It is summer. Outside the inn, the cicadas have quieted and it’s the crickets that take over, white noise, white music, lulling the boys to sleep. The breaths of heavy sleep can be heard alongside the whir of the fan passing over the room. It smells of tatami mats and Kaminari’s feet, one foot poking Bakugou’s upper arm. His snores sound like whines, just irritating enough that Bakugou’s resting face is that of a scowl.
He considers shoving Kaminari, or more likely, kicking him, but that would require moving, and all four limbs are distant from Bakugou, heavy as concrete and unmovable as the komainu guards that stood outside the inn. He should be sleeping. He needs to be sleeping. Tomorrow, the training camp begins.
Still, there’s the expectant air of something about to happen–the moment before a match is lit, a breath held in until lungs burst, a pause of silence between songs. The room is scattered with pillows and blankets from a pillow fight two hours ago, and the room is heavy with a sense of contentment, apparent in the way Tokoyami cocoons himself in his blanket and Midoriya rests a hand on Iida’s chest. Shouji’s arms splayed out wide and Aoyama with his eyemask on.
Bakugou is wired–restless energy from the pillow fight? Fresh, summer air? Or the tension of training camps past, of being stolen away by villains in the dark.
Bakugou sits up, cards his fingers through his hair.
There’s a beat of silence, and then, “You’re awake?”
Todoroki’s voice is barely above a whisper, dream-like and soft, volume concealed by the sound of the fan. A breeze passes over Bakugou, making his hair flutter. Two sleepers over, Todoroki’s hair ruffles, too. He sits up.
“Go to sleep, idiot,” Bakugou hisses. “I’m not staying up.”
“You feel it, too.”
Bakugou holds his breath. He lets out a louder sigh than he intends. Lying back down, he turns his back on Todoroki. “Doesn’t matter. Night.”
The hair on the back of his neck prickles. He hears the telltale sound of a comforter being pushed back and the gentle thumping of movement across the mats.
If I close my eyes and go to sleep, he will go away, Bakugou thinks.
He manages to ignore Todoroki for a grand total of three minutes before he shoves back his own comforter and sits up, teeth pulled away from his gums. “What.”
Todoroki is sitting seiza at the foot of his bed. “You’re awake,” he says.
“‘Cause I can feel you breathing down my neck, shitstick. Take a hike and get out of my bed.”
“We should welcome in summer together,” Todoroki says.
“Do you actually ever listen to people?” Bakugou asks.
“I used to do it with my sister,” he says. “I’m too restless to go to sleep. So are you.”
“I’ll have you know I love sleeping,” Bakugou says. “Get tucked in real fucking tight, snug as bug in his own fucking rug, away from creepy sleep-watchers and their weird-ass ideas.”
“You feel it,” Todoroki says. “Katsuki.”
Bakugou’s breath catches. “I told you not to–even if it’s dire–”
Todoroki holds up one finger, and a tiny flame lights from the end of it. Bakugou flinches. The candlelight reflects in Todoroki’s odd-colored eyes, shiny as glass. It lights a dull glow across molten, scarred skin, bumpy and rough-around-the-edges as the scar’s owner. It casts a shadow across the shape of Todoroki’s mouth, just too close to not-not-smiling to make it hard to look at him.
“Fine,” Bakugou says.
“Repeat after me,” Todoroki says. “Welcome, cicadas.”
“Welcome, cicadas,” Bakugou mutters.
“Welcome–this is so fucking stupid.”
“Just do it.”
A grunt. “Welcome, crickets.”
“Welcome, sunb–you’re fucking with me. You’re actually just fucking with me. Is this even a family tradition?”
Todoroki really smiles now, one edge of his mouth turning up and his eyes crinkling. Bakugou moves his glare from Todoroki’s face to the fire at the tip of his finger.
Suddenly, the light goes out.
“Wh–” Bakugou starts.
“We have to seal it,” Todoroki says. “Seal the welcome.” His voice is much, much softer. Bakugou leans forward a little to catch his words.
“Seal it? How? Wait, why the fuck do I care? It’s bull–” Todoroki’s fingers feather along Bakugou’s jaw and he jerks away upon contact, heart racing. Todoroki’s hands hover in the no man’s land between their bodies for a moment. When he moves forward again, leaning forward on his knees, Bakugou doesn’t move. His fingers settle along Bakugou’s cheekbones, pinkies curling under his chin. The callouses on his fingers make Bakugou’s skin tingle. They’re not soft hands, but the hands of a hero and a hard-worker–someone who poured blood, sweat, and tears into his craft.
Through the moonlight that seeps into the room, Bakugou can make out the smile on Todoroki’s face. “We seal it with a kiss.”
Bakugou’s heart stutters. He scowls. He didn’t remember giving it permission to do that.
He feels Todoroki’s exhale as he breathes out. “Kiss me, Katsuki,” Todoroki says.
Bakugou’s hand has found its way to his shirt, clutching at the material over his chest. He doesn’t remember telling it to do that, either. “This is stupid,” he mutters. “This is stupid, you’re stupid, this whole thing is,” he takes a breath, “fucking stupid.”
Todoroki presses his forehead to Bakugou’s, their noses brushing. “Kiss me, Katsuki,” he says again. And then, “Please.”
Shut up, shut up, shut up, Bakugou thinks, and he pecks Todoroki on the mouth lightning quick.
“There,” he says. “Sealed.”
“Okay,” Todoroki says.
“It’s just for your stupid summer tradition,” Bakugou says. “That’s all.”
“Which is still bullshit, by the way.”
“And it doesn’t mean anything, so don’t go telling Deku about…whatever.”
“And–” Bakugou says, but the words are slipping from his mind because Todoroki’s thumb is on his bottom lip and he can feel the puff of Todoroki’s breath not even an inch from his mouth and Todoroki’s eyes are half-lidded, and it’s all just very warm, and without really giving it much thought, he’s kissing Todoroki.
Todoroki’s fingers are rough but his mouth is soft, none of the sharp words he wields when he picks fights with Bakugou, a choice insult thrown in like a dagger to the side, no, this–this is the smile he wears when he’s helpful to a classmate, the brush of his hair against Bakugou’s palm when he swipes at him while dueling, the press of his cheek on Bakugou’s shoulder when he falls asleep on him on the train.
This is I know you and I have yet to know you and I want to know you, the questioning tilt of Todoroki’s head and the suggestion of tongue. They don’t French but they do kiss, the sound sweet as a cricket’s song when they part. Bakugou thinks he’s in a fever dream, even though the height of summer has yet to arrive and the fan still blows cool air across them every now and then. He feels that if he stops kissing Todoroki he will wake up and it will have never happened.
When Todoroki parts from him, he whispers, “Welcome, summer.”
I always believed that Black Sails is about Flint’s tragedy. But the more I think about it and the more I recapitulate the whole series, I come to realization that it’s actually about Silver’s tragedy.