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softer around you

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Shouto watches Sero fix up several decorations around Class 3-A’s walls. Cotton balls are stretched thin to resemble fluffy spider webs cover the desks and door, some cluttered around the corners of the board. - it’s Ashido’s doing, it has been every year since she came into class covered with spider webs on Halloween, grinning and demanding everyone give her candy.

 

“Todoroki!” she grins, waving him over to where she stands at the back of the class. “Lift me up, I gotta reach the top of the bulletin board”

 

He shakes his head but goes over to her nonetheless, ruffling Midoriya’s hair on his way to Ashido, and grinning at Midoriya’s indignant squawk after being so engrossed in writing out notes on his latest thoughts about heroes and Quirks. Getting a funny look from his friend, Shouto sticks his tongue out at him and winks, covering up a chuckle when the tips of Midoriya’s cheeks and ears turn pink.

 

“Oi, c’mon Mr. Teasing, I gotta get this done this century,” Ashido calls, waving the stapler in her hand dramatically. When he reaches her, he cocks his head to the side and raises an eyebrow at the little huff she makes. “You wanna do the staple staple or should I?”

 

Giving it a second glance, he shrugs, indifferent to whoever gets to fix up the decorations Ashido has stacked on the closest desk. He knows that either way, he’ll be carrying Ashido on his shoulders and wrestling her back down when she gets too stubborn, enjoying being tall and making jokes and jabs while Shouto carries her.

 

He sighs and watches a grin form on Ashido’s lips, the corners curling and making the outline of a painted-on skull on her face stretch dramatically, the sharp teeth make her look menacing but the soft glint in Ashido’s eyes still maintains her goofiness and charm. Bending his knees, Shouto hunches forward and braces his hands against the supply cabinet, hoping he doesn’t accidentally pull down the stack of markers, papers or pens down on the both of them.

 

He hears Ashido giggling and then feels her foot dig into his thigh as she climbs above and throws a leg over his shoulder. Shouto steadies her with his hands on her calves, holding her in place while she adjusts.

 

He tries to duck his head away from Ashido’s hands when she goes to pat his hair, hearing her laugh above him and poke at his cheeks with cold fingers. “Ashido n’t.”

 

“Ashi do .”

 

Her hands pulls at tufts of his hair from his right side, playing with the pearlescent strands and bunching them up to one side, tugging at it enough that Shouto has to tilt his head back against her and narrow his eyes. Ashido only winks and removes one of the many hair ties that cover her arm, twisting it around the bunched up hair she made.

“Your bangs are getting so long, I dunno how you can see like that,” she tsks, fingers tapping against his ear. “Move your head silly, I gotta fix the other side real quick.”

 

Shouto shakes his head, hitting the tips of her fingers in an attempt to escape whatever hairstyle she planned to put him in while he’s under her. He loved Ashido dearly, having gotten closer to her in the second half of their first year and developing it throughout their second year at UA, but he’ll never be used to her love for his hair.

 

“‘Shido please, play with your boyfriend’s hair,” he shrugs his shoulders and she jolts, grabbing onto his hair tight enough for Shouto to wince. That was a mistake, fuckfuckfuck.

 

“You have two and both of them have longer hair than me,” he tries again, patting her calves in an apology to which she returned by flicking his ear.

 

Belatedly, Shouto wonders why Ashido hasn’t asked either Kirishima or Bakugou to help her finish decorating the class up, recalling having been amused when he first saw Bakugou carrying her around until every single spot in their homeroom was covered in her little designs. Satisfied, she had given Bakugou a kiss and it shocked all of them when he blushed and played with her hands, pulling her closer and demanding another kiss.

 

Ashido nearly pokes his eye out and he pinches her inner thigh in retaliation. She squeals and hunches forward, face nearly smacking into Shouto's. "Todoroki!"

 

"Ashido!" She flicks his nose with a smirk and squeezes his head with her thighs, smiling innocently all the while Shouto struggles not to drop her. " Please ."

 

There's a gruff comment from behind them, one that Shouto almost thinks belongs to a dog, but last he checked animals weren't allowed on school grounds unless there's an event. He feels Ashido wiggle and her hold on his hair lessens, her legs slip off of his shoulders and Shouto grabs at her ankle quickly, worried she'd slipped off and wasn't in any way interested in having an injured Ashido Mina.

 

"Oi, I got her Icy-hot," Bakugou growls. Todoroki closes his eyes for a moment, relieved that Ashido didn't actually fall off of him but is more annoyed by the fact that Bakugou chose to appear now rather than when Ashido first asked him to help around.

 

He turns around, careful of Ashido's ankle and sees her being held in Bakugou's arms, both of them tugging her close to his body, eyes always a brilliant carmine that shines despite the snarl on Bakugou's face. Shouto shakes her ankle and cocks an eyebrow up.

 

"Missing something?"

 

Bakugou leers at him, walking closer to him until Ashido whines, one of her legs pressed close to her chest while the other was still caught in Shouto's hand.

 

"Mind giving me that back?" She asks. Shouto hums in contemplation, ignoring the look Bakugou throws him when he pokes at Ashido's leg again. "I'd give it to ya if it weren't so, y'know, attached to me."

 

Shouto smirks, letting go of her ankle nonetheless and side stepping her and Bakugou quickly. "If that'll be all I've got someone to track down."

 

Bakugou nearly yells something, Shouto'll never be sure as to what it is exactly because of Ashido's hushing him and squishing his face. It's always an amusing sight to see when the two of them interact, it’s even more entertaining when Kirishima is added to the mix and Bakugou is surrounded by both of his partners, a growling mess calmed by the soothing touches and giggles of Ashido and the many pecks and compliments from Kirishima.

 

"Don't kill Iida-kun, we need our class President!"

 

He waves over his shoulder and grins at the prospect of seeing Tenya again. “I’ll try not to.”

 

[][][]

 

The entire day had been hectic. in between actual lessons and the expected squabbles from his classmates in between periods, along with the nitpicking Aizawa-sensei did towards their decorating skills, Shouto is exhausted.

 

His arms ache from the time class 3-A spent in Gym Gamma running around and building up fortresses upon fortresses of ice walls to defend the main goal - a violet flag with stitches over it that reminded him of Iida's favourite Halloween costume. It had been a fun task of endurance, energy wearing thin as Shouto finds himself teetering on the edge of exhaustion, his right side turning stiff as ice glazed over it, speckled like freckles before collecting in thick patches across his arms and neck.

 

Midoriya had screamed something as the fortress started to break down. Bakugou snarled next to Shouto, and told him to keep going for another minute longer before he launched himself over the wall of ice and onto the attack team, maniacal laughter even more dramatic because of the echoing in the Gym followed him. It wasn't the first time Shouto contemplated how Ashido and Kirishima had both ended up dating Bakugou, but after the match has ended and everyone was panting around him,  he saw the three of them curled around each other. Kirishima in between the two of them with his head pillowed on Bakugou's shoulder against his, he understood. He smiled at them and limped towards the sound of rambling, a clear sign that it could be a dear friend of his or even his diligent boyfriend.

 

When he noticed the hand gestures and styled indigo hair that glinted in the Gym's bright lighting, he snatched two water bottles and jogged over despite the shakiness in his legs and the tightness in his chest. If Tenya's involved then the very thought of him energises Shouto completely.

 

It had been an interesting time when the two had found themselves slowly getting closer. Emotionally with whispered words of encouragement and interest; a new idea being struck, a compliment of skill and rigor. Shouto's soft laughter making its way known and a now familiar sound to Tenya's ears. Tenya's explanations of his engines, of his family's history and honour of their Quirks, he takes the topic away swiftly when he feels Shouto draw into himself with a lifetime of memories that plague him relentlessly, affecting his performance, his judgement, his confidence. Despite it all, Tenya ends up mentioning his brother with a smile on his face and sunshine in his eyes and Shouto watches him talk absolutely enthralled by the utter life that radiated from him in that moment.

 

Iida Tenya was and always will be one of the most beautiful people Shouto has ever had the pleasure of meeting, and Todoroki Shouto was and always will be one of the most complex and intriguing people Tenya has ever met.

 

They found themselves moving on to the inklings of physical affection; a touch of fingers up one's arm, the soft twist of hair as one of them brushes a lock out of the other's eyes - normally it’s Tenya to Shouto, commenting quietly on how long his hair has gotten.

 

"Is it bad?" Shouto says, fiddling with the tips of his fringe with a frown.

 

"No," Iida shakes his head, eyes completely earnest and smile warmer than Shouto's fire - kinder, softer, lovelier, just. Its Tenya. "Anything related to you is perfect, Todoroki-kun."

 

After that is a blur of accidental taps on the hand or the back of the neck that moves onto their fingers itching to intertwine with the other's, it’s only until Halloween in their second year that they found themselves leaning in closer. The ever present gap between them that has grown smaller and smaller until it was practically not there. And within that gap their fingers meet, playing with the other's until they find their hands meeting and fingers squeezing together.

 

They both looked away, cheeks blazing underneath the layers of make-up Kendou put on their faces with a patient smile. That day, as they stood outside of the dorms, hand in hand and silent, unwilling to let go of the other, to stop the moment that built between them of asteroids and stardust hidden in their gaze. It’s Tenya who tugs Shouto closer until their arms bump against the other and their breaths intermingle in the cold October air.

 

"Um, Todoroki-kun?" Tenya asks, clearing his throat to get rid of the hitch in it and nervously chewing on his lip. "I may need to do a, hm, science experiment."

 

He blinks, confused. "What kind of science experiment?"

 

Tenya visibly gulps, his hand twitching in Shouto's while his other one fists the ripped material of the jacket he wore - one that completed his look as 'Frankenstein's Monster'. "One that tests your confidence, not as mechanically engineered as you may assume but more to do with, um, with...uh T..-Todoroki-kun?"

 

He's still listening and hums in response, tilting his head to the side Shouto whispers Tenya's name, it falls off his tongue sweet like honey and the sudden redness of Tenya's face melts his heart. He knows that only one more thing was missing in this moment. One thing that would make this an infinitely more perfect time in his life than it has already been.

 

It’s funny, Shouto thinks quickly, how fast his heart beats when he's around Tenya. How his mind seems to not be able to stop and nitpick at a certain thought whenever he spoke. How it almost feels like he's floating whenever the two of them are close together, whenever their hands brush and electricity tingles up and down his arms, spreading warmth through his ice side and burning his fire side even more. It’s always welcome, the softness that seems to envelope him whenever Tenya smiled, whenever he so much as laughed Shouto was a goner.

 

He leans up on the balls of his feet, his free hand tugging at neckline of Tenya's stripped t-shirt. Tugging him down, Shouto tilts his head back and pauses as his lips briefly touch Tenya's testing to see his reaction. When Tenya didn't pull back, he surges forward and presses their lips together gently. When he pulls away it feels like hours passed by despite it being at most a few minutes, the two share a smile and Shouto takes a step back. Tenya’s fingers dance across Shouto’s cheeks, completely in awe with what just happened.

 

"I really hope you were referring to kissing because, uh," Shouto rubs the back of his neck, shying away from Tenya's starry-wide eyed expression. The corners of his lips lift up into a smile and he holds the soft material of Tenya's jacket with his free hand. When Tenya nods, Shouto smiles again.

 

“Can I kiss you again?”

 

Tenya doesn’t answer this time, instead closing the distance between their mouths himself.

 

They stayed out on the corner for another half hour or so, talking among themselves in a universe of their own, galaxies being built on the words Tenya says and constellations following Shouto's every word. They live among the stars then, away from tests and every day stresses, free to explore the expanse of space without a care in the world. Only in the space between them.

 

It's always been a fond memory of his, and as Shouto gets closer to Tenya; sweaty and laughing, nodding at whatever Yaoyorozu just said, cleaning his classes with the bottom of his t-shirt.

 

“Tenya,” Shouto calls, the response is immediate: his ears and the back of his neck burn a bright pink. “You fought well, nearly broke down my defenses.”

Tenya fixes his glasses, pushing it up further on his nose. “It wasn’t an easy task, but I’m glad to have discovered new strengths and weaknesses against your Quirk, Todoroki-kun.”

 

Shouto raises an eyebrow. “I’m glad to have been of some assistance, don’t forget to drink up, class president.”

 

The beam shared between them is interrupted by the water bottle Shouto throws Tenya’s way, and the surprised yelp he makes in return.