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pickup lines and valentines

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Katsuki meets his soulmate on the first day of school. Or, well, he meets him three hours before school starts, at five in the morning, as they awkwardly wait at the same intersection, waiting for the light to change so that they can keep running because, yeah, technically there aren’t any cars in the vicinity but the law is the fucking law and if Katsuki gets something on his permanent record because of a stupid red hand he’s going to clock someone over the head with a traffic light.

The guy beside him looks like the kind of person who jogs across the street when there are two seconds left on the countdown but he seems to be sufficiently cowed by Katsuki and he stands there, too, under the judgemental glare of the red light.

“Oh, I know you!” He’s grinning and it’s… bright. Dangerously so. “You’re Bakugou, right? You’re friends with Uraraka!”

“I train with her,” Katsuki corrects, unconsciously. “We’re not fucking friends.”

“Dude, you’re on her private story on Snapchat like, every weekend.”

“Photoshop,” Katsuki bites out. The light turns green and he takes off like a shot.

Ochako’s cousin owns the dojo that he’s been going to since he was five. Despite her friendship with Deku, he doesn’t mind breathing in her vicinity, even if she’s probably drained his wallet at this point by forcing him to buy her copious amounts of strawberry mochi. His parents think it’s good for him to have a friend that’s well-versed in absolutely wrecking his shit, so they force the two to hang out every weekend.

(So maybe it’s not quite forcing and Bakugou already has plans to drag her to the opening of the new bubble tea place opening near his house. Is that anyone’s fucking business? No.)

The guy isn’t following him, fortunately, but he’s laughing and Katsuki can hear it through his earbuds. How low are Ochako’s fucking standards?

 

Higher than Katsuki’s. They are very much higher than Katsuki’s because Ochako hangs out with Eijirou and spots him at the gym sometimes and Katsuki is willingly dating this fucker.

“Do the thing again!” Eijirou prods, giddily. Katsuki sighs, doing a shit job of expressing his displeasure, and writes I cannot fucking stand you on his forearm. Eijirou gasps as the phrase makes itself known on his skin, right beside MUN form due at 7 pm, calm the fuck down, and Ei I’m going to kill you.

“Katsuki, c’mon, this is objectively so cool! Most people get each other, like, chocolates or whatever on Valentine’s Day and we got each other–”

“If you say we got each other the “gift of love” I really am going to break up with you.”

Eijirou pouts, staring at the ground the way he always does when he’s trying to force himself to cry. Katsuki’s way better at fake tears, a remnant from the days when he wanted to be the best Jean Valjean Broadway had ever seen. It drives his boyfriend nuts.

“I guess it’s not really true,” Eijirou says, after a moment. His entire face softens. “I loved you before all this.”

Katsuki freezes. Three and a half years of friendship, most of that spent dating, and he’s still not used to the way Eijirou just says things sometimes. He’s not good at that, not good at wrangling his words into something that can coax a mirroring blush out of his boyfriend’s cheeks.

Only, he doesn’t need to be, now.

Katsuki pulls out the Sharpie again and silently doodles hearts all over his left arm, flushing under Eijirou’s fond gaze. When the skin is eventually filled up, he moves to Eijirou’s right arm and fills up the skin there too. 

“I guess it’s cool,” he grumbles, capping the Sharpie. “Objectively.”

Eijirou sniffs and these tears are real and he’s pulling Katsuki into the best kind of hug, the one where it’s the two of them pressed close together on Eijirou’s bed, the one where Katsuki can tuck his head into the crook of Eijirou’s neck and let his lips rest on the skin there.

“You’re so gay, what the hell,” Eijirou chokes out. “You’re like… like a marshmallow, or a teddy bear, or those chocolates where you bite in and they’re all melty on the inside. You’re so warm and fuzzy, babe. Like a rom-com love interest.” He laughs. “I’ve got my very own Peter Kavinsky.” 

Katsuki hears the frown more than he sees it. Eijirou’s mannerisms have built themselves a bookshelf in his mind. 

“You’re more of a Lara Jean, though. That makes me Peter Kavinsky, right?”

“If you think that I’m going write love letters to you–”

“It was one letter, babe,” Eijirou says, unconsciously. His arms tighten around Katsuki. Fuck.

“Wait–”

“I knew you watched it!” Eijirou crows, somehow managing to sound more irritating than the stupid fucking rooster at Katsuki’s uncle’s farm, which is saying a lot since that fucker is the reason why Katsuki has been conditioned to wake up at 4:45 a.m. on the dot. 

“My mom wanted to see it,” he grumbles. “Fucking… family bonding or whatever.”

It’s not a complete lie. She had wanted to see it, but only after Katsuki had already sat himself down with a bowl of ice cream and a box of tissues and wound up yelling at Lara Jean and Peter to get their shit together until his dad had to check on him, worried.

“Wow,” Eijirou sighs. “My boyfriend’s such a family man. It would be so cute if only he didn’t love his mother more than me–”

His monologue dissolves into giggles as Katsuki blows a raspberry into his neck and then two more on each of his cheeks. Katsuki kisses him, then, soft and slow, biting at his bottom lip and melting against him. Eijirou smiles into the kiss which should objectively make it worse but the curve of his lips against Katsuki’s face burns warm and if Katsuki was ever going to write a love letter, he’d include the line of Eijirou’s smile, more evocative than any of Oscar Wilde’s metaphors. 

He pulls away after a few moments of lazy back and forth, satisfied. Eijirou’s flushed and happy, unstyled hair messy against his pillow. He grins up at Katsuki, crooked and sated and adorable.

“Fuck, babe, do that again on a lacrosse field and I’ll write you a love letter.”

Katsuki feels zero remorse about digging his fingers into the asshole’s ribs.

(If he’s going to be anyone from a rom-com, it’s going to be Elle “What, like it’s hard?” Woods, thank you very fucking much.)

 

Eijirou takes his role as Peter Kavinsky seriously, as it happens, because he’d announced that he was going to start writing Katsuki daily pick-up lines ever since their soulbond had materialized. Although they’re ridiculously corny, Katsuki’s been caught smiling by their bastard friends too often for Eijirou to ever lay off. It’s not just his wrist or his arm, either. Eijirou likes to make a game of it, likes to make Katsuki lean down to tie his shoelace and see I’m no electrician but I can light up your day scrawled across his ankle.

Their relationship is built on the foundation of them annoying the fuck out of each other so Katsuki retaliates by drawing a lightning bolt on his armpit. Eijirou’s wearing a tank top that day and gets a few looks in chemistry when he raises his hand to ask a question. Katsuki gets a flick on the forehead and an aggressive head ruffle, but it’s completely worth it.

The next day, Katsuki’s got if you were a vegetable, you’d be a cute-cumber in bright green marker on the back of his neck. He draws a neon-green arrow that points towards his dick and Eijirou spends the entire day hiking up his sweats.

They keep it up.

One month in and Katsuki’s honestly pretty surprised that Eijirou’s managed to come up with new material for so long. On the first day of spring, Katsuki wakes up to be my spring fling? written on his wrist. He covers his entire arm in detailed sketches of roses and lilies and sunflowers and daisies, shading them in and praying they’ll stay for the entire day. 

Katsuki wears long sleeves to school, but they’re loose, to allow the flowers room to breathe. Eijirou wears a white tanktop, enthusiastically showing off his sleeve like a kid who’s got their first tattoo. 

“These are so pretty,” Mina gasps, poking at the striking tiger lily on Eijirou’s left shoulder. “Are they temporary tattoos or what?”

Katsuki bristles. Temporary tattoos? 

“Ah, no, Katsuki did them for me,” Eijirou says, beaming. “He’s so good, isn’t he?”

Like something out of a horror movie, the idiot brigade turns to him in terrifying synchrony.

“Do us too?”

“What the fuck, no, fuck you guys!”

Denki throws himself across Hanta’s lanky back and melodramatically presses a hand to his forehead. “The blatant favouritism… the discrimination… the homophobia–”

“He’s my fucking boyfriend, asshole. The fuck are you talking about, ‘homophobia.’”

Denki glares at him. “The joke is only funny when we say it, Kacchna.”

Eijirou raises his eyebrows. He turns to Katsuki, then, and his eyes are sparkling as he delicately traces the bright yellow rose at his wrist. Katsuki stares at the group for a long moment. Hanta grins smugly. Denki finger guns. Mina clasps her hands pleadingly. 

“One flower for each of you,” he grunts. “No colouring.”

Hanta gets a marigold. Mina gets a poppy. Denki gets a daffodil. Katsuki sketches the flowers out with a black ballpoint pen and pretends that the hour they have left for lunch is the only reason he pulls out his coloured markers.

 

“You’re such a good friend,” Eijirou whispers into his neck, later, pressing him against the scratchy red brick of the school. 

Katsuki tries to huff, unimpressed, but it comes out significantly breathier. 

“We’re, ah, friends, are we?”

“Good friend,” Eijirou repeats, grazing his fingers against the steadily forming hickey in Katsuki’s neck. There’s a pale purple splotch emerging onto his own skin. “Best boyfriend.”

The next day, hidden underneath Katsuki’s knee: you're like a dictionary– you add meaning to my life.

(On the sole of his foot: if you were a chicken, you’d be impeccable.)

(Along his index finger: not even Snape could Severus apart!)

(When Katsuki wears the ripped jeans he’d bought over the weekend: you’re so beautiful you made me forget my pickup line.)

 

In English, Yamada-sensei is trying to lead a discussion on the first few chapters of Moby Dick. Keyword, trying, because Yaoyorozu and Iida are embroiled in a heated debate on the homoerotic connotations between Ishmael and Queequeg at the end of chapter ten. Yamada looks too emotional that somebody’s actually interested in the book to let the debate peter out. 

There is the familiar tingle of words being pressed into his skin. Katsuki looks down at his palm, sees Call me Ishmael, cause I’m hunting you in blue pen ink. Fuck, that’s actually really, really cute. Eijirou’s not an obsessive reader like Katsuki, but he likes finding literary pickup lines for Katsuki anyway and sometimes they’re actually close to something not vomit-inducing.

“Bakugou, we can tell when you’re on your phone!” Yamada calls. 

Katsuki looks up, dryly raises an eyebrow. “My bad, I was just Googling if there’s any proof of Herman Melville actually being gay.”

His teacher furrows his brow. “And?”

“Well, as a practicing homosexual myself,” Katsuki deadpans, to a few scattered snickers, “I think it’s notable to mention that sailing was a notoriously gay profession back in Melville’s time and, regardless of whether or not he was actually trying to portray Ishmael and Queequeg's relationship as existing outside the strict realms of heterosexuality, it makes more sense to see his writing as an outlet for him coming to terms with his own feelings, consciously or unconsciously.”

Yamada-sensei looks like he’s holding back a smile. “Very perceptive, thank you, Bakugou.”

You’re such a nerd, Eijirou writes.

Shut the fuck up.

No, don’t be like that, you’re so sexy ahahaha.

Were you dropped on your head as a child.

No, but I probably concussed myself falling from heaven!

Are you hitting on yourself for me?

I’m a multitasker, babe. I multitask.

Instead of responding, Katsuki doodles a little whale with a halo below the line on his palm. Eijirou grins at him and holds up a heart with his hands. Katsuki rolls his eyes and draws a little heart beside the whale. 

“Dude, that’s kinda gay bro,” Denki whispers to him, snickering.

Eijirou cocks his head, confused. “I mean? We’re dating, aren’t we?”

Denki groans. “Yeah, okay. You guys are killing the joke, you know that?” He squints. “Is this like negative association? You two trying to get us to lay off by playing along? Well, I’ll have you know that I’m onto you and you’re not going to get rid of me that easily!”

“Riveting passion, Kaminari,” Yamada-sensei drawls. “What are your thoughts on the ideas put forward by your classmates?”

Without missing a beat, Kaminari pivots in his seat and launches into a three-tiered argument on the elusive nature of the white whale as a literary parallel to the reader’s own challenge on deciphering the enigmatic symbolism of the whale itself, being anything from Melville’s thoughts towards God, the goodness of humanity, or even the universe at large. Yamada is smirking, looking altogether pleased with himself.

Denki is too damn smart to be this fucking oblivious.

 

It’s not just Denki. Nobody can fucking believe that Katsuki and Eijirou are dating.

Katsuki goes into AP Calculus wearing his boyfriend’s rugby hoodie because the classroom is always criminally cold.

Ochako frowns, taking in the bright red of the hoodie, a far call from Katsuki’s preferred all-black ensembles. “Hey, isn’t that Kirishima’s hoodie?”

“Yes.”

“Why are you wearing Kirishima’s hoodie?”

“He’s my boyfriend.”

She grins, ruffling his hair. “You’re so cute, Katsuki, honestly. Like, you’re the only person who thinks that pretending to date Kirishima is somehow less embarrassing than just admitting you’re cold.”

Katsuki stares at her. She pats him on the head like he’s a fucking golden retriever before sitting back down and getting out her notebook, like nothing she’d just said is grounds for a psychiatric evaluation.

“Wow, you got me,” he says, dryly. “I’m cold.”

 

At lunch, Denki’s already shared his conspiracy theory with Hanta and Mina re. Katsuki and Eijirou trying to gross them out of the “fellas is it gay to tell your bro you’re going to be his horse that never wavers in a game of ninth grade dodgeball” jokes that have been going on since the second week of high school. As such, the idiot brigade is on full alert when Katsuki and Eijirou approach their usual table in the cafeteria.

“The men of the hour,” Hanta says, grandly. “Welcome, gentlemen.”

“Thank you, my liege,” Katsuki sneers.

Eijirou looks between them all, furrowing his brow. “Is this how we’re saying ‘hi’ now? Because just letting you guys know, I’m not smart enough for this.”

Katsuki huffs. “They don’t believe we’re dating.”

Denki throws up his hands. “I’m the funny one in this squad, guys. That’s my job. Do you realize that? Between the two of you, you have literally everything else, just let me have this one!”

Mina blows a straw wrapper at him. “You’re the funny one? Methinks that my thirty-five thousand TikTok followers disagree.”

“Again with the medieval speak? Where are you guys even getting this from–”

“First of all, you’re on fashion TikTok and dance TikTok not funny TikTok–”

“Denki, I’m going to eviscerate you–”

“We’re literally soulmates,” Eijirou says, brow furrowed. 

Katsuki nods, aggressively.“Yeah, that. What the fuck is wrong with you guys?”

Mina looks at him like he’s the one with a wad of Hubba-Bubba bubblegum for a brain. “As sweet as it is that you and Eijirou are, like, the best friends to end all best friends, you have nothing on the shared comedic genius of me, Denki, and Hanta, okay? Just accept that and have some onion rings.”

Katsuki looks at Eijirou. His boyfriend’s expression is flat and annoyed. They sit down and agree to steal half of Mina’s onion rings.

 

There are rose petals in the foyer. Why are there rose petals in the foyer. 

Katsuki walks down the stairs warily, remembering that prom is coming up and every heterosexual Chad and Becky duo is rising out of the woodworks to prove that their two-week romance is worth clogging up the entire hallway and everyone’s Instagram feeds for the next month. There’s a circle of students surrounding the prom-posing idiot and he mentally resigns himself to having to shove past the lot of them to get to Physics. Otherwise, Aizawa's going to force him to teach the lesson again because he "clearly already knows it, if his late entrance means anything"–

Wait a minute, says Katsuki’s head. That’s not just any idiot. That’s my idiot.

Eijirou’s standing in the middle of the foyer with two of the school’s therapy dogs, both golden retrievers. He’s holding a large cardboard sign, dusted with gold glitter.

It would be golden if you would go to prom with me.

“What do you say, Katsuki?”

His smile is bright and crooked, leaning up to one side, the way it always does when he’s especially proud of surprising Katsuki. The circle is impossibly quiet, more than one student sending Katsuki wary glances. Mina’s got her phone up, eyes wide, thumbs up.

Katsuki smiles, despite himself, and sighs. “Yeah, okay.”

The crowd cheers and the retrievers are wagging their tails and, as much as Katsuki hates big romantic gestures, he has to admit that Eijirou is the exception to most of his dislikes. He doesn’t kiss him, because he has a reputation to maintain, but they hug and he’s smiling in public, which is already pushing it, respective to his own personal PDA-limits.

“They have to believe us now, right?” Eijirou asks, laughing. (The implication that Eijirou did this for him because he knew it was starting to bother Katsuki that nobody believed them, because he wanted to shout his love for Katsuki as loud as fucking possible, is too intense for fifth period. Katsuki resolves to revisit it later.) Eijirou pulls out his phone and clicks on Mina’s Snapchat story.

Katsuki stares.

The video captures Eijirou’s hopeful smile and the flush on Katsuki’s cheeks and the glittery sign and the ensuing hug and the cute as hell golden retrievers. The caption does none of this, reading Kats and Kiri really said fuck toxic masculinity!!!

“What the fuck,” Katsuki mumbles, dropping his head into Eijirou’s shoulder. “What the fuck is wrong with them.”

At least he got to pet a dog out of this.

 

In the end, it takes his dumbass friends a truly humiliating display of the truth to finally believe him.

Mina and Denki had dragged the rest of them along to buy prom dresses and Hanta, who had worn a suit once to court and never again, said he would use the opportunity to find and rent one. Katsuki’s mom had already designed matching tuxes for him and Eijirou, both dressed in black and red with flower motifs, so they were just along for the ride.

Or, well, Katsuki was along for the ride. Eijirou had gotten lost in the department store and Denki had stolen his phone because he has a sixth sense for opportunities during which he can make their lives most difficult.

Hanta facepalms the moment Denki sheepishly pulls Eijirou’s phone out of his back pocket.

“Okay. Okay, this is fine. We can… wait here for him and hope that he wanders back to us.”

“Or we can scream really loud!” Mina suggests. “Kats could probably reach the other side of the mall if he tried.”

“I’m going to kill you,” Katsuki tells her, using his indoor voice. Mina winces and rubs at her ear. She and Denki really do look like they’re gearing up to shout Eijirou’s name until he finds them and, as much as Katsuki loves getting kicked out of places, he figures he should probably nip this one in the bud.

“We don’t need any of that, dumbasses,” he says, rifling through his backpack for a marker.

Dumbass, we’re by the shoe section.

He waits for a moment.

Coming!! Sorry for getting lost :(

He looks up. The idiot parade is staring at his arm like he’d chopped it off and let it regrow like a 5’10, humanoid starfish. 

“What the fuck,” Denki breathes. “Dude, what the fuck.”

“You guys are soulmates,” Hanta murmurs. “Bro, why didn’t you tell us?”

Katsuki takes a very small moment to go on a short brain exploration wherein he sneaks onto NASA’s next mission and screams into the void of space until the heat of the sun mummifies him into a burnt up corpse of rage and bad decisions. “We did,” he grits out, finally. “Many, many times.”

Mina pales. “Wait, so that time that you told us that you were dating and we said it was a joke–”

Katsuki glowers at her. “Yes.”

Denki backs away from him, slowly. Smart man.

“Hey, Katsuki, my brother from another mother,” he says, shakily. “Do you remember last summer when I saw you guys walking out a supply closet and you said that you were getting cleaning supplies but you weren’t holding anything so I joked that you were making out and you just walked away?”

Katsuki eyes him. “Finish that thought, Denki, I dare you.”

Denki gulps.

Eijirou walks in at that moment because he’s a fucking killjoy. He waves, the black marker stark against his skin. Pauses as the idiots freeze and zero-in on it. 

“Sorry for getting… lost? Are you guys okay?”

Soulmates?!” Mina shrieks.

Eijirou sighs. “You can’t really blame us for this one, guys. I promposed to Katsuki with rose petals and puppies and you said, and I quote, ‘Kats and Kiri really said fuck toxic masculinity.’”

“You were fucking something, alright,” Hanta mumbles.

Katsuki punches him in the shoulder. “Are you fuckers going to get your shit or are we just going to stand here talking about how fucking oblivious you all are until this shitty store closes?”

Denki squints at him and turns to Eijirou. “Him?”

His boyfriend just laughs and his gaze, when it falls against Katsuki, is sweeter than honey. “Who else?”

Denki and Hanta gag.

"Bro, they're going to be even more insufferable, now."

"I genuinely don't think anything's ever going to top the time Eijirou saw Katsuki shirtless for the first time and said he looked 'super manly' but yeah, probably."

"Ah, guys, you didn't notice we were together for, like, two years, I don't think we're that insufferable–"

"TWO YEARS?!"

And as they walk towards the dress shop, shoving and laughing and teasing and “so when we found you sharing popcorn at the theatre that one time–” Katsuki feels a tickle on his wrist.

Do you have a map? Because I’m lost in your eyes.

“I’m going to tape a fucking GPS to you,” Katsuki grumbles. Even so, he draws a small heart below the words. His directionally-challenged dumbass’s smile is so bright, Katsuki thinks he might be okay with getting lost with him for the rest of his life.