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Bakugou’s sleeping habits are his own damn business

Chapter Text

“It’s 2 AM. What could you possibly be doing at this hour?”

Bakugou flinched and turned his head almost painfully so he could stare at Todoroki over the edge of the couch.

“…not sleeping. Obviously.”

Todoroki blinked at him stupidly. “But, don't you... always go to sleep at 8 PM?”

It was completely absurd how Bakugou’s heart decided to skip a beat. Like those words meant his stupid attractive classmate paid any special attention to him or something. Which he didn’t. Everyone on the damn building was aware of Bakugou’s sleeping habits, it was hard not to when he had made adamantly clear he would rip their heads off if they dared to make noise near his room past 8 PM.

Still, his stupid heart skipped a beat, because it was a stupid organ and Todoroki’s voice had a barely-there worried note in it.

“What’s it to you?” Bakugou huffed, because he was an absolute master at avoiding talking about bullshit that kept him up at 2 AM. “Aren’t you fucking awake too?”

Todoroki stared at him and Bakugou clenched his teeth together, ignoring the restless itching that made him want to look away. Bakugou was the one that had been moping for who knows how long in the emptiness of the dorm's living room. That, to Bakugou’s judgment, gave him priority over the room and the fucking right to be there without having to explain himself.

Unlike Todoroki, who had almost given Bakugou a heart attack by appearing out of nowhere, with his white socks muffling his steps, his totally stupid peppermint hair completely disheveled and having the nerve to look concerned about Bakugou’s presence.

Todoroki broke eye contact first, sighing in that way of his that was gentle and quiet and everything soft. It made Bakugou want to rip his skin off... but he still managed to only keep glaring at him in silence as Todoroki took some hesitant steps and sat down on the other end of the sofa where Bakugou had comfortably shaped himself into a human ball.

Realizing he must look like a fucking kid, Bakugou slowly lowered his legs so he had them crossed instead of pulled against his chest. He itched to snap at Todoroki as the silence between them stretched, but at the same time, he stubbornly refused to be the one to speak up first. Bakugou had asked a question. And he was getting an answer even if he had to stare straight into Todoroki’s skull.

A couple of seconds later, Todoroki sighed again and gave in, looking down at his hands. “I go down here... when I can’t sleep.”

The way he phrased it, it made it sound as if it happened often. Did he get nightmares or something? Bakugou himself had had some of those lately too. Sometimes. Definitely not every single night. They sucked.

“I would have guessed the tatami heaven you have for a room would help you relax or some shit.”

“It does.” Todoroki left out a tiny puff of air, almost smiling. It wasn’t a happy smile. “But some nights, it’s too much like home.”

Alright, that was sad as fuck, and Bakugou was officially pissed he couldn’t externally express how much he despised that thought. He wasn’t supposed to know anything about Todoroki’s awful childhood after all.

“Okay... if you need to be uncomfortable to get back to sleep, I’m happy to oblige.” Bakugou let tiny explosions spark over his fingers, just for effect.

He wasn’t actually serious about getting into a fight this late at night. Deep down he had to admit, he was just trying to somehow cheer the other boy up. Bakugou didn’t know why he wanted that, not with Todoroki, who always got on his nerves with his cold exterior and composed wit... All of him pissed him off. But the possibility of having Todoroki look like a kicked puppy pissed him off even more.

“Thank you, you always do a great job at that,” Todoroki deadpanned, chill as ever, but Bakugou could swear he saw mirth shining in his mismatched gaze.

Bakugou would have screamed back at him in outrage at any other time of the day... but now, with only the two of them, blanketed by the silence of the night and soft pillows, Todoroki’s cool sarcasm felt way more charming than offensive.

Bakugou scoffed, not wanting to admit to himself he was probably smiling back. “Well, fuck you too.”

And Bakugou’s traitorous heart straight up stopped pumping blood to his body when Todoroki’s eyes softened —who even does that when being insulted?— and his lips curved into a much more sincere smile.

Bakugou was starting to notice a pattern with his heart here.

Apparently, he had a thing for when Todoroki broke his perpetual poker face. And maybe this was why he screamed to everyone so much, so he didn’t have to fucking keep in check with any cheesy feeling that might bloom inside of his teenage mess of a body.

It was his own fault for letting his guard down anyway.

So, Bakugou put it back right up. He broke eye contact, he didn’t say another word, he didn’t return the favor and shared what had taken him out of bed.

But Todoroki didn’t seem bothered by it, he didn’t sigh or huff in annoyment at Bakugou’s sudden change of behavior, he didn’t ask... he only laid back against the couch and kept the silence going. When only a minute later Bakugou risked stealing a glance in his direction Todoroki had closed his eyes. It took him a few seconds watching the slow up and down of the boy’s chest to realize Todoroki was fast asleep.

Bakugou blinked.

“What the actual fuck, half-and-half...”

As much as this was fucking absurd though, Bakugou found that he couldn’t really stay mad at his classmate. Not when Todoroki looked so relaxed with his features softened, with his head slightly tilted and his lips parted... not when somehow the boy could fall asleep so damn quickly beside Bakugou.

Okay, Todoroki had said he went down there to relax, but Bakugou hadn’t thought he could get himself to sleep soundly in only a handful of minutes. Not when Bakugou was sitting mere feet away from him.

“You lucky bastard.” He huffed, turning his body and making himself right back into the comfortable ball he had been for the past hour or so.

Probably he would have to retreat back to his room now, after all, there was no way Bakugou could rest his mind when there was a moron snoring —he actually doubted Todoroki would snore but whatever— in the same couch as him.

But, for some reason, the room around them felt warmer now, less constricting, each shadow less menacing... Bakugou only half-realized that the walls inside of him that were supposed to keep him in high alert around other people were slowly melting down. As if he only needed someone he wasn’t expecting to trust him enough to relax by his side, for him to be able to do the same.

Stupid, it was so stupid.

It didn’t take long for his eyes to close and his mind to drift away.

Chapter Text

Even when he had gone to sleep about six hours later than his usual bedtime, Bakugou still woke up with a halt at 6 AM, like a clock. Of course this time —having not slept even half of what he was supposed to— he felt like shit.

Bakugou had about three seconds to gather his bearings and remember he wasn’t in his bed before a familiar voice biding good morning to who-knows-who resonated in the second floor.

Bakugou all but jumped from the couch, stumbling against the low table and almost falling over it. He didn’t have time for anything else but take a few steps before Kirishima all but jogged downstairs and entered the living room.

“Hey, bro!”

Bakugou growled under his breath and put a table between them, just in case the idiot was about to engage him into some bullshit physical contact, which his drowsy brain was in no condition to take without him exploding the whole building.

Kirishima just snickered, putting a towel around his neck. “Morning to you too!” Then his eyes shifted sideways. The boy jumped a bit on the spot as his voice suddenly tunned down into a whisper. “Aw, shit, I didn’t realize... sorryyy...”

Bakugou only wondered for a second what the hell was hair-for-brains about, before he turned around and remembered he hadn’t fallen asleep alone on the couch.

At some point of the night, Todoroki must have dropped sideways and now he laid with his torso sprawled halfway through the couch, deep asleep, his hair a disarray of white and red against the pillows.

Well, shit, he had been sitting an inch away only a minute ago.

Bakugou was about to threaten Kirishima of murder before his brain helpfully supplied to him in time that he hadn’t got there in time to see Bakugou sleeping right next to the half-and-half bastard. He clicked his tongue and redirected his anger.

“If he can’t stand some noise he shouldn’t have fucking slept there.”

Kirishima shushed him dramatically, all good intentions lost in the wind with how fucking loud he made the actual shush. Todoroki didn’t even stir.

“Dude, come on, maybe he had a rough night.” The death stare Bakugou threw on Kirishima’s direction made the redhead flinch a bit. “I was going to ask you if you wanna go for a run with me but you don’t look so hot either, bro.”

“Pass and fuck you, I’m always hot,” Bakugou growled.

Kirishima laughed a bit, and although Bakugou knew that the bastard would insist later. Thankfully, for now, he just promptly exited the building with a salute. “Alright, catch you later then!”

Bakugou watched with narrowed eyes as Kirishima disappeared as quick as he had appeared. Only then did he let himself lean against the end of the couch, huffing in annoyance, as he roughly rubbed his tired eyes with his hand.

There was no way he was going back to sleep now. It was not his style, and if he didn’t have his breakfast ready by the time others started to get downstairs some would start to wonder. Kirishima first, probably followed by fucking Deku. Nosy motherfuckers.

He didn’t even have the energy to think about what he was supposed to do after making breakfast. Bakugou groaned, letting his hand travel down his face, wishing he could just will the tiredness away. This is why he kept strict bedtime hours, goddammit. He needed his fucking sleep to fucking function.

It was going to be a shitty day.

Bakugou let his hand fall, and finally looked back down to the couch, where Todoroki looked so still he could be deep into a comma. He could leave him like that, it wasn’t his goddamn job to be his babysitter. But...

Bakugou stepped closer and knelt in front of Todoroki’s sleeping form.

Any other day, he would have wondered over whatever possible options he had to wake him up, and then chose the one path that would be more tormenting for the icy-hot bastard.

Not today though. He had no extra energy for anything that wasn’t purely straightforward.

“Hey, candy cane.” Bakugou landed a fist lightly against the boy’s arm.

Taking into consideration that Todoroki hadn’t given any sign of life at Kirishima’s loud voice, Bakugou was rightfully startled when suddenly a hand closed around his wrist like a vice. He flinched and raised his other hand, quickly placing it wide open in front of Todoroki’s face, tiny explosions lighting it up in warning.

Todoroki’s eyes fluttered open and slowly focused almost cross-eyed at Bakugou's palm.

"Bakugou?"

Bakugou groaned, rolling his eyes when he saw the boy was still mostly asleep. He lowered his hand. "You have some fucked up reflexes."

Todoroki only managed to raise himself slightly on his elbow to look around with half-lidded eyes, at the couch, at the empty room, and finally at his hand closed around Bakugou's wrist. He had been making little noises of acknowledgment until that point when instead he rose his eyes and proceeded to make the little most confused noise Bakugou had heard in his life.

It was definitely not cute as hell or anything.

The dumb-ass didn't even let go of his wrist, he just stared at Bakugou as if he was meant to explain it all.

"Tried to be nice and wake you up so no one else had to see you drooling. Won't be making the same mistake twice."

Todoroki blinked, and slowly released his hold on Bakugou's wrist. Bakugou was actually surprised with himself for not having blown out of his grasp earlier.

"Sounds wrong," Todoroki finally croaked, sleep making him slur his words a bit. "You being nice."

Alright, that was Bakugou's limit. He took the teenager's head with his newly released hand and smashed it down back into the pillows.

"Fuck you! Get back into hibernation for all that I care!"

Todoroki's head bounced a bit, but he must have been as tired as Bakugou because his only reaction was to mutter a little surprised "ah" while Bakugou got to his feet and made his way to the kitchen with long strides.

Todoroki didn't actually rose from the couch until a few minutes later, when Bakugou was in the middle of begrudgingly making himself breakfast. No one else had gotten downstairs yet —although upstairs had gotten increasingly noisy— and Todoroki approached Bakugou slowly, just like last night, socks muffling his steps so he could easily give Bakugou a heart attack.

"Fuck!" Bakugou cursed. "Fucking stop doing that!"

Todoroki stared at the spatula Bakugou aggressively waved in his direction. He didn't look especially bothered, which only irritated Bakugou more. He opened his mouth to scream him out of the kitchen, but Todoroki managed to speak first.

"Thank you. For waking me up."

Bakugou was taken aback for a second. Hadn’t he also ungently smashed his head into the couch right after? Was this guy's brain just one-way track? Maybe he was still asleep.

Although, now that he thought about it, Todoroki had never been one to get too riddled up by Bakugou's foul temper. And Bakugou couldn’t deny that, when he had gone to wake him up, the thought that maybe Todoroki —just like himself— might not want to be seen and therefore questioned about not sleeping in his room had crossed his mind. But to be thanked for it as if it was Bakugou’s clear intention felt...

Bakugou stopped his brain right there. He clicked his tongue and pointed the spatula to Todoroki's chest.

"You tell someone I slept next to you, you are dead."

The last thing he needed was someone like Ashido or, god, Kaminari to find out. Todoroki tilted his head a bit, as if wondering why that mattered, but he eventually shrugged.

"Alright."

And that was it, Todoroki proceeded to walk past Bakugou to open the fridge, and Bakugou turned back to his cooking. It was a fairly peaceful morning all things considered, although Bakugou was a ninety percent sure it was because neither of them had energy left to bicker.

That didn’t stop Bakugou from furrowing his nose in disgust when he saw Todoroki was having cold soba left-overs for breakfast.

Chapter Text

Bakugou —like pretty much always— had been right.
 
After only sleeping four hours, the day turned out to be absolute shit. He felt unfocused on the classroom, and unsteady during practice. He had to take some extra seconds for his classmates’ remarks to reach his brain, and screamed at them even louder when that turned to amuse them.
 
It would only have been a mild bother if Bakugou knew this was going to be a one-time thing. But, given this was the third night in a row when he only managed to fall asleep at who knows what time in the goddamn morning... yeah, he was extremely skeptic about it stopping there.
 
It was driving him nuts.
 
Kirishima, as expected, was the first to get fucking concerned. Bakugou could feel it in the increasingly lingering pauses when the shitty-hair stared at him, with his eyebrows pinched up like a fucking puppy. When Bakugou finally snapped and yelled for him to stop Kirishima didn’t back away, he never did. Instead, the redhead got into his space and bothered him to death, begging for Bakugou to open his freaking heart to him or some bullshit.
 
Bakugou’s response was to blow his face up. That didn’t make Kirishima back away either. It was like rejecting a dog, not only did it not work, but it made Bakugou feel even worse than before.
 
And just like that, the already shitty Tuesday turned at least a fifty percent more crappy as Bakugou's remaining energies and whatever he had left of his sanity slipped between his fingers when he had to waste them on dodging the fucking golden retriever he had for a best friend.
 
At last, somehow, Bakugou managed to ditch Kirishima right after classes by sneaking through a fire door. Not his style, but he really needed some fucking air.
 
The metallic emergency staircase spiraled down the backside of the building, so there were only trees and empty sport tracks to stare at when Bakugou leaned against the railing with a long-suffering groan. The breeze was cool there, it did little to sooze the pounding headache he had been suffering since second period, but it still felt nice.
 
It took Bakugou a minute to feel the itching on the back of his neck. Like someone was watching.

He flinched and was quick to turn around, his whole body tense in alarm as his eyes searched for the source. It wasn’t really difficult to spot.
 
Todoroki sat on the stairs above Bakugou, halfway up to the next floor, with his legs stretched in front of him and what looked like a letter between his hands. He wasn’t reading it, but staring right at Bakugou.
 
“Hi.”
 
Bakugou felt outraged.
 
In an empty place like that he hadn’t immediately been able to perceive someone that hadn’t even been trying to hide. How could his guard be so low? His brain somehow couldn’t even come up with any insult to answer to Todoroki’s extremely calm greeting, which was, above all, the biggest red flag of them all.
 
Bakugou’s anger frizzed and burned out like a sparkler, leaving only a growing distorted feeling that danced between frustration and dread. It filled his lungs like smoke.
 
“Fuck.” Was all that he could mutter, before sitting down on his heels, and then back against the railing.
 
This was because of his fucked up sleep. He couldn’t keep up like this. If he continued being so tired his performance would suffer. Not only his studies but his fighting technique required his mind to be at its best condition.
 
He needed to sleep. And for some reason, he just couldn’t. Why couldn’t he? He didn’t... He didn’t want to think why. He just wanted to sleep as he did before. This would only get worse if he didn’t find a solution. He would start failing. Failing. Over and over...
 
“Breathe.”
 
He was. He was breathing. Bakugou looked up to yell exactly that to the stupid bastard who dared to tell him what to do. But although he was definitely breathing, he couldn’t pause or take enough air to form a single word.
 
“Bakugou.”
 
At some point, Todoroki had descended a few steps, and although he had a hand extended towards him, he wasn’t trying to touch him. 
 
“Breathe.”
 
Todoroki’s other hand was placed on his own chest. Bakugou stared at it. At its pale skin. At the even paler paper of the letter that was slightly wrinkled, trapped between long fingers and the gray red and blue of Todoroki’s school uniform. The rise and fall of his chest was slow and steady.
 
Bakugou stared at it until he managed to take a breath that didn’t hurt his lungs. Until he could raise his eyes and snarl at wide unmatched eyes.
 
“I’m... fucking breathing... asshole.”
 
Todoroki still stared at him for a few long-stretched seconds, then he nodded. “Yes. I still think you should go see Recovery Girl.”

 

 

 
“It seems like you had a short anxiety attack, my boy.” Recovery Girl announced.
 
Bakugou clenched the stool he was sitting in with his hands. Still thinking about how he had hissed Todoroki out of his way like a wild animal, even when he had listened to him and still gone to the nurse afterwards.

“I figured.” 

The tiny old lady hummed in that thoughtful way doctors liked so much, she patted with both hands the table that separated them and started asking him routine questions. Bakugou mumbled between clenched teeth his answers, and eventually spoke up about his lack of sleep. She hummed some more and scribbled some things in a paper Bakugou itched to look at.
 
Maybe she would give him sleeping pills or something. Bakugou wasn’t a big fan of medication if he could avoid it, but he would suck up if that was the case.
 
He would, if it would make him fucking sleep already.
 
With her perpetual calm smile Recovery Girl jumped from her seat and approached Bakugou.
 
“All right, my dear. It’s still early so I want you to go visit Lacuna.” She folded the little paper and offered it to him. “Give her this. And you take care of yourself, alright?”
 
Oh. No pills then.

 

 

 
Lacuna. UA's psychologist. And probably the main reason Aizawa didn’t ask for earlier retirement.
 
Their homeroom teacher liked to throw his students at Lacuna's office whenever he deemed they had to get their “teenager shit in order”. And then also much more justified and increasingly so after each villain attack the class suffered.
 
Bakugou —having been a direct victim of one of those and all— had became Aizawa’s perpetual main target to send to the psychologist. But given how much Bakugou despised the idea of letting some stick-up adult judge his life decisions, eventually, Aizawa had had to end up adding the term 'mandatory' to the appointments for Bakugou to present himself in front of Lacuna's door.
 
The first thing she had said as he had sat down in the surprisingly normal-looking office —no weird couches or anything— was that Bakugou had no obligation to talk about anything he didn't want to.
 
Bakugou had said that sounded stupid if the visits were mandatory. Lacuna had shrugged and told him if he wanted to talk about homework or sit in silence, he was free to do so.
 
Bakugou hadn’t wanted to waste his time —or hers, but mostly his own— by sitting around doing nothing for a whole hour. But he also didn’t want to talk about his trip to the League of Villain’s lair. Or the Slug villain. Or whatever his childhood traumas where. Because Bakugou didn’t like dwelling on any of those shitty things.
 
So they hadn’t talked about that.
 
She had asked him simple questions about how he felt, and never once told him he shouldn’t be feeling that way. There had been a lot less psycho-analysis on her part than he expected and a lot more talking coming out of him that he thought he could manage. Bakugou didn’t know how much it all had actually helped but she had said that was alright, and that he was free to come to her to just talk or whenever his troubles became more specific.
 
He had gone to see her a total of zero times when it wasn’t mandatory but, when all was said and done, Bakugou had to admit she didn't completely suck.
 
This sleeping thing, it could be psychological or some shit, right?
 
As he walked through the hallway, Bakugou tried to peek into the little piece of paper Recovery Girl had given him. Tough luck, the old lady had the most horrendous doctor’s handwriting he had ever seen.
 
Lacuna didn’t seem to have any trouble reading it.
 
“So, you go to sleep at the same hour, don’t mess around with screens before bed, don’t drink coffee or eat before bed, you do exercise regularly...” Lacuna listed in her usual calm tone before looking up at Bakugou with a lazy smile. “Well, you have impeccable sleep hygiene, so for now we can focus on something else.”
 
Although it was weird as fuck to hear her happily saying “hygiene” Bakugou kept his mind focused.
 
“Fix it.”
 
Lacuna snorted. “I’m no Recovery Girl, kid. Your mind is your own, but hopefully, I can help you find something that may work for you.”
 
She brushed off her electric blue hair out of her face and crossed her legs. They were sitting on the floor today.
 
“So, try to describe what goes through that head of yours when you’re trying to sleep.”
 
Bakugou groaned but continued talking to her. Whenever he found himself unable or unwilling to continue she swiftly asked another question, enough for his mind to not get stuck but not quite so that the subject changed.
 
By the end of the session an hour later they had eventually reached to the theory that Bakugou’s mind might be in too high alert for him to relax enough to sleep. Bakugou didn’t want to talk about why that might be so.
 
So they didn’t. Although this time, with the fucking anxiety attack and all, Bakugou could sense he wouldn't be able to dodge it forever. For now they skipped to the part he was more interested in: what could he do.
 
“You said you did manage to fall asleep quickly recently,” She pointed out, literally, with her fingertip tapping the wooden floor as if she was tracing an invisible timeline. “When your classmate was in the same room as you.”
 
Bakugou frowned. “I still slept like shit.”
 
“Sitting up in a couch, at 2 AM, it happens.” Lacuna nodded. “What I want to focus on is how quickly you fell asleep.”
 
Bakugou’s frown only deepened. “Are you suggesting I should sleep with that bastard?”
 
She laughed. “I’m not suggesting anything. Maybe it was just coincidence.” Lacuna tapped on the wood insistently. “But it’s something to explore. You could try to replicate something similar and see how it goes. Is it being with someone in the room? Is it the change of setting? We can talk about it more next time.”
 
“What do you think it is?” Bakugou asked, she was technically the expert in this shit.
 
She hummed, pointing back to the imaginary timeline and dragging her finger back a bit. “Can’t say yet, but I think, whatever it was, your mind calmed down enough for you to relax.”
 

 

 
 
Although he was skeptic Bakugou tried sleeping on the couch another night. It didn’t make much of a difference. Slightly less constricting than his room. A little colder. Nothing that made him able to sleep any quicker.
 
Only when he ruled the ‘change of setting’ part out of his short list of things to try did he think about the other thing Lacuna had pointed out. Being around other people.
 
This was slightly harder for him to test. Not only because he disliked being around people in general, but he was also quite strict with what he expected from the other person. Especially if it concerned his sleep.

He considered Kirishima for a moment, but either him or the other idiots he called friends were way too inconsistent with their sleeping habits to make any satisfactory difference. He needed his schedule back, not a half-assed sleep where most of the days he was either dragged in to see a movie in the middle of the night or to go for an hour-long run at 6 AM.
 
In the end, his thoughts went back to Todoroki.
 
Sure, he pissed him off to no end, but Todoroki was organized and serious enough to probably understand Bakugou’s point. He was also the one that had started Lacuna’s theory, and going by that night Bakugou knew he was at least slightly more preoccupied about his sleep than any of the others. They had ended up on the couch the same way, right? As far as he knew, Todoroki also seemed reserved and calm about this kind of shit. He hadn’t made a scene, neither about that night nor Bakugou’s embarrassing and sudden anxiety attack.
 
Bakugou chastized his brain for suddenly making the bastard sound so... reliable.
 
Anyway, he would have to do.
 
He didn’t try beating around the bush. The next time Bakugou saw Todoroki he went straight to him to ask him directly. Because some people might think he was rude as fuck, but he wasn’t about to force the bastard into it. Consent was fucking important.
 
“Do you have trouble sleeping?” It was a crude way to open a conversation, but it would help drive the point across much faster.
 
Todoroki stared at him for a second from where he had been nose-deep in a book against his folded legs, sitting exactly in the same spot he had slept in two days ago. Maybe he really liked that spot or something.
 
Instead of asking Bakugou why the hell did he want to know that, Todoroki tilted his head and actually answered. “I guess the other day answers your question.”
 
“Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.” Bakugou crossed his arms, feeling impatient. “Regularly?”
 
“You could say so.” The bastard said, like it was amusing for him to avoid answering with a simple yes or no.
 
“So, would you want to do something about that?” Bakugou finally asked in a rush.
 
Todoroki seemed a bit confused by his question. "Do something? I just... do whatever I need at the time."
 
Bakugou scoffed. "Why do that when you could find a permanent solution."
 
Todoroki lowered down the book then and started to look interested in the conversation. "Permanent you say."
 
"Temporarily permanent," Bakugou conceded. “If it works. Can’t fucking know before trying.”
 
Todoroki narrowed his pretty eyes, like he could sense Bakugou was getting back at him by not being direct now. It served him well.

The amusement distracted Bakugou from how absurd the actual plan was. How absurd it was he was more than willing to try this with Todoroki, of all people. He hadn't even taken that much time -like, ten minutes- to convince himself that it was the best option. That Todoroki was the best option.

It was starting to feel like a problem of its own. But Bakugou was determined.

“And what is it that you want to try exactly?” Todoroki asked.
 
“Sleep with me.”
 
On the kitchen, someone started choking to death.

Chapter Text

Although by context, Todoroki could understand what Bakugou meant, he could definitely have chosen a better phrasing.

Midoriya, he feared, had not heard said context.

“If you do want me to collaborate on this issue.” Todoroki was sure to look at Bakugou straight in the eye as he talked. He closed his book with one hand. “You have to restrain from killing my friend.”

He could hear Midoriya mumbling terrified apologies in the background but Todoroki stared, impassive, at Bakugou as the boy growled back at him standing in the middle of the living room, palms wide open still erupting with explosions. Bakugou´s attention was quick to shift to the ice currently encasing his ankles and, as expected, then proceeded to plant both hands around them to blow it into pieces. Todoroki was ready to restrain him again to at least give Midoriya a few seconds to run away from the kitchen and preserve his life...

But Bakugou didn’t keep up with his chase. Instead, he closed his still smoking hands into fists, shoved them deep into his pockets, and looked back at Todoroki with a sour scowl.

Todoroki had already known something was off about Bakugou. Usually, the teenager was like a hurricane. Powerful, relentless, unmerciful. An unstoppable force of nature that destroyed anything that got in his way and still managed to cause awe and fascination in those surrounding him.

This last days though, he had been more like a far-away storm. Sporting a thunderous attitude that was still threatening and promised trouble but felt somewhat muffled, diluted... And yes, sometimes Todoroki could be dense with people, but finding his classmate hyperventilating like a fish out of the water the day before had been a big red sign saying ‘something’s wrong’ that not even he could miss even if he tried.

Still, somehow, it was this moment, the fact that the explosive teenager could be refrained from attempting to murder his childhood friend slash rival slash punching bag what, finally, threw Todoroki off balance.

“Are you sick?” Todoroki wondered out loud.

“Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” Bakugou’s brow twitched, like the simple thought of getting sick offended him.

That was a no, Todoroki could guess. He stared at him up and down, trying to figure the boy out. There wasn’t anything visibly different, same untameable spiky blond hair, same angry blood-red eyes, same tense posture as if he were always looking to jump into a fight… yet, something felt off. As if he were made of curved lines instead of sharp angles. Maybe it wasn’t physical. Maybe Bakugou’s subtle change of behavior simply made him look that much… softer, somehow.

Bakugou wasn’t taking Todoroki’s scrutiny kindly if the way his face got increasingly redder was any indication of it. But when he snapped, it wasn´t at him.

"HEY! Do you want to die that much!?"

Midoriya, still somehow a mix between crimson red and sickly pale, had stopped his silent escape towards the stairs with his back flat to the wall. Todoroki was somewhat surprised Bakugou could even tell he was still there when he had his back to the boy.

"I j-j-just wanted to tell Shouto w-we are moving t-t-the study session to my room and-"

"Fuck the fuck off already, Deku! I'm in the middle of something with IcyHot! You can't drag him to your make-out session till I'm done with him."

Todoroki hadn't thought Bakugou could make the situation sound any more mistakenly lewd, but there he had it. How embarrassing. He refrained himself both from chuckling and hiding his face behind his book. Instead, Todoroki managed to make eye-contact with a thoughtfully terrified-looking Midoriya.

"Go ahead first, Izuku. I will explain later."

Midoriya barely nodded before quickly disappearing upstairs, somehow managing to balance his half-eaten dinner in trembling hands. Bakugou's scowl was directed back to Todoroki.

"What the fuck are you going to explain?"

"Double meanings," Todoroki said as calmly as he could, he sincerely hoped he wasn’t blushing. He coughed a bit on his fist. "Although I still wonder how many of those were intentional."

Apparently not all, given how Bakugou's frown deepened for a second before a blush settled high and fast up his cheekbones and his face scrunched up in that pure rage that was so familiar.

Ah, maybe Todoroki wouldn’t have been able to stop him from killing Midoriya after all if Bakugou had been fully aware of what he had said. Well, his friend was at a safe distance now at least.

"That little SHIT! Not only does he hide and spy like a rat but he- h- HE IS DEAD!"

"I said I will explain."

"CORPSES DON'T NEED EXPLANATIONS!"

"But for me to explain I still need you to tell me what you mean by sleep with m-"

Todoroki didn't think Bakugou could get any redder. "Shut the FUCK UP! I'm not speaking about this in the middle of the fucking living room!"

"You do realize it was you who started it just a minute ago, right?"

Whatever it was that Bakugou was going to yell back at him was promptly interrupted by the main doors bursting open with a sudden bang.

Although Todoroki couldn’t stop his immediate knee-jerk reaction to roll and duck behind the couch to take cover, he managed to see as he fell that it wasn’t any kind of attack.

It was Sero. Launching himself into the living room Spider-man style with Kaminari perched on his back like a baby monkey. Both boys came crashing directly to the ground, rolling ungracefully a few feet until they bumped against the side of one of the couches. They were wooing in delight all the way.

Asui crossed the door the same way, not a second later, falling much more neatly to her ankles. From her shoulders, Ashido pointed at the two cheering boys on the floor with her finger.

"What a lame landing!"

"What a sore loser!" Kaminari replied, sticking out his tongue. He had fallen upside down against the arm of the couch Todoroki was crouching behind. He was easily spotted. Kaminari made a military salute. “Yo, Todoroki.”

"That was great, Tsuyu!" Sero chirped as he rolled on his stomach with his perpetual smile two times wider than usual.

Asui continued sitting on her heels as she smiled in reply. "Sero-kun as always has the upper hand in races. Still, this was fun."

All the sudden commotion had done nothing but aggravate Bakugou rage even more, who now looked seconds away from exploding either himself or anything around him. This, of course, was either unknown or completely ignored by Kaminari who looked up at him with stars in his eyes.

"Hey, Bakugou! Wanna try-?"

"In your DREAMS, LOSER!” Bakugou’s answer was as expected, and so were the explosions he used to clear out his way to the door. “You are all so noisy I swear to fuck! Get the fuck out of my fucking way!"

Todoroki discreetly rose to his feet from the ground to watch with the rest how Bakugou made his way out of the building with heavy steps. The silence only lasted what Kaminari could contain himself from making a comment. Which wasn't much.

"Just how many fucks were there in that sentence…?"

Bakugou, who was already several feet outside, made a sharp turn to glare murderously inside. All four scattered out of sight even faster than they had arrived, making Todoroki feel a misplaced admiration for their classmate's improved speed over the last year.

When it was only him left in the living room again though, it was hard to not notice Bakugou’s murderous stare was directed at Todoroki.

It looked like he was waiting for something. Oh, did he still wanted to talk? Todoroki had assumed their conversation had ended, but maybe Bakugou had exited the building expecting him to follow? Maybe he hadn’t wanted to attract their classmate’s attention? Bakugou was a very private person, for what he knew, and although the living room was once again deserted, Todoroki understood wanting to move to somewhere less public. Still, he was so used to Bakugou’s straight-forward attitude it was a bit shocking to find an instance where he had to read him like this. On the other hand, Todoroki didn’t think there could be any statement more direct than ‘sleep with me’ out there...

Oh, of course.

“Sleep-deprived, I see,” Todoroki mumbled to himself, his mind finally managing to piece together the strange conversation they just had a few minutes back.

He didn't know exactly what Bakugou's reasoning was yet, but he had wanted to make some kind of deal with him. Probably thinking it would benefit Todoroki too. He couldn't really imagine Bakugou asking him of something like this if he didn't think they were on the same ground.

Which was...

Well. Todoroki rounded the couch and made his way out of the buidling, leaving his book behind. He was about to figure out it seemed.
 

.

 

"So, the other day you managed to sleep unexpectedly fast and you want to see if it will work again by sleeping in the same room with another person?" Todoroki said slowly, sitting on the grass a good couple dozen of feet away from the dorms, where no over-caffeinated shits could interrupt them or stupid Deku couldn’t misunderstand anything else by eavesdropping —’it was an accident Kacchan’, his ass.

 

"Does summering up what I just said get you off or something?" Bakugou rolled his eyes, arms and legs crossed as he tried to not enjoy too much the sunlight and soft breeze out there. God, he was tired. "Yes, genius, that's the plan."

Todoroki hummed, as always, with a blank expression.

Someone else might have been weirded out about the proposition, or at least wary at first. Not Todoroki, apparently. He simply looked up and down at Bakugou with clear eyes, a stray sunbeam lightened up the grey one, making both look uncharacteristically even in brightness, if not in hue. He had looked at Bakugou the same in the living room, like instead of a person he was some kind of weekly newspaper puzzle or some shit.

Bakugou eventually snapped. “What?”

“I’m just surprised you would be willing to do that.” Todoroki didn’t look surprised at all. “After what happened yesterday, I figured I would be the last person you would want to be around.”

“That’s—"

“Also, when you slept next to me, you threatened me of death.”

“I fucking ‘refrained’ from killing fucking Deku just now! Do you think I can’t do it with you?” Bakugou rolled his eyes. As if Todoroki had ever backed away from his threats anyway. “Listen, you fuck, my academic record is in danger here. And the day I take that lightly is the day I die. I can brush aside everything else.”

Todoroki’s expression remained the same as he rested his chin on his hand, still looking straight at him, and Bakugou had no idea whether the bastard was considering it, unsure or just trying to come up with more excuses. It made him want to fidget. It pissed him off.

“Look, if you don’t fucking want to do it just fucking say—”

“I’ll do it.”

Bakugou blinked, he would? Somehow Bakugou could still feel a strange pause in the air.

“What’s the catch, bastard? Spit it the fuck out.”

Todoroki sighed. "You want to try, and I want to see what comes out of it." For a second his face was hidden by his hair and the shade of the tree they were sitting under. “There’s no catch... not at least in the way you may think.”

Bakugou couldn’t see his expression, and like in a freaking novel an ominous feeling settled in his gut, as if he were missing out something important. But after a second, Todoroki’s shoulders shagged down and when he tilted his head into the light his expression was neutral as usual.

Bakugou had been about to demand him to tell him in that same instant when Todoroki spoke again.

“I will tell you tomorrow.”

What the fuck? Bakugou closed his mouth, taken aback with the bastard saying out loud he was actually going to tell him without any kind of barking needed on Bakugou’s part. Also…

“Tomorrow?”

Todoroki nodded. “I assume you want to do this as soon as possible. I'm okay with it being today.”

Bakugou was still rightfully pissed Todoroki was hiding something, but he still felt excitement in the pit of his stomach. Finally, he loved when things went as he wanted.

Todoroki tilted his head as if he had just remembered something, he pointed a finger at Bakugou. “Just don't blow me up if it doesn't work your way."

Bakugou scoffed and threw him a crooked grin, showing all his teeth.

"Things are not allowed to not work my way."

Chapter Text

As the day went through and the night approached, the more moronic teenager part of Bakugou’s brain started conspiring against him.
 
Both him and icy-hot had decided it would be Todoroki who would go to Bakugou's room —he wasn’t about to spend another day at the couch, twice was enough— but Bakugou was starting to quickly regret that decision.
 
It started with his room. Even when it was rightfully impeccable, Bakugou still found himself cleaning every corner of it, before getting mad at himself and purposefully messing it up again... to then realize he hated messy rooms and tiding it up yet again. Then the same thing happened with his clothes when he went to pick what he would be wearing for sleep. And why the hell did that even matter? Did his brain think he was about to go to a fucking party?
 
But his brain ignored logic, and kept nitpicking and complaining and making him paranoid about every single aspect that could be looked in the wrong way. In a way, Bakugou had always been a perfectionist, but never with this kind of shit. What the actual fuck was wrong with him today?

Thanks to that, when night finally came, Bakugou was restless, outright fuming, and he didn't have anything to blame his anger for except himself.
 
His phone buzzed at five minutes to 8 PM. It was the icy-hot bastard, and for a second, that same weak part of Bakugou that had been bugging him for the last hour made him wonder if Todoroki was about to leave him hanging… Screw that. He would beat his ass if it was so. Bakugou stomped the stupid insecurity away and opened the message.
 
Todoroki
[Do you have a spare futon?]
 
Bakugou stared down at his phone. Damn. He hadn’t actually thought about that. Of course, Todoroki needed to sleep on something.
 
Bakugou
[we on school dorms. who tf has one of those]
 
Bakugou tapped the floor with his foot and growled at the air in thought. He sure as hell wasn’t going to share his bed but… maybe someone on the dorms actually had a spare, if they were so keen on having sleepovers and shit… The problem was Bakugou never did sleepovers. If he asked around for a spare mattress, then others would know something was up, they would definitely get nosy and ask him what he wanted it for. Well, fuck that. Maybe with some blankets, the floor wouldn’t be too bad…
 
His phone buzzed again.
 
Todoroki
[I will bring down mine then.]
 
Alright, yeah, there was that. Bakugou huffed out a breath and fell crossed-legged on his bed. He typed back quickly.
 
Bakugou
[if u don't want to sleep on the floor go off]
 
He dropped his phone on his bed and let himself fall back. Well, that was solved then, he just needed for him to get there...
 
Wait.
 
Bakugou grabbed his phone again and started to type furiously. Sending as many short messages as he could so there was no way Todoroki’s phone wouldn’t buzz like crazy.
 
Bakugou
[wait]
 
Bakugou
[hey]
 
Bakugou
[fcker]
 
And so on, until the messages lighted up as ‘read’ so he had Todoroki’s attention back.
 
Bakugou
[dont u fcking dare]
 
It took a few seconds but the obvious question arrived just as expected.
 
Todoroki
[Why?]
 
Bakugou
[u walk thru two fucking floors carrying ur bed to my door, i’ll kill u]
 
He thought it was fucking obvious. If Bakugou wasn’t about to ask someone for a spare bed, the hell was he about to let the idiot carry his probably big-ass futon through two damn hallways full of teenagers who didn’t care enough about their hero training to go to sleep early. When the idiot broke his neck falling downstairs or some other shit there would definitely be questions asked.
 
Although… that brought them to square one. Bakugou eyed his bedroom, his foot back into impatient fast taps, as he tried to make an inventory of what he could use so making someone sleep on the floor wouldn’t be as villainous as it sounded.
 
His phone buzzed again. And again, Bakugou found he was bracing himself for a rejection. For Todoroki to say he had changed his mind.
 
Todoroki
[Balcony then.]
 
Bakugou blinked at his screen. He didn’t mean…
 
Bakugou jumped from his bed and slid the door to the small balcony so fast the frame creaked... just in time to see a giant ball of fluff fly straight to his face.

His reflexes might have been fucked up these last days, but Bakugou still managed to jump back into the room in time and out of reach of the unexpected projectile. It hit the frame of the door slightly and fell to the ground with a heavy puff. Bakugou was left staring at the crumpled futon covering way over half the floor of his balcony and trying to process what the fuck had just happened. Until Todoroki jumped down and Bakugou could stare at him instead.
 
“Hi,” Todoroki said, just like always. As if crouching onto someone’s railing after throwing a futon and then himself one floor down was just the usual way one entered a room.
 
He was wearing a simple white shirt and loose gray sweatpants. He definitely had no business looking so good while dressing so plainly.
 
Bakugou opened his mouth to yell at him, and immediately closed it, grinding his teeth so hard he felt it up to his gums. He pointed at the perfect white fluff on the floor with both hands, and let his palms erupt with tiny explosions.
 
“Are you fucking mental?” He hissed between his teeth.
 
Todoroki was nonplussed by his distress. “I got it down.”
 
“I fucking see that! The floor out here is dirty, you animal! Pick it up!”
 
Todoroki tilted his head in that curious yet still completely neutral way of his. But he complied stepping down the railing in a smooth movement and diligently starting to pick up his futon.
 
Not silently, mind you. He was looking at Bakugou closely. “You are being awfully quiet.”
 
When the futon was finally off the ground and into Todoroki’s arms Bakugou stepped closer to madly pat at the surface of it to clean it up. “Duh, who the fuck do you think has the room next to mine?” He was careful to keep his voice low as he pinched rests of dry leaves with a scowl. "If any of this dirt gets into my floor I'll blow your head off."
 
Todoroki promptly ignored the last part. "You mean Kirishima?” His voice was muffled now but he sounded surprised. “He doesn't know?"
 
"Why would he?" Bakugou mumbled, although some part of him annoyingly reminded him each second spent not telling Kirishima stuff was like not paying attention to a puppy. And how many times had he already mentally compared his best friend to a dog by now?
 
Bakugou stepped back, inspecting the mattress critically before declaring himself satisfied with his work. Not like he could look at anything else but the futon even if he wanted to. Although Todoroki was strong enough to carry it in his arms without effort, it was too big —and had been too hastily folded— to not absolutely engulf the teenager carrying it. The only thing visible of the boy were the tips of Todoroki’s hair and his bare feet. It was kind of hilarious.
 
Bakugou was glad that Todoroki couldn’t see him trying to hold back a smile. He stepped back into his room. “Well, are you planning to stand there like an over-sized marshmallow all night? Get the fuck in.”
 
Todoroki didn't stumble as he started to walk, but he did almost run into the door-frame. And he had pretended to go down two hallways like this? He would have probably knocked every single door before getting the right one. Or broke his neck by falling. Whichever came first.
 
Todoroki took just a few steps, enough so that he stood past the sliding door and by Bakugou's side. There, he looked sideways at him, only his gray eye on display.
 
"Where?" He asked, the visible part of his hair as white as the futon he was carrying. He looked unfairly angelic.
 
Bakugou clicked his tongue, sliding the balcony door closed and shoving Todoroki slightly with his foot.
 
"Just drop it in front of you."
 
And Todoroki literally dropped it. The whole weight of the futon went down heavily not only on the floor but also on their feet and partly over Bakugou's bed.
 
Bakugou threw a punch at Todoroki's arm. Todoroki easily blocked it.
 
"Not like that, bastard!"
 
"You said to drop it."
 
"I meant carefully, you savage!"
 
"You meaning careful things. That's new."
 
Bakugou threw his other fist and soon they were both in a half wrestling match where Todoroki held Bakugou's fists in his hands as the other pushed and screamed-whispered profanities at him. It only stopped when Todoroki twisted and tripped. They both went down, Todoroki uncomfortably halfway into Bakugou's bed and Bakugou face-first into the poorly placed futon.
 
It was unbelievably soft.
 
"What the fuck."
 
Bakugou had already felt the silky surface when patting it clean, but now being actually on top of it he couldn’t help but paw with both hands at the futon’s surface. It smelled fresh clean and felt like it was literally made of clouds. Bakugou felt as if it absorbed his anger like a sponge and replaced it with the now-familiar doziness of being very very tired, leaving him boneless over the comfiest mattress he had ever laid himself upon.
 
He turned his head to glare at Todoroki. "Fuck you, icy-hot. Why is this shit so comfortable?"
 
Todoroki looked down at him as he twisted and sat more comfortably on the edge of Bakugou’s bed.
 
“It’s just a normal futon,” Todoroki dared to say, poking the futon with his toes, and that had to be a joke. Sitting in Bakugou’s bed, which was on the stiff side, he had to be able to tell the difference.
 
“It is definitely not normal.” Bakugou felt outright offended. He turned his head to bury his face on the futon. “Damn you, rich kids... can’t fucking appreciate...”
 
Bakugou didn’t realize how his voice became softer, or how his words eventually stopped coming out of his mouth. He felt so relaxed...
 
“Bakugou?”
 
Todoroki’s voice made him snap his eyes open, and when had he closed them? Bakugou rose himself up with his elbows almost too fast at the same time Todoroki, who looked like he had been leaning towards him, straightened himself with a flinch.
 
They both stared at each other with wide eyes for a few long seconds.
 
Had he almost fallen asleep? Just like that? After days and days of waiting for hours to be able to turn his brain off? Bakugou didn’t know whether to feel excited or mortified. He was inclined towards the second one when he saw the slow smile that was forming on Todoroki’s face which —god— looked almost fond.
 
“Get...” Bakugou cleared his throat, completely peeling himself off the futon and avoiding Todoroki’s eyes. “Get your fucking expensive mattress in place.”
 
Todoroki hummed and somehow Bakugou could feel the bastard was still looking at him. He made a point to not do the same as they changed positions. There was a fine tremble traveling up from Bakugou’s hands. He closed them into fists, strode to his closet and took his spare bedsheets. He shoved them to Todoroki’s chest and got into his own bed, harshly pulling up the sheets until they were covering his head.
 
“Turn off the fucking light when you are done.”
 
He didn’t know why he was suddenly so worked up. This was what he wanted, wasn’t it? It seemed to be working out. So why the hell did he feel like hiding?
 
The nervousness that had been bugging Bakugou all evening had reappeared and settled inside him as if it had just been waiting for the right time to resurface. He had forgotten all about it with fucking Todoroki jumping off the balcony... Not like that was extremely hard to do but he wasn’t expecting Todoroki to come up with such thing to...
 
Fuck. Right. He had done that just because Bakugou had told him not to come to his room where he could be seen. He was used to getting what he wanted but... it rarely came as freely as this. He had to scream and threaten and punch his way through life, that was how it worked. Todoroki knew, he probably thought half of what Bakugou demanded were just selfish whims of the moment.
 
So, why was Todoroki so easy on him? Or was it just that it was easy to be around Todoroki? The boy had always been one to make their classmates' favors without much thought, always mindful of whatever stupid requests they came to him with. Todoroki was always so serene and... considerate.
 
When the light clicked off Bakugou turned and peeked out of the blanket. Turning the light off had been quite a struggle these last nights. Every corner in the dark unwillingly catching his attention for hours. But seeing Todoroki’s dark silhouette walking on his general direction from the door didn’t look as ominous as he would have thought. Instead, Bakugou felt increasingly relaxed where he was.
 
It was alright. He knew who it was. Todoroki wouldn’t harm him.
 
Bakugou clenched his teeth together at the thought and closed his eyes tightly. Why was he so relieved? Stupid. Weak. He needed no protection. He had survived through a lot of shit. He could fend off by himself just fine...
 
“Thank you for the blankets.”
 
Bakugou snapped his eyes open. Todoroki’s figure sat with his back straight on the futon, he was slowly patting at said blankets on his lap. His words felt a bit like a déjà vu, it took him back to when Bakugou had been thanked just for waking Todoroki up.
 
Bakugou pulled down the sheet on his face a little lower. “You really like thanking me for the most basic shit.”
 
Todoroki let out a puffy breath, as if he were laughing. And that was something Bakugou didn’t think he had seen before. Not like he could now either, in the dark, but when Todoroki turned his head to look at Bakugou the dim night-blue light from the window revealed a glimpse of a smile. Those smiles... he had been seeing more, lately.
 
“Goodnight, Bakugou.”

Chapter Text

Weird. There was little to no light, but some birds were starting to sing. Timid, quick and high-pitched, the sound slipped through the room’s window.

Birds didn’t sing in the middle of the night.

Bakugou incorporated with a start and, with urgency, pawed at his nightstand to grab the alarm clock there.

6:04 A.M.

Bakugou stared and stared at the numbers until his eyes hurt and he had to blink, until the four clicked and changed into a five. Deep breath in. He didn’t remember when he had fallen asleep. He didn’t remember whether he had any dreams or nightmares either.

Bakugou breathed out.

He had done it. His limbs didn’t feel heavy, his mind didn’t feel cloudy. Bakugou felt alert and fresh, and for the first time in so many days, at ease in his own skin.

The relief was so overwhelming he had to take another deep breath. It was as if these last week a turmoil of black and gray had made a home out of his limbs and mind, so slowly, so thoroughly Bakugou had barely been aware of the actual damage. And then suddenly a wave had washed over it, smoothing it all out until black became gray and gray became white. As if nothing had ever been there.

He felt like laughing.

Bakugou looked around... And the feeling stopped and halted in his chest.

He stared at the empty spot beside his bed, and slowly at the futon, neatly folded in a corner near his desk.

When the fuck had Todoroki left?

 

.

 

Bakugou didn’t spot Todoroki downstairs when he made himself breakfast. Nor as he exited the building to UA’s main building.

8 A.M.

The sky was clear today and the air was warm. For the first time in days, Bakugou could look up and not feel like the blue sky had been replaced by a huge neon determined to burn down his retinas. And it pissed Bakugou to no end that he couldn’t really appreciate it.

Why the hell had the icy-hot fled so early in the morning?

He couldn’t get that question out of his head. Not only because Bakugou had awoken so darn happy he had almost immediately turned with the inexplicable need to thank the bastard, but the uncertainty of not knowing why he had found his room empty instead made a tight knot in his stomach that made it hard to think about anything else, no matter how rested he felt.

Todoroki could have gone out to do his morning routine, whatever that was, his brain reasoned. But that also felt like bull-crap, he knew for a fact only a few select people on their class awoke way before sunset as he did. Todoroki had never been one of them.

So, as soon as Bakugou set a foot into the classroom for first period his eyes unwillingly snapped to the back of the classroom.

And there Todoroki was. Already sitting at his desk with his usual bored expression.

Bakugou didn’t miss he was talking to fucking Deku, so when the icy-hot bastard noticed him and nodded his way, making the nerd turn and make an attempt to greet him too, Bakugou made a point to turn to his own desk and ignore them.

As the bell ringed and the class started to go by, Todoroki didn’t acknowledge or tried to talk with Bakugou again. And really, why should Bakugou give a shit? He definitely didn’t care. It wasn’t like he wanted anyone to see them talking together. It was better this way.

Bakugou was well-rested now. He felt sharp. He could follow the lessons without effort. He could obliterate his classmates in practice again. All was fucking great.

Except for when it wasn’t. Because when Kirishima crowded his space like usual and pointed out with a huge happy smile that he looked ‘so much better’, Bakugou couldn’t say much of anything back. Because apparently getting what he wanted wasn’t as satisfying when he couldn’t brag about it. And the only fucking person he could do so to had left his room without a word at who knows what hour in the freaking morning.

He knew the guy was a cold asshole but somehow he hadn’t been expecting that. And now he lingered at the edge of his vision, like a pest, looking so fucking all-mightly and bored all morning, as if none of the classes or people around him were worth his full attention.

“You think so?” Kirishima said while munching his lunch with his mouth open. It was a disgusting sight.

Maybe he couldn’t talk to Kirishima about his sleep, but Bakugou insulting Todoroki was kind of a regular thing. More or less. Anyways, he could definitely give his anger an outlet like this.

“With that punchable poker face and those long pauses,” Bakugou continued to point out. “It’s like he’s expecting to be called ‘young fucking master’.”

Kirishima huffed a breath, half bewildered half-amused, and shrugged one shoulder.

“I dunno, man... I honestly think he just looks...” He paused, looking over Bakugou’s shoulder to the table Todoroki was sitting in. Kirishima slurped loudly from his juice box before finishing. “...sleepy?”

Bakugou’s whole body tensed as he looked up at Kirishima, a piece of his lunch escaping the sudden pressure applied to his chopsticks and flying away straight onto Kaminari’s lap.

“HUH?”

Kirishima wasn’t one to usually back away, but his exclamation mixed with Kaminari’s ear-shattering shriek at his ruined trousers made the redhead jump in his seat and raise his hands in surrender. Sero, who had been dozing off besides Kirishima, woke up with a start and kicked the table with his knees, making Ashido’s drink fall into both hers and Kaminari’s lap.

The screams doubled up, and the conversation was momentarily forgotten.

It was in the middle of a hand-to-hand combat practice an hour later that Kirishima’s remark made its way back to Bakugou’s mind.

As Bakugou easily pinned his opponent —discount sparkly disco ball— to the mat and started to loudly count to ten to announce his victory, his eyes strayed some mats away. To where Todoroki was drinking some water and... rubbing at his eyes with his hand.

Sleepy? How the hell could the bastard be sleepy?

Hadn’t Todoroki had a long sleep too? Why was he so damn tired still if he had? Why the hell had he awoken so early if he was still tired? Was he trying to hide it? Bakugou wanted to ask, but half of those weren’t his damn business, were they?

No, fuck that. Bakugou clicked his tongue and got up, crossing the gym with long strides.

If Todoroki was sleepy that meant he might have no reason to keep up with their deal, which was supposed to help them both sleep. If it only left Todoroki more or equally tired... Then yeah, it was his fucking business.

He had to know this kind of things. If leaving early in the morning was the bastard’s way of letting him know he was done with him after just one day... then he had another fucking thing coming. He would have to say it to Bakugou’s face.

“Hey, kakigori hair!”

“Ah.”

For the first time in all that day, Todoroki’s half-lidded eyes widened as he barely avoided the punch that was going straight for his jaw. The boy ducked and, probably out of pure battle instinct, pivoted with one leg extended towards Bakugou’s feet. Bakugou jumped up and away from his reach in time.

“Bakugou!” Aizawa’s voice resonated through the enormous gym, managing to sound irritated, bored and commanding at the same time. “No sparring outside the mats!”

“What good use can be a hero that can’t respond to a surprise attack?” Bakugou snarled back. Not like it was Todoroki’s case, the asshole had mad battle reflexes.

“The. Mats.”

From the corner of his eye, Bakugou could see Aizawa’s hair start to float up, and although in the practical sense it meant pretty close to nothing when they weren’t using their quirks, Bakugou knew the teacher had a million other ways to get to him even when he stood a hundred feet away.

Annoyed, he growled, and planting his feet hard on the ground he grabbed Todoroki’s arm on his next punch, flinging him over his head and down into a nearby mat.

Aizawa grunted as his hair flopped back down. “Kids.”

It took Bakugou a little more than expected to pin Todoroki to the mat and announce his victory. Todoroki only struggled for the first few seconds. Then, twisting his neck a little and grunting when Bakugou’s knee pressed mercilessly on his lower back, Todoroki’s eyes found Bakugou. His glare was lazy again but focused.

“So it worked. I noticed.” Even when he had lost, his voice was even and he was panting only slightly.

Bakugou couldn’t help but smirk. The knot that had settled inside of him since he had woken up finally unfolded, letting him enjoy the fact that, yes, it had worked. Bakugou had slept like a baby. He felt great.

He tightened his grip on Todoroki’s twisted arm. “That I’m stronger?”

“That you are back into full-douche mode.”

“I could fucking break your fucking arm right now.”

He didn’t though, because then Bakugou wouldn’t get an answer for what he really wanted to ask. The problem was he didn’t know how to do it without sounding fucking eager or something. But before he could think any more about it, Todoroki laid on him his dirtiest trick. He smiled.

“I’m glad.”

Bakugou felt his breath get caught for a second there, before he could get a hold of himself and close off his expression. Todoroki had been doing this shit lately, saying what he thought straight-on while looking so soft and genuine, making Bakugou completely forget for a moment that he was supposed to be pissed at him.

This time was no different. And so the question came out out of him completely unfiltered.

“Are you coming back today?”

“Ah.” Todoroki turned his head to the floor and let his forehead drop to the mat, a long sigh leaving him. “Sure.”

Bakugou frowned, easing up his hold on Todoroki’s arm. Why the hell did he sound so bored again all of the sudden? As if their fight had lifted his spirits up only for the duration of it.

But then Kirishima’s words echoed back into Bakugou’s mind once again... No. Maybe not bored. Tired.

“Did you even get any fucking sleep?”

Todoroki’s answer was quick but Bakugou couldn’t see his face now when he had it against the mat. “The usual.”

Those words could mean lots of things, half of them, not any good. Uncertainty wasn’t something Bakugou was fond of, but before he could demand him answers Aizawa interrupted yet again.

“Bakugou! It’s ten seconds to win, not ten minutes! Stop bragging and move along!”

Well shit. Bakugou huffed and jumped away from the other boy, quickly glaring around at whoever else might be looking his way. Whoever might have seen him talk to Todoroki.

It just happened to be fucking Deku standing ten feet away like he had got lost at his own school, and Bakugou only contained himself from shouting bloody murder at him because he knew it would catch more attention. His face must have been expressing all his killing desires though because the nerd took no time to quickly turn around and cower behind the closest classmate he could find.

This was the second time he found Deku getting his nose where he wasn’t supposed to. He would have to ask the half-and-half exactly how much he had shared with the nerd. And then murder him accordingly.

He would have to wait though, he had already used his card to innocuously talk to the bastard during class, and he had stretched it long enough.

Bakugou tried to ignore how Todoroki slowly rose from the mat as he passed by, rubbing at his cheek where one of Bakugou’s punches had made contact, and using the same movement to discreetly stiff back a yawn.

 

.

 

“You look angry,” Todoroki stated, sitting on his knees on his renewed extended futon.

Bakugou stared at him up from his own bed, arms and legs crossed. “That’s because I am.”

“You looked angry this morning too.”

“Good fucking job, Sherlock.”

“Thank you.”

Bakugou growled under his breath, pissed off by how painstakingly difficult it was to know whether Todoroki had the driest kind of humor or was just fucking clueless. Either way, no matter how crude Bakugou was, he never reacted as he expected. Like now. He didn’t get mad or defensive or apologetic, he just stared at Bakugou with tired —yes, he was now eighty percent sure tired was the right word— eyes, just waiting for him to talk.

Bakugou was actually angry. Todoroki’s obvious tiredness had followed him ever since lunch break, mocking him for not having figured it out for himself earlier. But Todoroki’s annoying reluctance to react to his anger and the fact that he couldn’t raise his voice when the walls of the dorms were next to paper-thin somehow forced his rage down a few notches.

Bakugou couldn’t believe he found himself thinking he actually kind of felt relaxed next to Todoroki. Again. Well, it was the main point when going to sleep but not when he was trying to keep himself mad at the guy.

“You told fucking Deku didn’t you?”

“I informed Izuku about your bad choice of words, yes.” Todoroki gestured around the room with his hand briefly. “I tried to keep this out of the conversation if that’s what you are mad about.”

It wasn’t, not really. And Bakugou ignored the little voice in the back of his head asking how could anything irritate him more than that fucking nerd.

Todoroki sighed a little. “Was that it?”

No, it wasn’t.

“Why the hell did you leave so early in the morning if you were tired?”

Todoroki looked a bit taken aback, a little too surprised for a second. Then he frowned ever-so-slightly. “I thought... you might want your room for yourself when you woke up.”

Bakugou frowned right back at him. Looking up and down at Todoroki. Feeling way angrier now because, had he spent the whole day worried for something this trivial? This guy was a fucking idiot. Or maybe he was the idiot... No, it was obviously the other way around. He wanted to strangle him.

“First of all, don’t you fucking assume anything about me.” He hissed, leaning forward and pointing at Todoroki’s face so close it made the boy flinch. “Second of all, cut that crap. This deal has no fucking meaning if one of us looks half-dead in the morning.”

Todoroki still looked surprised, but above all unsure, and Bakugou had no fucking clue why. It wasn’t as if the bastard needed to wake up at the same time Bakugou did... Ah.

“You can keep on sleeping here even if I leave the room.”

Todoroki blinked at him owishly as if he had just said something unbelievable. And Bakugou felt his cheeks start to burn up because he realized, it kind of was. His room was somewhere private he could have for himself. He had refused more times than he could count his classmates’ attempts at peeking at it just for the weird interior-decorating contest they had going on.

Not like Todoroki had been right or anything, but it wasn’t that weird that the boy had assumed he should leave Bakugou’s room as soon as possible. And here Bakugou was. Overriding that unspoken rule as if it wasn’t a big deal.

Todoroki was staring at him like he needed a goddamn hour to process his words, and then one of those slow soft smiles was forming on his face, and Bakugou cursed him because he already knew what was coming.

“Thank you.”

Bakugou huffed and turned his head. But his insides were doing weird things, so fuck it. He turned his whole body completely, for good measure.

“Fucking save it.”

There, done. With that Bakugou could bark Todoroki to turn off the lights and wait for sleep yet again.

Until that very moment, as Todoroki got back to his futon in the dark, Bakugou hadn’t really doubted whether it would work again. Whether Todoroki's presence would help him sleep. But if he had, any doubt would have disappeared in that same instant.

Like a charm, sleep found him again, easy and painless.

Well, haven't you gotten used to this quickly?

Bakugou submitted that annoying voice into shutting the fuck up. He had worried about enough today and he was going to just fucking sleep now, and that was it. Not even the nagging feeling that he was forgetting something managed to distract Bakugou enough to keep him awake.

 

.

 

Bakugou seemed to have completely forgotten about Todoroki’s words the day before. It was unexpected, given how, at the time, Bakugou had looked pissed enough to engrave into his mind Todoroki had delayed telling him something related to their pact for a day. But maybe it was for the best.

Well, not the best for the arrangement they had going on, Todoroki could only imagine how furious Bakugou would be when he remembered...

The digital clock on Bakugou’s nightstand read 11:50 P.M.

Todoroki sat down a little straighter, to look at the sleeping figure in the other bed. Bakugou’s features were still relaxed, with his eyes closed and his eyebrows softened out of his usual perpetual frown. Todoroki sighed. Good, he hadn’t woken him.

“I’ll tell you tomorrow,” Todoroki had said when he had agreed to their deal.

But now, as he silently panted with his heart in his throat, trying to recover from his sudden awakening, as the crystallized sweat started to melt from the right side of his face, Todoroki felt selfishly glad Bakugou didn’t remember.

One would think creating an opening to talk about it would make it easier to bring the topic up again. He could have done so, today, when Bakugou pointed out they were supposed to get a good night sleep out of their deal.

He could have told him how their sleeping problems actually weren't similar at all. How Todoroki rarely slept more than three hours in a row. How it had been so for a very long time. What he saw in his dreams, and what he kept seeing after he was ripped from them... And so many other things he wasn't even sure he could bring himself to share...

But he couldn’t.

He had thought he could, that he would, that same morning when he had seen Bakugou stomp around with increasing annoyance as the day went by.

But then, Bakugou had tackled him out of nowhere. And suddenly he had looked so eager to keep going. Energetic. Bright. For a moment he had even looked... happy. But it wasn’t just that. Apparently, Bakugou, for some reason, seemed to be taking the fact that Todoroki also had a good night sleep much more seriously than he had anticipated.

What he hadn’t expected was for Bakugou to assume his lack of sleep came from waking up too early. Or to offer him to stay as long as he needed. In Bakugou’s room.

Todoroki still didn’t know Bakugou that well, but Midoriya did, and he had been very surprised when Todoroki told him his explosive reserved childhood friend had asked something from him. Midoriya would probably be having a heart attack if he knew the extents of it now. Todoroki wasn’t even sure if Bakugou himself realized the amount of trust he was putting on him. The fact that anyone would... it still left a warm feeling on his chest.

And it only made it all even worse.

If Bakugou hadn’t cared, if Bakugou had just been pushy and inconsiderate about Todoroki’s sleep, Todoroki would have just told him what he had kept to himself the day before, and dealt with Bakugou’s anger. But now the thought of bringing it up himself made Todoroki recoil. Somehow, he knew he wouldn’t be able to speak up unless Bakugou asked directly.

Bakugou probably would, sooner or later. He might have forgotten but he was sharp like that. He would ask, he would find out that Todoroki couldn’t keep up with his part of the deal, and he would end it. Todoroki sighed and buried his head on his knees, wondering how long that would take.

It was a shame. Waking up in the middle of the night was surprisingly more bearable when someone was just a few feet away. Looking unusually peaceful, ash-blond hair a mess of spikes, snoring softly...

The clock ticked: 12 A.M. Yesterday’s tomorrow passed by, and Todoroki’s makeshift promise broke.

Chapter Text

Bakugou wasn’t asking.

Instead, he was settling around Todoroki. Normalizing his presence in Bakugou’s room every morning. Like it was just natural. Like it was something he was ready to implement in his routine without a care in the world.

Each morning Bakugou awoke at 6 A.M. like he had an alarm directly connected to his brain, then proceeded to practically order Todoroki to continue sleeping when he saw him blinking way too slowly at his surroundings. And Todoroki would comply, lying on his futon into a not-quite-sleep until sunlight started to pour warmly through the curtains.

Rinse and repeat. Day after day. It felt kinda... domestic. Even when Todoroki wasn’t getting any more sleep than before, he would be lying if he said he wasn’t enjoying it.

They still didn’t interact too much outside of Bakugou’s room, and Todoroki didn’t try to change that as he had noted it was something Bakugou was extremely cautious about. Even then, Todoroki could swear Bakugou’s hostility was slowly decreasing around him... although it could also be that Todoroki had gotten used to it. What he was sure he wasn’t imagining was how, whenever Bakugou found him yawning or slightly spacing out over classes, a frown settled in his features. A frown that was full of irritation and a weird kind of determination, it followed Todoroki all day until it promptly turned into a question as soon as he entered Bakugou’s room.

It was never the question Todoroki was expecting.

They were always demanding questions, sure. Full of nitpicks around something called 'sleeping hygiene' and 'REM cycles', making Todoroki wonder where had he learned all that. Bakugou talked as if Todoroki's sleepiness was a personal offense, but at its core, his personal mission for Todoroki to not be tired in the morning was carried out with a strange sort of gentleness.

And that was on the top of Todoroki's list of reasons why he found it was getting increasinlgy harder and harder to straight-on tell Bakugou his attempts were probably pointless. As each day passed, the thought of telling him was quickly crossing the line from making Todoroki feel apprehensive to outright guilty.

And he was a bit at a loss on what to do.

 

 

“I don’t know how to start a conversation, Izuku.”

Midoriya just blinked at him with huge eyes, halting his chewing on his french fries and looking like a hamster with puffed cheeks for a split second before he swallowed.

“You are, right now, aren’t you?” The boy pointed out, laughing a little.

Todoroki sighed, looking down at his half-way eaten cheeseburger, not feeling the hunger nor the will to keep eating it.

“This is different.”

“How so?”

“I know you aren’t going to blow my face up... most probably.”

Midoriya flinched a bit, his eyes going wide as he straightened up in his seat. He was quick to avert his eyes but failed miserably when he tried to keep his tone casual.

“Oh. S-so this is about Kacchan then.”

“It is...” Todoroki poked with his straw the ice at the bottom of his cup. “I think... I need to tell him something. But I can’t seem to find the right moment.”

Midoriya’s green eyes twinkled with their characteristic sympathy as he listened. “I see. Well...”

Midoriya set aside his food as he thought it over, with a finger poking at his chin, nervous quick words escaping his mouth as usual. “I don’t know if I’m the right person to take advice from, after all, I’ve never been quite successful at speaking with Kacchan, not like I haven’t tried, whatever it is you want to tell him... ah, no, I won’t ask I won’t ask...”

Finally, Midoriya shook his head and his wild string of words halted, his eyes focused on Todoroki again.

“Waiting for the right moment with Kacchan is always... tricky,” He said, taking his time with his words now, a resigned but somehow gentle tone delineating each of them. “I think that, if you feel you need to tell him something... maybe you have to set yourself to do so no matter what you think his reaction will be. As scary as that might sound.”

Todoroki let that sink in. He imagined it, for a second. Facing Bakugou head-on just like that... And then the teenager’s inevitable outraged reaction right after, screaming bloody murder at him.

Todoroki let his head drop to the table.

“Ah! That wasn’t good advice, was it?” Midoriya’s voice was slightly panicked. “It’s not like I want your face to be blown up, Shouto! I’m sorry if I can’t come up with—”

“No, it’s alright. Thank you, Izuku.” Todoroki sighed, raising his forehead and rubbing it a little. That table was sticky, yuck. “I think I already knew... I’ve probably just been delaying it.”

Midoirya sighed too, his eyebrows pinched up with worry.

“Maybe you can write him a letter?” He tried.

“I don’t think the subject is quite fitting for a letter.”

Midoriya laughed a little, his cheeks flushing slightly. “I-it’s not?”

And Todoroki wondered for a second what was Midoriya imagining he had to tell Bakugou.

That mystery was cleared only a minute later when the door to the same fast-food restaurant they were sitting in opened and three other UA students stepped in.

It was Sunday, so it was no wonder Bakugou wasn’t wearing his school uniform. Todoroki had already seen the casual baggy —and yet always stylish— kind of clothes Bakugou preferred to wear in his free time too many times before.

But something felt different this time.

Todoroki found himself staring. At ripped jeans. At the huge maroon hoodie where Bakugou had his hands buried. At the way Kirishima was leaning against Bakugou’s shoulder and how Sero was elbowing his other side as he laughed wholeheartedly.

A pang went through Todoroki’s chest like a bullet. A pang of something he could only describe as... jealousy. Todoroki tensed up in his seat. What? Jealousy? He kept staring at the three approaching boys, stunned, as he analyzed the feeling further.

He wanted to be there too, he realized. Walking by Bakugou’s side to eat fast-food on Sunday afternoons. To be stared at by his unimpressed gaze as they talked. To hear whatever insult-coated but smart points of view he would have in return. To find out whether that worn-out hoody he was wearing was as soft as it looked when their arms brushed.

It was the same moment Bakugou’s eyes crossed with his that a thought took form in Todoroki’s brain, sudden but smooth as if it had always been there.

He had a crush on one Bakugou Katsuki.

Maybe you can write him a letter?

Ah.

Bakugou’s eyes didn’t leave Todoroki until he was only a few feet away. He passed by his table, not acknowledging him or Midoriya, but not throwing any insulting words their way either. Something inside Todoroki fluttered and broke.

He couldn’t keep up with this.

In an instant, he was up to his feet and reaching out.

“Can we talk?”

When he turned Bakugou’s expression was open and surprised for a second —and shit, had he always been so good-looking?— before it closed down into a scowl. The boy threw furtive glances to his sides, where Kirishima and Sero were doing their best to look like the menu on the wall was the most interesting thing they had read in their lives. On the other hand, Midoriya looked like he wanted to excuse himself and jump out of the nearest window.

“What the fuck do you want?”

Todoroki could hear the other questions behind that one. Can’t this wait? Does it have to be now? But Todoroki wasn’t going to back away. He knew, he knew this wasn’t the best of moments. That he was attracting attention to the both of them, that it was one of the things Bakugou seemed to despise the most. But somehow, Todoroki felt complete indifference towards that fact.

If Bakugou was going to get angry at him either way, it didn’t matter.

There was something rotten in that logic, but Todoroki ignored it. He stared down at Bakugou and nodded to the exit. He didn’t stop to see if Bakugou was following him when he stepped outside the restaurant.

“Hey!” Bakugou’s voice caught up with him in no time. “What the hell is your problem, candy cane?”

Todoroki walked down to the quieter side of the street before stopping and turning around, and his face must be doing something strange because Bakugou stopped in his tracks too, his expression dropping and his voice lowering.

“Hey, Todoroki. What the fuck is it?”

Todoroki hated that he was now able to pinpoint how there was a hesitant undertone in Bakugou’s gravelly voice. Or how Bakugou called him by his name. As if he cared for him.

Maybe he did, somehow. Was that something Todoroki could expect? He had spent more time with Bakugou for the last week than the rest of the year, and he still didn’t know.

“I can’t...” Todoroki took a deep breath and made his best to close up whatever was going on his chest. “I think you should search for somebody else.”

“What?” Bakugou’s question was pure genuine confusion, but the meaning seemed to quickly down on him. His expression twisted and there it was, what Todoroki had been waiting for. He got defensive. “Are you for real?”

“Yes. I’m sure that... a lot of people would be willing to help you, if you asked.” Bakugou had more friends that he probably gave himself credit for.

Bakugou gritted his teeth together. “I don’t need anyone’s help to work my shit up, I’m not a fucking charity.”

Todoroki nodded. He knew. Bakugou didn’t want help given for free, he had left that clear over and over again. Him worrying so much for Todoroki’s sleep these days had just been a mirror of that.

“And that’s why it can’t be me.”

For a moment it looked as if Bakugou was going to protest. Why? Todoroki couldn’t know. But he kept talking before he could. He needed it all to end as soon as possible.

“I can’t sleep Bakugou. Not for long.”

It was simple, an admission that summarized pretty poorly all that went in his head at night, but it would do. Todoroki had been stressing over this moment for a week but now he almost didn’t take a breath before continuing.

“And I know for a fact that going to bed with someone else in the room isn’t going to change that.” Unlike you, he left unsaid. But the way Bakugou flinched made it clear Todoroki didn’t need to say it out loud.

“How... how are you so sure—?”

“Because I already knew, when you asked me. I already tried.”

Bakugou’s face contorted again, as expressive as ever. Shame. Betrayal. All immediately buried under layers of rage. Aah. Todoroki found himself thinking, Bakugou was such a mess.

Not like Todoroki wasn’t a mess too. A hopeless one to top it all. He had held into the tiny hope that this conversation wouldn’t make Bakugou mad, that Bakugou wouldn’t mind, that he would let Todoroki keep sleeping in his room, helping Bakugou sleep, even if it didn’t do anything for Todoroki in return. Foolish. He had been arrogant to believe he was fit to help Bakugou.

Todoroki comforted himself with the thought that, in truth, he had, even if a little, for a few days. It hadn’t lasted, just as expected, but he helped. Even if it had meant lying.

“You fucking lied to me? To make a fucking deal that you knew was going to be half-assed the whole time?” Bakugou snarled immediately, and Todoroki didn’t feel one tad proud of having read the other boy that well. “For fucking what, asshole?”

Todoroki looked at his feet, his mind wandering back to Bakugou after his rescue from the League of Villains. How Bakugou distanced himself from others even more than he usually did, getting increasingly obsessed with training, but at the same time, duller, exhausted. Bakugou hugging his knees on a couch. Bakugou hyperventilating on a staircase... And then, Bakugou reaching out, offering Todoroki a deal. Doing the closest thing to asking for help that could be expected from him.

“Does it matter?”

“It does! It fucking matters to me, you piece of shit!”

And Bakugou was grabbing at his shirt, giving it a rough pull and making Todoroki snap his head up, forcing him to see up close the million little things Bakugou hid under his rage. Fear. Insecurity. Bitterness.

“Don’t look down on me! Maybe you’re fucking okay with deceiving me! Maybe it’s not such a big deal for you!” Bakugou’s teeth were bared and clenched tight, his red eyes almost glowed with pure hatred, slightly wet at the corners. “Maybe you can turn off your fucking emotions and accept to not ever sleep like a normal person ever again! Turning yourself into a pity party to dwell in your emo past and daddy issues, but I’m not about to do the same!”

Todoroki’s brain was purely made out of static for a few seconds. Emo past. Daddy issues?

“H-how do you—?”

As Bakugou’s eyes widened it felt as if someone had paused time. Encapsulated both of them in a bubble of silence. Bakugou gaped for a second, not any words leaving him as his hold on Todoroki’s shirt loosened. As if Bakugou himself hadn’t realized what he had just said.

He knew. Bakugou knew about his past. About his father. Did he really—? And... his mother too? How—? Had he known all along? He had to. From the start, he had to know. Why would had he brought it up if he didn’t?

His father, his mother...

Vertigo.

Father. Control. Power. All his body, burning. Freezing cold. Hot. Pain. Hot, hot, hot. Puke, water, and bile over wooden tiles... Mother. Mom. Warmth. A dark hallway. Hot. Boiling water. Burning, burning, BURNING. MOM.

Ah.

Well, it didn’t matter.

Todoroki staggered a moment on his feet when Bakugou let go of him. He felt numb. Empty. Like his head was swimming in mist.

“Todoroki—”

“Pity party, huh?” His own voice sounded off to his ears. “Pity. Yeah, I guess you would... think that. Is that why you asked me, Bakugou? Is that why you asked me to do this with you?”

“What the fuck are you—?”

“We are not friends. We are not close. You barely even talked to me at all if I didn’t initiate it until a few days back.” The thought stung even through the numbness, but it was true, wasn’t it? “You won’t even let anyone see you be near me.”

He had never been given the chance Kirishima had. Before this, Todoroki had been another classmate Bakugou found annoying. He had been a rival, at best.

Bakugou took a step back but Todoroki stepped ahead and got closer, and closer, until he was crowding his space.

“You knew. So, did you really ask because you thought your little experiment would work out for me too? Or was it because you wanted to feel better with yourself when it didn’t? Because you already knew how fucked up I was, whether it worked or not, you couldn’t lose to me with this, right?”

Winning, loosing. It was always about that with Bakugou. A part of Todoroki was screaming in the back of his mind that this was wrong, that he had never thought these things about Bakugou. But he didn’t listen. Todoroki was leaning in, fury the only feeling inside of him now, exploding and burning out like a lost firework inside the numbness of his chest. Todoroki rose his hand and let it hover like a claw right below the scarred skin over his left eye.

“Was it because you pity me?”

Some twisted part of Todoroki was thrilled when Bakugou didn’t answer, a selfish kind of satisfaction for the way the usually loud teenager was looking at him speechless. But then the rest of him came back to life too and started clutching mercilessly at his heart like a vice with how wrong wrong wrong all he had just said was.

It only took a second before Todoroki had to physically rip himself out of reach of Bakugou’s wide eyes. He took a step back and turned around, not being able to face the other boy any longer.

“You ask why I accepted? Why I lied?”

Todoroki felt overwhelmed, tired, he just wanted it all to stop. He didn’t even want to hear what Bakugou would have to say. He didn’t want to know. It was over either way. The poison slowly disappeared from his words as he kept talking, his voice simply... tired.

“The concept might be lost to you, but... sometimes people do things just to help each other.”

With that, he started walking, getting away, putting a distance. Like he should have done from the very beginning.

“Good day, Bakugou.”