The intense desert suns made anything several feet away start to warp with the heat. It also made Kirishima’s sun hardened back and shoulders glisten with sweat. Kaminari leaned into the fan as he watched Kirishima work on the racer pod. It was a sight to behold: how Kirishima’s muscles rippled with every action in a way not even the heat waves could detract from. Perhaps even more blinding than this planet’s suns was the smile Kirishima kept throwing Kaminari’s way whenever he looked over.
Either heat stroke or Kirishima’s smiles were going to kill him first; considering he had been surviving Kirishima for years, the heat would probably win.
They landed on this desert planet just a scant few days ago and Kaminari was not sure how he was going to survive the next several weeks of this heat. The Intergalactic 500 was a huge affair for any team that made the cutoffs for the race, but it was even bigger for those under the media spotlight. Team Bakugou was one of those. The media was eating them up between their state of the art ship, insane pilot, and overall youth of the team.
Sure, there were other young pilots–and they were just as much in the spotlight–but they had notable figures backing them. Team Bakugou was just a group of ragtag kids banned together from a dinky planet from a middle of nowhere galaxy. Needless to say, everyone on the team was expected to show up to all the pre-race parties, interviews, and promotional events. It really took away from their preparations for the race itself, so they had all agreed to get to the host planet a week before the festivities started.
Bumming it out living in their spaceship until their hotel rooms paid by the race opened had seemed like a good idea when they were still in the comfort of their home planet. Now, in the sandy dunes under the two whole suns of this planet, Kaminari at least greatly regretted this decision. Okay. Maybe halfway regretted it. Because watching Kirishima work in this heat was such a blessing and a curse.
“Wow don’t his abs look amazing glistening like that?”
Kaminari did not even think as he leaned back in his chair and sighed. “Yeah they do.”
Airy giggles jerked him back to attention as he realized his mistake. He snapped his head around to glare at the giggling girl squatting beside him. “Mina! What the hell!”
Ashido simply giggled more and pulled a chair up beside him in the fan’s air flow. “Not my fault you were blatantly ogling him and were zoned out enough to agree with me!” She dragged another chair closer with her foot so she could kick her legs up and further sprawl out under the cooling artificial winds.
Kaminari glanced her over and sighed. Of course Ashido was still wearing her bikini. Despite several comments from all of them about what a field day the press would have if they caught her chilling around in next to nothing, she refused to budge and put clothing on. At this point, Kaminari really could not blame her. He was tempted to chuck his thin tank top and shorts to just bum it out in his boxers.
He poked her stomach with furrowed brows. “You put sunscreen on before you left the ship this time, right ?”
Her pink skin had gained a painful looking purple color the other day, and Kaminari was the one that had to slather her up in aloe as she winced and whined. Thankfully her sunburn could have been worse and she was a healthy looking purple hue now. Kaminari did not want to go through helping her with aloe again.
“Yes mom ,” Ashido said, sticking her tongue out petulantly. “And I’m staying in the shade with you, aren’t I? Don’t worry about me. You should be worrying about hiding your hard on.”
“What!?” Kaminari glanced down frantically, but Ashido was already giggling shrilly the second the words had left her mouth.
“Made you look!”
Kaminari flushed and pushed at her, fighting a small smile of his own. “Shut up. That was playing dirty.”
Ashido wiggled her eyebrows playfully. “You wish you could play dirty with Eijirou~”
Two could play at this game. Kaminari poked her forehead and stuck his tongue. “Keep this up and I’ll make it my personal mission to make sure you don’t get any drinks at the race events.”
“You wouldn’t dare!” Ashido sat up, mouth agape in horror at the prospect.
“He wouldn’t dare what?”
Kirishima’s sudden appearance made both of them jump in surprise. He laughed boisterously as he crouched between them and the fan, wiping his sweaty face off with his oil stained rag. Ashido shouted in protest and kicked at him. She sat up and dragged the extra chair next to her so he could enjoy the fan without stealing all the air.
“Denki is threatening to keep me from drinking next week because I’m teasing him,” she explained with a pout.
“Aw, Kaminari, why are you trying to ruin her fun?” Kirishima grinned playfully and dropped himself in the offered seat. He pulled his feet up to sit cross legged and prop his chin in his hand. “Mina teasing you is nothing new!”
Kaminari opened the cooler next to him and tossed Kirishima a water, who grinned in thanks and poured half of it on his head before chugging the rest. Smiling fondly, Kaminari shook his head with a shrug. “Just because it’s nothing new doesn’t mean I can’t be bothered by it. How’s the racer looking?
Shop talk was the number one way to change a topic when it came to Kirishima. He lit up instantly–many would think it was impossible for Kirishima to shine more than his natural state, but that was before they saw him talking about his baby. “Queen Explodo-kills Cellophane Riot Charge is doing great! She’s almost ready for the rest of you to get in for your tune ups!”
Ashido deadpanned. “That is not her name. Stop calling her that! It’s a branding nightmare! ”
Kirishima just snickered and motioned for Kaminari to throw him another water. A quick ‘thanks man’ and he downed the bottle in seconds. “I still think we should have gone for everyone’s names! It’s the true spirit of the team!”
Kaminari chucked another water bottle at Kirishima, hitting him square in the chest. He grunted at the impact, but kept smiling as he opened it. Face scrunched in a sour expression, Kaminari crossed his arms. “Hearing you still complaining about the name decision makes it even worse.”
After much debate and several rounds of voting, the team finally decided Red Riot was the best name for their pod. So not only did Kirishima’s name win, but he had the gall to complain about it to this day. Bakugou threatened a couple times to change the name if Kirishima did not ‘shut the fuck up,’ but it was an empty threat since all of them knew Ashido would never allow it.
Most other teams centered around the pilot. The pilots were always the stars, sporting the brands and piloting the newest and fastest models of pod racers. The team existed to support the pilot and help them shine, but they were ultimately replaceable in the professional racing world. Bakugou would be fucked without the rest of them.
Yeah, he was an amazing pilot. Truly remarkable in his piloting skills. Kaminari had never met a better pilot. Too bad Bakugou had the shittest attitude on the face of the planet. In the early days, Bakugou tried to get signed by the big leagues, but no one would take him. A no name newbie was not worth the diva attitude. But at the same time, the big sponsors would have never been able to utilize Bakugou’s talent the way Kirishima’s ship did.
Kirishima built their pod racer up from the ground. Every bit of it was original. He had started it in high school and spent every waking moment creating his baby with Bakugou as the pilot in mind. So many afternoons the gang spent in Kirishima’s hanger. Sero actually helped him, the rest of them just took advantage of all the great snacks and drinks the Kirishima family had to offer.
The ship was perfect, almost perfect. Kirishima was an amazing engineer and mechanic, not so great with chemical compounds and electronics. He built the most beautiful ship anyone could imagine, but it would never stand a chance in a professional race without a proper piloting system and the right booster fuels. Once the main body of the ship was constructed, Kaminari and Ashido informed him that this was a full out group project now.
Red Riot was built for Bakugou to pilot, but she was the team’s baby.
“Aaaah how much longer must we suffer this dreadful heat?” Ashido whined, digging her toes in the sand.
Kaminari double checked the date in his mind before responding with a heavy sigh. “Three whole more days till we can check in to the hotel. I think I’m going to melt.”
“You know,” Kirishima perked up in his chair with a brilliant smile. “I could just call my parents, they’d have no problem getting us a hotel-”
“No!” Ashido and Kaminari yelled in unison. Kaminari went to so far to jump to his feet in protest. Kirishima was always doing shit like this, trying to buy things for them with his parents’ wealth. It was sweet, but every single one of them was too proud to accept it.
Kirishima pouted-Kaminari had to look away because damn he looked so cute when he did that- and slumped back in his chair. “Well at least we could go into town? Maybe there's a public pool or something we can crash!”
Swimming sounded like a great idea. It would help cool them off, Kirishima would stay shirtless, Kaminari definitely did not have any ulterior motives in agreeing excitedly with the idea. Nope, none whatsoever. Ashido shared a knowing smirk with him, but he waved her off. “Let’s go get Sero and Bakugou. We can have a chicken tournament!”
The idea made Kirishima light up; Kaminari felt proud to have been the one to cause that. Kirishima leaped to his feet with a whoop. “I bet our prima donna is still fast asleep! I’ll go wake him! We’re going to kick all your asses as the best chicken team ever!”
Ah. Right. Of course. Kaminari’s face fell as Kirishima raced to their spaceship. Why had he expected anything different? Dammit.
Ashido sighed as she stood and wrapped an arm around his waist. She rested her head against his chest and shook him lightly. “Hey dumbbutt, get your mind out of the sand. You know the only reason Eijirou wants to team up with Katsuki is so I can’t team up with him. Not to mention, then he has an actual chance of winning.”
It was stupid to be bothered by something so minor, he knew. Ashido’s attempt to cheer him up worked a bit. He cracked a smile as he put his arm around her shoulders. “In that case I should thank him for acting so swiftly. I still say it’s a foul to headbutt people with your horns while playing chicken, Mina.”
“Bakugou doesn’t think so!” She complained, leading them to the spaceship.
Kaminari laughed. “That’s exactly why we don’t like you two teaming up!”
Once night fell, the spaceship was not so bad to sleep in. The heavy, muggy air of the closed in space dissipated slightly without the sun shining down. How Bakugou managed to sleep in once the place started heating up was beyond Kaminari. But, like this, with even a slight chill once they had a fan blowing, Kaminari did not mind camping out. He was still extremely excited to be moving to the hotel in the morning, but still, it could have been worse.
“Mina, hold still or I’m going to mess up.”
It may have been late, but press-prep was still underway. Ashido was a tyrant when it came to their public image. She it was her personal mission to make sure every single one of them was presentable and as she put it, “paparazzi ready at all times.” In the early days they all thought she was crazy. Who would care about their ragtag team enough to sell pictures of them? Well, they had underestimated the power of a talented team of attractive young people. After their first major win, all the media wanted a piece of them. They got a well deserved “I told you so” and Ashido got full reign to manage their image while at events.
Ashido spent her entire day checking their wardrobes, fixing their hair, reiterating what was and was not appropriate to say to press (this was mostly for Bakugou). The whole ordeal was surprisingly a lot of fun. It became a spa day for all of them and they had come to look forward to Ashido’s makeover days. They got free haircuts, she gave them mani/pedis, and her homemade face masks felt awesome. By the end of the day, they were pampered and ready to face the world.
While everyone else went to sleep, Kaminari stay up to help his best friend get herself ready. As great as Ashido was doing everyone else’s nails, she really sucked doing her own. Through the years, Kaminari had perfected the art of nails for her sake. She was going for an electric turquoise this time around, a color that always looked great with her skin tone.
“I am holding still,” she mumbled as she proceed to not stay still and rifle through her magazine.
Kaminari pinched her finger hard enough to get a yelp out of her. She took one look at his unamused stare and sighed in defeat as she threw her magazine to the side. “Fine, fine. Sorry.”
“Thank you! Stop being so difficult when I’m doing this for you!” He leaned down to focus on her nails once more.
Ashido giggled quietly. “I’m not being difficult . I just have faith in you that I can at least do something else while you’re working on my nails.”
“You can talk to me and that doesn’t require moving!” Kaminari was so precise when it came to working on her nails and he hated having to go back and fix mistakes.
As he sat up to coat the brush for the next finger, Ashido shifted to lean on her free hand and crossed her legs. “Okay. We can talk. Let’s talk about how this race is a great opportunity for you to finally confess to Eijirou.”
Kaminari almost dropped the brush. Out of habit he looked around her cabin, as if by some stroke of bad luck Kirishima managed to magically appear to hear her. Cautionary sweep complete, he turned to her with narrowed eyes. “How about we don’t talk about that? I’d rather not screw up our friendship when this is the biggest event for all of our lives!”
“Ugh, you’re so full of shit. You’re not going to ruin anything by letting him know your feelings.” Ashido rolled her eyes and started to move again, but Kaminari grabbed her wrist to keep the hand he was working on in place.
Logically, Kaminari knew that Kirishima was not the type to let romantic feelings ruin a friendship. But, he also knew that Kirishima was the type that would feel guilty for not returning those feelings. Kirishima was such a bright, vibrant part of everyone’s life. The last thing Kaminari wanted to do was dim Kirishima’s light.
“He would still end up getting upset about it one way or another, Mina.” He finished off the last nail and turned on her mini-fan. “I would have an idea if he had romantic feelings for me too, he’s literally an open book! And I have no idea where you’re getting the idea I have a chance, because from where I’m standing I’m not a romantic contender.”
Ashido nibbled on her bottom lip, a flighty look in her eyes as she placed her other hand on the table. “Call it a girl’s intuition?”
“Not buying it.” Kaminari flicked her nose with a fond smile. “I love you to pieces, but I can’t trust your judgement about other people’s opinion on me because you’re biased . Of course everyone is in love with me from your point of view.”
She puffed her cheeks, clearly not happy with his argument, but let it go. They sat in the quiet ambiance of the spaceship as Kaminari finished painting her nails. He added cute purple designs for an extra flair and by the time he finished the top coat, they were both yawning. Too tired to go back to his own cabin, Kaminari just curled up with Ashido in her bunk. They mumbled sleepy good nights and Kaminari was about to drift off when Ashido poked his cheek.
“Just promise me you’ll think about telling him while we’re here.”
Kaminari groaned and hugged her tighter. “I’ll think about it,” he mumbled.
While he said it just to get her to go to sleep, the smile she pressed into his chest made him consider keeping true to his words.
Kirishima’s laughter was infectious. It was impossible to hear his joyous laugh and not want to join in. There was something about his smile, his carefree laughing, that could instantly light up any room. Even when he was laughing at Kaminari, it was impossible to be upset. There was always an overwhelming amount of adoration in that laughter, Kaminari knew it never came from a malicious place.
In this instance, they were laughing at each other.
“You look like some fourteen year old trying to be edgy!” Kaminari howled, clutching his sides from laughing so hard. Kirishima tamed his hair downward, and for some reason whenever his hair was down Kirishima suddenly had a baby face. Something about the way his hair fell around his face made him look so young and squishy. Kaminari wanted to squish his cheeks. But, Kirishima with his hair down was nothing new and definitely not laugh-at material. Oh no, the reason why Kirishima looked so hilarious was his disguise decisions.
His black beanie was horribly impractical for this planet’s heat, but it also pushed his straightened hair even more into his face. Ashido had painted his nails black to hide the oil and grease he struggled to get out when he worked on the ship. Coupled with the light jacket he decided to throw on, Kirishima really did fit the ‘trying too hard to look edgy fourteen year old’ appearance.
“Mina says my muscles are just as recognizable as my hair! I gotta cover them both!” Kirishima howled and supported himself in the doorframe. “At least I don’t look like a fuckboy!”
That was a fair critique. Just as Kirishima’s hair was a dead giveaway, Kaminari had to take precautions to hide his bolt. He slicked his fringe under a baseball cap, but naturally it had to be worn backwards. Only squares wore their caps straight on. It was hot as hell outside, and he did not have to worry about his muscles giving his identity away, so Kaminari had thrown on just a white tank top, some salmon shorts. Sue him. He looked great in salmon pink.
“I take so much offense to that!” Kaminari’s snickering did not support such a statement. He grabbed his wallet and pushed Kirishima out of the doorway. “Whatever! We both look ridiculous, so no one is gonna recognize us and Mina isn’t going to kick our asses!”
Kirishima leaned against him as they walked down the hall and poked the sunglasses hanging off the neck of his tank top. “Put them on, put them on. Complete the look, man.”
“Cut it out!” Kaminari slapped his hand away, but did nothing to stop him from leaning. The hotel was ridiculously cold and Kirishima was warm. “I’ll put them on when we get outside. I’m not that bad.”
The heat hit knocked the air out of their lungs the second they stepped outside. Kaminari shoved Kirishima away, because just a moment of the heat was enough to make human contact feel disgusting. “I forgot how hot it is here,” he gasped, completing his look with his sunglasses.
Kirishima wheezed through the heat and shook at the neck of his shirt. “I regret this get up immensely. The receptionist said the market was indoors though, so let’s just suffer till we get there.”
“I’ll be okay.” Kaminari grinned and plucked at Kirishima’s beanie. “You’re going to suffer enough for the both of us.”
“I am!” Kirishima whined loudly, tugging at his beanie in his distress. “C’mon let’s get a move on and get out of this heat!”
Along the way they passed a street vendor selling umbrellas and electronic fans. Kirishima bought both in a heartbeat and Kaminari teased him the entire rest of the way to the market. Once inside, Kirishima proceed to shove both items in Kaminari’s pockets.
“Dude! You bought them! You hang on to them!” Kaminari skipped a few steps away from Kirishima with his hands securely pressed against his pockets.
Kirishima pouted and gestured to his pants. “There’s no pocket space in skinny jeans! Please! I promise I’ll carry anything you buy on the way back!”
The pants were ridiculously tight on Kirishima, Kaminari had noticed along their walk. It was hard not to notice how great Kirishima’s ass looked in them. Actually, Kaminari had never seen Kirishima in skinny jeans before. “Where did you even get those from? I didn’t know you owned any.”
The playful smirk that filled Kirishima’s face spoke nothing but trouble. “I don’t. These are yours.”
Kaminari’s cheeks flushed with a mix of outrage–because how dare Kirishima steal his pants!–but also a touch of embarrassment–because oh god those were his pants Kirishima squished himself into and they were so tight, oh god. He covered his face with his hands and groaned loudly. Dammit. “You’re unbelievable. Fine, I’ll hold your shit. Just ask next time you want to steal some clothes?”
“Aw but where’s the fun in that?” Kirishima winked as he plopped the umbrella and fan in Kaminari’s pockets and strolled on ahead.
Kaminari had to look away; was Kirishima trying to sway his hips like that? This was suffering. He would possibly have to burn those pants or just make Kirishima keep them. There was no way he was ever going to be able to wear them again without the picture of Kirishima in them. What an asshole.
“Oh cool! Kaminari hurry up! Look at this weird fruit!” Kirishima was already several stalls down from the entrance, excitedly examining said fruit.
Destroying incriminating articles of clothing would have to wait for another day. Kaminari shook his head to clear his thoughts and joined Kirishima at the stall. “Shit that is weird looking!” He laughed.
They pranced around the different vendors, remarking at the wares of this planet and buying whatever struck their fancy. At some point they got distracted by different interests and Kaminari found himself alone at a stall with leather accessories. The stones decorating everything were a gorgeous collection of color and patterns Kaminari had never seen before.
A stone with golden yellow and molten red swirling together caught his eye. He picked it up and examined the bracelet, trying to discern if the pattern was painted or not. Kirishima suddenly appeared at his side and hooked his chin over Kaminari’s shoulder to take a look at the bracelet he had in hand. “Oh! That’s pretty! How’d they get it all marble looking like that?”
The vendor looked up from the bracelet she was working on. “They are naturally occurring stones on this planet. We call them desert glass. Each color combination has a different meaning.” She leaned forward to see which one Kaminari grabbed and smiled at them. “It seems you were drawn to the appropriate one, young man. The gold and red symbolize a love that burns as brightly as the sun.”
Kaminari could feel the heat of Kirishima’s blush with his face so close. His own face was just as hot. He laughed awkwardly as he set the bracelet back down. He kept his gaze on the table, lest Kirishima catch something in his eyes that gave him away. “Oh, no, sorry, we’re not a couple.”
Ever so slowly, Kirishima pulled himself off of Kaminari’s shoulder and scratched the back of his head. His laugh was just as awkward. “Yeah- What he said.”
The lady stared at them with an unconvinced expression, and Kaminari knew his expression was giving him away. It was all Ashido’s fault for making him think about this stuff. She looked between them and shrugged. “If you say so.”
Kaminari laughter was nearing hysterical giggles and he grabbed Kirishima’s wrist to drag him away. “They’re very pretty bracelets! Thank you ma’am!” He glanced to Kirishima, who was lagging behind with a strange look on his face.
What was with that?
Sero leaned over to whisper in Kaminari’s ear, “Don’t you love how she’s all up our ass about being well behaved for the press, but the second there’s a party she’s the wildest of all of us?”
Kaminari hid a snicker behind his hand. “Sh! Don’t let her hear you! She’ll put you on Bakugou duty.”
“I’m just saying, we should really have a Mina duty to make sure she doesn’t swindle too many drinks out of her admirers.” Sero grinned. “What if I just tape Mina and Bakugou together and make them keep each other out of trouble?”
“That sounds like a horrible idea, man.” Kaminari pat Sero’s shoulder with a shake his head. With alcohol involved, they would probably just egg each other on to do crazy stuff. Better they did not give them the chance.
Ashido lead the way to the hotel’s banquet hall, practically glowing with her excitement. “Now don’t forget everyone. All the other teams and their sponsors and the race committee are going to be there. Make a good impression and Eijirou, make sure Katsuki doesn’t pick any fights.”
Kirishima gave her a lazy thumbs up as he draped an arm around Bakugou’s shoulders. “Looks like I’m on Bakugou duty tonight!”
“I swear to god I will run you over during practice tomorrow,” Bakugou growled as he shoved Kirishima away from him.
Kirishima just laughed and attached himself right back on Bakugou. “Aw, but whatever will you do without your head mechanic?”
“Well considering I’m the head mechanic in the pit, I think we’ll do okay for the race!” Sero threw in with a cheeky grin. Kaminari snorted and punched his shoulder.
Bakugou smirked. “See, don’t need you. Hope you enjoy your last night of existence.”
“No one is dying! That’s the last kind of scandal we need!” Ashido planted her hands on her hips and stared all of them down. For the smallest of their team, she really had a large presence. They quieted down and waited for her to continue. Her cold stare brightened into an elated smile as she twirled on her heels and threw her hands in the air. “Now let’s go have fun!”
The party was already in full swing when they entered the hall. Ashido immediately detached herself from the group to hit the bar. The rest of them stuck together for a little bit, but eventually Bakugou broke off and Kirishima scrambled after him. Kaminari and Sero were content to chill at the table they staked their claim on and chat over their drinks.
“So, how do you think Mina would react to a sordid affair with someone on another racer team?”
Kaminari almost choked on his drink and Sero scrambled to pat his back and help him breathe again. Air passages cleared, Kaminari turned to Sero with wide eyes. “Are you serious?! Who do you have your eyes on?!”
“What? No! No! Not like that!” Sero laughed sheepishly as he scratched at his cheek. “I just mean, in the theoretical, if maybe we hit it off with someone, y’know? There’s going to be so many of these parties and gatherings and stuff before the race, it wouldn’t be surprising if something happened?”
“I mean… I guess?” Kaminari could not help himself but scan the crowd for Kirishima’s flash of red hair. It was hard to imagine him hitting it off with anyone when his heart was set already.
His action hardly went unnoticed and Sero sighed. “Right, sorry, I almost forgot who I was talking to. Listen, we’ve all been ridiculously busy for our entire teenage years preparing for this chance. Now that we’re finally here, don’t you think it’s time to let go and just let things happen?”
Kaminari whipped his head to Sero’s direction and narrowed his eyes. “Have you been gossiping with Mina about me?”
“No! No I swear I haven’t!” Sero held his hands up defensively, eyes darting around in a slight panic. “This is just me talking! And this is also me going to get us new drinks! Be right back!”
Sero dashed off to the bar, leaving Kaminari to stew in his thoughts. Why was everyone so convinced he should confess to Kirishima? He groaned and dropped his face on the table. It sure was ridiculous how they felt the need to give him love advice when they were just as hopelessly single.
But, maybe, that was sort of the point. Kaminari sighed and rolled his head to the side, cheek pressed to the table surface as he surveyed the room again. All of them had been hopelessly single throughout high school up to the present because they were so focused on making this happen. This: living the high life in the biggest pod racing circuit that existed in the galaxy. At this point, why not let all that hard work pay off for something?
“Hey, can I buy you a drink?”
Kaminari lifted his head to find a rather attractive guy grinning down at him. Okay fate, that was a little bit creepy on the timing sense. He smiled kindly and looked to the bar. “Nah it’s okay, my friend is getting-” And there was Sero, chatting it up with some dude at the bar. Really? Could anyone be trusted?
“My friend has deserted me. Fuck it, why not?” Kaminari pushed himself to his feet and grinned to the guy. Sero was right, why not let things happen? He might as well take a page out of Ashido’s book and get some free drinks at least.
It was maybe the second or third drink the guy treated him to when Kaminari felt like someone was staring at him. As the guy spoke, Kaminari tuned him out to scan the crowd. Why the heck- His eyes met Kirishima’s, who was staring directly at him with a weird wrinkle in his brow. What? Kaminari gave him a small smile and a wave, but his new drinking companion captured his attention again before he could see Kirishima’s response.
Kaminari hardly had a chance to get back into the conversation with the guy before Kirishima was suddenly at his side. “Hey man! Who’s your new friend?” His smile was his usual carefree smile, but something felt off as Kirishima draped an arm around Kaminari’s shoulders and leaned into his space almost possessively.
“Uh- Hey Kirishima…” Kaminari tried his best to keep his normal smile as he turned to his drinking companion, who he totally had not caught the name of. “Haha- Oh man, sorry! I totally didn’t get your name! That’s awful of me after how many drinks you’ve bought-” Was it just him or was Kirishima’s hold on him growing tighter?
The other guy laughed it off and was about to introduce himself again when a loud shout and clatter brought silence to the entire room. They turned to see glasses broken and scattered across the floor, surrounding two figures looking like they were about to fight. One of them looked a lot like-
Kaminari ducked out from Kirishima’s arm, mouth agape in horror. “Kirishima! You were supposed to be on Bakugou duty!”
Kirishima paled considerably. “Oh god. I left him alone for one minute. One minute! Mina is going to kill me. Help me pull him off- Oh shit that’s another pilot! I’m so fucked!”
They raced across the room to break up the fight before it got any worse, their weird exchange at the bar forgotten for now.
Ashido and Kirishima had been whispering at the front of the limo since they got in. It was extremely suspicious. The ride to the opening gala was not that long, but it felt like it with them plotting secrets. Kaminari grumbled under his breath and fussed with his hair. Whatever. They could have secret plans.
As the limo pulled up to the red carpet leading to the gala venue, the flash of cameras immediately lit up, hoping to get the best angles of them getting out of the hover car. Ashido popped to her feet with a bright smile, as if she had not just been conducting secret business with Kirishima. “Okay guys! Don’t forget to behave and it’s an open bar, so don’t go too wild! I’m on Katsuki duty tonight!”
She skipped over to Bakugou and latched their arms together with the sweetest smile. His lip raised in a sneer, but he did not try to detach her from him. “I don’t need you to babysit me, Mina.”
“Well after you picked a fight with pilot Todoroki, I think you most certainly do. Put on a pretty smile and look nice for the cameras!” Ashido pushed the door open and led the way with Bakugou in tow.
“This isn’t going to end well,” Kaminari muttered.
Sero laughed and clapped him on the back. “Oh, they’ll be fine! Let’s go have some fun!” He jumped out into the flashing light with a carefree smile.
“He’s not going to be having fun once Mina finds out he’s hooking up with another team’s mechanic.” Kaminari huffed and crossed his arms. Why was everyone losing their goddamn minds?
Kirishima laughed and bumped their shoulders together. “Aw, stop being such a grouchy pants. Sero is a big boy, he can take care of himself. C’mon, we can hang out tonight! Put a smile on!”
It was rather hard to remain sour with that idea in mind. Kaminari smiled easily and happily linked arms with Kirishima to make their way through the paparazzi walk. Usually Kirishima was almost always on Bakugou duty, which made hanging out at public events rare. If all he had to do was let Bakugou go loose so Ashido would take over, well Kaminari would have tried to make him do that ages ago.
Despite being a black tie event, the party was more like a rave in Kaminari’s opinion. The second they stepped into the building he could feel the beat of the music in his bones. Kirishima shot him a wild smile and immediately grabbed his hand to drag him onto the dance floor. Clubbing usually was not Kaminari’s kind of scene. If anything, he would prefer to be on the electrical board controlling all the fun lighting effects. But, dancing with Kirishima was not so bad.
It was hard to feel self conscious about dancing in the crowd with Kirishima pressed against him, moving with the beat of the music with a wild smile. Kaminari had never felt more comfortable in his life. It was all too easy to let himself go and move in time with Kirishima. It was exhilarating how they danced together, their bodies pressed so close and moving in sync. There was hardly a chance to process their closeness, especially once they started grabbing drinks during slow songs.
The buzz of alcohol helped strip away the last shred of hesitance. Let things happen everyone kept telling him. Well damn, why not take that advice and maybe grind a little against Kirishima as they danced? And- oh god yeah why not enjoy Kirishima grinding back? Live a little everyone kept saying. So he was going to live the hell out on this dance floor.
They were sweaty and out of breath when they finally took a real break that did not include more alcohol. Giggling and still bouncing with the music, they stumbled through the building till they found the roof exit. The desert night was still hot, but just a tad cooler than the room packed with body heat. They collapsed on the ground next to each other at stared at the stars scattered across the sky.
“Think we can see our home from here?” Kirishima asked in a hushed voice.
Kaminari rolled onto his stomach and propped his head in his hands. “Nah, we’re a few solar systems too far to be able to see our planet.”
Kirishima hummed in thought and closed his eyes. They sat quietly for a while, only the faint thump of music and their heavy breaths filled the space between them. Shoes scrapes on the pavement drew Kaminari’s attention from the sky. Kirishima sat cross legged, hands folded in his lap and a soft smile on his face. “It’s still hard to believe we’re here.”
“Yeah, we’ve been working toward this goal for as long as I can remember.” Kaminari kicked his feet in the air. “And now we’re here and it still feels surreal.”
“It’s like everything is happening too fast!” Kirishima threw his hands in the air with a gleeful whoop. “And it feels like anything is possible now!”
With Kirishima staring at the sky, Kaminari stared at Kirishima without a worry. He trailed over his friends figure, and smiled fondly. “Yeah, it really does feel like anything is possible…”
Kirishima looked back to him and Kaminari quickly looked away. “Hey, what was up with the other night anyways? You do realize that guy was majorly hitting on you, right?”
Well that was a sudden change in topic. Kaminari rolled over so he could sit up as well. “Well no shit he was hitting on me. I’m not stupid.” He shrugged and picked at his shoelaces. “Probably wasn’t the kindest thing of me to flirt with him for some free drinks, but Mina does it all the time, so-”
“You knew?! You were flirting back ?!” Kirishima’s expression was weird. Kaminari stared at him, head tilted in his confusion as he tried to figure out what Kirishima was trying to say. Why was that so surprising? Why did Kirishima look so- shocked? Upset? Wait-
“Dude… You-” Kaminari rolled his words around in his mind, a tremor of uncertainty holding him back. But the mix of his tipsy buzz and a good dose of Ashido and Sero’s devil may care attitude had him finishing his thought. “You do realize I like guys too, right?”
Kirishima looked like he has just been hit in the face with a brick. Suddenly the air was way too heavy up here. Kirishima’s lungs felt tight and he dared not move until Kirishima spoke. Why was he reacting like that? Hope and fear swirled together in Kaminari’s stomach, so much he felt a wave of nausea.
“But- But- You- For how long?! Why have you never said anything?” Kirishima could not meet his eyes, only stared at his fidgeting hands as he stumbled through his words. “I’ve asked Mina before if you’ve had a crush on any guys before and she never said anything! So I just- I just figured! I mean- You talk about cute girls with Mina all the time but you’ve never shown any interest in guys before- I never noticed-!”
Hope began surging over the fear and the nausea gave way to a pleasant light headedness. Kaminari had to fight back a smile and leaned down to try to catch Kirishima’s eyes. All this time, had Kirishima really thought he did not like guys? All this time was it possible that, just maybe, Kirishima never showed any signs of liking him because Kirishima thought he had no chance? Was it too much to hope Kirishima was acting this way because he had a crush too? Let things happen. He was going to let things damn well happen.
“I’ve only ever had a crush on one guy my whole life. Every other guy just pales in comparison. I’m probably forever hopelessly in love with him.”
Kirishima looked up with wide eyes. His cheeks were bright, bright red. Kaminari could feel the heat in his own cheeks. Oh god he could hear his heart pounding in his ears. Was he too vague? Did Kirishima understand what he meant? Should he have been a little more clear that he was kind of confessing? Kirishima opened his mouth to respond and Kaminari was certain his heart was going to leap out of his throat.
The door to the roof slammed open. They leaped to their feet and looked anywhere other than each other. Sero stood in the doorway, out of breath. “Thank god! This is where you guys are! Mina and Bakugou started a drinking contest and did something stupid and now Mina hurt her leg or something! Get your asses downstairs!”
Life changing confessions would have to be put on hold. Kirishima and Kaminari exchanged a glance and let out small laughs. All the tension between them died out just like that.
“I knew letting those two pair up was a bad idea,” Kaminari said with a shake of his head as they followed Sero down the stairs.
Kirishima shrugged. “Well hey, it was fun while it lasted.”
It was the last lap. The final lap to their first Intergalactic 500 and Bakugou was in the lead. They had a chance of winning. Them, a small five man team from a small little planet from a lame little solar system. That racer Todoroki was a mere hair behind Bakugou. Any mistake, any lapse in judgement and their win was going to be taken.
Their job as the pit crew was done, all that was left was to watch and wait. Kirishima had Ashido on his shoulders and she hugged his head for dear life. Sero had a death grip on one of Kirishima’s arms and reached up to hold Ashido’s hand. Kaminari pressed his back against Kirishima’s chest and hugged Ashido’s ankles to him. They were breathing as one unit, all four of them impossibly tense as their ship rounded the final bend.
“Use my booster fluids, use them, use them Katsuki,” Ashido chanted into Kirishima’s hair.
A purple glow emanated from the engines. They all tensed even more and held their breath. In a flash of purple and pink, the Red Riot pulled away from Todoroki’s race. In a blink of an eye Bakugou set their ship, their dreams over the finish line.
“WE WON!” They screamed at the top of their lungs.
Ashido jumped off Kirishima’s shoulders and kissed all of them before getting a head start to join Bakugou at the Red Riot, limping on her sprained ankle. Sero whooped and hollered, punching Kirishima and Kaminari on the shoulders before he took off after her. He scooped her up with ease and carried her while running. Kaminari was about to run after them, but Kirishima held him in place.
Kaminari looked up, his adrenaline racing and thoughts with the rest of the team at the finish line. “Shouldn’t we join-”
“Can I kiss you?”
All train of thought short circuited. As the world around them buzzed with noise and celebration, Kaminari only had eyes for the cute pink dusting Kirishima’s cheeks as he smiled impishly at him. He thought of the rooftop, it was just two nights ago and they never had the chance to talk about it. Kaminari matched Kirishima’s grin. Let things happen, what great advice. “Hell yeah.”
Kirishima was positively giddy as he hugged Kaminari tight to his chest and twirled them around. He brought them to a stop and pressed his lips to Kaminari before he could even think. Mind and heart still spinning, Kaminari could only laugh into the kiss. He wrapped his arms around Kirishima’s neck and worked his fingers into his hair to pull him closer.
Warmth and joy coursed through his body. He was high off joy. They won the race, Kirishima was kissing him, Kirishima liked him too . Their kiss broke off with giddy giggles from both of them. Kirishima pressed another light kiss to his lips before taking a step back and digging into his pockets.
He pulled out a small bag and his cheeks flushed darker, but his smile only grew. “I’m probably forever hopelessly in love with you, Denki. Sorry I was too slow to figure out you felt the same way.”
Out of the bag Kirishima produced two leather bracelets with beautiful stones of golden yellow and molten red swirling together. Kaminari felt his breath leave him. “You went back for them,” he whispered.
Kirishima grinned and reached out for Kaminari’s wrist. Kaminari quickly held it out so he could put it on, and returned the favor. He stared at their wrists, adorned with the desert glass so appropriate for them. Kaminari grabbed Kirishima’s face and kissed him again.
It was hot, so impossibly hot under the desert suns. But the two suns in the sky had nothing on the brilliant being pressed to Kaminari. Either heatstroke or Kirishima were going to end him, but he had survived countless years with Kirishima. And now he was going to survive countless more because together, they shined as brightly as the sun.