izuku thinks nothing of it, at first.
he’s always been told that his lack of attraction is a simple phase, and he believes it.
he’ll find the one soon, right? he has to. everyone else does.
everything around him is love, love, love. if it’s so often that someone can fall in love by just looking at someone, why can’t he fall in love after years of being next to someone?
well, he feels sexual attraction. he thinks, at least. he can’t tell. he can’t tell anything anymore.
it was fine, that he wasn’t falling in love, before. it was fine because he was busy. it was fine because he had many excuses as why falling in love was on the lower part of the list.
but now the battles have calmed down, and the league has died. now he turns the corner and sees a hand holding another’s. he steps outside into the common room and sees a kiss peck a lip or cheek before they run off for practice. when the night gets dark in the common room, he hears chatter of the way people can make each other feel.
he wants to feel that. he longs for the warmth they describe, longs to feel the need to slip his hand into another’s, longs to feel the thoughts of just kiss me already.
but, he doesn’t.
he doesn’t, and he doesn’t know how to deal with it.
maybe it’s the lack of battle, the lack of a need for the constant adrenaline his body fires out like a waterfall during flood season, that makes his anxiety fester. that makes him worry, fretting his hands and biting his lip as he tries to figure out how. tries to figure out where he can get those feelings of adore he sees and hears about so often.
everyday he comes back to his room, fidgety and out of breath. he shouldn’t be so anxious about this, it’s really nothing. it’s cute, even, and he wants to enjoy it.
he wants to understand how it feels to be in love.
everyday, he returns to his room in the dorms, all might merch tucked away, growing slightly scarce over the years as izuku filled his room with more... practical things.
(diluted colours became his favourites for when the panic would fry him dry and the obnoxious colours would burn, burn, burn.)
everyday, he returns to his room, and everyday the cat he’s had since his graduation of first year runs up to him and rubs across his legs.
this cat here - big and black, the fluffiest he’s ever seen, with a pretty name tag that reads meraki - is meant to be just an emotional support animal, but with its freakish intelligence has become more of a service animal than an emotional support one.
she rubs and purrs loudly, weaving in between his legs the moment he steps through the door. she paws at his legs and mewls, forcing him to lean down and give her all the love she wants.
but, that’s not enough for a cat like her, no, no, no.
she won’t be happy until he’s happy, which means the moment he’s inside she pesters him around, even sometimes batting him with an unsheathed paw to get his attention.
he feels almost pathetic about it. how a cat has to snap him from his stupor when he changes and his eyes lock on the scars riddling his toned body. how she’s the one to wake him from nightmares, to cuddle him while he cries, to hand him the medication bottles he doesn’t like looking at because all his mind can think is broken, broken, broken.
he knows, that if anyone else were to confess these feelings to him, he’d say that they weren’t broken, and he’d mean it. he’d say that they weren’t pathetic, because they aren’t. that it’s not their fault what happened, and it’s not their fault about what happens with the aftereffects.
they’re all damaged, just some more than others. it doesn’t make them pathetic to need assistance.
but with him - with him it’s different. he doesn’t know why, but he knows he’s different. he can’t be weak. he should be able to do all of this by himself. he shouldn’t be kept awake by figures of hands, reaching to decay, of fire, death, and blood. he shouldn’t still be living back on the battlefield.
it’s in these weeks, these weeks of his anxiety pestering and pestering, that meraki trots from her usual place in his room and follows him outside. his teachers don’t mind it, and once they outside he leans down so she can perch on his shoulder.
they let her sit in his lap just the same as they let kacchan’s service animal sit with him.
of course, she wears a vest on these days. bright red and kind of blaring if he’s honest, but it’s fine.
he’s decorated it with patches overtime so it’s less - how does he say this - bland?
but, no, that’s not it. he knows it’s not it.
he knows he covers it with patches so that he can pretend it’s a jacket. he knows he peppers ir in colour so that he doesn’t have to see service animal painted over it.
broken, broken, broken.
maybe that’s part of the reason why he was so insistent on it being a cat. maybe having a cat in his lap during class felt more... normal than a dog sitting beside him.
he knows it’d be more practical to get a dog. he knows that a dog can and will be able to do and handle more than meraki, but he likes his cat. he doesn’t need a big strong dog, he can deal with an expensively-trained hypoallergenic cat instead.
he doesn’t want to feel like he needs to be supported, he wants to feel like everything’s fine and dandy.
he wants to pretend he’s okay.
he wants to pretend that nobody sees through his facade. he wants to pretend, he wants to pretend, he wants to-
“i think i’m broken” he whispers to himself in the dark.
he looks at his hands, and for a moment the scars can phase into lines. is that what he is, a robot? a robot without heart nor mind. a broken robot, an unwanted robot.
meraki lays beside him, half-asleep. at the motion of his hands lifting she raises her head to tap his arm with her nose repeatedly, requesting pets.
he sighs and rolls over, hands (scarred, broken, painful, useless, afraid) coming to stroke and scratch softly beneath her fluffy fur.
she’s like a chinchilla, he thinks, certainly not for the first time and not for the last. loud purrs rumble in her throat at the motion of being loved.
she lays against him, and he pets her until he falls asleep.
he has a plant in the corner of the room. it’s name is cloud.
he got it pretty quick after he got meraki, for no apparent reason at first. everyday he grabs a small spay bottle laying next to it and watches the droplets paint and drip, drip, drip down its leaves, falling into the soil below. he hopes it’s happy, he hopes it lives long. everyday, he tugs the curtains open when he finishes changing so the light will shine in and shade over its leaves. he rotates it whenever he comes by, making sure it catches the beams everywhere.
beside the bottle are his adhd meds, which he leaves there so that he never forgets, because he knows he’ll never forget to water cloud. it’s also right next to where he keeps the bags of cat food for meraki, so that even if he shakes his head at it the first time, he’ll remember it again when he feeds his cat.
two backups for his brain of poor memories. he’ll deny that that ‘poor memory’ part is split between a plethora of things fucked in his mind, and instead laugh and say it’s just the adhd.
he doesn’t like living like this. he doesn’t like living with all these things to keep him stable because he can’t do it himself. he doesn’t like that his brain and body are so destroyed that the way he lives pays the cost.
he wants to live normal. he wants to be any other teenager. he wants to cry over things that don’t matter, he wants to cry over first world problems.
he wants to get full nights sleep all the time. he wants his cat to just be something he has because it’s his pet and he loves it. he wants his plant to be something he has because he wanted to do things for them.
he doesn’t want to live his days knowing everything he lives with is, for the most part, completely permanent.
he wants to be lying about having it. he wants all those diagnosis’ to be something he snagged from the internet - took a buzzfeed quiz on if he had ptsd or not, something like that.
he wants to be like the girl from general education he had a partner project with once. he remembers sitting there and listening to her talk about having mental disorders like they were quirky things.
he wishes they were just quirky. he wishes that at the end of the day he could pull them off and put them again like he does do his uniform, but he knows better than that. he wishes that at the end of the day the scars on his thighs and ribs would fade away like he begs them to, that the memories of his trauma-ridden past would simply wash away once he left the room.
he wishes it was something optional, something he had control over.
izuku midoriya is powerless, and the thought makes tears run down his cheeks.
why can’t he be normal?
why can’t be good?
why can’t he just be happy?