A/N: Surprise! I wanted to give you guys a little gift for being such awesome followers. I thought a Christmas scene would be really fun to write for these two and I hope you all think so too! This was inspired by The Ribbon, by yellowchikadee, a personal friend of mine. If you want to check her out, I recommend it (there's a link to her page on my profile)! The chapter that inspired this scene is called "How to Party on Christmas" but the whole fic is really awesome!

Also, you'll notice right away that there's something a little different in this chapter than the last two, and no that wasn't an accident! Explanation at the end of the chapter!

Part Five: Christmas Day

Katsuki paced the small space in his bedroom, where he'd been grumbling unintelligibly under his breath for the last two hours. His feet were going to wear holes in the floorboards at the rate he was going but he didn't care. He'd gone from angry to annoyed to downright confused and back again at least fifty times already and the decision wasn't getting any easier.

Why does everything with her have to feel so complicated? He thought in irritation.

Life before her had been so much easier, lighter, better.

No, he argued with himself, life wasn't better.

He groaned at the thought and kicked a shirt out of his path that he'd thrown on the floor earlier that day after his morning jog. He could have tossed it into the hamper but he'd been too keyed up on adrenaline and rage to care where the damn thing landed. He couldn't even enjoy his morning routine with how much his mind had been racing.

After Principal Nezu announced that they wouldn't be leaving the school for Christmas and had told them all they'd have to endure a Christmas party of all things, Katsuki hadn't been able to stop the warring thoughts that plagued his every waking moment.

He couldn't care less about returning home or not—his parents would probably just embarrass him anyway, and he'd be forced to entertain his ancient great-grandfather who hated his very existence. Staying at school was actually ideal for him, and for a moment, a small fragment of time, he'd been happy about the idea. But then, spending Christmas alone wasn't as appealing an idea as he initially thought.

"Do you…want to watch the sunset together, Katsuki?"

He hadn't told her "no," but he definitely didn't agree to any sunrise viewing, cliché romantic bullshit, and he definitely never agreed to go to any stupid ass Christmas party with her or anyone else. He had zero intentions of dressing up in another monkey suit and parading around in front of all of his classmates. He didn't want to spend Christmas with them and he DEFINITELY didn't want to spend it with a certain blue-eyed blonde.

But…the way she'd looked at him—those pleading crystal irises, the slight coloring of her cheeks, the obvious want she expressed.

He hated it as much as he craved it.

"I hope I'll see you at the Christmas party." Her hopeful look and pleading eyes, begging him to give her something to let her know he saw her and he cared.

He didn't.

Instead, he brushed her off as he always did, telling her he just didn't care about Christmas and would probably stay in his room and maybe go to bed early. He didn't really want to go to bed early, though. He was so tired of spending his nights holed up in his room alone. He used to seek her out more—in the common area, in her room, in their special spot in the forest. But once his classmates started making jokes about him getting soft and losing his edge… That was when he'd started to avoid her more.

Ironically, that only made them poke fun at him even more, going so far as to accuse him of purposely avoiding her, which he was but it still made him angry that they thought that. He didn't want to have anything to do with that Mirror mage. He didn't want to be associated with any girl, but especially that one.

"You've got it bad, Bakugo," Kirishima had told him before he even really knew what his feelings meant. He'd been in denial back then, too, just like he was now.

"DAMN YOU, AISLA HARU!" he shouted.

A knock sounded on the door.

He froze as his words echoed in the empty room like a slap to the face.

It was her, it had to be. He'd just cursed her name and here she was, probably with that bodyguard of hers in tow, Todo-Fucking-Roki.

He considered his options.

He could pretend he wasn't there, but she'd probably heard his shout and wouldn't leave without seeing him.

Maybe he could hide? Jump out the window? Run past her?

Another knock, this one more persistent.

With a groan, he threw open the door, ready to block an attack if need be. But it wasn't Aisla standing there, much to his relief.

"Oh, it's you," he said flatly and walked back in the room without bothering to invite the intruder inside.

"Of course it is!" Kirishima stepped inside and shut the door behind him. "Who else would be coming to your room at this hour?" He teased, then his eyes widened dramatically. "Wait, were you expecting Aisla?"


Kirishima laughed. "Yeah, your face says it all! Speaking of Aisla…"


"I heard she's going to the Christmas party tonight," he continued in a sing-song voice.

Katsuki sneered. "I don't give a shit. I'm not going."

"Why not, man?"

"I'M TIRED, OKAY?!" He yelled.

"That's no excuse," Kirishima said with an eye roll. "Come on, just a few minutes? I bet she'll look super cute!"

"I HAVE A HEADACHE!" He roared.

Kirishima snorted. "Nice try, but you don't get headaches. You don't have a good excuse not to go other than you're too afraid to see Aisla there." He smirked.


Kirishima gave him a triumphant look. "AH-HA! I knew that would be your excuse!" With a flourish, he deposited a garment bag right onto Katsuki's bed.

"KIRISHIMA…" He seethed.

"You know, one-day Aisla's gonna use the same kind of excuses and you're not gonna like it," Kirishima warned with a shrug.

"The hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Just saying you're like a chick," he grinned innocently.


His friend laughed. "Come on, Katsuki. You have to admit that seeing Aisla in a pretty dress wouldn't be so horrible. Maybe she'll even dance with you."

"DO I LOOK LIKE I DANCE?!" Katsuki kicked the shirt across the floor in his rage. It slid under his bed.

"Not really," he admitted casually.

Katsuki growled.

"You know, if you don't go then she'll just end up dancing with someone else~"


"That's my boy!" Kirishima slapped his back, earning a rage-filled glare in return. He laughed uncomfortably. "Anyway…how about that suit?"

Katsuki ignored him and locked himself in his bathroom. He stared at his reflection while Kirishima prattled on in his bedroom about Kanzashi or some shit (Katsuki didn't care what he was saying).

His mirrored image looked angry and mean and disappointed all at the same time. But there was another emotion hidden just below the surface, one that he refused to really see because admitting to that would be just as embarrassing as walking the halls of UA butt naked.

He turned away from his other self and decided he may as well get this thing over with. He'd make an appearance, only because he wanted Kirishima to get the hell off his back, then he'd leave the first chance he got. He didn't even care if Aisla was there because he wasn't going to look for her and he'd be damned if anyone thought he was getting himself anywhere near a dancefloor. He was just going to appease Kirishima and to get in on the buffet table. That was all.

"Come on, Princess! Let's get going before Aisla and Hana start dancing with each other instead of us!" A short pause. "On second thought, take your time, man. I'd love to see that!"

Katsuki burst through the bathroom door, red eyes furious. "GET. OUT."

Kirishima jumped up from his spot on Katsuki's bed and nearly tripped in his haste to stand. He put his hands out in a placating gesture like he was warding off an angry animal and not his best friend. "I was only joking! Of course, the girls wouldn't dance with each other! I mean, Hana wouldn't, but maybe Aisla—"


He winked. "Don't sweat it. You know she doesn't want anyone but you!"

"I hate this stupid suit," Katsuki complained as he snatched the thing from the garment bag. "Why didn't you bring me something cooler?!"

"Because you looked so good in it the last time you wore it!" His friend expressed.


Kirishima thought about it. "Hmm, nope, you definitely have. I distinctly remember you wearing this during our summer vacation to I-Island."

He took the suit into the bathroom to change, grumbling under his breath about how ridiculous that whole trip was and how this suit was going to give him flashbacks to Deku saving the world—again.

He put the thing on then stared angrily at his hair for ten straight minutes until Kirishima came pushing through the door without so much as a knock.

"Hey, man, we gotta—oh." He saw Katsuki's attempt at 'hairstyling' and laughed boisterously. "Wow, you could really use a few pointers."


"Let me help you tame that mane! You'll look so great!"


"I think you do," Kirishima argued, already pulling the brush from Katsuki's hand and trying to force it through his tangled hair. "Hold still a minute!"

"THAT FUCKING HURTS!" he roared.

"Then stop wiggling around!" Kirishima yelled back, tugging some more.


"Stop being such a chick and let me do your hair!" Kirishima chastised.

"I. HATE. YOU." Katsuki raged.

After what felt like an hour of abuse from Katsuki's hairbrush, Kirishima finally gave up trying to style the unruly locks.

"Well, that's the best I can do," he said with a shrug. He plucked out a whole head of hair from the brush and deposited it in the waste bin next to the sink.

"It looks the same," Katsuki grumbled. "That was such a waste of time!"

"It wasn't a total waste of time. Now when Aisla runs her long, girly fingers through your hair they won't get stuck in a rat's nest! You're welcome!"

Katsuki gave him a death glare to which he promptly ignored in favor of pulling Katsuki from the bathroom and out into the hallway.

"Time to go, Romeo! Let's go find our hot dates!"


Aisla was surrounded by girls.

Tsu, Yaoyorozu, Uraraka, Jiro, Hagakure. The only person noticeably absent was Ashido, who claimed she needed to go pick up her dress, which she'd had specially made for this event. Aisla would have liked her advice since she was the only other person she knew with a boyfriend at the moment, but she respected her decision to get ready alone. There were enough girls around her anyway and there was only so much Aisla could take at one time.

The group of girls was all gathered in Aisla's room a full three hours before the Christmas party was to take place. She'd invited them all over in the hopes of gaining some advice on how to go about her evening. She and Katsuki were technically a couple now, but that didn't mean they acted like it. Sometimes she was pretty sure Katsuki didn't even know what their relationship was. There were times when he'd want to hang out with her in all their free time, and then there were the moments where he'd say something hurtful and embarrass her in front of all of their classmates.

What hurt the most was when he told everyone in the class that he didn't like her and he would never like someone as pathetic as she was. She'd spent the next three days avoiding him and crying into her pillow. Todoroki offered to go find him and show him what his flaming fist looked like, and it took an entire hour to calm him down enough so that she would trust him not to run over to the other boy's room.

He had never really apologized for that, but he had tried to make up for it by being a little nicer to her in public. He let her sit with him at lunch if she promised not to touch him or call him by his first name or talk at all. He trained with her in the mornings and sometimes in the evenings, too. And if time allowed it, they would sit and watch the sunset together and he wouldn't run off and he wouldn't tell her what an idiot she was.

Okay, that last one only happened twice, but he'd still made an effort for her sake.

Now, here she was trying to doll herself up for a boy she wasn't even sure would show up at all. He hadn't exactly said he would make an appearance tonight. There was a very good chance that his pride would keep him in his room alone. Aisla wouldn't be able to hide her disappointment if that happened. She didn't want to spend the whole night hanging out with the girls, as much as she loved doing that. It was Christmas Day, and if she couldn't spend it with her parents and sister, then she wanted to spend it with everyone else she loved, including Katsuki.

She needed to come up with a plan, first, just in case he actually came tonight. She knew without a doubt that there was no way she would get him to dance with her. He was too insecure and embarrassed to be seen dancing in front of the whole school. She didn't blame him, but she still hoped all the same that he'd allow her at least one dance. She wouldn't even mind going somewhere private with him and dancing under the stars.

"Hello! Earth to Aisla!" Hagakure snapped her invisible fingers in front of her face.

Aisla shook her head to clear the daze from her thoughts. "I'm sorry, what was that?"

"I asked if you had a dress picked out already!" Hagakure cried.

Aisla laughed in embarrassment. "Oh, sorry! No, I haven't decided what to wear yet. I was hoping for some advice on that, honestly…" She looked away and twirled the ends of her long hair. It was freshly cleaned and blown dry, leaving it silky and free from hair spray or mousse.

"We can totally help you with that!" Uraraka exclaimed.

"You want to impress Bakugo, right?" Yaoyorozu inquired.

Aisla flushed and decided now was a really good time to look through her drawing pad. "I, uh, don't know what you're talking about!" she stammered.

"We already know you two are a couple!" Hagakure added seriously.

"Yeah, totally!" Uraraka agreed. "You two are adorable! Although, I do find it surprising that you'd go for Bakugo of all people."

"Same," Tsu said with a ribbit. "You're so nice and Bakugo is so…"

"Not," finished Jiro, and they all burst into laughter. Even Aisla couldn't stop herself from joining in. They were right, after all. Katsuki Bakugo was rarely nice to anyone, even Aisla. She thought he was probably nicer to her than anyone else, but that wasn't always the case either. Sometimes she thought he was even meaner to her.

"What were you thinking as far as a color scheme?" Yaoyorozu asked, turning thoughtful. "If you have an image in mind, I can probably make something for you."

Aisla started. "Oh, no! I wouldn't ask you to do that! It's Christmas—"

"Exactly!" she cut her off. "Think of it as a Christmas gift, then. Now, let's think, girls! What colors would look best on our darling Aisla?"

"I think blue would bring out her eyes!" Hagakure suggested.

"That's too cliché," Tsu commented.

"How about red?" Jiro offered. "Like an explosion."

They all laughed again at that.

"I don't know…" Aisla thought about it. She wore red occasionally but didn't really think it was her color. Plus, the red seemed more cliché to her than blue, seeing as everyone wore that color on Christmas. She agreed that blue was off the table, though since she'd already worn her blue dress several times. She didn't want it to look like she was just an outfit repeater.

"What about white?"

They all turned to Uraraka who had a serious look in her eyes.

"It's angelic," she explained with a shrug.

"Aisla Haru, the angel of Christmas!" Hagakure cried dramatically. "You'll look just like the tree topper! It's perfect!"

Aisla didn't wear a lot of white since it tended to make her look paler than her already translucent skin tone, but…

You'll look just like the tree topper!

"Maybe it could work?" She offered with an indecisive shrug.

"Yeah!" They all agreed in unison.

Yaoyorozu set to work coming up with a design for a dress with Uraraka and Hagakure, while Tsu and Jiro painted Aisla's nails and helped curl the ends of her hair into natural waves.

"Now some makeup!" Hagakure cheered and pulled out a bag with a flourish.

Aisla slumped.

Jiro laughed. "Just a little bit, to accentuate your already adorable features."

"Yeah!" Uraraka agreed, looking up from where she was helping Yaoyorozu sketch out a dress. She pulled the paper out from under the other girl's pen and held it up for the other's inspection. "How's this, ladies?"

Hagakure oohed and ahhed. "Oh, that would look so cute on you!"

"It would suit you quite well," Jiro said with a nod.

Aisla inspected the design carefully. "It looks perfect." She gave the girls a thumbs-up.

They all cheered and Yaoyorozu used her quirk to bring the design to life.

"Put it on!" Uraraka encouraged, jumping up and down like she was more excited than Aisla was. She probably was. Aisla was nervous, not about the dress itself but for the reason she would be wearing it.

Is this enough? She wondered. Will he finally see me?

She slipped it on and then took in the completed look in the full-length mirror.

It was a simple knee-length dress that hugged the waist tightly and fanned out in a double skirt. The inside layer was white lace, and there was a pattern of cherry blossom petals scattered throughout the top like they were falling through the air. The petals were a pastel pink reminiscent of the real thing. The dress straps were thin, showing off more of her shoulders than she usually allowed, but somehow it felt right on this dress. There was a matching pink ribbon that laced up her back and tied around the base of her neck in a bow.

Her shoes were a glittering silver and surprisingly more comfortable than they looked. They were a short wedge, which she appreciated since she didn't like wearing tall heels. She was fairly short but that wasn't a feature she cared too much about so she didn't go out of her way to look taller like some girls did.

She spun slowly in a circle to get the full look before turning to her friends with questioning brows as if to say what do we think?

"Awesome!" Hagakure cheered.

"Just like an angel!" Uraraka cooed.

"Lovely," Tsu and Yaoyorozu said in unison.

Jiro nodded. "I think your boyfriend will like it."

Aisla's whole face flushed. "Oh…well…do you really think so?"

They all nodded in affirmation.

"He'll totally dig you, girl! Get your hot ass out there!"

They all turned toward the door in surprise.

Aisla's eyes widened. "Ashido! You came!"

The other girl shot her a thumbs up and a wink. "That's right! Mina Ashido to the rescue!"

"But I thought you were…busy, or something?" Uraraka mumbled.

Ashido's smile slipped but only for a fraction of a second. "I had a few spare minutes, don't worry! So, what's the plan, girls?"

"Plan?" Aisla echoed.

"To get your boy to fall head over heels in love with you, duh!" She rolled her dark eyes. "Any ideas?"

"We use the power of feminine wiles!" Hagakure suggested dramatically.

"No," Aisla said with finality. "That never works. And besides…I'm not, you know, sexy or whatever…"

Ashido burst into laughter. "It's not about being sexy, my little friend. It's all about confidence! What's that saying? Oh yeah! Fake it till ya make it!"

"Yeah!" Hagakure chirped.

Aisla slumped in a chair. "I don't know…I'm not naturally very confident."

Ashido considered this then walked across the room to stand in front of Aisla. She leaned in close until they were at eye level. "You wanna know a secret, Aisla Haru?"

The blonde nodded slowly.

"None of us here is confident. We all struggle with simple tasks like turning in a paper on time or talking to a cute boy. Making lunches for someone you don't really know that well and still hope they'll enjoy. We're all scared, deep down." She straightened abruptly and turned to the others. "Right girls?!"

"I get so embarrassed every time I go out in public!" Hagakure fretted. "I always feel like everyone is staring at me!"

Aisla opened her mouth to say something but then closed it. She was only trying to help. No reason to point out that people probably did stare at the invisible girl walking by.

"When I try to talk to Deku, I get so nervous sometimes that I can't speak actual words," Uraraka offered meekly.

Aisla couldn't help but smile at that. At least one person knew the struggle of trying to get a boy to notice you.

"Even though I may look sure of myself," Yaoyorozu began, "the way my quirk works is pretty embarrassing sometimes. I mean, I have to open my shirt."

Aisla giggled. "That's true. At least I can keep my clothes on."

"You see? We all have things we're scared of or embarrassed about!" Ashido pointed out. "And we all find a way to look past it and do what has to be done. Like talking to your grenade!"

Aisla thought about it. Her friends did have a point. Maybe she could try to be a little more confident?

She smiled. "Okay, I'll do it!"

"Yay!" Ashido and Hagakure cheered.

"So what's the goal for tonight?" Jiro asked.

"I really just want to spend time with him," Aisla admitted sheepishly, tugging at the ends of her curled hair while she spoke. "Is that lame?"

"No!" They all exclaimed in unison.

Of course not," Tsu said sincerely. "But maybe you could ask him to dance, too?"

"I think a huge part will be trying to get him there at all," Ashido mused.

"That's for sure," Aisla agreed. Already, the disappointment for what was to come was weighing her down. She had half the mind to just claim to have a headache and stay in her room for the rest of the night. But she knew her friends wouldn't buy it. They would probably drag her there by her hair if she didn't just suck it up and go.

I wish I was more like Ashido.

"I bet I know how to get that hothead to dance with you!" Ashido exclaimed.

"We make him jealous!" Ashido and Hagakure said in unison.

Aisla sighed. "I don't know if he's the jealous type…"

"Oh, he definitely is." Tsu nodded.

"Yeah, you can tell he's jealous whenever he sees you around any other guy," Uraraka agreed with a giggle.

"Except when it comes to Todoroki," Jiro added with a muffled laugh.

Aisla tried to remember a time she'd talked with any guy besides Katsuki or Todoroki but she couldn't pull up a memory.

"Like Deku," Uraraka pointed out.

"And that one time you were hanging out with Kirishima," Ashido put in.

"And when you were baking that cake with Sato," Yaoyorozu said with a nod.

"I remember his face when he saw you talking with Tokoyami," Tsu offered.

"Okay, okay!" Aisla laughed. "I get it, he's jealous. But how am I supposed to make that happen at a Christmas party?"

"Easy," Ashido began with a mischievous glint in her eyes, "you force him to want to dance with you by making all the other boys ask you first!"

Katsuki was pulling at his shirt collar in irritation. Already, he wanted nothing more than to just go back to his room and bury himself under a mountain of blankets. Maybe then no one would be able to find him. Maybe he'd even sink into another dimension where he was the number one hero and people like Deku didn't exist. Then he wouldn't be forced to stand in this glittery room full of his annoying ass classmates.

"This is bullshit," he grumbled as he followed Kirishima to the overly-decorated Christmas tree near the back corner of the large room. More than once, he was hit in the head with colorful tinsel that stuck in his hair, and twice he almost tripped over a Christmas ball some genius had decided to scatter all over the dancefloor.

"Don't be like that, man!" Kirishima slapped his shoulder. "Just relax and enjoy the scenery. Plenty of cute girls in dresses around here."

Katsuki scoffed. "I don't give a shit about any of these girls."

There's only one girl I care about, and she doesn't even have the decency to show up!

His eyes scanned the room, looking for blonde hair and blue eyes. Not that he cared that much if she came. The less time he had to spend here, the better. And if she turned out to be a no-show, then he wouldn't feel guilty for leaving early. He didn't want to be there anyway.

When they reached the big tree, they stopped and just stood there. Hours ticked by, he swore, his irritation growing with each passing minute. Why were they just waiting around like a couple of lost puppies?! This was so stupid. He could be in his room right now, reading his manga or practicing with his nunchucks. Even homework would be better than this.


"You can leave whenever you want, dude," Kirishima told him with a shrug. "I told Kanzashi I'd wait for her here."

Kanzashi. That girlfriend of his with the weird hair quirk.

"This is bullshit," he repeated in irritation. He was looking around at all of his classmates who were dancing or chatting on the sidelines or stuffing their faces. "They could have at least had an all-out Christmas brawl!" That would have been more interesting than all this holly jolly bullshit.

"Why is it always violence with you?" His friend asked with a shake of his head.

Because violence is more entertaining than standing around staring at all these happy couples.

"I hate this," he grumbled aloud. "I'm going to bed."

If he had to wait around for one more minute, he was sure to combust. He had just started walking back when he saw her, standing near the entrance with Uraraka and some of the other girls. She was clothed in white, like an angel, and her hair fell around her waist and swayed slightly as she walked. Katsuki couldn't help but stare. What was it about her tonight that had him so…mesmerized?

When she caught sight of him her whole face lit up like she was seeing him for the first time. She made her way over to him as if in slow motion, gliding across the floor like her feet weren't even touching it. Then she stood before him, blue eyes pale and almost gray in the dim lighting and gleaming with mischief.

"Katsuki~" she sang. "You look so handsome!"

Handsome… Me? I wouldn't use that word to describe someone like me. Brash, cruel, wild… But not handsome. But you… You are an angel.

He cleared his throat and turned away from her before any more idiotic thoughts could run through his mind.

"Do…you want to dance with me?" Her voice was timid and soft with a hint of anxiety that he chose to ignore.

If they see me dance, I'll never hear the end of it.

"HELL NO." He started for the food tables, deciding that was the perfect excuse to get away from this girl before he did something stupid. "I'm getting food," he added.

"I'll dance with you, Aisla~" Kirishima offered.

Katsuki spun around so fast he got black spots in his vision. "THE HELL YOU WILL!" Before he knew it, his fingers were wrapped around her slim wrist and he was dragging her away. "DANCE WITH YOUR OWN GIRLFRIEND, DAMMIT!"

Why did he care if Kirishima danced with Aisla? Why did he feel this red hot rage inside of him at the idea of seeing her in the arms of another person? Why?

I don't, he told himself as he tightened his hold on her hand and tugged her toward the food tables. I don't care. I don't care. I don't care!

"Katsuki?" Aisla's voice was hesitant but her hand held his firmly. When had his hand slipped into hers anyway? "Can I give you something later? In private?"

Why did that make his heart give an extra thump?

"Why the hell would you want to do that?" he snapped. He dropped her hand to grab a plate and started filling it with various food that mostly consisted of Christmas cookies and other inedible sweets he probably wouldn't even eat.

"Because I want to give you a gift…" she answered softly. "You're special to me."

"You stupid idiot," he grumbled.


"WHATEVER!" he snarled.

I have something for you, too, he silently added, though he wasn't sure if he'd have the guts to give it to her.

"Hey, Aisla~" Came the slimy voice of Mineta. They both turned, Aisla with a look of surprise and Katsuki with a murderous expression that dared the little imp to so much as speak.

He swallowed but pressed on anyway. "I was just wondering if you'd want to dance with me?" His eyes flicked around nervously and then his expression turned desperate. "Please, Aisla?! That crazy chick is after me! I need someone to dance with me and no one else will!"

"Who's after you, Mineta?" Aisla asked.

"Tondi," he replied with a shudder.

Aisla giggled.

Katsuki clenched his fists. "THE HELL YOU CAN! GO DANCE WITH FONDLING!"

"It's Tondi?" Mineta corrected. "And I'm sorry, but she's way scarier than you. Have you seen that chick?"

"I think she's nice!" Aisla said in the girl's defense.

"No one said she wasn't nice," Minetta muttered. "She's just—"

"Oh, Mineta! There you are!" Called the aforementioned spider girl.

Mineta froze, eyes going wide, then he was gone in a puff of smoke.

"Ha! That little wimp."

Aisla rolled her eyes but she was smiling, the kind of smile he lived for.

Oh my god, I'm such a damn pussy.

He loaded his plate until it was overflowing with contents, then started for a table near the front of the room where most people weren't sitting. He dropped the plate onto the table—one of those dumb, tall standing ones—then chewed on a turkey leg.

"Eat some of this, dammit!" He ordered through a mouthful of food. He half expected her to decline, to give some dumb chick excuse like she'd already brushed her teeth or she didn't want to get food on her dress or she wasn't allowed carbs after six o'clock. But Aisla wasn't like most girls he knew. She was easy-going and tenacious, she was kind and patient and strong too. And she ate everything.

"Thanks!" She grinned up at him then took a leg for herself. "Yum!"

"How do you do that?" he asked mid-chew. She raised her eyebrows in question. "You know…how do you act all confident and stuff?"

He wanted to know her secret. Here she was, all dolled up in an angel's dress, hair sparkling with glitter, and teeth white and pristine. And she was stuffing her face like, well, like a boy. How was she not embarrassed? And besides that, she was always saying dumb stuff to him about her feelings and shit. How was she never embarrassed about anything?

Her smile slowly fell and she dabbed at her face with a napkin. She took a long time to chew before answering. "I'm not confident at all, Katsuki. In all honesty, I'm a nervous wreck more often than not. Especially when it comes to—"

"Hey, Aisla!" Kaminari strode up now, donned in the same suit he'd worn on I-Island as well, only this time he'd lost the dress shoes for a pair of sneakers with the laces untied. Katsuki scowled at his ensemble, wishing he'd worn sneakers too. These shoes were a bitch on his heels.

"What's up, Kaminari?" Aisla asked, ever the polite one. Why did she have to be nice to everyone?

"Well, you see… I put this suit on hoping to impress Jiro but she isn't here yet, so I was hoping maybe you'd, you know, dance with me?" He grinned widely, showing off gleaming white teeth Katsuki was envious of. How white were his teeth? Did they gleam when he smiled? Probably not… On second thought, he couldn't remember the last time he smiled.

It was for her, his mind supplied unhelpfully. Just last week, when she kissed you in the hallway and you watched her walk away…

Shut the hell up. I don't smile and I don't kiss people!

"Hey, what kind of dumbass excuse is that?" Katsuki realized aloud. "Are you trying to steal my—" he cut himself off before the word girlfriend escaped. He snapped his mouth shut and pouted.

"Well, if he doesn't have any objections, then I guess it would be okay…?" He looked to her with hopeful eyes.

Aisla glanced between him and Katsuki and he waited for her decision, wondering who she would choose. Would it be him, or his perverted friend?

"Umm… Hey, look! There's Jiro now!" Aisla gestured toward the middle of the dancefloor where Jiro stood with hands on hips, expression disapproving as if she somehow knew he'd been hitting on another girl.

Katsuki felt only a little smug as he watched his friend scramble after her with a string of apologies spewing from his lips.

What a dumbass.

They went back to eating in silence, though she only picked at her food now. Something was bothering her, though he couldn't quite decipher what it was. Did she not like the food? As far as he knew, she liked everything except for bananas and peanuts. He purposely didn't choose anything from those categories. Maybe she was just tired? Or maybe she was bored because he wasn't saying anything and she felt forced to stay with him anyway.

"Listen," he started.


A tall, lanky guy around their age stood before them. His hands were stuffed in his pockets and his dark blue hair concealed half his face from view. With a figure reminiscent of a yokai, Katsuki was sure someone was playing a prank on him. Maybe he was cosplaying?

"Who the hell are you?" Katsuki demanded.

"Oh! You're Mina's boyfriend, right?" Aisla recalled. "Um…Roan Fujinari?"

He nodded, knocking more hair into his eyes. "I was instructed to come ask you to dance. You can say no."

"And if I say yes?" Aisla asked mischievously.

Dark eyes went wide. "Please don't."

Aisla giggled. "You're off the hook, Fujinari! Tell Mina I said 'nice try', though!"

Katsuki wondered what she meant by that as they watched the gargoyle walk away. "You know that freak?"

"Not really," Aisla mused. "I've seen him around a couple of times is all. I think he walks Ashido back to the dorms after classes."

She gave him a meaningful look.

He blinked. "What?"

She sighed heavily. "Oh, nothing."

They stood there for a long moment, neither one knowing what to say. Katsuki was just about to suggest they just leave when Todo showed up.

"Oh, come on!" he growled in irritation. How many people were going to bother them tonight? However… Her eyes lit up when she saw him, almost like when she saw Katsuki for the first time that night. He didn't think it had anything to do with some infatuation for him, he was pretty confident that she had none of that, but still… He was important to her, and seeing her smile made guilt rise up inside of him. She hadn't been smiling much while hanging out with him. Maybe it was time to let her go.

"Shoto, don't you look nice," she greeted politely.

To his satisfaction, she didn't call him handsome.

Todoroki smiled in response, a genuine expression only Aisla Haru could bring out as far as Katsuki knew. "Shoto, huh? I thought you only called me 'Roki'."

She winked. "Oh, don't worry. That's still your special name!"

What does he want? Katsuki wondered. Is he going to ask her to dance, too?

Can I still say no?

"What are you two doing?" he asked conversationally. His gaze shifted to Katsuki briefly before returning to Aisla. Everyone seemed to want her attention today. Was he not good enough? Was his company so bad that everyone in the room could see how miserable she was?

Aisla glanced at Katsuki as well as if waiting for him to say something. "Oh, we were just eating and talking. Did you just get here?"

"I was running late because my father decided to show up," he explained with a scowl.

"Did he come to say Merry Christmas?"

He rolled his eyes. "As if. He came to inform me that I needed to get serious about taking down the enemy, and attending school dances is a waste of time and energy."

"Oof. That's rough." Aisla commented.

What's happening right now? Katsuki thought as he watched the conversation drag on. Why did he suddenly feel like a third wheel? Did she even care that he was standing right next to her? He was invisible when Icy Hot was around.

"I was hoping you could ease some of my boredom," Todoroki said at last. "Would you do me the honor of a dance?" He bowed low.

How is he so much better than me? He thought bitterly. I'm such a coward. She's my girlfriend and I can't even do the simple task of offering her one dance! I don't deserve to be by her side.

"Well…" she looked from Todoroki to Katsuki, eyes full of indecision. He couldn't decide if it was because she wanted to stay with him, or if she was looking for an excuse to get away from him. She probably just didn't want to hurt his feelings by rejecting him. Maybe she'd been trying to find a reason to leave all night.

Her eyes radiated her conflicted feelings, making the guilt build even further inside of his chest. He felt heavy and defeated. He couldn't keep holding her back when she wanted to be somewhere else.

He turned away from them both and started eating random bits of food leftover on the plate, ignoring them both.

"Just one song," Todoroki pressed. "Then Bakugo can have you back."

Katsuki scoffed and kept eating.

He heard a sigh but didn't turn around until he heard the sounds of their footsteps retreating. He slowly peered behind him and watched his enemy take his girlfriend away from him. He did nothing to stop them.

Todoroki led her onto the dancefloor and spun her around, making her lips lift into a pleased smile. The song was slow, so he pulled her in close and placed a hand on her waist. Katsuki silently raged but let it be. What could he do anyway? She'd made her choice. Clearly, she wanted to be with that icy hot freak more than him. He'd never be good enough for someone like her.

"You know, man, whatever you're thinking right now…is wrong."

Katsuki glanced to his right and found Kirishima leaning against the table beside him.

"Aisla is head over heels for you, Katsuki. Can't you see that?"

"I DON'T SEE ANYTHING!" he snapped.

Kirishima sighed. "Then stop focusing on your own insecurities for a moment and really look at that girl." He gestured toward the blonde dancing amongst their peers. "Her face says it all, dude. She sees Todoroki as nothing more than a friend. Her smile is sad, disappointed even. You know why?"

"Because this whole dance is stupid," Katsuki grumbled under his breath.

"No, because she wishes it was you out there dancing with her, not her best friend."

"You don't know anything," Katsuki growled. What the hell did Kirishima know about his situation anyway? He had a girlfriend, they were all happy-go-lucky and shit. He didn't have any problems.

But Katsuki? He felt like it was an uphill battle with Aisla. He was constantly hurting her in some way, pushing her away and rejecting her. It was time he just let her go be with someone more like she was.

"Take it from someone who had to work extra hard just to get the girl he liked to fall in love with him," Kirishima said as if he'd read Katsuki's thoughts. "I'm telling you, if this was a novel, it would have taken me like ten chapters to get her to love me. And here you are, with this hot girl who totally digs you. She doesn't care that you have the worst attitude of anyone at this school."

"Watch it, Kirishima," Katsuki warned.

"She loves you, Katsuki, for you. You're not going to find many girls like that."

Katsuki wasn't so sure about that. Why would a girl like that love a guy like him? Especially when she had Mr. Perfect fawning all over her?

"She accepts all of your flaws and loves them," Kirishima continued. "Are you honestly just going to stand here and watch someone else dance with your girl? Or are you going to get the hell out there and show her how much she means to you?"

Katsuki sucked in a sharp breath, eyes widening slightly.

Show her what she means to me… How am I supposed to do that?

He really wished girls came with an owner's manual or something because everything about them was just confusing.

"I don't think I can," he admitted. "Everyone will stare."

"So what if they do?" Kirishima shrugged. "Let them see you. Let them see how badass Katsuki Bakugo is!"

Katsuki scoffed. "There's nothing badass about asking a girl to dance."

Kirishima dropped a hand onto his shoulder and waited for him to meet his gaze. "Are you sure about that?" He gave him a meaningful look and then he was off.

Katsuki watched him skip over to Kanzashi and take her by the hand. He pulled her onto the dancefloor like it was the easiest thing in the world.

There's nothing badass about asking a girl to dance.

Are you sure about that?

No, I'm not. I'm not sure about anything.

Before he knew it, his feet were moving without his permission. His eyes were focused on Aisla and the boy who could literally sweep her off her feet.

He kept moving, pushing past his classmates without stopping until her eyes met his and her whole face lit up like a Christmas tree.

She loves you, Katsuki. For you.

Her face says it all.

She wishes it was you, not her best friend.

"Katsuki," Aisla murmured.


She spotted him as soon as he stepped onto the dancefloor, eyes locked on hers in such a way that froze her in place. Todoroki followed her gaze and gave her a knowing smile followed by a wink as if this had been the plan all along.

We have to make him jealous!

You force him to want to dance with you by making all the other boys ask you first…

That had been the plan, but…had Todoroki been in on it all this time? His expression said he had. Knowing Ashido, she must have found him on her way to the dance to ask him to go along with their convoluted plan.

I'm so embarrassed now!

The thought of her best friend being forced to dance with her to make her boyfriend jealous was so shameful!

But he didn't seem upset or disappointed. He looked pleased, happy even. Part of her was offended that he hadn't asked her to dance just because he wanted to, but the other part was grateful that he'd been so willing to do something nice for her. And she knew without a doubt that if Katsuki hadn't walked up to them at that moment, that he would have gladly spent the rest of the night by her side.

"Katsuki," Aisla said, half expecting him to just disappear in a puff of smoke. Was he real? Or was this just a dream?

"Aisla," he whispered. "Dance with me?" His cheeks were bright red and his hand shook in the space between them like he was afraid she would say yes. Or perhaps he was afraid she wouldn't.

Her lips lifted."I'd love to dance with you," she said with sincerity. "I'd love nothing more."

His eyes found hers and something like wonder shown in them.

Todoroki bowed and then offered Katsuki the hand he held. He stared at it for a long moment as if still trying to decide whether or not to actually take it. Maybe he wasn't sure what to do with it when he did. Aisla was no pro at dancing, but she'd taken a few lessons as a kid and had a good understanding of how it worked.

Katsuki, on the other hand, was insecure and explosive and wouldn't be caught dead doing something as embarrassing as dancing. So what would he do now? Would he take her hand and dance? Or would he walk away as he'd done so many other times before?

He blushed crimson and looked away from her. Disappointment was just starting to settle back inside of her when his hand shot out and gripped her wrist tightly. He still wasn't looking her in the eyes, but it was enough to show her that he was trying. He wanted to do something with her and it made elation surge within her.

Todoroki gave her a conspiratorial wink and walked away.

See me, she silently pleaded. Please look at me. Really look at me…

And as if he'd read her mind, his gaze shifted down and met hers, red eyes dilating and mouth parting in surprise or shock, like he was seeing her for the first time. His eyes flicked all over her face, searching.

She offered a timid smile and was surprised when one of his own found its way onto his lips. It was soft and genuine, completely unlike the sneers he usually wore around their classmates.

Are you happy? She wondered, and as if by silent answer, he pulled her into his arms and began to dance. It was slow and awkward and she was pretty sure she stepped on his toes just as much as he stepped on hers… but it was perfect.

The feel of his hands on her waist and her head against his chest. The sound of his heart beating against her cheek—their own secret rhythm. The music that swelled around them and then disappeared altogether so the only sounds left were their own breathing.

She tightened the embrace even though it made it harder to dance. She didn't care about dancing well or at all. That had been her plan all along, but now that he was here, in her arms, she knew that all she'd needed was to be close to him.

"Thank you, Katsuki…" Aisla murmured into his chest. "This feels so right."

He stiffened. "Yeah, well…this is a one-time thing!" he snapped at her, though the sound was half-hearted. "Don't expect it to become a regular event."

She snuggled closer. "I'm so happy."

"You're not even listening, are you?" he grumbled.

"This is a one-time thing," she repeated. "But I'm still going to make the most of it while it lasts. I love being close to you, Katsuki."

"I hate when you say stupid shit like that," he muttered.

She laughed softly. "But I love…" she trailed off, embarrassment holding her tongue captive.

"What?" He murmured into her ear.

"I love dancing with you," she finished, unsure if that was really what she was going to say or not.

He pulled back slightly, cheeks heating and eyes wide as if he knew she wasn't talking about their dance. Her own face felt hot, but neither one said anything about her slip.

"Do…you wanna get out of here?" He asked, voice barely audible over the cacophony of the room.

He wants to leave, she thought. Then, he wants to leave…with me.

She nodded slowly. "Yeah. Let's go."

His smile was…almost genuine this time, though it was still mixed with his usual snark. Even so, it made a playful feeling stir inside of her and she felt herself grinning in return as he took her hand and led her out of the room.

They walked past a smug-faced Todoroki who mouthed good luck and winked again.

Aisla ignored him and kept walking, even as her face felt hot as fire. What did she need luck for anyway? They weren't going to do anything weird. Katsuki probably just wanted to get away from their other classmates. Or he wanted to get out of dancing with her. Maybe Todoroki meant to offer her luck because he thought Katsuki was going to ditch her.

He wouldn't do that, she reasoned.

Hasn't he done that before, though? Her mind argued.

She sighed, drawing the attention of piercing red eyes. She pretended not to notice as they walked down the hallway. She didn't know where they were going, but she suddenly wasn't sure if she should be elated or depressed that they'd left the party.

Aisla didn't care about the party. All she'd wanted was to spend some time with Katsuki tonight. But…what if he didn't share the same sentiment? What if she forced him to come here tonight and now he was miserable? What could she do to make him more comfortable?


She wasn't certain, but she thought she might have a solution that would help the situation. But how to ask him in a way that didn't sound weird…?

"Katsuki…?" she began tentatively.


"Do you…want to go back to your room?"

The hand he had wrapped around hers tightened in his shock and she let out a squeak of pain.

"Wh-what?" He stammered. Why was his heart suddenly hammering inside his chest? "What gave you that idea?!"

She shrugged. "I don't know…" She was doing that hair-pulling thing again, that weird habit of hers that told him she was nervous or anxious about something. "I know you don't want to be here. I thought maybe you'd rather go back to your room to…be alone."

Be alone, he silently repeated. She wants to be alone with me! But why now? Why today of all days? I guess this would be the best time since most of our classmates will be at the party, but…

"I'M NOT READY FOR THAT!" he shouted, feeling ten times hotter than before.

She blinked at him.

"Are you…mad?"

She stared at him for a long moment before suddenly bursting into laughter. It was the same uncontrollable laugh she'd had that day at the clearing when he'd kissed her for the first time. He ran away from her that time. Fear and embarrassment had lodged itself deep within him and he couldn't stay there and look at her another moment. He hadn't understood his feelings for her back then. Even now, it was difficult for him to put words to how he felt. Aisla was special, and their relationship was much different than the one he had with Kirishima or Kaminari, or even his parents.

"I'm sorry," she said, still smiling. "I forgot how funny you could be."

An echo of the past, he thought. In the clearing that day she'd said nearly the same thing. He wondered if she was thinking about that day, too. What had he even said back then that had set her off so much…? He still didn't know.

He huffed and looked away from her. "I don't know what's so damn funny," he muttered.

He heard the click of her shoes as she closed the distance between them and placed a hand on his. He gave her a sideways glance.

"Silly boy," she said softly. "I didn't mean to imply anything scandalous. All I meant was that you could go back to your room on your own. Not with me. Not…" a slight coloring of pale cheeks, "like that," she finished.


He was an idiot.


Her lips twitched. "Of course you did. My mistake."


"I'm not," she mumbled through stifled laughter.

He pouted.

"Aw, come on!" She gave his hand a gentle tug to get his attention, then placed something small and cool into his palm. "Forgive me? Please?" she batted her eyes at him dramatically.

He looked down and opened his hand. A simple black ring with his initials inscribed in silver across the shiny surface winked back at him. He stared at it for a long time as he tried to decide what feeling to give voice to.

Guilt was at the forefront of his mind at the moment. She'd meant it when she said she had a gift for him. It wasn't that he hadn't believed her but he hadn't expected her to do something like this. This was sleek and expensive. And how'd she even get this thing delivered on campus?

Awe was another emotion working its way into his mind. Awe and wonder that this girl he'd met only months ago had thought to get him a gift, one that she must have put a lot of thought into if the design choice said anything. It wasn't just black, he realized as he tilted it in the moonlight. There were tiny slivers of silver under the band's surface, barely noticeable. Little etchings of words masked behind a black curtain: Ground Zero. #1 Hero.

Embarrassment clawed its way inside. How did she know he was thinking about making that his hero name? And those words, #1 Hero, he knew where those came from. She had called him her hero a few times, but he knew where it all began. He remembered the first time she called him a hero and the way those words made his heart skip a beat and his blood boil.

Why this, Aisla Haru? He wondered. What does this mean to you?

He didn't ask.

He stuffed the ring into his pocket and ignored the disappointment that replaced the joy on her face. He couldn't say anything. He was an idiot. He would probably only snap at her, tell her something that would hurt even worse than his silence. He had to gather his thoughts first.

"If you don't like it…" she began slowly, then cleared her throat, "you don't have to wear it. I can get you something else. Or, you know… something…"

She's so disappointed, you fucking moron!

What the hell was he supposed to do about that?

He thought about it for a moment, then fished in his pocket for the gift he'd gotten for her. It was pathetic in comparison and would probably just make her even more upset than she already was, but…


He slapped it into her hand and turned away from her. He didn't want to see her sad smile when she realized she should have given her gift to someone else.

"Katsuki…" she whispered.

"I KNOW, IT'S FUCKING DUMB!" he shouted before she even had a chance to finish speaking. If he said it first, it wouldn't be so bad when she repeated it. She wouldn't care about his dumb gift, how could she?

"I think it's perfect~" she sang.

He turned slightly and found her holding his gift up at eye-level, a genuine smile on her face. It was just a cheap trinket he'd picked up at a gift shop in town. It was a keychain in the shape of a grenade, small and green, and cost him less than a cup of tea, but…

"I would have gotten you a real grenade if you weren't so damn clumsy," he muttered. "Didn't want you to blow yourself up."

She giggled. "I love it! I'll keep it on my bag so I can see it every day! Do you…like the ring? Does it fit alright? I had to guess on the measurement."

He pulled it out of his pocket and slid it onto his right index finger. Surprisingly it fit snuggly without being uncomfortable. It wouldn't fall off.

"It fits!" she cheered. "Is it okay?"

It's amazing, he thought.

"Sure, whatever," he offered with a noncommittal shrug.

She beamed a smile, then turned toward the large windows that made up the entire wall in a half-circle. He'd only just noticed it, but the moon was full and bright as a beacon. Aisla too must have been oblivious because her eyes suddenly sparkled with joy and she stepped closer, taking a seat on the circular bench beneath the window.

She gazed out at the moon in silence for a long moment before finally speaking again.

"Thank you for coming tonight," Aisla expressed in a soft tone. "For a minute there I wasn't sure you would."

"For a minute, neither did I," he admitted and sat down as well. There was something mystical about the moon tonight, he thought as he watched its glow light up the surrounding woods, bathing everything in a silver blanket. He wondered if his parents were looking at the moon right now, and if his ripe old grandfather and his evil cat were with them. Were they having Christmas dinner right about now? Were they thinking about him?

"Was it miserable?" Aisla asked quietly without looking at him. "Being with me? I know you must miss your family."

Mindreader… How did she always know what he was thinking? He hoped she didn't really feel that way. Had he done something to make her think he was miserable around her?

"No," he answered simply. "It wasn't miserable at all."

"Is it…okay?" she inquired, voice hesitant. "Do you like…being with me?"

"Why do you ask such stupid questions?" he asked tiredly. Wasn't it obvious that he liked her? If he didn't, he would have told her so.

I don't like you, Aisla.

I don't want to be your friend.

She's not my girlfriend.

Help me get this girl off my back.

He sighed.

No wonder she thought he hated her.

"I just worry sometimes," she explained. "I really like you, Katsuki, but…sometimes I wonder if you actually like me, or if you're just with me because you feel obligated."

Obligation… Does she really feel that insecure about this relationship? I'm such a damn idiot.

He stood to his feet and considered his next words carefully.

"I don't like…people," he mumbled uncomfortably. "I don't talk to people, I don't do things for people. I don't have friends, and I definitely don't have girlfriends."

He had his back to her but he thought he heard her sniffle and shuffle her feet to face him.

"But," he continued, softer now, "for some stupid reason, I can't stop talking to you, and doing things for you and with you. I can't stop…wanting to be…near you…" His words were barely audible by the time he'd forced them out. He wasn't good at talking about his feelings, but he cared about Aisla and didn't want her feeling like him being with her was out of some need to do so. He didn't hold her hand or kiss her lips or walk with her in the halls because he had to, he did those things because something inside of him so desperately wanted to. He wasn't sure why, but he knew that being with her was definitely out of choice and not from necessity.

He heard her stand and cross the few feet of space that separated them.

"Tell me, Katsuki Bakugo, do you like being with me?" Her tone was a gentle command.

He swallowed, turned to face her, and wiped a stray tear from her eye.

That doesn't belong there, he decided, then tried to look away but…something in his brain wasn't connecting with the rest of his body. He was frozen, eyes locked on hers and mouth working as if trying to speak but unable to form words. How did she always do this to him? She'd rendered him speechless yet again.

"You stupid idiot," he murmured once he'd found his voice, then leaned down and pressed his lips to hers, feather-light.

Her breath came out shaky and hot on his lips, tempting him to go back on his earlier refusal to take her to his room.

"Does that answer your question?" he whispered against her lips.

"I don't think I quite heard the answer," she replied just as softly.

He smiled against her mouth, then pressed his down again. This time, he tilted her head back with one hand and deepened the kiss, sighing into her mouth and letting all reservations go for the time being. He let her hands slide up his chest and fist in his hair, pulling his lips down even harder, and when his free hand ventured to the small of her back, he allowed it to pull her closer.

Tongues danced… Hands traveled, up, down, up again… Words whispered between heavy breaths… Hearts beat in tandem…

"I'm sorry…" he murmured when they broke apart, eyes drinking her in, and all of the features he loved: her silvery-blue eyes, the golden halo of her hair, her brilliant smile. He loved all of it. He loved… her.

"Don't deny me…" she pleaded, hands cupping either side of his face, eyes searching his, looking for confirmation.

"Never," he promised without hesitation, and sealed his words with one more passionate kiss.

A/N: Well? What did we think? Anyone love? It was a blast to write and I thought it turned out really well!

Also, the last line Aisla used "Don't Deny Me" is a little easter egg for you guys! It's actually the title for the new fic I've been working on. It's an extended/fleshed-out/whatever of In Denial. It still follows Bakugo and his journey to fall in love and all that, but this time around, I've written it from both of their POV's. There will be a few chapters that go back and forth like this one, but mostly there will be a chapter from his POV and then one from hers (TOF style for those of you who read that series). So we can see both sides of the story this time. Aaaaand, there will be a lots of LEMON in that one, so if you're into that then definitely check it out *wink*

So for those of you who were wondering, THAT ^ is why I refer to our hero by his first name in this chapter. In Don't Deny Me, that's how I decided to go about it. I hope you're all cool with that because I kinda like it that way!

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!