She couldn't remember when it started or how it did. But for the past three years, Kiyoki Haijime has been sure of one thing in her life – she's in love with Shouto Todoroki. They have known each other for the past 8 years and been best friends all through so it didn't come as a surprise to her. But unfortunately, her love for him also led her to discover another truth in her life – he was never going to love her back.
She was reminded of this every day when they walked to school together or finished up assignments with each other. When they had their weekly Tuesday movie sessions or when they just simply enjoyed each other's company. He was bisexual, so she knew she had a chance. Yet at the same time, she didn't.
It happened so quickly, the green haired tornado that stole her best friend's heart right in front of her. Midoriya Izuku. In their first year, they had been classmates, acquaintances. In their second year, they became friends "in like" and in their third year, they were in love.
When he told her he was going to confess to Midoriya, she felt light-headed. He had asked for her advice. She bit her tongue as she uttered the words she instantly regretted.
"If you think he's worth it, go for it. If he's what you desire, chase him"
When he eventually left, she lay down with a broken heart and the same thought passing through her mind
Chase what your heart desires, and hopefully one day you'll be chasing me.
When they got together, she knew. Oh she knew that she was about being replaced. She knew that the freckled demon with the innocent face was about to claim her space. She knew what was going to happen, she was prepared. She knew but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt.
But she could survive her final year at UA. She would.
It was at the classes' movie night that she first noticed it openly. Midoriya was seated in between Shouto's legs. Shouto's arms wrapped ever so tightly around him as they watched the movie. It was an action movie. A typical drug dealer one that wouldn't necessarily have you groping your chair, but that it was enough (apparently) to have Midoriya press into Shouto and have the latter whisper sweet nothings in his ear. Everyone noticed, it was hard not to. No one said a word, letting the couple enjoy their moment. She might have noticed Bakugou's curious glances at her if she wasn't so focused on regulating her breathing.
Once the movie was done, everyone trotted back to their rooms as it was late. Kiyoki left early, not wanting to know what room the couple would be staying in tonight. She shut her door quietly behind her and peeled off her clothes as she let the water fill up her tub. She refused to think about the scene playing on repeat in her mind.
She climbed into the tub and let the heat of the water encompass her as she imagined scenarios in her head. And if she spent an hour in the water imagining his lips against hers and his arms around her, that was between her and the cooling water around her.
It wasn't like they didn't hang out again, they did. But Kiyoki knew her limits. She knew where to draw the line now aware that someone else shared her affection for him.
One weekend, a few incidents occurred and majority of Class 3A were high off some spiked drinks. They had all left school for the weekend to attend a party at Momo's mansion. The music and buzz from the drinks helped calm everyone's nerves after the long dreaded midterms were up. Kiyoki found herself seated by near the Bakusquad calmly sipping on her drink. Soon enough, they all got up to dance, with the exception of Bakugou. Not that she noticed, they had talked enough to be considered friends and even reached first name basis. But right now, she welcomed the silence. They sat comfortably till he came.
She jumped a little as she noticed the drunk freckled boy in front of her not knowing where he came from.
"Um, hi Midoriya?" she got out, sounding more like a question than a greeting.
Midoriya didn't reply immediately as he just kept looking at her. She knew all he could see was her poker face with undisguised confusion as she briefly glanced up to look for Shouto in the crowd. He was getting drinks and having a conversation with Shinsou, he hadn't noticed.
"I see the way you look at him you know"
This statement brought her eyes lower to the face in front of her.
"I see the way you want him. All for yourself, so greedy with someone that isn't even yours"
Kiyoki nearly choked on her drink. What the hell?
"You want him all to yourself don't you? But guess what? That's not happening. Not while I'm here"
Midoriya swayed back to Shouto and pulled him down in a searing kiss.
Kiyoki emptied her cup in an instant, refusing to focus on the burning anger and hurt in her heart.
If she looked back just once, she would have noticed the concerned gaze focused on her as she tried to ignore her reality. And if she spent the rest of the night seething with anger and different emotions, that was between her and her shaky grip on her empty cup.
It took Midoriya two weeks to confront Kiyoki on his outburst. When he had woken up the next day, he chose to believe it was just a dream. It took Shouto asking if he had noticed Kiyoki keeping her distance for it to dawn on him. Kiyoki hadn't meant to ignore Shouto, but ignoring Midoriya meant ignoring Shouto, they were a package deal. One that tugged at the anger in her heart.
It was a Sunday afternoon and once again everyone was engaged in their own activities for the weekend. Kiyoki was seated on a bench by the oak tree in the garden close to the UA. Bakugou was seated near her on another bench close to the tree. She had recently become more aware of his presence around her. He had matured since his first year at UA, and she was secretly grateful for the calm he brought with him, not once engaging in an unnecessary conversation.
Lost in her thoughts, she noticed the nervous shuffle of the green haired as he sat down next to her a bit too late. Dressed in sweats and a hoodie, she had hoped that she'd be able to steer off unwanted conversations.
"I'm so sorry Kiyoki-san" he said with his head bowed. Before Kiyoki could even grasp those words, he went into a full rant not pausing for breath.
"I thought that what happened that night had been a dream and it didn't even occur to me that I may have said it out loud. Please forgive me and I know I owe you an explanation so I'll get on with it. I have always been jealous of you and Shouto - "
Ah! They were on first name basis already.
"- you've always been so close to him and you know him in and out. You've been by his side longer than anyone has and everyone thought that if he were to end up with anyone, it would be you. So when he told me he liked me back, I was surprised but seeing your bond with him as his boyfriend fuelled my insecurities and I am so sorry - "
Kiyoki tuned out at this point. All his talk of how they looked good together kindled the anger in her that she had managed to put on a leash. How dare he come here and remind her that she wasn't what he wanted? How dare he come here and rub his relationship in her face? She was vaguely aware of a mop on white and red hair sitting on a bench nearby. Of course he's here.
"- I have always wanted to have that special bond with him just as you have and I guess - "
"So why didn't he choose me?"
Her question obviously seemed to take him by surprise as he choked on his words.
With a deep breath, Kiyoki faced him and asked again. "So why didn't he choose me?"
"I-I don't understand Kiyoki-san"
"All you've talked about since you got here is how you think Shou and I are perfect for each other and how everyone believes we should have ended up together instead of you." Not that I disagree. "But you've never quite asked yourself why he didn't choose me then, have you?" His expression confirmed it all.
"He chose you Midoriya. Not me. In three years of knowing you, he chose you. Yet he's known me for eight years." Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself and hoped that he couldn't sense the pain behind her words.
"What he saw in you, hes seen in nobody, even me. So stop worrying about how close we are and enjoy your relationship. Youre the star of his show. Youre the one who stole his heart. Not me. So go hug your man and stop being concerned about things that shouldn't stress you."
Kiyoki faced the tree and let what she had said sink in as she passed a small smile at Bakugou who was looking at her in awe. She didn't get to see his reaction as Midoriya suddenly jumped up thanking her profusely. She didn't grace him with a reply and closed her eyes as he retreated to the waiting arms of his lover.
"Thank you for choosing me Shouto" she heard Midoriya said from a distance.
With a small chuckle, he replied, "Of course, there was no other option"
Kiyoki let these words sink in as she silently prayed to every element in the world to not let her cry. If she had lowered her gaze, she would have seen Bakugou silently seething at the couple nearby.
She let her hair down from its ponytail, snapped on her cap and plugged in her headphones. And if she walked away ignoring the couples hushed tones and Shouto's lingering gaze, that was between her and the non-existent music playing in her ears.
She got used to it. To the pain that replaced the beating of her heart. To the ache of seeing his smile directed at another's face. She made sure she never cried, always bottling it in.
They always had their weekly movie nights. It had always been their thing. At this point, it was the only thing Kiyoki held onto in their friendship. It was all she had left with him. For a while though, their movie nights had become nothing more than sitting in her room, using their respective phones with some movie scene playing in the background. He started it despite him being the one to create the no-phone rule. Eventually she found herself responding texts to keep herself distracted from the smile that wasn't directed at her.
Today however, in an attempt to busy herself from focusing on them, she forgot about movie night. But as she stared at the text he had sent explaining that he couldn't make it because something came up and looked at him through the library windows watching as he strolled hand in hand with Midoriya listening to the freckled boy talk, she felt an ache so deep her heart skipped a few beats.
And if she hadn't spent the next minutes controlling her breathing, willing the tears not to come, maybe she'd have noticed Bakugou's understanding look focused on her, but that's between her and the text message mocking her.
As long as she didn't cry, she'll be fine. Right? Right?
Bakugou and Shouto had a fight. They were supposed to be sparring but Shouto was more focused on Midoriya and Bakugou took the opportunity and landed a direct hit. Shouto fell back on impact wondering why Bakugou had hit so hard.
"Focus" was the only explanation the blonde haired spat at him as he readied himself for an attack.
What no one was expecting was for Shouto to get all red in the face with thus quirks going wild as he verbally attacked Bakugou.
"What is your deal Bakugou? Can't stand to see Midoriya and I happy? Is that it? Jealous? Or have you finally realised that no one likes you enough to be with you?"
Shocked gasps were heard as the Bakusquad instantly came to Bakugou's side. Not that they needed to, he wasn't even reacting. Just staring into the angry eyes in front of him.
Kiyoki was fuming at Shouto's words. How dare he? Who the hell does he think he is? Noticing that Shouto was about aiming for Bakugou as the blonde haired shifted his focus,
Kiyoki ran forward standing in between them, eyes glowing purple as she used her quirk to counter his.
"Don't you dare asshole"
Kiyoki's quirk was powerful and rare. A combination of her parents. She had the ability to temporarily erase quirks like Aizawa although she could blink and erase quirks of multiple people at once in contrast to Aizawa's. The second part of her quirk was her ability to copy the quirks of others without having to physically come in contact with them. Powerful and rare although it did have its faults. Copying people's quirks took a toll on her afterwards, leaving her to recover from fatigue.
Everyone froze in shock as Kiyoki stood eyes glowing in front of Shouto. Nobody could have predicted this.
With his quirk erased, Shouto didn't hide the shock on his face as he stared at Kiyoki. This was when he knew he screwed up. He bowed deeply and apologised to Bakugou as everyone watched Midoriya lead him away.
Watching their retreating backs, Kiyoki disabled her quirk and sighed quietly to herself.
A silent thank you was passed as she and Bakugou made eye contact.
And if anyone noticed that they both stayed behind, sparring all through their lunch break no one said a word. This was between her and the image of his retreating back racing through her mind.
Shouto had his fair share of scorning from the class later that day. Midoriya stayed by his side rubbing circles on his palm. Kiyoki avoided making eye contact with him throughout. As she stared at their joined hands, she felt an ache in her head.
And if she held on too tightly to the pencil in her hands and watched it snap in two, that was between her and the splinter in her finger.
Things got back to normal eventually. Apologies were said and hugs were welcomed. She suspected nothing. That the worst was yet to come. Nothing.
Shouto and Kiyoki had plans for their lives after school. They made these plans years ago and agreed to live by it. From the list of agencies they would consider to the locations. Everything was well thought out. Except for one thing. A relationship.
Of course Shouto would want to adjust his plans for Midoriya. It shouldn't surprise her as much as it does. Standing under the shade above them, Kiyoki had long since stopped listening to Shouto try to justify himself.
When she noticed he was done, she mustered up courage to face him with a smile.
"It's fine Shou, it's not a big deal"
"Kiyoki…" he started, knowing she was hiding how she felt.
With a sad smile, she looked at him one last time before she walked away.
"You used to call me Kiyo"
When she knew she had covered enough distance, she let her knees hit the ground below, slapped a hand over mouth as she fought back a sob and dug her nails into her palms to keep from screaming.
It was happening too fast. Why her? All their plans. Everything came crashing down. Why couldn't he just let her hold on to this? She wasn't even trying to steal him away, she just wanted her bestfriend and any semblance to the relationship they once had.
She didn't notice Bakugou rubbing circles on her back as she regained control of her breathing but not her emotions till he lifted her up calmly.
And if she swallowed back sobs and blinked away unshed tears as he led her away, that's between her, Bakugou and the blood threatening to spill from her clenched fists.
Bakugou took her to a quiet spot on a hill where he goes to clear his head. Standing up there gave you the perfect view of the world below and the sky above. It would have been (dare I say) romantic if the reason why he brought her here didn't exist.
He let go of her hand, looks at her and sighs to the clouds.
"I've been watching for a while now" he whispers so lightly as if afraid to break her. "Watching you bottle it all in and put on a poker face"
He looks at her. "But I think it's time for you to let it out. Your heart needs a break."
"Scream Kiyoki, cry and rage"
This was all it took for her legs to give way and her body to shake with inconsolable grief.
This was the sight Uraraka and Kaminari were graced with as they stopped the video they were filming and subconsciously turned the camera to the scene before them well hidden from view.
Kiyoki crying till her lungs burned as Bakugou stood nearby watching the world beneath him.
She told him everything that day. How long she'd loved Shouto and how quickly Midoriya hopped into his heart proving that she never even had a chance.
I had been by his side for 8 years and was never even a choice. Midoriya has only known him for three and he still chose him.
She told him about their plans after school and what she's going to do now knowing he's not going to be by her side. She talked it all out till there was nothing left to say. Till her heart felt lighter.
Nothing but silence
"How did you let go of Deku?" she asked quietly.
After a period of silence she heard his gentle reply.
"I simply realized that as much as I want him, it's not me he wants. And till he ever decides to love me, I'll stick to watching him be happy with whoever he is with"
Another moment of silence.
"That must suck" Kiyoki says
They both burst out laughing. No knowing why, yet welcoming the moment of bliss.
"Every day I still find myself wanting him though. I'm just waiting for the one day, that he meets me halfway" he whispers
"What if he doesn't?"
A sad smile graced his face, and that's all that's needed. Both knowing the answer already.
They talk for a while before Kiyoki opens a portal to take them back to the dorms. As they step in the make a silent promise to be there for each other. Both paying no heed to the sympathetic looks their two classmates gave them as they ended the video.
During the three months that led to graduation, the obvious closeness between the pair didn't go unnoticed. A shoulder to lean on and hands to grasp to. They provided each other comfort as they soothed their aching hearts.
Shouto noticed it when waiting for Midoriya by the oak tree. Kiyoki and Katsuki hadn't seen him as they sat down in comfortable silence scrolling through their phones occasionally showing each other their phones and sharing little laughs.
He felt his heart ache as he realized he couldn't remember when last he saw his best friend laugh. And now here she was, laughing with Katsuki of all people. He knew, it shouldn't have hurt as much as it did. Yet it did.
When he eventually confronted her, she laughed and looked at him with fondness in her eyes as she brought their heads together.
"Don't be jealous kiddo, no one can take your place"
And that cheered him up more than it should have, but no one needs to know that.
Midoriya noticed them after meeting up with All Might as he was heading back to the dorms. They were walking past him, Katsuki laughing loudly at something Kiyoki had said. He froze in place and felt his heartbeat speed up. Since when did Kacchan laugh like that? He tried to ignore the way it saddened him that his laugh had nothing to do with Midoriya.
When he did tell Katsuki, all he got was an amused look and gentle laugh.
"Shut up nerd, no one can take your place"
He may have slept with a smile on that night, but no one needs to know that.
It was the night before graduation, and excitement was buzzing in the air. Everyone was eager yet unhappy to leave and everyone was struggling for a goodnight sleep.
Uraraka and Kaminari found themselves tossing and turning in their respective beds as the video plagued their minds. With a single text going through them, Uraraka forwarded the video to Shouto while Kaminari did the same to Midoriya. Putting off their phones immediately after, they forced themselves into slumber.
Shouto felt his heart constrict as he relived the contents of the video for the umpteenth time behind his closed eyelids.
I had been by his side for 8 years and was never even a choice.
Midoriya has only known him for three and he still chose him.
I've loved him always.
He has changed his mind about our after school plans.
Asking him to choose between Midoriya and I would be asking him to look me in the eyes and reject me.
I need to let him go.
Graduation may be the last time he sees me.
I need to move on.
But I fear that I may love him forever.
He felt trapped in a suffocating rhythm.
How hadn't he noticed? He always saw everything? How hadn't he seen the signs?
And what did she mean by he'll never see her again?
Midoriya paced around his bedroom before his legs gave way and he broke out into a confused sob. One thought echoing repeatedly before he slept due to exhaustion.
Kacchan had loved him?
It was the final stage of graduation and the hardest stage too – time to say goodbye.
Students ran among students, clutching unto each other, trying to hang on to the present. Laughter's echoed loudly across the school compound as stories were shared and jokes retold just to stall the inevitable.
Shouto secretly dragged Kiyoki to the oak tree.
Katsuki was seen being led by Midoriya to an empty classroom.
Midoriya told Kacchan about the video. Kacchan confirmed it and said nothing. After observing Midoriya for a while, he pulled him close,
"Live your life and don't worry about how you affected mine."
Midoriya's lips quivered with a thousand apologies and a million questions. With an amused look gracing his face, Bakogou chuckled.
"Relax nerd, no one can replace you, remember?"
With a sigh, Midoriya let his head rest against Katsuki's chest, breathing in sync with his heartbeat.
Kiyoki was shocked to say the least but hid her expression as she curiously watched Shouto pace around the bench she had settled on.
"Hey there candy cane" she said when he finally stilled in front of her
"I watched the video. And I know I probably shouldn't have and it was invasion of privacy and I know there's nothing I can say or do once you've made up your mind but please don't leave me" he spat out as a strangled cry left his lips. The sight of tears on his face, alerted Kiyoki that this was a situation that should be treated with care. Why is he crying? And what video is he talking about?
Rubbing circles into his back she watched him regain his composure and she voiced out her questions.
"Uraraka sent me a video of you and Bakugou talking on a hill"
"Don't leave me. You said that today may be the last time I'll ever see you but please don't leave me"
Despite all the emotions going through her at this confession, his plea for her not to go warmed her broken heart.
He looked up as his had his face buried in her laps in order to hide the grief he couldn't disguise at the thought of losing Kiyoki.
"It won't be the last time you ever see me Shou, we were bound to go our separate ways eventually" She started gently
"I'll always be there. Maybe not physically, but there always"
Pulling him up and holding on to the lapels of his jacket, she let her forehead meet his.
"Hey kiddo, no one can take your place. Remember?"
A new chapter began in their lives as they all retired from the day's activities.
Kiyoki finally let Shouto go, hoping that like a little bird, he'll come back some day.
Shouto gradually tried to grasp his new reality and the new feelings that came with it.
Midoriya decided to take things slow, trying to take everything in.
Bakugou let fate decide what happens next.
Now who said love wasn't complicated?