Katsuki has a problem. Ever since they moved into the dorms at UA, he’s started to realize it. For years, he’s built a persona of himself as cool and powerful, focused and independent. Some would call him mean, but he’d just been determined. But now, he’s begun to realize all the way that facade has hurt him. Namely, as his teachers pointed out, by looking down on others, he’d failed to notice his own flaws. That’s not the problem (okay, well, it is a problem, but it’s a fixable one, and he’s already working on it.) No, the problem is that, because he’s too “cool” to show affection, he’s touch-starved.
The problem with that problem, though, is that he’ll never admit it aloud. Oh, and the fact that in order to solve that problem, he’d need to find someone willing to date him. Sure, he could start hugging his friends every now and again, it would certainly make Kirishima happy, but that wouldn’t really be enough to solve the problem, so it wouldn’t be worth the embarrassment. See, he knows some people are comfortable having full-on cuddle sessions with their friends, but he just isn’t. That sort of stuff is purely romantic to him. But, of course, there’s not a soul who’d be willing to date him. First of all, he wouldn’t want to have sex, and second of all he’d make for a pretty crap boyfriend, so it’s probably for the best.
He’ll just suffer on his own; it’s what he deserves for being such an asshole anyway. There are little things that help. Hugging warm laundry, rubbing his hands together gently to self-soothe, holding warm, freshly printed paper against his chest to simulate human touch.
Okay, yeah. It’s pretty pathetic, but what else is he supposed to do?
Sighing, he shook his head and resumed his homework. He’s determined not to let this problem stop him from keeping up with school and training, because as long as it doesn’t interfere with either of those, he doesn’t really have to find a solution.
No, the only thing keeping him from doing his homework is that some people were talking very loudly in the room next to his. There must have been like twelve people in there, almost his whole class, and they’re playing truth or dare for fuck’s sake. Don’t any of them care about their studies or, for that matter, sleep?
“I dare you to chug the whole soda!” Mina’s obnoxiously loud voice shouted. Katsuki rolled his eyes and tried to do math in his head while they were all screaming “Chug, chug, chug!” Needless to say, it didn’t work. Frustrated, he put his homework away for later. Maybe he should just go take a long shower and hope they’re done when he gets back.
“Okay, you’re up, Midoriya,” Kirishima said. Katsuki froze to listen. “Truth or dare?”
“O-oh. Okay. Um… truth.”
Katsuki chuckled. Of course he wouldn’t pick dare.
“Ooh, I got one!” Uraraka said. “Have you ever dated anyone?”
“Aw, really? Is there anyone you want to date?”
“That wasn’t the–”
“C’mon!” the whole room erupted into a pit of peer pressure. Katsuki rolled his eyes, but kept listening.
“Okay, okay. It’s, well… I don’t know. To be honest I think… I’ll probably be alone forever. There isn’t really anyone who would want to date me, so it doesn’t matter how I feel…”
“What? No!” the room erupted again, this time in reassurance that of course someone would want to date him.
“You’re a total catch!”
“I’d date you, if I were a girl!”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself!”
But then they got quiet. Maybe Izuku had said something Katsuki couldn’t hear.
“No, no. It’s not… it’s not that. It’s… well, I… First of all, I’m gay.”
“Oh,” a few people said at once.
“And second of all I’m…” Izuku paused. He sounded like he was about to cry. “I’m asexual. And that’s just… well, it really limits my, uh, dating pool. You know? I hardly ever meet any other gay guys, much less… ones who are willing to date an asexual person. So, yeah. It’s hard to imagine myself in a relationship anytime soon.”
The room was quiet for a moment, and so was Katsuki.
“But there has to be someone out there who’s right for you,” Uraraka started to say. “You just have to be patient.”
“I don’t… want to be patient. I’m tired of being patient,” Izuku started to cry for real. “I mean, what am I supposed to do? If I flirt with guys, they’ll think I wanna do things that I don’t, but if I tell them I’m asexual they’ll loose intrest. I can’t win.”
Some people started to speak up then, softly, to comfort him as he cried.
“Sometimes I just wish,” he started up again, “That I’d meet another asexual guy and we’d just… agree to be dating and be done with it. Cuase, like, I want a boyfriend so bad, but it just feels… impossible. So I can’t even get myself to try.”
And then it clicked.
Katsuki had a solution to his problem.
Things were weird after the truth or dare game. Izuku hadn’t meant to come out to so many people at once like that, and while nobody had a particularly bad reaction, he’d lost count of the amount of times his classmates had asked him questions about asexuality since. He understood that it could be confusing, since it wasn’t talked about that much, but did they really have to take all their questions to him, like he’s the god-damned ambassador of his sexuality instead of googling it like a normal person?
The only good that had come of his confession, he supposed, was that he could vent his frustrations to Uraraka now, who was happy to listen and comfort him. He’d been wanting to tell her about it for a while, since she was his best friend at the moment, but he couldn’t figure out how to and then they were all prying into his feelings during truth or dare, and it just came tumbling out. The other nice thing is that she had already figured he wasn’t straight, while a lot of his other classmates had since, for some reason, taken it upon themselves to express how surprised they were since he “looked so straight” or something.
Now, no one was mean about it, so he didn’t want to hold it against them, but it was still annoying.
Another odd thing, though, was that Katsuki had started to act a little strange. He kept noticing the boy staring at him, making a face like he wanted to say something, but even when given the opportunity to, never said a word to Izuku. He realized pretty quickly that there was a chance Katsuki heard his confession since his room was right next to Kirishima’s, where the casual-party had taken place, but he wasn’t really sure why that would make Katsuki act so strangely. He’d always assumed Katsuki was the type who simply didn’t care about sexuality, so learning Izuku’s wouldn’t change the way he saw him, and yet there was some kind of change in his demeanor around him, and Izuku couldn’t figure out what or why.
It was almost like Katsuki was… assessing him. Sizing him up.
Did he want to fight again?
Izuku assumed that must be what all the staring was about, so when Katsuki approached him in the hall at night later that week, he steeled himself for another challenge.
“Oi, Deku,” Katsuki said, stopping in front of him, hands in his pockets and slouched slightly, his eyes not quite meeting Izuku’s.
“Y-yeah,” Izuku said, clenching his fists.
“Go out with me.”
“Huh?” Izuku loosened his posture. “You mean like… to ground beta, right?”
“No, dumbass. Like… date me.”
Izuku stared at him for a long, silent moment, brows knitted in confusion.
“What?” he said, eventually, blinking in confusion. He figured he must have misheard.
“I heard you talking the other night. This is what you want, right? You’re asexual. I’m asexual. Why bother dancing around it? We should just start dating.”
“Huh?” Izuku gasped, Katsuki’s request finally sinking in. “But, wha–”
“But, what? I think I’m being pretty clear. Do you want to date me or not?” Katsuki asked, finally gathering the confidence to look Izuku in the eye. His cheeks were a bit pink, and somehow that tiny detail calmed Izuku slightly. Maybe he really did like him, and this was just Katsuki’s weird way of admitting it without having to get all touchy-feely.
And in the few seconds Izuku paused to consider it, he realized that he might like Katsuki, too.
But, you know, he also just really wanted a boyfriend.
“O-okay,” he nodded. “I – yes. I’d like that.”
Katsuki released a sigh, and Izuku realized he’d been holding his breath.
“Good,” Katsuki nodded. “I’ll, um, I’ll text you later.”
And just like that, he was marching away, leaving Izuku stunned behind him.
Did that actually just happen?
Were he and Katsuki actually dating now?
Had his prayers actually been answered, or was this the beginning of a nightmare?
Well, the first part of his plan had worked, but Katsuki’s problem wouldn’t start to go away until he enacted the second part of his plan: cuddles.
It was embarrassing just to think about it, much less ask Izuku for that kind of affection out-right, so he knew he needed to start somewhere else. He rolled around in his bed that night, planning what he’d text Izuku the next day and when, and eventually decided that, in order to avoid awkwardness in class, he needed to make contact before he saw Izuku at all.
And so, as soon as it was a reasonable hour to be awake in the morning, he sent: We’ll go to my room to study/do homework after class.
He quickly realized after he sent it that, much like his initial request to go out with Izuku, it wasn’t so much a question as it was a demand, and started to type something of a correction on that front, but kept deleting it, as they all sounded too much unlike himself. Eventually, though, he saw those three little dots that meant Izuku was typing, and patiently waited for his response.
Well, maybe not patiently. Anxiously is probably the better descriptor.
After the longest minute of his life, a text from Izuku finally appeared.
What the fuck was all that typing about then? A whole minute for one word?
Katsuki rolled his eyes and put his phone away, deciding to ignore it while he was getting ready for the sake of his sanity. It wasn’t like communication was the part of a relationship he wanted, after all, so if Izuku wanted to keep it to a minimum, that was fine with him.
Thankfully, pre-planning their meet-up (date?) saved Katsuki any sort of awkward interaction with Izuku in class. Izuku greeted him a little more cheerfully than usual, sure, but he didn’t do or say anything that would give anyone else an indication of their agreement. Which, for now, was probably for the best.
Eventually, though, the time came. About ten minutes after he got back to his dorm that afternoon, Izuku knocked on the door.
“Hey, nerd. Come in,” Katsuki said as he opened it, trying to sound nonchalant.
“Okay,” Izuku nodded, stepping inside and out of the way so Katsuki could close the door, but just sort of stood there awkwardly.
“Well?” Katsuki said.
“W-well what?” Izuku asked.
“Tch,” Katsuki clicked his tongue. “What do you wanna do?”
“Um… I thought we were just… doing homework and studying.”
“Yeah. What do you wanna do first?” Katsuki clarified.
“Oh. Uh… how about the English homework?” Izuku offered.
“Sure,” Katsuki shrugged, grabbing it from his desk and hopping onto his bed, his back against the wall as if it were a couch.
“Uh….” Izuku looked at him, unsure.
“Well? Get up here,” Katsuki patted the sport next to him. Izuku looked down, cheeks slightly red, but nodded, getting out his copy of the homework and hesitantly joining him. Katsuku let out a huff when Izuku tried to sit with a foot of space between then, and scooted over so their sides were touching before starting on the homework. Izuku seemed startled by their proximity at first, and nervous to actually talk about the homework, too, but eventually he seemed to calm down and they got in a steady rhythm of doing the work they could easily on their own, and then discussing the harder parts, all while leaning on each other comfortably.
As they finished up the day’s homework, however, Katsuki felt a pull in his chest that let him know that this small amount of contact really wasn’t going to be enough. Pursing his lips in a pout, he slowly tried to sneak a hand behind Izuku’s back without him noticing.
Needless to say, he noticed.
“Oh, uh, Kacchan…” Izuku looked up at him, and Katsuki froze.
“Are you… done?” Katsuki asked.
“Y-yeah! I was just checking my answers,” Izuku nodded, quickly throwing his folder on the ground somewhere near his backpack, a blush growing on his cheeks.
“Okay, cool. Um… you wanna…?” Katsuki inched his arm around Izuku’s waist.
“Snuggle?” Izuku finished the question with a whisper.
“Y-yeah,” Katsuki nodded, hating himself for getting so worked up over something so simple. At least Izuku was just as embarrassed.
Izuku hummed happily, letting his head fall instantly to Katsuki’s chest. Katsuki froze in surprise for a moment, but then fell into the embrace himself, even closing his eyes and letting his nose fall into Izuku’s hair so he could smell the nerd’s shampoo. It smelled good. And, fuck, it felt so good to hug him and hold him close. Katsuki’s limbs felt like jelly, and for the first time in weeks he actually felt sort of calm.
“Kacchan,” Izuku spoke up, voice muffled into Katsuki’s shirt. “Why did you ask me out?”
“I already explained that,” Katsuki mumbled.
“No. You explained why I should want to go out with you, not why you wanted to go out with me in the first place,” Izuku insisted, popping his head up to look at Katsuki.
Katsuki grit his teeth. He wasn’t one to lie, but he was sort of hoping he wouldn’t have to admit it.
“It’s… it’s cuz ‘m touch starved,” he mumbled, barely audible and slurred together.
Izuku’s brows raised; he’d heard it.
“O-oh. So you… you just want someone to, like… cuddle with?” Izuku questioned.
“But why… ask me out? I’m sure your friends would–”
“But I wouldn’t,” Katsuki interrupted. “I can’t do this kind of thing with friends. ‘S probably cuz I’m ace, but I just… any hug longer than a few seconds doesn’t feel platonic to me. So, yeah, I need a boyfriend.”
“Oh,” Izuku nodded, then looked down, a touch of sadness in his expression.
“Look, I didn’t say I’d be a good boyfriend, but from the sounds of it, I’m the only option you’ve got, so… just give me a fuckin’ chance, okay?” Katsuki said.
“Of course!” Izuku looked up. “I wasn’t – that wasn’t – nevermind. I just… I suppose today felt kind of awkward, cuz I wasn’t sure… if I could talk about it. Or… even touch you. But if that’s why you want to date me, then I won’t hold back anymore!” Izuku smiled, diving in to hug Katsuki tightly and press his face into his shoulder.
Katsuki tensed up, his face instantly hot, and felt his heart beating way too fast. He calmed himself with a gulp, and hugged Izuku back, though not quite as tight.
“G-good. I want this to be an arrangement that works for both of us.”