Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place - YearningClown - 僕のヒーローアカデミア | Boku no Hero Academia (2024)

Shouto Todoroki was an idiot, and he knew that, but this was a new low for him.

He doubted that Midoriya would even be surprised when, on a late Tuesday night in the middle of the semester, Shouto was about ready to break down his door with his relentless, panicked knocking.

Swaddled in a blanket, Midoriya was bleary-eyed but miraculously awake as he answered.

“What—”

Shouto didn't offer an explanation at the threshold. Instead, he brushed past his friend, already pacing around the cramped university dorm room with his accursed phone in one clenched hand.

“I... messed up.”

Midoriya blinked at him once before he simply closed the door to the hall. Waddling to his cramped and equally cluttered desk, Midoriya plopped into his chair while Shouto, despite his nervous energy, took up reluctant residence on his bed. Midoriya had apparently been sitting at his desk long before Shouto arrived, if his laptop with no less than thirty open tabs and the assortment of cluttered papers and snacks were anything to judge by.

“Clearly. What happened?

“Well, I was texting Bakugou.”

“Uh-huh,” Midoriya hummed. Preemptively, his freckled friend said, “Well, everybody says stuff that’s embarrassing!”

“No, Midoriya,” Shouto deadpanned, “you don’t understand the gravity of this.”

Midoriya’s expression only twisted into one of further confusion.

“I sent him, you know.

Shouto gestured vaguely around his own stomach, his gaze pointedly fixed on a comic book poster adorning his friend’s wall. All Might. A classic, and a favorite they both shared. He could practically hear the gears turning in Midoriya’s head before he heard his best friend squawk a bewildered,

What?!

“You don’t have to rub it in, ” he bemoaned. “Trust me, I know.”

“I’m sorry! I just—he asked for one ?”

“Well, here’s the thing—”

“Todoroki!”

“—I thought he was asking for one.”

“But he wasn’t?”

“I… No, he wasn’t.”

How...?

“It’s because of that dumb Gen Ed,” Shouto began.

It was something he decided to take on a whim, an easy enough course to fulfil a necessary science credit. Unlucky for Shouto, however, he and Bakugou went from mere acquaintances to unofficial partners for every project that semester. It was like Bakugou had walked straight out of Shouto’s dreams. He was bitingly funny, his humor even drier than Shouto’s, effortlessly smart, and though the blond would never admit it aloud, thoughtful. Not to mention, his smile alone was enough to make Shouto weak in the knees. The rest of him? How he wasn’t a model, Shouto had no idea.

Their professor, the hippie type who seemed more underdressed than almost half her students, had proposed that each assignment have the option of “field work.” Rather than write a multi-page essay droning on about mineral deposits, they had the choice to go on a hike instead, identify something they’d talked about in class, explain how they were able to identify it, and that was it. It was an easy A, as far as assignments went.

Bakugou was an athletic type who seemed to like the routine hikes, and, while the brim of Shouto’s sunhat might challenge the circumference of the Earth, he still enjoyed himself. Often times, they would get lunch together after, too. And yet, as many times as Momo had tried to convince him otherwise, Shouto knew these weren’t dates. Right? They couldn’t be.

“So, he was busy today, and I told him that I’d hike by myself, and he could use mine.”

Academic dishonesty be damned; Shouto just wanted to do something nice for the blond that he may or may not have been harboring a crush on for the better part of the last three months.

“And so I come home; it’s late. He starts texting me.” Shouto unlocked his phone and began scrolling through their messages, reading them aloud and reliving his own personal hell.

Katsuki: Hey are you still awake

Me: Yeah?

Katsuki: Great

Me: ??

Me: Do you need something?

Katsuki: Can you send me a picture of your co*ck before you go to bed

Midoriya just about fell out of his desk chair.

“That’s very—uh, forward, huh?”

“Oh, it gets better,” Shouto assured, voice dripping with sarcasm. “So, he doesn’t elaborate. Obviously, I scramble to take a picture,”

“Obviously,” Midoriya agreed with a nod, failing in his attempt not to smile. He did manage to hold in a laugh, though, which was fully warranted at this point.

“I took the picture. I Snapped it.”

“And?”

Shouto continued reading.

Katsuki: Sorry, haha, was using voice-to-text on my way home. I meant pictures of the rock

Katsuki: The diorite

Me: It’s fine

Was it really?

Me: Sorry, I didn’t even see this until now

Utter lie.

Me: Sure, give me 2

That one actually was true, as Shouto did text him a picture of the diorite no less than two minutes later. It’s not like he wasn’t going to send him the picture he actually asked for.

“And so you didn’t say anything about the Snap?”

“Of course not,” Shouto dismissed the question with a wave of his hand, shocked that confrontation would even be considered.

“Well, what if you delete your account? Won’t that delete the photo?”

“He’ll know. ” Shouto insisted, letting himself fall back onto Midoriya’s comforter with a dramatic sigh. “I’m going to have to transfer .” He threw his phone into the pillows and rolled over, facing away from it. “Midoriya, how am I supposed to look him in the eye after this?”

“Well, what if you said something like, ‘Oops, wrong person?’”

“No, that’s worse! I don’t want him to think that I’m interested in somebody else . Midoriya, I… I blew it, didn’t I?”

“I mean, maybe not! Has he opened it yet?”

“Not since I last checked.”

As soon as the words left his mouth, however, his stomach swirled. It had been at least 90 seconds since he’d looked, and a lot could change in that time. Demoralized, he rolled back over to blindly fish around for his phone. Once it was in hand, he opened the app to find that the Snap still sat there, sent and unopened. Shouto let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

“Do you think he’s asleep?”

“Well, he isn’t much of a night owl.”

The pair sat in silence for a moment.

“What if we open it before he wakes up?”

We ?” Midoriya asked, though he didn’t protest that he’d essentially been roped into Shouto’s scheme.

“He can’t open it if we steal his phone.”

“Sure,” Midoriya agreed, “naturally. But I don’t know how easily we could break in.

“What if we start a fire?” Shouto suggested, his expression dead serious. “If we started one in the common room, they’d never know that we—

“That might be a little extreme, don’t you think?”

“Does this not call for extreme?”

“Okay, but what if we asked Iida to pull the alarm instead?”

Shouto thought about it for all of half a second.

“Midoriya, you’re one brilliant bastard.”

A minute later, they were down the hall, Shouto pounding on Iida’s door while Midoriya trailed slowly behind him.

Iida mercifully opened his door after a mere handful of rapid knocks. Seemingly realizing Shouto’s urgency, he gave a cursory glance at the pair as though he were making sure that neither of them were missing a limb or bleeding out on the ground. Upon seeing that both of them were, physically speaking, perfectly fine, he glanced down the hall. They weren’t running from an axe murderer, which prompted the questions, “What’s happening?” and, “Are you two alright?”

The pair spoke at once, but not in unison.

Midoriya opted for a vague opener with, “Iida, we need your help.”

Knowing that time was against them, Shouto decided on something much more direct.

“I sent Bakugou a picture of my dick and we need to delete it.”

Ten minutes of frantic explanation, convincing, and begging later, and the law was effectively on their side.

The ringing of the fire alarm was purely earsplitting. Even having braced for it, Shouto wasn’t prepared. Dead-eyed, tired college students gradually filed through the halls and down the stairwell to stand outside in the parking lot where Iida, not exactly encouraging their plans but condoning enough, was waiting.

Midoriya and Shouto hid behind the far corner on Bakugou’s floor, which was one level below theirs. Several people passed them by without paying them any mind. Sure, it was weird to hide around a corner, wearing pajamas and crouched on the horribly outdated carpet while the smoke alarm went off, but apparently not weird enough for anyone to care.

It wasn’t long before they heard a certain door around the corner click open and footsteps recede down the hall opposite them, towards the stairs. They sprung into action.

Lunging at the door—thank the gods their university had these rusted, horribly slow door closers—Shouto wedged his hand between the thinning gap before it managed to click shut and lock them out. Flinging the door open, the pair burst into Bakugou’s room with the same frantic energy as a rookie tactical team assigned to a large-scale drug bust on their first day.

All things considered, it was an average dorm room, yet Shouto found himself looking around probably a little more than he should have. It looked like the type of staged room that was photographed for any university brochure. The cookie-cutter furniture found in every bedroom in the building was spotless and uncluttered, his bed neatly made, and the entire space sparsely decorated.

Midoriya reached for the light switch on the near wall, and Shouto just about squeaked in alarm as he caught his friend’s arm midair.

“Don’t turn the light on, he’ll see from outside.” Shouto whispered.

“Okay. Why are we whispering?” Midoriya whispered back, lowering his arm until Shouto let go.

“I don’t know!” Shouto hissed. “We only have a few minutes,”

“Right,” Midoriya slowly replied, still keeping his voice lowered.

As carefully as they could, they overturned any place his phone could be. Desk, no. It was practically empty, anyhow. Bedside table, no. Bed, no. His phone charger sat plugged in at the outlet between his desk and bed, but void of his phone.

“I’m gonna call it,” Midoriya whispered.

Shouto glanced over, his expression aghast.

“We can just delete it from his call log when we find it,” Midoriya assured.

It was enough to quell Shouto’s momentary worry. Shouto could hear the shrill trill of Midoriya’s phone ringing in the otherwise silent room, but he couldn’t hear Bakugou’s phone ring or vibrate. Even as he swept the room again, nothing.

“Maybe it’s off?” Midoriya suggested, but just as the words left his mouth, his eyes went comically wide, not unlike a deer caught in the blinding headlights of an oncoming semi.

“Yeah? Whaddya want?” Shouto heard Bakugou’s sleep-rough voice say through the receiver.

“H-Hey, Kacchan! Sorry to, uh, bother you! Just wondering about the fire alarm. Is it another drill?”

“Yup,” Bakugou responded, “Iida’s lecturing about it. I wouldn’t bother coming outside, not missin’ anything important.”

Mortified, Shouto shuffled across the room with his knees practically locked in place and peered through the gap in the curtains. Sure enough, the blond was standing in the parking lot, phone in hand.

“R-Right. Thanks, I’ll uh, let you go, then.”

“Hey. Todoroki, he’s not outside either. D’ya think he slept through all that?

Shouto gestured a hand frantically across his own neck. “I am not here.” He hissed, all too loud. Immediately, he clamped his mouth shut. He’d need to have terrible luck if Bakugou had heard him, right?

“Todoroki?” Midoriya parroted back. “Oh, I dunno! You know him, such a heavy sleeper. I’ll go check on him! Anyway, have a good night!”

Before Bakugou had a chance to reply, Midoriya, in a panic, hung up on him.

-

With their first attempt at stealing Bakugou’s phone gone horribly awry, Shouto and Midoriya spent the rest of the late evening concocting how to steal his phone the following morning. Since Midoriya often went to the campus gym before his morning lectures, and since Shouto shared a class with Katsuki, they could at least pinpoint parts of his schedule.

Bakugou would arrive at the gym around seven. He had the geology lecture with Shouto at nine. He sometimes worked during the day, though off-campus, so that made their window of opportunity limited to the morning. The longer this went on, anyway, the more likely it was that he’d end up opening it. It did cross Shouto’s mind to call Sero, who was a good friend of his but probably closer to Bakugou, though he ultimately decided against it. He didn’t want to risk word getting to Bakugou at all.

Waking up early enough in the morning to catch Bakugou at the gym made Shouto’s eyes burn, and, despite the dire circ*mstances, he still found it an uphill battle in untangling himself from his bedsheets and out into the cold morning air. How Midoriya or Bakugou did this regularly was absolutely beyond him. Their plan, while a simple one, was foolproof at least, that’s what both Shouto and Midoriya had thought.

Once at the gym, Shouto waited patiently outside until Midoriya gave him the go-ahead. It was a cold morning, and, despite his jacket, he couldn’t help but shiver. Waiting made his anxiety about the entire situation skyrocket, though he did get himself into this mess, and Midoriya was just a good enough friend to help get him out.

Thankfully, a text from Midoriya jarred him from his thoughts.

Izuku: He’s here. Locker room p much empty. I’ll keep him busy

Well, there was no time like the present.

Izuku leaned over Bakugou as he laid on the bench press, his expression twisting into a dopey smile on pure reflex. “Hey there, Kacchan! So, I noticed you’re here alone. Do you need a spotter?”

Bakugou groaned outwardly, hooking the weight’s bar on the hooks overhead. With one hand, he pulled out an earbud, but his music hadn’t been so earshatteringly loud that he’d missed what he had said.

“Yeah, sure. If you’ve got nothing better to do. Kirishima’s late, anyway.”

Izuku’s smile faltered a little at the realization that 1: Bakugou was listening to music on his phone— Of course he was! Why wouldn’t he be? —and that 2: Kirishima would be arriving any minute . If Todoroki lingered around Bakugou’s bag too long, he was sure to get caught. But it would be way too weird if he lunged for Bakugou’s phone now, right? Or if he completely bailed right after offering to help?

So, Izuku stayed, spotting for Bakugou as he had offered to.

Bakugou’s phone wasn’t in his bag, and Shouto was just about ready to cry in a pathetic pile on the locker room floor. Instead, he stood, once again rummaging through the fruitless locker that Bakugou had unceremoniously stuffed his things into.

“Hey, Todoroki!” A familiar, cheerful voice called from behind him. Caught red-handed and elbow-deep in Bakugou’s duffle bag, there was a slap to Shouto’s back, right between his shoulder blades. There was only one person Shouto knew who would do that. Whirling around and slamming the locker door closed behind him, Shouto met Kirishima’s wide grin with an awkward half-smile of his own.

“Hey, Kirishima. Long time no see,” he greeted, already side-stepping away from Bakugou’s locker.

“Yeah! It’s been way too long, dude!” Kirishima easily agreed, seemingly oblivious as he blocked Shouto’s path of escape by opening the locker next to Bakugou’s and stowing his things inside. “I’ve never seen you here before. Good on you! No time to start like the present.”

“Right,” Shouto agreed with a stilted, forced laugh.

“Say, what were you doing in Bakugou’s locker?”

“Oh, is this his?” Shouto asked, playing dumb. “His, uh, bag fell out when I walked by, so I put it back. I was just leaving, actually.”

“Really? Didn’t the gym open like, what, twenty minutes ago?”

“Did it?”

Kirishima nodded. Shouto was grasping at straws here.

“I was just dropping stuff off to Midoriya.”

“Oh, he’s here?”

“Yeah, New Year’s resolution,” he claimed, despite the fact that it was October. “It was nice seeing you again, Kirishima.”

And with that, Shouto brushed past the man, probably leaving him with more questions than answers as he made his hasty retreat.

Izuku could feel himself growing more and more nervous as time ticked on. His phone wasn’t ringing in his pocket, so he could only assume that Todoroki wasn’t in any immediate trouble. Bakugou seemed, well, as normal as ever. He didn’t seem fidgety, or troubled by anything, and he wasn’t much of a gossiper, so even if he had looked at the picture, it’s not like he would go blabbing about it, or how he felt about Todoroki. Talking openly about his feelings was never his strong suit. Even after years of friendship, it could be like pulling teeth with him. But… maybe if Izuku pressed?

“So, uh, did you see anything interesting today?”

“Huh?” Bakugou asked, looking up at him. “f*ck’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing! Just curious, that’s all!”

Bakugou snorted. “Most interesting thing I’ve seen today is your dumb mug.”

Izuku opened his mouth to retort, but froze when he heard a familiar voice behind him.

“The weirdest thing just happened to me,” Kirishima’s voice rang out as he approached.

Izuku almost choked. “Hey! Kirishima!”

Bakugou mumbled his greeting, hanging up the weight once again before he sat upright on the bench. Izuku didn’t really help with any of this, but his hands were there, just in case.

“Well, out with it,” Bakugou prompted, taking a sip of water and stowing his headphones in the pocket of his gym shorts.

“So I ran into Todoroki,” Kirishima began.

“Uh-huh. That’s why you were so late?”

“No! I slept in, you know that. We were talking in the locker room. He just seemed, I dunno, flustered, I guess.”

“Really?” Izuku’s voice squeaked. “That’s weird. Wonder what he’s doing here.”

“He said he came by to drop stuff off to you?”

“Right! How could I forget? You know me, always such a spaz!”

Bakugou eyed Izuku suspiciously, capping his water bottle.

“He left in such a rush, too. Hope the guy’s okay.” Kirishima went on.

“Say,” Bakugou began, returning his gaze to Izuku, “why’d he bring your stuff? I didn’t think you were roommates.”

“Huh? Oh, we’re not. I just, uh, left some... stuff in his room last night.”

“From when you called last night? You've been seeing one another awhile, then?” The blond asked, feigning disinterest though he was clearly anything but.

It was then that the implication of Izuku’s poorly thought-out lie hit him.

“Oh, Todoroki? ” he asked, playing up incredulous shock at the mere notion. “No way! I’d never even think about dating him. He’s just… y’know …” Izuku made a face before continuing. “Not my type at all. We’re just friends.”

Maybe that was too much backpedaling.

“Not to say that he’s not great, because he totally is! He’s smart, funny, the whole package!”

This was clearly making things worse. But before he could dig either of their graves any deeper, Izuku’s phone mercifully rang. Glancing at the screen, he saw Todoroki’s contact picture.

“Well, my mom’s calling. Sorry!” And just like that, he made his less than eloquent escape.

This was it. Do or die. If Shouto didn’t get his phone now , then… Surely he’d need to move a thousand kilometers away deep into the mountains, legally change his name, shave his head, start wearing glasses, and pick up a hobby for bird watching.

The time for secrecy or grace was long gone; now was the time of efficiency.

All he had to do was grab the phone and run, really. There were exactly two problems with that plan, however: grabbing the phone away from Bakugou and outrunning him. Maybe he would have the element of surprise on his side, and maybe Bakugou would be so surprised that he wouldn’t know what to do! Or, alternatively, he could pull his phone out of Shouto’s grip. Or easily overtake him if it did in fact come down to a chase. What then…?

The fountain. All Shouto had to do was throw his phone in the fountain. Sure, he never was good at baseball. The ball always seemed to get away from him, twisting and turning in the air in just about every direction but the one he wanted. But, really, how much harder could it be to aim with an awkwardly shaped rectangular phone than an aerodynamic sphere quite literally designed to be thrown? Maybe this wasn’t as solid a plan as he hoped, but it was really all he had.

What was worse? Having Bakugou see his nudes and the blond never speaking to him again? Or destroying his phone and offering a new one? He could easily tell Bakugou he was coming off a drug binge. That white lie would be less embarrassing than the truth, and maybe he would even be forgiven for the broken phone. Maybe.

Bakugou always got to class early. He might not seem like it to most, but he’s probably the most studious person Shouto knows besides Momo. He’s always typing notes, never pulling up any other website besides a blank white document, complete with headers and indented formatting. Bakugou’s study guides were any student’s wet dream, and he freely shared them with Shouto. These notes were more organized than Midoriya’s overly-wordy ramblings, though not quite as aesthetically pleasing as Yaomomo’s color-coded ones, but just about a thousand times better than Shouto’s half-hearted attempts at writing things down. Shouto was, to put it nicely, the worst. He wrote down important due dates, and the title of each PowerPoint, but the rest? Well, he figured that he would just remember the stuff important enough to show up on a test.

Shouto arrived to class early. And by early, he arrived three whole minutes before it was scheduled to start, rather than five minutes after. Bakugou was already there, his laptop sat open on the desk, and black backpack sat on the bench beside him. Bakugou wasn’t standoffish, at least not to him, Shouto would often claim. A claim that would make nearly everyone’s eyes bulge out of their skulls with incredulous expressions.

Shouto eyed the rows of partially populated benches. There were plenty of places he could sit, plenty of rows with only a few sparse people with enough room for him to comfortably spread out or even lay down for a nap, if he really wanted. Instead of all of that though, he marched right up to Bakugou.

Shouto sat down right next to the blond, grabbing his backpack and setting it on the floor under the desk.

Bakugou’s eyes snapped up, an expectant brow raised as the literal wall he’d put up had been unceremoniously taken down.

“Good morning,” Shouto greeted, not at all casually.

Bakugou glanced at his backpack on the floor then wearily over to Shouto. “Morning?”

“I brought the rock,” Shouto began, unceremoniously rifling through his bag and setting it on the desk.

“Your picture last night was good.”

“What?” Shouto asked, feeling his stomach drop as he looked over to Katsuki.

What? ” He repeated, expression genuinely baffled. “The picture you sent last night. Of the rock. It was good enough.”

“Oh, thanks,” Shouto mumbled, still sitting mere inches away from him.

Bakugou shifted in his seat; meanwhile, Shouto attempted to gauge which denim pocket held his frisbee. It looked like it was his left front pocket, the one opposite Shouto. He could try to lunge for it, but for what? Bakugou wouldn’t have to try very hard to restrain him. At absolute most, he just needed to hug Shouto while he reached across his lap.

The silence crept on for longer than Bakugou could seem to stand, his knee bouncing rapidly under the desk as he fished his phone out of his pocket with restless hands.

He scrolled idly through some social media feed before swapping apps, something he did more than once. Shouto got out his notebook and pretended to go over last week’s meager notes, but really he was just waiting for Bakugou’s guard to fall.

That was until he noticed a little yellow app with an unread notification that the blond decided was time to read.

“Don’t open that,” Shouto pleaded as he lunged for the phone, but Bakugou raised his arm, keeping it just out of his reach. “Give it!”


“What? No.”

Shouto surged forward, half in Bakugou’s lap at this point as he attempted to wrestle the phone from his grasp.

It all went downhill in an instant.

Shouto watched as Bakuou’s thumb hovered dangerously over the red square logo of his unopened message. He tugged on the blond’s arm, and the thumb jerked down. Shouto recognized the familiar photo flashing across the screen, where it stayed as the pair, tangled together, froze. Glancing over at the blond in horror, Bakugou’s expression seemed to give nothing away. Sure his eyes had widened minutely, but there was nothing distinctly readable in his expression. He didn’t shove Shouto off, or say a single word . The silence between them was deafening as Bakugou turned to look at Shouto with owlishly large eyes, blinking at him in utter disbelief.

“I’m sorry,” Shouto found himself apologizing, hastily untangling himself from Bakugou. In his carelessness, he put a misplaced hand on Bakugou’s thigh—or at least what he assumed would have just been his thigh. How wrong he could’ve possibly been. Bakugou gasped, a sound which given the context, he was mortified to be the cause of. Accidentally palming his hard-on? Shouto was ready to go into witness protection. Their gazes met again, and Shouto’s face felt like it was actually on fire.

“I am so sorry,” he found himself repeating, clumsily scrambling out of Bakugou’s lap. The dazed blond gaped as he turned tail and ran, backpack be damned. He didn’t turn back, and Bakugou didn’t follow.

-

“Please stop laughing,” Shouto begged, though it fell on selectively deaf ears.

His eldest brother’s voice seemed to be further from his phone’s microphone as the call was undoubtedly switched to speaker. “Babe, c’mere, you gotta hear this,” his semi-distant voice called out.

“Touya, I am not repeating any of this for your boyfriend. Can I stay with you two or not?”

“And what, ditch school? Dad’ll take you off the will for that.”

“Speaking from experience?”

“Touché. Kei, can my baby brother live with us ‘cause he f*cked it up with a guy?”

Shouto heard an even more distant, “I dunno, are either of you gonna pay rent?”

“It’s sounding like a no,” Touya informed dryly.

Shouto heard quiet tapping over the call. “Did Natsuo text back already?”

“Hmm? Oh, no, I’m playing Solitaire.”

“I hate you,” Shouto said with a groan.

“Yeah, welcome to the club, kid. I don’t see the problem though. Just call him up and work it out. Blah, blah, some sh*t about ‘emotional vulnerability,’ like Fuyumi would tell you.”

“Yeah, not happening. There’s no recovering from this.”

There was a quiet knock on Shouto’s door. Probably Midoriya with a sympathy cupcake from the dining hall. Something much appreciated and seriously needed in these trying times.

“My friend’s here. I’m gonna go wallow.”

“Have fun,” Touya dismissed, and Shouto unceremoniously hung up on him.

So, he opened it, not thinking much of his disheveled appearance. He had been holed up in his room since this morning, refusing to perceive his notifications and hiding from sunlight. Sure, Midoriya has seen him better, but he’s also seen him worse. Not once, but twice, his friend had carried Shouto home after he got blackout drunk in an Applebee’s, so the bar to be worse than that was admittedly not an easy one to surpass.

Instead of Midoriya bearing desserts, standing on the other side of the door was Bakugou. Shouto opened the door, blinked, and just as the blond’s mouth opened, he closed it again. Directly in his face.

He stared at the inside of the wooden door, both confused and absolutely mortified.

Did he suffer a heart attack and die, and now this was his hell? His purgatory?

The quiet knock returned, much to Shouto’s dismay. He’d almost wished that Bakugou had given up and left. Whatever he was going to say, Shouto didn’t want to hear it. In the twelve hours he’d spent watching The Great British Bake Off as a broken husk of a man, his mind had already conjured every possibility. Restraining order seemed to be the worst case his mind could supply.

Slowly, Shouto opened the door again.

Bakugou’s expression, which seemed downtrodden as he worried his lower lip between his teeth, shifted into one of tentative hope.

“Hey,” he greeted.

His voice was quiet. Soft. How he usually spoke while they were on not-dates, something Shouto doubted would ever happen again.

“Hi.” Shouto returned, still keeping the door open just enough for him to peek through.

“I brought your bag.” Bakuogu explained. “You, uh, kinda left it behind.”

Shouto, dumbfounded, opened the door a bit wider to accept his backpack as it was handed to him. “Thanks.”

“I’m really sorry.” Bakugou began.

Shouto set down his bag, immediately shaking his head in an attempt to reassure him. “No. No, no. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have sent the picture in the first place, and I had just assumed—”

“No, Todoroki, this really is my fault. I—can I come in? I can explain everything.”

Shouto nodded, opening the door wide enough to invite Bakugou through the threshold. He’d have cleaned if he knew somebody— let alone Bakugou —was coming in, but it was too late now. While Bakugou’s room looked picturesque, Shouto’s looked more average. Undecorated and untidy. Among plenty of other clutter, laundry was piled into one corner, and at least five empty paper coffee cups left on his desk that he’d meant to throw out but never quite seemed to get around to. His bed, where he’d been moping for the entire day, was a mess. Sheets crumpled and his blankets left in a lump where Shouto had bundled himself up in a sorry heap of self-pity.

Shouto gestured for Bakugou to take a seat on his desk chair, the only real place for him to sit down besides his clearly slept-in bed or the only mostly-clean floor.

Katsuki sat down in the chair, swivelling to face Shouto as he sat on the edge of the bed.

“I couldn’t go on the hike yesterday because it was Kirishima’s birthday,” Bakugou stopped to sigh, rubbing a hand across his face. Was he nervous? “It was a dinner thing with all of our friends. You came up in conversation, and, well, Sero sold you out. And it’s not exactly a secret how I feel about you, and a couple of them decided to, uh, give us a nudge. So, it wasn’t actually a typo. They just… took my phone, claiming if you had it just as bad, you’d reply to it. We all saw the notification come in, and after that is when I decided to backpedal.”

Shouto barely could keep himself focused on the entirety of the explanation. His heart fluttered, and a weight seemed to lift from his chest. Bakugou just admitted to having requited feelings .

“Well, I should probably come clean, too, then.”

“For what?”

“This sounds worse than it is, but I had Iida do the fire drill so I could break into your room to steal your phone.”

Shouto had half expected Bakugou to react with anger, or shock, or betrayal, but instead he just laughed, grinning as he asked, “You really didn’t think I’d take it with me?”

“I can’t say it crossed my mind, no,” Shouto admitted. “We tried again at the gym, too.”

“So, you roped Deku into this?”

“I never claimed to be a great friend.”

“Great entertainment, maybe.”

“Ha-ha.” Came Shouto’s sarcastic, overly-enunciated laugh.

“You are just friends, then?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Just checking.”

They sat in awkward silence. How he and Midoriya were mistaken for a couple was beyond Shouto, but he didn’t doubt that it had something to do with the comedy of errors that had gotten them to this point. Eventually, he asked,

“So, you’re not upset with me?”

“Amused, more like.”

“In my defense, I thought you’d never speak to me again if you saw... it.

“Why would you think that?” Bakugou leaned forward, toward him.

“I don’t know, I just—”

“I’ve been buying you lunch for months, idiot.”

“Oh.”

“And taking notes for you. Hell, I even asked you out, and you shot me down. I’ve got it bad.”

“You did not ask me out.”

“I asked you if you wanted to get dinner instead of lunch sometime, and you said, ‘Why would we do that? We usually hike in the morning and lunch makes more sense.’ My ego was shot for almost a week.”

Shouto remembered him moping around after this conversation, but he hadn’t thought anything of it. He just assumed that Bakugou had an upcoming exam and must be sleep deprived from studying, something he himself had given up on doing after his first year.

Oh. ” He repeated, realization beginning to dawn on him.

There was a beat of silence before Bakugou spoke again.

“Well, now that it’s clear I’m asking, do you want to go to dinner with me? As in, do you want to go on an actual date?”

“You mean, you still want to try this, even after all the embarrassment I’ve caused us both today?”

“Uh, yeah. I like all of you, dumb antics included."

Shouto could feel his face light up in a genuine smile.

“Okay, that sounds wonderful, then.”

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place - YearningClown - 僕のヒーローアカデミア | Boku no Hero Academia (2024)
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