An Autumn Story - MarsForce - 僕のヒーローアカデミア | Boku no Hero Academia (2024)

Chapter 1: Chapter One

Chapter Text

If Bakugou hated something more than the sound of the alarm, it would be what came after. As in synch the loud voice hit his ears and his fist broke yet another device.

She would yell about it, she had warned him not so quietly before, to be more thoughtful about the things he owned, about the things that were bought for him, but she should know better. He had warned her too, in a similar manner.

"Shut up." He yells and the door opens.

An open palm on the back of his head to disciple him and another morning starts poorly.

If she really wanted to try and discipline him, she should be more rough. A half hearted warning, it's something he can senses from afar.

"Get up." She says and opens his window. "You are going to be late."

"Shut up." He tells her. "I am not an old hag to drag my feet."

He refuses to open his eyes.

"Oh? What is it? Are you afraid?" She responds with mockery, just to fuel him. He knows why she does it and it still works. He tosses his blanket, a moment passes and he is on his feet.

He doesn't look at her, if he sees her smiling he would really snap. And then she will ground him, because his mother doesn't care that he isn't a child anymore, she will and then he will miss his first day.

"Take a bath first." He hears her saying as he walks towards the very place she is suggesting.

"What do you think? That I am an idiot?"

She doesn't answer, perhaps because it will cause another fight.

He closes the door with force, earning another scolding.

He can't wait really, to leave this house again.

The water starts flowing and he brushes his hair mindlessly, because the motion comes and goes, but his thoughts are elsewhere.

Today is the first day of the second year.

Today it is the first step to achieve what he is truly meant to achieve.

Because he is destined for greatness. Everyone had said so since he was a child. There was nothing that Katsuki Bakugo couldn't do. Whatever he set his mind. No matter how absurd it was.

Until last year.

Where he set foot in that university which was lucky to have him, he had set foot and he was sure that everything would be played out as before. Everyone trying to catch the trail of his greatness.

Except something seemed off.

From that first day.

And he knew what the initial problem was.

That stupid little cry mash of a person had decided to come to the same place as him.

To study the exact same subject as him.

As if he hadn't annoyed Bakugou enough for three years in school.

But it didn't matter at that time. He still remained the crying idiot loser that he had always been.

Until he wasn't. He was, hell, he still is, a crying idiotic loser, a f*cking extra that nagged Bakugou for his attention to this day, but..

But he started being noticed. He started to excel in more things than he himself was.

And Bakugou got angry. And angry always got him results. But this time it wasn't enough.

Because it wasn't only him anymore.

There was another, a f*cking walking robot, that had dared to challenge Bakugou's supremacy. And this sorry excuse of a human wasn't even in the same major as him. An extra in the extras.

They had taken the same class, all three of them, maybe some more of the other extras that the green mushy plant had befriended had participated and it set Bakugou on for the kill.

Because he had failed. And it was easy not to fail. As easy as he breaths. And it had still happened.

And he blames all these f*cking losers, who are constantly speaking, who had tried once to befriended as if he wasn't suffering enough from their existence. At least they had taken the message and scattered before he would seriously damaged them.

He takes a breath and closes the water.

It is the first day, he tells again and picks up his clothes.

He is destined for greatness in everything he chooses, no matter how unfitting it may seems for him.

He picks up his bag. It is time to leave.

He walks downstairs, ready to finally run away from this house and the old hag and her constant nagging.

His father is standing in front of the table, a breakfast is served for him he says. For good luck and a great year.

He grunts and maybe curses, because he doesn't need luck.

Still he takes a bite from a toasted slice of bread. Just because he likes it. The smile on the old man's face means nothing.

"Behave this year okay?" The loud voice says. "You aren't a child anymore."

He is ready to yell at her, making the departure fitting, but she raises a bag.

"You forgot your camera." She says and brushes his hair roughly. Bakugou moves her hand away and takes it.

_____

The first picture was one in his old man's magazines. A breathtaking view from the top of a mountain. It was almost as if the one that had taken it wanted to show the rest of the world how little they were. That he had gone and see this view, and since only a few could achieve such a feat, he was giving them a glimpse of what they missed. He wanted to be that man.

He still keeps that cover. It is a reminder of what separates him from the rest. He will see things, things that he will capture with his camera for the world to see.

Places and buildings and views, that noone has ever gone before.

He learns early that he needs a body for that. So he trains to be at his top game mentally and physically.

And the idiots around him think that Bakugou is going to play sports, or later that he is joining a gang. But they are idiots. And they are afraid of him.

They think that he is stupid at first because of his temper, but they are they ones at fault for that. If they keep quiet, he wouldn't lose it every second of the day.

When he says about his plan, they are left with a worth punching expression on their faces. But they say nothing. Because they fear him. They say nothing about how they think that a subject like this, it's not fitting for him. They believe that requires an elegance that he doesn't possess.

But there is nothing that he can't do.

Except he is proven wrong. They ask him to photograph people. But he laughs to their faces and he says that he isn't planning to.

Taking a picture of people is dump in his opinion, pointless. People, you see people everyday, nothing special about them. So he refuses, until he is about to fail and he takes the dump photo and he fails again.

In a mediocre subject, of course he fails. He isn't mediocre after all. There isn't anything exciting to begin with, at a person's face.

But he fails alone. As expected he tells himself, all the extras are mediocre and they are sure to excel at a mediocrity.

He is already fueled as he passes by the gate of the prestigious private academy of arts. He is already knows where he is headed. His room will be the same for the three years he is studying here. He doesn't complain. It is in the far east building, the last room to the corridor. Only one neighbour, is more than he wants, but it's better than most.

He walks upstairs like the first time he took this route. Like a king that holds this place into the palm of his fingers.

He bypasses the door next to his. Luckily it's open, the annoying brat that continued to stick with him last year hadn't come yet.

He says, he self-proclaims that he is a friend. Bakugou disagrees with barely tolerable.

At the start, they had sat next to each other, but when the other man had switched his major form photography to painting, Bakugou had hoped that that was the end of it. He was proven otherwise.

It was no wonder that the corridor consisted of people who studied different forms of arts. The rooms were only that much.

There were no girls in this building, probably because these morons, all of them, from any gender, thought that this was a f*cking field trip.

He enters his room, clean and tidy, the things that he had left over the summer break the evidence of his ownership.

He closes the door. He doesn't want to be met with anyone that thought that Bakugou actually wanted to check over their summer or whatever their idiotic nature dictated.

His summer was how it was supposed to be. Honing his craft. Because this year would be exactly as it was supposed to.

____

The first day passes with meetings and passing of books and schedules. And of course Kirishima comes and meets him and he argues that he should had contacted him, that they should have met over the summer. Bakugou just glares at the profanity of his statement. Maybe he has returned more delusional than he had last left him.

He doesn't throw him away though. Barely tolerable. That is why.

The second day, he attends the classes, he measures how much damage will it do, if he murder one or two of the apes that surround him and what he can actually photograph from a prison cell.

Of course Deku approaches him. Of course he is given the proper reaction.

Then thankfully the clown group that surrounds him, takes him away. Not before they give their greetings and receive the same curses. They are frightened as they should be. All except the only person that can declare to annoy him as the green bush of a person. The robot never chickens, never angers, never smiles. He just opens his mouth and the words fly free without any expression.

He had hated him from the first time for that attitude. As if Bakugou was a ghost in his vicinity.

He had hated him more after that project where they needed to work with the whole bunch of the pathetic club that buried themselves into books.

They had to pick a scene from a book for his group to shoot. And he poorly had chosen wrong. A character, instead of a setting. A boring choice that made Bakugou to fail.

And when they gathered together in the library with all the clowns and he spoke with his even voice and his even stare, he had hated him more. But the pick of his hatred came when he first praised the loser. And when he continued on praising him and the loser forgot that he was one and he smiled proudly.

Confident f*cking crybaby was the worst combination of all.

He walks in the next class with annoyance, that forms to fury when the same pathetic bunch is also here.

He wishes he could burn them, this subject is the one that he wants to focus more than any other. It's seemingly random, a project for the whole year. It's seemingly easy and the teacher is always bored. But Bakugou knows that this is the most important class of all. Because if you are successful in this, you have practically the thing for your last essay.

Because the teacher is more than what he seems.

Because he gives a theme, abstract and casual, but it is another facade. The next year, there will be a competition with a theme close to the one they will receive here and if you win, it's a ticket to another competition. There are scouts and possibly at the end of the line a small gallery with ones exhibits.

So he keeps getting more and more irritated as the time passes and the extras don't leave.

When the teacher enters and they still stay, it worries him, if he could ever say that he knows what worry means. But it's when he speaks that he realises it.

"Hello. I am Aizawa Shota. Aizawa-sensei for you. For this year's course we decided to collaborate with the literature department for better results. Teams of two will be formed and present together the results of one year's worth." He stops for a moment.

Just his luck. He will ask to be left alone, he thinks. Noone will stop him this time.

"Now for the theme." He says again with his bored voice and his on cut to the chase attitude.

"Person in the city." He coughs.

f*ck. f*ck this everything. f*ck the literature department.

"Can we decide our partners?" Ponytail says, with her hands raised.

"Your partner is already decided by me and mister Yamada. The literature department already knows who they are, so stay quiet and let them inform you."

"If we have questions about..."

"If you have questions Midoriya, you can find me at my desk. As always." He says tired, but Bakugou can not hear. He scans the room, searching for the extra that need to make to shut up and let him work.

He hears chairs on the floor, some had already contacted their partners, some saying a name, nothing helping with his mood.

Then he catches it. A swift on the ponytail's direction and he glares to the man approaching him. He stands above him, so neutral that he passes as serious.

"I am your partner." He says and if he hates it as much as him, he doesn't know.

"Go die." Bakugou answers and pushes him out of his way to go and fix this horrible mistake.

______

His full rage is displayed for the world to see. The previous noisy atmosphere is disappearing, everyone watches as he yells above the desk of their teacher. The man seems irritated and slightly bored, his arms are crossed as he takes the fury of his words.

"Are you done?" He says as Bakugou stops to catch his breath. "Good." He answers his own question. While he turns his gaze behind Bakugou's back, he realises that the robot has followed him.

"Are you also displeased with your partner Todoroki?" Aizawa asks.

It takes a moment for the poor excuse of a person to talk.

"I believe, we can work better with different partners." His voice is monotone, not bored, but it lacks something, an edge. And his statement doesn't sit well with Bakugou, because even if he agrees with him, he shouldn't have. He should wish for him to be his partner.

"Good." The teacher says. "You both start minus one point. Anything else?" He says and gets up.

Bakugou opens his mouth to yell again at the absurdity of the situation.

"Do you want to lose another point?" He gives them a side glance and walks away from the classroom.

Bakugou throws his fist at the table. He hears a grasp from someone, then whispers. Frightened little chickens.

"We should meet and discuss our options. Are you free after this?" The robot speaks and Bakugou turns to face him.

His eyes are mismatched and the way he chooses to dye his hair are idiotic for a person who doesn't want to stand out.

He weighs his next move. The only thing he wants is to curse him, to punch that face of his. But he has already lost a point and Aizawa is not one to back down.

"Come at my room after class." He commands.

"Wouldn't the library be a more suitable place?"

"Do you want to die halfie?" Bakugou says and puts his bag on his shoulder.

He just looks at him.

"Noisy." Bakugou says and leaves the class and the robot behind.

Only when he hears the knock on his door, he thinks that he really hates other people inside his room. Then again, he can murder him here and get rid of him once and for all. He opens, but he doesn't move out of the way. The silly little creature just looks at him again.

"You told me after class." He says evenly and Bakugou bites his lips hard to avoid another fight. He is stupid as it seems.

He turns around, the steps behind him, even if they are quiet irritate him.

"Sit." He points to the chair of his desk and he sits on his bed.

The robot leaves the bag he is carrying on the floor and sits down. Mechanically and lifeless. Bakugou scoffs, at none and all, at the very air that the man across breaths. Yet he gets no response. As always.

"We are already one step behind the others." The robot says. "We should try and make the best of the situation, even if the other is not our preferable choice of partner."

"Don't tell me what to do."

"I didn't." The robot answers.

"What would it be your first choice halfie?" Bakugou asks. "Your buddy Deku?"

The man titles his head.

"Oh, you mean Midoriya." He says a moment later. "I know him well enough to consider him a good choice."

Bakugou laughs.

"You are stupid aren't you?" He says.

"I don't see the connection." He responds.

He scoffs again and gets up. He removes his laptop from his bag and sets it up on the desk with a loud bang.

"I am the best." He says with a smirk and opens it. He clicks roughly on the keys until a folder opens. Inside there are his biggest achievements over the course of the years.

The man seems reluctant at first, but after a minute he touches the pad. It takes him another minute and a side glance to Bakugou to start rolling down. Perhaps he waited long enough to be sure that was what he needed to do.

Then his elbow touches the desk and he forgets about how Bakugou is beside him, or that is how he seems and his eyes scan the screen. It takes him some time, more because he stops ever so offer to a photo and just stares at it.

When it ends and Bakugou is sure that it has end, because his expression changed, even if lightly, he doesn't remove his eyes from the screen.

"I am awesome." Bakugou says and the boy touches his chin.

"Perhaps if it was a different theme..." He says under his breath.

"What?" Bakugou asks, but he has heard him.

Only then the mismatched eyes turn to him.

"Those.." He says and he points to his side. "Don't help us with the current project." He concludes.

"Huh?" He bursts.

"There is not a single person in those photos." He says calmly.

"So?" Bakugou asks and the man crosses his arms.

"The theme is person in the city." He informs him as if Bakugou has forgotten.

"Those show my supremacy." Bakugou says and closes the screen roughly.

"Okay." The man answers as if it doesn't interest him, as if anything Bakugou had said would be the same.

"So it is not that you can't photograph people." The eyes across seem more focused now.

"There is not something I can not do. I choose not to." Bakugou responds.

"Why?" There is a curiosity in his voice.

"Because people are boring."

There is a silent oh.

He sits on his bed again. This whole interaction has tired him.

"So I am going to choose the location and you are going to write something after I take the photo." He believes it is time to conclude the visit.

"I don't think that is the right way to approach it." The man believes otherwise. "We should discuss more of what we want to show specifically.."

"Listen to me halfie. I am the leader of this project."

"How did we conclude to that?" The question comes again.

"Like this..I said it and you will agree to it." He wants to disperse any thoughts that the other man would have.

"That is not how a partnership works." He insists and Bakugou believes he just doing it to get on to his nerves.

"We are not partners." He yells because the man has achieved it. He is mad.

"We are. For this project at least." He says with his monotonous voice.

"Get out." Bakugou rises from his bed, but the other doesn't follow.

"We still haven't discussed this through."

"I don't do discussions. Are you programed to be stupid?"

He blinks. One, two, three times.

"Because you are a robot f*cking moron." He answers to the dumb look on the face across, because it is clear that he didn't get it.

"Oh." He says and turns the chair to the desk again. "I think we should discuss one more issue."

Is he really stupid? Is he co*cky? He doesn't know, because he has just thrown him out and it feels like he didn't say it with words.

"I am not particularly good at creative writing." He says. "I believe you should know that, before we proceed."

Just what was missing. This extra can not even do his part well. Could this get any more worse?

"f*ck my luck." He says even if he doesn't believe in luck.

He throws his back on the mattress.

"And what can you do mister droid?"

"I can try." He answers and Bakugou doesn't have the energy to argue anymore.

____

They don't meet again. Not for the next three days. Not until the robot stops him after his class ended and he finally can go to his room. Dunce face is on his side, raccoon eyes a few steps ahead, they study the same course unfortunately, and they stop too.

"I think we should talk." The robot says and it seems more serious than what it actually is. It's just the way his voice works and how plain are his statements. Bakugou has concluded that this is the problem.

"What do you want?" He asks, even if he knows. To discuss. Why everyone wants to discuss. There shouldn't be many talks. He should let him handle it. He is useless in every aspect of it anyway.

"I think we should start by finding a model. For the photos I think. Or discuss our direction."

Bakugou scoffs. He already knows what he wants.

"If we want to photograph different people or if our main..." He continues, but Bakugou is already bored.

"One." He replies.

"Okay, what kind of...?"

"Later." He says and stops him.

He takes a step, but a hand grabs his shirt.

Now he is mad.

"Do you want to die?"

"Not particularly." He gets an answer and it feels like mockery.

"If you are busy right now, you should have said so." The mismatched eyes blink once. "I am free later." He says and removes his hand.

Then the group that Bakugou hates approaches and takes the burden in the shape of human away.

"It's going well." Kirishima has come and before Bakugou can glare at him, he laughs his heart out.

"Die." Bakugou scoffs and starts to walk away. But not fast enough, because the three self proclaimed friends of his follow.

"Todoroki is right you know." Ashido whispers. "Me and Yaoyorozu have already decided that she would be the model of our project." She says with a little more excitement than she should."

"Good choice." Kirishima thumbs up.

Bakugou puts his hands in his pockets. He knows all these, he isn't stupid. He knows what should be done, he understands the procedures. Even with the poor choice raccoon eyes has made. She has picked the ponytail because of her looks, but for Bakugou that doesn't cut it. He needs something more if he is forced to photograph another human. Something more than looks, something more of an average pretty, yet boring human.

"So do you want me to fix you up?" Kirishima puts his arm around Bakugou.

"Huh?" He throws the arm off, but it finds itself again on his shoulder.

"There some people that come for our classes. Amateur models and such. So do you want me to arrange a meeting?"

Kirishima earns a glare.

"If you tell me what exactly you are looking for..."

"It won't be better than my Yaoyorozu, but it's a good offer." The smug look on Ashido irritates him. The whole project irritates him.

"I don't need any help." He says and finally escapes the hold of the tomato head.

"Okay. Tell me if you do." The man smiles nevertheless.

____

They force him to go to one of the common areas that the extras choose to study. The stupid duo wants help with another subject. They always need help. If they concentrated more in the actual lesson than gossip they wouldn't need any. They study at the last minute, sleep late, losing focus every five minutes.

Like now, while he is still speaking and Ashido spots ponytail. She gets up and waves to her and her group. And if they weren't stupid, they would see Bakugou's glare. But they are and they approach.

"Momo." The girl hugs ponytail, whom smiles.

"Are you here to study too?" She asks and Bakugou turns his eyes to the book in front of him.

They are the usual annoyances. Ponytail, Four eyes, pink cheeks, useless nerd and of course the robot.

"We here to exchange ideas about the project. I didn't want to disturb you, that is why i didn't contact you. I will fill you in later. I hope this doesn't anger you." Ponytail says.

Ashido laughs.

"Don't worry Momo. It's great. We are finishing up in a while so sit close."

Bakugou scoffs.

"Don't be loud." He says.

But they are. And he can't concentrate, because the nerd monopolise the conversation. He turns and the robot hears him out with extra attention.

His plan is to work only with children and show their perspective of the city.

"Interesting." The robot says a table next to them.

"Stupid." Bakugou speaks in their direction. They turn. They want to reply, he sees it, but they are too scared too. Not all of them. But he doesn't look at that one.

"What is your idea then?" Four eyes pride wins over.

"None of your business." He responds.

"If you want to fail, please do, but don't drag Todoroki-san with you." He tells him.

"Huh?" Bakugou gets up.

The nerd gets up too.

"Kacchan please calm down."

"I am perfectly calm." He yells.

"It doesn't seem so." The robot finally speaks.

"You are gonna die." He shouts at him, but as usual he gets no response.

"I think they all have very interesting ideas and since you are unwilling to cooperate with me, I don't see how else I should proceed." He tells him instead.

"You can't work with my ideas anyway." Bakugou almost smiles. "Have you ever wrote something interesting in your miserable life? How did you get accepted here anyway?"

And he finally gets a response for the first time. It's something between anger and disappointment. As if his eyes are set on fire and they are dulled all the same. He makes a move with his fingers, a fist, but he says nothing. He just gets up, puts his notebook in his bag and walks away. But not before he give Bakugou one last look.

And there is something in those moments that Bakugou can't quite grasp. Not yet. Not now. Because the feeling is completely out of his character. But if someone could tell him, it would be guilt.

____

He can't sleep. He isn't tired. He blames it on that. But it's late and he should sleep. He forces himself to close his eyes. And every time he does, he sees the robot. He opens them again. The robot who angered him with his decision to discuss the matter with others, who angers him every time from the first moment he saw him. The robot who's expression doesn't change, so noone knows if he feels happy, angry, or whatever robots feel.

The robot who got the answer he deserved, because it felt like the extras were blaming him.

Because Bakugou showed him his work and he never said that it was interesting.

He tosses his blanket. Maybe he can't sleep because of the weather. It's still warm in the first days of September.

Now he is cold. So he puts back his blanket. Even the weather is torn in half like his face.

He can't sleep. And he should be.

He removes the cover one last time and gets up. He opens the door and closes it quietly.

Despite what everyone thinks, he can be quiet. He is, when he is alone.

The corridor is poorly lighted, but it's empty so it's easy for him to walk. He knows where he is going and he regrets it with every step.

He knocks at the door in the other end. Once.

If he doesn't get any answer, it means that he was mistaken. It means that the feeling in his mouth, sour like he tasted something rotten, was wrong.

He puts his hands inside his pockets. He is ready to leave, he already feels like an idiot standing here, but the door opens.

The man seems surprised for a split of a second, but his expression changes quickly.

"Oh, it's you." He says.

"Move over." Bakugou replies and he wants to ask who did he expected to be.

"I can hear your insults here." He says. "I was sleeping so be quick."

He is lying. Bakugou knows.

"Move over." He says again and this time the robot wavers.

Bakugou is ready to push him, but he steps aside himself.

He hears the door closing on his back and he watches the room. It is the first time he has entered here.

Simple. A bed on the right side. A small library on the left. A desk with scattered books and a lamp. Which is on.

"So much for sleeping." Bakugou mocks.

"What do you want?" The robot answers and his voice is slightly less monotone.

"I came to discuss. Haven't you nagged me enough to do exactly that?"

He walks to the desk and Bakugou watches him as he closes a book.

"There is no need for that." He says.

"Did you finally realise it?" Bakugou mocks him. That earns his a side glance.

"I will drop the subject. I will try again next year."

"What? Are you a total loser?" He grabs the plain white shirt.

"I don't think it will cause you any problems. You will be assigned to a different group, there are groups of three you know." He says with his even voice.

"That alone is a problem. More people means more problems." He yells.

"It's late. Please lower your voice." He gets answered back.

"If you are going to quit, why are you working this late?"

He stares at him. His eyes are odd, one gray, one blue. Weird, he thinks and it covers the first word that popped in his head.

"It's none of your business." The robot says and it's the first time that he seems satisfied.

It angers him. He pushes the robot at the desk to wipe that smug look out of his face.

"Don't mess with me." He tells him.

The robot pushes him back, but with no result.

"Did I hurt your feelings? That's why you want to quit? You are such a loser."

"I am taking a break from this course." He responds evenly. "You should be satisfied. You don't want to work with me anyway."

"Listen to me you little idiot. You are not going to quit." He is too close to his face. He hopes that he gets the message from his death stare.

"Why?" The robot asks. He sounds almost surprised.

"You are assigned to me and my team doesn't quit."

"You are really weird." He pushes him again with more force this time.

Bakugou takes a step back, but he doesn't release him.

There a moment of silence. More than a moment. It is a contest of will.

One that the robot loses. Because he speaks and his voice is tired.

"I got accepted through recommendation." He says. "I assume you know who my father is."

He knows. Everyone knows. A promising star at his younger days. A well established actor later in life. A producer these days. A very connected man.

"So your daddy put you in here?" Bakugou mocks and the anger flashes in the mismatched eyes for a moment.

"He recommended me. And not enthusiastically, I assure you of that."

"It's the best school." Bakugou scoffs.

"But not the best course." The robot replies and he is no longer a robot. "For him at least."

"It doesn't matter." He continues. "I will prepare better for next year."

Bakugou removes his hand roughly as if he has touched something dirty.

"Loser." He says.

"Are you done?" The robot asks.

"Is this some sort of rebellion? Like the hair?" Bakugou asks. "I don't care about this kind of the stuff. If it is, go and die."

"I love writing." He answers loudly. "I just can't put my thoughts on paper."

"I will give you a photo to write about. Loser." He says almost calmly.

He thinks about it. Bakugou knows. He looks on the floor when he does.

"You won't consult the idiots. And you won't discuss our project with them."

"I haven't agreed yet." He raises his eyes.

"I am the best." His hands find his pockets.

The other set of arms across him wrap together.

"You will discuss with me." He says.

"Fine." Bakugou replies a minute later and he rests his back on the wall.

The robot turns to his desk. He is angry. Somehow Bakugou can tell. Less angry than before. But he is. Well, Bakugou himself isn't exactly thrilled but his team won't fail. Even if it means that he is his team.

"What did you mean about my hair?" He asks then with his usual voice.

"You dyeing them." He sure is dumb.

"I am not." He says. "My...mom was born like this. And I inherited it."

"Like half?" Bakugou asks.

"No. Hers are all white."

He almost tastes the silence.

"So about the model." He speaks again. Practical. Simple.

"It's going to be tough." Bakugou scoffs. "Be prepared. I want something unique."

He tells him and the word fells too familiar.

Chapter 2: Chapter Two

Chapter Text

Kirishima ends up arranging a meeting. Bakugou sits at the wall, looking annoyed at the few people that Kirishima chose. They don't cut it. But he caves, because really noone has a face that Bakugou wants to actually photograph. The robot sits at a chair, just a few steps ahead. He is taking their contact information. He can at least do that much.

This is dragging for too long and when is about to burst, the last person finally leaves the classroom that is filled with the smell of paint and paper.

"So what did you think?" Kirishima says with his excited smile.

Bakugou chuckles.

"You can at least be a little grateful." He responds playfully.

"Thank you Kirishima-san." The robot says and gets up from his chair, only to bow slightly at the man who is his self-proclaimed friend.

"No need to thank me Todoroki. I know how he can be." He laughs. "We are friends after all."

"We are not." Bakugou scoffs.

"Not manly." Kirishima responds, but he is not hurt. They have done this exchange many times.

The robot just looks, as if he is a little lost.

"Let's go." Bakugou says and the robot follows.

"Can we stop by the library?" He tells him when they are finally out of the room.

"What for?" He asks, not really thrilled about the suggestion.

"We haven't really talked and I would like to.."

"Not happening." Bakugou stops him.

"You said.." The robot starts with his serious voice. It has an edge that one, easily missed if you don't listen carefully.

"Let's go." He starts to walk, but the man doesn't follow him. "What is it now?" Bakugou turns.

"We agreed to work on this properly." He tells him.

"Are we going to do it in the corridor? Are you dumb or something?"

He stays there still. Expressionless.

"Move you f*cking dork. I know a place." Bakugou raises his voice and only then the other man makes a step.

He passes through the gate and makes a left turn. He doesn't look at his side, not directly at least but the robot sure follows him. He doesn't ask again, where they are going or anything else. There is a park two blocks ahead and if you take another turn to the right, there is a small cafe, queit and mostly unknown. He had sat there with his old man last year.

There are kids still playing in the park, throwing a ball that almost misses him. Bakugou glares and the kids are frightened, but the robot leans down, takes the ball and gives it to them. They scatter after that.

It would be a nice place here, if the people were less, if their noises didn't echoed through the trees. It will not be long, he thinks when he looks at the leaves that are starting to grow red. The chill weather will remove them from here.

The noise of hands clasping together, make Bakugou turn to the robot. It seems as if he is trying to remove an invisible dirt. Then he looks at his face. The scar on his left side looks like a leaf.

"What?" The robot asks.

He never answers.

They sit down and they order. Bakugou stares outside the window, but he knows the robot looks at him. He wants to ask questions, but he finally submits to the silence.

It's after their order comes, after he takes a sip or two that he speaks.

"So?" He only says, but it's enough to make Bakugou to glare.

"Why are we here?" Unfazed as always he continues.

"To discuss, without all the noisy extras."

Bakugou rests his face on his palm and observes him. He seems satisfied for now.

"I have decided what we are going to do." He says. "I am going to photograph the best, the most striking parts of the city."

"And what about the..."

"Shut up and let me finish."

He chuckles, waits for a moment and then continues. "And I am going to put a person on each one that will make the place almost irrelevant."

He is confused. His brows are slightly up. He can make an expression or two as it seems.

"I thought you found people boring. I was under the impression that you would highlight the city instead of the person."

"You would think that huh?" He mocks him. "But how perfect am I for not going for my strongest aspect?" He says.

He doesn't answer, but his confusion isn't erased.

"We will do a different site, different person." He adds.

"You told me that it will be one before."

"I changed my mind." He raises his voice slightly.

"Will that be a frequent occurrence?" The robot asks.

"I am telling you my plan. Are you going to listen or what?" God, how he annoys him. He didn't seem to interrupt the loser when he explained the other day.

"Sorry." He speaks then.

"So, we are going to search for the places starting tomorrow. Then I am going to decide which of the losers the idiot hair brought, will be more suited for each. I am going to take the photo and then you..." He points at him. "Are going to squeeze that head of yours to write down something decent."

Now he is worried. He looks at the table. Then outside.

"Not that it matters." Bakugou tells him and he turns. "My photos will be the main theme. So write down whatever."

"I..I am thinking something like an ongoing poem." He says.

"Finally a contribution." Bakugou scoffs and he misses the slight upraise of the other man's lips.

"Drink your coffee." Bakugou says and they don't talk after that.

The wind is more chilly when they leave. The sun is setting, but there is still light in the sky.

He is glad he brought a jacket. Autumn is tricky.

They take a step and he sees the robot brushing his arm. What an idiot. He wore a t shirt in a day like this. The school isn't far. He just has to endure for a while. He does it again and again, but his unchanged expression is the only thing on his face. It irritates him, the constant movement.

"Stop moving your hands every five seconds." He says and the robot looks at him.

"I didn't think it will be this cold by now." He responds.

"You are such a loser." Bakugou scoffs and puts off his jacket. He pushes it to the robot chest.

"Here. Take that and stop being such a bother."

He takes it indeed, but he doesn't put it on.

"Won't you be cold?" He asks, somewhat surprised.

"I wore long sleeves. I am not a total idiot."

He observes the jacket once more, until he decides to wear it.

"Thank you." The robot says, but he isn't a robot anymore. No. He has a name Bakugou thinks. Shoto Todoroki is smiling.

____

Shoto Todoroki. It must have been the tenth time he repeated in his head and it still seems strange somehow. He thinks that it will be even weirder to say it out loud. He doesn't know why. It's just a thought and it bugs him. It angers him.

He would recall later, it is this instant that he should have known. That he should have been more wary, more observant. That he should have understood.

But he doesn't, not for now at least.

He growls and looks at the ceiling. Shoto Todoroki. What an absolute idiot.

Bakugou has been completely irritated by him in all of their interactions and still the thing that forces an expression out of him is a jacket.

What an insufferable loser.

He hopes that the robot doesn't think that he will be friendly from now on. He won't. It was just a gesture to stop the constant trembling on his arms, the ever moving hands that bugged him. Bakugou did it for himself really. He has to remind the robot of that.

The door knocked and Bakugou glares at it. If it's Kirishima at this late hour, he will seriously murder him.

The door knocks again and he opens it with force.

The half bastard stands before him.

Oh. He has seriously misunderstood, coming here at this hour, like they are some kind of buddies.

"I'm sorry. Did I wake you?" He says.

"Yes. Now do you want to die?" Bakugou tries to keep his voice down.

"You said tomorrow, we will be going to check the sites." He puts his hands inside his sweater. It isn't the jacket he gave him. At least he had the decency to change.

"Yeah?" Bakugou scoffs again.

"Tomorrow is Saturday." The answer comes as if it explains it.

"What about it?"

"We don't have lessons tomorrow."

He is starting to hit on his nerves.

"Do you have somewhere to be or what?" Bakugou yells this time, without thinking of the late hour or about the fact that they shouldn't be wondering in the corridor.

The robot looks at his side as he raises his hand to cover Bakugou's mouth.

He catches it before it happens and robot looks back at him.

"I swear I will break it." He tells him.

"You are being really loud." He responds evenly and retreats his hand from his hold.

"I meant..." He says and Bakugou thinks that he is slightly angry. "I don't have your contact."

"Huh?"

"So what time are we supposed to meet? I just realised that we haven't agreed on that." He says.

"That is why you wake me up?" He says. "Fine. Write down." He stops him from saying anything less.

The screen lights up his face. When he stops pressing numbers, he raises his eyes.

"Won't you write mine too?" He asks.

"No need." He tells him and closes the door to his face.

He hears a vibration and then his cellphone brightens up. He walks at his desk and looks at it. There is a message there from a number that isn't on his list.

"What time?"

Bakugou opens the door again, but Todoroki isn't there anymore.

He groans. He is going to die someday soon.

"Nine." He writes back and a blink away the answer comes.

"Thank you. Goodnight."

He doesn't answer back. He weighs if he has to register the number in his phone, but refrains.

He goes back to sleep with the annoyance that is called Shoto Todoroki lingering still in his mind.

____

He wakes at eight and takes a bath.

He looks outside the window to see what kind clothes he should wear. A baggy black jacket would be fine for today. He hears his phone blink. It's an unknown number. Yet not so unknown when he opens the text.

"What kind of coffee do you drink?"

He's tempted to ask who it is.

"No sugar. Milk." He writes, but he thinks for a moment before he sents it. "You better not be late."

He leaves the phone and puts on his jacket. Should he take another one. It would be really bothering if the idiot forgets to dress up properly. He decides otherwise in the last minute. If he can't handle it, he will send him back this time.

Saturdays are for lazy people. The whole weekend is for lazy people. The corridors are booming with noise and talks about plans and meetings. Luckily all this cacophony is queited down as he descends.

He pass by the front door and walks to the main gate. That's where they have agreed on meeting.

And sure he is right there, Bakugou spots him immediately and he is talking to someone.

He glares.

"Good morning." He says, but Bakugou responds nothing. He turns away his gaze to the ponytail who stands in front of him.

"Hello." She says, a little reluctant, but not less polite.

She doesn't get an answer either.

He starts to walk past them and he hears the departure words of the idiot as he approaches him.

"You could spare the minimum of politeness, you know." He says and before he curses him, a hand holding a cup is in front of him.

"Here." He says and Bakugou chuckles.

He takes it and drink nevertheless. He will buy him lunch or something. He doesn't want to own.

"Are we going to the train?" He asks after a while.

Bakugou makes a noise of confirmation.

"And then?" It seems he wants to know everything.

"Shut it for a while, will you?"

He doesn't speak again.

They arrive at the station in that silence. Bakugou takes his bag from his back and holds it in his stomach. His camera is in there and it's a habit by now, protecting it.

The stations pass one by another. This root will take them to the heart of the city. He has chosen the first site for two reasons. One because the building he wants stands old and grand in contrast to the area its in. And two because he wants to feel the city itself. To stand in the middle of the busy streets and watch its surroundings. Photography if handled properly, its a story without words. Even if his would have letters to accompany it, because the project dictates so. He hopes the idiot would be at least decent about it. He looks at his side, but the man looks away. His eyes are at the window on the other side. Taking in the view or thinking. Bakugou isn't sure.

"We get off at the next stop." He tells him and he has his attention.

He nods. He was thinking, Bakugou concludes.

They pass by the crowd, thankful for the day, because the people are less and exit the station. Bakugou takes a turn and he realises that the robot is not with him. He walks back a few steps and spots him. He grabs his grey jacket and pushes him along side him.

The man follows easily, too easily if Bakugou could guess.

"What are you, a kid?" He tells him when they stop at the red light.

"Sorry. I was a bit distracted."

"Whatever." Bakugou scoffs.

The light turns green again and they walk. Thankfully he manages to follow for the rest of the road.

Bakugou stops and he stops with him.

"Have we arrived?" He asks and Bakugou points at the building a few steps ahead.

"Are we going to go in or.."

"No." He tells him.

The library stands grand and tall. As a relic of the past, as a reminder.

The man looks at him and then the building. Him again. He wants to ask, it's evident but he has already told him to shut up, so he refrains. That's a first.

"I want most of the pictures if not all to be outside." He rewards him for his silence.

"Oh. I see." He responds. "You have really thought it through." He says with a faint smile.

"Of course I do. Do you think that I am playing here?" He shouts, but the other isn't affected.

"No, it's just.." He thinks for a moment and Bakugou glares. He is sure is going to say something utterly stupid. "When Midoriya said that you are really good at what you do, I was a little reluctant to believe it."

"I will burn you alive." He confirmes it. He really wants to die.

"So what are we going to do now?" He asks as if the threat isn't heard.

"You are going to sit like a good boy and let me work. Maybe think of something to write."

There's a move on his mouth, like his lips twitch, but it passes quickly and Bakugou lets his focus drift away.

He wants to take some photos from different angles, really examine the building and the street, its marbled stairs and its big windows that are open and far so noone from outside can look. If there is a way to point it and let it be lost at the same time.

He has forgotten about Todoroki for the next hour. He tries to find the right spot and gets angrier by the minute. The people passing and he can't picture a way for someone to overshadow the grand building. He takes a step back, a few more and he kneels.

When he looks at the photo he has taken, he sees the street forming in front of him, the library with all its glory on the left side of the road, but his eyes are focused on the man sitting at the short stony wall. His feet don't reach the pavement, his hands fall inside them as if he doesn't have a care in the world. But his gaze is set at the building as his head is slightly raised.

He finds his angle.

"Oi." He calls at him. "Do you think this is a field trip? I don't see you working."

"I am." He tells him calmly.

"Tsk."

He starts packing his things.

"Are we done?"

"Yes. I am that great." He responds.

"What is the next step?"

"Program you to be less annoying." Bakugou scoffs, but the robot has his idiotic expression on. "We will decide on the model next."

"Okay."

He packs, but doesn't leave. Not yet. He wants to wait until the sun is a little further up the sky, to see the reflexion on the big windows.

Another hour passes, when he gets up.

His stomach warns him that it's time to eat, as they walk back at the station.

"This way." He tells the robot and as every good machine, he does what he is instructed.

They stop at a stall.

"What do you want?" Bakugou asks and he points after a long minute.

"Sit there." He orders him.

He is searching his wallet, when Bakugou returns.

"Here halfie. It's on me."

He is surspised, then shakes his head in denial.

"I said take it. It's for the coffee this morning."

He does.

"Thank you. You didn't have to, though."

"Eat. For f*ck's sake you are more annoying that the nerd."

He takes a bite. Another one.

"Midoriya really looks up to you."

"As he should be. And then die."

He hears a laugh. Subtle. And he turns.

"I mean it, I will.."

"I know, I know. You will kill me." He tells him lightly. "Still, it's admirable, your confidence."

"Do you mock me?"

"No." He answers seriously.

"It's not confidence." Bakugou says. "It's just the reality."

This time he doesn't laugh, even though Bakugou sees in his mismatched eyes that he wants to.

"So?" He asks and the idiot seems confused. "What is it with you today?"

His eyes widen a little and Bakugou smirks.

"It's nothing." He answers.

"Whatever." Bakugou loses his interest. "Don't let it get in my way."

It's early afternoon when they are finally on their way back. The train is less packed than the morning. It's easy to find seats with noone at their side.

He will upload the pictures and look them again to be sure. Then he has to review the people that came the other day, the models, and see if anyone is even slightly worthy.

The sun passes through the train's windows, but it's weak, an autumn sun.

"I wrote something." He hears from his side.

"We haven't a photo yet." Bakugou tells him.

"I know."

"Show me." He orders.

"It's not finished." He says and Bakugou glares.

When he is sure that will be it, the robot opens his bag.

"Did you carry it with you?" He says.

"It doesn't fit today's place." Todoroki holds the notebook in his hands.

"We agreed that you will write about the pictures I take."

Todoroki nods and he doesn't seem willing to let go of the blue book in his hands.

"I am f*cking losing my patience."

He raises his hands, offering it.

"It's the first page." He tells him and as soon as he takes it, it's obvious that the book is new.

His handwriting is recognisable, good even, and he thinks that he expected it to be.

It's the way your hands move like snowflakes

The icy taste your words leave in my mouth

Your eyes that contain the storm and I am warm in the endless winter

I am touched by the snow too yet you only see fire

There are no smudges Bakugou notices, but at the end there are little dots that form a circle where he had been tapping his pen.

He reads it again.

He sees the city, lost behind the white. The buildings and the streets, the trees at the parks, that seems one and the same under the first snow. And in the middle, the only thing that can be recognised, the odd dot in the harmony, a red haired person with each hands open.

He closes the book.

"Don't turn this into a f*cking love story." He tells him and hands him the notebook.

Todoroki blinks, his head is slightly titled to the side.

"A love story?" He asks.

"For whoever inspired this." He points.

He blinks once more.

"Oh. Is that how it seems?" He asks and looks at his book. He puts it back in his bag a moment later and the sound of the train follows them for the end of the ride.

There are no words, not until they arrive at Todoroki's door.

"Send me when you decide who the model is gonna be." He speaks clearly, unfaced. Bakugou glares. "I have all their contact informations."

He stops.

"I will try harder." He tells him then. "The notes from before, I will make it work."

It's good, he wants to tell him. No need for correction.

"I told, I am not the best in creative writing."

You are an idiot.

"We will take the photo for this when the first snow falls. Finish it before that."

He turns. But then he remembers that Todoroki is a f*cking moron.

"Finish it. Don't correct it." He warns him and leaves for his room. He has much work to do.

The picture from this morning is mocking him at his laptop screen an hour later.

______

The girl he chose is chatty. Too chatty for his taste. She has spent the last ten minutes talking about herself, unfaced by the glares Bakugou gives her, by his crossed arms and the loud breaths he takes. She just switches her attention to the boy beside him, who seems willing to listen. Bakugou gives him side glances, yet the boy is nodding his head, invested in the story of the aspiring model. She is not a model, but she wants to be. The only remotely good thing is that her voice is not squishy. So Bakugou decides to master the last drops of his patience and focus on her features and the way they fit in the picture he wants to take. She is blonde, her hair almost passes the middle of her chest, her skin is touched by the sun and her features are elegant, almost taken from another decade. He can see her in brown clothes, a 70's look maybe, sitting on that shallow wall, staring at the building across. Yeah, she fits into it, so he doesn't yell at her to stop just yet. He is almost thankful that Todoroki is here, almost. He takes her words and Bakugou can focus on planning.

The cafeteria inside the campus is starting to fill in with more crowd than what he prefers, so he coughs. Once. Todoroki turns at him, but it takes one more cough for the girl to stop.

"Oh, I talked too much." She says with a giggle.

"I think it's nice to know about the person behind a picture." Todoroki says, earning a glare from him. But as always he remains unfaced.

"So tell me more about you."

She is testing his patience.

"I am doing the writing and Bakugou does the photography." He responds.

"So will you write about me?" She asks with enthusiasm.

"He will write about the picture." Bakugou scoffs.

"But won't I be in the picture?" She says then.

He clicks his tongue. Then he scoffs once more.

"The you in here and the person in the picture are two different things." He tells her as if she is an idiot.

"Oh how so?"

He breaths.

"I don't give a damn about who you are." Bakugou tells her like he is explaining the basics to a toddler. "Only how the way you look fits in the story I want to show. He will write about the person in that story."

She looks amazed and Bakugou shakes his head, turning his attention to Todoroki, almost telling him an insult about the girl.

But when he meets his gaze, the mismatched eyes are looking him intensely and it drops all his will about any more word.

He turns his attention to his right. A group has sat at the other end of the big table, they are occuping in the moment.

He doesn't know them, not even know from what department they are in. He shouldn't anyway, he was never interested in other people in general.

"So when do we start?" The girl asks again and she caughts their attention. They say something between each other, something, that he can't hear, but knows all too well, that makes them snicker.

Then one of them turns to the girl.

"What a rough voice for a woman." He says and she freezes for a moment. Only a second, before she turns to him, smiling politely.

"I guess." She says.

The man moves his upper body forward and Bakugou watches as it takes all of her strength to not flinch back.

"Are actually a dude?" He says, making the rest of his group to burst into laughter.

"No." She answers seriously, but her jaw is clenched.

"Maybe we should go." Todoroki gets up and the girl follows.

Bakugou just sits and watches.

"Show us your little dick." Another one says and another laughter breaks.

This time she doesn't turn, doesn't respond but Bakugou sees her from this angle.

He gets up.

"fa*ggot." The man across him says and it takes a moment for Bakugou to jump at the table and grab him. He punches and the man falls from his chair, dragging Bakugou with him. He hears the commotion, the grasps and the silence after his second punch. Someone tries to push him away, but he looks at the man and he smirks.

"Are you ready to be crashed?" He says and he sees the terrified look on the other's face.

The force behind him grows stronger, making them separate, but not before he kicks him on his private parts, making the man on the floor winch in pain.

"Both of you at the principal's office." A teacher says, he isn't sure which one. "Now."

____

He is standing in front of the man, that almost looks like an animal, with his short body and his black little eyes. He hears the scolding about how violence is not allowed in the grounds of this campus, how nothing good ever comes from punches. He hears the man beside him saying that Bakugou jumped into him out of nowhere and it takes just a glare from him, to mumble something about a joke and how it meant nothing.

He is terrified. Bakugou is at least happy with that. He is scared and his face is bruised and it makes him at peace. He knows the type. Big words and loud mouths, but a punch makes them to shut up and run in terror. The principal asks what kind of joke it was, a poorly explanation comes and the little black eyes grow darker. He looks at Bakugou, tells him that he won't tolerate this behaviour again, that it is the first and the last time he will get away with it. Then he motions him to leave. When the man he beat up tries to follow him, the principal stops him. Yeah, he is at peace.

He closes the door behind him, taking the first step away, but not before he hears the voice of the man that occupies this office. It's loud and scary, he has never heard it before like this, and it makes him almost smile.

He puts his hands inside the pocket of his pants and raises his head. Only then he spots the girl, whose name he fails to remember. Todoroki is right beside her, his hand on her shoulder. She seems like she cried. He rolls his eyes and starts to walk, almost passes them.

"Thank you." She says and he stops.

"Whatever." He responds and he walks again, but the two of them follow.

"I'm sorry. Did they punish you?" She asks and then. "I should have said something myself."

"Yeah, don't be a loser like that." Bakugou answers roughly.

She nods.

"I..It's just.." She tries to speak.

"A good beating makes me creative." He responds. "We will start on Friday. Halfie will give you the address and the clothes that you should wear. Don't be late."

"I..I won't." She smiles. "Thank you."

He scoffs and his steps make him walk a little further ahead.

He hears as Todoroki shares departing words when they reach the entrance. She mumbles again, sniffs and then laughs, her hands waving a goodbye at the end.

They walk in silence, passing the stairs and finding themselves at the corridor.

"You could have been expelled." Todoroki finally speaks as Bakugou touches the doorknob.

"I am the best. They could not expell me." He says and turns his key.

"Bakugou." The man speaks. "I am serious."

"What a surprise." He laughs at him and when the silence meets him he turns around.

The boy stares.

"What do you want loser? Afraid to finish this project on your own? Get off my back."

Todoroki doesn't flinch, does nothing in matter of fact.

But his mouth opens after a while.

"That was a noble thing to do." He says, catching Bakugou off guard.

"Whatever halfie." He says. "They just got on my nerves. They needed a little beating to remind them that they are losers."

"But, don't do that again." He says with his serious tone.

"Huh?" He takes a step towards the boy. "What are you, my guardian or something?"

"They won't let you get away the second time." He says.

"Don't worry halfie. I always win my battles."

The boy smiles faintly and Bakugou steps away.

"I didn't think you even liked Aya. Not fight for her sake." Todoroki says.

"I didn't fight for her." Bakugou says.

"No?" The boy asks.

"No." He answers and looks at him for a brief moment until he turns to his door.

"I just hate that word." He says and opens the door to his room.

____

The first time he heard it, he didn't know what it meant. It wasn't addressed to him anyway, so he didn't give it a second thought.

The second time he heard it, it was followed by laughs and a cry. Again neither was his own.

He knew the meaning by the third time. It was usually followed by a Midoriya likes boys or a Midoriya is a girl. And it always ended up with a denial of it and an extended crying that led his nerves to break.

He beated the boys up by the fourth. And when they said something like Bakugou likes Midoriya he beated them up again. That shut them up for good. He still remembers his parents coming to school, the old hag grounding him for a month, his old man trying to discuss it with him, words similar to the ones the principal said. And he remembers Deku thanking him. And sticking to him from then on.

No insults came again and they moved past their junior years. Bakugou's fame followed him through as the problematic child, the boy noone should cross paths with. He was glad. They feared him as they should. A bunch of losers, steps and steps underneath him, not able to catch up.

They were in middle school when Deku talked to him for the first time about the incident that happened back then. "I am not". He had said. "I like girls." Bakugou knew already. He had known from the start. And then he proceeded to talk about the girl that he liked and Bakugou hated him for that.

Because Bakugou was. And all the insults were right. They were just addressed to the wrong person.

____

"You had one f*cking job." Bakugou tells him as he drags his feet to the girl's house whose name he still doesn't remember.

"It's easier this way." Todoroki says. " We will give her the clothes, see what it fits and start from there."

Bakugou scoffs.

"You should have gone by yourself."

"And what would happen if you didn't like what I decided. You have a thing for control." Todoroki says without bite in his voice.

"Shut up." He tells him and the boy does as told.

They pass by a ramen stall and a convenience store and through a door, that seems unlocked, leading to a stair and finally to the girl's small flat.

She exchanges pleasantries with Todoroki, Bakugou could not care less about being nice. He views that place which almost looks like a boutique, clothes hanging from everywhere.

There's a wall with pictures of her on it. Some are professional, he can see it, some are just her and other people.

"Would you like a coffee? Tea? I have booze too, but I guess it's too early for that." She says.

Bakugou glares at Todoroki. He should do it anyway. This mess is all his fault.

"We are fine. Thank you." He says politely, but his tone would always seem distant to others. God. He spends too much time with him.

"Maybe try the clothes to see which of them fits."

"Okay." She says enthusiastically and Todoroki nods, giving her the bags he is carrying.

Bakugou sits on the couch and waits. He looks at the boy who's stare is at the closed door.

"So did you write something yet?" He asks and his eyes turn on him.

"I have." He says.

"Show me." Bakugou demands.

"I don't have it with me." He tells him.

"Liar." Bakugou smirks and Todoroki stares.

"It's not finished." He tells him after a while. "I will show it to you when it is." He turns his gaze to the door again.

"That wasn't a problem before." Bakugou crosses his arms.

He watches as the fingers on the fist across him curl.

"That was different." He says, with a voice that doesn't betray any emotion.

"Huh? How?"

Todoroki doesn't answer and when Bakugou is ready to ask again the door opens and the girl comes out.

"So what do you think?" She asks and makes a turn. "It's too brown from my taste." She says and points to the clothes around. "But maybe it fits the person you envisioned Bakugou-san." She looks at him.

"No. Next." He tells her and she pouts, but leaves nevertheless.

"It's getting f*cking annoying." He speaks to himself. To Todoroki.

He doesn't say anything and Bakugou gets up.

"Hey." He speaks and Todoroki doesn't turn. "Halfie I am f*cking talking."

"We should see the next..."

He grabs his arm.

"What do you think about this?" She says and makes another turn. Bakugou scoffs once more. Too chatty, too cutie. It makes him want to gag.

"No more skirts." He tells her. "And if I see you make another f*cking turn..."

The girl is startled.

"Let's see the next one." Todoroki adds in his flat tone.

He turns to him only when the other person disappears for the third time.

"We are the ones that brought the clothes." He points.

"Didn't you drag me here to decide?" Bakugou argues back.

It seems he is about to sigh, but doesn't in the end.

"Fair point." He says. "But be at least more polite."

"f*ck off." He sits on the couch.

It is the forth item that fits for her to be the person Bakugou has in his mind.

He tells her how he wants her hair to be and not to change anything in the outfit. One change and she is out. She nods as if being instructed with a serious task.

They wait another hour for her to be ready and hit the road.

"Is everyone so meticulous or just you Bakugou-san?" She asks as Bakugou looks at his watch.

"I don't give a damn about the extras." He responds without raising his gaze.

"The extras?"

"He means his classmates." Todoroki explains and earns a glance from him. It isn't his tone, if anything his voice remains the same whatever he says. But Bakugou feels he is taunting him somehow.

"I mean the extras." He corrects. "Everyone that isn't me."

The girl titles her head. It seems she has more questions and his hunch doesn't fail him.

"Is Todoroki-san an extra?"

He chuckles.

"No." He scoffs and when he meets the gaze beside him, he feels his statement needs for a better explanation. "For this assignment at least."

"That was nice." Todoroki says quietly enough for the girl in the front not to hear.

"Don't flatter yourself halfie."

"I don't." He answers honestly.

It drains his energy, this boy. It drains it so much that he half responds, half curses him.

They finally arrive. And despite the impression of her, she manages to follow his instructions and keep quiet. Todoroki doesn't say much either, helps him set his equipment or fetch something that Bakugou needs and by the end he is lost behind his back, finding a bench to sit.

Bakugou knows where the sun should be when he takes the photo. So the extra time until the afternoon light hits the building, he spends it to prepare his model. Where she should sit, how, what kind of expression he wants her to have.

And it takes hours and it should be perfect, because she is remarkably professional and follows through. But it's not. Something is missing. He knows it. He sees it. And they don't have much time left, and it would take them another day or more, if the weather is his ally, if the next day is as clear as this one.

She is waiting for him to make a remark, to shape her into the person that she should be, that he has envisioned. It's written in his face, he is sure, the frustration.

"Can I help?" She tells finally and the urge to shut her up comes stronger than ever.

"Yeah be less f*cking boring."

It deforms her features, but says nothing more.

He closes his eyes and tries to see. What was it the first time, what made him say that's it.

Todoroki was just sitting just like her, facing the building just like her. His arms were in the inside of his open legs, a carefree posture in contrast with the look his eyes...

He turns around. His gaze is on his notebook, the bastard is writing again without showing him. His hair are falling down as his head is downwards. But they are short enough for Bakugou to see. That's it, he thinks. That is what will take all the eyes from the grand building to the small person that sits across.

"Listen loser." He points his finger to the girl. "Don't change your posture from before. But do something about your eyes."

"What do you mean?" She chews her nail and Bakugou wants to ask if she hasn't f*cking heard him.

"They are too damn cheery."

"Do you want me to be sad?" She asks and it is a very serious question and Bakugou stops the urge to point at the boy on his back. I want them to be more like his.

"No soapy. Crying is the worst." He scoffs. A mountain wouldn't need to ask him anything. A mountain would be a mountain and he would have taken all the pictures that he wanted. No need for explanations.

"Think of something that doesn't make you cry, but not happy either. That kind of look."

"Like the time I..."

"I don't f*cking care." He tells her.

"Maybe I will think about how you treat me." She tells him playfully and he wants to stop the photoshoot right then and there.

But she turns and it takes a moment, more than a moment and her gaze turns to different shades until it stops right where Bakugou wants it. Right how he had imagined it. He had seen it. And as the orange light falls on the wood and it reflects its colour to the windows, the passenger cross the street and Bakugou can only see the image on his mind manifest to a single moment. It's a thrill, a revelation, a feeling he hasn't grasp for a long time. A fulfillment.

It doesn't show on his face. Not then. Not when Todoroki insists that they should accompany her to her house. Not when they walk the road and they arrive and she says something to Todoroki that Bakugou doesn't hear and he frankly doesn't care to.

It's disturbed thought when the boy says that he wants to see something a little back and he should wait him there. He is lying and Bakugou frowns as he watches him walk further behind aimlessly.

He is ready to follow, to ask him what the f*ck up is with him, but it fully crashes when the other one speaks.

"It's been a pleasure Bakugou-san." She says. "I asked Todoroki-san to give us a moment."

Then he glares.

"I wanted to thank you properly. For today and for..the other day. For stepping up for me."

"I didn't." He tells her and he searches the boy with his eyes, that does a terrible job to seem occupied.

"Maybe we should grab a drink sometime. My treat." She says again.

"Not a chance." He responds.

"Can I have your number?" She pushes then.

"No." This time is a growl.

She bit her lips.

"Is it because I am...?" She says a little sadly. "Because you know..."

This is tiring. And it doesn't interest him.

"It's because you are a girl." He says honestly, bluntly.

Her eyes widen for a second and then she giggles.

"Rejection never felt so nice before." She says and before he throws a tantrum she speaks. "Thanks again." She smiles and disappears behind her door.

He puts his hands in his pockets and walks to the direction of the traitor.

"Oi. What the f*ck was that?" He yells.

"She wanted to thank you, so I gave you some space." He responds.

It seems that he is a bigger idiot than Bakugou had thought, but he doesn't address the matter any further.

"Sent me the picture when you are done. I think it will help me complete the piece I wrote."

"Of course it will." His chin is up to the sky and Todoroki lets a small smile.

It's because you are girl. Yet there was another thought, one that Bakugou couldn't pinpoint yet. Hazy in the back of his mind so he let it drift it away for now.

Chapter 3: Chapter Three

Chapter Text

The next days pass quickly. Bakugou is busy processing the photos that he's taken, deciding from one split of a second to the next. He would much like to stay in his room all day to do just that, but he has no tolerance for skipping classes. So he attends the lessons at day and works as soon as they end.

He hasn't seen the robot much, a passing at a corridor, a glance between doorframes. He hasn't nudged him either, so when he finishes, he rewards him. He sends the picture in a heartbeat and then decides to take a moment to look at it.

He hates to admit it, but the girl, Aya-san, a flat voice in his mind repeats as if her name is relevant, did a good job. It really speaks a story. Even if no one can listen to it, mostly because of their stupidity.

He turns to his phone, waiting. For what?

It's late and he should probably sleep. So he does just that.

The next day ends with the same feel of expectancy. And the next.

He wakes up already in a mood. He hasn't slept well, disturbed by the faintest of noises and knocks never heard. He focuses on classes, but the breathing around them is too loud as if they are all f*cking animals. By noon, he is certain, he will murder someone.

Kirishima sits on his side, telling a story about his summer vacations, making weirdo one and two giggle. They will be his first victims in his killing spree.

"No way." Alien weirdo almost screams.

"Yeah, yeah.." Kirishima nods enthusiastically, shaking the table with his body. "And there was a hidden..."

"Shut up, shut up, shut the f*ck up." Bakugou hits the table and glares at them.

Blonde idiot is taken aback.

"Someone is moody." Alien weirdo speaks and her sparkled make up dizzies him.

"Not manly Bakubro." Kirishima throws an arm at his shoulder.

He flinches on the nickname that Kirishima knows he hates, and asks himself if he is doing it on purpose.

"What's wrong? Talk to your buddies."

He throws the arm on his back.

"You are not my f*cking buddies." He raises his voice.

"Someone is struggling with the project." The blonde idiot says playfully.

And Bakugou gets up, because he decides not to be a murderer today.

He stays in his room all afternoon. Studying as he should be. Thinking of the next location. If it will be a next one. If the lazy ass of Todoroki decides to write something. Clearly he can't even write a response to his picture, so maybe he is asking him for a bit too much. f*ck. He gets up. He knows who will be the first to die.

He passes the students, returning back after the afternoon classes. If anyone touches him, it would be his unlucky day. But nobody does, perhaps they see the fury in his eyes.

He knocks on the door and he is almost taken aback when ponytail opens.

If he was angry before, now he is mad.

"Bakugou-san." She says.

"Move." Bakugou says, not sparing a glance at her.

She does, because now he walks to the room and sees Todoroki. He is sitting in front of his laptop, his back turned on him.

He is looking at a picture. An unfamiliar one. With a very familiar face.

"Todoroki, Bakugou is here." She tells him and only then his eyes move from the screen.

"Oh." Is his only response.

"What the f*ck are you doing?" Bakugou shouts and Todoroki crosses his arms.

"I am helping Yaoyorozu." He answers as if it is the most logical thing in the world. As if he hadn't ignored him for three days now. As if the picture on his screen shouldn't be his.

"She wanted an honest opinion for their first picture." He adds.

"She f*cking did huh?"

"I'm sorry, is there a problem?" Todoroki asks.

"No, no f*cking problem. Let me give my honest opinion then." He takes a step forward and leans closer to the screen.

Technically speaking the picture is good. It has room for improvement, but still it's fine for an extra. What it lacks though is that little something.

He eyes the man whose head is little shorter than his as he is sitting still at the chair.

He hasn't answered him for this?

"It's a piece of trash." He says and hears ponytail grasp.

"It is not. If you only have insults.." Todoroki says, but doesn't finish his sentence before Bakugou stops him.

"Do you want insides pretty boy? It's just a girl with nice facial features. The place is irrelevant, a background anyone would forget and they are only relying on her face to get some points. Superficial and cheap." He never leaves his eyes as he speaks.

There's a noise on their side, making Todoroki turn. He follows right after.

"It's.." Ponytail speaks. "He's right. I should have come with a better idea to help Ashido, but I got none. So I went along with her plan."

Todoroki is silent. And angry. Like Bakugou cares.

"So what I should do?" She doesn't speak to him and he sees as the boy searches for an answer to give her.

"If you are not happy with the results, you should try again. Not everyone gets it on their first try." He says honestly and Bakugou scoffs.

But Todoroki ignores him and focuses on the girl's small smile.

"You should abandon your plan." Bakugou tells to no one really.

"If she wants you as the model, focus on the area and not you. Got it?" He says.

"You are helping..." She says quietly and shakes her head. "You mean..."

"I mean a pretty face means nothing." He adds. "Not for this project, not for Aizawa. The city focus is best for you. Tell the freak not to be boring like that." He adds at last.

She stills seems startled. Not sure if she misheard.

"Now move. Out." He tells her and he sees how her face is almost reassured by his rudeness.

"It's my room."

"No, I should probably.." She looks between them. "Since Bakugou gave me an idea.."

She wants to stay.

"Okay. If you are sure." The boy gives her a smile. He is truly an idiot.

"Yeah, yes. We will talk later. Maybe come hang out when we have spare time." She says.

"Yes. Of course." He tells and he misses the light in her eyes.

Bakugou stands still, as she unwillingly leaves.

"I don't appreciate the behaviour, but at least you helped her somehow."

To get rid of her, Bakugou thinks, for a moment until his rage comes back.

"Really halfie? You don't appreciate it? Like I give a f*ck."

"What do you want?" Todoroki asks with a voice slightly raised.

"Do you have the time to help others?" Bakugou hisses. "To fool around with girls?"

"I wasn't fooling around. We weren't watching a movie or something, I was helping a friend."

Bakugou isn't sure if he is supposed to beat him or laugh. He chooses neither.

"Did you do your part?" He asks and Todoroki is silent.

"Do you think I am f*cking playing?"

"I'm sorry." He answers firmly, honestly.

"For being bored?" Bakugou tastes the question that's bugging him, but cowers for a second.

"I am not bored." Todoroki responds again and his brows forrow slightly.

But Bakugou is not a coward. Never has been.

"Is my picture that uninspiring to you?" He shouts. "You better check your eyes be.."

"It's not that." His features soften to be deformed ever so lightly. "It's the opposite." He says.

Bakugou watches him as he thinks. He believes he is thinking.

"I did wrote my part. The night you send me the picture."

Why didn't you respond then?

"So? What's the problem?"

"It's not fitting."

"Show me."

He stays still and Bakugou realises that he is afraid. Or doubtful. He isn't sure.

"f*ck Todoroki, show me."

He says and the name slips somehow through his mouth. And it does feel weird saying it out loud, as he had thought it would.

But the boy complies. He passes beside him and Bakugou moves almost afraid in the potential brush of their shoulders. No, not afraid. He isn't afraid. It would be..weird like him saying his name again.

Todoroki lifts his pillow and takes out his notebook. He sits at his bed and opens it at the page.

"Here." He says and Bakugou sits at his side. It occurs to him, after the notion that he should have just taken it.

The clean handwriting is there, tidy and mechanical as if he writes with a ruler between the letters.

There's a small sigh that catches his attention, too small, too hidden, but they are too close for Bakugou to miss it.

He focuses on the letters again, until words are formed.

How many had sat

Here like me

How many will be

Even when I am not around

Would the light reflect differently

Have they thought the same as me

If there was a thought, it would be wonder

And I wondered, if I take a glimpse of that light, If I steal it and hide it behind my eyes, quietly, hurriedly

And when I'll open them again

When I'll let it escape

It would fill another crack

And I would be grand like the sight in front of me

And my hair would look like the sun

And my face would be my own

Does the building knows

Has it seen in all its years

Was ever a time that it happened

Will ever be

A light that reflects me

Bakugou breaths. He thinks the boy is mocking him. For just a moment, that thought crosses his mind.

"Be honest." Todoroki says. "Like you were with Yaoyorozu before."

But it passes, because his tone is serious.

"Who told you suck at creative writing?" Bakugou asks instead.

That surprises him.

"Noone." He answers and Bakugou frowns. "Why do you ask?"

"Because it's either that or you are in a completely different level of stupidity."

"You still haven't answered me." Todoroki's says then.

Bakugou grabs his book, but the other end doesn't let go.

"Do you want praise? Is that it?" He says.

"No."

Todoroki pulls tighter and he falls at his back on the bed. Bakugou doesn't let go. Instead he follows him to his little fit.

He watches as his breath rises and falls, angry and determined.

"If you don't want to tell me, it's fine." He says evenly, but the air that parts through his lips betrays him.

He lets go of the book and Todoroki seems satisfied with that, but Bakugou catches his wrists, along with his precious book and stops him from moving.

"You first."

Todoroki blinks.

"I told you. Noone did. I haven't showed the things I write to anyone."

"Liar." Bakugou says and he swallows the weirdness down his throat. It must have been the way he is bent above the body of Todoroki. He should get up, it's an uncomfortable position, but he will have an answer.

"I always throw my drafts and present something more like me." Todoroki breathes again. He breathes. An illogical thought.

"What do you mean like you?" Bakugou asks.

"You've read it. What do you think?" Todoroki asks back.

"That you f*cking messing with me, pretty boy. Because there is no way you've read that and thought that it sucked."

Todoroki blinks, but this time his eyes widen a little.

"So?"

"Thank you." He smiles a little.

Only now Bakugou realises the position they are in. Todoroki doesn't. Why would he anyway? Why Bakugou just did.

"I believe you." Todoroki says then.

"Moron." Bakugou says and Todoroki smiles again.

Bakugou gets up. Fast. Because the position is awkward.

"Why didn't you respond the other day?" Bakugou asks looking at the screen on the laptop, ponytail flashing a smile.

"I thought I should work on that more." Todoroki responds. "It felt disrespectful to write with such an ease."

Bakugou turns to him.

"My picture is just that great." He says with a smirk.

"It's probably because of that. I see." He tells and there is no hint of mockery in his voice.

What an idiot.

He puts his hands inside his pockets.

"You are f*cking overthinking." He turns to the screen again.

"What do you mean?"

"What more you is supposed to mean?" Bakugou says. "Didn't you write this? What is more you than that?"

There's a silence. He watches as Todoroki looks at the opened notebook in his hands.

"There should be a struggle." He speaks. "Not finding the right words to express, there should be a process. When it comes too easy, it feels like a fraud."

"Huh?" Bakugou snaps. "So you are ashamed that you are f*cking good at this? How much more stupid can you get?"

"Despite the tone, you are really good at advices." He lets out a small smile. "It worked for Yaoyorozu and...for me."

Bakugou ruffles the weirdest hair he is ever seen, absent minded of the notion he does. As a praise perhaps, as a big brother would do.

They are soft, as he had expected them to be, not that he had much thought about them, to expect it, but still.

"So... What's with all the halfs?" He says.

"A genetic flaw." Todoroki answers.

A flaw. Not the word he had in mind.

"And this?" He almost touches the red part around his eye. But he doesn't have to, the boy knows what he is asking for.

"That was an accident." He says and if he could guess his tone drops a little.

"It looks like a leaf." Bakugou tells him and the eyes across him widen. "So... whatever."

____

Kirishima says is a meet up. And after the constant nagging, Bakugou agrees. Partly to make the man stop, mostly because he respects Kirishima. Not that he will ever admit it, or says anything like the sappy lines of messy hair, best bros, or whatever.

But he respects him. And sometimes he gets along with his stupid plans.

Kirishima said it was a meet up. But he never said about the group they are meeting up with. Bakugou thought it would be the usual extras, alien weirdo and blonde idiot. He has no respect for them, but somehow he can tolerate them. For a specific period of time, that is.

When they exit the train station, there is a group waiting for them. And Bakugou hopes that they are there by accident, by some sort of cosmic mistake, but his hopes are crushing when the nerdiest of the nerds is waiving at them.

"I am gonna kill you." Bakugou says and Kirishima laughs, not a bit of shame about how he purposely forgot to mention them.

Alien freak runs to hug Ponytail, nerd is all too happy about how it is Friday again and meeting with friends is the best. Pink cheeks is nodding and it feels like her head will fall off.

He see that Glasses isn't here and curses him for his luck.

They have already decided about where they want to go, a new café which is mostly filled with cakes so Bakugou isn't sure why they are describing it as a cafe.

They begin to walk and the one person of the other group that Bakugou has yet to acknowledge stays a little behind, just enough to walk on his side.

"Hey." He says and Bakugou nods.

"It's a surprise you are here."

"I didn't know you all gonna be part of this." He responds with a growl.

"Oh." Todoroki exhales. "I am sorry then." He says honestly.

"I didn't mean you... specifically." He adds and the boy just nods, his steps faster than before, until he joins the nerd who's discussing something vividly with Kirishima.

f*ck.

The truth is that is Friday and he should have been working on the next location. The truth is that he has already decided which one it would be. Even the model is something that he has on his mind.

The truth is that even if he lets Kirishima has his way, the line ends when it's about his work. So he would never agree to waste time in meetings and meaningless conversations that he doesn't take a interest in.

The truth is that he's been avoiding Todoroki all week.

The truth is that he doesn't know why. Only that it feels weird after that day.

They arrive at the place which seems like a unicorn threw up. He considers it for a moment, if he can turn around and flee, but the air is chilly even with his black jacket on and Todoroki looks at his way. Which is irrelevant as a reason, but he still walks inside.

They find a booth, large enough to fit the group and grumpily sits next to Kirishima.

They point at things on the menu, Bakugou doesn't even spare a look at it. He will get a coffee and tolerate the disturbance as long as he can without beat anyone up.

Deku shows something to Todoroki which makes him smile.

The order takes place with lots of yelling and giggles and he wonders how these people can function properly.

"So you won't even try anything?" Kirishima asks and Bakugou looks at him with disgust.

"Trying new things is the epitome of manliness."

Here he goes again with his constant repeating of what is manly and what is not. Bakugou throws a curse at his way and then he remembers about the first time he heard him saying about it and how that led to their friendship. If he knew that Kirishima said that about everything, he wouldn't be here right now.

The sugary smell that fills the place explodes when the cakes arrive. He looks at them, taking photos of the food, of each other and a headache starts to rise.

"Come on. One bite." Alien freak show blinks and the fake sparkling on her eyelids is nauseating.

"Kacchan prefers spicy food." Deku says with a spoon in his mouth and Bakugou glares at him. "Not that he can't eat sweets, but if there was a chilly in here..Wait is there a spicy-sweet combination? How would that taste? I mean our glands, how would they receive that?"

"Shut up. Then die." Bakugou stops the urge to shove him down his plate.

"Oh right." Blonde idiot nods to himself. "You knew each other from school."

"We were best friends." Deku smiles brightly.

"Oh really?" Cheeky chicks says with disbelief and surprise.

"You had a best friend before me?" Kirishima seems down and almost pouts.

"Why are you f*cking pouting you weirdo? We weren't f*cking not."

"Yeah and they were calling me names..." He hears from the other side of the table. "And then Kacchan beat them up. I don't like fights, but they stopped after that."

"That's because you are a f*cking weakling." Bakugou spouts and the smile on the nerds face is somehow more bright.

"Oh I didn't know you were such a hero." Blonde idiot tells him.

"I am gonna rip off your chest." He glares at him.

"And nobody dared to pick on me again." Deku declares.

"So manly." Kirishima approves with his hands crosses on his stomach.

"So did you two join the academy together?" Ponytail asks and Deku's smile flatter.

"We weren't so close at the last year." He says more quietly.

"Because you are f*cking annoying." Bakugou yells.

"But I am happy we get to hang out again."

"Are you f*cking deaf?"

"Kacchan is a very good person."

An air of disbelief crosses the other's faces. Good. Deku's nonsense hasn't gotten through them.

Then he looks at him. Who hasn't said a word, until now. And he stares back. That same weirdness hits him.

"I think so too." He says and it takes all of his strength not to flee.

The conversation starts to drift away from him eventually and he finally takes a sip from his coffee. Kirishima shows him something on his phone and he watches as Ponytail takes a selfie with the nerd and Todoroki.

He takes side glaces on the boy, not hearing what he is saying under the havoc that this table is. He looks, but the boy doesn't look back again.

God he hates him. He has hated him from the first time he met him.

Chapter 4: Chapter Four

Chapter Text

He is exhausted. This gathering has seriously drained him from every bit of energy he had. It is finally time to go. He had wavered many times if he should abandon them and leave, but he settled on yelling.

As they walk out of that hideous café, someone proposes to continue, maybe watch a movie or something. Kirishima is close to putting his arms on his shoulder, but Bakugou glares at him and he stops.

"Not a f*cking chance." He tells him. "I have work to do." He walks away, before anyone bothers him again or worse they want to walk back with him.

He has taken the first turn, his headache is already at its peak and he can only imagine the crowd that is bound to gather at the train station at this hour. At least he would be alone this time. His phone vibrates in his pocket and he takes it out. Staring at the message doesn't help with his mood.

"It was nice hanging out again, Kacchan. Let's do it again sometime."

"f*ck you." He says and he hides his phone again.

"Are you cursing random passengers now?"

He hears a voice to his side, a voice too familiar in the monotone way the words are expressed to not know who it is before he turns.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Bakugou tells him as he glares at the boy.

"You said that we have work to do." He replies as if it is the most logical thing in the world.

"I said..I have work to do." He points his finger at the side of his head roughly. It doesn't help with his headache.

"Isn't that the same?" Todoroki asks.

"Are you dumb?" Bakugou stops on his tracks and Todoroki follows the halt.

"Is it not?" He speaks and Bakugou is sure that he will murder him.

"f*ck you too." He says and starts to walk again.

"Have you decided on the next location?" Todoroki asks after a while.

"Maybe." Bakugou answers and passes through the entrance of the station.

"Okay. That means.."

"That means maybe. You didn't have to f*cking follow me. That is what it means."

He drags his card on the machine and the light blinks green.

His hunch was right. The platform is full of people. The first train comes and goes, without him being able to enter. He almost misses the second, but he is not going to stay here for another ten minutes, so he grabs Todoroki by his shirt and pushes them inside.

It was a mistake honestly. Perhaps he should have walked back. Perhaps that was the right decision and he could have thought about it clearly if the pain in his head was less.

Because now he is stuffed against an overwhelming crowd and Todoroki's face is too close for his liking.

He offers a sound of annoyance and turns his eyes away.

"Bakugou." He feels the other's breath when he speaks, but he doesn't turn to face him again.

"Are you by any chance avoiding me?" He asks because he is a f*cking moron and he believes that now is the time to ask such a question. Inside a crowded train, their faces inches away.

"Why would I do that idiot?" Bakugou answers and tries to speak as lowly as he can.

"It's just a feeling that I have." Todoroki answers. "I am probably wrong. Uraraka says I don't have a good sense of social interactions. I think the others agree, even if they don't say it."

Bakugou feels every word on his cheek as the boy speaks. He agrees to the observation now more than ever.

"I'm sorry I asked." Todoroki concludes and he finally shuts it.

Every stop leaves more and more space, until the distance between them becomes bearable. He raises his eyes, they only have a stop or two before they too get out.

Todoroki looks at his phone and even if his features look calm, Bakugou thinks that he has a weird expression. He observes him. The boy seems too consumed at whatever he is staring. Probably a video to pass the time. But his fingers don't move of the screen, neither his eyes.

"Hey, halfie." He says, but Todoroki doesn't hear him.

"Oi." He tries higher this time.

When his patience is running out and the announcement of their stop echoes enough for everyone to hear and the robot is still, he touches him. Shakes him really, but it does do the trick. The mismatched eyes shot back at him, startled as if he was sleeping until now.

"Time to get out." Bakugou says and Todoroki looks around like he doesn't know where he is.

"Oh. Sorry."

The doors open and he is the first one to walk outside. But he looks behind, just enough to make sure that the robot has followed. He will seriously die if he has to wait for him until the next train arrives, or worse if he has to go find him. Not that he would or that he has to. He can go back to the dorms, but the robot seems to be extra robotic right now.

He drags him by his shirt and the boy lets him, until the last sunlight of the day reaches their faces. After a block, the frenzy on the streets quiets down a bit, yet not enough to be at Bakugou's liking. There are still people leaving their jobs, ready to arrive home and spend the weekend doing nothing at all or stupid things that will make them regret the urgency of the moment.

The robot looks at his phone again as he walks and he nearly bumps at someone. He comes to his senses a moment later as Bakugou dismiss his hand away from the other boy's arm.

"Do you need a f*cking leash or something?"

"Sorry." He tells him and then looks at his left and speaks of another apology, but the running man has already dissapeared.

"Stop staring at your phone and look at the street for a change. How about that?" He ends with a huff and his palms inside his pockets.

"Yeah. You are probably right." The robot says and Bakugou thinks that now would be a good time to punch him.

"It's just.." He stares at his phone one last time and hides it in his pocket. "Nevermind."

And Bakugou doesn't ask because he really, really doesn't care and because it's not his f*cking business what the robot sees on that little screen of his. And he absolutely doesn't give a damn about the sour mood that he is certain the other boy is currently experiencing.

He doesn't give a f*ck about Shoto Todoroki and his peculiar existence, unless it is something related to their shared project. Which they are supposed to work on now. That is the reason that the robot followed him, but he clearly is not going to be of any help. So when they both enter in his room, as if they have somehow agreed that they would, he rationalize his question with that. He doesn't want to know, he just needs to stop whatever this is, so they can work.

You could have cast him away. The thought leaves as quickly as it is formed.

"So?" Bakugou asks as he puts his keys on the desk.

Todoroki looks at him and Bakugou hopes that he will be cooperative for once.

"So?" He asks back.

He almost laughs at himself. Todoroki never makes anything easy.

"Have you written something?" He tries again, because the last time that he did, he was just as awkward.

"No. I am waiting for the next photo." He answers.

"So?" He says and points with his eyes at the phone that rests on the palm across him.

And the motherf*cker blinks. Once, twice. As if his little robotic brain can't comprehend the question.

He bites his lips hard and swallows the first set of curses that comes from his brain straight to his mouth.

"f*cking fine." Bakugou says and opens his laptop.

"Did I miss something?" Todoroki asks and Bakugou taps his leg on the floor.

"Just look at your f*cking magic screen and don't talk for now."

"My magic screen?" He says and he sounds completely confused.

"Yeah, it's either that or you are waiting for an answer to something grand and important for.." He spares a side glance at the robot sitting at his bed.

"A pretty boy like you.." He ends his sentence quietly, but the words have died out. Because the robot is white as a sheet, surprise written at his widened eyes, and something else.

Scared.

He looks at his phone again and Bakugou turns his gaze away.

"You better talk now, there will be no breaks after we start." Bakugou says roughly without looking at him. "You are distracted and it's getting on my nerves."

"Oh." He hears from his side. "I didn't understand that was what you were asking."

"You don't have to tell me." He says and then. "I don't care."

There is a silence that will break as soon as Bakugou starts typing at his laptop, as soon as the location will pop on his screen and he will show it to the boy. It will stop and they will talk about hours and pictures, they will talk about models and how far is the site that Bakugou wants to do next.

It will end this stillness and after that Todoroki will leave and his room will be torelable again.

He can stop it, it will take one click.

He will do it.

Except he doesn't.

He prolongs the silence, the weird atmosphere.

In a second.

In a moment.

Now. Do it. Type. Talk.

"I think I don't know how to express myself correctly." Todoroki speaks first and Bakugou turns absurdly at him.

"Huh?"

"I believe I do, but other people might not understand what I am saying." He adds.

Bakugou glares at him.

"Is this about your writing again? I already f*cking told you it's.."

"No."

"Great."

They say together and both stop at once.

Todoroki stares at him.

"You didn't say that." He says.

"So what is now?" Bakugou crosses his arms.

It's evident that Todoroki has stuck on the stupid thing that Bakugou said.

"I don't f*cking care either way. But if you want to talk, now it's the time to do so. I am f*cking losing my patience."

That seems to do the trick.

"It's.." He says and folds the phone with his fingers.

Bakugou taps his foot to the floor. Repeatedly.

"If you say nevermind one more f*cking time.."

"My sister is getting married in a month." He says then. There is no urgency in his voice, the words are coming from his mouth as always, monotonous, a statement more than anything.

"So?"

The boy looks at his phone and then at him.

"There is someone I will see at the wedding. I haven't seen them for years and I was hoping we will meet before the event. Firstly because I don't want things to be awkward for Fuyumi, my sister. I sent them a message, but they haven't replied. I thought perhaps, I didn't express myself correctly."

Todoroki concludes and Bakugou wants to ask what is the second reason for this meet up.

"Show me." He says instead.

"Are you sure?" There is no hint of shame, just genuine surspise. He doesn't want to be a bother, which he is but Bakugou will allow it for now. He extends his arm and Todoroki does the same.

"Hello. This is Shoto. I hope I am not bothering you. If you have spare time somewhen in this month I would like to meet you. I have classes in the morning, but my afternoons are mostly free as well as the weekends. See what works for your schedule. I hope all is well."

Bakugou reads and then looks at the boy.

"What is this, a business meeting?"

"What do you mean?" Todoroki asks and Bakugou sighs.

"How much do you know this person?"

"Pretty well." Todoroki says and Bakugou glares at him.

"Who the f*ck talks like that?" He says and gives the phone back to the boy.

"So I was right. I thought I was been clear, but it seems I wasn't." There is a relief there.

"That is not the f*cking problem moron." Bakugou tells him. "You want to meet up, you said what days you are free, pretty f*cking clear." And the slightest sign of the temporary uplift crushes under his words.

"Oh." Todoroki blinks. "They just don't want to do it then." He says.

"Bingo, pretty boy." He huffs. "You just write like a business man."

"Is that a problem? Could this make them..?" Todoroki tries.

"Not a problem, except me making fun of you."

"I see." He seems calm, as always. But Bakugou just knows that he is not.

"Who the f*ck is that anyway? Do you want a date for the wedding?" He says. "Ask your friend, ponytail, I am sure she will be more than eager to help."

Yet Todoroki doesn't answer, he doesn't even look at him. He stares at the phone, his fingers more pressed than they should.

"I'm sorry, I waisted your time." He says.

"You did." Bakugou tells him.

Now, they should probably start working. Bakugou wants to review the site as soon as possible, even today. Then they have to see the pictures of the models, contact them, see if they are available. And the next week, it's gonna be hard so he isn't sure he could do muck work on the project.

He stares at the robot. He sits at the edge of the bed, his palms resting in the middle of his thighs. He isn't looking at him, his eyes are on the floor. As if he is weighing Bakugou's words, as if he already knew it.

He seems lost.

f*ck

"You are looking like sh*t." Bakugou tells him. "It's f*cking annoying."

The mismatched eyes rise to meet his.

f*ck

"I will come with you at that stupid wedding if you are seriously so desperate. So whoever this is that ditched you, they can go f*ck themselves."

Todoroki blinks.

"But don't expect a polished outfit and stuck up manners. And if the food isn't even at the bare minimum of my taste an hour is the more I can give you." He says seriously.

"That is not the problem." Todoroki says with a smile. "But it would be funny to see you trying to act civilised for a change." And his smile turns into a laughter. Contained and quiet, much like how Todoroki is, but there is no other noise inside the room so it echoes on the walls around them.

Bakugou is going to punch him this time. He is.

He deserves it.

He even raises his hand to do so.

But it feels heavy somehow, and Todoroki's face is not as clear anymore.

Then he hears it.

The click.

And the laughter stops and the whole f*cking time stops, because Bakugou just took a picture of a person willingly. Just took a picture of Todoroki f*cking Shoto laughing.

"You looked weird." He says. "I am going to torment you with this." He tries to fill his voice with bite, with malice even, yet he can't, the confusion does not let him. He knows how he sounds, unsure and almost, almost scared.

"Oh. Okay." But the robot answers as always, either because he really doesn't hear it, or because he takes everything at face value.

Bakugou leaves the camera at his desk. Then he stares at his screen and finally starts typing. Quickly, because if he doesn't so, he will scream. He doesn't know what f*cking happened, how it did and he wants to bang his head at the wooden desk.

The area of his preference appears on the screen. They will talk about that. About the project. About anything else than the childish expression Todoroki's face took a moment ago, or the sound of his laugh that vibrated to the small room.

Everything is fine.

____

He would have liked to on the sight before the sun had set. But the discussions took longer than he intended, because the robot seems to have questions about everything.

He would have liked if the same moron was a morning person like him and not have to tolerate his constant yawning.

He would have liked to not stay awake two hours after the boy left his room, looking at the photo he had took and then at the ceiling.

He would have liked many things to be different, but here they are on the second train of the day with the sun fully risen.

It's eight and a Saturday. They will arrive at their destination rather quickly.

But it's eight and Bakugou wanted to be there by six at least.

The coffee that the boy had brought is long gone and has done nothing to help with his agitated mood.

Todoroki yawns once more and Bakugou pushes his with his elbow.

"What was that for?" He asks irritated.

"You are getting on my nerves. We are late because of you." He answers him and it's the truth. They both overslept and it's entirely Todoroki's fault.

"I share some of the blame." He says. "But that is not a reason to do that. I can hit you too, you know." He says and Bakugou smirks.

"I f*cking doubt that."

"I had a personal instructor for many years." Todoroki says. "I can."

Bakugou's laugh is full of mockery.

"A personal instructor. What a surprise rich boy."

"Is that a problem too? Is there something about me that doesn't annoy you?"

"Someone woke with an attitude." Bakugou glares at him. "You better not test me."

Todoroki sighs.

"When I start to think that we are on better terms.."

"Who told you to think that? You are still an annoying little robot. You only have to do your task."

"Okay." He says and crosses his arms.

Bakugou huffs with how childish he seems.

"What now?" Todoroki asks, yet he doesn't look at him. "Am I really that much of a burden?"

The question comes more soft, more quietly, almost as if it isn't addressed to him.

"You are a pain in the ass." Bakugou tells him, but the eyes across him are at the window, so he pushes his foot at the vacant seat next to the robot.

"Don't ignore me, when I am talking."

The boy spares a side glance.

"You want my attention so you can insult me some more?" He says.

"Listen to me you little idiot." Bakugou leans forward so his stare to convey all the death thatemanates from him. "I tolerate you don't I? So be grateful."

"Necessarily." The word comes tired.

"I could have thought of a solution." Bakugou spits out and looks away. "I am very creative. So be f*cking grateful."

The sound of the train moving fills the place and Bakugou doesn't know what kind of expression Todoroki has right now. Not that he cares. But if he had to choose, some gratitude would be fine.

He listens to his nonsense and even goes out of his way to assure him of things related and unrelated to the work that binds them together. He lets him comes to his room, a privilege that only Kirishima has obtained by now. He even went out of his way to praise him.

Yeah, some gratitude would be f*cking fine.

"Why?" The question comes and his thoughts scatter.

"Why what?" He turns his eyes at him.

"Why do you tolerate me?"

"Because of the project."

"You said you could find a solution." Todoroki insists.

"What? Do you want to be praised again?"

"No. I want an answer." He is now turned, his full attention to Bakugou. He doesn't like that.

"Just because." Bakugou tells him.

"That in not an answer." The robot says.

Bakugou opens his mouth to curse him. Just because it's a pretty good answer to him. Just because Bakugou can, just because he feels like it at the moment. Just because..

There is the sound of a text and the seriousness drifts away from Todoroki's face. He hurriedly searches his bag and picks up his phone.

Bakugou watches the different shape his features take.

First it's the rush, an excitement.

Then there is a surprise, almost a smile is formed, only to freeze awkwardly midway.

His features fall, his smile drops and the attitude from before feels like it never existed.

He looks at his phone like a statue, like a corpse.

Bakugou snatches it away, before his rationality kicks in.

"No distractions until we finish." He says and puts the boy's mobile inside his own bag.

Todoroki doesn't protest, doesn't question it. And it's worse, because Todoroki is always a pain in the ass.

He taps his palm on his leg. This deafening silence upsets him.

He observes the boy, but the sight of his open palms seems to have his complete focus."

"Just because you aren't a scared little idiot." Bakugou says and he slowly gains his attention.

"Just because you write pretty damn good."

He says and looks outside.

"Thank you." He hears after a while. And it's sort and sad all the same.

Just because there is something about you I can't quite place yet.

Chapter 5: Chapter Five

Chapter Text

"We will walk from here." Bakugou says as soon as they exit the bus.

The day was grey when they started this morning, but now the sky is no longer visible. Big clouds have been gathering constantly only for them to be the only thing to see when you look up.

It doesn't matter, he wants this photo to be taken by night anyway. He just hopes it doesn't rain until they inspect the sight that he has in mind. He hasn't been here for years. After the old hag died, there was no point to come back here.

The road is just as he remembers it. Bumpy, constant rises and decents, a truly tiresome place to leave.

Here, there are no big stores, a few shops and markets for the necessities. Here there are only houses. Even if this place is part of the city, it's in the outskirts. A boring, still place, that Bakugou loved coming back from time to time.

The old hag was nagging him the entire time, always asking if he was hungry, until Bakugou exploded and his mother started yelling. There was a cupboard back in the house, filled with sweets and chocolates, every time he was here. It was a mystery, how it was always stuffed with unnecessary things, things that if he ate them all he was sure to die. It was a mystery how it was never empty, even when he came here with his parents unannounced.

The constant climbing up the road, it felt like climbing, would soon end and the decent would start. He had forgotten how tired he left every time he walked in this place.

"Maybe I should get my phone back. There is a text I have to answer." Todoroki says and his voice is hasty, from the rough road or the suggestion he makes. Bakugou is not sure.

"No distractions." He simply answers.

"It will only take a minute." Todoroki answers back.

"And then?" Bakugou stops and it takes the robot few moments to register the motion. "Are you going to f*cking piss me off with your gloomy mood? I am not your friend to babysit you all day."

"You have made that perfectly clear." Todoroki answers and his voice is cold.

He f*cking doesn't care. They are late and it's going to rain and he won't stop and argue with the robot on something he doesn't give a sh*t about.

He takes the phone out of his bag and pushes it to the other's boy chest.

"Do whatever you want." He says and starts to walk again, bypassing Todoroki a few steps.

He takes a side glance and true to his word it only takes a moment for the boy to write something and put the phone back in his pocket.

They share a look and Bakugou looks away first. Not away, ahead, where they should be going.

"I haven't been in this part of the city before." Todoroki speaks out of necessity, as if to prove that he is present, here, that he is going to do his job.

"Bet you haven't." Bakugou says to remind him that he is still irritated.

"How do you know about this place?" Todoroki is unfaced, he is always unfaced by his bite. It pisses him off, that trait of his.

"My old man and his family lived here. We used to visit, until there was no one to visit." He says.

"Oh. I'm sorry."

"What for? They are already dead for many years. It doesn't bother me." He looks at his side and Todoroki is looking back.

"Is that how it works?" The robot asks then.

"How what works?"

"Death." Todoroki says and the word holds a gravity on its own.

It takes a moment for Bakugou to respond. As if he is pulled in the force that emanates, compelling him to really think about it. He sure cried secretly when the old man died. He was a good little fellow, kind and quiet like his father. And he was still a kid, so it was probably sad and confusing to be told that a person you're used to, will no longer be there.

He was older when the old hag died. He had seen it coming, she seemed more fragile every time he visited. And this time he knew. He was prepared. Yet he cried nevertheless.

It's not that it bothers him. There are days that he will not think about them at all.

But being here, while they are not, it's strange. It's nostalgic..and kind of melancholic.

"I don't know." He says in the end. "That's how it works for me."

"So you don't miss them?" Todoroki asks.

Bakugou scoffs.

"You are really f*cking annoying." He says, but Todoroki looks, waits and Bakugou scoffs again.

"I miss them alright? I am not f*cking heartless." He punches him at his arm. But it's light, a way to diffuse the tension.

The boy opens his mouth.

"No more questions." Bakugou tells him and the robot's face drops. He touches the phone on his pocket, and Bakugou is sure he is doing it unconsciously.

"There are few steps until we reach the end of the road. Be done with it by then." He says.

Todoroki doesn't understand, he has this expression like the gears on his brain work overtime when something is confusing him.

"I will not talk about irrelevant f*cking matters when we arrive. So be quick about it. Or not. I don't f*cking care."

It takes a moment. And then it clicks.

"How were they like? Your grandparents?"

"Nothing special. An old couple that you would pass on the street." He says and misses the frown on Todoroki's face. "Like all these people who are together for too many years and they annoy each other, but they know exactly what the other is thinking. They were annoying like that. The old man was mostly quiet, not shy or anything, but not too fuzzy. He liked reading a newspaper with a cup of coffee, sometimes he was staring outside and thinking god knows what. And in the afternoon he took a walk and then returned to drink another cup of coffee, preferably if someone else had made it.

She on the other hand couldn't stop doing something for a second. She was always doing something. She painted the house and then she stopped midway to plant a flower in the garden, only to stop and prepare something to eat. Like the hours of the day were too short for her liking."

"Much like you." Todoroki says.

"Huh?"

The robot lets a shadow of a smile form on his face and then looks ahead. Bakugou follows his gaze only to realise that he has been talking too much and they are almost there.

The old factories in the far end, standing and abandoned as always. The chimneys, working, polluting, evidence that this place is not completely dead. The school just a little to the left, in front of everything , fitting and unfitting in the picture. And far behind all the sea. From here it seems blue and clear, but Bakugou knows that it's not.On the right the harbor is present even if it's afar. Yet if you turn your gaze to the left there is nothing there but the horizon.

"Come on." He says and starts descending. The boy follows and they pass by the school, a few teenagers smoking cigarettes on the back yard.

They walk through a fence and Bakugou almost smiles by the stillness of this place. The hole is there as it always was, noone is bothering to fix it. Crusty leaves meet their feet for a few steps and then concrete.

The abandoned factories are on his side, grey and gloomy at this hour. But then at night the light poles will shine just barely and afar and it will give this place the right edge he wants for the picture.

He walks and inspects, the buildings and the road, if he wants the sea to be seen, but no, this is not about that. It's about the sky and the concrete and a place abandoned and present at the same time.

And then he feels the first drop. He looks at the sky with annoyance and anger as if to scare the rain away. He doesn't, but he tries anyway.

At the third drop he curses.

"f*ck."

He says and glares at the sky again.

"It's raining." Todoroki says as if he is blind and he needs someone to explain what is happening.

"I f*cking know."

"I'm guessing you are not done." The boy speaks again.

"You think?" Bakugou tells him.

"We should go."

This time he scoffs. He knows that too.

It started as light, but as the sky had warned with the thick black clouds this morning, it quickly rises.

"We will run." Bakugou says.

"Okay."

There is no point and the road back will take some time. Another set of ups and downs to reach the bus. If they had woken up earlier, if Todoroki hadn't shown his stupid laugh last night, they would be on the way back now.

f*ck him.

He pulls out his jacket and puts it in the bag. Todoroki looks at him as if he is mad.

"The camera. Just to make sure." He says. "Let's go." He commands and they start running.

They are almost at the hole, already drenched when he looks back and sees the boy benting his knees. Stalling him, the rain raises by the minute.

His walk back is loud, but the water hitting the floor covers it.

He stands beside the boy, there is a cover of concrete above them at least.

"What the f*ck are you doing?"

"There is a cat." Todoroki says and he doesn't look back at him. Bakugou follows his gaze. There is indeed a cat, orange and pathetic, crawling, trying to protect itself with little success.

"So?"

"So we can't leave it here." Todoroki speaks as if Bakugou is truly stupid.

"It will survive." He tells him.

"And what if it's not?" Todoroki asks with that same sense of distance like he demands answers for something else entirely.

"And what do you want me to do?" Bakugou taps his feet.

"I don't know. We should take him, I guess." He unfolds his arms and tries to reach the scared creature.

"Take it, then. Bring it to your house. Just do something before I f*cking lose it."

"I can't." He says. "Noone is home." And it's quiet but Bakugou reads his lips. "I am at school and who will look after it?"

"I don't know, your parents. I don't care."

"My parents are divorced." He says as it that explains anything. "And my father is usually working."

"Take it to your mom then. Let's go."

And the boy turns and looks at him for the first time.

"I can't." He says and Bakugou almost misses it, but the eyes with the different colours hold the sadness of that statement.

He bents and scoffs and curses, but he takes the f*cking cat and he opens Todoroki's jacket to shove it inside it. It's a small thing really, it fits and it doesn't protest. It's warm he thinks, that's probably why. Todoroki is slightly surprised, or big, he doesn't know with his minimum expressions.

"Come on."

"I told you."

"Shut it, will you? My place is the nearest from here. We will wait there until then and we will take this little creature on a shelter after the rain stops. Now f*cking move."

He turns and runs and this time Todoroki follows.

The nearest, he said, but still it takes a pathetic ride with the bus, drenched to the bone. He curses the cat and then Todoroki.

They run again for two blocks until they reach his house.

He searches for his keys, but decides he doesn't have the patience for that, so he knocks. Repeatedly.

"Are you sure this is okay?" Todoroki asks.

"It's f*cking fine." It is not. No one comes to his house, except Kirishima once, but even he didn't walk behind that door. He opens Todoroki's jacket again, takes the cat and hopes that his old man will answer the door.

But he is the unluckiest person in the universe as it seems. The old hag appears and she is already angry. With the constant hitting he supposes.

"Always polite." She says and crosses her hands.

"I had a good example." Bakugou tells her and walks inside.

"Do you want me to leave you outside in the rain?"

He scoffs.

"I brought a cat." He gives it to her.

"What?"

There is a voice from the other room.

"Who is it?"

It's from the kitchen.

"Katsuki. He brought a cat." His mother answers.

"What?" The head appears and then all of his father's body.

"And a boy." His mother tells and Bakugou looks behind him.

"Oh you brought a friend." His father smiles.

"He is not a friend."

Then his mother hits the back of his head, lightly just to make a point.

"Come on, come inside." His mother prompts and Todoroki passes the door at last.

"I am sorry for the mess." He tells them and he looks at his feet where a little pool of water gathers.

His mother laughs.

"He is certainly not your friend. He has some manners."

Bakugou scoffs.

"So about the cat." She eyes him.

"We will take it to the shelter."

"Good. Now go upstairs. You both need a bath."

Todoroki is hesitant, as he should be, but his mother is a difficult force to bypass.

She guides him to the bathroom, offers clothes and towels and doesn't leave until Todoroki promises to use them.

It dawns on him, it really hits, when he opens his bedroom door and Todoroki sits there with his clothes on, black shirts and pants.

He is suddenly too uncomfortable, as if he had made a grave mistake.

"Thank you." The boy says.

"Whatever." Bakugou answers and tries not to think much about it.

Nobody comes home. He has noone he wants to bring here. Not that he wants Todoroki to be here, this is a necessity. Yeah, that's it. A necessity.

Still it's weird. He is not sure exactly why, but it is.

"Not what I expected." Todoroki speaks again as he looks around.

"Yeah? And what did you expect?"

"I don't know. This is too normal." He lets a little laugh and it frightens him.

"I don't scream for attention." Bakugou tells him.

"You don't?" Todoroki challenges back and dries his hair with the towel.

"No, I don't need too." Bakugou takes a step.

"Okay." Todoroki says. "So why do you?"

Well now he is angry. He grabs the towel and pulls it, just because, but Todoroki holds the other end and he is pulled with it.

If he was frightened before, now he feels he should run for his life. Todoroki is close, too, too close and his breath touches his own. He has his little frown, a product of Bakugou's feat of anger and god does Bakugou need to takes a step away.

"I will hit you one day. I am f*cking warning you." He says and Todoroki's frown grows, it's too close to miss.

"I can defend myself."

"Yeah with your little instructor. I know."

He hasn't pulled back yet. He should, should he? Because he almost smells Todoroki's shampoo, his own shampoo on the other man's hair.

"God, you annoy me so much." Bakugou says and he almost, almost looks away from his eyes. He doesn't, no, he does not in fact look any other part of Todoroki's face.

Thankfully the boy moves away.

"I have heard it enough to know." He says. "We should take an umbrella and leave now that we are dry."

Bakugou nods. For now, he nods. And breaths. Yeah, he is breathing just fine.

There is a knock on the door.

"The food is ready." His father says and Bakugou opens the door, only to lose another battle.

____

"So you are working on this project together." His father serves another plate of soup.

Todoroki confirms with a shake of the head.

"And how is it going?"

"Good." Todoroki speaks.

"Awful." Bakugou corrects.

"Is there a problem?" His father asks with concern.

"Yeah our boy is a little monster." His mother says. "I am guessing the problem lies there."

"Shut it." Bakugou tells her.

"Language." She warns.

"Guys, we have a guest." His father tries.

This is the cue to stop and they taste the soup, but Todoroki is completely unaware of such things and he misses it. So he answers.

"It is challenging, but Bakugou is really talented so I think it will be fine."

His father beams, he beams because someone is praising his son and he is that kind of guy.

But it is awkward and he doesn't need a praise.

"Don't speak for the rest of the night." He warns the robot.

"When this is your house, you will dictate who speaks and who's not. Eat your soup." His mother tells him. "And speak better to your friend."

"He is not my friend.

"I am not his friend."

He looks at the boy. He takes a full spoon out of his soup, not mocking, just stating of the very fact.

"Okay then. So you, not a friend, what do you do at this project?"

It seems there is not going to be a quiet dinner, not matter how he yells.

"I do the writing." Todoroki answers.

"How interesting." His father tells him.

"I am not really good at it, but.."

"Bullsh*t." Bakugou says.

"Language." His mother warns again.

"So you were saying Todoroki-san.."

But the robot looks at him not his father. He should stop staring really, because it's rather awkward. Oh, he expects from him to elaborate. He can f*cking wait. He takes a sip from his soup.

"It is a challenge. The writing, I mean." The robot says finally. "But I try."

"Aren't you an earnest boy?" His mother says and pats his head, brushing his hair.

Todoroki stays still and now would be a good time for Bakugou to die.

"Mitsuki." His father says quietly, with a point of his eyes, but she understands.

"It comes naturally. I do it for my son. Sorry." She says and removes her hand.

"No, it's...Fine." He looks at his plate.

f*ck.

The sudden silence is suffocating.

"I am thinking of keeping the cat." His father cuts thought it with his statement.

"Huh?" A rare display of unison between him and his mother.

"I was thinking for a while now, that the house seems empty now that Katsuki is gone. And sometimes your mom stays quiet looking at your room and maybe..You know. We should keep the cat."

"Creeps." Bakugou tells them and this time his mother smacks his head.

"How many times do I have to tell you? Language."

"What do you think?" His father asks unfazed. He really is, this is a routine.

"I am thinking that we finally have a little peace and you want to disturb it." It is calm, she always talks calm to him.

"So no?"

She crosses her arms. Bakugou knows she is thinking about it.

"Let's keep it for a few days. We will see." She says.

"Todoroki-san." His father turns to him. "You can come again to visit. The cat at least." And his father laughs and his mother adds to the noise and Bakugou frowns. They are overbearing.

He looks at the robot, but his freeze has stopped and he smiles faintly at his parents.

____

"I don't want to say another word about it." She pushes a set of blankets to his chest.

"The rain isn't stopping any time soon, it's getting dark and you don't have a class tomorrow."

"I am not a child."

"Then stop yelling like one. What will your not friend think?"

"Like I f*cking care."

She is ready to explode.

"I also don't find it right to extend my stay like this." Todoroki speaks before she does.

"Nonsense." She tells him casually. "You will leave tomorrow."

And with that she closes the door.

This is only getting better and better. And for what. Because Todoroki looked sad about a cat.

"Are you okay?" He asks.

"f*cking great." Bakugou throws the blankets on the bed.

"I can wait until they sleep and leave afterwards."

"And they will nagged me about it, until my head bursts."

He chuckles.

"We will talk about the picture." He concludes. At least they can use this unfortunate turn of events.

"They are nice." Todoroki tells him instead. "Lively."

"You mean annoying." Bakugou corrects him.

"I mean nice." He says again.

"Yeah? You thought that when she brushed your hair?" He mocks.

"I was surprised." The robot answers. "I wasn't expecting it. It was..." He thinks for a while. "Foreign."

Bakugou glares at him.

"She sure is touchy."

"I didn't want to make them uncomfortable."

"So you do take some cues." He jokes. "I'm proud of you robot boy."

"It's not like I do it on purpose." He says and sits on the bed.

Bakugou takes the floor. The floor is nice. He likes sitting there.

"What? You didn't have a special instructor for that?" He laughs.

"No."

"That wasn't a real question you moron."

He spares him a look.

"It's nice that they will keep the cat." The boy says and crosses his legs on his bed. On his bed. Wearing his clothes again. A set of pyjamas this time. Sort of. It's a t shirt and sweatpants, but Bakugou wears them for sleep.

And it feels casual somehow. Like Todoroki is an old friend visiting his house for the millionth time.

"Tell me how he's doing. A picture would be nice." He says.

"Like I don't have anything better to do." Bakugou rolls his eyes.

"It's not so much of a burden." Todoroki bites back.

"It is."

"Fine." The boy sighs. "We should sleep."

And they should, but Bakugou has only a bed and it's big enough, because that was how he wanted it. And it was a present for his good grades and he got it.

But now he was regretting that decision. Because now, his mother thought that it was a good idea to sleep over at it. Them. Both. He and his not friend. And Todoroki agreed, because he is kind of an idiot and he lacks basic human skills.

"Are you staying with your dad?" He blurts out when Todoroki pulls up the covers.

The boy freezes momentarily and looks at him with surprise in the next second.

"Yes." He says.

And now it is a good time to stop.

"What about your sister?" But perhaps his brain doesn't work properly.

"She is staying with her boyfriend. The one she is to marry." He clarifies.

And the question hangs in the air.

"I have a brother too, but he moved out when he passed in the university. He lives in another city."

There, that was it. Now sleep. Rest. Talk tomorrow. About the picture. Get up.

"What about your mom?" Bakugou asks and he isn't sure it is his voice. Because he knows, he isn't stupid. He knows something's up as soon as they found that damn cat.

Todoroki blinks, makes a shadow of a grimace, but answers nevertheless.

"She was away for a while." He takes a breath. "We don't really talk."

And there's a stillness in the room.

"She doesn't talk to me. I suppose that it the best way to describe it."

"Why?" Bakugou thinks that is enough. Sleep seems easy now. He gets up.

"She thinks I hate her. Or I thought that she thinks I hate her. I am not sure. She just doesn't want to talk to me."

Todoroki takes his phone of the covers and looks at it.

It hits him there. The realisation.

"That was your mom?" Bakugou points at the phone. "What the actual f*ck?"

"It's complicated. But as you pointed out, the truth is, she doesn't want to see me."

sh*t. sh*t.

"Why?"

"She made a mistake."

"What kind of mistake?"

Todoroki leaves the phone on the desk.

He doesn't answer and Bakugou doesn't ask again.

He falls on the left edge of the bed. His back is turned on Todoroki's side. He feels the boy lay down too and the blankets move up.

At least the bed is big. There is no contact. But he knows he's there. There is the foreign breath, that he hears.

"I won't show you a picture." Bakugou says.

"Fine."

Was it a scoff what he heard?

He turns around. A mistake. The unknown held an imaginary distance which is scattered now.

Todoroki is touching his scar and he seems almost afraid that he is caught doing something that he shouldn't.

"Sorry." Bakugou says without thinking.

"It's fine." The boy answers almost just as absent minded.

"Does it hurt?" Has he already asked that question before?

"No. I almost forget it, unless I touch it."

And Bakugou does the most stupid thing he had done all day. He touches it too. He must be exhausted.

"Sorry." He says again.

"It's fine."

"It's soft." God, he needs to sleep right now.

"It's a mistake." Todoroki says quietly and Bakugou feels the inside of his stomach turn. He almost pulls back.

"It doesn't hurt anymore." He says again. "It's just a mistake."

And Bakugou isn't sure what to think of it.

"What exactly?" He decides that f*ck it, he will just ask.

"This." Todoroki points at the scar or his hand on it.

"Words moron."

"I just wanted to let her know. That it was a

mistake. I forgave her." The robot says.

And Bakugou stops, breathing, functioning in general.

"Goodnight. Thanks for today." Todoroki says then.

Bakugou brushes the scar. Once. And pulls away.

"You can come and see the f*cking cat, when you feel like it." He says and turns around.

Chapter 6: Chapter Six

Chapter Text

The rain is still raging outside after four days. He watches it as it hits the big windows of the library and travels south where his stare can't follow. He likes the rain and this season in general, but it keeps them from working on the project. And his mind isn't busy and his thoughts aren't covered from a loud voice barking commands.

"Todoroki." He turns at the mention of his name. "You are doing it again." Midoriya points at the pen in his hand. The paper underneath has little black dots everywhere and as he looks around a few glares are coming his way. The constant tapping must be annoying in the silence of the library.

"Sorry." He says and stops.

"Don't worry." Midoriya smiles and turns his eyes back at his book.

He should study too, now that he has the time. But the material is easy on this subject, nothing he hasn't seen before. He is good at it. Memorising the rules of certain things, apply them correctly. It is almost relaxing. Having a solid construct of what is right and what is wrong.

"Is everything alright?" Midoriya asks and only then he realises that his friend is observing him.

Midoriya is his friend. That is also a calming thought. He never had any before. None. And he thought that was how his university life will continue. He met the boy at the early start of the first semester and with his kind nature and his easy smiles he quickly became his friend. He can't think of anyone who would dislike Midoriya. He is the epitome of a good person.

Well, he couldn't before. Now, now it is a different story.

"Todoroki?" Concern tangles around his name.

"Everything is fine. I am just a little tired." He says. He is, indeed, a little tired. There are the classes and exams, there is the project that stresses him deeply. And there is a message on his phone that doesn't leave room for a discussion.

He almost sighs. But he doesn't want to worry Midoriya more. And he is exhausted thinking about the same thing over and over again.

"Why does Bakugo dislike you so much?" He asks as a distraction. But the question is probably wrong, because the features across him morph.

"Sorry, did I say something wrong?" He asks again.

"No, no.." Midoriya smiles now. "You don't ease your words." He laughs a little.

"What do you mean?" He says genuinely.

"Nothing. Don't worry about it."

Todoroki titles his head a little. Sometimes he feels like he is participating in a game where he doesn't know the rules, while everyone else does.

"I mean if.." He tries to ask again, to understand what was that he did wrong, but Midoriya shakes his hand and smiles again.

"We used to be inseparable. Kacchan back then was exactly as he is now. That didn't earn him many friends. Not that he wanted them. But the kids were slightly afraid of his explosive nature, so he didn't have any enemies either. I was his only friend really and that made me feel kind of special." Midoriya laughs then.

"Okay." Todoroki says.

"But then something happened and we stopped talking gradually, until we didn't exchange a word at the end."

"What happened?" Todoroki asks.

"I don't know." Midoriya sighs. "I tried to ask him, but he refused to tell me."

"Maybe you breathed too loud." Todoroki tells him in an attempt to light the mood.

He succeeds when the boy across him smiles and he feels happy about it.

"He is not a bad person. I meant what I said the other day." Midoriya tells him then. "He's just..."

"Explosive." Todoroki finishes his sentence. "But I think I understand what you mean."

"You do?" Midoriya lets out a breath. "Thank god, I thought that was why you were feeling down these days. I thought, you know, that he said something to you. He is very serious about his studies."

"I am aware." He tells him. "But no, nothing like that."

"That's nice." The boy concludes, yet the question still lingers in the air. If his partner isn't the problem, what is? But Midoriya is nice and considerate and he doesn't asks for more.

There are his thoughts again, hiding in the corner of his mind, ready to appear now that the conversation has died out again.

Of an effort he is willing to do, but he is alone on that subject. Of how he must really be in the wrong. Of things he hasn't yet realise and he searches and searches. Of a woman with long white hair that doesn't want to see him.

He touches his scar. It's there still, it will be there for the rest of his life. As a reminder of his sin, as a mirror to a face that no longer exists.

It looks like a leaf.

Bakugo had said and somehow it had ease the thoughts. He had given it another meaning.

His partner was loud and odd. Demanding and easily agitated. And then he would do a thing out of his character and Todoroki would think that he really wasn't that bad.

____

"I am blaming you for this."

He is forced to stare at a screen. There is a picture of Bakugo's mother holding a cat on her lap. A little text underneath saying say hello to your brother.

Todoroki smiles. The cat seems healthier, the orange on her fur more vibrant. He is too small still, but he will grow. Bakugo's house is loud and vibrant, like him.

"It is hardly my fault." He tells him.

"Oh really cat lover?" Bakugo hides his phone in his pocket. "Maybe I should take it back where we found it."

Todoroki looks at him unfaced. Because he wouldn't actually do it.

"I don't think your parents will agree with that approach."

"I can be sneaky. Don't test me pretty boy." He scoffs.

"Are you fighting again? Aren't you tired of it?" A girl comes and stands beside Bakugo, a friend of Yaoyorozu. Todoroki believes her name is Ashido.

"Bakubro is just lively, Mina." Kirishima throws his hand on the said boy's shoulders only to be smacked away.

"You are all f*cking annoying."

"Hello." Todoroki greets them. He doesn't really know the girl more than a casual meeting. But he likes Kirishima. He has already helped them with the models and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Todoroki has deducted that he is Bakugo best friend. A thought that he will not express out loud, unless he is ready to never hear the end of Bakugo's curses.

"Todoroki, my boy, you really have all the package." The girl slights her hands around his arm.

"What do you mean?" He asks and the girl giggles.

"A nice figure, you are polite and my personal favourite, you are really clueless about it." She has her fingers raised as she lists.

"Don't tease him Mina." Kirishima says with a smile.

"Yeah, f*ck off." Bakugo tells her. "We have work to do."

"Oh don't be jealous Bakugo, you could be really popular if you watched your manners a little. Hell, you still are even with a mouth like yours." She laughs at that.

"So, how are you still single?" The girl turns to him again. "Are you like him, only thinking about studying and stuff?" She says with disgust as she points with her eyes at Bakugo.

"I don't understand." Todoroki tells her.

"Romance my boy, I am talking about romance. Is there a special person or do you want me to arrange something for you? I might have a person in mind." She winks.

Todoroki looks at her and then the others. He hasn't really thought about romance or anything like that. It just has never happened. His interactions with people were limited as he grew up and even then he can't say that he felt anything really.

In his house, love, affection of any kind, was almost forbidden, with the exception of Fuyumi. His sister has always worn her feelings in her sleeve.

"I think I broke him." Ashido says then and he realises that he has stayed silent for longer than he should.

"I don't think of anything like that." He answers truthfully.

"So blunt." Ashido laughs again. "So do you want me to.."

But she doesn't finish her sentence, because Bakugo moves her away.

"Enough of that sh*t. Go play elsewhere. We have work to do."

"You are so boring." She says and points her tongue out of her mouth.

"Hey, leave him alone Mina." Kirishima says and his voice is somehow lower than before. "My bro is seriously fixed to be the best at his studies."

"As I said before, boring. But I will fix that. For both of you." She says and winks.

"Take her away before I murder her." Bakugo almost yells, but the girl just laughs.

He grabs the end of his jacket then and drags him away with force.

"f*cking annoying. All of them." He says.

"I think Kirishima is nice." Todoroki tells him.

And before he starts yelling again, he speaks.

"Did you pick a name for the cat?"

"Yeah. Cat." Bakugo mocks.

They have reached his room by now.

"Okay." He says and opens his door. Bakugo enters behind him.

"When you do, tell me." Todoroki leaves his bag beside his desk.

"Yeah, I won't forget it."

"I will just ask your parents then, the next time I will be at your house." He almost smiles when the blonde glares at him.

"Don't expect that to happen any time soon." He opens his laptop.

"Okay." He answers and sits on the floor next to the boy.

It's not like he is disappointed. Not that he is completely ignorant about the reason behind the initial invitation.He had made him uncomfortable, speaking about things one is ought to share with close friends, or not even then. And an open invitation came to shut him for good. Perhaps there was a bit of pity mixed in there.

He isn't disappointed. In the very fact that Bakugo doesn't want him to his house, at least. But Todoroki never had a sleepover, not a friend that he visited frequently.

The girl before spoke of romance, but he doesn't know what this means. He isn't sure he can feel anything like that. He hasn't until now, so perhaps he is incapable of it. Love. He never even had a friend before coming here.

What he had was a schedule, a brother that ignored him and one that hated him. What he had was classes, performing on a play he didn't want, earning him more hate, more schedules.

What he had was guilt and questions.

What he had was a funeral.

He looks at the screen, at the photos in there. He looks, but the screen isn't moving, so he raises his gaze to the boy next to him. And he stares back.

"Have you decided?" He asks.

"Pick a name for the cat." Bakugo tells him.

"What? Why?"

"The old hags nags me to pick a name." He says and Todoroki is not sure if he is missing something.

"So?"

"So, since you bother me about it too, you do it."

He is still confused about the logic behind it all, but he stares at the ceiling, trying to think about something fitting.

It takes him long enough. He expects to hear any kind of annoyance about the time he is wasting, but none comes. He looks at his side again. Bakugo is examining the pictures on his laptop. His face is resting on his palm with a grimace of complete disgust. A frown is formed eventually as if the people on his screen aren't worthy of his attention.

He should be helping him. Not picking names for a cat he doesn't own. For a person who isn't even his friend. What is the point of that? Again, he doesn't know. Again he is missing something out, again he is participating on a game he doesn't know the rules. Again, he is out of place.

"I could be helpful." Todoroki say.

"Huh?" Bakugo gives him a side glance.

"Or you could go to your room and decide for the model on your own."

He feels a flicker on his forehead and he rubs the skin.

"The cat." Bakugo tells him. "Name."

"I don't think I should be the one who names it."

He observes the boy raises his hand again, but this time he grabs him.

"I don't appreciate the gesture."

"Don't be an idiot then."

He tries to force his hand out, but Todoroki grabs him tighter.

"You don't make sense you know." He tells him.

"Let me go or I will seriously hit you." Bakugo hisses.

"Try." Todoroki says calmly.

There is a moment before the laptop is left out of reach and another before Bakugo grabs his shirt with his other hand. He is furious. Yet Todoroki isn't scared.

He pushes him away and Bakugo pushes back. They are still on the floor and it's awkward to fight like this.

He tries to free his shirt, but Bakugo throws his weight at him. Todoroki loses his balance, but refuses to let go of the other's boy wrist, so he falls down. And Bakugo uses this chance to make him stay there.

"I will f*cking hurt you." Bakugo tells him. "What the f*ck is your problem?"

Todoroki isn't sure actually. He just felt dismissed. Casted aside. He felt irrelevant. He felt as if Bakugo has given him something to distract him, so he would be quiet, away. Gone. Out of sight.

Oh.

He lets go. He doesn't try to remove the weight above him. He looks up and stares at the angry face looking down on him.

"You can punch me if you want." He says.

"Are f*cking insane? What the f*ck is wrong with you?"

Bakugo is angry. Well it is expected. Todoroki is used to cause trouble to the people around him.

"I was out of line." He tells him. "Do whatever you want. I won't resist." He adds calmly.

Then there is a swift on the boy's face. An expression he doesn't understand. He watches him take a breath, quick as if he choked just now and he gets up in an instant.

"f*ck. Put a filter in your mouth." He says.

Todoroki stays there on his bedroom floor, looking at the ceiling.

"I'm sorry." He says and he hears Bakugo grabbing his things.

"f*ck off." He tells him.

He rises his body and looks, but the blonde is too focus on placing his laptop in the bag.

"I should be helping you. With the project." Todoroki says, tries to explain something that cannot be explained.

"Yeah. No sh*t." The boy doesn't look at his direction once.

"About the photo.."

"I will pick that out myself. Isn't that what you told me?"

He puts the bag on his shoulder.

"Will we meet tomorrow?" Todoroki asks flatly.

"If you can f*cking focus." Bakugo almost yells. "And scratch that look from your f*cking face. It's annoying."

"What look?" He touches his cheeks as if that is able to tell him.

It is a game. And Todoroki doesn't know the rules. While everyone can tell. He doesn't. He simply started late. And miles away from the others.

"When you are thinking something entirely else." Bakugo glares at him as he reaches the door. "I demand focus. And attention." He says.

And he has it. Right now. Todoroki can't understand the boy. Never had since the day he met him. But if there is anything that he admires, it's his lack of shame in the way he is carrying himself, in the attention he takes, in the skills that bring that same attention.

"I am focused."

"No you aren't." Bakugo says surely. As if his thoughts have split open. As if he asked loudly, why his mother doesn't want to see him, if there is a way to fix it, if his brother would have still hated him. If he can be good at something without bringing him shame.

Bakugo has turn the handle and there is a look on his face, how his eyes narrow, that says, here, right now, you aren't focused.

Todoroki touches his face again.

"Can I still name the cat?" He asks and Bakugo stops for a moment.

"Do whatever the f*ck you want. Sicko." He answers and closes the door.

____

When Bakugo enters his room, he drops the bag and he curses.

His palm finds the switch to the lights, but he refrains of opening them at the last minute.

He taps his head to the door and curses again.

He really didn't know what the f*ck had just happened, what kind of crazy had the robot carried all this time in his robotic head and how he should have really punched him then and there.

He doesn't f*cking know and the most annoying part is that his brain seems to stuck in a very particular thing, moving away all the other thoughts of reason.

He hit his head on the door again.

Bakugo had promised to himself, he had f*cking promised and his mind had complied with him, that there was no room for unnecessary thoughts.

That vulnerability of any kind was something that was not his taste, that he will not lose track of himself ever. Ever again.

When he was young and for a glimpse of a second he had hoped in utter stupidity that the f*cking nerd, maybe will pass the barrier that was his gender and perhaps, maybe, in utter f*cking disgusting way of thinking, he would pick him.

How small and silly he had felt. How he tasted absolute defeat for the first and last time.

He never said it. Not once.

When the other boy confessed to the girl he liked, when they start holding hands, when Bakugo reached the lowest he's ever been, he made a promise and walked away from that friendship. And from the boy eventually.

It was a silly mistake. Bakugo was rough and raw and loud. And he liked it just like that. Keep everyone away. Keep them at their toes. Make them fear him.

He made a promise and he broke it a year later, when he joined a party, one that he didn't want to go, but his cousin dragged him into and his parents almost forced him to go.

When he drank for the first and last time, where the people he didn't know, were drunk too and another boy had kissed him.

His first and last time.

Because the boy had laughed, muttering something about a dare, and his friends had mocked him playfully and full of alcohol about being gay.

Bakugo had punched him.

And he never broke his promise again.

He hit his head on the wood.

His eyes are closed, yet it doesn't matter because the room is dark and he doesn't see anything, anything beside a boy underneath him, an idiot who speaks without thinking, who says things that he shouldn't have, especially laid out on the floor with Bakugo on top of him.

He bangs his head and refuses to give in.

He feels it though, he does, because how can he not?

No. He can. He will. This is nothing.

He hears the robot's voice and this time his hits his fist.

He knows it's a physical reaction, he understands that. It's inevitable sometimes. And it makes him feel weak.

It will pass on. It will.

You can do whatever you want.

"f*ck."

It will be quick. He will think of something else. He won't break his promise. He will think about everything else.

So he moves his hand away from the door and he thinks of nothing. Tries to. It will be quick.

He removes the fabric. He tries to think of what he is wearing, of the project, of photos of people he isn't pleased.

And he touches. Skin on skin.

Do whatever you want.

"f*ck off. f*ck you."

He pressures and he moves and he forgets about the project and the models and a promise he had made to never crave, never expect.

No, he thinks about a boy laid on the floor, unfaced about Bakugo's yells and glares, unfaced because he is an idiot and a f*cking robot, unfaced until Bakugo touches him and his features break into human and he parts his lips and he makes inhuman whispers.

"f*ck." His hand moves faster. On him, here in the room and in the image of his mind on another skin, another boy, who says his name, whispers it, yells it.

Bakugo almost says his as a response. Almost. He bites his lips, because saying it will make it real, what he is doing, who he imagines, it will somehow make it swift into something else. Something that it is not.

He bites his lips and thinks of a scar that looks like a leaf, of a set of lips, of another hand touching him.

He almost slips again, but he forces himself to his end before it happens.

"f*ck." He says and bangs the door.

He must shower. He must wash his hand. He must forget it. This is nothing.

This will not happen again.

It is nothing.

His phone blinks and he must get up. He must shower. He must work on the project.

So he does that. He lets the water run cold, he changes his clothes, he takes his phone to set an alarm.

There is a message, mocking him on the screen from an unknown number.

Uteki. The cat.

Chapter 7: Seven

Chapter Text

Everything is fine.

It feels that is the only thing Bakugo can mutter. He said it as he woke up in the morning. Then again as he walked into classes, and finally when he returned to his room in the afternoon.

Everything is fine.

The sentence is chanted constantly, with more force, faster, until it feels strange as if they aren't real words anymore.

Everything is fine.

He had decided to avoid the robot, mostly because he was angry. And for the other reason that didn't need to be addressed, because everything was f*cking fine.

He scrolled through the pictures, until he eventually picked one for the photo that they would do next week.

He keeps staring at it, without really looking and he knows he have to contact the idiot eventually. Tomorrow he says and it feels like a retreat. A feeling that brings him disgust.

There are many things that can be said about him. A long list of names that he doesn't care about, that he doesn't bother to waste a thought, but coward is not one. So he picks up his phone and sends a message. Clear and to the point. And if the robot knows what's best for him, he will just reply an okay and that will be the end of it.

As his phone blinks at the next five minutes and he happens to hold and see the reply immediately, he feels better.

"Okay. I will contact them."

The unknown number says, because Bakugo doesn't care to register the robot's contact.

But another message comes, to shake away any delusions that he had about the complete idiocy that forms the person who is Shoto Todoroki.

"If you have the time, could I come over?"

No.

He says in his mind.

Stay where you are.

And he looks at the phone and the message and everything that it brings.

He doesn't want to see the boy. Especially not in his room. And he shouldn't have to. They will meet in a week and they will go to take the photo and everything will be fine.

No. He thinks and he types a whatever.

He isn't sure if the boy will come. The robot finds it difficult to process clear answers and this is not one.

Bakugo stares at the door for a good ten minutes and he takes pleasure in the idea of a figure pacing at his room, not sure what to do. He even smirks.

But as all good things, this ends too when the knock on the door is heard.

It gives it a minute. There is a silence, then another knock.

He gets up, but opens only when the low voice speaks his name.

He stares at the boy, at the outfit he is wearing that doesn't match at all at the stare he sends back at Bakugo. A blue set of pyjamas with cats on it, can not be intimidating.

"Can I come in?" He asks. "Your message wasn't clear, so I am not sure."

He stops himself from laughing. It is a win. A small one, but he will take it.

He doesn't respond, he just leaves the door open and walks back to his room.

Todoroki stays at his place, still unsure and he looks again.

He is thinking about it. He waits, but Bakugo will not make it easy for him.

He looks at the floor, at him, the end of his upper outfit. Then he takes a step and closes the door.

He stands with his back at the wood, as if he is given permission only to enter, not move inside.

He is standing where Bakugo stood the night before, when he thought of things that he shouldn't be thinking, doing things he definitely shouldn't be doing with the same boy in mind.

"f*cking take a seat." He says, before he loses it completely.

It takes a moment, but Todoroki finally moves and does as he is told.

"What do you want?" Bakugo asks. He wants to get it over with. He needs to sleep, there is a long week ahead of him. He needs to rest. He needs Todoroki to leave the room right now.

"I came to apologise." The response comes calmly. "For my behaviour." He adds.

Bakugo scoffs.

"I mean it. I took it out on you. And you didn't deserve it."

"I f*cking did not." He says louder, but doesn't turn his head to the boy, sitting in the chair across from him.

"Anything else?" He takes a book from his desk to point out that he is busy.

"Why did you ask me to name the cat?"

Bakugo looks above his book, just a glance, before he turns away again.

"I felt like it."

"I see." He hears the noise of the chair as if the boy moved, or adjust his body differently.

"Is it because I am not helping?" He asks and Bakugo glares at him.

"It's because you had that same f*cking look on your face." He points with his finger.

He sees the surprise. The slightly widening of the mismatched eyes and the move of his lips that comes after.

"You did it to help me then." He says and his voice is even.

"Don't flatter yourself pretty boy. I did it so you can focus. Which you didn't by the way. You just f*cking started a fight with me."

"I'm sorry." He says. "I thought.."

"Yeah whatever." He turns a page on his book. Any page it doesn't matter.

Everything is fine.

"What kind of look?"

He will rip this book to shreds. He looks at the cover to see if it's a valuable one, or he can actually do it.

It is. He will need it for the class tomorrow. So he answers.

"I don't know. Like you will cry, or scream or die." He scoffs. "Like you suffer or something like that. Whatever. Do you want anything else?"

"You distracted me. With the name." He hears the voice.

"That was the plan anyway." He almost growls. Like an animal. He wants to pull his hair out of his head. This is an uncomfortable situation and he will very much preferred if it stops. Right now.

"Thank you." It's less robotic now. The voice.

"Yeah, yeah." And it is all right. Now Todoroki will leave along with his awkwardness and Bakugo will breath. He will be able to look past an open page of a book he doesn't recognise at the moment. "So? What's gotten you so f*cking annoying?"

Maybe stupidity is contagious. No. He is sure that it is.

"It's...A long story."

"Okay." Bakugo tells him. And he realises that okay is not a rejection.

The silence compels him to rise his eyes. The robot doesn't look back at first. But then he does. And Bakugo doesn't look away this time.

"I told you the other day, that I had a brother and a sister." Bakugo nods. "Well, that isn't exactly true. Technically it is." He sighs. And it makes Bakugo think of something he shouldn't.

"My father used to be famous. You know the story. Well as his career was growing, he participate in a movie with my mother. His agent thought it will be good publicity for both of them if they dated. You know how it goes." Bakugo nods again. He really doesn't.

"It was beneficial for both of them. And it stuck. To the point that they got married and eventually had children. Perfect children for the world to see." He emphasizes this part. "My brother started to follow his foot steps. He made appearances and tried really hard to be the perfect boy. But he outgrew his childish charm and the agents didn't want him anymore."

"Your brother that studies in another city?" Bakugo asks.

"No. My brother that died." Todoroki says and it's final. "Drug use." He adds and then lower. "He hated me."

"Why?"

"I did better than him without effort. That's what he was saying anyway. That it was unfair. It doesn't matter."

"After that my father retreated and eventually vanished. He does behind the scenes work nowadays. We don't get along. It's... awkward between us."

He pauses. He puts his hand between his legs. Unsure. Uncertain. Not the robot that seems unfaced by Bakugo's every scream.

"And?" Bakugo asks and Todoroki is straightening his back.

"I looked like him the most. When we were growing up."

There is an itching at his palms. To reach out in this absurd situation. He holds it back.

"My mother..She... She was not very well after that."

He seems tense. He wants to stop him. To tell him to stop. To fight again. It was better.

"She thought I was him. That he came back to blame her."

And then he touches his scar.

"f*ck." Bakugo says, before he stops himself. Todoroki smiles and it's a sad one.

"She is fine now." He says clearly.

Just doesn't want to talk to you.

It remains unspoken.

"Why did you..?" He clears his throat. "An apology was fine." He says.

Todoroki titles his head. As if he is only now considers that option.

"Perhaps. You are probably right. Sometimes I don't know how I should behave." He nods as if he is agreeing with himself. "But I raised my hand to you and I thought it was proper to explain why I behaved the way I did."

He gets up.

"I am sorry if that made you uncomfortable." He says.

Bakugo stays at his place on the bed. The guy is a f*cking moron. He just goes and tells his f*cking life story, just to apologise. Bakugo doesn't gossip, he doesn't really care to talk about other people, but he could be anyone and Todoroki would still tell all that.

"I will be going." He says and opens the door.

"I don't mind." Bakugo tells him. "It was unnecessary telling me all that. And kind of stupid because you don't know me." He looks at the boy. "But I don't mind hear them or you know.."

Todoroki looks at him. And it seems like a burden lifts from his eyes. As if he thought until now that he did something wrong.

He smiles. Not really. But it's an uprise of his lips.

"Good to know." He says and then he thinks of something else. "So are we friends now?"

"Not a f*cking chance moron."

____

So the story goes like this.

Once upon a time there was beautiful woman that trived as an actress. And at the peak of her career she got pregnant with an insignificant man. Despite the time and the place when this story occurred, despite what was expected of her then, she climbed back up. And the rumour said that she had her husband to thank for. But the husband died and the woman who didn't know how to be a mother left with a child that couldn't raise.

And that child grew, without knowing anything else than how to work for success, by any means necessary.

And the means that were necessary presented in the form of an aspiring young girl, fresh and pretty. And a deal. That worked for both of them.

So they became parents. Without really knowing what exactly that meant. She was trying, imitating what was expected of her to do and he, well he did what he had known by now.

And they were lucky, blessed with beautiful children, ready to be consumed as a product for their parents deal.

And the boy, the eldest tried his hardest to be consumed. To be useful. To be seen.

Until he was. Seen. Useful. Consumed.

He grew up fast, faster than he should. He tasted things otherwise forbidden. Until he stopped been useful.

And since he couldn't blame his father, that he adored and he didn't care for his mother enough to look at her way, he blamed the youngest. Who seemed to be blessed more than he should, more than he himself was. Or that was how he viewed it.

And when the boy received a reward for a story he had submitted, he finally snapped. And he hit him. And he was seen again. For a while.

The news came when he was sleeping. Fuyumi had knocked on his door and even he who was terrible at reading expression could see that something was wrong.

Fuyumi was crying.

Touya Todoroki had died at the age of seventeen.

The funeral was quiet.

And life at the house became quieter too.

Shoto had thought that it couldn't be any worse than this, but he was wrong.

The day that he received his scar had proven him so.

____

Somehow they had managed to drag him along to a sh*tty concert. A concert was an exaggeration, because this was a band from the college in a somewhat large room.

But there was a girl that the yellow idiot couldn't stop talking about and Kirishima had said that they definitely should go and support their friend. His yelling that they weren't his friends was lost under Kirishima's that's only manly.

And somehow it was another group outing, robot's friends included.

Ashido had declared that she would definitely arrange a date for them both and Bakugo wanted to bite her face.

Still here he is, a drink on his hand, a girl on his side, desperately trying to get his attention.

Ashido had tried to leave them some privacy, but Bakugo glared at her first and then at Kirishima, so they all stayed together.

The only slightly good thing about this dreadful predicament is that the robot's date hasn't showed up. He will definitely mock him endlessly afterwards.

Or now, because if he doesn't move he will explode on the girl that can't stop yapping beside him.

But pigtail approachs the robot and she touches his arm, smiling and he stays at his place.

"Don't you ever shut up?" He says instead and f*cking finally some silence.

"I..." He hears from his side and then as the surprise drifts off. "What a jerk."

She huffs, Bakugo can tell that she waits just slightly, maybe to see if he regrets it, but he doesn't turn and she leaves. Not before she pushes his shoulder to make her point of what a jerk he actually is.

"Well, there goes your chance." Ashido sighes. "Why do I even try?"

Ponytail says something and laughs behind her hand. Her cheeks are pink and the robot nods to whatever she is saying.

"At least not all of my efforts are going to waste."

Bakugo turns to that statement. Ashido smirks. He turns again and only now he observes the squizing on nerd's arm by the other girl of their group.

So that's how it is. A fake date to cover a real one.

"How f*cking stupid." He says.

"You think?"

He wants to wipe that stupid grin of her alien face.

Maybe that's why he says what he says next.

"Yeah, the robot has no idea. He is an idiot like that."

"That is the point." She raises her hand and rolls her eyes. "Momo is too shy to make a move."

Bakugo scoffs, he really doesn't care.

Maybe he should just go. The idiot has enough company, the crowd is getting bigger and his headache is rising. Ponytail laughs again, this time the other girl had said something to her.

"I really like concerts you know." Kaminari says to all. "They remind me of my first kiss."

He brags.

"Way to go man." Kirishima joines. "I had mine at school. Technically at the road back home, but still."

"What about you Bakugo?" Ashido asks, but she seems that she doesn't care.

"At a party." He says, but the girl has already turn her attention to the robot.

"And you Todoroki-kun?"

He looks at her, as if he doesn't understand the question, but still answers with his usual voice.

"I haven't."

There is a fit of giggles and Bakugo knows it's because of the little scheme. But the robot doesn't.

"Is that unusual?" He asks and it's serious for him.

The others nod, Uraraka slightly nudges ponytail's arm. The girls cheeks blush, but the light is poor and it goes unnoticed.

"I see." The robot is totally oblivious of the commotion around him.

"Well, your date hasn't come, but maybe you'll be lucky." Uraraka says.

They are all too preoccupied with their plan and themselves. Too blind to see that this plan was stupid all along, because the robot looks ahead and his eyes are lonely.

Idiots.

They all miss the slightly pressure on his lips, because no one picked him.

f*cking idiots.

And when the couple in front of them does share a kiss, Bakugo wants to scream. Because the robot looks at them, without blinking, he looks and it feels like he is the loneliest person in the world.

Kiss him.

He wants to scream to the girl, to not be a coward and follow through the plan.

Kiss him.

But despite the looks her friends are giving her, she nods her head in denial.

Someone kiss him.

The robot has made a step forward as to mark how alone he is. And Bakugo wants to reach out. He wants to erase that irritating look.

But the music starts and the lights go out.

And everything moves and nothing happens.

Chapter 8: Chapter Eight

Chapter Text

They arrange to meet up on Friday. But Bakugo insists that the sky should be cloudy, so they cancel the photoshoot.

They are looking at the weather forecast for the weekend and Sunday seems promising. They are in Bakugo's room again. It seems he prefers it these days. It's there that Kirishima finds them.

Shoto watches as his partner yells at him to go away, that they have work to do and how Kirishima laughs and he sits on the bed. Bakugo curses him.

It's nice, he thinks, to be able to get along like that. To navigate through friendship without directions.

Bakugo is explaining the process again and maybe Shoto should be insulted, but he knows how peculiar the blond is about these things. That is a nice thought. Perhaps it isn't hopeless. Perhaps he can improve. Perhaps in the future he can pick up cues that he now misses.

Kirishima's phone blinks. Once, twice. And Bakugo is moving his foot up and down. More times than Shoto can count.

Until he explodes and he takes the phone away. He shuts it down and another series of loud yelling begins.

It stops absurdly as a knock is heard. Bakugo looks at the door and then at his friend.

"What did you do?" He asks.

"Nothing." Kirishima says. "It's your room bro." He adds.

There is another knock and a woman's voice is accompanying it.

"What the f*ck is she doing here?" Bakugo asks again, but he doesn't stand from his seat.

"I..I didn't invite her." The man responds and then he laughs. "You said it like she is your worst enemy."

"You are all my enemies. We are f*cking trying to study." He points at the laptop.

Shoto thinks that it's pointless. He hasn't said a word for a while. It feels more like he is the one intruding.

He gets up and he walks to the door.

"What are you doing?" Bakugo asks him.

"I'm opening the door." Shoto answers.

"Sit the f*ck down. We are studying." Bakugo tells him and Shoto turns the handle.

"You will be the first to die." He only manages one threat before Ashido bursts into the room.

"What took you so long?" She says with annoyance. Then she turns at Shoto and she smiles.

"Where is Momo?" She asks him and he raises his shoulders in question.

Probably studying, he wants to say, but Bakugo is faster.

"For f*ck's sake."

Ashido laughs.

There is a joke there that Shoto doesn't understand.

He should probably leave.

"Let's hang out." The girl says. "I brought a friend."

"You did this." Bakugo turns to Kirishima.

"She just asked me where I was." The man raises his hands. "And then you took my phone away."

"As for you..." Bakugo turns to him, but Ashido brings her friend inside.

"Hello." Midoriya waves his hand shyly. "Can I come in?" He asks the blonde.

"Of course, of course." Ashido pushes him inside and she closes the door.

"This isn't your f*cking room." Bakugo shouts at her and she moves her hand dismissively.

They sit on the floor, where Shoto previously sat. He is still by the door. He probably should leave. There will not be any more planning.

"Midoriya here was actually helping me with the project." She says pointly. "Unlike some, who just said garbage and do it again."

"It was garbage." Bakugo tells her. "You are f*cking lazy. You just put a pretty face on the screen and you were done with it."

"You should give me some advice." Ashido yells back.

Kirishima laughs, like he is used to it.

"Sometimes it just needs a little adjustment..." Midoriya begins.

"You shut up, you f*cking nerd." Bakugo tells him. "Nobody asked you."

"Actually Ashido-san did.." Midoriya raises one finger, much like when he begins his rambling.

"I don't f*cking believe it." Bakugo says.

Shoto is still by the door.

He should leave. But he doesn't know the right moment. And there is no opening for him to speak. Or maybe there is, but he can't see it.

The thought from before seems stupid now. Every step he covers, the others have long walked past it.

It will always feel like he is standing at the beginning.

He touches the handle. Maybe he should just walk out. It will be less awkward like this.

"I told you to sit the f*ck down." Bakugo says and he turns to look at him.

For a moment Shoto stays still.

"We won't be able to study." He says.

Bakugo doesn't answer right away. Like he is thinking about it.

"Says who?" He tells after a while.

And Shoto wants to argue that they barely studied with Kirishima's arrival and now there are more people and Shoto is just sitting by the door for a while now.

"Move over." Bakugo says and he looks away.

He speaks to Kirishima, Shoto realises, when he pushes the man's leg.

Bakugo looks at him again and Shoto sits down on the bed.

____

Bakugo has left his laptop open, pictures of candidates displayed on the screen. As if any minute now they will return to work.

It's turned lightly to Shoto's direction by the bed. As if to remind him.

He still doesn't talk much, only when he is asked to, but Midoriya is slightly more relaxed and he is helping him.

Sitting on the bed helps him too. It feels as if he is included.

Ashido does most of the talking. She's nice, he thinks, it's just that she is so good at it, the talking and socialising, that Shoto can't always keep up.

She starts joking about how pathetic it is, that they are sitting inside on a Friday night, studying, then she talks about her project anyway. About Yaoyorozu. She is praising her and Shoto nods. She seems happy with that.

Bakugo scowls.

Shoto thinks that the blonde doesn't like Yaoyorozu very much.

Then Ashido laughs about a scar on her knee, telling a story about how she fell off a tree.

Shoto isn't really sure how they got there. But the others keep up.

Kirishima praises the red of his hair and then he tells him that he is dyeing his own.

Midoriya says something about school. They all nod.

Shoto doesn't.

"Those were the years." Kirishima says like he is an old man. It's funny. "I remember when I got my first confession in a letter." He smiles and he looks afar. Maybe in a place where his hair weren't red yet.

"A letter?" Ashido laughs. "Are you a time-traveller?" She laughs some more.

"It's manly." Kirishima nods to himself.

"Kacchan had gotten a letter too." Midoriya says and two sets of eyes beam.

"Say one more word nerd and I will kill you." Bakugo's doesn't.

"He said it was a prank probably. We were.." Midoriya stops to think. "Probably eleven? Twelve?" He asks.

"Thirteen." Bakugo offers surprisingly.

"Thirteen." Midoriya says louder and he looks at the other two.

Shoto is watching Bakugo who sits in the chair in front of him. He seems less confident somehow, wary and he tries very, very hard to stop his foot from moving.

Bakugo doesn't look at him. His focus is on Midoriya, who is still telling the story.

"I kept saying that we should find out who had sent the letter, that she was probably someone we knew, that he shouldn't dismissed it like that." He says and he smiles.

Bakugo smiles a little too. Absent-minded as he thinks that no-one is watching. His smile is a little sad.

"At the end he was convinced that I was the one that had sent the letter as a prank." Midoriya laughs. "I still remember the terrified face of the girl when she came to collect her answer." He looks at Bakugo again.

And Bakugo's face has returned to normal. A frown, a scowl.

"She shouldn't have sent it." He says. "It's not my fault."

The others laugh. Ashido says something about how typical it is of him. That he is hopeless.

"And when I wanted to confess, he told me not to f*cking dare and sent a letter." Midoriya starts again. And the others ask about it, as Midoriya shyly offers his experience, which he says that it's not too much, since he never was in the recieving end of a confession.

"But I followed Kacchan's advice and I went there myself. I was so sure she would reject me." He turns to Bakugo again.

"Do you remember?" He asks and he is so full of life and happiness, because he speaks with Bakugo again and he is able to share this with him. He smiles brightly and he misses the face Bakugo is making when he talks.

"I remember." And the sound of his voice is lost under giggles and questions, under sharing experiences of youth.

"Oh." Shoto says, but nobody is paying attention to him. He doesn't have anything to offer.

Well, nobody except Bakugo who turns his eyes on him, almost as if he was half looking the entire time.

For a second, he seems afraid. And Shoto thinks that maybe it was better for him to stay ignorant. To not pick up cues.

Then Bakugo is angry.

"Get out." He says. To all. To none. "Get the f*ck out."

The others laugh at first. But they are better at this than Shoto. They have practiced for years. In friendships, in life. They quickly realise that Bakugo isn't playing anymore.

"Hey, bro, what's up?"

"Get out." He says again. Practically yells.

Shoto moves a little, but stops as soon as Bakugo speaks again.

"We have to study." He says and he looks at Shoto.

His attention turns to the others.

"You wasted enough of my time."

They slowly get up. Startled as to what caused the sudden swift in the mood.

Shoto feels guilty.

"Kacchan..." Midoriya says when he is at the door.

"Out." Bakugo stops him and Midoriya nods and leaves along with the others.

The room is suddenly silent. Bakugo bounces his foot.

"I'm sorry." Shoto feels obligated to say.

But perhaps that is also wrong, because Bakugo stills.

"For what?" He asks and the previous moment of fear is gone. "For what?" He demands now.

"I am usually bad at this." Shoto offers.

"At what?" A provocation.

Shoto sits more straight. He is at the edge of the bed and Bakugo's knees are inches from his as he is sitting on his desk chair.

"Maybe I am wrong." Shoto says, because Bakugo asked. "But do you like Midoriya?"

And it happens too fast, Bakugo is already at the edge of his seat and he grabs his shirt.

"I am not wrong." Shoto confirms and it's somehow silly, but he feels proud that he had picked that up.

The thought comes and goes as quickly.

Bakugo looks at him, like he is going to kill him.

"Say one more f*cking..."

"I'm not going to tell him." Shoto says calmly and Bakugo shoves him.

"I don't." He says and his voice is deep. "Do you understand?"

"Bakugo..."

"Listen to me robot and listen to me carefully. Whatever you thought you figured out, it's wrong."

Shoto doesn't think so.

So he tells him that.

Bakugo is ready to jump at him, but as suddenly as he began, he stops. Pauses.

He stares at Shoto for a moment, like he's thinking about something.

"Is that why you are not friends anymore?" Shoto says in the silence.

"Shut your mouth." Bakugo warns him and he gets up from his chair. It seems like if he sits one more second, he will explode.

"I didn't want to upset you." Shoto speaks again. "But friends talk about this stuff." He doesn't know why he says that. They aren't friends, Bakugo has already told him. Perhaps Shoto would have liked them to be.

"We are not friends you freak." Bakugo glares.

"Okay." Shoto nods.

Bakugo is walking around the room. Shoto folds his hands, then unfolds them. The blond is still walking. Sometimes he glares at him, but he mostly looks at his feet. He doesn't tell him to leave. So Shoto decides that they probably will speak about the project some more. He turns the laptop and he scrolls at the pictures.

The pacing stops after a while. He hears it more than he sees it. Bakugo comes to the desk again and he takes Shoto's hand in his palm with more strength than necessary to remove it from his laptop.

He looks at Bakugo. Something in this move and they way he observes him feels odd. Shoto titles his head. He can't understand what it is.

Bakugo offers nothing, but he sits down again.

His eyes are on the screen, but it seems like he doesn't actually looking at it.

"You don't find it weird." He says after a while.

"That you liked Midoriya?" Shoto asks, because he isn't sure. "He is a nice person." He concludes.

Bakugo turns his attention to him.

"Just so you know, I don't like him."

Shoto is ready to argue, but Bakugo speaks again.

"I used to. Back at school."

"Oh." It seems that his observation wasn't exactly on the spot. But he understood half of it, so it still counts as a win.

"Okay."

Bakugo stares. He is waiting for something.

"And I meant.." He takes a breath. "That you don't find weird, that I am..." He lets the air out of his nose. "I like boys." He says in the end.

"Should I?" Shoto asks genuinely. Should he?

"I don't know pretty boy.." Bakugo starts, but he flinches and he stops. He looks.. Embarrassed.

"Why is it weird?" He asks again.

"People usually get weird after that." Bakugo says with force this time. "Around..you know...me."

His feet moves up and down in full force.

"Oh. Why?"

"They don't f*cking expect it. I don't f*cking know."

Shoto nods.

"Do you?" Bakugo asks and he taps on the desk. "Like boys?" He doesn't look at him. "Is that why you don't find it..?"

"I don't know." Shoto answers and Bakugo stills.

He turns his attention to him.

"I never. I don't know." Shoto says, because he believes that's what is weird. He says as much.

Bakugo laughs.

"Yeah I forgot you are a moron." He says and it doesn't feel like an insult.

____

It rains on Saturday. Shoto spends the day at his house. His father has returned from a trip abroad and he asks Shoto for his presence, for lunch.

It's just the two of them in a massive house, eating at a table meant for many people. Shoto doesn't know why his father keeps requesting these meetings. They speak a phrase or two, sometimes not even that and it feels suffocating for them both. Because it's just the two of them and a ghost looming at every turn.

It is just the two of them and a wedding waiting around the corner.

"How is school?" His father asks.

"Good." Shoto answers.

Their typical interaction. Wherever the silence seems too much, his father asks that question and Shoto answers just the same, whatever the truth is.

He can understand to a certain degree, that there is an effort there and he ought to try to. Except he can't. Except he doesn't know how.

Because his father is as clueless as him, just as awkward and Shoto can only try as much.

He can only pretend to understand, to attempt to function properly if the other person is more confident, more lively, less like him.

With Midoriya is easy. He is kind and patient towards Shoto inexperience, he explains the things that Shoto doesn't understand. He can be nervous, but he isn't around him, instead he speaks his thoughts and he fills the silence when Shoto can't. It's easy. Comfortable. And Midoriya makes friends wherever he goes. That's why he includes Shoto.

And with Yaoyorozu is just as easy. Not the same, but just as much. She is more practical than Midoriya, she proposes solutions and facts, but she never judges him or scoldes him. Perhaps less than her other friends.

As he navigates in their circle and he speaks with their group, he sometimes lets himself think that maybe he belongs. That he has finally get a grasp of how people work and think. That he too can understand.

Yet the truth is that he has only two friends. And even with them, he finds himself clueless.

He looks at his father picking his food, not eating and he knows that this is not normal. That if anyone of his friends saw this scene would know that it's not normal. Neither of them knows how to behave.

Bakugo would say that he is a moron. Even if Bakugo says that they are not friends. They can be in the privacy of his head. He wants them to be. He smiles at the thought as if he is doing a mischief.

"Have you bought your suit for your sister's wedding?" His father asks and Shoto's smile fades.

He nods.

"I will be on a business trip that weekend so I won't be able to come." He says.

Shoto nods again. He knows it's a lie.

"Have you talked..?" He coughs. Another lie. "Fuyumi says that your mother will be there."

"Yes." Shoto offers.

"Have you gotten in touch?" His father tries again.

"I have been busy." He says carefully. He doesn't want to let his guilt be visible. His shame.

"I will reach to her. I am sure we can arrange a meeting." As the words leaves his mouth, he feels suffocated.

He wants to scream.

"Good. That's good." His father says and Shoto gets up.

"I have to study." He says and he goes to his room.

He breathes as if to check that there is still air in the room. There is, he knows this, but he can't feel it.

He needs to get out. If he stays, he will think about a meeting that won't happen, about the mistakes he makes, about how he will not fit anywhere.

He takes his bag and walks out of the room.

"Are you leaving?" His father asks.

"I have to meet with a friend. We are working on a project."

It seems like his father will say something, but he just moves his head and he turns around.

"Don't neglect your studies." He adds as if he has to and Shoto walks fast out of the house.

He feels guilty again, for not trying, for not being better at this and he opens his phone.

He calls Bakugo, biting his lips while he is waiting for the man to answer. He needs him to answer. He needs an excuse for running away.

They have to work on the project, they must.

"What do you want?" Bakugo sounds irritated, but Shoto doesn't care.

He sighs in relief.

"Can we meet?" He asks. For the project, he should probably say. He needs to be clear so people can understand him.

There is a pause. Shoto opens his mouth to explain.

"Where are you?" Bakugo asks. "I'm coming."

An Autumn Story - MarsForce - 僕のヒーローアカデミア | Boku no Hero Academia (2024)
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