bite the bullet

Published: Feb. 22, 2018.

Words: 3,651.

Chapters: 1/1.


Bakugou accidentally sends an email confessing to Midoriya. Panic ensues.


this was written as part of the 2018 katsudeku valentine's exchange for zinniapetals on tumblr!

On AO3.

He's half-strung out in exhaustion, last-minute-essay-writing stress vibrating through him, when he says it. Could easily blame the time, the neither too early nor too late that is this thin line between morning and night, this odd limbo space where truths practically spit themselves out. Not that it matters since--

Head lolled back against Kirishima's bed, laptop warm on his thighs, he's still the idiot that admits it. Says, "Think I like Deku."

Kirishima makes a noise, like yes, yes, he heard you, Bakugou, that sure wasn't a bombshell you dropped. Knees drawn up to his chest, Kirishima blinks hazily. "You emailed your paper to yourself, right?"

"No, I'm a complete dumbass," Bakugou retorts, harsh tone blunted by sheer tiredness. "Of course I fucking did."

"O--kay." A yawn draws the word out, an obnoxious reminder of the time, and Kirishima is partway onto his bed. "You can leave my laptop on the floor or whatever."

"Did you even heard what I said?"

"Sure did." Kirishima tucks himself in snug under a single sheet, and Bakugou sits unmoved. No longer welcome, but inanely stubborn.

A moment, hard to define if it goes too long or short, too contemplative regardless.

"How the fuck do you even tell someone that?" Bakugou asks, soft enough for others' ears not to hear, but Kirishima does anyhow, scarcely a foot away and with the night so silent.

Kirishima groans something incomprehensible.

Bakugou shifts to stare up at Kirishima, eyes slanted. "Gimme an answer and I'll leave."

Mumbled from a pillow, hand waved carelessly: "Just tell him? Write it down? I don't know. I'm tired, man…"

Instinct strikes first: tension gathering in his body, shoulders squared, eyebrows pulled down sharply, and a shouted complaint of Kirishima's uselessness tiptoeing to the edge of his tongue. Then, abrupt, it releases, passes Bakugou into the grasp of a realization. A "wait, wait, one of those ideas isn't the worst thing he's ever heard" sort of realization. At least, to his sleep-craving, only partially functioning brain it sounds decent, works as an initial step and avoids how disastrously he would botch a face-to-face attempt.

Fingers coming to rest on the keyboard, a few clicks to open a fresh, blank email. It's easier than he expects. Words wound up tight under his skin, burnt bright from the friction of overthinking, overjoyed to be released even as pixelated bits of inky blackness. Simple, far from eloquent, but--


I like your dumbass face and everything else. Date me.)

--written. He inputs a subject line and addressee just for completion's sake. Saves it as a draft.

Done. Now, enough dumbshit courage for a single night.


He wakes up with a noose of panic tight around his throat, kicks up a tangle of blankets around his legs in his haste. Hanging half off his bed, he props himself up with one hand as he reaches for his cellphone with the other. Shakily tapping in his password, eyes bulging out and probably bloodshot from the anxiety, an absolutely comical amount of sweat slicking his hands.

It's a bad joke, the fabrication of a mind frayed and unspooling from writing a paper he begged help from Kirishima to finish. Entertained one terrible idea, and dreams and reality snarl up in one another, confusing and worrying and most definitely false half-memories playing at his consciousness.

Right. So. The one email he should have sent, drafted--whatever, the singular email he should have ever even considered is there, addressed to himself. Paper safely attached.



Oh, it's the very thing he fears. He slumps down, head meeting dorm floor, and whispers, "Fuck."

He dares a second glance at his phone to confirm that he is, indeed, the greatest dumbass the world has ever known in its billions of years since galactic fuckery yielded it into existence. And, confirm does he ever. Teeth grit, he tosses aside his phone, lets his forehead fall with a loud thump back to the carpet, tries to ignore that niggling, faint recollection of only saving, not sending.

Because it won't do much. Because he did send it. Because, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, he did send it.

(Lesson learned: don't fucking listen to Kirishima.)


Such a pity personal crises mean little in the way of regular life. Hands clamped tight into fists, he struggles with the mechanical motions of his daily routine. Still have to get up and dressed even with his mind midway through a slow meltdown, barely restraining himself from breaking into Deku's room and smashing his phone, laptop, anything nearby with internet access.

Acrid and mocking, his mistake leans over his shoulder, breath stinging against his skin. Rage boils hot and helpless in him, and why, oh fuck, is there no one with a time-reversal quirk?

He stops by the computer lab, seething. Each step is a stomp, and if the rest of the room wasn't already staring, they are when he hooks a foot around a chair leg and slams it out, bangs it loud against the wall. And to them all, he bears his teeth, revels in the gratification of venting this swirling cesspool of emotions somewhere, on someone. It intensifies as he directly confronts the source of his woes, teeth grinding together, to be able to print his goddamn paper.

Ignore it. Don't think about it. (Maybe Deku hasn't looked at his email yet. Maybe he outright forgot his password. Too bad that even in his desperate fantasy, Bakugou knows how unlikely either scenario is. Like the nerd wouldn't be all anal and on top of his shit.)

He sets the paper to print, then tips his chair back, stares up to where he can meet no one's gaze. To be totally and completely honest--

(--he's a little afraid to go to class.)

The printer whirs to life across the room, sets itself into place. It melds into the quiet, the click-clack of typing and the susurrus of page flipping. Almost tranquil, and shit, what if it's like this when he walks on into class? Eerily silent and attentive, knowing what he did and lording that knowledge over him. He'll scowl and grumble a "What the fuck are you looking at?" but that won't erase that they know.

He shuts his eyes. Breathes.

Then, he rises and crosses to the printer with long strides. Frustration churns rough and choppy beneath the surface, but he reins it in so he doesn't crush and rip his paper into fucking oblivion. He staples it neatly, tucks it under an arm, and exits.

The fated hour approaches, and it isn't something he can avoid provided he wants a good grade.

(It's just the idea of his personal shit being out there. That he himself--Bakugou Katsuki--willingly put it out there and possesses zero control over what Deku could do with it. He doesn't even know if the idiot might even feel some sort of response--and, fuck, shit, nope, Bakugou is now directing his thoughts elsewhere, thank you very fucking much.)

A scowl sets deep in the lines of his face. He catches glimpses of himself in window reflections, delights in how he looks ready to snap someone's head off and gobble it down whole, blood smeared red in warning over his lips. (And, damn, if for a moment, he doesn't think about how that wouldn't be a quality quirk for eliminating his problem. Just devour it all.)

A short-lived comfort. His feet slow to a halt before rounding the last corner, though, tick-tick-tock, class starts soon. From nearby, he hears the scuff of shoes on the floor, that high-pitched scraping of a chair dragged out, morning greetings; all so normal, but it sweeps through him, snares him in an undertow of his own weakness. And, fine, like he needs to breathe. He pushes against the current, one step then another, and braces himself. In the door, and there it is, the cessation of chatter, the dozens of pointed stares piercing him--

Nothing. Kirishima perks up at the sight of him, and that's about all the fanfare his entrance receives.

He seats himself at his desk, numb with a tornado of sheer what-the-fuck whipping his perceptions into a frenzy. Conclusions blown to minute smithereens, expectations careening off precipices into he has no fucking clue. Did he hallucinate sending that stupid email? Did Deku not fucking see it? Did Deku simply decide to be a decent human being, like he probably would, and not spread Bakugou's shit around--

--and, oh, yeah. He slumps over in his chair. No fucking duh. How very surprising that the very boy he likes so much wouldn't default to being a raging asshole, that he would continue to be as kind and thoughtful as he always is. What a coincidence, now, that he happens to settle his gaze on said boy, feels an anxious sweat beading all over his body.

Uraraka hovers around Deku, leans down on his desk with a smile, sly and knowing. Bakugou can't see Deku's face from behind and isn't quite sad enough to lurch up and around to spy on him. But, he's got a hand on the back of his head, is bent over a bit in his seat, and a hint of anxious laughter floats through the noise to reach Bakugou.

One obviously poor impulse occurs to him: to march over, slam a palm down onto Deku's desk, startling Uraraka aside, and snidely ask what the hell is so funny (because it's not him, it's not him, it's not him). Then, as Deku stammers and Uraraka complains, maybe he can haul Deku out of the room, hand clenched tight around Deku's shirtsleeve, and down the hall where Aizawa won't stumble upon them. Maybe, he'll step back, have Deku's stare burning right fucking through him, so curious as to why he had his ass yanked out here and he does know class is starting, right, Kacchan, and--

(--he's grabbing Deku by his shoulders, drawing him in close, locking him in eye to eye. Maybe he blurts out something about the fucking email, maybe he just forgets it because action over inaction, so he leans in fast, fast so he can't chicken out and can smother both his and Deku's protests, and--)

Kirishima fills Bakugou's vision, hunched down and much too bright. "Hellooo?" He waves a hand in Bakugou's face, gets it promptly slapped away.

"Fucking what?" Bakugou snaps, almost a bit too testy even for his own typically callous responses. Not in the mood for it, so he angles his eyebrows down sharply as he glares at Kirishima, sets a foot tapping impatiently.

Kirishima reels back, blinks, and resumes his position none too bothered. He gives a cheeky smile. "What's got ya so distracted?"

"The hell you asking for?"

"I might have been half-asleep, but I was still awake before you left last night."

Fuck, that shocks Bakugou from annoyance at even being interacted with straight back into the familiar arms of panic. He sits up, says low and serious, "You better not fucking say anything, or I'll fucking--"

"Okay, okay," Kirishima interrupts him, frowning. "If you're that embarrassed that I helped you write your paper, okay. I just thought the quality might be iffy what with working on it so late and all."

Oh. Not what he feared, but, still, not great. (This was an exceptional situation. He's been a bit distracted and sort of forgot. Fuck if he was about to let his pride ruin his high marks.)

"That's all you remember?"

"Why?" Kirishima tilts his head, then his mouth makes an "o" shape. "Unless you mean when you asked--"

Bakugou flies out of his seat, clamps his hands firm around Kirishima's big, blathering mouth. "Shut up, you idiot!" he hisses.

Kirishima freezes under the assault, like he's giving Bakugou a chance to release him, then he begins a counter attack. His fingers worm in under Bakugou's, and it devolves into an awkward wrestling match, neither particularly succeeding. Bakugou relents and allows Kirishima to break away when he catches sight of Yaoyorozu rising, a blunt reprimand shining in her expression.

"Jeeze," Kirishima mumbles.

Bakugou shuffles back into his seat, tunnels his vision to include only Kirirshima, who rubs a hand across his mouth, and not everyone else watching him now. "Don't fucking bring it up," he wants to shout, but he tempers his volume and says instead, "Are you stupid?"

"I barely even started to speak…" Kirishima shakes it all off and smiles, small and a bit lopsided. "Barely even remembered what either of us said, to be honest. Don't really get why you're so embarrassed. It's not a big deal, you know, to l--"

Kirishima's jaw snaps shut as he sees Bakugou tensing once more, prepared to spring on him and stop his flow of words as physically as necessary. He raises both hands placatingly, then shifts one back to scratch his neck. "Fine, fine, I'll be quiet about it. I don't even really know what you did, and I'm not about to ask, so ya can just chill out a bit, Bakugou."

Bakugou grunts. Then: "Thanks." He deliberately avoids looking at Kirishima.

Kirishima blinks, makes a soft, vaguely confused noise.

"For helping me, you dumbshit." Not too harsh, though a bit edged with irritation at himself for even losing track of an assignment like he did (because he never fucking does, and it's definitely not due to thinking too long and hard about a specific person and lowkey freaking out over it). He repeats himself in a mutter, "Thanks."

"Heh, it was no problem!" Kirishima smiles brightly, then absconds to his own seat, Aizawa shambling in through the door.

Everyone assumes their places, each student in their assigned seat, teacher at the front of the room. Bakugou stiffens, and the world subsumes around him. Doesn't slow down or freeze or anything cliche, it just gets real taut for a moment, a rope stretched out tight, and Bakugou waits for it snap.

Only class starts like usual. And, the normalcy of it all entirely bypasses Bakugou, leaves him drawn out and unsatisfied.



The word bounces around in his head, shrill and discordant until he's clawing bloody streaks along his scalp to get it out. Class came and went, and it adhered to the theme of the fucking day: nothing. All that suspense thrumming under his skin, lightning-struck hot and smoldering, and no answer, no indication, simply the entrapment of the everyday.

No more. He's done. Genuinely fucking done.

He stalks over to Deku's room soonest chance he gets. Fingers curled back into a fist he hammers on the door, repeats and repeats regardless of potential gawkers until the door creaks open a sliver.

Confused: "Kacchan?"

"Move." He doesn't wait for his demand to be met, just forces his way past Deku, who stands idle and useless.

Everything is loud, itching at his brain. Breathing resounds with each inhalation and exhalation, crowds up his eardrums, layering on and on and on. His heart drums an erratic beat, sets his bones and teeth shuddering in its wake. But, he's got that furious adrenaline spiking his system, and it carries him forward on this tide of internal static.

Righteous ire burbling up and over, a pot left too long on the stovetop, he spits it out like an accusation rather than just a very heated query: "Jesus fuck, do you not check your goddamn email!"

Question marks fire up over Deku's head. "I um...I don't…?" he splutters. "I don't understand?"

"Don't understand, my ass," Bakugou grumbles. "Fucking…"

A fraught silence claims the stage as he fishes through his pockets for his cell then fumbles with it. Deku watches him in rapt bafflement teased with a pinch of concern because for all he knows Bakugou has lost his shitting mind to some email conspiracy.

"Here." Bakugou holds up his phone, the nerve-wrecking, goddamned, motherfucking email bright on its screen.

Deku squints, motioning the door shut behind him as he tries to decipher the text. Bakugou wheezes out a sigh, exasperated and seething, and spells it out rather than perpetuate this any longer: "I fucking confessed to you in it, you dumbass!"

The aborted birth of a reply leaves Deku with his mouth agape, mute and infinite in possibilities. His eyes flit from phone to Bakugou, phone to Bakugou, phone to Bakugou, a dizzying repetition fueled by disbelief and fuck knows.

"Well?" Bakugou shouts, can't help it, feels his cheeks flaring hot. "Don't just fucking stare like your shitball eyes are about to roll out of your head!"

A positive: this seems to snap Deku out of his daze. A negative: it also sends him careening into the whirlwinds of wild emotion. He's stumbling and flushed, his hands flying up in front of him, palms facing out like he has to ward Bakugou off.

"I...uh...I…" Takes a few tries, but Deku does formulate a complete sentence: "I didn't know…?"

Bakugou nearly launches his phone to its death with how forcefully he lowers it. "That's," he says through gritted teeth, "why I just fucking told you."

Conversation stalls out, alone on a stretch of desert road, and fraught silence, an old friend by now, crawls back in to encompass them both. It brings with it that familiar sense of anticipation, which has haunted Bakugou since this morning when he first woke up and blearily took in the gut-punch of reality on his cell phone screen. The easy option, then, since he has so few others remaining--the ball goes back into Deku's court. Not yelling, but loudly (and not from nervousness, no) Bakugou says, "So, you gonna fucking answer me or keep me hanging because you're too goddamned weak to do it?"

Yes, or no. That's all Deku has to say. Simple.

And, Deku's lower lip starts to shiver with something that might be a response, an end. Bakugou leans forward just slightly, relief a cool balm to the anxiety because--

"I...I don't know," Deku says, a questioning lilt raising up the end of his sentence when it should be dragging down, down, down.

"Fine! Fuck! Jesus!" Bakugou punctuates each exclamation with a wild gesticulation, hands thrown in the air, fingers twitching in unexpressed violence. In a few long strides, he broaches the space separating him and Deku, grabs the other boy by the shoulders, and says, "Just fucking hit me if you hate this or whatever," because he has no--


--idea. Action over pathetic overthinking any day, right? Right. Not like he can go back now, so close and closer yet, Deku gone rigid under his hands. Face forward. Grit his teeth. This will be what it will be.

Bit too forceful, not necessarily what he ever really imagined this being. He didn't manage to angle himself right, and maybe his eyes are awkwardly scrunched shut and his lips are pursed more than needed and chapped, but, fuck, fuck, fu--

He's kissing Deku. The first second inches by, and in that is a microcosm of the entire day, a spiraling maelstrom of questions and self-doubt. What the hell is he supposed to do now? Pull back, point having been so succinctly and definitively made? Or, no, should a kiss even be that short? Wait, how long should it be? Is he lingering? Might be cheating, but he squints open one eye to spy hazily on Deku because he's at a loss, a hectic, time-crunched loss. Of all the things to feel uncertain about, Deku's reaction shouldn't be one of them; Bakugou can feel the tension in Deku's body, can see that his eyes are blown so wide Bakugou can't tell if they're zeroed in on his own or so intense they've gone unseeing.

That can't be good. So, Bakugou pushes Deku away a bit, and it was gentle, he swears, but Deku still stumbles, his back to the door.

"Fuck, sorry, I'm leaving. Forget this," he says, then he's brushing Deku aside to reach for the door.

"Kacchan, wait."

A hand encircling Bakugou's arm, nailing him in place. Subtle, small, and it's enough to knock the sense out of him. Nerves rubbed raw and electric from a day of anticipation and fucking anxiety, and, god, don't just tease him with what he wants, raising his hopes and crushing them and now raising them again.

He draws himself up straight to loom over Deku, makes use of every extra damn inch he has, and defaults to unnecessary intimidation, partially out of instinct, partially out of scrabbling desperation. "What?" he asks, practically growls it out.

A slight flinch, but Deku smooths it out, controls his instincts unlike Bakugou. He scratches his chin with his free hand, keeps the other locked firm around Bakugou. "I didn't hate it," he says, softly.

Second blow to the stomach today, wicked and merciless. All the air and expectations rush out of him in gasp that leaves him even more empty-minded than that single touch Deku initiated before. He prickles all over with goosebumps, can't quite seem to believe what he's hearing is even mildly close to what he desires,

"Don't just be saying shit," he warns.

Deku laughs at that. It sounds wrong almost, an anachronism amongst all this tension, but it washes through and eases the atmosphere. Bakugou stands dumbfounded, receding tide sweeping by his feet, because for once during this absurd standoff Deku isn't anxious or afraid.

"I'm not," Deku affirms. "I was just surprised.

And, oh--oh, Deku is smiling. (That's new.)

Bakugou has his hands tangled up in his pants pockets, better than having them aimlessly fidgeting. He struggles to maintain direct eye contact with Deku. With half his mouth, he manages to mumble, "Give me a damn answer then."

But, really, he feels quite certain now as to what he'll get in response. (It'll be good.)