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What You Helped Me Realize

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Bakugou Katsuki is six the first time he hears his mom say it.

“He’ll never be a good father. Or a good husband. Throw out being a good human being.”

It was supposed to be said quietly, to his father, as he walked away towards his room. The school had called again, ratting him out for “bullying.” Whatever. He didn’t care.

“Dear, he’s only six years old,” Masaru replied, a sigh in his voice. Bakugou had stopped walking to listen to their conversation. “Give him some time.”

Katsuki heard his mom “hmph” before turning back to the dishes. When he realized they were done, he continued his silent walk to his room.

And he couldn’t understand why, as he curled up in the sheets to sleep, why his heart hurt.

 

He was ten the next time she brought it up. But this time, to his face.

“Jesus, Katsuki, shoving Midoriya into a ditch? Are you some kind of animal?” She was seething, but not quite yelling yet. His father was at work, but he didn’t expect the man to back him up.

“Stupid Deku asked for it.” Mitsuki glared at him, stopping in her tracks. 

“Do you expect to live like this, Katsuki? Being a huge brat for the rest of your life?”

“I’m gonna be a hero-!”

“Like HELL YOU ARE,” she screeched, yanking him up by his collar. He had a slight moment of panic, but he squashed it away. Fear was for losers. “If you want to keep going down this path, you’re gonna be shit. All you are is a bully. A villain more than a hero.” She sounded calm when she spoke now, but the heat and anger in her eyes said a different story. He felt unease settle in his stomach, again, not calling it fear. Finally, she sighed and dropped him back on the couch. “Hopefully you never have a kid of your own, Katsuki. They’d be in for a terrible existence.” 

His blood had been boiling from the villain remark, but suddenly ice struck his veins. He wanted to scream. At first he wanted to shout I don’t want one anyways. Kids are dumb. Marriage and relationships are dumb. But then he wanted to yell I’d be a better parent than you. 

In the end, however, he didn’t say anything. He felt frozen in place. He felt hollow and indifferent, but what else was new?

And later, when his dad got home and saw the state of his son, he… said nothing. He may have shot him a sympathetic look, but if he had, it was only for half a second. 

So Katsuki went to bed. Not bothering to see if his mom made him dinner. He already knew the answer to that. 

 

He’s twelve, and him and his mom are arguing again.

This was a common occurrence. It seemed to happen at least twice a day. She was practically spitting in his face as he lost steam to continue. Finally, she appeared to take a step back and laugh, looking over at his dad who sat on the couch.

“Maybe we should just have another baby, dear! This one obviously came out wrong!” She sounded frantic and angry, and that only fueled Katsuki’s own anger.

“Why the fuck would you have another kid when you obviously already fucked me over?” he spat, baring his teeth. “It’s obvious you’re just shit at parenting!”

The stinging of his cheek in the first indication of what happened next. And it was almost as if the sound that accompanied it came afterward. Echoing in his mind like some sick clock. Times up, dumbass.

His dad, for once in his life, got up and stepped between them. He was saying something, Katsuki didn’t hear it. He resisted the urge to lift his hand to his cheek, staring blankly ahead, unsure of his next step. Him and his mom had never struck each other. And to be honest, he never even once considered it a possibility. 

And he still didn’t consider it one. He clenched his fists, fighting back tears. 

He felt fear.

“I pray you never have a child, Katsuki.” His mother spoke evenly, her eyes focused once again. He met her gaze, not one to back down. Despite feeling utterly drained, he managed to one more retort.

“I’d still be a better parent than you.”

And the next day, when Deku asked about the mark, he just growled it was none of his business. And for the first time, seeing the nerd shrink away from him actually made him sick to his stomach.

 

Getting to move into the dorms was, frankly, actually really refreshing. His mother had given Aizawa the golden smile and personality when speaking to him. But after he left, the lecture he received about “proper behavior” was idiotic and repulsive.

And he spent the rest of the night packing, grateful to be able to get away from them.

And god, it was nice. At first, he thought it was going to be annoying living with all of his classmates. But, as time went on, he fell into an easy rhythm. When living with his mom, he felt like he had to tip-toe around everything. 

But now, he felt so free.

Most of the time, when his mom’s caller ID popped up on his phone, he ignored it. He only answered or texted when he felt it was necessary. 

One night, when he picked up his phone when it began to ring, Mom popping up on the screen, he simply closed his phone, and Kirishima sent a confused look at him. The redhead was sitting next to him, so close he could feel his body heat, and lately he realized he didn’t mind.

The other boy didn’t seem to be satisfied with the shrug he gave him, but he didn’t press for answers.

And that was strange to Bakugou. Kirishima was so… different. Most people were so careful around him. Never asked him questions or wanted to hang out with him. But since starting school, he was like a leech to Katsuki’s side.

One he was starting to realize he really didn’t mind.

And now he had a group of friends that called themselves, well, the bakusquad. It was stupid and Bakugou said he hated it. But really, it made him feel… nice. It was strange. So, very very strange.

And he was sure they knew he didn’t mind, because they continued to use the name. 

Plus, especially after All Might retired, him and Deku’s relationship was getting better. As much as he hated to admit it. They could actually hold a somewhat conversation. And as time went on, he started to feel worse and worse about how he had treated the other previously. 

Sometimes, when he found himself staring off into space, most often in the common room, he found Kirishima looking at him. He always felt a little flustered, especially when the other boy quickly looked away, but he just ignored that feeling.

Slowly, he found himself less in a foul mood. He actually found himself having to repress smiles. Because, well fuck, his classmates could actually be hilarious. He lost count on how many people Sero had tied to the roof or wall, how often Mina tripped people when she decided to glide away on her acid, and the amount of times they had to lasso Round Face back to the ground because she had fallen asleep again in the common room. And that was only within the first couple of weeks.

The only annoying part, which wasn’t even related to the dorms, was having to take the stupid remedial courses he had to take with Icyhot. And yeah, it could be worse. He could have to walk to those courses with Mineta of all people, but the quiet and tense walks got on his nerves.

Sometimes, and he’d never admit this, he wished he could just have conversations with people. 

 

He never told his parents about his… friends. Yes, he admits it, they’re his friends. The thought makes him feel warm but he doesn’t show it as Kaminari challenges Kirishima to another arm wrestle, despite knowing what the outcome will be.

However, he notices how tense his redheaded friend has been. As if something is on his mind. Katsuki wants to ask what’s wrong, but he always stops himself. No. You don’t ask those kind of questions. They can’t know you care. 

Whatever. Nobody will notice if he glances at Kirishima every once and a while. Or if he asks him, but more demands him, to study with him that night. He’s failing english. Or close to it. You just want him to keep up so you can keep using him as a training dummy. Yup.

Anyways, his parents don’t know about them. And he plans to keep it that way for as long as he can. He’d hate to find out what his mom would say.

And, he thinks, she definitely can’t know about Kirishima. 

There was some odd feeling in his… heart? Soul? He couldn’t tell. But it wanted him to protect the other boy. He never acted on that emotion. Really. He didn’t. Kirishima was fine on his own.

Until he wasn’t.

 

The remedial course had him babysitting. It was dumb. Terrible and infuriating. 

He hated kids.

They stole his gauntlets and made him chase them. The teacher in charge glared and took off points when he cursed. And the kids laughed at him. Just like the stupid kids during his internship. 

He wanted to scream. He wanted to quit. But he had to finish the courses to get the provisional license. And hell, if half-n-half wasn’t going to complain he wasn’t about to look like a loser and quitter.

He’d never been a people person. He’d never been a kid person, and his mom had made that very clear. 

Yet, when it was all said and done, and the kids apologized to them, he felt lighter. It was strange. Suddenly, after everything, they were asking him questions. They turned from literal freaking monsters to practically angels. They gave him back the gauntlets and they asked for demonstrations. They looked on in awe as he propelled himself into the air, covering their ears as he did so. He didn’t know why he was humoring them. Crackling explosions in his palm for a little girl to watch, or exploding a watermelon for a boy to giggle at. 

But, when Todoroki and him left, he felt different. He saw so much of himself in those kids, those troubled kids, that it was like he was thrown off balance. His mind was swimming. And then, suddenly, Todoroki spoke.

“I’d never considered myself one for kids. But I might like to have one, one day that is.”

He says it so simply and earnestly it catches Bakugou off guard. It doesn’t look like the other teen is saying it to him in particular, even though it’s only the two of them, but the blonde doesn’t reply. Actually, he might have replied, probably with something along the lines of “shut it, icyhot, I don’t give a shit,” but his phone began to ring. He was surprised to see Mina’s caller ID of all people, and was going to ignore it, but something in his stomach dropped and he clicked the green button.

“What, Racc-”

“Kirishimaisinthehospital!”

Bakugou stopped walking, and so did Todoroki when he noticed his companion’s face. Katsuki felt his blood run cold, and his hands begin to sweat. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out.

“Bakugou?” Mina called out, her voice soft.

“Which hospital?” he finally asked, his voice cracking (though, he’d deny it if Mina brought it up- but she never did), and the words felt like lead on his tongue. She told him, and as he hung up, her voice still calling out over the receiver, Todoroki picked up his own phone. Bakugou’s hands were shaking, unsure of what to do, when Shouto hung up his phone as well, suddenly just as pale as him.

“Midoriya is in the hospital as well.” Bakugou hadn’t asked. And a part of him wished the bastard hadn’t said anything, because even more dread settled inside of him. Because, yeah, he was worried about fucking Deku now apparently. But his greatest concern was Kirishima. He felt fear. It crept in like a shadow that had been hovering over him for years, finally able to slip in and settle in his bones.

He didn’t like it. He hated it. He couldn’t move or speak, but all he wanted to do was run to the hospital. Run until his lungs and legs gave out. Wanted to see his friend and make sure he was alright.

He vaguely registered Todoroki was on the phone again. And then there was a cab pulling up and the other boy told him to get in.

He knew he should have told him to fuck off. Or rather, knew that it was expected of him. To tell him he didn’t give a shit about Kirishima or Deku. They didn’t matter. They would only get in the way of him and his goals.

But, for once in his life, he shut the hell up and did as he was told.

 

When he arrived at the hospital, people stared. They recognized him, for sure. He had won the Sports Festival, was the “Bad Boy” of UA, and was an explosive gremlin to the public. The nurses whispered to each other, most likely confused at his arrival. Especially when he arrived with Todoroki Shouto of all people.

He’d like to say he stalked over and demanded Kirishima’s room number. That he stomped his way through the halls, telling people to fuck off and stop staring. 

But the truth was, for a moment he was frozen. His glare remained, but that was the only to keep up the facade of anger. Todoroki was faster, speed walking to the nurse station and asking in a hushed tone where Izuku’s room was. And after he walked away, Katsuki realized it was his turn.

His legs felt numb as he cleared the space between him and the nurse station. The one at the computer looked at him uneasily, probably assuming he was going to follow Todoroki. For a painstaking second, he couldn’t find his voice, but when he did, it came out gruff and low.

“I’m… here to see Kirishima.” The nurse seemed to pause, and began typing a moment later.

“First name?” 

“Ei… Eijirou.”

“Your relation?”

“I’m his… friend.”

“He’s in ward B. I need to see if he’ll see you. But, don’t be surprised if he sends you away. He hasn’t been taking visitors.” Bakugou wants to scream as she picks up the phone, most likely speaking to Kirishima’s assigned nurse. “What was your name, young man?” A formality he assumed. She knew who he was, but she had to ask.

“Bakugou Katsuki.” She repeated it into the phone, and he could only barely make out the sound of another voice talking back. There was a brief pause in conversation as his nurse went to talk to him, only for a few moments later to return. The nurse at the desk looked surprised, but thanked the other nurse and hung up.

“He said you can come up. He’s in room 35B. You have a couple hours before visiting time is up.” 

“Thanks,” Bakugou replied, heading straight for the elevator. He kept a cool face as he walked, but inside he was willing people to look away. And was willing for this situation to disappear.

Now, if he had looked at his phone at all during this time, he would have seen countless texts from the bakusquad. Asking him where he was, what he was doing, and oh, by the way Kirishima refused to see any of us so don’t bother trying. He’d also see a message from his mom, telling him how ungrateful he was since he hadn’t picked up any of her phone calls in the last few days. No, he’d see those later, as he curled up in bed after he arrived back at the dorms, and hour past curfew. He’d see Midnight outside waiting for him, and he’d expect to be in trouble, but she would only smile sadly at him and let him inside.

For now though, he approached the door to Kirishima’s room. And as he opened it, he was alarmed at how quiet it was. The TV in the corner was off, and the curtains were drawn shut. The only light was a soft fluorescent lamp by the bed his friend laid in.

At his entrance, Kirishima barely moved. He was in a full-body cast. There was a chair by the bed, and he awkwardly took a seat. 

He didn’t really know what to do or say. He knew the other was awake, because his eyes were open and he was staring up at the ceiling. There was none of the usual light in them. And there was heavy bags under his eyes. He felt useless and unsure of himself. Why would Kirishima allow him to come in when he turned other people away? 

So, he decided to take his usual approach.

“Hey, Shitty-”

“I broke.” Bakugou felt his mouth dry and snap shut. Kirishima continued to stare at the ceiling, never moving to look at him. Small wisps of red hair poked out from the cast, and he felt the sudden urge to tuck them away for him. Must be tickling his eyelashes. But his hands remained dutifully at his side. “I thought I was unbreakable. Wanted to be unbreakable. But I broke, Bakugou.” 

Katsuki had so many questions. What was he talking about? What had happened? Where was this coming from? How long had he been here before they were told? 

But his eyes drifted to another chair at the end of the bed, and his heart sank. His friend’s hero costume was laid out on it, battered and torn. There was a gift basket on top, still in its wrapping, that bore a tag from the Fatgum agency. His mind quickly ran with this information.

“Did you win?” he found himself asking, and Kirishima blinked before sliding his eyes over to him. There were unshed tears, but less from pride and more from exhaustion. 

“I… I tried. There was a lot of them. I didn’t know-”

“Let me ask this, Kirishima.” The redhead widened his eyes at his actual name. “Did you complete your mission?” There was silence, and then a sniffle. Bakugou was fearful, thinking he fucked up, asked the wrong thing, when Kirishima gave him a wobbly smile.

“Yeah. Yeah we did.” Kirishima slid his eyes away from him, and Bakugou knew there was a lot left unsaid. But most certainly things he couldn’t talk about. And once again, he felt lost. He didn’t know how to comfort people, much less someone he considered an actual friend.

But damn if he wasn’t going to try.

“A kid stole my gauntlet today.” Kirishima stopped sniffling and looked at him again.

“What?”

“A. Kid. Stole. My. Gauntlet.” Katsuki acted annoyed, and he was quite embarrassed, but hell, Shittyhair talked about his day all the time.

“Why were you with a kid?”

“Kids. Plural, Shittyhair. I was on babysitting duty with Icyhot. ” He said it with so much venom, but he threw his hands up in a silly gesture. Kirishima snorted.

“Okay. You have to tell me about that.” He was smiling again. It wasn’t loud like his usual ones, but it was something. And, yeah, Bakugou didn’t really know what he was doing. Didn’t know if this was too much or not enough. And he didn’t know why he was trying so hard, but he was. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever talked so much with someone, as he recounted the day’s events. All the way down to the watermelon. But Kirishima was smiling again, and he knew that was good. Knew that is made sense. 

And, he supposed, Kirishima was a rock for so many people, but that didn’t mean he didn’t need his own rock sometimes. 

Nobody had to know he was glad to take up that position.

 

After the hospital, Kirishima started acting different. And not necessarily in a bad way. And only towards Bakugou.

The redhead had always been touchy. This was a fact he had gotten used to. He was fine with a few casual touches- an arm slung around his shoulders, a pat on the shoulder, and even gave high-fives.

And the redhead still did those things, albeit even more frequently. But now, it felt more intimate. And now the shit for brains was pushing his luck by touching his waist or putting a hand on his back. And, yeah, looking back it wasn’t the most touching he’s done with the other, thinking back to his kidnapping. Kirishima’s hand had felt so warm wrapped around his that it made him dizzy when he thought about it later.

But Bakugou didn’t say anything. He allowed it to happen. Allowed Kirishima more into his bubble. Let him drape against him as he studied, or knock his leg softly under the table. The bastard was even cunning enough to touch his hair.

The thing was, however, that Kirishima only did these things when no one was around. And while Bakugou actually… appreciated that, it also made him somewhat upset. And he couldn’t pinpoint why. It was odd. 

To add insult to injury, they talked so much more. The other boy would randomly show up at his door, asking to come in and hang out, and while he had done this before, it was nearly every night. And while it was mostly Kirishima who would drone on, Bakugou found himself responding. Sometimes, and he knew the other boy never meant to, Kirishima would let slip personal things. Tidbits of his life.

“Eh, I wasn’t that great in middle school.” “God, I used to suck.” “I had, like, two friends before UA. If that.”

It was always said in the midst of conversation. Attached to some mundane story. But Bakugou heard.

Eventually, on one of these nights, Kirishima talked about the night that landed him in the hospital. Katsuki knew he couldn’t really talk about. Couldn’t say who he was with. The blonde knew Deku was involved. Saw the way Uraraka and Tsuyu wore a couple bandages the day after. Eraserhead had a slight limp as well.

And the third years all seemed very depressed these days. He caught one of them talking, saying “oh, but the Big Three- or, I guess, Big Two now…”

But he knew two things for certain. One, they had saved a little girl. Her name was Eri. And two, someone had died. Both of these facts, Kirishima had said in passing and quickly. As if he was scared someone was listening. Bakugou didn’t know if the fear was justified, but he didn’t make fun of him for it. 

 

A month into these late night sessions, Bakugou realized Kirishima hadn’t shown up. He would never admit to the sad pang in his chest when he looked over and saw it was eleven. Kirishima typically arrived around ten.

And yeah, it had thrown off Bakugou’s sleep schedule. He now stayed up till midnight, but he never once complained.

Well, he thought, maybe Shittyhair just fell asleep early. So, he resolved to just go to bed himself. He got up to brush his teeth, and then went to his door to lock it, but as he did so he heard shuffling in the hallway. Curious more than anything, he opened it to reveal Kirishima making his way to his own dorm. But when Katsuki opened up, he stopped and looked over.

The first thing the blonde noticed was that the other was in a suit. All black, with a white shirt underneath. No red undertones like he’d usually wear. 

His hair was down as well, stripped of all gel or hairspray. It was rare for it to be seen like that. Bakugou liked it that way, though he’d never told Kirishima that.\

Bakugou didn’t know what to say. Kirishima looked broken all over again. His mouth wobbled at being caught and the tears he had been crying silently increased by tenfold. It would take an absolute idiot to not realize the boy had just come from a funeral.

Maybe he should have shut the door. Pretended to not have seen the other. And most would have expected him too.

But damn, he was really breaking his mold lately.

Instead, he acted on instinct. And instinct that had never shown itself before.

He extended his arms.

Kirishima jolted, unsure of what was going on. Surely, this was a dream. And yeah, this was weird. Bakugou didn’t hug. That wasn’t a thing that he did.

And, when the seconds ticked on, Katsuki started to feel stupid. He was angry at himself. What was he thinking ? This was dumb. He started to lower his arms, with the intent to swiftly turn and slam his door shut, when suddenly the air in his lungs was knocked out of him.

Kirishima had ran into his arms, as if scared he was going to run. And, well, he was. But the redhead’s arms tightened around his waist and his face buried into his neck. After a moment, Bakugou lowered his arms to wrap loosely around the other as he sobbed. He’d never done this before, but Kirishima was good at making him try new things.

A few minutes later, he realized they were still in the hallway. And while it was the middle of the night, there was always a chance someone could walk out and see them. So, softer than he’s ever been, Bakugou unwound himself. Kirishima looked up, his face suddenly terrified and screaming don’t go. 

“C’mon. Let's go in my room,” he told him, pulling him inside and shutting the door. The suit Kirishima wore was now wrinkled, and Bakugou later made himself remember to use that as an excuse for giving the other some of his own pajamas. 

After the redhead finished changing, he looked around the room, lost in his own thoughts. He hadn’t talked at all that night. And Bakugou didn’t expect him to.

So, he just grabbed Kirishima’s hand (surprising not only himself, but the other boy) and pulled him into bed.

Now, Bakugou wasn’t an idiot. He knew this wasn’t something friends did. Maybe best friends, but that was pushing it. He knew friends didn’t wrap their arms around each other like he was doing. Didn’t bury their faces into each other’s hair. 

But god, the emotions inside of him were shooting off in rapid fire. His heart was clenching and his stomach twisting and turning. His hands were clammy as they twisted in Kirishima’s (his) shirt. He didn’t know what he was feeling. And how could he? He’d never experienced this. 

He felt conflicted as he finally felt Kirishima relax and fall asleep. This wasn’t who he was. He wasn’t soft or comforting. He didn’t… he didn’t care.

His mother had told him for so long everyone was going to hate him. That all he was was a brat. A good-for-nothing brat with a hero complex.

And he supposed that was true for a while. He wasn’t a great person. All he ever wanted was to be a great hero. 

But, he pondered as he stared at Kirishima’s softened face, maybe being a good person wouldn’t be so bad. 

 

His mother is calling again. 

It’s late. And he’s in the gym with his… bandmates. He doesn’t know how they talked him into this. But the drums make a nice sound and beat pounds into his chest. It’s really just supposed to be the band, just another practice session before the festival. But Kirishima was there, watching them. Watching him. And he really didn’t mind.

Speaking of, he had handed the redhead his phone to watch. He hadn’t wanted it fall out of his pocket as he moved. 

“Hey! Bakugou! Your mom is calling!” he shouted, holding the phone up for the blonde to see. And he was about to tell the other to just ignore it, put it on silent, when Kaminari yanked the phone from the redhead. 

Time stopped as the ringing was put to an end. It was fucking Pikachu so of course he had picked up. His body didn’t move, his eyes widening as the idiot started talking.

“Heya, mom! This is totally your son speaking! What’s up?” He was giggling, holding it a few inches away. He had put it on speaker.

“Katsuki? This sounds like someone else’s dumbass son.” His mom’s voice rang across the gym. The others thought she was cracking a joke, and started to laugh. Except Kirishima, who had noticed the way his friend’s face had contorted.

“Aw. Guess I see where Bakugou gets his smarts!” Kaminari laughed, and Jiro and Momo gathered around him. Tokoyami had followed Kirishima’s gaze and now looked increasingly uncomfortable.

“Yeah, whatever kid. Where’s the shitshow?” Kaminari actually seemed to look a little put off by that, but again, assumed she was joking.

“Heeeey. That’s no way to talk about our friend, our pride and joy, the man with a plan-”

“Friend?” his mom asked, and suddenly his body was thrown into action. His stool fell as he stood up and stalked over to grab his phone. “Katsuki doesn’t have frie-”

The angry blonde hit the end call button before she could finish her sentence, but everyone knew what she was going to say. Kaminari paled, realizing he’d fucked up. His eyes zipped around the room, most likely figuring out the quickest exit. But Bakugou just glared at him, picked up his things, and left the room.

 

Nobody spoke of what happened. The festival went off without a hitch (minus Deku apparently getting into a fight on his way to get rope of all things), and they all had a great time. And now it was a couple weeks later. Katsuki’s mom had been texting him all day, and he was growing agitated everytime he peeked at his phone.

She was asking- no, telling - him to come over for dinner the next night. And… he really didn’t want to. He hadn’t been home for a while. A long while. Even during breaks he simply just stayed in the dorms.

His mom had just sent him another text as he was hunched over his desk, Kirishima draped against him to read the same passage, telling him the exact time she expected him to show up. He was in the middle of typing I’m not going, when the redhead spoke up. It was a whisper really, said in a way that hopefully wouldn’t make him angry.

And Bakugou couldn’t tell him he was never angry when he spoke.

“You never go home.” It was a statement. A fact. And it made the blonde pause.

“No. I don’t.” He expected Kirishima to get after him. Say something like But they’re your parents, bro! But he didn’t.

“Parents can suck sometimes. Families in general, actually. Don’t blame you.” He could tell by the way Kirishima leaned further in that he was tired. His eyes drooping. They’d probably fall asleep later, falling onto the mattress. They hadn’t cuddled since that night of the funeral, but now sleeping in the same bed was fair game.

“What do you know about that?” Katsuki gruffly asked, trying to sound annoyed when he was honestly curious. The boy yawned, having enough sense to turn his head away so Bakugou couldn’t smell his breath. 

“My dad became a huge asshole when I came out as gay.”

Wait.

Kirishima froze. His closed eyes jolting open and his body immediately stumbling away from the other. Bakugou turned in his chair as he heard the redhead fall to the floor, his phone still in hand. His eyes were just as wide, and they both didn’t seem to remember how to speak. 

It was obvious Kirishima hadn’t meant to, well, come out. This was new. Especially to Bakugou. For some reason, his heart was fluttering while his mind produced static. 

Bakugou knew gay people existed. Hell. Momo and Jirou were about as obvious as a steak in the middle of a basket of apples. And Deku blushed way too much around Icyhot. And the recent joint training session with class 1-B, which led to Kaminari meeting Shinsou properly, made Pikachu go on a kick about being bisexual.

So. Yeah. He was aware of it, and thinking about it, wasn’t exactly bothered by it. 

Realizing this, he was shaken out of his thoughts as Kirishima let out a soft sniffle and rose back up to his feet.

“I should… go,” he said, looking so very tense. He looked awkward and terrified. In response, Bakugou rolled his eyes, feeling it come naturally.

“You still have homework to finish, dipshit.” Katsuki looked at the other expectantly. He wouldn’t stop the other from leaving, of course, but he wanted his friend to know it was fine.

Yeah, he was still processing this information. And it might take a while. But the redhead had enough shit to deal with.

“You… You don’t mind?” His voice was squeaky and unsure. And god, Bakugou was once again presented with a situation he didn’t know how to deal with. And it involved Kirishima. Of course.

“Why would I? Not like it affects me.” 

He’d miss the way Kirishima deflated. He was too busy looking at his phone. And little did he know, it did affect him. 

“Oh. Okay. Cool.” Slowly, the redhead walked back over, scratching the back of his head. “But uh. Can you not tell the others? I don’t…” 

“I won’t say anything.” Bakugou wasn’t going to point out that they were all fine with Kaminari. The boy had his reasons and he was allowed them. “But in return, you’re coming to have dinner with me and my parents tomorrow.”

“What?” Bakugou sighed, knowing it was probably a mistake. He wanted to protect Kirishima the most from his mother. But he also didn’t want to go alone, not that he’d ever admit that. And if he wanted anyone with him, it was Kirishima. He didn’t dare look at his friend, but if he had he would’ve seen he’d grown three shades of red.

“If I have to sit and talk to that hag and old man, I’d at least like some entertainment.” It was a bitchy excuse. The message rang loud and clear to Kirishima despite it.

“Alright,” he agreed, slowly draping himself back over Bakugou. The blonde hummed, sending a single text to his mom.

I’m bringing someone.

He ignored all her following texts.

 

What the fuck was he thinking? 

Katsuki’s hands are sweating and he’s scared he’s going to set them off without meaning to. It’s only seven o’clock, and him and Kirishima are standing outside his parent’s house.

My house too, I suppose. The thought makes him sick. He didn’t want to go inside. Didn’t want to see his parents.

Was he being dramatic? He couldn’t tell. He just knew every atom in his body was telling his to leave. 

Kirishima apparently could see his inner turmoil, because he lays a hand on his shoulder. It's warm and grounding. The blonde tries not to think too hard about that. Taking a deep breath, he finally walks the rest of the way up and unlocking the door. 

Turning the handle makes his stomach twist, and as soon as the door is open his mom is calling out to him.

“Get your ass in here, Katsuki!” He looks at the clock in the entryway.

7:06.

Jesus. He’d been standing outside for six minutes and Kirishima hadn’t said a word.

Luckily, the beginning of the night passes in a blur. He feels like he’s in a trance when he walks to the dining room, his mom setting down the last of the food. His father enters after washing his hands in the kitchen, shooting both boys a smile.

“Ah. I thought you were joking when you said you were bringing someone,” his mom says, looking the redhead up and down with a smile. Bakugou has the urge to step into her line of sight. This was such a bad idea and his blood runs hot.

Kirishima chuckles awkwardly until they’re told to sit down. The meal mostly consists of forced conversation. His mom asking constant questions about school. His father occasionally throwing in his two cents. 

His mom had just gotten done asking about the culture festival (which Bakugou had lied and said he had no part in, making Kirishima’s face contort in confusion) when she turned her attention to the other boy.

“I don’t believe my son has properly introduced you.” She pops a dumpling in her mouth as Kirishima sits up straighter.

“Oh-oh! I’m Kirishima Eijirou. It’s a pleasure to meet you!” Bakugou can hear the stress coming off his friend and hates it. Hates himself for dragging him into this. This was Katsuki’s burden.

“Oh, wow. You’re so polite! Here I was, thinking I’d have to feed another delinquent.” The tenseness in Kirishima’s body increases by tenfold, and Bakugou keeps his eyes focused on the plate in front of him. “Are you in the hero course as well?”

“Yes, ma’am.” The redhead stabs at his rice, and Katsuki looks over finally. His friend’s eyes stare intently at his mom, keeping eye contact. It must’ve been hard.

“Oh, that’s wonderful. Nice to know such a pleasant boy is around to keep my son in check.” Katsuki hated that she wasn’t exactly wrong. Kirishima had stopped him from doing so many stupid things. “Of course, I wouldn’t blame you if you get sick of him. Katsuki can be such an asshole.” The blonde clenches his teeth, glaring daggers at his mom, but she isn’t paying attention. 

“Oh, uh, Bakugou isn’t all bad,” Kirishima replies awkwardly. He’s barely touched his food. “In fact, he’s one of my best friends.” 

“Oh, really?” His mom isn’t smiling anymore, and he wants nothing more than the floor to swallow him whole. “Funny. He hasn’t mentioned you once.”

It’s official. Katsuki wants to die. Kirishima will never want to speak to him again. He’ll think he hates him, despises him even.

“Eh. He’s not much of a talker.” The laugh that bubbles out of his friend surprises him, and he finally looks back at him. The face his friend now wore wasn’t one he’d ever seen on the other’s face.

His eyes were squinted, an obviously forced smile stretched across his smile that mostly bared his teeth than showed his happiness. He looked angry, and Katsuki’s heart throbbed.

The dumbass was defending him.

His mom’s frown deepens. She sets down the bowl she was holding.

“Tell me, Eijirou-” and god, hearing his mom call his best friend by his first name makes him want to lash out. “Do you plan on having kids? A family?” There’s a glint in her eye that makes them both uneasy. Kirishima seems to back down, taken off guard.

“Yes?” he answers, more confused at the question than anything. 

“You like kids?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m sure you expect to get married to a nice girl-” Bakugou sees the way Kirishima looks away, drumming his fingers nervously on his leg. And he’s taken back at how much he wants to reach over and comfort him. “And have a couple kids. It’s a nice dream, and you’re a nice boy. But I can tell you now, my son is going to disrupt that. You aren’t going to want him around them. You may not know that now. But you will.” The way his mom picks up her bowl makes it seem like the conversation is over. And they eat in silence the rest of the meal.

But, like always, Kirishima surprises Katsuki.

It’s when they’re putting on their coats and leaving. Bakugou is trying to get them to make a hasty retreat, and his parents are seeing them off. And they’re halfway down the steps when the redhead turns back.

“You’re wrong,” he says, looking into his mom’s eyes, and she’s back to frowning. “I’ll want Katsuki in my life, no matter where it goes. He’ll always be welcome.” Bakugou isn’t looking at his mom. He’s looking at his best friend, his absolute dumbass of one. His heart is twisting again, throbbing when it echoes him saying Katsuki. There’s something else in those words, something deeply buried, and it makes his heart and soul ache. “Goodnight, Mrs. Bakugou. Dinner was wonderful.”

And the way Kirishima turns, looks meaningfully into Bakugou’s eyes before smiling brightly and coming up and slinging an arm around him was much more deafening than anything his mom had ever done. He found himself not caring if his parents saw him lean into the touch, accepting the warmth given to him.

When they made it back to the dorms, there wasn’t a single text from his mom. And it would stay that way for a while.

 

Eri was very small.

Bakugou remained in his seat as his classmates had crowded around the little girl. Aizawa had brought her in, apparently due to her request. He had explained he was her guardian, and a few of the teens gushed about him being a dad. She looked embarrassed by all the attention, as she clung to Deku’s leg. She knew him, but they had found that out during the festival. He hadn’t actually met her then though. He’s seen her from afar, but now she was barely six feet away. 

She seemed to know Kirishima, but only a little. She had waved to him a little more easily then the others beside Deku, same with Uraraka and Tsuyu. 

Aizawa had said he was bringing her in for just a few minutes, as she was overwhelmed easily, but it had already been half an hour. She surprisingly warmed up to them quickly. She still didn’t want anyone touching her other then Deku and Aizawa, but he wasn’t surprised. 

Her smile was small, and her voice quiet. She was asking questions, gasping softly at quirk demonstrations. 

And, damnit, Katsuki felt awkward. He didn’t know how to do soft (he pushed the thought of Kirishima out of his head). So, he remained in his seat, staring blankly at his phone until class was over. 

He was conscious of the looks he was receiving. Nervous glances, as if he was going to blow up at any moment. Even Todoroki had looked at him once, but he suspected for a different reason.

Finally, Aizawa announced the day was over. There was a few cries of unhappiness as he scooped up Eri, but they gradually left the room. Bakugou was quick to grab his stuff and bolt out, missing the way Eri watched him, confusion spread across her face.

 

It was a few days later, in the middle of the night, when Bakugou realized he couldn’t sleep. He had been tossing and turning for hours, though careful not to wake up Kirishima who had fallen asleep next to him again. 

He was lucky he had a queen sized bed.

With tired eyes, he unlocked his phone to see it was a little past midnight. He groaned softly. Luckily, it was the start of the weekend so he could sleep in, as long as Pikachu didn’t start another fire trying to make breakfast again.

Carefully, he moved out of the bed, stilling whenever he heard Kirishima make a noise. In the back of his mind, he realized he shouldn’t care and just shove the redhead off the bed to get off, but he had figured out a while ago he was different from his other friends. He still couldn’t pinpoint the emotion he felt towards the other, but for some reason he was… scared to figure it out.

Sighing, he slipped on some shoes and walked down to the kitchen, determined to make some tea or something that would put him to sleep. On his way, he passed by the common area and saw Deku passed out on the couch. This wasn’t unusual. The nerd sometimes passed out when he was doing homework or reading something.

Though, usually Todoroki or Uraraka would get him to go to bed. But he shrugged it off. Not his problem, after all.

He walked into the kitchen, flicking on one of the smaller lights. The last thing he wanted was to be questioned by shitty Deku. But as he was reaching for a mug to make tea in, a tiny voice came from behind him.

“Hi.”

“Jesusfu-!” Bakugou nearly dropped the mug, catching it on its descent down, and catching his tongue when he saw familiar white hair. Eri’s eyes had widened and she took a step back when she saw Bakugou’s face.

Katsuki willed his heart to slow down and got angry at himself internally for not being alert enough to notice the child. Finally, realizing that Eri looked glued to place by fear, he stumbled into action. Or, well, words.

“Uh, what are you doing here?” He tried to make his voice soft, but it didn’t come naturally. Though, she seemed to sense him trying and relaxed a bit.

“Mr. Shouta had to do something. Deku is my babysitter.” She smiled when she said both names, and looked at him expectantly. 

“Then why is Deku asleep?”

“He was sleepy. And he thought I was asleep.” Bakugou expected a devilish glint, as if she had gotten away with something, but she just looked… lost.

“Well, why don’t you wake him up?” He finally set the mug back on the counter, but felt frozen to the spot he stood on. He looked at the exit, but she was blocking it.

“But… I’d be in trouble.”

“What? Why?” He may have sounded too rough because she tensed up and began to tremble. “Sorry. I just mean, I don’t think he’d be upset with you.” He was so not used to this. He wanted the earth to open up and swallow him whole.

“I know,” she replied softly, looking at her feet. “But, he’s so sleepy.”

“And I’m guessing you’re not?” She nodded quickly, then her eyes dragged over to the mug.

“What are you making?” Suddenly she was coming closer, and now it was his turn to tense up. Then her face lit up. “Hot chocolate?” He blinked down at her, dumbfounded. But her face was so bright and the way she was looking at him made his heart melt.

“Yeah. Sure.” 

So, that’s what led him to making hot chocolate. He didn’t have the heart to tell her he wasn’t a big fan of sweets, which made him feel weird. These losers were making him soft.

As he was stirring the pot, however, Eri came up beside him and looked at the counter for a while. She seemed to be having a war with herself when Bakugou finally asked if something was wrong. Trying to act like he didn’t care.

“Mr. Shouta puts me on the counter sometimes while he cooks.” She was playing with her hands, not looking at him. He stopped stirring for a moment.

“Oh,” he replied, feeling awkward again. “Do… Do you want me to put you up there?” She smiled widely at that, nodding her head and extending her arms. 

Then came the dread. How the hell do you pick up a kid? What if she freaks out and decides she doesn’t want him to? He vaguely remembers Aizawa warning them that she had a very powerful quirk, which was one of the reasons they couldn’t touch her without permission from her. He swallows, but decides to get it over with.

He hooks his hand under her armpits and lifts her, and he’s immediately amazed at how light she is. While knowing she was small, he still expected some weight to her. But instead, if feels like he’s lifting up a feather.

She’s so fragile, fuck, fuck, fuck-

“Thanks, Kacchan,” she says to him as he sets her on the counter, and the stupid nickname is what snaps him out of his thoughts.

“What did you call me?” His voice doesn’t sound angry, he knows this and that makes him uneasy. He should sound angry. But instead his voice just sounds confused.

“Kacchan! Deku said that was your name.” Her eyes are wide with wonder as she peers at the hot chocolate. “I asked him when you left the room.”

“Yeah, well, that’s just a dumb nickname he calls me.” He goes back to stirring, trying not to look at the little girl that is very much looking at him.

“What’s your name?” She asks it softly, and Bakugou again slaps himself in his mind for making her scared. 

“Katsuki,” he replies, turning the stove off and taking the pot away. “Katsuki Bakugou.”

“Katsuki… I like it!” She says it softly but excitedly, most likely hyperaware Deku is still asleep in the next room. He can’t stop the twitch in his lips as he pours a cup for each of them. He tops them both off with some cold milk so it’s not too hot before handing one to her. 

“Here ya go, kid.” When she smiles he distantly thinks Huh, reminds me of someone. He ignores the picture in his mind of Kirishima smiling. They fall into a comfortable silence as they sip on their drinks. Well, Bakugou sips. Eri practically inhales it.

“This was so yummy!” Eri is still smiling, but her eyes are drooping. Her yawn is barely a whisper, but he sees it.

“You should go to sleep.” In his mind, he tells himself he’s saying it because he wants to get away, but really he knows he says it because of the bags under her eyes.

“Yeah,” she replies, setting her mug beside her then extending her arms out to him. 

Shit. Right. I gotta set her down. 

His hot chocolate is only half finished but he doubts he’s going to drink more, so he sets it in the sink with her mug. He goes to pick her up just like before, but she leans forward and grabs onto his shoulders. He stiffens, but his arms wrap around her on instinct so she doesn't fall.

“You’re warm,” she tells him, but her voice is so soft he barely catches it. Her body is heavier now than before, and he can tell she’s falling asleep.

And he doesn’t know what to do.

He feels himself panicking in the middle of the kitchen, unsure of what the right thing to do is. Then he hears a chuckle behind him.

Turning, he sees Kirishima leaning against the doorway. His arms are loosely crossed, and his hair is down. He’s smiling softly, and he’s obviously still tired. But when Katsuki looks at him, he stands straighter. There was… something in his eyes that made Bakugou’s heart clench. It was just so soft. And he doesn’t know why, but he really wants him to look at him like that again.

He kicks himself mentally. His heart could shut the fuck up and his head could stop spinning around his best friend.

“I can’t believe she’s letting you hold her,” Kirishima says, and Bakugou huffs.

“I didn’t expect her to.”

“Yeah, well, life is full of surprises.” The redhead laughs softly for a second before really looking at Bakugou’s face. “You okay?” 

Katsuki takes a shaky breath, feels the rise and fall of Eri’s chest, and again he’s panicking. He’s very conscious of the sweat in his hands that he’s producing, but he’s frozen in place.

“I… I don’t know what to do.” The voice he produces barely sounds like his own. His eyes are blown wide, and Kirishima kicks into action. 

There’s hands on his shoulders, and his friend is telling him to breath. But he’s not taking Eri. He’s not taking her. And Bakugou tries to motion for him to take her, but the redhead stops him.

“Katsuki,” he says, and god when did he start getting so comfortable saying that and when did it start becoming soothing. (He knows when it started, but refuses to acknowledge it.) “You’re fine. She’s fine. I can’t take her. She has never given me the okay to touch her, and if she were to wake up, bad things could happen.” He knows Kirishima is trying to comfort him, and its working a little but the weight in his arms, the little girl, is still in his arms and the words his mom always told him are coming back to haunt him.

You’d never make a good father, Katsuki. You’d fuck up.

You’ll drop a kid sooner than help them.

I feel sorry for any kid that has to deal with you.

And, distantly, he knows he’s not Eri’s father. He’s only sixteen. But she’s also a child. And she’s not a haughty kid like the kind he had to babysit during the extra classes. She’s… fragile. Sweet and kind. And Bakugou isn’t.

He doesn’t know how to voice this to Kirishima, doesn’t know if he wants to.

Her arms tighten in her sleep, and Kirishima is rubbing circles against his back. 

Despite all the training and building of muscle, she feels as if she’s getting heavier. Her hair is tickling his face.

“She’s so… comfy,” Kirishima whispers, and that brings Bakugou back to the present. The redhead had stopped his ministrations, but was still standing very close. His eyes were on Eri, and the look he was giving her made Bakugou’s heart skip a beat. The blonde finds himself staring at his best friend, taking in every detail. It amazes him how soft the boy can appear despite his rough quirk. 

His heart slows, and his body begins to relax. The little girl in his arms buries her face into his shirt. 

Kirishima seems to lean into him subconsciously. His warm cheek pressing into his shoulder.

“You wouldn’t make a half-bad dad, ya know,” the redhead says to him, but he doesn’t seem to realize words are falling from his mouth. Katsuki isn’t sure why, but the words hurt . But a good hurt. Like a part of him is shoved back into place.

“Just ‘cause I’m able to hold a kid doesn’t mean I can raise one,” he grumbles back, relaxing more. He’s still looking at Kirishima, and doesn’t even act like he wasn’t when the other meets his eyes.

“You’re Bakugou Katsuki. You can do anything you put your mind to.” He hears the door to the dorms open, but he can’t tear his eyes away from Kirishima. “I don’t care what your mom says. You’re a good person.”

He wants to argue. Point out every flaw of his life. Call himself a bully and a menace to society. Say he’ll never change and for Kirishima to leave while he can to save them both the heartache. (He doesn’t know why he chooses heartache when he’s only seen it used for romance, but he still chooses it.)

But the other is stepping away, his warmth leaving his shoulder, and the hand that was on his back slipped away. And when he finally looks away, because someone had stepped into the room, it takes him a moment to register Aizawa’s presence.

The older man looks… surprised. His eyes go to Bakugou to Eri to Bakugou again. But to his credit, doesn’t make a snarky comment.

But he didn’t really expect it from the man.

“I see Midoriya fell asleep,” he states, and his voice is tired. The shocked expression gone.

“Is everything okay, sensei?” Kirishima asks. And then Bakugou notices the bruise on the man’s cheek and the patch of fabric gone on his shirt. 

“Yes, everything is fine. I had to take an emergency call. And Eri’s usual babysitter was at work.” He steps more into the room, glancing at the pot in the sink. “Hot chocolate?”

“Yeah,” Bakugou replies. The blonde finds himself forgetting his panic all together. 

“Didn’t take you for a sweets person.” There's a question in there, buried deep. 

“I’m not.” And there’s an answer, buried equally as deep. Aizawa gives him a small, brief smile.

“Right. Well, I’ll message Midoriya to let him know Eri is with me.” Their teacher steps forward and takes Eri into his arms, and it startles Bakugou at how much he suddenly didn’t want him to take her. But he forces the disappointment down and ignores the coldness in his arms. “Thank you, Bakugou. I’ll see you two in class.” They nod to each other, and as Aizawa walks away, Eri seems to stir awake. She blinks, looks at Aizawa then turns to look back at Katsuki. She smiles, softly and for him, and waves before burying into their teacher’s shirt and falling back asleep.

“She’s a really sweet girl,” Kirishima says as the door to the dorm clicks closed.

“Yeah,” Bakugou agrees, still staring at the door of the kitchen. Then Kirishima places a hand on his shoulder, and he looks over.

“Let’s go back to bed.” It’s said so easily. And once again, Bakugou vaguely registers that this certainly isn’t normal friend behavior. Kaminari wouldn’t be able to say that to him then jump into bed next to him. Or Sero. 

But he’s far past the point of caring.

So he nods.

And they make it all the way back upstairs before Bakugou stops them. Kirishima looks at him, confused, as they were barely three feet away from the door.

“Kirishima, I-”

“Call me Eijiro.” Katsuki blinks, meeting the redhead’s eyes. The other’s face is tinted red, but they both ignore that fact. “I, uh, call you Katsuki, so it’s only fair. I know Shittyhair is the preferred-”

“Eijiro.” They both stop. The blonde seemingly startled at his own voice, before continuing. “Thank… Thank you.”

Kirishima doesn’t look like he knows what to say. And Bakugou wants to look away, look at the floor or wall. But their eyes are glued to each other.

Then the redhead smiles.

“Anytime.”

 

Bakugou likes to think he’s not an idiot.

But then he’s staring at Kirishima, amongst dust and debris from a collapsed building, barely holding together his unbreakable form, gripping the front of a villains shirt with one hand while his other arm is up to help his back support a fallen pillar and he’s just thinking:

I’m a fucking idiot. 

Because in that moment, that’s what he is. Because their second year had only begun two weeks prior, and he was just now realizing he was desperately and completely in love with his best friend.

His hands are shaking as they help Eijiro. It was supposed to be a nice day out. They were gonna meet up with the rest of the squad at the mall, do some shopping and hang out.

But once the redhead and him passed the nearby bank on the way down the street, the building blew up. 

Katsuki was used to explosions. Heard them everyday. But those were his. And they were under his control.

This though. This shook the ground and made his heart leap into his throat. But they both had sprung into action, rushing in without thinking. 

Inside had been a disaster. The bank had just opened, so there weren’t any customers, and the tellers were behind bullet-proof glass. The entire front of the bank was crumbling, and there was a man yelling at the tellers as he clutched a full duffel bag.

The fight had been a blur. The villain was easy enough to beat, but pillars began to fall, and at one point Kirishima had to push Bakugou out of the way so he wouldn’t be crushed.

But they did it. The man was taken into custody and they were looked over by paramedics. They had to flash their Provisional Hero Licenses, but even then they still got an earful.

It didn’t matter though. Bakugou had other things on his mind.

Originally, before he knew Kirishima, his first instinct probably would have been to avoid him. Feelings was just something that would get in the way. They didn’t matter.

And, well, he didn’t deserve Eijiro.

But, he didn’t want to be an idiot. The redhead would catch onto him, notice his absence. He’d question him and pester him. And then it would come to a head and he’d lose his best friend and he didn’t want that. 

Because as much as he’d hate to admit it, he doesn’t want to be alone. Doesn’t want to lose the obnoxious, but sweet, redhead. He wanted him in his life. Ached for him to be in it. He was the only person he actually missed when he wasn’t around them. 

And that terrified Bakugou. Love was… uncharted territory. He only barely remembers the sweet hugs his mom used to give him as a toddler. Because once he could run and talk and use his quirk, everything went downhill.

Like his mom said, he was a bad person.

So, he quickly accepted that he’d have to suffer in silence.

But, as time went on, he found himself acting out. He wasn’t distancing himself, though. Rather, it was the opposite. He began initiating contact. Sitting closer. Striking up a conversation.

And the worst part of it all, he apparently couldn’t stop himself even in public. 

The first time he casually laid his head on Eijiro’s shoulder without thinking, it was in the cafeteria. He was on his phone, and barely noticed that Kaminari had stopped mid-sentence to gawk at them. Mina said something that Katsuki hadn’t heard and then the redhead was chuckling nervously.

After realizing what he had done, he shot up, nearly knocking his tray of food off the table. Muttering something about being tired, he left quickly, not noticing the confused look on his friend’s face.

However, as the weeks went on, and these casual touches became more frequent, the others said less and less. He’d still receive glances, but everything was silent.

But, what he didn’t know, was that Kirishima was losing his fucking mind.

 

“We need to talk.” 

Katsuki hadn’t even heard his door open, too absorbed in his studies. But when he heard Kirishima’s voice, he almost fell out of his chair. Managing to recover, he turned in his chair to yell at him for barging in, but the words died in his throat.

Eijiro looked pissed. His usual smile was gone, replaced instead with a deep frown. His fists were clenched at his sides, and his face was bordering on red.

Bakugou couldn’t even make a snide comment about how his crocs ruined it because the bastard had thrown on sneakers instead.

His heart was pounding, and he wanted nothing more than to leave (despite it being his room.) So, he just glared in response.

“You have to stop touching me.”

His glare vanished, and his blood felt like ice.

“What?” If Eijiro picked up the squeak in his voice, he didn’t mention it. Instead, he began pacing back and forth.

“I could handle when it was just me. I could. But now you’re making it so much more difficult.” As he talked, the anger in his voice began to falter and was instead replaced with… sadness? 

Making what difficult?  

“This!” It took a moment for Bakugou to realize he had said that thought out loud, and now the redhead was facing him again, pointer finger pointing to both of them.

Now he was confused.

“I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, Shittyhair,” he growls, his voice steady again. But he was terrified. Because things were coming to a head, something he specifically didn’t want to happen.

He thought he’d been doing fine. But it looks like the cat was out of the bag. Eijiro was gonna figure out he was in love with him, laugh in his face, and never speak to him again. He was going to end up alone, without Eijiro and without any friends.

And his heart hurt.

“I can’t get over my love for you if you keep doing this!” There was slap just as the words fell on his ears, and he looked up (he hadn’t even noticed he was looking at the ground) to see Kirishima covering his own mouth. Red eyes met each other, and all too quickly the other was crying. His legs gave out, making him fall to the blonde’s floor. “I know I shouldn’t… shouldn’t be angry at you. But it hurts so fucking much. Knowing you don’t like me back. And everytime you lean on me or move closer, I can’t help but think it’s a possibility.” He’s hiccuping and this is, again, uncharted territory. Katsuki is looking through his thoughts, trying to find something to do or say. His body won’t move, but he can't help but want to comfort the other boy. “I’m sorry, Katsuki. But… maybe… we should keep our distance for a while.”

Kirishima isn’t looking at him. Refuses to, no matter how much Bakugou mentally wills it. Because he can’t speak. 

But then Eijiro is getting up, wiping his tears away, and letting out a shaky sigh. He’s turning around and reaching for the doorknob.

And finally. Finally , Katsuki manages to move. 

All his brain is supplying is Nononono. Because losing Eijiro would break him. Shatter him into a million pieces. Losing him would be proving everything his mom had ever said to him as true. Because Eijiro made him feel like a good person, and was helping him become one on his own. 

He couldn’t stand seeing him everyday, but never by his side.

So, he grabs the back of his shirt in his fist and yanks. Pulls him back into the room, but not hard. Honestly, the softness of the action is barely recognizable to him. 

But Eijiro’s hand is still on the open door, and he still needs to speak.

“Please… Please don’t go, Ei.” His voice is broken up by a stutter, and he refuses to let the tears in his eyes fall. The nickname is new, but it strangely comes naturally. 

But Eijiro finally looks at him. The hurt in his eyes nearly vanishes when he does, probably seeing the absolute fear in the blonde’s eyes. He shuts the door behind him, and as he turns to the other fully, the blonde latches onto him.

The hug is desperate, and it’s only after a few moments that Eijiro wraps his arms around him.

“Katsuki, wha-”

“I… I like you too.” He can’t say love. Not yet. He hopes the words still say what he means. And they seem to because Eijiro gasps. And then his hands are moving away from his back, and he’s stepping away despite Katsuki trying to grip harder. But his calloused hands slide up to his face, and he expects Kirishima to say something, but instead he kisses him and he’s not sure what to do again.

But he doesn’t push him away. Doesn’t try to move. Their lips are just pressed together, and after a few moments, Kirishima stops and hugs him again.

He’s not sure if a heart can clench and soar at the same time, but that’s the only way he can think to describe it.

Because he’s happy. Happy that Eijiro likes him back. That this is something the other wants.

But at the same time, and he steps away as he thinks, I can’t do this . Not to Eijiro.

“I don’t…,” he starts, and Ei’s eyes are soft again, but the other knows by his tone he’s saying something serious. So the redhead doesn’t move towards him. He gives him space. And, god, Katsuki’s heart lurches because this boy knows him too damn well. “I don’t deserve you. I can’t do this to you. You’re so… good. You’re kind and gentle, and I’m not. I’ve fucked up so much and I’m just gonna drag you down and-”

“I know who you are, Katsuki.” Eijiro’s voice makes him meet his eyes, and he’s not at all surprised at the pure emotion in them. “I know you’re flawed. I’ve known since the day I met you. Nobody is perfect. I have things that I’m not proud of-”

“I’m a bully, Ei. Deku still jumps when I walk up to him. I can’t give even one compliment. I don’t… I don’t know how to be a good person.”

“Then you apologize.”

“It’s not that simple-”

“No, it’s not. But it’s a good place to start. I’ve seen you, Katsu. You want to change. I’ve seen how far you’ve come. It’s true, you’re not a perfect person. You’ve made mistakes. You can be mean and blunt, but I can see you want to change. And you have. So, don’t think I walked into this thinking you are some sort of god. That you have no faults. You do. And I don’t mind helping you, because you’ve shown me that you are a good person.” Bakugou just looks away, and he doesn’t know what to say. But Eijiro just keeps going. “I will go as slow as you want. We don’t need a label yet. Everything can go on as normal. But, Katsuki-” he steps towards the blonde, hands going to his forearms, and Bakugou worries his lip between his teeth. “Don’t… push me away. I don’t want you thinking that you don’t deserve to be happy. I don’t want that to be the reason we’re not together.”

Instead of responding, Katsuki just falls back into the embrace. He grips tighter than before. Lets Eijiro lead him to the bed and cuddle up with him. Falls asleep like that.

And in the morning, when the redhead ignores the damp spot on the front of his shirt and goes about his day as if nothing changed, he ignores the way his heart flutters.

 

It’s about a week later when Bakugou breaks. 

They hadn’t talked about it. But, in the nighttime, they curled up together. It was… easy. And it made him realize he wanted more. And he knew Eijiro said they didn’t need labels, but it nagged and nagged at him until finally he sat up straight, ignoring the way the redhead groaned in protest.

It was the dead of night, and the only light was a small glowing cat lamp that Eijiro had managed to sneak in several weeks prior. It was set on red, because of course it was, and the sleepiness from the other’s eyes vanished when Bakugou met his eyes.

“Are you ok-”

The kiss was quick. Or it was going to be, but Eijiro was quick to meet him and they both got a bit lost in it. Katsuki’s hands shook as he leaned over, letting his mind go blank. He let his worries go, his pain fade away, and anger seep out. 

When they finally pulled away, Eijiro was looking at him as if he was something… ethereal. And the smile came naturally. 

“You’re beautiful,” the redhead breathed, rubbing his thumb over his cheek. His stomach did a flip, but he didn’t yell. Didn’t shout that he “wasn’t beautiful, asshole.”

“I want this,” he replies instead, and Kirishima doesn’t seem to grasp what he says, because he’s still just staring at him softly. “I want to be with you.”

There’s a silence, that isn’t charged with any particular emotion. And then Eijiro catches up with him, and then the other boy is smiling. His teeth peeking out from his lips, and his eyes are squinting from how wide it is. 

And then they’re kissing again. 

 

Being gay didn’t really faze Katsuki. He wasn’t homophobic, mostly because it hadn’t even been on his radar. He didn’t care what people did in their personal lives. Hell, he never really expected to have one of his own.

But when Kirishima asked if they could keep, well, them a secret, he realized this could be a big deal to some people. He hadn’t wanted to announce they were dating or anything. He was still a very closed off person.

Still, it strangely made him nervous. While heroes didn’t reveal too much about their personal lives, he didn’t want to think what the public would think of a publicly gay hero.

But, if he was anything, he was a man up for a challenge.

He wanted to make changes. Wanted that since he was a kid. And he’d started making headway with his brash and hardcore attitude. 

However, he knew this particular way of doing things wouldn’t work for this. Not now. He’s end up hurting Eijiro more than anything, and he didn’t want that. 

But he also didn’t want to hide. Didn’t want people to think he was ashamed. Because he wasn’t, and never would be. He still didn’t think he deserved Ei, but he’d never be ashamed of loving him.

“Kacchan?” Deku was sitting beside him on the roof. They were working together on an internship, and while Katsuki had thrown a fit in front of their friends, when they were alone he was a lot calmer. He didn’t need people seeing him and Deku getting along.

At the sound of his name, Bakugou was shaken out of his thoughts. He slid his eyes to the side to show the shorter boy he was listening.

“You okay?” Despite their improving relationship, Deku was still obviously a little wary around him. And while that made him… sad (and angry, but at himself), he didn’t blame the other.

“Peachy,” he replied, as he mused over his decision.

“A… Alright.” The other apparently thought the conversation was over, as his head swiveled back to survey the city under them. But Katsuki had other ideas.

‘I’m gay.”

The reaction was, surprisingly, not immediate. It felt like several minutes passed by before Izuku widened his eyes and whipped his head back so quick he probably hurt his neck, and kept opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water. It made Katuki… uneasy. And he was starting to regret his decision when the other boy finally got his bearings and responded.

“Neat! No-um- not that it isn’t neat- but, um, that’s-”

“Spit it out, Deku,” he groaned, eyes rolling. He pretended like every cell in his body wasn’t screaming at him to run. Finally, the kid took a breath.

“Sorry,” he replied, the panic in his face subsiding. “I don’t wanna make it sound like I think it’s weird. ‘Cause it’s not. I think that’s really awesome, and I’m glad you’re able to tell me.”

“Whatever.” Katsuki refuses to look at him, but he knows Izuku is still smiling at him. And he refuses to admit that relief washes over him, because he was not nervous.

“I’m bisexual.” Despite himself, the blonde does look at him now, trying to hide the surprise. He knew the other was kind of an idiot around Todoroki and Uraraka, but he never thought he’d… well, come out, to Katsuki of all people.

“Oh… that’s cool.” He doesn’t know what else to say, but it makes him happy. Deku laughs and rubs the back of his head.

“We’re both bad at this, huh?”

“I’m not bad at anything, nerd.”

“Whatever you say, Kacchan.”

It’s silent for a while, the busy street below them acting as a distraction. It’s nice, and he finds it strange how at ease he’s becoming around the other.

And then, Deku goes and ruins it. (That’s a lie.)

“So… I guess you really couldn’t ignore Kirishima any longer.” The little shit is smirking when Bakugou turns to look at him again, and his eye is twitching. They both expect him to lunge, go for the throat and start a fight. And the old Bakugou would. 

But instead, he smirks back and replies:

“Yeah, well, at least I don’t drool over a discount Prince Zuko.”

He sees the smirk fall from Deku’s face and the red rise all the way to his forehead, and he cackles. And then, when the initial embarrassment fades, the green-haired boy starts laughing along. They lightly shove each other, laughing harder when one of them almost falls backward. When their laughter fades away, Deku is smiling wide.

“I call dibs on best man.” It’s said so easily, and Katsuki finds himself quickly shooting back.

“Which one?” They laugh again, but the joke registers in Bakugou’s mind and he feels… off. Marriage wasn’t something he’d thought about. Yeah, him and Kirishima had barely started dating, but it still made him feel… something.

Still, for the moment he ignores the odd feeling. Enjoying the company of his longest friend.

And when they finally both calm down, the jokes subsiding, and Deku looks at him again, his words get caught in his throat. He knows he must look constipated or something, because Izuku is asking him if he’s okay. And all the things Kirishima had told him the night they confessed come flooding back. He just thinks It’s a start. 

“I’m sorry,” he says, almost as if he didn’t have control. The other looks even more lost, but Katsuki finally collects his thoughts enough to keep going. “I’m… really fucking sorry, Izuku. For everything. I’m such an asshole.”

Izuku is taken off guard by this. His eyes are wide again, and the silence between them is tense and Katsuki hates it. But then the boy sighs softly, and his smile is small when he looks back at him.

Then he raises his fist to Katsuki and holds it there. And for a moment, he doesn’t know what to do. But then it clicks and he raises his own to meet it.

It’s not enough, he knows. Knows in the wobbly smile his… friend is giving him. Knows it in the still tense shoulders when he walks up to him the next day to ask if he wants to grab noodles with him and Ei that weekend.

And he knows, because he’s not an idiot. You can’t erase years of abuse. He knows. And he’s grateful Izuku is willing to try and rebuild their friendship. Willing to give him another chance. Because he was terrible and shitty. He’s still pretty shitty, but he wants to not be. 

And that still isn’t enough, but damn, it’s a start. 

 

People finding out about their relationship happens over time. The bakusquad figures it out after a couple months (well, Sero figures it out and clues in the others.) Kaminari is absolutely delighted and asks them way too many questions. At first, it’s obvious Kirishima is unsure. Scared, more like. And he doesn’t blame him. But their friends are considerate when they notice, and assure him that they don’t hate him. That they are completely supportive. And that they’re pretty gay themselves. (Mina and Kaminari are both bisexual, and Sero doesn’t really know what to label himself and just kinda flows with it.)

Kirishima is a little upset when Bakugou comes clean about telling Deku, but is quick to get over it when he notices their improved relationship. 

The rest of the class eventually follow suit. There’s no big reveal. Some just noticed them holding hands, or saw them sneaking out of each others’ rooms. But by the beginning of their third year, everyone knows. 

And if Aizawa happens to accidentally open a file on his computer that has pictures of him and Mic getting married during class one day? Nobody comments on the coincidence and just pesters him about his relationship.

Kirishima talks about his dad later. When they’re going to bed. He tells his stories in soft whispers under the blankets, only for Bakugou to hear. Lets the tears flow freely. Presses against his boyfriend as he does so. And in turn, the blonde tells him about his mom.

It’s mostly offhand comments. Things that slip out. Sometimes it’s jokes about himself, about how he’d be a terrible dad or that Kirishima should run while he could. But the redhead never laughs. He just holds him tighter or squeezes his hand. And they both silence Katsuki’s phone when his mom calls. 

But Bakugou meets Kirishima’s mom. It’s near the end of their second year, and Kirishima is crying in his arms when he asks if he’d be willing.

Because his mom had just divorced his dad, and while Katsuki hated the other boy’s father, he knew it still wasn’t easy. So he agreed, and they both travelled across the city. He’s taken off guard by the woman, because she’s definitely Eijiro’s mother. 

Her hair is black and long, but her eyes are soft and her smile is sweet. She doesn’t shake his hand, but she hugs him. And he’s startled. Because he realizes these are the kind of hugs he misses out from his own mother.

They have lunch. She asks them questions, and talks to Katsuki like she’s known him for years. Her laugh is contagious, and she gets a glint in her eye when the blonde jokingly offers to blow up her ex-husband’s clothes. 

“Eijiro wouldn’t approve,” she replies, patting him on the arm. But he sees in the way she grins that she was considering it. 

When they leave, Katsuki surprises himself when he hugs her goodbye first. Kirishima is smiling when he looks at him. 

Later, when they get back to the dorms, Eijiro snorts at his phone and shows him a text his mom had sent him.

“I’m walking you down the aisle.”

They’re both red, but Katsuki finds himself feeling less odd than when Deku mentioned marriage.

And he thinks that’s pretty neat. 

 

He hasn’t properly spoken to his parents since the dinner. He’d respond to his mom’s texts occasionally, and would only pick up the phone for his dad when he knew he was at work. Their conversations were always awkward and short. But it’s almost the end of their third year. 

He’s amazed that his mom hadn’t once tried barrelling her way onto school grounds, or contacting his teachers. 

But he’s happy. Both him and Eijiro have great internships. His boyfriend had stuck with the Fatgum agency, and Bakugou had really clicked with the Rabbit Hero: Mirko during an exercise from the previous year. When he received an invitation to her agency as a paid intern the beginning of third year, he actually almost screamed. The woman was a lot like him, and they got along great. And as the year went on, he became one of her main sidekicks. 

As soon as he graduated from UA, he would earn the official title of sidekick. And while he planned to eventually have his own agency, he was excited all the same.

But then Aizawa handed out the invitations they were supposed to give out for their graduation. They each had a decent amount, but the difference was everyone else already knew who they were giving them to. 

He knew he was going to invite Rumi, as she was his boss. But that still left quite a few left. 

“Are you inviting your parents?” Ei asks him as they study side-by-side on the bed. He grunts, not really wanting to answer. But the redhead leans into him, his mouth inches from his ear. “I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.” His lips press together in a tight line, and the words on the page are swimming. He doesn’t even notice when a tear falls, and then suddenly Eijiro is taking the book and rubbing his back. “Katsu? You okay?” And he shakes his head.

All his classmates were so excited. They were already filling out invitations in class, and it hurt. Because they were all talking about how their parents were so excited. How they were already planning graduation parties. 

Jirou had said her dad started sobbing when he realized graduation was a month away. Momo gushed about how her mom helped her find the right size robes. Kaminari was talking Shinsou’s ear off about how he had to meet his mom. 

Deku had given him a look that he refused to acknowledge when he stuffed the pieces of paper in his back a little harder than needed.

“I just. I used to not care. But it hurts, Ei. My mom thinks I’m some sort of demon, and my dad and me don’t really have a relationship.” Katsuki rubs his eyes, trying to scrub away the tears. He’s doing it too hard, because Eijiro pries his hands away from his face. “I haven’t even told them…” Eijiro is looking at him, with so much understanding, and the words almost don’t come out. “I haven’t even told them we’re dating.” 

He expects Kirishima to get angry. To yell at him and break up with him. Because he told his mom, but he doesn’t. He never gets angry at him, at least, not when it comes to these things. They’re still boys, barely turning into men, and they have arguments. And everytime they do, Katsuki expects him to leave. To slam the door and never turn back. But he doesn’t.

And he certainly doesn’t now, because instead he’s hugging him. Katsuki wants to move away, say he doesn’t need to be coddled, but he never refuses Eijiro. And the hug is warm and comforting, and he needs them more than he cares to admit.

“It’d be a great fuck you to your mom if you invited them,” Ei jokes, and it isn’t meant to be taken seriously and he laughs too.

But, later that night, he has his boyfriend help him write out two invitations and the next morning he sends them in the mail. Along with a senior photo him and Eijiro took a few weeks before.

He’s smiling in the picture, a rare thing. He’s standing straight while Eijiro is resting his arm on his shoulder and holds the other one up with a peace sign. The redhead is smiling so wide that his eyes are closed. And despite the camerawoman telling Katsuki to look at her, his eyes just couldn’t leave the other boy. So she finally just took the picture. 

She even printed them an extra one that had a heart filter on it. It may have been meant as a joke, because she wasn’t a nice woman, but they framed it and kept it on Katsuki’s desk.\

Because the subtle fuck yous was still good.

 

He doesn’t hear from his parents until the day of graduation, when his mom sends him a simple text telling him that they were there. The crowd is large, because it’s all of the third years graduating and they all at least invited their parents. Bakugou doesn’t bother trying to search for them. He just adjusts his tie, because he hates it but Ei had to say he looked handsome in it. At least the suit underneath his robe is comfortable. Him and Kirishima had worn matching ones, and they were ready to be the best looking couple at the party UA was hosting afterward. 

Deku, him, and Shouto all sported an extra tassel that their other classmates didn’t. They were the top of the class, and while he was technically second, he was happy to stand beside them.

He’d never tell them that to their faces though.

But suddenly they’re on stage, giving a joint speech because that’s what they agreed on. It’s mostly Deku talking, but him and Todoroki are smiling through it and adding things here and there. After it’s over, Izuku nudges him in the side and smiles as he holds out a fist.

They’d come a long way. Because instead of fist bumping, Katsuki just laughs and slings an arm around his friend’s broad shoulders while All Might starts calling names. And Deku doesn’t flinch or step away. He just returns the embrace. 

Class A goes last, and the crowd loses it when the final person shakes All Might’s hand. The other classes are standing, and Class B joins them on stage to take a picture. The big three are put up front, but at the last moment Bakugou grabs Kirishima to stand beside him.

And as the camera flashes, Ei turns and plants a wet kiss on his cheek and he grins, eyes closing as his cheeks turn pink. 

 

His mom is stomping towards him. He hears the familiar sound of her steps as they slap against the floor of the dance hall they’re in. Eijiro is squeezing his hand from where he was beside him, and Deku and Todoroki aren’t looking at him anymore, but to his mom who was behind him. She’s shouting, attracting the attention of his classmates.

But the words she’s saying aren’t processing in his head. It’s like his head is in a bucket of water, because he sees her mouth moving, as he’s finally turned to her, but the words are garbled and don’t make sense. 

He knows she says something really bad, because Eijiro is suddenly trying to keep tears from falling down his face, and he sees red. But he doesn’t strike her. No. Never. He would never be as bad as her.

Instead, he takes a deep breath and steps in front of Kirishima. 

“I don’t want you in my life,” he says, and he’s surprised at the calmness of his tone. And she seems to be as well, because the words falling from her mouth stop and her eyes widen. 

Then they leave. Aizawa goes up to her as soon as they walk away, and then she’s walking out of the building. 

 

Katsuki and Kirishima get an apartment together a week after graduation. He picks up the rest of his stuff from the house when his parents aren’t home and leaves his key under the welcome mat. 

He blocks his parents on his phone. Him and Kirishima build a life together. They fly through the ranks, right along with the rest of their classmates. They make their relationship public, and it acts as a domino effect. Suddenly, other pros were coming out and they’re being asked to appear at schools. Of course, they’d receive threats or see parents rushing their children away from them. But overtime, those instances subsided. 

They get married when they’re twenty-one. A day after Izuku and Shouto. And Deku does get to be his best man. And Kirshima’s mom walks the redhead down the aisle.

And a month after that, they buy a house. Then they start building their own agency, a sister agency to Izuku and Shouto’s. They adopt a dog during the process, then a cat when they get it off the ground. 

At twenty-three, they start the adoption process. The news blows up when the information is leaked. And his mom manages to find his personal email, and she’s telling him to let it go. He blocks her again. 

At twenty-five they become parents. They take home a baby girl.

It’s not easy. Not by a long shot. They both have their insecurities and doubts. Katsuki is absolutely terrified the first few months of having their daughter. But as time goes on, it becomes… natural. He falls into the rhythm. 

Their old classmates express their amazement when they see him with her when they come to visit. 

“Didn’t take you for a kid person, Katsu,” Mina says, cradling the little one as he hovered close by. Kirishima laughs from the kitchen, and Onigiri, their dog, barks from the backyard.

“I’m surprised you’re not,” Ei replies, finally done with the dishes and coming to sit beside his friend. Mina finally takes pity on Katsuki and hands him his daughter. 

“I like kids just fine! Like, I’m totally spoiling this sweet girl, but I don’t wanna personally raise one.” She’s making silly faces, and their daughter starts giggling. 

She leaves an hour later. And before Katsuki leaves for patrol, Eijiro kisses him goodbye. 

“Be safe. Love you, Katsu.” His husband’s eyes are drooping, since he’s on a slightly different schedule from his own. 

“Love you too,” he replies, because he’s long since been able to say it back. And as he drives to their agency, he actually drives by his parents house. He expects to feel something, anything, when he sees it. But he doesn’t.

Not even when his mom peeks out from behind the curtain. Or when their eyes meet. 

Instead, he just puts the car back into drive.

 

He proves his mother wrong. He hugs his daughter life she should’ve hugged him. Doesn’t put her down or tell her she’s worthless. He’ll always have issues expressing himself, but she knows he loves her. And when her little brother comes along, he knows too. When they’re sad or angry, they know they can come to him. 

He celebrates his and Eijiro’s anniversary every year. He makes dinner for him nearly every night (mostly so their kids don’t starve, because as much as he loves his husband, the man can’t cook.) Flowers appear on Ei’s desk once a month, maybe more.

Because, yeah, Katsuki never expected this kind of life. Didn’t think he wanted it. But really, he loved it. And he was never one to half-ass anything, so he did the family thing as best as he could.

And damn, he was good at it.