Izuku stepped into the A-1 Alliance dorm building, crossing the entry in a hurried pace and hoping to steal past the common area unnoticed.
He was glad he'd taken Iida up on his generous offer to train together for the past hour, but it was an hour that might have been better spent hitting the books instead. He had three days' worth of classes to catch up on, and he really needed to buckle down that night.
He eyed Kirishima and Kamanari huddled together on the couch, Ashido peering over them as they shared a video. Not wanting to drown out the audio, Ashido and Kamanari were unsuccessfully fighting to hold back fits of laughter as they watched.
Izuku couldn't help the faint smile that crossed him as he glimpsed the scene. Their laughter could be counted on filling the common room pretty much any given evening, and it was always a little contagious.
He caught a whiff of something enticing wafting from the kitchen, and wasn't surprised to catch sight of Sato eating the sweet results of his labor at the table.
Kirishima noticed him. "Hey, Midoriya!" He waved, inviting him over. "You gotta come see this, man."
Izuku's grin widened a fraction, despite regretting he'd have to take a raincheck. He was grateful for the invitation, but he couldn't allow himself to be drawn into the typical evening shenanigans. He had too much studying to do.
"Send me the link, will you?" Izuku responded, slowing a fraction. "Gotta get going on my catch-up work," he explained, offering a faint wave over his shoulder as he headed for the elevator.
Kamanari snorted again before briefly pulling his gaze from the phone. "We're about to start studying here, why don't you join us?" he asked.
Izuku stepped up to the elevator. "Yeah? Maybe I'll be back down in a bit," he offered, not wanting to outright decline. But he knew the kind of studying Kamanari was referring to was the kind that required quotation marks; AKA they'd be continuing to laugh over YouTube videos for another hour or so before they even cracked a book. Again, Izuku was grateful for the invite, but he knew he wouldn't be productive if he attempted his homework in the common area.
His house arrest had ended the day before, and while he was more than relieved to be back, the relief had been quickly drowned out by his anxiety over catching up. He'd made some decent progress the previous night, but he still had a ways to go.
He briefly wondered how Kacchan was faring. Today had been his first day back in class, and he'd seemed quieter than usual. Kacchan usually functioned on two settings: quiet and evasive, or explosive and in your face. There wasn't much in-between area with him. And while Izuku was more than familiar with both sides of his classmate (more so the explosive one), he could somehow tell it was a different sort of quiet Kacchan had fallen into since their sparring match they'd caught hell for the other night.
They'd exchanged accidental glances or brief snippets of (uncharacteristically civil) conversation when it couldn't be helped over the course of their house arrest, but mostly they'd tried to avoid each other.
The night of their fight had been...unexpected? Insane? Stupid? Horribly awkward? Izuku wasn't sure how to peg it exactly, and he still wasn't entirely certain how he felt about the the whole thing, as he'd been trying to avoid dwelling on it too much. It only brought him anxiety. Especially when an abnormally quiet Kacchan had been the only other person lurking around the dorms during their arrest.
How had Kacchan pieced everything between All Might and him together? Well, honestly, he knew how—Kacchan was extremely smart and perceptive. And he'd probably been obsessively dwelling on Izuku's relatively new power ever since he'd first witnessed it. Izuku pretended not to notice, but he'd caught many a seething glare sent his way during classes and training the last several months.
But yeah, of course Kacchan would have figured out where his power came from. Izuku knew he was stupid for putting it past him. And he knew he was an idiot for hinting about it to Kacchan in the first place. He shouldn't have done that. He should have listened to All Might. He just...well, the idea that Kacchan actually thought he was capable of pulling such a bogus move of lying to him for the last ten years...it just...hurt? Upset him? Both? Izuku would never attempt a ruse like that against his friend, let alone carry it out for over a decade. He still couldn't believe Kacchan had actually thought he'd been hiding his quirk and laughing behind his back. It was absurd. It was borderline insulting. Was that why he had let his hint slip? Because of his own pride, meager as it may be?
Regardless of why, ever since, a confrontation was inevitable. And when everything finally did come to a head, their 'confrontation' ended up turning into a full-blown fight. Honestly, in a way, Izuku was sort of glad it had. They'd had so much pent up...animosity? That was maybe putting it lightly on Kacchan's end, but yeah, lots of animosity between them. Finally addressing it had been...oddly relieving. Despite how destructive the fight had been, and despite the consequences.
And despite the fact that Kacchan now knew. He knew everything. Izuku had been very wary of Kacchan the past few days because of it. Wary of his quietness. Wary of feeling his eyes on him for brief moments when he thought Izuku didn't notice—weighing, judging, calculating. Izuku hadn't been able to get a feel for what might be going on in Kacchan's head, and that was probably the reason for his added wariness. Kacchan was usually very easy to read: Angry—avoid. But now his usual anger seemed almost...dampened, in a way. Like the sadness he'd unexpectedly (and likely regretfully) shown at Ground Beta still lingered.
Seeing Kacchan display actual emotion other than fury had been...a little surreal. And a little painful. Proud Kacchan...capable of actually crying. No one would have believed him if he told them (which he never would).
He couldn't help wanting to comfort his friend in some way, even though he knew Kacchan would immediately cuss him out for even thinking about it. He knew Kacchan would never accept his concern, and he probably didn't need it, but that didn't stop Izuku from wishing he wouldn't pick up on hints of distress every time Kacchan entered his field of vision lately.
Still though, a small part of Izuku had to admit he was a little glad someone else shared his and All Might's secret. Even if it was Kacchan. It seemed to have lessened the burden, as strange as that may seem. Again, even if it was Kacchan. There was now a faint feeling of knowing when their eyes accidentally met for brief moments. And something about that was almost a little...comforting in a weird way? ...Even it was Kacchan.
Izuku snapped out of his thoughts upon approaching his room. Mineta was sticking his head out the door down the hall.
"What'd you do now, Midoriya?" Mineta demanded, snickering.
"Huh?" Izuku asked, confused. He stepped up to his door, noticing a note taped to it.
See me after dinner.
What was this? Izuku swallowed dryly, wondering what more Aizawa might have to say to him. He couldn't recall doing anything wrong since completing his house arrest sentence.
Izuku pulled out his phone, glancing at the time. He hadn't eaten yet, but technically it could be considered 'after dinner.'
"Well?" Mineta pressed, smirking.
"Yeah...I'm...not sure," Izuku replied, pulling the note off as he entered his room. He figured he may as well grab his backpack in case he arrived earlier than expected and had some time to kill waiting.
What could Mister Aizawa want? Biting his lip, he slung his bag over his shoulder and headed for his teacher's quarters.
5 minutes earlier
Bakugo huffed as he stepped off the elevator and onto the fourth floor. That had been annoying as hell. Why can't anyone in this damn place take no for an answer?
No, he didn't want to see their lame-ass video. No, he didn't want to head up a study session, he had too much shit to do on his own. No, he didn't want to try any of Big Lips tooth-rotting garbageshit. Yes, everything was fine, what the hell did they care anyway, he just needed to get away, goddamn...
He huffed again, heading down the hall to his room.
What the hell..? There was a note taped to his door.
See me after dinner.
Ah, goddammit, what now? He didn't have time for this shit. He had four days' worth of work to catch up on, and the last thing he needed was a nosy teacher getting on his case again. He'd complied with all the terms of his house arrest. He'd even managed not to blow up shitty Deku while they'd been holed up together cleaning up everyone else's shit. What more could Aizawa want from him?
He ripped the note off, and made to enter his room.
What the eff? Why was his door locked?
He rattled the handle again. Locked. He never kept a key on him. No one really locked their doors in the dorms.
He immediately flushed, his shoulders tightening as he willed himself not to blow the handle off the door.
Which little effer's idea of a joke was this?
That piece of shit Grapes-For-Balls? He'd kill him. But why would that little douchebag have been on the fourth floor?
Was this Shitty Hair's way of making sure Bakugo had no choice but to join their lame-ass study group that evening? No, Shitty Hair was smarter than that. And usually more respectful. Kirishima had a pretty good read on his moods, and Bakugo knew he wouldn't have pressed him that night.
He glanced down the hall. Was it Arms? No, he and Arms had only interacted a handful of times, and Arms was actually one of the few people there that wasn't straight-up annoying as all eff.
Bakugo forced the tension in his shoulders to lessen somewhat.
He'd find out who'd locked his room from the inside. And he'd enjoy blowing their face off before they even had a chance to smirk about it.
He sighed, turning around and heading back to the elevator. First he had to see what Nosy wanted.
Bakugo stepped into Aizawa's office and was instructed to have a seat and wait. Aizawa disappeared back through the door connecting his bedroom.
Kacchan eyed the two chairs facing the desk. He couldn't help fuming slightly at the sight, hoping that was their usual arrangement and there wasn't a particular reason why two chairs had been pulled up instead of one.
He took a seat just as there was a knock at the door accompanied by a "Mister Aizawa?" in the last voice Bakugo wanted to hear at the moment.
"...Effing hell." Bakugo said under his breath, closing his eyes briefly to keep from fuming too much. He was in his teacher's office. He had to keep it together.
Aizawa reappeared, moving to answer the office door.
"Come in, Midoriya. Sit down," Aizawa instructed in his usual even tone, stepping around behind his desk to face them.
Bakugo didn't turn to look at Deku, but he could practically feel how the damn nerd nearly jumped at noticing his presence. He wanted to shake his head at the idiot's hesitation. Why the hell had he been acting even more scared of Bakugo lately, after their throwdown had nearly ended in a draw? It had nearly ended in an effing draw. Bakugo found himself clenching his teeth, still hardly able to believe it. He pushed it from his mind, knowing it wouldn't be a good idea to dwell on it just then.
Deku slowly entered the room and reluctantly took the seat next to him. Bakugo fumed again. Hurry it up, asshat, I don't have all night.
"So," Aizawa began, addressing them both.
Bakugo stared at the desk. He didn't feel like making eye contact with anyone at the moment. Least of all his teacher whom he knew was just about to scold them again. Why, he wasn't sure. He hadn't done anything wrong during their house arrest, and he didn't think Deku had either.
"Did you boys manage to resolve things during your time under house arrest?"
He felt Deku glance at him briefly but made no move to acknowledge him.
"Huh?" Deku responded upon seeing Bakugo was leaving this shit up to him. "Wh-what do you mean, Mister Aizawa?" Eloquent as ever. Bakugo rolled his eyes.
"I mean," Aizawa responded, looking to Deku, "did you discuss it at all? Come to terms with each other? Agree to move past it with a newfound mutual respect and understanding of one another? Gain any semblance of the sorely lacking sense you both are very much in need of?"
Bakugo let out an exasperated huff at Deku's uselessness.
"Right, I didn't think so..." Aizawa said, stifling an annoyed sigh.
Bakugo shifted slightly in his seat, knowing whatever came next wasn't going to be good.
"So here's what's going to happen," Aizawa began and Bakugo couldn't help raising his gaze to him. He just knew some shit like this was about to go down. "You both know how irate the Ground Beta incident made me. You're too old for this kind of crap, and frankly, so am I." He inhaled, a hint of his usual fatigue present. "And the thing is, I'm absolutely certain a repeat of said incident is just around the corner. And another one around the next corner, and so on," he continued.
Bakugo and Deku couldn't help leaning forward a touch, all dread. They both clearly wanted to refute him, to beg him not to go on, but they were smart and remained silent.
"We're going to put an end to this now, before it has a chance to continue festering and grow even worse. Until you can convince me otherwise—that the self-destructive rivalry has been tempered, that the urge to one-up and knock down and completely best each other at every possible turn has faded," He paused, gathering a breath. "Until you can convince me that you're actual friends and not enemies—because contrary to popular belief, that's what you two are. I'm not putting up with this in-between nonsense anymore. The two of you have to figure out how to be friends if you're going to continue making any headway in this program and the heroing career in general." He drew another tired breath, sounding slightly more resigned. "Or at the very least, you have to learn how to tolerate each other and work together effectively." He paused briefly, reflective. "You two could be such a force to be reckoned with if only you were legitimately on the same side..."
"Mister Aizawa," Deku began, his voice bordering on panic. Bakugo shot him a fiery glare. He was the one who had the right to panic, not shitty Deku. "You can't really—I mean—s-some people just can't be forced to be friends."
Shut up, Deku. Bakugo knew Deku was excluding himself from that statement and putting all the blame on him. What the hell did he know?
"I think you'd be surprised. If two people as polar opposite as Present Mic and I were able to figure out how to tolerate and actually even somewhat like each other, then I'm sure you two can, too. It's not that hard."
That was pretty rich coming from 'Mister The-World-Can-Leave-Me-The-Hell-Alone Aizawa.'
Aizawa paused briefly. "In this field you're going to be forced to work with and befriend all different types, some of whom you legitimately won't like. Now's the time to grow up and learn how to properly socialize—"
What? Properly socialize? That wasn't even an issue. This was such bullshit. They both had made friends in the program—yeah, maybe Deku more so. Every one of those idiots liked Deku for some unfathomable reason, but who the hell cared? Why did he feel like Aizawa was directing this all at him?
Aizawa was still going. "—Bakugo, I know this is mostly one-sided—"
Like hell it was!
"That's why you'll be the one to move into Midoriya's room—"
Wait, what? Had he...had he just heard him right?
"Starting tonight, you two are going to be rooming together, eating together, training together, studying together, doing literally everything together until you figure out a way to tolerate each other."
Bakugo was trying hard not to shake as much as he was. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Wh-what?" Deku sounded breathless with fear. "Mister Aizawa...we'll kill each other..."
Bakugo threw Deku a sidelong glare. Each other? No, I'll kill you, shitty nerd, shut the hell up.
"Then you'll save me the trouble of having to expel you both," Aizawa responded dryly. "I've asked Iida to help keep an eye on you. If he doesn't think you two are complying enough, or not enough progress is being made, further measures will be taken. Don't make me request the board to get a therapist involved, because that would be very annoying, and quite embarrassing on your part."
Bakugo was just staring, mouth slightly agape. Was he actually hearing this?
"Bakugo, you'll have access to your room for the next two hours to move your belongings. After that, your room will remain closed. I'll have staff members bring in another bed, desk and wardrobe later this evening, so don't worry about moving furniture."
Bakugo could only continue to stare. At least he was no longer shaking, frozen solid as he was.
"Mister Aizawa," Deku had broken out of his own stupor long enough to attempt negotiating. "Please—this—this really isn't a good idea—"
"I didn't ask your opinion, Midoriya," Aizawa responded, shutting him down. "I told you what's expected of you both, and if you can't meet such simple parameters of learning to tolerate each other and ceasing to be such a distraction to the rest of the class, then I have serious doubts this is the correct program for either of you."
Deku opened his mouth again, but no words came. Bakugo just sat there, completely awash with disbelief.
"Go. You're dismissed," Aizawa said, standing. He was about to turn away before deciding to add: "Take this seriously. Don't let your personal childhood prejudices prevent you from learning and growing from this."
It took effort, but Bakugo finally forced himself to his feet, his movements stiff and halting. He could feel Deku's eyes on him as he stood, but he refused to meet them.
He didn't say anything. He had no words. He turned on his heel, fists clenched tight to hide any sparks, and left the room.
Hi! So, I recently got sucked, and I mean, like, completely sucked into this fandom, and I desperately needed something to hold me over until season 4. This fic is going to do just the trick, I think. I'm already having so much fun with it, and I am super excited to get into it.
So, the first, maybe, half(?) of this fic is going to deal mostly with a lot of character-study writing between these two favorite frienemies of ours. And then the angsty plot will kick in at about the half-way point. I can't wait to get to the angst. I'm not certain how far ahead of the anime the manga is, but I haven't read the manga, so I guess this fic will be considered canon-divergent from right after season 3. (Update: I have since caught up with the manga. Ahh, so good!)
For anyone interested in following this, I should let you know I have one last chapter to add to a FFXV fic I'm concluding, and then I will be devoting my attention to this with updates coming probably every week or two for a while before tapering off to every three weeks or so.
Also, I just want to throw a little disclaimer out there that I don't condone Bakugo's language at all, lol, and I hate the fact that this fic is going to be riddled with a lot of cursing. But my whole goal with this story is to be as accurate a character study as I can make it. And I feel like in order to do that I'm going to have to commit to Bakugo's potty mouth, even if it makes me cringe. XD Sorry to anyone else it offends!
Thanks so much for reading!