this will be more of a collection of interconnected ficlets and drabbles, all set in the same universe and forming somewhat of a cohesive narrative, but with several time jumps between them. there will be seven chapters total, one for each day of bakutodo week 2018.
When Shouto first heard about the flower shop that sold soulmate flowers, he assumed the establishment would be, at the very least, as strange as the product it supposedly offered.
Instead, as he walked into The Enchanted Garden, he found himself in what looked like any other common flower shop in the city. It was a little cluttered, with plants and flowers hanging from the ceiling and sprouting from pots lining shelves on every wall, but even though Shouto couldn't name most of them — he wasn't all that knowledgeable about flora — they didn't seem out of the ordinary. The smell of freshly turned earth hung heavy in the air, along with something sweet Shouto couldn't quite place.
There were no other clients in sight. No employees, either. The counter at the back of the shop stood empty, so Shouto resigned himself to walking around and curiously studying the flowers on display while he waited for someone to show up.
An arrangement of red roses caught his attention. Their color was deep, almost as dark as blood, and more vibrant than the roses Shouto usually saw being sold at supermarkets or gracing every store window on Valentine's Day. He carefully ran a finger over a petal. It was soft to the touch, with no signs of wilting to mar it.
Was he supposed to just pick any flower in the shop? He wasn't sure how soulmate flowers worked. If that was the case, roses would be fitting, right? They looked beautiful. And wasn't there something about them being a sign of love—
"Can I help you?"
Shouto's heart leaped, and he turned around to find a blond man staring at him, arms crossed over an earth-stained apron. His eyes were of an unusual red — like the roses, Shouto realized, but a few shades lighter — and they pierced through Shouto with animosity that contradicted the willingness to help his words suggested. A tag over his chest read Bakugou Katsuki.
Shouto cleared his throat, recovering from the scare of not hearing the man approach him, and pointed towards the roses.
"I'm here to buy a soulmate flower."
Bakugou's gaze flickered to the arrangement. When he looked back at Shouto, there was a smirk playing on his lips, almost as if he found something funny.
Shouto was saved from wondering what it could possibly be by Bakugou's reply.
"Those are normal roses."
Shouto examined the plants surrounding them again, wondering which ones could be the real soulmate flowers. They all looked just as normal as the roses to him.
A scoff brought his attention back to Bakugou.
"Follow me," he said, offering no other explanation.
Shouto trailed after him, towards the back of the shop. He expected Bakugou to show him a hidden room — some kind of separated space where the soulmate flowers were kept — but all he did was pick up a tiny glass vial and a plastic-sealed needle from under the counter.
He placed them in front of Shouto.
"I'll need a few drops of your blood."
Shouto's head whipped up, a startled What!? leaving his lips. When Uraraka had told him the rumors about the flower shop and its peculiar products, there'd been nothing about blood. Or about rude employees who didn't feel the need to explain a thing to his customers.
Said employee seemed unimpressed by Shouto's reaction. If anything, Bakugou looked even more annoyed than before, tapping his fingers impatiently on the counter.
"You heard me. Just prickle your finger, let some blood fall into the vial." When Shouto didn't move, the last of Bakugou's patience seemed to run out. Sticking his finger into Shouto's chest, he growled, "You want a soulmate flower, I can't make one without your blood. It's just a few drops, not like I'm asking for your fucking organs or something. If you don't want it, then stop wasting my time and get the fuck out of my shop."
Shouto was tempted to do that — if this was Bakugou's shop like he said, he couldn't exactly complain to his manager about bad customer service — but, in the end, he'd gone there for a reason. Rude or not, Bakugou was saying he could make a soulmate flower. Shouto had entered the flower shop intending to buy one.
He wasn't sure if the flowers were real or not. For all he knew, Bakugou could be a scammer. If there was a chance, though — a chance that would lead him to his soulmate, to a person supposed to bring something good to his life — Shouto would take it.
If a few drops of his blood were all it took, so be it.
"See? It wasn't that hard," Bakugou mumbled when Shouto gave him back the vial, the glass now tinted scarlet. He offered a tissue for Shouto to stanch the bleeding.
Pressing down on the injury, Shouto watched as Bakugou discarded the needle into a trash bin, then slapped a label on the vial and picked up a pen.
Bakugou's movements were precise, as if he were executing a routine he knew by heart. If he really were a scammer, Shouto would have to admit him to be a very good one; his expression was that of someone who took what they were doing seriously, not a trace left of the mockery from before.
That sweet smell that permeated the shop seemed to get stronger, tickling Shouto's nose. As discreetly as he could, he leaned forward, noticing that it became more intense the closer he was to Bakugou. Perhaps he was the kind to wear perfume.
"I'll have your flower ready by tomorrow. Just bring this receipt with you when you come pick it up," Bakugou said, startling Shouto out of his thoughts.
Taking a step back, Shouto nodded, slipping the piece of paper Bakugou gave him in his pocket and pulling out his wallet.
"How much do I owe you?"
"You can pay tomorrow."
"You could not have a soulmate. Your flower could be in another garden. I'm not taking payment for something I haven't done yet." Bakugou crossed his arms, unwavering in his decision. "You can pay tomorrow, when — if — I have a flower for you. I'll tell you the exact price then, it'll depend on how much work it gives me."
Half of Bakugou's words made no sense. Shouto had no idea what he meant by another garden, or what kind of work was involved in making a soulmate flower. He didn't even know people could not have soulmates.
There were many things he didn't know, but he had a feeling Bakugou wouldn't be willing to explain any of them, so he simply agreed and put his wallet away.
He sensed Bakugou's gaze on his back all the way out of the flower shop.
"Is this it?" Shouto asked, examining the small box Bakugou had placed in front of him. The wooden base was covered with a glass lid, and through it Shouto could see a lonely stem resting on top of a velvety cushion, a single flower bud sprouting from it.
Shouto hadn't known what to expect from a soulmate flower, but this measly little thing was disappointing.
"Don't underestimate it, dumbass," Bakugou said. Ever since the previous day, he apparently had decided that Shouto didn't deserve even the slightest pretense of politeness. "That was a lot harder to make than it looks."
Shouto brought the box closer to his eyes. The stem looked extremely fragile; he was afraid that the moment he tried to pick it up it would break in two.
"How does it work?"
"You give it to whoever you wanna test to see if they're your soulmate or not. If the flower blooms when they touch it, they are. If not..." Bakugou shrugged. "You don't have to worry about watering it or anything, by the way. Even after it blooms, it won't wilt unless your relationship with your soulmate compromises it."
"Wait — test ?" Shouto furrowed his brows. He thought the flowers were going to guide him directly to his soulmate. "I still have to look for them?"
Bakugou's body tensed. Until then, his rudeness seemed like it was nothing but his standard manners, but now there was no mistaking the anger that burned in his eyes.
"What, you're one of those idiots that want a little magic flower to do all the heavy work for you?" he sneered, leaning over the counter so his face was inches away from Shouto's. "Love ain't that easy. That"— Bakugou pointed at the box —"is more help than most people get. And you're even one of the lucky bastards — you know what flower that is? It's a forget-me-not. It means true love."
Maybe it was the sun being filtered by the plants surrounding them, but odd shadows covered Bakugou's face. The air shifted, carrying a gust of wind that smelled sickeningly sweet despite the front door being closed.
For the first time, Shouto truly believed there was something strange about this shop, about the man standing in front of him with his earth-stained apron and his bright red eyes.
"So stop being an ungrateful fuck."
As quick as it began, the wind stopped. Bakugou leaned back, the power that surrounded them receding with him, leaving nothing but a shiver up Shouto's spine and a box that was suddenly heavy in his hand.
There was no doubt about it — something about The Enchanted Garden was different. Something about Bakugou Katsuki was magic.
And Shouto carried a piece of that magic with him, in the form of a stem and a flower bud resting inside a glass case. He still didn't understand everything about it, but it was clear that it wasn't something to be taken lightly. Bakugou's outburst made him feel ashamed that he had.
When Shouto pulled his wallet out of his pocket, he was prepared to pay whatever it cost for the soulmate flower Bakugou had made for him. If Bakugou was telling the truth — if the flower meant true love — then Shouto would do his best to try and find the person who would make it bloom.
He told Bakugou that, and Bakugou's eyes seemed to soften.
Just a little.