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"I am proud of you, son."

"So, I want to become a hero you are proud of."

"A hero you are proud of."

The words echo in his shattered mind, over and over and over and over again, like the click of a clock's hands; constant, endless, overwhelming.


Frankly, it is torture. Shouto runs a hand through his hair, drops his arm over his eyes, sighs. His head throbs, punctures, buzzes; and he is so, so tired. So, so, so exhausted. It feels like he hasn't slept in weeks.

The memory is still fresh in his mind. His father's face telling him that, the way his own chest contracted with something he couldn't explain (if it was disgust, surprise, hope, confusion, or all in one, or something else, Todoroki had no idea); as well as his father's flames on television, burning, burning, burning; the way he had shouted, without recognizing his own voice, without recognizing where all those feelings were sprouting from, without knowing why the hell he was scared of all things (hell, he was talking about the man who appeared in his nightmares, the man whose simple gaze made him nauseous, the man who made him feel ugly, devastating hate crawling in the pit of his stomach, the man who, for so long, only tormented him and who, honestly, still seemed to be hunting him some way or another), without understanding why he was so hopelessly relieved, his legs finally giving in after he knew he was alive— that Endeavor, that his father, that that man, was alive.

Everything was so alive in his mind, stirring again and again along with the words, bleeding in his chest, in his mind.

But there was all that, too. The memories. The vivid image of his father looming over him, the feeling of his own knees on the floor, his own fingers scratching the wooden boards at his feet, the pain in his stomach, the itching of vomit burning his throat, his insides. The trembling of his body, so, so small and so, so fragile, crumbling at the fatigue, the pain of his bones, the ache of his muscles. The sensation of boiling water on his face, not only burning his skin, but also his own soul, his will, his mental and emotional state, breaking the last trace of hope within him; filling him with hate, hate, hate.


Todoroki leans against the counter, the cold marble feeling like ice on his back. His stomach is starting to twist.

He can see his mother's face, wild eyes looking at him with hate and revulsion. The world around him begins to spin as he slips down and collapses on the ground, the knot in his stomach clenching. His chest tightens, the sound of a boiling kettle echoes in his ears, and he suddenly has trouble breathing.

"Oh." Someone says, but Shouto can barely hear anything above the sharp, shrill screech of the teapot, getting louder and louder. “It's you, half and half. Why the fuck are you sitting there in the dark, you almost—”

Everything spins, everything spins, everything spins, and it's dark, and he can't breathe. He can't breathe, he can't breathe, he can't breathe. He is vomiting on the floor, his father looking at him disapprovingly; he is standing in the kitchen doorway, his mother looking at him with unfocused eyes, full of hate, and the damn teapot doesn’t stop bursting in his ears.

"Ah." Todoroki whines, groans again; his body curls up over himself, shaking.

"Oi, you...?"

Suddenly, there is an icy hand on his forehead, removing the hair that sticks on his skin because of the sweat that is beginning to accumulate there, although Todoroki barely registers it in the middle of the chaos. The tea kettle...

"Holy shit, you're burning up."

Another hand on his shoulder. "Fuck. Todoroki, look at me.” The hand on his shoulder squeezes, the hand on his forehead pushes gently and lifts his face. "Todoroki." The voice breaks and cuts through the strident sound of the whistling kettle, and then the fierce, deep crimson eyes appear right in front of him. "Fuck." His chest hurts, hurts, hurts; he barely can breathe. "Todoroki, look at me, breathe."

Todoroki looks at the eyes in front of him.

“Focus on me, okay? Breathe with me.” The voice is firm enough for Todoroki to actually focus on it. "Alright? Breathe with me. Shit."


"Shouto." The hand on his forehead moves to his cheek, his thumb brushing against his jaw. Todoroki finally recognizes him through the hazy mess that's his mind. It's Bakugou, in front of him, frowning. “Breathe; you're okay. Everything is fine.” Shouto looks at Bakugou, concentrates on his hands, grabbing him carefully (steady, unwavering), even if he is being too firm. “For once in your life, pay attention to me and concentrate. Focus on me, okay? Focus on my voice.” Todoroki does what he is told, because all of a sudden the kettle has stopped whistling, and Bakugou is the only thing in front of him. "You're okay. You're on a dirty kitchen floor, and you look like shit, and it's three damn in the morning, but you're fine. Everything is fine, so breathe.”

Bakugou keeps talking, until Shouto calms down and feels like he can breathe again. Until all he can hear is Bakugou's voice, soft and low but so Bakugou. Until he can feel the ground again under his feet, and look clearly at Bakugou's frown in front of him, wrinkling his face inches from his.

After Bakugou checks that Todoroki is breathing normally again, he presses his fingers against his forehead one more time. "You're still hot." He mutters, the frown on his forehead still not disappearing. He moves back from where he is kneeling in front of him, and stands up.

"Come on," he says, and offers a hand at Todoroki. When Todoroki stretches to take it, Bakugou takes him by the wrist and helps him to his feet. Todoroki stabilizes, resting his back on the counter behind him, while Bakugou moves to turn on the light.

Todoroki blinks one, two, three times to adjust his eyes, while Bakugou sighs. "Holy fuck." He murmurs, and moves silently through the kitchen, behind Shouto.

Todoroki closes his eyes and breathes. What the hell just happened? God, that was horrible.

“Here.” Bakugou's voice makes Todoroki to open his eyes again, just in time to see how the blond takes his wrist and places a piece of damp cloth in his hand.

Todoroki blinks at his hand, then at Bakugou, and again. Bakugou rolls his eyes, as if Todoroki was stupid, but he doesn't seem angry, even if he doesn't stop frowning. He points his own forehead with his thumb, “Put it on your forehead for a while. It should help you get the fever down.”

Todoroki blinks.

"Oh." He says.

He has fever? Is that why it is so hot in there? Is that why his throat is so dry?

Bakugou crosses his arms and taps one foot impatiently on the floor. That's when Todoroki realizes he is barefoot. "Well, dumbass?" Bakugou's scowl deepens. It's so strange how he doesn't look angry even like that. “Are you going to do it or do I have to do everything for you? Are you a baby?” Well, that sounds more like Bakugou, Todoroki thinks, as he presses the cloth against his warm skin. For some reason, Bakugou sounding like Bakugou makes Todoroki feel calm. Although, even so, Bakugou's voice has no single form of hostility in it. Not like Bakugou's voice is hostile all the time, but it is much more intense when he is trying to pick up fights with him.

He closes his eyes again, pressing the cloth over his forehead, and breathes. He drinks in the nightly sounds around him, in Bakugou's bare feet steps, and the other sounds he is making while moving around the kitchen.

Shouto isn't quite sure how long he stays like that, but after a while, Bakugou nudges his leg with his foot.


Todoroki opens his eyes. "Hm?"

Bakugou gestures at the door, "Come on," he says, and moves.

For some reason (probably because Bakugou gives him peace of mind, or because he partly has an ugly sensation in the pit of his stomach, frankly terrified that whatever happened before can happen again, and it would be so much better not to be alone—), Todoroki follows him, without protesting, into the living room, partially illuminated by the huge windows that let the moonlight through.

Bakugou sits cross-legged on the floor at one end of the small table there. That's when Todoroki realizes that Bakugou has a bowl in one hand and a cup in the other; he leaves them on the wooden surface and raises an eyebrow at him.

"Sit down, idiot," he sighs, as if Todoroki was really stupid. Although, again, without any real bite to it. In fact, Bakugou is being incredibly gentle. Or, maybe not gentle, but... nice. In his own way.

Todoroki obeys then, and once he does, Bakugou pushes the bowl and steaming cup towards him. Todoroki blinks. The cup smells good. Like honey and peppermint. It must be tea. Todoroki blinks again. He doesn't remember hearing the sound of a kettle, which means that Bakugou left the lid open on purpose so he wouldn't hear the hiss of the steam. Todoroki blinks one more time. Somehow, Bakugou knew...

Also, the bowl has soba. Judging by the fact that it isn’t steaming, it must be cold soba.

Cold soba.

Todoroki lifts his head to look at Bakugou, who has his arms crossed against his chest and is looking away with a frown and lips in a tight line.

"Um." Shouto says, blinking, a little bit (very) dazed and bewildered.

Bakugou looks at him through the corner of his eye before looking back at whatever is so interesting on the wall.

He must know instantly what Todoroki is thinking, because he says, "You told Baldy a long time ago, dumbass."


That’s true. Although, to be honest, Todoroki didn’t remember that.

How does Bakugou remember that? Well, it is a fact that he has a good memory, but…

"Aren't you going to eat?" Bakugou snaps suddenly, seeing that Todoroki is still sitting there without doing anything other than staring at him.

"Oh. Right.” Todoroki says, takes the chopsticks, gives his thanks for the food, and starts eating.

Bakugou looks at him, seeming satisfied that he is finally eating, and then moves to lie on the floor, arms behind his head, staring at the ceiling, saying nothing more.

It is strange that Bakugou isn’t talking (not that he is talkative or a social person. His social skills are even or worse than Todoroki’s, which is… saying something —he likes to think he’s better than Bakugou at it, though—. But, even so, even so, he usually talks around Todoroki, even if only to bicker with him); but, honestly, it is strange that Bakugou is even there with him, it is strange that Bakugou has cooked for him, and it is strange that he is there at 3 in the morning. Bakugou is usually one of the people who goes to bed early and sleeps his eight hours, as it should be.

Todoroki frowns. Why was Bakugou there in the kitchen?

Why is him here now?

Now, well, that sounded too rude. It is not as if Bakugou showing any kind gesture was something completely unprecedented, Todoroki has seen him show concern and be nice to others countless times before after all, even if Bakugou himself would never admit it aloud. He has seen him give tutoring sessions to several of his classmates, answer questions about class, help in the kitchen (he even cooked for Kaminari, Sero, Ashido and Kirishima once; and when Shouto found out and gave him a quizzical look later, Bakugou only said “they wouldn’t shut up about it”, mostly irritated. Shouto replied something along the lines of “oh” and they left it there), give some advice in training for some classmates (in a very professional way —Todoroki would be lying if he said he wasn’t impressed, but he wasn’t quite surprised either— even with the ‘idiot’ at the end of the sentence because Kaminari or Kirishima wouldn’t get what he said at the first time). And even if all of that was done so that it seemed like he was reluctantly doing it, screaming and mumbling insults and looking overall irritated, Todoroki knew better.

After all, Bakugou had been incredibly... good company in the extra courses of the provisional license. Sure, he still told Todoroki not to walk in front of him, and sure, he still said insults and got annoyed once in a while. And he was as wild and intense as ever (not like it bothered him. It had grown on him somehow. He had gotten used to it). But he also waited for Todoroki in the mornings when he was late, with nothing but a “you have no sense of time at all? We’re late already, idiot” and a scowl, he came back with him at the dorms (he even shared his umbrella twice with him when it started raining because Todoroki had forgotten his, which, in his opinion, was huge progress between them. Not counting the growl of "God, Todoroki, if you didn't have your head glued to your body...", but it wasn’t that bad of a experience), he would take Inasa off him when he turned out to be too much, he would help him with some extra work (giving him notes, or writing them in the margins of his notebook and post-its because "Todoroki was useless and couldn't take proper notes", so he could remember important points of the lesson or see his mistakes in the exercises), and helped him to bandage himself up because "what the hell, Icyhot, what the fuck is that?", "you don't bandage up something like that; you definitely don’t do it like that", “you're going to get that infected, you stupid moron," and "you're seriously hopeless/useless."

So, yes, Bakugou was actually very nice (in the absence of... a better word) in his own way if he thought about it, so that wasn't exactly what surprised Todoroki.

Nor that he was a good cook, he already knew that before too.

But there was something. Not that Bakugou is being especially gentle with him, no. He's being kind, yeah, but in a Bakugou kind of way. But there is something different in the way he is treating him. In his eyes. There is something in the way he helped him stand up, his fingers taking his wrist carefully; something in the way he checked so Todoroki wouldn’t hear the kettle whistle; something in the way he was looking at him; something in the way his fingers pressed and brushed against his forehead, touch almost soft, almost gentle; something in the way his frown deepened at telling him to breathe with him; something in the air that hangs between them right now.

And his expression. His expression while looking at Todoroki in the kitchen, giving him the damp cloth. His expression as he saw the window and told him to sit in front of him. His expression when Todoroki started eating.

There was something.

Something there, in full exposure, open in the air so Todoroki could see it even if Bakugou didn't want to, but Todoroki couldn't decipher it. He only remembers seeing it before when he mentioned to Bakugou that there was another way to educate children than using brute force, when he had exhaled heavily, shook his head back and then looked at Todoroki with something besides irritation.

"Well, teach me then." He had said, without protesting more.

It was the same something in his expression.

The same something when Bakugou had taken a look at him knowing that Endeavor was in the audience, the same something when Bakugou had taken a look at him after his dad said the phrase that still echoes in his head.

"How is your head?"

Todoroki blinks at where Bakugou breaks the thread of his thoughts, lying on the floor, an arm over his closed eyes.

“Uh?” Todoroki looks at his hand, that still holds the chopsticks with soba halfway to his mouth. "It’s good." He answers, touching his forehead with his other hand. "Good." He repeats. "I don't have fever anymore, I think."


Todoroki takes a look at Bakugou. His chest goes up and down along with his breath. He is wearing baggy pants around his hips and a plain black t-shirt with a skull in the center. Todoroki almost smiles. That is, until he sees the small strip of skin exposed between the hem of his pants and his shirt.



Bakugou growls, without removing his arm from his eyes to look at him; Todoroki takes it as a "what do you want, idiot?" and goes on:

“Why were you in the kitchen?”

Bakugou keeps silent.

One second, two seconds, three.



Bakugou sighs, and then answers something that sounds like ghskejdrlfm.

Todoroki blinks.

"… What?"

Bakugou exhales heavily, as if being there hurt him physically. He peeks out behind his arm and growls, louder than usual, "I said I forgot, asshole."

Todoroki blinks again.


"You forgot?"

Bakugou huffs, exasperated, and sits down so he can look at him properly. "Well, you scared me to hell, asshole, how the fuck was I supposed to remember after that?"

"Oh." Todoroki puts his chopsticks on the bowl. That’s true. He suddenly feels really bad. "Sorry." Bakugou looks at him with incredulous eyes. He is sorry, though. He lost control there. He doesn't even know what happened. Everything escalated so fast...

"What the fuck?" Bakugou says, then. "No."

Todoroki blinks. "Huh?"

Bakugou makes a frustrated sound in the back of his throat. “Don’t be fucking sorry, idiot.” Then, in a quieter tone, he adds, “It’s not something you can control, anyway.”



Bakugou gives him a look while Todoroki stares right back. Then, as if he could read Todoroki's mind, he quirks an eyebrow.


How does he know that Todoroki wants to ask something, it's just scary, and Shouto doesn't want to ask. Is he so easy to read?

"What was...?" Todoroki starts saying and looks at the kitchen. When he looks back, Bakugou is looking right at him, seeming slightly surprised. Or confused.

“You had a panic attack.” He answers Todoroki's unspoken question and leans back a little. Shouto observes the way he is sitting, with his legs forming an L, feet touching, one knee against his chest while the other falls on the ground forming a square with it, one arm hanging over the raised knee, his other arm stretched out behind him, the palm of his hand on the floor. Bakugou looks at him, looks at the table, leans forward and back again. He looks to the side, looks at him again, shrug a single shoulder. It's kind of weird how Todoroki just paid attention to every one of his movements. “Sometimes they just happen.” He continues, after shrugging, “It's normal.” He shakes his head, as if saying ‘eh’, and adds, “Really shitty, but normal.”

Todoroki looks at him, without answering, and Bakugou seems to read him easily again (did— did Todoroki grow up a new quirk that makes his thoughts visible on his forehead or something?); he makes a vague gesture, moving the hand hanging over his knee in the air. “You know, they’re episodes that make you feel extreme anxiety or fear, usually triggered by something. They don't last long, but you feel like it's been forever. You have dizziness or cannot breathe or your chest contracts. Basically, you think you’re gonna die but you're fine. It must have happened because of the stress you went through.”

Todoroki blinks, listening carefully while Bakugou recites everything calmly, as if he were reading it from an encyclopedia or something.


"Yeah." Bakugou looks at him intentionally. “So don’t be sorry, you moron. It's not something you control, and it's horrible too.”

"Oh," Todoroki repeats, and Bakugou snorts, looking mildly amused.

"Dipshit." He mutters, and turns his head to look out the window.

Todoroki starts thinking about how problematic it should be to help someone in that state, and also about how Bakugou was leaning over him, being so careful, with such a kind voice, spilling concern in the middle of a firm and determined tone. He starts thinking about the wrinkles between Bakugou's eyebrows, the way his hands felt grazing over his forehead and digging on his shoulder, bringing him back to earth, there, to the ground. The way he acted so fast and practical.

And then he's opening his mouth and babbling before even thinking about what he’s saying.

“I didn’t know. I'm so sorry you had to—”

"You wanna die?" Bakugou growls, looking back at him with an annoyed expression, "If you say sorry one more time, I'll kick your ass."


"I'll. Kick. Your. Ass.”



"Ahh." Todoroki goes, not knowing what to say, because that one was really accidental.

“You fucking moron. You’re hopeless.”

Todoroki doesn’t argue with that, but he feels like he should be offended, so he leans over the table to poke at his arm with one of his chopsticks.

"Ah, gross."

Todoroki smiles softly, amused at Bakugou's extreme reaction, who scowls at the stick like it is the very cause of everything bad in the world. Shouto takes the other chopstick and uses them both to take a bit of what is left of soba in the bowl.

Bakugou makes a face, grimaces as if he had eaten something sour. "Ugh, you're so gross. You just put that on my arm. And then on your mouth."

"Are you saying you're grubby or something?" Todoroki says, eating another bite, pretending innocence.

Bakugou looks sincerely offended at the comment and Todoroki tries to hide his smile behind the chopsticks.

It doesn’t work.

"You fuck." Bakugou says, sounding outraged, "you fuck."

Todoroki shrugs. Bakugou shakes his head like Todoroki was a lost cause.


An hour later (according to the clock hanging behind the television), Todoroki had finished eating, and was lying on the table, his face into the crook of his crossed arms, dozing off while Bakugou stared silently at the window.

Everything was so quiet and silent, and Shouto could fall asleep at any second.

That is, until Bakugou speaks again.

"That sure was something, huh?"

"... Uh?" Todoroki pops open one eye, half sleepy, and moves his head so he can look at the Bakugou’s seated frame.

He is not looking back, however, with his eyes fixed on one spot in the clean glass.

“The show your old man put up in the morning. Going as far as using All Might pose at the end…” Bakugou trails off and clicks his tongue.

Todoroki blinks. He has to know. Bakugou has to know. If he didn’t, he wouldn't…

"How...?" How do you know? How do you know that my panic attack has to do with that? Todoroki doesn’t say it, unable to formulate exactly the question he wants to ask is, but something on his face must indicate something, because when Bakugou turns to look at him— and continues looking at him for a long fifteen seconds later—he reacts. He exhales through his mouth, leans back, and looks at the glass wall next to them. He stares at it for a while, and Todoroki tries to decipher what is going on in his head when Bakugou finally speaks again.

"It wasn't that hard, idiot." He says, without muttering, but in a voice so low that Todoroki can only hear it because they are less than a meter away. "You should’ve seen you in the morning."

Shouto lifts his head off the table to look at him. Bakugou's profile is much softer than it appears to be with his usual expressions (a scowl and a mocking grin or a half-diabolical or murderous smirk). While he has a strong jawline, his other features are much softer: he has a delicate-shaped nose, small lips, thin eyebrows (even if he’s always using them to scowl), soft cheeks and—despite the fierce and wild color—his eyes have a small, thin, pretty shape, framed by long and thick blonde eyelashes (Todoroki can even see them clearly from his place, shining there along with his skin in the pale moonlight). Bakugou Katsuki has an elegant and soft face, polished and dainty features. Todoroki wonders what people would think if they could see him as calm as now all the time.

Bakugou's voice cuts right through the air, startling Todoroki out of his stupor, reminding him why he was looking at him in the first place.

"You looked..."

His crimson eyes look away from the glass, the moonlight projecting on his face, on his neck, on the skin that peeks out of his collarbones, his voice spinning in the space between them.

The words hang in the air, meaning nothing at all and, in fact, meaning everything. They are dense, somehow, and Todoroki feels something swirling in his chest, heavy and loaded. He has no idea what it is, and it is not exactly a pleasant feeling, but it is... something. Something.

Always something.

Todoroki's eyes flick from where he was looking at Bakugou's half-bare shoulder to his face.

Bakugou's expression when he looked at the glass was... different. More... softer—or not soft but serene, relaxed. Maybe it's the light, or the angle, but everything in him seems more… open, exposed. Todoroki assumes that the reason is probably because he himself is exposed. Much more than him, probably. He feels open to the outside, like someone just turned around his skin to leave it hanging there, as if everyone could read what he thinks, feel what he feels.

And maybe it is like that.

At least, that's how it feels when Bakugou looks right at him. His eyes penetrate into his, his hair becoming a little softer in the light, and his expression changes again. He doesn’t seem annoyed, or angry, but more like he wanted to read something on his face. The way he looks at him makes Shouto wobble a little mentally. Bakugou has always been insightful, and very observant, and Shouto knows that; but the way he is looking at him now is as if he knew exactly every horrible, terrible thing that Todoroki has suffered in his entire life, that Todoroki has thought in his whole life, that Todoroki has felt all his life.

It is an overwhelming, suffocating sensation that burns and opens and tears him from the inside, and Shouto has to stop looking at him before opening his mouth and saying something stupid.

He feels so exposed. He can still feel Bakugou's eyes on him, following his movements, the way his hands grip at the cup that has long stopped smoking, his fingers curling around the handle.

Of course, the cup is empty, and Bakugou knows it. So it's ridiculous.

Bakugou's eyes doesn’t let go and, involuntarily, his fingers twist. Contract.

The silence grows, expands, swirls, and Todoroki's head starts to spin.

"You looked..."

What? Terrified? Lonely? Sad? Overwhelmed? Tired?

All of the above?

The truth is that it doesn't matter, whatever it is.

Somehow, that sums up everything without saying anything. What happened in the morning, their encounter in the kitchen. This moment. Probably his entire life.

"Do you want more tea?"

Todoroki looks up so fast that he can almost hear something creak in his neck. "Uh?" He says, somewhat higher than normal. A little because he doesn't understand, a little because Bakugou's voice surprises him (again) and a little because he really, seriously doesn't understand.

Bakugou raises an eyebrow at him, the corner of his mouth pulling to the side. "Do you want more tea, you deaf dumbass?"


Bakugou raises the other eyebrow when Todoroki only stares blankly at him. He uncrosses his arms, stops leaning back and stands up, shaking his head with his eyes closed. When he opens them again, there is something similar to amusement glinting there, as if Todoroki’s social ineptitude to talk was somewhat funny.

“You’re seriously a dipshit, Todoroki.” He says, despite not a sign of real bite in his voice. Then he leans down, takes the cup from Todoroki's stunned hands, and presses the fingers of his other hand against his forehead, under his bangs. "Well, at least you don't have fever anymore."

Shouto blinks, with an expression that must be comical. Ridiculously wide eyes, heat creeping slowly at the tips of his ears, lips parted like a fish.

It's ridiculous. Frankly. There is no other way to describe what he is feeling. Bakugou did the same thing with his face just inches from his no more than an hour ago. Why does Todoroki feel like his heart is going to rip, tear and burst out of his chest?

Probably the lack of sleep.

Bakugou pats Todoroki's head—like he is a dog or something, as he walks behind him and goes to the kitchen to refill his cup of tea.

Shouto doesn’t know how to explain it, but the sensation in the pit of his stomach is agitated, churning over and over and over and over again, spilling like ink, falling in chains, cascading, pouring into every part of him.

He doesn't know when he stands up, or when he takes Bakugou's wrist in his hand. He just does it.

He is acting on instinct.

He remembers the way Bakugou looked at him before in the kitchen, with—subtle but therecare and concern, the way he knelt in front of him and helped him breathe. The sound of his voice, his fingers digging into his shoulder, barely touching his forehead.

Todoroki's fingers twitch on Bakugou's wrist.


Everything moves in quick motion before him. The feeling of Bakugou's hands, Bakugou's look, his words. The food. Soba so, so good. Hot, sweet tea; the comfortable feeling in his stomach and throat after drinking it.

Bakugou's profile in the moonlight.

It's like riding a roller coaster, although Todoroki has never been on one. The emotions at the tip of his mouth plummeting at full speed, bursting into the pit of his stomach, spinning, spinning, spinning. His heart hammering in his throat, in his ears, in his head.

"Hm?" Bakugou is standing in the corridor, even if he can move with the loose grip Todoroki has on his arm. He doesn’t, though. He stays there. Todoroki's nails dig in his skin, but Bakugou says nothing more.

Todoroki's chest tightens.

The way Bakugou looks at him is with understanding. He looks at him that way because he understands. Understands what Todoroki feels, what Todoroki thinks. Somehow, Bakugou knows. Somehow, Bakugou recognizes, even if he doesn't know the details, that Shouto's carrying things, carrying so many things; reaching, spiraling out of his control.

Bakugou understands. Bakugou understands.

Todoroki's fingers contract, squeezing Bakugou’s wrist. "Bakugou?" He tries again, and Bakugou looks over his shoulder at him.

Crimson, fire, ethereal eyes fixed on him. With that.

That something.

Todoroki’s lips give in, and he smiles softly, so small and subtle that it is barely noticeable, that it is barely there. But Bakugou looks right back at him, and Todoroki knows. Somehow, he knows that Bakugou knows. He knows of the warmth that sprouts in his chest, expanding, bleeding out to every corners in his body.

"Thank you."