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Spicy Ramen

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Bakugou didn’t care much for police stations. As a hero, working with the police was just a given, but having to wait around in any of the stations left him more annoyed than before he came in. Everything there smelled like bad coffee and paper. Not to mention the noise. All the people running around, typing at their computers, shuffling paper.

All of it grated his last nerve.

A hero shouldn’t have to be subjected to it all. But Bakugou had work to do, and if there was one thing he knew how to put up with to do his job, it was annoying shit. All day every day he dealt with people and things that made him want to punch a wall so it was just a matter of tuning it out. If he just focused on how bland the decor looked, he could do it.

“Bakugou, good to see you here!” A familiar, obnoxious voice cut through the hum of noise, just adding to the list of things Bakugou didn’t want to deal with today.

“It’s Ground Zero, I’m in my suit, idiot,” he grumbled.

Uravity chuckled at him, smiling like she always did. Despite being a good few years older since he had last seen her, Uraraka still had quite the round face, her smile making it worse. “Still as grumpy as ever I see.” She looked like she was about to say more but paused, looking to her side when none other than Todoroki showed his boring face. “Oh, Todoroki, you’re here too! It’s like a little reunion!”

“You too? Man, what kind of circus is Shinsou putting together?” Katsuki scoffed.

Todoroki shrugged, not saying a word.

These two hadn’t changed in the slightest.

The door he had been waiting next to opened and the three of them turned their heads to see Shinsou, another former classmate. Though he hadn’t become a hero as they did. The guy ended up as a detective instead because of his villain-like quirk, helping clean up the messes the heroes swept for them. Cops were just like dustpans.

“I’m glad to see you three. Come in, please.” He held the door open and gestured for them to walk into the small office, Bakugou leading the way so that they could get this over with.

There was a good chance the police just needed help with something small and stupid, something he could get done in a night and move on with bigger and better things. Ones that didn’t involve working with people from high school. They were fine enough heroes, sure, but if Bakugou could work alone, he preferred it.

“What is it that you want?” the blond said as he leaned against the wall. Nothing in that room screamed interior design either. The whole place was a bore to look at.

Pink Girl sat in the chair across from the desk while Todoroki just stood next to her, both seeming way more interested than he was in what the detective had to say.

“I have a lead on what I believe could be some major villain activity,” Shinsou started, sitting at his desk. “It’s a good enough lead that the chief allowed me to call in you guys.”

A manilla envelope sat on his desk, splayed open with pictures and papers that made Bakugou come a little closer. Now they were talking. Actual villain activity was much more fitting to skills like his. Usually, when the cops called on them it was for stupid shit he had to grit his teeth and get over with, but this could be big.

“Awesome, let’s go get them, then,” he said as he grabbed a picture of a shady figure in an alleyway.

“Not so fast,” Shinsou said, sliding the rest of the files forward. “We would have done that by now if we knew exactly where they were. We're close, but not close enough and we need better evidence of what they’re doing out there. I've mapped out their activity and have a pretty good guess of the area they hang out in.”

Uraraka grabbed the small map from the folder, pointing to the middle area of it. “There are a couple of businesses in this area. Mostly bars and small shops. Do you think they're using one of these places as their base?”

Shinsou nodded, sitting back in his chair. “That's exactly what I've been thinking. Or they're at least hanging out in that area on their downtime. Problem is, we don't know exactly where. I figured calling in some heroes to go undercover would be the best way to smoke them out and nab some evidence of them illegally using their quirks. You three are recognizable but not so much that the pettier ones would notice you. No offence.”

“The fuck do you mean they won't notice us? Half and half looks like an angry peppermint candy and round face over here is too... bright and stands out like a sore thumb. And me, well, who doesn't know me? I'm loud and the greatest hero around.” Bakugou tossed the picture down onto the desk, Shinou's blank expression not changing.

“Lemillion is the number one hero, actually. As I said, no offence, but you're all top one hundred at best. It's nothing against you, it's just how it is. The petty thieves that you'll be around won't notice you as long as you wear normal clothes and don't use your quirks.” The cop looked to Bakugou, raising a brow. “Being subtle won't be a problem for you, will it?”

Katsuki scoffed. “Don’t think I can be subtle? I can be fucking subtle and get this job done faster than anyone else.”

“Don’t forget, we’ll be working with you too,” Uraraka said with a smile. “We’ll all do our best! Where will we be working from? I assume you found someone in the area to work with us.”

Shinsou pushed another paper closer to the edge of the desk for them to read. “There’s a little ramen shop out there, run by some guy named Midoriya Izuku. He agreed to-”

What? ” Bakugou dropped the picture in his hand. “Did you say Midoriya? That little reject is the one we’ll be working with?” He could hardly believe it. After all these years, everything he had gone through so that he could get away from dweebs like Deku, Katsuki was just going to have to work with him again.

“If it’s a problem, I can just ask someone else to do it. Or just have these two on it, they seem capable enough.” Shinsou crossed his arms, the look on his face screaming that he was serious.

A loud groan came from Bakugou. He could do this. Working with Deku for a little while and getting to show off how great he had become wouldn’t be so bad. And seeing the defeated look on his face would be priceless.

“Fuck no, I can do this. Easy-peasy. By the end of this, you’ll be wondering why you even called these two idiots in when I did such a good job by myself.” Bakugou grabbed the map from round face, looking it over to figure out where he needed to go. “We’ll change out of our costumes and get in some casual gear then meet each other there.”

Todoroki, despite usually being quiet all the time, finally spoke up. “Who said you’re the boss of this?”

“I did. If you don’t like it then too bad.” He tossed the map back on the table, turning on his heels to leave. “Just try to keep up, I won’t be holding your hands through this. I’ll keep in touch and all that garbage, but you won’t have to worry about it. I’ve got this in the bag.”

Bakugou didn’t bother with many more details, everything being sent to his email a day later anyway. A day later he was getting ready by dressing in his normal clothes, hiding a few of his sweat bombs around in case he needed them. They were small and mostly just caught the enemy off-guard, but they’d do in a pinch. And they fit nicely in his baggy pants, ones that looked more casual than the ones he wore with his hero suit.

Sporting a jacket and sunglasses to keep himself from being easily noticed, Bakugou made his way from his home out to the train stop. The bus, unfortunately, didn’t go out as far as he needed to go and he couldn’t exactly take one of his cars, so instead, he piled onto the train like a sardine with the rest of the public.

Everyone around him smelled funny and had no sense of personal space or inside voices. All he could do about it was stand stiffly, holding onto the pole next to him while he waited. And waited. And waited. How far was this place anyway? Too fucking far for his tastes. Getting there every day was going to be a pain, but with how good he was at his job he hopefully wouldn’t have to be doing it for very long.

He would find where the villains were hiding and then go in there and bust them all before handing it back to the cops. It would be easy and fast.

Unlike the fucking train.

More and more people piled on and off at each stop, not one place giving him relief until he was finally where he needed to be. When he got off he made a show about prying himself out of the crowd, snapping at those who got in his way until the crowd dispersed and Katsuki was in a much more open area. Public transit was the fucking worst.

And the town he had ended up in looked like shit. The villains would hang out in a garbage place like it. Bakugou kept his head down, only looking up every once in a while to make sure he was going the right way. This place was nothing but an eyesore and he didn’t want to look at it for longer than he already had to. Though, that magically seemed to change the second he actually got to Deku’s place. Or his business, or whatever the fuck it was that he had out there.

Out of all the buildings in the run-down town, Deku’s was the nicest, he’d give him that. Clean windows, working signs, and the inside of it didn’t look like there were going to be bugs crawling out of the walls. At least he didn’t have to work in a Hell hole.

The others clearly hadn’t made it there yet so he pushed through the doors and made his way right to the counter, unable to stop himself from getting a good look at the place from the inside. Despite the customers looking a bit shady, everything looked as nice as it had been on the outside. Clean. Put together. Boring .

All of it kind of surprised Katsuki. Of all things, he had expected the shitty nerd to become, a somewhat decent restaurant owner wasn’t one of them.

“Long time no see,” a tired voice said, breaking Bakugou from his thoughts.

He looked over to the counter, a much older Deku wearing a black apron standing behind said counter while washing a glass. His old classmate looked...tired. That was definitely one word for him, anyway. Tired and different than the chipper idiot Katsuki used to know, and yet still somehow exactly the same. Everything about him screamed clean and put together like his ramen shop, though, so he must’ve still been pretty happy.

“I would prefer if it had been even longer,” he grumbled, sitting down on the barstool.

“Still as pleasant as ever,” Deku said, setting the glass down. “Make yourself at home and let me get you something. You are in here for a reason, after all. That reason being my delicious ramen.” He gestured to the menu on the wall behind him. “First one is on the house. We are old friends, after all.”

Something in Deku’s tone didn’t sit right with Bakugou but he couldn’t put his finger on what. “I bet it isn’t that good,” he chuckled. “Can’t imagine a nerd like you knows how to cook all that well. But I guess with all that time on your hands from not becoming a hero had to go towards something. Surprise me and show me what you got and I’ll let you know if that time was well-spent.”

Deku stared at him for a moment, almost like the guy was going to have some sort of backbone for once and stand up for himself. But then the other deflated and gave a short nod. “We’ll see if you can handle my most popular bowl, then. I think you of all people will be able to appreciate this bowl.”

“Whatever you think will make me change my mind about this place.”

A sly but subtle smile came across Deku’s face as he disappeared behind a door, and it was a smile that had Bakugou feeling a little less like he actually wanted to eat. For all he knew, the nerd could spike the food with something.

But Katsuki was no coward and he highly doubted that Deku had the guts to do that.

Plus, backing down from this would make the shitty nerd think he was weak or something and that was not acceptable.

Rather than staring angrily at the counter while Deku made him food, Bakugou turned around and scoped the place out a little more. A bathroom that was out of order. Ten tables with very few guests at the moment. None looked too shady but he’d have to keep his ears open for any conversations that seemed more hushed than normal. There was a picture on the wall towards the back of Deku’s mom and he laughed at how tacky it was to put something like that on the wall of a place like this.

Just as Deku came walking back through the swinging door with his food, the others walked in, both looking much less like themselves to stay undercover. He waved them over, unable to keep himself from smiling over how late they were.

“And you two thought I was going to be the fuck up. Welcome to the shit show. We’re about to see if the food here’s any good.” Turning around, Bakugou took one sniff of the food that had been placed in front of him and all he could smell was spice. The kind of spice that made his eyes start to water uncomfortably. Not to mention it looked like the noodles were swimming in actual lava. “Got me the hottest thing on the menu, didn’t you?”

Deku gave an innocent shrug but Katsuki knew the little shit was up to something. Still, he wasn’t a fucking coward. And how spicy could it really be? There was no way the freckled idiot would know how to make something so spicy that Bakugou couldn’t handle it.

Despite having a friendly smile on his face while he introduced himself and took round face’s and half and half’s orders, Deku kept glancing over at Bakugou while he lifted his chopsticks to take the first bite. There was definitely something up with this but there was no backing down.

Taking the first bite of the very red ramen made Katsuki realize that the thing Deku was smiling about was his impending pain. Or rather, his impending blistered tongue. That shit was hot. He had eaten some spicy things in his life, some that made others cry while he didn’t even flinch, but whatever the fuck the nerd had put into this had his mouth burning like asphalt in the summer.

“Not bad, but still not the best I’ve had,” he scoffed as Deku left to make the others their food. Eating this would make his stomach hurt but he had to do this.

He ate at what he hoped looked like a normal pace, trying not to let his watery eyes and runny nose show. The others got their food and almost right away Pink Girl asked for water with her meal. Icy Hot asked for some too and he figured it would be a good excuse to ask for some as well casually, without seeming weak.

“Not going to get me some water too? Pretty lame customer service skills you have.” Bakugou stared Deku down, not prepared for the hollow look and off-putting smile the other gave him.

“Sorry, Kacchan, you didn’t ask for any water.”

Even his tone was off. So off that all Bakugou could do was nod. What the hell happened to this guy since high school? How could owning a crummy little ramen shop make someone look that cold? He had heard of customer service draining people but he had been pretty sure that nothing could ever really take the annoying spark Deku had.

“Did Bakugou already talk to you about everything?” Round Face asked, breaking the tension that had rapidly grown.

“He didn’t, but I think I know enough about everything. We mostly just caught up while we waited for you two.” Deku smiled much more warmly at her, the cold look in his eyes gone.

“Oh, you two know each other? That’s awesome! That’ll make this all the more fun!” She clapped her hands together, holding one pinky out like she always did so that she didn’t activate her dumb quirk. “Well, not that our work is fun exactly, but you get what I mean.”

Deku nodded, looking back at Bakugou with the type of stare that screamed that there was some sort of challenge being placed between them. And just like accepting the challenge with the ramen, Bakugou was going to accept this.

“Lot’s of fun,” Katsuki agreed, staring right back at Deku. Whatever game they were about to play, he was going to win. While still doing his job, of course.