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Rumors spread fast in UA. It didn't take long for Kirishima to hear about Midoriya’s fancy new mark and what it meant. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He had to talk to Bakugou.

“Yeah, I heard,” Bakugou grumbled, “what of it?”

“Dude, you can’t be serious,” Kirishima said, dumbfounded. He watched as Bakugou shoved his gym clothes into the locker and slammed it shut. He hadn’t looked Kirishima in the eye once.

“Fuck off, Shitty hair, I’m not in the mood,” Bakugou barked.

“Ohh ho no you don’t.” Normally Kirishima would let him be when he was in a mood like this, but he needed answers.

“You have the same mark, Bakugou! I was there when you got it,” Kirishima shouted, trailing after Bakugou as he tried to leave the otherwise empty locker room.

Bakugou turned on a dime, cornering Kirishima up against a wall of lockers. “And? It doesn’t mean shit, alright?” Even Bakugou himself didn’t believe that. But he was hard-pressed to admit to even the smallest possibility of this situation being for real.

He didn’t wait for Kirishima to answer. Bakugou was out the locker room door in an instant, lost among the sea of students trudging about the halls of UA. Kirishima let out a sigh, sliding down the lockers. Bakugou might be his friend, but he still scared him sometimes. That guy was a loose cannon no matter how you looked at it. He had more layers than people gave him credit for, but that psychotic, egotistical exterior was no joke.

X

Izuku was ecstatic. He had a soulmate. Somewhere out there was someone meant just for him. The thought made him feel light and giddy. He hadn’t put much thought into relationships yet. His entire focus was on becoming the best hero in the world, a task that in and of itself didn’t leave much time or room for romance. But knowing there was someone out there that he was destined to be with put a smile on his face and a warmth in his chest.

“Deku, wait up!” Uraraka shouted, clamoring after Izuku as he made his way to the cafeteria. He’d been so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he hadn’t heard her calling him.

“Sorry, Uraraka. Just lost in my own head, I guess.”

“Can’t imagine why,” she said pointedly, waggling her eyebrows at him.

Izuku blushed, looking anywhere but at that knowing look on Uraraka’s face.

In truth, Ochako had been a little disappointed when she’d realized that she and Deku weren’t meant to be. Kanako had told them that it could take minutes, hours, even days for the mark to show up on Deku’s soulmate. It had been over a week since then and nothing had appeared. She accepted this with dignity, though, determined to help Deku find his perfect match. That didn't mean she wasn't going to tease him about it relentlessly, however.

The pair walked down the hall at a leisurely pace, lost in conversation.

“Oh sorry, my bad,” Izuku stammered, having bumped into someone going the opposite direction. “Oh, Kacchan, hi.”

Bakugou froze, expression stuck somewhere between fear and anger. With Bakugou, anger always won out. “Watch where you’re going, shitty nerd.” His words were harsher than usual, a venom behind them bred from the mixed emotions he had over these so-called ‘soulmarks’.

Izuku muttered apologies as Bakugou stormed off. He turned back towards Uraraka, smile not quite reaching his eyes. He looked miserable, but Izuku was always one to put on a brave face when things weren't going his way.

“Don’t let him get to you, Deku, you know what he’s like better than any of us,” Uraraka consoled the green-eyed boy. She patted him reassuringly on the back as they started back towards the cafeteria.

“That’s the thing, though,” Izuku started, “he’s always been mean, but this is a whole new level of hatred. Ever since we got back from that big fight downtown he’s been acting weird. He won’t look at me or talk to me. He doesn’t even make fun of me anymore.” Izuku’s expression fell. It was clear this was upsetting him more than we was saying.

Despite their current relationship - or lack thereof - Izuku and Katsuki had been good friends when they were little. Katsuki had always been kind of a jerk, but when they were kids it was more in a teasing, friendly kind of way; the attitude of someone who just didn't know how to properly express his emotions.

They knew each other better than anyone, even if Katsuki acted like they were nothing but enemies. Izuku never stopped thinking of Katsuki as a friend, someone he desperately wanted to mend his relationship with. But ever since Katsuki had developed his quirk, the rift between them just got bigger and bigger. It was to the point that Izuku was afraid they would never work it out. Katsuki just wouldn't listen.

Izuku’s mood improved a bit as he and his friends chatted during lunch, but thoughts of his childhood friend still lingered heavy in the back of his mind. He kept wracking his brain, trying to figure out what exactly he’d done to make Katsuki so angry with him but kept coming up empty. It was like Izuku just existing pissed him off. If this kept up, high school was going to get a whole lot harder for him.

X

“You can’t just ignore the guy forever, Bakugou,” Kirishima said, absentmindedly poking at his notebook with his pencil.

Bakugou just grumbled in response, which, compared to how he reacted a month ago whenever Kirishima brought up Midoriya, was progress. A whole month and barely anything had changed. Midoriya's constant stream of consciousness about his soulmate had died down somewhat, but he was more than happy to gush about it to anyone who asked.

Bakugou had calmed down some. Rather than exploding whenever he so much as looked in Midoriya's general direction, he opted to just ignore the other boy and hope the problem would go away on its own. Still not a very healthy coping mechanism, but Kirishima would take what he could get.

“Come on, man,” the redhead pleaded, “I can’t stand seeing that lost puppy dog look on his face anymore.”

As if on cue, Izuku wandered into the classroom, enveloped in a conversation with Iida until he saw Bakugou, who promptly avoided eye contact with him. The waves of despair coming off of that boy were practically tangible in the air as he shuffled to his seat. 17 pairs of eyes stared daggers into the back of Bakugou’s head. The entire class was fed up with the drama between those two, and they weren’t afraid to show it.

It wasn't that Bakugou hadn't noticed how miserable Deku was acting, or how everyone in class glared at him openly whenever he treated the other boy harshly. He just... didn't know how else to handle the situation. He wasn't good at this, dammit. He was confused and angry and a whole bunch of other things he couldn't put a name to.

What was up with this situation? How in the hell did the universe think that he and Deku of all people would be a good match? It was just stupid. Still... every time his childhood friend cringed away when he snapped at him, it hurt him a little inside. A squeezing feeling in his chest that made it hard to breathe. Some people would call that guilt. Bakugou preferred to call it heartburn and move on.

Bakugou groaned, slamming a hand down onto his desk as he got to his feet. Kirishima stumbled back from Bakugou’s desk, confused. Shoulders slumped, eyes narrowed, footsteps like a herd of rhinos, Bakugou made his way over to Izuku’s desk.

Izuku jumped as Bakugou’s hand slammed down onto the desk in front of him. Wide-eyed and terrified, he slowly looked up at Bakugou towering over him. He looked like a deer in the headlights and the whole class held their breath as the two just stared at each other. One minute, two, three. Bakugou said nothing as he hovered over Izuku, a silent statue radiating irritation like a miasma. Izuku was starting to feel nauseous.

“You didn’t do anything, alright?” Izuku blinked, lips parting, eyebrows scrunching in the middle wrinkling his nose in a way that was too cute to be legal. A look of pure, unadulterated confusion.

“Did you hear me, nerd?!” Bakugou was shouting now. He was never known for his patience.

“Yes!” Izuku squeaked in response, jumping in his seat.

“Good,” Bakugou said, leaning back a little so as not to seem quite so intimidating, “now stop moping like a little kid and get your shit together.”

He said nothing else as he made his way back to his seat. He plopped down with a thud and bent over his desk dramatically, refusing to look at anyone. They were all looking at him, though, eyes wide and jaws on the floor.

“D-did he,” Izuku stuttered, whispering to Uraraka - who Bakugou had forcibly traded seats with two weeks ago - in front of him, “did Kacchan just apologize?”