It isn’t until Todoroki comes home one evening to find Bakugou sprawled on the floor, cuddling with Todoroki’s pet cat while reading a magazine and thinks to himself ah, that’s really cute that Todoroki really grasps how magnificently fucked with feelings he is. “My cat likes you better than me,” he says, attempting to distract himself with how disappointing it is that his own pet doesn’t like him best.
Bakugou looks up. “That’s not hard to do, Shouto,” he replies. “Princess hates your damn guts.”
It’s true; Princess doesn’t even let Todoroki touch her on most days, and here she is snuggled up close to Bakugou’s chest like they’re the best of friends. As a rule, Princess hates people, so Todoroki tries to not take it too personally – but he somehow feels betrayed by his feline cohabitant, even though Bakugou’s at his apartment enough that Princess could be forgiven for thinking that Bakugou’s her co-owner. “She really likes you, though,” Todoroki says.
“I guess,” Bakugou replies. His indifference to being a rare recipient of Princess’s affections is moderately annoying. “Welcome back, by the way.”
“I’m home,” Todoroki replies automatically, forcing him to stop staring at the admittedly and unexpectedly endearing sight of Bakugou and his cat having a bonding moment to navigate to his kitchenette to make a quick dinner. In the back of his mind, he suddenly recalls that he meant to do a quick run for eggs on the way home, he’s running out and if he makes anything that calls for them to go with his leftovers, then he won’t have any for breakfast tomorrow morning –
He opens the fridge. There’s a new carton of eggs already in there, placed right next to the almost-empty one. “I am not running out of eggs,” he notes astutely.
Todoroki can picture without even looking Bakugou rolling his eyes, making an expression like seriously, tell me something I don’t know, why are you always stating the total freaking obvious? “Yeah, I thought you might be running out, so I grabbed you some before coming over,” Bakugou replies, sounding rather exasperated. “Look, are you… sick, or something? Because if you are, I’m going home, I’m not gonna catch a fucking cold when I have roughly two tons of bullshit to wade through at work tomorrow.”
“That’s what happens when you keep damaging private property when you engage villains,” Todoroki retorts almost automatically, because variations on this conversation have been rehashed too many times for him to count. He closes the refrigerator door and turns around to stare down Bakugou and Princess, trying to parse exactly what’s bothering him about this picture. “I’m not sick, I’m confused.”
Bakugou pushes himself up into a sitting position, crossing his legs. Princess seems upset at first, but then makes do claiming Bakugou’s lap as her new throne. “Okay… are you about to tell me why, or are we gonna muddle through coy bullshit first?” Bakugou asks.
Todoroki closes his eyes and contemplates the fact that there’s roughly a 90% chance that what he’s about to say is going to result in his apartment floor incurring yet another scorch mark. “Since when do you spend so much time in my apartment that my cat, who attacks anything that breathes, actually willingly touches you?” Todoroki asks. “And that you know what’s in my fridge.”
Bakugou laughs incredulously, but it’s just forced enough that Todoroki can tell that Bakugou senses where Todoroki is about to take line of inquiry and is attempting to change course. “Where the hell is this even coming from? I just pay attention to things.”
“You know what I mean and you’re dodging,” Todoroki says bluntly.
“Okay, what the fuck would I even be dodging in the first place?” Bakugou retorts.
Todoroki sighs. “I’m talking about, you know, us. Our relationship.”
“Shouto, I think you know me well enough that you know exactly what I’m going to say,” Bakugou says, after a measured pause. “Do we have to talk about this.” For a few moments, the two of them just look at each other. Princess watches Bakugou watch Todoroki and meows loudly, as if she’s taking some kind of twisted amusement out of the fact that she’s caused this to happen.
“Now that I think about it, when did we switch to using each others’ first names?” Todoroki says, deciding to barrel forth given that anything is better than the reign of silence threatening to make this situation very awkward very fast. “And you sleep over in my apartment at least ten times a month on average, probably more. Also, you do my laundry for me more often than I do my laundry for me.”
“Okay, first of all, my apartment’s further away from the city center than yours is, so this is just a matter of convenience. Secondly, you’re so disgustingly young master that you don’t even know how to use the washing machine properly and it physically pains me that you have no common fucking sense when it comes to detergent,” Bakugou snaps back. “Also, half of the laundry at any given point in time is probably mine anyway.”
“That’s my point exactly,” Todoroki says. “Why is half of the laundry in my apartment your clothes in the first place?”
There’s a pause before Bakugou asks, “Are you trying to tell me that you’re confused about why we’re a couple that acts like a couple? Because if so, congratulations, Shouto! Your brand of oblivious assholery has officially outdone my brand of deliberate assholery tonight. I’ll order you a fucking cake and have it custom designed to say fuck you, Shouto in icing on top – ”
“No, I’m confused because I don’t know when we became a couple in the first place?” Todoroki cuts in.
“Again, that’s because you’re an oblivious asshole. As far as I remember, we started dating when – ” Bakugou cuts off mid-sentence. He frowns, then scowls, and then makes an expression that suggests a sentiment like aw, fuck me. “Oh,” he says emphatically.
“Yeah,” Todoroki agrees, because Bakugou has clearly seen the problem here. “Anyway, I was going to heat up leftovers for dinner, should I microwave a plate for you too?”
Bakugou sighs, but he carefully dislodges Princess from his lap to start setting the table. “You’re supposed to make my mind dinner before fucking it up, Shouto,” he mutters. “Yeah, I want the fried rice from a few days ago.”
“Okay,” Todoroki replies, and starts on dinner while Bakugou puts food out for Princess.
For a few moments, the only sound is the humming of the microwave in the background. “Anyway, we can at least both agree that feelings and attachment weren’t initially part of our relationship, right?” Todoroki asks. Because we were both emotionally stunted in different ways when we were first years in high school, he does not say, although he knows that’s a pretty fundamental reason why they’re now having some kind of weird relationship identity crisis.
“Nah, I’m one-hundred percent sure I was in it for making out and none of this… attachment stuff you’re suddenly obsessed with,” Bakugou replies. From where Todoroki stands near the microwave and Bakugou remains squatted next to the now-filled bowl of pet food, the both of them watch as Princess, true to her name, regally strides over to her dish and begins eating.
“And we’re agreed that feelings and attachment are a part of our relationship now,” Todoroki continues.
Bakugou looks up at Todoroki with a withering gaze. “Do you expect me to say something like, oh yeah, I’ve come to love you with all the capacity in my withered fucking heart, sweetie? Because I really hope not.”
“I mean,” Todoroki says, “I didn’t anticipate my life ever taking this turn, but I do love you, so I kind of hope to have the sentiment returned?”
“This is the most embarrassing conversation I’ve had in my entire life and you should be grateful I wasn’t fucking outta here like ten minutes ago,” Bakugou says, getting up so fast that Todoroki wonders if he’s experiencing physical whiplash. Bakugou’s face looks incredibly confused as to how it should be arranging itself, and Todoroki notes that the tips of his ears seem to be turning an impressive shade of red.
The microwave beeps and provides a convenient interlude as they settle at the dinner table. Bakugou seems adamant about not really looking Todoroki straight in the face as he shovels a generous heap of fried rice into his mouth as if to excuse himself from needing to talk. Todoroki decides to keep going with this line of inquiry anyway. “Anyway, we’re agreed that this a proper relationship at this point,” Todoroki says, timing his comment so it coincides just with when Bakugou’s swallowed his food and can’t use that as an excuse to not talk.
“I can’t believe we’re still talking about this,” Bakugou replies, sounding moderately pained from emotional constipation. “But fine, yes. Agreed. If we’re saying that having feelings and shit are the deciding factor, then we’ve been dating for a long ass time and just never bothered verbalizing it. And I liked it that way, just for the record.”
To be honest, Todoroki’s kind of amazed that Bakugou was so straightforward about it, considering he has only ever known Bakugou to avoid actively talking about how he feels about other people at all costs unless it’s to inform somebody that they’re pissing him off. He decides to take it as a very good thing, and stupidly enough, he even thinks he feels his heart have a few palpitations and for the second time in a short period, he realizes yet again just how fucked up with feelings he is for this ornery jerk. “Do you want to move in with me,” he blurts out, before his brain even has a chance to catch up with his mouth. “You already have a key and do half of my chores and you’re here often enough that you’ve already got a toothbrush permanently stationed in the bathroom. Also, my pet cat likes you better than me. I think it makes sense. Since we’re now officially agreed this has been a serious relationship for a while now.”
Bakugou’s mouth forms a perfect O for several long moments before he slowly closes it, only to immediately snap back, “Okay, I definitely do more than half of your chores.”
“Fine, you have a key and do more than half of my chores and all that other stuff,” Todoroki acquiesces, because sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war.
There’s a pause. “You’re helping me move my shit, then,” Bakugou finally says. “And you’re helping me find somebody to sublet my place ‘til my lease is up.”
“Okay,” Todoroki replies very quickly, and smiles.
Bakugou visibly squirms a bit in his seat. “It weirds me out when you smile like that,” he mutters. “It’s all… radiant or whatever. Jesus fucking Christ, you’ve given me all these stupid emotions I never asked for.”
“Mmhm,” Todoroki hums, hiding the fact that his smile only widens by taking a bite of his dinner.
From the floor, Princess meows and walks up to Todoroki, rubbing affectionately up against his leg as if to say good job, finally.