It was raining outside. The kind of rain you can hardly see, that falls in mist like sheets. Non-threatening to an observer indoors but able to soak through any clothing in a matter of minutes. Kirishima had barely paid attention to the state of the weather when he’d left the dorm. He’d welcomed the cool embrace as he began to run his usual circuit but now returning from the opposite side of campus, previously spiked hair plastered to his forehead and shoes squelching with each step Kirishima admitted to his mistake. He pushed onwards, picking up the pace both to get out of the rain faster and to push his limits, grounding himself in the strain of his muscles.
Usually when it rained he’d switch out his evening jog for a session at the student gym but today he’d barely even thought about it, aching for the routine and repetitive nature of a good run. At least the rain was serving as a good distraction, and at six pm on a cold Saturday night he wouldn’t have to worry about running into people. He didn’t really feel like seeing anyone right now anyway.
Kirishima hadn’t been paying attention and he slipped in a puddle, barely managing to stay on his own two feet. Forced to a standstill reality caught up with him. Kirishima’s chest heaved and his legs refused to take a single more step forward let alone pick back up his brutal pace. Breath stuck in his throat as he turned his head to the sky and closed his eyes. Kirishima could feel droplets gathering on his eyelashes and sliding down his jaw. His t-shirt which was stuck to his back grew heavier and heavier collecting rain. Kirishima took a deep breath in and let it sink out of him in a controlled stream. His mother had taught him the technique back during middle school when he used to get overwhelmed ever so easily. She’d always say, “you know it’s pretty manly to admit when you’re having a hard time.” Kirishima wasn’t feeling very manly at the moment.
It was like the extra weight of water in his clothes was pulling him down as the sky above pushed on his shoulders. He gave in and collapsed in the middle of the path. It had been so long since he’d felt this useless. Now he’d stopped running his mind was free to torment him again. It was stupid really. Rationally he knew there was no way he could have predicted this happening. But he was a hero in training with a hero license, if he was there he could have done something.
Kirishima was steadily losing the body heat he’d accumulated on his run and a shiver shook through him from the cold and another more violent shiver from recalling that phone call.
His mother had called just after five, which was pretty normal for a weekend, what wasn’t normal was the sirens he heard behind her usually reassuring voice. He’d barely been able to breath as she’d explained how a villain with a lava quirk had targeted the businessman Kirishima could never remember the name of who lived a few doors down. Apparently there had hardly been anytime between raising alarm, evacuating the street, and the sudden eruption that had taken out several houses, including Kirishima’s childhood home.
His mother sounded like she was holding back tears as she explained how they hadn’t had time to grab anything, but that it was all going to be okay since she and his father were safe and that’s what mattered. His father had taken the phone from her when her words became separated by wet hiccups. Kirishima’s Grandfather was on his way to pick them up and his father assured Kirishima he’d contact the school to explain what’d happened so he could be with them for a few days. They’d hung up then because the police at the scene needed to take their statement but not before they all exchanged ‘I love you’s and his mother made him promise he’d go talk to someone.
He’d never broken a promise to his mother before, but he just couldn’t talk right then. Unnamed emotions swirled beneath the surface threatening to burst out. If only he’d been there. His quirk would be a perfect match to fight lava. Even if he couldn’t fight maybe he’d have been faster, been able to take something, anything that was now lost forever. Kirishima gasped his throat thick with grief for what he once knew. He knew he was lucky that his parents were alive but he couldn’t dwell on that over the knowledge that he’d never again walk into his own house. He’d never see the markings for his height on the lounge doorframe, see his mother and father dancing around their yellow painted kitchen making dinner together, watch movie marathons all together on their couch with three dips exactly where they all sit. All those stupid pictures he’d drawn as a child, all their hundreds of family photos, gone. He fell forward with his hands on the cement as a choked sob finally crawled out his lungs.
Kirishima’s tears mixed with the rain as he shivered and sobbed, unable to focus on anything but the pain mixing with the shame of not have being able to do a single damn thing to stop this.
The seven o’clock news was playing quietly in the communal lounge of the 1-A dorms as students mused about, cooking themselves dinner, finishing off homework, socialising. Hardly anyone was paying attention to the TV until Midoriya broke off mid-rambling at Iida, eyes blown wide and fixed just over his shoulder. Iida turned just as Midoriya moved, vaulting over the couch to get to the TV remote and turning the volume up. At the sudden noise, several others looked over frozen for all of a second before dropping what they were doing before rushing over to join Midoriya. For those still occupied, all it took was the news anchor’s serious tone as he stated, “A great tragedy has struck Chiba Prefecture…”
The screen reflected orange as helicopter shots show what appeared to be stream of lava running through outer city streets engulfing homes and roads. The students sit in silence as the anchor continues.
“Merely two hours ago an evacuation was called for the outer eastern Funabashi region due to an attack from the now identified villain Fuji. Although reasoning is still in investigation those closest to the origin of the attack report the home of CEO for Steel Corporations Sugawari Eita, was the starting location. Heroes were called to the scene upon the first ‘eruption’ that took out the victim’s home, pronouncing him the first of three fatalities reported thus far. It was as the first Heroes to arrive, The Carver and Lady Light, battled the villain, that police carried out a successful evacuation to clear the surrounding areas. Minutes after the all clear went through, a second eruption on an unimaginable scale took out almost twenty homes and severely damaged sixty three.”
The camera shifts to show the evacuees at an emergency refuge, first from above and then up close where you could see the pain and fear on everyone’s faces. Bakugo dropped the bowl of soup he’d been holding and it clattered to the ground spilling it’s contents everywhere. It was enough to pull his classmates eyes from the TV.
“Shit, Bakugo you ok?” Sero got up but hovered on the edge of actually touching him as Bakugo’s eyes were still fixed on the news, a picture of horror on his face.
“Where’s Kirishima?” The question at first seemed irrelevant but then a gasp turned heads to Mina who had her hands over her mouth and tears building in her eyes.
“That’s… his neighbourhood, isn’t it?” Sero asks, and she nodded barely able to keep from crying.
“We grew up on opposite sides of the city but we used to catch public transport to UA together before the dorms, so I knew he lived in that area… but you don’t think…”
“His parents. Those were his parents on TV.” Bakugo spoke up again, fists now clenched at his side.
“Are you sure?” Iida spoke up from the safety of other side of the room.
“Of course I’m fucking sure! Now anyone know where he fucking is!”
Midoriya raised his hand sheepishly. “I think I saw him leave maybe an hour ago, in his usual jogging gear.”
The students turned to look outside where the rain had picked up. Bakugo didn’t waste another second and ran for the door. Iida’s calls of protest meant nothing to him and as he drew further away he heard someone call, “We should probably get Aizawa.” He heard footsteps pounding the pavement behind him so he knew he wasn’t the old one to run outside. He didn’t care to keep track of anyone else so blasted himself into the sky knowing it to be faster than running. Kirishima had likely been out in the rain for the past hour because his neighbourhood got fucking obliterated by some shitty ass villain, Bakugo wasn’t wasting another damn second to go find him.
At some point Kirishima had ended up on his side. He barely felt the rain anymore. To be honest he couldn’t really feel his hands, or his feet or his face. If only his heart would go numb as well. A little voice in his head kept telling him he was stupid, he should just get up, he was overreacting. But then he’d remember the pain in his mother’s voice, all the things they’d lost, all the things he’d never see again and so he’d cry harder. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been outside, or how long it’d take him to get himself together and go back but he didn’t care.
At first he thought it was the rain getting louder, or maybe the wind had picked up and knocked over a tree, but then very clear explosions rang out. Kirishima had learnt not to fear that sound, because these days it usually meant one thing. One person.
“FUCK. KIRISHIMA!” He couldn’t see Bakugo until he was knelt directly in front of him. “Are you hurt?” Gentle hands skimmed along his side checking him. This worry and concern was all Kirishima’s fault. He hated that he’d made Bakugo feel that.
He choked on a sob, tears blurring his vision as he fought the desire to curl further into himself. “No. I’m… I’m fine.”
“Bullshit, you wouldn’t be out here if you were fine.” Bakugo finally settled a hand on his shoulder. “Look I know about the attack.” The silence between them stretches. “It was on the news, Mina said it was your neighbourhood. I saw your parents in the footage of the evacuation refuge.” That gets Kirishima to meet his eyes. “Did they call you?”
Kirishima nodded. “Our house is gone.” Acknowledging it out loud makes him shake. Bakugo scoped his other hand under Kirishima’s back and pulled him against his chest. Kirishima tucked his head into Bakugo’s shoulder and let the warmth between their damp bodies seep in as he cried.
“I’m sorry.” The condolence is whispered into the top of his head, so softly it was almost smothered by rain. Kirishima heard it and cried harder.
It wasn’t long before the sound of more running feet splashing through puddles met his ears.
“Hey! I see them!”
Sero and Kaminari pull up beside them as Sero quickly shifted the umbrella they’d been under over Bakugo and Kirishima although it does little good for the already soaked teens.
“Is he injured?” Kaminari asks.
“No just fucking frozen to the bone, now you numbskulls have caught up we can get him back to the dorms.” Bakugo goes to stand, pulling Kirishima up with him but freezes as he cries out. “Hang on, fuck, are you injured?”
“N-no, it’s just my legs are cramping.” Kirishima hisses fist now tightly clenched in Bakugo’s shirt.
“Fine I’ll carry you back then.” Bakugo readjusts his hands so he can lift Kirishima, he adjusts him once in his arms so he’s cradled to his chest. Kirishima almost objects but he’s cold, wet and emotionally exhausted so simply glances at his other friends who for once don’t make any inappropriate comments.
“I’ll call Class Pres, let him know that we’ve found him.” Sero stated, fishing out his phone and giving the umbrella to Kaminari who sheltered Bakugo and Kirishima rather than himself because they hadn’t been thinking rationally enough to bring more than the one.
Kirishima swore he’d just been resting his eyes when suddenly he was being shaken awake.
“…ot supposed to let him fall asleep.” Kaminari’s voice drifted in.
“That’s for a concussion idiot.” Kirishima was jostled as Bakugo bumped Kaminari away.
“Well we don’t know if he has a concussion.”
“He said it was just leg cramps.”
“Yeah but what if he forgot he had a concussion because he had a concussion.”
Sero spoke up to stop the bickering. “Well you should wake him up anyway we’re almost back.”
Kirishima’s eyes fluttered open. It took a while for his eyes to focus but he knew both where he was, cradled in Bakugo’s arms, and why, because his family home was gone and he’d been an idiot trying to literally run away from his feelings only for them to consume him leaving him paralysed in the rain. His feelings of hurt and shame threatened to swallow him whole again. Why’d he have to go and drag everyone into this. If it had been just him in the rain it would have been fine but now all his friends were soaked too and it was his fault. Dragging other people down with you is so not manly.
“Hey, I know you’re awake.” Bakugo’s voice was hushed so the other two wouldn’t be able to hear. “Just say the word and I’ll take you straight to your room and not let a single one of those extra’s waiting for you say anything.”
“What? Who’s waiting for me?”
“The whole class. Sero says they got towels and soup and shit, but I can always bring that up to you myself if seeing everyone is too much.”
“Why? Why would everyone do that.” Bakugo stopped walking and looked down to meet Kirishima’s eyes. Kaminari squawked and scrambled back to keep them under the umbrella.
“Because you’ve just had one of the worst days of your life and they all care about you.” Kirishima still looked confused. “For fucks sake I care about you! You think I’d just run into the rain for anyone? You think these fuckers are out here because they gotta be? You think all those idiots inside are doing this all cause they were ordered to? You know what’s really manly? Letting yourself be cared for by people who care about you. So what’s it gonna be, in your room or in the dorm lounge cause either way you’re gonna be looked after.” Kirishima almost started crying again. Looking into Bakugo’s eyes was too much because he knew he was being one hundred percent honest. Looking away he saw the dorms, bright yellow light piercing the dark cold evening. Through the windows he could see some of his classmates, Iida waving his arms around, Jirou carrying a stack of towels, Sato in the kitchen with Aoyama leaning over the stove. It looked safe and warm and familiar.
“The lounge is ok.”
They finally arrived at the door, Sero opened it and they all filed in. Aizawa who’d been waiting by the door managed to keep Kirishima’s classmates at bay until the teen himself had been wrapped in about five clean towels and sat on the couch by Bakugo.
As soon as the all clear was given Mina practically dove at him and held him tight. No one mentioned the lava villain or his house as one by one his classmates provided him affection and other offerings such as a glass of water which he gulped down immediately, a bowl of pumpkin soup and warm bread, a warm blanket and a pair of his own clean pyjamas which he changed into as soon as he could walk to the bathroom. All throughout which Bakugo refused to leave his side. He even stubbornly stayed when Aizawa shooed everyone else off for ten minutes so he could finally talk to Kirishima. First about staying with his parents for a few days and then how he and the school could offer support in times of personal stress.
When the rest of his classmates returned, majority had changed into their own pyjamas and carried their own doonas and pillows, which is how Kirishima found himself in the middle of a movie marathon. He had Mina to one side with their hands laced, Sero to the other sharing his blanket, Kaminari leaning against his legs at the foot of the couch and Bakugo behind him bracketing him with his body. At first he’d moved there with the excuse of drying Kirishima’s hair but his hair was now long dried, and braided, but Kirishima wasn’t going to bring it up if it meant he could lean back against Bakugo’s chest.
His voice was still scratchy from crying, he’d probably come down with a cold and tomorrow he was going to have to face all these feelings again. But for now he looked around seeing all his classmates and friends being there and supporting him. Kirishima let himself relax. He could finally admit that he was having a really hard time and he was going to need every bit of their support, but he also knew things would be alright again soon since he still had a home.