"Do you even love me?"
Shouto flinches when the door slams.
The words roll around in Shouto's head. They tumble and collide and keep repeating until everything settles and comes to a stop.
Of course Shouto loves Katsuki.
What kind of question is that?
He stares at the door, stupefied.
It's 2am, Katsuki has just left, and the only thing running through Shouto’s mind is: come back.
The thought kickstarts his brain and he stumbles into action. Phone clutched tightly in his hand, he snatches his keys from the coffee table and almost drops them in his haste before stuffing them in his pocket.
"It's going to rain soon," Katsuki’s voice repeats in his head—he'd said it only minutes ago—and Shouto makes sure to grab an umbrella.
He shoves his shoes on, trips over himself twice, and the door bangs shut behind him as he runs out.
Shouto has no idea where Katsuki might have gone.
So he looks everywhere.
He checks the café two streets away that they went to for breakfast yesterday and the supermarket around the corner. He calls Kirishima, who only replies with a worried, “No, he isn't here. What's wrong?” that he hangs up on. He calls Kaminari, Ashido, Ochako—hell, he even calls Midoriya, who he doubts Katsuki’s gone to even if they are on better terms, just to make sure.
Every call Shouto makes to Katsuki’s phone is ignored.
He searches every place he can think of: the small bookstore they visited last week and the gym, which are both closed, but his thoughts are scattered and he doesn’t know where to go. The only places coming to mind are places they’ve gone to together; the restaurant they went to on Monday is empty and the workers are cleaning up; he heads over to Kirishima’s apartment just in case Katsuki arrived there while he was searching, but all he gets is Kirishima’s bemused, "Todoroki, what happened?” and no Katsuki.
In one last desperate attempt, Shouto runs to the park a little less than a mile away. They haven't gone there since Valentine's Day, which was a few months ago, when a little festival was held for a fundraiser and Shouto had suggested that they attend.
It's the last place Shouto would think to look since it's pretty far away. Still, with the way Katsuki left, it makes sense why he would go so far.
The thought makes him run faster.
When Shouto gets to the park, he doesn't slow his pace. He sprints through, breathing heavily as he hastily jerks his head around to search for a head of messy blond hair.
At the center of the park—if Shouto’s memory serves him correctly, it is the center—the sound of gushing water from the fountain is clear. Around the fountain are benches and he glances at each one.
Relief washes over him when he sees Katsuki sitting on one of the benches and he immediately rushes over.
Katsuki doesn't show any sign that he’s heard Shouto’s voice, doesn't acknowledge his presence when he sits down beside him on the bench or when puts down the umbrella.
“What did you mean?” Shouto asks quietly when Katsuki doesn't say anything.
“It isn’t a difficult question to fucking understand,” he snaps.
“It is, though,” he insists. “Why would you ask that?”
This time, there's no response. Shouto puts a hand on his back and, while he tenses, he doesn't pull away.
“Katsuki, talk to me.”
He exhales shakily, hands clenched in frustration, and Shouto can tell that he's trying not to show what he's feeling.
He's trying to hide from Shouto, and it hurts.
“Do you love me?” he asks slowly.
Shouto stares at him, both pained and confused by the question. “Of course I do.”
He shakes his head roughly. “Do you love me?”
“I just said—”
Katsuki tears away from him, mouth twisted in a furious scowl. “Do you think this is a fucking game?!” he spits. “Are you just fucking using me for your own entertainment? Huh? Tell me, Shouto, why are you even dating me?”
“Did you think it'd be fucking funny? Is that it?” he snarls, voice rising rapidly. “You think it's pretty fucking great to have me run around for you? That I'll do anything just because you ask?”
Shouto reaches for him, but Katsuki jerks away.
“I know I'm not—” He takes a breath. “My personality isn't the best and I know I can be a dick. I get irritated easily, and I'm not good at—at being fucking affectionate with you, but—” His voice drops to a low, hollow sound that makes Shouto’s heart ache. “I try my fucking best, Shouto.”
Katsuki rubs at his eyes harshly. “You're always saying shit. Things like, I'm only with you because you can cook and, you always buy food for me, even when it's three in the morning, so that's why I tolerate you,” he mimics. “Hell, you even say you're with me because it pisses off your shitty dad. Do you even love me? What am I here for? Am I—”
“I'm sorry!” The words rip themselves from his throat. “Fuck, Katsuki, I didn't know.”
“What the fuck do you mean you—”
“I love you,” he says. “I love you, and I was always joking when I said those things.”
“Then why would you fucking say them?”
“I thought it was obvious that I was joking.”
He shakes his head and says, lowly, “Not when you say it so much.”
Shouto grabs Katsuki by his shoulders. “I love you and you can be brash and insensitive sometimes, but you’re working on it. You've got your temper under control and you’re getting better at being patient.” His grip tightens on him. “And I don't mind that you don't really show affection in public because you do show it. You hold my hand whether we're at home or outside, and you always keep me close, and—”
He pauses for a breath. “Your cooking is a bonus, but I'm not using you for it, and I'm not using you to piss off Endeavor, either. I’m—I’m not using you.” Shouto swallows on the lump of emotion in his throat. “I know you try your best. You're always taking care of me and making sure I sleep and eat and—Katsuki, I know I'm not—I'm not good at showing it, but I love you. I'll try harder, okay? Okay?”
“Just… I love you, so don't say things like that. Please.”
Finally, for the first time since he found him, Katsuki looks at him. His nose is scrunched up and his lips are trembling like he's trying not to cry and that's when Shouto notices his face is wet and that it's begun to drizzle.
Hastily, he picks up and opens the umbrella, and the shadow of it falls over them both, the pitter patter of raindrops hitting the umbrella soft.
Shouto peers at him when he doesn't say anything. “Katsuki?” he says in a hushed voice, uncertain if he should talk.
“Why the fuck are you in your pajamas?”
He blinks at him. Once. Twice.
And then a laugh bubbles from his lips.
There's really nothing funny about the question. Maybe it's the way Katsuki says it, or maybe it's the timing. Either way, his laughter doesn't subside and Katsuki just stares at him like he's gone crazy.
It's weird how his laughter carries itself through the rain’s calming tap against the ground and umbrella, and it doesn't stop for a long time.
“Are you done?” Katsuki asks slowly, lips twitching in amusement.
He nods, the smile not quite leaving his face. “Sorry, sorry. I'm done.”
Shouto rolls his eyes, sighs, and gets up and turns to look at him, tipping the umbrella just enough to cover the both of them. “Come on.”
“Let's go home.”
Katsuki’s eyes soften at that. He stands up, fighting the smile that’s tugging at his lips.