Katsuki traces a finger over the soulmark, its thick bold lines black against the skin of his palm. He traces each stroke of the kanji in sequence and then in reverse. It’s a good name, he thinks idly to himself. A little whimsical, and a little sad, but it’s still a good name. He likes it, even though he wouldn’t admit it. His finger paints the letters’ lines and back, again, an old calming method that’s he’s used since he was eight, and the mark had bled itself to the surface of his skin in the night.
Izuku, Izuku, Izuku
Gritting his teeth, he clenches his fist, fingernails biting into the flesh of his palm. No matter how many explosions he sets off, the mark remains, unblemished.
“Oi, Bakugou,” Kirishima calls, poking his head around Katsuki’s partially open door. “You coming?”
Pulling on the one fingerless glove, fabric thin and forgiving, over his left hand, Katsuki stands and grabs his bag. He pushes Kirishima’s face out of his way as he steps out of the dorm, silently locking his door and following his chattering friend to the elevator.
The doors slide closed behind them, and Katsuki takes out his phone to idly scroll through their class schedule for the day as he listens with half an ear as Kirishima talks. “Man, I really need some help with the English lesson this week, do you think we can—” The ding of the opening elevator door interrupts him, and Kirishima grins. “Midoriya! Good morning!”
Katsuki doesn’t look up.
“G-Good morning,” Izuku says, hesitantly. “Kirishima-kun, K-Kacchan.”
He doesn’t look up, doesn’t acknowledge Izuku, his eyes glued to the screen in his hand, slowly scrolling across a social media feed with faked intent. He hears Izuku’s disappointed sigh, but Katsuki doesn’t look up until they’re halfway to the class building, and Izuku and Kirishima are well into a conversation about Crimson Riot, oblivious to Katsuki’s eyes shifting over.
Izuku is just as gorgeous as he had imagined. There are snowflakes dusting his dark curls, melting on the warmth of his face. His cheeks are pink from the cold, making the scattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose and cheekbones stand out all the more.
Katsuki traces his thumb over the lines on his palm again, the fabric of the glove separating his fingertip from the soul mark on his skin.
Izuku, Izuku, Izuku
When Katsuki dreams, he dreams of Izuku. Ever since their fight and the entire year after, Izuku visits him in late hours of the night, warm and solid and there. Katsuki lets himself revel in it, because the Izuku in his dreams doesn’t glare at him, doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t flinch back from his touch. The Izuku in his dreams holds him back just as desperately, kisses him back just as passionately. That first night, the night those dreams began, Izuku had shown himself, standing defiantly in front of him, bandages and bruises and all, as if they’d just stepped out of Aizawa’s office. He had stared up at Katsuki until Katsuki had kissed him. The Izuku in his dreams had paused underneath his lips, just for a moment, before his arms had come around Katsuki’s neck, pulling him flush to his front and kissed him back. It was hard to look at Izuku the next morning, but the dreams continued, every night, haunting.
Katsuki had gotten his quirk at four, his soulmark at eight, the usual standard for most kids growing up. Adults praised him for his power, his classmates showered him with awe, and Izuku…
Izuku looked at him with shining, excited green eyes.
“You’ll be an amazing hero, Kacchan!” he says, grinning toothily. “I hope I get a good quirk, too!”
Izuku never gets a quirk, and he never gets a soulmark.
Katsuki traces the lines of Izuku’s name on his palm, again and again. The lines should have disappeared by now, worn away by Katsuki’s finger tip over the years. But it stays, stark black in the center of his hand.
Katsuki does his best not to startle, snapping his textbook closed with a glare to hide his surprise. He turns slowly to sneer up at Izuku, who stands beside Katsuki’s table in the library, shuffling his feet and absently rubbing a hand on his chest.
“Can we talk?”
“Isn’t that what we’re doing, nerd?” Katsuki snaps, frowning.
Izuku chews his lip, not meeting Katsuki’s eyes. “I mean, in private?” he asks timidly. “If you have time later tonight? Can I come by your room?”
Standing, Katsuki squints incredulously at Izuku for a long moment. Their teachers and classmates alike have forced him and Izuku together on numerous occasions, whether to forcibly work on their communication or just for innocent social gatherings. It’s not so out of the blue that they’d have to encroach on each others spaces these days for one reason or another.
But for Izuku to willingingly come to him, to ask to come up to Katsuki’s room on his own, is rather unusual.
“I’m done here,” Katsuki says, as evenly as he can even with his heart is starting to pound and his blood is boiling. “Let’s just go now.”
“O-Oh!” Izuku says, eyes wide and surprised. “Okay!”
He lets Izuku follow him from the library and out into the still gently falling snow. It is silent between them, and all Katsuki can hear is the soft crunch beneath their shoes and the blood beating heavily in his ears. No one pays them mind as they go, entering the blessed warmth of the dorms and then the stillness of the elevator. It’s awkward and Izuku compulsively fidgets beside him. When they step into the privacy of Katsuki’s room, they break the silence together.
“Alright, what the fuck do you want—”
“I need to see your soulmark.”
Katsuki stares, gaping. “You what now?”
Visibly swallowing, Izuku seems to steel himself, fists clenched over his chest but glaring determinedly at Katsuki. “Please Kacchan. Please show me your soulmark.”
His stomach dropping, Katsuki feels himself pale. Izuku isn’t supposed to know. Izuku is never supposed to know.
Izuku, Izuku, Izuku
“Who told you?” His shout is more of a croak. His hands tremble at his side. His palms sweat. He’s not supposed to know. No one is supposed to know. “Who told you? I’ll blow their face off for thinking they can sneak a look at it and then go blabbing—”
“No one,” Izuku rushes to say, stepping in close, just in Katsuki’s reach. “No one told me. Just… please, Kacchan.”
Katsuki glares, trying to even his breathing back out. But he doesn’t stop Izuku when he reaches slowly out, taking Katsuki’s left hand in both of his. Between them, Izuku peels away the black compression glove, Izuku’s name bare in in the center of his palm.
Izuku gasps softly, as if his hunch was proven right but he’s still surprised all the same. He cradles Katsuki’s hand like he would a fragile egg, capable of breaking.
“Why did you ever say anything?” he whispers. Katsuki can’t see his face, Izuku’s head still bowed towards their hands.
“What would it have changed?” he says, flinching when Izuku’s featherlight touch traces the edge of his palm, barely brushing along the lines of his name sealed in Katsuki’s skin. Katsuki resists the urge to close his fingers around it, hiding it away. That mark was meant for him and him only. “You don’t have one, so it wouldn’t have changed anything,” he growls.
Finally looking up with tears swimming in his eyes, Izuku releases him to press his hands to his chest. “I dream about you,” he says, lowly, like a secret. “Every night.”
Katsuki’s breath catches in his throat. His pulse pounds.
Slowly, Izuku unbuttons the top three buttons of his shirt. There, in the very center of his chest, and over his heart, is Katsuki’s name in thick, bold lines. A perfect match to the soulmark on his palm.
A desperate sound rips from Katsuki’s throat. He doesn’t know who moves first, but Katsuki is in Izuku’s arms, Katsuki’s hand is pressed flat to Izuku’s chest, the other looped tightly around his waist. He takes a long deep breath, his nose pressed against Izuku’s curls. Izuku is warm and solid, his mouth hot on Katsuki’s neck.
“Katsuki,” Izuku whispers. “Katsuki, Katsuki, Katsuki.”
“Kacchan, are you even paying attention?” Izuku says, breaking Katsuki’s train of thought.
They’re huddled together in the cold, snow dusting their shoulders and hats. Izuku’s arms are wrapped tightly around Katsuki’s middle, his face pressed into Katsuki’s sweater for warmth. Around them, the rest of their classmates chatter excitedly, waiting for the count down. Katsuki presses his cold nose back against Izuku neck. “Not time yet,” he grumbles. He’d be absolutely freezing if Izuku wasn’t a perpetual heater with a habit of clinging to Katsuki whenever he got the chance. Not that Katsuki ever complained.
Izuku sighs. “Well are you warm enough now that I can let you go?”
“Nooo,” Katsuki whines, scowling when his heat source steps back. Izuku huffs a laugh and at least wriggles his hand into one of Katsuki’s pockets to hold his hand, fingers tracing the soulmark on his palm through thick woolen gloves.
Katsuki still presses close to Izuku’s side, hoping a little more warmth will seep through his clothes. Uraraka snickers at him from Izuku’s other side, so Katsuki bumps Izuku into her in retaliation, earning a rough smack and Izuku’s frown for his efforts.
The bells begin to ring at the nearby shrine, echoing over the crowd as they start counting down.
“Ten, nine, eight!” Izuku calls with the others excitedly, grinning up at Katsuki. His eyes are green and beautiful, sparkling in the dim streetlights. “Three, two, one!”
“Happy new year!” the shout comes up, but Katsuki leans down and captures Izuku’s lips with his, swallowing Izuku’s gasp with a smile.