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A Different Sign

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To put things simply, Kirishima was born without a soulmate mark. About the age of four was when he truly started to understand them, and it was devastating to realize he didn’t have a soulmate. All his friends and classmates had their marks, in neat words written somewhere on their bodies that told them the first words they’d hear their soulmate say. Sure, sometimes they weren’t very telling, saying something very common like, “Hello.” Other times, they were unique, cute or funny. Kirishima’s best friend, Kaminari, had to have his covered up with a bracelet since his said, “Hey, asshole!”

 

The coolest ones were the ones not in Japanese, meaning that their soulmate was someone foreign. In 4th grade, Jirou had shrieked out, “It’s you!” in class the day they got a new student. A girl with fluffy light brown hair, tanned skin. She greeted the class in Spanish before translating more slowly into Japanese. Her name was Ashido Mina. Both girls became very excited after Jirou’s exclamation, but the teacher made Ashido take her seat, far from Jirou.

 

It made Kirishima feel a little bitter, it was the first time he actually saw soulmates meet and reminded him that he would never have a moment like that. He’d never feel that burst of excitement when he figured out who his soulmate is, and it hurt. While he wanted to be petty about the whole ordeal, Jirou ate with him and his other friends at lunch so of course the new girl came over to talk to Jirou.

 

It was impossible to ignore Ashido, and Kirishima found himself quickly warming up to the girl. Her smile was absolutely infectious, and it only took one glance at Jirou to see that the girl was already falling hard. They learned her father is Japanese, but this was the first time she was actually living in Japan. She had learned the language as she grew up, but she didn’t speak it very often.

 

Still, within one day Ashido managed to perfectly fit into their little group. Kirishima couldn’t find it in his heart to be resentful about Jirou and Ashido finding their soulmates, and was a little ashamed he tried to be in the first place. He decided then it didn’t matter that he didn’t have a soulmate. He had good friends and that was good enough for him.

 

In middle school, Kaminari found his soulmate. It was only a few days into the school year, and the two were messing around at the end of the day. Kaminari shoved Kirishima too hard and he went crashing into another boy who was at his locker.

 

“Hey, asshole!” The boy raged when Kaminari laughed instead of apologizing.

 

That shut him up in an instant and he stared at the blond boy with wide eyes before cracking up again, “Oh my god, it’s my one true love!”

 

The guy’s face flushed, and he shook his head in disbelief, “You’ve got to be shitting me.” An older student told them to watch their language, but they were hardly paying attention.

 

“Kaminari, this means that this guy has been walking around with the words “oh my god, it’s my one true love” on him for his entire life,” Kirishima was now laughing too as he backed up to give the two some space.

 

The boy glared at Kirishima, face still red, “And he’s had the words, “Hey, asshole” on him, I think that’s a fair trade.” Then he looked at Kaminari, “I am not your one true love.”

 

With that, the boy walked away, not even giving his name.

 

Kaminari was persistent though, and it didn’t take long for him to drag the boy to their lunch group. Emphasis on the word “dragged”. Something told Kirishima that even though the boy put up a fight, if he really didn’t want to be here, Kaminari wouldn’t have been able to drag him here.

 

“Hello everyone, this is my boyfriend, Bakugou Katsuki,” Kaminari introduced him with a grin.

 

“I thought you were straight?” Ashido asked, pulling an earbud out of her ear and nudging Jirou to get her attention. Jirou pulled out the other earbud and turned her attention to the group’s newest addition.

 

“Pfft, I am,” Kaminari sat down, “just joking around.”

 

While everyone had their eyes on Kaminari as he blabbered on, Kirishima was looking at Bakugou and caught that momentarily look of surprise on his face that hardened quickly, “Thank god,” He muttered, “I wouldn’t to date Pikachu’s forbidden love child.”

 

Kaminari looked offended while everyone else burst into laughter. Just like that, Bakugou was accepted. It took him longer to accept the others. No matter how much he vehemently denied being friends with any of them, Kirishima could tell he had a hard time letting people get close.

 

Towards the end of the year, Kirishima and Bakugou became particularly close. See? His soulmate is Kaminari, but he’s one of my best friends. I don’t need a soulmate. It still stung, though. At this point, Kirishima was the only one without a soulmate besides Sero. That was different though, Sero had a mark, so he’d find them one day.

 

By the time their final year at junior high was ending, Kirishima could tell in longing glances that Bakugou would no longer mind Kaminari calling him his boyfriend. Attempts to get him to open up failed, but Kirishima reminded him that whenever he needed to talk, he would be there for him.

 

The break before they were officially high school students, the others made the mistake of leaving Ashido and Kaminari alone. While they were all supposed to hang out together, everyone else ended up backing out for one reason or another. Being bored and alone led to a talk about taking risks in life, which further then somehow turned into, “hey, let’s dye our hair!” Kirishima honestly thought wasn’t a bad idea. He went with red and Ashido choose pink.

 

“Hmmm, the red looks great, but can I try something with your hair?” Ashido asked after his hair had been bleached and dyed. He had been the test subject, since they wanted to see if the dye they was any good. If the red looked bad, they had black dye as a backup. Everything looked okay, so they went ahead and put dye in Ashido’s hair.

 

“Go for it, what else is there to lose?” Kirishima said with a snort, “Though I’d prefer my hair to not be cut, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

 

Ashido shook her head, “No cutting,” she promised, and hopped off her bed. The sheets were stained with hair dye, but she didn’t care. It also had marks from makeup, and the time she tried to learn how to paint. It went with the rest of her room perfectly. Brightly colored, mismatched pillows covered her bed (Kirishima couldn’t understand why anyone needed this many pillows) and her floor had a couple patterned rugs. Her parents had let her paint her walls. While the original white color still showed, she had aimed for a “dripping paint” aesthetic. Splotches of paint covered the walls in a random array of colors.

 

When Ashido came back, she had a bottle of hair gel in her hands. “Alright, let’s give you a new hairstyle to go with the new color!” She wasted no time pouring the gel into her hands. Closing his eyes, Kirishima waited in anticipation for her to be done. He could tell she was styling his hair upwards and he honestly thought it was going to look awful. Over the years, he was never really adventurous with his hairstyle. He experimented once and then decided to never try again.

 

“Done!” Ashido pulled away and grabbed the handheld mirror off her bed and held it up. Since she held it way too close to his face, it prompted Kirishima to take the mirror from her and hold it farther away. It was weird seeing his forehead, but he couldn’t say he didn’t like the hairstyle.

 

“I don’t even look like myself anymore, oh my god,” Kirishima whispered in fascination, tilting his head to see his hair at different angles. “Did you tell anyone that we dyed our hair?”

 

“Nope, why?”

 

Kirishima grinned. “When we show up at the mall tomorrow, how much you wanna bet it’s gonna take them a while to recognize us, especially me. Tell them I’m my twin… Kirishima Mirio.”

 

That got a snort out of Ashido, “Isn’t Mirio the name of that one guy from our first year in junior high that had to keep getting onto us for cursing?”

 

Kirishima shrugged, she was probably right. The more he thought about it, the more he recalled the guy. He always gave him and Kaminari lectures since they were awful students. They were always about how he used to be in the bottom class, but rose all the way up to class A. As great as he was, Kirishima liked Mirio’s quiet friend a lot more.

 

“Oh well, it’s just to see how quickly they catch on.”

 

...

 

Kaminari was fooled for several minutes, that is until Bakugou showed up, “Why’d you go from emo to anime protagonist?”

 

“It’s Kirishima’s cousin?” Kaminari said in a questioning tone. It had taken a bit of convincing for him to completely fall for it, but he already looked doubtful.

 

Bakugou rolled his eyes, “Oh my god, look at his eye dumbass. You really think his cousin magically has the same exact scar?”

 

“Sero! Why didn’t you say anything?!” Kaminari turned and pointed at Sero in an accusing way. Throughout the whole exchange, he simply nodded along and watched in an amusement as Kaminari slowly accepted “Kirishima’s cousin.”

 

“I wanted to see if you would believe them.”

 

Kaminari stomped his foot in frustration, turning to glare at Kirishima and Ashido who were too busy cracking up to notice.

 

“Mina?” Of course in this moment of chaos, Jirou finally showed up, head tilted to try and see Ashido’s face better.

 

That got Ashido to stop laughing, “Hey! I’m pink now!” She fluffed her hair and looked at Jirou excitedly, waiting for her opinion.

 

Jirou looked away in a shy manner, “You look cute.”

 

Kirishima always found Jirou adorable in a way Ashido wasn’t. They decided at the age of ten that they were going to marry each other, but she still blushed and got shy. “And you’re now red, Kirishima,” She straightened up and glanced over at him. “I’m guessing you two made this decision together?”

 

“Didn’t you hear, that’s not Kirishima, that’s his cousin,” Bakugou said with a snort, looking at Kaminari.

 

It took barely a second for Jirou to figure it out, glancing from Kirishima and Ashido’s grinning face, to Sero hiding his smile, and finally at Kaminari who was looking everywhere but at Jirou. “Why am I not surprised Kaminari fell for it?”

 

“Hey!” Kaminari said defensively, but couldn’t really say anything to make the situation better.

 

In the following week, Kirishima kept up the new hairstyle when he started high school. It took friends from junior high a moment to recognize him, something he found amusing to no end. It was nice to see familiar faces, at one point spotting Mirio and Tamaki through the crowd of new people.

 

Things were going okay until Kirishima got lost and couldn’t find his class. The bell rang and the halls seemed to be suddenly empty, with no one for him to ask for help.

 

The only people he spotted were by a stairwell, but he froze before he got the chance to ask for directions. Something was off about the situation, even though he couldn’t hear what was being said, the smaller boy was clearly uncomfortable. His arm was crossed in front of him, eyes cast down, and was backed up against a wall.

 

When the taller boy took another step forward and the other guy flinched, everything in Kirishima screamed to make a move. Green eyes met his and the taller boy turned around to follow his gaze. Once he spotted Kirishima, he ruffled the others hair in a mocking manner before walking off.

 

Finally, Kirishima unfroze, “I’m so sorry! I should’ve stepped in.” He rushed over, now panicking. Who was the guy? Was this a normal thing the green haired boy had to deal with? Did he flinch because the other guy had hit him or something before, or was it just a natural reaction?

 

The green haired boy’s eyes lit up and he started signing to him so fast Kirishima was certain that even if he did know sign language, he’d have a hard time understanding the boy.

 

“Wait, what?” He said dumbly, as if the boy slowly down would help.

 

He repeated one motion slower, but of course, Kirishima didn’t get it. When he did a motion that knocked his fists together, Kirishima asked, “You want me to fight him?”

 

That brilliantly smart question earned him a confused look. His head tilted and he sighed as if to say, you didn’t understand a word I said, did you?

 

“Sorry,” Kirishima apologized sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head in a nervous manner, “I don’t know sign language.”

 

He didn’t look all that bothered, Kirishima imagined he was used to it by now. “I hope everything alright and everything… but do you know where class 1-C is?” To his relief, the boy nodded and motioned for Kirishima to follow.

 

Eventually, the boy stopped in front of a classroom and Kirishima almost opened the door and walked in, but the boy stopped him with a shake of his head. He held his hand to his chest, then pointed at Kirishima and down the hall.

 

“This is your classroom, and mine’s farther down the hall?” Kirishima guessed, smiling when he got a nod in return, “Alright, thank you!”

 

Now, he ran to his classroom and apologized profusely for being late. Looking around the classroom, the only student he recognized was Satou. It was weird being in a room of nearly completely new faces, but he took his seat and did his best to catch up.

 

Homeroom was pretty much an outline of the year, expectations and rules, and general first day back at school lecture. It was boring and Kirishima tried to pay attention but his eyes wandered to the kids around his classroom. The two that stood out the most was a boy that looked more emo than Kirishima did before he dyed his hair, and a girl that looked like sweetness personified. She asked a lot of questions and seemed rather polite and friendly.

 

Classes went by in a blur and Kirishima was so relieved when lunch finally came. He realized that him and his friends never actually planned out a place to sit. Their classrooms couldn’t be that hard to find considering they were all in the same general area. But of course, he wasn’t allowed to have good luck and none of them were in their classrooms, probably doing what Kirishima was doing and looking for one another.

 

In Bakugou’s classroom, he spotted the mute boy from earlier. He was still sitting at his desk, drawing something in a notebook. It was a little rude, but Kirishima couldn’t help but take a peek. In it were a bunch of headshot sketches and Kirishima quickly recognized them as some of the classmates around them, especially since one was clearly Bakugou.

 

“These are pretty good.”

 

The boy jumped and moved an arm to cover the sketches.

 

“Sorry!” Kirishima held his hands up and backed off a little. “Just curious. The sketches are really good, though! Are you planning on becoming an artist one day?”

 

He shrugged and made a face, a very clear, I have no idea.

 

“Don’t know what you want to be when you grow up?” Kirishima asked, getting a nod in return. “I’m the same. There’s so many things I could be, I don’t really know what I want to be.” He sat down in the seat in front of the boy, unsure of how long he’d stay here. It’d probably be best to stay in the same place if he wanted to be found, so might as well acquaint himself with someone new.

 

Even without words, the boy was expressful, he nodded and sighed in a way that let Kirishima know he felt the same way.

 

“What’s your name?”

 

After a moment of thought, he closed the notebook he had been drawing in and pointed at the cover. On it in neat letters was a name.

 

“Midoriya Izuku?” Kirishima said carefully, in case he mispronounced the name. Kanji was hard with all the different meanings and pronunciations, not to mention some parents gave their children near impossible names to pronounce correctly on the first try.

 

With a nod, Kirishima finally had a name to the face. “I’m Kirishima Eijirou,” he held out his hand and smiled. Midoriya smiled back and shook his hand. His smile was nice, Kirishima couldn’t help but think that his soulmate was going to be very lucky to always see such a bright smile throughout their lives.

 

Kirishima rambled off for a bit about trivial things, and if Midoriya was bored with him, it didn’t show. His facial expression and hand gestures did the talking for him, making it easy to imagine him as a very fast talker. Lunch was about half way over when Bakugou finally found Kirishima.

 

“Why didn’t you answer our texts and calls?” Bakugou glared at Kirishima, completely disregarding Midoriya.

 

“Well, you see,” Kirishima rubbed the back of his head, “I accidentally dropped it in the toilet.”

 

“How the hell do you accidentally drop something in the toilet?!”

 

“It was in my back pocket! Give me a break!”

 

“God, you’re a walking disaster,” Bakugou shook his head in disbelief. “C’mon, the others are waiting and you need to know where we’re going to sit.”

 

Kirishima nodded and stood up, waving goodbye at Midoriya, “It was nice meeting you!” Midoriya looked like he had something to say, but simply waved back after a moment. Kirishima felt a little bad for leaving him by himself. Since they were already out the door, it was too late now to ask Midoriya if he wanted to join their lunch group, but Kirishima decided he’d ask tomorrow.

 

The next day, Kirishima went straight for class 1-A instead of going to the spot out in the courtyard where his friends were sitting. Same as yesterday, Midoriya was at his desk with his notebook open. This time though, he wasn’t alone. The sweetness personified girl from Kirishima’s class was talking to him. Kirishima was a little jealous when he realized that her hands weren’t making random gestures, but actually signing to Midoriya as she talked. It seemed like a nice skill to have, making Kirishima a little tempted to pick it up himself.

 

Midoriya noticed him before he walked up and cheerfully waved at him. The girl’s attention turned towards him as well. “Hello. Are you friends with Izuku?” The use of first name could mean a few things, but Kirishima decided to go with long term friends. If they were soulmates, Kirishima imagined they’d be the most sickeningly sweet pair, a couple to rule over them all.

 

“We only met yesterday, but I’d like to be friends with him,” Kirishima answered truthfully, catching the way Midoriya face ducked down to hide a rising blush. “I know we’re in the same class, but I don’t know your name yet, sorry.”

 

“No worries, I don’t know your name yet either,” She waved off his apology, “I’m Uraraka Ochako.”

 

“Kirishima Eijirou,” He introduced himself back.

 

Uraraka’s mouth opened to say something, but her attention got dragged elsewhere. “Oh! Momo is free now, talk to you later Izuku.” She ran off to another girl’s side. The girl looked about Kirishima’s height, beautiful and proud, but her face softened when she saw Uraraka. Those two had to be soulmates. Over the years, Kirishima had developed a pretty good sense for it. Sure he thought it might’ve been Midoriya and Uraraka, but he was more certain now.

 

With Uraraka gone, Kirishima looked back down at Izuku, “I came to ask if you wanted to join my lunch group, they’re a wild bunch, but I couldn’t have asked for better friends.”

 

Midoriya looked unsure, tapping the pencil in his hand on the desk in a nervous way.

 

“There’s no pressure. I just don’t want to leave you sitting here alone is all,” Kirishima assured. “Bakugou’s a little hard to get along with, but the others are easy to make friends with, promise.” If he was completely honest, he was worried about what he saw yesterday by the stairwell. If Midoriya was being bullied, Kirishima didn’t want to leave him alone.

 

With a shoulder sag of resolve, Midoriya nodded. Kirishima gave him a moment to pack up his stuff before leading him to the courtyard. “Do you want me to say your mute?” Kirishima asked, before rushing out his next words, “Sorry if that’s rude! They get carried away in conversation and might just think you’re a quiet guy.”

 

Midoriya waved his hand as if to say, that’s fine. The small smile on his face made Kirishima certain that it really was fine. It still bothered Kirishima a bit. Was it really fine, or was Midoriya used to people not knowing how to act around him? Over the years, the amount of people Kirishima ran into that had disabilities was very few. Even if it made him look like an idiot, he wanted to ask before he said or did something potentially not okay.

 

“Thought you got lost on your way here,” Bakugou called out as Kirishima approached the group.

 

“Just wanted to invite someone new.” Kirishima dramatically gestured at Midoriya, “Everyone, this is Midoriya Izuku.”

 

There was a chorus of various greetings, even from Jirou who looked half asleep, head resting on Ashido’s lap. They tried asking Izuku a few questions, but after signing back and giving a helpless shrug, they caught on quickly and geared questions more towards being “yes” and “no.”

 

Having so much attention on himself seemed to make Midoriya nervous, but he relaxed as the lunch period went on and they stopped talking only to him. He seemed content listening to the conversations the others were having, ranging from school related stuff to an absolutely ridiculous conversation of “if you were a superhero, what would your power be?”

 

Midoriya simply sat up against the school building, doodling in his notebook and glancing up at the group from time to time.

 

“Is okay if I watch?” Kirishima asked, not wanting to look without permission again. After a moment of hesitation, Midoriya nodded.

 

It was fascinating to watch the sketches come together. Some were left rather incomplete, but he seemed to be drawing whatever he saw before him. With Kirishima’s fast moving lunch group, Midoriya didn’t have the time to finish something until there was nothing left for him to reference.

 

“Do you have any colored drawings?” Kirishima asked, curious to see what a fully finished drawing looked like. When he was younger, Kirishima loved coloring books, but never cared much for actual drawing when he got older.

 

With a nod, Midoriya flipped through the pages. In between all his doodles, there was some notes. Kirishima didn’t have enough time to read any of them, but wondered why Midoriya didn’t have an actual sketch book with no lines. It seemed like it’d be hard to keep track of everything he’s written and drawn that way.

 

One colored sketch was of a woman who looked like Midoriya.

 

“Your mom?”

 

When Midoriya nodded, Kirishima felt relieved. It might’ve been weird if that was his sister or just a random drawing. A few more pages were flipped and there was a doodle of the girl from yesterday. “Uraraka, right?”

 

He leafed through a few more pages, showing a lot of people Kirishima didn’t know. One of the more recent pages, Kirishima caught the color of red and recognized himself. “Wait go back! Was that me?”

 

Midoriya had a slight blush on his face and reluctantly went back to the page. The drawing was in fact Kirishima. It was one of the more completed drawings, outline clear and colored in neatly. “You’re amazing,” Kirishima praised, “and I’m not just saying that because you drew me, all of these drawings are amazing.”

 

Midoriya’s face became even redder, but this time he had a smile. He tapped his chin and moved his hand outward. Kirishima might not know any sign language, but he had a pretty good guess. “Was that thank you?”

 

It wasn’t very surprising when Midoriya nodded again. It was only one sign, but it was one sign more than he previously knew. There were tons of online resources for learning sign language, with a lot of practice, Kirishima was certain he could figure it out.

 

“Since you have to nod and shake your head a lot, what about yes and no?”

 

If Midoriya thought Kirishima was annoying for asking all these questions, he didn’t let it show. Everytime Kirishima asked how to sign a word, Midoriya would show him how to and patiently repeated the sign when Kirishima tried to copy the movement.

 

It wasn’t until the bell rang did Kirishima realize he forgot to eat his lunch, and Midoriya seemed to be in the same boat. His lunch laid half eaten on the ground beside him, but he didn’t seem particularly bothered.

 

“Tomorrow I swear I won’t distract you the entire lunch period,”Kirishima promised. “I didn’t realize how much time passed.”

 

Midoriya waved his hand as it to say that’s okay. Kirishima wasn’t sure if that was a general gesture or actual sign language, but decided he’d ask tomorrow.

 

“Oh wait, are you going to sit with us tomorrow?”

 

Yes, Midoriya signed immediately, not hesitating like he did earlier.

 

“Great! See you tomorrow then.” Kirishima smiled cheerfully and waved before heading off to class. When he glanced back at Midoriya, he was looking at his notebook and had the sudden look of oh shit, and looked up. When their eyes met, Kirishima paused for a moment, ready to go back if needed. Midoriya sighed and waved him along. Hopefully, whatever it was, wasn’t a big deal.

 

It’s been awhile since Kirishima made a new friend and it filled him with excitement. It was always fun to learn about someone new. Though same as always, he got struck with the thought of no matter how close you get to someone, they’re always going to be closer to someone else.

Chapter Text

Kirishima felt a little bad. Midoriya clearly had something he was trying to tell him, but he simply wasn’t learning sign language fast enough to keep up with him. Whatever he was trying to say, he didn’t ever seem to try to tell Kirishima what he wanted to when any of the others were around. Before and after school, Kirishima was with his other friends, and regardless never happened to run into Midoriya until lunch.

 

The time they did spend together, Kirishima got to know Midoriya more and more. It seemed that he had a lot of friends scattered around in all classes. Kirishima already knew Uraraka was a close friend, but besides her was Todoroki and Iida. While Kirishima didn’t know them too well, Bakugou was in the same class as them and only had the best of things to say about them. So nice that Midoriya glared, and while Kirishima had no idea what he was saying, he was pretty sure Midoriya was saying some pretty nasty things judging by the quick movements of his hands.

 

That was another thing. Midoriya and Bakugou didn’t seem to get along great. At best, they ignored each other, at worst they’d get into rather one-sided fights. Midoriya couldn’t verbally fight back, but Bakugou had no idea what Midoriya was signing. At least at first. Bakugou learned a few signs out of spite, and whatever he signed wasn’t nice judging by the look on Midoriya’s face. In turn, he’d repeat the sign a lot slower, as if Bakugou was a child who needed to learn how to do it correctly.

 

In a way, it was pretty funny. The fights never got out of hand, and it hilarious to see a definiant side to Midoriya and Bakugou not knowing how to react to him. While they fought at first, as weeks went by, they seemed more playful than anything. In their own way, they were learning how to get along.

 

As for the others, they got along great with Midoriya. He fit in nicely with the group, and Kirishima noticed more and more sketches of them in Midoriya’s notebook.

 

There was one day when Midoriya managed to catch Kirishima after school, before he met up with the others. There was an odd sort of nervous expression of his face. Not like Kirishima hadn’t seen Midoriya nervous before, but something about this seemed different. Maybe it was because he had been running, so he was slightly out of breath and his face was flushed.

 

Midoriya held out the note, and Kirishima stifled a laugh when it reminded him of an anime with a school girl confessing through a note. The paper barely touched his hand when a gust of wind rushed by, blowing the paper away. Both boys lunged forward to grab it, but caught nothing but empty air.

 

With a sigh of despair, Midoriya stared at the paper as it blew away.

 

“Sorry!” Kirishima apologized, “I’ve been practicing sign, so maybe I’ll understand if you sign to me what you were trying to say?”

 

Midoriya looked doubtful but slowly signed.

 

After a few moments, Kirishima sighed, “Yeah, I only understood every other word. I’m sorry.”

 

With a disappointed, but not surprised, look on his face, Midoriya shrugged. He signed, later. Simple, but Kirishima understood what he meant. Midoriya would try again at some other point to tell him. What could be so important that Midoriya didn’t want to do it around the others, Kirishima didn’t know. Part of him wondered if it actually was a confession, but he doubted it. They’ve known each other for about a month, and Midoriya didn’t act like he had a crush.

 

Soon, Kirishima’s friends came out of the school to join him, and Midoriya went another way home.

 

A few days later at lunch, the time spent together was a lot more quiet than usual. Jirou and Ashido were listening to music together, Kaminari was rushing to finish homework due the next period, and Bakugou didn’t seem very chatty and was on his phone. Kirishima ended up staring at the clouds until Midoriya rapidly patted his arm until he got Kirishima’s attention. Holding up his phone, Midoriya looked so hopeful.

 

Assuming Midoriya wanted to exchange numbers, Kirishima felt awful about breaking the news to him. “I… I broke my phone and don’t have a new one yet,” Kirishima said slowly, smiling sheepishly.

 

If Midoriya could groan in frustration, he would be at that moment. His head fell back, bumping against the wall they were sitting against. A heavy breath left his body and, he stared at Kirishima like he was making this way more difficult than it needed to be. Which he might actually be doing, but Kirishima couldn’t tell.

 

“In a few weeks, I’ll have enough to buy a new one,” Kirishima promised. “Sorry about that.”

 

The next day, Midoriya managed to catch him before classes started. Instead of paper, Midoriya had written out what he wanted on his phone. Kirishima barely had a chance to glance at the screen when Ashido rushed over.

 

“Kirishima!” Ashido was breathing hard, making it clear she had sprinted all the way here. “Bakugou got into a fight.”

 

“Woah, wait.” Kirishima’s eyes immediately left the phone’s screen to look at Ashido’s panicked face. “Bakugou’s not an idiot, he wouldn’t do anything that could end up on his school record.”

 

“Yeah, but from what I know he wasn’t the one who started it. Right outside of the school, kids from that other nearby school started picking on him and Kaminari-” Ah, if Kaminari was involved, it made sense to Kirishima. Bakugou could pretend all he wanted, but he definitely had a soft spot for his soulmate and would deck a guy in the face for messing with him. “-and then they got physical.”

 

“If it was outside the school, and Bakugou didn’t start it, why do you look so panicked?”

 

“That’s the bad part. He might’ve not started the fight, but he sure as hell finished it… and the fight was just close enough to be considered on school grounds.” Ashido groaned, “It’s not looking good for Bakugou.”

 

Kirishima bit his lip, processing the situation. If Bakugou kept his cool while talking to administration, he might get by with simple punishment and a call home with no mentions of the fight on his school record. But with his mom, he might as well have started the fight in the middle of the school. Even if the administration let Bakugou off easy, she certainly wouldn’t.

 

“I guess we’ll have to hope for the best.” Kirishima shrugged helplessly. There wasn’t anything they could do, it’s not like Bakugou was innocent and they could go in and save him. He was on his own this time. Hopefully, he’d be at lunch. “Is Kaminari in the office with him?”

 

Overhead, the bell rang. The hallway grew in noise as students went to their classes.

 

“I think so, yeah,” Ashido nodded. “Seeing how he was with Bakugou when the fight happened, they’re probably asking for his side of the story. I’ll talk to you more at lunch!” With a wave, Ashido headed off to her class further down the hall.

 

With Ashido gone, Kirishima realized he utterly ignored his other fluffy haired friend. Midoriya was still next to him, although it looked like he had put his phone away. He had a concerned look on his face, making Kirishima nudge him.

 

“Aw, you worried about Bakugou?” Kirishima teased.

 

Midoriya crinkled his nose and gave him a look like, you’ve got to be kidding me.

 

“You two don’t have to keep up this rivalry, you can admit that the other isn’t bad as you originally thought.” Kirishima poked Midoriya, but he continued to look opposed to the idea. “While you’re in denial, I’m gonna get to class before I’m late.” It’s then when Kirishima remembered Midoriya has something written on his phone. “Oh god, you had something to say to me!”

 

Midoriya signed, later, with a shrug. He looked a little disappointed, but Kirishima knew he’d try again later. Still, Kirishima didn’t like brushing Midoriya off like this repeatedly. If he just knew a bit more sign, maybe Midoriya wouldn’t be having such a difficult time trying to talk to him.

 

Kirishima planned on asking again at lunch, but his attention got drawn elsewhere once again. Bakugou didn’t join them at lunch, but Kaminari was there and was bombarded with questions the moment he arrived.

 

“Is Bakugou in trouble?”

 

“Of course he’s in trouble! How much trouble, though?”

 

“What school were those guys from?”

 

“Did they hurt you?”

 

“Guys!” Kaminari held out his hands as if he could stop the inquisition. After a moment of silence, he answered them. “Yes Bakugou’s in trouble. He’s in-school suspension right now and is going to have after school detention starting tomorrow for a couple days. I’m pretty sure the guys were from Ketsubutsu. After arguing for a bit, we decided to just ignore them and get to school, but one of them tripped me. That’s when the fight started.”

 

Kirishima would never really understand the hatred other schools held for U.A. They got labeled as a “rich asshole” school, even though it was a public school, not just for those who can pay. If they were to pay, he knew he definitely wouldn’t be going to the school. Kirishima supposed the area they lived in was very nice, and countless legends had gone to school at U.A. It was well funded too, but still, they weren’t better than anyone else.

 

“So Bakugou started fighting after they tripped you?” Ashido asked, there was a tone and look to her face that was hard to put a name to, but Kirishima understood her.

 

Kaminari nodded. “Yeah. Don’t know why Bakugou got so mad, though, I’m fine.” He shrugged and laughed, “Ah, it’s been awhile since he’s been a fight, might’ve wanted an excuse.”

 

It was amazing how literally everyone but Kaminari seemed to understand why Bakugou was so pissed. Kirishima didn’t think someone could be more clueless if they tried to be. Bakugou was at Kaminari’s side every moment he could be. While he teased Kaminari as bad as Jirou, it was like he didn’t want Kaminari to catch onto his feelings. Which was clearly working, but still.

 

“Glad he’ll be alright.” Kirishima smiled, and finally sat down next to Midoriya. He had seated himself on the ground some time ago, but had listened to Kaminari through the duration of his story. Kirishima caught him signing a question before probably realizing Kaminari couldn’t understand. It made Kirishima wonder if he could get the others to pick up sign language too. Midoriya was always more lively talking to his other friends, but here he was limited to basic signs, and trying to be expressful in other ways.

 

Others followed Kirishima’s lead and sat down, but they continued to chat with Kaminari about what happened.

 

“Kaminari is clueless,” Kirishima sighed quietly, “like, c’mon dude. He’s your soulmate, ‘course Bakugou got mad.”

 

Midoriya gave Kirishima an odd look, before smiling and looking off to the side with a huff.

 

“What?”

 

Later.

 

Kirishima wondered how many times Midoriya would tell him “later” until he finally got out what he wanted to say. Maybe he could talk to Uraraka? She was in his class after all and very approachable. Unlike Todoroki and Iida. Though the few times Kirishima had been around Iida, he seemed unintentionally goofy and overall friendly. He was just very dedicated to doing well in all aspects of his life, and Kirishima was pretty sure Iida was on the track team too.

 

Todoroki on the other hand was a complete mystery to Kirishima. It was confusing to see him have so many friends. Uraraka’s soulmate (tall pretty girl, Kirishima learned her name was Yaoyorozu) seemed to be close with him. Of course Midoriya considered him a good friend, and Kirishima had a feeling Iida and Todoroki were soulmates. It was just a hunch, nothing confirmed. The only reason why Kirishima thought so was because the one time he saw Todoroki smile was when he was talking to Iida.

 

Later never seemed to come. It was unbelievable the amount of things that came up suddenly when Midoriya tried to talk to him. Kirishima was slowly learning more sign language, but he still could only understand simple things, whatever Midoriya had to say wasn’t in his vocabulary yet.

 

Another issue was with Bakugou. The fight he had with the guys from the other school seemed to have toned him down. It wasn’t super noticeable, but there was a lack of energy, and Kirishima caught Bakugou staring at Kaminari more and more often.

 

“You know, instead of staring at Kaminari, you could like, talk to him,” Kirishima suggested. He didn’t often hang out alone with Bakugou. Everything was a group activity and once high school started, none of them really hung out together in general. With clubs and homework, things just piled up and it was hard to find a day where all of them were free. And with Kirishima lacking a phone, it made meeting up together even harder.

 

“Or you could like, mind your own fucking business?” Bakugou said back in an amiable tone that told Kirishima to shut the hell up. But, Kirishima was never one to listen when Bakugou got threatening anyways. If he did, Bakugou would never have any of his emotions sorted out.

 

“Just admit you like Kaminari.”

 

“I don’t have to admit shit.”

 

“You beat two guys asses because one of them tripped Kaminari.”

 

“You think the other guy just stood by and watch as I kicked his friends ass? Besides, they were both pricks.”

 

Kirishima held back a groan of frustration. “You hadn’t been in a fight since junior high, first year. You’ve been in a lot of trying situations, but you’ve always chose to walk away instead of getting in trouble. So bullshit it was just because they were jerks, you didn’t like them messing with Kaminari.”

 

Bakugou glowered at his phone, stubbornly not looking up at Kirishima. “So what? He’s my soulmate. Someone’s gotta look after that idiot. It doesn’t mean I like him.”

 

“And all the staring?”

 

“Can you please just fucking drop it already?!” Bakugou snapped, finally looking up at Kirishima with a glare. “It wouldn’t even matter even if I did like him, he’s straight, or haven’t you noticed him flirting with every pretty girl he sees?”

 

There it was. The real root of denial.

 

“You’re turning yourself down before he can.” It wasn’t a question.

 

Bakugou swallowed hard and looked back down at his phone again. “I said drop it.” His voice was softer now. Now, Kirishima listened. It wouldn’t do any good to press Bakugou further on this. He clearly had a lot to think about.

 

“Getting on to me for all this,” Bakugou grumbled, “when you got that doey eyed boy all over you.”

 

“Midoriya isn’t all over me!”

 

“Yeah, sorry,” Bakugou corrected himself, “you’re all over him.”

 

“Am not!”

 

“You literally lean into him while he’s drawing.”

 

“I just wanna see what he’s drawing.”

 

“See? It’s not fun when the tables are reversed.”

 

“Oh, shut up.”

 

Bakugou snorted, looking pleased with himself. “You like him.”

 

“Yeah, as a friend.

 

“Sure.”

 

Bakugou was ridiculous. Kirishima’s never really crushed on someone before, but he was pretty sure Midoriya didn’t fall into the crush category. Besides, even if he did like him, there’s still a communication barrier. It’d be sad to fall for someone and not being able to express your feelings for them. Of course gestures could be made to get the point across, but if Kirishima was going to date someone, he wanted them to have zero doubts about how he felt. Not everyone expresses love in the same way. Some want their significant other’s time, gifts or words affection.

 

Besides, Midoriya seemed like a guy who’d be in love with their soulmate. It then struck Kirishima that he hadn’t seen a mark on Midoriya, perhaps in a spot that’s covered by clothes, or… maybe he didn’t have one. Kirishima immediately felt bad for being hopeful. Considering how low he felt at times realizing he didn’t have a soulmate, he didn’t want Midoriya to feel the same way.

 

With his thoughts on Midoriya, he decided to finally put an end to Midoriya saying later. He’d ask tomorrow if he wanted to hang out after school. That should give him more than enough time to get out what he wanted to say without interruption. If Kirishima was honest, he might’ve been avoiding it a little. It was just the unknown of what Midoriya had to say made him anxious. If it couldn’t be said around other friends, it must be important.

 

Tomorrow came and Kirishima made himself not back out of asking Midoriya to hang out. For some reason, hanging out alone with him made him a little nervous, even if he ignored the fact about being nervous about what Midoriya had to say. Still, it’d be cowardly to back now that he’s made up his mind.

 

“Hey, Midoriya,” Kirishima unhelpfully realized at this moment that he really did lean into Midoriya a lot while watching him draw. When Midoriya turned his head to look at him, he had to lean back before their faces got too close. “Do you want to hang out after school today?”

 

Midoriya looked surprised, head tilting in a questioning way.

 

“We’ve never hung outside school before,” was he rushing his words too fast? Oh gosh, he probably sounded weird, “and I just thought it’d be nice. If you can’t, that’s fine!”

 

Midoriya had an amused look on his face, so Kirishima was certain he had looked like a total weirdo. He was just asking to hang out, there wasn’t anything weird about it. So why did it feel so awkward?

 

Even though Midoriya signed slowly, Kirishima didn’t understand everything he said.

 

Still, it was enough to make a guess. “You can hang out after school, just not right after school?”

 

Midoriya nodded, and Kirishima suppressed the urge to sigh in relief. He really had to start believing in himself a bit more when it came to sign language, he was getting better. What he didn’t understand, he could at least make good guesses.

 

“Meet up then? We’ll have to decide now since I don’t have a phone still.”

 

The details slowly came together. A time and place were decided on. At 4 PM, they’d meet at a bridge that was somewhere between their two homes. Or at least Kirishima assumed, he didn’t really know where Midoriya lived. However, the landmark was familiar to both of them, so it’d work.

 

Kirishima didn’t know what Midoriya had to do first, but he supposed he didn’t really know much about Midoriya beyond his school life. He was in the top class, had a lot of friends, and loved to draw. The friend part surprised Kirishima. Not that he thought Midoriya was incapable of making friends, he just thought fewer people would put effort into befriending someone they’d have a hard time communicating with. From class D to A, he had no shortages of people to be with. It kind of confused Kirishima. With so many other people, why did Midoriya choose to sit with Kirishima and his group? People like Uraraka and Iida knew sign language and had no problems talking to him. Meanwhile, Kirishima knew the basics, Bakugou knew insults, and the others knew only a few signs.

 

Not that Kirishima was complaining. There could be a number of reasons as to why Midoriya spent lunch with him, but he hoped it was simply because he liked being around them.

 

Before lunch was over, Uraraka pulled Midoriya away to tell him something. He barely out of earshot when the others started teasing.

 

“Was that a date I overheard you two planning?” Ashido asked with a grin.

 

“It’s not a date!”

 

“Then why weren’t we invited?” Kaminari joined in, waggling his eyebrows. “Clearly you want to spend time alone with him.”

 

“I do, but it’s not for any reason deserving for your eyebrows to be moving like that,” Kirishima said defensively, crossing his arms. “I have my reasons, but it’s not because I like him.”

 

“Raise your hand if you think Kirishima is a lying piece of shit,” Bakugou called out helpfully, raising his hand. Everyone followed suit and raised their hands.

 

“Sero, what the hell?” Kirishima looked mocked hurt. “I thought you didn’t pick side?”

 

Before Sero could answer, Jirou butted in, “I’m usually the same way -unless it involves Kaminari because he’s always in the wrong-”

 

“Hey!”

 

“-but in this case, it’s either you like him… or you still like him. There’s really no other reason.”

 

Sero nodded in agreement. “We already have someone here in denial, we don’t need another.”

 

Bakugou glared daggers at Sero, but he didn’t seem to notice, or care.

 

The bell ringing was Kirishima’s saving grace. “While all of you are being incredibly wrong, I’m gonna go to class.” With that, he walked off.

 

“You’d make a lovely couple!” Ashido called after him. “Red and green are complementary colors!”

 

This was WAY different than Bakugou and Kaminari. Bakugou actually did like Kaminari in a romantic way. Leave it to his friends to blow things out of proportion. Still, his cheeks were burning, and he was so glad he managed to walk away before it showed. Blushing would mean that he liked Midoriya, rather than being embarrassed about being accused of liking him.

 

Later that day, Kirishima arrived at the bridge a bit too early. Still, it was a nice spot, even if it wasn’t particularly special. A couple ended up showing up, leaning against the side of the bridge and looking at the water below. They didn’t pay any mind to Kirishima and talked among themselves.

 

Kirishima hadn’t noticed Midoriya was standing next to him until he was poked. With a jolt, he backed away in surprise before realizing it was only Midoriya.

 

His eyes crinkled in amusement. Sorry.

 

“You don’t look sorry,” Kirishima huffed.

 

Midoriya shrugged and looked at the couple. Do you know them?

 

“Nope. Honestly I might’ve been eavesdropping a bit while waiting for you to show up.” It’s not something Kirishima wanted to make a habit out of, but it’s not like he couldn’t hear what they were saying. “Look at the guy’s arm, it says “you have really pretty eyes.” Imagine that being the first thing you hear your soulmate say, it’s kinda sweet.”

 

Midoriya nodded in agreement before his eyes lit up. He pointed at the couple then at him and Kirishima. He stared intensely and Kirishima had no idea what he was trying to say.

 

“Are… are you trying to say I have pretty eyes?” Kirishima stammered out in confusion.

 

Midoriya shook his head, green curls swinging into his eyes. He paused and stared at Kirishima’s eyes for a moment, and made a face. Yes, but no.

 

Kirishima snorted. “You have pretty eyes too.” While he said it in a joking tone, he realized it was true. Bakugou insulted Midoriya, saying he was plain looking, but his eyes were definitely nice. He might not have good looks like Bakugou or Todoroki, but it wasn’t like he was bad looking at all. It’s not like-

 

Blinking, Kirishima realized that now wasn’t the time to be considering how attractive Midoriya was or wasn’t.

 

“We should probably get going,” Kirishima said, suddenly feeling awkward, “that couple is starting to have an argument.” Which was true, behind them, their voices had raised.

 

Midoriya nodded, face slightly turned away. There was a light blush on his face, which made Kirishima remember that Midoriya was easily flustered when complimented.



“You can be such an ass, you know?”

 

“Same goes for you! One would think my soulmate would be sweet considering the first words I heard you say but-”

 

Midoriya and Kirishima exchanged awkward looks as they went past the bickering couple.

 

“That’s one thing that bothers me,” Kirishima started to say once they had walked past the couple, “people always think that because they’re soulmates, everything will fall into place perfectly. Or they think they have to be with their soulmate romantically. There’s been cases where soulmates end up hating each other because they treat their relationship as if it can never go wrong and they don’t work things out because they expect their problems to work themselves out. Soulmate bonds are only special if you put effort into making it special. I’ve seen Jirou and Ashido go at it in a fight, and they’re still together because they talked to each other.” Kirishima sighed, “Not like I really have a say, having no soulmate and all. But if I did, I’d want to get to know them first, not rush into a relationship. It’d be worth the time and effort to figure things out.”

 

Midoriya patiently listened to Kirishima as he rambled.

 

“Ah, I’ll stop myself there. I’ve talked enough.” Kirishima stopped walking, and Midoriya did too, giving him a curious look. “You’ve been wanting to tell me something, right?”

 

Midoriya blinked in surprise as if he had completely forgotten. His hand started reaching for his phone, but he paused with a frown. He looked deep in thought, contemplating something. His hand dropped away from his pocket and he shook his head.

 

Later.

 

“Later?” Kirishima was honestly surprised. “You’ve been trying to tell me something for a month now, and you’re saying later?” He wasn’t angry and hoped he didn’t come off as such, he just simply didn’t understand. Was it something Kirishima said? Wrong time and place? Whatever it was, Kirishima doubted he could drag the answer out of him.

 

Midoriya shrugged and repeated the sign, later. He still looked a little unsure, but if he wasn’t sure about what he wanted to say, Kirishima would leave him be. It was possible that now that he had the chance to tell him, he was having second guesses. Whatever it was, Kirishima would hold him to his word. Later would eventually come.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Midoriya,” Kirishima nudged the other boy to get his attention. “I’ve got a question.”

 

What? Midoriya signed once he managed to pull his gaze away from the disaster going on in front of him. Why Kaminari thought it was a good idea to continuously poke Bakugou’s cheek, commenting on how soft and squishy it was, Kirishima didn’t know. He was just surprised how long it took before a “fight” happened. Kaminari was unhurt, but his disheveled appearance made it look like Bakugou had been serious.

 

“I learned that when it comes to signing names, it’s usually unique to every person. Like, you might sign a name for me, but someone else has a different name.” Honestly, researching was half the fun of learning sign language. He’s known Midoriya for about half a year now, but he had been so focused on just the hand signs that he hadn’t really looked into anything else until recently. It was a bit of bummer to learn that it could take him up to 3 years to truly be fluent with sign language. Even then, there could be many more years of learning.

 

Midoriya was patient at least and they could hold a conversation. The rest of their friend group was picking it up at a much slower pace than Kirishima, but he could tell Midoriya appreciated the effort. Ashido knew the most sign language right after Bakugou, who seemed to be learning it out of spite. It was nice to see Midoriya take part in more of their conversations, even if he couldn’t say all that he wanted to.

 

“So, because of that, I was wondering if you gave me a nickname.” Kirishima looked at Midoriya curiously.

 

Yes. Midoriya smiled. I call you Red.

 

That’s what Kirishima expected. If not that then cut or sharp , considering the kanji in his name. “Is it fine if I call you by a color too? Midori means green so I think it’d fit, especially considering your hair color.” If he was honest, he liked the idea of having a “matching” name with Midoriya. He didn’t dare verbalize that thought, though. It seemed far too childish.

 

Midoriya nodded and proceeded to point at the others. Ashido was called Pink, which, considering how she never went a day without wearing the color, wasn’t a surprise. After a small game of charades, Kirishima figured out that Kaminari was Electricity. Jirou was Music (even as Kaminari and Bakugou fought in front of her, she only took her earbud out to listen to Ashido). The next sign was explosion. While Kirishima didn’t know it beforehand, the sign itself was pretty self explanatory.

 

“Is he Explosion because of the kanji in his name, or because of his personality?” Kirishima asked, giving Midoriya a look.

 

His nose crinkled in amusement and he shrugged, looking off to the side. Well, it worked either way, Kirishima supposed. Still, Midoriya definitely had Bakugou’s personality in mind while choosing his name.

 

With Ashido as Pink, that sort of took away from the whole matching names thing with Midoriya, but Kirishima could deal with that. She was one of his closest friends after all.

 

Kirishima couldn’t believe how close of a friend Midoriya had become over the past year and a half. They hung out a lot more often, and Kirishima could finally stop feeling so weird about it. Sometimes they went out with additional friends, other times it was just the two of them. Midoriya’s mom was a very sweet woman, very similar to her son in many ways. On occasion he’d come over to Kirishima’s house. That didn’t happen often since Kirishima’s mom had a “no friends over when I’m not home” rule, and she worked most of the day.

 

It was funny; both of them were very embarrassed to have the other come over to their house because of their rooms. Nothing was wrong with them, but it turned out they both had the same passion for superheroes, and so had merch covering their rooms. Midoriya loved All Might more than Crimson Riot, but that was forgivable. Kirishima still hadn’t recovered from the time when he was still in junior high and Kaminari told him to look up the “superhero” Midnight. Kaminari giggling like a devious little kid should’ve been a give away, but he had made her seem so cool.

 

One thing that bothered Kirishima, though, was that whatever Midoriya had tried to tell him when they first met was never brought up again. Well, at least not by Midoriya. Kirishima would bring it up every now and then, but he got the same answer every time. Later.

 

Kirishima went from being anxious about finding out what he had to say and almost avoiding it, to being desperate to know. He couldn’t get Midoriya to budge on the topic, though, so he let it slide. If he was saying later instead of nevermind, then Kirishima believed he’d learn what it was someday.

 

“Oi, nerd!”

 

They both looked over at Bakugou who had finally released Kaminari from the head lock he had him in. Kaminari still had a shit eating grin on his face and looked like he was tempted to poke Bakugou’s cheek again anyways.

 

“You keep pointing at me!” Bakugou crossed his arms. “Kirishima, is he talking shit?”

 

Yes. Midoriya signed the same time Kirishima said “No.”

 

Kirishima lightly shoved Midoriya while Bakugou’s eyes darted between the two, trying to decide who the liar was. “He’s messing with you. Nothing bad was said,” Kirishima promised. Honestly, Midoriya was normally very sweet, so seeing him tease Bakugou was hilarious. Bakugou wasn’t a fan of being teased, though, so it was a constant struggle to keep them from bickering. Sometimes they genuinely disliked each other, unlike more playful moments like this one.

 

Before Bakugou could say anything, Ashido butted in. “Alright, it’s time for another group bonding exercise!” They all collectively groaned at that because the last “bonding exercise” had been super embarrassing. Some slumber party type game, which seemed fun at first up until the point they were confessing things they didn’t actually plan on confessing.

 

“Oh, shut it!” Ashido kicked the nearest person to her. Well, the nearest person to her foot which happened to be poor Kaminari. “This is a good one, I swear!”

 

“Like that time we got lost in the woods so we could have an adventure?”

 

“Or that time you got us banned from the mall by the airport?”

 

“Hey, remember-”

 

“Shut the hell up!” Ashido stomped her foot, face flushing. She took in a deep breath, glaring down Bakugou, who looked like he had something to add. “We haven’t been to the beach in years. I thought it’d be fun to go again.”

 

Looking around, Kirishima saw everyone nodding in agreement. It was hard to get banned from the beach. Just a wide open space with nothing to crash into. Kirishima honestly wasn’t a huge fan. It was too hot, too sandy, and had the worst combination of hot sand that burned his feet. Beaches after dark were amazing, though. No people, no hot sand, just the lapping of waves and cool water at his feet. Walking on the beach at night was very nice. Kirishima had fond memories from when he was little of going to the beach with his mom towards the end of the day to watch the sunset.

 

“You in?” Kirishima asked, immediately looking towards Midoriya.

 

Sounds fun, Midoriya signed, eyes lighting up. Kirishima still thought he had a very cute smile, even more so when excited. He found himself smiling as well, turning his head away to see how everyone else felt about it.

 

“Think I’ll actually get a girl when we go this time?” Kaminari asked, as if he didn’t get turned down by every girl when they went back in middle school.

 

Kirishima’s eyes immediately flicked over to Bakugou, who grimaced.

 

“Doubt it.” Bakugou shrugged, as if he couldn’t care less about what Kaminari said. “You still look like you’re in middle school with that twink body of yours.”

 

Kaminari sputtered and tried to make a comeback, face turning red. Kirishima would feel bad for him if he weren’t laughing so hard, and if Kaminari wasn’t so oblivious about Bakugou’s feelings.

 

The lunch group couldn’t get themselves back under control before lunch ended. As funny as it was, Kirishima was going to have to have a chat with Bakugou again. After their first conversation, he seemed to get more and more jealous. He was starting to react more negatively to Kaminari’s poor attempts at flirting with girls, and Kirishima was starting to worry that would send the wrong message. It’d be Bakugou’s luck for Kaminari to pick up on his feelings now but misinterpret them.

 

However, it seemed Bakugou was going to have none of that. The word “hey” barely left Kirishima’s mouth before Bakugou said, “No.”

 

“What?”

 

“You always start a conversation about feelings with a ‘hey’ and that dumb look on your face.” Bakugou crossed his arms. “You were staring at me at lunch after what Denki said, and then you asked to hang out.”

 

“You still agreed to hang out, though.”

 

“Yeah, because I’m confident I can get you to shut up.” Bakugou’s arms fell back to his side before shoving them in his pockets. That was a tell tale sign that he was upset or bothered. He became antsy and always ended up putting his hands in his pockets to keep himself from fidgeting.

 

Kirishima was silent for a beat while they crossed a road. “Well, good luck, because you need to talk about this.”

 

“We’ve been over this.” Bakugou stopped, snarl on his face. “There’s nothing to fucking talk about. Let’s just move on already.”

 

“You can’t tell me to move on when you haven’t.” Kirishima was glad Bakugou continued to walk and got off the road, because a driver seemed tempted to run him over if he took any longer. “You’ve been acting really jealous lately.”

 

“I’m not fucking jealous!” Bakugou snapped, posture even worse, but more tense, like he was ready to fight. Kirishima was pretty sure he’d never actually try to fight him, so he didn’t think much of it as he continued to talk.

 

“Oh really?” Kirishima gave him a look. “Then what was that at lunch?”

 

Bakugou snorted. “What? Me insulting Denki? Because that happens all the time, shit for brains.”

 

“It’s the look you had on your face. And lately, you’ve been insulting him any time he mentions a girl. Hell, even when Kaminari talks about a girl he has no interest in you make a jab at him.” This was almost exhausting, but Kirishima had the receipts and was more than willing to use them. “Honestly, at times you’ve been treating him pretty shitty.”

 

Once again, Bakugou stopped. “Stay out of my fucking business when you’re still in denial about the nerd. You can’t say shit to me about feelings when you’re blatantly ignoring your own and Midoriya’s.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“That damn nerd never leaves your fucking side! I see his notebook in class, he’s always fucking drawing you, and you can’t ever look at him without having some dopey ass puppy dog look in your eyes.” Bakugou gave Kirishima an unimpressed look. “You clearly don’t know shit about feelings, so don’t even bother trying to lecture me.”

 

Kirishima shook his head, trying to shake away the thoughts streaming through his head. Right now was about Bakugou, not Midoriya. “Nope. We can talk about that later. Kaminari is starting to pick up on your jealousy, but from the looks he’s had after you insult him, not in a good way.”

 

For first time in the whole conversation, Bakugou remained silent and simply glared at Kirishima.

 

“You can’t get jealous over someone if you’re not even going to tell them how you feel.” Kirishima let his voice become calmer. He had Bakugou’s attention now, so there was no need to stress his voice. “Keep this up and he’ll think he’s doing something wrong.”

 

“When is he not doing something wrong?” Bakugou muttered, walking past Kirishima. He wasn’t denying he had feelings or that he was in the wrong, so that was a start. “There’s no point in confessing, anyways. But fine, I’ll tone it down.”

 

Kirishima sighed and trailed after him. Bakugou’s voice always got softer when he was emotionally upset. Baby steps. He got Bakugou to acknowledge his feelings last time (even if he didn’t actually admit it), and now made Bakugou aware of his behavior towards Kaminari. Later he’d push for an actual confession from him, but this was okay for now. It wasn’t that Kirishima wanted to meddle in Bakugou’s love life, but Kaminari was one of his best friends. If he could do something to help, he was going to. Kirishima would never betray Bakugou and tell Kaminari about his feelings. So, that left talking to Bakugou as his only way to try and help them out.

 

They walked in silence after that. Kirishima expected it to be like usual: they’d pick a video game, play it until they got bored, and then eat snacks while getting some homework done. If they finished early, Kirishima would lay around until it was evening and then go home. On nights where his mom worked too late for her to make or bring home dinner, Bakugou’s mother would let him stay.

 

Instead of the usual, though, Bakugou just flopped down on his bed.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“Not in the mood for video games.” He had a troubled look, burying his face into his pillow once he saw Kirishima staring at him. With a sigh, Kirishima plopped down on the end of Bakugou’s bed and stared at the ceiling. Bakugou probably forgot that Kirishima still didn’t have a phone and had nothing to do without it. After a sudden pipe burst back at his apartment, his phone funds had to go to fixing the leak. Not having a phone was merely inconvenient at first, but now it was getting pretty annoying.

 

It was fine. This wouldn’t be the first time Bakugou got moody and wasn’t in the mood to do things. Laying on the bed, he closed his eyes and let his thoughts wander. After months of teasing from his friends and two callouts from Bakugou, Kirishima wondered if it really seem like he liked Midoriya. He couldn’t see how he was acting differently around Midoriya than his other friends, but apparently everyone else saw itt. Or maybe it was the fact that Midoriya hadn’t brought up soulmates at all and didn’t have some predetermined love interest. Sure, soulmates weren’t always romantic, but they often were. They wouldn’t coo over him if he were hanging around someone with a known soulmate mark.

 

Kirishima must’ve fallen asleep at one point because he got kicked awake by Bakugou who was still lying on the other side of the bed. “It’s getting kinda late, we should start on homework.”

 

Waking up from a nap and going straight to doing homework seemed like an awful transition, but it was either do it or fail class so Kirishima dragged himself off the bed with a heavy sigh. Bakugou was one of the smartest kids in school, so passing up on a chance to study with him would be a dumb move.

 

Homework was done and dinner was eaten. Soon enough, Kirishima was on his way home, thoughts no less cluttered than before. Maybe Midoriya did like him? Well, no need to make assumptions. Unless it became super obvious or he confessed, Kirishima would go on believing Midoriya didn’t like him.

 

The weekend couldn’t come fast enough. Him and his disaster squad kept making stupid bets and plans for the beach. It only added to their excitement, and soon even just sitting in the classroom became unbearable. Kirishima heard complaints at lunch from Kaminari about how his teachers kept getting onto him from spacing out. That was normal, but even more so the past week.

 

“To clarify,” Kirishima got everyone’s attention before the lunch period ended, “we leave at nine A.M, right?” Not having a phone meant plans had to be exact or else things could go wrong. He wouldn’t be able to message them to double check in the morning. His mom had asked him why he didn’t just call them using the home phone, but if he was honest he had no idea what his friends’ numbers were.

 

“Yup!” Ashido was practically vibrating she was moving so much, legs bouncing up and down. “Midoriya, Kyouka and I are going to show up at your house, then your mom is gonna drive us part of the way there. Bakugou, Kaminari, and Sero are going with Bakugou’s mom...We could take the subway but-”

 

Kirishima huffed out a sigh. “You know how my mom is. She thinks we’ll look like tourists and get targeted by muggers, or whatever.”

 

“You sure she’s the same mom who let let you hold a knife when you were four?” Bakugou asked.

 

“She made a mistake,” Jirou pointed at Kirishima’s eye. “Never again will she let her poor boy get himself in trouble.” Her voice took on a teasing tone and Kirishima held his hand to his chest in offence.

 

“She didn’t know I had the knife!”

 

“So either you’re an idiot,” Bakugou was now grinning, “or you’re a mama’s boy who won’t stand up to his mother when she gets too overprotective.”

 

Kirishima almost said that maybe Bakugou’s mother herself should probably be more protective over Bakugou considering what had happened, but he stopped himself before the words got out. The shock that he almost casually referred to such an awful incident shut him up long enough for others to call him a mama's boy as well.

 

Snapping out of it, Kirishima looked towards Midoriya for help. “Please, I don’t deserve this. Help me.”

 

Mama’s boy, Midoriya signed back with a smile. Well, he actually simply signed mom and boy. However, the effect was the same.

 

“Unbelievable.” Kirishima shook his head in disbelief. “I have no friends.”

 

“Wait, we were your friends?”

 

They spent the rest of the lunch period insulting each other, but it was pretty much Kirishima versus the others. Kaminari decided to help a bro out after Jirou turned on him. It was all in good fun, leaving Kirishima walking away with a smile even as he yelled back at them until he was inside the school building. The yelling earned him some dirty looks from other students, but he didn’t care much. They wouldn’t remember this after today anyways.

 

The smile vanished from his face the second he saw the bully. Kirishima didn’t know his name, but ever since day one, the guy who talked to Midoriya in the hallway always stood out like a sore thumb to him. Kirishima had given up long ago trying to figure out what the guy wanted. Midoriya never gave him a straight answer, or maybe it was the communication barrier. Regardless, Kirishima always kept an eye out for him. He never noticed any bruises on Midoriya, but verbal abuse could be hell of a thing too.

 

Midoriya had a lot of friends. He almost always had someone with him. Maybe that bully cornering him was a one time thing? Kirishima hoped so, because Midoriya was leaving him with no other choice but to trust his word. Still, the urge to march up to the guy and demand what he wanted from Midoriya was strong. Kirishima wanted to protect him. Picking fights, however, was not the way to do things.

 

The drone of classroom talk turned his thoughts to happier things. He was going to the beach with his friends. That was a lot more worth his time to think about than some guy who was hopefully out of Midoriya’s life.

 

It was hard to sleep that night, excitement keeping him up. It wasn’t like he’d never been to the beach, or hung out with his friends before. Hell, this wouldn’t even be the first time Midoriya hung out with him and the others outside of school. Though it was the first time in ages they were all going to be together. Jirou wouldn’t be hanging after school in her music club, Bakugou wouldn’t be too swamped by homework to go anywhere, and all the other little things that prevented them all from hanging out together would be gone for a day.

 

Sleep eventually came. Kirishima wasn’t exactly a morning person, but getting up at early times when he could have slept in had never been a problem. Within minutes of his alarm going off he was already dressed in a simple white t-shirt and swim trunks, ready to go. His mom was much slower, taking her time getting ready and making breakfast. They wouldn’t be able to leave until Ashido and Midoriya came anyways, but Kirishima could hardly sit still without glancing at a clock and wondering if they were gonna show up soon.

 

His mom barely had to time register the fact someone was knocking on the door before Kirishima had sprung up and gone to answer it. Ashido was at the door and looked as ready to go as Kirishima. It was a relief when his mom didn’t say anything about the way Ashido was dressed. With white shorts and a wide open pink button up shirt that showed off her swimsuit top, it was completely acceptable for the beach (or anywhere really if it wasn’t formal wear), but his mom was weird. She’d comment on how a woman’s top was too low cut, then say she loved some other revealing clothing. Kirishima didn’t get it.

 

They chatted back and forth until Kirishima’s mother gave them breakfast.

 

“I made enough for several people.” She shook her head when Ashido protested. “Don’t worry about it.”

 

This meant that she’d probably make Midoriya sit down for breakfast too, which was fine if it weren’t for the fact that Kirishima wanted to leave the second Midoriya showed up. He’d never properly met Kirishima’s mother either, so she’d want to chat with him.

 

True to Kirishima’s prediction, she sat Midoriya down when he showed up. Kirishima had to translate the best he could, seeing how his mother didn’t know any sign. It was a long process, considering Midoriya had to stop eating to sign and his mother was asking questions faster than he could get food into his mouth. Ashido remained surprisingly patient, keeping a close eye on Midoriya’s signing and Kirishima’s translation.

 

The second Midoriya finished eating, Ashido had one hand on Midoriya’s arm and was dragging him to the door, and Kirishima rushed his mom to grab her purse and get out.

 

“Seriously, it’s barely nine A.M and you’ll get there just before ten A.M.” She shook her head, taking her time despite Kirishima pressing her to hurry up. “You’ll have until after sundown to be at the beach.” She still had work that day, so Kirishima would have to be picked up in the evening. Not that he minded, he liked the beach more after sundown anyways.

 

As his mother drove, Ashido let out a sudden whine. "Aw man! Sero got sick, he's not gonna be able to make it."

 

Tell him I hope he feels better, Midoriya frowned, looking a little disappointed. Kirishima agreed. For the first time in ages they all got to hang out, and they were down a person.

 

It wasn’t much of a surprise that they showed up before Bakugou’s group did.

 

“Have fun! Stay safe, and don’t be afraid to call me if anything happens.” Her hand held Kirishima back from exiting the car. “Also, don’t forget to put on sunscreen!”

 

“Mom—” Kirishima complained, letting her pull him closer so she could kiss the side of his head. He knew she was only doing this because he had friends with him.

 

“Alright, I’ll go.” She laughed, releasing Kirishima.

 

Ashido and Midoriya both had this look on their faces as Kirishima’s mom pulled away.

 

“Keep your mouths closed!” He snapped as Ashido opened her mouth to say something. “I don’t want to hear it.”

 

Being the little shit he was at times, Midoriya’s mouth remained perfectly shut as he signed, mama’s boy.

 

“Alright, you’re getting thrown in the ocean.”

 

Midoriya bolted, quickly followed by Ashido, shouting jeering comments as she ran. It totally wasn’t fair. Ashido was insanely fast and soon outran Midoriya, dropping her stuff before running straight to the water. Midoriya put his stuff down more carefully. In doing so, Kirishima caught up and hefted him up into his arms. Midoriya flailed as he was carried to the ocean, but Kirishima changed to carrying him bridal style so he could see his face and make sure he wasn’t really freaking out.

 

With a grin plastered to his face, Kirishima knew everything was alright.

 

“Any last words?”

 

Midoriya had a thoughtful look on his face as he signed please no, I have a family. His expression turned more sorrowful, though he kept biting his lip to keep from smiling.

 

“Should’ve thought about that beforehand!” Kirishima said dramatically, carrying him further out into the water. They were both still wearing their shirts, but it was too late to turn back

 

Somewhere behind him Ashido yelled, “You two look like you’re getting married!”

 

That’s all it took for Kirishima to immediately drop Midoriya into the water. It was deep enough for it to go over his head, and he came up sputtering and glaring. His curly hair looked weird wet and it hung in his eyes. Wasting no time getting revenge, Midoriya splashed Kirishima before pushing him down.

 

“Alright, alright you two!” Ashido intervened after a couple minutes of play fighting. “Let’s go properly set up our stuff and wait for Kyouka and the others.”

 

They moved their stuff further away from the water, and laid down their towels. Kirishima pulled off his wet shirt, hoping it’d be dry before going home. Glancing over at Midoriya, he found himself unable to look away. Midoriya had also taken off his shirt and holy shit that boy was fit. The sheer amount of muscle that was not noticeable while he was wearing clothes was shocking. What the hell did Midoriya do in his spare time?

 

“You’re staring and turning red,” Ashido snickered, lowering her voice. Midoriya was preoccupied with setting up an umbrella, so Kirishima was safe for now.

 

“I’m just surprised he has that much muscle,” Kirishima whispered back defensively, tearing his eyes away from Midoriya. “He seems like such a small guy, but he’d easily be able to hold his own against Bakugou if he’s that fit.”

 

Ashido sighed and patted Kirishima. “I’m hoping you get the gay realization soon. I got it the day I met Kyouka, but alas, you’re still clueless.”

 

Kirishima just rolled his eyes and didn’t think much of it. Well, tried to not think much about it. While they waited for the others to show up, Kirishima kept stealing glances at Midoriya. Honestly, he never thought too much about his sexuality. His friends never made a big deal of it, nor did his mom. It just never seemed to matter who he liked as long as they were a good person. He didn’t think he’d have that gay realization Ashido was referring to. He’d just be surprised if he ended up liking anyone at all at this point.

 

FInally, Bakugou and the others showed up.

 

They were all over the place, from picking up seashells, to swimming, to running up and down the beach’s pier. The second Bakugou got too close to the edge, Kaminari and Midoriya shared a knowing look and shoved him. They spent the rest of the day unable to turn their backs on Bakugou, but at least they were having fun.

 

While there were a few stands here and there with snacks, there were no real lunch foods and none of them had actually brought anything to eat. A pretty big error on their part, but they sent Bakugou and Jirou on a scouting mission to town to bring them back food. In meantime, Kirishima sprawled out on his towel, using Midoriya’s umbrella for shade. With the sun high in the sky, the beach was suddenly a lot less fun. Too hot.

 

Midoriya was laying next to him, head resting on his arms. If Kirishima was honest, he wasn’t sure if Midroiya was a sleep or not. He looked completely at peace. Whether it was nervousness, excitement, or some other emotion, it almost always showed on his face. Expressions were important without the use of a tone of voice. How rigid or relaxed he signed was also a way to convey tone, but he’d seen Midoriya smile while signing in a sharp and quick way, giving away his irritation or anxiety. Right now, though, he was expressionless and completely relaxed.

 

So, of course while Kirishima was staring, trying to determine whether Midoriya was relaxed or asleep, his eyes opened. There was a beat where neither of them looked away or did anything until Kirishima broke eye contact and laughed nervously. “I should probably try to sleep too before Jirou and Bakugou get back!” He rolled over and tried to ignore how his cheeks were burning.

 

Kirishima didn’t exactly fall asleep, but sort of dozed off, mind growing fuzzy to everything going around him until Jirou and Bakugou came back with several sub sandwiches. Midoriya had actually fallen asleep, so they let him be as they ate.

 

“The only thing you guys missed was Kirishima staring at Midoriya all forlornly,” Ashido said before taking a bite so big of her sandwich her cheeks puffed.

 

“I was trying to tell if he was asleep or not!” Kirishima felt his cheeks heat back up and wondered how many more times today Ashido would tease him and Midoriya.

 

“Sounds like an excuse to me.” Kaminari playfully nudged him, only to get swatted away. “Grumpy! It’s okay, we know you’re a clueless person.”

 

“Why don’t you get on Jirou and Ashido for PDA instead?” Kirishima gestured at the two. Jirou wasn’t much of a fan of the beach either and was snuggled into Ashido’s side, watching on with sleepy interest. One of Ashido’s hands was playing with her hair, and Jirou’s finger traced mindless patterns onto her thigh. Overall terribly cute and domestic, but Kirishima wanted to get attention himself.

 

Kaminari glanced at them. “That’s old news. They’ve been gross for a while now.”

 

Jirou tossed some sand at him, making him stand up and back away quickly to protect his sandwich. He was laughing though, a smile on his face. “Shocking PDA would be me and Bakugou.” Kaminari leaned into Bakugou dramatically as he said that and was almost immediately shoved away. The force of the shove made Kaminari stumble. That immediately put a hush over the group. Bakugou shoving Kaminari away wasn’t a surprise or anything, but it was the force and glare he had. He’d been straying away from Kaminari all day, but this was a first.

 

Bakugou immediately looked at Kaminari in a slight oh fuck way. “It’s too hot,” his words were rushed, trying to do damage control. “I don’t know how you two can stand it.” Kirishima knew he was saying that so that he didn’t have to talk about feelings later on, but the real damage was to Kaminari, who still looked a little stunned.

 

His laugh seemed a bit forced, desperate to improve the situation. “Can’t believe you did that to me. I’ve never done a thing wrong in my life.”

 

“Mmmmm,” Ashido hummed, her nose scrunching up, “you sure?”

 

Conversation returned to light teasing, although Bakugou didn’t join in.

 

Midoriya woke up eventually, hair more of a mess than usual since it had  dried while his head was down.

 

“You might have to get back into the water just to fix your hair,” Kirishima snickered, reaching over without thinking to try and fix Midoriya’s hair. His hand pulled through the tangles of green curls before he realized everyone else had gone dead silent. Midoriya didn’t look bothered at all, but looked past Kirishima’s shoulder and glared.

 

Kirishima’s hand jolted back and he looked over at the others. Kaminari was whistling awfully while Ashido examined her flip flop like it was the most interesting thing in the world. Jirou simply looked amused as she tried to pretend she hadn’t noticed anything either.

 

I need new friends, Kirishima grumpily thought.

 

The day carried on. At one point Midoriya had to drag the rest of them over to a stand because they didn’t understand what he was asking. In retrospect, the sign was super obvious, but Kaminari kept cracking dirty jokes and Midoriya didn’t seem to be in the mood to deal with that.

 

From games to snacking, Kirishima was surprised they pretty much never had a moment where they weren’t doing something. Well, Jirou napped for awhile, and Bakugou would sit back from time to time, but other than that they always had something interesting to do.

 

Throughout the day, Kirishima kept trying to find a tattoo on Midoriya. Kaminari had his soulmate mark on his wrist, Bakugou on his back, and both Jirou and Ashido had theirs on their chests. But Kirishima couldn’t spot anything on Midoriya. It could be on his thighs, covered by his swim trunks, or maybe he didn't have a soulmate. Kirishima desperately wanted someone he could relate to in a world full of couples and deep bonds. However, just as before, he didn’t want Midoriya to feel the same things he did. It’d just be nice to have each other.

 

When Bakugou’s mom came by, Ashido went with them. Was there room in the car? No. Were they all heathens willing to break a law? Yes.

 

The way Ashido had winked at him gave Kirishima the impression she wanted to leave him alone with Midoriya. Which was fine by him. It’d been a long day.

 

They watched the sunset together, sitting on their towels as other people on the beach packed up and left. He didn’t mean to stare, but Midoriya’s hair had gotten extra curly due to the salt water. It was a cute look. Throughout the day, Kirishima noticed Midoriya’s freckles becoming darker, some seeming to appear from nowhere. That, topped with Midoriya smiling softly, washed in the pinks and oranges of the sunset, made the moment feel surreal.

 

For the second time that day at least, Midoriya caught him staring.

 

“U-um, I was just wondering...” Kirishima looked away, hand nervously going through his hair. “Do you have a soulmate mark? I haven’t seen one.” He had to look back at Midoriya if he was going to get his answer, and he hoped that in the current lighting, his face didn’t look too red. He probably sounded like a creep, especially since he’d been staring at him all day.

 

Midoriya nodded, and tapped his upper thigh.

 

The knowledge that Midoriya had a soulmate came as a crushing blow. Kirishima expected that might be the case, so why did he suddenly feel so heavy? His heart beat heavy in his chest and his throat felt like it was trying to close up. He ignored it though, pushing out his next words.

 

“Wow. I imagine it’d be super hard to prove to someone that you’re their soulmate with a mark like that.” Keep things friendly. It’d be weird if he looked as disappointed as he felt after learning that Midoriya had a soulmate. He should be happy, Midoriya would have a life long friend or partner.

 

Midoriya made a face and fell back on his towel. Kirishima never saw him look so exasperated. It was an amusing expression and eased the tension he felt inside a bit.

 

“With that look, I assume you already know who your soulmate is?”

 

Midoriya nodded, expression softening.

 

Swallowing hard, Kirishima looked back towards the sunset. He should feel happy for Midoriya, but he couldn’t get past the fact that he had gotten his hopes set up so high. Kirishima kept thinking in the back of his head that maybe this time would be different. That someone wouldn’t have someone else that they’d always be closer to than him.

 

His mind kept going back to everyone saying that he liked Midoriya. Considering how devastated he felt to learn that Midoriya had a soulmate, maybe he might like him just a bit. Taking a deep breath, he tried to calm himself down. Soulmates weren’t always romantic. Sure this was just a silly somewhat crush he’d get over, but if it did become more, it wouldn’t mean he was out of luck.

 

Midoriya tapped his shoulder. Are you okay?

 

“Yeah, just tired. We’ve done a lot today.” Kirishima shrugged despite the fact that he may be having that gay crisis Ashido mentioned. Well, not really a gay crisis but a Midoriya crisis. Dear God, no wonder his friends made fun of him so much.

 

The sun went fully down, and they finally gathered up their stuff and sat near the parking lot to keep an eye out for Kirishima’s mom.

 

“Question: what’s the sign for soulmate?” Kirishima asked.

 

The sign was a tad complicated and it took several repeats for him to get it down. Funny enough, Kirishima swore he recognized the sign. Something kept bugging at him in the back of his head, but he couldn’t place it. He was sure Midoriya had used it before, but couldn’t place as to when it was used.

 

Kirishima’s mom came and picked them up, so it was momentarily forgotten as he rattled off about his day. She stopped to get them fast food along the way, but even that hardly shut him up.

 

“How you two can look so awake after the day you’ve had is beyond me.” She shook her head, glancing up in the rearview mirror. “I imagine you’ll both be out the second you get home, though.”

 

She wasn’t wrong. They dropped Midoriya off and once they got back home, Kirishima could hardly take a shower and dry off before falling asleep.

 

Which was fine by him. If he continued to think about Midoriya anymore that day, he’d actually combust. Rationalizing thoughts from I just like him a little to oh fuck I have a massive crush on him was a lot to handle within a few hours.

 

Tomorrow was another day. He’d have time to think it over then.

Chapter Text

Kirishima was left with the rest of the weekend to figure out his feelings. He was really, really gay for Midoriya. However, that was already established. What he hadn’t thought through was the possibility of Midoriya having a soulmate and how he was going to deal with that emotionally. Rationally speaking, of course, he was fine with that. If Midoriya had someone by his side for the rest of his life, Kirishima would be happy for him. On the other hand, Kirishima’s jealousy said differently. It was ridiculous—Kirishima didn’t even know who his soulmate was. Besides, he should be well above petty jealousy. Maybe it was the fact that Kirishima had never really crushed on someone before, but having feelings for someone and wanting to be with them was a foreign concept to him.

Then, there was the sign for soulmates. He knew he had seen it before—the memory on the verge of clarity, yet vague and hazy enough to leave him confused. When would Midoriya have ever used it? Kirishima honestly didn’t talk about soulmates that much with Midoriya. Kirishima could recall a few instances when Midoriya used the sign the more he thought about it, though. The longer he thought, it always happened when Midoriya was trying to tell him something, the thing he now kept pushing off. Now, he was wondering why Midoriya would use the soulmate sign. His heart had a sneaking suspicion, but the part of him that didn’t want to build his hopes up squashed it down.

Not that it worked. The more he thought about it, the more it made sense. Midoriya had started saying later, even when they were alone, after Kirishima had gone on that soulmate ramble. The details of what he had said were blurry, but he was pretty sure it was something along the lines of wanting to build a bond with his soulmate (if he theoretically had one) instead of assuming a bond was already there due to being soulmates. What if Midoriya was his soulmate and decided to hold off from telling him because he said that?

No way. Nope. That couldn’t be it, right? Because if so, Kirishima was an idiot and was ready to grovel at Midoriya’s feet for being so dense. At the same time, what if he was just being hopeful? Simply reaching for any reason for Midoriya to be as special to him as he was to Kirishima? He could just ask if they were soulmates, that’d be the simplest course of action, but what if he was wrong? Kirishima knew himself well enough to know that if he were wrong, it’d crush him. The whole conversation would be super awkward if it turned out he wasn’t Midoriya’s soulmate. At the same time, sitting here alone with his thoughts was going to drive him mad.

Unable to sit still, Kirishima left home and immediately headed over to Bakugou’s house. He would’ve texted first had he had a damn phone, and was sadly met with only his mother. With Bakugou not home, that left Kirishima with going over to Ashido’s place. Sero probably wasn’t feeling all that great still, though he’d be a good person to talk to. Kaminari was his next choice, but in the end he decided that Ashido had a better grasp of the whole soulmate deal.

“Yo!” Ashido said, opening the door with a grin. “Must have something you really wanna talk about if you’re not waiting until tomorrow to tell me.”

“Or I could just want to spend time with a friend.”

“Your lies only hurt me more, Kirishima.” Despite her words, her expression and tone were teasing. “Kyouka’s upstairs, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem, right?”

Kirishima shook his head as he followed Ashido. “Not at all. Actually, what I wanna talk about is soulmates.” While Ashido bounded up the stairs, Kirishima trailed behind a bit more slowly. Honestly, he was just hoping he wasn’t interrupting anything. With Jirou being in band and Ashido on the track team, the two didn’t spend much time together outside of school.

“Hey, Jirou.” Kirishima waved, surprised to see Jirou sprawled out on the floor rather than the bed or a chair.

She waved back, sitting up as Ashido sat down on the rug. Kirishima hesitated for a moment before joining her on the floor.

“Get your headphones out, Kyouka, it’s girl talk time!” Ashido clapped her hands together, looking a lot more excited than Jirou.

“I’m a guy?” Kirishima probably shouldn’t have sounded so unsure about that.

“Honorary Girls Club member,” Ashido decided. “So, I’m guessing this is about Midoriya?”

Kirishima crossed his arms defensively. “I could have a million other things to say about soulmates not involving Midoriya.”

Jirou tilted her head, a small smile on her face. “So, it’s not about Midoriya?”

“I mean, it is, but—”

The two girls snorted out laughter and Kirishima fought down a rising blush. This was going to be a painful start. “Might as well get your giggles out now, because yes, I do like Midoriya.”

“Really?” Jirou asked sarcastically while Mina yelled out, “CALLED IT!”

Kirishima sighed in exasperation. “If either of you say ‘told you so,’ I will leave.” While he fully expected a reaction like this, since apparently everyone else knew him better than he knew himself, he couldn’t help but sigh at how dramatic Ashido was being. Still, at least he knew he had friends he could talk to about his feelings for Midoriya. They’d be supportive, and Kirishima took comfort in that fact.

“Please don’t leave, we need the details!” Ashido leaned forward. “When did you realize?”

“At the beach,” he confessed. “It was after everyone else left, though.”

While she wasn’t as enthusiastic as her girlfriend, Jirou was just as bad. “Oh, so did something happen after we left?” The mischievous look in her eyes nearly had Kirishima flushing.

“Dear lord you two, all I did was realize I like him! Nothing else happened.” Kirishima squirmed uncomfortably. “But I also found out he does in fact have a soulmate mark and he knows who his soulmate is. I don’t know who it is.”

Luckily, they knew when to tone down and be more serious.

“Are you nervous that because he has a soulmate, he won’t like you back?” Jirou questioned. “Because I can assure you, I’d love Mina as much as I do even without the soulmate mark.” Her cheeks flushed once the words left her mouth, stubbornly not hugging Ashido back when the girl pulled her into a crushing hug, aww-ing and cooing. Jirou relented a bit, pressing a quick kiss onto the top of her head.

Despite the blatant act of PDA, Kirishima found himself smiling a bit. “I’m nervous about that, yeah,” Kirishima continued after a moment. “It’s not just that but… since he’s mute,” he swallowed hard, gaze turning to the floor, “do you think his soulmate wouldn’t have a soulmate mark?”

It’s something Kirishima wished he’d considered earlier, but thought that maybe the first words Midoriya signed would show up instead. He had never really done research on soulmate marks and how technical things got. Never having a soulmate and not really wanting to think about it had pushed away any interest on the subject. Now without a phone and his mother’s laptop, which was with her at work, he was unable to do emergency research.

Jirou and Ashido didn’t look very sure on how to respond.

“I mean...” Ashido shrugged, frowning. “I guess so?”

“That’s not very helpful.”

“Sorry, I just never really thought about it.” Ashido smiled apologetically. “I never learned the technicalities of the marks.”

Kirishima found himself sighing. “Same, and I’m really regretting it.”

“You can still have a meaningful relationship with him, regardless of whether or not you have a soulmate,” Jirou reminded him.

“I know, I know.” Kirishima ran his hand through his hair. “It’s just that I want him to be my soulmate.” It sounded desperate and jealous. Jirou was right, Kirishima knew that, but there was a deeper longing in him that wanted their relationship to be something more. They could be lifelong partners or best friends without a soulmate mark, but he wanted that connection. He still stood by his ideal with making the bond special and not just assuming it was. However, the fairy-tale idea of having someone “destined” to be with him was appealing because he couldn’t shake the feeling he’d always come in second to those with soulmates.

“Just ask him,” Jirou suggested, bluntly. “No harm in asking him if he’s your soulmate.”

“I don’t want to come off as desperate,” Kirishima fretted. “He knows I don’t have a soulmate mark. If it turns out I’m not his soulmate, things will be awkward.”

“You’ll be awkward regardless, so it works out in the end.” Jirou shrugged.

Ashido leaned forward a bit, shoving at Kirishima’s shoulder. “C’mon, Kirishima, where’s that manly spirit of yours?” she teased. “Backing down from a little confession? Unbelievable. It’ll only be awkward if you make it awkward, but you’re better than that! And that’s only if it turns out you’re not soulmates. If you are, then everything ends up perfect!”

While Kirishima appreciated her cheering him on, there was also the emotional aspect—all the anxiety he felt at the possibility of being rejected, and the devastation that would follow if it turned out he was wrong. He didn’t want to build his hopes up on something that might not happen, but his heart had other plans. If Midoriya ended up being his soulmate, it’d be perfect. One part of him whispered he was getting too amped up on a crush he only realized the other day, but the other part said these feelings had been building up for awhile now. He had always wanted to have a soulmate deep down, even if he never confessed it aloud. His mind was just getting ahead of itself, wanting his first crush to be his soulmate. How lucky would he be to end up like Ashido and Jirou?

Kirishima jolted in surprise when he felt a light hit on his arm.

“Kirishima,” Jirou said sternly, “I can practically feel your anxiety. Do you think holding this off will prevent you from getting disappointed?”

He shook his head.

“One way or another, you’ll either figure out who his soulmate is or he starts dating someone. You’d never forgive yourself if you didn’t at least try.” Jirou was right, but it didn’t shake the anxiety. She sighed. “I know you want a soulmate, especially for Midoriya to be your soulmate, but he likes you. Almost completely sure about that, if you can’t be his soulmate, you can be his boyfriend.”

Cheeks burning, Kirishima nodded. Did Midoriya like him? If everyone thought so, including Jirou and Bakugou, two people who didn’t fawn over other people’s relationships, then he might actually have a shot. “Alright, I’ll confess to him.” He rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed.

“That’s the spirit! Get a boyfriend! Kiss his cute, freckled face!”Ashido cheered.

“You’re so embarrassing, oh my god.”

Kirishima ended up spending the rest of the day with the two girls. He did try and leave at one point, not wanting to overstay his welcome, but they wouldn’t let him leave. Well, Ashido wouldn’t let him leave; Jirou sat back with an amused smile while her girlfriend put Kirishima’s hair into pigtails. Unable to fight back, Kirishima accepted his fate and let Ashido style his hair, though they did get into a small “fight” when she took a picture of one of her particularly bad styling creations. It ended with Kirishima using his foot to keep the pink menace at bay while he deleted the photos.

When he got home, he felt a lot more at ease than he did earlier. Honestly, he was sort of glad Bakugou ended up not being home. He was one of his best friends and everything, but he’d probably be even more stressed out. Bakugou would’ve been straightforward like Jirou, but harsher and not very considerate to Kirishima’s anxiety over the whole ordeal. Besides, he was still currently denying his own feelings for his confirmed soulmate. Maybe Kirishima should try and convince Bakugou to talk to the girls. Hold a group intervention minus Kaminari. The thought was funny, but would probably end up as a failure. Despite his “fight me” attitude, he wasn’t much for confrontation.

The next day at school, Kirishima was unexpectedly awkward. He didn’t think realizing his feelings would change a thing, but he was left stammering around Midoriya. Jirou and Ashido knew what was up and had to stifle laughs and hide their smiles. Midoriya seemed a little put off by the change in attitude, but remained casual and friendly.

It wasn’t like he was, oh no, I like him, what if he can tell??? It was just that his brain had no filter and everything Midoriya did was appealing.

“You mean to tell me you two still aren’t together after everything that happened at the beach?” Kaminari asked, shaking his head as if he were disappointed.

“I don’t know Kaminari, have a girlfriend yet?” Kirishima shot back.

The others laughed while Kaminari stuttered for a moment before finally managing to get out, “Bold of you to assume I want a girlfriend.”

“That’s literally all you want—”

“Listen—”

“So you’re gay?” Ashido interjected. “And I’m using that in an umbrella term way.”

Kaminari flushed. “I didn’t say that!”

“You kinda did.”

Between the bickering, Kirishima noticed Midoriya move over next to Bakugou.

Sorry. He smiled sympathetically at the blond.

Shut up, Bakugou signed back with a huff. His gaze remained on Kaminari for a moment longer before tearing his eyes away. Picking up his bag, he left the group without saying a word. Midoriya watched him go for a moment before sighing softly.

Kirishima looked away before Midoriya caught him staring, oddly surprised by that interaction. Since when had those two managed to interact without drawing everyone’s attention? Tuning back into the conversation, Kirishima was mildly lost.

“Oh yeah? Well, Bakugou—” Kaminari looked around, confused. “Wait, where did he go?”

“Just left.” Kirishima shrugged.

Kaminari frowned, immediately toning down. “Hey guys…” Kaminari started to say, voice trailing off. He shifted uncomfortably. “Do you think he’s mad at me?”

Kirishima couldn’t exactly come out and say, “No, he’s in love with you, but too stubborn to admit it,” and was left frustratingly unable to think of something to say. Any prompting at all felt like it’d be wrong. Would he have figured that Bakugou liked Kaminari without him saying anything? Would Bakugou be pissed if Kaminari tried talking to him and linked it back to Kirishima? Bakugou had a hard enough time opening up, and Kirishima didn’t want to give him any reason to feel like he couldn’t be trusted.

“Kaminari, you’re so dumb,” Jirou groaned, earning an elbow to the ribs from Ashido.

“What she’s trying to say is that you’re acting pretty blind to how Bakugou feels,” Ashido tried to explain.

Jirou nodded. “Yup, as I said, dumb.” She blocked Ashido’s elbow from hitting her again.

“How he feels?” Kaminari shook his head. “Lately, I don’t understand a thing that’s going through his head.”

Sero sighed. “Think about it. He always gets upset whenever the same thing comes up.”

He shrugged helplessly. “Bakugou gets mad at a lot of things that I do. Not sure what he has against the girls I like but—” He stopped himself. “Wait, is that what you’re referring to?”

Sero nodded.

“But why would he get mad at that?” Kaminari looked baffled.

The pain on Jirou and Midoriya’s faces was palpable. Honestly, Kirishima couldn’t blame them, but tried to remain patient. At the very least, he knew that Kaminari wasn’t really that dumb, just in a mild state of denial. Kirishima couldn’t really get onto the guy because he himself was in that state of obliviousness. Of course, he didn’t know for sure if Midoriya liked him, but that was beside the point.

“You can piece it together, I believe in you.” Sero let out a sigh, resting his chin on his hand as he waited for the realization to dawn on him.

“What you’re implying is that he likes me,” Kaminari sputtered, “and he doesn’t like anyone.”

Jirou let out a small noise of exasperation, head falling back as she let out a heavy breath. Kirishima bit back a smile as her head bonked against the wall behind her, but she pretended as if it didn’t happen. Midoriya looked down at her and signed, Be strong.

“Bakugou couldn’t act more jealous if he tried,” Ashido stressed. “Like, Kaminari, my guy, my dude, he’s really gay for you.”

“If he liked me, then why would he yell at me even more? He’s been pulling away too!”

Jirou’s hands went to her face, as if she was about to say a prayer. “Dude. As far as we all know, you’re straight. It’d be just like Bakugou to get angry at feelings he has no control over and that he knows won’t be returned.”

It was a huge relief that Kirishima didn’t need to say a word throughout this. His earlier thoughts were wrong. Kaminari was the one the girls needed to hold an intervention with. If they could spur him into action, maybe the downhill disaster that was his friendship with Bakugou could be built back up. They were an oddly suited pair when one of them wasn’t have an emotional crisis.

Kaminari looked uncomfortable, though. “So let’s say you’re right, that Bakugou likes me… so what? I’m not saying that to be an asshole, but—” He shook his head, frustrated. “What am I supposed to do about that? I don’t like him that way, so knowing this does nothing. He’s just gonna continue acting like this whether I know or not.”

Jirou tossed a spiral notebook at Kaminari that bounced harmlessly off his chest. “Communication does wonders, idiot. Bakugou’s probably having a hard time owning up to his feelings since you’re probably his first and only crush. Talk to him first.”

Kaminari shook his head. “He’ll deny it, then I’ll get yelled at.”

Kirishima noticed how he wasn’t even considering the option that Bakugou didn’t actually like him. Either he was that confident in his likability, or he’d been suspicious about Bakugou’s feelings for awhile now, but kept those thoughts pushed down.

“Being his soulmate and all, one would think you’d understand him a bit better.” Jirou looked done, and Ashido didn’t look very willing to jump back in.

Finally, Sero spoke up again. “I think he’s definitely aware of his feelings, but as Jirou said, he’s having a hard time owning up to them. Bakugou doesn’t like lying, even to himself. He’ll either not respond to you at all, or actually talk. Either way, you should make the first move.”

“He’s just as capable of talking as I am,” Kaminari said stubbornly.

Midoriya looked genuinely angry as he signed something at Kaminari. Kirishima couldn’t really keep up, but Midoriya was pretty much calling him an idiot and saying something about relationships.

Sero let out a snort. “If you have Midoriya telling you off and you’re not Bakugou, you know you’re in the wrong.”

At that, Midoriya’s face flushed a bit, but he still looked frustrated.

Kaminari looked over at Kirishima for help.

Rubbing the back of his head awkwardly, Kirishima tried to explain at least what he thought Midoriya might’ve meant. The two seemed to share similar opinions, so hopefully this was one of those times. “I’m very loosely translating here, but I think he’s calling you an idiot because in a relationship, platonic or not, you can’t just say ‘well they can talk first.’ Of course it’s a problem if you’re the only one communicating, but you shouldn’t not communicate to be petty.” A lot of that was his own personal feelings concerning relationships, but to his relief, Midoriya nodded.

Still, Kaminari seemed put off. “I still wouldn’t know what to say.”

Then think of something, Midoriya signed sharply. Kaminari knew the least amount of sign language out of all of them, but the sign for think was pretty self-explanatory.

“Fine,” Kaminari sighed in defeat, “I’ll come up with something.” He didn’t look very happy about it, but it was a start at the very least.

Conversation was pretty much dead after that until Sero asked, “So, Kaminari said ‘after what happened at the beach,’ so what happened? What did our favorite ‘we don’t like each other’ couple do this time?”

Kirishima let out a groan and covered his face with his hands. Kaminari spoke until Sero started losing it. Pulling his hands away from his face, he stared in confusion at Sero.

“Oh my god, Midoriya,” he said through his snorts of laughter.

“Wait, what did he say, I missed it!” Ashido glanced back and forth between Sero and a red-faced Midoriya. While his face was bright red, he looked more amused than anything, eyes crinkling as he covered his smile with a hand.

Sero shook his head, refusing to answer anyone when they asked what he had said, and Midoriya didn’t seem willing to repeat himself. So, Kaminari launched into an overdramatic retelling of how mournfully Kirishima stared at Midoriya while he pined. Which… was a little true minus the mournful part. Any of Kirishima’s protests got turned against him and he walked away at the end of lunch with red cheeks.

After school, Kirishima was confused when he didn’t see either Midoriya or Bakugou, so he simply went home. Troublesome thoughts were quickly forgotten once his mom came home.

“Eijirou, are you home?”

“In the kitchen!” he called back. If he wasn’t eating dinner at Bakugou’s, he made dinner himself back home. When it came to cooking, he wasn’t particularly amazing, but his mom appreciated not having to eat leftovers.

Behind Kirishima, he heard his mother put down her stuff before she made her way to him.

“It smells good, Eijirou.” She brought him into a side hug, pressing a kiss onto the side of his head. “Thank you!”

Smiling, Eijirou accepted the fact that he was a bit of a mama’s boy. “I’ve got you covered, mom.”

When she walked away, the rustling of plastic bags caught his attention, wondering if she had gotten groceries or dessert on the way home. Instead, she brought out a small box from the bag and handed it over.

“Since you had to spend your phone funds on emergency house repairs, I got you a gift.”

Excitement washed over Kirishima as he quickly took the phone out of the box. “You’re the best mother I’ve ever had!”

“I’m the only mother you’ve ever had, first of all,” she said with a snort, ruffling Kirishima’s hair. “Can’t leave you deprived of a phone in this day and age.”

“Thank you!” Kirishima squeezed his mother into a hug.

“Alright, alright! Let go, you’re gonna crush me.” She separated herself from Kirishima. “Is dinner almost finished, or do I have time for a shower?”

Kirishima nodded. “I mean it is, but I can wait for you to get of the shower, it’s no problem.”

She thanked him as she left.

Turning down the heat on the stove, he brought his attention to his phone, turning it on and setting it up. His mom had already gotten a SIM card, but it’s not like he knew any of his friends’ phone numbers off the top of his head. Still, he’d gather all their numbers again tomorrow, and most importantly, he’d finally get Midoriya’s phone number. Being able to freely talk to him without a language barrier was exciting. Of course he was still going to continue learning sign language because it felt rude if he suddenly stopped signing and used his phone instead, but now they could talk away from school. The Disaster Squad group chat would be interesting with the addition of Midoriya.

By the time he was in bed, he already had several of his friends’ phone numbers again by contacting them through social media. His restless legs continuously raised and kicked down on his bed as he tried to find Midoriya. No instagram, twitter, etc. At least, no profiles using his name. With a loud sigh, Kirishima gave up his search and resigned to getting Midoriya’s phone number the next morning. He felt like he was being unreasonably impatient, but resigned to the fact that having a crush on Midoriya was making him anxious to talk to him. He wasn’t going to do anything wild, like confess. That he was saving for later. Although he wasn’t able to say when “later” was, and was left hoping a good moment would arise

As he finally settled down for the night, his mind went back to Bakugou and Kaminari. Despite having a whole revelation about his feelings for Midoriya in the span of a couple of days, he spent most of his time today thinking about other people’s relationships. To be fair, Kaminari and Bakugou were a disaster pair that demanded a lot of attention, but Kirishima felt like he should’ve spent more time talking to Midoriya. Even if he was unexpectedly awkward after realizing his feelings, he didn’t want to make their friendship weird.

Kirishima told himself to relax. One way or another, things would work out.