|◁ II ▷|
I'm holding on
Why is everything so heavy?
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what's bringing me down
If I just let go, I'd be set free
1:35 ───ㅇ───── 3:47
Day 67 - 2:03 AM
Music - Track 3 - Heavy - Linkin Park (feat. Kiiara)
"Y/N. Y/N? Y/N, wake up."
Was it all a dream?
You rub your eyes and look up, but it's almost pitch black inside the base until your eyes adjust. Kirishima’s large form is leaning over you, blocking out what little moonlight is shining through the windows. His eyes are full of concern for you. Hopefully you hadn’t been thrashing or talking in your sleep.
So it wasn't a dream. Just memories. You sigh.
“Another nightmare?” He whispers as he tucks a sweaty strand of hair behind your ear. You bat his hand away, letting your silence become your answer.
His broad shoulders slump, and he gives you a pouty frown. “Please don’t stay mad at me.”
You roll your eyes and try to clear the sleep from your throat before whispering back. “Still a little mad. You know I don’t like talking when I first wake up.” He gives you a nod, seeming to accept your answer. He quietly walks back over to the window where Bakugou’s sniper rifle still leaned against it. He must be keeping watch, you think. You look beside you and sure enough, Bakugou is in his own sleeping bag with his eyes closed.
There’s no real way to tell if he’s actually asleep. Bakugou has always been a light sleeper, but current events have obviously exacerbated that. You quietly crawl out of your sleeping bag and creep across the apartment to sit down next to Kirishima.
His eyes briefly meet yours before he turns his attention back to the window. You settle next to him and peek out of the window as well which is a bit hard to do considering Kirishima has a good one or two feet of height on you. You sit in comfortable silence for a little while.
Slowly, the night sky begins to lighten. Dawn is approaching. Another day in Hell. You feel your muscles starting to ache so you stretch your legs out in front of you and roll your neck. Your body responds with pops and cracks. Kirishima had been silent all this time, but you weren’t going to be the one to break the silence first, even if it was comfortable despite the argument you had last night.
It’s not long after you finish stretching that he also adjusts his position restlessly. You can tell he is getting ready to say something so you wait patiently for him to gather his thoughts. When Kirishima finally speaks, he keeps his voice low, and he meets your eyes. “I hope you know that I do believe in you. Yesterday was a mistake.”
You nod slowly and whisper back. “Then why didn’t you take me with you?”
It takes him a few moments before he answers you. He is obviously having an internal struggle over something. “Because… I hate putting you in danger. I don’t know what I will do if we ever lose you.” He echoes your words from last night. “You know how I feel about you.” He gently reaches for your hand and gives it a soft squeeze.
“And you know how I feel.” You give his hand a squeeze back. “But you also know what things are like right now. We have to be careful.”
“Yeah, for now.” He gives you a toothy smile then kisses your forehead.
“Oi…” Bakugou whispers loudly. He has turned over in his sleeping bag and is squinting at you both. “Did you two dumbasses make up yet?”
Kirishima gives him a thumbs up. “All good.”
Bakugou slides out of his sleeping bag and quietly walks over to you. He crouches down in front of you and Kirishima, his bare feet balancing him. He keeps his voice low as he says “Don’t ever do that shit again, Kirishima.” You know Bakugou means business when he uses someone’s actual name. His eyes seem to almost glow as he continues to lecture the redhead. “We don’t care how much you don’t want her getting hurt. She can handle it. We trained her after all. Both of us have your back.”
Heat blossoms in your belly from Bakugou’s confidence in you. He doesn’t give out praise like that often, and you know he truly means it. His eyes slide over to you for a moment before they zero back in on Kirishima.
Kirishima gives him the same toothy smile he gave you. “Aw, you really do care.”
Bakugou rolls his eyes and clicks his tongue against his teeth. “Tch. We both care. Idiot.” He stands back up and shuffles over to the table to look at the rations for the day. Lecture over. Whatever tension that was left over from the day before finally dissipates. Thank fuck.
“What’s the plan today?” You ask as you stand up and dust off the back of your jeans. Kirishima joins you after one last glance outside. You both walk towards the table where Bakugou has created three “breakfasts” from the pre-packaged foods from the gas station.
Bakugou hands you your share before answering you. “We’re moving from this base today. Thanks to a certain dumbass,” He pointedly looks at Kirishima before handing him his breakfast, “we have attracted too much attention to this spot. I mean, fuck, we can barely talk above a whisper here. So we’re going to keep heading towards the radio tower, and we’ll find a spot to make a base before dark.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Kirishima replies as he tears into a granola bar. Between bites he asks “Do you really think we’ll be able to contact Deku through the radio tower?” Bakugou just nods as he eats as well. You can tell he’s getting tired of Kirishima’s lack of faith in getting to the radio tower.
Less than a week ago, the All-for-One Pro Hero put out a broadcast to call everyone to a place in the city. He apparently had some sort of plan, but he wanted to gather as many survivors as possible. He left a special message for Bakugou…
“Kacchan, if you can hear this, I need you. Please get here as fast as you can.”
So now your mission is to reach this radio tower to hopefully get a hold of Deku. Unfortunately, the broadcast stopped after a few days so there was no way to know where he had moved locations… or if he was still alive at this point. You’d never say it outloud, but you knew Kirishima and Bakugou had the same thought.
You unwrap your own granola bar and eat it slowly. You chase it with a little bit of water from your reusable bottle. The water supply is running low so you make a mental note to look for fresh water on the way to the next rest spot. Once you finish eating, you begin packing away your things: a change of clothes, sleeping bag, batteries, a portable charger, one of three walkie-talkies, your share of the rations from yesterday, and finally, the small compact radio that you all had heard the first transmission from Midoriya on.
Almost every night, last night being an exception because of obvious reasons, Bakugou turned on the radio, flipped through stations, and listened for Midoriya’s voice. You all hoped that one night, he’d re-appear and give you his new location, and maybe even a message for Bakugou, but for the past few nights, it’s been radio silent.
As if on auto-pilot, everyone gets dressed and packs their things. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, you all had become numb to everything on the outside. Being together in a somewhat safe space like this apartment lets you feel a little normal. As soon as it was time to venture back outside though, it was easier to dissociate and focus on the task at hand.
While you are distracted with your thoughts, Bakugou comes up to you, grabs your hands, and places your earbuds in them. “Ready to go when you are, babygirl.” You roll your eyes at the nickname even though you secretly love it. It’s much better than ‘idiot’ or ‘dumbass’ or ‘extra.’ You still get called those too, though.
You put your earbuds in and pull out your phone. When you look up, Kirishima and Bakugou are both at the door waiting for you. They give you a nod, and you hit play. “Let’s go.”
Kirishima leads the way down and out of the apartment building with Bakugou right behind you. This is a normal formation for you, being sandwiched between both Pro Heroes while walking through the city ruins. You make it outside, the sun just now bringing dawn and lighting the mostly deserted streets. Seems like the monsters from the night before had moved on. So far so good.
It’s going to be a long walk towards the radio tower. You know that you will have to stop before nightfall and find a safe place to sleep as well as keep watch. You know you have been pretty lucky so far with the empty buildings you have been able to find. As you get deeper into the city and closer to the radio station, it might not be as easy to avoid the undead.
You make good time and enter into the next section of the city. There’s still not many of them walking around or making a fuss. They almost seem to ignore you for the most part, which you find strange. Kirishima and Bakugou notice as well and begin looking for places to loot for food and medicine. May as well take advantage of the situation, as weird as it may be.
Kirishima guides you to a small grocery store. Inside are a couple of them, shuffling around. They don’t notice you so Bakugou makes quick work of breaking their necks quietly. Slowly, the three of you work methodically from the front to the back of the store, filling your backpacks with edibles. You never stray from each others’ sight and only make hand movements and sign language to communicate. Your system has been pretty good, at least so far.
You find a small pharmacy section and grab what’s left on the shelf which isn’t much. You find some aspirin, a first aid kit, and a few other bottles of medicine that might be useful. Your eye catches a pack of tampons, and you silently thank yourself for having the foresight to get an IUD. No periods and no babies for you in the apocalypse.
You do find something else that would be useful: bottled water. You pack what you can carry into your bag and give the guys some to tote as well. Finding water hasn't been super difficult so far. Back at the cabin, there was a creek with fresh water nearby. Here in the city, most houses and buildings have some kind of water supply left over from before shit went to hell in a handbasket.
With the grocery store picked clean, Kirishima leads you back out onto the street and you continue walking on for a few hours. You feel your stomach begin to grumble so you signal to Kirishima that it’s time to take a break. There’s nowhere safe to stop on the city street so you continue walking until you find a safe building.
You eventually make it to a suburban cul-de-sac. After trying to get into a couple of different houses, you manage to find a house with an unlocked window. Bakugou climbs through first as quietly as he can then holds his hand out to you. You take it and climb through. Kirishima climbs in behind you and you all find yourselves standing in a small kitchen.
You quietly creep through the house, Bakugou and Kirishima close by, looking for any lingering monsters. You go through the rooms, and so far, there is nothing to be concerned about: no undead and no people. You had already had your run-in with other survivors, and it did not end well. So now you avoid both the living and the undead.
You make it to the last bedroom. You’re pretty sure it’s the main bedroom since the only other two bedrooms were children’s rooms based on the furniture and decor. You slowly open the door and immediately cover your mouth. What you find behind the door is worse than anything you could have expected. You turn away from the sight and stumble into a nearby bathroom before puking up your breakfast in the sink.
Kirishima is behind you in an instant, rubbing your back and tucking a few stray hairs behind your ear as you empty your stomach. Once you think you’re finished, you sit down on the edge of the bathtub. Kirishima hands you a towel that was hanging by the sink and you wipe your mouth. Closing your eyes, you put your head down in between your knees. No matter what you do, you can’t get the image out of your head of what is in the main bedroom.
A family of four lay dead and horribly decomposed in a large bed. Two parents and two children. Gunshots to the heads for all of them including the children. At the end of the bed lay what used to be a pet dog. Its collar was the only thing left on its skeletal remains. It read “Bella.” Right before you tossed your cookies, you saw the children’s little patterned pajamas. So small, so innocent.
Kirishima crouches next to you to get your attention. When you finally look at him, he motions for you to take out your earbuds. That means it’s safe. Safe to talk, safe to rest, safe to eat. And it means it’s safe enough for you not to worry too much about your quirk being overwhelmed. For now.
You pull out your earbuds and tuck them into your pocket. Your stomach feels a bit better but you can still see their patterned pajamas when you close your eyes. When it all first started, people believed that heroes would save them all. And then when the Hero Commission fell… well, some of the people that were left behind decided to take their fates into their own hands. This is the first time you’ve experienced it, but you know this isn’t the only instance of it.
At least they’re free now. They don’t have to deal with the kind of shit that we are. You would never hurt yourself, let alone the people who have become your family in order to escape from the hell surrounding you, but… damn, this shit feels so heavy sometimes. You take a shuddering breath.
“Are you alright?” Kirishima asks, rubbing your back gently. You give him a small nod, sniffling as you shove down the tears that are threatening to spill over. Later. I can cry later. You stand up and put the towel on the counter.
You hear a door close and Bakugou pokes his head in the bathroom, leaning his arm against the frame. “I can’t give them a proper burial, but I did cover them up with a blanket. I should have been in front; I’m sorry you had to see that.” He looks regretful, but you know it’s not his fault.
This wasn’t Bakugou’s first brush with a familicide. Usually, if he can, he’ll bury the bodies. With the houses in this cul-de-sac being so close together, he can’t take the chance that he’ll attract unwanted attention. So the best he can do is cover their bodies respectfully and close off the main bedroom.
You give him a small reassuring pat on the chest and duck under his arm as you make your way out of the bathroom and back towards the living room. You feel his eyes follow you as you walk back down the hall. You want to be as far away as possible from that bedroom. The guys follow behind you, and everyone begins to make themselves a little more comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can be in this kind of situation.
You sit cross-legged on the living room rug and open your backpack to take out lunch. You swish some water around in your mouth to get out the taste of puke before you dig in. Lunch is a protein bar, a packet of nuts, and water. What you wouldn’t do for a juicy burger right now… But it’s better than starving. Plus Bakugou is usually pretty good about trying to balance the meals that you’re able to scrape together so you know it’ll at least fill your belly until dinner time.
Bakugou sits down at the small dining room table and takes out his lunch while Kirishima lounges on the couch, propping his feet up as he rips open his protein bar. Their personalities are on full display, and it makes you giggle. Both of them look up at you, their brows furrowed.
“What’s so funny?” Kirishima asked, looking a little concerned considering it wasn’t 5 minutes ago that you had thrown up in a bathroom sink.
“You two.” You say simply, knowing that your answer will rile them up. You take a bite of your protein bar and sit back. The fun is about to begin.
Bakugou scowls at you as if you just insulted him.“Huh? ‘You two?’ I haven’t done anything funny. And don’t lump me in with Shitty Hair.”
“What’s wrong with being ‘lumped in’ with me?” Kirishima feigned being hurt.
“You know what’s wrong with it, you fucking extra.” Bakugou angrily drank the remainder of his water then crushed the bottle. He threw it and pegged Kirishima right in the forehead.
“Owwwah!” He whined, rubbing the new red spot on his forehead.
“Keep it down, dumbass. Don’t want to have to spend our break whispering because you can’t be fucking quiet.”
“Don’t throw things at me then.”
You try to cover your mouth to keep from laughing too loud. These are the kind of moments you look forward to when the world feels so dark. Yeah, shit feels heavy sometimes, but you have two people that help lighten the emotional load when it becomes too much.
Watching their exchange made you miss your time spent at the cabin so much. The first couple of days there with the three of you were kind of awkward, but once you all had a routine established, it ended up being comfortable and, dare you say it, normal. All of you mesh so well together.
|◁ II ▷|
You don't have to say you love me
You don't have to say nothing
You don't have to say you're mine
I'd walk through fire for you
Just let me adore you
Oh, honey (ah)
I'd walk through fire for you
Just let me adore you
Like it's the only thing I'll ever do
Like it's the only thing I'll ever do
1:35 ───ㅇ───── 3:47
Day 3 - 6:49 AM
Music - Track 4 - Adore You - Harry Styles
“Come on, Red! Slow down!” You called as you trudged along far behind Kirishima through the forested hills. He wanted to take you out on a hike with him this morning, so you made sure to get up early and dress appropriately. You even took special care in packing your bag to make sure you had your phone, earbuds, snacks, water and a first aid kit. Unfortunately, the one thing you hadn’t accounted for was Kirishima’s long legs.
It had been a few days since you, Kirishima, and Bakugou had fled the city to Bakugou’s cabin that was literally in the middle of nowhere. It was almost too easy to forget what you had left behind. While the world was falling apart, the three of you had secluded yourselves away. For now.
You saw ahead of you that Kirishima had finally stopped moving, his back towards you. It almost looked like a painting as the sunrise backlit his silhouette in the clearing up ahead. You tried to quickly walk up the grassy inclines, not waiting to keep him waiting too long. Once you finally caught up to him, you had to take a moment to catch your breath. “Dude, you gotta remember you are so much fucking taller than me.” You huffed out an exhale before taking a sip of water from a large water bottle.
Kirishima still hadn’t turned around so you walked up next to him to see what caught his attention. Nestled in the bushes was a small, brown rabbit. It was watching Kirishima closely, waiting to see if he would make a move. Slowly, he crouched down and offered his hand, palm up, to the rabbit. It slowly moved towards his hand, taking careful steps and sniffing the air.
After what seemed like forever but was probably only a minute or two, it finally reached Kirishima’s outstretched hand and gave it a few sniffs. You held your breath for fear that any sudden sounds or movement would scare it off. Ever so gently, Kirishima rubbed his finger across the rabbit’s head. It leaned into his touch. You slowly let out a breath.
“Hey, little one.” He said quietly, rubbing his finger from its nose to the top of its head. The rabbit nibbled his finger, and he tried his hardest to stifle a chuckle. You smiled watching the adorable scene before you. You slowly pulled your phone out of your back pocket and snapped a few photos of Kirishima and the rabbit.
Who said you can’t make memories during an apocalypse?
As you put your phone away, the hair on your arms started to stand up. You slowly began to feel the familiar sensation of imaginary ants crawling up your hands to your shoulders. “Kirishima. One of them is nearby.”
Kirishima’s head snapped towards you and the rabbit bolted back into the bushes. He stood up, his ears on alert for any noise. “Don’t worry. I can handle it.” He grabbed your hand and put you behind him as he slowly turned around, looking for the source of what was affecting your quirk.
You didn’t have to wait long. As something shambled out of the woods and out into the open, you were assaulted by its thoughts in your head. Eat. Eat. Eat. Its thoughts consisted of just one word, but it was so powerful that it made it impossible for you to concentrate on anything else.
Pain that did not belong to you blossomed in your chest, knocking the breath out of you. You doubled over, holding your hands to your chest. You squeezed your eyes shut. Very faintly, you could hear Kirishima calling your name, but the phantom pain was so strong that you couldn’t respond with anything other than a grunt.
Unbeknownst to you, Kirishima was currently engaged in battle with what could only be described as the living dead. What used to be a hunter, based on his clothing, was attempting to bite Kirishima. A large portion of his chest had been ripped out, most likely by others like it when the hunter was still alive.
Kirishima used his quirk to harden his arm and punch it in an attempt to stagger it. He quickly realized it was immune to feeling any pain. Normally, a punch like that would knock a person down, but this… this was no longer a person.
Kirishima continued to struggle with the monster as he tried to push it off of him. Hardening both his arms, he shoved it back as hard as he could, blood that wasn’t his own coating his arms as he did so. Finally, it staggered backwards, giving Kirishima time to assess what to do. Just as he started to form a plan, something else burst forth from the woods.
“Kirishima!” Bakugou yelled, running towards him.
Kirishima held up his hand to stop him. “I’m good here, but you need to get Y/N out of here. Now.”
Bakugou looked over to you. You were crouched down and holding your hands over your ears as tears streamed down your face. Your backpack lay beside you, discarded in the sudden struggle. He knelt down beside you and tried to talk to you, to tell you you needed to come with him, but it was obvious you were so overwhelmed that you could no longer hear anything around you.
Bakugou began to recall your struggles with your quirk when you were young that you had revealed to him once during a drunken night out. You probably figured he wouldn’t care to remember, but he did. “Music. That’s it.”
He grabbed the discarded backpack beside you to look for headphones. He found what he was looking for, but didn’t see your phone. He looked over at you and realized it was sticking out of your back pocket. He grabbed it out of your pocket and put on a random song. He replaced your hands with his own and put in your earbuds. He turned the volume up as much as he dared for fear of bursting your eardrums and watched your face, waiting for you to come back to reality.
The pain slowly began to subside, and the thoughts came to a halt inside of you. You blinked the tears from your eyes to see Bakugou in front of you. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was worried about you.
He brushed a sweaty strand of hair out of your face and you read his lips as he asked, “You good?” You nodded, taking deep breaths to bring your heart rate back down. Bakugou looked behind him and you caught a glimpse of Kirishima still struggling with his bloodied opponent.
You felt guilt wash over you. You had broken down at the worst time. You could have gotten Kirishima hurt, or worse. A voice in your head, one you hadn’t heard in quite some time, reared its ugly head. Useless. You’re so fucking useless. You wanna be a Pro Hero? What kind of Pro Hero breaks down in battle? Pathetic.
Bakugou stood up beside you then ran over to help Kirishima. The two of them struggled just for a moment until you saw them exchange a few words. Kirishima hardened most of his upper body and then held onto the dead hunter while Bakugou grabbed its head with both hands and twisted.
You looked away, your stomach churning as Shiozaki’s pale and bloody face appeared in your mind. You’d never forget how she had looked at you in those last moments. There was nothing left of the Shiozaki you knew behind its eyes. Even though you feared the worst in that moment, that you had murdered your friend or severely injured her with a bat, Bakugou had helped you start to understand. The things that people were being turned into were no longer human. However, it still didn’t stop you from humanizing them. Afterall, they still looked like people.
You felt a pat on your head and you looked up to Kirishima giving you a closed-eyed smile. His arms and chest were covered in blood. You could have gotten him killed. What if he got bit? Useless. Your heart felt as if it were being squeezed at the thought. You suddenly stood up and yanked out your earbuds before checking him over for bites or scratches.
“Woah, woah, woah! I’m okay! The blood isn’t mine.” He said reassuringly as he held his hands up in mock surrender. You sighed with relief but the feeling of guilt still weighed heavy on your shoulders. And that nagging voice in your head wouldn’t shut the fuck up now.
Bakugou sighed loudly as he surveyed the scene. He moved towards the body that now lay on the ground, its neck twisted in an unnatural way. “I’m gonna bury ‘em. Away from the cabin. We’ll talk when you get back.” You and Kirishima nodded as he picked up the body and slung it over his shoulder effortlessly. He began walking back through the woods, leaving you and Kirishima alone.
You looked down at the ground, willing the fresh tears on the edge of your vision back down. “Red, I’m so sorry… I really fucked up.”
“Hey now, don’t apologize. It’s okay. The bottom line is that both of us are okay.”
“There’s no way I could ever be a Pro Hero, even if the world wasn’t going to shit. What kind of hero breaks down when she’s needed the most? You could have died, Red.” You repeated back the negative words swirling in your head. You couldn’t stop the tears as they clouded your vision and rolled down your cheeks.
Kirishima pulled you into his arms and you stiffened at the sudden contact. As much time as you and Kirishima had spent together, you never really made close physical contact outside of training. Despite the suddenness of the embrace, you found that it was easy to lay your head against his chest and let him console you. For a guy that was known as the “sturdy hero,” he was surprisingly comfortable.
“Don’t say things like that, Y/N. You will be a Pro Hero. And an amazing one at that. I’m fine. Nothing can take me down. You should know that by now.”
“I feel so… useless . I broke down when you needed me.” You voiced the word that continued to repeat itself inside your head.
He slightly pulled away from you and tilted your chin up so he could look into your eyes. “You are not useless. We’ll figure out how to make this… whatever the hell this is… work with your quirk. Okay? We’ll figure it out.”
You shook your head. “There’s no way that you don’t think less of me now.” Kirishima was not the kind of person who would think less of someone for freezing like you had, but the voice in your head was drowning out all reason and logic. All you could feel was guilt, shame, and fear. It was the fear that this would happen again, and Bakugou wouldn’t be there to help.
“Read my mind then.”
You blinked up at him. “What?”
“Read my mind.”
Kirishima had officially surprised you more than once today. First a hug and now he was basically commanding you to read his mind. You never read your friends’ minds if you could help it. It was simply an invasion of privacy and made you feel gross. The few times you had read someone’s mind by accident had left you knowing things that you would have been better off not knowing.
“I-I don’t know. I might hear something you don’t want me to.” You looked away despite his hand still gently holding onto your chin.
He bent over and put his forehead against yours. “There’s nothing in my head that I wouldn’t want you to know.”
Being this close to Kirishima felt really intimate. You could feel his warm breath on your face. Strands of red hair that had escaped his ponytail during the struggle tickled your cheeks. You’d be lying to yourself if you said Red Riot wasn’t attractive. And you’d also be lying if you said you never crushed on him. You could feel your palms start to sweat.
“Are you s-sure?”
“Yes.” He closed his eyes and waited.
You took a deep breath, concentrating and focusing on Kirishima. With his forehead against yours, it was going to be easy to gently reach into his mind and read his thoughts, but you placed your hands on either side of his face anyway. Slowly, imaginary ants began their march up your arms as you activated your quirk.
Slowly, his mind opened up to you. You could feel the fear he had as he watched you break down. It was fear that something would happen to you . You heard his thoughts as he tried to find a way to fight off his assailant while protecting you. The memory was suddenly pushed aside.
This happened often when someone was trying to hide something from you, but that wasn’t what Kirishima was doing. Instead, you saw a memory from when you first joined him at his agency. You could hear his thoughts as he briefed you and showed you the ropes. He was hopeful. He was, and still is, so sure that you would become an integral part of his agency with Bakugou. And then that memory was also pushed aside to make room for a more recent one.
You saw a memory from one of the many times you had trained together. You could tell this one was as special to him as it was for you. It was the first time you successfully pinned him down in a sparring match. You felt how proud he was of you, how much he believed in you… And something else.
A comfortable warmth flooded your body which was a welcome reprieve from the pain that you had felt earlier. A calming peace settled itself into your heart. Small flashes of memories seen through Kirishima’s eyes came forth:
You giggling at one of his stupid jokes. You with your tongue poking out of the side of your mouth in concentration hunched over your desk at the agency. His hand brushing against yours while you walked with him on patrols. Your hand on his bicep at the bar as you listened to him talk. Your smile after finishing a hard and sweaty training session.
I am in love with you.
You could hear it in your mind as clear as if Kirishima had spoken the words out loud. You jolted away in surprise, pulling your hands away. You had not expected to see that in his mind. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to–”
He pulled you back into his arms, not letting you pull away again. “I told you. There’s nothing in my head that I wouldn’t want you to know.”
Your heart was racing as you looked up at him. His ruby eyes looked into yours and for the first time you finally saw the care he had for you in them. He had wanted you to know how he felt. “Red–”
“Kirishima. Please.” He chided you.
You gave him a small nod. “Right. Kirishima… I’m not sure what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything. I just needed you to know.” He slowly let you go, stepping away as he rubbed the back of his neck. “I wanted to tell you sooner, but the world kind of…”
“Went to hell?” You offered.
“Hahaha, yeah. Exactly.” He chuckled nervously. It seemed like his confidence from confessing to you was dwindling after your reaction. You hadn’t meant for it to seem like a rejection. It was just that you needed to have a moment to think. Too much had happened in a short amount of time. …Not to mention you had been crushing on both him and Bakugou for the better part of the two years you had been friends. Ah, fuck.
“Can I have some time to think about it? What you said, err… thought?” You stumbled over your words. His nervousness might have started to affect you too.
“Take all the time you need. I’m here when you’re ready to talk.” You nodded and gave him a small smile. Leave it to Kirishima to take your lack of acceptance like a man. It wasn’t like you didn’t want to accept and return those feelings back to him. Afterall, you did really like Kirishima. It’s just that this was pretty much the worst time to date. You know, with the end of the world and all. Plus there were the feelings you had for a certain angry blonde.
“Thank you. Umm, I guess we should get back to the cabin. Bakugou will probably be wondering where we are.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” You noticed a faint blush across his cheeks as he bent over and grabbed your backpack. Instead of handing it to you, he slung it over his shoulder. “Let’s keep this between us for now, okay?”
The walk back to the cabin wasn’t as uncomfortable as you thought it would be. True to his nature, Kirishima didn’t once try to pressure you about your previous conversation. Instead, he focused on your safety. Kirishima changed the subject easily to talk about your earbuds and what could be done to keep the external intrusive thoughts at bay. He had some good ideas that you thought would be worth exploring. Before you knew it, you were back at the cabin.
Bakugou didn’t seem to be back yet, but Kirishima told you not to worry. He’d go look for him while you took a shower to wash off. You almost declined but looked down at the blood and dirt that had gotten all over you when Kirishima had embraced you. Yep, a shower would be good.
While the cabin’s bathroom was nothing fancy, it sported a large walk-in shower with multiple shower heads. It was nicer than the small shower and tub combo you had back at your apartment. You turned on the water, and once the temperature was to your liking, you turned on the shower heads.
You threw your dirty clothes to the floor and kicked them towards the door, before stepping into the warm stream of water, letting it wash away the grime. Your mind wandered a bit as you tried to forget about what had happened with Kirishima. You just weren’t ready to think about that yet.
As you enjoyed the multiple streams of water, it dawned on you that for a one bedroom cabin, it sure did seem like it was constructed with multiple people in mind… The large walk-in shower, the giant bed. You shook your head, water droplets slinging around the shower as you tried to shake away the thoughts. It had to just be a coincidence.
Although… You had figured Bakugou was a bit of a playboy. Blogs and trash magazine articles were constantly photographing him with his “woman of the week,” perpetuating that he was a serial dater. Not to mention the gorgeous girls that would pay him visits at the agency. Being the Number 2 hero came with its perks you supposed. And that probably included threesomes and the like.
Before you could stop yourself, you thought about what a threesome would be like between Bakugou and Kirishima. No, no, no. We are not even going to think about that. Not now. Not ever. They’re my best friends. And yeah, maybe Kirishima wants to be more than that, but… Bakugou? Come on. I’m definitely not the type of person that he’s usually seen with. I mean, I’m hot as fuck, but he’s never shown any interest other to fuck with me.
You quickly reminded yourself: So what if I’m not his type though? I’m my type.
What if you are his type though? Another voice tickled the back of your mind. Well, based on his past flings, I would say that’s a no. You answered yourself back. But what if? And then you couldn’t stop the images of Bakugou and Kirishima worshiping your body, kissing your stretch marks, grabbing your hips–
A knock at the bathroom door jarred you from your horny thoughts.
“Yeah?” You called out.
“You okay?” It was Bakugou. You let out a sigh of relief. Kirishima found him.
“Yeah, I’m okay. All things considered.” You mumbled the last part to yourself.
“Well, hurry the hell up then, extra. Other people want to use the shower too.”
You rolled your eyes. Your fantasy went up in smoke as you quickly finished cleaning yourself and washing your hair. Once done, you shut off the water and wrapped a towel around yourself. You grabbed your phone and your discarded clothes from the floor, not wanting to leave a mess for the next person in line for the shower. You opened the bathroom door and were met with a sudden wall of resistance.
After collecting yourself, you realized you were face to face with someone’s broad chest. You looked up to see red eyes looking your body up and down. Almost… appreciatively? Bakugou was leaning against the door frame in front of you. He let his eyes slowly roam back up to your face. He smirked at you. That smirk was going to get you in trouble.
What were you just saying? Said the horny voice. Shut up.
You hid your red face and brushed past him, hitting your shoulder against his side. Since he was a good half-foot or more taller than you, he was a hard one to shoulder check. You could feel his eyes following you as you went to the shared bedroom and kicked the door closed.
You took your time getting dressed and drying your hair, appreciating the limited alone time you had before Bakugou got out of the shower. After putting on a pair of leggings and a t-shirt, you flopped onto the bed and put your phone on the charger. You opened the photo app, and the picture of Kirishima and the cute brown bunny popped up.
It was pretty wild how fast things had happened this morning. Hiking through the woods with Kirishima during the sunrise, breathing in fresh air that you don't get to enjoy that often inside the city, and discovering the curious rabbit that seemed to like Kirishima, all felt as if they had happened yesterday.
Everything changed so quickly when the hunter stumbled out of the forest. The little bit of peace you had had since leaving Shiozaki in your apartment had been broken. And the way these things were affecting your quirk was perplexing. It wasn’t every time that you encountered them it seemed. Especially if you included the way you felt when Bakugou had picked up Kirishima from the agency and he was surrounded by them.
The ones that were at the agency only made your quirk’s tell-tale sign of the feeling of ants crawling up your arms appear. When you used your quirk, you would get this feeling of “ants,” kind of like when your arm would fall asleep if you laid on it too long. You were never sure how to describe it to other people other than the “marching ants” analogy.
Skiozaki had been your first encounter with your quirk becoming uncontrollable in the presence of a victim of the nomu’s quirk, Necromancer. The thoughts and physical sensations had been pretty overwhelming, but you had been able to gain some control back long enough to defend yourself. Everything stopped once Shiozaki it had met its final fate at the hands of the softball bat.
But the one that was in the woods this morning? Its thoughts were so loud, and its pain was excruciating. Even if Kirishima was right in thinking that they no longer feel pain once they rise from the dead, it was apparent that you would feel whatever pain they should have been feeling. You rubbed your chest as you recalled the pain you felt. The hunter’s chest must have been ripped open by hungry hands before he turned into a monster.
You closed out the photo of Kirishima and the rabbit and opened a note app. You wanted to type out everything that had happened so far, how it affected your quirk, and how it affected your control of your quirk. You needed to find something that would help you survive. You wouldn’t be useless again.
You weren’t sure how long you had been laying in bed and typing notes into your phone about the monsters and your quirk when a knock came at the door. “Can we come in?” It was Kirishima. Bakugou must have been with him since he used the word “we.”
“Yep!” You answered, putting your phone down on the nightstand closest to you and scooting to the edge of the bed so you could sit up more attentively.
Kirishima opened the door, letting a freshly showered Bakugou in first. Kirishima followed him in, his hair still wet from his own shower and his chest bare. Now you were wondering how long you had been sitting in the bedroom if both of them had time to shower and change clothes.
Which begged the question… “How did you get clothes without coming into the bedroom?”
“Still had some in my bag from when we left the city. I let Shitty Hair borrow the other pants I packed,” said Bakugou.
“Well, I was the only one who didn’t get to go home and pack so I’m kinda at your mercy here. I can wear your clothes or walk around here naked. Your choice.” Kirishima shot back with a friendly smile. His joke wasn’t meant to be taken sexually but you couldn’t help but flashback to the fantasy you had in the shower. You didn’t have long to think about it though.
Bakugou eyed Kirishima as he leaned against the dresser. “...Anyway.” He glared at Kirishima and then turned his attention to you. “We need to talk about what happened earlier.”
You held up your hands to stop him from continuing. “First, I need to apologize. I really fucked up out there, and I could have gotten all of us hurt. Or worse.”
Kirishima sighed. “Y/N, we already talked about–”
Bakugou cut in before Kirishima could finish. “What are you talking about? You couldn’t help that they affect your quirk like that.”
“I know! But…” You turned towards the blonde nervously. There was a question you had been dying to ask ever since you got back to the cabin. “H-how did you know about the music?”
Bakugou rolled his eyes at you and crossed his arms. “You told me, idiot.”
This time Kirishima answered. “That time we went out drinking after that kidnapping case. We were trading childhood stories. You told us about how music was the only thing that helped you with your quirk when you were a kid.”
You vaguely remembered that. Kirishima’s memory of you at the bar, your hand on his bicep, flashed in your mind. You couldn’t believe you told them something so private. Well, it ended up working in your favor. Who knows what would have happened if Bakugou hadn’t shown up. “I kind of remember that I think.”
Bakugou smirked devilishly. “You were pretty tipsy.”
“Ah fuck…” You slapped your palm on your forehead. “I hope I didn’t say anything else embarrassing.”
Kirishima chuckled. “Nah, you were fine.”
Bakugou shook his head, his smirk becoming wider. “I dunno… you were kinda handsy.” He bit his lip a little. “You couldn’t talk to me or Kirishima without touching us.” What is he doing right now? Is he flirting with me or making fun of me?
Regardless of whether or not Bakugou was openly flirting with you or fucking with you, you felt incredibly embarassed. You didn’t usually do things like that. And you were a very light drinker. You should have known better. “Please say you are joking.”
Kirishima shrugged and avoided your eyes. “Well, I didn’t think it was a bad thing…”
Bakugou quickly interrupted to correct himself. “I didn’t say it was a bad thing. Just embarrassing. For her. Not for me. I couldn’t care less.” So he is making fun of me. Asshole. I’m gonna wipe that smirk off his face…
You finally waved your hands in front of you. Maybe if you did it hard enough, the realization of learning that you put your hands on not one but two attractive Pro Heroes would disappear. “Stop, stop, stop. We’re getting off topic.”
Bakugou’s smirk slowly dropped, but he nodded in agreement. “Right. So we need to figure out a way to stop you from losing control of your quirk around those things. Kirishima and I already know how your quirk works, but we need to know what makes things different when you come in contact with the necromancer victims.”
You took a deep breath and grabbed your phone from the nightstand. “I took some notes on my phone.” You pulled open your notes app and began reading from the screen.
You mentioned how you have been affected in varying degrees based on three encounters so far. Shiozaki left you still able to react, even if it was delayed. You didn’t get much other than the feeling of your quirk activating when around the ones at the agency when Bakugou picked up Kirishima. And then there was the hunter from today which debilitated you.
Kirishima sat on the bed, not too far from you as he asked “So what are you getting from their minds? Like what are they thinking?”
“Mostly that they are hungry and in pain.” Hearing their thoughts genuinely made you feel sad. Well, you felt sad after the fact. It was hard to actually have any coherent thoughts in the moment when you were in pain and your mind had become an echo chamber for their feelings.
“I really doubt it’s physical pain. That one from this morning should have gone down the first time I hit it. It took us breaking its neck for it to finally stop.” Kirishima remembered.
Bakugou agreed, his brows furrowing as he voiced his thoughts out loud to the two of you. “Since they’re no longer human, it makes sense that their thoughts are as primitive as they are. Maybe the pain is coming from hunger and not whatever wounds they’ve sustained.”
Remembering the pain made you wonder. “Do you think it hurts coming back from the dead like that?” You asked quietly. You thought of Shiozaki and how much pain she had been in. And it wasn’t pain that was isolated to the side of her ribcage which had been bloody when she stumbled into the apartment. Not she, it. That wasn’t Shiozaki anymore.
“Maybe, but until we have more information, I think it’s safe to say they don’t feel any physically-inflicted pain.” Bakugou answered matter-of-factly.
You cleared your throat as you prepared the drop the bomb on them that had been bothering you all this time, but you hadn’t been sure how to talk about it. “Well, there’s something else that I haven’t dealt with before as well.”
“What is it?” Kirishima asked, scooting closer to you on the bed.
“I think I can feel their physical pain.” You looked between the two men, but they waited for you to continue. “Like the hunter. Its chest was torn open. I felt as if my chest was also torn open. The pain was incredible.”
Kirishima shuddered at the memory of the hunter and its gorey chest. “No wonder you couldn’t move. Fucking hell.” You hummed in agreement.
Bakugou had a serious look on his face as he studied you. It made you shiver to be under such a scrutinous gaze. “I’m trying to figure out why you would feel their pain if we’re moving forward with the theory that they don’t feel physical pain.”
You shrugged and pulled your knees up to your chest to hold them close to your chest. “I’m still trying to understand it myself. I haven’t lost control of my quirk like this since I was a kid.”
“Maybe you’re not losing control.” Kirishima theorized, holding his chin between his bent forefinger and thumb in thought.
You tilted your head in confusion as you looked at the redhead. “What do you mean?”
Instead of answering you, Kirishima asked “Isn't it hard for you to read someone’s mind if they are mentally closed off or are trying to mislead you with other thoughts? Like they are trying to have some control over what you see and hear when you use your quirk.”
“Yeah, it takes more energy for me to read someone’s mind or look at their memories when they put up a fight. Some people have a stronger mental wall than others. Others aren’t as mentally strong, and I’m able to get in without a lot of fuss despite the wall they’ve put up.”
“When is it the easiest to read someone’s thoughts? Didn’t you say you could sometimes hear someone’s thoughts without trying from several feet away? What was it like when you were a kid and you read people’s minds without meaning to?” Kirishima seemed almost excited as he put his theory together with the answers you were giving him.
“Slow down, dumbass. You’re asking too many questions at once.” Bakugou demanded as he reprimanded Kirishima.
“Whew… Okay. One at a time.” You said, trying not to laugh. “It’s easiest to read someone’s thoughts when they’re inebriated or are open to letting me in.” You noticed Kirishima’s ears turn red as you both remembered what happened in the woods between the two of you.
You continued. “Yes, there are times when I can hear someone’s thoughts from several feet away. I’m not entirely sure why this happens sometimes but the thing that they all seemed to have in common was that they all had some very loud personalities. They were loud in person so they were loud inside their minds.”
Kirishima nodded as if he was taking mental notes. “And when you were a kid?”
“When I first got my quirk, like a lot of children, I couldn’t control it. It pretty much stayed activated on some level. Not enough to keep me exhausted on a daily basis, but enough that it made it very difficult for me to concentrate. It was like being at a party in a room full of people and being able to hear all of their conversations at once.”
“And that’s where the earbuds came in!” Kirishima exclaimed excitedly as if the puzzle pieces were starting to fit together for him.
You nodded. “Yeah. Being able to listen to music helped me concentrate enough to turn off my quirk. I still like to listen to music when I want to focus on something, but it wasn’t needed as much. Until now…”
Before Kirishima could launch into any more questions, Bakugou began to explain. “I think I know where this idiot is going with this. What comes back in the bodies of the people affected by the necromancer quirk still have human brains. Without the consciousness to stop it, they can’t help but basically broadcast their thoughts. You’re just the unlucky fuck who has to hear it.”
“Yes! Exactly!” Kirishima clapped his hands together, feeling proud that Bakugou got his theory almost immediately. “So now, we need to help you block out their thoughts. I’m not sure what we can do about you feeling their physical pain, but we can train you while you wear your earbuds until you’re able to completely block them out.”
“Train me how?”
Bakugou slowly pushed himself away from the dresser as he stood up to his full height and answered your question. “If we have to fight them, and we will, we need to train you to fight without you being able to hear. And,” He looked over at Kirishima. “we all need to learn how to communicate without her being able to hear us.”
Kirishima nodded, chewing his bottom lip. He stood up as well. “I’m going to brainstorm some ideas. Now that my gears are turning, I think I can find a way to make this work.” He quickly exited the bedroom to find a pen and notebook.
You and Bakugou watched him go. Bakugou began to follow him out but you quickly grabbed his arm. He didn’t pull away like you had expected. Instead he stopped and looked down at you.
“By the way… I wanted to say thank you.”
“For what?” He asked, genuinely unsure of what you were referring to.
“The music. You and Kirishima saved me, but you’re the one who thought about giving me my earbuds.”
“Pshh. It’s nothing.”
“It’s not nothing. I didn’t think you…” You trailed off and let go of his arm. You wrapped your arms around your legs again and looked away. Part of you felt guilty for thinking that Bakugou was a careless person. He was just so hard to read sometimes. He cared, but it was in his own way.
“Cared enough to remember?” He questioned as if he was the one with the mind reading quirk.
“Something like that.” You replied softly.
He sat down next to you on the bed, the mattress dipping in low under his weight. His warm, calloused hand turned your face towards his. He looked into your eyes as he responded. “I care. More than you know.”
Before you could respond, he got up and left the room without another word. Even if you did have time to respond though, you weren’t sure what to say. Seeing the softer side of Bakugou was rare. You’d only gotten glimpses of that side of him maybe a handful of times during the two years that you’ve gotten to know him.
You believed him though. He was hot-headed, had the mouth of a sailor, and was rough around the edges, but he had always been sincere when it mattered. What else was under that tough exterior, you wondered? And more importantly, did you want to find out?
Your heart was beginning to feel torn. There was Kirishima who was the sweetest and kindest person in the whole world. And yes, you had feelings for him and had for awhile. But you also had feelings for Bakugou. You never planned on acting on either crush, and you never expected for those feelings to be reciprocated by either of them.
You knew where Kirishima stood. You had a loose idea of where Bakugou stood, but you couldn’t be sure. And then… there was you… firmly in the middle. Dating either Pro Hero would surely cause a rift in your friendships. Maybe it was best not to act on anything yet.
Unless you could make the impossible happen: being with both Kirishima and Bakugou.
You rolled your eyes at yourself and flopped backward on the bed. Who were you kidding? Like that could ever happen….
․° ☣ °․
If we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you.
․° ☣ °․