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Speak (Katsuki Bakugou x Reader)

Chapter Text

From the moment you were born, you had a mark on your hip.

More precisely, words that had been etched into the innermost layer of your skin and stood in stark contrast to its regular hue. They weren’t messily scrawled across, either—rather, it seemed as though the blackened imprint had been made with the uttermost care; an ornate intricacy that connected with each and every one of the nerves and sinews in your body.

Simply put, it was a blessing. Or at least, that’s what everyone always told you.

“Wow, (Name)-chan, you’re so lucky to have that kind of mark!” people would always comment.

“This way you’ll know exactly when you meet your soulmate!”

“I wish I had some way of knowing who mine was.”

Those were most of the remarks that you received, ever since you’d first revealed the tattoo-like engraving on your skin. Granted, you understood peoples’ fascination—having a soulmate was something that many could only dream of, and without a clear marking or sign, they had no way of knowing how or when they would encounter their significant other. Some people went their entire lives without ever meeting the right person, you heard.

Which is why you knew that you should have considered yourself lucky. These days, there were all sorts of manifestations that would help you find your soulmate. Some had a timer that would stop once they met one another; others had a timer that would only start upon a first meeting; and others still were only able to see the world through a lens the color of their soulmate’s eyes—up until they met and they were able to see the world the way it was.

You wanted to feel lucky. You really, truly wanted to. But the reality was that you couldn’t. Because ever since you’d first learned to read, all you felt was fear.

“Get in my way, and I’ll fucking kill you.”

Those were the words imprinted on your skin—the very first words that your soulmate would ever speak to you. When your parents had first read the marking, they’d merely laughed it off and always told you that it would probably end up being some kind of joke, but you didn’t share in their sentiments. It might’ve been unfair to make rash judgments, but there was some sick, twisted feeling you got every time you looked down at the mark on your hip.

Because you truly feared that your soulmate would not be a good person.



 



 

“Aren’t you excited, (Name)-chan? Our very first day at U.A!”

Your long-time best friend, Uraraka, was bubbling excitedly as the two of you were attempting to navigate the large, daunting corridors inside campus. During the entrance exam, you’d seen a lot of people who had very strong Quirks; primarily physical. Yours didn’t have the most offensive power, but it was certainly quite versatile and could be used in many different ways.

By a universal standard, most people might’ve considered it to be strong, but they probably hadn’t met you.

It’s not as if you thought of yourself as weak, per se, but you were the type of person who would never use violence as a means to get what you wanted. The whole reason you’d become a hero was to save others—the component of fighting villains wasn’t exactly what had drawn you in. Your Quirk also possessed slight healing properties, so if nothing else, you would’ve liked to act more as Recovery Girl than the standard, battle-type hero.

Bottom line, you didn’t like hurting people, and your chest would ache whenever you would see someone who did.

I’m lucky the entrance exam was just robots, and not actual people…

You hadn’t given much thought as to how you would fare when you did need to battle against others, but you tried to keep your eye on the prize. If you could use your powers to rescue others, you were more than willing to do whatever it took.

“Oh, looks like this is us!” Uraraka grinned, stopping before a large door that read 1-Aand was soon to become your homeroom class. You stiffened up almost immediately, feeling a swell of nerves in your chest.

"I guess...we're actually here," you mumbled out, sparing a smile towards your best friend. "To be perfectly honest, I wasn't entirely sure that I'd even be able to pass that entrance exam, so everything feels a bit surreal right now." 

She beamed back at you through rosy cheeks. "Well, we definitely made it! Come on, let's try to keep our spirits up!" 

"You're right. This is...an amazing opportunity, and I'm grateful to be here."

With a quick inhale, you gripped the edge of the door and carefully slid it open, eyes widened as they peered over towards the other side. 

The first thing you saw—or rather, heard, was two male classmates that appeared to have already gotten off off on the wrong foot. Literally.

 "Don't just put your feet on the table!" the bespectacled one cried out. He was of a tall, robust build and had perfectly coiffed black hair. He also looked less than pleased. "Don't you think such behavior is disrespectful towards your classmates?!"

The reply came from a deep, raspy voice that unnecessarily loud

"No, as a matter of fact, I don't!" he sneered. "Which damn school are you from anyways, you two-bit extra?!" 

You traced back the source of the voice to find yourself staring at an ash blonde male who had propped his legs up on the desk and was using it as a footrest. His hair tousled and spiky; almost impossibly so. He also had deep, crimson eyes that were narrowed into slits as he viciously glared down the student that was reprimanding him. 

Normally, you didn't like to make rash judgments, but you decided from the sadistic smirk on his lips that you didn't care for him one bit. 

"Ahem. I suppose I should introduce myself after all," the male with glasses spoke. "I'm from Soumei Junior High School—the name's Iida Tenya." 

"SOUMEI?!!" The blonde let out a derisive snort before gritting his teeth. "Well, aren't you an elite. Seems like I've got a reason to fucking end you, after all!" 

"Wha—?! End me?!" Iida spluttered. "What nerve! Someone like you wants to be a hero...??"

Uraraka chuckled awkwardly from beside you, and all you could do was let out a deep sigh. There were certainly some interesting characters present, for lack of a better word. 

You'd been about to mumble something out, but the brunette let out a cry of surprise as she spied someone a little distance away. 

"Ah—it's you!" she enthused. "Curly-haired kid!" 

She began bubbling excitedly as she rushed over to chat up a freckled boy who all but flushed the shade of a tomato. Come to think of it, she had mentioned being saved by some guy in her lot of the exam, not that you were there to witness it. She'd been worried he might not have gotten in since he hadn't actually destroyed any robots, but it seemed like things had worked out. 

You smiled. 

I'm glad. I can already tell that they'll get along great. 

Although you were admiring them with a silent smile, your (e/c) orbs had shifted off to the side—just in time to see the ash blonde glaring daggers in your direction. You felt yourself stiffen, immediately wondering just what the hell you could've possibly done to piss him off, but then you realized that he wasn't actually staring at you; it was the curly-haired boy just beside. 

You felt a bit relieved that you weren't the new victim of his frustration, but seeing the harsh, ruthless way he was glowering in the boy's direction made a chill pass down your spine. The hatred he wore was as visible as day, and completely unlike anything you'd ever seen before. You didn't want to meddle, and you definitely didn't want to get involved. You had a feeling that if you did, you would surely come to regret it. 

Every fiber in your being was telling you that this guy was bad news; that you should distance yourself as much as possible, and avoid him altogether. But it was strange. Because in spite of the way your stomached lurched, there was a wave of heat spreading through your heart. 

And you didn't like it one bit.

Chapter Text

"Wear these immediately, then meet up back at the P.E grounds." 

Not long after you'd stepped into the classroom, a scruffy, disheveled male had stepped out of a sleeping bag, of all things, to introduce himself as your homeroom teacher—Aizawa Shouta. From what you could see through the dark hair draping his expression, he had incredibly bloodshot eyes and overall just gave off the impression of someone who was chronically fatigued.

Still, in spite of how confused you were, you realized that was probably just how things went at U.A. You couldn't afford to get too tied up in the small things, and prepared to head off and change into the uniformed tracksuits that had been handed out. 

Uraraka smiled as the two of you headed for the doorway, but you didn't the miss the small cry the freckled boy let out as the ash blonde slammed him aside on his way out. He was left chuckling awkwardly and quivering a bit. 

You felt your brows pull up into a frown.

 

 

 

 

"A QUIRK APPREHENSION TEST?!!" 

The class had all chimed out in unison, unable to hide their surprise. Uraraka was included in the buzz, and had taken to hopping up and down as she called out to Aizawa. 

"But what about the opening ceremony?!" she protested. "And the guidance counselor meeting!" 

Your teacher barely spared her a glance. "If you want to be heroes, you don't have time for all the frilly niceties. This is U.A—we have the freedom to do things as we wish." 

A weary sigh escaped your lips. 

Guess pretty much anything goes here. 

Meanwhile, Aizawa had already jumped to another topic. 

"Softball pitch, standing long jump, 50 meter dash....and so forth. These are all activities you know from middle school; physical tests where you were banned from using your Quirks. That being said, those tests were not able to accurately gauge your performance levels, and we intend to rectify that." 

Aizawa's black eyes briefly scanned the crowd before stopping over one individual in particular. 

"Bakugou," he spoke, addressing the blonde male with the attitude problem. "How far could you pitch a softball in middle school?" 

He shrugged. "67 meters, why?" 

"Well, try using your Quirk this time around. As long as you don't exit that circle over there, anything goes." 

Your teacher proceeded to hand him a softball, with which to carry out the throw. The blonde—whom you now knew as Bakugou—had begun revving up his arm in preparation. You couldn't help but bite down on your bottom lip, feeling a tad nervous as to what exactly he was going to do. What kind of Quirk would a guy like that have, anyways?

"DIEEEEEE!!!!" 

Well, you didn't have to speculate for much longer, since Bakugou had pulled back his right arm and thrown it forward as he let out a vehement roar. You could barely see anything through the plumes of smoke that had formed, but the deafening, explosive sound was still ringing in your ears. 

Fitting enough, you supposed. A loud Quirk, for a loud guy. And who was he telling to die in the first place?

The softball was still surging upwards, carried on through the air by the explosive propulsion. It seemed to disappear straight through the clouds, and you had no idea how in the hell they were supposed to measure the distance it had traveled; not until the device in Aizawa's hands beeped. 

He held up its display for the rest of the class to see, and your eyes widened. 

"705.2 meters." 

That was the distance the softball had gone with the help of Bakugou's Quirk. It was actually pretty amazing when you thought about it; not that far off from being a full kilometer. 

"705 meters?! That's unreal!" 

"Awesome!" 

"This looks like so much fun!!"

Your classmates were all cheering up at the top of their lungs, positively giddy with excitement. It was hard not to share in their enthusiasm, but one cold glare from Aizawa was all it took to ruin the atmosphere.

"Fun...you say? So you were just planning on spending your next three years here having a jolly good time? What happened to becoming heroes, hm?" His charcoal eyes narrowed from behind the coarse strands of hair dangling across his face. "In that case, I'm going to make a new rule—the person that places last at the end of this apprehension will be judged as 'hopeless' and instantly expelled." 

Uraraka nearly let out a squeal from beside you, and you felt her hand roughly clamp down onto your own. Her fingers were quivering, and honestly, you were feeling pretty damn nervous yourself.

You shook your head. 

No, it's fine. I'm still here for a reason, and I'm not going to allow myself to get discouraged right off the bat.

Letting out a sigh to steady yourself, you squeezed Uraraka's hand and flashed her a crooked smile. 

"Alright. Let's do our best." 

 

 

[Trial 1: 50-meter dash]

The very first obstacle standing your way was none other than an old-fashioned sprint—except this time, Quirks would be allowed. 

Uraraka had already run first before you, but she still wasn't used to using her zero-gravity on herself without getting nauseous, so there wasn't too much she could do. You figured she'd be able to fully use of her powers in the later trials. Besides, you couldn't exactly afford to worry about others right now.

The sprints were carried out in groups of three, and you were next to step up to the plate, eyes widening involuntarily when you realized who you were smushed in between. 

On one side, there was the curly-haired, freckled boy—he was currently shaking like a leaf in the wind, and you didn't want to surprise him for fear that he might faint. On your other side was Bakugou, who was practically glaring through you so that he could direct his animosity the other boy's way. It was clear that there was a lot of history there, and you honestly didn't much like the feeling of being their divider.

"It's fine," you mumbled to yourself, dropping to a crouch. "Just focus on yourself, and breathe." 

After a few seconds of building tension, the starting signal could be heard. You furrowed your brows and allowed your body to become imbued with a golden, faintly pulsating light. Immediately, you could feel the sensation of becoming weightless, and moving along a practically different plane of life as you rushed forward and appeared on the other side.

The little robot in charge of measuring time beeped at your arrival.

"(First Name, Last Name)—1.19 seconds."

You might've been imagining it, but you thought you heard a low growl coming from behind you. Bakugou was hot on your heels, finishing the dash with 4.13 seconds. The freckled boy arrived a bit more slowly; he'd just been running, apparently, and finished with 7.02 seconds.

Bakugou's sharp, crimson orbs fell onto your frame. You instinctively glanced away, but you were fully aware of the fact that he was glaring a hole into your back. 

Why? What's he mad over now? I didn't even do anything...

"T-that was amazing...." a voice called out to you, and you turned to see the curly-haired boy breathing heavily as he walked over towards you. "H-how did you manage to get over there so fast...?" 

"Huh? Oh," you smiled. "It's my Quirk. I can manipulate light, and if I invest enough energy, I can actually travel at the speed of light for a limited time. It's a little difficult, though." You chuckled and rubbed at the back of your neck. "I always end up feeling tired afterwards, and I get a bit of a headache, too."

The boy had to bite down on his lip to stifle a gasp. "But still...that's incredible. You're incredible—a-ah, I mean, your powers are incredible...!" He began stammering out incoherently, and his cheeks were gradually flushing a warm red. You noticed him blushing earlier when he was talking to Uraraka, too. Maybe he wasn't much used to girls? 

You smiled again. "Well, I'm sure your powers are just as amazing, um...sorry, what was your name?" 

"M-my name...?" he jolted. "Ah—it's Izuku. I-I mean, Midoriya Izuku!" Every second he just seemed to blush deeper, and you couldn't help but giggle. 

"Then, Izuku-kun's fine, right? I happen to like that name, and you seem to be pretty close with Uraraka-chan, so we're practically already friends."

Izuku frantically mumbled something out about how there's no way he would consider himself close to Uraraka, since he barely knew her (and he was blushing so hard by now that steam was coming out his ears), but you couldn't help but steal a glance over towards your side. Immediately, you stiffened.

Bakugou was still glaring at you with those murderous eyes. 

 

 

 

 

Before long, it was time to move onto the fifth trial of the day; the one that Bakugou had demonstrated earlier.

[Trial 5: softball pitch]

Uraraka had just gone earlier, and managed to score an infinity, of all things. You'd wasted no time in rushing to her side and wrapping her in a big hug while she flushed from the embarrassment. Your own softball pitch had gone over easily enough, but you hadn't managed to end up with a particularly outstanding score. At the very least, you knew that you wouldn't be placing last, but...

"Midoriya's not doing too well, is he?" Iida commented.

He'd just about echoed your thoughts, and you really couldn't think of a single trial where Izuku gotten a hero-like score. You hated to imagine it, but there would be a good chance that he'd end up in last place if he didn't manage to turn things around.

"No fucking shit he's not gonna do well!" Bakugou barked. He'd apparently moved next to you at some point, and you unknowingly took a step away. "He's a Quirkless fucking guppy, is what he is!" 

You frowned. 

Quirkless? No, that can't be right. Uraraka-chan told me how he blew away that big robot away during the entrance exam...

You didn't know why, but Bakugou appeared convinced that Izuku was totally and utterly helpless. His crimson eyes were narrowed, like always, and his jaw was rigid and taut. It was clear that he was hoping for the boy to fail, but there was something beneath the anger that stood out to you. 

Worry...?

Before you could speculate any further, an ear-shattering blast rang out through the air. Your eyes darted back to the ring where Izuku had been standing—he was now hunched over and clenching his hand into a tight fist, and you felt your breath hitch as you noticed his finger. His finger, which had turned an ugly, blackened shade, was very clearly broken. You'd missed exactly what had happened while you were eyeing down Bakugou, but he wasn't holding the softball anymore. Which would mean that—

"—705.3 meters," Aizawa announced, lifting up the device once more to the class.

You heard Uraraka let out a cheer of glee; Iida merely speculated as to what kind of Quirk would wound its user in such a way. Actually, you would have probably begun hopping up and down in excitement as well, if not for the ash blonde standing beside you.

Now open-mouthed and looking bewildered, all Bakugou could do was stare straight ahead in Izuku's direction. You didn't know exactly what was going through his head, but if he'd really meant what he said earlier, than he actually thought that Izuku was Quirkless, for whatever reason.

But he did have a Quirk. And Bakugou didn't seem happy with this at all

"What the fuck...?" he croaked, arms quivering by his sides. "What the literal fuck?! How the fuck is that even possible?! HEY—EXPLAIN YOURSELF, DEKU!!"

You caught the small explosions sparking up in his palms early enough to know exactly what he was about to do. Without even thinking, you let out a small cry and latched onto Bakugou by the arm in a desperate attempt to pull him back, but soon found that your strength was no match for his own. 

Bakugou forced you aside, slamming his fist into your shoulder as he blew you back and made you tumble to the ground. He glared down at you with such hateful, blood-red eyes and teeth so gritted that you nearly teared up. And then he parted his lips to speak.

"Get in my way, and I'll fucking kill you."

Your vision went white right then and there. All other sounds were senselessly drowned out by the blood pounding furiously in your ear. The mark on your hip was already burning. 

Of all people, your soulmate had to be him.

Chapter Text

Aizawa ran a hand through his disheveled hair. "Oh, about that expulsion thing—it was a lie." 

"EHHHH?!!!" 

Your class let out a series of squeals and other garbled noises at your teacher's reveal. Uraraka had pressed her palms up against her rosy cheeks; Izuku was practically on the verge of passing out. And just as well, too—if it had been for real, he would have been expelled for placing last.

You couldn't quite wrap your head around why he got injured so severely after using his Quirk, but you figured that everyone had their own share of troubles. And speaking of troubles, you still hadn't recovered from your earlier realization. Bakugou was off in his own world right now, having been restrained by Aizawa shortly after his attempted assault on Izuku, but the words he'd spoken were still ringing through your mind. 

"Get in my way, and I'll fucking kill you." 

The writing etched into your skin from birth had been throbbing ever since he'd uttered his first sentence to you. It was a hot, searing pain; the likes of which made your flesh sting and feel as though you'd been pricked by a thousand needles. And honestly, you could deal with the pain. Something like that, you could handle. What you couldn't handle was knowing that the person you were destined to spend your life with was someone who couldn't have been farther from what you wanted.

"(Name)-chan, you okay?" Uraraka prodded, having picked up on your gloominess. "You've been pretty quiet for the last while..." 

"Oh." You straightened up in a hurry, forcing a smile. "I'm fine. Don't worry, Uraraka-chan. This whole apprehension test just took me by surprise, so I'm feeling a little more worn out than I expected." 

She interlinked her arm with your own, grinning up to her ears. "In that case, I guess it's time to get changed and head on home for a nice rest!" 

"Yeah. You're right." 

Uraraka led you along in the direction of the changerooms, but you couldn't help spare one last glance towards the ash blonde. He was standing in place, much like before, as stiff as a statue and with eyes wide as saucers. 

You didn't think it was possible, but his expression bore even more malice than before. 

 

 

 

 

"Ugh...that was a long day," you muttered, finally having changed back into your uniform. You were dragging your feet listlessly through the halls, but still needed to stop by your locker to pick up the last of your belongings. Uraraka had gone ahead with Iida and Izuku, but they'd promised to wait for you outside.

You groaned.

I can't wait to take a bath. I still feel so sweaty from earlier. 

Begrudgingly moving along, you opened up your locker and began rummaging through it for the books you'd left behind earlier. You fiddled with the zipper of your bag, opening it up and dumping the extra contents in one swift, fluid motion. 

You were about to leave when you heard an abrupt slam. 

"Eek!" 

It had been so loud and startling that you'd inadvertently let out a small squeal. When you tilted your head back to look at the source, you found a pair of narrowed, crimson orbs staring straight into your own. You stiffened almost immediately, watching as Bakugou sorted out the last of his stuff and prepared to be on his way. Unfortunately, he must've noticed that you were looking back at him through widened eyes, and scowled.

"The fuck do you want?" he spat. "You gonna keep staring at me?" 

Your lips were halfway parted before you clamped them shut, remembering exactly how the markings worked. 

If I talk now...he'll know that I'm his soulmate. If at all possible, I want to avoid having a conversation with him. Besides, isn't there a chance that this could all be wrong? Maybe he's NOT my soulmate; maybe these things are just wrong sometimes. Right...? 

You realized that you were more so trying to convince yourself, but you honestly just couldn't imagine falling for a person like him. He embodied pretty much everything you didn't want in a partner—rude, violent, brash, unpredictable. And....resentful. 

Maybe, just maybe, a bit of time would do you good. So that you could fully wrap your head around the situation. 

Which is why, with great effort on your part, you held your tongue and instead flashed Bakugou a shaky smile. He was silent for a little while, but you realized that your smile wasn't very much effective, since his glare only deepened

"I believe I asked you what the fuck your problem was," Bakugou growled, slowly inching his way closer to you. "Are you trying to fuck with me? That what this is?!" 

He was now mere inches in front of you, forcing you back against the lockers. From up close, his features were much more striking, and you could clearly see each and every crease in his brow; every tremble of his lips as he clenched his jaw. You realized—with great dissatisfaction—that he was actually very handsome, but his expression alone was enough to make you quiver in fear. 

You barely dared to breathe, worried that a wrong exhale would all but make him pound you into dust. Just earlier, he'd tried to assault Izuku, so who was to say that he wouldn't do the same to you? 

Bakugou continued to eye you down, and all you could do was urge your expression to remain as placid and unreadable as possible. Your smile had long since wavered. 

"...Tch. What a waste of fucking time." With a scoff, Bakugou pulled away from you and flung his bag over his shoulder. You watched as he walked away, muttering under his breath what a "shitty day" he'd had. 

The second he was gone, your knees buckled underneath you. 

"S-shit..." you cursed out. "That was close..." 

It might've been stupid to keep denying reality, but as things were right now, you wanted nothing to do with Bakugou. Even now, you were trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but those blood-red eyes were so completely and utterly devoid of any compassion—they held only bitterness and anger. There was a lot you could tell about someone just based off their eyes alone, and you may not have had all the answers, but a picture was slowly coming together. 

This just wasn't what you wanted. 

 

 

 

 

[The following day]: 

 

Despite your first day having been such a wild ride, the second was...oddly lackluster. 

For lack of a better word, it was just incredibly dull. You realized that you'd be receiving lessons in academics like the other high school students, but you might've been hoping for something a bit more exciting than Present Mic yelling about English. 

"Well, I guess that's just to be expected," you mumbled. "The majority of our Heroics training will be done in the afternoon, after all." 

The morning classes went by rather slowly, so you were relieved when it was time for lunch. Uraraka waved you over to come take a seat alongside her, Izuku, and Iida. You smiled to yourself, realizing that you'd already managed to form a close-knit group of friends. 

"It's the cooking hero, Lunch Rush!" Izuku cried out, barely about to contain his glee. "Woww...!!" He was generally the shy type, but you noticed that he always seemed to get excited whenever pro heroes were involved. A fanboy, perhaps? 

"White rice ish so yummy!" Uraraka enthused, spooning another mouthful between her lips. "The cafeteria food here's pretty good, right, (Name)-chan?" 

"...Huh? Oh." You nodded hastily. "Y-yeah. It's delicious." 

You were trying your hardest not to stare, but you just couldn't help stealing a few glances at the ash blonde seated a little distance away. He was eating alone; most likely because everyone was too intimidated by him to even bother getting close, and his brows were just as furrowed as always. 

I wonder why he's always so angry. 

Uraraka flashed you a worried look. "(Name)-chan, you good?" 

"Uh...yeah. I'm fine." 

Forcing your best smile, you did your best to focus on your food for the rest of the lunch period. Before long, it was time for the main event—Heroics Training. 

"I HAVE COME...through the door like a normal person...!!" 

Your eyes lit up almost immediately as they fell onto the robust frame hovering by the doorway. That signature smile was one that everyone knew, and you still couldn't get over the fact that All Might was actually going to be one of your teachers. 

Off to the side, Izuku was practically jumping in his seat, grinning ear-to-ear as he gazed up at the tall blonde. You stifled a laugh.

Yep. Definitely a fanboy. 

All Might cleared his throat, still smiling widely. "Now, then! For today, let's jump right in with this—!" He outstretched a placard for the entire class to see. "The trial of battle!" 

The students began cheering out in excitement, and All Might proceeded to state that you'd also be using the costumes you sent in to match with your Quirks. The wall opened up to reveal small compartments—each of them storing the corresponding gear for every student. You lined up behind everyone else, feeling a swell of excitement in your chest.

Before long, you'd all run off to get changed and headed to meet back at Grounds Beta, where your very first hero training session would be held. 

"Ah! (Name)-chan, you look super pretty in your costume!" Uraraka chimed out, clasping her hands together. You took a second to scan your eyes down her own costume, smiling in response. 

"Thanks. But I think your costume is really cute, too." 

She chuckled bashfully. "Well, I wasn't very detailed with my description...so it turned out a bit puffy, aha." 

"That's not true. I think it looks great." You cocked your head to the side, smiling coyly off to the side. "Don't you think so, Izuku-kun?" 

Surely enough, Izuku was standing a little distance off wearing a green-hued jumper. He'd also had a mask fashioned to resemble All Might, which pretty much solidified your theory that he was a huge fanboy. It was a simple, pragmatic design, but it was cute. And you could still see him blushing from behind his mask. 

"E-eh?!" he jolted, eyes flickering every which way as he looked both you and Uraraka over. "Y-you guys look nice—I mean, your costumes look nice!! Uhh...I mean..." 

Every second he just seemed to become more of a flustered, blushing mess, and you couldn't help but let out a small chuckle. 

He really is cute. 

You stuck close to your friends' sides, but you spotted Bakugou a little distance away. Immediately, you cursed yourself for always seeking him out—whether it was involuntary or not. Ever since you'd discovered that he was your soulmate, it had become nearly impossible to keep from looking at him, even though you desperately wanted to. Worst of all was when he caught you staring at him. 

Just like now. 

You'd been gazing at him almost in a trance, unable to help the small blush that rose to your cheeks when you saw him in his costume. Save for the gauntlets around his hands, much of his forearms were exposed; revealing the toned musculature of his biceps. You'd never seen him out of uniform before, but he really was attractive. 

He was also glaring back at you with a passion.

You hastily averted your gaze, realizing too late that it would probably just arouse even more suspicion. All you could do was clench your fists and mentally chant to yourself that you would do your very best to avoid looking in his direction again. All Might had begun explaining that you would be pitted against each other in a two-on-two team battle—one team would be acting as the "heroes" for the exercise; the others would be serving as the "villains". 

"Alright, then!" All Might bellowed, holding out a large box. "Your teams will be chosen by lottery! Come up here and draw your fates, young ones!" 

If at all possible, you would've liked to be paired up with Uraraka, but you knew that you couldn't afford to be picky. Honestly, anything—literally anything was better than being paired up with Bakugou. 

You dug your hand into the box, biting down on your lip to quell your nerves. When you withdrew your hand, you were staring back at a paper with the letter 'A' messily scrawled across. 

"Team A..." you mumbled out.

"Oh, you're team A, too?" To your great relief, Izuku's voice was the one who had spoken out. He peered over your shoulder, smiling crookedly. "L-looks like we're paired up together, (Name)-chan." 

You let out a weary sigh. "Oh, thank god. I'm so glad I'm paired up with you, Izuku-kun." 

"E-eh?! Really...??" 

"Yeah, really," you smiled. "Seriously, I'm so relieved. Is it okay if I hug you right now?" 

"EHHH?!!" 

The boy had basically begun hyperventilating at your words, cheeks flushing a bright red. Uraraka had been paired up with some pink-haired girl, and they seemed to be getting along fairly well. You didn't have time to relax, though, since All Might had already dug his hands into two separate boxes. 

"The first pair to do battle...will be the following!" All Might withdrew both hands simultaneously, revealing lots and B. "Pair A will be heroes!" he announced. "And pair D will be the villains!" 

You blew out a whistle of surprise. "We're up first, huh? I'm a little nervous, what about you, Izu—ah. A-are you okay??" 

Izuku was actually very much not okay, if his trembling frame was anything to go off. He'd broken out into a nervous sweat, and you could see the way his lips were quivering uncontrollably. He was so pale you would've thought he'd seen a ghost. 

"T-this is bad..." he choked out. "Team D—that's Kacchan." 

"Kacchan? Who's—" 

You didn't quite have time to finish your sentence before being abruptly shoved to the side. It didn't take long for your eyes to widen, spying an all-too familiar tuft of blonde hair walking beside Iida. Those gleaming, crimson orbs made sure to glare daggers right into your chest. 

Why, why, WHY? 

Just as you'd resolved to keep your distance from him, the universe just had to pull the two of you together. You bit down on your bottom lip, inadvertently taking a step back and away from Bakugou. 

This really wasn't what you wanted.

Chapter Text

You would be fighting him—your soulmate, whom you'd been so desperately trying to avoid. Him; the boy who bore nothing but sheer resentment every time he looked in your direction, and who you still hadn't spoken a single word to. 

And you got the feeling that he was about to utterly destroy you.

It wasn't as though you didn't have faith in Izuku's abilities, but from what you'd seen, his powers would gravely injure him, and there was probably only so much he could do. If anything, he would most likely be saving them for when the two of you were left with no other option, which meant that your Quirk would need to carry the both of you to victory.

The two of you were waiting outside, allowing the "villain" team to make their way in first. You'd both been given a map with the basic layout of the building, which you would need to commit to memory in order to maneuver around.

You spared a glance towards your partner. "Izuku-kun...I could kind of already tell, but you have a really bad relationship with Bakugou-kun, don't you?" 

"A-ah, well...yeah." He chuckled hoarsely, unable to mask the pain in his expression. "We used to be friends at some point, but it was so far back that I can hardly remember anymore. I call him 'Kacchan' because that's the name I would use when we were kids; he calls me 'Deku' to make fun of me. There's...not really much to tell, other than the fact that we don't get along at all." 

You sighed. "I don't blame you." 

"Eh?" 

Izuku furrowed his brows, but you'd already gone silent. You hadn't even told Uraraka about the fact that Bakugou was your soulmate. If possible, you wanted to keep it to yourself for a while longer. You were still trying to avoid speaking to him altogether, but you didn't know how well that was going to work out now that you were being pitted against one another.

He doesn't look like the type who'd be happy about finding his soulmate in the first place. I doubt he'll even care. He might just get more irritated than usual. 

Still, that was besides the point right now. Even you were here for a reason—to carve your path towards becoming a hero. Finding your soulmate and whatever was only secondary to all that; you couldn't allow yourself to get distracted by such things. First and foremost...you were going to do your best to win

"I think I speak for both of us when I say that we don't like him, but still—let's give it our best shot." You smiled back at your ally. "I'm counting on you, Izuku-kun." 

His emerald eyes widened just slightly before he hurriedly nodded his head.

"O-okay!"

"Now, Trial of Indoor Battle....STAAART!!" 

 

 

 

 

It wasn't much longer after All Might's bellowing signal that the two of you managed to sneak in. You'd stealthily hopped inside through one of the windows, and immediately saw that the entire building was like a maze. 

Everywhere you looked there were winding corridors; each of them seeming to lead nowhere in particular. You'd been given some time to read the map's layout, but your nerves were slowly chipping away at your memory. Despite your overall opinion of Bakugou, you couldn't deny the fact that he was strong, and for that very reason, you were extremely worried. 

"Izuku-kun," you whispered, pulling up beside him. "Stick close to me, okay? That way I can bend the light around you and—"

"DIEEEEE!!!" 

Without giving you the chance to finish your sentence, Bakugou came hurtling from around the corner. His right fist was poised in the air, and you didn't need to half a brain to know that he was angry as hell. You were just lucky that he'd let out a war-cry, since it gave Izuku the chance to push you aside and off to safety as Bakugou released an explosion against the wall. 

You spluttered weakly, having tumbled to your knees and seeing that half of Izuku's mask had been torn to shreds.

"Izuku-kun, are you okay??" 

"I'm fine," he mumbled back, wiping away the soot on his cheek. "He just grazed me a bit, that's all."

A collection of smoke had appeared from the blonde's preemptive attack, and he clawed at the air to make himself visible. His sharp, crimson eyes were glaring ruthlessly down at the both of you—Izuku, at first, but then his gaze shifted over towards your frame.

"Two shitheads, paired up together," Bakugou scoffed. "Just my fuckin' luck, huh? Hey, bitch—I'm talking to you. Look at me when I'm saying shit."

You felt your body tremble, but you kept your lips tightly pressed together. Bakugou gritted his teeth. The vein on his forehead looked as though it was about to burst.

"So you're still not gonna say a damn word, huh?! Just like this whole fuckin' time; you've been keeping your mouth shut and practically turning up your nose every time you saw me." He clenched his jaw, raising his right arm again. "If that's how you wanna play it, then fine. I'll make you regret trying to make a fool out of me—!" 

One ferocious lunge and he was hurtling towards you and Izuku, and you felt your throat close up in apprehension. As quickly as you could, you squeezed your fists, small particles of light flitting through the air—unseen to anyone else's eyes other than your own.

He was still propelling himself forward, and his fist lurched forward at what he thought was your body and Izuku's, but in reality, it was just a distortion; the result of the light you'd bent in order to project an image farther away. 

"The fuck—?!" Bakugou cried out, when he felt his fist hit nothing. These projections of yours didn't last much longer than a few moments, unfortunately, and you needed to act as quickly as you could. You really did hate hurting people, but for the sake of becoming a hero, you knew that such training was necessary. 

Bakugou could only let out a guttural groan as you dashed forward and kicked him square in the stomach. He teetered backwards, clutching at the area of skin you'd mercilessly attacked. When he lifted his head, you could see that he was glaring daggers into your very soul.

"You little bitch," he spat. "I was gonna give Deku a good beating first, but it looks you've just made your way to the top of the list." 

"(N-Name)-chan...!" Izuku cried out in a panic. "It's fine, you don't need to try and fight him! I'll do my best to hold him off while you go retrieve the weapon!"

There were so many raw emotions out in the open, you knew that this fight between them needed to happen. Honestly, you wanted to run—you really, truly wanted to. But you just couldn't. Even as your knees quivered and threatened to buckle underneath you, all you could do was muster up the courage to stare him straight in his bright, crimson eyes. 

If he really was the person you were meant to spend your life with, you just couldn't keep running from him.

Bakugou only scoffed. "And you're still not gonna say a single fucking thing. Are you mute, or what? Nah, that can't be it. Since I'm sure you were talking to that shithead earlier on. In which case...it must mean that you're fucking with me. You're getting a kick out of screwing with my head."

You were trying your best to manage something; anything. But not yet. It wasn't time yet—not until you could feel your heart leaping out your chest with the words you'd held back for so long. Which is why you stood your ground, even as Bakugou came thundering towards you with the intention of blowing you into dust. And slowly, you felt a warmth spread across your chest with some intensity and vigor that you knew you couldn't hold back any more. 

Your lips slowly pulled up at the sides. 

"I think...you would look so much better with a smile."

Those words were all it took to make him freeze in place, eyes widened like never before. You actually thought that he might not have even remembered his marking in the heat of the battle, but the dazed look on his expression said it all—he knew.

So, maybe it was cruel of you, but you'd been hoping for an opening like this. Golden specks danced through your eyes as you slammed your palms together and urged a beam of light to push him backwards. He faltered in place, the attack causing him to tumble to his knees, although not inflicting much damage otherwise. You glanced hurriedly over to Izuku's side, already rushing off towards the end of the corridor. 

"You take it from here, Izuku-kun! I'll go retrieve the weapon!" 

"Huh? O-oh...right!"

You urged your legs to carry you as fast as they could, but it felt like they had turned to jelly. You were breathing shallowly and your heart was beating a million miles a minute. Behind, you heard a deep, raspy cry that could only have been addressed to you

"What did you just say...?" Bakugou croaked. "Hey! I'm asking you what the fuck you just said!! Come back here, you!" 

Even though you'd promised yourself that you wouldn't look back, you couldn't keep your gaze from wandering. With your breath hitched in your throat, (e/c) orbs fell onto the figure of Bakugou hunched over towards the ground—and for the first time, he didn't look angry.

His expression had unwound to the point that the fire had all but dissolved in his formerly-blazing, crimson eyes. No longer did he bear the glint of hatred from before. Really, in all the times you'd looked at him, you felt like you were only now actually seeing him. 

"Hey..." he mumbled out, his voice riddled with tremors. "Just...say that shit again. C'mon."

You snapped your head away and rushed down the hallway, turning the bend as quickly as you could manage. Your feet seemed to carry you faster than ever before, and you weren't even fully aware of where you were going. 

A forceful heave fell out your lips as you finally stopped and crumpled against one of the walls. You were out of breath, yes, but you knew that couldn't have been the only reason your cheeks were burning red-hot. Shaky fingers found their way to the scalding temples by your hairline, and all you could do was squeeze your eyes shut.

Your words had reached him, for the very first time.

Chapter Text

The trial of battle ended in your victory.

You weren't there to see exactly what happened, but you could hear the deafening explosions and most importantly, Izuku's attack—that which had nearly ripped the building in half and shattered all the windows. He'd directed a swing at full power up through the roof, and it had given you the opportunity to activate your light-speed and retrieve the weapon from Iida. When you'd scrambled down the stairs, Izuku was already being pulled out on a stretcher; his arm had been mangled and broken and his body was littered with burns and bruises. You were worried about him, of course, but there was really only one thing that had been running through your mind. 

Namely, your first words to Bakugou.

It was obvious that he knew, with the way his expression had faltered and he'd called out to you even in the heat of battle. You'd finally spoken to him, and he was now aware of the fact that the two of you were soulmates. Which was a good thing, right? It had taken all your courage, but you'd finally managed to muster up the resolve and accept him—from here on out, the two of you would only be getting closer; you'd actually be able to look at one another without the rift that had been there before. It was a good thing, you told yourself, and you were already determined to speak to him a second time. But when you caught sight of him in the ruins of the building, you realized that wouldn't be possible.

Now, you didn't know much about Bakugou—other than the fact that he was impulsive, violent, and just overall seemed to look down on others, but you knew for a fact that he was strong. That's why, when you saw his expression, your heart nearly sank.

Right now, he didn't look anything like the strong, ruthless person you'd made him out to be. Bakugou's crimson eyes, which normally burned with the vigor of a thousand flames, were so subdued and vacant that they almost didn't look like his own. His skin was so pale that he looked like he'd seen a ghost, and his bottom lip was quivering uncontrollably. From where you were standing, you could hear the shallow, uneven breaths he was taking in a fit of near-hysteria. He just looked so completely and utterly broken, and you couldn't understand why. 

Immediately, your chest filled with guilt. 

Is it my fault? Because I threw him off by speaking for the first time, and he lost the battle because he was distracted...? Is that why he looks so shattered? 

You didn't know much about Bakugou. But for the first time, you realized that you wanted to.

"Now, now," All Might chided, gently placing his hand on Bakugou's shoulder. "No matter whether you won or lost, you need to take a look and reflect on this experience, and then move on with your life. Let's all head back for our critique, young ones!"

He waved the group over towards the monitor room, where you'd all collected to go through with the first evaluation. A dark-haired girl with a ponytail raised her hand and began commenting on how each and every one of you had performed in the trial. Izuku was being carried off to the infirmary, so he wasn't present, but she confidently declared that the best for the match was Iida anyways. She mentioned something about the fact that you'd put in a good effort, but you faltered on many occasions and didn't act as quickly as you should've. Well, that much was a given, since you'd been so focused on your words to Bakugou.

You knew that you should've been focusing on reviewing the details of your battle, but all you could do was keep glancing over in Bakugou's direction. His head was slumped forward, eyes trailing listlessly across the ground. The mark above your hip would throb ever so often; it seemed to hurt more every time he trembled. 

It was almost as though you could feel his pain. 

 

 

 

 

From that point onward, all you could was stand idle and watch the remaining matches go by. Your eyes kept flitting over towards Bakugou's frame, but you just couldn't manage any words, no matter how hard you tried. He was so bitter and zombie-like that you got the feeling anything you said right now would only make things worse.

Izuku had been sent to the infirmary as well, so you also had that playing at the back of your mind. Seriously, you'd come to U.A to become a hero, and it felt like all you'd accomplished so far was nearly developing an ulcer from your nerves.

So you were tuned out to most of the battles with your constant staring at Bakugou, but you managed to catch a few glimpses—the most outstanding by far was when one of the students by the name of Todoroki Shouto froze an entire building into a chunk of ice. On a normal occasion, you would've been in total awe and marveling at such a display of strength, but you literally could only think of the ash blonde male whom you'd come to accept as your soulmate. 

Eventually, the battles finished, and you were sent to change out of your costumes and head home. This time, you promised yourself that you would speak to him.

I don't know how much good it's going to do with the current state he's in, but this needs to be addressed. We both finally know about each other...we have to say something, right? 

You'd resolved to finally have a proper conversation with Bakugou, but when you stepped back into the classroom wearing your usual uniform, he was already gone.

"Where's Bakugou-kun?" you asked Uraraka, who was currently in the process of gathering her belongings. You hadn't even bothered to beat around the bush, and she looked genuinely confused by your inquiry.

Her brows furrowed together. "You want to talk to him, too?" 

"Too?" 

"Yeah," she mumbled. "I mean, Deku-kun came back from the infirmary not too long ago and went running after him. He seemed like he had something pretty urgent to discuss—which isn't surprising, considering the battle they had—but I didn't know you were very close to him." 

Uraraka's expression was rife with worry, but you didn't have time to explain. You'd already turned to rush off towards the doorway when you felt her hand clamp down on your wrist.

"(Name)-chan..." she frowned. "You'll...tell me if there's something bothering you, right? No matter what, you know you can always trust me." 

You smiled. "I know. Don't worry, I'll explain everything soon."

Ever-so-gently, you pulled away from her grip and ran off in the hopes of catching Bakugou. Uraraka could only sigh, brown orbs glazing over in fatigue. She was going to have you give her the details, and stat.

Now sprinting like a madman, you made your way through U.A's seemingly endless corridors and rushed outside. You were worried that Bakugou would be long gone, so you were relieved to find him facing Izuku a little distance off from the main gate.

Just as you were about to step forth, you heard Izuku's voice ring out. 

"I obtained this Quirk from somebody else...!" 

You stopped. 

What...did he just say? 

It sounded so ludicrous that you were sure he was making things up, but the way his voice trembled with each imploring cry made you realize that he couldn't have been lying. Something like receiving a Quirk—really, it didn't make any sense. But for some reason, you believed him. 

Bakugou did not.

All you could do was watch with wide eyes as he clenched his fists by his side. He was shaking, just like he had been after his loss, but it was so much fiercer now; so much more resolute. This guy, who was meant to be your soulmate, you really didn't know very much about him at all. But slowly and surely, every assumption you'd made about him was proving to be wrong

He wasn't all-powerful—he too, could show weakness. And right now...he was realizing that even he could lose to others. 

Bakugou gritted his teeth, tears pooling at the corner of his bright, crimson eyes. The fire, which had been extinguished earlier, was re-lit and burning with a newfound determination. Honestly, it was the strangest thing—here he was, yelling and cursing at the top of his lungs just like always, but for once it was more than just tasteless threats and malice. His words actually meant something. 

You realized right then and there that you were to blame all along. 

"Don't you dare get the idea that you'll ever beat me again!!" Bakugou cursed, turning on his heel. "Fuck!"

You'd deserted your little hiding-spot, breaking out into the open and passing by Izuku, who paled once he saw you walk by.

"(N-Name)-chan...!" he croaked out. "Don't tell me—were you here...? This whole time??" 

You nodded dismissively, breezing past him. "Yes, but don't worry—I don't intend to tell anyone the details. Right now, I just need to talk to Bakugou-kun."

He'd begun to stammer in place, looking stricken by grief that you'd overheard, but it didn't matter to you. All that mattered right now was that you finally have the conversation the two of you were meant to have the moment you discovered he was your soulmate.

Bakugou was still wiping away at his eyes, but he hadn't gotten very far. A few quick strides and you'd caught up to him, hastily latching a hand across his arm and pulling him back. He stiffened at your touch, slowly craning his neck to look back at you. 

"Oh," he deadpanned, eyes narrowing into slits. "It's you."

Already, you could feel the roof of your mouth drying out, but it was too late to back down. You pulled your hand away faster than Bakugou could shake it off, pressing your lips together.

"I know...you probably don't want to see me right now," you began, "But I needed to talk to you, no matter what."

Bakugou's eyes were still bloodshot and puffy from the tears, but he still managed a harsh glare. 

"Why the fuck bother?" he practically spat. "Just go back to being mute—I liked you better that way."

You had to take a breath to steady yourself.

"I know you're mad." 

"Then maybe you should fucking leave," he growled, making you shiver from his ruthless tone. "Seriously, I'm warning you. I'm not in a good mood right now."

Even though you were almost buckling at the knees, you shook your head. He was harsh and intimidating, but you'd just confirmed for yourself that he wasn't the person you'd made him out to be. There was more to him than that, but you'd never get the chance to find out if you backed down now.

"We need to talk," you stated calmly. "The more we avoid each other, the worse things are going to get."

Bakugou gritted his teeth. "Seriously? You're seriously going to say that to me? After you've been biting your tongue back to keep from saying a goddamn word this whole fucking time?!" 

"That was—"

"It was a load of fucking shit, is what it was!!" He clenched his hand into a fist, doing everything in his power to keep from raising it to your head. "I know exactly what was going through your damn mind," he muttered. "You must've found out earlier—you already knew I was your soulmate, and that's why you wouldn't allow me to hear your first words. Because you didn't want me to find out."

All you could do was nod sullenly. Lying would only make the situation worse. 

"...You're right. I was avoiding you." 

Bakugou's eyes widened a fraction. It was almost as though he'd been clinging to the hope that you hadn't been trying to hide from him, and this was all just one big misunderstanding. He actually looked hurt. But soon enough, that "hurt" dissolved and was replaced by bitterness and rage. 

"I fucking knew it," he seethed, lurching forward on one foot. "I fucking knew you were hiding something for the longest damn time. So, what was it?" He was getting dangerously close to you now; to the point that your chests bumped. "I'm not good enough for you or some shit—that what it is? You think you're better than me? Like I'm the shittiest fucking person you could ever get as your soulmate, that's what I fucking am. Right?!"

You bit down on your lip. "Bakugou-kun, please just—" 

"FUCKING ANSWER ME!!!" 

He'd latched his hand onto your wrist, and was shaking your arm furiously. The tears from earlier still hadn't fully dried out, and it looked as though he was doing everything in his power to keep them from spilling out again. You exhaled slowly and regained your breath. 

"Okay," you mumbled, gently pulling away from his grip. "If we're being honest here, then yes—I wasn't happy when I found out that you were my soulmate."

"You little, fucking bit—" 

"But that was my fault," you continued, watching the way Bakugou's eyes widened. "It was wrong of me to come into this with some sort of perception of how you were supposed to be. It's true that you're not the type I could see myself getting along with on normal terms; you're loud, swear a lot, and are quick to start a fight—I'm probably almost a complete opposite to you. So, when I first found out...I guess I was just surprised," you admitted. "Since it just felt so unexpected. But these things aren't meant to be planned for, and I wasn't supposed to envision who you were. I lied to myself and tried to fight this, and that's where I went wrong."

Bakugou had gone silent, staring backing at you with narrowed eyes and a stiff jaw. It was so faint—almost to the point that it was hardly noticeable—but his expression had softened, just a bit. At the very least, he no longer looked like he was about to punch you in the face.

"...So, great," he scoffed. "You're aware of the fact that you were being a bitch. Fucking perfect. That still doesn't change the fact that you don't want me to be your soulmate. You said that I'm not 'the type of person you would get along with' just now, which means that you didn't want shit to do with me in the first place. That's how I know this is just a waste of fucking time." He readjusted the strap of his bag, rolling his eyes at you. "Just do me a favor and fuck off. I can already tell this shit isn't gonna work out between us."

"That was before," you said simply. 

"...Huh?" 

"That was before," you repeated, stepping closer to him. "I was being resistant to the whole idea, and I might not have wanted to get closer to you back then, but it's different now. My impression of you was wrong—I've realized that now. You're...not the bad person I thought you were."

Bakugou looked at a genuine loss for words. All he could do was run a hand through his tousled locks and scowl.

"Piss off. You don't know jack shit about me." 

You smiled. "Then, will you give me the chance to get to know you better?"

It was the strangest thing. Earlier this very day, you were doing everything in your power to place as much distance between the two of you as you possibly could. Yet now, you were actively seeking him out; hoping that he would give you a second chance. 

For the first time, you actually felt like he could be the one.

"You sure change your fucking mind quick, huh?" He half-scoffed, cocking his head to the side and assuming a sarcastic tone. "Am I really good enough for you, though? 'Cause you sure seem to think you're the fucking best damn thing to ever walk this earth."

"And you seem like the type to hold a grudge," you chuckled. "Not that I'm surprised, though."

"HUH?!" 

You shook your head, smiling again. "No, it's fine. I realize I've been selfish this entire time, and we got off on the wrong foot, but things will be okay. Instead of resisting, I think we should just let things flow the way they should—naturally."

"Sounds fucking stupid," Bakugou dismissed. His words were sharp, but he didn't look anywhere near as upset as before. "I've been talking to your sorry ass long enough. I'm going home." 

He'd already turned to walk away, but you pulled him back by the sleeve of his uniform. Bakugou clicked his tongue and let out an annoyed grunt, glancing back only to see you looking up at him with a small flush on your cheeks. 

A warmth had swelled up in your chest. You'd been so opposed to this relationship in the first place, yet somehow, for some reason, you were left craving more

"I really do want us to get along," you mumbled timidly. "So, if it's possible, could we...start calling each other by our first names?"

Chapter Text

"EHHH?! Your soulmate is Kacchan?!!"

Izuku's scream could practically be heard from outer space, and you had to clamp a hand across his mouth to shush him. 

"Yes," you mumbled back, glancing around the halls to ensure that nobody from your class had heard. "But I'd like to keep it between just us for now. We only just had our first real conversation yesterday, and this is still very new to the both of us, so I think he'd appreciate it if I didn't go around telling everyone."

"A-ah. Okay, then." Izuku smiled sheepishly. "My bad. I'll try to be more quiet from now on." 

You smiled back at him. Currently, you were walking side-by-side with Uraraka, Izuku, and Iida on your way towards the classroom. You'd already explained everything to Uraraka last night, but you'd made sure to fill your other friends in first thing in the morning. Iida had been just as stiff as always, but with the way his jaw clenched, you could tell that he felt a bit sorry for you. Uraraka had nearly fainted when you'd first told her, and was still very uneasy about the whole thing. 

Before, you would've shared in your friends' concern, but you'd turned over a new leaf. You would let nature run its course, and if this was truly meant to be, all the better. He wasn't anywhere near as crude and hateful as you'd first thought—he just had his flaws, like everyone else.

Although he definitely needs to start working through those issues of his...

Still, you felt a lot better after having spoken to him. It definitely hadn't been the sappy, romantic reunion that most girls would've hoped for, but that was fine. For now, you would just have to take baby steps. Which is why when you stepped into the classroom and spied those familiar ash blonde locks, you were actually happy. 

Before you realized it, you were already hovering by his desk, a timid smile gracing your lips. 

"Good morning, Katsuki-kun." 

He snapped his head back, crimson orbs widening at your words. You'd told him yesterday that you wanted to start calling each other by your first names, but he still looked surprised to hear you say it. 

Katsuki rolled his eyes. "The hell do you want, coming over here with that stupid look on your face?" 

"You mean...a smile?" 

"Same shit." 

"Oh, well..." You clasped your hands together, unaware of the small flush dusting your cheeks. "I wanted to give it a try, what I said yesterday. I still don't think that we should try to force anything, but it can't hurt to act a bit more familiar, right?"

He leaned back in his chair, only to prop his feet up on his desk—already, you could hear Iida yelling at him from the background. 

"I don't know your name," he said curtly. "And to be honest, I don't really care." 

You smiled, unaffected. "I know for a fact I told it to you yesterday. You might seem a bit hotheaded and impulsive, but I get the feeling that you're smart, so I'm sure you wouldn't have forgotten it already."

Katsuki smirked. "I guess it just wasn't important enough for me to bother remembering." 

All you could do was let out a sigh. Seriously, was this how things were going to be with him all the time? If the two of you were soulmates, it meant that you would go on to spend the rest of your lives together; or at the very least, that's how it was supposed to be. This guy was then meant to become your boyfriend, then husband—yet here he was, acting like he didn't even know your name.

Your lips pulled up into a sour pout. "You're hurting my feelings, Katsuki-kun." 

"The fuck? Over what?" 

"You won't even call me by my name," you huffed out, increasingly aware of how childish you sounded. Normally by this point, you would've just backed down and not even bothered anymore, but he was bringing out a stubbornness in you that you didn't even know you had.

"You're just being a baby," he dismissed, waving you off with one hand. "Come on, go bother someone else. It's too early for you to start nagging me."

You did your best to remain composed, but you couldn't help stick your tongue out at him as you walked away. Katsuki merely scoffed, raising his middle finger to flip you off. Uraraka, Izuku, and Iida had been watching the whole scene transpire.

The brunette couldn't help but giggle. "What's this? Looks like I was worried for nothing. They're already acting like a married couple." 

Izuku stared back at her in bewilderment. He just couldn't understand how any part of that had been good.

 

 

 

 

Not long after, the students had settled down into their seats once Aizawa took to the front. He was carrying a stack of papers in hand. 

"I took the liberty of looking at your marks and evaluations from yesterday's battle trial," he announced, flinging the pile down. "On that note, Bakugou—" his eyes shot over in the blonde's direction, "Stop acting like a child. You're wasting your own talent." 

You'd been half-expecting Katsuki to slam his fist down onto the table and yell out a curse, so you were surprised to hear him mumble lowly instead. 

"...I know that." 

He'd been humbled by his experience, to say the least—that much you'd witnessed first-hand. There were still so many things that you didn't know about him, but his passion and drive to be the best...it wasn't a bad quality at all. It honestly made you respect him.

Maybe I need someone like him in my life. He's got so much more direction than I do. I'm sure I could learn a thing or two from him.

You found yourself smiling inwardly. Slowly and surely, this whole "soulmate" thing was starting to make a bit more sense to you.

Aizawa had a few more words to direct towards Izuku, regarding his continuous reckless usage of his Quirk. He wasted no time in nodding back, emerald eyes gleaming with determination. Your teacher then redirected his attention back to the rest of the students. 

"...Oh, also. We need to pick a class president."

The entire room fell into an uproar, hands rocketing towards the sky. You couldn't say that you cared much for being in charge of others; more like, you didn't understand the appeal. It made sense that a hero would have to learn to be in control of a situation, and it would be useful experience, but you weren't the type to enjoy doling out orders. 

You glanced over towards the other side of the room, where Uraraka was shrugging her shoulders and chuckling. She didn't seem much invested in the idea, either, and you were surprised to find that Izuku had timidly raised his hand when you looked back. He seemed like he was way too shy for the part. Something like this might've been more suited to someone who was comfortable being a bit loud. And speaking of—

"LET ME DO IT!! ME!!!"

Katsuki was vigorously waving his arm around, practically blowing smoke out of his nose with how serious he looked. It was actually kind of cute to see him getting into it so much, but then again it wasn't surprising, with how much he didn't like to listen to orders. He probably figured it was better to bark out commands than to have to listen to anyone else.

So when Iida suggested that the decision be settled by a vote, you already knew how things were going to play out. Pretty much everyone would be voting for themselves, so you didn't think this was going to accomplish anything. Suffice it to say, you didn't think anyone would be casting away their vote and giving it to Katsuki, of all people. 

...

"EH?! I GOT THREE VOTES?!!"

When the tally was revealed, Izuku had obtained the top spot with three votes. A girl named Yaoyorozu was tallied up behind him with two votes, and Katsuki's name was also listed in the top—also with two votes. 

"You've gotta be shittin' me!" he cried out, storming out of his seat. "Who the fuck voted for Deku?!!"

It was pretty much clear from your standpoint that Izuku had obtained his votes from Uraraka and Iida, but the students seemed more fixated on something else

"Dude, nevermind that," a black-haired male prodded, pointing towards the board. "Bakugou, you got two votes. Seriously? Someone actually voted for you?" 

"The fuck is that supposed to mean, asswipe?!"

Katsuki gritted his teeth in his classmate's direction, but actually faltered for a moment and shot another glance back at the board. He'd been so focused on being pissed off at Izuku's win, but the guy was right—he had gotten two votes. And with pretty much everyone in his class barely having spoken two words to him, Katsuki instinctively glanced back towards your desk.

You smiled. "Ah, yeah. I voted for you, Katsuki-kun. Although I was pretty sure everyone was only gonna vote for themselves, so I didn't expect others to get more than one. Sorry," you chuckled. "I was sure you'd win."

His brows twitched, almost as though he was debating whether to be happy or annoyed. 

"The hell?" he finally managed. "I didn't ask for your damn help." 

"I know. I just thought it'd be a good way to show my support."

The class was now watching the exchange between the two of you with wide eyes, no doubt wondering why in the hell someone would willingly speak to the human bomb. Katsuki noticed them staring too, and a small flush rose to his cheeks. 

"J-just mind your own business," he grunted out, turning away from you. "Stop being so fucking nosy, (Name)."

The rest of the classroom chatter fell on deaf ears from that point onward. Even when Uraraka scurried over towards your side to ask what you were thinking by voting for Katsuki, all you could was stare straight ahead with a blank look on your face. Ever-so-slowly, you felt a hot flush creep up your neck, sending waves of heat through your cheeks. 

It was just a name—the same name people had called you by your whole life. So why was it that your entire body was burning just because he'd said it for the first time?

No matter how much Uraraka poked and prodded you, all you could do was stand by in a dazed manner. Although you did manage to catch the last bit of the classroom's conversation, and since Katsuki and Yaoyorozu had been tied in votes, the decision was pretty much unanimous that the girl would be the acting vice-president.

Katsuki wasn't happy about it. 

"FUCK ALL OF YOU GUYS!!"

Chapter Text

"...I wish I'd skipped school today."

Truly, it was the only thing you could think of in your current situation, since you would really rather be anywhere else. You were doing your best to make yourself scarce, sending out small attacks ever so often when a villain lunged your way. If nothing else, you were at least thankful for the fact that your allies seemed more physically capable than you were.

"DIEEE!!!"

Katsuki had let out his trademark cry, revving up his fist before releasing an explosion that blew two villains backwards and forced them up against a wall. Kirishima wasn't very far off, having hardened his body through usage of his Quirk and proceeded to mow them down by brute force. You'd managed to get a few hits in yourself, but you realized that you probably weren't contributing much in the first place. 

Ah, well. At least they're strongthat makes me feel more at ease. 

You remembered how just about an hour earlier you were boarding the bus that would take you to USJ, where you were supposed to go through with some rescue maneuvers. Key word being supposed to; instead, you were greeted by a massive group of villains that were out for blood.

Oh—they also wanted All Might dead, too.

You couldn't really deny the fact that you were nervous with everything that was going on, but your soulmate didn't seem any different than usual.

"That all of 'em?" Katsuki gruffed, massaging his forearm. "They were so fucking weak." 

"All the better for us," you chuckled hoarsely. "I mean, if they're all like this, it just means that we have a much higher chance of getting out of this, right?"

Katsuki narrowed his eyes. "The fuck are you saying? We will get out of here. Like hell I'm about to let myself get done in by these small-fries." 

"I wish I could be as confident as you..." 

"Yeah, must be tough to be weak," he scoffed. "More like, what the fuck have you even been doing this whole time? Did you even try to fight?" 

"I was just—!" You puffed out your cheeks indignantly, but all you could do was sigh. You had been leaving them to do most of the brunt work, so he did have a point. 

Kirishima seemed to notice the way your expression crumpled and offered you a smile. 

"Now, now," he assuaged. "Don't be so tough on her, Bakugou. We've just got the more offensive abilities here. Same goes for the other guys—I'm worried about those who aren't good in a fight, so we need to head back and meet up with them as soon as possible."

Katsuki barely grunted back. "You can do whatever the fuck you want. I'm gonna go beat the shit out of that warp-gate asshole." 

"Huh?! You're gonna act childish in a time like this??" 

The blonde was probably about to bite back with a snarky retort, but you spoke up before he had the chance. 

"Ah, Kirishima-kun, are you okay?" You gestured to the small scrapes and bruises littering his body. "You're hurt. Weren't you using your Quirk just earlier?" 

He chuckled awkwardly. "Oh, that's...well, even my hardening can't fully protect me at times. Plus, the longer I keep my Quirk going, the more it drains my stamina and makes the effects wear off. I'm fine though," he added hurriedly, shaking his hands. "Seriously, a few bruises aren't worth worrying over." 

"Even so, it's probably best if we head out to save the others in our best shape. I'm sure you wouldn't mind a little relief, right?" 

Kirishima cocked his head to the side, brows furrowed in confusion. You took the few steps needed to close the distance and slowly lifted your hand to cup his cheek. The boy flushed almost immediately, but you merely smiled in reassurance. 

"Just relax," you murmured. "It's not going to hurt." 

"But what are you—?" 

The warm light that flitted from your fingertips all but made him hush. His eyelids draped to a close, and you could hear the small, contented sigh he let out. You let your fingers glide down his cheek; then his shoulder; then the dips and rivets of his musculature. Every nook and cranny that you trailed over with the golden light seemed to glow for a few moments before the injuries slowly dissolved. The scratches disintegrated; the blotchy, bruised skin returned to its usual hue. Kirishima was breathless the entire time. 

"That should do it." With a huff of satisfaction, you pulled away and stepped back to admire your handiwork. Even though he didn't have that many injuries to begin with, he looked to be brand-new—just the way he'd been before the villains had attacked. 

Kirishima could only gape. "Wow....(Name)-chan, you can heal people, too??" 

"Just a little," you answered sheepishly. "I can't do anything crazy strong like Recovery Girl, but my light has healing properties; at the very least, I can erase small injuries and help restore someone's energy at the expense of my own." 

"Damn," he whistled, glancing down at where his injuries used to be. "Now that I think of it, I'm not tired like I was before. Actually, I have a rush of energy. This is seriously amazing. Oh, but—" his brows creased, "—Does that mean that you're feeling worn out now? Since you gave me some of your strength..." 

You smiled. "No, I'm fine. Don't worry about it. I only gave you a bit, and besides, it's more important that the two of you guys be in top-shape, since you're some of the strongest members in our class. I'm happy to lend support however I can." 

Another blush was slowly creeping up Kirishima's neck.

"The strongest members in the class, huh...? You flatter me, (Name)-chan..." 

It really wasn't as if you'd done anything major; rather, you felt a little embarrassed to be getting so giddy from Kirishima's praises, but it was nice. Being able to contribute some way or another made your chest swell. You'd actually been so immersed in the wholesome little moment you were having that you failed to take note of the two crimson orbs glaring daggers at you.

"If you shitheads are done making googly eyes at each other, I'd like to get the fuck out of here." 

You jolted in surprise, blushing when you realized how close you'd been to Kirishima. The redhead let out a series of awkward chuckles, all the while sporting a blush of his own. 

"S-sorry," you stammered out. "I got a little side-tracked. You're right, Katsuki-kun—we should be on our way." 

He glowered. "Follow me or don't. I couldn't give less of a shit either way." 

With another grunt of displeasure, Katsuki turned on his heel and prepared to leave the current site you'd been thrown off into. Kirishima was quick on his heels, crying out something about how "manly" the blonde looked right now, taking charge and everything. He was kind of like an excitable puppy, you noted. 

Either way, the three of you were all now unharmed, and ready to rush to the aid of the other students. Katsuki still had his sights set on beating down the "warp-gate", and as much as you would've liked to help out your friends, you agreed with his reasoning. That man was the other villains' way out—if you could apprehend him and hold off into the pros came to your rescue, everything would be fine.

"I gotta say, believing in your allies really is manly!" Kirishima grinned. "I wouldn't have it any other way!" 

Katsuki didn't bother to respond, merely frowning as he faced ahead. You were keeping to his side, and you couldn't help but notice that he looked even more tight-lipped and irritated than usual. Was it the strain of the current situation? The fact that even he might actually be nervous, despite all his—

"I see you didn't even bother to use your Quirk on me," Katsuki muttered, cold orbs flickering in your direction. "Guess you still don't give a shit about your fucking soulmate." 

Kirishima's ears perked up. "Eh? Soulmate? Wait, are the two of you—?" 

"Shut up, hair-for-brains. Don't butt in where you're not wanted." He flashed you another glare from the corner of his eyes. "You said all that shit earlier, but you're still opposed to being with me. And don't bother lying—I can fucking tell that you aren't happy." 

You wanted to construct a response, but your lips could only move wordlessly. Here you were, in the middle of a villain invasion, and he was actually bringing that up. Honestly, you were surprised. He always gave off the impression that he couldn't care less about anyone other than himself, yet here he was, asking why you hadn't bothered to heal him.

"I'm...sorry," you finally managed, scrunching up your nose. "I would have liked to heal you as well, but I honestly thought that you would've refused my help and said that you didn't need it." 

"Of course I didn't fucking need it," he barked back. "But you could've still asked. If you wanted to, you would've. End of story." 

The poor redhead could only stare back at the two of you with wide eyes and parted lips. It was clear from his expression that he desperately wanted to be filled in, but getting in the middle right now was practically a death-wish. You also didn't even get what Katsuki wanted in the first place—to be offered help only for the sake of refusing it...was that not an incredibly childish way to think? Seriously, how old was he? 

You honestly didn't know what to say, but you decided that keeping your mouth shut was probably the best way to avoid an unnecessary argument. 

"...Maybe you shouldn't go around touching around guys when you're in front of your soulmate, for fuck's sake. Moron." 

You looked back in surprise, only to find Katsuki gritting his teeth while still marching ahead with a purpose. He was deliberately avoiding eye-contact with you, that much was clear. And what had been puzzling you for the last little while was only now starting to make sense. 

So he's...jealous? 

Right now, you were in the middle of what was undeniably the most dangerous situation of your life. You should've been thinking of a tactic for survival, or an escape maneuver, but no. Your mind was plagued only by thoughts of him. And yes, he was immature; border-line childish, in fact. He was making a big deal out of the simple fact that you'd brushed skin with Kirishima, and blowing the whole thing way out of proportion.

And yet, you could only smile. Because it meant that little by little, he'd started to care for you.

Chapter Text

Bakugou Katsuki was your soulmate—that much had been established long before you'd even spoken your first words to him. He was loud, arrogant, and quick to start a fight; you'd been able to tell right off the bat. Still, you'd gradually learned that there was more to him than that, and his loss against Izuku had proven that his "superiority" complex, was more so one of "inferiority"; the fear of being less than others. You'd also thought he was just brash and impulsive, but you'd come to discover that he was nothing short of a genius, and was easily smarter than you were. So, really, there were a lot of things that you'd gotten wrong about him. Except for one.

Bakugou Katsuki was strong

Ever since you first saw him display his Quirk, that much had been obvious. But seeing him now, as he stared down the villains with absolutely no fear in his eyes, you only just realized exactly how strong he was. All Might had arrived a little while earlier, but even he was having difficulty against the villains' secret weapon: Noumu. You were just a little distance away from the cluster where Izuku, Todoroki, Kirishima, and Katsuki had all gathered to help. And the reason why you knew he was strong was because he'd gone in and done something, unlike yourself, who'd been too frozen in fear to move a muscle. 

Your lips pressed together, hands balling into fists. 

Just now, Katsuki-kun jumped in front of me to protect me from that warp-gate. And he even managed to pin him down and stop him in place. Meanwhile, I...

"Just as I thought!" Katsuki cried out. "I knew you had a physical component to your body, shitwipe! This whole time, you've just been using that mist of yours to cover it, haven'tcha?!" 

The villain could only groan underneath him, his yellow slits flickering in dismay. Katsuki only grinned maliciously.

"Don't you dare move, fucker. The second you so much as twitch I'll load you up with a nice little explosion, right here, right now!!" 

You had to admit, it wasn't exactly the most heroic line, but the way he was able to stare danger in the face so determinedly was amazing. He was pretty rude, and he did have a loud mouth, but he also possessed most of the qualities that you genuinely wished you had.

Courage.

Strength.

Determination.

He was so different from you, in so many ways, and you got the sense it was like that for a reason. It wasn't just meant to be some silly, fickle relationship; the universe had tied the two of you together with a much larger scope in mind. Through the slits on the side of your costume, you paid your tattoo a quick glance. 

"Get in my way, and I'll fucking kill you." 

It was strange. Before, those words would make your heart ache. You felt none of that anymore.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to All Might, you'd all managed to make it out of USJ relatively unscathed. Izuku had broken his legs by using his Quirk, but other than that, the rest of your classmates were fine. Aizawa, on the other hand, had received some serious damage, and so had Thirteen. You were told that they would be okay, but it was hard to keep your heart from aching. Alongside the pros that had arrived, the police had also shown up to assist. It was a shame that the main two villains had managed to escape, but you couldn't exactly afford to be picky with everything that had just happened. 

Long story short, you were very relieved when the pros escorted you back to U.A where you could change out of your costumes and head home. Pulling the fabric away from your skin almost felt like you were removing a heavy weight; one that carried all the violence and cruelty you'd been exposed to today. You couldn't wait to go home, take a shower, and just wash it all away. 

Uraraka said she wanted to wait for Izuku to be discharged from the infirmary, even if it was going to be a while. You smiled and told her that you'd be just fine heading home by yourself. Seriously, you'd never before wanted to curl up in your bed this much.

"...Oh. Katsuki-kun?" 

You'd just made it outside campus, and the ash blonde was walking a little distance ahead of you. He spared you a sideways glance, half-shrugging. 

"Want something?" 

"Ah, no, nothing really," you smiled, walking over to him. "Maybe we could walk home together? Which way do you go?" 

Katsuki lazily gestured off into the distance with his finger and you sighed.

"That's the opposite direction from where I'm headed. Sucks." 

"Guess so."

He'd stopped in place to speak to you, but didn't seem too interesting in talking. Maybe he was tired—it had been a long day, after all. Or maybe he was starting to think you were clingy...? You definitely hoped that wasn't the case. 

Katsuki sighed. "So did you have something to say or are you just trying to annoy me?" 

"Me talking to you is annoying?" you asked, feeling a bit hurt. 

"I'm just fuckin' tired, alright? Let me go home." 

You debated just saying your goodbye right then and there, but you decided that you may as well tell him what you wanted to in the first place. A shaky smile slowly rose to your lips as you gazed up at him.

"All I really wanted to tell you was that I thought you were really cool—back at USJ, I mean. You were able to act at just the right moment, and that helped give All Might the opportunity he needed to act. I was really blown away," you admitted. "I'm...not as brave as you are, so I probably wouldn't have had the guts to jump into the middle like that. You really are strong, Katsuki-kun." 

He seemed a bit surprised by the compliments slipping out your lips. He almost looked....happy? 

"...Oh. Okay," he muttered back. "I already knew that without you telling me. That all you wanted to say?"

"Pretty much. Ah, also, since you said I only used my Quirk on Kirishima-kun back there..."

You inched closer to him, slowly lifting your hands. With golden specks flitting between your eyes, a gentle light slowly enveloped your fingers. Katsuki stiffened from both your touch and the warm glow surrounding him.

"T-the hell's this—?" 

You giggled. "Sorry, it tickles a bit at first. But it feels pretty nice overall, right? You just have to relax and let yourself ease into it."

Your fingers gently grazed across Katsuki's cheekbone, and you didn't miss the way they flushed a faint shade of pink. The filaments of light danced across his features, illuminating his sculpted jaw and fair skin. You'd always thought that he was attractive, despite your initial rejection of the situation, but being up close like this somehow made you feel a bit...warm. Even though the gesture was innocent enough—the very same which you'd done to Kirishima—the fact that you were trailing your hand down Katsuki's face made you feel so much more self-aware. It actually made you a bit flustered. 

"D-does that feel okay?" you stammered out, hoping to regain some of your composure. "If I'm making you uncomfortable, just let me know..."

You'd expected a lot more resistance on Katsuki's part, but he merely grunted back as if saying that you could continue. He then let out a soft sigh, closing his eyes as the gentle light enveloped him. Your touch shifted towards his neck, and though he tensed up and flushed a bit deeper, he didn't open his eyes. You exhaled slowly, wondering if he could hear how fast your heart was beating right now.

I've used my powers like this on so many other people before, but knowing that it's HIM is making me so much more nervous...

Feeling a bit more daring, you edged your fingers down towards the front of Katsuki's shirt. He never wore a tie with his uniform, which allowed for some exposed skin near his chest. Your fingers gingerly pressed down on the area; a bit more shakily than you would've expected, and you only realized what you were doing once your hand had begun to slide underneath his shirt. 

"W-what the fuck are you doing...??"

You barely managed a squeak as you looked up and found a pair of gleaming, crimson eyes staring back into your own. Katsuki's mouth had gone ajar, and the small blush on his cheeks from before had spread like wildfire. You couldn't even blame him, since your fingers were literally prodding the naked skin underneath his shirt. 

"I-I-I'm so sorry!" you cried out, pulling away in a hurry. You could already tell how fiercely your face was flushed, just based on the heat alone. To have your soulmate catch you doing something so embarrassing...you honestly just wanted to dig a hole and crawl up inside of it. 

Katsuki seemed to be just as flustered as you were, and he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, all the while clenching his jaw. He didn't look like he wanted to yell at you, though. Or rather, he was just much too embarrassed to bother trying. 

Unfortunately for you, he seemed to be in a teasing mood.

"Can't keep your hands off me, huh?" 

He was smirking, despite the fact that he was just as red as you were, if not more. You'd never actually seen him smile properly, so this cocky smirk of his was pretty much the only somewhat-happy emotion he seemed to display.

"...I just got a little lost in the moment," you mumbled timidly, knowing full well that you weren't fooling anyone. "S-sorry about that. I wasn't trying to make you uncomfortable, or anything."

"Sure, sure." 

Katsuki waved you off, and you actually felt a bit lucky that he hadn't bothered to torment you any more. Were you just imagining the fact that he was blushing? Were you the only one who was flustered beyond belief? 

He probably thinks I'm some kind of pervert now...

You decided to force a smile, hoping to put the topic as far behind as possible.

"So, did you like it?" you asked hopefully. "My friends always tell me that besides giving them a boost of energy, it also helps lift their spirits. With how grumpy you are, I figured you could use a bit of help in that department." 

"The fuck was that?!" 

"Ah, looks like it didn't work."

Katsuki gritted his teeth, and you had to clamp a hand over your mouth to abstain from giggling. From what you'd seen, most of your class would actively avoid him; they all thought he was rude, intimidating, and just overall unpleasant—the exact same things you'd first thought of him. But now, as he stared back at you puffy-faced and indignant, you honestly couldn't remember why you'd felt that way. 

"You're...a lot different from what I expected," you mumbled out. 

He merely groaned. "Oh, great, this shit again? Yeah, yeah, I got it—I'm not nice enough for you or whatever the fuck you want." 

"No, I mean, you're a lot different from the type of person I envisioned myself being with. And I know we've been through this before, but I'm honestly just surprised." Your eyes flitted down towards the ground in a hurry. "I'm surprised to see that I'm enjoying spending time with you as much as I am."

Katsuki froze. This seemed to be one of the rare occasions where he was genuinely at a loss for words. You felt your blush deepen, wondering if you'd said too much. 

"I didn't mean it in a bad way," you added hurriedly. "I mean, I know we're soulmates and all, but I guess it's just nice to see that things can work out between us. Y-you might not feel the exact same way, but I'm—" 

"You like spending time with me?"

"Huh? Well...yeah. I do." 

He ran a hand through his tousled locks, brows furrowing together. If you didn't know any better, you would've thought he was upset, but from your standpoint it was pretty much clear that he was trying to fight off a blush. His bottom lip trembled along with his chin, and he even let out an awkward cough.

You smiled.

Looks like I'm not the only one who's embarrassed. 

"...Whatever," Katsuki finally gruffed back. "Good for you, I guess. I don't really care either way." 

Liar. 

"Anyways, I'm tired. A lot of annoying shit's happened today. I'm going home now." 

The blonde gave you a half-hearted wave before turning to exit school grounds. His bag was still slung over his shoulder, and you noticed the way he shoved his hands into his pockets as he walked—every time, without exception. His pants were always really baggy, too, and you almost had the urge to sneak up behind him and pull them up.

Your lips curled up into a smile as you watched his retreating figure. Most might've said that it had been a shitty day, what with the villains invading and everything, but you really couldn't think of it that way. Maybe you were just being silly. 

But maybe the warmth in your chest was the real deal.

Chapter Text

Following the attack at USJ, campus was closed the day after, both in order to allow the students to recuperate and to take the safety measures required. It was just as well, since the whole incident had been frightening enough—even now, the image of Aizawa's battered and bloodied body was distinctly imprinted into your memories. You'd been told that the teachers would be alright, but it still was very worrisome. On top of that, Izuku had been injured pretty gravely as well.

"He's always getting himself hurt," Uraraka sighed, slinging her head back on the couch. "I was worried sick when I found out. (Name)-chan, you really need to stay close to him at all times; at the very least, you could heal him a bit if he ever gets into a tough spot." 

The two of you were currently lounging about at your house, taking advantage of the day off. You'd mostly just been killing time and watching goofy movies, but her words made you pause the TV and flash her a smile.

"Worried about your boyfriend?" you teased.

"Wha—?! N-no! Of course not!" Uraraka flailed her arms in protest, despite the fact that her rosy cheeks were even more flushed than usual. "Deku-kun's just a friend, seriously...aren't you the one with a soulmate? Shouldn't I be asking about him instead?"

You shrugged. "There's not really much to tell. At the very least, I don't think we dislike each other anymore, but we still don't really talk much. He seems really stubborn and closed-off, so it might take a bit of time for us to get comfortable around each other." 

"But you're not upset about it anymore, right? I remember you told me you weren't very happy when you found out who it was..." 

"Nah, it's fine." You reached over towards the coffee table to grab a cookie and crack it between your lips. "S'all good now," you replied, mouth half-stuffed. "I'm willing to be patient." 

Uraraka smiled. "Well, if you say so, I'll take your word for it. Hey, you wanna maybe go out someplace? Like a café or an arcade? Just think it'd be nice if we left the house for a little bit."

"Oh, sure. That's a good idea—lemme just find my coat." 

You bid a quick goodbye to your mother, who'd taken the day off to be with you since she was worried sick about the recent attack, and the two of you were on your way in no time. Uraraka happily interlocked her arm with yours while you bounded down the streets, giggling for no reason at all besides being happy to share in the other's company. Before long, you'd reached the shopping district you'd been headed for.

"Ooh!" Uraraka squealed, tugging you back to point off in the distance. "Lookie there, (Name)-chan. They finally opened up that new pastry shop! Wanna go??" 

You grinned. "Like you even need to ask." 

She beamed back at you and bounced off towards the store; mere moments before she halted in place. You frowned, trying to understand why she'd stopped, but then you caught sight of the spiky-haired blonde that you'd nearly bumped into.

You flushed without realizing it. 

"Oh. Hey...Katsuki-kun. Fancy running into you here." 

Katsuki probably hadn't taken note of the two of you until you actually called out to him, and he stopped mid-stride to find you gazing up at him with one arm wrapped around Uraraka's own. He glanced in the brunette's direction for a scarce second before he looked over at you. 

"Hey," was all he said, in that nonchalant tone he always assumed whenever he wasn't angry. You felt a bit disappointed, since you were hoping for a somewhat more cheerful greeting, but just running into him was already lucky enough. 

Er, wait...did I actually just consider myself lucky for seeing him...?? 

"Hello, Bakugou-kun." Uraraka waved her hand at the blonde, smiling a bit passive-agressively. "I'm here too, you know, in case you didn't notice." 

He barely batted any eyelash. "Uh, yeah, who the fuck are you anyways?" 

"Ugh...forget it." 

Your friend rolled her eyes, probably deciding that introducing herself wasn't worth effort. You hurriedly forced a smile, wanting to strike up any topic of conversation in the hopes that it would keep him here longer. 

"So what brings you by?" you prodded. "Trying to have some fun after everything that happened yesterday?" 

"Not really," he shrugged. "I need to buy groceries 'cause that shitty old hag forget to do them. I swear, I'm always stuck doing shit because of her." 

Shitty old hag...? 

"Anyways, I'm in a hurry so I don't have time to waste with you. See ya." Katsuki waved his hand dismissively as he turned in the opposite direction. Your hand reached out in a hurry, but your words had caught in your throat. Even if you would've liked to stay and talk with him a bit more, it couldn't be helped if he had things to do.

That's why you were oh-so-lucky to have Uraraka as your best friend.

"In that case, (Name)-chan can come lend a helping hand!" 

Without leaving you room to protest, Uraraka pushed you forward by the small of your back, making you stagger forward and collide against Katsuki's back as he was walking away. He glanced back, brows furrowed and a sour expression on his face, crimson eyes falling onto the image of your sheepish frame. 

"S-sorry," you apologized. "I must've tripped..." 

You glared back at Uraraka, but she was grinning cheekily as if to say "go for it!" and you knew you didn't have much choice in the matter. The brunette made an 'O' with her mouth, and then clasped her hands together as she let out a gasp. 

"Oopsie!" she cried out. "I just remembered—I need to run home and take care of some things. Ah, but don't worry Bakugou-kun, (Name)-chan's an expert when it comes to shopping. You guys have a good time, alright?"

"Wait," you protested. "Uraraka—" 

"Okay byeee!!"

She ran away before you had the chance to say anything else, her small frame disappearing among the crowd. You blinked slowly, still processing what the hell had just happened. And then you realized that you were still hovering by Katsuki, an all-too-familiar glower forming on his brow.

You chuckled awkwardly. "Umm...well, I guess I could definitely lend a helping hand. If you want me to..." 

"I don't need your help to pick out fuckin' groceries," Katsuki scoffed.

Your smile faltered, realizing that he wasn't too keen on spending time with you, but he must've noticed this, because his expression softened just a tad. 

"Ah, shit," he sighed, bringing a palm up against his forehead. "Stop giving me those fucking puppy dog eyes, already. I get it—your little friend's gone so you haven't got shit else to do. Fine. You can come with me." 

"R-really??" 

"Yeah, really. Just don't get in the way. I wanna hurry up and get this over with so I can go home." 

Your expression lit up once more, and you hurriedly nodded your head in agreement. Katsuki let out another weary sigh, but didn't bother to protest any further as the two of you headed off towards the grocery store. You knew it wasn't a date or anything, but you wished that he'd seen you when you were a bit more put together than you were right now.

"Alright," Katsuki gruffed, pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket. "We got a ton of shit to get, and we'll cover it faster if we split up into different aisles and get it separately. 

You blinked. "Eh? So...we're not going to be shopping together?" 

"Didn't you say you wanted to help? It saves me time if we do it this way." 

A sigh fell out your lips. Your cheeks were already burning at the thought that you were the only one who'd actually wanted to spend time together. Seriously, did the fact that you were soulmates even matter to him at all? He honestly seemed like he couldn't care less whether you were here or not.

I feel stupid. I guess I was the only one who wanted to get to know each other a bit better.

Your lips pressed together as you stepped in to take a look at the list, mentally jotting down the items. 

"I guess...I can head over to the dairy section first," you deadpanned. "And you can stick around here for the produce." 

"The fuck are you lookin' so damn depressed over?" Katsuki snapped. "Weren't you the one who wanted to come with me?" 

"Yes. I don't know. I guess I just wanted to actually be with you instead of going off on my own." 

Already, you could feel the embarrassment creeping up on you. You'd basically just admitted to the fact that you wanted to spend more time with him, to a guy who seemed like he couldn't give less of a shit. 

"Nevermind," you added hurriedly. "I'll start getting the stuff now. Sorry for complaining, I'm just—" 

"Shut the fuck up for a minute, god." 

Katsuki had latched his hand across your wrist the second you'd turned to walk away. He was still scowling, but there were more moments when he didn't actually look as angry as usual. If anything, he looked to be struggling; as if he honestly didn't know how to act nice. 

"Just...stay with me," he finally managed, timidly averting his gaze. "If you go off on your own, I'm worried you'll get the wrong shit." 

His words were harsh, but his eyes were gentle. You smiled a bit. He really was horrible when it came to expressing himself. 

"Alright, Katsuki-kun. I'll do my best not to slow you down." 

"Good." 

"You can let go of me, by the way." 

"Huh...?" Katsuki blinked, eyes eventually darting down to where his fingers were gripping your wrist. His cheeks flushed for a moment, pulling his fingers away in a hurry. For someone who who was so head-strong and self-assured, he sure got embarrassed easily. 

It was cute. 

 

 

 

 

"The fuck are you doing, moron? That one's no good—put it down, already." 

You frowned, eyes skimming the apple in your hands. "What's wrong with it? It doesn't have bruises or anything, and it looks pretty fresh." 

"I don't like how it fucking looks," Katsuki snapped. "It's not evenly colored. Get that shit out of my face."

"I didn't strike you for the picky type," you giggled. 

"Piss off. Look, get those ones," he pointed. "Load those four in the bag." 

You readily complied, seeing as he was the self-appointed leader of this grocery mission. You'd only been in the store all of fifteen minutes, but he'd already barked out more orders than you'd ever heard in your life. The funniest thing was that in spite of all that, you were still having fun. What was it about this guy that you liked so much anyways? 

I mean...he's definitely attractive, but as far as personalities go, we're pretty much opposites. 

Maybe it was the sense of mystery that had you so drawn to him. Even though Katsuki was loud, brash, and a seemingly open book, that couldn't have been further from the truth. There was still so much you didn't know about him—you wanted him to tell you things that he'd never shared with anyone before. And you also...wanted to tell him things that you hadn't told your closest friends, Uraraka included.

It truly was a strange feeling.

"So Katsuki-kun, what kind of food do you like?" you asked, hoping to start small. You'd finished picking out most of the fruits and veggies, and were now heading towards the condiments aisle. 

He merely shrugged. "I don't know. Anything spicy, I guess." 

"Oh, you like spicy food?" You smiled inwardly. "Come to think of it, that really fits with your personality. Ah—I also happen to like some spices; in moderation, of course." 

Katsuki didn't say anything, as he'd already begun throwing spices by the handful into his basket. You chuckled awkwardly, seeing way too many packages of cayenne pepper. You guessed that like with everything else, he didn't half-ass the way he made his food.

"Okay," you beamed. "What's next, boss?"

"Frozen foods. I also gotta get the meat and shit. And stop calling me dumb nicknames." 

You smiled again, keeping close to his side. Despite saying that you wanted to "help", you really weren't doing much of it—Katsuki insisted on carrying everything on his own, and you knew you'd just get yelled at if you offered to hold it for him. It was all the better, really, since you could just stroll along peacefully and admire the tiny changes in his expression. You noticed small things, like the way he scrunched up his nose when he wasn't happy with one of the items, or how he nibbled on his bottom lip when he was searching for something in particular. The more time you spent with him, the more you picked up on; things that you surely wouldn't have even spared a glance to when you'd first met him. You wondered if he ever looked at you that way. If so, it made your chest swell at the thought.

"Hey, so I've been wondering," you piped up. "The whole soulmates thing...we came to agree on it, but we never actually showed each other our tattoos, right? Would it be too weird if I asked to see yours...?" 

Katsuki scowled. "You really need to do this shit right now?" 

"Well...I've just been curious, is all. I understand if you don't want to, though." 

He sighed, taking a few more weary steps before placing his basket down. He glanced haphazardly across the aisle, as if to ensure that no one else was watching, and then crossed his arms.

"You first," he said simply.

"...Eh?" 

"Show me yours first," Katsuki demanded. "And then I'll show you mine." 

You flushed a bit, since your tattoo wasn't exactly in the most public of areas, but you nodded in agreement nevertheless. You'd shown other people before; why shouldn't your soulmate get to see?

Ever-so-carefully, you lifted up the edge of your shirt, cheeks flushing all the while. You had to pull down your pants just a smidge, to fully reveal the mark on your hip. Katsuki was watching carefully with those deep, red eyes.

"So...there it is," you chuckled sheepishly, pulling your clothes back down. You then smiled. "Okay, now your turn, Katsuki-kun. It's only fair, right?" 

You'd expected for him to start lifting up the respective area of his clothing, but he merely stood still, arms still crossed. 

"Mine's on my ass," he declared.

"Huh?"

"I said, mine's on my ass. You expect me to just pull my pants down in the middle of the goddamn supermarket??" 

You didn't really know what to say, which is why you burst out into a fit of giggles. Your feet staggered forward, and you began lightly slapping his arm, laughing all the while.

"Pfft...come on, now," you chortled. "I'm serious. Where's your tattoo, Katsuki-kun?'

"I'M TELLING YOU IT'S ON MY FUCKING ASS!!" 

You crumpled up against his chest, dying in a fit of laughter. If he was telling the truth, it was the best damn thing you'd ever heard, but you kind of got the sense that he was fucking with you. 

"Then I guess I'll just have to wait before seeing it," you grinned, wiping away at your eyes. Katsuki blushed a bit, realizing how close the two of you were. He gently pushed you back, letting out a grunt of disapproval.

"God, you're annoying," he muttered, but he was already in the process of lifting up his shirt. You blinked slowly, eyes finally finding the mark you'd been searching for atop his hip. "Same place as yours," Katsuki shrugged. "Happy now?" 

You smiled, nodding your head. "Yeah. I am. Thank you for showing me. Now that we've finally done this...it kind of feels more real." 

The blonde frowned, but you didn't miss the way his eyes softened. 

"Whatever," Katsuki dismissed, picking the basket back up. "C'mon—we still got more shit to grab. I need to hurry up and get home so I can cook some food." 

"Eh? Katsuki-kun, you cook?" 

"Why the fuck wouldn't I?!" 

"I guess whenever I think of you in the kitchen, I just imagine you blowing up stoves and stuff..." 

"HUH?!" 

Chapter Text

[Katsuki's POV]:

 

"Eh? Katsuki, you've got a soulmate mark? Seriously?" 

The blonde gruffed, tempted to roll his eyes in annoyance. He usually did his best to cover it, but sometimes other guys would catch a peek of it in the changerooms. Why dudes bothered to glance in his direction he couldn't understand—those fuckin' pervs should just mind their own business and keep their eyes to themselves. Either way, he'd become accustomed to the bewildered looks and cries of surprise once others spotted his mark. And there wasn't much he could say about it, besides the fact that it was annoying as fuck. 

"What's it to you?" he snarled, slipping on his gym uniform. "Worry about your own shitty self." 

Katsuki was aware of the fact that he didn't have many friends; or any, really. Sure, he had those same lackeys that had followed him around ever since he was a kid, but he hadn't really considered them friends. They were add-ons, plain and simple, and he noticed the way people would shrink away from him all throughout middle school; out of fear, most likely. Good. Katsuki preferred it that way—he had an image to uphold, and the fact that others cowered from him was just proof that they knew his strength. He was intimidating; a force to be reckoned with, and the tattoo on his hip was anything but.

"I think you would look so much better with a smile." 

For as long as he could remember, those were the words ingrained onto his skin. It drove him crazy, knowing that people would read that sentence and get all starry-eyed and breathless. They were surprised. Of course they were. The most head-strong, confident, and menacing guy in the school had a damn soulmate bond like that—one that painted a picture of someone who was weak, and who could be undermined with those simple words. What the fuck did it even mean, anyways? A smile, for fuck's sake. What did it matter if he fucking smiled or not? Who were they to tell him what he should do?

Katsuki didn't like one bit. No, more than that; he fucking hated the mark he'd been born with. His parents had been so excited when they'd first spoken to him about it, commenting how kind and wonderful of a person his soulmate must be. Yeah, right. Their first words to him were basically a critique; a condescending suggestion on how he should and shouldn't act. It made him feel weak. It made him feel vulnerable

This whole "soulmate" thing was utter bullshit, that much he was sure of.

 

 

 

 

It was the day of the Sports Festival, and Katsuki had been having nostalgia, of all things. 

He was sitting on one of the chairs in the waiting room with his feet propped up; his entire class was cluttered close by and either jumping in their seats or squirming restlessly. Damn assholes were nervous, like the pansies they were. 

Pathetic, Katsuki thought. It's not like they stand a chance either way.

As obvious as it probably was to most people, Katsuki wasn't the type to get worked up or stressed out over anything. Sure, people could easily piss him the fuck off, because everyone was moronic, but there wasn't anything that made him feel scared. A feeling of weakness like that was unnecessary, and even on the off-chance that he was nervous, he sure as hell wasn't going to let it show. That's why Katsuki was content just to sit back and relax until the signal to enter the stadium went off, but his thoughts had been royally pissing him off. 

He'd been annoyed with his tattoo all his life, but it wasn't like him to have flashbacks of his middle school days. Maybe it was because he was sitting around with nothing to do, or maybe it was because he spied you across the room, talking to that shitty nerd and that chick with the round face while you fiddled with the hem of your track jacket. Maybe it was the fact that he'd been staring at you for longer than he would like to admit.

Katsuki frowned, wanting to kick himself for being so damn stupid. The Sports Festival was about to begin, for fuck's sake, and he couldn't find it in him to look away. His crimson orbs raked down your figure over and over again—by this point, he'd long since committed your appearance to memory, but he was determined to pick up on more; he wanted to notice things that others couldn't possibly pick up on, no matter how hard they tried. Already, he'd realized that you had a semi-permanent smile plastered across your lips at pretty much any occasion. It was relatively small and composed at first, but it would brighten if someone said anything particularly amusing, or if you sensed that someone wasn't feeling well and you wanted to reassure them that everything was okay. Your (e/c) orbs were always soft and gentle, in a way that Katsuki just couldn't seem to understand. You spent most of your time talking to a bunch of extras, and yet they still seemed so serene and at peace; truly, they bore none of the frustration and annoyance that he himself would get whenever people got on his nerves. From what he'd seen, you almost never got angry—or if you did, you were damn good at hiding it.

You were so different than he was; hell, you'd even said so yourself. Katsuki understood that he wasn't pleasant or inviting, mostly because he had zero tolerance for annoying assholes, but for some reason, it had still pissed him off when you'd hid the fact that you were his soulmate. Granted, a lot of things pissed him off, but he'd felt strangely....hurt? Wait, no, that wasn't possible. Maybe he was just extremely pissed off. Yeah, that made more sense. Because even though he thought the whole soulmate thing was a load of shit, it was downright maddening to think that someone would try to reject him. You were looking down on him. You had to have been. 

At least, that was what he'd thought.

The reality was that no matter how hard he tried to convince himself that you were undermining him and thinking that you were better, he just couldn't see that in you. After all, here you were, practically shaking in your boots because you were so damn nervous. You carried yourself with poise and elegance, but he'd come to the realization that you actually considered yourself to be weak. You had little confidence in your abilities, and whenever you would use your Quirk in battle, your smile wavered and you looked unsure of yourself. The only time you seemed genuinely confident and at ease was when you were healing others. To this day, Katsuki still hadn't forgotten how you'd touched that red-haired bastard, and for some reason, it pissed him the hell off. But your smile was back then, and you seemed as if you were actually happy to be able to help others. It had been the same when you'd used it on him after USJ. He still remembered the warmth of your touch, and the way your fingers had—

...Wait. What the fuck am I even thinking? 

Katsuki gritted his teeth, unaware of the fact that his cheeks had slowly reddened. He was still staring at you from afar, and he couldn't seem to make sense of the tight sensation in his chest. It felt like he was choking; as if something was gripping down onto his heart. He'd never felt this way before, and quite frankly, it made him want to punch someone in the face. It was a good thing the Sports Festival was about to begin, because he was just about ready to bash some heads in.

His fingers drummed the tabletop, but they paused once he heard the sound of your laugh. It was faint and contained, but an inexplicably pleasant sound. Katsuki realized by the way you were smiling that you'd laughed at something Deku had said, of all people. This just pissed him off even more. Seriously, was the universe just determined to sour his mood today?

He was churning in place—the spiky redhead tried to say something to him, but he didn't quite catch it since he was so immersed in his stare. Katsuki wondered how you hadn't noticed that he'd been looking at you for what felt like an eternity. You were so oblivious it was actually laughable. And you were still...smiling. At someone other than him. 

Why did that make him so damn angry? 

Katsuki could only let out a grunt of relief once the signal to enter the stadium could be heard overhead. Finally, he could focus on something that made sense to him—kicking people's asses. He stood up from the table, sparing one final glance in your direction, and shoved both hands into his pockets as he headed for the doorway.

"Ah...Katsuki-kun?" 

He stopped in his tracks. Even with his back turned, he knew full well that you were the one speaking to him. Katsuki glanced over his shoulder, brows furrowed and eyes narrowed. You were smiling again, but it wasn't as bright as when you'd been with your friends. He clenched his fists. 

"I know you don't really need someone to wish you luck," you chuckled, "But I still felt like I should say it nonetheless. Let's both do our best out there, alright? I'll be rooting for you."

You were looking up at him with those soft, unwavering eyes of yours. Katsuki felt his breath hitch in his throat, and the tightness in his chest returned. Then he remembered the way you'd been laughing so carelessly in front of Deku, and he glared. 

"Piss off, you annoying bitch." 

It didn't take long for your expression to sink, and it only made the pain in his chest worse. Truly, Katsuki didn't know why the hell he'd said that. You were just trying to be nice to him, the same way you were nice to pretty much everyone, but knowing that you showed others expressions that you didn't show him just made his blood boil. Maybe he was wrong, and in some way, you were still looking down on him. It felt like he was just making excuses to himself and looking for reasons to get pissed off, honestly, but whenever you were concerned, he found himself getting angrier than usual. What the fuck was happening to him? 

"...Okay, then," you mumbled, slumping your shoulders. "Sorry for bothering you." 

Katsuki watched as you strode past him and headed for the stadium. You looked so dejected he would've thought that you'd just been to a funeral. Seriously, it was just a few fucking words, so what the hell were you getting so bummed out over? Why was he the only person that you ever looked so sad around? 

"Shit," Katsuki cursed, bringing a palm up against his forehead. He didn't even care if others could hear him. "Shit, shit, SHIT!" 

Why the hell did I say that? Why the fuck can't I just say 'hey' or 'thanks' like a normal fucking person? Why does seeing her look so sad make me wanna rip my fucking heart out?? 

The rest of the class had already made their way through the door, leaving him to stand alone in the room engulfed in a tumult of emotions. It was the Sports Festival—the single most important event that he'd take part of this year, and he'd just been rendered absolutely powerless just by seeing the dejected look on your face. He wished he could take it all back. He wished he could go back and wrap you in a hug and smile, just like you wanted him to. 

He honestly wished those things could come naturally to him, but they just didn't. It was funny, actually. You thought of yourself as weak and had little to no confidence, and yet he was the one who couldn't muster up the courage to face you the way he wanted. 

Katsuki realized for the first time that the two of you really were different, in ways that he hadn't even imagined.

Chapter Text

"(Name)-chan, you feeling okay?" Uraraka frowned. "You've been looking a little out of it for the last while..." 

"Huh? Oh, no. I'm...fine." 

You forced your most convincing smile, but if the soft sigh the girl let out was anything to go off, it was clear that she wasn't buying it. You didn't like to worry her like this, but the truth was that you'd been finding it difficult to keep a clear head ever since Katsuki had said those words to you earlier. It was stupid, really. The Sports Festival was nearly about to begin, and your mind was plagued with thoughts of him. And the worst part was that you had only yourself to blame.

I shouldn't have gone up to him in the first place. I thought that we were getting closer; after that trip to the grocery store together, I was convinced we were, but clearly I was wrong. Even now, he stills wants nothing to do with me. 

What had you been expecting, really? For things to just change overnight? For him to suddenly pleasant, amicable, and kind? It just wasn't realistic. Even if the two of you were soulmates, you got the sense that this was just how things would be for a very long time.

And that thought scared you.

"Ah, it's the pro heroine Midnight! She's known as the "18+ Hero", is it really okay for her to be working at a high school...?" 

Up ahead, Midnight had taken to the podium to conduct the opening ceremony. You'd been lined up alongside the other classes, waiting impatiently for the formalities to be dealt with so that you could move on to the real Sports Festival. 

"Now, then!" she called out. "Time for the Student Representative—Bakugou Katsuki of 1-A!!" 

Your eyes widened through sheer instinct, and you couldn't keep your head from turning in the blonde's direction. He was striding passively through the crowd, both hands shoved into his pockets; it was as though he didn't have a care in the world. Katsuki's crimson orbs flickered towards your own as he passed by you, but you immediately averted your gaze and whipped your head down to the ground. You heard him click his tongue.

"Still angry about earlier, seems like." 

You glanced back towards him, only to see that he'd stopped mid-stride and was staring back at you with his brows furrowed. You were searching for the words; any words, really, but they just couldn't seem to come out. Katsuki half-shrugged his shoulders. 

"Whatever," he muttered. "Just forget about that shit from before. I can see the way it's throwing off your game, moron. For now just...take a good look at me." 

He left before you had time to ask him what he'd meant, and worked his way up the podium steps to hover in front of the microphone. Even though he was meant to be addressing the crowd, those dark, crimson eyes seemed to be staring at you, and you only

Katsuki shifted in place and parted his lips to speak.

"I'm gonna place first."

It was scarcely a few words, yet those words were all it took to throw the entire stadium into disarray. Students began crying out at the top of their lungs; spewing insults in the blonde's direction and berating him for being so overconfident. You honestly wondered if that was the case. 

Not having moved a single inch, all you could do was stare up at the boy in a sort of breathless wonder. Katsuki had already begun his descent, not bothering to acknowledge any of the torrid cries headed his way. He passed by you once more as he re-assumed his place in line—again, those bewitching, blood-red irises met with your own. He didn't say anything this time, but he didn't really need to.

If that was what he'd wanted you to see, then you were right in thinking that it was more than a display of arrogance. Such a bold statement would bear a lot of weight, and it would only hurt him that much more if he didn't hold true to his promise. In essence, he was backing himself into a corner, determined to turn his words into reality.

...Oh.

You didn't even realize that you'd been smiling, but the tug on your cheeks said it all. It honestly made no sense—just earlier you'd been sulking and feeling depressed because of him, and now you were grinning like an idiot, also because of him. How strange. 

Unbeknownst to you, those very same pair of deep red eyes were still watching you from the back of the line. Katsuki could only clench his fists, wondering what the hell was wrong with him if just seeing you smile was enough to make his cheeks burn. 

Fuck, he cursed. I'm not liking where this is headed. 

 

 

 

 

 

You'd been expecting the Sports Festival to be full of twists, but you certainly hadn't been expecting to have to face off against a mob of massive, hulking robots. 

The boy from your class—Todoroki...Shouto? Was that his name? Well, whatever the case, he'd managed to freeze nearly half the competition in place right off the bat as you all swarmed to get through the starting gate. The very first stage was an Obstacle Race, and it seemed as though students weren't above playing dirty tricks in order to secure their win.

You remembered thinking, "shit, shit, shit!" when the ice spread across the ground, but you'd been lucky enough to be spared from being frozen in place. Your fingertips glowed a faint auburn, emitting small waves of heat as they glowed with bright light. It wasn't going to melt anything right off the bat, but if you summoned forth enough light at a particular intensity, you could, in theory, break free of Todoroki's ice. Still, it was probably best to be on the safer side. You weren't so strong that you could afford to take big risks.

Steering clear of the sheets of ice, you let out a huff.

I mean, I kind of already figured from when he froze the building during the Battle Trial, but that guy's really strong. Could he actually beat Katsuki-kun in a fight? 

...Ah, shit. Even when you were right in the middle of a race, your thoughts still went to him. You were starting to feel a little love-sick, and it wasn't exactly the greatest feeling. 

"SHIT! He blocked us off!!!" 

It was at this point that the ginormous robots made their appearance. Suffice it to say, they were a thousand times bigger than the ones you'd gone up against during the Entrance Exam. Todoroki was the only one who'd managed to tackle them head-on—and when he did, he made sure to cause the robots to fall over and block the way. Damn scheming bastard. 

You were at a genuine loss as to what to do, and then you heard the deep, husky cry that you'd gotten so accustomed to. You didn't even need to look back (although you did) to see Katsuki propelling himself forward and grinning maliciously. Rather than forcing his way in between the robots and trying to take them on, he opted to vault over them with a series of explosions. You couldn't help but look on in awe. Some part of you secretly felt proud for knowing that your soulmate was so strong and capable. It was just plain silly, and frankly a bit embarrassing to think about him as if he was some prized possession, but it really did make your chest swell.

The way he was, tackling obstacle after obstacle, he honestly looked...happy

In that moment, you almost forgot that you were competing against a swarm of students. All you could do was gaze at him from afar, bewitched by the strong, relentless frame that was determined to beat down anything that stood in his path. You were striving to become a pro hero yourself; hell, that was the whole reason you were even participating in the Sports Festival to begin with. But somehow, that just didn't seem to matter anymore. If proving himself to others and making a display of his strength was what it took to see him smile, you were more than okay with that. 

Which is why you wanted him to win.

 

 

 

 

 

But he didn't win.

From your position near the front of the crowd, you'd seen the whole thing unfold—the relentless fight between Katsuki and Todoroki; the way Izuku had soared over-top of them on a metallic plate; and finally...the moment he'd swept in and snatched the victory from right under your soulmate's nose.

It was a conflicted feeling, really.

On one hand, you wanted to rush over and congratulate your friend for his win, but on the other hand, you wanted nothing more than to run towards Katsuki and tell him that everything would be alright. Unfortunately, you knew that probably wouldn't go over well, but you couldn't possibly just leave him alone, not with the way he was feeling right now. 

You hobbled across the terrain, spotting the tuft of ash blonde hair. His back was facing you, but the second you caught a glimpse of his profile you knew that he'd been shaken to the core. 

"Again...?!" Katsuki croaked, clutching onto his quivering arm. "Shit...goddammit!!" 

It wasn't surprising to see him react this way, especially given what you now knew about his relationship with Izuku. Granted, he was nowhere near as intensely emotional like he had been after the Battle Trial, but you could tell that he was hurting, just the same. Losing was one thing—losing to Izuku was infinitely worse. 

Your fingers clenched by your sides. Taking a shaky breath, you slowly walked over towards where the blonde was quivering in place. Maybe it was a bad idea, approaching him when he was this rattled; you realized that it was, honestly, but you still couldn't keep yourself from bridging the distance between the two of you. You gently placed a hand on his shoulder, causing his head to whip around in a second.

"Hey, Katsuki-kun." You smiled, hoping that he wouldn't misinterpret your gesture as an insult. Katsuki was staring at you in confusion, eyes widened as though he was thinking "what the fuck is wrong with this chick?". It actually was pretty stupid to approach him, all things considered. It was almost like you were asking for trouble.

But in spite of the fact that you'd expected him to swat your hand away and bite your head off, he didn't do anything of the sort. His jaw stiffened, piercing red eyes finding your own.

"What?" he demanded. "You got something to say?" 

You kept your smile, noting the fact that he still had yet to shake your hand off. You decided to pull it away just as a precaution, though. And after a few moments of wordless stares, you let out a small sigh.

"I just wanted you to know that I did what you said. All throughout the obstacle race; the entire time I was heading for that goal...I-I was looking," you stammered. "At you. I'm sure that's probably not what you meant back then at the opening ceremony, but I did it all the same. And I just...don't want you to look so upset. Honestly, I thought that you were really cool; I could tell that you were doing your very best and even if you didn't get the position you wanted, I still think you should be proud of yourself." You smiled crookedly, adding, "I am. I mean, I know I'm proud of you. It probably doesn't mean much to you, and I can understand why, but I'm still—" 

"Just stop talking for a bit." 

You stared back at him, lips parted mid-sentence, only to see that he'd let go of his throbbing arm and was shifting closer to you. A small part of you had the urge to take a step back, but strangely enough, another part was telling you to remain completely still. And so you did, and later, you would thank this part of you—it allowed Katsuki to lean in and rest his head in the crook of your neck. 

Your cheeks flared up in a matter of milliseconds, and your heart was already on the verge of leaping out your chest. All you could was keep yourself rooted to the ground, even as Katsuki's scruffy, ashen blonde locks tickled your skin. You took shallow, uneven breaths, waiting for a sign that it was okay to move. You didn't know what the hell he was trying to do. But you realized that you'd be okay if he just stayed like that forever. 

After a while, you regained control over your pulse. Katsuki had buried his head into your neck, and you could feel the warmth of his breath hitting your nape. You were already beet-red by this point though, and you'd accepted it. How long had the two of you been standing here in total silence? You hadn't a clue. It could have been minutes; more likely seconds, but finally, you heard him speak.

"...Thanks." 

It was all he said, but it was more than enough. You wouldn't have thought that it was possible to blush any deeper, and yet, here you were. Katsuki's hands were still hanging loosely to his sides, as were yours, and the only thing that could have made this better was if his strong arms wrapped around your back. It was a hollow dream, you knew that, but the thought still made your head feel warm and fuzzy.

You decided that you would test your luck. Shaky fingers slowly crept up Katsuki's back, settling into the rough, tousled patches of his blonde hair. You let out a soft sigh, placing your palm down and gently stroking his head. He didn't say anything; instead, he buried his head even further into your neck. You couldn't see his expression, but his cheeks felt hot against your skin—which was saying something, given that you were flushed the shade of a tomato. You could only imagine how awkward the two of you must look to everyone else watching, and the thought made you chuckle. 

I guess doing weird stuff like this is just part of being soulmates. 

You smiled inwardly. The fact that you'd accepted the term you'd been resisting for so long was nice, to say the least. And even though you still couldn't see Katsuki's expression, you got the sense that he felt the exact same way.

Chapter Text

[Human Cavalry Battle]

 

—Currently, that was what was being displayed on the holographic screen as your next stage. The 42 qualifiers from the first round were to move on and participate in a team battle, built around the number of points each person had amassed based on which position they'd finished in. It was all fairly standard, but you couldn't help but feel for Izuku. 

He'd ended up with a bounty of ten million points on his head. 

"W-what am I going to do??" he spluttered, frantically bringing a palm up against his forehead. "Everyone's gonna be chasing me; there's no way I'll be able to find anyone who's willing to be on my team...!"

You flashed him an apologetic smile, to which his eyes widened just slightly. A shaky, somewhat-imploring grin made its way onto his lips.

"I-I don't suppose you would want to team up with me, would you, (Name)-chan...?"

If you were being honest, you felt bad for the poor kid. The fact that everyone would be targeting him meant that pretty much no one wanted to be on the same team. Actually, you personally didn't care much for that; given the choice, you'd much rather just team up with your friends and support them, but your mind was drifting elsewhere right now.

...Namely, the ash blonde who was surrounded by a cluster of students hoping to join his team.

You sighed.

Well, I guess it makes sense. He's got such a powerful Quirk that pretty much anybody would be jumping at the opportunity to team up with him. He can pick the cream from the crop, so to speak. In that case, I doubt he'd want to be with someone like me...

Izuku must've noticed your gaze wandering, and soon let out a sigh of his own.

"I kind of already figured..." he murmured, "But you...wanna be with Kacchan, right?" 

"Eh? No, I'm—"

"I can tell," he smiled. "There's nothing wrong with it, though. I don't know much about this whole "soulmate" thing, since I don't have a mark of my own, but I'm sure it's a very special, important bond. So it's okay for you to join his team; I can figure things out here." 

You forced a smile, feeling a bit guilty about letting your friend down. "Well, I'm sure Uraraka-chan will want to pair up with you. Ah—here she comes right now. And then there's Iida-kun, as well..." 

"I know," Izuku nodded. "Don't worry. I'll manage to work something out. Go talk to Kacchan, okay?" 

"...Yeah," you breathed. "I'll...go do that now." 

With a spring in your step, you made your way across the arena, waving to Uraraka in passing. She looked a bit confused as to why you were headed in the opposite direction from Izuku—hell, she'd probably assumed the four of you would all be on the same team—but then her gaze softened when she where you were headed. Even if it might've been a bit unfair, a small part of her felt a tad bit jealous that she was losing her best friend to a hot-headed blonde.

She decided that she wouldn't mind if someone elbowed him in the face "accidentally" during the battle. Yep, that would do just fine. Smiling ruefully, she turned on her heel to rejoin with the curly-haired male who was on the brink of hyperventilation.

Meanwhile, you were finding it a bit difficult to force your way in between Katsuki's personal crowd.

"Oi, Bakugou—join my team!" a student called out.

"Ehh?! You're gonna be on my team, aren't you, Bakugou??" 

Every way you looked, there seemed to be somebody who was desperate to make buddy-buddy with the angry blonde, purely for the sake of winning the Cavalry Battle. He was in high demand, that was for sure, but the stiff expression on Katsuki's face pretty much said it all: 

"The fuck are your shitty Quirks again?!" 

Well, you couldn't exactly say that you were surprised. He'd expressed little to no interest in others; hell, you'd be surprised if he even remembered what your powers were. But that was all secondary. With your timid frame hanging near the back of the crowd, you didn't think you had much of a shot at getting yourself noticed. He definitely had better options to choose from; students with more offensive powers would probably be a better fit for his team. Maybe you just call it a day and—

"(Name)." 

You swallowed hard at the sound of Katsuki's voice. When you peered from in between the shoulders of students blocking your way, you could see his bright, gleaming crimson orbs staring back at you. He took a step forward, brushing the others aside.

"You just gonna stand around, or are you here to join my team?" he asked, although you were sure he already knew the answer. A shaky smile rose to your lips. 

"Um, yes. If you'll have to me, then yeah...I would love to." 

"Hmph," he scoffed. "You're not lookin' too sure of yourself. I'll tell you right now, I don't want any weaklings to slow me down, so you better be ready to put in the effort if you're gonna be with me. I'll ask you again—are you here to join my team?" 

Katsuki's eyes never shifted from your own, and you could feel yourself stiffen under his gaze. He was serious about this; he wanted to win, and it was clear that a half-assed answer just wasn't gonna cut it.

"Y-yes!" you stammered back, furrowing your brows. "I want to join your team, and I promise to do my best!" 

The others were all staring back at the two of you, dumbfounded by the apparent hazing that was taking place. You didn't mind much. If there was one thing you'd learned about Katsuki, it's that he wasn't the type of person to do things half-way. The frailty you'd seen from him earlier on, when Izuku had overtaken him with first place...he was now determined to make amends to himself and emerge victorious. And even if you would be competing against your closest friends, you wanted to help him do so.

"...Fine," Katsuki murmured, seemingly convinced by your stand of resolution. "You're in, so there's no backing out now." 

"I wouldn't do that." 

"Not even if shit gets tough." 

You smiled, repeating his words back. "Not even if shit gets tough." 

"Ehh??" 

"Bakugou, you're seriously not gonna let me join??" 

"No fair!" 

The students had all taken to protesting loudly, but it was all in vain—Katsuki had already begun dragging you by the sleeve of your uniform, away from the buzz and noise. It was at this time that the friendly redhead, Kirishima, came bouncing up with another dark-haired male at his side; Sero. Of all the class, Kirishima had arguably the best rapport with the blonde, and was probably the closest thing to a "friend" that he had. It was thus easy enough to convince Katsuki to allow them to join, and thus, your four-man team was completed. 

"Oh, sick!" Kirishima grinned. "We've got (Name)-chan on our team! You guys workin' together because you're soulmates?" 

You flushed at the word, vaguely remembering that he'd found out back at USJ. It was news to Sero, though, and Katsuki didn't look too happy with the reveal.

"Eh? You guys are soulmates?" Sero prodded. "Seriously? Wow. I was thinking you were pretty close, but I had no idea..." 

"It's none of your fucking business," Katsuki snapped. You didn't miss the way he turned to flash a murderous glare in Kirishima's direction, as if to say "you're dead, asshole"

"N-nevermind that," you cut in, hoping to spare Kirishima. "We should go over the basics of our strategy, right?" 

The redhead nodded in agreement, shrinking behind your back. If it wasn't for the fact that the Cavalry Battle was about to begin, you were sure that there might've been a few punches thrown (from Katsuki, of course). 

Katsuki scoffed, eyeing his teammates down. "Fine, shitheads, but I'm only gonna go over this once, so you better listen the hell up." 

I guess he's sort of imposed himself as our "leader". Well, can't say I'm surprised there.

Still, you couldn't deny the fact that you were happy to have been a part of this, listening with a placid smile and attentive eyes as Katsuki went over the brunt of his plan. He, of course, would be acting as the "rider". Kirishima could harden himself with the use of his Quirk, so he would be positioned in the front; both to take on the others' attacks, and also because he was the most resilient to Katsuki's explosive potential. Sero could use his cellophane tape to pull Katsuki back if he decided to torpedo off (which was pretty much a given), and then...there was you. 

What's my role here, again? 

"Yo, (Name)," Katsuki addressed, flicking his chin in your direction. "I didn't actually think about how you'd fit into all of this, so you better have something to bring to the table. Your Quirk is that light stuff, isn't it? The one that can heal?" 

You stiffened up at the mention of your name, hurriedly nodding your head. "Ah, well, yes. But healing is just one component to it, and my healing isn't particularly strong, either." 

"So?" he asked impatiently. "Hurry up and tell us what you can do, then." 

Kirishima and Sero had shifted their eyes towards your frame, looking back at you in earnest. You smiled shyly, clearing your throat. 

"Well...I can basically bend and manipulate light," you began. "It's not as if I actually create it myself; rather, I'm able to focus the rays on specific points on my body, absorb it, and then manifest it at will. The more light there is available, the stronger my powers are. So, if we were doing this Cavalry Battle at night, in the pitch-black dark, my powers would be next to useless. I can absorb a set amount and store it in my cells as needed, but it's definitely more intense when there's more available for me to use—luckily, today's pretty sunny out, so there shouldn't be any problems there." 

You heard Kirishima mumble out a breathless "cool", but Katsuki still looked just as irritated and impatient as earlier, if not more. 

"I don't need the whole goddamn backstory," he snapped. "I'm asking what kind of shit you can do for us now. If we get attacked by those assholes, are you gonna be able to do something about it? Do you have any defense? Offense?" 

You opened your mouth to respond, but stopped yourself. By the way he was acting, there really was next to nothing that he knew about your powers, other than the fact you'd healed him that one time. But if that was the case, then why did he let you join his team in the first place, without even knowing if you would be helpful or not? 

Did he let me...just because I'm his soulmate? Would he have still wanted me on his team, regardless of whether or not I would be able to synchronize with his plan...? 

You hastily shook your head. No, that couldn't be right. Katsuki was only ever focused on one thing, and that was victory—if there was any chance that you would hinder his ability to reach the top, you were sure he would've cast you aside without even thinking. 

At least, you thought he would.

He would, wouldn't he? 

Or was there maybe a chance that he wanted to be with you, just like how you wanted to be with him...? 

 "...(Name). I said (Name)!" Katsuki barked, jolting you to attention. You blinked back at him, having been lost in your thoughts, and utterly unaware of the fact your cheeks were burning a bright red.

"S-sorry," you apologized. "I zoned out for a bit." He glared at you, and was probably ready with another biting remark, but you stood up straight and composed yourself. "I don't have the greatest offensive ability," you admitted, "But there are other things I can do. For one, if enemies are coming in at a specific angle, I can bend the light around us and make them see projections of our forms; an illusion, so to speak. That should buy us time and make them miss us with a particular attack, or veer them in the wrong direction if they get too close. I can also make myself move at an incredibly high speed, for a very short interval of time, although," you frowned, "I'm not entirely sure if I can do it with all of us. But if we're all in close contact, I might be able to, and I'm sure it'll come in handy for escaping if we're ever backed into a corner. As for defense, I may also be able to offer some help in the form of a shield; I can't ensure its effectiveness, though." 

Kirishima and Sero both let out a whistle in unison. "Damn," the redhead appraised. "I sort of already knew that your Quirk was awesome, but there's tons of ways you can use it, huh? That's sick, (Name)!" 

He chuckled happily, placing his hand on your shoulder. It was a friendly gesture, and nothing more, but the giddy manner in which he was praising you was enough to make your cheeks flush. 

"Thanks," you smiled. "I appreciate you saying—"

"Stop touching her, for fuck's sake." 

In an instant, the hand lying on your shoulder had been swatted away. Kirishima let out a small whine, cradling the back of his wrist where Katsuki had slapped it. His glare had deepened, and unlike the hint of irritation from before, he actually looked mad now.  

 Kirishima paled. "Ah...sorry, dude. I forget you two were...well, y'know—" 

"Shut up." 

"But I was just—" 

"SHUT. UP." 

He knew better than to say anything more, if the glower on Katsuki's face was anything to go off. You felt a bit bad for Kirishima, but moments like these were hard to come by, and they made you smile. It almost gave you the urge to give the redhead a big hug, just to see how Katsuki would react. Best to leave that for another time, though.

"...Whatever," Katsuki muttered. "Get into position, shitheads. We don't have all day." 

The three boys began to make their way around the ring, with you following closely behind. You knew your role, and were fully aware of what your responsibilities would entail. Katsuki wanted to win, and were determined to help him. 

"Hey...Katsuki-kun?"

The blonde stopped to glance back over his shoulder. "Yeah?" 

"It's nothing really," you mumbled. "I'm just happy that you let me be a part of your team. So...thank you for that." 

Katsuki stared at you in silence, as if he was unsure how to respond. Maybe it was silly to thank him with such a serious expression, but you really were grateful. But still...would it hurt him to say something? The longer he stood there gaping back at you, the more self-conscious you felt.

"Ah, sorry..." you chuckled, forcing a weary smile. "I guess I'm just wasting time. It wasn't anything important, now that I think about it. Let's just get into position before we—"

"When are you gonna stop doing that?" 

You blinked. "Stop doing what...?" 

"That," he glared, baring his teeth at you. "Looking at me with that fake-ass smile all the time, and apologizing for no fucking reason. I just don't get it. Are you trying to piss me off?" 

"Fake smile...?" you mumbled. "But I'm not—" 

"Yeah, you are. I'm not a fucking moron, you know; I can see the way you walk around eggshells on me. What is it?" he sneered. "Don't tell me you're scared of me? After you gave me that whole spiel about wanting to 'get to know each other better' and all that shit, what a load." 

You didn't really know what to say. You were more than just confused. Where was this all coming from? 

Katsuki scowled. "And now you're looking at me as if I'm some fuckin' weirdo. I don't get what's so fucking hard to understand. Do you need me to spell it out for you?" 

"Um...kinda?" 

You were tempted to chuckle, but Katsuki had already pulled you in by the collar of your uniform and was quite literally breathing down your neck. His piercing crimson eyes were even more so from up close. You felt your breath hitch in your throat; out of excitement or fear, you didn't know which. 

Katsuki took a sharp, ragged breath.

"Listen here, (Name)—when you're around me, I don't want any of that nice, pretending shit you give the other assholes. If you ever want this to work out between us, you better fucking be honest and tell me what the hell you want. I'm not here to play games." 

You flushed; admittedly, there was little to no distance between the two of you, and it was making your head feel fuzzy. You still weren't clear on exactly what he wanted, but it sounded like—

"You want me to speak my mind more?" 

"No shit," he glared. "If I'm your soulmate, why should I get the same treatment as everyone else? I see you putting on airs and actin' like you're not pissed off—even when you should be. Even back when you were trying to join my team; if I hadn't made the effort of calling out to you myself, you probably would've just given up and walked away. And why? What's the point in having a fucking mouth if you can't say what you want whenever you want?" 

Has he really been paying that much attention to me...? 

"I-I don't know," you admitted. "I guess I'm just the type of person who would rather keep things to myself, rather than confront someone about it. And even if someone's upset me a little, it doesn't feel worth it to make myself heard; it just doesn't merit the trouble. It's better to keep to yourself instead of picking a fight over nothing, right?" 

Ah, but

You realized that you'd basically just described yourself as his polar opposite. You'd been aware of your differences from the start, but they were steadily becoming more apparent. You definitely hadn't expected him to confront you about your voice—or rather, lack thereof. 

"...The Cavalry Battle's about to start," Katsuki declared, glancing back to see that many teams had already assumed their positions. He looked back at you. "So that means that we don't have much time. Right here, right now, you're gonna tell me what you want. The first thought running through your head—come out and say it. No forced smiles, no nervous laughs; just honestly tell me what you're thinking." 

"Tell you what I'm honestly thinking right now...?"

"Yeah. And you better spit it out quick." 

You swallowed hard, slightly distressed by having been put on the spot. Tell him what you were thinking? Hell, your mind was reeling so fast right now that you hardly even knew what was going through your head, let alone did you have the ability to put it into words. But he was close. Very close. His breath was hitting your skin, and you could see every wrinkle in his brows as he furrowed them together. You could smell him, too—a scent fresh like pine, with the undertones of spice. It was a nice smell, you decided, and suddenly your mind didn't seem quite so overwhelmed with thoughts. 

There was just one now. 

"I-I want to hug you..." 

It was hardly a whisper, but you could by the way Katsuki's brows rocketed up that he'd heard you. His lips formed an 'O', on the verge of forming a sentence, but you were much quicker on the uptake. You actually didn't know what had come over you. Maybe it was the fact that you were already blushing head-to-toe, or maybe your honesty had spurred a more daring streak in you. Either way, it didn't matter—before long, you found yourself pressed up against Katsuki's chest, your frail arms tightly wrapped around his back. 

Katsuki barely managed a croak. "What are you—?"

"I'm just doing what you told me to!" you said hurriedly. Burying your head in his chest out of shame, you squeezed him tighter. "This is just me...being honest, okay?" 

He didn't say anything else, and you pulled away almost immediately, unable to fight off the scalding heat on your temples. You didn't recall that you'd ever blushed this hard before, and this thought alone just made your embarrassment that much worse. You needed to do something; anything, to break away from his prying gaze. But you couldn't. Because you were just moments away from literally having to carry him on your shoulders.

Oh, and Kirishima and Sero had seen the whole thing go down, so that was just great.

Chapter Text

The Cavalry Battle began and naturally, all eyes were on Izuku.

It went without saying that Katsuki would also be targeting your curly-haired friend—for the purpose of winning, sure, but there were definitely some more personal feelings at play. You wanted to support your soulmate, but you also had slightly mixed feelings about taking down the poor freckled boy. But it was fine. You'd chosen to be on this opposing team, after all; there was no backing down now.

"I'm gonna kill that shitty nerd," Katsuki muttered, eyes laced with disdain. Currently, there was a cluster of students blocking your way, but you knew that it would hardly be able to hold back the blonde for much longer. It seemed like Izuku had gotten his hands on a jet pack of sorts, courtesy of the Support Department —he was using it to outmaneuver his rivals and escape to safety.

You forced a smile, even though you knew that Katsuki wouldn't see it.

"Let's try to be patient for now, okay? We'll get that headband, that much I'm sure of. We just need to wait for the others to wear themselves out and go in at the best possible opportunity." 

He scoffed, but didn't say anything. You knew he wasn't an idiot, and was actually far more calculating and analytical than he looked, but whenever Izuku was concerned he always seemed to lose his composure. Well, more than normal, at least.

Kirishima chuckled. "Come on, (Name)-chan—we all know that Bakugou's pretty much incapable of staying calm." 

"The fuck was that, shitty hair?!"

You heaved a sigh. Izuku had just landed a ways off after propelling himself into the air with the jet pack. It seemed that his relief would be short-lived though, as another group was right on his heels. Again, he slammed his thumb down onto the button that spurred the jet pack to life. Except the whirring of the machine was overshadowed by something far louder. 

"Bakugou, don't—!!" 

Kirishima cried out in vain, for the blonde had already sparked off an explosion that propelled him in Izuku's direction. You paled, worried that your team had just been disqualified for breaching the rules, but a glance in Midnight's direction told you that wasn't the case. You guys were still in the running, so long as you actually caught him before he hit the ground.

"Dude, come on!" Sero whined, having just retrieved Katsuki with his tape. "At least give us a warning before you do stuff like that!" 

Katsuki grimaced, no doubt frustrated by his failed assault. Izuku's team had Tokoyami on their side, and he was easily able to defend against others' blows. The ability to manipulate a creature of darkness...it was almost a polar opposite to your own power; both in nature and in terms of offensive ability. It would sure be nice if you had a power like that in your arsenal.

No, I can't think so pessimistically. I joined Katsuki-kun's team in order to help him, and to prove something to myself. This win means a lot to the both of us. I need to make sure it happens. 

You let out a huff, blowing a strand of hair away from your eyes. Katsuki was yelling something about beating the shit out of Izuku, while Kirishima and Sero attempted to chastise him. It wasn't going very well, but you soon realized that would be the least of your problems. 

"...Like taking candy from a baby, Class 1-A." 

You didn't exactly know how or when the opposing team had crept up behind yours, but Katsuki soon found his headband being torn away. All you could do was watch with widened eyes as his expression contorted first into one of surprise, then shifted readily into sheer, unadulterated anger

"What the fuck?!" he cried out. "You fucking piece of shit...! Give it back!!" 

The blonde whom you'd fallen prey to—some self-absorbed asshole, by the looks of it—was looking down at you with a crude smile. Even though Katsuki had demanded he return it, there was clearly no way in hell that was ever going to happen. If anything, the little shit seemed to be enjoying watching your team as it fell apart. 

His pale, blue eyes fell upon your frame, and the smile tugging at his lips only grew wider.

"(Name)," the boy chided, "Don't give me that look. You still don't recognize me?" 

You blinked in surprise, earning a few dubious looks from your classmates. It took a few moments, but eventually, you let out a soft gasp upon realizing exactly who the boy was.

"Monoma-kun? Is that you?" 

He chuckled. "Took you long enough. And here I was, thinking that you'd know who I was right away. could tell who you were on the spot, you know." 

There was a fair bit of distance between your two teams; evidently, they were still being wary of the fact that you were currently rivals. Kirishima briefly glanced over in your direction, brows furrowed.

"You know this guy?" he asked.

"Uh, yeah. We went to the same grade school back when I was little," you explained. "But he moved away at some point—to go study abroad in France, or something like that." 

"Do I look like I give a fuck about this asshole's backstory?!" Katsuki spat. "Fucking let me beat the shit out of him, already!" 

Monoma chuckled in amusement. You weren't opposed to reconnecting with some old acquaintances, but now certainly wasn't the time. Although he probably realized that, and was striking up a casual conversation just to spite the ash blonde resting on your shoulders. 

"There's really no problem," he mused. "You guys won't be going anywhere for a long time." His eyes flickered down to the ground, and you only then realized that the soil had melded and your feet had been solidified in place. A cluster of enemy teams had also encircled yours, keeping you entrapped. 

When did they?

"Just take a break for now." Monoma smiled ruefully, shifting his gaze back towards yours. "By the way, (Name). Did you ever find out who your soulmate is? From what I remember, you had something really nasty tattooed on your body. I hope for your sake that soulmate thing is a hoax—whoever it is must be a downright horrible person, and you know what people say about those failed relationships. I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to you." 

You gaped back at him, unable to come up with a response. He was now staring directly at Katsuki, and you knew you weren't just imagining it. He'd always been oddly perceptive, and you didn't know exactly for how long he'd been observing you, but he must've picked up on something. Perhaps you'd been spending too much time by Katsuki's side, or maybe he put two and two together and realized that he was quite possibly the only person who could say such horrific things. Either way—

He knows. 

You couldn't think of anything to say, or even if it would be right to acknowledge in the moment, but it turned out you wouldn't have to—Katsuki was now quivering above you, and you could hear the way his teeth ground down against one another. However Monoma had found out, it was clear that he'd been trying to rile his opponent up as much as possible, even after securing the points. He'd always been a little shit that way, and it was obvious that his taunting had done the job. 

"Dude, please not again!" Kirishima cried out, but Katsuki had already propelled himself off your shoulders. He was veering head-first towards Monoma, who instructed one of his teammates to attend to their defense—AKA an invisible wall that Katsuki slammed right into in midair. Your teammates wailed out in vain, but the blonde was past the point of being reeled in. He was yelling out at the top of his lungs, but showed no sign of backing down until he got his headband back. 

Sero yanked him back as quickly as he could, and in his plight, he'd managed to secure not one, but two headbands. Even still, he wasn't satisfied, bellowing how it wasn't "enough" and he needed to teach the little shit a lesson. You had to act quickly and imbue your fingertips with warm light, to try and melt the hardened material around your feet. Right now, the only thing you should've been focused on was the match right in front of you, yet you couldn't keep from replaying Monoma's words.

"You know what people say about those failed relationships." 

No. You didn't. 

What did they say? 

 

 

 

 

 

For the second time that day, you had to watch Katsuki throw a fit. 

Since Monoma had kept you occupied for the most part, you hadn't been able to secure the headband that was worth one million points. It had initially been Izuku's, but at some point during the match, Todoroki's team had stolen it from him. They'd luckily still been able to place in the top four, which meant that Uraraka and them would be advancing to the final round.

Now, for the most pressing issue...

Katsuki had slammed his fist on the ground, and proceeded to curse for losing yet again. You bit down on your bottom lip. You were frustrated, yes, but the simple fact of the matter was that you just hadn't gotten to Todoroki's headband in time. Even now, you were blown away by the sheer determination Katsuki had shown in order to break free and reclaim your team's headband. He was incredible—at least, you thought so. Why was he acting as though second place was a total failure? 

The rest of your teammates were distancing themselves from Katsuki, and for good reason, but you still felt the need to give talking to him a try. You understood that your relationship was still clumsy, and well in its early stages, but if anyone had a chance of cheering him up, it had to be you—his soulmate.

Kirishima spotted you wading over towards Katsuki's side, and his brows rocketed almost immediately.

"(N-Name)-chan," he stammered, "I think it's probably best to leave him alone for now..."

"I'll be fine, don't worry." 

The redhead didn't seem very convinced, if the lofty sigh he let out was anything to go by, but you'd already bridged the gap between yourself and the fuming blonde that was crumpled on the ground. Katsuki was raking his fingers through the soil, shoulders trembling all the while. You inhaled sharply. 

"Katsuki-kun." 

You knew that you'd spoken loud enough for him to hear you, but he didn't even bother to look in your direction. If not for the torrent of curses spilling out his lips, he probably would've blown the ground to bits. 

I know he's upset, but...

"Katsuki-kun," you spoke again, doing your best to keep your voice level. "Can I please talk to you for a moment?" 

Again, he said nothing. Katsuki was usually so brash and loud, you'd never realized just how frustrating it would be for him to ignore you. He was disappointed with his loss, understandably so, but it certainly wasn't that bad. He would make up for it in the next round—that much you were sure of. 

You pressed your lips into a tight line. "Katsuki-kun, can you just—" 

"Will you fucking shut up already?!" Katsuki cried out. He'd slammed his fist down onto the ground once more, making you tremble in place. "It's fuckin' obvious I don't want to talk, so why can't you just take the hint and leave me the fuck alone?! Stop constantly following me around and clinging to me like a desperate little bitch, fuck!" 

It didn't take long for your expression to sink. Yes, you'd expected him to be frustrated and irritated, but you didn't think he'd react like this. Just earlier he'd let you hug him, and when you'd consoled him after the obstacle race, he'd even thanked you, so what the hell was going on now? Seriously, he was so damn moody and unpredictable; far too much for someone as sensitive as you. 

Come to think of it, he told me to piss off right before the Sports Festival officially began...and now he's yelling at me again. 

You frowned.

He yells at me; he makes up with me. He loses his shit one moment; the next he's telling me to speak my mind and act honestly around him. What the fuck...? 

Usually, you were pretty good at remaining calm and keeping your emotions at bay, but this was something else. And the worst part of all of it was that you could gradually see your relationship reverting back to where it'd been at the very beginning; erasing all of the progress you'd since made. You'd convinced yourself that he wasn't actually a shitty person, but now you weren't quite so sure. This situation was unstable, at best, and you realized that you'd putting in a lot more effort than you were seeing in return.

"Okay, then," you cut back dryly. "I won't talk to you anymore. If you have anything to say, come find me yourself." 

You didn't even have to look back to know that he hadn't bothered to lift up his head. Your chest felt tight; uncomfortable, but you couldn't afford this kind of toxicity right now. Even though you weren't as strong as him, and your odds probably weren't the best, you were also here at this Sports Festival to try and win

"A-are you alright...?" Kirishima prodded, no doubt having watched the whole exchange go down. Sero was standing by with a stiff jaw, eyes laced with worry. You nodded absent-mindedly, breezing past them. 

"I'm fine. I told you I'd be okay. Just decided that some space would be a good idea." 

"If you say so..." 

Following the conclusion of the Cavalry Battle, you were to be given one hour for lunch break. Before, you might've tried to sit with Katsuki, but that sure as hell wasn't happening now. It was fine. You wanted to catch up with Uraraka anyways. 

You hedged your way off the field and over towards the mess hall, but you couldn't seem to ignore the throbbing pain that had erupted across your hip. Your fingers gingerly lifted up the edge of your shirt, allowing you access to the writing scrawled across. It didn't look any different than usual, but for some reason, it hurt like hell.

At some point, I sort of became okay with it, but now it's making me feel sick all over again. I wonder if I could

"That's a soulmate tattoo, right?" 

Your head jolted upright almost immediately. You hadn't been expecting any company, and you'd failed to take note of the bi-color haired boy that was standing a distance away and staring at you with a glassy look in his eyes. Todoroki...Shouto, you thought you recalled his first name being. The boy who'd placed first in the Cavalry Battle.

"It's nothing really," you replied, hurriedly swiping down your shirt. "I should've made sure I was in private first before checking it. Sorry about that." 

He shrugged. "Nothing to apologize over. I was just surprised to see that you have one; I don't think I've ever actually met someone who does." 

You forced a smile. "It's not all it's cracked out to be, I can tell you that much." 

Todoroki's eyes skimmed your frame. You'd never really payed much attention to him before—he was attractive, you could say that much, but you'd been preoccupied too much with a certain blonde to bother learning much about your other classmates. He had heterochromia; a condition that resulted in both his eyes being different colors. You'd never encountered someone like that before, but it was strangely beautiful to see the way his orbs flitted with hues of gray and turquoise. 

"So, do you know who your soulmate is?" 

You stiffened, caught off-guard by the sudden question. "Beg your pardon...?" 

"You said that it's not all it's cracked out to be," he repeated, "So that does mean you've already met your soulmate? Are you dissatisfied with them?" 

"N-no, I don't actually know who my soulmate is." You'd blurted the words out without even realizing it, but it somehow felt like the right thing to say. You remembered your encounter with Monoma, and the way he'd stared the ash blonde down. Before, you'd been trying to keep it a secret for Katsuki's sake, but you just didn't feel like acknowledging that it was him anymore. Perhaps it was meant to be cruel, or maybe you just felt ashamed. 

Either way, it was a step in the wrong direction. 

"I just meant that it attracts a lot of unwanted attention," you continued. "People always fawn over my mark and tell me how amazing it is...but I don't know that I feel the same way. Plus, the sentence I have written is quite frankly a bit frightening." 

Todoroki bobbed his head apathetically. "I see. Sorry for asking. I realize now it's a bit of a personal question." 

"It's no problem," you smiled. Suddenly, you had a thought. "Hey...Todoroki-kun?" you prodded. "Would you maybe want to go eat lunch together?" 

You didn't really know what exactly you were trying to do—you hardly knew the guy, and it would definitely have been more relaxing to sit with Uraraka and your other friends. But that uncomfortable, festering sensation in your chest still had yet to disappear. You realized, in your immaturity, that a small part of you might've been hoping to make Katsuki jealous. 

"Oh." Todoroki's brows lifted just slightly, but he slowly shook his head. "I was actually...just about to go do something. Sorry." He turned before you could utter a response, but glanced over his shoulder as he began walking away. "Maybe we could eat together another time, if you still want." 

"Ah...sure. That would be nice." 

Your eyes glazed over in spite of yourself. Truly, you didn't know what you'd been expecting. 

I'm so stupid. 

With a weary sigh, you trudged over towards the mess hall, in search of friends and comfort. The mark on your hip would throb ever so often. You did your best to ignore it. 

Little did you know that Katsuki's mark was hurting just the same. And as he watched you flash Todoroki one of your gentle smiles, the pain worsened. He could only grit down on his teeth out of spite. 

He hated this fucking soulmate crap.

Chapter Text

"Ahh, I'm starved!" Uraraka exclaimed, plopping down onto the bench. "That last round was just exhausting! Iida-kun, I'm so jealous that you managed to place first! That super speed was a little sneaky, though!" 

He readjusted the rim of his glasses. "There was nothing "sneaky" about it. I made sure to keep that ability a secret so as to have the element of surprise on my side. We're all just doing the best we can, after all." 

"Hmm...well, that's true. By the way, have you seen Deku-kun?" 

Iida shook his head, and the brunette instead turned her attention towards you. The tray in front of you was relatively untouched; you were picking listlessly at your food, but still had yet to make much of a dent in it. Uraraka frowned.

"What about you, (Name)-chan? Did you see him around anywhere?" 

"Not really," you breathed out, clinking your fork against your tray. "He's probably nervous about the upcoming round; might be off mumbling to himself and making some sort of a plan somewhere. Also—" you stood up abruptly, "—I'm gonna go for a bit of a walk." 

"Eh? Right now?" Uraraka blinked. "You've barely touched your food, you know..." 

"I have to agree," Iida chastised. "If you don't eat properly, you won't be able to replenish your energy for the next stage." 

"I'll be fine. But thanks for worrying, guys." 

You forced your most convincing smile, hoping that it would be enough. Earlier, you thought that eating with your friends would help lift your spirits, but you found it difficult to maintain a conversation with the way you were feeling right now. It'd probably be for the best if you went off alone to clear your head. 

"Going so soon?" a voice mused. You turned your head to see that you'd passed by Monoma's table on your way out—he was sitting with a few people; presumably some of his classmates from 1-B. Which wasn't surprising, considering that he'd already voiced how much he detested your class.

"I don't have an appetite," you said simply.

A salacious grin soon crept onto his lips. "Is it the nerves? You scared about the next round, (Name)?"

"I'm surprised you can look all haughty, when you lost so pitifully to us." 

"Wha—?!" The blonde slammed his palms down onto the table, a weak flush rising to his cheeks. "That was just because your damn soul—teammate, happened to get lucky...!!" 

Ah. He almost just called him my soulmate. So he really does know.

"I'm surprised by how observant you are," you sighed. "You really do spend too much time stalking others, Monoma-kun. I'm worried about your health." 

He scoffed. "If anyone needs to worry about their health, it's you." 

Your brows creased. You knew you hadn't just imagined the cautionary words from back during the Cavalry Battle. He seemed to know something that you didn't. But what exactly...?

"You said that back there, too," you began. "What did you mean by—" 

"That'll be all! Adieu, Class 1-A filth!" 

With a flip of his wrist, Monoma had lifted his nose to the sky and literally snubbed you. The students surrounding him could only shake their heads in dismay, as if this pettiness was a common occurrence. You sighed. Whatever, then. You could ask him what he meant another time.

You hurriedly ran a hand through your (h/c) locks, leaving the mess hall behind. There was an underpass near the edge of the stadium, that led to the forestry outside. It looked like a good place to take a rest, and cool your head for a bit. At the very least, you could get away from the ash blonde you were currently trying to avoid. 

Except that he happened to be right there.

Your nose crinkled involuntarily. It wasn't like you were going out of your way to ignore him, but you would've liked to keep your distance for a little longer. You didn't even really understand what he was trying to do here in the first place—he wasn't actually going into the underpass, but was merely reclining against the corner wall with his hands shoved into his pockets. His crimson orbs flickered over towards you for a brief moment, but they were soon to fall back down towards the ground. You didn't say anything, and continued to walk straight ahead so that you could get outside. 

But it looked like you couldn't do that either. 

"What the—?" You let out a weak croak at the sensation of being tugged backwards. Katsuki had latched his hand across your arm, and pulled you by it before you could take another step. You opened your mouth in protest, but he was quick to clamp his other hand across that, too.

"Quiet," he hissed. "You don't wanna be going there right now, moron."

You didn't know exactly what he was talking about—only until you spared a glance around the corner did you realize that Izuku and Todoroki were engaged in some sort of conversation, and the mood didn't seem very pleasant. If anything, there was an icy chill that hung in the air, and the look in Todoroki's eyes was near hostile.

You'd arrived a bit late to the party, so you didn't really get what the big deal was, and tried to squirm out of Katsuki's grip. Unfortunately, he was much too strong for you, and proceeded to press your back up flush against his chest, so that you didn't have any room to escape. He was, in essence, holding you prisoner, and the lack of distance between the two of you was making your cheeks burn in spite of the situation.

Katsuki leaned in to mutter into your ear, the sound of his low, raspy voice making chills pass down your spine.

"Can't you hear? This isn't any of our business, and if those assholes see us here now, we're in for a load of shit. So just keep quiet." 

His chin was resting square on your shoulder, and you angled your neck to the side so that you could glare up at him. You couldn't talk, but you were hoping the look in your eyes more than conveyed your annoyance. 

He says all that, but he's really just trying to eavesdrop. 

You would've liked to leave (you couldn't, but it would've been nice), but the more you listened, the more you realized how serious the discussion was. In a span of just a few minutes, you learned more about Todoroki than you could've ever imagined. The Quirk marriage between Endeavor and his mother; the abuse he'd suffered as a child; how his mother had hurt him out of sheer mental strain, and...the reason he refused to use his left side. 

All of a sudden, your throat felt parched. Hearing about what he'd been through had left a bad taste in your mouth, and you felt almost immeasurably guilty for listening in on such a thing. Your eyes flickered over towards Katsuki, and you were surprised to see that even he looked completely lost for words.

Luckily, the discussion soon came to an end, with Todoroki leaving to head for the outskirts of the stadium. You'd been wanting to take a walk there earlier, but it was safe to say that wasn't happening anymore. Izuku had been left behind, and was staring listlessly at the ground. Katsuki's hands finally released your body. 

"...Shit," you muttered, wiping the back of your hand across your mouth. "Your hands are a lot sweatier than I expected." 

Katsuki gritted his teeth, flushing bright red. "Shut up." 

"That's rich, considering how was the one who was basically held here against my will." 

You sighed wearily, but didn't bother to say anything else. You'd already been through enough today. Quite frankly, you were too tired to bother stirring up any more shit. 

"Well...bye," you mumbled out, waving your hand dismissively as you headed back towards the mess hall. 

"You mad?" 

"...Huh?" 

You'd stopped in your tracks, glancing back over your shoulder to see Katsuki furrowing his brows. Contrary to the usual, he didn't actually look upset—more so...questioning

"Are you mad?" he asked again. "With me, I mean."

You frowned. "Uh, where's this coming from?" 

"Just by the look on your face. You aren't smiling the way you usually do." Katsuki ran a hand through his hair, awkwardly averting his gaze. "It's better this way, though. Instead of you faking your feelings and actin' like everything's okay, I think I like it more if you just show when you're pissed off. It's more real." 

You didn't know whether to be happy or annoyed. He seemed so intent on having you show your feelings, but half the time it looked he was unwilling to actually speak his mind—instead, he would just break out into an angry fit. Maybe that was actually how he felt, and he was just always pissed when you were around. You didn't know if that was better or worse. 

"I guess I'm mad," you shrugged. "Does it really matter, though?"

"Of course it fucking does. Whenever you're mad and you act like you're fine, this fucker hurts like a damn bitch." He'd lifted up the edge of his shirt and was now tapping on his tattoo. You blinked.

"Oh. Yours does that, too? Mine hurts as well, but I mostly disregarded it until now. So it does that whenever one of us is upset?" 

Katsuki sighed, pulling his shirt back down. "I don't know. But whatever it is, I don't think this shit is working. Listen, about earlier—" 

You pursed your lips in earnest, Katsuki only letting out another sigh. 

"—When I'm mad, I'm mad," he declared. "You comin' along is only gonna make things worse. Sometimes I just wanna be left alone. It's just normal. If someone's pissed off, they don't want to talk to deal with other people's shit." 

And here I was, thinking that he might apologize. 

"You don't wanna deal with other people's shit," you clarified. "Not even if that person is your soulmate? And they're just trying to help you feel better?" 

"You trying to 'help' is  just gonna piss me off even more."

A crestfallen look passed through your eyes. You couldn't even put into words how upsetting it was to hear such a thing. 

"I guess it just sucks," you mumbled bitterly. "I like helping people—it makes me feel good, and my chest gets warm when I see that I was able to cheer someone up, and keep them from hurting. That's the whole reason I wanted to become a hero in the first place; not for the battles against villains and all that stuff. And I'm your soulmate, so I'm supposed to be the one person that you can come to if you're feeling bad. All I want to do is help you, in any way I can, but you're here telling me to not even bother. When I'm angry, or upset, there are moments when I wanna be left alone, sure—but there are also times when I feel the need to be with someone, and just to let everything out and have them listen to me. Don't you ever feel that way?" 

Katsuki's jaw stiffened. For a moment, he looked like he was contemplating it, but it didn't take long for him to shake his head. 

"No. I'm not weak like that." 

The mark on your hip began to throb.

He's lying.

It was ironic, considering he'd just been giving you shit about being honest to him. For some reason or another, he seemed determined to ever rely on others. To some extreme extent, he must really have thought that it was a sign of total and utter weakness, and his stance wasn't likely to change. 

"What?" Katsuki gruffed out, eyeing your forlorn expression. "Got something to say?" 

You smiled sadly. "I don't know. It just makes me sad. With the way we are, I don't know that we'll ever be able to understand one another." 

His eyes narrowed.

"Yeah. You're probably right about that."

Chapter Text

In spite of the fact that your so-called "discussion" with Katsuki hadn't gone over very well, you decided to try and focus on the upcoming round. You'd returned back to the mess hall—Izuku had also made his way back, and was sitting with your friends. Uraraka asked you both where you'd gone, and each of you forced a shaky smile and told her that you were just getting a breather. As usual, she frowned, unconvinced, but decided not to press you any further. 

Before long, it was time to commence the final event—a tournament. 

Back inside the stadium, Midnight briefly explained that you'd be taking part in one-on-one battles, in separate brackets; the winner of the finals would be crowned the "champion" of the Sports Festival. She had you all pull lots, and before long, the results were displayed up on the board. 

Your first round would be up against Ashido, the bubbly, pink-haired girl in your class. If you recalled, her Quirk had something to do with acid, so you'd have to steer clear of her palms. You'd also heard that she had pretty good reflexes, which worried you a little. But the biggest issue was—

"U-ra-ra-ka...?"

A little distance away, you spotted Katsuki staring up at the board with furrowed brows. It was evident by the stupefied look on his face that he had absolutely no idea who his first opponent was, even though you'd introduced her to him before. Well, that much was to be expected. On her end, the brunette looked horrified by being pitted up against Katsuki in the first round. Her usually flushed cheeks had all but turned white, and she couldn't keep from letting out a soft whimper. 

Normally, you would've sympathized with her, but as things were, you just couldn't. Because the fact of the matter was that if Uraraka lost, you would also have to face Katsuki in the second round, and you had a feeling that he wouldn't hold back on anyone—not even his soulmate. 

"Well," you sighed, slumping your shoulders. "This sure sucks." 

"Tell me about it," Uraraka whined. "Best case scenario, we'll have to face each other, which means there's no way that both of us can advance. Worst case, well...we both get utterly destroyed by Bakugou-kun." 

"Someone tells me it's going to be the latter." 

"D-don't say that, (Name)-chan! You're making me even more nervous...!" 

She playfully slapped you on the arm, and you let out a soft chuckle. It really was a shame that you and your best friend were stuck in the same bracket; against the most intimidating student in your class, no less. 

I'm probably just overthinking things. I doubt Katsuki-kun even cares who his opponent is. 

You were given a short period of time to partake in recreational activities, so as to take your mind off your nerves, but you had a feeling that it would just be counter-productive. Sighing loudly, you decided to actually take a stroll through the forested area this time. 

"(Name)." 

You jolted in surprise. A hand had clamped down onto your wrist, belonging to none other than the infamous blonde. Katsuki was staring back at you with narrowed eyes. He didn't look particularly irritated or mad; more so solemn.

"What is it?" you answered calmly. As things were, you were still feeling much of the tension from earlier. You were surprised he'd actually gone out of his way to approach you first. 

"We're in the second round together," he stated matter-of-factly. "So...you better not fuckin' lose right off the bat. I wanna fight you fair and square." 

His fingers pulled away from your skin, and he shoved both hands into his pockets before walking away. You just stood there motionless. You wanted Uraraka to win, that much was obvious, but you also...wanted to show Katsuki that you could be strong. 

This time, you were going to challenge him. 

 

 

 

 

The rec activities ended quickly enough, and before long, it was finally time for the main event. 

You were the second-to-last battle of the first round, but it wasn't really much of a relief. If anything, you'd been hoping that you could be more near the start, to hurry up and get it over with. The wait only added to your ever-building nerves. 

"Good luck, Deku-kun!" 

Uraraka smiled brightly, patting her friend on the back as he prepared to enter the stadium. His was the very first battle—up against someone named Shinsou—and it was clear as day that he was freaking out a little. You, Uraraka, and Iida had all opted to stay with him in the waiting room beforehand, doing your best to calm him down in any way you could. But now you would have to let fate run its course, and either way, you were certain he'd manage to score a win. You made sure to flash Izuku a smile of your own, waving back at him and heading for the stands to watch the battles unfold.

Luckily, Izuku's match had gone over easily enough, although you'd had quite a scare when he almost stepped out of bounds. One way or another, he'd managed to overthrow his opponent; he'd broken his finger in the process and was taken to the infirmary to rest up before the next round.

This next battle—between Todoroki and Sero—had been slightly more...jarring, to say the least. You remembered everything he'd spoken about with Izuku, and how he was determined not to use his left side. It might've been from the conversation they'd had, or maybe something else had happened in that time frame. Either way, he'd gone into his match looking cold and ruthless. He'd unleashed a pillar of ice that encased nearly half the stadium, even reaching close up to the stands. Poor Sero had became a human ice cube, and his only real option was to surrender.

From then on, you were slightly less attentive. You did tune into Iida's match, but it seemed like he was mostly just been played for a fool by his opponent, Hatsume; a girl who was intent on using him to advertise her inventions. When all was said and done, she happily stepped out of the arena, giving Iida the win.

Other battles elapsed—yours against Ashido included. At first you'd been a bit nervous, especially since she was quite agile herself, but you were able to use your speed of light to quickly zip over to her side and knock her out of bounds. She whined a bit, dejected by the short-lived match, but your attention was elsewhere. And before you knew it, it was already time: 

Bakugou vs. Uraraka: [MATCH START]

If your friend had any chance of winning, you knew—as well as she did—that the preemptive strike would be the most important. Put simply, there was no way of beating him unless she managed to come in contact, and you hoped that Katsuki was ignorant enough that she'd be able to get the first in hit. That would have ideal. Unfortunately, even with how disinterested he was in his classmates, he'd done his due diligence in finding out his opponent's powers. 

With your breath hitched in your chest, you watched as Uraraka frantically rushed forward—only to be blown back by explosions time and time again. You winced, almost as though you were experiencing her pain second-hand. Already, you could feel your chest tightening at the notion of going up against him. 

Uraraka, however, was far more resilient than she looked, and you knew better than anyone of her strength. A torrent of explosions continued to head her way, yet still, she refused to back down—even as her body became laced with bruises and burns. She was definitely cool; you only hoped that you could show such bravery if you ended up going against Katsuki. The crowd, unfortunately, didn't see it that way. 

"Hey! What the hell, man?! Are you seriously trying to become a hero by acting like such a brute??!" 

"If you're strength is so much bigger, just blow her out of bounds already!" 

"How dare you toy with a girl like that?!!"

Pretty much everywhere you looked, the audience in the crowd had stood up to boo him. Sure, the sight of Uraraka being battered to such an extent definitely wasn't pretty, but they were all missing the point

He's not toying with her. If he didn't think she was a threat, he wouldn't have been on guard at all. Right now, he's pretty much showing her the most respect he's capable of...by not underestimating her.

You pursed your lips. He might've been foul-mouthed and hotheaded, but even he could take things seriously, when they mattered. Besides, it seemed like some people hadn't noticed that yet—the meteor-like collection of debris that Uraraka had floated upwards during Katsuki's attacks. It was clear what her plan was, and you couldn't help but clench your fists in anticipation.

Go...Uraraka-chan!

The brunette rushed forward, fingers pressed together. The debris was raining down from the sky, and even if Katsuki tried to avoid it or blow some away, it would still leave him vulnerable to attack. She could do it. If it was like this, she could do it. She just had to touch him once; just once, and then—

You paled. 

"No. No way..." 

With just one attack...? 

As much as you couldn't believe it, all it took was one attack. In one fell sweep, he'd blown away ever single clump of terrain that Uraraka had thrown his way; not a trace was left behind. The brunette's expression all but crumpled, realizing that all her effort had been for nothing. You didn't want to pity her, but...the difference in strength was just too great. It was daunting. 

Moments later, she passed out from exhaustion and because she'd gone over her weight limit. Thus, Katsuki had won—much to the great displeasure of the crowd. You were upset that Uraraka hadn't been able to secure her victory, but she'd put up an amazing fight, and you were proud of her. But you were also sad. 

Because your loss had all but been assured.

 

 

 

 

Not long after the fight, you were on your way towards the waiting room to go check in on Uraraka. Izuku had left earlier, since he was the very first fight of the next round, but you'd assured him that everything would be okay. She was sure to be upset, but it was normal. At the very least, she could tell herself that she'd done her very best.

You sighed, now thinking about your own match. "This is gonna suck." 

"The hell are you whining about?" 

The sound of the gruff voice made your stomach lurch. You'd barely turned the corner when you saw Katsuki creeping up the stairs, having returned from the arena. You briefly contemplated whether or not you should even respond, after the way your last conversation had ended. 

"Oh, hey," you mumbled out; already, you were regretting this meeting. "I was just talking to myself. Think it's the nerves."

He finished mounting the rest of the stairs and came to hover by your side. "Because of our battle, huh?" 

"Well...obviously." 

"You that nervous?" 

"I think that goes without saying." You sighed loudly, shaking your head. "You're a strong guy, and I think pretty much anyone would be nervous to go up against you. Nevermind the fact that I'm not the most physically strong in the first place..." 

Katsuki frowned. "You callin' yourself weak?" 

"Weaker than you, yeah."

He held back the urge to scoff, opting instead to roll his eyes. You were pretty close against the wall in the first place, but he'd been slowly shuffling towards you more and more, as well. Katsuki stopped a scarce few inches away; so close that you could feel his breath hit your skin when he leaned forward.

"Stuupid," came his taunting voice—along with a flick to the forehead. You winced, giving hit a quick rub before looking up at him with a frown. Katsuki was smirking. "If you think of yourself that way, then no shit you're gonna be a loser. I'm not saying you're not weaker than me, but no soulmate of mine is gonna have that kinda mentality. If you wanna win, then you gotta fight for it. Don't go into our battle with all your insecurities; don't you dare hold back on me." 

You smiled. "I wouldn't hold back on you. I can't afford to do that. If anyone were to do such a thing I think it'd be you, because of the difference in strength." 

"There you go again, acting like a weakling." 

"...Didn't you just admit that I was weaker than you?' 

He snorted, but said nothing else. You remembered what had happened back in the stands, and your expression lit up.

"Speaking of not holding back," you murmured, "I wanted...to thank you. For taking Uraraka-chan seriously. People were yelling and talking badly about you for it, but I could tell that you just weren't underestimating her. So, thanks. I'm sure she appreciates you fighting her with all you had." 

"No shit. I never go easy on anyone."

You chuckled awkwardly. 

That's what I'm afraid of...

"What?" Katsuki mused, a twinkle passing through his eyes. "You scared I'm gonna hurt your pretty face?" 

"I'm not—wait. My pretty what?" 

The second you'd repeated his words back, Katsuki all but flushed the shade of a tomato. Maybe he was used to talking down to others, and teasing them nonchalantly, but it was clear that he hadn't meant to let that little remark slip. It was flattering, though. This whole time, you'd been wondering what he thought of you as a person, but at the very least where your appearance was concerned, well...he liked it. 

"J-just forget I said that," he huffed. "I didn't mean it. I was just saying stupid shit." 

"You didn't mean it?" you questioned, baring your eyes into his own. Katsuki flinched, the apples of his cheeks still flushed a heavy red. He averted his gaze almost immediately. 

"I'm just—ah, fine. Yeah, you're pretty. Whatever."

You couldn't help but giggle. The moments where he got flustered like this were rare to come by, and you greatly enjoyed them. Even with how unfriendly and hostile he usually was, he could actually be pretty cute. 

"Thanks for the compliment," you smiled. "For what it's worth, I also think you're very pre—I mean, handsome. It's less embarrassing if we both say it, right?" 

Katsuki bit down on his lip. "Sure." 

"I like it when you blush." 

"You little—! Fuck off already, will ya?!" 

Seeing as your snickers of amusement had yet to desist, Katsuki had taken to lightly pinching your cheeks. You winced a bit, but it only made you giggle even more. His expression was pouty and annoyed, but he was very clearly not trying to hurt you. Otherwise, you were sure your cheeks would have ripped off by now. 

"S-stop it," you chortled, trying to swat his hands away. "Katsuki-kun, please stop it—ah! C'mon, give it break already!" 

With a determined huff, you shoved him back by his chest. Katsuki staggered on his feet for half a second, eventually smirking at you. 

"S'what you get," he chuckled. "That'll teach you to say dumb shit. And stop worrying about our match already, for fuck's sake. The only thing I wanna see is that you push yourself as hard as you fucking can. You're still pissed at me, arent'cha? Well, it's a good opportunity to punch me in the face." He paused, grinning " —If you manage to get close enough, of course."

You pursed your lips. One way or another, he was acting more approachable. It wasn't much, but you appreciated the little moments in which he called out to you. Although today had been so terribly full of ups and downs—you just hoped this wasn't gonna be one of the latter. 

"Well, I'm going now," Katsuki started, shoving a hand in his pocket. "Go see your little friend or whatever you were gonna do." 

He began to walk away, but you snatched up his free hand almost immediately. Katsuki's eyes widened; your fingers were tightly clasping his own. 

"Umm...good luck," you finally managed. "I know that sentence is kind of wasted on you, but it seemed like the right thing to say in this sort of situation. The both of us, let's have a fair fight."

Katsuki's crimson eyes raked down your frame. You noticed his cheeks flush a bit, although not as profusely as before. You also couldn't help but feel a little warm, simply because his fingers were locked around your own. That fluttery feeling people would get in their chest—it turned out it wasn't just a myth. 

And just when your heart felt like it couldn't take any more, Katsuki gave your hand a tight squeeze.

"Yeah. Let's." 

The words were dry and succint, but they made your face hot all the same. He pulled away to head back towards the stands. You watched him walk away from you, and even though you should've been focusing on the fated match, all you could do was think about the lingering warmth on your fingertips.

Chapter Text

"I'm baaack!" Uraraka trilled, grinning as she plopped down beside you on the stands. Izuku and Iida were gathered around as well, and you guys all did a double-take when you looked up at the brunette.

"A-are you okay??" Izuku spluttered. "Your eyes look really swollen..." 

She waved her hand dismissively. "Ah, I'm fine—I just got a quick 'recovery' done. So my stamina's a little wonky right now. More importantly, what about you, (Name)-chan? How are you feeling?" 

"I mean...I guess I've been better." 

"Nervous, huh?" 

"To go up against Katsuki-kun?" you chuckled. "Well, duh." 

Uraraka smiled wearily. You'd been in the nurse's office to speak with her, but it was clear she was still feeling the frustrations of her loss. Even if Katsuki was strong, she'd wanted to win, just like everyone else. You weren't going into this battle overly optimistic (actually it was more so the opposite), but there was still a part of you that was yearning for that victory, no matter how slim the odds were. 

"You'll do great," Uraraka reassured, placing her hand atop your shoulder. "You're stronger than me, and smarter than me, too. I'm sure you'll figure out a plan to take him on." 

You heaved a sigh. "I think you're giving me too much credit there." 

"Nuh-uh! My bestie's a badass, so I know she has it in her!" 

Uraraka flung her body overtop of yours, and you couldn't help but giggle when her rosy cheeks pressed up against your own. Izuku and Iida could only watch with furrowed brows; one of them was blushing involuntarily. 

"...Well, you're sure taking it easy, huh, (Name)?" 

Your eyes rolled out of sheer instinct, not even needing to look up to know who was talking. That arrogant voice spoke for itself. 

"Go away, Monoma-kun. Nobody here likes you." 

"Wha—?!" He curled his fingers into a fist, gritting his teeth at you. "It's the opposite, you fool! I'm the one who can't stand any of you Class-A types!" 

"Great," you drawled. "Can you leave now?" 

Monoma was steadily inflating like a balloon, and Uraraka looked back at you in confusion. "Who's this weirdo?" she asked. 

"Nobody really. I knew him back when I was in grade school—before I met you." 

"You—! How dare you call me a nobody?!" he fumed. "Ferme ta gueule, fille laide!

Uraraka frowned. "What did he just say?" 

"I don't know. I think he's insulting me in French." 

"Salope! Nique ta mère!

It was one of the few moments where you wished you could speak a foreign language, but the fact that you couldn't understand him pretty much made his insults useless either way. Monoma puffed out his chest, cheeks blotched and red from embarrassment. 

"Whatever," he grimaced. "With that madman as your opponent, your chances of winning are next to none." He turned to walk away, glancing back over his shoulder. "I suggest you be careful. Your soulmate bond is already unstable as is." 

"Eh?" Uraraka jolted. "He knows...?" 

She opened her mouth to protest, but the blonde had already walked away. He really was a slippery little bastard; the very definition of a snake. But it was frustrating, because every time you saw him, it was clear that he knew something you didn't

Just what is it that he's hiding from me? 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the preceding battles had elapsed, and it was now time for your dreaded match to begin. 

You knew that Katsuki wouldn't go easy on you, no matter what, but he also wanted you to give it your very best. In a way, it was nice that he was intent on taking you so seriously, even though the disparity in strength was so large. 

I mean, yes, he IS stronger than me, but that doesn't mean I should just roll over without trying. I'll give it my best shot, and be proud of myself regardless of the result. 

You heaved a sigh. Well, that was easier said than done, but still

The last bit of waiting time trickled out, and before you knew it, it was already time to step out into the ring. Your heart was beating erratically, and Present Mic's booming voice overhead—mixed with the cheers of the audience—only added to your nerves. Already, you could see the familiar tuft of ash blonde hair standing at the opposite end of the arena. You inhaled another gulp of air, stepping onto the platform to stare directly into your opponent's eyes. 

"You're shaking, dumbass." Katsuki frowned back at you, looking a bit miffed. "If you're this scared, I don't know what the hell you're gonna do. Control yourself, goddammit." 

"Uh, y-yeah. You're right." 

You bit down on your lip, squeezing your fists so that you could stabilize the tremors racking down your spine. It was as plain as day that you were overcome with nerves, but Katsuki was right—if you didn't get it under control, you wouldn't manage to so much as lay a finger on him. People from all around were watching; your friends included. You definitely weren't going to go down without a fight. 

"Now...Bakugou vs. (Last Name).....STAAAART!!!" 

The second the blaring signal went off, you knew you needed to act. In terms of sheer physical prowess, Katsuki easily outclassed you. Which is why, just like Uraraka, you had no choice but to strike before he could react. 

Your pupils dilated as a wave of light imbued your frame. The sensation of the rush was as strange as always; you didn't think you'd ever get used to moving so fast. But you were hardly in a position to complain—zipping forward at the speed of light, your body materialized just before Katsuki's own. You watched as his crimson eyes widened, clearly caught off-guard by your sudden apparition. Gritting down on your teeth, you lurched forward and kicked him square in the chest. 

"You fucking—mmph!"

He nearly keeled over and spluttered weakly; the force of your kick had all but knocked the breath out of him. Still, you knew you'd only bought yourself a second at most, and slammed him back by his shoulders in an attempt to edge him off the arena. Unfortunately, this time, your attack didn't work.

You let out a muffled scream as Katsuki clamped a hand across your wrist, pausing only to glare into your eyes. Half an instant later, he'd yelled out his trademark catchphrase and unleashed an explosion from point-blank range. You were blown back effortlessly, and a searing pain erupted across your body as you fell limply to the ground. 

"Ah, shit..." you groaned, tears pooling at the corners of your eyes. "I had no idea it would hurt this much..." 

"Get up, (Name)." Katsuki was inching closer from the opposite end of the arena. He wasn't rushing forward; rather, he seemed to be taking his sweet time. You didn't exactly know if he was giving you a few moments to collect yourself, or if he was just doing it to add to the tension. 

"You're not this weak," he muttered. "I know that for a fact. You either get up and face me properly or you give up right now before things get worse." 

You winced; more so from his words than the actual pain. As quickly as your body would allow it, you scrambled to your feet and stood back up to face him. You spared a hurried glance down at your arms—the skin was blotchy, red, and torn at some areas. You hadn't imagined that a single attack from close up could deal so much damage. 

Katsuki chuckled. "You better get your shit together if you don't wanna lose—!" 

Without warning, he lunged forward, keeping one fist poised and ready to blow another explosion in your direction. You exhaled weakly, locking onto his gaze with your own. Specks of golden light flitted through your (e/c) orbs, and you remained absolutely motionless as Katsuki came thundering towards you.

"Ah, shit!" he cursed, realizing that for the second time he'd fought against you, his attack had missed its mark. He must've understood almost immediately that he'd just attacked a projection of your body, rather than the real thing, but you were already beside him and revving up for your next assault. 

Namely, your knee to his crotch. 

"FUCKING HELL!!" 

It seemed like even the almighty Katsuki wasn't immune to having his groin so mercilessly attacked. Granted, you also felt like it was a pretty cheap move, but you were facing off against a guy, and you felt like it would be stupid not to aim for his weak spot. 

You staggered away almost immediately, watching as Katsuki clamped a hand across his mouth in order to hold back the urge to vomit. His eyes narrowed into slits. 

"(Name), you—did you seriously just knee me in the fucking balls??! You little—ah, fuck!" 

You smiled apologetically. "Sorry, Katsuki-kun. I know it was kind of a dirty move...but still! I'm not losing this time around!" 

A sphere of light encased your body as you lunged back towards him. It was your attempt at a shield, although you knew with how strong Katsuki was, it wouldn't hold up very well. Still, it was better than nothing, and even though the blonde was clutching his groin with one hand, the other was extended outwards and ready to attack.

"This is for my dick, you little shithead!!" 

Katsuki grimaced as he unleashed another blow. You felt your feet be pushed backwards on the coarse terrain, but your shield was still holding up—at least, for now. You zipped forward at the speed of light once more, landing a punch square in his stomach. Truthfully, you felt a bit bad. If he wasn't feeling nauseous from your attack before, he definitely was now. 

"Cut. That. Shit. Out!" Katsuki roared, forcing you back with an explosion once again. This time, you could feel your knees threatening to buckle underneath you; using your Quirk so recklessly was taking its toll on your stamina. That "shield" of yours was practically useless now too, and you couldn't afford to waste any more energy making another. 

I think...I can deal with the pain. Even if I'm getting tired, I probably have enough in me to zip fast a couple more times, but even if do that, I just CAN'T force him out of the arena. He won't budge, and he'll just keep standing his ground and using his explosions...

You were genuinely at a loss as to what to do. Your body was a flushed, hot mess, littered with scrapes, soot, and burns all over. On his end, Katsuki looked relatively unscathed—save for the more tender regions you'd so shamelessly attacked. You noticed that his arms were actually twitching though; you imagined that meant that he was also starting to go over his Quirk's limits. 

A weary sigh escaped your lips. Maybe, just maybe, he was beginning to tire out. Hell, if you kept using your light-speed to rush over and land a few punches, you might actually have a shot at winning this thing. You knew that he would never even consider giving up, but if you wore him out enough, he would get careless and his body would be easier to force out of bounds. 

Your expression slowly lit up.

That...could actually work. I might actually have a chance at winning if I do that.

Katsuki snorted. "Someone's sure lookin' smug. You think that just because you got a few hits on me, your victory's been assured? Dream on, (Name)—the real fight's only just now getting started." 

Without warning, he propelled himself forward with an explosion. Your brows rocketed; up until now, he'd been on-guard and waiting to blow you back every time you tried to get close, but it seemed like he'd gotten over his pain and was tired of waiting. Which was bad. You could handle going after him, but if he he came after you...

"S-stop!" 

You cried out in vain, and he was already too close for you to manage an escape. Katsuki's body came crashing atop of your own, an explosion forcing you down onto the cold, brittle ground. You couldn't even scream this time—the scalding heat of his fist had collided right against your sternum, and you felt all the air rush out of your lungs. 

All at once, you couldn't breathe. Katsuki took this as an opportunity to grip down on both your arms and pin you to the ground. His gleaming, crimson orbs were staring right into your own. 

"Nice try," he rasped. "But it didn't work. You got any other moves up your sleeve or are you gonna call it quits right here?" 

The blonde was keeping your body adhered to the terrain. You could feel some coarse, clunky bits of soil poking up and into your back, but that pain was all secondary. You were more concerned about the fact that you still couldn't breathe, and had now transitioned onto a stage of frantic gasps. 

Katsuki frowned. "Hey, (Name)—say something. You givin' up or not?" 

You were trying to form a reply; you really, truly were. But you just couldn't. All you could do was gasp for breath, and feel how every respire forced another blade down into your chest. You just couldn't breathe, and your eyes were slowly rolling back into your head.

Katsuki's expression did a full 180. 

"(Name)?" he prodded, gently shaking you by the shoulders. He'd long since loosened his grip on your wrists, and was now trying to prop you upright. "Oi!" he cried out, growing increasingly more agitated. "This isn't fucking funny, you hear me?! If you can talk, then say something, goddammit!" 

You could hear Midnight's voice chime in. "Is she conscious? Has she admitted defeat?" 

"I-I don't fuckin' know!" Katsuki spluttered. "Her eyes are open but she ain't saying shit! OI! (NAME), I SAID! ANSWER ME, ALREADY!"

You could hear the way his voice spiked with concern, but you still hadn't managed to escape your fit of gasps. You didn't even remember how to breathe, and it was beginning to seem like you never would again. The explosion that had hit you square in the center of the chest was still making your lungs burn; you almost wondered if they'd been melted from the inside out. 

Katsuki grappled you by your sides and turned you over and onto your knees. He steadied you by your hips and let your head hang forward slightly. It still hurt like fucking hell every time you tried to take a breath, and it sounded like the audience was getting pretty frustrated with the stalemate. Some were urging him to kick you out of bounds and finish you off; others had once again stood up to boo him for being so violent with a girl. It didn't seem like Katsuki gave a shit, though. If anything, he'd forgotten about the match altogether and was now slowly focused on you. 

"Come on," he urged, grinding down onto his teeth. "Just try to breathe. Slowly, just—fuck, I don't know. Just breathe, okay??" 

"Bakugou," Midnight cut in. "If (Name) is unable to continue then pull her out of bounds and we can—" 

"WILL YOU IDIOTS JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY AND LET ME TAKE CARE OF HER?!!" 

Your body jolted at the reverberating cry. With a violent shudder, you dry-heaved onto the ground, finally managing to inhale a breath of air. Katsuki cried out something from beside you, but you pushed him away as quickly as you could manage, clumsily rising to your feet. 

He stared at you in bewilderment. "Are you—?" 

"I'm fine," you coughed, tears rolling down your cheeks. "I can still...fight." 

Midnight gave you a hasty look over and decided that if you said you were fine, then you definitely were. U.A had always been pretty lax when it came to the students' safety, it seemed; or they just didn't give a fuck. It was better this way, though. There was no way in hell you were going to give up now

Katsuki opened his mouth in protest, but you'd already zipped over to his side and punched him right in the jaw. This time, you felt the exhaustion seeping into your limbs; your punch barely had any strength behind it, either. Katsuki stood motionless, barely even wincing from your attack, and watched as you shuffled backwards to lunge again.

"Not yet," you gasped, head fuzzy from your previous state of asphyxiation. "I'm not...done yet. Katsuki-kun, stop standing around. We said we were going to fight each other properly, right? In that case, you should've won...long ago. But you're holding back on me, even though you said you wouldn't..." 

Katsuki said nothing. His hands were fallen to his sides, and there wasn't even a glint of aggression in his eyes. He didn't even need to speak any words for you to know what he was thinking, and the truth was, you knew it, too.

This is as far I go. 

"No..." you whimpered, tears blurring your vision. "I'm not done yet. Katsuki-kun, I'm not done yet. I'm not done. I'm not—" 

"(Name)." 

He said your name just as you fell to your knees, eyes rolling back into your skull. Katsuki rushed forward to catch you before you could collapse onto the ground. Instead, your head lolled to the side and found itself nestled against Katsuki's chest. Your consciousness was readily fading, but you knew you felt his strong arms cradle your body, and that you heard the words that followed.

"You did a damn good job," Katsuki mumbled. "I'm proud of you...(Name)." 

Chapter Text

You awoke in the nurse's office. 

Recovery Girl was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, and your friends had also collected by your bedside—Uraraka, Izuku, and Iida, respectively. You briefly recalled the fact that you'd passed out from both exhaustion and pain after your battle with Katsuki, which meant that the second round had officially been wrapped up.

And that you'd...lost.

Uraraka was eyeing you with a worried expression, and you couldn't help but scrunch up your nose. Sure, you'd pretty much been expecting to lose, but the fact that you'd come so close...it just felt like a waste now. You'd actually managed to put up a fight against Katsuki; the sensation of having your victory torn away after forming a shred of hope hurt even more. Still, you couldn't say that things were that bad, after all—

Back then...he said he was proud of me, didn't he? 

That thought alone helped pacify the frustration of your loss. You might've been imagining it, but when he'd been facing you back there, he almost looked worried. He was near-frantic, scrambling in every way possible to get you to breathe. You might've lost the battle, yes, but it felt like you'd gotten closer to him—even if just a little. 

"How are you feeling?" Uraraka asked, brows creasing with concern. "I felt them too, so I know those explosions hurt a ton..." 

"Mm. I'm fine, though. Don't worry," you smiled. "I feel a little bitter about my loss, but overall...I would say that I'm happy with how things worked out." 

Izuku and Iida frowned back at each other, as if they couldn't understand what was so fantastic about losing. Uraraka, however, understood without you needing to explain any further. Her brown eyes softened, and the small smile tugging at her lips told you that she knew you were talking about Katsuki. 

"Well, that's good then," she acquiesced. "If you're happy right now, then so am I."

Your friends murmured a few more words of consolation, and then they were gone, at Recovery Girl's request. You were still feeling a bit groggy and out of it, but you were no longer in pain. She told you she'd be able to let you go after a quick, final examination. 

"Look to the left," she instructed; then, alternately— "now to the right." 

You followed her commands while she shone a light in your eyes. She pressed down on certain areas of your skin a few times, probably to ascertain there were no damaged blood vessels, and then let out a hum of approval. 

"Would you lift up your shirt for me, sweetheart?" When she noticed you frown, Recovery Girl chuckled. "No, no—there's no need to expose yourself. I just want to have a look at your hip; I saw something strange there earlier." 

"O-oh. Sure thing."

You gingerly raised the edge of your shirt, revealing the hip with the writing scrawled across it. She hadn't specified which hip, but you figured she'd been referring to your mark nonetheless. 

"It's a soulmate tattoo," you explained. "That's probably what you saw when you were examining me. It's nothing special, but I've had it all my life." 

Recovery Girl's expression fell for just a moment, but she hurried to compose herself. "Ah, yes," she coughed. "That must've been what I saw. Forgive me. It's nothing." 

You shrugged, pulling your shirt back down. Maybe having a soulmate really was a pretty rare thing to come by; people always looked to be in such awe over it. Before, having a soulmate mark was a more frequent occurrence, you'd heard, but as Quirks became more commonplace, the number of people having a soulmate had also died down. You didn't exactly know how it worked—something to do with people's genes, most likely—but in any case, it was clear that people like you and Katsuki were on the decline. You supposed it couldn't be helped if others found it interesting. 

"Well, thanks for your help, Recovery Girl." You smiled and slowly slid off the bed; a bit of fatigue lingered, but you were definitely well enough to walk. "I feel much better now. You really do such amazing work. You're actually kind of my role model," you blushed. "If possible, I'd like to help people the way you do..." 

She smiled back. "No need to thank me, dear. Just take of yourself, alright?" 

You nodded boisterously, eager to return so that you could watch the semi-finals. Making sure to flash the heroine another grin, you sped out the room and headed for the arena. Recovery Girl's expression sank the moment the door clicked shut. 

"That poor, sweet girl...her soulmate bond is beginning to fade away." 

 

 

 

 

 

You were worried that you might've missed the first round of the semi-finals, but it seemed like you hadn't been passed out for too long, and that there was still a small break. If you recalled, Todoroki was to face off against Iida, and Katsuki was going up against Tokoyami. You hummed contentedly; even if he wouldn't see you watching, you wanted to be there to cheer him on. 

"You've got to be the happiest damn underdog I've ever seen." 

Your feet froze, and you tilted your head to find Katsuki reclined against the wall. He had his arms crossed, and pushed himself away with a small scowl.

"Oh," you blinked. "Katsuki-kun. What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be getting ready for the semi-finals?" 

"What's there to get ready for? I'm gonna kick that bird-beak's ass, anyways." 

"Uhh, if you say so. But still, what are you doing over here if—" 

Oh. 

Your cheeks began to burn.

Was he waiting for me to get out of the nurse's office...? 

Katsuki probably realized what assumptions you were making, and it didn't take long for his cheeks to blot in turn. 

"S-stop lookin' at me with that moronic expression," he huffed. "I didn't come here for you. I just didn't have anywhere better to go, alright?" 

You smiled. "Sure." 

"I told you you're wrong!

"Okay, Katsuki-kun. I believe you." 

The blonde furrowed his brows. He gave you a quick look-over with those gleaming, crimson eyes of his—probably trying to ascertain for himself that you were alright. 

"How you feeling?" he asked. "You can breathe normally now, right?" 

"Yep," you smiled. "I'm all good. Thanks for worrying." 

He snorted. "Who the fuck said I was worrying?" 

"You just asked me how I was feeling." 

"...Shut up." 

You giggled. One way or another, the tension between the two of you had been completely diffused. It had been a very difficult day, what with all ups and downs the two of you had been through, but right now...thinks felt good; stable. Maybe that battle was really something that the two of you had needed, to face each other honestly and lay all your emotions on the line. With that out of the way, it really did feel like a weight had been lifted. 

"Hey...Katsuki-kun?" You glanced up at the blonde, pressing your lips together. "Can I do something? Without you getting mad?" 

He narrowed his eyes. "What exactly is this 'something'...?"

"I can't tell you. Or you'll probably get mad." 

"The fuck—?! Then how am I supposed to know if I'm okay with it or not?!" 

You fidgeted awkwardly, shuffling your shoulders forward. It was probably a really silly thing to ask permission for in the first place, but you could only imagine the fit he'd throw if he wasn't okay with it. In fact, no—really, you were just making excuses for yourself. If you wanted to...you just had to go for it. 

Here goes nothing...

Inhaling sharply, you pressed up on the balls of your feet and leaned in to give Katsuki a quick peck on the cheek. The kiss was so fast he barely had time to process what was happening—only after you pulled your lips away from his flushed skin did he show any sign of a reaction. 

But boy, oh boy, did he react

"YOU—!" Katsuki cried out, wagging his index finger at you as if you were some kind of ghost. "Did you just—are you—WHAT?!" 

Your stomach began to churn almost immediately. You'd been expecting him to be surprised, yes, but not this surprised. Katsuki's complexion had flushed scarlet; nearly the same shade as his vibrant eyes—which in turn had widened into saucers. He looked embarrassed, that was easy enough to see, but that was it

Just embarrassment—no sign whatsoever that he was even a little bit happy. You found your palms rising to veil your mortified expression. How could you be so stupid

"I-I'm so sorry," you croaked. "I didn't know it would upset you this much. Please just forget this ever happened...!" 

"(Name), wait—!" 

You didn't give him so much as another second to speak; already, you had rushed off in an attempt to get as far away from the ash blonde as possible. Katsuki watched as your feet scrambled clumsily across the floors, skidding ever so often until they finally turned the bend at the end of the corridor. Only once he'd ascertained that you were gone did he raise his hand, fingers prodding the area you'd kissed. 

His face flushed even deeper. 

"...You moron," he sighed. "I never said I didn't like it." 

 

 

 

 

[Katsuki's POV]: 

 

Katsuki didn't see you from that point onward, but he figured it was for the best. He'd moved past the semi-finals without so much as a sweat, and what awaited were the finals—there, he would face that half-assed piece of shit. And after what had happened earlier, running into you again would prove more so a distraction than anything else. 

Even now, he could still feel your warm lips brushing up against his temple. Katsuki shuddered involuntarily, a blush racking his entire body. He gritted his teeth. 

Focus, dumbass. The only thing that matters right now is WINNING

It wasn't as though he was in a foul mood or anything; rather, what had happened earlier had been fucking amazing—even if he wouldn't admit to it. But it was frustrating to have his mind wander where it shouldn't, especially when he was going up against that two-haired bastard. 

"Ah, shit!" Katsuki groaned, finding none other than Todoroki when he swung the door open. "Why are you here?!" He hurriedly glanced towards the door, only then realizing that it was the wrong waiting room. "Fuck—this is waiting room two? Ah, goddammit!" 

Todoroki spent all of two seconds looking at him before turning away.

This fucking asshole. 

"Now, now," Katsuki grimaced. "What kind of attitude is that for your opponent in the finals, huh? I'm talking to you, half-assed!!" 

He slammed his fist down onto the table, sparking off an explosion in between his fingers. Todoroki didn't even bat an eyelash; that nonchalant attitude of his just pissed Katsuki off even more.

Finally—

"How is (Name) feeling?" 

Katsuki blinked. "Huh?" 

"She was hurt," Todoroki deadpanned. "During your match—she blacked out, didn't she? I was asking if you'd gone to see how she was doing afterwards." 

The blonde didn't even have the words. He'd hated this asshole right off the get-go, especially after hearing his backstory and realizing that he was holding back with his powers. What kind of dumbass would purposefully limit themselves? Katsuki couldn't for the life of him understand. So, it was well-established that he wasn't at all fond of Todoroki, but now hearing him asking about you, too—

He hated it. 

Again, he remembered the timid kiss you'd presented him with earlier. This time, he wasn't trying to force it to the back of his mind. He remembered it because he wanted to, and hearing your name fall from Todoroki's lips made him feel more pissed off than he could put into words. A sensation was steadily bubbling up through his chest, and Katsuki realized his frustration with a clench of his fists. 

You were his soulmate. He'd been trying to act as though it was unimportant; a nuisance, really, but he now had the urge to claim you as his own. He didn't want any guy—especially not this fuckface—talking about you as if you were such good pals. 

"Fuck off," Katsuki spat. "Who the hell gave you permission to ask me questions? I'll tell you right now—I don't give a shit about your family circumstances. You better come at me with all you got during this match. If I see you holding back I swear I'll fuckin' kill you." 

Katsuki didn't even glance back to see Todoroki's brows arch in surprise; he'd already stormed out the room with a nasty scowl plastered across his brow. He wasn't an idiot—he could feel how childish and idiotic he was acting, but he just didn't give a shit. For the first time, this soulmate bond was starting to feel pretty good, and he couldn't keep a smirk from tugging at his lips. 

The realization that you were his, and his only—Todoroki and all the rest could dream on about being with you, but they would never stand a chance. Everything had already been decided by the will of the cosmos. You were his, and he...

He was now yours. 

Chapter Text

The finals were about to begin, and for various reasons, you were a nervous wreck

Sure, the fact that Katsuki was facing off against the other strongest member of the class was a bit worrisome, but you had faith in his strength. He wasn't the type to ever admit defeat; hell, you were convinced he'd sooner die than ever say those words. That was a problem in itself, plus there there was also the fact that you'd kissed him earlier, and you still felt like a total moron for doing it. 

You didn't really know what you'd been expecting, but you realized that some part of you was hoping that he would've been happy, not just stunned and at a loss for words. Then again, maybe you were asking for too much. It had barely been a peck on the cheek, but even still—

I'm so damn embarrassed over it. 

"What's wrong?" Uraraka frowned. "I feel like I've been saying this a lot today, but...you've sure been looking real out of it." 

You chuckled awkwardly. "Uh, no, I'm just feeling a bit nervous—Katsuki-kun's about to fight, after all. I know he probably doesn't need me to worry about him, but the anticipation's really killing me..." 

"You look more than just nervous, though. Something else is up, I'm sure of it." 

"N-no. There's nothing going on, I swear." 

For probably the millionth time that day, your best friend let out a lofty sigh. She could tell that it had something to do with Katsuki, that much you were sure of, but she was a good friend and knew when to respect your privacy. You'd never kept anything from her before though, so you imagined how this situation must've been a little frustrating. It was frustrating for everyone, really. What would your life had been like if your soulmate was someone else?

Less stressful, probably. 

You chuckled inwardly, giving a slow shake of your head. By now you knew better than to try and refute your situation. He was your soulmate—end of discussion. You could take it or leave it, and if things kept progressing the way they had been, things would be just fine. 

Everything would be fine, right? 

"...And now for the finals!!" 

Already, Present Mic had begun with the start-of-the-match announcements. You felt your chest tighten as you saw Katsuki stepping out onto the arena from his respective side. Todoroki was coming in from the other, and before long, the two soon-to-be competitors were staring each other down from opposite ends of the ring. You were seated god-knows how many yards away, and you could still feel the tension between the two of them. 

Katsuki was glaring like usual, while Todoroki's expression was vacant at best. He was incredibly hard to read; you wondered if he even got nervous at all, or if his emotions were really so nonexistent. If you'd made it to the finals, you were sure you would've been shaking in your boots right about then. 

"(Name)-chan, you're cheering for Kacchan, right...?" Izuku spared you a timid glance, to which you slowly bobbed your head in response. 

"Well...yeah," you mumbled. "He's been talking about taking first ever since the opening ceremony. It'd be a shame if he didn't get to after all the work he put in." 

Your friends exchanged a few looks among one another before smiling. Your cheeks flushed instinctively. 

"W-what is it?" you asked. 

"Hmm, nothing," Uraraka grinned. "You just seem really different whenever you talk about him now. This must be what they mean by the aura of a maiden in love!" 

"Oh, stop it." You playfully smacked her shoulder, prompting a small giggle in response. The brunette bobbed her head forward and extended her index finger. 

"Shh. It's about to start now. You have to cheer on your boyfriend, right?" 

You let out a flustered huff, but decided that correcting her wasn't worth the effort. Besides, she wasn't that far from the truth, anyways. If you were soulmates, it would mean that you'd even be married someday—a thought which made your cheeks burn even more. You were lucky the battle had just begun, otherwise you were sure you would've drowned in your own embarrassment. 

"—And Todoroki is the first to strike, with a preemptive surge of ice!!" 

You clenched your fists, watching as your soulmate's opponent unleashed a massive first blow. Katsuki was quick to retaliate, sparking off explosions left and right, but it seemed like the ice was steadily encasing him and he was already on the verge of being pushed off the arena. 

Please no, not like this...!

Your bottom lip quivered at the sight before you, and you could only hold your breath as you heard a dull echo from within the icy enclosure. Todoroki stood absolutely motionless, waiting to see how his opponent would retaliate. Finally—

"As I would get done in so soon, half-assed!!" 

You didn't even realize that you were smiling as Katsuki carved his way through the ice and propelled himself towards Todoroki's side. He screamed out a curse at the top of his lungs, grabbed the boy by the hair and sleeve, and threw him towards the opposite end with all his might. The only thing that kept Todoroki from falling out of bounds was the thick layer of ice that caught him right at the edge. 

"Ah, damn," you grimaced. "So close." 

The match was unraveling so quickly that you barely even dared to blink. Katsuki had taken note of Todoroki's brief falter near the arena's edge, and he took it as an opportunity to lunge back after him and spark off an explosion in his palms. Oddly enough, he wasn't striking the boy head-on—rather, it seemed like he was deliberately gunning for his left side. All at once, you remembered the conversation you'd listened in on earlier that day. 

"I will get to the top without needing to use my left sidethis is my total disavowal of my shitty old man." 

You saw it in the way Katsuki's lip quivered when Todoroki sent him flying backwards rather than using his flames; he was challenging him, to see if his opponent would unleash his full power, and yet Todoroki seemed unwilling to do anything of the sort. 

Katsuki staggered backwards, quickly regaining his footing after sliding down the icy structure. He ran the back of his hand across his chin, eyes narrowing into slits. 

"You still won't use it, huh?" he rasped. "So then, what? Are you trying to say that I'm not strong enough for you to need your full power? That's what you're trying to say, aren'tcha?!" 

Todoroki's eyes widened; your own followed soon enough. 

"How fucking dare you?!" Katsuki roared. "Stop making a fuckin' fool out of me, you shitty half-assed!! The first place I'm gonna be taking is the real fucking deal—I can't prove myself if I win against some shithead who's not even trying! If you don't even have any intention of winning, then don't stand here before me!!" 

Katsuki broke out into a run, and even still, Todoroki didn't move an inch.

"WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU STILL STANDING HERE, ASSHOLE?!!" 

In truth, you didn't know what did it for you—it could've been the intensity of Katsuki's screams, or the shrill despair that laced his voice; or maybe it was the expression on Todoroki's face, that showed how totally and utterly lost he was. It could've been all these factors combined, but more than anything, you realized that it also had to do with the searing pain that had erupted on your hip. It cut through your skin like a blade, and you felt it send send a shock that rippled up your spine. 

It hurt, and it made you realize just how much he was hurting in this very moment. 

After all, why wouldn't he be? For someone who yearned to be nothing but the best, and was determined to prove himself to all the rest, to achieve victory in such a way could only be described as meaningless; an insult, really. It was a kick in the face to all that he stood for, and quite frankly—

It pissed you off.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, TODOROKI-KUN?!!" 

Your friends could only gape as you stood up to scream from the stands, and even with the embarrassment racking your core, you were still far from done. 

"Can't you see that Katsuki-kun is facing you with all he has?! How can you just stand there and not be willing to do the same??! You want to be a hero too, don't you?! In that case, don't just roll over and give up now!!" 

The boy's mismatched orbs trembled as they locked onto your frame. You gritted your teeth, uncaring as to who was even staring at you anymore. 

"If you don't take Katsuki-kun seriously, I swear I'll never forgive you...!!" 

You didn't know if your words would have any effect, and you realized you'd definitely overstepped your bounds, but you didn't give a shit. All this time you'd spent trying to understand what kind of person your soulmate was, and to see them get undermined like this? You just wouldn't stand for it. You couldn't bear to see Katsuki be faced with such disappointment, and as chance would have it, your words did get through to Todoroki—you couldn't even describe the relief you felt when you saw those smoldering flames lap up his left side. 

Katsuki could only look up at you in bewilderment, looking just as stunned as Todoroki had a moment prior. He'd seen the flames burst out from his opponent, and he must've realized that he had you to thank for that. 

Because for just a moment, you knew that Katsuki was smiling at you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If only things could have ended on such a good note. 

"Mr. First Place isn't looking too happy there." 

"Yeesh, is that Bakugou??" 

"He's like a wild animal, seriously." 

You could only let out a sigh. It was currently the awards ceremony, and the finals had ended in a less-than-satisfactory manner. Todoroki must've had some residual doubts about using his powers; he cancelled his flames at the last moment, effectively admitting his defeat. Katsuki had blown him away with his last attack, but when he got up, he knew that his opponent had given up right at the end, and he could hardly keep himself from rushing over and screaming at the top of his lungs. He had to be put to sleep with the use of Midnight's Quirk, and now...well...

He was throwing a fit, plain and simple. 

"Sorry, (Name)-chan." Uraraka flashed you an apologetic look, awkwardly twiddling her thumbs. "I guess this really was the worst possible ending you could've asked for. Ugh, I don't really know what to say, but...stay strong, alright?" 

Izuku nodded from beside her. You actually wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, but you were finding it a little difficult to be humorous right now. 

"Thanks guys, but there's no need to feel bad for me—I'm not the one who's most disappointed, after all. He'll probably be upset about this for a while, so I'll just try and keep my distance in the meantime; until it passes." 

"That's probably for the best," Izuku agreed. "Once Kacchan's fuse has been lit, just trying to go anywhere near him is a risk..." 

"Yeah...I learned that the hard way," you sighed. 

You were definitely frustrated for him, and you wished that things could've worked out better, but there wasn't much you could do at this point. Katsuki had even told you himself—when he was in a particularly bad mood, giving him space was really the best thing you could do. It wasn't something you wanted to do, but as his soulmate, you needed to respect his wishes and keep his best interests in mind. You were sure that once the whole thing blew over, the two of you would be fine anyways. 

I just wish I could hug him right now...

You sighed again. It was unfortunate, but nobody had the luxury of hand-picking what type of person they'd end up with; these things just sort of happened. And so, with a weary smile, you watched the awards ceremony unfold in all of its glory—from Tokoyami graciously accepting his third place medal, right up to Katsuki screaming and refusing his medal until All Might had to forcibly cram it in between his teeth. It was a wild ride, that was for sure, and you'd honestly never been more relieved for something to be over. You couldn't wait to get home and have a nice, relaxing bubble bath. 

Katsuki had been chained to his pedestal during the awards ceremony, but after much consoling and a ton of patience on the teachers' part, they finally released him from his bindings. He was currently gritting his teeth and mumbling curses under his breath; the medal was stuffed into his pocket, but you were sure he would've thrown it away if not for All Might's insistence that he keep it. You were all to board the bus and stop to regroup at U.A grounds before heading home for the day, which meant that someone would have to sit next to a very angry Katsuki; whoever the poor soul may be, you already felt bad for them. Either way, you knew what you had to do right now, and it was to give him as much space as possible so that he could—

"(Name)." 

You blinked. Surely you must've been hearing things, otherwise you couldn't understand why the angry blonde in question was calling out to you.

A bit begrudgingly, you turned to look back at him. "Yes?" 

"Come here," he said; or rather, ordered. All things considered, you didn't know if getting too close to him was the best idea, but then again, he was the one who'd called out to you—he couldn't fault you for just listening, now could he? 

"What is it?" you asked, as gently as you could manage. 

Katsuki narrowed his eyes. "I said come here." 

"Uh, I am here though?" 

"No, not there—here. Come closer." 

You swallowed hard, suddenly feeling a bit wary. You couldn't help but wonder if he was going to start screaming at you and use you as some sort of punching bag for him to take his anger out on. It sounded barbaric and far-fetched, but hey—he wasn't exactly in the best mood right now.

Still, you did your best to appease him. A small smile rose to your lips, and you shuffled closer to him; until your shoulders were grazing and chests nearly pressed up against one another. 

"What is it?" you asked again. "Are you feeling alright? I mean—sorry, I know you're not feeling that great right now, but I mean...is there anything else on your mind? That you wanted to talk to me about?" 

Katsuki shook his head. "I don't want to talk." 

"Huh? Then why did you—ah!" 

You couldn't help the small squeal that escaped your lips when you felt his arms wrap around your back. It all happened so quickly; before you knew it, his head was buried in the crook of your neck, and all of the air was being squeezed out of your trembling frame. A shudder racked your body, and it felt as though you'd even forgotten how to breathe. 

"K-Katsuki-kun...?" you croaked out, only feeling more flushed as the seconds passed. "Can I just—" 

"Don't say anything," he breathed. "I just want to hug you. I'm pissed at fucking everything and everyone right now, other than you. If I try to talk, I'll just end up yelling at you without even meaning it, so just—I wanna just stay like this, okay?" He hugged you tighter. "Please." 

If you hadn't already turned to mush before, then you definitely had just now. Really, how could you possibly turn him down when he was being so damn cute? 

"...Okay," you mumbled, allowing your own arms to fall around his back. "We can just stay like this, without talking, if that's what you want to do. I'll wait here as long as it takes." 

Katsuki nodded wordlessly, easing himself into your embrace. You needed to board the bus soon, and you were sure that there were people watching the two of you right now, but you just didn't care. He'd gone out of his way and actually come to you when he was feeling upset—not the opposite. Even in spite of all his protests and him telling you that he wanted to be left alone in such moments, he'd actually felt the need to with you, his soulmate, and that said something. 

It was a change—for the better.  

I doubt we'll actually be allowed to stay out here much longer, but if he wanted me to...I could probably hug him for hours. 

You flushed at the thought, thankful for the fact that Katsuki's head was buried against your neck and he couldn't see how red you were. You felt the air rush by your skin as he inhaled through his teeth.

"...(Name)," he murmured.

"Yes?" 

"I still don't want to talk." 

"I know," you smiled, gently caressing the back of his head. "You don't need to say anything. I don't mind." 

"I don't want to talk," he repeated, "But about what you said back then; in the arena...I liked it. I liked that you put that asshole in his place, and that you stood up to say all that. I know you said it because I was pissed, so...thanks. For trying to help." 

Your chest felt like it was on the verge of collapse. Seriously, you couldn't even believe those words were coming out of his mouth—when he'd been screaming at the top of his lungs a few minutes earlier, no less. 

"I'm glad," you mumbled. "I wanted to help, even if it was just a little."

"...One more thing." 

"Yes?" 

Katsuki's arms squeezed your body tighter than ever before. You might've been imagining it, but it was almost as though you could feel how red his cheeks were purely from the heat of his skin against your own. It was stiflingly hot, yet pleasant all the same.

He drew in a shaky breath. 

"I liked it when you kissed me, too."

Chapter Text

With all the buzz and excitement from the Sports Festival, it only seemed fair to allow the students the next few days off to get back to reality.

The truth was that even now, with yesterday's events behind you, it still felt like you were in that stadium; the audience's cheers would continue to echo in your ears. You remembered your loss, as frustrating as it was, and you also remembered the loss of your soulmate—including the whole mess that had followed. It really had been a day to remember; one that you were sure would hold steadfast in your memory, but you'd be lying if you said that the Sports Festival itself was the most memorable part of the day. After all—

"I liked it when you kissed me." 

You felt silly clasping your palms up against your cheeks and getting giddy as you replayed his words, but you just couldn't help it. Those had been the last words Katsuki had spoken to you—before you'd been instructed to board the bus and the two of you had sat apart from each other out of sheer embarrassment. Granted, you also knew that he was definitely still upset with the way his "victory" had played out, but you liked to think that your time with him had helped, even if only a little.

Things just finally felt...right between the two of you. It had taken some time to get to this point, but you actually felt excited about the way your relationship was progressing, and you found yourself wanting to see him more and more. 

"Honey? What's wrong?" your mother frowned, spooning your breakfast into your plate. "You're biting your lip again." 

"Huh? Oh, it's nothing. I was just remembering some things...." 

"Ah," she smiled. "About the Sports Festival, I presume?" 

You flushed. "Well, kinda." 

She nodded her head, a small smile playing at her lips. You'd mentioned to her about finding out about your soulmate very briefly, but your parents were generally pretty good with respecting your privacy—they knew when not to push you, or pry too far. It was clear that they were dying to see what kind of person your fated one was, but it would all come in time; one day, you were sure you'd bring Katsuki home with a bright smile and introduce him to your family. 

"Alright, then." Your mother patted down her skirt, picking up a napkin to blot her lipstick. "I need to head to work now. You be good today, alright? You've earned a break, so if you want to go out with your friends, just make sure to check that you've locked the door and turned off all the lights. And send me a message if you plan on staying out late, okay?" 

"Okay," you smiled. "I'll do that. Bye, mom." 

"Bye, sweetie. Try to take it easy for now, alright? I love you." 

You could hear her shuffling towards the front, and the dull clicking of her heels across hardwood floors as she slipped on her work shoes. Scarcely two minutes later, the door opened and shut; in one fell sweep. You were left alone to chew on your breakfast at a leisurely pace.

Your phone buzzed while you were in the middle of your next spoonful, and you nearly spewed our your bite from how loud the vibration was. You hastily wiped your mouth with a napkin, then reached out to swipe your screen open. It was probably just Uraraka wondering if you were free the rest of the day; maybe she'd invite Izuku and Iida to come along as well. 

Or not—? 

Katsuki: 

[8:45 am] 

Yo. What are you doing today? I'm annoyed as hell and my shitty parents are just pissing me off even more. Let's meet up. 

You blinked slowly, having to read over the message a few times just to get a handle on the situation. Sure, you remembered giving your number to him—during class sometime, in passing. He'd never actually messaged you before though, and you'd been far too nervous to ever try and text him first. And now this. It wasn't even really a request; more so a demand, but he was basically saying that he wanted to see you. So for the first time, he was actually going out of his way to try and spend time with you. 

Would you be wrong in calling it a date then...? 

Me: 

Hey! I honestly wasn't expecting you to message me, so this is a nice surprise :) I'm definitely free today, did you have anything specific in mind? 

Katsuki: 

I don't know. We'll figure it out as we go along or some shit. You know the mall we went shopping for groceries at, right? We can meet there. Or if you wanna tell me your address, I can swing by your place. Your call. 

Me: 

Mall sounds good :) I'll meet you there! 

Katsuki: 

K. Is an hour enough time to get ready or are you gonna take your sweet fucking time? 

Me: 

Oh, haha. Coz girls take forever to pick out clothes, huh? 

Katsuki: 

You didn't even answer my question. 

Me: 

...

Kay I'll just text you when I'm almost ready lol

Katsuki: 

Fuckin' knew it. Alright. Let me know. 

 

A small giggle fell out your lips, and you couldn't help but realize what a nice turn of events this was. On any other day, you would've loved to meet up with Uraraka, but this...well, it was definitely a change for the better. And while Katsuki may not have been considering it a date, you sure as hell were, and you were determined to make your best impression. 

"Okay, then," you huffed, sliding your closet doors open. "Let's see what we're working with here." 

 

 

 

 

 

Me: 

[11:40 am] 

Hellooo. I'm here now, right in front of the fountain. Are you close? :) 

Katsuki: 

The hell? I thought we agreed on meeting at noon. You're early as fuck. 

Me: 

I just didn't want to make you wait :) I don't mind being early

Katsuki: 

Weirdo. You're lucky I'm punctual as fuck. I'm almost there, too. 

Me: 

Yay! Can't wait :D 

Katsuki: 

Weirdo

 

You smiled to yourself, tucking your phone back into your purse. You were excited; so much so that you could barely stop fidgeting, but you also felt nervous.

If it was a meeting with any other guy, you probably wouldn't have felt all this pressure. Yes, he was your soulmate, so you realized that things would unfold however they may, but you still couldn't help the tight sensation in your chest. For probably the hundredth time in the last ten minutes, you patted down your (f/c) dress and let out a long, forlorn sigh. You'd styled your hair in a way that you almost never had the patience to do for school. It looked nice though, so you decided it had been worth the effort. You'd also chosen to wear heels—a decision which you knew you'd come to regret, but alas, beauty and pain went hand-in-hand. 

Overall, you were happy with your appearance. You just couldn't help but wonder if you were overdressed, and if you'd inadvertently put more pressure on yourself just by doing this. 

Ah, well. Too late now. 

You tucked a strand of hair behind your ear, (e/c) orbs scanning the distance for the ash blonde in question. Before long, you could see Katsuki approaching from afar; his hands were shoved into his pockets and his brow was as furrowed as ever as he forced his way in between the crowd. You looked at him for all of two seconds and decided that you were overdressed, but then again, you hadn't been expecting him to dress up extra nice or anything.

He'd thrown on a loose-fitting bomber jacket and wore a tight, white v-neck underneath. He was wearing jeans; his belt was riding as low as ever—you wondered if you should comment about that—and he had on some casual street shoes. Compared to how hard you'd tried for your outfit, his really seemed nonchalant and effortless by comparison, and yet somehow he still looked hot as hell. You didn't know how he did it, and you cursed him for being so attractive (although you'd be lying if you said you weren't happy with how he looked). 

Katsuki waded closer to you, and his eyes fell on your frame before widening into saucers. It almost looked like he did a double-take; he was probably trying to wrap his head around why the hell you were so dressed up. You couldn't help but flush in response, suddenly feeling way more self-conscious than you'd expected.

"Uh, hey," he blinked, lifting a hand to scratch his jaw. "You...really went all-out, huh? I don't know what you were expecting, but I ain't taking you out to a fancy restaurant or anything. Sorry to disappoint, but I don't exactly have that kind of money." 

You chuckled softly. "No, it's fine—I'm just way overdressed, I realize that. I guess I just got a little nervous about us meeting up...and I didn't really dress for the occasion. Does it look bad, though?" 

Katsuki swallowed hard, shaking his head in protest. "No. You look—I mean—ah, shit," he blushed. "I'm horrible with compliments and all that crap, but yeah. It's good. Y-you're good. You look nice." 

Your own cheeks swelled and flushed a deep crimson. The way he fumbled with his words when he got flustered was just too endearing. It was taking all your self-restrain not to jump up and wrap him in a bear hug. 

"T-thanks," you smiled. "You look nice, too. I like seeing you in casual clothing; we're almost always in uniforms around each other, so I never really get the chance. Your really do like riding your pants low, though, huh?" 

"Piss off," he scowled. "They're my damn pants and I can wear 'em however the fuck I want." 

"Aren't you worried they'll fall down though? And then you'll be left in your boxers in front of everyone..." 

"You trying to annoy me or what?!" 

You stifled a giggle, Katsuki only gritting his teeth in return. You'd begun walking towards the food court; it seemed like both of you were intent on filling your bellies before trying to do anything else. It was a bit crowded, but you were able to find a free table without too much trouble. 

"So," Katsuki started. "What are we getting?" 

"Hmm, I don't really know. You said before that you like spicy food, right? Curry or something then?" 

The blonde drummed his fingers across the table-top. You'd taken a seat for now, eyes flitting all over as you tried to figure out what type of food you wanted. You were exactly picky per se, but you liked to take your time a bit when picking out your meals. Unfortunately, your partner for the day had less patience than a five year old, and stood up before you could even come to a decision. 

"We're gettin' pizza," Katsuki declared. "I'm not waiting around an all day just so that you can figure out what the hell you want. I know this place, alright? They have some pretty good shit, so just trust me on this."

You opened your lips to protest, but soon found them curving into a smile. "Okay, then. I'll trust you, Katsuki-kun. Surprise me, okay?" 

"You'll thank me for this later," he smirked. "It'll probably be one of the best damn pizzas you ever—huh? The fuck are you doing?" he frowned, watching as you pulled out your wallet from your purse. "Put that shit back, dumbass. I'm paying." 

"Eh?" you blinked. "But I can—" 

"Put it back." 

"But it's not nice to—" 

"Put it back." 

You let out a weary sigh, deciding it wasn't worth the trouble. You definitely hadn't expected him to insist on paying for you—he wasn't exactly the most gentleman-like type. Him doing this really did make it seem like you were on a date. But then again, maybe that was the point...? 

"Okay, then," you smiled, tucking your wallet away. "Thank you. I appreciate it." 

"Don't thank me. I didn't do shit." 

"But still." 

Katsuki flushed, hurriedly running a hand through his tousled locks. "Whatever. Just sit here, alright? I'll be back soon enough." 

You nodded back at him as he began walking away. The pizza place was nearly on the other side of the food court, but it didn't look like the line was too long, so you weren't worried. You didn't mind waiting, either way. Just the fact that he'd actually gone out of his way to invite you to spend time together—it spoke volumes about how far your relationship had progressed. 

We're not even really doing anything special, but it already feels like it's enough. I wonder if it's okay for me to be this happy...? 

You'd been so caught up in your fluster that you didn't even notice the three figures creeping over towards your side. When you looked up, you could see that a trio of adolescent males had collected beside your table and were looking down at you with expressions that boded for trouble. 

"Hey, pretty lady." The tallest of the three; a boy with raven-black hair, was looking down at you with his lips pulled up into a salacious grin. "You sitting out here all alone?" 

You frowned almost immediately. It wasn't as though you wanted to be pretentious or overly confident, but you'd seen this scenario play out before, and it was pretty clear by their stances and expressions that you were being hit on. 

"Um, hello," you smiled, in the hopes that it didn't give your discomfort away. "I'm actually not alone—I'm waiting here for my friend until he comes back with our food."

The boys didn't seem very much disgruntled by your words, merely chuckling in response. 

"Ah, we got it," another mused. "How 'bout we keep you company in the meantime?" 

"Uh, there's only one other seat though? And he'll be real upset if he comes back to see that someone else has taken his spot..." 

The dark-haired male smiled again; he had a pungent smell—cigarettes, most likely. 

"Not to worry. We'll make room for your friend once he gets back, alright?" 

You opened your mouth to protest once again, but he'd already taken a seat in what had previously been Katsuki's spot. The other two pulled out chairs from a nearby table, and dragged them back towards your own. They were practically sitting in a ringed formation, effectively caging you in place. 

You wanted to just stand up and run away from them, but you felt like doing that would just add even more friction to an already unpleasant situation. Besides, Katsuki had told you to wait for him here—if you just up and rushed away, you couldn't imagine what he would say to you afterwards. Maybe he'd think you were a coward from backing down from a challenge, or not holding your ground. You didn't know. Which is why even though every fiber of your being was screaming at you to leave, you had to muster up the strength to keep your cool. 

"Um, excuse me," you spoke up, furrowing your brows a bit. "I'm not trying to be rude or anything, but if I'm being totally honest, you guys are making me a little uncomfortable...I was just out here trying to have lunch with my friend, and I'm feeling a little cornered right now." 

Raven-hair narrowed his eyes at you. "What's the problem? We're just sitting down and trying to have a chat with you. I'm not asking you to fuck me or anything, god. Why are girls so damn sensitive to every little thing?" 

"Stop being such a prude," another cut in. "Loosen up a little, shit." 

You didn't know what else to say now. Their jaws were clenched and eyes narrowed into slits. Before, they'd just been flirting with you and forcing their way into your table, but now they actually looked hostile—suddenly, getting up and leaving no longer seemed like an option.

What am I getting so worried over? I'm training to be a hero, for god's sake. What's it say about me if I can't endure a little harassment...? I just need to tell them off and

"This is a nice dress," one of them chuckled. You felt your entire body tense up as he ran his hand up and down the fabric by your thigh. Truly, you hadn't expected that they would go so far as to touch you, and the sensation of his fingers skirting dangerously close up your dress made you want to gag. 

"P-please stop," you croaked out, voice quivering more than you would've ever thought. "I really don't appreciate this. I'm going to get upset if you don't leave me alone." 

You tried to swat his hand away, but he'd taken to clamping it down onto your thigh and squeezing down painfully tight. The boy positioned on your other side shuffled closer as a warning; Raven-hair merely chuckled and leaned into the table with another smile. 

"Just relax," he drawled. "We just wanna talk. What's your name, by the way? You were so cute I forgot to ask earlier. I guess I forgot my manners while I was—" 

"Get your filthy hands off her right now before I fucking murder you."

The air you'd been compressing in your chest all but rushed out at the sound of the husky voice. You couldn't even begin to describe the feeling of relief when you saw Katsuki towering over the table, holding a tray of food in each hand. 

Now, normally, guys knew when to back off when they saw or heard that another guy was involved. The chances of being hit on while cruising the streets hand-in-hand with a boyfriend were very low, and telling some persistent flirt that you were already involved with another man was usually enough to get them off your case. It wasn't so much as respect; no, most of these types of people didn't have that sort of decency, but rather the element of fear. If they knew that another guy was in the picture, it would invoke some sort of intimidation; some social cue that messing with this particular girl was the wrong idea. 

Normally, that was the case, but unfortunately it wasn't this time. 

Maybe the assholes you were dealing with were just especially shameless, but they couldn't seem to care less that Katsuki was glaring them down and just about ready to bash their faces in. They could've been cocky, and they also might've thought the fact that there were three of them and only one of him made it an easy battle to win. Whatever the reason, they didn't seem very much intent on backing down.

And that was a huge fucking mistake. 

"I think we're fine right here," Raven-hair smiled. "You left your little friend all alone, so we decided to give her a bit of company. Ah—you can leave the food here, though. Thanks, man." 

Katsuki's glare was venomous at best. He didn't even spare the black-haired boy another glance; he merely slammed the trays down onto the table and waded over towards your side, where the other guy still had his hand clamped down across your thigh. Your eyes barely had time to widen before he'd grabbed the guy by the collar of his shirt and yanked him up and out of his seat. 

"Listen here, shitwipe," he spat. "That's my fucking soulmate that you just put your grubby paws on, and if you're not down on your knees in one second and begging for forgiveness, I swear I'll bash your ugly face in." 

The male grimaced. "Back off, dude. You don't know what you're getting yourself into."

He tried to force Katsuki back by the chest, but the blonde was maintaining a steady grip on him and refused to waver. You could see the way his aggressor was struggling uselessly in his arms; probably just realizing how big the difference in strength was. Katsuki swiveled around him, hooking one arm behind the boy's back and forcing his head down onto the table. You took advantage of the scuffle and hurried to your feet, taking cover behind Katsuki's broad back. 

"Apologize," Katsuki demanded, sparking off explosions dangerously close to the boy's face as a warning. "If you don't apologize to (Name), I'll end your fucking life right here." 

"The hell are you—?!" 

"I SAID APOLOGIZE!!" 

You clasped your hands together and squeezed down tight. By now you'd spent enough time with Katsuki to know that all of his death threats were pure, simple aggression (and sometimes comical gold), and you'd never once taken his words seriously. But now? With the manic look in his eyes and the furious quivering of his entire body, you honestly wondered if he might go through with it, aspiring hero or not. He actually looked that mad.

"Alright, shit!" the boy cried out. "I'm sorry, man! I shouldn't have touched her, okay?" 

Katsuki gritted his teeth; the other two boys were watching with stiff jaws. "Not to me, asshole—apologize to her. Beg for her fucking forgiveness and you better hope she gives it, or else I'm blowing a hole in your brain." 

"I-I'm sorry," he rasped. His head was slammed down onto the table and he couldn't actually glance in your direction, but this time you knew that he was addressing you. "We should've just left you alone. Shouldn't have touched you without your permission—ah, shit! That hurts, man!"

"Fuck off," Katsuki growled. "A low-life like you is no position to complain. So? What do you think, (Name)? Are you in a forgiving mood or should I kill all these bastards?" 

You'd be lying if you said you didn't want to see Katsuki punch them a few times, but as always, your gentle temperament got the best of you. If you were to be a hero, it was inevitable that you would have to deal with far worse people—you could let these losers off the hook for now. 

"I'm fine," you murmured. "I definitely didn't appreciate you guys cornering me like and touching me, but I'll forgive you. I just hope that you'll think twice before pulling this stunt on the next girl."

The guy pinned to the table muttered something under his breath, but begrudgingly moved his his neck as much as it would allow in agreement. The other two mumbled out a half-hearted "sorry", and stood up to make their retreat. Katsuki yanked his captor up by the collar and hair and pushed him forward, nearly knocking him over in the process. You watched as the trio sauntered away, hands forced down into their pockets and occasionally stealing a few glares back over their shoulders. 

You all but collapsed.

"Well, that happened. Sorry...Katsuki-kun." 

"The fuck are you apologizing for?" he snapped. "You should've started yelling at those dirtbags to back off; anything to draw attention to yourself and get other people to look over at you. They would've known to piss off then."

"Yeah...maybe I should've done something like that, but I didn't want to make too much of a big deal over it. I wanted you to think that I could handle myself, too. Now it's just sort of starting to seem like I'm the kind of girl that needs to be rescued all the time, and I don't like that." You shook your head sadly, eyes clouding over. "I just don't want to be a burden to you." 

Katsuki half-rolled his eyes. "What, are you serious? Why the fuck would I ever think of you that way? Are you forgetting I fought you one-on-one during the Sports Festival? I know you're not weak. You needing my help every now and then isn't gonna change that." 

"...Oh. Okay, then. Thanks." 

"Stop thanking me. Just take better care of yourself, fuck." He flicked the tip of your nose, smirking a bit when you crinkled it up. "For the record, I don't mind beating up shitheads like them, but it makes me feel all pissed off to see them coming onto you. Let's try to keep that from happening from now on, alright?" 

"Alright," you smiled. "I'll be better with that from now on." 

"Good." Katsuki moved to take a seat back at the table, but then paused to look you over. "Was that—" he gestured to your thigh "—the only place that shithead touched you?" 

"Uh, yeah. It was mostly just over my dress, but it still made me feel really...icky. I'm fine, though."

He stared at you for a good minute before letting out a soft grunt. 

"You're burning that dress, or throwing it out. I don't fucking care." 

"Eh?" you gaped. "But I like this dress. I wear it pretty often, too. Not to mention that I have it on right now, so I can't exactly just take it off..." 

Katsuki moved forward to grab you by the hand, and you couldn't help but flush when you felt his fingers clamp around your own. You caught faint hues of pink speckling his own cheeks, but he turned around and began tugging you along before you could see much else. 

"Then I guess you'll be needing a new dress, won't you?" 

You opened your mouth to protest, but just couldn't seem to find the words. He was crass and loud, blunt and assertive to a fault, and just moments ago, he'd been threatening to bash someone's head in.

So then why did everything about this feel so right?

Chapter Text

"Are you done with those damn donuts yet? You've been stuffing your face for the last ten minutes." 

"Well excuse me but I'm not the one who left our pizza behind." 

Katsuki scoffed, forcing his hands down his pockets as he rolled his crimson irises. The whole scuffle from earlier had been messy, to say the least—the blonde had been fuming as he dragged you along, and didn't even bother to pick up the food you'd left behind. Then again, it had pretty much become trashed from when he'd slammed the tray down onto the table, so maybe it was better off being discarded. He'd opted to buy you donuts to snack on; this was a much sweeter option anyways. 

"Don't worry," you smiled, licking off the bits of frosted sugar on your fingertips. "I'm all done now. Are you sure you're okay? You haven't really eaten anything since we came here..." 

"It's fine," he shrugged. "Don't worry about me. I don't like sugary crap like that anyways. If you're done then toss the bag out so we can head inside already." 

You nodded slowly, shuffling off towards the nearest garbage can to dispose of your remains. When you were done, you looked back at Katsuki with a frown. 

"I know you said you were gonna buy me a new dress and all...but is that really necessary? What happened earlier wasn't exactly fun, but I'm over it now. Besides, I wouldn't want you to waste your money for no reason. I have more than enough dresses." 

"I'm getting you a new dress," Katsuki glowered. "Those shitheads got their germs all over this one, which means that it needs to be tossed away as soon as possible." 

"I feel like you may be overreacting just a little bit." 

"Shut up." He noticed your expression sink, and let out a hurried sigh before retracting his words. "I'm just—it's not a big deal, alright? Just let me do something nice for you." 

You didn't exactly know what to say, but it was clear that he wasn't coming from a bad place, and you knew you hadn't imagined the worry and frustration plastered across his brow when those assholes had been harassing you. 

He actually cared, and that was saying something. 

"Okay then," you smiled. "I'll let you treat me this time around. But the next time we go out, I'll be getting you something, alright?" 

Katsuki snorted. "As if. Stop saying dumb shit." 

"But you're getting me something nice, so shouldn't I return the favor?" 

"I don't need you to spend money on me, goddammit." He cast his gaze to the side, cheeks flushing red. "You're...here with me right, aren't you? That's good enough, so just relax."

You couldn't help the blush that formed on your own temples. As far as you could tell, Katsuki was by no means a flirty guy—or rather, he didn't even seem like he would know how to be. But even with his abrasive personality and harsh tongue, he could be somewhat smooth at times. Just a few words from him were enough to get you flustered. Seriously, what was happening to you? 

"Here," Katsuki gestured, not taking note of how you'd pressed your palms up against your burning cheeks. "Let's try this store. Look—seems like they'd have a bunch of girly shit, right?" 

You hurriedly pried your hands away, and had to blink twice when you saw what store you were looking at. 

"T-this one? We're going in this store?" 

"That's what I just said," Katsuki snapped. "What's with that dumb look on your face? C'mon, stop standing around and let's just go in and take a look around." 

Katsuki grabbed you by the wrist, and you had to shuffle backwards to avoid being dragged along. "I—there's no way," you protested. "We can't go in there. Do you have any idea how expensive this brand is?" 

The boy merely rolled his eyes. "So?" 

"So?" you gaped. "I'm saying you could be dropping well over a hundred dollars here—easy. It's way out of either of our budgets. Let's just go somewhere else." 

You moved to walk away, but Katsuki's ironclad grip held steadfast against your wrist. He narrowed his eyes in a way that was more so determined than anything else. 

"You need to learn to relax, and stop worrying about other damn people all the time. Would it kill you to just think about yourself for once? I'm saying that I want to buy you this dress—I couldn't give less of a shit how expensive it is. If you find one you like, I'm getting it for you, end of story. Let's just go in and take a look. If you decide you wanna go to another place later, that's fine too, but stop worrying about me. I can afford to get you something nice every once in a while." 

Your eyes widened. Yes, the two of you were soulmates, but he was already treating you as if you were his long-time girlfriend. Was Katsuki really the type to spoil someone like this? You definitely couldn't see it happening with anybody else. 

He can actually be really, REALLY nice. I wouldn't have known...

Giving a slow bob of your head, you mumbled out a breathy "okay." Katsuki's brows unfolded just slightly, and he took to leading you along inside the store. His hand was still tightly clutched around your wrist, and honestly, you never wanted him to let go. 

"Well, you're on your own from here," he muttered. "I don't know shit about fashion and all that crap, even though my damn mom won't shut the fuck up about it half the time." 

"Oh. She's interested in fashion?" 

"I guess. Both my shitty parents work in that industry." 

You decided to gloss over the fact that he'd just called his parents "shitty" and smiled as you skimmed through the clothing racks. At some point, Katsuki had removed his hand from your skin; you were already missing the warmth of his fingertips, and actually had to hold back the urge to outright ask him to hold your hand again. 

"Hmm," you hummed, eyes flickering up towards the blonde. "Well, since you're buying it for me, do you have any preference on what sort of dress you'd want to see me in? Like a favorite color or something...?" 

"Didn't I just say that I don't know jack shit about any of this stuff?" 

"Well yeah, but you must have a preference on what you think looks good." 

Katsuki moved in turn with your frame, running his fingers over the fabric and clenching his jaw. He looked at a loss as to where even to begin

He sighed. "I just don't know. Something tight, maybe? So then it shows your—" He stopped abruptly, a hand flying over his mouth at the realization of what he'd just been about to say. Not that it did much good, since you pretty much knew exactly where he was getting at. 

"To show off what?" you smirked, in spite of how flustered you were. "My curves? My butt? My boo—" 

"S-shut the fuck up already! This is why I didn't want to say shit!!" 

Katsuki was steadily in the process of becoming the human embodiment of a tomato, and this just made you giggle even more. He really was, honest-to-god, adorable at times. 

"It's fine," you chuckled. "I guess I could get a bit of a tighter fit. Hey—you say you don't really know or care much about fashion, but you could still grab things you think would look nice, right? I'll start my own pile, and you can just bring along whatever you find interesting. I'll tell you my size; we save time this way, too." 

Katsuki muttered something under his breath, but decided to go along without much protest. It was actually kind of fun doing this together and imagining what sort of bold, or skimpy dresses he'd bring you back to try on. You'd long since lost track of time, since it seemed like it was going by in a flash. Before long, you regrouped back by the fitting rooms, each with your own pile in hand. 

You hummed contentedly. "Nice," you appraised. "You actually brought me stuff back." 

"The hell—? You thought I wouldn't be able to or some shit?!" 

"No, but I know that this isn't really your idea of fun, so I was half-expecting you to not actually go through with it. I'm glad you did, though." You smiled gently. "Thanks, Katsuki-kun. You're a nice guy." 

"Who the fuck are you calling nice?" he grumbled. "Here—" Katsuki extended his hand and dropped his mound of clothing flat on top of your own. "Now go try those on. And you better show me each and every damn one of 'em." 

This seriously is as if we're dating...

"O-okay," you blushed. "I won't show you the ones that look bad, though. Just the nice ones." 

"Stop being stupid. None of them are gonna look bad on you." 

You turned away almost immediately, and veered straight for the nearest fitting room. If you'd stayed back any longer, Katsuki would've surely noticed the massive blush that ruptured across your cheeks, and you were already too embarrassed as was. From the chivalrous act of saving you from harassment earlier, and now having him throw out compliments too? Was he even the same person anymore?? 

A weary huff escaped your lips. Hoping to distract from the scalding heat on your temples, you began slipping into the first dress sitting at the very top of the messy pile. It was definitely your size, and you were able to slip into it easily enough, but it was very much on the petite side—as in, it scarcely draped down far enough to cover your butt. You were the type of person who generally liked to keep their undergarments to themselves, so this dress was a definite no, but Katsuki had said he'd wanted to see everything...

"Oi! You almost done in there??" 

...And he'd meant it. 

"S-sorry," you croaked out, patting the dress down in the hopes of lengthening it out even only a little. Aside from how short it was, it looked pretty good overall; the color might've been just a tad unflattering, though. But good god, the length. You had to suck in your breath as you stepped outside the fitting room to keep your heart from imploding. 

"O-oh." 

He'd only looked at you for all of two seconds before flushing beet red. It was clear that Katsuki was doing his very best to keep his eyes from staring at the thin fabric that barely veiled the bottom curvature of your buttock. You made sure to keep one hand firmly clamped down on your thighs, for fear that the dress would ride up and expose everything

"Soo, what do you think?" you half-chuckled. In spite of your embarrassment, it felt like laughing about it was probably the best thing to do right now. At the very least, you weren't the only one who looked uncomfortable. 

Katsuki cleared his throat—a few times, actually. His gaze was constantly averting your own, but when he looked back up at you, his cheeks were still just as red and puffy as before. 

"It's...a bit short," he coughed. "I'm not saying it looks bad on you or anything. It actually looks hot as—nice as hell...but it might not be the best thing to wear around. It looked longer when I grabbed it off the racks, I swear. The fuck are they even making dresses this damn short for anyways? I swear this industry is run by fucking perverts." 

"Yeah. I should just move onto the other ones, I guess..." 

You managed a smile, appreciative of the fact that he wasn't undressing you with his eyes—something which was clearly taking a lot of self-restraint not to do. Still keeping the bottom of the dress glued to your thighs by use of your hands, you shuffled back into the fitting room and ripped the dress up and over your head in a matter of seconds. Relief couldn't even begin to describe the sense of liberation you felt once that skimpy thing was off. 

From that point onward, you took a more methodical approach to trying on the dresses. Luckily, it seemed like that really was the only one that was alarmingly short, and the others didn't make you feel so ill-at-ease when clothed in them. As expected, Katsuki had thrown in a couple tighter dresses that hugged your curves and showed a bit of cleavage, but it was all pretty tasteful. You'd actually imagined him throwing you some much more racier designs your way. 

He also made sure to give each and every one of the designs you tried on a thorough look-over, and he never once insulted you—not even if the particular dress wasn't the most flattering. He would simply shrug his shoulders if he didn't have much of an opinion, blush and nod his head wordlessly if he thought it looked pretty on you, and finally—

You found the dress. 

It wasn't anything particularly outlandish or extravagant; you hadn't taken much note of it for that very reason. But when you got to that elegant red fabric, something told you that this was going to be one of the good ones. It was supposed to be a tighter fit, but nothing that suffocated you and practically glued your limbs together; there was just enough comfortable breathing space, and you tried walking around the fitting room with it as well. The length was perfect, the sizing was perfect—hell, you didn't think you'd ever worn a dress that looked any better than the one you had on right now. It just fit you like a glove. 

I hope Katsuki-kun likes this one...!

Barely able to contain your excitement, you all but bounded out the fitting room to parade your new ensemble. Katsuki had been scrolling listlessly through his phone while he was waiting for you, and the patter of your feet made him slowly lift his head. And when he did, the reaction was immediate. 

Up until now, he'd looked a bit flustered while you were showing off all your options, but the expression he wore right now had literally zero ambiguity. His eyes had widened into saucers, and even his lips seemed to have parted into a suppressed gasp. He was gaping at you openly, blushing a shade of red as deep as your dress, and then he...

Smiled. 

It was the weirdest thing, honestly. You'd seen him smirk and stuff before, but it was the first time you were ever seeing a sincere display of happiness. It made your stomach feel queasy, but in a pleasant way, somehow. It was sort of like the "butterflies" sensation people always talked about; you felt warm inside, and choked up at the same time. You remembered the first words you'd spoken to him, about how he'd look so much better with a smile on his face. 

You were definitely right in saying that. 

"Um...Katsuki-kun?" you mumbled timidly. "So how does it look? Do you like—"

"That dress looks fucking amazing on you." 

"Huh? O-oh..." 

You couldn't even manage the right words; your palms came flying up to press at your scalding cheeks. Had you just imagined that, or did Katsuki seriously just give you such a direct compliment? Even if you were trapped in some sort of a dream right now, you were so flustered it was just unreal

"I'm buying it for you," Katsuki declared, stepping in to place his hand on your shoulder. You shuddered a bit when you felt his warm fingers graze your exposed skin; both of you just blushed even deeper. "It's just too damn good to pass up," he murmured. "I can guarantee that wherever we go, we won't find another one that looks this perfect." 

You looked up at him through your lashes. "But...what about the price tag? I think I caught a glimpse inside and it was definitely way too expensive." 

"What'd I tell you about not worrying about all that shit?" 

"But are you sure it's—" 

"Don't. Say. Another. Word." 

Katsuki had pressed his forefinger up against your lips to shush you. All you could do was swallow thickly, nod your head, and graciously accept a gift that you'd done utterly nothing to deserve. He was still holding true to his words from earlier—he wanted you out of your previous dress, and practically dragged you up towards the cashier so that he could pay for the new one and send you right back into the fitting room to change into it again. Your old(er) dress was chucked into the shopping bag with much disaste; he still wanted you to burn it. 

"This is a little embarrassing, though," you murmured, flushing as the two of you walked side-by-side through the mall. "This dress is more for formal events, and I'm just out here wearing it to the mall..." 

Katsuki rolled his eyes. "Who the fuck cares? If it looks good on you, why wouldn't you wear it?" 

"You're sweet. Although you might be exaggerating a bit. Red is a color that looks good on pretty much anyone, so that's probably why it's so flattering." 

"It's not the dress, dumbass. And I can't believe I have to explain this to you." 

You frowned a bit, but Katsuki had already pulled you in by the waist and plastered you up against his side. You let out a small squeal and flushed ten shades deeper. 

"It's you, alright?" Katsuki huffed. "You're fuckin' cute as hell, so just get that through your head. No soulmate of mine is gonna doubt themselves—in any way. So just believe me when I say this shit, 'cause it's embarrassing as fuck." 

With cheeks still lit ablaze, you nodded wordlessly. Katsuki was still just as red as you were, and you didn't know how on earth he'd managed to say something like that so seamlessly. His hand was resting comfortably on your waist as you walked, and even though it was a bit of an awkward position, it didn't seem like he had any intention of moving it. 

Not that you minded one bit. 

Chapter Text

You were happy. 

Just a few weeks prior, you remembered feeling nauseous at the prospect of who your soulmate was. You'd been so intent on fighting against it with all you had, unwilling to accept things for the way they were. But that was different now. You no longer felt that sense of unease when looking in Katsuki's direction, or thinking how the universe was wrong in matching you up with him

Now, you could honestly say that you were thankful to have Katsuki as your soulmate. 

"You seem chipper," Uraraka remarked. "Something good happen these last two days?" 

"Well...you could say that." 

You chuckled to yourself, prompting a quizzical frown from the brunette. Your short break off from school had come to an end, and you were now on your way back to class. The two day transitory period had started off as a means to rest, but looking back on it now, you'd pretty much just hung out and texted with Katsuki the whole time. 

Not that I can complain...

Still humming gleefully, you slid open the classroom door and waded in with a bright smile on your face. Uraraka hadn't bothered to pry into things too much, but you figured she knew you were referring to Katsuki anyways. You actually sort of had the urge to flaunt the dress he'd bought you; just knowing that he'd been the one to get it for you made you giddy every time you thought of it. 

Izuku greeted you with a smile, but you were already scanning the room for those ashen blonde locks. You spied him sitting at his desk; Kirishima was trying to speak to him and was being blatantly ignored, which made you smile to yourself. It seemed like some things would never change. 

I wonder if he'd get annoyed if I went over to say hi...? 

You were worried that he might just shrug you off, so you were surprised when he tilted his head and nodded in your direction. His facial expression didn't change much, but it seemed like he was happy to see you. Well, Katsuki's version of happy, at least. 

Already, you were mid-stride and ready to head towards his desk, but your teacher had other plans. He arrived late, as always, but his steely glare was more than enough to send every student back to their seats. Aizawa strode towards the front and promptly declared that today's class would for formulating hero codenames. 

"Oh," you mumbled, smiling faintly. "That's easy, then." 

After all, you'd already decided on your hero name way back. Even now, you weren't entirely sure how you'd managed to narrow it down to something so specific, but from now on, you would be known as—

 

[Seraphim]

 

"Ooh, interesting name!" Midnight appraised. "Does it tie in with your powers at all?" 

You flushed a bit, suddenly wary of all the eyes on you as you displayed your board at the front of the class. "Well...yes," you smiled. "It sort of refers to an angelic being, with a higher-level power—since my Quirk has to do with manipulating light, I felt like this sort of association would make sense. I mean, I'm probably going too far by comparing myself to an angel...but I'd like to become a healer one day. I wanted my hero name to be kind, and gentle." 

"Oh, not at all!" Midnight dismissed. "I think it's a lovely hero name. The fact that you're trying to send a message about what kind of hero you are through your codename—it's an excellent choice, (Name). You're headed in the right direction." 

She waved you off with a bright smile, to which you happily bobbed your head in response and shuffled back towards your desk. Your cheeks were flushed and rosy; you hadn't realized how flustering it would be to divulge that name to all your classmates. Especially a particular one...

Oh. 

When you glanced back at the seat behind you, Katsuki's crimson gaze met your own. You realized he must've been staring at you for quite some time, and he spluttered weakly and hurried to look away. Your lips curved into a smile. Even though you hadn't bothered to ask, you got the feeling he might've liked your hero name. 

You could see it in his eyes. 

 

 

 

>> After school:  

Many things had happened today, and the whole talk about internships made you wonder what kind of pro hero would recruit you. 

Katsuki had gotten tons of nominations—and understandably so. His Quirk was incredibly strong, and he was adept at using it. Yours didn't have anywhere near as much offensive ability as his, but you'd put up a pretty good fight against the overall victor of the Sports Festival. That had to mean something, right? 

I mean, I did get a few nominations myself. I just hope I don't end up at some weirdo's office. Ah but, whatever it is, I'm sure I'll

"You're looking as carefree as always." 

The derisive snort directed towards you belonged to none other than your most treasured friend (not)—Monoma of Class 1-B. He was reclining against the wall with a haughty smirk perched atop his lips; his arms were crossed as he stared you down with his mischievous blue orbs. 

"Good god. Monoma-kun," you sighed, "don't you have anything better to do than wait around to harass innocent students from my class?" 

He smiled, amused. "Me calling out to you is harassment?" 

"Well, if previous experience is anything to go by, I'm sure this conversation will turn sour real quick." 

"How rude. And to think that I've only had your best interests in mind this whole time." 

You pursed your lips, the blonde propping himself upright and sauntering closer. His pale blue eyes—which were usually condescending at best—now actually flickered with something akin to worry

"You've been saying cryptic things this entire time," you huffed, standing your ground as he inched closer to you. "I don't understand what you mean. You've been telling me to 'be careful' around Katsuki-kun; as if you know something about this whole soulmate thing that I don't. So what is it then? Are you going to tell me or just keep leading me along by my nose?" 

Monoma's brows creased. "We didn't know each other for very long when we were children, but I'll have you know that I still consider you a friend—even if you're now a Class 1-A lowlife." 

"Okay," you frowned. "First of all, I'm not a lowlife, and yeah, sure. I still consider you one of my friends too, but what does that have to do with—?" 

"You're not safe," he breathed out. "I can't even begin to express my sympathy at the fact that your soulmate is someone like that, but that's just how it is. But if there's anything I've learned, from observing the two of you, is that your bond isn't strong enough to overcome the obstacles ahead. As you are now, it's only a matter of time before, well..." 

"Before what?" you urged. "Monoma-kun, I swear to god, I may be a patient person but if you don't tell me what's going on right now I'll actually lose my shi—" 

"YOU COULD DIE!!" 

The blonde's expression, which hardly ever veered from condescension, now appeared genuinely rattled. It actually took a few moments for Monoma's words to really sink in; you were still raking your eyes over and over his frame. Still, you found a way to compose yourself. 

"I'll...what?" 

Monoma half-sighed, eyes glazing over. "Pardon. That may have been a little too direct, but I stand by my words nonetheless. This isn't just me making things up to get a kick out of it—I've seen it happen firsthand. When I was studying abroad," he swallowed, "there was a couple. Soulmates, just like the two of you. I never actually spoke to them much, it was more so by word-of-mouth and my friends, but it was pretty well-known that they had only recently discovered one another, and begun their relationship." 

"...And?" 

"And," Monoma grimaced, "things didn't end well for them. As far as I know, the guy was doing well in his studies, and had good things going all around. His "soulmate" was just the opposite—she was borderline failing her classes; the type that would always mess around instead of taking things seriously. Again, I hardly ever spoke more than a few words to each of them, but everyone in our school knew what went down. From the moment they started dating, things were just off. It was clear that they didn't have good chemistry, which didn't make any sense considering the whole soulmate gig, but they were awkward and aloof around one another and just generally seemed to dislike each others' company. Before all of this...they were both healthy and completely normal, but people started noticing that their bodies started changing." He wiped the back of his hand across his brow; you hadn't even realized he'd broken out into a sweat. "They both started to get super pale," he continued. "Neither of them would eat properly anymore, and if they tried to, they would barely be able to hold their food down. I can't even count the number of times I saw them scrambling through the hallways with full-on nosebleeds. They just both kept getting more and more sick, and then, probably the most definitive marker—" 

You shuddered. "...What?" 

"Their tattoos disappeared. I'm not sure at what point it began, but one day, the girl broke down sobbing and declared that her soulmate mark was gone. The same thing happened to her soulmate." 

Your eyes were fully dilated now. Anyone else might've just written this off as a tasteless piece of fiction—it was coming from Monoma, after all. But still. Weirdly enough...it didn't seem like he was lying. The way his pale blue orbs would quiver every time he spoke another word; it was almost as though he was reliving the whole experience. 

"Then what?" you asked dryly, although you already knew where the story was headed. Monoma managed a weak smile. 

"They died. Their sickness got to the point where they had to be hospitalized, and they eventually passed away—on the exact same day, no less." 

"...Ah." 

You couldn't think of anything else to say. Even now, you were tempted to dismiss everything he'd just told you as some sort of a crude prank. He could be blatantly lying to you. But he could also be telling the truth. And that...

Is fucking horrifying. 

"Well," you coughed, "I'm sorry that you had to experience something like that. I don't think you're quite twisted enough to make up the deaths of your classmates, so I'm really hoping I'm right about that. But even if this did happen, I still don't get what it has to do with me." 

Monoma cocked a brow. "Really? You don't see how any of this relates to you? This is a case of two soulmates—just like you and that lunatic—who both passed away because their bonds weren't strong enough. Don't you get it? They didn't truly care for one another, and their bodies were physically rejecting their soulmate. I would have never thought the universe was capable of something so cruel either, but I was there, and I can attest to the fact that it did happen." 

"Even if it did happen, it doesn't mean that's just the case for all soulmates. You don't even know if that's actually what happened. Maybe one of them caught a virus, and then gave it to the other. I believe that they died of the same thing, but I don't understand how you automatically tie it in with their soulmate bond." 

The top of Monoma's lip crinkled with amusement. "If it was just illness, why would both of their soulmate bonds disappear? And why would they die on the exact same day?" 

"That's just—" 

"I think you're just trying to dismiss the facts," he scorned. "Which is understandable; I'd be scared too if I were in your position. Either way, you can choose to believe me or not, but know this—" He leaned into your frame, eyes hard as glass. "The Soulmate Curse. I'm sure you might've heard the name pop up a few times before. In the case of one partner refusing to accept the other, their bond will begin to fade away and their body will weaken—oftentimes to the point of death." 

Monoma pivoted on his heel, already walking away from you. You heard him mumbling "be careful" over his shoulder. 

"...Huh." 

You were now standing in the middle of the hallway, your expression more dull and vacant than ever. To any bystander, you would probably come across as emotionally dead, but it was really just a front for the storm brewing inside of you. Taking all things into consideration, you'd essentially just been told that there was a chance you could die if your relationship did not pan out the way it should. Great. 

"I don't get it," you mumbled listlessly, dropping to your knees. "I thought everything's all sorted out for us. Isn't that the universe's job? When they match you to your soulmate, isn't that basically saying that you've found the one person who'll make you happiest in the entire world? How can your body "reject" it so strongly...?" 

"Reject what?" 

Oh, fuck

You glanced up in a hurry to see that Katsuki was hovering above you with a scowl across his brow. He looked mildly irritated, as always, but also somewhat concerned as to the fact that you'd fallen in the middle of the hallway. 

"Oh, uh—i-it's nothing," you stammered out, picking yourself up as quickly as you could muster. A weak smile followed. "I'm feeling a little dizzy these days. Probably since I've been skipping some meals..." 

Katsuki scoffed, but he was already reaching out to steady you against his shoulder. "Fuckin' moron. If you don't eat regularly, everything'll go to shit. You know that, don't you?" 

"Y-yes. Sorry..." 

"Don't apologize when I haven't done shit. Weirdo." 

The blonde gave you a quick look-over, and it didn't take long for his eyes to narrow. "Something's wrong," he declared. You felt your breath hitch in your throat. Curse those all-seeing crimson irises of his. 

"Nothing's wrong," you smiled, hoping that your voice wasn't anywhere near as shaky as it felt. "I told you, I just made a mistake and didn't eat during lunch. I've gotten into a bad habit of putting my meals off, that's all. I'll be better at it, though—promise."

Katsuki glared at you for a few more moments before deciding to buy your poorly-constructed excuse. He was now openly lugging you along, all the while making sure to keep one arm wrapped around your waist in case you lost your balance. Monoma's words were still ringing clear and blue through your head, and yet in spite of all that, you found yourself blushing. 

"Katsuki-kun...you don't need to hold me. I felt dizzy for a moment, but I'm fine now." 

"Shut it," he barked. "I'm not taking orders from some loser who was just sitting on the ground with the most blank fucking expression I've ever seen in my life. Hold onto me and if you faint, I swear I'll kick your ass." 

"Ah. You're as persuasive as always, I see. Well, whatever," you sighed, latching a hand across his arm. "Do you wanna just go get some food? I'm really hungry." 

"No shit. I was gonna force-feed you whether you wanted it or not. Let's see you faint in corridors after this." 

You chuckled hoarsely. Katsuki was a funny guy, even though it was clear he made little to no attempt at ever being humorous. If Monoma hadn't dropped that bomb on you earlier, this might've actually turned out to be a pretty good day. 

Instead, you were wondering if this ash blonde would make your heart stop—literally.

 

 

 

 

 

Later that evening, you were sitting idle in your room. 

As things would have it, it was near impossible to get Monoma's story out of your mind, and with every passing second, you seemed to believe it more. Truly, it didn't seem like something anyone could just conjure up—not even a wackjob like Monoma. It happened. It must have happened, and if it hadn't, you couldn't possibly understand what he would have to gain from springing all this shit on you. 

Maybe he's trying to psyche me out. Get in my headhe hates Class-A; this might be his way of fucking with me so that my grades will suffer. Or something...

"Ughhh, I don't know!" you cried out. You'd never been one to get violent, but the swell of emotions bubbling up in your chest made you land a hefty kick on the wall. It dented the fragile wood foundation, and you regretted it almost immediately. "Fuck," you muttered bitterly. "I need a bath." 

You flung off your clothes without even looking where they landed. You hobbled over towards the bathroom and let the shower run at first, covering the drain so the water could pool. After raking your fingers through wet, (h/c) locks, you flipped the setting back towards the faucet and slumped down into the tub. The water level was steadily rising, but still scarcely covered any of your limbs. 

"Too hot..." you mumbled hazily; not that you bothered to rise back up and adjust the temperature. Instead, you shuffled all the way backwards until you hit the end of the tub and could rest your neck against the wall. You were watching the water level rise—it slowly crept up your ankles, then dipped just below your knees, a bit higher, and—

"...What the fuck?" 

As your eyes had traced up your body, they'd meandered a bit further than the water line. You felt all the blood drain from your face. You didn't know how you hadn't noticed it before.

How long had it been like that?

But more importantly...why was it like that? 

"F-f-f-fuck..." you whimpered, fingers tracing over your hip. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!!" 

You slammed your fist against your flesh, wailing out when you felt it connect with bone. Tears were pooling in your eyes now; whether from pain or fear, you weren't sure. The only thing you could be sure of, with absolute certainty, was that the writing—

Katsuki's words—

You'd had them since birth, and—

Oh, god. There's no way. There's just no way, otherwise it's justit's just like what Monoma-kun said...!

"I-it's really fading away..."

Chapter Text

Interships were just around the corner, and you honestly couldn't give less of a shit. 

The evening you'd discovered your soulmate mark fading away had quickly unraveled, ultimately ending with you curling up into the fetal position and bathing in your own tears. You'd actually debated telling your parents about it, but you couldn't imagine what they'd say. Even now, you couldn't possibly wrap your head around what Monoma had told you. 

Your soulmate mark had begun to disappear. Did that mean that you were going to die? Just like that? Was your fate all but sealed? And what about Katsuki? 

Right, you'd thought. What about him? If this is happening to me, does that mean that his tattoo is fading away as well? 
Besides slumping down into the tub and letting the water consume you, racking your brain was really all you could do to keep yourself tethered to reality. The night ended with you wiping your tear-filled, blotchy face and heading straight to bed—you hadn't even bothered to dry your damp hair. 

You didn't get any sleep, either. 

 

 

 

 

When you awoke, you were pleasantly surprised to find that your mood had been lifted somewhat. Granted, you still felt very much distressed over the recent development, but you arose with a much more optimistic mindset. It wasn't as though what Monoma had told you was set in stone, anyways. It could be fading for reasons that were utterly incomprehensible; it didn't mean that your life was ending. Either way, the most important thing to do right now was find him, and see what was happening with your very own eyes. 

Which is why you were determined to see Katsuki today. 

Me: 

[9:53 AM]
Hey, could we please meet up today? I know you probably wanna spend this day off trying to prepare for your internship, but I just wanted to hang out. That okay? 

Katsuki: 

Yeesh. When did you get so damn clingy? 

Me: 

Ur a dick

Katsuki: 

And you're annoying, but whatever. 

Katsuki: 

What time you wanna meet up? I'm only doing this to make you stop crying, so don't get too excited. 

Me: 

Wtf? Who said I was crying? 

Katsuki: 

I can just tell. You miss me too much, I guess. So lame. 

Me: 

Uh....okay? I feel like you're way too full of yourself lol

Katsuki: 

Just shut up and tell me a time, loser. 

 

You chuckled, feeling that weird twinge in your chest you always seemed to get whenever Katsuki was involved. It was a bit disheartening, though—you were so desperately trying to find some sign that your relationship was going south, but you saw nothing of the sort. Yes, he had a crude vocabulary and was quite likely the most brash person you'd ever encountered, but that was just Katsuki; it was all playful banter, and nothing more. 

And even so...my soulmate mark is still fading. 

Your lip trembled as you ran your hand across your marked hip. The writing had become scraggly and misshapen; parts of letters had begun to dissolve and the ink-like coloring itself had visibly lightened. Last night when you'd been sobbing in the tub, you hadn't felt any pain, yet now it seemed to ache with a newfound vigor. Like molten lava, burning you from the inside out. 

You hadn't even realized that your jaw had gone slack and you'd been staring listlessly into the distance. The buzzing of your phone made you jolt. 

Katsuki: 

[9:59 AM]

Ok you're takin too long to decide so I'm deciding for you—meet me in an hour. My place. I'll text you the address so you better haul ass and get over here quick. 

Me: 

Alright. I can do that. 

 

Nothing was making sense right now; you needed to see him and get to the bottom of this.

 

 

 

 

 

"You're fuckin' late," Katsuki barked. 

"Yeah...sorry about that." 

A timid smile rose to your lips. You were currently standing on Katsuki's front steps, waiting for his scowl to diffuse so that he would usher you inside. The two of you actually didn't live too far away from one another, which made things a lot more convenient. 

The blonde rolled his eyes. "Looks like I'm the only one who actually respects meet-up times. Come in, already—stop standing around like a weirdo." 

You exhaled weakly, deciding to dismiss his offhand remarks. The house itself was cute; nothing too special, but you liked the layout of it. Whoever did the decorating (his mom, presumably), had done a very nice job. 

"You have a beautiful home," you appraised. 

"Eh? Miss me with that bullshit, (Name)." 

"...It was just a compliment." 

"Still stupid." You rolled your eyes, following behind Katsuki as he strode over towards the kitchen. He opened the door to the fridge and pulled out a cold pitcher of water, which he then neatly poured into a glass and handed to you. "Here," he smirked. "You must be dehydrated from all that crying you were doing earlier." 

"Oh, ha-ha." 

Although I actually was bawling my eyes out last night. Not that he needs to know. 

You raised the cup to your lips and drew in a sip, sighing contentedly at how cool and refreshing it was. "Thanks," you smiled. "I was pretty thirsty. You might not exactly be the most polite guy, but you know how to greet your guests, it seems like." 

Katsuki scoffed. "I don't have 'guests'. Why would I invite some assholes back to my place?" 

"So you've never had friends over before?"

"When I was younger. Don't think I'd call them my friends, though." 

He reached across the counter to grab himself a glass. You eyed him warily, from the crease of his brow down to the small divet in his chin. You realized, with a pang, that since they'd known each other since childhood, he must've had Izuku over for playdates back then. Obviously, things hadn't turned out very well between them, but you were sure he must've had other kids to play with as well. So then, even including them, was there really...no one Katsuki could genuinely call his friend? 

You smiled weakly. "What would you call them, then?" 

"Dunno," Katsuki respired, downing his water in two gulps. He slammed it back down on the counter and shrugged. "That's a shitty term, anyways. The fuck's a 'friend'? At the end of the day, they're all just some sheep who follow you around 'cause they ain't got anything better to do." 

"...Oh." For some reason, that response hurt you more than you'd expected. You looked up at him hesitantly. "So then...am I not your friend, either?" 

The corners of his lips curled up just so. He hesitated a bit before replying, "Of course you're not my friend." 

"Ah." 

"—You're my fucking soulmate," Katsuki declared, watching as your expression shifted from despondence to wide-eyed surprise. "I would think you'd know that by now. It's more special than all that friend bullshit, isn't it?" 

"Y-yeah," you stammered. The apples of your cheeks began to flush. "You're right. My bad." 

"Seriously, you're such a weirdo. Always saying dumb shit. C'mon," he gestured, beckoning you forth over his shoulder. "You came here to actually do something, right?" 

You nodded absentmindedly; you were still much too focused on the way he'd called you his soulmate. There was a fire in his eyes when he'd said it—one that hadn't been present before. 

All things considered, it was ironic. 

He's speaking so assuredly about our relationship now, when my mark's begun to fade away. One way or another, I need to steal a glance at his todayto see it for myself. 

Katsuki had begun muttering about something or another, leading you through the back hallway. You realized before long, once you turned the bend and stopped before a door marked "keep out", that you were about to see his room for the first time.

Surely enough, he turned the knob and mercilessly swung the door open. You blinked twice. 

"It's...clean," you remarked. 

Katsuki scoffed. "The fuck do you sound so surprised for? Like hell I'm gonna have a mess in my room—how would I find all my shit? I'll have you know that I'm organized as fuck.

You giggled. "Okay. I believe you, Katsuki-kun."

The room was, albeit, not what you'd expected at all. You didn't actually know what you'd envisioned—a dark color scheme came to mind, with skulls and graffiti all over the walls. He came across as a delinquent, so it certainly fit his rough image. But suffice it to say, his abode was arguably much neater than your own. He had a bookshelf (did Katsuki even read books?), a desk which was stacked with homework, papers, and a tray of pencils, and the rest of the room looked pretty damn normal. He had some All Might memorabilia here and there—a few posters and action figures—but other than that, it was surprisingly less edgy than you would've thought.

You hummed in approval, (e/c) orbs flickering every which way in an attempt to fully take in the scene. Eventually, you plopped down onto the edge of his bed, letting out a contented sigh. 

"Your bed is comfy, too. Where'd you buy your mattress from?" 

Katsuki's jaw clenched. "Oi. Get off there, dumbass. If you mess up the covers I'll kick your ass." 

"Awe. But you wouldn't hurt your soulmate," you teased, batting your lashes for effect.

"Piss off. You're my soulmate, so I get to fuck you up however the hell I want." 

"Oh, wow. That's probably the most romantic thing I've ever heard." 

He half-snorted, but you caught a small smile playing at his lips. It seemed like his threats were just as empty as you'd presumed, and he soon took a seat beside you on the bed. Suddenly, you felt nervous. 

His parents were out working, which meant that the two of you were utterly alone in his room...on his bed. And normally, you would've never made such an association, had you been with any other guy, but the fact that he was your soulmate—and you were essentially in a romantic relationship—well, it changed things. 

I-I'm being silly. We're still getting to know each other properly, and besides, Katsuki-kun's not the type to throw himself onto a girl. He talks a big game, but at the end of the day, he's not a bad guy. 

Still, it was growing increasingly difficult for you to focus on anything else. Katsuki's shoulders were slouched against your own; he was staring listlessly off into the distance, and you felt his thumb slowly roll across your wrist. 

"Um, Katsuki—" 

"Let's lie down," he blurted out. Your eyes widened for a half a second, and then he was gripping you by your arm and tugging you down onto the mattress. You fell to your side, letting out a soft gasp, while Katsuki rolled over to face you. 

His gleaming crimson orbs were staring right into your own. You could've sworn your heart had never been beating so fast. 

"H-hi," you croaked, cheeks only flushing deeper by the second. "What are you doing...?" 

"Nothing. I'm tired, I guess." 

He gave off the air of being passive and unaffected, but you could see the way a rosy flush was slowly coloring his complexion. Even now, his thumb was gently caressing the back of your hand. 

You averted your gaze for a moment. "Sorry..." you mumbled. "I feel a bit nervous just laying here with you. Is that dumb?" 

"Yes," he deadpanned. "It is dumb. The fuck do you think I'm gonna do? I'm not as much of an asshole as you've convinced yourself I am." 

"No, of course not, I meant—we're just lying and bed and—" You sighed. "Sorry, I phrased that wrong. I'm more embarrassed than I am nervous. I keep thinking you might try something, and I won't know what to do..." 

Katsuki blinked. A few seconds of lip pursing and his cheeks had all but turned scarlet, no doubt having realized what you meant. He scowled, dipping his head down.

"Moron," he muttered, lifting his hand to poke you on the chin. "I wouldn't do anything to make you feel uncomfortable. Besides, even if I did...would it be so bad?" 

"U-um—" 

"Nevermind. Shit. Fuck." He turned away from you; even the tips of his ears were red. "Forget I said anything." 

"Alright. It's fine," you smiled, pressing yourself up against his back. "Let's just stay here for a while." 

Katsuki grunted back at you in response. His entire body was so warm and comforting, you'd almost forgotten what you'd come here to do in the first place. But then you remembered, and your eyes immediately fell towards his hip.

You remembered from back when he'd shown you that his left hip was the one with the marking, just like your own. In his current position, facing away from you and towards his desk, you could easily steal a glance if you lifted his shirt up quickly enough. You could already imagine the way he'd react if you got caught, but it didn't matter—you needed to see with your own two eyes. 

Here goes nothing...! 

Your fingers moved more deftly than ever; one second your hand was sprawled across the mattress, and the next it had gingerly skirted up the edge of Katsuki's black tee. When the fabric shifted to reveal his bare flesh underneath, you paled.

It should've been what you wanted to see—you should've been happy for this turn of events, so why did it make a pit settle into your stomach? 

Why was your mark the only one that was fading? 

...I'm the only one. Monoma-kun said that couple both lost their soulmate tattoos, but mine's the only one that's disappearing. It's good news, I think. But then...why? How is it only affecting me and not him?

Your discovery should have served as a relief. His mark was fully intact, just like it'd been when he'd shown it to you the very first time. It was completely different than in Monoma's story—neither of you had any symptoms of illness, either.

In that case, maybe there was just something wrong with you.

With veins pooling chilled blood, you drew in a sharp breath. "Katsuki-kun...we're gonna be okay, right? Everything's gonna be fine?" 

"Huh?" He shifted on the bed to look back at you. "The hell are you saying? What's gotten into you now?" 

"It's nothing. Just...tell me that we're going to be fine. Please." 

Katsuki furrowed his brows, still trying to make sense of what you were saying. Still, he must've noticed how your complexion had paled, and the way your lips trembled. Before long, you felt his fingers interlace with your own and give your hand a tight squeeze.

"Relax," he mumbled. "I don't know what you're on about, but everything's just fucking fine. Things may have started off shitty, but they're good now. You don't need to worry over nothing." 

"....I don't?" 

"Nah." Katsuki's cheeks reddened, and he pulled your hand up against his lips. You shuddered when you felt his breath run through your knuckles. "Stop looking for problems, (Name). Just fucking live in the present." 

"Okay," you breathed out. "I can do that. We'll be fine." 

"Yeah." 

...

We'll be fine.

Chapter Text

"Internships are starting, huh?" 

"Mm." 

"Exciting, right?" 

"Mm."

"You're being kinda weird, aren't you?"

"Mm—wait, what?" 

Uraraka let out a weary sigh, slumping her shoulders. The week of internships had just begun; currently, your class was making its way over towards the train station with equipment in tow. It was inevitable that you would each be going your separate ways, but Aizawa was chaperoning you until the starting point. Every now and then, you would steal a glance towards Katsuki, feeling your bottom lip quiver when you recalled your ever-present dilemma. You were very much out of it—so much so that you'd been completely zoning out your best friend. 

"C'mon," Uraraka prodded, "Something's up. Why won't you tell me what's bothering you? It feels like ever since you found out who your soulmate was, you've been icing me out..."

You swallowed thickly. What she was saying was true, but even so, how could you bring up what was happening to you? It's not like she would understand; she had no way of possibly understanding. Besides, what were you supposed to say? 

"Oh it's nothing, I just found out that my soulmate mark is fading awayand there's a chance it could kill me." 

 ...Yeah, right. You'd sooner take this secret to the grave than tell Uraraka and turn her into a weeping, anxious mess. She was serious about becoming a hero, and you didn't need to distract her with your drama. Not now. Not until after internships were over. 

"Sorry," you mumbled. "I know it feels like I've been a bit secretive and distant, but I guess I'm just really stressed about everything that's going on. I keep overthinking this whole soulmate thing...it's keeping me from focusing on school, too. It's hard to explain, and I just feel like I would end up annoying you if I talk about it." 

"What? Of course not!" Uraraka spluttered, teetering backwards to place a hand on your shoulder. "(Name)-chan, you can tell me anything—no matter what's on your mind, I promise I'll hear you out. You would never annoy me. If something's bothering you, I want you to tell me about it. I want to help," she smiled. "So you don't need to worry about that, okay?" 

Your stomach began to churn. The guilt alone made you want to smack yourself.

"Yeah. You're right. I'll come to you if something's up."

The brunette flashed you a blinding smile, cheeks rosier than ever. Seemingly satisfied with your explanation, she pranced along behind her classmates and Aizawa. You hung your head and sighed, inadvertently glancing over towards Katsuki. 

You flinched. He was staring right back at you. 

Katsuki stuck his tongue out at you, and then moved his lips to mouth "Smile, moron." 

Your chest hurt, but you smiled nonetheless. 

 

 

 

 

 

"I read over your student profile, and you mentioned wanting to become a healer, correct?"

You bobbed your head in response. The silver-haired lady before you—a heroine by the name of Lotus—was who you'd chosen to intern for. She was a relatively new pro hero, who tended to stay out of the spotlight, but you liked the aura she gave off. Not only did she dabble in healing and surveillance ops, but she sort of reminded you of yourself; subdued and gentle. 

"I want to be like Recovery Girl someday. Not that I'll be as good as her," you added hurriedly, "but I'd like to be able to help people the way she does. She's sort of my inspiration for training to become a hero." 

The heroine smiled at you. "That's lovely. At the end of the day, helping people is our ultimate goal—the fact that you want to see to others' health tells me that you've definitely got the mindset of a hero." 

"Oh. Thank you, Lotus—" 

"Hana," she corrected. "Just call me Hana. Codenames are for when you're on the job; calling each other by our real names is much more personal, isn't it?" 

You blinked. "Aren't we on the job right now?" 

"That may be true, but I'd still like to get to know you better. Is that alright?" 

"Yeah," you smiled. "Of course." 

I like her. 

Hana grinned back at you. "Come along, then. Let me give you a run-down of the office. I'm sorry to say that it'll mostly be patrolling and bureaucracy today; we'll have to move onto the training starting tomorrow." 

"That's fine. Everything's an experience. I'm just glad that you offered me a position." 

"Oh, aren't you cute?" she chuckled. "You know, you remind me of my little sister. Or me—back when I was younger. Or actually, me right now. Ah, sorry—I'm rambling again." 

She smiled sheepishly, ushering you along through the rest of the quarters. The life of a pro hero definitely came across as coveted and exclusive, but you knew full well that it was nowhere near as glamorous as it may have seemed. There was a great deal of paperwork involved, judging by the mounds of binders and looseleaf spilled out on the tables. The whole place was actually a bit messy and clumsily strewn together, which only made the heroine more endearing. 

"Right," she huffed, clasping her hands together. "First off, I'm going to show you the basics of filing off all the citizen requests, and how we keep track of everything around here. I gave my usual crew the day off since I wanted us to have a chance to get to know each other properly, but umm—" she scratched the back of her head and pouted "—I realize that may have been a mistake now. Oh, well." 

You stifled a giggle. She really was adorable. 

"It's no problem. Just tell me what to do and I'll buckle down and get to work." 

"Great!" Hana brushed off her side-braid and smiled again. "I'll be much obliged, (Name)." 

She began handing you folders and stacks of dilapidated papers. Once she'd glossed over the basics, your fingers began moving dutifully as they sorted everything out. It was just desk work, really, but you found yourself smiling nonetheless.

For just a little while, your problems had melted away. 

 

 

 

 

 

"It was lovely meeting you!" Hana had grinned. "I'll make sure to be more organized tomorrow, I promise!" 

She'd waved you off with her trademark smile, and with that, your first day of interning had officially come to an end. All things considered, you thought it had gone well. You hadn't actually gotten a chance to do anything too exciting, but you really liked Hana—you could tell that working under her was going to be a lot fun. At the very least, you'd hit the goldmine when it came to picking your mentor. 

Unfortunately, with the day having come to a close, your worries resurfaced. You'd been trying to force the whole soulmate tattoo thing to the back of your mind, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Even now, you still couldn't understand why Katsuki's mark was fine but yours wasn't. 

I need to talk to Monoma-kun when I get back to school. He may not have all the answers, but someone; ANYONE, needs to help me. 

That was how you found yourself dragging your feet along the streets, with the amber-lit skies overhead, and colliding chest-first with a passerby. 

"S-sorry!" you spluttered out, hurrying to regain your bearings. "I wasn't watching where I was—oh. Todoroki-kun?" 

The bi-color haired male nodded dully. "It's fine. I wasn't paying attention, either." 

"Ah, okay. Did you just finish off your first day as well?" You spared a glance to your surroundings, but you couldn't remember which other hero was stationed nearby. Unless it was—?

"Endeavor," Todoroki cut in, finishing your thoughts for you. "My dad. I ended up deciding to go to his office for my internship." 

You blinked repeatedly, trying (but failing) to mask the surprise in your expression. 

"...Oh. Cool," you smiled. "I'm glad that you decided to do that, even though—I-I mean, uhh—" 

"Even though?" Todoroki frowned, studying your expression. It only took a few moments for him to let out a weak sigh. "Oh. I was wondering why you were so adamant about screaming at me back during the Sports Festival—you overheard what I told Midoriya, didn't you?" 

"Uhh, not really. Heard what? Sorry, I'm a little confused..." 

He rolled his eyes. "You don't need to lie to me. It's fine. It makes a lot more sense now; you knew why I was holding back on Bakugou, and that's why you stood up for him." 

"...Ugh." You slumped your shoulders, eyes betraying your guilt. "Sorry. You guys were just talking in the underpass, and I happened to walk by. I didn't really think that it was any of my business, but then I went and got involved anyways..." 

Todoroki shrugged. "Nothing to apologize for. If anything, I should be thanking you." 

"Uh, okay. Why?" 

"It just got me to thinking," he murmured, running a hand down his dual-shaded locks. "I wanted to stop comparing myself to him—Midoriya said something similar, as well. At the end of the day, it's my power, and I shouldn't limit myself because of him. Don't get me wrong," he added, "I still hate his guts. But I decided that I would try and learn something from this internship." 

You straightened up. What you'd heard back there had tugged on your heartstrings, but his eyes, well...they looked different from before. They were no longer hazy and muddled; they were now bright and shining with a clarity they'd never had. Your little "speech" had really been more so for Katsuki, but you were happy to hear that it had helped Todoroki, too.

"Well, I'm glad that you're feeling better now," you smiled. "Again, I'm sorry for eavesdropping. Just hope things start looking up from now on." 

"Yeah. Same here." 

An awkward silence settled. Todoroki was staring at you pointedly, as if studying your expression. You imagined that if left to his own devices, the two of you would just continue standing there without saying  another word. 

"I-I guess I should get going then. See you later, Todoroki—" 

"Is something wrong?" 

You blinked. "Excuse me?" 

"I mean, I don't know." He shifted awkwardly in place, pursing his lips. "You seem a little different than usual. I'm not the best at deciphering peoples' feelings, but you look...sad. I think. Like you're forcing yourself to smile." 

"Oh." 

You didn't really know what else to say. Uraraka was a given, since she was your closest friend, but if even Todoroki—the king of indifference—could pick up on your melancholy, then you were probably doing a real shit job of hiding it. 

But I'm tired of hiding it. 

With trembling lips, you slowly nodded your head. "You're right," you mumbled hoarsely. "I'm not...feeling too good right now. Some things have happened recently, and they've really bummed me out." 

"So I was...right?" Todoroki reaffirmed, looking almost impressed with himself. "Huh. I'm a little surprised, I have to say. Well, nevermind that—did you want to talk about it?" 

"I don't know. It's my problem, not yours, and I feel like I'd just be bothering you..." 

"I wouldn't have asked if it was a bother." 

You swallowed thickly. This was something you hadn't even told Uraraka yet, but you needed to get it off your chest. In a way, maybe telling someone like Todoroki was better—the two of you didn't really know each other all that well, so it was unlikely that it would affect him in any way. 

Maybe you just wanted to be heard. 

"Okay, well," you began, "You know I have a soulmate tattoo right? Back at the Sports Festival, I'm pretty sure you saw it." 

"I did." 

"And see, the thing is—" you bit down on your bottom lip " —I lied. About not knowing who my soulmate was." 

Todoroki's placid expression shifted just slightly. "Oh. But why—?" 

"It's Katsuki-kun," you blurted out. "I found out on the very first day of school, and things have been a mess since then."

"...Ah." The male appeared at a total loss for words, but slowly straightened up, giving you a gentle nod. "Somehow," he admitted, "that doesn't surprise me. I've noticed that you spend a lot of time together. And it makes even more sense with how you stood up for him during the Sports Festival." 

"I guess so..." 

"What's the problem then?" he frowned. "Are you just struggling to come to terms with the fact that he's your soulmate?" 

You merely shook your head, finding it difficult to muster a response. The words were getting caught in your throat now, and your chest was burning like never before. 

Finally—

"...It's fading." 

Todoroki blinked slowly, brows kitting together. "Beg your pardon?" 

"It's fading," you repeated, tears beginning to blur your vision. "Mine is—but not his. M-my soulmate mark is fading away, and I have no idea why. I have no idea why, Todoroki-kun, and I'm scared—" 

"(Name), wait," Todoroki urged. "Please try to calm—" 

"I'M TERRIFIED, OKAY?!" 

The boy's eyes widened, watching as you choked out a heavy sob. Your tears were rolling freely down your cheeks now, with no end in sight; people on the street were turning their heads to look over at you, but you couldn't have cared less. You felt it now—the fear you'd been so desperately trying to contain. It surged out of you like a dam breaking apart, and all you could do was crumple against Todoroki's chest. 

"I just don't know what I'm supposed to do," you sobbed, clinging onto his shirt for dear life. "Something's wrong with me—it has to be me. T-that's why I'm the one whose mark is fading. I'm the fucked up one. It's only me..." 

Todoroki was as stiff as a board. His arms hovered above your back, unsure of where to place them; eventually, they fell loosely around your frame. You felt his hands press you closer; what was likely the male's best attempt at a consoling hug. 

"I don't really know anything about this stuff," he murmured. "But...I don't think you're fucked up. And even though I can't give you an answer as to what's going on, I think you'll be okay. It might not make sense right now, but you'll figure things out soon. It's just what I think." 

You sniffled, wiping your thumb across your waterline. "Really?" 

"Yeah. That's the feeling I get." 

"Okay. Thank you...Todoroki-kun." 

The flush in your chest still had yet to desist, but you felt a bit better. Even if he wasn't able to help you, it was nice just finally telling someone. Having him hold you in his arms was comforting, too—you were actually a bit disappointed to have to let go.

"Sorry I couldn't help," Todoroki breathed out. You thought his cheeks had more color than before. 

"No, you've already done more than enough. I just really needed to get this off my chest." You wiped away the last of your tears, managing a genuine smile. "I think I'll head home now. Glad I ran into you." 

"Yeah. Me, too." 

You waved the boy off, heading in the direction of the train station. Todoroki was right. If you just gave it a bit of time, things would start making sense. 

They had to. 

Chapter Text

"Just imagine the light surging into your fingertips," Hana instructed, kneeling to a crouch beside you. "There you go—just like that." 

You drew in a sharp breath, hurriedly nodding your head. It was a few days into your internship, and you'd been working more on your Quirk these days. While out on patrol, you'd found a bird fallen from a tree; its wing was broken. Hana had promised to treat it herself if you weren't successful, but she'd suggested trying out your own powers first. 

"I hope it works," you mumbled hoarsely. “I don’t want the poor thing to be in pain any longer.” 

“You’ll be fine,” she reassured. “Just focus.” 

The injured avian let out a distressed trill, which only made your heart ache even more. You’d treated others’ injuries before, but it was only minor things, like cuts and bruises—sometimes fatigue. Now that you were holding this tiny animal in the palm of your hands, you felt like you truly understood how fragile a life could be.

A weak huff escaped your lips. Simultaneously, you sent a wave of energy into the bird’s core. Its body began to glow with a faint light; you watched with wide eyes as the shape of its wing slowly shifted, until it had regained its original structure. 

“I-I think I did it...!” 

As if on cue, the bird flopped its body against your palm, slowly propping itself upright. It tentatively shook out its previously injured wing, and finding it satisfactory, it began flapping up and out towards the open window. Your lips split into a grin—Hana’s was even wider. 

“Great job!” she appraised. “That went over perfectly. How are you feeling? “

You pursed your lips. “Hm, a bit tired, but not really. I think because the bird was so small, it required less energy expenditure on my part. For healing a full-size human body, it would probably be more draining.” 

“Well, that’s just fine. To work your way up, you have to focus on the little victories first.” The silverette brushed her braid to the side, reaching across the counter to pick up a tray. “Here, have a cookie. You earned it.” 

You giggled. “I feel like I eat better here than I do at home, Hana-san.” 

“Oh no, that won’t do,” she retorted, feigning a stern expression. “I’ll have to contact your parents and tell them to give you proper meals.” 

“Could you? That’d be great.” 

Hana smiled, taking in your beaming expression with much gusto. Her assistants were clustered around the table as well; some had been encouraging you while you used your powers, others had simply come for the cookies. It was a lot different than you’d envisioned your internship unfolding—for one thing, Hana was infinitely nicer than you could’ve hoped for—but you’d really come to enjoy your time here. It was such a warm, close-knit group; almost like a second family to you.

“Yes, yes,” Hana ushered. “Help yourselves, everyone. I’ve got pizza on the way as well. Ah—could you set the donuts down over there? Thank you very much.” 

You nibbled on your cookie, surveiling the scene with a contented smile. The energy was so pleasant, you almost never wanted the week to end. Everyone was so happy here; Hana especially, and—

“—Oh, dear.” 

The room fell silent; Hana’s voice had dipped from its usual cheerfulness. Everyone looked back at her with furrowed brows, and you were shocked to see her expression so distressed.

“There’s been an emergence,” she muttered bitterly, staring down at her pager. “In Hosu District—an outbreak of Noumus, all around town.” 

Did she just say Noumus...?? 

Hana reached into her pocket to pull out a large, silver hairclip, which she used to fasten her braid in place. "I'm afraid they need me on the scene. I may not be the best healer, but I'm close enough to get there on time. Kim, Reina—I'll need the two of you to come with me. The rest of you please stay put and on alert, and (Name)—" She turned to you with a gentle smile. "Please go home for the day. It's rather dangerous, and I can't involve you if you don't have your provisional license yet." 

Your chest tightened. It went without saying that you wouldn't be allowed to help, but somehow, knowing that there was something like this going on and that you wouldn't be able to help, well...it made you feel a bit powerless. 

Even so, you knew the rules.

"Alright," you affirmed. "I'll head back home. Please be safe, Hana-san; everyone." 

"Thank you. We will be." 

They collected their bearings and left the office in one fell sweep. You were about to be heading home as well, but it wasn't until the heroine had exited the door that everything sunk in. 

Hosu, isn't that...where the Hero Killer was spotted? 

 

 

 

 

 

"Uraraka-chan, calm down. You're saying you spoke to them just now, right? If they've already had their treatment done, I'm sure they'll be just fine." 

Currently, you were curled up on the couch, a blanket thrown haphazardly over your legs as you tried to placate your very frantic best friend. Even though you couldn't actually see her, you had no doubt the brunette's usual rosy cheeks were completely pale, and she was probably struggling just to keep still. 

Then again, you couldn't blame her.

; Hero Killer "Stain"—apprehended just hours ago in Hosu District. 
[subheader]: Three U.A students caught in the fray, but ultimately rescued by Endeavor. 

You'd had a bad feeling ever since you found out Iida's brother had been injured by Stain, but it was only just now making sense why he chose to do his internship at a small-time hero office right in Hosu itself. You felt like an idiot, honestly. If only you'd picked up on his anger and frustration earlier; Izuku and Todoroki wouldn't have had to get involved, either. As someone who was aspiring to become a hero, it was a little disheartening to know that you hadn't been able to protect your friends. 

"I just feel absolutely sick," Uraraka sniffled. "Deku-kun's arms have already been injured time and time again—who knows what'll happen to them now? And Iida-kun, too...we should've been there for him. If we had, he wouldn't have run off on his own to do something so terrifying." 

You nodded sadly. "I understand how you feel. It's hard not to feel frustrated, but they're in good hands now, alright? The police is camped all outside the hospital, and they'll be escorting them back as well, I'm sure." 

"It's horrible, though. I can't even imagine how scared they must've been, and—" 

"...Hold on," you frowned, feeling your phone buzz in your hands. "I'm getting another call. I'll phone you later, okay? They're fine, Uraraka-chan. Try not to worry too much, and draw yourself a nice bath." 

Uraraka let out a soft whine from the other end, but agreed nonetheless. You blinked twice when you saw who was phoning you. 

[incoming call: Katsuki] 

You hurriedly swiped the screen, bringing the phone back up against your ear. "Hello?" 

"Where the fuck are you right now?" 

"Uhh—" 

What kind of greeting is this? 

"I'm at home," you mumbled groggily. "Why?" 

Katsuki cleared his throat. You thought you heard him mutter "thank god" under his breath. 

"Just makin' sure you're not getting into any dumb shit. Your internship was close to Hosu, right? With that healer-bitch?" 

"Hana-san is not a bitch," you protested firmly. "But...thanks for remembering. I'm surprised." 

You heard him let out a derisive snort. "I have an excellent memory, loser. You weren't out on the streets, were you? When all that shit with the Noumus was happening?" 

"Oh, no. Hana-san sent me home right away; we were back at the office, not out on patrol anyways. If it was up to me, I'm sure I would've gone with her, but—" 

"Good thing you didn't. You would've gotten hurt." 

The apples of your cheeks began to burn. There it was again—that nonchalant way he had of expressing his concern for you. It wasn't romantic or anything; brash at best, but it still made you get all inexplicably giddy. It was just nice, hearing that he cared about you. 

"I'm okay," you smiled. "Thank you for calling to check in on me. I appreciate it." 

The other line went silent for a moment. Eventually—

"Let's meet up," Katsuki breathed out. 

"...Sorry?" 

"I wanna meet up," he repeated. "The fuck's not making sense? I'm saying I wanna see you, so hurry up and come out before I change my mind. There's a park near your house; we'll meet there." 

"Hold on a min—" 

"See ya." 

And with that, he clicked off. You were staring at the screen of your phone, jaw slack and eyes widened. 

"Who the hell does he think he is...?" 

 

 

 

 

 

[Katsuki's POV]: 

 

Katsuki had never been the type to give a shit about his appearance. Granted, he was fully aware of the fact that he wasn't ugly—far from it, in fact. But he'd never spent the time to actually invest any energy into his looks. His face was his face; his clothes were just his clothes; and his hair was, well...

"It looks like fuckin' shit right now," he scowled.

As strange as it was, this was one of the incredibly rare occasions where Katsuki found himself frustrated with the way he looked. He'd been spending his internship at Best Jeanist's office—the hero in question had insisted on parting his hair and gelling it down so slick that it wouldn't budge. He'd honestly tried everything the last few days; shampooing it multiple times before bed, raking a brush through it, tousling it with his fingers, but nothing worked. So here he was, about to meet up with you, and he looked like a preppy schoolboy. 

The hell do I even care what she thinks of it? I shouldn't give a fuck. It's just hair. 

Katsuki grimaced, lifting a hand to place on his stiff, ash blonde locks. No matter how hellbent he was on convincing himself that he didn't care, he knew it was far from the truth. The funny thing was that he wouldn't have cared less if he was meeting anyone else, but you...

Well, you had a way of making him feel nervous—something that nobody had successfully accomplished before. 

Still griping about his new hairstyle, he eventually spotted a familiar figure approaching from the distance. It didn't take long for him to realize that it was you, trotting down the path to meet him at the bench you'd both agreed on beforehand. All at once, his chest felt tight, and his cheeks were already flushing when he imagined your reaction. 

"Hey, Katsuki-kun." You shuffled up closer, furrowing your brows a bit when you got a full look at the blonde. "Oh. New hairstyle, huh? It looks nice on you." 

Katsuki blinked. "Eh? You trying to be funny or something?" 

"Uh, not really. I think you pull it off pretty well. You have a nice face, so it just works." You managed a sheepish smile. "Although I'd be lying if I said I didn't prefer your old look." 

The blonde had to bite down on his bottom lip to hold back what would likely have been the goofiest grin of his life. Seriously, was he sick? It felt like it should be illegal to feel this damn happy around someone. 

And her fucking smile, christ. If that shit isn't the cutest damn thing I've ever seen—

"Whatever," Katsuki replied flippantly. "Stop kissing my ass, will ya?" 

...God, I'm stupid. 

Why was it that every time he envisioned saying something in his mind, it came out almost entirely opposite? He was the type of guy who always spoke his mind, but some things were just so fucking hard to say. The things that involved feelings—the stuff that made him feel weak; vulnerable. 

Yeah, he really sucked at those things. 

"I was just being honest," you shrugged, lips still holding their smile. "I can sit down beside you, right?" 

"The fuck are you asking my permission for? Go ahead." 

"Thanks." 

Katsuki watched you smooth down your skirt, tucking it underneath before having a seat. He wondered why in the hell someone would wear a skirt at this time in the evening, but then he got the feeling that you'd done it for him, which made him a bit happy. Then, he remembered seeing the whole news reel about the Hero Killer—discovering it had been in Hosu, and realizing that you could very well have been out on the streets in the middle of all that. He couldn't even remember the details of the clips; all he felt was the chilling of his blood as he wondered what could possibly have happened had you been there along with the others. 

"I was sca—worried," he muttered out, glancing hesitantly to his side. "Call me stupid, but after seeing that asshole Deku and those others in the news, I almost immediately thought you might've been involved, too. Couldn't give less of a shit about them, but if you'd been there...I don't know. I don't want to think about what could've happened to—" 

"Sshh. It's fine," you reassured, timidly placing your hand atop his own. "I'm alright, Katsuki-kun. I didn't get hurt. You can see that I'm just fine." 

Katsuki swallowed thickly. How was it possible for someone to have such kind eyes? Even now, he wanted to slap himself—for saying such weak, sentimental things—and yet, you made him feel like it was all okay. Like it was okay for him to tell you anything, and everything; you wouldn't judge him no matter what. 

A feeling like this, what did people call it again...? 

No.

He turned away, squeezing his knuckles tight under the warmth of your palms. He'd just barely gotten to know you. What kind of sick joke was this, for him to be having these kind of feelings? It if weren't for the fact that the two of you were soulmates, he would've never allowed himself to fall so hard. 

...But we are soulmates. 

At the very least, Katsuki could find solace in that fact, and that fact alone. Knowing that you were his destined one—and he, yours—somehow, it made things okay. The aching in his chest...it made it more tolerable. As long as he knew that you were his, and he was yours. 

So long as that fact remained, things would be alright. 

So long as you remained his.

Chapter Text

[google search: what does it mean if my soulmate mark is fading?]

[*enter] 

[about 800, 283 results (0.85 seconds)]

....

..

.

"Soulmate bond faded after partner passed away" 

"My partner and I split up after both our marks disappeared" 

"Soulmate tattoo disappearing?" 

"My eyes used to be blue because of my soulmate; the color faded away" 

"Soulmate-related illness" 

"Soulmate passed away" 

 

 

/////

 

 

 

SOULMATE PASSED AWAY. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The week of internships had finally come to an end. 

During this period, a lot of things had happened, but the most noteworthy incident was, of course, the apprehension of Stain—and the fact that three of your classmates had come face-to-face with him. 

For this reason, you weren't at all shocked to find the rest of the students clustered around Izuku, Iida, and Todoroki when you arrived for your first day back. Even though you'd spoken to them and Uraraka over the phone after everything had gone down, you still couldn't imagine how it must've felt to be faced with such malice and to be caught in the fray with one of the most sought-out villains of the time. You saw it in the way they carried themselves, too; somehow, they all looked differentMore mature, you'd say. 

Then again, you'd probably have to be, after an experience like that. 

You worried for your friends, and made sure to greet them as soon as you got the chance, but you'd be lying if you said this was the biggest thing on your mind. After all, you also had your fair share of problems—and it didn't seem like they'd be going away anytime soon. 

Izuku was rambling now, gushing about who about the hero, Gran Torino, whom he'd been interning with prior to the Hero Killer incident. You nodded your head, but your eyes had long glazed over and fallen absentmindedly towards your hip. You were temped to lift up the edge of your shirt to get a look at the infamous mark; you probably would've if not for the fact that you were surrounded by all your classmates. 

It was becoming routine now—every moment of the day, you itched to steal a glance at your tattoo and see what the damage was. So far, ever since you'd discovered the fading in your bathtub, it had generally remained the same. There was no new fading, as far as you could tell...

Or maybe not, and you were just trying to convince yourself otherwise. 

You swallowed thickly, making sure to nod your head again as Izuku flashed you a grin and continued babbling on. The truth was that ever since Monoma had come forth to you, every fiber of your being had been itching to find the answers. Yet still, each time you tried to open a book or a new tab online, you got the same answer—

"Soulmate passed away." 

You'd spent hours racking your brain and trying to find some story that would reassure you, but all you encountered was the same morbid explanation. There wasn't a single case that lined up with your own—it was either that both partners began losing their marks at the same time, or they would lose their tattoos once their partner had passed on. From what you'd seen, Katsuki had retained his tattoo, which also didn't hold true to any reported incident. 

It wasn't as clear-cut as one of you simply passing away, especially since neither was exhibiting any symptoms of sickness or abnormality. In the instances where one of the partners would die, a lot of the cases were due to car accidents, heart attacks, etc. Their passing was as a result of some unforeseen circumstance; a disastrous event that ripped them from the world all-too soon and with no warning. And in each and every one of these tales, the soulmate mark would only dissolve after the fact. 

...But yours had already begun to fade. Which begged the question—

What the literal fuck is happening to us?? 

All your life you'd shown utter disinterest and outright fear because of the words engraved on your skin, and now here you were, terrified that they were finally fading away. You hadn't seen Monoma in a while, but you figured talking to him would do you little good. If what he'd told you had really been the truth, there was nothing more he could do. Maybe if you actually knew someone else with a marking like your own—perhaps you'd actually get to the bottom of this mess. 

"...(Name)," Todoroki murmured, likely noticing how dazed you were. "Everything alright?" 

"Yes, of course. I'm fine." You replied as hastily as you could manage, forcing a smile. It was such a sickening feeling; the more you read up and tried to figure out what was happening to you, the more confused you ended up. You were traveling along the trajectory of an endless spiral; a bleak journey that would ultimately yield no answers. 

I think I might need a therapist. If I think about this any more, I'll lose my mind. 

You returned to your seat once Aizawa sluggishly pulled himself through the doorway. Katsuki showed up to class just behind him, a little later than normal—you eventually realized, with a small chuckle, that he'd been desperately fiddling with his hair and trying to get it to go back to normal. Suffice it to say, it didn't work. 

"Whoa, Bakugou! The hell's up with your hair, dude?!" 

"SHUT THE HELL UP! I'VE DONE EVERYTHING I CAN AND IT AIN'T GOING BACK TO NORMAL!!"

"Pfft—!" 

It was pretty funny—everyone had begun laughing at the ash blonde, which forced Aizawa to shush them and flash everyone his trademark dead-eyed glare. The exchange ultimately ended with Katsuki flushing pink from embarrassment and trudging over towards his own seat. At some point, his spiky hair had returned; probably when he'd sparked off a small explosion in his palms. 

You glanced behind you, immediately locking eyes with a crimson pair. Katsuki was scowling, like always, and muttered something under his breath that you didn't quite catch. You watched as he stealthily pulled out his phone, then gestured for you to do the same. You felt your bag vibrate just in time. 

Katsuki: 

Stop staring at me, perv :P

You glanced back to see him smirking at you and sticking out his tongue. It should've made you happy, but all it did was make your chest feel tight. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Bakubro, please tutor me!" 

"EH?" Katsuki scowled. "How 'bout you eat shit and die?" 

"...Dude. That was a little uncalled for, don'tcha think?" 

The blonde let out a scoff, rolling his eyes over Kirishima's incessant pleas. With the internships having come to an end, final exams were rapidly approaching, and it was safe to say that a lot of people were freaking out. 

"I'm totally fucked!" Kaminari cried out, tugging at the roots of his hair. His amber eyes flickered over towards your frame, a lecherous grin following suit. "Hey, (Name)-chan...? Would you, maybe, sorta, y'know...wanna tutor me? Pretty please?" 

You blinked. "Huh? Uh, sure. I guess I'm pretty comfortable with the material overall, so I could—" 

"HELL NO." 

It seemed as though at some point, Katsuki had wormed his way away from Kirishima, and was now glaring down the lightning-user with gritted teeth. 

"Piss off, drooly. Go find someone else to tutor your sorry ass." 

"Ehhh?" Kaminari whined. "But (Name)-chan just said it was fine—" 

"I SAID PISS OFF! DON'T MAKE ME FUCK UP YOUR DUMBASS FACE EVER MORE!!" 

"O-okay, fine! Don't hurt me...!" 

The boy let out a yelp, scampering off towards the other end of the room—to recruit help from the smartest in the class, Yaoyorozu, no doubt. You merely shrugged. As a general rule, you enjoyed helping people, but Kaminari, well...he was sort of a lost cause as far as academics went. Best to let someone else take on that challenge. 

"Damn," Kirishima whistled, "You really don't let anyone get close to (Name)-chan, do you?" 

Katsuki flushed, slamming his palm against the redhead's shoulder. "S-shut up! Don't forget that I'M the one tutoring your ass, and I can back out whenever the hell I want!" 

"Alright, alright. I'm done." 

You watched Kirishima raised his hands in defeat, chuckling good-naturedly. Katsuki's cheeks were still burning bright-red; he hastily averted his gaze the second he locked eyes with you. The way he'd gotten so aggressive and refused your help to Kaminari...it was jealousy, right? Or were you reading into things too much?

He was all worried over the Hero Killer, too. Is there a chance that he actually likes me...quite a bit? 

You felt your cheeks begin to burn at the mere thought. It was such a pretentious thing to say to yourself; you were actually surprised at your own narcissism. This was Bakugou Katsuki, after all—he was definitely growing more comfortable with the whole "soulmate" deal, but he definitely wasn't the type whose feelings could be swayed so easily. And here you were, trying to convince yourself that he was absolutely enamored with you. 

Then again, if our relationship was going so well, I doubt my tattoo would be fading. 

God, you felt stupid. You let out a lofty sigh, not even realizing that Kirishima had been trying to speak to you. 

"Hey...(Name)-chan?" he frowned. "Are you here with us right now? On Earth?" 

"Huh? O-oh. Sorry, what did you say...?" 

Katsuki forced his classmate aside, furrowing his brows at you. "He was saying that you're comin' with us. Today. My place. We're gonna study." 

"Study what?" you asked stupidly, watching as the boys' eyes bulged out of their heads. You blinked twice, still half-dazed. "R-right," you spluttered out. "For the final exam, of course. Forgot about that for a moment." 

"...The fuck's wrong with you right now?" Katsuki snapped. "You're acting weird." 

"I'm not weird. You're weird." 

"Nah, it's you. You're the weird one." 

"Really? 'Cause I was convinced that—" 

"Ooookay!" Kirishima interjected, hurriedly placing himself in between the two of you. "Let's leave the married couple talk for later on, alright?" 

"Who the fuck are you calling—?!" 

"Yeah, yeah," he brushed off. "Let's just get going. The sun will set if I leave you guys to do what you want, and I really need to pass. C'mon, Bakubro—" he latched a hand onto Katsuki's wrist. "Take us to your Baku-house!" 

Katsuki pulled his arm away in disgust, making sure to swat Kirishima for good measure. You didn't know how exactly you'd gotten roped into this, but it wasn't all that bad. You'd been to Katsuki's house before—although it was earlier on in the day, so you hadn't actually met his parents. You wondered if they'd be home this time around? The thought made you a little nervous. 

Kirishima was pumping his fist in the air now, belting out something about how he was definitely going to pass the exam and he needed to muster up his "manly spirit" or something. He was walking ahead of you and Katsuki, so you flashed the blonde a perplexed look while stifling a giggle. Katsuki merely rolled his eyes, flipping off Kirishima's back before cocking a grin of his own. 

"What a moron," he chuckled lowly. "Must not have a single care in his mind." 

"Yep," you smiled. "Seems like it. Although that's probably nice, in its own way." 

"The not worrying part, sure. The being a moron part, not so much." 

You smiled again, feeling slightly guilty for making fun of your friend—even if it was all good-natured fun. You were actually surprised that he hadn't turned back on you guys, but you realized it was probably intentional, and he was walking so far ahead so as to give the two of you space. 

"Are...your parents going to be home?" you asked hesitantly. Katsuki nodded at you, then furrowed his brows as if not understanding what the issue was. You managed a smile. "I was just thinking I might be a little nervous, to finally meet the rest of your family. It seems a bit silly now when I say it out loud, but...I guess I just want them to like me." 

He stared at you in disbelief. "Uh, okay. You're dumb." 

"...Gee, thanks." 

"I meant that you're dumb for worrying," Katsuki snorted. "You don't need to think twice about those old geezers. They ain't shit. Honestly, I was thinking that they'd be embarrassing me," he admitted. "They'll probably be saying the dumbest shit imaginable, and the second they find out you're my soulmate—" 

"W-wait. You're going to tell them?" 

You'd stopped in place, Katsuki following after you. Kirishima was still walking ahead, but he'd noticeably slowed down the pace. So he was listening, after all.

How sneaky. 

"The fuck do you mean, 'am I going to tell them?'" Katsuki shoved a hand into his pockets, narrowing his eyes at you. "I've already told them, loser. They know I've met my soulmate, and they've been driving me insane every single day asking when the hell they'll "finally" get to meet you. I'm serious about this—you better be ready for all hell to break loose, 'coz they're gonna lose their shit when they see you for the first time." 

You didn't know what to say. Truly, you hadn't expected this. Someone like Katsuki, you assumed he would've done everything in his power to keep the nature of your relationship from slipping out. They definitely had no way of finding out about you, which would mean that he willingly came forth and told them all on his own. 

He'd wanted to tell them. 

"What?" Katsuki muttered, tapping his foot impatiently. "There a problem?" 

You hastily shook your head, smiling more brightly than you thought you were capable of. "No. There's absolutely no problem at all. I'm incredibly happy that you told them about me. Thank you, Katsuki-kun." 

Katsuki parted his lips to speak, but you'd already thrown yourself into his arms. You felt him stiffen under your touch; clearly, he still hadn't gotten used to such displays of affection. Even so, it wasn't long before you felt his hands fall loosely to your hips and press you closer to his body. 

"...Weirdo," he mumbled, burying your face in the crook of his neck. "Always hugging me out of nowhere." 

"Sorry. I was just really happy." 

"Shut up. Did I say I didn't like it?" 

"N-no..." 

You blushed, easing into the warmth of his touch. If given the choice, you would've stayed like this for as long as you possibly—

"Hey, guys?" Kirishima called out. "Don't get me wrong, I totally support your relationship, but if we could get going in a bit, that'd be really awesome. Thanks, dudes—love you both." 

You couldn't help the spastic laugh that fell out your lips. Already, you could feel Katsuki's body trembling against your own as he muttered something about beating the shit out of Kirishima under his breath. 

Chapter Text

 

"We're here, huh? Guess I'll finally get to see where Bakugou gets his attitude from." 

"Can it, shitty-hair. You trying to get kicked out before you even step foot inside?" 

"Sorry, sorry. I'll be cool." 

Kirishima flashed his friend a lopsided grin, to which Katsuki merely snorted in response. You'd finished your little trip and were currently trotting your way up the front steps. In spite of Katsuki's efforts to reassure you that you had nothing to worry about, you still couldn't help but nibble nervously on your bottom lip. Given your soulmate's, for lack of a better word...interesting mannerisms, you couldn't really imagine how his parents might be. He'd told you that they were excited to meet you and all, but what if they were let down once they actually met you? Or decided that you weren't good enough for Katsuki? 

I honestly don't know what to expect, and this whole situation that's going on isn't going to make it any easier. 

You let out a lofty sigh, watching as Katsuki pulled out his key and jammed it forcefully into the hole, cursing under his breath a few times when it didn't click immediately. He propped the door open not long after, and you once again found yourself stepping into the Bakugou abode. 

Kirishima grinned and playfully slapped Katsuki on the back, praising him for how "manly" his home looked—not that you were really paying attention. From the back of the house, you could hear movement, and then a feminine voice with a tenacious undertone. 

"Katsuki?" she called out, "You home?" 

The blonde rolled his eyes, barely even missing a beat before lifting his head to yell back in the voice's direction. "'Course I'm home, you shitty old hag! Who the hell else would it be?!"

Kirishima mumbled something about how it wasn't good to speak to your parents that way, but a storm was already brewing in your chest. No matter how many times you'd played out the scenario in your head, you just weren't ready to meet Katsuki's family. 

But you didn't really have a choice in the matter. 

"Oh! What's this?" 

Mind still reeling, a lady emerged from around the corner. She had the same ash-blonde hair as Katsuki, same spiky arrangement, same crimson eyes—she pretty much looked like a female version of him. Except that instead of a permanent frown plastered across her brow, she held a smile on her lips. 

"Katsuki brought friends home??" She blinked twice, as if the mere thought was so preposterous she could hardly believe it was happening. You heard Katsuki let out a scoff of annoyance from beside you. 

"Piss off," he snapped. "What's it to you, old lady?" 

His mother's brow twitched, and she didn't waste a second before swatting her son across the back of the head. Katsuki hissed in pain, gripping down on his hair with narrowed eyes. 

"The fuck are you—?!" 

"Shut it, you little shit! I won't have you acting so rude in front of our guests!"

Yeah...this is pretty much what I expected. 

Kirishima had begun to chuckle good-naturedly, and was already in the process of shaking the mother's hand—you overheard that her name was Mitsuki—but you had yet to swallow the pit that had formed in your throat. Katsuki had said that he'd already told his parents about you, which meant that the second you mentioned your name, they would probably know exactly who you were. Yes, you'd expected to be nervous, but only now, facing his mother for the first time, did you truly feel the extent of your restlessness. 

"And who's this young lady?" she suddenly asked; you noticed that she'd finished her introductions with Kirishima. You swallowed hard, hoping that your voice wouldn't squeak the first time you spoke to her. 

"Hello," you began, "I'm—" 

"She's my soulmate," Katsuki cut in, making both your eyes and his mother's widen in unison. The blonde was standing with one hand shoved in his pocket, his expression utterly unfazed as he spoke the words that had been making you ill with nerves. 

Mitsuki was on you before you could even blink.

"You're (Name)?!" she exclaimed, practically squealing from excitement. "You—a-are you sure it's her? Katsuki —" she glanced feverishly towards her son  "—You're not lying to your mom, are you? A girl this pretty, as your soulmate??! Please don't be lying to me, or I swear I'll—" 

"SHUT UP, ALREADY!! I'M TELLING YOU IT'S HER, SO IT'S HER!!"

Mitsuki's eyes were as wide as saucers, scanning you down as if she couldn't believe you were real. You'd done your best to maintain your smile, though it had begun to waver a bit. Still, you could tell that she was excited, and nothing more. If not for the fact that her son was glaring daggers into her back, you were convinced that she'd poke you to ascertain that you were really there. 

"It's very nice to finally meet you. I'm (Name)," you smiled, extending your hand out, "Although I'm sure you already know of me a little bit, from what Katsuki-kun's told you." 

Mitsuki grinned up to her ears, grabbing ahold of your hand and giving it a vigorous shake. "Oh, yes! He's told us so much about you! The first time he mentioned it, we were both through the moon! Ah, speaking of—Masaru!" she called out, craning her neck towards the back of the house. "Come here! Katsuki's finally brought his soulmate home!!"

"What?!

You caught Katsuki rolling his eyes, and Kirishima merely letting out another chuckle while he took in the scene. Although you were still very much on edge, seeing how welcoming and excited Mitsuki was helped put you at ease. And when you saw Katsuki's father striding through the halls, with his squared-glasses and gentle smile, you couldn't help but sigh in relief. 

"Welcome to our home," he greeted warmly, adjusting the rim of his glasses. "I'm Masaru, and I believe you've already met Mitsuki. It's very nice to meet you, especially after everything Katsuki's told us. Honestly, we're both shocked that someone like him even had a soulmate..." 

"The hell was that, shitty dad?!" 

"—But either way," he smiled, "I think I speak for both of us when I say that we're very grateful for you. You seem like a very nice girl, and we're happy that Katsuki has someone there for him." 

You felt your cheeks flush; the two were looking at you with a twinkle in their eyes, as if you were some kind of idol. Katsuki muttered something about how annoying they were both being, but didn't bother to chide them. He might've actually been a bit happy to see how they were ooing and aweing over you—maybe this was his way of showing you off. 

The tightness in your chest slowly dissolved. 

I think was worrying for nothing. Everything's gonna be just fi

"Could we see your tattoo?" 

You froze. Mitsuki was batting her long lashes at you, crimson eyes practically sparkling. From beside her, Masaru nodded his head in agreement. 

"Ah, yes," he agreed. "We'd love to see your marking, if that's alright. We're a bit curious as to what Katsuki's first words to you were." 

"Yours were absolutely beautiful!" Mitsuki gushed. She glanced over towards her son, frowning for a moment. "Knowing our boy, I doubt it was anything pleasant, but still. We're just a bit curious, that's all."

It felt like someone had shoved their hand all the way down your throat and gripped you by your heart. The roof of your mouth had almost completely dried out, and no matter how desperately you tried to swallow, your lips barely managed to tremble. The faded writing on your hip; all at once, it had begun to burn. 

How could you refuse? What possible excuse could you construct that would convince them—while ensuring that Katsuki himself would not be suspicious? Was there even a way to make it out of this situation unscathed? 

You asked yourself this, but in the back of your mind, you already knew. At some point, you were bound to slip up, and he was going to find out. Even if you were trying to put it off until you found the answers, it had been unrealistic of you to expect things to pan out smoothly. You should've expected the worst, like you always did; the way things always were.

Swallowing thickly, you began dragging your hand down to the edge of your shirt. Your eyes flickered over towards Katsuki's for half a second, and then they glazed over, fingers gripping the fabric by your hip. 

You inhaled—

"Leave her the fuck alone, you perverts." 

Katsuki's voice filled the air, and you'd never been quite so relieved to hear that gravelly tone. You dropped your hand on instinct; his parents were looking back at him in bewilderment. 

"What?" he snapped. "Just coz you wanna see it doesn't mean she has to undress in front of everyone here. Did you ever even stop to think that she wouldn't be comfortable showing it?" 

"Oh. But we were just—" 

"Being annoying, I know." Katsuki rolled his eyes, latching his hand across your wrist. He grunted back in Kirishima's direction. "Let's go, shitty-hair. And leave us alone, shitty parents. We've gotta study for our exams." 

He'd already begun tugging you along before you even had a chance to protest, with Kirishima following dutifully behind. Mitsuki and Masaru looked you over with apologetic eyes, as if only just realizing that their request may have been inappropriate. You averted your gaze as quickly as you could, the blood pounding in your ears. 

One way or another, you'd made it out alive. 

 

 

 

 

 

Kirishima let out a huff, drumming his pencil over his notebook. He knit his brows together, staring down the papers, and began scratching at the back of his head. And then...

"Uh, Bakubro? Can you help me with this one too, please...?"

Katsuki scowled. "Are you fucking serious? I literally just explained how to tackle those kinds of problems. If you can't do easy shit like this, you'll never be able to pass this exam." 

"Ugh..." 

The redhead shamefully lowered his head, hoping to rack his brain as best he could. You actually felt a bit sorry for him. He wasn't the strongest academic student, and although Katsuki was definitely smart, he had a demon-like style of teaching that left a lot to be desired. 

Katsuki cocked his brow at you. "So? What about you, (Name)? I hope to god you understand this crap—I don't need two dumbasses to teach." 

"Dude," Kirishima whined. "You're so mean." 

"Shut up and get back to work."

You smiled apologetically in Kirishima's direction, but shook your head. "No, I'm alright. I'll let you know if I need help with anything, okay?"

Katsuki nodded, drawing his attention back to his own papers. When you first met him, you would've never taken him for the studious type—more so a delinquent, really—but you now knew how far off the mark you'd been. He was at the top of the class in terms of grades; better than yours, even. Even his absurdly early bedtime was part of his strong sense of discipline and just went to show how serious he was about becoming a hero. 

Your eyes flickered up from your page, and you found yourself smiling. 

He has a foul mouth, but he's very driven, and I can respect that. 

For a while, the scribbling of pencils across paper was the only sound filling the room—then, Kirishima stood up from the desk and let out a weary sigh. "I'm going to the bathroom," he mumbled drowsily. "Maybe I'll go for a walk or something around the house to clear my head, too." 

Katsuki half-snickered, mouthing "loser" in the redhead's direction. Kirishima brushed him off easily enough, closing the door behind you and leaving the two of you alone. 

"Finally, the third wheel's gone." 

You blinked in surprise, flushing when you noticed the smirk on Katsuki's lips. You realized he was teasing you, but the suggestive tone made your hearbeat quicken. 

"That's not a nice thing to say about your boyfriend," you joked, hoping to alleviate the tension. Katsuki frowned for a moment, but surprisingly, decided not to rise to the bait. You were shocked. You'd expected him to bite your head off for that comment. 

"I need to tell you something," Katsuki said, shifting closer beside you. "But if you laugh," he warned, "I swear I'll kick your ass." 

You eyed him warily. "Um, okay...? What is it?"

Katsuki heaved a sigh. He was outright fiddling with his fingers, as if he was some kind of maiden in love. You wondered if this was some kind of practical joke, and he was going to pull a jump-scare on you and make you crap your pants. 

He still wasn't saying anything, and you tilted your head to get a closer look. He looked up at you from underneath long lashes, with those deep, crimson eyes. His cheeks were flushed. 

"...Thanks for coming today," he mumbled. "My parents...they might be annoying as fuck, but they've been wanting to see you for a long time. I know you were nervous about meeting them and all that shit, and to be fair they were being clingy as hell, but thanks anyways. Hope it wasn't too weird for you, being introduced as my 'soulmate' and all that." 

You blinked. He was...thanking you? Just for being here and meeting his parents?

"W-what?" he gruffed out, eyeing your dazed expression. "The fuck did I say wrong? Stop looking at me like you're constipated." 

"No, you didn't say anything wrong at all. I'm just...surprised. I didn't know this was such a big deal to you." 

Katsuki scowled, and hurried to look away. The apples of his cheeks were burning now; it was clear he'd reached the threshold of how much embarrassment he was able to tolerate. Not that it mattered. You realized that he was so much kinder than he let on. He was considerate of you, wanted you to be happy—he'd even stopped his parents earlier when he'd noticed you were uncomfortable. So then what was missing?

Why was your mark still fading? 

You pressed your lips together, tightening your knuckles. 

Nothing will change if I just keep silent. I need to tell him. He'll probably be angry; he might even be scared, but I NEED to tell him. 

It felt as though your lungs were on the verge of deflating, but you weren't about to turn back down. Kirishima was gone, and you had the room all to yourself. You could do it. With the kindness you'd seen in his eyes earlier, you could do this now

"Katsuki-kun. I need to—" 

"Shut up for a second."

Your eyes widened, feeling a strong hand grip you by the back of your head. You saw Katsuki's face, cheeks redder than ever before, his eyes squeezed shut as he crashed his lips against your own. The heat began to bubble up in your chest, like a firework bursting between your ribcage.

Of course, you were fully aware of what was happening, but your mind could barely keep up. From up close, you could smell how thick his musk was; a scent like fresh pine, laden with spices and too intoxicating for words. Had he always smelled this good before? Or was your mind just playing tricks on you? 

"K-Katsuki-kun," you mumbled out, your entire body feeling feverish. He broke away from the kiss just long enough to give you time to speak, but then he'd plunged back in again, growling from the back of his throat. You hadn't even realized that your hand had begun to tremor by your side; Katsuki placed his palm over-top and gave it a tight squeeze. 

The heat of his breath was caressing your skin, and made shivers dance down your spine. The kiss was gentle, and soft, but you could tell that he wasn't very experienced—every now and then, Katsuki's nose would bump against your own, and he let out a grunt of frustration as he tried to re-position himself. 

It was clumsy, admittedly, but it still made your heart squeeze just the same. With a wispy breath, he tore his lips away, revealing that his entire face was splotched with crimson. It might've been funny on any other occasion, but you knew that you were just as red—if not more

"T-there," Katsuki breathed out, mustering every ounce of willpower that he had to not avert his gaze. "You kissed me back during the Sports Festival, so now we're even, alright?" 

"...Alright." 

You debated on whether or not you should correct him, since your kiss had only been on the cheek, but you decided against it. After all, you weren't complaining. 

Chapter Text

[Monoma's POV]: 

<< 5 years ago

 

"What's wrong with that guy?" 

"I don't know, but stay away from him. My mom told me he's not 'all there' in the head." 

Monoma scoffed, his bottom lip curling in distaste. It seemed as though today, like every other day, he found himself being ridiculed by the lesser masses. Presumptuous it may have been, for a ten year-old boy, but he was almost certain that the majority of his classmates—if not all—were a bunch of uneducated buffoons. It was the only plausible explanation as to why they spoke about him the way they did, and kept their distance from him. It couldn't have been his personality. He was nothing if not pleasant, though perhaps his intelligence was a bit daunting. 

Yeah, that had to have been it. 

Monoma smiled inwardly, feeling a little pleased with himself in spite of the other children that were furrowing their brows in his direction. He didn't mind if he didn't have many "friends", or whatnot, especially if they were only going to drag him down with their stupidity. The fact that he was always playing by himself at lunch wasn't a big deal, either. Yeah. It was just fine. 

"...You kind of scare the other kids away, huh?" 

The blonde frowned, cocking his head to the side to find himself looking down at a girl with (h/c) hair and curious eyes. He spent a few moments pursing his lips, but eventually was able to remember who she was. (Name)—that's what you went by. 

"What exactly do you mean by that?" Monoma crinkled his nose, not appreciating your condescending done. You merely shrugged your little shoulders and grinned.

"Well, I've never really seen you hang out with anyone during breaks. You're always alone, but I can sort of understand why. The others are pretty mean to you, and they always talk behind your back." 

He rolled his eyes. "I don't care about all that." 

"You don't?" 

"No. My family's made it clear to me that people only behave that way when they're jealous, so it just means that they wish they could be like me." 

You batted your lashes; it looked as though you were glossing over what to say next. Eventually, you managed a small smile. 

"That's cool that you don't get upset, even when they're not nice to you. I wish I could be like that." 

"Like what?" 

"Like that." You gestured wildly to his entire body, and Monoma had to bite down on his lip to stifle his laughter. "The way you don't care, even when you're all alone." 

He winced. Somehow, that statement stung a little bit more than he'd expected, although it was clear by the innocent smile on your lips that you hadn't been trying to offend him. He didn't know too much about you—rather, about any of his classmates—but you always seemed to be smiling, even in times when it felt as though you shouldn't be. You were able to put up with some of the most infamous rascals in the class, and Monoma couldn't help but admire your patience. 

"So you don't really have any friends, do you?" You were still smiling, and Monoma found himself bobbing his head inadvertently. Your cheeks lit up. "Will you be my friend, then? I know you said you don't really care, but one can't hurt, right?" 

"Uhh..." 

His blue eyes flickered with confusion, but some force of nature made him nod his head again nonetheless. Maybe he was reading into things too much, but the way you looked at him was different from the other children. There was no judgment in your eyes; no malice, or fabrication. It was probably the first time he'd ever had a full-on conversation with you, but he was already sure of it—

You were kind. 

 

 

 

 

 

Monoma cupped a hand against his lips, stifling a yawn. The auburn-haired, self-proclaimed "mom" of Class B, Kendou, was biting his head off for something again. She had her hands placed tautly on her hips, and every time she opened her mouth to speak, her brows would furrow a bit more. 

"Are you listening to me, Monoma?! What you said to Midoriya earlier today was totally uncalled for! You can't just go around striking up conflict with the other class simply because you're petty!" 

His eyes glazed over. "That's where you're wrong, Kendou. I can go around striking up as much conflict as I desire. If they're truly the superior class, they should be able to handle this much, don't you think?" 

"What?" She let out an exasperated sigh. "I swear to god, you're—" 

"Witty and charming, yes, I know. I've been told." 

Kendou's green eyes began to bulge out of their sockets, but just as she was about to raise her hand and swat Monoma across the back of his head, he quickly scampered off towards the other end of the hallway. He could hear the girl crying out in annoyance, which made him chuckle a bit. By now he knew better than to try and hold a fight with Kendou, that crazy gorilla-woman. Knowing when to retreat was also necessary of a hero, after all. 

School was just about done for the day, but he wanted to run some questions by Vlad before leaving. He headed for the faculty room, turning the bend—only to freeze when he saw who he'd run into. 

By the looks of it, you'd just stepped out of your classroom. Your bag was in tow, and you spent a moment just to straighten out the pleats of your skirt. You were about to turn on your heel and leave when your gaze darted towards the blonde that was cemented in place. His jaw clenched; you pivoted in place almost immediately. 

"H-hello." 

Monoma was surprised by how shaky his voice sounded. Of all the people he'd had the luxury of provoking, you were by far the least intimidating. Your features were gentle and inviting, much like your personality. Yet now, something seemed different. Those (e/c) orbs, which were usually soft and permissive, shone icy and bitter. You were staring back at him with so much malice that he could hardly believe it was you, and not some villain who just found out they'd been convicted of murder. 

"Hello." Your reply was curt and direct, but there was no mistaking the hostility in your tone. You began making your way over towards him, and Monoma couldn't help but stiffen. "I haven't seen you in a while," you remarked. "That's a little convenient, hm? You tell me all those horrifying things, and then you just disappear and let me go crazy all on my own." 

He opened his mouth to protest. "I wasn't—" 

"You weren't?" 

"N-no, I'm—I mean—ugh." Monoma shook his head. His expression crumpled slightly. "When I told you what I did back then, it wasn't meant to scare you, or hurt you. I just honestly felt like you should know. Besides when I was studying abroad, you're the only other person I've met that has a soulmate mark. If there was a chance that something like that could also happen to you, I thought it was only fair that you should know in advance. I thought I was warning you; keeping you safe." 

Your gaze hardened. "Really? You did this to keep me safe? Because ever since I found out I've been a total fucking mess. I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to tell Katsuki-kun; almost everything I look up tells me that one of us will probably pass away, even though it makes absolutely no sense. I don't know what to make of this. I don't know what to make of this at all, and I'm starting to think that you only told me what you did just to mess with my head." 

Monoma licked his lips; they felt drier now. He was honestly at a loss as to what to say. You were glaring at him in a way that he'd never seen from you before. Was this really the same girl he'd met five years ago? The girl with the bright smile and kind eyes?

"...(Name)," he began, taking a tentative step forward. "I think it's been well-established that I outright loathe the morons you share a classroom with, but you're different. Even if we didn't know each other for very long before I moved away, I still consider you my friend. I wouldn't have told you what I did if I didn't think there was a chance it could help you."

"Help me how? You didn't offer me a solution, you just dropped a bomb on me and went "here, figure this shit out on your own". Even right now, if I ask you what I can do to resolve this, there's nothing you'll tell me, is there?" 

Your glare was only intensifying as the seconds passed. Monoma clenched his fists. You were right, though. All he'd done was bear witness to a situation; it wasn't as though he knew how it could be fixed—if that was even a possibility. He realized, guiltily, that he'd probably done you more harm than good. Even if he hadn't told you, whatever was going to happen, would've happened. It was out of his control, but the thought hurt him more than he imagined. 

"I...don't want anything bad to happen to you," he breathed out. You narrowed your eyes, but he only continued, "We're in different classes now—rival classes—but we both ended up at U.A and reconnected after all these years. We were still just kids back then, but I liked spending time with you. There aren't many people whom I consider to be my friends, but you're one of them, (Name). It was a selfish gesture on my part, to spring all that horrifying news on you, but I thought I was helping. Perhaps by giving you that awareness, I thought I could prepare you in the event that your mark starting fading, and—" 

"It has." 

Monoma swallowed. He wasn't sure he'd heard you correctly. "Sorry...?" 

"I'm telling you that it has started fading." You lurched forward, eyes glassy and vacant. "I checked it the day you told me that story, and I could see that the writing had begun to disappear. That's why this really isn't fucking funny to me. I need to know exactly what's going to happen to the two of us, and I need to know now—before I lose my mind any more."

The boy's hands dropped to his sides. It was safe to say that he hadn't been expecting this. Yes, your soulmate in question was rude and obnoxiously aggressive, but he didn't expect that you already be going through something like this—so early, too. It was making him sick to the stomach just imagining the consequences; nevermind how you felt. 

"I'm sorry." Monoma bowed his head shamefully. He felt nauseous and guilty all at once. "I had no idea that you were already going through something like that. You should've come to me; at least told me what was going on so—" 

"So that what?" you glared. "You look me over pitifully and still offer no solutions? It's too late for that now, Monoma-kun. It's already started, and I'm pretty sure there's nothing in my power that I can do to reverse it. I'm weak and useless in this situation. The only thing I can do is wait and see how it turns out. And I have a feeling that it won't be pretty." 

He bit down on his quivering lips. "You're right. Me telling you didn't accomplish anything, other than scare you half-to-death. And for that, I apologize. But still," he looked up at you through wide, imploring eyes, "I want you to know that there was no ill-intent behind my words. Genuinely, all I wanted to do was protect you. At the time I thought it was right."

You didn't say anything. Your gaze had fallen to the ground, trailing listlessly over the grooves and chinks in the tiling. Monoma could feel his heart aching. Not only was he riddled with remorse, but he now felt nothing but despair for your situation. If what he'd experienced was anything to base his thoughts off of, it meant that there was a good chance he would lose you, too. 

"That's cool that you don't get upset, even when they're not nice to you. I wish I could be like that." 

He remembered the first time you'd spoken to him; how bright and wondrous your eyes were as you gazed at him. In spite of the fact that he'd been ostracized by the entire class, you still went out of your way to spend time with him. You looked up at him with both fondness and adoration. He'd never spoken much of it at the time, but he realized now how happy that had made him feel. 

Monoma would've done anything to get that back; to trade it in for the cold, muddy eyes you were staring at him with right now. 

"I'm sorry," he said again. He didn't know if it would do any good, but he felt obligated to earn your forgiveness. "I really am, (Name). Please don't hate me for this." 

Your expression shifted just slightly, so that you looked more sad than angry. "I don't hate you. I wouldn't hate you. I'm just...scared right now. And frustrated. Incredibly frustrated." 

"I understand. I would be too." 

The air was so thick that you cut could it with a knife. Monoma was determined to stay nonetheless. It was horrible, what was happening to you right now, but he was certain that you'd be able to figure something out. He slowly walked closer to you, gently placing his hand atop your shoulder. You made no effort to move it, which made him sigh with relief. If you put your heads together, the two of you could surely—

"What the fuck is going on here?"

Monoma winced, but he already knew who he was about to be faced with. He noticed the way you stiffened up, turning to look over at the ash blonde approaching. It took all of five seconds for him to storm over and snap Monoma's hand away from you. 

"Keep your hands to yourself, shithead." Katsuki wrapped a hand around your waist, pressing you up against his body. He looked far more intimidating now than he had during the Sports Festival—which was saying something. 

You smiled, but Monoma noted that it seemed forced. "It's fine, Katsuki-kun. We were just talking." 

"Oh, yeah?" he glared, cocking a brow in the other blonde's direction. "So if you were just "talking", there was no need for him to get all fucking touchy, was there?" 

Monoma grimaced. "I barely put my hand on her shoulder. Stop making it sound as if I'm some sort of pervert." 

"Huh, that's funny. I don't recall asking you to speak, asswipe." 

Monoma felt his blood pressure rising. Here he was, taking shit from this jackass, all the while watching his friend be strung along by said jackass. Your expression looked shaky and uneasy by his side; it was like you had to force yourself to pretend that you were happy. Monoma gritted his teeth. No wonder your soulmate bond was fading, if that was who you were stuck with.

"I think you should be careful with the way you act," he warned. "All you're doing is causing (Name) more and more heartache. You already don't deserve her."

Katsuki's eyes widened into saucers. He whipped his head around to look back down at you, who forced a quick smile and explained that he—Monoma—was your friend, and he'd realized a while ago that the two of you were soulmates. It was evidently an attempt to defuse the situation, but sadly, all it did was rile up the crimson-eyed boy even more. 

"If you already know that we're soulmates," he seethed, "Then maybe you should think again before talking shit. I can tell that you've got the hots for (Name), which sucks for you, dickhead. She's mine, and she's always gonna be mine." 

Monoma saw the way your expression sank; the way your shoulders slumped. You hadn't told Katsuki about your fading soulmate mark then. If that was the case, he had no business butting his nose in to tell him for you, but there were already other things bubbling to the surface.

"(Name) is my friend," Monoma stated coolly. "I do care for her, but not in the way that you think. Regardless, it hurts me to see that her soulmate is going around treating her—along others—the way he does. Because I want her to be happy, I feel obliged to tell you to be careful, and watch the way you behave. You'll lose her if you don't change your behavior, that much I can guarantee."

From that point on, it was only a flash. Katsuki pried his hand off your waist, lurched forward, and was gripping Monoma by the collar of his uniform before the latter could even blink. Monoma spluttered weakly; Katsuki's fingers were becoming less forgiving as the seconds passed, digging their way into the flesh of his neck. 

"How 'bout you take that shit back?" Katsuki growled. "Take it back, beg for my forgiveness, and I might just consider not bashing your head in, since I'm such an understanding guy." 

Monoma wheezed; he was choking him now. Although he certainly had lost to Katsuki's team during the Cavalry Battle, that had been entirely different. Only now, with the boy's hand gripping down mercilessly on his throat did he truly feel the the extent of the difference in their strength. He would never be able to fight him one-on-one and win—that much he was sure of. 

"Katsuki-kun, stop it!!" 

Monoma heard your despaired cry, and then the sound of Katsuki clicking his tongue before reluctantly letting him go. He broke out into a coughing fit, small tears pooling at the corners of his eyes as he looked up at his assailant. You were by Katsuki's side now, gripping onto his arm to pull him further and further back. Katsuki was still glaring down at the other blonde with those venomous crimson eyes. 

"That was a warning," he rasped. "Touch my girl again and I'll break your fucking neck." 

Monoma coughed again; you shook your head dejectedly. Katsuki had began pulling you along by the hand, leaving his victim behind to splutter and rub at his tear-filled eyes. You were like a dainty little angel standing next to him, and he, a god of war—soaked in the blood of his enemies and leaving destruction at all turns. Monoma inhaled bitterly. 

He could tell that relationship was doomed to fail.

Chapter Text

Nowadays, it felt like sadness was a recurring theme for you. 

Your discussion with Monoma the other day had done little to assuage your fears—if anything, it had actually made things worse. Even now you still couldn't get the image out of your head; Katsuki's expression, contorted with malice, as he gripped the other boy by the throat. 

He wasn't the person that others thought he was. You knew that by now. Yet still, his actions at times made you feel nervous and uneasy. It wasn't exactly normal, was it? For someone to lose their composure so quickly? To transition from levelheadedness to rage in just a few moments? 

You couldn't understand. You hated violence. Some part of you was still struggling with all that was required of you, in becoming a hero. Even just the thought of having to hurt someone made a pit settle into your stomach—your soulmate seemed to welcome it with open arms, and a crooked grin on his lips. 

The disconnect was strong. You realized that now.

"(Name)-chan..." 

Uraraka slumped her brows. She could tell that you were struggling with something; she knew that you were unwilling to confide in her. You could only imagine how upset that must have been making her, but you just couldn't bring yourself to talk on the subject. You knew it was selfish to behave like this; to allow your expression to crumple in on itself and worry your friends. Before, you might've tried to conceal it all with a smile and go along like there was nothing weighing you down. You were far too exhausted to bother doing that anymore. 

The only person who you pretended around was Katsuki himself. 

Whenever his mark would start hurting, you would just brush it off with a white lie. Sometimes you told him you had a headache and you weren't feeling too well; right now you argued stress, and how scared you were about the upcoming final exams. He would always scoff, reassuring you that he'd tutored you himself and so you'd do just fine. 

You almost wondered why you didn't feel guilty, hiding the truth from him for so long. Then you realized that this entire relationship was essentially built on lies—fabricated in spite of the real feelings you were suppressing. 

The whole thing was just one big joke. 

"Come on," Uraraka whined, imploring you with her big, brown eyes. "I can't stand seeing you so upset all the time. Why won't you ever talk to me anymore? Are you mad at me? Did I do something to make you angry?" 

You managed a tight-lipped smile. "Of course not. That's ridiculous." 

"Then why? You never used to hide things from me, and don't say that you're not—I think we both know full well that there's something serious going on." She paused, adding cautiously, "Is it about Bakugou-kun...?" 

"Yes." 

The candor surprised you, but it was the most you'd speak on the subject, in any case. Uraraka stared back at you, gaze unwavering. She must've realized you weren't going to say anything else. Her shoulders slumped. 

"I understand," she mumbled sadly. "If you don't want to tell me about it, then I can't force you. I just need you to know that I'm always here to listen, whenever you're ready. I might not know much about him, but if nothing else, I'll always be a shoulder to cry on."

"Thank you. I know I'm being shitty right now, but I promise I'll tell you. When I get over this slump I'm in." 

She smiled in spite of her dejection. Classes were over now; you were wading through the hallways and heading towards the lobby to retrieve your things. You'd left as soon as the bell had rung, hoping to avoid Katsuki. You hadn't seen him follow after you, so he might've stayed behind in the classroom with Kirishima a while longer.

Suddenly, you had a thought. 

I need help. 

"Sorry, Uraraka-chan." You pivoted on your heel, turning back in the direction from which you'd come. "I need to go do something. Head home without me, okay?" 

You watched her lips part, but you were already walking away. The most you caught was a glimpse of her expression as it sank, eyes crestfallen and somber. 

When was the last time you'd been this selfish? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Is something the matter, (Name)?" 

Recovery Girl furrowed her brows, looking you over in confusion as you stepped into her office and closed the door. You tried to force a smile, but your somber expression just wouldn't budge. 

"Sort of," you mumbled, taking a seat before her. "Truthfully, I'm not even sure if it's an issue you can really help me with, but I don't know who else to ask. I figured I would ask you to give me a quick check-up." 

She frowned. "I can do that, but might I ask what brought this on? Have you been feeling unwell?" 

You shook your head. "No. It's—well, I think it would be easier if I just showed you." A weary sigh fell out your lips. The mere notion made your chest tight, divulging your secret to someone else. Still, it had to be done. Gripping down on the edge of your shirt, you lifted up the fabric to reveal the marking on your hip. 

Somehow, Recovery Girl didn't seem all that surprised to see the faded writing. She just looked sad.

"Your soulmate bond," she said quietly. "It's faded away even more, I see." 

Even more...? 

"What do you mean by that?" Your throat felt dry. "Did you notice it was fading before?"

Her dark eyes softened. The edges of her lips were downturned, lacking their usual smile. You wondered if you were mistaking her expression for guilt. 

"I'm sorry," she conceded. "I did notice the early hints that your bond had begun to dissolve, back during the Sports Festival." You swallowed thickly. It had started that long ago? "I felt it wasn't in my place to comment," she continued. "I have little experience of my own with soulmates; nowadays we see less and less of those people around. Although, perhaps I should have mentioned it to you, at least as a courtesy. For that, I apologize." 

"...Ah." 

You were at a loss as to what to say. If she'd picked up on it that long ago, it meant that you were already well on your way to having it disappear for good. Back during the Sports Festival—you remembered how many fights you and Katsuki had that day; the constant flux of ups and downs. 

Maybe the instability of this relationship was the problem. 

"I'll still examine you," she added hurriedly, noting your silence. "Just take a seat on the bed, my dear." 

You nodded listlessly, propping yourself up on the edge. She asked you a few basic screening questions while she was performing the exam, but you were almost completely zoned out. It was unfair for you to feel betrayed, especially when Recovery Girl had no business butting into your soulmate issues, but it was still upsetting. You hated feeling like you were alone in all this. 

"Everything seems fine," she smiled. "You're not in any sort of pain, are you? If you have other concerns, I can always write you a referral for the hospital so that they can perform some more tests in detail." 

You shook your head. "No. I feel fine, physically. I'm just scared." 

"Scared? What for? Ah—" She smiled sympathetically. "You mean you're worried about what it means for your relationship, with Bakugou. I've seen his mark as well," she added, "While he came in here, at some point. You seem to spend a lot of time together, so I just assumed. Forgive me if I'm wrong." 

"You're not wrong. He's my soulmate." The words felt heavy on your tongue. "But I guess not for long, if this is happening." 

Recovery Girl shuffled closer to you. She seemed to be contemplating what to say; how to say it. You weren't stupid. You could tell that she was trying to figure out the nicest way to break the bad news to you. 

"Admittedly...whenever someone's soulmate bond fades away, it usually means that they weren't as compatible with that person as was previously thought." 

I knew it. 

"It's still very difficult to tell with these things," she sighed. "They're rare cases, all of them. Even in my time, there were never many people who'd been assigned a 'soulmate'. It's hard to categorize anomalies; to try and explain why they are the way they are." 

"I've never met anyone else with a soulmate mark. I have no one to ask; to go to for help. I-I tried looking my situation up, and the answers I got scared me." You curled your fists into a ball. "An old friend of mine told me that the only other soulmate couple he'd known had gone through something horrible. Their marks had both started to fade away, then they each started feeling ill, and they eventually passed away. Hearing something like that, I just...I'm terrified. And I don't know what to do." 

She tapped on her cane, brows laced with concern. "They passed away? Because the writing disappeared?" 

"Yes. Based on everything I've read and heard, a fading mark isn't a joke. A lot of the time, a person's soulmate will pass away, and their mark will disappear after the fact. But mine's already begun disappearing." You looked up at her with wide, imploring eyes, desperately hoping that she could offer you some sort of salvation. "So I'm just scared. What does that mean for me?"

Recovery Girl's smile had long since disappeared. There was a bout of silence, and then—

"...I honestly don't know." 

Your chest crumpled. Even though you'd been expecting this response, it still hurt. She'd been your last bastion of defense; your final hope. Now knowing that you were just as in the dark as you had been coming in made you feel like a fool. You'd disclosed your fears, for nothing. 

"I understand." You stood up abruptly, expression blank. "I couldn't possibly have expected you to give me all the answers, especially when you've never experienced this yourself. I'm sorry for taking up your time." 

"Hold on a mo—" 

"Goodbye." 

As quickly as you'd come in, you were gone. The hallways were mostly empty by now; students had scurried out from their classrooms as soon as possible, eager to get home. If nothing else, you were thankful for the quiet, so that no one could see you curl up into a ball and collapse to the ground. The tears came soon enough. 

You felt stupid. Incredibly stupid. Rather than speaking to Katsuki head-on and tackling the issue at-hand yourself, you'd been clinging to the hope that someone else could give you all the answers and fix things for you. Yes, you were frightened. But you'd begun to realize that perhaps you were more scared of Katsuki himself than everything that was going on. 

Somehow, it just didn't feel right—for you to share your fears and concerns with him. You didn't feel safe telling him things. 

You didn't feel like you actually had a voice. 

A ragged breath. You were sobbing now. There may have been some stray students loitering around, but you didn't care. You couldn't care less who saw or heard you right now. So long as it wasn't—

"(Name)?" 

No. Fucking. Way. 

You actually wondered if you were cursed, or you just had the worst luck known to man. Not that it mattered right now anyways. You sniffled loudly, wiping your face with the back of your hand in a wasted attempt to hide your tears. You lifted your face, revealing cheeks that were blotchy and red. 

Katsuki was staring down at you, bag slung over his shoulder. You could never tell with him if he was mad, or if his brows were just permanently furrowed. His expression right now looked a bit different though. 

He knelt down before you, crimson eyes hardened. 

"...Hey. What the fuck is going on?"

Chapter Text

You drew in a sniffle, hurriedly wiping away at your eyes. Katsuki was crouched down before you, his expression growing increasingly more concerned. 

"The fuck is going on?" he repeated. "Why are you crying?" 

A small part of you was tempted to try and come up with some bullshit excuse, but you got the feeling he wouldn't buy it this time around. You couldn't keep arguing that you were stressed over school forever. You got the feeling his mark was probably hurting right about now too.

"Sorry," you mumbled, swallowing another wave of tears. "I didn't want you to have to see me like this. I've just been feeling pretty shitty these past few days." 

"Okay," Katsuki frowned, "I can see that you're not feeling well. But why?" He extended out his hand to help prop you to your feet but you merely shook him off, pressing your back closer to the wall. Realizing you weren't about to go anywhere, he slunk down to the floor, sitting cross-legged before you.

"I'm pretty sure you've already realized this by now, but I'm not a patient guy." Katsuki was furrowing his brows at you, fingers gripping down onto the fabric of his pants. "Something's been bugging you for a long-ass time, I can tell. And I'm not buying your excuses anymore. We're gonna sit here, however long it takes, and you're gonna fucking tell me what the hell is going on with you."

But what if I don't want to tell?  you thought, already wiping away a slow-rolling tear. Admittedly, you didn't have much of a choice. When Katsuki set his mind to something, there was nothing—and no one—that could keep him from getting what he wanted. It was just scary, coming clean with a reveal as big as this. 

It felt like this was the last conversation the two of you would ever have.

"So?" Katsuki prodded, eyes flickering with impatience. He watched as you nibbled on your bottom lip. "Are you gonna tell me, or what? And what's your fuckin' problem right now? Why the hell are you looking at me as if you're scared shitless?" 

"Because you are scary," you mumbled softly. 

"I'm not—what?" He stared back at you, stunned to silence. You'd never seen him look quite so lost for words before. The sensation of bile was climbing up your throat again. "How the fuck am I scary? Is that actually—hey. (Name)," he glowered, "Is that actually how you fucking see me?" 

You shuffled your feet against the floor, bringing your knees up flush against your chest. You gave him a slow nod. "Yes. I feel nervous to say things around you at times. It freaks me out, imagining the ways in which you'd react." 

"...Wow."

It was the only thing he said. His expression was still sweltering with a mixture of bewilderment and irritation. You hadn't even actually told him what was bothering you, and already he looked as though he was on the verge of exploding. 

"You're so full of shit, you know that?" He was glaring at you now, jaw clenched. "All the times you told me that I was a "nice" guy, and you felt "happy" to be around me—so that was all a big fucking joke, huh? You're still convinced I'm some monster who's not good enough for you." 

You shook your head. "I'm not scared of you in the sense that I think you'll lash out and hurt me, but sometimes I really do feel anxious around you. It feels like I can't speak my mind without you being upset with what I've said. You're a headstrong person—and I respect that—but it honestly feels like you're not willing to take into account anything that anyone says, if it doesn't happen to coincide with your own opinion." You squeezed down on your knees. Your hands felt clammy and cold. "I'm just saying," you breathed out, "I don't feel as if I can be 100% honest around you and share how I truly feel, because I'm always worried that you'll take things the wrong way and get angry in a second."

Katsuki narrowed his eyes. "So I can't handle your words; I'll just lose my shit and overreact every time you wanna speak your mind. That's what you're trying to tell me right now." 

"That's not—you see that? You're doing it right now. You're getting riled up and misinterpreting my words." 

"Just cut the crap," he snapped. "I'm not an idiot, you know. I can see that you're trying to avoid the topic at hand. Yeah, okay—I'm "scary", or whatever. I'm so fuckin' scary, and that's why you get nervous trying to tell me shit. But you still haven't actually told me what's been bothering you. I can bet that you didn't just start bawling your eyes out thinking about how "terrifying" I am."

You swallowed thickly. He was right, of course. No matter how intent you were on doing so, it wasn't as if you could hide the issue from him forever. 

"What's been bothering me is this—" You gestured back and forth between the two of you. "It has to do with our relationship, or whatever you want to call it." 

Katsuki clicked his tongue. "Yeah, and? I could already fucking tell it was about that. I'm asking you what specifically is bothering you." 

"It's—ugh. God..." 

You slumped your head forward, wanting nothing more than to bury it in between your knees and pretend like you weren't even here. Your heart was beating spasmodically now; it felt ready to burst out from between your ribcage any moment. Katsuki's watchful gaze was only becoming more and more intrusive. It felt like you were suffocating, and the words just wouldn't come out. 

You wanted them out; gone. You wanted the weight to be finally lifted off your chest, and—

"Would you believe me if I said that my soulmate mark was fading?" 

Silence. 

There, I said it. 

You inhaled sharply, digging your nails into the exposed skin of your thighs. You were still facing straight down, (e/c) orbs staring at the dirt-smeared floor. Out of the corner of your eye, you spotted a tile that was out of place. You had the sudden urge to reach out and try to force it back into place. It looked lost; pitiful, even. It reminded you of yourself. 

"...Show me," Katsuki finally managed. You jolted upright, eyes widening. You were trying to string together an appropriate response, but the blonde had already begun tugging at the fabric of your uniform. You shuddered when he pulled down the hem of your skirt, revealing your left hip. And the fading mark. 

He didn't say anything at first. You yourself were frozen in place, warily eyeing his expression; searching for any changes. There was nothing to see—literally. You'd never quite seen him with an expression so blank and devoid of emotion. His crimson eyes were affixed to the point on your hip; to the scraggly, disappearing words. 

You inhaled. "Katsuki—" 

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" It hadn't taken long for his features to morph into sheer, unbridled acrimony. "That fucking—your writing's smeared. How the fuck does something like that happen? I know for a fact that those shitty marks don't disappear, no matter how much you rub at them." 

So he's tried to get rid of his own before. 

His words stung a bit, but you weren't surprised, considering how much he'd been opposed to the whole soulmate arrangement at the start. Knowing him, he'd probably loathed having a marking all his life; he'd taken it a sign of weakness, no doubt. 

"Does that mean that—is mine fading, too??" Katsuki hurriedly tugged at his shirt. He shifted his belt aside just a smidge, enough to confirm that his writing was still intact. You knew you didn't imagine the sigh of relief he let out. 

"I know it's a lot to take in so suddenly," you began, "that's why I was so scared to tell you in the first place. With all the things I've heard and read...I've been terrified, Katsuki-kun. No matter where I look to for answers, all I hear is that this isn't good news." 

"And what's that supposed to mean?" 

"I-it's just...not good." You hugged your knees to your chest, still averting his gaze. "I heard from a friend of mine that he witnessed something terrible go down—between two soulmates that he'd met. Their marks started fading away, and then they both started getting incredibly sick. They were forced to miss more and more classes, and eventually..." 

Katsuki's voice was as rough as sandpaper. "What?" 

"They p-passed away," you finally managed, shuddering involuntarily. "I read up on this on websites and essentially every source I could find. A lot of the times, a fading mark means that one of the partners—or both—is about to have something really terrible happen to them. That's why I've been so scared to tell you; the whole thing is frightening beyond belief." 

"You think one of us is gonna die?" Katsuki reinstated. He looked more baffled than worried. "Are you fucking delusional or what? Just because this happened to a couple of other people, you automatically assume the same shit's gonna happen to us, too?" 

"I-I didn't say it was for certain!" you protested. "But it's a terrifying thought! I have yet to meet anyone else with a soulmate bond, so the fact that I have literally no one to go to for help has just been making me crazy...! I'm losing my mind going through all the possibilities!" 

"You do know someone else with a soulmate bond." 

"What...?" 

Katsuki narrowed his eyes. "You know me, dumbass. I should've been the first fucking person you came to with this shit, but instead you decided to hide it from me, like the selfish piece of shit you are. Regardless of what happens, this affects both of us, clearly. And you still insisted on trying to deal with it all on your own. No shit you were gonna drive yourself crazy."

"How could I have possibly told you? Was I supposed to go up to you one day and casually mention the fact that one of us could very well die soon??" 

"Neither of us is going to die," Katsuki gritted out. "And you're an idiot for buying into that shit." 

"How the hell do you know?!" 

He chuckled humorlessly. "You're right. I know almost nothing about this soulmate crap, and I never cared enough to learn. But what I do know is that of all the people you tried to reach out to, should've been your first. We're supposed to be in this shit together; partners or whatever garbage you wanna call it. I'm the only other person who this concerns, and still, you decided that you'd keep this from be and turn it into one big, messy secret. I might not know much," he muttered, "But I know I'm right about this." 

You went silent. Your cheeks were burning, both from shame and frustration. You couldn't refute anything that he was saying. You knew he was right. He should've been the very first person you went to—if not to get to the bottom of it, then at least for comfort and reassurance. You'd been selfishly withholding important information, purely because you were too scared to address the issue at hand. 

I'm a coward, you thought, wiping at your gritty cheeks. I've only been making the situation worse for the both of us, and now we're here. 

"How long?" 

"Sorry...?" 

You frowned, surprised to hear Katsuki speak up again. He was staring at you, eyes lidded. He looked angry and defeated all at once. 

"How long ago did you find out?" he asked monotonously. "When did you first notice that the writing was fading away?" 

Your limbs went stiff. It was all coming back to you now. Right after the Sports Festival, before the internships, before you'd gone over to Katsuki's place to study. So then...

"A few...weeks," you mumbled quietly. His brows arched almost immediately. 

"Weeks??!" he cried out, eyes bulging out of their sockets. "You led me along by my fucking nose for weeks without telling me this shit?!" 

You parted your lips, but he'd already stood up, glaring daggers down at you. With his sturdy frame towering above your feeble own, the situation felt that much more intimidating.

Katsuki scowled. "You know, you talk a lot of shit about how I'm scary and shit, but you're not such a fucking angel yourself. Instead of coming to me with your problems, your solution is to fucking hide and pretend like there's nothing wrong. As if that's gonna make the issue disappear." 

You balled up your fists. He wasn't wrong, of course, but it still made your chest feel hot. You were already having a hard enough time as it was; you weren't in the mood to have your mistakes thrown back in your face. You stood up to face him. 

"I was scared," you muttered. "Yes, I realize I messed up by not going to you right away, but it doesn't take away from how frightening this whole situation is. You—aren't you even somewhat worried? You're glossing over it and acting as if you're totally unaffected, but some really fucked up stuff could happen. And we don't even know when or how!" 

"Only an idiot would worry about something that hasn't even happened yet." He watched your eyes widen and merely scoffed. "When a problem arises, you deal with it—that's all there is to it. And yet you're making yourself sick with grief, trying to imagine all the fucking possible outcomes."

You bit down on your lip. One part of you was tempted to just turn on your heel and run away, as far from this situation as possible. You realized just how cowardly that sounded, but you couldn't deny its appeal. It was just like Katsuki said—when a problem came up, you would have to deal with it. It was pointless to rack your brain and try to imagine the worst, when it hadn't even happened yet. This was frustrating, too; knowing that in spite of all his lack of self-control and shortcomings, he was still able to be more mature about you on this topic. 

You began to feel increasingly upset. You had the sudden urge to try and hurt him. 

"Recovery Girl told me that a fading mark generally signifies that the relationship isn't meant to be," you blurted out. It didn't take long for Katsuki's eyes to widen. He now looked genuinely concerned. 

"...What?" 

You knew you should have stopped yourself, but you were acting purely out of emotion now. "When a soulmate's mark begins to fade away, it could mean that there was some sort of miscalculation. The relationship wasn't as secure as previously thought; both partners—or at least one—aren't happy with the other. That's why the writing begins to fade. Because there's no future to be had." 

The top of Katsuki's brow had begun to crease, but not out of anger. His eyes were dim and crestfallen. You thought you heard him whimper. 

"So you don't fucking like me," he muttered bitterly. "That's why all this is happening." 

He lifted his head, seeming to implore you with his gaze. It was as if he wanted you to reassure him that he was wrong; he needed to hear from your own mouth that it wasn't so. Your chest felt tighter now. You wanted to put him at ease, to stop him from hurting. 

But still, you hesitated. 

"I do," you finally managed, forcing a smile. "Of course I like you. I just think that...some things aren't right between us. We suck at communicating with one another, and that's why—" 

"You're lying," Katsuki grimaced. 

"What? I'm not—" 

"Yeah," he muttered, "You are. It's like what you just said. My mark is just fine; yours is the only one that's fading away. Because you're not happy with me, isn't that right?" 

You paused, warily scanning him down. You knew that whatever you would say from this point onward had to be very calculated. Already, he looked on the verge of tears. 

"It's not...as clear-cut as 'like' or 'dislike'," you sighed. "Katsuki-kun...at the beginning, I'm pretty sure you really hated my guts." You paused, searching for a shift in his expression. He didn't budge. "Well...that was at the start," you continued, "But at some point, you seemed to accept the notion of us being soulmates. I thought I would be happy about it, but it just felt like that was the only thing you saw me as—your soulmate. Not (Name); not the person I was. I think you started off by being strongly opposed to soulmates, but as time went by, you became okay with it. You seemed to want to be with me more, but only because of that. Only because I was your soulmate. That's why I was so terrified to tell you this." You clenched your fists, shoulders trembling. "I thought...you would stop caring for me the second you found out. Because if I'm not your soulmate, then I'm nothing. It felt like you didn't like me, but the ideaof being with me. If that makes sense."

Katsuki's eyes lifted. He finally broke his silence. 

"That's the single most idiotic thing I've ever heard in my entire fucking life." 

You had to do a double-take, unsure you'd heard him correctly. His words hurt. This had been the most genuine thing you'd ever said to him; your bravest display of honesty and vulnerability. And he'd just thrown your words back in your face, just like that. 

And he wonders why I can't speak my mind around him.

"You really are full of shit," Katsuki spat, "Trying to tell me what my feelings are. Coz suddenly you know exactly what's going on in my mind, hm? You've got a second, telepathic Quirk you haven't ever told me about?" 

"No, but I'm—" 

"You're lying through your fucking teeth, is what you're doing. God, and to think that I was dumb enough to actually try for you!" Katsuki brought his palm up against the side of his head. His fingers began mercilessly tugging at his ashen blonde roots. It must've hurt, but he didn't show it. 

"S-stop that," you urged, extending out your hands. "Katsuki-kun, I understand that you're upset, but don't do what you're—" 

"I'VE HEARD ENOUGH OUT OF YOU!!!" 

The cry surprised you, even though you should've expected something like this. You took a hurried step backwards, swallowing hard in an attempt to cut off a fresh wave of tears. You could feel them prickling and stinging at the corners of your eyes, threatening to overflow any second.

Katsuki pulled his hand back, withdrawing strands of hair between his fingers. "Just be quiet," he rasped. "I don't need to hear you try and tell me the way feel about you. Clearly, you don't fucking know. Clearly, you have no idea how incredibly fucking difficult it is for me to tolerate anyone—let alone romantically. You just...do you seriously think I would've let you hang around me if I didn't fucking like you?!" he cried out. "Soulmate or not—if you were a shitty person that pissed me off, I would've kicked you to the curb a long time ago. You think I would've blown all my fucking cash on a dress for you, if I didn't care? Fucking seriously??" 

You stood as still as a statue. You wanted to cry. 

"I wouldn't have fucking called you after I heard all the news about the Hero-Killer," he gritted out. "Not if I didn't give half a shit about you. I would've done fuck-all; I wouldn't have bothered to see you. I wouldn't have—" He hurriedly scanned the halls, cheeks reddening. "I wouldn't have kissed you if this was all bullshit, like you claim it is. I'm not the type of person who can fake the way I feel. But I guess you don't have any problem doing that."

The tears finally spilled over, and you couldn't help but whimper. Katsuki could see that you were crying. He looked as though he was struggling internally whether to be sympathetic or angry. 

"(Name)," he called out. His voice was much more level than before. "I just don't know what the fuck I'm supposed to do. God, I-I feel like I'm doing a good job at being nice to you; understanding you. But clearly, I couldn't be any more fucking wrong. Can't you at least tell me what the hell you want from me? What else is there left to do?" 

"I don't k-know," you choked out, desperately wiping at your tears. "I don't know, I don't know. I just don't know..." 

Katsuki's shoulders slumped. His own cheeks were just as blotchy as yours. You noticed his eyes for the first time—how red and misty they were. He'd been keeping himself from crying, this entire time. 

"Well, I fucking like you," he breathed out. "I like you a lot. But now I realize I'm an idiot for doing so." 

He turned on his heel, already making his way down the hall. The last thing you caught was his broken expression, and the way his chin trembled as he spoke. You wondered if a part of him was hoping that you would call out to him, or follow. You realized quickly enough that you didn't have the courage to do either of those things. 

Instead, you crumpled to the ground, in the same spot you'd been before. The tears came quickly enough. 

Chapter Text

You didn't speak to Katsuki in the days that followed. 

People were visibly concerned—your closest friends especially. It was as though the mask you'd so desperately been trying to maintain had completely slipped off. You no longer bothered to smile or laugh. You didn't even feel like yourself anymore. 

It was worth mentioning that you weren't exclusively ignoring him; the silence that ensued was a two-way street. He no longer invited you to sit with him in the cafeteria from time to time, even going so far as ensuring that his own table was nearly halfway across the room from yours. If the two of you ever brushed shoulders in the halls, neither of you said a word. 

The worst part was that you weren't even surprised. You'd had a feeling that this was how things would unravel, the moment you told him about your fading mark. The whole situation couldn't even be classified as spiteful or malicious—it just seemed like neither of you cared anymore. The "soulmate" arrangement was over; making an effort didn't seem to merit the payoff. 

That was how you found yourself lounging around over the weekend, looking more empty and depressed than you ever had before. 

"(Name), honey?" Your mother was looking over at you, brows laced with concern. "Is everything alright?" 

You shifted on the couch, but only to incline your neck upwards. Your eyes were lidded and utterly devoid of emotion. 

"Yeah," you mumbled quietly. "I'm fine. Just tired."

"Tired, but...it's already 3 in the afternoon..." 

You shrugged. "I haven't been sleeping much these days." 

"I see." She drummed her fingers over the countertop, no doubt pondering what to say next. It looked as though she was trying to swallow her words before they came. Probably in an attempt to spare your feelings. 

"What is it?" you sighed. "I know you wanna say something." 

"No, I'm just—" She frowned. "This just isn't like you. I've never seen you look so deflated before. Sure, everyone has the odd couple of days, but it's been like this for a while. And it only seems like it's getting worse."

You turned your attention back to the TV. "I don't want to talk about it." 

"But, sweetie—" 

"I don't want to talk about it." You gritted your teeth, fully aware of how vicious that last sentence had sounded. You could hear your mother stifle a gasp; she'd never seen you shun her like this. 

"...Alright," she murmured. "Clearly, this isn't going to work out. I know you're upset about something, but if you refuse to talk to me about it, then the least you can do is call Uraraka over so that you have a friend by your side. How does that sound?" 

You nodded listlessly. She let out a weary sigh, already picking up the phone and dialing your best friend's number. 

 

 

 

 

 

"I have some things to get off my chest." 

Uraraka's eyes widened. She'd barely just stepped through the door and you were already hovering by her side, ready to overwhelm her with your mountain of problems. Any other person might've been nervous; annoyed, even. 

But not Uraraka. 

"Finally!" she exclaimed, wrapping you in a big hug. "I've been waiting forever for this! Come on, girl—let's sit down and you can tell me everything." 

She was like a puppy, excitedly bounding up and down. You'd never seen someone look quite so enthusiastic, considering that they were just about to get saddled with another person's problems. She really had missed you. Missed actually hearing from you, and knowing what was going on in your life. 

You sat back down on the couch, pulling up a blanket for the two of you. Your mother had left the room, out of respect for your privacy. You appreciated it, especially since you'd been so catty towards her earlier. 

"First and foremost...I'm sorry," you breathed out, bowing your head forward. "I've been avoiding addressing this for a long time, because I was just super scared. Like you already assumed, it has to do with Katsuki-kun, but it's more than just that. It's something that affects my life, and it's been weighing on my mind like crazy, making me feel sick. I finally confronted him about the situation a few days ago." You paused, managing a sad smile. "That's when we stopped talking." 

Uraraka slowly nodded her head, knowing better than to cut in or ask questions prematurely. You breathed in, feeling a bit more at ease. You'd already told Katsuki; coming clean about it to other people was a cake-walk by comparison.

And so, you told her. Everything, just like she'd wanted. All throughout, you studied her expression. Uraraka was an emotive person, and you could see the way her shoulders would slump during some parts, or how her lips would part to allow a soft gasp to slip out. Nonetheless, she still didn't cut in, allowing you to finally say your piece. It was better, all things considered. Unlike with Katsuki, telling the truth hadn't ended in tears and spite. Your best friend was just worried about you. That's all there was to it. 

"I'm just glad you finally told me," she smiled. "Don't get me wrong—I'm worried sick about you, even more so after what you've just told me, but it's better this way. I always want to know, (Name). Even if you think it'll inconvenience me, it's always better to tell someone. That's what best friends are for, right?" 

Her smile was so bright and dazzling, it was honestly contagious. You didn't manage much, but it felt good to be happy for a change, even if it was a brief, fleeting feeling. Uraraka leaned forward, wrapping one arm around your back and pulling you up against her. 

"It'll be okay," she reassured, running her fingers through your hair. "I know it may sound hard to believe, but things will work out. Somehow, they will. They have to, okay?" 

You buried your head in the crook of her neck. "You're right. I just need to stay strong." 

"Yes. Just stay strong." 

This was the period in which you felt better about yourself. The two of you binge-watched some silly show, stuffed your faces with snacks, and laughed about the most random things. It felt nice to finally regain your bearings. You were seeing life in color again. 

Then, you got a text. 

[1 unread message: Kana] 

"Hm?" Uraraka frowned, mimicking your own confused gaze as she glanced over at your screen. "Who's that?" 

"I'm not...sure," you admitted. "The name sounds familiar, but I'm not—oh. Wait. Middle-school Kana?" 

You and Uraraka both looked back at one another, eyes widening with realization. "Ahhh," the brunette acquiesced, "Yeah, I remember now. She was in homeroom our last year. Did we talk to her much?" 

"I don't think so. We probably only hung out a few times. Lemme see what she wants." 

Kana: 

Hey, girl! Long time no chat! I know you must be crazy busy at U.A—I saw you in the Sports Festival. You were badass! Anyways, it's nothing major, but we're having a goukon1 tonight. I made sure to find some top-tier hotties, so I promise you won't be bored ;) It starts in about an hour, but you can pop in pretty much whenever. Some people just canceled last minute and a bunch of our old classmates were asking about you so I thought it'd be cool if you dropped by! The restaurant's at [address], close by the station. Reservation's under the name "Kana". Again, no pressure, but it'd be awesome if we saw you tonight! <3 

"...Huh." Uraraka was peering over your shoulder, brows pulled together. "I guess Kana-chan hasn't changed much. She still gets right to the point when she wants something. Besides, if she really wanted you to show, the least she could've done was—" 

"I think I'm gonna go." 

"What?" She looked back at you, brown eyes widened. Her chin quivered just so. "(Name)-chan...you're kidding, right? It's super last-minute, and even if that wasn't the case, what about Bakugou-kun? Aren't the two of you, well...you know?" 

You swiped your hair to the side. "Aren't we what? After everything that went down between the two of us, I highly doubt we're ever gonna be able to work things through. We're not talking anymore. We don't even look at each other."

"Because you're going through a rough patch," she protested. "This soulmate stuff is complicated, yes, but I'm positive you guys will be able to figure it out. The fading mark and all that—you'll get to the bottom of it soon enough. I promise." 

"You weren't there. You didn't see the way he looked at me; the things he told me. He basically said that caring about me was a mistake." 

You'd stood up now, and Uraraka rose with you. Her usually rosy cheeks had lost most of their color. She wasn't smiling anymore. 

"I think you're being too hasty," she breathed out. "I can tell that you're upset, and I obviously can't possibly understand what you're going through, but I don't think this is the right decision. This is basically just one big group-dating session; they're obviously going to pair you up with some guy." 

You stared at her, unfazed. "And what would be so wrong with that?" 

"...Seriously? You don't see a problem there?"

"It's become more and more clear that Katsuki-kun and I aren't good together," you brushed off. You passed by the mirror, hastily looking yourself over. It wasn't your best attire, but it certainly wasn't your worst. And it would just have to do. 

"(Name)-chan!" Uraraka stumbled to keep up with you, a steady glare forming across her delicate features. "This isn't right, and you know it. You're not even interested in meeting other guys right now—you're just doing it out of spite. To get back at Bakugou-kun, because you're upset with him." 

"How would you know what I want?" 

The words came out sounding more hostile than you'd intended, but it was too late to take them back. Uraraka's jaw went stiff. She looked just about ready to cry, but hurried to compose herself. It wasn't anything like before. You'd seen her be frustrated and despondent before, but she'd never looked quite like this. She was your best friend, and you were certain that she'd never wanted to slap you in the face before. 

Except for now. Now, you weren't quite so sure anymore. 

"I'm trying to help," she grimaced. "It's obvious to me that you're scared—and you have a right to be—but all you're doing is pushing me further and further away. It's bad enough that you kept this a secret from me for so long, but now you're going to act like this?" 

"I'm not acting like anything. I've been having a very shitty time these last few days and I really need some cheering up. Why is it such a crime that I go out and try to have a good time?"

She bit down on her lip, growing hot in the face. "You know why, and you refuse to admit it. Just say that you want to get back at Bakugou-kun. At least own up to it." 

"How the fuck would I even get back at him?" you snapped. "He's not talking to me—he's done. Whatever relationship we were trying to have is clearly not going to happen, so stop trying to make me feel guilty about going out and meeting people." 

You spied your purse sitting on the chair by the front door and flung it over your shoulder. Already, you were in the process on throwing on your coat and stepping into your low-heeled boots. Uraraka could only gape at you, looking more disappointed than ever. 

"Are you joking right now? You're just gonna rush out the door and leave me here? What even—who are you?" she choked out. "I've never seen you act so cold, never in my entire life." 

You'd reached into your purse to fish out your favorite, (f/c) colored lipgloss. You dabbed it onto your lips, running them over one another. As you looked up at Uraraka, it felt like what was left of your spirit had eroded. 

"Who knows," you deadpanned. "I barely even recognize myself these days. If you wanna leave, let yourself out whenever. Or stay and chat with my mom, your choice." 

She didn't say anything—not even after you'd stepped outside and shut the door in her face. Or maybe she did say something, but you just didn't hear it, over the sound of blood pounding in your ears. 

For the first time in your life, you could genuinely say that you hated yourself.

Chapter Text

"Hi," you breathed out. "Table for 'Kana'? I'm supposed to be meeting a group of people here." 

The hostess smiled back at you, nodding her head. "The first few guests have already checked in. I'll take you to your table. Right this way, miss."

You managed a small smile of your own as you followed closely behind her. As you waded through the restaurant, your eyes flitted around the room. It was a pretty nice place, admittedly. Not so elegant that you felt under-dressed, but it had a sort of casual-chic vibe going on.

The hostess leading you attempted to engage in some small-talk, but you were too busy scanning your environment. You realized you were a bit nervous, to meet up with these people that you hadn't spoken to in months, and with whom you'd never really been very close to begin with. 

"Here you are," the girl smiled, gesturing to a sectioned-off portion of the corridor. You peered around the corner, spying a completely separate room. Probably where they usually seated these large groups. 

"Thanks," you mumbled back, fiddling awkwardly with the sleeve of your shirt. You inhaled sharply, mentally preparing yourself for the last time. Finally, you turned the bend and made your way inside. 

"Ah—! You made it!!" 

From across the room, one of the girls had spotted you and stood up almost immediately. She was smiling brightly as she made her way over towards you, her brown hair fastened in a high-ponytail. It actually took a while for you to recognize her—she was wearing such heavy makeup that she almost didn't look like herself. 

"You're early!" Kana gushed, wrapping you in a big hug. "I wasn't expecting you to show until way later, especially since my text was so last-minute." 

"It's not a big deal," you smiled, hugging her back. "I didn't have much going on today."

"Well, that's awesome!" She linked her arm with your own, pivoting to face the group of people clustered around the table. "Look, guys—(Name)'s here! Try not to fight over her too much, boys. I know she's pretty and all, but you'll have to share, okay?" 

You blushed deeply, suddenly wary of all the eyes on you. There was a decent amount of people already, but still some empty spots at the table. The rest would probably be trickling in a bit later. 

"Hello," you greeted, timidly waving your hand. "I'm (Name). It's nice to meet you guys. Well, I already know some of you—" The familiar middle-school faces grinned, "But it's nice to be here, in any case. Thanks for having me." 

You noticed some of the guys elbowing one and another and grinning shrewdly. The flush on your cheeks was only becoming more and more pronounced. 

Geez, why did Kana have to introduce me like that..? 

 "Oh, I know you!" one of the strangers cried out. "I saw you in the Sports Festival! You're a U.A kid, huh?" 

You nodded hurriedly, but Kana had already begun tugging on your arm and leading you to the table. "C'mon guys," she frowned, "Give her a minute to settle in. You can start hitting on her later." She leaned in to whisper in your ear. "I'm gonna sit you right next to Haru, alright? He's basically the hottest guy here, so you're welcome."

You opened your lips to protest, but you were already being shoved down into your seat. Kana grinned over your shoulder before circling around the table and taking the seat across from yours. You heard a low chuckle from beside you. 

"She can be pretty stubborn, huh?" 

The boy who'd called out to you was sitting just to your left. You realized almost immediately that he was Haru—and Kana hadn't been kidding about the fact that he was attractive. With his jet-black hair that fell loosely just past his ears, and striking blue eyes, he definitely fit the mold for 'conventionally' handsome. He had a defined jawline, and two metallic piercings on his right ear. His lips were curled into a wry smile. 

"Hi," he greeted, extending out his hand for you to shake. "I'm Haru. It's very nice to meet you, (Name)." 

You blushed without realizing it, suddenly wary of how little effort you'd put into your appearance. "H-hello," you mumbled awkwardly. You took his hand in your own. "It's nice to meet you as well." 

Your eyes flickered back across the table to find Kana leering at the two of you. She grinned, looking awfully smug about the whole situation. 

"We're still waiting on a couple people," she said, "But they'll be here soon enough, and I've already got appetizers on the way!" 

"Right," you mumbled, craning your neck to look down at the menu. Your face felt hot, and you were almost scared to look up at again, for fear of locking eyes with Haru again. He was still looking at you; that much you could sense. 

Your stomach began to churn. Something was starting to feel off.

 

 

 

 

 

"So what sort of stuff do you like to do for fun?" Haru asked. 

"Uhh...it depends. I guess I like listening to music, to unwind after a stressful day. Sometimes I hang out with my friends, I don't know." 

He bobbed his head forward, black locks framing his cheekbones. You'd already been here for some time, and you couldn't recall a moment where his lips weren't pulled up into a smile. It had the undertones of mischief but couldn't actually be considered a smirk. It made you feel like he was scheming something. 

"You're probably pretty busy, studying at U.A and all. I'm usually neck-deep in work as well," Haru went on. He paused, waiting to see how you'd react. When you didn't, he merely laughed. "I'm surprised," he chuckled, "Most people usually recognize me after not too long." 

You frowned. "Recognize you? Uhh...?" 

"It's fine if you don't." He rested his chin on the back of his hand, eyes gleaming. "I'm a model. I do a lot of collaborations and photo-shoots with heroes, as well. I was in one with Uwabami, not too long ago." 

You racked your brain, trying to recollect. You'd never been one to show much interest in magazines and celebrities to begin with. Perhaps you had seen him somewhere, rather absent-mindedly, but it definitely hadn't made a lasting impression on you. 

"Sorry," you mumbled sheepishly. "My mind's always going a million miles a minute. I'm bad at remembering that kind of stuff." 

He chuckled. "It's all good. It's actually sort of refreshing, in a way. Most girls are usually all over me, especially if they follow my modelling. You don't seem to be a shallow person, which is nice for a change." 

"Ah...yeah. I guess so." 

You turned your attention back to the plate of food in front of you and began picking at it with your utensils. From across the table, you could hear Kana clearing her throat. You looked up and found her grinning shrewdly. 

A weary sigh left your lips. 

I wish she'd just give it a rest. It's obvious that she's trying to set us up together, but...I don't know. 

You couldn't dispute the fact that he was attractive, but that was hardly enough for you to feel inclined to pursue him. Even with the whole front you'd put up around Uraraka, you couldn't say that you were genuinely interested in meeting someone. She'd probably been right—you were just feeling bitter and upset, and the only way you knew to take your mind off things was to try and meet new people. It was a distraction, simply put. And it wasn't even really working. 

Haru smiled again, going on about something else—not that you were actually listening. His eyes were bright and clear; his hair was dark as night. Even his expression was completely different, in that it was pleasant and inviting. He was essentially Katsuki's polar opposite. 

Your eyes glazed over. You hadn't even realized that you'd been comparing him to Katsuki, from the very beginning. This much was obvious. Even if the two of you would probably never make up, it wasn't as though you could forget about someone as important as him just like that. Maybe you didn't even want to forget. 

"(Name)?" Haru frowned. He must've noticed that you'd been zoned out. "Is everything alright?" he asked, placing his hand atop of yours. 

"H-huh? Oh, yeah. I'm fine." You hurriedly retracted your hand; he flinched, looking bewildered. It was probably the first time a girl had ever pulled away from him so frantically. From across the table, Kana once again cleared her throat, beckoning for your attention. This time, she looked less than pleased.

Her dark eyes were narrowed, almost screaming "what the hell are you doing??", or something along those lines. You couldn't really be bothered. You pulled up abruptly from your seat, slinging your bag across your shoulder. Everyone's eyes widened in unison. You were being rude, admittedly, but you'd just about had enough of this little charade.

It was a mistake, from the very beginning. Everything felt forced, and just plain wrong

"(Name)?" Kana called out. She was watching you stride over towards the doorway, not even bothering to glance back over your shoulder. She called out again, more urgently, "(Name)! Where are you going?!" 

You didn't respond or look back, marching straight through the corridor until you felt the chilly night air nip at your exposed skin. You inhaled sharply, filling your lungs with air. It was better out here. Less stifling.

"Are you playing hard to get, or what?" a voice chuckled. You snapped your head back; Haru had just pushed his way out the door, and was walking up to you, one hand forced down his pocket. 

You pressed your lips together. "Sorry. I shouldn't have left so suddenly, but I just didn't want to be there any more. I made a mistake by coming out tonight. I had a fight with someone I cared about—two people, actually—and I think I was just doing it to get back at them." 

Haru stopped before you, eyes narrowed in scrutiny. "A fight? As in—"

"I'm just not interested," you blurted out. "I don't want to be with a guy right now. That's all." 

"...Huh." He'd stopped smiling now, and looked far more intimidating than you knew he was capable of. He got closer to you, and you teetered backwards out of instinct. "You knew you were at a goukon," he drawled out. "You came to a big, group date—it's pretty much implied that you're coming out here to try and get with someone. If you weren't interested then why bother show up in the first place?"

"I know, and I told you it was a mistake. I came here for the wrong reasons, because I was frustrated and—" You tried to protest, but it was obvious he wasn't listening to you anymore. Haru smiled again, but it seemed more malicious than anything else. He clamped his hand down across your wrist. At first it didn't feel like much, but it was steadily beginning to hurt more and more, and you realized that he was essentially trying to keep you in place. 

"Let go," you whispered. Your shoulders began to tremble. "Let go. Please." 

His lips were still locked in that fake smile. "Relax," he reassured, lifting his other hand to brush your hair aside. "We can just talk out here, okay? You won't have to worry about all the others." 

"I wasn't worried about them. I just didn't want to be there anymore." You tried to pull away, but his grip was ironclad. In spite of his lanky stature, he was a lot stronger than he looked. 

"Just calm down," he sighed, noting the desperation in your eyes. "I swear—why are girls always so jumpy? I'm not gonna do anything. I just wanna talk, and since it's clear that you're kind of a flight-risk, I want to get you to stay." 

"Yeah, well, you can't force anyone to be somewhere if they don't want to be. That's not what people do. At least, people that aren't assholes."

Haru grimaced. "You know, you're pretty and all, and you seem quiet and nice, but you're actually kind of a bitch. You're definitely the type to lead guys on, and then act as if you weren't flirting with them or anything." 

"I wasn't flirting with you! I just came out to meet people and to get away from my life for a bit! I just wanted to have a good time, and now look at what I'm dealing with...!" You tried to slap his arms out of the way, lifting your knee to try and hit him at the same time. Haru winced when your knee connected with his shin. His grip on your wrist only tightened, and it was pretty clear that he was done playing around. 

"Little slut," he spat, swiveling you around to lock both your wrists together. You gritted your teeth, feeling as though you were about to throw up with his hot breath on your nape. You didn't know if you should use your Quirk or not; you didn't even know what his Quirk was, if he even had one. You were fully aware of the repercussions of a U.A student using their powers unauthorized, but did you even have a choice at this point? Who knows what he was capable of—

"Get your hands off her, shitstain." 

Your eyes widened. The small tears prickling at the sides spilled over almost immediately. 

Haru barely had time to blink—he was blow back in half a second, tumbling clumsily onto his back. He looked up, brows furrowed and jaw taut, only to find himself staring up into a pair of gleaming crimson eyes. Katsuki's arm fell around your waist to press you up against his chest. 

He looked back down at his victim, but only for a moment. A second later and he'd smashed his lips against your own, making your cheeks burn like a wildfire. The kiss was so fast that you were left staring back at him, dazed beyond belief. He was glaring at Haru now. 

"Since I'm such a stand-up guy, I'm gonna let you off with a warning. The next time you come onto my girlfriend again, I'll beat you into a fucking pulp. Consider yourself lucky."

Haru stared up at him stupidly. A string of blood trickled down his nose. Katsuki had already latched his hand across yours, and begun tugging you along. You didn't glance back at the black-haired male sprawled across the ground. Instead, you looked down at the hand grasping your own. 

His hands were calloused and rough; even the touch was far from gentle. Still, you let out a sigh of relief.

Now this—this felt right.

Chapter Text

Katsuki led you along by the hand, not uttering a single word. In a way, you were grateful for the silence. Though it was a tad unsettling, you knew it couldn't possibly compare to the chat that would ensue once he did open his mouth. 

"So your solution to our problems is to run off with other guys, huh?" 

Just moments later, he'd spoken up. You felt your stomach churn, and had the biting urge to flee from the scene. Of course, that wouldn't be an option this time around. You couldn't keep delaying things and fighting what needed to be dealt with. 

"...I'm sorry," you mumbled guiltily. He hadn't even so much as glanced back over his shoulder to look at you. Even now, he was still holding your hand. "It was a mistake," you continued. "I wasn't...feeling my best. And I made a spur-of-the-moment decision, to come out here tonight." 

Silence, again. You weren't entirely sure where exactly he was leading you towards. You weren't heading in the direction of the station. Perhaps he was just cantering along, idly, unsure himself as to where to even go. It was a common theme, you supposed. Both of you always seemed to be lost—literally and figuratively. 

"We're taking a seat over there," Katsuki announced. You cocked your head to the side, spying a bench. You'd been right in assuming that you were about to have a long discussion then. 

You nodded once, smoothing down your skirt and tucking it underneath before seating yourself just beside Katsuki. His fingers had finally pried themselves away from your own. You missed their warmth already. 

You cleared your throat. "Um, if you don't mind me asking...how did you know where to find me?" 

"Round-face texted me. Your friend." 

Uraraka-chan...

"I don't even know how the hell she got my number in the first place," he muttered, "But I guess in this instance, it worked out. Imagine my surprise, hearing that you were already ready to throw me aside and trade me in for some other asshole." 

There was bitterness in his tone; understandably so. What you'd done definitely didn't make you look good, and you weren't quite sure what Uraraka had told him, or how unflattering her words had been, but you were grateful nonetheless. 

Katsuki was here now. You wanted him—not some generic playboy who you'd just met. 

"Thank you for saving me," you mumbled quietly, casting your head down. "I know you're upset with me, but still...I appreciate it. I was really happy to see you, Katsuki-kun. I mean that." 

He pressed his lips together, nodding solemnly. "Okay. So, try to walk me through this. Why, exactly, did you come out here in the first place? It wasn't to meet someone else?" 

"N-no," you protested. "I was acting out of emotion, since I was upset with, well...how our last talk went. I needed some cheering up, and I thought it would do me some good to go out and meet new people. But I realized almost immediately that my heart wasn't into it. I wasn't interested in finding a guy, either; he sort of just kept coming onto me..." 

Katsuki narrowed his eyes. "You ignored me at school." 

"I-I know. But...so did you." 

"Yeah. You're right about that." 

He ran a hand through his blonde locks, sighing deeply. It was dark out, save for the street lamps that illuminated some areas in patches. You shivered a bit; Katsuki flinched from beside you. Before you could protest, he was already removing his coat and draping it over your shoulders. 

Your eyes widened. "Oh...thank you. But won't you be—?" 

"I'm fine. I just wanna figure this shit out, once and for all." 

"Right..." 

"(Name), I think—" He stopped himself, shaking his head. "This whole thing has been way too fucking complicated, from the very beginning. We've been making it complicated; giving ourselves headaches for no damn reason. This 'soulmate' crap has been sucking out our fucking spirits. Wouldn't you agree?" 

"Sucking out our spirits...?" you frowned. "I mean—yes, it's a much more unique situation than most people are dealing with. It's rare to come by, and all." 

"And you don't think you've been losing your mind over this whole concept?" 

"I've...been losing my mind over the fact that my mark is fading," you countered. "That's where everything starting going wrong." 

Katsuki slumped his shoulders, expression falling. "I think you're wrong there. I think you went into this whole situation feeling off, from the very beginning. Like when you spoke to me after our first fight—you told me that you'd been wrong to imagine me a certain way, and that you were gonna stop doing that from then on. But I don't think you ever really did. I think all this time, you held that in, worrying about the 'what ifs' and pretty much assuming that everything would go to shit at some point." 

"I don't—" You shook your head furiously. "No. That's not true. I tried my best, and—" 

"You tried your best, but you were still having doubts. About me. About us." 

There was truth in what he was saying. You realized that, and it made your chest tighten. You gnawed on your bottom lip, cheeks burning. 

"You're not wrong about the fact that...it was difficult for me to accept things the way they were. But then you were also looking at this thing wrong. You only see me as your soulmate, and I knew that the second I told you my mark was fading, you would give up on me." 

Katsuki frowned. "I haven't given up on you. The fact that I came all this way proves that." 

"But—" 

"It all started off weird." He shifted his hands onto his lap. "I hated my soulmate mark, all my damn life. So yeah, I didn't want a soulmate; not if it made me look so weak and vulnerable. That's why everything was a fucking mess from the very beginning—it was bad enough that fucker Deku got into U.A, but then I found my soulmate and...it just became more and more complicated. So, yes. I was resisting it at first, but then knowing that we each had a mark made me feel comfortable. Like I wouldn't ever have to worry about the relationship running sour." 

Katsuki sighed. 

"Obviously, that wasn't the case. But you know, regardless of how it all started off, at this point, I couldn't care less about the marking. I want to be with you—not because you're my soulmate or whatever, but because I actually like spending time with you. It makes me happy." He flushed deeply; scarlet tinges rose to the tips of his ears. "I honestly don't remember ever being this happy with someone before. That's why, soulmate or not, it doesn't matter. I want you." 

Your own cheeks had reddened to the point that you were certain they'd explode. Had he ever been this honest and vulnerable with you before? He'd been keeping this sensitive and deeply emotional side to him hidden from you, all this time? 

"You actually l-like me." The words came out sounding shaky and hoarse; you were still struggling to get a grip on your breathing. Katsuki nodded. 

"No shit I do. I like you a fuck-ton, so don't go around doubting that." 

You lowered your head, smiling meekly. "That's nice. I think...it's probably the first time you've ever told me that so directly before. Even with us being soulmates, and just assuming we should dive into a relationship, I don't think we ever took the time to tell each other how we felt." 

"So...how do you feel?" he asked. "Pretend like the soulmate shit doesn't exist for a second. Putting that aside, do you like me? Are you happy when we're together?" 

A simple question. One that you already had the answer to. 

"Of course," you smiled, placing your hand atop his own. "I do like you, Katsuki-kun. I like you a lot." 

Katsuki blushed again, allowing his fingers to intertwine with your own. He gave your hand a firm squeeze. 

"Then let's stop fucking around," he murmured, "And just see this thing through. Let's stop putting so much pressure on our damn selves and trying to predict the future; imagining everything that could go wrong. Instead of thinking of ourselves as soulmates, let's just look at each other the way every other couple does—as someone we care about." 

You nodded briskly, still clinging to his hand. It was so warm, you almost never wanted to let go. There was a gentleness to the touch, in spite of how rugged and worn down his hands were, from many hours of training. It just felt like this was where you were supposed to be—a spot, reserved just for you. 

Katsuki was staring at you, eyes unblinking. His brows weren't furrowed the way they normally were. He studied your expression, carefully and meticulously. As if he wanted to burn it into his memory for all time. 

You felt him shuffle closer to you on the bench; your fingers were still intertwined. He leaned closer, just enough so that his ashen locks would graze by your jaw and tickle your skin. You felt the warmth of his breath as it hovered above your frame. He pressed into you, lips pecking your cheek. The kiss was just as brief as it had been earlier, but it made you flush a thousand shades of red just the same. 

"There," he chuckled, "Was that so bad?" 

You hastily shook your head. "N-no, of course not. I just...get embarrassed over things like that easily." 

"It's like they say—practice makes perfect, right?" When you glanced back, he had a lopsided grin that stretched up to his ears. It felt like your heart stopped for a moment. You were certain he never smiled like that around anyone else but you. 

"You're just (Name)," he continued, running his free hand through your hair. "And I'm just Katsuki. There's nothing more to it." 

"I know. You're right, Katsuki-kun. You're right." 

"So, then..." 

You blinked in surprise. He'd lifted your chin with his forefinger, and was now staring right into your eyes. "I want to date you," he declared. "I want us to be a proper couple—not because of the 'soulmate' title, but because we want this. I hope...you feel the same way." 

"...Yes," you mumbled breathlessly. The words had slipped out before you'd even realized it. You felt silly now, realizing that such a resolution had been possible, from the very start. If only you'd been fully honest with one another. Listened to each other. 

Katsuki exhaled, visibly relieved. "Good." Perhaps there'd still been the smallest grain of doubt; worry that you wouldn't accept him as he was. You smiled gently, cradling his cheek with your hand. 

"I promise to try harder for you." 

His eyes widened for a split-second, and then you'd pressed your lips against his own. A scalding heat erupted across your cheekbones. You pulled away almost immediately, already flustered beyond words. Katsuki stared back at you, blushing and open-mouthed. He looked disappointed that it hadn't lasted longer. 

"N-next time," you stammered out, taking refuge by burying your face by his neck. "For now I just want to sit still for a bit. With you. Is that okay...?" 

"It's okay. We can stay here as long as you like." 

His fingers resumed combing through tresses of your hair. You snuggled closer to him all the while, gripping onto the fabric of his shirt. 

"Hey...Katsuki-kun?" 

"Yes, (Name)?" 

You swallowed hard. "Will you still like me even if my mark completely disappears?" 

"Stupid question." He wrapped both hands around your back, squeezing you tight. You heard him chuckle. "And by that I mean, of course. I promise." 

You nodded silently, making such a subtle motion that he could've easily missed it. Maybe it was because you were wearing Katsuki's jacket, but you didn't feel cold anymore.

Chapter Text

Eventually, the time came that you and Katsuki would have to go your separate ways. You would've liked to stay with him longer, but it was already late, and you got the feeling that both of you were incredibly tired. You left him with a parting hug, blushing shyly as you waved goodbye. He nodded, the corners of his lips curled up into the faintest smile. 

When you arrived home, Uraraka was waiting. 

"Oh?" You arched your brows, surprised. "I figured you would've already left by now. Did you...stay behind to talk with my mom?" 

"Yeah. A bit." 

She looked up at you from the couch, tight-lipped and stony-faced. There was a book in her lap; she moved it aside and set it down on the coffee table. Even now, you could still sense that some of the tension from earlier had yet to dissipate. Your fault, admittedly. 

"Um—" 

"I'm sorry!" Uraraka blurted out, two palms pressing up against her rosy cheeks. She shook her head dismally. "I contacted Bakugou-kun, and I know I shouldn't have. It definitely wasn't my place, but—" 

"Hey." You'd shuffled over towards the couch, taking a seat beside her. "It's fine. You have nothing to apologize for. If anything, I should be thanking you. Because we met tonight, we were able to sort through all of our issues. We made up."

"Y-you did?" 

"Yes," you smiled, "Because of you."

Uraraka bobbed her neck forward, brown locks swaying across her forehead. She puckered her lips together, knuckles squeezing the thin blanket draped over her legs. Eventually, she let out a sigh of relief. 

"Well...thank god," she mumbled. "I'm happy for you guys. I know it was inappropriate for me to interfere in someone else's relationship, and I did go behind your back in this instance...but I just felt like it needed to be done. I wanted the two of you to talk it out. Especially since it was clear that you'd been missing him."

You nodded. "You're right. You were right even before I left, about how going was a mistake, and I was still feeling bitter about our fight. Instead of running from my problems, I should've reached out to him earlier, and tried to make things work." 

She nibbled on her lip, brows knitting together. "I mean...I get the feeling that Bakugou-kun isn't an easy person to deal with, so I can understand why this is so frustrating. This is just coming from me; someone's who's barely even spoken to him." 

"I know. It's true that he's difficult, but I'm willing to work harder. He's worth it." 

Uraraka's lips broke out into a wide grin. She hastily nodded her head, already opening up her arms to wrap you in a big hug. You placed a hand on her wrist, stopping her before she could. 

"(Name)-chan...?" 

"Before you do that," you mumbled, "I need to apologize as well. For the way I behaved earlier, I mean. I was just frustrated, and it's been scary, dealing with all this. But it still wasn't a reason for me to lash out at you. I'm better than that, I promise." 

She smiled, nodding her head in understanding. "I know. You're a kind person, (Name)-chan. You've just been dealing with a lot recently. I'm sure I'd be just as stressed out if I were in your position." 

"Thank you. I appreciate you saying that." You pulled your hand off her wrist, beckoning her forth with a flick of your fingers. "Come on," you smiled. "Time for hugs." 

Uraraka all but pounced on you, forcing you onto your back with her full body weight. You chuckled hoarsely; luckily, your back just sank into the plush cushioning of the couch. She was warm too, just like Katsuki. You were surrounded by some really good people, you realized. You should never forget to take the time to appreciate them. 

"Uraraka, did you want another—oh." Your mother had poked her head out from the kitchen, expression softening once her eyes fell over your two figures, interlocked on the couch. "Back already?" she asked. 

You nodded, shaking out the blanket so that it covered the both of you. "Yeah. I didn't care for the people there." 

"I see." She nodded once, turning to head back towards her office. 

"Hey, mom?" 

"Yes?" 

"I have a boyfriend," you declared. Her eyes widened just so, but her smile never faltered. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, humming in approval. 

"I know, sweetie. I was just waiting for you to tell me."

 

 

 

 

 

[Monday, 6: 47 AM] 

 

Me: 

Morning :) We have our written exam today. You nervous?

Katsuki: 

Morning. And no, as if. 

The fuck do I have to be nervous about? 

Me: 

I guess nothing, since you're really smart. I'm feeling a lot better though, considering that I had you as my tutor.

Even if you were pretty mean

Katsuki: 

I wasn't mean. 

Eat shit

Me: 

ew no thx

Katsuki: 

die

Me: 

Miss you too :')

Katsuki: 

Were you always this annoying? 

Me: 

Yes

Katsuki: 

Well fuck my life. 

Meet me outside class a bit early? 

Me: 

Okay! 

 

 

[...]

 

 

 

You were hardly ever early for class, and when you were, you preferred to spend your extra time inside, talking to your classmates. Nonetheless, you were feeling a bit giddy at the notion that you and Katsuki had set up your own private, 'meet-up' time, away from the others. You didn't mind arriving early if it meant you got to spend more time with him.

"Morning, loser."

You felt two fingers flick you on the forehead, prompting you to glance up from your phone. Katsuki was standing in front of you, one hand in his pocket; the other was retracting itself from your frame. You furrowed your brows at him.

"Good morning," you grumbled, rubbing at the sore patch of skin. "Did you really have to flick me?" 

He shrugged. "You were staring at your phone with a zoned-out, moronic expression, totally unaware of your surroundings. How could I not flick you?" 

"Your charm knows no bounds, I see. Anyways," You smoothed out your skirt, smiling up at him. "How are you feeling?" 

"Same as always," Katsuki replied passively. When he saw the little pout forming on your lips, he sighed. "You know what I mean. Better, of course. Obviously better, after we dealt with that shit." 

"Good. I feel much better, too." 

You leaned back against the wall, a scarce few meters away from the massive class 1-A door. Students were slowly trickling into the halls now, though it was nothing like the usual hustle and bustle of morning rush-hour. You'd arrived early enough to avoid the throngs. 

"...You look pretty today." 

"Eh?" 

You blinked hurriedly, certain that your ears must've been deceiving you. Katsuki scowled, dragging his foot across the tiled flooring. His cheeks were flushed bright red. 

"You heard me," he muttered, "So don't make me say it again. This is just that, you know? I'm trying to be...nicer, or whatever the fuck. For you." 

"Oh. Wow." You honestly didn't know what else to say. For someone like Katsuki, you realized just how much it took for him to swallow his pride and dole out compliments offhand. You didn't even think you looked all that great today, considering how much of a hurry you'd been in to get ready. It was strange, though. His words made you feel like you'd never been prettier. 

"Thank you, Katsuki-kun." You blushed in turn, fiddling with the hem of your skirt. "Um, for what it's worth, I think you also look really nice today. Y-you always do, though." 

"S-shut up," he snapped back, cheeks only glowing more profusely. "Weirdo." 

You swallowed hard, chest beating against your ribcage. There was none of the unpleasant aura from before, but you now felt at a genuine loss as to how to behave around him. The fact that you'd set aside your differences and agreed to look at one another properly—you suddenly felt nervous around him, in a way you never had before. The whole 'butterflies in your stomach' sensation was actually real, you could attest to that. 

"You still nervous?" Katsuki asked, cocking a brow at you sideways. You blinked, confused. It actually took you a moment to remember—

"The exam," you shuddered, clutching your sides. "Yeah. I'm still nervous. I get test anxiety sometimes." 

"The fuck's that?" 

You frowned. "It's like...even though I've prepared for it a good deal, and I'm comfortable with the material overall, when I get to writing the actual test, I sometimes mess up. Because I start overthinking things, and get in my head, and then before I've realized it, time's already up." 

Katsuki scratched at the back of his head. "Sounds dumb." 

"Wow, thanks." 

"You'll be fine. Relax," he chuckled, lightly bumping your shoulder. "Don't give me those puppy eyes. You were tutored by yours truly." He pressed his thumb flush against his chest, smirking back at you. What you would do to have that kind of confidence. 

You smiled wistfully, still not entirely convinced. Katsuki leaned forward and gave your cheek a quick poke. "You'll ace this," he promised. "We'll ace this. Alright?" 

"Okay. You're right." 

 More and more people had taken to filling up the halls now. Katsuki gestured towards the classroom with a flick of his wrist, and you started trailing behind him. He looked back over his shoulder, grinning coyly. 

"Besides, if you ever feel like you're losing focus during the exam, just imagine me yelling at you to hurry up and get your shit together. I'm sure that'll give you the boost of motivation you need." 

You sighed. "More like it'll give me nightmares..." 

"The fuck did you say?!"  

Chapter Text

[Katsuki's POV, several days after the "fight"]

 

"Ah, Katsuki, you're home already? I thought you were going to the gym—" 

"Piss off." 

Mitsuki's eyes widened. Though she was certainly none the less wiser when it came to her son's uncouth behavior, there was something off about him slamming the front door shut with extra viciousness, then stomping up the stairs in a hurry. It had pretty much been a trend, these last few days. Something had happened, she realized that much. 

Katsuki could see that, too. He wasn't a fucking idiot. It wasn't as though he was blind to others' mannerisms, especially not his shitty family—who he was pretty much stuck with—but there was no way in hell he was gonna fill them in on what had happened. Not only would it make him look like a little bitch, but then they'd try to sit down with him and all that crap; to ask him about how he was feeling.

The answer was that he was felt like absolute shit, now that the two of you were ignoring each other. How else could he possibly feel? As far as he'd been concerned, things had been going pretty fucking great between the two of you, and then you had to spring that fucking bomb on him—to basically confess that you didn't care for him the same way he did for you.

Katsuki scowled; just the mere thought of your face-off a few days prior was grating on his nerves all over again. He slammed the door shut to his room, making sure to lock up behind him. A few moments later and he'd torn off the scratchy, restricting material of his school blazer, flinging it haphazardly to the side. He let out a long, weary sigh, allowing himself to sink into the plush cushioning of his bed. Crimson eyes stared blankly up at the ceiling. 

Well, this fucking sucks. 

His bottom lip quivered, arms tensed by his sides. He wanted to cry. Actually, he had cried, though he would sooner die than admit that to anyone else. It had spurted out of him the day you'd revealed everything; violently, and rather unexpectedly. Like a faucet than had been blocked up for too long, then finally, went on to release a flood of water which was seemingly unending. 

Aside from when he'd been completely blindsided by his loss against Deku, Katsuki couldn't for the life of him remember another instance in which he'd cried. It must've been years ago; back in grade school, at the earliest. A long-ass time ago, regardless. And not over something like romance, for fuck's sake. 

Dating had never interested Katsuki much. It seemed more tedious than anything else, dealing with some sappy chick and having to be careful not to "hurt her feelings" and other bullshit like that. Plus, he had his soulmate mark, and even though he'd hated it all his life with a passion, at the very least, he'd assumed that he would just meet his destined person and get to skip all the dating crap. You'd find it each other, realize you were stuck with each other, and that was that. Simpler, in a way. 

Except it wasn't fucking simple at all

Katsuki backed his head up against the pillow, drawing in a shaky breath. Now that he actually took the time to think about it, what seemed good to him may not have been the case for you. He was well aware of the fact that you seemed a little uneasy around him, like you were gluing your lips shut on some occasions. Even so, he couldn't understand why. Yeah, okay, people didn't like him or whatever, but who gave a fuck? Was he really so bad? Was he that unbearable to be around? 

He sniffled loudly, slapping himself on the cheek and mentally berating himself for getting soft again. It was a shitty situation, that much he could admit to. Even if his pride wouldn't allow him to, he wanted to reach out to you, to try and make things work. He wanted to be good enough for you, and he definitely didn't want to make you feel as though you were some sort of prisoner, never safe to speak your mind or tell him what you wanted. He might've been an asshole, but he wasn't fucking cruel, and he didn't want to come off that way. At least, not to you. 

"Ah, fuck it." Katsuki stood up abruptly, groggily rubbing at his misty eyes. "Can't believe I'm laying here like a fucking potato, feeling sorry for myself. This is a new low, even for me..." 

He wanted to make up with you. He really, truly did. He just didn't know how. It was already scary enough, thinking that all this time, you hadn't liked him anywhere near as much as he'd liked you. He could muster up the courage to go up to you, apologize, but then what? It would just be the same resolution. Your mark was still fading, and his wasn'tThere was an imbalance in your relationship that had yet to be fixed, and might never be fixed. 

Katsuki had never been one to give up. But sometimes, when the odds were stacked against you, the thought of trying only to fail was almost unbearable. 

He sighed again, stepping off the bed and squatting down onto the floor. Dull, crimson eyes scanned the room. He clicked on his console, swiping his controller from underneath the shelf. He didn't normally allow himself to indulge in video games, not when he had schoolwork and training to do. This would have to be an exception. Since he was feeling exceptionally shitty.

The sound of hurried, slightly-irritated button mashing began to fill the room. He regretted playing almost immediately; it always made his blood spike and feel like raging. He didn't get much more than a few minutes in though, on account of his phone vibrating a little distance away. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. 

Katsuki clicked his tongue—though he was somewhat thankful for the interruption, otherwise he was sure he would've exploded another controller. He swiped the screen open, wondering who the hell it was. Nobody really texted him, besides you. But it was clear that wasn't going to happen anymore. 

Which is why he was surprised, to see—

[1 new message: Unknown]

"The fuck?" he muttered, sure that it was probably some random business number trying to advertise their shit. 

It wasn't, though. 

Unknown: 

[6:35 PM]

Bakugou!! Are you there??? 

Bakugou: 

[6:35 PM]

Who the fuck's asking? 

Unknown: 

[6:36 PM]

Oh, you are here. Thank god. 

It's me, Uraraka! I need to talk to you real quick! 

Bakugou: 

[6:36 PM]

What the fuck is an uraraka

Unknown: 

[6:36 PM]

...

Srsly? It's me(Name)'s friend. Brown hair?  

Okay, whatever. I needed to tell you about something, so I hope it's not a big deal that I got your phone number from Deku...

Bakugou: 

[6:37 PM]

Oh, yeah. Round-face

*changed Unknown's contact name to "Round-Face/(Name)'s Friend"

[6:38 PM]

WAIT HOW THE FUCK DOES DEKU HAVE MY NUMBER

Round-Face/(Name)'s Friend

[6:38 PM]

That's sooo besides the point omg

Bakugou: 

[6:38 PM]

I'll kill him. 

Round-Face/(Name)'s Friend

[6:39 PM]

No offense, but

Shut up

This is serious shit

Pls

Don't be a dick rn

Bakugou: 

[6:39 PM]

???!!!!

Round-Face/(Name)'s Friend: 

[6:41 PM]

Okay I'm just gonna get right to the point.

(Name) just left for a group date, with some people that she hasn't seen in years. I told her that it was a bad idea, since you guys just recently had your disagreement and she needed some time to dwell on it and feel better, but she didn't listen to me and just stormed off.

I know it's because she's hurt, but she just made a reckless decision, and I don't even think she actually wants to meet up with these people. She really does care about you, she's just...scared, and I think she's acting out of fear and anger. This is 100% not my business, but she's my best friend, and I hate seeing her so sad and worked up. She needs to see YOU, not those people. Even if she can't admit to it herself...

Bakugou: 

[6:43 PM]

Group date? 

To meet guys and shit? 

Round-Face/(Name)'s Friend: 

[6:43 PM] 

Umm...

Yes. I mean, I think so. 

There will be boys there, trying to find people, but she doesn't actually want to do anything with them. That much I can tell for sure. 

Bakugou: 

[6:44 PM]

I see. 

Round-Face/(Name)'s Friend: 

[6:45 PM]

This [address] is where they're meeting. I saw it on her phone earlier

You'll go to her, right? I know I'm asking for a lot, but she really, REALLY cares about you. I know she'd be overjoyed if you showed up. And I think you want to see her, too...

[6:48 PM]

Pretty please? 

[6:54 PM]

Bakugou? Are you still there? 

[7:12 PM] 

I get the feeling that you've left. Good luck!! :) 

 

>>

 

Katsuki scowled, swiping yet another notification away. He could care less what damn round-face thought of him, and he definitely wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of responding. 

Of fucking course he'd left. He was going to get back his girl, for good. 

Chapter Text

It was the day of the practical exam. 

All nerves and anxious feelings aside, you'd managed to get through the written test without much of a problem. You knew you'd passed, and that you'd probably gotten a good grade too, thanks to Katsuki's tutoring. The only thing still standing in your way was the ever-so-ominous battle evaluation, which had you more on edge than ever before.

From what you'd heard, it wasn't supposed to much different from the U.A entrance exam—eliminating as many robots as possible in order to accrue points. If that was really the case, then you could relax a bit, but as you made your way over to the testing grounds and made note of the countless teachers all lined up, you somehow realized that things weren't going to be quite so simple.

"Sorry, all!" Nezu had popped up from within Aizawa's cloths, and proceeded to lower himself to the ground with a wry smile. "I know you were all expecting something different, but for various reasons, we've decided to change the layout of the exam, starting today!" 

The students all gaped back at the furry, white animal; Kaminari and Ashido looked particularly shocked. They must've been in the middle of an early celebration, poor things. 

You sighed wearily, casting your head down. 

Please don't say we're fighting the teachers, please don't say we're fighting the teachers, please don't say we're fighting the—

"We've arranged for each of you to separate into teams of 2-3 people and go up against one of the pro heroes from this group!" 

—I fucking knew it. 

You nibbled on your bottom lip, casting a sideways glance towards Katsuki. He was positioned just beside you, looking relatively unfazed as to the new information. Well, seeing as he hardly ever got nervous, you weren't too surprised. He definitely didn't have to worry about passing, but you, on the other hand...

"We will now announce your matchups," Aizawa went on, ignoring the groans and wails of despair of his students. "A lot of decision-making went into this process, including your fight compatibility, differences and similarities, teamwork, and etcetera. First off will be Todoroki and Yaoyorozu—they'll be going up against me." He half-smirked, eyeing the two down with black irises. 

"The following group consists of Bakugou," Midnight stepped up to continue; your ears perked up almost immediately, "and (Name)." 

Yes...!

You snapped your neck back towards Katsuki, unable to hide the grin that had broken out across your lips. He flushed a bit, taking note of your excitement, and hurriedly nodded his head to second his enthusiasm. This was the best possible outcome, really. Sure, you were a little worried that you might hold him back, but at least if the two of you were together, then you could definitely cooperate and—

"Midoriya will also be a part of your team." Eh? "And as for who you'll be facing...."

"I'M HAPPY TO OBLIGE!!" 

That voice alone spoke for itself, but still, you looked up, and found none other than All Might towering above you. The roof of your mouth dried out in an instant. You shot a glance towards Izuku, whose face had gone pale, then Katsuki, whose brow had begun twitching furiously. 

His crimson eyes were burning, and so was your soulmate mark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Do you guys wanna sing a song, or something...?" 

All Might chuckled wearily, glancing back at all three of you from the front of the bus. Since your destination was a bit further away, you had to drive up towards the test site. Suffice it to say, there was total and utter silence in the vehicle, and each boy was seated on nearly opposite ends. 

Obviously, you'd chosen to sit by Katsuki's side, but he didn't seem too keen on conversing. His jaw was more rigid than ever, and his crimson eyes had clouded over. You inhaled sharply, shuffling closer to him so that you could place your hand atop his own. 

"Katsuki-kun," you mumbled, "are you—?" 

"I'm fine, (Name)." His reply was sharp, though you'd expected this much. "I know what you're getting at, but I don't want to even think about that shithead right now. At least for now, I wanna sit here in silence and pretend like his sorry ass isn't here." 

You smiled sadly. "I understand. Just remember that I'm here for you, please." 

"I know." 

To your surprise, his fingers interlaced with your own before giving them a tight squeeze. You blushed in spite of yourself. Before, he would've just yelled at you to shut up, or ignored you altogether. Even though he was probably more upset than he could put into words right now, he was still trying, for you.

You let out a soft sigh, sinking into Katsuki's shoulder. Your eyes flickered towards the front of the bus, where Izuku was sitting close to All Might. He glanced back in your direction for just a moment; a bit fearfully, you might add. You'd been caught in the middle of all this, but you still couldn't imagine how your friend felt. If you were in this situation, forced to work together with someone who held such bitter feelings towards you, could you even follow through with it? Or would you be drowned out by your own fear? 

I'm not as brave as them, you thought, furrowing your brows together. But I'm sure there's something I can do. There must be a reason...why the teachers made me a part of this team. 

A few more minutes of heavy silence ensued, and then, it was finally time to disembark. You mentally thanked the heavens for putting an end to the most awkward situation of your entire life, and stepped out, only to have your eyes widen.

"This is where our exam is taking place...?" 

"Correct," All Might smiled, standing before the three of you. He watched you study your surroundings, the likes of which consisted of dilapidated buildings and messy debris. It almost looked like some kind of ghost town. "This space will be perfect for our purposes," he went on, "since it allows us to run rampant without needing to worry about damaging our surroundings. Of course, it goes without saying that you can use your Quirks out here freely."

Izuku had taken to stepping forward, green eyes trembling. "Um, regarding this whole test...you can't possibly expect us to win against you, right...? I mean, no matter how many of us there are, there's just no way we could ever—" 

"Stop, stop," All Might chuckled. He waved his hand dismissively at the curly-haired boy and reached behind him to pull something out. "For this particular stage, you'll be given a time limit of thirty minutes. Your objective is to either get these handcuffs on me, or for one of you to escape from the stage in the clearly marked "exit" that can be found by navigating around the field." 

Ah...I see. It's either fight to win, or run to win, huh...? 

"All of this only so that we consider fighting?" Katsuki snorted. "You're sure lookin' down on me." 

All Might chuckled, strapping on some weights that would serve as a handicap. "You can interpret it however you wish, but one thing is for certain—this time around, your decision-making will be put to the test! Now, then!" he clapped, swiveling around on his heel. "I suppose it's only fair if I give you a bit of a head-start. Take the first few minutes to scatter out and get a feel for the terrain!" 

Katsuki scowled, looking none too pleased. On your opposite side, you could hear the sound of Izuku's teeth chattering. All Might waved you off after that, disappearing in a flash and leaving the three of you to your own devices. You looked from the ash blonde, back to the freckled boy. Even now, they refused to so much as glance in the other's direction.

It was clear that things were about to get ugly. 

 

 

 

[...]

 

 

 

"K-Kacchan...!" Izuku spluttered out, trailing behind Katsuki's frame. "Just l-listen to me, please!" 

"Eat shit, you little asshole! And stop fucking following us!" 

Surely enough, next to nothing had been accomplished in the few minute head-start you'd been given—other than an increase in tension, of course. 

You swallowed thickly, keeping to Katsuki's side. He wasn't against you following him and contributing, but you knew that there was no way in hell his pride would allow him to work with Izuku. Though you couldn't personally relate, you'd spent more than enough time with him to understand that all that "condescension" and "arrogance" was really just a manifestation of his own insecurity. His ego wouldn't be able to handle it, not if Izuku lent his powers. 

He's already lost to Izuku-kun once before, and I know full well how much that destroyed him inside. 

"Y-you just don't understand!" Izuku exclaimed. "We're better off avoiding battle, no matter what!" 

"How fucking stupid can you be?! Obviously beating him down's the best option, shit!" Katsuki threw his arm out, forcing Izuku back. He shot him a quick glare, then resumed storming ahead, as if he wasn't even there. "We're gonna lead him along by the nose until the very end. Then, when he's tired out, I'll fucking knock him out of commission, easy as that!" 

You remained silent as you walked ahead, but it was clear that Izuku couldn't muster up your self-restraint. Actually, he'd already been holding himself back long enough, all these years. Not speaking up was no longer an option. 

"J-just who do you think All Might is?" Izuku croaked out. "Even with that handicap, there's n-no way that you can beat him, Kacchan..." 

The blonde spun around faster than you could even blink. You heard the loud crack as he slammed his gauntlet into Izuku's face; you saw the specks of blood as they hit the floor. Izuku was collapsed now, and your chest felt almost impossibly tight as you looked down at him. 

"Not another fucking word," Katsuki spat, eyes burning with a hatred you couldn't even believe. "Don't you dare say anything else, or I swear I'll kill you." 

Izuku stood up slowly, clutching his bloody lip. You felt guilty for not being by his side and helping him, but you knew that if you did so it would make Katsuki completely lose his mind. "P-please just listen to me," he rasped, wiping away a string of blood. "If you want to pass this test, then you need to listen to me, Kacchan...!" 

"Why the fucking hell should I listen to you?!" he roared. "Do you seriously think I need you in order to pass?!!"

"You've gotta at least listen to me! And stop yelling! This is why we can never have a proper conversation...!" 

"There you go again, running your fucking mouth. I warned you, didn't I?! I told you that if you didn't shut up, I'd make sure to—" 

"Please stop, both of you." 

The two, frantic voices died out, caught off-guard by the third. Katsuki and Izuku glanced back at you, eyes widened. Your shoulders were quivering, and your soulmate mark was burning more than ever—which is why you realized you needed to do this. Perhaps you weren't all that strong; certainly not as strong as Katsuki or Izuku. But even so, you still had a role to play here. Time and time again, your bond with Katsuki had been tested, and now finally, things were starting to look up. You weren't about to let it all slip through the cracks of your fingers.

"Katsuki-kun," you spoke, looking towards your boyfriend with sad eyes, "I really, really hate seeing you like this." 

He stiffened. "What? I'm just—" 

"You can't stand Izuku-kun, I know. But still. For you to risk defeat purely because of a personal grudge just makes me incredibly sad." You hurriedly wiped away at your misty eyes; you couldn't afford to break down into tears right now. "I care for you, a lot, and because of that, I promise to support you right now, no matter what you decide. If you tell me right here and now that you want to leave him behind, and go after All Might, then I'll help you do just that. But I want you to be sure that it's the right choice." You managed a small smile. "Whatever you choose, I promise to be there for you."

Katsuki's eyes didn't dare to blink. Izuku was staring at the two of you breathlessly, but even he didn't say a word. You knew you were playing a dangerous game, but even if this exam ended in failure, you would've still done your part. Your role made sense now. 

Losing this might be upsetting even for me, but it won't possibly hurt anyone more than it will Katsuki-kun. I can't let this be the reason he breaks. He needs to know that relying on people isn't a sign of weakness, and if it's too scary with others, then he can at least rely on me

Always. 

"(Name)," Katsuki swallowed, "I'll—"

The next thing you knew, you'd been blown back onto the ground. You winced, eyes stinging and vision blurring. The landing had been less rough than you'd expected, and you heard someone let out a soft groan. When your eyes fully opened, you found yourself staring up at Katsuki. He'd jumped in to soften your fall, and his arms had secured you up against his chest. 

Crimson eyes looked down at you, and Katsuki squinted in between shallow breaths. His face was smeared with dirt and grime, and a good portion of his body had gotten scraped up from the fall. Still, he gave your shoulders a tight squeeze, as if to ascertain that you were alright. You didn't even need to look back to know who'd just attacked you.

"You'd better prepare yourselves," All Might bellowed, "because you're all about to have a very bad time."

Chapter Text

Clouds of dust billowed every way, mixing with soil and debris. The entire terrain had become engulfed in a matter of seconds. You groaned weakly, pushing back against Katsuki's chest to look over in All Might's direction. 

"You'd do well not to take this lightly," he said, expression darkened. "I am a villain, oh heroes. Which is why I couldn't care less about keeping this town intact, and why you'd better come at me with all your strength." 

You squinted; it was still hard to see everything clearly. Katsuki muttered something from underneath you, and helped lift you up and prop you to your feet. All Might was hunching forward now, his knees dropping slightly. 

"This is bad," Izuku croaked, "he's gonna come—!" 

"Outta the way, (Name)!" 

As abruptly as you'd stood up, you were forced off to the side by Katsuki's arm. You opened your lips in protest, but he'd already shot in front of you—obstructing All Might's path. He extended his palms outwards, unleashing an explosion from close range. 

So that's his choice, huh? He seriously wants to fight All Might head-on...

You remembered the words you'd spoken to Katsuki earlier, about supporting him. If he truly refused to cooperate with Izuku, you didn't intend to force him, and although the idea of facing off against All Might was quite terrifying, you intended to stay true to your word. 

If this is what it took to stay by his side, you'd gladly do it. 

"(Name)-chan!" Izuku cried out, watching as you rushed forward to attack All Might from the opposite side. "Not you, too...!!"

You gritted your teeth, already anticipating the pain. You drew closer, eyes widening as you watched All Might grab Katsuki and manhandle him by his face. To you, it was apparent that he'd need to get away, but the blonde did nothing of the sort, instead opting to unleash a barrage of explosions at point-blank.

"Ow, ow, ow, ow, OW!" All Might grimaced. "I swear—wouldn't most people pull away after having their face grabbed??" 

 Still with his grip locked on Katsuki's jaw, he brutally slammed the boy to the ground. Katsuki coughed and wheezed, all the air having been knocked out of him. You saw All Might's fist descend upon him, eager to land another crippling blow, but thankfully you reacted in time. He faltered when a faint glow surrounded Katsuki's body, and when his punch was repelled by a scarcely-visible shield of light. His bright, blue pupils flickered back towards you. 

"Oh-ho?" he challenged. "Trying to sneak up on me, were you?" 

"(Name)!" Katsuki roared, "hurry and get back—!!" 

He tried to warn you, but All Might was already surging forward. Your stomach did a flip as you saw his staggering figure rushing you with one fist poised. That intense, overwhelming aura—it was obvious you stood no chance. Out of fear, you activated your light-speed to rush out of the way. 

Your eyes widened. 

What am I—?! I was supposed to save it for trying to rush towards the gate, but without realizing it, I...!

"So fast," All Might appraised, missing your body by a mile. "But, you know—" In an instant, he was by your side again, "can keep up this speed far more consistently than you."

You screamed internally, but it was already too late to evade. The punch connected with your left shoulder and sent you flailing across the terrain and crumpling onto your back. You hacked up on the ground, having to force your breaths out; it felt like your chest was on fire. Your fingers clutched at the throbbing area of your left arm. Any more force and you were certain it would have been dislocated, or broken.

"There's also you, Midoriya!" 

All Might rushed the freckled boy next, but you were too busy writhing in agony to follow them with your eyes. You felt a sudden tug on your uninjured arm. Katsuki was staring down at you with his jaw clenched. 

"Come on, get up!" he urged. "Lay there any longer and he'll come pummel you again!" He offered you a hand to lift you up again, but you shook him off, cheeks flushed with embarrassment. You couldn't have him keep saving you, over and over again. Even if you weren't anywhere near as strong as your other two allies, you had to contribute, in some way. 

You lifted yourself up, letting out a soft groan. Katsuki paused to look you over again, eyes flickering with concern.

"You alright?" he asked, gesturing to your shoulder. "Is it bad?" 

"I'm fine," you reassured. "I can always heal myself a bit, if it gets too unbearable. I'd rather tend to your injuries first, though." 

"Don't worry about me, moron." For a moment you thought he was annoyed at your expressing concern and 'undermining' of him, but his eyes said otherwise. "Take care of yourself first," he muttered. "Always you first, okay?" 

"O-okay." 

All Might had just smashed Izuku into the ground, and Katsuki clicked his tongue in annoyance. Even now, you had to agree with Izuku—that facing someone like All Might head-on was reckless, at best. But if this was what Katsuki had chosen, you were determined to see it through. You didn't even really care if you passed or failed anymore. If winning against All Might would bring Katsuki joy, then...

We're gonna win no matter what. 

"I'll shield you," you declared, earning a confused glance from Katsuki in response. "My offensive abilities are fairly weak," you explained, "so the most efficient use of my powers would be to heal and support you from the sidelines, and help deflect some of All Might's attacks every now and then. I know getting Izuku-kun's help is out of the question, but if I only help you a little in this way, it'll still be you who takes down All Might. We can do it, for sure." 

You flashed him a lopsided grin, and he could only stare at you blankly. He hastily averted his gaze before a blush fell upon his cheeks. 

"That's f-fine," he stammered, "as long as you're not planning on stealing my spotlight. "

"I would never." 

"Good," he huffed. "Coz...I can beat him, you know?" 

"I know, Katsuki-kun." 

Katsuki pressed his lips together, nodding hurriedly. He didn't utter another word, but he didn't need to. Even if the odds of victory were slim, you refused to give up. 

You stared at him, unblinking, channeling your energy into his body. Against All Might's brutal attacks, there was hardly anything you could do, but giving Katsuki some of your strength and amplifying his powers was better than nothing. Everything could make a difference—especially at an opportune moment. 

"I'm going now," he declared.

You hastily stepped aside, allowing for Katsuki to propel himself forward. Izuku had just barely scrambled away from All Might; the blonde veered straight towards him right on cue. You watched as he hit the hero up close with an explosion, then used another one to back away.

All Might hardly flinched. "Still not coordinating with Young Midoriya, hm? As for Miss (Name)..." He spotted you sprinting around the parameters, but never straying too far away from Katsuki. You swallowed nervously. Katsuki was hitting him with another barrage before he could react. 

"I'm the only one you should be paying attention to, All Might...!!" 

"Whoa, there." All Might chuckled softly, and you looked up, eyes widening far too late. "That move isn't gonna work." 

Katsuki lurched forward once more, but his timing was off. Izuku had jumped into the air, trying to place as much distance between him and the pro hero as possible. Both of them were converging at the same spot, and the momentum was too high—they were gonna crash. 

"Fucking shit!" Katsuki cursed, falling to the ground after smashing into Izuku. The freckled boy winced, breathing raggedly, and moved to now distance himself from his supposed "ally." You rushed over towards the two of them as quickly as you could.

"Are you guys okay?" you asked. You moved to extend a helping hand out to Izuku first, but you caught the glare forming on Katsuki's expression and hurriedly pulled it back. The blonde stood up abruptly, making sure to shove Izuku out of the way.

"I-I don't get it," Izuku croaked. "Can't you see facing him isn't going to work? We need to find another—" 

"Shut up." Katsuki strode straight forward, never tearing his hardened gaze away from All Might's frame. "I will win. Because that's just what a fucking hero does." 

You swallowed. "Katsuki-kun, at least let me heal you a bit..."

"I'm fine." 

"But—" 

"I said I'm fine," he growled.

You winced, unknowingly taking a step back. You had no right to complain now. After all, you'd chosen to support him, even if you didn't fully believe in his reckless approach. He was hurting, and you'd chosen to help. His frustrations weren't directed towards you, that much you understood. You'd told yourself you could endure, and you would.

Lips moving wordlessly, you constructed another light shield around him. Katsuki didn't say anything before propelling himself back into the fight. You thought you heard All Might clicking his tongue. 

"This selfish mindset of yours will get you nowhere," he said.

 Katsuki roared above him, unleashing an explosion from overhead. All Might barely even flinched, and hurled his fist backwards before connecting it with Katsuki's forearm. The particles of light surrounding his body fluctuated and flitted every which way. You watched, horrified, as the hero's fist tore straight through your barrier and sent Katsuki flying against the side of a building.

I-it barely did anything this time...

"Miss (Name)'s trying to cover you from a distance, correct?" Your eyes widened; he'd materialized by your side in an instant. "Well, it has the inklings of teamwork," All Might drawled out, "but I'm afraid Young Bakugou is too selfish to fully commit to that." 

You couldn't react on time. Even if you tried to activate your light-speed, you were already a goner. All Might grappled onto your by your costume, and flung you straight down into the ground. You stifled the urge to scream, biting down on your lip so hard you drew blood.

If your shoulder hadn't been dislocated earlier, it definitely was now.

"Right now, I am villain," All Might bellowed, staring down at you with dark sclera. "In a real fight, an enemy wouldn't even think twice before executing his foes. If the three of you were unwilling to work together, and had no concrete plan going forward, a true villain would take advantage of your hesitance and use it to end your life right then and there."

Your eyes began to pool tears. Even just the slightest movement sent a stabbing pain through your left shoulder. You glanced over towards the side. Your vision was blurry, but the clouds of dust had cleared from the bottom of the building. Katsuki was hurt, but he'd managed to stand up.

"Thank god..." you mumbled. All Might stepped away from you; he was staring pointedly in Izuku's direction now. It still hurt too much to move, but you allowed your body to become imbued with warm, healing waves of light. You couldn't afford to expend too much energy, just the bare minimum to endure the pain.

"At least Young Bakugou and Miss (Name) have been attempting to fight," All Might said to Izuku. "Young Midoriya...your hesitance will be your undoing. You cannot simply freeze up in fear whenever you encounter a strong enemy. As you can see, your teammates are suffering for your mistakes." 

Izuku quivered, looking fearfully in your direction. All Might's back was turned, and you moved slowly, trying to get to your feet. Your head was forced back down to the ground almost immediately. 

"No, no," All Might dismissed, keeping a tight hold on your skull. "I'm afraid I can't allow you to move. You're the most problematic of them all, you know?" 

You wheezed. "W-what the hell...is that supposed to mean...?"

"Young Bakugou and Young Midoriya resent one another, which meant that cooperation was a lost cause for them, but you were placed in this team to be the so-called "glue" that would bind them together. The other teachers and I were fully aware of the fact that you are one of the very few, if not only, that Young Bakugou listens to. We thought that if it was you, you'd be able to pull this troubled duo together, but...well, it seems like that isn't the case."

All Might stared down at you, his signature smile nowhere to be found. He almost looked disappointed. In you. Had he really put that much faith in your relationship with Katsuki? What was he even expecting, really? 

I thought this was good. I'm supporting Katsuki-kun, even if our tactics are messy. I don't care whether we win or lose. I just want him to be happy. Is even this not enough...?

"You too are allowing your personal feelings to get in the way of victory," he mumbled, releasing his hold on your head. "While I understand there are other emotions in play, right now, you should only be focusing on the trial before you." 

All Might didn't wait for you to regain your bearings. He lurched forward, ready to pummel Izuku into the ground next. A hefty swing brought his fist down through the terrain; dust and debris sprayed everywhere. 

He hummed, realizing he'd missed. "Miss (Name)'s doing, I presume." When he looked back over his shoulder, he saw you, still on the ground—your (e/c) orbs were glowing. You'd bent the light around Izuku's body so that he hit a mirage, not the real thing. It had given Izuku just enough time to get away.

"T-thank you!" he stammered out. "I'm sorry for being so useless right now, (Name)—"

"YOU BETTER NOT IGNORE ME, GODDAMMIT!!" 

Katsuki came thundering back in, screaming out at the top of his lungs. The explosion he used was so massive that the sheer force blew even him back. You groaned weakly, having finally managed to pry yourself off the cold ground, though your shoulder was still on fire. Katsuki was standing in front of All Might, panting heavily. His arms had begun to seize up from overuse of his Quirk.

"Your attacks are weakening," All Might noted, "yet you still think you can keep this up all on your own?" 

The ash blonde was met with a punch to the stomach before he could even respond. This blow was far unlike the rest. Even from where you were standing, you could feel the intensity; the sheer, killing intent. If up until now All Might had been using only 10% of his power, then this was more like 50. 

Katsuki gagged, spewing up vomit and saliva as he was blasted across the terrain, body wrung like a ragdoll. You felt your heart stop. He was so littered with scrapes and dark bruises that for a second, you were scared he would never get up again.

"And now a present for the boy who wants to run...!" 

All Might came hurtling down through the air, grasping a guard-rail with both his hands. Izuku's eyes widened, but it was too late—the cold metal was slammed against his back, entrapping him to the ground. 

You couldn't remember how to breathe normally. It was so easy for him; handling the three of you was child's play. You knew you had to do something, anything, but really, what could you do? 

Katsuki spluttered weakly, strings of drool dribbling down his chin. He was swaying uncontrollably and clutching at his injured stomach and throbbing organs. At this point, he was barely conscious. Your blood ran cold at the thought of what would happen with All Might's next attack.

You inhaled sharply, doing your utmost to ignore the throbbing pain in your shoulder.

I need...to help him. Even if he gets mad at me, even if he says he wants to handle it all on his own...I can't...let him get hurt anymore. 

You clambered forward, limbs aching. All Might was hovering in front of Katsuki, but oddly enough, he wasn't poised to attack. Rather, his movements were slow and meticulous. He was trying to speak to him. 

"I understand your frustrations," he began, "in regards to Young Midoriya's growth. Of course you'd be upset. But, you know...when he starts at level 1, and you're at level 50, then naturally you'll be growing at different rates. You get it, don't you? There's no reason for you to feel bitter, or throw all your efforts away. You've still got room to grow, my boy! It's not just about physical power, you also need to—" 

"Zip it...All Might." Katsuki was trembling furiously, eyes heavy and lidded. He hacked out and groaned. "I-if you're saying I gotta rely on his help...then I'd rather...just...lose." 

Your legs stopped moving. 

What did he just say...?

All Might's expression darkened as he looked down at the battered boy in front of him. Katsuki drew in another shaky breath, and your knees buckled, making you collapse to the ground. His neck tilted slightly, finally taking notice of you. Tears spilled over onto your cheeks. 

You'd wanted to support him. You'd been determined to support him, no matter what he chose, but not like this. To hear such words coming from his mouth...you didn't know what you'd been thinking in the first place. 

"Why would you say something like that?" you whimpered. "How could you say something like that...Katsuki-kun...?"

Chapter Text

"How could you say something like that, Katsuki-kun...?"

You stared up at him, knees collapsed and eyes overflowing with tears. Katsuki coughed and wheezed. He was no longer staring at the hero before him, and even All Might made no motion to move. 

Of all people, Bakugou Katsuki was willing to surrender—simply because he was unwilling to cooperate with his teammate. Here he was, the boy who faced all obstacles with everything he had, even if the odds of winning were low and pressures high. You'd seen him be less afraid of villains than working together with Izuku.

What a load of shit.

"(Name)," he began, barely croaking out his words, "I just can't—" 

"Pull yourself together, already...!!" 

Out of nowhere, Izuku's form came soaring through the air, fist colliding square with the blonde's jaw. The force sent Katsuki spinning a few meters back, and Izuku rushed forward in turn, grappling him by the arm. His emerald eyes flickered back towards your form. 

"(Name)-chan!" he cried out, "follow us, now!" 

You didn't have energy in spades, and there was probably only a select few times at most that you could safely use your life-speed without collapsing from fatigue. Nonetheless, this was the best opening you'd had in a long time. Katsuki was still groggy and disoriented, and didn't have the strength to shake off Izuku's grip. You sped past All Might, matching your allies' pace. If you could just get out of the hero's sights for a few moments and regroup, maybe you still had a chance at salvaging this thing. 

"Get the fuck...off me," Katsuki muttered, flailing weakly in Izuku's arms. "I said get off me, Deku you little—" 

"Katsuki-kun, shut up." 

His head lolled forward, eyes widening into saucers as he looked up at you. Unlike earlier, your voice no longer rang gentle and concerned. Your irritation was as plain as day, but at this point, you were past hiding it. 

"She's right," Izuku frowned. "Giving up doesn't sound like you at all. Why not at least try using me before jumping the gun like that? I definitely don't want to hear you of all people saying that it's fine to lose!"

Katsuki grimaced, but didn't manage a retort. You'd managed to put some distance in between yourselves and All Might, though it was more than likely he was just toying with you and allowing you a bit of a head-start. The time you had was incredibly limited, for sure.

"As of now, we've still got a ways to go until we reach the exit gate. All Might will find us in no time before we even get close." You'd hidden in the narrow alley in between two buildings. You and Izuku were standing upright on one side; Katsuki was slowly regaining control of his body and steadying himself on his feet. "We can't afford to keep messing around anymore," you spoke, narrowing your eyes in Katsuki's direction. "I know I'd said I'd support you, Katsuki-kun, but I refuse to do it if means that you're just going to give up. I didn't sign up for this. I expected you to try your very best, right up until the end." 

He pressed his lips together, saying nothing.

"I don't care what it takes," you went on, "or how hard we have to work for it. I just want to leave here knowing that none of us will have any regrets about not giving it our all." 

You took a step forward. Katsuki was averting your gaze, reacting only when he felt your fingers cup his cheek. You offered him a small smile. 

"Please, Katsuki-kun. I know you have it in you to do this." 

He cursed under his breath, but didn't try to shake you off. You pulled away and nodded back in Izuku's direction. All Might was drawing close—you could hear him.

I know this can't be easy for him.

Katsuki's shoulders trembled. 

The relationship between them is so broken that they can barely even look each other in the eye.

He moved to remove the gauntlet on his left arm, placing it in Izuku's hands. 

This must be stripping him of all his pride, and making him burn on the inside, but still. 

All Might's footsteps pounded away at the concrete; you all moved to your respective positions around the building. 

If he can do the thing that's been eating him up all these years, then he can do anything.

Your body emerged from behind All Might, along with Katsuki's. The hero glanced back hurriedly, as Katsuki drew up a smoke-screen with one of his explosions. You both whipped to the side, just as Katsuki's voice rang out. 

"DEKU — SHOOT!!!" 

 

 

 

[...]

 

 

 

"I'm only gonna explain this once, you fucking nerd. Even though you're shaking in your boots, running and hiding's not gonna do squat against that crazy speed of his. Even (Name) has a limit on the amount of times she can go fast; we won't be able to avoid a fight, no matter what." 

"But we still...won't be any match against All Might if—" 

"Shut your damn mouth or I'll shut it for you! This much should be fucking obvious, isn't it? No half-assed attack is gonna faze him, so it's gotta be  full power and at the closest possible range. While he's hurting from that attack, we'll put some distance between us. It's the only way."

Izuku nodded hurriedly, watching as Katsuki moved to sling off his gauntlet. You pressed your lips together. Katsuki glanced back in your direction with furrowed brows.

"What?" he snapped.

"Nothing," you smiled, "just...thank you." 

 

 

[...]

 

 

"I'm sorry...All Might!!" 

Izuku winced, removing the pin in the gauntlet and letting the hell-borne explosion burst forth right in All Might's face. You and Katsuki had moved out of the way with mere moments to spare—the pavement cracked under the pressure, nearby windows shattered from the force, and your freckled ally almost popped his shoulder out of place trying to endure the recoil. 

"Run!" Katsuki cried out, speaking to you and Izuku alike. "Get your asses in gear now!" 

You nodded, sprinting forward at full-force. You would have to stagger out the amount of times you activated your light-speed in order to zip ahead and conserve as much energy as possible. You were already cutting things close as was, and the last thing you wanted to do was face off against All Might with nothing in your arsenal. 

Izuku was by your side in almost no time, and you didn't even glance back over your shoulder to ascertain that All Might was down. Every moment counted. You couldn't afford to lag behind your teammates. 

"We should be getting closer to the gate now. (Name)," Katsuki rasped, sparing a glance in your direction, "if it comes down to it, you'll probably have to be the one to pass through. Out of all three of us, you're capable of the most burst. Make sure you save some energy in case you need to rush the gate, and we'll hold All Might back to buy you some time." 

"Right," you agreed, breathing heavily. "I can do it, I promise." 

Your bodies clambered through the jagged terrain, turning past bends and zigzagging around dilapidated buildings. Finally, you saw it.

For the purposes of this exercise, it seemed rather needlessly cute—with Nezu's grinning face decked across—but the point was that it was now well within your sights. Right now, it was still a fair distance away, too far for you to reach in one burst, but if you got a bit closer...

"Doesn't look like All Might's in pursuit," Izuku breathed, craning his neck to the side. The wind had picked up again, so there were clouds of dust mostly everywhere preventing you from getting any good vision. In any case, you couldn't hear him, which had to be good news, right...?

You nibbled on your lower lip. "Still...there's no way that attack knocked him back for that long. I'm worried." 

"He's probably planning something," Katsuki muttered, "that fucker. If he comes at us again, he'll get a taste of my gauntlet this time. That'll teach him." 

"Hm, hm. And then what?" 

When did he—?! 

"Why so shocked?" All Might chuckled. "This isn't even close to my top speed, you know." 

Katsuki reflexively lifted up his right arm to shield his face, but the hero merely gave it a light tap before it crumbled into dust. So much of your defensive plan had been riding on that last gauntlet, and he'd just shattered it with practically a flick of his wrist. Katsuki's arm was still poised mid-air, but before he could move to get a hit in, All Might had already pummeled him into the ground.

Now, his bright pupils were staring at you.

"You're their ace card, huh?" he chuckled. "Well, then...we can't exactly let you roam free, now can we?" 

"Don't—!" 

Your breath caught in your throat right as All Might's fist connected with your left arm—the same arm which housed your wounded shoulder. You sucked in sharply, cutting your high-pitched scream short. The force blew you back and had you seeing stars. You felt your left shoulder throb viciously, then burn. Then, you stopped feeling it at all.

Warm tears spilled over your cheeks and dribbled down your chin. Your face was kissing the ground, nose was smeared with dirt. You were starting to see things as a blur now because of the pain, though you still had a general idea of what was happening. One of All Might's hands dangled Izuku in the air and prevented him from breaking free; his foot was stepping down on Katsuki's back.

You blinked weakly, spilling more tears onto the jagged soil.

We're so...weak. So this is the Number One Hero, huh...?

All Might clenched his jaw. "Miss (Name) probably won't be able to do much for you the way she is right now. You were hoping to hit me with your strongest attack and give create an opportunity for her to get to the gate, hm? At least, it looks like that's what you came up with, but now—" 

He tossed Izuku aside and straightened up.

"—It's over, young ones!" 

"Quit runnin' your damn mouth..." 

Katsuki's palm shifted across the ground to point upwards towards the hero towering above him. All Might's eyes widened as the flash of light came forth; even he didn't have enough time to evade the explosion from such close-quarters. 

You didn't think he had any strength remaining, but even so, Katsuki still stood up. His limbs were aching, no doubt, and you could see the way his forearms were seizing uncontrollably now but still, he stood up. 

You had to stand up, too.

I have to go now, while they're keeping him occupied...!

The sharp look Katsuki flashed you was one of concern, exhaustion, and urgency all at once. Nonetheless, you knew what you had to do. Even with your left arm hanging limply by your side, this was your one and only chance—for victory.

You lurched forward for a moment, having to slap yourself on the cheek with your good hand to jolt your body upright. Your energy was an all-time low. It would likely sap everything you had left out of you, but you had to resolve this and get to the exit gate, all in one go. 

I have to get to the goal, I have to get to the goal. The goal, the goal—

"New Hampshire...SMAAASH!!"

The body colliding against your own nearly knocked your soul right out your chest. For a second, you were sure you blacked out. You went skidding across the ground again; this time, you knew you had nearly no chance of getting back up again. Everything hurt, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. 

"All Might, you son of a bitch!" Katsuki roared. "Get the fuck away from her already...!!" 

He propelled himself back over, teeth grinding together. You watched as he brought both of his palms together and outstretched them in All Might's direction. His veins were throbbing and standing taut under the fabric of his costume.

"Those gauntlets let me go at full power with no risk," he muttered, "but that was dumb of me. I could never hope of beating you without taking some damn risks."

The explosion that came surging forth was reminiscent of that huge blast he'd used against Uraraka during the Sports Festival. Its trajectory was inclined just barely out of your reach, though it was clear that much was intentional. From close range, again—it actually stunned All Might in place for a moment. 

"Deku, you little asshole! What the fuck have you even been doing while (Name)'s been gettin' beaten into the ground over here?! Either help her out or run to the gate yourself! Make yourself useful, you piece of shit...!" 

"S-sorry, I'm—!"

"Can't have any of you escaping, now!" All Might trilled. He kicked at the ground, bringing forth a cloud of dust that obscured Izuku's vision and knocked him off his feet. You were still the closest to the gate, by far, and yet you just couldn't move.

We're all heavily injured, you thought bitterly, but I'm the only one who's sitting around here. Fuck—it hurts, but...I can...

You spluttered and wheezed, a fresh wave of tears stinging at your eyes. Your left arm was totally out of commission, and your back was still searing with pain from earlier. You had to get up. No matter how viciously your nerves were burning, you were too close to call it quits now. Your legs felt like jello as you tried to pull yourself upright. Had you been paralyzed from the fear, the pain, or both? 

"Stop trying to move, Miss (Name)!" 

You were just crawling at this point, really, but All Might had picked up on even that little motion. You whimpered, glancing back over your shoulder to see him leaping through the air and ready to descend upon you at full-force. His fists were poised and ready.

Your eyes widened. A figure had come surging forward to intercept the blow. 

Katsuki.

All Might brought his already-mangled body crashing down into the ground; you'd lost track of how many times it had happened by now. The sickening crack coming from Katsuki's frame made your stomach lurch. You couldn't bear to watch him get hurt because of you any more. This was a nightmare. 

You thought you were a goner, and that All Might would knock you out for good this time, but then you realized he'd stopped moving. The cloud of dust cleared to reveal that his fist was still adhered to the ground—or rather, Katsuki.

You watched as Katsuki's trembling hands gripped All Might by the wrist. He tried to activate his Quirk, but the explosion that came out was meager and weak; his power was all gone. Out of desperation, Katsuki sunk his teeth into the hero's palm, willing to do anything so long as he could hold him in place. 

"H-urry up and...go," he rasped, only just barely conscious. "Get o-out of here...(Name)...don't look at me when I'm being this fucking pathetic. Shitty nerd, you too...I'll bend, and twist myself into a damn pretzel if that's what it takes...Coz if even this isn't enough, I w-wouldn't be able...to accept it..." 

You broke out into tears yet again, more violently than ever before. The truth was that you didn't want to look; you couldn't bear to look. To see the strong Katsuki, breaking himself down into nothing for your sake—it made your chest feel like imploding. He'd wanted to win so badly, all this time. He was willing to go this far. 

All Might stared down at him sullenly. "I think it's time I put you to rest. Quite frankly, your destructive behavior is a little traumatic for me to watch, as your teacher." He raised his other fist in the air, ready to deliver the finishing blow. A flash of light burst in front of him. His eyes widened. 

You crouched over Katsuki's body, which had now gone completely limp. Your right arm was raised above your head, though you were more than aware it would do you no good. You weren't even entirely sure how you'd managed to move. The adrenaline, the desperation, the fear of watching Katsuki break—it had just been too much for you to sit idle. 

Your eyelids hung heavy as you clutched Katsuki's head flush against your chest, shielding him in your arms. "Don't you dare," you sobbed. "Don't you dare hurt him any more." 

All Might was too stunned for words. You too were just as battered and bruised as Katsuki, if not more. Perhaps the image of your weak frame so desperately trying to protect Katsuki's own was just so sad, he took mercy on you both. You couldn't be sure. Regardless, he remained still and stiff, even as Izuku came thundering back in to grab both of your bodies out of the way. 

"Please move aside...All Might." 

He furrowed his brows, helping drag you and Katsuki forward. You didn't have the energy remaining to look back and see if All Might was following. Somehow, you got the feeling he wasn't. 

You were sure you'd never felt a bigger sense of relief than when your three battered bodies pass through the exit gate. Izuku crumbled to the floor; you followed just behind him, breathing raggedly. Katsuki's stiff body was still in your arms. 

You mustered up just enough strength to press a fleeting kiss to his cold forehead before closing your eyes and seeing black. 

Chapter Text

Maybe it was because you weren't one to get injured often, and you certainly didn't have Izuku's history of requiring Recovery Girl's healing, but for whatever reason, you were surprised to find that all your injuries had practically disappeared by the time you came to. Your head felt a bit heavy; almost as if you'd taken a nap for too long, but other than that, you were fine.

You hesitantly rubbed at your left shoulder—it had healed back into place, and wasn't as sensitive to the touch as you'd expected. Your eyes trailed around the room. Katsuki was lying down in the infirmary bed just beside your own. His eyes were still closed, but you heaved a sigh of relief. He'd regained color in his cheeks and was looking much better than before. 

"He should be up soon," a voice called out. You blinked, not even having spotted Recovery Girl huddled in the corner of the room. She smiled gently. "Don't worry, my dear. He's almost good as new." 

You nodded hastily. "T-thank you. Seriously, I can't thank you enough." 

"Nothing to thank me for. Although I had to reprimand Toshinori for going so hard on you three." She let out a huff, shaking her head despondently. "I swear, that man doesn't know the meaning of holding back. If you're wondering about Midoriya, he walked out not too long ago after I treated him. He's always getting himself hurt," she sighed, "so I suppose he's used to the pain by now. Not that it's a good thing." 

"Yeah," you chuckled, "I guess we were all a little desperate this time around." 

She smiled again, then fell silent. You noticed her eyes flickering towards your hip, though you could tell she was holding back the urge to ask about your mark. You brushed your hair back, eyes softening. 

"It's still fading," you mumbled, "but I'm okay. I'll figure things out as I go. We will, I mean." 

"Ah..." 

Recovery Girl glanced back towards Katsuki, who was snoring peacefully on the bed. It was such a rare sight to see him with his brows un-furrowed and expression relaxed. He looked so angelic and sweet; you just wanted to curl up beside him and stroke his hair. 

"Well, if you kids have figured out what you want to do, then I'm happy for the both of you." She smiled at the sound of Katsuki shifting slightly in bed, rising to her feet and shuffling towards the door to leave you two alone. "He may still be a little tired and disoriented at first, but I'm sure he'll be glad you waited for him to wake up." 

The door clicked behind her, and you hummed in affirmation, steadying yourself forward on the edge of the bed to get a closer view at Katsuki's pure, sleeping face. You felt a bit shameless watching him so intently, but you just couldn't help yourself. You were probably one of the few people who'd gotten the chance to see him like this. 

"...mmn." 

Katsuki shifted across the bedsheets again, this time letting out a low, rumbling noise from the back of his throat. You held your breath, not wanting to wake him. A few moments later, his crimson eyes had opened slightly. 

He studied you for a bit, no doubt taking a second to get accustomed to the image before him. You didn't say anything, not until he'd propped himself upright and slumped his back against the wall. 

"Hey, Katsuki-kun." You smiled gently, taking a seat on the edge of his bed. "How are you feeling?" 

Katsuki blinked groggily, eyelids heavy. "I'm fine." 

"It doesn't hurt anymore?" 

"Not really."

"That's good," you sighed. "I was worried, you know? You can be pretty reckless sometimes." 

"I said I'm fine." He averted his gaze, instead staring down stiffly at the white bedspread. You felt your chest tighten. Of course he'd be like this, after everything that had just happened. 

"What about you?" he mumbled softly, still refusing to make eye-contact. "All Might fucked you over, too, I saw. I'm not the only one who bit the dust." 

You smiled. That fight couldn't have possibly gone the way he'd envisioned, but he was still worrying about you, even now. 

"I'm feeling all better," you reassured, "but thank you for asking. You know...you were really cool out there, Katsuki-kun."

"Eh..?" 

Katsuki's eyes widened. He lifted his head, only to find you staring back at him, smiling again. You shuffled closer to him. 

"We wouldn't have passed if not for what you'd done," you continued. "Truth be told, I was really scared when I saw how far you were willing to go, but it was still amazing. I know you probably feel upset right now, or bitter, but you really shouldn't. You were incredibly strong." 

You leaned in, giving him a quick, chaste peck on the cheek. Katsuki blinked repeatedly, temples flushing in a matter of seconds. You were just as red, if not more. 

"S-sorry," you apologized, though you weren't quite sure what for. You still hadn't gotten a hang of all this. Just the thought of kissing him made your face burn every time. 

Katsuki blinked slowly. 

"...cute." 

"Pardon?" 

"You're cute," he repeated, pulling you in by the wrist. You let out a soft yelp as you teetered forwards on the bed and fell against his chest. You began to apologize, worried that you may have opened up his wounds again, but he merely shook you off and wrapped his arms around your back. 

"C'mon," he prodded, burying his hot face in the crook of your neck, "say more nice shit about me. There's more you wanted to tell me, isn't there?" 

"W-what do you mean?" you croaked out. Your hands fell to the sheets, a few fingers gripping Katsuki by the fabric of his costume. You were thankful for the fact that he wasn't looking you in the eyes right now; you were so freaking red. "I just wanted to make sure you were doing okay," you mumbled. "And, um, I guess...I wanted to see you for a bit, as well..." 

He tightened his grip. "Why's that, hm?" 

"Are you actually gonna make me say it...?" 

"No shit. Spit it out, already."

You swallowed, heart beating so fast you were surely on the verge of passing out. Katsuki's breath brushed by your ear. You could've sworn you heard him chuckling to himself. 

"I wanted to see you, and talk to you...because I like you. Obviously..." 

"Yeah, I know. You're clingy like that." 

"Wha—?!" You forcibly pushed him back by the chest, brows furrowed and cheeks puffed out. "You're so mean!" you whined. "I take back everything I just said!" 

Katsuki bit down on his lip to keep from laughing. He reached out to tousle your hair, grinning shrewdly when you slapped his hand away in an attempt to remain pouty. 

"I was just kidding," he mused. "You can say that stuff more, I won't think you're annoying or anything." 

"Gee, thanks." 

"See? I'm such a nice guy." He watched as you rolled your eyes, then pulled you back into his arms. This time, you didn't resist. You felt his lips brush by your neck.

"I like you, too...(Name)."

 

 

 

 

Eventually, the other matches finished up, which meant that you were free to change out of your costumes and head home for the day. 

Sero, Ashido, Satou, Kaminari, and Kirishima had all failed. 

You felt really bad for the five students—especially your red-haired friend. It sucked most of all because he'd endured Katsuki's hellish tutoring in order to pass the written exam, and now he'd flunked out of the practical one. You were upset not only on their behalf, but also because you knew this meant that they wouldn't be allowed to come along for the training camp. 

I guess there's definitely worse things that could've happened. We were pretty close to not passing, as well...

You decided to just count your blessings, and made a mental note to fill your friends in on everything once you got back from camp. Now, you just wanted to go home and take a long nap.

"We're walkin' home together," Katsuki announced, standing outside the classroom once you'd changed back into your uniform. 

"Oh." You smiled, hurriedly nodding your head. "Yeah, okay. Let's go to the station together." 

"Not just to the station." He turned on his heel, already in the process of walking down the hall. "I'll drop you off at your place." 

"Ah, but—" 

Your house isn't even all that close to mine...

Katsuki glanced back over his shoulder, brows arched. You stood there for a moment, eventually shaking your head and smiling once more. 

"Nevermind," you brushed off, "let's head home then." 

He scoffed, muttering something about how indecisive you were, but you were too happy to pay it much notice. Your fingers hesitantly reached towards his own, but you snapped them back in a hurry, blushing at the thought of another classmate seeing the two of you hold hands. 

As the two of you passed by the lockers, you stopped. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and an all-too-familiar smirk. 

"Monoma-kun!" you called out, scrambling after the Class-B student. He was picking up his things and just about ready to leave for the day. When he saw you approaching, he stiffened—especially because of who was with you.

"The fuck are you doing?" Katsuki snapped. He buried his hands into his pockets, scowling almost immediately when he saw you standing beside Monoma. "Ah," he said dryly, "it's this asshole again." 

Monoma scrunched up his nose, ready to cut back. You hastily shook your head. 

"Don't mind him, please. I just came here to apologize to you, Monoma-kun. For everything up until now." 

The boy blinked. "Apologize? You...apologize to me?" 

"Yes. I was thinking back on it, and I really didn't like the way I lashed out at you, even if it was out of stress and fear. You were just trying to warn me. I shouldn't have yelled at you the way I did."

"O-oh. Alright then," Monoma coughed. "I...accept your apology. And I hope you've been able to accept mine." 

"I have," you smiled, "thank you." 

Katsuki was staring the two of you down, much more silently than you'd been expecting. He definitely didn't look happy, but you remembered how hostile he'd been the last time with Monoma, and you could tell that he was holding himself back from acting out again.

"Another thing," you smiled, reaching out to grab Katsuki's hand in your own. He stiffened a bit, as did the other blonde, but made no attempt to pull away, not even when you squeezed his fingers and looked back at Monoma. "We've been working on our relationship," you explained. "We finally spoke about the fact that my mark was fading, and even though we had a fight, we were able to figure things out. Right now we're not fixating on all the soulmate stuff; we just want to focus on each other." 

Monoma blinked a few times, eyes narrowed in scrutiny. Katsuki still hadn't pulled his hand away, much to your surprise. You didn't think he would've liked to parade around, displaying any signs of affection, but it was pretty much the opposite. His possessiveness made him want to show you off; you felt it in how tightly he squeezed your fingers. This was his way of telling Monoma that you were already taken. 

"I'm not going to steal her from you," Monoma snorted, chuckling a bit when Katsuki realized he'd read his mind. "We're only friends, I told you that much before. If (Name) isn't scared anymore, then I'm happy for her. I don't have a soulmate of my own, so I have no idea how I'd handle this situation, but I'm glad that things are starting to work out for her." 

You smiled. "Thank you, Monoma-kun." 

"Huh?" Katsuki scowled. "You actually buy this shit? It's obvious he fuckin' likes you. He's just pretending that he only wants to be your friend." You let out a weary sigh, parting your lips to protest, but Katsuki was already sticking out his tongue and flipping Monoma off. "Nice try, asswipe. She likes me, and only me. She's way out of your league anyways, so best to give up now."

You gaped at him. "Katsuki-kun! You are so rude!" 

"What, so now I can't speak the truth?" 

"None of what you said is true! We're just friends, and Monoma-kun is a great guy who'll find a great person!"

"Yeah, sure," he waved off. "Just wanted to make sure he knows it ain't gonna be you." 

"Katsuki-kun!" 

Monoma watched the two of you shamelessly bicker and flirt, merely rolling his eyes. The boy wondered why he'd even been worried about you in the first place. Clearly, there'd never been anybody else for you other than this guy.

"I've wasted enough time talking to you and your deranged boyfriend," he yawned. "(Name)— I'll see you around." 

"The fuck did you just say, asshole?!" 

"Adieu!" 

With a snap of his wrist, he was off. You remembered that you'd been wanting to ask how his practical exam went, but you supposed you could always find out another time. 

"That fucker's annoying as hell," Katsuki grumbled. "You sure you need to hang around a loser like him?" 

"He's my friend," you sighed, "so yes—I intend to speak to him every now and then."

He crossed his arms. "You don't need friends that are guys." 

"So this is all just you throwing a jealous fit?" 

"J-jealous—?!" he croaked. "Who the fuck said I'm jealous?! I just don't want you wasting your time with morons like him...!" 

"Right, right." You threw your bag over your shoulder, taking Katsuki's hand in your own again. Whatever hesitation you'd had before was gone now. You didn't care if others saw you anymore. There was nothing to be embarrassed about. After all, you wanted to show him off, too.

"Let's get ice cream on our way home, Katsuki-kun." 

He huffed. "Fine. But after that, you have to promise that you'll never speak to that asshole ever ag—" 

"No."

Chapter Text

"We had some failures for the practical exam, but irregardless, we're bringing everyone along to the forest lodge. Prepare to work extra hard." 

Not too long ago, Aizawa had surprised the entire class with his announcement. Even though you weren't the party concerned, it came as a relief to know that all of your friends would be able to join you on your trip. Kirishima was practically crying tears of joy.

Now, after school—

"We've gotta go shopping tomorrow!" Mina exclaimed. "We need to pick out clothes and supplies for the camp!" 

"Oh, yeah. Do you mind if I join you?" Jirou asked. "There's actually some stuff I wanna get as well." 

"Of course, girl! Come with!" 

Izuku lifted his hand sheepishly. "Is it okay if I tag along...?" 

"Duh!" 

"Ah—I wanna come, too!" 

"Same, same!" 

"Count me in, guys!" 

Before long, about half the class was talking about their shopping plans, including Uraraka. Kirishima looked back at you and Katsuki with a grin.

"What about you, (Name)-chan, Bakugou? Coming?"

The blonde's reply was dry and succinct. "Hell no." 

"Awe, dude. Why are you always like this?" 

"Coz I have better things to do than fuck around with you losers," he muttered, "no shit." Kirishima let out a sigh at Katsuki's hardheadedness, but the latter was now staring you down with a wary gaze. "Are you going?" he asked, earning a few blinks in return. 

"Oh," you frowned. "I'm not sure yet." 

"Don't," he said simply. "Hang out with me instead." 

You parted your lips to speak, but quickly pressed them shut. You'd obviously spent time with him outside of school before, but it was rare for him to be so forthcoming. Especially when he'd just said he wasn't interested in meeting up with the others. 

"Hey, what's up with that??" Kirishima whined, mirroring your very thoughts. "You just said you didn't want to do anything that day!" 

"I meant with you, asshole! Why the fuck wouldn't I wanna be with my girlfriend, instead?!" 

Your cheeks flushed, and Kirishima stared back at him stupidly. He lifted his index finger and wagged it back and forth between you and Katsuki.

"You guys...are dating now? Really? Since when? I mean, I knew you were soulmates but—"

"Piss off," Katsuki growled, shoving the redhead aside. "I don't owe you any goddamn explanations. I'm hanging out with (Name)—my decision is final." He hooked his arm around your waist, ignoring your squeals of protest. Technically, other than a select few people, none of your classmates really knew you were in a relationship now. Most of them probably didn't even know that you were soulmates, to begin with. 

"Man, you're so secretive," Kirishima huffed. Katsuki merely flipped him off as he pushed you along and led you to the door. You realized you hadn't actually agreed to your little meet-up, but he wanted to spend time with you, and that much made you happy. 

You waded through the cluster of students gathered in the hallways, and tried to fight off the heavy blush on your cheeks. Katsuki's hand was still resting snugly atop your hip.

 

 

 

 

 


Babe <3: 

[6:47 PM]

Hi

What do you wanna do tomorrow

Me: 

Heyyy :) 

Is that still happening? 

Babe <3: 

Why the fuck wouldn't it be you loser

I always stay true to my word

Me: 

You're right, mb

Also, guess what your name in my phone is :) 

Babe <3: 

Something stupid probably

Me: 

:( 

Babe <3: 

Please tell me it's not "cutie" or some gross shit like that

Me: 

It's "babe"! With a heart at the end <3 

Hehe

Babe <3: 

I think I just threw up a little

Me: 

You're mean

Babe <3: 

You love it

Me: 

No

Yes

Babe <3: 

You still didn't tell me what you wanted to do tomorrow

I honestly couldn't care less but keep in mind I'm not made of fuckin money

So yeah

Don't be a bitch about what you pick is what I'm saying

Me: 

Damn so I guess we can't rent that yacht after all...

Babe <3: 

Wow you're so funny I might've just pissed my pants laughing

Me: 

Katsuki ew

Babe <3: 

Shut the fuck upppp

If you don't pick I will and I know you'd never let me hear the end of that

Me: 

Hmmm

Babe <3: 

?

Me: 

hmmmMMMM

Babe <3: 

Fuck's sake

Me: 

hmmMMMMhmmMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Babe <3: 

Jesus christ

Are you tryna get blocked???

Me: 

Ok. I wanna go swimming.

Babe <3: 

Swimming? 

Me: 

Yeah it's hot out

Is that okay with you?

Babe <3: 

Sure, I guess 

They have an indoor pool close-ish to my place. We can go there if you want

Me: 

Okay! Thank you :) 

Babe <3: 

Don't thank me for no reason 

Also change my name to something less gross

Like "future number one hero" or smth

Me: 

lol

Babe <3: 

Fuck you

 

 

 

 

You fiddled with the strap of your (f/c) bikini, sliding it underneath your loose t-shirt. It was Saturday, lunch-time, and you were waiting to meet Katsuki at the designated spot. The ardent sun was blazing overhead, making beads of sweat pool at the back of your neck. Thank god you'd decided to go take a dip in the water.

A few minutes later, and he'd arrived, wearing a low-cut v-neck and shorts. He had a puka shell necklace dangling by his chest, which made you snort back a laugh. He looked good, but the whole outfit reeked of that stereotypical 'douchebag' vibe. 

"Hey," he motioned casually, one hand down his pockets. "You been waiting a while?" 

"Ah, no," you smiled, "hardly. It's really nice meeting up with you, Katsuki-kun. You're always on time." 

He smirked. "No shit. You remember what I told you, right? I'm punctual as—" 

"As fuck," you laughed, "I know." 

"Good. Unless you wanted to stand around here longer, let's head in. It's too damn hot out."

You nodded, still smiling, and followed behind him as you made your way into the building. You paid at the reception, then shuffled off into your respective change-rooms to get undressed and lock up your stuff. 

Just judging off the density of people in the change-room, you figured it shouldn't be too busy inside, which would be nice, having more space to yourselves. You breathed out, pulling off the last of your clothing and tucking it away in your locker. It was humid in the room, but you still shivered a bit at the feeling of having so much of your skin exposed. You tucked your chin and flashed a timid glance down towards your chest. 
Since Katsuki had never seen you wearing so little before, you felt a bit insecure. You'd picked out your favorite, most flattering two-piece, and hoped to god that he would like it. Well, not that you were necessarily craving his approval, but—

No, scratch that. You were craving his approval, even if the thought made you flush red with embarrassment. It wasn't uncommon though, right? For a girl to want to impress her boyfriend? 

I don't expect him to go crazy over it, but it'd be nice if he told me I looked good, or something...

You wanted to slap yourself for how silly you were being. Inhaling sharply, you waded through the change-room and headed for the pool entry. It was slightly less humid outside, though your nostrils burned with the smell of chlorine. Out of the corner of your eye, you spotted Katsuki standing around.

Your stomach did a flip.

Good lord, he's HOT.

Sure, you were used to seeing him with his biceps exposed because of his hero costume, but you'd never actually seen him fully shirtless before. His arms were built, as you already knew, but your eyes were mostly adhered to the taut, rippling muscles of his abdomen. He shifted just slightly; the faintest motion made his muscles tense. 

You'd been so focused on his difficult personality up until now that you'd forgotten just how attractive he was, and how lucky you were. You didn't even feel like calling out to him, out of embarrassment, since you probably didn't look anywhere near as good.

He still saw you, though. 

"(Name)," Katsuki beckoned, making his way over to you. Your chest tightened, and you had the sudden urge to crawl up into a ball so that he couldn't get a good look at you. You barely even made eye-contact when he stopped in front of you.

"H-hi," you mumbled, cheeks burning. "We're s-swimming now, right?" 

"In a minute, yeah. What the fuck's wrong with you right now? Why won't you look at me?" 

He snapped up your wrist, tugging you forward so that you would be forced to look him in the eyes. You quivered slightly, still burning from the temples down. You'd unknowingly placed your other hand in front of your chest, somewhat obscuring the cleavage, but not really. You raised your head to look up at Katsuki—

Eh?

—and were surprised to find that he was blushing just as hard as you. Even though he still retained a tight grip on your wrist, you could see the way his crimson orbs would flicker past your expression, down your neck, and fall to your scantily-clad body. It looked like you weren't the only one who was flustered and having questionable thoughts. 

You swallowed. "K-Katsuki—" 

"That looks nice on you," he mumbled shyly. "The swimsuit, I mean. Uh, it's—yeah. Just looks n-nice." 

In spite of your embarrassment, you managed a shaky smile. Even if it was rather clumsy, he'd told you the very words you'd been hoping to hear. Suddenly, you felt less tense and just more free. More confident. 

"Thank you, Katsuki-kun. You look very nice, as well." 

"Shut up," he grimaced. "Nobody says that shit to a guy." 

"Why not? I like your red trunks." 

"Goddammit, (Name)." He sighed as you giggled to yourself, then abruptly jerked you forward by the hand. "C'mon," he prodded, gesturing towards the pool. "We came here to actually get in the water, didn't we?" 

"That's right." 

He shifted his fingers down ever-so-slightly to interlink them with your own. You walked behind him, slowly, so as not to slip on the wet floors. Just like you'd predicted, it wasn't awfully busy inside, which was nice. You'd have a lot more leg-room to work with.

"C-c-cold," you shivered, teeth chattering as you slipped into the water. "Why do they always keep these pools so cold...?" 

Katsuki rolled his eyes, stepping in just beside you. "Stop whining. Didn't you wanna go swimming so that you could cool off from the heat?" 

"But, still..." 

"Just start swimming, dum-dum." The blonde outstretched his arms and began wading into the deeper end. "The more you move around, the faster your body will warm up." 

You nodded, following behind him as your teeth continued to chatter. Katsuki chuckled every now and then, amused by how ridiculous you looked with your arms clutching at the sides of your ribs. 

Eventually, it started feeling less cold. You kicked out your legs to tread water, bobbing your arms around you. Thought it wasn't quite pleasant yet, it was slowly getting better. 

"You still haven't dunked your head in," Katsuki remarked with a wry smile. "Need me to help you with that?" 

You hastily jerked backwards. "N-no thank you. I can do that on my own..." 

"Awe, c'mon. What kind of a boyfriend would I be if I didn't give you a hand every now and then?" 

You could see the look of mischief in his eyes, and you squealed, trying to put some distance in between the two of you. Unfortunately, Katsuki was a man of many talents—swimming included. He was able to catch up to you almost immediately, and grappled you by your sides, lifting you up into the air as he grinned ear-to-ear. 

"Please, don't!" you screamed. "Katsuki-kun, don't you dare—!" 

Too late. You were dunked head-first into the water, cool liquid rushing into all your orifices. You'd made the mistake of having your eyes open underwater; they stung viciously from the chlorine. When you pulled up for air, you spluttered weakly, water streaming out of your nostrils. 

"Pfft—" Katsuki clamped a hand over his mouth, stifling a laugh. "Nice face, (Name)." 

You glared at him. "Die, you asshole." 

"Stealing my catchphrase?" 

"I said die." 

He chuckled, still with that goofy, shit-eating grin on his face. "Nah, I'm good," he mused. "If I died right now, then I wouldn't be able to do this—!" 

You squealed, his cold arms wrapping around your waist. You were certain that he would dunk you underwater, but instead, he kept you locked up against his body with one arm, and began mercilessly tickling  your sides with his fingers. 

What a little shit...!

You flailed, desperately trying to break free, but Katsuki wasn't one to be deterred. You could hear his deep, throaty chuckles by your ear as he continued his assault on your ribs. Tears were filling your eyes from laughing too hard; even your stomach was beginning to hurt. 

"E-enough...!" you begged. "Katsuki-kun, I give, please!" 

"Well, since you asked nicely." You let out a gasp of relief when he stopped tickling you, and instead brought you back flush up against his chest. Both of your bodies were slick with water, but it was somehow a warm, pleasant feeling being pressed up together. Katsuki blew his breath by your neck, and took advantage of your confusion to press a quick kiss to your cheek.

You flushed deeply. "Doing things like that in public is gonna embarrass me, you know?" 

"What's the point in having a girlfriend if I can't kiss her whenever I want?" 

You rolled your eyes jokingly, though you weren't really that opposed to it. If you had a bit more courage, you would've liked to go in for a kiss, as well...

"Hey, (Name), can I tell you a secret?" Katsuki whispered. You blinked, surprised, but hurriedly nodded your head and leaned in closer so that he could mumble by your ear. His grip on your waist tightened. "It...feels really good having your boobs push up against me like this." 

"E-eh...??" 

You pushed Katsuki back, only to find him stupidly grinning down at you with a red tint on his cheeks. Out of sheer instinct, you wrapped your arms around your chest and pouted. 

"That's not something you say in public," you chastised, "good lord..." 

"I meant it, though." He lurched forward in the water, grabbing you in by the arm. You stuck your tongue out at him, but you weren't really making much of an effort to resist. The water level was lower now. At some point, you'd waded back over towards the shallow end.

With most of your body no longer underwater, you felt a chill coming on again. Katsuki wrapped his arms around you to try and pool his body heat against your own. You would've immersed yourself back in again, but your eyes had unknowingly fallen to your hip. The fabric of your bikini bottom had loosened a bit from the water, revealing your soulmate tattoo.

Or rather, what was left of it. 

Katsuki followed your gaze down towards your hip. You felt his hold on you tighten, as if in reassurance. It really hadfaded more; this time, you were sure of it. 

"Relax," he mumbled, gently running his fingers down your jawline. "It's gonna be okay, alright? Don't get yourself worked up over this shit again." 

"I-I know. It's just...the more I see it fade away, the more my heart aches..." 

He slumped his brows, sharing in your dejection. "Don't be sad now. We've been having a great fucking day, haven't we? Whatever happens in the future, we'll deal with it. I promise." 

You nodded. The thought of it disappearing completely still hurt, but it hurt less when you thought of how Katsuki would be here for you. He was right. There was certainly no way to predict the future, and no reason to bother trying. You would live in the present, and right now, the present was looking pretty damn good.

"Let's swim more," he suggested, making you bob your head in response. You plunged into the water, immersing yourself completely. You'd kept your eyes closed this time to avoid that nasty burning sensation, but it was pleasant, being able to get away from everything for a few moments. The darkness, the lack of sound, and just overall feeling like you were floating around...

Ah.

Did he just—?!

You burst up to the surface, swallowing a big gulp of air. It took a second to regain your bearings, but then you were glaring at Katsuki, who'd lifted his hands up as if to plead guilty.

"You just groped my butt, you perv." 

He bit down on his lip to hold back a grin. "I did not." 

"There's no one else around us right now." 

"Fuck," he muttered, "there musts be ghosts in this pool." 

"What kind of shitty excuse is that?!" 

You cut the water with your palms, swimming towards him with all your might. Katsuki was laughing uncontrollably now; the rest of the people in the pool probably thought you guys were crazy.

What a great day.

Chapter Text

"I want to have a sleepover with my boyfriend tonight." 

Your mom practically spit out her drink. "E-excuse me...?" 

"I said, I would like to have a sleep—" 

"No, no, I heard you the first time! I just, umm..." She nibbled on her bottom lip. "Isn't it...too early for you guys to be doing things like that...?" 

You blinked once, perplexed. It didn't take long for you to realize what she meant by 'things', and soon enough, you were flushed a deep crimson.

"T-that's not why I want him to sleepover," you stammered. "I don't plan on doing anything inappropriate, it's just...tomorrow's the day we leave for the training lodge, and I wanted us to be able to spend a bit more time together before we're with the rest of the class. Waking up and leaving together would be nice, too..." 

You imagined you looked pretty ditzy and foolish right now. Certainly, there was nothing preventing your mother from rejecting your absurd request right then and there. But maybe it was because you seemed to be in such a trance, with palms pressing up against your flushed cheeks and eyes that were practically sparkling. You couldn't be sure of anything, but you noticed the way your mother's expression softened.

"I see. You must really like this boy, huh?" 

"I-I mean—" You cast your head down, fiddling with the sleeve of your shirt. Even your ears were red. "Yes...I like him...a-a lot. So I just thought it'd be nice if we could do this together." 

Your mom hummed in understanding. She ran her fingernails across the counter-top in evaluation. Her lips curled into a smile. 

"Well...your father is away on a business trip right now, so I suppose I'm the one who has the authority to make such decisions." 

Your eyes widened. "So, then—?!" 

"I'll allow it," she chuckled, "just because you look so happy these days. I know your date went really well, too. Can't recall the last time I saw you in such high-spirits." 

"Thank you, mom! Thank you so much!" In a second, you'd flung your arms around your mom and were squeezing the very life out of her. You felt her muss your hair and chuckle. 

"But," she began, "there are some things we need to discuss before I can allow it. For safety precautions." 

"O-oh. Yeah, of course. What would that be?" 

She cleared her throat, awkwardly glancing around the room. "I'm sure you must already know about this, but as your mother, it's my duty to ensure that you are well-educated in the matter." 

Your stomach churned. Oh, boy. Here it was, the discussion that every teenager dreaded.

"I-I just want you to know that there are a lot of contraceptive methods to ensure that you don't—" 

"Mom!" 

"I can run to the store to buy condoms if you need—" 

"MOM!!!" 

 

 

 

 

 

You'd suffered through a rather grueling sex-ed crash course with your mother, so you hoped to god that Katsuki would even agree to the sleepover. Otherwise all of your suffering had been for naught. 

His phone rang a few times, but you eventually heard him pick up from the other end. "Hello?" 

"Hi, Katsuki-kun!" Your voice came out sounding a lot more high-pitched and eager than you'd been expecting, but you just couldn't help it. You really were excited. "You're free tonight, right? Not going anywhere?" 

"Huh? The hell would I go? We have that fuckin' camp thing tomorrow morning, I need to make sure I get my sleep." 

"Yep, yep! And, well...about that..." You paused (mostly for dramatic effect), and you could imagine Katsuki furrowing his brows at you. "How...would you feel about grabbing your things and sleeping over at my place for tonight?" 

"Eh." 

"Eh?" 

"What." 

"What?" 

"Stop repeating my words back to me, you annoying little shit." 

"Sorry. But does this mean that you don't—" 

"Are your parents okay with this?" Katsuki asked. He sounded almost...fidgety. Or uneasy. Maybe it had been a poor suggestion on your part...

Your eyes glazed over. "Well, yeah, my mom's the one who gave me permission. But if you're not interested, that's...fine. I understand." 

Silence. 

"Who the fuck said I wasn't interested?" 

You blinked. "U-um, but—" 

"Of course I'm interested. No shit I would be. But, ya know...you have to understand where I'm coming from. You've basically just invited me to sleep with my girlfriend." You heard him swallow. "So...obviously I'm having other thoughts right now." 

"O-oh." 

Well, that much was a given. He'd been a lot more forward during your pool date, talking about your chest and even grabbing your butt... so of course he would have some dirty thoughts every now and then. You trusted Katsuki, though. If you weren't comfortable doing anything, you knew he would never force himself onto you. Otherwise you'd probably never have suggested sleeping together in the first place.

Still, the topic at hand made you nervous, especially since you had no experience with that level of intimacy. Restlessly, you blurted out: 

"W-we have condoms in the house now!" 

"Asfhdf—WHAT." 

Katsuki's voice had cracked with the last word. He was breathing heavily on the other end. You weren't much better off, cheeks burning so hard that you felt as if they were on the verge of exploding. You'd gotten so riled up that you'd unwillingly said something you truly wished you hadn't. But it was already on the table now, and you didn't really feel like back-tracking out of sheer embarrassment. That would just be even more sad. 

"My m-mom just bought some earlier," you squeaked. What the hell am I saying right now?! "Uh, it's just...in case you wanted to do something, we're p-prepared, is what I'm trying to say." Kill me, please. Someone, anyone.

Katsuki stammered out, trying to string together a proper sentence. "So, you—I mean, uh. Y-you're okay with doing that kinda stuff? Like, if we were to—" 

"Just bring everything you've packed for tomorrow and come over when you can! Thanks, bye!!" 

Your mortification led you to abruptly hang up the call. You felt embarrassed, and just the tiniest bit disappointed. 

 

 

 

 

 

"Come to think of it, I've never actually met your soulmate-slash-boyfriend in person before." 

Your mother was sitting on the couch, tapping her bottom lip introspectively. She'd been filled in on everything that had happened between you and Katsuki—fights and all included—but she still had yet to properly meet him, or even see what kind of person he was. It had totally slipped your mind. You'd been so caught drowning in a pool of embarrassment over your "condom" comment from earlier, than you hadn't even stopped to imagine how Katsuki's first interaction with your mom would go over.

I hope he's not rude. Well, less rude, at least.

The doorbell rang just moments later. You swallowed hard, feeling both excited and nervous to see him, but your mother was up on her feet within a flash, practically sprinting over towards the door. She grinned back over her shoulder, watching as you rolled your eyes, then proceeded to open the door with an exuberant swing. 

"Oh, uh, h-hi." Katsuki was standing there, stiff as a rock, looking somewhat surprised by your mother's appearance, but also not really. He was clutching a bouquet of flowers in his right hand. "Nice to meet you," he greeted, bowing his head reluctantly. "I'm Katsuki—(Name)'s b-boyfriend." 

Oh my god he's so nervous and cuuutee! 

"Here," he gruffed, extending the flowers out towards your mom. "These are for you. That shitty old—I mean... my mom said it'd be nice to bring 'em. I don't know what your favorites are, but...hope you like these. Yeah." 

Katsuki's jaw was clenched, and his cheeks were speckled with pink. He really was nervous; Bakugou Katsuki, of all people, nervous to be introduced to your family. You could honestly say you'd die happy in this moment. 

"Thank you very much," your mother smiled, taking the bouquet in her arms. "It's very nice to finally meet you, Katsuki. Please, come in!" she ushered. "And I'll have to apologize for my husband not being here right now. He's away on business at the moment." 

"Ah. S'all good." 

You caught him breathing out a sigh of relief. Your dad wasn't awfully scary or anything, but it definitely took the edge off knowing that he wouldn't be here to heckle your boyfriend.

"We're just getting ready to eat dinner," your mother announced, looking for a vase to put the flowers in. "The two of you can hang out for the time being, and I'll call you over when it's ready, alright?" 

Katsuki nodded. "Yeah, thanks. Appreciate it." 

Your mother let out a hum of approval, making her way back to the kitchen once she'd set up the flowers in the middle of the living-room table. Dinner wouldn't be too long; the savory scent wafting through the room told you it was nearly ready.

"Thank you for coming," you smiled, timidly tucking a lock of hair behind your ear. "I know it was sort of a weird request, but I thought it'd be fun for the two of us to sleepover before we leave on our trip. Right?"

"Guess so." 

He'd brushed you off casually, but his cheeks were still a little flushed. Whether it was from the nerves of meeting your mom or what you'd said earlier, you had no way of knowing. It didn't really matter. You were just glad he was here. 

Grinning ear-to-ear, you practically jumped into Katsuki's arms. He faltered, letting his hands fall to your waist.

"Jeez," he muttered, "warn me before you're gonna do that shit. One of these days you're gonna trip and fall face-first onto the ground." 

"You wouldn't let me fall," you smiled, "you care for me too much." 

He blushed again. "W-ow. Someone's getting really full of themselves, huh?" 

"Haha, yep! It's 'cause you make me feel so good about myself, Katsuki-kun." You dangled your arms over-top his shoulders and leaned in to press a quick kiss to the bridge of his nose. The scarlet hues on his cheeks only deepened. 

"You're becoming a lot more bold, too," he mumbled, holding you tighter. "How else are you gonna surprise me today, hm...?" 

You could tell he was going in for a kiss, but you didn't try to shy away from it. Instead, you let your eyelids flutter to a close, and chest press up against Katsuki's own. His musk was as intoxicating as always. Like fresh, spiced pine. And his lips were so soft...

"Dinner's ready!" your mother trilled. "Ah—oopsie! Sorry about that!" You and Katsuki had broken away from the kiss in a hurry, both staring blotchy-faced back in your mother's direction. She was giggling good-naturedly and setting down the plates on the table. She'd definitely seen the two of you kissing.

You rolled your eyes. "What impeccable timing, mother." 

"Hm, I've been told! But hey," she grinned, "no need to be shy around me! Kiss each other all you want!" 

"Mom, stop!" 

She continued to chuckle, totally unabashed. Katsuki was so red he couldn't even think of a retort. Even with all his self-confidence, it seemed as though even he couldn't handle a parent walking in on him.

"Thanks for the food," he finally mumbled out, taking a seat just beside you the table. He forked food onto his plate, very actively avoiding eye-contact with your mother. You thought it was unbearably cute. He was unbearably cute. Maybe you didn't spend enough time thinking about how truly lucky you were.

Your mother was trying to engage Katsuki in conversation now. He replied mostly with some timid mumbles, sparing a few odd glances in your direction that seemed to cry 'help me'. You weren't even touching your food, just enjoying the show. Your mother was right, in any case.

You couldn't remember the last time you'd been this happy.

Chapter Text

"Thanks for dinner," Katsuki mumbled, setting his utensils down. "It was really good." 

Your mother smiled brightly. "My pleasure. [Name] told me you liked spicy food, so I tried my best to make it to your liking." 

"Oh. Well, yeah, I liked it. You cook way better than my shitty mom. Uh—I-I mean..." He glanced over towards you hurriedly. "That's not what I—" 

"It's alright," she chuckled. "I was told that you're a bit brash with your manner of speaking. It doesn't bother me. My husband swears like a sailor every now and then, too." 

"Right..." 

The blonde swallowed thickly, cheeks flushed with embarrassment. It was probably the cutest thing you'd ever seen. He was pretty quick to get flustered around you in general, but watching him purposefully try to censor himself and be somewhat polite around your mom was just plain adorable. You'd never imagined something like this happening, not way back when you'd first discovered he was your soulmate.

You let out a hum of approval. "Katsuki-kun swears a lot, but his heart's in the right place." 

"[Name], you—! What the hell are you telling her?! I don't even fuckin' swear all that much!" 

"I think you just did." 

"When?!" 

Your mom smiled, grabbing the dirty plates in her hands. "You two get along really well. I'm glad. My daughter's always been kind with others, but she's not the type that opens up easily. It's nice to see her feel so comfortable around you." 

 Katsuki blinked. "Oh. Thanks... I guess." He drummed his fingers across the table, eyes widening with a sudden thought. "So she... never dated anyone before me?" 

"As far as I know, you're her first boyfriend." 

You blushed a little upon noting the faint smile gracing Katsuki's lips. He crossed his arms and nodded his head in approval. 

"So I'm the first, huh? Number One." 

So that's where his mind goes right away. Somehow, I'm not surprised.

He looked far too pleased with himself. This was surely doing wonders for his already-inflated ego. Your mom watched you stick out your tongue and jab Katsuki in the ribs, giggling to herself as she started with the dishes. 

"I'll clean up here," she smiled. "You two go have fun. As far as sleeping arrangements go, I hope you'll be okay with staying in [Name]'s room. We've cleaned up there and set a mattress down for you to use." 

Katsuki stiffened a bit. You flushed almost immediately, remembering your earlier discussion over the phone. You knew you'd probably end up sleeping in the same room, but it didn't make you feel any less nervous. Katsuki was awkwardly scratching at the back of his head. 

"Uhh...yeah. Sounds good. Mattress is g-good. Yeah." 

You heard your mom chuckle to herself. Wouldn't most parents normally be opposed to their teenage daughter sleeping with her boyfriend in the same room? She almost looked like she was getting a kick out of messing with you two.

"Thanks for dinner, mom." You stood up and smiled. "C'mon, Katsuki-kun—let me show you my room." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katsuki furrowed his brows. "Somehow... it's more decked-out than I expected." 

"And what's that supposed to mean?" 

"I don't know. You seem like the type who doesn't feel the need to get a whole lot of stuff. I get that whole minimalist vibe from you. But now it just seems like you have a lot of unnecessary shit. The fuck do you need a tiny cactus for?" 

"Hey," you pouted, "that tiny cactus is adorable, and it's super easy to take care of since I almost never need to water it." 

He chuckled. "Sure, [Name]. Whatever lets you sleep at night."

You plopped down on the edge of your bed, letting out a lofty sigh. Katsuki was still scanning the room over. He chuckled at some things, smirked at others, and even cracked a few smiles every now and then. You felt a little flustered about the whole thing. You'd found out that you were soulmates such a long time ago, yet he'd still never once been to your house before.

"What's that?" Katsuki asked, gesturing towards a thick book resting by your desk. It had a glossy cover, though the binding was starting to fall apart. You smiled.

"It's a photo album. I was cleaning up a bit yesterday and I found it crammed in between some of my books. It was actually pretty fun, getting to look through it after all this—ah! Katsuki-kun, I didn't say you could open it...!" 

"Too late," he grinned, already leafing through its pages. You stood up in a hurry, trying to pry it out of his meandering hands, but he was taller than you and held it up and out of your reach. He watched you let out a huff and stifled a laugh. "Relax. I'm sure there's nothing too embarrassing in here, right?" 

"There isn't, but you're definitely gonna find something to make fun of." 

"True." Having given up, you crossed your arms and watched—with great reluctance—as Katsuki perused through memories of your youth. He had a toothy grin almost the entire time. "Ha-ha. You were so damn chubby as a baby. You look like a dumpling." 

"That's a good thing," you eye-rolled, "it's healthy for babies to be like that." 

"Oh, shit." He feigned a gasp as he pointed towards yet another mildly unflattering baby photo. "You're naked in this one, [Name]. I've officially seen you naked." 

It didn't seem as if he was going to finish anytime soon, so you sighed and went back to the bed, hoisting the blanket over your legs. Katsuki chortled at some other photo of you; apparently you were dressed up like a pumpkin for Halloween, or something. Well, whatever. As long as he was having fun, you were happy. 

"I'm sleepy," you mumbled, rubbing at your eyes. "Katsuki-kun, you go to bed early, right? Let's go to bed soon, then. We leave for the training camp tomorrow, too." 

Katsuki finally closed the book and set it aside. "No shit," he snapped. "We've gotta get our rest. I don't wanna deal with you being all whiny first thing in the morning 'cause you didn't sleep enough." 

"Why do you automatically assume I'm not a morning person?" 

He cocked a brow. "Well, are you?" 

"...no." 

"Fucking knew it."

You would've liked to spend more time with him. Ideally, this sleepover would've consisted of watching late-night TV, binging on snacks, and staying up all night cuddling and chatting about silly, insignificant things. Another time, you decided. You'd be having many more of these sleepovers in the future, you hoped.

"I'm gonna start getting ready then." You hopped off the bed and rummaged through your closet to pick out some pajamas. "Do you mind if I use the washroom first?" 

"Yeah, knock yourself out." 

"Thanks." 

You smiled and left to begin your preparations. Knowing that you'd be sharing a room with Katsuki tonight made you feel a little nervous, but you were mostly just excited. You trusted that he wouldn't do anything to make you uncomfortable. Plus, you got to see him in his PJ's, so there was that to look forward to, as well.

You'd finished brushing your teeth and washing your face. Looking back into the mirror one last time, you smoothed down your shirt and tucked your hair back. Admittedly, you'd chosen one of your cuter night attire, which consisted of a matching [f/c] camisole and breezy shorts. It wasn't a crime to try to look nice in front of your boyfriend, right? 

At some point, your heart had begun beating more erratically. You returned to the room, humming contentedly, and opened the door. 

"...ah, shit." 

Katsuki was standing right in the center, half-naked. You'd seen him shirtless before, when you'd gone to the pool together, but now he was only in his boxers, and it certainly wasn't leaving a whole lot to the imagination. You had to forcibly tear your gaze away from flitting too close to his crotch.

"What... are you doing?" you asked calmly, though your cheeks were already flushed bright-red. Katsuki scratched at the back of his neck. His biceps tensed and bulged as his arm moved.

"I forgot to pack my damn pajamas," he muttered. "It's hot out, so I don't normally wear anything when I sleep, but I told myself I'd bring something for tonight. Y'know... so that you're not uncomfortable and shit." 

Uncomfortable wasn't exactly the word you'd use. Excited, embarrassed—those might've been more accurate.

You coughed. "When you say you don't wear anything at night... you mean you sleep naked?" 

"The fuck? No, you perv. I meant just in my boxers. Get your damn mind out of the gutter." 

"Right..." 

Well, this didn't need to be made into a bigger deal than it actually was. You shuffled over towards your bed and shook out the covers. 

"It's fine, Katsuki-kun. Sleep however you want." 

He hummed. "You sure you can handle it?" 

"Your concern is appreciated, but I'll be fine." 

"I'm just saying, you looked pretty red back there. You like my body, [Name]?"

He was teasing you now, and you gritted your teeth to keep from taking the bait. You turned on the lamp by the bed and moved back to click off the rest of the lights. It was much dimmer now. Better this way—at least Katsuki wouldn't notice the way your blush deepened.

"You can have my bed," you offered, "if you think it'll be more comfortable. I don't really mind either way."

"Why the fuck would I take your bed? What kind of asshole have you pegged me for?" 

"Well, you're the guest, so..." 

Katsuki clicked his tongue, then, pursed his lips. His crimson orbs flitted over towards your frame. The apples of his cheeks flushed.

"Did you... wanna share the bed, then?" 

For a second, you weren't even sure you'd heard him right. There it was. The exact thing you'd been hoping for, but had been far too embarrassed to admit to yourself. You wanted to sleep together, even if it made you nervous and gave you butterflies in your stomach. You wanted to wrap your arms around his back and have him cuddle you all night long.

"Yes," you blurted out, "I really do."

"O-okay." Katsuki stiffened in place, reddening even more as the seconds passed. "I... wasn't expecting for you to be alright with it. Actually, I was sure you'd refuse..." 

"I want to sleep with you, Katsuki-kun. And before you start thinking something dirty, it's not that. I just... it feels like it would make us feel closer. I want to be able to say that we've spent the night by each other's side." You smiled gently. "That much is fine, right?"

Katsuki inhaled sharply. "Good lord, you're cute." 

"I-I'm—" 

He'd thrown himself over you and pinned you to the bed before you could even utter a response. You felt his flushed skin pressed up against your own. You'd always known he ran hot, but this was on a whole other level entirely. He was almost like a human heating system.

You giggled, wrapping your arms around his back. "Let's turn the lights off first." 

"[Name], you... you're not even a little nervous? You don't think I'll try something?" 

"Whatever you try, I know you'd only do it if I felt comfortable. Katsuki-kun, I trust you." 

"M-maybe you shouldn't." 

"I do, though." 

Katsuki gazed down at you, chin quivering. He was the one who looked more nervous about the whole situation. Maybe he thought he'd take things too far. 

So he... doesn't know if he can hold himself back...? 

Perhaps it should've made you feel a bit wary, but you were just happy. To see him staring into your eyes with such emotion and desire... it made your chest tighten, but in a good way. You knew that no one had ever looked at you quite in this way before. 

You felt loved.

"Time to sleep," you smiled, reaching around Katsuki to turn off your lamp. He remained still for a few moments, just hunched over you with your body nestled in his arms. His breath fanned across your forehead and he nodded quickly, rolling over onto the bed.

It was dark now. You couldn't see each other as clearly as before, which was unfortunate, but you knew that Katsuki was pressed up by your side all the same. Sometimes you got restless at night, and it was hard to fall asleep, but knowing he was there provided you with a world of comfort. He could be so callous and rough, but in a way, he was also one of the most gentle people you knew.

"I like you a lot, Katsuki-kun." You pressed up against his chest, letting your hands sink into the groove of his shoulder-blades. "I really, really like you. I'm sure you must think I'm being a bit clingy right now... but I just thought I should say it. Things didn't start off so great between the two of us, but I'm really happy with where we are now." 

Katsuki shuddered. "Goddammit, you... how can you go around saying shit like that? Don't make me any more damn excited than I already am."

"I make you excited?" 

"No shit. And you just had to wear these damn booty shorts to bed, didn't ya?" 

Guilty.

You chuckled softly. "Sorry. I wanted to look nice for you. I'm usually a mess when I go to sleep, but... well. You don't need to see that." 

"When are you ever a mess?" 

"Sometimes I am."

"You always look perfect to me," Katsuki breathed out. You flushed immediately; it felt like all the air had been knocked out of your lungs. He squeezed you tighter and pressed a gentle kiss to your neck. "You're the prettiest," he mumbled, "and the cutest, and the nicest, and the smartest—" 

"S-stop it!" you spluttered. "If you keep saying things like that, I'll seriously die of embarrassment..."

"I mean it, though." Katsuki withdrew one of the arms that was wrapped around your waist. He tugged at your hands, interlacing his fingers with your own. "I... really like you, too. I kinda suck at this shit, but I hope you believe me when I say that." 

Your lips pulled up into a smile. "I don't think you suck at all. You're always treating me well, and I can tell that you're trying." 

"I mean... I'm just not used to this—having to watch what I say, and how I act around someone. Actually caring about how I make them feel." 

"You make me feel happy. That's all." 

Katsuki buried his head in the crook of your neck. He must've known that wasn't the entire truth. You'd been hurt because of him, time and time again, but somehow, moments like this made all of that seem worth it. And you were happy. Happier than you'd ever been before.

His nearly-unclothed body was burning now, but it was a strangely pleasant feeling. You liked having his warm skin pressed flush up against your own, and being able to notice subtle things like the quiet beating of his heart. Just being in his arms was already lulling you to sleep.

"...this is bad," Katsuki muttered out, pulling you from your drowsy state. You shifted on the bed and looked up at him.

"What's wrong?" 

"I won't be able to sleep," he rasped, and the flustered yet somewhat guilty look on his face said it all. You blushed, suddenly wary of the fact that your chest was scantily clad and pushing up against him unabashed. Perhaps you'd underestimated just how revealing these sleeping garments were.

You flashed him a timid smile. "Well, there's no rush. We're not going anywhere. It's a good idea we got into bed so early, huh?" 

"You moron. How the fuck am I supposed to sleep at all when you're pressed right up against me like this?" 

"Huh? But it's—" 

"I can't fucking calm down." Katsuki hugged you tightly, and you could feel his shoulders trembling. "Goddammit... and you had to go and mention the damn condoms earlier, too..."

Right. That was stupid of you. It didn't change the fact that your mom had given you some; they were currently stuffed in one of your drawers, under mounds of clothing. It was supposed to be just in case. Just in case... in case of... in the event that...

"W-we can do stuff like that if you want." 

Katsuki's entire body went stiff against your own. You couldn't believe those words had come out of your own mouth, but it was too late to take them back now. That small bit of courage you'd just mustered up... at some point, you definitely wanted to do those things with him. Wouldn't now be a good of a time as any? 

"A-a-are you fucking with me?" he croaked out. "[Name], don't—you better not be trying to joke around, 'cause that shit ain't funny. You can't just go ahead and say something like that... then expect me not to get excited." 

You were feeling much braver than usual. Maybe the fact that it was so dark, and he couldn't see your expression was instilling you with some courage. 

"I care for you a lot. I think I'm ready. I wouldn't want to do it with anyone other than you." 

"Shit. You've gone and done it now—!" 

In an instant, he'd clambered over top of you, both arms pinned to the bed just above your shoulders. Your eyes had somewhat adjusted to the dark after all this time, but it was still hard to see Katsuki's face clearly. You could feel him breathing, though—shallowly, taking in large puffs that would cut off all too soon. He was so nervous.

"[Name], I—" 

"I don't mind," you smiled, cradling his cheek with your hand. "I want to, Katsuki-kun. I'm sure of it now. If you're okay with it, then..."

His lips came crashing against your own. Your head started to feel fuzzy, the way it always did when he kissed you. Some sort of intoxication, almost. 

You pressed back into the kiss, arms clinging to Katsuki's back and squeezing him with want and need. He let out a low growl under his breath, forking his tongue into your mouth. You felt your entire body shake. His kisses were always passionate, but this was far different from all the other times. You shuddered again at the sensation of him biting your lower lip.

His breath tickled your skin as he pulled away, hovering almost-teasingly above your puckered lips that were yearning for more. You'd said you were ready, but... if even this was making your entire body break out into a fever, then could you really handle what was left to come? 

You stared up at him, eyes lidded and lips parted. You felt his fingers dig into the exposed flesh of your hips. Something had hardened up against the inside of your thigh. You knew what it was, of course, and that didn't help with your ever-more reddening cheeks. 

Katsuki almost looked dazed. It was as if he was stuck, not knowing whether to keep going, or back out altogether, before the last ounce of his self-restraint melted away. You didn't want him to feel so conflicted. You were ready. You wanted this. 

"Katsuki-kun," you breathed out. "Don't worry so much." You shifted on the bed, slowly lifting up your shirt. You were mere seconds away from exposing your bare chest to him. "I'm okay with—" 

His arms pinned down your wrists. You heard the shaky exhale he forcibly pushed out from his lungs. He'd stopped you from removing your clothing. 

"I can't," he rasped out, "not now. Even if you tell me you're ready... don't have enough faith in myself to be able to stop. The whole soulmate thing aside, we only actually starting dating not too long ago. I fucking—believe me, I want to so fucking bad, but it just feels wrong. I don't want to take advantage of this moment." 

"Oh." 

In a way, you felt disappointed, but you shook away your thoughts before they could get the best of you. Katsuki was attracted to you—that much you could physically feel from the point digging up against your thigh. If he was stopping himself... then it was probably for good reason. Maybe you'd gotten ahead of yourself. Maybe it was okay to wait for now.

"I got too excited," you chuckled. "Sorry, Katsuki-kun." 

"D-don't say shit right now. I'm already regretting my decision. I don't have endless willpower, so don't even thinkabout trying to tempt me." 

"Alright. I'm glad, though." You pressed a kiss to his cheek, smiling into your blanket. "I guess this proves that you're not just with me for shallow reasons."

"I thought that much was fucking obvious." 

"I know, but... it still feels nice. To know that someone like you cares so much for me." 

Katsuki let out a sigh. He backed away just slightly, though you could still feel his lower half throb with longing. You almost felt guilty for riling him up this much, only to have him forcibly stomp on the brakes.

"Let's sleep, [Name]. Or—you can sleep, and I'll just be here kicking myself for my decision." 

You laughed. "Okay, Katsuki-kun. I'll sleep now. Goodnight."

"Goodnight, babe." 

He sighed again. It was going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

Somehow, when you'd first heard about this school trip, being trapped in a forest full of magical beasts wasn't what you'd been expecting.

"They're everywhere," you groaned, massaging your bruised forearm. "Hasn't it already been well over three hours? No chance in hell we're making it back for lunch..."

Aizawa had introduced your class to a surprise pro hero guest group—the Pussycats. It had been nice enough, since they were veterans on the field that pretty much everyone had heard of, but that was before they'd thrown you off a cliff and trapped you down in the forest below with these beast-like creations. You were supposed to make your way through and reach the lodge by noon, but that was already a pipe dream.

"Stay close to me, [Name]." Katsuki was poised in front of you, crimson eyes searching for the next target. There were a ton of these monster things, and they really packed a punch, but mostly they just kept pouring in one after the other. Katsuki's hands had begun to seize up from over-use of his Quirk.

"Thank you," you smiled. "I feel safe with you by my side, Katsuki-kun."

"No shit. Just don't wander off too far, you hear me? It's easy to get lost in this damn forest." 

"Ooh, cute," Kirishima teased, grinning up to his ears. "Bakugou's being so overprotective of his girlfriend. What a manly guy." 

"Eat shit, hair-for-brains!" 

"I was just saying—" 

"And I'm tellin' you to eat shit!"

You chuckled wearily. Since you didn't have the most offensive power, you were mostly just supporting people like Katsuki, and helping heal a bit from time to time. Your maneuverability helped to get around those big, lumbering piles of rock. It wasn't all that bad, but you were really freaking hungry.

A few more hours went by, and only then did you reach the lodge. 

"Lunchtime, as if," Kirishima groaned, "I seriously thought I was going to starve to death." 

Pixiebob giggled from across the field, blonde locks swaying by her eyes. "Sorry, sorry—I meant by our standards." 

"Wow, nice humble-brag." 

Katsuki gritted his teeth, clamping his palm down on his forearm like a vice. It was seizing up much more intensely now. You eyed him worriedly.

"I could try healing the muscles a bit? So that they calm down?" 

"It's fine," he waved off, "nothing I can't handle." 

"But it looks like you're in pain." 

"Ease off, [Name]. You've been healing me enough already. Don't act like you're not dead tired, too." 

You smiled inwardly. He was being gentle and considerate behind that tough bravado, like always. You reached out and pulled his fingers into your own, noting the small flush that rose to his cheeks. The spasms could be felt against your palms, but they seemed to calm down a bit when you gave his hand a squeeze.

"I can't wait to lie down," you sighed, leaning your shoulders against his own. "I'm sleepy. It'd be nice if we could bunk together, like we did last night." 

Katsuki snapped his head away in a hurry, blushing deeply. Of course he couldn't have already forgotten the night you'd spent together, sleeping in the same bed. It really was nice. You'd fallen asleep almost immediately, soothed by the presence of his warm body. Obviously, they wouldn't allow co-ed rooming on a school trip, but it was nice to dream...

"Another time," he muttered under his breath. "We'll be able... to do that another time. I-if you still want to." 

"I definitely do. I loved it." 

"Shit," he cursed, bringing a palm up against his burning temples, "stop it, already. Stop being so fucking cute." 

"Hehe, I'm glad you think so." 

"Shut up. I'm gonna ignore you now. You're embarrassing me." 

"Awe, don't be embarrassed!"

You held his hand tightly, refusing to let go even as Katsuki grumbled about how touchy-feely you were being. He obviously didn't mind. You could feel him squeezing your fingers back.

"Well, regardless," Pixiebob smiled, "you guys still did very well with clearing the forest. There were a few that stood out from the rest, not only in terms of combat ability, but also experience. You four..." She was looking at Izuku, Todoroki, Iida, and Katsuki respectively. Her blue eyes glinted with mischief. "If you're already so strong this early on, I'm excited to see how you'll turn out in the future! I call dibs!" 

She was clawing at the air now and shamelessly blowing kisses in the boys' direction. You gaped at her openly. Mandalay mumbled something about how the blonde was getting impatient because she was at the marrying age, but you weren't really listening. You'd grown hot in the face, squeezing down on Katsuki's arm before even realizing it. 

"Y-you can't have Katsuki-kun!" you declared, puffy-faced and indignant. "He's already mine!" 

"Oh?" Pixiebob blinked twice, scratching at her neck. "I wasn't really—" 

"You can't have him, okay?!" 

She was a grown woman, and obviously wasn't actually coming onto him, but for some reason, knowing that someone else was looking at Katsuki that way made your chest feel awfully tight. A bunch of your classmates were staring at you now, some of them grinning shrewdly while others chuckled at your little display of possessiveness. It was strange, since you'd both met as soulmates, so you'd never taken the time to think about how others might look at Katsuki that way. Brash personality aside, he was really handsome, so you were sure that people must have liked him before...

That thought just made your chest tighten ever more. 

"Shit," a raspy voice chuckled, and you glanced timidly to find Katsuki grinning down at you. "So even you can get jealous, huh? So fucking cute." 

"I-I wasn't jealous," you lied.

"Yeah, you were." 

"Was not." 

"Were too." 

"I'm just—whatever," you flushed, biting your lip as you turned away. "What's the big deal? People are allowed to know I'm your girlfriend, right?" 

 "Awe, babe." Katsuki pulled you into a bear-hug, chuckling by your ear. "Don't be jealous. Especially not over an old hag like her." 

"I said I wasn't jealous! I just starting thinking of something unpleasant! Just—s-shut up, already!" 

"So cute." 

"I said shut up!" 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day had been long and arduous, and after having a well-overdue meal and finally getting to unpack your belongings, you couldn't wait to get into the baths.

"Today's been crazy!" Uraraka exclaimed. "I'm seriously pooped!" 

You smiled, draping a towel over your body as you tucked away your clothes into the locker. "It's been hard, for sure. I'm pretty excited, though. It's nice to get to take a trip like this with everyone." 

She grinned. "You say everyone, but I'm pretty sure you're only referring to one person..."

"Huh?" 

"Nevermind! Let's go, [Name]-chan!" 

The brunette dragged you along by the wrist, practically jumping into the heated waters. You were tempted to chuckle at her silliness, but a small part of you was giddy just the same. Already, the rest of the girls had stepped inside and were giggling among themselves about one thing or another. You let out a contented sigh, tilting your head back and allowing the water to rush over your unclothed body.

It was nice, peaceful. Studying for heroics was always hectic, so this was nice, for a change. But...

For some reason, I feel like everyone's staring at me...

"So?" Mina grinned, her eyes glinting with mischief, "things are going well between you and Bakugou, huh?" 

"Oh..." You cast your head down, blushing faintly. "Yeah. At least, I think so. We only recently started dating, but I think it's been good." 

"Talk about an understatement! You two can hardly keep your hands off each other~" 

"I-I wouldn't go that far..." 

"It's true! Whenever he looks at you it's almost like he's undressing you with his eyes!" Mina pointed towards your chest while making obscene groping motions. "Lucky him, too. You've got curves for days, girl. Lemme touch!"

Uraraka stuck out her tongue and wrapped her arms around your neck. "Sorry, but I'm her second choice after Bakugou-kun."

"Damn, [Name], you've got a side chick and everything! You're set for life!" 

You chuckled good-naturedly. Something like this was fun too, every now and then. Your relationship with Katsuki was something you could be proud of, after all. You didn't even think you could properly express to them how happy you felt around him. Yeah, you had it bad.

Most of the girls chimed in about how cute you and Katsuki were together, but Jirou was studying you with a careful gaze. She cleared her throat.

"Um... [Name]? Sorry, I hope you don't think I'm being rude or anything, but... that's a soulmate mark on your hip, right? Or is it just a tattoo?"

Your chest tightened. Uraraka tensed from beside you, and you felt her hand hurriedly grab your own. A sickening sensation was rising through your throat. She hadn't seen that it was fading, had she...?

"K-Katsuki-kun and I are soulmates, too," you replied hastily, earning audible gasps from the rest of your classmates. "We kind of... kept it under wraps, because we didn't want to make a big deal over it, but we decided to try and pursue a normal relationship without worrying too much about the 'soulmate' title. It's just simpler this way. We wanted it to feel less strenuous." 

"Oh, I see." Jirou smiled and nodded her head. "Sorry, I was just curious is all. Hope I didn't make you uncomfortable or anything. For what it's worth, I think the two of you really are a good match. You have a way of calming him down, and I don't see anyone else that's able to do that." 

"Thank you..." 

So she hadn't noticed the fading letters. You couldn't help but heave a sigh of relief. That was good. The fewer people that knew, the better. Otherwise it would just become that much more difficult to keep from worrying.

You slunk down further, letting the warm water nuzzle your nose. Your classmates went on chattering among themselves. Uraraka smiled by your side, sighing happily and making small circular motions with her palms atop the water's surface. It was turning out to be a rather pleasant evening, in contrast to the grueling day you'd had. 

At least, until you heard the perverse noises coming from the other side.

"On the other side of this wall... lies paradise! For this reason I've trained all this time...! PLUS ULTRAAA!" 

You grimaced, looking back at your friends with a scrunched up nose. "Oh, lord. Don't tell me that's—" 

"YOU REALLY THINK I'M GONNA LET YOU SEE [NAME] NAKED, YOU LITTLE SHIT?!!" 

The small, squelching noises of Mineta scaling the wall were abruptly cut off by a deafening explosion. You could hear the little perv squealing from the other side. Katsuki was yelling out curses at the top of his lungs and pounding his fists into the peeping tom's face. 

"Oh, shit!" Mina guffawed. "Your boyfriend's using him as a sandbag! Cheer him on, [Name]!" 

You laughed, raising your voice so that the boys could hear you. "Thank you, Katsuki-kun! Appreciate it!" 

"No shit! I gotchu, babe!" 

Mineta let out what could only have been described as a dying cat noise. The other girls broke out into a fit of chortles. Uraraka's lips curled up into a wry smile.

"Awe, he calls you babe." 

"Yeah, yeah." 

"You're his babe." 

"I got it, already." 

"He must really love his babe—" 

You grabbed Uraraka by the head and forced her underwater. 

Chapter Text

"Good job, [Name]. It seems like you're really getting a hang on using your powers." 

"Oh, uh... thank you." 

You bowed your head respectfully, flustered by Aizawa's approving gaze. Thus far, the training camp had been a lot of hard work, but you were thankful for the opportunity to strengthen your Quirk. A lot of your time had been spent improving on your healing abilities, specifically. You'd noticed significant improvement, even in just this short little while—redistributing the energy stored in your own body and granting them to others felt less complicated, less convoluted. You were sure the teachers appreciated having a healing-type around to help the rest of the students with their injuries, too.

"Be on the lookout for Midoriya," Aizawa grumbled. "He's always hurting himself, so I wouldn't be surprised if he has to trouble you the most out of anyone else. Is this much okay, though? You're not feeling too fatigued after using your powers over and over?" 

You smiled and shook your head. "It's sunny out, and it's easier for me to absorb the light and store energy in my body. I basically transfer said energy over to others to help stimulate their cells for restoration and repair, so as long as I can replenish myself with plenty of light, it's not too bad. I like feeling like I'm supporting the others, even if it's just in a small way." 

"You shouldn't undermine yourself. Healing properties can be crucial in certain attack-and-rescue situations, not to mention your Quirk comes with its fair share of other abilities. Try having a bit more faith in yourself, [Name]." 

"Right..."

You pressed your lips together, casting a glance in your boyfriend's direction. Katsuki was undergoing a spartan-like training regimen by repeatedly dunking his hands in boiling water, and using his uber-stimulated sweat glands to unleash explosion after explosion. You shuddered at the mere thought of having to do what he was. Yeah... you'd definitely gotten a much better deal by helping treat your classmates' injuries.

"Bakugou's practically oozing with self-confidence," Aizawa muttered, "so you should try imitating him a bit. Just a bit, though—we don't need another problem child in this class." 

You laughed. "I don't think I'd ever be able to fully replicate his behavior, no matter how hard I tried." 

"That's true, but I don't think it'd be all too bad if he rubbed off on you at least a little. Since the two of you are dating, you must spend a great deal of time together." 

You nearly choked on your spit. "How did you—?" 

"I hear things," he chuckled. "Don't be too surprised. You're not exactly being subtle about it, either." 

The apples of your cheeks began to flush red from embarrassment. Aizawa shoved a hand down his pockets and waved you off, mumbling something about having more confidence in yourself. You exhaled weakly and looked back in Katsuki's direction again. He was yelling curses out at the top of his lungs, along with each explosion unfurling from his palms. At some point, he must've caught you looking, and managed a small smirk back at you. 

It was pretty much all it took to get your heart pounding. You wondered exactly at what point you'd fallen so hard for him.

"...[Name]? Heeey, [Name]..." 

"Huh, what?" You blinked hurriedly, jolting your neck to find Ojiro staring down at you. He was massaging the back of his tail and looking you over with furrowed brows. 

"Like I said, could you please heal me a bit? I've been taking Kirishima's hits non-stop, and it's really starting to kill... Aizawa-sensei said that we were supposed to come to you for healing and stamina recovery."

"Oh. Of course," you smiled. "I'll heal you right away." 

"Thanks," he sighed, shifting to a crouch. You inhaled silently, feeling how your body was steadily absorbing the surrounding particles of light. A warm glow surged through your fingertips, and you gently pressed them against the red, blistering patches on the boy's tail. He blew out a breath of relief and closed his eyes, a contented expression falling over his features. 

The swollen injuries slowly ebbed away. "Feeling better?" you asked. 

"Yeah, a lot better, actually. But I think I should go now..." Ojiro cleared his throat, pulling away from your touch in a hurry, "before your boyfriend decides to beat me up." 

The boy sprang away in a hurry, and all you could do was stare at him in confusion. At least, until you glanced back at Katsuki, who had apparently been making slicing motions at the base of his neck. You leaned back on your palms and let out a sigh.

"Not cool, Katsuki-kun." 

"Shaddap. I see you touching other guys." 

"I was just—" 

"I don't wanna hear your damn excuses!" 

You rolled your eyes. God, he was such a handful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later that night, at the suggestion of your pink-haired classmate, it was decided that you would all be undergoing a "trial of courage". Ironically enough however, the girl who was the most for it wouldn't be able to show—as it turned out, the remedial group (Kirishima included) was being dragged away by Aizawa to undergo another late-night lesson. Mina's screams were ringing in your eardrums.

"NO! I BEG YOU, I'LL BE GOOD! JUST LET ME PLAY THIS ONE TIME...!" 

"Sorry," Aizawa deadpanned, sounding anything but, "I told you this would be difficult, and even just allowing you all to join us at the camp meant that you would have to work extra hard." 

"I'll work hard, I promise! Just after the trial of—" 

"We're going now. Say goodbye to your friends and wish them a pleasant evening." 

He's a sadist...

It was unfortunate that not all your friends would be able to join you, but you weren't about to let your evening go to ruin. From what had been explained by the Pussycats, Classes A and B would be taking turns "scaring" the other. You were first up to navigate through the forest bend, and you'd be taking turns going on ahead in pairs. 

"I'm with [Name]," Katsuki declared, not even waiting for the heroes to finish explaining. You flushed and shrunk behind his shoulder.

"Katsuki-kun, I don't think that's how this works..." 

"Yes, we're drawing lots, Bakugou." Mandalay chuckled and gestured for the cluster of students to step forth. "Come on, now. There's always a chance that you'll end up with her." 

He grumbled under his breath, taking his position and practically ripping the small scrap of paper in his hands. But as chance would have it, you didn't end up together, although your actual pairing wasn't something you could complain about.

"Yay!" Uraraka gushed, wrapping you into a big hug. "[Name]-chan, we get to go together!" 

"I think the fuck not," Katsuki spat. He took large, lumbering steps and glared the brunette down. "Step aside, round-face. She's with me."

"Katsuki-kun, seriously..." 

"Nah, I think we're good." Uraraka smiled brightly, her eyes flickering with amusement. "We drew lots. You're with however you're with. Speaking of..." 

She giggled and pointed behind Katsuki, where a solemn-faced boy with dual-shaded hair was standing by idly. Well, him wanting to switch made that much more sense now. It was one thing to not end up with you, but having to be with Todoroki, well...

"Switch with me," Katsuki gritted out, his fists practically trembling at his sides. "I swear to god, if you don't let me pair up with [Name]—" 

"Go away, Bakugou-kun. You already owe me big-time." She batted her lashes and chuckled. "Or have you forgotten about how much I helped you back then...?"

She was, of course, referring to when she'd messaged Katsuki and helped the two of you get over your fight. But your boyfriend was hardly the type of person who'd ever want to be indebted to someone else. With her holding that over his head, there wasn't really much he could do. His pride just wouldn't allow it.

"Shit!" he cursed out. "You little—you're a real bitch, you know that?!" 

"Katsuki-kun," you warned, "take that back." 

"Huh?! You're taking her side??!" 

"Don't worry, [Name]-chan will have way more fun with me." 

Uraraka grinned cheekily and proceeded to smush her face up against your own, all the while squeezing down on your sides. Katsuki was just short of bursting a nerve in his forehead. Your best friend was amazing, and you wouldn't trade her for the world, but she could be a devious little shit sometimes. 

"Fuck you, floaty-bitch. Stop touching her so damn much." Katsuki grabbed you by the arm and tried prying you away from Uraraka's grasp. The brunette retaliated by grabbing your other arm and pulling you in the opposite direction. At this point, you were little more than a rag-doll being wrung every which way.

"If the two of you are so determined to fight over [Name], then I suppose I can fix this by partnering up with her myself." 

You let out a gasp of relief when the two suddenly released their hold on you and snapped their heads back towards the sound of the voice. Todoroki had apparently been watching everything unfold with a blank expression. Perhaps he was getting impatient and wanted to move on.

"She can go with me," he said coolly, breezing forth to clasp your hand in your own. "That way, neither of you have to keep fighting over—" 

"HELL NO." 

Uraraka and Katsuki had both spoken up in unison, their brows impossibly furrowed. The brunette slapped Todoroki's hand away while Katsuki tugged you backwards. 

"Get out of here, you home-wrecker." Uraraka bared her teeth at the poor boy, who now looked confused beyond words. You shook your head and moved your lips in a wordless "sorry". 

"Fine, Uraraka." Katsuki had crossed his arms and lightly nudged you in the girl's direction. You were surprised to hear him actually use her real name. Perhaps their unification against a common enemy (Todoroki) had led them to acknowledge one another. "You can go with [Name]," he glared. "But if anything happens to her I'm gonna stomp your damn skull in." 

"Aye-aye, boss!" Uraraka puffed out her cheeks and gave Katsuki a salute. Their budding friendship was somehow amusing and horrifying all at once. You never thought you'd hear your boyfriend threatening to beat up your best friend. Though at this point you'd pretty much given up on holding him to normal expectations.

After a fair deal of bitching, Katsuki begrudgingly entered the forest alongside his partner, Todoroki. Before long, it was time for the 5th pair to enter as well—you and Uraraka.

"I-I-I'm pretty scared," Uraraka quivered, her hand instinctively grabbing your own. "E-e-even though I talked a big game back there to Bakugou-kun, those screams from up ahead are really freaking me out..." 

You smiled, squeezing her fingers in reassurance. "It's okay, Uraraka-chan. This is just supposed to be like going through one of those haunted houses at an amusement park." 

"I'm terrible with those...!" 

"Oh, right, ha-ha. But still, it's just meant to be fun, and Class B is just using their Quirks to try and spook us. If we think of all the powers they have, we can probably anticipate what sort of tactics they'll use, right?" 

The girl nodded hurriedly, but you could still hear the chattering of her teeth. You let out a small chuckle. You weren't too scared, especially since it was just your friends and classmates out here. And it may have been dark out, but the atmosphere was good. Sometimes, a little fun like this was warranted. It was just you, your friends, and—

What was that? 

You snapped your head back towards a nearby bush. Uraraka squealed and hugged you, thinking that it was part of the trial, but something was wrong. 

Your chest had begun to ache, and there was a sickening smell working its way through the air. Something like smoke, but more than that... 

The scent of danger

"...shit!" 

You cursed at the sensation of something sharp passing by your arm. Your body collided against Uraraka's, and the both of you were sent clambering backwards. A soft gasp let your lips. You hurriedly glanced towards your stinging arm, only to see that your shirt had been split, and a line of blood was trickling down from it. 

"Hehe... you two are so cuuute...!" 

Your eyes lifted to see that a blonde, uniformed girl had emerged from behind the bush you'd just passed. Her expression was mostly obscured by a black mask with tubes running along it. She held a knife in her hands, the likes of which had been coated red with blood. Your blood.

You squeezed down on your wounded arm and gritted your teeth.

"What the hell's a villain doing out here...?"

Chapter Text

Your fun training camp had come to an abrupt end. 

Currently, you were stuck in the middle of a darkened forest, the path ahead of you being cut off by an ever-growing plume of smoke. The sensation of the girl's blade tearing through your skin had already confirmed your worst fears, but then came the message via Mandalay's telepathy.

"Attention all! We are currently under attack by several villains! As of now, the exact number of enemies is unconfirmed! All those who are able to should retreat back to camp immediately! If you encounter an enemy, do not engage!!"

You licked at your bottom lip, inhaling shakily. The back of your throat felt parched and dry.

"Villains," Uraraka quivered, her brown eyes laced with fear. "How did they—? I thought we took all the precautions to make sure they wouldn't find us...!" 

You took a step backwards, smearing fresh blood along your arm. The blonde girl was looking over her stained knife with gleaming amber orbs. 

"Too shallow!" she whined. "That's way too shallow! I can't suck any like this..." 

"Jumping out on us, swinging a knife like that," you glowered. "That's real nasty of you, just hope you know." 

"Awe, I'm sorry!" The girl giggled, still admiring the red flecks of blood dripping down her blade. "I'm Toga, and you two are just soo cute! Uraraka, and... [Name]!" 

So they know our names. Probably from the Sports Festival, and whatever other recon they've been doing on us. If they know our Quirks, we're clearly at a disadvantage here...

You winced and positioned yourself in front of Uraraka. Amidst the bramble of trees and bushes, there wasn't much room for you to maneuver around the terrain. This Toga chick... she'd been able to conceal her presence up until the very last moment, and you'd barely been able to react in time. Something told you that she likely had the upper hand in close combat.

"I knew I smelled smoke earlier," you muttered, [e/c] orbs flickering to the side, "but I can see a ton of it now. These guys are probably scattered all throughout and were waiting until we ventured into the forest to pick us off..." 

You'd been advised not to engage, and by all means, that was probably the wisest decision. Even so... you had to at least defend yourselves. If this girl had been able to use her stealth and creep up on you, there was no telling if you'd even be able to get away. There were more of them out there, too, and you had no idea where in the hell they all were, lying in wait for another victim.

Some of the students may have been fortunate enough to be near a pro hero during this attack, but you couldn't say the same for Uraraka and yourself. Getting to safety was all good and well, but there was no chance in hell you were abandoning your best friend, not when she was trembling so fiercely. 

"It's two-on-one," you spoke, hoping your voice didn't betray your fear. "Whatever you may know about us, it's clear you're outmatched. Maybe you should play it safe and retreat, otherwise we'll be forced to go all-out."

Uraraka swallowed. "[Name]-chan—" 

"But that's no fun at all!" Toga adjusted her mask, and it slipped down her face just far enough for you to see that her lips were pulled up into a crude smile. "You're so cute, [Name]! There aren't any other cute girls in my group like the two of you, so I thought it'd be nice if we could play together! But so little blood is no fun... usually with a big wound I can suck it all out like 'slurp, slurp', but with this machine all I need is a little cut to drain you dry. It makes my job so much easier! So that's why I'm gonna stab you now, okay?" 

The villain hunched over, poising her right arm forward. She pushed off the back of her heel and veered straight towards you.

"She's charging!" you cried out. "Uraraka-chan, get out of the way—!" 

You pushed your friend aside, gritting your teeth as Toga's blade neared your chest. She was grinning and laughing manically; at the very last second, you activated your light-speed and managed to evade her attack by the skin of your neck. Toga clicked her tongue and pivoted on her heel, ready to rush you once more.

"Students!" Mandalay was channeling you through telepathy again. "There's been a change in plan! As per Eraserhead's advising, you are now authorized for battle!"

"So we can—!" 

"...and one more thing! We've discovered one of the villains' objectives! They are after the student known as 'Kacchan'! Got it?! If you are the one who goes by 'Kacchan', you must absolutely avoid engaging the enemies at all costs...!!"

What? 

No.

No, it couldn't be.

No, no, no, no, no

"Katsuki-kun," you breathed out, just about ready to pass out from fright. Toga's blade was hurtling towards you, but your vision had all but gone white. You'd almost forgotten. Lately, things had been going so well, and you'd been so happy that you'd completely forgotten about it—the leading cause for all your previous misfortune, and the one thing that had prevented you from fully accepting this relationship.

The fading soulmate bond, and Katsuki's lifeline.

"[Name]-chan, snap out of it!" 

You felt a hand violently tug you backwards, a split-second before Toga's knife sunk into the tree trunk. Your body collapsed to the ground, barely held up by Uraraka's arms. She hurriedly positioned herself before you in a defensive stance.

"We can't afford to zone out here!" she urged. "Please! I know what you just heard must've scared you to death, but we need to look after ourselves before worrying for the rest...!" 

Toga yanked the blade out of the tree, turning back towards the two of you with a sadistic grin. You knew you couldn't allow yourself to fall here—not when your life and Uraraka's was at stake. But this was too much. How could you find it in yourself to think clearly when the universe was screaming at you that this was what your fading mark had been leading up to? Katsuki's inevitable capture by these horrid villains, and then, his...!

No. I won't allow it.

"How dare you." 

Your eyes welled with tears, the tightness in your chest becoming unbearably painful. You stood up suddenly, breezing past Uraraka in spite of her frantic protests. Toga still held out her blade as a warning, but was now giggling with glee. 

You repeated, "How dare you. How dare you show up here, after all we've had to work for, after how much shit we've had to deal with...! How dare you come here and try to ruin it all?!" 

"Oopsie," she laughed. "I've gone and made cute [Name] angry!" 

Toga flicked her blade through the air, already rushing in for another strike. Uraraka tried to tap you on the shoulder to make you float out of the way, but you brushed her aside and began running straight for Toga instead. The blonde had a manic expression all the while. She lunged forward with the blade extended outwards.

"...oh?" 

Her amber eyes blinked in confusion upon realizing that her attack had missed, and you were, in fact, not right in front of her as she'd believed. It was difficult to use your powers this time of night, with the sun having long set and little to no light available. Really, you were just running off the energy you'd stored in your own body, but it didn't matter. 

No amount of discomfort was going to keep you from protecting Katsuki.

"I'm over here, psycho bitch!" You kicked Toga square in the back, making her let out a gasp and stumble forward. Your little distortion of light had worked, somehow, and the girl's grip on the blade loosened, for just a moment. 

In a second, you were upon her, straddling her hips and having kicked the knife aside. Particles of light flitted through your [e/c] eyes as you stared her down, expression unwavering. A faint glow imbued your body. Even as Toga tried to thrash and hurt you, the shield-like projection kept you steady in place.

"I don't know how much you know about us," you mumbled, "but surely you must be aware of the fact that my Quirk deals with light. But light is really just a form of radiation; energy. That's why I can store it within my own body, and channel it later on. Of course, it's much easier during the day when I can borrow some from my surroundings, but there should be energy pretty much anywhere. Including... in your body, right?" 

Toga furrowed her brows. "Hm? That was a little too complicated for me, [Name] cutie—" 

She gasped, feeling your hands grasp her by the neck. Your shield kept you from worrying about most of her attacks and movements, but you were pretty much bleeding energy at this point. You couldn't keep this up, not if you wanted to have a fighting chance of protecting Katsuki from the villains. It was the first time you'd ever attempted something like this, but...

Aizawa-sensei told me to have more faith in my abilities. When else, if not now...? 

Your body began to glow with more intensity than before, fingers positioned at the base of Toga's neck. She'd been thrashing in place for a while, but slowly and surely, you could see the color draining from her face, and the way her movements dulled. She was weakening, and you were feeding off of her.

"Ha-ha," Toga chuckled; a broken, weary sound. "This feels so funny...! It's like my head is all fuzzy and I'm seeing stars...ugh. [Name], you little cheat... I thought you were all cute and nice, and that we were going to have fun together!" 

You blinked dully. "Sorry, but I have no desire to have fun with you. Better luck next time." 

The energy you'd lost was coming back in spades. You wondered if you kept going... would you kill her? Raid her of all her body's sustenance? Yes, she was a villain, but somehow, you didn't exactly want to find out.

The ebb and flow of light slowly died down. You glanced back over your shoulder. "Uraraka-chan, we need to tie her down with something. To bring her back to the pros and question her." 

"E-eh?! You want to bring this crazy person with us?? Who knows what she's going to do?! It's too dangerous!"

"Then we at least need to keep her stuck here," you frowned. "That way, she won't be able to help with the attack, and someone can come collect her later. I can't afford to waste any more time with this wack-job, anyways. I need to find Katsuki-kun." 

"[Name]-chan..." 

Toga was still trying to sway in place, but it was pretty much useless. Whatever energy she'd been harboring in her body had all but been extinguished by you. If she stayed in this state, she was hardly a threat. Uraraka crouched down beside you, staring at the villain with a stiff jaw. 

"I know you're worried about Bakugou-kun, but please don't think of doing anything too reckless." 

"I'm going to protect him. To make sure that nothing bad happens." 

"This is about the soulmate bond, right? I know that, but—" 

Rustling in the bushes. You retained your grip on Toga's shoulders, but snapped your head back in a hurry, knowing far too well that it could be another one of them. 

"Uraraka?! [Name]?!" 

To your great relief, the voice was a familiar one. A cluster of students emerged from the bushes—Shouji, carrying an incredibly broken and battered Izuku on his back, Tsuyu, and Shouto, carrying what looked to be a Class-B student, who was apparently unconscious. You looked back to Uraraka, who had turned completely pale at the sight of her injured friend.

"Deku-kun," she croaked, "what on earth happened to you...?" 

Izuku winced. "I'm fine, please don't worry too much about me. [Name], you... you're bleeding, too. Are you okay?" 

"We just ran into a bit of trouble, but it's nothing." You gestured to the fallen girl beneath you. Your classmates looked her over with stiff jaws. "She just attacked us out of nowhere, and—" 

"Sorry, cute [Name]!" 

With your grip having loosened just so, Toga swept your legs down from underneath you, making you stumble backwards. You thought she didn't have any energy left, but it was apparently enough for her to force you back and scurry off into the darkened forest. You gritted your teeth, punching your leg in frustration.

"She must've been acting more weak than she actually was and waiting for an opportunity to escape. Shit..." 

"Forget about her," Izuku said. "I'm just glad the two of you are okay... oh. I know, you should come with us! We're guarding Kacchan and heading back to camp."

"Excuse me?" 

The group looked back at you in confusion. Uraraka swallowed thickly and bit down on your bottom lip. You narrowed your eyes. 

"You say you're guarding Katsuki-kun... so where is he, then?" 

"What do you mean?" Izuku stiffened. "He's right behind us... there..." 

They all turned to look back, but Katsuki was nowhere to be found. It was just the five of them, the same five you'd seen emerging from the bushes. You felt your chest tighten to the point of being unable to breathe. 

"You lost him?!" you cried out. "You had Katsuki-kun with you, but you let him get away?!"

"No!" Izuku exclaimed. "I swear, he was just with us a moment ago! I have no idea what happened...!" 

Your blood was boiling. You knew this wasn't the time for you to get angry and turn on your allies, but the fear sweltering deep inside of you made it difficult to stay calm. 

The fading soulmate bond, and now this. Shakily, you reached down at your shirt and stole a glance towards the blurred writing. It still had a little ways to go before disappearing altogether, but if this was happening now—

"...looking for him?" 

An unfamiliar voice cut across the deafening silence. You paled almost immediately, [e/c] orbs lifting to settle onto the figure of a masked man perched atop an overhanging tree branch. He chuckled lowly; two marble-like objects were being juggled in between his gloved fingers. 

"If you're referring to Bakugou, I've taken him, you see—with my magic. He's not a resource that belongs on the heroes' side. We're going to put him on a stage where he can really shine."

No. 

No, no, no, no

"Give him back!" you screamed. "Give him back right now!!" 

The villain scratched his head. "Give him back...? What an odd thing to say. It's not as if he belongs to anyone. He's his own man, you know." 

"G-give him back," you whimpered, tears blurring your vision. You swallowed hard, a warm haze filling your head. "You better give him back... do it now or I kill you." 

Uraraka's expression faltered. All of your allies were staring back at you wide-eyed, watching as the aura around you darkened and contorted to the point of being unrecognizable. This wasn't you. It wasn't like you to be so hateful, and filled with these violent, murderous thoughts. But you weren't lying. If you didn't get Katsuki back in one piece...

You got the sense you could turn into a very different kind of person. 

"[Name], move out of the way—!"

Breaking your trance, Todoroki stomped down on his right foot and sent a flurry of ice rippling up the tree trunk towards the villain. It was too late, though—the man nimbly jumped aside, taking to the air. 

"Shit!" Shouji cursed. "It's not just Bakugou; Tokoyami's been taken, too!" 

Todoroki narrowed his eyes. "There was no need for him to even confront us in the first place. He's just mocking us right now." 

"Sorry for my bad habit," the villain mused. "I'm an entertainer at heart. Taking Tokoyami was just a bit of ad-libbing in the spur of the moment. In any case..." He pressed a gloved hand up against his ear. "Attention, Vanguard Squad! The target has been successfully captured! As planned, meet at the evacuation point within the next five minutes!"

You felt yourself go weak behind the knees. Even with having siphoned Toga's energy from earlier, a sudden hollowness seized you.

"N-no way... they can't... already be done here..." 

"It's okay, [Name]! We'll get him back!" Todoroki passed the injured Class-B student off to Uraraka, rushing forward to unleash another pillar of ice. "You're not getting away, you hear me?!"

"Ha-ha, we'll see about that!" 

The masked villain continued to bound away, springing deftly across tree-tops. From this distance, there was almost nothing you could do. Todoroki was your only ranged fighter, and Izuku was broken and battered to the point of pretty much being out of commission.

You were useless, even in a time like this; even when Katsuki was being stolen right in front of your eyes. How could you be so weak? 

"Uraraka-chan." You stopped suddenly, jerking your friend back by her arm. She looked you over, brown eyes wide. "Make us float," you said quietly. "And then... Tsuyu-chan can fling us as hard as she can using her tongue. I can offer a little protection with one of my shields, but other than that there's not much I can do mid-air. Even so... I can't possibly give up here. I need to be there—for Katsuki-kun." 

"[Name]-chan..." 

Uraraka nodded fervently, but then glanced over to Izuku with a worried expression. You knew what she was thinking, but you also knew that this was Katsuki's former childhood friend, and there was no way he'd be willing to stay behind, no matter how severe his injuries were.

Todoroki frowned. "You shouldn't come, Midoriya. With your injuries, there's—" 

"Forget the pain," he grimaced. "I can move... quickly now! I shouldn't... have taken my eyes off Kacchan to begin with! I'm sorry... [Name]-chan..."

You felt a tear roll down your cheek and slink off your chin. You hastily wiped it away with the back of your hand, forcing a smile.

"I don't care about that anymore. No one's to blame, except these wretched villains. I just have to get him back. I need to." 

They all nodded their heads in agreement, and then you were being huddled together with Todoroki, Shouji, and Izuku. Tsuyu unfurled her tongue and wrapped it tightly around your torsos. Uraraka had just finished making all four of you weightless.

"We're ready," she breathed out. Her gaze flickered towards you, a small smile following suit. "Go save him... [Name]-chan." 

"I plan to."

Tsuyu took a step backwards, getting ready to fling you up and into the air. You heard the small "ribbit" slipping out of her lips, moments before you were soaring through the skies un-aided. The masked villain had been nearly out of sight earlier, but you were gaining on him now—and fast

He glanced back over his shoulder. "What the—?!" 

You were veering back to the ground now, and your bodies were headed straight on a collision course with the villain's own. You inhaled deeply, particles of light flitting before your eyes. A small, glowing sphere encased the bodies of you and your allies. You all braced yourself for impact.

"...ouch!

The man groaned at the sensation of four bodies tumbling down over-top his own. You grasped at the hem of his coat, unwilling to let him get away, but it looked as though you had company. This must've been the so-called "evacuation point" he'd been referring to. Three other villains were standing idle—Toga was one of them.

A tall, raven-haired male with blotched purple skin and surgical staples extended a palm outwards. "Mr. Compress, dodge now." 

"Roger!!" 

A flurry of blue flames surged across the ground. You gritted your teeth and tumbled out of the way, relinquishing your grasp on Mr. Compress in the process. Thankfully, some of your light-shield had absorbed the damage, and neither of you had been burned. But Katsuki was still...

"Yay!" Toga squealed, lunging straight towards you. "[Name] cutie, you're back! You really sapped my energy earlier, you know! I've been sooo tired this last little while!" 

Shouji intercepted the girl and sent her tumbling backwards with a hefty punch. He offered you a helping hand up. "Come on!" he said. "Time to run, you guys!" 

"What the hell are you saying?! Katsuki-kun's still—" 

"No. I figured as much from the way this guy was showing off earlier." Shouji dug into his pocket, withdrawing the two marbles from earlier. "These are Bakugou and Tokoyami, aren't they...?"

"Shouji!" Izuku exclaimed. "You did it!" 

Thank god...! 

"You idiot," the dark-haired villain cursed. "After all that hard work..." 

"No, wait." 

A black, misty haze suddenly materialized before you. The warp-gate from USJ. He separated into smaller portals, with Mr. Compress gesturing for his allies to back away. 

"It's been five minutes since my signal. Let's be off, Dabi." 

Toga giggled, stepping into a portal. "Sorry, [Name]! Let's have some fun another time, okay?!" 

"What the hell?" Dabi muttered. "What are you idiots doing? The target's still—"

"Yes, yes... I must apologize for that. They seemed so pleased with themselves and eager to run away, I couldn't help but give them a little gift. It's another bad habit of mine. When a magician finds himself flaunting a particular object..." 

Your expression sank. The villain unfurled his tongue to display two marbles. 

"...it's usually because he has something else to hide." 

The marbles in Shouji's hands expanded and shattered into pieces of ice. Mr. Compress chuckled. 

"Sorry, sorry. That ice from earlier gave me the perfect chance to prepare a few decoys. I put them in my pocket for later, hoping you'd take notice of them. I hope you can forgive me. Regardless, we'll have to be on our way now..." 

I won't let you!

You stretched your palms outwards, channeling a beam of light right at the villain's face as he slunk into a portal. It hardly had any offensive power, but it still made him gasp for breath and spill the two marbles out from his lips. You activated your light-speed immediately, surging forth from the back of the crowd. Shouji's hand managed to snap up one of the two, releasing Tokoyami.

Katsuki-kun...!

Your own fingers were closing in rapidly, ready to encase the marble and grab it out of the way. You were moving fast, but the villain in front of you was faster. A stitched hand flitted in front of your eyes. It pulled the marble back in one fluid motion.

He chuckled lowly. "Sorry, babe. He's coming with us." 

No. 

"This one's Bakugou. Go ahead and release him now, Mr. Compress." 

No

The marble expanded and shattered to bits, just like Tokoyami's had done earlier. Katsuki was right in front of you now, his brows furrowed and jaw clenched. Dabi gripped him by the neck and slowly dragged him back further into the portal. 

So this was it. The last time you'd ever see Katsuki, with only the faded writing on your hip to tell you how much longer he had left. Such a terribly cruel thing, to know when your soulmate's end was drawing near. To think that after being so opposed to your soulmate, for so many years, you'd be clinging to him now with all your strength. 

But it wasn't all your strength, was it? He was being taken from you, right before your eyes, but only because you were allowing it to happen. If the roles were reversed, and it was Katsuki saving you... surely he wouldn't give up, even if he had to claw at the dirty ground and pull you back using his teeth. He never gave up, ever. That was one of the things you loved most about him. Oh, love...

You were falling in love with him. It hadn't even been that long, but you were sure of that fact. If you let him go now, he'd never get to hear those words from you, would he? 

Unacceptable

You bit down on your bottom lip, flooding your mouth with the coppery taste of blood. Your entire body was aching, and you'd never activated it again so soon, but when else, if not now

The aching point in your chest deepened tenfold. It felt like your lungs were flattening out from the inside. Your body began to glow once more, and you surged forward, making Dabi's eyes widen as your body tumbled against Katsuki's own. You felt his entire body stiffen as your arms wrapped around his back.

"This girl just—!" 

"There's no time," Dabi muttered, grappling you by your neck to hold you in place. "Take her with us as well." 

You exhaled hoarsely, darkness falling over your eyes. Katsuki trembled under your hold.

"What the hell are you doing... [Name]...?"

Chapter Text

"Remind me why this chick is here again?" 

"Because she's cute!" 

"I don't recall her being on the kill list, or anything like that." 

"It couldn't be helped. She threw herself into the portal last-minute trying to save the other kid, so we had no choice but to bring her along." 

"Ah... looks like they're finally waking up." 

You drew in air through your teeth, wincing at the throbbing pain coming from the base of your skull. The image before your eyes was blurred and distorted—this was a grogginess unlike anything you'd ever felt before. Had you been drugged, or what? 

Oh, yeah.

The last thing you remembered was sinking into that dark, wispy portal while holding onto Katsuki's body for dear life. Fearfully, you shot two [e/c] irises to the side. He was there, wrists bound together with heavy cuffs and chained to a chair. 

"Katsuki-kun..." 

You didn't even spare a glance to the rest of your surroundings, though you knew well enough that you'd been captured by the villains alongside him. Your voice escaped in a husky whisper, and Katsuki hurriedly averted his gaze, gritting his teeth in the process.

"You're a fucking idiot," he rasped. "I hope you know that." 

Of course. Getting yourself captured as well was by all means, idiotic. But quite frankly, you didn't care. The searing pain coming from your hip was telling you that you'd made the right decision—if you hadn't come along, there was no telling what would've happened to Katsuki. It didn't matter if you were in danger now. The universe was trying to tell you that things were going awry, and you had to intervene.

"About time," a scratchy voice spoke up. Shigaraki Tomura—the leader of this shitty League of Villains. You'd already had one-too-many encounters with him, back at USJ.

Now that you were allowing yourself to get a good look at your surroundings, it was astonishingly non-descript. A plain, dusty room, which vaguely resembled a low-class bar on account of the high stools and alcoholic bottles stacked on shelves. So this was their little "hideout", huh? 

Shigaraki drummed his knuckles across the bar-top. "Capturing Bakugou was planned for, but what exactly are we supposed to do with you, [Name]-chan...?" 

You stared back at him dully. The other figures were scattered about the room. You recognized Toga, of course—she was actually waving at you with a manic grin sprawled across her lips, and you definitely remembered the masked asshole who'd captured Katsuki in the first place... the tall, raven-haired male with stitches and piercings galore was here, too. Plus the warp-gate, some guy in a black bodysuit, a freaking lizard, and another robust individual wearing sunglasses. 

"So this is the gang, huh?" You blinked slowly, not bothering to hide how unimpressed you were. "Somehow, I expected there to be more of you... I guess your little "League" still has a ways to go." 

Katsuki hissed from beside you, no doubt urging you to keep your mouth shut. It wasn't really like you to be so brash and stubborn. You thought you'd feel more afraid coming into all this, but oddly enough, there was none of that. At least, no concern for your own life—the focus was all on protecting Katsuki's. 

"I didn't peg you for the type with an attitude," Shigaraki scoffed. "Well, whatever. You're another U.A student, so that must have its merits. I'm sure we'll figure something out for you. What was this girl's Quirk again?" 

"Ooh, ooh, I know!" Toga piped up, excitedly raising her hand. "That's my bestie, [Name]!" 

"I'm not—" 

"—and she can manipulate light, and energy stuff! I think!" 

Dabi rolled his eyes. "What kind of half-assed answer is that, you lunatic? We need specifics." 

"It's true! Even though it was dark out when we attacked, she was still able to attack with all the light she'd stored as energy within her body! We thought she'd be useless at night-time, but she totally wasn't! Oh—she even sapped some of my energy out at some point! Isn't that neat?!" 

"Huh." Shigaraki leaned forward in his seat, beady red eyes scanning you down. "That's interesting. I guess what we saw her use during the Sports Festival didn't cover all her abilities. If she can absord other peoples' energy... it could prove to be quite useful. And soon we'll have Bakugou's offensive abilities, too..." 

You were tempted to scoff. 

What even makes you think he's gonna join? These guys have Katsuki-kun pegged all wrong, god...

The blonde was a lot more silent than you'd expected, but it must've been calculated. One slip of the tongue and he could risk revealing sensitive information. In a situation like this, remaining quiet was the safer approach.

"...whatever you're trying to do here, [Name] has nothing to do with it." 

Your eyes widened. Katsuki had spoken up now. You glanced over to see him staring back at Shigaraki with a solemn expression.

"You're trying to recruit me, aren't you? In that case, you'd be better off letting her go. It would increase the chances of me agreeing. Whatever decision I make, I don't want any of my shithead classmates getting involved. Don't over-complicate this." 

He's...

Shigaraki scratched his neck. "So what are you saying? Us letting her go... is that your condition for joining our side?" 

"I ain't promising shit, but if you've got any sense about you, then you'd want to prove me to that you assholes are able to reach some sort of agreement. Prove to me that you guys aren't some brain-dead group of thugs, and joining you is actually worth it." 

He was lying, lying through his fucking teeth just so that he could get you out. Hell no. You came here to be with him because you wanted to, no—you needed to. Your soulmate bond could disappear any moment now. The whole point of you coming with him was so that you'd find a way to save him; reverse his supposed fate. What would be the point of you walking free after all this? 

You were either leaving when you were sure he was safe, or you weren't leaving at all.

"If you think that Katsuki-kun is gonna go along with a bunch of low-lives like you, then you're sorely mistaken."

Katsuki stiffened. "[Name], the fuck are you—?" 

"He's never going to bend to your will," you continued. "Even if he's strong, and you want to have his abilities on your side, it's not going to be that simple. You all see him as some sort of 'villain', but the fact of the matter is that he's just not. He'd sooner die than cast away his pride and join a gang like yours. That's why this was all a miscalculation from the very beginning." 

"[Name]," Katsuki warned, "I'm serious. If you don't—" 

"You won't encounter any problems like that if were to join, that much I can promise. I'm not violent or unpredictable, nor do I hold that strongly to my values. Plus... I already know that I'm dying, so I'm not afraid of you." 

Shigaraki's eyes narrowed. "You know that you're dying...? What the hell is that supposed to mean?" 

"Lift the corner of my shirt," you said, ignoring Katsuki's growls from beside you. Dabi frowned but took a step forward, revealing your fading soulmate bond. You actually winced a bit upon seeing it, since it had faded even more. 

"So..." Dabi scratched his head, ghost-blue eyes weary. "A tattoo? Why am I looking at a tattoo right now? Don't get me wrong—it's hot as hell, and I wasn't expecting you to even have one, but—" 

"It's my life-line," you cut across, making the villains stare back at you in confusion. "It's a type of Soulmate Syndrome. When you meet your soulmate and they reject you instead of choosing to be with you, your life begins to erode away. It's almost like a curse. The universe has a funny way of messing with people. Mine starting fading a while ago, so I've already come to terms with the fact that I don't have all that much longer to live. That's why I wouldn't be opposed to joining your side, and I believe I have a lot more to offer than him. My Quirk has healing properties; you don't have a healer yet, do you?" 

Lies, lies, all lies. 

"If I join instead of Katsuki-kun, not only will there be no resistance, but you'll actually get more information out of me as well. Katsuki would never double-cross anyone. Maybe I don't have a full life ahead of me, but I would willingly cooperate with you using all the time I have left. So long as you let him go." 

"[Name]!" Katsuki roared. "I'm telling you to shut your goddamn mouth...!" 

Dabi scoffed, letting the edge of your shirt fall. "She's bluffing, Shigaraki. It's just a ploy." 

"A ploy for what?" the leader snapped." She's offering herself up to us." 

"She just wants Bakugou to walk, and then she's going to buy herself some time. Otherwise there's no reason for her to willingly take his place." 

Katsuki flailed in place, struggling to break free of his bindings for the first time. You sat in your chair in silence, eyes bearing no trace of fear. Toga let her chin fall onto the back of her hand, brows twisting together as she studied you. 

"[Name]'s so cool," she marveled. "I can tell, you know? That's the aura of a maiden in love. She's doing this for love...! Isn't that amazing?!" 

"It's true," you spoke, holding Shigaraki's gaze in your own. "Katsuki-kun's my soulmate. He may have rejected me, and may not hold the same feelings that I do, but I still care for him. If you're wondering why I'm willing to take his place, that's why. I'm willing to help you out in any way possible, the sole condition being that he gets to leave." 

"Wooow!" Toga squealed. "Oh my god, that's so awesome! She's going to sacrifice herself for him!" 

"His soulmate bond is on the same hip as mine, exact same spot. You can confirm it with your own two eyes if you don't believe me." 

Dabi looked back at Shigaraki for affirmation, then went on to lift up Katsuki's shirt with a shrug of his shoulders. The blonde was still flailing in place, teeth gritted and jaw tense. His shirt lifted to expose his own soulmate bond—the letters still hadn't faded at all.

"See?" you smiled. "His is completely intact, unlike mine. I was the one who was rejected, so I got Soulmate Syndrome. I'm the one who's going to die soon, of natural causes."

"I've actually heard of Soulmate Syndrome before!" Toga exclaimed. "She's telling the truth!" 

She couldn't have possibly heard of it, because you'd just made it up. But maybe it was because of all the nonsense you'd been spewing... you were actually starting to believe your own lies. It made sense, too, now that you thought of it. This whole time, you'd been basing your theories off what you'd read, and heard by word-of-mouth, but every situation was unique. Up until now, it had been assumed that when your bond faded away, it meant that your soulmate's life was in danger, but maybe it was entirely the opposite. 

Perhaps it was your flame that was being extinguished.

"What the hell is all this...?" Shigaraki muttered, scratching at the base of his neck feverishly. "When I ran the plan by Sensei, he said that Bakugou was an important piece... but maybe we should take the girl instead? It's true that he's unruly, and if she willingly comes with us... ahh! I don't know what the hell to do anymore! I need to speak to Sensei!!" 

"Shigaraki Tomura," Kurogiri urged, "please, calm down. I suggest we stick to the original plan. Regardless of whether or not the girl is telling the truth, Bakugou is the one we wanted to recruit." 

"You can fuck right off!" Katsuki roared. "I'm not coming with you, and neither is [Name]!" 

"Look, see? They both have entirely differently stories. Just earlier, even he was trying to convince us to let the other go. I have to agree with Dabi, it's only a ploy. They're perhaps trying to buy time until the pros come looking for them." 

"Hold on, you idiots. There's an easier way of checking this out." 

Admist the ever-growing confusion in the room, Dabi spoke out coolly. He towered over your frame, pale blue eyes affixed to your own. You kept your expression as blank and non-descript as possible, even when he leaned over and cupped a hand behind your neck. 

He paused for a moment. The next, his lips had met your own, and the feeling of his cool stitches pressing into your skin made you shudder. Beside you, Katsuki let out a broken, choked-out gasp.

"What are you...?" 

He was kissing you. This menacing, cold-eyed villain was kissing you. His fingers, which had no doubt murdered others before, were threading their way through strands of [h/c] hair. That thought alone should've horrified you enough, but it was something else that made your chest tighten to the point of bursting.

Someone other than Katsuki was kissing you. While he was being forced to watch.

No.

God, you hated this. You hated everything about it—from his ashen cigarette smell to the black tufts of hair brushing by your temples. It was disgusting, this was disgusting, and Katsuki was right there

"I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU ALL...!" 

Dabi broke away from the kiss quickly enough, but the damage had already been done. Katsuki was a screaming, frenzied mess beside you, his cheeks flushed a deep red and eyes wet with tears. Tears. He was crying because of you again. You didn't want this. You'd just wanted to save him, the way he'd saved you time and time again. Why weren't the two of you allowed to be happy for a change...? 

"Sorry," Dabi murmured, looking the slightest bit guilty about what he'd done. "I like to think that I have my own set of morals, so that really wasn't necessary... but it's confirmed my suspicions, based on how that guy's reacting. Shigaraki," he turned, "it should be clear that these two are romantically involved. Whatever she said should be disregarded, truth or not. Bakugou's the one we need. She's just trying to scheme her way out of this mess." 

"Ah... so that's how it is." The leader ran a hand through his disheveled locks, cackling inwardly. "They just care for each other, how cute. In that case, our approach is going to be much simpler. [Name] was probably right in saying that Bakugou's too proud to consider joining us, but you see... if we threaten to kill this kid's little girlfriend, he won't exactly have a choice, now will he...?"

He stood up abruptly, taking slow steps towards your side. Five fingers were kept outstretched as they reached to your frame. 

Death, again. Nowadays, it seemed to be the only thing on your mind, whether it be Katsuki's—and now—your own. Maybe one of you really was going to die soon, but you didn't need a constant reminder tattooed on your fucking hip. Soulmate this, soulmate that... you'd been trying to cast it all aside and just live in the moment; be happy with one another. Why were you always looking to the future, trying to predict what would happen next? Why did everything have to be so hard? Why couldn't things just—

Ah. I'm doing it again. Waiting for all the solutions to just magically appear. 

It wouldn't happen, would it? No... of course not. This was life, and life was messy, remarkably convoluted, and most of all—unpredictable. Fading soulmate bond or not. So, fuck it. Fuck it all.

"Don't touch me, you crusty-lipped freak." 

Before his pale fingers could reach your frame, a wave of light surged through the room. Shigaraki squeezed his eyes shut, as did the rest of his allies, momentarily blinded. Your [e/c] irises had begun to glow, along with the rest of your body. A bright, flickering sphere encased both you and Katsuki. 

"The hell is this?" Shigaraki muttered. "This bitch—she can still use her Quirk even though her hands are bound down? Since when? Why did no one tell me this important piece of information?!" 

The villain growled and lunged forward, but soon found that his body was being pushed backwards. He hissed sharply, looking down at the tips of his fingers, which were pink and blistering hot. 

"This shitty thing... it's pulsing," he grimaced. "And warm—no, hot. It fucking burns. And it's making my eyes sting..." 

"Some sort of barrier that she generated by gathering up the energy inside her body?" 

"No one told me that she could still use her damn Quirk—!" 

"Relax, Shigaraki. They're both trapped in here. Where are they gonna go?" 

He was right in saying that. There was nothing you could do, other than channel all your strength to keep you and Katsuki safe, for as long as possible. All of the light in the room was purely artificial, so there was no way for you to replenish the energy flooding out and around you. You'd never even attempted to create such a strong barrier before. You knew full well the toll it would take on your body, and the risks that came with it. 

"[Name]," Katsuki rasped fearfully. "Don't... cut that shit out. It's just gonna wear you out, and—s-shit. Your nose is bleeding... I'm serious, just stop already...!" 

You felt a bit of blood trickle down and fall onto your upper lip. A soft wheeze escaped your chest as you licked it away with your tongue and swallowed its coppery taste. The barrier pulsed around you, keeping the villains back even as they tried to claw and pound at its surface. How much longer did you have, though? Your head already felt so heavy, and your ears felt... wet?

"Stop it, [Name]!" Katsuki rocked in his chair and screamed back at you. "Your fucking ears now—you're bleeding all over the place! Stop using your Quirk before you hurt yourself any more!!" 

Before I hurt myself...? 

It's true, it did hurt, but that hardly mattered right now. This was it. You weren't a brave person, nor had you even been so driven about the hero thing in the first place. You just wanted to help people, however you could. If you looked back to a few months ago, the thought of putting yourself directly in harm's way for someone else would've made you shrink back in fear. You might've tried, but if it got too dangerous, you were almost sure you would've pulled out. If your own life was on the line, you would've. 

But right now, you weren't scared. You were prepared to die, if it was for Katsuki's sake, but why weren't you afraid? Dying was something that many feared—especially if it would be in cold murder at the hands of a group of villains. All of the factors were there, yet you still weren't scared. Not even as the stream of blood thickened and you felt your vision blur. 

Being around Katsuki had changed you, you realized. You understood it now, the will to not give up, even when the situation looked hopeless and bleak at best. Maybe it was naive, but made your chest swell all the same. It instilled you with hope. Katsuki gave you hope. 

"This little brat..." Shigaraki seethed. "How much longer is she gonna keep this up? The whole damn room's heating up—" 

"Excuse me! Pizza delivery here!" 

The whole room went silent. Your eyelids were halfway closed. That voice sounded familiar.

Shigaraki threw up his arms. "Which one of you morons ordered a fucking—" 

Dust and debris went flying everywhere. One second you were staring back at your captors, and the next you had the Symbol of Peace in your sights. Well, a blurry version of him, at least. 

"I'm here to take back Young [Name] and Young Bakugou!" 

All Might rushed the villains along with a group of his allies. It was taking every last bit of your strength to maintain your barrier, but you couldn't let your guard down, not until Katsuki was out of harm's way. You watched as a flurry of branches pinned down the villains—Shigaraki included. All Might was hovering close beside you now, jaw tightly clenched as he looked you over. The blood dripped down your ears and caked the side of your neck. 

You smiled. Good. You could pass out now. 

Chapter Text

You'd never pictured yourself as the type of hero that would steal the stage; be in the so-called "spotlight". A gentle Quirk. That's the way people always described your powers, and in all respects, you agreed with them. You didn't have much offensive power to begin with, but if you could be of use to others—the braver, stronger heroes—you thought it would all be okay. This, too, would be a way to make your mark. 

Perhaps that had been your cowardice speaking. 

"—[me]..." 

Maybe you'd never had any intention of standing on the front lines, risking it all, and laying yourself bare. 

"[Na—]..." 

Yet still, there was something inside of you. A faint, budding desire. A gentle flame that would surely die out if left untended. But it was there, all the same. Even if you didn't feel as strong as the others, even if you didn't share in their self-confidence... you wanted to become the kind of person that would put everything on the line for victory. Determined, passionate. Stubborn, undeterred. Strong

"[Name]...!" 

Like Katsuki. 

"Oh." 

You blinked wearily. The corners of your eyes were stinging, and it took considerable effort to keep them pried open. The familiar scent of disinfectant burned at your nostrils. A hospital room, no doubt. A hospital room, and a disheveled blonde male whose eyes were watery and red. 

"Katsuki-kun." Your voice sounded scratchy as you said the words. You winced a bit, trying to prop yourself upright on the bed. All of your limbs were aching. 

He hastily shook his head. "Don't try to move too much, just... goddammit. You little asshole. Who the hell do you think you are, scaring me shitless like that...?" 

"I'm... sorry." 

"Sorry's not good enough. Moron." 

"I know, but—" 

In an instant, he was upon you, strong arms cradling your frame. He was trembling ever-so softly. You didn't know how long you'd been out for, but he'd surely been waiting right by your side, the whole time. You were in a hospital room, after all. If so, that could only mean that All Might had succeeded in his rescue. Either that, or you were both dead. 

"Stupid [Name]," Katsuki muttered, squeezing you carefully so as not to cause you any pain. "I thought you were supposed to be the calm one. What the hell was going through your head, trying to pull a damn stunt like that? You could've fucking died. You know that, don't you?" 

You hung your head, letting it drape across the crook of Katsuki's neck. "Of course I knew that. There was no guarantee that I'd be safe, even if they accepted me into their alliance. It just didn't matter at the time. I wanted to make sure that you at least would get out. I thought maybe... I could protect you." 

He gripped you tighter. 

"And that's why you decided to push your powers to the point that you were dripping blood?" 

"I didn't know it would hurt my body that much. I'd never made a shield like that before." 

"So you decided to test it out in a situation like that? Fucking great." 

"I wasn't..." 

He was angry, that much you could tell. It wasn't as if it was unwarranted, though. You had behaved recklessly, and you were fully aware of that fact, but you weren't lying about the element of fear having disappeared from the equation. At the time, you honestly thought you would be okay dying. If you could save Katsuki, it was more than enough. You cared for him so much that it was the honest-to-god truth. And you knew what prompted people to put their lives on the line like that. 

Love, huh? 

By now, you were sure of it. The two of you had only know each other for a scarce few months, but the feeling was intense and overwhelming. It was unfamiliar, too. The fact that you'd never even come close to a sensation like this was all the more confirmation. 

Even if you'd chosen to abandon that title; to focus on yourselves instead, it was true. He was your soulmate, and regardless of when either of your flames would die out, you were sure of it—sure of the fact that you'd never love anyone the way you loved him.

"Stop making me worry all the time, for fuck's sake. You're gonna give me a damn heart attack one day." 

Katsuki pulled away, muttering curses under his breath. His eyes were still puffy and red. He must've been crying because of you again. How many times did that make now...? Too many, in any case. You couldn't keep hurting him like this...

"I'm sorry, Katsuki-kun." You smiled wistfully, caressing his cheek with your palm. "I shouldn't have done all those reckless things, but the thought of you being taken from me was just too much to bear. We already stopped... we stopped worrying about the soulmate marks, but with this kidnapping, I honestly thought it was the end. The universe was telling me to act. Telling me to re-write our fate, no matter what it took." 

Katsuki clenched his jaw. "That shitty thing again... [Name], I've already told you, but you can't let it fucking control your life." 

"I know, but—" 

"No, you don't, so listen up." He gripped you by the shoulders, brows furrowed. "You and me, we're in this for the long haul, so don't even think about trying to back out early. If either of us die, it's gonna be of old age or some other shit like that. I'm not fucking going anywhere, so get that through your skull. I'm not going anywhere," he rasped, "and neither are you." 

He pressed his index finger firmly up against your forehead, punctuating his words with a gentle push. Your head bobbed backwards. Oh, no. There were tears welling up in the corners of your eyes now. Oh, no. 

Don't cry, don't don't cry, don't—  

But you were already crying. You were crying loudly and unabashed, your sobs no doubt echoing even in the hallways and rooms next door. You hated crying in front of Katsuki. You hated sobbing so pitifully, when he was always so strong and brave for your sake. You hated that he was watching it all unravel with such terribly kind eyes. 

"Come here, babe. Sshh," he mumbled, gently stroking your hair, "it's okay. It's okay, [Name]. It's okay if you cry. I'm here for you. I'll always be here for you, okay?"

"O-okay..." 

"I promise." He kissed the crown of your head, nuzzling the flushed skin with his nose. "It's all gonna work out for us. You'll see." 

"It's gonna work out for us," you repeated breathlessly. "It's going to... work out for us..." 

"Of course it will." 

"And... we can be happy?" 

"What the hell are you talking about?" Crimson orbs raked down your flushed, teary-eyed expression. He frowned. "We're already happy, aren't we?" 

"Oh..." 

He was right. You'd nearly been killed by villains, you'd spent the better portion of your relationship scared to death about what would happen, but you were still happy. In spite of all that, you were probably happier than you'd ever been, just having him hold you in his arms like this. 

I love him so much. 

You smiled, wiping away at your misty eyes. "You're right, Katsuki-kun. You're always right." 

"Pssh, no shit. Tell me something I didn't know." 

"I can't. You already know everything." 

"Attagirl," he grinned, messily tousling your hair. "You've gotten real good at stroking my ego, huh?" 

"I learned from the best." 

"Yeah, yeah." He paused for a moment, then smiled. "I'm just glad you're okay. I don't care if we're heroes or whatever, I never want to see you hurting yourself like that for my sake. It's... too painful. Promise me you won't pull any stunts like that ever again." 

You blinked away the last of your tears. "If I do, then you just have to be there to stop me." 

"[Name]," he warned. 

"I know. It's fine. We'll take care of each other, okay? We'll make sure that neither gets hurt." 

Katsuki sighed loudly. "God, you're so fucking difficult. Okay, fine. Whatever it takes to shut you up." 

You nodded wordlessly, slumping against his chest. Your body was aching, but the bleeding had stopped. If it had been anything life-threatening, you were sure the doctors wouldn't have let Katsuki come see you already, so you'd probably just pushed yourself too hard. Actually—how much time had even passed? All Might had definitely gotten the two of you out safely, but...

"Ah, right." Katsuki's expression faltered. "You've been out, so you don't know. Well, it's playing all over the news, so you may as well see." 

You blinked in confusion, but he was already reaching for the remote and switching on the small, compact TV that dangled down from the ceiling over your bed. It opened up to a news channel. Your eyes widened.

"Is that—?" 

"All Might's true form," Katsuki muttered dryly. "Or, his weakened form, actually. During that fight, with the shitty League's boss... he used up all his remaining strength, and what you see on the screen is the result of that. The two of us managed to get pulled away to safely right after All Might first arrived and you passed out, but they whisked you off the hospital right away, and I came with. I wasn't there at the site of the battle, but I watched it all on the screen. The fight's been long over. This newsreel just's showing you some of the highlights." He cast his head down. "I guess it's a pretty big fuckin' deal, the Symbol of Peace having essentially died out and all." 

All might had... won. But apparently, at a great price to his own body. The thin, skeletal-like figure you were staring at... it bore almost no resemblance to the looming force you'd known all this time. His powers were gone now. He no longer had a single drop left in that tattered body of his. And thus, the Symbol of Peace had come to an end.

Katsuki had known all that. He'd seen it all unravel, and he'd still chosen to stay by your side instead of remaining with the crowds of supporters outside that had been cheering All Might on. It wasn't just your freckled, curly-haired classmate who loved the hero with all his being—Katsuki had been a die-hard fan since day one. His ambition and strength, the drive to never give up... he'd obtained those things by watching and admiring All Might, for years on end. This was his biggest role model, and he'd just made his last stand to the world. 

He could've been there for him, watching All Might's final minutes. But he came to wait with me instead. 

"I'm sor—" 

"I know what you're thinking, so stop fucking thinking it." Katsuki clenched his fists. "He's the strongest hero in the world. He was, at least. Me staying behind wouldn't have made a difference. He would've won either way. But you needed me here. Or—" His eyes flickered to the side, "needed you. To be okay." 

Your vision began to blur yet again. Katsuki laughed, wiping the tears away. 

"Such a crybaby, [Name]." 

"I know..." 

"You give me a real hard time, I swear." 

"I-I know..." 

Katsuki leaned forward, grabbing one of your hands into his own. He gently kissed your fingers, temples reddening. 

"I'm crazy about you, did you know that?" 

"I—" 

You shook your head, every fiber of your being having grown impossibly hot. Katsuki continued to kiss along your knuckles, working his way to the back of your hand, the flushed skin on your neck, and the warm apples of your cheeks. His lips brushed by gently each time, barely making contact; as though you were a delicate, porcelain doll. 

Words were rising to your throat. They were trapped in your chest, encircled by stiff rib-cage, but you could feel them desperately pounding to break free. The more Katsuki kissed you, the more the burn intensified. When he'd been captured, you remembered being so horrified by the thought of being unable to give these words a voice. You had to say them now, before your mark faded any more. Otherwise, you'd never know when you'd get a chance to—

No, that's wrong. 

Katsuki had just promised that neither of you were going anywhere. He would never go back on his word. Your life wasn't eroding away, and neither was Katsuki's. You didn't have to rush anything out of fear. He would still be there for you, always. 

You smiled, shuffling back on the bed and cupping two hands across your mouth. Katsuki furrowed his brows but said nothing, watching you with a confused expression. You took a deep breath, dropping your voice to a whisper. 

"I love you... Katsuki-kun." 

Katsuki cocked his head to the side and frowned. "Did you say something just now?" 

You smiled. "Sort of. Just a little promise to myself; a wish for the future." 

"Fuckin' weirdo," Katsuki scoffed. He pushed off the edge of the bed and met you in a bear-hug. "My girlfriend's a damn weirdo. Luckily," he grinned, "she's also cute as hell. "

You giggled, falling to the bed with Katsuki hugging your sides and blowing raspberries into the crook of your neck. Your limbs became a tangled mess under the covers. Even though your body was aching all over, and the fatigue was hitting you hard, you knew a simple moment like this would become one you'd treasure all your life. 

You'd have plenty of opportunities to say those words. Forever was a long time, after all.

Chapter Text

A few days had passed since your capture.

Naturally, both heroes and police officers alike were on the lookout for members of the League, but the remaining members had escaped during All Might's battle with All For One. You were sure they'd regrouped and settled elsewhere. To think that if the hero hadn't showed up when he did, you could've still been trapped with them right now. 

This was the best possible turn-out, really. Yes, a fair amount of pro heroes—All Might included—had been gravely injured during their run-in with the notorious villain boss, but neither Katsuki nor any other of your friends had been injured. Well, your little trip to the hospital aside, at least. That wasn't really of that much importance right now. Since you and Katsuki had been in direct contact with the villains, both of you had been prohibited from going outside, for safety purposes. You wouldn't have normally minded staying indoors and getting some rest, but with everthing that had happened, you wanted to see him more than ever, if only for a little while. 

"Mom, can I please?" 

She sighed. "[Name], sweetie, you know that's not a good idea. The police told you to stay inside." 

"I know, but—" 

"Listen to your mom," your father frowned. "Don't take these matters lightly, [Name]. I swear... I come back from over-seas only to find out that my daughter's been entangled in a mess like this. For my own peace of mind, please listen to what the cops and heroes have been telling you to do." 

You pouted. You were fully aware of how unreasonable you were being right now, but you just couldn't help it. The feelings you held for Katsuki were more overwhelming than ever before. After your brush with death, you needed to see him. 

"Fine," you huffed, crossing your arms. "Then could one of you please drive over to Katsuki-kun's house and pick him up, then bring him back here? That way I don't have to actually step outside, and you can keep me under your surveillance while he's here." 

Your father cocked a brow, glancing from you towards your mother. She smiled wistfully, likely realizing that you wouldn't be deterred. 

"You want to see this boy that badly?" he asked. 

"Yes," you reaffirmed, "I need to." 

"That's..." 

He was probably wondering what in the hell had happened in the time he'd been gone. Your mother had very briefly filled him in on the fact that you'd begun dating someone, but he hadn't been around to see it all with his own eyes. To notice the changes in your demeanor. 

"I see." Your father stood up suddenly, and you watched as he made for the door, slinging a coat over his shoulders. "Then, please let him know that I'm on my way. Send me his address via a text message. This will be a good opportunity for me to assess what type of person this boyfriend of yours is." 

His eyes were slightly clouded. So this was the so-called "over-protective dad mode" you'd heard about. In any case, it was great that you'd be getting to see Katsuki. You just hoped your father wouldn't say anything inappropriate in the car. 

"Thank you, dad." You smiled, [e/c] orbs brightening. "I appreciate it. He's a good guy, I'm sure you'll understand." 

He nodded once and left through the door. You constructed a hasty text—for your father and Katsuki, respectively. Hopefully his parents would be alright with him coming over for a bit. Your mother nibbled at her bottom lip worriedly. 

"Perhaps I should've gone to pick him up instead... your father may interrogate the life out of that poor boy." 

"Dad wouldn't do that. He's not the scary type." 

She chuckled. "You'd be surprised to what lengths parents go for their children. This is fine, though. I can tell how worried you are about him. Your expression's changed so much from the start of the school year." 

"Really...?" 

Your mother smiled and stroked your hair. "Definitely. You're stronger, sweetheart. I can see it in your eyes." 

Maybe they were just empty words; white lies that a mom would tell her child. It didn't matter either way. You chose to believe her.

 

 

 

 

"Hello... [Name]." 

"Uh, hi Katsuki-kun." You crinkled your brows at the blonde. "What's wrong?" 

You only asked because he wore a solemn, tight-lipped expression, and his body language was a little off. He looked sort of... fidgety? Uncomfortable? His eyes kept flitting from you, to the ground; back to you, then—

Ah. 

He said something, didn't he? He must've said something to make him feel uneasy during the car ride...

You looked to your father, who was smiling good-naturedly. Katsuki was still stiff as a board. Yep, something had definitely happened there. 

"Tell me, Katsuki-kun." You jerked him by the sleeve, lowering your voice a smidgen. "Did he say something mean to you? I hope he didn't, otherwise we're going to have a problem." 

Katsuki tightened his jaw. "He didn't... say anything." 

"C'mon, you can be honest with me." 

"No, I'm serious. He didn't say a single word, the entire time. I tried saying a few things here and there, but... he ignored me completely. It was awkward as hell. Felt like it would never fucking end..." 

Again, you glanced towards your father, but he'd already shuffled off towards the kitchen and was helping prepare the dinner. You understood the gist of parents wanting to make sure their children were dating the right kind of people, but wasn't he at least going to try getting along with him? He couldn't just make brash judgments like this right off the bat. 

You puffed out your cheeks, growing hot in the face. "Unacceptable." 

"[Name]," Katsuki tried, "don't do anything—" 

"There's no reason for him to be so rude, though! I'm gonna go rip him a new one!" 

You weren't one to preach about first impressions—hell, your first meeting with Katsuki had been near abysmal, but that was exactly why you understood best that these things needed time. He just needed a little bit more time, and then he'd realize, without a doubt, just how amazing of a person Katsuki was. Already, most people struggled to understand him and just cast him off; labeling him as an "asshole" or "conceited bastard". He was so much more than what a superficial glance at the surface told you. Sure, not everybody could understand that, but you'd be damned if your own family wasn't willing to, either. 

"Dad—" 

"Don't," Katsuki rasped, clamping a hand across your mouth before your father could hear you. His eyes softened. "Seriously, it's fine. From a logical standpoint, it makes sense why he wouldn't like me. The only reason you got wrapped up with those villains is because you tried to save me. So your dad's probably pissed, blaming me for getting you involved in something dangerous and letting you get hurt." 

Your eyes widened. "But that's not—!" 

"It is what it is. They weren't there, so they don't have all the facts, but he has reason to be mad at me." Katsuki cast his gaze towards the ground. "He's right, after all. I was useless. No father would want their girl dating someone who can't even protect them properly." 

"You know that isn't true..." 

He flashed you a lopsided grin. "Don't worry. I'll prove to him that I can take care of you." 

Katsuki made his way into the kitchen, offering to help your mom with setting the table. You noticed your father's gaze affixed to the blonde as he got out plates and cutlery and arranged them in place. 

Before long, dinner was ready, and you were all gathered together at the table. Katsuki sat by your side, with your father seated just across from him. 

Yep, this was going to be awkward, alright. 

"[Name], do you want more salad?" your mom asked. 

"Uh... I'm fine, thanks." 

You were more focused on the subtle-yet-not-so-subtle exchanges between your boyfriend and your father. Katsuki reached out to spoon another helping of mashed potatoes onto his plate—at that very moment, your father grabbed the bowl with both hands and scooted it closer to his side, out of Katsuki's reach. He smiled passive-aggressively. 

"Ah, sorry, Bakugou. Did you want more?" 

Dick.

Katsuki remained composed as he shook his head. "Nevermind, I'm good. I've got enough here." He looked to your mother this time. "Thanks again for dinner. The food's way better over here than at my place." 

"That's sweet of you to say, Katsuki. But I'm sure your parents are wonderful cooks."

"My mom's not the best. I prefer your—" 

"[Name]," your father interjected, leaning forward with furrowed brows, "whatever happened to that other boy that liked you? The one from middle-school?" 

What. 

Seriously, what? Was he seriously bringing up other guys right in front of your boyfriend? Just to get under his skin? 

"I don't know what you're talking about," you gritted out, casting a sideways glance towards Katsuki. His jaw had stiffened a bit, but he was doing a rather fine job of remaining calm and not giving into your father's provocations. 

"Hm, that's a shame. He was a very nice young man." 

I'm gonna slap him, I'm seriously gonna slap him, I swear I'm gonna—

"That's okay," Katsuki mumbled. "I really like your daughter. A million times more than that other guy did, I bet." 

"Huh." Your father set his fork down, letting it fall against the plate with a resounding clink. "You seem to have quite a bit of attitude about you. Surely, you're aware of the fact that [Name] has been lamenting about you for almost her entire life. She's rarely so explicit about these things, but we knew when she'd met her soulmate, and it goes without saying that we also knew what you said to her for the very first time." 

Katsuki swallowed, as did you. Yes, your parents had been considerate enough to give you space and not bombard you with countless questions about your soulmate, but it would've been strange if they didn't have concerns. Those words imprinted on your hip—the blurry, now-faded writing...

"What kind of person speaks to a young girl that way?" your father glared. "My wife may be accepting of you, but I'm still not convinced. Not to mention that [Name] got roped into this mess because of you." 

"Dad, that's not—!"

He waved you off. "If all you do is spout malicious statements like those and attract unnecessary danger to yourself, there's no reason for me to feel comfortable entrusting my daughter to you. I hope you can understand."

Your eyes widened. 'I hope you can understand'...? So then, what? Was that just it? He was determined to be opposed to this relationship no matter what? 

"Honey," your mother tried, placing her hand on his shoulder, "please try not to jump to any conclusions. I understand that you're only meeting Katsuki for the first time, but I've seen the two of them together while you were gone. They're both good kids—try having a little bit of faith." 

Your father stared Katsuki dead in the eyes, the crease in his brows only deepening. "Get in my way and I'll fucking kill you, was it? I tried to keep my mouth shut this whole time, since [Name]'s well-being wasn't in danger, but I was never on-board to begin with. This incident just re-affirms what I'd already been led to believe—namely, that you're not a good influence, and an even worse partner to have around." 

Katsuki nodded slowly. "I understand." 

"Soulmate or not, at this moment in time, I have absolutely no reason to support your relationship." 

"I... understand." 

A firm lump had formed in your throat. You felt like crying. What the hell was going on? Shouldn't he be thankful for the fact that his daughter was safe, at least alive? Why did he have to pick now of all times to express his dislike of Katsuki? Now, of all times... 

Just when you'd realized how badly you needed him in your life.

"...hate you." 

Your father blinked. "[Name]? What did you just—" 

"I hate you, dad." You whimpered, swallowing down the hot tears welling towards your eyes. "Right now, I hate you. How dare you just sit there and say such horrible things about Katsuki-kun? You don't even know... you don't even know how hard we've worked to be together." 

He stared, dumbfounded. "You... hate me? But all I'm trying to do is—" 

"Leave me alone." 

You stood up abruptly, slamming your chair against the edge of the table. The tears were flowing freely now, streaming down puffy, flushed cheeks. You rushed out of the kitchen and stormed to your room. You didn't want your parents to see you crying, but most of all, you couldn't bear to break down in front of Katsuki yet again. It hurt your heart to appear so horribly weak time after time. 

"[Name]," a voice called softly. Katsuki had followed you to your room. The lights were off at least, so he wouldn't have to see your pitiful, sniveling expression. You hugged your knees to your chest and shuddered, quivering in a corner. 

"Why... does he have to say such h-horrible things?" you whimpered. "He doesn't even know... he's been gone, and he thinks he knows, but... he d-doesn't. He doesn't know anything..." 

Katsuki crouched down beside you, looping his arms around your shoulders. "It's fine. Don't be upset. A couple shitty words never hurt me before, and they're sure as hell not going to now." 

"But, he's—" 

"It doesn't matter what he thinks of me now. I told you I'd prove to him that I can protect you. Maybe that'll take some time, but I couldn't care less." He gently stroked the top of your head. "He'll see, [Name]. Compared to being held hostage by villains, something like this ain't shit."

You drew in another sob, slowly nodding your head. Katsuki carefully spun you around and cradled your neck against his chest. You allowed your arms to fall around his back, fingers gripping at the fabric of his shirt. He leaned in to kiss the bridge of your nose. Your chest immediately felt lighter from that simple gesture alone. 

"...ahem." 

You clenched your jaw, peering from around Katsuki's shoulder, only to find your father standing by the doorway. He looked the two of you over with disapproving eyes, but Katsuki's hold on you didn't loosen. The blonde merely smoothed your hair down, turning back towards him.

"My bad," Katsuki apologized. "I didn't mean to run off in the middle of dinner. [Name] was just—"

"Forget that. I came to talk to my daughter." His gaze met your own, softening somewhat. You gripped at Katsuki's shirt and glared. 

"I don't want to talk to you." 

"I didn't think you'd get so upset over this." 

"Well, you thought wrong," you snapped. "You've only just met Katsuki-kun for the first time, and you somehow magically think you've got him all figured out?" 

Your father let out a sigh. "I'm just basing my opinion of him off of all the facts I have. I know how worried you were about running into your soulmate all your life. You were scared to meet him, and even though we reassured you that everything would be alright, the truth is, we were a little afraid as well. To be honest, for some time, your mom and I were entertaining the thought that your soulmate might even turn out to be a villain, just from those first words alone..." 

"A villain?" you gaped. "That's not—" 

"Of course, I'm not implying now that Bakugou is anything of the sort, but my point is that we had our own reservations about this whole thing for a long time. And yes, it's true that this is only the first time we've met, but it's happening right after you were captured alongside him, because he was being targeted by that 'League'. Knowing all of this, how could I possibly be okay with your relationship?" 

You drew in a shaky breath. Katsuki gently wiped away the last of your tears, granting you enough space to rise to your feet. 

"You're wrong," you grimaced, clenching your fists. "Katsuki-kun's capture had nothing to do with me, from the very start. They only wanted him. He would've been the only one kidnapped, but I chose to throw myself in along with him, at the very last second. They never planned to bring me in; not through association, or anything like that. I got myself kidnapped on purpose, because the thought of him being taken from me was so much more horrifying than anything else." 

Katsuki remained silent. Your father was looking you over in disbelief. 

"You... chose to get yourself kidnapped?" he re-iterated. "But, that's—why would you do such an incredibly reckless, naive thing?! [Name], you could've been killed...!" 

You laughed, and your father took a step back. "Sorry," you mused. "It's just that... Katsuki-kun said the exact same thing to me, after I'd gone through with it all and come after him. He never wanted me to get involved either. If he had his way, I'm sure he would have pushed me back with all his strength to keep me from being captured, even if it meant sacrificing his chances of being rescued. That's why everything you're saying is bullshit. You're my dad, and you love me, so you want me to be safe, but... Katsuki-kun also wants to keep me safe. He's strong, and braver than any other person I know. So, you saying that he isn't capable of protecting me is just utter nonsense, and I really don't want to hear it anymore."

Your father swallowed. "[Name], you're..." 

"She's a moron," Katsuki sighed, making your father's brows rocket. "I made her promise not to pull any more stupid shit like that for my sake, but she can be surprisingly stubborn. She shouldn't have come after me, putting her life on the line like that, but I also should've done a better job at protecting her. In the end, I guess we both fucked up." He straightened up, bowing his head slightly. "I just hope you'll forgive me one day. It's probably scary as hell to leave your daughter with some sketchy-ass guy you just met, but... I'm not one to give up. Both in battle, and in everything else. I'll never give up trying to protect her, but I also won't give up trying to be with her." 

Silence. 

You glanced from Katsuki's, whose crimson orbs were brimming with resolution, then to your father. Surprisingly, his lips were pulled into a small grin. 

"Ah," your father chuckled. "So this is a declaration of war." 

"I guess so. Basically, even if you decide to hate my fucking guts, I'm gonna find a way to be with [Name] no matter what. I'd like your approval, but even if I don't have it, that's not going to keep me from getting what I want." Katsuki smirked. "I'm a pretty hard-headed bastard, after all." 

"I got the feeling you were." 

"Cool. Your opinion of me still isn't worth shit, though." 

You were so lost. Really, you had no idea what in the hell was happening anymore. Katsuki had come into this with respect, ready to win your father over, and now he was just throwing that all away like he didn't care? 

Or, no.

Maybe he did care, and he'd just realized that this was the approach that suited him best—unhindered determination, an in-your-face attitude, and that brash, unpolished manner of speaking. 

You smiled. 

This was Katsuki at the very core of his being, after all. Acting comely and trying to be polite just wasn't him. Besides, the look those two were sharing was more than proof of it. Your father's slightly-amused, tight-lipped smile. Katsuki's haughty grin. A gaze of mutual respect and understanding. 

"This makes things much easier," your father smiled. "That's good. I don't have to pretend to like you, in that case. If you upset me, I won't hesitate to put you in your place. Ah, also—get [Name] involved in something dangerous like this again and I swear I'll personally gouge your eyes out." 

"I wouldn't have it any other way." 

"Then, good." He turned towards the hallway, glancing back over his shoulder. "Prove to me that you can protect her, that's all I ask." 

The two of you were left alone, your father's words echoing in your eardrums. Katsuki's brows were knotted together in that impossibly-furrowed manner you'd come to adore. He looked to be mulling over that parting phrase. 

It almost sounded like a challenge, and Katsuki never backed down from a challenge.

Chapter Text

[Katsuki's POV] 

 

Katsuki was tired. 

It was one thing to spend his time training and working on improving his Quirk—at least that had its payoffs, and was enjoyable, to some extent—but unpacking all these boxes was boring, repetitive, and took way too damn long. At least he was almost done. He couldn't wait to tuck in for bed early.

Well, this was the worst part, after all. Frankly, he was a little surprised that his family had been okay with him moving into the dorms, what with his recent capture by the League. He supposed it showed that they had faith in the teachers and pro heroes working at U.A. What was even more surprising was that your parents had approved it, too.

Katsuki kicked a stray cardboard box to the side, letting out a lofty sigh. He remembered his first and last meeting with your father. It was rather convenient that the two of you would be living in the dorms together, since it meant that he wouldn't have to interact with your parents for some while. At least he'd bought himself some time to prove that shitty dad of yours wrong.

There were a lot of things on his mind, really, that he hadn't stopped to think about before arriving here with his suitcase in tow. For starters, you'd essentially be living together. Not in the conventional sense, sure, but he'd be able to see you first thing in the morning, and right up until you headed off to bed. A memory of the sleepover you'd shared drifted to the surface. Katsuki scowled and bit down on his lip in an attempt to fend off his blush.

This was good, though. You'd have so many more opportunities to see one another. It would be better this way. He wouldn't have to worry about your safety so long as he had a general idea as to where you were most of the time. His promise with your father aside, Katsuki was never going to allow a repeat of that capture. 

U.A's probably amped up their security measures, too. They won't be able to pull some shit like that again. 

He'd pretty much finished unpacking. Maybe you were done, too, and you could hang out in his room together. 

"Yo, Bakubro!" The shitty red-head—Kirishima—greeted him with a smile as he made his way into the communal area downstairs. "You all done unpacking?" 

"No shit," he dismissed, eyes scanning the room. "Where's [Name]?" 

"Hm, I don't know. None of the girls have come down yet. Maybe they're—oh! Here they come!" 

A cluster of female classmates had arrived in tandem. Katsuki spotted you laughing as you spoke to the round-faced one. He flushed for seemingly no reason. The amount of times he'd seen you smile was almost innumerable, but it still made his heart lurch in his chest. 

How the hell were you so cute? 

"Boys!" Ashido beckoned. "If you're all done with your rooms, us girls were discussing having a little fun event right now!" 

Probably something stupid, Katsuki thought. He shuffled over towards you, one hand in his pocket. Your eyes lit up as you spotted him.

"Hey, Katsuki-kun. How's your room looking?" 

"Amazing," he bragged, "how else?" 

"Ha-ha. I should've known better than to ask."

"Let's go to my room and hang out," he said, noting the way Uraraka's bottom lip went taut. Ha. She probably thought she'd get to have you all to herself. 

"She can't, Bakugou-kun." As expected, shitty round-face had something to say. She placed her hands on her hips and stared up at him defiantly. "Mina-chan was just about to say, but we're holding a room competition, where everyone shows theirs off and then we vote on who our favorite is." 

Katsuki's eyes glazed over. "Huh. That's even dumber than I expected." 

"So rude!" 

"Anyways," he glared, hooking his arm around your own, "[Name]'s coming with me." His eyes shone expectantly. "You're coming, right?"

He could see that you were a little torn, what with the way the brunette were staring at you hopefully, but you were quick to assume a smile. 

"Actually, I was going to opt out of the room viewing competition anyways," you laughed. "My place is still a little messy. I'll let the others see once I've tidied it up a bit more." 

"Eh?? No fair, [Name]-chan! I thought we were all gonna do this together!" Uraraka—along some of the other girls—were making a big show of pouting at you, visibly disappointed. Katsuki rolled his eyes. God, these chicks were so annoying. Couldn't you find some friends that grated on his nerves a bit less?

"I'm a bit too tired right now. I'd rather just lounge around in my room, or Katsuki-kun's." 

Katsuki couldn't help but sport a victorious grin. Of course you'd chosen him. There was no contest, really. Uraraka looked back at him with brown eyes that sweltered from irritation. He would've probably flipped her off, if not for the fact that you would've reprimanded him with a frown. 

"Alright. Let's leave these losers alone, [Name]. Leave them to their stupid 'room trashing' competition, or whatever." 

"Room viewing!!" Ashido squeaked. 

"Yeah, like I give half a shit. C'mon—we're leaving." 

He gently tugged you by the hand, and you faltered in place for a moment, but only to wave your friends off with a smile. They all looked to be quite dejected upon realizing that you wouldn't be taking part with the rest of them. For some reason, that made Katsuki smirk. His girlfriend was desirable—in more ways than one—but no one could have you except him

"You're mine, [Name]." He said the words while puffing out his chest and squeezing down on your fingers. You looked up at him with crinkled brows and a confused expression.

"Um... well, yes? I mean, I know that already." 

Your rosy lips were pursed together as you peered up from underneath your lashes. Katsuki wondered how it was possible for someone to be so fucking adorable. If you were the only ones in the dorms right now, he would've surely pinned you up against the wall right then and there. 

"Good," he grinned. "As long as you know." 

You still appeared a bit confused, but he didn't bother explaining any further. The layout of his dorm room was almost identical to the way he'd had his room set up back at home. You were already familiar with it, having come over a few times before. 

"Yay! Katsuki-kun's bed!" You let out a squeal of delight, springing onto it with your limbs outstretched like a starfish. Katsuki watched your body bounce back on the mattress before you settled in and wrapped yourself in his blankets. 

"It's just a bed," he eye-rolled. "What's there to be so excited over? It's not like you sleep in a fucking cot." 

"I know," you smiled, "but your mattress is super soft. Way softer than mine. Where'd you buy it from, anyways?" 

"Hell if I know. Ask my shitty parents."

Katsuki climbed over-top of you, settling into the space just beside the wall. You hummed contentedly, sinking further back into the mattress. Your frame was almost completely obscured by the mounds of blankets stacked upon you. He laughed. 

"You look like a caterpillar, all tucked in like that." 

"It's cozy," you smiled. "Come cuddle with me?" 

As if he could possibly say no, when you were grinning up at him and looking all kinds of adorable. He chuckled and sprang under the blankets alongside you, immediately attacking your ribs with a flurry of tickles. 

"D-Don't do that!" you squealed, trying to kick out your legs in protest. "Katsuki-kun, don't—! H-Hey! You know I'm ticklish!!" 

"No shit," he grinned. "That's why I'm doing it."

The giggles and puffy breaths spilling from your lips only egged Katsuki on even further. He prodded at your sides until you became a panting mess, small tears prickling at the corners of your eyes. Katsuki decided he'd had his fill and spared you, instead pressing a kiss against your flushed cheek. 

"That was... so mean," you gasped, trying to reclaim your breathing. "You're the worst..." 

"You make it too damn easy." 

"Ugh..." 

Katsuki watched the rise and fall of your chest, eyes ghosting down your frame. You were so beautiful, and his first words to you had been so cruel. How'd you even end up falling for someone like him? He was strong, good in a fight, and had the ambition required to be a hero, but he certainly wasn't boyfriend material. That much was just plain obvious. He wasn't a fucking idiot, either. 

"What do you like about me, [Name]?" 

He regretted the words as soon as they came out. It made him sound whiny; as if he was self-conscious and seeking your reassurance. Normally, he wouldn't have stopped to think about it, but staring back at you like this—realizing just how perfect you were...

It made him feel lesser by comparison. 

Katsuki blew out a sigh. You weren't answering, merely staring back at him with knotted brows. He shouldn't have asked, after all. You likely didn't appreciate being put on the spot, either. 

"...everything, probably." 

"What?" 

Did she just say what I

"I mean, it has to be everything, right?" You pushed up on your elbows, smiling. "If some of your qualities took a drastic turn, you wouldn't be you anymore. People can change, but their defining qualities are just that—defining of who they are. Sure, you're quick to get angry, and most people aren't the biggest fan of that... but if you suddenly lost that nerve, became polite, and soft-spoken... it just wouldn't be the same." 

Katsuki stiffened. Your fingers lovingly ran along his cheekbone. 

"I wouldn't try to change anything about you, if that's what you were getting at. I respect how determined you are, and the way you never back down from a challenge. There are definitely bound to be some qualities I can appreciate more than others, but I'm not trying to pretend as if the rest aren't there."

He didn't know what to say to that. You always made him feel lost for words, and by all accounts, he was not a quiet guy.

This was so different from the start, from that time when you'd only ever been looking at him with fearful eyes. You were so kind. So kind and understanding. Actually, a lot of what you'd said that very first day you'd spoken still held true. The two of you were different—nearly polar opposites, in fact. But it just worked. His weaknesses were your strengths, and vice-versa. You kept trying to put the soulmate thing behind you, and just live in the present, but there was a part of him that felt as though this must've been meant to be, after all. 

"You make me really happy, [Name]." Katsuki's voice trembled as he spoke. Again, he was coming off as a weakling, but if there was ever a person that he could let his guard down around, it was you. 

You smiled, and his heart did that thing where it trembled and ached and felt like it was filling up all at once. 

"You make me really happy, too, Katsuki-kun."

His patience was running thin, and he couldn't wait to kiss you anymore. Your bodies collapsed against the mattress, limbs tangled under mounds of blankets and pressed together so tightly it felt as though your hearts were beating in unison.

Chapter Text

"Movie night?" you blinked, watching as Uraraka boisterously bobbed her brown head of hair. 

"Yep! It'll be fun, right? Lately, so many serious things have been happening, and with you being captured and all... we figured it would be nice to do something fun and lighthearted for a change."

"Well, I don't mind, but..." You frowned, thinking of your temperamental boyfriend, "I doubt Katsuki-kun would want to join." 

Uraraka puffed out her cheeks. "Oh, c'mon! I'm sure you can convince him to come! It's supposed to be something we do with the whole class. Everyone else is already on board!"

It surely wasn't as though you didn't want for Katsuki to join in on the festivities, but persuading him would surely prove a herculean feat. You could already imagine his response, word for word—

"Hell no." 

As expected. 

You sighed, plopping down on the edge of his bed. "Please, Katsuki-kun? I really want for you to be there with everyone else. You don't even have to really talk to anyone, just sit down and enjoy the movies." 

"Movies, as in plural?" Katsuki gaped, his crimson orbs nearly bulging out of his head. "I hope you're fucking kidding." 

"Uh, well, it was supposed to be a movie marathon, so..." 

"Yuck," he spat. "Disgusting. Gross." He swiveled in place and resumed angrily scribbling at his notebook. "Why would I waste my entire fucking night with all those losers, watching some shitty-ass movies I probably won't even like?" 

"You can pick one!" you chimed in, a bright, hopeful smile lifting the corners of your lips. "We all get to choose our own movie, and then we put it in a ballot and draw. The first few pulled are the ones we'll be watching tonight."

Truthfully, you still didn't even have a clue as to what sort of movies someone like Katsuki genuinely enjoyed. A standard action-type came to mind; one with lots of violence and plenty of angry, screaming men. But that was just a guess. God forbid he choose some gruesome horror flick... 

Well. It was too late to back down now, in any case—it seemed as though your hasty suggestion had convinced him somewhat. You could almost picture the gears in his head churning. Katsuki stood up from his desk, an all-too-familiar smirk gracing his lips.

"Fine, [Name], I'll humor you. But only if you guarantee that my movie will be picked." 

That's not really how this works...

—Is what you wanted to say, but you were far too close to convincing him to risk jeopardizing your chances. Wearily, you nodded your head, praying that you weren't in for an evening of chainsaw massacres.

 

 

 

 

 

As it turned out, that was very much not the case. 

"Disney movies?!" Katsuki roared, practically exploding his fist into the wall. "Are you fucking shitting me right now?!"

"Calm down, man." Kirishima, always the voice of reason, was attempting to placate the angry blonde. "We thought having a theme for the marathon would be fun. We can do other themes, on other days. Something fun like this was just missing, that's all." 

He gritted his teeth. "If you think I'm gonna sit here and watch some baby-ass movies—" 

"Disney isn't for babies! Everybody loves Disney!" 

"Yeah, take a bow, Bakugou. We've already voted." 

"Someone slip this guy a chill pill already." 

"THE FUCK ARE YOU ASSHOLES SAYING TO ME?!"

You chuckled wearily. His behavior wasn't exactly ideal (but then again, when was it?), still, you'd managed to drag him over, one way or another. It was too late for him to run off, not when you were looking back at him with big, imploring eyes. Katsuki scowled in defeat. 

"Can't believe this is how I'm spending my Friday night..." 

Kirishima ignored him, striding to the front of the group with a basket in tow. "Alright, guys, submit your choices in here! We'll only have time to watch the first few movies or so, but there's always a chance yours will get drawn!" 

Katsuki wasn't bothering to submit anything, as expected, but you folded your little slip of paper and dropped it in the basket, hoping that [movie of choice] would end up being picked. A few of your classmates had already prepared popcorn and other snacks, dimming the lights and ushering for everyone to grab a seat. The couches couldn't fit all of you, so you settled down on one of the floor-pillows that had been laid out. 

"Alrighty!" Kirishima grinned, rifling his hand through the scraps of paper. "Looks like first up is... Lady and the Tramp!" 

Uraraka let out a squeal of delight. "Yes! That was mine!" 

Some classmates hummed in approval, content with the choice, while others sighed at theirs not being picked. Honestly, you'd be happy just getting to hang out with Katsuki and your friends, even if yours didn't end up being screened tonight. You smiled and looked back at the ash blonde, who was grumbling incessantly. 

"Do you like this one, Katsuki-kun?" 

"The fuck do you think?" he snapped. "I don't waste my time watching shitty Disney movies." 

He was probably being serious, but there was a part of you that wondered if maybe this was just an attempt to keep up his "tough-guy" image. Maybe he secretly binge-watched Disney movies on his own time. You'd probably never find out, but it was pretty cute to picture. 

"What the hell are you chuckling by yourself for, [Name]? Such a fuckin' weirdo." 

"Ha-ha, it's nothing." You smiled and grabbed him by the hand, pulling his body closer to your own. "Let's just enjoy the movie, Katsuki-kun."

They'd set up the streaming service and managed to find the film online. It was starting now, and that all-too-familiar opening sequence with the outlined castle made you feel all sorts of nostalgia. Out of the corner of your eye, you caught Uraraka and Izuku sitting awfully close together, a deep flush coloring their cheeks. Todoroki was reclined against the edge of the couch, just beside you and Katsuki.

"Which movie did you nominate, Todoroki-kun?" You were rather curious what your icy classmate had chosen; you'd seen him drop in a paper, after all. 

Without even batting an eyelash, "The Little Mermaid," he spoke. You chortled, taken aback by the seriousness of his response. "Ariel's a badass who doesn't take shit from her dad. Also," he paused, "the music's pretty good." 

You burst out into a fit of giggles, Todoroki cocking his head to the side in confusion. Katsuki scowled and muttered something about the other boy under his breath. You squirmed in place, trying to get as comfy as possible. The opening credits came to an end and the movie began. 

Surprisingly, Katsuki didn't bitch and whine all throughout. You noticed his eyelids drifting every now and then—this was already past his absurdly-early bedtime, after all. It was nice, though. It was nice being close to him, surrounded by your friends. Kirishima and Uraraka were right. Too many difficult things had been happening as of late. All of you here were well aware of the dangers heroes were constantly exposed to, and it was by no means an easy career, but a little time off like this was warranted, just to get away from it all, if only for a bit. 

The movie went on, and eventually, the iconic spaghetti scene arrived. You giggled; this part always made your heart feel warm and light. Katsuki's arm tightened around your waist as he pressed you up flush against his chest. He leaned in to peck you on the lips, pulling away so quickly you'd barely had time to process what happened. 

"Don't those dogs kinda remind you of Bakugou and [Name]?" 

Your classmates were pointing at the screen now—the two dogs had already broken away from their bashful kiss after accidentally nibbling away at the same strand of spaghetti. Multiple pairs of eyes were suddenly affixed to your frame. 

"Awww, look at them!" Ashido squealed. "They're holding hands and cuddling~" 

"So cute!" 

"Bakugou's such a softie when it comes to her, huh?" 

Instead of watching the movie, they were all gawking at the two of you with cheeky grins. You swallowed your embarrassment and looked to Katsuki, whose cheeks had wasted no time in turning bright-red and glowing splotchy. He gritted his teeth and raised his middle finger in the air. 

"Fuck all of you!" 

Chapter Text

"Monoma-kun, how's your training going so far? Did you manage to come up with any special moves?" 

He scoffed. "Assuming I had, do you really think I'd let a miserable Class-A student such as yourself in on my progress??" 

"I'm not a 'miserable Class-A student', I'm probably one of the closest friends you have." 

"Ludicrous!" 

"No, it's really not all that hard to believe, given how much you turn people off." 

"What was that?!" 

You chuckled softly. It was lunch-time, and normally you would've been eating alongside Katsuki and Kirishima, or Uraraka and them, but you already got to see your classmates plenty because of the dorms, and you figured a proper chat with your pretentious blonde friend was long overdue. 

"Katsuki-kun's doing great," you mumbled between bites—something that made Monoma scrunch up his nose in disgust. "Well, I guess that's to be expected, though. He's always been a quick learner. Actually, the more time I spend around him, I start to wonder if there's anything he isn't good at..." 

Monoma rolled his eyes. "I have no interest in hearing you brag about your boyfriend." 

"Huh? I-I wasn't bragging, or anything..." 

"You were," he sighed. "Every time you bring him up, your eyes light up and you get this goofy grin on your face. As if you're trying to keep from smiling fully. It's not very lady-like, [Name]." 

You puffed out your cheeks, Monoma merely flashing you his trademark conceited smirk in return. You eyed the pudding cup near the edge of your lunch tray and very carefully loaded a bit into your spoon, angled it backwards, and flung it straight towards the unsuspecting male. It settled into the silky strands of his blonde hair. Monoma blinked in confusion, patting at the top of his head and feeling gelatin upon his fingers. 

"[Name]!" he shrieked. "What on earth are you doing, you barbarian?!" 

You stuck out your tongue. "That was for making fun of me." 

"What is wrong with you?! How would you like it if I started chucking food your way?!" 

He reached for the edge of his tray, gritting his teeth as if daring you to press him any further. You loaded up your spoon with a piping-hot portion of curry this time—a much more dangerous form of ammunition. 

"...what in the fuck are you two morons doing?" 

You and Monoma both glanced to the side in unison, only to find Katsuki hovering by the table and looking remarkably unimpressed. Well, that much made sense. You were holding your curry-spoon like a catapult, after all.

"Nothing," you and your friend replied in tandem. You set down your cutlery and smiled. "Come eat with us, Katsuki-kun." 

"Hell no." 

This time, it was Monoma and Katsuki who'd echoed one another. The blondes glared each other down; your boyfriend bearing a snarl, and the other turning up his nose as if he'd smelled something rotten. 

"Tell this guy to screw off," Katsuki snapped. "What happened to us eating together? The hell are you disappearing for without even texting me?" 

Monoma smirked. "Oh-ho? I'm sorry, Bakugou... could you please repeat that? It's almost as if you were implying that [Name] needs your permission to do what she wants..." 

"The fuck was that?!" 

"Can both of you please calm down," you sighed. "Katsuki-kun—I just wanted to eat with him because I can see you and the others all the time at the dorms. I figured I should use lunch-time to meet with my other friends, too." 

"Ha!" Monoma chortled. "She's choosing me over you. Hear that, Bakugou?! You've officially lost this—" 

"Monoma-kun, shut up already."

The boy hissed through his teeth, but swallowed down whatever acidic remarks he'd prepared. You gestured to the spot beside you at the table. Katsuki glared at both you and Monoma in total silence for a few moments, then, realizing you wouldn't budge, let out a heavy sigh and planted himself down in the seat adjacent to your own. 

"Two minutes," he gritted out impatiently. "Two minutes and then this asshole's gone." 

"Good lord, you're such a brute." 

"Shut it, copy-cat bastard." 

You smiled, unwilling to be fazed. The fact that he'd even agreed to stay with Monoma already spoke volumes. Just like with the movies a few days prior—it was subtle, but you didn't fail to take note of the little ways he was making an effort for you. 

How sweet.

Katsuki had proceeded to reach across the table and swipe the muffin off Monoma's tray. The boy shrieked like someone had just poked his ribs with a knife. A bit more and they'd start ripping out each other's hair. Well, this had its own merits. Lunch and a show, really. 

"Katsuki-kun," you prodded, "tell Monoma-kun about how your special moves are coming along." 

Monoma let out a groan. "God, [Name], not this again. I told you, I couldn't care less about your boyfriend's egocentric tales."  

You ignored him. "I mentioned it a bit earlier, but what was it called again? The one you'd been focusing on lately? Something... shot...?" 

"AP shot," Katsuki grinned, tickled pink by having been granted the opportunity to brag. "I focus the explosion on a single point between my fingers rather than my palms. The destructive power's fucking insane. It can bust through slabs of rock stacked against one another." 

"Oh, joy. The perfect skill for a meathead like you."

Monoma forked his beef patty with growing disinterest. You wondered what kind of moves a person like him would be able to even develop, since his Quirk relied almost exclusively on others' powers. You weren't really in a place to judge to begin with. Lately, you'd mostly been focused on expanding upon the parameters of your abilities, though you'd noticed your healing had improved somewhat. 

"Well," Katsuki sneered, resting his chin on the back of his hand, "I guess there ain't really shit someone like you can do, besides imitate others. Kinda sad when you think about it." 

"Amusing. Have you already forgotten how it felt to receive your own explosions right to the face?" 

The Sports Festival still had a ways to go before being put behind them, it seemed. Still, all things considered, it was incredible that the three of you were able to sit together like this right now. 

"Here, Monoma-kun. You can have my pudding cup, I'm full." 

He narrowed his eyes as you slid it over to his side. "How truly generous of you, considering you'd only just assaulted me with your sticky dessert a few minutes prior." 

Katsuki stared. "So why the fuck do you talk like you're an old man?" 

"I do not—!" 

"You're trying way too damn hard. It's sad." 

Monoma's cheeks inflated like a puffer-fish. One second he was seething silently, the next he'd grabbed his meat patty and slammed it right into Katsuki's face. Globs of thick, beefy juice dripped all the boy down the boy's face until the patty fell over and flopped down onto the table. 

You hummed. 

Yeah, he's screwed.

"YOU SERIOUSLY WANNA DIE TODAY, HUH?!" 

If not for U.A's strict policy prohibiting Quirk use and violence outside of classes, you were sure he would've jumped across the table and strangled Monoma right then and there. Even a hothead like Katsuki wasn't that much of a loose—

Nevermind. 

"Katsuki-kun," you mumbled between bites, "please stop wringing my friend by the neck." 

"This fucker needs to pay!" he screamed, rattling Monoma back and forth hard enough to give him whiplash. Any more and the boy would probably start foaming at the mouth.

"[N-Name]," the blonde croaked out. "P-Please help... me..." 

You popped another spoonful into your mouth, smiling brightly. 

"Awe, I think he likes you." 

Chapter Text

It seemed as though your soulmate mark was in its terminal stages, a few smudges away from fading altogether. You'd been going to Recovery Girl for checkups lately, because no matter how much Katsuki would scoff and tell you he felt fine, getting a professional's opinion surely couldn't hurt. 

"Everything looks normal to me," the heroine smiled, stepping away from the blonde's frame. "I've yet to notice anything off when either of you have come to me, [Name]. I know it may be a difficult request, but try to take your mind off it." 

You heaved a sigh of relief. The relationship you had now was built around the two of you focusing on one another and not trying to predict the future, but as expected, it was still hard to quell the fear festering in your chest. 

It was getting close—too close. 

"See?" Katsuki frowned. "She says everything's fine. Like I told you. Unless you've been feeling sick, then there's nothing to worry about." 

"Well, no... I haven't been." 

"Then just relax." He sat up from the stool and tousled your hair. "We're fine, [Name]. Things are good."

Things were good. You couldn't deny that statement. If something were to happen, you'd agreed long ago that the two of you would face it head-on—together.

"Okay," you smiled, eyes brightening. "Thank you, Recovery Girl. I appreciate you taking the time to do this for us so often." 

"It's no problem at all. Happy to help."

You left the nurse's office and made your way back to the dorms. The Provisional License exam was right around the corner, so your classmates were either training their butts off (i.e. Izuku, Todoroki), overcome with nerves (i.e. Uraraka, Jirou, Yaoyorozu), or idling around doing even less than usual (Kaminari + everyone else—but mostly Kaminari).

"Heyyo!" Mina greeted, nibbling on a pocky by the couch. "You guys wanna hang with—" 

"Piss off, raccoon-eyes." 

Katsuki flipped off the pinkette and trudged through the communal quarters with purpose, all the while dragging you by the wrist. Normally, you would've protested, but truth be told you were far too exhausted to pull another late-nighter. Lounging around in your room and heading off to bed early seemed far more appealing.

"Did you do all your homework?" Katsuki asked, watching as you flopped onto your mattress almost immediately. 

"Mmn," came your muffled reply.

"[Name], don't be a lazy butt." 

"So what if my butt's lazy? I'm too tired... let's just sleep." 

He sat down on the edge of the bed and patted your head. "I can't sleep with you. We'll get into a load of shit." 

You let out an exasperated sigh. What was the point of the two of you living under the same roof now if you couldn't even sleep side-by-side every now and then? Katsuki was certainly not averse to stirring up conflict and bending the rules a bit. Well, perhaps he didn't want you to get in trouble either, but...

"We'll sleep together one day, right?" You propped yourself up by the elbows, gazing hopefully into his crimson eyes. Katsuki's brow relaxed just so. 

"'Course, babe. We just gotta do it so we won't get caught." 

"Yay!" 

Smiling up to your ears, you bounced up and sprung into Katsuki's arms. He wheezed, the very breath having been knocked out of him. Eventually, two strong arms fell around your back and squeezed you tight. 

"You're so cute," he mumbled. "I'm lucky as hell."

You flushed and buried your face into his neck. He smelled nice. It was his usual spiced-pine musk, but his hair was a bit different... apple-scented shampoo, maybe? You didn't know, but you liked it. 

It'd be nice if he could just hold you in his arms like this, forever.

"You really are sleepy," Katsuki remarked, cupping you by the cheek. "If you're tired, head to bed. I'm probably gonna study a bit and go to sleep myself." 

"You're leaving already?" 

It was hard to mask the disappointment in your tone. Katsuki chuckled, flicking the tip of your nose. 

"Just sleep, [Name]. We can hang out tomorrow, when you're more rested."

He pressed a quick kiss to your lips and sat up from the bed. You whined softly, but your body almost felt numb, that's how tired you were. Katsuki flashed you the faintest of smiles as he carefully retreated from the room, closing the door behind him. 

The second he was gone, you felt your energy plummet even more. 

"Don't wanna go to bed," you muttered under your breath—except really, you did, just not without Katsuki. Still moving sluggishly, you threw off your clothes and changed into your pajamas. You were practically a zombie as you trudged towards the girl's washrooms to brush your teeth. 

Within less than twenty minutes, it was lights-out.

You stared up at the ceiling for the first little while, just letting your pupils dilate under the darkness. Even though you had layers upon layers of blankets, you still felt cold somehow. Like you had a chill you just couldn't seem to shake. 

The mark on your hip throbbed for a moment, and eventually, you fell asleep. 

 

 

 

[...]

 

 

"This way, you dork. Don't go off-course." 

You hummed thoughtfully. "I like to take in the scene. It's so pretty up here." 

Katsuki sighed and watched as you snapped yet another picture with your camera. Trees, againhe wondered how many damn pictures of trees you could possibly take. 

"I can tell you don't do this often," he mused. "You're like a fish out of water up here, [Name]." 

You puffed out your cheeks. It was true that you'd never really taken up hiking as a recreational hobby, but you certainly weren't that bad. Your stamina had improved drastically, what with all the training you'd undergone at U.A. Maybe before, a marathon-length trek like this might have worn you out, but you were doing a pretty good job of keeping up with an athlete like Katsuki, in any case.

"I think I'm doing well," you frowned, scrolling through the pictures you'd taken so far. "Katsuki-kun, maybe you should go easy on me. I haven't slowed you down yet, have I?" 

His lips formed a wobbly grin. "Relax, I'm just teasing. You're so cute when you get all pouty." You rolled your eyes, but Katsuki had already grabbed you by the hand. "C'mon," he ushered, "we've almost reached the viewpoint. This one will be actually worth taking pictures of." 

It was better to trust him. He was the expert when it came to navigating this rocky, uneven terrain. The air was so cool and fresh up here; the type that would burn your lungs if you inhaled too much. It was nice to get away from schoolaka your new homeand go out someplace different like this. Katsuki stopped in place for a moment, glancing back over his shoulder with a smirk. You traced his pointer-finger towards a small path through a bramble of bushes. 

"Follow me," he said, squeezing your hand tightly. "But first—" He pushed the bushes aside, revealing a rocky, down-trodden trail that swooped downwards. It was a bit of a jump, but Katsuki hopped down with ease. He positioned himself below you and outstretched his arms. "Don't trip," he warned. "You'll bash in your knee." 

You nodded and carefully stepped down rock-to-rock, rather than springing off the way Katsuki had done. He hovered below, ready to catch you if you lost your footing. 

"Phew," you grinned, clasping his hand at the last minute. It was steeper than you'd realized, but you felt somewhat proud for not having needed his help. 

"You good?" 

"Yep, I'm fine." 

"Alright," he nodded. "Just a little more now." 

You followed behind him dutifully, watching wide-eyed as he tore through thorny brambles and helped you squeeze through tight spaces. He'd told you not to go "off-course" earlier, but it was clear that wherever he was leading you towards was clearly not a normal, touristy trail. You wondered how he'd managed to memorized all the little junctions to go through and clearly mapped them out in his head. Or maybe he'd just done this very hike countless times. Both scenarios were equally impressive. 

You weren't quite sure where exactly he was bringing you, but the rushing of water that you'd begun to hear had given you a pretty good idea. You pressed your lips together and ventured forward, albeit nervously, until you reached your destination. 

Having finally emerged from the forested area, you could see it nowa glistening waterfall. 

"Oh, lord..." 

You hugged at your sides unknowingly. The space in between the two cliff-like slabs of rock churned with rushing white-water that cascaded down and spilled over the edge. You took a step forward and peered hesitantly over the other side. You weren't quite sure why you'd done thatthe drop made your stomach churn and break out into a fit of cramps. 

"T-This is too high up," you gasped, latching your arm around Katsuki's and clinging to him for dear life. He chuckled and rubbed your hair. 

"Don't worry, we'll be fine. Just don't get too close to the water. It's cool though, isn't it? You don't get to look down on a waterfall every damn day." 

And for good reason. Sure, you were training to become a hero, but a fear of heightsor rather, fallingwas undoubtedly justified. The things Katsuki did for fun were fucking insane. 

"I-I'll admit that it's beautiful up here," you stammered out, holding your camera between trembling fingers. "At least I'll get some nice pictures..." 

Katsuki grinned. "You scared, [Name]?" 

"Wouldn't anyone be? One misstep and you're a goner if you fall into that water..." 

"I could use the force of my explosions to push myself back out. If you were in a pinch, I'd be able to save you, too." 

You doubted that. No matter how strong your boyfriend was, gravity was not a force to be trifled with. 

"Just a few more pictures and we're heading back," you mumbled. "Okay...?" 

"Relax, relax." Katsuki trudged forward, getting dangerously close to the edge of the rushing water. You nearly had a heart-attack right then and there, but the bastard was laughing at you, of all things.

"Katsuki-kun!" you shouted, taking a slow step on wobbly legs. "This isn't a joke! Please back away from there!" 

He crouched forward and grinned mischievously. "You worried about me, babe? Ha-ha, you're so cute. Nothing's gonna happen, just relax." 

"I'm serious, back the fuck away from there right NOW!" 

"Chill," he muttered. "I can take care of myself." 

It was clear he wasn't getting the message, or maybe he was just getting a kick out of fucking with you. Either way, it wasn't funny. It wasn't funny when he moved towards the edge of the water, and it was even LESS funny now that he was ghosting his fingers across its surface. 

"Katsuki-kun!" 

You screamed, but the sound got lost in your throat. It seemed as though the universe thought he was asking for an early death. Otherwise, you were sure it wouldn't have happened. No matter how much it had sloped downwards, no matter how much silt and fragile sediment it had accrued, it wouldn't have happened.

The rocky bank wouldn't have given in, right at that very moment.

It hurt your own ears, the strangled scream erupting from your vocal chords. Katsuki's glazed eyes widened to the point that his pupils seemed to disappear. The strap of your camera slid off as you lunged forward, cold metal clunking against the ground. 

Your hand barely reached him in time, tears spilling over the corners of your eyes. He was gripping both your hand and the coarse, sliding terrain. Half of his body was submerged in water. Your feeble strength was surely not the main factor tethering him in placehe was keeping himself on the bank by the power of his core alone. 

"Push!" you screamed, tears flowing down your cheeks as you tugged on his body as hard as possible. "Push onpush up against the rocks...!" 

"S-Shit..." 

Katsuki's expression was twisting in upon itself. It made your heart tear right in two, seeing the look of knowing in his eyes. The way he was struggling less and less; the way his strength was failing him.

"Let go, [Name]." He grimaced, fingers slipping backwards. "Let go, or you'll get dragged in along with me." 

"NO!" 

"This isn't a joke, I'm—" 

"I knew it wasn't a joke!" you sobbed. "It wasn't a joke... that's why I didn't want you getting close to begin with! I justughhh!" You pulled him as fiercely as you could, to the point that your shoulder felt like it would pop right out of its socket. Katsuki didn't budge. "P-Please," you whined, "please, lift yourself up... somehow. Why am I so weak, I'm so weak— " 

"Let go, [Name]." 

Katsuki's face was both flushed and pale at the same time. He must've been nearly hypothermic from the freezing water alone. You swallowed your tears and dug your nails into his knuckles. 

"H-Hold on to my hand," you begged. "Hold on to my hand, and then... let go of the other one. When you let go, set off an explosion towards me as quickly as possible. It doesn't matter if we collide together or the force blows me back. Just, please... you can—"

"I can't," he grimaced. "The second I let go of either hand, I'm gone. I shouldn't have acted tough and pretended like I'd be fine. God... I'm such a fucking idiot. Why am I such an idiot?" 

"No, no, no, no—"

"Shit, I'm sorry. This is so pathetic..." 

His hand slipped off your own. One moment you were looking him dead in the eyes, and the next he'd been swept away by the rapids, engulfed by white water. You fell to your knees, nearly kissing the wet dirt. You listened for the sound of an explosion, but you didn't hear it. 

You looked over the edge. You saw nothing. 

You waited. You saw nothing. 

"Katsuki-kun...?" 

Your hoarse, trembling voice almost sounded foreign. Your cheeks were so wet with tears you couldn't even tell if you were still crying, or if you'd run out. A searing pain erupted across your hip. 

You woke up.

 

 

 

[...]

 

 

It was the first time you'd had a nightmare so vivid and intense that you shot up from your bed in the middle of the night sobbing.

Your whole body felt like it was on fire. You hunched forward, forehead slick with sweat, and dry-heaved right onto your blanket. Nothing was purged, just a fiery, searing pain that was left festering in your chest. You cupped a palm to your damp cheeks. Some tears were fresh, others had dried down and left the surface of your skin gritty and parched. 

You shivered, leaning over to turn on the lamp by your nightstand. The momentary quell of darkness helped alleviate the fear, if only for a little. You'd always been a dreamer, prone to nightmares and other imaginations, but this was completely unlike anything you'd ever felt before. 

This dream had torn through your core, your very being. It was vivid to the point that you were replaying the exact scenes at second-by-second intervals. 

It felt real

It... felt... real.

...felt... real.

...real.

Real. 

Without even wasting another breath, you ripped off your shirt and tossed it back on the bed. You shuffled down your pants and blinked through the dim light, eyes zoning in on that one, singular spot. The mark on your hip—the mark which was once whole, but had since been reduced to a smudged patch of misshapen letters. 

The mark which was gone. 

"No." 

You blinked away more tears. 

"NO." 

It wasn't possible. Yes, it had been very faded, but not enough that it would disappear overnight. A chunk like this had never faded so quickly. Frantic, you checked your other hip, even though you knew very well it had only ever been on your left side. 

There was nothing, on either side. It was gone

You thought back to your nightmare, which had felt so dreadfully real. Even in your dream, your hip had been aching. A beacon, a sign. 

A premonition.

You pressed a hand against your lips, drawing in a shaky breath.

"Katsuki-kun...?"

Chapter Text

You'd never been more scared in your entire life. 

Tears streamed down your cheeks, seemingly endless in their plight. Your chest was heaving spasmodically; it felt like you'd forgotten how to breathe. The faint flicker of the lamp on your nightstand cast shadows across the room. 

You blinked once, then twice. All you could see was white. 

Katsuki-kun.

You needed to see him right now, to hear him, to touch him, to feel his presence. To know that he was still here, the way he'd always been. To know that he hadn't left you.

A hot, searing pain had surged all throughout your body. You weren't able to form clear, lucid thoughts, but luckily, your body acted from muscle-memory alone. Before you could take another shallow, staggering breath, you were already gripping at your doorknob with cold, quivering fingers. The halls were dark, but your feet led you forward. Katsuki's room was on the uppermost floor, just like your own. Down the hallway, turn left at the bend, cross over to the opposite side. 

You were hovering in front of his door now, tears sliding down your temples and slinking off your chin. Your chest, your head, your heart—everything hurt so fucking much. The breaths escaping your lips sounded more like frantic gasps now than anything else. 

The first knock was tentative, and quiet. "Katsuki-kun?" you called. 

No answer. 

The ones that followed became frenzied, and your knuckles barely made contact against the door with how hurriedly you were shaking your fist. By now, your vision should've adjusted to the dark somewhat, but all you saw was black. Black, mixed in with the specks of white flitting before your eyelids. 

Once again, no answer.

You staggered forward, feeling nauseous and faint all at once. Your knuckles hit the door again; a single, clunky blow that was dead before it even connected. Your breathing had transitioned to hyperventilation now, voice a strangled, choked-out mess. 

"Katsuki-kun," you sobbed, knocking limply at the door over and over again. "Please... please answer. I'm begging you..." 

Not a single sound from inside the room. He wasn't that deep of a sleeper. Your dream kept replaying in your mind, and god—you just couldn't bear it any longer. 

"KATSUKI-KUN!!" 

You wailed out at the top of your lungs, uncaring as to who heard you and who you awoke. Your teeth clenched together, and you sucked in a breath of air, holding it in your lungs until it felt as though they would burst. The tears kept pouring down your face, but you paid them no heed. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered right now except him, so why wasn't he answering...?!

"Answer me!" you cried out. "I'm not going anywhere until you open this door! Answer me, answer me, please just—" 

"[Name]-chan...?" 

A voice, but not the one you'd been so desperate to hear. The door to the room besides Katsuki's had just opened a crack, with Kirshima's groggy, half-lidded eyes staring back at you. 

"What's happening?" he asked, stepping outside his room. Once he saw the tears flooding down your cheeks, his entire expression went rigid. "A-Are you okay? What happened? Why are you crying?" 

You resumed knocking on Katsuki's door, ignoring the redhead altogether. 

"Open up, open up, open up...!"

"[Name]-chan, seriously, what's happening—" 

"LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!!"

Kirishima's eyes widened, but you were outright wailing like a wounded animal now. He tried to grab you by the shoulders, but you elbowed him off and continued pounding at the door. You were nothing more than a broken record player, and your knuckles were swollen and raw, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered. If Katsuki wasn't with you, nothing mattered anymore. 

You crumpled to the ground, gasping for breath, Kirishima rushing to a crouch just beside you. 

This can't be happening. This can't seriously be happening. What did I do to deserve this? What did we do to deserve this? I swear, I'll give my life instead if he'd just

"Holy fucking shit. What's going on out here...?"

You went utterly still, save for the droplets of tears hitting the floor. The wrench in your heart had just been yanked out, leaving a wide, gaping hole in its wake. You lifted your head. 

"K-Katsuki-kun..." 

It was him. Hovering just above you, with his door swung open, blonde locks even more tousled from sleeping, and crimson orbs trembling as though they'd just seen a ghost. He was right in front of you. It was actually him, in the flesh. Breathing right before your eyes. 

"I don't know what's happening," Kirishima spluttered out. "I just woke up and found her screaming—"

You were in his arms without sparing a breath. The redhead lurched backwards, giving you room to bury your head in Katsuki's chest and dig your fingers into the back of his shirt. Katsuki wheezed from the sudden impact, but let his arms fall around your waist. He was touching you. You could feel him. This was real.

From down the hall, Shouji had awoken as well, but Katsuki merely waved both his classmates off. "It's fine," he rasped. "I've got it from here. Don't let Aizawa find out about this. I'll take care of [Name]."

"Are you sure?" Kirishima asked, eyes laced with concern.

"Yeah, she'll be okay. I don't think she's in pain or anything, just... we'll sort it out." 

Katsuki pulled you into the room before your sobs could awaken anyone else. You were still clinging to his frame, whimpering and shaking uncontrollably. He kept you close while switching on the lamp by his desk, and promptly grabbed you into his arms and led you to the bed.

"Okay," he breathed out, gripping you by the waist. "So... help me understand what's happening. I'm totally fucking lost here. Did someone say some nasty shit to you? 'Cause I swear to god, I don't give a fuck who it is, I'll bash their damn head in if—" 

You shook your head. "No..." 

"No? Then what is it?" 

"...gone..." 

"Gone? What's gone?" Katsuki shook you gently, nudging your chin so that you could meet his eyes. "Come on, [Name]. I can't help you if don't tell me." 

"It's not—" You gasped for breath. The panic attack from earlier had left you feeling faint and numb. Your fingers palmed the edge of your shirt. "I-I'll just show you..." 

The fabric shifted to reveal your bare, un-inked hip. Your skin was flushed from when you'd been frantically rubbing at it earlier, but other than that, it was desolate, like a blank canvas. No writing in sight. 

Even in the dim lighting, you didn't miss the way Katsuki's crimson orbs widened. At first, he was completely silent, just taking it all in. Eventually, a tentative finger reached out to prod the bit of exposed skin. He must've been mystified; it wasn't as though you could ever feel the soulmate mark with your fingers. Or maybe he was trying to rub at the surface and see if the words were hiding somewhere underneath. 

"Huh." 

It was all he said, and he retracted his forefinger without another word. You sniffled again, wiping away another wave of the seemingly endless tears. 

"I thought you were dead," you choked out. "I-I had a dream—a nightmare—and you just... I woke up, and it was gone. It was gone, and I thought you were gone, too. And I just... o-oh. I'm getting sick again just thinking of it..." 

You let your head fall against Katsuki's chest, forcing yourself to take in a big gulp of air in the hopes of clearing the haze in your mind. He stood still for a few moments. You felt his fingers graze by your cheek, a faint, almost inaudible sigh slipping from his lips. 

"What a relief, eh?" 

Your head shot upwards. Katsuki was gazing down at you with a gentle smile.

"I mean, even though it's gone, I'm still here, aren't I? This just proves that if something bad were to happen, it would've already happened by now." He gripped you by the shoulder, chin quivering just so. "It's done, [Name]. We did it. That shitty mark isn't gonna give us anymore trouble from here on."

You didn't know whether to laugh or cry even more. Katsuki shuddered softly, leaning in to rest his forehead flush against your own. He was right. The writing had completely disappeared, and yet neither of you had been harmed. All this time... all this worrying, all this grief... for nothing. 

"...we're going to be okay?" you breathed out, unable to believe your own words. Katsuki smiled again. You thought you noticed small tears prickling at the corners of his eyes. 

"Yeah, babe. We're going to be okay."

Just like that, you crumpled in his arms. This time, your tears were a surge of joy and relief. It was over. It was finally over. You'd survived—you'd both endured this much, for so long. The hell if anything was going to beat you down after this. 

Even so, you cried. You cried for everything; all the pain you'd been shouldering, all the fears and nightmares which had been festering in your chest. You cried it all out, nestled in the crook of Katsuki's shoulder, his fingers stroking your hair over and over again.

"D-Don't go anywhere... please..." 

"I'm not going anywhere, I promise." 

You wanted to stop sobbing, but you were too overcome with the swell of emotion. You wanted nothing more than to smile and bask in the moment, knowing that all your efforts until now hadn't been in vain. You wanted for Katsuki to know just how happy you were, that he was right here by your side. 

"Katsuki-kun." 

You pulled away from his chest and caressed his cheeks. Your fingers were trembling. He was warm to the touch, real.

A moment later and you were kissing him, with a fervor and passion that you didn't know you were even capable of. The tears were still coming quickly, wetting your cheeks and matting strands of your hair. You must've looked like an absolute nightmare, but the way Katsuki embraced you made it known that he couldn't care less.

He kissed you once, twice, then relentlessly, barely even pulling away for breath. You thought you heard him whimpering softly, a faint, hushed tune mixed in with the cacophony of your own sobs. It was all raw emotion, set out and laid bare.

"Come here," Katsuki breathed, pulling you down against the mattress. He let you settle in the space beside him before slamming his lips against your own again, frenzied and desperate. Your mouth was burning now, skin hot and chafed. You didn't care. You wanted to kiss him over and over again, to lose consciousness in his blistering embrace.

Your eyelids were gradually slipping to a close, body deflating on the spot. You still didn't care. Katsuki hugged you so tight it felt like your heart would burst. As your mind filled with black, you heard him whispering against the shell of your ear.

"I love you, [Name]."

Chapter Text

Sunlight trickled in through the blinds, and you awoke with Katsuki cradling you flush up against his chest. You heard movement, then a soft sigh. His crimson eyes were open, affixed to your frame. 

"Morning, babe." Katsuki's lips shifted into a small smile. "You feeling a bit better today?" 

"Yeah... a lot better, actually." 

Last night had been a hellish fever dream, one you'd been desperately trying to break free from. But it was over now. The mark was finally gone, and the two of you were just as you'd always been. This test, trial, or whatever it had been, it was over now. For good. And...

"I love you." 

You'd been half-asleep, but you knew you hadn't imagined hearing those words, in that low, gravelly voice. You flushed without even realizing it, rolling over and clutching the blanket up to your nose. 

Katsuki had said those words, to you. He wasn't the type to say things he didn't mean—you knew him far too well by now to think that. He'd actually said those words, the very same words that been bubbling, festering in your chest and begging for escape. You never thought he'd even say it, let alone say it first.

"[Name]?" Having taken note of your silence, Katsuki leaned over to get a better look at your face. You blushed deeper and held the blanket up so that most of your expression remained obscured. "The hell are you doin'? Hiding from me, aren'tcha?" 

Without warning, he ripped the blankets away from you, earning a frantic squeak in response. Katsuki chuckled to himself, immediately pouncing onto you and pulling you into a bear hug. You felt his lips kiss the edge of your jawline, a moment before he began blowing raspberries straight into your neck.

"S-Stop!" you squealed, giggling and flailing your limbs out in protest. "Katsuki-kun, stop it! I-I'm ticklish! I'm super ticklish there...!"

He grinned. "You're cute, is what you are. I wish I could just eat you up on the spot." 

Your temples flushed a blistering shade of scarlet, but Katsuki's grin merely widened. He pressed on with the onslaught of sloppy kisses and nips he was attacking your neck with. Your stomach heaved along with each burst of laughter, the likes of which were making your sides ache. You were out of breath by now, but your heart felt pleasantly full. The boy pinning you down was chuckling at his victory, cheeks red and eyes alight. You thought back to the marking, the writing of yours that had disappeared, and your first words to him

It really is amazing when he smiles. Even after all that, I don't think I'd go back and change what I said to him that first time. 

"Katsuki-kun," you started, "I—" 

"I love you," he blurted, making your breath all but hitch in your throat. Katsuki swallowed hard. You could feel his fingers trembling against your wrists. "I thought, maybe, you didn't hear me when I said it last night , so... uh..." 

You nodded hurriedly, unable to utter a response. 

"Oh, well, great," he coughed. "That's g-great. I just... I know it's a lot, and I obviously don't expect for you to say it back or anything, I just wanted to... make sure you knew. Yeah. I just want you to know, that's all."

He smiled, and you could tell it was genuine. You wanted to tell him, more than anything, but you'd promised yourself you'd wait until it felt right. Until you were ready—not because you were worried that he needed to hear it back, or that it was the last time you'd ever see him. You didn't want those fears to act as your motivation anymore. You didn't want to live so afraid of making others unhappy, or not being who they wanted you to be. 

If being with Katsuki had taught you anything, it was that you needed to start living for yourself from here on out. Your own emotions, your own wants. You would try being more honest about them going forward. 

"I'm really happy," you smiled, cradling his cheek with your palm. "Thank you, Katsuki-kun, for telling me. I'm sure it wasn't easy, so this really means the world to me." 

"Yeah?" He breathed a sigh of relief. "Alright. Shit, 'cause... I didn't know if you'd heard me the first time, so... to be honest, I didn't get any damn sleep last night over this."

You laughed. "I did." 

"I know, loser. I could hear you snoring." 

"What—?! I-I don't even snore!" 

"You did this time." 

"Stop lying!" 

Katsuki chuckled and pulled you in closer. You smiled against his chest, letting your arms fall around his broad back. He was warm, like always—almost unbearably so, but you'd since come to crave this warmth in a way you hadn't even known was possible. When he held you this tight, it felt like you were melting into his embrace, time and space a mere concept.

"We gotta start getting dressed soon," Katsuki mumbled, a tinge of reluctance in his voice. You sighed and nodded begrudgingly. 

"Do you think... Aizawa-sensei found out about last night?" 

"Doubt it. Kirishima should've taken care of it. If not, I'm seriously gonna bash that guy's head in."

"You shouldn't talk that way about your friends, Katsuki-kun." 

He pressed a quick peck on your forehead, pulling away with a coy smile. "If I can't trust him to take care of shit like this, then he's not exactly worthy of being my friend, is he?" 

You knew he didn't mean it, so you smiled again. Katsuki slowly relinquished his hold on your waist, and you both pulled up from the bed, Katsuki already in the process of ripping off his shirt to change. You bid him a quick goodbye and retreated towards your own room to get dressed for classes. As you waded through the halls, a familiar pain nipped at your left hip. 

You frowned, sure you'd just been imagining it.

 

 

 

 

 

Morning classes unveiled much like always, but you didn't miss the concerned glances coming your way from Kirishima and Shouji alike. Considering your breakdown last night, you supposed that was a given. You'd have to properly explain what had happened, but it didn't look like any of your other classmates—and thankfully, Aizawa—had heard the news. Your friend had done a good job of keeping it under wraps. 

Now, during lunchtime—

"Did you guys hear some screaming last night?" 

You swallowed. Ashido was making her way out the classroom, brows furrowed together in confusion. Tsuyu was just behind her, slowly nodding her head. 

"I think... I heard something, alright. Maybe crying, maybe groaning. In the middle of the night. It woke me up for a bit, but then I fell right back asleep."

"Really? That's odd." 

"Oh, jeez... what if the dorms have a ghost trapped within their walls??" 

"Don't be stupid, Kaminari." 

"Kaminari's always being stupid, though." 

"EH?!" 

Katsuki found his way over, gripping you by the hand before your heart could hammer away anymore. He gave you a reassuring squeeze. 

"Don't worry, no one'll find out. It's up to you when you want to tell them—if you even do. Whatever you wanna say, I'll be by your side." 

You managed a smile. "Thank you, Katsuki-kun. This whole stigma around soulmates has just been such a hassle... I feel like it's simpler if less people know about what we've been through." 

"Again, it's your call. But you're right, we don't owe anyone an explanation." 

He began leading you towards the cafeteria so you wouldn't have to listen to everyone's "ghost" theories anymore. Kirishima met you at your table, and Shouji even stopped by momentarily, to ascertain that everything was okay. You smiled and reassured him that you'd just had a very intense, very vivid nightmare. He seemed to believe you, and wished you the best.

"So you're feeling better now, right, [Name]-chan?" Kirishima was eyeing you worriedly. Unlike Shouji, he didn't seem convinced that a mere nightmare had made you bawl like that and throw yourself into Katsuki's arms. You slumped your brows. Ideally, you didn't want others to know, but Kirishima was one of your closest friends. 

"My soulmate mark's been fading for a while," you muttered in a hushed-out tone. Kirishima's eyes widened, but he hurried to compose himself, listening attentively. "It had been for a while," you admitted. "Katsuki-kun and I were really worried about it... I'd heard, from various sources, that if your soulmate bond begins fading away, it means that your partner could be in danger of dying. Last night, mine finally faded altogether, so..." 

"So you ran over to Bakugou's room because you were worried?" You nodded your head, and Kirishima let out a heavy sigh. "Jeez... that's heavy. I didn't know you guys were dealing with something so serious all this time..." 

"It's okay, though. It's all fine now." You glanced to Katsuki with a smile. "It's finally faded, but the both of us are still here, and we're doing great. From the beginning, nothing was guaranteed. We shouldn't have tried to predict what was going to happen and just enjoyed our time in the present." 

"That makes sense, but... I feel like most people would be worried, all things considered." 

"The point is that we're fine now," Katsuki rasped, downing a swig of his milk. "We're fine, and nothing's every gonna fuck with us again. Right, [Name]?" 

You smiled again. "Right."

The three of you turned your attention to the trays of food on the table. You were in between bites of your sandwich when you felt a soft top on your shoulder. 

"Er, Todoroki-kun?" you spluttered, hurrying to wipe away at your mouth. "Yes? Was there something...?" 

"I heard you crying last night," he stated placidly, both yours and Katsuki's eyes widening in one fell swoop. "I'm a pretty light sleeper," he went on, "and I could recognize it was your voice. I went upstairs to try and see what happened, but I guess you'd already gone back to your room back then." He leaned over your shoulder, eyes gentle. "Would you... tell me what happened? If it's too personal, I understand. I was worried you'd gotten hurt, is all."

Katsuki was pressing you up against his side before you could even blink. "None of your damn business," he snapped. "[Name] wasn't feeling well, so she came to my room. End of story, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't poke your shitty nose where it doesn't belong."

"But why wasn't she feeling well?" Todoroki pressed. "I would really like to know, otherwise—" 

"...s-shit!" 

You fell from Katsuki's arms, collapsing limply to the floor. The blonde was hovering above you in an instant, his entire body shaking and face so pale it was almost ghoulish. Todoroki and Kirishima followed suit, kneeling closely beside you.

"[Name]! What's wrong?! Talk to me, are you—do you feel dizzy, nauseous, or, or—?"

"I-It hurts...!" you wheezed, veins burning as though they'd been filled with molten lava. 

Katsuki propped you up on his lap, carefully cradling the back of your neck. "What hurts, babe?" His eyes sweltered with fear. "[Name], please, tell me what hurts...!" 

You hissed, small tears prickling at the corner of your eyes. Your entire body was aflame, but one point in particular was throbbing with unrivaled intensity. Gasping for breath, you moved your fingers and tried to claw at the area by your left hip. The fabric of your uniform obscured the way, but you were in too much pain to pull it aside. It felt like you were running the most dreadful fever of your entire life.

What's happening to me? What's happening—why am I— oh god, don't tell me this is— !

"She's trying to point here," Todoroki breathed out, immediately moving to un-tuck your shirt. Katsuki elbowed him out of the way, eyes glinting murderously.

"Don't fucking touch her." 

"I'm just trying to—" 

"Well, don't!"

"Alright, jeez...."

Your head lolled backwards, and by this point, you were burning so fiercely that it felt like you were seeing stars. Katsuki was gripping you as gently as he could manage, but you could feel the way his fingers were quivering. Out of fear, or impatience, or both. He lifted the edge of your shirt, shimmying your skirt down just enough so that he had a clear look. You heard his breath hitch.

"There's... writing here, [Name]." 

You groaned weakly. "What? No... it's gone. I checked last night. It's gone, I checked—"

"No, I mean, there's new writing here. It's not the same as before. Actually, it's all blurred out so I still can't read what it says, but it looks smaller than the mark you had before."

You shuddered violently. Ever-so-slowly, the burn began to desist, and you could feel your consciousness reforming. It melted away as suddenly as it come, without warning, or explanation. Kirishima helped lift your shoulders as you sat upright. Todoroki offered you a glass of water to drink. You downed it readily, Katsuki's crimson eyes staring into your own, unblinking.

The burn was gone, lingering only, but slightly, upon your left hip. You leaned to the side to see it for yourself.

Katsuki was right. Right there, in the exact same spot where you'd previous mark had been, a new patch had begun settling in. It was smudged, the likes of which you'd been well-accustomed to after having your own fade away, but this one was, in fact, smaller. Smaller, as in, fewer words. Either your soulmate bond was reappearing in chunks, or this was some new writing altogether.

"Come here," Katsuki croaked out, pulling you into a hug almost immediately. His breath was rising and falling uncontrollably. "You scared the shit out of me. Are you okay now? Does it still hurt?" 

"N-No." You blinked, [e/c] orbs still affixed to the new lettering. "It was super sudden, and it hurt a lot in that instant, but it's disappeared now. Just this one point, on my hip... it's still throbbing a little, but that's all."

Todoroki and Kirishima were staring at you, brows knit together. A few other students from the cafeteria were also looking in your direction, you noticed. Well, you'd fallen to the floor screaming, after all. 

"[Name], you... your soulmate bond disappeared completely?" Todoroki asked. Katsuki tensed from beside you. You'd almost forgotten that time, so overcome with nerves, whereupon you'd thrown yourself into Todoroki's arms and sobbed about your mark fading away. 

"Well... yes," you mumbled. "Last night, it did. That's why I was crying—or screaming, or whatever. That. The fear that my bond had disappeared, and that it would mean that Katsuki-kun had disappeared along with it."

"Oh."

He was lost for words, understandably. Katsuki scoffed in the boy's direction and picked you up into his arms, ignoring your cries of protest.

"We've gotta get Recovery Girl to check this out. To tell us if your symptoms are worrying." 

"I-I'm fine, though. She won't know what to do when it comes to soulmate bonds. They're erratic, and unpredictable..." 

"Well, we're doing it just in case. So that we won't have to drive ourselves insane by worrying all over again, alright?"

You nodded slowly, ignoring all the pointed stares directed your way. The new patch on your skin was hot to the touch, and it would throb ever-so-often. You gingerly pressed your fingers against the illegible words. It hurt, but somehow, it was a comforting warmth.

Chapter Text

The writing on your hip still had yet to come in.

Following its initial apparition, you'd been whisked away for Recovery Girl to give you a full assessment. Much like always, she'd reported that your health was fine, and there were no symptoms that were cause for concern. The smudged patch remained on your hip, relatively unchanged, still illegible to the naked eye. 

You tried to force it to the back of your mind, reminding yourself that you and Katsuki had both been through hell time and time again, and nothing was going to get in your way anymore. That, coupled with his faint smiles and reassuring words, made you feel at ease, and you were able to shift your focus onto other matters. 

Such as the provisional license exam.

You'd been preparing for weeks on end, honing your abilities and trying to brainstorm new fighting-styles that would be better suited for your Quirk. He was several steps ahead of you—and everyone else, really—having already managed to refine his explosions and produce more specific, targeted attacks. You weren't all that surprised. You were actually quite proud, even though his strength wasn't yours, it somehow made you feel fulfilled all the same. 

Katsuki was strong. He'd always been strong. Even meeting him, that very first day, when he'd uttered those hateful words, you'd known that much. He was strong, and driven—more so than anyone else you'd ever come across.

Which is why it came as a shock that he didn't pass. 

[Last Name][Name].

You stared up at the electronic board, a relieved sigh slipping from your lips. It was there. Your name was there, as in you'd actually passed. 

For a moment, you were too overcome with emotion and melting nerves that you didn't even think to glance towards your side. But then you did, and your heart dropped at the sight of Katsuki's frantic widened eyes, scanning the screen over and over again.

"Where the fuck is it?" he rasped, and you swore you could hear his heart pounding even from afar. "It's not... there..." 

Kirishima stiffened from beside him. "Dude... I'm so sorry." 

"There must be a mistake," you tried, forcing a hurried smile. "Let's look again—" 

"It ain't there. You don't have to pretend for me." 

You slumped your shoulders. He'd done so great during the first portion of the exam, even cooperating with Kirishima and Kaminari to fend off one of Shiketsu's students. He would've aced the fighting portion, that much you were sure of. It was the second half—the rescuing—that had done him in.

Granted, you hadn't expected for him to shine there; he was snapping at the HUC employees a lot, and being his usual grumpy self, but you thought maybe they'd look past that. You were hoping they'd realize how much potential he had, brash remarks or not. 

"It's okay, Katsuki-kun." You smiled again, hooking an arm around his. "This can't have been the only chance to take the licensing exam, I'm sure of it. You'll definitely get another try soon."

If it were you, then you were sure you'd have been dejected and mopey right about now. Not Katsuki. It wasn't his brand, it just wasn't who he was. Even though he'd failed, the fire blazing in his crimson eyes told you that the fight was far from over. 

"You bet I fucking will." 

Kirishima chuckled and playfully slapped him on the back. The blonde wasted no time in elbowing his friend out of the way and flipping him off. Not even a minute later, the supervisor responsible for authorizing the exam had gone back to his announcements. He made it known that there would be another attempt for the provisional license exam, just a few months from now, where those who hadn't passed would be given another try.

Your chest swelled. Another try for Katsuki. He'd pass with flying colors this time around, you just knew it. 

Arm still entangled with his own, you followed the rest of your classmates and headed to board the bus that would take you back to campus. Apparently, Todoroki hadn't passed either, which was more surprising than anything else. He'd gotten wrapped up in a fight with one of the Shiketsu students—info you'd gotten from Uraraka, who'd in turn gotten hers from Izuku.

"Next time," you reaffirmed, squeezing Katsuki's hand while you sat side-by-side on the bus. "You'll get your license in a flash." 

His lips stopped mid-way to a smile. "It's fine, [Name]. I ain't worried. Just glad you got yours. Well, I guess there was no way you weren't going to, though."

"You actually thought I'd pass?" 

"Huh?" he frowned. "No shit. What kind of question is that?" 

"I mean, I'm not all that physically strong..." 

"So? You're smart, and you use your Quirk well. You can heal people, too." He let out a huff that was half-indignant, half-yearning. "You've... always been good with that shit. Good with people, I mean." 

"Not like me", it seemed he wanted to say. You smiled gently, letting your head fall to rest against his shoulder. 

"Thank you, Katsuki-kun. For believing in me." 

"'Course. I'm proud of you." 

Katsuki mussed your hair with his fingers, and it honestly felt as though your heart stopped beating for a moment. His arm soon made its way around your back, settling into the groove by your waist. He was as warm as ever. 

 

 

 

 

The day had gone on for far too long, and you were thankful to have made your way back into the dorms, and by extension, the soft, foam mattress of Katsuki's bed. 

"Today was tiring," you breathed out, [e/c] orbs glued to the ceiling. You heard shuffling in the corner of the room, and craned your neck up just in time to see Katsuki changing out of his button-up and into a black tee. Your eyes lingered on his toned biceps for longer than you would've liked to admit. 

"So go to sleep, then," he gruffed out, turning back to you. "If you're tired, head off to your room and go to bed. I'm gonna tuck in soon, too." 

You pursed your lips. "No." 

"Huh?" 

"Nuh-uh," you whined, kicking your feet out like a child. "Katsuki-kun, I wanna stay with you longer!" 

He flushed for a moment, but was quick to roll his eyes. "C'mon," he muttered, taking a seat on the edge of the bed, "don't be a brat, [Name]." 

"I'm never a brat," you protested.

"Sometimes you are." 

"Nonsense." 

"See? Like right now." 

You twisted your lips into a pout, intent on being as childish as possible. Katsuki's eyelids looked heavy. He must've been really tired, after the day he'd just had. 

"It's late," he sighed. "Time for you to go to your room." 

You were still for a moment, just staring at the soft crease between his brows. Then you grinned, and latched a hand across his wrist, pulling him onto the bed and right over-top of your body. He dug his knuckles into the bedspread, staring down at you with flushed cheeks. 

"W-What?" he mumbled. 

"Nothing," you smiled. "I just wanted to be close to you." 

Your arms shifted to dangle over his shoulders, while you craned your neck upwards and pressed your lips against his own. Katsuki faltered for a moment as you cradled his cheek and deepened the kiss. 

You weren't normally the one to initiate the more passionate kisses. That was for Katsuki to do—he usually caught you off-guard, delving into your lips with unannounced vigor. Much like with his temper, he was quick to flare up; to turn ardent and sensual. Which is why he must've been surprised, to feel you gripping at his neck, pressing him impossibly close and nibbling hungrily at his bottom lip.

"[Name]—" 

He hardly choked out another word; your tongue was already prodding the inside of his cheek, fighting for dominance between swollen lips. You could feel your chest tightening to the point that it was difficult to breathe, but somehow pleasant all the same, and you urged to press forward, regardless of how violently your cheeks were burning. You pulled away, teeth dragging across the bottom of his lower lip, just in time to feel his throat reverberate with a groan. 

You were flushed all over. Instinctively, your eyes drifted away, wanting to look anywhere but into his own. It was a bad habit of yours. Whenever you got too flustered or overwhelmed with emotion, you found it difficult to match his gaze. This time, you willed yourself to look back, to gaze into those bright, crimson orbs that were practically overflowing with desire and yearning.

"You're so perfect," Katsuki muttered breathily. Your chest erupted in a fit of pangs. You wanted to look away again, but you urged yourself to stare right into his eyes. He leaned closer, clasping one of your hands in his own and pressing it flat against the mattress. The movement in his chest stilled. "I love you so much." 

And then he was kissing you, catching your lips over and over again, chest pressed flush against your own. You stifled a gasp as your knee shifted slightly and brushed up against the stiffening bulge in his pants. A point in your lower abdomen had begun to throb, almost violently. You felt like there was a fire blazing inside your core. 

Katsuki's lips moved to hover above your own. They stopped for a moment, then brushed along your jawline, moving all the way down to the base of your neck and trailing hot kisses ever-so-often. You felt that same point in your lower abdomen throb, almost as if it were calling to you, screaming to be heard. You shuddered and gently shook Katsuki off. 

For a moment, he looked confused, and then he looked worried. "What is it?" he asked. "Did I do something wrong?" 

"Y-You didn't do anything wrong." 

"Then...?" 

You pressed your lips together, feeling just on the verge of erupting into flames. Katsuki's gaze faltered. He looked almost guilty, worried that he'd pressed you too far, when in reality, that couldn't have been further from the truth. 

You took another moment to compose yourself, and then your hands fell to grip at the edge of your shirt. 

"Is it your mark—" you heard him start, but you'd already removed your uniformed tee in full, left in nothing besides a thin-wired bra. He stiffened, completely entranced as you bid your skirt goodbye as well. You were now half-naked, baring your skin almost in full. The lights were so bright in his room, and you were so, so exposed. 

I'm so embarrassed I could die...

Once again, you had the urge to run from your fears; to dart for cover under the blankets and veil your flustered expression. You wanted to, but you didn't. This wouldn't have been the case for anyone else, but with Katsuki, you knew there was nothing to fear. You could be yourself, show everything to him... and he would still love you all the same.

"...what's wrong?" you finally managed, your voice sounding squeaky and strained. Katsuki hadn't budged an inch. His eyes were adhered to your frame, seemingly transfixed. It made your chest burn even more. 

"Uh, I'm—" Katsuki coughed. "Sorry," he rasped, "you're just so fucking pretty..." 

You didn't know if you could take much more of this, and you still had two more pieces of fabric to remove. Your eyes squeezed shut for a moment as your hands worked around your back, hurriedly unhooking the clasp of your bra. You worked it off your shoulders and let it fall to the bed. There was nothing now. Your chest was exposed in its entirety, and your heart was beating so fast you were just shy of a stroke. Katsuki didn't react—he was still stiff as stone, and his temples were flushed a shade of scarlet to match your own.

"Say something," you blurted out. "Please... I'm already so embarrassed." 

"I-I can see your boobs." 

"I know that, I meant—!" You covered your face with your palms, suppressing a squeal. "I meant, d-do you—?"

Rather than words, he responded by straddling your body and pinning your wrists down against the bed. You were so red that even your chest was flushed, heaving under shallow, erratic breaths. He held your wrists gently, but still with enough force that you couldn't wiggle free or attempt to hide yourself.

"You're beautiful," he choked out. You couldn't tell if the tremors in his voice were due to nerves, or sheer emotion. "Perfect," he said again. "You're perfect, [Name]." 

You almost squeezed your eyes shut again. "Stop it... I get even more embarrassed when you say things like that." 

"I say it because it's true." 

"You can't honestly think that—" 

"I do." Katsuki furrowed his brow, staring right into your trembling orbs. "I never say shit I don't mean. You're the most perfect, most amazing girl in the whole damn world, and I'm the luckiest guy that ever lived." 

Small tears prickled at the corners of your eyes. He was so kind. How was he so kind to you? He had a kindness that was buried under countless layers and facades, but he was still one of the kindest people you'd ever known. The type of person you knew you could rely on, no matter what. It saddened you that most weren't able to realize this, but it also felt amazing, knowing that you were one of the only people to ever see this side to him.

You felt so fortunate, so blessed. 

Katsuki inhaled sharply, pressing a hurried kiss against your lips. His hands finally moved from your wrists and stopped to hover above your chest. He swallowed, hues of red darting violently across his temples. 

"Can I...?" 

"Y-Yes. Of course." 

A second later and Katsuki's fingers were caressing your body. You shuddered softly. His fingers were rough and calloused; weathered from all of his training as a hero, but still just felt right perched atop your skin. He delved back into your lips, kneading gently at your chest. 

"[Name]," he rasped, "are we going to—?" 

"Yes... I want to." 

You craned your neck to the side at that, having passed the threshold of how much embarrassment you could handle. Katsuki swallowed and nodded quickly, leaning over to rummage through the drawer of his nightstand. You knew what he was getting. When did he even buy those...? 

He tore open the box and left it on the edge of the nightstand. You glanced up at him underneath your lashes, tensing when you saw him looming over-top of you, unblinking. He was studying your body so intently, you would've thought he was committing it to memory. Or maybe he really was committing it to memory. God, you were so red. 

Katsuki moved closer. "If you're really sure," he breathed. "Only if you're really sure." 

"I'm sure," you nodded. "I'm really sure." 

He pressed into your frame, catching your lips anew. 

 

 

[explicit scene starts here]: 

 

 

 

You inhaled sharply, breath hitched in your chest as Katsuki kissed you with passion and fervor. One of his hands was pressed down against the mattress; the other was still fondling at your chest, working your breasts with his palms. You let out a gasp as he rolled your nipple between his fingers. 

Katsuki swallowed hard, taking in every inch of your body as if it were a piece of art. His crimson orbs were heavily lidded, both from desire and arousal, and the more intently he stared at you, the more you could feel your entire being flush. He drew his fingers away from your now-hardened bud, ghosting them down along your waist and stopping to grip at the edge of your underwear. Even though you'd already prepared yourself, your body tensed up instinctively. 

"You don't need this anymore, right?" Katsuki breathed. There was a twinge of hesitation in his voice, as if he were worried he was pressing you too far, but you squeezed your eyes shut and hurriedly nodded your head. You were already so exposed. The thought of baring absolutely everything had your heart threatening to leap out your rib-cage. 

You felt the slightest bit of resistance as Katsuki slipped his fingers under the fabric and began pulling your underwear off. He patted your thighs and had you bend your knees upwards so that he could fully slide it off. 

Now, you were completely naked. It was your first time being intimate with anyone like this, which went without saying that nobody had ever seen you so exposed. The realization made your temples burn even more, knowing that Katsuki had now seen every inch of your body; every nook and cranny, every little blemish and imperfection. That was a good way to describe it, actually—imperfect. You really did feel imperfect, in this moment, and more self-conscious than ever before. Everything was right there on display for Katsuki to see, and your chest quivered and ached with the realization that you wanted to look your best for him. No, better than your best; you wanted to be as close to immaculate as you could possibly be, just for him, and he—

"You're so fucking perfect, holy shit." 

There it was again. You stifled a soft whine, hands rushing to veil your shameful expression. You didn't know how he did it, to say such things so blunty and without an ounce of wavering or hesitation. He couldn't have even been lying. Katsuki never lied, not when it came to things he truly cared for. You felt him lightly tug at your arms, pulling them away from your face. 

"Don't cover up, babe. You're so cute. You have nothing to be embarrassed about." 

He was speaking to you so gently, so vastly different from his usual brash tone. Then again, he was always gentle when he was with you. With you, and only you. A shaky breath fell out your lips. You shifted your hand across the mattress, finding Katsuki's and clamping down on it like a vice. His lips pulled up into a small smile, and he squeezed your hand back. 

After pausing for a moment, you craned your neck upwards to meet Katsuki mid-way in another kiss. He wasn't as gentle or meticulous in his approach this time, outright plunging his tongue down your throat. You whimpered in an attempt to stifle a moan as he nibbled at your swollen, yearning lips relentlessly. He was still cupping your breast in his hand, rolling your taut nipple back and forth. You threw your head back and moaned openly as he tugged at your flushed, heaving mound. 

"Sorry," he rasped, "am I hurting you?" 

You couldn't form a coherent response, so you shook your head hurriedly. There was a warmth building in your core. Your glassy eyes flickered down and stopped by the belt-buckle of Katsuki's pants. An angry bulge was jutting up beneath the fabric, screaming to be pulled from its restraints. Even the dark of his denim couldn't keep you from making out its girth and size. You swallowed hard, feverish and dizzy all at once. 

Katsuki must've noticed you staring, or maybe his own arousal was just that pronounced. Either way, he began muttering impatiently, ripping his t-shirt off in one fluid motion and exposing his chiseled form. You could see the v-line bend of muscles, slanting down at the hip and trailing off beneath denim. You'd never seen him in full, never seen how he looked down there, but you yearned to know. 

You wanted to know everything about him—to see everything, to feel everything. Even if it made a fire creep up your spine, the pangs in your lower abdomen had you breaking out into a soft whine.

"K-Katsuki-kun," you breathed, managing your first words in what felt like an eternity. "Come... closer. I want to... feel." 

His eyes widened immediately, the scarlet hues on his cheeks deepening tenfold. Unwilling to falter and risk having you change your mind, he pressed forward and pulled you by the wrist, leading your hand against stiff member. He inhaled sharply as he pulled his fingers away and let your hand wrap around. This wasn't even it. You were only caressing him through the fabric of his pants, and it still felt this hard. 

"...shit," Katsuki inhaled, drawing air through his teeth. He stared down at you, eyes lidded, as you slowly palmed him over his pants. "Can't believe you're actually doing this with me..." 

I can't believe it, either. 

You would've never imagined that your first meeting, gone horribly wrong, would ever lead to this. You never thought you'd be capable of doing such things with someone so soon, let alone feeling the way you felt. As if every fiber of your being was screaming out for him—for Katsuki. 

He moaned softly, and you felt yourself gradually becoming more bold in your advances. It started with just lightly caressing his length, but by now you were openly gripping him and pumping all the way down his shaft. You bit down on your lower lip, that same point in your abdomen twisting into a tight knot. Katsuki let out a gasp and hurriedly jerked backwards.

"Fuck, no more," he wheezed. You eyed him worriedly, but he shook his head. "No, I mean... if you keep touching me that much, I'll end up finishing before we even start..." 

"O-Oh."

You nodded rigidly, not knowing what else to say. This was new to the both of you, after all. You weren't bound to be skilled right off the bat, but you could listen, and you could learn. You noticed Katsuki's fingers slowly creeping down your thigh. 

"I can touch you instead, yeah?" 

Cheeks aflame, you gave him an affirming nudge. His hands moved to grasp at the back of your thighs, and your muscles tensed. Katsuki swallowed, kneeing his way in between you. 

"Spread your legs a bit, [Name]." 

You faltered for a moment, too flustered to muster up the courage, but Katsuki jerked you apart by the knees, prompting a choked-out gasp. He started to mumble out the beginnings of an apology, but was seemingly transfixed by the sight before him. With his hands gripping at either side of your thighs, your entire core was right there on display for him. You felt it quiver along with the parched breath you took in.

"Holy shit." 

You didn't know what in the hell that was meant to say, but you supposed it could only be good, judging by the way his heavy flush had deepened and cascaded down his temples in a series of crimson ripples. Even though you weren't stroking him anymore, you could see the way his dick throbbed from behind his pants. 

One of Katsuki's hands fell instinctively to his hardened member, which he pumped impatiently while clenching his jaw. The other skirted up your thigh, drawing tantalizing circles by your hip. He finally prodded by your pulsating center, and you inhaled as a fingertip glazed your clit. 

Katsuki stared at you, breathless. "You're so fucking wet." 

"N-No, I'm..." 

You wanted to protest, from the sheer embarrassment of it all, but you knew you just couldn't. It was true. You couldn't deny yourself, keep trying to fight the sweet pangs coming from the base of your abdomen. Your eyes went glassy again, and you fought back the urge to shudder as another one of Katsuki's fingers rolled over your wet slit. 

You wanted him so fucking bad. 

You wanted him to touch you more, to taste you, to feel you in the depths of your being. The warmth of his stiff member still radiated in your palm. You wondered what his bare cock would feel like in your hand. 

Katsuki swallowed, slowly prodding a finger inside your opening. When he found that it slid in more easily than he'd expected, his shoulders relaxed, and he drew it back, careful not to push too deep. Your toes curled into the mattress. Desire was overtaking you. Was this even you? In this moment, you hardly felt like yourself...

"Katsuki-kun," you whined softly, "take off your clothes. It's not fair... I feel embarrassed being the only one who's naked." 

He blinked, taken aback, but a wry smile was soon to settle upon his lips. Without sparing another breath, he tugged at his belt and flung it off the bed. His pants were next to fall, and then he was only in his boxers, granting yet more form and definition to the stiff member throbbing underneath. It looked even bigger now. You felt a swell of both nerves and excitement. 

Biting back a growl, Katsuki released his flushed cock from the fabric entrapping it. The tip was glistening with clear fluid, hinting at just how turned on he really was. You went fully pale for a moment, nearly horror-stricken by its thickness and length, and the realization that would be going inside of you. Katsuki licked his lips, practically smirking at your being lost for words.

"What's wrong, babe?" He moaned softly, eyeing you all over while he pumped his shaft. "Too big for you? It's okay, no need to be scared." 

You puffed out your cheeks. He had just as little as experience as you did, and yet still somehow managed to assume a haughty, condescending stance. 

Katsuki leaned back into you, fingers trailing their way back up your thigh and circling around your clit. You shuddered soflty, squeezing your eyes shut on instinct. Katsuki didn't hesitate this time before pushing his forefinger inside. It slid in with ease, juices squelching by his knuckles and making lewd, sinful sounds that had you glowing red from embarrassment. He stopped for a moment, retracting his finger back.

Then, he put in another. 

You outright whined this time, feeling a slight stretch as he forced his fingers inside your core. It didn't quite hurt, not exactly, but you could feel the way that knot in your stomach quivered. That bundle of nerves felt as if they were being poked and prodded from all angles. More heat rose to your chest, and you had to whimper in order to hold back a series of moans as Katsuki pumped his fingers inside your pussy. He bit down on his bottom lip and let out a deep, guttural growl. 

"You're so hot, holy shit..." 

Without warning, he pulled both fingers out, leaving you with a deep, lingering emptiness. You craned your neck up, eyes glazed over, watching as Katsuki leaned over and reached for the nightstand. He dug his hand into the pre-opened box and tore at the film with his teeth. He turned to hover back over top of you, positioning the condom over the head of his cock. It took a few moments for him to settle it in place properly, but then he'd finished rolling the latex down, all the way to the base of his shaft. You felt the bed sway as he rocked forward and settled over-top of you.

You knew what came next. 

"Is it okay if I—? I mean, are you—?" Katsuki swallowed. "[Name], can I...?" 

Your chest heaved under the weight of your breath. Truth be told, you were scared. You were scared of the pain, scared of what this would all entail, but you took comfort in the fact that it was Katsuki, and no one else. If it was him... you knew it would be okay. 

"I'm ready," you mumbled, spreading your legs more apart for him. "It's okay... I trust you." 

Those crimson eyes, which had first seemed so foreign and menacing, now blessed you with a state of calm. You could look into those eyes and see how much he loved you; know that he thought the world of you. For that... you were sure you could endure a bit of pain.

"Okay," Katsuki breathed. He positioned himself just before your entrance, pausing for the last time. "I love you." 

You almost screamed next. Actually, you might've really screamed, but you were drowned out by the sea of white that flickered behind your eyelids. The blood in your ears was pounding and it felt like you went deaf for a moment. He was big, and it fucking hurt

"O-Ouch...!" 

Katsuki paled, watching the way your expression contorted and you balled your hands into fists. He stopped immediately, cupping your cheek with his palm.

"I'm sorry," he spluttered. "Does it actually hurt that much? I've barely put a third of it in..." 

It did hurt that much. It felt like you were being stabbed from the inside, and this was only a third of it? You inhaled sharply, small tears rising to the corners of your eyes. You wiped them off in a hurry, hoping that Katsuki wouldn't see, but it was too late. He pressed his lips together. 

"Babe... if it hurts too much, we can stop. It's fine. I don't want this to feel like torture for you." 

You shook your head. 

"[Name], you're crying..." 

You shook your head again. "No. I don't care. I want to do this. I'm not a wimp, I know I can do it. Please, I want to sobad..." 

Katsuki bit back a shudder, the flush on his cheeks intensifying tenfold. He gripped you by the hips with his blistering palms. 

"Okay. Just... yell at me or hit me or anything if it gets too much, alright? I just don't want to hurt you." 
You inhaled sharply, composed yourself, and nodded. Fingers digging into your skin, he pressed forward, forcing his cock past your folds. Your head jerked backwards and you choked out a shrill scream, but then it was over, and you felt impossibly full. The pain still lingered, but it was beginning to subside into a throbbing numbness. You looked up at Katsuki, lips parted, vision hazy, only to see that his own expression was boundlessly more undone. 

"H-Holy fucking shit!" he gasped. "You're so... tight...!" 

All of the strength had left your body, so you only managed a dazed nod. You felt his stiff cock throb inside of you. Even with the pain, you couldn't deny the spark that coursed through your body.  You opened your arms up to him.

"Kiss me," you mumbled breathily, and his lips attacked your own without another second to spare.

The first few thrusts were tentative and soft. It still hurt, and you whined openly into his mouth, but Katsuki didn't rush you. He licked along your bottom lip, biting and suckling on it hungrily, eventually prodding his tongue into your cheek and fighting your own for dominance. You felt the soft pants tumble out of your chest in tandem with each slap of his hips. The numbness began to clear, and the thick, throbbing member inside your core made itself all the more prounonced. Your head lolled back in between Katsuki's kisses, and you let out a soft, prolonged moan.

"Harder," you mumbled without realizing it. Katsuki's body stiffened against your own, as if he weren't sure he'd heard you right. You looked up at him, eyes lidded, lips semi-parted. "It doesn't hurt as much anymore. Go harder, Katsuki-kun." 

He didn't need to be told twice. Without bothering to stifle another growl, he pulled his cock out mid-way and buried himself back down to the hilt. You gasped for breath, the intensity of your moans dying away in your throat. It was clear to you now that the slow pace at the beginning had been absolute torture for him. He slammed his hips back into your own for a second time, making your back bounce against the mattress and your breasts sway. 

"You have a perfect body, how the fuck is this even possible?" Katsuki grunted, grabbing a handful of your soft mounds. He leaned in and pushed further, catching your taut nipple in between his lips. You cried out as his teeth gave it a vicious tug.

"Ahhn..." 

You were moaning shamelessly now, neck bouncing back and tongue slipping out in a depraved, sinful way you hadn't even known yourself capable of. Katsuki growled as he attacked your breast, pulling at it with his teeth and licking around your areolas in circles. His cock was pounding relentlessly inside of you now. Whatever pain and numbness you'd been feeling was a thing of the past. You couldn't even remember how it felt when he wasn't inside of you. That fine line had been long since blurred. Where he ended and you began, you had no idea. 

"I have the prettiest girlfriend in the goddamn world, holy shit." Katsuki straightened up and slammed his hips against your own, the clasp of bare, sweaty flesh echoing through the walls. His crimson orbs were glinting something unholy. "Ahh, fuck. I love seeing the way my cock disappears inside of you. Is it good, [Name]? Does my cock feel good?" 

You gripped at the bedsheets, knuckles pure white. "It's... ahh! Feels good! You make me feel so good, Katsuki-kun...!"

"What feels good, babe? Tell me." 

"Y-Your cock!" 

"Yeah?" he growled. "You love it when I fuck you like this, huh?" 

You squeezed your eyes shut. Your entire face was on fire, it was so red. You couldn't bear to look Katsuki eyes right now. To see the way his brows furrowed with every thrust; the way his chin would quiver as he bucked into you and tried to hold you steady—it had you going mad. You couldn't keep looking at him. If you did, then you were sure you'd...

"Shit, I'm close!" Katsuki panted, plunging into you with a particularly violent thrust. You let out a harsh whine and found one of his hands against your thighs. The knot inside your stomach was just a few strokes shy of unraveling altogether. 

"I'm gonna come—!" 

Katsuki dug his nails into your skin, throwing his head back and releasing a deafening growl. You felt his cock convulse inside your pussy, spilling out in long, vigorous spurts. It was warm, even through the film of the latex. The feeling of him being buried so deep inside, and hugging you so close was what pushed you over the edge. You cried out louder than you'd ever done before, eyes nearly rolling back into your skull. Katsuki held you by the hips still, fucking you through your orgasm. When it was over, and you'd come down, it was as if your entire spirit had left your body. 

"Fucking hell.

Katsuki panted, gently pulling out and discarding of the condom. He wrapped it in a tisuse, leaned over the edge of the bed, and flung it into the trashcan. You were still lying on your back, chest heaving relentlessly. Your hand fell instinctively to your lower abdomen—the point where you'd felt him the most. 

It throbbed for a moment, and part of it was hurting again, but your lips pulled into a smile. Knowing that Katsuki had actually been there, connected to you, made the soreness all worth it. You felt the bed shift, and then he was back by your side, arms falling around your frame to press you up against his chest. 

"That actually just fucking happened," Katsuki mumbled, still unable to believe it. You laughed, and that spot in your abdomen throbbed again. 

"Yeah. It did." 

"Holy fuck." 

"Holy fuck indeed."

Chapter Text

It wasn't the first time you'd awoken by Katsuki's side, but it still made your chest squeeze all the same. 

Sunlight trickled in through the blinds, illuminating his peaceful sleeping expression. Every now and then you could hear a soft, gentle snore, proof that he was resting soundly. You felt yourself smile, and then you shivered, realizing that Katsuki's body heat and the messily strewn blanket were the only things provided your unclothed frame with any warmth. Your chest was pressed flush against his own; from this close, you could feel the rhythmic beating of his heart as it drummed in tune with yours. 

You inhaled softly and began pulling away, careful not to make too much noise and wake him up. There wasn't much you had planned for today, but the sun seemed to be shining a fair amount, so you figured you might go out for a bit, just for a change of pace. There'd been so much training lately, you were in the mood to take a leisurely stroll and maybe browse for some new clothes. 

Speaking of clothes, you flushed inwardly when you spied your uniform, thrown onto the floor in a messy pile. Memories of the evening prior flitted before your eyes. A blush rippled down your spine. 

"...mmn." 

There was movement in the bed, and you looked back over your shoulder to see that Katsuki was in the process of squinting his eyes open. He let out a soft groan, propping himself up by his elbows. 

"G-Good morning," you smiled, realizing all too late that you were still very much naked. After last night, he was certainly no stranger to your body, but you couldn't help but still feel a bit flustered. 
"Morning, babe." Katsuki yawned loudly, lips eventually pulling up into a smile. "I'm so damn lucky, getting to wake up to you first thing." 

You blushed deeply. More and more images were resurfacing now, making your heart race. You began to step off the bed to collect your uniform, but a hand jerked you backwards. You squealed as Katsuki wrapped his arms around your waist and squeezed you tight. 

"I have to get dressed," you protested, feeling your embarrassment creep up on you again. Katsuki chuckled into your ear, one of his hands wandering down to squeeze the plush of your thigh.

"You don't have to do anything. We've got today off. Stay in bed longer." 

"I know, but I was going to—" 

You let out another squeal as Katsuki flipped you over onto your back and pinned you down against the mattress. He grinned shrewdly, crimson eyes raking over your frame. The pink dusting his cheeks and his expression said it all.
"W-We're not doing that again," you huffed out. 
"Awe," he sighed, visibly disappointed, "why not?" 

"Because we just did it last night!" 

"So? There's no rule that says we can only do it once." 

"You know what I mean...! It's too soon, and I gotta go—!" 

He chuckled again and brought his lips to your own. You half-pouted, wanting to protest but already sinking back into the kiss. It was easy to tell that he was stalling, and even though being snuggled up against him like this was awfully inviting, you knew it couldn't go on forever. 

"Okay, okay," you mumbled, lightly pushing his body off. "I really want to get dressed now, Katsuki-kun. We can't stay in bed all morning. Aren't you the one who always calls me lazy whenever I sleep in?"

He laughed, amused. "You're not going anywhere." 

"Am, too." 

"Are not." 

"Am, too." 

"Are not." 

You sighed wearily. "I'm sure no one would believe me if I told them how clingy you were..." 

This seemed to get his attention. "Who's clingy?!" he snapped. "The fuck is wrong with me wanting to hug you?" 

"You can hug me later. Now—" Moving nimbly, you slid off the bed and collected your clothing into a heap. Katsuki clicked his tongue, as if the notion of you getting dressed was incredibly unpleasant. 

"The hell are you in such a hurry to leave for?" 

"I'm not in a hurry, I just think it'd be a shame if I wasted the day. I wanna go out and do something—something that's not training, or other school-related stuff. You know, just take a breather." 

Katsuki watched with flushed cheeks as you began slipping on your bra. You bit back your fluster and hurriedly turned away from him while you put on the rest of your clothing.

"Hey," he called. "Why'd you turn around?" 

"Because it's embarrassing the way you keep staring at me." 

"Hm. Suit yourself." You heard him chuckle lowly. "I can see your ass pretty clearly from this angle, though." 

"You—!" 

"Don't worry, I'm not complaining." 

Now blotchy-faced and frazzled, you finished putting on the rest of your uniform and dusted your skirt off, moving for the door. Katsuki practically shot up from the bed. He was like one of those puppies that got all anxious when their owner left. 

"Wait, you're seriously leaving?" he asked, unable to keep the disappointment from his voice. 

You sighed and looked back over your shoulder. "Didn't I say I was going out for a bit?" 

"You're actually doing that? Like, for real?" 

"Uh, yeah." 

"Who with?" Katsuki crossed his arms and assumed a frown. "Which fucker's going with you?" 
"I have no plans, I was just gonna go for a walk and maybe buy myself some food, or clothes." 

"Kay, I'm coming then." 

You wanted to splutter out a protest, but he was already leaping off the bed and putting together an outfit of his own. He could be so needy at times, it really didn't line up with his character. But this was good, too. Seeing the way he wanted to spend time with you was something you never thought you'd get from him.

"We'll leave after breakfast," he hummed, already assuming full control over your plans. "Go get changed into something more comfortable and then we're meeting back in the communal area." 

You smiled and nodded in agreement. As you slunk out of his room and headed for your own, you nearly bumped shoulders with a groggy, still half-asleep Kirishima. You mumbled a hasty apology and skirted down the hallway.

Kirishima blinked. "Huh? Why's [Name]-chan coming from Bakugou's room... and still wearing her uniform from yesterday?" 

He scratched his head for a few moments, cheeks eventually erupting into countless shades of vermilion.

"Oh."

 


 


Even though you'd been intending to have the day to yourself, you were actually pretty happy Katsuki had decided to tag along. You'd been out together before, of course—the mall, the pool—but it was nice to have another date after everything that had happened. Since moving into the dorms, you and your classmates were being monitored pretty heavily for safety purposes, so getting away for a bit was a nice change of pace. 

"I'm hungry," you mumbled absent-mindedly, earning a soft mutter from the blonde beside you.

"[Name], you just ate breakfast." 

"I know, but when there's all this yummy food around me, I'm bound to start craving something." 
You'd passed by a few stands already—ice cream, crêpes, mini powdered donuts—all of which were making your mouth water. The two of you were just planning on enjoying a leisurely stroll through the park, but Katsuki must've foreseen this, and was currently in the process of grumbling while pulling out his wallet. 

He rolled his eyes. "You only get one of them, so pick wisely." 

"Okay, then... crêpes! No, no—donuts! Wait, actually, I want ice cream, too." 

"Did you not fucking hear what I just said?!" 

You chortled as Katsuki flicked you on the forehead, eventually deciding the buy crêpes for the both of you. He moved to get in line and you spotted an unoccupied bench where you could sit down and enjoy your treat for later. You made your way over but stopped in place, eyes falling upon familiar silver locks.  

"Hana-san!" you greeted, waving to her from the distance. Her expression lit up as she saw you calling to her, and she made her way over. You'd only ever seen her in her hero costume, so it was a breath of fresh air meeting her when she was just dressed as a civilian. Her hair was of course fastened into a braid, like always, and she had on a loose, flowy white top and a dark blue skirt. She was carrying shopping bags, by the looks of it. 

"Hello, [Name]-chan! It's so lovely getting to run into you here!" She smiled brightly and wrapped you in a big hug. "How've you been? The provisional licensing exam was just yesterday, no?" 

You nodded happily. "Yep, it was. I passed. I'm officially able to go out and work as a hero." 

"That's amazing! I'm so proud of you! Though, of course, I never had any doubts in the first place." She adjusted the bags draped across her right arm, and the fabric of her loose garment slipped off her shoulder for a moment. You squinted a bit. It was dark, ink-like writing.

"Thank you, um..." You coughed, berating yourself for staring. "Sorry, I didn't know you had a tattoo."

"Hm? Oh." Hana craned her neck towards her right shoulder. "It's a soulmate mark, actually. I don't think I could ever stand to have a needle pierce my skin for that long." 

Your eyes widened, and you didn't quite manage to suppress the soft gasp that left your lips. It was the first time you'd ever met someone who had a marking like yours. To think that it would be someone you already knew, of all things...

"It's quite uncommon," Hana smiled, "that much I realize. A lot of people are taken aback when they see mine for the first time, so I can understand why you'd be surprised." 

"No, it's just..." You pressed your lips together, "I-I have one, too..." 

"Oh!" Hana's hazel eyes widened, and then she was laughing. "Wow, really? You're only the third person I've ever known to have one besides me! Ha-ha, what a small world! Statistically speaking, cases like ours are incredibly rare, but here I am, finding out that one of my interns has one as well!" 

You nodded hastily. "Mine's on my hip. Uh, wow, it's just—I'm really shocked to know that someone else has a marking like mine, so... could I ask your opinion on something? I understand if you don't want to answer." 

"Of course, dear." She smiled gently. "What did you want to know?" 

Instead of replying through words, you pulled up the edge of your shirt and revealed the blurry, illegible writing scrawled across your left hip. Hana blinked slowly, pursed her lips, and then looked you in the eyes.

"Is it fading?" she asked. 

You shook your head. "No. It was fading—it disappeared altogether, and I was terrified of what might happen to me and my soulmate, but then this came in. I can't read the writing, since it's not clear enough yet, but slowly... something's appearing there. And I'm just confused about this all. Really, I've been dealing with this confusion for a long time, so I thought it'd be waste not asking you about it, now that I finally know someone else who has one like me." 

You stared up at her hopefully. Your relationship was Katsuki was strong, incredibly so, but all this time, you'd never been granted the opportunity to confide in someone who understood your situation. Whatever the answer may be, you knew it wouldn't change anything. You and Katsuki would continue fighting for each other. But if she could maybe give you something to work with, then you were sure that—

"The truth is, this happened to me a while ago."

Hana smiled, watching the way your eyes widened. You weren't even sure you'd heard her properly. Happened to her, as in...? 

"My soulmate and I met years ago," she started. "When I was in my last year of high-school, so no more than about one or two years older than you are right now. We met, said our first words to one another, and realized right off the bat how horribly incompatible we were." 

You stiffened. "I-I'm sorry...?" 

"Well," she mused, "maybe that wasn't quite accurate, but it was how we felt in the moment, at least. To be honest, I was a very different person when I was younger. I guess... I was more emotionally unstable? I was the type to get riled up a little too easily, and whenever I felt embarrassed or insecure, I'd lash out at people without wanting to. My partner saw that in me and must not have felt I was all that desirable. It didn't help that he was also a bit of a flirt and dating someone else at the time. Regardless, we met in our last year of high-school, and neither was particularly drawn to the other, so we just didn't make anything of it. We remained fairly civil, but there wasn't much we knew of each other, and when graduation came, he moved to study at a university overseas." 

"Overseas?" you blinked. "But then, how did you...?" 

"He came back, of course, but that wasn't till years later. During that time, I experienced what you're describing—that my soulmate mark disappeared. He was practically on the other side of the world at the time, so I had no idea what had happened to him; if he passed away, if our bond disappeared, or anything. It wasn't until he came back, that my writing began to re-appear. He'd finished with his studies, and was working in the area, just like me." Hana smiled fondly at the memory. "We actually got to know each other this time. At first, it was just reminiscing over high-school, but then we actually started learning more about the other. We put in the time, the effort, and the connection was there. At some point—I'm not sure exactly when—but a new mark settled in place of my old one. If I recall, his first words to me were rather rude, and the impression I got of him was that he was frivolous and shallow. But after spending time with him... I don't know. Something just changed, for the better. I think I began to value his actions, his words, and everything he did or said became meaningful to me. The new mark I got were his words, of course, but they were different. Something I valued. Something that made me happy." 

That's...

"I still can't really begin to explain it," she admitted. "These occurrences are so rare and vary from person to person, so there's little we can base our assumptions off of. But, still... I think relying on the soulmate term could turn out to be a trap. At the end of the day, when the time was right, I ended up with the person I cared for. If it's meant to be, it'll just be." 

Your [e/c] orbs stared at the scarcely-visible patch of writing on Hana's shoulder. You couldn't see what it said, not fully, but you had a feeling it didn't really matter. She was right, after all. A genuine connection with someone couldn't be forced, or rushed, or faked. It couldn't be doctored or predicted, either. It just was

It just was, in the same way that you and Katsuki just were

"Thank you, Hana-san." You clutched at the edge of your shirt, small tears welling to the corners of your eyes. "I think I really needed to hear that. I've always had a bad habit of trying to plan for the future, instead of just living and enjoying the present. My soulmate—I mean, my boyfriend and I... we've been scared because of this, for a long time, but hearing you say that gives me hope. It really does." 

"Oi, [Name], I got your damn crêpe so get your ass over here! Who the hell are you even talking to?" 

You chuckled lightly, looking back over your shoulder to find that Katsuki had emerged from the lineup and was clutching a warm pastry in each hand. Hana smiled and adjusted her bags once more.

"Is that him?" 

"Y-Yes. He's got a harsh tongue, I know, but he's a really good guy..." 

"I've no doubt he is." She gently patted your shoulder. "Have some faith in yourself, my dear. If it feels right, then it's probably for a reason."

"Thank you. I think so, too."

Smiling once more, she waved you off and began heading her own way. "It was very nice running into you, [Name]-chan. There'll be more internship opportunities in the future, and I hope you'll consider working alongside me again."

"Of course," you smiled, "I would love to."

She left just as Katsuki strode up to your side, brows furrowed into a knot. "So who was that supposed to be?" 

"Hana-san. Remember, the pro hero I interned with?" 

"Oh, yeah. The healer-bitch." 

"For the millionth time, she's not a—" 

"Yeah, yeah. Here, eat your damn crêpe," he gruffed out, shoving it into your hands. "That lineup was so fucking long I almost died of old age. How many assholes buy this sugary crap anyways?" 

"But Katsuki-kun," you laughed, "you bought one for yourself, too." 

"I did it in solidarity! I hate sweet shit like this!" 

"Mhm." You took a quick bite, licking excess whipped cream off your lips. The apples of your cheeks flushed. "Hey, Katsuki-kun?" 

"Yeah?" 

"I really care for you. Just wanted to say that." 

You resumed nibbling at your pastry. Katsuki let out a quiet scoff, eventually hooking an arm around your own.

"You damn better."

Chapter Text

You and Katsuki enjoyed a lovely day together. 

It could've been because of the comfort you'd found in Hana's words, but you'd been in high spirits to begin with, and some time alone to yourselves like this had really turned out to be something you needed. You ate your sweets, walked around the park, laughed about silly, mundane things, and then it was finally time to head back to the dorms. 

"Awe," you sighed, stepping through the building's front door. "I was hoping today would never end." 

Katsuki's eyes softened. "I know. It's fine. We'll go out another time soon, okay?" 

You smiled, giving him a cheery nod. Most of your classmates were hanging out in the communal area, like usual, and Kirishima grinned as he saw the two of you making your way over. He waved and gestured for you to take the free spot beside him. You turned to beckon Katsuki forth as well, but blinked upon realizing that he'd already disappeared. You looked around the room and eventually spotted him.

He was talking to Izuku.

Why would he...? 

You crinkled your brows. Katsuki avoided the freckled boy like the plague, so you were more than taken aback to see him going out of his way to speak to him. It didn't seem like he was yelling, either. Only a few words were exchanged, and then Katsuki walked away, leaving a wide-eyed Izuku stunned to silence. You wondered what had been said there. You wondered if it would be okay to ask.

"[Name]-chan, Bakugou, how was your date?" Kirishima asked. His eyes were glistening like a newborn's. You almost laughed. It was cute how much he cared. 

"It was good," you replied with a smile. Katsuki of course told the rest of them to "fuck off", but by this point, hardly anyone was ever fazed by his brash remarks. You took a seat beside Kirishima—he'd saved the perfect space for you and Katsuki—and turned your attention to the TV. It seemed like they were watching newsreels and the like; highlights of the latest break-ins and hero escapades. You felt Kirishima shift beside you. 

"Uh... [Name]-chan?" Kirishima looked up at you from underneath his lashes, a rosy tint speckling his cheeks. "Could I, um—" He coughed, dropping his voice to a whisper. "I mean... do you mind if I ask you a question?" 

"Hm? Yeah, sure. Of course." 

Kirishima's eyes flickered towards Katsuki, who was staring listlessly at the television with an apathetic expression. He looked back at you, as if having ascertained the former wasn't listening in. 

"Last night... did you and Bakugou, uh... well... y'know..."

Your face exploded into streams of crimson. Kirishima muttered an apology under his breath, but you shook your head, trying to compose yourself. You remembered bumping into him in the morning, after all. It wasn't the first time you'd slept in Katsuki's dorm, but he must've been able to tell...

Cheeks still blistering with heat, you meekly nodded your head. Kirishima's lips curved into an oval. 

"O-Oh, wow, that's..." 

"If possible, I don't want to talk about it," you admitted. "It's pretty embarrassing." 

"No, of course...! Sorry, it was really inappropriate of me to have asked in the first place... I was just curious. Um, but... that's good!" he chuckled hoarsely. "I mean... the two of you are a good couple, so I'm glad that you're serious enough about each other to do that."

"Y-Yeah..."

He wasn't wrong. You couldn't imagine yourself sharing that level of intimacy with anyone but Katsuki. In a way, you supposed it was good, that your bond was so strong. 

"This shit's boring," Katsuki muttered suddenly. He stood up from the couch, dusted off his pants, and turned to leave. "I'm tired. Gonna go to sleep." 

"Katsuki-kun?" 

You had spent nearly the entire day together, and it made sense that he'd be tired, but still. You didn't know quite how to put it, but looking back on the day, and how happy he'd been then compared to now... somehow, something felt off

"Sorry, Kirishima-kun." You smiled apologetically, turning to follow Katsuki. "We'll catch up some more later, okay?" 

"Oh. Yeah, for sure."

Ignoring some of your classmates' grumbles and whines of disappointment, you skirted down towards the hallways. Katsuki was striding forward, hands shoved down his pockets, muttering inaudibly. 

"Katsuki-kun!" you called again, making him stop in place. You stepped beside him, searching his expression for some sign of what was going on. The mark on your hip was throbbing again, the way it had countless times in the past. He looked troubled, upset. "Please tell me what's going on," you pleaded.

He didn't meet your gaze for a few moments, instead allowing it to trail to the ground. When he finally looked you in the eyes, your heart did a pang. He wasn't angry, or irritated. 

He just looked incredibly sad

"What happened?" you croaked, cradling his cheek with your palm. "If I did something to upset you today, I apologize. I would just really like to know what it was..." 

Katsuki chuckled humorlessly. "You didn't do anything. Of course you didn't do anything wrong. You shouldn't be so quick to try and take the blame." 

"I'm just—" 

"Something's been on my mind," he muttered grimly. "For a long time, actually. Before you start getting into your head, let me just clarify that it has nothing to do with us. It's my problem, and getting you involved would be a shit move on my part, but..." 

"But?" 

"But I kind of want to tell you," he breathed out. His shoulders slumped, the bridge of his nose quivering just so. "I know I probably shouldn't. I definitely shouldn't. I shouldn't, but... I don't know. If it's you, it'll be okay, right? Tell me it'll be okay, [Name]. Please."

You didn't know what to say. You had no idea what was weighing on him so heavily, but it had apparently been the case for quite some time, and you hadn't even noticed? That right there felt like a punch straight to the gut. If Katsuki said it was something serious, then you'd no doubt it was. Maybe he was right, and it wasn't your place to get involved. Maybe if you got involved it would be pointless, dangerous, unethical—you had no idea, but he wouldn't keep secrets from you unless he absolutely had to. 

Maybe it wasn't your place to know, but it was your place to care.

"You can tell me anything, Katsuki-kun." You stroked his cheek, smiling gently. "If it's too painful, I understand, but I'll be here for you no matter what. I want to know everything about you, the way you know everything about me. It's okay if it's difficult. I'll still support you as best I can. That much I can promise, okay?"

Katsuki's chin quivered. He leaned forward, nestling his head in the crook of your neck. He stood there, absolutely still. You brought a hand down to rest in the scruff of his ash blonde locks. He inhaled by your ear. 

"You know how Deku said he got his power from someone else?"

Oh. He did say that, you remembered. You remembered because it was the first actual conversation you'd ever had with Katsuki—just after the trial of battle, when he was arguing with Izuku outside. You definitely recalled your friend declaring something along those lines. And back during the Quirk Assessment, you'd heard Katsuki muttering on and on about how Izuku was supposedly "Quirkless", or something like that. 

After a pause, you nodded. "I remember him saying that, yes. I didn't overhear much, but it was back near the beginning of the school year, after our battle trial." 

"And you know I went to school with that shithead before, right?" 

"Uh... well, yes. He told me that you'd known each other since kids." 

"I did." Katsuki's hand moved to bear down on your hip. He was applying too much force, and it hurt, but you remained still, just running your fingers through his hair. "[Name], I... I knew that asshole ever since I was four years old, and he never had a Quirk. It didn't manifest on time, he didn't have it as a kid, and he definitely didn't fucking have one all throughout middle school. I remember him spewing bullshit about wanting to get into U.A, just like me. Of course, I thought there was no damn way for someone who was Quirkless to do that, but then he actually did get in. He got in. Him."

Katsuki squeezed you tighter. You still didn't move. 

"Not only did he fucking get in, but he beat me, during that trial of battle. Him, of all people, actually managed to score a win against me. He won, and he unleashed this massive power! I couldn't believe my fucking eyes! How in the hell did he—when he was just—?!" 

Katsuki inhaled sharply, trying to reclaim his breath. You didn't stop stroking his hair. You were sure your hips would bruise with how tightly he was gripping you, but you didn't care. He was shaking in your arms right now. He was trembling so violently you would've though he'd seen a ghost. This was something terribly important to him, something that had left an impact for years upon years and instilled a bitterness and hatred for someone that couldn't even be described in words.

He'd told you he loved you. He'd shown you another side to him; a vulnerability that he'd no doubt ever shared with anyone else, but there was still more. Even with how much your relationship had developed, he'd almost never gone into detail about his past with Izuku. He'd only ever scratched the surface of it. He'd never gone further, deeper, and revealed the festering wound in its entirety. You could only imagine how much this was hurting him, looking back on every moment that had fueled his bitterness and rage. 

"He never had a Quirk," Katsuki finally continued. "You have to believe me when I tell you this. No one was more fucking surprised than me; no one was angrier than me when I found out that he actually had something—but not just something—intense, destructive power, and power that just kept on growing and growing. To see that happen... how in the fuck was I not supposed to lose my shit? And now, even with the provisional license exam. He passed, and failed. He beat me again, for the hundredth goddamn time...!"

"He didn't beat you," you tried. "He might've passed, but it was only circumstance, and you'll get another chance—" 

"He beat me, [Name]. He did, and how do I fucking know it? Because that power of his, it's not... he..." Katsuki sucked in another breath of air. He finally pulled back to look you dead in the eyes. "You can't tell anyone what I'm about to say. You can't tell a living soul, you got me? shouldn't even be telling you right now, but I just couldn't—I couldn't handle handling this all on my own. You're the only other person who's allowed to know, [Name]. You're the only person in the world I trust."

The only one. 

How long had you been waiting to hear those words, to feel the extent of his love for you? It had been just the opposite at the beginning. He refused to share anything with you—his pain, his sorrow, his ambitions, his happiness... 

But now you were the only person in the world whom he'd entrust with such a secret. 

"I'm gonna tell you, but you have to promise to—wait, why the fuck are you crying?!" 

"Sorry," you laughed, wiping away at your misty eyes. "I'm just so happy. I can't even put into words how happy I am right now. Knowing that you're willing to rely on me means the world, it truly does." 

"This is why you're so..." Katsuki clenched his jaw. A small smile pulled on his lips. "Fuck's sake. At least I know I'm making the right decision." 

And so, he told you. He told you everything, from the very start. All of his suspicions going forth, stemming off of Izuku's declaration. The way those creatures were found wielding multiple Quirks, All For One's ability to steal powers, and, of course...

The Symbol of Peace's flame being extinguished.

"It looked as though he'd been losing his powers for some time," Katsuki muttered bitterly. "From the very start, Deku was awfully close with All Might. It seemed like favoritism or some shit at first, but then I thought long and hard about it, and realized just how similar their powers really were. When he stepped down as the Symbol of Peace, my theory had all but been confirmed. I spoke to Deku about it earlier, too." 

"You told him you knew about his powers?" 

"No, not exactly." Katsuki shifted on his foot, expression heavy. "I told him we needed to talk about his powers, but I didn't go into the specifics. By now, I'm sure that asshole must already have a clue, but still. I have no intention of backing down."

Backing down...? 

Your chest tightened. This wasn't just meant to be a confession, was it? He was plotting something. Something you were sure you wouldn't approve of.

"I told him to come out after hours," Katsuki went on. "I'm going to meet him outside, and we're going to fight." 

"You're going to... fight."

It hurt, but you couldn't say you were surprised. Katsuki wasn't good with words. The best he could do was put his feelings into action. 

"Why do you need to fight him?" you asked. 

"Because," he rasped, "I need to see for myself why in the fuck All Might chose someone like him. I need to understand it, because if I don't, I actually might go insane. I want him to fight me with all his strength, and I want it to be all-in, without anyone to stop us." His eyes narrowed. "So, [Name], you're—" 

"I won't stop you." 

He stiffened, evidently caught off-guard. You lowered your head to the ground, smiling wistfully. 

"From what you've told me, it's clear that this is something that needs to happen. In order for you to obtain some form of closure. Obviously, I don't approve, but... if it needs to happen, I don't intend to stand in your way. I know this is important to you."

"[Name]..." 

In an instant, you'd been entrapped by Katsuki's arms. He was still shaking, though not as violently as before. This must've really been terrifying for him. He must be dreading receiving the answers, and laying everything on the line. Knowing that his rival been chosen by All Might instead of him... you couldn't imagine how much this had been eating him up from the inside.

"You can fight him, just don't get yourself killed," you laughed. "I know you're always going off telling people to die, but at least promise me this won't end in casualties." 

Katsuki snorted. "I don't want to make a promise I have no intention of keeping." 

"Hey." 

"Alright, fine." 

You broke away from the hug, eyes softening. "I know this isn't going to be easy, Katsuki-kun, but please try to remember that you're no less than anyone. You're amazing, and I mean it when I say this. You're the most amazing person I know, so just... I want you to be proud of how far you've come. That's all."

He pressed his lips together. "Okay." 

"Be safe out there." 

"I know." 

"I'll be up all night now because you've told me this."

"I know." 

"And, Katsuki-kun?" 

"Yes?" 

You grinned. "Go win."  

Katsuki's eyes widened. Before long, he was smiling.

"I intend to."

Chapter Text

"They got into a fight?!" 

"What the actual hell."

"Apparently, they're under house arrest." 

"Are they stupid?!" 

"Must be."

"Wow.

The following morning, such were the exasperated cries of your fellow students. You'd already known from the night before, of course, but Katsuki had stayed true to his word and fought Izuku one-on-one. He'd urged you not to get involved so as to not take any of the blame, but you'd been up pretty much all night, tossing and turning in bed. He'd finally sent you a message near two o'clock in the morning, and told you that he'd amassed a four-day suspension after being caught. It definitely wasn't ideal, but after the whole rescuing fiasco, you were just glad Aizawa hadn't threatened either of them with expulsion again.

Katsuki and Izuku had both been assigned to cleaning duty as penalty for their actions. You'd already been told this, too, but waking up in the morning to see your boyfriend vacuuming while muttering under his breath was still a sight to behold. He had bandages and bruises all over, but they didn't like too severe, much to your relief. He seemed his regular, hotheaded self. 

"Morning, Katsuki-kun." You walked up to him with a smile, adjusting the tie of your uniform. "How's the cleaning going?"

He scoffed. "Shitty, how else?" 

"It looks like you're doing a pretty good job, though." 

"Bite me, [Name]." 

You laughed it off. He was all pouty and indignant, it was super cute. And maybe you were imagining it, but the dynamic between him and Izuku... it seemed a bit more stable. As if the flames had died down somewhat. 

"Umm... [Name]-chan?" Izuku mumbled, working his way over to you. He glanced in all directions before lowering his voice. "I heard from Kacchan that you, well... you know. About everything, I mean." 

"Oh." 

So he told them. 

"Yeah, I know," you affirmed, "but I don't intend to breathe a word about it to anyone else. Katsuki-kun trusted me with this, so I intend to respect it. You too, of course." 

He managed a shaky smile. "Yeah, I figured. I'm the one to blame by spilling the beans in the first place. If I hadn't done that, then maybe Kacchan wouldn't have found out. But still... it sort of feels right this way. Now that I'm not the only one keeping this secret, it feels like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders. I'm pretty selfish, aren't I?" 

"You're not selfish at all. Just trust in us, Izuku-kun." 

The freckled boy boisterously nodded his head, flashed you another smile, then resumed dragging his vacuum across the floor. Katsuki was furrowing his brows at you from over his shoulder. You cocked a brow. 

"Yes?" 

"Stop talking to that asshole," he glowered. "You tryna piss me off?" 

"Hm, maybe?" 

"You—!" 

Another laugh fell from your lips. "Alright, Katsuki-kun. I gotta go now." You fixed the creases in your skirt and leaned in to give him a quick peck on his cheek. He flushed for a moment, turning away with a hurried scowl. You began trickling out with the rest of your classmates, waving your boyfriend off. "I'll tell you what we covered during the opening ceremony, okay?" 

"Yeah, yeah." 

He scowled again, but you didn't miss the few words he spoke to Izuku just as you headed out the door. 

 

 

 

 

There wasn't much to say about the ceremony. Some teachers spoke, the principal spoke, and mainly the same key points were touched on as during the first semester. You were just looking forward to seeing Katsuki back in the dorm now that classes were over. It was weird not having him there with you. You even lived together, yet it hardly took much for you to start missing him.

"I'm still surprised Deku-kun and Bakugou-kun had a fight," Uraraka frowned. "I mean, sure, they were never on good terms, but it was kind of out of nowhere, wasn't it?" 

"Hmm, yeah. I guess so." 

She narrowed her big brown eyes. "Unless you know something that I don't...?" 

Curse her and her psychic tendencies. 

"He might've told me about it," you admitted, not wanting to keep any more secrets from your best friend. "But I didn't want to intervene. I just let him do what he wanted instead of getting a teacher involved." 

Uraraka blinked. "So he actually told you before he went through with it?" 

"Yeah." 

"Wow. I didn't take him for the type to be that transparent with someone." 

"I guess he just trusts me," you smiled. "Katsuki-kun isn't a bad guy. A lot of people have it wrong." 

"Well, I at least know that much, but still." She pursed her lips for a moment. "So, then, has he... you know... said those words to you?" 

"What words?" 

"C'mon," she frowned, lightly slapping you on the arm, "those words. The big ones." 

"Oh." A warm flush rose to your cheeks. You nodded briskly, prompting the brunette to let out a shrill, prolonged squeal. "Yeah. He's told me he loved me before." 

"Oooohh!!" 

Uraraka continuing giggling like a child, her already-reddened cheeks burning even brighter. Now that you thought about it, you'd never really told anyone this yet. You were sure your classmates got the gist of how closely-knit the two of you were, but they probably couldn't imagine someone like Katsuki saying something like this. Then again, you hadn't expected it, either. 

"So things are going amazing, then!" she exclaimed. "You guys haven't had any problems lately, right? Oh, actually... what about the new mark on your hip? Has the writing starting coming in yet? "

You shrugged. "Nothing yet. I looked it over in the mirror yesterday, but it was still too faint so I couldn't make it out." 

"Hmm. Mind if I take a look?" 

"Sure, knock yourself out." 

You pulled off to the side, moving for a more secluded area of the hallway. Classes were over, so most of the students had already trickled out, but you'd still rather not expose yourself for no reason. Uraraka watched as you untucked your dress-shirt, shimmied your skirt down a bit, and revealed your left hip. Brown irises darted to-and-fro.

"I can't really make it out, either. Hold on a second." She stooped to a crouch, furrowing her brows together and squinting right before the mark. Then, she blinked. "[Name]-chan?" 

"Yes?" 

"I love you." 

"Oh." You bit back a chuckle, slowly bobbing your head in agreement. "Thanks, Uraraka-chan. I love you, too."

"No, no, no—I mean, yes, but also no. I'm talking about the mark. The writing I'm staring at right now. Doesn't it say 'I love you'?" 

You stiffened up. "I... don't know. Does it?" 

"I think. It's still pretty fuzzy, but when I stare at it from this close up, I can see the outline of the letters. It looks like that's what it says here." 

"I love you". 

Katsuki had said those words to you, not even all that long ago. It was right when your mark had disappeared altogether, and you'd spent the night by his side, curled up against his chest and crying openly into his arms. It had been fading for a long time up until then, but after that...

My new mark came in the very next day. 

You remembered Hana's words from before. She'd said her own mark had been fading for a long time, but after re-connecting with her soulmate and spending time together, her previous mark had been replaced with new words. New words, but still his words. And no one other than your friends and family had ever spoken these three to you.

"They're Katsuki-kun's," you breathed, cupping a palm against your blistering cheek. "I think... his old words have been replaced. With this." 

Uraraka frowned. "His words? But wasn't your tattoo the first thing he ever said to you? I didn't know that could change." 

"I didn't either, but I guess it can." You lowered your head to the ground. "I really didn't like the way he spoke to me at the beginning. When we first met, I had a very bad impression of him. Perhaps... I ended up resenting his words to me so much that my body rejected them, or something. I met with Hana-san just yesterday. Something similar happened to her, and while every case is surely unique, the resemblance is uncanny." 

"His first words were pretty horrible," Uraraka affirmed. "I guess it makes sense in that case. So then, you were—?" 

"Subconsciously rejecting him, probably." You inhaled sharply. "I think, for all his talk, Katsuki-kun was still trying harder than me at the beginning. We talked about this before, but... he stopped fighting it a lot earlier than I did. I had too many doubts, too many insecurities. If I'd just been more honest with myself..." 

"There's no point in regretting anything now, right?" 

"Yeah, that's true." 

You adjusted your skirt and tucked your shirt back in. Uraraka gave you a big smile. Yet another load off your chest. This new mark wasn't a premonition, or ominous foreshadowing. It was just proof of how strong your connection had become. It actually made your heart race, knowing that you'd get to display those words with pride for the rest of your life. 

"Come on," Uraraka ushered, linking her arm around yours, "let's head back to the dorms and make some food, okay?" 

You nodded, following alongside her. Another thought was steadily building. Even though all this time, your mark had been fading, Katsuki's had always remained intact. If your fading mark was proof of your wavering, or doubt, then wouldn't that mean that—

Katsuki-kun never had any doubts about us? 

Your heart did a pang. The realization was both joyous and excruciatingly painful at the same time. Even though Katsuki had told you just for how long he'd gone on resenting his mark since he was a child, he still hadn't rejected you.

He'd never regretted your meeting, not even once.

"Man, I'm so hungry! Let's make some pasta if we—[N-Name]-chan! Why are you crying?!"

You wiped away at your eyes and laughed. 

"It's nothing. I just realized how lucky I am."

Chapter Text

"I feel like this goes without saying, but... play nice, okay?"

Your father held back a smile. "Of course. We're always on our best behavior, sweetheart." 

"I recall you being rather rude to Katsuki-kun the first time you met." 

"What's this now? I don't think so. Maybe I'm just remembering it differently." 

"Ugh..."

You were standing on Katsuki's doorstep, joined by your mother and father, who'd in turn brought along flowers and wine as little gifts. It was the first time both of your families were actually meeting each other, and you were feeling pretty nervous, admittedly. Even though your father had accepted Katsuki as your boyfriend, it hadn't exactly been the smoothest of transitions. You just hoped tonight wouldn't run askew.

"Welcome, welcome!" The door opened to reveal Mitsuki, grinning ear-to-ear as she raked her eyes over your family. Your mother presented her with the flowers; your father with the wine. She grabbed both and smiled even wider. "It's so nice to finally meet you all! I'm Mitsuki, Katsuki's mother. Please, come in!"

Masaru was just beside her, smiling as gently as always. The three of you stepped inside, and both families immediately began shaking hands and diving into their introductions. You spotted Katsuki reclining against the wall with his hands buried in his pockets. You smiled and made your way over. 

"Hi, Katsuki-kun. How are you—" 

He caught you in a bear hug before you could say much else. You half-squealed, smothered by the muscles of his taut forearms. Katsuki chuckled and hurriedly pecked your forehead. 

"Hey," he smirked. "You look cute today." 

You flushed. "T-Thank you..."

Since you'd interpreted it to be a somewhat festive occasion, you'd thrown on a soft, cream-colored dress that hugged your curves but still flowed around you in breathable ribbons. You'd styled your hair a bit differently than usual, too, though you hadn't expected him to actually notice. He always seemed to take note of these things, no matter how small or insignificant. 

"Yes, yes—the two of us were absolutely baffled at the start!" you could hear Mitsuki babbling. "Well, of course we already knew that Katsuki had a soulmate somewhere out there, but we certainly weren't expecting it to be with such a sweet young lady. Truth be told, when he brought her over the first time, I was convinced he'd paid her off to pretend to be his girlfriend..." 

"The fuck did you just say?!" 

"Quiet, you snot-nosed little shit!" Mitsuki sighed, ignoring the wary looks your parents were giving her. "See? He's so rough around the edges. Thank goodness for [Name], that angel. If only I'd been blessed with a daughter instead..."

Katsuki gritted his teeth, every fiber of his being likely on the verge of exploding. Your father half-smirked in the blonde's direction, as if he was challenging him to lose his nerve. You probably should've known better than to expect a quiet evening. 

"N-Now, now," Masaru chimed in, always the voice of reason. "We can talk at the dinner table, Mitsuki. We wouldn't want the food to get cold. Is it alright if we open the bottle of wine you've brought us...?" 

"Oh, of course," your mother smiled. "By all means." 

"Thank you." 

He waved for his wife to follow him into the dining room. Your parents trailed closely behind, with you and Katsuki lagging near the back. You brushed your hand by his and offered a consoling smile. 

"Don't worry, Katsuki-kun. Just be yourself. My family already knows the kind of person you are, so there's nothing to stress over."

"Yeah, sure," he grumbled. "Be myself. Your dad loves it when I do that." 

"He's fine with you, seriously. You guys just need to get to know each other better. Once he's more familiar with you, it'll start feeling more natural."

Katsuki shrugged, grabbing a seat at the table and saving you the spot beside him. You didn't even need to glance down to the plates to know what you were having. The thick scent of spice was playing at your nostrils, already making you salivate. 

"Fuck yeah," Katsuki grinned. "Curry's on the menu tonight." 

"Hey!" Mitsuki hissed, narrowing her crimson irises into slits. "Watch your language, asshole! We have guests over, for crying out loud!" 

"M-Mitsuki," the husband tried, "that goes for you, as well..." 

"The hell did I say wrong?!" 

"Your language... ugh. Nevermind." Masaru hung his head in defeat. "Let's just eat..."

You glanced across the table, only to see that your parents were cracking up in their seats, just shy of breaking out into a fit of laughter. Theirs was a bit of an unconventional family, yes, but you hoped your parents would be able to understand just how dear these people were to you.

"Oh, delicious." Your mother wiped away at her lip, having just taken her first bite. She smiled in Mitsuki's direction. "This curry is amazing. I'll have to steal your recipe sometime." 

"Do you like it?" Mitsuki grinned. "My asshole son—" 

"Mitsuki." 

"My stupid son really likes spicy food, so I've made a lot of curry in my day. I've gotten so used to eating it at his preferred blend that it's a little difficult to gauge how spicy to make it when we have guests over, though. It's not too hot, is it?" 

"No, no," your mother smiled. "It's lovely, thank you." 

"Very good," your father affirmed. 

"It's really yummy!" you beamed. 

"Tastes pretty fucking good, not gonna lie." 

"Language, shithead!"

If you didn't know any better, you would've thought this scene was just shy of a food fight. Well, both your families were around, so there was no way that—

Oh. Nevermind. Katsuki had just flicked a spoonful all over his mother's shirt. 

Yeah, he's dead. 

"KATSUKI, YOU ILL-MANNERED PIECE OF SHIT SON...!!"

Too many things were happening at the table right now, and so, being the coward you were, you hastily stood up and belted for the bathroom. You could hear the cacophony of Katsuki and Mitsuki's clashing cries, though it seemed that your parents' laughter was mixed in as well, so at least they were enjoying themselves. 

Once you'd freshened up and returned, Katsuki was back in his spot, picking silently at his half-eaten curry. His cheeks were flushed and swollen. Mitsuki had probably pinched them so hard they'd nearly torn off. 

"I swear," the mother huffed, "he's always doing things like this. Embarrassing us when we've got guests over."

If you had the guts, you might've pointed out how she was technically the one who'd riled him up to begin with, but your good sense prevented you from doing so. Katsuki and Mitsuki were each a flushed, grumbling mess, but your parents were laughing so hard they were probably about to split a rib. 

"S-Sorry," your father chortled, wiping away at misty eyes. "I don't mean to be rude, it's just... your family's so lively. It's certainly not something you see every day." 

Mitsuki twisted her lips into a pout. "Look, Katsuki. You've gone and made a fool out of our family. Shame on you." 

"I didn't even—!" He squeezed his palms together, inhaling a sharp growl. "Nevermind," he hissed. "I'm not saying shit anymore." 

"If you'd only you'd done that to begin with." 

Katsuki gave his mother the death glare. Your parents broke out into another fit of laughter. You and Masaru just stared back at each other with that helpless, 'what-to-do' look. 

Just another day with the Bakugous, you supposed.

"Thank god we live in the dorms now," Katsuki muttered, stealing a glance in your direction. "Now do you realize what I had to put up with every damn day?" 

"Haha. They're cute, though. It's how they express their love, I'm sure." 

"Yeah, well, their love is fucking weird." 

He resumed spearing the chunks of meat in his curry with pronounced vigor. You looked down at your plate, then at the families sitting before you, then back to Katsuki. 

A smile rose to your lips. 

"The hell are you grinning at me for?" Katsuki frowned. "Creep." 

"Mhm." 

"Seriously, what's so fucking amusing. Tell me." 

"Mhm." 

"Oi. I'll tickle you till you barf, goddammit."

You didn't respond, and your eyes drifted back across the table. 

"Mitsuki-san," you straightened up, "Masaru-san. Can I say something real quick?" 

"Hm? Of course, sweetie. What is it?" 

You gripped at the edge of your chair. "I'm just super happy right now. I'm the happiest I've ever been in my entire life, and I can't thank you enough for supporting my relationship with Katsuki-kun up until now. I know this might sound super cheesy and unnecessary, but... I just needed to say it. So thank you, again. For allowing me to be a part of his life."

The two stared back at you, mouths agape, stunned to silence. Your parents bore similar expressions—unblinking, unmoving. Even Katsuki was at a loss for words. 

"Oh, goodness," Mitsuki breathed, her chest rising and falling with it. "That's so... we should be the ones thanking you, [Name]. Katsuki's never been better than he is right now. I've never seen him smile as much as he does around you. As a parent... that kind of thing leaves a lasting impression. So thank you," she smiled, "for making him so happy."

You shuffled further up against the back of your seat, wary of the blush rising to your warm temples. Katsuki was just as red beside you.

"[Name]'s never been good at speaking her mind," your mother began, the creases by her eyes softening. "For her to go out of her way to say this must mean it's genuine. I'm sure she treasures your son very much." 

"It's the same for Katsuki as well," Masaru smiled. 

Your father leaned forward in his chair. "So it appears this soulmate arrangement is the real deal. It definitely wasn't easy for us to see that our baby daughter had been born with such uncouth words on her body, but such is life. It has a way of figuring itself out, so to speak." 

Your parents exchanged knowing glances among one another, then smiled. You felt Katsuki's fingers work their way underneath the table to give you a gentle squeeze. He was still staring down at his food, not looking in your direction, but the warmth of his touch was more than enough.

Mitsuki stiffened. "Actually... what were Katsuki's first words to [Name]? He never told us, no matter how often we asked. I'm sure it was probably rude and barbaric, but I'm still quite curious." 

Katsuki stiffened up. With all the mess of your mark fading then reappearing, it had just been simpler to keep your parents and families out of the loop. Then again, you hadn't yet revealed to Katsuki what Uraraka had discovered the other day. You'd been wanting it to be some sort of surprise, and showing it to a bunch of people right away was a bit...

"His first words to me weren't all that kind," you admitted, shaking your head in your parents' direction. "They were a bit off-putting, truth be told, but I don't dwell on them anymore. Since then, the things Katsuki-kun's spoken to be have only become more and more meaningful. At the end of the day, they're just first words—I don't think it's worth judging a person simply based off of that." 

You popped another spoonful of curry into your mouth. Mitsuki and Masaru were still gazing at you expectantly, but probably realized that you weren't all that keen on revisiting such memories. And, even if they didn't know it yet, you now had a beautiful phrase that you could wear with pride for the rest of your days. 

"Don't think we're out of the clear yet," Katsuki grumbled. "Your parents know exactly what I said, so I'm sure they'll just end up telling mine at some point. My shitty mom's definitely gonna whoop my ass for that one later. Anyways, I'm—" 

"Hold on a second, I wanna show you something." 

You'd dropped your voice to a whisper so that the rest of the table couldn't hear. The parents had already shifted the topic of conversation by now, so you figured you had enough leeway to do what you hadn't yet been able to do. You picked at the edge of your shirt and lifted it so that the new, slowly-darkening letters on your hip were in clear view. 

Katsuki squinted. 

Then he inhaled.

"Is that—?"

"It is," you smiled, gently running your fingers over the cool patch of skin. Every time you touched it, you felt like you were right back in that moment again, the moment where he'd stared lovingly into your eyes and spoken from his heart. 

Katsuki couldn't seem to believe his eyes. "So, when the new writing was coming in... it changed to this?" 

"Seems so." 

"And you're sure they're my words?" He half-glared. "You haven't been running around with other guys, have you?" 

"Oops, you caught me." 

"Asshole." He leaned closer and let his knuckles fall against the ink-like writing. You could feel them trembling against your skin. "It's not faded," he murmured to himself. "You're still mine." 

"I'll always be yours."

Katsuki's lips melted against your own. Your cheeks reddened and erupted into waves of heat. You leaned into him, fingers instinctively finding his again underneath the table. You would've lost yourself in his embrace right then and there, if not for the fact that you were—regretfully—not alone.

"Jeez!" Mitsuki guffawed. "Save that for after dessert, kiddos!" 

"M-Mitsuki, you're embarrassing them..." 

"Ohh, look, dear! [Name]'s so red!" 

"Shouldn't these things be done in private? We're trying to eat here. Have some class, Bakugou—" 

"FUCK OFF, ALL OF YOU!" 

Having finally snapped, Katsuki pressed you up against his chest and glared daggers at his assailants. In spite of the flush creeping up your neck, you managed a soft laugh. 

"She's my damn girlfriend, and I can kiss her whenever the hell I want!"

Chapter Text

You were feeling out of sorts today.

Perhaps it was the looming internships, or maybe the fact that Katsuki had been spending almost all his spare time training for his provisional make-up exam, but there was a dark cloud following you around wherever you went. Classes had ended, Katsuki had told you he needed to catch up on all the studying he'd missed, and so you found yourself lounging around the communal area of the dorms feeling listless and grouchy. 

Todoroki had the misfortune of approaching you. 

"[Name], did you get your homework done already?" he asked, cocking his head to the side. It was just a question, with no ill-intent or alternate meaning, but for some reason you decided to respond in the worst way possible. 

"Why the hell do you care?" 

You regretted the words as soon as they left your mouth, especially when you saw the way Todoroki's brows slumped downwards. He'd just been trying to make conversation, and now he was probably wondering what he'd done wrong, the poor thing. 

"Sorry," you managed hastily, shaking your head in dismay. "My mood's been off the last few days. I think it's since Katsuki-kun's been busy and we haven't been able to spend as much time together. I'm also pretty nervous about the internships, even though I'll probably end up working for Hana-san, but still." 

His eyes softened. "Oh. For a moment, I thought you were upset with me for something." 

"N-No, of course not. I'm sorry for snapping at you..." 

"It's alright." He took a seat beside you. "Bakugou's definitely been putting a lot of effort into all of our training sessions. I guess I didn't realize just how serious that guy could be." 

"He's actually really disciplined. I know he doesn't seem the type. How have you been managing to keep up with school and your remedial courses at the same time?" 

He gave you a deadpan expression. "I don't know. I feel like just attending class is good enough to keep your grades up." 

I'm surrounded by way too many talented people, jeez. 

"Sure, sure," you sighed, letting your head fall back against the couch. "Aw, man, I'm so bored. I tried to convince Katsuki-kun to take the evening off but he just ignored me and locked himself in his room. He'll be in bed early too so I won't even have a chance to see him again tonight..." 

"You're frustrated?" 

"Well, yes. I want to spend more time with him." 

"Even though you see each other during classes every day?" 

"Y-Yes. Isn't it normal to want to be around the person you like as much as possible?" 

Todoroki slunk further into the cushion. "I don't know. Probably." His eyes softened for a moment, then he reached out to lightly pat you on the head. You blinked at the feeling of his fingers smoothing down your hair. 

Is this his way of consoling me? 

You almost laughed at the innocence of it all, but an annoying, high-pitched sound had already begun filling the room.

"Ooooh!" Kaminari squealed, hopping in place as he pointed at the two of you. "Todoroki's putting on the moves! Dude, you're so dead as soon as Bakugou finds out!" 

"What moves?" Todoroki gaped. "We're not moving." 

"Todoroki-kun," you sighed, "that's not what he means..." 

"What does he—?" 

"You're taking advantage of the situation and flirting with [Name]-chan just because her boyfriend isn't around! That's ice-cold, man—pun intended!" 

Todoroki was only growing increasingly more confused, but by now Ashido and Hagakure had also joined in and were giggling about 'how close' the two of you had been getting. Kaminari was right, though. It was probably for the best that Katsuki not be around to witness this nonsense. Otherwise—

"You guys seriously can't keep it the fuck down, can ya?!" 

Oh, boy.

Speak of the devil, Katsuki had (at some point) left his fortress of solitude and trickled into the communal area. Still, his room was several floors above. You didn't think you guys were being that loud. Well, you'd been pretty much zoned in until Todoroki had first approached you, though. 

"Stop being so fucking loud," he growled, eyeing everyone in the room viciously. When he saw you seated just next to Todoroki, you became no exception. "I'm trying to study for this goddamned test, and I also need to figure out a new move plan for my—" 

"Todoroki and [Name] were flirting!" Ashido blurted. 

"What." 

"That's so not true," you countered, watching the way your classmate's darkened eyes lit up with mischief and glee. That sneaky little bitch. You'd have to give her a stern talking to later. 

"So this is what you do when I'm not around, huh?" Katsuki half-scoffed, but your cheeks were puffed out in protest, so he probably realized it was all a farce. Todoroki was blinking at inhumane speeds, no doubt wondering what in the hell he'd gotten himself wrapped into.

"You know it's not," you eye-rolled. 

"I saw it!" Kaminari chortled, that bastard, "Todoroki was running his fingers through her hair all romantic-like!" 

"Excuse me?!" 

This seemed to get his attention, and he'd stormed over to the couch before you could bat your eyes. Katsuki loomed above the two of you, brows knit into a quivering knot. Todoroki maintained a blank expression, but you knew you didn't imagine him scooting away. 

"Stop hitting on my girl, asswipe." 

"I wasn't." 

"You were, though." 

"Not really." 

"Fuck you." 

"No thanks." 

"[Name], we're leaving." 

Your classmates were all whooping with laughter now. Most would've probably just disregarded a little bit of teasing like this, but when had Katsuki ever been permissive? Actually, you were surprised at how calm he was being, all things considered. Before, whenever he even saw you accidentally bump shoulders with another guy, it would get him fuming.

"Don't you have to study?" you protested, stumbling behind as he led you upstairs. 

"Too late," he snapped. "I'm not in the mood anymore." 

"Are people ever in the mood for studying?" 

"Watch your mouth, smart-ass." 

You chuckled under your breath. This was actually a nice turn of events. It seemed like he had tunnel vision earlier and was only focused on his work, but thanks to that little mishap, you'd actually get to spend a bit of time with him.

Todoroki-kun's right, though. We still see each other during classes. It's not as if we're ever apart for long. And still, I get impatient to be with him every time he's not around...

You cast your head to the ground as your cheeks flushed a brazen crimson. Katsuki opened the door to his room and let you in, but you were now too preoccupied by your own thoughts to focus on him. The warmth in your face, and the tingly sensation in your chest... they served as the perfect cues that feelings were bubbling up to the surface. Feelings that you knew all too well, and that you'd been harboring for quite some time.

The only difference was that now, they were looking for an escape. 

"Man, I'm so fucking behind on all my shit," Katsuki grumbled, plopping down on his bed with a sigh. He was used to you following and sitting down beside him, so when you didn't, he looked up at you with a frown. "What is it? You look like you have something you wanna say." 

"Um, not really..." 

His brow twitched. "Trying to keep shit from me again?" 

"N-No, sorry." Your face flushed even more. "If it's okay, can you... hug me?" 

"Uhh, okay?" Katsuki blinked. "I'm not sure what you're angle is here. You're being all fidgety and adorable so I feel like you're about to ask me for some super unreasonable favor." 

"But I'm always fidgety and adorable...?" you tried. 

Katsuki paused for a moment, then chuckled. "Damn right you are. Get your ass over here." He reached out to pull you towards the bed, arms falling around your back almost immediately. You inhaled by his neck and sighed. He kind of smelled like cinnamon today. It still had that sharp, musky accent to it, though. Different cologne, maybe?

"Stop sniffing me," he laughed. "Are you a dog?" 

"N-No..." 

You buried yourself into his chest, body burning all over. He must've felt you shaking, since he propped your chin up and made you meet his gaze. 

"What's up with you?" Katsuki frowned. "You seem nervous, or something. You're never nervous around me. I knew it, you are hiding something—" 

"I love you." 

You didn't wait for him to react. Instead, you buried yourself back into his arms, too flustered to even dare look him in the eyes. He was still holding you, but his grip had gone slack. You wanted to look at him more than anything right now. It was scary being this vulnerable, and your heart was beating so fast you could barely breathe, but just one peek couldn't hurt...

Oh.

"Do you... really mean that...?" 

No matter how many times you'd seen this expression, it still managed to blow you away. The stillness, the lack of anger or frustration, the simplicity, the act of just plain being at a loss for words. It was special, and you knew you were one of the very few who'd ever seen this expression. To render the great Bakugou Katsuki incapable of speech... that had to mean something, didn't it?

"Yes," you breathed, swallowing your flush and forcing yourself to look straight into his eyes. "I mean it. I'm sorry it took me so long to say." 

"No, it's—" Katsuki hurriedly shook his head. "It's, uh, fine. I never... expected you to say it back in the first place. I mean... I didn't say it looking for that in return or anything..." He inhaled sharply. "Shit. Sorry. I don't even know what the fuck to say right now, I feel like I can hardly think straight." 

You smiled. "You don't have to say anything. You already said it to me." 

"I know, but—" 

"I've loved you for a long time," you admitted, watching the way Katsuki's eyes widened. "It might sound kind of stupid, but... I didn't want to say it prematurely. This was back when my mark was fading, and a part of me was worried that if I confessed, it would just be out of fear of our time running out. I wanted it to be real, and meaningful, and..." You looked around the room and laughed. "Well, I sort of wanted it to be somewhere a bit more special than this, but I guess it was just bound to happen naturally. I was feeling all sorts of emotions today, so I doubt I could have kept quiet any longer." 

Katsuki squeezed your hand to the point that it began to hurt. There was a twinge of discomfort, but you didn't try to shake him off. His fingers were trembling so fiercely against your own, it was almost as if he was scared of losing you all over again. 

"I love you, too," he rasped out. "I love you so, so much." 

You bit down on your lip to keep from looking away. You were so new to this. Being vulnerable was so much more difficult than you could've ever expected. You didn't know how you ever would've done it with someone other than Katsuki. No... from the beginning there was surely no one else. 

It was just the two of you, and it would continue to be so for the rest of your lives. 

Chapter Text

Several years later.

 

 

You stared down at the muddled toilet bowl, eyes flitting over the remnants that you’d just purged. It had been going on for a little while now, this persistent nausea. Normally, you weren’t one to make much of a fuss over these things, but it was starting to interfere with daily life, and plans…

“I’m too busy to be coming down with something,” you thought grimly, flushing the water down one last time and rinsing yourself off in the sink. When you made your way back to your table, Uraraka was staring at you with her brows pulled into a knot.

“What happened?” she asked. “You look so pale…”

You sat down and let out a sigh. “I threw up.”

Again?”

“Yeah. I’ve been feeling really off these days.”

“That’s not good,” she frowned. “Why haven’t you gone to a doctor yet?”

“Well, you know how it is.” You forced a weak smile. “We’ve been really busy, planning the wedding and all. Plus, Katsuki’s super swamped with hero duties. Too much has been going on around the house.”

“Your health takes precedence.”

“I know, but—”

“No buts!” Uraraka silenced, wagging her fork in your direction. “You’re going to the doctor today, whether you like it or not!”

“Alright, alright.”

You knew better to protest. Maybe you were just overworked, and your eating schedule had been awfully erratic as well. It could easily just be a build-up of nerves and stress.

“Here’s your fruit tart,” the waitress smiled, dropping it off at your seat just as you were in the process of downing another gulp of water. Brightly-colored berries stared up at you from underneath a heaping of whipped cream. Uraraka was practically drooling.

“Yummy,” she grinned. “It looks so good.”

You smiled. “Yeah. Your order’s not up yet, right? I’ll wait for you.”

“Oh, don’t mind me!” she ushered. “Go ahead, go ahead! I might end up having a bite if you tempt me too much though, haha.”

Admittedly, it did look good, and you’d skipped breakfast yet again so you couldn’t wait much longer. Armed with a spoon, you scooped up the uppermost layer, making sure to get ample chunks of fruit. You brought the creamy bite to your lips, and…

Gagged.

“Oh, god.”

Your spoon clattered to the plate. Uraraka’s brows had rocketed upwards. She watched you bring your napkin to your mouth and spit out the little that you’d ingested. You tried to chug your glass of water in the hopes of removing the foul taste that had settled upon your tongue, but it just wouldn’t clear. With every passing second, you felt your stomach churn more and more.

“I’m gonna throw up again.”

“What?!” Uraraka exclaimed. “But you just… what was wrong with it? Could the fruits have maybe been spoiled, or—?”

You didn’t even get to hear the last of her sentence, because you’d already rushed out of your seat and bolted for the nearest trashcan. Even though you hadn’t been awfully keen on your table being so close to the front, you sure were thankful for it now.

“Miss?” one of the servers called, not quite sure to approach you as you spewed your guts into the trash. “Are you alright? Should I call somebody…?”

“She’s fine!” Uraraka reassured, scrambling to your side immediately. You felt her fingers comb through strands of your hair and pull it out of your face. “She’s just been feeling really sick these days. Um, some extra napkins or paper towels would be nice, though.”

You groaned. “Good lord, how embarrassing.”

“It’s not embarrassing, just focus on yourself right now. But…” Uraraka shifted on her knees behind you, one arm hooked around your shoulders. “[Name]… have you considered the fact that you might be pregnant?”

You dabbed at the corners of your mouth with the wet cloths the server had brought you. A point in your chest had begun to ache. Up until now, you’d written it off as a bug or virus, but… thinking back on it logically, it added up. The nausea, or morning sickness, coupled with how fatigued and moody you’d been. Was your period really that late? It was likely. You’d been so busy these days that you hadn’t even been keeping track of that anymore.

“I… can’t say it’s impossible,” you admitted.

Uraraka gripped you tighter. “Right. So, I’d say first things first, after we clean up and get out of here, I think you should take a pregnancy test. I’ll drive you to the nearest drugstore and we can pick one up, okay?”

“Okay.”

A swell of emotions had burst through your rib-cage, but right now, you were just trying to focus on not throwing up on the floor.

 

 

 

 

 

The test came back positive.

Uraraka had been there to support you, and you were at least thankful for that, but this raised a lot of concerns. Most of them were in terms of logistics, finance, and long-term development, but the more pressing issue was something else entirely.

Namely, how you would bring this up to your fiancé.

Katsuki was a good guy. You’d realized this back in your U.A days, and the feelings hadn’t changed since then. If anything, they’d grown stronger. The last few years you’d spent together had been yet more proof of the resilience of your bond. When he’d proposed a few months back, it had been the happiest day of your life.

For all the reasons you loved him, you knew that he had it in him to be an amazing dad. The question was if he was ready to be a dad. That, you had no way of knowing, and with the wedding still a few months away, you were horrified that this could be the make-or-break decision that would drive a wedge between your relationship.

Stepping into the apartment, you were, by all accounts, terrified. You had no idea how to bring it up, or when the right moment was, or if there even was a right moment for these kinds of things. You wanted to have a child, of course, and you wouldn’t dream about having one with anyone other than Katsuki, but still. This was a big deal, and you still had a lot of unanswered questions. Perhaps waiting a bit longer to tell him would be the right call.

But Uraraka said I should do it sooner rather than later. Shit…

You were a walking bundle of nerves, and Katsuki was already home, making food. The scent alone made you gag.

“Babe, is that you?”

“Yeah… just got back.”

He poked his head around the corner first, then stepped out altogether, donning the cheesy ‘kiss-the-cook’ apron you’d bought him for Christmas.

“How was it?” he asked, shuffling up his sleeves a bit farther.

“Good.” You flashed him a weak smile. “What’re you making?”

“Curry—but not too spicy, don’t worry.”

You should’ve known from the smell alone. A heavy meal like that was probably the worst thing he could possibly ask you to eat at a time like this. You knew there was no way you’d be able to hold it down.

“Smells yummy,” you lied, “but I think I’ll have to pass. I ate with Uraraka already, so I’m not that hungry.”

“You left a while ago,” Katsuki frowned. “I’m sure you’re starting to get at least a little hungry. You don’t need to eat a lot, just sit down at the table with me.”

“No, I’m good, really…”

“The hell? You got a problem with my cooking, woman?”

You wanted to laugh, but just standing so close to the kitchen was making you want to vomit. You scrambled over to the living room and plopped down onto the sofa, letting your head fall back. Your purse was still hooked around your arm.

“What the fuck, [Name]?” Katsuki followed you over, sounding annoyed, but not really. “The hell are you walking away like that for? I’m about to set the table.”

“I feel too sick,” you whined. “Please, Katsuki. I’m sorry, I just… I can’t eat right now.”

His expression changed at that. “Why didn’t you just say so?” He took a seat beside you, brows furrowed. “Are you still nauseous? You haven’t gotten that checked out yet? What if it’s food poisoning or some shit?”

“It’s not…”

“Well, how would you know if you haven’t gone yet?”

You groaned. “I’m fine, really. Just let me rest for a bit, please…”

“[Name], you look way too fucking pale right now.” He clenched his jaw and placed a palm against your forehead. “It doesn’t feel like you’re running a fever, but you look sick. I’m going to take you to get checked.”

“No!” The cry came out urgent and strained, and Katsuki stared back at you in bewilderment. You shifted your hand atop his own. “Just… no,” you repeated, a bit more calmly. “I don’t want to see a doctor. I just need to rest.”

“Why the hell are you being so hard-headed about this? I’m trying to help because I fucking care.”

“I don’t need to get checked, I’m fine.”

“You’re going to get checked,” Katsuki grimaced, “and stop fucking fighting me on this. It’s starting to piss me off.”

“Katsuki, please.”

“[Name], come on.”

He was starting to get really irritated, you could hear it in his voice now. You didn’t have the strength to even fight him. You just wanted to lay here and close your eyes; to just stop thinking about everything for at least a few minutes. You couldn’t take it that he kept raising his voice and tugging you by the wrist.

He needed to stop.

You were getting overwhelmed.

Your chest was starting to burn.

God, [Name], don’t—!

“I’m only nauseous because I’m fucking pregnant, okay?!”

Now, there was silence.

You squeezed your eyes shut out of the fear of seeing his expression. What if he looked terrified? You couldn’t bear to see that. Hell, even you were terrified, but the thought of him not wanting to have children with you was just…

“…are you serious?”

You opened your eyes a fraction. Katsuki was staring back at you, jaw rigid, but otherwise bearing no sign of the grievances you’d been afraid to see. His eyes were solemn, clear. Of course he wouldn’t think that you were joking.

“Y-Yes.”

Every fiber of your being felt red-hot, but you’d come this far, and turning back was certainly no longer an option. Without warning, you dived into the bag at your side and fished out the positive pregnancy test. Katsuki stared at the little, pink plus sign and how it contrasted against the white.

“Holy shit.”

You unknowingly backed into the couch. Katsuki picked up the pregnancy test and lifted it closer. You noticed now that his hands were trembling.

“Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit.”

“Y-Yeah?”

You didn’t know what in the hell else to say. You didn’t know if this reaction was good, or just shy of a nervous breakdown. The test swayed between his fingers and dropped down to the couch.

And then he began to cry.

You’d only ever seen Katsuki a handful of times, and it had only ever been at your expense, or that time all the way back during the first week of high school when he’d lost against you and Izuku in the trial of battle. When someone like Katsuki cried, all of the emotions he’d been suppressing and fighting back came bursting like a water-logged dam. It was cathartic, really, and it was usually tears of relief, or genuine pain and anguish.

This was probably the first time you’d ever seen him cry tears of joy.

“You’re pregnant,” he choked out, burying his damp face between trembling fingers. “You’re actually pregnant… we’re pregnant. [Name], you’re—this isn’t a fucking j-joke or something, right? It’s your test, not someone else’s? Shit… don’t look at me right now… I feel so pathetic.”

You began to cry, too. Really, why had you expected anything else? After all these years, you should’ve known better than to doubt him. The two of you had fought through hell and back together, and no obstacle was going to test the strength of your bond ever again, no matter how seemingly insurmountable. You leaned your head against Katsuki’s own, letting your warm, dampened cheeks come together.

The mark on your hip throbbed. This time, you weren’t scared.

“You’re going to be a dad, Katsuki.”