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Everything and Nothing Less

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Whenever you absolutely need to sleep -- especially when well-rested-ness is a necessity to the task need to complete the following day-- it is a scientific fact that you will not be able to.

It probably wasn’t science actually, and most definitely it was anxiety or excitement or any number of other emotions. Or wait, weren’t emotions also science? Like brain chemicals and stuff? Kirishima Eijirou didn’t know, and he didn’t care. Science had never been his best subject.

Basically, he was awake when he should have been asleep. He was graduating tomorrow (well, they all were) and he was feeling...mixed. He was excited, obviously, since everyone gets excited at the prospect of not being in high school anymore, even at UA. But Eijirou was also sad to leave his friends behind and a little scared to become a sidekick full time, and eventually, a pro-hero.

These were dangerous times they were living in. But no, he was supposed to be asleep, not thinking about the prospect of dying young. Yikes, his mind.

Graduation, though. That was something. He hadn’t actually thought that he’d make it this far. He’d worked hard over the last three years, but for some reason he hadn’t fully realized that it would pay off in the end. And now he was left with a deep feeling of uncertainty.

He’d always wanted to be a hero, but it was the idea that he would have to leave his friends behind that had been bothering him all day and halfway into the night. He was used to living with these people, and they were part of his life! The day after tomorrow they’d be scattered across the country (and a few in America!).They’d been through so much together.  Eijirou was going to miss them more than anything.

Most of all, he was going to miss Bakugou Katsuki, the single greatest and most unlikely friend he’d ever had and probably would ever have. Eijirou could only hope that they’d keep in touch, but Bakugou didn’t seem like the type. The two of them weren’t working anywhere close to each other, Eijirou at Fat Gum’s and Bakugou at Best Jeanist’s (yeah that one had surprised Eijirou for sure). They’d be working constantly, that was a fact of this career path they’d both chosen, and it would suck just a little that they’d never get to hang out. Okay, maybe it would suck considerably more than a little. A lot. Or as Bakugou would probably say, “a fuckton.”

Bakugou really hadn’t been talking to him in the past week, and that worried Eijirou, since the last thing he wanted to do was go out on a bad note. He’d have to think of something to say at the graduation ceremony. Maybe the two of them could get lunch afterwards to clear things up? Or Eijirou could write a note or something? Probably not that last one; he wasn’t great with words. His vocabulary consisted of the words ‘manly,’ ‘bro,’ and ‘dude.’ That was it. Full stop.

On that self-deprecating note, Eijirou began to drift off to sleep. And that’s when another one of those things happened that proved to him that the universe simply did not want him to rest.

The sound of the door in the room next to him opening and shutting brought him back to full consciousness. Eijirou listened as Bakugou (and he knew it was Bakugou because of his footsteps--was that weird? Eijirou didn’t care.) walked down the hall towards the elevator. As expected, the soft ding of the elevator could be heard a moment later.

Eijirou didn’t know what his thought process was with this next part. He threw his comforter off, put on the nearest pair of shoes (predictably crocs), and (unpredictably) exited his room.

At this point, sleep was a scientific impossibility, so he might as well make an attempt to bother his friend.

When Eijirou got downstairs, he didn’t see the person he was looking for in the common room. He was about to give up, go back to his room, and try and fail to sleep for the next five hours, but then he spotted Bakugou sitting outside on a bench about twenty yards from the dorms.

Eijirou hadn’t even been aware that benches had been installed anywhere. He knew that that specific one hadn’t been there when he’d first arrived, he was sure of it. But he wasn’t about to get all introspective about the bench along with everything else.

He stepped out into the cool night air, wishing that he’d put on a sweatshirt, and began to walk across the grounds. Technically no one was allowed outside past ten, but obviously neither he nor Bakugou cared about that, at least not tonight.

Bakugou could see Eijirou coming towards him, Eijirou was sure of it, but their eyes didn’t meet once.

Eijirou didn’t wait for an invitation. He sat down next to his friend and they each waited for the other to start talking.

“What’re you doing here?” Bakugou finally said, without his usual aggression.

Eijirou shrugged. “Same as you, couldn’t sleep.”

The silence stretched out between them. There was certainly a conversation to be had, but Eijirou didn’t know how to initiate it.

He tried to focus on other things. It was cold. His legs ached from working out so much earlier. He could see a few stars scattered in between the clouds.

This wasn’t working, he needed to talk. Talking was one of his favorite things to do. It helped him take his mind off himself.

“We haven’t hung out a lot recently,” Eijirou said, wishing he’d said something else.

Bakugou crossed his arms. He looked cold too. “I don’t do goodbyes. Sentimental shit creeps me the fuck out.”

“It’s not goodbye,” Eijirou argued, “We’ll see each other around.”

“You’re too optimistic. We’ve got full schedules and we’re hours apart. It’ll never work.” His phrasing almost made Eijirou laugh. Out of context it sounded like they were talking about a relationship. It was a relationship of sorts, but it wasn’t like-- well, actually Eijirou didn’t know what it was. More on that never.

“Guess you’re right.”

“‘Course I am.”

“I’ll miss you,” Eijirou added, hoping for a reflective response.

“Why?”

“‘C'mon man, you’re my best friend. There’s no one out there like you.” Eijirou playfully slung an arm around him.

Bakugou made a display of shuddering at both the contact and the words. He was smiling a little though. “This cheesy shit right here is why I don’t do goodbyes.”

“Yeah, never? You’ve never said goodbye to anyone?”

“No, whenever I walk out of a room I like to go with a neutral ‘see you in hell, fuckers.’ Gets the point across quite nicely.” Eijirou cackled. He’d actually witnessed Bakugou do that upwards of five times. He was more mellowed out now, though. Not peaceful, and certainly not nice (from an outside perspective, anyway. Eijirou thought that he was plenty kind when he tried to be), but he was better than he was in the past.

“Do you want to maybe get some food or something?” Eijirou suggested, out of nowhere. He didn’t know why he’d said it. He wasn’t hungry.

“Are you fucking kidding me? We have to be up in like three hours. No way,” Bakugou responded harshly, but his tone held an air of practicality rather than true disgust at the invitation.

“Four and a half. And we’re already up,” Eijirou reasoned.

“Where would we even get food, smartass?”

“Restaurant. Convenience store. Coffee shop. Et cetera.”

“It’s past curfew.”

“What are they gonna do, expel us? Right before we graduate?”

Bakugou gazed off into the darkness like he was imagining the two of them being reprimanded for their crime. “I wouldn’t put it past Aizawa.”

Eijirou shrugged, mentally calling time of death on his good idea. “Maybe some other time then.”

“No, let’s do it.”

“Huh?”

“You heard me. I’m in. Let’s just go before anyone notices we’re gone.” Bakugou stood up, brushing off his jeans. Eijirou questioned briefly why he would be wearing them at night in the first place, but then decided that he was better off worrying about other things.

The two of them climbed over the school gate with ease (well, Eijirou climbed, Bakugou blasted himself over the top). They didn’t worry about the security cameras, since they knew that the footage would only be checked in the event that something majorly bad happened.

After a five minute walk, they found themselves sitting in a 24 hour diner. Both of them had ordered a cup of coffee and Eijirou had a slice of pie that he was barely touching.

Because they were teenagers, because they were impulsive, and most of all, because they were tired, they’d both forgotten to bring money. Luckily, Bakugou had found enough loose change in his pocket to pay for them both, which led Eijirou to realize, with embarrassment, that he was still wearing his pajamas (a t-shirt and basketball shorts, but still).

“So,” Eijirou started, in an attempt to revive their broken conversation, “are you excited? To be a hero, I mean.”

“Obviously, yeah.”

“Are you scared at all?”

“Never been scared in my life.”

“Lies.” Eijirou shook his head with a bit of a frown. He could remember one very specific time his friend had been terrified, but he knew better than to bring it up.

“Fine,” Bakugou said, sipping his coffee almost angrily. Eijirou knew of no one else who could do that. “‘M scared of what Jeanist’s gonna do to my hair, happy?”

Eijirou laughed. “Man, I still can’t believe you’re working for him.”

Bakugou shrugged. “It’s good publicity. And I’m working with him. Not for. I don’t work for anyone.”

“I wish we could work together,” Eijirou said, in the way that people say things that will never come to pass. I wish I could get a perfect score on every test. I wish someone would drop a million bucks on the sidewalk. I wish we could work together.

“We should,” Bakugou responded, with complete seriousness.

“Yeah, maybe we’ll be able to team up sometime in a few years.”

“No.” He slammed his coffee mug down. “Now. We should team up now.”

“Believe me, I’d love to,” Eijirou said, not thinking that Bakugou actually meant it. But as Eijirou was about to see, he really did.

“Why the fuck can’t we? We’ll start our own agency! They’ll never know what the fuck hit ‘em! Kirishima, we’d be the perfect team!” He stood up, in the booth, which drew glares from all of the other tired patrons of the diner.

“Of course we would, but we can’t. We’re sidekicks. We’re kids. We can’t start our own agency.” Eijirou was trying to be the voice of reason, but some part of him wanted to believe in this. He wanted it to be the two of them against the world.

Bakugou sat back down, but was not any less impassioned. He leaned towards Eijirou. “Look, it’s not unheard of. We could do it. I’m the strongest one out there, I know that for sure, but you’re right there with me. We’re unstoppable force--,” he pointed at himself,“--and immovable object,” he pointed at Eijirou. “If anyone can do this, it’s us.”

Eijirou wanted to give in; he really, really, really wanted this. It was his dream, to be quite honest. Fighting alongside the person he trusted and cared about more than anything. It just wasn’t a possibility, and he didn’t like the fact that Bakugou -- grounded, aggressive, weirdly sensible sometimes Bakugou -- thought it was a good idea.

“It’s not smart,” Eijirou sighed. “It’s not a safe choice, and it’s not doable. Working with you would be...amazing, for real, there’s nothing I’d love more, but dude. You’re sleep-deprived and it’s too late. We’ve already settled our lives for the next few years. The paperwork’s done. We’re graduating tomorrow and then we’ll go our separate ways.” Eijirou felt like the universe had turned itself inside out. He was the one talking about practicality and paperwork, and Bakugou was the idealist and the dreamer. This was one weird night.

“To hell with all that! Listen Kirishima,” he slammed a palm on the table and Eijirou jumped, afraid that he would explode it by accident. “I had my life planned out since I was a kid, and you were never part of it. But you’re in my life now, and I am so fucking glad. You keep me sane, you make me stronger, and I can only hope that I do the same for you. This past week I didn’t talk to you or hang out with you because I wanted to see if I could handle my life on my own, and let’s face it, I can’t. I need someone by my side, and I need that person to be you.”

Eijirou sat there, stunned. He’d never thought that he had that much of an impact on his friend’s life. But it was kind of the same and the opposite from his perspective. He needed Bakugou in his life too. He’d always doubted his own abilities and strengths, but having someone believe in him? Someone who Eijirou knew would never lie to him or betray his trust? Someone who could make him stronger? He needed that. They balanced each other out. Made each other better.

Bakugou was right. Together they would be unstoppable.

“I’m in,” Eijirou grinned. “I’ll be there for you as long as you’ll do the same for me.”

Bakugou looked truly happy for once. “You know I’ll give it everything I’ve got and nothing less.” He stood up again, holding out his hand at that sort of arm-wrestling angle.

“Everything and nothing less,” Eijirou agreed, clasping Bakugou’s hand firmly with his own.

After that, they walked back together under the dim glow of the moon, both smiling and confident in the choice that they’d made.

Eijirou knew that this was a risk, and that soon he would have to overcome a mountain of struggles, sort through an endless array of complicated and contradictory emotions, and make decisions that he wouldn’t have had to worry about if he’d chosen the easy way out. But for now, the future looked bright and he was finally optimistic about it.

He’d be tired in the morning, but there was always time to be tired. Right now, he was wide awake.