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Rumors (Keep My Name Out Your Mouth)

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Mineta was the first one to say anything, which probably should've told them that the whole idea was kind of ridiculous.

“Hey, guys?” Mineta said out loud but to no particular person, earning the attention of those sitting nearest to him. “Are we sure Kirishima's...okay?”

At the mention of everyone's favorite redhead, he earned a bit more focus.

“What? What do you mean?” Kaminari asked, sitting up. “He was fine yesterday. Did something happen?”

“Is he sick today?” Sero asked, glancing towards his currently empty seat, as he hadn't come to class yet.

“Does he need someone to take notes for him?” Iida said seriously.

Mineta shook his head. “No, I'm not talking about being, like, sick. I mean him dating Bakugou.”

Instantly everyone's concern turned into narrowed eyes of suspicion. “And what, exactly, could be wrong about him dating Bakugou?” Jirou asked through gritted teeth.

Mineta waved his arms frantically. “No, no, I swear, I don't care that they're gay! I just mean him dating Bakugou specifically. Dude's kind of violent, yeah? Are we sure he's not going to hurt Kirishima or anything? ‘Cause Kirishima's a really good guy,” he reasoned.

Kaminari rolled his eyes. “Dude, Bakugou isn't that bad. He's mostly just shouty now. He'd never hurt someone he cared about.” He glanced over at Midoriya confidently. “Right, Midoriya? You've known him the longest after all. He's a good dude too, yeah?”

“Kacchan wouldn't…” Miroriya hesitated, and in that moment, all the confidence in the room evaporated quicker than a glass of water in a volcano. Midoriya shook his head, laughing weakly. “He wouldn't,” he assured them, smile looking just a touch like a grimace. Midoriya didn't think Bakugou would, but he couldn't help but think about Mitsuki and her penchant for ‘lovingly’ smacking around her husband and son. Plus he remembered that awkward time he'd been over when she'd straight-up slapped Bakugou in the face for telling her ‘no’ and screamed at him. Having come from a gentle-voiced household led by Inko, he had never heard someone yell and berate their child like that, and Bakugou had just stood there stone-faced and taken it. They'd only be around six then and it wasn't long after that that Midoriya had stopped coming over. Once, he'd even tried to ask Bakugou about it, and Bakugou had shoved him to the ground and told him to shut up and mind his own damn business.

Midoriya wasn't really sure if that was the best environment to learn about how to have a healthy romantic relationship. But still, he was pretty sure Bakugou wouldn't be so callous as to be actually violent with Kirishima. Maybe play-fighting, maybe sparring, but not...not like that. Not like his mother.

Midoriya couldn't help but remember not too long ago them being friends and then him learning what the sparks in Bakugou's hands felt like against his skin.

“He...wouldn't,” he muttered to him, unconsciously rubbing at his arm, like he could still feel that sting.

When Bakugou and Kirishima walked in for class, the whole class seemed to focus on them.

“What's with you losers?” Bakugou demanded loudly, eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“Everything alright, guys?” Kirishima asked, looking at them all nervously.

“Yeah, was just wondering where you two were,” Sero drawled, hero that he was. He offered a grin. “You were almost late,” he teased, grasping for normality.

“Like fuck,” Bakugou denied, scoffing as he stalked to his desk and collapsed into the chair.

Kirishima laughed and the entire class breathed a sigh of relief. They were all being ridiculous. Bakugou wouldn't.

...would he?

…..

Ow!

Ashido tensed at hearing Kirishima's cry of pain, glancing up from her phone to meet Kaminari's gaze across the couch. They both barrelled into the kitchen where Bakugou and Kirishima were cooking (where Bakugou was cooking and Kirishima was taste-testing, mostly) to see Bakugou holding Kirishima's hand under the running faucet, rolling his eyes while Kirishima pouted.

“What happened?” Kaminari demanded.

“Stupid here cut his finger chopping vegetables,” Bakugou drawled, making Kirishima flush and shuffle his feet in embarrassment. “You literally get hard to defend against shit like this. How does this even happen?” He demanded, barely paying Ashido and Kaminari any mind.

“Sorry,” Kirishima said sheepishly, giving Bakugou a wobbly smile. “I was distracted.”

Bakugou snorted. “Pay attention,” he ordered, reaching out his free hand and grabbing a handful of Kirishima's hair, shaking his head lightly. Kirishima smiled brighter at him.

“I was just so hungry,” Kirishima murmured, eyes never wavering from Bakugou's.

“Idiot,” Bakugou huffed, smirking as he shook Kirishima's head once more before letting him go, glancing at his finger. “It's stopped bleeding, it was just a little cut. Now go sit with Pikachu and Black Eyes while I finish this shit up, otherwise you're bound to do something else stupid.”

Kirishima chuckled but seemed to go along with Bakugou's orders, walking with a bounce in his step with Kaminari and Ashido.

“Kiri?” Ashido said, unsurely.

“Yeah?”

“Were you...really cutting vegetables?” She asked hesitantly.

Kirishima sent her an odd look, tilting his head to the side. “Yeah?” He said, sounding almost unsure. “What do you mean?”

“Just,” Kaminari input. “You're okay, right?”

Kirishima grinned, showing them his finger. “Yeah, dude, it's totally fine. Just an accident.”

“Right,” Ashido agreed, smiling kindly with relief, shaking herself for being ridiculous. “Just an accident.”

“Hey, you think Blasty would cook some food for us too?” Kaminari reached for something to say, trying to ignore his and Ashido's reactions. Bakugou was their friend. Just because Mineta had said something stupid didn't meant it was true, even if the idea had seemed to stick in everyone's mind now after Midoriya's hesitation.

Kirishima laughed. “Maybe, if you ask nicely.”

“I always ask nicely,” Ashido said, forcing herself into normality too. She bumped into Kaminari's side and they both managed perfect mischievous grins.

“Bakubroooooo,” Kaminari sang out loudly.

“Fuck off, Sparky! One more word and I'm putting ghost peppers in this bitch!”

Kaminari squeaked and Ashido and Kirishima burst into laughter.

Later, when Bakugou brought out four plates instead of two, Kaminari and Ashido both tried to hide how utterly surprised they were, even though Bakugou had done similar things before. He was a man of action above words and he'd always done his part to make them aware that he thought of them as friends. They were all being stupid. Bakugou was nice, a good guy, even if he did have a bit of a mouth on him. And maybe there was a rough past there, some stuff that he and Midoriya probably needed to talk about and work on, but that wasn't who Bakugou was now and it wasn't kind of them to hold his past against him when Bakugou had been working to change practically since the moment they'd met him.

“What the fuck is wrong with you two?” Bakugou barked, voice low as he watched the two of them share guilty looks over their plates.

“Just another failed test,” Ashido lied, taking a bite of the admittedly delicious food that Bakugou always made too much of in case one of the squad beyond just him and Kirishima wanted some. Chances were there was enough left in the kitchen for Sero too. Bakugou was even nice enough to leave his preferred intense spices out of everyone's food but his own, which meant he was basically cooking two meals every time he cooked.

“Idiots,” Bakugou scoffed, turned back to his food. “Come with me and Eijirou to the library after school tomorrow. I already have to tutor his dumb ass; I can handle you two too.”

Ashido smiled. “You're so nice, Blasty!” She exclaimed, hiding her flash of guilt with over-exuberance.

“Shut it with that noise,” Bakugou growled, face flushing.

“Awe~ Bakubro's blushing!” Kaminari teased.

“I said shut the fuck up!” Bakugou screeched.

Kirishima laughed at their antics. Kaminari hid his relief. Kirishima was happy. They were all just being stupid.

…..

“Damn, Kirishima! What happened?”

Kirishima hummed distractedly, changing out of his gym sweats from class. He glanced over at Kaminari with a raised brow. “What?” He asked.

“Your back, dude!”

“My back?” Kirishima said, turning his back to the mirror in his locker and looking over his shoulder to see what Kaminari meant.

Kaminari hissed. “And your chest! What the fuck?” He demanded.

Kirishima's back and chest were covered in bruises and singe marks, some bearing striking resemblances to hand prints.

Kirishima grinned. “I'm good, bro. Katsuki and I sparred pretty hard yesterday. He was helping me up Unbreakable so I could hold it longer,” he said, fists thunking together over his chest.

“Wow, Kirishima,” Mineta said, sounding concerned. “Bakugou did that to you? Kind of cruel to beat up his boyfriend, isn't it?”

Kirishima frowned. “He didn't beat me up,” he said defensively. “We were training.”

“Bakugou really can't control himself, can he?”

“What was that, you grape fucker?” Bakugou growled, having returned from the showers with a towel around his waist and a glare on his face.

“Nothing!” Mineta squeaked, moving practically into his locker as Bakugou stomped past him towards his own locker.

“Whatever,” Bakugou grumbled, eyes flickering over to take in Kirishima's chest and back with a furrowed brow. Kaminari watched him intently, waiting for a reaction, a sign of remorse or even for him to offer an apology for pushing too hard the day before. He couldn't fight the way his lip twitched, fighting off a curl of disgust as Bakugou looked away to change out without doing or saying anything. It wasn't his business, not really, but damn if it wasn't upsetting to see Bakugou so blatantly disregard the proof of his damage to Kirishima.

“I want to get another hour after class lets out,” Kirishima said, turning to watch Bakugou change blatantly. It was absolutely not a heterosexual moment at all and Kaminari turned to his own locker to finish changing out. Suddenly Kirishima's flirting sat with him wrong, a niggling of worry returning to his gut. Kirishima was a good guy. He didn't deserve Bakugou beating on him, even if it was a spar. As wild as it was to say, Mineta was right: Bakugou needed to learn to control himself more.

Kaminari shook his head, pulling his shirt on. It wasn't his business. Kirishima was happy with Bakugou. They'd probably already discussed it, anyways. And besides, with Bakugou being so recalcitrant, he would probably never allow anyone to see him actually apologize except Kirishima so it was stupid to assume he hadn't when he probably had in private.

“I'm making curry for supper,” Bakugou told Kirishima. “And you better be showered before you come to get it. I'm not eating with you smelling like shit.”

Kirishima laughed and Kaminari forced his shoulders to relax. Bakugou wasn't a bad guy.

…..

Kirishima winced, standing stiffly suddenly.

“What's wrong, Kirishima?” Yaoyorozu asked kindly.

“Just a little sore. Moved wrong,” Kirishima assured her, smiling toothily.

“I could make you a heat patch if it's a sore muscle,” she offered.

“That's okay,” Kirishima waved off. “I've got my own in my room, I don't want to bother you to make anything.”

“Oh it's no bother--” Yaoyorozu tried to assured him, before being interrupted.

“Hey, Shitty Hair,” Bakugou greeted, looking positively wicked as he threw an arm around his boyfriend, glancing only briefly at Yaoyorozu which she guessed was about as much acknowledgement as she could expect. He squeezed around Kirishima and the redhead flinched, which made Yaoyorozu frown in concern.

“Kirishima has a sore muscle,” she defended the redhead, since he didn't seem like he was going to say anything to the blond about his rough treatment.

Bakugou's grin seemed to widen more and he looked over at her. “Oh, does he?” He drawled. Yaoyorozu thought his tone sounded mocking, almost mean, and her brows furrowed. Were they not dating? Shouldn't Bakugou care if his boyfriend was in pain?

“You shouldn't be so rough,” she chastised him bravely.

“Fuck off, Ponytail. Eijirou's fine,” Bakugou waved her off, still sounding like a cat that had gotten the cream. “Right, Hair for Brains?” Bakugou leaned into the redhead's side and Yaoyorozu didn't miss how his hand clutched at Kirishima's hip tightly, possessively.

“I'm fine, Yaomomo. Really,” Kirishima promised her, and he smiled kindly. Always so sweet. Yaoyorozu hated that she was starting to see what Mineta had meant with his concern.

“If you're sure,” she said, not knowing how to breach her concern. It wasn't like she and Kirishima were close, exactly, not to mention Bakugou was standing right there. Perhaps she could speak with Ashido, Sero, and Kaminari. Those three would surely be able to assure her and she was just reading this situation wrong.

Bakugou leaned over and murmured something too lowly for her to hear into Kirishima's ear. He instantly blushed and smiled at Bakugou like he was the sun, laughing lightly.

Surely it couldn't be bad if Kirishima was laughing, she decided. She was just reading the situation wrong.

…..

The day Kirishima came into class sporting a black eye, the whole class nearly lost their composure.

“Kiri!” Ashido yelled worriedly, getting up from her seat. Iida didn't even chastise her even though it was only three minutes to class starting. “What happened?”

Kirishima shuffled his feet awkwardly, shrugging his shoulders. “Just an accident. I'm kind of clumsy, you know,” he excused.

The room went quiet, staring in disbelief. It was an act of great strength that no one looked over at Bakugou's still empty seat.

Kirishima laughed, but it was wrong. Off. Upset.

Bakugou walked in two seconds before Aizawa, head down and uncharacteristically subdued as he marched straight to his desk and sat quietly for the entire class period. He was gone as soon as they were dismissed, just as suddenly, just as silently.

No one made an effort to stop him, though Kirishima's eyes followed him the entire time with sadness in them.

…..

“So...Bakugou was quiet today,” Kaminari announced to the common room shortly after both Bakugou and Kirishima had already bowed out early, both claiming they hadn't gotten much sleep and were exhausted. Kaminari's tone wasn't entirely as kind as he'd meant it to be, but he didn't apologize and his jaw set stubbornly.

“Kirishima was pretty quiet today too,” Asui croaked quietly.

The others waited tensely for someone to break the silence.

“If he hit him--” Kaminari began, already working up an indignant anger.

“We don't know that,” Jirou cut in, eyes serious. “Bakugou isn't a bad guy. Maybe some things are looking a little suspect here, but none of us have the whole story. And Kirishima's happy with him,” she defended.

“He didn't look so happy today,” Sero pointed out softly.

“I swear I'll--”

“Kaminari, sit down!” Ashido yelled, eyes shining brightly with unshed tears. “I don't like how this looks either but Bakugou is supposed to be our friend too. We can't just accuse him of something like this without proof. It's an awful thing to accuse someone of if it's not true,” she said, sniffling. “I want to trust that we're just reading everything wrong too. There's got to be some other explanation. Something. Anything! Anyone?” She asked desperately.

“This is the first time I've seen Kirishima look like that,” Yaoyorozu murmured lowly from her seat beside Jirou. She poked her fingers together, frowning in concern. “He was a bit sore from training last week and Bakugou was treating him a bit roughly but he didn't seem upset like he did today.”

“Of course he didn't, Bakugou hadn't given him a black--”

Kaminari!” Jirou shouted, barely stopping herself from using her quirk, cutting him off with a fierce glare.

“Doesn't anyone care about Kirishima here?” Kaminari demanded. “Bakugou is--”

If, Kaminari, if!” Jirou snapped. “If Bakugou is, then we'll do something. But we don't know.”

They were all quiet, glowering, angry and confused and worried.

Midoriya, Iida, Uraraka, and Todoroki entered into the common room then, pausing in the doorway at the tense atmosphere.

“Is something wrong?” Iida spoke up, ever ready to help.

“Midoriya!” Kaminari wheeled on him, eyes serious. “You used to be friends with Bakugou, right?”

All eyes turned to Midoriya who instantly stiffened. “Uh. I guess. A long time ago? It's kind of...complicated,” he finished awkwardly.

“Did he ever hit you?” Kaminari demanded bluntly.

Midoriya's eyes widened in surprise and everyone held their breath.

“...” Midoriya opened his mouth but words were unable to come out. How did he explain his and Bakugou's past? He knew whatever they'd been--because they certainly hadn't been friends after Bakugou's quirk had manifested--it couldn't be summed up easily. And he didn't feel comfortable talking about their past with people who Midoriya felt Bakugou was making efforts to be real friends with. There was no doubt the blond had been working to change and better himself since they'd started U.A. and Midoriya couldn't find it in himself to sabotage that. Whatever Bakugou he'd known before and grown up with, that wasn't the Bakugou that was with them now. That was all that Midoriya cared about.

Apparently he'd been silent too long, as everyone's faces darkened.

“No, it's not like that,” Midoriya rushed to say, fearing his inability to speak had messed something up. He waved his hands wildly. “It wasn't...Kacchan and I weren't really friends, exactly. It's not the same. He's never really...I mean, I really doubt he'd ever...He's a lot different now!”

Midoriya felt panic build when he realized that Bakugou's friends weren't looking any more assured by his words, instead growing more and more concerned.

“Kacchan wouldn't--”

“He hit you, didn't he?” Kaminari cut him off, eyes dark. “Used to hit you a lot. Right? That's why you used to flinch all the time. Did he use his quirk too?”

Midoriya's mouth felt dry. “He wouldn't--”

“He didn't start by hitting you, I imagine, or you wouldn't have wanted to be around him,” Yaoyorozu spoke up softly, watching Midoriya with sad, caring eyes. “It's...it's actually pretty textbook. For an. Um.” She hesitated, looking down. “For an abuser,” she whispered. “Start small, building to worse attacks later. Apologies come fewer and fewer until there isn't any anymore. Isolating the person against others that might help them.”

“Fuck that!” Kaminari shouted.

“We've got to tell Kiri--”

“That's not Kacchan!” Midoriya yelled over them all, instantly silencing theml. Midoriya panted, eyes wide but furious and steady. “Kacchan isn't an abuser. He's--” a victim of abuse, he caught himself from shouting, biting his tongue. Mitsuki was all smiles in company and had always been pleasant to Midoriya and his mother, but he would never forget the steely anger in her eyes when she'd slapped Bakugou as hard as she could and he hadn't even seemed surprised. Midoriya would never forget how Bakugou had glowed when they were kids but slowly darkened and dulled through the years. He might not have visited the Bakugou household again after that slap, but he didn't have to be a genius to know that things hadn't gotten any better.

Bakugou may be a lot of things, but Midoriya couldn't believe that he would ever let himself become his mother.

“It's okay, Deku,” Uraraka murmured at his side. “If he...if he did hit you, it wasn't your fault.”

They didn't understand. They were talking like Bakugou was guilty. He wasn't. He'd been far from kind to Midoriya, that was true; he'd said countless awful, hurtful things, and maybe he'd been pretty rough, but as long as Midoriya could still see even a drop of that shining Bakugou that he used to follow on the playground playing heroes with, he could never find it in his heart to condemn him, to turn and give up on him. Bakugou's dulling and cold sharpening was a product of his raising, a defense mechanism he'd ingrained in his personality to make whatever his mother did to him okay. But Midoriya knew that it wasn't his place to reveal any of that.

“Kacchan is not what you think,” Midoriya denied, shaking his head. “You're wrong. He would never hurt Kirishima. I'm sure of it.” He said this steadily, voice never wavering as he met Kaminari's gaze.

“You don't have to protect him,” Todoroki murmured, startling Midoriya and making him look to see an oddly earnest look in Todoroki's eyes.

Midoriya smiled. “I know. But Kacchan's been making efforts since we got here to be better, and he is.” He paused. “I'm not...excusing our past,” he said slowly, glancing at them all again a little nervously. “But whatever is in our past is between Kacchan and I. That's just how we are. That doesn't mean that's how he is with everyone. And I know he'd never hurt Kirishima.”

He waited, watching them all think that over.

“I believe you,” Jirou said first. “Bakugou's always been a little brash, but he's always treated Kirishima special. I'm sure whatever's going on has a perfectly reasonable explanation.” Her face soured. “Not to mention the only reason any of us even have this concern is because Mineta suggested it a couple weeks ago, and we all should know by now not to listen to his opinions.”

“I believe you too,” Sero spoke up from where he was still sitting on the floor, leaning against the coffee table. “Bakubro talks big, but what he really means he always says with his actions. He treats Kirishima like he's precious, even while calling him a dumbass.”

Midoriya cracked a smile. That was indeed how Bakugou worked.

“I just...Kirishima had a black eye, guys,” Kaminari said, struggling. “He wouldn't even offer an excuse, just kept saying it was an accident. How is that not the typical abuse answer?” He tugged at his hair, fraught with worry.

“Maybe he got it during sex?” Asui piped in.

“Tsuyu!” Uraraka yelped, covering her blushing face. Most of the others blushed too, while Ashido and Sero both burst into laughter at Kaminari's twisted expression of disgust.

“Why would you even…”

“If he got it then, he probably wouldn't want to talk about it,” Asui explained.

“Then why would Bakugou be so quiet today,?” Kaminari demanded.

“Maybe it really was an accident,” Sero said, shrugging. “A sex accident. And Bakugou feels bad. Maybe he dropped Kirishima on the floor or something.”

“Dude!” Kaminari groaned, covering his ears.

The tension seemed to have dissipated some at the teasing, the air just a bit lighter.

“Let's just trust and support our friends then,” Iida suggested with a small smile. “I believe that's all we can do for now. It wouldn't do for us to cast such harsh judgment on things we're not sure about.”

Ashido sniffled and nodded, along with the others. Midoriya grinned at Iida, making the taller man blush lightly and stutter and turn a bit shy, which brought them all into relieved laughter. They would trust in their friends. It had got them all this far after all.

…..

“Hey, Kirishima?”

Kirishima paused, looking over at Kaminari. “Yeah, bro?” He asked curiously.

“You know...you can tell me anything. Right?” Kaminari asked quietly.

Kirishima raised a brow. “Yeah? What's up?”

Kaminari shrugged. “I just wanted to make sure that you knew. That I'm here for you.” He looked at Kirishima seriously. “I may be a bit silly sometimes, but I mean that. You're one of my best friends, dude. I'm always going to be here for you. No matter what. So if you ever have to go through something difficult or scary or anything, I'm here for you.”

Kirishima smiled at him. “Thanks, bro. Same to you. I'm always here for you too.”

Kaminari nodded, “Thanks,” he said, before hesitating, eyeing where Bakugou was sparring with Todoroki. “And you're...doing okay? You're happy?”

Kirishima followed his gaze, smile softening as he looked at Bakugou fighting. Kaminari swore he could practically hear the birds tweeting as sickeningly sweet adoration and devotion basically dripped from Kirishima's eyes.

“Yeah,” he said quietly, smiling like he had everything he needed in life, never looking away from Bakugou. “I'm really really happy, Kaminari.”

The black eye was fading but still present. Kaminari didn't see any lingering hesitancy though, couldn't tell any resentment or hurt or anger. He'd done the most he could; for now, he'd just have to trust that Kirishima would talk to him if something changed. He glanced over at Bakugou himself, wondering.

“He's changed,” Kaminari murmured, something people had been saying for a while.

“He has,” Kirishima agreed proudly.

“If he hurts you, I may just have to short circuit him,” Kaminari said, tone light as if to tease even if he meant every word.

Kirishima burst into laughter. “Katsuki would never hurt me,” Kirishima giggled, sounding absolutely confident. He grinned at Kaminari, giving a quick glance at Bakugou before leaning in conspiratorially. “He keeps a first aid kit in his room because we found out if I go unbreakable for too long my skin can split and bleed a little and he refuses to let me ignore it. And he always times our spars because he's paranoid my time limit will come up and he won't realize and I won't be able to block one of his blasts.” He giggled again. “He's secretly sweet, dude,” he teased lightly.

Kaminari smiled, tension unraveling in his chest. “Yeah? Sounds like he's got it bad for you, bro,” Kaminari said, happy and relieved and feeling pretty foolish and a little ashamed so have thought such bad things about Bakugou, who he was supposed to be friends with too.

Kirishima's eyes sparkled like the stars were in them. “Yeah,” he agreed.

“What are you fuckers giggling about?” Bakugou demanded, stomping over with a pout now that Aizawa had demanded an end to the match because he and Todoroki had focused so much on fighting each other that they'd forgotten about saving the hostages and Uraraka, Toru, and Jirou had completed the task themselves.

“Just talking about how much you loooove Kiri-bro,” Kaminari teased, watching as Bakugou flushed a bright red.

“Fuck you, dumbass,” Bakugou grumbled, throwing his arm around Kirishima's waist and propping his chin on his shoulder. “So what? He's my boyfriend, I'm supposed to love him. Idiot,” he rolled his eyes.

Kaminari blinked, a little surprised to such a blatant admission of feelings from Bakugou.

“Awe, Katsuki,” Kirishima cooed, and Bakugou blushed even brighter.

“Shut up,” he muttered, hand curling around Kirishima's waist like he couldn't help it.

Kirishima reached up to cup Bakugou's cheek and turned his face so he could give him a peck on the nose. Bakugou immediately drew back, glowering at him, and Kirishima burst into laughter.

“You're so cute, babe,” Kirishima managed between giggles.

“I am not!”

Kaminari laughed too. “Kind of, dude,” he teased like he couldn't help himself.

Bakugou's face was as bright as Kirishima's hair now. “Fuck you too!” he screeched at him.

“Who's picking on Blasty?” Ashido bounced in, leaned into Bakugou's side and putting up her fists like she was going to fight. “I'll beat them up for you!”

“I don't need fucking protection!” Bakugou denied instantly.

“Bakugou Protection Squad,” Sero announced as he joined them, hooking his arm over Bakugou's shoulder and tugging him closer.

“Fuck all of you losers. Why do I even hang out with you people?” Bakugou hissed, rolling his eyes so hard Kaminari thought he might damage them.

“Because you loooooove us,” Kirishima teased.

“Shut up.”

Kirishima beamed. “Careful, babe. You didn't deny it.”

Bakugou sent him a deadpanned look. “Shut up, Hair for Brains,” he said pointedly, gritting his teeth as the remaining trio gasped.

“Blasty?” Ashido murmured.

“Awe, dude!” Sero said, using his arm around Bakugou's shoulder to pull the struggling blond into a hug.

“Fuck you! Get off me!” Bakugou yelled, slumping when Kirishima joined the hug, followed by Ashido and Kaminari who both had the starting of tears in their eyes. “Stupid motherfuckers. Why are you surprised?” He mumbled quietly, sounding uncharacteristically soft.

“We're just really happy,” Ashido murmured, looking at Kaminari and Sero behind the other two's backs with blatant tears and shame in her eyes. They both echoed the look, and they might have hugged Bakugou a little tighter for it, guilt settling in their stomachs. They didn't have to say anything to know that they absolutely could not let Bakugou or Kirishima ever learn just what the class had been worrying about for the past couple weeks.

“Careful, you guys, or you might get black eyes too!”

Instantly they all tensed, pulling away from the hug to turn to Mineta.

“What the fuck?” Bakugou said, voice oddly empty of all emotion as he stared at Mineta with wide eyes. Kaminari panicked.

“Dude! Not cool!” He waved his arms.

“What? It's what everyone's been talking about. I thought you were worried about Kirishima?” Mineta said, looking around the group in confusion. “Everyone knows Bakugou's the one that hit him.”

Bakugou paled, taking a step back like he'd been struck. Kirishima looked positively livid.

“What?” He demanded, voice almost a growl.

Mineta sent him a concerned look. “Everyone's been really worried, dude,” he glared at Bakugou. “We all know he's been abusing you. You're a good guy,” he said, smiling kindly back to Kirishima. “You should find someone better than Bakugou.”

Looking at Kirishima, Kaminari thought for a moment that he was seeing a dragon. He'd never seen his friend look so absolutely wrathful. He glanced at the others to see Sero and Ashido also looked swept away, concern and fear and guilt washing their features. Kaminari looked over at Bakugou unbidden and he froze, eyes widening.

Bakugou looked like he was about to be sick. His whole body was trembling minutely and his lower lip quivered before Kaminari's eyes. He shuffled away from them, staring at Mineta like he was someone who could actually hurt him.

“What the fuck even--How dare you--I can't--You don't--argh!” Kirishima seethed, anger overflowing to the point that he couldn't even speak. He snarled and fisted his hands and Kaminari was pretty sure he was about to hit Mineta. Quick as a whip, Kirishima turned those violent red eyes on Kaminari and the others. “Is he serious?” He demanded. “Is that what you guys are thinking?”

Kaminari opened his mouth but couldn't get words out in the face of Kirishima's frothing rage. Ashido squeaked, covering her mouth and eyes bright with unshed tears.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Kirishima all but roared. His eyes widened suddenly and he whirled on Kaminari again. “Earlier, you saying I could talk to you about anything difficult or scary and asked if I was happy with Bakugou...was that you trying to find out?”

Kaminari flushed with shame. “I...I was just...I needed to make sure…” he tried to explained, stuttering.

Bakugou flinched like Kaminari had slapped him and Kaminari bit back a sob at the sight of it. Kirishima ground his teeth together.

“I--” Kirishima cut himself off with another wordless vocalization of frustrated anger.

“What is going on?” Aizawa demanded, drawn by Kirishima's volume. The entire class was behind him, watching with curiosity and concern.

Apparently,” Kirishima hissed, glaring at the trio of Kaminari, Ashido, and Sero. “My friends think I'm in an abusive relationship,” he growled accusingly, glaring at the rest of the class who all seemed to wince collectively. Kirishima's eyes widened. “Are you serious? Does the whole class think this?”

Aizawa glowered at the class. “Do you all really think I'd allow such a thing to happen right in front of me?” he questioned. Everyone hung their head lower.

“Why…”

Everyone turned to Bakugou who was still looking absolutely gobsmacked, mouth parted and trembling slightly.

“Why would you all…” Bakugou gulped visibly. “I thought you…” he looked down at his palms like he didn't recognize them.

“Kacchan,” Midoroya spoke, stepping closer to him. “We know you wouldn't do that,” he promised him.

Bakugou looked up at Midoriya and Kaminari realized with a jolt that Bakugou was about to start crying.

“Then why would you...I would never...I'm not her,” he stressed, looking only at Midoriya like he'd know who ‘her’ was.

“I know,” Midoriya promised him.

“I thought I was...I know that we...but with Ei, I…” Bakugou seemed lost, unable to finish his own thoughts, whirling in a storm of self-doubt and hurt. Tears were welling now and everyone felt their own stabs of guilt and shame and Kaminari was pretty sure the entire class was about to burst into sobs.

“Bakugou, you're dismissed. Go back to the dorms,” Aizawa interrupted. He looked to Kirishima. “Go with him,” he added. Kirishima nodded, taking Bakugou's hand and pointedly walking between him and the rest of the class as Bakugou mutely followed his lead, ducking his head to hide his face under his bangs and sniffling quietly. Kirishima threw one last glare at them all before turning his full attention to Bakugou, murmuring soft words to him none of them could hear. Not that they deserved to.

“I'm very disappointed in you all,” Aizawa said bluntly, making them all hang their heads. “I would've expected that after everything you've been through together as a class, you would know and trust each other. What you all have done has hurt one of your own deeply. You all need to reflect on that.”

“How do we make it better?” Jirou spoke up, voice wavering. “How do we apologize?”

Aizawa sighed. “I wish I had an answer for you, if only for Bakugou's sake. I'm afraid this isn't something that's quite so easily undone, however. You all will have to do some thinking and apologize sincerely. Even then, I can't guarantee that you'll be forgiven.”

They all nodded, ashamed. Aizawa shook his head. “Class is dismissed,” he said.

No one was laughing, and no one knew how to bring the laughter back either.