Katsuki sighed to himself as he ran his fingers through his spiky, blond hair and looked at his reflection in the mirror on the wall. It was time to get the underside of his hair shaved again since it had grown out a bit. He found that to be nothing but annoying. Maybe he could just do it himself this time. If not, he was sure that he knew at least one person that would be willing to help him out. Then again, was it really worth dealing with the nonsense that would surely be a part of that instead of just paying someone a few bucks at a salon?
His gaze fell to the silver ball studs in his eyebrow and then to the one beneath his bottom lip. He wondered if he should switch the plain labret stud out for the little skull one that he had since it was the one he preferred to wear. Skulls were his favorite thing to tattoo as well as his favorite thing in general so it was no surprise that his jewelry and even wardrobe of choice reflected that. He dusted off his black tank top with the white skull on it and then looked down at the full sleeve on his right arm.
The whole sleeve from his shoulder to the back of his hand consisted of black and white skulls in almost every tattoo style there was. He'd started with the main one in American Traditional style on his shoulder and it all just snowballed from there. He went back for a new skull in a different design, and then another, and another until he had his entire arm covered and not a single regret. The one on the back of his hand was the most realistic and was by far the most special of all the skull tattoos he had.
Katsuki shook his head quickly and stopped staring at himself like some sort of narcissistic jerk. He didn’t need that much confirmation to know that he looked good. He stepped out of the back room of his tattoo shop and headed over to the waiting area, where he saw the mail placed upon the coffee table in front of the couch. He grabbed the latest issue of Tattooist Monthly and then plopped down onto the couch and propped his feet up on the table. As soon as he opened the magazine and started to flip through it he felt the couch move. He looked up from his magazine to glance over at his happy-go-lucky business partner to his left.
Kiri seemed very caught up in whatever he was looking at on his tablet as he sat on the other side of the couch facing him and using his knees to prop up the device. Katsuki noticed that he was twirling the end of his long, red hair around the fingers on his left hand as he used his right to tap upon his tablet. It was a habit Kiri had picked up as soon as his hair was long enough to pull over his shoulder.
Katsuki watched Kiri crinkle his nose at something that he saw on the screen in front of himself, which drew his attention to the piercing in the bridge of it. Kiri had been quite nervous about getting that piercing done when he'd approached Katsuki about doing it for him. It all worked out though since not only did he love the silly thing but the look really worked on him. Katsuki noticed that the redhead was actually wearing a black compression shirt instead of his usual tank that would show off his ink, which was odd. Katsuki turned back towards his magazine since at the end of the day it didn’t really matter what the redhead wore as long as he did his damn job.
“Hey, Bakubro! You'll never guess who’s gonna be at the upcoming tattoo convention next week!” Kiri chirped with a grin. He tapped on his tablet a few times as he searched for the article he'd read earlier. He couldn’t believe that he'd almost forgotten to tell the blond the news since he was the first person that came to mind when he'd read it.
Katsuki ignored him and continued to flip through the new issue of Tattooist Monthly that had just arrived. He wanted to read the article about the douchey looking guy on the cover with the smug look on his face to see what his story was. He was sure that whatever his deal was it was lame as hell and not even remotely interesting. He knew that he deserved to be the one on the cover of that magazine and he damn well would be one day once his shop really took off.
Kiri finally found the article that he was looking for then he held up the tablet so the blond could see. He smiled mischievously as he chirped, “It's Shoto! He hasn’t been around here for a while and you’ve seemed a bit down about it. Maybe this event is your chance to get him alone for a moment and finally confess your feelings to him!"
“I don’t have any goddamn, motherfucking fee-” Katsuki yelled as he turned and glanced at the tablet that Kiri held up. He didn’t even realize that he'd stopped mid-sentence as he mumbled, “Wow, that’s a really good picture of him."
Kiri burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter when he heard that. He simply couldn’t help himself. How the heck had Katsuki been in the middle of denying his feelings and then say something like that? Did he even hear himself? Kiri laughed loudly until he had tears in his eyes and his sides hurt.
Blush darkened Katsuki's cheeks as he frowned at the redhead. He rolled his eyes then grumbled, "I just mean it looks like it’s from a professional photo shoot or some shit! What kind of douche even has professional photos taken of himself looking all stupidly dramatic for no goddamn reason?”
“Your kind of douche, apparently.” Kiri snickered. He simply couldn’t get over what had just happened and he didn’t plan on letting the blond forget about it any time soon either. He wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes and then asked, “Do you know if Izuku will be at the con too even though it'll be a bit of a trek for him?”
“Why the fuck would I know something like that?” Katsuki spat and then turned his attention back towards the magazine he held.
Kiri shrugged and pulled the tablet back towards himself so that he could continue to browse the internet mindlessly. “Dunno. Considering how close you once were, I guess I figured that the two of you must still talk from time to time even though you work at competing shops in different cities.”
“We don’t. Stop fucking around and get back to work.” Katsuki spat, completely done with his bullshit for the moment. There were some subjects that he knew damn well not to bring up and the green haired idiot was one of them. He had no idea what had even gotten into Kiri today.
Kiri pouted as he looked around the empty shop to see what he could've possibly meant. It was still early and they usually did most of their business in the afternoon or evening. His next appointment wasn’t even for two hours and there were currently no walk-in customers so he had no idea what the heck the blond was talking about. He sighed and then put down his tablet and reached behind himself so that he could start to braid his long, red hair. About halfway through he pulled the braid over his shoulder to continue it easier. When it was finished he used the hair tie that he kept around his wrist to tie it off then flipped the braid over his shoulder once more. He felt it land in its usual place between his shoulder blades. It had been a hard decision for him when he was debating between growing it out or getting a mohawk but in the end he liked it long. Kiri shrugged and then picked up his tablet once more and continued to look for interesting articles on the internet as he muttered, "No need to be a grump just because you've been pining forever over guys you seem to think you can't have."
"Fuck off. Shouldn’t you be out shopping for supplies we need or some shit?" Katsuki groaned loudly. He just wanted some peace and quiet so he could read. Why in the hell was that so much to ask?
"Nah, I do that digitally now. Basically I can shop and annoy you at the same time, it’s pretty great." Kiri replied with a laugh. He stopped chuckling when the bell that hung above the door to the shop jingled and signaled that someone had walked in. Kiri immediately perked up then jumped to his feet and went over to see who it was.
Katsuki rolled his eyes when he heard Kiri greet the customers cheerily. He heard him go on about how it was the two of them again and they really should just move into the shop already since they practically lived there. Katsuki sighed loudly then went to investigate for himself. When he got to the front of the shop he saw two familiar faces laughing as they chatted with Kiri. The pair turned to him and smiled before they offered him a greeting. Katsuki crossed his arms and then grunted, "Hey."
"Tsuyu! Ochaco! It's really good to see you both again!” Kiri chirped with a delighted smile.
“You too, Kiri!” Ochaco chirped right back at him.
Kiri chuckled happily and then tilted his head as he asked, “What matching tattoos are you two getting this time?"
"Well the band has really taken off lately so we decided to celebrate with some new ink. We tried to convince the other girls to come this time but they didn't seem interested." Tsuyu explained.
"Yeah, but that won't stop us! We're thinking something we can hide if we really want to this time." Ochaco agreed with a nod.
Katsuki stood there and blinked at them with a bored expression on his face. He was pretty sure that Kiri didn’t ask for their life story so he had no idea why they were hearing it.
"We were thinking something color realistic." Tsuyu added.
"Well you came to the right place since that’s my specialty!" Kiri chirped, all kinds of excited to hear what their idea was.
"That's exactly why we're here! How do you feel about an anatomically correct heart that would fit on the backs of our necks?" Ochaco asked.
"I love it if you love it." Kiri nodded with a grin. He clapped his hands together then said, "Give me about fifteen minutes to draw something up for you and we'll go from there."
Tsuyu nodded then said, "Thanks, Kiri."
The redhead left the group and headed towards his work station in the corner of the room to start his sketch. Katsuki frowned at the girls as they looked at him and waited. He had no idea what the heck they wanted from him but they sure as shit weren't going to get it. He waved his hand dismissively and then turned and started to walk away as he grunted, "There's a mini fridge in the waiting area now. Any more than one drink each and you'll have to pay."
Kiri had a good time catching up with both Ochaco and Tsuyu as he worked on their tattoos. They both sat really well and only needed to squeeze one another's hand for a moment if it really started to hurt, which was something incredibly wonderful as far as Kiri was concerned. He loved spending time with the pair when they visited because the warmth they radiated when it came to their feelings for one another was just the slightest bit contagious.
He asked them about their other two bandmates and got a lot of info about how the pair had finally stopped dancing around the fact that they liked each other and finally started dating. They were proud of just how much everyone had grown individually as well as a group and they could honestly talk about it all day long. Kiri thought that was wonderful since he enjoyed listening to them chat about it happily.
Once both tattoos were finished and he let the pair see them with the help of two mirrors, Kiri couldn't help but be extra proud. He wrapped them up nicely, careful to avoid taping their hair or anything that would cause them pain later on. Not only did the tattoos come out wonderfully, but the happy blush in the girls' cheeks as they shared a quick kiss made Kiri fill with an incredible amount of warmth inside. He would go out on a limb and call them satisfied customers.
“They’re so beautiful that I'm at a loss for words!” Ochaco chirped once the redhead finished taping the bandage to the back of her neck. She smiled from ear to ear and then spun around quickly and kissed his cheek. She couldn’t help but chuckle softly when she saw a light blush dust his cheeks. “Thanks, Kiri. When the day comes, just give us a call and we'll totally play at your wedding free of charge!”
Kiri removed the black rubber gloves from his hands and tossed them into the trash. He smiled and rubbed the back of his head as he laughed loudly at her statement. His cheeks darkened just a shade more as he said, “I guess I should actually start my search for the one then!”
Tsuyu pat him on the back comfortingly and nodded as she said, “Don’t worry. He’s out there somewhere. I’m sure you’ll find him soon.”
"Heh, thanks. For now though I think I'll stick to focusing on preparing for the upcoming con! We got ourselves a special booth where we'll be taking walk-ins for quick flash tats!" Kiri chirped with a grin. Truth be told he was a lot more interested in that than he was in searching for Mr. Right. The con was a big deal and it was always a struggle to get a booth there so both he and Katsuki were thrilled about the fact that they'd managed to get one this year.
"Oh that sounds like fun. I hope you guys have a blast!" Ochaco replied with a happy grin. She couldn’t help but smile when she saw the way that Kiri lit up as he talked about the con so enthusiastically.
"Thanks!" Kiri walked the pair over to the door so he could see them out. He held it open for them as he hummed, "See you girls next time! If you bring the rest of the band when you return we'll give you a group discount!”
"No we won't!" Katsuki yelled from another room.
Kiri shook his head and rolled his eyes. He had no idea how that man could even hear them from god knows where. He smiled at the girls and gave them an assuring nod with a little wink that said they absolutely would give them the discount as promised.
“Deal. Now all we need to do is talk Momo into getting inked since Kyoka has already shown interest in it.” Tsuyu replied with a wink at her girlfriend. The girls both laughed in agreement as they waved to Kiri and then headed out of the shop.
Kiri chuckled to himself and then let the door go so it would close. He headed back over to his work station to finish cleaning up before he forgot and couldn’t help but hum a cheery tune to himself. Their happiness was really lovely and he could only hope to find someone that made him just as happy one day too.
Time flew by much faster than either Katsuki or Kiri had expected and before they knew it, the day of the con had arrived. They were both grateful that they'd managed to get everything ready before hand so there was very little work to do when they had to set up their booth. They checked in as quickly as possible and then stepped into the hall where the con would begin in a little while.
Kiri couldn’t help but gape with his mouth wide open as he and Katsuki walked into the convention center. It was still early and normally he wouldn’t exactly be awake yet, but seeing such a grand sight seemed to help fill him with energy. It was already pretty loud in the room as artists from all over made their way inside and located their booths so they could begin to set everything up. He wondered just how many people were already there and how many more were expected. It was all so amazing.
"Wow the place is already really lively, huh?" Kiri asked no one in particular as he looked all around the gigantic room. He couldn’t even see where it ended from where he stood and that just added to the hype. People all around him were busy setting up their booths before the doors opened to the public and he was suddenly very glad that Katsuki had insisted on preparing so much before they arrived. They really had a lot less to do than others, it seemed.
He heard Katsuki grunt in response as he focused on setting their booth up exactly how he wanted before they had any actual customers. They may have had less to do than other artists but he was very particular about his work space so things had to be just right. Kiri simply let him do his thing since he wasn’t nearly as picky about his environment and tended to just go with the flow. He continued to look around the room and observe all that was happening around them when he heard the sound of an unexpected and familiar giggle. He saw Katsuki stop what he was doing and his body stiffen out of the corner of his eye and knew that he hadn't been mistaken when he heard it.
Kiri pat the blond on the back twice and then headed over to the four panel room divider with a cherry blossom tree painted on it that separated them from the neighboring tattoo shop's booth. He gripped it tightly as he pulled and collapsed it just slightly so that he could peek onto the other side. He held his breath as if that would somehow make him stealthier and slowly looked past the divider to see who was there.
What he saw nearly made his eyes pop out of his skull and his heart stop on the spot. Of all the millions of possibilities that it could've been, Kiri had not expected to see the one person that the mere thought of still made his chest hurt. His eyes were impossibly wide as he took a moment to make sure since he was too busy drawing something to notice his presence. That familiar yellow hair, though shaved on the right side now, was so distinctive. He'd never forgotten about that little black lightning bolt even after Denki had transferred to a different art school, although now he had a lightning bolt shaved into the undercut on his right side as well. Kiri couldn’t help but smile at the sight, it was just so cute and so very him.
Even though it had only been a few years since they'd last seen one another, he found that Denki looked a lot different than he used to. Besides the fact that he had half of his head shaved now, he also had two shiny, silver studs in his bottom lip. Kiri could see that he had a black snake with a yellow lightning bolt running down its back tattooed around his right wrist. His right ear was pierced four times that he could see and he had a stud in his ear lobe with a chain attached to the hoop in his cartilage. Denki looked a lot more mature than the last time he'd seen him which was sort of a shame. That adorable baby face he'd had was really pleasant to look at to say the least. Although, as soon as the thought ran through his mind he took it back since Kiri found that he didn’t exactly dislike looking at his new appearance either. In fact, he could probably stare at him a lot more now that he had such an interesting look about him. He sort of wished that he would turn his head so he could see the other side as well. There was so much more to look at and he somehow still retained that attractiveness that he'd already had.
Kiri had never worked up the courage to ask Denki to exchange phone numbers before he switched schools three years ago so they'd just lost touch completely once he moved. It was actually one of his biggest regrets and not something he was willing to repeat now that he had a second chance. He never thought in a million years that they'd run into one another again, especially not in a place like this. He only hoped that it wasn’t too weird and Denki still remembered him or it was going to be an awkward conversation to say the least. Just when he was about to say hello, the blond turned away from him and held up the poster he'd just been working on.
"Hey, Izu. Is this alright?"
Izu? Ah, so we were right. Kiri blinked a few times to clear his head and refocus on what he was doing in the first place. He now knew that he and Katsuki had been correct when they assumed it was Izuku that they'd heard laugh earlier. He looked over in the direction that Denki had turned in and then watched as the green haired man stood up from where he had been crouched and fiddling with something to turn around and look at what Denki held up. Izuku nodded and his wild green curls bounced all over the place with the motion. Kiri realized that he'd let his hair grow out a bit and he was sure that he could pull it back into a short ponytail now. It was pretty cute on him and actually it gave him quite a natural, messy look.
Izuku smiled brilliantly at the blond and then nodded as he chirped, "Yeah, it looks incredible Denki! You should go ahead and hang it up!" Izuku grabbed a white headband off of the table next to him and then slid it onto his head to keep his wild, curly bangs out of his face as he worked. He made sure his headband was situated properly before he looked up and saw the spying redhead. As soon as his eyes met with Kiri's they widened and he shrieked, "Kiri! Is that really you!"
Since his cover was blown Kiri stepped out from behind the divider with a half-smile on his face. He rubbed the back of his head nervously as he said, "Yeah, hey. Sorry for spying like that but-"
"Who cares about that! It's been so long!" Izuku exclaimed before he launched himself at the redhead. He laughed when Kiri grunted with the impact as he caught him. Izuku wrapped his arms around him and squeezed, then smiled when he felt the hug returned. He pulled away from the embrace then looked over at Denki and chirped, “You remember Kiri from our first year of art school, right? Before we both moved?”
“Yeah, hi.” Denki quickly blew the pair off without taking his eyes off of the machine parts on the table in front of himself. He started to assemble them carefully without so much as a glance their way.
Izuku shook his head and then turned back around to see Kiri with a pout on his face. He suddenly remembered that not everyone was used to Denki's moods. He smiled as he assured him, “Don’t mind him. He just gets hyper focused like that whenever he has to assemble a tattoo machine since he's a bit of a perfectionist. I’m sure he'll greet you properly when he's done.”
“Oh, uh, it’s fine. He doesn’t have to.” Kiri felt his cheeks darken as he spoke. Had he been that obvious? He needed to work on not letting his emotions show so easily. He quickly changed the subject to try and distract from that. He chuckled softly as he batted some wild green curls that had flopped over the headband out of Izuku's face and said, “Look at this mess on your head!"
Izuku laughed then shook his head side to side so that his curls bounced every which way and hit him in the face. He smiled from ear to ear as he motioned towards the braid that stopped in the middle of Kiri's back and chirped, "You grew out yours too!"
"Yeah I like it on the longer side." Kiri agreed with a nod. He looked down at the tattoos that he could see over Izuku's neck as well as parts of his chest and arms then said, "I see you’ve gotten a lot more ink since we last saw each other. Is it all traditional Japanese?”
"Heh, yeah!" Izuku lifted his chin and craned his neck side to side so that Kiri could get a good look at the tattoos he had there. “I’ve got an oni torso piece, coy fish neck piece, fighting tigers for a back piece, and a geisha on each arm. All in traditional Japanese style.”
“Wow that’s incredible, man.” Kiri replied with a smile and a nod as he took note of the little silver stud in the left side of Izuku's nose as well. It felt like so much had changed since the last time they'd seen each other. He had to wonder if they were both completely different people now. His smile never faltered as he asked, “You really love Japanese style, huh?”
“Yep! It's my specialty and my passion. I’ve run out of skin to tattoo on my torso now and have been seriously considering getting my legs done since I've got a few ideas rattling around my brain.” Izuku replied before he started to mutter to himself about whether or not he wanted to go that route.
“Well you look great.” Kiri decided it was best not to mention the available bit of skin Izuku had on his left shoulder. Mostly because he was sure that he was already aware and probably just as important, he didn’t want to bring up the subject of the tattoo that was there. The tattoo that he knew was done in the exact same style of lettering as the one Katsuki had on his left shoulder.
Kiri still remembered the day that he found out that the pair had each other’s nicknames tattooed on themselves. He held nothing back and flat out called them crazy for it. He couldn’t imagine ever getting any name on his skin forever with relationships being so fleeting. Yet they’d assured him that what they had was so strong that they just knew nothing would tear them apart and that he would one day find someone that he was so sure about as well.
Three months later the pair was broken up and Izuku had transferred to the same prestigious art school as Denki. Three years later and Kiri had still not found that someone they'd mentioned, so yeah. Katsuki never talked about what had happened or what went wrong between them but Kiri had always suspected that it had something to do with the fact that Izuku had gotten into that school. Katsuki just acted like he'd never even been in a relationship before, as if the past didn't matter to him at all. Kiri knew that couldn’t be true because the blond wore a bandage over his tattoo on the days that he didn’t want to remember it existed. There had to be a reason for that since most of the time he simply ignored it. People knew better than to ask him about it by now though since it was a guaranteed way to set him off and make him grouchy for the rest of the day.
Kiri jumped when the familiar sound of tape being pulled from its roll and then torn aggressively came from behind him. How had he forgotten that Katsuki was over there on the other side of the divider until that moment? He turned and then called over his shoulder, “We were right, Katsuki!”
“Oh! He's here… and you two are on a first name basis now?” Izuku asked as he raised a curious eyebrow at him. That fact was more surprising than hearing that the blond was there since he was such a talented artist that he'd never have expected him not to be. Izuku had always known Katsuki to succeed at anything he set his mind to, and it was one of the things he’d always admired about him. Izuku had also heard from a mutual friend that the pair had opened a shop together around the same time that he and Denki opened up theirs. Though he had to admit he’d never pictured the pair as a couple. He watched Kiri smile then shrug and give a non-committal grunt in response. Izuku nodded slowly as he said, “That’s… nice.”
Katsuki stepped around from the other side of the divider with his patented frown on his face and a bandage on his left shoulder. His gaze immediately met with Izuku's and he watched a faint blush appear in his cheeks as he gasped softly. If Izuku felt it happen then he chose not to react. Katsuki's eyes wandered over what he could see of the tattoos that showed on the parts of his body that his olive green tank top didn’t cover. There was a whole lot more to look at now. It was quite a change from the one sleeve he’d had last time they saw each other. Damn if the look didn’t suit him really well. He looked back up at Izuku's face and saw that he couldn’t meet his gaze anymore. Katsuki glanced at the tattoo on his left shoulder quickly then back at his face and grunted the first thing he’d said to him in three years, “Deku.”
“Hey, Kacchan. It’s been a while.” Izuku mumbled in response. He still couldn’t bring himself to look at the blond but at least he'd managed to offer that greeting without stuttering. He would consider that a small victory.
Katsuki didn’t want to spend time with false pleasantries. He narrowed his eyes at him and got straight to the point when he asked, “What the hell are you doing here?”
“Oh, well, the thing about that is…” Izuku had hoped to put this confrontation off for a bit longer but he supposed there was nothing he could do about it now. He sighed to himself then rubbed the back of his neck as he said, “Denki and I are moving back to town and opening up a second shop.”
“Second! Are you guys really doing that well?” Kiri shrieked before he could do anything to stop himself. He knew that running one shop was headache enough and couldn’t even imagine having to deal with two at the same time. He had to admit that he was quite impressed by the idea.
“Yeah we are fortunate enough to have quite a few excellent artists on staff. Business has been great.” Izuku nodded as he smiled at him. He was very proud of what they'd built together and loved to talk about how well their shop was doing with anyone that would listen.
“There’s no place like home.” Denki mumbled underneath his breath without looking at any of them. He was too busy putting a few finishing touches on the sign he'd been working on before he hung it up.
“Basically, yeah." Izuku nodded in agreement. He sighed softly to himself then admitted, "We’ve both been homesick for this city and wanted to return for a while. We simply didn’t have the opportunity to do so before now.”
Katsuki didn’t really care about their reasons or any of that other nonsense. There was something much more important he needed to know and he didn’t miss the fact that Izuku hadn't mentioned it. He glared at Izuku and asked, “Where exactly are you opening this second shop of yours?”
“Uhh." That was the question that Izuku had hoped no one would ask. He knew they'd find out eventually but this was just not how he wanted it to happen. He glanced at the two pairs of red eyes that watched him intently then sighed in defeat. His voice was barely above a whisper as he said, "East… Main Street..?”
“Are you fucking kidding me! Right across the street from our shop?" Katsuki immediately yelled.
"Surprise?" Izuku muttered with an anxious smile on his face.
"The fuck, Deku!”
“I-it's not like we're trying to steal your business or anything! That location just… it’s just…” Izuku paused and tried to gather his thoughts. He wasn’t even sure it would make any sense but he had to try and explain it anyway. The blush in his cheeks darkened and his voice was soft as he mumbled, “It's where we were going to open our shop before we broke up and getting the location became something of a personal goal of mine that I never dropped.”
“Tch.” Katsuki did not ask for a trip down memory lane. Of course he knew that’s where they'd talked about opening their shop together. He didn’t know that Izuku still thought about that all these years later though. That was a fact that caused his stomach to do strange things that made no sense whatsoever.
“You’ve found someone new and that’s great for you but all I’ve focused on for the past few years was refining my craft and figuring out how to get that perfect location that I always wanted. It's all I thought about since before I left so I'm happy to finally have it.” Izuku explained further. It was weird and oddly sentimental but he really was happy about getting that location for his shop. Something about achieving the goal he'd set for himself years ago was so very satisfying and he wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.
Katsuki scrunched his face at Izuku's words. He understood what he meant except for one thing. He narrowed his eyes at him as he asked, “The fuck do you mean I found someone new?”
Izuku motioned from Kiri to Katsuki as he tilted his head and the curls on his head bounced to the side. He blinked a few times before he asked, “I mean… aren’t you two-? He called you by your first name and all that so…?”
“Fuckin- no dammit! We're not goddamn together. He calls me that because he’s a hard-headed jerk and I’m tired of correcting him.” Katsuki immediately put an end to that incorrect line of thinking. He and Kiri had been through way too much together to ever think of one another as anything more than a best friend. It was not cool that people made that assumption just because they were close.
Izuku's eyes widened and he seemed stunned for a second before he finally let his hand fall to his side. He pursed his lips together for a moment as he tried to will the blush to leave his cheeks and then he muttered, “Oh. Sorry for, um, assuming... I guess?”
“Neither are we since I’m sure you’re wondering.” Denki said as he glanced at Katsuki out of the corner of his eye. He quickly looked back at the sign in front of himself as he added, “I'd never date someone with another person’s name tattooed on them, anyway.”
“D-Denki! I told you not to bring that up!” Izuku shrieked, a tad bit mortified.
Denki shrugged and then put his hands behind his head as he leaned back in his chair. The tattoo in question may have been a bad decision but there was nothing he could do about it now so he should really just accept that. He looked up at the ceiling as he said, “It's not like I haven’t offered to give him a cover up either. He's refused me multiple times.”
“That makes two of us.” Said a familiar, soft voice. Everyone turned towards the sound to look at the person that had just taken it upon himself to walk up to them and join in the conversation.
“Shocchan!” Izuku gasped in surprise. He looked just as handsome as ever with the warm little smile upon his lips. Izuku couldn’t help but return the smile for a second as his cheeks darkened with blush. It quickly faded and he exclaimed, "What are you doing here!"
"I have my own booth here, of course." Shoto replied with a little hum. He chose not to add the fact that he was one of the featured guest artists of the event. He found it wonderful that Izuku was too focused on his own shop to keep up with things like that. Everyone else seemed to be obsessed with other peoples business and he found it to be most tiresome. He preferred that Izuku saw him more as a friend than someone to be star struck by any day. "I'm all set up and I figured I'd visit a few other artists to say hello before the con started."
Katsuki watched as Shoto looked over at him, winked, then walked by, only to let his fingers brush up against his hand. A shiver ran down Katsuki's spine from the simple touch and he hated himself for it. He watched Shoto as he stood very close to Izuku and talked to him with that annoyingly perfect little smile on his face. He was way too goddamn attractive with his shoulder length red and white hair pulled back in a top knot, exposing the close shave underneath. Even the scar on his face was lovely and frankly it simply added to his appeal. Everything else about him was shockingly plain compared to the others around. Sure he had an attractive face but there was not one visible tattoo on him and it was so weird for such a talented and respected artist to be such a clean canvas. What Katsuki wouldn’t give to be able to get his hands on such a smooth, lovely canvas for a few hours. Oh, the things he could do.
Shoto threw his head back and laughed at something Izuku said which revealed the shiny, silver tongue ring he had in his mouth. Even if that was the only visible body modification he had, Katsuki still found that it was incredibly appealing. Normally he wouldn't go for someone so clean as it were, but there was just something about him that he couldn’t shake. He remembered asking Shoto if he had any ink once and then getting a sarcastic response about it. Apparently it was obvious that he had tattoos since he was in the tattoo industry. Katsuki had rolled his eyes then asked why he never showed them off then. He was surprised when he said it was because his tattoos were for himself, not others, and they didn’t need to see them. That was when Katsuki had confirmed that he was so damn weird it was appealing. Even now he had to wonder just where he had his ink and what it could possibly be. Shoto laughed again and it tugged at something in the blond's chest. He frowned then rolled his eyes and shook his head.
Katsuki had no idea why he even put up with Shoto as a guest artist in his shop. Oh wait. He did know, it was because Shoto was probably the best portrait artist he'd ever come across. Most likely the best one he'd ever meet. His talent for making his drawings true to life was incredible and Katsuki found himself in awe of his finished work every single time. Not to mention he didn't mind having someone around that was so easy on the eyes. Yeah, he might have been just a little bit starved for affection but that was expected since he had decided to stay away from any sort of emotional relationship with others after his last breakup. No matter how much Kiri encouraged him to try and put himself out there again, Katsuki knew that relationships just weren't worth the headache or heartache in the end. He also knew that there was nothing wrong with admiring someone from afar. He refocused on the world around himself just in time to hear Izuku speak.
“I’ve already explained that I don’t even think about it anymore, Shocchan! It really doesn’t bother me! I don’t need a cover up, honest!” Izuku assured him as Shoto ran his fingers over the letters on his shoulder. He was proud of the fact that he'd managed not to shiver from his gentle touch.
Shoto smiled then flicked a stray green curl that had escaped the headband out of his face. He bopped him on the nose and said, “Just remember that I’ll do it free of charge.”
Izuku's eyes widened for a second and then he smiled a crooked smile at him. He nodded as he hummed, “Kay. Thanks.”
Shoto turned to look at Katsuki and couldn’t help but smile when he saw the disapproving look on his face. He winked at him and then hummed, "I'll do yours for half price, hot shot."
"Why does Deku get one for free?" Katsuki asked even though he had no intention of taking him up on that offer. If he'd wanted a cover up he would have gotten one done by now. People just needed to back off and let him live already.
Shoto slid his arm around Izuku's waist and pulled him up against himself then laid his head against the top of his. He used his free hand to pinch Izuku's cheek as he explained, "Because he knows how to accept a gift. You wouldn’t stand for what you considered to be a handout."
Katsuki honestly had no response to that since Shoto was absolutely right. When the hell had he come to know so much about him? It wasn’t like they spent that much damn time together, and when they did it was usually Shoto that talked about himself and his interests while Katsuki simply admired him in silence. Katsuki wasn’t sure what to say so he simply furrowed his brow then sucked his teeth and then shook his head.
Shoto chuckled softly then let go of Izuku. He looked from him to Katsuki and back again then said, “I, for one, am glad that your shops will be so close together now. It makes my hopping between them much easier.”
“Speaking of that why don’t you just choose a shop to be a permanent artist at?” Denki asked before he stood up and dusted off his finished art work. He looked it over once more and then nodded in approval.
“And deny myself the opportunity to spend time with the artists that work at the other shop? I could never do something like that.” Shoto replied with a shake of his head. His eyes met Katsuki's and he batted them slowly as a smile crept across his face.
"Whatever, dude. I'm just saying that shop hopping is super impractical. You should really just decide on one that you want to work in permanently." Denki shrugged then held up his sign for Izuku to see one more time. He watched as he smiled and nodded in approval then he turned around again so he could hang it up.
Kiri turned towards Shoto with a smile and chirped, "I like it when you work at our shop!"
"As do I." Shoto was quick to agree. He looked over at the blond with the scowl on his face and let his gaze linger upon him for a moment then quickly refocused his attention on Kiri and Izuku as they continued to chit chat.
Katsuki looked over at the sign that Denki had finally hung up and scrunched his face. There was a new school snake with button eyes and a lightning bolt on its forehead wrapped around a wooden sign that was dripping some sort of black sludge. It read Electric Smiles Tattoo. He looked over at Denki then asked, "What the fuck does that mean? What does the name of your shop have to do with tattooing?"
"Huh?" Denki turned towards him and blinked a few times as if he didn’t even understand the question. After a few silent seconds he finally shook his head then said, "Oh, nothing. It's all about personal aesthetics."
Katsuki would have called that incredibly stupid but he actually understood it. Obviously this guy was way to into lightning and such which is where the electric part came in. As for smiles, he'd never seen one that could light up a room quite like- He glanced over at the joyful way Izuku laughed as he talked to Shoto. Katsuki hadn't seen such a happy expression on his freckled face in a very long time. He wasn’t sure if the twinge in his gut was because that was most likely his fault or the fact that even though he saw it now it had absolutely nothing to do with him.
Everyone turned towards the sound of yet another new voice when they heard someone call out to Shoto. He nodded at the person when they told him it was almost time for the doors to open so he had to get back to his booth. Shoto turned back towards Izuku then put his hand on his shoulder and leaned down so he could whisper something into his ear.
Katsuki watched as Izuku's cheeks darkened before he nodded slowly. He noticed that Shoto let his hand linger upon his shoulder for a moment longer than necessary before he finally smiled and let it fall back down by his side. He said goodbye to Kiri and Denki then walked past them until he was right in front of Katsuki. He took another step then paused and put his hand on his shoulder.
Shoto turned his head and leaned in close enough so that Katsuki could feel his warm breath on his neck as he asked quietly, "Do you want to have dinner later?"
"What?" Katsuki ignored the ridiculous way his pulse started to race because of the simple question and an invasion of his personal space. He was not some lovestruck teenager and that reaction was just ridiculous. He needed to get control of himself.
"After the con." Shoto clarified even though it was pretty obvious. He squeezed his shoulder gently as he asked, "Food and good company? Yes?"
Katsuki couldn’t decide if he wanted to shrug his hand off of his shoulder or not. After a mini internal battle, he decided against it for some reason that he just couldn’t figure out. His frown never left his face as he grumbled, "I'll be busy packing shit up and then getting it all back to my shop and shit."
Shoto had expected such a response and wasn’t deterred in the slightest. His smile never faltered as he suggested, "How about takeout at your shop then?"
Katsuki furrowed his brow then glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. He was well aware of the fact that Shoto was way too close. If he turned his head just slightly they'd be nose to nose, so he settled for the side glare. "You're not making a damn mess of my shop."
"I'll clean up afterwards, I promise. Just takeout and three friends enjoying each other's company. It'll be fun. See you then." Shoto assured him as he pat his shoulder. He walked away and headed back to his own booth without waiting for a response.
"Three!" The moment Katsuki yelled it he realized what he'd just gotten roped into. He looked over at Izuku and as soon as their eyes met he jumped and looked away, which made his wild curls bounce in every which direction. God the longer hair really fucking suited Izuku and made Katsuki want to tangle his hands in it, which pissed him off even more. Katsuki sucked his teeth then stomped back over to his own booth and sat down. He had no idea what Shoto's game was but he was already sure that he didn’t like it.