They’re only in the middle of their second year when, as a class, their popularity starts picking up, and they get fans all around Japan cheering for them before their hero careers have technically even begun. It starts small, like most things do, with posters of a few of their classmates being sold at local hero shops, and the odd corner store. When they all start to see hero merch of themselves on the shelves, and the news spreads around class like fire.
Most people were seeing it as a challenge -- They were all aiming to be top heroes, but in the school of Yuuei, topping their classmates in performance and popularity had become important as well, of course. But unlike the seriousness of their first year, things had mellowed out just a bit. It was more of a friendly competition, to see who would get more merchandise out first. It should’ve been obvious, but the girls in class, and the top 3 overall got majority, but it was still fun to share what they’d seen. It really only had been small things sold. But one day, it takes a turn for the more interesting.
“Guys! I saw a figurine of me today at the store! I took a photo -- look, look!!” Mina hollers as she enters the class one morning, grinning hard and shoving her phone in the direction of Sero, Kirishima, and a few others. But her loud voice had definitely grabbed the attention of the rest of the sleepy class, and they all listened in.
“Ohh, Nice, Ashido!” Kirishima gives her a thumbs up, looking impressed at the picture. When Midoriya looks, he smiles. It’s just a little pink bobblehead, but the horns and black eyes couldn’t have been features of any other hero. Mina looked elated, bouncing and waiting for more compliments.
“Looks good, Ashido-san. What store was it?” Midoriya asks, curiously. She beams.
“It was the little shop near the town plaza, you know, the one with the red walls? It was pretty shabby looking, and I’d never looked in there before, but they had some really cool stuff!” She blinks once--twice. “Oh. Wait. I actually found more merchandise there-- There was a few other of you guys, too-- with bobbleheads, and stuff.”
And just like that, the class erupts again. People pulling at Mina and asking if they had merchandise there, and cries of, ‘why didnt you take more photos, Ashido?!’ and betrayed groans as she admits with guilt she was running late and didn’t take any more pictures but of her own stuff.
Even Mineta cries, wailing about how he didn’t have any merchandise yet, and he had to know if there was something there for him.
“But, But!” Mina soothes them all. “We could all go to the store after class?” We couldn’t be out too long since it’s a school night, but a short class trip down there should be okay, right?!”
There’s some quiet words shared, and an overall agree for the time and place, as they all get stoked about the end of the school day. That settled it, and they all started chatting amongst themselves again, as Iida cried for order. But he too, got dragged into the excitement of it all, whispering about the possibilities.
Midoriya turns around in his seat, and taps Todoroki’s desk, getting his attention. Those bright, mismatched eyes look up at him, tired and out of it.
“Didn’t sleep too well?” Midoriya surmised, tilting his head and smiling sympathetically as Todoroki nodded.
“They’re all so loud -- It’s just merchandise, isn’t it? Companies profit off of it, so of course they would make things featuring the upcoming heroes. It makes them money to release new things.” He says, blinking.
Midoriya leans into the back of Todoroki’s desk, getting comfortable, as it seemed Aizawa-sensei wasn’t going to be showing up on time this morning, either. “So you aren’t excited about it at all, then?” Midoriya questions.
Todoroki shrugs. “It’s just never really mattered to me all that much. It’s not like I’ll be buying it, right? And if you think about it, these companies are just profiting off our faces. We won’t be making any money off of these deals until we graduate and become pros. It’s not that exciting.”
Midoriya snorts through his nose. “But Todoroki, it means we have fans -- fans that want to buy stuff of us -- isn’t that exciting? We’re just getting closer and closer to being real heroes. And isn’t it just like promotion, in a way?”
Todoroki hums, staring off to the side at Bakugou, who was making a large racket, and screaming far too early as usual. Even he seemed to be on the topic of the store, yelling at Kirishima about beating him in amount of merchandise.
“True. It does sound interesting, I guess.” Todoroki settles with, eventually.
“So,” Midoriya prompts, enticingly. Gives him his best smile. “Does that mean you’ll come with us later?”
Todoroki sighs, a fond smile quirking at the corner of his mouth as he pretends to be annoyed. “I guess so.” He agrees, and Midoriya silently cheers. It was hard to get todoroki to join the rest of the class activities, after all. But the longer they knew each other, the easier it became. And he doesn’t mean to toot his own horn, but Todoroki rarely said no to him most of all, as time went on.
And with that, Aizawa-sensei makes his way in, looking tired as ever, and the class assembles themselves into their seats, opening their notes.
“Ah, I’m on a pair of water wings.” Tsuyu smiles, tongue out, as her cheeks redden. She holds them up to Uraraka, who claps her hands together in a cheer as well. “That’s so cute, Tsuyu! I found something with me on it as well, look here…”
“I’m… the face of a matryoshka doll set.” Yaoyorozu says, staring at the item in her palms with slight disdain. “I mean. I feel like I should have expected this, but…”
Jirou breaks into a laugh at this, patting her shoulder. “It suits you, It suits you! Don’t worry too much, Yaomomo. I’m on an mp3 player, pfft. Who even uses these anymore?” She snorts as she holds up the ancient looking design, and they shuffle around to find more.
Midoriya definitely sees Aoyama scampering off to the checkout with an armful of things with his own face on it.
Most of the class had been humorously pleased with the outcome, most of them finding items pertaining to themselves, or finding goofy items of their friends. The shop is filled with laughter and kids as the store cashier stares across them all outright, looking unsure whether to ask for quiet in his store, or request autographs.
Midoriya eventually finds a small section of Todoroki-- there’s towels, mugs, and other little gift section items, and-- Oh.
He grabs at a figurine of him, holding it up. He makes a shocked noise as he brings it over to Todoroki, looking the detailed thing up and down.. “Look, Todoroki-- they captured you pretty well!”
It was probably one of the more expensive things he found, but considering Todoroki’s popularity, it wasn’t really a surprise he had more goods than most of the others in class 1-A. The more popular you were, the more you’d find of yourself. Even at other stores he’d seen Todoroki themed items and accessories-- and Bakugou too; Even stumbled across accessories of himself by accident and stumbled in surprise, pushing them far back on the shelf in embarrassment.
Todoroki snorts at the thing. “I don’t know who would buy this, it’s so… Gimmicky.” he looks at the price tag, and cringes. “And expensive.”
Midoriya stares at him, serious.
Todoroki squints. “I know what that look means, Midoriya. No way.” Todoroki stares back, and putting the figure on a high shelf -- probably so Midoriya couldn’t reach it -- without further comment.
“It’s not that weird that I’d want it, is it? It’s really cool.” Midoriya groans. “You have a fanbase! And I want to support you! I kind of want to get it? I want to get it. It could go on my shelf with my All Might figures.” He says, determined. Todoroki grimaces.
“Midoriya, just.” Todoroki waves him away, red in the face. “No. Save your money for food and hobbies, this would be a waste.”
Midoriya pouts “It wouldn’t be a waste.” and they stare at each other before Midoriya caves.
“Fine, I guess I don’t need more figurines. Even though I don’t think it’s that weird, and collecting technically is my hobby.” He grins at Todoroki, and leans in close, voice hushed. “But I mean, I see your point -- I have the real thing, and how many people can say they have Todoroki Shouto as their boyfriend?” and with that, he reaches up high, grabs the figure with the tips of his fingers, and runs off to put it back in it’s original spot with red cheeks, leaving an also very red and steaming Todoroki leaning against the shelves in the comic book store.
“Hey. This is due tomorrow, you know that right?”
“Five more minutes, kay?” Midoriya grumbles, cutely.
Todoroki leans into him. “You say that, but if i let you truly fall asleep, you know I won’t have the heart to wake you up.”
“So what’s the problem?” Midoriya grumbles into the pillow, green hair falling across the pillow and framing his freckles and long eyelashes. His hand finds its way into grasping Todoroki’s, without looking, and holds tight. Todoroki demands the butterflies in his stomach control themselves, and he smiles fondly. Midoriya interrupts, tugging at him. “Lay down too, Shouto.”
And that seals the deal; Midoriya never called him by name without panicking unless he was truly out of it. So he plays along, folding their fingers together softly, one by one. Squeezes loosely and counts the scars and beauty marks on the back of his hand. “But I don’t have a pillow here, do I?”
“I have extra. There’s one by the foot of the bed.”
And Todoroki gets up, ignoring Midoriya’s complaints, and the temporary lack of warmth on his palm as he grabs at the pillow with the bed supplies neatly piled where Midoriya had mentioned. When he grabs it though, a squashed bag is revealed underneath the pillow. He stares.
Thinking it’s garbage, Todoroki goes to pick it up and throw it out. But when it’s in his hand, it’s just slightly heavy enough to know there’s something in there, and he opens the bag to see what could have been left in there--
“You bought our hero merch?”
And just like that, Midoriya jolts upright, sweating profusely and smiles nervously. “Um, okay, hold on, you weren’t supposed to see that yet.”
But Todoroki doesn’t really hear him, he’s just looking at the simple rubber bracelets in his hands. They’re colorful things, a bright neon blue and green. They were chunky, with their hero names --Deku and Shouto-- engraved in the individual bracelets, a heart on the end of each of their names.
It’s something you’d see a teenage girl wear, he’s sure. He figures that’s why the hearts. And they weren’t the most flattering in color or style, and definitely not something he could ever see himself wearing, but…
“Are you mad?” Midoriya interrupts. “I didn’t spend much on them, if that’s what’s bugging you. And I wanted them.”
“What for?” Todoroki asks, looking up at his red boyfriend, sleep completely gone from his features.
“Um.” Midoriya smartly replies. “I kind of… wanted to wear yours? Or just have it with me?” He covers his cheeks with his hands, and looks away. “It’s kind of stupid, now that I’m saying it out loud… I know I see you every day, but I saw the hearts, and I ran with the idea, and before I knew it, I was at the till.”
Todoroki stares, unblinking.
“You think it’s stupid, don’t you? Y-you don’t have to wear it, I bought them, it’s ok if you don’t want one of them. It was presumptuous.”
Todoroki leans down onto the bed, and pushes his forehead into the crook of Midoriya’s head and shoulder.
“It’s not stupid.” He says, grinning to himself as he slips the neon green rubber bracelet on his right hand, where it won’t get burnt. He brushes his fingers across the engravement of Midoriya’s hero name, and thinks of sappier things with engravings in them, like rings, and feels the butterflies flap their wings mercilessly in his stomach once again while thinking of the future. “I love it.”
He feels Midoriya place a kiss into his hair, and they get back to their work.
He’s on his way to see his mother when he stops by a gift shop for flowers, since she had said her room was dull. He wouldn’t buy red flowers, but he’d swore he’d seen some lovely purple and blue ones the other day that would look just perfect in the corner of her room, and maybe get her to smile.
But when he goes to the gift shop, there’s always those little last minute items that get you at the check-out desk. It’s such a bright stack of pens, of course they catch his eyes. But there’s one in particular that stands out amongst all the other hero-themed items.
“Could I add this too, please?”
He find himself smiling when he leaves the store, and doesn’t particularly mind that the pen was almost as expensive as the flowers.
“Dude.” he whispers, almost halfway across the library.
“BRO.” Kirishima says, next to his ear this time, and Midoriya jumps a foot, holding his ear.
“What is it?” He asks, a little scared to know. They were all trying to keep relatively quiet, since it was a self study hour at the moment, but it wasn’t the only conversation going on, so they go mostly unnoticed.
“Look at Todoroki-- see anything different today?” Kirishima asks, grinning.
Todoroki was at a different table, studying with Yaoyorozu and Uraraka, and Midoriya looks skeptically back at Kirishima, eyebrow raised.
“What am I supposed to be looking at…?” He looked the same, as far as Midoriya could tell. Same uniform, same shoes… it’s not like he dyed his hair or anything, or added a new hairclip in. What was Kirishima talking--
And then he sees it, and inhales. Kirishima bumps him with a laugh, noticing his reaction.
“Isn’t it the cutest? I wish I knew where he got it, I want to buy one like that of Bakugou’s. Ahh, that’d be nice. Maybe I’d get more work done, with that kind of motivation.”
But Midoriya isn’t paying attention as much anymore, staring at the green pen in Todoroki’s hand as he writes, the little ball chain on the top with what looked like a small version of him in his hero suit. It had his hero name once again, printed brightly in white on the side of the pen.
Despite better judgement, he goes over to Todoroki, and points. Todoroki follows his finger all the way down to the pen in his own head before looking nervously back to Midoriya, shoulders stiff and waiting for the accusation.
“That,” Midoriya says. “ I want to buy one too. Of yours.” and Todoroki blushes as the girls beside him notice the pen he was using and giggle, then rips off a piece of his notebook paper, and with the pen, writes an address, and wordlessly hands it to Midoriya, still looking embarrassed. Probably for betraying his own rules on merchandise buying, for calling it gimmicky, for making fun of Midoriya wanting some before doing what he said wouldn’t.
Now they were just buying stuff of each other, it seemed.
Midoriya retreats back to his table with a waiting Kirishima, and slides the address over to him, for the gift shop he thinks is a few blocks away.
“Wanna go later?”
“Hell yeah!” Kirishima cheers, and they get shushed by the passing librarian.
The dorms were getting low on food, and though Yuuei provided the necessities for three course meals, they didn’t exactly have enjoyable snacks in the lounge. It was… mostly crackers and shortbread cookies. But teenagers needed more than that.
They rotated the duty back and forth between the class, and this time it was Midoriya and Todoroki’s turn, since they always went for this job together.
The real problem isn’t picking the snacks per say, but instead when they take the detour out of curiousity to the hero gift section.
“We should probably stop this,” Todoroki says, picking up a keyring of his boyfriends’ face, and putting it in the basket without hesitation.
Midoriya settles for holding his, smiling goofily at the plastic, widespread made charms. It was a simple little thing, just a picture of them with their name on it, once again, but Midoriya doesn’t think he could ever tire of seeing his boyfriend. Having it on a keyring couldn’t hurt right?
“Yeah. Last ones, okay?”
Todoroki nods, and they checkout. The clerk gives them a slightly curious but almost knowing look, and bags their items without a word.
The class all catches on, but doesn’t say much about it. But social cues are lost on Bakugou, who treads up to their desks and punches the surface, instead of just calling Todoroki for attention like a regular person. Since Midoriya sat in front of him, he looks back at what’s happening as well.
“You guys need to fuckin’ stop this shit. The dopey smiles are one thing, but the pens and keyring crap is another. We fucking get it, you like each other. Leave your nerd shit back in your fucking dorms already!”
Midoriya looks on nervously, while Todoroki blinks Nonchalantly.
The stare lingers, and Todoroki says, without breaking eye contact, “I found Red Riot keychains at the konbini yesterday, Bakugou, in case you were interested.”
It works, and Bakugou pales and then turns red in a matter of seconds before anger runs tenfold.
“Fuck you half-n-half, I’m not! Why would I be!” He screeches at them, before trudging back to his own desk, fuming from the ears and glares at them from across class.
“How’d you know…?” Midoriya starts.
Todoroki grins slightly. “I went to his room to borrow some laundry soap last night. Guess who has a Red Riot poster?”
“Ah, those,” Todoroki says. "Actually, uhm… Momo made those ones as a joke. To make fun of me, because I lost my pair from my gym bag.”
Midoriya gapes. “I… Kind of forgot she could make things like this, honestly.” The look on his face says he was imagining all the possibilities, further than socks.
Todoroki snorts. “She usually doesn’t. Like I said, she made them as a joke thinking I’d be appalled, but i asked her if she could make me more. She looked guilty, and said she’d taken sales money away from the hero fanbase companies, before running off.”
“Oh,” Midoriya says.
The silence is thick, the only sound in the air is the whirring of the washing machines around them.
“So how much do you think I’d have to pay her before she made a pair for me?”
“We could convince her to make a joke pair for me too, then, right? Right?”
“I think it’s kind of cute though-- I like it even better if we match like this, instead of me just grabbing something of yours.” Midoriya admits, shyly.
By accident, they had started a new trend in their class. Instead of it being a competitive sport to find more merchandise of themselves, in the case of those dating, they all ended up trying to find and buy merchandise of their significant other.
Uraraka had proudly shown off her new Tsuyu themed phone case, and commented on how happy she was that she could look at Tsuyu now, when they were texting. Tsuyu became red and croaked, embarrassed.
Yaoyorozu had bought the mp3 player with Jirou’s image on it, almost making the girl cry when Yaoyorozu has said it would help her get into music more.
Even Bakugou had a small keychain of red riot on his phone, and smiled at it every so often when Kirishima wasn’t around--but threatened death on any that commented on it.
“You act like I didn’t want to buy things of yours from the beginning.” Todoroki comments.
“Well, you didn’t, right? You said you didn’t like merchandise.”
“Well not of myself, no. But I didn’t think about the idea of buying each other’s. It was really different when i thought of it like that.” He admits, shyly. “ I hadn’t seen much of your merch before, not going into those kinds of stores. But Having something matching with you felt really nice, rather than seeing just my own stuff out there.”
“So you felt like that, and yet you wouldn’t let me buy the figure of you, huh.”
“I take it back. When I see one of you, I’ll think about us getting them.” He remarks, smirking.
“Oh, so only if we both have it, it’s ok?” Midoriya teases. “Fine. I can wait. They don’t have much use, but I think it’d be interesting to have, still.”
Todoroki traces his fingers along Midoriya’s wrist, drawing butterflies with the tips of his finger. “Do you think…” He whispers. “That they might sell our merch together one day? If we tell the public we’re dating, at that point.”
Midoriya turns up to look at him, and smiles.
“That would be an interesting way to make sales.” Midoriya snorts. “We probably won’t stop buying if it comes to that, though. Our friends are going to tease us.”
“It’s fine.” Todoroki says, and pulls Midoriya closer to him by the waist. “Let them tease. Even if it’s silly, I’m kind of happy i can have these little things around that remind me of you.”
Midoriya smiles, and buries his red cheeks in Todoroki’s chest. “Same here.”
It’s kind of silly-- and definitely gimmicky, like Todoroki said in the beginning. They don’t buy much more than that, but when more stuff comes out, it’s a little hard to stay away when it’s small things-- little things that remind them of each other throughout the day, but don’t take up much space either.
They didn’t need to worry too much about their friends, either. Nobody has anything but sappy, fond remarks when they see their matching sets.