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The first thing the hospital staff try to do is break apart the Yuuei rescue band. It doesn’t go over well.

“Please understand,” Iida says, trying to reason with them. “We’ve just come from a villain attack where we had to separate. We’re not very comfortable breaking apart until we hear that All Might has defeated the villain leader.” Midoriya pushes his back against Kirishima, shielding him. His expression is firm. Behind Kirishima and Bakugou, Todoroki and Yaoyorozu move close.

The nurse in front sighs. “And please understand me, when I tell you you’re safe now,” she says.

“That’s what they said before I was kidnapped,” Bakugou breaks in, uncharacteristically quiet. “Fat lot of good their precious words did.”

The nurse’s eyes widen. “You’re Bakugou Katsuki?”

Bakugou grunts.

“At least let Kirishima and Bakugou stay together,” Midoriya says.

She sighs again. “Alright, fine. They can stay together. I’ll put you all really close together, okay?”

They bow and thank her before they’re shuffled off to their hospital rooms. The hospital is big enough to accommodate a massive influx of patients, so Kirishima figures keeping them together’s not as big of a deal as the nurse made it out to be. Midoriya and Iida don’t drop their guard. They take in every inch of their surroundings, scanning for villains that would surely have to qualms with invading a hospital to steal away their prize.

The prize himself doesn’t look too pleased with this arrangement. He’s already sliding back into neutral-mode Bakugou, which means a sneer and narrowed eyes complete with snappy remarks at any kind of perceived slight. Curiously, he has yet to snap at any of them for attempting to rescue him.

Also, he hasn’t let go of Kirishima’s hand.

The fact that he had actually leapt to grab Kirishima’s hand in the first place was miracle. But he hadn’t let go when they ran, blasting one-handedly which could not have been easy or fun. He hadn’t let go when Iida and Midoriya wore themselves out and the group stopped running. He hadn’t let go when Todoroki and Yaoyorozu joined the group. Nor when they got to the hero camp. Or when they entered the hospital.

Honestly, Kirishima had kind of forgotten that he was holding Bakugou’s hand in the thick of things. Danger and villains ranked a little higher on his radar than holding someone else’s hand. It must be the same for Bakugou. Of course, now that he had noticed Bakugou’s hand he couldn’t stop noticing it.

Bakugou’s hand was, predictably, very sweaty. That in and of itself was a danger, but from the way Bakugou’s chest heaved, he wouldn’t be sparking Kirishima’s hand to hell and back like he might under normal circumstances.

What would normal circumstances be like in the first place?

Just walking around school, holding hands? That didn’t seem to be a very Bakugou-like thing to do. He slouched and shoved his hands in his pockets. Besides, hand-holding was…well, it was pretty embarrassing. Kirishima didn’t mind—he liked the feeling of Bakugou’s palm, rough and as big as his clasped around his hand. Bakugou kept a tight grip, but it felt like an anchor, like surety. Despite his nature, Kirishima knew Bakugou would never squeeze his hand to the point of hurting him.

In any case, Kirishima was afraid to hold hands with girls since he hit his growth spurt and every part of his body outsized the smaller, daintier girls. Sure, he wouldn’t call Uraraka or Yaoyorozu ‘dainty’ on the field, but when they weren’t in the middle of battle, Kirishima worried about hurting them. His hand would dwarf theirs! What if he accidentally squeezed too tightly? What if his hand swallowed theirs? It just looked plain uncomfortable. Kirishima would take a guy’s hand over a girl’s hand any day.

Kirishima thinks if he were to hold Bakugou’s hand under normal circumstances, it would be when they were out on the town, window shopping or going for lunch. They wouldn’t hold hands the entire time. Maybe they’d link pinkies or something. The thought makes Kirishima smile. Bakugou would be so embarrassed by that. He’d definitely have to try it at some point. Kirishima thinks he’d take Bakugou’s hand to show him something in one of the shops, Bakugou leaning on his shoulder and eyeing up whatever Kirishima had pointed out, murmuring his thoughts in a low voice, like he never used at school.

Yeah. That would be nice.

“Here you are,” one of the other nurses says, gesturing to their rooms. “Someone will be in to see you momentarily.”

They’re still not happy about separate rooms, but they leave the doors cracked so that if anyone was attacked, the others could be there to help them at a second’s notice. As promised, Kirishima and Bakugou share a room.

Bakugou realizes it the moment they’re left on their own. He doesn’t say anything, just stiffens up. His foot scuffs the floor as he comes to a stop. His hand around Kirishima’s loosens, but he doesn’t let go completely. It’s awkward. Kirishima lets go of his hand.

What are you doing,” Bakugou says, low and too fast. His hand tightens around Kirishima’s.

Kirishima flinches in surprise. He turns to meet Bakugou’s eyes. “Sorry,” he says. “Sorry, I—I didn’t think you’d want to—”

Bakugou shakes his hand free, burying it crossed arms. He glares at Kirishima. Kirishima stares right back at him.

“What?” Bakugou snaps.

“I thought you said you wanted—” Kirishima starts.

“I don’t want to hold your hand,” Bakugou says. “What are you, five?”

Oh. Kirishima understands. “Well,” he says slowly. “I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable, but I’m actually very scared of the villains. Holding your hand made me feel safe, so if you don’t mind, I’d really like—”

“God, you are so fucking embarrassing,” Bakugou says, rolling his eyes. He extends a hand though, and Kirishima takes it, squeezing him gently.

They can’t go to their separate beds, so they sit next to each other on the bed closest to the door. Kirishima looks at their clasped hands. Bakugou looks anywhere but their clasped hands. His palm is still sweaty.

They’re saved from having to say anything by the door opening and the same nurse who had greeted them stepping into the room. They let go of each other’s hands so that she can perform a check-up of each of them. They’re deemed fine, just a little scraped up and in need of fluids and rest. They’ll be released as soon as the fighting outside stops, but for now, they’re safest inside.

Kirishima doesn’t call bullshit, and with a sharp glance at Bakugou, Bakugou doesn’t call bullshit either. It’s not like they could do anything but get in the way out there, anyway. They were right where they were supposed to be now, tucked away somewhere that would (probably) be difficult for the villains to invade successfully.

Kirishima’s phone buzzes and he pulls it out of his pocket. Out of the corner of his eye, he spies Bakugou sneaking his hand closer to Kirishima’s and then taking it. Kirishima doesn’t say anything. He checks the text from Midoriya. It reads ‘turn on the television.’

Frowning, Kirishima does as bidden, grabbing the remote. The local news station shows that the dust has cleared and heroes moving around to help with civilian rescue as well as moving their own to nearby hospitals. There’s no sign of All Might, or of Sensei.

“It’s over,” Kirishima says. Some of the tension leaves his shoulders. “We won.”

“For now,” Bakugou grunts. His thumb is rubbing circles over Kirishima’s hand, but he doesn’t seem to realize it, fixated on the news story.

Kirishima texts back, ‘All good here. Get some rest.

“Do you want to lie down?” Kirishima asks Bakugou.

Bakugou glances from Kirishima, to the bed, back to Kirishima. “Both of us? On one bed?” He raises his eyebrows incredulously.

“Do you have a better idea?” Kirishima asks.

Bakugou doesn’t, so he leans back, tugging Kirishima down with him. He’s very careful not to let their shoulders touch, holding himself away from Kirishima. It looks like it takes a lot of effort. Kirishima snuggles back into the admittedly uncomfortable bed and closes his eyes, the sound of the news washing over him and lulling him to sleep.

When he wakes up, his left side is burning. Bakugou, the human furnace he is, is completely pressed against Kirishima’s side, from thigh and hip to elbow and shoulder. Kirishima opens his eyes. Bakugou is still awake but not paying Kirishima any attention, busy flipping through the channels on the television, scowling.

“You know, if you scowl that much, your face is gonna stick like that,” Kirishima says. “It kind of already does.”

“I don’t want to hear that from someone who drools in his sleep,” Bakugou says.

Kirishima’s cheeks heat up. “I do not,” he protests.

“You so do,” Bakugou says. “Drooled all over your shitty disguise.”

Kirishima pats at his chest, but doesn’t feel any wet patches. Either his spit dried, or Bakugou is lying to him. He squints at Bakugou.

Bakugou is still holding his hand.

“Bakugou,” Kirishima says, lifting their hands. “What is this?”

Bakugou’s eyes flick to their hands. “My hand,” he says. “Your hand. Why?” He looks back at the television.

Kirishima lowers them. “I never took you for the touchy-feely type,” he says.

“Fuck you,” Bakugou says. “I’m not.”

“Oh really?” Kirishima says, grinning. “I fell asleep. You’re still holding my hand.”

“Yeah, dumbshit,” Bakugou says. “You were scared.”

Kirishima rolls his eyes. “I wasn’t actually scared. I was trying to comfort you, obviously.”

“That so?” Bakugou says. “Then why are you still shaking?”

“I’m n—” Kirishima starts. Stops. Lifts up his free hand to see it trembling completely out of his control.

In a soft voice, he says, “Oh.”

He thinks of Bakugou refusing to let him go, even in the public eye. He thinks of Bakugou taking his hand with a sigh. Grabbing it again, sneakily, even though it probably hurt his pride. Rubbing circles against Kirishima’s skin. Keeping hold, even in his sleep. Pressing himself against Kirishima.

The whole time, Kirishima thought Bakugou was seeking comfort. But in reality, he was comforting Kirishima.

“Don’t cry,” Bakugou sighs. “It’s no big deal.”

“I’m not,” Kirishima sniffles, vision blurring. “I’m not—I’m fine—”

Very carefully, Bakugou intertwines their fingers.

“Why are you doing this,” Kirishima cries. “Why are you doing this, we should be comforting you, you were the one who got kidnapped, this is so—so insensitive—”

“Shut it,” Bakugou says. “What you did back there was stupidly brave. It was a dumbass move and you all should’ve died. It’s the kind of half-brained bullshit I would have pulled. No wonder you’re freaking out. I’m sure Deku and Megane in the other room over there are pissing their pants in fear.”

“But you’re—”

“Unlike you, I’m actually fine,” Bakugou says. “Been fine since you leapt over that wall and called out to me.”

Kirishima peeks at Bakugou, blinking away tears. “Midoriya said it had to be me,” he says. “You wouldn’t respond to anyone else.”

“Damn straight,” Bakugou says. “I’m not going to touch anyone who pisses me off, fuck no. I’d rather fight the entire villain horde than hold Deku’s hand.” He starts doing the rubbing thing against Kirishima’s hand again.

Kirishima laughs wetly. “This is so weird,” he says.

“Go back to sleep, moron,” Bakugou says. “You obviously need it.”

“Hey, Bakugou?” Kirishima says. “Thank you for taking care of me.”

“You would do the same for me,” Bakugou says quietly. “You did the same for me.”

Kirishima squeezes his hand weakly. Bakugou growls, but Kirishima shimmies closer to him, resting his head against Bakugou’s shoulder and curling his arm under Bakugou’s. Bakugou grunts once more, but lets him do it.

“My big, puffy guard dog,” Kirishima says, closing his eyes.

“Are you going to sleep anytime this century?” Bakugou asks. “Because I wouldn’t mind blasting your head until you pass the fuck out.”

“I can,” Kirishima says. “Now I can.” He snuggles against Bakugou one more time and then settles, slowing his breathing and feeling his heartbeat calm.

“If anyone comes after us, they’ll have to go through me first,” Bakugou murmurs. He rests his cheek against Kirishima’s cheek and pulls Kirishima’s hands closer to his body. “Rest easy, you stupid, brave fool.”