This was written based on a request by manicalitweet on twitter.
When the blast from the villain's Quirk hits Bakugou, Shouto is about to jump in front of it.
He's not fast enough.
The impact is so strong it sends Bakugou flying backwards, disappearing into the nearest alley. Shouto's heart hammers in his chest, everything in him screaming to go after Bakugou and make sure he's okay; years of hero training, however, force him to turn his attention to the villain instead, dodging more blasts of that strange shimmering energy as he looks for an opening to incapacitate the guy.
A few minutes later, the villain's hands and legs are encased in ice. Shouto doesn't spare a second look to the other pro-heroes approaching to help take him into custody, or to the shouts and camera flashes from reporters–his focus goes straight to the alley from where, to his relief, Bakugou is walking out.
"What the fuckdid you think you were doing? Trying to jump in front of me like that, you fucking idiot, you could've gotten hit by the guy's Quirk–" With each word, Bakugou steps closer, face streaked with dust and blood from a cut on his cheek that hadn't been there before.
Shouto doesn't pay attention to his yelling–he's used to it by now–instead letting some of the worry fade when he notices that Bakugou isn't seriously injured. Maybe the villain's Quirk was something harmless, and if all Shouto gets for failing to protect Bakugou from being hit is an earful of the other's rant about not needing any saving, well, he isn't going to complain.
Except it's not, apparently, all that he's getting for it, because Bakugou doesn't stop advancing even when he's way past any respectable distance, placing his hand on Shouto's nape and pulling him into a kiss.
Most of the time, Shouto literally freezes, considering his Quirk. This time, however, it is simply that his body completely tenses up, eyes widening as he stares at Bakugou's closed eyelids, trying to make sense of this very unexpected situation. It's not like he's never thought about kissing Bakugou before–he has, many times–but never, despite his imagined scenarios, did he believe that Bakugou would actually kiss him.
They'd gotten closer since their days at UA, sure, but not this close. If anyone asked, Shouto would say their relationship could be considered mostly amicable, and they even hung out together a few times after particularly difficult missions.
He isn't sure how they suddenly went from that to kissing, though. Maybe Shouto had lost some kind of hint, a clue he should've picked up on–
"What the fuck?"
If Shouto was already disoriented by the sudden kiss, his confusion gets even worse when Bakugou jerks away from him to look at the person who'd just spoken those words. As it turns out, that person is Bakugou himself.
Another one of him, that is.
The noise around them grows considerably louder. Out of the corner of his eye, Shouto notices police officers trying to keep reporters from getting too close to the scene; between the kiss and the appearance of a second Bakugou, the news must be having a field day.
"Who the fuck are you?" The Bakugou who'd just kissed Shouto asks, explosions crackling in his hands. "Shouto, was there info about another sucker with a shapeshifting Quirk?"
It takes Shouto a few moments to realize Bakugou is talking to him, and he's about to answer when he cuts himself short.
He steps away from the Bakugou beside him, moving as fast as he can to take his place close to the other one–the real Bakugou, who has now taken on a defensive stance, explosions coming from his palms as well.
"Shouto? What are you doing, damn it!"
"Bakugou doesn't call me Shouto."
It might be his hero name–the one everyone else uses–but Bakugou never did, not even when they were on duty. It was always Todoroki, or at the very least one of those ridiculous nicknames Bakugou liked to throw around.
If this guy really is a villain, Shouto has no idea what he's up to. If he were trying to convince him he's the real Bakugou, why would he be acting like this? Shouto's feelings for Bakugou might be a secret, but anyone who watches the news knows how they interact in the field.
This guy, however, seems legitimately confused. That, or he's a very good actor, because the sparks in his hands lose some of their intensity and he throws a concerned look at Shouto.
"I've called you Shouto for years. Did you hit your head or something? Or did I fuck you so hard last night you forgot–"
"I'm done hearing this bullshit. Die!"
The explosion coming from his left makes Shouto's ears ring. He glances at Bakugou, who looks even angrier than usual and strangely flushed, but the other doesn't meet his eyes.
Another explosion counteracts the first one, and Shouto quickly turns his attention back to Bakugou's doppelgänger. Ice covers his fingertips, ready to launch an attack of his own, but before any of them can move a shout rings through to the air.
"Shouto, Ground Zero, stop!"
All three of them freeze, turning their attention to the hero that runs towards them. Last time Shouto had seen her, Yaoyorozu had been helping out with the villain's arrest, but now she stops between them with her hands splayed out, as if to assure none of them try to attack again.
"We talked to the villain and had him reveal the specifics of his Quirk," she explains. Her gaze moves from one Bakugou to the other. "It's called Alternate Reality. If you're hit, it transports a version of you from the nearest parallel world into this one."
"That's the worst bullshit I've ever heard. I wasn't even hit by the guy's Quirk, I blasted it away moments before the impact," Bakugou's doppelgänger says, but the Bakugou next to Shouto is strangely quiet, a frown on his face.
"I was," he says, letting his hands fall beside his body, relaxing his stance. Shouto follows suit and lets the ice melt from his skin. "Couldn't react in time. The Quirk did hit me." He crosses his arms, contemplating the Bakugou in front of him. "I suppose you're rather convincing at being me to just be another shitty villain."
"Rather convincing?" Any semblance of peace that had fallen between them disappears as Bakugou's doppelgänger reactivates his Quirk. "I'll fucking kill you, you fake–"
"You're both convincing," Shouto pipes in. He doesn't think the villain lied–he's seen enough strange Quirks to no longer be surprised, and this explanation makes sense–so letting the two Bakugous kill each other sounds like a terrible plan. Still, there is one thing that keeps bothering him, and he looks at the doppelgänger before speaking again. "I don't understand why you kissed me, though. Bakugou would never do that."
The doppelgänger's expression turns into a frown, and he stares between the other two with confusion.
"Because we're dating, of course. I mean–" He pinches the bridge of his nose, a very familiar gesture that Shouto has seen his world's Bakugou do plenty of times. "Not you. I'm dating Shouto. My Shouto. From my world–damn, this is fucking confusing."
Shouto tries to pretend that Bakugou's voice, even if it isn't his world's Bakugou, saying my Shouto does not have an effect on him. It's hard to keep a straight face, however, when he considers the possibility that in some kind of alternate reality he receives kisses like the one from earlier on a regular basis, gets to hear Bakugou calling him his first name without hesitation.
If it's true in a different reality, then maybe–
Shouto sneaks a glance at his world's Bakugou, but he refuses to meet his eyes, stare trained on his doppelgänger. He still looks angry, but there's something else in his expression that Shouto can't quite place.
"Uh, I apologize for interrupting, but the villain said the Quirk only lasts a few minutes, so… you should be back to your reality soon." Shouto startles to hear Yaoyorozu's voice. He'd been so focused on the exchange between Bakugous that he'd almost forgotten she was there. "I'll go… give a full report to the authorities."
She walks away as soon as she's done talking, clearly uncomfortable to stay there any longer. Shouto can't blame her; the situation is awkward enough for him, who's an active participant. It must be even worse for her.
When he turns his attention back to Bakugou's doppelgänger, Shouto notices that he is, indeed, disappearing, his body turning translucent. He doesn't seem to be paying attention to that, however, standing there with a gleam of realization in his eyes.
"You haven't told him," he says.
"Shut up," the Bakugou from Shouto's world replies.
"You're wasting your time, idiot. You should tell him."
"Don't tell me what to do."
Shouto can do nothing but stare in confusion as the two of them argue. He's clearly missing something here.
"Look, it worked for me, I know what I'm talking about. If you keep being so fucking stubborn–"
"I'm you, I know you are. Just ask him out, damn it, it's not that hard."
Shouto is pretty sure that, if the doppelgänger hadn't faded away right then, Bakugou would have a murder on his record. His face is redder than Shouto has ever seen it, jaw set as he finally locks eyes with him.
It could be Shouto's imagination, but Bakugou's stare seems softer than usual, as if he's considering something. He opens his mouth to ask what that was all about, but before he can utter a word Bakugou's taking hold of his hand and all but dragging him away from the scene, ignoring the hoards of reporters shouting questions at them as they push their way through the crowd.
"Bakugou?" No answer. "Where are we going? We still haven't filled the paperwork–"
"Fuck the paperwork, we'll do it later," Bakugou says. He doesn't give any other explanation until the ruckus fades in the distance; only then does he stop walking and lets go of Shouto's hand.
Shouto immediately misses the contact.
"What's going on?" he asks.
Bakugou takes a deep breath, eyes flickering to the cafe they're standing in front of before coming back to Shouto.
"We're going on a date," he states. Shouto's expression must betray his surprise, because he quickly adds, "If you want to."
Bakugou shifts on his feet, more nervous than Shouto's ever seen him. Slowly, the pieces come together in his mind, and suddenly the discussion between Bakugou and his doppelgänger makes sense. It seems almost unbelievable, but then again, nothing that had happened that afternoon could be considered ordinary.
And Shouto just might be inclined to accept this new development without question.
"Shouldn't we at least get cleaned up before we go?" Shouto motions to their dirty hero uniforms.
Bakugou frowns, taking a look at his own arms covered in dust. Then his head whips up. "That's not a no."
Shouto cocks his head, wondering if his agreement is really that surprising.
"No, it's not," he says. "I've liked you for years, of course I want to go on a date with you."
There's something incredibly endearing about seeing Bakugou speechless. His lips are slightly parted; Shouto wonders if they would be just as soft if this Bakugou were to kiss him, too.
Maybe he can still find out before the end of the day.
"Meet me in front of my place in thirty minutes?" he asks.
Bakugou seems to be recovering from the shock, because an all too familiar smirk makes its way to his lips, some of that air of confidence returning with his words. "It'd be faster if we just went to the same place. Save water, all that environmental bullshit."
Shouto's mouth feels dry, warmth spreading through his body that has nothing to do with his Quirk.
"My apartment is closer," he offers. Bakugou's smirk turns into a full-blown smile, his hand taking hold of Shouto's again, thumb rubbing circles on his wrist.
Suddenly, his place doesn't seem close enough.
"Lead the way."