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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.

Chapter Text

“I could do something simple, you know,” Kirishima suggested, smiling as he watched Bakugou flit about the kitchen. “Cut vegetables or something.”

“Just sit there. I've got it,” Bakugou said, tasting the food on the stove before adding a pinch more salt. Kirishima walked up behind him, arms curling around his waist as he nuzzled the back of Bakugou's neck.

“I'm so hungry though,” Kirishima murmured, mouthing at Bakugou's skin before kissing just behind his ear. Bakugou shuddered deliciously in his arms, pressing just a little back against him, and Kirishima grinned victoriously.

“Fine, cut the damn vegetables,” Bakugou grumbled, shrugging him off after a few seconds. “Can't move with you octopus-holding me.”

Kirishima laughed, grabbing a knife and a carrot to start chopping.

“Be careful, Ei-baby” Bakugou leaned close to murmur breathily into Kirishima's ear in a tease. Kirishima instantly blushed, knife fumbling.

“Ow!” he hissed, looking down to see blood welling on his finger.

“Oh my god, you idiot,” Bakugou said, grabbing his wrist and shoving his finger under the running faucet.

“What happened?” Kaminari asked, he and Ashido having came running into the room.

“Stupid here cut his finger chopping vegetables,” Bakugou drawled and Kirishima blushed, biting his lip. “You literally get hard to defend against shit like this. How does this even happen?” He grumbled, fingers softly brushing Kirishima's skin as he held his wrist.

“Sorry,” Kirishima said automatically, offering Bakugou a knowing smile. “I was distracted.”

Bakugou snorted. “Pay attention,” he ordered, sliding his fingers into Kirishima's hair gently and shaking him a little. Kirishima couldn't help but grin, positively enamored with his awkward boyfriend who refused to admit he was concerned.

“I was just so hungry,” Kirishima couldn't help but say, watching with delight as Bakugou's eyes darkened with intent.

“Idiot,” Bakugou muttered, smirking as he shook Kirishima's head once more before letting him go, looking at Kirishima's finger with a quick flash of concern. “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 laughed, wanting to kiss Bakugou but knowing the other didn't care for public displays of affection, even if it was only Kaminari and Ashido. He trailed out the kitchen with the others, but not before brushing his fingers down Bakugou's arm and sending him a mischievous wink.

Bakugou quirked a quick smile at him and Kirishima could've taken on the world.

…..

“Damn, Kirishima! What happened?”

Kirishima hummed to himself, changing out of his gym sweats from class, deciding to take a shower later since he would be hitting the gym again once class was dismissed. He glanced over at Kaminari with a raised brow. “What?”

“Your back, dude!”

“My back?” Kirishima turned to look at his back in the mirror, seeing the normal bruises from his spar with Bakugou from the night before but nothing of any concern.

“And your chest! What the fuck?” Kaminari shouted.

Kirishima looked down at his chest too, seeing the exact same thing as was on his back. He 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 slammed his fists together over his chest, taking a small personal delight in the sound.

Yesterday had been a great round. He hadn't felt all that strong, like he could actually do anything, but feeling Bakugou's blasts ricochet off him in Unbreakable had been amazing. Plus, he'd never forget Bakugou's proud look when the explosive blond had finally called an end to their spar. Kirishima had been exhausted, disappointed, just knowing he hadn't improved his time, but Bakugou had had a proud smirk on his face, telling him he'd extended his time by almost twenty seconds.

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

Kirishima frowned. “He didn't beat me up. We were training.”

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

“What was that, you grape fucker?” Bakugou demanded, stomping from the showers. Kirishima was pretty sure he hadn't actually heard what Mineta had said, probably just his name, since he didn't look ready to combust and Kirishima didn't feel like putting his boyfriend in a bad mood over something Mineta had said so he didn't repeat it.

“Nothing!” Mineta squeaked, practically scurrying away from Bakugou as the irate blond passed him.

“Whatever,” Bakugou muttered distractedly, eyes dropping to take in the damage to Kirishima's chest in the light of the locker room. He'd been sweet last night, kissing each mark and massaging the worst places with his warm, if also a little rough, palms. Kirishima had practically melted when the other had given him a back massage.

“I want to get another hour after class lets out,” Kirishima let Bakugou know, finishing changing out and leaning against the locker to watch Bakugou get dressed blatantly. Bakugou met his eyes with a challenging grin, striping off his towel unashamedly and turning as he tugged his pants up and over his shapely rear without underwear. Kirishima met Bakugou's flirtatious look over his shoulder, licking his lips and watching Bakugou's lip curve into a teasing smirk.

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

Kirishima burned under Bakugou's gaze, hungry already. He laughed, reaching out to hook a finger in Bakugou's pants and tugging the other forward, unable to resist nuzzling under his jaw and kissing his boyfriend's cheek.

“Yes, dear,” he murmured for Bakugou's ears alone, watching with delight as Bakugou flushed lightly.

Kirishima felt stronger than even All Might when Bakugou looked at him like that. He hoped he never stopped.

…..

Kirishima moved suddenly, wincing as he felt the sting in his ass from last night. Bakugou had not been gentle after his win in their sparring match and, while Kirishima had definitely been totally into it, he did maybe wish they'd thought about them having class the next day.

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

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

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

“That's okay,” Kirishima waved off, nearly blanching at the thought of having to explain why he was putting a heat pad on his ass. “I've got my own in my room, I don't want to bother you to make anything.”

“Oh it's no bother--” Yaoyorozu began, before being cut off.

“Hey, Shitty Hair,” Bakugou snarked, looking absolutely thrilled as he pressed close and wrapped his arm around Kirishima's waist, barely giving Yaoyorozu more than a glance. He squeezed Kirishima's hip possessively, licking his lips as Kirishima tensed and flinched at the reminder, sending Bakugou an unimpressed look even if the blond would be able to see the lust underneath it.

“Kirishima has a sore muscle,” Yaoyorozu spoke up in his defense, even though Kirishima silently wished she'd maybe find someone else to focus on. He loved his classmates, he did, but sometimes he just wanted some alone time with his boyfriend.

“Oh, does he?” Bakugou teased, clearly egging the situation on, and Kirishima barely managed to hold back a groan. Bakugou could be cruel when he knew Kirishima wanted him and, with his fingers massaging his waist and hip and leaving him in a near-constant awareness of his sore ass, Kirishima had never wanted him more. He fisted his hands to try and keep from grabbing the blond and shoving him against the wall and kissing him senseless.

“You shouldn't be so rough,” Yaoyorozu chastised Bakugou, frowning in disapproval.

“Fuck off, Ponytail. Eijirou's fine,” Bakugou waved her off, finally, still looking far too pleased with himself though. “Right, Hair for Brains?” Bakugou murmured, leaning against Kirishima harder and making the redhead take more of his weight or let them both go sprawling.

“I'm fine, Yaomomo. Really,” Kirishima promised her distractedly, biting back a moan as Bakugou let the hand on his hip heat up just a little before he rubbed the warmth into him.

“If you're sure,” Yaoyorozu finally conceded.

I'm sure that since you were so good last night that I going to let you top tonight,” Bakugou offered him in a hushed whispered. Kirishima couldn't contain his blush or his smile, nuzzling closer to the blond and laughing a little with happiness.

Kirishima felt invincible as his heart thudded in his rib cage. He loved this boy so much.

…..

Kirishima jerked awake when Bakugou kicked him.

“Katsuki?” He called out, voice raspy from having just woke up. Bakugou whimpered, shaking his head as he twitched, and Kirishima frowned as he realized he was still asleep.

“Katsuki, babe, you're okay, you're safe,” Kirishima murmured, cupping his face and gently running his fingers through his hair. “Wake up,” he coaxed him, trying to be soothing.

Bakugou suddenly lashed out, scream held back through clenched teeth as his eyes flew open. Pain laced the side of Kirishima's face and he yelped, jerking back and holding his eye.

Shit, Eijirou!” Bakugou hissed, pale and shaking. His eyes were wide with panic. “Let me see, holy shit I'm so sorry, let me see,” he babbled, hands patting at Kirishima's arms and shoulders carefully.

Kirishima groaned, hesitantly removing his hand from his face. Bakugou winced, gentle fingers brushing around it.

“Fuck,” he muttered quietly, before turning to reach for his fridge by the bed. He pulled out a cold bottle of water, holding it to Kirishima's face and making the redhead flinch at the cold. “Probably going to get a black eye,” he said, sounding upset.

“Hey, it was an accident. It's okay,” Kirishima promised him, trying to smile at him though Bakugou refused to meet his eyes.

“I hurt you,” Bakugou frowned, and Kirishima could see his hands shaking.

“It was an accident,” Kirishima repeated, taking his free hand in his own and pulling it to his mouth to kiss. “It's okay. It'll heal in a few days.”

“We're going to see Recovery Girl first thing in the morning,” Bakugou told him seriously. Bakugou sighed, letting Kirishima take hold of the bottle and leaning forward to hide his face against Kirishima's shoulder. “I'm sorry,” he whispered brokenly.

“You don't have to apologize,” Kirishima promised him. “I love you,” Kirishima murmured, kissing the side of his head, soaking in the coolness of the bottle.

“Love you too,” Bakugou said, hands curling around Kirishima's waist almost desperately.

Kirishima laid back down and Bakugou followed him, curling up against the redhead's side and resting his head on his chest. Kirishima maneuvered the bottle to be propped against the pillow to rest over his face before sighing, running a hand through Bakugou's hair soothingly while Bakugou clutched at his other hand.

They both dozed in an out of sleep for a long time before falling back into an exhausted rest. They jerked awake, both in a wild array of limbs as they realized they were late.

“Aizawa isn't going to punish you for going to see Recovery Girl,” Bakugou argued, trying to drag Kirishima to her faster. Kirishima relented, following him into her office.

“Oh goodness,” she said, as soon as she saw Kirishima's face. It had darkened during the night. “What happened?”

“Ah, it was an accident,” Kirishima said, giving a small humorless chuckle. She raised a brow.

“I had a nightmare and he tried to wake me up,” Bakugou cut in. “I punched him.”

Accidentally,” Kirishima stressed. “It was an accident.

“I know that, boy,” She tutted, smiling kindly as she reached for a pain pill. “Do you want it healed? You'd probably have to rest here for your first few classes.”

Kirishima frowned, looking down at the pill in his hands. “We have an exam first period.”

Bakugou growled. “Aizawa isn't going to--”

“We studied for forever yesterday, Katsuki! If I don't take it today I'll have to study all over again, I'll never remember it otherwise.” Kirishima slumped. “It's not that bad, is it?” He glanced at the blond unsurely.

Bakugou sighed. “Only if you want the whole class demanding to know who hurt you,” he grumbled. “You know those nosy idiots are going to ask.”

“Why don't you go to class and come back after your exam?” Recovery Girl suggested.

“If they see it, it won't matter if he gets it healed later,” Bakugou muttered, looking down at his hands.

“It'll be okay,” Kirishima assured him, taking the pill dry even though Recovery Girl was offering him a glass of water. “I'll just tell them it was an accident. They don't have to know everything.”

Bakugou grumbled under his breath, wordless mutters of disapproval. They both went to the door.

“Could I speak with you a moment, Bakugou?” Recovery Girl asked.

Kirishima looked back, wavering. “It'll just be a moment. You can go on to class,” she waved him off. He was clearly reluctant but went without arguing, squeezing Bakugou's hand before slipping out the door.

“Do you have a lot of nightmares?” Recovery Girl asked Bakugou once the door was shut, figuring he wouldn't appreciate her beating around the bush.

“Sometimes,” Bakugou shrugged, looking away from her eyes. “Not usually if Eijirou stays with me though.”

She hummed. “You've been through a lot, dear. I could recommend someone for you to talk to if you'd like.”

“I don't need a therapist,” Bakugou grumbled, annoyed.

“I would greatly recommend it, all things considered,” she stressed. “But I understand why you may be hesitant right now. Would you like me to prescribe you some medicine to help you sleep?”

Bakugou hesitated. “Maybe...I could try that,” he relented. She nodded, turning to grab a bottle from the cabinet behind her.

“Take one when you get ready for bed. Make sure you have at least an eight hour period to sleep. You might be a little groggy the morning after, so when you take it the first time do it on a day where you don't have anything the next morning so you can see how you'll react to it,” she instructed him.

Bakugou nodded, shoving the bottle into his bookbag. “Thanks.”

“Even if you don't want to talk to a therapist, I hope you know that any of your teachers, myself included, are available for you to speak to also,” she offered.

“Yeah,” Bakugou murmured. “I know. I'm...I'll be alright,” he promised her quietly before leaving. She imagined such confidence came from having a certain redhead help him with the worst of it, but she wasn't going to say anything if it was helping the poor boy. She knew that Aizawa was aware of the two and he would step in if he felt the situation required it.

Bakugou was almost late, meeting Aizawa's tired look with one of his own in the hallway. Aizawa glanced behind him, no doubt noting that he'd come from the direction of Recovery Girl's office instead of the dorms, then he held the door open for Bakugou to slip in before him.

Bakugou couldn't look at Kirishima, knowing he'd hurt him even if it had been an accident. The class was oddly subdued and he felt more than one person eyeing him with questions in their eyes. He ignored them all and as soon as the bell rang he was slipping out the door. Kirishima would find him later if he wanted to talk, not that Bakugou expected there was much more to say right now.

Kirishima made Bakugou feel weak in ways he wasn't used to and that weren't always good. He loved him so much it hurt, but god, did it hurt.

…..

Bakugou and Kirishima barely spoke as they both headed upstairs after Kirishima told the rest of the class they were exhausted and hadn't gotten much sleep. Bakugou dropped his bookbag by his desk, for once not starting his homework immediately as he climbed into bed. Kirishima locked the door and flicked off the lights, climbing in behind him and just holding him.

“Recovery Girl thinks I need to see a fucking therapist,” Bakugou whispered after a long silence. He shuffled back further into Kirishima's arms, clenching his eyes shut.

“What do you think?” Kirishima murmured against his shoulder.

“I don't...I don't want to go to a therapist,” Bakugou muttered bitterly.

“...but?” Kirishima coaxed, sensing more.

“But,” Bakugou sighed. “I...probably need to,” he muttered.

Kirishima hummed, kissing the skin above his shirt collar. “You want me to go with you?” He offered.

Bakugou exhaled shakily. “Would you?” He managed to ask, nearly choking on his pride.

“I'd go anywhere with you,” Kirishima promised.

Kirishima intertwined their fingers and Bakugou squeezed his grip tightly.

Bakugou felt weak, but with Kirishima at his back, he thought he might be able to find the strength to do it.

…..

At this point, all it took was being paired up with Todoroki for the half-and-half to do something to piss him off. Bakugou quickly lost track of their true objective--saving the hostages--and instead they were fighting with each other more than they were fighting the ‘villains,’ which were made up of Iida, Yaoyorozu, Tokoyami, Shoji, and Ojirou.

“Match!” Aizawa called out, quirk suppressing Todoroki while he used his capture tape on Bakugou. “The heroes successfully rescued the hostages; however, Bakugou and Todoroki were too busy in-fighting instead of helping. Jirou, Toru, Uraraka: you pass. Bakugou, Todoroki: you failed this exercise.” Bakugou flinched at the failure and Todoroki looked down ashamedly.

“Next group,” Aizawa ordered, letting Bakugou go and turning to watch the next groups get ready.

Bakugou's failure tasted sour on the back of his tongue and he automatically searched for Kirishima, finding him laughing with Kaminari.

“What are you fuckers giggling about?” he shouted, and no, he wasn't pouting.

“Just talking about how much you loooove Kiri-bro,” Kaminari teased, and Bakugou hated that he blushed.

“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, trying to ignore the thrill in his chest at being able to call Kirishima his boyfriend. Maybe he wasn't into such huge public displays of affection or whatever, but that didn't mean he was ashamed and like hell would he ever let Kirishima feel like that.

“Awe, Katsuki,” Kirishima murmured, clearly happy with the admission, and Bakugou knew his face was blushing even brighter.

“Shut up,” he muttered, even if he clutched tighter at Kirishima to take away any of the sting, not that he'd intended any. Kirishima reached up to turn his face towards him which Bakugou obliged. He jerked back though when Kirishima gave a quick kiss to his nose, glaring at Kirishima even though he softened immediately as the redhead burst into happy giggles.

“You're so cute, babe,” Kirishima teased him.

“I am not!” Bakugou growled.

Kaminari, the fucker, laughed too. “Kind of, dude,” he added.

“Fuck you too!” Bakugou hissed, blushing uncontrollably now.

“Who's picking on Blasty?” Ashido came bouncing in, leaning into Bakugou's side warmly and putting up her fists like she was going to fight. Bakugou would never admit the wave of fondness he felt crashing through him. “I'll beat them up for you!”

“I don't need fucking protection!” Bakugou denied instantly, biting his lip to keep from smiling.

“Bakugou Protection Squad,” Sero announced as he joined them too, throwing one of his long arms over Bakugou's shoulder and tugging him closer. He was warm too and Bakugou fought the urge to lean into his friendly touch, rolling his eyes when Kirishima gave him a knowing look.

“Fuck all of you losers. Why do I even hang out with you people?” Bakugou grumbled.

“Because you loooooove us,” Kirishima drawled out, daring sparkle in his eye.

“Shut up.”

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

Yes, Bakugou thought, irritated. I know that, idiot. You don't have to draw attention to it. “Shut up, Hair for Brains,” he said pointedly, though the trio gasped as they realized what that meant while at the same time Kirishima grinned like he'd won the lottery.

“Blasty?”

“Awe, dude!” Sero said, using his arm around Bakugou's shoulder to pull the struggling blond into a tight hug Bakugou didn't fight nearly hard enough to get out of.

“Fuck you! Get off me!” Bakugou demanded, slumping when Kirishima joined the hug, probably to give him some kind of excuse on why he didn't fight them off more, stupid caring boyfriend. Ashido and Kaminari followed and Bakugou was startled to realize that both had the starting of tears in their eyes. “Stupid motherfuckers. Why are you surprised?” He mumbled quietly, hating the affection and vulnerability he could feel creeping out through his voice.

“We're just really happy,” Ashido said, and somehow all three of the idiots hugged him tighter like they'd coordinated it. Bakugou hated how warm and floaty he felt, how nice it was to know he could do something to make his idiots happy without having to go too far out of his comfort zone. Somehow these dumbasses got him and accepted him for all his faults and he hadn't even realized how much he'd needed that before.

Friends. He had actual friends. It left his head spinning.

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

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

“What the fuck?” Bakugou managed to say, caught off guard at the accusation, head whirling from the extreme of being happy--yes, Bakugou guessed he had been happy--to being verbally spit on.

“Dude! Not cool!” Kaminari shouted, 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 hated how that statement felt like a slap in the face and he stepped back instinctually, breath catching. He was trying to work past this sudden verbal attack, knowing he couldn't stand there shocked for too long without someone realizing he'd actually been affected by it, but it looked like Kirishima was beating him to it.

“What?” Kirishima growled.

Mineta actually sent him a concerned look. It was like he couldn't see the fury at all. “Everyone's been really worried, dude,” he said, like he and Kirishima had ever been friends. Bakugou could only blink rapidly as he sent a quick glare towards him. “We all know he's been abusing you. You're a good guy,” he turned back to Kirishima. “You should find someone better than Bakugou.”

Abuse…? Bakugou felt like he was about to be sick, too many memories welling up and overcoming him. He was not at all prepared for this attack. The earlier hug had only opened his guard, pulled down his wall and mask, and that stupid grape-fucker had somehow struck at just the moment to render him speechless.

“What the fuck even--How dare you--I can't--You don't--argh!” Kirishima raged, clearly having just as many issues with words as Bakugou but for an entirely different reason. “Is he serious? Is that what you guys are thinking?” Kirishima whirled onto Kaminari and the others.

Bakugou felt dread well up and he didn't know if he was going to be able to stand through this attack. Kaminari seemed gobsmacked at Kirishima's question, gaping like a fish, and Ashido made a short sound she cut off, clearly holding in tears. Sero locked his jaw, lip trembling as he looked to the ground in shame.

They didn't deny it.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Kirishima all but roared.

Bakugou's pulse sounded heavy in his ears, voice caught in his throat, unwanted emotion choking him.

So pathetic. So weak. So rude. So un-hero-like. Just a fucking bully. A no-good delinquent. You'll never be anything more than someone I'll have to come bail out of jail. Maybe I'll even let you rot for a few days before I drag your ass back here, make you learn some manners. Maybe then you'll see just how bad things could be and just how grateful you should be to me. You've got my pretty face, Katsuki, and you don't want to know what happens to people with pretty faces in jail.

Each insult was delivered with a smack, a slap on the back of his head from a deceptively delicate-looking hand and a challenging smile on a face not too different from his own.

“Earlier, with you saying I could talk to you about anything difficult or scary and asking if I was happy with Bakugou...was that you trying to find out?” Bakugou managed to inhale a small shaky breath, panic swelling and quickly overruling any other response he could have hoped to bring out in this situation.

Kaminari flushed with shame. “I...I was just...I needed to make sure…” he stuttered quietly, and Bakugou felt his words like knives in his back, flinching at the sudden onslaught of hurt, unable to care when Kaminari let out a tiny broken sob.

“I--” Kirishima couldn't seem to speak through the sheer protective rage within him. He let out a loud groan, hands clenched tightly, and Bakugou distractedly wondered if he aimed to fight them all for this. For him.

“What is going on?” Aizawa demanded, the entire class behind him, watching with curiosity and concern. Bakugou couldn't stand their looks, needed to get away, get out.

Apparently,” Kirishima hissed, glaring at the three Bakugou had thought were his friends. “My friends think I'm in an abusive relationship,” he accused. Bakugou's eyes, along with Kirishima's, widened when the whole class winced. “Are you serious?” Kirishima managed to ask out loud. “Does the whole class think this?”

Aizawa turned to glare at his classmates. “Do you all really think I'd allow such a thing to happen right in front of me?” Everyone hung their head, shoulders bunching up in shame.

“Why…”

Suddenly everyone was looking at Bakugou and it took him a minute to realize that it'd been him that had spoken. He wasn't even sure where his voice had come from.

“Why would you all…” Bakugou began, before backtracking. Why would you all think I could do something like that Eijirou? “I thought you…” I thought you were my friends or at least cared a little.

“Kacchan,” Deku spoke, because it was always him who seemed to be able to read Bakugou's thoughts. “We know you wouldn't do that,” he promised him.

“Then why would you...I would never...I'm not her,” Bakugou managed, sniffling and cursing, realizing he was about to start crying. He wasn't stupid, he knew Midoriya had seen his mom slap him one too many times to ever just let it go. It was why he'd stopped inviting the nosy shit over; it was always so much worse after whoever they had to keep face in front left.

“I know,” Midoriya murmured.

“I thought I was...I know that we...but with Ei, I…” I thought I was doing better; I'm trying to be. I know that we have our past and I haven't always been good to you, but with Ei, I've never and would never hurt him. Bakugou felt the tears coming now, water welling before spilling over onto his face, and he hated this, hated giving them the satisfaction of having hurt him and letting them see just how much.

“Bakugou, you're dismissed. Go back to the dorms,” Aizawa cut in, voice strong, and Bakugou latched onto his stern direction, hoping to gain some strength from his teacher, maybe enough so he could at least walk back to his dorm without losing all of his dignity. “Go with him,” he added, and Bakugou didn't have to look to know it was Kirishima taking his hand and directing him back to the dorms. He walked between Bakugou and the rest of the class like he was prepared to be a human shield and Bakugou hung his head, hiding behind his bangs and just letting Kirishima lead him as he tried to control himself until they got somewhere more private.

Bakugou had never felt so weak in his life.

Chapter Text

Kirishima was nearly vibrating with rage but he didn't say anything at they both slipped into Bakugou's room. Kirishima never let go of Bakugou's hand, barely refraining from slamming the door shut as he locked it behind them.

Instantly a sob broke past Bakugou's defenses and he dropped to his knees, unable to hold himself up. Kirishima followed him, dropping Bakugou's hand to hug him tightly with both arms, pulling Bakugou practically into his lap and letting the blond hide his face in his neck as he wept.

Bakugou had never felt like this. He'd been disappointed, hurt, let down, but he'd never had someone so thoroughly under his guard dig into him and rip pieces out. He'd long since learned not to trust his mother or father, had never had anything beyond lackeys or followers in elementary and middle school. He'd always sensed that he could've had more of a true friendship with Deku and that was partly why he'd always been so quick to push the other away as far as he could, fear a stronger motivator that anything else in his life. Still, this level of betrayal went beyond his experience and it felt like he'd been crushed.

Kirishima was precious to him, so beautiful and important and impossible to replace. He would never hurt him, ever, and he'd give up his arms, his life, before he'd let anything happen to him under his watch. Kaminari, Sero, Ashido...even the rest of the idiots in class: they were his friends. Supposed to be, anyways. He would protect them too, fight alongside them, trust them at his back. He thought--

Bakugou hiccuped, clenching his eyes shut and shaking. Kirishima didn't promise him that everything would be okay and for that Bakugou was thankful. He couldn't deal with platitudes right now. He was too raw, too emotional, too hurt.

“I love you,” Kirishima was repeating, his words finally registering in Bakugou's ears. “I love you so much. I trust you. You're so beautiful, Katsuki, so amazing. I love you so much, baby, you're so strong and brilliant. And you'd never hurt me, I know, I know.”

“But I did,” Bakugou cried, pulling away to meet Kirishima's gaze and reaching up with a trembling hand to hover over where Kirishima's eye remained bruised. “I did hurt you,” Bakugou gasped out, heartbroken.

“It. Was. An accident,” Kirishima said, angry, but Bakugou couldn't tell anymore if it was at him or not, head too wrapped up in emotions he normally refused to acknowledge to be able to decipher Kirishima's too. He flinched at the anger, regardless of who it was directed at, and Kirishima winced, face twisting and he tried to gain control of himself. “You didn't mean to. It's fine. I'm fine. Okay? Katsuki, baby, you've got to stop blaming yourself. You didn't do it on purpose.”

Bakugou sniffed, wiping at his face only for more tears to replace the tracks without pause. He slumped in defeat.

“I'm just like her,” he realized quietly, looking at where his hand curled into Kirishima's shirt over his chest.

No!” Kirishima growled, furious, and he wrapped Bakugou up in his arms and hefted him up, making Bakugou scramble to hold on, shocked from his tearful stupor. Kirishima sat on top of his bed, holding Bakugou close and meeting his gaze with his blazing red eyes. “You are nothing like your mother, Katsuki. Nothing.

“But I--”

Nothing,” Kirishima cut him off, vehement.

Bakugou wanted to deny that. He and his mother were a lot alike, actually. They were both blond, both loud, both had short tempers, both prone to violence, both abusers--

“Stop,” Kirishima said, cupping his head in his hands and shaking Bakugou's head gently, making him focus back on Kirishima. “Just. Stop.”

Bakugou curled his hands against his shoulders weakly, sniffling lightly, trying to hold Kirishima's gaze and keep his mind empty.

“You're exhausted,” Kirishima murmured quietly, one hand gently brushing away tear trails before combing through Bakugou's hair. “Let's go to bed,” Kirishima suggested softly.

“But…” Bakugou trailed off uncertainly. He felt so lost, like he didn't have a clue what he was supposed to be doing.

“Let's get some rest, recharge ourselves, get a handle on this,” Kirishima suggested quietly. “You're too upset and I'm too angry for us to discuss this without making things worse. We both need a little time to regain control of ourselves, I think.”

Bakugou nodded after a moment. He felt absolutely frayed, wore down to his thinnest self, bare and naked for anyone to see.

Kirishima kicked off his shoes, gentle hands moving to help take off Bakugou's since he was still sitting straddled over Kirishima's lap. Kirishima yanked his own shirt off without any fanfare, looking to Bakugou to see if he wanted his own removed. Bakugou slowly uncurled enough to let him take it off. Kirishima turned to lay Bakugou back on the bed, reaching to take off his pants after a quick nod from Bakugou before he stripped off his own and slid into the bed himself. Bakugou was instantly at his side, curling under his chin to hide his face against his chest as he held Kirishima tightly.

Bakugou closed his eyes, focusing on breathing and just listening to Kirishima's heart as it slowed its thumping as his anger left him. Kirishima rubbed at his back, familiar ministrations that Bakugou let himself feel without thinking.

Kirishima kissed his forehead softly. “Love you,” he murmured.

“I love you too,” Bakugou croaked out in a whisper.

Kirishima hummed, nosing at his temple and nuzzling Bakugou's hair. Bakugou blinked heavily, finally letting the emotional exhaustion hit him as he fell into unconsciousness.

Kirishima stayed awake for a lot longer, eyes staring at the wall behind Bakugou and trying to keep from working himself up into a rage all over again. As he heard the sounds of everyone else making their ways back into the dorms, the muffled chatter and doors closing sounding through thin walls, he had to bury his face into Bakugou's hair and purposely take slow inhales to keep from getting up to rage at them all over again. He could still feel Bakugou's tears damp on his skin and he had never felt more angry at people who were supposed to be his friends. How could they ever think that Bakugou could hurt him?

Bakugou whined in his sleep, mumbling something unintelligible. Kirishima held him tighter, felt Bakugou nuzzle under his chin, and he finally let his eyes close and forced himself to breathe in his smoky scent until he could fall asleep.

…..

Kirishima was up before his alarm and he cut it off before it could ring out. He always woke up earlier than most of the others so he could work out in the mornings anyways. He had rolled onto his back in the night and Bakugou had sprawled over him. He didn't particularly feel like moving, felt certain that if he tried punching his punching bag he'd break it, so he just laid there feeling Bakugou breathe against him as he stared at the ceiling and tried to think.

Kirishima was good at people. He'd never been particularly strong at schoolwork or studying, but reading people had always been different. He was just smart at people. Still, he couldn't wrap his head around this betrayal, this hurt. It wasn't for himself, since he could easily recognize that everyone had been worried for him, but it was for Bakugou. It had taken a lot for Bakugou to get to even this point, where he would reach out in his own ways for help sometimes, where he was willing to let Kirishima see him with his walls down. Every new piece of Bakugou that he discovered was more precious than the last and Kirishima hoarded his favor jealousy. But maybe in his secretive nature, between his brashness and his fronts and walls, Bakugou came off as rougher than people expected. Bakugou put up a front to hide just how emotional he could be, wore a mask to keep anything but anger from showing. Because anger was easy, was safe. Feeling hurt, being scared, crying: those things were weapons, they could be used against him just as they'd been used against him all his life by his mother.

Kirishima frowned. And that was the biggest problem of them all. Bakugou may never allow himself to forget this, how others that he'd trusted so easily classified him the same as his mother. Even if they hadn't known, the damage was now done. Bakugou worked hard to separate himself from his mother's legacy, Kirishima was well aware, but now that the comparison had been made he doubted Bakugou would ever truly forget, even if he did forgive.

“Ei?”

Kirishima hummed, glancing at Bakugou's face as the other woke, nose scrunched and eyes barely open. He grumbled under his breath, closing his eyes and pressing closer.

“Shitty morning,” he muttered.

“Yeah,” Kirishima agreed. He looked over at the clock. “We've still got plenty of time though.”

“Don't want to go to class,” Bakugou groaned quietly.

Kirishima could understand that and he rolled to face Bakugou, gathered him closer into his arms. “We've got to,” he muttered unhappily.

“I'm going to skip.”

Kirishima frowned. “But you've never missed a day before. You've never even been tardy.”

“Fuck this, Ei. I'm not facing them right now. Tomorrow's our free day so I'm going to skip today and then I won't have to see anyone until Monday,” Bakugou grumbled.

Kirishima sighed, pressing his face against Bakugou's hair. “Alright,” he agreed. “I'll skip too.” He tried to smile. “Least I know you'll help me with the missed lessons.”

Bakugou rolled his eyes before snuggling closer. “Love you,” he muttered quietly into Kirishima's chest.

“Love you too, Katsuki.” Kirishima kissed his forehead before both of them let themselves fall back asleep.

When Aizawa saw the two missing students in his class, he didn't say a word about it. The rest of the class seemed to slump, and he didn't say a word about that either. He made a stack of Bakugou and Kirishima's missed work to the side of his desk which everyone eyed carefully, but at the end of the day he didn't ask any of them to carry it to the two, instead picking it up himself and walking out the door towards the dorms.

Kirishima answered the knock at Bakugou's door with mistrustful eyes, opening the door a little more once he saw it was Aizawa.

“Here's both of your work from today,” Aizawa said heavily.

“Thank you, sensei. We'll be in on Monday.” He glanced behind him. “He needed today off,” he added quietly. “Sorry about skipping.”

Aizawa nodded. “Just this once is fine. Be on time on Monday though.”

Kirishima nodded. “We will.”

Aizawa left them after that, sighing tiredly and already imaging his bed at home. Shouji stepped to the side for him to leave, looking down the hall and meeting Kirishima's wary gaze. He nodded respectfully, one tentacle offering a sheepish smile. Kirishima softened just a little, doubtful that Shouji had had anything to do with the awful rumor, and he nodded back before slipping back into the room and closing the door with a click.

…..

Monday was quiet, everyone tense and sullen, unsure how to make a move towards mending the rift that had been made in their class.

It was a surprise that Todoroki was the first one to reach out to him.

He sat down across from Bakugou in the classroom as Kirishima went to the cafeteria to get their lunch. There wasn't anyone else here and Bakugou sized him up with a narrow-eyed look, wondering if he was about to start a fight.

“It would seem we both were raised with violence then,” Todoroki said quietly.

Bakugou froze, sneer stiffening on his face.

“And what would you know?” He growled out, even though he remembered listening as Todoroki had told Midoriya about the situation with his parents at the Sports Festival.

Todoroki just stared at him evenly, eyes knowing.

“Deku told you,” Bakugou accused, not sure if he was angry or not about that.

Todoroki nodded.

Bakugou sighed, suddenly not feeling like fighting anymore. He slumped in his chair, looking out the window.

“We are not those who raised us,” Todoroki murmured.

“No,” Bakugou agreed, “we're not.”

Bakugou glanced at the scar over Todoroki's eye. Todoroki didn't shy away from his obvious gaze.

“You could stand to treat Izuku better though,” Todoroki said evenly. “He's only ever wanted to help you.”

Izuku. Bakugou's eyes widened only fractionally as understanding hit. “Probably,” he agreed, just as placidly as before. “Doesn't mean I ever wanted his help though.”

Todoroki tilted his head just slightly. “Do we have a problem?” He asked, and the question was serious even though it was not said with any heat.

Bakugou sighed. “No,” he relented. It was probably time he started putting his fear of people knowing behind him, since it sounded like Deku had gone and told the whole class his business after all.

“Todoroki?”

They both glanced over to see that Kirishima had returned carrying two trays, eyeing Todoroki unsurely as he glanced at Bakugou to see if everything was alright. Todoroki stood.

“Have a nice lunch,” he said, nodding to them both before leaving the room.

“Was that okay?” Kirishima asked, taking the seat Todoroki had just vacated.

“Yeah,” Bakugou said. It hadn't been an apology, but Todoroki hadn't really had anything to apologize for. If anyone had treated Kirishima the way Bakugou had treated Deku, he wasn't sure he'd have been able to handle the situation quite so quietly.

…..

Uraraka fell into step with him in the hallway. He glanced at her from the corner of his eye, wary. She gave him the same sizing look, face forward.

“Deku told us,” she said calmly.

“I know,” Bakugou sighed, looking away.

“You're still strong,” she pointed out. “Even stronger than I thought. And I already thought you were pretty damn strong.” She paused. “Still super rude though,” she added after a moment.

Bakugou barked out a surprised laugh. “Good,” he said almost warmly.

“Not everyone believed it, you know,” she said after a moment, hesitant. “I don't think anyone really did, to be honest. Just the stuff with Deku and you kind of...complicated things for everyone. But whatever you two have going on in your past isn't really any of our business so we should've just let it go.” She looked at him squarely in the eye now. “I'm sorry,” she said, sincerely.

Bakugou scowled. “Fuck off with that shit,” he said, brow furrowed.

She smiled. “See you later, Bakugou.” She waved before bouncing away, his glare not bothering her in the least.

Bakugou scoffed, admittedly maybe just a little impressed that she'd been so direct with him. Of course, Uraraka had never been one to cower. Who could ever think she was weak?

…..

After the fifth time Deku burst into tears from Bakugou just glancing in his direction, Bakugou grabbed him by the scruff of his jacket and dragged him to somewhere more private.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Bakugou demanded evenly.

“I'm sorry! I told everyone but I know you didn't want me to and I'm really sorry but I felt like they needed to know just what they'd implied and why it hurt you so mu--”

“Shut up!” Bakugou barked, cutting off his blubbering. “I'm fucking fine. They're all dumbasses anyways. Who cares what they think?” He grumbled.

Midoriya frowned. “But they're your friends. I know you care,” he argued.

“I said: Shut. Up,” Bakugou hissed, eyes narrowed.

Midoriya shuffled his feet awkwardly. “I'm sorry, Kacchan,” he said again, voice wavering with emotion.

Bakugou sighed. “It's done, you crybaby. Get over it.”

“I know you wouldn't hurt--”

“I said get over it,” Bakugou cut in, stressed. Midoriya looked at him, noting the tightness around his eyes. “I don't need you telling me obvious shit,” Bakugou added after a minute. “You aren't a total dumbshit.”

Midoriya felt his eyes well again and Bakugou scoffed, looking away.

“Kacchan,” Midoriya said.

“What?”

“Thanks.”

Bakugou growled. “Nerd,” he snarled before stomping off back to class.

Midoriya smiled.

…..

“I'm sorry our friends are dumbasses.”

Bakugou raised a brow at Jirou as she paired up with him for a spar. She didn't waver under his stare. He smirked.

“They sure are,” he agreed wholeheartedly before they began the match.

…..

Bakugou wasn't positive, but he was pretty sure Mineta was avoiding him. He hadn't seen a glimpse of the purple fucker since the whole incident, not that he was mad about that. Jirou, Uraraka, Hagakure, and Asui took to hanging around him a lot too, so he was almost certain this was intentional.

“I'm sorry. Ribbit,” Asui offered simply the first time.

“Whatever,” Bakugou shrugged. It was enough. He hadn't even been totally sure what her name was and mentally referred to her as Frog Girl.

“I'm sorry too,” Hagakure said, sounding close to tears, not that anyone could see.

“Just stop fucking talking about it,” Bakugou grumbled.

The girls didn't bring it up again.

…..

“Um. Bakugou?”

Bakugou groaned. Why did every fucker in his class think they had to personally apologize to him for a misunderstanding?

“It's fine. Whatever. Get over it,” he said, turning a baleful look onto a nervous Yaoyorozu. She blushed.

“I'm sorry though,” she said quietly. “It wasn't kind to believe rumors or to gossip about you and Kirishima's relationship.”

“I said it was whatever,” Bakugou said. “Quit beating yourself up over it and shit.”

She bowed. “Thank you for accepting my apology. I will do better in the future,” she assured him.

“I don't fucking care! Quit making a scene,” Bakugou hissed, glaring at the few people that were blatantly staring. “Stand up already!” He demanded.

She smiled as she straightened. “You really are a good person, Bakugou,” she said brightly.

“Fuck off!” Bakugou yelled, turning and leaving her to stand there smiling at his back.

…..

Yaoyorozu joined the girls whenever they hung around Bakugou now. He cursed them liberally but made enough food for all of them when he cooked.

…..

Ashido watched them all sullenly; Kaminari pouted at her side. Sero came over and slumped on her other side.

“You guys haven't talked to him yet either, huh?” Sero spoke.

“I don't even know what to say,” Ashido mumbled.

“How do you even apologize for something like this?” Kaminari asked. “It was a stupid rumor that turned into a bigger misunderstanding and we're the assholes who gave it life.”

“And you know we're the ones who hurt him the most,” Ashido said brokenly, looking down at her hands. “He doesn't care about whatever Mineta or most of the rest of the class believes. We're the ones who upset him.”

“Yeah, you are.”

They all stiffened, looking behind the couch in panic to see Kirishima staring at them all sternly, arms crossed over his chest.

“Kirishima, we're so--”

“Don't apologize to me,” Kirishima cut Kaminari off before he could finish. “I'm not the one who needs or wants to hear it.”

Ashido sniffled, wiping at her eyes.

“You know half the class has already apologized to him,” Kirishima said evenly. “You'd think his best friends would've been first.”

Sero bit his lip in guilt.

“We don't even know how to say sorry for something like this,” Kaminari stressed, tears welling. “We didn't...It wasn't like...Bakugou is our friend. We would never mean to hurt him, we just…”

“Believed a rumor and let it destroy your trust in him,” Kirishima finished, making all three of them flinch. “The longer you wait the harder it's going to be,” he pushed.

Sero looked over at where Bakugou was yelling at Uraraka for something and she was holding up her fists like they were about to fight, bouncing in place. Jirou and Hagakure were laughing while Asui tried to get Uraraka to calm down and Yaoyorozu fretted nervously to the side.

“Would he even want to still be friends with us?” He asked quietly.

Kirishima sighed, letting his arms drop. “Ashido's right,” he said. “You guys are the ones who hurt him more than anyone. And that does mean an apology from you all might be harder to accept than from the others. But it would also mean more.” He met their eyes evenly. “And regardless of if he forgives you or not, he deserves to hear your apology, don't you think?”

They nodded. Kirishima left them then, walking over to Bakugou and wrapping an arm around his waist, nuzzling into his neck and laughing as Bakugou visibly deflated and the girls cooed at him teasingly to the point that the blond blushed.

The remaining members of the squad felt shame like heavy stones in their chests and they all knew what they had to do.

…..

“Bakugou?”

Bakugou stiffened only minutely, gathering up his composure as he sent a baleful look toward the trio standing before him. He turned to face them, arms crossing over his chest defensively.

“We're sorry,” Ashido blubbered, looking near tears already.

“We really really are,” Sero agreed.

“It was stupid,” Kaminari added.

Bakugou raises a brow, silent.

“We shouldn't have let a stupid rumor that Mineta of all people started affect how we felt about you,” Ashido said. “We know you. You would never hurt Kirishima or any of us. We just…”

“We got kind of wrapped up in whatever thing is between you and Midoriya,” Kaminari said, shoe kicking at the ground as he looked down. “We were just really stupid, man.”

“We know you're a good person,” Sero added. “We really do. And it's killing us that we did something so idiotic and hurt you. You're one of our best friends, Bakugou.” He hesitated. “If...if you still want to be, that is,” he tacked on quietly, biting his lip.

Bakugou watched them for a moment longer, eyes heavy and calculating.

“I already knew you were idiots,” Bakugou said, head tilting slightly. He glanced to the side. “I wasn't...expecting that, though.” His hands twitched against his arms as he tried to keep them crossed and not just hug himself. “Deku's told everyone about...why I got...mad. I guess.” He spoke choppily, clearly trying to parse out what he was comfortable saying while saying it. He sighed, shoulders slumping in defeat. “I don't really know what else to say."

“We...we understand that,” Sero managed to say. “If...there's anything we can do, though, to. You know. Somehow…” He waved his hand around in the air, “make this better, maybe. Make you feel better. We'll do it.”

"Really, I was the biggest idiot," Kaminari spoke up, blubbering through his tears. "Sero told me to just let it go. I just. You had a lot of hangups with Midoriya when you first got here and I guess I never really forgot that cause it struck me as weird--cause Midoriya's a good dude, you know--and I should've kept my nose out of your business. When Mineta said it I knew he was wrong but I let it eat at me until I was stupid. I'm really stupid, okay? But it wasn't the others' fault. I'm sorry, dude, I'm really sorry!" Ashido wrapped her arm around his shoulders, pulling him into a hug.

"Me too. I was stupid too." Ashido admitted, lip quivering. "Sero couldn't defeat our combined stupidity."

"Guys," Sero tried.

"You're all varying degrees of stupid," Bakugou cut them off, before exhaling. "But I guess I already knew that before you all became my idiots."

They all paused, looking at him with wide eyes.

"...Blasty?" Ashido near-whispered in disbelief.

Bakugou huffed, holding up his arms in resignation. "Just this once."

"Bakugou!"

Ashido and Kaminari barrelled into him, crying against his shoulders and hugging him tightly. Sero laughed happily, wrapping them all up in a hug and dropping his head on top of Bakugou's.

"Thanks, bro," Sero said over Kaminari and Ashido's sniffles.

"Yeah, you're the best. We're going to totally make it up to you," Kaminari said.

"We'll study better during study sessions!" Ashido offered.

"And not interrupt when you're trying to have time with Kirishima!"

"And not demand food when you're cooking for just you and him!"

"And we'll be your servants for a whole week and you can tell us to do whatever you want!"

They all paused and looked at Kaminari.

"We will?" Ashido asked.

"We will!" Kaminari repeated.

"We...we will?" Sero blinked.

Bakugou looked to all three of them before bursting into laughter. "Holy shit," He wheezed.

"What did you just sign us up for?" Ashido muttered.

"We were all making promises!" Kaminari defended.

"Promises that we could keep," Ashido stressed. "What if he tells us to clean the bathrooms or make an A on an exam?"

"I could probably make an A," Sero drawled thoughtfully.

"Not the time, smarty pants!" She thwacked him on the chest.

Bakugou shook his head, smirking. "You'll just have to wait a see, huh?"

They all sweat-dropped.

"So...are we okay, man?" Sero asked tentatively.

Bakugou sighed, scowling. "Whatever," he grumbled, looking away. "I guess."

"We're really--"

"Enough already, god," Bakugou cut off Kaminari's start of another apology. "Just--Don't do it again or whatever. It's done. Let's just move on."

They knew it would never be completely that simple--all three had serious doubts that they'd ever be able to truly make it up to Bakugou and to get him to forget--but at his request they all agreed. They could try, at least, and they could do their best to mend the hurt they'd caused. Despite how the whole situation made it seem, they really did love their friend and they would just have to work all the more to prove that to him again.

"Bakugou Protection Squad," Sero murmured quietly as they all returned to the dorm and Bakugou immediately branched off to settle in next to Kirishima. The redhead sent them all a heavy look before nodding once and turning back to his phone.

"Baku-squad," Kaminari said, nudging at Sero's side with a careful grin.

"I like it," Ashdio agreed, smiling. "Bakusquad."

"Bakusquad?" Kirishima repeated from across the room.

"Yeah, the Bakusquad!" Kaminari said, smiling a little stronger now but still hesitant as Kirishima raised a brow. He came over to sit by the couples' feet, leaning back against the couch. "Fits, right?"

Bakugou rolled his eyes, snorting. "Sounds stupid."

Kirishima smiled, brushing against his shoulder. "I kind of like it," he said gently. "Bakusquad," he tried out.

"You're all idiots," Bakugou said.

"Like you're one to talk!" Uraraka teased from the kitchen.

"What's that, Roundface?" Bakugou shouted. "You got something to say, say it!"

"I did!" Uraraka yelled back, heckling grin on her face as she came out of the kitchen.

"Ochako," Asui murmured quietly.

"Bring it!" Uraraka challenged.

"Fuck you!"

"Please refrain from yelling!" Iida yelled.

"Uraraka, maybe you shouldn't…" Midoriya began.

"Wait, Izuku, let's see where this goes," Todoroki interrupted.

Midoriya blushed bright red. "Um, Sh-Shouto. Uh."

"My money's on Lord Explosion Murder," Jirou drawled, flipping a page in her magazine. "No offence, Uraraka."

"I don't know, Uraraka has been excelling in our practical exams at an exceptional rate," Yaoyorozu noted. "I could see Uraraka pulling the upper hand."

Bakugou sputtered. "What the fuck, Ponytail?" He snapped.

Kirishima laughed, hardening his arm as he tried to hold Bakugou down. The entire common room burst into excited yelling, cursing from Bakugou, but most importantly laughter.

Somehow they'd brought the laughter back and it sounded all the sweeter.

They'd never lose it again.