thought possible.

He approached the bed tentatively, but the anger he felt was still etched in his face.

“What’s wrong with you?” Bakugo shook his head, “Why are you like this? This is way worse than I’ve ever seen you.”

Kirishima shrugged away from him, but swayed a little unsteadily.

“It’s nothing.”

He really didn’t know why he expected any other answer. But Bakugo wasn’t having that. He grabbed the boy before he could get far and pulled him across the bed, taking his face to make him look him in the eye. Kirishima froze in his hands and went rigid under Bakugo’s searching gaze. His thumbs pressed into cheekbones that felt closer to the surface than they had before and with his hands cupping his face he realized that he was just thinner all around. A glance down his body confirmed that his clothes looked a bit looser too. Something was not right...only confirmed when he made eye contact.

“Eijiro what are you taking?” he frowned into the bloodshot eyes, paired with dark circles below, “You acted out of it on that oxy shit, but this is different. Just fucking talk to me. Is it something new? Are you taking more than usual?”

Again he had to wait for Kirishima to phase out and then back in to get a response. The boy swallowed nervously as he seemed to remember what had just been said to him a second ago.

“I was really nervous about coming back…” he blinked his eyes into focus, “the oxy wasn’t...doing what it usually does...I had to try something else…”

Bakugo growled. “Seriously? What was it?”

“I don’t remember...the name,” Kirishima shifted to lightly push away from him, “the guy said it was stronger...I didn’t really...I didn’t care…”

Bakugo choked on his rage and his disbelief.

“The guy?” he blinked, “You mean...the doctor…?”

Kirishima shook his head.

Bakugo pushed him away forcefully, seeing red.

“You haven’t been getting your medication from a doctor?” he fumed, “You don’t even know what it’s called...Eijiro! What the fuck? That’s so fucking dangerous! Do you even have a clue what dosage you should take? If it’s safe? Are you fucking thick?”

A shiver ran down the redhead’s spine and he shrunk away.

“What the fuck does it matter?” he pouted his lip, “It helps.”

“I don’t give a shit what it does!” Bakugo gave a breathy, hysterical laugh, “You’ve lost your fucking mind!”

Kirishima pinched his eyes and turned away, lip curling.

“You think I don’t already know that!” he choked on his air, “That’s why I fucking need it. I need to feel in control...just let me, won’t you?”

This was beyond what Bakugo could stand to hear from him. Did nothing he say mean anything to Kirishima? What was so hard to see about this being a terrible idea? How the fuck was getting drugged out going to put him in control? In control of what? What the fuck did he need to control? His emotions?

“Don’t take that shit again,” Bakugo demanded, swallowing hard.

“No,” Kirishima said more firmly than he’d said anything that evening, “You don’t understand anything. I need it.”

“I understand that taking strange medication you know nothing about is pretty obviously a terrible idea.” It was hard to believe he had to explain this, but his boyfriend gave a stubborn crinkle to his nose, fidgeting with the collar of his shirt like the material suddenly irritated him.

“If you understood anything you’d just leave me alone about this,” Kirishima said, shoulders slumping forward, “You always have a problem with something...you always...there’s always...fuck, I don’t know.”

It was disorienting to watch. To watch him lose his train of thought halfway through a sentence, unable to find his way back. It was a visual representation of all his worries, all the things that grated against him every day that told him that his boyfriend wasn’t himself, wasn’t the same anymore. And it hurt like hell to see. But more than that, it made him livid, because this stubborn ass was somehow content to be less and less himself and not heed a single fucking word Bakugo said.

“They won’t let you stay here with you like that,” Bakugo said with an aggravated sneer, “This is UA...not some summer retreat. Everyone here has to be at their best all the time and you just fucking aren’t and you won’t be if you keep taking that shit. You shouldn’t have even come back to school. You should be in a damn hospital…”

That made Kirishima shoot him a look of pure terror and Bakugo had to catch himself from letting the burn behind his eyes drip out. Why did that look hurt so bad?

“I’m not going to do anything,” Bakugo assured through his teeth, “Don’t look at me like that. I’m just telling you that you should go back...I know you won’t. And if you aren’t going to listen to me, then whatever...take care of yourself then. You don’t need me apparently. All I do is upset you.”

“Katsu-”

“Don’t. I can’t do anything for you! You won’t let me! And I’m starting to resent you for it! I don’t want to resent you, Eijiro! But I can’t keep trying to hold you up when you want to fall so badly. Maybe you should...maybe you should just fall. If that’s what it fucking takes for you to see…”

“Katsuki!” Kirishima launched towards him, tears streaming down his face, seeming more sober in that moment than he’d seen him this entire evening.

His fists gripped into Bakugo’s shirt, but the blond was stiff. Unsteady maroon eyes dug into his, full bottom lip shaking, pleading with Bakugo.

“Don’t say that...please don’t say that…” desperation poured out of his voice, “You’re...you’re right. Okay? The medication is a bad idea...you’re right. I’m sorry. Just don’t say that.”

Bakugo had to pull his gaze away. The look in Kirishima’s eye was too hard to stare at.

“I thought you said you had it handled…” there was more spite in Bakugo’s voice than he’d anticipated, “Why does it matter what I say?”

“I...I still need you...don’t abandon me!” Kirishima sobbed.

“Then don’t push me away!” Bakugo bit in his face, “Fucking talk to me. Let me do something! Anything! You have no fucking clue how hard it is to sit by benched while you try to take on everything by yourself. And you think you’ve got it all handled, but I’ve been watching you fall apart for the last month! Look what you’ve been doing to yourself!”

Bakugo fought with him to grab his arm and watched him struggle weakly as Bakugo ripped his sleeve open, opening up the half healed wounds to the air. It made him physically sick to look at. But his hand hovered over the marks, unable to touch them.

“You can’t say you don’t need me...that you don’t need help when you’ve been doing this,” Bakugo didn’t even stop the tears from streaking down his face. He didn’t care anymore. He was so sick of this, so tired, so drained of trying to be conscious of what Kirishima wanted. He couldn’t be gentle anymore.

“You don’t understand,” Kirishima sniffled.

A large hand gripped Kirishima face and made him look Bakugo in the eye, tear stained red eyes clashing.

“Then make me!” Bakugo shouted, “Make me understand! That’s literally all I’ve wanted to do from the start! Why is it so hard? What’s going on in here?” He pressed two fingers to Kirishima’s forehead, shakily.

Like a dropped barbell, Kirishima collapsed on the floor, slipping out of Bakugo’s hands, curling into himself, shoulders trembling in his sobs.

“I don’t know,” he said weakly, “Katsuki, I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. I don’t want to feel like this! I want to be normal...I just can’t. I’m trying...I’m trying so hard. So often there’s not even a reason...there’s nothing. I’m just suddenly...suddenly its all just so hopeless and I can’t stand it.”

Bakugo fell on his knees in front of him. He felt like he was inhaling for the first time in ages, just to hear those few disjointed words. Just to hear him admit even in the slightest, in any way, that something wasn’t right. However heartbreaking...it felt like actual progress.

“And when I’m not…” Kirishima continued, “When it’s not painful it’s just so much nothing. Even the oxy wasn’t helping that anymore. It didn’t hurt...but it didn’t feel good anymore either...I had to try something else.”

“Why?” Bakugo hovered.

Kirishima’s eyes lifted to Bakugo’s. He watched the redhead’s throat tighten and release.

“I don’t have anything else,” Kirishima let his mouth hang open on those words, stinging Bakugo sharply.

“What do you mean…?” Bakugo blinked, baffled, “What is that supposed to mean?”

The redhead looked away, clamping his mouth shut and sighing heavily, shaking his head. “It doesn’t mean anything. I just...I feel like I need it…”

Bakugo dropped into a full seat and ran his hands over his face, quivering with anger. It hit him then. Should have hit him a long time ago. But he’d always assumed Kirishima’s doctors knew what they were doing. Until he realized that no doctor had been involved in this.

“Holy shit, you’re fucking addicted,” Bakugo spat, startling Kirishima, “Eijiro, fucking light of my life, you beautiful, shitty-haired idiot. Did you even consider for a split second that a lot of medication can be addictive? It’s fucking drugs. What the hell is wrong with you?”

Kirishima dropped his head into his legs.

That was all the confirmation he needed. Bakugo was on his feet in an instant.

“Where is it?” he barked and Kirishima flinched, “Tell me where it is!”

A shaking hand jutted out to the overnight bag beside his bed, but Kirishima kept his face hidden, shedding not-so silent tears.

Bakugo was on the bag in a split second, turning it over onto Kirishima’s bed. An orange pill bottle and a baggy full of other medications fell out among his sleep clothes. He snatched them up after searching the rest of the bag thoroughly. He didn’t care which were which, he just wanted it gone.

Kirishima’s head shot up when he heard the shaking of pills in a bottle. When Bakugo stomped past him, to go into the bathroom, rigid, face contorted and determine, Kirishima shot after him. He wasn’t fast enough to take it back, though.

It took Bakugo almost no time to dump all of it into the open toilet and push the handle.

“No!” Kirishima shrieked and lunged at the swirling bowl.

Bakugo grabbed him before he could get within arm’s reach, hooking his arm across the boy’s chest. He flailed against the blond and cried, but it made Bakugo cling to him even harder, made him hold the boy as close to him as humanly possible. He could feel every sob, every erratic breath, every desperate claw to get away from him, to get to the medications already long gone.

And Bakugo felt a harsh sting of guilt. Not at his tears or the flushing of the drugs. But that controlling Kirishima’s outburst felt like an excuse. That now that he was actually holding him...actually had his arms around him, he couldn’t bare to let go. He almost wanted to sob himself, so torn between hurting for the pain in Kirishima’s shouting and the burning in his chest to know that he was actually able to touch in that moment. That he had an excuse not to heed his attempts to get away. That because of how fucked up this was, he actually got to hold on and ignore Kirishima’s need to get away.

“Eijiro, stop!” Bakugo demanded, pushing thorugh his vibrant guilt, “Fuck! Calm down, please!”

They continued to grapple until they found their way back to the floor, Bakugo holding Kirishima in his lap, shushing him, crying against the side of his head, while he attempted to calm him down. He rocked the sobbing redhead back and forth and whispered to him as he wrapped his legs over his to hold him down, to stop his fighting. It was the most painful wrestling match he’d ever been a part of and he hadn’t received a single injury.

“I’m sorry, Eijiro, I’m sorry,” Bakugo said over and over, “I couldn’t let you take that again. I can’t let you hurt yourself like that. I’m sorry. I’m here, it’s okay.”

“I can’t do it,” was the first thing Bakugo heard when Kirishima found his voice again, “I can’t do it. They’ll send me home...I can’t go back...they won’t let me stay here...I can’t do it without it…”

“I won’t let them send you away,” Bakugo shook his head, “I’ll do whatever I have to. You don’t need it.”

Kirishima’s breaths seemed to jerk against his chest, only growing more erratic and short. Most of his flailing had stopped, but his fingers dug into Bakugo’s legs.

“I don’t want him to see,” Kirishima’s voice was soft and distant, “please...don’t…”

The drugs were still in his system, that was obvious. His mind was somewhere else, but it didn’t seem to be a better place.

Bakugo heard him choke and saw Kirishima’s arm go to his mouth. The blond snatched it as fast as he could, jerking down both of his arms so that he couldn’t bite himself.

“Katsu-chan,” he whimpered, “don’t look...please don’t look.”

It was the most distressing thing Bakugo had ever seen. To hold back him from hurting himself, watch him unravel in his own mind, and stammer incoherently. To sound so desperate and so afraid. This was what hell felt like.

Hell went on for what felt like hours too. Every part of Bakugo was sore, every last ounce of emotion drained, everything in him eaten away by the hours spent in the torment of holding his boyfriend together by the frayed strands.

He’d never felt so relieved to feel him slump unconscious against him. And no matter how weak Bakugo was from it all, he still managed to lift him up and carry him to bed...he was lighter than he expected...than he remembered.

Bakugo wrapped him in his arms and kept him against him all night, hardly sleeping a wink, but never considering leaving his side for a second. He couldn’t. Kirishima couldn’t wake up by himself...he couldn’t let him face the morning alone. There was no way to know what to expect, no way to know if he would be more sane or less. But Bakugo would be there.

He didn’t care if it could get worse than this. He’d be there.

He’d be with him through it all.

Chapter Text

The morning light cracking through his eyelids came with a firm pressure against Bakugo’s chest. It was in the shape of a flat palm, pushing against him, shakily.

Not entirely aware of much yet, Bakugo flexed into his already tightly wrapped arms and got a shuddering whine for his efforts.

The sound made his heart leap in his chest and his eyes pop open. Wide bloodshot eyes were on him with a shaking lip underneath, bit down by sharp teeth. His face was so close, but his neck was craned back, his entire body straining to escape Bakugo’s vice grip.

“Katsuki please let me go,” his voice hit the air like a whisper, but it sounded desperate.

Bakugo realized in that moment the position he had the boy in, the tight hold keeping Kirishima flush to his chest, the capturing twist of his legs intertwining with the redheads to lock him in. The way his knee was pressed up between his legs, resting against him with a steady pressure, though Kirishima remained soft, all of his pulsing blood seeming to go to his wide-shot eyes.

Fuck.

Bakugo released and pushed him away, untangling them, giving Kirishima complete physical space as he jolted to sit up beside him. Kirishima just rolled over, away from him, curling into himself, taking shaky breaths. His body was trembling and Bakugo watched. That was all he could ever seem to do.

“Are you okay?” he asked, voice gravely first thing in the morning.

“You really threw it all out?”

Bakugo’s nostrils flared instantly, sucking against his teeth.

“Don’t fucking ask me to apologize for it,” Bakugo bit, “I’m not going to let you hurt yourself like that.”

Kirishima’s voice dropped to a whisper, most of it incoherent, something Bakugo couldn’t make out clearly, but the redhead didn’t seem to be talking to him. All he managed to pick up through it was: “...don’t want it...you can’t...your fault…”

“Eijiro,” Bakugo cut the air with his voice, irritation prickling him at the weird muttering - almost reminding him of Deku when he did that - catching his attention, “What do you need?”

Kirishima eyed him and blinked away, eyes glistening, “I don’t know…”

Well that at least felt like more than he’d gotten him to admit in a long time. It didn’t make him happy or anything, just didn’t upgrade his already vibrant stress more than the level it was already at.

“I don’t know anything,” Kirishima continued, softly.

“You want to be a damn hero don’t you? That’s something you know, isn’t it?” Bakugo puffed his chest, hoping to appeal to his passion.

“I don’t know anymore,” he raised his elbow over his face so Bakugo couldn’t see, “I...I guess...but what if...what if I can’t…”

“Of course you fucking can,” Bakugo scoffed, “Fuck’s sake. You just have to get your head back in the game. None of that medication bullshit. You’re a fucking hero and that’s what you’re going to do.”

“I’m not...not strong like you, Katsuki,” he was mumbling into the pillow at this point, but his shaking breathing was settling some, “What if I can’t…?”

Bakugo was not having that kind of talk, not on his fucking watch. It was a risk, but he needed to drive home that if nothing else he still believed in him. That he hadn’t given up on him. And he couldn’t drive that home hanging back nervously.

So he moved into his personal space. Sucked a worried breath and took his arm, pulling him to sit up, ignoring the flinches. He wanted him to look at him, but once he did, he found they both had trouble keeping eye contact. Kirishima didn’t resist him, though, let him turn his chin to make their eyes meet. The tearstained expression took him in and searched, almost desperately. He could almost feel the effort Kirishima was putting into not pulling away from him.

“You can,” Bakugo assured, “You’re the strongest person I know, stop kidding yourself. You just need help right now...that doesn’t mean you aren’t still strong.”

Kirishima tightened his mouth, stubbornly. “You never ask for help. You always handle everything yourself. Don’t tell me I’m strong for needing help when you base your strength off of not needing it.”

Bakugo hissed on his teeth, not quite liking the near accuracy of the statement...the way it made him look like such a hypocrite. But Kirishima wasn’t weak for needing help...if Bakugo needed help then he would be, but for Kirishima that didn’t mean the same thing. It was hard to make him understand that though.

“I’ve needed...help before,” Bakugo grimaced, still sore about admitting something like that, but knowing he needed to say something to make Kirishima feel better, and it was still true despite his apprehensions on the subject “I’ve needed your help...you’ve saved my ass so many times over the years...you’re always there when I have a bad day...you...you’re my hero. You always have been.”

He said the words like he had the revelation as they poured from his lips and a short stunned silence took him over while he watched the confused pout on Kirishima’s mouth.

“Eijiro I’m not kidding,” Bakugo slid their hands together, “You are...everything that a hero is to me. You’re brave. And you aren’t weak, you never have been. You take care of others first and you’re sympathetic and...a lot of things I’m not. I...learned how to be a better hero by watching you…”

Maroon eyes widened on him and Bakugo could have cried to see how his brow pulled together and how he grabbed his heart. He looked practically about to weep, but he sucked in a sharp breath instead and straightened his shoulders, swallowing.

“You…you mean that?” he sounded genuinely baffled.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Bakugo frowned at the stupid question.

Kirishima’s hands shifted in his and slid around to hold his both of palms in his own, kneeling face to face with him. He shifted closer of his own free will and Bakugo felt his breath catch in hope.

“I love you...bro,” there was a sad smile as Kirishima gulped and tried to hold eye contact.

Bakugo snorted a short laugh and rolled his eyes. Before they came back around to the redhead, though, he felt lips against his own and he truly forgot how to breathe for a solid second. His insides melted like so much honey on a stove and he couldn’t help how aggressively he tried to kiss him back. It felt like so long since Kirishima had really let him kiss him, so long since he’d captured those lips and held them for more than a chaste half second. He hadn’t tasted him in so long and Bakugo rushed to dart his tongue through those supple lips.

There was an actual tear on Bakugo’s cheek, because holy shit he tasted so good and so right and so real. And he leaned further in, absorbed by it, captivated by the moment.

And didn’t feel the hands pushing him or the cringe shivering against him until the actual force of a shove made him separate their lips. It made Bakugo snap back to reality immediately and he grit his teeth at the pinched expression and shaking form of the stiff arms holding Bakugo off of him.

Kirishima didn’t look at Bakugo, his face turning entirely away and a small whimper slipping through his teary pout.

“I can’t,” he gulped, shaking his head with sealed eyes, “I...love you...but I still...can’t.”

Bakugo felt his teeth clack together and he threw his gaze away, pushing Kirishima’s hands off, pulling back from the unsettled boy. Kirishima pulled into himself and finally blinked back to Bakugo, nothing but pure unbridled guilt painting his red face.

And Bakugo’s gut twisted sickly at the sight. He couldn’t say why, couldn’t determine what about the sight sickened him so much...but his body tried to tell him it was annoyance at being denied once again after such a tease. His heart told him it was pain for the state his redhead was in. And his brain argued that Kirishima was simply becoming hopeless, that every minute he tried fixing him was a waste of time. He hated that notion the most. It stank of Miyagi.

“It’s fine,” Bakugo spun away and slid off the bed, his shoulders hunched and his tone in no way consoling, “Keep your distance if it’s not something you want. It’s better than getting my hopes up.”

Bakugo grimaced at his own words, but was glad he was facing away from Kirishima.

“Katsuki I’m sorry,” Kirishima whispered, “I thought...but I was wrong…”

“I get it,” Bakugo rubbed his arm, getting himself together to leave and get started on his day, “Don’t apologize...just don’t do that if you can’t handle it...it’s too difficult…”

A glance back told him that Kirishima gave a sharp nod, but turned his face away, knees pulled to his chest.

Regret over his own wording cut at his ribs, but he couldn’t deny that it was how he felt, aggravated at the tease and denial. He really couldn’t handle being led on again. Hope was a dangerous thing and he was getting sick of seeing it pop up only to be snatched away so fast. And the best way for Kirishima not to disappoint him was to not give him anything to expect.

Hard to say, hard for the boy to hear, but necessary.

“I’ll see you in class,” Bakugo went for the door, “Don’t be late.”

~

He didn’t want it to feel surprising, but Bakugo was genuinely shocked to see Kirishima in class that day. He was pretty quiet and kept his friends at arm's length as best he could, but at least he was there.

Between classes he heard Kirishima snip at Sero and it made him cringe. His tone was off, a little venomous. And Sero hadn’t really done anything. Nothing worse than usual. Just a suggestion for prank they could pull on Aizawa, his usual bullshit.

Kirishima was like that most of the day too. Like his hackles were raised, ready to bite anyone that came too close. Bakugo didn’t even try to talk to him, stayed away, tried not to make this any worse than it already was.

This was the pattern until lunch when they gathered in the cafeteria. Kirishima allowed Tetsutetsu to sit next to him and seemed to be keeping it together well enough, but didn’t touch his food other than to distractedly shove it around on his plate. Bakugo didn’t really feel like eating either though, his stomach still in knots. So he hovered at the back of the room alone, wanting to keep an eye on Kirishima, but hesitant to engage with him or the others.

And he was content to do that the rest of the day if he had to, just stand by himself and look after his boyfriend, make sure he was able to step in if he needed, but doing everything he could not to crowd him. It would have been fine too if Todoroki hadn’t decided that now was a good time to approach him.

Bakugo ground his teeth when he saw that icy hot fuck stop at his side. Felt his insides recoil and a snarl hit his lips. But Todoroki’s gaze was soft. Annoyingly soft. Why wasn’t it cold and idiotic like usual?

They’d been avoiding each other. Neither said anything, but it was clear. Being around each other had become…uncomfortable. Irritating. Their training together had stopped and their already scarce conversation had become nonexistent. It just didn’t feel like a good idea anymore. For either of them.

So to have him approach now of all things and at all times, when Bakugo was already so on edge, so distraught from what he’d had to see the night before, he could have just punched him in the face. But that fucker hung close, stood to where their shoulders touched, enveloped the space in his presence like he owned the place. How Bakugo wanted to rip his face off...how he wanted to tear him apart...in every form of the colloquial sense.

But he couldn’t make himself pull away. He just stood there. Stiff. Afraid to move. Afraid to lose the proximity. Afraid to get any closer.

“I’m glad Kirishima was at class today,” Todoroki mused, “I was worried.”

“The fuck do you want, Icyhot?” Bakugo growled at him, unsure what else to say.

Todoroki shrugged, brushing his shoulder against Bakugo’s when he did and shot him a look when he physically flinched away.

“Would you like to spar again?” Todoroki asked without acknowledging the thick tension or Bakugo’s vicious expression.

Bakugo looked away with a grimace and found his breath catch when his eyes landed on Kirishima across the cafeteria, staring at them. He seemed to be ignoring Tetsutetsu, but it didn’t seem to stop the silver haired boy. There was nothing to be found in the stare that landed on them. The dark maroons as lifeless as he had seemed the night before. It didn’t change the poignant guilt that they jabbed into him, though.

“You know that’s not a good idea,” Bakugo said through his teeth, dropping his eyes back to the floor.

Todoroki’s usually regal posture shifted. His hands dropped into his pockets his nose crinkled, looking away from the blond.

“I just thought it might help,” he muttered.

A glance up made Bakugo want to slap in the face. Idiotic fuck.

“You’re fucking dense,” Bakugo shuffled and found himself leaning slightly more into his shoulder. He’d have kicked himself in the gut if he’d been able to, but the roiling feeling inside of him was doing enough punishing him for it.

“Things aren’t getting any better are they?”

The sting burned into his heart, and Bakugo had to actually stop himself from physically hitting him this time. Who’d given him the right to even speak?

“What do you even know you, you son of a bitch,” Bakugo hissed.

Todoroki crossed his arms, brow twisted up at Bakugo. “I’m frustrated too. You aren’t the only person who’s allowed to be affected.”

“Stop acting like we’re your only option asshat,” Bakugo rolled his eyes, “Just go fuck somebody else if it’s such a problem. I thought you didn’t like being tied down by a relationship. Stop tying yourself to mine.”

“It’s too complicated with anyone else,” Todoroki grumbled, “It’s not so simple. And it’s not just that. I’m allowed to be worried about him too. I’m allowed to be worried about you…”

Bakugo blinked up at that, stunned for a moment.

“Why the fuck are you worried about me?” Bakugo spat venom into his question, but was genuinely baffled.

Oddly enough, that’s what made Todoroki finally shift away from him. And just as oddly it made Bakugo’s chest ache.

The half and half bastard turned his face away and Bakugo could spot red in the pale skin of his white cheek. But his eyes were angry, intense. He looked like an absolute mess.

“I’m not,” Todoroki huffed, “You can take care of yourself.”

He pushed away from the wall and adjusted as though he was about to leave, but froze, staring past Bakugo. The blond followed the path of his eyes and landed his gaze on the approaching redhead. But he wasn’t looking at them, eyes distant, thoughtful, but they were obviously his goal.

A mess of emotions bubbled up in Bakugo and he shot up straight to see him, eyes widening on him. He didn’t know what he expected or what the boy wanted, he was just happy to see him moving towards him.

“Eijiro what’s up?” Bakugo asked, trying to sound casual as possible, though it surfaced with strain, he was unsure why.

Kirishima blinked at Bakugo a moment when he stopped in front of them, his own hands deep in his pockets. His lip twitched but he didn’t manage a smile for his boyfriend, just turned to Todoroki with a pointed look.

“Can I talk to you Shoto?” Kirishima ignored Bakugo’s question.

That stung. He couldn’t lie to himself. He didn’t want Kirishima to want to talk to Todoroki. He didn’t care what it was about. It was both selfish and unrealistic, but Bakugo wanted to be the only one he wanted to talk to. And with what was riling around inside him about Todoroki lately, he was the last person he wanted Kirishima hanging out with.

Todoroki nodded and Bakugo pulled into himself, trying to keep from showing how he felt, instead shrugging nonchalantly and looking away from them. If Kirishima didn’t want to talk to him, than he wouldn’t acknowledge him.

Before the two stepped away though, Bakugo felt a familiar hand squeeze against his, just for a moment, just a small gesture. He didn’t want to let it go, didn’t want Kirishima to walk away, but he was annoyed at him too. So he didn’t even squeeze back. Just left his hand limp, before pulling it away forcefully.

Stupid. What was wrong with him? Kirishima didn’t deserve that.

But his petty nature was winning out right now and he stuck by his annoyance no matter how much it hurt. His own stubbornness could be such a detriment sometimes.

He had to shake it off and move on with his day, though. He had after-class studies with Midnight to prepare for. He had an entirely new headspace to get in and he wasn’t going to be able to handle it if he had Kirishima and Todoroki on the brain. He had no doubt that that dark haired bitch had more than enough torment planned for today without adding worry and guilt and tension onto the pile.

One heart wrenching problem at a time.

~

“I don’t really know how to ask this, Shoto…”

Kirishima looked to be on his last frayed nerve, shaking and wringing his hands. He wasn’t looking at Todoroki, couldn’t seem to make eye contact and Todoroki wanted so bad to just grab him and hold him still, force him to stop fidgeting. But he remembered the last actual conversation he’d had with Bakugo and how he’d told him not to lay a hand on him. He didn’t tell him why, just warned that he’d kill him if he did. He didn’t really think Bakugo would go through with the threat, but the blond had seemed serious enough about the request when he’d made it that Todoroki was genuinely wary to try and physically comfort him. There was a lot going on with Kirishima that neither of them were telling him, but then...it wasn’t really his place to ask either.

They’d found their way into an empty classroom where they could talk privately. Natural light filtered through the windows and they hung at the edge of two desks, leaning against them. Todoroki watched him intently, eyed the cropped cut of his hair and how the short sides were almost entirely black. He wanted badly to ask why he hadn’t been dying it, but that seemed to be far from the most important topic at the moment.

“You can ask me anything,” Todoroki assured.

“You’re...close with Katsuki,” Kirishima said the words like they were as fragile as dust, “You...like him a lot, don’t you?”

Todoroki felt himself hitch up, a pang of fear pumping through him. The nervous look on Kirishima’s face...the way he couldn’t look him in the eye…

Worry dripped off of Todoroki. What was Kirishima thinking? What did he mean?

“Y-yes,” he swallowed thickly, “Is that...is something wrong with that?”

Kirishima’s hesitance stung.

Todoroki’s chest fell and burned. The knotted frustration and unsatisfied needs twisted up inside of him, lurching against his stomach. He felt sick enough to hurl.

In his mind he begged him not to say what he thought he was about to say. After everything...after everything he’d been struggling with and the split directions of his heart and the ways he’d been able to manage it all somewhat reasonably because of Bakugo...he couldn’t bear to hear it. Couldn’t bear to hear Kirishima tell him not to see him anymore.

Todoroki’s mouth hung open, the pleaing at the tip of his tongue.

He hadn’t even realized how much Bakugo’s presence meant to him until he was looking in the face of the person who wanted to take him away. Was he allowed to fight it? Was he allowed to fight Bakugo’s boyfriend over him? Could he hurt Kirishima like that? How was he supposed-

“No,” Kirishima choked, finally, “It’s a...good thing.”

Todoroki’s mouth clamped shut. He stayed staring. Wordless.

“I think it is,” Kirishima rubbed his neck, mapping the entire floor with his eyes, “You like him and you’re attracted to him and he likes you back so...it has to be you...I don’t trust anyone else…”

Todoroki could feel his heart beating against his chest and it almost hurt with how forcefully it smacked.

“I can’t...I’ve hurt him too much...I’ve been so fucking selfish,” Kirishima ground his teeth, “And I want you to...if you’d be okay with it...I mean...if…”

Kirishima’s hands became fists at his sides, his entire face pinching up with a sharp inhale, steadying himself. He still didn’t look at Todoroki, but he faced him, eyes sealed shut.

“Shoto would you please sleep with Katsuki?”

His heart easily could have dropped clean out of his chest at those words. They didn’t sound real. They couldn’t be real. He had to allow his brain to absorb them before he could even attempt a response. But when he did...he lost to himself, speaking without thought.

“Yes!” Todoroki said more enthusiastically than he anticipated, sparking Kirishima to shoot his eyes open and meet his gaze.

There was a long, uncomfortable silence. Kirishima’s uncertain, narrow gaze met Todoroki’s wide eyed stare and there was just no way to know what else to say. There were a hundred things to say really, questions to ask, concerns to be laid out...but both were just stuck on how easily Todoroki had jumped on Kirisihima’s request.

But it was the burning thought that wouldn’t leave him, the aching in his gut that stabbed at him for weeks. Todoroki did want him. Wanted him a lot. The more his frustration with Midoriya grew the more his need to be close to Bakugo evolved.

And what he’d said wasn’t true. It wasn’t more simple with him and Kirishima, it never had been. That wasn’t it at all. He just didn’t want anyone else. Almost. As far as he had convinced himself, he only wanted Bakugo and Kirishima...and to not be allowed to have them because of Kirishima...how was he supposed to not gravitate to Bakugo? How was he not supposed to pounce on a provided opportunity to finally get all of this out of his system?

Kirishima was the first to finally look away, hugging himself, but offering a weak smile.

“Just...give him whatever he needs,” Kirishima nodded.

“But...what about you?” Todoroki had to ask. Even if his desires were rampant and he was internally leaping for joy, his worry over Kirishima and what would even cause him to make such a request was prominent.

Kirishima shook his head and gave a weak laugh. “Don’t worry about me,” he waved it off, “I just have...stuff to figure out. I don’t know how long that’s going to take and he has needs...I’m sure you do too. It was never really fair of me to stop both of you from having what you needed. It shouldn’t hinge on me.”

Todoroki frowned. He wanted to argue that it wasn’t true. That Kirishima was an important part of this...that if anything he was the center of this strange threeway of a friendship they had. But he also feared that saying any of it might make Kirishima change his mind...he couldn’t bare to hear him take it back.

“So you’re alright with...anything?” Todoroki blushed against his question, suddenly the one dropping his eyes. He hated himself for it, but he was salivating, mind jumping to all the places he’d been denying himself for what felt like ages.

Another nod.

“However many times,” Kirishima physically choked and shifted back, “Just as much as you’re okay with, until I’m ready. He...he deserves better than this. I owe him that much at least…”

Again Todoroki forced down the language he wanted to shout to build Kirishima back up. It hurt like a knife to watch him so down, fidgety, nervous...unwound. To see so little confidence. To see the hurt in his eyes. The pain over not being able to give Bakugo what he needed, the guilt behind his eyes. All of it wasn’t Kirishima, wasn’t how he ever wanted to see him.

But Todoroki was starved...he was aching in every way. Desperate.

And desperation was a monster. A clawing, biting beast.

“I’ll take care of him,” Todoroki felt his blood pulse at the very idea, “Just...don’t worry about it. Take your time…”

Tension fell like a blanket. So much that it was painful. What else were either of them really supposed to say…?

Apparently nothing. Kirishima only managed to stay inside the dark classroom another couple moments before excusing himself with a hurried mumble.

He left Todoroki alone, alone with every thought. Every guilty, wild, needy, desperate, regrettable thought. He almost didn’t want to wait...he wanted Bakugo...now. And now he could have him...his body asked why he was waiting.

But they had the rest of the day ahead. Classes. Things they had to focus on and accomplish. He had to keep it together. He had to stay cold and stiff.

If that night in the forest was any indication, Bakugo wouldn’t take issue with it. He wasn’t worried about that. He wasn’t worried about anything. Just fixated like a vice onto his unchecked need. Need he didn’t have to keep a lid on for much longer.