Izuku was three when the first word appeared.
‘Hello’ It was simple and written slowly. Clearly, someone had helped them write this message. Bursting with excitement, he jumped to his feet and asked his mom to help him write back. His soulmate was talking to him! But as his mom dug through a drawer to find a pen, another word appeared.
‘Hi!’ This writing was in red, and the handwriting was even sloppier than the first word. When Izuku’s mom saw the writing, she paled and looked at Izuku with the most disgust he had ever seen. He had two soulmates, and his mom made sure he knew that was not okay. She was never angry with him, only with the gods. They were the ones who had ‘made a mistake’ and given him two soulmates. It was not right. It was not okay, and if Izuku had any morals, he would know better than to respond to them.
Years went by, and he never responded. The three learned to read and write, but Izuku only read. When he was 10 years old, he went sledding with his mother on a Saturday afternoon. The weather was freezing, but the entire city was covered in a sheet of fluffy snow. It was a beautiful day, and Izuku was shaking with excitement. The first hill he slid down was large. His mom suggested he start smaller, but Izuku couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, he went down the wrong side of the hill.
He crashed into a tangle of branches, claw-like ends of the sticks digging into his skin. Tears poured from his eyes as blood trickled out from his numerous injuries. The marks wouldn’t scar, but the pain was no laughing matter.
‘Are you okay?’
‘Duh, you’re the one that got hurt.’
‘No I didn’t.’
‘Then who was it, idiot?’
Izuku didn’t notice the text, too busy sobbing while his mom took him back home. Days later, the words on his arms continued. He took the time to read them and learned that his soulmates knew about him.
‘Will you please talk to us? Why won’t you respond?’
‘Maybe he doesn’t know how to read.’
‘Maybe.’ He wished they never realized he was there. It was annoying how much the two talked to each other. Their writings would go on for so long that sometimes he would wake up with his stomach and legs covered in writing. It appalled his mother, who insisted that he wash the ink off or cover the text with long sleeves and pants.
As much as Izuku’s mom insisted that this wasn’t his fault, he was still ashamed. The two on his arm seemed to really care about each other, so why was he here, creepily stalking their conversations and sharing their pain? He felt like a monster, out of place and disgusting. Elementary school was alright, but middle school was when everything became so much worse.
He shouldn’t have told them. Why did he tell them? It started when a girl asked if he was soulmateless. It was a common phenomenon. About 10% of people were born without a soulmate, so those who were soulmateless often sought out each other. The girl had been so pretty and actually seemed interested in him. How could he lie to her and lead her on? A sigh had left him as he looked away.
“No, I actually have two soulmates. Funny, right?” he answered quietly. She thought it was funny. Laughter filled the room as the girl announced this to the class. She insisted Izuku was a jerk. He thought he was better than everyone else because he had two soulmates. He was gross. He didn’t really have a soulmate, just two people wrongly connected to him.
"It's called a soulmate pair, not a soulmate threesome," the words, coated with disgusted laughter hurt. The insults cut deep, and the bullying didn’t seem to stop. Luckily, he was never truly alone, just outcasted. He sat with the other 'losers' at school, socially awkward nerds and disabled kids. He was never close to anyone, but at least he had some friends.
It was at age 13 that his soulmates obtained cell phones. Numbers were scrawled across his wrist so the two could speak to each other. Izuku thought this was for the best. Now they could talk privately without him watching. They didn’t need him after all. They had each other. He was just there, taking up space.
‘You should text us’ Izuku laid back on his back, watching the writing appear on his wrist.
‘Maybe they’re foreign?’
‘Can you understand us?’ There was no explanation for his next actions. His mom told him not to. His classmates teased him for years, but he felt that he knew these two. He felt their pain every time they tripped or bumped into a wall. He read their words all his life, knew their personalities, and read their stories. Was it so wrong to want to try to connect to them? Hands shaking, he grabbed a pen and wrote below the last line.
‘Yes.’ Excitement flooded through him. This was happening! He was going to talk to them, to love them, to-
“Izuku,” his mom’s watery voice tore him away from his arm. The excitement was immediately replaced with the dreaded feeling of sinking.
“Mom!” he rushed to sit up, feeling his throat go dry.
“How could you?” She was crying, not angry, just full of disappointment. Izuku scrambled to his mother’s side, hugging her tight as they both struggled to keep composure.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, mom. I’ll never do it again. I promise.” They spent the rest of the night together talking. Izuku talked about his social status at school and the bullying. His mom was furious and ready to yell at his teachers, but Izuku insisted she leave it. He was grown now, and he could handle himself. His mom respected him well enough to let it go. The next morning he felt better than he had in a long time. He loved his mom, and he managed to convince himself that she was right. He didn’t need a stupid soulmates to be happy.
The text continued on his arm, begging him to respond, but he washed it off. The ink made him feel dirty anyways. High school was better. He attended a new school and made more friends. Sure, he didn’t have a best friend, but he was often invited to parties. Overall, people liked him, and he was a ray of sunshine around the school. The only problem with high school was gym class. Izuku didn't mind the exercise and sports. In fact, he enjoyed the rush of energy. The issue laid with the locker rooms. It was hard to hide the writings on his arm when he had to change his shirt.
He would try wearing sweatbands or just scrubbing the ink on his arms to all hell first thing in the morning, but there was no telling when the messages would appear. His soulmates didn't need to use their skin to communicate with each other anymore, so the only reason they did it seemed to be to connect to Izuku. They would write short stories about their days or just make small smiley faces. This only happened every week or so. It was inconsistent, but it would never stop for too long.
One day Izuku was helping restack the weights in the gym room near the end of class. He had to be wearing short sleeves because of the dress code unfortunately. He hadn't even noticed the ink appearing on his arm until someone else had seen it.
'My mom's finally letting me start boxing classes today!' A girl about a foot shorter than him with chestnut brown hair smiled up at him. Her expression was soft, and her cheeks held a natural flush. She seemed approachable, nonthreatening.
"I thought you didn't have a soulmate?" She asked. Izuku nearly jumped, pulling his sweatband halfway up his arm to hide the writing.
"I don't! I mean… I do, but I can't be with them." He sighed. "It's complicated."
"What's complicated about it?" She asked, brown eyes filling with concern. "If you don't mind me asking." He thought back to the girl in middle school, to being called selfish and greedy.
"I'd rather not say. I'm sorry! It's just-- very complicated." He knew her name, but they had never talked before. "You're Uraraka, right?" She nodded.
"Yeah…" The concern wouldn't leave her expression. "I don't mean to pry, but…" Her body was shamelessly covered in writing, neatly-written messages covering her arms and legs like tattoos. "My soulmate makes me feel so happy." She held out her arm to show him the writing for emphasis. "He writes me these poems, and I feel like I can just let loose and be myself around him." After quickly glancing around to make sure no one was staring, she lifted her shirt to show text on her stomach.
"Recently, he's started writing poems in shapes like these. It's called concrete poetry. I usually don't like poems, but when he writes them, I can't get enough." The text on her stomach was in the shape of a bird.
"That's really sweet. I'm happy for you," Izuku said sincerely, clearly uncomfortable with the conversation topic. Uraraka abruptly looked up to Izuku.
"I think we're lucky to have soulmates. No matter what happens we're always connected."
"It's nice that you feel that way, but my situation is... unique." Uraraka shook her head.
"Whatever the situation is, I just want you to know that you have a real connection with your soulmate. Even if she doesn't understand it, you two are intertwined." Soulmates weren't a suggestion, and almost everyone found and loved their soulmate for their entire life.
Maybe Izuku should have been annoyed, but he wasn't. Uraraka's soulmate made her happy, and she wanted Izuku to be happy too. It was kind of sweet in a slightly awkward way. The two became friends after that moment, and she was the closest thing Izuku had to a best friend, even if they only spent time together at school.
At age 16, he obtained his license. His mom had always taken such good care of him, so now, he was able to give back by driving her around. It was sunset when he drove his mom to an art show just outside of town. The event didn't catch Izuku's interest, but he was happy to take her. He always enjoyed their relaxed conversations during a long car ride. The sky was orange, and the sun was in his eyes. He couldn’t remember what they were talking about as he drove along, only the last thing his mom had said.
“Stop!” But it was too late. A black car swerved in front of him, running the red light to turn left and crashing into the car from the passenger’s side. There was the sound of metal crashing before everything became fuzzy. He remembered the smell of dirt and the sounds of sirens in the distance. His mouth tasted of blood, but he didn't feel the pain just yet. Clearly, his soulmates had.
‘HOLY SHIT WHAT HAPPENED?’
‘Please, please be okay.’ He saw the words appear on his wrist in his line of vision, arm stretched out and reaching for his mom.
Izuku was 17 when his mom died. It happened on impact, so she didn’t feel any pain. The lawyers insisted it wasn’t his fault. The other driver had admitted fault, and witnesses of the accident confirmed what happened. But none of that changed how Izuku felt. His mom was dead, and he had been the one driving. Why was he so terrible? His dad flew in from America to visit Izuku in the hospital. He hadn’t seen him in years, and he definitely didn’t expect him to cry that much over his mother at the funeral. He regretted not giving a speech about his mother. The two shared so many bittersweet memories. Maybe if he had been able to compose himself for just a few minutes, he could have shared at least one, but he didn't have the strength to even lift his eyes from the floor.
There were only a few months of high school left. His dad managed to transfer his place of work to Japan to spend more time with Izuku, but he still spent all week and every weekend working. The only time he was home was to shower and sleep. His dad did try to connect with him, but nothing worked. They were both awkward around each other, and his dad often brought up his mother as a topic of conversation. Any time Izuku heard her name, saw her room, or even just thought of her, he would cry. All Izuku could do for the first month was cry. When he finally thought he could make it through a whole day, someone would tell him,
“Hey, I’m sorry for your loss,” and he would lose his grip. The crying hurt. His chest ached, and his eyes were always red now. This wasn’t a pain his soulmates could feel, but they could tell something was seriously wrong. Despite the pain, he managed to graduate. His dad showed up to the ceremony and even took him and some of his friends out to dinner and then ice cream. He lingered outside the ice cream shop after his friends had left, letting out a heavy sigh and staring at the slowly dimming, blue sky. The robes were itchy, but he didn’t care much.
It was a strange feeling as he sat there, knowing that he should feel happy and relieved, but instead feeling emptiness. He glanced over at his dad who stared off in the distance. He and his father shared a face full of freckles, but Izuku had mostly taken after his mother. His lips parted, feeling dry but needing to speak.
“Why were you away so much during my life?” he asked, quiet and insecure. His dad seemed shocked by the question but answered regardless. He took a slow draw of air before replying.
“Did your mom ever tell you that we weren't soulmates?” She had told Izuku this before, but he didn’t think it mattered. They still loved each other, right? “I loved your mom… But I love my job... so much... I help people, and I’m respected there. Sometimes I wonder if my soulmate...is my career. I’ve always cared about you two, but I didn’t want to give up on my dream. I wanted a family and my job, my dream life. And I got it. I never meant to hurt you, Izuku,” he explained, sadness, but not regret, in his words.
“You didn’t.” His father’s eyes widened in surprise. “Mom made sure I always felt loved. Always.” He looked back to the sky, and his father followed.
“I miss her,” his voice cracked.
“Me too,” Izuku replied, but this time, he didn’t cry. Thinking about her right now made him happy.
A few weeks later, the scholarships started rolling in. It turned out schools loved a grieving teenager. What the scholarships didn’t cover, his dad promised to pay. Just like that, Izuku was being taken care of. He would move away to school and start a new life… But that just didn’t seem fair. He didn’t deserve all this money and affection. He had two soulmates, and he had killed his mom. Izuku could never put the blame on others for anything in his life. He had to take personal responsibility.
That fall, he and his father moved him into his dorm room. He was lucky to not have to share a room due to his father’s contribution and insistence that it wasn’t much of a price difference. As he picked up the last box, pain shot through his side. A shout left him as the box fell to the floor, spilling his notebooks and writing utensils over the floor. He grabbed his ribs in pain, then came the pain to his cheek. His father stayed by his side as his body continued to ache, but then his fists felt bruised, and it all stopped.
“Izuku! What’s wrong?” he asked in fear. Izuku let out a slow sigh.
“It’s just them. They’re kind of… violent,” he explained. He really should have been used to it by now, but sudden, unexpected pain was never welcome. His dad understood the situation with his soulmates but never said anything about it. Even in that moment, he only helped his son up. No words were exchanged.
Two semesters passed. College was hard. He stopped sleeping. He stopped trying to make friends, instead choosing to stay in his room and study. Everything felt so dark, and he couldn’t even talk to his mom about it.
A third semester passed. College was really, really hard. The stress was eating away at him. Failing a class meant losing a scholarship which meant his dad would have to pay more money. He was already taking so much from his dad, from everyone. The pain on his fists was becoming more frequent as well. One of his soulmates had to be hitting something a lot. The ache in his wrists was driving him up a wall. Everything felt like it was sinking. Why couldn't he just get it together? What was wrong with him?
One night he sat on his bed with a book out in front of him, unable to focus enough to study. It had been a couple months since he had last received a message from his soulmates. He often had messages of ‘sorry’ after one would injure themselves or just a small reminder that they were there. They seemed to understand that he didn’t want to talk, but that didn’t stop them from trying to contact him.
Izuku needed control. He needed punishment. He felt like he was dying, yet his body was perfectly fine. He used a blade from his shaving kit and rested the cool metal against the skin of his arm, where the messages used to pour in daily. His mind went numb as he glided the blade across his skin.
“Ow!” he cried, tears pricking at his eyes. Oh, god, it hurt so much! He thought this was supposed to be stress relief! The people in the movies always looked like they enjoyed it, yet it was so, so painful. A voice rang in the back of his mind. Didn’t he deserve this? His whole body shook as he lowered the blade. This was so stupid. He was so pathetic. Self harm was something teenage girls did to get attention from their parents, so what was he doing? The blade was lowered yet again, going a little deeper this time. The searing pain wasn’t as bad this time.
‘Stop that!’ the words appeared right on top of his first cut, as if it was underlined. Those stupid soulmates! Why did they always have to bother him? He wished they would just go away, disappear and only have each other. He didn’t need a soulmate. He didn’t want one, and he definitely didn’t want two.
‘Don’t hurt yourself! We’re here for you!’ Why did they care? They didn’t even know him.
‘You know we can feel everything you can, right?’ A stalker that tortured the pair from the dark. He wished he could just cut them off, free them from himself. They would be better off without him.
‘Please talk to us.’ Everything went red. Izuku grabbed his pen and wrote on his arm.
‘I don’t want soulmates.’ It wasn’t large writing, and it didn’t sound angry. There was silence for about a minute, just Izuku’s tailored breathing through his sobs. He cut a third time, then a fourth. The pain wasn’t as bad anymore. In fact, it was starting to feel good. One more time on his other wrist, and he began to feel dizzy. It was a nice feeling, relieving. No more stress, just pain that he had full control over.
‘DONT YOU FUCKING KILL YOURSELF’
‘DONT’ Kill himself? He wasn’t trying to kill himself. Doing that would waste so much money and cause his father so much grief. He wouldn’t do that to him.
‘Please be okay’ He could hardly read the words through all the red. His eyes widened. Oh no. There was so much blood. He panicked and scrambled to find his first aid kit under the bed. He didn’t intend for this to go so far. He didn't want to die. He pulled out the kit along with a towel and cleaned himself up. Everything was foggy and blurry through his tears, but he managed to bandage his arms and remove any evidence of what had happened. That was so stupid. How could he be so selfish?
He never told anyone about what happened. It wasn’t a suicide attempt, but who would believe him? After a few days, he removed the bandages in private to make sure the cuts were healing okay. Upon pulling back the bandage, he found ink...everywhere. Red and orange hearts filled both his arms. On top of the hearts were detailed flowers, curling over his cuts in a way that almost hid the injury. A few phrases were placed along his arms in various places.
‘It’s going to be okay.’
‘You aren’t alone.’
He cried more than he thought was possible in his numb state. A few weeks passed, and the pictures still weren’t stopping. Jokes and short stories were on his arms along with the occasional hearts and small pictures. As much as he just wanted the messages to stop, they did manage to make him feel better. He was actually starting to feel okay until a message different from the others appeared high up on the back of his hand, where he couldn’t miss it.
‘Are you at UA University?’ Izuku’s heart sunk. How did they know where he was? He always kept his arms covered, so there was no way anyone saw the marks.
‘I can’t feel you anymore. We must have touched.’ Izuku thought he might be sick. He met one of them? When? People bumped into him in the hallway all the time, and he frequently had his shoulder tapped from someone requesting a pencil. It could be anyone.
One morning he found a heart drawn on his cheek. This was not encouragement. They were marking him. He tried scrubbing off the mark, but the ink used seemed to be permanent. He settled for putting a bandaid on his cheek and heading to his only class of the day. The man looked like a mess, an awkward bandaid on his cheek and an oversized, black sweater keeping him covered. His hair was a mess as he hadn’t bothered to get a haircut in a long while. All class anxiety filled him, worried that he would be found.
When they were dismissed, he hurriedly packed up his belongings and headed to the door. He almost made it through the doorway when he felt a hand on his arm, tugging down the sleeve. He nearly fell over, moving back into the classroom and catching himself on the wall. The quiet chatter of students leaving the room was distant over the sound of his own heartbeat. He stared down at his worn-out, red shoes as the area was cleared out.
He turned to leave, but a hand was placed on the wall, blocking his exit. The arm attached was both filled with writing and quite muscular, and the sight had Izuku shivering. The heavy door closed, and the two were left alone in silence. The man wasn’t too close, just leaning against the wall to keep Izuku from easily getting away. Slowly, he lifted his eyes, looking from blue jeans, to a red tank top, to the friendliest looking face he had ever seen.
“Can I look at your arm? Please?” His voice was so warm and buttery, instantly making him feel safe. Was this how your soulmate was supposed to make you feel? Izuku’s mouth opened but closed, quickly looking away again.
“Please… Just forget about me-”
“No.” His eyes shot up to meet the other’s. His soulmate’s eyes were a vibrant red but held a piercing expression, looking right past Izuku’s interior and straight into his soul. Long, styled, red hair surrounded his face. The tiny heart on his cheek matched his own. There really was no doubt who this was.
“I’m sorry,” he whimpered. His knees felt weak, and he found himself falling down to the floor. “I’m so sorry.” He felt tears on his cheek before he felt himself crying. “I never meant to hurt you. It's...just…” Those muscular, warm arms wrapped around his shoulders and scooped him up.
“Shhh, it’s alright. I’ve got you… I got you.” This was so wrong. What would his mom think? He couldn’t be here. He needed to get away. He only put partial effort into pushing the man away.
“I can’t. I have to go,” he fumbled out through tears.
“Do you have class?” the other asked, pulling back a bit to look at Izuku but not letting go of him.
“No, I just… I-I can’t do this.” The red-haired man sighed, his hands still holding Izuku’s shoulders tenderly. He slowly rubbed his arms, trying to relax him a bit. One hand went to his cheek, and suddenly Izuku felt lighter. The warm, soft touch had him melting, craving more of those tender fingers along his cheek. He opened his mouth to speak, but he couldn’t.
“Shh…” his tears were wiped away with two more delicate touches to his cheeks, then his hand was held. “My name’s Eijiro. Come on, we’re going back to our place, okay?” ‘Our place’? So they were already living together then? “What’s your name?” He let the other help him to his feet. He swallowed and barely managed to get his words out.
“I-Izuku.” Eijiro smiled at him and gave his hand a little squeeze.
“Okay, Izuku. It’s alright, really.” Izuku was guided out of the room, still being lovingly held onto by Eijiro’s hand. His arm was trembling, his fingers hardly holding the other’s back. Together, they walked out to the parking garage to an older looking car. Eijiro opened the door to the passenger's side and gestured for him to get inside. Izuku obeyed, taking a seat and staring at the other with doe-like eyes as the door was closed. Oh, God, what was he doing?
After climbing into the driver’s side, Eijiro sent a message before buckling up. He glanced over to see that Izuku still hadn’t buckled, sitting straight as a bored and looking ready to dart, which he was. What if this was some kind of trick? What if Eijiro was actually going to kill him, so that he and the other person could be together alone? It seemed possible, and Izuku really didn’t want to die like this. Eijiro looked away to open the glove box, rustling through it until he found a packet of tissues. He handed the packet to Izuku, then closed the compartment.
“There you go.”
“Thanks,” he squeaked out. He hadn’t actually stopped crying yet. His eyes were watery and threatening to leak more tears.
“Buckle up.” Izuku looked out the window then back down. He hesitated only a moment longer before buckling his seatbelt. “Do you wanna listen to some music? It’s about a 10 minute drive, not too long.” He only shrugged, hating how his voice sounded when he was crying like this. Eijiro played the radio on a low volume as he drove.
Neither of them spoke. At first, Izuku just stared out the window, looking at the trees and buildings they passed, but he couldn’t stop himself from glancing at Eijiro from the corner of his eye. His soulmate looked rather silly with all those marks on his arms and the heart on his cheek. Did he not care how he looked? No, that couldn’t be right. He took the time to style his hair and wear fashionable clothing, so why would he let himself look so ridiculous with all those marks?
Looking up at his body, he noticed his eyes again, and a scar on his left. He remembered that. Messages on his arms informed him that it was just him falling off the playground, but he still had to go to the hospital. It was weird to know so much about someone he had never met before, someone he had rejected for so long. Guilt filled him with knowing Eijiro must feel the same way, but it had never been Eijiro’s choice. Izuku pushed him away his entire life. Even now, he wanted to unbuckle his seatbelt, open the door, and roll out, but he didn’t.
“...Eijiro?” The car had stopped at a red light. The expression Izuku was given hurt. Those vibrant eyes /begged/ for attention but also held fear. He must have known that Izuku wanted to leave. Life was no fairy tale. Finding happiness was never as simple as meeting your soulmate. Add the disgusting fact that Izuku had been shoved in between two lovers and forced by the gods to feel their pain, and the complexity made his head spin.
“What is it?” he asked, voice soft and sympathetic. Izuku barely held eye contact.
“I’m sorry.” Eijiro looked away and let out a deep sigh.
“You already said that, and it’s okay. You were hurting. It must have been really hard for you-”
“It wasn’t okay.” Izuku was no longer crying, drained of all his sadness and left with hollow hatred for himself. “I hurt you, again and again. I’m sorry, so sorry.” The car moved again.
“I’m not mad at you.”
“But...shouldn't you be?” Izuku swallowed and glanced back at the road. He stayed stiff as a board as they pulled into a parking spot at the apartment complex. Eijiro moved out of the car, but Izuku couldn't feel his legs. When the door on his side was opened, he fumbled to undo his buckle and get out. Eijiro took his hand and closed the car door. Izuku stared down at the grip on his hand. Why did Eijiro keep doing that? He could make it to the door by himself just fine.
The door was unlocked, and a gentle pat to his back guided him inside. The apartment was small but had enough space for two people to live comfortably. A queen-sized bed was in the back of the area with a television in front of it. There were two open doors near the back, likely a closet and a bathroom. To the left was a small kitchen area with a surprising amount of fresh food organized on shelves. There was an empty opening in the front of the room with an exercise mat on the ground a punching bag hung up. That explained Eijiro's muscularity.
Eijiro smiled at Izuku as he removed his shoes, setting them by the door before walking to the small kitchen area. Izuku followed suit, shuffling out of his shoes and following along but keeping a distance.
"Have you eaten today?" He asked, as if the conversation they had in the car hadn't happened. Izuku nodded.
"Mm-hmm." That was a lie. He had never starved himself, but his eating habits were a joke. He rarely took the time to go to the cafeteria and mostly just ate fruit and other small snacks. His diet was a wreck.
"Well, how about a snack? I always get hungry after that class." Izuku shook his head.
"Really, I don't want to impose," he urged, hating how the other was taking care of him like this. Eijiro let out a short breath and then nodded.
"Alright, let's split this then," he decided, picking up a green apple. It was hard to say no at this point. Eijiro grabbed a knife and cut off a small piece for Izuku and then for himself. Izuku was melting. The other looked so handsome as he smoothly cut the apple in his hand, never making a mess, and looking like he hardly thought about it. "Go ahead and sit down." He gestured to one of two wooden chairs in the corner. Hesitantly, Izuku sat himself down and ate the small apple piece in his hand. Eijiro sat beside Izuku and continued to share the small item with him.
"Katsuki will be here soon." The words rang through Izuku's mind. Right, the third one. Then it clicked in his mind.
"Wait, he's a guy?" He asked, mostly just talking to himself. Eijiro actually laughed at that, a wholeheartedly, genuine laugh.
"He's very manly," he replied with a fond sigh, happy to just be thinking of him. He perked up a bit at a thought and leaned closer to Izuku. "Is that what's wrong?" Izuku cleared his throat.
"That we're all guys." Izuku didn't follow, but there was no time for more questions as the door knob turned. Eijiro moved to his feet to hurriedly answer the door, letting in a tall, blond man with a face twisted with rage.
"Where is he?" The new man asked, pushing past Eijiro to look around their small home. Izuku only had about ten seconds before he was being glared down. He practically folded into himself, sinking down into the chair and holding his arms together. "There you are!” Izuku jumped at the sound of his voice. "Well? Explain yourself already! Where have you been for the last twenty years?" Maybe Eijiro wasn't angry, but Katsuki sure was.
"I'm sorry!" Izuku squeaked out, feeling tears rise up once again. Eijiro hurried to Izuku's side, wrapping an arm around his waist in an attempt to coddle him.
"Hey, hey, it's alright." He glared back at Katsuki. "Come on, babe, I finally got him to stop crying." Izuku was glowing with embarrassment. Why couldn't he keep a grip on his emotions? He took a moment to collect himself, but the two were still staring at him.
"Wh-what do you want to know?" He asked. Katsuki's eyes narrowed.
"Why you didn't respond, you fucking dumbass." Wasn't it obvious?
"Because… you're not supposed to have more than one soulmate. I thought it would be best for me to just… leave you two be."
"Hah?" Katsuki snapped. "Newsflash, dumbass! There are three of us. I've felt all your fucking pain for the past twenty fucking years! Did you forget about that?" He pointed to his wrist for emphasis, making the guilt swell up in Izuku so much he felt sick.
"Okay!" Izuku held out his arm towards Katsuki, earning another narrowing of his eyes. "Just do it already! This is pointless." He shook his arm to emphasize his point, causing his sleeve to fall down, unintentionally showing off his healing cuts. "Touch me, and I'll leave! You two can forget about me, and I'll never bother either of you again. I promise." Both of his soulmates looked at each other, and the tension in the room finally snapped.
"Izuku," Eijiro started. "Do you not understand why we were looking for you?" He quirked a brow. Katsuki chimed in.
"I haven't been writing stupid shit all over myself for the past two weeks to throw you to the dust. Newsflash, I'm not touching you until you get your shit together."
"You're on suicide watch," Katsuki declared. Izuku paled.
"No, you don't understand! I didn't try to kill myself. I wouldn't do that." Eijiro seemed hopeful.
"Then who did it?"
"He's lying!" Katsuki insisted, a bite at his words. "Look at his arm, Eiji. That shit doesn't happen by accident." Izuku shook his head.
"I did do it to myself," he confessed. "But I didn't mean to take it that far. I just wanted control." He held up his hand to examine his knuckles. "My hands…" Eijiro nudged Katsuki.
"I told you to wear boxing gloves," he nagged. Izuku's eyebrows furrowed.
"The bag," Katsuki confirmed, pointing to the bag. "I've been hitting it..-Wait! Are you saying it's my fault you did that?" Izuku frantically waved his arms.
"No! It's no one's fault but mine."
"Then why? You're not making any sense." Eijiro was engaged in the conversation, but he couldn't get a word in with Katsuki's aggressive accusations.
"I don't know why! I was upset. I don't know why I feel like this. It's been almost two years since my mom died, and I'm worse than ever before. I don't know why everyone has so much patience with me, and I don't understand what you two want from me." His breathing was sporadic, cheeks flushed and eyes flooded with tears. Eijiro took Izuku's hand and spoke.
"We just want you, Izuku. That's all we've ever wanted." The conversation stayed awkward like this for a while. It was hard to believe that the two actually wanted a relationship with Izuku, and he didn't know where this was going. Eijiro talked about himself for a while, explaining his worst injuries, the scar on his eye and a broken arm in middle school. He talked about his hobbies, working out, sparring, sports, pretty much anything physical, and barbequing. It felt more like a catch-up game than meeting someone for the first time, like he was talking to an old relative for the first time in years but not the first time.
Katsuki went next, explaining how his stupid hobby of playing with fire as a kid had resulted in many small injuries and how he often injured himself due to his own recklessness. He spoke of his favorite dates to go on, long drives and long walks. He insisted that dates were about talking and being together, and that movie dates were stupid. It seemed like an odd piece of information to add, as if he had switched to filling out a dating profile than just describing himself generally. The two of them had pretty good lives. Their pasts weren't perfect, and life wasn't a breeze for either, but they didn't seem to be suffering. Izuku had never been so grateful.
It was Izuku's turn to go next, and his own descriptions surprised him. He found himself focusing on the good, explaining how he and his mother had been very close up until her death and how happy he had felt in the beginning of high school. He talked about how focused he was in school and how that didn't leave much time for hobbies. Eijiro held his hand the entire time, but Katsuki stayed at a distance, leaning against the wall. He seemed insistent on not letting Izuku touch him.
“I should get started on dinner,” Katsuki announced as he walked to the cupboards. Izuku nodded with a sigh. He had been enjoying their conversation, but he didn’t want to overstay his welcome.
“I should get going now,” he confirmed. Eijiro placed a hand on his shoulder. His touch was delicate yet firm.
“Stay the night,” he insisted. “Please.” Izuku was hesitant. Where would he even sleep?
“Why not?” He shrugged but then shook his head.
“I don’t know.” Katsuki had started preparing chicken when he called over.
“You’re not going anywhere with sharp objects,” he scolded. Izuku was a little offended.
“I’m not gonna do that again. I promise.” The pain had been immense. There was no way he could go through that again even if he did want to kill himself.
“Can you also promise that you won’t dart the second we touch?” Izuku shamefully crossed his arms over his chest. Silence answered the question. “Then sit back down.” And he did. Adjusting to this new situation wasn’t easy, and neither was the healing process. Eijiro and Katsuki knew their three-way relationship was taboo, but the discrimination wasn’t nearly as bad as Izuku had been led to believe. Katsuki admitted that he had once entertained the thought of leaving Izuku behind, but he just couldn’t. Without Izuku, part of him was missing. They all needed each other.
Katsuki kept to his promise and had bombarded Izuku’s dorm room. He reorganized and deep cleaned his entire room while yelling at him for letting it get so dirty in the first place. Izuku couldn’t let himself get upset because he knew the other meant well. The only thing that bothered him was when his shaving kit and sweets were taken away. He was told that he didn’t need to be filling his body with junk and could shave with regular razors rather than his specialty blades. In a way, it was satisfying to see that silver metal in the garbage. No more pain. He wasn’t allowed to hurt anymore.
Katsuki refused to touch Izuku for two whole weeks. He insisted that he needed to monitor Izuku to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid. The first time they touched, Katsuki had grabbed him by his sweatshirt and kissed him with a fiery passion. Izuku still felt a third wheel, but those were just feelings. His treatment was equal and loving. In fact, the two would often focus their attention solely on him, comforting him while he talked about what he was thinking and how he was feeling.
After a month, their time together was spent more practically. Instead of Izuku just being pressed between the two so tightly and warmly that he would grow dizzy with affection, they would help each other study and work on assignments. Katsuki had chosen to work after school and skip out on college. The place just wasn’t for him, but he would still quiz Izuku with flashcards and reward him with steamy kisses.
Katsuki was much more aggressive than Eijiro in every way, including asking questions. Eijiro tiptoed around Izuku and tried not to say anything that might bother him, but Katsuki had no such restraint. One morning, Katsuki finally asked about the time Izuku actually wrote back, way back in their childhood. He laid under the covers with Izuku, one arm cradled around his waist.
"If you wanted us to know you were there, why didn't you say more? It was fucking torture, Izuku. Eijiro and I would talk for hours just about you, 'Is he being abused? Is he blind? Is he allergic to the pens we're writing with? It was so...stressful," Katsuki explained. Izuku placed a hand at the nape of the other's neck, feeling along his warm skin and playing with his feather-light hair.
"Jesus, Izuku, I don't want any more of your stupid apologies. Feeling sorry about it doesn't change anything."
"I know… but still, I understood what I was doing. I knew I was hurting you two, but I just never thought it was that bad. You guys had each other, so what would you need me for?"
"It's not about that," he snapped. Izuku looked into Katsuki's eyes. Holding his gaze was never easy. It was always so intense, full of overflowing emotion. "It's not about satisfying our needs. It's about being with each other. You're not a plaything, you're my soulmate." That had the smaller man blushing from ear to ear, face pressing into the cotton sheets to hide his flush.
"It was painful. I wanted you both so badly, but I had to keep convincing myself that I didn't. I had to be strong and not give in." Katsuki nudged his forehead against Izuku's and laughed.
"You make me sound like a drug." Izuku snickered.
"You are a drug." The kiss that followed his words proved the statement true, air rushing into his lungs as his lips were entangled. The blond was like a heavy wave, crashing into him at once and flooding him with feelings so full that he worried he would drown.
After two months, Izuku was practically living with them. He hardly spent any time in his dorm, and when he was there, Eijiro was usually with him. Eating with the two led to him gaining back a healthy amount of weight. He started going to the gym as well. Lifting with Eijiro and hearing his encouraging words always made him feel better. Physically, he looked better than ever before, and his father had commented on it during winter break. He wasn’t able to introduce his soulmates to his father over break, but he did tell him about them. Surprisingly, he didn’t mind.
In fact, he thought it was great that Izuku had someone to love, even if it were two people. He could tell that Izuku was doing well, and if the universe, or the gods, had determined he was meant to be with Eijiro and Katsuki, then so be it. His partners had spent most of the holiday at their respectful households, but they all met back up at the end of it. It was early January, but the lights from Christmas were still strung up over the town.
He sat with his partners on a park bench, bundled up in a thick coat, a hat, gloves, and a scarf. He didn’t get cold as easily as he used now that he had more muscle on him, but he was still the smallest of the three. He sat in the middle, happily pressed between the two of them, holding each of their hands. The ground was covered in snow, but it was sunny at the moment, and the light felt nice on his face. He wasn’t sure why he asked it. Maybe it was because of the passing holiday or maybe it was because he felt comfortable, but the words poured out of his mouth.
“What do you think my mom would think? About us, I mean? She never wanted me to be with either of you,” Eijiro tensed up at the question, but Katsuki was unphased.
“Why do you care what she thinks?”
“She’s my mom.” He looked down at his sneakers, wet from the snow, and held Katsuki’s hand tighter. “And she always loved me and cared for me. I was always put first, no matter what, but she still wouldn’t spoil me.” He let out a heavy sigh. “I guess I just miss her.” Katsuki swallowed. The sound of children playing was in the distance.
“Then that should answer your question. If she loved you, then she’d want you to be happy, right?”
“Yeah, but she told me this was wrong.”
“It doesn’t feel wrong to me.” Eijiro rested his head on Izuku’s shoulder and chimed in,
“People can change their minds. When we first met, you were so shy and scared, but now, you rock at the gym and you look amazing all the time.” Izuku snickered bashfully.
“Are you talking about yourself again?” Eijiro smiled before pressing a kiss to his lover’s cheek. “But I think you’re right. Maybe it would have been hard at first for her to accept, but… I think she’d still love me.”
Life would never be perfect for Izuku, but now he had Eijiro and Katsuki to push him along, to keep him going, to make him be better. As long as they had each other, they could make it through. And they did.