Izuku was a mess, to put it lightly. All morning, since the first hint of the tail-tell itching appeared on his inner wrist he had been fighting the oncoming panic bubbling in his chest. Ever the anxious person, on the best of days, he was no match for the sheer weight of what today would reveal.
“Deku… You need to calm down. You’re working yourself up again.” Uraraka’s voice came from the speaker on his phone. Her tone calm and patient, surprising for how many times she and Iida had to remind Izuku to breathe.
Much like the appearance of Quirks, the origin or reasoning of the names that would appear were unknown. Some assumed it was evolution taking hold, pairing people up based on optimal genetic combinations to produce strong offspring. While in the early years, that theory seemed to stand up to reason, the common matching of same-sex couples diminished the validity of that theory. Another had been whispered among the common masses. No scientific or research backing to support the idea, but it quickly gained popularity. Soon the names that appeared, seemingly at random became associated with soulmates. Two people who were destined to be together by fate, brought together in a simple and small ritual.
It seemed like something out of a fairytale. Something too good to be true. But in a world where nearly everyone had a superpower of some sort, was it really that far out of the realm of possibilities?
The tingling itch, not unlike that of a mosquito bite, or rash, was the only tell the name was ready to appear. It became a rite of passage for high schoolers. Sometime in the years of studying, the name of their soulmate would appear. Teenagers would eagerly wait for the moment their wrist would begin pulsing. Excitement buzzing amongst friends as the black letters would slowly appear over the course of a few hours. The names, much like love itself, were unpredictable.
The week had been a difficult one for Midoriya. Hero training had all but worn the boy into the ground, their teacher seeming to have it out for his troublesome class. Every day he would drag himself back home, shower, and toss himself onto his bed, only to wake up and do it all again. He loved hero training; he really did. But Izuku was looking forward to a relaxing weekend. A chance to rest his screaming muscles, catch up on studying he had missed, and avoid the other issue in his life, Kacchan.
every opportunity he had to remind Midoriya how useless he was. Be in the classroom, training grounds, or on the walk home. Kacchan hadn’t been this horrible to him in years, not since middle school. What modicum of respect he seemed to earn from the boy he so admired had disintegrated. In one short week the ever-present voice inside Izuku’s head that berated him for everything had taken on a different tone. It was deeper, gravely, and low in his head. Like it wasn’t bad enough his brain was hellbent on beating down his self-esteem, it needed to remind him that his former friend felt the same way.
Izuku needed a quiet weekend more than anything. But fate had other plans when he woke to a tingling feeling on his wrist that refused to go away no matter how hard he scratched it. It didn’t take long after waking from the persistent itch for Midoriya to figure out what was happening. Before his mind could run off with the number of horrible possibilities, he had called his two best friends. They had spent the last few hours talking the poor boy down, reminding him to breath, ground himself, and other techniques Izuku had learned in order to quell his growing anxiety problem.
“Midoriya, take a deep breath.” Iida followed up. He did as he was told, matching the count his friend provided. In for four, holding for five, and out for six. His friends were truly amazing people. He was lucky to have them. They were able to break through the spiral of emotions Midoriya got stuck in and managed to pull him back to reality, as long as they were around that is.
“T-thank you.” He chuckled, once he had managed to lower his heart rate once more. “I’m sorry. I’m sure there are a thousand things you two would rather be doing with your Saturday.” His friends had always been able to jump to his rescue at school, or the few times the three would hangout outside of classes or training. But this was the first time they needed to talk him down via phone call. Iida was out of town with his family, and Uraraka was stuck at home, sick from overusing her quirk that week. Otherwise the two would have been at Izuku’s apartment the moment he called that morning in near hysterics.
“Deku! I swear to All Might, if you apologize one more time, I am going to force you to write my essay for Present Mic!” While the bubbly girl had endless amounts of patience for her friend’s mental struggles, she had no tolerance for his self-deprecating attitude.
“Uraraka is correct. You are our friend. And Friends are there for each other in their times of need.”
“You were there for us. It’s our turn to repay the favor.” Izuku smiled at the memory.
In hindsight it should have been obvious. Midoriya was at Uraraka’s house, holding the girl’s hand while she nearly vibrated in anticipation. In his other hand he held his phone, where he was texting an equally worked up Iida. He wished he was able to be in two places at once in order to comfort and support both of his friends, but he was only one person. Uraraka had called him first, having arrived at her apartment when Iida had called him.
Izuku had managed to calm the two, distracting them with stories about heroes and the analysis he had been gathering on their classmates. It was easy for him to ramble on and on while the sensation on his friend’s wrists came to a head.
‘I can’t do it. I can’t look’ Uraraka said, refusing to remove the bandage she placed on her wrist to keep from checking the name every five seconds. The names were never legible until the irritating sensation was gone.
‘You don’t have to. We can just keep sitting here.’ Izuku said. He was slightly worried; Iida had stopped texting him several minutes ago. He wanted to call him but knew Uraraka needed his support more. The poor girl was pale and clammy. It was almost like she had overused her quirk. Izuku had left her side only to gather a trash can, in the event her nerves gave out. At least it was one less thing to worry about.
‘I know… I just…’ She sighed. ‘I just need to do it. Be brave.’ And with that she tore off the bandage. ‘Tenya Iida’ stood out against the fair skin of her wrist. The two sat, staring at the name in confusion. It wasn’t unheard of for people to know their soulmates already, but it wasn’t particularly common. There were seven billion people in the world, what were the chances that they would have already met their soulmate, let alone be close friends with them? The excitement was beginning to grow in Izuku when a sharp knock at the door broke the silence the two had created.
Robotically, Uraraka moved to the door, revealing the huffing figure of Iida. The usually composed boy was sweating profusely, his hair flopping into his face, glasses askew. In his hands, a bouquet of roses. Realizing his friends were fine, Midoriya snuck out the backdoor to give them some privacy.
“I guess you’re right.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m just... I feel like I’m way worse about this than you two were.”
“It’s perfectly normal to be nervous, Midoriya.”
“And you’ve fought villains, like actual criminals before. Finding out the name of your soulmate should be a cakewalk after that.”
But it wasn’t. Midoriya couldn’t help but fret. What if his soulmate was disappointed in him? He was strong for sure, but he wasn’t the smartest, or the most attractive person. He wasn’t anything like Todoroki or Kacchan. All he really had going for him was wanting to be a hero. But what if his soulmate didn’t want to be with a hero. It was a dangerous job. There was a huge possibility that he wouldn’t come home. Hero’s died in the field all the time. While Midoriya had made his peace with the idea long ago, he was perfectly fine sacrificing his life in exchange for someone else’s, what if his soulmate wasn’t okay with it. It was unfair to ask someone, a potential stranger to accept that.
Or worse, what if his soulmate was a villain? He couldn’t possibly be with someone who didn’t share his values, someone who broke the law. Or someone who did horrible things to people. Toga’s face flashed into his mind, twisting his already unsteady stomach. There was no way he could do this. It was too much.
“-eku? DEKU! Answer me! Iida!” Uraraka sounded absolutely distraught.
“Darling, do you have his mother’s phone number? Maybe we should call her?”
“I-i-i-ii’m here. I’m fine.” How long had he been ‘out’ this time? “I’m s-sorry...”
“Gosh darn it, Deku!”
“I’m… we’re worried about you. Maybe you should tell your mother, so you can have someone physically there with you. Uraraka and I might not be enough support.” Izuku thought it over.
“She’s not… not the best at keeping me calm.” He laughed a bit. “We’re a little too similar. You know I love my mom, but she has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time…” the painful memory of his mother holding him while she cried after he had been diagnosed quirkless came to mind. “R-really guys… you’re helping me a lot. I just…. I need to get a grip on my thoughts.”
“You need to stop spiraling when you realize your thoughts are getting out of control. Remember what Recovery Girl told you?”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“No, I’m just being silly. Letting my mind come up with things that probably won’t happen.” Probably, but not for sure.
“You know we’re both here with you, no matter what, right?”
“Yeah I know… I’m really thankful to have you two as friends.” A beep came from his phone, a text message popping up on screen.
“Give me a second, I got a text message… It’s from Kirishima… Weird.” The redhead was friendly to everyone, but Izuku didn’t think the two were really close enough to be texting casually.
“So did I”
“Me too…. He’s asking if I've heard from Bakugou?” Izuku’s eyes widened. Had Kirishima texted their entire class?
“I don’t even think I have Bakugou’s number.” Iida commented.
“He doesn’t really give it out. I’m pretty sure I only have it because his Mom gave it to me… I hope nothing’s wrong” He sent Kirishima a response, apologizing. As the message sent his phone chirped, alerting him of his low battery.
“Puh-lesase, It’s Bakugou we’re talking about.”
“She’s right, Midoriya. Bakugou is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. He likes mountain climbing, correct?”
“Yeah? He goes nearly every weekend.” Izuku ducked under his desk to find the cord to his charger, the thing had a habit of slipping under the desk.
“Well there we go! He probably doesn’t have service.”
“You’re probably right.”
“I’m always right! And you know what, Deku? You’re going to get the second-best soulmate of all time! I swear it!”
“Uhhh… Second best?”
“Well…” Uraraka trailed off. “I mean… I already have the best soulmate…. So…” Sputtering about PDA from Iida came through the phone while Midoriya laughed. His hand moved to the bandage on his wrist, picking idly at the edge. While his friends went back and forth Izuku noticed the absence of irritation on his wrist. The constant itch had been driving him up a wall all morning, but now… it was gone. That could only mean…
“Guys….” He called out, hearing the waver in his voice. “It stopped.” He knew he didn’t need to elaborate.
“Midoriya, take a breath. Before you do anything, you need to breathe.” He nodded, taking a few of his deep breaths. It didn’t stop the tremor in his hands, but it did help him feel more grounded.
“I-I’m going to look.” He said trying to be brave, forcing a smile on his face like his Mentor always did.
“Take your time, Deku. We’re right here.” Facing his wrist downward he slowly unraveled the cloth bandage. Layer by layer the fabric pooled on the ground by his feet. Soon his wrist was laid bare. He stood staring at it, willing himself the bravery to simply flip his hand over. That’s all it took. But here he was.
“I d-d-on’t think I c-c-can do this…”
“That’s okay. You don’t have to look.”
“He’s right. We can keep talking for a while. Just because it appeared doesn’t mean you have to see it.”
“You can wait till you’re ready.” Izuku nodded, knowing his friends couldn’t see him. Their words helped. It took the pressure off of the moment. It was his choice to see his soulmate’s name. Fate may be the one to set things in motion, but it is human’s job to see it through.
“I’m ready.” His voice was much steadier this time. In a single breath he flipped his wrist.
The whimper that managed to escape his throat was so pathetic, had Midoriya been in the right frame of mind he would have been embarrassed at his capability to create such a noise.
“Deku?” Uraraka questions, concern clear in her voice. No matter how hard he tried, Midoriya couldn’t get his mouth to form the words.
“Who is it? Do you know them?” His hands were shaking, tears overflowing his eyes, blurring the name inked on the inside of his wrist. This was horrible. The worst possible outcome. Out of seven billion people in the world, Izuku got paired with the one person who hated him more than anything.
“K-k-k-a-a-a-“ he tried to voice it, but air was caught in his chest.
“Midoriya, whoever it is, we will deal with it. But you need to calm down. You need to breathe!” But breathing was impossible.
‘Bakugou Katsuki’ stood in black ink, stark against the fair skin of his wrist. Kacchan was going to kill him when he found out.
“Oh… no…” Was all Uraraka could manage.
“H-he’s going t-t-o k-k-kill me!”
“Well… that’s… difficult.” Iida coughed to clear his throat, an attempt to regain his composure. “But we will deal with it. As the class president I will see to it that no harm will come to you on school grounds.” Before Midoriya could even begin to feel safe by his friend’s assurance an incoming call flashed across his screen.
“Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!!!”
“H-e’s calling! K-kach-chan’s c-calling me!”
“Maybe you should pick up? I mean… It’s not like he can physically hurt you over the phone? Maybe you can get the worst of it out of the way?” Uraraka had a good point. He was safe in his bedroom. The worst Kacchan could do was scream at him. Getting some of the raw anger out right away could help the next time he saw the fiery blond in person.
“Y-yeah… I’ll c-call you guys b-back…”
“Talk to you soon.” And with that Izuku was left with the incoming call. He pressed the answer button, took the phone off speaker- not wanting his mother to hear the barrage of insults and threats- and braced himself.
“Deku.” His voice was calm. Eerily calm. It was almost worse than being met with screaming from the start.
“K-kach-han?” He had always had a squeaky voice, exasperated by his anxiety, but now he rivaled small mouse characters from children’s cartoons.
“Where are you right now?”
“Are you home?” Izuku squeaked. “You are, aren't you? Stay. I’m almost there.” And the line clicked. Almost there? Kacchan was on his way…? To his house…? He was going to have to face Kacchan? In an instant Izuku was up, snatching his phone and wallet before dashing out the door.
“Izuku, sweetie?” His mother called from the kitchen. “Where are you going?”
“Out! Sorry! Need to-“He shoved his feet into his shoes, not bothering to properly tie the laces, he just shoved them into the shoe. “Go. Be home later.” And took off down the stairs. He could hear his mother calling after him, but he couldn’t stop to explain. Kacchan said he was almost there; he didn’t have much of a head start. He needed to get going while he still had the chance.
Reaching the street outside his apartment building he paused, wondering what direction to go. The decision was made for him when a familiar voice called to him.
“Deku?” Kacchan had his usual scowl in place, eyebrows low over his eyes. Did he always look so fierce? So terrifying? Izuku took off in the opposite direction. Gearing One for All into his legs he pushed himself forward, using the sides of buildings to propel himself further along.
“DEKU, WHAT THE FUCK?”
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The weather report had forecasted severe storms, but the clear skies seemed to prove otherwise. People were all around, soaking up the sunshine. This worked in Midoriya’s favor. Kacchan was fast, really fast. But with his quirk he was impossible to outrun, even with One for All. But with so many people Kacchan couldn’t risk using his explosions.
Taking advantage of his head start Izuki pushed forward. Each turn he made was made purely on instinct. He had no direction in mind. He was just trying to get as much space between him and Kacchan as possible. He rounded a corner to see the train station entrance ahead of him.
“Perfect!” he called out. Clearing the stairs to the underground in a single leap, Izuku took off, thankful he remembered to grab his wallet before escaping his home. He scanned his train pass, dashing through the turnstiles when he heard Kacchan again.
“Deku! Get back here!” he called out, scrambling down the stairs. No time to think, Midoriya took off running again. The first train he came across announced that its doors were closing. It seemed fate, despite throwing him this curveball of a situation, was going to take pity on him. With one last push from One for All he jumped through the closing doors. The car was mostly empty, thankful he didn’t dive into a crowd of people.
Only when the doors had fully closed did he dare to look back. Kacchan stood, shoulders heaving as he drew air in. If looks could kill, Izuku was sure he would have been eviscerated on the spot. He had never seen Kacchan so angry, and the two had faced off against villains. Kacchan hated him more than he hated villains, real criminals who did horrible things. The train pulled away, leaving Kacchan and all his fury behind.
Izuku wasn’t safe, not by a long shot. Kacchan was determined. He would grab the next train and continue after him. But Izuku did have time. He just hoped it was enough to come up with a plan.
Midoriya wandered around, seemingly on auto pilot. The train he boarded had stopped at a popular shopping district. There were several stores, restaurants, and best of all people. It was the perfect place for him to disappear. Several times he swore he caught sight of Kacchan’s blond hair and ducked into the nearest store, pretending to browse the items while he waited for his angry follower to pass by. Once in the clear he would take off in the opposite direction.
His phone continued to buzz. No doubt his mother, friends, and Kacchan all trying to figure out what happened. But it was too much of a risk to stop and check it. Eventually he shut the device off. His battery was critically low, and the attempts of contact were draining what little he had left.
As he made his way down the busy streets he watched on as happy people, happy couples, enjoyed their sunny afternoon. It was like they were mocking him. Everywhere he looked he saw wide smiles, kisses on cheeks, couples snuggled into each other as they made their way past the brooding boy.
‘Oh Sweetie, look how cute that plushy is!’
‘Can I get a dozen roses? It’s my husband’s birthday!’
‘I love you.’
‘I love you too.’
It was agony. Izuku would never have that. Never walk down the streets with Kacchan’s hand in his. He would never stop on his way home from work to pick up something for his birthday. He would never feel the soft kiss on his cheek, or the words ‘I love you’. He was destined to live this life alone. His soulmate hated him. Despised him. Wanted to hurt him. What had Izuku done in a past life to not only be born quirkless, but with a soulmate who hated him as well?
So lost in his deprecating thoughts he didn’t hear the rapidly approaching footsteps until it was too late. A too hot hand clamped down on his shoulder, jerking the smaller boy around to face the fury that was Katsuki Bakugou.
“What the fuck, Nerd?” he actually growled. Kacchan’s fingers dug into the flesh of Izuku’s shoulder, his thumb digging into the hollow of his collarbone. He had no chance of escaping, not without severely damaging, if not breaking his collarbone. Kacchan knew this. After chasing Midoriya for hours there was no way he was going to let go easily.
Midoriya was terrified. Was Kacchan going to beat him up in front of all these people? Surly not. That would jeopardize, if not outright cancel his career as a Hero. Maybe he would drag him away to an alley. That, while still bad, would spare him the public humiliation of being beaten down in front of all these people.
He was about to open his mouth, beg his former friend for mercy, when a scream erupted from behind the two. Instantly their attention went from each other to the direction of the scream. Was it a purse snatcher? A shoplifter from one of the jewelry stores nearby? Had someone collapsed? An all-out villain attack?
Several meters away, in front of a fountain in the center of the shopping district a woman stood before a man on one knee, a ring box proudly presented. A hush went over the crowd as the woman stood, tears gathering in her eyes.
‘Kitsume, would you please do me the honor of becoming my bride?” Despite the distance, the man’s words were clear to Izuku. While the question of who a person’s soulmate was answered, the question of when the two would get married remained a pleasant surprise. Engagements and weddings were still treasured events.
The woman, Kitsume, was too choked up to answer properly. Instead she thrust her hand out nodding furiously while tears streamed down her face. Izuku, realizing there was no threat returned his attention to the threat that faced him. Kacchan was still looking at the couple, a slight furrow in his eyes. His grip had lessened slightly. Midoriya, seeing his opportunity, took it. He ducked out of Kacchan’s grip, breaking free with little issue and took off down the street. It was difficult to weave between the people, cheering and applauding for the happy couple, but he managed.
Kacchan was not stunned for long, soon barreling down after Midoriya with a string of profanities. Izuku inwardly apologized to the couple, their special moment being cut short by the chase taking place meters from their engagement. Kacchan’s screams would forever be part of their engagement. But he needed to get away.
Once again, the crowded streets kept Kacchan from gaining the upper hand. Even Izuku couldn’t use One for All. It was a normal foot chase, one the two were evenly matched in. For several blocks the two pushed on. Just as he was beginning to feel the fatigue in his body, the crosswalk before him changed from ‘walk’ to ‘stop.’ It was stupid. It was risky, not only to himself but for everyone in the cars driving down the street, but Midoriya needed to take the chance, or face Kacchan. He was sure the other boy would not let him go if he caught him again. Gearing All for One to his legs, Izuku launched himself into the street at the last moment, clearing to the other side of the sidewalk as a flurry of cars flew behind him. He took the chance to peek behind, to see Kacchan skidding to a stop right as a bus passed by. Once more, Izuku had managed to escape just in time.
He pushed his sore body forward. Air was burning his lungs. His side throbbed in pain where a stitch dug its way into his body. His legs were on fire. Even for being in as good a shape as he was, there was no way he could continue forever. He needed to make a decision and fast. Turning a corner, hoping to shake Kacchan off his trail even for a moment, he turned into an alleyway, blocked off at the end. Dead end. The sky above him had darkened, grey clouds moving quickly overhead. It seemed the weather forecast was correct after all.
Midoriya saw two options: jump up on top of the roof, where there would be no civilians to get in the way or keep doing on the ground. If he went up, he would be free to use his quirk, but so would Kacchan. If he stayed on the ground, he could attempt to blend in with the crowds as he had before. A fat drop of rain fell onto his face, solidifying his decision. Rain would mean everyone would soon head inside, and his cover would be gone.
He still had the head start, so Izuku focused his power into his legs and jumped as high as he could manage towards the side of the building. Once his feet made contact, he did the same, to the other side, and again. He climbed higher and higher until he cleared the edge of the roof, landing securely. He breathed a sigh of relief that he made it, even allowed himself a minute to be proud of using his quirk so precisely. No matter how many times he had tried it since his internship with Grand Torino, it was still a risky move. One wrong step and he would tumble down to the unforgiving ground.
Midoriya’s moment was cut short by the defining sound of an explosion from the adjacent roof. Kacchan glided up a moment later, landing gracefully. His face still contorted with rage and fury. But his shoulders were heaving as much as Izuku’s. He was tired. Izuku didn’t need to run forever, he just needed to outrun Kacchan. Taking off he jumped from his rooftop to the next, hearing explosions behind him signaling Kacchan was still in hot pursuit.
The rain continued to fall, thunder rolling in as the downpour grew in intensity. Izuku was momentarily terrified at how similar the explosions behind him were to the thunder above. The raw power of his old friend was daunting, especially because he was the target of that rage. The image of his scorched notebook flashed before his eyes.
More concerning, with the addition of rain the already dangerous rooftops became more threatening. One wrong step, one mistimed jump and he would fly over the edge and down to the concrete below. Not even Recovery Girl could save him if that happened. Worst of all, Izuku was getting dangerously fatigued. It was a wonder his body hadn’t given out yet. It wouldn’t be long now. He only hoped he would collapse on the safety of a roof, and not between jumps. Kacchan hated him, and wanted him to suffer, but he wouldn’t kill him. Right?
It was the next jump he felt his knee buckle under his weight. He crashed down onto the concrete of the roof, spiraling over the slippery surface. His hip and shoulder made contact as he crashed, skidding for several feet before he stopped, just a heap in the soaking rain. Unable to push himself to his feet, Midoriya waited for the hand to grip his shirt and haul him up, coming face to face with the feral expression of his soulmate.
Ten seconds passed.
A full minute, and still nothing.
Despite his screaming body, Izuku pushed himself up, slowly getting to his feet. He turned around to see Kacchan, looking no better than a drowned rat on the roof opposite of his. Why wasn’t he making the last leap over? Had Kacchan overused his quirk? Was his body in similar shape to Midoriya’s? Did the downpour have something to do with it? Maybe Kacchan couldn’t ignite his palms with so much moisture in the air. It made sense. All of it did.
Izuku could see Kacchan’s mouth moving. He was screaming something, but the sound was lost behind the rain, wind, and thunder that pulsed around them. To the side a fire escape looped over the side of the building Izuku was on. He looked back to Kacchan’s building. No such apparatus was visible. Kacchan waved his arms, gaining Midoriya’s attention. He was pointing to his phone, waving the device before him. Surly, he wanted Midoriya to call him.
The second the thought popped into his head, Izuku felt guilty, but he really didn’t see another option. Kacchan still had his phone, so even if there wasn’t a safe way down, he wouldn’t be stuck up there for long. A quick call to the police or a hero agency and he would be fine. Heck, he could wait till the storm passed and blast his way down. It wasn’t like Kacchan would be stuck up there forever.
It was a horrible thing, to leave his soulmate stranded on a rooftop, even if it was temporary, but Izuku had to do it. No wonder Kacchan hated him. He was a terrible person and soulmate. He almost didn’t blame the fiery boy for his anger. As quick as his body would allow him, Midoriya climbed down the fire escape, not looking back in Kacchan’s direction. He could feel the piercing eyes burning a hole in his back as he made his way down. Once on solid ground once more the green haired boy took off, deaf to the screams from on top of the roof behind him.
The train was empty, no surprise there. Most people had probably gone home hours ago. It was dark, the sun having set behind a wall of storm clouds hours ago. Midoriya was soaked, shivering, and miserable.
Slumping into the hard seat had been the best feeling all day. His body was so sore he could almost cry. Simply sitting down after an emotionally and physically exhausting day was purely amazing. He ran his hands up and down his arms, cursing himself for not grabbing a sweatshirt before he fled his house. His t-shirt and jeans were little help against the freezing rain. Moving from his arms to his legs, he felt the lump that was his phone. Stunned for a moment he pulled it out, remembering he had turned it off hours ago.
As he powered it back on, he quietly thanked himself for investing in the waterproof case. It had been expensive, but in moments like this he was thankful he didn’t need to worry about water damage on top of everything else.
Once on, his phone came alive with notifications. Texts, calls, and voicemails bombarded him right away. He had several from his friends, Kacchan, and his mother. Before looking into the contents of his texts and voicemails he called his mom.
“Izuku!” she screamed into the phone after the first ring, like she had been waiting by her phone for him to respond.
“I’m sorry Mom.” His voice was hoarse, pathetic. He sounded like he had been crying all day.
“Where on earth have you been?”
“I’m really sorry… I had my phone turned off…”
“You nearly gave me a heart attack!”
“I’m sorry, Mom…”
“I want you home. Right now.”
“I’m on the train now. I’ll be home soon…”
“You are in so much trouble.” He could hear the wobble in her voice, and it broke his heart. There was little he hated more than his mother crying, especially when he was the cause. His dad wasn’t around anymore. It was just the two of them. They had to depend on each other. And that certainly didn’t include running off all day with no word of what was happening.
“I know… I… I’m just really sorry…” She sighed.
“Just please… Come home, Izuku.”
“I’ll be there soon.” He said, hearing a sob before the line went dead. This was almost worse than finding out Kacchan was his soulmate. Almost worse than seeing the anger and fury on his face as he chased Izuku all across Musutafu. Almost.
With his pitiful battery, he looked through the rest of his notifications. He had so many from his friends, even a handful from his classmates. They were all asking where he was, if he was okay, what was happening. No doubt his best friends had asked around to see if anyone had seen or heard from him after hours of radio silence. He even had a few messages and a missed call from Kirishima. The poor boy was probably beside himself, not able to find his best friend and having another classmate in the wind as well. If only they knew the situation. Would his classmates understand as well as his friends had?
But more than his friends and mother combined, Kacchan had attempted to contact him the most. Between calls and texts, he was bombarded by the temperamental blond. No voicemails were left, not surprising for someone as impatient as Kacchan. The texts were disturbing to say the least.
‘Where the fuck do you think you’re going?’
‘I thought I told you to stay put!’
‘Fucking… stay there. I’m on the next train. I’ll be there soon.’
‘WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?’
‘Don’t think you can outrun me.’
‘I SWEAR I’ll FIND YOU!’
‘You’re not being sneaky at all.’
‘How the fuck are you going to be a hero. You can’t even hide properly.’
‘I AM GOING TO EXPLODE YOU INTO THE NEXT LIFE IF YOU DON’T STOP RUNNING!’
‘GET THE FUCK BACK HERE!’
‘I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!’
‘Get the fuck back here!’
‘Did you fucking leave me up here?’
‘Fucking hell Deku!’
The last text had been sent not long after he had boarded the train. The guilt he felt for leaving Kacchan behind came back, shattering what little resolve he had left. He let the tears overcome him. He let himself sob loudly and openly into the empty train car. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Kacchan hated him. And after today, there was no chance he would be able to face the other boy again.
His phone came to life, Kacchan’s name flashing across the screen. He was calling him. Again. Quickly, Izuku hit the end button, his tears stopped from shock. Not long, maybe ten seconds later a text popped up again.
‘Don’t think you can run forever.’ And his phone blacked out. He pressed the power button again and again. The small amount of battery life he had, had given out. His phone was dead, and the cold feeling washed over him. After everything he had gone through, Kacchan wasn’t done.
The train stopped at his stop. With more effort than should ever be necessary for a hero in training, Izuku got up and shuffled out of the train station. Rain was still pouring down as he made his way home. Kacchan, once he got down from the roof, would be on his way home too. No way Auntie and Uncle would let him stay out in weather like this. It was horrible. Between the ache in his muscles, the numbness settling in his skin, and the extra weight the rain caused had him shuffling at a horribly slow pace. He hoped his mother wouldn’t call again, only to be met with his voicemail again. Or worse, have her come out into the tempus searching for him.
Much longer than it had ever taken him before, he reached his apartment building. Climbing the stairs was a form of hell but soon enough he made it. Once inside his home, the comforting warmth and smell of his mother’s cooking made some of the misery he carried melt away.
“Izuku?” his mother called, rushing from the kitchen. Her expression moved from anger, to worry, to pity. Midoriya was sure he looked horrible. He felt horrible.
“M-m-mom?” He whimpered. In a moment he was wrapped up in his mother’s arms. Warm. Safe. And loved. There was nowhere else he would rather be. So what if his soulmate wanted him dead. He had his mother, and he loved her. They had always had each other; he had no doubt they always would.
“I’m sorry I scared you. My phone… I didn’t mean to… I’m… I’m just sorry.”
“I know… It’s okay.” She said, squeezing him tighter. He shivered involuntarily. Now that he was out of the rain, he was painfully aware of how cold he was, literally. His body throbbed and screamed at him. “Oh, you poor thing.” Inko said, pulling away from her shivering son. She rubbed her arms over his arms in an attempt to warm him up.
“I-I’m fine. J-j-j-j-just cold.” He struggled through chattering teeth. It was pointless. He was freezing, and his mother was not stupid. She could see clearly how bad he was.
“Why don’t you get out of those clothes, take a hot shower, and I’ll make you some dinner. You must be starving.” Izuku nodded at the suggestion. Warm food and warm clothes sounded perfect. He removed himself from his mother’s embrace and went into his room.
He spent a good few minutes fighting to get his charger from under his desk, plugged his phone in, and slowly peeled his soaping wet t-shirt off of his skin. It fell with a wet ‘fwamp’ onto his floor. He struggled to unbutton his jeans, the shivering of his body and the numbness in his fingers preventing the once easy task from happening. It was when he had finally managed to lower his zipper he heard the furious knock on his front door.
“No…” he whispered out loud. “Please… it can’t be.” He moved to his door, cracking it open. His mother moved to the front door, out of sight, but he could hear her clearly. “Mom… please… please don’t…” he begged, but part of him already knew his hopes would fall on deaf ears.
“Katsuki! Oh my gosh!” She shrieked, confirming his worries. “Come in! Come in!” she fussed. The front door closed and Izuku knew Kacchan and him were trapped under the same roof.
He closed his door, lamenting that he didn’t have a lock. Before now there had never been a reason, not that it would really stop Kacchan. Why didn’t he just go home? Why was he so hellbent on putting Izuku in his place today? Why couldn’t he leave him alone?
“Did you get caught in the rain too?” Izuku just came home looking just as bad…” She paused. “He’s in his room. Why don’t you head on in there? I’ll make you two something for dinner.” Izuku’s brain short circuited. He immediately looked to his window for escape, but the image of his mother, crying and worried stopped him. He couldn’t put her through more trouble tonight. Escaping wasn’t an option. The bathroom was down the hall, if he went there, he was sure to come face to face with Kacchan. Really his only option was to hide in his room. The only place he could do that was his closet. Dashing into the small space he crouched over his shoes and under the clothing hanging above him. He managed to close the door quietly before he heard his bedroom door open.
The sound of his heartbeat was deafening. There was no way, even with Kacchan’s hearing loss, that he wouldn’t be found. Waiting was much worse than facing his demise head on. What kind of hero was he? He was hiding in the closet like a child. How pathetic. No wonder Kacchan hated him so much. Footsteps echoed around his room. He could hear Kacchan moving about, but nothing more. He had a vague idea that he was on the other side of the room. Kacchan’s footsteps moved back towards the closet, and Midoriya held his breath. For a moment Kacchan didn’t move. For a moment the only sound was Izuku’s heartbeat. But Kacchan moved again, seemingly moving out of his room. He was probably going out into the living room, waiting for his mother to give him food. There was a chance that Izuku could outwait him. Kacchan would get tired of waiting and leave. Not a big chance, but still a chance. And Izuku was willing to wait it out for that chance.
The door of his closet ripped open, shining light over his huddled figure. Kacchan stood, backlight from his bedroom light, looking threatening and angry as he had all day. Midoriya was finally caught, cornered. With no escape he resolved himself to his fate.
Izuku was frozen in place. His gaze held, locked within Kacchan’s. Burrowed into his closet, dripping wet and still freezing from the rain. What a pathetic sight he must have made. He was training to be a hero for All Might’s sake. And here he was, hiding like a frightened child. Kacchan’s face twisted into a snarl, not unlike the one he gave Todoroki when he threw the match at the Sports Festival.
“You are so fucking stupid.” The words slurred together, muffled by the roar of Midoriya’s blood that rushed in his ears. One of Kacchan’s hands darted out, causing Izuku to flinch away from the coming punch or explosion. Instead his arm was trapped in a firm grip and he was pulled out of the closet. The force of the motion sent the smaller boy directly into Kacchan’s chest. He stood still, realizing the precarious situation he was in. The other hand grabbed his other arm. Firmly in his grasp Izuku was powerless when Kacchan started walking, forcing him to walk backwards.
“Your lips are turning blue, you fucking moron. Take a goddamn shower before you die like a dumbass.” He said with a harsh shove towards his bedroom door. Stunned, confused, and a bit bewildered, Izuku gathered some clothes before moving to the bathroom robotically.
Kacchan… The person he was most scared of, the person he had been running from all day, was in his house. Not screaming at him, but his mother was in the kitchen. He was shocked to realize that this had been the nicest Kacchan had been to him in weeks, not calling him worthless. Stupid yes, but not a waste of air like usual. Shedding his wet pants and boxers Izuku stood waiting for the shower to warm up. He cranked the handle as far as it would go, the aching sensation of cold setting into his bones. Shivering was not enough to keep his body warm anymore. He was shaking violently. Kacchan was right. His hands were angry and red, his face pale. Even his lips were turning a soft blue shade that reminded him of the horrific villain Shigaraki. Now he was shaking for a different reason, remembering the feeling of the man’s clammy hands on his neck.
The hot water was equally the most amazing and the most horrific feeling at the same time. It cooled on his skin the moment it made contact. There had only been a handful of times he could remember when he had been so cold. Facing Todoroki at the Sports Festival, falling asleep while playing in the snow as a child, having to walk home in a snowstorm without his coat because Kacchan had torn it to shreds with his quirk the winter before they went to UA. That last thought chilled Izuku’s heart, making his insides just as frozen as his skin.
Kacchan. How was he going to get out of facing Kacchan? No matter what idea he came up with he quickly dismissed it. He was running out of options.
So instead he stayed in the shower, much longer than he had before. He washed his hair, twice. He conditioned it just like his mother taught him how, when usually he was too busy/lazy to be bothered. He slowly worked his washcloth over his skin until bit by bit he warmed up. Out of things to do and worn down by the events of the day Midoriya steeled himself and shut off the water.
Sitting on the edge of the tub he dried himself just as thoroughly. He pulled his sweatpants and t-shirt on. There was nothing else to do. He had to face his demons. He was sure Kacchan wouldn’t let him hide in the bathroom all night. Not that it would be fair to his mother. Their small apartment had only one bathroom.
As soon as he opened the door, letting the blanket of steam pour out, he readied himself to face the brunt of Kacchan’s fury. Said boy was still in his room, waiting. Calm. It was even more terrifying than when he was angry.
Kacchan sat in Midoriya’s desk chair, scrolling through his phone. He had changed into some of Izuku’s clothes, he recognized the threadbare All Might t-shirt. Kacchan’s hair was also dry. He noticed the shirt he had been wearing, Kacchan’s clothes, and another towel set up on the drying rack. Izuku placed his own wet clothes on the rack as well.
He saw the flash of color moving towards him and threw his hands over his face with an emasculating whimper.
“Put that on. Before you catch a cold.” At his feet laid Izuku’s favorite sweatshirt, unsurprisingly, All Might themed. It even had his signature hair pieces on the hood. Kacchan’s tone left no room for arguing so he slipped it on, grateful for the extra warmth and comfort it provided.
“Sit down. We need to talk.” Kacchan said in the same tone. Almost instantly he was on his bed, facing Kacchan, but positioned as far away from him as he could get. He even held one of his pillows close to his chest in a pathetic attempt of protection. Izuku knew it did little. If Kacchan wanted to come after him he would be powerless to stop him. But having something in his arms made him feel more grounded.
Izuku looked anywhere besides the angry boy sitting across from him. He could feel Kacchan’s eyes on him, boring into his skin, but he couldn’t face him head on. After all these years, after all the progress he had made in hero training, he was still a coward when it came to his former friend. Part of him knew he always would. Kacchan held a certain power over him.
“Deku.” He cringed away from the tone. Kacchan made no move towards him but sounded as irritated as ever. “Why?”
Izuku could feel his teeth chattering, this time from his nerves that threatened to take over. He stuck his bottom lip between his teeth in attempts to keep them from clacking against each other. The soft flesh bloomed in pain under the strain of his jaw clenching. His breathing was getting shallow as well. If he didn’t get it under control, he was sure to lose it, and worse in front of Kacchan. As if he didn’t think he was pathetic enough already.
“Fucking!” Kacchan yelled, angry that his question had been ignored. “Why the fuck did you run away from me? All goddamn day I chased after you! What the fuck, useless fucking Deku?” and that was it. That one word echoed in his mind. It swirled around, clouding all other thoughts. ‘Useless’ his soulmate thought he was useless. Worthless. Waste of space. And with that one word, Midoriya’s emotions all came to a head.
“I-i-i’m s-s-sorry!” He screamed, eyes clenched shut. He curled in on himself. “I’m so s-s-sorry you got s-s-stuck with m-me! You’re so a-amazing and I’m… I’m so-o-rry. I never asked for this! I never wanted to b-b-burden you with s-someone as h-h-horrible as me. Even with my q-quirk I’m p-pathetic. You-You’re going to be an a-amazing h-hero one day and I-I-I will always be a u-u-sueless D-deku. It’s not even my o-own q-quirk. It was g-given to me, and I st-till c-can’t use it. All I’m g-good a-at is breaking m-my b-bones and ruining m-my b-b-b-ody.
Kacchhan’s so a-amazing and p-p-p-powerful and is going to be an a-amazing h-h-hero. And now you’ll n-never have s-someone w-worth-y-y of you. I’m s-sorry I r-r-ruined your life. I’m s-s-sorry you’re s-s-stuck with me.” He was sobbing now, the words flowing out of him with no control. “I’m f-f-f-fucking u-u-u-useless. And now you’ll n-n-never fall in l-l-ove with anyone, because, h-h-how would you? No m-matter what you’re a-always going to be s-s-stuck with me. A-a-a-and I just couldn’t d-d-eal with that. I-I c-couldn’t face the fact that I’m h-holding Ground Zero b-back from h-h-h-h-happiness. So I r-ran. I was so s-c-cared of what y-y-ou would do to me, and I f-f-ucking d-deserve it, and e-everything else. I d-deserve to be q-q-q-quirkless, I d-d-deserve to be a-a-a-lone. I’m so s-s-sorry, Kacchan!
“A-a-all I’ve ever w-wanted to be by your s-s-side, and now I’ll n-n-n-ever have that chch-chance. I just want you to be h-h-happy, but you’ll n-never be if you’re s-s-stuck with me. It w-would be so much b-better if I didn’t exist. You c-could go on and l-live the l-life y-y-y-you want to, and I-I-I-I won’t r-ruin a-anyone else’s l-l-l-ife. It already h-h-h-hurts so m-m-much. Knowing you’ll n-never ll-l-ove me, that I’ll n-never get m-m-m-married, or c-come h-home to my soul-soul-m-mate. That we’ll n-never be ha-ha-happy, because you h-h-hate m-m-me so much. N-n-not that I b-b-b-lame you. I c-c-could n-n-n-ever b-b-b-blame you. You’re p-p-p-perfect and s-s-s-strong and p-p-p-passionate and w-w-w-w-wonderful and Kacchan I am s-s-so s-s-s-orry I r-r-r-ruined this f-f-for you, l-like I r-r-ruin everyth-th-thing e-else. I’m so f-f-f-ucking p-p-p-athetic. The w-w-world w-w-would be so m-m-much b-b-better w-w-without m-me here. Es-es-es-especially y-you. I just c-can’t d-deal with the th-th-thought of c-c-causing you m-m-misery.
“Just please. P-please f-f-forgive me. I p-p-p-romise I’ll d-do my b-b-best to n-n-not get in y-y-your way. I’ll d-d-drop o-o-out of UA if y-you w-w-want. I’ll st-st-stay a-away f-from you. Y-you’ll n-n-n-n-never s-see me a-ag-ag-gain. Just p-p-p-lease d-d-don’t h-h-h-hurt m-m-me! P-p-p-p-p-le-le-le-ase!” Before he knew it he was sucked into the vortex of his mind. He continued to spiral down, further and further into despair. His breathing was erratic, barely able to get air in. His chest wouldn’t expand, instead clamping down tighter and tighter with each heaving breath. He had his eyes clenched, but it didn’t keep the images of Kacchan’s angry face bearing down on him. He couldn’t hear anything beyond his pitiful crying and begging. But he knew someone was yelling around him.
No. Not one person but two. Two people calling his name. One screaming, high pitched and just as frantic as he felt. It was impossible to find his way up. He either was plunging into darkness or rushing forward into the frantic energy around him. Both options scared him. Either one made him want to stop, just stop all the suffering he was feeling. Stop the pressure on his chest, the vortex in his mind. He wanted it all to end. Anything was better than being caught in between worlds like this.
“Izuku.” Suddenly one of the voices was right in his ear. His body was no longer floating in space. He was surrounded by warmth, vaguely aware that the pillow was still in his arms. “Take a deep breath, like me. Follow me.” He felt the person around him breathe deeply. It took nearly all of his effort to draw in the air to match. His lungs spasmed through sobs creating a jerking motion instead of the smooth one surrounding him.
“There we go. Keep going. Follow my breath.” Again, and again Izuku followed the lead. Each breath pulled him more and more Out of the prison that was his mind. The other place, the one he soon realized was the real world, his bedroom, became clearer. It was less chaotic. When he was able to draw air in on his own, no longer depending on the warmth guiding him out of his panic he managed to open his eyes. Everything blurred, and it took him a few blinks to clear his vision enough to understand what was happening around him.
Standing at the edge of his door was his mother, looking as frantic as he felt moments ago. Tears ran down her face as she wringed a tea towel in her hands. This made Izuku more confused. If he was looking at his mother, across from his bed, who was holding him, instructing him to breathe, making him feel grounded and safe?
He turned his head to see a familiar All Might t-shirt. His t-shirt. The one Kacchan had borrowed. The strong warmth that surrounded him was Kacchan. Kacchan was holding him?
“You back with us, Nerd?” His voice was soft, gravely like always, but low in his ear. He nodded, not trusting his voice. The arms around him didn’t let loose. They continued to hold him, keeping Izuku firmly in their grasp. One hand was in his hair, slowly stroking, nails scraping his scalp. The other hand moved in slow circles up and down his back, matching pace with the breath’s the two were drawing in. It was easier to focus on the hands creating comfort than it was for Izuku to try and make sense of his surroundings.
Just what the hell was going on?
“He’s fine Auntie.” His mother nodded slowly, still visibly upset. “He’s probably hungry. And will want some tea.” Kacchan’s tone was still low. His mother nodded again.
‘R-r-right.. I’ll… I-I-I’ll just finish y-y-our dinner.” She moved to leave the room, stopping to look over Izuku once more. He nodded, not trusting his voice. His tongue felt heavy, and his throat was sore, raw. Had he been screaming? He couldn’t remember. “I’ll l-let you boys know… W-when it’s r-ready.” And she rushed out, leaving the two alone.
Before Izuku could remember the fear and pain that sent him into his panic attack, Kacchan’s arms tightened.
“Stay with me.” His calm voice left no room for argument. It was firm, but soothing? Like Recovery Girl’s voice had been the first time he had a panic attack at school. “Keep breathing. Focus on breathing.” Izuku followed the chest he was leaning against. The oxygen clearing the fuzz from his mind. The more he breathed the easier it was to think rationally. Like for instance, not only was he in Kacchan’s arms, still holding the pillow like a lifeline, but he was in Kacchan’s lap. He was fully surrounded by the sweet and smoky scent he always associated with Kacchan. Like toasted sugar, like campfires and marshmallows. Like the training grounds after Kacchan had dominated against the practice villains. The scent was familiar, and soothing. It was like coming home after a long trip.
“Feeling better?” Kacchan asked several minutes later. Midoriya’s heart had slowed back to a normal pace. He was no longer fighting his thoughts at every opportunity. He attempted to nod, really it was more of a shrug, but it conveyed the point.
“Good.” He looked up, Kacchan’s attention focused on the door leading out of his bedroom. “I think dinner is ready. You’ll feel even better after some food.” He slowly arranged the two till Izuku was standing, Kacchan’s arm firmly wrapped around him. He allowed himself to be led out of his bedroom and shoved, be it gently, into a chair before a steaming plate.
Midoriya knew a full belly would make him feel better, but the residual of his panic attack left a sour feeling in his stomach. He worried his hands in his lap while he debated the meal before him. His mutterings were cut off by the slight pressure coming across his head. He looked to Kacchan as he retreated his hand, the hood of Midoriya’s sweatshirt pulled firmly over his head, offering the last layer of comfort he needed to quell his anxious mind.
“At least drink your tea.” Though it was phrased like a suggestion Izuku knew better. Either he would drink his tea voluntarily or have Kacchan shove it into his hands. One sip instantly warmed his chest, banishing out the remaining cold. A few gulps and the trailing fuzziness faded completely. He even managed to pick up his chopsticks and begin working his way through his plate. Kacchan, watching him closely began his own meal, only after Midoriya started his.
“Um…” Midoriya tried.
“Eat.” Kacchan pointed his chopsticks at Izuku’s plate, taking a sip of his own tea. The two stayed quiet after that. Between washing the cookware his mother stopped by the table to run a hand over his covered head.
Once their plates were clear and cups empty Kacchan spoke up again. “Thank you for dinner Auntie. Common.” He gave a small tug on the sleeve of his hoodie. Izuku, not seeing another option, got to his feet and followed Kacchan to his bedroom. He pointed towards the bed and Izuku sat, the pillow once more finding its way into his arms. Once closing the door, Kacchan moved to sit on the bed as well, instead of in Izuku’s desk chair. The proximity drew a surge in anxiety in him again.
“I-I’m…” Kacchan stuttered, something completely unheard of. While Izuku was a mess at the best of times, Kacchan was almost always sure in his words and actions. To see him hesitate like this… was unheard of. He took a deep breath, screwing his eyes shut. “I’m sorry I’ve been so horrible to you. You didn’t deserve it.”
Izuku opened his mouth to counteract the statement, only to be met with Kacchan’s fury again. “Don’t fucking interrupt me!” Izuku made to scramble away from the explosive teen before him, his back pressing against his headboard. “I mean…” Once more Kacchan hissed out a breath. “I’m not good at this… So let me get it out. Or I’ll never say what I need to.” He turned to Izuku, pinning him with a harsh look. “Okay?” The smaller boy nodded, still pressed against his headboard.
“I was shit to you, for no reason. I had… I was dealing with my own issues and I took them out on you. I wish I could blame it on me being a brat, immaturity and all that… But… I was shit to you yesterday. I’ve always been horrible.” Kacchan’s face screwed up, almost like he was in pain.
“The Old Hag…. She… Always had a theory… and idea of why I can’t be decent around you. I thought it was bullshit. Like… What would she fucking know about how I feel? She can’t read my mind. That is… Until today.” He looked down at his wrist. ‘Midoriya Izuku’ printed in dark ink. Kacchan ran his thumb over the name, almost tenderly. “Deku… Izuku… I’ve had a stupid fucking crush on you since I was old enough to know what a crush was.”
Midoriya sat there… staring at his childhood friend, waiting for the reaction to hit. Waiting for Kacchan’s weirdly stoic face to twist into a malicious grin. Wait for people to pop out from under his bed and from behind his closet to laugh at his face. Surely this was all a joke. There was no way, no fucking way Bakugou Katsuki, had liked him for all these years.
“W-what?” The crack in his voice, normally, would have sent him into a spiral of embarrassment. Lucky for Midoriya, he was far too exhausted for that.
“Common Nerd, you’re not actually fucking stupid. I fucking like you.” Kacchan snarled, finally looking at Izuku. Behind the rage, behind the brave front he always put up, Izuku saw the emotion in Kacchan’s eyes. He saw the vulnerability. He saw the fear of being rejected.
“A-all this time…?”
“Yeah… I… I didn’t know how to handle it. I mean what’s the fucking point of crushes. I knew one day you would get someone else’s fucking name on your wrist… and… I couldn’t… I didn’t want... I couldn’t fucking deal with it, okay?” He yelled moving so suddenly, his hands slammed into the headboard on either side of Izuku’s head. “I chose the fucking coward’s way you. I pushed you away. I figured if I was a big enough prick to you, if I made you hate me then we would never be together. I would never… lose you…” Izuku looked up, caged in by Kacchan’s body. But his head was bowed, the fuzzy, unruly, blond spikes covering his eyes. But Midoriya saw the tremors in the other boy’s muscles.
“But you kept crawling back… No matter what I did.. What I said.. All the fucking horrible things I did to you… You kept looking at me like the sun shone out of my fucking ass. I was a fucking monster, but you kept looking at me like I was your hero. I… fuck…”
Izuku was too shell shocked to do anything but gape at the boy looming over him. It was surreal. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever think Kacchan, Bakugou Katsuki, of all people would be admitting these things. The ache in his chest, the pain he had felt for years faded slowly.
“My quirk…” Kacchan stopped, “My hands and arms are more… sensitive? Or I’m more aware of them, I guess… I could feel it starting. I knew it was coming, all week I knew.” Kacchan moved his right hand from the headboard, the one with Izuku’s name and stared at the appendage like it had personally offended him. “I knew this was going to be it. My stupid fucking crush. Everything would be over. I never thought I’d have a chance in hell with you, not after years of acting like a fucking villain.” He sneered at the word. “I needed to… make sure I burned this fucking bridge before it happened… And fucking yesterday… You started scratching your damn wrist too.” Wait, he had? Izuku hadn’t been aware of the sensation until early that morning.
“I couldn’t fucking deal with it. It was one thing to know I could never have you, but to face seeing you with some fucking extra? Goddamn… I could have sworn… It had to be that fucking Icy-Hot bastard….” The headboard behind Izuku’s head creaked under the pressure of Kacchan’s anger. Kacchan was…. Jealous? Of the idea of Todoroki being his soulmate? The thought was odd, wrong in Izuku’s mind. Todoroki was… he didn’t feel that way towards him not in the least. Where had Kacchan gotten that idea from? What thoughts had been swirling around in that blond head of his?
“After class was over, fucking Shitty Hair called me out on being a dick to you. I couldn’t fucking tell him. He wouldn’t understand, the fucking dumbass. Bastard wouldn’t leave me alone. All damn night he texted me, said I was more angry than normal. That he was worried about me.” He shook his head vigorously.
“All day… I stared at my wrist. Waiting... Dreading… Hoping? Like there was some part of me that… wouldn’t… couldn’t let go of the idea… that… maybe…” Kacchan was whispering now, his body slumping. He looked Izuku, flaming red meeting shimmering green. The two, so close they were sharing each other’s breath. It was at that moment Izuku realized the exhaustion on Kacchan’s face. Behind the hard features, his furrowed brow, the remanence of a scowl, the lines in his forehead, was fear. Vulnerability. Kacchan looked as worn as Izuku felt. All day, Izuku had been pushing himself to the physical and emotional limits. It never occurred to him that Kacchan was in the same boat.
“Your name… After fucking forever… Finally appeared. I thought it was a trick, that I had gone batshit insane.” Kacchan looked back at his wrist, just the hint of a smile on his lips. “And next thing I know, I’m running out of my house at full speed. I was halfway to your house when I realized where I was going. My brain caught up, logic set in, that there was a chance you were at Glasses’, or Round Face’s house. I called… and… well…. You know the rest.” Kacchan returned his attention to Izuku’s face.
“Dek- Fuck…Izuku… I have no idea why you would be stupid enough to forgive me… But I can’t live with myself if I don’t fucking try.” Both of Kacchan’s hands moved to either side of Izuku’s face, so warm and gentle. “I am so fucking sorry, for everything I’ve done. Everything I’ve said. Every horrible thing I’ve done to you over the years… If… If you can… forgive me… I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to you.”
“Kacchan…” Izuku whispered, tossing the pillow separating the two as he grabbed Kacchan’s shirt in both hands, closing the last few inches between them and sealing their lips together.
This was it. This was happening. His first kiss. His first kiss with his soulmate. His first kiss with his Kacchan. It was… awkward. The intensity that brought them together was not suited for the tender exchange of lips. Their teeth clacked, Izuku felt a slight twinge of pain and soon tasted copper in his mouth. Their lips mashed uncomfortably for a few moments, neither really knowing what to do. But soon Kacchan managed to suck Izuku’s lower lip into his mouth and a steady, less clumsy rhythm followed.
Still their movements felt… ridged, and stiff. Izuku’s heart was hammering in his chest. Why did this feel so weird, so awkward? It was just kissing. It should be easy, people did it all the time. Why was he already screwing this up? What if his kissing was so horrible Kacchan would change his mind?
“Zuku… Fucking relax.” Kacchan said, pulling away, just enough to speak. “Just… take a breath and let me.. Just… follow my lead.”
The second time they met was much softer. Kacchan found his lower lip easier, pulling it into his mouth slightly. Breathing through his nose, Izuku tried to mimic Kacchan’s motions. It was easier. He took the chance to open his mouth a bit wider. He could feel the smirk on Kacchan’s lips against his. He allowed Kacchan to tilt his head to the side, the new angle making it much easier. The tip of Kacchan’s tongue peaked through and met his.
Izuku fisted his hands in Kacchan’s shirt, pulling him closer and closer until the other boy was on top of him, the weight feeling oddly comforting instead of suffocating. Kacchan’s scent was all around him, his body warm, much warmer than normal. That must be his quirk. Kacchan moved one hand away from Izuku’s face, supporting his weight on his arm while the other wove into his hair, nails scratching lightly to his scalp. The sensation was so nice, the whole experience of kissing Kacchan so amazing he moaned into his soulmate's mouth before realizing what he had just done.
Kacchan pulled away with a sharp exhale, but before Izuku’s mind could run away with thoughts of embarrassment and panic, Kacchan flashed him a smirk that was so good looking it was downright criminal.
“Like that, Nerd?” The smugness was practically pouring off of him, even with the soft pink that grazed his cheeks. And Izuku was powerless as he nodded frantically.
“Kacchan, p-please..” He pulled, one of his hands tugging into Kacchan’s hair. It was so soft. Surprisingly soft. Izuku always thought it would be rough, the spiky texture seeming so sharp and jagged. But it wove around his scarred fingers easily. Kacchan groaned into Izuku’s mouth.
“Fuck…” he said and returned kissing the smaller boy below him with renewed enthusiasm. Pressed, head to toe the two continued their exploration of each other. Soft tugs bringing them closer and closer together, breaths shared into each other’s mouths. It was amazing to be connected to someone he had so admired, finally, after all these years he had his Kacchan. He never wanted to let go. He wanted to stay like this forever, fully wrapped up in his Kacchan’s embrace.
All too soon, Kacchan pulled away. He looked into Izuku’s eyes. The deep circles underneath reminded Izuku of his own exhaustion. As much as he wanted to continue kissing, they had a tiring day. Tiredness crept into his bones, the growing ache in his overworked body killing the mood near instantly. Kacchan probably felt the same, and he was continuing to hold himself up above Izuku’s body, careful not to crush him.
“I know we have a lot to talk about…” Kacchan trailed off.
“Yes… because that’s what we were doing, talking.” Izuku said, a small smile playing on his face.
“Fucking- You think you’re so cute!” He rolled his eyes, rolling the two to lay on their sides. Still wrapped up together, still pressed against each other, still looking into each other’s eyes. Kacchan continued to run his fingers through Izuku’s hair. It was nice. So amazingly perfect. It was a moment Izuku would have been happy to live in forever, just him and Kacchan. But there was still the part of his mind, the part that hurt. The part that reminded him of everything that had happened between the two of them. His heart wanted to forget about their difficult past. But his mind couldn’t let go of the doubt. Not one hour ago Kacchan had called him useless. The barrage of angry texts still on his phone from earlier that day. The bruises and scrapes on him from their last sparring match the day before. It was impossible to ignore their history just like that.
“You’re muttering again, Nerd.” Kacchan's hand moved from his hair to flick his forehead, quickly returning back to its place in Izuku’s hair. The gesture was more playful, teasing. Much like how Kacchan treated him when they were children. There was no heat, no malice behind the action. “Tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.” It was odd to hear Kacchan use that tone of voice. Soft. Quiet. A thought flashed through Izuku’s mind before he could stop it, pillow talk. That’s what Kacchan was doing. Sweet and gentle. Something only… lovers used between them? Was that what he and Kacchan were now?
“I’m… confused. I guess?” Izuku started, wincing at the scratching in his throat. He was starting to sound more and more like Kacchan.
“I… After all this time…. You don’t hate me?'' The anger returned to Kacchan’s face instantly, from pure instinct Izuku tried to pull away but Kacchan held fast, wrapping his other arm around him, pulling the two impossibly closer. Izuku’s hands were sandwiched between their chest. He could feel the hammering of both of their hearts, Kacchan’s was working just as fast as his own.
“I’ve never hated you.”
“I… I still don’t understand. I’m… pathetic… weak… useless? Why don’t you hate me?”
“Fucking-“Kacchan snarled, burying his face into Izuku’s neck. He was no longer faced with those burning eyes but could feel every ragged breath against his skin. “I get mad and I say shit. Shit I don’t mean. Shit that’s not true. It’s fucking stupid, pathetic, but it’s what I do. Fucking shit, Dek-fuck… Izuku. How many times have I said I would kill someone, blast them into next week? And how many fucking times have I done it? Not fucking once.” His voice was getting louder, more erratic. The tension in Kacchan’s shoulders returned, a slight tremble taking over his figure. A gasp left his mouth as he felt warm drops hitting his collarbone. Kacchan was crying? That… that was easily the worst possible outcome. He needed to help Kacchan, like all those times Kacchan had helped him calm down. He had an idea.
Slowly, still unsure if this was the right thing to do, Izuku moved his hands until they reached Kacchan’s back. He moved one hand up and down his back, nails gently dragging in their wake. His other hand wound into Kacchan’s soft hair. There was no space between them. Nothing separating their embrace. He buried his nose into the blond spikes. Seriously, how did Kacchan get his hair so soft? It was unbelievable.
“You’re not fucking useless. Or pathetic. Not even a little bit. You’re one of the strongest people in our class. You’re not a waste of air, a fucking extra or a shitty loser. You’re… One of the bravest, most heroic people I know.” Kacchan stopped, sniffling angrily. “You’re a major dumbass… And a fucking nerd, don’t get me wrong. But not useless.”
Izuku was crying now. Crying into the plush hair. He clung to Kacchan like he was his lifeline. He tried to get his mouth to form words, but he couldn’t force anything else besides ‘Kacchan’ over and over again. The two stayed in each other’s arms, Kacchan eventually lifting his head from Izuku’s neck, rolling them once more so Izuku was on top of him, arms firmly locked around him as the smaller boy cried himself out into Kacchan’s chest.
Soon sobs faded to normal crying, and tears faded to hiccups. The two were exhausted beyond measure. But there was something important, something that still needed to be said.
“I forgive you.” The rhythmic breathing below his head stopped short for a moment.
“I meant it. I’m going to spend the rest of my life making it up to you.”
“Of course, you will. Kacchan’s amazing.” Izuku hummed. He was warm, safe, wrapped in the arms of his soulmate. Everything was perfect. His eyes slipped shut and he felt the pull of sleep bringing him under.
“Fuck!” Izuku was ripped into consciousness as Kacchan sat up, dragging his sleep riddled brain with him. It was worse than waking from a dream where he was falling. Kacchan flew out of the bed, leaving Izuku shaken…. And cold without his heat source anymore.
“Kacchan? What is it?” Said man was furiously digging through his still wet jeans grumbling to himself.
“an’t believe…. Fuckin…. orgot…” He managed to make out.
“Kacchan…?” He called again.
“There it is!” Kacchan cheered, pulling a small box out of the trap that was his pants pocket. He returned to the bed, sitting next to Izuku, their sides and legs pressed against each other.
“When I was on the way to your house, I passed by one of those shitty street vendors. You know, the ones who sell knock off Hero merch? The Sketchy Mother Fuckers.” He took a deep breath. “I saw this… And…” He shoved the box into Izuku’s hands. “Just fucking open it.” He did. Inside was a chain bracelet. It was thick, one geared towards men, with a plate on one side. ‘I’ll be your hero’ engraved into the plate.
Izuku looked between the bracelet in his hands and Kacchan, who was glaring at the wall in front of him like it had murdered his entire family. A smile broke out on Izuku’s face. This wasn’t flowers, this was something much, much better. He carefully slipped the chain around his wrist, fastening it on his wrist, the plate shining right under Kacchan’s name. Before he could lose his nerve, Izuku leaned in, and pressed a soft kiss to Kacchan’s cheek.
“Thank you Kacchan, I love it.” The glare softened to his normal scowl.
“Of course, you do. I’m the best. Meaning I’m going to be the best fucking boyfriend ever.”
“The very best.” He snuggled into Kacchan’s warmth again, moving until the two were once again laying down. Kacchan pulled away to turn off the light and cover the two of them with a blanket before settling with Izuku on his chest once more.
“Damn right, Deku-fuck… Izuku.” Kacchan sighed.
“You can call me Deku, Kacchan. It is my hero name.”
“Yeah... but I’ve done enough to fuck with your self-esteem over the years. It means something different between the two of us. I’m not going to make you feel that way anymore.”
“Then let’s change what it means again. It’s the nickname you gave me when we first became friends.” Kacchan snorted. “I like the way it sounds when you say it…”
“Whatever you say, Deku.” Kacchan said, giving the smaller boy a kiss on his forehead. “Now go to sleep. I’m fucking exhausted.”
“Good Night, Kacchan.”
“Good Night, Deku.”