Ochako really doesn’t know what to do.
She stares down at the handprint on her forearm, previously a black, formless stain, and wonders, for the millionth time today what she’s done to deserve this.
Because that handprint is alight with a swirl of orange and green, put there by Bakugou Katsuki, and as far as she can tell, he still hates her, just as much as he always has.
It’s been days since the sports festival, since Bakugou set her soulmark to color, and he’s barely done more than glance her way. She’s certain that he has to have figured it out by now, if he didn’t know right from the start. He has to know. Even if he didn’t see the color come to it as it happened, Bakugou is far too observant. There’s no way he didn’t notice that his soulmark had taken color and shape. No way he couldn’t have connected the dots. He’s too smart.
And when you eliminate the impossible, what remains must be the truth. Right?
So if he had to have noticed, and he still treats her with the same cold disinterest as he treats the rest of their class, save the fiery rage reserved for Deku, then only one answer remains.
He knows it’s her, and he doesn’t want her.
And Ochako is left, entirely unsure of what to do with this.
Katsuki would greatly appreciate the ground opening up and swallowing him whole at the moment. Of all the people that could’ve gotten saddled with him, why did it have to be her? Why did it have to be someone so respectable and strong willed and fucking good .
Why did it have to be Ochako?
He’s been thinking about it since the sports festival. Of what to do, how to approach her. If he even should. What he would say if he could stop being such a fucking coward for five goddamn minutes.
But every time he thinks about it, every time he glances her way for more than two seconds and catches himself, all he can do is think how stupid he is for thinking he’s good enough for her. For thinking he deserves someone like her. For thinking he could ever be that worthy.
For all his strong suits, Bakugou Katsuki is not a romantic. It simply isn’t in his wheelhouse. He’s certain it can’t be. He’s far too much like his mother for that.
Everytime he catches himself looking, he forces himself to turn away. Even worse, when she catches him, and he has to force a scowl to his face and pretend.
It’s easier if she just hates him.
It’s easier if she thinks he hates her.
Ochako is fairly certain that Bakugou has been avoiding her, however unsuccessful that venture has been, given that they attend classes together all day.
Either way. She’s certain he’s been attempting to avoid her, at least, for weeks, and she is fed up with his bullshit, to be quite frank.
So she decides that she will put an end to it, once and for all. She’s tired of watching him brood, and watching his fuse get shorter and shorter as he grapples with whatever issues he’s dealing with. She’s not going to watch this happen anymore.
Come that Friday afternoon, after classes have let out for the weekend, she puts… some semblance of a plan into action. She packs up her things as quickly as possible, snags her shoes from her shoe locker, and bolts from the school building. She finds a bench along Bakugou’s route home and she lies in wait.
And she waits.
And she waits.
She’s about to take out a book and start doing the assigned reading Mic-sensei gave them for the weekend just to pass the time when she spots a familiar head of blonde hair round the corner.
Leaping onto the bench so he can’t ignore her, not that there’s really anyone else on the street with them right now, she shouts, “Bakugou Katsuki! We need to talk!”
Now, she’s expecting him to turn and yell at her a little bit, or maybe snap and try to run away, or for him to simply ignore her and keep walking. She has prepared for all of these scenarios.
What she has not prepared for, however, is for him to whip around, a look of abject panic written into the lines of his face, sparks popping in his palms as he scans the almost empty street for a perceived threat.
Guilt pangs through Ochako’s chest as his terrified gaze settles on her and the sparks die down. She steps down from the bench. His expression morphs into the sneer that so often finds a home on his face.
“What do you want, Pink Cheeks? Deku teaching you how to pick up stalking as a hobby?”
Ochako makes an offended noise, crossing her arms as she stops in front of him.
“You need to be nicer to him, you know that?”
Bakugou scoffs. “Is that what you were waiting for me to talk about? Not gonna happen. I’d say nice chatting, but it wasn’t. See ya Monday.”
He turns to walk away. Ochako skips into his path again.
“That’s not what I wanted to talk about! You’ve been avoiding me.”
“Sure have. You’re annoying.”
Ochako lets out a frustrated groan. “Bakugou, please. I’m trying to have a conversation here. This is important.”
The sneer ease into something… less angry, at least, as he turns to fully look at her. “What is so important you had to follow me from school?”
“Well technically, I was waiting for you. But that doesn’t matter. This is what’s so important!” She rolls up her sleeve to reveal the soulmark in the shape of his hand, the vibrant orange and deep green catching the late afternoon sun in a way that makes them seem to dance together. It makes her heart flutter just looking at it. Then she looks back up at Bakugou, and reality sets in again. Her heart sinks..
Bakugou is looking at her mark, the mark he left on her, in something akin to horror.
“Bakugou, I know you had to have seen this at the sports festival. You’re too smart to have not noticed.”
“I was hoping I was wrong.” He rips his gaze away from her arm like it pains him to look at it. “Or that you’d just get the hint when I avoided you.”
“But you haven’t been totally avoiding me! I see you looking at me during class all the time when you think I’m not paying attention!”
“Fucking dammit ,” he grumbles, dragging a hand over his face. He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly and then points what Ochako can only call a snarl in her direction. “Look. The universe got this shit wrong. It fucked up somehow. You are not my soulmate. Forget you have my mark.”
“The universe doesn’t make mistakes! Have you ever heard of a soulmark being wrong?”
“First time for everything.”
“Not for this! Soulmates aren’t something that can just… be wrong! Does this look wrong?” She holds up her arm a little desperately. Why won’t he listen? Why won’t he just look at the evidence right there in front of him? Why is he trying so hard to pretend this isn’t real? “Bakugou, I have your mark right here just—”
“Well I don’t have yours!” he roars, cutting her off mid sentence. A pigeon scurries away from them at the noise. A couple on the other side of the street pauses to look over at them, concerned. Bakugou takes a shaky breath and shoulders past her.
Ochako reaches out and, impossibly gently, places a hand on his arm before he can get too far.
He stops without hesitation.
“Uraraka, I don’t know what to tell you, okay? I’m sorry you got stuck with someone unlovable. But I don’t have a soulmark. I’m not your soulmate.”
The apology, coming from him, strikes her harder than anything else he could have said.
She lets her hand trail from his forearm to his hand. His hand is comically larger than hers, but she cups it in her palm anyway. She’s extremely surprised to find that he lets her.
“I’m still yours though. We can work with that. You’re not unlovable, Bakugou.”
He lets out a derisive snort and pulls his hand away, moving to drag it through his hair.
A flash of pink catches her eye.
She reaches out and snatches his hand back.
A borderline hysterical laugh bubbles out of her chest.
Bakugou tries to tug his hand back again, but Ochako holds tight. She rubs her fingers over the back of his hand a few times, just to be sure.
“I knew it. I knew it!” she exclaims, presenting his own hand to him like a key piece of evidence.
“What the hell are you— you— I— fuck.” Katsuki stumbles over his words until they come to a grinding halt. He gapes at his own hand, and the shape of two of her fingers in baby pink spread across the back of it. “How? What? How?”
He jerks his hand away to look closer at it like he doesn’t believe it, and then holds it farther away like that’ll make it clearer.
“This doesn’t make any sense. You’ve touched me before. It didn’t… I didn’t… I’ve never had a mark. I never had anything for you to turn to color.”
And then, as they watch, the mark begins, ever so slowly, to fade away.
Katsuki’s expression crumbles.
In the back of her mind, a few things occur to Ochako.
- Katsuki’s quirk affects his hands more than anything.
- His body produces something remarkably similar to nitroglycerin.
- Deku says that nitroglycerin can have medicinal applications.
- Bakugou Katsuki has perfect, unblemished skin.
Katsuki’s cocks one eyebrow in confusion at Ochako’s sudden outburst. Everything about him looks deflated, lacking his usual anger and performative haughtiness.
“What the hell do you mean my quirk?”
“You don’t have any marks. Anywhere on you. Not like soulmarks or anything, I mean like... You don’t even have scars or anything! Your quirk erases those sorts of things! It must be erasing your soulmark! And I am certain I touched you at the sports festival! I must have! Even just a little bit! So your quirk is just… getting rid of the marks the same way it would a scar or a blemish!”
Katsuki scrubs a hand over his face.
“How are you saying that like it’s a good thing?”
Her smile turns a little shy, and she carefully, deliberately, raises her hands to cup his cheeks.
He stays frozen, like a deer in headlights.
“Cause that means every time I touch you is like the first time. Maybe the marks won’t stay. But I get to leave you new ones all the time. That’s kinda special, don’t you think?”
Katsuki doesn’t answer. It’s almost like he can’t. His chest is heaving like it’s taking every bit of his concentration to keep breathing correctly.
Instead of trying to form words, he leans in, stopping close enough that their lips almost touch, but far enough away to let her make the final decision.
Absently, Ochako notes that there are tears wetting his cheeks. She swipes them away with her thumbs, and her hands leave twin pink marks on his cheeks when she pulls them away.
“Pink looks good on you.”
And she closes the distance between them.