The first clue that set off the initial investigation began on an innocuous day before class started. Aizawa-sensei hadn’t yet appeared to start class, so most of the students were either sitting in their desks or lingering around their friends. They had all been in class together long enough that friend groups had developed. Even Katsuki had managed to get a group of friends, although how he did he would never be able to tell you because he hadn’t tried to make friends with anyone. Then again, that seemed to be his track record. People just seemed drawn to him. He had long since stopped questioning it, although he did sometimes lament it.
Case in point.
“Waaaaaaaaaaait…” Ashido called out suddenly, interrupting Sero and Kirishima’s debate on the most recent Vines and which was funnier. She practically leaped across Kirishima’s desk to land on the other side and kneel next to Katsuki’s school bag. “Oh my god, it is! ” She cried.
“What?” Kirishima asked, curious about his friend’s reaction. What had she seen in Bakugou’s bag that she was risking his ire?
And risking it she was, because Bakugou noticed her immediately and growled, “What the fuck do you want?! Get away from my stuff, Pinky!!”
“Bakugou!” Iida called from across the room. “Watch your language!” Bakugou ignored him.
“This is one of those ‘soulmate’ charms!” Ashido looked positively giddy at her discovery as she cupped it to show the other boys. “Bakugou, I didn’t know you believed in these things!”
“No fucking way!” Kaminari grinned in disbelief as Sero snickered behind his hand. “You’re not serious!”
“Back the fuck up!” Bakugou swatted at Ashido, who dodged back and away. She released the charm so that it fell back to dangling on Bakugou’s bag. Bakugou yanked his bag off of the back of his chair and pulled it into his lap to glare at the offending charm. His friends revelled in the sight of the other boy’s pink cheeks as he bared his teeth at the sight of the charm. “Fucking shit .” He grumbled under his breath, but still loud enough for his friends to hear.
“Do you really believe in the soulmate charm rumor?” Kirishima asked as Bakugou attempted to undo the bind and get the charm off of his bag.
“Of course he does!” Kaminari said with laughter in his voice. He was practically vibrating from his barely-contained humor. “Why else would he have that?”
“I didn’t fucking want this!” Bakugou snapped at them. “I didn’t put this here!”
“Who did, then?” Sero asked. “Your girlfriend?”
“None of your goddamn business!” Bakugou managed to unsnag the charm and glared at it furiously. His eyes darted to the window and narrowed at something before he shoved the charm into his bag. It didn’t escape his friends that he didn’t toss the charm away.
The thing was, there was no way Bakugou could have a girlfriend. None of his friends believed a girl could actually put up with Bakugou’s abrasive attitude long enough to date him.
(“But you willingly hang around him. You and Uraraka.” Kirishima pointed out to Ashido.
“That’s different. We’re not about to go around kissing him or anything like that.” Ashido explained.)
But at the same time, there was definitely something up. Bakugou didn’t immediately get rid of the charm and had actually kept it, which meant it did have some kind of value to him. Bakugou was very open about getting rid of things that didn’t please him. He also wasn’t the type to keep things like little charms unless they held value to him. Significant value, since Kaminari pointed out that he had seen Bakugou readily destroy some of his own stuff before in one of his usual shitfits.
It was possible a parent gave it to him, but parents wouldn’t give a soulmate charm. It was something that was mostly discussed amongst teenagers and less so with adults. Plus judging by the way Bakugou talked about his parents, he probably wouldn’t have kept something like that without thinking it was a joke.
It could be from a sibling, but everyone knew Bakugou was an only child. Nobody could really imagine there being more than one Bakugou running around anyway.
Friends were also possible. But then Ashido pointed out that they were the closest friends to Bakugou at the moment, and none of them would dare to get him a gift like that. Not unless they expected it to either be destroyed right away, or thrown back in their faces. He would probably think they were making fun of him. Even Kirishima confessed that he didn’t think Bakugou would actually carry a charm Kirishima gave him with him. Not unless it was, like, for studying or something. And even then there was the possibility that Bakugou would just be insulted.
Bakugou could’ve bought it for himself, but imagining Bakugou as someone who believed in rumors like that was a terrifying concept.
That left it having to be from someone Bakugou was romantically attached to. There were no other plausible options. But as far as everyone in class knew, Bakugou didn’t have a girlfriend. (“And one wouldn’t put up with him!” Kaminari insisted.) Maybe it was from someone that he liked? They had to have been the one to hook it onto his bag without him noticing, though, judging by how he had reacted to the sight of it. So it was someone Bakugou was close enough to that he would allow them to touch his stuff.
The mystery was too tantalizing to leave alone.
“We have to get his phone.” Ashido decided at lunch before Bakugou could sit down and join them.
“Who?” Uraraka asked.
“Are you kidding me? He’ll kill us!” Kaminari protested. “How would we even get the chance?”
“Who?” Uraraka asked again with more confusion. She leaned forward with interest in her seat.
“Bakugou.” Kirishima explained before switching back to Ashido. “Kaminari has a point. Bakugou doesn’t let just anyone touch his stuff.”
Ashido made a frustrated sound. “But we need his phone!”
“Why exactly?” Uraraka asked.
“You’re just asking to get hurt.” Sero warned.
“Listen,” Ashido leaned forward and held her finger up as she explained, “we need to find out if Bakugou really does have a girlfriend! And I’m certain he’ll have her in his phone. We just need a glimpse at his contacts!”
“Ohh, the soulmate charm thing!” Uraraka nodded in understanding finally. “I want to know too!”
“Uraraka, I worry about your self-preservation instincts when you just jump onto stuff like this…” Kaminari said.
“Don’t be a baby!” Ashido scolded him. Neither Kaminari nor Kirishima looked super enthused, but more because they were worried about repercussions than because they didn’t want to know as well. “Help throw some ideas on the table!”
“Could we just ask to borrow his phone?” Kirishima suggested.
“I doubt that would work.” Sero shook his head. “The guy would just tell us to use ours.”
“Well actually he let me borrow his phone once when I needed to call my parents.” Uraraka pointed out. “It was when I needed a new phone because I broke mine during the internships, so I didn’t have one.”
“That’s unexpectedly nice of him.” Ashido said.
“So that might actually work...But we all have cell phones right now.” Kaminari tapped his fingers on the table. “That, and Bakugou would totally suspect something is up.”
“Then we need to have someone do it who won’t make him suspicious!” She cried, slamming a fist down on the table.
“But who? Uraraka?” Sero asked.
“I could try?” Uraraka said.
“I’ve got a better idea.” Kirishima said with a grin.
It was surprisingly easy to convince Todoroki to help them out. Ever since the Sports Festival, Todoroki and Bakugou seemed to have developed a healthy rivalry for each other. It was crazy watching the two of them go at it during practical training and still somehow tolerate each other afterwards. It was easy to tell they both pissed each other off to no end, but nobody in class would deny there was some kind of friendship there.
It only took Uraraka mentioning to Todoroki that Bakugou had a soulmate charm and the theory that he was dating someone to get him to cooperate.
“Anyone who can tolerate Bakugou long enough to actually date him is someone I want to meet.” Todoroki had explained when asked why he had jumped on board with the plan so quickly.
It went off without a hitch really. Whatever lie Todoroki had said to Bakugou worked in getting him to let Todoroki borrow his phone. Everyone else knew that Todoroki would need more than a few minutes to get the information that they needed, so they had all jumped to distract Bakugou. It wasn’t difficult to distract Bakugou if one was just acting annoying and talking a lot around him. They managed to get him riled up and angry, at which point everyone fled instead of taking an explosion to the face. That was Todoroki’s cue to come back and return the phone. He was also yelled at for taking so long.
“Did you find it?” Kaminari asked eagerly when the team had regrouped later. “Or did you find any pictures?”
“I didn’t look in his pictures.” Todoroki said while pulling out his phone and typing in his own password to open it. “I went straight for his contacts.”
“Aw man, I wanted pictures.”
“Dude I don’t think I would risk looking at Bakugou’s pics.” Sero said with a grimace. “I can’t even imagine what kind of pictures that guy takes.”
“You know for his friends you all are really critical of him.” Uraraka pointed out, although she looked amused.
“You don’t get why?”
“No, I mean, I get it, but still-”
“Here.” Todoroki found what he was looking for and placed his phone in the middle of all of them. They crowded around. Todoroki proved once again to be one of the smartest kids in the class because he had taken screenshots of parts of Bakugou’s contacts and had simply texted them to himself. He also went ahead and deleted the messages off of Bakugou’s phone, which was why he hadn’t had time to do anything more like look at his pictures.
It was a good thing this was the method Todoroki had chosen because all of Bakugou’s contacts had nicknames on them. Very few of them looked to be real names. Todoroki admitted to screenshotting only the ones that contained nicknames he didn’t recognize.
“Most of them are our classmates. I recognized most of them, more or less.” Todoroki said.
“Todoroki, dude, you are a fucking godsend.” Kaminari breathed.
“Hahaha, oh my god he really does just call everyone by nicknames!” Kirishima laughed. “I don’t think he even knows anyone’s real name!”
“He actually has my name by my nickname!” Uraraka pointed out as they caught the top of her contact in one of the pictures. “But...He still calls me Round Face in his phone.” She pouted, blushing some in offence.
“Take it as a sign of respect if he actually knows your name.” Ashido assured her, patting her back. “There are worse names in here.”
“Look, could this be her?” Kaminari pointed to a name. “‘Old Hag’. Could that be the horrible name he gave his girlfriend?”
“No, that’s his mom. He’s mentioned her before, remember?” Kirishima said.
Try as they might, the group only managed to narrow down a couple of names that could possibly be the mysterious girlfriend. It was too difficult to try to translate Bakugou’s insulting contact names. The most they could do was weed out any that they knew were classmates. Bakugou didn’t seem to have too many contacts outside of them. The main reason Bakugou even had all of their class anyway was because they had all decided to exchange information just in case anything happened.
Overall the mission was a bust. But they did discover that they shouldn't feel too insulted by Bakugou’s insults. Most of them really were just nicknames he had given them.
“Gotta tell you,” Sero said one day as they all made their way back towards the classroom to get their stuff at the end of the day, “you guys didn’t try this hard to look into information on my girlfriend.”
“Are you sure?” Ashido asked with a sly grin. Sero straightened in terror before she laughed it away with a wave, “Of course we didn’t. It’s not super weird for you to have a girlfriend. But this is Bakugou we’re talking about!”
Sero rolled the thought around for a while before shrugging. “Good point.”
“After all, we would probably be just as suspicious if Kaminari got a girlfriend!”
“HEY!” Kaminari yelled while his friends snickered and jeered him good-naturedly.
Trial and error occurred throughout the next couple of days. A lot of it involved people in the group bringing up relationships and trying to nag Bakugou into giving away some kind of information. Uraraka brought up the rumor about the soulmate charms and the believability of them. Sero mentioned some funny things that happened with his girlfriend. Ashido lamented wanting to date but not being sure of her prospects. Kaminari got to talking about how attractive all of the female students in class are (which was quickly shut down by the other two girls).
Bakugou stayed tight-lipped as ever. He only ever looked irritated when the topic was brought up. Or that could just be because he was annoyed that Todoroki had taken to eating with them now sometimes. Either way, he refused to participate no matter how much nagging or pressing occurred.
Kirishima rather thought they were going about things the wrong way. The thing with Bakugou was that you couldn’t just get him to open his mouth and expect answers. He was more likely to get upset if you pressed him. Kirishima had learned you had to look into the nuances of how Bakugou acted to really see. It was the reason Kirishima felt he could claim Bakugou’s “best friend” spot.
For example, catch Bakugou when he’s zoning out in class. It was rare, but Kirishima had spotted it once or twice. It was usually during a point in class where they were reviewing and Bakugou already knew whatever it was they were reviewing. Kirishima only really noticed because he, too, had glanced out of the window for a change of pace rather than staring at the teacher. That’s when he saw Bakugou doing something strange.
He was staring at his right hand and wiggling his fingers. It was a slow wiggle as he twisted his wrist back and forth. Kirishima had stared, frowning, trying to figure out what that kind of movement could be. Was his hand hurting from writing? Trying to pop his joints? It took a couple of moments, but it finally clicked as to what it looked like. He looked like he was running something between his fingers and twisting it around his hand before unwinding it as he did the opposite movements. Kirishima raised his eyebrows at that because he couldn’t see anything on Bakugou’s hand.
It was hard to see the other boy’s expression from Kirishima’s seat because Bakugou was ahead of him in the rows and diagonal. But he just managed to catch a soft look from the side of Bakugou’s face when he turned his head briefly. He looked like he was watching something and following it until it went out the window. Kirishima looked as well, but couldn’t see anything of import. Bakugou’s hand movements switched until he looked to be winding something around his finger while staring out of the window.
It was weird, but it made Kirishima think that maybe, just maybe, Bakugou really could see the red string from the stories. He wouldn’t bring it up with the others, though. He felt like he had invaded a personal moment by watching that. He would leave his theory to himself and let their friends continue to try to figure it out.
“Bakugou, please !” Ashido begged a week later when Aizawa-sensei stepped out of the classroom to handle something. Ashido had leapt up from her desk with Uraraka not far behind to go to the other side of the room where her friends were at. She slammed her hands down on Bakugou’s desk. “We’re dying over here! Tell us something about your girlfriend!”
“What the ever-loving fuck are you talking about?!” Bakugou snapped, irritated. Uraraka stole the empty desk behind Bakugou and leaned forward on her elbows curiously as well. She glanced down at his bag, but didn’t see a sign of the soulmate charm. The rest of the group gathered as well as the students all went to their various friends. Iida attempted to scold them all back into their seats, but he was overall ignored.
“We just want to know! You haven’t told us anything! Aren’t we friends?”
“Where did you get the idea that I’m friends with you assholes?”
“You love us!” Kirishima said, throwing an arm around Bakugou’s shoulders. Bakugou grumbled and shook him off.
“What does it even matter? Why are you so fucking nosy?”
“You never talk about yourself outside of the classroom.” Kaminari explained. “And we wanna know how you of all people got a girlfriend before us!”
“Fuck off, Pikachu.” Bakugou growled and flicked him off.
“What he means ,” Uraraka interrupted, glaring at Kaminari when the boy riled Bakugou up again, “is that we didn’t think you were interested in dating. So we’re curious who you made the exception for!”
“Why do you just assume I’m dating someone?!” Bakugou demanded, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms. “You all have been assuming a lot of fucking things about me!”
“Because obviously someone gave you that charm.” Ashido pointed out. “And there’s no way it’s not from someone you like.”
Bakugou glared at her. They took that as a win.
“So just tell us, man.” Sero coaxed. “We just wanna know. We’re not gonna tease you about it.”
Bakugou gave them all a skeptical look.
“Well, there will probably be some teasing.” Ashido corrected. Bakugou rolled his eyes in response.
“It’s none of your business. I don’t have to tell any of you shit.”
“Then we’ll assume the worst.” Todoroki suddenly spoke up. Bakugou spun in his seat to scowl at the boy. It was then that they realized that a number of classmates seemed to be listening into the conversation. Uraraka could only grin in amusement when some of them pretended they weren’t interested. Todoroki just met Bakugou’s gaze head-on. “They probably have just as bad of a personality as you.”
“DON’T FUCKING SAY SHIT ABOUT DEKU!!” Bakugou shouted, standing from his seat.
“Ah, so you nicknamed them Deku.”
“You son of a bitch-!”
“Bakugou!!” Iida called, “Don’t yell like that in class!”
“Who names their girlfriend ‘Deku’?” Kaminari muttered.
“For fuck’s sake, he’s not my girlfriend!” Bakugou finally snarled, reaching his limit for the idiocy. The class fell silent from shock at that. Bakugou seethed. His right hand twitched and then curled into a fist. He shoved both hands into his pants before throwing himself down into his chair again and glaring at his desk.
“Whoa.” Sero murmured.
“Wow, I didn’t expect you to be gay.” Kirishima admitted. Bakugou shot him a heated glare, which caused the boy to raise his hands. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I was just surprised!” Bakugou’s scowl only worsened.
“Who cares if he’s gay?” Ashido demanded and leaned on Bakugou’s desk eagerly, waving the boys off. “So his name is Deku! What’s he like? When did you start dating? Did he give you the charm? Is he your soulmate?”
“Stop asking me so many questions! I'll kill your ass if you don't shut up!” Bakugou snapped.
“It’s really cute that he gave you a soulmate charm, though.” Uraraka said, smiling. “He must really like you! Does it work?”
“What?” Bakugou asked, turning to look at her.
“The soulmate charm.” She repeated. “Are the rumors true? Can you see a red string if you have it?”
Bakugou huffed in annoyance before he grabbed his bag. He reached into it and rummaged just a bit before pulling out a familiar charm. He tossed it to Uraraka. “What do you think? Can you fucking see anything?”
Uraraka held the charm in her hand and looked around. Despite herself, she felt her heart lift in anticipation. However after another moment that hope faded into disappointment. She sighed. “No, I can’t see anything.”
“Didn’t think so.”
“Lemme see!” Kirishima took the charm next and then Ashido after him. Nobody saw any kind of string, much to their disappointments.
“It’s still touching.” Ashido said when Bakugou snatched the charm back and put it away. Sero and Kaminari shared amused looks to see Bakugou putting it away so carefully. “Hey, you should totally invite Deku to our class outing this weekend! We can all meet him before the training camp!”
“Stop calling him Deku. That’s not his name.” Bakugou said.
“Well you won’t tell us his real name sooo…”
He ignored her. “And who said I was even coming to that? Let alone bringing his dumb ass?”
“We did!” Kaminari announced. “We’ll just go to your house and drag you there if you don’t willingly come!”
“I’d like to see you try!”
“Sero, get your tape ready.”
“All ready!” Sero responded with a grin and a salute.
“Back in your seats!” Iida called. “Aizawa-sensei is returning!!”
My fuckin classmates are forcin me to invite u out
??? To where?
The mall. Goin shoppin before the camp
I can’t :(
I made plans with Shinsou-kun.
U can see that fucker all summer.
Im gonna be gone asshole
You want me to come with you to the mall?
Dont wanna go to the fuckin mall at all
I’d like to come and meet your friends
but I can’t
Theyre not my friends.
See you tonight?
Bakugou didn’t bring the now-infamous Deku with him to the mall with the class. At this point most everybody expected that, though. They were more surprised that Bakugou still actually joined them even without his boyfriend by his side. He was irritated the entire time, but that wasn’t a surprise either.
The first time Bakugou’s friends met Deku was under a circumstance that none of them wanted to be in. Bakugou had been kidnapped at the summer camp by villains and had left everyone in a state of disarray. The boy’s parents were called down and they brought with them another boy with green curly hair. The class didn’t hear what was going on when it looked like an argument was breaking out amongst the teachers and this boy. It got bad enough that the boy got frustrated and stormed off with furious tears in his eyes.
Kirishima had watched the entire thing with Todoroki by his side. Both of them had been left feeling angry as well after the events of the summer camp and without an outlet. Kirishima wanted to go rescue his best friend. Todoroki wanted to make up for his failure of saving Bakugou when he had been part of the group protecting him. It was by quiet mutual decision that they went after the other boy who was wearing the same expression they both felt.
They found the green-haired boy by some trees at the school and slamming his hands against the bark. He let out a shout of fury as he kicked the tree with the bottom of his foot, crying. He eventually hunched over on himself, holding his left hand to his chest.
“Hey!” Kirishima called. The boy straightened in surprise. When he saw the other two, he wiped at his face quickly. “You okay, dude?”
“No!” The boy cried and wiped at his face more as tears tried to overflow again. “Kacchan’s been kidnapped by villains and the stupid teachers at this school won’t even let me help!”
Kirishima frowned at the nickname. “Oh.” Todoroki said, “Are you Deku?”
The boy sniffed and frowned at them. “Um, yes? I mean, no. That’s what Kacchan calls me. My name is Midoriya Izuku.”
“You’re Bakugou’s boyfriend!” Kirishima cried, stunned. This adorable guy with the baby face was Bakugou’s boyfriend?! He wouldn’t have ever expected that.
Midoriya nodded once. He looked to be a little more in control of himself. “And you’re Kirishima and Todoroki. I recognized you guys from the Sports Festival.”
“I’m sorry.” Todoroki said suddenly. The others turned to him. He was scowling at the ground. “It’s my fault Bakugou got kidnapped. I’m sorry.”
“What?” Midoriya frowned.
“No, it wasn’t!” Kirishima protested at the same time.
“I was with him when he was taken. I couldn’t do anything to help.” Todoroki argued.
“Well join the club.” Midoriya told them, bitterness lacing his tone. “I’m the best chance of finding Kacchan, and I can’t do anything because they won’t let me!”
“Dude, we feel you!” Kirishima stepped forward and motioned widely. “We want to help too! We were…” he paused and glanced around to check everything was clear before continuing, “we were actually gonna go look for him ourselves. One of our classmates, Yaoyorozu, she put a tracker on one of the villains. We were gonna stage a rescue mission.”
Midoriya looked between the two boys with shock. Neither Kirishima nor Todoroki backed down from his stare or laughed. They were completely serious. It didn’t take long for Midoriya to get this as well as his face hardened. “Then let me join! I can help!”
“What’s your quirk?” Todoroki asked.
“I don’t have a quirk.” That stunned Kirishima and Todoroki both. Bakugou was dating a Quirkless person as well? Kirishima started to think that maybe they had judged Bakugou way too much. “But I can help track him.” He held up his left hand.
“With what?” Todoroki asked, frowning at the boy’s bare hand.
“I’m his soulmate.” Midoriya explained without any kind of shame or embarrassment. “I can see the string that ties me to him.”
Kirishima couldn’t help his grin. He had guessed right. Bakugou really had their friends going thinking that the soulmate charm didn’t work. “I knew it! So you can follow the string to him?”
Midoriya nodded quickly, looking relieved that his idea wasn’t immediately rejected. “I’m not saying that your classmate’s way of tracking isn’t better, but I can help to pinpoint Kacchan’s location in case he’s separate from the villains!”
“You can really see a string?” Todoroki took another good look at Midoriya’s hand, but still couldn’t see anything. Midoriya nodded again.
“It’s going to be super dangerous.” Kirishima warned. “We can’t fight them or anything. We just need to get Bakugou out.”
Midoriya’s face was determined. His green eyes seemed to spark with electricity and fire that Kirishima recognized from Bakugou. He could suddenly see what Bakugou saw in the other boy. “I know. Just let me help in any way that I can.”
It was a group of five of them who were willing to go. Kirishima, Todoroki, Midoriya, Iida, and Yaoyorozu. Iida and Yaoyorozu had been against Midoriya coming insisting it was too dangerous for a civilian, but Midoriya refused to back down. He insisted again with his connection to Kacchan. He couldn’t prove it which left some room for doubt, but Todoroki and Kirishima backed him up until the others caved.
“I can protect myself.” Midoriya insisted when the five of them snuck away and went out following Yaoyorozu’s tracker. Midoriya didn’t stop staring at the invisible string he claimed to see. “I’ve been training with Kacchan since before high school.”
“It’s different against villains like these.” Yaoyorozu explained gently, but with insistence. “We fought them before twice already. The teachers themselves struggled against them.”
“I don’t expect to go head-to-head with them, Yaoyorozu.” Midoriya protested. “I’m just saying that if it comes down to it, I can at least help to hold my own.”
It never came down to that, but things still went sideways fast. Despite the disguises and the careful tracking, they ended up going to the wrong place. Midoriya had known it immediately when they slipped behind the brick wall for cover as they discussed what their next course of action was. He’d only looked at his hand and then to Yaoyorozu before asking, “Are you sure it’s here?”
She had nodded. “The villain I tracked is here.”
Midoriya had only looked into the distance and pointed. “Kacchan is that way.”
As frustrating as that was, they were glad Midoriya was along to tell them that. They didn’t have to go into the building then. But they still wanted to look into the windows to see what was in there if the villain was in there.
That was when things went wrong and suddenly Bakugou was there with a crowd of villains.
“Can you carry us both?” Midoriya asked desperately, shaking hand grabbing the front of Iida’s shirt.
“I can.” Iida insisted. “Bakugou will need to assist me as soon as we get him, though.”
“We can do that.”
“Are you sure about this, Midoriya?” Kirishima asked. They were all shaking. The sounds of the villains and the destruction had shaken them all. There was a terrible figure on just the other side of the wall facing off against All Might himself. None of them felt like they could breathe for fear that they would be heard. But there was enough fighting going on that they had to do something. They couldn’t leave Bakugou to fight alone against all of those villains. It was taking all of Midoriya’s strength not to run in after him. They needed to move quick before the villains took Kacchan away. Some had already escaped through the portal.
“It’s the only way. I’m the only one who can get Kacchan out of there.”
“Todoroki, you’ll need to give them the extra boost they need. I can back you up.” Yaoyorozu said.
“Then we need to hurry.” Todoroki said. “I’m ready when you three are.”
It wasn’t as fast as Izuku wanted, but it was fast enough. The villains didn’t know what was happening when the towering ramp of ice suddenly formed out of nowhere. Iida, Kirishima, and Izuku burst through the concrete wall and launched off of the top of it with Iida’s Reciproburst move. It caught everyone’s attentions and had them looking up.
“KACCHAN!!” Izuku screamed down, holding out his hand. The string between them swirled down and down, whipping in the wind to where it connected to Katsuki’s hand. “TAKE MY HAND!!”
Down below, Katsuki didn’t hesitate. Explosions rocked the air as Katsuki launched himself above the battlefield. He grabbed Izuku’s outstretched hand and used his opposite hand to continue to propel their momentum. The four of them flew far above the damage and the villains.
Katsuki grinned like mad as his eyes met Izuku’s. “You idiot!”
“Listen, alright?! I didn’t get rescued by anybody. I just figured escapin’ with you idiots was my best chance!” Katsuki pushed a finger into Kirishima's chest while glaring. Iida covered his ear and turned away as he talked on the phone with Todoroki.
“Whatever you say!” Kirishima told him, giving the other boy a cheerful thumbs up.
“The reason I came along was because I didn’t-” Katsuki cut himself off as Izuku slammed into him in a hug. Katsuki blinked down at the boy as Izuku’s breath hitched and buried his face into Katsuki’s neck.
KacchanKacchanKacchanKacchan repeated in Katsuki’s head until it became nothing but static. Fear and relief mixed with his own in a blend that made Izuku's breath hitch again rather than Katsuki’s own. Katsuki placed a hand on Izuku’s head with a sigh, trying to breathe through the pressure in his chest. He closed his eyes for just a moment and saw Izuku glowing behind his eyelids.
It took him a moment to remember that Kirishima was still there. His eyes ripped open and he shot a glare towards the red-headed boy. Kirishima’s smile only softened and he held up his hands before turning away to give them their moment. Katsuki would make sure to kill him less for that.
Izuku pulled away first. His eyes were dry as he scanned Katsuki. Katsuki could taste the question on Izuku’s tongue wanting to ask if he was alright, but he didn’t need to voice it. He could feel it for himself. So instead of asking or answering, Katsuki took Izuku’s left hand into his right. The string felt like it was vibrating, but that could also be because of Izuku’s shaking. Warmth filled in the cracks that had become chilled from fear and worry as they both turned their gazes to the television screen and watched All Might’s battle.
In order to continue his education in the Heroes Course at U.A. High, Katsuki had to move into a dorm room set up for the kids on campus. This was an added security feature considering the looming threat of the villains. His idiotic friends had been lucky that their entire class hadn’t been expelled for their little stunt. They were even luckier that Izuku’s school had never found out that he had been part of the rescue. They weren’t so lucky as to get off of Katsuki’s shit list.
“What the fuck were you thinking?!” Katsuki growled after he made sure he was alone with the four perpetrators of the rescue. “Why the hell did you bring Deku along with you?!”
“He insisted on it.” Kirishima explained. “He said that he could help and he did!”
“Without his idea, we may not have succeeded in rescuing you.” Iida added.
“ Nobody rescued me! I chose to get out of there through the opening you made!” Katsuki corrected sharply.
“Then without him we may not have made an opening.” Yaoyorozu sighed. “I was against it too, but we should all be glad that he came.”
“You brought a damn civilian to a battlefield.”
“We did what was necessary. His bond to you would’ve been useful to finding you.” Todoroki explained.
Katsuki’s head whipped to him. “What the fuck did you just say?”
“Your bond.” Todoroki repeated in a slight drawl as he grew fed up with Katsuki scolding. He had much less tolerance than most people for it. “He used the string to help us find you.”
“Motherfucker!” Katsuki hissed. “He just blabs his mouth all the damn time-”
“Dude, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” Kirishima attempted to calm him, but Katsuki brushed him off. He was too riled up to care.
“NONE of you had better fucking say anything to anyone about this!” He pointed to all of them furiously. “I’ll kill you if you do!” Katsuki would have to kill Izuku the next chance that he got. That kid didn’t know when to keep his damn mouth shut about things that weren’t anybody’s business.
There had been something off about Bakugou ever since the night of his rescue. None of his friends could really put their fingers on it, though. For the most part it seemed like everything was normal, but there would be times where Bakugou was just far too quiet. It was a little unnerving; especially when they expected to be yelled at or scolded. He didn’t even take teasing the same way that he used to. The only thing that wasn’t super different was his training method. He was just as brutal and efficient as he had always been. Only Todoroki really pointed out that he was being more brutal than usual.
“Maybe he misses Midoriya.” Kirishima suggested to his friends as they all sat in the common room and played a video game. He was currently in a battle to the death in Super Smash Bros with Ashido, Sero, and Kaminari. Uraraka had already claimed that she would take the first loser’s spot. Todoroki was watching half-asleep on the couch. Kirishima sometimes wondered at what point Todoroki had become part of their group, but he supposed once someone teamed up with them to learn Bakugou’s secret there was no going back.
“Who?” Kaminari asked. He kept letting out little grunts of frustration over Ashido’s yelling. Sero barely dodged an elbow as Kaminari attempted to screw them all up by throwing himself over his lap.
“For fuck’s sake, Kaminari!” Sero snapped, pushing him back with a foot.
“Kick his ass for me! I can’t reach him from here!” Ashido demanded. Not one of them took their eyes off of the screen.
“Oh right, you don’t know him.” Kirishima said.
“THE SMASH BALL! THE SMASH BALL!!” Uraraka called, hitting the ground as she got super into the battle. A couple of the other students that were either lingering in the common area doing their own things or were passing through glanced at the group with all of the noise before going back to their business.
“Why would we call him? Who is he?” Sero asked.
“He’s Bakugou’s boyfriend.” Todoroki said.
“WHAT?!” Everyone but Kirishima cried, heads whipping to look at Todoroki. The boy startled from his half-doze at their combined voices. Kirishima let out a yell and took advantage by using his special smash move to take out Kaminari and Sero. They both barely noticed.
“When did you find out his name?!” Ashido demanded, dropping her controller to grab the front of Kirishima’s shirt and shake him. “Why didn’t you TELL ME?!”
“Gah, stop pulling on my shirt!” Kirishima attempted to pry her off. “We forgot, okay?”
“How the hell did Todoroki know before us?!” Kaminari cried.
“This isn’t fair! I thought we were all in this together!” Uraraka added, aghast.
“We found out at a bad time, alright? Sorry!” Kirishima managed to get Ashido to let go.
“So have you met him?” Sero asked.
“Is he super cute?” Ashido asked.
“Is he a jerk like Todoroki thought?” Kaminari asked.
“Did Bakugou-kun tell you his name?” Uraraka asked.
“Jeez, one question at a time!” Kirishima shook his hands in front of them and scooted a bit away from them. Ashido was far too close for comfort and he was sure she would grab him again.
“In order:” Todoroki decided to speak up and save Kirishima, “Yes. Yes. No. No.”
Ashido squealed. “Ohmigod he’s cute?!”
“Do you have a picture?” Uraraka crawled onto the couch beside Todoroki.
“No.” Todoroki said.
“He helped us out with rescuing Bakugou.” Kirishima explained. “That was how we met him.”
“He actually helped you?” Kaminari asked. “Does he have a strong quirk or something?”
“Dude, not cool. You shouldn’t take a civilian with you on that kind of mission.” Sero told them with a frown.
Kirishima kind of understood Bakugou’s pain now as he was assaulted with all of these questions. Also, he had already heard plenty of times about his mistake of bringing a civilian. But he couldn’t bring himself to feel guilty or regret it because it had been Midoriya who had helped them really save Bakugou. The day might have ended very differently if he hadn’t been there.
Besides, Kirishima had rather liked seeing that gentle look that had been on Bakugou’s face when he had hugged Midoriya, as embarrassing as it had kind of been. He was certain that such a sight was rarer than winning every lottery at one time.
“He doesn’t have a quirk. Pretty sure he would be with us in the hero course if he did.” That made them all pause. It wasn’t uncommon for people to not have a quirk (not when 1 in 5 people were Quirkless), but it was still surprising to hear about it.
“Jeez, we really had Bakugou pegged all wrong, huh?” Kaminari finally muttered to break the silence. “Gay and dating someone who’s Quirkless.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Ashido demanded, instantly on edge.
Kaminari held up his hands. “Nothing! I’m just saying that I never expected that of Bakugou.”
“Anyway,” Kirishima decided to finally steer them back onto the topic. He moved to actually pause the game realizing they had left it going, “I think we should invite Midoriya out with us. That way you guys can meet him and maybe Bakugou will cheer up.”
“If this is Bakugou depressed, I’m legitimately worried that he has no chill.”
“You think he’s just missing his boyfriend?” Todoroki asked with a raised eyebrow.
Kirishima shrugged. “Worth a shot, right? I don’t think many of us have really gone out since we moved into the dorms.” It was left unsaid that many of them had been trying to adjust to the new living arrangements. Not only that, but some were pretty concerned about going out after their class had been targeted. The school had an imposed curfew and everything to make sure the students were safe for the time being. Most just stayed on campus unless it was to go out to the local stores.
“Well…” Sero tapped at the joint of his elbow in thought, “I haven’t seen my girlfriend in forever either. You don’t see me acting like that.”
“You might be more well-adjusted.” Ashido joked.
“Or maybe Bakugou’s started dating Midoriya more recently?” Uraraka suggested. “Either way, I want to meet him! Do you have his phone number?”
“Oh.” Kirishima deflated a bit. “No. Shit, I totally forgot to ask him.” There was a chorus of groans. Ashido even flopped back onto the floor with a pout.
“I have it.” Todoroki said.
Everyone sat up straight with a gasp. “You do?!” Uraraka asked.
Todoroki shrugged. “It was in one of the pictures of Bakugou’s contacts that I sent to myself. I could text him.”
“Todoroki to save the day!” Kaminari cheered.
“Hurry hurry! Contact him! I want to meet him ASAP!” Ashido commanded.
“Give me his number too!” Kirishima said.
Is this Midoriya?
Who is this?
Hi Todoroki! :)
How did you get my number?
I stole it off of Bakugou’s phone.
He’s not aware I have this number.
Wow. That’s even more impressive.
Now I get why Kacchan complains about you all of the time.
I’ll assume that’s a compliment.
It is :)
Good to know.
We were wondering if you want to come to the dorms.
I’d love to meet Kacchan’s friends!
Under, well, better circumstances than before.
But I need to have special permission from the school.
We’ll help you get that.
Okay, if you’re sure.
When are you available?
Something that the self-proclaimed Bakusquad (with special guests Todoroki and Uraraka) was learning was that Bakugou would always surprise them when it came to Midoriya. First of all, Midoriya was adorable . He was baby-faced and shy, but still really friendly and talkative. He was able to put up with Bakugou snapping at him with an ease born from apparent years of being with each other. They hadn’t been dating for very long, but they had known each other since childhood and thus knew each other’s habits. Unlike Bakugou, Midoriya was pretty open about their relationship. He was easily flustered by any pressing questions, though, and usually Bakugou would guard-dog his way into the conversation to snarl at them to fuck off.
Midoriya was nothing like any of them had been expecting. He wasn’t even like the serious boy that Todoroki and Kirishima had first seen. Midoriya relaxed and having a good time was distinctly different from serious Midoriya. The calm Midoriya blushed when girls got too close to him or complimented him. The serious Midoriya hadn’t even flinched when Yaoyorozu’d had to expose herself a little bit to use her quirk. It was a funny thing.
The fact that Midoriya could put up with Bakugou was amazing. Seeing them out in public together when the group had all gotten together had been a sight to behold. Bakugou hadn’t been any less of his grumpy self, but it was easy to see by the way he interacted with Midoriya that they were close. Even when the two started bickering with each other, anyone could see it was just par for course with their relationship. It was nice to meet someone who didn’t totally put up with Bakugou’s complaining.
Sero had muttered to them that Bakugou was actually a tsundere, and thus all of them had proceeded to lose their shit. None of them explained it to either Midoriya or Bakugou when they both asked (or demanded) to know the joke.
Another absolutely mind-blowing thing that they learned was that Bakugou was a hand-holder. A hand. Holder. And it wasn’t even forced on him most of the time! More than once Ashido caught Bakugou willingly reaching out and linking his hand with Midoriya’s. Both boys had acted like it was no big deal, which was even more surprising because they would get embarrassed if someone pointed out that one or the other was flirting. Bakugou would yell at them, but they'd never let go of each other’s hands.
None of the squad would be sure to let Bakugou live that down.
“I gotta know, though.” Kaminari said when they were all back at the dorm and relaxing in the common room. Many of their other classmates had already come and gone to meet Izuku. It had spread quickly (because none of them had been silent in their discussions about it) about Katsuki's boyfriend and admittedly everyone in the class had been curious. It was already past dinner time and the sun was setting by the time they had all managed to settle down in the common room living area again. Katsuki and Izuku weren’t quite cuddling together (because that was embarrassing), but their hands were situated near each other. Katsuki was resisting the urge to grab it again. He needed a breather from holding hands and he felt like he couldn't handle more contact at the moment. This was close enough. His dislike of touching and his desire to feel that warmth again were in constant conflict.
“What now?” Katsuki demanded with a sigh. He probably looked as much as he felt done with everyone. It was getting close to the time Katsuki preferred to go to sleep.
“How the heck did you two start dating? I mean, you’re totally different from each other!”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“We’re not that different, I think.” Izuku protested thoughtfully.
“I don’t think that was the point.” Todoroki murmured, almost to himself. Katsuki sneered at him.
“I wanna know too! I love hearing those kinds of stories!” Uraraka said with a raise of her hand in excitement.
“Holy shit, you guys are nosy! It’s none of your damn business!” Katsuki told them.
“Aww, don’t be like that Bakubro! Your relationship is super manly!” Kirishima said with only a bit of teasing in his tone. Katsuki shot a fierce glare at him that had Kirishima looking a little nervous about. Between one moment and the next though, the raging inferno in Katsuki's mind was partially doused by soothing wind. Katsuki turned his glare on Izuku instead, narrowing his eyes at him. Izuku only smiled a little.
“It’s true!” Ashido agreed. “Wasn’t Midoriya the one to give you that soulmate charm?”
“The one that you take such good care of~” Sero teased. Katsuki was going to kill them both.
Izuku let out a little laugh. “I didn’t give that to Kacchan.”
“Deku.” Katsuki warned with a growl.
He was ignored. “Kacchan bought us new ones since he destroyed our old ones.”
Just another surprise for the group. The group went a little wild with their teasing and playful jeering. Between the laughter and the cooing, Katsuki finally snapped and yelled at them all to shut up. Iida -who was in the dining room working on some studying- scolded him for yelling and made a chopping motion. Katsuki purposely climbed onto the couch, standing on the back to flick him off as hard as he could and to tell him to fuck off. The rest of the squad yanked him back down.
“You had previous ones?” Uraraka asked when the group had finally settled down later.
“We bought them when we were kids.” Izuku laughed at the memory, his cheeks warming. “At the time we both had misunderstood what the term ‘partner’ meant. We thought they were talking about hero partners.”
“Awww that’s so cute!”
Deku, shut the fuck up! Izuku could feel Katsuki’s annoyance and mortification pulsing thickly through the bond. His own cheeks wouldn’t stop filling with blood from the mixture. Katsuki’s demands for him to shut up just seemed to reverb and bounce around in Izuku’s head on repeat. Katsuki’s thoughts always seemed so loud in Izuku’s head whenever they would appear. They were foreign but comforting. Like a fire in the fireplace he was always aware of the scattered feelings and impressions from the other boy, but they were always in the background. Separate but bright and tempting. Izuku didn’t indulge in them too much because it was obvious when a thought was meant to be shared. Anything more felt like an invasion of privacy.
“So did it work?” Ashido asked curiously. She crossed her ankles and bought her legs up to her chest to lean on them. “It didn’t work for Bakugou, but can you see the red string? Do you believe in it?”
She still hadn’t let it go, Izuku realized. Then he understood that feeling hadn’t been from him. He had no way of knowing that Ashido had been pressuring Katsuki about it. Now he did. Izuku had a feeling that Ashido was probably the one who had started them all on the mad hunt to dig into his and Katsuki’s relationship. Nosy was right, he supposed.
Izuku glanced at Katsuki with a raised eyebrow. Katsuki didn’t meet his eye, choosing instead to glare across the room and out of the window. Izuku just stared at him harder. Katsuki gritted his teeth over whatever sensation he was receiving from Izuku.
His mind betrayed him before he could stop it: I never said I couldn’t see it.
Pleased, Izuku said, “Yes, I do believe in it. And I can see it.”
“Goddammit, Deku!” Katsuki yelled.
Think of it like revenge. Izuku thought back without really intending to. It was more of a feeling than a particular thought. It had translated easily as the cracks in Izuku’s heart echoed a little. They weren’t repaired completely yet and wouldn’t be for some time. Katsuki’s returning irritation and guilt spoke for itself. He squeezed Katsuki’s hand in apology. He couldn’t help his inner thoughts.
He softened his voice a little as he continued, a bit contrite, “The charm worked for us at least, but I don’t know about others.”
“So you’re seriously tied together by a string? It’s not just a rumor?” Sero asked.
“Dammit, I’m jealous!” Kaminari grumbled to himself.
Izuku followed the string between him and Katsuki. It was short at the moment, no longer than either of their fingers. If it was real, he and Katsuki wouldn’t even be able to pull away from each other. Not for the first time Izuku wondered if the length of the string meant anything. He just shrugged and said, “It was never just a rumor for us.”
The night grew late and curfew was fast approaching. Earlier that evening Iida had stopped by to remind them that Izuku needed to leave before curfew started. Katsuki’s friends had protested the stupid rule, but Iida had insisted.
“I get it.” Izuku had smiled, though he didn’t want to leave yet. “It’s the rules.”
“Thank you, Midoriya.” Iida had responded, relieved and pleased.
He had gone upstairs for the evening when it was time for Izuku to leave. He bid his new friends goodbye and promised to come by again. They had all exchanged phone numbers and LINE information eagerly. Izuku was pleased to have not only more hero friends, but friends that were friends with Katsuki. He was all for expanding his friend group.
Katsuki and Izuku walked together to the front door with just their pinkies interlocked. It was the only compromise Katsuki was willing to give when he was worn out from affection, Izuku had learned. The others had stayed behind in the living room to give them a few minutes alone together. Izuku found himself closing his eyes as he took a couple of deep breaths to savor the feeling of warmth between him and Katsuki. He had always loved the feeling. It reminded him of curling up in a warm blanket during the middle of winter. Or snuggling down under the kotatsu. Only it was on the inside rather than not. He knew that the moment he and Katsuki let go of each other, his body would come down from the high inside of him. He didn’t know when was the next time he would see Katsuki between their schedules for school.
Katsuki opened the front door and stood inside while Izuku stood in the doorway to face him. Their hands dropped away from each other. The glowing feeling that Izuku had felt emanating from his body dulled down until it was under his skin and no longer whipping free of him like starlight. He wished that he could explain how Katsuki made him feel, but he knew that Katsuki felt the same. The feelings that would rebound between the two of them were too similar.
“I can’t take you to the gate. The damn curfew will go into effect before I get back and the campus guards will report me.” Katsuki said.
“That’s fine. I can walk by myself. It’s not that late.” Izuku assured him. The idea of Katsuki walking him anywhere was amusing anyway. He knew that the other boy would only walk him so that they could spend more time together rather than because Izuku needed to be protected or something. Katsuki would argue the opposite, though.
Silence fell between them filled with potential. Izuku found himself staring into Katsuki’s eyes, but lost in the sensations between them. In the silence their voices only seemed to ring louder. There was some kind of pressure on Izuku’s heart that felt too different to be his own. It felt scarred, but not in the way it usually did. He had felt it ever since the night Katsuki had been rescued by them. It felt like there was terrible damage just on the other side of Izuku’s heart, out of his sight but still stinging nonetheless. He couldn’t rid himself of the feeling.
He knew it was Katsuki. It had to be Katsuki, although Izuku had never felt pain from him. The pain they shared had always come from the tearing and the shredding of the bond from their youth. But Izuku hadn’t been able to approach the subject at all. He didn’t even know where to begin to ask what the feeling could be. They never talked about the things that were shared between them. There were far too many things that they felt they could be imagining. Izuku was too scared to admit to his fear that Katsuki didn’t actually feel anything from him at all and it was just all his imagination.
So Izuku said nothing. He took a deep breath and sighed with a promise to himself that he would pursue what was bothering Katsuki another day. They hadn’t had the chance to talk just by themselves today. Izuku didn’t know when the next time he would see the other boy would be.
He turned to leave with a smile and a wave. His foot only managed one step out of the door before his hand was caught. The warmth filled his being and he began to glow again. He looked back with confusion.
“Stay.” Katsuki murmured with his voice soft and ragged. Izuku rarely heard him speak in that tone.
Izuku’s eyes darted to his lips and he licked his own. He knew what Katsuki was asking. The static noise of Katsuki’s thoughts in the back of Izuku’s head shifted in tone and pitch. The heat and light from the fire in the fireplace seemed to burn brighter. The noise resembled images that played out scenes only seen in Izuku’s dreams and fantasies, bringing a blush to his face. The string floated past their faces and up above their heads. Izuku felt like he was floating as effortlessly as it was.
I can’t is what Izuku knew he was supposed to say. I need to go home. I promised Iida I would. I would be breaking the rules. We’ll get in trouble. You’ll get in trouble. I need to call my mom. Words and thoughts and ideas darted through his mind and away, acknowledged and discarded in turn. None of them were voiced aloud, but they were all heard nonetheless by both of them. Izuku could feel the heaviness in his chest and the yearning to stay a bit longer.
He knew that he shouldn’t, but he had never been able to tell Katsuki no when his own impulse was to scream yes. So instead he breathed out, “Okay.”
Kaminari heard the front door shut and caught movement from over the top of the couch. He leaned backwards a little to see around the furniture. Bakugou passed by with his hand linked with Midoriya’s, leading him over towards the elevator to go upstairs. Kaminari’s eyes met Bakugou’s as the boys entered the elevator. Bakugou narrowed his eyes and said nothing before the doors shut with a soft ding.
Kaminari whistled and grinned a little. “Iida ain’t gonna like that.”
“Like what?” Todoroki asked, not looking up from his cell phone.
Kaminari looked at him. “Bakugou just took Midoriya upstairs.”
“I didn’t see anything.”
“Yeah, what are you talking about dude?” Sero asked. He seemed to have started to busy himself by looking through the collection of video games kept downstairs.
Kaminari frowned in confusion. “Bakugou? He literally just passed by with Midoriya.”
“There’s no way. We all saw Bakugou-kun walk Midoriya-kun to the front door so he could go home.” Uraraka said as she examined her nails.
“Bakugou totally walked Midoriya to the door and that’s the last thing we saw.” Kirishima repeated with a grin dancing on his face.
“I couldn’t have been the only one who saw-” Ashido cut Kaminari off by pressing a hand to his mouth. Her eyebrows were raised pointedly as she repeated slowly,
“We didn’t see anything, right?”
Finally the light clicked on for Kaminari. “Ohh…” He said, voice humming under Ashido’s hand. The girl let it drop and returned to her original spot, relaxing back on the floor. Silence overtook the group as they allowed the good atmosphere to soak into them all, comfortable and at ease.
Kaminari only let out a soft scoff. “Bakugou’s so damn lucky to have friends like us.”
The rest all patted their hands twice against the surface they were sitting on in agreement.