Tomorrow, Midoriya would graduate UA and become a pro hero.
The sheer incredulity of having survived these last three years had hit him this morning. He had woken up at five am, ready to run to the gym to get to the good mats before class, until he realized there was no class. Midoriya had dropped back into bed and stared at the ceiling.
Two weeks ago, they had defeated Shiragaki and the League of Villains. Sometimes he could hardly believe it. The fight had shaken the streets of Tokyo and claimed many lives. All of Midoriya’s friends had fought on the front lines, risking everything in the most harrowing forty eight hours of their lives. Midoriya himself had nearly died in the underground where he and Shiragaki fought for life and death.
It had been Uraraka who arrived on the scene first with a cry of anguish. She had sunk to her knees at once and picked up her best friend’s broken and bloody body. With the streets of Shinjuku ward embroiled in an all out brawl, she made a desperate gamble. Using her gravity control, she flung both of them into the high into the skies, and then sent them earthbound, streaking towards the hospital like a furious blazing comet.
Midoriya hadn’t remembered much of their flight through the smoke filled skies, aside for how his raw skin burned from the rising heat and how the wind tore at their faces. For just one moment, however, the winds had shifted and Midoriya had caught a glimpse of the chaos below. Friends and enemies alike made their last stands, while the fallen littered the broken streets.
In the center of the inferno, hundreds of meters below them, a heavily wounded Todoroki Shouto had staggered backwards under Dabi’s continued onslaught. Midoriya saw their furious battle for just a second before they had disappeared from view, swallowed up by the burning city.
Midoriya’s body moved before he could even scream. But Uraraka had held him tighter even as her whole body shuddered and trembled with the overwhelming pain of controlling their violent descent. “You can’t go to him, Deku-kun. You’re going to die!” Uraraka had sobbed, as Midoriya struggled feebly to raise a split knuckled fist.
They smashed into the pavement of the hospital hard, knocking the wind out of both of them. Uraraka had instantly collapsed, with her legs giving out, and Midoriya had blacked out.
It had taken three surgeries and two specialized medical quirks, but Midoriya had survived.
Against all odds, they all had.
The moment Midoriya had enough strength to sit up, he had pleaded with Iida and Uraraka to sneak him into Todoroki’s ward. Uraraka had lent him her wheelchair. Iida, after protesting loudly, had folded in a matter of seconds. Full of impatience despite his exhaustion, Midoriya had wheeled himself halfway down the hall before Iida caught up to him and steered him in the right direction.
Todoroki had been lying in his cot, unconscious and hooked up to a number of machines, when Midoriya snuck inside. On top of going through surgery, Todoroki had come down with a mild pneumonia, making his breathing rattle and rasp even in his feverish sleep. His right arm and legs had been heavily bandaged for the burns. Yet, he was alive.
Overwhelmed and miserable, Midoriya had sunk down to press his forehead to Todoroki’s hand. His thumb had brushed against the thin skin of Todoroki’s wrist where it found Todoroki’s weak but steady pulse.
“We shouldn’t wake him up.” Iida had said sadly. In his sleep, Todoroki had let out a pitiful and watery cough.
“Just, a couple more minutes.” Midoriya had hid his face into the cot so Iida wouldn’t see him cry.
Todoroki’s fever had broken after he had slept for forty eight hours straight. Once he had staggered to his feet for the first time in a week, he had let himself be nearly hugged to death, first by Iida, then Uraraka, and finally Midoriya.
“You made it.” Todoroki had croaked into Midoriya’s ear, sounding both relieved and full of wonder. In front of his friends, Midoriya hadn’t the courage to press his mouth to Todoroki’s face and settled for nodding into the crook of his neck, unable to stop his tears.
By the end of that week, everyone had limped out of the hospital and back into the dorms in varying conditions. Some told their long and harrowing stories while others retreated among their friends, trying to remember how to be teenagers after being soldiers. A half a week ago, Principal Nezu had congratulated them for their service.
Then he had reminded everyone that the final exams were in two days.
Aoyama had fainted.
Aizawa-sensei had cheerfully told them they hadn’t printed all the diplomas yet, just in case someone failed. The two days before the test contained some of the most miserable cramming sessions UA had ever witnessed. Midoriya, who had taken the test hopped up on a concoction of painkillers, doubted that his third ranking in the class survived whatever happened there. Yet even Mina and Kaminari left the test feeling more relieved than despairing. The last challenge of high school had been conquered and everyone was going to graduate.
Tomorrow, everyone would go their separate ways.
The thought hit Midoriya so hard that he sat up in his bed with a start.
He had known that, of course, and it wasn’t even strictly true. After all, he and Uraraka had been the ones who excitedly pitched the idea of a joint hero office to Iida and Todoroki a year ago. They had all furiously worked on producing their business pitch as their third year capstone project. Yet, the idea of leaving UA made his stomach churn. The nagging voice in his head, an old friend since he met All Might, urged him to stop wasting time. He jumped out of bed to pull on his running gear.
The exercise field was empty this early and Midoriya shivered in his thin sweats. As he began to stretch, he could feel his body, still stiff and recovering, groan in protest. Even as his quirk underneath his skin whispered at him, to feel the joy of a flat sprint or a jump, Midoriya forced himself to start at an easy jog. He had done enough damage to his body this month.
As Midoriya began to jog, a familiar lanky figure dressed in blue and yellow emerged from the opposite side of the field. Midoriya sped up to catch up to him with a grin.
“Good morning, All Might!”
“Midoriya, my boy! How are you faring?” All Might said as they fell in stride with each other. Midoriya laughed sheepishly.
“It’s better. Recovery Girl cleared me for jumping and running without using my quirk.” Midoriya amended. “I should be good for full range of motion in another week though.”
“Good! Well, in that case, we can go slow today and my old man knees will be better off for it.” All Might said as they turned the bend.
“All Might, you’re not old!” Midoriya protested.
All Might’s laughter boomed through the track and a startled flock of birds took flight. Above them, the rising sun painted the sky a deep purple. The city had just begun to wake up and the world was still sleeping.
They didn’t speak again until they hit their cooldown lap, both panting from the sustained exertion. The streetlights had begun to wink out, one by one. Midoriya glanced over at the tall figure of his teacher, making long, loping strides for every two steps of Midoriya’s. Every once in awhile, All Might would cough lightly, but without any blood.
As they slowed their pace, Midoriya blurted out,
All Might’s stare slid to him even as he continued to jog. “Are you ready, Midoriya, my boy?”
Midoriya blinked in surprise. “For the ceremony? It’s not like another test… or is it? Wait, would they?”
“Some years they do make you work quite hard to get to the stage with your diplomas.” All Might confessed with a wry smile, “But I think the Principal has finally taken pity on you. Aizawa-kun may have put in a good word.”
Midoriya sighed in relief.
“But I didn’t mean if you were ready for the ceremony.” All Might continued, and he began to slow to a stop. Midoriya skidded to a halt and sunk right into his stretches. “But about everything else. If you were excited to graduate.”
Midoriya considered the question and felt his throat constrict a little. His body, still stiff and aching from the battle a week ago, felt heavy as All Might's question came to rest on his shoulders.
"Honestly, I'm nervous. Even though we apprehended the main faction of the League and Shiragaki, there's no accounting for the remaining factions, especially since Shiragaki garnered imitators and followers over the last three years. Our debut is also going to be heavily followed because of our recent victory, even though during the transition to full pro hero status, we’re going to probably make a lot of mistakes. And that's not even accounting for new villainous factions popping up to fill the power vacuum-"
“Alright that’s enough nonsense.” All Might gave him a light chop on the head and Midoriya finally looked up at him in a daze. “That’s not what I was asking for. You can’t figure out the future by panicking about it. Leave aside the little details for now.”
Midoriya defiantly stared up at All Might even as he bit back a retort. Midoriya knew for certain that Sir Nighteye had definitely taken care of the ‘little details’ for years to keep All Might from breaking regulations. The wound there might be three years old now, but Midoriya still felt the echo of loss.
Above him, All Might stretched out an open palm, not unlike how he once offered Midoriya a chance of a lifetime, years ago.
“After tomorrow, you will have taken one very important step to telling the world that you are here. But it will just be a step, like all the other steps you’ve already taken. It’s going to be a long and arduous road, but you’ve proven yourself time and time again, my boy.”
The rising sun glinted off All Might’s blond hair and the blue of his eyes seemed more vivid than ever. He stood tall and proud, as if some part of One for All still burned in him after all these years. Looking down at Midoriya, he held out a hand. Midoriya slowly uncurled himself from his pretzel stretches, remembering the awe of a quirkless fourteen year old who had never thrown a punch before. The corner of his eyes began to prickle with tears. Yet even as he reached out to take All Might’s, he hesitated.
“You’re going to be there, right?” Midoriya asked, and his voice quavered. In that moment, he wasn’t the hero the media raved about as the next Symbol of Peace. He was just a young man about to graduate high school and enter a world he had never known. “Watching me say ‘I’m here’ to the world. I promise I won’t let you down.”
Even with as much Midoriya had grown over these last three years, All Might’s calloused brown hands easily wrapped around Midoriya’s scarred fingers. When All Might pulled him up right, he slapped Midoriya’s shoulders with a beaming grin.
“Didn’t I say no more nonsense? Of course I’ll be there. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Midoriya had put off packing his dorm room until the last minute and now was regretting it. He gingerly wrapped up his figurines and peeled his posters off his walls, but everything else he ended up just shoveling haphazardly into cardboard boxes. The sheer density of random shit that he had managed to pack into his dorm room over three years was mind boggling, and Midoriya kept getting distracted.
So that’s where that mouth guard disappeared to. Is that… a bag of milk bread? Or was?
Midoriya held up the moldy green object wrapped in plastic with a grimace before shoving it in the burnable trash. His piles and piles of scratch paper and homework from over the years joined it in the bag. Midoriya, however, kept the many letters he received from hero offices that had wanted to interview and possibly hire him. Even though he was going independent with Iida, Uraraka, and Todoroki, he knew well the worth of connections in the hero industry.
One particular envelope made him pause. The thick creamy cardstock and the ripped edges made Midoriya feel uneasy. In bold kanji on one side in bright red ink read his name and, ‘ Career Opportunities at the Endeavor Hero Agency, the Number One Agency in Japan ’.
Midoriya had never responded and instead shoved the envelope as deep into his stack of pamphlets and flyers as possible. Yet it had rested heavy on his mind, especially every time he had sat down with Todoroki, Iida, and Uraraka to discuss their burgeoning business. Todoroki didn’t always say much at these meetings, but every once in awhile he would explain something about the structure of how a large office worked or how to seize opportunities for exposure that left the other three goggling at him. Midoriya knew all of that knowledge came the years Todoroki had worked with Endeavor.
It was valuable knowledge, even as Midoriya’s insides twisted thinking about its source. So when the letter from Endeavor came with all his other offers, Midoriya forced himself to think about it. Still, he didn't tell anyone about it. It made him feel strange, thinking about using that man and being used by him for each of their own ends.
He had asked Todoroki once, when Midoriya was pondering All Might's suggestion to pull sidekicks from the old All Might office and Iida had been speaking of bringing some of the old guard from Team Idaten in. If Todoroki would ever take over the agency should something happen to his father. Todoroki's expression had soured, and he had looked aggravated in a manner that Midoriya hadn't seen since the Sports Festival. Guilt had sunk into Midoriya’s stomach as Todoroki clearly struggled with himself and took a good minute to respond.
"I don't know. If it was for the sake of becoming the hero I wanted to be, I might be able to... But my old man believed that the ends always justified the means. I can't abide by that." Todoroki had finally said with a long sigh. "That's the best I can say, Midoriya. Sorry."
"No, I think. It makes sense." Midoriya had frantically tried to respond. Todoroki had given him a weak smile, but wore a pinched expression for the rest of the day.
Midoriya stared down at that envelope, the proof that he had been recognized by a man who caused so much suffering to his family and yet been rewarded with so much success. We don't have to take that path. Resolve firming, Midoriya threw it into the trash.
Midoriya had been in the stairwell, on the way down to the dumpsters, when he ran into Todoroki.
“Midoriya, good morning.” Todoroki greeted him. He eyed the seven bags of trash Midoriya had slung across his back with a degree of amusement.
“Ah, Todoroki-kun, good morning.” Midoriya greeted, feeling his cheeks turn pink. There was a brief tussle as Todoroki tried to take some bags from Midoriya. It ended when when Midoriya threatened to carry him as well as the trash. As they strolled down to the dumpsters, Midoriya noticed Todoroki wasn’t carrying anything in his hands. “Um, why exactly are you going to the dumpster, Todoroki-kun?”
To Midoriya’s surprise, Todoroki averted his eyes and, with an embarrassed expression, he muttered, “Stress relief.”
The back of Todoroki’s neck had begun to flush. “I can help you burn some trash.”
“O-oh! That’s true. Well, thank you for the company.” Midoriya said, shy. Todoroki gave a little nod in response.
As they descended down the dorm staircases, Midoriya kept sneaking glances at Todoroki from the corner of his eye. Todoroki’s complexion was still paler than normal from his long convalescence and, like Midoriya, he held himself a little stiffly, but he looked far better than before. The last two weeks, when Midoriya hadn’t been too overwhelmed and stressed by everything going on, he had tried to find reasons to see Todoroki just to see his recovery and remind himself that they had made it out alive.
His eyes were tracing the slight rise and fall of Todoroki’s chest when Todoroki looked up and caught him staring. Midoriya flushed and quickly looked away.
This thing with Todoroki was still so new and tentative that every gesture sometimes made Midoriya's heart leap into his throat. Sometimes, Midoriya would forget, caught up in the easy habits of being Todoroki’s closest friend. Then he would remember the taste and shape of Todoroki’s mouth on his and heat would surge from his toes to his fingertips.
It had been three weeks ago right before everything had escalated. To Midoriya it felt like a lifetime ago.
They had been alone in a stakeout base, with strict orders to be on standby. After the first hour of radio silence, it had looked like another quiet night. Midoriya had been half-heartedly working on their business plans, sitting on the couch with Todoroki. Yet something kept throwing him off and he found himself watching Todoroki more and more as the night dragged on.
In deciding to open an agency with his friends, Midoriya had considered carefully whether their relationships would survive the strain of owning a business. The four of them had all promised that if the agency ended up not working out, they would walk away with their friendship intact, rather than drag each other down. Todoroki had been the most reluctant and many nights, Midoriya laid in bed wondering if Todoroki would leave them for his own path.
For a while, a heavy anxiety, unfamiliar to Midoriya, had come to rest in his heart whenever he saw Todoroki. For months, he nursed this hidden feeling, too scared of what it might mean. It grew and grew, until Midoriya could no longer contain it.
That night, Midoriya had not been able to stop staring. The several times that Todoroki caught his gaze and then lowered his eyelashes, shy, had made Midoriya's chest ache with longing. Every time Todoroki leaned forward to grab some papers from the table, Midoriya had felt their thighs and shoulders brush. Todoroki had a bruise on his cheek, right at the corner of his mouth, from where Midoriya had accidentally clocked him that morning. It stretched each time he smiled softly at Midoriya.
Midoriya by nature wasn't a risk taker. He had been burned too many times as a young child to always dive into situations without thinking. Yet he was a hero and being a hero meant learning how to lean into the fall.
So, in one reckless moment, when Todoroki looked down at Midoriya, overwhelmingly fond, Midoriya had leaned in.
Midoriya would never forget Todoroki's wide shocked eyes and slightly parted mouth. A brilliant flush had risen up on Todoroki's face and his eyes had fluttered shut even as he trembled. Then, licking his lips, he had met Midoriya halfway.
Midoriya rested his hands lightly on Todoroki’s shoulders, trying to control his quivering, and clumsily pressed his mouth to Todoroki’s. Todoroki kissed back, just for a moment, before they slowly pulled apart.
Dazed, Midoriya had looked at Todoroki in wonder until Todoroki grabbed Midoriya’s face and pulled him in for another. And another.
Urgency had bred heat and Todoroki had pressed hard against the seam of Midoriya’s lips, coaxing them open. Midoriya had tugged at the collar of Todoroki’s hero costume and kissed him back frantically, scattering papers and books. Todoroki’s hands dug into Midoriya’s hair and Midoriya groaned at the slight scratch of nails against his scalp.
Not once in his life had Midoriya ever been kissed like how Todoroki kissed him. It hardly mattered they barely knew what they were doing. Todoroki’s mouth had been warm and wet against his own and the catch of Todoroki’s teeth on his lip sent shivers through his spine. Pleasure unlike anything Midoriya had ever felt flooded him down to his fingertips as Todoroki gasped and scrambled against him on the moth eaten couch.
It had been bliss and yet it only had lasted a moment. With a loud rattle, Midoriya’s phone had interrupted them with a flashing orange alert.
Midoriya had pulled away, chest heaving, feeling as disheveled as Todoroki looked. The sight of Todoroki’s kiss swollen mouth had done funny things to Midoriya’s stomach. The two of them had locked eyes, both of them wanting to drag the moment out just a little longer, as Midoriya’s phone rattled on the table.
“Midoriya.” Todoroki’s hoarse voice made Midoriya shiver. “We need to go.”
Midoriya, who could barely think straight, let out a ragged exhale. He couldn’t even tell if the tingles under his skin were from his quirk or his own emotions searing straight to the surface. Todoroki let out a heavy breath of steam, struggling to compose himself.
“Okay. Okay.” Midoriya had to clamber unsteadily to his feet, to give himself some distance. He had fished his phone off the table and taken a deep breath. His eyes scanned the text several times, failing to read the kanji in his flustered state. “Daizo Street, three blocks from here. They want reinforcements.”
Todoroki nodded before pausing, “Are you okay?”
Midoriya’s heart swelled with affection. “Yeah. Better than okay.” Midoriya croaked. “Let’s hurry up and get this over with?”
Todoroki, stoic except for his red ears, gave a nod and they had run out the door into the fray.
Three weeks later, they hadn’t talked about it.
Time had flown by amidst the chaos and the violence. Midoriya had just been exhausted, throwing all of his mental and physical faculties to keep himself alive and everyone else safe. It had been the same for everyone, including Todoroki. Even in the moments of quiet, when Midoriya had tried to bring up the question of whatever this thing was between them, Todoroki had shook his head and, with a wan smile, said, “Later.”
The few moments of peace they did have together, Midoriya succumbed to the heady pleasure of stolen kisses and hurried embraces in dark corners. To his delight, he found kissing Todoroki only got better with time as they learned how to kiss with their slick, open mouths. In the hospital, once Todoroki had been cleared from pneumonia and all contagions, he had pulled Midoriya to his chest and kissed him so deeply that Midoriya had been slightly punchdrunk the rest of the day.
Now, a day before graduation, Midoriya knew they were running out of time. Yet he hardly knew how to begin. As he threw his trash by the concrete wall, he rambled on nervously, "Moving is pretty stressful, isn't it? Not to mention we have to go over tomorrow to start setting up the office as well."
"We have Uraraka. It'll be fine." Todoroki said with a shrug and Midoriya let out a little laugh. Todoroki then added, "You also wouldn't be out of place in a moving company."
"I guess that's true!" Midoriya snickered as his mind supplied an image of an All Might moving business. He thought back to this morning and All Might's question. Turning to Todoroki, Midoriya asked, "Are you ready to graduate?"
Todoroki blinked for a moment, blindsided by the question the same way Midoriya had been. Cautiously, he said, "Are you worried about something? It's not like you to ask something like that."
Midoriya flailed for a moment, “Well, I mean, it’s just that everything is going to be different once we leave UA. We’re going to be the adults and pro heroes finally. Isn't that a little, well, a lot?”
Todoroki shrugged. “We’ve already been doing pro hero work these last couple years. It's not like we haven't been well prepared. Besides, between Uraraka, Iida, and you, it's hard to feel worried about any villain taking us down.”
“Says the number one rookie in our class. Of course you’re not worried.” Midoriya joked, elbowing him. Todoroki huffed, blowing his bangs off his forehead.
“We all know the hero ranking system is bull. Tsuyu was robbed.” Todoroki deadpanned and Midoriya let out a surprise snort. Todoroki’s jokes always took him off guard, even after three years. Todoroki paused, thinking, and then added, tone darkening, “I guess I’m not looking forward to the graduation ceremony. If my shitty old man tries to even look in All Might’s direction…”
Midoriya cast a guilty look at the trash bags, one of which contained Endeavor’s job offer.
“There’ll be tons of media, so he won’t be able to do anything.” Midoriya pointed out.
Todoroki let out a long sigh. “Yeah, I know.”
“And we’ll all let him have it if he does!” Midoriya said, puffing his chest out. “I have years of analysis on him- I bet I could take him.”
Todoroki wrinkled his nose as if caught between laughter and worry and it made him look particularly disgruntled. Midoriya laughed again and reached up to tweak his nose.
“I’m joking. Promise.”
“Sometimes I can’t tell.” Todoroki muttered and lightly cuffed the back of Midoriya’s head. Then, as if thinking twice about it, he bent down and pressed a hesitant kiss against Midoriya’s cheek. The tips of his ears had turned red.
Even in this back alleyway filled with trash, Todoroki could make Midoriya’s heart pound.
We need to talk.
Midoriya couldn’t get the words out, not when Todoroki gave him a vulnerable, lingering glance as he pulled back. Instead, Midoriya’s gaze dropped to the trash bags piled up and had the sudden urge to climb them and scream as he did at Dagobah years ago. Todoroki probably wouldn’t object. He had long accepted even some of Midoriya’s strangest habits.
Weakly, he said to Todoroki instead, “Weren't you going to burn them for stress relief?”
“To be honest, that was in part an excuse to walk with you. I don’t need to anymore.” Todoroki said bluntly and it was as if he had set Midoriya’s face on fire instead. Todoroki then tilted his head even as Midoriya stammered in the background. “But it might be fun.”
Todoroki raised his left hand. A wreath of flame spiraled out from his elbow, a sight that never grew old, and Midoriya stepped back.
“Go, go, go, Todoroki-kun!” Midoriya cupped his hands over his mouth and shouted with glee. Todoroki narrowed his eyes in focus and then threw a long stream of fire at the pile. The brilliant fire blasted the trash bags into ash in the concrete alleyway and Midoriya whooped as the radiant heat washed over his skin.
Todoroki extinguished his own arm but the trash continued to crackle and burn merrily, a small bonfire. He turned to Midoriya with a wide grin with the firelight reflecting off his eyes and the white of his hair.
It made Midoriya’s heart flip and, in a surge of nervous energy, he jumped forward to grab Todoroki’s hands. Todoroki let himself get dragged in a little circle. “That was ridiculous.” Todoroki said breathlessly, but he was smiling.
“It was amazing.” Midoriya corrected him. That overwhelming feeling of something rose up inside him again, licking his insides with fire until he couldn’t stand the scant inches between him and Todoroki. Midoriya dragged Todoroki forward, breathless, and pulled his smiling mouth into a kiss.
We’ll talk later.
Iida called an office meeting in the cafeteria after lunch, so Todoroki and Midoriya headed over a little early. The smell of katsudon after all the exertion in the morning had Midoriya’s stomach rumbling. As they got their trays, Midoriya chatted away.
"I’m only halfway done with packing. Are you taking your tatami mats?"
Todoroki let out a long aggravated sigh and Midoriya grinned. Over the last three years, Todoroki had steadily worked on his dorm room until it hardly resembled any of the others in the building. The sunken floor kotatsu, inset bookcases, and raised tatami floor was in no way standard dorm issue.
"Why do you even need a kotatsu- you're a living thermostat!" Uraraka had exclaimed two years ago when Todoroki unveiled his creation. But then, that winter, she, Midoriya, and Iida found themselves burrowing and napping at all hours in Todoroki's room. It got to the point that Todoroki gave up kicking them out when he wanted to sleep. Instead, they would get quieter and Todoroki would just roll over on his futon to fall asleep. Midoriya had spent many an evening with his back inches away from Todoroki's slumbering form, wanting to lean back but not daring to.
No one criticized Todoroki's home improvement projects from then on out.
"I want to. The room's next inhabitants probably won't appreciate them and they weren't cheap. But I also don't want to rip up the floors-" Todoroki said as they sat down in a booth. A loud sniffle interrupted his words and they looked up to see what looked like a puddle of blankets on the opposing bench.
"Oh, Hagakure. I didn't see you there." Todoroki said with a completely serious expression.
Midoriya gave him an incredulous look before asking Hagakure, "Uh, are you alright?”
Hagakue gave a watery hiccup. The pile of blankets shifted to reveal a set of flannel pajamas that sagged badly. Midoriya had the memory of Ojiro wearing that particular set a while ago. "Good morning, Midoriya-kun and Todoroki-kun. I'm, um, okay."
Midoriya wished not for the first time that he could see Hagakure's face. Her voice sounded stuffy and weak, as if she had been crying. It was nothing like the energetic Hagakure that Midoriya had grown used to hearing.
"Well, I don't want to pry, but you know you can talk to us if you want. We'd be happy to listen." Midoriya offered, worried, as Todoroki slid over a yakisoba roll across the table.
"You'll feel better after you eat. Low blood sugar can lead to dizziness and moodiness." Todoroki said matter-of -factly. Midoriya shot him an exasperated but fond look. The yakisoba roll began to float in the air as Hagakure picked it up, but she didn't unwrap it.
"It’s about, well, everything that happened.” Hagakure murmured. Midoriya let out a heavy exhale.
“It was a lot, wasn’t it?” He murmured. Todoroki watched him out of the corner of his eye.
“Uh-huh. You know, last week, I was so scared that I thought I would never feel safe again. That we weren't all going to make it to graduation. Mashirao- I was always wondering if it was the last time I’d see him. That the next time, he'd be in the hospital or among the rubble." Hagakure finally spoke. The plastic wrapper of the yakisoba roll crinkled, and fingertip indentions appeared in the wrapper.
Midoriya gave her his best reassuring smile. "But we all made it. Ojirou-kun, you, Todoroki-kun, and me. There was nothing wrong with feeling that way. I was scared too! It was scary, but it's over now."
"And you,Todoroki-kun? You always seemed so calm and rational, even on the battlefield. It’s hard to believe you were scared of anything when you led the charge." Hagakure mumbled.
Todoroki exhaled and gave a little nod as he looked down into his hands. "I was terrified of losing the people who were important to me as well. I don't think there's a hero out there that isn't scared at some point. It’s normal, I think." He replied.
There was a long pause as the three of them remembered the chaos of those days. In the early morning sunlight of the UA cafeteria, those days seemed both terrible and dreamlike.
It was Hagakure who broke the silence. "You two are starting that hero office with Iida and Uraraka, right? It must be nice, to not be far away from each other after graduation."
Midoriya said enthusiastically, "And you're headed to Special Ops, right? For underground missions."
Hagakure's voice sounded strained. "Yeah. Yeah, I am."
Under the table, Todoroki pressed his knee against Midoriya’s without saying anything.
Hagakure bade them farewell when Iida and Uraraka arrived, each carrying their laptops. The four of them cleared the table and set up shop. Tomorrow, for the first time, they’d have a proper office to work in. The idea made Midoriya wiggle a little in excitement.
“We already got fifty sidekick applications and the agency hasn’t even been founded yet.” Iida exclaimed excitedly. “The League of Villains news coverage is putting us in a great position starting from day one.”
“Well, you know, that’s why we did it. Just for exposure.” Midoriya joked as he opened Iida’s meticulously color-coded spreadsheet.
Uraraka groaned and massaged her knees. “Don’t even joke about that, Deku-kun. You know they said we might not get paid the same rate as the pros who were on the scene because we were on provisionals? I know I’m the one who cares most about the money but-”
“Do not worry, Uraraka-kun, you are not alone in your worry for our office’s finances. We will be, as they say, ‘tightening the belt’ for the first couple years. After all, we have sworn in our mission statement to rigorously consider both ideals and practicality when running our business, to ensure we become righteous heroes. No selling out and no starving either!” Iida reassured her. Todoroki raised an eyebrow.
“By the way, Deku-kun, was that Hagakure earlier? Is she alright?” Uraraka asked, looking worried. Midoriya and Todoroki exchanged a glance.
“She seemed a little down about, well, what went down with Shiragaki and everything.” Midoriya replied, scrunching up his nose. Todoroki gave a nod of agreement.
Uraraka blinked in surprise. “Wait, about the battle? That’s what got her down?”
“Was there something else?” Todoroki asked. Iida looked over the top of his laptop, listening intently.
Uraraka looked uncomfortable for half a second, before leaning in and dropping her voice. She muttered, “Hagakure and Ojiro broke up yesterday.”
Midoriya felt his stomach drop into his feet. “What? Oh my god, no wonder she sounded so upset.”
“Don’t spread it around. I just found out from Mina this morning.” Uraraka said sadly. “They’re both devastated.”
Iida frowned. “Uraraka-kun, we shouldn’t gossip about this.”
“I know, but what on earth happened? Everyone thought they would be the first couple to get married and instead they break up right before graduation?” Uraraka exclaimed before deflating. In a small voice, she murmured, “I’m worried this is going to affect everyone else. I don’t want everyone to be distant.”
“Did she tell you why?” Midoriya couldn’t help ask, even as Iida gave a disapproving huff. Uraraka shook her head, looking troubled.
“But if you think about it, it makes sense.” Todoroki spoke up. Everyone at the table stared at him and he looked away, tugging his bangs over his scar.
Uneasiness pricked at Midoriya. He shot back, “In what way? She still sounded like she was worried sick about him. They’ve been together for two years too.”
Todoroki looked taken aback before sinking into deliberation. His brow was furrowed, as if he wasn’t expecting Midoriya to challenge him on this.
“She’s going to do undercover missions for months on end. He’s moving to Kansai for his sidekick position. Sometimes… when you see a loved one get hurt, it doesn’t bring you closer like how the movies portray it.” Todoroki finally said, looking up at his friends with a level stare. Midoriya had the sinking feeling he was speaking about his mother. Uraraka and Iida both gave reluctant nods. Todoroki sighed, “There’s a reason why there aren’t that many functional hero families.”
Todoroki’s answer rankled Midoriya. It must have shown on his face because Uraraka shot him a look of concern.
“When you put it like that, it’s a little too harsh, don’t you think, Todoroki-kun?” Uraraka ventured. Todoroki blinked in surprise before giving a hesitant nod.
“I’m sure they can still be friends after a bit of time.” Iida replied with a decisive nod and gestured grandly to the center of the table. “But enough gossip. Graduation is tomorrow and these applications won’t read themselves.”
The day of graduation itself passed in a stressful blur. Midoriya remembered shaking too many hands and smiling until his cheeks hurt. Yaoyorozu who had spent many a night with Iida and Todoroki working on her valedictorian speech had looked slightly ill when coming to the podium. As she began to speak however, describing the long years they had together and the future that they dreamed of, her voice gained strength and compassion, echoing over the gathered crowd. She spoke of sacrifice and loss, of dignity found in the unglamorous, of cooperation between heroes and the people, and of new pillars for peace. When she said Midoriya’s name, everyone’s eyes slid to him for a moment.
Midoriya straightened his back and tried to hold back the tears in his eyes.
Yaoyorozu welcomed the new graduates of UA in a ringing declaration and everyone leapt to their feet in thunderous applause.
The rest of the ceremony in comparison was almost dull. Names were read, diplomas were handed out, and everyone stooped down to shake Principal Nezu’s paw. Midoriya was hustled across the stage and barely had a chance to grasp Aizawa-sensei and All Might’s hands before being marched back to his seat.
Midoriya turned to look for his mom and dad in the crowd when he heard Todoroki’s name get read out. He turned back to cheer with the rest of his classmates, when, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Endeavor.
The Number One Hero was sitting in the front row in a suit and staring with narrowed eyes at Todoroki shaking All Might’s hand. Next to him, Fuyumi-san looked mousy and nervous with her fingers tight on her handbag. Midoriya felt his skin prickle and his heartbeat began to spike with adrenaline. Nervously, he remembered the employment offer, now burned to ash.
As if he felt Midoriya’s gaze, Endeavor looked over at Midoriya. His scowl deepened as he regarded the hero known as All Might’s successor. The sheer amount of disdain in Endeavor’s glare crashed down on Midoriya’s shoulders. Midoriya felt his own face begin to smart from a sticky, angry flush that begun to spread. He felt the urge to walk straight up to him, to say something, anything, to go looking for a fight for the first time in his life-
Midoriya forced himself to look away and ignore the heavyweight of the Number One Hero’s stare. I’m not going to sink to that level.
Todoroki came down the ramp, with his mouth in a wobbly smile for the camera. His eyes widened at the sight of Midoriya lingering and a softer smile spread across his face. And oh, what a smile that was. Todoroki easily fell in step with him, bumping his shoulder lightly as the two of them went back to their seats.
Not once did Todoroki glance towards Endeavor.
The ceremony wrapped up and Midoriya joined the surge of students rushing to find their parents. Along the way, he got pulled into group photo after group photo and he greeted every congratulations with his own elation. Sobbing, Uraraka nearly strangled him and Iida. The three of them and Todoroki tried to take a photo together, but Aoyama photobombed them with a brilliant laser display and Mina crashed on all of their backs while playing keep-away with Kaminari’s diploma. Iida couldn’t even lecture them through his tears.
Midoriya laughed until his stomach hurt.
We made it.
All Might found Midoriya's parents before Midoriya himself and when Midoriya managed to squeeze through the throng of people towards them, Midoriya Inko threw herself at her son, crying and laughing. Midoriya caught her with ease and swung her around to her shrieks, grinning so hard that his cheeks began to hurt.
"You did it! You really did it!" His mother cried. Midoriya's own eyes began to water and All Might graciously handed them some tissues.
"Congratulations, Izuku. " His father looked rumpled from jet lag and he kept shooting slightly awed glances at All Might, as if confused as to why the former Symbol of Peace standing a foot next to him. Midoriya laughed and gave his father a tight hug that made him wheeze. Awkwardly patting his shoulder, his father said, "Sometimes I can't even believe it. But you're gonna be a hero just like you dreamed."
Finally, Midoriya turned to All Might. Teacher and student regarded each other. Tilting his head back so his tears wouldn't overflow, Midoriya took a deep breath and declared, "Thank you for everything, All Might. I truly owe you for everything I could accomplish."
Then he launched himself into All Might’s arms for a tight hug. All Might gripped his student’s shoulders tightly, with his own arms shaking. He muttered warmly in Midoriya’s ear, "It's only through everything you have done, Midoriya, my boy. I have been honored to be your teacher."
They parted with wobbly smiles.
"Let's get some photos! And if you see Uraraka-kun and your other friends, we need to take a photo with them too-" Midoriya Inko declared and pushed the camera into her husband's hands.
Sandwiched between his mom and All Might, holding up a diploma he had worked so hard for, Midoriya beamed.
The crowd dispersed slowly as some graduates and their families began to leave for their own celebrations. Shinsou, looking rumpled and tired, but happier than Midoriya had ever seen him, had caught his wrist at some point and told him that they were all going to do a big class photo with Aizawa-sensei in the old homeroom classroom in about thirty minutes. He sent Midoriya off to hustle everyone else he could find from Class 3-A and Midoriya said farewell to his parents, making plans to meet up for dinner in a couple hours.
He was just in the middle of rejoining the crowd when someone called his hero name.
"Hero Deku! Hero Deku, just a moment." A reporter appeared in front of him and Midoriya slowed. The cameraman swung the cameras at Midoriya's face and Midoriya tried to arrange his face into a smile. "We just want to get a quick bit about everyone's favorite UA graduating class. Tell us, how does it feel to now be pro heroes?"
"Um, uh-" Midoriya stammered as he tried to think of something heroic to say. His mind went to Yaoyorozu's speech. "We're all very gr-grateful for these years at UA. Our teachers and fellow classmates have been working hard for this day and we're all very excited to st-start our careers as pro heroes."
"Give us a little more than that, Hero Deku." The reporter pushed, sounding worked up, and he waved his hand frantically to get the cameraman to zoom in. Midoriya straightened his shoulders as best as he could and tried not to wince. “This generation of heroes will be the first generation since the Era of All Might to have grown up under the new hero provisions. In particular, your class was instrumental in the defeat of the League of Villains responsible for All Might’s retirement. Hero Deku, how do you feel about stepping into the shoes of your teacher, one of the most famous and beloved heroes of all time?"
"We-well, we will do our best to succeed the expectations both the public and All Might have for us-"
The reported shoved a mic into Midoriya's face, "So you do you think your class will be able to become the next Symbols of Peace, surpassing even your teachers?"
Midoriya could feel sweat begin to drip down the back of his neck, feeling off kilter at the loaded questions. His smile grew strained. He could see the reporter’s smile sharpen at the sight of his discomfort.
“I don’t kn-know what the future holds for us, b-but we are all here to serve in the name of justice-”
Midoriya stiffened in surprise when Todoroki's hand suddenly pressed into the small of his back. He could feel Todoroki's fingers spread against the stiff fabric of his ironed uniform, strangely intimate and distracting.
The reporter beamed with vicious glee. “Todoroki Shouto, the heir to the Endeavor Hero Agency and best known for your capture of League of Villain’s lieutenant, Dabi! Let’s get a bit with you and Hero Deku together-”
Todoroki cut them off curtly. “If you will excuse us, we must find our families. Thank you for your support and time.” The news reporter hesitated in surprise, momentum shot, and in that second, Todoroki began to walk away with his hand never leaving the small of Midoriya’s back. The light but firm touch made Midoriya’s stomach swoop.
Once they were out of range, Todoroki dropped his hand and came to a stop.
“Thank you, Todoroki-kun.” Midoriya muttered, feeling bashful. “I guess I haven’t internalized all that media training yet. I really have to improve before I have to give press conferences.”
“Midoriya.” The corners of Todoroki’s eyes tightened as he looked furtively from side to side. The wary expression on his face looked more at home on a battlefield than a celebration and Midoriya instinctively looked around for more reporters.
“Is something the matter?” Midoriya whispered, dropping his voice and scanning the crowd. The media crowd had been pushed to the side and most of the adults looked to be family members orbiting a beaming child. No one in particular screamed suspicious to Midoriya, but Todoroki’s instincts had always been sharper than his.
“Can you spare a moment?” Todoroki muttered, still looking left and right, before reaching down to take Midoriya’s wrist. His right hand was ice cold against Midoriya’s pulse and Midoriya shivered in surprise. Todoroki swore and let go at once, “Sorry, let me-”
His left hand was damp with sweat and just on the edge of burning.
Now more suspicious of him than the crowd around them, Midoriya pulled his wrist away and intertwined Todoroki’s fingers with his. Todoroki gave a little start as he stopped looking around and stared down at their joined hands. Slowly, the painful edge of the heat receded.
“Is something wrong?” Midoriya asked, squeezing their fingers together.
Todoroki seemed to shake himself out of a daze and squeezed back. “No, nothing is wrong. I want you to meet my mother. Is that okay?”
Midoriya sucked in a sharp breath. Now he was nervous.
He nodded and let Todoroki pull him away from the crowd. They ducked into the school building and walked through the empty hallways. Todoroki walked in long strides as if he was in a hurry, with his grip firm around Midoriya’s hand. They finally stopped in front of what Midoriya recognized as the teacher’s office and letting go of Midoriya’s hand, Todoroki took a deep breath.
“Why are you worried? I’m the one that has to make a good impression.” Midoriya teased, wiping his sweaty palms on his slacks.
Todoroki let out a long huff, amused. He muttered, “She’s already heard me talk about you plenty. I just want you to like her.”
Midoriya squeaked and shoved at Todoroki’s shoulder. “Now I’m really nervous! What have you been saying?”
Midoriya watched Todoroki flush and he tamped down the desire to press his mouth to Todoroki’s cheeks with some difficulty. He really shouldn’t be thinking about kissing Todoroki when he was about to meet his mother.
Todoroki opened the door and there, sitting in a chair and looking through the yearbook, was a woman with snow white hair and thin shoulders. To her side was Iida Tensei who wheeled over to greet them.
“Thank you for escorting her from the hospital and taking care of her during the ceremony.” Todoroki addressed Iida-san with a bow. Iida-san shook his head.
“No need for thanks. If I can’t help break my mother-in-law out of a hospital for my brothers’ graduation, what’s even the use of being a retired pro hero?” Iida-san said with a hearty laugh. He reached up to clap Midoriya on the shoulder. “We should talk about the agency sometime soon, but I’ll leave you three alone to catch up.”
Midoriya nodded vigorously and Iida Tensei wheeled out, leaving the door to shut behind him. When Midoriya turned back around, Todoroki Miyuki had stood up and turned to face him.
She looked so much like Todoroki Shouto that Midoriya’s breath caught in his throat for half a second. The wrinkles around her eyes and mouth and her thin stature did nothing to detract from her elegant bearing. Her grey eyes had the same shape as Todoroki’s. She crossed the room quickly to give her son a tight hug, murmuring a heartfelt congratulations into his ear. Midoriya stepped back to give them a little space.
“Sorry about making you hide out here after the ceremony. I didn’t want the shitty old man seeing you in the crowd and giving you grief.” Todoroki muttered and she laughed behind her hand.
“Don’t be- sneaking out of the hospital is some of the most fun I’ve had in a while. And Iida-san was very professional. It was nice to see a real pro work up close.” She said, giving Todoroki a little mischievous grin and smoothing back his bangs. “I’m just happy I could see you walk the stage. You looked very handsome up there.”
“Mom, this is Midoriya Izuku. I’ve told you about him.” Todoroki’s voice was soft and hesitant in a way that Midoriya had only heard in the quiet moments between them. The two of them turned to face Midoriya and Midoriya felt his heart rate jump.
“It’s an honor to be meeting you, Todoroki-san. I’m really glad to be able to finally meet you.” Midoriya said sincerely, dropping into a half bow.
“Congratulations, Midoriya-kun. I’ve seen you on the news. Your parents must be very proud. But also very worried.” She said and her eyes slid over to Todoroki, who shuffled nervously. Midoriya let out a watery chuckle.
“I try not to worry them, but you know, being a hero is a dangerous line of work. But I know I always have Shouto watching my back and I watch his, so you know. We keep each other safe.” He said, earnestly, hoping she knew what he was trying to convey.
I’m not going to let him get hurt.
For a second, Midoriya thought he saw her lips turn downwards into a slight frown. Before he was sure, however, she gave him a steady look and a smile. “I’m sure you boys look after each other. I’m glad Shouto has such a good partner like you. Hopefully he doesn’t give you too much trouble. He can be quite the handful sometimes.”
Next to him, Todoroki turned to stare at the ground and Midoriya could see his shoulders hunch up and his ears turned pink. “Mom…”
Both his mom and Midoriya both laughed. The urge to press a flurry of kisses onto Todoroki’s red ears came again and Midoriya pressed his lips tight together to swallow it down.
Todoroki’s mom went over to the window and gestured to the two of them. By the window, her hair took on the glow of the afternoon sun. Midoriya remembered what Todoroki had once told him in the nighttime darkness, as they had laid foot apart, whispering secrets on a class trip.
‘I am going to save her no matter what. That’s the hero I want to be.’
Midoriya turned to watch Todoroki who was calm and smiling at his mother, with his eyes crinkling at the edges. He felt his heart rise in his chest with almost painful longing and he had to swallow hard to keep the emotion from rising in his eyes. His scarred fingertips tingled and his heart unexpectedly hurt. Something large was sitting on his chest and Midoriya had no name for it, only an overwhelming ache and desire to reach for Todoroki at that moment.
Instead, he turned to Todoroki’s mom and gave her a shaky grin,
“Would you like me to take a photo of the two of you?”
That evening, Todoroki found Midoriya on top of the Rainbow Bridge, staring out towards Odaiba and Tokyo Bay. Midoriya leaned down and with one strong tug, helped pull Todoroki up onto the ledge he was sitting on.
“You’re always so fast.” Midoriya commented. He had just sent the text and location pin half an hour ago. The night wind whistled through their hair and below them, the bright lights of the Tokyo skyline twinkled.
Todoroki sat down next to him and leaned back against the steel girder. “It’s just habit. You’re always getting into trouble, after all.”
Midoriya laughed nervously.
The lights underneath them shifted slowly from purples to greens to reds and the inky black waters of the bay lapped at bridge’s foundations. Hundreds of feet above the city, Midoriya and Todoroki sat side by side in a comfortable silence. After the chaos of the day, Midoriya soaked up the peace and quiet.
A particularly strong gust of wind blew past them and Midoriya shivered. Todoroki didn’t hesitate to pull Midoriya to his left side. Midoriya pressed his face into the collar of Todoroki’s jacket, letting the heat of Todoroki’s arm sink into his skin.
Midoriya snuck a glance up at Todoroki and, oh.
An idle smile had spread across Todoroki’s face as the rainbow lights diffused across their faces. Todoroki’s eyes were bright and his shoulders relaxed.
He looks happy.
“Did your mother enjoy the graduation?” Midoriya asked, as a warmth unrelated to Todoroki’s fire quirk spread across his chest. Todoroki nodded.
“Thank you, by the way.” Todoroki murmured.
“For what?” Even with the low hum of the wind around them and the distant white noise of the city, they spoke in low tones, a private conversation on top of the world.
“For meeting her. I’m glad you two got along.” Todoroki said and leaned his cheek into Midoriya’s hair. Midoriya couldn’t see his expression, but fondness suffused his words. It spoke volumes in the way his fingertips traced Midoriya’s shoulder.
“She’s important to you. Of course I wanted to meet her.” Midoriya replied. He scratched the back of his head, embarrassed, “I hope she liked me.”
“Of course she did. After all, you’re the entire reason that...” Todoroki replied before trailing off. His brow furrowed slightly as he moved to take Midoriya’s scarred right hand. His thumb traced over the old scars, physical reminders of their first meetings. Midoriya knew he still felt guilt over the scars, but in Midoriya’s opinion, the pain had been well worth all the good that came from it.
Midoriya mumbled, “You should come to dinner and bring her sometime. We can sneak her out again. My mom loves having guests.”
“A family dinner. I’ve never...” Todoroki murmured before shaking his head a little, as if to clear the cobwebs. “That sounds nice. I think Fuyumi would enjoy that.”
Silence settled between them again as Midoriya took Todoroki’s right hand in his and intertwined their fingers. Below them, the lights had shifted to a deep orange, not unlike the warm glow of Todoroki’s flames.
Todoroki broke the silence. “Midoriya, why did you call me up here?”
“Some nighttime trespassing isn’t exciting enough for you?” Midoriya teased.
Todoroki huffed and his breath whisked away in the wind. Midoriya looked out to the cityline and gathered his courage. Then he pulled his head off Todoroki’s shoulder and sat up straight to face Todoroki.
“Todoroki-kun, yesterday, when we were talking about Hagakure, you said… when you see a loved one get hurt, you don’t grow closer. Do you really believe that?” Midoriya began.
Todoroki stiffened and looked at him in surprise. “Why are you asking?”
“I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I can see how, because it hurts to see a loved one in pain, you might pull away. But I agreed with Uraraka, that it was harsh. I wanted to change your mind.” Midoriya admitted.
Todoroki couldn’t help a small smile. “You’re stubborn.”
“The stubbornest.” Midoriya grinned back. He took a deep breath and to his surprise, found his nerves absent. He thought of All Might and Ochako, of his mother and Hagakure, of everyone who had watched them walk across that graduation stage. He thought of Todoroki and his mother, standing together in the sunlight, reminding him that it was never too late to find happiness, that even the deepest pain could be mended.
Todoroki waited patiently and in that moment, warmed by Todoroki’s quiet presence, Midoriya’s heart grew fearless. On the edge of everything, right here and right now, he leaned in.
“Tomorrow, we’re starting a business together. It might succeed or fail. We might climb to the top of Japan or we might not. I’m terrified of disappointing everyone, but I don’t know what the future holds.”
“But?” Todoroki ventured, brow furrowing.
“But, I think there are some things worth the risk of pain though. If-if you’ll have me, I want to be with you. No matter what comes our way.”
Todoroki’s eyes widened. For a moment, only the sound of the wind whistled between them. Todoroki’s face went through a couple different expressions before it settled on a desperate tenderness that took Midoriya’s breath away. Hesitant, Todoroki reached up and placed one burning hand to Midoriya’s cheek.
“Midoriya, I’m not good at this. I don’t know how to say this. But to me, you’ve always been important. I do want this… you. I want all of this with you. I’m not afraid of loving you.” Todoroki said, his voice raw and his cheeks flushed. The hand on Midoriya’s cheek trembled.
The rest of Midoriya’s speech died in his throat.
He loves me.
To his surprise, tears began to run down his cheeks. Todoroki looked at him in alarm which only made Midoriya gurgle with wet laughter. Unable to contain himself, Midoriya threw his arms around Todoroki in a tight embrace. Todoroki caught him and wrapped him up in his arms.
“I love you too, you know that?” Midoriya sniffled. Todoroki stiffened for a second, before pressing his face against Midoriya’s neck in response. Midoriya could feel him shake and he tightened his grip on Todoroki’s shoulders. Midoriya’s tears and snot began to drip from his face and onto Todoroki’s shoulder as he furiously tried to control himself.
After clinging to Todoroki for a solid minute, Midoriya pulled back. With his sleeve, he scrubbed hard at his blotchy face. “Ugh, I had a whole speech and you just had to- so embarrassing.”
Todoroki grasped Midoriya’s hands and gently pulled them away from his face. He had a wobbly smile of his own and a brilliant flush across his face. “It’s not, I promise.” Todoroki whispered. Mismatched eyes had met bright green ones as Todoroki leaned in.
“No, I’m so gross right now.”Midoriya protested weakly even as his heart beat so loud in his ears that he could hardly hear anything else.
“I don’t care.” Todoroki said firmly. His hands trembled and his hoarse voice sounded wrecked. He let out a shaky exhale of steam that curled into Midoriya’s open mouth. “Midoriya. Can I?”
Midoriya, heart overwhelmed with happiness, nodded.
Then Todoroki, trembling, had leaned in to press his mouth to Midoriya’s and nothing else had mattered.
An hour later, they walked through a quiet Tokyo neighborhood, until they reached the turn in the road for Todoroki’s new apartment. They came to a stop on the street corner.
“I’ll see you tomorrow?” Todoroki said, turning to face him. Midoriya nodded. He bounced a little on the balls of his feet and stepped forward with intent. Todoroki blinked down at him for just a second before his expression softened. Leaning down, he pressed a small goodnight kiss to Midoriya’s eager mouth.
Grinning up at him, Midoriya said, “Tomorrow’s the first day at the agency. I’m excited.” He was pleased to find that he meant it.
Todoroki smiled before leaning in like he was telling Midoriya a secret. His eyes, dark and light in the dim night, seemed to brighten.