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Kirishima is afraid.

There is nothing more true than that right now. The villains have targeted Katsuki Bakugou, his best friend, the person he cares about most. Kirishima's stomach is twisting into painful knots as he begs to Vlad King to let him go.

Vlad will not. It's infuriating, and it makes Kirishima's insides burn hot. Bakugou is out there, probably at least kind of afraid, and Kirishima can do nothing. Kirishima is wringing his hands and begging as best he can, but Vlad won't even consider it.

A villain comes in, tries to burn them with hot blue flames, and it only makes it worse. Bakugou is being targeted by people like this. Terrifying, powerful, volatile, murderous. Aizawa beats the shit out of the villain, liquefying the fiend. Aizawa explains that it was a clone before pawning Kota off on them and running off. The kid looks totally horrified.

Kirishima yells, "Please! He's out there and we don't know if he's safe or not!"

Vlad sneers, "You're staying here! None of you will leave this room, understood?" So Kirishima stays.

His thoughts run rampant with ideas he can't use. How quickly would Aizawa expel him if he jumped out the window and hunted Bakugou down? Where is the explosive blonde? Is he safe? Are there people with him? Kirishima's mind is slowly eating itself with worry. The longer he waits, the worse it gets.

He paces and he broods and worries his lip with sharp teeth, until Kaminari grabs him by the shoulders and makes him sit down. "Dude. You're gonna make yourself bleed. Your teeth are too killer for that. Calm down."

Kirishima almost, almost snaps at him. Instead, he tries to take the advice, but he's drumming against his leg and his shoulders are still tense.

Soon, authorities arrive, and Kirishima gets the all-clear to leave. He runs as fast as he can to the rest of the class, looks at them, and not everyone is there. A lot of his classmates are missing, in fact. He hopes all of them are alright. He pleads to every god anyone has ever believed in that Bakugou is just getting treated for some scrapes. He rushes up to Todoroki, "Is everyone okay? Where's Bakugou?!"

Todoroki looks at his hands, "Most of us that aren't here were hurt by the gas villain. The rest have moderate injuries, the worst of the students is Midoriya for sure. One of the Pussycats is in critical condition, and one of them is missing. Bakugou... is missing as well."

Kirishima's heart sinks stories below the ground.

He sits next to Todoroki and watches his feet, cursing at them in his mind. These feet could've carried him to where he needed to go. They could've run him from the building and gotten him to his friend in time. They could've done something, anything more than what they did. Kirishima bites back tears as the sirens sound off around him, trying his best not to cry.

He doesn't deserve to shed tears when he didn't even do anything. Todoroki looks over at him, sadness in his heterochromatic eyes, "I'm sorry. I was right there. I almost had him, but this- this villain used my full name like he knew me and took him away. I'm sorry."

Kirishima can barely choke out it's okay without a voice crack. They both know that's a lie, though. Todoroki did his best and he is not faulted for what happened, but still, nothing is okay. Not one thing about this situation is. So many of his friends are either hurt or scared, and his best friend is missing. Stolen by villains who aimed to kill them not long before this. His heart aches for him, and he hopes that Bakugou has not been, will not be hurt. How could Kirishima ever be okay with himself if Bakugou got hurt because Kirishima hadn't kept him safe?

Todoroki's voice is soft, "It's okay to cry, Kirishima."

The floodgates break. He sniffles and sobs into his own hands. Todoroki is awkward and does not attempt to comfort Kirishima, simply offering somber silence. It's a good thing that he does. Kirishima can't think of any words that would ease the pain and guilt he feels.

He's hit with so much shock and worry in such strong waves it's disorienting. Guilt runs through his mind, chased endlessly by his fury at those who stole his best friend away. The police ask all their questions, and Kirishima forgets what he says as soon as the words leave his lips. He feels so numb.

He walks through the front door, and immediately his moms are there with hugs and kisses and words of reassurance. It's just what he needs, absolutely perfect, but at the same time all too much. He breaks into tears again. His parents hold him tightly and he cries like a little baby for what feels like minutes. When he gets it together, he's bombarded with questions. "Are you okay? Did they hurt you? What happened?" His mom asks, a false calm over her voice. He can see the puffiness in her eyes and the patchiness on her cheeks. She'd been crying. It hurts him more than he expects it to, that his mom had shed tears for his sake.

His mama, however, is not as calm. She's running her hand through his hair, her hand gentle but her arm tense. She kisses his forehead, sighing against his scalp before muttering, "I can't believe this. Do we know who the villains are? I cannot express how much I want to find those sons of-"

"Hun. Not right now." After his mom's quick comment, she turns back to her thoroughly heartbroken son. "Ei, baby, come on. We'll get you on the couch and make you a hot chocolate."

Eventually, they let him visit the hospital. The entire way, he's thinking and driving himself up the wall. His best friend is held by the villains and he could do nothing about it. Kirishima kept obsessing over how Bakugou must be afraid, probably terrified. Bakugou won't admit it, his pride won't allow it, but Kirishima knows him enough to see it without being told. Kirishima can't help but imagine the worst possible scenarios. Bakugou beaten bloody, or burned by that fire guy's power, near death or worse. Kirishima wants to turn his mind off. He wants to stop the angry tears that threaten to show up. Bakugou has been there for hours, now. Bakugou is all alone with these horrible people, and the media are talking about him like either a potential villain or a weak kid who was lead into their hands.

Kirishima almost smiles. Bakugou would be furious.

Kirishima starts to think of the students who were hurt. Those unconscious or injured. Some are worse than others, but God, Midoriya's in a league of his own with trauma. It's almost scary to think about it, and most of the damages were from his own Quirk. Kirishima's heart aches for them all. They were out, trying to have fun, and instead were hurt by these awful, horrible people.

He stares at his hands as the train nears the hospital. Bakugou rarely needs anything, rarely even wants for something out loud. This time, though, Bakugou needs Kirishima to be there. Bakugou is relying on Kirishima, whether he knows it or not. Kirishima knows. He know what he's got to do. 

He steps out in the cold night air, the air heavy with humidity and the realization of his task. He steps through the hospital doors, through the sterile halls. He knows what he has to do. Of course he's going to do it. There is very little he wouldn't do for Bakugou. The real question is whether or not anyone will aid him in this. Kirishima is prepared for the repercussions. He'll take all of them if it means Bakugou is safe. Kirishima is going to risk the world for his best friend. Kirishima is going to save Bakugou.

As soon as he nears his classmates, he bumps into Todoroki. The dual-colored boy stares, "Why are you at the hospital?"

"I couldn't just sit around and do nothing. Our friends are hurt and I want to visit them."

The look in his eyes shifts. "Same here. How... are you holding up?" It's a kind question, a small gesture that Kirishima appreciates. If anything, he feels bad at the question. He doesn't deserve to be asked that. He's not had to go through anything perilous. He didn't watch the villains steal away their classmate. Todoroki holds himself together with the seasoned experience of a hero already. Kirishima can hardly think without bouts of guilt punching their way into his brain.

"I'm fine. You?" Todoroki replies with something equally half-hearted. "I just feel so guilty. Bakugou is my best friend. I heard he was in danger and didn't move. I'm horrible."

Todoroki simply states, "I understand. It's a shame there isn't more we can do."

Kirishima knows a chance when he sees one, and that was an invitation. "Maybe there is." Todoroki perks up, curious. "We can't fight. That's pretty obvious. Regardless, nothing stops us from going on the battlefield and not fighting. If we rescue him without getting in a fight with villains-"

"We won't be breaking any rules." Something solidifies behind his eyes. "Yes. We need to do this." Kirishima gives a small, grateful smile. "We should visit, and then ask tomorrow. Most of them will still be out of it or too tired to answer properly." Kirishima talks with his friends. Some are in better shape than others. He goes home that night, and when he's finally pulled into sleep, it is not peaceful.

The villains are everywhere. Bakugou is in the center, arms outstretched. He's fighting, but there's only so much he can do. As he tires, the villains get closer. Bakugou avoids them well, until an unfortunate stumble lands him in unforgiving arms. Dream Kirishima is just watching in fear, not moving towards his friend. Those unforgiving arms belong to Tomura Shigaraki, the villain they have faced before. 

The villain's lips curve into a twisted grin, his eyes peering from behind the hand to lock directly with Kirishima's as he lowers the last of his fingers.

A hideous, pained shriek sounds out.

Kirishima is covering his ears, but it's just louder and louder until it stops altogether.

Bakugou's body begins to flake apart, crumbling slowly like a well packed sand sculpture doused with water. His arms reach for Kirishima's, and are the last part of him to crumble. Kirishima's best friend has become a pile of ashes, moments from blowing away in the harsh wind.

Tears well in Kirishima's eyes as he calls out for what was once his friends, until the villains turn towards Kirishima. He's running and running, until he feels those same crusty hands close around his own throat.

Kirishima wakes with a start, gasping for air, tears sliding down his cheeks in paths left by their predecessors. His sheets are damp from sweat and tears, and when he pushes the hair from his face, his hand comes back a little damp. He takes big breaths, eyes wide and hands balled into his soft blankets. When he regains control of himself, he stares at his poster of Crimson Riot. What would he do? "That's a stupid question." Kirishima mumbles to himself, "Crimson Riot would've saved Bakugou already, and this would all be over." 

He decides in that moment.He is not Crimson Riot, he is not strong enough to be. Not yet. Bakugou would be safe at home if Kirishima had some semblance of the bravery his idol possesses. All he can do is make up for it. His eyes stare at his own hand. YeahThere's only one thing I can do.

I'm going to go get Bakugou back.

Chapter Text

Kirishima walks into the hospital. Todoroki is there within, like, thirty seconds. As they walk through the hallway, they hear Momo talking with a police officer and All Might.

They ask her about the tracking device, and ask her to make another receiver. She says she'll think about it. An hour or so later, the entire class goes into Midoriya's room as soon as they find out he's awake.

Todoroki and Kirishima are trying to convince everyone to help, but mostly Midoriya. They inform him of when and where they will meet. When they go to the arranged meeting point, Momo walks through the door. Kirishima is so grateful to her. Then, he sees Midoriya, and he is so amazed. The green haired boy's injuries were so bad. How is he even allowed to leave his room?

Suddenly, Iida is there. At first, he's trying to convince the group not to go.

Then, he absolutely decks Midoriya across the face.

Todoroki stabilizes the green haired boy, and eventually Iida agrees to more or less babysit them. They all dress up in costume before heading to the location. Though they see what appears to be Nomu in incubators, there is no Bakugou. They hide safely, and hear some major heroes have been hurt so close. Then, a very familiar noise. Bakugou is coughing and sputtering out of a warp, villains following.

Kirishima can't focus on the villains, though, because Bakugou is okay. He isn't bruised or bleeding, he's in one piece and though he looks to be disoriented, he is breathing and he is right there

All Might arrives and begins fighting the man who can only be described as the boss villain. Midoriya devises a plan.

He looks at Kirishima, "This all depends on you. It won't do any good if I do it, or Todoroki, or Iida, or Yaoyorozu. You've built a friendship with Kacchan over the school year, as equals. If his friend calls out to him, he'll come!" Midoriya fills him in on the whole plan. Kirishima's heart aches as looks at Bakugou.

He's doing flips in the air, avoiding the villains, but he's not hurt yet. His eyes are wide and blinks are scarce, but he is not hurt. Yet. Todoroki created his ice ramp, and the group rockets over the sky. The air hurts Kirishima's eyes, takes his breath, and the moment he regains clarity, he turns and holds his hand out, yelling the most important sentence he's said in his life.

"COME ON!"

For a moment, Bakugou is still, until his hands release massive explosions. He hurdles towards them, until the person Kirishima has missed so dearly clasps his hand tightly. Kirishima holds as tight as he can, feeling the weight of the world lift off of his shoulders, just because he can feel the weight of Bakugou in his hand.

Kirishima can't help the grin that splits his features. He's worried so badly, been so scared, and now Bakugou is here. Kirishima is with the one he cares about.

"You idiots!" The sound of Bakugou's voice is comforting, and the massive smile he wears helping to ease the anxiety Kirishima feels. Bakugou's hand is rough. it is calloused and strong and firm and real. Kirishima doesn't have to worry so bad now, he realizes as he moves his thumb over the callouses. This is real. When they land on the ground, he's still smiling. Kirishima's hand is still in Bakugou's, and his heart is in his throat. "You didn't rescue me, you hear?!"

Kirishima just smiles and yanks him along. The happiness is short-lived, though, when All Might's fight ends in almost the worst way possible. The Symbol of Peace is no longer strong. All Might's body had weakened and... shrunk? It didn't matter the logistics, it was just the fact that All Might was no longer in the shape to fight. It was a strange feeling, to be so utterly hopeless and so relieved at the same time. He cornered Bakugou, "Are you okay?"

"Of fucking course I am. What do you expect, Shitty Hair, a whiny mess?"

Kirishima feels a little stupid for his earlier anxious spiral. Of course Bakugou was okay. Someone that strong always ends up okay. "I didn't know what to expect. You were kidnapped by really freaky people! Nobody would think less of you even if you were a whiny mess. At least, I wouldn't."

He just sighs, "Go home and get some damn sleep, Kirishima. You look worse than I do, you fucking dork. Why worry so much about me?"

"You're my best friend. I'm always going to worry." There is no reply. Bakugou just starts to walk away. Kirishima smiles to himself. "I'm glad you're okay. I was nervous about you."

Bakugou glares, "Yeah? Well fucking don't. Go home, Kirishima." 

Eijirou listens, this time.

He feels like he has words he hasn't said, important words he hasn't gotten across yet. It's probably for the best, at least for the moment. He's overwhelmed and what he needs is a good sleep, but that likely won't come for him. Kirishima instead decides to go home himself.

His friends are texting him rapidly, trying to find out whether they were successful, if they're all okay. He answers curtly with small texts, walking around his room awkwardly. His mind is still buzzing and he can still feel the weight of Bakugou in his hand. He closes it shut, and it feels strange to him now.

Empty.

He just smiles and flops down hard into the bed. He can still see Bakugou shooting across the sky, and he can still see the massive grin on his face.

He can't help but think about Midoriya's words. It has to be you. 

Why was Kirishima so special? Yeah, they're friends-Eijirou would even call Bakugou his best friend- but he's no different than the others. Would Bakugou really have stayed in that horrible place without Kirishima?

It sent an uncalled for swell of pride through him. Bakugou would not have held onto anyone else in that class. Not one of them. Kirishima is the exception to the distance Bakugou keeps himself at. Is there something special that sets Eijirou apart? Or was he just annoying enough, invasive enough to get there? He does admit that the things he does, the way he puts his arm on Bakugou or talks to him like an equal, he would probably attack anyone else for.

They're the perfect team, inside and out. Their Quirks match perfectly so that Bakugou can go full throttle without being worried, and Kirishima can spar with him like no other.

He holds onto his pillow tightly. Bakugou is the best friend he'll ever have. He loves the moments they spend together, without being interrupted. When they go hiking or stay at each other's houses, or even just train together. He treasures those moments and he wants more. He wants to beside Bakugou in most things.

Something sets him apart from the others, something makes Bakugou so different. He can't place his finger on what it is, but he thinks about it hard. Bakugou is so loud all the time, but he can be so quiet, too. He can sit in absolute quiet with Kirishima and it won't be awkward. He can hold onto a grudge for weeks, but he holds onto good things, nice things just as easily. He's deeply competitive, and will fight someone on anything. He is someone who will be so completely honest about something, even in the worst of times.

It makes Kirishima feel good, knowing that the occasional compliments he receives from him are totally genuine.

He can't stop thinking back to when they landed. Bakugou's hand was in his, holding just as tightly, for almost a minute once they landed. He could feel the buzz of adrenaline radiating off of everyone. Especially Bakugou.

That feeling had died when the Symbol of Peace's power did, though. Now, all his feelings are resurrected in a rush, in a flurry of emotion and anxiety and relief. He was so scared, last night. He lifted his hand into the sky and stared at the spaces in between his fingers.

Bakugou's had been there not long ago.

He had cried so many tears, felt so utterly useless, and now here he was, almost giddy with the knowledge that he'd been the person that got everyone together. He was the person that collected the group that saved his best friend.

The world around them was crumbling. Stain had inspired villains to come out of hiding, and now the Symbol of Peace has fallen from his pedestal. Things would be horrible in the outside world. The public would criticize the school even more, using the pillar of hero education as a scapegoat to avoid the fear of confronting the horrible truth. Nothing will ever be the same again. All Might, Symbol of Peace, the safety net Japan rests on, is no longer powerful. How could anything be alright again after that?

He know he's worrying too much now. There's nothing he could have done and he knows it. He did all he could possibly have done at that time. Bakugou is home safe now. He grins to himself, proud of this one incredible thing he's managed to accomplish. In the morning, he knows it can only become frightening and complicated, but for now it's simple.

Bakugou is safe. That makes everything ok.

Chapter Text

So soon, too soon, his world starts turning again.

He can't continue sitting in his room comfortably and providing himself time to comprehend everything. Aizawa comes to talk to him and his moms. He hardly hears them past the first few words.

Dorms!

He'll be so close to all of his friends all the time! He’ll be so close to Bakugou… all the time. For some reason, a feeling washes over him he's all too used to.

Why is he so anxious? Nothing about this should mess with him, but it does. He'll be a few short moments from Bakugou all the time. He's going to freak out and nothing's even happened yet?

Oh my God.

He hears his mama mention something about the order they'll all be in. Thankfully, his brain decides it'll finally calm the fuck down and think rationally. It'll most likely go by the seating arrangement. With that logic, they probably won't even be on the same floor , right?

Wrong.

Here Kirishima was, standing in front of this building.

Then, Aizawa starts explaining who will be on which floor. Not only is he on the same floor as Bakugou, they're right next to each other. He shouldn't be worrying and he shouldn't have wished to be separated. They're best friends! Why is he being so weird? It's not like anything has really changed.

Except it has.

That settles on him like a brick. Bakugou had been taken and held captive. Kirishima had fought with all he had to get his friends on board with helping save him. He broke rules. He went against every pro hero's wishes.

Aizawa even said he would've expelled everyone who knew about it if it hadn't been for the heat on UA right now. How stupid could he be? He could have ruined the careers, the lives of all of his friends.

He almost regrets it. Of course, he would never regret saving Bakugou. He regrets putting his classmates in a position to be thrown out of their school.

Eijirou Kirishima is a coward.

He's a coward for asking his friends for help, he's a coward for pressing so hard to get it, and he's a coward for the fear that courses through him at the thought of losing UA. How can he call himself a man after all he'd done? How can he be so selfish as to put their educations at risk?

His thoughts are interrupted violently from Kaminari's screaming. He turns around to see his friend, his poor, poor friend being dragged away by Bakugou. Electricity goes off, and he comes out all goofy and short-circuited. "Kirishima." He turns abruptly. Bakugou's standing there with money in his hand. "WOAH! Did you shake him down for cash?!"

"No . This is my money, you idiot. To replace what you spent. I don’t want you struggling for cash 'cause of me." His heart kinda squeezes.

Wait, hold on. "How'd you know I bought night vision goggles?"

He presses the money into Kirishima's chest. It's actually surprisingly gentle. He moves his hand away fast and starts walking away. "Don't say I never gave you anything. Now I'm not in your debt."

Kirishima just stares. Then, Kaminari does something especially bizarre to get his attention, and it clicks.

Bakugou created that diversion so nobody would see him being considerate, but not just that. It would've been easy for him to just come up and pay Kirishima. Bakugou wanted to lighten the mood.

Kirishima can't help but smile. "Thanks, man." His heart kind of picks up from that. Why does he feel so much lighter now? Nothing had even happened, really! It isn't from the money, Kirishima's okay with the allowance he has left (his parents had supplied him with almost double when they found out what he'd done- they had never acted so proud before). It was the fact that Bakugou went out of his way to pay him back. He must've talked to someone about it. There's no way he'd know it was Kirishima's doing otherwise. Common sense dictates Momo would just create some.

Kirishima decides to promptly ignore his thoughts. Something he can’t ignore, however, is the way he’s treated his friends. "I know it won't make it better, but we should all go out to dinner, my treat!"  

_______________

The dinner and the room decoration contest were both pretty fun, though almost entirely unsurprising.

Todoroki and Sero were the only shocking ones, besides maybe Momo. Kirishima was just amazed she hadn't realized all of her stuff wouldn't fit sooner.

Bakugou didn't participate, probably due in part to his Bakugou-ish nature, but mostly to the anxiety still buzzing through him. It didn't take a genius to figure that out, it was all over the way Bakugou moved. Others probably didn't realize it as much, but Kirishima could feel it whenever they stood close.

This wasn't something he could bounce back from quickly. It would take a long time for him to be okay again. And that in itself was okay.

Bakugou is allowed to feel however he wants. Kirishima, on the other hand, feels awful.

Bakugou wouldn’t have gone through all of that if Kirishima had been smarter and faster. Kirishima hesitated, and that caused his best friend to be trapped with villains for 24 hours. Certainly the worst 24 hours of Bakugou’s life. Kirishima didn’t know what to do. Of course, the first thing his body decides to do is the stupidest possible option.

That’s how he ended up here, at nine O’Clock at night, outside Katsuki Bakugou’s dorm.

All in all, it was a horrible decision. He had gotten back about fifteen minutes prior. Kirishima spent about five minutes pacing, trying to figure out what to do. Then, he arrived here ten minutes ago. Currently, he stood at Bakugou’s door like an imbecile waiting for a sign.

Suddenly it registered that looking for a sign was his sign, Kirishima is just an idiotic fool. He closed his eyes, summoned every ounce of courage he possessed and knocked on the door. Bakugou cracked it slightly, little strands of blonde hair sticking out through the crack, “Whaddo you want, Shitty Hair?”

Kirishima steadies himself, “Hey. Can… Can we talk?”

“What about?”

Kirishima smiles, “Just… whatever. I wanna see you, man. You can’t just pay me and run.”

He pokes an eye out. It’s red and almost puffy. Kirishima wonders what it’s from. Lack of sleep? Tears? Stress? A combination of the three? It doesn’t matter, because Bakugou is sneering, “Go away, Shark Week.”

Kirishima drops the smile quickly. “Look, man, I don’t wanna go back to my room right now, and I know you could use someone to bullshit about stuff that doesn’t matter. Let me in and we can help each other?”

“Only if you promise to fix the hellscape you made in your room. No fucking wonder you don’t want to go back, testosterone threw up all over it.” Kirishima chuckles a little.

Bakugou unlatches the door and walks into the room, a non-committal hand gesture assuring him that he’s allowed in. He steps into the room. Boxes litter the room, some with clothes half pulled from within. Bakugou defends himself as if Kirishima was appalled by everything. “Didn’t feel like unpacking.”

Kirishima just nods and sits on the bed. The boxes were, at least, out of the walkways. “No problem, man. Sucks you couldn’t come to lunch- Kaminari tried to shove a whole kebab in his mouth and stabbed himself a little. He got scared and shocked everyone sitting by him.”

Bakugou nods a little. He’s sitting with his back against the wall. Kirishima had figured it’d be best to stumble around Kamino and that whole topic. The silence that follows makes him question it. “Why’d you do it?” Kirishima is no fool; anyone would know what Bakugou was referring to. The voice is surprisingly soft, almost gentle. 

Kirishima tries to match it, “‘Cause you’re my friend. I couldn’t just leave you there.”

“You should’ve!” Bakugou shouts, hands twisting into the sheets on his bed. “It’s bad enough that-that All Might’s powerless because of me, but on top of that, the whole shitty class almost got expelled because I couldn’t escape.”

Kirishima moves forward a little. “Hey, woah, man. None of this is because of you. Villains kidnapped you, villains that were good enough to put All Might in a bind, and you came out okay. Do you know how strong that makes you, man? You couldn’t escape because you were avoiding, like, four people’s attacks.”

“What don’t you get?! This whole mess wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t weak! I couldn’t protect myself even when I knew they were coming for me! I could’ve beaten them any other day, but I was tired , I-I trained all day, I was just tired -” His voice breaks a little. Coincidentally, so does Kirishima’s heart.

Kirishima grabs his shoulder gently, the way one might reassure a kid who couldn’t find their parent. “Hey. I understand. We were all tired. You think I don’t feel guilty? I was in a building, safe and sound, while everyone I care about was getting put in danger. While my best friend was being targeted. You know, you’re crazy strong. I’m just as much a wreck as you, and I didn’t go through anything.”

Bakugou looks at him, his naturally ruby eyes rimmed with a sleepless red. “You. You risked everything. All your hero work. Everything you’ve done your whole fucking life, for what? Some asshole in your class? Why would you be willing to put your survival in danger for me?!”

Kirishima smiles at him, soft and calm and patient, “Because you’re worth it. I would do it again and again for forever if I had to. I just want you to be safe, man.”

Bakugou’s arms are curled tight around himself, hands in fists. “I don’t get it. You get to be so fucking heroic and good . You get to be incredible. And what do I get? I get to be the victim. That poor kid. That poor fucking child those villains abducted. You get to be a hero. I get to be the reason All Might retired.”

“All Might retired putting a dangerous villain out of commission. You were the reason they fought, sure, but he put a villain in jail that was strong enough to beat in jail. He would’ve run out of power eventually. This way, he put away a really bad guy while he had the power to. If that guy was strong enough to stop All Might, nobody else could’ve beaten him.”

Bakugou is silent, then. He pushes his fingers into his hair, the heel of his palms supporting his forehead. “You’re too fucking lenient. The rest of the world won’t be like this-”

“When has Katsuki Bakugou ever cared for the world’s opinion?” Kirishima reaches forward, pulling Bakugou’s hands from his face. “Don’t start now.”

Something happens in his expression. Not much change at all, just a minor twitch, but his eyes are a different story. They soften, invisible walls shattering. “I’m… really tired, Kirishima.”

“Do you want me to go?”

“No. I need you to stay.” So he does. Bakugou’s body does not move for a long time, but slowly he relaxes, until his breathing is even and his fingers twitch from his dreams. Kirishima feels that he should stay, though. He can’t tell why.

His reason is soon revealed in the form of a sharp scream and explosions behind his ears. Bakugou’s not even fully conscious yet, but he’s practically shaking. His hands grab at his own arms, nails digging roughly in. Kirishima does the only thing he can think to do and forces his arms around Bakugou’s sides, effectively ending the assault on his skin.

Slow, hesitant hands move up, clinging to the back of Kirishima’s shirt like a lifeline. Kirishima just makes soothing sounds and rubs patterns into Bakugou’s back, “It’s okay. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” Kirishima does not mention the way Bakugou holds tighter. He does not mention the small sob that wracks his friend’s body. He will never, never mention how right it feels to have Bakugou there. It helps Kirishima a little, too, being able to feel evidence that his efforts worked, that Bakugou is right there, safe and sound.

Bakugou drifts to sleep soon after, and before Kirishima even has the mind to move, he’s followed Bakugou into a quiet slumber. 

And for the first time since Kamino, he feels he can really, truly rest.

Chapter Text

Kirishima wakes up violently, or rather, he is woken up violently by a shout. His brain, sleep drunk and barely there, just murmurs, “‘S matter? Nigh’mare?”

Bakugou’s face is scarlet and he’s sputtering. His arm is lodged under Kirishima’s side, leg pinned between one very, very sleepy redhead’s own. He’s struggling rather desperately. It’s warm. But then again, why is he surprised? Shouldn’t cuddling always be warm?

Cuddling.

Kirishima wakes right the fuck up. 

He frees Bakugou’s limbs and hops away. “Sorry! I’m a cuddly sleeper. I didn’t even mean to fall asleep!”

Bakugou’s ears have hardly dulled, “It’s fine. Go to your room and get ready, dumbass. If I’m late ‘cause of you no amount of hardening can protect you.”

Kirishima smiles, “Okay. See you in a few, Blasty.” Bakugou makes a little indignant noise at the nickname, furrowing his eyebrows and sneering with no real bite. It didn’t matter how tough Bakugou wanted to be; his blush was still subsiding. Kirishima thought it looked nice on him. It went well with his eyes. 

What ?! Since when did Kirishima think about that kind of stuff? Sure, he knew his bro was pretty, that much was obvious. Pretty and manly and strikingly honest and surprisingly vulnerable. There’s a clear difference, though, between recognizing the aesthetic appeal of someone and deciding that blush looks pretty on them.

Rather than launching himself into crisis, Kirishima simply decides to prepare for class.

Aizawa spent much of the class lecturing, which managed to bore Kirishima excessively. Kirishima resigns himself to throwing paper balls at the back of Kaminari’s head nd pretending like he had no clue who had done it.

Bakugou, amazingly, fared much better. Kirishima expected him to be at least somewhat discombobulated. That was just too damn much to ask, apparently, because Bakugou is back to being his normal, perfect self as soon as class begins. School moves slower than he had expected it too. Finally, the last bell of the day rings. Kaminari flings himself onto Kirishima’s shoulder, “That was the longest Friday ever!”

Mina nods, “I don’t think I’ve ever fallen asleep so many times in school before!”

Bakugou snarls, “You’re gonna flunk out if you keep this shit up. This is why none of you are in the top ten of the class.”

Kirishima can’t help the pout that follows. “You don’t get it, man! I just suck at this stuff. Put me in front of a wall and I can smash through it no problem, but put me in front of a test and I’m doomed.”

Bakugou shoves him, “Shut up. You got here at least. Dunce Face got dead last.”

Kaminari throws his hands up, amazed at the speed he was launched under the bus. Everyone dissolves into laughter at that, Bakugou wearing a smug face. They all retreated to their dorms after that, mostly just resigning to their separate lives.

The sun made its slow descent from east to west. The stars trail behind in its wake as if hoping to catch a few extra rays of the sun’s light. Kirishima’s room and the darkness that covered it were proof that they had once again failed.

A sudden, loud knock sounded on his door. Three violent bangs and no more. Bakugou. Kirishima opened his door to find his hypothesis correct. There his best friend stood, clutching a large orange pillow and a fluffy black blanket. Bakugou’s eyes skated around the dorm he came from, as if regretting the decision to leave it at all. Finally, though, he looked Kirishima in the eye and spoke. “I can’t… I can’t fucking sleep, and I think you were… useful for sleep last night.” His face registered quickly that he had-gasp-nearly complimented someone. The immediate backpedaling was expected. “But I would’ve been fine on my own! I don’t need you to fucking babysit me or anything-”

Kirishima interrupts before Bakugou begins to spiral, “Bakugou. It’s fine. Just come in and have a sleepover.” He walks in and slings his things onto the bed. “So, uh… why are you giving up on sleeping so early?”

He grumbles, “I normally go to bed at 8:30. This is really fucking late for me. I get up way too early for this shit.”

“What time?”

“Five.”

Kirishima squawks violently. “Five?! I’m lucky to get up by six!”

“Ha. Loser.” Kirishima just rolls his eyes. This kind of conversation is easy, it’s fun. He’s good at this. “You’re too nice.”

Kirishima cocks an eyebrow jokingly. “You’re too mean.” They sat in silence for a long time after that, simply enjoying the quiet between them.

“Well? You going to bed or what?”

“I dunno.” He sighs, not yet wanting to commit. He didn’t want to sleep yet, but being awake felt like far too much effort at the moment. “If you pass me my blanket, I’ll set my bed up on the floor-”

“No fucking way.” Bakugou snaps quickly. “You’re not sleeping on the floor in your own damn room. I’ll just go-”

“No!” Kirishima practically screeches, surprising them both. “It’s- I mean- there’s probably room enough for the both of us, right?” Bakugou appears to go through every stage of grief before he just flops down. His front is facing the wall, pointedly blocking out Kirishima’s presence. He reaches behind him and lifts the blanket. Kirishima sits carefully and quickly settles down into his mattress, not a single ounce of tired within him.

Bakugou looks absolutely exhausted. Before he can even yawn properly, his eyes are drooping and his face slowly loses the sharpness Kirishima has grown used to. “‘M glad tha’ you’re so good. I’s hard to relax… don’ like being open. You won’ let ‘em get me while I sleep, righ’?”

Kirishima couldn’t help the little smile. Bakugou had long since begun to lose consciousness, or at least awareness. Bakugou was definitely not registering any of what he was saying at this point. “Don’t worry. I’ll keep watch for you.”

“Good. I trus’ you.” Bakugou falls asleep as he’s finishing the sentence. Kirishima sits in stunned silence for far too long. Bakugou trusts him! Bakugou trusts him. This is the man who frequently declared that he would not only beat, but destroy both Todoroki, the son of the number two hero, and Midoriya, whom can only be properly described as All Might’s favorite kid. Something settles deep within him, a fondness a few layers deeper than what he’d had before.

Midoriya hadn’t been lying. To Bakugou, to at least one person, Kirishima was special.

_______________

“Bakugou, hey, wake up!” Kirishima shouts, practically jumping up and down in excitement. Bakugou jumps awake just like he does everything. Violently and ready to attack anything that moves. “Get ready, we’re going on a hike!”

“What the absolute fuck, Shitty Hair?” Bakugou snarls, attempting to bury his face back into the pillow.

Kirishima, risking his entire fucking life, snatches said pillow from Bakugou’s grasp. “Just listen! We don’t have much time.” Bakugou groans like a five year old child and trudges out of the room with his blanket in tow. He snatches his pillow from Kirishima’s hands, harnessing the rage of a thousand suns. Hopefully he’s changing into his hiking outfit and not just leaving to hang out in his room alone.

To Kirishima’s relief, Bakugou knocks at his door the moment he finishes lacing his shoes up. Three loud, violent knocks as per usual. Little time is wasted as they race each other out of the dorms. Bakugou, the bastard, just barely beats Kirishima there.

Despite the rush to get there on time, their train is late. Bakugou is clearly confused as to why Kirishima is fidgeting and checking his watch like he’s been holding it for three hours and this bus holds the only bathroom in the world.

The train ride is not long, but they get off next to a massive-and incredibly steep-hill. Bakugou sighs and starts walking, “Let’s just move.” He stretches his arms out and sends another glare into Kirishima’s very soul. “What the fuck do you mean, not much time ? The sun’s not even out yet.”

Kirishima practically yanks him by the arm, “Just trust me.” They rush up the hill in near record time, hardly stopping to rest or even talk. Just as most things do, it becomes a challenge to get there first; just as usual, Bakugou beats him by mere centimeters. As soon as the treeline begins to break, Kirishima grins and grabs Bakugou’s arm hard, pulling him along. “Come on! Almost there!” When they breech it, Kirishima knows he’s made a great decision. This will be a beautiful occasion indeed.

Bakugou asks, “What’s this about, Kirishima?”

“You’re about to see. Come sit.” He does. They dangle their feet over the cliff edge, at least fifty feet off the ground from the rest of the hill. Slowly, the sky’s start to change. Kirishima leans back, “Look. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the sunrise from a place like this.”

Bakugou chucks a rock into the forest below, “Sunrises are stupid. They all look the same.” 

Kirishima can’t help but pout at this ignorance. This poor, blind fool.

“No they’re not! You’ve just never really looked at one before. Every sunrise has something special. Like, nobody else will see the same sunrise we see here.” The colors turn brighter, and the world around them begins to turn golden. The dark shades of the night retreat back to their shadows, allowing the sunbeams to illuminate the world once more. “They make everything better. It’s a really great view, right?”

Kirishima does not turn away from this sunrise when Bakugou begins talking. He doesn’t want to miss a second of it. “Yeah.” Bakugou’s voice is softer than he expected, “Really… beautiful.”

Kirishima feels this weird pang in his chest. When he turns around moments later, Bakugou is looking at him. Had he been looking when he said that? Why does that even matter? Kirishima promptly tries to convince himself that it does not.

Bakugou’s sharp eyes refract all the light that touches them, it seems. He can see the beginnings of the sun and the tops of the trees without even turning away. Something about that makes him truly believe that this is the way the world should be viewed. From within the eyes of someone you care for above almost anyone. “I thought you’d like this, you know, once you got used to it.” Kirishima mumbles.

Bakugou’s staring into the drop beneath their feet. He kicks his leg out violently as if to say fuck you, void. I have no self preservation skills so you don’t scare me. “You woke up at, what, five? Just for some scenery?”

“I woke up at five because I thought you could use something pretty and entirely separate from the media and school. I thought it’d be a good call.”

Bakugou chucks a rock off the cliff, probably terrifying a squirrel somewhere. “Yeah, I think… I think this was. It’s okay, I guess.” His words are dismissive, but the way he looks out at the sky is anything but. He looks so amazed by it, all the colors lighting the sky. He has donned a cautious grin, almost completely free of the feral, deranged look it normally holds. Bakugou’s eyes, though still fierce, have lost their sharpness. The color reminds him of the clean velvet of the ropes between stanchions, rather than the color of blood it normally alludes to. This face rings in Kirishima’s head like a thousand perfect harmonies.

Kirishima could stay in this moment forever. Bakugou is a shining sun, Kirishima a mere planet, simply thankful to be held in orbit. Bakugou is an endless night sky, and Kirishima is the only one lucky enough to have a telescope. Bakugou is fire, Kirishima the candle wax that is doomed to burn around it.

Somehow, something is different here. When he looks at Bakugou, he sees the same person. He sees the same eyes and hair and face that have always been. Somehow, though, Kirishima’s perception has changed. His best friend feels different. The phrase best friend carries an unfamiliar weight in his head that he is not used to. Why is he no longer content with it? It feels like he wants more , but the only thing more than best friend is family and boyfriend and-

Oh.

Boyfriend.

Something, some horrible wonderful painful part of him, has decided that yes, that’s the right word. He feels so stupid. Of course Kirishima liked Bakugou like that. There’s no other reason to look at your best friend and think he’s stunning or to want him to sleep in your bed or to wake up early on the weekend to hike up a mountain and watch the goddamn sunrise with him.

Kirishima wants to date his best friend.

Kirishima wants to date Bakugou, the single most lone wolf guy on the whole entire Earth. Kirishima wants to date this amazing, stunning person who by some miracle has decided to tolerate and even enjoy his presence. Kirishima wants more out of this relationship than he should.

“What’s with the constipated face, Shitty Hair?”

“Nothing!” Kirishima squawks. Bakugou looks at him, annoyance and confusion radiating off of him. “Just, uh, a rock! Yeah, a rock stabbed my leg a little and it hurt.”

Bakugou sighs, “I’m sure you’re fine. I’m getting hungry, but… I don’t feel like leaving yet.”

Kirishima, against his better judgement, taps Bakugou’s dangling foot with his own, “So don’t.”

And they don’t. They sit there until their legs are numb and tingly from hanging for so long. They sit there until the sun is above the treeline. They sit there, and they don’t get up for a very long time. They don’t get up because here, it is their world, and the moment they stand to leave, they will join everyone else’s. They sit on their mountain until all that feels real is the two of them.

And though he knows it must, Kirishima never wants that to change.

Chapter Text

Kirishima has to get his shit together. He’s been lying on his bed for thirty minutes, overthinking everything he’s done since birth and how it all led him to this very moment. Of course his stupid brain had to produce feelings. Nothing can ever be simple in Kirishima’s life.

God, he is an idiot. Kirishima is a cliche now. Hopelessly falling for a friend who’s… straight? Or maybe, more accurately, completely dissatisfied by all people in general. Kirishima, qualifying as people, is inevitably doomed.

There’s a knock on his door. One, two, three… Kirishima holds his breath. Then, echoing in the room, is the fourth . Not Bakugou. Kirishima opens the door to Kaminari, who immediately starts yanking his arm as hard as possible. “Come on! The whole class is playing a bunch of games. I need you to get Bakugou in.”

“Hey, man, that’s a big leap. I don’t think I should do that…” Kirishima trails off in nervousness. “He’s not really into games-”

Please? He may be the only one who can beat Sero in Mario Kart.”

Kirishima throws his hands out as if to block Kaminari, “Ask him yourself!” Kaminari has no idea the gravity of what he asks. Bakugou may kill him, or worse, Kirishima

“He’ll say no to me!” He pouts, “You’re the only one he listens to.” 

“I only promise to try.” It takes about ten steps until the two of them reach Bakugou’s door. They’re totally silent. Kaminari knocks quickly and sprints away. All the way away,  probably non-stop into the common room. Bakugou opens the door with a surprised look. Kirishima grins, “Hey! D’you wanna come downstairs and play games with us?”

“Why?”

“Uh,” Kirishima fumbles with his hands, “Y’know, like Mario Kart ‘n stuff. We’ll be able to beat anyone at multiplayer games. Be my teammate and help me destroy our whole class?”

Bakugou sighs with the force of a thousand uninterested teenagers and shuts his door in Kirishima’s face. Well . So much for that plan. He’s about to turn around when the lock unlatches and the door swings open.

Kirishima is too gay to live this life.

Bakugou’s eyes are smug and overconfident, hands in his pocket as he steps out. He’s not in his hiking outfit. He’s back to his normal clothes and his way too on-brand skull shirt. Since their hike, Bakugou looked more at ease. Not quite calm, but not as on edge or scared. 

Kirishima must’ve been too obvious and now Bakugou despises him. He probably thinks Kirishima’s weird and he probably knows everything. Kirishima sees Bakugou open his mouth to speak and braces himself for the worst.

“So were you ever gonna tell me that Sparky was the one who banged on my door?”

“No way man! I wouldn’t throw my bro under the bus like that. How’d you know?” Kirishima can admit that he’s irrationally afraid. He also recognises that it is terrifying and he wants to keep Bakugou from ever knowing about this crush.

“Your knocks don’t sound like that.” Bakugou is staring at something on the wall as they begin to walk away. Kirishima’s heart swells. Bakugou pays attention to his knocks! Kirishima thought it was weird when it was just him thinking it, but knowing Bakugou does it too makes it feel… sweet. Bakugou seems to realized that there’s compassion in that statement and corrects himself quickly, “‘Sides, I heard his dumbass voice yelling at your door.”

Kirishima slings an arm over Bakugou before he realizes what he’s doing. When he notices, it’s too late. It’s an instinctual gesture that Bakugou is used to from him. “I think you’ll like this. You can beat people in almost any game ever.”

An evil, sinister grin falls over him. “Deku’s going down .”

“Not what I meant but I like the spirit!”

They walk downstairs to find an intense game of Just Dance going. It’s between Jirou and Uraraka, Jirou winning by a whole star. A small game of Jenga has begun in a different corner.

Bakugou’s hands are in his pockets, elbows turned out and head tilted to maximum cockiness. “I heard someone needed to be kicked off their high horse.”

Sero grins at him, “Oh? I heard there’s someone who thinks he’s a challenge.” Sero            tosses the remote, and Bakugou catches it with one hand. They sit down, and immediately, Bakugou rockets to first with Sero hot on his tail. He maintains a steady lead, avoiding any edges and finding most shortcuts. That is, until he’s hit with a blue shell. After the most intense cursing Kirishima’s ever heard, he begins to get close to first again, but ends up saddled with second.

As always, he’s furious.

Kirishima, however, can’t stop laughing. Bakugou turns to yell at him, but he makes a weird face and contains himself. Kaminari yells, “Kirishima! Bakugou! We’re about to play Twister. Come see who sucks the most out of you two.”

“Oh, I-I think I’ll sit out-”

Bakugou grabs his wrist, “No fucking way. You made me come here. You’re going to play fucking Twister so I can kick your ass at it.” And so began the most tense game of twister in Kirishima’s life. After a few spins, he was intertwined with Bakugou. It might have been something enjoyable if Bakugou wasn’t spewing curses about beating this spiky son of a bitch

He did indeed beat the spiky son of a bitch.

The spiky son of a bitch fell and almost landed on Bakugou.

Kirishima sat on the mat laughing, about to pull himself up when Bakugou offered a hand. Kirishima just stared at it for a moment, until Bakugou jerked it forward to get Kirishima’s attention. Bakugou pulled him up before declaring, “I am Twister’s god and none of you lame-ass wannabes will ever beat me!”

“Oh really?” Mina contested. “I think I could.”

Bakugou sneers, “Bring it on, Raccoon Eyes. I’ll Twist your fucking neck.” Kirishima then watched Bakugou dominate several other people in Twister. He should’ve been worse at it, but of course, Bakugou excels at all he does. After his crown was secured, Bakugou began his retreat to his room. Kirishima, thankful for the excuse to leave, followed.

“Our friends are psychopaths.”

Bakugou glances over, “You picked them.”

“Fair. Mean, but fair.” Bakugou just rolls his eyes a little. Kirishima has a fuzzy feeling in his chest. Kirishima said our friends and Bakugou didn’t even attempt to deny it. Bakugou was starting to recognise them as friends.

They walk in comfortable silence for a short while, until they arrive at Bakugou’s door. “I’m going to watch a movie before I make lunch.” He steps in the door. Kirishima can take a hint and begins to walk away, until he feels a sharp shove on his shoulder. “You coming in or not, idiot?”

Kirishima gives the brightest smile he can manage and follows Bakugou. This time, the room is organized and put together. He will not mention the All Might poster on the wall by his bed. He will also not mention the fresh marks from explosions that litter the sheets from his attempts to sleep last night.

He sits on the bed next to Bakugou. The blonde plays some cheesy action movie about a guy with (surprise surprise) an explosion Quirk. This Quirk was clearly fake, and when people were hit by it, they fell just a little too long for it to seem real. Bakugou dutifully pointed out every miniscule mistake, especially those regarding the man’s Quirk.

The man, untrained, released a massive explosion. Bakugou sneers, “That’s not right. Those explosions are too big for him. He’d be on the ground crying without any training.”

“Big explosions hurt?”

He shrugs, “I guess. It only hurts if I don’t have my gauntlets, that’s why they’re fucking amazing.”

Kirishima nods, “I used to get sore when I was little. My Quirk wasn’t developed well and my skin was only a little harder. I had to train by breaking stuff, and it was a lot to get used to. My mama used to massage my hands if it got bad.”

Bakugou shrugs, “My hag always told me to suck it up because if you’re dumb enough to fuck yourself up you’ll deal with the shitty parts of it .”

Kirishima hardly suppresses a pout, “That’s not fair! You were being manly and pushing your limits! That’s so fucked up.”

“And people wonder why I’m an asshole.”

“Well,” Kirishima begins, weary and awkward. “I don’t think you’re an asshole. I think you’re just not very good with emotions. I understand why now, though.” Awkward silence grips the room as they struggle for the next words. “Are your arms sore? You made a lot of big explosions, when we were… there.”

“I’m not fragile, Kirishima.”

“That’s not an answer, Bakugou.”

Bakugou sighs dramatically, “Fine. It’s kind of sore. Whatever. Not like it’s a big fucking deal.”

“Do you, uh…” He thrusts his flat hand forward as if to make a point. “Want some help? Not to brag, but I’ve been told I give good hand massages. I learned quickly from my dear old mom.”

Bakugou, surprisingly, accepts the offer. “Just make it quick, Hair-for-Brains. I’m sure it’ll fucking suck.” Kirishima is calmer than he expected to be, since this is something that makes Bakugou feel better. He’s hurting, has been for a few days, and simply ignores it. Kirishima knows how to make it better and he can’t let silly emotions muddle his work.

He does the simple motions, gentle in some places and almost rough in others. Kirishima could remember certain motions that made the aches and pains easier. He couldn’t remember feeling so intimate, however. Bakugou seemed to appreciate the motions, based on the way his guarded face wavered when Kirishima pressed on the tense spots on his hands. Kirishima threaded his fingers with Bakugou’s, pressing back on the tense muscles. Bakugou inhaled sharply at something, most likely the stretch. Kirishima would feel bad if it was painful, so he glanced up at Bakugou’s face, “Did I hurt you?”

“No. it’s... efficient. It makes it easier to deal with really fucking fast.” It was surprising, to see Bakugou's face so unguarded. If Kirishima were to mention this to anyone else, they would almost certainly not believe him. Bakugou was really only ever gentle around Kirishima. Come to think of it, Kirishima had never seen a real smile from Bakugou outside of alone time (apart from when Kota kicked poor Midoriya in the balls- that was genuine glee). He feels a strange swell of pride. At last, he is able to move onto the next hand. Bakugou, to quell the silence, had started criticizing the movie again. Kirishima joins in, more to fill the silence than anything.

After a bit, the hands are finished. Bakugou makes a fist and flexes his hand, a small smile growing on uncertain lips. “... That’s a lot better. ...Th-Thanks, I guess.”

Kirishima can only sit back and allow himself to be hit with a wave of emotion. Bakugou’s shy, emotionally constipated face is right there in front of him, awkward and precious and learning to be kind.

Kirishima is overwhelmed with a forbidden desire to either confess to him or just kiss him. It’s big and real and it echoes in his bones with pleas and cries to move forward just a foot or so, just far enough to make either the greatest decision or the biggest mistake of his life. His lips begin to move, urging him to say just a few words.

“I…”

Kirishima begins, but trails off quickly. A deep, steadying breath. Just do it .

“I’m glad I could help, Bakubro!” As if . He can’t even lie to himself and say he even kind of thought he could do it. Kirishima could never. Never in a million years, risk this friendship he’s cultivated from the ground up. He could never risk the best friendship he’s got.

“The hell is that nickname, Kirishima?”

“You know you like it. Hey, when you make lunch, can I invite the group?”

He’s still relaxed, and though he seems skeptical, Kirishima can tell he’s not angry. “Sure. You’re helping me make it, though.”

“No problem! We’ve still got a little while before we have to do that, though. Anything you want to do?”

Bakugou shrugs and leans back, “Well, I’m done with this shitty-ass movie. What do you want to do?”

Kirishima sighs, “I think… I just wanna lay around for a bit. We never get to be lazy anymore, and after lunch I need to go training and I don’t want to.”

Bakugou sneers, “You have to train. How else will you keep up with me?

“Keep up? I think we’re pretty close matched, thank you very much.”

Bakugou laughs. “Yeah, but if you skip out on your training, that won’t be true for long.”

Kirishima hardens his fists and clacks his knuckles together. “Bring it on, Blasty. I’ll be good enough to be your partner in battle!”

Bakugou lays his back on the bed. “We’ll see. Your Quirk could be useful on the field, in certain situations.”

Kirishima smiles and rolls his eyes, “Yeah, right. We both know I’m great in all situations.”

“Unless you have to fight for more than a few minutes. You need to work on your durability over time, or you’re in trouble, dumbass.”

“That’s true,” Kirishima agrees, “But that’s not a big deal if I’ve got you there to save me.”

Bakugou blows a puff of air out, almost like a laugh. “And how am I supposed to be a badass if I always have to worry about saving you?”

“You know I’ll be worrying about saving you, too.”

Bakugou shifts a little, staring at his ceiling intently. He’s wearing that look he always wears when he’s hiding his feelings, and Kirishima wants nothing more than to know what emotion is getting pushed away right now.

“I’ll hold you to that, Riot.”

Chapter Text

Kirishima stands beside Bakugou in the dorm kitchen, all the ingredients laid out in front of them. He’s utterly clueless. He’s only aware that they’re making spaghetti because Bakugou told him. Bakugou was actually making pasta for the spaghetti. Kirishima can barely make toast without burning his house down. “Go chop the pepper. I’ll make the pasta.”

Kirishima picks up a knife and very carefully begins chopping the pepper. It seems to be going pretty well, until Bakugou looks over and sighs. That single sigh channels exhaustion of a single father of six. “Why is your hand hardened?”

“So I don’t cut myself! I’m not good at this!”

Bakugou abandons his task to come fix the mess that is Kirishima. “Yeah, clearly. One, every single slice is a different size. Two, this is just about the most difficult way to do this. Watch.” Bakugou slices long slits up the pepper, so that when he chops it, the pieces are already diced. Kirishima just stares in amazement. He’s so fast with the knife, so accurate in the slicing. 

Kirishima nods along, pretending to have any idea what to do. Bakugou is literally making pasta noodles with flour and everything. Kirishima is struggling to chop peppers. He attempts to emulate Bakugou as best he can, trying to have a semblance of control. Bakugou gives a critical eye, nodding in approval. Kirishima returned to his chopping with renewed confidence.

Kirishima is garbage in the kitchen, but he’d do a lot of things he’s garbage at to spend time with Bakugou.

Kirishima can’t help it, he’s so curious. Bakugou is a sixteen year old. When did he even have time to learn this? “Hey, Baku… How’d you pick up all of this?”

Bakugou doesn’t stop what he’s doing. “When I was younger, the old hag and my old man worked a lot. My old man usually made breakfast since the old hag doesn’t cook, but neither of them got home until almost eight. I figured out pretty quickly that if I wanted to eat at a reasonable fucking hour, I’d have to figure it out on my own. I couldn’t just eat some shitty fast food every week, so I taught myself.”

“That’s… so fucking manly, dude. I’m sure you made it a lot easier on your family.”

Bakugou rolls his eyes, “I didn’t fucking do it for them. They’re grown-ass adults. I did it because if I wanted to get training later in the day, I’d need some fuel to keep me going. I’m not going to eat right before I go the fuck to sleep.” It was a weird way to be reminded that Bakugou likes to sleep at about 8:30.

After that, their talking was mostly about training. Once the food is ready, Kirishima calls Kaminari. “Hey bro! Bakugou and I made food. Want some?”

Kaminari gasps as if he’d been told the Queen of England has personally invited him to tea. “Of course, man! I’ll go grab the others, be there in five!” Kirishima hears a door being slammed, followed by quick footsteps. Kirishima does himself a favor and hangs up, since Kaminari clearly failed at it.

Kirishima can’t help but giggle a little. “Kaminari is running . They’ll be here soon.”

Good . The food will get cold. Go ahead and make your plate so they don’t take all the meatballs.” The two of them make their plates, but don’t eat. A few moments later, the rest of them barrel in. They clobber through the kitchen, drop globs of spaghetti onto their plates, and fling themselves onto the dining chairs.

Sero grins, “Thanks guys! I didn’t want to have to make food. I’m fine, but I’m not all that great.”

Kaminari nods, “He gives me food because I’m not allowed to cook.”

Bakugou sneers, “Yeah, and you better listen to that rule. You’ve fucked up at your own house and I will not let you fuck up that kitchen.” Kaminari doesn’t even protest this. Kirishima has seen the pictures from the aftermath of that eventful day.

Mina takes a big bite and looks like she may cry. “ Bakugou ! This is so good !” It’s an accurate statement. It’s absolutely wonderful.

“Hey! I helped, too!”

“Kiri, honey,” Mina cocked her eyebrow at him, tilting her head in mock sympathy. “I’ve known you since the beginning of time. You kinda suck at cooking.”

Bakugou shrugs, “Shitty Hair can chop pretty well.”

Kirishima sticks his tongue out at Mina. “Why does this taste so amazing ?” Kaminari moans, barely six inches from his plate as he shovels massive bites into his mouth. Inexplicably, his face hardly had any sauce on it.

“I use peppers in the spaghetti sauce. Makes it a lot better.”

“Not to turn this into a gossip,” Sero begins, “but I caught Mr. Aizawa and Mic kissing.”

Most of the people at the table gasp. Mina squeals, bringing her pink hands up to cup her own cheeks. “No way! Are they together?!”

“I don’t know!” Sero exclaims, throwing his arms up dramatically. “Do you think I waited for them to see me? I ran like Bakugou was chasing me.”

“Who cares if our shitty teachers are a shitty couple? That screaming bastard was clearly obsessed with him.” Bakugou rolls his eyes, focusing on his plate as much as possible.

Kaminari nods excitedly, as if he’d found the answer to a difficult math problem. “That makes sense! Aizawa hates noise. Why would he hang out with Mic if he didn’t have a thing for him?”

“Okay, let’s stop talking about our teachers’ love lives. Anything eventful happen lately?” Kirishima prompts, hoping someone will take the bait for a more enjoyable conversation.

“Well, I watched Kaminari try to charge three phones and an IPad at once. He sneezed almost blew everything up.” Mina says, as if this is a common occurrence.

Sero bats his eyelashes dramatically, “It was the most attractive thing I’ve ever seen.” They all start laughing.

Kirishima, through his giggles, pouts dramatically. “Aw, Sero! I thought I was the hottest one here.” He gives his best kicked puppy look, though it’s interrupted periodically by escaping chuckles.

“I’m sorry, Kiri,” Sero laments, hand on his heart like a character from a Shakespearean drama, tilting his chin up to complete it. “I can’t lie to my heart anymore.”

Mina grins and wags her eyebrows, “I dunno, boys, I think Bakugou here might have you all beat.” She leans towards said Bakugou, elbowing his side.

Bakugou swallows his spaghetti, pushing her back into her own space. “This is fucking stupid. Nobody cares.”

Sero immediately slips into baby talk. “Aw, is widdle Baku embarrassed?”

“I’M NOT A BABY YOU DICK!” Kirishima cackles . He sounds like a dying animal. Bakugou jerks his head to Kirishima, as if the redhead had committed an act of betrayal. Kirishima only laughs harder, wheezing silently and struggling to breath Sero and Kaminari are not much better off, howling their laughter as they fall all over each other. 

Mina winks “Bakugou’s not a baby, he’s a babe.”

It sends the group right back into their laughing fit. Bakugou buries his face deep in his hands and sighs as if he’s been babysitting a few hours too long. Kirishima was the first to form a coherent thought after all that laughing. “I’m sorry, b-but I couldn’t help it!” Bakugou makes no indication he’s noticed. Kirishima gives his best pouty face and flung himself onto Bakugou’s shoulder. “Don’t be mad at me, Baku! It’s all in good fun.”

Bakugou looks over, but his eyes jolt away after a few seconds and his face goes beet red. Kirishima removes himself from Bakugou’s arm. Bakugou looks uncomfortable, and that’s the last thing Kirishima wants. “‘S’fine, you whiny bastard. Eat your damn food before it gets cold.” Slowly, they all return to normalcy. Kaminari, surprising absolutely no one, is the last one to stop laughing. They talk about useless things for a while until Bakugou stands up to go to the restroom.

Kaminari leans over the table as soon as Bakugou is out of earshot, “ Dude ! He’s so flirting right now.”

Kirishima’s face goes red and he whispers right back. “What?! There’s no way!”

Mina nods excitedly, “He so was! You like him too, right?”

“I-I mean I like him, yeah, but there’s no way he likes me too.” Kirishima rushes his words out, glancing behind him nervously.

Sero rolls his eyes, “Yes he does. It’s so obvious.”

“It’s just because we got closer after- after that. We’re just really good friends and he’s not good around people so it seems like he likes me.”

Kaminari raises his hands up in mock surrender. “If you’re sure. I didn’t know friends blushed like that around friends.”

“It’s not like that.” Kirishima reasons. He knows it’s not, it couldn’t be. Bakugou is just too great to be with someone so not . “Why would he ever- ever like me ? He’s him, he’s strong and cool and I’m just me. I'm not special, I'm not-”

Bakugou walks back in, “Why are you all so fucking whispery? What’re you losers talking about?”

Kirishima slips back into his usual smile, “Kaminari was asking how I felt safe alone with you surrounded by knives.”

Bakugou, as per usual, jumps the gun. “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!” He grabs Kaminari’s shirt. Kirishima mouths sorry and gives Kaminari the last meatball to keep the peace.

Mina can’t even find it in herself to laugh. She’s just staring at Kirishima with the saddest expression he’s seen on her in a while. Sero, thankfully, aids Kirishima in keeping Bakugou in the dark. “He still attractive? Looks pretty feral to me.”

Kirishima is glad for the distraction. Bakugou is so perceptive, he surely would’ve noticed something had it not been for the scapegoat that is Kaminari. Mina shrugs, “I- I guess he’s just a lot prettier when he’s calm.”

Kirishima allows himself to fall into routine chaos. Bakugou doesn’t notice anything off with him, but Mina may be a different story. It takes her a bit to do the same, and even then, she has a sad look.

After a little bit, they all wash off their plates. Once that’s finished, everyone separates. He waves goodbye to Bakugou, heading into his own room. Once he’s in and the door shut tightly, he allows his smile to fall. He won’t cry, though. How foolish would it be, to cry over something so completely out of his control? He’s changed his image to fit who he wants to be, trained as hard as his body would allow, and surrounded himself with images of his role model to make himself more like the man.

It wasn’t enough, though. Under everything he layered onto himself, that same hopeless weakling still hides. How could he ever ask Bakugou to love such a pathetic being? How could he ever confess to Bakugou, knowing that? If by some miracle Bakugou accepted, he would be settling for someone so much less than him.

Kirishima sits on his bed, leaning his head against the wall. This wall kept his room separate from Bakugou’s. Would it be like this forever? Kirishima isn’t sure how long he can survive when he has the highest highs and lowest lows in one day. Will it always feel so lonely? Will it always feel so filthy, having to lie to his best friend?

He’s spiraling so rapidly. His breathing is getting unmanageable, sharp and quick. His hands are shaking, his body tense all over. He knows exactly what’s coming if he doesn’t get it together. He’s going to have a panic attack.

He thumps his head against the wall once, hoping to give himself a handle on reality. “No, no… calm down, please calm down!” He begs himself, praying it’ll work. He tries his best to count to five on the inhale like his mom taught him, but his brain is going to fast to count properly and it’s only making it worse. “Calm down, calm down, calm down -” He chants it over and over, hoping for it to work just a little. Nothing will work, and he can’t stop it. The pressure in his lungs is growing unbearable. He can’t see straight, can’t hold onto reality, can’t think or hear or breath-

Bakugou walks in suddenly, looking worried . It’s enough to bring Kirishima from the brink. “B-Bakugou!” He exclaims, wiping over his eyes once and trying his best to muster a smile.

Bakugou just sits on the bed. “I may as well return the favor, yeah? You don’t have to say what’s wrong. I know you’re not okay, so don’t even fucking lie to me. You’re allowed to feel your emotions. I don’t know what to say, but I… fuck, I- I’m not going anywhere, okay? I’ll stay here until you get your shit together.”

“Th-Thanks, man…” Kirishima didn’t know when he started crying, but he could hear it in his voice cracks. 

Bakugou wipes a tear off Kirishima's jaw roughly, “Don’t thank me, dipshit. You deserve to get back what you give. I can’t… I can’t be as good at it as you.”

“No, don’t say that. This is enough. You being here is enough. Thank you.”

Bakugou looks over at him, shockingly soft. So much kindness is on his face for someone so normally hostile. ”I wish you'd chill out about yourself. I can see it, you know. I can tell when you're getting self-conscious. It's all over your face. Stop putting all your energy into everyone else. You don't matter less if you don't help someone every second of the day. You wanna talk about something being enough? You're enough. Now take a fucking nap, you insufferable people pleaser."

Chapter Text

The group sat together in the lounge. Mina was sprawled across a whole couch. Sero sat on an armchair with his legs over the armrests, Kaminari crisscross on the floor in front of him. Bakugou sat on the arm of the couch, next to Kirishima. Mina glances up from her phone, “Kiri, I just heard Tomo’s in town. It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve seen him!”

Kirishima winces a little, “Yeah. I’m sure he’d be uncomfortable seeing me now, after everything. Well, it’d be nice to see each other again, but it’d be really awkward. I feel like I’m hardly even the person he knew back then.”

Kaminari’s eyebrows draw together in confusion. “Who’s Tomo and why doesn’t he want to see you? You’re wonderful.”

“Tomo and I went to middle school together. He wouldn’t want to see me ‘cause I broke up with him, like, the day before the entrance exams.”

Kirishima remembers how hard that was. Tomo was not angry at him when they broke up. He looked disappointed, but he understood and was even excited when Kirishima got to become a hero. Tomo did not cry at all when they broke up. Kirishima cried a lot, and Tomo held him while he cried. It’s one of the things Kirishima regrets the most. He broke up with someone and then managed to make himself the victim in that situation. 

“Hold up,” Sero says, “Tomo’s a dude, right?”

“Yeah. We were really close, for a while, but… once I really set my mind to UA, I could see he didn’t think I’d be able to get in. It wasn’t in a mean way or anything, we were just too ordinary to think we had that kind of chance. He was really happy for me, when I got in.”

Bakugou scoffs, “Bullshit. If he didn’t believe in you, he’s a fucking idiot. I’d say that to his fucking face.”

Kirishima just laughs. “You didn’t know me back then, Bakugou. I was different. I was hardly even a man, let alone hero material.”

“Stop being dramatic,” Bakugou glares at Kirishima like the redhead’s been kicking puppies for fun. “Just because you weren’t a badass yet doesn’t mean you were a shitty person. All kinds of heroes have dramatic past bullshit. You just have a sickass backstory now.”

Kirishima can’t help but feel kind of proud about that. “I’ve never thought about it like that! Thanks, Bakubro.” Bakugou rolls his eyes, but Kirishima can see the concern in his gaze. Bakugou, for all of his foul language and harsh words, is a genuinely good person. He’s guarded and rough, but there is a lot of good under there. He’s like a coconut; a hard and rough exterior that’s hard to get through, but when you do, what you have is sweet and well worth the effort.

Sero looks over at Kirishima, “I didn’t know you like dudes.”

“Ah, yeah.” Kirishima chuckles awkwardly. “I’m gay. That’s cool, right?” He doesn’t know why he’s nervous. Sero teased him about Bakugou yesterday.

Wait.

Sero fucking knows Kirishima isn’t straight. When Kirishima makes eye contact with Bakugou, he understands that Sero played him. The sly motherfucker just gave him the world’s easiest way to come out to Bakugou.

Speaking of Bakugou, he’s just staring at Kirishima. Not so much shocked, just surprised. He looks almost… pleased by it? There’s no way, and Kirishima accepts that he is blurring reality to make his feelings seem reciprocated.

Sero’s slaps his back, “Of course it is, dude. We’ll have to set you up with someone. What’s your type, man?”

Bakugou sneers, “I’m not dealing with this lovey-dovey bullshit. I’m leaving.”

“Bakubro no! We’ll drop it!”

He doesn’t even look behind him, “You don’t fucking have to, I just…” Bakugou pauses for a moment, a horrifically long moment. “I just don’t fucking care .” The words are a burning flame and he is timber. They absolutely destroy him. Bakugou’s voice is too sharp, his posture too good for someone who walks hunched in half. Something is off, something has to be.

“Oh… okay then.” Kirishima watches the blonde leave. Every step is a nail in the coffin that's holding his shot with Bakugou. Once Bakugou is in the elevator, Kirishima flops into a chair dramatically. “Fuck my life.”

“Tomo and I went to middle school together. He wouldn’t want to see me ‘cause I broke up with him, like, the day before the entrance exams.” Bakugou does a double take. Kirishima broke up with a guy. That means Kirishima was dating and, logically, is into guys.

What the fuck.

“Hold up,” Flat Face says, “Tomo’s a dude, right?” Sero’s on the same train of though Bakugou is.

“Yeah. We were really close, for a while, but… once I really set my mind to UA, I could see he didn’t think I’d be able to get in. It wasn’t in a mean way or anything, we were just too ordinary to think we had that kind of chance. He was really happy for me, when I got in.”

Some part of Bakugou hurts at that. Kirishima, the guy who risked absolutely fucking everything to save Bakugou, ever being considered anything less than the perfect hero? The one person who really, genuinely sees good in Bakugou, simply ordinary ? An absolute lie. “Bullshit. If he didn’t believe in you, he’s a fucking idiot. I’d say that to his fucking face.”

Kirishima just laughs. It’s so fucking fake. “You didn’t know me back then, Bakugou. I was different. I was hardly even a man, let alone hero material.” Kirishima must be delusional. Bakugou has seen so much bravery and heroism in Kirishima, from big things to small. Kirishima is strong and saves people. He is kind and checks on them. Kirishima is what a hero should be and he refuses to admit it.

“Stop being dramatic,” Bakugou sneers, hoping Kirishima understands what he means.“Just because you weren’t a badass yet doesn’t mean you were a shitty person. All kinds of heroes have dramatic past bullshit. You just have a sickass backstory now.”

“I’ve never thought about it like that! Thanks, Bakubro.” Bakugou rolls his eyes, but he can’t shake the concern. Kirishima’s got some kind of complex. Is this why he freaked out earlier? Bakugou’s so curious, but it would be way out of bounds to ask about that.

“I didn’t know you like dudes.” Sero pulls them back into the old topic.

“Ah, yeah.” Kirishima chuckles awkwardly. “I’m gay. That’s cool, right?” It fucking better be cool, or Bakugou will rip the teeth out of Soy Sauce’s face and shove them down his throat.

He can’t take his eyes off of Kirishima. Kirishima likes guys. Kirishima’s gay and Bakugou should’ve figured it out by now. It pulls at his heart and it makes him feel hopeful.

Sero’s slaps his back, “Of course it is, dude. We’ll have to set you up with someone. What’s your type, man?” Bakugou can’t stay for this, he can’t put himself through this. He has to go. Bakugou can’t sit here and listen to Kirishima talk about love, listen to Kirishima talk about a type that isn’t Bakugou. All of the stupid hope he had just a moment ago drops like lead, burning a hold in his stomach.

Bakugou sneers, “I’m not dealing with this lovey-dovey bullshit. I’m leaving.”

“Bakubro no! We’ll drop it!” Kirishima calls. Maybe under different circumstances he’d have stayed, but that fucking nickname. It’s just so fucking platonic.

He forces his eyes to stays ahead. “You don’t fucking have to, I just…” He winces at the words. Say it . “I just don’t fucking care .” He walks away, but the words burn a pit through his stomach. It’s a horrible lie, but it’s what Bakugou decides on.

"Oh... okay." He sounds so fucking defeated. Bakugou practically chokes down the apology that pries its way to the edge of his lips. He will not apologize for what has to be done. If Bakugou stays, he will likely lash out and say something much more malicious. If Bakugou stays, he will be effectively tearing himself to bits.

He faces Kirishima when he gets into the elevator, and a piece of him shatters when he sees how hurt the redhead looks. Kirishima looks so completely heartbroken and hopeless. The doors close in front of him. Bakugou sighs, running a heavy hand through his hair. He can only imagine how quickly they move on without them. Kaminari’s probably already distracted Kirishima, as if Bakugou was never there at all.

Bakugou had been there, though. Since he was there, he knows what they’re probably talking about. By now, Bakugou imagines Kirishima must be going on and on about the perfect guy for him. Probably someone kind, stable and good with words. Someone with manners, someone calm and friendly. Someone Bakugou is not, someone he could never be.

Bakugou can’t force himself to listen to that. It would hurt him too much. He wants to scream at himself for that. Bakugou has no weaknesses. He is made of pure, untainted, unadulterated strength. He is power personified. He has no weaknesses. He is not slow, weak, stupid or naive. He has- well, he had no weaknesses. Something changed, though. Bakugou was woken up from his foolish stupor. He was woken up by Kirishima.

When Kirishima woke him up, Kirishima made him realize that he can’t communicate feelings. He made Bakugou understand what a real hero is, and how far he is from that. Because of Kirishima, Bakugou realized how terrified he is to love, to be loved.  Kirishima made him see that he desperately wants someone to love and to love him back. Kirishima made him see all of these faults, but none are truly large enough to be weaknesses . No, Bakugou only has one of those.

His weakness is known as Eijirou Kirishima. More specifically, the hopeless attraction Bakugou feels for him.

Chapter Text

Kirishima has no idea where he’s going. He doesn’t want to be around everyone right now, but he doesn’t want to be alone. That is, until he bumps into Midoriya and accidentally knocks the notebook from his hands. Kirishima scrambles to grab it, “I’m so sorry, Midoriya!”

Kirishima passes the notebook over. Midoriya smiles, “It’s okay! Where were you going in such a hurry? You don’t have to tell me, of course.”

“I’m… I’m not sure. I just don’t want to be around people right now, I guess?”

Midoriya gives a knowing look, “You don’t want to be around people or you don’t want to be around specific people?”

Stupid genius child. “Ah, you got me. Specific people. They didn’t do anything wrong but like- okay, he-” Kirishima stumbles over his words like a newborn fawn stumbles over its own feet. He feels like a fool.

Midoriya ushers him along, “Come on. I was just coming back from grabbing my notebook, actually. Todoroki and I have movie nights once a week and yesterday was his. I forgot to grab my notebook from his room.” Kirishima follows Midoriya silently. He can’t help but wonder what that’s like. Probably a lot of action movies and All Might related documentaries. “I hope you don’t care that Todoroki’s in my room right now? He won’t tell your secrets or anything, he’s pretty good at listening.”

“No, I don’t care as long as nobody else gets told. It’s, uh, pretty personal, but I trust you guys.” Kirishima knows Midoriya is too sweet to tell a soul and too smart to accidentally give him up. Todoroki is mostly silent and pretty much completely unreadable.

Midoriya walks into his room. Every single wall is covered in All Might. Kirishima thinks it must feel a little strange, since he knows the man in real life. Granted, All Might is pretty much exactly like the media depicts him. Kind, brave, loud and kind of dad-like. “Hey, Todoroki. I found Kirishima and he looked sad, so is it okay for him to join us for a bit?”

Todoroki looks up in surprise. He had a little All Might figure in his hand, examining it. He puts it down so fast he fumbles, almost as if he’d get yelled at for holding it for too long. Kirishima can imagine Midoriya being very territorial and picky over his All Might merch. Thousands of dollars probably went into this many decorations. “Of course. What’s the matter?”

Kirishima tries not to pout. He fails, but he does try. “It’s, like, super stupid.” He goes through the whole story. Every detail rushing through his head. “He said he didn’t care if I talked about it. I’ve been pouting ever since”

Todoroki looks confused, “Isn’t that a good thing? You wouldn’t care, unless-”

“Unless he likes Kacchan.” Midoriya finishes, looking over at Todoroki fondly. “It’s not hard to figure out if you pay attention.”

“It ISN’T?!”

Midoriya giggles. It would sound cute, but he’s giggling at Kirishima’s expense. “Lucky for you, the only one denser than Todoroki is Kacchan. I bet he’s got no idea how you feel. I bet he’s hardly figured out how he feels.”

“How he feels?”

Midoriya starts to say something, but stops abruptly. He sighs, “Kacchan is just… difficult. He doesn’t know how to have emotions. He’s not easy to be friends with. He’s always harsh and mean. With you, though, he kind of watches his mouth. He’s not nice, but he’s got a little bit of a filter. I’ve never seen him filter himself for someone before.”

Kirishima’s brain hurts almost as much as his heart does. “What does that mean ?”

“It means I think Kacchan loves you.” Kirishima literally chokes on air. He has to hit his chest to stop coughing. Midoriya, the beast that he is, totally ignores it. “Or he’s on his way. He’s attracted to you at least.”

Kirishima stares at him. “You think so?! No way.”

“Kirishima. I’ve known Kacchan for twelve years. I have psycho-analyzed him more times than I can count. I know how he acts towards people. I’ve seen him interact with people my whole life. I’ve never seen him treat someone like you.”

Kirishima makes a high pitched whine and flops his entire body backwards like a child throwing a tantrum. The bed thumps weekly under him. “What do you think he’s doing right now?”

“Honestly? Either training himself ragged or freaking out.”

Todoroki pops his head up, interjecting quickly, “Or both.”

“Or both.” Midoriya nods with the wisdom of an ancient scholar. It would be much cooler if Midoriya wasn’t spinning in his swivel chair like a bored kindergartner at the same time.

Kirishima rolls over onto his side. Midoriya’s blankets are soft and, remarkably, not All Might’s face. It would probably be awkward to have to wake up wrapped in your teacher’s face. Come to think of it, it must be so uncomfortable to change in this room. All Might’s unblinking eyes feel invasive fully clothed, much less naked. Right , he thinks, I’m being sad right now, not critical of Midoriya’s bizarre decorations. “This is dumb. Emotions are dumb. Why doesn’t he just respond to emotions like a rational human?”

“If it makes you feel any better, I was in the middle of crying and Todoroki literally punched me in the face.” Kirishima blows out a puff of air in shock. Midoriya, the physical embodiment of sunshine, getting socked in the face by Todoroki, the only person who may just rival Bakugou’s emotional constipation levels. It’s almost comical to imagine the look on Midoriya’s face. Midoriya was crying to his friend, probably looking for comfort, and got pimp-handed by Todoroki.

“I thought that’s how those things work. It helped me!” Todoroki looks so offended that this is being used against him. Kirishima giggles, and for some reason it just gets funnier. Todoroki shoots him a pleading look, and Kirishima can’t stop laughing. Todoroki and Midoriya join in, and Kirishima laughs until tears are stinging his eyes and his stomach is burning. He laughs until he feels foolish for being upset at all.

Unfortunately for Kirishima, being upset isn’t solved so easily. The sadness is there, though hardly comparable to what it was. However, the sadness is nothing in comparison to the anxiety. Sadness is a flea riding on the back of the wolf that is anxiety. Sadness is an ache deep within him, like his body was heavy with the weight of unwanted memories. Anxiety is the chill of fear, the tensing of muscles, the rush of worst case scenario thoughts. Anxiety is the thing that holds Kirishima’s mouth shut, the thing that tethers his body to one place when all he wants is to move.

He hardly falters. He even keeps laughing for a few moments. It wasn’t like all the happiness drained out, it was just less intense compared to the whirlwind that smacked into him.

Midoriya could see right through him. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Kirishima. Kacchan isn’t going to be mad at you. I’m sure I don’t know all of the details about your relationship, but he seems to care about you a lot more than most people. I see the way you look at him, and I know you do, too.”

“I do care, I care so much . Sometimes I feel like I care too much. Sometimes I feel like it’s too little.”

“I’d go with too much.” Todoroki interjects, “You’re… the sun. Bakugou is the void of space. He’s dark matter.” His face scrunches up like he’s thinking really hard. “Your light is more or less phasing through him. Do my space analogies make sense? I wasn’t allowed to read if it wasn’t for learning. I liked space.”

Kirishima just sighs, “Yeah, that’s a really good analogy from your perspective. But to me… he’s the sun. I’m the moon. Without him there, I’m just this… big hunk of rock floating in the dark with no one to see me. Everyone sees him. Good or bad, he’s there. You can’t look at this class and not see him. People only see me because I’m close to him.”

“Without Kacchan, you’re still you . You’re still a hero. You are not a reflection of him, you are your own person. Kacchan is easy to recognize, but so are you. You have just as much potential without him. You’re not less of a hero because your Quirk isn’t explosions or fire and ice . You’re not less than anyone because your Quirk works differently.”

The fight goes out of him. He can’t keep ignoring Midoriya’s advice. Midoriya is kind enough to console him, and he’s just whining and deflecting all his kind words. It’s unmanly to act like this. “You’re too nice, Midoriya.”

“I could say the same to you.” Midoriya smiles with the softness of a bunny cuddling with a kitten. That is, until Todoroki decides to touch one of the forbidden All Might figurines. Dawning one of the most intense expressions Kirishima has seen on him, Midoriya smacks Todoroki's hand. It's done with the speed and accuracy of a tired, experienced mother. The figurine remains untouched by a narrow margin. Todoroki doesn’t seem to be surprised, but he rubs his hand and pouts like a kindergartner being scolded. 

Midoriya drops his glare and smiles like a little angel again. “You can stay as long as you want. As long as you don’t touch this shelf. Or this drawer.” Kirishima looks surprised. Midoriya flushes all over and rushes to explain, “They’re limited addition! I already have to watch Todoroki, he’ll play around all day.”

“I’m a fan.” Todoroki informs them both. It’s not really defensive, more like he’s stating a perfectly reasonable explanation. I’m a fan so of course I’m going to manhandle your expensive collector’s addition memorabilia.

Kirishima, seeing an opening, takes his chance. He’s always wondered about that little notebook Midoriya carries with him. It goes everywhere with Midoriya. “I notice you have that notebook, like, everywhere. It’s got the number 13 written on it. Does that mean there are twelve others?”

“Yeah! I’ve been doing hero analysis since I learned how to write. The first ones are extremely bad, and honestly mostly All Might doodles mixed with details from his fights. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at analysis now, though. I’ve been doing it all my life.” It’s a wild thought to Kirishima. Midoriya, as a tiny child, wanted to be a hero bad enough to document his thoughts in a notebook. Kirishima is once again reminded of the difference between a natural born hero and someone who works to be heroic.

Kirishima nods. “I’m sure you’re great. Regardless, though, you enjoy it. You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it. You clearly like doing it, and that’s what matters. It comes naturally to you, analyzing like that. I can’t do it. When I’m in a fight I just… go into survival mode. I mean, I’m sure I could if I tried really hard, but I don’t really think about anything in a fight.”

“That’s okay! I just kind of had to, since everyone else was so much bigger and stronger than me. Brain over brawn only works when brain power is greater than or equal to brawn.” Kirishima would ask about that if he was closer to Midoriya. He can’t help but wonder who would bully such a kind soul. Midoriya hasn’t done a mean thing since they’ve been in UA. Kirishima wouldn’t be surprised if he learned that Midoriya’s never done a mean thing.

Todoroki pulls his legs up crisscross on the bed. “What is Bakugou like when he’s acting soft?”

“God, it’s wonderful. You can never tell a single soul but he tends to sleep in my room because of nightmares. He looks really peaceful. He sweats a lot which can’t really be safe for either of us, but I haven’t been exploded. He’s a blanket hog sometimes. He worked me away from a panic attack not too long ago, and we laid together for a long time.”

Todoroki looks pleased. “I didn’t expect him to do something like that. I thought he’d just call you dumb and tell you to shut up.”

“Honestly, if it was anyone else, he might’ve. I don’t know why, but… I’m special to him.” 

Midoriya just smiles, “You’re the one that he trusted enough to save him. He let you rescue him. Of course you’re special to him. Now, do you want to watch a movie with us?”

“Yeah!” They picked- surprise surprise- an All Might movie. It was about a civilian constantly getting caught in villain attacks and always being saved by All Might. It’s actually a good movie, for as corny as it sounds. Midoriya, as expected, is watching intently and mouthing along with some of the more important lines. Todoroki, though, is just as engrossed. He’s not mouthing lines, but he looks like he’s watching the coolest thing in the world.

By the time the movie’s over, it’s getting late. Nine thirty, to be exact, and Kirishima feels a sense of dread fill him. Bakugou .

He runs back to the dorm. Bakugou’s door is shut, but Kirishima can hear quiet curses from the room, as well as sniffles . Oh God, Kirishima is the worst. He knocks on the door quietly.

“Go the fuck away!”

“Bakugou… Are you okay?” Kirishima’s voice is smaller than he wants it to be. He wants to be comforting and strong, but guilt makes his voice weak.

There’s a long pause. “I’m fucking fine. Don’t know why you decided to care now .” His whole heart shatters. Bakugou thinks he didn’t care .

“I’m sorry! I was watching a movie with Midoriya and Todoroki and we lost track of time-”

Bakugou doesn’t sound like it makes anything better. In fact, he sounds more angry. “You were with Half-and-Half and Deku ?! Well whoop-de-fucking-doo, everything’s all better now!”

“I didn’t just abandon you. I’m sorry I wasn’t here. Did you try to come over?”

“Of fucking course I did, Shitty Hair.” His voice has lost the bite and anger. “I thought it was our routine or whatever.”

Kirishima smiles a little and places his hand on the door. “It is. I would never abandon the routine on purpose. It helps me, too.”

Bakugou’s voice is much closer, now. He must’ve walked towards the door. “I still have nightmares sometimes. It just isn’t as fucking overwhelming if someone is close. I don’t need to be babysat, but I feel more… fuck, what’s the word? I feel…”

“Safe.” Kirishima presses his forehead into the door, closing his eyes tightly. Kirishima wants nothing more than to hold Bakugou and make him feel safe for forever.

“Yeah.” There’s another pause, and then Bakugou speaks up again. “Do you care if I stay in your shitty room with all your shitty decorations?”

Kirishima backs away from the door. “I’d like that.” The lock clicks and it opens, a red-eyed Bakugou stumbling out in fluffy pajama pants and a baggy Slipknot shirt. Kirishima opens the door to his room and they walk in silently. “You stay here, I’ll change in my bathroom.” He goes in and rushes through changing into pajamas. He sits on the bed next to where Bakugou is laid out, mostly used to being next to Bakugou by now.

“I…” Bakugou starts, face turned towards the wall. “I shouldn’t have said I didn’t fucking care. That was shitty of me.”

Kirishima recoils a little in shock, but he smiles as bright as he can. “Thanks for the apology, Bakugou! You’re forgiven. It was… kinda rough in the moment, but I appreciate it that you said that.”

“Whatever, Kirishima.” His tone is dismissive, but his shoulders relax and expose the truth behind his nonchalant attitude. Bakugou rolls onto his back, pushing his hair out of his face and staring up. Kirishima pushes Bakugou’s shoulder with his own playfully. Bakugou gives him a surprised look before pushing back. Kirishima pushes harder, and them Bakugou shoves him off of the bed entirely

Kirishima is surprised to say the least, but Bakugou dissolves into a fit of giggles and covers his face. His shoulders shake with the force of his laughing, and Kirishima can only sort of join him. His brain is too busy memorizing every detail of genuine, joyful laughter. Kirishima hops back onto the bed before Bakugou can even stop laughing. They are shoved together like sardines.

“Scoot over, dumbass.”

Kirishima sticks his tongue out, “No. You’ll push me off again.”

Bakugou starts to shove, and Kirishima latches his arms around Bakugou’s. He’s clinging to the blonde like he’ll fall twenty stories rather than twenty inches. One arm has been shoved under Bakugou for extra leverage. Bakugou’s next shove is only half hearted, so Kirishima lightens up his hold and rolls back over. Unfortunately, Kirishima’s leverage arm has now turned into an anchor. He can’t move it, and Bakugou makes no effort to help him.

“Stop fucking moving.” Bakugou says, and Kirishima listens. Bakugou doesn’t question the arm, not even when Kirishima shifts it to a more comfortable spot. Bakugou’s practically laying in Kirishima’s arms. Oh shit. Oh fuck. Bakugou turns to stare at the ceiling again, rather than having to face Kirisima. “What… What was that Tomo guy like?”

Kirishima’s surprised by the question, but answers honestly. “Tomo was a really good friend. He cared a lot and he was good to me. He asked me out and since I was a kid in middle school who didn’t know what really liking someone was like, I said yes. I had a crush on him before that, but it wasn’t a big deal. He was a good guy and a good boyfriend, but he wasn’t the guy , you know? If I were to go back, I think I’d want us to just be friends.”

“Do you know what really liking someone is like now?”

Kirishima’s heart stalls. “Y-Yeah. D’you?”

Bakugou stays quiet for a long time. “I think I do. Yeah, I’m pretty damn sure I do.” Kirishima desperately wants to ask who, and he also desperately wants to never know the answer. He even opens his mouth to ask, a few times, but never works up the courage to actually say it. Once he starts to ask, though, he hears Bakugou’s breathing level out. Fuck . He fell asleep.

Kirishima just grins a little to himself before falling out of consciousness himself. “Goodnight, Bakugou. Sweet dreams.”

Chapter Text

Kirishima rolls out of bed groggily, smacking the alarm for five in the fucking morning. Bakugou had apparently decided to return to his hellish schedule. This is likely because he’s been able to get really, genuinely good sleep during the last few nights. Bakugou, apparently the most comfortable person in the world, has laid himself all over Kirishima during the night. Kirishima is laid out flat like a decent person. Bakugou is not. One arm was thrown over Kirishima in the night, one leg following suit. Bakugou is effectively holding onto him like a baby koala. One would think Kirishima would be used to being close with Bakugou in the mornings by now.

One would be wrong.

Kirishima attempts to wiggle away, but Bakugou pulls him in close, still asleep but slowly gaining consciousness. Kirishima opts to wake Bakugou up first, so he can move without being tackled back onto the bed. “Baku. Bakugou. You’ve gotta wake up, dude.”

“Nooooooooo .” Bakugou replies intelligently.

“Yes. Your alarm went off. I need to get ready, too. You don’t wanna be late and ruin your perfect attendance, right ?” Kirishima coaxes, hoping to get some sense into the blonde.

Bakugou squeezes tighter. Shit, for someone so asleep, Bakugou packs some real strength. “‘S warm.”

“Okay, I’ll leave you here, then.” Kirishima pulls the arms off of him.

Bakugou groans and whines simultaneously, grabbing at Kirishima’s retreating wrist. Kirishima pulls it out of his grasp, and that seems to wake Bakugou up enough to sit up. Bakugou, true to his usual attitude, is pouting like a child not getting their way. “Fuck you.”

Kirishima just laughs and pulls him the rest of the way up. “Come on . For someone who wakes up so early, you really aren’t a morning person.”

“I used to be. You’re a human heater and the entire fucking world feels cold when you get up. How are you so warm?”

“Muscle mass?” Kirishima guesses. “I’m bigger than you, so I probably generate more heat than you. Strength training, and all.”

Bakugou sneers and stands, “I’ve got muscles, Shitty Hair.”

“I’m very aware! Your Quirk needs you to have agility and stuff because a major bonus is your range of motion. I focus on being heavier because I don’t want to move. You need as much moveability as possible, I need the least.”

“Whatever. See you in class, loser.” Bakugou walks out and slams the door a little harder than necessary. He always goes above and beyond, even in shutting a door. Kirishima adores this ridiculous man.

Kirishima readies himself, doing his hair and finishing getting ready for the day.

____________

Class goes by quickly. Soon enough, it’s lunchtime. They all secure their favorite seats, grabbing some of Lunch Rush’s incredible food. Once safely seated, the group begins talking.

Kaminari is the first to speak. “I’m excited for more stuff in English. I know I mess up occasionally, but I’m getting bored.”

“Bored?” Bakugou gapes, “The shit we’re doing right now is almost hard for me .”

Kaminari grins a proud smile, “Sucks for you. I’m fluent in English.” Everyone but Sero does a double-take.

“WHAT?! My little Kaminari is a GENIUS?!” Mina screams, alerting (and probably confusing) several other tables.

“I’m surprised you guys didn’t know. He reads English books all the time, has been since middle school.” Sero interjects, waving a fork in the same way people wag their fingers at children.

“Then why are your grades such shit?”

Kaminari’s proud face wavers as he busies himself with rearranging his food as he speaks. “Well, uh… It can be a little hard for me to get stuff sometimes. Letters and numbers get all mixed up and flipped around sometimes, and I get confused. It’s hard for me in tests and assignments because I get freaked out and run out of time. With books, I can take my time and be slow. If I get too stuck, I ask Sero. Sero’s a bro and helps out.”

A lot of little things click into place for Kirishima then. “Oh, you’re dyslexic, right?” Kaminari nods. “My mama is a counselor mostly for kids, and she gets a lot of kids with dyslexia. I think it’s crazy manly that you’re putting all that work in so you can read a book. You’re really cool, Kaminari, and I’m really impressed with you for that. It takes a lot of smarts to be able to learn another language.”

Kaminari flushes all over. Kirishima thinks it must be because nobody ever compliments this kid, especially not academic things. It sort of breaks Kirishima’s heart, because Kaminari is so lighthearted all the time. He is always there for everyone that wants a friend, and in return he gets insulted for learning handicaps nobody knows he has. “No, no, I’m just… I got really upset because there wasn’t a Japanese translation of this book that I’d heard I’d love. I pretty much learned a language out of spite.”

“Even better!” Mina exclaims, throwing herself across his shoulders dramatically. “That’s amazing, Kaminari! Learning is really hard sometimes, and you learned something you didn’t have to even though it was really tough. That makes you so smart!”

Kaminari may explode right there at that lunch table. Kirishima’s never seen someone so red. Sero shoves Kaminari’s shoulder, “See? Told ya.”

Bakugou nods a little. “Dunce Face isn’t as much of a dunce as I thought.” Bakugou apparently realizes something right after. “Hold the fucking phone. You shouldn’t fail a damn thing in that class if you’re fluent!”

“Well focusing is hard! I’d love to do all my work easily, but if I’m not motivated it’s so hard to make myself do anything!” Kirishima knows what’s behind that. It’s not easy to miss Kaminari’s hyperactive tendencies or the challenges he has in school. The deck was stacked against him from birth in terms of education. Kirishima is almost completely certain that Kaminari has ADHD on top of dyslexia. 

Mina’s got ADHD as well, and when you live your life looking up to someone with a learning issue, it’s easy to notice the signs in others. It’s even easier when your mother diagnoses people for a living and teaches you so you’re better equipped to help classmates. 

Bakugou just sneers at him, “Well then, maybe you should go to someone other than Tape Face for help? Like, I don’t know, maybe the guy you pester constantly who just so happens to be one of the top three students in class?”

Kaminari’s entire face lights up as if fifteen spotlights have been pointed on him. “You’d do that?! Bro I love you!”

“Touch me and you die.”

“Sure thing, Bossman!”

They can’t help but laugh. This is simple. This is fun and carefree. This is what their whole lives could’ve been. Kirishima’s heart aches for it, for the possibility of light and happy times almost always. His heart aches for the experiences every other class gets to have. Ones without villains and near death experiences and new trauma almost once a week. It can be so hard to be optimistic when your life revolves around not dying at the hands of villains. Kirishima knows that’s a big part of being a hero, he’s just… not ready yet. He thought he’d be able to wait until after high school for almost dying to start.

Bakugou kicks his foot and whispers, “Whatever bullshit you’re thinking, quit it. Relax while you’ve got the chance.”

Mina notices soon after. “What’s wrong, Kiri?”

“Nothing, I just- I wish it could be like this all the time, you know? It makes me sad that you guys have to go through villain attacks and stuff. I hate it that you guys put your life on the line.”

Sero pokes his hand from across the table. “Hey. You’re out there doing the same as us, if not more. Don’t act like we’re weak by being worried.” Kirishima starts to object, but Sero gives him no chances. It’s not right of you to worry. Just trust us, and then we can trust you, too, when something happens. We’re training to be heroes, Kirishima. This is just a head start for the real world.”

“I guess you’re right-” Kirishima begins, though his is abruptly cut off..

Kaminari jumps into the conversation again. “Of course he is! Sero’s rarely wrong. Now eat your fucking food and stop being sad. It’s illegal.”

“It’s illegal to be sad?”

“It’s illegal for you to be sad. Stop breaking the law, Kirishima.” Kaminari raises an eyebrow in mock surprise.

Bakugou follows suit. “Yeah, Kirishima. I can’t fucking believe you.” Kirishima just gapes at his friends, offended by their fake betrayal. Mina and Sero even join, shaking their heads. Then, Bakugou goes in for the kill. “I’m disappointed in you.”

____________

After they got Kirishima to stop crying, lunch was nearly over. Their classes are fast, and few people are sent to Recovery Girl. The entire class gathered up in the common room afterwards, deciding to watch something to cool off as a class. Of course, it ends up a Disney movie.

Mulan is chosen, and much of the class is excited. This is a true classic that should be enjoyed by children everywhere.

They also enjoyed watching, and occasionally joining, Kirishima scream along the entirety of Be a Man . But really, what did they expect? The song is basically Kirishima’s life motto. He was not the first or the last to break out into song. The song about honor was a joint effort of Kaminari, Sero, Uraraka, and Hagakure. Reflection was courtesy of Jirou for the most part, but Tsuyu and- surprisingly enough- Midoriya joined in on occasion. 

By the end, they were all happy and a little bit tired of hearing their peers squawk along to wonderful music. Nobody got up to move, though. It was just one of those days where they could use some casual interactions. Kirishima smiles, “So! Who else has noticed Midoriya’s improvement lately?’

Midoriya looks shocked, but flushes red. He’s practically glowing when most of the class agrees with Kirishima. “I-It’s not that much! I just figured that if I don’t do well with my arms, my legs would do better. And… I got better at controlling all of my power.”

Mina, always great at invasive questions, asks, “Your power? You’ve had forever to learn to control it.”

It goes quiet. Midoriya looks horrified. Bakugou, remarkably, steps in. “It’s ‘cause Shitty Deku was weaker and more pathetic. His tiny little infant body couldn’t handle it until he grew a pair and decided to work out. His stupid Quirk didn’t even show up until he was strong enough to handle it. Pathetic, I know.”

Midoriya nods, “Y-Yeah! I started training really hard before the entrance exam, and ended up discovering that I’ve got a quirk!”

Uraraka gapes at him, “Woah, so you trained without even knowing you had a quirk? That’s so cool! Can it go away if you’re not strong enough?”

“Well…” Midoriya winces, “ That’s almost definitely not what would happen. When I talked to doctors, they said it might possibly… blowmyarmsandlegsoff.”

“WHAT?!”

“It might make me explode if I’m not careful, so I have to keep my muscle mass up. It seems super dangerous, but I train all the time anyways.”

Kirishima pokes his arm, “Well, yeah. You’ve bulked up quick, dude. Soon enough you’ll be as big as All Might.”

Midoriya pulls a horrific All Might face, “I AM HERE!” Kirishima is stunned into silence, as is the rest of the class, before they all start laughing hysterically. Midoriya’s face returns to his normal (and no longer traumatic) face. The Symbol of Peace’s expression shouldn’t look that terrifying, but apparently, it only looks heroic on All Might.

Sero, ever the opportunist, piles his tape over himself in a scarf shape and makes a very familiar apathetic smile. It only takes a moment for everyone to understand who he’s trying to be- Aizawa . The group falls into giggles once more.

Iida chops his arms. “That’s not appropriate! You shouldn’t mock your teachers!”

Yaoyorozu smiles, “I don’t know… this seems kind of fun, Iida.” She takes her hair down and dawns a sultry expression. She creates a little whip, and suddenly it clicks. Yaomomo is pretending to be Midnight. The class erupts. Iida is screaming. He’s filled with teacher’s pet rage at the impersonations.

“IDENTITY THEFT IS A HORRIBLE CRIME! STOP MAKING A MOCKERY OF CRIME!”

Midoriya coaxes Iida gently, “Do an impression of Ingenium. Come on, Iida, it’s perfect.”

Iida looks like he may sob. “This class is full of barbarians! Stop this at once!” Kirishima nearly breaks the poor man’s heart when he impersonates Crimson Riot. If Aizawa walked in, he’d probably think Iida had witnessed the murder of kittens.

Kirishima could spend forever like this. No arguing, no struggles, no villains. Just kids goofing off. Kirishima doesn’t know how to feel. On one hand, UA has given him the confidence and the ability to be who he’s always dreamed, but on the other… on the other, he’s lost his childhood and gained scores of near death experiences. Kirishima’s not one to complain, but he’d prefer to wait until after high school to risk his life. Of course, he didn’t have much of a choice. Kirishima hates the idea of losing his friends more than anything else in the world. He’d do anything for them, and it hurts him to know there’s nothing he can do. 

For now though, the world is still outside of this room. No one can hurt them here. This class is his safe place, and he’d do anything for them. He’ll risk everything to keep all of them safe and happy. He’ll do anything, because he’s finally found his home. It makes him kind of terrified for graduation, even though that's so far away. He'll miss this place so much when he leaves. This is Kirishima's home, and he will protect it with everything in him.

Chapter Text

A good student would pay attention in class. A good student would write notes, learn, and actively engage. Everyone knows that classmate; the one with extraordinary grades that hardly misses a beat when students begin something new. Kirishima is not this student, no matter how hard Aizawa may want him to be.

Kirishima employs a tactic known as sliding by . He works just hard enough to keep reasonable grades going. B’s and C’s are Kirishima’s territory in life. It doesn’t bother him much, since he’s not at this school to be a genius. Kirishima is at this school to learn how to take names, kick ass, and save people.

Bakugou, contrary to what one may assume, is absolutely that student. He focuses on the information given, scribbles what he needs into a notebook, and aces absolutely everything. Aizawa has to be at least a little impressed by that. Bakugou has such a wonderfully focused face in class. When Aizawa has been droning on since the beginning of time, Kirishima can lose himself staring at that face. Bakugou doesn’t look calm or at ease, per se, he just looks less evil. His eyebrows still scrunch together and occasionally he’ll begin to snarl. However, his eyes are different. They’ve got a kind of intellectual buzz, like he’s excited for a different kind of challenge. Of course he is, it’s Katsuki Bakugou.

That’s where Kirishima has landed himself today; staring at Bakugou’s face and making the most of an uneventful class. How beautiful can one man be? How much knowledge can one brain hold before it explodes? Is that why Bakugou is so hyper? He commits himself to learning so much he’s blown an actual fuse? “.... quiz.” 

Kirishima snaps right the fuck out of it. “Qu-Quiz?!”

Aizawa gives him a tired, bored expression. “Yes, Kirishima. Tomorrow. Study your material. Please .”

Kirishima and Kaminari share a desperate, terrified look. It’s the end of days. Tomorrow is so very close and they are so very unprepared.

Bakugou releases a long, drawn out sigh. “I’ll claim these fools.” Sero and Mina bat their eyes and lean over with gross smiles. “I’ll help you fuckers too if you never make those faces ever again.”

“Got it, bossman!” Mina yells, saluting dramatically. Mina is a rather relaxed person about her grades. She tends to use laugh at the prospect of failing a test. Kaminari does not. Kaminari has a mental breakdown at some point before just about every test he takes. Surely, this time will be no different. 

Aizawa leaves when the bell rings, Mic walking in after him. “HEEELLO STUDENTS! ARE YOU READY TO LEARN MORE ENGLISH?!” He’s met with complete silence. It’s almost like a curse for the poor man. Every time he tries to get students excited, he fails. 

That is, until he too mentions a test. The room flies into chaos. Sero and Kirishima both scream in genuine terror. Mina begins bargaining pitifully. Kaminari, the poor dear, just thumps his head down onto the desk.

____________

“I’m gonna fail.” Kaminari whimpers.

Bakugou makes an indignant noise. “Shut the fuck up. If I’m tutoring your sorry ass, of course you won’t fail. Now buckle the fuck down and learn .” His tone is vicious and his words are hardly any nicer, but he means well on some level. Bakugou cares a lot, just in his own special, rage fueled way.

“Hey, Bakugou?” Mina beings, actually looking through her papers to study. A true saint amongst several completely useless men. “Where was the first Quirk reported?”

“Qingquing City, China, you fucking walnut. The baby glowed.”

“Could you even imagine?” Kirishima begins excitedly, nudging Bakugou’s arm. “You go to hold your child for the first time and they’re glowing like baby Jesus in an expensive nativity scene.” Mina and Sero start rolling. Bakugou, completely unamused, shoves Kirishima’s arm away. Kaminari is too busy freaking the fuck out to laugh.

“Oh my god.” Kaminari all but wails. He cards his hands through his hair ferociously, ruining the gel that sets his hair. His lightning bolt slowly shifted until it didn’t look like a lightning bolt at all, rather a little streak of black in chaotic hair. “I’m gonna fail . They’re gonna kick me out.”

“No they’re not, you fucking mess. If you’d study and pay attention earlier than right before the test, you wouldn’t panic so bad.”

“Easy for you to say!” Kaminari snaps back. His voice cracks under the weight of the emotions it carries. “You’re smart . School comes easy to you. It’s not like that for me. You don’t even study that much. You just know everything you’re supposed to. I can’t do that! Everything’s always so easy for you!”

“Woah, hey, let’s calm down a little-” Kirishima ushers, trying to get the two to quit.

Bakugou slams his hand down on the table like his mother has been insulted. Well, not like his mother’s been insulted. Bakugou doesn’t seem to care much for her. As if his power had been insulted. “You don’t know shit about me! You don’t get to push your shit onto me just because you procrastinate. Get your shit in order. It’s not my fault or my problem that you won’t.”

Mina stands up, trying to draw attention away from the argument. “Guys, stop it!”

Kaminari jumps up, his chair screeching pathetically as it’s shoved back. It falls with a bang that makes every single nerve in Kirishima’s body itch to do something. Kaminari, however, is already tumbling into his words, the angriest Kirishima has ever seen him. “I CAN’T do what you do! I can sit there and do the same exact shit and retain nothing! It’s not fair! It’s not fair that the grades I try my hardest for are grades you wouldn’t get if you slept in class!”

Kirishima puts a hand on Kaminari’s shoulder. It’s pushed off roughly. “Kami, dude, it’s okay. Just let it go-”

“That’s because I DON’T sleep in class! I’ve seen you. It’s not just that you have a hard time paying attention. You put no fucking effort into paying attention!” Kirishima needs this to stop. Kaminari can’t get into this fight. Bakugou is fucking brutal and will destroy him.

“BECAUSE IT’S TOO FRUSTRATING, OKAY?!” He bellows, powerful and loud and enough to stop everyone in their tracks. “It’s so discouraging to work as hard as I can and still fail. Why put all my effort in when I can just give up and end up in the same place? At least this way, failing is because I don’t care enough and not because I’m not good enough!” The room goes quiet.

Kaminari’s eyes are blown wide. He looks like he’s hardly breathing. Before Kirishima’s brain has time to know what he’s doing, his body is already moving. He’s never done that before. Distantly, he reasons that this isn’t a situation he can be injured in, so of course his survival instincts aren’t holding him back. His anxiety has given way for his Mama Bear protective mode to do its thing.

Kirishima leads Kaminari away from the chairs at the dining table to the nearby couch. “It’s okay, Kami. Breath with me. You’re gonna be okay.” Kaminari trembles like an autumn leaf trying to cling to the branch. He lowers down weakly, tense in every single muscle. “Kaminari. Look at me, okay?” Kaminari’s bulging eyes meet Kirishima’s. A tear slips down his cheek, forging its path alone. Kirishima cuts its course off, wiping the tear with his thumb. Kirishima’s heart crumbles a little. “Good. Good. Breath with me, alright bro? We can get through this.” Kirishima a deep breath, giving a clear example for Kaminari to follow. Kaminari, albeit shaky, keeps his breathing in line with Kirishima’s.

Sero walks over and places a stress ball in Kaminari’s hand without a word. Distantly, Kirishima registers that this is probably a common thing. Kaminari squeezes the stress ball until his knuckles go white, simply holding the violent grip. Sero whispers, “Denk, squeeze while you breath. You’ve got this.” Kaminari follows Sero’s instruction, slowly focusing on the stress ball instead of the panic. 

After several long breaths, he seems to begin regaining composure.

Kirishima smiles proudly at his bro. Kirishima knows for experience how horrible it can be with an anxiety attack. “See? It’s going to be okay. Now, do you think you can explain what just happened, or do you need a minute?”

Kaminari shakes his head weakly, convincing pretty much no one. “No, I’m-I’m good now. I just get… really anxious and stuff before tests and I guess… I got carried away. I don’t mean to get snappy with anyone, but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed I just can’t help it. I’m sorry, Bakugou. I shouldn’t get pissy just because you’re talented at a lot of stuff.”

Bakugou scoffs, but looks at Kaminari with some concern. “Yeah. Guess I was a little closed minded about shit. I don’t know what the fuck it’s like to live in your brain. It’s a lot fucking different then mine. And you’re not fucking pathetic, okay? Just because you’re shit at school doesn’t mean you have no purpose. You’re a decent friend and a passable fighter. All these tests and shit? They don’t mean shit in a fight.”

Mina smiles, but it’s a little weak around the edges. “Yeah! You’re a great friend, a great fighter, and a really good person. I’m not good at school either, and even though it sucks that doesn’t make me any less of a hero or a person. It’s the same for you.”

Kaminari’s eyes fill with tears again. Sero paces a hand on Kaminari’s shoulder and the floodgates open. Kaminari pulls Sero into a hug, burying his face in the tape hero’s neck to cry in peace. Sero pats his back comfortingly and whispers, “I’ve been telling you for years, Denk. You’re a badass.”

It doesn’t take too long for the tears to slow to a halt. Kaminari wipes his face with the heels of his hands. “God, I’m so stupid. I’m sorry, guys. I need to get my shit together. This isn’t really manly of me, huh Kirishima?”

“Not true!” Kirishima insists, mildly offended at whatever Kaminari thought his idea of manliness was. “True manliness is living without regets. Living life to the fullest. Life can’t be the fullest if you don’t let yourself feel all of your emotions.”

Kaminari nods and suddenly, miraculously, there’s a little spark behind his eyes. "Let’s get to work!”

_____________

Kirishima’s test results come back as expected. In Eraserhead’s, he gets a respectable 86. In Present Mic’s, he gets a semi-respectable 78. Bakugou got 98 on both of them and looks displeased. Kirishima isn't surprised by this in the slightest.

Kaminari, however, did not beat him in either subject. Not by quite a long shot. Kaminari got a 72 in Eraserhead’s class. It’s scraping by as a C-, but Kaminari is so happy he nearly cries again. In Present Mic’s English, he gets an 84. Kaminari does cry a little there, but he screws his face up into some funny grimace so most of the class thinks he’s being dramatic for laughs.

That funny face isn’t enough to hide anything for Kirishima. It doesn’t change the look Kirishima can see in his eyes. Kirisima sees so much pride . He looks like he’s won the biggest competition of his life. Kaminari gives Sero a million high fives and Sero takes every one with a smile and manages to match Kami’s enthusiasm, if not beat it. Sero is such an incredible friend.

Mina fails Present Mic’s test. Kirishima only knows this because she dropped the paper. It slid beneath his desk. Kirishima picked it up to help, but when he did, he came face to face with a 60%. Mina raised a finger to her lips, asking for his silence as she folded the test neatly and slid it into her backpack. As soon as the paper was hidden, she regained her trademark smile and returned to cheering for Kaminari.

Though Kirishima didn’t know it was possible, he looks up to her a little more after that. She’s going to be such a wonderful hero. She’s got the kindness, selflessness, personality, skill, and even the look of an incredible hero. Kirishima counts himself lucky to have grown up with someone as naturally great as Mina Ashido. Admittedly, it hurt his confidence when he was younger. Now, though, he can see that being in her shadow pushed him to work harder. It pushed him to work hard enough to reach UA.

Jirou, in an attempt to tease Kaminari, begins to comment on the general mediocrity of an 84. Sero, ever the great person, catches this in time to stop her. Sero waits until Kaminari is laughing and talking excitedly, his back turned to the pair. He leans over and whispers, “Please don’t. He’s really proud of himself right now.” She looks surprised, but nods immediately. She doesn’t pressure for more information or ask Kaminari why he’s excited.

All of my classmates are really incredible people . Kirishima thinks. I’m such a lucky person to know all of these future heroes.

“SHITTY DEKU BEAT MY SCORE?! I’LL BEAT YOU UNTIL YOU FORGET HOW TO SPELL, NERD!”

So kind and mature.

Chapter Text

Kirishima is remarkably bored. He’s tried every method known to man to avoid it, but he is. Finally, he just flings his body over the edge of the bed, arms and torso dangling off the floor. Bakugou, from where he leans against the side of the bed, is in a similar state of disinterest in the world.  Kirishima looks at his posters in his boredom, trying to find something fun to do. “Hey Bakugou?” Bakugou hums a little to acknowledge the question. “Let’s spar.”

Bakugou turns around faster than Kirishima has ever seen him move. That’s a real achievement for Bakugou. There’s a sadistic, gleeful look in those explosive eyes. “Spar? Let’s fucking go.” Bakugou grabs Kirishima by the wrist and yanks towards the door. Kirishima is pulled off of the bed and, with the grace of a newborn deer, his entire body smacks into the floor. Bakugou, helpfully, drops the wrist he just borderline dislocated.

Then, the bastard starts cackling . “It’s not funny, Bakugou! You’ve injured me!” Kirishima can’t keep the joke up long before laughing as well. “Whatever, you have to go change and so do I. Get out.” Bakugou pretty much sprints. Kirishima wants to laugh at him. There’s so much restless energy in Bakugou, almost like a five year old forced to sit still.

Before Kirishima can change his shirt, Bakugou’s wrapping on the door with three violent knocks. “Chill out!” Kirishima shouts as he does the half-dressed pants hop towards the door. Once his pants are firmly on his body, he opens it.

As soon as the door shuts behind Kirishima, Bakugou is pulling his wrist again and running like an excited child. Kirishima can only laugh and sprint alongside him.

_____________

“That the best you got, bitch?” Bakugou taunts, wiping blood off the fresh split on his cheek. Kirishima’s fists ache from a combination of the punches and the strain of his Quirk.

Kirishima cracks his neck and steadies himself for more blows. “You know it’s not.” He swings at Bakugou once more. It doesn’t connect. Bakugou’s explosion follows through into Kirishima’s side. Though his skin is hardened, Kirishima still feels the ache of the blast. Kirishima uses the opportunity to send a punch smashing into Bakugou. Though his punch is slow, it connects and flings Bakugou out of punching range.

Bakugou’s right back, though, all fists and explosions and merciless force. Kirishima bares his teeth as he takes the brunt of another explosion. His skin bleeds a little in the cracks of weakening skin. Kirishima swings violent punches at Bakugou, few of them landing. Bakugou explodes Kirishima’s face and the burn of it is sharp and rough.

It’s so fucking fun .

Kirishima spits blood from a brand new cut in his mouth and grins wildly. Kirishima, hurting and tired, decides to go for a new tactic. He lifts Bakugou off of the ground, a hand under each of the explosive man’s armpits. Bakugou is still for a moment in surprise. 

Then, Kirishima throws him across the gym.

Bakugou regains his bearings in the air and blasts into Kirishima. He crashes into Kirishima, landing on top of him and snarling like a wild animal. Kirishima flips him over and slams the blonde’s back into the ground, hands pinned with both of Kirishima’s. 

Bakugou’s murderous eyes lose their flame. Instead of angry, he just looks shocked and mildly flustered. He begins to struggle, so Kirishima presses him into the ground with his legs. Kirishima feels like he could take on the world right now; he smiles and it feels feral even on his own face. “Give up! We both know I’ve got more raw strength.”

Bakugou snarls at him, face tinted red. He sets explosions off in his captured hands. “As if!” Kirishima grabs Bakugou’s hands in one of his own, smacking them into the ground and digging his fingers into the concrete for leverage. His fingers ache and burn immediately. However, like this, Kirishima thinks he can wait Bakugou out.

It’s a bad idea. Bakugou has more stamina than anticipated. Kirishima, in his haste to end the fight, decides to fight dirty He uses his free hand to dig into Bakugou’s side. Bakugou’s entire body goes stiff. Then, Kirishima moves his fingers aggressively.

Bakugou howls with laughter and thrashes like a madman. “You- You fucking bitch-get-” He breaks off to cackle some more. “Get off!”

Kirishima laughs, drunk on the kind of power that one can only achieve from violently tickling someone else. “Yield!”

“Nuh-Never!” Bakugou’s arms thrash and his legs kick, but nothing stops the onslaught of tickling. Bakugou’s violent laughter descends into breathless giggles.

Kirishima thinks it sounds wonderful.

Bakugou, keen as always, notices a moment of distraction in Kirishima and goes in for the kill. He knees Kirishima in the gut and flings the redhead off and away.

Kirishima flies a few feet off of the ground and hardly lands on his feet. Bakugou’s still wheezing from all that laughter. “That was dirty… you bitch .”

Kirishima flexes his bloodied fingers. “I don’t think I want to fight anymore… I think I might’ve pushed my fingers a bit far.” 

“Yeah, your shitty blood’s all over the floor. Let me see it. I brought some bandages.”

“It’s fine, I’ll just go to Recovery Girl-”

Bakugou gives him a deadpan look. “You’re not going to bleed on these floors. The janitors already have to deal with too much of our shit from today.” Bakugou opens his backpack and motions for Kirishima to sit down. Kirishima, not wanting to be yelled at, obliges. Bakugou pulls out a pack of disinfectant wipes and gets to work.

The motions are practiced and gentle, but it stings and burns nonetheless. Kirishima can’t hide his wince at the pain. Bakugou scoffs at him and mumbles something about Kirishima being a weak little bitch , but manages to be even softer in his motions regardless.

Once Kirishima’s fingers are sufficiently blood-free, Bakugou wraps his hands with care. Kirishima’s heart swells with too much affection when he sees the concentration on Bakugou’s face

Bakugou is by no means clean right now. His hair is messy from sweat and all the fighting they’ve done. His cheeks are flushed with the aftershocks of exertion. His lip is split a little and the cut on his cheek is still bleeding a little.

Bakugou looks up at Kirishima and glares. The glare hardly has any bite behind it, but it’s still enough to appear annoyed. “Stop it.”

“Stop what?”

“Staring at me like that.” Bakugou mumbles, looking back down at the partially-wrapped hand.

“Like what?” Kirishima asks again, coaxing him to speak.

“Like I’m a good person.”

Kirishima’s face scrunches in confusion. “But you are. I can’t help it”

Bakugou finishes the wrap and glares up at him with redder cheeks than before. “Shut up. Let’s go.”

“Wait,” Kirishima begins. Bakugou turns back around. “Don’t move.” Kirishima instructs a thoroughly perplexed Bakugou. He grabs a wet wipe and swipes it over Bakugou’s cut, cleaning off the drop of blood beginning to slide down Bakugou’s cheek. Kirishima smiles, “There. Now we’re almost even.”

“Almost?”

Kirishima waves his injured hand. “You bandaged me up. I just cleaned you up a little. Now let’s go, this kinda hurts, man.”

They walk down to the nurse’s office. Recovery Girl sounds more annoyed than shock when she asks, “How did you manage this?”

Kirishima smiles awkwardly, “Well, uh, I got a little bit too excited while we were sparring…”

“Well, you ought to be more careful next time! Much further and you’d have broken them all.” She places kisses on Kirishima and Bakugou’s foreheads before ushering them away.

Since Kirishima decided to slam his fingers into concrete, he’s the more injured of the two. This also meant that, after the healing, he’s more tired as well. He slings his arm over Bakugou and walks as well as he’s able. Bakugou glances over at him, “You look fucking beat .”

“I am . I don’t know how Midoriya does it all the time. Or you, even. I don’t have the energy.”

Bakugou shrugs, “It isn’t a big deal when you have a reasonable amount of fucking stamina. How you manage to have muscles with your tiny baby energy levels will never cease to amaze me.”

Kirishima gasps in fake offense. “I can’t believe I’ve been called out like this. I’m honestly feeling so betrayed.” Bakugou snorts a little and pushes Kirishima’s arm away. “You don’t have my issue. I have to move all this muscle. You’re, like, tiny. That makes you and fast.”

Bakugou, apparently realizing how exhausted Kirishima must be, decides to not yell at him for that. “Tiny and fast, huh? I’m sort of taller than you without all of your shitty hair.”

Kirishima shakes his head, “My hair’s not shitty and that’s not what I mean. You’re just… selectively muscley. We’ve had this conversation too many times.”

“Well, you insult my muscles too often.”

“No!” Kirishima wails dramatically. “I’m not insulting! Your muscles are great. You have the shoulder-to-waist ratio of a Dorito and you’re really strong. You’re just less bulky than me. I like your muscles more than mine.”

Bakugou doesn’t respond. He opens the door to Kirishima’s dorm and they walk into the room. Kirishima flings himself onto his bed. Bakugou sneers, “No. Get up. You aren’t sleeping all sweaty and gross. Go shower. I’ll shower in mine.” Kirishima gets up with a long, drawn out groan.

Kirishima hops into the shower, and the heat helps to wake him up. He washes his hair product out with his super bubbly shampoo and washes off all his grime and sweat. Kirishima slips into his pajamas, though he’s hardly tired anymore.

Bakugou walks in, prepared for a very early sleep, only to find Kirishima kicking his feet over the edge of the bed, a ball of too much energy. “I’m not tired anymore.” Kirishma grins, his face splitting like the Cheshire cat. Bakugou, severely disappointed, slings a pillow into Kirishima’s unsuspecting face. The fabric slides off of Kirishima’s face, flopping pitifully into the floor. A mix of competitive energy and the sheer desire to fuck someone up fill Kirishima in that moment. “Oh, it’s on.”

They then proceed to beat the living shit out of each other with pillows. After a good fifteen minutes, they lay on the floor, both heaving a little as they calm back down. Kirishima stares up at his ceiling as he’s hit with a massive sentimental wave. “I love this kind of stuff. Being dumb with you. It makes it easier to go to school and risk our lives.”

Bakugou stays silent for a long time. “Me, too, actually. You make all of it feel bearable.”

Kirishima's heart pounds in his chest as he searches for a way to respond. “Just bearable?”

“No.” Bakugou admits. “I guess not. As fucking gross as it sounds, you make it fun . Ugh, that sounds so stupid.”

Kirishima pushes up onto his elbows to look at Bakugou. “I don’t think it’s stupid at all! I feel the same. Like, school would be so boring without you. I couldn’t do it.”

Bakugou just rolls his eyes. Kirishima flops back down. “I hate it that you make me want to talk about things. I want to tell you stuff.”

“What stuff?” Kirishima asks, probably pushing at boundaries.

Bakugou inhales shakily. “I, uh... like guys.”

Holy shit .

It’s happening.

It’s fucking happening.

Kirishima is going to die tonight.

Kirishima doesn’t move a muscle . He’s probably hyperventilating and he’s almost sure Bakugou can hear his heart thundering and Kirishima’s probably going to go into cardiac arrest and oh god what’s even happening- shit. He needs to talk. The silence is going on for too long.

SAY SOMETHING!

ANYTHING!

“Cool!” Kirishima squeaks out, his voice far too pitchy and high. He clears his throat. “Cool.” Too low. Fucking hell . “I mean, I’m glad you trust me enough to tell me. Is this, like, a new revelation?”

“I fucking hate almost everyone, so yeah.”

Kirishima is going to lose his mind today. That, or explode from all the excitement. “I hear it’s difficult for a bit once you have your own little gay awakening. I’ve got lesbian moms, so I never really had to question it. I’d say I wanted to marry a boy on the playground, and my moms would ask when the wedding was. Heteronormativity didn’t really affect me as much because I’ve been around gay since birth, pretty much. I never even had to come out to them. I’ve only ever had to come out to, like, classmates and stuff.”

Bakugou scoffs, “Lucky. I have to do the whole process. Parents and all.”

“No you don’t. Especially not right now. You’ve got all the time in the world to tell people. You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops to be proud of it.”

Bakugou just runs a heavy hand through his own hair. “I hate always being different than everyone else. It’s fucking exhausting.”

Kirishima nudges Bakugou’s arm with the softest smile he can muster. “Who said you’re different? We’re the same, especially in this. It doesn’t change anything. You aren’t any different because of this.”

“Yeah,” Bakugou says. “I guess you’re right.” Remarkably, there’s a smile in his voice. It’s hardly on his face, but it’s there. Kirishima meets his eye and returns the smile. 

Kirishima pokes a rough finger into Bakugou’s chest. “We are the same.”

Bakugou’s spitfire eyes melt Kirishima’s heart as he returns the gesture with a firm poke to Kirishima’s chest. “The same.”

Chapter Text

Bakugou stands up from the floor, slinging his pillow over his shoulder like Santa Claus with a bag of presents. “I’m tired, dipshit. Bed time.”

“Oh yeah?” Kirishima grins. “Says who?” It’s a statement riddled with challenge. It’s bait for Bakugou to bite at.

Bakugou’s eyes flare, itching to react to the dare within Kirishima’s words. Bakugou suppresses the competitive impulse and points at Kirishima aggressively. “No. We are not having another fucking pillow fight. We have school and I will leave this room right fucking now.”

Kirishima gives the dopiest smile he can procure. It’s too soft for his features and too bubbly to be taken seriously. Kirishima’s sitting criss-cross on the floor, his hands resting on his own ankles. He looks like a lovesick thirteen-year-old girl. “No you won’t. You like the ritual.”

Bakugou just lays down on the bed silently. Kirishima hops up and flings himself onto the bed. He lands next to Bakugou, causing both of them to bounce a little from the force of the leap. “You are a menace to society.”

“I’m your favorite person and you know it.”

“There’s not a high bar for that, dumbass.” Bakugou begins, cutting his words off with a long yawn. His eyes scrunch up and his arms reach above his head in a stretch. When he opens his eyes, he looks so sleepy. Kirishima’s heart is going to implode.

“I am your favorite though, right?” Kirishima asks, fishing for a little extra validation. Kirishima is well aware he has a problem with seeking validation, thank you very much. He just doesn’t care at the moment.

Bakugou makes a very animated thinking face, clearly designed to tease Kirishima. “I don’t know...Tape Face is pretty okay.”

Kirishima wails, “Bakugou! You can’t do this to me! I’ve earned your favorite spot. I’ve put in the hours. I spent the time to work past your asshole facade and unearth the Cool Bakugou.”

Bakugou’s eyes are lidded and heavy with exhaustion. He’ll be asleep in two minutes, max. “‘Course you’re my favorite, dipshit. You don’t see me laying in Soy Sauce’s room every night.” Promptly, Bakugou falls asleep and leaves Kirishima with an absolute conniption fit warring in his brain.

Why, God, why is sleepy Bakugou so precious?!

Bakugou’s hair is freshly dried, fluffy and soft against the side of Kirishima’s arm. His face is still partially scrunched in his usual scowl. He’s not asleep enough yet for that to fade. Kirishima really enjoys the fact that he still holds up his Resting Bitch Face even in the early stages of sleep.

Footsteps rush down the hallway and into Kirishima’s room. “Kirishima, I’m so sorry to barge in but I’ve got a- oh.” Midoriya walks in, stopping in surprise. His face flushes violently when he realizes he’s just walked in on sleepy Bakugou. “I’m sorry for interrupting, I’ll just go-”

“No!” Kirishima whisper-screams. “You can stay and talk. I’m not tired or anything, so as long as he doesn’t wake up, there’s no problem. What’s your issue, bro?”

Midoirya rubs his hair and sits in Kirishima’s desk chair. “W-Well… I didn’t know who else to go to. I could go to Uraraka or Iida, but I’m afraid of making it weird between my friends. See, I… I think I might have a crush on Todoroki.”

Kirishima’s eyebrows fling up in surprise. “That-That’s a big realization for nine o’clock at night. Well, I guess you can join the club of hopeless gays falling for their best friends. Currently, all present members are in this room.”

Midoriya laughs a little, and then his anxious look returns. “I didn’t get it before, but is this how you felt in my room? I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

“Yeah, you get used to that. Did you know you liked guys or was it, like, the mother of surprise crushes?”

Midoriya looks to the side, “Ah- I’ve known that for a really long time. I mean, I’m bi, so I always knew I felt the same things for everyone, I just didn’t comprehend that I was feeling attraction for a while. Thankfully, Todoroki wasn’t my realization moment.”

Kirishima blows out a sigh of relief. He cannot handle working someone through coming out right now. It’s too much energy, and though he’d be thrilled if any of his friends wanted to come out, playing group therapist is hard sometimes. Kirishima’s only sixteen; he’s generally as stupid as the rest of his peers in terms of emotional situations. “So, what did it? What made you realize you like him?”

Midoriya’s face goes red. “Well, he and I were watching a movie and eating ice cream and stuff- the usual. It was a documentary about heroes and the people they saved. I said I couldn’t wait to save someone and Todoroki smiled at me and said I’d already saved him. I was losing my mind for the next, like 45 minutes. I basically ran here as soon as he went to his room.”

Kirishima has to fight back a laugh. So this is how the rest of his group feels when he’s panicking. “Okay, that sounds like he might be on the same page? I don’t know how he is with close friends, but he doesn’t seem to smile often, so that’s a good sign for you.”

Midoriya lays his face in his hands and whines. “That’s my problem . It’s so hard being his only close friend because I don’t know if this is how he acts with all his close friends since I’m the closest one! He could just be an affectionate friend and I have no idea .”

Kirishima releases a hearty laugh and motions to the sleeping Bakugou, “You’ve entered my world. Congrats, it fucking sucks.”

Chapter Text

“-to barge in but I’ve got a- oh.” A loud voice runs into the room and pulls Bakugou just to the edge of sleep. His head hurts and his body is sore from exertion, so he makes no effort to move or open his eyes. He’s only semi-conscious, but he’s still incredibly angry. It’s fucking Deku. “I’m sorry for interrupting, I’ll just go-”

“No!” Kirishima whisper-screams. Why no??? Deku needs to get the fuck out and Kirishima needs to stop co-signing his bullshit.“You can stay and talk. I’m not tired or anything, so as long as he doesn’t wake up, there’s no problem. What’s your issue, bro?”

Why, God, why is Kirishima such a nice person?!

Deku’s pathetic little voice gets all forlorn and emotional. “W-Well… I didn’t know who else to go to. I could go to Uraraka or Iida, but I’m afraid of making it weird between my friends. See, I… I think I might have a crush on Todoroki.” Kirishima’s body jerks a little in shock at that. Fuck . Now Bakugou can’t open his eyes. Deku and his big fucking mouth have ruined everything. Now Bakugou has to fake sleep for forever .

“That-That’s a big realization for nine o’clock at night.” Kirishima’s voice is tense and shocked. It’s almost enough to make Bakugou laugh. “Well, I guess you can join the club of hopeless gays falling for their best friends. Currently, all present members are in this room.”

What?

What?

WHAT?!

Kirishima must have a different best friend. He must have been lying to Bakugou when he said they were best friends. Of course he is; there’s no way someone as kind as Kirishima could fall for someone like Bakugou. Someone so loud and overbearing.

Deku laughs a little. It’s the grossest sound Bakugou’s ever heard. “I didn’t get it before, but is this how you felt in my room? I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

“Yeah, you get used to that. Did you know you liked guys or was it, like, the mother of surprise crushes?” Kirishima picks up questions in stride, almost like he was never surprised at all.

Deku’s stupid little fucking mouth starts mumbling. “Ah- I’ve known that for a really long time. I mean, I’m bi, so I always knew I felt the same things for everyone, I just didn’t comprehend that I was feeling attraction for a while. Thankfully, Todoroki wasn’t my realization moment.”

Kirishima blows out a sigh of relief, probably because he doesn’t have to coach Deku through a sexual awakening. Maybe being selfless all the fucking time takes a toll on someone. Being the group therapist is not a good thing for someone who has their own debilitating emotional problems. Bakugou knows Kirishima’s got them, but Kirishima’s better at hiding them than Bakugou. “So, what did it? What made you realize you like him?”

Shitty Deku takes a big breath and Bakugou knows he’s going to start ranting again. God fucking dammit. “Well, he and I were watching a movie and eating ice cream and stuff- the usual. It was a documentary about heroes and the people they saved. I said I couldn’t wait to save someone and Todoroki smiled at me and said I’d already saved him. I was losing my mind for the next, like 45 minutes. I basically ran here as soon as he went to his room.”

Kirishima’s stomach jerks in what was almost a laugh. “Okay, that sounds like he might be on the same page? I don’t know how he is with close friends, but he doesn’t seem to smile often, so that’s a good sign for you.” Bakugou almost wishes his hearing problems were worse for the day just so he could tune out the sequel to Deku’s rant.

Deku whines like a kicked puppy. Of course he does, the weakass bastard. “That’s my problem . It’s so hard being his only close friend because I don’t know if this is how he acts with all his close friends since I’m the closest one! He could just be an affectionate friend and I have no idea.” Bakugou is mildly offended at how Deku phrased that; a few extra details and that could be Bakugou’s exact problems.

Kirishima releases a hearty laugh and motions to…

To what must be Bakugou. “You’ve entered my world. Congrats, it fucking sucks.”

WHAT?!?!

Deku chuckles a little. “How’s that going? I know Kacchan can be… dense at times.” Fuck off, you shitty fucking Deku. Fuck you. Fuck your stupid hair. Fuck your fucking dumbass crush. Fuck you.

Kirishima sighs like a long-suffering hopeless romantic, which apparently he is? Bakugou’s learning too much. “He is.” Bakugou wants to scream. Bakugou is the dense one?! Kirishima and Bakugou had a heart to heart about how close they were and then Bakugou declared his gayness. That’s as obvious as it fucking gets! What does he want?! ‘ Hey Kirishima, you’re gay. I’m gay. Fuck me . But of fucking course, Kirishima would find a way to misinterpret even that. Bakugou is not the dense one. “He, um, he came out to me? I almost thought it was flirting but I have to be crazy.”

NO! You’re crazy for MISSING THE FUCKING SIGNALS YOU GORGEOUS DUMBASS !

Deku seems to have a brain cell or two, as he replies, “Kirishima… It’s Kacchan . He was definitely trying to flirt. You have to throw him a bone or two or he’s going to think you don’t like him. Which you still do, right?”

“Of course I do! It’s not a hopeful situation just ‘cause he likes guys. There are plenty of hot guys at this school that aren’t me.” Bakugou wants to sob in frustration. Kirishima is really so daft he can’t see how wonderful he is. Kirishima can’t see the big things, like how he’s needlessly kind and endlessly understanding. He’s brave and kind and remarkably determined.

He doesn’t see the small things, either. Kirishima doesn’t see the way his eyes light up at the mention of Crimson Riot and the threat of a challenge. He doesn’t see how he holds the door for strangers and holds peaceful conversations with even the most extra General Education student in the school. He doesn’t see how much everyone appreciates him for acting as a borderline therapist. He doesn’t see the way his stupid shark teeth shine when he smiles really wide or the way his dumbass hair makes him stick out in a crowd.

Deku just sighs, “You’re wonderful, Kirishima. You’re letting me rant in your room at nine-thirty at night when you could be sleeping. You’re cuddling your crush with no romantic intent just because he has nightmares.”

What the fuck??????

Bakugou isn’t stupid. He had always seen Kirishima’s stares. Bakugou just… misread them. He’s never had that kind of affection directed at him. He’s too loud and scary for anyone to want him. Bakugou just thought it was real, genuine admiration or something. Not in a million years would he have guessed this .

Bakugou’s sad, shriveled little heart aches. What has Bakugou done to deserve this? What if it’s all a dream and it’s ripped out of his hands by the harsh knocking of reality? What if Kirishima finds out Bakugou’s awake and hates him forever because he was eavesdropping?

Kirishima doesn’t respond. At least, he doesn’t with words. Bakugou can’t see him, so maybe there was a shrug or an eye roll or something. Deku’s chair creaks as he (probably- Bakugou’s just making guesses here) stands up and he moves towards the door. “I think I’ll head to bed now. I appreciate all of your help, Kirishima. Good luck with him.”

“Night, Midoriya.” The door closes quietly. Fuck . Now they’re alone. For a split second, Bakugou wants to open his eyes and admit he was awake. That thought leaves as quickly as it appears. Kirishima runs a soft hand through Bakugou’s hair and pushes his bangs out of his face. Kirishima presses his cheek gently into Bakugou’s forehead. Bakugou wants to explode right where he sits. Kirishima whispers, “What am I supposed to do, Bakugou? You’re going to wake up in the morning and I have to pretend it’s all normal. I have to act like you’re just a friend. Bakugou… how do I keep my heart from breaking over you?” Bakugou should respond. He should tell Kirishima that he feels the same.

But Bakugou doesn’t. Why, you ask?

Because Bakugou is a coward. Upon first meeting him, one wouldn’t suspect it. Bakugou, under most circumstances, is brave and headstrong and willing to fight immediately. However, Bakugou is not brave here. Kirishima is holding him, terrified to be heartbroken, and Bakugou provides no comfort. He’s too afraid to. Bakugou is too scared to show Kirishima that the feelings are mutual. In truth, Bakugou is terrified that they’re mutual. It means Bakugou is never going to get over this. Bakugou doesn’t know how to date! This could ruin everything!

Or… or it could be the start of everything. It could mean romantic cuddles and dates and comforting hugs and forehead kisses. It could mean happiness the likes of which Bakugou’s never known. It could mean being able to show Kirishima every ounce of affection he deserves. It could mean getting to feel what it’s like to get affection back.

Bakugou wouldn’t know what to do with that. He’s hardly figured out how to handle friendship affections! It would be incredible, but also really scary. Bakugou hates to admit a fear of anything, but this… Bakugou is afraid of. He’s scared of losing his first real friendship. His first stable relationship , other than maybe his dad; but even with his father, Bakugou has a hard time. The man’s just so calm and quiet , it can be hard to put up with. Kirishima, though, is the perfect mix of calm and wild. Both Bakugou’s rock and his partner in crime. 

Bakugou waits with bated breath until he’s sure Kirishima is asleep. It isn’t hard; the strange sleeping position is making Kirishima snore. Then, so carefully, he tucks himself against Kirishima. The man radiates warmth like a furnace, and Bakugou is almost asleep before he can get the covers situated over him.

Bakugou falls to sleep happier than he has in a long time. He falls asleep with the knowledge that he is destined to fall for Kirishima for the rest of his life. His dreams are filled with a happy redhead smiling and holding his hand. They’re filled with crimson eyes that see all of Bakugou’s faults and yet still see his good, too. It’s Kirishima smiling and laughing like the world is perfect; so joyous, in fact, he almost convinces Bakugou into that thinking.

It’s the best dream Bakugou’s ever had.

Chapter Text

Kirishima wakes up to Bakugou’s alarm. There’s no fight from Bakugou this morning. He just looks… content. Like his anger is on vacation. “Hey Baku. Didya have a nice dream?”

Bakugou’s face goes blank in surprise. Then he goes red. “Fuck off, Shitty Hair.”

“My hair is gorgeous and you know it.”

“You look like a spray-painted sea urchin.”

Kirishima sticks his tongue out. “Says the angry pomeranian.”

Bakugou just rolls his eyes. “Get ready for class, dumbass. If you’re late, you won’t live to see your lunch.”

“Aw, but Lunch Rush is making katsudon! I can’t die before that .” Bakugou makes eye contact with Kirishima as he shuts the door. Kirishima can’t fight the grin off of his face when Bakugou leaves. God, these moments are so much fun.

_______________

They’re in Aizawa’s class preparing for their turn in an obstacle course the next time Kirishima has a chance to talk to Bakugou. Strangely, Bakugou looks lost in thought. Kirishima bumps their shoulders together. “What’s on your mind, man?”

Bakugou jumps a little. “Nothing!” His voice is… higher than normal? Just a little, but it’s there.

“Is something wrong?”

Bakugou’s entire body tenses. “No.” Yes, there so is. Liar

“You know you can tell me anything, right? I won’t judge you.”

“Just- stop fucking talking to me, Shitty Hair.” Bakugou’s eyes widen like he didn’t mean to say it, but then his back turns and there’s no remorse in the way he looks away.

“Oh… okay.” It’s not that it’s especially cruel for Bakugou, but… it’s been a long time since Bakguou has said anything like that to Kirishima. Kirishima, foolish and too hopeful for his own good, thought they were past this by now.

“Bakugou!” Aizawa shouts. Oh yeah, Kirishima remembers. The course is a thing.  “You’re up!”

_______________

After Aizawa’s killer obstacle course, Kirishima’s muscles ache. He pulls off his sleeves and shoulder-things (gears? Kirishima’s not sure. They just look cool as hell.) He stretches his arms above his head. After that, he rolls his shoulders in little circles. He looks over his shoulder to find Bakugou staring at him intently. “What is it, Bakugou? Something on my back?”

Bakugou does that weird constipated look again, but just turns away and slams his locker shut. He doesn’t look back when he leaves the room.

Kirishima’s heart aches a little at how easily Bakugou tosses him aside. Something’s definitely wrong.

_______________

Kirishima walks over at lunch and sits where he normally does. Bakguou walks towards the table, tray in hand. Kirishima perks up, patting the seat at his side where Bakguou always sits.

Bakugou looks Kirishima in the eye. He doesn't sit where he always does, though. Bakugou sits on the other side of the table. Not even directly across from Kirishima. So much further away than normal. When the rest of the group gets there, they can tell something is off. Everyone acts like it’s okay, but they all know it isn’t. Kirishima’s heart is absolutely breaking under this stress.

Bakugou was supposed to be closer to him after the emotional coming out. Unless-

Unless Bakugou is no longer comfortable with Kirishima knowing. What does Kirishima do with that?! He can’t just erase the memory! Bakugou can’t un-come out!

What can Kirishima do? Why is Bakugou mad at him?!

Sero gives Kirishima a blatant look that’s meant to mean what’s wrong ?

Kirishima doesn’t even have the heart to shrug. He just… shakes his head a little and eats his food. When he’s done, he listens silently to his friends talking.

That’s how the day goes. Kirishima trying small friendly things over and over, and Bakugou acting like they aren’t happening.

After classes are over, Kirishima finally snaps.

Bakugou is headed to his room. Kirishima has to run a little to catch up as Bakugou leaves the elevator (Kirishima always takes the stairs. Exercise, man.)

“Bakugou!” Kirishima shouts, and Bakugou only speeds up. “Dude!” He moves faster . He’s almost at the door. Kirishima is furious . He sprints as fast as he can, cutting Bakugou off just in time. “No.” Kirishima snaps. “You don’t get to just walk away right now.”

Bakugou snarls. “Out of my way, Kirishima.”

“Not until you tell me what’s wrong.”

“I said get out of the way.” Bakugou won’t look at him. Something’s really, really wrong.

Kirishima stays silent for a long time. Bakugou still won’t look at him. “What did I do wrong?” That gets a reaction. Bakugou jerks his head up sharply, his eyes a blazing fire. “Why are you so mad at me, Bakugou?”

“I’m not mad at you, dipshit!”

“Then why are you avoiding me?! What can I do to fix whatever’s happening?”

“I don’t know why I’m doing this, you fuckhead! It’s got nothing to fucking do with you, I just can’t handle being all buddy-buddy right now!”

Oh. That’s not… not nearly as bad as anticipated. “So, like, anxiety or what?”

“Something like that.”

Kirishima breaths the biggest sigh of relief in the world. Then, he can’t stop the smile. “That’s no problem at all! You can just tell me something like that. I know sometimes I can be a little too touchy and that can be overwhelming if you’re already anxious. Sorry.”

Bakugou snarls, “Don’t you dare apologise. You’ve not done anything wrong. I just need to get my shit together and it’ll be okay.”

“I get it, man. This stuff can be rough for me, too.” Kirishima steps out of the way. “I’m just glad it wasn’t something I did. I was afraid you were uncomfortable around me or something.”

“No.” Bakugou rolls his eyes. Then, too soft almost to hear, “Never.” Kirishima can’t stop his eyebrows from shooting up in surprise. Bakugou’s whole face flushes. He speeds through his words in a mumble that sounds remarkably like Midoriya. “I need to go chill out. Go to your room or whatever, it-it's not like I care. I don't not care, I guess, but I don't give a fuck! Fuck. I'm still talking. Well, see you at eight you f-fuckwad!” He slams his door, but there’s no malice behind it. Kirishima knows that now.

Kirishima strolls to his own room happily. When those three knocks sound all those hours later, Kirishima’s whole body lights up. They don’t say a word, and neither of them mention that they’re cloer than normal; their whole backs are pressed against each other. It’s simple and easy. Kirishima missed it, and it had only been a day. This is perfect. This is easy. Kirishima wishes the world would stay this way forever.

Unbeknownst to him, the world has other plans.

Chapter Text

The morning starts out normal. Kirishima and Bakugou get up and go their separate ways to get dressed before eating breakfast together. After that, they walk to class together as well. Aizawa’s class is mostly review, and Kirishima actually pays attention for a little while. Next class is All Might’s. He smiles, and though it’s not the same as it was in his bigger form, it’s still kind and reassuring.

“Today, we’ll be doing a search and rescue. We will be in two groups. One half will be civilians, and the other half will be heroes. The civilians will have fifteen minutes to hide in the rubble. In this test, civilians are not allowed to use their Quirks. Any Quirk use from a civilian will lead to an immediate disqualification and you will have to sit out for the second half of the test.”

Yaoyorozu raises a hand, “Can’t we just use mannequins for this?”

“We could. However, the goal here is for the civilians of the group to test their stealth. Once you pick your place, you are no longer able to move. You also may not hide with a classmate. This means you’ll have to think very hard about your decisions. The heroes, of course, will strengthen their ability to locate wounded people in dangerous situations. Whoever starts out civilian this time will be a hero next class.” All Might begins pulling names from a hat.

The civilians are Kaminari, Uraraka, Sero, Jiro, Todoroki, Midoriya, Mineta, Kirishima, Sato, and Aoyama. There’s so much space in the crumbled rubble. They could walk around for hours and not find a soul. 

Of course there’s a lot of room; it’d be too easy for the heroes if not. Kirishima hides in a hole under the foundation of a broken building. There’s no building on top anymore; it’s simply the floor and broken remnants of walls. However, the hole underneath is perfect.

The bell marking the end of their fifteen minutes sounds loudly. (It sounds like an air horn held up to the speaker and honestly it probably is.) The rest of the class is free; he could be found at any time. It’s like a strangely intense game of hide-and-seek. All Might rarely bases grades on the outcome of these tests. More often than not, you get a good grade as long as you participate well.

It’s at least five minutes before Kirishima hears footsteps. He scuttles a little further under the building.

“It’s rather quiet. Perhaps they aren’t where we thought they’d be.” 

Kirishima’s blood runs cold. That voice

It’s deep. Deeper than his classmates’ voices. He doesn’t need that to know that this person shouldn’t be here, though. Kirishima could never forget that voice.

“This game’s no fun without a little bloodshed, Kurogiri. I’m getting restless.” Oh God . Kirishima had hoped it was just Kurogiri, but it was a child’s wish. Kurogiri never comes alone. Kirishima clasps a hand over his mouth as the villains who stole Bakugou walk right over him. His classmates could be anywhere. These people could find his classmates at any time.

Kirishima can’t help but remember the USJ. This man walking right above him could’ve killed Aizawa. Midoriya told him about how he tried to kill Tsuyu as well. He tried to kill Midoriya and the USJ attack’s goal was to kill All Might. At Kamino, he brought more despair. He stole Bakugou from everyone.

They could do it again.

They could kill his peers if he doesn’t step in.

So why can’t he move ?!

A loud, distant yell alerts Kirishima. It’s Bakugou. He’s probably yelling at someone he found hidden. It seems to alert the villains as well. “Huh. They shouldn’t be screaming yet. Let’s go give them a reason.” Kirishima feels his stomach roll. They’re here to kill.

“We should start with Izuku! Oh! Or Ochako!” It’s a girl’s voice. She sounds young.

Kirishima needs to move. He has to move or people could die -

Tomura steps off the platform. The back of his heel is less than a foot from Kirishima. So this is what people feel like in the movies, when the murderer is right outside their closet.

The last pair of feet (how many are there?) leave the floor above him. Kirishima desperately needs to move. “Or maybe we’ll come back for that Bakugou brat-”

What?

No.

No they won’t.

Kirishima curses under his breath and pulls himself out from under the building as fast as he can. “Leave him alone.” The villains whirl around. There are a lot of them. Too many for Kirishima to handle all by himself. Too many . “You won’t hurt Bakugou ever again!”

Tomura’s face splits into a grin so wide Kirishima sees it past the hands. “Oh. Who are you? You’ve never been a challenge before. You can’t just jump in my game this far in.”

“Yeah, well, bosses hardly ever matter much in the beginning.” Kirishima’s shaking a little. He’s in real danger. There are too many. That Toga girl he’s heard about, Kurogiri, and Tomura. Tomura is the most dangerous thing for Kirishima; Kirishima’s Quirk only works in close combat, and that’s exactly where Tomura wants him.

They’re too strong for Kirishima.

That doesn’t mean he won’t try to beat him.

All Might’s voice sounds over the speakers, “EVERYONE GET BACK TO THE SCHOOL! VILLAINS ARE IN THE TRAINING ZONE! If you are unable to get out safely, DO NOT MOVE! Our staff will arrive as fast as they can!”

Tomura smiles with a horrific kind of glee. “You’re all alone, little hero.”

“The heroes will get here soon! All I have to do is keep you from hurting my classmates.” Toga moves forward, prepared to fight. Kirishima decides to be stupid. He’d rather fight one ridiculously strong person instead of both of them. “What’s wrong, Tomura? Too scared to fight me on your own?”

Tomura just looks down at him. “You’re not important enough for me to waste my time on you.”

“Alright. You’re just having them do it because you’d lose your little game if we fought one on one.” Something clicks in those heinous eyes.

“Toga. Kurogiri. Back off. I’ll be the one to make this brat bleed.” 

Kirishima’s skin hardens instinctively at the threat. Tomura lunges forward with reckless, bloodthirsty abandon, swinging his hand like a cat claws at a dog.

Kirishima barely gets his arm out of the way in time.

Kirishima isn’t fast enough to beat this man. He isn’t strong enough. He isn’t good enough.

“You seem touchy about that Bakugou kid. Now that I think about it- yeah, you’re that kid whose hand he grabbed. You’re the bastard that ruined everything. I could’ve won the whole game!”

Kirishima snarls like a feral animal. “He would never have followed you. Bakugou will never become a villain.”

“We know that now. All we want him to be is dead .”

Kirishima’s heart stalls.

Then, something magical happens.

He moves without even thinking.

He aims as many blows as he can at the villain, but Tomura’s just too damn fast . Kirishima tries to hit again, tripping on a piece of the building. In his moment of weakness, Tomura reaches out; his hand nearly touches Kirishima’s chest. In a moment of terrified panic, Kirishima does the only thing he can think to do.

He shoves Tomura away.

It’s stupid of him. He left his arm wide open. Of course Tomura grabs it.

For just a second, Kirishima thinks he’s lucky and his hardened skin will protect him. He was so wrong. Kirishima screams from the pain of his hardened skin decaying piece by piece. It’s nothing like he’s ever felt before. It’s liquid iron being poured across his flesh. The hardening desperately wants to fall, but it has to stay.

It has to.

Kirishima, in a desperate attempt to stop the mind-numbing agony, kicks Tomura’s knee. It catches Tomura off guard and finally forces him to let go of the arm.

Kirishima’s arm hangs limp and useless with pain. Deep grooves of fingers are carved into hardened skin and muscle, blood sliding grotesquely down his wrist and off his fingers. Kirishima can’t win this.

But Kirishima can at least distract him.

Maybe someone’s noticed. Maybe they’re getting out of dodge. Maybe it’s the perfect distraction for them to run to safety. If this man does kill Kirishima, maybe his classmates will live because of it.

Tomura tries to grab him again. Kirishima flings himself back, landing roughly on his injured arm. His head thumps off of the ground, but that’s nothing compared to the agony that rushes up his arm. He bites back a whimper;he won’t give this man any satisfaction if he can help it.

He tries another hit, but Tomura is fast. He’s almost got Kirishima again. Three of those horrible fingers are on Kirishima’s arm, but Kirishima lands a sharp kick to the ribs that sends him stumbling just in time. 

“Toga!” Tomura yells, wiping his mouth off. “Drain him.” The girl claps in excitement, and Kirishima has two of the most terrifying people he’s ever seen prepared to kill him.

The fear is so intense it’s numbing.

The fear is so much it’s nothing. 

The fear won’t stop him from protecting the people he loves. “I thought you were fighting me alone!”

Tomura smiles that hideous smile again. “I’m a villain. We don’t play by the rules, hero.”

Kirishima has to almost dive to the side in order to avoid the blade aimed at his back. It grazes a hardened shoulder, and it actually slices through the skin a little. That’s not good.

His defense is weakening.

Kirishima is losing power.

He dodges another attack from Tomura, ever closer. (Distantly, Kirishima hears the faraway echo of Bakugou’s explosions.) Then, the two attack at once. Kirishima is forced to decide his fate as the two commence their attacks on him. Risk bleeding out by being stabbed or let this man grab him again?

It’s hardly even a question. (The explosions are close, now, close enough to barely see Bakugou’s form flying towards them.) Kirishima doesn’t know if he can take that decaying feeling again.

Kirishima tries to focus all of his hardening into one point as Toga’s blade curs the flesh of his side. It hardly helps. The knife does not stick in him; it slides harshly just under his ribs, slicing clean through him. Kirishima can only gasp out in pain. There’s so much pain . All of his hardening, all of his energy concentrated to one spot still wasn’t enough.

The only thing it was was a mistake.

One that Tomura uses to his advantage. He shoves Kirishima to the ground. Kirishima’s body smacks roughly against the floor. Tomura is looming over him, reaching out for Kirishima’s neck. In a last ditch effort for survival, Kirishima flips onto his stomach and tries to crawl away. 

Tomura grabs the back of his neck with a grip so tight it’d hurt even if it wasn’t decaying Kirishima. The last decay was the worst thing he’d ever experienced until now . This… this is horrible . This is what torture must be like , Kirishima realizes distantly as he releases a gut-wrenching scream once more.

Kirishima’s going to die a horrible, painful death.

Kirishima is going to die without ever achieving his dream.

Kirishima is going to die.

Suddenly, the pain stops and a loud noise pulls him back to reality. He can hardly move himself enough to see what happened.

Bakugou stands in front of him, seething and smoking in rage. Explosions in his palms burst to life, and to Kirishima they sound like a promise of salvation. 

He looks like an angel to Kirishima.

“You stupid, evil fucks. You wanted me then, so come get me now. Leave him alone . Don’t ever put your filthy hands on him again!”

Kirishima wants to stand. He needs to , but he physically cannot move. His body is locked up under the pain.

Bakugou flies at Tomura, incredibly fast even for Bakugou’s standards. Tomura can’t lay a hand on him; he’s just too damn fast.

Kurogiri speaks. “Goodbye, student. You’re going to bleed out in front of the gates of UA.” Kirishima sees the warp coming towards him. Kurogiri is right; with all of this happening, nobody would notice him at the gates until it’s far too late. Kirishima tries to stand, but he hardly gets to his hands and knees before the warp is enveloping his feet. 

Bakugou grabs Kirishima’s uninjured arm and pulls. Kirishima lands safely in Bakugou’s arms. It’d feel like a moment from a romance novel if Kirishima wasn’t bleeding all over him right now. “Leave him the fuck alone .”

Tomura is coming at them again, and Bakugou only has one arm to fight with thanks to Kirishima. Bakugou fires off warning explosions out of his free hand, clinging tightly to Kirishima in the other. Then, a flash of green kicks Tomura away, followed quickly by an ice wall between the villains and Kirishima and Bakugou.

Midoriya lands smoothly. “Are you alright, Kirishima? The Pros are on their way!”

Kirishima smiles weakly, still a little delirious under all the pain. “I’m alive.”

Toga smiles, “Izuku! You’re going to look so good once you bleed a little more.”

Bakugou’s arms tighten around him. “Kirishima. Fuck, I- I have to help Deku and IcyHot. I don’t want to leave you.”

Kirishima touches Bakugou’s cheek gently. “Give ‘em hell for me.” Bakugou’s eyes go blank for a split second before some gorgeous kind of heroic fury comes barreling back. He blasts back into the fight, guns blazing.

Kirishima feels so weak . These three could handle anything. Kirishima couldn’t handle this for even a few minutes.

Nevermind that.

Kirishima might not be as strong as them, but he can still try to fight.

Kurogiri makes a portal for Tomura’s hand. It’s coming out behind Bakugou. Kirishima has to help .

He kicks the metal plating on the back of the man’s neck. It startles him just enough to stop the portal. Just in time; Tomura was one finger away from putting Bakugou through hell.

Kirishima’s legs start to wobble. He’s losing a lot of blood.

He can’t give up now. He has to stay standing.

It’s a mass of fighting and screaming. Midoriya and Toga are in a stalemate while Bakugou and Todoroki work to keep Tomura from doing any more damage. That is, until a stray knife from Toga lands in Bakugou’s calf. “Fuck-” Bakugou crumbles in shock, the pain blindsighting him. Tomura’s hand is so close to him.

Kirishima does the one thing he’s good at.

He pulls himself together and protects Bakugou.

He runs between the two. Tomura’s hand makes contact with Kirishima’s chest. He prepares for the agony, but it never comes. Tomura’s face splits into a scowl. “ Eraserhead .”

Aizawa barrels towards him, the rest of the staff close behind. “Get away from my students!” The warp villain gives them no time for a fight. He makes a little portal and they’re gone in an instant, leaving everyone reeling. 

Bakugou drops his gauntlets to the floor as he runs to Kirishima. Kirishima can hardly even focus anymore. It just hurts all over. He holds Kirishima and lowers the two of them gently to the floor. Kirishima is glad for that; he’d collapse if he didn’t have any help.

Bakugou’s legs are under Kirishima’s, one arm cradling Kirishima’s back. “You’re bleeding. A lot. Fuck, Kirishima, what did they do ?!”

Kirishima grabs Bakugou’s free hand and gives the shadow of a smile. “You saved me.”

Bakugou’s actually tearing up a little. “You saved me first, dumbass. I’m returning the favor.”

Aizawa walks over. “Is anyone else injured? The stretchers are on their way.”

“No.” Bakugou says. “He- He fought them alone before I could get here.”

He’s starting to sound distant and foggy. Aizawa crouches over Kirishima, “Hey! Stay with us. They’ll get here soon.”

Kirishima can’t . He’s so tired. He’s bleeding so much. 

Bakugou pulls him to sit up a little more. Kirishima winces at the pain. Bakugou looks down and sees the slice in Kirishima’s side. “Fuck! Why didn’t you say anything?!” Bakugou presses his gloved hand into the cut, applying pressure to stop some of the bleeding. Kirishima winces and shifts in pain. “S-Sorry, jus- just hold on, okay?! You’re gonna be fucking fine!”

Kirishima can’t hang on much longer. “Did- Did I do good?”

Bakugou’s expression shatters. “You did fucking wonderful.”

Kirishima smiles. Oh. It was worth it, then.

Everything goes black.

Bakugou has never been so terrified in his entire life. Kirishima is bleeding so much . Even Aizawa is panicking a little. Bakugou clings to Kirishima’s limp, unconscious body with tears streaming silently down his face until Aizawa speaks up. 

Their teacher curses. “The stretchers are taking too long. Give him to me; I’ll get him to Recovery Girl.” 

“I can take him-”

Aizawa’s face is harsh, but his eyes are soft with understanding. “Bakugou. Stop wasting time. You can follow right behind me.” Bakugou lays him softly in his teacher’s arms. Aizawa nods a single time before he uses his capture weapon to swing away. Bakugou stares numbly at his hands.

They’re covered in blood.

Bakugou almost wishes it was his.

He can feel himself breathing faster, feel the shaking in his whole body. He just can’t stop it.

IcyHot lays a hand on Bakugou’s shoulder. “You need to go to him.”

Bakugou shrugs it off, “I know that, fuckwad. I just- I…”

“It’s going to be scary and it’ll hurt to see him like this,” Deku reasons, his voice soft, “but he needs you there as much as you need to go there.” For once, he doesn’t yell at Deku.

He just runs. 

He runs as hard as he can. He starts crying at some point, but he just keeps running. He runs as sobs wrack his body and tears blur his vision. He stumbles a few times on the way, but it won’t stop him. He has to hurry.

By the time he gets to the school, he’s already begun to stop crying. He slows to a jog through the halls, trying to catch his breath from all that running. When he gets to Recovery Girl, Kirishima’s unconscious on his bed as she bandages him. Eraserhead is over a sink, washing blood off of his hands.

Kirishima’s blood .

It’s all over Bakugou, too.

All Might is there. He turns to look at Bakugou, and motions to go in the hallway. Bakugou listens.

All Might sighs, “I… I’ll start by saying that I am so sorry . I couldn’t help him at all. It’s because of me that he’s like this. If I weren’t so weak , I could’ve been there sooner if I still had power, but all I could do was alert the other teachers and wait .”

Bakugou can’t even answer properly. His heart sinks. If it’s because of All Might’s power going away, that means it’s Bakugou’s fault things turned out like this. It’s Bakugou’s fault Kirishima is on the verge of death.

All Might pulls him into a hug. It’s so much like the hug he got the night he and Deku explained everything. “I’m so sorry, Young Bakugou. He’s going to be just fine.”

The relief is almost enough to send Bakugou to his knees.

If anyone had been walking past, they’d see Bakugou cling onto All Might’s shirt and sob like a scared child. (Which he is.) Thankfully, though, nobody walked past. And if you ask Bakugou about it, he’ll tell you to fuck off. He’ll say it never happened.

But it did.

And Bakugou desperately needed to be comforted like this. All Might strokes his hair and whispers words of comfort. This is one of the things Bakugou’s life has been missing. Such genuine, unconditional love is more than he could ask for from his own mom, let alone his teacher .

Sometimes, you just need hugs from a dad. Whether it be your real dad or All Might himself is up to the recipient, but All Might is a wonderful dad-hug giver.

Bakugou walks into the room after that, wiping his eyes and sitting in a chair next to the bed. He grabs Kirishima’s hand. “You take as much time as you need to wake up,” He whispers. “I’ll wait for you.”

Chapter Text

The first thing Kirishima notices are his blankets. Warm . So nice… like the warm ones from hospitals.

Then, the ache settles in and he remembers everything that happened before he passed out. It starts at the sites of his injuries and creeps across his body. It’s not horrible, but it’s there. He cracks his eyes open and shifts his head a little. His neck argues the motion, clearly only partially healed.

The movement startles a distracted Bakugou. His eyes jerk up to meet Kirishima’s. They’re shocked and relieved and so very soft. “ Kirishima.”

“Hey.” Kirishima croaks out, voice sore and tired. He attempts a little bit of a smile. Bakugou clearly needs to see it.

Bakugou grabs Kirishima’s uninjured hand softly, encasing it in both of his own. “Fuck, I-I was worried. It’s been almost three days.”

Kirishima blinks in surprise.“Oh. That’s a long time. This isn’t Recovery Girl’s office.”

“No,” Bakugou doesn’t quite smile, but he provides a comforting expression. “No it isn’t. You’re in a hospital not too far from your house. Your moms will be back any minute, they went to grab some food. How are you feeling?” 

Kirishima tries to move his neck a little and decides that that is a very bad idea. “Honestly? Been better. I guess I can’t expect anything easier after all that, though.”

Bakugou’s eyes freeze up at the mention of the fight. There are too many emotions to name swimming in there. “No, you can’t. I, uh… I should call our idiots and tell them you’re up. They weren’t allowed to miss school again today.”

“What about you?”

Bakugou fidgets a little, “I… got a special exception.” Kirishima doesn’t press. He’ll ask Aizawa about it later, but he won’t bother Bakugou with it.

“You should call them.” Bakugou nods, and hesitantly releases Kirishima’s hand so he can use his phone.

“Hey. Yeah, Dunce Face? Kirishima’s awake.” There’s screaming on the other end of the phone; loud enough for Bakugou to jerk the phone away from his ear.

Kirishima laughs, but the pain in his side cuts it short. Stab wounds make things like laughing really difficult.

Bakugou puts the phone on speaker. “Say hi, Kirishima.”

“Hey, guys.”

More overlapping screaming. “I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!” Mina sobs.

Kaminari isn’t much better off. “I WAS FREAKING OUT, MAN!”

Sero laughs at them. “I’ll let you off. Most of the class will probably be over in an hour or so when school lets out. See you then, man. Glad you’re okay.”

Kirishima smiles a little. “Thanks. Bye.” The phone clicks off. 

Bakugou rolls his eyes. “They’re ridiculous babies.”

“Yeah, but they’re our ridiculous babies and you love them.”

Bakugou doesn’t protest. He’s playing with his thumbs like a kid waiting for their parents to stop talking in a grocery store.

Kirishima’s moms come in after a few moments. They almost drop the food they’re holding. “Eijirou! You’re awake!” They run towards him. 

Mom kisses his forehead gently and smiles. “Welcome back, baby.” Kirishima’s eyes well up with tears.

Mama ruffles his hair and rests her hand on his shoulder. “I’m very proud of you, Eiji.”

Kirishima sobs a little bit at that. He’s not even entirely sure why. Mama always says she’s proud of him. It’s just so good to hear after everything that happened today. Wait, three days ago. Kirishima still can’t believe he’s been out for three days , seeing as he’s still exhausted.

They all sit in silence while he cries. It’s a little awkward, but Bakugou grabs his hand again and his moms are comforting him with the perfect gestures and whispered words only they can have. After not too long, Kirishima reels himself in.

Mama sits in her chair. “You look like you’re not feeling too bad.”

“Well, I’m probably pretty drugged up, so we’ll see later.”

Bakugou rolls his eyes, “Har-har, smartass. Do you need anything?”

“A water would be great, dude. With a straw, please. I dunno how well I could move my body to drink without one.” Bakugou nods and leaves the room.

Mom smiles at him. “He seems nice.” Kirishima’s face flushes a little.

Mama nods in approval. “He does. He hasn’t left your side this whole time. Only time he moved was for bathroom breaks. He rode with you in the ambulance since we had to go straight here.”

“Really?” Kirishima asks, a little shocked. Bakugou cares a lot, but that much? Kirishima figured he just stopped by at a lucky time.

“Yeah. He definitely feels guilty about the whole thing. He apologized to no end when we got here. Almost hard to believe it’s the kid from the Sports Festival.”

Kirishima can’t help but be surprised. He apologised? For what?! And Bakugou apologizing? Kirishima’s losing his mind from blood loss, it’s the only explanation. 

Mom pets his hair, “He’s lovely. I know you hung out with him before and I wasn’t too pleased, but he’s better and I can see what you saw in him. He’s got a good heart even if he’s really bad at showing it.”

Kirishima smiles at them. “That means a lot, Mom. I hope you guys weren’t too worried. I did the best I could. But uh… what did he apologize for?”

“He kept saying he wasn’t fast enough. I think the poor kid’s blaming himself, but nothing we say is changing anything.”

Kirishima’s heart aches for Bakugou. He’s done so much and yet still feels bad? He saved Kirishima’s life .

Bakugou walks back in with a gloriously cold water bottle. “This good, Shitty Hair?”

Wonderful . My throat is killing me. Are you hurt anywhere?”

Bakugou sighs, “No, you ridiculously thoughtful bastard. Just a couple of scrapes and stuff other than my leg, but Recovery Girl got the majority of it.” Kirishima feels so much better. “And before you go asking and shit, Deku and IcyHot are fine, too. You know, since they got help before pouncing on rabid villains.”

“I couldn’t help it! I was scared they’d go for someone else. Not everyone can harden their skin, Bakugou. Anybody else would’ve lost some mobility in their hand from that.”

Bakugou just rolls his eyes. Mama glares at him, “Look, I’m all for your heroism and stuff. Really, I am, and I’m glad it makes you happier with yourself. Just don’t go breaking yourself trying to be a hero for your classmates. You’re all heroes together , so you don’t have to rush to the rescue like they’re helpless or something.”

Kirishima doesn’t even have the energy to protest. He just pouts at her while sipping his gloriously cold water. Distant, loud footsteps thunder down the hallway.

“Oh, fuck.” Bakugou sighs, pretending to be bothered. “Here they come.” Like the flood Noah built that bigass arch for, his entire class starts to pour into the room. Nineteen screaming high school children. Two tired (dads) pro heroes tail behind. All Might and Eraserhead deserve medals for hoarding these kids. Lastly, a detective that was there at the USJ and Kamino attacks walks in. Kirishima thinks he’s Tsukauchi, but it’s more of a guess than anything.

Mom grabs Mama’s arm. “Eiji, hun, your mother and I are going to stop by the bakery for a bit while everyone else is here.” He sees what they’re doing and he appreciates it. They’re giving him a little space to be with all his friends.

Kaminari is sobbing . “I was so scared , dude! You were so tough and manly fighting like that!”

Mina is almost worse by this point. She’s next to Bakugou. He doesn’t look pleased that she’s crying on him , but he isn’t objecting. Just smoking a little from the hands. “I-I was out walking around and I saw people standing way out there but I thought they were other searchers! I could’ve helped you!”

Kirishima tries to shake his head but it hurts . Instead he tries to convey his disagreement through furrowed eyebrows. “No! Mina, I’m so glad you didn’t do anything stupid. Sure, you’d probably be in better shape than I am now, but… I wanted to keep everyone safe, you know? I didn’t want anyone to get hurt when I could help it.” The whole class is silent. Every crybaby in the class starts sobbing.

Midoriya is such an emotional little guy.

Tsu speaks up next. “I heard you scream and I got so scared, kero . It sounded really bad.”

“Well, I mean, no walk in the park,” Kirishima smiles awkwardly, “but I’ll live. Gonna be a little slow and sore for a while, but I’ll be just fine.”

Midoriya’s voice is soft and frail when he talks. The tears show through in his voice. It’s a real contrast considering the last time Kirishima saw the kid, he was kicking Tomura’s soul out of his body. “Will there be scars?” Kirishima knows it’s not a superficial question. Nobody knows scars like Midoriya. He’s got too many to count.

“Ah, yeah, but not too badly! My side’ll only have a little one. That’s where Recovery Girl focused on, I think. We can be Scar Bros.”

Midoriya’s eyes shine again but he smiles like he’s been offered a puppy. “Yeah. Yeah we can.”

Todoroki glances over, “I think I deserve to be included, look at my face-”

Kirishima can’t help but laugh. He laughs and laughs until it burns in his wounds and his face is sore, but he needs to laugh that hard. The laughter is keeping him sane. “Glad you grew a sense of humor, Todoroki.” The boy just cocks his head. All of his funny statements seem to be unintentional.

Sero crouches next to Kirishima. “So? How badass do you feel, dude? You literally protected the whole class. Everybody but you, Todoroki, Midoriya and Bakugou got back to UA really quickly.”

“I’m really glad! On that topic, why were you guys all together? You couldn’t have been far behind Bakugou if you got there that fast.” Kirishima asks. Bakugou was the only searcher in the group of them.

“I found these losers. They were only smart enough to get to you because they followed me.”

Tsukauchi smiles, “As heartwarming as this all is, I’d like to ask some questions if that’s alright? The students will have to leave for a while. I want to ask now, before anything gets forgotten.”

Everyone starts to leave. Aizawa looks over, “You too, Bakugou.” 

“No.” Bakugou says, not even attempting to move.

“Excuse me?”

“I’m not leaving him.”

Kirishima looks up hopefully, “Can he stay? As- as my moral support?”

Tsukauchi nods hesitantly, “Sure… as long as he doesn’t interfere. Why don’t you tell me what you can remember.

“W-Well, I was playing a civilian, so I was hiding. I was under the foundation of a building and I think the Warp Guy, Kurogiri, warped them in right over me. They started talking about attacking us, an-and I couldn’t move. I think Toga Himiko has an obsession with Izuku Midoriya and Uraraka Ochako. Then they mentioned attacking Bakugou, and I guess I just couldn’t stay hidden. Kamino was really scary, and I don’t want that again.

“After that… they kept talking about killing us. They mentioned that they don’t have hope for Bakugou to be a villain anymore, though. When we were fighting, I started tripping and had to push Tomura away. He grabbed my arm and it just- it really, really hurt .” Kirishima’s voice breaks a little. Bakugou grabs his hand gently, and it helps. “Then, he invited his friend to start fighting. She stabbed my side, and I went down. I could see Tomura coming for me, and I was so scared to die. I tried to flip over and crawl away, but he grabbed the back of my neck and it started crumbling, too.

“I thought he’d kill me until Bakugou showed up. He saved my life. Kurogiri almost warped me to the front gates because I’d have bled out there and I’d be a message or whatever. Then, Midoriya and Todoroki showed up and I don’t remember much other than Aizawa and the other pros being there at some point.”

Tsukauchi writes almost everything down, it seems. “Okay. Thank you, Kirishima. Some of that information could really help us later. It’s good to know about Toga Himiko’s… favorites. She’s a dangerous person.”

“If I didn’t know before that fight, I do now.” Tsukauchi leaves after that.

Aizawa walks over. “What you did was foolish and reckless. You could’ve died. For all you knew, everyone was already in the building and you kept fighting.”

Kirishima looks at a clock on the wall. “But I didn’t know. If I had stopped distracting them, they could’ve hurt kids that can’t protect themselves as well. What do you think Mineta could do against them? He’d die. I couldn’t let someone get hurt when I could prevent it.”

Aizawa just narrows his eyes. “You’re going to be a good hero. Just save all of that bullshit until you’re out of my care. It’s a copious amount of paperwork and emotional trauma for me when you kids almost die.”

All Might walks over. “I’m truly very sorry, Kirishima. If- If I had still been the Symbol of Peace, I could’ve come protect you rather than simply waiting for other heroes to help.”

“All Might. You’ve saved so many people. You’re still the Symbol of Peace. You told everyone else, and if you hadn’t, we could’ve been in even worse danger. You are the reason the other heroes got there in time.”

All Might smiles, and it looks less strained. “Eraserhead and I will leave the two of you alone for a bit. I’m sure you need time to regroup again after having to recount that information.”

Kirishima nods. “Oh, Aizawa? Thanks for using your Quirk on that guy. You saved me.”

“You can repay me by not being reckless.”

“... Uh… in terms of impulse control I’m pretty broke-”

Aizawa rolls his eyes, “Yeah, yeah. My entire class is filled with nothing but problem children.” All Might walks out, and Aizawa shuts the door behind the two of them.

There’s a long beat of silence. “So…” Kirishima beings, “Bakugou, what did-”

“Katsuki.”

“Huh?”

“Call me Katsuki. You saved my life. I saved yours. Shit, if anyone deserves to call me that, it’s you.”

Kirishima’s heart skips a beat. “O-Okay. You should use Eijirou, then.”

Bakugou does some goofy little smirk thing. “Okay, Eijirou .” He stays quiet for a while. “I think you’re just irrevocably Shitty Hair and nothing you do or say can ever change that.”

“My hair is gorgeous!”

“Eh, it’s not complete rotting garbage. If I had to choose between your hair and a forty-year-old couch growing mold-”

Wow. I’m appalled, Katsuki.”

Ba- Katsuki actually smiles. It’s not his dumb gremlin smirk or a sneer. It’s just a pleased little smile.

Then it drops.

“Why… Why’d you stand in front of me? I had it. You could’ve died.”

Kirishima smiles at him. “Can’t have you stealing all the thunder, now can I? I’ve gotta save your life a little, too.”

Katsuki just sneers at him. “Which side is safe for me to get on?”

“What?”

“I’m exhausted , dumbass. You’ve been out for three days and I’ve been taking ten minute naps and waking up from nightmares. How do you think I’m doing?”

“Oh. Oh, come over here. My arm isn’t too bad so it’s best for you to lay on that side instead of my cut. C’mere, dude.” Bakugou slides into the hospital bed. Of course Bakugou can’t sleep. That’s how Kirishima felt after Kamino.

There is no respectful distance like there used to be. Katsuki is right there. He laces his hand in Kirishima’s and holds tight. His legs intertwine in Kirishima’s as well. Kirishima’s heart wants to explode, but his brain wants to sleep a non-Recovery Girl induced rest.

Katsuki is laying just a little further down than Kirishima, his legs bent and pulled in so he can fit on the bed. Kirishima uses the opportunity to pull Katsuki closer and rest his chin on the blonde’s head. Bakugou doesn’t protest. Rather, he pulls himself a little closer in.

Bakugou whispers, “I’m glad you’re alright. That was- fuck, Ei, that was terrifying. There was so much blood I don’t know how you’ve got any left.”

Kirishima smiles a little. “Well, red is my color.” There’s a cold silence that meets him. “Okay, yeah, bad joke. I’m going to be fine, Kats. You and I are both okay, and that’s what matters. We’re okay.”

Katsuki pokes Kirishima’s chest lightly, dreary and sleepy in Kirishima’s arms. “The same.”

Kirishima reciprocates, poking Bakugou’s chest before carefully running a hand through Bakugou’s hair. “The same.” Bakugou is gentle, but he’s holding on like Kirishima will disappear if he lets go. Kirishima squeezes his hand, and he looks like he might cry.

Kirishima wouldn’t be surprised. If ever there was a situation to cry in, it’s this one. Instead, he falls to sleep slowly in Kirishima’s arms.

God, how beautiful can this guy get?

Even heartbroken and worried, sleep deprived and exhausted, he’s still the prettiest thing Kirishima’s ever seen. 

Kirishima drifts off, content in the knowledge that Katsuki is there no matter what.