Shinsou can’t sleep. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. He’s usually the last of his boyfriends to fall asleep, if he falls at all.
Despite his big talk, Bakugo was out first. Shinsou isn’t sure if he’s just an early sleeper, or if it’s the way Midoriya works his fingers through his blond hair. He knows that it’s the case with Todoroki; he always waits patiently for Bakugo to dose off so Midoriya can play with his hair next.
Midoriya falls asleep last, his fingers usually still twisted in Shinsou’s hair. He normally makes a half-assed attempt to get Midoriya to just sleep because Shinsou is a lost cause, but he has magical fingers that Shinsou is weak too. It’s the position they’re in now, Midoriya’s fingers in his hair and drool on his shoulder.
No, Shinsou being the last to fall asleep isn’t new. What is unusual about it, is that Shinsou thinks he knows why he can’t sleep.
Todoroki came home with questions. It’s normal for him to do so, having decided to take different classes on quirks in college. He often uses his boyfriends for his papers, since they’re a group with an assortment of quirks.
What was different, was that Todoroki had come home with questions specifically for him.
“The paper is for my quirk psychology class,” Todoroki explained, clipping his two-toned hair back with gold clips with butterflies on the end. He tried to separate the red and white blocks evenly, but a few strands get crossed. It makes Shinsou smile. “I’d like to use you for my example, if you don’t mind.”
His smile widens when Todoroki looks away from him. He’s never once said ‘no’ to being one of Todoroki’s test subjects, but he still gets nervous asking. Shinsou finds it endlessly adorable.
“Sure,” Shinsou drawls, “What’s the subject this time?”
Todoroki shuffles his papers around nervously, and pushes a few rebel baby hairs to the side of his forehead.
“It’s on quirks, and if they predetermine whether or not someone will be a villain.”
Shinsou’s smile instantly slides from his face.
Todoroki fiddles with the baby hairs again.
“The rest of the class is writing papers on why quirks would make someone choose to be a villain,” Todoroki says gently, but Shinsou flinches anyways. “I’m doing mine on how quirks don’t pre-determine that.”
Shinsou nods, and looks down at their dinning room table in front of him. There’s eraser marks streaked across it from when Midoriya absent-mindedly wrote notes across it during one of his mumbling episodes.
“So your whole class thinks I’m going to become a villain,” Shinsou says, brushing his thumb along one of the marks, willing it to let him feel MIdoriya’s comfort even though he’s in class. He smiles humorlessly. “I thought I’d grown past the potential of being evil.”
The worst part about the situation is that Todoroki’s classmates had gotten to know him and his quirk through other papers he’s done. They knew deep, psychological things that Todoroki, Bakugo and Midoriya hadn’t even known.
They knew how deep and ingrained his hate for his quirk is; how bled over into hatred for himself. It was a hatred so strong that he’d willingly locked himself away and isolated himself from everyone for years.
He knows that Todoroki understands some of it. For the first two months of their relationship, he wouldn’t touch them with his left side.
But Todoroki had at least one person on his side throughout his life. There always someone who saw potential in him to be something more, something amazing. The only potential people ever saw in Shinsou was to be a monster.
Todoroki please his warm hand over Shinsou’s cold one. His hands are always cold.
“I want to show them that they’re wrong, Shinsou,” Todoroki says softly.
Todoroki gives his hand a soft squeeze, and Shinsou smiles because he knows his boyfriend is trying. Comfort isn’t Todoroki’s element; it’s Midoriya’s.
Todoroki’s comfort is hesitant touches and uncertain glances. It takes your mind off of whatever you’re worried about, because you want to stop and tell him that he’s doing fine. In a weird way, it works.
“Okay,” Shinsou says, “Okay. When do you want to do it?”
Todoroki picks up his hand, and maneuvers them so each of Shinsou’s hands is touching his, like a hand sandwich. He see a look of concentration cross his face before stream rises from their hand pile. It’s a trick Todoroki has been working on, to activate his quirk enough to bring warmth, but not enough to create a flame.
Shinsou curls his fingers around the warmth greedily.
“Tomorrow,” Todoroki says. “I want you to be able to prepare yourself.”
“Okay,” Shinsou says, feeling like a broken record.
They stay like that, Shinsou feeding off of Todoroki’s warmth until Bakugo comes home from classes.
“Fucking shitty day,” Bakugo complains, dropping his ripped book bag off by the door.
“Midoriya told you it would break,” Todoroki points out.
He had. Bakugo told him to piss off. It was the first time Shinsou heard Todoroki genuinely laugh. It’s one of his favorite memories.
Shinsou smiles as Bakugo expresses his daily act of affection to Todoroki, by kissing the top of his head hello.
“Those the new hair clips I bought you?” Bakugo asks, sliding the left one from his hair. They’d gotten sloppy looking from all of Todorki’s nervous fiddling.
“Yes,” he says, leaning into Bakugo’s touch as he smoothes back his hair and re-clips it for him.
“Knew they’d look fucking cute on you,” Bakugo murmurs.
Todoroki flushes as he moves over to Shinsou.
“I’ll sow your bag for you tonight,” Shinsou offers.
Bakugo hums and titles his chin up. He presses a kiss to Shinsou’s cheek and, like Todoroki, Shinsou leans into the familiar affection.
“Thank you, Master Manipulator.”
Shinsou’s smile twitches at the nickname, but he doesn’t let it fall.
Shinsou sighs quietly, glaring up at the ceiling. He can’t believe that he’s still worrying about these things at twenty. He thought he worked past this. It’s pathetic to go back to it now.
Midoriya huffs in his sleep, as if to agree with him. Shinsou turns to his side and buries his face in his boyfriend’s unruly hair. He squeezes his eyes shut, and tries not to think about the real reason he doesn’t want Todoroki to start asking him questions about his quirk, and the evil things that could come from it.
His past would never leave him alone, and in hindsight, he feels like he should’ve known. It’s always there, lingering in the back of his mind.
His sleep is so riddled by nightmares, that his body has long since learned to function without it. Still, every time he closes his eyes, he sees it. He hears the screams, the shattering glass, the sound of a whole aisle of soup come crashing down on his mother.
He remembers all of the blood, not sure which was his and which was the stranger’s, mangled and nearly unrecognizable in the aftermath. He can still feel the stinging pain in his cheeks and knees; he can still see the exact color of the shop’s floor as he crawled across it, each shuffle of his knees driving a shard of glass farther and father under his skin.
He remembers screaming and begging for his mother to just hold, just live, he’ll never do it again, he’ll be better, he’ll be the son she deserved -
He remembers his father punching him so hard that the fresh stitches on his cheek popped open again when his mother was pronounced dead. He can’t forget the stillness of the hospital room, and how everything sounded like it was underwater.
He saw so many doctors and police officers that night that the faces all blended together, but he’ll never forget the conversation he overheard.
“Hell of a way to figure out you have a quirk.”
“Let’s just hope he won’t remember.”
But of course, he remembered. He remembers off all of it, with scary accuracy. There isn’t anything in his life he remembers clearer, and it holds him close everywhere he goes.
It’s shackles around his wrists and ankles that he can’t get rid of. It’s a constant reminder of what he’s done, what he’s capable of. He feels the weight of it sit on his chest, and he sinks down into the mattress below him.
He can’t breath, with the suffocating feeling of it all. Shinsou doesn’t fight it. He closes his eyes, and rides the waves of it, because he knows he deserves it.
There’s a vibrating from the other side of the bed, and Shinsou’s eyes snap open. Bakugo appears in his line of sight, yawning as he shuts off his alarm for his morning run. Is it really five already?
“The fuck are you still doing up?” Bakugo asks, keeping his voice low so he doesn’t wake up the other two.
“Can’t sleep,” Shinsou says back, grinning lazily at him.
When can he ever?
Bakugo nods, and gets up to get ready. Shinsou closes his eyes, and listens to the sound of life in their apartment that’s taking over the silence of death in a grocery store.
Shinsou knows Bakugo’s morning routine by heart. He showers, he brushes his teeth and makes himself breakfast in a towel (somehow always “accidentally” cooking too much and consequently making his boyfriends breakfast too) then he gets dressed, sneaks kisses to each of their foreheads and then leaves. This time though, he kisses each of Shinsou’s eyelids and nuzzles his cheek.
“I know it’s not easy for you, but try and get some sleep for me, okay? You need it and I…. Worry about you. Sometimes,” Bakugo says awkwardly. Shinsou open his eyes and smiles. Comfort isn’t his strong suit either. “If it’s about Todoroki’s paper just… don’t worry about it, okay? There isn’t anything that can come that’ll make any of us love you any fucking less.”
Shinsou’s smiles becomes stiff.
“Of course,” he says.
Bakugo seems satisfied by this. He moves to their dresser and avoids eye contact while he dresses. Shinsou whistles when he drops the towel, and his whole back goes red.
“Shut the fuck up and try to sleep,” he snaps, quickly dressing himself.
“Kind of hard to sleep with a naked angel in front of me. Seems kind of sinful to look away.”
Bakugo marches over and tries to suffocate him with his pillow. Shinsou just laughs and closes his eyes. He waits for the sound of Bakugo slamming the door shut before sliding out of their bed and into the kitchen.
He sets about to make himself coffee with their Keurig. He knows he promised Bakugo to try and sleep, but he also knows that it’s a lost cause.
He re-heats the breakfast Bakugo made, and tries to ignore the lingering presence behind him. It sits over his shoulder, breathing down his ear. It waits until Shinsou is comfortable, until how normal his morning banter with Bakugo is almost makes him feel okay to whisper to him.
You might have lost the potential to be a villain, but you will always be a monster.