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blink and you miss it

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‘A static timer always leads to a dynamic one,’ the rule goes. There’s a lot of bullshit that people spew about what it means to have the static timer (ticking down to the same moment from the beginning) or the dynamic timer (changes according to the person’s choices): things like genetics, natural selection, and even fucking psychology—but nothing has really been proven. Hell, even the fact that people do have actual soulmates is a bit of an anomaly, but it’s real. Everyone has a timer on their left wrist ticking down to the moment they set eyes on their soulmate—or their soulmate sets eyes on them. It’s just a fact of life.

The incredibly fucking difficult thing about it all, though, is how easy it is to miss if you have the dynamic timer but don’t stare at your goddamn wrist for every second of the day. It’s the reason why, according to some non-government organization that has enough time on their hands to tally this shit, 87% of people don’t even meet their soulmates. Katsuki is lucky to have the rare static timer, the one that doesn’t just randomly change or tick down, but that apparently means heʼll have to spare twice the effort of finding his own soulmate since they’re practically guaranteed to suck at doing the same.

And Katsuki wants to meet his soulmate, okay. Because, if the shit he has heard everywhere since childhood is true, then his soulmate will be that one person whom isn’t as shitty as everyone else. They’ll be the best opponent Katsuki will ever have the chance of fighting, which means they’ll be strong. If the universe has set it up so that there is a person like that and Katsuki can meet them, then the last thing he’ll do is succumb and be a part of that dreaded 87%.

(Of course, thereʼs also how he wants to meet his soulmate just to rub it in the face of everyone he knows that heʼs proactive enough not to miss them, but thatʼs secondary.)

Anyway, today is the day.

000 y 000 d 01 h 44 m 51 s

“KATSUKI! GET YOUR GOOD FOR NOTHIN’ ASS DOWN HERE!”

“I’M FUCKING COMING, OKAY?! SHUT IT!”

“YOU DON’T GET TO TELL YOUR MOTHER TO SHUT UP, YOU SHITTY BRAT!”

Katsuki grumbles as he goes down the stairs, making sure not to glance at his timer too much because he isn’t that eager, just pretty fucking eager. Figures he’ll meet his soulmate in a place with a fuck ton of people on a shopping trip, where itʼs way too fucking simple to lose sight of one person in a crowd. But what did he expect, meeting them in a secluded road under a cherry blossom tree? Too easy.

 

---

 

His shopping trip goes surprisingly smoothly. Granted, it’s just a trip to the supermarket and there weren’t really a lot of things that could go wrong when you were in a goddamn supermarket.

000 y 000 d 00 h 15 m 28 s

The moment of truth draws closer, and Katsuki realizes it’s kinda irritating to be hyper-aware of his surroundings. The sensation makes him want to punch something. Or make something explode. Either would suffice. Actually, he wants to make a lot of things explode. He can already visualize it in his head how satisfying it would look, that light post to his left going up in flames, collapsing and hindering all vehicles that plan to pass by the road, hitting the building across the str—

Breathe.

Katsuki takes a quick look at his wrist.

000 y 000 d 00 h 09 m 14 s

He practices that breathing technique his therapist taught him wherein he counts from one to ten and then back down with every breath, the cold giving him something to focus on as he walks the way to the train station.

000 y 000 d 00 h 04 m 19 s

The station is visible. It’s colder now. It’ll probably get even colder later.

000 y 000 d 00 h 03 m 06 s

It’s pretty cold at the station, too.

000 y 000 d 00 h 02 m 43 s

He’s getting a bit restless now.

000 y 000 d 00 h 02 m 20 s

No way is he becoming part of that shitty 87%.

000 y 000 d 00 h 01 m 59 s

So he’s meeting them at train station.

000 y 000 d 00 h 01 m 26 s

And there’s a lot of people.

000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 49 s

And it’s really easy to miss.

000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 30 s

So what? He’ll find them and he’ll meet them. He won’t lose to the universe’s shitty system.

000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 21 s

Katsuki’s eyes scan the platform for someone, anyone, looking just the slightest bit anxious or searching.

000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 15 s

People come and go, not wanting to be too caught up in the morning rush or snowfall that would make them late to their destination, while Katsuki remains rooted to his spot.

000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 04 s

000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 03 s

000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 02 s

000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 01 s

And then, for the split second that he glances on the train that has just arrived, he spots him.

There on the boarding platform is a boy with red and white hair split neatly in the middle, head turning from side to side and right hand clutching his left wrist close to his chest.

-000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 00 s-

Finally.

Katsuki doesn’t think. Without even getting a glimpse of the boy’s face, he sprints straight towards the train the boy is entering as fast as he is physically capable of.

He doesn’t waste a breath yet only barely manages to get inside before the train doors shut closed. Katsuki scans his surroundings again, laying eyes on the boy much faster this time. He’s making his way over to the next, less crowded car, and Katsuki catches up with him quickly. Like hell is he gonna miss this chance for the world, so he stops the boy by grabbing his wrist (the non-timer one).

When the boy swivels his head around, something inside Katsuki stops and he’s suddenly filled with a newfound certainty that this might just be it. Fuck that ‘87% chance of missing’ statistic.

“Yes?”

Standing before him is probably the absolute prettiest boy he has ever seen, with dual colored eyes widened slightly and features painted with the mildest caution. Katsuki almost forgets why he’s even here getting lost in those eyes, one steel grey and one a cold shade of cyan contrasted starkly by the scar marring his otherwise fair skin.

“Did your timer happen to have ticked down just now?”

Surprise. Confusion. Katsuki retains half a mind to let go of the boy’s wrist.

“No. Sorry,” the boy says, voice level. And then Katsuki notices his wrist where the timer should be, and it’s wrapped up in bandages. Heʼs injured, holy shit; way to fucking jump to conclusions. “I still have about four months left.” He looks away. “My timer is static,” he supplies as an afterthought.

‘Why do you look so unsure?’ Katsuki wants to ask, but doesn’t, because he just missed his only chance to meet his soulmate, probably forever. The person who would have been his equal, who would have understood him better than anyone else ever has or would ever be able to—he fucking missed them. Heʼs now officially part of that 87%. Fuck.

“Sorry for bothering you, then,” he tells the boy, not sparing him another glance, and walks away over to the spot nearest to the doors, his body feeling heavier than heʼs ever experienced it be.

Once the train stops, the fact that Katsuki ended up completely out of the way of his destination only barely takes to the forefront of his mind. What does is how, for a moment there, he let himself stupidly hope. Even if just in hindsight, itʼs so fucking dumb.

 

---

 

“I’m back,” Shouto calls to no one in particular. He doubts anyone hears him, if the muffled sound of bustle in the kitchen is any indication. It’s simply a habit so deeply ingrained in him as he takes his shoes off and sets them aside, toeing his way to his house slippers with a sigh. The difference between the temperature outside and inside is getting more and more obvious by the day.

His father isn’t coming home tonight—probably not for another couple of nights, Fuyumi had told him—which is a relief because Shouto’s in no mood to deal with the kind of shit he pulls. Not right now.

He makes his way to his room, being as discreet as possible—also habitually. The transition from biting cold to comfortable warmth is apparently all thatʼs needed to stop his wrist from bothering him, Shouto notes idly as he sets his bag down on his bed. Still, he enters the bathroom to clean the wound and set it in a fresh change of bandages.

As he gingerly takes off the bandages, Shouto’s thoughts suddenly become drawn to earlier that day. He recalls his wrist throbbing just as he entered the train, contemplating for a moment if his timer had ticked down, no matter how inane it was. And then there was the boy on the train who’d stared at him with those striking crimson orbs, asking if Shouto’s timer had ticked down like his life depended on the answer.

But heʼs sure his timer is static. It has been building up to the same day for years, for as long as Shouto can remember: his first day of high school.

He finds his trend of thought abruptly cut off by the sight that greets him once the last of his bandages comes off.

-000 y 000 d 00 h 00 m 00 s-

What?

And then he remembers how he wasn’t supposed to take the train and only did so because a car accident had discouraged him from taking the bus.

And then thereʼs how the boy on the train appeared as if he was thrumming with anticipation, like he’d been waiting for that day for a long, long time.

A static timer and a dynamic timer.

Fuck.

His father will most likely be over the moon once he finds out, being as against the whole soulmate shtick as he is, but thatʼs the least of Shouto’s problems.

 

---

 

Like Shouto had feared, on his first day at UA, he is able to put a name to the face that had been haunting him since January: Bakugou Katsuki.

Bakugou is boy wonder in every sense, all unbelievable physical prowess and effortless academic savvy paired with unwavering confidence. Itʼs like he is a personification straight out of a checklist containing everything Shouto hates.

Heʼd had his initial doubts about whether or not Bakugou will even recognize him, but Shouto quickly learns that he does when the boy in question makes a point of staying back after their last period to get Shouto alone and ask, “Met them yet?”

Shouto has no idea what he’s really asking, or if there even is an unspoken question under that. Bakugou’s voice is frustratingly even when he speaks, which gives fuck-all to work with.

He wonders how easy itʼll be to tell the truth, wonders if Bakugou will even believe him. His heart clenches in his chest. Instead, Shouto takes a deep breath before answering. “No, I must’ve missed them.”

Bakugou, whoʼs still sitting with his feet propped up on his desk, stands then, hoisting his bag over his shoulder. The expression on his face is unreadable.

“Well, you know what they say about timers and shit,” he says. “‘Blink and you miss it.’”

Underneath that, Shouto registers the unvoiced ‘that’s fair’ that he probably meant to say.

Bakugou makes his way out of the classroom. Shouto grits his teeth.