Actions

Work Header

Tenacity

Chapter Text

'Amajiki Tamaki' read the nameplate by the door.

So this is where he lives.

Finding Tamaki's home had been tricky as it was in the middle of an expanding apartment complex located in a (for you) foreign part of the city. In this complex his apartment was simply one of many, a single leaf in a blooming bush. For this reason it felt like this was somewhere he would enjoy living, anonymously. However, living in the corner apartment on the first floor was perhaps a bit too exposed for him, considering that all his blinders were drawn shut.

You rang the bell and took a step back.

 

 


 

At least five days had passed since Tamaki had last spoken to you; after day two of pushing up the hard task to send you a message saying his vacation had started and he was available, he understood that too much time had passed already and that he should wait until the weekend to contact you. That's when you usually texted or called him, anyway. It had felt alright until he'd logged into his social media account a few days later. After the 5 notifications bubble popped up on his phone, panic and guilt bit into him. Reading them was unnecessary, because he knew what they said and who the sender was. Therefore, the immediate response was to turn off the sound on his phone and camp in his apartment.

His food reservoir was a mismatched mix that one possibly couldn't make anything edible out of. Not that he could make food at the moment, since he was certain that his neighbours would overhear him if he cooked too loudly, showered with the water current too strong or walked too harshly on the floor. One morning he had been making a pretty elaborate breakfast, cut short after one neighbour banged on the wall in the living room. He abruptly turned off the rice cooker and conformed himself with something simpler and quieter. He felt bad that his neighbours had to deal with him.

Today he was too agitated to move around, so he didn't do much other than game and eat leftovers. That's why both his dishes weren't washed and he kind of neglected. He'd take a shower on Sunday, when he'd probably see you. Right now, he just wanted to disappear into his book. It was a quiet evening spent on his couch and nothing could bother him.

Every evening used to be peaceful, but then his neighbours became hypersensitive to any and every sound he made.

The door bell ringing was how he was reminded of their existense. With deliberate, fluid movements he laid down the book on the couch and slipped down onto the floor. He made his way to the door in complete silence.

 


 

 

Okay, Tamaki is a total homebody. There's no way he isn't home.

It wasn't the first time this had happened, though all other times he had ignored you had been on social media. Him not opening messages and such. If it hadn't been for Mirio giving you a heads up about it, you might've taken it personally. After all, the two of you had been a couple for a few months now. You were grateful that Mirio felt involved enough in Tamaki's life to warn you about his these incidents, which you were told had occasionally taken place since their U.A. days.

Your take-away was getting cold and you were honestly getting worried. Your phone showed no missed calls or messages. There was always the option to call him and get a confirmation whether he was home or not by listening for the ring tone inside… but you thought that it would force him further into his shell. If he didn't answer you also wouldn't find out how he was doing. What if he had fainted in the shower and was bleeding out? The mental images of possible ways someone could die inside their home grew incrementally worse and you nervously fiddled with your phone.

Just this time, it wouldn't be strange if you excused yourself into his home. Right?

You tried opening the door. It's 2019, who would ever leave their door unlocked? Of course it was locked. Goddamn.

There is no one outside, you thought as you surveyed your surroundings and went around the corner. It would be okay this one time. No one would judge you for doing this. In the back of your mind you kind of remembered some law about entering someone's home unauthorized if there were health concerns, which was enough motivate you to try. See, one window in the back was slightly cracked open. While fully opening the window it occurred to you that this was your debut into Tamaki's home.

You slid in between the window and the blinders into Tamaki's kitchen, sitting on top of a dining table. The room was pretty cramped, a small cupboard on the left side wall and the usual kitchen appliances on the right. It was directly connected to the hall, where you could see the exterior door. As you shut the window a foul, thick smell of humidity and old food struck you, so you opened it again.

"Tamaki, it's me," you called out and jumped down on the floor.

Tamaki popped his head out from what you assumed was the bathroom, wearing complicated emotions on his face. "Y/N?"

"Yeah, I can explain this. I, uh, just wanted to see how you were doing." You raised the take-away bag to eye level. "I brought you food."

Like a snail retracting into its shell, he withdrew into the bathroom and shut the door. "I'll hear you out… after I've taken a shower."

"Do it. I'll wait."

You did and Tamaki emerged from the shower, clean and warm, five minutes later. He awkwardly walked into the kitchen, dressed in sweatpants and an overgrown hoodie, clearly avoiding looking at the dish mountain. Instead he raided a kitchen drawer for chopsticks and sat down together with you. Tamaki opened the box and dug in without mercy or any semblance of modesty.

You leaned back on you chair. "This is the first time I have ever forced myself into someone's home, by the way. Don't arrest me for that, I'm pretty sure I acted in accordance to the law. I thought something had happened."

"While I appreciate the sentiment," he answered between bites, "you scared the living daylights out of me. I thought you were a thief at first. It could've ended nasty if I had been eating well."

"What do you mean?"

He raised his eyebrows and looked at you solemnly. "I can't manifest crackers…"

"Is that what you've been eating? That's student level of food."

"It wasn't by choice." Tamaki said curtly and took a sip of water.

You bit your lip and nodded softly. The fact that he had ignored your messages and calls still bothered you, even though you somewhat understood the circumstances. You didn't want to be bothersome about it; you imagined that it would embarrass him greatly should you bring it up. It wasn't by choice, like he had said. Still, you thought that there should be some accountability on his part.

"We've known each other for a while now, but I didn't know you had it this… hard to reach out to people. When we weren't together," you sputtered out, unused to bringing it up, "it was an inconvenience. Now I actually get worried - and it's not just me. Mirio and even Hadou have asked if I had heard from you."

Tamaki tensed his shoulders. "Both of them should understand by now; we went through this in high school. I don't know. I just start to feel cornered when I get bombarded by messages. I don't particularly want to be around people when I'm that paranoid."

"I'd never force you to do something you don't want. I think that you should at least text me back. You don't even need to read what I've sent you if it is too much. Knowing you're alive is enough."

He seemed more interested in his food than in answering. You couldn't force him to answer and you didn't have anything more to inquire. This was a conversation for another day, hopefully. You let him eat in peace. At least for a while.

"You know," you began and casually stole a piece of meat from box, "I've known you for two years and you've never invited me here before. Have you lived here since we first met?"

After some consideration he nodded with a sharp movement. "For almost five years."

You ate your piece and instantly regretted not buying a portion of your own. Licking your fingers, you kept overwatch on his food while he gingerly picked and chose, his bangs covering his face.

"Like, I thought you still lived with your parents since you refused to even give me an adress,"

Tamaki choked. He covered his mouth with his hand and coughed violently enough to rack his entire body. You shot up to get him some water but he held you back with his hand as you were walking past him to the dish bench. He got himself a glass from the unwashed pile. Poor guy probably didn't have any clean ones.

As he drank you re-settled into your chair, cautiously. He poured himself another glass and wiped his eyes with his sleeve before returning to the table.

"I just enjoy my privacy," he commented, rather dryily, before digging in again with reluctance. Probably terrified of you dropping another bomb like that and him choking for real this time. Suneater dying by eating sukiyaki.

"You can thank Mirio for giving me your adress. He's been worried too."

"I'll thank him in person."

"I think he'd appreciate a quick message from you ASAP."

Tamaki stopped his chopsticks half-way to his mouth and raised his eyes to look at you, sadness pulling at the edges. "You can't thank someone who's looking out for you with a simple message. I'll go see him in a few days and thank him in person." His eyes shifted slightly and he cast his gaze downwards. "I'll try to, anyway."

That's an admirable outlook, you thought to yourself as he somewhat self-consciously finished his food. Thanking someone for helping you out was very humbling, in particular when independent people such as Tamaki are caught between problems. But as the old adage goes, no man is an island. If you ever needed help, you knew you could count on Tamaki - and Mirio for that matter. No question about it. If he didn't message Mirio by the time you were returning home, you'd send a text to Mirio yourself, though.

Breathing deeply, Tamaki put his chopsticks down into his box and quickly grabbed your hands, his fingers squishing your fingers against his palms. Warmth emanated from his hands and his face seemed a lot less paler when he smiled weakly at you.

"Thank you, Y/N. I would've starved if you hadn't arrived today."

Your thumbs caressed the insides of his wrists, sweeping over the bumpy texture of veins and muscles.

"I'll break into your apartment anytime, babe."

Chapter Text

 

The darkness was dense enough that counting down the seconds until impact was impossible.

 

All of a sudden the freefall ended with your left side striking against a wooden construction, pain flaring up your pelvis and shoulder. It reverbed up your ribcage and leg before you hit the ground. Smack. A clear, metallic sound drilled out and quickly phased out into nothingness, your forehead blooming with pain. Through the emptiness in your ears you couldn't hear your scream, though the air did pass through your lungs and throat. You weren't sure if you were even alive; when you opened your eyes an impenetrable darkness enveloped you. Weakly, you dragged your hand in front of your face and moved your fingers. You could perceive nothing, no contrast nor movement.

 

Behind your ears a ringing gradually increased as you palpated your eyes frantically with your fingertips.

 

There's nothing wrong with them. Am I..?

 

Despite the protest in your body you gathered yourself up on your knees, patting your temples, ears and back of your head. Your hands were shaking violently, tapping desperately for wounds. No way you could fall this far without some injury. There was a silken softness on your hairline and when you drew your fingers to your nose you felt the unmistakeable scent of fresh blood.

 

A loud thrashing above you transcended into a cacophony of empty creaks when something heavy crashed down a few meters away.

 

In your terror, you receeded away from whatever it was. Because depending on what had fallen down the mineshaft with you, you would either die a viscious death now or later.

 

Please, let them remain above.

 

If you had to, you could fight - your Quirk was an offensive transformation type. Slowly, you clung against the stone wall and rose to your feet, ears fixed on the unknown intruder. Could you fight in the darkness, in this state? Maybe. Survive the fight itself? Probably not. The Quirk itself taxed your body quite severely, even when you were in tip-top condition.

 

You could feel the familiar prickle beneath your skin on your fingers and forearms, quills ready to erupt through the surface. The ringing abated as you tried to focus on the sounds around you.

 

It wasn't silent for long. The something let out a raspy groan from the depths of its lungs. You imagined limbs confusedly moving around the wood pieces, splinters digging into the body. A dull boom echoed when it hit the ground, accompanied by a low growl.

 

"Son of a bitch..!"

 

"Katsuki?"

 

"Y/N!"

 

IT'S HIM.

 

You scrambled to him, falling to your knees and crawling until you found him. With a light hand you trailed across his chest, up his neck, into his hair, searching for any clues that it really was him. Going by the unruly hair, it was. Katsuki sat halfway up, perched on his elbow.

 

"What the fuck are you doing, woman?" He swatted your hand away. "More importantly, are you alright?"

 

Your throat squeezed up. "I don't know… I think I may be blind."

 

"Don't fuckin' panic. It's pitch dark in here. I can't see shit either."

 

"I hit my head pretty hard."

 

Katsuki groaned as he sat upright. You grasped his hand and held his index finger against your forehead, the digit gliding softly through the blood. There was a short break in his breathing, a pause mid-inhalation that would've gone unnoticed by others.

 

"I can get us out." His breath spilling over your eyelashes and cheeks gave you some comfort, as did those words. You felt him move around in front of you and he hooked his right arm behind your back. In turn, you wound your right arm behind his neck. His neck muscles tensed as he rose to full height, now keeping you in a steel grip with both his hands.

 

"I think I can stand by myself," you said and grasped the collar of his shirt. "You're hurt too."

 

"Nah, I'll carry you. I've been worse."

 

Sometimes he came home quite mangled, so he technically wasn't lying.

 

His left hand left your leg. The well-known sound of miniature firecrackers set off and a tiny speck of light blew the room up into life, colouring your sight a sparkling white. You blinked in annoyance when random blotches swirled around your vision but it gave you a deep catharsis - you weren't blind.

 

Katsuki followed the left side of the corridor you had entered closely, relying on his memory after each blast. It was a pretty ingenious use of his Quirk. Every ten or fifteen seconds he'd create a blast of light, then he would move forward. Rinse and repeat ad nausem.

 

The two of you couldn't move very fast. Because this was an old mineshaft, the stone walls were bare except for wooden beams and the ground was uneven and littered with pebbles. Sometimes Katsuki would lose balance for half a second and clutch you closer out of instinct, causing your ribcage to ache. Actually, whenever he moved his torso any given bodypart would ache. Other than a sharp curse every now and then you didn't complain.

 

There were parts of the mineshaft system where murky water would hide the bottom. None of you could cross without putting yourselves in danger, so you avoided those sections. You weren't sure if the water wasn't contaminated either. Thus, some parts were inaccessible and you both had to go thirsty.

 


 

Eventually, the two of you took a rest. You were tucked in between a pillar and Katsuki, leaning your head against his shoulder. He kept cracking the joints on his fingers, stretching and bending them.

 

"Do you think those were zombies?" you asked, re-lacing your hiker boots. There had been something bothering you about this scenario. You had fallen down the mineshaft after fleeing five assholes that had attacked you two while dusk was settling in the woods. Other than five grown men ganging up on two camping adults, the strangest thing was how blasting off their limbs and hitting them with blunt weapons didn't stop them. At all. Had he been alone, you're certain Katsuki would've turned them to ashes. However, you were in a public hiking area and it hadn't rained for quite a while. Not a good idea. Thus, you had fled and ended up there.

 

Katsuki reflected on it and answered: "Probably not. How convenient would it be for these non-factors to appear right in the middle of fuckin' nowhere where we're at? A zombie outbreak wouldn't take place here. If anything, it's probably a villain with a Quirk."

 

"That has to be one of the most powerful Quirks I've ever seen, then."

 

He sighed and you were sure he was side-eyeing you.

 

"You're so easy to impress," he commented and stood up. Your hands met in the dark. Without much effort, he pulled you to your feet.

 

His hands were damp and you laughed quietly when your fingers glided on his skin. "God damn, your hands are slippery as fuck. You're like an eel or something."

 

"Let's hope I don't drop you then."

 


 

Your perception of time was essentially non-existent. These identical corridors provided no clue whatsoever to how much time had passed.

 

In fact, your first inclination of a clue had been a humid draft hitting you, drawing your hair away from your face.

 

"Yo," you pulled on Katsuki's shirt to catch his attention. "Do you feel that? We're close to the entrance."

 

Katsuki fired off a light blast, the corridor developing into a larger space further up ahead. The blast only lit up a few meters into the room but it was definitely a broader space than the corridors.

 

"Stay low and be quiet," Katsuki whispered in your ear and slowly let you down.

 


 

Katsuki traced the wall with one hand, keeping the other hand outstretched in front of him. Warily, listening for suspicious noise from behind as well as in front, he crept up to the entrance. He couldn't feel the breeze anymore, though a faint hiss came from one of the two entrances, or both. It sounded like wind wafting through leaves.

 

The build-up to the flash explosion made his palm itch. Compared to the output he usually worked with, it was almost imperceptible. Since the flash explosion was a lesser version of the Stun Grenade it didn't require as much nitroglycerin and time but if he didn't have to he wouldn't continously use it. There were, with 100% certainty, more of those zombie motherfuckers outside.

 

Flash one. Room was around ten by five meters with two exits on the opposite side. Spread out in the room were many pieces of what possibly could be mine equipment. No movements.

 

He held his breath and cocked his head to the left, listening. Nothing from behind, at least.

 

Katsuki created another flash, taking note of the terrain and advancing towards the middle of the room. Airflow was definitely increasing now.

 

Suddenly, footsteps about seven meters ahead in the darkness. Hand-to-hand, concentrating the boiling on his palm to the size of a quarter, he charged an AP Shot and fired. It lit up a path straight to an exit, the explosion ripping through a piece of the wall, gravel and dust spewing out. No time to see if it hit. Katsuki loaded the next shot, adjusting his aim to the left. Through the build-up a shrill shriek alerted him, followed by the the contour of something moving in the dark. Boom!

 

Next shot fired off, he heaved himself over a machine and dashed forward. Half a second of light revealed a man-shaped figure furiously charging towards him, tendrils of smoky dust clinging to the upper part of the torso. In the weak afterglow of the AP shot, his caninas glared before disappearing into nothingless.

 

If Katsuki couldn't stop him from breathing, he would at least stop him from moving.

 

He shot off another AP Shot, the left arm ripped off from the body. When Katsuki caught the man stumbling forward, he grinned.

 

Game over.

 

Turning his palms behind him and jumping into the air, he blasted himself high enough to almost hit the ceiling and descended upon the fucker. A close-contact explosion to the face would disintegrate his nervous system.

 

Too god damn easy.

 

In his right palm, the incoming charge illuminated the space beneath him. There was nothing there.

 

His heart dropped to his stomach.

 

"Katsuki?" He heard you scream.

 

The distinct sound of footsteps continued behind him.

 

When his feet hit the floor, he was on the move. He loaded a weak shot meant to distract.

 

But it was too late.

 

Katsuki called your name, a tinge of pride colouring his voice.

 

You earned the killing blow this time. The man's feet were dangling limply above the floor, torso and head completely penetrated by dozens of quills, thick as cucumbers. With a sickening, slick sound the head detached from its body, slumping onto the floor.

 

Your Quirk, under the right circumstances, was very effective.

 

Without doubt, whatever was waiting by the end of that exit was irrevocably fucked.

Chapter Text

One last effort to remain at home.

In a strange feat of nature, this was a paradoxical action; for you to outlast your repulsion and remain seated in the chilly armchair, you had to excert force to glue your feet to the floor and your spine to the back of the chair. Your soles were uncomfortably numb, the polished tiles withdrawing whatever heat was left and leaving behind a constant ache, like white noise physically prickling you. When you got out of this armchair to greet your husband, everything would hurt.

To you, this was not an unexpected development. Inside your head, there was this perfectly aligned sequence of memories. Re-watching them, again, through a damp filter, they felt like prisoners raised in a row against a dull wall. For a few seconds you couldn't believe this had actually been your life until you, the executor, decided to dive in again. Bitterly, very bitterly you tasted the air and started from the beginning, once more.

Once in this marriage, before year five or six of seven, you had been content. Prior to this point pinpointing behaviours that would've hinted this were either non-existent or simply subtle enough to evade you. Shouta hadn't always been like this… You were sure. But when you eased yourself into chronologically reviewing what went wrong the familiar tinge of nostalgia blurred the edged between what had always been, what currently was and all forevermore.

It was hard to tell the difference, you consoled yourself and scratched at your nailbeds. The consolation did little to ease this clouded view of the future, which worried you the most. These last few weeks you had been clinging to Shouta and that had felt like more of a commitment than the entire marriage.

For around four months, you had been aware of these feelings.

Within a span of twenty minutes, you were exhausted. You couldnt keep your eyelids from shutting down, the memories lulled you into an unrestful sleep.


With the steel glare of a villain accompanying him down the street, Shouta left the policemen to deal with the aftermath. The villain was apprehended and his Quirk properly neutralized - no use in waiting around. Downtown alleyways and streets had been a hotbed for villains lately, according to police reports and general consensus in the hero community.

Indeed, when zoning into the police radio channels there was currently an additional apprehension of a villain a few blocks away. He braced for impact and landed on a rooftop, hair flying across his visor. The scene wasn't far away; he could hear the sirens whirling past below. Other than the lightspots under the city lights and the neon lights of industry buildings, the night was still. Quite possibly a bit after midnight.

Considering he had never heard that particular villains name before, he concluded that it was a lone newbie. If he had been a troublesome fellow, several police cars and heroes would've been alerted. Because hero companies were in direct competition with each other regarding villain captures and information, there was no proper way to figure out whether more heroes were in the vicinity. The police could perhaps be in need of assistance. His instincts were quietly teasing his attention towards the potential firefight.

Shouta removed his visor and rubbed his eyes with his fingertips, the ache dissipating for the moment.

"There's nothing more for me to do," Shouta said to himself. Though it went against his instincts, he headed towards his home. It wasn't a matter of work hours. The exhaustion he could power-nap away during the day… his pupils (most of them, at least) didn't mind working on their own for ten minutes. No, things in his household had been unusual. His wife was acting peculiar; her independent, cheerful self had lately been checking up on him a lot. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it was pretty eyebrow-raising to see her dipping in at the UA faculty a few days a week.

Obviously, there was no other option but to ask.

At 1AM he called it an early night and entered his home, where he found you slumped in your armchair.


You woke up to calm, swaying motions in your husband's embrace, strong arms supporting you under your back and knees. Temple to his chest, you couldn't feel his heartbeat - of course, Shouta must've just arrived home and was still wearing his hero outfit. It was terse yet cushiony, rustling around you as he pulled into your bedroom.

"I told you not to wait up for me," he said, turning on the light with a flick of his finger.

You groaned in protest when the light stabbed your eyes, covering your face with a hand.

This felt familiar; his soft chiding while carrying you to bed was something he had done early on in your relationship, when you still were uncertain and worried about his night patrols. Like all good things in life, it ends not a second longer than it needs to exist. He layed you down on your side of the bed.

"Hold on," you held onto his right hand, grasping his middle and index fingers in your palm, "we should probably talk."

As much as you wanted to vomit out the words you had been rehearsing this evening, Shouta looked pretty smashed. With his yellow visor above his blood-shot eyes, he exuded more sleepiness than usual. He didn't need to stay up, you admitted with a modicum of guilt.

"Funny you would mention that, Y/N, I was thinking the same."

Now alert, you sat up straight in bed. That was unexpected - and rather terrifying. Shouta kneeled down on the floor, resting his arms on the bed.

"Isn't it late for you?" you asked, suppressing the thoughts you had entertained this evening with desperation. Now that you didn't have your sleepy bravery, you thought it would be good to take this in the morning so that you could gather your thoughts.

"It's 1AM."

"That's pretty early."

He hummed in agreement. "I was thinking of waking up earlier to talk, but since you're already awake…"

"We may as well get it over with," you finished, shuffling further into the bed and retracting your legs beneath the duvet.

Shouta patted your knee, "I'll go have something to eat, take a shower and then we can talk. Don't fall asleep without me."


Thankfully (or not) staying awake required little concentration. You couldn't bear to lay still in bed while waiting, so you resorted to pacing. You also couldn't find the perfect timeline you earlier managed to conjure, scrawling every cerebral fold for proof of his wrongdoing. It was like the last few minutes before an exam, when you're trying to cram one last fact before you're thrown into the fire. Thus you focused on Shouta. Like a sixth sense, you followed the path he took outside from the inside your head, as if spectating him from an astral body.

Once the shower was running all this felt like a terrible mistake. Could you take all of it back? Your marriage would be impacted. Was it worth uprooting it for whatever reason you felt slighted?

If it wasn't, why were you thinking of leaving?

You crept out of the bathroom and lingered outside, your heart bumping in your ears.

If you were so sure before, why wouldn't you continue now? After all, there was only one way - forward.

You entered, using a finger to muffle the door shutting. The warm air prompted a wave of shivers over your body. It felt pleasant to be completely naked, letting your bathrobe and nightgown slide down onto the floor. Your husband's attire was thrown haphazardly over the laundry basked, Shouta clearly out of fucks given, you noticed nervously.

I hope he doesn't mind some company, you thought and slipped into the shower to join your husband.

With his back to you and in the middle of rinsing his hair you thought Shouta wouldn't have sensed your presence but you barely managed to withdraw the shower curtain before he slightly inclined his head towards you. It felt less predatory to creep up to him with his knowledge.

You were hesitant about drawing closer.

On his ribcage was an unsightly blemish the size of your palm that you couldn't recall seeing before. Thinking of it, you hadn't seen your husband at least top-less in a while… He always returned so late, you usually caught him for a few minutes before he was off for class. Your fingers drew light circles on top of it.

"Did you get this today, Shouta?"

Shouta completed rinsing his hair before answering.

"A few days ago. It's getting pretty dangerous out there during nighttime. Villains are being unusually brave but it won't protect them from getting caught."

"I see."

There was no use in inquiring whether he was being careful or not; you knew that he was and Shouta had an excellent judgement for such things, even for a pro hero.

"You must be pretty damn impatient to join me," he said and took a small step back, silently offering you some space under the showerhead. You obliged.

"I thought it'd be wise to kill two birds with one stone."

Nevermind that this makeshift plan of confronting him failed on the first step when you fell asleep, you had to get it out now. This couldn't wait another day. Not one more. You were ready.

"Practical. Now, about that tal-"

"Could you please turn the showerhead towards me?" you asked and added in a smaller voice, "I'm cold."

He obliged. Your hands, trapped between your chest and his chest, spread out to catch the torrent like a tropical flower in a rainstorm. Water drops soon got caught in your eye-lashes and hair. While examining the motion of the drops railing down your palm lines, you opened your mouth.

"Okay, listen up, Shouta."

"I'm listening."

"There's this thing that has been going on for a few months now… You leave home at six in the morning to prepare class for your students and return at two or three in the morning. Other than on weekdays, we barely see each other. I'm stuck here without you and that isn't what you promised me."

He put his hands on either side of your head, but you didn't cease playing with the water in your hands. He also didn't speak directly, his breathing rather heavy.

"You'll be returning to work soon, Y/N. Your illness isn't chronic-"

You immediately snapped up, facing him. "You're right about that: it's not chronic. However, I still won't see you before and after work.

"You knew what you were getting into when we got together."

"It wasn't like it was now at all! Back then, you had Nemuri and Hizashi and tons of other people helping you out-"

"The night patrols have never been a group activity."

"Then why are you doing the job of three people by yourself? If you didn't have to, you would be home earlier."

"We've been married for six years, for fuck's sake! Why is this a problem now?"

His voice was rough like sandpaper and you jumped by the slight change of tone. It was okay, he would never hurt you… yet you still pressed yourself away from him as far as you could. There was a considerable difference in size between you two and even with his lither build a man was a man.

For a second hurt split across his face, evolving into a scowl. With the light behind him obscured by the shower curtain, there were sharp shadows in his eyes and forehead.

"Why now?" he asked.

"I don't know. All I know is I've had enough." By the end of that sentence, your throat was clamming up. "Actually, I do know why."

Hesitation in the air. Did you really want to say it?

"Tell me," he breathed quietly, leaning in towards you.

"Because I've never been your priority, not from day one," you struggled to string together words, because whenever you made a slight pause in your speech a pitiful yowl escaped you. "Your students, your jobs, justice. That's your priority list. Even cats are further up than me. Now that I think about it, I'm not in last place; I'm your penultimate priority, because you care less about your reputation."

The downpour between the two of you was the only sound for a short while as you melted into your confession and Shouta tasted your words.

"I have a hard time understanding how you could explain my paying for your hospital bills and over-working so that you could rest at home as me not prioritizing you."

You raised an eyebrow. Wasn't he listening?

"I told you that this had been going on for longer than that. Your night patrols didn't start once my illness got worse - don't kid yourself in believing you did that for me. This has been a problem ever since UA first got attacked."

Shouta's fists curled together, his biceps contracting.

"Y/N, that was last year. You also didn't answer my question: why now? Why didn't you bring this up earlier?"

"Everytime you returned you seemed exhausted and I'm already a burden on you. You have more than enough to deal with."

There was such an intense change in emotions your next sentence disappeared from your thoughts; Shouta looked at you with such an unfamiliar expression, you struggled to identify it. It didn't make you feel anything other than the constant anger you had been harbouring on and off this evening.

"If I hadn't told you tonight, I think I would've spontaneously combusted," you said.

You didn't dare telling him about the stray thoughts of leaving your shared home that you had earlier. This argument had gone far enough and you felt (you were) trapped.

"I don't want you to close yourself off from me," Shouta said seriously, shutting off the water. "Whatever I did to give you the impression that I wouldn't muster the strength to listen to your troubles, I'm sorry. I've never come home without you waiting for me here - I don't know how I would deal with an emptiness like that and I'm unhappy that you had to find out yourself."

How did you answer that? You couldn't. Did it make you feel whole again? Not really. A certain part of you did flourish at his words, though.

Shouta reached from behind the shower curtain and pulled out a towel. He hoovered with it until you bowed down your head in an accepting gesture. He dried your frontal locks with the towel.

"I do mean this, Y/N. I'm not leaving you to suffer alone. If you feel like you're strong enough to work again, I'll cut down my patrolling hours."

"You're okay with that?" you asked while peering from below the towel folds. "I'm tired of being home all the time, so I look forward to returning to work… I've never heard you say no to work."

"There are diminishing returns to hero work; an investment of time is only effective if the hero operates at a certain level… I think I do a decent enough job, but it wouldn't hurt to be more alert during daytime.
For one, it would certainly help if you told me about it."

The towel slipped down to your shoulders, Shouta draping it over you like a cape.

"I promise I'll tell you everything, Shouta."

His eyes were barely open when he mumbled, "I'm thankful for that. If you want to continue talking…"

"Which I want," you filled in.

"… We'll have to do it tomorrow. I'm about to collapse."


You re-settled into your comfortable pillow and fluffy cover, feeling an additional duvet of unease cover you. All those secrets were uncovered, yet your chest felt just as heavy. Honestly, it was physically hard to breathe.

Well, that one secret regarding you abandoning your home you'd probably take to the grave.

It felt rather anti-climatic, though. All this buildup that popped like a balloon with the sound of a bunny sniffing. Perhaps Shouta didn't fully understand the extent of your feelings... Was that why it went so smoothly?

Thinking back on the exchange, you felt more at ease when together with your husband than without him… even when you were fighting. Being his siamese twin was impossible, though. You didn't dare believe that he'd keep his promise but what choice did you have other than restraining yourself with all your might and wait?

You'd see tomorrow.

Chapter Text

The millisecond the door shut behind you Toshinori turned around, heroical theatrics gone out of the window; he had the lethargic movement of a wounded animal, his mantle lapping at his forearms and shins. His trademark smile erased, the sharp contours of his face smoldering their edges into deep-set worry. That look was something else… this rare display of anxiety revealed new feelings you'd never seen him display. Or, perhaps, he never allowed himself to reflect while he was clad in uniform.

"You can't do this," he stated curtly, kneading his wrist with his hand. The instant you opened your mouth he raised two fingers motioned you to remain quiet, his fingers quivering in the air."I understand I'm severely stepping out of line, asking you not to remain in the plan after these preparations… Not gonna lie, darling, what Eraserhead said is giving me cold feet. There's something strange going on with this villain - no one can pinpoint his exact Quirk, not even after several encounters. How often do we encounter that?"

You nonchalantly cocked your head and crossed your arms in front of your chest. "Which is exactly why I'll be the best bait. My Quirk isn't something to scoff at, either."

Toshinori's head dipped nigh on imperceptably, "I most definitely agree. You know I respect your skill as a hero… to the point of nominating you as bait myself. Had I known then what I know now, I would have volunteered."

His jaw tightened and he shook his head.

"I'm an idiot," he continued in a tone too booming for the conversation to remain private. The two of you looked at each other and then at the door, waiting for interference. Today it seemed like the rest of his subordinates were working rather than casually dropping in for a piece of tea. When you were sure you would stay unbothered you went closer to him.

"Honestly, if someone else were in my position, I think you'd volunteer yourself then as well," you said. A hint of truth reached him, because he gently lowered his gaze to evade yours. Your hands couldn't circumvent his forearm, but with a gentle pull he let you place the back of his hand over your heart, his knuckles touching your collarbone. "There's purity in that sentiment, honey, but you're no Ectoplasm; you've got the one body to work with. There's only one Yagi Toshinori."

"And there's only one of you," Toshinori repeated, swallowing loudly. "Before losing you, I'd prefer to lose everything else."

Quickly, he looked for your reaction before staring down at his feet. His shyness in contrast to his generally boisterous behaviour was endearing, you thought as your neck creaked from looking up at him. In the future you would 100% have some sort of workplace injury related to this, without doubt.

Your cheeks heated up and your mouth moved awkwardly in response, wrestling between an embarrassed and a flattered smile. "Now that's a bold statement."

"Is it that so? I don't think simply speaking my mind is bold."

"Most people don't have that courage to say it so earnestly, at least. Also, where are these thoughts coming from? You're usually so… self-assured that everyone will be saved. I've never seen you like this before, Toshinori."

Toshinori hesitantly moved his hand. You let it go, not quite understanding why but acknowledged that he needed space. With gentle fingers, he delicately cupped your cheek, index finger on the side of your cheekbone and little finger elevating your chin. His fingertips were rough and hardened after a decade of hand-to-hand combat and smashes. In his calculated movements you could sense a trembling thoughtfulness.

"I'm not sure," he confessed. "Maybe…"

You nodded, repeating the maybe in a soft and expectant tone.

His thumb caressed the underside of your eye, the tip brushing through your eye-lashes like a  lion stalking through the grass.

"I've saved countless people before; their gratitude has always touched me, steeled me to become someone for everyone. Even if we're complete strangers, I'm humbled by their trust in me… However, we're still strangers. This-" he cut himself off and searched for words, "is in an entirely different ball park. Not only do we know each other, but you are someone for me. I haven't always had the pleasure experiencing that. If something happens to me, the civilians will suffer and if something happens to you…"

He looked deeply unhappy at the thought.

This was a very Toshinori yet roundabout way to express himself. It wasn't strange or alarming. To be honest, you felt relieved that he let you in on secrets like these… His sincerity descended him from untouchable warrior-god with bottomless optimism to an extremely accomplished albeit reflective man. For you it made him more tangible, like someone who was your equal.

And as much as you liked his humanity, what you all needed right now was the undiminished certainty of doing what was right. Both you and him required that disposition.

"I didn't know civilians and I were mutually exclusive," you said and gave him an ironic pout. "You won't need to pick between us. Even if you do, know that I'll claw my way out of danger with my bare hands to come back to you. It won't be a one-way effort - I'll meet you halfway, at the very least."

It was rather embarrassing to admit, though it was the truth, bold and bare. After the cringe stopped you even felt good about it.

Toshinori didn't answer you verbally. He leaned down and with the softest touch he kissed your forehead, remaining like that for several seconds. You shut your eyes, wishing you'd see this side of him more often, before he returned to full stature. When you opened your eyes you faced a somewhat convinced Toshinori with pride in his eyes.

There was a knock on the door and the unfortunate intern stammered, "A-A-All Might, Eraserhead said that you're leaving in fifteen."

That was your cue. Time for both of you to rejoin the hero group and prepare.

"Seriously though, don't worry about this," you said cooly, propping your hands up on your hips and sticking out your chest. "I trust you to follow up on the plan and you should trust that I can keep myself safe. We're professionals."

He unceremoniously let go of your chin and placed his fist over his lips, harkling lightly. His voice was rather strained when he said, "I think we should return to the others now. We've delayed them long enough."

You weren't going to point that out to him, but you couldn't resist taking a light jab at his overprotective nature.

"If this were a school play you'd want to play the knight, the princess and the evil guy yourself. Geez, Toshinori, leave something for the rest of us."

Chapter Text

Midoriya Inko should be used to frequent surprises by now; her son was somehow the focal point for the eye of the storm, a cyclone with a build-up of over a decade and the efforts and tears of dozens, if not hundreds, of humans. You weren't an eye-witness to it, though you could perceive the nurture and devotion his friends and family had permeated his soul with. Frankly, it sometimes felt you had accidentally sweeped into his life only to reap the benefits of a healthy, stable Izuku without contributing to his well-being. Inside your heart, you could only wish you'd offer a quarter of support everyone else had.

You didn't dare antipating or assuming you would - the competition for most time and energy invested in Midoriya Izuku was insane, with the odds stacked heavily against you. That line-up was frankly intimidating.

 Imagine devoting yourself to someone like that, you mused and swiped the photo of a younger Izuku and Mrs Midoriya with a nail, trailing an invisible bond between them. It was obvious that Izuku had been a momma's boy back then, standing closer to his mother in the picture than most teenage boys would've wanted while smiling brightly. Adorable. This photo must have been taken during high school, judging by uniform.

You compared young Izuku with adult Izuku, holding the frame an arms-width away towards the real deal. Said real deal was sitting on his mother's couch, legs apart and his elbows propped up on them. He was ruminating, as he often did, with his hands covering his mouth. Much like his older counterpart, young Izuku seemed somewhat burdened with something. There was this slight slouch in his shoulders, a hesitant inclination of centimeters that made you go 'hmmm'. Following the contour of his shoulders, down his arms you saw that his clasped hands already had the web-like net of scars back then.

Today, those scars had faded but it alarmed you how out of place they seemed in this pretty family picture. Izuku always told you that his body was a monument to his tenacity whenever your touch lingered too long over his scars. However, you could easily tell that those weren't his words. No, those words were hand-me-downs from someone else.

With care, you put down the frame next to the growing collection and joined your boyfriend on the couch.

You couldn't help but compare again. His digits and arms were marred, even if it wasn't as bad as in the photo. He didn't seem to mind, as he wore a short sleeved shirt today, and his hands were preoccupied switching between preening his hair and nervously rubbing together.

"Izuku, you're looking distraught," you said and took one of his hands in your own, a film of sweat coating his palms. You squeezed slightly, bringing him out of his thoughts. "I can leave if you want to. You don't have to introduce me to your mom right now. We haven't been together for that long, anyway…"

"What? No!" He visibly shrunk away and shook his head furiously. "I'm just nervous, is all! It's just that she won't be expecting you here. I didn't tell her about you- I mean I did tell her about you but not that you'd stay for dinner. She'll be home any minute now and she'll see you sitting here…"

The sound of someone scribbing with the lock echoed through the apartment, both of you scrambling towards each other. You weren't easy to emotionally influence, but Izuku's shaky nerves were starting to infect you.

"It's do or die now," you stated, clenching your teeth into a beaming smile, determined to make this as least awkward as possible.

"Mom! We're in the living room!" Izuku turned towards you and gave your knuckles a brief kiss. "I wouldn't have brought you here unless I could handle it. I love you and my mom will, too."

Whatever the reason may be, you knew he'd have your back.

He stood up and pulled you up, gingerly. The two of you lingered in each others' warmth, hands to hands and chest to chest. You braced yourself figuratively as Izuku braced his arm around your back, resting his hand on your elbow.

 


 

Inko Midoriya took off her ballet pumps and ordered all the pairs by the entrance into a neat file. Her simple ones, her son's boots (that were almost falling apart, goodness!) and a pair clearly targeted towards younger women. Those weren't her's.

Her son told her that they were in the living room.

We're in the living room?

A fewmMonths had passed since Izuku had brought home a friend and although it made her preen her skirt and tunic with great intensity it made her happy. Inko remembered that last time had been last winter, when the sweet girl that is Ochako had joined them for dinner. They had had a wonderful time and Inko had been delighted that Izuku had stayed friends with her, even long after they had graduated from UA. Inko couldn't prevent him from diving head-strong into danger, but a few good friends by his side would make him think twice.

"We are?" Inko quoted and stepped out of the dark hallway into her living room, where her son and a young woman she did not recognize were waiting. For a second, she was taken aback: her son's gentle disposition was evident whenever he interacted with anyone and anything, yet the way he very deliberately held her against his chest made her almost cover her mouth in surprise, before restraining herself. If she managed to make Izuku's girlfriend (?) break into hives because Inko couldn't control her reactions she would feel downright terrible about it!

It was fortunate both of them were tall though, because she couldn't cry when she was looking up.

The young woman introduced herself politely and bowed very curtly, her hair falling around her in neat strands. Beside her, Izuku rested his hand on the back of her spine.

"Mom," Izuku refocused her attention from his hand to his face, "Y/N is the girl I told you about a few days ago. Actually," his eyed shifted, "she's my girlfriend."

I see…

"I'm Midoriya Inko," she said, her bow unusually fluid and lithe. "Very pleased to meet you, Y/N."

 


 

Years later, the memories of Izuku introducing you to his mother still made you laugh hard. Such fuss and worry over something that naturally developed into an unusually strong bond between a mother and her daughter-in-law. Indeed, after your own parents passed, Inko didn't hesitate to nourish you under her wing until you had accepted reality for what it was. While the realization wasn't easier per se, her unyielding support and Izuku's patience called you back from the deep abyss into the light again.

Really, it was silly to think that you and Inko wouldn't have ended up close, much less gotten along.

"I'm surprised you didn't end up crying," you said, popping a praline into your mouth. You had eaten about two hours ago, yet you still felt starved so you had to eat whatever left over chocolate you could find in your suite. As such, you didn't stop at one praline.

"I wasn't about to mortify you," Inko said, straightening creases out of the train, allowing it to gently cascade down onto the floor. "Although I was close to. I remember thinking that you would never return if that was the first impression you got of me."

"A few tears wouldn't have kept me away from Izuku. I would probably have been more self-conscious and confused, had you cried. It would've be very strange for you to act rude when Izuku had been praising you ever since I got to know him."

Inko stood up and put her hands together, a surprised expression on her face.

"He has?"

"He still brings it up quite often, but don't tell him I said that." Your legs were itching beneath the thick layers of the wedding dress. There was some relief from grazing the fabric against your skin, but you hoped that it would pass soon. The time had almost come for you to leave. It couldn't come fast enough, though you also felt like it couldn't go slow enough for you to feel ready. "I think you've done so much for him, Inko, that he'll never forget it. Izuku's just that type of person."

You nodded at your own conclusion, satisfied.

"Izuku's a genuinely good person," Inko said, looking up to the mirror at your reflection. "He's surrounded with so many people that love him, it would be hard for him to go astray. As a mother, this is the best gift I could receive. I know that whatever happens, he'll do the right thing. It may sound presumptious, but I think that him marrying you is the right thing to do, too."

Woah. That last comment made you raise your eyebrows. Not too much though, lest you wanted to disrupt your hair or make-up.

"You really think so?" you asked, warm all over.

Mama Midoriya smiled and hummed. "I do. I thought Izuku couldn't possibly be happier, having met his heroes and entered his dream career, and then you came along. You're sharp and rigorous and I think he learns a terrible lot from you. He's always had people who've prompted him to excel but not everyone can keep up with him. I think you're doing a great job at that. That said, I think we should head down. We shouldn't leave them waiting!"

Mother and wife-to-be, past and future, gave Midoriya Izuku another reason to fight.

Chapter Text

The discoloured mesh of humans that expanded throughout Tokyo Dome made Ochako’s back shiver, from the nosebleed sections to the much-desired floor sections. She hadn’t known what to expect; this was the first concert she ever attended and while she had seen pictures of it online, the absolute size didn’t translate well in pictures. Bracing herself on the rail, she listened with her eyes to the fans roar as a new MV appeared on the large screens, their voices filling her with excitement. When their screaming toned down, for the general noisiness never disappeared completely, she re-read her ticket and confirmed that she had to go even higher.

The nosebleeds provided a great overview of the entire arena she noticed while climbing up the stairs, though she would be unable to see the performers up close. A pang of regret hit her, as both Jirou and Momo had managed to score tickets lower down. Remembering the prices, she straightened her back and felt a lot better about herself. Her mother had begged her to go, saying that Ochako had been working hard without any respite for the family, and eventually she had succumbed reluctantly. There hadn’t been many tickets to pick from since she had wavered for too long but she managed to get one. While she couldn’t afford the expensive floor tickets, she was certain she’d have a good time up here as well.

Her phone went off and she answered it almost immediately.

“Momo?” Ochako asked while taking the last few steps up to her row, trying hard not to reveal how out of breath she was. Covering the phone, she quietly said sorry to the people that let her through to her seat.

“Have you found your seat?” Momo’s voice said.

“I just got to my seat. Good thing I’m not afraid of heights.”

“Remember to use the binoculars I gave you, Ochako! I tested them at home and they worked quite well, considering it’s the first time I produced binoculars with my Quirk.”

Right, she made these using her body, Ochako thought as she fished the binoculars out of her bag and examined it. She looked through them and found that with some adjusting she could see the scene.

“They actually work,” Ochako said, laughter colouring her voice. “It’s hard to believe that you’ve only had your Quirk for a few months and you can already make this kind of stuff. That’s amazing.”

“I have had my Quirk for almost a year now.”

Ochako pressed herself against her seat and let some people by, not particularly paying attention to them. “It’s been that long since?”

“Yes. Life really did change for the better after I met Jirou but if I had lacked the education to support my Quirk I would struggle to make plates, most likely.”

Anticipation rose amongst everyone as the intro’s bassline shook out of the speakers, powerful enough to make Ochako’s torso vibrate to the rhythm. The beginning of the intro ushered the ending of the conversation and everyone lost themselves as the performers entered the stage.


 

Considering how loud the concert had been, everyone exited in relative silence. There wasn’t much talking done around Ochako, even as the music subsided and the chilly breeze forced the concert goers back into reality. If she was perfectly honest, she didn’t understand that it was all over. While mindlessly following the horde flowing towards the subway, she replayed bits and pieces of the concert inside her head, trying to immerse herself enough to relive it.

She barely acknowledged Jirou and Momo as they miraculously boarded the same train wagon she did. Much like Ochako had, Jirou dunked herself into a seat with a melancholy expression on her face. Ochako must have stared for a bit too long, for Jirou gave her a comforting half-smile.

“Welcome to my life,” she said, her head lolling limply against the back of the seat. She made an upwards motion with her hand, “You’ve been waiting for this for months and it’s over in two hours. Now you have to find something else to do with your life.” Her hand crashed down onto her thigh, symbolizing the post-concert life they now had to endure.

Ochako sighed and pulled her bag close to her chest, “I don’t like this.”

“Do you regret it?” Momo quickly interjected, probably before Jirou could further commiserate.

“I guess not. It was a fun experience that I hope I recall forever.”

“That’s what fancams are for,” Jirou stated, pulling up her phone. “Everyone is going wild online about… Hold on, how is this trending?”

“What now?” Momo leaned forward towards Jirou, her bangs almost hitting the phone.

“Do you remember the scientist who got trashed for trash-talking soul mates? He’s back for round two. Listen, this is what he wrote: ‘I'm quite amused that the mainstream thought of meeting your soul mate and acquiring your Quirk increases your overall productivity, with the conclusion that society would prosper the most when everyone found their soul mate. I find it a rather ineffective solution to the traditional school of hard work, considering that the chances of meeting your soul mate are low and the proper usage of Quirks takes years to master. There's a definite trade-off between time spent and actual success … and it's not in your favour.’”

Ochako blinked slowly, not certain she had the attention span to understand it anyway.

“That is quite the negative view,” Momo commented, returning to her seat. Ochako couldn’t see it because of the table, but both Momo and Jirou were probably doing some couple-stuff with their feet… whatever that could be. “You gain an ability without drawbacks and someone to rely on. Not everyone can use their Quirk for work-related purposes but surely every Quirk has some application. Even if mastering it is impossible, there’s an additional ability for you to use daily.”

“You would know that,” Jirou said and scoffed light-heartedly.

Momo shrugged. “This has been my experience.”

Ochako thought about her parents, both Quirkless and happily married. Even though the family business was stagnating for several reasons, Ochako doubted that Quirks could save them from what felt like inevitable bankrupcy. It was a laughable concept, honestly. The Quirks that appeared after meeting your soul mate ranged from barely changing anything at all to something life-changing, such as severely altering your appearance. Thus, Quirks could not only be hard to master but also negatively affect your life.

“I can eavesdrop on the people living below my apartment now, which is interesting, but other than that I don’t feel more productive than I did before. Not that I was particularly productive before…” Jirou touched her earlobes.

“My parents have been married forever now and they are both Quirkless,” Ochako said after some contemplation. “I can’t imagine them doing better than they are now, even if they had Quirks. If they had met their soul mates, perhaps they would never have started their business and done other things instead.”

“Exactly, people can mess up their lives even if they have Quirks.”

“What I meant was that Quirks won’t trump hard work or common sense.” 

“That too.”

Until Ochako reached her stop, the trio continued to talk about easier-to-digest topics. Once again braving the cold air, Ochako left the warmth of the train and continued forward into the night.


 

Meanwhile, Y/N just entered the train from Tokyo Dome back to the city. Everyone in her section had started leaving the concert while the outro song was playing, their backs coloured with lights from the scene. She had remained seated for some time, basking in the cozy afterglow of the concert and refusing normalcy until she took her first step outside the Dome. Until that happened, the concert did not end.

Her gaze had travelled from the different sections to the empty stage and filled exits, searching for something. Perhaps a reason to stay even longer or to leave in all haste. She felt that if she left, a part of her would remain here in the nosebleeds. It was inevitable that she’d have to move on, sooner or later, and this realization made her chest drop.


 

Ochako accidentally grasped the door handle with all her fingers and cursed, the strange pressure inside the pit of her stomach growing. Carefully, she pushed down the handle and mechanically opened the door, smiling awkwardly before her visitors. Immediately after she forced her fingertips together and backed away, wringing her hands in front of her as her stomach relaxed. Momo, peering over a huge paper bag she held against her torso, gave her a sympathetic look. Jirou shut the door after entering.

“Thank you for shopping for me!” Ochako couldn’t help but move around, her irritation fading when her friends brought the merchandise into the kitchen.

“Don’t mention it,” Jirou said, getting the merchandise out of the bag and onto the counter.

“I really do feel for you, Ochako,” Momo said, stretching to reach the uppermost cupboard shelves. “It is unfortunate that it isn’t a complete activation type Quirk, which would be much simpler to handle.”

“When you learn how to use it properly you won’t even need Momo to put away the merchandise.”

Ochako approached to help out of instinct but was curtly shooed away by Momo. Instead she retreated to the table, watching her friends to all the work her shoulder slouched. She braced her elbows against her knees and placed her chin against her knuckles. “As long as I’m deliberate about where I place my fingers I can manage… I’ll survive.”

Momo looked back at her with a smile. “Happy to hear you. You’ve seemed… sad these last few days.”

With reluctance, Ochako acknowledged inside her head that that was an understatement. Her life post-concert had been veiled in nostalgic filters; when she wasn’t studying she visited her memories through videos and photos and when she didn’t do either her heart ached. The heartache felt similar to the pains she had growing up, reviewing her old memories of childhood and wishing she could relive it. However, she couldn’t tell whether reliving it would release her from this longing or chain her down further. Perhaps it would be like replaying a game from your childhood. In your memories, you had the best of times, yet the pleasure and novelty were now not as intense. This arduous craving would be fulfilled, leaving behind the knowledge that once you experience something you can’t get it again. More importantly, she didn’t know whether it stemmed from the event itself or meeting her soul mate.

Her Quirk had surprised her the morning after the concert, which she deduced meant that she had bumped into her soul mate there. What made her feel sick was the realization that any person she had touched could be her soul mate. A person without any relevance to her current life, who didn’t know her as a person. Someone who only desired her because of some mysterious fuck up. Conversely, what kind of life would she be intruding upon if they ever met again? Would the fact that it was impossible to find that person mean that she was in a constant state of longing?

“You know, I thought it was the post-concert depression hitting me afterwards but I’m not certain anymore,” Ochako mumbled. She described her feelings while Jirou and Momo nodded affirmatively.

“I guess you could describe it as nostalgia,” Momo mused and tapped her lip with a finger. “Sounds like what I experience when I’m away from Jirou for an extended amount of time.”
Ochako grimaced as Jirou confirmed the sentiment. “I’m just getting my life together and this happens. I really don’t want to chase after the shadow of someone who may be my soul mate. It’ll be impossible to find that person. All I want to do is take over the family business and I don’t want someone else’s influence to steer me away from that.”

“You can take over the business and find your soul mate without compromising either. It’s just a matter of endurance.”


 

It had taken her an hour of writing and re-writing the same 3 sentences before eventually leaning back and pressing enter with an empty look on her face. Ochako was feeling rather bored with this soul mate ordeal. According to the Quirk specialist she had visited, there would be no emotional damage even if she never found her soul mate. It happened surprisingly often that people would randomly acquire Quirks from touching a stranger, only to never meet them again. Thus, her bout of sadness had been demoted to the good old post-concert depression. The specialist did warn her that if she ever came into contact with this person again she would probably be emotionally affected.

Therefore, that should have been the end of it.

It wasn’t.

Two weeks had passed since the concert and only now did she dare to write a post asking whether someone else from the same section acquired their Quirk then. Her drive to know stemmed partly from curiosity and partly from the knowledge that the future could possibly be better if this person was in her life. However, now that it was confirmed that she would remain herself and that her goals would be the same, she felt thankful and thought that the logical action would be to withdraw. After all, she had a new ability which could prove useful. It was maddening to simultaneously encounter herself in these two extremes.
 
Her necessity for relief from the rigid tension inside became palpable when she couldn't bear leaving her computer chair to take a shower. Without supervising all new comments, she could accidentally miss a comment from people having attended the concert in the same section. When she felt like there would be few updates, she hurriedly threw together some food and regressed back into her room.
 
After 9PM, her post in the concert group for that particular date was gaining traction, negative and positive alike. No one claimed to have awakened their Quirk back then. She remained by the edge of her seat, yet she was not surprised at this development. At most, this would be one of the big question marks of her life. Why was this any different to not knowing what would’ve happened if she had gone to another school or what if she had had a different set of parents? It wouldn’t solve her current issues and not her future issues, which she would have tons of if she didn’t straighten herself out.

Imagine going bankrupt because you’re this obsessed with a stranger, she chided herself and sighed deeply. Her bottomless need to refresh the page and scour the comments turned her mood foul. With a sharp click she exited the browser and shut down the computer. These two weeks of longing and dillydallying had been memorable… but reality was calling her back, even after the short memory exposition she relived every time she used her Quirk.


 

Today Y/N exited the health care facility carrying a booklet about Quirks, paperwork and a diary. Two days ago her partner had discovered that three ink black spots on her back changed places every few days. They had been worried about it being some dermatological issue, which was refuted by tests. Indeed, evaluation proved that Y/N was healthy and that the three spots were parts of her Quirk. As far as she knew, they had been on her back for a few years and she had never noticed them moving about. After all, who examines their back that often?

Because Y/N didn’t notice anything strange other than the moving spots the specialist mused whether it could detect meteorological changes or something subtle. However, since there was no data to collect about it Y/N was sent home with a diary where she would describe eventual changes. While she was relieved that it wasn’t a health scare, she wondered how long ago she acquired it and how the other person had reacted. Had they been angry or scared? She imagined that most people with flashier and active Quirks could not forget about something like that, but hers was insignificant and knowing that she had a Quirk didn’t change a single thing.

True to her thoughts, after four days of writing in her Quirk diary it was buried beneath a stack of paper on her desk, forgotten behind the normalcy of life.

 

Chapter Text

A lone TV broadcasted fresh news into the empty living room, the steady-voiced news anchor preaching to no one in particular. 

"Now for the daily news," he announced, clasping his hands above the desk and leaning towards the camera. "Today around three in the afternoon a man in his early twenties committed mass murder at Hikage elderly care facility. Fifteen deaths have been confirmed together with twenty-three injured. The perpetrator is currently on the run."

Change of scenery: a short clip is shown. There's a cascade of powder and debris avalanching down the hill where the entire facility previously stood. Perhaps half the building is now remaining. Like a calzone pizza someone has taken a bite off, the interior is exposed and there are staff members of public service dipping in and out of vision. Cameraman pans down the hill to show the chaos outside, specifically zooming into the heroes Uravity and Cementoss dashing towards the incoming debris.

"The police and hero associations involved plead with the public to stay clear of public spaces and crowds. The perpetrator is highly unstable and dangerous. Do not attempt to parlay with him."

 


 

In the front seat, you were preaching to someone in particular. Your feet on the dashboard, eating your confidence through a bag of potato chips and complaining to the driver, who thankfully didn't need to focus because of this massive traffic rubberneck. At this point, though, you suspected he was merely indulging you. He was looking forward, eyelids drooping and back straight against the car seat. With this somewhat forlorn expression he focused on something above the car in front of you, you noticed as you followed his gaze.

"And you know what, Hitoshi? I'm not letting her win, so I'm not going to stop doing that," you cut your complaints short and offered him your bag, "though I will stop ranting. Thank you for coming to my talk."

Hitoshi accepted. He pulled down the sunscreen above his head but you enjoyed the summer sun straight up burning your skin. Admittedly, you didn't have much of a choice considering that you were wearing a comfortable tank top and shorts that covered little. Your husband was better off, wearing khakis and a T-shirt, yet his forearms and cheeks were already coloured a faint red.

"Do you want something to drink? Seems like we'll be here for a while." You patted the space below your seat, searching.

"Sure. I think there's been an accident up ahead."

He stretched his right hand towards the radio. A second faster, you fished up the water bottle and smacked it into his palm. You gave him a knowing look. 

That's a no-no. 

Being on sick-leave meant leaving your job behind, even if your job physically was in front of you. Much like other aspects of concurrent culture, being unaware basically meant being left behind but this time it was serious. He couldn't take much more. And nevertheless, without his staunch refusal to take a vacation, you're certain he would've had deep guilt about it.

Fucking hero culture.

"Right."

 


 

 

Fathers carrying their young children. Couples rushing, hands interlocked. Elderly people clutching their bags. All of them rushing past your car, moving towards where the rubberneck presumably started. There were shouts accompanying this early stage of chaos around you, incoherent shrieks in distress.

Fear struck you imminently, your body shrinking as the visceral sounds continued. You folded your legs beneath the dashboard and let the plastic bags down through the empty space between your seat and the door.

Your fingers felt clumsy and numb when you reached and clutched Hitoshi's hand, barely aware of the pressure he enforced on the steering wheel. The tip of his fingers and nails paled visibly.

All the noise outside made thinking hard, much less rational thinking. As such you looked at Hitoshi for support.

"Get out of the car." It was a monotone order, one without malice or aggressivity. There was no explanation, nor did you have a follow-up plan, yet you obeyed. Integrating it as your sole objective, you let go of his hand and opened the car door cautiously, peering out for incoming humans.

Behind you, the driver's door slammed shut. By the time you got out Hitoshi was already striding to your side, his eyes scanning behind you. His hand shot up to your waist, his palm warm and solid against you. Ever lightly, Hitoshi buffered you in the direction of the horde, silently begging you to listen to your instincts. You wanted to, but you also wanted him with you - and by his concentrated stare and squared shoulders, you knew you would never convince him to.

Momentarily, the two of you locked eyes and you thought you could control yourself enough to stay with him.

A strange warping sound hollowed whatever conviction existed out of you, leaving a void desiring safety.

The primal demand to survive was staggeringly powerful and you did not understand how Hitoshi could resist it.

"Y/N, head up the road to the heroes," he said, overexaggeratedly articulating his words. His bared canines and wild hair confused you; how could he look like a panther ready to kill its prey while sounding like an audio book storyteller? "I can't focus while you're here - I need you safe. Now go!"

He half-shouted that last part, imploring whatever self-preservation you had to keep you safe. So it did, because you ran all the way up to the temporary encampment for wounded civilians. You escaped from danger only to plunge into chaos. Without back-up and without gear, Hitoshi left you alone to face the rampanging villain, alone.

That's when you knew you would have to try harder or the hero world would consume all of your husband.

 


 

 

"That's a nasty Quirk you've got there," Hitoshi spat out, wiping blood off his cheek. He involuntarily winced when the back of his hand came into contact with the gushing wound, tingling pain following. A warm trail brushed down his chin and neck, soaking into the hem of his T-shirt. It wasn't too deep a wound, all things considered.

Overall, it wasn't just the combination of a disturbed villain and high-powered Quirk - the situation itself was beyond fucked up; two heroes had their limbs removed (for lack of a better word) and several civilians were strewn about, pinned down between cars or otherwise immobilized. He couldn't accurately discern the dead from the living, not with the swirling smoke billowing around the cars. Had this occurred back in the day, this would have been filed as a terrorist attack by the League of Villains.

"If you're not going to talk then at least look at me, dickhead," he said, switching his weight to the front of his feet.

And so the villain did.

 


 

The hero encampment was an absolute mess. When you first arrived you had attempted to help out, but your offer was declined. You passed by several heroes, quietly greeting those you recognized. Some gave you an encouraging smile, others barely registered you as a living being. Rapidly you had settled into sitting by some teenage girls, absorbing the atmosphere until your soul started to hurt.

At one point the endless cries droning on in the background merged from dozen different voices… to five… to losing complete meaning. Passively observing the frantic movements of humans around you, everything was rather meaningless. Whenever an ambulance arrived to retrieve a patient, they left behind a shaken and upset family to listen to the fading sirens. The worst was that as heroes removed cars from the highway for availability reasons and as the wounded were sent away, the suffering never dipped below a certain threshold. More and more people amassed, grieving and aiding each other in an intimate organic hivemind of humanity. Misery truly loved company.

This is how it remained for hours.

You had a vague idea of what was going on. Snippets of comments were travelling throughout camp. As apathetic as you felt, there was nothing else to do but listen to the speculation and information with those around. Eventually, word spread that the villain had been subdued.

Until you heard from a hero acquaintance that Hitoshi was alive and well, no tidbit eased your fear. When you heard 'Hitoshi' in the same sentence as alive, dizziness overwhelmed you. Once you knew he would return, you retired to a less populated corner and passed out.

Maybe a few minutes or an hour later, you came to with a powerful headache crowning your skull. It made your vision float uncomfortably when you sat up at too fast, so you leaned towards a crate. You were completely out of breath despite having done nothing rigorous.

Even later after you had awakened, Hitoshi found you. Your husband looked incredibly roughed up; his vacation clothes had left him defenseless, his knees and face skinned and cut. As he approached he walked unevenly, avoiding straining his left leg with his weight.

If you stood up, you knew you were going to faint. Thus you stayed down and he joined you with a pained groan, though he did seem pleased to see you. In his own way, of course. The alert expression he had donned that noon was worn out, resetting to its normal resting bitch face. His untamed hair was partly flat against his skin, sticky with sweat, and partly roughed around like bed-hair. He repeatedly pushed his hair away from his face but it returned all the same, tangling in front of his eyes. He was so tired…

"Are you hurting?" you asked, pointing at the white bandage on his cheek.

Hitoshi laid down on the grass beside you, bracing himself on his elbows. Until he reached out for you, you didn't make a move at him. Something finally clicked in you as you nestled against his side, letting him guide you against him. It almost felt wrong, holding your usually touch-averse husband in this suffocated place where so many were without their loved ones.

"The medics patched me up well enough. Getting away with these kind of injuries against someone like that is a reward in itself - some people weren't as lucky. And you listened to me, for once. I expected you to talk back when I told you to run."

You glanced up at him, squinting in the sunlight.

"Well," you started and blinked dumbly, not sure of how to phrase your rebuttal. Right now you had poor recollection of these last few hours, though you could remember being unable to control yourself. "I thought that just this once, you probably knew what you were doing. Also, why are you insinuating I never listen to you?"

You heard him shake his head lightly.

"It's less not listening and more reckless behaviour, to be perfectly honest."

Again, his words swam inside your head without giving you a clear and definite feeling or thought. You curled your leg over his while trying to ignore the clamor around you.

"I want to answer 'Wait until I get used to this and I'll talk back all the time', but I don't want to go through this again, Hitoshi."

He inclined his head to look at you, frowning softly. While he did seem to want to answer, he dejectedly caressed your shoulder with his thumb. Through the thick fog inside your head, you reasoned that he too wished for this to never happen again. Wouldn't that be amazing? An alternative lifestyle, or rather the one that the majority of the population lived by, where you didn't fear that your spouse would die on the job or accidentally reveal where their loved ones live to villains.

This, along with the exhaustion and hunger, made it hard to convey what you were thinking, so you just sighed. "I want to go home."

"I'll get someone to pick us up, but there's something I need to tell you."

 


 

Upon returning home, the puffiness of your eyes had abated and the pulsing ache behind your head matched the one in your chest. As soon as the car stopped, you released yourself from the belt and thanked the driver with a gravelly voice. You hurried into your apartment, keys shaking in your hand. With Hitoshi right behind you, you entered your home to soft mumbling from the living room.

Both of you froze, until you recognized a voice actor's famous drawl. 

"We left the TV on," Hitoshi said quietly, gently pushing you aside and striding into the living room with squared shoulders. You followed him inside when you heard him hum discontently, flipping through the channels. The TV flashed and it conveniently showed the news detailing today's attack. As much as you didn't want to know about it and for Hitoshi to further stress himself up, the rule about no news could not be enforced when family members were involved. It seemed like no matter how much you wanted to shield him from the world, life would find a way to screw specifically with the two of you.

"I can't believe he's done this," you said, feeling your soul evaporate from your body as the camera crew showed the remnants of the elder care facility from a distance. It seemed that all the inhabitants and staff had been evacuated. You wondered if they were still waiting for transport into the city hospitals by the hero encampment where you had stayed. Your car was still left on the road together with those of many others. An overview of the road flicked up, cars pushed to the sidelines for transportation.

"He doesn't exactly fit the usual profile," Hitoshi said.

You shouldn't indulge him, you really shouldn't…

"The usual profile being..?"

"A person in a vulnerable position. Money, work, problems with people… People don't turn into villains for no reason, I think. There's got to be something more guiding them, just like there is for those of us on the lawful side of society."

"Ah. I guess that is true."

It wasn't unthinkable that your brother had been influenced into committing a crime; he was a successful businessman with a throng of acquaintances, a few loyal friends and some noteworthy enemies. Much like Hitoshi, he regarded his vocational duties with serious respect, more than you would tolerate considering that all he made was money for his bosses. Someone out for his position could've done something to him, with the consequences being these.

Your baby brother in this position… You felt sick to your stomach. Was it because of the destruction? Because he never showed signs of weakness or whatever the fuck made him do this? Or did he perhaps just never reveal that part of himself to you?

That couldn't be true though. You two were so close.

"Can we go see him?" you asked, uncertain of how police protocol worked. On the way home, you had listened to the local radio comment about the attack and there seemed to be a high death count. That would probably affect whether or not you could see your brother.

Hitoshi stared blindly into the TV and said, "Will you face him even after everything he's done?"

It equally dumbfounded and conflicted you, it really did. 'Eighteen deaths' said the updated sign beneath the news anchor, increasing the death toll by three since this afternoon. On one hand, he was your brother - of course you'd back him up. That's what your initial instincts said. On the other hand, this visceral, unknown side scared you. The middle ground was curious, morbidly so.

"I saw your brother do some heroes in," Hitoshi said, his lips barely moving. "He ripped their arms and legs into oblivion. If he hadn't been confused after seeing me, I would have ended up like that too."

Slowly, you crept up to Hitoshi and attached yourself to his arm, feeling his muscle tense up. He had all the reason to be stressed. You wouldn't let him go in any case, not after today. You probably lost your brother after this ordeal and you refused to lose your husband, too. With your body chilled, as if submerged in ice cold water, you said, "I want to. I want to believe this wasn't his doing. It doesn't seem likely, though… If he is stuck behind bars I don't want to live without knowing why."

"Right. You talk to him, get to know his motives and hope that the people surrounding you have the tact to not ask you about it."

"Whatever I do, I will lose, then."

 


 

 

Since the villain's identity wasn't broadcasted the rest of your family and friends remained ignorant, aside from your brother's family and your parents. Your sister-in-law was inconsolable, you heard from your mother when you spoke on the phone. On the verge of tears around your parents, somewhat controlled around her children. Because your brother had young children she was keeping it together, but only barely. The entire family was camped out at your parents' place and the only reason you didn't go was because Hitoshi had been credited for suppressing the villain. 

While your sister-in-law supposedly didn't mind, you and Hitoshi agreed that it'd be a bad idea to show up. All you could do was hope that your nephews weren't told, as they adored Hitoshi and vice versa.

During the night, you were unable to sleep. Hitoshi stayed holed up in your bedroom attempting to sleep while you straight up didn't bother trying. Before he left you by the kitchen table with a glass of juice and your laptop you promised him you wouldn't keep reading the news or comments on social media. With a quick kiss he bid you goodnight.

Throughout your misery there was a tiny speck of appreciation for him caring about your mental well-being. You could keep yourself off the internet and play games or whatever tickled your fancy at 2:20AM, but you couldn't stop ruminating.

At this point, you felt like a conspiracy theorist and you were convinced that Hitoshi would deadpan you for this idea.

Honestly, you thought and finished your second cup of coffee, as long as it gets me through this I don't mind going a bit batshit.

Your head was massively pulsating and it felt like you were going crazy with everything. Everything was going to hell and nothing made sense.

How long would this go on?

 


 

At precisely 4:13AM you stumbled into your shared bedroom. 

Boy, did you have a revelation for your husband.

You crawled over your side of the bed to him, who laid sleeping on his side. He awoke before you could touch him with your shaky hands, looking awfully alert and aware for someone with permanent dark bags under his eyes. Hitoshi blinked against the hall lights until he focused on you, frowning.

"I don't think my brother did this out of his own volition," you said as steadily as you could, because you 100% needed him on your side right now.

He stared blankly at you, lips spread slightly. Turning around beneath the covers, he rotated until he could face you properly.

"You know my brother. He wouldn't do this out of his own volition, Hitoshi. Why would someone with a good career and family go on a killing spree? This has to be a mistake."

Heavy subject to breach his sleep with, you understood. Gripping the sheets, you begged him with your eyes to hear you out.

"So you think he's been coerced into this?" he said after some contemplation.

"Yes! Why would he do this otherwise?"

He didn't answer for a while and you started feeling defensive, so you evaded his gaze.

"Not everyone's motives are understandable," he finally said, using his forearm to keep his hair away from his face. "Everyone does whatever they want, regardless of the people around them or whatever they were born with. All I know is that he didn't have to kill humans."

That sounded very different from what he preached earlier to you. If people did what they want and the circumstances were irrelevant, why was the profile he spoke about so important? Fucking meaningless, all of it. You let air escape through your teeth, more like the determined hiss from a rattlesnake than a sigh. All you could try was to convince your silvertongue husband to believe you.

"Hitoshi..!"

You looked at him and got taken aback by his expression, one of profound sadness.

"Baby, I need you to listen to me," his voice like liquid. "There's nothing we can do right now. We just have to wait for justice to work things out."

"You need to hear me out."

"Right. I'll do that later. Now, lay down and get some shuteye."

Too tired to decipher whether he used his Quirk on you or not, you blacked out doused in disappointment.

 


 

Turns out your proposition wasn't positively received by Hitoshi. He seemed pensive about your words but you could tell that he didn't place much weight on them. Indeed, he disagreed strongly that your brother had been forced or otherwise influenced into this. When pressed for reasons, he continued that people could be blackmailed into financial shenanigans to cover them up, but downright murder was out of the question. That would obviously raise hell and was the opposite of being clandestine. His sources were his own experiences. 

The one thing he had no clear answer to was whether his brainwashing could overwrite instructions from other similar Quirks. Seeing him doubt and scratch his head over it gave you some relief. This was your sole consolation.

It wasn't like you forced Hitoshi back to his workplace, but he was adamant on following this up. At least that was a place safer than anywhere else, considering how many pro heroes and side kicks that were in the vicinity. You could just hope that they wouldn't rope him into doing work. If they did, you'd personally show up at the office and leave with your husband and someone's bloody nuts.

While he was away you visited your family, gathered your thoughts and returned home with some of your mom's homecooked food. Everyone was in agreement; something strange was going on with your brother.

When thinking about it, you thought that he must've been pretty damn out of it to not recognize Hitoshi. Hitoshi didn't recognize him because of his get-up, but your brother should have recognized him. Why would he answer out of anger instead of being shocked or confused? Like Hitoshi had said before, if your brother had reacted out of instinct instead of having gotten confused, Hitoshi would've limped away with a missing limb or worse. As much as it terrified you that those people died because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time, you were secretly relieved that he arrived at the right time. However, the rest of the world didn't see it like that.

The news were always droning in the background while you were at home, because if your husband was at work you would also allow yourself to stay up to date with the news. They claimed that the villain most likely could've been neutralized had the heroes reacted faster or some other idiotic attack. You hated the worship that surrounded the heroes because it placed an insurmountable amount of pressure on a relatively small amount of people. The consequences? Overwork, survivor's guilt, high burnout and suicide rates, among many.

Hitoshi had updated you in a dry tone after his prolonged visit to his office. Word spread like hellfire when it came to mass murder and this was no different. With your heart rippling with fear, you listened to him explain that your brother had not been the only villain and that the heroes were currently tracking down the last two. There aren't words to describe the relief that shone through your body, the mere presence of hope aggressively raising your solemn mood. It could still mean that your brother had collaborated, yet you felt that you were right in assuming he was coerced.

Your newfound hope fuelled you and you couldn't wait until you could tell your parents.

After your talk you gloomily realized that you shouldn't have let Hitoshi go in the first place, because his co-worker called him back into the office, saying that the cops were there. Was him being away really worth the information? Perhaps he had been right in saying that knowing everything about the case wasn't worth it.

 


 

Shinsou Hitoshi was accustomed to people gossiping about him. For some reason, people were very interested in his Quirk, the dark bags under his eyes and his ties to UA. When he returned to his office for the second time that day, his people had a newfound fixation with the fact that his brother-in-law had committed a severe crime. Indeed, he hung out behind a corner and overheard his assistants talk about it. His coffee tasted badly, regardless of how much milk he put in it.

"You're the last person I would expect to be here," His manager's voice rang out behind him. Hitoshi actually jumped, almost spilling his cup. His assistants ceased talking. "Yet it cannot be helped. Did you hear from..?" 

"Yes," he said in a monotone voice and peeked across his shoulder, pokerface on. "I heard that the police came here to talk?"

His manager tightened his tie and gave him a tired look. "They're waiting for you."

"I won't keep them waiting further, then." Without further ado, he set off towards his office room, walking briskly past his assistants. If someone could spontaneously explode, they probably would've done it by now.

Hitoshi felt guilty for his manager. Sato would be working overtime to highlight his subjugation of the villain and quench whatever rumors were spreading. Unfortunately the rest of his team participated in that... A little support from his team wouldn't be bad. The public was ruthless in their criticism and he wanted nothing more than go back to his wife. His sick-leave was cut short by your personal tragedy that extended into becoming his personal win and tragedy. Usually when he successfully dealt with villains, he and his team would be thinking about ways to capitalize on it. This time around he would want it buried ASAP, both for his sake and yours.

Although it wouldn't stop after this little talk with the police, he started to seriously consider sick-leave a positive thing. He could certainly use a break from this madness.

 


 

 

"So the police came to question you?" You sat cross-legged on the sofa, spine hunched over and eyes set in shadows. It wasn't the 'seductive kind of deeply-set eyes' he allegedly had but 'I'm tired of everything eyes'. The way your body language had shot from lethargic to alarmed after he announced that he had news made him clench his fists in hopelessness. It was something he had encountered before when dealing with civilians in denial about the deaths of their friends or relatives. Or rather, it was a human quality. Damn if he hadn't thought about his brother-in-law being forced into this by someone with a Quirk like his.

"Yes," he said, leaning back onto his armchair. "It was pretty standard. They asked questions about what happened, his Quirk and how he acted. I'll skip the details…" 

He trailed off, staring off into nothingness as he structured his thoughts quickly. "I kept thinking about what you said before… about my Quirk overwriting other Quirks. I told them I thought that your brother seemed off and not entirely there, just like it is with Brainwashing."

"So it's not impossible?"

That was a hard question he didn't have a factual answer to. If Brainwashing could be undone by hurting the subject, other suggestion-like Quirks could have other conditions for release. The two other villains had, much like the League of Villains members in the past, unregistered Quirks and it'd take a few days to completely figure them out. Until then, this would only be speculation.

"Probably not," he said reluctantly.

Your face relaxed, your shadows becoming less intensive somehow. Hitoshi was content yet uneasy. This was the closest he'd ever come to letting another person influence his observations. Courts experienced problems with witnesses showing bias or remembering things wrong, which could prove important for either incarceration or for the villain to regain their freedom. It surprised him how you could influence him to that extent. No one was immune, but still…

He regarded you seriously, clasping a hand behind his neck. While he was happy that you were relieved by the small chance for your brother to have been coerced, he understood the feeling of wanting to prove everyone wrong and wished you hadn't influenced his thinking.

But that was also why he liked you. Someone who could show him other ways to think. Who didn't like to be put in their place ever so often?

"I don't know how it'll turn out with your brother. I don't want to promise you anything," he said.

You wiggled your head loosely to the sides and hummed. Not quite content, then.

Hitoshi used his upper body strength to lift himself off the armchair and struggled over to you, left leg flaring up in pain. It disappeared once he sat down beside you and you let out an unwilling laugh when he laid down across your lap, his head leaning against your thigh. Your hands combed through his unruly hair and he groaned when you liberated his tangled ends.

This girl…

When it came to you, he simply didn’t know when to stop.

How far would the two of you get with your words and his voice?

Chapter Text

Inside the private hospital room, a designated haven strictly for severely wounded heroes, you single-handedly created a distressing atmosphere for yourself. Reading a fictional novel about a star-struck couple’s journey hadn’t made your evening better. When you encountered it at the library, the title had enticed you and while thumbing the cover, a decisive impression of familiarity doused you. The synopsis reinforced this notion: a couple continuously being torn asunder and reconciled by external forces. That storyline was dime-a-dozen, yet these shallow factors made you bring the book with you.

Whatever familiarity the hardcover had elicited within you, it had been false advertisement. Perhaps your trip to the library had regressed you twenty years, because everything these lovers were was exactly the opposite of you and Enji – young, uncompromising and without commitments. While it in theory would have been amazing to be a couple from your early twenties onward, you knew your younger self required tempering before being able to handle Enji. A lot actually laid in your expectations. Your twenties pummelled your dreamy lens of life into smithereens but as you assembled your life together in your thirties, you would sometimes be surprised to find that certain romantic notions had been correct all along.

Unfortunately, the youthful notion that you were invincible was not one of them.

With your shoulders heavy, you let the book down softly on your lap with an index-finger separating the pages.

Todoroki Enji did not require your constant overwatch. You simply weren’t necessary here; the sleeping man beside you would receive top-notch treatment, with or without your presence. At most, you would adjust his covers whenever he stirred or read him a particularly striking paragraph from your book. According to his supervising doctor, Enji would need extensive rest and rehabilitation after this. At the moment he was in a stable condition and irregularly awoke from sleep, although the windows between the occurrences continuously shrank. Each time he regained consciousness, you felt more relieved. 

He wasn’t a top tier hero anymore. His age had finally caught up to this stubborn mule.

You relaxed for half a second while looking at his stern face and the book slipped between your knees onto the floor. Its hollow thud must have been an unexpected sound for the unconscious Enji, you figured as you retrieved it up with a groan. In here, the monotonous buzzing from the machines and dry sound of you turning pages must have been the only sounds he had been exposed to.

Thinking about it, the only human voices he had passively heard inside this room had been yours, the doctor’s and the nurses’. That you knew of, anyway, but from your fragmented knowledge of the Todoroki family matters you had an educated guess as to why his children probably would not visit him. While he extremely rarely brought up prior events, he shed his intimidating persona when he did speak of the times he treated his youngest badly. Terribly, even. Never did he speak about that without remorse leaving his every breath. You had met Shouto exactly once and you witnessed the dire consequences of Enji’s actions on his face, the swollen and reddened area around his eye. It had disturbed you for two reasons: one, it reinforced Enji’s brutal past; and two, it instilled you a fear that this could happen again, perhaps to you. You had yet to encounter a the fairy-tale concept of a complete personality overhaul.

After many, many weeks of late-night pillow talks, promises and heated discussions, you chose to remain by his side, regardless of what his prior actions. As a woman, you felt deeply sorrowful at Rei’s suffering because that could have been you. As an older person in society, you couldn’t explain his children’s despair and wrath away. At most, you could offer your support - but Enji’s family, with the exception of the daughter, had never desired contact with either of you.

For Enji, you were certain that this had not always been the worst outcome but for the current Enji, it was. However, he never expressed any bewilderment about it.

Whenever his youngest son appeared on TV, he would quietly observe from the adjacent room. He could be silent all he wanted about it, but his giant body wasn’t made for stealth and the floorboards would creak in complaint as he walked away from whatever he was doing. 

His children never needed a restraining order, because their father eventually understood what being ignored meant. Out of respect for this, he had not contacted them. You hoped that his respect stemmed from them being humans rather than his children growing into respectable individuals.

Long story short, the chance that the Todoroki family members showed up was minimal.

You left your book on your seat and went for a bathroom break. Upon returning, you slinked into the room. The plastic thud of the door shutting behind you must have alerted Enji, because he slowly rotated his head in your direction. The skin surrounding his eyes was creased in pain.

“How long have you been awake?” you asked, ready to fetch a nurse in case his pain flared up further.

Enji didn’t seem very clear-headed, though he answered with a thunderous voice: “Long enough to remember what happened.” 

Yeah, he did not seem satisfied at his condition. Although the villains were defeated, he had collapsed shortly after. Considering his age and previous injuries, he did recover rather quickly though. 

“Honestly, we are all in awe over your recovery rate. Are you in pain?”

He sighed and shook his head, as if your proposition was silly. “Don’t bring the entire hospital here - I cannot be arsed with their fiddling. Let me have a moment of peace.”

“You’re in the hospital for a reason...” You padded over to his side, removed the book from your seat and sat down. “I’ve been fiddling over you these last few days and you haven’t minded.”

Okay, you had done less than the nurses but it was the thought that counted.

“You can tell me that after you’re a regular here.”

He was serious but you chuckled anyway. Once again, the relief washed you pure and you couldn’t recall why you had been distressed earlier. It was supremely easy to be courageous when things went your way.

Rain had started to smatter against the window, the gray expanse of the sky only a tad shade darker than the room’s interior. Another sound that Enji hadn’t heard in a while. It would be refreshing to breathe in the petrichor after this season’s dry heat, but only once you both could return home together.

“Have you heard anything from Fuyumi?” he said, his voice dropping in volume. He must have noticed your reluctant expression, for he turned away his face towards the droplet-streaked window. From his profile, his stubble made his jawline and lips more prominent, even more so with this dire expression.

You imagined that Rei would be unhappy at the prospect of visiting her ex-husband in a hospital, considering that he once upon a time put her there. It was the same regarding Natsuo, Toya and Shouto. Fuyumi was the sole Todoroki family member that occasionally called her father, though you heard that her brothers were very hesitant about letting her spend time alone with Enji.

As much as you desired tell a white lie and answer that she visited while he was unconscious, it would be found out sooner or later. In your desperation, you could almost will yourself to create a false memory of her entering the room. It was not your role to play as the diplomatic messenger between them.

“Not while I’ve been here,” you admitted, snaking your hand into Enji’s rough palm. Very gently, he engulfed your hand within his. For once, his hands were rather cold to the touch and you did not attribute this to the absence of his Hellfire.

“I see.”

You guessed that while everyone had their own romantic beliefs of what was realistic when living in this world due to differing experiences, Enji’s truth would be that children who live in terror of their father’s shadow weren’t required to crave after their father’s approval and attention, even after attempted reconciliation.

“I don’t blame them,” he said, his voice slightly muffled by the pillow. “At this point, I should be content with pictures and videos.”

“I can understand your feeli-”

His neck cracked audibly with the speed he turned his head towards you, a mixture of disheartenment and challenging ire folded into his worried wrinkles. “Can you?”

You smacked yourself mentally for your poor word choice.

“I have already told you about my own mess… There are people I will never get to talk to again,” you said, halting his incoming retort with a hand on his chest, “regardless if I beg for their forgiveness or not. Somewhere, someone is walking around with insecurities I carved into them. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I have the sincerity to apologize for it. This is not true for you. You have already done more than they expected, I would say.”

He very slightly retracted from you after the last sentence left your lips, though his hand still held yours firmly.  While his mouth opened and closed for an answer in his despair, you knew he would appreciate your brute honesty later on. It was only when he fell into complete silence that you kicked yourself. Now that you spent more than half a second thinking about it, it was a rather severe thing to say to someone who only just awoke. 

When you could finally leave this hospital together, you knew this subject would be brought up again. And after that, again and again. This would not be something that Enji could overcome without help. Perhaps the romanticized adage ‘time heals all wounds’ would be true for him.

You leaned a bit closer to him, your hair reaching his shoulder. “Once you get out, we can talk more about this. It won’t do you well to ruminate here. We’ll spend some more time together since you won’t be able to work for months with those injuries.”

“It’s not the same without them.”

It never would be, it pained you to agree.

“I know. This is all I am, though.”

Someone interrupted by knocking on the door. It swung open and the supervising doctor greeted you both dispassionately, his presence barely perceivable. He looked like he experienced a tough shift.

Even with his worn-out appearance, doc legitimately tore into Enji about his injuries and recovery. You didn’t want to disturb, so you slipped away into the corridor. The doctor continued his sermon and you couldn’t imagine that Enji was terribly attentive to it. 

You could already tell that he had realized that his dusk was approaching with an abundance of consequences. Not one single fuck-up or mistake went by unpunished. What a cruel existence. Whatever would be required to survive those coming years without inundating yourself in misery, you hope you already had it. Same went for him, though you understood what he needed even less. How would you even begin with helping a person with a problem like this?

Although Enji was full-time yours in the absence of the Todoroki family members, there were crevices and canyons in his life you would never get to understand, much less explore.

Chapter Text

Your boyfriend Keigo patrolled the roads and rooftops of your city during the day, a professional ensuring the citizens’ safety from villains. When he returned back home for the night, you devoted a good 15 minutes before bedtime to scroll endlessly on your phone, an amateur guardian of his Twitter tag. If you were honest, you were more like a trigger-happy vigilante than a righteous guardian. The perfect duo, to be honest.

Was he aware of your nightly sleuthing?

No. Not the fact that you were basically the head of his protection squad, at least.

Because your spare time always went by fast, your bed time approached and you got comfortable under the sheets. You checked for new Tweets under the ‘wingherohawks’ tag… thirst tweets, hate tweets or whatever the world tossed at you. This had been a routine since months back, when Keigo had whined about being unable to DM you during the day. Mind you, it hadn’t even been during the honeymoon period of your relationship; you two had been together for a solid two years now and this hadn’t been a thing prior, keeping things to the usual phone messages. However, as he had risen in hero rank he saw a need to use his social media platform often, so the two of you became much more familiar with Twitter as a result.  

There was a contrasting duality to reading what anonymous people wrote about him. While you loved the thirst tags because of their relatability, though they did make you cringe at times, you silently raged whenever you came across something that could be constructed as hate or pointless negativity. Thus, you had unofficially taken on the Hawks’ Protection Squad leader position – a one person crew reporting whatever nastiness you came across. You thought it made a difference, as he had been visibly more relaxed while browsing during the evening.

This night, your feed was pretty innocent for once. You bit the inside of your cheek, resisting a smile at a recent picture snapped of Keigo patrolling the streets, taken from his profile. It must have been after confronting a villain, as he was pushing back his hair with a dreamy expression on his face. He was intensely photogenic.

Humming, you liked the picture and continued scrolling downwards. 

“Chicken, when are you coming to bed?” you asked loudly, peering over your duvet towards the hallway. A second later, the shuffling of feathers against each other and feet slapping against the floor rang out. Your chicken did not enter the bedroom, standing by the entrance like a vampire awaiting an invitation. Holding a bowl beneath his face with one hand, he fished up some noodles.

“Angel,” he greeted you in a creamy tone and guided his chopsticks his mouth. The dark outlines around his eyes made his eyes seem like those of a cheetah, perceptive and predatory. It was an interesting diversion compared to his general relaxed body language. After slurping the last of the noodles, he wiped his hand over his lips and pointed at you with his chopsticks. “I’ll join you after I’m done eating, I promise.”

There was nothing to read online… so you were bored. This one day, you would let him break the rules of the house. “I allow you to eat in our bed now, so you can sit here.”

Keigo did a double-take and pursed his lips. “That’s not suspicious at all . What are you up to?”

“Nothing, I just want your company,” you said and padded the empty, cold space by your side next to the bed’s edge. “Your fat ass can fit here, don’t worry.”

You let out an entertained howl as he feigned a hurt expression, concealing his cheeks and eyes. “I was just about to say that you were going to kill me with cuteness someday.”

“I am cute the majority of the time and I’m pretty certain I’ll be the death of you. Be nice to me, Takami Keigo, or you’ll regret it.”

He whined and stumbled inside, shooing you tenderly to the side. Sitting down, he continued to eat. 

“What are you eating?” You rotated until you were on your side, your stomach pressed against his back.

“Leftovers from yesterday, since you didn’t devour everything. Do you want some?”

“Eh, I already brushed my teeth. Thank you for the offer.” You would 100% regret saying that later. That would be a problem for future Y/N, though.

You could hear his lips curve upwards  while answering. “Suit yourself.”

For a good twenty minutes, because Keigo never ate like a starving man, you caressed his back while he made his way through the bowl. Occasionally you exchanged quips but you didn’t demand anything other than his presence next to you.

You were content.


When Keigo had completed his night routine he crawled up in bed next to you, encroaching into your space.

“Come here,” he whispered, his voice fuzzy in the darkness. Rolling over, you nestled your head on his arm, his biceps warm against your cheek. When he drew his wing above your body and upwards, it was kind of like resting inside a tent. Feeling his silky feathers against your arm was very pleasant. With great care, he adjusted himself into comfort.

Suddenly recalling that you had to turn on your alarms, you quickly brought up your phone and did so.

“I’ve never been this turned off in my life. Bringing out your phone when you’re talking to another human being.”He stroked stray hair-strands out of your face with his free hand, twining them behind your ear, speaking to you with affection despite the harsh words.

“Unless you want to wake up at 10AM, I have to turn on the alarm.”

“To be honest, I’d love that.”

“Same.” A notification popped up and out of curiosity you tapped it. Then you read it . The Tweet that made you peace out and put your phone away. However, you refused to live with that question blistering inside you without affecting Keigo. “Chicken. I have a weird question for you.”

He hummed in a positive manner, so you proceeded.

“You’re human, right?”

Keigo ceased brushing your hair, his fingers remaining at the tip of your ear. “Well, you’ve seen me naked. You can be the judge of that.”

“I would personally say yes to that question. You’ve got hawk wings, though.”

“I wonder where this is going to end…”

“Just trust me. Look, if you’re mostly human and your wings are hawk wings, do your wings taste like human or fowl?” You didn’t want him to roll over because of your borderline creepy question, so you grasped his shoulder and pulled yourself to his naked chest.

“That’s not the first time I’ve heard this question. Damn, I wouldn’t complain if it was the last time.”

Without thinking, you burst out, “So you don’t know the answer to the question?”

“My future bride,” he said and kissed the top of your head, “consider what you just implied.”

“C’mon, self-cannibalism isn’t that bad. Hold on, what do you mean with future bride?” Whatever tiredness had settled into your limbs dispersed. You weren’t sure if he was kidding or not because his tone had been neutral, as if he were stating a fact.

“Please, stop struggling and go to sleep.”

“Keigo, what did you mean with future bride? Did you say that just to throw me off?” You brought yourself up on an elbow and showed your canines before digging your teeth into his shoulder. It was a timid bite, not worthy of the orchestrated ouch he exclaimed.

“You’re actually a cannibal in disguise!”

“That’s hardly kinkier than what we usually do. Elaborate on the bride thing.”

 “Heh, you’ll find out someday. If you’re nice to me, of course.” Keigo’s chest vibrated against your forehead as he laughed lowly.

None of you had brought up marriage before. It made you ponder whether he was pulling your leg or if he had been thinking about it. Would he be that cruel? Perhaps you would deserve it after the coming question.

“Chicken,” you said, your voice unsteady with laughter. “You have an unlimited amount of feathers, right? Have you ever thought of making dakimakuras containing your feathers ? I think they would sell well. Hell, I would probably even get one myself.”

You must have broken him because he didn’t move nor speak for a good 30 seconds.

“I’ll make you one for your birthday,” he eventually said, sounding somewhat thoughtful.

“Seriously?!”

“No. You’ve got the real thing here ,” he slid his free hand down your arm and brought your hand to his chest, “and you’re asking for a dakimakura? You’re breaking my heart, Y/N.”

Low-key disappointed, you drew your nails against his skin. You enjoyed how his breath quickened as you drew them between his chest muscles to the top of his stomach, yet not further. “You’re a tease. You’re absolutely horrible to me, Keigo.”

Your chicken didn’t seem interested in trading retorts anymore, so you shut up and awaited what would happen next.

Chapter Text

Taking a shortcut through the still and untouched forest sucked, Katsuki veering off from your usual route into it without a word. Like a baby duck struggling after mama duck, you followed his literal footsteps. You bounced from leg to leg, fitting your boot inside the larger imprints he left behind. Snow had fallen during the night, evident by everything being covered in white powder. It could have been the secret palace of a drug lord, snow adorning the branches and dead vegetation causing gentle billows beneath the matte glow.

“Do we have to walk through the snow? We could’ve taken the normal way,” you complained, glaring down at your burning thighs. Even with Katsuki paving the way, it was quite the workout.

“Why are you complaining?” Katsuki said, white breath trailing after him as if he were a dragon exhaling smoke. He shuffled through the thick snow layer with powerful strides and arms reinforcing the motions. “You’re not the one plowing the way.”

His dumb answer fired you up. In short succession, you trampled into the indentations until he was half a step ahead. You smacked his behind with whatever force you could muster, the glove softening the slap. “I don’t care, you brute. This is a workout routine I did not want.”

Katsuki had the nerve to send you an indignant glare over his shoulder, nose bridge scrunched. “Don’t follow next time then, dumbass.”

“You know that’s not an option.”

If he went somewhere, you’d tread in his footsteps regardless of where you would end up. Whether he knew this or not, you would never let him out of sight. As long as his back was visible, you’d keep moving towards it.

“Everything’s a choice, quit bitching.” Katsuki grasped a low-hanging branch obstructing the way and bent it to the side as he continued onwards. He waited until you were past it to release it, branch swooping to its original position. Without breaking a sweat, he kept going.

Your lungs sparkled with pain, every inhalation bringing raw, crispy air through your airways. You hid your mouth and nose beneath your winter jacket’s collar, alleviating the pain by breathing out hot air.

Katsuki hadn’t noticed that you had stopped, so you scooped up snow and hardened it between your fingerless mittens into a nice ball. Aiming carefully, you threw it and hit him square between the shoulders. It left traces of white on his black double-breasted jacket. He stopped in his tracks and ditched his hands into his pockets.

“Stop walking so fast,” you said, voice muffled behind cloth. “I’m about to die.”

He turned around, his cheeks reddened from the cold. “Power through it.”

You bent down and created yet another snowball, padding it within your palms.

“If you throw that, I’ll return the favour,” Katsuki warned, eyebrows shooting up in a quick display of aggression.

Yeah, yeah… Whatever you say, blondie. You’re bluffing, you thought. He genuinely did use everything at his disposal whenever he felt someone challenged him, including you, so you could be on thin ice depending on his mood.

“Your aim is trash,” you outright stated in a matter-of-fact tone, deadpanning through the cockiness inside you.

Once he started moving towards you, you instantly regretted everything and screamed, because his full-toothed grin and low posture exuded confidence.

Fuck this shit, he was going to kick your ass to outer space. You backtracked your footsteps in a frantic dash, ducking beneath branches and sliding across icy parts.

“Why are you running?” he bellowed. “I’m gonna fucking destroy you! Die !”

His taunts caused your screaming to increase in pitch and you didn’t turn around to see whether it amused him or not. This game made you feel thrill and actual fear.

“Fight, Y/N! Fight me, you coward!”

NO !” Your screaming caught in your throat as your body jerked backwards, reflexes trying to keep you upright. You flailed around and hit the ground, fall broken by your thick jacket.

The crunchiness of footsteps ceased and a pair appeared in your field of view. Katsuki slid down onto his knees and snatched your hands, joining them behind your back in an automatic, trained movement.

“Gotcha.” 

“I’m sorry!” you pleaded through your nervous laughter, thrashing your arms against his solid grip. It didn’t hurt but you wouldn’t get away without his approval.

“I’m sure you are.”

The pressure from your wrists eased and you drew your arms forward, pressure replaced by him collapsing his upper body over your back, your bodies forming a T. You groaned when he put one elbow on your lower back. Your breathing was somewhat constrained.

“Heavy!” you complained, clumsily hitting him with an open hand on his side.

Katsuki barked out a laugh. “Should’ve thought of that before you hit me with a snowball, lightweight.”

You heard him dig around in the snow behind you. His glove presented a handful in front of you and you attempted to shield your exposed neckline with your arms.

“Sucker,” he said and forced his hand between your chest-bone and shirt, snow spreading across your chest and into your bra. You shrieked in surprise from the cold and you instinctively brought your hands up to dig out the snow. That earned you another fistful in the nape, Katsuki pressing it down between your shoulder blades, the snow absolutely burning against your warm skin. He didn’t relent as you struggled beneath him, howling and shrieking. At last he rubbed snow all over your hair. When he felt like he’d had enough retribution, he pushed himself off you, breathing suddenly a simple task.

“It burns,” you said, throwing off your gloves to remove whatever snow hadn’t melted. “You got snow into my bra , Katsuki.”

He settled down again, his knees digging into the ground.

“Next time, I hope you’ll think twice before trying being a jackass,” he said, roughly brushing snow away from your hair. 

You crawled up into sitting position, sneering at him. He scoffed at you, scooting closer.

Katsuki flicked his index and middle fingers in an inward motion, his gloves making the movement seem graceless. “Sit up, Y/N. I’ll get it out for you.”

You bent your head towards him and he untangled the snow clumps from your messy hair. Soon the water was absorbed by your clothes and your hair gathered into a terrible looking mess.

“It’s unfair that I can’t fight you on equal terms,” you said, trying to comb your hair with numb fingers.

“That’s what everyone says.”

You opened your mouth in mock surprise, drawing your brows together. “Such hubris.”

Katsuki lowered himself onto his back, contemplating the sky above.

“One day I’ll let you win,” he said and shut his eyes. “That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

“I don’t want your pity win.” You gave up on your hair with a sigh. Once you got home, you’d have to brush it properly or it’d be a bitch to untangle later. 

“That’s a good attitude.”

“I get enough pity from everyone else by dating you, so I don’t need any from you.”

You squealed when he thrashed up towards you and clamped his teeth on your thigh, delicately biting down. He let go, resting his cheek against you. It was impossible to resist giving his hair a few light tugs.

“Pity, huh?” he said and rested a hand on your opposite thigh. “The peasants can say all they want. In the end, I’m the one who got the girl. They can stay salty for all I care.”

“If I had by chance ended up with someone else, would I have been a peasant too?”

“Don’t kid yourself.” Katsuki’s hands slid around your waist, joining together behind your back. “That would never have happened. I’m the only one that can handle you; you’re too damn crazy for just about anyone else.”

Your body bloomed in pangs of heat, your chest and the pit of your stomach aching in a pleasant way. Hoping he wouldn’t see your giddy smile, you brushed some snow off his back. “Same goes for you.”

“Damn right, baby.”

Your waist protested when he released you and you felt like this moment had passed by too fast. The wet cloth rubbed uncomfortably against your skin as you also got up. “I’m cold.”

Katsuki eyed your front, snow lodged everywhere. 

Yes, that was all you, you napkin, you commented inside your head.

“You should head back home,” he said, grasping your cheek with his fingers and tugging gently. Reluctantly, he added, “I’ll get the stuff we need myself.”

“I told you before, I’m not going anywhere without you.”

His face became blank, an empty mirage reflecting your own serious one. For some reason, you perceived glow of admiration in his eyes.

“Yeah,” he said, his voice slightly thicker than before, “I know.”

 

Chapter Text

Marriage was a milestone you yearned to reach, Denki learned. You weren’t the talkative kind of girl that served this knowledge on a silver platter; indeed, your love language and general personality made you favour subtle actions and indirect hints. Those wedding magazines you strategically stored where he would pass by during the day and you absentmindedly leaving your browser pages on engagement rings and gowns up, it spoke volumes to him.

Most telling was when you returned home from a bachelorette party, your eyes glimmering along with the glitter powder on your face and clothes.

This started a good while ago, so you must have attended several bachelorette parties and purchased many magazines before he understood your intentions.

Denki was pretty certain that whatever sum you had spent paled in comparison to what he had dropped on this bomb-ass ring. Whenever he caught the numbers on the receipt he would stop breathing but it was the correct choice.

You only got married once in your life after all. If you were lucky.

He left the jewelry store with a velvet-clad box before he had simulated a plan inside his head. ‘His darling would receive what she desired’ was his original thought and it would be a wasted opportunity not to make it fun and exciting.

How did you make an engagement memorable?

The internet had interesting ideas that sounded worthwhile and settled on one.

Denki’s first few attempts at snapping pictures of him exposing the rings inside the velvet box while you weren’t watching were nerve-wrecking. It started out with him discreetly sheltering the box in his palm and he quickly hid it as he feared his sweat would stain the fabric. When it became apparent that you were completely unsuspecting, he would take risks and interact with you as he posed for the camera.

Because he was not a complete idiot, he saved the photos on his phone instead of sending them. It would 100% leak to you if someone you knew in common saw it.

Your elegant black rose gold ring remained unknown from all of mankind except himself. And the salesman and the producers.

 


 

One evening, everything seemed right and his impulse control failed. Denki had been holed up on the couch when you had sneezed, reminding him that you were still in the apartment. He blessed you and followed your hands with his gaze while they glued a photo onto yet another scrapbook you were fussing over. You were focused, tongue gliding over your lower lip.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a scrapbook with all your pre-engagement and engagement photos? He would be awaiting the final product with much anticipation, enough that the fingers around the box in his pocket clawed around it with great intentions.

Nodding his head to himself, Denki felt his ancestors were all guarding over him and his future. “What do you think about marriage, Y/N?”

“It’s pretty funny,” you said, a giggle adorning your otherwise even voice. You carefully blew on the page, those heart-shaped glitter things escaping over the dinner table. Whatever you were making, it gave you a prideful look on your face. “I have been to five weddings this year and three bachelorette parties without thinking about my own wedding plans.”

That was not the answer he was expecting. Denki shuffled his hand through his hair, masking his dumbstruck face. “What were those wedding magazines for?”

“For planning other people’s weddings, certainly not my own. Trust me, I would let you know if I were planning our wedding.”

This was a terrible idea , Denki berated himself and released his iron-grip on the engagement ring box. In an attempt to salvage some dignity, he reasoned that anyone could make this mistake. This was not an outright rejection - you merely needed to meditate and reach the conclusion that he was the right man for you.

He could definitely help you out with that.

Straightening out his shirt, Denki launched himself up from the couch. The moment he turned around to face you, you ceased all movements and nodded towards his waist.

“What’s that in your pocket?” you said, brushing your fingers against your palms.

To take inconspicuous photos all day, he kept the box in his jeans pocket and usually concealed the box contouring beneath a longer shirt. Today his T-shirt reached just below his belt, leaving his pockets in plain view. Unceremoniously and belatedly, he smacked his hand over his pocket.

Denki thought he had outgrown his idiot phase and it severely wounded his self-esteem that he suspected that it was a permanent condition.

You scrunch your nose in disgust. “Have you seriously started smoking?”

Oh? Another misunderstanding?

“Yes.” The answer was fake but the shame that overcame his shoulders and eyes were not. Exploiting your misunderstanding to draw your attention away from marriage and engagements felt stupid.

“Denki, think of your health and throw them away.” Your hair fell around your face once you continued with your scrapbooking.

He blinked and a dense feeling of doom appeared in his chest. This was surely not the universe’s way of telling him that getting hitched was a mistake, was it? The walk to the trash bin below the sink was anguishing and he genuinely considered the option that he was being fucked with.

It did not diminish his supreme and glowing love for you but it did slow down his plans of getting married in a hurry.

He opened the trash bin lid and pretended to throw something into it. The moment he shut the lid closed your eyes burned through his soul.

“Are you an addict already? I didn’t hear you throw the smokes away.”

With an upset sigh, Denki fished up the expensive box and ditched it loudly into the trash bin. It camouflaged well against the plastic and paper surrounding it.

Once you left the room, he would retrieve it. Whether he would ever regain the courage to ask you to marry him, he was not certain.