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Of Soulmates and Meetings in the Snow

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No. 2 Pro Hero Hawks didn't have a soulmate. He cleverly avoided saying anything that might bring an interview in that direction, and despite the vague rumors thrown around by press and fans around, no word was spoken directly from the subject's lips. Hawks didn't really care about it, he was too busy being actually helpful to people to stop and think about love and soulmates and everything society seemed to be so obsessed about.

Dabi, the wanted villain with a cremation quirk, also didn’t have a soulmate. All he had in his heart was a burning need of revenge, which fueled the fire that burned everything in his path, including himself. Every person he talked to, every bond he made, had that purpose and only that purpose. He wasn’t attached to anything but his hatred, and definitely didn’t need something as senseless as a soulmate to hold him back from his self destructive objectives.

At least, that's what both they told themselves.

Because, while Wing Hero Hawks never had a soulmate, Takami Keigo, the boy who had to grow up too fast and give up on himself for the sake of everyone else, very much had one. Back when he didn’t have to be anyone but himself, he used to treasure the memory of that fated day in which he met him. A lone boy in a park on a winter day, with hair as white as the snow around him, dressed lightly and unaccompanied. Abandoned by his family, it seemed. Much like he was then (they were supposed to be twin souls after all). He didn't even get to know his name, nor did the other learn his; they didn’t talk to each other, fearing that the sense of clarity and purpose they found in that brief moment in each other was just a dream; all that happened then was a simple touch of fingers on fingers, drawn together by the magnetic force that could only be the one uniting soulmates.
Keigo used to touch his hands together, trying to relive the memory of that fated encounter, that feeling of absolute peace that took him away from the necessary pain of his training, as he became less of a person and more of a hero he clinged to that incredible event, that one moment of silent understanding people fantasized about when talking about soulmates.
Then he grew up, and all of that had to be erased for everyone's sake (that's what he tried to tell himself on the nights when he laid exhausted and overworked and oh so lonely after particularly intense patrols).

Todoroki Touya had a soulmate.
He almost didn’t believe it, after he found him, but what he did and felt was too similar to what his mother had told him in her bedtime story for it no to be really what had happened. His mother, the kindest person he knew, didn’t have a soulmate and was stuck and abused by a loveless marriage ,while he, a weak, disappointing joke of a person, who couldn’t even protect his family and control his quirk, had one.
He wasn’t even looking for him that day, he was wandering around, away from the house he wouldn’t call home (he knew he’d get punished if Father found out, but he was going to be hit anyways, might as well enjoy a little freedom),when he felt inexplicably drawn to a small park near the road,abandoned because of the heavy snow and the unusual time of the day. He decided to follow his insting, having nothing better to do. As soon as he found himself there, he noticed he wasn’t alone. Someone had followed him there, and has he looked at the winged boy that was now in front of him, he knew it was the same reason that had brought him there. He knew he felt the connection between them as well, and the pull of matched souls brought them closer to each other, tuning out the frozen world around them and the pain inside of them, culminating in absolute clarity as their fingertips touched and as they looked into each other’s eyes nothing else mattered.
Then, as quickly as they created it, they shattered their own dream, breaking that contact and running away in opposite directions, away from the cruel trick Fate had played on them both by making them feel an alternative, a choice other than the one the world had made for them as they were brought into it.
Afterwards, on the harder training days that preceded him being replaced by Shoto as their Father’s successor, he allowed himself to think about running away, following bright golden eyes, carried by strong red wings away from his tragedy.
When he eventually left home for good he went back to the park, now full of children playing and parents supervising, no snow and no bright red wings to show him the way. As he adjusted to life on the streets, as he tainted his conscience with vile acts, the light that brought him away from his anger in moments that got rarer and more precious as time went on was the memory of that meeting, the knowledge that there was someone out there he could truly find himself with.

As time went on, both boys, now men, toughened by their fate and their circumstances, forgot, or rather buried as deep as they could, the other; they couldn’t after all, be distracted from their work or their plans of revenge by the memory of someone they never did really get to know, that they didn’t know was still alive, much less that they could see ever again. And so both went on their doomed path, alone with a purpose that wasn’t quite their rightful one and definitely wasn’t one that would lead them to a peaceful, long life.

Even that wasn't quite true, and it hadn't been for quite a while.
Hawks thought the moment he was given the suicidal mission that was infiltrating the League of Villains by any and all means was the beginning of his end. He later realized it was a chance of a new beginning.
The moment he met Dabi, he felt the same inexplicable pull towards him. In those first stages, he attributed it to some weird attraction towards the stapled up man, definitely misplaced but understandable since it was probably the first time he met someone outside of a work environment (it was still work, but a good enough excuse for the time); when their relationship got more physical (he wouldn't dare say intimate), he attributed the spark he felt at the cremation villain's touch as being touch starved, which was definitely not false but also not an absolute truth.
The internalized lie, of course, didn't last long, and that's how he found himself once again going back to that decade-old memory of a white haired boy with unforgettable blue eyes, the same that were sleepily staring into his own at that very time (that reminded of someone else he used to fantasize about, but that revelation was one he wasn't ready for yet). The person that kept him human for so long after he should have given up was the one who made him human again, saw through his lies and made him see the ways he had been screwed over by the people he had always had to feel grateful towards. He made him realize his own worth, and hoped for a different life, or at least a different ending for the tragedy of his life. He could no longer excuse his own death for a greater good, especially as he realized that there was no such thing.

When Dabi first heard of the Winged Hero Hawks, he couldn’t believe how betrayed he felt. The boy he met all those years ago, the one he was meant to be with, was not only a hero, corrupted by society into false beliefs, but one that openly admired the fakest of them, Endeavor (he didn’t consider him his Father anymore. He couldn’t be that person now). When he met him the first time, looking to be recruited and armed with a sharp smile and well placed feathers, he saw through the lies in his eyes and in his words, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to roast him there and then (feathers were easily flammable after all, it wouldn’t have been hard). He decided he wanted to see where this would go, if his own soulmate recognized him when he looked so different from how he was before. As they kept on meeting, he slowly cracked into his disguise, meeting little resistance despite the strength on Hawks’ s ability to manipulate words (you couldn’t really hide from someone who was the same as you, and unfortunately that meant he himself wasn’t invulnerable from saying things about his past he wouldn’t have told anyone else). When they started sleeping together, whispering secrets in stolen moments hidden be the night, he realized there might be something else for him other than his sacrifice for revenge, that he was meant to be more than just the man who destroyed his own life to kill the one who brought him into it. And now he felt he had a chance to do something else, be someone else beyond what life had always brought him to be. He still felt the sense of injustice that brought him to join the League (which he now realized had become a family to him, that he had found home for the first time with them), but now it had become less important than cherishing himself and his relations. He just wished he realized it sooner, since now he couldn’t really hope to reunite with his mother and siblings, which he had never really forgotten.

And so as the lay in each other’s arms on a Winter night much like the one during which they first met, touching fingertips and looking into the other’s eyes, they hoped and dreamed again, of better circumstances and better fate, of a chance to have something different for them both. Even if that couldn’t happen, they rejoiced in having found each other, hoping to stretch the short time of peace before the oncoming chaos as long as they could, to live every moment they stole for Fate’s hand as a lifetime together.