It was common knowledge in the UA dorms that Bakugou Katsuki answered to only one human, and his name was Aizawa Shouta.
The first time it was made clear to everyone, it was sometime soon after they had moved into the dorms. The third of many movie nights to come, and like with most class bonding activities, Bakugou wasn't there.
"Probably sulking in his room," Kaminari sighed. "We'll just have to try again next time."
"Does this happen often?" Aizawa asked, and the whole class jumped. They hadn't known he was there in the first place. If there was one thing he'd kept over from being an underground hero, it was moving around quietly.
"Every week, basically," Hagakure answered for the rest of them. "I think he just likes being alone."
Aizawa pressed his lips together, then said, "I'm going to go talk to him. Don't start the movie until I return."
He left before Midoriya could warn him that trying to reason with Kacchan was like asking to be yelled at, especially in his extra testy, post-kidnapping state. As a teacher, he'd probably be safe from the worst of it, but there were no guarantees.
Minutes passed. The class's designated eavesdroppers, Jirou and Shouji, reported no explosions, although they couldn't hear much of anything. The soundproofing on the UA dorms was good quality, strong enough to mute even the loudest of night terror yells.
More time passed. Ashido set a timer on her phone, saying that if Aizawa wasn't back in half an hour, they would go and see if he was alive. Shinsou texted the man, as the only one who could get away with texting him casually, but got no response. Even Dark Shadow was starting to get anxious.
Then, exactly twenty minutes after he had left, Aizawa returned, and he wasn't alone. Bakugou was with him, already in his pajamas and looking surly.
Bakugou was with him. Bakugou was with him, and there wasn't a single scorch mark on Aizawa's jacket.
To someone in class B, it probably wouldn't seem so strange, but class A knew their classmate very well. Bakugou Katsuki didn't do a thing he didn't want to unless he was under the threat of death or failure. He had the pure iron will of a rodeo bull, and was just as hard-headed. Todoroki speculated that he was actually part mule, he was that stubborn.
But here he was, apparently about to join them at movie night. And it took Aizawa Shouta, their personal hero, twenty minutes to accomplish this miracle.
They tried not to stare as Bakugou sat down on the carpet, adjusted his hearing aids, and asked loudly, "So what shit are we watching tonight? Better not be more chick flicks, those are fucking cheesy."
"We're watching the new Purge movie, bro," Kirishima said cautiously, like one word could make Bakugou disappear. Even though he was his friend, he had never even gotten close to convincing him to join.
"Fine," Bakugou acquiesced, then looked backwards at Aizawa. "I'll stay. But there better be subtitles on this shit or I'm outta here."
"Thank you for giving it a chance," Aizawa, the man of the hour, the legend himself, said, and walked out of the room. "Have a good night, class."
"You too, sensei," they responded, voices hushed with awe.
Uraraka, the one who chose the movie in the first place, turned on the subtitles and pressed play with her mouth still hanging slightly open. Midoriya reached over and closed it for her, although his eyes immediately slipped back to Kacchan. He was lucky the boy was focused on the TV screen, or he would've been explodokilled for sure.
"I have to be better in class," Ashido whispered to Sero. "Aizawa-sensei's too powerful. He tamed the beast."
"Are we sure this is Bakugou and not an illusion?" Jirou asked Momo under her breath. "He seems so tame."
A few minutes later, Bakugou began violently cursing at the screen, yelling at "the stupid assholes at the grocery store" to "fuck off and die," which proved both that this was Bakugou and that he was a horrible person to watch movies with. None of them had ever known this second fact, not even Midoriya. None of them had ever had the chance to find out until now.
"You're Aizawa's child, correct?" Todoroki whispered to Shinsou. "Does he have some kind of coercion quirk as well?"
"I'm adopted, so that's not how it works," Shinsou whispered back. "And it doesn't seem like Bakugou's under any kind of mind control quirk. Maybe he just wanted to watch a movie with us for once."
Aoyama, who had been sitting next to them, almost choked on a piece of cheddar popcorn laughing.
"Our Bakugou? Comme c'est ridicule," he said, loud enough to draw half the class's attention. God bless Bakugou's hearing loss for once. The boy was oblivious to even the loudest of whispers around the room, although he did give Iida an annoyed look when the boy asked if he was feeling alright.
"Never better, no thanks to you," he said, tossing a piece of popcorn into his mouth. "Your head blocks the screen half the time." Iida moved all the way across the room, apologizing profusely as he did. This Bakugou, as a completely unpredictable unknown, was even scarier than the usual one.
"He's actually watching the movie," Satou whispered in shock, and the whole class snuck another peek, just to make sure it was real. They almost got explodokilled for "being fucking creepers," and that almost made the situation weirder. It was definitely Bakugou, which meant that Aizawa really was a miracle worker.
Either that or he had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for being able to control Bakugou. Both were equally plausible.
For the next few weeks, the whole class kept their attention on both Bakugou and Aizawa, and they began to notice things.
Like how in hero training, it only took a few words from Aizawa to get Bakugou to stop fighting, while he used to have to use his capture scarf just to break up spars. Or how Bakugou looked to Aizawa, rather than All Might, in the middle of lessons. Midoriya knew more than anyone how much the other boy idolized All Might, so it was jarring for him to see how easily his focus would shift whenever Aizawa said something.
Shouji was used to going to the gym to see Bakugou there, and leaving before the other boy was finished. He didn't think it was healthy for him to work out that much, but Bakugou had always insisted he was fine. Now, Aizawa stopped by every night at eight pm exactly, energy drink in hand and an annoyed look on his face, and Bakugou just... stepped off his machine, took the bottle, and left. It truly was a divine sight.
Koda, who was in Bakugou's sign language class, was used to him blowing up whenever he couldn't remember how to sign something. He knew that Bakugou didn't really accept his incoming deafness, even while wearing hearing aids, and the one time he offered to help the boy practice, he was practically spat at.
So when Aizawa walked in and said, "Katsuki, I know you haven't been doing your sign language practice. Stop groveling, I'll have Present Mic help you with it," he was terrified for the man's life. He knew just as well as everyone else about Aizawa's secret Bakugou-whispering talent, but surely this was over the line.
Except... Bakugou didn't blow up at him.
"Geez, get off my back," he said, flexing his fingers. "I don't need his help." Not a single curse word in his whole sentence. He didn't even look mad, just grumpy.
"You will if you don't take this seriously," Aizawa replied. "Ignoring your hearing problems won't make them go away. You're all about preparing ahead and doing everything in your power to give yourself an advantage, so why won't you help yourself?"
Koda was sure this was the end of Aizawa-sensei as he knew him. Calling Bakugou out on his own obstinance? This was basically asking the boy to have a tantrum, and there was no doubt in his mind that a storm was brewing.
But Bakugou surprised him yet again by not releasing a single blast.
"It doesn't feel right," he muttered, looking down at his hands. "I can't keep up when Present Mic does it in class, and it doesn't feel natural when I do it while I talk. It makes me talk slower, and it sounds dumb as shit."
The curse word was normal; the admission that he wasn't perfect was not. Koda felt like he was intruding on something personal, like any second he would be discovered and Bakugou would really explodokill him. He didn't have Kirishima's hardening to survive a Howitzer impact. He wouldn't make it out of class alive.
"It takes practice, golden boy," Aizawa said with a shake of his head. "I know you're not used to doing things you're not immediately good at, but I promise you that this'll be beneficial years down the line. You just have to keep working at it."
He called him "golden boy." Not problem child like he usually did, but golden boy. Koda shrank further in his seat, busying himself with his worksheet in front of him.
"Alright, fine. You can get off my back now." Aizawa left, and Koda could finally breathe again. He didn't look in Bakugou's direction again for the rest of class, and it was only later that night that he realized that Aizawa called Bakugou "Katsuki" when he first walked in.
One day, Bakugou was in a particularly bad mood, although no one had the courage to pry about it. Jirou didn't mean to overhear Bakugou and Aizawa talking after class from the hallway, but her industrial strength hearing wasn't something she could turn on and off.
"Katsuki, have you taken your meds today? You know you have to take them with breakfast, go do that," she heard Aizawa say. She didn't know how he knew that Bakugou didn't take his meds - hell, she hadn't known that Bakugou took meds in the first place - and waited with bated breath to hear his response.
"I forgot," was the quiet reply she heard, followed by a jarring, "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry. I'm only telling you this because I need to make sure that you're not avoiding them on purpose. They're to help you first and foremost, you know. You take them for your own sake, and they'll help you be your best self."
She knew what Bakugou's response would be to something that sappy from another teacher. Fuck off, you're not my dad. Miss me with that cheesy shit. But she also knew that for some reason, Aizawa-sensei was the exception, so she stayed around to hear how he would react.
"You don't have to say sappy shit like that," Bakugou said, which was basically a tamer version of what he would normally say. "I'll take my damn medicine now, and I'll remember tomorrow."
"Set yourself a reminder."
"Katsuki. Set a reminder. You have a phone for a reason."
"Fine." There was a pause, presumably Bakugou setting the reminder, then he said, "Here. Hope you're happy."
"I am. Thank you." These words were spoken as dryly as ever, but Jirou had the feeling they were genuine, and that Bakugou knew that too. She stopped listening then, putting in her earbuds. It felt like she was intruding on a family moment.
Kirishima had nightmares. Of course he did, basically everyone in their whole class did, and why wouldn't they? He knew his friends did, and they had a system where if one of them was awake in the middle of the night, they'd text the group chat and if someone else was awake, they'd hang out. Safety in numbers. It was easier not to fall asleep alone.
But Bakugou never said a word about his. Kirishima assumed he had them too - who wouldn't after everything he went through? - but he gave off the strong vibe that he would rather die than admit to any sort of weakness. Kirishima thought that admitting ones own faults was manly, but Bakugou disagreed, and no amount of arguing would change his mind.
So when he woke up one night in a cold sweat - three in the morning according to his muscle clock - and heard a blast from Bakugou's room, he almost didn't believe it. The UA soundproofing almost blocked it out entirely, but Kirishima knew from countless spars with Bakugou what his blasts sounded like, and if he pressed his ear to their joint wall, he could almost feel the booms.
He went through his possible options. Trying to go back to sleep was eliminated right away, because he was Bakugou's friend, and no good bro would leave their friend in trouble. Just as quickly went the option of talking to him, because Bakugou's room was his safe space, and if god forbid he was crying and Kirishima saw, he'd never forgive him. Their whole friendship would be put back a mile. Kirishima couldn't put himself through it.
That left the variable option, the one that only came after a few minutes of pacing and doing his deep breathing exercises. He had Aizawa-sensei's phone number, they all did in case of emergencies, but could this really count as an emergency? He was sure any moment, the explosions would stop, and Bakugou would go right to bed. This probably wasn't the first time it'd happened. He'd be fine eventually.
He wasn't fine now, though.
Kirishima's text was devoid of the caps and exclamation points he usually employed in his texts. It was simply, "I think Bakugou had a nightmare. Heard blasts." He didn't want to worry the man by calling it an incident, so he sent it and waited for a reply.
It came moments later. "I'm on my way."
Ten minutes after that, Aizawa-sensei was in their hallway and wearing his usual school clothes. Probably pulled them on as soon as he got Kirishima's text. Kirishima, who had been waiting with his door open, nodded to him and whispered, "Thank you."
"No problem," Aizawa whispered back. "And if you ever need help yourself, you can always text too. You're all my problem kids."
"I know," Kirishima said, and it was true. It was just that he had a support system of his friends and, if need be, his family back home. Bakugou had friends and a family, but he never leaned on them or used them for help. He was an island of his own making, and the one pillar he seemed to actually rely on was Aizawa-sensei.
He heard Aizawa knock on the door, and he heard Bakugou's yell from inside. "Fuck off."
"Katsuki, open the door," Aizawa said quietly, and the blasts abruptly stopped. As soon as Bakugou opened the door, peeking through the crack, Kirishima closed his. Aizawa-sensei would be able to help, and this wasn't his conversation to listen to.
He texted the group chat to see if anyone was awake, and Kaminari happened to be up too. They spent the next half hour studying for history before they decided to try and sleep again and hung up the phone. Before he went to bed, Kirishima checked outside once more to see if Aizawa was still there. He wasn't, but Bakugou's door was wide open, and the blond wasn't there either.
Tokoyami didn't sleep much before UA, and now he barely slept at all during the week. Midoriya speculated that since Dark Shadow was stronger at night, Tokoyami was meant to be nocturnal, and that matched up with his old sleep schedule back home, but that wasn't much of an option for him here. He got a few hours during the night, woke up at dawn, and slept during lunch and dinner hour. It was odd, and it meant he had to eat during class and basically sleep the weekends away, but it worked.
So when Aizawa and Bakugou entered the common room/kitchen area, Tokoyami was there already, halfway through a B-grade horror movie marathon. He paused his laptop as soon as he saw them, although they didn't seem to notice him at first. They were deep in what seemed to be an argument, although neither were yelling, which was a first for an argument with Bakugou.
"-you told your therapist?" Aizawa asked, taking a seat at the kitchen table. Bakugou remained standing. "She can help you deal with the nightmares, that's what she's paid to do."
"I don't want any more pills, I have enough to run a fucking drugstore," Bakugou grumbled. "I barely get them, you're overreacting."
"Your room was in shambles. Your walls have scorch marks on them."
Tokoyami thought about slipping away at this, because Bakugou's darkness was best kept to himself, but he was more afraid about being called out while leaving. It was safer on the couch, behind a cushioned barricade. He wasn't sure how quickly Aizawa could stop the boy from explodokilling him.
"I'll clean them in the morning. I'm not like most of these idiots, I can use Windex."
"The marks aren't the problem. If the therapy isn't working, then you should find another therapist."
"The therapy's going fine. She doesn't make me do stupid coloring assignments or journal writing."
"But is it helping with the nightmares?"
"I don't get them about the sludge monster anymore. Barely from the USJ incident."
"But the villain attack..."
"It happened a month ago, alright? Cut me some fucking slack." A pause. "Sorry for cursing."
Tokoyami almost fell off the couch at that. Bakugou apologizing for swearing? Now he had officially seen everything. He'd have to tell his own therapist, who heard a good amount about Bakugou already from multiple sessions. She would not believe it.
Aizawa continued talking amidst Tokoyami's aneurysm. "Is Kakihara giving you tips on how to deal with the nightmares?"
"Breathing exercises," Bakugou said, ticking off a finger. "Meditation. Mind over matter. Going to my happy place. Essential oils. My room smells like a bad fortune teller's shop."
"Does anything work?"
"Sometimes. Mostly for panic attacks. Can't stop the nightmares from happening, though." He coughed, or maybe it was a bitter laugh, Tokoyami couldn't tell. "I tried not sleeping for a while. Staying up so late, I was too tired to dream. But then I failed a math test, and that's never fucking happened, so I stopped."
"That's good. I know you know that getting an improper amount of sleep is unhealthy, especially for someone who does as much physical activity as you."
"Yeah, yeah, I know." He stopped, groaned, dropped his head down on the table. "It's usually not so bad. Mostly I can ground myself before it gets shitty. I'm fine now, honestly."
Aizawa didn't look convinced, but said, "If you say so. It's three in the morning, Katsuki, try to go to sleep. There's cinnamon tea in the kettle, take some for yourself, then go to bed."
"Sure," Bakugou said, getting up to pour himself a mug. "Thanks."
There was silence while Bakugou drank, during which Tokoyami contemplated the pros and cons of making his presence known. In the end he opted to wait it out. If Bakugou stayed the night, then so would he.
Aizawa rose, checking his phone again. "If you're going to bed, I'm going to head back to my apartment. If anything like this happens again, then call me. I'll be more upset if you don't. Your neighbor was kind enough to text me this time, but you should be the one acting for yourself."
"Stupid Shitty Hair," Bakugou muttered. "He has to butt out of my shit."
"He did the right thing, don't be angry with him. He's a good friend. You should tell him more." He sighed. "Baby steps. Have a good night, Bakugou." He turned to go, then faced the couch. "You too, Tokoyami. I understand you go to sleep around now. Help yourself to the tea too if you wish."
"Thank you, Aizawa-sensei," Tokoyami said, voice only shaking a little, and as soon as he left the room, made a break for his dorm. He was lucky Bakugou was still drinking his tea, or he would have been killed for sure.
"I've thought it over, and there is no physical combination I can think of that would make Aizawa-sensei your father," Todoroki said over breakfast. Everyone in the vicinity braced themselves for a blast, but Bakugou must have been in a good mood, because he actually snorted.
"That's because he's not my dad, Peppermint Ass," he said, taking a gulp of tea. "If I see a post about this on your conspiracy blog, I'm reporting it to Nezu. You're mental."
"Point taken, please don't report me," Todoroki replied in a monotone with a hint of real fear. His conspiracy blog was his baby. "But if you are not in fact his secret love child, then how come he treats you as his son?"
Uraraka almost choked on her eggs. "Todoroki please," she wheezed to him. "Not here. Not now." She didn't like using her quirk right after eating, but if she had to float away to get out of the crossfire, then she wouldn't hesitate to grab Iida and Midoriya and get them out of there. Todoroki could protect himself.
Kirishima had already hardened his face in anticipation. Ojirou was using Shouji as a human shield. Hagakure was long gone. Kaminari was recording on his phone from behind his lunch tray. Aoyama stopped mid-bite of cheese. Even Shinsou stopped drinking his coffee to pay better attention.
Luckily for all of them, Bakugou didn't take him seriously at first. "Hah? What the fuck are you talking about? Don't project your daddy issues on me, Icy Hot."
"Yeah Todoroki, we have no idea what you're talking about so how about you drop it," Ashido said firmly. Everyone else nodded, probably too urgently to be seen as natural. But Todoroki didn't even acknowledge the life preserver that he was just thrown.
"You don't see it? How Aizawa-sensei looks out for him and gets Bakugou to do group activities and calls him Katsuki? None of that perplexes any of you?"
"Todoroki-kun, please." This was from Midoriya, who looked like he wanted to smash his face through the table. The secondhand embarrassment was too much for him.
"Midoriya, you know Bakugou better than all of us. Surely-" At this, Yaoyorozu slapped a hand over his mouth. No hesitation, just covered his mouth and winced. Everyone silently thanked her, even while preparing themselves for a meltdown.
"Kirishima. What the hell is he talking about?" Bakugou asked, and the boy under scrutiny almost flinched.
"You got this Kirishima," Sero whispered, clapping him on the back. "Just rip the bandaid off."
Kirishima took a deep breath, shut his eyes, and the words rapidly spilled out. "It-really-seems-like-you-listen-to-Aizawa-sensei-more-than-anyone-else-and-it-kinda-sorta-looks-to-an-outsider's-perspective-that-you-might-sorta-kinda-see-him-as-a-dad-figure-not-that-there's-anything-wrong-with-that."
"Are my hearing aid's acting up, or did you really just say all of that?" Bakugou finally asked after a short pause, eyebrows drawn together. "Let me know before I lose my shit. I don't want to kill Icy Hot for nothing."
"What did I do?" Todoroki asked, finally free from Yaoyorozu's hand, but Bakugou ignored him for the time being.
"Yes I said it, please don't blow up," Kirishima said, putting his hardened hands up in a placating manner. "It's not a bad thing, we all call him Dad sometimes."
"He's my actual dad," Shinsou added, which everyone always seemed to forget.
"We all find it to be a nice surprise, and you having a healthy interaction with an adult is something we only want to reinforce," Iida said, arms chopping resolutely. "We will refrain from bringing up the matter if you so desire, but you have our full support."
Bakugou gaped at him. "What is this, a fucking coming out party? You shitheads are staring at me like I just beat cancer or something. Chill the fuck out! Maybe if you weren't all so goddamn weird all the time, then I'd have an ounce of respect for any of you."
"We cherish you, bro," Kaminari said, cowering behind his lunch tray when Bakugou's glare turned towards him.
"Fuck off. Just because I respect Aizawa-sensei doesn't mean I treat him like my dad. I don't attach myself to every adult male that I meet like a father figure, unlike some people." His piercing gaze turned towards Midoriya, who squeaked despite being one of the top three strongest in their class. Old habits died hard.
He probably would've kept going, railing on them until they all submitted themselves to their demises, except their Lord and Savior decided to show up at their table and interfere.
"Katsuki, are you making a scene over nothing?" Aizawa asked, sending him an unimpressed look. "I was under the impression that you were trying to get along better with your classmates."
Jirou could've laughed at that, but covered her mouth just in time. It was true that Bakugou was nicer to them than he used to be, but he had a long way to go before it could be considered "getting along." Still, she appreciated the effort.
"They were being dumbasses," Bakugou mumbled, but already 74% of the venom in his voice was gone. "'ts not my fault."
"I'm sure they weren't trying to start anything, right?" The rest of class A shook their heads quickly. Even Shinsou went along with it. "See? Nothing to start a riot over, and I'm sure they'll do to be less aggravating in the mornings." His stare could've pierced iron. Sero shivered.
"Aoyama," he continued, "please eat something other than cheese for breakfast. It's important to have a balanced meal. Iida, make sure Uraraka eats enough today and actually uses the lunch card the school gave her. There should be enough for more than just rice. Shouji, I trust you'll bring Tokoyami some food. Hitoshi... good morning."
"Morning, dad," Shinsou said, waving lazily to him.
"I'll see you all in class," Aizawa said, turning to go. "And Katsuki, again, try and have some patience for your classmates. You know they're all gossip hounds who feed off of your reactions. Be the bigger person."
"Fine," Bakugou gave in, turning back to his breakfast. "I'll try." Kouda almost cried tears of joy, despite the fact that Aizawa-sensei had just roasted them all mercilessly.
Once he was gone, Shouji whispered, "Do you think he knew what we were talking about? The father is just as scary as the son, sometimes scarier."
"Not important for now," Hagakure said, apparently back from wherever she disappeared to. "Did he call him Katsuki?"
"It's weird not to be an only child anymore," Shinsou commented absent-mindedly. "Bakugou, does that mean I'll have to share my room with you during summer break? You're kind of a clean freak, no offense, so that might be hard."
"Shut the fuck up!" Bakugou shouted, yanked from his Aizawa-induced good behavior. "He's not my dad!"
"Whatever you say, Katsuki," Todoroki with the death wish said, and Kaminari slapped him five.
"Bakuson Katsuki," Uraraka said in reverence, and Midoriya immediately wrote that down in his notebook.
"He's not my dad," Bakugou continued to repeat throughout the day as he brought Aizawa-sensei his coffee, asked him for help with his heroics homework, talked to him about his therapy session, and called his phone number by heart from the office to tell him that he forgot his umbrella. He never said it in front of Aizawa himself, though, something the entire class noticed but didn't call out. Bakuson Katsuki was a class meme, and they didn't want to jinx it, especially when Aizawa-sensei was so helpful in de-escalation.
Shinsou would like to have been consulted before he got a new brother, but he supposed it was fine for now. As long as he never had to share a bathroom with the guy.