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Symbol of Love

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“Thank you again, Mitsuki, for letting me and Izuku stay with you”, Inko said while she carried their lone bag of possessions into the house. None of their things had survived the fire. The clothes and necessities in the bag were things Inko had bought since then, during the short moments she managed to leave Izuku. “It's just until I can find a new apartment.”

“No need to thank me, Inko. And don’t stress about finding a new place, you can stay here for as long as you need.” Mitsuki smiled at her as they moved further inside the house. She stepped closer and lowered her voice so only Inko could hear her. “Beside I think it’s better for Izuku to stay at a familiar place right now.”

Inko glanced behind her. Izuku stood just inside the door and stared down at the floor, hair falling over his eyes. It was clear he tried to hide his face. The sight made her heart break, but considering not even a week had passed since he woke up and learned of the wounds she couldn’t exactly blame him. She had a hard time accepting it as well.

The t-shirt he wore didn’t cover the red and white scars covering his arms. The scars on his legs and back were covered but she remembered how he’d looked back in the hospital with them all on display. He had looked so disgusted at the sight of them. It had made her want to cry, but she had forced the tears back. If she showed anything other than positivity towards his scars she knew it would break him.

She still felt ashamed that she hadn't been able to hide her reaction when the bandage on his hand and over his eye had been removed. The sight of her baby hurt had just been so horrifying. His right hand was sickly pale, a stark contrast to his sunburnt and freckled skin, and she could see it shaking and twitching slightly. A red scar that looked like a permanent tear track covered the lower part of the right side of his face, under the eye. Though the worst thing was the eye itself.

Izuku looked up at her and Inko forced herself to smile even though she wanted to cry when she met his eyes. The left eye was a beautiful, vibrant green, the same it had always been. The right eye was a pale, milky green as if a sheen of white covered it. It stared at her without seeing.

“Why don’t you go up to Katsuki, Izuku?” Mitsuki suggested and gave Inko a look as if to tell her to pull herself together.

Izuku blinked a few times as if it took time to process what she’d said before he nodded and without a word made his way to the stairs. He stumbled on the first step and Inko wanted to rush forward and help him, but constrained herself. She knew he had to get used to his lack of depth perception on his own. That didn’t stop her from wanting to protect her baby. Izuku slowly made his way up the stairs. It was painful to watch but he’d gotten so much better after just one week of physical therapy and training in the hospital. She had to believe he would get better.

“Tea?” Mitsuki asked a bit too cheerfully when Izuku had walked out of sight.

“Uh, yes thank you”, Inko said and followed her friend to the kitchen.

Both of them stayed quiet while the tea water brewed. Mitsuki prepared the cups and a plate of cookies. The whistle of the kettle was loud in the heavy silence. It wasn't until both of them were seated at the kitchen table that Mitsuki spoke up.

“Okay, Inko, spit it out. What is troubling you?”

Inko cringed. “Was it that obvious, huh?” When Mitsuki didn’t even dignify that with an answer she sighed and relented. “It’s just that I can’t stop thinking that it’s my fault Izuku were hurt. If he hadn’t tried saving me his body wouldn’t have been burnt and he would still have two functioning eyes.”

The tears she’d forced down until now finally broke free. Inko sobbed into her hands, trying to stay quiet so Izuku wouldn’t be able to hear her. If he noticed her crying he would only burden himself further by trying to cheer her up. She had noticed him doing so during the hospital stay.

“Are you stupid?” Mitsuki barked and Inko was so surprised she stopped crying to give her friend a startled look. She had never before seen her friend look as angry as she did now - eyes burning red and a deep scowl on her face -  and yet she kept her volume down. Probably for the same reason Inko did. “If Izuku hadn’t saved you you’d have died. Do you really believe it somehow would be better for him to be orphaned?”

“I … of course not”, she replied weakly. “I just-”

“Then stop saying such idiotic things, woman!” Mitsuki interrupted. “Izuku will get over this with enough time, but it will go a hell of a lot faster if you’re there to support him. So pull yourself together and be strong for his sake.”

Inko wiped away the tears and practised taking deep breaths until she had collected herself. “You're right, I’m sorry. It’s selfish of me to ask Izuku to be strong if I can’t do it myself. From now on I’ll support him with everything I have.”

Mitsuki smiled. “That's better. Now drink your damn tea before it gets cold.”

She couldn’t help but laugh at that but before she could take a sip from her tea she was interrupted by a loud thump from upstairs. She was on her feet and halfway down the hallway before Mitsuki had even put her cup down.

💚💚💚

Izuku slowly made his way up the stairs. He concentrated on every step he took to make sure he didn’t stumble again, not while his mom’s eyes followed his every move. It was still hard. With only his left eye functioning he had trouble perceiving distances. It was something he had to get better at if he wanted to become a hero. And that was something he was more determined to achieving now than ever before.

He stopped outside Kacchan’s closed door and took a deep breath before he knocked. A second later Kacchan’s voice called out for him to enter. He stepped inside.

The room was bigger than his own but held some similarities; mainly the amount of All Might merchandise. Though Kacchan did have some other heroes’ merchandise too. There was a bed in one corner and a desk in another as well as a wardrobe and a bookcase. Izuku liked his own room better.

The realisation that he no longer had a room hit him like a physical blow. His home was literally turned to ash, he would never return to it. Izuku smothered a sniffle before he began crying again. He’d done enough of that for the past week to last a lifetime.

Kacchan was studying him but Izuku kept his eyes hidden from him. He’d finally had a chance to look in a mirror the day before and he knew his ruined eye was unsightly. A milky green instead of the emerald of his other eye. “Come sit, Deku”, he growled and made a gesture towards the space next to him on the bed.

“R-right.” He sat down, tense and with his head lowered. Even though there was no point in it he tried to hide the burns on his arms with his body.

“You’re still an useless Deku, even though you have a quirk now and saved Auntie”, Kacchan said and Izuku recoiled as if he’d hit him. “But at least your scars are cool.”

Izuku’s head flew up so fast he almost got whiplash. For the first time since yesterday he met someone else's eyes. Kacchan grinned at him. There was no disgust on his face when he saw the full extent of the damage done to Izuku’s eye.  

“All the greatest heroes have scars”, he continued and warmth blossomed inside Izuku.

“Thank you, Kacchan.” A small smile pulled at Izuku’s lips. He could barely remember the last time he smiled.

“Whatever”, he huffed and turned away from him as if that would somehow stop Izuku from seeing the way his cheeks burned red. “Just couldn’t stand your wailing. If you wanna wallow in self pity do it somewhere else.”

“S-sorry.” He picked at a loose thread on his shirt, wishing he had something to occupy his hands with. But he had nothing. No belongings except for the clothes on his body and whatever his mom had time to buy while he was at the hospital. It still felt unreal that he was homeless. He really wished his mom had gotten him a long sleeved shirt so he could hide the scars on his arms.

Kacchan’s eyes fixed on his hands and Izuku forced himself to stop fidgeting. Something unreadable passed over his face. Before he could react Kacchan raised his fist and punched Izuku in the shoulder.

“Ow! What was that for?” Izuku asked and tried to suppress his cries of pain. He was used to Kacchan’s violent nature but this came out of the blue and considering everything that had happened as of late it was too much. The only reason he didn’t begun crying immediately was because he didn’t want to seem even weaker than he already did in Kacchan’s eyes.

“That’s what you get for worrying me!” Kacchan growled and punched him again. “Never do that ever again!”

Izuku covered beneath Kacchan's punches but he quickly realised they didn't have the same force behind them as they usually did. Kacchan hesitated momentarily before each punch and the way he aimed at a patch of skin not marred by a burn combined with his words made Izuku realise something. He’d been so preoccupied worrying about his injuries and trying to keep his mom’s spirit up that he’d completely forgotten about his best friend and his feelings. Izuku also realised that Kacchan must have been waiting outside the apartment and probably saw him when he was carried out of it. Considering how terrible he looked now , healed and all, he couldn’t begin to imagine how he must have looked then. Kacchan must have been terrified.

“I’m sorry, Kacchan, my body just moved on its own accord”, Izuku said. “I promise I won’t do that ever again.”

“You better not, or I’ll kill you!”

The familiar threat made Izuku grin. It really felt great to smile again. Kacchan smiled back for a second before a bashful expression replaced the smile’s place on his face.

“I … um have something for you.” Before Izuku could ask he was already holding out an All Might plushie towards him. Kacchan looked at everything and anything except for Izuku. “I have more of these than I need, take it.”

Izuku hesitated and Kacchan scowled at him. He pushed the plushie into Izuku’s hands, forcing him to accept it. Slowly he stroked his fingers over he soft fabric, paying extra attention to the two hair tufts on top of its head. Tears collected in his eyes and he sniffed, suddenly overwhelmed with emotions. He couldn't speak for the lump in his throat.

“Well?” Kacchan said and tried to appear indifferent but Izuku could see the truth in his eyes, the insecurity hiding behind the bravado. “Do you like it?”

“I love you, Kacchan”, Izuku cried.

Before Kacchan had the chance to answer a bright, green light engulfed Izuku, blinding him. His stomach turned and a sharp pain shot through his head. When the light faded he found himself hovering next to the bed, but only for a millisecond before the force of gravity took hold of him again. He hit the floor with a loud thump, pain shooting through his backside.

However neither the pain nor Kacchan’s surprised exclamation held his attention. He was too caught up in the sight of a new light blinking into existence in the darkness of his right eye. It was weaker than his mom’s light and not even half its size. Instead of orange it was blue with a halo of yellow. The two colours seemed to battle each other. Sometimes the yellow seemed to almost swallow the blue whole while at others the yellow was barely visible. The light felt like anger and adoration. Insecurity and strength. Protectiveness and competitiveness.  It felt like the burn of explosions against his skin and bruises caused by rough play. He knew it belonged to Kacchan.

Before he or Kacchan could say anything the door burst open and his mom stormed into the room. She took in the room with one look - Kacchan sitting on the bed and Izuku sprawled on the floor before him, still clutching the All Might plushie - before running to his side. Mitsuki followed closely behind her.

“What happened, are you hurt?” Inko asked, frenzy in her tone.

Izuku didn’t mean to, but he burst out laughing, the situation was just too hilarious. Tears of laughter spilled from his eyes and he gulped down air between attacks of laughter. Oh how glorious it felt to laugh again!

“Izuku?” His mom’s confused expression only made him laugh harder. He barely got enough air and his lungs ached. She turned towards Kacchan. “Do you know what happened?”

Kacchan shrugged, trying to appear indifferent, but the blush on his cheeks betrayed him. “The idiot told me he loved me and immediately disappeared in a flash of green only to reappear in the air. He fell on the floor.”

All three of them turned towards the still laughing Izuku. He tried to collect himself and slowly gained control of his laughter. Taking deep breaths to calm down he wiped the tears from his eyes. “I’m okay.”

“Then could you tell me what happened?” Inko asked. She didn’t appear as worried as when she first entered the room. Izuku guessed his laughter had helped calm her. Both Bakugous seemed equally as interested in his explanation, though he could tell that Kacchan tried to pretend otherwise.

“It’s as Kacchan said; I told him I loved him and I guess that activated my quirk since I suddenly teleported. The same thing happened during the fire. I said ‘I love you, mom’ and suddenly I were inside the apartment. A new light also appeared in my sight, it belongs to Kacchan.” Izuku considered everything that had happened a second ago and compared it with what had happened during the fire. Everything had happened so fast then that most things had disappeared in the frenzy, but this brought things to a new light … literally. “I think … my quirk has something to do with love.”

Izuku felt he was onto something. If only he had some way to test his theories... Problem was his mom without question would be against any quirk usage at the moment. Considering everything that had happened it was only natural. He still wasn’t fully recovered and there was no way of knowing how dangerous his quirk could be. It was best to wait a while longer before he did any sort of testing.

“Izuku, what are you talking about?” Inko asked and he blushed when he realised he’d been mumbling again.

He frantically waved his hands in front of himself, as if to push away the embarrassment. “I-it's nothing. Don’t mind me, I’m only mumbling to myself.

“Wait a minute”, Kacchan said and there was something unreadable in his tone. Izuku tensed. “You really love me?”

Oh. Izuku immediately relaxed again.

“Yeah … I do”, Izuku smiled at him. He had only been able to see the lights for a short time and there were many things he still needed to figure out about them - like if the colours represented the person or something else and if the size and the brightness had any meaning - but he was pretty sure they only appeared for people he loved. And since Kacchan had a light Izuku loved him. Besides he’d said so, hadn’t he? And Izuku never lied.

“Tch, don’t expect me to feel the same”, Kacchan grumbled. However the glint in his eyes and the small curve of his lips he tried to contain told Izuku he wasn’t as against the idea as he pretended.

Izuku smiled and hugged the All Might plushie closer to his chest. Suddenly it felt like everything would turn out alright.