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Bakugo hates physical contact unless there’s sparring involved, unless of course, your name is Kirishima Eijirou, and then it’s not so bad, he guesses, but it’s definitely not something he wants to get used to, or definitely not something he enjoys.

Kirishima is just the only one who won’t get hurt from his explosions, that’s all. He’s just the only one that doesn’t run away when Bakugo’s hands go anywhere near him. He’s the only one that’s as strong as Bakugo, the only other one capable of actually going pro, the only one who understands who Bakugo really is and understands what he really meant to say when words fail him. That’s all.

So, if it’s Kirishima - it’s okay, but the problem is, Bakugo doesn’t know who is touching him until it’s too late. And while Kirishima is incredibly tactile and gives Bakugo plenty of opportunities to show that he doesn’t mind it - he also has a habit of doing it as a surprise. It’s not one of those jump-out-of-the-birthday-cake kind of surprises, but a gentle touch on the back when he comes over to see why Bakugo is hunched over, an arm around the shoulder as he runs up after training practice, or a soft touch to the elbow or wrist when Bakugo is being incredibly unruly and rude to another classmate and he really needs to calm down.

In all those times, Bakugo freezes up, panics, assumes that whoever is near him needs to get off right now or someone is going to get hurt and he isn’t sure if it’s going to be them or him and he needs to figure it out right now or he’s going to --

Only to find out that it’s just sharp teeth and bright red eyes and smiles and trust and the fucking personification of the sun right in front of his eyes. He doesn’t know how words work - how to put the complicated feelings of trust and happiness he’s never had before into descriptions that aren’t the exact opposite of what he means. He just says “shitty hair” when he feels so much better seeing those spiked red locks coming in his direction. He just says “shut up” when Kirishima says that he’s so manly and cool and going to be a pro hero before anyone else. He just says “fuck off” when Kirishima is laughing, his full body shaking and leaning against Bakugo, the warmth overtaking him and making him even more sweaty than he already is.

But no matter what - Kirishima is all smiles and laughs and utter joy, accepting of whatever the hell comes out of that explosive mouth and it makes all those protective edges that have been getting tighter and stronger for his entire life wash away. Hell, he even coordinated an effort to rescue him from villains (even though he clearly didn’t need help because he’s not fucking weak). The least Bakugo can do in return is appreciate that Kirishima isn’t scared of him like the rest of the population - that he comes closer when everyone else runs away, preventing Bakugo from being alone. And he does - he just can’t figure out how to tell him that.

“Shitty hair? You tryna imprint the wall to memory?” he asked, eyebrows furrowed at Kirishima, whose bottom lip was tucked behind pointed teeth, his eyes boring into Bakugo’s dorm wall, staring above the workbook he was supposed to be working on. Upon hearing his friend’s voice, Kirishima jumped out of his thoughts, turning to him and throwing a nervous smile on his face. It didn’t seem genuine, and both of them knew Bakugo wasn’t going to fall for it like the rest of those idiots.

“Nah, man, I just can’t focus,” Kirishima said, leaning back against the wall that Bakugo’s bed was up against, his legs stretching out, feet dangling off the edge of the bed. Bakugo was up against the pillows, almost in a comfortable-enough position to sleep, which he planned to do if Kirishima took much longer trying to figure out the homework enough to know out what questions he needed to ask of his gracious tutor.

“Okay?” Bakugo accused a bit more harshly than he intended, lowering his own workbook and moving to sit up, sighing heavily at the thought of having to comfort Kirishima. He wasn’t good at that shit - at words, or at empathy. But he could do it, he could do it for Kirishima.

It was the least he could do - the very least he could do since Kirishima didn’t say anything when he was huddled over the toilet, all of his meals coming out of him after nightmares of sludge coming out of his mouth, of villains killing All Might, of missing Kirishima’s hand, of losing his friends to the villains, of his mom hitting him so hard he’d never be able to forgive her. All Kirishima did was rub his back, telling him softly “it’s gonna be okay, Bakugo. I’m right here.”

“Okay?” Kirishima asked softly. His secret telepathy quirk that Bakugo swore he was hiding from the world wasn’t working, apparently. He didn’t seem to understand Bakugo this time.

“Why?” Bakugo asked, staring into those confused, trembling, round red eyes and felt pain in his chest. What the hell was that? Where did that come from?

“Oh, well,” Kirishima muttered under his breath, breaking eye contact and looking back at his blank workbook. “Well, I was just...”

“Spit it the fuck out already!” Bakugo exclaimed.

“Sorry!” Kirishima laughed softly, holding up his hands in a joking defensive position. Both of them knew Bakugo would never hurt Kirishima unless it was a sparring accident. “I was just thinking of yesterday, and the day before that, and you get the point...”

“What about those days?” Bakugo asked, propping his knees up on the bed and dropping his arms on them, keeping his gaze focused on Kirishima, trying to figure him out. He’d seen Kirishima drop his guard around him before, but usually it was just to talk about how he was so scared and worried for Bakugo and all his friends in the raid, or how he’s really concerned his quirk isn’t flashy enough - that he won’t get the recognition he wants as a hero. And neither of those things seemed to be on his mind, at least, that Bakugo could tell. He wasn’t doing the thing where he looks at his hardened hands and moves his fingers around in thought. He wasn’t doing the thing where he worriedly stares at Bakugo and has to be slapped on the head to get him to cut it out. Bakugo hadn’t figured out what the wall meant yet.

“Well,” Kirishima said again, looking back at the wall. Whatever it was, it was really hard to say, apparently, so Bakugo took another deep breath and tried to channel as much patience in his body as he could, tapping his nails against the fronts of his legs.

“Take your time, or whatever,” he muttered.

Kirishima turned to smile at him, showing that same ‘I’m proud of you’ look he got whenever Bakugo does something relatively nice or showing signs of caring about his classmates. Bakugo would never admit it, but the warmth and the butterflies he felt in his stomach whenever he saw that look on his face - they made him both the happiest he’s ever felt in his life and the worst. “I was thinking about you, Bakugo,” Kirishima finally said.

“If this is about the...” Bakugo began.

“No, I know, you’re fine,” Kirishima quickly told him, setting the workbook to the side and turning his body around to face Bakugo fully, crossing his legs and putting his hands around his ankles. “You’re incredibly strong and you’ve gone through so much and stayed so cool throughout--"

“Stop dismissing the point,” Bakugo interrupted him with a soft flick to his forehead. Kirishima squinted and reared back, before reaching up to rub his forehead with a pout. Bakugo’s stomach tightened seeing his bottom lip jut out like that. “You were staring so hard at the wall that your eyes could’ve ruptured, what the hell is wrong?”

“I was just worried you didn’t like me anymore or something,” Kirishima started, quickly looking down at the bed when Bakugo’s expression morphed from patient to frustrated. “I know, it’s stupid!”

“It’s so fucking stupid, why the hell would I put up with you for so long if I didn’t like you?” Bakugo said, a bit louder than he originally wanted to. He sighed again, rubbing the scowl out of his face before looking back at Kirishima, who was smiling a little, just a bit of an involuntary tug at the corners of his mouth, but his eyes were still looking away from him. “What did I do?” he asked, exasperated.

“It’s not like that - I’m not mad - I’m just worried I’m the one doing things you don’t like!” Kirishima quickly exclaimed, holding up his hands. He was inches from putting them on Bakugo’s shoulders, but then he took them back, putting them back on his ankles. He bit his lip after that, as if he was contemplating something, or scolding himself in his head. Bakugo’s nose and eyes scrunched closer together, the scowl returning faster than he could prevent it. Kirishima thrived off touching people, it was how he expressed everything and made people feel better, so why would he stop himself? Was he starting to feel like everyone else? Afraid of explosions and insults? Why now?

“What the hell was that?” Bakugo asked, again, more harshly than he was trying to be.

“See? That’s what I mean! You know I’m just super cuddly and like making people feel good and sometimes it doesn’t bother you but sometimes you really shrug me off and you’ve got such an angry face when you do and...”

Bakugo sighed again, keeping his eyes closed in agitation as he reached for Kirishima’s hands. He found them effortlessly, the hard, tough hands that never flinched when his calloused, beaten, stiff, explosive ones found their way over to them. He opened his eyes with another sigh, before he navigated Kirishima’s hands back to where they were going originally, putting the left on Bakugo’s right shoulder, and then the right on his left. Kirishima just stared at him, confusion furrowed in his brows, his hands frozen solid, scared to move.

“I don’t fucking hate it,” Bakugo said, not sure why his cheeks were growing warmer. He didn’t know how to phrase it, why seeing Kirishima without that constant smile in his eyes made him want to do everything to bring it back. “I just - fucking - don’t know it’s you sometimes, that’s all.”

Kirishima’s hands relaxed, gently caressing Bakugo’s shoulders and sliding his fingertips down his arms as delicately as the smile curved up on his face. “So, you don’t mind when I do this?” he asked.

“Ugh, that’s why I just fucking said,” Bakugo said, glaring at Kirishima when he started to laugh, whole-heartedly, throwing his head back and falling over on the bed in the process, letting go of Bakugo’s arms.

“I’m so stupid!” he exclaimed.

“I thought you figured that out already with your shit grades!” Bakugo snapped back, knocking Kirishma’s legs with foot to lower his propped knees, trying to get a view of his face to make sure he was genuine in his laughs.

Kirishima took the hint and sat back up, wiping at his eyes as the laughter that overtook him started to trail off. “Okay, so when I’m right here in front of you, and I do this...” he reached forward and took Bakugo’s forearm in both of his hands, his hands taking up as much space as possible on his skin as if to capture the warmth that always seemed to radiate the closer you were to the hazardous hands. “’s okay? know it’s me who is doing it?”

“How many times do you have to fucking repeat it for your tiny ass brain to understand it?” Bakugo asked, the incomprehensible warmth returning to his cheeks, and Kirishima just smiled more, showing both rows of shark teeth.

“It’s when I’m behind you!” Kirishima exclaimed, his mouth opening agape as the realization suddenly hit him. “That’s when you shrug me off!”

“Idiot...” Bakugo just whispered, not sure why Kirishima was cradling his arm in his hands, but he wasn’t going to complain. Kirishima’s hands weren’t sweaty, and they didn’t clamp around his arm to prevent him from leaving as a fist came down for the typical family-meeting-gone-wrong onslaught along with the words that said you’re pathetic Katsuki, I thought I raised you better than this.

“I’m so sorry, man!” Kirishima said, laughing some more, one of his hands leaving Bakugo’s arm to ruffle his hair in the back. “I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out! But I am honored, Bakugo Katsuki,” he suddenly said, moving both of his hands to the front of his chest and pushing them together in a praying pose. “Thank you for letting me be the one that is allowed to show my friendship in this way!”

“What the fuck are you talkin’ about?” Bakugo grumbled, pushing down his heart which started to defy him and all logic with how hard it was beating.

“You said it’s because you didn’t know it was me, right?” Kirishima said, that effervescent, infectious smile growing even larger. “So, if it was Kaminari or Sero touching you, you’d still shrug them off even if you knew it was them?”

Bakugo’s cheeks grew warmer still, and he frowned when Kirishima looked so excited, like he just won a battle. “Hair for brains,” he decided to say, and he knew Kirishima knew it meant ‘yes’ the moment he clutched his chest and dramatically fell over on the bed.

“I feel like the luckiest guy in the world!” he shouted, too loud for Bakugo’s taste.

“Shut the fuck up, it’s not that important!”

“Man, it sure means a lot to me, that you’d trust me that much,” Kirishima said, letting out a sigh of content as he stared up at the ceiling. “That’s so manly - only letting your very best friend get close to you like that so they know you care about them.”

“That doesn’t even make sense, Shitty Hair,” Bakugo said with a sigh. “Aren’t you supposed to be studying?”

“Oh, right!” Kirishima said, his body flinging itself up like a jack in the box before he scrambled for his workbook. “But hey, wait...” he said, stopping and turning back to Bakugo, who was in the process of picking up a book, already done with his homework ages ago. “What if we had a system?”

“Stop trying to distract yourself from the work!” Bakugo scolded without looking up over the book he just opened.

“No, I mean, when I come up behind you or something!” Kirishima said, and Bakugo looked over the top of the pages with a curious scowl, but a scowl nonetheless. “Like this...” he said, reaching over and tapping Bakugo’s shoulder twice, once with his index finger and once with his middle, a fluid motion, right after one another, tap tap. “And I could keep my fingers like this resting on you and you can choose whether or not you want to shrug me off or not,” he explained. “That way if you’re not in the mood or something you still have a choice, but you’d know it was me because of the motion, so if you were okay with it, I could follow it up like this!” He finished the movement by wrapping his whole hand around Bakugo’s shoulder, the biggest grin on his face as he pridefully explained his idea.

“Fucking whatever,” Bakugo grumbled, hearing the excited exclaims coming from behind his book. They both knew that Bakugo was saying that it was a good idea. “Just don’t use it as an excuse to fucking creep behind me all the time, you freak. And don’t go--!”

“You know I never tell anybody else anything you tell me,” Kirishima finished before he could, his finger reaching up to push Bakugo’s book down, a gentle, serious smile on his face. “I’d never do that to you, man.”

Bakugo’s cheeks had just calmed down behind the book before they were flushed again, and he just frowned, but nodded knowingly. “I swear if anyone else does that to me...” he insisted, just to be safe. “...I’ll fucking kill you.”

Kirishima smiled and nodded, relaxing back against the wall and finally turning to his workbook again. “I’m just really glad you’re okay with it, Bakugo. It really means a lot to me.”

“You fucking said that already.”

“I know! But it does!”

“Shut up and do your work! I can’t help you if you don’t fucking start!”

“Right, sorry!”


It took a few times for Bakugo to realize and remember what was going on. The first time Kirishima tap tapped on his back, sparks started involuntarily crackling in his hands and Kirishima whispered “it’s just me, Bakugo, remember?” and all of the tension faded, and he let his body relax against the kitchen counter as he finished making breakfast. Kirishima just smiled and put his hand flat on his back, sliding up next to him to ask him if there was enough in that mixing bowl to serve two people because he was dying to have more of Bakugo’s excellent cooking. Bakugo told him to get some more fucking eggs and crack them in the bowl if he was that desperate.

The second time was bolder, as Bakugo sat on the common couch with his book, with Ashido and Sero and Kaminari sprawled on the floor with a board game, whooping and hollering for Kirishima to finish getting their drinks and come from the kitchen to join them. It was the first time Kirishima would touch Bakugo and he not shrug him off like everyone else in front of others. He came over quietly, putting the system to the test, and gently tap tapped on Bakugo’s shoulder. Bakugo squeezed the book, but remembered, and whispered, “fucking Shitty Hair,” and his body relaxed. Kirishima smiled, sliding his arm across Bakugo’s front, the other coming on the other side, paralleled. His two hands connected, resting on Bakugo’s chest, before he leaned down next to his head to peer into the book.

The gasps from the crowd in the floor made Bakugo scowl at their stupidity. “Want anything from the kitchen, Baku-bro?” he asked, laughing at the twitch in Bakugo’s eye at the nickname. “Sorry, sorry!”

“I’m fine, fuckface,” Bakugo spat back with his own new nickname, and Kirishima laughed some more. Just to show off, he leaned back up and ruffled Bakugo’s hair before darting to the kitchen, knowing the gesture was going to piss him off as soon as Kaminari snorted. Bakugo dropped the book and chased Kirishima into the kitchen, getting him in a headlock and ruffling the red hair out of the gel with a triumphant “how’s that feel, huh?!”

The third time, like a charm, didn’t make Bakugo panic. After training and returning to the locker rooms, Kirishima came up, tap tapped on Bakugo’s shoulder, and his body remembered before his brain, that the gesture meant safety, that it meant warmth, and he side-stepped to be closer to Kirishima, his arm bumping Kirishima’s side as the tough arm slung its way around his shoulders. Kirishima beamed, and the rest of Class 1-A gasped and whispered on the sidelines and at first Bakugo was about to start shouting “mind your own damn business, ya fucks!” but just as the rage began to boil in his veins, so did Kirishima’s gentle circles across his upper arm, as they carried themselves off his shoulder and then around to his back, drawing slow, comforting circles that brought Bakugo’s rage to its knees and made his cheeks flush pink.   

And the fourth time, Bakugo came into the common area to find Kirishima sprawled on the couch when he should he in his room sleeping. Everyone else seemed to have left him, someone haphazardly threw a blanket over him, but Bakugo knew the couch would just give him back pain in the morning. So he tap tapped on Kirishima’s cheek with his fingers, and those delicate eyelashes twitched as his face tightened and struggled to comprehend the situation. Bakugo smiled, a soft smile, a smile that only Kirishima Eijirou was capable of bringing out of him. And on the other cheek, tap tap. Kirishima’s mouth opened in a yawn as Bakugo’s fingers walked their way across his nose, never lifting off the warm face, moving towards the next cheek for another tap tap. His shark teeth formed into a lazy smile, his cheeks turned to pink roses, and he waved his hand in the air vaguely in Bakugo’s direction, eyes still closed, but his joy revealing him to be awake. Bakugo’s stomach tightened and he had to bite his lip to keep his pounding heart in check.

“Blasty, c’mere,” he muttered sleepily.

Bakugo scoffed and stepped forward, letting the flailing hand clap against his chest. “You need to go sleep in your own damn room, idiot,” he muttered. “I’ll ignore what the fuck you just called me if you get up right now.”

Kirishima chuckled, dropping his hand and using it to fumble for the blanket, pulling it up over him with another yawn as he rolled on his side facing the couch. “You’re worried about me, Blasty, that’s so sweet.”

“Are you fucking mocking me, you shit?” Bakugo growled out, about to yank Kirishima onto the floor before he said -

“Nah, man, I just really like you.”

Bakugo’s hands that were tense above his friend’s body to drag him to the ground suddenly fell down, one dropping on Kirishima’s side, the other on his arm as he tried to process what exactly that meant and what Kirishima’s sleepy ramblings meant by it. Really like? What’s the difference between really like and like? Was that like ‘best friend’ material instead of ‘friend’ material? Though he could’ve swore Kirishima had already said they were best friends before so what the hell could he mean? Why was it stressing him out like this? Why was he so worried what Kirishima was talking about? What if Kirishima figured out he was weak? What if he figured out what his mother did to him? What if he figured out how scared Bakugo really was? What if...?

“What?” Bakugo decided to ask, both to Kirishima and to the words in his head, and for once, his voice betrayed him. Normally he could count on it to be the aggressive shield he needed to hide the feelings he couldn’t comprehend, didn’t want to comprehend, didn’t trust. But his voice was soft, cracking at the ends, and Kirishima rolled to face him, his eyes opening in that state-of-the-art worried expression, that look that he only gives Bakugo.

He immediately sat up, his arms reaching up as his voice whispered “shh, I’m sorry, man” and Bakugo didn’t know what was going on until he felt those tough hands brushing away water. Bakugo quickly stepped back, wiping at his eyes and starting for his room trying to figure out first off - why the hell was he crying, and second off - what did Kirishima even mean?

“Bakugo, hey, wait up!” Kirishima called, his feet thumping against the floor right behind.

Bakugo got to his room and tried to shut the door, but Kirishima caught up, a hardened hand in between the crack, and he gave up. He opened the door and kept one hand over his eyes, waiting until he heard Kirishima’s footsteps before shutting the door and leaning his weight against it, trying to process something, anything, but his brain was a never-ending loop of nonsense and all he could hear was that bitch’s voice: you’re pathetic, you’re weak, you’ve got a shitty attitude, no wonder none of your classmates like you, you’re a disgrace...

“Bakugo, Bakugo,” Kirishima whispered his name softly, a chant, as he tap tapped on Bakugo’s back with both hands and paused to ask permission. Bakugo didn’t know what that meant, or what he was going to do, but he knew Kirishima, he trusted Kirishima, and he stepped closer to invite the gesture. Kirishima followed through, like always, and wrapped his arms around Bakugo’s broad back, pulling him into the strong, safe fortress that was his arms. Bakugo kept his hands at his face, gripping when one of his breaths came in sharp, a sob he couldn’t control. Fuck. He pushed his face further into his hands and leaned on Kirishima’s shoulder to try to muffle the sound. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you upset, I can take it back...”

Bakugo didn’t speak. He couldn’t. What words would he say? He didn’t know why he was crying in the first place, so he couldn’t even tell Kirishima it wasn’t his fault because fuck was it? It definitely would be his fault if he ever fucking spoke a word of what was going on. Find the anger. It always helps, right? Fuck, not with Kirishima it doesn’t. He doesn’t want to be mad at him. Why should he? It was the least he could do to try not to be angry with him after all he’d done.

“Is it the nightmares? What’s wrong, Bakugo? You’ve got to say something, please,” Kirishima whispered, one of his hands gripping at the back of Bakugo’s shirt as the other drew those gentle, comforting circles.

“Fuck.” Bakugo really tried to say something, anything, but his brain was so jumbled and all he could think was that Kirishima really liked him, somebody actually cared about him and didn’t look down on him, and fuck Kirishima smelled good this close, kind of...spicy? What did he have for dinner again?

“There you are, there you are, Bakugo,” Kirishima whispered. There what? Oh, Bakugo was actually calming down, his breathing was easier, and his mind was clearing up. He was just thinking about Kirishima now, about how safe he felt in his arms, about how even though he was fucking falling apart like a baby that Kirishima didn’t call him anything but his name and didn’t do anything but try to bring him back together.

He wanted to tell Kirishima how grateful he was that he stuck around, that he cared, that he didn’t treat Bakugo like anything but an equal, a friend. He wanted to tell him that whenever he saw his overly gelled red hair he didn’t actually think it was shitty, he actually liked it, and it made him feel better whenever he saw it. He wanted to tell him that whenever he saw that toothy grin he felt all reservations and self-doubt inside his body melt away faster than he’d like to admit. He wanted to tell him that the real reason it was okay that he held him in his arms like this was because he knew Kirishima was the only person in the whole world that made him feel safe and happy and calm, even after all this shit he’s been through at UA.

But he didn’t know how. He didn’t know how to form the words, so he just wiped away the pathetic tears from his eyes and dropped his face in Kirishima’s shoulder, putting his arms around him in return, gripping onto his back like his life depended on it, and with one word to try to sum up all the complex feelings he didn’t really understand, he said “thanks.”

Kirishima paused for a moment, which was unusual. Usually he could figure out what Bakugo meant by his words and respond in a second, pumping out endless joy and infectious smiles. “Of course, Bakugo,” he finally said in a whisper, and Bakugo couldn’t see it, but he could feel the smile, feel the beams of sunlight on his body from the personification of the sun in his arms.  “Did you want to talk about what just happened back there?”

“I don’t fucking know,” Bakugo spat honestly, not letting go when Kirishima started to drift his arms off his back. “Don’t fucking let go of me, Shitty Hair.”

“Oh, sorry!” Kirishima exclaimed, quickly tightening his arms around Bakugo again with a laugh. “This is the first time we’ve hugged so I didn’t know if you’d be okay for a long time or...”

“I don’t hate it,” Bakugo grumbled into the rumbling shoulder, breathing deeply, taking in the scent of sweat, spice, and knock-off brand laundry detergent and letting them combine into his mind as the smell of Kirishima and he decided he didn’t hate that either.

“Man, I really like you,” Kirishima repeated softly, his head leaning over on Bakugo’s, his hand tap tapping on the back of Bakugo’s neck, and Bakugo tap tapped on Kirishima’s back to let him know it was okay, whatever he wanted to do to him, it was okay. So Kirishima’s fingertips brushed across the heated skin of his neck and began brushing into his hair, running up into the blonde locks and then back down across his neck in a fluid motion, and Bakugo could feel his body loosening up and falling further into Kirishima, who chuckled more, using his other arm to hold him up. “You’re such a cat.”

“Let go of me, fuckface,” Bakugo grumbled, his arms falling loosely around Kirishima’s waist, too relaxed to bother holding them at his back.

“I don’t wanna,” Kirishima whined with a laugh against Bakugo’s hair. “I feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now with you in my arms.”

“Stop saying shit like that,” Bakugo said, feeling his stomach tighten and his face heat up and the thoughts racing again in his head. What did that mean? Why wasn’t he pushing Kirishima away? Why did he want to hear him say it again?

“Oh, sorry,” Kirishima muttered.

“Don’t apologize and tell me what you fucking mean,” Bakugo spat, working up the strength in his body to stand out of Kirishima’s arms, frowning at him when Kirishima’s hand detangled itself from his hair and trailed along his back and side before eventually making its way in Kirishima’s other one in front of him.

“I don’t understand,” Kirishima said, his lip going behind his teeth again, worry and confusion trembling in those red eyes. “I’m not lying, man.”

“I know that, I mean, fuck,” Bakugo said, huffing in frustration at his own inability, smacking the side of his head to jostle the words around, just like his mother does when she’s not getting the answer out of him that she wants.

“Hey, I told you not to do that,” Kirishima said, putting his own hand in between Bakugo’s and his head, cradling it so delicately in a such a precise and practiced way that Bakugo knew he’d never be able to do the same back. “What’s going on in your head, huh?”

“I don’t get this shit, that’s what,” Bakugo answered. “If I fucking knew what was going on maybe I could tell you. And that’s probably not the goddamn answer you’re looking for but I’m fucking trying so if you fucking hit me...” He wasn’t sure who he was talking to anymore.

“Hit you?” Kirishima asked quickly. “Bakugo, why would I hit you?” His thumb rubbed at Bakugo’s temple so gently, always so gentle, bringing Bakugo back to reality, grounding him like he always does. Bakugo didn’t know how to feel, how to react to something so foreign to him. Kirishima has always been so foreign but so familiar at the same time. He never understood why he did things, but he didn’t mind it when he did them either. It was like seeing the sun for the first time every time he was around Kirishima with how much new he experienced and hell, fucking enjoyed. Sparring together, doing homework together, watching movies huddled together with the same blanket around their shoulders, cooking together in the kitchen, going on long walks when they needed to destress together - doing everything together, he hadn’t done any of that stuff before. He’d never had such a real friend before. He’d never felt like this before. He’d never wanted...

“Kirishima, I think I want to stand here next to you forever,” Bakugo said, looking into those kind, patient, understanding red eyes and saw them relax. “And I don’t know what that means or why.”

“I think what you’re trying to say is ‘I like you too’?” Kirishima asked with a hopeful smile.

Bakugo looked at him for a moment, at the soft smile, the pink cheeks, and those confident eyes that never once looked away from his, even if they were in the sharpest glare. “Fuck, yeah, I think I really like you, too, Shitty Hair,” he whispered, and when he said those words, it all started to make sense in his head. Kirishima was it. If Bakugo Katsuki was ever going to have an endgame, this right here, this would be it. “Fuck,” he whispered again. There’s no way Kirishima would want to stand here forever. There’s no way he’d still have this patience to deal with his shit after they graduated, after Kirishima became a pro hero and no longer needed his help in the general studies, and after all his confidence issues with his quirk dissipated. “Fuck!” this one was louder and Bakugo slammed his eyes shut as anxiety swelled up in him like a balloon as his mind tried to process the emotions he’d finally put words to.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay that you like me, too!” Kirishima reassured him, his other hand cradling the other side of Bakugo’s head. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“You really do have a fucking second quirk, don’t you?” Bakugo mumbled with a sigh, letting his mind be filled with the Kirishima right here, right now, and willed away those thoughts.

“What? No, I don’t!” Kirishima said with a laugh. “I would’ve told you if I did, I swear! That’s what we do, man, we tell each other everything.”

“And nobody else,” Bakugo growled out.

“Yeah, and nobody else,” Kirishima assured him with a happy sigh, a big toothy grin on his face as he kept staring into Bakugo’s eyes. “I can’t believe you want to stand by me forever...”

“If I didn’t fucking like you I wouldn’t put up with you,” Bakugo repeated, stepping closer into Kirishima’s space again, tap tapping on the back of Kirishima’s head, waiting for the tap tap against his temple before pulling him close so their foreheads were together. “But really, I fucking hate you.”

Kirishima laughed, before dropping his fingers on Bakugo’s cheek, right above the corner of his mouth and just barely brushed his skin with a tap tap. Bakugo peeked his eyes opened to try to figure out what he meant, seeing the flush was darkening on his face and he bit his lip with so much nervous force that Bakugo muttered for him to stop that. “I just,” Kirishma started, his eyes looking down at where his fingertips rested, at Bakugo’s lips. “I wanted to kiss you, that’s all.”

“Fuck,” Bakugo whispered, his stomach tying itself in knots, his mind processing things he’d been feeling for the first time since Kirishima invited him to join his team in the calvary battle. “Yeah, let’s do it.”

It took a few tries, a few angles, before they synced and man did they sync well. It was innocent, soft, just a way to tell each other things that words couldn’t, as young hands tangled in hair and brushed across backs, each one predated with a tap tap and a corresponding one in return.

It wasn’t long before the two found themselves tangled in each other on Bakugo’s bed, arms around torsos, legs wrapped around each other, as they absorbed in this new, uncharted territory.

“Bakugo Katsuki, I’m the luckiest man in the world,” Kirishima whispered against blonde hair as he yawned, pulling the blanket up further around them before sliding his fingers up into Bakugo’s hair again, scratching at his scalp gently, like petting a cat. He chuckled when Bakugo hummed like one, still and quiet, his breath already slowing into a sleep.

“Fuck off, Shitty Hair,” he whispered lazily.

“Me too,” Kirishima said, interpreting Bakugo in ways that only the two of them would know.