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“Kiri, my dude, my guy,” Kaminari says, slinging an arm around Kirishima’s neck and pulling him down to his height. “Summer just started and you’re telling me I’m getting snubbed on my time with the boys! What the heck broski?” 

 

Kirishima rolls his eyes and pushes his friend off of him. “First of all, never speak to me like that again,” Kaminari lets out a huff, but lets the comment slide. “And second off, you can come to visit me at the bakery whenever you want; plus you’ll get a free cupcake, so I see this as a win for both of us.” 

 

Kirishima glances down at the floor, a blush crawling onto his face. “Besides, you know my moms need help.”

 

Kaminari seems a bit guilty, “Yeah I know man, I just want to hang out with you.” 

 

“And you will,” Kirishima says, taking a skip step to get out in front of him. “But I promised, and I’d be pretty unmanly of me to go back on that.” Kaminari groans, but a small smile betrays him. 

 

“Manly this, manly that,” Kaminari quips.

 

“Oh! Speaking of manly,” Mina says, jumping into the conversation. “You gonna get a boyfriend this summer?”

 

Kirishima rolls his eyes, a grin spreading across his face. “Ugh Mina, knock it off. I’ll get a boyfriend when I find someone that I want to be my boyfriend.” 

 

That wasn’t entirely true. Kirishima had been looking for a boyfriend, but ever since his breakup with Tetsu he’d hit somewhat of a dry spell. He was proud of his friends for finally finding people they wanted to be with, but sometimes it felt like he was being left behind. 

 

“It’s our last English class together before the year ends,” Sero says, peering up from his phone. “I’m so sad.” He throws his hand up to his forehead in mock agony. 

 

Kirishima huffs and smiles, knocking his shoulder into Sero as he opened the classroom door to let them in.

 

* * *

 

The “kirisquad”- no Kirishima do not pick that name, by the way- all sat in the back of the class, not paying attention to what was happening in the room. 

 

“Mr. Kirishima,” Mrs. Lewis says, clearing her throat. “Would you like to share what is so interesting to the class?”

 

Kirishima whips around towards the front of the class and smiled nervously. “No thanks, ma’am. Sorry about that.” 

 

“Anyways, as I was saying, your summer book project this year is completely up to you and your partner. All I require from you is something that proves you read the book, and that you have a deeper understanding of some aspect of the book; it’s setting, themes, characters, et cetera.” 

 

Kirishima and his friends look excitedly at each other, pointing to figure out who was teaming up with who.

 

“However,” Mrs. Lewis’s voice rang out, “because of the monstrosities that were last year’s projects, I am picking your partners.”

 

Everyone glances around the room, a silent groan almost hearable. Well fuck, there goes Kirishima’s plans. He stares back at a panicked Kaminari. English has never been his strong suit. 

 

Mrs. Lewis goes down the list of names; Kaminari is with Momo, which is met with a smile and a sigh of relief, Mina and Sero are together, and Jirou is paired off with some purple-haired dude he’s never met.

 

“Lastly, Eijirou and Katsuki.” Kirishima freezes, and there’s a small snicker coming from Mina behind him. 

 

Seriously? Katsuki? Two-time debate state champion and ivy league lookout Katsuki Bakugou? This dude is going to eat him alive. 

 

Kirishima looks over at his seat, positioned in the front left corner of the room. He’s got a lot of piercings in his ears, like six or seven, and a septum ring. God, they’re badass. Black eyeliner is barely visible above his long lashes, and he’s wearing black jeans and a shirt from some band Kirishima’s never heard of. Oh, and he’s scowling, like full teeth showing, red-faced scowling. He’s kinda scary.

 

And kinda hot.

 

Kirishima sighs, a distasteful expression souring his face. Nice thought, dickhead.

 

“Please get up and talk to your partners about what book you’ll be reading so that I can approve it before class is over.” Mrs. Lewis says, walking over to her seat. 

 

Kirishima looks back at Katsuki, who quickly whips back around in his seat. Okay, it seems like he’s the one moving then. Kiri grabs his stuff carefully, almost intimidated by the task in front of him. 

 

“Be careful,” Kaminari says, smiling. “Don’t want to lose a finger. I think he bites.”

 

“Shut up Kam,” Kirishima says playfully, already on his way over to Katsuki.

 

He approaches his desk carefully, as if trying not to startle a sleeping predator. He sits down into the now empty seat beside him. Katsuki doesn’t say anything, so Kirishima resorts to starting the conversation himself.

 

“So Kat-”

 

“It’s Bakugou, shitty hair,” Bakugou says, finally speaking up. Kirishima puts a hand up to his hair defensively. 

 

Ok, ouch. That insult stung a little

 

“My hair’s not so different from yours.” He mumbles, running a quick hand through his mane. 

 

Bakugou turns to face him then, the scowl from before present on his face again. “Listen here Eij-” 

 

“Kirishima,” Kirishima says with a boost of confidence and a bit of spite. His face is twisting into the same scowl that Bakugou is wearing. People are right, this dude is a dick.

 

Bakugou glances him up and down, before meeting his eyes again. “Kirishima,” He spits, “let’s get one fucking thing straight, I’m not doing all your work for you. You may get to walk all over the other smart kids here with your stupid high school hierarchy bullshit, but not me.”

 

Kirishima’s face goes blank, his eyes wide. “Um, I have no clue what that word means,” Bakugou shakes his head, and Kirishima pipes up again. “But you don’t have to worry about me not doing any work. I actually really like English, so I’ll pull my weight.” Kirishima smiles, bright and genuine. 

 

Bakugou does not.

 

“Pick a book then shitty hair.” He says tauntingly, turning back around. “If you love English so much.”

 

Kirishima thinks on it for a moment, “Let’s do… The Great Gatsby! And our paper can be over a comparison of the novel and the movie.”

 

Bakugou looks back over at him silently, before grumbling and writing it down in his notebook. “Fine.” He sighs, kicking his feet up onto the desk. “Listen, uh, Kirilina.”

 

“Kirishima.” The red-head corrects.

 

“Right, whatever.” Bakugou rolls his eyes and leans forward. “I work over the summer, so I won’t be at your beck and call.”

 

Kirishima rubs the back of his neck, “I work too, every weekday but Friday.”

 

Bakugou quirks an eyebrow at that. “Hm, same. I work at the music store in the strip mall.”

 

“Detonation Music?” Kirishima asks, and Bakugou nods. “Dude, that's great,” he says, face lighting up. “I work at Fatty’s Bakery. My family owns it!” 

 

Bakugou nods again, humming. “Your guys coffee isn’t shit.”

 

Kirishima is going to take that as a compliment while he still can. 

 

“There’s a back room in Detonation that used to be a band room, but my dad rents it out for me.” Kirishima wants to ask what that means, but he doesn’t. “We could use it for our project.” 

 

“Yeah, that could work,” Kirishima says.

 

Bakugou leans over his desk suddenly and grabs Kirishima’s arm, yanking it forward. “Hey, dude!” He protests.

 

“You’re gonna need my number, aren’t ya?” He scoffs. Bakugou scribbles the eight digits messily. “I work from nine to two, you?”

 

Kirishima stutters for a moment, still hung up on Bakugou’s warm hands on his wrist. “Uh, seven to three.” He says, and Bakugou makes a face that could be a smirk, but Kiri can’t tell. 

 

“Damn, that’s a lot of hours, red.” He says.

 

“Red?” Kirishima returns.

 

“You seem obsessed with that fucking color,” Bakugou says, indifferent.

 

“Looks who’s talking. The only non-black thing on your body is your hair,” Kirishima retorts, smirking.

 

For one second, Bakugou does returns that delighted smirk. “Oh no… Shitty hair’s got teeth. Whatever will I do.” 

 

“I think all that metal,” Kirishima brushes his finger against Bakugou’s ear for effect, “is leaking toxins into your bloodstream if that’s the best comeback you could come up with.”

 

Bakugou scoffs, or maybe it was a laugh, Kirishima can’t tell. He can’t seem to figure out anything about this guy.

 

“Monday after work, I’ll meet you outside of Detonation,” He releases his wrist. “Got it?”

 

Kirishima nods vigorously. 

 

“Good, now get out of my sight.” It’s a horrible goodbye, but Kirishima can see there are only a couple minutes of class left.

 

And that statement coming from Bakugou doesn’t seem so mean.

 

Kirishima leans in closer, “Whatever, metalhead,” and he leaves.

 

* * *

 

“What was he like?!” Mina asks excitedly as he comes back from Mrs. Lewis’s desk.

 

Kirishima pauses, fingers ghosting the numbers on his arm. “I dunno. He’s rude and arrogant, and kind of hot.”

 

Mina squeals, “Whatever floats your boat, man,” Sero says.

 

“I don’t like that guy. Seems like a pretentious dick if you ask me,” Kaminari says, looking over at Bakugou. 

 

“You don’t know anything about him,” Kirishima says defensively.

 

“Except that Hot Topic threw up on him,” Sero’s joke is lame, and Kirishima knows he doesn’t really mean it, but it rubs him the wrong way. Mina and Kaminari are both giggling now.

 

Kirishima looks back over, and Bakugou is staring at his friends. He has this pinched, closed-off expression on his face. He glances over at Kirishima and he seems… upset?

 

Kirishima tries to rectify the situation by pointing at his friends and mouthing, “idiots.”

 

It seems to work too, because Bakugou is rolling his eyes, and one side of his mouth is pulled upwards ever so slightly.

 

Kirishima’s starting to think that this partnership just might work out.