It works like this: you get a memory of your soulmate. It's a memory of something that hasn't happened yet, a vague memory that consists of impressions. It's the memory of a fight when you've never fought, it's the memory of warm pies on a summer Sunday afternoon when you've never baked.
You get the memory when you're old enough to understand that it's not a memory that has happened yet. The memory can change, it's intangible as fog. Nothing is fixed, not even soulmates. Memories change, and soulmate memories are no exception.
(You decide that you don't want to go to that concert. The memory changes.
You take the right when there's a villain attack down the road. The memory changes.
You pass the exam. The memory changes.
You fail the exam. The memory changes.)
Bakugou Katsuki's memory comes when he's seven years old. His first memory is one of red hair and spiky teeth. It's just a vague impression, but he just knows that in his memory he's fighting with his soulmate against enemies.
Like all things in life, Bakugou Katsuki grows up and changes. When he's eleven years old, his memory changes.
If the first one was unusually clear and stable for a soulmate memory, the second one is the opposite. The new memory is as elusive as a flame in the rain. This memory is a smile and the colour pink.
Bakugou Katsuki shrugs off the change and decides that it doesn't matter if the memory is almost impossible to place. He'll find his soulmate because he's supposed to be the best, and a paltry soulmate memory won't defeat him.
The third soulmate memory changes the day after the UA entrance exams. It's not as clear as the first one, but it's not as shaky and elusive as the second one.
It's a fight, again, but this time he's fighting his soulmate.
There's smoke all around them, and all he can get is an impression of floating. Something is floating and his soulmate is out there, somewhere.
The first memory to come true is the second one: Raccoon eyes introduces herself on the first day of lessons.
Bakugou's life doesn't change – he's not her soulmate anymore.
The second memory to come true is the first one, the most recognizable one. USJ is a turning point, in more than one way.
Shitty hair could've been his soulmate in another life.
But in this he isn't so he becomes just the best friend. The one who understands his moods, the one that he can't leave behind.
The third memory comes true when he's fighting in the Sports Festival.
Not the setting he expected to find his soulmate in, but he's glad, nonetheless. His soulmate is supposed to be strong, just as strong as him.
He hadn't gone into the match expecting to find his soulmate. He was there to win, not to find love.
Round cheeks surprises him, almost knocks him out. That's a surprise, sure, but not as surprising as the split-second during which his soulmate memory comes true.
It's in the middle of their duel when there are dust and smoke in the air, and she's hiding. The floating is her jacket, a decoy for him. The floating is her hand that almost touches her back, and he doesn't float away just because his reflexes are better than hers.
When their match is over, Bakugou retrieves Uraraka's jacket and returns it to her. She's in the waiting room, staring at her phone on the table.
On the screen, he can see the last digits of a phone number.
"It was a good match, Round cheeks." He wonders if he should tell her about the soulmate memory.
She gives him a fake smile. "Yeah, it was."
The silence in the room stretches until he can't take it anymore. Her memory hasn't come true yet, that much is evident.
The memory is for you. It's the defining moment for your relationship with your soulmate. And Bakugou knows that he shouldn't speak up. Yet.
And so he leaves without a glance backwards or a goodbye. Someday he and Uraraka will sit down and talk. But today is not that day.
He never notices the first tears that fall from Uraraka's eyes.
(A floating jacked. A stretched hand, fingertips centimetres from his back.
The acrid smell of smoke and the taste of dust on your tongue.)
Her soulmate memory changes a lot. That's not unusual, nor it's unusual that she feels that it's always the same person in her memory.
She has gathered some things from her memories: her soulmate is fire. The kind of fire you can't tame, the kind of fire that's dangerous and fascinating at the same time.
Her final memory, the one that comes true, is as unexpected as all the other ones.
It settles down in her second year at UA, and it's not long before she starts connecting dots.
Still, the memory is so unexpected she can't connect the final dots.
The memory happens on a regular Friday afternoon during her sparring match with Bakugou.
She had suspected he was her soulmate, but she had never dared voice her suspicions out loud.
Their spar is challenging, as always. Afterwards, she tries to crack some jokes to relieve the tension in the small gym, but it doesn't help. (Sure, she can see the smile in Bakugou's eyes, but she won't consider it a victory until he laughs out loud.)
And then she remembers the worst joke she has ever heard. It's a bad idea from the start, but she has no control over her mouth anymore. She blurts out "You're probably getting tired of all the gravity jokes."
Bakugou looks at her with an expression that's a mix between his usual constipated expression and a confused one. "Eh?" is the incredibly intelligent answer she gets.
She sighs because the punchline was supposed to be ‘But you keep falling for the same jokes anyways'. She's getting tired of always keeping the conversation with him up, of being the only one to talk.
"Sorry," she adds and throws the last of her things in her bag.
"What are you apologizing for, Round face?" he asks, suddenly very serious.
"Nothing important." It's not like he likes her puns and jokes, anyways.
"Oi. I'm serious. Tell me what's wrong, you've been weird lately." His tone is demanding. He has crossed the small space and is now standing in front of her, arms crossed and a scowl on his face.
"Nothing, Bakugou." How do you explain to a person that you may have a small crush on them? Where do you start? The task gets even more complicated when the person in question is one Bakugou Katsuki, King Explosion Murder.
"If there's nothing that's bothering you, good. Want to do one last spar?" His expression doesn't match his words, but she's not one to back down.
"Sure! Let me just-" She doesn't manage to finish the sentence because as soon as ‘sure' left her lips, he launched himself straight at her.
And then they're sparring, just like every other Friday. Well, almost.
The air around them is different today. There's electricity crackling around them that has taken over the room. In the air hangs a sense of inevitability, the feeling that destinies will be shaped by this match.
It's over rather quickly for their standards. Bakugou has her pinned on the mats, and then she does something unexpected.
She frees her left hand and starts tickling him as if they were kids.
And Bakugou - serious, focused, driven Bakugou - laughs.
She's never heard him laugh like that. It's her memory, she realizes.
Afterwards, that's the only explanation she'll be able to give for her actions.
In a split-second decision, she pecks him on the lips.
His dumbfounded expression is something that she'll remember forever.
"What the hell, cheeks?" he splutters out as if he had no idea what had just happened.
She smiles at him. "I've been wanting to do this for quite some time. Wanna go on a date?"
He splutters some more but settles down when he realizes Ochako's waiting for an answer. He grumbles out something she doesn't understand, before saying in an unusually quiet voice "Yeah. I'd like that."
(A warm laugh. Calloused hands that are pinning her wrist.
The sweet smell of burnt sugar.)