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The transition from a constantly moving and noisy city to a quiet, plain campsite was gradual. The taxicabs packed on the streets turned into cars speeding through a highway, to an occasional truck or car cruising through a vacant road. The commonality of the two places was a sleek black limousine driving west, carrying the popular trio boy band known as the Bakusquad. With the black tinted windows, no one could know that it was those three heartthrobs in the vehicle. They also couldn't hear, as the car drove past swiftly, that the teenage frontman was throwing a fit in the car during the whole trip.

"I can not believe you two fuckers," lead singer and guitarist Katsuki Bakugou grunted, shaking his head. "Stupid pieces of shits..." Bakugou turned his head, in an attempt to calm himself down with the scenery of nature. He did, after all, adore nature. Instead, it only to be reminded of his destination. Bakugou turned back to scowl at the two boys he thought were his friends.

"Come on, Bakubro," Eijiro Kirishima, the band's bassist, pleaded with an apologetic look that made Bakugou almost feel bad for being so harsh. Almost. "It's really not so bad, I mean, we've made so many great memories together at Camp UA." Kirishima nudged Bakugou's arm, shooting him a cheery smile. "I mean, that place got us three together!"

"Besides, it's your fault you're here anyways," Drummer Denki Kaminari interjected, grinning smugly.

Bakugou wanted to shout, threaten, or hurl Kaminari out the window. But still, Kaminari, for as big of an idiot as he's famously known to be, was right. Bakugou would not have been stuck as a teacher to a camp of wannabe brats had he not acted out. More than once. In the past week alone. Of course Bakugou had expected some type of repercussion or consequence, especially when his managers were his parents. His evil, evil parents.

His mother had pulled him immediately out of the press conference and had a screaming match with Bakugou, while his father attempted to rationally appease the situation. In fact, it had been him who suggested the camp, when Bakugou and his mother's voices were too sore to continue arguing.

Bakugou's mother thought that booking Bakugou to work at Camp UA would be the best way to gain good press and hopefully fix the situation caused by Bakugou's temper. Bakugou's father, on the other hand, thought it was a great way to help Bakugou take a break from the stress of being a teen idol, and he told Bakugou he hoped that the 8-week camp would remind Bakugou of why he started a music career in the first place, why he formed the band that had captured the attention of the world so quickly.

Bakugou didn't need a reminder, thank you very much. Bakugou was well aware of why he got into the business in the first place. He loved music, it was his passion. Even if it meant adjusting to the brand his managers and the record label wanted, he still loved music. Sure, some of his passion had gone for the most part, but he still enjoyed his life. Bakugou knows that there isn't a single person in the world who loved their jobs 100%, so what was the big deal?

"Yeah, whatever," Bakugou grumbled. "Why the hell is it just me though? Whatever happened to 'we'll stick together forever'? Or was that all bullshit?"

Kaminari played with his drumsticks, twirling them in his fingers, dropping one every few seconds. "Sorry dude, but we weren't the ones who called the reporters 'gossiping sons of bastards' and called Endeavor Records 'a shitty building where the tasteless and generic songs stream out of the CEO's ass'. Good roast though, gotta admit."

Kirishima shook his head. "Kaminari no, we are not going to praise him for that." Under his breath, Kirishima added "no matter how deserved it was." The redhead slung his arm around Bakugou's shoulder. "Look man, I don't like the paparazzi as much as you do, and Enji Todoroki is even worse, but we have to be the bigger people here, we can't-"

"So that bastard gets to do whatever the hell he wants while I have to tread carefully like I'm walking on fucking eggshells?"

"...yeah, that's just how it goes." Bakugou, dissatisfied with Kirishima's neutral stance, forcefully shrugged off Kirishima's arm.

"Heard he's got a kid that goes to camp," Kaminari added. "Supposed to be hot too." Of course Kaminari would know that specific bit of information.

"Fan-fucking-tastic." The last thing Bakugou needed was some Todoroki brat making his life hell for insulting his pathetic father.

"Which one?" Kirishima questioned.

Kaminari tapped a drumstick on his chin, his eyebrows furrowed. "Hmm, not sure. One of the younger ones I guess."

It was known that Enji Todoroki had four kids that he raised to become musicians like himself. The oldest one had essentially fallen off the grid when he became an adult, only being spotted every couple of years by some tabloid. Otherwise, no information on the boy. The next two were a brother and sister duo that appeared more in the theatre setting, coming up with musicals together. Bakugou had to begrudgingly admit that it was admirable how those two managed to be so successful and still piss off their father, who wanted his children to follow his footsteps. Sure, he didn't bother associating those two because they were Todorokis nonetheless, but he didn't hold any grudges with them at least.

Kirishima and Kaminari, on the other hand, enjoyed their shows and apparently even got their contact information for future collaboration opportunities between the two and the Bakusquad.

The last and final Todoroki was a person Bakugou had no information on, who no one really knew about, for that matter. The closest anyone had to knowing about the youngest child, who was shielded from the public by Enji Todoroki, was that he was talented, and would make his debut soon. There was also rumors and speculation around their mother's sudden placement and release in a hospital, clearly attempted to keep quiet about it, but Bakugou didn't care enough about conspiracy theories, or the Todorokis to look into it.

Recent years, since the Bakusquad (a name Bakugou hated from the day Kaminari proposed it) made global records, Todoroki made it his mission to antagonize their record label and the band. Kirishima and Kaminari were more than okay with ignoring 'Endeavor' and going on with their lives. Bakugou, however, couldn't stand by and let him get away with the insults on their music. Hence why he found himself stuck teaching at Camp UA for two months.

The limo eventually stopped, waiting to drop off Bakugou, who dreaded the summer already. He took a second to truly appreciate air conditioner before being kicked out to a place of people who he knew would try to cozy up to him right off the bat. People just couldn't resist celebrities, seeing them as either ways to take on the luxury life of their own, or as connections to help them make it big. It all disgusted Bakugou.

"Remember," Kirishima began, stopping Bakugou from storming out the car, "you can call us anytime, we want to check in on you as frequently as we can."

"And don't forget, we're going to visit whenever we can too," Kaminari added, his bottom lip trembling. Kaminari cried out dramatically, throwing his arms around Bakugou, who made attempts to push him away. "We're gonna miss you so much!"

"Get off Dunce-Face!"

Kirishima joined in, teary-eyed as well. "We're sorry we can't go too!"

"For fuck's sake, I'm only gonna be gone for eight weeks!" Bakugou, however, stopped trying to escape the embrace. He instead patted his friend's backs, comforting them in irritation.

Bakugou grabbed his luggage from the truck and watched as the limousine pulled away from the dirt field, Kirishima and Kaminari waving from the windows the whole time until they became nothing more than a speck. It didn't take long for someone to spot Bakugou and rush towards him, followed by more and more people. Needless to say, the first day at Camp UA was made rough after sprinting through the cabins to find the camp director before getting roped in by the crowd for autographs and photos.

Bakugou's first day at camp had been awful. Shouta Aizawa, the friend of his parents that ran the camp, proved himself to be absolutely intolerant of any misbehavior. The blonde found this out the hard way when he didn't wake up the first time he was told to in the morning. His peaceful rest was disturbed by Aizawa pouring the water from a nearby vase onto him, and was informed that he had less than ten minutes to get ready and head to teach the first dance class of the day.

Uninterested in doing any actual teaching, and feeling petty, Bakugou wanted to sleep in a little longer, and found out it was not easy to do drenched, he learned. So instead, Bakugou cleaned himself up, and took a stroll around camp, intentionally avoiding going near the singing class Aizawa would be teaching.

The camp was as beautiful as the last time he'd attended. The lake that the cabins and other buildings surrounded was tranquil and sparkling, and looked like it would be refreshing to jump into to avoid the sun's heat. The trees were tall and sturdy, holding enough leaves that someone could easily find shading under to relax, maybe even doze off. The path was littered by crunchy leaves and little acorns that could be kicked around while Bakugou took a stroll, munching on an apple he snagged from the kitchen.

Bakugou felt lost as he continued to walk. He could feel inspiration all around him; in the flora and fauna of the camp, the energetic, admittedly talented lot of students, the environment that was far different from city life. But he couldn't come up with anything. It was like he was a painter with all his tools to create a beautiful mural or portrait, but he had no reference to paint. Sure, he could try to come up with something with what he had, but what would come out would be something that was off. Something that didn't make a whole lot of sense, or wouldn't feel real.

It wouldn't matter anyways, he'd long since stopped trying to put his own ideas out there. The music demanded basic love songs anyone could relate to with catchy instrumental attached to the back of it, not songs about nature or a camp. It wasn't like he was interested in writing about the camp he'd been imprisoned in either.

Feeling ballsy, Bakugou walked towards Aizawa's class. They were singing a scale, jumping around notes for an exercise. Nothing too interesting. Still, he stayed to listen to the failures and successes of the class attempting to remember how to jump from notes, such as la to re, until the class stopped singing and Aizawa was saying something.

Hearing nothing of interest, Bakugou was about to walk away, when the door opened, and the campers began walking out. Unwilling to be called out by a fan and face Aizawa's wrath, Bakugou hurried around the small building, tucking himself behind a cluster of bushes under the the building, supported by wooden beams.

People walked by, chatting merrily about how much fun they were having, and how enthusiastic they were. Bakugou wanted to gag, but wanted even more to not draw attention to himself. So, silent he remained.

He'd seen Aizawa walk off to the opposite direction, and began untangling himself from the support beams and brambles, ignoring the piano that started playing. It was probably some camper that wanted to practice or something, Bakugou couldn't care less. That was, until he hear the pianist sing.

Bakugou paused, straining to hear the voice that was soft enough to be difficult to be picked up on, but loud enough that Bakugou could hear, and recognize that this person was talented. It was a young male's voice, that much he could tell. A person who most definitely had been singing for their whole lives, or was gifted with the ability, or both. Bakugou could speculate, but he didn't want to lose focus on the lyrics.

The words sung by that beautiful voice made Bakugou almost jealous he hadn't come up with such equally beautiful lyrics. The unnamed boy sang about being too afraid to show the real him to the world, to be what he wanted to be. Which was almost laughable to Bakugou. How could a person with such a talent hide themselves like that?

The lyrics transitioned to self-discovery, self-assurance. Bakugou couldn't remember the last time he'd heard something so raw, so strong, so real.

Bakugou needed to meet this person, whoever he may be. Because, for the first time in months, Bakugou may have found his inspiration.

Bakugou began ripping out the spiky brambles that clung to his hair and clothes, and stumbled over a beam. The piano-playing had stopped, and the boy's singing had ended. He had to still be inside, Bakugou deduced, and ran out of his hiding spot, turning a corner, only to come face to face with with a surprised, then upset Aizawa. "Bakugou, wha-"

"Not now old man," Bakugou interrupted hurriedly, "I have to get in that class!" Bakugou began pushing past him. Aizawa swiftly grabbed hold of one of Bakugou's ears and yanked him back. "Ow! The hell ar-"

"The only class you should be in is the one you should be teaching in," Aizawa reprimanded. "Look at you, you're a mess." Aizawa gestured at the branches and leaves on Bakugou. Bakugou almost retorted with his own insult when he heard the door open, and his blood froze.

"Aizawa, let me go, I have to find out who was singing," Bakugou demanded urgently, attempting once more to reach the boy.

"Are you even listening to me?" Aizawa ignored him, yanking him back once more.

Bakugou swatted his hand away and sprinted, hoping that maybe the boy had not walked away so quickly.

He had, as there was no one around other than students headed to their next classes. Bakugou groaned at his own bad luck.

Aizawa walked up to him and smacked the back of his head. Aizawa later roped him into being a prize for the end of the camp competition, the Final Jam, where the winner would get to perform with him and the rest of the Bakusquad in a music video, and assigned him for night patrol duty at midnights, far after he'll be asleep, and made to have a staff member check up on his classes to make sure he's attending. It didn't matter, Aizawa already ruined his chances to find out who was the mystery singer, the worst punishment so far. It at least wasn't entirely disappointing, considering Bakugou heard enough from the mystery boy to come up with the first part of his own song that afternoon.

Aizawa stayed true to his word and woke Bakugou up at midnight, sending him out to walk around the camp to ensure no one was sneaking around. Bakugou could barely keep his eyes open as he made the rounds, and had difficulty falling back asleep once his two hour shift was over, which made waking up to go to his morning class all that much harder.

Sleep deprived and hungry, Bakugou managed to make it into class right on time, a far too happy staff member with a clipboard waiting for him. The guy left after Bakugou told him to fuck off, and he began stretching as more campers entered the room.

Almost all the campers in class would walk in, did a double-take at Bakugou, and whisper excitedly to a friend or group they were in. This did nothing to help Bakugou's mood.

"Alright you fuckers," Bakugou clapped his hands together, receiving some chuckles from the class. "I'm Katsuki Bakugou, and I'll be your dance teacher, so don't fuck up and don't bother me, or else."

Bakugou received another round of laughs, and felt himself relax. They seemed focused, and not like they would annoy Bakugou any time soon. "If you haven't already, take five minutes to stretch. If you pull something, I sure as hell won't be helping you to the infirmary, got it?"

Bakugou couldn't lie; he was impressed by the campers when he started his teaching. For the most part, they caught on to the moves fairly quickly, and did so well, Bakugou would've considered hiring them on the spot for a future music video. There were others who were struggling, but still managing to do very well for the first day. Bakugou had stepped away to observe the class, watching in awe as they danced the few moves he'd taught them. There was one problem though, a single student of his was absolutely, horrifically shit at dancing.

He was a boy about Bakugou's age that chose a spot furthest away from the front of the room. He had been one of the students that didn't stare at Bakugou like a weirdo when he entered the room, but Bakugou found himself staring right at him. Partly because he was fairly attractive, though 'attractive' would be an understatement, but because of the boy's odd appearance. The boy seemed split right down the middle in terms of color. His hair was red and white, his eyes were dark gray and light blue, and on his left side around his eyes was a large scar, that really tied together how attractive he was. In fact, Bakugou realized as he watched the class, people seemed to be staring more at the boy than at Bakugou, which was a real testament to the boy's radiance.

The boy isolated himself far from the class, and didn't speak once since entering. And, as mentioned before, was an awful dancer.

The boy didn't seem to be capable of remembering any of the moves from the past forty minutes, and constantly stumbled over his feet, and held himself rather stiffly. His expression throughout the entire class could only be described as a confused, unamused old cat.

Bakugou couldn't take it anymore. "You," Bakugou snapped his fingers, pointing at the boy, "Half and Half."

The boy tilted his head, glancing around as if another person with two-toned features were right behind him in his little corner. "Me?" The boy asked, pointing at himself. At this time, the class began to stop, and watched the interaction between the two.

"Yeah, get over here." Bakugou gestured towards himself, scowling at the boy. "Whats your name?"

The boy walked over, unbothered. He was taller than Bakugou thought he had been originally, holding a couple of inches of height over Bakugou. "I'd rather not say," he replied.

"The hell do you mean 'you rather not say?'" Bakugou asked in disdain. He had no patience for kids that thought they could become some sort of class clown by playing dumb with a teacher "I don't like smartasses in my class, you hear me?"


Bakugou knew at that moment that he absolutely hated the boy. "What was that?" Bakugou questioned, pointing to where the Half and Half boy had been.

"Hm?" The boy looked back to his spot, scratching at his nose. "Oh, I was trying to dance."

"Well, you're pretty ass at it."

The boy shrugged, as if the comment meant nothing to him. "Dancing isn't my thing."

"No shit." The class was now sitting cross legged on the ground, observing the two boys with interest. "Try harder, I ain't gonna tolerate half-assing in my class." Bakugou could not, for the life of him, tell if the boy was genuinely bored, or just really good at hiding his emotions.

"Noted," the boy replied. "Can I go now?"

Bakugou glared, forgetting momentarily that, as the teacher for these campers, he should probably not show his dislike for students. "Whatever, just stop falling behind Halfie?" The boy nodded and walked back to his spot. Bakugou let out a puff of air and went back to teaching a few new moves before the class ended, and Bakugou dismissed them all, the boy being the first to exit. About half of the class asked him for autographs and pictures before leaving, which was something Bakugou normally would've given a big fat no, but was in a good mood with all but one of his students, so he beared through it.

As soon as he was able to escape, he called Kaminari, who he knew would be with Kirishima, so he could talk to them both.

Sure enough, Kaminari greeted Bakugou through the phone enthusiastically while Kirishima explained that they were racing one another in Mario Kart. "Dude! How've you been, we miss you!"

"Then why the fuck did you let me go to this camp alone?" Bakugou exclaimed, walking through the woods. He wouldn't have to teach a class for another hour, so he took the time to relax, though calling up the world's biggest idiots was probably the worst mistake he could've made.

"Come on dude, don't guilt us like th- no!" Kaminari gasped as Kirishima cheered in the background. "No fair, I was busy talking to Bakugou!"

Bakugou rolled his eyes as he heard the phone move around, the voices muffling in the background. "Hey man, Kirishima here," Kirishima finally said.

"You two really are a couple of dumbasses, just put the damn phone on speaker!"

"Oh yeah, hold on." More rustling and finally, Bakugou heard the two boys more clearly. "Alright man, you're good, talk to us."

Bakugou groaned, sitting himself in a spot that opened out to the lake. "I want new band members."

Kirishima snorted. "Please, who else can annoy you like we do?"

"You're missing the point, Shitty Hair."

Kaminari sighed. "Seriously, how do you know all the shortcuts dude?"

Kirishima gave a small voice of victory. "I'm just that good!"

"Are you even listening to me?!" Bakugou knew they weren't, and would continue to focus more on their game.

"Of course we are, how dare you assume otherwi-what the hell, man?" Kirishima cried out, and Kaminari gave a 'whoop'. "Ughh, I'm sorry dude, just got hit by a damn blue shell. For real though, how's camp life treating you?"

Kaminari chuckled. "We heard that you got in big trouble on your first day, good for you. I thought you'd be kicked out by the time we got back to the city." Bakugou fiddled with a pebble on the ground, ignoring the two's shouts from their game. "Come on, you can't tell me you're not cheating just a little!"

Bakugou put down his phone, turning on the speaker, and tossed the rock into the lake, failing to make it skip. "People keep coming up to me for the stupidest reasons, and Aizawa is an asshole." Bakugou replied shortly, aggressively throwing another pebble into the lake. "Most of the campers here don't suck at least."

"Thats nice," Kirishima responded, the sounds of buttons being aggressively pushed coming through the phone. "Make any new friends?"


"I expected nothing less."

Bakugou growled. "Look, if you two are just going to annoy me, then I'm hanging up rig-"

"Wait don't go!" Kirishima interrupted. "Kaminari, pause the game." Bakugou mumbled an insult, feeling a rare sense of gratitude for his idiotic friends. "We wanted to tell you that," Kirishima began, "if you behave yourself, we're gonna come visit you at the end of the week! Isn't that great?"

Bakugou was looking forward to it. "Great, more assholes to deal with," Bakugou grumbled instead.

"Shut up, you're happy, and we know it," Kaminari jumped in. "It'll be like a band reunion!"

"I've been gone for a day."

"Yeah, and I miss you so much already!" Kaminari declared. "Hey, meet any hotties yet?"

Kirishima chuckled. "Geez dude, way to sell how much we miss him."

"Even if I had," Bakugou started, remembering the pretty boy from the dance class, "what makes you think I'd let them anywhere near you?"

Kaminari blew a raspberry in response. "Fine! I still miss you anyways."

"Well, at any rate, how're the campers this year? Heard this year's bunch was talented."

Bakugou hesitated, debating on whether he should give them a simple answer, or reveal the singer he'd heard before. He held too much trust and fondness for his friends, in the end, and recounted how he had heard a singer so talented, it inspired him.

"Whoa," Kaminari said when Bakugou finished.

"I know," Bakugou agreed.

"Bakugou's got a Cinderella!" Kaminari shouted excitedly.

"The fuck? How the hell is this anything like Cinderella?" Bakugou should've learned to expect the unexpected when it came to Kaminari, but, much to the boy's credit, he still managed to surprise him.

"Think about it, this is a mystery boy that has entranced you, but you have no idea who he is!" Kaminari explained as Kirishima cackled in the background. "Dude, you're Prince Charming!"

"Kaminari, you stupid piece of shit, this is nothing like Cinderella!"

"Yes it is!" Kaminari insisted fervently.

"No it ain't!" Bakugou regretted ever talking about the mystery singer. Scratch that, he regretted ever meeting Kaminari in the first place. "First of all, I ain't entranced by the stupid singer. And at least Prince Charming had some clue on who the hell Cinderella was. Also, I ain't stupid enough to see Cinderella and not realize she's Cinderella." Seriously, all she did was put her hair up and suddenly no one could put two and together." And if you ever call me Prince Charming again, so help me, you're dead meat."

"Well anyways," Kirishima interrupted, "you mentioned writing a song?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah, I started one at least."

"Well, why don't you send it over to your parents, have them get it finished up and ready for us to try out?"

Bakugou tossed another rock into the lake. "Not happening."

"Why not?"

Bakugou clenched his hand around the next pebble, pausing a moment before throwing it to the side, falling to his back, letting the sun wash over him. "I don't know, hearing that guy sing those words, it reminded me of what I used to love to do, writing crap that actually meant something to me. If my parents got hold of something like that, they'd just change it around until it was another pop song on the radio," Bakugou admitted, tucking his arms behind his head. Bakugou didn't want to lose the special feeling he felt when he started working on the song.

"Can we hear it?" Kaminari asked. "When it's done?"

Bakugou began to form a strong rejection, but stopped. These two weren't asking to hear the song to make fun of it, or to show Bakugou's parents. It just wasn't something they would do. For reasons Bakugou couldn't figure out, Kirishima and Kaminari stuck by his side for so long, and have not betrayed his trust yet.


Once again, Bakugou was awaken at midnight for patrol, and trudged out into the cold campsite, attempting to rub the tired from his eyes. Bakugou took the directions Aizawa had instructed him to take; first the cabins, then walk about fifteen minutes into the woods, check around the lake closest to the campsite, around the kitchen, then back around the cabins, and repeat until shift was over.

Bakugou was currently fairly deep in the woods, going in further than was instructed for his own purposes. In different cases, Bakugou really enjoyed nighttime strolls, and he was going to make the best of his annoying situation if he could help it, damn it.

The tired night guard had followed the sharp bend around when his phone's dim flashlight rested on a person. Bakugou stumbled back slightly in surprise, and the person in front of him retreated behind a tree before Bakugou could regain his composure. "Hey! I saw you already, asshat!" Bakugou snapped, circling the tree, not expecting to find the boy from dance class. "Hah? The hell are you doing out so late?"

Half and Half didn't appear surprised or embarrassed at getting caught. He was mildly annoyed at best. "Oh, you're the teacher from my dance class," was all he had to say.

Bakugou lifted his flashlight to the boy's face, who instinctively shielded the bright light from his face. "Yeah, and you're the smartass shitty dancer. Why the hell are you out in the woods at this time?"

"I'm trying to escape."

That certainly wasn't what Bakugou expected. Not only was the answer itself a surprise, but the boy had also answered straightforwardly. Bakugou had to hand it to Half and Half, at least he was honest.

"Escape? You're aware that there's a big-ass entrance near the cabins, right?" Bakugou moved the light from Half and Half's eyes. "Two days in this camp and you want out already?" Bakugou understood, on some level.

Half and Half softly yawned and stretched, his arms coming down to scratch the back of his head. "Too obvious, I needed to find a way out that meant I couldn't be tracked down."

Bakugou shook his head, exasperated. "Right, and your parents would've just kept quiet when you showed up at their doorstep, huh?"

Half and Half frowned slightly, as if Bakugou just suggested something odd. "As if that's where'd I'd run to, of all places."

Bakugou did not want to deal with whatever problems was this guy seemed to have, at least not at one in the morning. "Look Halfie, I'll cut you a deal; you get back to your dorm, and I don't report you, alright?" Bakugou certainly did not want to have to file a report about some bizarre camper trying to leave to who-knows-where. He wasn't here to be responsible, after all, he was at Camp UA to satisfy whatever petty revenge his mother had out for him. He couldn't see why, Bakugou firmly believed he was a delight.

The boy thought about it, seeming to think Bakugou was actually giving him a choice. "And tomorrow?" He finally inquired.

"What about it?"

"I'm probably going to be finding a way out tomorrow too," the boy explained casually. "Can I have the same deal then?"

Bakugou was speechless. He couldn't be serious, right? What kind of idiot reveals that he was planning on breaking the rules again? "Not a chance asshole, I don't want to deal with you even more than I need to. Now come on." Bakugou began walking the path back to the cabins, Half and Half walking beside him.

"Why the hell would you even want to leave?" Bakugou questioned. He had to admit, he was curious. It seemed odd that a camper could ever hate Camp UA.

"I don't belong here," Half and Half responded quietly.

Bakugou could gag. The guy probably felt that he was not good enough or whatever to be in this camp, meaning Bakugou was obligated to give some stupid motivational speech. "This is about earlier, huh? Look, just because you're a shitty dancer doesn't mean that you-"

"No, that's not it," Half and Half interrupted, glancing at Bakugou. "I actually don't even like dancing."

"Then why the hell did you choose the class?"

Half and Half yawned again. "I wanted to spite my father. So I chose every class that wasn't an instrument I could play and will be dropping out of the singing class he already arranged for me to be in."

"And I thought I was petty," Bakugou mumbled. "You're costing your old man thousands for no reason."

"Look, I didn't ask to be here, okay?" Half and Half's voice sounded bitter, an emotion Bakugou hadn't expected to see from the otherwise emotionless teen. To be fair, he hadn't expected to see any emotion from the boy. But here he was, crossing his arms around himself, glaring at the path in front of him. Bakugou had seen his fair share of wannabe-edgy kids who lived only to do the opposite of what any authority figure asked of them. Heck, Bakugou had been one of those types of kids (something Kirishima, Kaminari, and his mom refuse to let him live down). Bakugou recognized those types of people, and made it his mission to dismiss them entirely. Who needed to deal with some emo kid who thought that cleaning their room was the end of their world?

Which is why Half and Half baffled him. He didn't demand attention, he didn't seem to cause any real trouble, he actually tried in a dance class that he definitely didn't want to be in. Sure, he was a smartass, but Bakugou was starting to wonder whether Half and Half was doing it on purpose or not. The heterochromatic teen didn't have any bite in his voice (until it started becoming about his dad), and lacked the superior and self-important attitude. If anything, he seemed to be in automatic confusion mode. There was something different about Half and Half's situation.

Suddenly, Bakugou's opinions on Half and Half switched from "irritating" to "slightly intriguing".

"Well," Bakugou casted a side-glance at Half and Half,"guess we've got something in common."

Bakugou kept his word, though it was not officially established, and didn't report anything to Aizawa, though he kept a closer look on Half and Half.

It wasn't on purpose. Bakugou just found himself observing him unintentionally. He first blamed it on the boy's natural ability to draw eyes onto him, what with the prominent scar, the mismatched eyes, and the dye-job that Bakugou found cringey and dumb, yet admirably creative. It suit him well, Bakugou reluctantly realized.

Bakugou had to admit that he was curious about the boy, who was an absolute mystery. Bakugou never saw anyone approach him casually, and he never approached anyone at all. Because he seemed to have no friends, no one knew his name, and Bakugou was not about to ask Aizawa. Aizawa would read too much into it, and probably mention it to Bakugou's parents. No thank you.

Not wanting to dwell on Half and Half more than he already did, Bakugou pushed himself to work more on his songs, and attempted to find out who was the unknown singer. When he didn't have morning classes, he would listen outside Aizawa's first singing class to try listen for the voice. Either the boy did not sing loud enough to be heard above the others, or he wasn't in the class, at least not when Bakugou was eavesdropping.

It was the end of his first week, and Bakugou was trying to finish the verses of his first song before his band mates would arrive to camp the next day. The last thing he needed was to disappoint them with a song he had a whole week to come up with. Granted, it wasn't very long for making a song, but Bakugou didn't accept excuses, especially for himself. He wanted to blow them away, and he would.

But it would be nice to get a second opinion on the lyrics before leaving himself vulnerable to Kirishima and Kaminari.

His first song he was confident about, but his second song was still very unfinished. This didn't bode well, seeing as he was pretty sure he wouldn't want to share the first, more personal song to Kirishima and Kaminari.

That Friday afternoon, he seated himself at the end of an unused dock with his guitar and practiced the lyrics, making minor changes here and there. The dock used to be where the canoes were kept, but had been left since a wider, sturdier one had been built in one of the camp's remodels. Only a couple of people would pass by, as it was out of the way of the main site. Those people had the brains to leave him alone, but Bakugou couldn't help but get annoyed when they would stop walking and gape at him like he was some kind of performance monkey at a zoo.

It became too much when he wasn't sure what else to do about the songs, and saw, from the corner of his eye, another camper was staring at him. He snapped.

"For fucks sake, can't a guy get some damn alone time in this damn place?" Bakugou shouted, expecting to see some cowering camper run off. Instead, he was surprised to find the one guy he'd been hoping to not see for at least a few days, at least until he got bored with trying to figure him out.

Half and Half was watching him with a curious look in his eyes. He loosened up his stance when Bakugou stopped shouting, and spoke. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to disrupt you," he explained calmly, and began walking away.

"Hold up," Bakugou called out without a second thought. "Get your ass back here, maybe you can make yourself useful."

The boy stopped, and seemed to consider Bakugou's order. "Sure," he finally said, walking down to where Bakugou sat. Half and Half sat down cross legged across from Bakugou. "i'm sorry for bothering you," the boy began.

"You already said that."

"Oh, right. Apologies."

Bakugou regretted his decision, but stuck by it, and didn't send the boy away. "Stop fucking apologizing."

"Sor-" Half and half cut himself off, clearing his throat. "The song you were playing, I never heard it before."

"It's new."


Bakugou already felt himself getting agitated by the boy. "What, disappointed with it?"

Half and half shook his head, his hair strands dancing slightly around his face. "No, I thought it sounded really good," he admitted. "I was surprised, it didn't sound like anything you played before. It's different than your usual genre, isn't it?"

Bakugou tapped on the body of his guitar, slightly unsure of why he chose Half and Half, of all people. Maybe he just needed the judgement of a person's whose opinions meant nothing to him.

"It is. Look, I'm working on a song," Bakugou began, scowling into Half and Half's eyes, "a different type of song than what me and the guys usually perform. I need it to be perfect."


"Just because," Bakugou raised his voice slightly, already embarrassed enough with himself that he stooped so low to ask this boy for help. He almost apologized when he caught Half and Half flinching back a bit, but thought better of it. "Look, if you don't wanna help, you can leave," Bakugou grunted.

Half and Half leaned forward slightly, keeping his eyes on Bakugou. "I want to hear more of it."

Bakugou didn't respond, and instead adjusted his guitar, glancing at a part of the song before playing the first chords. Bakugou began singing the words that words could express to a limit. He sang the lyrics he wrote, thinking about how he could never feel the need to express his heart, until he discovered the mysterious voice that brought him back to his love of singing, his passion for creating songs again. The voice he couldn't stop hearing in his head, the melody that kept him up at night, wondering if he would ever hear it again.

Half and Half's expression wasn't easy to read. It was blank while he sang, and he stared intensely at Bakugou. Bakugou didn't get discouraged, and gave the best performance he could give to this strange boy. When he was done, the boy didn't say anything, leaving them in an awkward silence, made worse by the fact that Bakugou realized he just opened himself up to this stranger.

"So," Bakugou cleared his throat, refusing to break eye contact despite how uncomfortable he felt, "how is it?"

Half and Half blinked, as if he'd just realized Bakugou spoke to him. "I love it."

That was a relief. Bakugou relaxed, leaning back against a post. "Of course you love it, I wrote it."

Half and Half pointed at the sheet music. "May I?" Bakugou hesitated, but gave him the okay.

The boy carefully read through the sheets of paper, uttering them to himself. "The lyrics, you wrote them on your own?" Half and Half asked, glancing up. He seemed impressed.

"Yeah," Bakugou ducked his head through the guitar strap, carefully setting it aside. "I usually just sing the crap my parents chuck at me, so this is a change of pace."

"I can see that. This isn't like anything your band has sung before," Half and Half stated. "It's very unique, how'd you come up with it?"

Bakugou already pushed his limits with inviting Half and Half to listen to his song, he wasn't about to tell him about the guy her heard singing earlier that week. "Just did, I guess," Bakugou answered nonchalantly. "I'm going to show my new work to the guys tomorrow, so I need to make sure it's good enough for them." Bakugou wanted more than anything to be able to impress them. If they were into it enough, maybe the song stood a chance with his parents.

"If it is, maybe I can finally get my own sound out there."

Half and Half was staring thoughtfully at Bakugou, and he finally gave a small smile. "You're not an ass, you know that?"

That caught Bakugou off-guard. "Hah? The hell does that mean?"

Half and Half carefully ordered the music sheets into a small pile, smiling softly. "I was under the assumption you were an asshole, some bratty teen that was bound to cause trouble. You kind of are," Half and Half glanced up, amused by Bakugou's glare, "but you're focused. You seem genuine too, honest. I respect that."

Bakugou brought his knees to his chest and leaned his head on his hand. "You're one to talk about honesty. You've been in my class for a week, and I  know about your two left feet and daddy issues, but still don't know your name."

Half and Half frowned. He stretched out his legs in front of him. "That's not true, I've got a right and left foot, see?"

"I'm talking about your shitty dancing."

"Oh, sorry." Half and Half brought his own legs to his chest. "And about my name, I rather not say."

"Hiding something, Half and Half?" Bakugou lifted an eyebrow.

The boy shook his head. "Not at all, I just don't want to be judged if people do know."

"That's still hiding something, dumbass."

"Shouldn't be a problem for you though," Half and Half pointed out. "You've already given me a name, 'Half and Half'."

Bakugou huffed, staring out into the lake. "Wasn't the intention."

"Still, that should be sufficient enough, no?"

Bakugou shrugged. "Whatever, don't really care anyways."

The two sat in silence for a moment before Half and Half spoke up again. "Do you have anymore songs?"

Bakugou frowned. "What's it to you if I do?"

Half and Half adjusted himself, and sat with his legs folded under him. "If you're going to get your music out there, or at least, past your parents, you need more than one song to showcase, right?"

Bakugou already knew this, but still couldn't understand something. "Why the hell do you even care? This is about clout, huh? Just want to brag that you got to listen to a Bakusquad song before it was released, well if yo-"

"Not at all," Half and Half interrupted. He didn't look guilty, or the slightest bit suspicious, so Bakugou chose to believe him. For now. "I told you, I respect genuinity." The boy leaned his head back on the wooden rail post, his lidded eyes observing the sky above them. He kicked out his legs, getting into a more comfortable position. "My scumbag of a father has a mold set for me, and I don't want to fit it anymore. I want to be my own self, do my own thing." Half and Half glanced down at Bakugou, who'd been watching, analyzing the boy. "I can't stand up for myself around him. So if I can help someone else stand up to their parents, maybe that could be enough. Maybe it can give me the courage to stand up to my father."

"And if it doesn't?"

Half and Half gave a small shrug. "Then I still helped another person. It's a win-win, right?"

Bakugou knew better than to trust a stranger, especially one that didn't reveal their names, was familiar with his career, and wanted to join in working on unreleased music. He knew nothing about this person's background, and therefore couldn't trust that he wasn't befriending him just to get favors, or use him as a way to get popular. Or worse, maybe this guy wanted to somehow steal his songs, sell them to another label, get rich, or maybe pass them off as his own. Bakugou learned early on that he was not someone people liked immediately, so there was no reason Half and Half should be willing to help.

Then again, this first week was already odd, different. He'd discover a passion he thought died out a while ago, he found motivation. This guy was so unique, maybe he would end up surprising Bakugou more. It was wishful thinking, and Bakugou knew better than to act irrationally.

Bakugou got up, picking up his music and slinging his guitar around his shoulder. "If you're serious," Bakugou said, walking off the dock, "meet me back here first thing tomorrow morning."

Maybe he didn't know better.

His band mates weren't scheduled to arrive until late afternoon. Bakugou was always an early bird, but Kirishima and Kaminari were hopeless. Their sleeping schedule, now that they were homeschooled, was absolute shit. They'd probably get to camp at nighttime.

Bakugou didn't really expect to find Half and Half waiting for him. He also didn't expect to see him asleep on the dock, wrapped in a blanket. "Rise and fucking shine, Half and Half!" Bakugou greeted loudly, nudging Half and Half's back with his foot. It didn't sit well with him when the boy winced at the sudden shout and recoiled from Bakugou's light tap. The boy rose up anyways, unfazed.

"Oh, good morning Bakugou." Half and Half stretched out his arms, looking around the lake.

Bakugou plopped down across from him, frowning. "Did you sleep here last night? The hell's the matter with you?"

"You never told me what time to meet up specifically," Half and Half explained, beginning to fold his blanket. "I didn't want to be late, so I set my alarm for 5:00 am, and continued sleeping."

Bakugou began tuning his guitar, shaking his head. "At least you didn't keep me waiting." Bakugou pulled out some folded pieces of paper, handing it to Half and Half. "Here, I started it some time ago, but only bothered to pick it up again recently."

Half and Half unfolded the sheets, reading through them while Bakugou continued to tune his guitar, trying not to focus on Half and Half's expressions. He shouldn't care about his opinions, he was just an idiot who took a two hour nap on the docks in order to be here. Right?

"This is much more upbeat than your other song," Half and Half noted, flipping the page. "You wrote this recently too?"

Bakugou grunted a yes, plucking through the strings, intently listening to each note played. "It's obviously not done yet. I can't figure out the melody exactly yet, and I haven't come up with a bridge."

"Hmm," Half and Half read through the notes once more. "Play me the song."

Bakugou played through the song, a song he made about his love of music, the way it took over his soul and was everything to him. It was very much incomplete, but Bakugou finally decided he didn't want to show his other song off to Kirishima and Kaminari yet. It had been weird enough with Half and Half. So instead, he wanted the second song to show them, a song personal enough to make a point, but not as personal as the first song.

Half and Half, as it turned out, was incredibly good at making a song. He seemed to be able to find just the right words to add, take away, and substitute. He also had an ear for music. By the time Bakugou's band mates were on their way to camp, they'd already created a structure for the song, with a killer bridge and improved refrain. It was a shame Half and Half wasn't in the songwriting classes, or any class that would cater to his skills.

Bakugou regretted having to leave, but was equally as excited to show his band what he'd created. Well, what he and Half and Half created together...

"I don't know if that's a good idea," Half and Half protested when Bakugou insisted he go with him to show Kirishima and Kaminari the song. "It's your song, your own project, I only added my input,"

"Yeah, input that's gonna save me from looking like an idiot." Bakugou was walking back to the cabins with Half and Half. "This song wouldn't be what it is if it wasn't for you, and I ain't about to take credit for shit I didn't do, okay?"

Half and Half was still unconvinced. "That's very kind of you, Bakugou, but I think you should do this alone." They reached Half and Half's cabin. "I don't do well with social interactions, anyways. Thank you, but I'm very sorry."

Bakugou sparked up a brilliant idea before the boy could walk away. "Wait, what if I let you skip the next two weeks of dance class?"

That certainly got the boy's attention.

"If you don't get caught by any teachers," Bakugou continued, "and I write your name down as present, then you won't have to attend."

Half and Half seemed intrigued by the idea, and hopped down the stairs. "Deal."

"If you're stupid and get caught, don't expect me to cover for your ass," Bakugou warned while they headed to Bakugou's cabin, the place Kirishima texted that they were.

Inside, Bakugou was immediately jumped by Kaminari. "Bakugou! You're alive!" Kaminari cried out happily, holding on tight as Bakugou struggled against his hold. To his dismay, Kirishima joined in the hug.

"We missed you bro!" Kirishima practically wailed. "Life isn't the same without you!"

"Get the fuck off of me!" Bakugou shouted, failing to pry them off. "It's barely been a week, fuckers!"

"It's the longest week ever though!"

"Yeah!" Kirishima squeezed Bakugou tighter. "We know you don't miss us, but we still like you!"

Bakugou knew full well what Kirishima was doing, but went along with it anyways. "I never said I didn't miss you," Bakugou grumbled reluctantly, earning another tight squeeze.

Kaminari grinned. "Now that's the Bakugou we missed! I never wanna let go-yo, who's the hottie?" Kaminari suddenly pulled away and stared at Half and Half, who Bakugou momentarily forgot about. Half and Half was watching in awe, but suddenly shrunk at the sudden attention from Kaminari, and then Kirishima, who peered over Bakugou's shoulder at him.

Bakugou realized, in horror, that in his franticness to get the song finished and convince Half and Half to go with him, he'd forgotten to warn him about the nightmare duo that was Eijirou Kirishima and Denki Kaminari.

Kaminari bounced towards Half and Half, who backed away a few steps instinctively. Kaminari rested his arm above their heads at the doorway, leaning in. "Hey there, I'm Kaminari, but you can call me Denki," Kaminari greeted in an awful attempt at sultry.

Bakugou rolled his eyes.

"Oh, hello, Denki." Half and Half responded with an uncomfortable hesitance.

"Kaminari, leave the guy alone!" Kirishima pulled Kaminari back by his shirt, causing the boy to stumble backwards. Kirishima grinned at Half and Half, who hesitated to walk back inside. "Hey there, I'm Kirishima!" Kirishima greeted saccharinely.

"Hello Kirishima." Half and Half walked in when Bakugou approached the door, closing it behind them.

"Shitheads, this is Half and Half," Bakugou gestured to the taller boy. "Half and Half, these are the shitheads."

"Half and Half?" Kirishima repeated, squinting confusedly at Half and Half. "Is that, like, your stage name or something?"

Kaminari somehow managed to sidle up beside Half and Half, wrapping an arm around his shoulders. "Bet your real name is as beautiful as you," Kaminari booped the heterochromatic's nose.

"Oh, thank you Denki." Half and Half responded casually.

Exasperated, Bakugou peeled Kaminari off of Half and Half. "Can you stop flirting with strangers for one second?"

"That was flirting?" Half and Half questioned, surprised.

Kirishima howled with laughter, and Kaminari deflated. Bakugou grinned proudly at Half and Half when Kaminari slouched in a chair, pouting disappointedly while Kirishima continued to chortle.

Half and Half, however, seemed concerned. "Did I say something bad? I should apologize to Denki," he whispered to Bakugou.

"He'll live. As I was going to say," Bakugou continued, pulling out a chair for Half and Half, "this guy's weird about his name, so I'm calling him Half and Half."

"It's nice to meet you, Half and Half," Kaminari said, seeming to regain his confidence within the past few seconds. "Man, I wish you would've been here when the three of us were here a couple of years ago. How old are you anyways?"


"Me too!" Kirishima exclaimed excitedly, stretching his hand out to Half and Half, who jumped back briefly, before high-fiving Kirishima slowly. "Aww, come on dude," Kirishima chuckled, "you can do better than that." Half and Half high-fived Kirishima, with more confidence. It seemed to go unnoticed by everyone else how Half and Half's arms subtly jumped up in defense earlier.

"I was two weeks ago!" Kaminari jumped in, evidently feeling left out.

"Shut up old man!" Kirishima taunted lightly.

Bakugou groaned as the two bickered while Half and Half stood by awkwardly. "I thought you idiots were here to see me."

Kirishima and Kaminari stopped and turned to Bakugou. "Oh yeah, didn't you have a song for us?" Kirishima suddenly remembered.

Kaminari snapped his fingers. "Right, your song. Show us already!"

Bakugou rubbed his forehead, feeling a headache come on. He'd forgotten how loud and obnoxious his friends were. "Well, first of all, it's not entirely my song." Bakugou pulled out the papers, handing them to Kirishima. "Half and Half over here helped with it."

Kirishima unfolded the papers, turning them to show Kaminari as well. "Wow, a song writer too?" Kaminari commented, grinning up at Half and Half.

Kirishima gasped. "Ohhh, now I get the hair!"

Bakugou and Half and Half frowned in confusion. "What hair?" Half and Half asked.

Kaminari smacked his head in realization. "Oh yeah! You're a Todoroki fan, aren't you?" Bakugou short-circuited for a moment. Half and Half? A Todoroki fan?

Half and Half seemed just as confused, and even a little panicked, probably from the way Kirishima and Kaminari made this seem like some big interrogation. "What are you talking about? What made you assume I was an Endeavor fan?"

"No no no," Kirishima waved his hand around, "not that Todoroki. I'm talking about the ones that wrote all those musicals."

Kaminari moved over to Half and Half to play with his hair. "Yeah, you're a fan of Fuyumi Todoroki, aren't you? What a fanboy, dying his hair the same colors as her."

"She is a good songwriter," Kirishima added. Bakugou had to admit, that as much as he didn't trust the Todorokis, he thought that the musical writers were good. Half and Half was off the hook for now, at least. "Of course you'd look up to her."

Half and Half took a relieved exhale, nodding in agreement. "Yes, I look up to Fuyumi and Natsou. They're amazing," Half and Half uttered softly. Bakugou was almost disappointed with himself that he didn't figure out the reasoning behind the hair on his own.

"Yeah, and super hot too." Kaminari added, ruffling Half and Half's hair. "They've got nothing on you, though." Kaminari returned back to Kirishima's side, pulling Half and Half along with him. "Alright, alright, I wanna hear this song!"

Bakugou scoffed. "You think I wanna show you now?" Kaminari stuck his tongue out at Bakugou in response.

Despite what he said, Bakugou began playing the song for them, his fingers moving around the guitar by memory from practicing all morning with Half and Half. Speaking of the boy, Bakugou found that he was drawn more to looking at him rather than checking the other two's expressions. Half and Half nodded along to the beat, his arm still in Kaminari's grasp, but he didn't seem to mind anymore. Bakugou pried his eyes away, refusing to get distracted.

Distractions, after all, could cause you to mess up.

When Bakugou finished the last of the strumming, adding a bit of improvised flourish in the ending of course, Kaminari and Kirishima applauded him thunderously. "Dude, that was awesome!" Kaminari exclaimed, shaking Bakugou's arm rigorously.

"Yeah, your parents have to love this," Kirishima declared as Bakugou swatted Kaminari away. He turned to Half and Half. "You two worked on this together?" Half and Half nodded. "That's amazing!"

"Thank you," Half and Half smiled. It was a nice sight, admittedly. "I should probably get going back to my room," Half and Half began to walk backwards towards the door. "It was lovely meeting you both."

"Nooooo," Kaminari reached out for Half and Half. "Don't leave us!"

Bakugou elbowed Kaminari's arm. "You're scaring him off, dumbass."

"I promise you aren't, you're all delightful," Half and Half promised. "Goodbye." Half and Half stepped through the door, and Bakugou was almost disappointed to see him go. Especially when Kirishima and Kaminari approached Bakugou menacingly out of nowhere,

"Spill it, you two are dating, aren't you?" Kaminari accused, taking Bakugou aback.

"The hell? No we aren't!"

Kirishima hummed in agreement. "Kaminari is absolutely right, something's going on." He gasped lightly. "Wait, was that guy the mystery singer?"

Bakugou slung the guitar off himself, setting it aside. "What the actual fuck has gotten into you both? He's just some punk that happened to be around to help with this song." Bakugou walked into his room, followed by the other two.

Kaminari skimmed through the lyrics in Bakugou's wrinkled sheet music while Kirishima continued his interrogation. "Bakugou, you never let us even read anything you wrote. Now all of a sudden, you're writing music with a guy,"

"-a very attractive guy," Kaminari jumped in.

"-that you've barely known for a week?"

Bakugou groaned, tossing one of his pillows at Kaminari. "Stop reading so much into it. If you both hate him so much, I'll jus-"

"Whoa, hold up!" Kirishima interrupted. "I really like that guy, he seems fun."

"Yeah, don't take him away from us!"

Fun? Half and Half did not strike Bakugou as fun. Insightful? Mysterious? Awkward, but in an endearing way? Maybe. "Look, that's besides the point, can we focus on the main objective here?" Bakugou desperately wanted to switch the subject back to what was actually important. "How do we get my parents to hear this? Did you two really like it, or were you fucking with me?"

Kirishima seated himself beside Bakugou, patting his back. "Dude, that song rocked."

"Reminded me of what we used to play when we started our band," Kaminari piped in, flopping onto the bed.

"Right?" Kirishima smiled, turning to face the two boys. "I say, we put on a show for the campers, play them this song. We'll get Aizawa to record us, so not only will Mr. and Mrs. Bakugou get to hear how great we'd sound, but also hear how much people would love it."

Kaminari shot up into a sitting position. "Hey, that's not a bad idea! We can come by to practice every week, and we'll have a performance ready in a few weeks."

Bakugou glanced between his band mates. They were insane, ridiculous, they biggest idiots he's ever met.

They were also loyal, supportive, the biggest sweethearts alive, and Bakugou would rather be tortured than admit it.

Grinning, Bakugou stood up, yanking the papers away from Kaminari. "Lets fucking do it!"

"What day will Kirishima and Denki return for practice?" Half and Half inquired, slurping his noodles.

Kirishima and Kaminari refused to practice at all that first weekend, then the next, unless Bakugou brought along Half and Half to watch. Half and Half didn't mind. In fact, he looked very interested in listening to the Bakusquad practice. He agreed to help out in anyway he can.

Bakugou was thankful that, as goofy as his two band mates were, they at least had the focus to get through practices seriously. There was occasional banter and messing in their usual practices, that was unavoided. Seeing as this performance would mean the world to Bakugou, however, they spent the practice time efficiently. Bakugou did have to chew out Kaminari more than once, however, whenever he began attempting to show off for Half and Half. The dual-haired boy didn't seem all that aware on the other hand, leaving Kaminari dramatically dejected whereas Kirishima got a kick out of it every time.

Aizawa agreed to their performance idea and allowed them the band room to practice in. He wasn't aware of Half and Half's involvement, thankfully.The reactions Kirishima and Kaminari had when it came to his involvement with Half and Half absolutely discouraged him from letting his parents find out about the boy. Besides, Half and Half was only involved because he had helped write the song, that was all.

At least, that's what Bakugou thought. It was when Half and Half began joining them for random impromptu walks around camp and for mealtimes did Bakugou realize  they'd somehow shifted dangerously into friendship territory. He knew that at the point he found himself in with Half and Half, there would be no use shaking off Half and Half. He learned the hard way with Kirishima and Kaminari, who somehow took a liking to Bakugou immediately.

So there they were, seated alone at a picnic table outside the dining hall on a Wednesday night, almost two weeks since they began hanging out more often. The dining staff served cold soba, a meal that Half and Half seemed incapable of resisting.

"Clean your mouth, you slob," Bakugou muttered, tossing a napkin at Half and Half. "You've got sauce on your face."

"Sorry," Half and Half apologized, accepting the napkin.

"Don't be." Bakugou had time to piece together some parts of Half and Half, and how his habits tied together. For example, Half and Half always apologized for the smallest things.

Bakugou had a theory as to why, but knew it was in his place to pry, and frankly, he didn't think he wanted to find out if he was correct. So instead of telling Half and Half to shut up like he did for the first week they'd known each other, Bakugou took a different approach. It required more patience on Bakugou's part, but Bakugou doesn't back down from a challenge, even if that challenge was Half and Half.

"The morons are due to arrive on Friday this time, why?" Bakugou asked, biting into his apple. Half and Half had finished his soba so quickly, Bakugou just slid him his food and took a snack from the kitchen. Only because he didn't want to deal with Half and Half's longing stares as he ate his own dinner.

Half and Half put down his chopsticks, scratching his head absentmindedly. "I was thinking of gifting them something when they came back, but I don't know what. I hoped to have more time to figure it out, but I guess I don't have long." He took another slurp of his noodles.

Bakugou scoffed. "Don't see why you're worried about that. They'll be happy to see you, that'll be enough of a present for them."

Half and Half tilted his head. "Why's that?"

"Fuck if I know." Bakugou shrugged, turning his body to lay his legs on the bench. Bakugou did know, actually. Half and Half was not bad to be around. He turned out to be fun, but in an accidental way. He would usually say something funny or do something ridiculous, and seemed confused afterwards as if he couldn't understand why he'd gotten the reaction he did. Half and Half was also very interesting when it came to band practice. He had a way with directing the boys that Bakugou never saw in any other professional. He didn't beat around the bush or shower them with fake compliments. He told them exactly what they needed to change or fix, how they should play, etc. Bakugou soon learned that he enjoyed the brightness in Half and Half's eyes when the band did something he liked.

"You don't owe them anything anyways," Bakugou added. "If anything, they owe you big time for forcing you to deal with them."

Half and Half shook his head. "I don't think they're as bad as you claim they are, Bakugou. They're very friendly, and I want to thank them."

"Thank them for being friendly?" Bakugou asked through a mouthful of apple.

Half and Half shrugged, looking down into his soba. "I suppose so, yes." Bakugou stared at the boy, who turned his focus back on the soba.

Bakugou blames his next words on his soft spot that Kirishima and Kaminari forced upon him in the years they'd know each other.

"Fine," he sighed, turning the apple in his hand. "If it matters that much, let's just make them a cake. They love sweets, those damn gluttons."

"That sounds like a good idea," Half and Half began, "but I don't know how to bake. I don't think I want to give them food poisoning as a thank you gift." Bakugou let out a laugh, seeing as food poisoning sounded like the perfect reward for the two.

"It's fine, I'll bake the damn thing. You're gonna help, because I'm not gonna do this crap alone."

Half and Half stayed quiet for a few moments. Slightly concerned, Bakugou glanced over to find him smiling fondly down at his food. "Sounds good, thank you, Bakugou." He didn't look up, but Bakugou had a fine view of his smile, a smile that would probably attract an army of fangirls and fanboys in his future music career.

Bakugou swallowed his apple, his throat suddenly dry. "Whatever, just don't screw it up, I ain't making two cakes."

Bakugou kept his word, and did not make a second cake when Half and Half screwed up.


He made four.


Bakugou didn't know what to expect when Half and Half claimed to not know how to bake, but he didn't expect that the boy would be almost entirely hopeless. The first batter was ruined when Half and Half poured a fuck-ton of sugar into the batter, thinking it would meet the sweetness requirements of Kirishima and Kaminari. To the garbage cake number one went.

Cake number two ended up on the floor. Half and Half was in charge of pouring the batter into the cake pan, but Bakugou realized last minute he'd forgotten the vanilla extract. He attempted to stop Half and Half by reaching out to stop him, and may have accidentally raised his voice slightly, startling the boy. He jumped back, and dropped the bowl, creating a mess of glass and cake batter. Instead of chewing out the boy as he may have done typically, Bakugou declared that that incident was no one's fault and helped clean up the mess. His reason for doing so was Half and Half's reaction.

Half and Half stuttered apologies, shrinking away from Bakugou. Even after Bakugou told him it didn't really matter, Half and Half was silent, uttering an apology as they both cleaned up the mess. Bakugou noted the way Half and Half's hands shook as he gripped the paper towels.

Bakugou quickly put together that this was the reaction of a person who associated accidents with some form of scolding, anger, or, worse, punishment. For the first time in his life, Bakugou learned what it felt to have his heartstrings tugged at.

As a way to apologize, Bakugou offered to make tea. He claimed it was a healthy drink which would compensate for the cake they'd taste-tested, but really, he wanted something to calm Half and Half. He accepted the offer, thankfully, and Bakugou went to work on getting the kettle filled with water. Half and Half, still upset about dropping the bowl, asked if there was anything he could do for the next batch.

They needed icing, and Half and Half proudly took up that job, leaving Bakugou to create a new batch of cake. He'd gotten distracted in whisking the third cake batter and forgot about the tea momentarily. He was reminded by the whistle of the kettle, which unfortunately seemed to disturb Half and Half as well. Bakugou swiftly removed the kettle from the burner, setting it aside, and pouring a cup for Half and Half before finishing up with the cake.


He had no idea what to make of Half and Half's reaction to the kettle.


Bakugou let Half and Half set the timer for the oven as he cleaned up the mess, and finally, they left the kitchen. Bakugou made sure to keep an eye on his own timer he set, and was surprised when Half and Half's alarm went off after only twenty minutes.

"Cake should be done," Half and Half stated, standing up from the table.

Bakugou raised an eyebrow at the boy. "No it ain't, it hasn't been an hour yet."

Half and Half nodded, taking his and Bakugou's empty cups. "I know, but I felt bad for wasting so much of your time already, so I doubled the temperature, meaning tha-"

Bakugou never got up faster in his life. "Wait, you fucking did what?"

"I shortened the baking time," Half and Half began explaining.

"Tha-That's not how that works!" Bakugou exclaimed, running back into the dining hall and into the kitchen. Sure enough, there was smoke filling out from the oven. He heard Half and Half enter the kitchen shortly.


Bakugou quickly shut off the oven, grabbing a mitt to pull out the burning cake. It was charred, almost entirely black. Normally, he would probably call Half and Half some unsavory words, but he knew better. "Shit, thats hot." Bakugou quickly dropped the cake pan above the oven, scrutinizing the cake. Half and Half joined him, gripping the cups tightly. "Maybe we can cut around it, cover some up with the icing," Bakugou suggested, poking the hardened pastry with a knife. "Get that icing out of the fridge, I'll see what we can do."

Half and Half went to the freezer and came back, but not with icing.


Half and Half nodded, holding out the ice tray. "It's the one thing I knew how to make," he admitted confidently. "Although, ice and cake isn't something I've seen before."

Bakugou glanced at the ice cubes that started to defrost, then back at the burning, hot block of cake. Bakugou wasn't sure if it was the mess of a cake they had around the, or the look of realization on Half and Half's face when it seemed to hit him that ice was probably not an ingredient needed in cake, but he suddenly fell into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. He held his arms around his stomach, years of suppressed laughter and snickers seeming to finally catch up to him at that moment, in the hazy kitchen, with only him and a confused Half and Half staring at him in wonder.

There was a way the smoke surrounded Half and Half and his confused expression. It was as if Bakugou was witnessing what a model with a natural, foggy filter would look like in real life. But this wasn't a model, this was Half and Half, a real life teen his age who was a freaking genius when it came to music, but absolutely hopeless at anything else. The teen stared silently at Bakugou, his soft features accentuated by the darkened lighting in the room, his bangs sweeping over his eyes when he tilted his head. Bakugou didn't mind the view.

"Okay," Bakugou chortled, pushing aside the ruined cake, "time for cake number four. You know where the ingredients are, IcyHot."

Kirishima and Kaminari loved the cake and wrapped Half and Half in a bear hug. Bakugou grinned at how smushed he was with both boys in their group hug.

"Oh, it was nothing, really." Half and Half's words were muffled. "Bakugou did most of the work."

"Don't say it was nothing, IcyHot." Bakugou had to take the blame for almost burning down the cabin when Aizawa questioned him later that day. Half and Half got off scot-free for the sole reason that Bakugou still kept their friendship secret from Aizawa.

"IcyHot?" Kirishima lifted his head from Half and Half's shoulder. "New nickname?"

Half and Half smiled meekly, something that sent Bakugou's heart at an obnoxious beating rate. "It's a long story. He's also calls me 'Pretty Boy' and 'Dumbass'."

Kaminari and Kirishima gave a knowing smirk in Bakugou's direction, and freed Half and Half from their arms. "Ohhh, really?" Kaminari asked, raising an eyebrow at Bakugou. Kirishima shot Bakugou a wink, all this going right over Half and Half's head.

Bakugou shot both of them a scowl. "He got asked out by some girl in his orchestra class yesterday morning, and after turning her down, he immediately got asked out by a boy in his tech class," Bakugou explained. It was true, since spending more time with Half and Half, Bakugou had been present to see attempts made to win over Half and Half. Bakugou used the nickname to tease him, but also to have an excuse to call him that. It was true, after all. "Stop being weird about it."

Half and Half pulled up a chair beside Bakugou and frowned. "They were asking me out?"

Kirishima and Kaminari snorted, while Bakugou had an incredulous look on his face. "You're telling me you didn't know?" Half and Half shook his head. "Like I said, a fucking dumbass."

"I thought they were asking to hang out."

"They wanted to hang out alone with you," Bakugou pointed out. "After practice, you should go find those poor bastards and 'hang out' with them."

Half and Half began unfolding his sheet music, getting up. "I don't think I will. Should we go now?" Bakugou was baffled. Sure, he wasn't one to be desperate for friends, but it felt odd that Half and Half would reject any idea of friendship, or probably romance. The campers that tried getting a date with Half and Half seemed like nice, attractive people as well.

"Whatever, lets get going, don't got all fucking day," Bakugou grumbled, rising up. Walking outside, he noticed Kirishima and Kaminari hung back a bit, far enough that Bakugou and Half and Half essentially walked alone, but close enough to hear anything interesting. Ignoring them, Bakugou asked Half and Half "why don't you try talking to other people."

"Instead of being stuck with those two assholes," Bakugou pointed behind him at the boys, "and me. I don't see how you don't have any friends here after almost a month." Bakugou asked of genuine concern, despite the rough, accusing way he asked.

Half and Half didn't seem as bothered, however. "I told you, I don't do well with people. Besides," Half and Half shot him a side-glance, "why would I, when I like being around you?"

Based on the aw's from Kaminari and Kirishima, they'd heard. Bakugou couldn't focus on them, didn't realize he'd stopped walking, and that his ears were reddening. Bakugou assumed that Half and Half enjoyed spending time with him, why else would he do so? Still, hearing the words out loud rendered Bakugou speechless and flustered.

"Are you alright?" Half and Half asked, giving him a confused stare.

"Fucking perfect," Bakugou muttered, speed walking the rest of the way to the band room, the other three lagging behind.

It was before the other three caught up and entered the room, and Bakugou had stumbled over the violin cases and momentarily forgot what instrument he played, that he realized he had it bad.


He had it real bad for Half and Half.


Bakugou wanted to keep his distance. He really did.

But he couldn't. Half and Half's free two weeks off ended after that weekend, and he began showing up to class, always the first to arrive, and the last to leave. He would sit with Bakugou outside for all three meals, he would know where to find Bakugou if he never showed up, he was just always there.

The worst part was that Bakugou would feel a wave of relief wash over him each time Half and Half sat down beside him, or popped into his room, bright-eyed. As much as Bakugou wanted to run away from his feelings, he wanted Half and Half to be by his side too.

And so he gave up, and accepted the new change in their relationship, in which Bakugou was crushing hard on the mismatched boy, who noticed nothing.

Bakugou refused to act on his feelings, however. At least, until he had a full understanding of Half and Half's situation.

Bakugou could already piece together few details based on his own observations. For one, Half and Half grew up, or currently lived, in an abusive household. The way he seemed to apologize for just existing, the animosity he held for his father, the way any quick movements or sudden touches startled him, the way he expected that kindness received by others meant he owed them something, the quiet fear in his eyes whenever he did something accidental, etc. There was just so much that added up together, Bakugou would've had to been an idiot to ignore it.

Bakugou didn't press Half and Half about his background, seeing as it seemed to be very personal. Instead, he did what he could to give Half and Half an easier time dealing with it. Bakugou learned to hold back on insults and kept his naturally loud voice quieter/ He changed the way he formed his questions so that he did not come off as demanding. He was proud to say that Half and Half didn't flinch or jump around Bakugou as much anymore, and once, Bakugou hadn't heard an unwarranted apology from Half and Half all day.

Second, Half and Half was isolated for most of his life. Bakugou thought this was essentially a given, seeing as the boy was socially inept, didn't understand social cues, and didn't have any other friends at camp.

In fact, Bakugou realized the boy must've had no friends before camp. One day, Bakugou casually mentioned that he had no idea how he was stuck with such a smartass as a friend. Instead of being met with another smartass comment from Half and Half, who was quickly learning how to banter with intention, he looked up across the table to see Half and Half beaming like the fucking sun. After admitting that he didn't realize they were close enough to be called friends, Bakugou made it his mission to remind Half and Half of their friendship constantly. Subtly of course, he couldn't have Kirishima or Kaminari finding out and overthinking everything. Half and Half also once mentioned he was homeschooled, which must've sucked if it meant being stuck in an abusive household all year long.

Finally, Bakugou realized that Half and Half came from a successful family. He didn't have much evidence for this claim, but it seemed pretty obvious after Kaminari asked after a practice. Half and Half denied it, almost fervently, but that was not the most obvious part of this theory. Half and Half was homeschooled, sent to a pretty damn expensive camp, was brilliant when it came to music (he learned from a brief comment that Half and Half was a singer too, but didn't get a chance to hear him), and seemed sure that his last name would have him treated differently. His family was most certainly a big name in the music industry.

Bakugou trusted the boy, a lot. He stopped feeling suspicious of him a long time ago, and instead got to know Half and Half for who he was. Bakugou decided that, in the end, he didn't give a damn about the stuff surrounding Half and Half. He just liked the boy. That wasn't to say he neglected the belief that Half and Half was hurt badly in his past, or shrugged it off. It simply meant that that stuff wasn't why Bakugou stuck around Half and Half. He stuck around because Half and Half had him absolutely enamored.

Half and Half was a musical genius. He knew exactly what made a song sound better, how to play the instruments the boys had in order to demonstrate his ideas, what to change, etc. He had a fire that lit in his eyes during every practice, and a passion for what he did for them. Half and Half was surprisingly witty as hell, and always brought out laughter from Bakugou, which would bring a smile onto the heterochromatic, which would then fluster Bakugou.

Half and Half was also awkward as hell about anything and everything. He was very well educated and talented in music, but when it came to anything else Half and Half was failing. That alone was endearing enough, but Half and Half, as always, went above and beyond Bakugou's expectations. Bakugou noticed a significant difference in his dancing lately, and after confronting him, learned that Half and Half was practicing when he had free time. Recently, Half and Half made him cupcakes after an attempt at learning to bake.

The cake was under baked, the icing was runny and soaked into the cupcake, and the whole thing was drowned in a mess of sprinkles. It was the best damn cupcake Bakugou ever received in his opinion (how he managed to spit out the gooey batter without Half and Half noticing, he would never know), and did nothing to lessen his crush for Half and Half.

But despite that, Bakugou wanted to give him time. Half and Half still seemed to think he owed people that offered him friendship. If Bakugou confessed to Half and Half, he wanted to have his feelings either reciprocated or broken, not lied to because Half and Half didn't want to upset him.

Bakugou found himself having these thoughts, thoughts about Half and Half, about his discoveries about the boy, about his crush and how he was approaching it, a lot in the past two weeks, mostly in his night watching shifts. Half and Half had occupied so much of his thoughts, that Bakugou found that he had almost entirely forgotten about the mystery singer from his first day.

Bakugou never found Half and Half in an attempt to escape camp again after the first time. Instead, he found him, in their fifth week on a Friday night, sitting outside his cabin.

"Hey, Pretty Boy," Bakugou greeted, making use of the nickname anytime the rest of the Bakusquad was away. They'd arrive the next week, where they would finally put on their performance. This week, however, Kirishima and Kaminari privately told him they wanted to give them 'alone time', an insinuation Bakugou did not appreciate.

Half and Half looked up, his soft features and sliver of a smile highlighted by the moonlight. It was an understatement to say that Half and Half was breathtaking. But there was something off about him. Tonight, he wasn't his usual self.

His eyes, Bakugou learned, held all his emotions; confusion, happiness, anger that only came out when thinking about his father, boredom, tiredness, it was all obvious once you got used to the scrunches and contortions of his eyebrows, the crinkling of his eyes, the way they'd shoot open or stay half-lidded. It was not easy learning the different ways Half and Half expressed his emotions, but Bakugou enjoyed doing so. Now, Half and Half had a unique look on his face now, one Bakugou hadn't seen before, but recognized nonetheless.

There was a sadness in Half and Half's eyes.

"I want to go to the lake." Half and Half stood up before Bakugou could question him, dusting off his pants. "Come with me."

Bakugou's protest died on his tongue. He needed to ensure no idiots would leave their rooms and do stupid shit that rich, privileged teenagers would do. But how could he say no to Half and Half in this state? "Okay."

So they went, Bakugou allowing himself to be led by the melancholy teen past the cabins. The moon wasn't full, but it was enough to light the way for the two boys. It was quiet save for the nocturnal bugs making quiet noises. The leaves rustled with the gentle breeze and the acorns and gravel under their feet created a nice white noise for them. Once they'd gotten on the path that would take them through a part of the woods to the abandoned docks, Half and Half started to speak.

"I've told you a lot about my father," he began, though Bakugou could argue that he barely told him anything. "Have I ever told you about my mom?"

His mom. Bakugou had assumed she was absent in his life in some way, either abandoning him or through death, given how Half and Half never brought her up. "No."

Half and Half nodded, probably already knowing the answer. "My mom used to love my father. She would tell me there was a time he wasn't so...shitty." Bakugou sense the hesitation in finding a vague enough description. "She said there'd been a time where music meant something to him. They were happy.

"Then business deals and money rolled in, and he became avaricious and materialistic. She claims he lost sight of his real self, and that's why he grew colder and impatient." Half and Half lowered his head, and Bakugou noticed he had his hands clenched around his hoodie. "I think that his real nature just shone through, that he was always this way."

The cool, night air was tense around Half and Half. Bakugou was never afraid in his life, and he wasn't now. He was, however, concerned.

"He decided that he wanted children. My mom always wanted kids, but he never did. Except, he realized that he could gain fame and fortune if he raised his own children into the music business. So he did, he had three kids and guided them into the music business, and my mom would help. Things looked okay, my father had three young promising musicians, and a business that was booming. I was born a while after my third oldest sibling, about ten years, so I don't remember much of what happened, just what my brother and sister told me."

They reached the dock, and Half and Half took a deep breath while Bakugou held his. "It started when my oldest sibling decided he had enough of music. He had different aspirations that he wanted to pursue, so he left," Half and Half took a seat at the edge of the end of the dock, dangling his feet above the water. Bakugou leaned back against the wooden pole, stretching his legs out in the space between him and Half and Half, so that he could face the boy better.

"I don't remember him at all, and I haven't seen him in more than a decade. I hear he's well though, and my siblings get to keep in touch with him.

"The next year, my sister was ordered to join my father at a concert of his to perform in, sort of a way to debut his career. But she refused. She didn't want to be a performer if she couldn't sing her own music. She'd gotten the courage to speak out from my brother, who wanted to write, and was already angered about the way my father handled the situation with my oldest brother. My father threatened to disown my sister if she didn't obey, and that's when my brother joined into the argument. My brother wouldn't be out of high school for a few years, but decided already that he wanted to be a songwriter too. My father was furious and kicked them both out. My sister worked to support them both while my brother finished up his education, and they both worked their way into their current careers, something my father takes full responsibility for now.

"After they stormed out, it was just me and my mom. I was five at the time, and while I don't remember much about my siblings that day, I remember the screaming, my mother's crying, glass breaking," Half and Half quieted and stared out at the lake, biting his lip. "It was my earliest memory."

Bakugou wanted to reach out to the boy, hold him, comfort him on some level. But he didn't. Instead, he stared quietly, the cicadas chirping in the background and the water surrounding them glimmered. He was saved from speaking by Half and Half, who continued.

"I got to see my siblings once in a while. They'd stop by when my father was out of the city, but I never felt close to them. I never got to go to school, or get out of the house often. My father didn't want to risk having his 'youngest prodigy corrupted like the other three,'" Half and Half practically spat out the words, looking down at the lake in disgust. "I had no one, but my mom. She bandaged and iced my fingers when they bled from being overworked with instruments, she made me tea to soothe my hoarse throat after singing lessons, she helped me memorize my sight-singing, then took the hit for me when my father found out. She was always there for me.

"My father grew more and more impatient with each passing day, and would take it out on every wrong chord I played, every pitchy note I sang, every slip up of a word. Lessons began first thing in the morning, and went on until nighttime. If I did a bad job, I'd pay for it. I prayed that I would miss out on a meal, or lose my television privileges, or just be hit normally, than if my father threw an item at me, or worse, took it out on my mother." Bakugou realized that he had been right to assume Half and Half was living in an abusive home. There was no excitement or pride in realizing he was correct, as he normally felt. Bakugou instead felt sick, knowing there someone was alright with hurting the teen sitting in front of him.

"It was the way I grew up, and for so long, I was angry, scared, sad. And I didn't know why. Why nothing I did could make anyone happier. Why I wasn't as happy as the people my age were on TV. Why I was a failure," Half and Half spoke quieter in an attempt to hide the crack in his voice. "I think it was after I got this stupid burn on my face that I realized it was all my father's fault."

Bakugou pushed himself up, finally realizing that Half and Half wasn't glaring at the lake, he was glaring at his own reflection. "That bastard, he burned your eye?" Bakugou asked, his voice rough from not speaking for so long.

Half and Half sniffed, wiping his hand across his face. "No, my father wouldn't do that. He wants me to look perfect, have the face of a worldwide idol. This scar, as a matter of fact, is the thing he hates most about me," Half and Hal said with a hollow laugh.

"No, it was my mom who gave me this scar."

Bakugou was surprised by the twist. The way Half and Half spoke about his mom sounded like he loved her to the moon and back. But, she'd hurt him, given him that scar that broke down the boy's confidence. "Why? How could she do that to you?"

Half and Half sighed. "It wasn't intentional of her, she didn't realize what she was doing. I was nine or ten when I walked into the kitchen, where my mom was talking to someone, whispering frantically about how she couldn't handle my father anymore, how it became too much. She...She said my face reminded her of my father's sometimes. I made the mistake of entering. Startled, she took one look at me, the kettle in her hands, and for a second, I saw the look of anger and disgust when she saw me."

Bakugou scooted over, his pride and dignity be damned. He gave Half and Half his space though. "IcyHot, don't- you don't need to go on if you can't," Bakugou reminded him, noticing his hands trembling in his lap.

"I know, but I need to explain, she isn't a monster." Bakugou only nodded, allowing Half and Half to continue.

"I heard the regret in her voice, and felt her press ice against my eye, apologizing over her cries and mine. She didn't know what she was doing, she didn't mean to hurt me. I knew that then, and I know it know. She still blames herself.

"My father ran in and everything was a blur. She was taken away to a mental hospital, and suddenly I was alone. It was the worst times of my life, being away from her, enduring my father's temper alone. He told me lies, told me that she was evil, deranged. I knew the truth. I knew she loved me, I knew it was my father's fault that she wanted to hurt me for that split second.

"Eventually, my father checked my mother out of the hospital when the press began to snoop around and realize what had happened to her. But he refused to leave us alone for long. When she came back after a few years, it was like meeting a stranger. She was hesitant and careful around me, and I stayed away, knowing my scar would only remind her of that day. And it was years before we got close, because my father brought me everywhere with him, or sent me to different private schools in other countries, hoping that I finally start to embrace the family name, and participate in shows he signed me up for. I responded each time by running off, refusing to listen. After a couple of years, he gave up, brought me back to where he could keep an eye on me, and I was able to reconnect with mom again. Recently, he tried again by sending me here. My father knows the camp director, so I guess he thought I'd be able to be under watch the whole time." Half and Half must've seen Bakugou's face contort, because he added "Aizawa doesn't know about what's going on, no one really does."

Bakugou was not sure how to feel. On the one hand, he was glad Half and Half entrusted him with his past. On the other hand, what now? He wanted to support the boy as his friend, but Bakugou didn't know where to start. It didn't seem like Half and Half expected anything however. Half and Half wiped at his eyes once more, his lips quirked in a faint smile.

"Those mornings I wasn't going to dance class, I spent them here, talking with my mom. I talked with her in other free times I had. I was worried about leaving her alone, so I wanted to check up on her constantly. She was fine, it was just a matter of staying away from my father." Half and Half turned to Bakugou with a glint in his eyes. "Do you remember what I told you when I asked to help with your music?"

Bakugu nodded. "You said some shit about wanting to help me be myself so that you could too."

"Yes. I also said I hoped that I could find the courage to stand up to my father."

"Oh." Bakugou remembered. "Well, did you?"

"No," Half and Half said, grinning, "but my mother did." He turned away again, staring up at the brilliant stars. "My mother is the bravest person I know. I wanted to help her, I wanted to support her the way she did for me. So after some encouragement, anonymous legal advice, and research, she finally left my father. She texted me a couple of hours ago. She's at my sister's home. She is going to sue him for domestic violence." He let out a shaky laugh, and Bakugou smiled victoriously.

"Fuck yeah, bring justice on that asshole," Bakugou cheered.

Half and Half chortled, his hair brushing over his eyes. "Yeah, well, we'll see. I doubt he'll get convicted. He's powerful. But at least it'll get attention from the media once the case begins."

"That's fucking awesome, Half and Half!" Bakugou exclaimed, patting his shoulder. Half and Half smiled at Bakugou, who's hand lingered on Half and Half for a moment before he realized he was still touching him. Bakugou awkwardly put down his hand, and the boys stayed silent for a moment. Half and Half's eyes were no longer melancholy. They were fired up, slightly anxiety-ridden. Bakugou didn't blame him, it took serious courage to be this open.

Half and Half pushed himself up from the ground, a determined look in his eyes. "I'm gonna jump in."

That was unexpected. "The hell? Stop ruining the moment, dumbass."

"I'm celebrating, Bakugou." Half and Half tossed his phone at Bakugou, who barely managed to catch it without dropping it into the unbothered body of water around them. "This is the happiest I've ever been, so I get to do whatever I damn well please," Half and Half declared proudly, backing up for a head start.

"I knew Kaminari's dumbassery rubbed off on you, but my stubbornness too?" Bakugou snorted, moving his legs aside. "Aren't you gonna take off your clothes? You're gonna get soaked." Bakugou almost jumped into the lake himself for actually suggesting to Half and Half to take off his clothes, and even more so when his ears burned at the thought. Thankfully, Half and Half didn't notice, and jumped off the dock, creating a big splash that almost ruined the phone in Bakugou's hands.

Half and Half resurfaced a few moments later, his wet hair framing the face lit up by both the moonlight and glee. "Isn't that the point of jumping into a lake?"

"Good job IcyHot, you don't have anything dry to change into."


Bakugou laughed, beaming down at Half and Half. "Don't come crying to me when you catch a damn cold." Half and Half responded by splashing water at Bakugou, and swam backwards before Bakugou could get him back from where he sat.

"Jump in, we'll get sick together." Half and Half insisted, waving towards himself.

"Fuck no, I'm supposed to be making sure assholes like you don't go doing shit like this, remember?"

Half and Half splashed more water at Bakugou. "I'm having my coming of age moment, Bakugou, where I do stupid stuff for fun."

"I ain't stopping you, then."

Half and Half swam up to the dock, gripping the edge. He looked up at Bakugou, his wet eyelashes blinking over his shining eyes. "It's only fun if you're with me," Half and Half spoke softly, giving an almost pleading look. Well, what was Bakugou supposed to do?

Groaning and moving slowly so as not to seem too eager, Bakugou stood up and peeled off the sweatshirt he luckily decided to wear over his tank top, his socks and shoes. He kept his shirt and sweats on, because like hell was he swimming in cold water wearing less clothing, with a cute boy no less.

Bakugou lowered himself slowly into the lake, the water sloshing quietly around him. In the water, Bakugou was now at eye level with Half and Half. He splashed some water at the boy. "Revenge, fucker!"

Half and Half ducked under the water in response. This was war. Bakugou couldn't see where'd he gone after disappearing into the almost ink black water, so he backed up by the wooden post, searching around Half and Half.

It was odd how this all worked; A few moments, Half and Half was suppressing his tears when he recounted his childhood traumas, and now he was in a freezing cold lake, jumping out to splash Bakugou with water. Bakugou was ready and swung his arm through the water, getting Half and Half back.

"Can't catch me by surprise, IcyHot!" Bakugou declared, swiping at the water again.

Half and Half ducked again, this time popping up right in front of Bakugou. Bakugou froze, giving Half and Half the chance to get him with a splash. "I just did."

Bakugou wanted to laugh, shout, anything, but his voice caught in his throat. Half and Half was less than a foot away, his dripping bangs covering his eyes and his hoodie filling with water. It was an annoyance to Half and Half, who peeled the soaked material from himself, leaving him in a white t-shirt. Bakugou cursed the thin material that had gotten see-through with the moisture.

"How're you feeling?" Bakugou asked, averting his gaze from Half and Half. Despite the coolness of the water, his face still heated up.

Half and Half drifted closer, gripping onto the deck. "I don't know. I'm happy that my mother is finally standing up to that scumbag. But, then what? I don't think seeing my father fined or jailed can change what he did." Bakugou turned back to face Half and Half, who stared back. "Nothing can change the past."

Bakugou reached out, pushing the soaked bangs back, letting him get a better look at Half and Half. "No, nothing can. You're just gonna have to change the future then."

Half and Half leaned into Bakugou's touch before he could pull away. "It's gonna be hard, but I think I can manage it. You know, leave him in the past."

Bakugou poked Half and Half's forehead playfully. "Well, fuck you if you think you're gonna do that shit alone."

Half and Half raised an eyebrow. "You don't think I could."

"Don't think you should." Half and Half opened his mouth, before shutting it immediately. He watched Bakugou instead, as if studying him.

Half and Half swam closer, until the two were almost chest to chest, and Bakugou was starting to wonder if the human heart could handle the beat rate his was racing at. "Half and Half, wha-"

"Shouto." They were close enough that their noses brushed against each other, and Bakugou could feel the boy's breaths mix with his.

"The hell?"

"My name." Half and Half stated. Bakugou thought the boy was very confident to be this close to him, but he recognized the look in his eyes. This guy Bakugou met five weeks ago and just learned his name, was anxious. The unsteady breathing from Half an- Shouto should've told him that too.

"Shouto," Bakugou repeated, as quiet as a whisper. "It suits you."

Shouto turned his head down, sighing in relief. His hair slid back down to cover his eyes. "Thank you."

"Hey, Shouto," Shouto turned his head up, and Bakugou again pushed his hair away, keeping his hand on the back of Shouto's head. "Stop covering your face, alright?"

The boy frowned. "But then people will see my scar, Bakugou."

"And that's a bad thing?"

"No one wants to see a big ugly scar, Bakugou," Shouto explained, touching his burn with his hand. "It's the one thing my dad got right; a scar this big makes people stare, it makes you look like a freak. It's the first thing photographers edit out, the thing makeup artists conceal, of course no one should see it."

Bakugou reached with his free hand, gently removing Shouto's hand aside. "Look, fuck your dad, and fuck whoever thinks you've gotta cover up. That scar is a part of you, and if the world can't accept that, then fuck them too." Despite using harsh words, Bakugou spoke in an uncharacteristically gentle voice. It certainly got Shouto's attention.

"At the end of the day, you're Shouto, the biggest idiot and genius I've ever met." Bakugou absentmindedly began carding his fingers through the red and white hair. "The scar doesn't change that. Like you said last month, you want to be yourself, genuine. Hate to break it to you, but it ain't gonna happen if you hide it. It's a part of you, and if people hate it, then they can fuck right off and leave."

Shouto bit his lip. "And... are you leaving?"

"Not a fucking chance."

While Bakugou lacked any hesitation in his declaration of...something, he couldn't help but freeze up when Shouto suddenly leaned into his lips. He quickly stopped tensing up and leaned right back into the soft, cold lips, wrapping his arm around Shouto.

It would probably seem less romantic later on in their lives. Shouto having no prior experience, Bakugou having what could only be described as half of an experience, both clumsily figuring out how to slot their lips together, putting too little or too much pressure, all while attempting to keep afloat in the lake. It was perfect in the moment, however. Too perfect, so much so that Bakugou had to break away.

"Wait, is this okay?" Bakugou panted, backing up as he got a grip on the dock. "I mean, should we even be doing this?"

"Bakugou, we kissed for a good while, and now you're having second thoughts?" Shouto quipped, gripping onto the dock as well. "Sounds counterproductive."

Bakugou splashed some water on Shouto. "Shut up. I mean," Bakugou groaned, scratching the back of his head. "Shouto, I don't want you to do this because you think you're obligated to or some shit, or you think it'll distract you from everything. I'm not that big of an asshole that I can't comfort you as a friend."

Shouto nodded. "I understand, but it's worth mentioning that this isn't the first time I've wanted to kiss you."

"Is the timing even okay?"

Shouto floated closer to Bakugou, keeping his grip on the dock with one hand, and the other finding Bakugou's hand. "Bakugou, any timing works for me."

What a sap. Bakugou wanted to shove him away just for being so damn mushy. Then again, he was equally as sappy when it came to Shouto.

"Well in that case, call me Katsuki."

Bakugou told Kirishima and Kaminari alone when they came back the following week.

He debated on it, and decided that not only should he tell his band mates who had to put up with him, but tell them in person. Away from Shouto, so as not to suffer from their embarrassing ways.

Bakugou immediately regretted it once he recounted the story of what happened (save for the stuff about Shouto's past and insecurities. That wasn't their business).

"Yes!" They both shouted, squeezing Bakugou's sides impossibly tight.

"We knew you had it in you, dude!"

"KatsuShouto for life!" Kirishima had exclaimed.

Bakugou gave it a few seconds to lack resistance this time around before he tried to push them away. What could he say, he was happy too.

"Yeah yeah, whatever," Bakugou grumbled, freeing himself. "Don't crowd Shouto like this when you see him, okay? And don't you dare tell my parents, you hear?"

For as touchy and annoying as the two could be, they knew better than to ignore Bakugou's requests, and settled for a less extravagant way of congratulating Shouto. Kaminari did, however, make a show of how disappointed he was that Shouto was "snatched up by mean ol' Bakugou".

Bakugou couldn't recall a time he'd been happier if it wasn't on stage. Not even then was he feeling the emotions he felt now. Shouto just made him feel differently. They'd been dating in what Bakugou considered was the best week of his life. Nothing between them changed, except somehow, the relationship between them felt safer than before. It was a pleasant feeling to know that Bakugou didn't have to hide the way he felt for Shouto, and Shouto didn't have to keep quiet about his problems.

Their daily routines shifted slightly. Shouto and Bakugou would now walk to dance class in the mornings, share brief kisses before and after class, meet up for mealtimes, and by the time it was Bakugou's time to take the night watch, they'd meet up at the dock. Of course, they'd spend their two hours together making out, holding each other close, but they'd also talk, huddled together under a blanket, drinking in the sparkling nights and the shimmering ripples of the lake. Bakugou slowly opened himself up to Shouto about his own insecurities and fears, which Shouto listened to with an understanding Bakugou never expected to find in his life.

Shouto also decided that the first step in his journey to leaving his father in his past, he would audition that week for the Final Jam Camp UA hosted for the last week at camp.

"You're performing your own song?" Bakugou asked, laying his head on Shouto's shoulder in one of their nightly meetups. "Let's hear it."


"Well, fuck you too, IcyHot," Bakugou said, lacking his usual bite.

Shouto chuckled instead. He'd been laughing more often. "You're going to be a judge, right? It wouldn't be fair if you made your judgements now. I don't want to win because of our relationship."

"Whatever, don't get pouty if someone else wins," Bakugou warned.

Shouto wasn't entirely better since their talk that night. He tried his best, but years of abuse can't heal overnight. Shouto still lacked confidence, for one. But he steeled himself to get past that. For the last few days of the the week, Shouto had his bangs pushed back and to the sides, and sometimes clipped them away from his face. He still kept his head low and towards the ground, and he still had moments of panic when he gave the wrong chord suggestion to Bakugou in one of his practices, but he was still trying, which Bakugou deemed good enough on its own.

Shouto also was taking Bakugou's advice in talking to other campers in class. It took almost the whole week for Shouto to approach a person to ask a simple question about the music score, but Bakugou could not remember a time he'd been prouder than when Shouto approached him excitedly to relate the news to him.

The names of the people who auditioned for Final Jam would be posted on the board outside after the show the Bakusquad would play, and Shouto was very clearly nervous. Bakugou assured him that it wouldn't matter whether he was chosen or not, but that hadn't seemed to help. Bakugou wondered if perhaps Shouto was nervous about something else related to the audition results. It couldn't be, that wouldn't make sense.

Bakugou later learned that Shouto would soon have to talk to a lawyer about where he would like to be placed for custody and give his own brief statement before going to court. Because everything would happen quickly, the lawyer could be expected to drop in anytime of the week. Bakugou chalked up Shouto's anxious behavior to that. But Bakugou would make sure to be near Shouto when that time came. He would be there for him during this whole process.

But for now, Bakugou waited nervously behind a cabin with Kirishima and Kaminari while Aizawa spoke to the campers. It was not like Bakugou to get anxious about a performance. But this time, it could change his entire career. He wished Shouto was with him, but he had wanted to get a spot closest to the stage, which Bakugou couldn't complain about.

"Hey man," Kirishima began, patting Bakugou's shoulder. "Just go out there and play from the heart. That's what you want, isn't it?"

Bakugou wanted to make a snarky comment on how gross and mushy Kirishima was. Instead, he took a deep breath. "Yeah, let's rock this."

"Hey, there's the Bakugou we love." Kaminari elbowed Bakugou lightly. "We're gonna show them what our lead singer is made of."

"Fuck yes we are." Bakugou knew he was good, knew he and Shouto's song would blow the crowd away. The Bakusquad already did a great job in impressing Aizawa, and he was a hard one to crack.

Mr. Yamada, one of the camp teachers, finally announced the boys, and they ran out onto the outdoor stage, basking in the couple hundred cheering campers. It was far smaller than what they'd normally perform for, but not a step down. Especially not with Shouto in the front, smiling fondly up at Bakugou. Bakugou flashed him a grin with as much confidence as he could muster when he slipped his guitar strap around his shoulder. Aizawa stood behind the camera at the back of the crowd, shooting them a thumbs up. This was it.

Bakugou played the opening chords of the song.

The crowd started cheering again as the song began, and even more so when Bakugou first begun to sing. They soon quieted to let the Bakusquad play, before cheering at the chorus. Bakugou barely noticed, because, like when he played the song for Kirishima and Kaminari, his eyes were drawn only to Shouto.

Bakugou sang, he sang not to the crowd, not to the camera, not to his parents, who would watch the video soon. He sang the song about his passion for music to Shouto only. It felt like it was only Shouto in the crowd, listening intently before offering his adjustments on how to sound better. But this time, Shouto wasn't listening for that. Instead, he was enjoying their song. He was clapping along to the beat, mouthing the lyrics. Bakugou realized, right before he jumped into the bridge, that he hoped this would be his future; playing concerts with Shouto right there, cheering him on. Or, even better, singing right there on stage beside him, where he could make the rest world disappear in the magical way he did now.

The thought of singing his own songs with Shouto fueled him through the final verses, and the crowd jumped up, cheers and whistles backgrounding the sweet noise of Shouto's own cheers and claps. Bakugou blew a dramatic kiss in Shouto's direction, knowing it wouldn't be obvious to the crowd that he was directing his affection to a specific person. Sure enough, the campers surrounding Shouto went wild, and the Bakusquad left stage while Mr. Yamada took the stage again.

"Oh, man, that was awesome!" Kirishima exclaimed once they reached the spot behind the cabin. "Mr. and Mrs. Bakugou can't say no your music now, Bakugou!"

Bakugou grinned in pride, crossing his arms. "We were great out there. If that isn't obvious to them, then screw them, we fucking ruled!"

"We should see the video," Kaminari suggested enthusiastically, practically bouncing back and forth. "Come on, let's go!"

Bakugou waved them away. "You two check it out, I'm gonna go talk to Shouto." The two nodded, and left, not before Kaminari winked. Ignoring them, Bakugou jogged back to the campers, finding Shouto wavering behind a crowd that surrounded the board. The names, Shouto was probably going to try and find his.

"Hey there, Pretty Boy," Bakugou beamed, giving a playful shove of his arm as he approached Shouto. "So, how'd I do?"

Shouto returned the shove, smiling. "You three were spectacular. If that can't show your parents how great your own sound is, then I don't know what will."

If there weren't so many people there, Bakugou would've pulled Shouto in for a passionate kiss, still running on his adrenaline from performing. Of course, one couldn't be too careful now. The internet would blow up if someone even implied Bakugou was dating. He settled with resting an arm on Shouto's shoulder instead. Intimate enough to satisfy him, but not enough to appear anything but platonic. "My own sound? Don't be an idiot, this was our song. If it weren't you, this wouldn't have happened."

"Don't underestimate yourself, Katsuki," Shouto said.

"I could say the same about you," Bakugou replied, looking back at the crowded board. "You'll be fine, alright?"

"You do not know that."

"Of course I fucking don't, because some asshole of a boyfriend won't sing even a few notes for me", Bakugou complained.

Shouto snorted, subtly moving his hand to the small of Bakugou's back. "Fine, if you're gonna whine about it, I'll sing you something tonight."

Bakugou turned to face Shouto, who did the same. Bakugou ignored the heat from his cheeks that rose from Shouto's touch. "Oh yeah? Better be amazing, I don't impress easily."

"Not true. You somehow like me, don't you."

Bakugou shoved Shouto away lightly. "Hey, fuck you, liking you ain't easy." Bakugou returned his arm on Shouto anyways. "You're incredible, so shut up."

"I really am no-"

Mr. Yamada returned to stage and called out a name that had gotten the campers' attention. "Todoroki, to Aizawa's office, Todoroki."

Bakugou scoffed. "Oh right." Bakugou shook his head, pushing aside his hair from his eyes. "I almost forgot a Todoroki went here. Of course he's done something to piss off Aizawa, it is one of Enji's brats."

Shouto let out a shaky laugh, alarming Bakugou immediately. "Yeah, wonder what he's done." Shouto's hand griped on the back of Bakugou's shirt. Under Bakugou's arm, he felt Shouto's shoulder tense up. Was Shouto perhaps involved in a way with whatever the Todoroki kid got in trouble for?

"Todoroki, anyone seen Todoroki?" Mr. Yamada asked, looking around. Shouto lowered his head, almost as if he was trying to duck behind Bakugou. "Todoroki, please go up to Aizawa."

Bakugou glanced around, not seeing anyone step up. He did see, however, Aizawa talking with woman in a suit and a briefcase. A lawyer, from the looks of it. Geez, legal trouble? This Todoroki kid must've been a handful. Or perhaps, this was Shouto's lawyer. Aizawa would have to call over Shouto in a second as well, in that case.

"Maybe we should go," Shouto suggested, his voice uneasy.

"What about the Final Jam listi- shit, Shouto, are you okay?" Bakugou exclaimed when he noticed his boyfriend had paled considerably. He had his free hand clenched around his t-shirt, his knuckles white. "The hell's going on?"

"Nothing! It's just-"

"Aha!" Yamada shouted, pointing in Bakugou's direction. "You there, Todoroki, Aizawa wants to speak with you."

Bakugo looked around his area, and glared at the loud teacher. "I'm not a fucking Todoroki, Yamada, are you blind or..." Bakugou faltered when Shouto begun slinking away backwards, "...something." Bakugou turned around to face Shouto, an odd weight settling in his stomach as he forced himself to stop thinking, to stop analyzing the situation, to not discover something he didn't want to believe. It just wasn't couldn't be.

"Shouto?" His voice came out smaller than he expected.

"I..I see that Mr. Yamada thought I was that Todoroki person," Shouto let out a nervous chuckle, still backing away. "I, uh, I'm going to go over to Aizawa, and sort this out, alright? You should go catch up with Kirishima and Denki, I'll catch up." Shouto turned away, shuffling away from Bakugou quickly.

Bakugou was stunned, even more so when Shouto spoke with the two adults, and didn't leave. He instead kept glancing back at Bakugou, turning away immediately to avoid his gaze. "Bakugou?" Kaminari said, approaching Bakugou with Kirishima.

"Aizawa sent us away after the lady said she needed to speak with a Shouto To-"

"Shut up," Bakugou whispered dangerously.

Kaminari put his hands up to his mouth, glancing back and forth between Bakugou and Shouto. "It's not true, is it?"

Bakugou practically growled, turning away from the scene. "Of course it's not fucking true, when will you stop being an idiot?" Bakugou snapped, his nails digging into his hands. "How the hell woul- It's not even po-" Bakugou sputtered, trying to come up with his defense. "It just can't be true, right?" Bakugou looked desperately for reassurance, and found nothing but two solemn expressions.

Fine, he'll just prove it to them.

Bakugou let out a frustrated shout, before stomping away towards the board. Shouto had a decade's worth of singing lessons, knew how to play any instrument perfectly, and wrote lyrics Bakugou could never think of. He had to be on that list, and he probably had some stupid, ridiculous last name that Bakugou would later repeat over and over again to tease him, but in reality, he just wanted to see the way the name rolled off his tongue. That was what he did all week, whisper the name 'Shouto' just to hear it.

The crowd was sparse now, but that didn't stop Bakugou from pushing people aside as he marched right up to the list, ignoring the angry muttering from behind him. He slid his finger down the names, all in alphabetical order.


Yuuga Aoyama

Mina Ashido 

Tsuyu Asui 


Bakugou's heart sank the lower his finger slid.


Tenya Iida

Toru Hagakure

Kyoka Jirou


"C'mon, c'mon," Bakugou muttered, his finger shaking. He felt a bead of sweat drop from his head.


Ojiro Mashirao

Rikido Sato

Hanta Sero


Bakugou's body froze entirely. He felt dizzy, his mouth dried, he just wanted to collapse on the ground, figure out how the hell did his life turn upside down, scream at anything he found remotely annoying. Instead, he took a deep inhale, holding a fist over his mouth.



Shouto Todoroki.



Shouto Todoroki

Shouto Todoroki

Shouto Todoroki.

Shouto Todoroki.


"Shouto fucking Todoroki," Bakugou muttered behind his hand, not truly believing in the printed name in front of him.

Shouto Todoroki.

"Bakugou?" Of course, those two assholes stood behind him, and probably also read the name.

Shouto Todoroki

"Bakugou, come on dude, let's just go," Kaminari muttered softly, tugging Bakugou's arm. He didn't budge.

Shouto Todoroki.

"Bakugou, don't overreact, it's not that big of a deal." Was that Kirishima? Bakugou couldn't be bothered to find out. Those idiots spoke meaningless words around him, becoming a sort of static in his ears. He couldn't peel his eyes off the stupid laminated paper.

Shouto Todoroki.

Shouto Todoroki.

Shouto Todoroki.



Bakugou spun around, and Shouto, Shouto Todoroki, approached him. He was sort of hesitant, as if he wasn't sure what to say. But he walked up to him confidently. Or did he? Did Bakugou really know anything about the Half and Half bastard? Was Bakugou as good at figuring him out as he thought? Of course not.

"So," Bakugou spoke, his words soft, but heavy, "that stuff you said about 'genuinity'? Just bullshit you came up with to get on the inside, huh?"

Shouto shifted his gaze at the people around them, who suddenly tuned in. "Can we talk somewhere else? Please?"

Bakugou scoffed, and walked away, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "Nothing to talk about, Half and Half."

He heard Shouto run after him, and groaned. This bastard never quit. Of course he didn't, how else could he continue lying to Bakugou if he didn't keep up? "Katsuki, I understand you and my father have bad blood, but I'm nothing like him."

Bakugou stopped walking, looking at Shouto from over his shoulder. "Oh, another lie?" Kirishima and Kaminari were watching from afar, seeming concerned. Bakugou faced Shouto, glaring. "That's all you did this summer. You lied." Bakugou gave a dry laugh, hoping to hide his pain. "I thought you were suspicious from the start. I just assumed you were a dumb fan, hoping to exploit whatever you could for your little fifteen minutes of fame."

Shouto walked over to Bakugou, his hand outstretched. "Katsuki, that isn't it."

"No, it wasn't." Bakugou stood his ground, despite wanting to back away from Shouto. "Instead, I got the son of a million-dollar label company to write a song with me. What now, Pretty Boy," Bakugou spread his arms, smiling without mirth. "Now you can sue me if I try to use that song for anything, you probably already sent Endeavor a copy of my other song and burned the proof. You played with me to get closer to us, congratulations! Sorry I don't have a fucking medal on me."

Shouto stopped walking, his eyes flashing with hurt. Again, it was just an act. Shouto was one hell of an actor. Of course he was, he was just so fucking perfect.

"Katsuki, none of that is true. How could you bel-"

Bakugou snorted. "What, not enough? You really want to keep up that act longer? You that much of a sadist?"

"It's not an act." Shouto didn't raise his voice. Why didn't he get upset? He was caught, his little trick was over, and he won. Why the hell was he trying so damn hard to keep this up?

"I bet that whole 'tragic backstory' was bullshit too," Bakugou laughed bitterly. "Of course a Todoroki would stoop that low to get what they want!"

"I'm-" Shouto stumbled over his words, probably shocked Bakugou would suggest what he did. "I won't- I'm not going to hold you against that," Shouto stated, his eyes visibly wet. "I get that you're confused, I was too."

"I'm not confused, Half and Half, I get it," Bakugou murmured, walking away. "I wouldn't want anything to do with me either."

Bakugou wasn't one to break his promise, no matter how much his heart ached.

Bakugou would stay at camp for the final two weeks, ready to judge the Final Jam.

The days were admittedly lonely the first week. It took some time to get used to Shouto's absence. For as fake of a person Shouto was, it felt nice to be around him anyways. Now, mornings felt uncomfortably quiet, Bakugou couldn't finish his meals without losing his appetite halfway through, he couldn't even distract himself in his first dance class with Shouto right there in the back, giving him a look that broke Bakugou's shattered heart even further. For as bad as his dancing still was, Shouto at least was a hell of an actor.

It was a fucking nightmare the effect Shouto had on him. Bakugou found himself wishing, when Shouto would linger at the door at the end of class, that he had never learned the truth about him. Bakugou found himself longing for Shouto's soothing presence, his cool hands that would leave a lingering warmth on Bakugou, his calming voice speaking about how his day was, about random thoughts in his head, anything that he could normally never express. Bakugou missed the way the entire world would simply fuck off from Bakugou's mind when Shouto was beside him.

It was just a stupid act that Bakugou bought, of course. None of that warmth and safety existed, it was all pretend.

The last week of camp was easier. Bakugou had received a call from his parents, who were surprisingly enthusiastic about the song, and wanted to hear more. Bakugou promised he'd show them more of his stuff another time. His parents left the call, not before telling him how proud they were. Bakugou rolled his eyes, knowing they'd take back that statement when they learned he'd been duped by Todoroki's kid. He was at least pleased that his song had been able to pass his parent's expectations. Then again, it wasn't his song 100%, now was it?

Shouto was beginning to talk more frequently with other campers. He'd share brief words with some people in dance class during stretches, walk out of class chatting with them, and even began sitting with people during meals. The part of Bakugou that can't move on, for the life of him, was proud of Shouto, for leaping out of his comfort zone. The rational part of him had to keep reminding himself that Shouto was probably friends with these people before, and was now free to laugh at how he was able to trick the lead singer of the Bakusquad into a relationship.

Because of the Final Jam, the last week of camp was more of a free time for people, and practice time for the performers. Bakugou took the time to stay in his cabin, where he would not have to deal with Shouto physically. He did, however, find himself dealing with Kirishima and Kaminari, who arrived the day before the Final Jam.

"Hey, get your ass out of your room, Bakugou!" Kaminari shouted as his greeting. He pounded on Bakugou's locked room.

"Come on man," Kirishima's muffled plead made Bakugou stuff his head in his pillow. "You're completely wrong about Shouto, he wasn't working for his dad."

Bakugou groaned. "Can't you idiots just stay out of my life for one second? Did it never strike you as weird that some randomass kid decided to help us practice for weeks with no type of payment?"

Kaminari pounded on the door again. "Of course it did, but that's not the point!"

"Shouto is a weird guy, that doesn't mean he was in cahoots with Endeavor records."

Bakugou raised his blankets over his head, hoping to muffle out his so-called friends. "Why the hell do you want to defend him so much? He lied to you to, remember? Telling us that shit about being a fan of Fuyumi and Natsou Todoroki. He pretended to be inspired by them, when in reality, they were his fucking siblings!"

"Of course he lied, don't you see the way you're reacting?" Kirishima rationalized. "Shouto's weird, not stupid. He knew you'd overreact because of the stupid feud between us and Todoroki, and he actually liked your stupid ass too much, for whatever reason, to lose you." Kirishima's words lingered in the air. Bakugou did not believe them for a second. He wasn't important. Not to Shouto, not to anyone. He only caused problems. That was why he was forced to attend Camp UA, why he fell for a guy who only wanted to use him.

"Dude," Kaminari said after a few seconds, "we talked to Shouto."

Bakugou scoffed. "Fucking traitors."

"He's bummed, man. He planned on telling you before he testified," Kirishima explained.

Bakugou sat up, letting the pillow fall to the ground. "Testified?"

"Yeah, for his mom's case."

Bakugou kicked the sheets off, almost stumbling over his stray guitar. He fumbled with the door knob, swinging it open. "The case? It's real?"

Kirishima pulled out his phone, holding his finger out. "Hold on a sec, he sent me the link. He wanted me to show you."

Kaminari was silently scowling at Bakugou, crossing his arms. It made Bakugou feel a little bad. "Kaminari, quit pouting like an idiot."

"How about you stop being an asshole, for once in your life?" Kaminari shot back. "You're lucky we care too damn much about you to let you continue to be like this."

Kirishima held his phone out to Bakugou. The phone was paused on a video clip. "It's from a dumb celebrity gossip site, but it's got your proof right there." Bakugou took the phone from Kirishima, pressing play.

The video began playing, showing a shot of a courtroom.

"Enji 'Endeavor' Todoroki, one of the most successful music producers in the world, or a child abuser and a wife beater?" 

Bakugou cringed at the overly animated voiceover, not fit for saying such words, but kept watching.

"Yesterday afternoon, Enji Todoroki, CEO of Endeavor Records," the video panned over to Todoroki, entering a room with a lawyer, "went down to court under the allegations that he physically and emotionally abused his wife, Rei Todoroki, and his son, Shouto Todoroki."

The video panned to a fairly tired white-haired woman, and Shouto, holding her hand as he uttered something. He looked so much like her.

"Todoroki plead guilty, going as far as to accuse his wife of abusing her children." The video played a clip of Todoroki, who spoke calmly, but still had a fire in his eyes. It wasn't like Shouto's passionate fire. This one was filled with hatred. "Their youngest son, Shouto Todoroki, who, until now, had been shielded from the public, spoke as a witness." There was Shouto, seated at the stand, answering a lawyer's questions, all muted under the commentator's speaking. "For the time being, Shouto will be under his older brother, Natsou Todoroki's custod-"

Bakugou paused the video, tightening his grip around the phone. The screen was frozen on a frame of Shouto, sitting beside his mother with his head lowered. Kirishima and Kaminari shared a look, and stepped closer to him. "I fucked up," Bakugou realized. "I said that shit to him, about lying an-" Bakugou couldn't continue, his hands trembling around the phone. Was he that insecure about his own self that he took it out on Shouto? That he accused him of faking his childhood trauma? "Why?" Bakugou mumbled, his voice quivering. "Why did I have to.."

"Push him away?" Kaminari finished, softening his scowl. "You tell us, Bakugou. Why did you push away Shouto?"

Kirishima took the phone away from Bakugou, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Why do you push us away?"

Bakugou remembered the first time he baked with Shouto, and how he laugh so hard, feeling free to do so. It had been a ridiculous moment, and Bakugou felt something just pull out all the laughs he never laughed for that moment.

It was like that now. The sobs he kept down resurfaced with a vengeance. Bakugou was led back to his room by Kirishima and Kaminari, where he was seated on his bed in between the boys, who comforted him as he cried. Bakugou cursed himself for being so immature and ungrateful. He stuttered out apologies, curse words, his faults, anything.

"Why the fuck did you ever stick around, I'm the biggest asshole alive!"

Kaminari wrapped his arms around Bakugou's shoulders. "You sure are."

Kirishima handed Bakugou some napkins, frowning at Kaminari. "Kaminari, not the time."

"He is, and that's what makes him our Bakugou!" Kaminari insisted, ruffling Bakugou's hair affectionately. "He does the stupid crap, and we fly in to save him."

Bakugou blew his nose into the napkin, letting out a weak scoff. "Here I thought it was the other way around." Bakugou tossed the napkin at a garbage, missing. "I messed up."


"Big time."

"But," Kirishima began, rubbing Bakugou's back, "it's gonna be fine. We're gonna fix this."

"But..." Bakugou shook his head. "Shouto deserves better, I can't just come back and apologize."

Kaminari flicked Bakugou's forehead. "If you don't get your mans back, don't think I won't swoop right in. I will," Kaminari threatened. "And I'm not stupid enough to lose that hot piece of ass either."

"He wants you, Bakugou," Kirishima promised, shooting Kaminari a well-deserved warning glare. "He's not mad at you, he just wants to talk with you. So," Kirishima stood up, placing his hands on his sides, "stop being a jerk and apologize, hear him out."

"Uhh, but not today!" Kaminari cut in. "Shouto left an hour ago, he''s moving his stuff from Todoroki's house to Natsou's," he explained. "But when he gets back," Kaminari slapped Bakugou's back, earning a dirty look, "you can make things right."

Bakugou looked at his band mates- no, his best friends, and nodded, wiping away the last of his tears. "Right. You're both right, I'm gonna fix this."

Shouto did not return that afternoon. Kirishima and Kaminari reassured Bakugou that it was probably easier for Shouto to just stay in the city for the night than to be driven back. Bakugou only hoped that Shouto would arrive, at least before the end of camp in a few days. Bakugou couldn't get the chance to find out if Shouto arrived at all that day, seeing as he was ushered away with the other two to help set up the Final Jam for that night. Aizawa took the preparations seriously, and all afternoon, Bakugou could not escape to find Shouto.

"Aizawa, how many times does a person need to fucking check the lights?" Bakugou complained, testing the spotlights anyways. "At this rate, they're gonna burst from being turned on so many times."

"Which is why we check them," Aizawa droned monotonously. "If you're going to be whining so much, then at least go check on our guest judge."

Bakugou took the chance to leave without a second word, not wanting Aizawa to call him back to scrape the gum off of the chairs. Though he almost wished he did when he found out who the guest judge actually was.

"What the fu-"

"Kacchan!" Izuku Midoriya, a fellow rising star and Bakugou's childhood friend nuisance, jumped on him, wrapping his arms around Bakugou's neck. "It's great to see you!"

"Get off, Deku!" Bakugou exclaimed, pushing past the boy into his cabin. "Why the fuck are you here?"

Midoriya plopped down on a chair, smiling sweetly. He was far too used to Bakugou's behavior to feel offended. "Kirishima and Kaminari said you were judging the Final Jam, and invited me to be a judge too!" Bakugou huffed, seating himself in the furthest chair from Midoriya. "Isn't this great, you got to teach here! Camp UA is so cool, and such a great way for aspiring music arts students to hone their skills, make connections, and show off their talents! I loved it here, and it's so nice to see some of the friends I made last year! A part of me wishes I had another year to stay, but I get to work besides All Might now! Oh, he should've come along too, he always says that he'd like to see us collab together on a song, and thinks your band has some serious talent! I think so too, but I know how you are with working with others, so..." Midroiya rambled, seeming to forget Bakugou was there.

"Shut up, nerd. I hate when you start muttering nonsense," Bakugou grunted. "And I don't have an issue working with others, so fuck you."

Midoriya apologized sheepishly, scratching the back of his neck. "Oh, sorry Kacchan. I'm just glad to see you again. Please," Midroiya leaned forward, "tell me how your time has been. It's been a while since we caught up." Bakugou was ready to shut him down, but thought better of it. Midoriya, in a way, was like Kirishima and Kaminari. He cared enough to stick by him, after all, for all those years.

"Yeah, it has." Bakugou took a deep breath, leaning back in his seat. "I...uh, I got a boyfriend, I guess." Bakugou cleared his throat, glancing away. Could Bakugou still call Shouto that? Did he fuck up their relationship beyond repair?

"Really? That's amazing, Kacchan! Where is he, can I meet him?" Midoriya asked, at the edge of his seat.

"It's kinda complicated now," Bakugou conceded. He couldn't imagine a world where a person could forgive another person for what he did. He was the one who told Shouto to leave his past behind him, and he was doing an amazing job. Bakugou clearly wasn't making it easier by accusing Shouto of lying, now was he? "Deku, can I ask you a serious question?"

Midoriya did not hesitate to agree. "Yeah, of course. Ask me anything, Kacchan."

"Why the hell did you stick around?"

Bakugou and Midoriya went back a long time. Bakugou always knew he wanted to be a musician, and Midoriya was always unsure, always advising Bakugou to have back up plans for the future. It led Bakugou believe Midoriya looked down at him, didn't truly believe he could make it. Bakugou spent so many years of their friendship shunning him, bullying him, and yet Midoriya never held him against it. In interviews where he was asked about his past with Bakugou, Midoriya never even implied that they were anything but great friends. 

Midoriya gave a concerned look at Bakugou. "What do you mean, why would't I?"

"Don't give me that shit, Deku." Bakugou took a deep breath. "Just tell me, what did I do to make up for those years?"

Midoriya beamed. "That's easy, you changed."


"Kacchan," Midoriya began, tucking a leg under his other leg, "you were never one to apologize for anything, at least not verbally. Which is why I never asked for one, an apology that is. But," Midoriya smiled softly, "you changed, and you started talking to me again, sometimes without insults," he added jokingly. "I became your friend because I liked your confidence, your positive spirit, that passion to succeed. I wanted to have that too.

"I stuck around, as you put it, because you're a great guy, Kacchan. You've got a lot of great qualities that you probably don't even notice," Midoriya concluded.

Bakugou did not believe that he was as good of a person as Midoriya claimed. But there had to be some truth, right? Shouto was attracted to an ass like him for a reason, maybe he had a chance.

Bakugou knew one thing to be true, and that was that he couldn't express apologies or gratitude well, as Midoriya mentioned, verbally. So he stood out of his seat, reminding Midoriya they had places to be and that the sappy shit was making him ill.

"Maybe," Bakugou added offhandedly, "it wouldn't be a totally awful idea to collab." Midoriya got excited and began listing off ideas for future performances and song ideas, as if he had been waiting for this moment for a while. Bakugou let him ramble on on their way to the Final Jam.

Bakugou remembered his own performance for the Final Jam. He was excited, ready to show off just how great he was. He'd been fourteen or fifteen, so about two or three years ago, and was confident that he was the best of the best. So he wasn't nervous, or the slightest bit down, he was only ready to show off.

Now, Bakugou felt nauseous. He was anxious to see Shouto, and no matter how much Midoriya, Kirishima, and Kaminari tried to reassure him, he still felt nervous to see Shouto. What would he even say? 'Hey there, sorry I accused you of working with your abusive father and making up your trauma, wanna make out?'

Mr. Yamada announced the first group, a dance group, and so began the competition.

Bakugou recognized the group's lead dancer as the pink-haired girl in his class, one of the few that Shouto had been speaking with. She was one of the better ones in his class, so it came as no shock to Bakugou that she led her group.

Shouto was supposed to be performing as one of the last ones, but neither member of the Bakusquad could confirm if he was present or not. Kaminari, who was made to take attendance an hour before the show, reported that Shouto hadn't arrived yet. Kaminari couldn't confirmed if he ever did, because Aizawa had taken over for the last-minute arrivers. Shouto could've left camp early, stayed at his brother's and Bakugou would not have had the chance to apologize.

"Whoa, that Ashido is really good!" Kirishima said. "Maybe we can hire her and the rest of the group as backup dancers."

"Who?" Bakugou looked up, in time to see the dance group do something.

Kaminari elbowed Bakugou's ribs. "Dude, pay attention!" Oh right, he had to actually judge the performers.

"Yeah yeah, I'm watching," Bakugou grumbled, steeling himself to focus on the performers, not the thought that Shouto may never be a part of his life.

Sure, it had only been two months, but they'd gotten close. Bakugou wasn't as close with anyone to the point that they exchanged deep, personal details about their insecurities, fears... and Bakugou was not focusing again. A new group had joined, two girls, one on guitar, and the other on piano. He'd also seen Shouto hang out with these two.

"Yaoyorozu and Jirou," Kirishima whispered, noticing Bakugou's confused daze.

Bakugou blinked, squinting at the two girls. "Any relation to the families, or is it coincidence?"

"Nope, that's their daughters," Midoriya affirmed, smiley as always. "I had the pleasure of meeting those two, they sound great together." He wasn't wrong, not only did they play harmoniously, but they had beautiful voices too. "They're definitely on their way to success."

"That Jirou girl, she's really cute," Kaminari noted, hopeful.

"They're also dating," Midoriya added.

Kaminari deflated with a groan. "Dang it," he whined.

The young ladies ended their performance, and the crowd roared. They bowed, and walked off stage hand in hand. Bakugou wondered if Shouto and him would ever be like that after a show, if they ever performed together.

Up next was a duet between a guy and a girl, two people who's announced names made Midoriya gasp.

"Holy whoa, it's Uraraka and Iida!" Midoriya jumped up from his seat stretching his hand up to wave at them. "Uraraka! Iida! Hi!" The crowd turned to them, silent, though some people laughed in the crowd. Uraraka and Iida turned to where the green-haired boy frantically waved at them.

"Hey, Deku!" Uraraka exclaimed, waving back.

Iida, on the other hand, was not so pleased. "Midoriya, compose yourself!" Iida shouted, chopping through the air with his hand. " You must behave professionally and with dignity as a judge for a very important competition!"

Bakugou leaned forward over the table. "Yo, Four Eyes, just sing the damn song!" Bakugou then grabbed the back of Midoriya's shirt. "Stop embarrassing yourself," he yanked Midoriya back down to his seat, rolling his eyes. "Stupid Deku."

Kirishima looked incredulously at Midoriya, who hid his head in his arms. "Way to not play favorites." 

"Sorry," Midoriya blushed, "I haven't seen them in a while."

The incident was forgotten when Iida and Uraraka began singing together. They were amazing. Bakugou began regretting not getting to know his fellow campers well enough to recognize how talented they all appeared to be. Now that he thought about it, Bakugou was confident he'd seen Shouto sit with these two during mealtimes. Bakugou was impressed at the amount of talented friends Shouto was able to meet. Would he have made more amazing friends if it weren't for Bakugou?

The two ended their duet in a surprisingly perfect high note, and the audience applauded them with enthusiasm Midoriya almost gave them a standing ovation, but Bakugou pulled him down as he sprung up. The two performers did, however, wave cheerfully at Midoriya before disappearing behind the curtains.

Bakugou found himself far more invested in the competition than when it started. Heck, he didn't even care the last time he'd performed. Big mistake, seeing as there were so many people at this camp with so much potential.

The following acts were fantastic too. People playing a variety of instruments and singing different songs and dancing in their own unique styles. Bakugou made a mental note to ask Aizawa for their contact information. It would be unfair to let such talent go unnoticed, after all.

"Up next," Mr. Yamada announced, "is a solo performance! This camper wrote and recorded the instrumentals on his own, give it up for Shouto Todoroki!"

"Huh," Midoriya furrowed his eyebrows slightly, "I didn't know that a Todoroki went here." Midoriya seemed oblivious to the worried stares Bakugou received from Kirishima and Kaminari, and the way Bakugou gulped as the opening notes began. Shouto wasn't on stage, but he would be in just seconds. Kaminari gave him a few reassuring pats on his arm, which felt distant to Bakugou.

The guitar chords were already playing a promising melody, and the drums joined in to create the beat. Shouto still was not on stage. Bakugou looked around, as if perhaps Shouto was by the entrance, or perhaps on the ceiling. "Where the hell is he?" Bakugou muttered.

His search was interrupted by singing. It was familiar, soft, almost afraid. The voice sang lightly, but with emotion that struck Bakugou's heart, though he could not place why. It took Bakugou three lines of the song to realize it.

"No fucking way," Bakugou breathed out, and turned to Kirishima and Kaminari. "That-That's the song! The singer, that's the mystery singer!"

"What!" Kirishima and Kaminari gasped, leaning towards Bakugou.

"Bakugou, are you sure?" Kirishima asked. Bakugou nodded, staring at the empty stage.

Midoriya leaned in as well, baffled. "What song, what mystery singer?"

Bakugou didn't respond, and instead listened intently, the lyrics fitting themselves together in Bakugou's mind as they were sung. Fear of showing themselves off to the real world, fear that they can't be their real selves. It was the song that repeated itself in Bakugou's mind over and over every night for weeks, it was the source of his inspiration, the fire that fed his dying passion. Bakugou found himself tapping to the quickening beat that would lead to the self-discovery chorus.

The words were sung with strength and confidence. They were sung by a young man that appeared from the right wing of the stage. They were sung by a confident, fearless boy, who's dual-hair was clipped back, who's eyes sparkled, who showed off his scar with pride, a mark of who he was.

The words were sung by Shouto Todoroki.

"All this time?" Bakugou floundered as Kaminari began shaking him in excitement. Kirishima leaned back in his chair, covering his mouth with his hands.

"Wait, Shouto was the mystery singer?" Kirishima quietly exclaimed.

Kaminari cheered quietly, obviously not wanting to disrupt Shouto's performance. "That's him! Bakugou, it's your Cinderella! It's Shouto!" He continued shaking Bakugou's arm, and Bakugou didn't protest. He focused on Shouto, who moved about the stage gracefully, fearlessly. He was outstanding under the spotlight, his voice carrying across the room.

"What?" Midoriya questioned. "What's this about Cinderella and a mystery singer? What's going on?"

Once again, he received no response. Bakugou instead focused on Shouto, who focused his gaze onto him as he sang. Bakugou was mesmerized, overwhelmed, feeling so many emotions that he couldn't identify. He choked back his tears, smiling at Shouto, who beamed back at him. Shouto took the break in his song as a chance to wipe away his own tears. He continued strongly, and Bakugou found himself entirely immersed for the duration of the song.

It was over, and Shouto gave a small bow to the roaring crowd, walking off stage. Kirishima and Kaminari joined in the cheering, and Bakugou was left stunned.

"Uhh, did I miss something?" Midoriya chuckled nervously, staring at where Shouto walked off.

Bakugou stood up abruptly, looking back and forth between his fellow judges. "I have to find him. I have to talk to him," Bakugou insisted.

Midoriya tugged at Bakugou's jacket sleeve in an attempt to sit him down. "Kacchan, you can't, we've got a lot more performances to watch, and we made a promise to Aizawa that we'd-"

"Midoriya," Kaminari interrupted and reached over to grab his arm, "we love you, but this is a complex situation."

"We'll fill you in, alright?" Kirishima promised, then looked up at Bakugou. He and Kaminari shot him a thumbs up. "We'll cover for you, now go!"

"Go get your Cinderella, Prince Charming!"

Midoriya's grip on Bakugou loosened. Bakugou gave a quick word of thanks before hurrying out of the building, heading to the back entrance.

Before Bakugou could attempt to open the door, it swung open by a very flushed and slightly sweaty Shouto. They stared back at one another in awe. Shouto broke the silence first.

"Katsuki," he spoke softly, fidgeting where he stood.

"Shouto Todoroki," Bakugou answered back, amazed. With red and white hair strands sticking to his forehead, panting softly for air, his eyes filled with adrenaline and worry, Bakugou never felt more affection for the teen in front of him.

A few seconds of more awkward standing, Shouto fully exited the building, letting the door shut behind him. Shouto pulled the clip out of his hair, running his hand through it absentmindedly. "I believe I owe you an explanation," Shouto began, averting Bakugou's eyes, rubbing the back of his head.

"No Shouto, I'm the one who fucked up, I owe you an apology," Bakugou declared, gesturing to himself. "I'm the one at fault here."

Shouto shook his head. "Let me explain myself about when we first met-"

"Theres nothing to ex-"

"Katsuki!" Shouto spoke louder, stopping the blonde from talking further. "Please, you didn't let me explain myself two weeks ago, you owe it to me to hear me out." Shouto finally met Katsuki's eyes, a pleading emotion behind them. "Please."

Bakugou relented easily, given the circumstances surrounding them. He reached his hand out to Shouto, but didn't go far enough to hold it. This was how he would test the waters, see how close he could allow himself to be with Shouto.

Bakugou was beyond relieved when Shouto reached out the rest of the way, sliding his cold fingers into Bakugou's warmer ones.

They walked away from the building, hand in hand, no real destination in mind. Bakugou stayed silent as Shouto launched into share his side of the story, just as they had almost a month ago before they got together. The sun had already set, leaving them in a quiet darkness lit by the lights from the cabins, their silences filled by chirping cicadas.

"I guess it really all happened some time before camp started," Shouto began, "when you insulted my father live, and said some things about him and the label company.

So much had happened since that day, Bakugou almost completely forgot about the incident that led him to camp in the first place. That he had snapped at the reporters after they'd repeated a quote from Todoroki about the Bakusquad.

"My father was furious and was set on getting his revenge. He's a prideful man, and doesn't take kindly to being insulted," Shouto added bitterly. Bakugou gave a squeeze of his hand in support, seeing as they both hated the bastard.

"Before that, he would tell me things about his enemies to turn me against them. He would tell me times they would say awful things about our family, about him, about my mother, and it was no different when it came to the Bakusquad either. He told me you were a group of spoiled teens that lived to start drama. Now that I think about it, I wonder if he was lying about his other enemies as well.

"He showed me the clip of you during that press conference, a clip that I later found out he altered to put you in a bad light. My father told me that he heard you were going to be coming to Camp UA, and he wanted me to get revenge on you." Shouto offered a sad look at Bakugou. "You weren't wrong, Katsuki. I was sent to steal music from you, destroy any evidence that suggests you wrote them. He wanted me to get inside information on your work, performances, any dirt I could learn was to be reported to him." Bakugou's breath hitched. So, he wasn't wrong about his suspicions when he first met Shouto.

That didn't matter anymore, Bakugou decided.

"I refused at first," Shouto quickly added. "I cared nothing about his pettiness, and even less about helping him. Then he threatened to send my mother back to the hospital if I didn't work with him, so I was left with no choice but to go."

"So that stuff about being sent here to 'embrace the family name,'" Bakugou cut in.

"A lie," Shouto answered, "for the most part. I didn't lie about being sent to other places for a few years, and him giving up. I did lie about my reasoning for being here, however.

"I was told to get close to you, befriend you, try and find something he could hold over your head for the rest of your careers." Shouto shook his head as he continued speaking. "It sounded simple, especially when I assumed every family had their skeletons like mine." Shouto paused for a moment. "That brings me to my second lie; I didn't necessarily leave my singing class for dance class to spite my father, though that was certainly a pro."

Bakugou was struck by realization. "You learned what class I would be teaching."


"Let me guess," Bakugou found himself smiling despite how twisted the situation was, "you learned about the night shift thing too."

Shouto bumped his shoulder with Katsuki, quirking his eyebrow up. "You're catching on quick for a guy who couldn't figure out I was a Todoroki for that long."

"It comes and goes," Bakugou shrugged. "So I'm guessing you weren't trying to escape either?"

Shouto hummed in agreement. "As tempting as the idea was, I had not been doing that. I was hoping to overhear something, a conversation that would get me out of the camp sooner. Instead, you found me, and I played dumb. Up until that point, I despised you. I wanted to avoid speaking to you as much as possible, especially after our dance class. But, you surprised me that night."

"I thought I just pissed you off even more."

"Yes," Shouto gave a small chuckle, "but you also showed me a softness. You didn't know the whole story, yet you seemed to feel empathy, in a very convoluted way. You didn't report me in the end, nor use it as blackmail. I guess that was my first clue that you weren't the drama-hungry celebrity my father led me to believe you were.

"You didn't bother me for the rest of the week, but you were watching me. I thought it might've been because you were suspicious of me already, maybe you talked to the teachers and found out who my father was. Even now," Shouto stopped walking and frowned at Bakugou, "I don't get it."

Bakugou shrugged. "I think I just thought you were hot."

Shouto scoffed. "I find that hard to believe," he shot back, concerningly sincerely.

"Hey, fuck you! I spent too long thinking about your stupid, attractive face to have you say shit like that!"

Shouto began walking again, his eyes brightening significantly. "Well, anyways, I told my father I believed you'd caught on to the plan, and so he advised me to lay low, which I agreed to.

"I decided to take a walk through the woods at the end of the week and call my mom. My father had a meeting that afternoon, so I took the time to check in on her. He was getting impatient, and she was growing concerned. I finished my call with her feeling scared that he would hurt her if he didn't get what he wanted. Walking back to the cabins, I passed by you, playing a song." Shouto tightened his hand around Bakugou's. "I set my phone to record when you weren't looking, and when you called me over, I made the decision to try and get anything I could that would satisfy my father." He sighed, bending his head in shame, allowing the red and white hairs to fall forward.

"I was prepared to do anything I could to bring my father the chance to destroy you if it meant assuring my mother's safety." Bakugou kept his eyes focused on Shouto, the ignored puzzle pieces in his head finally fitting together.

"So, all those questions that you asked relating to the song, that was a recorded interrogation?"

Shouto nodded. "In truth, I was also interested. I loved the song. I started to find myself changing my opinion on you. You weren't a bad guy, you had goals, aspirations that I could never name inside myself, you clearly had a passion that remains unmatched. I was starting to get confused, and second guessed my choices.

"I then decided that I wanted to help you too," Shouto stated, swiping his hand through his bangs. "I wanted to help you become true to yourself. But I also wanted to help my mom stand up for herself too. It's hard to describe where the sudden feeling came from, but it just did. I had planned on working with you on a song to get it finished, send it to my father, and convince him I got rid of any evidence. I then would have your label sue him for plagiarism. I also had to accept that you would believe I was attempting to steal your music."

"Hold on," Bakugou interrupted. "That's couldn't-"

"It was a sacrifice I needed to make." To Bakugou's surprise, they ended up at their dock. Shouto pulled him toward the dock, giving Bakugou a reassuring nod. "I was okay with you never learning my intentions. If it meant that the press would shame my father for plagiarism, and that he'd get at least a day in jail, enough time for my mother to be able to escape." Shouto seated himself at the edge of the dock and looked up at Bakugou. "That was the plan, at least until I met Kirishima and Denki."

Bakugou sat besides Shouto, wrapping an arm around him. "What did those idiots do this time?"

Shouto pointed at his hair. "Remember when they thought my hair meant that I was a fan of Fuyumi? Well, before they left one of those weeks, Denki brought it up again, and I played along, still not wanting to blow my cover." Shouto laughed. "Looking back, I believe he was making another attempt at flirting. He was talking about how he met Natsou and Fuyumi once, and that Fuyumi was, using his words, 'totally all over' him.

"I made the comment that I'd love to meet them both, and Denki got excited, and started to scroll through his phone, telling me that he could give me Fuyumi's number."

Bakugou groaned, burying his head into the crook of Shouto's neck. "I swear, he is such a dumbass, giving out information like that to get a date."

The dual-haired boy chuckled. "It was probably a bad idea, but Denki told me that he didn't think I would give out that number, or harrass Fuyumi, that he trusted me. I was grateful, but I do not believe that he knew the true reason why. See, now that I could get ahold of my sister, I could use her and Natsuo's help with my mom. I had a new plan.

"I would have Natsou set up a meeting with my father under the impression that he wanted to work with his label company. Meanwhile, Fuyumi would retrieve my mom and bring her to live with her, and help my mom file a lawsuit for domestic violence, something I learned to be a crime while researching things my mother could do to bring him down."

Bakugou lifted his head up, frowning slightly. "I wanted to get rid of you at first, but you kept following me around. Was that during the first plan?."

Shouto brushed Bakugou's hair from his eyes. "I told you already, I liked you a lot. I felt safe with you, and I liked being around you. In truth, I didn't get close with you because I needed to use you." That was relieving to hear. "It wasn't until Kirishima and Denki cornered me in one of their visits to question me about us that they made me realize this was a crush."

Bakugou laid on his back, groaning again. "Why do they pull shit like this?"

"They were very excited for me, and insisted I 'make a move.'"

"I'll kill them."

Shouto patted Bakugou's knee. "I rather you didn't. Especially since they were the reason I didn't ever give my father any details about you or your music."

Bakugou tucked his hands under his head, watching Shouto. "So, that cake you had me bake, it was a thank you to Kaminari's stupidity."

"Sort of," Shouto admitted. "But I just really liked that they were both friendly and kind. I believe that the last thing I can add is that I planned to tell you all this once the trial ended, or at least when I had solid proof that I wasn't in support of my father whatsoever. I didn't want to lose another important person to me because of my scumbag father."

Shouto laid back besides Bakugou, staring intensely into his eyes. "Alright, Katsuki, your turn. Why did you believe I was working for my father?.

Bakugou smirked, bumping Shouto's leg with his. "Wasn't far off from the truth, was I?" Bakugou turned his head up to the stars, becoming more serious. "If we're being honest, I was insecure. Still am. It was hard to believe you were real, because I can't think of any reason someone so amazing would deal with my crap. Not just you, Kirishima and Kaminari too. Even Deku, they're just all idiots with big hearts, makes no sense why they'd stay."

It was something Bakugou hadn't been able to put into words until he had to confess it all. He knew he was difficult, so why the hell did people deal with him? Shouto curled up beside him, carding his fingers through Bakugou's hair. Bakugou found it amazing that Shouto still had the ability to send his heart beating furiously against his ribcage. "I think it's because you're one too."

Bakugou shifted his head to look at Shouto. "You callin' me an idiot?" He challenged.

"You've ignored me for two weeks, I think I'm entitled to," Shouto reminded him. Fair. "So, the moment you had a chance to believe that I never really wanted to be with you, you took it without a second thought."

Bakugou nodded. "I guess I really am an idiot, especially since I almost let my Cinderella slip away."

"Your what?"

"It's a Kaminari-thing," Bakugou admitted, "don't worry about it." Bakugou suddenly tensed, shooting up from the wooden planks. "Aw shit, the Final Jam," he shouted, reaching to search through his phone. As he suspected, multiple messages from the three other judges, frantically counting down how many performers were left.

Shouto pushed himself up, looking over Bakugou's shoulders. "If we go now, we can probably save you from an Aizawa lecture." Shouto began to move away, but was stopped when Bakugou reached out and held onto his hand.

Bakugou pocketed his phone and reached out to hold Shouto's other hand. "I need to say this first, before the others ruin it for me." Bakugou wanted to tell him that he and Shouto were connected far more than they both originally thought, that the first song Bakugou wrote in a long time was about him, that Bakugou had Shouto's song in his head long before he heard him sing it.

"Shouto Todoroki," Bakugou began, looking into Shouto's eyes, "you are my inspiration. You say I have a passion unmatched, but it's only because you lit it for me."

Shouto's mouth opened slightly, and he gripped tightly to Bakugou's hands, smiling through watering eyes. "Katsuki, you helped me find myself, you helped me feel like I had a place in a world I was kept from." Shouto slipped his hands from Bakugou's and found themselves wrapping around his waist instead. Shouto leaned down, resting his forehead on Bakugou's. "I could never have found my own way if it wasn't for you, lighting up my darkened world to guide me."

No matter how much Kirishima, Kaminari, and Midoriya tried to excuse Bakugou's absence, Aizawa still saw to it that he receive consequences. Bakugou didn't mind it too much, however. As he scraped off all the gum from under every bench that exists in camp, Bakugou could only remember the feeling of Shouto's lips against his, the tears that mingled together, the hands that gripped tightly to each other's clothing as if the other would fly away at any second.

But Bakugou knew they wouldn't, not this time. They were each other's fire, the warmth and security they both yearned all their lives. They fueled each other to grow, improve, look forward.