If there was a topic people loved to talk about and speculate more than quirks, that was something society had tagged as ‘soulmates’. It was something that only a 0.001% of the population experienced, and there was no way of tracking who was going to have one.
Even after years and years of investigation held by the most advanced laboratories, this field still held many unanswered questions, and nothing was known for sure. Genetic testing resulted to be inconclusive, and there wasn’t any acquired trait that differentiated people with soulmates from people without them.
No one had come up with a proper explanation about how two souls could be connected, no matter how far away they were. There were records of people living at opposite sides of the world that had been connected, and, somehow, managed to find each other. When they were asked how they were able to find their soulmate, both of them answered the same way, saying that they had felt a pull, guiding them in every decision they took to each other.
What was weird about soulmates, aside from their rareness, was that it manifested in a wide variety of ways for different couples. It could be a body mark, like matching birthmarks, a countdown on your wrist, or matching scars or eye colour. Sometimes, it was more mystical than that, like people interchanging their quirks, soulmates reading each other’s thoughts, or even people that could switch bodies from time to time.
Either way, everyone fortunate enough to have a soulmate agreed in one thing; finding them was the best experience in all their lives. It meant finding your companion in life, your other half, a lost part of yourself your soul was yearning for.
If there was something Izuku loved more than quirks, it was soulmates. It was something so rare, so unique, so fulfilling… and he wanted to experience it. What would it be like, finding out you had a soulmate? Would he feel the same? Or would he be a brand new Izuku?
His mama told him every night how granny had found grandpa. They had both had a compass in their hand, always pointing to their soulmate. And when they had found each other, their arrows started to spin wildly.
It was the second thing he was looking forward to, only after getting his quirk. There was a girl in the other class who had her soulmate’s name on her neck, and it would sometimes shine prettily. So if she had gotten a soulmate, sure he could get one, right?
His world made a 180o turn when the doctor said he wouldn’t get a quirk. He wouldn’t get his superpower. He wouldn’t be able to help everyone else. He wouldn’t get the chance to be a hero like All Might. There was an 80% chance to develop a quirk, he even had genetic predisposition, but he, Momomiya Izuku, was quirkless.
If he couldn’t hope to get a quirk, how could he expect to get a soulmate?
Izuku, at the tender age of four, felt his whole world crumbling down. Every hope and dream he had smashed into tiny pieces. All his classmates reminded him of his misfortune, laughing on his expense. His teachers looked down on him with pity every time he passed by. Even his mother reminded him, with her permanent tear-stained face and her instantaneous need to comfort him.
It came a time when he couldn’t stand it. He isolated himself in his room as much as possible, the only light of the room coming from the computer screen, always repeating the same video of All Might’s first appearance. Somehow, his boisterous laugh made him feel better.
His mother had tried to make him leave his room at first, but later understood he needed his time to grief. Izuku might had been a child, too innocent to understand the cruelty in the world, but even he understood how much he had lost in so little time. He needed to disconnect from everything, until he could stand up with a smile on his face, like all heroes did.
… like the hero he would never be.
It was in one of those days when it happened. Izuku was lying on the floor, curled in himself. All Might’s laugh echoed in his too silent room, and the night’s breeze swayed the curtains. He was blinking slowly, feeling sleepy. His clutch in his knees was starting to loosen up, and he felt his mind slow down, a moment of sweet bliss before falling asleep.
Suddenly, a bright light filled his room, and Izuku was startled awake. He sat down, looking around for what could have possibly caused that flash, but he didn’t find anything different. He stood up, and with wobbly feet, he climbed to his chair to check his computer. Nope, still good as always.
He scrambled down, convinced that he had just imagined it, when his eyes landed on his mirror, and his breath caught. Because he didn’t see his reflection looking back at him, oh no, but another boy.
He rushed to the mirror, almost tripping with his own feet twice. He wasn’t imagining things; there really was another boy at the other side. He seemed to be the same age he was, and everything about him took his breath away. He had a beautiful bicolour hair, white and red that met in the middle, and stunning heterochromatic eyes.
However, Izuku’s eyes were drawn to the purple mark on his cheek, and the little cut in his upper lip. He had had those marks way too many times on himself to know what they meant. The other boy had been beaten down. And hard.
He wasn’t sure why he did it; maybe it was the only way he could think of easing his pain, or maybe it was to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, but he reached with a shaky hand the mirror, placing his palm on the cool surface. The other boy, who hadn’t moved until then, drew his eyes to his palm. Izuku waited patiently for the other boy to move, not at all discouraged by his lack of action.
After what felt an eternity, though, he slowly raised his hand. He saw him hesitate in the middle, his fingers flinching with indecision, but he continued forward, until he placed his left palm against his.
He instantly felt it. It wasn’t like touching, but he felt his palm get warm and tingly. Both of them withdrew at the same time, looking down at their hands, then looking up in confusion. Izuku placed then his both hands on the mirror, and smiled widely when he felt that tingly sensation again.
The other boy looked back at him in unconcealed wonder. His gaze travelled down to their joined hands, and then, he placed his hands on the mirror as well, meeting his palms. The same sensation came against his hands, and Izuku felt his insides flutter in excitement.
Then, something strange happened. He felt one of his hands get cold, while the other got even warmer than before. He looked down in confusion, and gasped when he saw the other’s hands. One of them, the boy’s left hand, had tiny flames dancing on his skin, and a thin film of ice covered the other one.
Izuku withdrew his hand in wonder, and traced with his tiny fingers the beautiful shapes the ice made against the mirror’s surface. It felt like touching ice, but at the same time, it wasn’t. They were like nothing he had seen before.
Izuku, after playing with the shapes for a while, placed his hand against his again, not being able to supress the big smile from his face. The other’s eyes lightened up, and the corners of his lips tugged up in a little smile. Izuku vowed to make him smile more.
Reaching blindly in the drawer nearer from him, he took out some sheets of paper and some crayons. He sat down Indian-style, and began to write in one of the pages, trying to remember the shapes his mother had taught him. It took him a bit longer than he anticipated; kanji were really hard to remember, after all.
When he finished, he proudly turned the page for the other boy to see. He read the kanji in curiosity, then looked back at him. Izuku pointed at himself, and he saw realization dawning on him. He saw him move his mouth, probably mouthing his name, but sadly, he couldn’t hear anything coming from the other side.
Then, the other boy left the mirror, just to come back with a notebook and some pencils. He sat in front of Izuku, and threw himself into writing. The green-haired boy waited patiently for the other boy to finish. When he did, he turned his notebook slowly, letting him read what he had written down.
He didn’t understand the first part. Those kanji were something he had never seen before, so he wrote them down, eager to ask his mother about it. The other part, however, he understood. He leaned closer, making sure he read correctly, then whispered the other’s boy name.
The other boy—Shouto—perked up at that, almost as if he had heard him. He nodded, and the little smile was back at his lips. Izuku smiled wider, and placed his hand on the mirror again. The other boy reciprocated, and he felt the warmth again against his skin.
They spent the whole night like this—Shouto drawing shapes on the mirror with his ice, and Izuku following them with his fingers. However, the next thing he knew was that his mother was shaking him awake, worry tainting her voice.
“Izuku, honey, you shouldn’t sleep on the floor. You’ll catch a cold.”
Izuku rubbed his eyes, momentarily disorientated. What was he doing on the ground? Then, he saw the sheets surrounding his little body, and memories of the white and red-haired boy came to his mind. He rushed to the mirror, but only his reflection greeted him. He placed his hands on the surface, but it was cold and still, not vibrant and warm, like he remembered it being the night before.
Had it all been a dream? Did he feel so alone that his mind had created an imaginary friend? Did Shouto not exist at all?
He felt tears pooling on his eyes, and had to swallow down a sob. He wanted Shouto to be real. He was different from the others—Izuku could tell—and he felt something within him scream at the thought of not seeing him again.
His mother panicked, seeing her son so distraught again. Those last months had been really difficult for the two of them, and it had come a point where she didn’t know what to do to make it up to him anymore. She wanted to see him happy again, and cursed the day she took him to the doctor for his quirk.
Suddenly, she saw him reach for a sheet resting at their feet. He looked down at it with a tiny frown, then his eyes sparkled like she had never seen before. Not even watching All Might’s video made him look like this. Inko stared curiously at the paper. What could possibly be in there that made him so happy?
She found out not long afterwards, when Izuku reached to tug at her pants and showed it to her. She picked it up, just to see his son had written down his name, along with some other words scribbled out.
“Mama! Please read what’s in the paper!”
“Let’s see… there’s your name and… Todoroki Shouto? Who is he, a friend of yours?”
Izuku looked down, muttering to himself. Todoroki Shouto. It sounded very good in his ears. He hadn’t imagined it then, right? Shouto was real. Taking the paper from his mum’s hands, he hugged it to his chest and smiled.
Inko was quite taken aback with her son’s change, but thought better than question it. It was nice to see him so cheerful after so long.
“Come on, honey. You have to get ready for school or you’ll be late.”
For the first time after three months, Izuku didn’t complain, and let his mother dress him. He held the paper all the time, not letting it stray away from his sight. Once he was ready to go, he kept it inside his bag, out of harm’s way.
He didn’t remember much of school that day. His mind kept drifting off to Shouto, wondering if he would see him today. When the last school bell tolled, Izuku left his place in a hurry, not even waiting for Kacchan and his friends. He didn’t want to play with them today, anyway.
He got home in record time, and rushed to his room, ignoring his mother’s questions of what was wrong. He threw his bag to the floor and rushed to the mirror, wanting to see if anything had changed. Sadly, it still looked like a normal mirror.
However, that didn’t deter him, and he seated dutifully in front of the mirror, waiting for something to happen. He only left his place when his mother called him in for dinner, but he ate as fast as he could, then went back.
Them, when the soft lights of the sunset filled his room, his reflection distorted. Izuku inched closer, trying to see better what was going on. It was like looking himself on a lake’s surface and throwing a stone to the water. His image distorted with the waves, but instead of his reflection, Shouto’s face came into view when the waves calmed. His eyes widened and inched closer, placing a hand on the mirror, and Izuku mirrored him, placing his palm on top of his.
He felt the tingly sensation again, and he couldn’t stop himself from grinning madly.
“Shouto!” he exclaimed excitedly.
He saw the other boy say his name, and the corners of his mouth quirked up. Izuku swelled up in happiness.
He let his eyes roam on the other boy. His bruise looked way better, what had been an angry blue turning into pale yellow and soft pink, and the cut on his lip had all but completely disappeared. Izuku patted his cheek, asking him how it felt, and Shouto nodded in response, what he translated as him being okay. He was glad.
They spent the whole night playing again, writing each other messages and making figures of ice. Shouto also let him see his fire, raising his hand shyly to let him see the flames dance between his fingers. Izuku was mesmerized watching him. Shouto had such an amazing quirk!
Days went by, and slowly, both boys made discoveries about their connection. For starters, they could only see each other from the sunset, until dawn. Only they could see each other; his mother had come in one night to check out on him, but she didn’t see Shouto at the other side. They also needed to be near their mirror for the connection to happen.
And after a while, Izuku knew how to call their connection. In fact, it was his mother who had told him, after he’d explained his situation. She had called Shouto his soulmate. And Izuku’s heart soared. He had a soulmate!
However, it came a night when the mirror didn’t shift to Shouto’s room. He stared in worry at the unchanging surface, getting more worried as the hours passed. Shouto sometimes got held up by his family, but he was never that late. He waited, and waited, and waited some more, until the soft lights of dawn filtered through his curtains. He got up from the floor then, knowing they wouldn’t connect that night, and went to his bed, worry knotting his stomach.
The same happened the day after, and the one after that. For two full weeks, Izuku waited in front of the mirror, but nothing happened. He didn’t understand what was going on, why Shouto wouldn’t appear anymore. Had they severed their connection, somehow? Could that even happen!?
He needed to see him. But how? He didn’t know where Shouto lived, or where his school was. He didn’t have his telephone number, or any other way to communicate with him but the mirror, and that was out of the question. How could he even try to find him?
Wait. He knew his surname. Todoroki Shouto. Maybe he could look up his name in the internet, like he did with All Might’s videos? Maybe he could find something about him that way.
When he got home, he threw himself in his mission to find more information about his soulmate. He remembered by heart the kanji of his surname, and he introduced his name eagerly in the search bar. He waited patiently for the page to charge, and was pleasantly surprised when many results showed up.
He clicked on the first one that appeared, and the International Heroes Wiki opened in front of him. His eyes landed on the hero’s picture, and his breath caught. It was Endeavour, the second best superhero of Japan, after All Might! He read his personal info slowly, soaking in all the details in front of him, and he stopped at his real name.
Could it be possible? Could Endeavour be Shouto’s father? It made sense, as their quirks were pretty similar, but still, it was hard to believe it. If Shouto’s father were the second best, why would his son sport so many bruises all the time? Wouldn’t he protect his son all times?
Some movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention, and he scrambled down the desktop chair. He rushed to the mirror, placing his hands on the wavering surface. It was changing! They didn’t break the connection, it was changing again!
Soon, his blurry reflection began changing to a room he knew like his own; and the sight of the other boy sitting in front of him made his heart beat quicker than before. However, when the reflection stilled, Izuku felt his blood freeze.
The boy in front of him wasn’t the same Shouto he had seen two weeks ago. Half of his face was bandaged, his skin was pale, and his eyes were defeated, almost as if he had lost the will to fight at all. His shoulders were slumped, and he was wearing a shirt way too big for his little body.
Izuku had never seen the boy look so fragile.
The green-haired boy reached for his face, cursing at the mirror between them. Instead, he reached for his own face, patting his eye and trying to make him understand. What happened, he asked, but Shouto just shook his head, pain flashing in his eyes.
With shaky fingers, Shouto reached for his bandage, and undid it slowly. Little by little, scarred skin came to light, glaring red and looking really painful. Every inch of marred skin he showed felt like a knife digging in his chest, his eyes becoming blurrier the more he tried to contain his tears.
What had happened to him? What had hurt him so much that would leave him scarred to life? He felt deep anger boiling deep within him, a bloodthirsty beast that demanded to know who was responsible of this. But what he felt most was fear. Shouto was his soulmate, and he hadn’t been able to protect him. What if something else happened and he wasn’t there to stop it? Would he even know what would have happened to his other half?
At the thought of losing Shouto, his tears ran freely down his cheeks. Shouto placed one hand on top of his, dropping the bandages to the floor. His scar was totally uncovered then, marring good part of the left side of his face. That made him cry more.
The white and red-haired boy reached for his notebook, the one he always kept near his mirror. He wrote down something, and then showed it to him.
Izuku shook his head and reached for his notebook.
“For not coming to the mirror for so long.”
What? He apologized for that? He had been terribly hurt, but he felt sorry for not connecting with him for two weeks?
Izuku began sobbing then, not being able to contain the shivers that cursed through his body. Shouto looked surprised by that, and looked wildly around, trying to come up with something to make him stop crying. Reaching for the mirror, he covered it with ice, sculpting figures that danced on the surface. Izuku looked at him, relaxing a bit with the familiar gesture, until his sobs transformed into mere whimpers, then into silent tears.
He placed his hands on the mirror again, tracing the familiar shapes with his fingers, as he always did, until he could breathe normally again. The ice parted, letting him see Shouto once again. He swallowed down the lump in his throat, and rested his forehead on the mirror, the fatigue of those days finally getting to him.
He felt warmth on his face, and he opened his eyes just to see him at the other side, looking back at him with his clear eyes. The vulnerability in them had dimmed a bit, but he didn’t know why. He had just cried like a baby, after all. Shouto had been the one in need of comfort, but in the end, he’d been the one to console him.
It was then, in his barely lit room, with his forehead against a soulmate who flinched if he moved his face too much, when he made a vow. He vowed to be strong. Strong enough to aid his soulmate, strong enough to defend him from the ugliness of the world.
It was then when he understood what it meant to be a hero, and that only fuelled his resolve.
He asked his mother to sign him in martial arts extracurricular the day after. He started going every Friday afternoon; then it turned into Monday, Wednesday and Friday, until he ended up going every day. He found out that, despite getting beaten up a lot in the first months, he quite liked it.
After five months, he started to get the hang of it. He learnt to use his lithe body and speed to his advantage, and little by little, he started to win against the other boys. He also made some friends in there.
One of them was called Kirishima Eijiro, and his quirk made his body hard as steel at his every command. At first, it was hard to overcome that disparity in strength, but he watched, learned, and managed to point out his weak points. After all, he hadn’t been studying quirks all those years for nothing.
Years passed, and his life got into a comfortable routine. He went to school, avoided everyone—specially Kacchan, who, for some reason, wanted to beat him up every time he saw him—went to the dojo and sparred with his friends. Then he usually hung out with Kirishima and some others, until the sun began to set and he rushed home, where he had dinner with his mother and met Shouto.
It was when he was eleven when Kirishima came with a mobile phone to the dojo. It seemed that his father had bought it to him for his birthday, and he hadn’t been allowed to get it out of home until then.
“You need to get a phone too, Midoriya! This way we can talk every day!”
Izuku refrained to remind him that they already saw each other every afternoon, as a thought crossed his mind. Mobile phones allowed you to talk to people far away, right? What if…?
That day, Izuku rushed home with a mission in mind. He opened the main door and rushed to the kitchen, where his mother was making dinner. For a moment, he hesitated; was it selfish of him? After all, mobile phones were quite expensive, weren’t they?
Inko turned around, only to find her son hesitating on the door threshold. She dried her hands and placed the kitchen cloth on the counter, looking at him curiously.
“What is it, Izuku?”
“Uhm… Do you remember Kirishima?”
“Yeah, of course. He’s dropped by a lot. What of him?”
“Uhm, the thing is that his father got him a phone for his birthday, and it was so cool, we looked through everything it had and all, but then I thought it sure was expensive, and…”
At that point, she failed to understand a single thing of what her son muttered, too lost in his world to even notice he was still speaking. However, she thought she’d caught what he was trying to say.
“Do you want a phone, Izuku?”
He startled, looking up at her with eyes so big she had to stop herself from chuckling at the sight. No matter how many martial arts lessons he took, and how strong he got, he was still her little boy.
Said boy fidgeted, shifting his weight from toe to toe. His eyes were casted aside, almost in shame, and didn’t look at her when he spoke up.
Inko reached for his wild curls and ruffled his hair. That boy didn’t stop surprising her.
“Of course, you can have one! You’ve been so good lately, that I was actually planning on giving you one. Wait here.”
Izuku watched with his mouth open as his mother left to her room. He really hadn’t expected that outcome. His mother came back soon after, carrying a phone in her hand. She placed it in his waiting hands, and he looked at it with wonder. He remembered the model; it had been her phone a year before, and he could actually remember when she had gotten every scratch on the surface. But any of that mattered to him. It was the thought that he had a phone that made him incredibly happy.
He hugged his mother in thanks, and left to his room to drop his things. He shot a glance to the mirror—it was still too early for that. Nonetheless, he couldn’t wait to use his phone with Shouto.
He finished his dinner earlier than usual, giving his mum a hug in thanks before leaving to his bedroom. He would have normally stayed to help her with the dishes, but he couldn’t wait anymore. So he sat in front of the mirror, his new phone in his hand, and waited for the mirror to shift.
Soon enough, the image of the other boy came into view. Izuku’s hand instantly found its usual place in the mirror, and Shouto’s quickly joined it. However, instead of reaching for his notebook, as always, this time he showed him his phone proudly. Shouto cocked his head, and his eyes widened in realisation afterwards.
He stood up, and left the mirror for a while. Then, he came back with his backpack, and took out a phone himself. He quickly scribbled down his telephone number and showed to Izuku, who copied to his phone. Once all the numbers were in, his finger hoovered over the call button, nervous giddiness creeping on him. Biting his lip, he pressed down the call button.
His insides knotted in nerves when he saw the other’s phone screen blink awake, his phone number flashing in bright colours. He held his breath when he answered, and he looked as Shouto brought the phone to his ear.
At first, no one said anything. They just heard each other breathe, not quite believing this was happening. After a while, Izuku took a deep breath, and willed himself to talk.
The other one closed his eyes and shuddered from head to toe. When he opened his eyes again, they were full of warmth, and the corners of his lips went up a bit.
A swarm of feelings filled him the moment Shouto said his name. He felt elated and dazed, and energized at the same time. He wanted to jump, he wanted to run, but most of all, he wanted to hear his voice again.
“Shouto! Wait. Can I call you Shouto? Or do you prefer Todoroki? It’s just that when I was little I didn’t know how to read your name and I kind of stuck, but if you want me to call you Todoroki it’s fine! I don’t care! Well, I care… I don’t want to be disrespectful or-”
A soft chuckle stopped him mid-rant. Izuku looked back at the laughing kid with doe eyes, waiting for him to say something. When he stopped, there was a full smile in Shouto’s face, his lips still pressed together, but wider than before.
“Shouto’s fine. Can I call you Izuku?”
Calls between them became a thing. Izuku had always loved seeing Shouto at the other side of the mirror, but to actually listen to him too was a blessing. His voice, albeit child-like, was soft, calm and soothing, and he would find himself falling asleep to it sometimes, when the boy would read to him in the deep of the night.
Shouto always asked him about his day; how the classes had been, and how his friends from the dojo were doing. Izuku always had little anecdotes to tell him, and he loved it when they made Shouto laugh. Sometimes, he had to tell him about another of Kacchan’s pranks, and the coldness of the other’s eyes would make him shiver from head to toe.
He really hoped Shouto didn’t meet Kacchan in real life.
However, it came a time when the mirror wasn’t enough. He wanted to meet Shouto in real life, even if it was just once, and check if his skin was as warm as in the mirror. However, he was afraid to ask. He’d known for a long time that Shouto didn’t have the best of the relationships with his father, taking how he talked about him. His voice would get all cold, and frost would form in his hand.
He sometimes reached for his scar then, grazing the surface with his fingertips, and Izuku knew it was time to change the subject.
But time went by, and that wish only grew. It was as if it had wormed its way to his brain, and would be present in every waking thought, even in dreams. Every breath he took, he longed for the other boy, and it was downright confusing. Every time he saw his hands dancing with his amazing powers, he wondered how it would feel being actually in front of him. To feel the sheer cold and the warmth of his fire against his skin.
His phone ringing took him out of his deep thoughts. He picked it up absentmindedly, sitting up with a start when he saw it was Shouto the one calling him. He looked at the time, but it was only 10 am, way too early for their routine call.
Had something happened to him? Was he alright? Did he need his help in any way?
With shaky hands, he answered the call, not masking the concern from his voice. “Shouto? Is everything alright?”
“Happy birthday, Izuku.”
Wait, what? He looked at the calendar, and he saw that, indeed, it was his birthday. How could he forget about his own birthday?
“Thank you, Shouto! I- I didn’t even remember it was my own birthday.”
He heard chuckles coming from the other side, and ah, that warmth in his chest was back, along with an increasing heartbeat. It was a thrilling sensation, only comparable with the rush after a won match.
“What do you want for your birthday?”
“Oh. Uh, I don’t need anything, really. You don’t need to bother.”
“But I want to give you something for your birthday.”
Izuku pouted. “And I’m telling you there’s no need. Just talking to you was enough present for me.”
“Please? I want to give you something, Izuku. What do you want?”
Suddenly, the deep longing that had been pestering him all these weeks came back to him like a tidal wave. His chest felt tight, and his palms tingled, yearning for the touch of the other boy. How could he miss so much someone he saw every day?
“I want to see you…”
There was a pause, and when he spoke up again, Izuku could hear the confusion of the other boy. “We see each other every day?”
“I didn’t mean it like that. I meant like…” He curled on himself, hugging his knees to his chest. “Like in… person. Face to face.”
The silence was deafening. For a long time, he could only hear Shouto breathing at the other side, the only way he had to know he hadn’t hung up on him. He buried his face on his knees, deliberately breathing deeply. However, the silence became too much, and Izuku couldn’t stand it anymore.
“I-it doesn’t matter! It was stupid, anyway. I mean, we see each other plenty of times already, there’s no need to-”
“Okay. Let’s meet.”
His words came out as a mere whisper, but Izuku had been paying attention to hear them. His face rose from where it had been buried on his knees, looking forward in surprise. He could see his reflection in the mirror, his hair pointing out to all directions, and his eyes wide in disbelief.
“W-we don’t have to!”
“But I want to. I want to see you, Izuku.”
His eyes closed at that, and his lips curled up in a smile. “Okay.”
They agreed to meet up in a park nearby his place, at the same time the mirror changed. Izuku spent the whole day fretting over what he should wear, and trying to tame his wild locks. When the time to leave his home came, he rushed out, his heart in his throat. God, if he was so nervous just with the thought of meeting him, we was going to faint when he actually met up with him.
However, hours passed, but Shouto never came. Izuku waited in the park, watching the lazy clouds drift away slowly. He waited until the sun set completely and stars started blinking brightly in the sky. At ten, he called Shouto, but no one picked up the phone. At eleven, he received a call from his mother, worried that he hadn’t come home yet. At twelve, he decided to go back home.
He apologized to his mother for being out so late, and with a sudden weigh on his shoulders, he went to his room. He placed his things on his desk, and shot a wary look to his mirror, but it didn’t shift. He tried calling Shouto again, but he didn’t pick it up again. Frowning in worry, he began getting changed into his pyjamas, when his phone began vibrating on his desk. He rushed to pick it up, his eyes widening when he saw Shouto’s username on the screen.
He accepted the call, and brought the phone immediately to his ear. Just at that moment, the mirror started shifting, and Izuku got closer to it.
“Sorry I couldn’t make it.”
Izuku frowned. Shouto didn’t sound right. His voice was strained, and he swore he could hear him take shallow breaths every time he spoke.
When the mirror cleared out, it was his turn to stop breathing altogether.
The sight in front of him seemed taken out of a horror movie. His face had multiple cuts and painful bruises, a swollen lip and a bloody nose. His hair was tangled, almost as if someone had grabbed it forcefully, and some strands were stuck on dry blood. His clothes were bloody and burned, and from the holes in the cloth he could see red marks in the other’s skin.
And the worst part of it, he could see burnt marks littering his arms.
“Sorry for looking like this.” He tried to rub his neck, but flinched. “I wanted to clean myself first, but I then I saw your missed calls, and I didn’t want to worry you anymore.”
Izuku opened his mouth, but no sound came out of it. Swallowing down, he tried it again. “What… what happened.”
“Father caught me sneaking out.”
His words felt like a bag of bricks. This… the fact that Shouto had been beating up really bad, to the point where he flinched when he breathed… it was…
It was his fault?
Because he had been selfish enough to ask for something he couldn’t have, Shouto had suffered the aftermath. And instead of protecting him, he had harmed him more. It didn’t matter what he did, or how much he trained, he was still Useless Deku.
Izuku didn’t feel the sobs racking his body, or the nails digging in his skin. He could just hear Shouto’s soft voice in his ear, asking him what was wrong. He tried to answer, but only gibbering came from his mouth, until another sob racked him. He trembled from head to toe, feeling scorching hot and painfully cold at the same time.
Meanwhile, Shouto kept talking to him, trying to get through his distress.
“Izuku, please, calm down. Please, don’t cry. You know how much it hurts when I see you cry.”
But Izuku, for the life of him, couldn’t stop. Not when every time he looked at the other boy he saw him so beat up.
He would get him away from his father, he swore. He would get stronger, and get him out of there, even if it was the last thing he did.
Neither of them talked about what happened in his birthday. Soon enough, his wounds healed, and both could put the incident behind them. Izuku never asked to meet in person again, and Shouto didn’t propose it either.
Izuku was happy to leave it behind. If that meant Shouto wouldn’t get hurt, it was fine by him.
However, something was going on with the other boy. Since the day of the incident, he started getting… colder, to say it in one way. Sometimes when their mirror shifted, his gaze would be piercing, cold and calculating until he saw him, and they would soften up.
His hands also felt colder. The tingly feeling would make him shiver instead of warm him up. It felt like when he was using his ice powers against the mirror, but that didn’t make any sense, did it?
He started to notice some weird things too, like a bit frost in weird places, like in his neck, or in between his fingers. His movement slowed down drastically sometimes, matching the days he had intensive training with his dad, and he could swear he saw his breath fogging up more than once.
Izuku was getting worried that he was using his ice powers a bit too much, and that was taking a toll on his body. However, with his fire powers, he should have been able to fight the coldness. So why was he being affected by it?
Come to think of it, he couldn’t actually remember when it was the last time he had seen him perform a trick with his fire. When they were little, he would use both sides of his quirk equally, but as time went on, he started favouring his right side a lot more, until he didn’t use his left anymore.
Why wasn’t he using his quirk anymore?
With that question on mind, he called Shouto that evening, just as the mirror started shifting. When the image focused, he saw the frosting covering his fingertips. He frowned at the image. Shouto seemed to notice where his gaze was directed at, and clenched his fists, getting his frost-covered fingers out of sight.
He nodded. “I had training with Father today.”
“Is this why you’re all frozen?”
There was a tense pause between them, where the both boys just stared at each other. Gathering up his courage, Izuku finally asked the question that had been in his mind since that morning.
“Why don’t you use your fire anymore, Shouto?”
At first, he didn’t say anything. His usually stoic face contorted in a myriad of expressions he had never seen before on the other boy.
“It’s because I hate my father’s power.”
“But you used to like it back then. What happened?”
He touched his scar. “This.”
His scar. The only time when they hadn’t seen each other for longer than a day. They had never talked about that. They avoided talking about everything involving his wounds, and that one time hadn’t been an exception.
“Who… who did that to you?”
His fingers shook, and he dropped his hand. “My mother.”
Then he told him about his mother, and how much she had been bullied by his father. Every time she stepped in trying to stop Shouto’s “special training”, she got a beating. She was isolated, the only reason his father tolerated her presence being her quirk. She had an element quirk, ice, and Endeavour had used it to create the strongest line of superheroes. He wanted to surpass All Might no matter how, and if he had to play with genetics and create a child with a strong enough quirk to do so, so be it.
He also told him about that night, when he had gone for a glass of water after Izuku fell asleep, thirsty for using his ice. His mother had been in the kitchen, talking to the phone. She was telling someone how afraid she was of Shouto’s left side, and how it reminded her of his father. He called for her, afraid of her tone of voice, and she had snapped. She had thrown a pot of boiling water to his left side, burning his face.
Izuku felt numb after hearing that, every little piece of the puzzle finally falling into place. After everything he’d seen all those years he had already known Endeavour’s ways of treating his son were unacceptable, but to completely ruin the life of his whole family? That was unforgivable.
But still, after all that, it wasn’t a valid reason to cast off one part of himself. He was so afraid of becoming his father that he had completely rejected his left side, acting as if it wasn’t his power at all. At this point, he identified his flames with his father destroying his mother’s life, and there was a constant battle in himself, deliberately repressing them.
His fire was part of him too, and rejecting it had only made him more harm than good. He had to accept that part of himself too, before something bad happened because of it. It was already taking a toll in his body—he didn’t want to know how could affect him in the long run.
“Shouto… you need to stop. Stop this madness before it’s too late.”
“I won’t. I won’t become my old man. I will prove him I can be a hero without using his quirk. I won’t harm anyone else.”
Izuku clenched his fists, ticked off. “You want to become a hero without giving it your all? Just using half of your power!?”
“Quirks are physical abilities too. There’s a limit to how much cold your body can take, isn’t it? And isn’t it that something you could solve by using the heat from your left side?”
Shouto reminded silent.
“You won’t be a hero like that. A hero gives his all in order to protect those in need! If you go out doubting part of yourself you’ll only get yourself killed!” He punched the floor, trying to ease his pent-up frustration. “You’re not your father! So stop screwing around!”
Frost completely covered Shouto’s right side, but his eyes were lit in anger. It was the first time he’d seen him completely furious, but Izuku didn’t back off. He would beat his ass if it was necessary, just to make him understand.
“I will reject my old man’s power!”
“It’s your power! Isn’t it!?” he barked. Shouto’s eyes widened at the fierceness in his voice. “It’s time both of you see you’re not your father’s puppet. You’re yourself, and your powers are awesome. So stop being stupid and actually own it!”
He hung up then, not wanting to hear more excuses coming out of his mouth. He saw him frown to his phone, and call again, but he just switched off his phone and threw it to his bag. He left his place from the mirror and went to his bed, lying facing the wall. He didn’t turn to the other side, no matter how much time passed, and he stayed like this until he fell asleep.
The next morning came and Izuku was still mad at Shouto’s childish behaviour. He went through the day impatiently, eager to see it over as fast as possible. In the dojo, he managed to burn his pent-up frustration, although he ended up being a bit rough on Kirishima, who was his sparring mate that day. However, Kirishima shrugged it off, saying it had been pretty spectacular to see him so into their fight.
Evening came, and Izuku was pretty reluctant to meet the his soulmate in the mirror. But he had seen just how many missed calls and unread texts were in his phone, although he hadn’t read any of them, so he guessed he owed him. He felt awful about their fight, but he wouldn.t apologize. That would invalidate everything he said yesterday, and he wouldn’t do that. He needed to make him understand.
The mirror in front of him began to shift, and he crossed his arms, wary. Shouto was at the other side, but he didn’t make any move to get his phone. Instead, he extended his arm, and placed his left hand on the mirror, waiting for him to join. He didn’t. The slight hurt he saw in his eyes made his throat close up, but he refused to give in.
However, what the other boy did next took him by surprise. Suddenly, his left arm started to shine slightly, until little flames began dancing in his skin, just like they used to so many years ago.
Izuku dropped his stand and inched closer, staring at Shouto in disbelief. He was using his quirk! He looked up, questioning, and Shouto nodded, a small smile on his face. He joined Shouto’s palm, and was relieved to feel that warm tingle coursing through his body, like old times.
Tears of relief welled up in his eyes, and he rested his forehead on the mirror. He smiled with closed eyes when the warmth travelled to his face, and let his tears fall freely.
He was back.
It was a day like any other when happened something that would change his life forever.
Izuku was nursing a bruise in his jaw while he walked home. He had had a fight with Kacchan, and it had dragged so long that he had missed his extracurricular. It didn’t matter how hard he trained; when Kacchan used his power, he was unbeatable. It also didn’t matter that he fought against people with insanely strong quirks on a daily basis; Kacchan was still Kacchan.
But he was satisfied with his results today. The explosive boy had only managed to land two blows on him, and he had managed to get one. That was progress, right?
Something shifted nearby, and he got instantly on guard. His steps faltered, and he looked around, trying to appear as oblivious as possible while being on the lookout. He kept on walking, his senses on full alert, when he felt a swing coming for him from behind. He threw himself to the floor and rolled to the side, getting out of harm’s way. He rushed to stand up and looked around, trying to spot his attacker.
There was nothing around him, but he didn’t drop his guard. He was sure that whatever that was hiding in the shadows was going to strike again.
As he predicted, a green blob came for him and he jumped out of the way again, this time facing his enemy. The villain had some kind of mud quirk, and his limbs were like muddy tentacles, making a wet sound when they moved. It looked like he could stretch his body to some extent, so he had to be careful if he lunged at him. He didn’t want to get caught by those slimy limbs.
“Huh, you managed to avoid my surprise attack twice. I’m quite impressed, kid.”
Izuku narrowed his eyes. “What do you want?”
The slime grinned toothily. “Just to take over your body.”
He lunged forward, and Izuku almost didn’t avoid the stretched-out limbs coming his way. He felt his clothes get dirty with stray mud oozing off his arms, and he gritted his teeth when his attacks gained precision with every lunge. He could avoid just fine, but he couldn’t find any openings on him. For all he knew, if he touched his body he was doomed.
Suddenly, one of his limbs got a hold on his wrist, and the villain smirked. “Gotcha.”
“Not if I get you first!”
Suddenly, a figure dropped from the skies, landing beside them. Bursts of wind came from where the figure had fallen, so strong that Izuku had to cover his face with his free arm. He looked up, but his words died on his mouth when he saw who was standing before them.
It was… All Might!
The top superhero flashed him a smile, and as fast as he had come he ended it. The villain, who had seemed so strong just moments ago, was subdued within seconds, and before he realised it, All Might was leaving the scene.
The Number One Hero, the man Izuku had admired for so long was leaving. He hadn’t been able to say anything to him. So what would someone do in this situation?
He latched on his legs before he left.
The ride to that rooftop hadn’t been the most comfortable one. And discovering the real face behind All Might had been… surprising, to say the least. However, that didn’t dim his respect on the superhero, just fuelled it. After all, he kept on saving people despite his limitations, and that was something he admired a lot.
It was then when he asked him the question that had roamed in his mind all this time. That question that seemed forbidden after that visit to the doctor. That question that resurfaced after seeing Shouto’s scar for the first time.
“Can someone who’s quirkless… become a hero?”
His negative was crushing.
He could only stand and watch him leave, looking for the slime-y villain that had managed to escape. He found his way down from the rooftop, and walked back home, the weight of the world suddenly on his shoulders. Was he really that useless? Was not having a quirk that bad?
Wasn’t he able to protect Shouto, after all?
It was then when he saw the commotion, and when he approached, he saw Kacchan being attacked by the slime villain that had attacked him in that alley. More exactly, he saw his eyes; fearful eyes begging for help.
And his legs moved on their own.
When Izuku got home, he couldn’t believe what had happened. Everything had happened so fast that his mind was having trouble wrapping up around it. Was he… was he really going to become All Might’s successor? Was he really going to inherit One For All? Was he going to develop a quirk?
… well, not yet. All might had explained him he had to prepare his body to accept such a raw power. The “vessel”, as he called it, had to be strong enough to withhold all the energy, and he had to learn how to channel it. He had been pleasingly surprised to know he had been training for so long, but he still wanted to make sure he could stand it. That meant that All Might had to train him.
They had ten months until Yuuei’s entrance exam. It would be ten months of him training endlessly, and learning how to use his quirk without hurting himself too much. He was going to meet All Might in two days, and his training would begin then. His training to become a hero.
Could his life get any better?
He let himself fall on his bed, letting the tiredness of the day wash over him. He wanted to scream it over the rooftops, let everyone know that “useless Deku” wasn’t useless anymore. He wanted to assure his mother that she didn’t have to worry when he got into fights, because he was going to be stronger than before.
And god, he wanted to tell Shouto right away. He wanted to let him know that they could fight against his father, and take him far away from that cursed home. He wanted to hold him close, knowing he could protect him from everyone and everything.
The thought of Shouto as some kind of damsel in distress made Izuku crack a smile. Shouto would be the worst damsel in distress in the whole history. He would fuss and struggle, saying that he didn’t need any saving in the first place.
And he was right, of course. He had never seen a person stronger than Shouto, both physically and emotionally, but he still wanted to have his back. That was what soulmates were for, right?
However, he couldn’t tell him about his quirk. For the first time in his life, he would willingly keep something from his soulmate, and that hurt him to no avail. But All Might had insisted to keep it secret from everyone, no matter if they were friends, family, or soulmates. The only thing he could say about that matter was that his quirk had finally manifested.
Soon, the mirror shifted, showing Shouto at the other side. For some minutes, he just stared at him, not quite believing how much he had changed over the years. He held himself with pride, instead of trying to make him seem as little as possible, in fear of what his father could think. His body was toned, no doubt for the continuous training his father made him go through, and what had been chubby, little hands were now slim and strong. How he longed to touch those hands.
However, there were some things that hadn’t changed at all. That mysterious bicolour hair that seemed the representation of his power, the softness of his voice, and the warmth of his heterochromatic eyes when he looked at him.
And he loved everything about him. After all, he had loved him for a long time.
The phone in his pocket buzzed, and he snapped out of his contemplation. He blinked at an impatient-looking Shouto, and answered the phone.
“Good evening, Shouto.”
“You were on the news.”
Izuku sat down at that. “I was?”
“Yes. There was a villain attack today at the city centre, right? Apparently, a green-haired boy rushed blindly towards the villain, pushing back the rescuing party. Does that sound familiar?”
“Pushing back? They weren’t doing anything,” he grumbled under his breath.
“So it was you.”
He sighed. “It was me.”
“If All Might hadn’t been in there…”
“I know, but I couldn’t leave Kacchan alone. His eyes were begging for help, and my legs moved on their own.”
The last comment made Shouto smile softly. He hadn’t met anyone more self-righteous than him. “Either way, take care, okay? I can’t bear the thought of something happening to you.”
Izuku’s heart warmed up at those words, and he couldn’t help to close his eyes, to enjoy the feeling of fullness that overcame him.
“Don’t worry,” he whispered, “things are going to change soon. I can’t say anything about it yet, but they will. Trust me.”
“Are you going to take more martial arts lessons?”
He laughed. “Kind of. I’m going to have a… personal trainer this time around.”
Izuku saw Shouto roll his eyes, and he crackled up again, mirth filling him. He stood up and joined the other boy in the mirror, placing his hand against Shouto’s. He closed his eyes, enjoying the warmth coming from it.
“Thank you, Shouto. For worrying about me.”
“I always worry about you. You’re my soulmate.”
He couldn’t help but smile at his words. Shouto smiled back, eyes shining in what he hoped was happiness.
“Could you… could you use your fire today?”
Shouto didn’t say anything, just spread his hand and let his fire out, making the flames dance on his skin. Izuku stared mesmerized at the beautiful quirk used skilfully, forming ethereal figures that told stories. Since the fight they’d had a year ago, Shouto had begun using his left side a lot more, and his control over it had improved a lot. He had managed to embrace his flames, and tame that other uncontrollable part of himself.
He was so proud.
They spent the whole night awake, just enjoying each other’s presence. Izuku tried to imprint in his memory that moment, the last days where he would be Quirkless Deku, and begin his hero training. He vowed to remember what it felt like, and never forget it. After all, being quirkless had taught him a lot about the world they lived in.
Then, two days later, his training began. If he had to describe it in one word, he would call it excruciating. All Might didn’t hold back in his training, in order to get him in his prime shape. Luckily, with his combat skills already developed, All Might deemed his training pre-quirk finished in only in four months.
What Izuku didn’t know was that he would know the real meaning of pain right after that.
Despite his training, One for All… intense, to say the least. He broke every bone in his body at least once, trying to reign the quirk. And if it wasn’t for Recovery Girl, who would scold All Might every time he brought a broken Izuku to her consult, he would have been marred for life.
Then, the day of the entrance exam came. With his intensive training, he had managed to learn to control the strength of his blows most of the time, what meant no more broken bones. Hopefully.
He managed to defeat some of the bots, but the numbers were diminishing and he still needed more points if he wanted to enter the hero course. Time was running out, and he was going to go to the periphery of the arena when he heard it. A loud rumble coming their way.
Underneath them, the earth shook, and suddenly, the biggest robot he’s seen in all his life came into view, putting the ones they’d been fighting off to shame. Everyone began running away from it, and he was about to follow when he heard a whimper. It was the girl that had helped him that morning, Uraraka Ochako, who was trapped under some rocks. And the robot was coming right at her.
Without thinking, he ran forward, using One for All to leap to the robot. Unleashing the full potential of his quirk, he punched it, smashing its head to pieces. However, he realized way too late that he had overdone himself, as the excruciating pain of his broken arm came in full force. He saw himself falling to the ground at really high speed, and was ready to sacrifice his other arm when he felt something slapping him in the face.
Suddenly, he felt like he was floating. He looked around, only to see Uraraka floating on a boulder beside him, her face set in a deep frown.
“Don’t worry. We’ll… we’ll be okay soon.”
When they were near the ground, Uraraka let go, and both of them fell to the floor. He got his breath knocked out of his lungs when he landed, but he managed to sit down, clenching a hand on his broken arm. Nearby, Uraraka had passed out for overusing her quirk.
Then Recovery girl came, healed them both, and all the students were ushered home. Izuku waited impatiently for any news coming from the school and burst into tears when he got in. However, when Shouto asked him what had got him so happy, he didn’t tell him. He knew Shouto had been accepted by special recommendation to Yuuei, and he wanted to give him a surprise.
Moreover, that meant they would not only see each other in person for the first time, but they would would go to school together.
The first day of school came, and Izuku was practically vibrating in excitement. He bumped into Ochako again, thanking her for slowing down his fall, and she thanked him for taking out the huge robot.
“I would’ve been toast if it wasn’t for you, so thanks!”
Then, she showed him the way to their classroom, 1A. He stepped cheerfully inside, just to immediately regret it when he saw Bakugo and the scary boy with glasses from the entrance exam arguing. He was about to step back, and maybe leave until they finished, when he heard a voice that rooted him to the floor.
He turned his head towards the back of the room, and his eyes instantly fixed on a familiar face. He was standing up, his chair kicked back as if he had rushed to his feet, and his face was the perfect representation of disbelief. Izuku’s lips parted in a wide smile, and he had to restrain himself from leaping.
In a blink of the eye, Shouto was in front of him, placing a hand on his cheek. Izuku couldn’t refrain himself anymore, and threw himself on his arms, enjoying for the first time the warmth coming from his soulmate’s body. Shouto hesitated, but soon, he felt two strong arms enveloping him.
They pulled apart, Shouto still looking at him like he was seeing an apparition. Grinning, Izuku raised his hand, showing him his palm, and Shouto soon joined. The feeling was way better than in the mirror.
“How are you here?”
“I told you things were going to change. I got a quirk.”
Izuku just shrugged, because he didn’t quite understand it either. But it had taken him there, in Yuuei Academy, where he had dreamt to enrol since he was a kid, and with his soulmate. He wasn’t going to question it. After all, he had learnt that some things were destined to be—it just took a couple of tries to get there.
He turned around, not dropping Shouto’s hand, and smiled when he saw Kirishima approaching them. He looked at their joined hands curiously, and punched Izuku’s arm.
“Hi Kirishima-kun. I’m glad to see you made it.”
“I’m glad too! But what the hell, dude? Last thing I knew was that you didn’t have a quirk! Or were you holding up on me in our matches?”
He just shook his head. “I’d never dream of it.”
“Yeah, right. Either way, it’s crazy that we ended up in the same class. By the way…” he eyed the other boy. “Who’s your friend.”
“Oh, right. He’s Todoroki Shouto. M-my soulmate.”
“Your soulmate!?” The voice of Uraraka filled the whole room, and she rushed to them. She bounced on her toes, an expression of pure glee in her face. “This is awesome! I had never seen soulmates before! Had you met before or is this your first time!?”
“It’s the first time,” Shouto answered calmly beside him.
“That’s so cool!” she exclaimed, her eyes shining like twin stars.
Kirishima laughed beside them. “I remember now! You used to talk about him a lot. You were super mushy.”
Izuku fought off his embarrassment, and tried to avoid to answer as many questions as possible coming from Uraraka. Soon enough, people dispersed, creating an animated chaos that Izuku was getting used to rather quick. He felt the hand around his tighten up, and he looked up at Shouto. There was a light in his eyes he’d never seen before, something akin to happiness. He squeezed his hand back.
“It seems like this year is going to be exciting, isn’t it?”
Shouto snorted. “With this group of overexcited puppies? This is an understatement.”
“But it’s going to be fun, right? We’re together, after all.”
His eyes softened. “We are. I have to admit—I’m rather excited to see what the future will bring us. I never thought I was ever going to say that but then…”
“Then my mirror shifted and showed me the face of a kid with soft-looking hair and pretty freckles on his cheeks. Since then, life has been a rollercoaster.”
Izuku just smiled at him and leaned on him, enjoying the natural warmth coming from his left side. It’d been a long time since they had seen each other for the first time, but it was far from over. After all, they still had a lot of adventures to face together.