- At the Water Fountain
Midoriya recognizes that, for all that he tries his best to be observant, there are certain things he just doesn’t even think to observe in the first place.
The fact that Iida Tenya is, objectively speaking, gorgeous, is one of those things, until one day Iida's aesthetically pleasing nature sneaks up on him like a ninja and hits him like a bullet train.
It happens outside of one of U.A.’s many tracks, where Iida has been helping Midoriya and Todoroki improve their running posture. Later, the cliche of it all will fill Midoriya with good-humored embarrassment, but in the moment all Midoriya can think about is Iida pulling his head out from under the water faucet, water dripping down his hair and neck and the sharp lines of his jaw, and the late afternoon sun behind him. He’s saying words, probably wrap-up comments on their progress or maybe something about the sky falling, who even knows, because the only words in Midoriya’s head are words like stunning, beautiful, and slightly less polite words like hot and holy crap.
Iida, blissfully unaware, turns away from the faucet and in the direction of the dorms, making a gesture that says he expects to be followed, which Midoriya can blessedly still understand even though actual human speech is beyond him for the moment.
But as Midoriya takes his first steps to follow Iida, he notices that Todoroki does not, and when he looks at Todoroki’s face, he sees why.
Todoroki looks thunderstruck, like a man just introduced to the concept of a god by a god , and he’s--he’s steaming a little, which Midoriya will laugh about later but right now he’s got to protect his friend’s dignity at least a tiny bit. So he wraps his damp sports towel around one hand, and uses that hand to gently shake Todoroki’s right shoulder.
(The towel gains an icy sheen. Midoriya gratefully uses it to pat down his too-warm face.)
“I--” Todoroki blinks, and he looks horribly off-kilter, “I don’t--”
“I know,” Midoriya says, staring into Todoroki’s eyes with deep understanding, the sort that can only be formed between two people who have shared a life-changing experience. “Trust me, I know.”
Ahead of them, Iida finally turns back. “What are you two waiting for? Dinner is in less than an hour and we still need to shower!”
They look away from each other then, the motion pointed, too-fast. An understanding hums between them that they might have to talk about this, someday, but not yet. Not yet.
- While Sleeping
Iida, being a creature of habit and immense discipline, does not often stay up past the bedtime he’s assigned for himself. Toward the other end of the spectrum, Midoriya is the sort who intends to maintain a healthy sleep cycle, but loses track of time studying, or doing hero research, or playing a new All Might video game, and ends up falling asleep wherever he happens to be while doing those things. Todoroki, well, he can never sleep for more than two or three hours at a time, and is happy to take those hours when and where he can get them.
Generally, this information is irrelevant, but right now, as Todoroki blinks the sleep out of his eyes, it seems very relevant indeed.
“You’re staring,” Todoroki murmurs, though he thinks that’s not quite correct. Certainly, Midoriya’s eyes are open and certainly, they’re directed towards Iida, who's deep asleep on a spare futon in Todoroki’s dorm room. But his posture is loose, his fingers barely holding on to the phone in his hand, and the only thing keeping him upright is the wall behind him. Vaguely, Todoroki remembers Midoriya saying, maybe a few hours ago, that he’d go to bed after he checked out just one more thing, and--well. Knowing Midoriya, one more thing probably became twenty, and somehow all of that ended up like this: with him half-dozing against the wall, staring down at Iida Tenya’s sleeping face.
“He’s just so...cute,” Midoriya mumbles. A slur of mumbling comes after that, but it’s too indistinct for Todoroki to catch. Todoroki follows Midoriya’s line of sight to Iida, lets himself take in the sleep-muzzed hair, the slack curve of his mouth, the strong lines of his eyebrows that make him look a bit intense, even when sleeping. He’s not sure that, objectively, this should be called cute, but there’s definitely a part of him that... can appreciate the aesthetics of Iida’s face. It’s a new thing for him, being so deeply struck by another’s appearance--he’d never had the experience until recently, never quite understood what it meant to find someone attractive.
Now he’s alone, in the depths of the night, with the only two people he’s ever found attractive, and he has no idea what to do about any of it, or if he’s even supposed to do anything at all.
“You should get to bed,” he says instead, getting up so he can bodily drag Midoriya into the last empty futon. Midoriya stumbles, one, two steps, then falls face-first onto his futon, though his feet still hang off over the edge and his head is nowhere near his pillow.
Midoriya turns his face away from his bedding, his eyes squinting hard in Todoroki’s direction, and he says, “You’re cute too, you know,” before his eyes close completely.
It’s not the first time he’s been called that, but Todoroki thinks this is the first time he might believe someone’s meant it.
- When In Need of a Haircut
Iida’s been blowing the fringe away from his eyes every few minutes for about an hour now. That it keeps falling back in his face doesn’t seem to bother Iida at all, he just continues to plow through his homework, all strident determination and deep concentration.
But it’s bothering Midoriya. Oh, is it bothering Midoriya. He glances over at Todoroki, sees the strained look on his face, and knows he’s not the only one who's bothered.
It’s not that the action is annoying, it’s just sort of... precious, somehow. Or maybe Midoriya’s just entering that stage of infatuation where everything his crush does is seen through a rose-tinted lens. Maybe Todoroki is in the same place.
“You need a haircut,” Todoroki says, after Iida blows the hair out of his face again. His tone doesn’t judge, in fact there’s something almost fond texturing his usual quiet delivery.
Nonetheless, Iida immediately flusters, his hands alternating between nervous choppy gestures and pushing his hair back from his forehead. “Yes, well! We’re in the midst of our second year now and our schedules have been quite full! I’m afraid I haven’t had a chance to visit a barber’s, though of course there’s no excuse for looking unkempt, heroes must care about their image--”
Midoriya’s heart feels like it’s glowing. In this moment, he thinks he could listen to Iida speak forever.
“Let’s make an appointment together,” he suggests. His smile feels a bit dopey, but he’s not too concerned. “I could use a trim too, and Todoroki’s hair is nearly to his shoulders.”
Iida and Midoriya both look to Todoroki. The only thing keeping his fringe out of his face is a row of glittery hair clips gifted to him by Ashido.
(Midoriya, for the record, nearly died trying not to visibly react when Todoroki first started using them. God, to have it so bad twice over! Midoriya’s not sure how he’s supposed to survive.)
“I think I want to grow it out,” Todoroki says. Midoriya chokes, the result of his mind trying to push too many affirmations out of his mouth at once--You definitely should! You’d look fantastic! It wouldn’t matter if I died in battle tomorrow if I got to run my hands through it today!-- but Todoroki continues before anything too honest hits the air, “Still, a bit of styling wouldn’t hurt.”
“Then it’s agreed!” Iida says, one hand still fidgeting with his own fringe, trying to force it to stay back. “We’ll find a barber shop nearby and go together!”
Todoroki hums in agreement. “But for now...” He fiddles with the clips in his hair, taking two out. “Iida, do you mind?”
Iida tilts his head (cute) but nods, and Todoroki beckons him to lean across the table, moving forward to meet the other halfway. Then, in a few swift movements he gathers the center of Iida’s fringe into a little twist and pins it back away from his forehead. Midoriya’s heart shoots into his throat, and he’s so preoccupied with trying not to scream about how adorable Iida looks with a sparkly clip in his hair that it takes him off-guard when Todoroki turns to him and reaches for his hair as well.
“Midoriya?” He asks, his hand hanging awkwardly in the air halfway to Midoriya’s head. Midoriya tries to take the most inconspicuous breath possible, and nods, submitting himself to the same treatment. Todoroki’s hands are gentle in his hair, twisting the curls of his fringe to the side and clipping them there.
“This is much better! My concentration is sure to increase, thank you Todoroki!” Iida says, and immediately gets back to his homework with renewed vigor.
Midoriya wants to scream. Iida’s cute. He’s so cute. And so, so bad for Midoriya’s heart.
- In the Rain
A long moment passes by, where the three boys stand under the awning of a local barber shop, watching the rain come down in sheets.
“We’ll just have to run for it, I guess?” Midoriya says, looking up at his companions.
Todoroki shrugs; they’ll be soaked by the time they get back to the dorms, but what else can they do?
“That’s a terrible idea, Midoriya!” Iida declares. “But I suppose we have little choice!”
Todoroki snorts at the unexpectedness of the statement, and has to stop himself from laughing when Midoriya’s jaw drops.
“The dorms aren’t too far from here,” Todoroki says, “We should be fine if we change as soon as we get back.”
Midoriya smiles, his eyes going from Todoroki to Iida. “So, quirk-free race to the dorms then?”
A moment of silent, eager agreement builds between the three of them and then they’re off, sprinting down the empty sidewalk, half-blinded by the heavy rain and soaked to the bone within seconds. Todoroki can hear Iida admonishing Midoriya’s running posture and Midoriya’s resulting laughter, gets lost in the moments he pulls even with one or both of them and meets their eyes or sees their smiles.
They slide into the dorms with dripping clothes and humor in every breath.
“It seems I’ve won again!” Iida declares, proud and barely winded, “Though you’re both improving greatly!”
Todoroki feels a smile pushing at the edges of his mouth, and lets it. He’s getting better at that--at letting things show, at trusting they won’t always be used against him. Not around everyone, not yet and probably not ever, but with these two--with their warmth and unobtrusive but ever-present caring--with them he's learned to smile with abandon.
The warm feeling in his chest gets decidedly hotter when he actually looks at Iida.
They’ve shared locker rooms and taken communal baths together enough times that Todoroki already knows, is indeed very well aware of the fact that Iida is somewhat unfairly built. He’d never dwelt on it much; the knowledge had come to him entirely casually and floats about in his mind around the same space as his knowledge of Iida’s quirk.
But the image of Iida’s absurdly cut torso seems so much more illicit when viewed through a soaked, near-transparent button-down. Judging by the way Midoriya is covering his face with both arms--a maneuver Todoroki hasn’t seen him pull since they were first years--he thinks he’s not the only one suddenly feeling a bit hot under the collar.
“You--” Todoroki begins, then corrects, “We need to change, immediately.”
“Ah, very true Todoroki! We can’t afford to catch colds!” Iida declares, turning toward the dorm rooms.
Midoriya lets out a wounded sound, peaking out from between his arms to gaze quite fixedly on the all-too-clearly defined muscles of Iida’s back. Or possibly his butt. Either way, Todoroki agrees wholeheartedly.
- When Excited
Iida’s on a roll today, truly in his element, directing the class through their various activities in preparation for U.A.’s culture festival. Much like the sports festival, U.A.’s cultural festival is very...Plus Ultra, and the task of managing the class enough to actually complete the incredible production that is their class project is one that Iida, and only Iida, is truly capable of pulling off.
To Midoriya, he glows. One knowing glance in Todoroki’s direction confirms that he’s not the only one who sees it.
Based on what he knows of romance, through books and movies and his mom’s soaps, Midoriya knows that, technically, this situation between himself, Todoroki, and the stunningly oblivious object of their affections should be a problem. It’s not, and the longer this goes on--the more he shares commiserating looks with Todoroki, the more they quietly moon over Iida in unity and solidarity--the less he understands why there should be a problem in the first place.
(It helps that he spends a lot of time mooning over Todoroki, too, which he thinks Todoroki might be privy to by now. He hopes so, anyway; it would be too cruel of the universe to have filled him with love for not one, but two hopelessly dense people.)
“Midoriya! Todoroki!” Iida makes his way over to them, hands gesturing at a mile a minute, his expression stern and no-nonsense and utterly wonderful. “There’s no time for idling! If you’ve finished your assigned tasks, I can gladly direct you to new ones!”
“Right! Lead the way, Iida!” Midoriya says. He falls into step on Iida’s left, sees Todoroki do the same on his right. Behind Iida’s back they share a secret, fond smile.
No, this arrangement definitely doesn’t feel like a problem.
It feels just right.
- Close to Home
Iida walks through U.A.’s front gate on the last night of spring break with only some of the energy he’s known for. His phone vibrates in his hand, and he looks down just as it stops to see he’s got a message from Midoriya.
[[Midoriya-kun]]: Welcome back! We’re in my room :D
Iida frowns at the screen for a moment; he hadn’t told them he was back yet, so how did they...?
His eyes fly up, first to the dorm building, then to the balconies--specifically, the one he knows belongs to Midoriya. He sees them there, bundled up against the chill of the early spring evening, leaning forward against the railing, their silhouettes unmistakable to him even at such a distance.
He thinks he might see Todoroki give a small wave. He knows he sees Midoriya’s much more exuberant gesture. The sight makes his chest feel tight and warm, and his brain feels a bit fuzzy, like it sometimes does after a particularly satisfying run.
And then Iida realizes he is running, quirk activated and all, hurtling toward the dorms. Embarrassed by his own enthusiasm (not to mention how improper it is to use his quirk without cause like that!) he skids to a stop just a few paces away from the dorm’s entrance. Again, he glances toward Midoriya’s balcony, but his friends are no longer there.
The reason why becomes apparent when he sees the two of them exit the stairs into the dorm lobby, scurrying to the front door at a pace just under a run.
They meet at the threshold of the lobby, all of them breathing a bit heavy from their respective mad-dashes to this point. It seems a bit silly, now that he’s standing before them, to have been in such a rush to reach them; they’ve only been separated for a few weeks, and it only would’ve taken him a few more minutes to reach Midoriya’s dorm room walking.
But they had rushed to him too and that--that stokes the runner’s high-like feeling in his chest, keeps his brain buzzing and his heart thumping too loud and too hard against his sternum.
The quiet moment of looking--of looking and being and breathing in the same air as them--is drawn to a close when Midoriya looks to Todoroki, and it’s one of those looks they’ve been sharing lately, the ones they probably think he doesn’t notice, the ones that suggest a secret between them. Todoroki returns the look, and nods.
Then, they’re looking at him , and together they say, “Welcome home, Iida.”
The runner’s high feeling goes out of control, turns into butterflies and electricity and hot and cold and he gets it, now, the looks they send each other, the looks they send him, the secret in their gazes that he’d resolved himself not to trespass upon.
Only he’s not trespassing, he realizes now, it has never been a secret from him. It’s a secret with him, about him, about them, and he wants to grab them both in a hug and exclaim that it’s okay, he gets it now, he understands! But he looks at their faces (the glee in Midoriya’s wide eyes, the sigh from Todoroki that seems to say about time) and he thinks they already know.
After all he’s looking at them they way they’ve looked at him, at each other, all along.
So instead he takes another step forward, lets himself smile so hard it aches, and says, “I’m home.”
They get the message, loud and clear.