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Next To You

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Izuku practically jogs through the train station, past the shops and restaurants and the escalators connecting the little station to the rest of the city. People recognize him - of course they do, who wouldn’t recognize the number-three hero right after he saved this particular part of town for the fifth time this month? - but by the time they think of saying something, he’s already gone.

Despite his exhaustion, he takes the stairs up to platform 4 instead of the escalator. All eyes are on him when he gets there, combining into a spotlight that almost blinds him. He tries to ignore them, because now that the villains are gone and everything’s okay he’s just Midoriya Izuku coming home from work, but the hair is pretty hard to miss and the costume is a little too iconic and he’s Hero Deku just the same.

His train comes in a minute. Sixty seconds. That’s not a long time to wait.

He stands in the very back corner, in the shadows where his hair looks more black than green and he can at least hide a little. Not like it really helps. It just tells people that he doesn’t want to be talked to. The staring doesn’t stop.

But the train starts to pull up and he’s forced to come out of the corner and walk toward the edge of the platform, out in the open once again.

The train slows to a stop, the doors sliding open right in front of him. A few people shuffle out, giving Izuku a look before they’re on their way again. As soon as they’ve cleared out, Izuku starts walking toward the doors, unconsciously folding in on himself to avoid drawing any attention.

That doesn’t work.

“Good work today, Deku-san!” A stranger on the platform shouts just as Izuku steps into the train.

Somehow, he musters the energy to turn around and smile. “Thank you!”

The doors close behind him as he steps inside the train. It isn’t even that crowded, especially not for four o’clock on a Thursday, but that only makes Izuku stand out more. He can make a safe bet that every single person in this car is staring at him. He’s used to it.

He sighs, taking a seat next to the door. At least no one’s saying anything. He’s way too tired to deal with people right now.

A few minutes of comforting silence later, the robotic speaker voice announces his stop and he stands up, ready for the three-block walk to his apartment from the station. It always seems longer after hero work.

No one says a word when he gets off the train, and the station is much calmer than the one he got on at, with only a few people waiting on the platform. He lives a little ways away from the city center and even though the distance is a pain when he has to get somewhere quick, he wouldn’t have it any other way. His neighborhood is quiet and the crime rate is low - the perfect home for a perpetually-stressed pro hero.

Even in costume, he doesn’t get noticed much on the walk home. Kids pass him from all directions on their walk home from school, but they live here and they know he does, too. People whisper and stare the first couple of times they spot him, but after a while seeing him is about as normal as seeing the old man reading the newspaper outside the Seven-Eleven every morning or the two cats staring you down from their spot on top of a brick wall.

Funny how things work out that way.

The lobby of his apartment building is empty when he walks inside, and it remains that way as he waits for the elevator. It arrives with a ding and he steps inside, pressing the button for the fourth floor. He leans against the back wall as the elevator car travels up the cable and lets himself begin to wind down a little early.

His hallway is similarly empty when the elevator lets him out, lit up by bright fluorescent lights that shine down on an obnoxious but fuzzy dull maroon carpet. He walks down the hall to apartment 403, down at the very end, spinning his key ring around his finger.

He's about to put his key in the lock when the door to apartment 401 swings open.

“Hi, Midoriya-san!” Tanaka, the woman next door, waves with one hand, locking the door with the other.

“Hey, Tanaka-san!” Izuku waves back with a smile, the most genuine one all day. Even with his full costume on, Tanaka never calls him Deku when they're here, and he's incredibly glad to just be Midoriya-next-door after being fussed over by way too many people. “How are you?”

“Pretty good.” Tanaka smiles back, putting her keys in her purse. “It's my mom’s birthday, so my sister and I are taking her out to dinner.”

“Oh, happy birthday to your mom!” Izuku says.

“I'll be sure to tell her you said that.” Tanaka laughs. “You know, you're one of her favorite heroes.”

Izuku can feel a blush coming on. Even after years of being a pro, he still can't get used to the fact that a ton of people actually like what he does and like him . “Really?”

Tanaka nods. “She watches you on TV all the time.” She takes a step out into the hallway. “Speaking of which, you were great today.”

“Thanks.” Izuku scratches the back of his head with an embarrassed chuckle. It's probably going to take a lifetime for him to be able to hear all the praise without blushing uncontrollably. “Well, have fun at your dinner!”

“Thanks, I will.” With one last smile, Tanaka heads off down the hallway.

Izuku unlocks his door and pushes it open, taking his shoes off and setting them down in the corner before going in further.

“Hey, I'm home,” he announces, flopping down on the couch as his exhaustion finally catches up with him. The shower is on in the background and there's a weather report playing on TV, but other than that it's quiet.

So he closes his eyes and lets the white noise lull him to sleep.

He doesn't dream, and he doesn't know how much time has passed, but he wakes up to the creaking of footsteps getting louder and louder, closer and closer. His eyes open slowly, taking a few seconds to focus on the pop of color in front of him that contrasts with the rest of the apartment before he's fully awake.

“Hey,” Shouto says as he walks out into the living room. His hair is wet and there's a towel around his shoulders. “You got back early.”

Izuku grins. “Is there a problem with that?”

“Of course not.” Shouto smiles back, small and soft, and takes a seat next to Izuku on the couch. “How was it?”

“Fine.” Izuku leans his head on Shouto’s shoulder, specifically his perfectly cool right shoulder. “How was your thing?”

“Okay,” Shouto answers. “Could have been better, could have been worse.”

Izuku giggles. “Same here.”

“Same old, same old.”


They stay like this for a minute as the conversation fades into comfortable silence. They're not cuddling yet, though they want to and that's sure to come. For now, they're just leaning on each other, the most they can do after a long day.

“...Hey, Izuku?” Shouto asks, hesitantly breaking the silence.


“What do you think about taking the weekend off?”

Izuku blinks. “This weekend?”

“Yeah,” Shouto says.

“You're the number nine hero and I'm the number three, we can't just skip out!” Izuku sits up again. “The agency’s gonna-”

“I talked to management about it today.” It's almost like Shouto expected Izuku to protest. “They said it's fine.”

The two of them work for the same agency, not a traditional one with one hero and fifty sidekicks under them but twenty-nine heroes working semi-independently of each other. And technically speaking, Izuku is on management. How did he not know?

“But why?” Izuku asks, “What would we even do with a weekend off?”

“Well.” There's a ghost of a smile at the edges of Shouto’s lips, a weirdly proud smile Izuku almost never sees on him. “My brother-in-law’s family owns an inn in this tiny beach town a few hours away from here, and they thought that if I stayed there and gave them a good review, it would be good for publicity and tourism and everything, so I have two free nights.” He shrugs. “Why not use them?”

“Yeah, but why now?” Izuku frowns. “It's not bad or anything, it just seems a little random.”

“You need a break,” Shouto says matter-of-factly. “The stress is going to affect your performance if you let it eat at you long enough.”

“Oh.” Izuku feels his cheeks heating up again. What did he do to deserve a boyfriend this sweet? “Thanks.”

“It's no trouble.” Shouto stands up and walks toward the hall again. “You might want to start packing now, though, we're leaving tomorrow morning.”

“What?” Izuku tries to cover his mouth with his hand, but the laugh escapes before he can. “That's pretty impulsive, don't you think?”

“It just seemed like the right time to do it.” Shouto shrugs. “What do you want for dinner?”

“I don't care.” Izuku’s about to fall asleep on the couch again, he knows it. “Whatever you want.”

“Takeout it is, then.” Shouto ducks into the bathroom for a second; the towel around his shoulders before is noticeably absent when he comes out again. “I'm going to finish packing, can you call in? Don't care which place, I can pick it up.”

“‘Kay, have fun!” Izuku takes his phone out of his pocket and dials the number of the last takeout place in his history, the one they ordered from three days ago. The guy on the other end knows their usual order, that's how much they go to that particular shop.

Izuku ends the call and lies out on the couch, barely tall enough to stretch from end to end. Remote in hand, he changes the channel to the news, currently in the middle of a report on his latest excursion, and closes his eyes.

He has all night to pack.

The next morning finds them in Shouto’s small-but-not-tiny car on the main highway, just missing the morning rush hour traffic out of the city. They can't check into the inn until three, but they still have a long way to go. If they have to wait, it won't be for long.

Izuku’s window is slightly open, enough to let the wind from how fast they're going blow through his hair. The sun visor is down, but even then the sun is a little blinding. He wonders if it's going to be that sunny when they get there. He hopes it is.

“Do you want to turn on the radio?” Shouto asks, eyes continuously scanning the road in front of him. “I know we aren't talking much, that might help-”

“Do you want to talk?” Izuku asks back. “I thought it would distract you so I didn't say anything, but we can if you want to.”

Shouto briefly meets Izuku’s eyes before he looks in the passenger side mirror. “Both?”

Izuku nods with a smile, pressing the power button on the car radio. The station that comes on is preset 1, which sounds like the news station, and he goes down the line one by one. Preset 2 is an alternative rock station, Preset 3 is classical, Preset 4 is another alternative rock station, and Preset 5 is... currently playing the dance pop song Izuku heard in a department store the other day.

“You listen to this?” He asks, pointing to the radio and trying to hold back a giggle. It's not bad, not at all, it's just very... not Shouto.

Shouto shrugs. “It keeps me from falling asleep.”

“That's fair.” Izuku grins, rolling his window down a little more. “So have you been here before?”

“No, this is my first time.”

“Has your sister told you anything?” Izuku asks.

“Maybe too much.” There’s a hint of a smile playing at the corners of Shouto’s mouth. “There’s plenty to do, at least.”

“Like what?”

“She said the small-town atmosphere is enough to keep us busy,” Shouto says, eyebrows furrowing in thought, “But there are a few swimming beaches, and there’s a park on top of a hill that’s perfect for stargazing.”

“Stargazing?” Izuku repeats. He can’t remember the last time he actually saw the stars; the city lights always block them out.

“Do you have a problem with that?” Shouto asks.

“No, I’m excited.” Izuku smiles. “I’ve never been stargazing before.”

“Neither have I.”


Shouto pauses. “Not intentionally.”

Izuku raises an eyebrow. “Not intentionally?”

“I may have gotten distracted a few times.”

“Ah.” Izuku nods. Come to think of it, he’s done the same thing. “So neither of us have gone stargazing with the intention to go stargazing.”


“I’m looking forward to it.” Izuku looks up at the clouds in the sky. There are only a few of them, stretching out across the endless blue like wisps of cotton.

“Good.” Shouto actually lets himself smile this time. “I am, too.”

Izuku smiles even wider.

They keep talking about whatever topic comes to mind, and their conversation is fairly one-sided on Izuku’s end, but he doesn’t care. Shouto isn’t exactly talkative most of the time, and even if he was, he’s driving. Izuku already feels guilty about not having his license and thus not being able to drive half the time like he really should; he doesn’t want to distract him, too.

Before he knows it, they’re already turning off the highway and onto a smaller road, the main street of a little town. Once the town is behind them, only a metal railing separates them from the water. It’s bright and blue and stretches on forever and it sparkles in the sunlight and Izuku can’t stop looking at it.

“Is the view nice?” Shouto asks, not taking his eyes off the road.

“Yeah.” Izuku takes his phone out of his pocket. “I'll take some pictures if you want to see them later.”

“Sure. Thank you.”

“You're welcome!” Izuku takes one picture after another, then a video to capture the sparkle of the water. None of them capture the scenery as well as he'd like, though.

“Don't worry about how the pictures turn out,” Shouto says, almost like he can read Izuku’s mind. “I'll see plenty of water when we get there.”

Izuku chuckles. “Yeah, you're right.” He takes one last picture to send to Uraraka and puts his phone down.

“Have you been looking at the news at all?” Shouto asks.

Izuku shakes his head. “I turned notifications off for everything but calls and texts for the whole weekend.” He pauses. “Is there something wrong with that?”

“No, definitely not.” Shouto slows down as they pass a speed limit sign. “It's a lot better if you don't check on it, actually. I'm doing the same thing.”

“I guess someone would tell us if the apocalypse happened while we were gone.”

“That's what I'm counting on.”

Izuku giggles as the car rounds corner after corner, tracing the shoreline. He can't see much in front of them beside the curve they're currently on, making everything a surprise no matter how mundane it actually is.

Some twenty minutes later, another town pops up on the horizon. The buildings are short, there aren't a lot of cars on the roads, and there are a few boats out on the water.

“I think this is it,” Shouto says, scanning the signs on the road as he slows to a crawl. There aren't any cars near them at all.

He turns onto a side street and follows it for another minute before pulling to a stop in front of a two-story white building. It's on the corner, next to a friendly-looking cafe.

“Do you think we can park here?” Shouto asks.

Izuku shrugs. “No idea.”

“Whatever, I can move if they need me to.” Shouto turns the car off and pulls the key out of the ignition.

Izuku opens the door first and steps out of the car, walking around to the back to get his suitcase. It's not big - they're only here for two days, after all - but he almost overpacked anyway. It's heavier than it looks.

All of Shouto’s brother-in-law’s relatives remind Izuku of Kirishima, at least from the little he saw of them at Fuyumi’s wedding. They're friendly and energetic and outgoing and that made the wedding fairly awkward because those are three words that are never used to describe the Todoroki family.

“Be ready to hold your things for a while,” Shouto whispers, about to open the front door. “It's not exactly easy to leave a Hanamura family conversation.”

Izuku chuckles at the obvious experience Shouto’s had with that and follows him inside.

The lobby is fairly large, but it's packed with tables, seemingly doubling as a restaurant. There are a few people sitting at the tables, but they look like they’re just there because it's a place to sit. They're reading, playing games, staring out the window, but there doesn't seem to be any food, and there aren't any menus to be found.

There's no one at the front desk, either. Weird.

“I think we're a little early,” Shouto says. His hand hovers over the bell on the desk.

Izuku looks at the clock. 2:46 PM. They're fourteen minutes early, to be exact.

Shouto rings the bell, the sound ringing through the lobby above everything else. It slowly starts to die out, but not before another sound takes its place.

“Just a second, please!” A man just shorter than Shouto with grey hair jogs out of the back room to stand behind the desk. Izuku recognizes him from the wedding. “You're a little early, don't you think?”

“Sorry about that-” Shouto starts.

“I should be manning the desk ten minutes before check-in anyway, don't worry about it!” The man laughs. “You look stiff, relax! You're on vacation, aren't you?”


Izuku can't help but giggle at how awkwardly this conversation is going.

The man turns to Izuku at the sound. “You were at the wedding, right?”

Izuku nods. “Y-yeah, I was.”

“Shame we didn't get to meet then.” The man gives Izuku a hearty grin. “Hanamura Keita, pleasure to meet you!”

“Midoriya Izuku, l-likewise!” Izuku bows hastily, a difficult task when he's carrying so much.

“Well, it's great to have you both here.” Hanamura drops his voice to a whisper. “Your room’s all ready, I don't think anyone will mind if I let you in a little early.”

“Really?” Shouto visibly draws back in surprise, like it wasn’t going to be that easy.

“Of course!” Hanamura ducks into the back room. “Kumiko, can you watch the desk?”

“Got it!” A girl around Izuku’s age steps out of the room and takes Hanamura’s place as he steps out from behind the desk.

“Want me to take one of those bags off your hands?” Hanamura turns around on the first step leading upstairs. “The staircase is a little steep.”

“Nothing we can't handle.” Shouto grunts as he picks up the suitcase and hauls it upstairs.

“Right, you're number... ten hero now?” Hanamura raises an eyebrow for confirmation.

“Nine,” Shouto corrects.

“Impressive.” Hanamura chuckles, looking to Izuku once again. “And you're number two, right?”

“I wish.” Izuku smiles, hoping it isn't too forced due to the weight in his hands. There are very few moments he wishes he hadn't inherited his mother’s tendency to overprepare, but this is definitely one of them. His suitcase is way too packed for a two-day trip. “I'm number three.”

“Still something to be proud of.” Hanamura reaches the second floor first and leads them to the left down a hallway, stopping outside a nondescript door. He inserts a key into the lock and slides the door open, revealing a small room. “Here we are. Make yourselves at home, you have the baths from nine to ten.”

“Thank you.” Shouto steps into the room first, putting his bags down in the corner.

“Thanks, Hanamura-san!” Izuku does the same, looking around the room as soon as he’s inside.

It’s clean and neat and almost empty. There’s only a table in the center; everything else is probably in one of the closets off the side walls. The view isn’t much - just the buildings across the street - but it’s charming, and there’s a little glimpse of the ocean in the corner.

There isn’t a TV anywhere to be found, which is to be expected, considering how traditional this place looks. But Izuku doesn’t mind; he anything but minds.

“I thought he'd talk more.” Shouto sits down next to his bags, leaning back on his hands. “Maybe he's only really chatty when he's drunk.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Izuku walks over to open the window. “He's nice, though.”

“Yeah.” Shouto shrugs. “Maybe he knows why we’re here and that's why he's backing off.”

“That's nice, I guess.”

“It's great .” Shouto scoots a little closer to the open window, the breeze blowing his hair out of his face. “I think I need this just as much as you do.”

“Yeah, you haven't looked this relaxed in months.” Izuku smiles. “It's a good look.”

“It looks better on you,” Shouto says.

“Does not!” Izuku tries and fails to hold back a blush, quickly switching his gaze to the world outside their window. “Want to go out? The beach is right there.”

“Later,” Shouto murmurs.

“Huh?” Izuku turns around, only to see Shouto lying on his back on the floor. He takes a couple steps toward him, just to make sure nothing’s wrong. “Are you oka- ack !”

Shouto leans up and grabs his arm, dragging Izuku down onto the floor next to him. Izuku hits the floor with a loud thud that seems to shake the whole room.

“Oh my god!” As soon as he catches his breath, Izuku can't stop giggling. “There are people downstairs, Shouto, someone’s going to freak out!”

“Whatever, you're laughing about it.”

“Yeah, but-” Izuku interrupts himself with a particularly ugly snort. “What are you even doing?”

“Exactly what it looks like.” Shouto turns his head and Izuku can clearly see the smile hiding in his eyes. “Lying on the floor because I'm too lazy to do anything else.”

“What?” Izuku grins, turning onto his back to look up at the ceiling. “You, lazy ?”

“I was driving all morning, I have the right to be lazy.” Shouto’s voice is calm and quiet, like it's three in the morning instead of three in the afternoon. “It's my vacation, too.”

“If you say so.” Izuku reaches out to grab Shouto’s hand. “I like this.”


They stay like this for a while, watching the sun start to dip in the sky. They’re probably here for at least an hour, talking about who-knows-what and letting themselves breathe, the former eventually fading entirely into the latter. But they aren't wasting time, not even close. As far as they’re concerned, this is the perfect way to start the weekend, and it's way too hot to go outside anyway.

But after a while, Izuku can't ignore how hungry he is.

“Hey,” he says.

Shouto doesn't respond.

Hey .” Izuku nudges Shouto’s shoulder. “Are you-”

“I wasn't asleep,” Shouto says in a voice that heavily implies that he was .

“Sure.” Izuku sits up, only able to smile when he sees Shouto’s hair just a little messier than it was before, red and white blending just a little over the part in the middle. “What do you think about walking around a little and then going somewhere for dinner? I'm hungry.”

“Dinner?” Shouto blinks. “What time is it?”

“Let me check.” Izuku turns on his phone, looking over the text Uraraka sent him a half hour ago - “are you two having fun??” - before turning it off again. “It's a little after five.”

“Oh.” Shouto sits up, still looking a little sleepy and confused. “Sure, we can go out.”

“Great.” Izuku stands up with a grin. “We can look around town and then we can go down to the beach and dip our toes in the water and stuff because I'm thinking we won't want to actually swim until tomorrow when it's hot and-”

“Okay.” Shouto nods. “Let's do that.”

As Shouto stands up and gets his things ready, Izuku opens his text conversation with Uraraka and sends her a “Yes!!” before he turns his phone off and sticks it in his pocket.

“Are we lost?” Izuku asks.

“...I don't know,” Shouto says. He definitely knows and the answer to Izuku’s question is definitely yes.

They're at the dead end of an alley with no idea where to go. The map on Izuku’s phone isn't displaying for whatever reason and Shouto didn't bring his phone at all, so here they are. Lost in the middle of a town they've been in for exactly three hours.

“You know, if we walk straight for a while, we'll probably hit the beach.” Izuku offers up a hopeful smile. “That's where we wanted to go anyway, right?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

They turn right out of the alley and start walking, determined not to turn for any reason until they get to the beach. Except, of course, if the beach is exactly opposite from the direction they're going, in which case they're a little screwed. But hey, it's all fun and adventure, right?

“Do we need to go so fast?” Shouto asks.

Izuku doesn't notice he's speedwalking until right then. “Oh!” He chuckles, taking a few steps backward to match Shouto step for step. “Sorry. I was just worried.”

“Don't be.” Shouto looks at the buildings around him in muted awe. “This place isn't big, we'd find our way eventually.”

“It's almost like you wanted to get lost or something!”

Shouto shrugs. “I kind of did.”

Izuku laughs before he can get mad. “You're horrible.”

“I know.”

They walk like they've just arrived in another world, slow and observant. As unfamiliar as the streets are, that only makes them more interesting. Every small shop and apartment is unique, unlike the cookie cutter buildings back home.

“There's a ramen place at the end of this block.” Shouto points up at the wooden sign on the corner. “We can just get dinner there if you want.”

Izuku’s stomach growls before he can say anything. “That's probably a good idea.”

There aren't a lot of people in the restaurant when they walk inside; they're probably still a little early for the dinner rush. But the two people sitting at the bar definitely notice them, staring for a split second before they go back to their food and talking with the man behind the counter.

The place is tiny, with bar seating on one side and tables against the wall on the other. There's a machine for ordering next to the door, and signs for the restroom in the back.

Izuku takes a seat at the table closest to the door and Shouto sits across from him. They both look at the machine and it's clear they're both thinking the same thing.

“I can pay,” Izuku says.

“No, I can.” Shouto’s already getting his wallet out of the bag he brought.

“Really, I can.” Izuku stares Shouto right in the eye, trying to intimidate him into letting him be nice for once.

“It was my idea to go here, I really should.” Shouto gets up to his feet and walks over to the machine, two thousand-yen bills in hand. Dang, he's fast.

“Okay, fine.” Izuku frowns. “I'm treating you tomorrow.”


Back when they were in high school and first started dating, Shouto would always insist on paying for everything because he had the money to do so, taking Iida’s place in that regard when it was just Shouto and Izuku. He didn't kick the habit when he cut himself off from his family’s wealth after graduation and was just as much of a broke up-and-coming pro hero as Izuku was, and he still insists on it now.

Izuku just wants to pay him back, damn it.

“What do you want?” Shouto asks from the machine.

Izuku looks for the cheapest thing available, just a simple bowl to get him by for the night. He finds something for six hundred yen and points to it, and Shouto presses the button for it, along with the food he wants to get. Strangely enough, that's the same bowl Izuku ordered. With drinks for both of them, the bill comes to 1500 yen.

They both sit down at the table again with a huff and wait, staring out the window at the bikes and people passing by; a lot of the streets here aren't wide enough to fit one car, let alone two. Even on the main streets, there are many more pedestrians.

“So what do you think?” Shouto asks quietly, almost like he's nervous.

“About the town?”

Shouto nods.

“It's great!” Izuku smiles. “I couldn't have picked a better place for something like this.”

“I'm glad you think so,” Shouto says.

“What about you, do you like it?”

Shouto’s eyes sparkle as he looks out the window. He's obviously distracted by something, but Izuku has no idea what it could be. “Yeah, I really do.”


Their drinks come first, just two bottles of soda. The food comes a few minutes later, and the bowls are much bigger than the price would indicate. It's really good, too, not too salty but flavorful and delicious. There's no conversation while they're eating; the food takes too much of their attention.

More and more people walk into the restaurant while they're there, all giving the two of them a look as they walk in. But no one stares for too long; it's almost like they aren't famous anymore and they're just two normal people sharing dinner on a Friday night.   

The man behind the bar thanks them and tells them to have a good night as they leave, full and satisfied. They'd talked about going somewhere fancy tomorrow night, but coming back here would work just as well.

“I'm surprised no one’s asked us for an autograph or anything,” Izuku muses once he and Shouto are back on the street again.

“I know.” Shouto frowns in thought. “No one’s made a big deal out of us being here, it's weird.”

Izuku hums. “Maybe Hanamura-san just told everyone to leave us alone.”

“The whole town?” Shouto quizzically tilts his head to the side.

“It's tiny.” Izuku shrugs.

“I guess.” Shouto not-so-subtly reaches out to hold Izuku’s hand as they walk. “I didn't think it would feel this good, though.”

“What would?”

“Not having people on my back.” Shouto exhales, long and deep, like every bit of tension in his body is intertwined with the breath he's letting out. “I don't know, I just haven't felt like myself in a really long time.”

“Mm.” Izuku nods. He knows the differences between Shouto doing interviews and press conferences and Shouto offering dry commentary on movies over ice cream at two in the morning, and he's seen the proof with his own eyes that one of them is much harder to keep up than the other. He's seen the bags under Shouto’s eyes, the way he slumps on the couch a little more after a particularly hard day with the press, and the cracks in his hero persona when he's in the middle of something bad.

This whole trip was supposedly for Izuku’s sake, but Shouto definitely needed it, too.   

“Is that the beach?”

“Huh?” Izuku looks up to see water in the distance and a line of light tan sand up against it. “...Yeah, I think it is.”

They walk just a little faster until they can feel the sand under their and a light mist of seawater on their faces. Izuku takes off his shoes first, leaving them next to a tree on the shore, and Shouto follows, wiggling his toes in the sand.

“Come on, I want to see what the water feels like!” Izuku jogs down to the water, sparkling in the sunlight.

The water is cold but not freezing, the kind he could get used to after a few minutes. It's the perfect temperature, really, refreshing after being under the sun’s relentless heat all day.

Izuku closes his eyes and smiles, letting the breeze blow his hair out of his face.

“How is it?” Shouto asks, balancing on one foot as he sticks a toe into the water. He pulls back at first, almost sending him off balance, but after a few seconds, he puts his whole foot in. “That's cold.”


Shouto steps in with his other foot. “I like it.”

Izuku wiggles his toes underwater. “I do, too.”

The sunset lights the water up in pinks and yellows and reds, and the only things there to tell them that time hasn't just stopped are the constant waves coming up on shore. Everything else is still. There are no people around, and the sounds of cars and boats are so distant they're almost inaudible.

“Sorry for getting a little... existential earlier,” Shouto says.

“It's fine!” Izuku giggles. “I don't mind existential.”


Izuku tries to make something out of the frown on Shouto’s face. It’s thoughtful but indecisive. “Were you going to say more?”

“I'd say a lot more if I could put it into words.” Shouto takes another step into the water.

“Can you try?” Izuku asks, taking a step out to join him.

“I don't know if it'll make any sense, but.” Shouto’s frown deepens in thought. “I didn't realize how much I was compromising myself until I didn't have to.”

“It makes sense.” Izuku smiles. He knows Shouto cares a lot about being genuine and real in what he does; bluntness included, his authenticity is one of Izuku’s favorite things about him.


“So does that mean I'm talking next to pure, unfiltered you right now?” Izuku asks.

Shouto laughs, actually laughs , still rare after all these years, and Izuku feels it right in his chest. “I guess it does.”

“I like it.” Izuku grins. “I like you .”

Shouto’s face goes red as he abruptly looks away and Izuku just laughs.

He's still laughing when Shouto turns back and presses a kiss to his lips.

It's soft but emotional and Izuku knows Shouto is an amazing kisser but he can't remember the last time he was this good. Izuku just about melts when Shouto runs his fingers through his hair, and the only response he can muster is a satisfied hum because this is perfect. Somewhere along the way, Shouto manages to pull Izuku close, and Izuku happily obliges, deepening the kiss as the distance between them shrinks.

When they pull away, Izuku’s completely drained in the best possible way.

“You know what, scratch that.” He smiles, out of breath but happy . “I love you.”

If Izuku had said that three years ago, Shouto would definitely be on fire right now. Izuku had said it three years ago, and Shouto was on fire.

“...I love you, too,” Shouto whispers, cheeks still dusted with pink.

For a second, they just stand there, letting the sun wash over them with its last rays of light before it slips below the horizon.

“Want to head back?” Izuku asks.

“Sure.” Shouto nods.

The sand sticks to Izuku’s feet as he walks back up to grab his shoes, and he’s sure there’s going to be sand in his sneakers for weeks to come, but he doesn’t mind.

“Are we going to get lost on the way back, too?” Shouto asks.

“We?” Izuku laughs. “Excuse you, you were the one who got us lost!”

“Neither of us had a map, we were just wandering around.”

“But you were the one who went down all the side streets!”

“Fair enough.” Shouto shrugs.

It doesn’t take them long to find their way back. Izuku leads the way, remembering the view of the beach from their room and going backwards from there. The two of them end up at the inn again in only a few minutes.

But they're right outside the front door when Izuku realizes something missing.

“What about stargazing?” He asks, “Didn't you want to do that?”

“We’ll do it tomorrow,” Shouto says, sounding more like one word instead of four. “Don't worry about it.”

“O-okay.” Izuku nods.

Why does Shouto seem so worried?

“I need to sleep anyway.” Shouto opens the door and walks in. “You know how my sleep schedule’s been lately.”

“Mm-hm.” Just the mention dampens the mood instantly, even in a paradise like this.

Shouto’s been on the night shift every other day for the past week and a half, which wouldn’t be that bad if he wasn't also on the midday shift every other day. He would work one night, get three hours of sleep at most, work until two or so in the afternoon, pass out as soon as he got back to the apartment and got some food, and wake up the next morning after sleeping upwards of twelve hours, only to do it all again that night.

“I'm sorry your schedule’s so rough,” Izuku says. His own schedule’s much more normal - only afternoon and evening shifts every day. It's not easy, but he gets a decent amount of sleep every night. “I could switch with you and take the night shift, you would be a lot healthier working afternoons.”

“No, you’re working the most popular times.” Shouto walks up the stairs. “You can't get all the way to number one hero if people don't see you.”

Izuku frowns, stopping halfway up. “All the more reason for me to switch and give you some exposure.”

“Being in the top ten is plenty of exposure for now.” Shouto shrugs. “You have a bigger goal in mind and I don't want to get in your way.”

Sweet as that was, Izuku doesn’t want to blush. He wants to tell Shouto he's being ridiculous and that there's no way his priorities are worth it for either of them. He wants to go to the agency and switch shifts behind Shouto’s back if that's what it takes. He wants to see his boyfriend without the exhaustion in his eyes that’s become too commonplace over the past week.

“If you keep putting my goals above your health, I'll find Shinsou and tell him to make you get in my way.” Izuku climbs the rest of the stairs, passing Shouto at the top. “Come on, I don't want to end the night on this.”

“...Okay.” Shouto follows close behind him, yawning as soon as he steps foot in the room.

Izuku heads to the closet and starts setting up for the night, finding too many futons and pillows for the two of them as well as a small fan. He asks Shouto to plug it in in the corner, knowing it'll come in handy in the middle of a summer night.

When he plugs his phone into the charger on the wall, he has another text from Uraraka, asking him for pictures. He tells her that he'll take some tomorrow and turns his phone all the way off, making a mental note to actually do so.

One trip down to the baths later, Izuku’s lying next to Shouto again, hair not quite wet but damp enough to cool him off. It’s only nine forty-five, but he’s already exhausted. He suspects he’ll be fast asleep the second he closes his eyes.

“You know,” he says with a smile, the tension from earlier completely gone. “Today was a good day.”

He's met with silence on Shouto’s end.

“Shouto?” Izuku sits up, the simple motion taking more of his energy than he expects it to. “Is everything-”

Shouto’s already asleep, hair splayed out messily on the pillow. He’s almost entirely still, chest barely rising and falling with every breath he takes. He looks perfectly calm like this, finally rewarded with the sleep he so clearly needed.

“Oh.” Izuku brings his voice down to a whisper. He really doesn't want to wake Shouto up right now. “Goodnight.”

He lies back on the pillow and closes his eyes, letting sleep wash over him like a tidal wave.

When Izuku opens his eyes again, they're almost glued shut with sleep. The sun shines on his closed eyelids, signifying the beginning of a new day. He isn't fully awake for a long time, remaining instead in a weird, calm limbo between sleep and wakefulness.

It’s quiet and still, like time has stopped and this moment is stretching on forever. Izuku feels like he shouldn’t be experiencing this, like he should be frozen like everything else, but he likes it this way. His world hasn’t moved this slowly for a long time.

In his groggy state, it takes him much longer to realize things that should jump out at him easily, like the fact that his back is right up against Shouto’s chest, his hair tickling Shouto’s chin. Shouto’s right arm is loosely draped over Izuku’s shoulder, an attempt to hold him close that clearly worked. He must have rolled over in his sleep.

He doesn't move but he smiles, the only thing he can do to keep himself from giggling. They somehow ended up like this in the middle of the night and neither of them even noticed it. It's sweet.

Just as his eyes begin to close again, Shouto stirs from behind him, a tiny yawn the only sound in the room. It's much more adorable than Izuku is prepared for.

“Hey,” Izuku says, finding Shouto’s hand and giving it a squeeze. “Sleep well?”

“Yeah.” Shouto seems just as groggy as Izuku was. “Did you?”

“Mm-hm.” Izuku looks around the room, noticing just how bright it is. “What time is it?”

“I don't know, let me check.” Shouto rolls over toward the outlet on the wall. When Izuku turns over, Shouto has his phone in his hands, still plugged into the charger.

He frowns. Blinks once, twice.

“What's wrong?” Izuku asks. Is there something wrong with  his phone? Did he forget something important at home and only realize it now?

“It's twelve-thirty,” Shouto says.

“What?” Izuku sits up, rubbing the last remnants of sleep out of his eyes. “We slept in that late?”

He doesn't sleep in. He's tried, but he's always been an early riser. When he thinks he’s slept late, he opens his eyes and looks at the clock and it's only nine. Getting up early for training most days doesn't help either. But somehow it's after noon and he's just now waking up.

“Looks like it.” Shouto puts his phone down again. “At least we don't have to worry about breakfast.”

“Yeah.” Izuku smiles. “I was expecting to wake up around nine, this is nice.”

“Mm.” Shouto rolls back over and looks at Izuku with a soft and unguarded stare Izuku hasn't seen in an absurdly long time. “...I love you.”

Izuku giggles. “You're sappy today.”


“There's nothing wrong with that.” Izuku still feels the same butterflies in his stomach even after waking up like this hundreds of times now. “I love you, too.”

Shouto gives him an almost-invisible smile and Izuku sees warmth in his eyes. Even though he's half-asleep, he still looks more awake than he's been in weeks. Just after one night, the difference is astounding.

“Are we still on for swimming later?” Izuku asks. “It's supposed to be really hot around four.”

Shouto nods. “We should probably eat something first, though.”

“Well, yeah.” Izuku sits up with a grin. “And you still want to go stargazing tonight.”

Shouto just nods without a word.

“Okay, then.” Izuku stands up and walks over to his suitcase, grabbing the first t-shirt and pair of shorts he can find that he didn't wear yesterday, along with his toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. “I'm going to go get ready, see you in a minute.”

“See you,” Shouto says, only starting to sit up as Izuku heads to the bathroom.

Izuku’s hair is particularly unruly today; it makes him, a week away from turning twenty-three, look no older than fourteen, especially with the so-faded-it-could-be-sold-as-vintage All Might shirt he's wearing. He doesn't know why he packed that shirt over his other ones. He supposes it was just at the top of his drawer.

He brushes his teeth and spits the greenish-white glob of toothpaste out into the sink, the minty taste remaining in his mouth as he takes one last look in the mirror. This is fine for lunch; he's sure he'll change again after he goes swimming.

Shouto’s dressed when Izuku walks back in, though his hair is still a little messy. Izuku guesses that it's just the norm for his hair to be neat and perfectly parted all the time, and any deviation from that is pretty noticeable.

“What do you think about going to the cafe next door for lunch?” Shouto asks, pushing himself up to his feet.

“Sounds good.” Izuku nods. “The bathroom’s free.”

“Thanks.” Shouto grabs his things and walks out.

Izuku opens the window first, the cool summer breeze blowing through his hair and across his face, and leans out a little, looking out at the beach. The water’s a brighter blue than it was yesterday, the sand is almost tropically yellow-white, and the entire scene out there looks picturesque. He can't wait to find out how it feels.

As he closes the window and turns around again, he spots his phone, plugged into the outlet closest to the door. And he realizes that he left it completely powered off all night. What if Uraraka or Iida texted him and they're worried because he didn't respond? What if the world’s ending back home and he has no idea? What if his mom needed to talk to him?

After he scrambles to grab it, the seconds he spends waiting for his phone to power on go by ridiculously slowly. But eventually, his lock screen shines up at him - a series of silly photo booth pictures he and Shouto took a few months ago that proved Shouto had no idea how to pose for silly photo booth pictures - and he can see the messages waiting for him.

Uraraka had asked if he slept well, around nine this morning, and sent him three more texts as the hours passed without a response. Iida had just asked how everything was going in a text sent about an hour ago. Nothing pressing from either of them, and nothing from anyone else.

Izuku opens his conversation with Uraraka first, feeling the need to confirm that he is, in fact, alive.


To: Uraraka Ochako

1:00 PM

I just woke up sorry for not texting back earlier!


Uraraka unsurprisingly texts back instantly. Iida usually texts back in three minutes, but if Uraraka’s phone’s nearby, she'll get a response out in less than one.


From: Uraraka Ochako

1:00 PM



From: Uraraka Ochako

1:00 PM



Izuku laughs, realizing how absurd that is. He wakes up at eight most days, this is pretty different. Even if he didn't quite wake up at one, four and a half hours is a pretty long time.


To: Uraraka Ochako

1:01 PM

Yeah I slept great!


He decides to leave out the unconscious cuddling part. Knowing Uraraka, she's probably already suspecting it.


From: Uraraka Ochako

1:01 PM

That's good


From: Uraraka Ochako

1:01 PM

What are you and Todoroki doing today??


That's not a hard question to answer.


To: Uraraka Ochako

1:02 PM

Swimming and stargazing and maybe dinner someplace nice idk yet


As soon as the text sends, Izuku can hear Uraraka squealing all the way back at her apartment.


From: Uraraka Ochako

1:02 PM

That sounds amazinggg have fun!!!


Izuku smiles and switches to his conversation with Iida, less bubbly than the one with Uraraka but just as friendly. Iida texts like he talks, with proper grammar and big words and periods at the end of every sentence.


To: Iida Tenya

1:03 PM

I love it so far, I actually slept in today!


While he waits for Iida to respond, Izuku decides to check in with his mom. She didn't call or text when his phone was off, but he knows she’s worried about him, even now when there's nothing at all to worry about.

The dial tone sounds twice before she picks up, and Izuku can hear the familiar buzz of the microwave in the background.

“Hello?” She asks, because the landline at her apartment still doesn't have caller ID.

“Hey, mom,” Izuku says with a smile.

“Izuku!” His mother’s voice blossoms with recognition. “How’s your vacation? Are you having fun?”

“Yeah, it's great!” Izuku thinks back to yesterday afternoon, when Shouto yanked him down onto the floor next to him, and how he couldn't stop laughing even to catch his breath. “I'm really glad I went.”

“I'm glad, too.” His mother’s clearly smiling on the other end. “How’s Shouto doing, has he been sleeping enough? He looked so exhausted the last time he came over, I'm worried about him.”

“He's fine.” Izuku grins. “Guess how late we slept in this morning.”

“Hm...” His mother pauses in thought. “Ten?”



“Nope again.” Izuku knew she wouldn't be able to guess. He doesn't remember ever sleeping past eleven, and he's only slept until eleven once. “Twelve-thirty.”


“Yes!” Izuku laughs. “How are you?”

“Oh, you know, same as always,” his mother says. “I might use one of those coupons you gave me for dinner tonight.”

“That's great!” After Izuku saved a popular restaurant in his mom’s neighborhood from a burglary a few weeks ago, the owner had given him two coupons for a free entrée, and giving them to his mother was practically a no-brainer. He's glad she's using them, especially since he won't be able to stop by this weekend.

“Well, you go out and have a great time today!” His mother chuckles. “Tell Shouto hello and thank you for me, okay?”

“Okay.” Izuku nods. “Love you, mom.”

“Love you, too! Tell me all about it!”

“Bye!” Izuku presses the end button and puts his phone in his pocket.

Why did his mom ask him to say thank you? It's probably for the trip, isn't it? It was Shouto’s idea, after all.

“Did my phone go off while I was gone?” Shouto walks back in, hair considerably neater than it was before.

“Nope.” Izuku smiles. “My mom says hi and thank you.”

“Thank you...?” Shouto’s eyes go wide for a second before the surprise disappears entirely from his face. “Oh. Thanks.”

Izuku looks at him for a second. He definitely wasn't confused, so he must have known why Izuku’s mom asked.

“What’s she thanking you for?” Izuku asks.

Shouto blinks. “Nothing.” He walks over to the corner of the room to grab his phone. “Let's go.”

Izuku giggles. There's obviously a secret between them, and he's known for being overly curious.

“Really?” He asks, looking Shouto in the eye as he walks over to his shoes. “If it's nothing, why would she tell me to thank you?”

“I don't know.” Shouto shrugs, slipping his shoes on. “I guess she just really likes me.”

There's obviously more to it than that, but Izuku knows he isn't going to find out what it is now. If Shouto wants to keep a secret, he won't let a word of it slip to anyone. He's trustworthy like that.

And considering the people involved, the secret obviously involves Izuku himself, and as much as he wants to know details, he loves a good surprise.

They walk down to the cafe together, and a few minutes later, they're sitting at a table by the window with menus in their hands. The cafe is a French place, with nice pastries and sandwiches and all kinds of coffee on the menu.

“Before you can argue, I'm paying for this,” Izuku says.


“No buts, I said I'd do it at dinner last night and here I am.” Izuku looks down at the menu with a smile. “Everything looks great here.”

“Mm,” Shouto agrees, eyes scanning the page.

They both order coffee - Shouto’s iced, Izuku’s hot - and Izuku orders a bowl of soup while Shouto orders a quiche. They both split an almond croissant for a dessert of sorts, and by the end of the meal, they're both full and Izuku’s glad they came.

“You seem happy,” Shouto says as they're walking out, the sun beating down almost full-force.

“Yeah.” Izuku nods. “That was good.”

“It was.” Shouto reaches the inn first but stops before opening the door. “There's a convenience store near here if you want to buy snacks for later. I think the only thing I have in my car is a bag of potato chips.”

“What, you mean there's something more romantic than sharing some stale chips under the stars?” Izuku grins. “No way.”

“I'm sure that's the most romantic thing in the world,” Shouto deadpans, “But I need some chocolate.”

“Sure.” Izuku laces his and Shouto’s fingers together. “Going grocery shopping together is the second most romantic thing in the world anyway.”

They head off to the store, getting a little more than just chocolate to prepare for the rest of the day. They have more than enough junk food by the time they walk out, but considering they're going both swimming and stargazing before they go to sleep tonight, they'll need a lot of it.

Once they're back in the inn and back in their room - after a slightly shorter conversation with Hanamura - they're already changing into their swimsuits and getting towels to bring down to the beach with them. It's getting hotter by the second, and Izuku can't help but think that they picked the perfect time to swim.

“Do you want sunglasses?”

“Hm?” Izuku looks up from his phone to see Shouto wearing one pair of sunglasses and holding up another. He didn't even think of that. “Yeah, thanks.”

“My sister said the sun gets really bright this time of day,” Shouto says, “These should help a little.”

“Great.” Izuku turns his phone over in his hand and remembers Uraraka’s request from last night. “Can you come here for a second? Uraraka wants pictures.”

Shouto nods, walking across the room to squish in for one of the cheesiest selfies Izuku’s ever taken. It's definitely the combination of the sunglasses and the fact that they're not wearing shirts. Uraraka’s going to love it. Or use it as blackmail. Or both.

“Are we leaving now?” Shouto asks.

“Yep!” Izuku leaves his phone on the floor and slips on a t-shirt as he heads out the door.

It's ridiculously hot outside, hotter than it was at lunch and definitely hotter than it was yesterday. Izuku can feel beads of sweat forming on his forehead the second he steps out into the sun, and he wants nothing more to get into the water and stay there for a while.

The water’s a vibrant shade of blue, reflecting the color of the sky. The sun makes the top of every wave sparkle until it foams up and hits the beach. There's a dock a little ways down that Izuku didn't notice yesterday, a sturdy line of wooden planks with a small ladder leading up to it from below the water. He leads Shouto out onto it and leaves his shoes and his shirt at the end before taking a seat, his legs dangling over the edge.

“Were you going to dive off?” Shouto asks.

“Yeah- well, maybe not dive , it might be too shallow.” Izuku looks down into the water that his legs can't even reach from the dock. “But I'm jumping in.”

“Mm.” Shouto nods, sitting down next to Izuku on the dock.

“Are you jumping off, too?” Izuku asks.

“Maybe.” Shouto shrugs. “I might just go back to the shore and wade in from there.”

“But if you jump, you'll get used to the water temperature all at once.”


Izuku stands up with a grin. “Okay, I'm going to jump.”

“Good luck,” Shouto says.

Izuku steps back to take a running leap off the dock, but before Shouto can turn around to see what he's doing, Izuku uses the momentum to shove him off the dock into the water. The fall isn't even that far, but Shouto yelps like a cat before the sound is abruptly muted when he hits the water.

Does Izuku feel bad? A little. Not really. Either way, he can't stop laughing.

“What was that for?” Shouto asks, almost shivering in the water with a look of utter betrayal on his face that only makes Izuku laugh harder. “It's freezing!”

“Hold on, I'm coming!” Izuku hops off the edge of the dock and oh , it is pretty cold. But he starts to get used to it after only a few seconds. “Sorry.”

“You're not sorry at all.”

“Maybe I'm not.” Izuku dips underwater to see how deep it is. It's only a little bit deeper than he is tall, meaning Shouto can almost touch the bottom here. That's good. “I'm doing it again.”

“Doing what again?” Shouto asks, one eyebrow raised.

“Jumping in!” Izuku swims over to the ladder, swinging one leg up onto it before the other as he climbs up. He drips onto the dock when he gets out, turning the planks darker brown. The sun heats him up pretty quickly, though, and before long he almost doesn't want to face the cold again. Almost.

“Cannonball!” He shouts, running off the dock and bringing his knees up to a chest. He even puts a little One For All in his step as he leaps off, sending him higher and farther over the water.

He closes his eyes as he hits the water, able to hear the splash and the surprised noise Shouto makes just before he goes under. He keeps his eyes squeezed shut until his head is above the surface again.

“You're going to be the death of me, I swear,” Shouto mutters, just after resurfacing himself. His hair is flat, plastered to his face and the sides of his head and covering both of his eyes.

Izuku knows Shouto’s going to flip his hair out of his eyes, and he knows his boyfriend is so pretty he could make a career off of modeling alongside heroics - he's gotten the offers and brand deals to prove it - but he doesn't expect him to look so good doing it. It's almost like Shouto’s moving in slow motion, droplets flying off the ends of his hair as he flips it back, and Izuku can only float there, completely lovestruck.

“You're going to be the death of me, too” is all he can say.

Shouto just raises an eyebrow, hair now slicked back in a way that makes him look ridiculously handsome, even shoulders-deep in the water like this.

“Whatever.” Izuku grins it off, hoping he can hide the dusting of red on his cheeks.

Shouto’s gelled his hair back for dinner. He really didn't have to, since the place isn't that fancy, but Izuku suspects it's just a habit from years of charity balls and press conferences.

And Izuku doesn't mind that at all.

They're halfway through dinner - another delicious one, Fuyumi clearly recommended this place for good reason - when the alcohol starts to loosen them up a bit. They barely ever go out for drinks with the spontaneity of their jobs, and even this is barely anything, but it's enough to get a pleasant buzz going in the back of their heads that allows them to let go a little.

Strangely, Shouto looks like he needed just that. He looked oddly tense on the way here, and Izuku didn't get an answer when he asked why. But now both of them are smiling a little more, laughing a little more, and blocking themselves off a little less, and neither of them have a problem with it.

"God, I can't think of anything to talk about that isn't about work.” Izuku sighs, shoulders slumping forward.

“Work is fine.” Shouto shrugs. “It's not like we do much else with our time.”

Izuku chuckles. “Yeah, I guess so.” He takes a bite of the food in front of him. “Can I tell you some management secrets?”

“Aren't you not supposed to tell those to anyone?” Shouto asks.

“Yeah, but you're... you know, you ,” Izuku says, “Anyway, the agency’s willing to take on a few new members soon if you have any friends who want to join up.”

“I'll... keep that in mind.” Shouto nods. “Is management complicated?”

“You have no idea.” Izuku groans. “I'm glad I volunteered, but it's just so much work for three people.”

Shouto frowns. “You should really think about asking to expand it.”

“Are you volunteering?” Izuku asks.

“I could be.”

“Are you sure?” Izuku smiles. “It's a lot to take on.”

“If it makes you happy, I’m more than sure.” Shouto sounds completely serious, even saying something as cheesy as that.

“Really?” Izuku’s cheeks hurt from smiling so hard. “You would do that for me?”

“Yes.” Shouto looks at him like he's stupid for thinking anything other than that could be an answer. “If there's a spot open, ask me first.”

“Okay, I will.” Izuku nods. “Thank you so much!”

“Don't thank me yet.” Shouto’s trying to hide a smile himself and his whole face shines brighter trying to keep it a secret.

“What, why?” Izuku blinks. “You're doing that , you set this weekend up, what more can you do?”

“...More than you think.”

“And what does that mean, exactly?” Izuku asks. The suspense is about to kill him in the best possible way.

“Can't tell you.”

“Come on, at least give me a hint?”

Shouto shakes his head.


“How was the food?” Shouto asks.

“Don't change the subject!” Izuku laughs. “Why can't you tell me anything?”

Shouto asks the waiter for the check the next time he passes their table.

“Now you're ignoring me?” Izuku clicks his tongue. “That's so mean !”

Shouto continues ignoring him, setting a few bills down on the table when the waiter drops off the check. He's smiling, though, even if he thinks Izuku doesn't notice.

“Are we going back?” Izuku asks, watching Shouto stand up from the table.

“Not quite.” Shouto looks back at Izuku, still trying and failing to play it cool. “Are you all right with stargazing?”


“Yes, now.”

“Yeah, of course!” Izuku stands up and follows Shouto out of the restaurant and onto the street. “You seem excited.”

“I do?” Shouto’s eyes go just a little wider.

“Why's that?” Izuku gets just a little closer.

“You're unbelievable,” Shouto murmurs, “Come on.”

“Where are we going?” Izuku jogs to keep up when Shouto starts walking faster.

“Up on top of that hill.” Shouto points at something ahead of them in the dark. “There's a field up there.”

“Oh.” Izuku smiles. “Okay.”

The hill is fairly steep, and they're not wearing the right shoes to make the climb. Izuku’s feet are sore when he reaches the top, but he barely even notices. He's excited and Shouto’s excited and that's all he cares about.

The field is like something right out of a dream, grass blowing in the wind and flowers dotting the landscape in white. It's surrounded by trees, a ring around the tranquil beauty that makes Izuku’s heart melt.

“You might want to look up,” Shouto says, his eyes glued to the sky.

And Izuku does.

The sky stretches on forever, a dark indigo that sucks Izuku in like a black hole and makes him realize just how small he is. How big the world is. Clouds hang at the edges, hazy and foreboding in the dark.

But the sky has nothing on the stars. They dot the sky like points on a graph and no two are exactly alike. Some are closer and brighter, some are dimmer and farther away, each one with its own place in the sky. But they all connect somehow, pinpricks of white in an endless sea of darkness.

“Wow,” he whispers, “They're beautiful.”

“I know.” Shouto chuckles. “Come over here, you don't want to strain your neck.”

“Hm?” Izuku finds the strength to look away and sees Shouto lying down on the ground right in the middle of the field. His tie is loose, his sleeves are rolled up, and he's using his jacket as a pillow. The stars light the fire in his eyes like a match, and both shine bright in the dark.

Izuku lies down next to him and looks up again, the stars mesmerizing enough to pull him in once more. They're simple but gorgeous, and he could easily stare up at them all night.

“Do you remember our first kiss?” Shouto asks all of a sudden, voice quiet and hesitant.

Izuku giggles. “Of course I do!” He takes Shouto’s hand in his own but doesn't dare look down. “I thought I was going to faint.”

“I know.” Shouto pauses. “Maybe it wasn't the best idea right after you got healed by Recovery Girl.”

“It's okay, you were worried.” Izuku smiles. “Why do you- shooting star!”

A white trail shoots across the sky, darting between the other stars. Izuku’s eyes are locked onto it, expecting it to disappear any second.

“Make a wish!” He shouts, closing his eyes tight. He doesn't know what to wish for, he can't choose on the spot-

He really wishes he could have a weekend like this again. That's what he wants.

Shouto murmurs something unintelligible next to him and Izuku just smiles, knowing he cares a whole lot about whatever he's wishing for.

When Izuku opens his eyes again, the shooting star is gone and the other stars just hang still in the sky. He really hopes he made that wish in time.

“You were saying?” Shouto asks.

“Why did you ask about our first kiss?” Izuku turns his head to get a look at Shouto’s face.

“I don't know.” Shouto frowns. “It just came to mind.”



“Ah.” Izuku smiles. “That was almost six years ago.”

“Time flies.” Shouto smiles, too, eyes focused on the stars.

“Yeah.” Izuku doesn't know how tonight can get any better. He's here with the love of his life watching one of the most beautiful things he's ever seen and he wants this to last forever.

“There's another shooting star.” Shouto points up at a spot a little above the horizon, where another star flies from one corner of space to the other.

“Make another wish!” Izuku pauses. “Or wish for the same thing twice.”

He keeps his eyes open this time, instead looking at how Shouto wrenches his eyes shut and squeezes Izuku’s hand like his life depends on it. Izuku wants to know why Shouto wants this to come true, why he's trying so hard, but he doesn't ask. He doesn't want to intrude, not now.

The world fades out and it's just the two of them, two people in love watching the stars. Being heroes doesn't even matter because right now, they're just them. Shouto and Izuku, Todoroki and Midoriya, friends and partners and everything in between.

Izuku really wants it to stay that way. Forever.

“What time is it?” He asks, because it feels like hours have gone by.

“I don't know.” A second later, the screen of Shouto’s phone lights up the night sky. “A little before ten.”

“Wow, really?”

“I know.” Shouto sits up first, phone still on in his hand. From the way it's lit up, Izuku can see that someone’s texted him. “We should head back, checkout’s at eleven tomorrow.”

“Oh.” Izuku sits up, not wanting to accept that tomorrow, they'll be jumping right back into their normal lives. Not that he doesn't like his life, because he really does, but he likes this, too. He doesn't want it to end.

They stand up together, start walking back the way they came together, still stealing glances up at the sky. They're almost to the edge of the field again when Shouto stops and gets down into a squat, facing back where they came from.

“Shouto?” Izuku stops, too, not wanting to take a step without him there. “What are you doing?”

“Tying my shoe, sorry.” Shouto stands up again as soon as he stops talking, the look in his eyes full of determination when he turns around. “Can we stay a little longer?”

“Definitely.” Izuku nods. “We can stay as long as you want, I don't mind.”

“Thanks.” Shouto looks away with a frown. “I didn't want to go back yet.”

Izuku smiles. “Neither did I, don't worry.”

“Okay.” When Shouto takes a breath, it's weirdly shaky. “I'm sorry.”

“I said it's okay-”

“No, this is different.”

Izuku frowns. “Different how?” Shouto’s nervous enough for it to show in his voice, and Izuku needs to know why. “What's wrong?”

“Nothing, nothing’s wrong.” Shouto lets out a long breath. “You know how important you are to me, right?”

“What?” Izuku blinks. “You look like you're about to cry, are you okay?”

“Do I?” Shouto looks surprised for exactly a second before he looks down at the ground with a tiny smile. “Oh well.”

“Shouto, what is going on -”

“Let me have this, okay?” Shouto asks. “I promise I'm fine.”

Izuku only nods. Shouto doesn't make promises very often, and he never breaks them.

“I-” Shouto visibly gulps and Izuku is worried about him all over again. “I've never met anyone as strong as you are or anyone as kind as you are, and I don't think I ever will.” There's still a smile on his face, hidden but clearly there. “You've done so much for me, and I'll never be able to repay you for that.”

Izuku just barely stops himself from interrupting. As much as he wants to tell Shouto he’s wrong and that it's really the other way around, he can’t. Not now.

“Seven years ago, you looked at me and thought I was worth saving,” Shouto continues, putting his right hand in his pocket, “I still don't know what I did to deserve that, but since then you've made me so much happier than I ever thought I could be, and after being able to work with you and wake up next to you every morning I've only loved you more.”

He doesn't do things like this. He doesn't say things like this, he says them through kisses and cuddles and sleepy “I love you”s and Izuku doesn't know what to think. Shouto has to be doing this for a reason, the only thing Izuku can do is wait and see what that reason is.

“I've spent the past seven years by your side.” Shouto’s obviously trying to keep his voice level, but he's still smiling. “It would be my greatest honor to stay there as long as I can.”

“What?” Izuku asks.

In that moment, it all clicks. The secrecy all weekend and the hints at dinner and the nervousness every time stargazing was mentioned, everything makes sense now.

“Oh my god,” he whispers, suddenly breathless.

And when Shouto gets down on one knee, sucking in one breath after another with a kind of fear Izuku’s never seen from him before, Izuku’s sure he's going to faint. His heart is racing, pounding almost too loud to hear anything else around him.

Shouto takes a small box out of his pocket and the way it's almost completely frozen over is nothing short of adorable. “God, I wasn't expecting that to happen.” He tries opening it, tries again, but the box won't budge. “Sorry, I didn't prepare for this-”

“It's okay!” Izuku smiles. He can't help it. “Need any help with that?”

Shouto chuckles. “ No .” With a quiet grunt, he finally opens the box, and the ring inside is even more beautiful than Izuku thought it would be, shining in the light of the stars.

“Okay.” Shouto closes his eyes, takes a breath, opens them again. “Midoriya Izuku.”

“Yeah?” Izuku smiles even wider, a weird kind of quiet giddiness taking up every part of him.

Shouto smiles wider than he ever has before, a smile so sweet and filled with love but so natural  at the same time. “Will you marry me?”

Izuku nods before he can say anything, not sure whether to laugh or cry or scream - maybe not scream, it's late. Now that it's happened , he can't move, he can't talk, he can barely breathe, and he would feel like this forever given the chance.

His vision is blurry before he knows it, and he feels tears on his cheeks the second he blinks. So he's going to cry. That's fine, that's more than fine, the only thing he can feel is happy and if that makes him cry, so be it.

“Are you all right?” Shouto frowns. “You're-”

“Yes!” Izuku’s voice is too loud, hoarse from not talking, and he's laughing now, too, completely unable to control how his body deals with this. “Yes to everything!”

“Really?” Shouto’s eyes go wide, like he somehow didn't expect that answer.

“How are you so oblivious? Yes .” Izuku grins. “Can you please put the ring on so I can kiss you senseless?”

Shouto nods, slipping the ring onto Izuku’s finger without a word. It's cold - to be expected, since it was frozen just a minute ago - but Izuku loves it. The way it looks, the way it feels, it's absolutely perfect.

In the seven years Izuku’s known him, Todoroki Shouto has cried in front of him exactly twice. Both times, he tried to hide it with an “I'm fine” and Izuku stayed next to him until the tears finally started to flow.

But now, seeing unshed tears in the corners of Shouto’s eyes when he stands up again, all Izuku can do is smile.

“Hey.” Izuku’s voice is shakier than its ever been, an eruption just on the tip of his tongue. “You can cry, it's okay-”

He hugs Shouto tight, holding him close, and as soon as his face is buried in the crook of his neck, he lets out a sob. He's such a mess , and he loves it.

“I love you,” Shouto whispers, and now he's crying too and both of them are a mess now. Like this could end any other way.

“I love you, too,” Izuku whispers back.

When Shouto pulls back and kisses him instead, it doesn't come as a surprise. They've done this so many times before that Izuku skips the surprise stage entirely, deepening the kiss with every second.

The kiss is long and slow, perfect in the darkness all around them. They press their bodies up against each other and keep each other steady as the world spins slower than it ever has before. Izuku melts more and more every time Shouto moves, somehow keeping his sighs quiet enough for only Shouto to hear, and he's convinced that when this is over, he'll crumple into a puddle on the ground.

Shouto pulls away, for real this time, still smiling like he was a minute ago. “We should actually get back now.”

Izuku nods. “Okay.”

As they're walking out, Shouto ducks down for a second and comes back up with his phone in his hands. He turns it off and puts it in his pocket like he thinks Izuku didn't notice.

Izuku barely resists the urge to snort. “Did you film that?”

“My mom wanted to see it.” Shouto pauses. “...So did yours.”

“My mom knew about that?” Izuku laughs before he can stop himself. That must have been the reason for what she said on the phone. “Did she cry when you told her?”

“Almost as much as you did,” Shouto answers.

Izuku looks up at the stars as he walks down the hill. “Can you send me the video?”

“I already did.”

“Really?” Izuku pulls out his phone and smiles when he sees the video in his notifications. In a few seconds, he's already downloaded it and sent it to Uraraka. “How loud do you think Uraraka’s going to scream when she gets it?”

Shouto’s eyebrows crumple up in the adorable way they do when he's thinking. “Hasn't she been going on patrol with Jirou lately?”

“...Yeah.” Izuku puts two and two together and opens a new text message, finding Jirou’s name in his list of contacts.


To: Jirou Kyouka

10:12 PM

You might want to be careful around Uraraka if you're working with her tonight, she’s probably going to scream


That was a lot more ominous than he intended.

“Just wondering,” Izuku says, “How many people knew about this?”

“Just our moms and my sister.” Shouto stops for a second to think. “And Yaoyorozu. I let it slip when she asked what I was doing this weekend.”

Izuku giggles, then jumps when his phone buzzes in his hand.


From: Jirou Kyouka

10:13 PM

midoriya what did you do


For the record, he didn't do anything. If Uraraka screams, it's all Shouto’s fault. In a good way.


To: Jirou Kyouka

10:13 PM

I'll let her tell you


He puts his phone back in his pocket only for it to buzz again.


From: Jirou Kyouka

10:13 PM

should i be worried


Izuku laughs in the few seconds before Jirou texts him yet again.


From: Jirou Kyouka

10:14 PM

jesus christ she screamed and i thought someone died what the fuck happened


"Are you warning Jirou?” Shouto asks.

“Yeah.” Izuku nods, typing out another text. “I might have been a little late, though.”


To: Jirou Kyouka

10:14 PM

Omg are your ears okay I'm so sorry!


Jirou texts back almost instantly.


From: Jirou Kyouka

10:14 PM

yeah im fine


From: Jirou Kyouka

10:14 PM

congrats btw


Izuku smiles at the sentiment. Uraraka must have told her, then.


To: Jirou Kyouka

10:15 PM

Thank you!! Sorry for interrupting your patrol!


He puts his phone back in his pocket, turning it off vibrate first. He doesn't want to be interrupted anymore tonight.

Shouto tries to hide a yawn next to him, but it doesn't work. And it's cute.

Izuku chuckles. “Today was a pretty long day for you, huh?”

“I haven't even been awake for twelve hours yet,” Shouto mutters.

“It's okay, I'm tired, too.” Izuku looks down at the road in front of them. “Tell me something, though.”


Izuku grins. “This was the point of the entire trip, wasn't it?”

Shouto looks like he's about to say something, but he stops with his mouth half-open, cheeks more red every second.

“Was I right?” Izuku asks.

“...I may have had some ulterior motives,” Shouto says.

“You say that like it's a bad thing!”

“Was it too obvious?”

“Not at all.” Izuku smiles. “It was perfect.”

“Oh.” Shouto only blushes more, a weird but adorable look on him. “I...” He trails off, clearly not sure what to say.

Izuku giggles, taking his hand and leading him down the hill. “Come on, we have to wake up early tomorrow, don't we?”

Izuku puts his suitcase in the trunk and reaches up to shut the door before he opens the passenger side door and takes a seat. Shouto’s still checking out and saying goodbye to Hanamura, and in just a few minutes, they're going to be back on the road again. They'll be home by the end of the day, and tomorrow they'll start work again like nothing happened.

Well, mostly nothing.

Izuku has a surprise of his own planned, and while it's much more impulsive than Shouto’s was and not nearly as big, he hopes it'll be good enough for an idea he came up with and executed less than an hour ago.

“Sorry that took so long.” Shouto opens the door and sits down, putting the key in the ignition.

“Don't worry about it!” Izuku turns on the radio and puts on Preset 5, the pop station. “Sorry in advance for my singing voice.”

“That isn't a problem.” Shouto takes his phone out of his back pocket, frowning once he sees the screen. “What..?”

“What's wrong?” Izuku asks, trying to hide the fact that he knows exactly what Shouto just saw.

“I was supposed to have night shift again this week, but I got put on afternoon instead,” Shouto says, “It's weird.”

“Management magic is like that.” Izuku shrugs.

“Is it-” Shouto cuts himself off. “You changed the schedule.”

Izuku grins. “Surprise!”

Shouto’s eyes go wide for a second. “Who did I switch with?”

“Me,” Izuku answers without skipping a beat.

“What, why?” Shouto asks.

“It's the least I can do.”

“But you-” Shouto lets out a breath, no doubt resigning himself to the fact that there's nothing he can do against it. “Thank you.”

“No problem.” Izuku smiles. “This weekend was amazing, thank you .”

Shouto leans over to put his phone in the glove box. “...You’re welcome.”

Izuku looks out the windshield at the beach off in the distance. “We should come back sometime.”

“Definitely.” Shouto pulls out of his parking spot and onto the street. “Did Uraraka text you back?”

“Yeah.” Izuku chuckles. “She just said ‘call me’ in all caps.”

“Did you call her?”

Izuku blinks. “Crap, that's what I forgot to do!” He looks at Shouto with a frown. “Do you mind if I...?”

“Go ahead,” Shouto says, turning back onto the main road.

“Thanks.” Izuku takes his phone and finds Uraraka’s contact before putting the phone up to his ear, the dial tone only sounding for a second before she picks up.

“Took you long enough!” Uraraka’s laughing, no matter how mad she tries to sound. “You almost gave me a heart attack last night!”

“Sorry!” Izuku laughs, too, because Uraraka’s laugh has always been contagious. “I shouldn’t have sent it while you were on patrol-”

“It’s okay, really!” Uraraka says, “I never got to congratulate you!”

“You don’t need to-”

“Yes I do!” Uraraka’s voice gets louder, almost loud enough to hurt Izuku’s ears. “Congratulations!”

“...Thanks.” Izuku can't help but smile.

“Where are you right now?” Uraraka asks.

“I’m in the car,” Izuku answers, “Shouto’s driving.”

“What?” Uraraka sounds excited now. “Put me on speaker, I need to talk to him!”

“Okay, I’ll ask.” Izuku puts the phone down and covers the receiver with his hand as he looks at Shouto with a grin. “Uraraka wants to talk to you.”

“Should I be scared?” Shouto asks.

“I don’t know.” Izuku shrugs, tapping the speaker icon. “Okay, you’re on speaker!”

“Good.” Uraraka’s voice crackles over the phone. “Todoroki, can you hear me?”

“Well enough,” Shouto answers.

“I’m sure I’ve told you this before,” Uraraka says, tone instantly darker in a way that makes Izuku worry, “But now that you’re engaged to my best friend, you should know that if you hurt him in any way, I won’t hesitate to let you drift off into space, never to be seen again.”

“If I do, you have my full permission,” Shouto says, like Uraraka didn’t just threaten his life.

“Uraraka!” Izuku gasps. “He won’t do that!”

“I’m not expecting him to,” Uraraka says, “I’m just warning him.”

“I would have been surprised if she didn’t,” Shouto agrees.

“You two are ridiculous,” Izuku mutters, trying and failing to hold back a smile as he looks out the window, the tiny town disappearing into the distance.