Chapter 1: How Responsible
Katsuki woke to what he was fairly certain to be his favorite sight—Shouto Todoroki, pro-hero Icy Hot, completely naked, sitting on the edge of the bed, and bent over in the early morning sunshine pouring in through the windows. Golden light spilled over Shouto, illuminating an endless terrain of the valleys and peaks of lithe muscles that moved smoothly just beneath the skin. The red of his hair looked like fire, his left eye catching the light so that it looked like a sapphire. The brightness of the light washed out his scar, nearly making it invisible, which made him look more…vulnerable, somehow.
Katsuki let out a tired mumble as he snuck his arms around Shouto’s bare waist and buried his face in the muscles of Shouto’s back. He could hear the amused huff of laughter that escaped the other’s mouth.
“Care to repeat that?” Shouto asked.
Katsuki turned his head to the side, cheek pressed to the skin right above Shouto’s spectacularly toned ass.
“Fuck off,” he said, closing his eyes against the blinding morning light. “I said: don’t go.”
He was being clingy, he knew. And sentimental, and cheesy, and every other adjective he’d probably die before admitting to, but this morning was different. He felt sleepy, and warm, and, honestly, who wouldn’t melt at the sight of Shouto Todoroki, naked and washed in sunlight on the edge of their bed like an honest-to-god-Adonis.
“I have work,” Shouto said with a roll of his eyes.
“Who fucking cares?” Katuski said, squeezing Shouto’s waist even tighter.
“How responsible,” Shouto said, but he still put up minimal resistance as Katsuki dragged him back into the bedsheets.
Katsuki let out a victorious cackle as he rolled the two of them until Katsuki was straddling Shouto across his hips. Katsuki rolled his hips and a small, pleased smirk found its way to Shouto’s mouth, hands wandering up to trace the lines and shapes of Katsuki’s own well-defines abs.
“You seem awake now,” Shouto said, letting amusement slip into his voice.
Katsuki grinned wolfishly as he leaned down to brush his lips against Shouto’s with a ghost of a touch. As he did so, the chain around his neck fell forward, the gold ring that was strung through sliding down to cling against the matching one that rested on Shouto’s chest. The necklaces were the safest way to wear them, they’d decided after a good bit of trial and error (the traditional way no doubt leading to a lost finger with their particular line of work). At first, Katsuki had practically scoffed at the idea of something as sentimental as rings. It’d taken Shouto nearly a month to convince him to agree to the idea, and nearly another month to find a support item company that could create chains that were indestructible to most forms of destruction or stress. Now, Katsuki would lose his head before taking off his ring.
Katsuki’s lips trailed along Shouto’s jaw until he could bite at his earlobe.
“Fuck me like our honeymoon, baby,” Katsuki growled into Shouto’s ear, grinding his hips down more for emphasis.
He could hear Shouto’s breath hitch, his hips rolling up to meet Katsuki’s, hands flying up to grip at Katsuki’s sharp hipbones. A satisfied grin claimed Katsuki’s face—it wasn’t easy to rile Shouto, so accomplishing it so soundly was a talent Katsuki was profoundly proud of. Katsuki was already half-hard, anticipation coiling in his gut, ready to continue to pull at Shouto’s strings until he came apart beneath him.
WHEE WHOO, WHEE WHOO
Shouto sat up so fast, Katsuki nearly fell off him. They both turned to look at both their phones on the bedside table, their screens lit up red and alarms screaming at them. An emergency call.
“FUCK,” Katsuki spat.
“Looks like we’re both working today, babe,” Shouto said, giving Katsuki a slap on the ass as he pushed the other off him.
It was a disaster emergency—a big one. Some sort of earthquake, or a collapsed office building. Either way, the local disaster heroes were all occupied or overwhelmed, because they’d very quickly called in all pros within the area, which was exactly why Katsuki was flying through the city alongside his husband right now instead of having amazing morning sex.
“Son of a bitch,” Katsuki hissed as the two of them arrived at the disaster scene.
Shouto didn’t say anything, but the grave look on his face agreed fully with Katsuki’s sentiment.
They’d been told about one collapsed building, and what they were now facing was at least two partially collapsed office buildings fringing a massive sink hole sunk into the center of the city. A pipe had burst somewhere, spewing a column of water into the air. The air was thick with dust, massive hunks of concrete littered the streets. Car alarms were screaming, on the same frequency of the emergency vehicles that were already shrieking towards the disaster zone. Emergency responders were already crawling over the scene, pulling people from wreckages and from beneath stone.
“Katsuki,” Shouto said, a stony tone to his voice.
“Yeah,” Katsuki said, heavily.
Disaster scenarios like this were far from Katsuki’s forte. His quirk was more suited for causing disaster rather than fixing it. He needed to keep his head level and remain cool. If he let his anger get the better of him on such a precarious field, he’d mostly like end up getting someone killed.
Katsuki reached out, letting his fingers brush Shouto’s, letting the brief contact ground him. Then he leapt forward, propelling towards the civilians Shouto had pointed out, trapped on a fifth-story landing that the responders hadn’t reached yet.
Things progressed without issue for most of the rescue operation, Katsuki shuttling civilians and responders to safety, Shouto providing structure to whatever crumbling pieces of building he could with his ice. They’d checked in with the responders in charge on the scene, offering their first aid training where it was needed. Shouto was particularly skilled in helping those in the middle of panic attacks come down, and Katsuki had grown to be fiercely protective of any civilians he’d rescued, baring his teeth at responders and EMs to keep them at bay if he saw his charge needed space to calm down more than they needed stitches.
They were very close to the disaster zone being declared clear of all civilians when someone came running into the first aid tent, a limp body cradled in their arms, a child that was unconscious and still breathing, but clearly in immediate need of serious medical attention. Katsuki took the child without hesitation. With all the rescue helicopters dispatched, he was clearly faster than any ambulance left available to get this kid to the hospital.
Katsuki spared one last glance towards Shouto, still in the field, calmly working with responders to pull people from the rubble, before blasting off towards the hospital.
It’d taken less than ten minutes for Katsuki to get to the hospital and made sure the kid was handed off to the right doctors. It’d taken nearly another twenty for Katsuki to be wrestled onto a bed in the ER, nurses and doctors insistent on treating the lacerations and burns he’d managed to acquire amongst the wreckage of the sink hole—something he’d only agreed to after making sure there were only one or two more civilians to be rescued at the disaster site. It’d taken another fifteen minutes before Shouto had finally showed up.
Katsuki had heard them before he saw them, the sounds of civilians outside shouting Shouto’s hero name.
Katsuki was on his feet before he even saw Shouto stumble through the hospital’s doors. He was practically dragging a nearly unconscious body behind him. The head of forest green haired-Deku was unmistakable. This didn’t make any sense—he didn’t remember seeing Deku at the sink hole, didn’t remember hearing that he’d been called to the scene.
At the sight of them, Katsuki threw off the nurses and doctors that had been smothering him and his bleeding injuries. There was a collapse of one of the remaining walls of the office buildings, he could hear Shouto telling a nearby doctor, Deku had shown up to the scene last minute and had been caught in the collapse, Shouto managing to drag him from the rubble.
Relief flooded Katsuki at seeing Shouto unharmed, ready to either hit or kiss him, but definitely ready to drag him back to their apartment to finished what they’d started that morning as way of celebration. But half-way to the two of them, Katsuki drew up short.
Shouto was hunched under the weight of Deku, who was very clearly just barely holding on to consciousness, his hero suit torn to shreds and blood covering half his face. His eyes seemed to be sliding in and out of focus, on the edge of passing out. But the shocking amount of blood Deku’s head wound was producing wasn’t what stopped him—no, that wasn’t what Katsuki was staring at. What he was staring at was the very obvious and very vibrantly green handprint on Deku’s exposed forearm, and the matching silvery-mark on Shouto’s palm that definitely had not been there this morning.
It took Katsuki what felt like an eternity to realize what he was seeing, to put two and two together. And when it finally clicked, a white-hot fury flared up in him like nothing he’d ever felt before. It consumed his every thought, his palms already popping with tiny explosions and a ringing in his ears that drowned everything else out. Shouto saw the change on Katsuki’s face immediately and hurriedly passed the sagging Deku off to a nearby nurse.
Katsuki stormed towards Deku, only stopped by Shouto catching him in the chest and holding him back, muttering something to Katsuki that he was sure was meant to calm him, but Katsuki couldn’t hear him, couldn’t focus on anything other than the matching soulmarks burned into Deku’s arm and Shouto’s palm.
“I’ll fucking kill you, Deku!” Katsuki screamed as Shouto continued to hold him at bay as he watched doctors usher Deku away down the hall. And that was really all he could say, because his mind was still reeling from the fact that his husband shared a soulmark with Izuku-fucking-Midoriya.
Chapter 2: All That Soulmark Bullshit
Shouto and Bakugou didn’t have soulmarks. It was something they’d come to terms with ages ago. It was something they’d come to terms with very easily ages ago, which is what had been surprising. Shouto had expected a fight, he’d expected shouting matches and cold shoulders and endless arguments like the countless ones they’d had before, but none of that had ever come.
Katsuki had been very adamant from day one that “he didn’t give a fuck about all that soulmark bullshit,” and Shouto, honestly, had never given much thought to soulmarks or thought them important in any way to begin with. So it was a conversation that had ended really before it’d even started. And it wasn’t as if marrying someone without soulmarks was uncommon. A majority of the population never even had soulmarks pronounce themselves—one in five people ever formed soulmarks, was the statistic Shouto vaguely remembered reading recently.
So neither of them had had a problem getting married without marks. Neither had had a problem addressing it in the media—well, maybe Katsuki did, but he always had a problem with the media so that didn’t mean much.
What neither of them had ever expected, however, was this.
Shouto watched as Katsuki screamed, hurling another chair to shatter against the wall. Explosions ripped from him so fast and so hot, Shouto was starting to worry that he would reach the limits of his quirk and overheat. Their apartment lay in shambles—the curtains singed, the bedsheets ripped, bits of furniture strewn across the floor.
Shouto had only seen Katsuki like this once before: when Deku had been officially named Number One Hero. Shouto was still paying off the debt those repairs had cost.
Katsuki flung another fragile thing to shatter against the wall. When Katsuki had broken nearly everything in the apartment that wasn’t bolted to the floor—and even some things that were—he finally whirled on Shouto.
Shouto was beyond used to Katsuki’s temper tantrums. He’d never tell Katsuki, but he knew that for the most part, they were harmless. He’d picked up quickly that Katsuki didn’t communicate in words, his emotions too big for human language to contain. Instead, he communicated in actions—actions that were loud and wild and often unpredictable but were very rarely turned on Shouto. And even when they were, Shouto knew it was never in intent to hurt him—not seriously, not permanently.
Knowing all this, Shouto didn’t even flinch when Katsuki shoved him hard in the chest. He did stumble back a few steps, the force of it catching him by surprise.
“How long have you known,” Katsuki spat, his face a mask of rage.
Shouto raised his eyebrows. “Known what?”
“Don’t fuck with me, Half-and-half!”
Something small and sharp stuck in Shouto’s heart at the old nickname. He’d heard it countless times before but it’d been years since Katsuki had used it with that tone—spitting the word like poison. The sharp feeling hardened, becoming something cold and inscrutable, burying Shouto’s emotions under a harsh layer of ice.
He shoved Katsuki back. “You’re being ridiculous,” Shouto snapped.
Something wild and manic sparked in Katsuki’s eyes as he stumbled back. A sadistic excitement lit his face at the thought that he’d managed to goad Shouto into a fight.
Shouto realized what was happening right before it hit, an explosion going off right in his face. Shouto put crossed his forearms in front of his face, sending up a wall of ice that disintegrated almost instantly, the force of the blast enough to cause him to skid backwards until he hit the wall.
“Did you know it was that shitty Deku?!” Katsuki shouted.
“This has nothing to do with him,” Shouto shouted back, a slide of ice erupting from the ground, slinging Shouto out of the way of another blast. As he sailed through the air, ice flew from his hand, crusting Katsuki’s feet to the floor.
“This has everything to do with him!” Katsuki roared, explosions shattering the ice bolting him to the floor.
“Why?” Shouto shouted back. Before he even realized what he was doing, ice shards were flying at Katsuki. “Why does it always end up being about Izuku?!”
Katsuki managed to throw himself out of the way of the deadly shards just in time, sending himself into the air with his own explosions. Had this been training, Katsuki would be cackling at the rush of a good fight, but instead Shouto saw as he twisted in the air, his face was nothing but a mask of rage.
Shouto felt a horribly unfamiliar feeling wrench at his chest. The hand he’d used to grab Izuku earlier that day felt like it was burning. He’d been just as horrified at the sight of the mark as Katsuki had been—just as confused and hurt. But instead of turning to Shouto first, instead of screaming at him and fisting his hands in his hero suit in a rage, he’d turned to Izuku. He always managed to make it about Izuku.
“Did you want his mark to be yours?” Shouto shouted, unable to stop his voice from cracking.
Katsuki slammed into him, propelled forward by his own explosions. Again, Shouto barely had time to raise his arms in a block before they collided. Shouto used Katsuki’s momentum, letting it spin them in a circle before he flung his husband towards the far wall.
Instead of hitting the wall, Katsuki managed to twist himself in the air, with the help of his quirk, so that he landed with his feet against plaster, like a horizontal gymnast.
“Fuck you.” Katsuki wasn’t screaming this time—his voice having dropped to a growl, low and deadly.
Shouto knew he should’ve regretted it, knew he should’ve never said it, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. Everything about Katsuki tore at him—his words, his tone, the utter look of destain on his face. It all ripping at his ice until he was exposed and raw underneath.
Shouto’s left side ignited in a blaze, flames shot directly at Katsuki that encompassed half of the entire apartment.
Katsuki blasted himself out of the way, swinging around the far end of the apartment, circling until he barreled right into Shouto for a second time. This time, Shouto wasn’t prepared for the impact. The two of them went tumbling over one another in a mess of flames and explosions. The only things that stopped their momentum were the broken end table that caught Shouto around the waist and sent him sprawling, the the far wall of the apartment that Katsuki slammed into with enough force to shake plaster dust from the ceiling.
There were a few strained moments of silence, the both of them struggling to gain their breath back. The searing pain in Shouto’s side told him he’d probably broken a rib, and the wheezing he could hear told him Katsuki had had the air knocked out of him.
Katsuki was the first one to speak, and when he did, his voice was low but still dripping with the same venom he’d used with Shouto’s old nickname.
“How long have you known it wouldn’t be me.”
Something in Shouto surged at the question. It was the way Katsuki had asked it, like it wasn’t even a question—like he knew Shouto had known about the mark all along, like it was a secret he’d been hiding from Katsuki all this time.
Shouto felt as something other than a rib shattered inside his chest. He said the worst thing he could possibly think of.
“We’ve both always known it wouldn’t be you.”
He was met with silence. It was a silence so heavy that it was suffocating. A silence so heavy that it would’ve swallowed any apology Shouto would’ve made, even if he’d wanted to make it.
“Get out,” Shouto finally said, his voice so horse it was barely there.
There came a noise from the other side of the room and Shouto couldn’t tell if it was a scoff or a sniffle. He heard Katsuki finally move, glass and wood splintering beneath his feet he got up. He heard as the front door opened before there was a pause.
“I don’t know why I expected anything else from Endeavor’s son.”
And the door closed. And Katsuki was gone.
It was nearly three in the morning when Shouto dragged himself to the front door. He’d gotten a call from security, something about a suspicious person in his hall.
His eyes felt raw from unshed tears. His ribs hurt and there was something horrible and aching stabbing inside his chest. He’d tied a bandana around his right hand, unable to stand the sight of the soulmark without feeling sick.
Shouto made his way through the dark, mostly destroyed apartment. He’d spent most of the day attempting to clean it, using the task to distract himself from the broken feeling that lurked just behind his eyes. It wasn’t until he’d cleared away all the burnt and broken furniture and replaced the bedsheets with new ones that he’d finally collapsed, half hanging off the bed with his head buried in the pillows.
He’d wanted to cry, wanted to let this broken feeling spill out of him so he wouldn’t have to keep it inside his chest anymore, but he couldn’t. He felt frozen, like he’d managed to give himself frostbite on the inside. So instead, he’d fisted his hands into the bedsheets, burying his face further into the pillows that smelled so much like Katsuki it hurt, letting his face crumple where no one could see until he fell into a fitful sleep.
The bright hall light that stabbed at his eyes when he opened the front door hurt almost as much as his broken rib. It took him a moment to let his eyes adjust, blinking down the hallway to find that it was empty.
It wasn’t until he’d tried to step outside the apartment that he realized there was a sack on his front mat. No, not a sack Shouto realized as his gaze focused.
Katsuki was curled to his side in front of Shouto’s door, having fallen over after falling asleep with his back propped against the door. Shouto could see he had his hand fisted around the necklace that hung from his neck.
Katsuki started when Shouto had opened the door. There was a moment of half-conscious swaying before Katsuki seemed to wake up completely and spun to look up at Shouto standing in the doorway. His hand still clenched around his ring on his chest.
Shouto took a step back as Katsuki stood hastily to his feet. He kept his head ducked, looking everywhere but at Shouto. His eyes were red, Shouto noticed, the skin around them pink and raw and painful-looking.
It took Katsuki a moment before he could say anything, working down a heavy lump him his throat as he still refused to look at Shouto.
“I’m…I didn’t,” Katsuki stumbled over his words, not sure how to arrange them without the help of shouting.
“You’re,” Katsuki said, finally lifting his face to look at Shouto.
Something in Shouto’s stomach dropped out from under him. Katsuki’s face looked like a china doll, so fragile, so exposed, his eyes so glassy yet unable to cry anymore than he already had.
“You’re…you’re not going to leave,” Katsuki said and his voice sounded impossibly small. “You’re not going to leave for him?”
Shouto stared at Katsuki as he felt as the tears finally start to trickle down his face, relieving the pressure of the broken feeling inside him just enough to be bearable.
Chapter 3: Definitely Not Platonic
Izuku Midoriya had a concussion. As well as a few broken ribs. And leg.
All these things Izuku was used to, even after he’d learned to control One for All without causing himself bodily injury. Heroes were no strangers to emergency rooms, but that was all part of the job description. Izuku has been through those hospital doors with more broken bones, ruptured organs, and head injuries than he could count.
What he wasn’t used to, though, was the brilliant green handprint that now branded his left forearm. He’d spent most of the day in his hospital bed, inspecting it. It was a dark forest green, nearly the same color as his hair, each finger outlined clearly against his own pale skin. Izuku traced the outline with his finger.
It wasn’t uncommon for marks to show up after the first time soulmates touched. Sometimes it was sort of like an allergy you grew into, or a food you acquired the taste for with age. There’d been endless studies about the science of soulmarks, what caused them, why they showed up when they did, if they had any correlation to quirks. But for all that study and science, very little could be figured out about them. No one knew why childhood friends wouldn’t develop soulmarks for one another until well into their 20s or 30s. No one knew why some people had multiple soulmarks, or what caused one-sided marks, or how to differentiate between platonic and romantic marks. It was all about as much a mystery as quirks.
Endless thoughts and statistics tumbled through Izuku’s head as he continued to trace his mark. He remembered showing up to the scene of the disaster, remembered ushering civilians to the first aid stations, remembered as the unstable ground of the third floor gave way beneath him without warning. He remembered his head hurting like hell, remembered the ringing in his ears that told him he’d been concussed. He remembered rock and concrete shifting until sunlight finally poured over him, remembered Todoroki’s face coming into focus above him, eyes tight with worry. He remembered reaching up to be pulled from the rubble, remembered Todoroki grasping his forearm, remembered the white-hot spark that lit over his skin the moment they touched. He didn’t remember being hauled from the heap of concrete, or the entire trip to the hospital—all he could remember was staring at the mark on his arm in confusion, unable to understand what was happening as Todoroki half carried, half dragged him to safety.
He didn’t remember Todoroki saying anything to him, or passing out before a nurse could get him to a gurney. He did remember waking up the next morning alone.
Izuku tried to figure out what had happened—tried to figure out what had changed. He’d been friends with Todoroki for years, even after they’d all graduated from UA. There was no way they’d never touched skin before—not between the endless trainings and study sessions and accidental shoulder bumps. And in all that time, all those touches, there’d never been a mark.
So what had happened? What had changed? Why now?
A muscle in Izuku’s jaw twitched. His head was throbbing, the concussion making it difficult to keep his thread of thought.
The whole situation might’ve been better if it had happened years ago—before Todoroki had gotten married, before they’d all become top heroes, before they’d graduated UA, even.
Izuku’s heart clenched at memories of UA. He’d be lying if he said he’d never had a crush on Todoroki. Well, maybe “crush” was a little strong. It had been more of an infatuation, really. A fantasy he might have indulged in every once in awhile, but nothing he’d ever taken seriously.
And then Todoroki and Bakugou had started dating. Izuku had watched from a distance all the shared glances, the secret smiles, the brief touches that were obviously so much more, and he couldn’t help but feel the smallest twang in his heart. It wasn’t jealousy, but they had been his friends, and when they’d gotten together, he’d felt…left out. It would’ve been the same feeling if Ochako and Iida had started dating. The feeling of him being the third wheel, still included, technically, but not really a part of it anymore. He’d been happy for them, of course—Todoroki was the only one that could make Bakugou smile in a way that looked genuine instead of like he was ready to take a bite out of your face, and anything that could tame the hurricane that was Katuski Bakugou deserved a celebration in his book—but, at the same time he couldn’t help but feel like he had been losing something.
Izuku looked at his mark, trailing his fingers over it. It had hurt more than he thought it would. No one had ever said how it would hurt. They’d always talked about a “zing of electricity” or a “spark of excitement.” No one ever said anything about burning like a bitch. Not that Izuku was a stranger to pain, obviously, he just thought finding what was supposed to be his soulmate for life wouldn’t feel like pressing an iron to his skin. Or like a dagger to his heart.
A thought came to him. Izuku chewed on his lower lip, worrying over everything in his mind. There were platonic soulmates… And that could be a possibility. It certainly made sense. He’d been friends with Todoroki for years. Todoroki had told him once that he would’ve asked Izuku to be his best man had Bakugou not convinced him to elope instead of having a wedding. That had to mean something.
Izuku raised his arm in front of his face, the deep green mark swimming in front of his vision like a mirage. He leaned forward before pausing, anticipation holding him back like it was something solid. In his chest, his heart was pounding so hard he thought he’d break another rib.
We’re platonic soulmates. We’re platonic soulmates. We’re platonic soulmates, he tried to convince himself.
He took one last deep breath before pressing his lips to his mark. It felt like it had when Todoroki had first grabbed his arm in that rockslide of concrete, only this time it was less painful, and more exciting. Warmth filled Izuku’s chest, a thick, sticky-warm feeling trickling down into his stomach. A hurricane of feelings raced through him, but they weren’t anything he could find names for.
It was the feeling of home, the feeling of reading at a window while it rained, bumping knees with someone sat across from him. It was the feeling of morning sunlight spilling through a large window, fingers combing lazily through his hair. It was the feeling of sobbing into a chest as arms wrapped around him comfortingly. It was the feeling of when he’d kissed Ochako for the first time, except it was more, except it was bigger. It was the feeling of skin on skin, impossibly hot as he felt breath, wet and heavy, against his neck. It was the feeling of when he’d used One for All successfully for the first time, like the final piece sliding into place somewhere inside his broken chest.
Izuku pulled away with a gasp, his heart racing in a way that felt frantic and lost.
So, definitely not platonic.
Izuku heaved for air, overwhelmed by so many emotions, it was hard to tease them apart and examine them separately. He could feel the too-familiar heat of tears building up in his cheeks and he couldn’t be bothered to try to stop them. Izuku sobbed as he buried his mouth in the palm of his hand, as if he could rub out the feeling of kissing his soulmark. Like if he pressed hard enough, he could press out all those feelings forever.
Izuku couldn’t figure out if the pain in his chest was from his broken ribs or his broken heart, but he was sure it didn’t really matter. Because he was certain now that Todoroki was his soulmate. And he was certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he’d never, ever be able to have him in that way.
Izuku Midoriya would not be released until the doctors cleared his concussion. He’d smarted at this news. He wasn’t allowed any more healing via quirks. Thanks to his high school years, his body couldn’t handle any more rapid, intensive healing. He could take small pieces of it, but nothing that could fix all his bones and his concussion in a night. So, while they could cut his healing time in half, he was still on bed rest for at least a few days.
And it was driving him nuts.
Thanks to the concussion, he was banned from doing anything strenuous, so he’d taken to hiding his journals in his bedsheets and writing furiously when the nurses weren’t looking. He’d managed to compile an entire textbook worth of research on soulmarks within just a few days. He was furious to find anything and everything he could on them, to see if there was ever a case of them disappearing over time, to see what happened to unconventional situations involving soulmarks, like the one he was in now. To see if there was anything to give him hope in this hopeless situation.
He’d been researching when Ochako had visited during his second day in the hospital. The knock on the door had made him jump, so unlike how the nurses came into his room. He’d quickly shoved his journals under his bedsheets. As soon as he realized it was Ochako, he’d shoved his left arm under the sheets as well, hiding his soulmark.
He didn’t miss the way Ochako’s eyes caught on the movement and he prayed for the impossibility that she missed the obvious green on his arm. Her eyes snapped up to his face and a trademark Ochako smile lit her face a bit too quickly.
Relief filled Izuku at the sight of her, though it was tinted with a spark of anxiety. It was always good to see Ochako, but at the same time, he wasn’t sure what to do about the very green, very obvious handprint on his left forearm. He was still trying to process it himself, trying to figure out what to do about it—so he was miles away from breaking it to Ochako.
Ochako and Izuku had dated at UA. She’d been his first love, his first kiss, and his first everything else. They’d eventually decided to part ways to turn their focus solely to their own hero carriers. It’d been an easy decision, really. Their friendship had barely experienced a hiccup throughout the entire ordeal. And now, seeing her hear in this hospital room, was such a comforting sight. Heroes, not surprisingly, were frequent fliers in hospital rooms, so visiting a fellow hero every time they were hospitalized was simply something no one had time for. So, seeing Ochako’s bright sunny smile was a rare and welcome gift.
Talking with Ochako was as comfortable as sinking into his bed after a long day of hero work. They talked about everything, about how awful hospital food was, how long Izuku would have to stay, recent rescue assignments, Ochako and Tsuyu’s next date plans. It was nearly fifteen minutes before Ochako finally said the thing he was dreading.
“Deku,” she said, leaning forward with her forearms on her knees. “Can I see it?”
Izuku felt his stomach drop out of under him. He almost couldn’t hear his own voice when he said, “What?”
Ochako’s smile faltered, interrupted by an uncharacteristic concerned look. “Deku,” she said, and she hadn’t meant to be pitying and Izuku knew that, but he still couldn’t help but hear the smallest bit of it in her voice.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Izuku said, unconvincingly, as he pulled his sheets even further up his arm.
Ochako let out a sigh, and Izuku felt guilty about the hurt look that crossed her face. “Izuku,” she tried again, and this time he knew she was serious because she'd used his real name.
Izuku closed his eyes, feeling slightly nauseous. This was it. This wasn’t a conversation he wasn’t willing to have—wasn’t ready to have, but Ochako was going to make him have it anyways because she cared about him.
Izuku stopped. He just stopped—stopped moving, stopped breathing, stopped thinking. Everyone? What did that even mean?
At the sound of Ochako shifting in her seat, Izuku opened his eyes to see her taking her phone out and opening it to what looked like a news website. She passed him the phone, a news photo taking up a majority of the screen.
If Izuku had felt nauseous before, it was nothing like how he was feeling now.
“News stations were at the sink hole,” Ochako explained. “There were cameras. They saw you leaving…with Todoroki.”
Izuku could hear her, but it was hard to understand anything beyond the horribly loud buzzing in his ears. For a moment, he wondered If it was the concussion messing with his head again before he realized, no, this was just was shock felt like in its purest, more raw form. Izuku could feel his world tilting on its side as he read the news headline starkly addressing the matching soulmarks between Todoroki and Izuku that were so obvious on the front-page photo.
Ochako was right: Everyone knew.