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The Fire Within

Chapter Text

Izuku Midoriya’s pained breaths echoed loudly in the quiet of the training room. Drenched in sweat and with green eyes nearly shut in exhaustion, he readied his sword for another attack. It felt as though the sword was flaying him alive each time it connected with it’s target, the price he agreed to pay in exchange for the chance to challenge the Dragon King Katsuki Bakugou. The cuts burned agonizingly where the salt of sweat mixed in but Izuku barely felt them anymore.

 

Izuku grit his teeth and surged forward again, green lightning crackling around his entire body and casting an eerie glow on the black metal of the greatsword. He feinted at the last moment, instead of bringing his sword down upon his trainers’ head he swung it around to aim for a mid torso strike that would cleave his opponent in two.

 

“Much better, my boy!” Yagi Toshinori called as he shifted his staff around to block the strike. The staff still felt odd in Toshinori’s hands but he seemed to learn how to wield it easily enough. It was imbued with numerous magicks to protect its wielder. When Toshinori trained with Izuku, the staff nullified all magic that attacked it. This was for both the safety of its wielder as well as the young green haired man attacking. This wasn’t a real battle so there was no need for unnecessary bloodshed. Izuku gained enough wounds from the greatsword as the price its wielder chose to pay.

 

Izuku spun into action before Toshinori’s praise had even come to an end, the neat footwork that had been beaten into his head allowing him to not waste a single moment as he prepared a counterstrike. This was the part he always messed up. He’d stumbled on that same footwork each time, his feet moving faster than his mind could keep up with and-

 

He toppled backwards.

 

The sword clattered to the ground with a deafening noise as Izuku tripped and tipped backwards, arms waving in a vain attempt at stabilizing himself. He hit the floor with a pained yelp as his backside met the unforgiving concrete. The green lightning that Izuku had managed to keep conjured for twenty-four hours, the longest time yet, disappeared abruptly, leaving burnt impressions on both of their eyes. Izuku flopped onto his back, starfished out as he struggled to regain his breath and keep the tears pricking at the corners of his eyes in check.

 

“You did well, my boy. Do not despair,” Toshinori said gently as he shuffled into Izuku’s line of sight. “I’d say you’re ready to begin your journey.”

 

Izuku sat up so quickly his head spun. “You cannot be serious, Master Toshinori! I haven’t been able to best you even once yet, and I still cannot wield One for All without blood loss and without utilizing its power properly.” Izuku laughed weakly as he looked towards the greatsword with a mixture of anger, despair and bitterness. “You should’ve given it to another of your disciples, maybe Amajiki or even Mir-”

 

“You know that is not how it works, Izuku,” Toshinori cut Izuku off before his muttering could pick up any more speed and his self-pitying mood continued to deteriorate even further. Toshinori crouched down in front of the young man with a careful slowness that reminded them both how fragile the once-great mage now was. He placed a hand on Izuku’s shoulder and looked into green eyes filled with unshed tears.

 

“I know, Master.”

 

Toshinori smiled at the soft acknowledgement that had just a hint of petulance in it. Izuku had already sacrificed so much just to be able to call himself Toshinori’s successor. It was too great a burden to bear for any normal man of twenty-five and yet Izuku had taken the mantle willingly, eagerly even.

 

It wasn’t like Izuku had the option of refusing.

 

The greatsword Unus pro omnibus or One for All chose its wielder. No one thus far had been able to determine how the sword calculated whether someone was worthy or not. There was speculation that it preferred its wielder to be strong physically and magically, or possibly that it was looking for a wielder with great knowledge that could increase its power. Both of the men in this room knew that neither of those were what factored into how the sword chose.

 

Izuku, much like Yagi Toshinori, was magicless. He’d been unable to use magic since birth. No matter how hard he trained or attempted to follow the steps others had found their magic through, the ability still eluded him. He’d resigned himself to his fate the day he’d turned thirteen and he still hadn’t felt even a spark of mystical power inside himself. That was the age that magic matured for both males and females, their abilities settling into its chosen classification for the rest of their lives.

 

Being magicless wasn’t unheard of. It wasn’t even uncommon. If anything, having magic was considered uncommon. But to a young boy at the age of thirteen, it had been a devastating blow to his heart that he’d never fully recovered from. Izuku had spent every moment of his spare time researching ways to imbue oneself with magic. Even though his search proved fruitless time after time he still battled on, absorbing the knowledge of every single thing he read without even realizing it. He spent a good amount of time at the local library to this day.

 

At one point his mother worried that he’d become obsessed with magic power and how to obtain it, even going so far at a point in his youth as to ban him from visiting the library. It had caused the first and only heated argument between mother and son, Izuku standing his ground until his mother confessed she was afraid he would waste away looking for something that was never going to happen.

 

Her words had been like a blow directly to his heart. She’d apologized immediately after the words left her mouth, but the damage was done. Izuku still studied, only in secrecy from that point forward, and if his mother knew she never gave any indication of it. 

 

That had been Izuku’s life until Yagi Toshinori had come to his village in the late summer of the previous year with life threatening wounds and a greatsword that appeared as though the gods had cleaved it in two, jagged edges making up one entire side of the sword gouging rough furrows as Yagi dragged the blade behind him.

 

Inko Midoriya was known for being the best healer in their part of the countryside, so it was routine for all wounded men and women to find themselves being attended to by the quiet woman. However, it would soon transpire that none of what was about to happen would be routine.

 

Izuku’s life had changed completely before he was even aware of it. On that fateful day, Izuku had been chasing down a lead on a known witch named Mei Hatsume that claimed the witch could brew potions no other magical being could. So Izuku had spent many an hour gathering information about Mei’s whereabouts before finally being able to seek her out. He was completely unaware of the great magical swordmaster Yagi Toshinori staggering into his village at the same time Izuku was headed out of it to meet the witch.

 

Only to find out that, while Mei Hatsume had a brilliant mind, she couldn’t do the impossible. Izuku’s hopes were dashed yet again as Mei explained that none of her ‘babies’ could give someone what they weren’t born with. If Izuku had even a speck of magical energy within him, Mei would’ve been able to draw it out. But try as they might, there was no magic within his soul to be found. Izuku had left Mei’s shortly afterward, his body numb as he hollowly admitted the truth to himself - he would always be completely ordinary in this civilization of extraordinary beings.

 

Izuku had come home exhausted and worn down from the constant turmoil he struggled against within himself, the pull of wanting magic no matter the cost so that he could protect those who meant something to him clashing against the bitterness in his heart that pushed him to despise all magic. He hadn’t looked up as he entered the small house, preferring to save himself from his mother’s lectures over his whereabouts. It was only when she called him by name did he finally snap out of his self-loathing and really take in his surroundings.

 

Izuku clasped Toshinori’s hand and allowed the frail older man to help haul him off the ground. He knew he was being ridiculous, whining about his lot in life even if he hadn’t spoken a word about the remembered pain of that day to anyone. But he couldn’t help but be overwhelmed sometimes. He’d always been just Izuku, a magicless nobody that people seemed to look right through. He had few in the way of friends, the other kids shunning him once he confessed to them he wasn’t sure he had any magic. But that was before the Dragon King, before Toshinori and before One for All. Izuku’s life now barely resembled the life he had before.

 

Izuku’s first impression of Yagi Toshinori was that he looked more like an emaciated mummy than the Hero everyone proclaimed him to be. Of course Izuku had heard of Toshinori’s exploits in the dragon clan’s territory, and his campaign to end the violence said dragon clan had brought to the human’s territory. Izuku respected the mission that this one man had taken on despite its impossibility, and now pitied him because this is what he wrought from attempting to control the Dragon King. A fragile and sickly body, sunken in eyes that still burned with passion but didn’t possess the physical strength any longer to follow that passion. More than anything, he felt sorry for the broken man.

 

Until about two weeks after that initial meeting.

 

“Let’s try it one more time before you call it quits,” Toshinori said with that knowing glint in his blue eyes, as though he knew exactly what had been on Izuku’s mind. Izuku gave the man a small smile even though he heaved a sigh immediately afterwards. Both men returned to their previous positions; Toshinori with the tall staff at the ready to block any attack Izuku might throw at him, and Izuku with two hands grasping One for All crouched down into his battle stance. There was a moment of silence as neither man moved, as though time had stood still. Then the moment was gone as green lightning encompassed Izuku and he darted forward to attack.

 

Izuku had accepted Yagi Toshinori’s part in his day to day life without complaint. He kept up his research, gaining knowledge of many forms of magic in his search to obtain it. As Toshinori recovered, he began to share the tales of his exploits; his great triumphs and his bitter defeats. Izuku was surprised that the man never spoke ill of the people he fought against, respecting their warrior spirit even as he cut them down with a sense of honor.

 

Early one morning, well into the gaunt man’s recovery, Izuku came downstairs to find that Toshinori had left before even Izuku. Izuku thought it odd but brushed it aside as he mentally went over his schedule for the day. What the former hero did with his time was his business. Izuku walked in quick strides towards the library once more, only to catch a glimpse of something bright shining by the pond to the right of the Midoriya’s house. It blinded him for a moment before he could make out what was causing the bright beams of light.

 

“What are you doing out here, Toshinori?”

 

“I was just polishing my sword, my boy.”

 

Izuku looked at the sword dubiously, his gaze following the jagged edge of the massive sword until it reached the hilt. He raised green eyes back to Toshinori’s blue eyes and asked the question he’d been dying to ask the older man since he first laid eyes on the sword. “What happened to your sword?”

 

“Are you sure you’d like to hear that story, Izuku Midoriya?”

 

Izuku swung the greatsword in a wide arc, attempting to cleave his opponent diagonally but Toshinori’s staff was there, blocking the attack and pushing the sword to his right in an attempt to throw Izuku off balance. Izuku loosened his grip on the sword just enough to allow the momentum to work to his advantage instead of tripping him up as Toshinori intended. Izuku spun on the spot, his eyes slipping closed as he allowed his body to move fluidly. The sparks of lightning still popped and flashed even though he could no longer see anything but them.

 

Izuku allowed the sparks to guide his movements, keeping his limbs loose and moving, feeling the greatsword respond to the slightest command. This was new. Izuku had never achieved anything of the sort in his many training sessions in the past. He didn’t allow the knowledge to distract him, keeping his mind blank and in tune with the greatsword. It felt lighter in his tight grasp; the lightning that danced up the blade, suffusing it with ancient magical energy, warmed Izuku instead of scalding him. Izuku smiled unconsciously. 

 

Something about the way Toshinori spoke his given name, with such seriousness and weight behind the seemingly harmless question, told Izuku this would be more than a story. He could feel a heavy weight settle on his shoulders even as he settled next to Toshinori to hear the story.

 

It happened fast after that. Every day Toshinori would polish the sword in the early morning light, and every day Izuku would stop to listen to the man’s stories as he worked. Toshinori would tire out and go back inside to rest while Izuku would continue with the rest of his day. One day, Toshinori asked Izuku to hold on to the sword while he went to fetch Inko so that he may thank her for the wonderful hospitality she’d shown this fragile man. Izuku heard his voice as if from afar, too fixated on the feel of the sword in his hand.

 

It was surprisingly light for such a massive weapon, although it would still need to be wielded with two hands for accuracy and defense. He marveled at the jagged pieces of scored metal that had been sheared straight through, pondering on what could’ve possibly happened to break such a sword apart. Who had the strength to do so? Why did Toshinori allow half of his sword to be stolen?

 

Toshinori could tell that Izuku had finally managed to tap into the power of One for All. He’d only scratched the surface before, though Toshinori hadn’t told him that. Now he watched as Izuku’s entire body became one with the sword, moving as one entity instead of just a sword and its owner. Toshinori readied his staff, knowing that Izuku’s true strength was unlocked now. He would need to pay close attention so that he could stave off the very power he’d once wielded himself. Izuku was there before his staff was in position, his movement weaving as though in a dance instead of sword training. Toshinori barely managed to block the attack, though Izuku was none the wiser. The green haired young man was already readying his next move and Toshinori knew in that instant both that he wouldn’t be fast enough to block it and that Izuku truly was ready to go face the Dragon King.

 

While Izuku was thoroughly inspecting the blade, he nearly jumped back in surprise as he caught sight of a face within the metal. Certain his eyes were playing tricks on him, he angled the sword a different way before peering into it. Izuku’s eyes widened and his breathing stuttered to a stop as he angled the sword yet again to see if the image would disappear, as it seemed to do if Izuku was not looking.

 

Izuku was nearly vibrating out of his skin with repressed questions just dying for answers to the only important question: Why was he born without the ability to have magic? How could he have seen a face in the sword without some sort of magical assistance? Izuku liked to know things, he was like a sponge when it came to books and puzzles, this was just like a difficult puzzle to be torn down by Izuku’s hand so that he can build it back up new once more.

 

Izuku’s entire body hummed with power. The footwork that had never failed to trip him up came naturally, his mind not even thinking about the steps as he performed them. Izuku swung the sword to his side, getting a feel for the heft of the weapon now that it was lighter and exponentially easier to manage. The green lightning swirled around him as he spun, and if he were to open his eyes he knew a solid wall of lightning would be howling around him, like a tornado created by the raw power of One for All. He allowed the momentum to aid him as he jumped into the air to bring the greatsword down on his master.

 

Yagi had laughed; a laugh that filled the air and caused all who heard it to smile themselves as he asked Izuku what he saw in the sword. Izuku blushed and answered so quietly the older man couldn’t hear.

 

“Speak up, my boy, I do not have the best hearing,” Yagi said with the smile still upon his lips. It was then that he noticed how badly Izuku was shaken by whatever he had seen in the reflection of the sword. He studied the boy in front of him with shrewd eyes and a depth of emotion that neither man seemed to notice.

 

Yagi quickly swung his arm over Izuku’s shoulders in what was meant to be a comforting gesture. However, Izuku, who had been angling the blade to and away from himself repeatedly, flinched away from Toshinori at the touch. This movement just so happened to tilt the sword in a favorable direction for Toshinori to get a glimpse for himself of what Izuku had been staring into the metal at all this time.

 

A chill raced up his spine despite the warmth of the late summer day. Toshinori now understood why Izuku had been so transfixed. Toshinori felt that heavy weight of destiny that had sat heavily upon his shoulders for so long, from when his master had bequeathed the great sword to Toshinori after the nearly unbearable training beforehand. Now, that same heavy weight was pulling towards Izuku’s soul, and Toshinori could no more stop it from picking its successor than he could cut his arm off.

 

Izuku had seen the Dragon King.

 

The greatsword hit the staff and bounced off with a large crack as the two magical weapons clashed. Izuku was thrown back, his eyes flying open as the lightning dissipated around him and he realized a moment too late that there was nothing to arrest his movement save -

 

His back crashed into the far wall of the building, his head snapping back and cracking painfully against the wall. The greatsword flew from Izuku’s hands, spinning as it crashed to the ground with a deafening clang. All the breath left Izuku’s lungs at the impact, his body going still as pain flared along every nerve ending. He fell heavily to the floor and did not move.

 

Toshinori hadn’t faired much better. His staff had deflected the attack, but the recoil had pushed the staff backward too fast to avoid. It smacked Toshinori in the forehead even as he desperately tried to move his head out of the way from the projectile his weapon had become. Toshinori’s body, almost eerily followed the same path as Izuku’s. His back slammed into the wall and he fell, his backside flaring in pain as it met the unforgiving floor.

 

Neither man moved for several minutes. They both lay panting harshly, magical weapons forgotten as the pain in their bodies demanded their attention more. When Toshinori felt as though he could venture speaking without sacrificing oxygen to do so, he began to laugh. How ironic that what was once his own power could hurt so much. He’d known all along that he wouldn’t keep One for All, that he’d pass it on to whomever the greatsword chose to wield it after him. Izuku had been an excellent student, eager to learn, maybe a little too self-depreciating at times, but honest and good down to his core. Toshinori would miss Izuku’s bright smiles when Izuku left to carry out his mission. The thought was a sobering reminder to Toshinori that their time together was up. He needed to let Izuku go face his destiny head on.

 

Toshinori quickly took the sword from the young man, causing Izuku to look up in confusion at the older man. Toshinori merely shook his head and nodded towards the house, the silent language flowing between them as they turned as one and walked towards the Midoriya household. He used this time to beg any god or goddess listening to choose someone else, anyone else , not this pure, kindhearted boy that only desired magic to better the world around him. Izuku was untainted by magic’s neverending pull for power, and Toshinori didn’t want to place such a heavy burden on such a gentle soul.

 

Izuku couldn’t get the piercing red eyes out of his mind. Even though Toshinori now carried the sword, Izuku felt as though those eyes were still on him, sizing him up and finding him lacking, just as the rest of the world around him had. It stung for a reason that Izuku couldn’t name. Why should he care what ignorant judgment some disembodied face valued his worth at? Izuku didn’t even know who the heck the man was!

 

It didn’t stop Izuku from feeling that the man was going to be very important in Izuku’s life. He cast a sidelong look at Toshinori, trying not to stare at the fragile man as his blue eyes grew distant and pain flashed through his expression. Toshinori had gone from exuberant to introspective within a heartbeat and the change left Izuku reeling as he pondered its meaning.

 

Both men were settled in the living room when Toshinori finally broke the silence. “Tell me who you saw in the sword, Izuku.”

 

“How do you know it’s a who and not a what?” Izuku deflected. He wanted to know why the sudden change had come over the older blond man before admitting to what he saw in the sword. Something about it felt vitally important, like everything would change once Toshinori finally opened up to him.

 

Izuku finally managed to find the strength to sit up, his body protesting every movement with the dull ache of physical pain. It took a minute for the room to stop spinning and for his chest to feel as though he could draw a full breath again. When he was certain he was alive and able to actually move he slowly made his way across the room, crawling on hands and knees toward his master with intent to make sure he hadn’t killed the frail man. He didn’t care if he looked silly crawling around on the ground like a baby, the power of One for All had drained every ounce of strength and stripped him of his pride.

 

As Izuku journeyed steadily closer, he heard Toshinori begin to chuckle. This worried Izuku immensely. What if he’d accidentally scrambled the older man’s brain? People would shun him as they had Izuku, making fun of him and, oh gods, then he’d have to stay in the house and never leave, he’d hate Izuku, if he even still remembered Izuku-

 

“Young Midoriya, stop. I am just fine. I might not be the hero I once was, but I’m tougher than you’re giving me credit for.” Toshinori lightly reprimanded his student, though the sting was taken away by the big smile and pride shining in his gaze. He couldn’t stop smiling, knowing that he’d completed this last mission, making sure the power of One for All went into good hands. Now all that remained was to help Izuku prepare for his journey and he could finally hang up the mantle of ‘hero’ and go back to being just Yagi Toshinori. Maybe he would ask Inko if she’d enjoy a nice evening stroll with him someday soon.

 

“Sorry,” Izuku said sheepishly as he reached Toshinori’s prone form. The pride in those electric blue eyes caused a lump to rise in his throat. No one had ever looked at Izuku like that, as though he was worth something. He did his best to push back the tears, but in the end it was a fruitless endeavor as they spilled down his cheeks anyway.

 

Izuku supposed that someone looking at him with pride in their gaze probably shouldn’t be as big of a deal as he made it out to be. But it left Izuku reeling, struggling to understand how his life had changed so much. From ignored and forgotten to belonging to one of the most powerful people in the land and taking on the mantle of Hero. He clutched at his chest, giving up entirely on keeping the tears in check as he sobbed loudly. His body shuddered with the force of his sobs and he bent forward until he could place his forehead on the cool floor by Toshinori.

 

Toshinori smiled softly at the green haired boy, understanding without any words passing between them. Izuku had grown up believing that his only destiny was to gain knowledge he’d never be able to use. Toshinori had suffered through weeks of no human contact, only his sword and his calling to keep him company. He had believed that he was nothing more than a nameless person behind a hero mask, a person who fought and rescued, fought and rescued. Until he’d come to this bustling village and been attended to by the most beautiful and kind woman he’d ever met before. Until a green haired young man with a thirst for knowledge and an ache to find himself a place in their world had come to mean so much to Toshinori that he couldn’t imagine leaving ever again. 

 

“I saw his face when you shifted, my boy. What stood out to you?” Toshinori had yet to look Izuku in the eye. He spoke to his lap and the hands clasped there. You could cut the tension between the two men with a dull blade.

 

“H- his eyes,” Izuku gave in and answered quietly, also not looking at the blond man, eyes too full of the strange vision of handsomeness he’d seen in the sword. “They pierced right through me, as though they were challenging me to a battle to the death. But that doesn’t make any sense!”

 

Izuku stood abruptly and started to pace in the small living room, a hand on his chin as he continued, “I’ve never seen anyone that looked like the man I saw. And yet I felt drawn toward him with something I’ve never felt before. It was as though my entire being was calling out to this man, and I felt…”

 

“You felt what?” Toshinori prompted the green haired young man to continue, knowing that Izuku needed to reach this conclusion on his own, without any help from Toshinori. It could ruin everything if Toshinori stepped within the sacred boundaries between what Izuku was slowly coming to realize.

 

Izuku looked at Toshinori with wide green eyes and paling cheeks. “I felt like this one man meant everything in the world. I looked at his sneering face and I saw the strength of a thousand men behind the mask of it. I felt as though I was being issued a challenge even though the man’s lips never moved from their frown. I felt… I felt…”

 

Toshinori leaned forward, waiting on pins and needles for Izuku to connect that final dot that would bring understanding. Izuku stopped pacing as abruptly as he had started, and his hands were shaking when he raised them to eye level and began clenching and unclenching his fists.

 

“I felt like my soul belonged to this man I’ve never seen before.”

 

Izuku’s declaration hit like a bomb between the two men, Toshinori sucking in a sharp breath as Izuku’s aura flared up with the most brilliant explosion of fire, phantom flames licking at the green haired man that seemed more dazed than alarmed. As suddenly as the spectral flames appeared they were gone, Izuku’s aura crackling with green lightning that caused both men’s hair to stand up on end.

 

Toshinori couldn’t contain himself any longer, he jumped up and pulled the young man into an exuberant and tight hug. He was laughing once more, his eyes shining bright as they looked down at the pure soul before him. There was no doubting it now, Izuku had found his soulmate, and the sword had chosen him as the successor. It was time for Toshinori to pass the torch on to the next generation.

 

Izuku laughed nervously as he was pulled into a fierce hug from the older man, his grip almost too tight around Izuku’s shoulders. Izuku still wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, but he did know that the red eyed man was his, just as he belonged to that man. The moment the words had left his lips he had felt the rightness down to his soul, his entire body flaring up with a comforting warmth that smelled of campfire smoke and home. He couldn’t find the words to describe the feeling as it coursed through him, so he allowed himself to be caught up in the beauty of the moment and the flash of electricity that ran through his body like a live wire.

 

It was as though he’d found his purpose and his home in the same moment. Izuku didn’t even notice the magical energy that coursed through him with how wrapped up he was in this mysterious stranger.

 

Now, Izuku knew more about the stranger. He knew about everything the public whispered in fear, unsure of how long the Dragon King’s reach was, tales and information exchanged in soft breaths for safety and security. He knew everything the library had to offer as well, though there wasn’t much about the Dragon King personally, current events articles and recent history books favored describing the country the dragons inhabited as a whole, the leader only mentioned for the atrocities he’d committed and how many wars had been brought to countries since his crowning.

 

Izuku refused to believe the person that was his soulmate could be as evil as the writers made the Dragon King out to be. He wanted to get to know Katsuki Bakugou, the man first, and then the ruler of the Astea. Toshinori had given him every scrap of intel he had on the fiery leader, gathered both throughout his journeys as well as firsthand knowledge from visiting Astea as part of an elite team tasked with spying on the day to day life of the Dragon horde and how the country worked, and was inevitably caught.

 

“You’re ready, Izuku. You’re ready to go find the Dragon King and tame him,” Toshinori said with electric blue eyes that held both sorrow and joy. Every fiber of his being believed that the green haired man was capable of bringing about the change needed to stop the Dragon King’s wrath from reaching to the ends of the world. Toshinori could admit to himself that he was afraid, afraid of what the tyrant would do to such a pure and kind hearted soul like Izuku Midoriya, and afraid of Izuku’s life being snuffed out before even being given the opportunity to speak to the brash young ruler.

 

But the sword had chosen Izuku just as it had chosen Toshinori, and his master before him. There was a reason the spirit of the sword saw fit to fall into Izuku’s hands, and mere human minds couldn’t hope to contemplate the intricacies of the ancient sword. All Toshinori could do was hope that the sword would protect the younger man in his long and no doubt arduous journey ahead, and hope that Izuku was strong enough to change the black heart of the Dragon King.

 

“Y- yeah? Then I must prepare for the trip. Master Toshinori, I shall do my best and be worthy of both yours and the sword’s legacy.” Izuku was proud that his voice came out stronger than he felt. His stomach twisted itself into knots at the thought of the lonely journey ahead and the task he’d been set with. He tried to see in himself what the sword and Toshinori seemed to see, but the only person he saw was just Izuku Midoriya, the only son to the village healer. A magicless nobody. Even his father hadn’t stuck around once Izuku had been born. He wasn’t anyone special, he’d been made to see that plenty in his relatively short life. Izuku pulled himself together and forced himself to think more productive thoughts. There was plenty Izuku had to do before he could actually set off on his journey.

 

 It was hard for Izuku to wrap his head around to this day, that Toshinori and the great sword picked him out of all the young adults in his village. Izuku was sure there were more competent sword wielders, and certainly others with magic that would increase the swords power instead of a magicless young man who had never journeyed beyond a day’s time in any direction from the village.

Chapter Text

It took nearly a day to gather the necessities for making such a long journey. Izuku hated to admit it, but he was growing exasperated with his mother and the way she’d burst into tears or beg him to stay at the drop of a pin. He understood that she was just being protective, he was her only child and only family, and he was leaving to go on a journey it was possible he wouldn’t return from. He didn’t want to cause his mother heartache, but he couldn’t not go either. So he suffered through the emotional hugs she’d pull him into as she cried into his shoulder, and through the stern lectures on how he’d better return or she’d leave to find him herself. Izuku was a little alarmed at that declaration, but Toshinori merely shook his head and pressed his lips together to hide the way his lips twitched into a smile. Somehow Izuku knew that Toshinori would take good care of his mother and would be waiting alongside her for Izuku’s return.

 

Which was only happening if he managed to leave in the first place.

 

His last meal with his mother and Toshinori was the night before his journey began. He’d wanted to leave the moment all the necessary preparations had been made. But Inko had insisted on having one last family dinner and sweetened the deal by telling Izuku she’d be making his favorite: katsudon. Toshinori had only shrugged when Izuku looked to him for guidance. So Izuku had relented, allowing his mother to dote over him one final evening before she wouldn’t see him for an undetermined amount of time.

 

Izuku had laid in his bed that night, sleep the last thing on his mind as he contemplated the man he was going in search of. He stared up at the ceiling without seeing it, his eyes full of the piercing bloody gaze of the Dragon King. He sat up abruptly, reaching for the sword before even being conscious he was moving, and hefted the great sword onto his lap, his hands already working on the ties to release the cloth that were wrapped around the metal. He closed his eyes as the last tie finally unraveled and took a deep breath before removing the cloth. The starlight outside his window caused the polished black metal to glint, the blade nearly humming with pent up energy.

 

He took one last deep breath to steady himself before he looked into the sword’s reflection. Instead of seeing himself though, a pair of crimson eyes watched him drowsily. The breath rent from his lungs, Izuku could only be devoured by the fiery eyes that watched him with a keen intelligence, despite the fact that the Dragon King had obviously been about to fall asleep. Izuku felt the shudder rack through his body, his mouth falling open as he imagined what it would be like to be held, to be treasured , by the man behind those eyes. His eyes were half open, his breath coming out in short pants at the devilish smirk that came across lips Izuku wondered were as soft as he imagined them to be. Izuku had never wished for anything as much as he wished to hear Katsuki Bakugou’s voice, whispering filthy things into his ear as he brought them both to completion.

 

Izuku nearly dropped the sword when the image in the metal changed, instead showing a creamy throat and broad shoulders. Izuku’s grip on the sword tightened, both to keep his hands from wandering down to the twitching interest in his pants and to make sure the sword didn’t fall away. He couldn’t miss a single glimpse of the other man’s body. He struggled to regulate his breathing as the image continued to shift, hard pecs and peaked nipples coming into focus. Izuku was nearly drooling by this point, any shame stripped from him at the lewd game he and this stranger were playing. It felt dangerous, as though it would erupt into a fight at a moment’s notice, but Izuku couldn’t care less. He waited with bated breath to see if this man was just as affected by him as Izuku was by Katsuki. The sword image panned down over rock hard abs that caused Izuku to swallow around the lump in his throat, his fingers twitching as though they wanted to run down the dips and rises of the flesh there.

 

Izuku hadn’t realized he was palming himself through his pants, so caught up in watching as the Dragon King revealed more of himself than Izuku had ever seen before, his erection straining against the fabric painfully. He gave in to his carnal desires, one hand fumbling to release the hard cock as the other gripped the sword with bloodless fingers. His soulmate must’ve noticed the action, because the image stopped just shy of revealing his own pulsing cock in favor of coming back to Katsuki’s face, his eyes bright with the challenge and lust that sung through Izuku’s veins.

 

Izuku had no idea what he was doing, he’d never been attracted to any of his fellow villagers, preferring to spend his time researching the ways of magic and with the musty smell of ink and parchment. But he didn’t want to be found lacking against the powerful King, so he swallowed around a dry throat and finally managed to free his erection, goosebumps raising along his arms as the cool night air kissed the heated skin of his shaft. Very carefully he tilted the metal of the sword so that Katsuki had a view of Izuku’s hand roughly jerking up and down his cock, the intense desire to come undone just from this man’s eyes washing away any shyness or fear that he might be rejected. This man was his soulmate, he could no more refuse Izuku than Izuku could turn his back on Katsuki.

 

He bit his lip to keep the moans and keens locked in the back of his throat, the man couldn’t hear them anyway and Izuku would be mortified if his mom or Toshinori heard his shameless noises in response to a sword image. It was possibly the most difficult thing Izuku had to endure, the sounds fought to be free, to rise into the air as a gift for the one causing them. Izuku’s hand slowed as he tilted the sword back towards his face, allowing Katsuki to see the green hair plastered to his forehead with sweat, the way he bit back the moans as perfect teeth dug into Izuku’s lush bottom lip, and how heavy lidded his gaze had become as he stroked himself, forest green eyes gone dark with desire and want. Gods, how he wanted this man .

 

Katsuki’s eyes widened as Izuku thought the words, and his hand stuttered on his cock as Katsuki quickly tilted the image to show his own leaking erection as he smeared precome down the thick shaft and pumped himself closer to his ending. Izuku gave up on breathing as his hand moved quicker along his own cock, his eyes glued to the large hand stroking the large cock. He was so close to something, something that would melt him down to nothing but embers from this man’s sheer presence, and yet still he couldn’t find his release.

 

Cum with me.

 

Izuku’s head snapped up at the rough whisper, though he already knew who had spoken. Green eyes dropped back down to lock with crimson as the Dragon King smirked, clearly aware that Izuku had heard the order. Then the arrogant face was gone once again, the leaking cock dominating the image as Katsuki spilled over, cum shooting out of the scope of Izuku’s sight and spilling over the meaty hand still languidly pumping the twitching dick to milk out every bit of cum.

 

Izuku didn’t stand a chance against the filthy display, his own orgasm being ripped from his being with a violence that should’ve scared him. He shuddered and twitched as he continued to stroke his cock obediently, just like Katsuki wanted him to. How he knew that Katsuki wanted that, he had no clue.

 

Izuku collapsed back against the wall next to his bed, his hand slipping limply off his softening cock. He could barely maintain his grip on the hilt of the sword, his eyes falling closed as the strength left his worn out body. He cracked his eyes open to see how Katsuki had fared, only to startle at seeing his own reflection once more. Now fully awake, he frantically tilted the sword one way and then the other, trying to get Katsuki’s face to appear once more. His heart thundered in his chest as he panicked. Had he misused the sword in his arousal and broken their connection? Had Katsuki been disgusted and severed their link, even though he’d clearly been as turned on as Izuku had been?

 

Go the fuck to sleep, can hear your thinking and it’s fuckin’ annoyin’!

 

Izuku smiled sheepishly at his empty room and took a calming breath before responding, hoping Katsuki could hear his drowsy words, “Good night, Kac...chan.”

 

Izuku was asleep in the next instant, blissfully unaware as the king of Astea ranted at the ridiculous name Izuku had called him in his exhaustion. He knew nothing of the dark threats the crimson eyed man promised to exact upon his green haired other half, or the warm sensation that resonated within the sorcerer’s heart at being given a nickname by his soulmate.

 

Izuku woke up feeling both refreshed and disgusting. It only took the briefest of glances down to find the source of his discomfort, his face twitching in disgust at the congealed mess smeared all over him and his sheets. It was definitely not the way he imagined starting off the first day of his journey. But Izuku remembered the lust those crimson eyes had held as he found his release and decided that there was no other way he’d rather have started it, either.

 

It took Izuku’s legs a moment to support his weight, but once he found his center of gravity he was up and moving. He hunted down a towel, thankful that he’d woken before, it seemed, his mother or Toshinori was up. He quietly took his change of clothes and soap to the wash house located at the back of his family’s property, shivering in the still cool air as he scrubbed himself clean of sweat, cum, and the stench of desperation. He could admit it to himself, he was desperate to find Katsuki Bakugou. Even if the man was evil, and even if Katsuki wanted nothing to do with Izuku, he still wanted to see the man in the flesh. Of course, Izuku hoped that Katsuki would be looking forward to seeing him just as much, but Izuku knew better than to get ahead of himself.

 

Izuku finished cleaning himself quickly, toweling off next to the tub instead of waiting to go back inside. He dressed with hurried movements, eager to get on the road before his mother insisted on him eating breakfast with them one last time before leaving.

 

He tiptoed through the living room on the way to the stairs that would take him up to his bedroom for one final time, attempting to be as quiet as possible. His mother wasn’t a heavy sleeper, and she woke at the slightest noises so it was vitally important he be as silent as possible. And Toshinori still slept in the main room of the house despite both Inko and Izuku’s insistence he move to one of the bedrooms. Izuku hoped the older man would use his bedroom during his absence just to put his mother’s heart at ease.

 

He resisted the urge to run up the stairs after his successful trip through the house, instead mentally checking off the things he had already prepared in his room the previous day. Izuku only had to make his bed and heft the large pack through the house and he’d be on his way.

 

Toshinori was waiting for him outside of the front door, nearly giving Izuku a heart attack when he materialized out of the pre-dawn shadows to walk alongside Izuku. Neither man spoke immediately, both caught by the silence of the outside world in the early hours of the day. Or maybe it was because neither of them knew what to say. How did you say goodbye to an entire life’s worth of memories? How did a man send his pupil into certain danger without regret?

 

The sun was peeking over the horizon by the time Toshinori’s strides finally slowed before coming to a halt. Izuku stopped and turned to look at the man who had become like a father to him in the short time they’d known each other. Izuku didn’t remember his birth father at all. But maybe that was for the best, because Toshinori’s place in Izuku’s life felt right somehow. It was different than rightness of how he felt about Katsuki Bakugou being his soulmate and yet Izuku still wholly believed that Toshinori was meant to be in Izuku’s life as well.

 

“May fortune smile upon you, Izuku Midoriya,” If Toshinori’s voice wavered, neither man mentioned it. Toshinori looked small in the forest of tall trees surrounding them, and Izuku felt a pang for leaving this man behind. Others respected Yagi Toshinori as a warrior, or a teacher, or for saving their lives. Izuku’s respect was more intimate than any of those reasons, even if he also respected the man for that as well. Izuku respected Toshinori as his father figure, and for taking care of Inko while Izuku was away.

 

“May fortune smile upon you…. Father.” Izuku turned quickly to hide the blush in his cheeks and the wetness of his eyes at the look of pure awe on Toshinori’s face. Izuku only made it a handful of steps forward when he felt strong arms wrap around him from behind in a crushing hug. Izuku glanced over his shoulder and his jaw dropped.

 

Yagi Toshinori towered over him, muscles rippling over every inch of his massive body. Toshinori’s smile was nearly blinding, brighter than the sun at its apex. He looked like the hero everyone proclaimed him to be, in a way that Izuku had never truly believed him to be. The embrace was gone in a flash, Toshinori’s body back to his familiar gaunt and hunched over form. Izuku couldn’t stop the smile that stretched his face or the tears that streamed down his face.

 

Toshinori had given him a hero’s farewell, as well as a father’s goodbye. It was something that Izuku would never forget in his time on this planet. He locked away the memory in his heart of hearts. This is what it felt like to have a father.

 

Izuku forced himself to turn around and continue to put one foot in front of the other. His heart ached with the fullness he felt at his life. Yes, he had been born magicless and fatherless, but he’d gained so much more for it being that way. He could only hope that his soulmate would add even more happiness to his life.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

It had been nearly two months since Izuku had left, and he was only just now nearing Astea’s border. His clothes were frayed and torn from the harsh thorns that clawed at him as he left the lush green forests and grassy meadows for the flat and barren land between his home country and Astea. He’d spent three days shivering through a fever after a cut got infected and his body couldn’t handle the poison running through its veins. But he was still determined to reach his destination, had used that certainty to combat the doubts and fears that crowded in his mind.

 

His food supply had dwindled a long time ago, he’d had to resort to scavenging what he could before leaving the healthy lands. He could only hope that he was getting closer to his goal. Each night he’d pulled the sword out of its place on his back and gazed into the dark metal hoping to see Katsuki’s face. Each time he’d been disappointed, for his soulmate hadn’t appeared since Izuku’s last night home, when they’d both given into the raw physical connection between them. Izuku tried to not let it get to him, rationalizing it away so that he wouldn’t get discouraged. Maybe Katsuki was simply waiting for Izuku to find him before seeing the green haired man again. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities, though Izuku couldn’t say how he knew it for certain.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Izuku had been in Astea for a fortnight. He’d had to learn how to cloak his presence from the numerous squads of soldiers that patrolled what seemed like every inch of the Dragon King’s lands. Izuku couldn’t understand why Katsuki felt that so many soldiers were necessary, but he also knew that the Dragon Horde was strict in its code of honor. If their King ordered them to patrol, patrol they would. It was one of the many facets about Astea that had fascinated Izuku when he was first gathering as much knowledge as he could about the journey he knew was coming.

 

In the end, it was Katsuki that found Izuku. 

 

Izuku had been steadily gaining ground towards Emberbourne, the capital of Astea and where Izuku would find Katsuki’s castle, when it happened suddenly. He’d gotten pretty decent at sneaking around soldiers and commoners alike, and had fallen into a sort of pattern in how he moved about Astea. It was during one of his rest periods that he first felt the vibration. The sword was humming quietly, it’s dark metal blade singing despite the cloth wrapped tightly around it. Izuku had frantically attempted to stifle the sound, terrified of being found out and killed without hesitation.

 

The sword however, refused to be silenced. It continued to hum regardless of Izuku’s attempts, and it was all Izuku could do to find a sheltered area to hide in, his fortune holding as he came across a street of what looked like abandoned buildings. He darted into one of the larger ones with relief, throwing his pack and other belongings into a corner of the room he’d chosen to hide in so that he could focus on the sword.

 

Even before Izuku unwrapped it, he knew the blade was glowing. It was warm to the touch, and light peeked out from the wrapping as Izuku carefully removed the enchanted binding cloth. Toshinori had never explained the true depth of the sword’s powers, and Izuku wondered if it was because Toshinori himself hadn’t experienced the wonders of the magnificent blade.

 

Izuku was glad for the roof over his head as he finished unwinding the cloth. The blade was shining brightly, its metal no longer dark but a brilliant blue that shimmered when Izuku looked at it. He ran his hand down the heated metal, sensing a presence pulling at the sword through the pads of his fingers. Izuku attempted to push the presence back with limited success. As soon as the presence reacted to Izuku’s attempt, Izuku couldn’t help but think that the other presence was goading him into a push and shove match.

 

Izuku ignored the ridiculous line of thinking that ran through his mind in favor of trying to see the essence of the magic causing the sword to react. He could feel how volatile it was, much like the entity controlling the magic. But there was a beautiful serenity in the midst of the tumultuous depths, a presence at home with each ember and spark of magic. Izuku was scarcely breathing, so focused on the pull of magical energy that he failed to notice the sword grow even hotter, the metal beginning to sear his hand.

 

It was only when the smell of burnt flesh reached his nose did Izuku snap out of his stupor. He cursed and blew on the tender skin of his palm, certain the burns would leave scars even after they healed. He rooted around for his pack, hissing as the pain from the burn began to intensify now that he was in control of his faculties once more.

 

Izuku clumsily applied burn ointment on his hand before wrapping it in bandages to prevent infection. His eyes pricked with tears without his permission, the smarting wound and magic still pouring out of the sword causing him to suddenly feel small and helpless in this foreign land. He leaned his head back against the wall and allowed the tears to fall silently, his heart aching in his chest.

 

It had been so long since he’d seen a familiar face, he wondered if he’d ever see his mother, or Toshinori, or even Katsuki. The emptiness of the metal had been a continuous blow each time he checked, but neither could he stop checking to see if familiar intense red eyes stared back at him. He wondered why the connection had suddenly broken after that one night that lust had driven his actions in a way he’d never experienced before. Had he crossed some boundary as a soulmate? Were there even rules or regulations to being a soulmate? No one in his village was a soulmate, soulmates were rarer than even magic wielders. He’d had no one to ask about what he should expect from a soulmate bond, so maybe he’d messed it up somehow and-

 

“Why the fuck are you crying in the dark, you fuckin’ nerd?”

 

Izuku’s eyes flew open at the gruff question. He struggled to see the speaker in the dark of the room. Apparently time had slipped past Izuku in his trance like state, it was nearly dark out when he was sure that he first stumbled upon the abandoned building in the early afternoon sun. But Izuku’s mind wasn’t on the time, or the pain of his hand, or even the sword that was now a shimmering blue, putting out a glow of light from its place against the wall next to Izuku.

 

Izuku was completely captivated by red eyes that held his gaze. A distant portion of his mind noted what his soulmate sounded like, categorized the grit of his voice as he spoke, a part of Katsuki Izuku had long wondered at. It was as though time had stood still, neither man moving or breaking the silence that stretched out uncomfortably between them.

 

Katsuki was the one to break the tension, he cleared his throat and stood tall over Izuku, looking down at him with an unreadable expression. “You didn’t answer my question. Who are you? Why-”

 

“I came to find you. My soulmate.”

 

Izuku’s quiet declaration cut Katsuki off, enveloped them in silence once more. Katsuki seemed to be at a loss just as much as Izuku was, and it made Izuku feel a bit more comfortable in this bizarre situation.

 

“I don’t have a soulmate.”

 

Izuku’s head snapped up at the words, his eyes already damp with tears again. Some part of his mind had expected this, expected to be rejected because he’d been rejected all his life. Why did he believe that he deserved this powerful and arrogant man, when that soulmate clearly didn’t want him? Izuku swallowed back his emotions, hiding them away from the face that had already seen more of Izuku than he’d allowed anyone else to. The pain from this rejection felt different though, more intense and all encompassing than the times he’d been skipped over by others in his village.

 

It was all Izuku could do to stumble to his feet, rapidly blinking back the tears as he turned and gathered his stuff clumsily, his bandaged hand making the motions just that much harder on Izuku’s weary body. He just wanted to get far away from this place, and this man. Maybe he could forget how he felt about Dragon King Katsuki Bakugou if he put enough distance between them. Izuku knew that wasn’t how it worked, but for once he ignored the analytical part of his brain.

 

Katsuki was still watching in silence, unmoving except to fold his arms against his chest. His own head was swimming with a myriad of thoughts he just wanted to stop. The scent of this human was intoxicating, the clean smell of grass mixed with the musk of parchment and ink hooking Katsuki immediately. It was all he could do to keep his arms folded against his chest, to not reach out and haul this man into his arms and never let go.

 

But that was not how it worked in Astea, and it sure as shit wasn’t how it worked as leader of the Dragon Horde.

 

There were rules, ancient guidelines set in place should a member of royalty find their soulmate. If Katsuki dishonored those rules, he would be stripped of his title and shunned immediately. The man before him didn’t know that, though, and he looked about ready to bolt away out of sheer nerves.

 

“Where the fuck do you think you’re going? I didn’t say you could leave, asshole.”

 

Katsuki’s voice wrapped around Izuku like a soft blanket, like the comforting warmth of soft fabric against cool skin. Izuku took a deep breath to try and get his emotions under control, Katsuki’s scent overriding every other sense and demanding his attention. Katsuki smelled incredible, like home and smoke and a hidden note of something Izuku had no name for but accepted his dependence without hesitation all the same.

 

But this man wasn’t Izuku’s home, he’d made it perfectly clear that he didn’t acknowledge the bond between Izuku and himself almost immediately. Izuku couldn’t even blame the haughty man for rejecting the very thought.

 

“I’m leaving, this was a huge mistake. I should’ve never left the village, should’ve kept training with Toshinori and buried these feelings-“

 

Izuku’s words were coming out so fast even he was having a hard time deciphering them. He just knew he needed to escape before he fell apart in front of the gorgeous man. Having gathered his things, he hefted the sword into its place on his back and strode towards the door that would lead him outside and away from this hellish nightmare.

 

Izuku barely brushed Katsuki as he walked past the taller man on his way to the exit, but the universe pinpointed on that contact the instant it happened. Izuku heard Katsuki’s sharp gasp as his own breath was stolen. It was like a lightning storm had sparked to life instantly, from just that touch. Izuku felt the heat of the lightning and held it close in his mind even as the connection broke and both men were left reeling.

 

Izuku recovered first, his hands shaking even after clenching them into fists. He didn’t dare look at Katsuki, knowing it would cause him only heartbreak and pain to see Katsuki’s reaction to their connection.

 

A connection Katsuki had made perfectly clear he didn’t want. 

 

Izuku was almost to the door when he felt a hot hand circle his bicep and yank him backwards. He nearly lost his balance as the hand relentlessly tugged him further into the room once more. Izuku wondered if Katsuki was going to kill him now, just for trespassing in Astea and for believing himself to be worthy of the mighty King.

 

“Let go, Katsuki.” Izuku’s voice was soft but firm, letting Katsuki know that the touch was unwanted and that Izuku just wanted to leave.

 

“No! We haven’t even discussed-“

 

Izuku ripped his arm out of Katsuki’s grasp as Izuku spun around to face Katsuki head on. “What is there to discuss? You’ve made it perfectly clear that you don’t want me-“

 

“I never fucking said that at all .” Katsuki roared, the volume of his voice hurting Izuku’s ears though he gave no indication of that fact as he stared the taller man down. “Just give me a chance to-“

 

“To what? To reject me properly? Or to belittle me and tell me how I don’t deserve an incredible man like you? I don’t need to hear it, I’m already well aware-”

 

“Would you just stop for a fuckin’ goddamn second ?!”

 

Both men were breathing heavily by now, their gazes clashing obstinately in a battle of wills. The first one to look away would lose the respect of the other. Izuku didn’t know what it was about this person who always seemed to be challenging him, pushing him to give more even as he gave his all to the challenge. Izuku didn’t want to listen to this man reject him, he wasn’t sure his heart could take it if he did. He had believed that being a soulmate would require the other person to like him just as much as he liked them, but clearly that was not the case. Or Izuku was just special in all the wrong ways and it only worked like that for everyone else but him.

 

“What do you want from me?” Izuku’s voice was strangled and quiet as he forced the words out past his protective barrier against rejection. Maybe if he just let the irritated man speak his piece, no matter how much it hurt, then he’d finally be able to escape the scene of his undoing. His throat worked as he tried to swallow past the lump that had lodged in it. He watched the intense crimson gaze drop to watch his throat bob and shivered at the emotion that hid behind those eyes.

 

Katsuki’s eyes snapped back to Izuku’s after he’d been caught staring. “I want you to shut up for five goddamn seconds and listen to what I have to say.” He didn’t know who this man thought he was, interrupting and snubbing a king as though he had no sense of self preservation whatsoever. He could admit to himself that the green haired man had guts if nothing else. The shorter man clearly didn’t back down from Katsuki just because he was a king, and Katsuki found that he enjoyed that fact.

 

“Fine. Make it quick.” Izuku dropped his gaze from the angry blonde’s even as he spoke. He tried to prevent his body from sagging in his exhaustion, determined not to show any weakness in front of this person if he could avoid doing so.

 

“What’s your name, shortstack?”

 

Izuku looked at Katsuki incredulously. That was the second nickname he’d given Izuku just since meeting him face to face. It irked Izuku that Katsuki could call him special names so confidently even while asking for his given name. If his response sounded petulant he didn’t care, “My name is Izuku Midoriya, Kacchan .”

 

Katsuki raised an eyebrow at the nickname he’d only caught parts of before. Back on that last night in the sword as he watched his mate fall asleep with the stupidly endearing nickname on his lips. The whine in Izuku’s voice made the nickname even more childish. It was clear to Katsuki that Izuku was trying to get a rise out of him for calling Izuku shortstack and nerd, so it would be playing right into the other man’s hands to get angry at the stupidly cute nickname. Katsuki smirked arrogantly and watched the surprise that flitted through forest green depths before being smothered. He liked that Izuku rose to the challenges he presented instead of turning tail or meekly submitting. It was fitting that his soulmate was as obstinate as the king of Astea.

 

Which brought Katsuki’s mind back around to why Izuku was here.

 

“Like I said before, shortstack, I don’t have a soulmate,” Katsuki lifted a hand to ward off the words about to pour from that tempting mouth as it opened, “Let me finish, shit. Not one that will be recognized as such by the dragon clan until the ceremony occurs.”

 

Izuku’s mouth closed into a thoughtful frown at Katsuki’s words. He admitted to himself that he hadn’t considered that Katsuki’s people could have a different way of recognizing such unions than the people of Fleania. It still didn’t change the fact that Katsuki could’ve been more specific from the beginning instead of just denying Izuku as his soulmate completely. Or maybe Izuku was just trying to justify his overreaction. He hesitated, not sure what to say in response even though it was clear that Katsuki expected him to respond.

 

“I’m guessing you’ve realized your fuck up,” Katsuki grinned unrepentantly at Izuku’s disgruntled look and laughed out loud when Izuku couldn’t fight the corners of his mouth upturning in response. His soulmate sure was something else, and Katsuki couldn’t wait to get to know him better.

 

“It’s okay. But there are certain steps you have to follow to be recognized as my soulmate, the first of which is combat. You need to prove that you are capable of defending Astea, both with me and in place of me should I not be here to defend it myself. And I need to know that you aren’t some pathetic and whiny weak little shit.” No need to tell Izuku that he already liked what he saw of Izuku’s fiery spirit.

 

“That's ... reasonable, if not a little barbaric.” Izuku responded. “I didn’t think of it like that,” Izuku admitted quietly, his green eyes vulnerable as he admitted to his fault of jumping to conclusions.

It made Katsuki’s heart ache to see this man he’d never met before so downtrodden on himself for a stupid mistake. Katsuki didn’t know why exactly, just that he didn’t want Izuku to beat himself up so.

 

“I’ve already said it’s okay, nerd. It just means that there’s a few extra hoops for you to jump through than if you’d been chosen as a commoner’s soulmate.” Katsuki stepped closer to Izuku, well within Izuku’s comfort zone, and looked down at hesitant green eyes watching him cautiously. “If you want me to stop, you’d better say something right… now…”

 

Katsuki closed the gap between their lips when Izuku made no move to shove him away, nearly groaning at the sweet release he felt at just kissing Izuku. Izuku pressed their lips together firmly, going to his toes to wrap his arms around Katsuki’s neck and dig into the soft spikes of blonde hair with his fingers. Still Izuku pressed even closer, until not even a whisper of space remained between them as they devoured each other with hungry kisses and soft pants. Kissing Izuku felt like coming home after a hard fought battle, his taste and smell causing Katsuki’s head to swim in a way that had nothing to do with a lack of oxygen.

 

Izuku wasn’t sure when their fight had turned into lust, but he wasn’t about to complain about it either. He had figured that Katsuki wouldn’t allow him to get so close before whatever fight and ceremony Katsuki had mentioned prior had taken place, but he was glad to be proven wrong in this instance. Izuku had been chasing those soft lips through his dreams for weeks now, eager to taste his soulmate as they lost themselves to the damp press of kisses and nips of teeth to lush lips.

 

Katsuki’s hands moved of their own accord, skimming down Izuku’s side to grip the shorter man’s hips in a bruisingly tight hold as Katsuki struggled to keep his sanity. Izuku tasted like nothing Katsuki had ever encountered before. Katsuki wondered if this was because they were soulmates, or just because Izuku was perfect. Katsuki tried not to think of anyone tasting Izuku like this, or watching Izuku fall apart like Katsuki had through the metal of the sword. Katsuki wasn’t entirely aware of the low growl that rumbled in his chest as his thoughts strayed.

 

Izuku shivered at the growl that vibrated from Katsuki’s chest, their kisses further backsliding into open mouthed huffs and nips of teeth. Katsuki’s fingers dug deliciously into his hips, and Izuku’s dick throbbed at the pleasurable pain. Izuku’s fingers loosened their grip on the strands of blonde hair, retreating completely to drop down to the bottom of Katsuki’s finely worked silver tunic and push it up, his hands brushing against the burning skin of Katsuki’s shivering stomach.

 

Katsuki pulled back, his head dizzy with the lust that pulsed through his veins in waves. He caught at Izuku’s hands to arrest their progress up his torso, swallowing hard when Izuku attempted to pull free. This man was going to be the death of Katsuki’s self control if he didn’t stop him soon. “Wait, Izu-”

 

“Why?” Izuku’s tone was accusatory and hurt, and Katsuki grimaced at the volume of it after so long wrapped up in each other.

 

“Because, I don’t want to have sex in this piece of shit building!” Katsuki ground out, ignoring the whine that slipped from Izuku’s mouth as Katsuki stepped back to put some distance between their bodies.

 

Izuku’s lips were slick and swollen from the harsh bites of Katsuki’s teeth. His hair was in even more disarray than it had been before their heated make out session, green curls clinging to Izuku’s forehead wetly above green eyes nearly eclipsed completely by black. He looked a mess, and Katsuki couldn’t help but feel proud that he was the one to cause Izuku to look so undone. Katsuki’s cock twitched within the confines of his pants and he swallowed hard to keep from grabbing Izuku and laying him down right the fuck here to take him.

 

“But-” Izuku started to protest Katsuki’s decision but didn’t get more than that out before Katsuki was pulling him towards the doorway. He attempted to stop several times before finally giving up and allowing Katsuki to drag him through the deserted part of town in silence. Izuku was thankful that he hadn’t remembered to take off his pack or the sword before getting caught up in the sheer magnitude of Katsuki’s physical presence. He had a feeling Katsuki wouldn’t of been too thrilled at even the smallest delay.

Chapter Text

As he was pulled along, Izuku noticed that the sun had nearly set in the time they’d spent wrapped up in each other. It threw Izuku off kilter as he tried to get his bearings, something made even more difficult by the fact that Katsuki was resolutely tugging him forward at a near jog. Although it did remind Izuku of why he’d sought shelter in the first place, and how he’d felt alone and unwanted in the midst of a strange country. “Katsuki?”

 

Katsuki grunted as a response and Izuku took it as an invitation to continue, “Why did you never appear in the sword again? Did… Were you disappointed it was me?” Izuku’s voice cracked at the end and he cringed, waiting for Katsuki to scoff at him or tell him to quit being a baby. But only silence greeted his questions, and it was somehow more nerve wracking than getting an immediate reprimand. Izuku wasn’t going to let Katsuki get away with not answering, however, so he yanked his hand out of Katsuki’s large one and stopped in the middle of the alley they’d been traveling down for the past few minutes.

 

Katsuki didn’t immediately stop. He kept going until he realized that Izuku wasn’t going to move until he answered. Katsuki heaved a sigh before turning around and looking Izuku in the eye. He was hoping they would have waited to have this talk, sure that Izuku was going to jump to all the wrong conclusions and withdraw, just as the nerd was obviously preparing to do now. They stared each other down in what little light remained, neither backing down.

 

“Because I wanted you too much. I couldn’t think straight, constantly looking into the sword to see if you were looking back at me. After that last night… I had nearly abandoned my people to go find you. I would’ve done that to get to you,” Katsuki’s voice dropped as he continued, coming out as a whisper that made the words all the more painful. “It- it scared me. That you held that kind of power over me. That I would’ve willingly given you that power. I thought if I didn’t pick up the sword again, it would be a fitting punishment for a ruler that weak.”

 

Whatever Izuku had expected, it wasn’t that. Katsuki sounded so broken as he admitted to the weakness. How could Izuku fault him for something like that? He got the feeling that Katsuki didn’t think about others, so it likely never occurred to him that that one decision might hurt Izuku as well. But how to explain in a way that the blond haired ruler would understand?

 

“That’s…. That’s completely understandable, Kacchan,” Izuku rasped, closing the distance between them to cup Katsuki’s cheek in his hand. “But I spent weeks thinking that I’d somehow pushed you away, or messed up and lost you. It’s part of the reason I came here, to be honest.”

 

Katsuki’s eyes widened slightly, regret flashing through their red depths as he realized he’d fucked up. Before Katsuki could open his mouth though, Izuku was there, brushing his lips against Katsuki’s to let him know all was forgiven. When Izuku pulled back Katsuki’s cheeks were tinted red in a blush and the shorter man couldn’t help but smile at the abrasive man looking down at him in bewilderment. “It’s okay. Just maybe next time let me help you work through something like that, okay? Lean on me, Katsuki Bakugou, and I will not allow you to fall.”

 

Katsuki’s eyes flitted over Izuku’s face, looking for a hint of dishonesty and finding nothing but earnest kindness. How had he gotten so lucky, to have a soulmate that saw the rough edges that people typically shunned the blond for, and still wanted him just as much? He swallowed hard and raised his hand to place it over Izuku’s so that he could tilt his head into the touch. They stared at each other, caught in the connection between them, for a long moment before Katsuki moved away slowly. “We should… we should go before someone finds us here.”

 

Instead of commenting on the shift in topic Izuku asked, “Are you not supposed to be out of the castle?”

 

Katsuki’s gaze slid to the side, making a face at the ground as he responded, “I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving. My sword began to glow, and I dunno…. I felt that you were close by and I didn’t think, I just left. I couldn’t wait any longer.”

 

Katsuki was uncomfortable with the fact that he couldn’t seem to filter his words around Izuku. Something about the green haired man just managed to pull the truth right out of Katsuki. Katsuki didn’t believe in lying, he never had, but the way his mouth just vomited out the words in his head made Katsuki wary. Katsuki was giving this person everything knowing next to nothing about the shorter man.

 

Izuku smiled, charmed. He could tell Katsuki was getting uncomfortable with this line of questioning, so Izuku decided to give him a break. Izuku’s hand shifted from Katsuki’s face, grabbing Katsuki’s hand as it dropped to thread their fingers together and clasp their hands together between them. With Katsuki’s warm hand in Izuku’s, he felt as though he could take on the world. His other hand still throbbed in pain from the burns, but Izuku didn’t care in the slightest. Not with Katsuki right here after so long and his hand warm against Izuku’s undamaged palm.

 

Izuku had completely forgotten the mission Toshinori had given him, caught up in the excitement of meeting his soulmate after so many weeks of longing.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Katsuki kept to the inky shadows once they made it to the castle. Neither of them had spoken since the alleyway conversation. Katsuki moved with care through his home, avoiding the main halls in favor of the lesser known paths that offered privacy and anonymity. Katsuki had grown up in this castle, he knew every nook and passageway. If he wanted privacy, he knew exactly which routes he could use to ensure he made it to his destination undisturbed. His friends also knew about them, having been close to Katsuki since they were all children, but Katsuki used them so rarely that they did what they could to give Katsuki the privacy when it was possible.

 

They arrived outside of two massive doors eventually, the small halls giving way to a grand hall in which, despite the hour, was still busy. Courtiers, messengers, and soldiers all mingled as they went about their alloted tasks with hurried footsteps and quick greetings. If they stopped to look curiously to their king’s companion, it was lost on Katsuki. He only had eyes for the sanctuary of his suite. And the green haired man behind him.

 

Katsuki pushed the doors open the moment they were close enough. He slipped through them hurriedly, pulling Izuku into the room and shutting the door quickly. Izuku tried to take in his surroundings but was suddenly pushed against the door they’d just come through. Katsuki’s figure loomed over him, blocking out the details as Katsuki’s lips descended on Izuku’s. The connection between them sparked immediately, as though it was a charge waiting for a live wire.

 

Izuku wrapped his arms around Katsuki’s neck and went to his toes to make it easier for Katsuki’s mouth to ravish him. A low moan slipped out as Katsuki bit down on his bottom lip and tugged hard. Izuku was already lost to Katsuki’s touch, the hours he spent wondering what being held by this man would be like forgotten in the haze of desire.

 

Katsuki growled as Izuku pressed even closer, not a breath of space between their bodies. Katsuki reached his hands around to grasp the back of Izuku’s thighs firmly and hoist the shorter man up. Katsuki could feel the hardness of Izuku’s cock through the fabric of their clothes as Izuku wrapped his legs around Katsuki’s waist on instinct, never breaking their hungry kisses, and shuddered.

 

The passion that ignited between them at the smallest spark scared the shit out of Katsuki. Was this because they’re soulmates? Katsuki didn’t have much experience in sexual encounters, too busy running a kingdom and making sure his people lacked for nothing. That made spare time for things like carnal desires damn near nonexistent. He’d allowed few people to touch him intimately, and even then he never took them to bed. It had felt so wrong at the time that it ended up making him physically ill, which had confused him to no end. Now he wondered if it was because Izuku was out in the world waiting for him. There weren’t many, if any, people in Astea that had found their soulmate, making more believe it to be a myth rather than fact.

 

Katsuki was drowning in the taste and smell of Izuku. Izuku smelled like a summer rainstorm, and tasted like sweet fruit. Katsuki felt as though he was losing his mind at the sight of Izuku’s face as he became more undone by Katsuki’s touches. Katsuki couldn’t recall why they should stop, or the fact that technically Izuku was trespassing in his kingdom for an unknown purpose. A part of Katsuki didn’t believe that Izuku had traveled hundreds of miles just to find Katsuki. No, there had to be more to the story than that.

 

But did he really want to stop when he finally had Izuku under his fingers and his taste overwhelming Katsuki’s mouth? Was following procedure truly more important than sucking marks into Izuku’s freckled skin, than putting off what they both clearly wanted?

 

As it turned out, Katsuki was saved from having to decide.

 

Their harsh make out session was forcibly halted when the door Izuku was pressed up against shuddered under the heavy knock of someone outside it. They froze, both of them scarcely breathing as they attempted to remain still until whoever was on the other side gave up and left.

 

Izuku leaned forward and laved a broad stripe of his tongue against the skin sticky with sweat between Katsuki’s neck and shoulder. A smile was smeared into Katsuki’s skin at the shudder that coursed through the blonde king. He began to suck marks into the skin there, interspersed with scrapes of his teeth that caused the blonde’s fingers to dig into the supple flesh of Izuku’s ass through his pants. Izuku delighted in the knowledge that he’d been the one to make Katsuki lose even the tiniest amount of control. 

 

“Katsuki?”

 

The man in question glared at the door as though the person on the other side would be able to feel the heat of Katsuki’s glare enough to know to fuck off and come back later. But judging by the voice that called out to Katsuki, he knew that the man on the other side of the door would stand outside all night waiting for an answer. Or, worse still, just barge in without permission. That thought made up Katsuki’s mind for him.

 

“What the fuck do you want, shitty hair?” Katsuki’s voice held the normal amount of annoyance at being bothered in his private quarters after the rest of the castle had started to wind down from their days. But he couldn’t stop the tightness of his throat choking his words as he struggled to figure out a way to get rid of his best friend as Izuku’s nails bit into the skin of Katsuki’s upper arms.

 

“Hey man, I heard a strange rumor and I wanted to talk to you about it. Can I come in or are you going to make me stand out here and resort to shouting the entire conversation? If this rumor is true then it’s probably best you let me in…”

 

The voice trailed off, but Katsuki knew what Eijirou wasn’t saying. That there were people waiting in the shadows for the latest gossip. Which meant that there was only one true choice for Katsuki. He peeled Izuku away from where he’d been abusing the skin of Katsuki’s neck with a growl, unwrapping his legs and dropping them back down so Izuku could stand again. They both shared a look for a long moment, and then Izuku stepped away from the door so that Katsuki could admit his best friend.

 

Izuku fumbled with his tunic nervously. He’d been so wrapped up in the physical connection that flared up the moment he saw Katsuki that he hadn’t considered the consequences of his actions. Technically he’d come to Astea to challenge its leader to a fight. In the fog of desire, Izuku had completely forgotten Toshinori’s words, and the mission that Toshinori bestowed upon Izuku. He wasn’t just here for the pleasure of finally seeing his soulmate face to face, he was here to challenge Katsuki to change his ways for the better as well.

 

But how was he supposed to go about talking to Katsuki about ceasing the senseless wars and bloodlust? Would challenging Katsuki to combat result in Izuku losing his soulmate for good? Izuku couldn’t see a way for everything to work out so that the ruler allowed Izuku to change his ways and accept Izuku as his soulmate, but he sure as hell hoped for it.

 

Meanwhile, Katsuki pulled the door open without another word and yanked his best friend into his personal suite. He couldn’t give the gossipers any more fodder than what they had already seen. Katsuki would need to do damage control now, all because of his tunnel vision for the shorter man that stood off to one side fidgeting as though he was nervous.

 

The door shut with a click and silence reigned in the room. Eijirou’s forehead creased as he took in both his king and Katsuki’s guest. “Wha… You wanna update me on what’s going on?”

 

Katsuki most certainly did not want to update Eijirou on the fact that Izuku was his soulmate. But that was the thing about being royalty. Sometimes you had to rise to the occasion, no matter how badly you want to leave well enough alone. He’d spent years honing himself into a ruler worth a shit, so he’d do this whether he liked it or not. “This nerd here is my soulmate.”

 

Eijirou’s eyes widened at the declaration, his sharp eyes picking up on the things that Katsuki wasn’t telling him. Izuku had a pack and what looked to be a massive sword not unlike Katsuki’s sitting next to where he stood. He turned his attention to his best friend, reading the uncomfortable set of Katsuki’s shoulders. He almost looked as though he was about to take a blow in a battle.

 

“Is that why he’s here? To be with you? How did you two find each other anyways? I thought soulmates were a myth…” Eijirou’s rapid fire questions made Izuku cringe and Katsuki growl, but the redhead didn’t waiver in his stance. He was demanding an answer whether they liked it or not.

 

“I’m sure that’s why he’s here, right nerd?” Katsuki looked at Izuku for the first time since Eijirou’s knock upon the door. A part of him wanted to cross the distance between them and comfort his… what was Izuku to Katsuki? Besides this strange bond that pulled them together as though they were two magnets, Katsuki knew absolutely nothing about Izuku. Katsuki hadn’t thought about his kingdom or its subjects even once since he’d found Izuku in that crappy building. Izuku was dangerous like a drug shot straight into Katsuki’s veins in that the power he held over Katsuki was absolute.

 

“Well… Uh.. N- not exactly …” Izuku stuttered as two sets of red eyes bore into him. He swallowed hard and summoned up the strength that Toshinori had seen in him to trust this mission to Izuku. He squared his shoulders and faced both men, nervousness melting away as he filled himself with the pride of being the wielder of One for All. “Yes, Katsuki is my soulmate. But he is also the ruler of a kingdom that has caused much bloodshed recently. I am here to challenge the leader of Astea. If I win I would like to work out a peace agreement between Astea and Fleania and stop the needless slaughters.”

 

Eijirou’s mouth actually dropped open. He was almost scared to look over to see how Katsuki took the news that Izuku had come to battle him in exchange for peace. Part of him was impressed at the sheer confidence radiating off of the man who had just been cowering against a wall. It was clear that Izuku had many facets yet unseen by the men in the room. Challenging the leader of the dragon horde took some serious guts.

 

Katsuki didn’t look like much. He was stunned at what basically amounted to a declaration of war between the soulmates. What the hell was Katsuki supposed to do with that? Katsuki knew he had to accept the challenge, had to give that fight everything he had for the pride of his kingdom. But Katsuki’s pull toward Izuku demanded that he protect Izuku from all harm, that he be Izuku’s shelter and safety. No amount of words could ever make sense of whatever this was.

 

Katsuki decided to focus on the challenge. The physical was always easier than emotions and connections. He could win Izuku’s love in a physical fight, and he would’ve had to fight the nerd anyway. Katsuki pushed aside the instincts that demanded he submit to his soulmate. Un-fucking-likely . Katsuki Bakugou doesn’t submit

 

To anyone. Not even his soulmate.

 

“You sure you want to challenge me, shortstack?” Katsuki’s smirk turned dark with the thrill of the challenge, his arrogance absolute as he drew himself up as the King of Astea.

 

If Katsuki was trying to intimidate Izuku he was failing spectacularly. Toshinori believed that Izuku could make a difference in this world. He’d taken a magicless nobody in and taught Izuku the art of self worth and finding strength when you feel weak. That pride was a motivator for Izuku, who had never had a father to believe in.

 

“I am sure. I will not lose, I will end the killings. And if you hate me…” Izuku gulped before locking eyes with Katsuki once more, “If you wish for me to leave after the battle, then I shall. You say the word and you’ll never have to see my face again.”

 

Something in Izuku’s words caused unrest in Katsuki. Katsuki admired that Izuku had the strength to rise up to face off with the fiercest warrior in Astea. He liked the confidence Izuku showed as he assured his victory to end the ceaseless war campaigns Katsuki had fought in to make sure that his people thrived. He didn’t like war, didn’t like the way his tongue went heavy with the smell of copper even when back in his own castle, didn’t like the nightmares that fed on the carnage and destruction of war. Katsuki had no doubt that any soulmate of his would be strong. Certainly strong enough to handle Katsuki and all his flaws. But could Katsuki separate the battle ahead from the man?

 

“Let’s not decide on that right now. You must be exhausted from your journey here, and I’m sure Katsuki didn’t bother offering you sanctuary,” Eijirou broke the tension in the room as he stepped forward and offered to show Izuku to a guest quarters and have food sent up to his room.

 

Unspoken went the fact that Izuku was technically an enemy of the kingdom, and that Katsuki had failed to see him as such.

 

Izuku turned and gathered his belongings with hands that shook slightly. He didn’t know how he summoned up the strength to challenge the barbarian dragon king. He wanted to slink out of the room, follow the red haired man to his designated quarters and quietly freak out. This wasn’t just any fight in more ways than one, this one battle will determine the fate of so many people’s lives. It would also determine whether Izuku would destroy their bond by winning the challenge. He felt so conflicted over how he was supposed to feel, and a little upset that Toshinori hadn’t mentioned anything about how he was supposed to fight his soulmate . Every fiber of Izuku’s being wanted to go to Katsuki, wanted to pull the tired king into his arms and lend him the strength needed to lead a country.

 

“Why can’t he just stay with me?” Katsuki’s tone took on a petulant lilt as he stared his right hand man down with a cocky smirk firmly in place. A mask for the longing Katsuki felt to touch Izuku, to lean on him, not to mention the dull roar that was Katsuki’s desire for Izuku’s body moving with his. If Izuku stayed with Katsuki in his room, maybe he’d be able to sate the hunger he felt for Izuku.

 

“Because I know you. And I know that you will not focus on the coming fight in favor of indulging in your desires for Izuku,” Eijirou ignored the stuttered protests of the green haired man as well as the scowl on Katsuki’s blushing face. “I will be back after I show Izuku to his room for the night. We can discuss the details of the upcoming fight then. Izuku if you would, please follow me.”

 

With one last stern glance toward his best friend, Eijirou turned smartly on his heels and pulled the door open. Izuku’s face burned as he dared to glance up at Katsuki to gauge his reaction to all of this. He was startled to see the conflicted look in the king’s features. The cocky confidence that normally exuded from every pore in Katsuki’s body was completely absent, as though it’s flame had been snuffed out. For some reason that made Izuku’s heart pang.

 

Eijirou was silent as they traversed the halls that had been dimmed down to barely lit passageways. Izuku wasn’t sure what to say, though he did want to offer his gratitude for being given a place to stay for the night. Eijirou seemed like a serious but caring person from what Izuku could tell.

 

“T-thank you. For this, I mean. I guess I didn’t really think this far ahead,” Izuku nervously laughed, “Y-you and Katsuki seem close. C-can you tell me about him?” Curiosity burned in Izuku. He was a man who knew things and in turn liked to know things. Admittedly he was much better at deciphering books than understanding people, but he wanted to know everything there was to know about his soulmate. “If not, I understand. I apologize in advance for putting you in such a position.”

 

Eijirou shot an unreadable look over his shoulder but otherwise remained silent for the rest of the journey. By the time they reached another set of doors, Izuku was both completely lost and nearing a breakdown. He was starting to seriously regret his decision to come. Izuku felt more conflicted than ever about where he and Katsuki stood, where his mission stood, and even where he stood with it all. Izuku couldn’t believe he’d ever say it, but he wished for some alone time to process everything that had happened.

 

Izuku followed Eijirou into the room and sat his stuff next to the bed. He expected Eijirou to immediately leave since the man didn’t seem too keen on talking to Izuku, so he was surprised to turn around and see the man still standing there with his arms crossed. Izuku’s anxiety revved up tenfold as the silence once again stretched out. He was beginning to think that Eijirou planned to guard him for the rest of the night despite telling Katsuki he’d be back when the man deflated and crossed the room to sit on the edge of the bed.

 

“Sorry, I had to act like that, bro,” Eijirou grinned ruefully at Izuku before continuing, “In this country, to show weakness is to show someone a way to kill you. It gets exhausting.”

 

Whatever Izuku thought was going to come out of the other man’s mouth, it hadn’t been that. Feeling a little more at ease with the strange man, Izuku gingerly sat on the bed as well. He longed for a bath, the dirt from traveling seemingly caked into his skin by this point. But since it seemed like the man was open to talking to Izuku he wouldn’t waste the opportunity he’d been given. “That sounds awful. How do you find happiness in the midst of such brutal conditions?”

 

Eijirou’s gaze slid to the side, as though he was uncomfortable with answering such a direct question. Izuku had opened his mouth to apologize when Eijirou continued in a soft tone, “It is a harsh way to live, but since we are a country made of warriors, we delight in the thrill of a fight. It’s just,” again Eijirou hesitated before continuing, “Some of us want more than that, you know?”

 

Izuku was struck by the sadness in Eijirou’s voice. Toshinori had told Izuku of the many interactions he’d had with the people of the barbaric country, but he’d never mentioned that they were unhappy with their lot in life. Unless…. “Do you want more than that, Eijirou? Why not talk to Katsuki and tell him these things? You two seem pretty close.”

 

Eijirou laughed humorlessly, the sound was all wrong coming from a man who was so miserable. Izuku reached a hand out to put it on Eijirou’s shoulder, hesitating at the last moment in case the touch was unwanted. When the red haired man continued looking forlorn Izuku found the courage to finally place his hand on Eijirou’s shoulder. The other man started at the contact but didn’t push him away. He merely heaved a sigh before continuing in a barely there whisper, forcing Izuku to lean in closer just to hear the words.

 

“Katsuki doesn’t understand love. He is the strongest king this country has had, even his parents before him hadn’t led Astea to prosper as much, or gone to war as much as Katsuki has. He believes that to love is to show weakness. He’s my best friend, basically like a brother to me. But…”

 

“But?” Izuku prompted, scared the man was going to clam up again right as they were starting to talk more about Izuku’s soulmate, and more importantly, Eijirou’s misery. Izuku could see that he had an uphill battle even if he did best Katsuki in battle. There were so many things that he needed to show Katsuki, that could help Katsuki be not only the strongest leader of Astea, but also the best leader. Brute strength won wars, but low morale could also destroy those victories.

 

“His parents were soulmates. They didn’t advertise that fact, in fact only a very select few even knew about it. But when Katsuki was twelve, his mother was gravely wounded in a battle with the clan to the north of us because she stepped in front of a sword strike meant for his father. I think Katsuki never really forgave either of them. Mitsuki for throwing herself in harm's way or Masaru for not defending himself properly. Or maybe because the wound was fatal, killing Mitsuki before Katsuki ever returned to their camp.” Eijirou shuddered violently and released a harsh breath. When he continued once more, his voice shook with the force of his emotions.

 

“Masaru withdrew into himself after that. Didn’t eat, barely slept because of the nightmares. The kingdom began to fall into disrepair, basically leaderless after tragedy struck the royal family,” Eijirou swallowed hard. “It was an awful time for everyone involved. Katsuki lashed out at everyone around him. He ranted and yelled at Masaru to get up and be the ruler he needed to be, but the man’s heart was completely shattered. Masaru eventually died of a broken heart and Katsuki took control of the kingdom at thirteen.”

 

Izuku was stunned. He couldn’t imagine harboring any kind of ill will toward his mom for his father leaving them. But the puzzle pieces were finally starting to make sense to him. He’d figured out quickly, through Toshinori’s stories and what he’d read about the leader of the Astea, that Katsuki Bakugou was abrasive. But Izuku had wondered how the man in the sword, the one that looked at Izuku with passion burning in crimson eyes, the one that drove Izuku to orgasm simply from hearing his voice a singular time, how he could be the cruel and heartless overlord that everyone made him out to be.

 

Izuku was going to handle that soon enough. He just had to get this fight over with and then he could show the world a different side of the harsh ruler.

 

“I think I understand Katsuki a bit better now. Thank you, Eijirou. I’m here now, and I’m going to show Katsuki parts of him he never knew existed. He is my soulmate, and I can’t stand it that everyone is condemning him for something he’s not.” The conviction in Izuku’s words made the other man’s eyes widen.

 

“W-what do you mean?”

 

“I mean Katsuki Bakugou has had to make the best of what he’s been given to work with. I mean that he is honorable, considerate, and a great leader. I’m going to show Katsuki that love can be a strength.”

 

Eijirou stared at Izuku, completely dumbfounded. Eijirou had expected Izuku to back off, to thank him for speaking his mind and then finish up the conversation. Instead, Izuku had totally surprised him, seeing the best parts of Katsuki despite all the bad. Maybe this man really could change their country for the better. Eijirou wanted to see a world that Izuku and Katsuki lead together. Both men had different strengths, that probably wasn’t going to change any time soon, but they could push each other to be better, to greater heights as they conquered the world together.

 

Eijirou tackled Izuku, wrapping his arms around the stunned man and squeezing him hard. He couldn’t believe the hope he felt making his chest lighter. He loved Katsuki as a brother, was loyal to him down to his very soul, but the way Izuku spoke of Katsuki reminded Eijirou of the carefree days of their youth, when he and Katsuki would get yelled at for climbing towers in the city and causing mayhem in the market. He believed with everything in him that Izuku could bring that sense of peace back to Astea. He didn’t know how he knew it, but he wouldn’t bet against Izuku’s stubborn determination. Where had this man been all of Katsuki’s life?!

 

“Uh, Eijirou?” Izuku stuttered out despite the arms crushing his lungs. Eijirou was strong . So strong that he wondered what fighting Katsuki would actually be like. “What happens tomorrow? I know I have to fight Katsuki… but that’s all. Can you share any information or is it a secret?”

 

Eijirou pulled back and released Izuku. His brows furrowed as he tried to imagine Izuku and Katsuki fighting. “The fight will take place in the fighting grounds to the east of the castle. It is a coliseum of sorts, though nothing as grand as any of the ancient coliseums. It’s mostly used for competitions to determine who advances up in the ranks of Astea’s military. It is short notice, but plenty of people will show up to watch it. You and Katsuki will meet in the middle of the coliseum and shake hands before starting the fight. Izuku, it’ll be an ‘ anything goes’ battle. And Katsuki will use every advantage he has. He isn’t our ruler just because of bloodline, but because he’s the best warrior in our country. It won’t be an easy battle.”

 

Izuku hadn’t expected anything less.

 

He would also be using every advantage he could garner to defeat the blonde. Izuku would’ve been insulted if Katsuki went easy on him just because they were supposed soulmates.

 

“Thank you for answering my question. You should probably go tend to Katsuki, he’s probably getting more pissed off the longer you spend with me.”

 

If Eijirou was impressed with how well Izuku could already read Katsuki, he didn’t let it show. He merely nodded ruefully before saying his goodnights and exiting the room.

 

Izuku collapsed backward on the bed, bouncing a little. He hadn’t wanted to admit how exhausted he was, not while Eijirou was willing to confide in him. But now that the red haired man had left, Izuku felt as though he’d taken all of Izuku’s energy with him. He remembered Eijirou saying something about eating, but he found himself unable to keep his eyes open any longer.

 

Izuku didn’t stir when a servant appeared ten minutes later and attempted to wake him. The tray of food was placed on a table within the room for Izuku to eat his fill once he awakened, which wouldn’t be until the sun touched the sky.

Chapter Text

Izuku paced in the empty room he’d been lead to upon arriving at the coliseum. He hadn’t seen Katsuki yet, and for some reason it put Izuku on edge more than he cared to admit. His sword was still sheathed and propped up against the wall next to the only door in or out of the room. Izuku had no doubt that Katsuki would show, his pride would demand nothing less. If Izuku thought about it, he had essentially challenged Katsuki’s right to rule Astea. Katsuki would be taking this fight very seriously.

 

A tendril of fear began to wound around his heart and start squeezing. What the hell was Toshinori thinking, sending him to go fight the barbarian king? Izuku hadn’t trained his entire life like Katsuki no doubt had. He’d only trained with Toshinori for a year, and half of that he couldn’t even utilize the smallest percentage of One for All. Izuku would be no match for the fiery sorcerer, who knew his magic inside and out. Maybe Izuku should find-

 

“Nerd.”

 

Izuku’s head snapped around to look at the speaker so quickly that he felt it pop. He ignored the pain in favor of gaping at Katsuki. Izuku was wearing armor over his vital organs, but it was light and easy to move around in. Katsuki wore no armor at all. His torso was bare except for the blood red paint that decorated chiseled abs and plump pecs. His trousers were fur lined along the waistband and at the end of each leg, black boots with a hint of the same red warpaint completing Katsuki’s outfit.

 

Katsuki’s necklaces clicked as he strode closer to Izuku, so confident in his superiority that it showed in every line of the ruler’s body. For whatever reason, that was what grounded Izuku, that reminded him that he had to win this fight. There was no other option acceptable to him. He met Katsuki’s eyes, their gazes clashing in a battle of their own. Katsuki seemed startled at the ferocity in Izuku’s face, all aimed at his soulmate, but Izuku didn’t falter.

 

“Still hellbent on defeating me, nerd?”

 

“You won’t win against me. I have too much to lose if you do.” Izuku felt as though the words had been torn from his throat, bloody and raw, as they splattered between them. He hadn’t meant to say that, wanting to keep how much was riding on Izuku winning a secret so that Katsuki wouldn’t be tempted to go easy on him, or kill him. But being around Katsuki changed Izuku in ways he never considered having a soulmate could do.

 

“I’m going to defeat you.”

 

Both men stubbornly kept their gazes locked on each other, neither wanting to be the first to look away. It was a silly contest, but Katsuki seemed like the type that always rose to a challenge. Izuku couldn’t even say he was any different.

 

Izuku closed the distance between them, the toe of their shoes touching each other as he stopped and glared up at the taller blond man. Katsuki smirked down at Izuku, arrogant and totally sure of his victory, both in this battle of wills and the major battle to see who was worthy. Izuku couldn’t hold himself back any longer.

 

This man stirred so many emotions in Izuku, one of the more prevalent being this sense of constantly being on the edge of some sort of competition. But there was a stronger emotion that guided Izuku’s actions in this, and he couldn’t be sorry for it either. Izuku closed the distance between them, arms coming up to wrap around Katsuki’s neck at the same time Katsuki’s hands gripped Izuku’s waist. It was more like a coordinated dance than independent movements and Izuku fell even harder for this brash and arrogant man who had the fiercest spirit Izuku had ever come across. Izuku needed to prove his worth to the world around them so that he could say this man was his.

 

Their mouths clashed, teeth knocking together but the pain forgotten immediately as they battled and conquered each other’s mouth. Izuku gave as good as he got, not allowing Katsuki to control the messy kisses but to give them both equal opportunity to plunder and sate the hunger of carnal desires.

 

Izuku practically climbed Katsuki like a tree, arms wound tight around Katsuki’s neck and toes barely on the floor. He wanted to crawl into this man’s skin and dominate him, to prove that he was strong enough to be the soulmate of Katsuki Bakugou, ruler of Astea and the dragon horde.

 

Katsuki crowded Izuku backwards, stepping on toes and stumbling but not caring in the slightest. The moment Izuku’s back hit the wall Katsuki was reaching around to grab Izuku’s thighs and hoist him up. But Izuku had different plans, not content to allow Katsuki to have all the fun. Izuku shifted, slammed Katsuki against the wall, and lifted him all within the next breath. Izuku’s hands encouraged Katsuki to wrap his legs around Izuku’s waist, which his soulmate did with a growl and a nip to Izuku’s bottom lip, hard enough to sting but soft enough to not draw blood.

 

Now that Izuku had him where he wanted him, his hands explored Katsuki’s muscled physique with nimble fingers. Their kisses backslid into a carnal desire to be close, to breathe in the other’s desire.

 

“Um, guys?”

 

Katsuki ripped his mouth away from Izuku’s with a snarl. “What the fuck do you want shitty hair? Piss off.”

 

“Kacchan, don’t be cruel,” Izuku said as he allowed Katsuki’s legs to fall from his grasp so the other man could stand once more. “What’s up, Eijirou?”

 

“Were- did you still plan on fighting?” Eijirou’s tone was confused and a little worried. He’d specifically asked to make sure the men were kept separated until the time to fight came. He was going to find Denki after this and throttle him.

 

“Of course we are!” Katsuki was getting more pissed off by the second. Done with being interrupted, with never having any privacy to enjoy the delicious taste of the man who, until moments ago, had been wrapped around Katsuki.

 

“Then it’s time.”

 

The room fell silent as Izuku and Katsuki looked at each other in contemplation.

 

“Good luck out there, Kacchan. You’re gonna need it.”

 

Katsuki snorted but otherwise didn’t respond to Izuku’s goading. Katsuki turned his back on his soulmate and exited the room with long strides. Izuku grabbed his sword and scrambled to keep up with Katsuki, he had no clue how to get to the fighting grounds and may have assumed that someone would lead him out to them. Beggars can’t be choosers. He figured they were getting closer by the way the cheers and yells from the crowd reached a deafening pitch.

 

Sure enough, a moment later they were walking out into brilliant sunshine and the sounds of Katsuki’s people. Izuku’s anxiety ramped up into overdrive. He was actually doing this. He was actually going to fight Katsuki Bakugou. It was difficult, but with a technique Toshinori had taught him, Izuku managed to shove his emotions down into submission. He wouldn’t let emotion, whether it was how he felt about Katsuki or how anxious he was now that they were here, rule his movements. He needed to win this, so he was taking no chances.

 

Eijirou was there by the time Izuku turned around from walking to his designated side of the arena. Izuku listened as Eijirou explained the rules (there weren’t any save murdering your competitor) and introduced Izuku as the challenger who had come to fight for his right to rule their lands in a carrying voice. Izuku wanted to correct what was obviously a carefully worded statement, but he remained silent because it wouldn’t, didn’t matter. He’d come to this land of barbarians to fight, so fight he would do. 

 

Eijirou motioned to both men to approach him. Izuku concentrated on maintaining the confidence he’d felt each time he’d trained with Toshinori, and concealing any trace of hesitation or fear. If he showed how conflicted about this fight he was, the people would never have faith in him, even if he did manage to win. 

 

Izuku lifted his arm, bent at the elbow, to mirror Katsuki’s and clasp his large, warm hand. He gripped it tightly, not backing down or shifting his gaze away from Katsuki’s. Both men wore identical smirks.

 

“Alright, to your sides!” Eijirou yelled, breaking the spell, before quickly retreating away from both men. He had a feeling this battle was going to be an ugly one. He didn’t have any idea how strong Izuku was physically, and conviction would only carry you so far in a fight. But he wanted to believe in Izuku, to believe that the green haired man could change their harsh leader for the better. If Katsuki let him.

 

Izuku hefted One for All into his grasp once he’d made it back to the greatsword. Instantly green lightning flared to life, dancing over the blade and Izuku’s skin, with the hum of a storm brewing. It felt right holding One for All now, as though the sword was an extension of himself instead of a piece of metal imbued with magical energy. It made Izuku’s blood sing in his veins. He looked out across the arena towards Katsuki with excitement.

 

Katsuki had his own greatsword at the ready, small embers and stray pops of fire surrounding the superheated metal. Even when the flares landed on his skin he didn’t react. He stared back at Izuku with molten heat emanating from those intense crimson eyes.

 

Then they were both moving, racing towards the other and towards whatever future awaited after the fight was done. The sound was deafening when their swords clashed, magic energy swirling around both men to create a tumultuous storm. Lightning arced over Katsuki’s skin even as fire blistered Izuku’s. Izuku gave Katsuki his full concentration, the roar of the crowd falling away until it was only him, Katsuki, and the challenge between them.

 

Izuku used every bit of the technique and instruction Toshinori taught him in his fight against Katsuki. Even as he spun away to create distance, he was attacking, swinging the sword to parry a blow from Katsuki that would’ve sliced right through his abdomen. His arms didn’t tire from holding the massive sword as the battle between them raged on, neither man giving quarter.

 

Katsuki had to admit that Izuku was good . He wielded his greatsword with confidence and reckless abandon, his movements fluid and light on his feet. Katsuki’s skin burned from the myriad of cuts from their clash, but Katsuki paid them no mind. He wouldn’t show weakness in front of his soulmate, his kingdom, or himself. He’d been training with his sword since the moment it landed in his hands, bringing his own unique magical abilities to the already magical instrument of death.

 

They clashed again and again, each giving as good as he got as they sought to exploit every gap in the others defense. Izuku had never felt more alive than he had right here, in the middle of fighting for Katsuki’s heart. Every move served a purpose as he traded blows with Katsuki. Katsuki could only start to learn Izuku’s technique before Izuku was changing it up, weaving and creating moves that kept Katsuki on his toes, kept him guessing and scrambling to keep up with the changes.

 

Izuku started to flag after fighting for what felt like hours , his movements becoming a touch less fluid, more predictable as he battled his own exhaustion. Katsuki scored several serious injuries into Izuku’s torso, the pain excruciating and causing Izuku to waiver. He stumbled back a couple of steps to create distance and buy him a moment to breathe before Katsuki was back. Katsuki didn’t follow, using the momentary reprieve to lean on his sword as he dragged air into his protesting lungs.

 

Izuku took it as a good sign that Katsuki did not have the energy to pursue him. Both men were breathing hard by this point, their strength all but sapped from the intensive fighting. Sweat plastered Izuku’s green curls to his forehead and stung his eyes. He was so close to winning he could practically taste it. Izuku used the lull in their fighting to his advantage and summoned up the last of his energy for one more attack. He poured even more magical energy into his sword’s blade, watching as it flared up green as it had nearly every time before. But instead of staying the same color as the green lightning that was unique to Izuku’s magical energy, it pulsed between green and blue before it settled into glowing with an eerie blue sheen not unlike it had when he’d seen Katsuki for the first time.

 

Katsuki’s sharp gaze picked up on the change, his eyes on Izuku’s sword as it began to pulse with that blue light. Out of instinct Katsuki glanced down at his own sword and was surprised to find that his sword had begun to glow blue as well. Was it reacting to the waves of Izuku’s magical energy buffeting him, or maybe powering up to protect both itself and Katsuki from what was sure to be a devastating attack?

 

Katsuki had researched his sword during his admittedly sparse free time, learning that it was a half of the greatsword Unus pro omnibus that the legendary hero Yagi Toshinori once wielded. It had taken some digging, but Katsuki had also found out that the sword chose its owner. The hero had left this half of the sword with the leader of Astea’s military, a confident and easygoing man named Eijirou after his defeat at Katsuki’s hand, with no explanation about how it had come to be shorn in two.  

 

That was how Katsuki came to possess his half of the greatsword One for All.

 

Katsuki smirked despite the fact that his limbs were aching and despite knowing Izuku was gearing up for an attack he wasn’t sure he’d be able to counter. But Katsuki believed in himself, in his skills and his training and his desire to win. He drew energy from those certainties, filling himself with power even as his own sword began to feed off his magic, still glowing the same eerie blue. Katsuki took off, his steps rushing towards Izuku with sword raised and battle cry screaming from his lips.

 

Izuku moved forward towards Katsuki as well, his face set as he concentrated and his lips turned down in a serious frown. He could feel the energy running through the sword, could feel it going into the ground at his feet. Izuku couldn’t control this energy like he could the green lightning of One for All, he could barely even contain it.

 

The moment their swords touched they were both surrounded by pulsing magical energy that completely blocked out the rest of the coliseum. Trapped in the maelstrom Izuku couldn’t do anything other than hang on to his sword and hope he and Katsuki made it out alive. He felt a hand groping into the storm and took it with his own shaking hand. Izuku hadn’t realized until that moment that he was no longer holding on to One for All.

 

They clung to each other as the two halves of the greatsword started to glow brighter, as they started to move towards the other half. It felt as though all of the energy was being drained out of them. No, it wasn’t their energy.... It was their magical power being drawn out of them. It swirled and twisted within the now completed greatsword, perfectly synced. The greatsword pulsed one more time before releasing the magical energy back to both men. But instead of returning the energy separately to each of them, it remained a swirling mixture of their essences as it flowed back into their bodies. It felt right.

 

Then the glow from the sword became blinding, and the winds too strong to stand against. Their bodies unable to handle the beating any longer, blackness consumed the light until consciousness slipped away and neither man knew anything more.

 

Eijirou ran towards the swirling mass of raw magical power in alarm as both men disappeared. He couldn’t get any closer to it though, each step he took towards the men felt as if he was walking on ground just struck by lightning. He had no idea what the hell had happened, had never even heard of anything like this ever happening before. He could only hope that they were strong enough to weather the storm.

 

Through the mass of energy a light began to shine, nearly blinding everyone in the coliseum with its brightness. The storm began to dissipate at the same time the light began to recede as well. Eijirou now felt confident enough to continue towards the center of the grounds without fear of injury, his steps quickening as he caught glimpses of the soulmates unconscious bodies tipping towards the ground, knocked out cold by their own magical energy.

 

Eijirou reached them at the moment the energy faded completely and their bodies crashed to the ground. Eijirou was struck dumb, perplexed about a number of things he’d never considered happening when the fight was announced. He tried not to let any of the conflict show as he knelt beside Katsuki and tapped his shoulder.

 

Katsuki’s eyes shot open at the moment of contact, his hand whipping up to grasp the wrist closest to his throat so fast Eijirou’s eyes couldn’t follow it.

 

“I-Izuku?” Katsuki’s voice was destroyed, as though he’d walked in the desert for miles without water, and he released his hold on Eijirou’s wrist immediately. The blonde groaned and sat up slowly, his head spinning with the motion. But all of that didn’t matter, wouldn’t matter. As long as Izuku came back to him, opened his forest green eyes once more.

 

The green haired man was still lying prone on the hard ground, although his eyes were indeed open. He just couldn’t move a muscle, so entirely exhausted he had to focus everything in him just to keep his eyes open. He heard shuffling and was surprised to see Katsuki’s head swim into his blurred vision.

 

“You still alive, nerd? Thought it’d killed ya,” Katsuki tried for arrogance but only managed a tired sarcasm.

 

Suddenly Katsuki collapsed, his head banging into Izuku’s chest painfully. Both men winced at the pain but neither of them moved. Once Izuku had gotten his breathing back under control, he managed to lift a hand up and bury it into soft, spiky strands of ash blonde hair. Katsuki protested feebly for a moment, Izuku thought he was going to heave himself away from Izuku again, but the next sound out of the blonde was a soft snore. Izuku couldn’t help the grin that spread over his face before he tumbled into the blackness of sleep as well.

 

Eijirou tried to hide the smile at his leader snoring but failed miserably. At least none of the spectators were close enough to hear it. Eijirou called the match a draw and summoned medics in one breath, leaving Denki and Hanta to deal with the crowd that was quickly working themselves into a frenzy that their leader had not won a decisive victory over the strange newcomer. Served Denki right for abandoning his post earlier, probably to go make out with Hanta. Served them both right.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

The first thing Katsuki noticed when he awoke was the heaviness of blankets spread over his body. He could smell the tang of medical sanitation, and heard the low voices that stopped when he attempted to sit up on his own.

 

“Wait, bro, wait!” Eijirou rushed over from where he had stood talking to Mina, arms flailing as he tried unsuccessfully to stop the stubborn man from doing what he pleased. “You’re pretty beat up!”

 

“Leave me the fuck alone,” Katsuki’s voice sounded as though he’d gargled with shards of glass. He cleared his throat and swallowed before he continued. “Where’s Izuku?”

 

Wordlessly Eijirou pointed to the space next to Katsuki. Katsuki’s head whipped around to stare at Izuku, his messy green curls spread thickly across his pillow. Izuku was still sleeping, but looked as though he was beginning to rouse with the noise. Why the fuck had they put both men in the same bed?!

 

The question was poised on Katsuki’s lips when he caught a look between Eijirou and Mina. Suddenly he knew exactly why, the assholes. Eijirou had obviously told Mina that Izuku was Katsuki’s soulmate. Mina was known for her matchmaking skills, and had blessed several unions that she herself had introduced in the first place. This was her way of giving Katsuki her blessing, of telling Katsuki that Izuku was indeed his perfect match.

 

And because Mina was like a sister to Katsuki, he also knew that she had double motives for doing so. She lived to embarrass Katsuki at every turn, and would delight in watching Katsuki squirm over seeing Izuku lying next to him.

 

Which meant he’d have to play this cool, or risk being teased mercilessly for fuckin’ years . He waited until Mina glanced his way before rolling his eyes and shooting her a glare. She smiled in delight and her eyebrow raised, as though challenging Katsuki to call her out. As though he didn’t know better.

 

“Both of you, out,” Katsuki’s face settled into its customary scowl as he ordered his two closest friends to get lost. It was beyond time for him and Izuku to figure their shit out. And Katsuki wasn’t keen on doing so in front of an audience. His eyes challenged them to disobey, to interfere with his personal life, promised retribution if they so much as tried.

 

Eijirou sighed loudly before he held out his hand for Mina to take once she’d closed the distance between them. Mina rolled her eyes but Katsuki could tell she approved. They left with instructions that they’d send food up and would check in with Katsuki tomorrow. Katsuki nodded distractedly, attention focused on the freckles splashed across Izuku’s cheeks, the long lashes that sat on those cheeks as Izuku slumbered on.

 

Katsuki waited until he was sure they wouldn’t barge back in before he attempted to wake the sleeping man up. He roughly grabbed Izuku’s shoulder and started to shake. When he was younger he watched his mother wake his father like that, so it was safe to assume that Katsuki would need to wake up Izuku that way as well.

 

Or, at least he thought it was safe to assume so.

 

Izuku’s hand shot out and wrapped around his wrist before he could even react. The bruising grip didn’t loosen as Izuku pushed Katsuki away. Katsuki winced at the force being applied to his ribcage, where he sustained a few broken ribs during the course of their fight and the explosion of magic. The noise caused Izuku’s eyes to snap open.

 

Green eyes sharpened incredibly fast for a man who had just slept through the noise of three people talking. In the next moment Izuku sat up, his eyes taking in the position of his hands and the grimace on Katsuki’s face before immediately withdrawing his hands. This didn’t help matters much, because Katsuki had been thrown off balance by Izuku shoving him away so he’d leaned into the touch to keep himself upright. With his support now gone, Katsuki toppled forward with a yelp of pain and a string of curses that turned Izuku into a stuttering mess.

 

“Oh! Oh gods, I’m so sorry Kacchan!” Izuku’s hands flailed as he tried to figure out where he could touch Katsuki without injuring him further. He continued to stutter out apologies and started muttering about how Katsuki must surely hate him now and why was Kacchan draped over his body like that, what did he expect Izuku to do-

 

“Nerd. NERD! OI, stop fuckin’ raving like a madman, did you get hit on the head too hard during our fight?! I don’t hate you, and I was just trying to wake you up,” the tips of Katsuki’s ears turned pink as he blushed at the admittance, and his gaze slid to the side as he continued, “That’s the way my parents did it so I just figured it was the way it was fuckin’ done, alright? Stupid fuckin’ nerd.”

 

Izuku stared, completely nonplussed at the sight of a blushing barbarian trying to justify his ways. Katsuki still wouldn’t meet his eyes, looking to the side and muttering what sounded like curses to his parents for being so damn weird . Izuku couldn’t hold it back any longer, he began to laugh. Katsuki’s head whipped around to look at Izuku disbelievingly. Izuku laughed harder, starting to snort as Katsuki’s face turned an even darker shade, the color now more toward red than pink. It took a minute before Katsuki finally cracked a smile, Izuku’s nerdy snorts of laughter made it impossible to keep his normally severe expression.

 

Katsuki questioned whether his soulmate was entirely sane. Izuku had woken from a dead sleep with the speed and strength of a samurai, then went strange in the head as he began laughing for no reason at all. But listening to Izuku’s easy laughter, looking at his bright smile as he attempted to wipe the tears of laughter from his eyes and failing miserably, made something clench in Katsuki’s chest. This felt… right. He didn’t feel the need to hide behind his usual mask of anger like he did when he was embarrassed around others. Izuku didn’t think less of him for his blunder, he knew. Izuku had seen secret parts of Katsuki before and hadn’t turned away from him. This was okay to indulge in, because it was with Izuku. His soulmate.

 

It took a few more minutes before the laughter ceased completely, both men never looking away from the other. After the laughter trailed off and the silence began to stretch uncomfortably between them, Izuku finally spoke once more, his voice soft and relaxed in the privacy of the room. “I’m sorry if I hurt you, Kacchan.”  

 

Katsuki shook his head. “It just caught me by surprise. And I guess I got a few broken ribs from the fight earlier. It’s not a big deal.”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened and his mouth turned down into a thoughtful frown. His eyebrows furrowed as he tried to recall the end of the fight. He could remember the two swords glowing a bright blue, could remember the whirlwind of magical energy as it buffeted them about within. But what happened after that?

 

“What happened? Who won the fight?” Izuku asked Katsuki, giving up on trying to recall it himself. Obviously something strange had occurred, if it lead to him and Katsuki being nearly naked in the same bed with identical injuries. Izuku choked on his spit as the puzzle pieces finally fell into place and he realized they were nearly naked in the same bed together . He squeaked in surprise and attempted to cover his torso with the furs that had fallen away from his body during the turmoil upon his awakening.

 

Katsuki snorted at the flustered man’s attempts to save his modesty. He let his eyes roam appreciatively over the parts of Izuku that were still visible, causing Izuku to blush and drop his gaze. Katsuki let him be uncomfortable for a moment or two before answering the green haired man’s question. “It was a draw. And this ,” Katsuki gestured to the two of them and the bed, “is because Raccoon Eyes likes to annoy the fuck out of me.”

 

“Raccoon Eyes? Who’s that?” Izuku’s face scrunched up in confusion as he considered Katsuki.

 

“I’m sure you’ll meet her soon enough. She’s like a little sister to me. Her and Eijirou are, uh, a thing . In love or whatever.” It was Katsuki’s turn to squirm uncomfortably. “They think I don’t know that they’re soulmates. I don’t get why they’d keep it a secret from me but that’s their relationship, I don’t need to know the ins and outs of it.”

 

“Can you blame them?” Izuku asked. He immediately regretted saying anything because he wasn’t supposed to know about Katsuki’s parents. Eijirou had confided in him and Izuku didn’t want to betray that trust. He cast about for a change in topic, but Katsuki beat him to it, his red eyes boring into Izuku.

 

“He told you,” Katsuki said flatly. “Eijirou told you about my parents. Tch .” Katsuki clicked his tongue in annoyance at his best friend’s big mouth. Why did Izuku need to know about that stuff anyways? It was ancient history now, Katsuki had adjusted to being orphaned long ago.

 

“Hey,” Izuku said softly, leaning forward to carass Katsuki’s cheek, frowning when Katsuki attempted to slap his hand away. “Stop that. It’s okay to still be upset about it. They were your parents, and they left you. Left you with the burden of a crumbling kingdom and no guidance on how to make it better for your people. It’s okay to be mad about that.”

 

Katsuki looked at Izuku in shock. Katsuki had never had his anger at the injustice of both his parents leaving him validated, everyone of the opinion that Katsuki should’ve taken it in stride and moved on. He didn’t notice the tears running down his face until Izuku’s hand was there, softly wiping them away. He swallowed thickly, struck by how much he’d needed just one person to understand why he had been so angry. Or maybe it was because it was Izuku who understood him so completely, who had released him from the guilt that he’d been forced to bear as well, a result of all that anger.

 

Both of Izuku’s hands cupped Katsuki’s face, thumbs wiped away the tears even as more flowed. Izuku’s gaze dropped to Katsuki’s lips for a moment before looking back into the watery crimson gaze. “Can I kiss you?”

 

Katsuki didn’t answer with words, more comfortable to let his actions speak for him, and pressed his lips against Izuku’s. Izuku’s hands kept Katsuki’s face anchored in place, not that he had any intention of pulling away. The kisses started off short and sweet, a brush of lips. But then Izuku pulled away to angle his head before diving back in to capture Katsuki’s lips with nips and flicks of his tongue, the kisses becoming harder and hungrier.

 

Both of their chests were heaving when Izuku released Katsuki, the ache of broken ribs completely obliterated by the desire that sparked between them like a livewire. Katsuki chased after those tempting lips shamelessly as Izuku laid back down, his hands reaching for Katsuki even as Katsuki came willingly. He dove back in for another taste of Izuku, the smell of earth after a spring rain strong in his nose. Katsuki had never heard anything about being able to smell a soulmate. Was this unique to them or normal between soulmates?

 

“Can hear you thinkin’, stop that.” Izuku said between kisses.

 

Katsuki growled but otherwise didn’t respond. He shifted his weight to lean on his forearm, his other arm free to move, to allow his hand to touch the soft skin of his soulmate for the first time in this intimate of a position. Katsuki’s lips wandered down to bite at Izuku’s chin, moving to suck marks into the freckled skin of Izuku’s neck as the green haired man struggled to regain control of his breathing.

 

The desire that flared up between them was absolute, a building crescendo that threatened to incinerate them both. They wouldn’t have noticed if the world was burning down to the ground around them, so completely wrapped up in each other that they were. Katsuki groaned when Izuku’s thumb nudged his peaked nipple, sending shivers down Katsuki’s back even as Izuku’s hand kept moving, kept getting closer to Katsuki’s straining erection. Katsuki cried out when Izuku’s hand finally carrassed his engorged length. He dropped his head down on Izuku’s shoulder, no longer able to concentrate as Izuku palmed him through the material of his trousers.

 

Izuku shivered as Katsuki’s breath ghosted over his shoulder. His own breath hitched as he slipped between the fabric of Katsuki’s trousers and the warm skin of Katsuki’s stomach and felt the smooth skin of the head of Katsuki’s cock. Lust was a drumbeat under his skin, chasing away all rational thought until the only desire Izuku felt was to have Katsuki buried deep within him, connecting their bodies together in the most intimate of ways.

 

The next thing Katsuki knew Izuku’s hand was withdrawing, the loss of contact with his cock mourned for only a moment as Katsuki caught on to what Izuku was trying to do. Katsuki rolled off of Izuku completely, hands already trying to shove the straining fabric of his pants down to release his cock. The cool air of the room hit his leaking cockhead and Katsuki swallowed back a moan. He glanced over to see how Izuku was faring in removing his only article of clothing as well.

 

Izuku’s pants had already been kicked off. Izuku’s eyes were nearly black, the green in them nearly swallowed whole by the force of his desire for Katsuki. He stared at Katsuki as though he was someone to be worshipped, as though he was a god. Katsuki watched Izuku’s throat bob as he swallowed thickly. He couldn’t believe how much he wanted Izuku, didn’t think he’d ever need someone like he needed Izuku and the bond between them.

 

Izuku leaned up and pressed kisses to Katsuki’s jaw, barely there brushes of lips against Katsuki’s heated skin as Izuku pushed Katsuki down and straddled the ruler. Their cocks brushed for the first time, caused them both to groan and still as they fought to keep from cumming just at that touch. Then Izuku’s cock was retreating as Izuku’s lips moved lower, tugging on a nipple and laving his tongue over the spot in the next instant even as he continued to move lower.

 

Until Izuku’s lips brushed Katsuki’s cockhead. The loud sound that was pulled from Katsuki would’ve mortified him normally. But he was too far gone to care what sounds were ripped from his throat as Izuku’s lips parted and began to take Katsuki’s cock down in a slow descent. His large hands buried in sweaty green curls and clung on tightly, his eyes staring at the ceiling but seeing nothing as Izuku adjusted to the girth in his mouth before slowly pulling away.

 

Izuku groaned from around his mouthful of dick as Katsuki’s fingers tugged at his hair, the noise vibrating in his throat and causing Katsuki to gasp deliciously. He set a slow rhythm designed to drive Katsuki’s sanity further out of reach, there was no way Izuku didn’t know what he was doing to Katsuki. The only sounds in the room were Katsuki’s pants of breath and the messy noises Izuku made as he slurped, choked down and gagged, kept going, as he pushed to take all of Katsuki’s length down his throat.

 

Katsuki could feel his end nearing and growled. As appealing as it was to cum down Izuku’s throat, to watch as the green haired man gagged on the thickness of Katsuki’s load choking his breath off, it wasn’t how Katsuki wanted to end their first time together. He gripped green locks tighter and forced Izuku off his cock, ignoring Izuku’s whimper and the zing of pleasure. He yanked Izuku back up and into a rough kiss that tasted of cock and Izuku’s unique flavor, more nips of teeth and panting as they shared their desire directly into the other’s mouth.

 

Then Katsuki was shoving Izuku down on his back. Katsuki turned his attention to the table next to the bed and nearly celebrated when he caught sight of the small jar of oil sitting on it. He didn’t want to think too hard about how it got there, wasn’t going to let anything ruin this moment as Katsuki dipped his thick fingers into the oil and brought a finger to circle Izuku’s hole.

 

The noise Izuku made was indecent in both its volume and tone as Katsuki began to work the first finger in and out of the tightness of Izuku’s hole. Izuku’s hands clenched in the bed sheets as he attempted to relax enough to allow Katsuki’s thick finger to slide deep into him.

 

The pleasure of having Katsuki three fingers deep in Izuku was nearly overwhelming. Izuku had never felt anything like it, not even during the one time Katsuki had made Izuku cum from just his voice, which had been the height of sexual pleasure Izuku had experienced at the time. He choked back a sob as he was overcome with the perfection that was his soulmate. Katsuki Bakugou was it for Izuku, there would never be another that could make Izuku crave the closeness of their bodies, that could make Izuku’s very bones melt down to nothingness and be rebuilt stronger. There wasn’t another piece of perfection like Izuku’s soulmate. The way he challenged Izuku even as Izuku pushed him to be more, to give him everything as he offered his all back.

 

“Now, now now, please Kacchan. Need you, ” Izuku chanted through gasps of breath. Even though Katsuki’s touch drove Izuku wild, he needed more. He needed all of Katsuki like he needed air to breathe. His hands scrabbled on the sweat slick skin of Katsuki’s biceps, nails raking down, leaving angry red welts that neither man noticed. A whimper accompanied the removal of Katsuki’s fingers.

 

“You have me,” Katsuki breathed in Izuku’s ear. The blunt head of his cock pressed against Izuku’s gaping hole, began to fill Izuku. Surely Izuku knew what he did to Katsuki? Izuku’s cries as Katsuki pressed in were the finest music Katsuki had ever heard. If Katsuki hadn’t already given everything he was to Izuku, he would’ve as he pulled back to watch the green haired man squirm underneath him as Katsuki seated himself deep. Izuku owned all of Katsuki, even before they had agreed to the fight that was more for appearances than a real fight. Even before Katsuki had found Izuku in that abandoned and dilapidated building and looked upon his face in the flesh for the first time.

 

No, he was Izuku’s from the moment those green eyes widened as he saw Katsuki for the first time in the sword metal. Katsuki had been captivated by the magnetic man that stared at him as though he was worth something. As though he was everything. Katsuki had been lost for Izuku then, nothing and no one compared to the myriad of emotions that swirled in the emerald depths of those far away eyes. Katsuki had caught himself staring into the sword for hours at a time, hoping for just a glimpse of those green eyes that whispered that he was enough.

 

Izuku cried out as Katsuki bottomed out. He was barely aware of the way he flung his arms back against the fabric of his pillow, only acknowledging their existence when Katsuki’s large hands engulfed them, threaded their fingers together and pressed them into the soft fabric, both men uncaring that one of Izuku’s palms had been nearly healed of burns. Izuku tossed his head from side to side, his arms unable to move thanks to Katsuki pinning them down, his chest heaving as he breathed in the scent of their desire. Katsuki pulled out slowly before pushing back in, setting a slow pace designed to allow Izuku to get used to the girth that stretched his hole.

 

But soon enough slow wasn’t good enough. Izuku started to squirm, rocking down to meet Katsuki’s thrusts, noises that drove Katsuki wild falling from his chapped lips. Izuku licked his lips and met Katsuki’s crimson gaze, registered the awe that shined in the bloody orbs. Katsuki looked at Izuku as though he was something precious, someone worth having around. Izuku shuddered against the feeling of acceptance, causing Katsuki’s cock to twitch inside him.

 

“A-A-Ahhhh! Katsuki!”

 

Katsuki smirked as he pummeled that special spot inside Izuku that caused breathless cries to come from Izuku’s mouth, that made the green haired man give up all pretense of shame as he screamed Katsuki’s name again and again. Katsuki drank the cries in, reveled in them even as he strove to force more sounds out of his soulmates mouth. Katsuki leaned down and ran his tongue along the shell of Izuku’s ear before allowing his breath to ghost over the wet skin.

 

“Cum for me.”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened at the words, the first words he’d ever heard from the blonde, being repeated when they were wrapped around each other. Izuku didn’t stand a chance against the avalanche of pleasure that buried him alive. He came totally untouched, clamping down on Katsuki’s cock as his own shot sticky cum between them, making a mess of them both.

 

Izuku’s body clamped down Katsuki’s cock and ripped the orgasm out of him without permission. His eyes had widened at the choked off cry that left Izuku’s lips at the words. But his attention was drawn to the way Izuku’s hole tightened around Katsuki’s cock, how Izuku’s body pulled his thick cock in to the hilt and the last chains of Katsuki’s sanity snapped.

 

His careful rhythm was destroyed in favor of shallow thrusts, Katsuki unable to comprehend not being connected to this man like this now or any other time. He pumped in and out of Izuku a scant few more times before he was overcome by his own orgasm, the pleasure sending Katsuki hurtling over the edge, destroying everything that made Katsuki Katsuki before rebuilding him as a part of a whole, as a part of Izuku. Just as Izuku was reborn a part of him.

 

Katsuki’s body pressed Izuku further into the mattress as he collapsed on top of the panting green haired man. Izuku tried to protest the weight, but his arms lay like dead things at his side and his voice had been obliterated a long time ago.

 

Katsuki understood Izuku’s feeble attempts to make him move, but it still took a minute to find the energy to disconnect them and roll of the side of Izuku’s prone form. He watched as Izuku’s head turned towards Katsuki, sleepy satisfaction and acceptance in those dark emerald orbs. And if Katsuki’s breath hitched at the look of unconditional love, a wealth of emotion that he hadn’t had to earn, that had been freely given since the first time they saw each other; that was his right as Izuku’s soulmate. Katsuki’s entire world had shifted around this one man, the only person that mattered in this moment. 

 

They both lay there regaining their breath in the silent darkness for several minutes. Katsuki was sure that Izuku had fallen asleep by the time he felt confident enough to start moving. They still needed to bathe before they could give in to the pull of sleep. Katsuki physically startled when he rolled onto his side, intent on waking Izuku up, and was met with a pair of eyes the color of the dark and evil forests rumored to exist beyond Astea’s borders.

 

“Kacchan?” Izuku’s voice was soft, words barely formed in the sleepy and comfortable atmosphere.

 

“We should get cleaned up first, nerd. Don’t go falling asleep just yet,” Katsuki had to swallow as his voice cracked. His voice was destroyed, as though he’d been screaming for hours. But he held Izuku’s gaze as the other man looked up at him with an unreadable look. He didn’t like that, that Izuku could close himself off from Katsuki from one heartbeat to the next and there was nothing Katsuki could do about it.

 

“Where do we go from here, Katsuki?” Izuku’s gaze sharpened on Katsuki, held him prisoner. Katsuki felt those eyes boring into him as Izuku closed himself off from Katsuki the longer the silence between them stretched.

 

“Nowhere. You have to stay here with me now. You’re mine, and I’m not going to let you leave ever again.”

 

Izuku shivered at the possessive edge to Katsuki’s words. The fact that he belonged to someone as powerful as Katsuki was still hard for Izuku to grasp at times. But he wasn’t a possession to be placed upon a shelf and forgotten. He had equal say in this relationship (Were they officially in a relationship now? Izuku had no clue.) and he wasn’t about to let Katsuki call all the shots.

“Katsuki, I have to go back home,” Izuku raised a hand to stop the protest that was clearly poised on Katsuki’s tongue. “I know that we have to do some ceremony here, right? But afterward I need to make the journey home and tell my mom and Toshinori that I won’t be coming back. I’d like it if you came with me.”

 

Katsuki considered him in silence for several minutes. His soulmate had a point. He’d already hinted that he planned on moving his entire life to Astea to be with Katsuki. They still had the stupid ceremony to do, the one that would recognize Izuku as a leader of the country. But something still felt like it was missing. Some affirmation that they belonged to each other in more than just an official capacity. Katsuki knew Izuku was his, and he wanted the entire world to know that Izuku belonged only to Katsuki.

 

Katsuki sighed. “I’ll have to make arrangements with Eijirou. He’ll lead in my stead while I go with you back to Fleania. I’d like to meet your mother and see Toshinori again.”

 

Katsuki’s face turned red at the admittance, but Izuku didn’t tease him for it. If anything he was shocked that Katsuki had been so agreeable to leaving in the first place. His heart swelled for the blonde haired man, for his intellect and the fact that he was nothing like the barbaric asshole people painted him to be. This is more how Izuku imagined his husband… his partner, to be. Izuku had nearly forgotten that they still hadn’t defined what exactly they were to each other besides being soulmates. And Izuku had no idea how unions were handled in Astea.

 

Neither one of them spoke for awhile, each waiting for the other to ask the question that was on both of their minds. Just what exactly were they to each other?

 

It was Izuku that caved first. His blood rushed through his veins, his heart pounded, but he gathered his courage and gave Katsuki the power to break his heart. He didn’t doubt Katsuki cared for him. It was in every interaction they’d had. But did Katsuki care enough about Izuku to keep him to himself?

 

“So, uh…. I- I know that we are soulmates and all. But we’re technically on opposing sides of a war, too. What,” Izuku bit his lip before steeling his resolve and looking into Katsuki’s crimson eyes. “What am I to you?”

 

“Everything.”

 

Izuku’s breath caught in his throat at the utter sincerity of Katsuki’s answer. Then Katsuki was looming over him once more, bloody gaze intense as he stared down at Izuku. “Be mine. Don’t give your heart to anyone but me. Be my husband, my soulmate, and the keeper of the key to my heart. Don’t leave me,” Katsuki whispered softly, his eyes falling to the side as he struggled to keep emotion from overwhelming him.

 

“Never,” Izuku breathed, his hands coming up to cup Katsuki’s face and gently force him to look into Izuku’s eyes. “Katsuki, I’d never leave you. I’m sure it won’t be easy at first, but we’re always the best versions of ourselves when we are together. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.”

 

Katsuki’s eyes skittered across Izuku’s face looking for even a trace of dishonesty. Love dominated, pride at being Katsuki’s coming in a very close second. Then Katsuki’s eyes were falling shut as he kissed Izuku, an achingly tender kiss that promised Katsuki would never leave as well.

 

Words left them in that moment, making way for their connection to be concreted into place.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

“How much further until we’re there?” Izuku whined as he shifted in his saddle. He groaned at the stiffness of his legs as he attempted to wiggle into a more comfortable position. He turned to glare at Katsuki when the blond laughed in response.

 

“You’ve already made this journey once, how do you not know where you’re at?” The words were clearly teasing, Katsuki’s smirk growing impossibly wider as his soulmate looked at him with annoyance in every line of his face.

 

Although it had taken some time to set up, the ceremony that had to be performed to recognize Izuku as a leader of Astea was fairly simple. It had felt as though most of the kingdom had turned out for the event however, so Katsuki and Izuku had been stuck there long after the ceremony was finished.

 

They’d also gotten married. This ceremony was for them more than for their country, to share their union with loved ones and friends alike. Izuku cried the entirety of it. Katsuki teased him over it, but the amount of happiness shining in those crimson eyes took the sting out of the words.

 

They’d sent a letter to Izuku’s mother ahead of them departing the kingdom, warning her that they were on their way and would be arriving in the next month or so. Izuku had been deliberately vague in his wording, wanting to surprise both his mother and Toshinori with the opportunity to meet Katsuki in the flesh.

 

They’d gotten to know each other pretty well the last few months. They worked well together when it came to running Astea, each bringing something different to the table as they worked to mesh their ideals together. Katsuki never discounted Izuku’s intelligence, even when he spoke up against something Katsuki said. They’d learned to balance their royal duties and their personal life well enough that problems didn’t arise. Or, at least, not often.

 

Which had led them to this moment, where Izuku was fed up with traveling and Katsuki could tease and mock him without worrying about his kingdom in the back of his mind. Their kingdom. 

 

“Why don’t you look at the map and see how far we are from your village,” Katsuki suggested, already knowing what Izuku’s response would be before the annoyed man opened his mouth.

 

“Because I know you already know how much further we have to travel before arriving. Quit being an asshole and just tell me already,” Izuku blew out a puff of air in annoyance, causing the green curls stuck to his forehead to fly upwards. He wasn’t really annoyed with Katsuki, though. Izuku was just ready to begin his new life. Of course he’d miss his mom and Toshinori, but the village no longer felt like home to him. Izuku glanced at Katsuki’s strong profile from the side of his eye, his lips turning up at the corners as he was caught.

 

His home was wherever Katsuki Bakugou, his husband and soulmate, was. And he wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.