“And the award for Coolest Quirk goes to… Amajiki Tamaki!” All Might pauses to cough into a handkerchief. There’s a shriek of feedback as the microphone picks it up. “Amajiki, my boy, I believe it’s customary to make a speech—okay, he’s leaving…”
Some of the third years try to drag Suneater back into the auditorium; Katsuki tunes out. It’s bad enough that UA agreed to this weird, American-high-school-bullshit award ceremony, but it’s even more annoying that everyone but him and maybe Aizawa is eating it up. It’s been a rough year, but they’re hero students. It’s supposed to be rough. They don’t need to be babied.
And, yeah, maybe Katsuki would be less ruffled about the whole thing if he didn’t win the Looks Most Like A Villain award, when there’s a guy in class 1-B who literally turns into a beast?
Needless to say, his speech was cut short.
The faculty move on to other awards after the third years fail to retrieve Amajiki. Of the people Katsuki actually recognizes, Headphones wins Best Singing Voice, presented loudly by Present Mic, Ponytail wins Most Likely To Be A Billionaire, which hardly seems fair considering she already is one, and the ditzy princess from the big three wins Prettiest Girl, which makes sense since she won the Miss Contest at the festival, and why the actual fuck does Katsuki know that!?
He briefly considers transferring to Shiketsu, then remembers that Inasa exists and sulks in defeat.
Midnight is next to take the stage. She looks a little tipsy, but she always looks like that. She coos about the next award being for Handsomest Boy and giggles dramatically in an attempt to create suspense.
Despite himself, Katsuki wonders who will win. Maybe Lemillion, to round out the big three? He wouldn’t be Katsuki’s choice, with his creepy eyes and constant nudity, but he seems popular—
“Todoroki Shouto!” Midnight squeals. “Todoroki-kuuun, come up here and accept your prize!” At the other end of the table, Deku nudges Shouto, then nudges him again, until he gets up and stumbles away like a baby deer.
“I knew he’d get it,” Kaminari says, almost wistfully.
“You voted for him?” Katsuki asks.
“Everyone did. Didn’t you?”
“I didn’t vote, period,” Katsuki says. “This whole thing is stupid.”
Stupid, but not entirely inaccurate. Katsuki knew the people in their class constantly fawned over Half and Half, though he didn’t know the whole school was hot and bothered for him. He wonders if they’d still think he’s so ravishing if they knew what a soba-slurping weirdo he is.
Shouto makes it to the stage, and Midnight pushes him towards the mic. He stares at the medal around his neck, the same one Katsuki tossed in the trash when he was escorted off-stage, and then looks up, squinting into the bright lights.
“Um, thank you?” he says. “But I don’t really get it…”
There’s a pause as the audience tries to parse what he means. Is he being humble? But Katsuki gets it right away, because Shouto said the same thing to him the few times he tried to make a joke to him.
Because that’s what he thinks this is. He thinks people voted for him as a joke.
Katsuki’s heart sinks. He has to do something, because Shouto’s two seconds from embarrassing himself in front of the whole school, and no one knows but him. Him and maybe Deku, who’s gone wide-eyed and slack-jawed, but he’s always been shit at quick thinking in social situations. Which leaves this up to Katsuki.
Shouto turns to Midnight. “Maybe you should give this to someone else?”
Katsuki explodes the centrepiece in front of him.
It catches attention at their table, but it’s not loud enough, so he grabs Kaminari’s hand and shakes until they both get shocked. It hurts like a bitch, but it makes Kaminari fall out of his chair and laugh hysterically, and a low murmur runs through the crowd.
Aizawa’s ropes are on both of them immediately, dragging them away. Katsuki only gets one more glance at the stage, but it’s enough to tell him that Shouto’s no longer on it.
Aizawa makes both of them run ten laps of the grounds, which isn’t fair to Kaminari, but Bakugou doesn’t care. His plan worked. End of story. He leaves Pikachu in the dust and sprints the last three so he has time for a shower. He gets back to the dorms only a few minutes after everyone else.
Shouto’s not in the common room, so he heads for the stairs and finds Deku, Bravest Hero medal around his neck, blocking his way.
“You did a good thing, Kacchan,” Deku says. “Though you didn’t have to involve Kaminari-kun—”
“Move, or I’ll involve you,” Katsuki says, and then sighs, because why is he fighting with Deku again when they’re always on the same damn side? “Did you talk to him?”
“No. I thought you should.”
“That’s—don’t tell me what I should do!”
“Okay, Kacchan.” Deku lets him pass, hands held up in surrender. “Be nice to him!”
“I am nice!” Katsuki yells back. “I am super fucking nice!”
For all his huffing and puffing, Katsuki stalls at Shouto’s door. When he does knock, he’s gentler than usual.
“Who is it?” Shouto calls.
He’s sitting on the futon on the floor, seemingly doing fuck all. Katsuki kicks off his shoes and sits down in front of him.
“If you’re here because you think I’m sad,” Shouto says, shocking Katsuki by being observant for once, “you don’t have to be. I’m not sad.”
“That’s why you’re sulking alone in your room.”
Shouto makes a face. “I’m a bit… upset, I guess. Not about people thinking I’m unattractive. I don’t care about that. I just thought the joke was a little mean—”
“Okay,” Katsuki says, “let me stop you right there. I’m going to tell you something, and you have to promise to believe me, alright?”
“Nobody voted for you as a joke, you absolute idiot,” Katsuki says slowly. “They all really think you’re attractive.” He waits, searching Shouto’s face. “Do you believe me?”
“Sorry,” Shouto says quietly. “I don’t.”
“Don’t be fucking sorry,” Katsuki snaps. It’s hard to not argue, especially sitting this close to his stupid, pretty face. “You really don’t get that you’re hot?” Shouto shakes his head. “Explain to me why not.”
“My eyes and hair don’t match,” Shouto says, counting on his fingers. “It looks weird.”
“It looks interesting,” Katsuki corrects. “Like one of those fuckin’ cats with the different-coloured eyes. What else?”
Shouto huffs. “Do I really have to do this?”
“Fine. I don't have muscles like a lot of the people here. I’m not strong like you.”
“Bullshit. Just because you’re not bulky doesn't mean you’re not strong. Plus, you’re tall. People like that.”
“‘People?’” Shouto asks.
Katsuki scowls, his cheeks heating up. “What else?”
“Well… my scar,” Shouto says with feigned detachment, as though he hasn’t been absentmindedly touching it since they started talking. “It’s… ugly.”
“No, it’s fucking not. People love scars.”
“Is that what you think?”
Katsuki starts to say yes, but he bites his tongue. Be nice, Deku told him; Katsuki’s not sure that’s what Shouto needs. The people who voted for him were all trying to be nice, but no amount of kindness can help someone who’s not willing to accept it. Maybe Shouto doesn’t need more misplaced sentiment. Maybe what he needs is honesty.
“I hate it,” Katsuki says. “It reminds me of what your parents did to you, and it pisses me off, because you shouldn’t have had to go through that.” He pulls Shouto’s hand away from his face. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s ugly. It doesn’t mean that I hate looking at you.”
It’s hard, though, to look at him now, when he’s staring at Katsuki like he’s never seen him before. Katsuki realizes they’re still holding hands and tries to pull away, but Shouto holds on tight.
“I like looking at you, too,” he says.
“Obviously,” Katsuki chokes out. “I’m fucking gorgeous.”
Shouto nods, like it’s a fact. “That’s why I voted for you.”
“For Handsomest Boy. I don’t think it’s fair that they gave you Looks Most Like A Villain. Villains aren’t normally good-looking.”
Katsuki’s face is on fucking fire. He thinks for a second that Shouto is joking, before remembering the reason he’s here. And the smirk on Shouto’s ridiculous, beautiful face says he knows exactly what he’s doing.
Katsuki jumps to his feet so he doesn’t explode. “C’mon, Deku was worried. Let’s go downstairs."
They don't get far before Shouto grabs his hand again and twines their fingers together. He smiles the whole way down the stairs. Katsuki lets him lead, flushed and untethered, wondering when the hell he was voted most likely to fall in love with Todoroki Shouto.